The power (P.W.R) of prayer! “Whatever good work you begin to do, beg of God with most earnest prayer to perfect it.” ― Benedict of Nursia As a Cistercian Oblate living the contemplative life so far as my life situation (as a homeschooling mom of six) […]
Worry sits on one side, trust on the other. Two enemies that could (should??) be friends. Friends who have each other’s back when life gets complicated and crazy. I find it disheartening—not sure if this is the right word or not—that I can experience both […]
My kids were not having a good morning. My older kids were fighting with each other. My younger kids were following the not-so-excellent past actions of a couple of their older siblings. I had had enough! Into my ‘War Room’ I went, knelt steadfastly in […]
My youngest two daughters joined the Little Flowers Girls’ Club® this year, and it has been an absolutely wonderful…or should I say blessed…experience for them!
Based on the example of virtue modeled by St. Therese of Lisieux, there are four Wreaths [of flower badges] that can be earned altogether. Each Wreath of badges contains petals earned for each virtue ‘study’ completed.
The Little Flowers Girls’ Club® that we joined is working hard to complete Wreath III, which involves studying the following virtues:
Additionally, they have been working on the Patron Saint Badges of St. Pier Giorgio Frassati (Hiking), St. Zita (Cleaning), and St. John Paul the Great (Acting). As of last night, the girls completed their study of all the virtues, save for Fortitude and all three Patron Saint Badges. Way to go, girls!
As a Little Flower mom, I was asked to give at least one ‘virtue talk’ and provide at least one snack during the course of the Club year (September to May). The girls are divided into two groups based on age/grade: a younger group consisting of K-2nd graders, and an older one for 3rd graders and above. Since both of my girls are in the younger group, my ‘virtue talk’ on Cheerfulness was directed toward them. Each virtue has a corresponding saint and a flower that is presented as a model for the girls to follow.
The Virtue of Cheerfulness & Mary, The Mother of God
Representing the virtue of cheerfulness is Mary, the Mother of God and the wild blue phlox; a blue wildflower with five petals. To be honest, I wasn’t sure that I could do justice to Our Blessed Mother, whose life encompasses way more than just one of the virtues we covered this year. I mean, she truly is the epitome of every imaginable virtue! Yet, Mary’s happy heart and her willingness to do as God directed without complaining makes her a perfect model of cheerfulness in a world that could be anything but.
As a peasant girl, Mary’s life was hard; and by saying “Yes!” to God, her life was about to get much harder. We know this to be true by the way in which Joseph, and the community in which she lived, responded to her pregnancy; the rigorous journey that she and Joseph had to make to Bethlehem, and then later to Egypt to escape Herod; the worry she experienced at ‘losing’ Jesus when he was at the Temple; the suffering she shared with Jesus during His passion.
I spoke to the girls about the way in which Mary obeyed God. Did she begrudgingly say, “Fine, I’ll do it!” and stomp off while muttering to herself about the unfairness of the request? Or did she cheerfully submit to God’s request by her humble reply of, “I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your Word” (Luke 1:38)?
Next, we discussed the five dimensions of cheerfulness, one for each petal of the blue phlox flower:
- Marian – Following the example set by Mary, the Mother of God
- Courageous – Being cheerful even when things are not going our way
- Heroic – Facing adversity and substituting our ‘normal’ reaction with cheerfulness, especially when it’s HARD!
- Consistent – Practice makes perfect! With practice, we can make cheerfulness a daily habit
- Contagious – Being cheerful leads to cheerfulness in others, and so forth. The ‘domino effect’ is endless.
Lastly, we talked about the ways in which we could add cheerfulness to someone’s day. The list they came up with was fairly extensive, but here are some highlights:
- Read to a younger brother or sister
- Help Mom with dinner/dishes/cleaning up
- Let a friend have the biggest/last cookie
- Say, “I Love You” to someone who might be sad
- Give someone a much-needed hug
I also found these wonderful coloring pages from Waltzing Matilda to keep the girls’ hands busy while they listened 🙂 All in all they were a wonderful group of girls, who listened intently and added so much ‘GOoD’ to the conversation!
Every Monday morning, I receive a Monday Morning Meditation email from Salt of the Sound, a husband and wife music duo (a sensation, really) that I recently fell head-over-heels in love with. Salt of the Sound is often featured at Pray As You Go, a daily […]
We are in our 7th year as a homeschool family, so I just thought I’d share some fun facts about us! –>Name of our homeschool: Little Saints of Divine Grace Academy –>Grades we homeschool: 1st, 2nd, 5th, 7th, and 8th –>Home ‘room’ names: Fatima 1, […]
I’ve been having major motivation troubles lately…mostly in regard to mornings and running.
I began this post a couple of years ago before a back injury set me b-a-c-k…way back! Since then, I’ve learned a lot about mornings, motivation, and keeping fit.
A disclaimer: I’ve not yet returned to running, by choice. However, I *did* walk my first marathon in June (yep, just last month) AND I’ve promoted to a purple belt in karate.
I will never be a “morning person.” So, I stopped trying. Instead of trying to be a get-up-and-shout-for-joy person like my mother, I’ve accepted the “coffee, Jesus, move” method of starting my day.
((and, truthfully, the coffee usually doesn’t come into the mix now until after I’ve prayed the Angelus and consumed roughly 28 ounces of water).
But, here’s what I’ve learned: My mornings…and ultimately my entire day goes better when I start with prayer. I start first with the Angelus and then move into Lauds (the morning prayer of Liturgy of the Hours). In-between the two, I might enjoy my first cup of coffee…although the really being awake part of my day doesn’t really arrive until after I’m done saying my morning prayers.
How amazing, right? It’s like I was born to put God first in my life.
Oh wait, I was!
We all were.
Created in God’s image, we find our most authentic selves when we find more time (or any time at all) for God in our lives.
Yes, motivation is a mean, mean animal. But, do you know what? The lack of motivation is the meanest animal of all.
You see, motivation is the driving force that propels us from our desires to our “do.” It’s a great tool in getting things done, so long as we don’t allow our fear of failure or our lack of S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely) goals to stand in the way.
When it comes to motivation, we really have to start right were were are instead of jumping ahead into someone else’s “I am here” place.
If your “do” is to run a marathon, and you’ve never run before, you don’t start by running 20 miles. or even 10. or 5. You might not even start by running at all.
Since my back injury, I’ve learned to slow down and simply “be” where I’m at. For the time being, that means that I’m walking marathons instead of running them. And, trust me, I didn’t just jump into walking 26.2 miles either. No, I simply started with were I was: Standing upright for as long as I could without pain, then going for short walks (not even a block long), then longer ones, until I could safely (and fairly pain-free) walk for the hours (7 or 8 of them) required of a marathon.
Instead of feeling sorry for myself because I’m not the “runner” that I once was, I thank God daily that I’m simply walking…that I’m simply able to stand straight again…that I can enjoy life with my children again. There was a time… not too long ago… when I thought I might never get beyond the pain to do something as basic as stand up straight.
Today, my motivation is intrinsically tied to my faith life, and on my simply saying YES to Him who created me. Whether God comforts or challenges me, I more fully trust (more than ever before) that He will lead me down the path that is most fulfilling in terms of Mission Completion.
Like a carrot dangling before me, God’s mission empowers me to “want” do great things.
I want to change the world.
I am motivated.
About Keeping Fit
Since my injury, I have learned to pay more attention to my limitations and to work with them, instead of against them. As the health of my back improves, so does my overall fitness. But, listening to my body (to God working within) has been critical. God designed our bodies to heal themselves in extraordinary ways. It’s amazing, really!
And because I want to be better…at listening to God, and responding to God with my Yes’s, I have also gotten better at taking care of the body He gave me. Because I want to.
I want to take care of my body as a temple of God.
My back injury, my limitations. I now see them as reminders from God to focus on what is most important to Him rather than what is most important in the world.
With His grace, I have been given much of my “life” back. It’s a changed life, but one that is much more fulfilling.
So what if I’m not running marathons. I am walking them.
So what if I’m not prepping for my black belt, like I might have been before my injury. I am shoring up my foundation as a purple belt.
So what if I’m not racing competitively. I am full of energy, able to bike again, and do more “living” with my kids.
Fitness, as I have learned, is not about rock-hard abdominals and a cover story in Muscle & Fitness or Running magazine. It’s about taking care of the body that God gave you in the YOU that you are. It’s about meeting God half-way between your creation and your destination.
For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 1 Timothy 4:8