You Must Build It

There are times in life where a nagging desire or *wish* for something tugs at our hearts.  It's there constantly in front of us as we go about our busy days and weeks.  Sometimes we put it aside as we focus on other things and sometimes it keeps us up at night as we plan and wonder.

Catholic author Matthew Kelly points out that God speaks to us in three ways:

Many times, God places a *wish* in our hearts in order to prompt us to action.  

What kinds of desires/dreams come from God?  All sorts!

  • A better relationship with a friend or family member
  • Our children's education
  • A holy family
  • An animal shelter
  • A food pantry
  • A home for the dying
  • To write a book
  • A stronger marriage
  • To build a school
  • To serve the poor
  • Volunteering to improve an organization

The list can go on and on!  As you seek what God may be asking you to undertake, remember that we all have different desires and dreams.  The path he's given to me is different than the path he's given to you.  If we all felt called to open a food pantry (a good and worthy calling), there would be no one out educating our children or comforting those in need.  We all have unique talents and gifts and God is asking us each to use them in a specific way!

What kind of goals/dreams/desires is God placing in your heart?
How can you begin to build it?
Sometimes the task is large and we are nervous and doubtful to begin.  Sometimes the task is so small that we brush it off as being too simple.  This is why it is so important to simply be aware of those nagging thoughts.  Being Christ's hands in the world is sometimes a large task and sometimes a simply one, but it is always a necessary one.  For, if we don't do his work, who will?

St. Teresa of Avila penned a famous poem that sums this idea up well:

This all reminds me of the fictitional anecdote of a man that prayed to win the lottery.  He was sure to repeatedly pray to win a large jackpot of money.  Everyday he prayed and everyday he didn't win.  When he finally died and went to heaven, he asked God, "Why wouldn't you grant my prayer to win the lottery?"  God replied, "My son, you never bought a ticket."

Sometimes, to allow God's actions to flow through us, we need to act.

So remember to listen to those nagging thoughts and then act.  After all, no matter what God is asking, you must build it, for he has no hands on earth but yours.

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5 Signs Your Due Date is Right Around the Corner

I haven't yet met a Mom-to-be that wasn't aware of her due date.  Typically, it sticks out like a beacon

on her calendar and all of her life is planned around that impending date.

However, for those that look for signs of confirmation along the way, I've got you covered.  As I approach my sixth (!) due date, I've astutely noted a few additional sings that coincide with a baby's due date.

-- 5 --

The number of maternity shirts that cover ALL of your baby belly can be counted on one hand.

--  4 --

The number of maternity pants that remain comfortable can be counted on one finger.

-- 3 --

A "more comfortable position" is never found--sitting, standing, lying down and walking all require effort and all hurt in their own unique way.

-- 2 --

Even the young males of the household finally notice Mom's belly is getting bigger.  In an effort to prove they do pay attention, they make timely comments such as:  "Mom, if your belly was any bigger, your shirt would pop!"

-- 1 --

When out in public, bystanders claim you must be "due any day" and you politely tell them you have a few more weeks.  They try to hide their open mouths and sheer shock at the proportion of your baby belly.


UPDATE :: In the days since I posted this, I've come up with a few more sure signs baby's due date is fast-approaching.

- You view Tums as after-dinner mints

- Bending over takes 3 seconds to contemplate, 10 seconds to execute, and 2 minutes to recover from.

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Baby Names

Lately, the boys have been encouraging Nate and I to pick a name for the baby.  When we tell them that we are still thinking about baby names, they begin suggesting names that are interesting, traditional or just plain not going to work.

This morning, as Jerzy was having his breakfast, he made sure to reiterate to me the importance of naming the baby (as if I didn't already know):

Jerzy:  Mom, we have to name the baby *something* because "Nothing" is not a good name.

The little guy that is growing inside of me is already being looked after by his brothers-and they haven't even met him yet.  I think he's one lucky little guy.

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King of Hearts

Parenting is not an easy job.  Some days, it saps every ounce of energy I have until, at the end of the day, I wimpier the petition: "Please, just go to bed."

Parenting is about way more than simply keeping these kids alive or shuttling them to swim team.  Being a full-on parent means training them morals, values and respect for others.  It means teaching and leading by example the works of mercy.  And, most importantly, encouraging our children to become saints.

This is no small order.  And, I've learned through 10+ years of parenting that saintliness is not natural for any of us.  It's not like learning to walk or talk.  It's a lot of work.

We have a boy that has really struggled as of late to share his iPod.  It is his iPod, but our motto is, "We share what we have."  There have been times when his desire for his iPod is greater than his ability to share with or even acknowledge his siblings.  He tunes us out.  He focuses on leveling up on this game or passing a difficult level on another.

As a TTM (Totally Together Mom (totally tongue-in-cheek)), I knew there was a battle that I'd have to wage with him regarding his treatment of the iPod.  I could see it on the horizon, but I wanted to avoid it.  You see, saintliness is something I have yet to achieve (gasp!) and it is just as difficult to inspire and request out of the young men in my household as it is in myself.  I wanted to simply avoid The Issue and hoped it would go away.

Well, as life often has it, we went on a short car trip and battled with the iPod and this young man.  There was The Issue, staring me in the face.  I decided that it was time; time for me to call him to become better.  So, the iPod was taken away for the day.

The next day I spoke with the boy.  We talked about how difficult it is to share.  We talked about the importance of doing it even though it's difficult.  Then we talked about our hearts.  I told him that Jesus wants to be the King of our hearts.  If Jesus is the King, there is no room for something else ahead of Him. When my boy puts his iPod above his love for his brothers, for instance, he was putting it ahead of Jesus, He who asks us to "love one another as I have loved you."

It was then that I realized the importance of facing The Issue head on.  The lesson here is not one that any of us will learn once and never struggle with again.  It is a continuing struggle for us all.  As my boy grows, he will have to keep Jesus first above his desire for material goods, a girlfriend, a career or a large bank account.  These things are not bad, in and of themselves, but they become obstacles in the path to holiness when the desire is put ahead of our love for Jesus.

Jesus wants to be the King of our work and play, of our family and friends, of our Sunday mornings and Friday nights.  He wants it all.  Often, however, we hope to hold on to some earthly treasure and tell Jesus, "You are King of all my heart, except for this tiny piece.  This is something I don't want to let go of."  A mindset like this is an impediment to holiness and only slows us down.  It's like hoping to fly with a ball-and-chain around our ankle.  The Saints knew this and that is a main theme throughout all of their lives--this letting go.

After our talk, Nate and I worked out an arrangement to have moderate iPod time each day.  However, we let our boy know that his behavior will have to change or the iPod will have to be taken away for an extended period of time.  Things are going better, but it is a difficult lesson for anybody to learn.  I know we'll have to be diligent with him (and ourselves) to ensure the proper ordering of things in all of our lives.  And, when we fall, we'll have to get back up and keep trying.  For nothing in this world is worthy of our hearts like He is.

Who is King of my heart today?

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Master and Commander

Some days, I'm in control of the day.  Some days, the day is in control of me.
Do you ever feel that way?  If I wake up with a clear purpose and direction in mind, I am typically able to accomplish that goal/purpose.  Then, there are days where I don't have a set agenda.  Those days, I am carried along through the day like an empty bottle at sea, tossed about here and there.

I know that the problem is me.  I don't like to get up early.  I prefer to get up leisurely and take my time about it. I prefer to greet the morning by rolling over and sleeping "a few more minutes".  That strategy never ends well.

Today was a day where I allowed the day to bully me.  We began homeschooling late, ate lunch at 2:15 PM and were still doing dinner dishes after 8 PM.  Not a win for me today.

I realize that we are never really in control.  After all, I have no idea what tomorrow will bring.  It could be a joyful or disastrously eventful day but it also could be just a "normal" day.  A day where the plates need to keep spinning.  A day where kids need to be guided and encouraged.  A day where school needs to get done and bellies need to get filled.  A day where Mom wears many hats and works on each one as the hours go by.

Tomorrow, I will work on a clear direction and purpose to my day.  Tomorrow, with God's grace, I'll be in charge of the "when" of the events of the day.  And then I will once again be Master and Commander of my day.

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