31 Days of Unexpected Joy: Consolation (Day 22)

31 Days of Unexpected Joy: Consolation (Day 22)

It’s fascinating to me how many “bad” days I’ve had since October 1st. Truly. I mean, right out of the gate things were wicked hard, and I wondered, “What have I gotten myself into??!” Or, to flagrantly (and poorly) steal from St. Catherine of Siena, I’ve definitely wondered, “Lord, if this is the sort of joy you bring to your friends, no wonder you have so many enemies!”

I hadn’t planned on letting this cat out of the bag until October 31 or even November 1 (assuming my brain still works at that point), but I must admit: the School of Joy has contained many more hard knocks than I anticipated. 

I mean, choose to write about joy, and surely God will load you up with all sorts of happy experiences and fun anecdotes to share with your blog readers, right? Right?!

Of course, it hasn’t all been bad 

And yet … it has been hard.

Praise the Lord for Pope Saint John Paul II, man, because I think he might have personally asked Almighty God to give me a break on his Feast Day today. And so I present to you, The Top Five Consolations for Thursday:

Consolation #1: NO MORNING CHAOS

I started the day with a quick trip to the lab (only a busy + exhausted Mom would consider a blood draw as a break, amIright?), thus completely bypassing the crushingly exhausting morning routine. I got home just in time to tag my husband, swap cars, and head in early (early! What a concept!) to school drop-off.

Consolation #2: HELPFUL HUSBAND

As I’m driving, I realize it’s Pope Saint JP2’s Feast, and think: “Wow! Since we’re early today, I can go to daily Mass in honor of JP2 on his feast day. How marvelous!” We arrive at school, and I don’t even have to search for shoes and coats for my little people because my husband already did that before they got in the van. He is so great.  We exit the vehicle and head in to Mass.

Consolation #3: TO MASS OR NOT TO MASS

Except … there was no Mass. Okay, so this is kind of a bittersweet joy, because there was no Mass. Honestly, I was hoping for Mass. However, because of schedules, there weren’t any priests available, so we had a Communion service instead. The joy (please don’t hate me for saying this) is that the Communion service took about 12 minutes. Twelve. My 4- and 2-year-olds didn’t even have a chance to think about doing (m)anything(s) naughty because it was over in a flash. And, yet, in that 12 minutes, we still said prayers, heard the Word of God, and received Jesus in the Eucharist … what a wonderful way to begin the day!

Consolation #4: CHILD’S PLAY

I played board games with my preschooler and toddler and I didn’t lose my ever-loving mind. There may be some of you with much more patient temperaments than mine. I have gotten so, so, sooooo much better over the years, but practicing patience is really energy-sapping for me. Because of this, I generally avoid playing games with my kids. Legos and blocks and imaginative play I can handle, but usually I  keep the board games on the tippy-top shelf  in the boys’ room (it’s almost as if they don’t exist!) so as to avoid the crying, ripping, etc. that happens when attempting to play a game in a civilized manner. For some reason, however, I decided to do forego the non-essential trip to Costco and head to Candyland with the littles instead.

Blame the loss of blood, blame the surge of energy gained by skipping morning routine or by receiving the Eucharist, but it was pretty cool. Okay, sure, the 2-year-old couldn’t wait his turn, and the 4-year-old had a crying meltdown because she wanted to wiiiinnnn, but the real joy was that I did it and was freakishly calm, even for the non-enjoyable parts. I mean, I’ve gotten much better at faking calm on the outside, saying, “Your brother’s game piece does not belong in your mouth!” while smiling through clenched teeth, for example, has become easier. But I didn’t even have to fake itI was calm on the outside AND on the inside. And that, my friends, is nothing short of a minor miracle. Truly.

Consolation #5: BABY LOVE

A friend picked me up to attend a new women’s study on – wait for it – one of JP2’s writings. And even though I didn’t get to participate in the whole meeting, it was only because I got to hold my friend’s squishy baby girl for a chunk of time. It was so great! Normally, I am ecstatic when I have a minute to be child-free, but it was really and delight and a joy to have tiny baby hands and suckling noises and coos and smiles staring me in the face. I don’t think I stopped smiling the whole time I was holding her.

So, there you have it, friends – an oasis of consolation in an otherwise terribly, horribly, Jesus-take-the-wheel, living one Glory Be at a time sort of month. And I do believe I have a Saint to thank for it.

Thank you, Pope Saint John Paul II! We love you.

Pope Saint JP2 Funnin

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31 Days of Unexpected Joy: Laughter (Day 21)

31 Days of Unexpected Joy: Laughter (Day 21)

“A joyful heart is good medicine but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” – Proverbs 17:22

I was wondering if anyone else could use some joy tonight? How about a little laughter? Apparently good St. Padre Pio thought laughter was the bomb:

serve God with laughter

And if you’re not feeling the joy tonight, friends, you must check out the giggles here, and perhaps you’ll crack a smile or make a joyful noise yourself:

Until tomorrow, may God richly bless y’all.

heather

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31 Days of Unexpected Joy: Scripture (Day 20)

31 Days of Unexpected Joy: Scripture (Day 20)

Dear Friends,

Today I want to share one of my favorite Scripture passages with you to meditate upon. 

Jesus is telling His disciples about how they may experience true joy, and it wouldn’t be as impactful to pull the quote alone; it helps to read everything in context.

I’d love to hear your reflections and insights about how we are to fnd our joy by remaining in Christ – let’s have a conversation in the comments!

i-am-the-vine

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John.

The Vine and the Branches.

1

* “I am the true vine,* and my Father is the vine grower.a

2

He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes* so that it bears more fruit.

3

You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.b

4

Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me.

5

I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.

6

* c Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned.

7

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.d

8

By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.e

9

As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love.f

10

If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.g

11

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.h

12

This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.i

13

* No one has greater love than this,j to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

14

You are my friends if you do what I command you.

15

I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends,* because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.k

16

It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.l

17

This I command you: love one another.

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31 Days of Unexpected Joy: Survival (Day 19)

31 Days of Unexpected Joy: Survival (Day 19)

Sometimes, I think, it’s okay to not have anything truly meaningful to say.

Sometimes it’s okay to be done with a day that went something like this:

Toilet

The toilet overflowed not once, but twice. TWICE.

changing

The upside to the toilet overflowing is I somehow (maybe it was the shrieking??) convinced the girls to finally change their first #2 diaper EVER because I couldn’t mop up the toilet water and change a diaper at the same time (but I could capture this quick shot – bwahaha). Lucky for you, this blog post is not equipped with the dulcet sounds of, “Oh, my gosh! It’s so gross! It smellllls sooooo baaaad!”

spill

Spills. Always with the spills.

Mr. K

By the time we got home from school drop-off, it was time for some couch time with my favorite baby.

G

Somebody had a rough day. I feel ya, sister.(notice tired + cranky baby brother photobomb).

A lot of other things happened, too. Tantrums. Arguing, Inappropriate drawings. Homework squabbles. Volleyball practice. Phone calls to three doctors, trying to get in. Forgetting things. Returning emails. Finding shoes. Doling out Band-Aids. A left knee that buckled underneath me when I tried to get out of the minivan (see!! Death By Minivan, folks. I’m telling you. It’s real!). Trying to schedule and arrange a bunch of ministerial stuff and wondering what the hell I was doing it for.

Book

Interestingly, this book, about Blessed Mother Teresa’s dark night of the soul, arrived today. And the St. Jude Novena started today. And a friend wrote about her battle with food today. And a support group started sugar rehab today. Funny.

Here’s a picture of the calvary that came to save me today:

photo not available

Oh, wait. There was none.

It was a loooooong day.

sunset

All day, I was just longing for an end. And here it is. Oh, joy. 

Sometimes it’s okay to have a non-awesome day. It doesn’t mean you have a non-awesome life.

I hope your day was better than mine, and I hope that tomorrow, by God’s grace, will be better than today for all of us.

Until then, may God bless y’all.

heather

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31 Days of Unexpected Joy: New Saints! (Day 18)

31 Days of Unexpected Joy: New Saints! (Day 18)

Happy Sunday, Friends!

I am so thrilled with the canonization of St. Therese’s parents, Louis and Zelie Martin. It is fantastic news for the Church as a whole and married couples in particular that these two are the very first married couple to be canonized in modern times. Aren’t they amazing?

The Martins

If you’d like to read Pope Francis’ words during the canonization Mass homily, his remarks may be found here.

“The radiant witness of these new saints inspires us to persevere in joyful service to our brothers and sisters, trusting in the help of God and the maternal protection of Mary. From heaven may they now watch over us and sustain us by their powerful intercession.” -Pope Francis

Until tomorrow, may God abundantly bless y’all. Sts. Louis and Zelie Martin, pray for us!

heather

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