Our Lady's Garden

Spend some time with her and she will wrap you in her mantle

Discernment


December 28, 2015


“Can I help with the puzzle?” my four-year old asked. “Of, course. We need your help. Sit here. Want to work on the sky?” She nodded her head and began to take apart the blue pieces already assembled. The older kids shot me a look as she figured her own way with the pieces. “It will be ok.” I assured them.


Figuring it out. Isn’t that the hard part? If life were so simple that we could fit the edge pieces together and begin to work on the middle, wouldn’t that be nice. Sometimes it feels like we can’t tell the sky from the ground. Which way is up?

Discernment. That ‘s the goal. Praying for God’s Will, that’s the action. As a Moma, I pray for the discernment of my children’s vocations. I pray they discern God’s Will in their life. I pray that they pray for discernment and that they seek God’s Will in their life. I wonder if they pray that I discern God’s Will in my life. Do they pray I discern my vocation? I am sure my Mom is praying for me.


Vocations. I know my vocation, right? I am a Moma and a wife. I was one of those girls who always knew my vocation was that of a mother and a wife. I played dolls for long enough that it probably freaked out my parents. It probably wasn’t the only thing that bothered them. Vocation - Check. I could have marked it off with a red felt-tip pen. Next item . . .

Is it that simple? To know my vocation and move on to the “action plan” to do God’s Will? Maybe, maybe not. I can imagine Mother Theresa traveling by train when she received her call within a call. She said, “yes” to God and changed direction. She was open to God’s Will. Do we consider that God is calling us to discern His Will in our life in such a way? I think we should.


As I return home after the Christmas holiday, I know that the media will be full of New Year’s resolutions, fitness goals, self-improvement plans and a review of the events that captured the world’s attention in 2015. We will be inclined to review our own progress and in turn make some goals. Reflection is a good thing and I am thinking of spending more time in quiet. To commit to make time for discernment in my life; to quiet my mind, and listen to God’s voice speaking to me is important. The noise I create is loud and distracting. I need to cultivate a place and as the God says in the bible, “Be still and I know I am.”


Thank you for your prayers. I will continue you to pray for you.

May you have a blessed New Year!





Ode to Joy!


Or


Cut Your Losses . . .


December 23rd, 2015






Today is the day. The day to cut my losses. 



After months of preparations for Christmas gifts, Christmas goodies, Christmas cookies, all of it is over. I have run out of time. Regardless of my intentions, it is time to celebrate. I don’t need convincing, really I don’t. I do require a change in mindset, a change in attitude, a metanoia. Metanoia is a Greek word that means, “to change your mind."  It is a spiritual conversion.


I have watched kids for years play. When they play house or dolls, they begin by collecting things and setting up the game. They make their house, set things up, and it takes forever, making things perfect. Frequently, they spend all their time or energy setting up and by the time they are ready “to play” their time is over or they have lost interest. Setting up was the goal.


Is setting up for Christmas your goal? Are you so tired of preparing that you are too tired to celebrate? Don’t! Please, please, please, change your mind. Remember that you have chosen the path that resulted in today. You have made choices and now, ready or not, the preparation is over – it is time to play!


If you need some encouragement :


  • Your family wants you. Time with you. As Matthew Kelly says, “carefree timelessness.” Relax, snuggle a little one. Listen, really listen to a loved one and breathe. You are who they want . . . and need.

  • Send off those Christmas cards late. Picture friends after late breakfast, followed by a late lunch. Everyone still in their PJs when your card arrives. They pass it around and remember a story or two. They share a memory, and smile.

  • Make Memories. Perfection is not a worthy goal; it is a trap. Let go, change your mind, make a memory.

  • Celebrate Christ’s Birth! The Magi traveled to see the newborn King, will you join them? 


It’s not too late, the celebration has just begun.

Merry Christmas!







Dear Santa,


December 7, 2015



The kids saw Santa this weekend. I wish I had started the December 6th tradition of Saint Nicholas but my kids were older when I learned of it and so many of the other gifts of our catholic tradition. So we still visit Santa . . .


The kids understand that Santa is really Saint Nicholas and the whole North Pole thing really never comes up. I don’t even think the little ones think that the guy in the red suit is Saint Nicholas, I am not really sure what they think.


As for the wish list for Santa, we have rules.  #1 They have to ask for something small. “If you want something big, you have to ask Moma.” I say. “Santa isn’t bringing something big, we have everything we need.” My favorite phrase is “Ask him to bring you something special.” Most of the time, my plan works, but not this year – I got schooled!


Already having ordered the items for Christmas morning, (yes I am a planner.)  They cautiously approached Santa. There is no sitting on Santa’s lap, which is just weird.  I encouraged them to thank Santa for his gifts last year.  Santa asked what they wanted and was surprised to hear something new.  I was shocked as Santa assured her  that “Yes, that would be good.” “WHAT!?!” I asked, a little too intense and perhaps too loud. I pulled myself together, “Santa” I asked politely, “What did she say?” Felicity smiled, ear to ear, and said plainly, “I want a dolly that swims all by itself.”


“WHAT?” A dolly that swims by itself,” I thought at home as I searched the internet. Sure enough, the doll exists.  It is sold out, available only from third parties, $256. “WHAT?”


When I encouraged Felicity to consider again that a surprise would be nice, my four year old barely responded.  She didn’t need to, she had asked Santa. Well, I guess there will be a number of surprises this Christmas and next year - we write letters to Santa.


This morning I woke with the song "Jolly Old Saint Nicholas" stuck in my head. At first, it wan't a problem because I liked it better than "All I Want For Christmas is my Two Front Teeth."  Yea, that was driving me nuts so this was better. Not so funny was the verse that was repeating–


“Nellie wants a story book,

She thinks dolls are folly

As for me, dear Santa Clause

I am not very bright

Choose for me, dear Santa Claus,

What you think is right.”


That last part about "not being very bright"  felt very personal. After reflecting, I realized how often I, like my little one, asks for things that are best not delivered. 


                                  Dear Lord,

May I always pray fully for God’s Will in my life instead of what I think I what. 

Dear Mary, please remind my to be satisfied with the special gifts given,

knowing God wishes the best for me always.

                                                                                                  Amen




Springtime In The Rockies 

December 4, 2015



Dancers big and small streamed into the assisted living center. Momas bustle around fixing hair into buns and applying makeup to children excited to perform. Dancing for the older people living at the center is an annual event and once done everyone performs the numbers again at the nursing home.



The residents look forward to the holiday treat. Great Grandmas pick their spots early and their family members position them in the room to have a good view. It is exciting and one of the best ways to share joy during the Christmas Season. Once the little ones are lined up out of sight, the momas slip out front finding a spot to watch the dancers.


Finding a spot is not easy. I was fortunate to find a spot behind a couple of residents sitting in wheelchairs. I asked their permission to slip behind them, they agreed. As I caught my breath happy for a nice position, I noticed the couple was holding hands. Their hands interlaced, I decided that they weren’t just holding hands, they were holding each other’s hand. At moments, a thumb caressed the other and they smiled. Minutes later a tune was heard, a pleasant voice, soft and low. Someone was singing. I looked around, who was singing? People were everywhere as I looked to my left and right.



“When it’s springtime in the Rockies

I’m coming back to you

Little sweetheart of the mountains

With your bonnie eyes of blue”



I looked from face to face, no mouth showing signs that they were the soloist then I noticed the wife in front of me, beaming. Her left hand kept the beat on her knee and it was him, right in front of me singing the tune. A baby and her moma sat down next to them and they smiled, laughed at the cutie, the song had stopped, then it resumed.



“Once again I’ll say I love you

While the birds sing all the day

When it’s springtime in the Rockies

In the Rockies far away.”



I was amazed that here in this place, away from home, this husband and wife were in paradise. They watched the dancers, sharing comments that I doubt they could hear but understood perfectly. Their eyes sparkled as they commented on the 3-year-olds dancing like snowmen, the first grade penguins, the high school girls kicking legs high like a chorus line - they shared the moment.

I walked away, renewed that love lasts. This marriage was alive and examples like it give us hope that as time passes, true acceptance, appreciation, and love for another can change and grow. May God bless them and their love and may we celebrate the beauty of marriage at all its stages.


May your Advent produce great fruits!

Stefanie





Springtime in the Rockies was a 1937 movie starring Gene Autry.  


Hear the song by clicking on the image to the right.


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