Role Reversal Day

“Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may be clean.”     Matthew 23:26

10 19 17 with word overlayI had several melt downs this summer over my kids’ ingratitude. Despite planning fun adventures and play dates for them, they were greedy instead of grateful. Almost regularly, I’d hit my limit, and then scream and yell at them for it. That would work for a week or two; but, inevitably, they’d end up ungrateful again.

It took until the last week of summer to finally figure out a way to open their eyes to my perspective. Continue reading

Advertisements

Because I Said So

“This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah.”  Luke 11:29

Gospel-Reflections-800x800-gold-outlineKids always ask “why.” We moms know to adapt our answer based on each child’s age and learning style. Accordingly, we make particular word choices, vary the length of the explanation, and maybe add a story or two to illustrate our point. When we get the combination correct, it’s like unlocking a vault: our lesson or request goes straight to our child’s heart.

However, that process can be exhausting; and everyone has her limit. After a sleepless night, or a too-full calendar, our well of patience can run dry. On those days, when we hear the inevitable “why,” we refuse the request to explain. “Because I said so, ” comes tumbling out of our mouth instead. Continue reading

One Step At A Time

But they did not understand this saying; its meaning was hidden from them so that they should not understand it, and they were afraid to ask Him about this saying.   Luke 9:45

10 12 17 with word overlay boldYou know you’re in a tough stretch of motherhood when you catch your kids lying several times in the same week. The things my kids did weren’t all that bad​:​ just your usual pushing​-​the​-​boundary ​actions. I even had to pretend I was upset ​to maintain those boundaries.

Where I didn’t have to pretend was when they lied about what they did. Each ​time I caught them i​t was like a blow to my heart. I began to take it personally: like each lie was a betrayal of the time, love and energy I’ve spent teaching ​them right from wrong. By the third lie, th​e blow felt more like a knife​;​ and it cut me wide open.

I thought I went into this motherhood thing with my eyes wide open. I thought I had learned so much from watching my siblings raise their kids. I thought I was more prepared than I find I really am. Continue reading

Learning From Experience

Thus says the Lord of hosts: Reflect on your experience!   Haggai 1:7

10 5 17 with word overlayJocelyn has a tendency to replay negative experiences over and over again. Out of the blue, she’ll bring up a bad memory from years ago. She won’t just cry about it; she’ll downright sob. It breaks my heart that she puts herself in these tailspins, for no apparent reason.

I’ve been trying to teach her that she can have power over her thoughts. I explain that when a painful memory pops into her head, she can choose to focus on it, or push it aside.

I know that trying NOT to think about something is actually thinking about it. So I help her replace the thought: together we remember good things that she can think about instead. This technique always works with my boys. Unfortunately, it only works half the time with Jocelyn.

But just the other morning, by complete accident, Jocelyn gave me a whole new approach that I think is the answer to her problem.  Continue reading

Look To The Cross

Published on CatholicMom.com

DSC02325The women in my MOSAIC of Faith network, and the parishioners of my church, just built a Prayer Path in the woods behind our parish center. The path is laid out in a labyrinth pattern, with only one way in and one way out. With no dead ends, there is no way to lose your way.

It is a walking prayer. The idea is to review all of your problems and related emotions as you journey in, sharing them all with God. At the center, you stop and stay as long as it takes to hand all those problems and emotions over to God. Once you’ve put it all in His hands, you retrace your same exact steps out, but you do so with a lightness of being, renewed hope, and joy.

Although labyrinths have been around in the Catholic Church since the twelfth century, there was some concern at my parish that it would be perceived as a pagan ritual. To dispel those concerns, a volunteer built a beautiful cross that was installed as the focal point of the space. Now, before entering our Prayer Path, and when we arrive at its center, we raise our eyes to the cross and meditate on it. Doing so roots us in Christ.
Continue reading

Roll With It

In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith… may prove to be for praise, glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  1 Peter 1:6-7

9 28 17 with word overlayMy kids aren’t very good at accepting disappointment. It’s probably because I used to try and keep life easy for them, fun and trouble-free.

They’re older now. Like change, disappointment is one of those constants in life: it will always be there. If I don’t succeed in teaching them how to deal with it now, they’re going to struggle as adults.

I’m big into code words and catch phrases. Once I’ve taught my kids a big life-lesson, a catch phrase is a quick verbal reminder when they backslide. I’ve been searching for one for overcoming disappointment for a while now. I finally found it when commemorating the events of 9/11.  Continue reading

Position of Power

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I put my hope.”                       Psalm 130:5

9 21 17 with word overlayWith my boys’ beds pushed up against the wall, they were inclined to just stand on the other side to make them. They’d stretch and contort, trying to get the job done as quickly as possible. They completely overlooked the fact that they could also stand at the foot of the bed to make it.

Consequently, when I was teaching them, I called the foot of the bed the “Position of Power.” It’s from that vantage point that they can see if things are even, smooth underneath, and if the middle seam of the bedspread lines up with the headboard. Moreover, if they practice throwing and “flying” the bed sheets and blankets from there, everything falls into place faster, and they save time.

They don’t always listen to me. But when they do work from this Position of Power, I can tell. There are less wrinkles and lumps in their beds; the lines are cleaner.

My husband recently asked me to be a sounding board for an issue he was facing. In a roundabout way, my advice to him was a lot like my bed making lesson. Continue reading