Thursday, January 26, 2023

Be Satisfied with Me prayer

I stumbled upon this prayer when looking for one to pray for a dear friend. This prayer spoke to me on a number of levels. It is such a beautiful prayer! Have you heard this prayer before....or is it new for you like it was for me? 

It is called Be Satisfied with Me and is by St. Anthony of Padua.... It is soooo powerful and one I am sitting with tonight. 😘


Everyone longs to give themselves completely to someone. 

To have a deep soul relationship with another. 

To be loved thoroughly and exclusively. But to a Christian, God says, "No, not until you are satisfied, Fulfilled and content with being loved by Me alone, With giving yourself totally and unreservedly to Me. With having an intensely personal and unique relationship with Me alone.

Discovering that only in Me is your satisfaction to be found, 

Will you be capable of the perfect human relationship, 

that I have planned for you. 

You will never be united to another Until you are united with Me. 

Exclusive of anyone or anything else.

Exclusive of any other desires or longings. 


I want you to stop planning, 

to stop wishing, 

and allow Me to give you The most thrilling plan existing . . . one you cannot imagine. I want you to have the best. Please allow Me to bring it to you. You just keep watching Me, expecting the greatest things. 

Keep experiencing the satisfaction that I am. 

Keep listening and learning the things that I tell you. Just wait, that's all. 


Y'all... Here is my favorite part. 

Don't be anxious, don't worry. Don't look around at things others have gotten or that I have given them. Don't look around at the things you think you want. Just keep looking off and away up to Me. Or you'll miss what I want to show you. And then, when you're ready, I'll surprise you with a love far more wonderful than you could dream of...You see, until you are ready, and until the one I have for you is ready, I am working even at this moment to have both of you ready at the same time. Until you are both satisfied exclusively with Me and the life I prepared for you, you won't be able to experience the love that exemplified your relationship with Me. And this is perfect love. And dear one, I want you to have this most wonderful love, I want you to see in the flesh a picture of your relationship with Me. And to enjoy materially and concretely the everlasting union of beauty, perfection and love that I offer you with Myself. Know that I love you utterly. I AM God. Believe it and be satisfied.

Amen.  


So beautiful...and I think I'd going to be my new nighttime prayer for a while!


Unrelated...but so sweet, and dare I say satisfying? I came home this evening to this beautiful artwork from my favorite artist after another long day on campus. She had taped it to the front door and head every light in the house turned on...our house radiated brightness reflecting off the nighttime sparkly snow. 


All the worries and jumbled thoughts from work just seemed to melt away as I climbed the snowy steps to our front porch and saw this explosion of color jump out at me from the entryway to our home. 


Be satisfied, Oh Lord, with my family and me.

Be satisfied with ways we strive to serve others and ways we try to share Your Love. 

Be satisfied with our second chances and our "I'm sorrys" when we mess up and keep on loving us, Lord.

Thank you for the deep gratitude I felt upon seeing art and a handwritten greeting that reminded me how satisfied a little girl is that I'm her mom. 💕

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Nine years ago...

 Happy Feast Day of St. Francis De Sales! During GIFT this afternoon, I tried to recall the below quote from this saint:

“Be who you are and be that well. So that you may bring honor to the Master Craftsman whose handiwork you are.”

Loosely paraphrasing the quote, I shared how appreciative I felt for today, for yesterday, and for all that has led to where I am today!

Nine years ago on this day, I (successfully) defended my dissertation. You can see pictures and read more about that momentous occasion here. What a joyful day of celebration 01/24/2014 was! It's hard to believe that what I worked so hard for and has brought me to where I am today is already nine years ago.

I hope that over the last 10+ years of working in higher education, I've been able to be who I am....simply put...a teacher! 2023 marks my 21st year of being a teacher since graduating with my undergraduate degree in education. Half of those years were spent primarily teaching school-aged kiddos and the other half spent teaching in the higher education level...then throw in the last almost seven years of being a teaching mother for Charlotte Annie.

Be who you are and be that well.

St. Francis De Sales didn't say to be who someone else is and to copy.

He did not say to be who someone wants you to be or who society thinks you should be.

He said to be who God has created us to be. He said to put every effort into being the best version of ourselves possible. He said to do all these things not for our own self-worth but to point, ultimately, to God as our Creator.

If today is the ninth anniversary of achieving a professional milestone, yesterday is the ninth anniversary of Adam whispering in my ear, "I'm all in," as I hugged him goodbye after taking him back to the airport to fly from North Carolina back to California at the end of the first visit he made to see me. Be who you and be it well....be all in...every moment of every day.

* For more about the memories from our early days of courtship around the phrase of Adam saying, "I'm all in", you can learn more here. <3 

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Don't let Sorrow take over the Joy

I mentioned the other day to family that now that New Year's has passed, it is time for me to think about planning Charlotte's birthday in early March. However, this time of year also coincides with the start of the semester, unpacking course and student expectations, getting ministries back up and running, and finding the grading and class prep routine and getting it going. This leads to long days back on campus... The last two days were 12 hour ones of arriving to campus when it was still dark and then going home under the cover of night, too. 

I would rather be planning Charlotte's birthday than answering emails, or thinking about accreditation, or any of the other never ending to-do items on the list that never gets finished each day. 

Yet, if I am being honest, a part of me is also sad about planning as the years go far too quickly and are bittersweet. How did we get to almost seven already? The baby days and toddler stage are long over for us. We are now living with elementary-aged issues and circumstances like setting up playdates, working through big feelings, constantly attempting to entertain or satisfy requests to play allllll the time 🥴 while also trying to foster independence in our sometimes shy sweetie, and afternoons of homework. 

The first, second, and third birthdays are further and further behind memories. Knowing the baby milestones are forever finished still cause the waves of grief to come crashing over me during the most unexpected of times. Even, nearly seven years later, it sometimes feels like a sucker punch to the gut like when I first heard, "We have to take the uterus" on Charlotte's birthday. Lately, I have been rehashing that ugly scene in my head wondering what would the answer have been if I had said, "Why? Why can't you just operate and remove the fibroids? Why not try that approach? Why take the extreme resort?" I wish I would have thought to have asked that. 

No amount of replaying the story that is ours to tell will change the setting or plot. 

Even though, to an extent, Adam and I know beyond the shadow of a doubt how this part of our story goes, we don't know all the other parts. Isn't that how it goes with suffering? We know parts and bits of the rising and falling action and climaxes in our respective stories but we don't truly know the full end result. We won't until we conclude our chapter of life. I wonder if this constant repiercing of the sword in the heart over the daily reminders is slowly and bit by bit leading to something else? The little milestones that bring joy at the same time as sorrow happen so frequently...at least that is how it feels to me. It is enough to make one want to retreat and hide or attempt to escape. 

Everyone suffers. 

Everyone has crosses. 

No one gets through life without hardship and as there is a time for all things to begin or start, there is a time for all things to conclude. In this area of our story, Adam and I are meant, for whatever reason, to all too briefly experience what most others in our lives seem to be able to experience in a far longer way. 

It has been said comparison is the thief of joy. For those of us with one not by choice, almost seven years into this journey, it seems the sorrow and envy are there at every stage or milestone. I guess one learns to live with it and maybe we have cultivated ways to help us climb out of the despair since we have had more opportunities to flex that muscle just as I am sure those with larger families than ours have had the opportunity to grow in other ways. 

In trying to find the blessing in being cast into this unsought after by me role. I guess it has allowed me to be hyper aware and to try to treasure every moment. This means doing so even on the long days of trying to be the best parent and playmate, of trying to live in the present and not wishing for what could have been, of putting forth every effort even when overwhelmed or overstimulated and wanting to just zone out, and of trying to not be in a state of constant comparison. It seems this is really important because this is the only chance we will get to do this and life goes way too quickly...which is why I am unapologetic about the birthday parties. 😂 I mean, we don't throw lavish super expensive over the top parties but a lot of thought and effort goes into the theme each year. I hope the meaningful memories that result from the gatherings will stay with Charlotte and those who attend for a long time! 

Here's to leaning in, being aware, making space, and embracing all the moments I can. This way,  when our family moves to the next stage or milestone, I hope to be there for Charlotte Annie, totally and fully there and ready to enjoy that, too. ❤️


Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.




Sunday, January 8, 2023

Building on Blessings

Today is the Feast of the Epiphany during which we celebrate the three wise men arriving at Jesus' manger to present gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to his family and him. It was also the day I drove my Mom to meet my big brother so he could take her back to her home in northeastern Pennsylvania. Mom was here since New Year's Eve and it was a whirlwind of a visit that found us thoroughly enjoying ourselves in an historical restaurant that was built back in 1837, sharing stories over a lunch date with a dear friend in a coffeehouse in a repurposed church, hosting multiple playdates, looking at gloriously decorated Christmas trees in a mansion in Wheeling, exploring Christmas lights in a park at dusk, and even allowed Adam and I to "escape" to go on a date among many other sights and sites we experienced and visited during Mom's trip. 














Yes, these last 12 Days of Christmas have flown by and were so needed after a particularly stressful fall semester and as we gear up for an equally, if not more, stressful upcoming spring semester. I'm so excited to be back with my students again and to get back into the classroom but will miss these days of being able to plan special surprises and outings, taking the days as they came, as well as taking in the blessings of our humble little abode on the hill. 

I'm extra thankful for all this extra time being spent at home as of late for it was eight years ago today that we purchased our home. Just before Mom and I left to meet my brother this morning, Adam, she, and I took part in the blessing of our home (again). I say again because Msgr. Jerry had done the blessing back in 2016 but this morning, we were able to utilize the below information to allow us to re-bless our home thanks to a post I had seen in the Catechism in a Year with Fr. Mike Schmitz facebook group:

Traditionally, Catholics bless their home and those who live in their household on the Feast of the Epiphany each year.
It’s not difficult to do and we highly recommend you give it a try! Here’s how.

Meaning of the Blessing 20 + C + M + B + 23
The letters C, M, B have two meanings. They are the initials of the traditional names of the three magi: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar. They also represent the Latin words “Christus mansionem benedicat” which means “May Christ bless the house.” The “+” signs symbolize the cross and the 20 and the 23 represent the year, 2023.

What You’ll Need To Bless Your Home On The Epiphany
Prayers
Chalk
A doorway
A ladder or chair

Prayers for the Epiphany Home Blessing
Lord God of heaven and earth, you revealed your only-begotten Son to every nation by the guidance of a star. Bless this house and all who inhabit it. Fill them (us) with the light of Christ, that their (our) concern for others may reflect your love. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R/. Amen.
The leader concludes the rite by signing himself or herself with the sign of the cross and saying:
May Christ Jesus dwell with us, keep us from all harm, and make us one in mind and heart, now and forever.
R/. Amen.
-------------
As we prayed the above prayer, I was drawn to the being filled with the light of Christ bit. It reminded me immediately of the light on the hill reference from Matthew's Gospel which was the scripture of the day on the day we purchased our home! I have that scripture printed out and on a picture of Charlotte holding a lantern that was taken a few years ago. This picture hangs up directly across from our entrance to our home so was directly behind us as we all gathered and prayed at the doorway to our home. I love coming home and seeing that image, among our wedding photo and our getting proposed to photo we have displayed on that same wall as I cross the threshold from the outside world to our inside world within our house.

Thank you, Lord, for the blessings of our home, for a roof over our heads, for a comfortable and cozy space family and friends alike can enjoy and gather in, for a space that holds memories of Adam's cross-country move to the East Coast and later, of my moving in after tearing down wallpaper and updating flooring during that spring semester leading up to our wedding...and after we were married.

Thank you, Lord, for the beginnings of our family growing and the pitter patter of Charlotte's feet first as she crawled, then began walking, and now as she runs and skips around with glee during playdates or when chasing her puppy.

Thank you for the comfort this home brings when sorrows arise, anxiety takes its toll, and insecurities flow with reckless abandon. May it be a haven for all who enter it.

Thank you for the sturdy walls that reflect back inspirational quotes (or, as Adam would say, too many words!) and showcase treasured moments captured on film over the years with people who still live on in our hearts and in places long ago forgotten.

Thank you, Lord, for this little piece of land and structure on it which we call home. What a gift to come home to the house on the hill and to continue living within it as we seek out new experiences and go through the ebb and flow of changes and the familiar and routine as time marches on...the three wise men took a journey and faced the unexpected...much like how many of us also encounter on our own respective journeys. Look for the blessings and store those up rather than the disappointments! Put those moments and blessings into your metaphorical box and present those to Jesus. Each day we have the chance to begin again and the chance to give back to our Creator and to others! 🙏





Saturday, October 15, 2022

I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers - Anne of Green Gables

 L.M. Montgomery wrote one of my favorite books as a child - Anne of Green Gables. In it, the main character has been quoted as saying, "I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers." 

Me too, Anne, me too.


What a beautiful month of fall foliage, sunshine, and crisp blue skies we have been enjoying!! I have been appreciating it all the more since returning to Ohio from Texas after spending four days down there for an amazing conference. The sun was out down south too but it was a bit too warm for me with being in the 90s. It's officially sweater weather here in Ohio and it's been fun wearing the fall clothing again now that I have swapped out my closet's seasonal clothing. 

I almost didn't do this annual fall photo with the family this year though. 

It wasn't until a student leader asked me, while we were in Texas, if we had done the family fall pictures yet. I was so touched she remembered this tradition from when she and I cotaught an afterschool class to 5th and 6th graders last year and had talked about it. This semester has been such a whirlwind that I completely forgot about this tradition for a moment. Admittedly, part of me didn't want to think of doing this photo shoot due to it being the first family photo without my beloved furry little Dusty Shamrock.

This is the first year since 2007, when Dusty was just a few months old, that I won't be getting the annual photo with my little sidekick. I'm thankful for the 15 fall photos I do have with him, though! He was also there, with little Hershey Bar/Bear, when we took our fall family photo that became our pregnancy announcement

I'm glad we did this impromptu photo shoot after mass tonight! When selecting the outfits before mass, on purpose I chose white to be a prominent color to represent our white puppy we're missing. Charlotte also felt like she was a queen in her poofy white fancy dress and said she should wear it to a wedding so she can walk in front of the bride. 😅 

Just like how the fall reminds us how beautiful it is to embrace changes, we're starting new traditions as a family. Look at how excited Charlotte Annie was to be able to hold her puppy in her arms now that she is a bit older! She also picked the spot where we took these photos which made her doubly happy. 




I'm feeling extra thankful tonight for this cutie's smiles, snuggly little Hershey curled up at a ball at my side as I write, and God's amazing beauty that surrounds us in our little town! 


Sunday, June 19, 2022

Remembering on Father's Day

 Happy Father's Day to all the father figures, both spiritual and physical, today!

Today was a busy one with doing school work before others woke up in my house, prepping for VBS after mass, celebrating a beautiful Baptism for dear friends, and attending a Father's Day cookout party for the Friars at a friend's before giving Adam his gifts as we enjoyed a yummy lemon bar dessert tonight.

The busyness of all the celebrations helped to keep my mind distracted and from dwelling on how much I wished I could call Dad. Joy and sadness intermingle so much and so often that it simultaneously feels like a sharp jagged edge yet also has a dull side from being worn down and felt so much. This familiar feeling of restlessness yet acceptance doesn't seem like it will go away any time soon. Perhaps that is the point....to gracefully accept and then move on and to carry what has been given.

Receiving the below images tonight from my little brother did me in though.



This is the sort of story Dad would have loved to have heard about and I am so glad Patrick thought to do this. How inspiring!

Also.... Even though I am full from these - -


I am now hungry for Grottos. Lol! 

Love you, Dad. Thank you for raising us the way you did and inspiring actions like these in your absence. ❤️

Monday, May 9, 2022

Mothering on Mother's Day

The other day, April 28th, was the feast of St. Gianna Beretta Molla who is loved by so many! She is such a relatable saint! St. Gianna had so many amazing vocations which is why I think so many can connect with her. She was a doctor, wife, and mother. It is said that she listened to God's promptings in every season of her life, discerning in each moment what the next best step was.

I found this write up about her online @ shininglightdolls.com:

* She is a role model for all of us, not only because of the amazing sacrifice she was willing to make for her unborn daughter, but also because her life is one that shows us that we are called to holiness in every aspect of our own unique lives. The call to Sainthood is constant, when we're single and working, when we're married, when we have a family. The specifics may change from season to season, but the call to follow Christ everyday in sacrificial love remains the same.

St. Gianna, pray for us!

What I love about the story of St. Gianna is she worked both in the home and outside the home. She worked with her husband to take care of her family and also tended to others through her work. I can definitely relate to that pull of working for not only my daughter and husband but also for my students, colleagues, and others entrusted to my care. It was for this reason that I waited until 04/28 to share news of my book on MotherScholars on social media.


Several weeks ago, I asked the student teachers who helped found a new ministry with me when could I have them over for a celebratory lunch and a girly afternoon of doing our nails. We settled on this weekend as it was during finals week and since some of us had finals yesterday, we landed on Sunday. We hadn't quite realized it would be Mother's Day until it got closer but we still kept our date in the planner.

I prepared homemade chicken salad cups fresh from the oven that they devoured, baked orange cranberry shortbread, and had also made peanut, pretzel, toffee crisps....so delicious! These girls have poured their hearts and souls into this ministry and loved on the little girls entrusted to us this past year. They make me so proud! It was such a joy to do their nails and relax with them while Charlotte basked in their presence, painting her own nails, and saying, "Mommy, this is Girls Club!" After a while, she went in the backyard to color and draw with chalk beckoning every now and then for one of her college friends to admire her artwork. ☺️






Surprise flowers and chocolates accompanied the student teachers when they arrived this afternoon!

After the college students left, and as I reflected on how I had just literally engaged in both physical and spiritual mothering simultaneously, as I so often do and have done these last six years, I thought about how fortunate I am to have the roles I do. Thank you, Jesus! 

Tonight, as we began to wrap up the day, together we watched the first 15 minutes of Pixar's Inside Out movie. Adam and I had watched this movie before and we both had enjoyed it then. I had put it on our baby shower list as a result. We were gifted it all those years ago but Charlotte had not seen it yet. My Mother's Day request this year was that we watch it together as a family so we started it tonight! 

Charlotte immediately started saying she was the main character and that the family was "like us, Mama!" I look forward to continuing this movie with her in the upcoming summer days. 

I am so thankful for the vocations of both mothering and teaching and the opportunity to serve in multiple areas or dare I say arenas. MotherScholaring is hard but rewarding. St. Gianna's example is one worthy of emulating and I hope both Charlotte and those I mentor through work realize how much joy they bring even if I fall short some days!  

By the grace of God, therefore I go!