Monthly Archives: June 2014

Purity of Heart! Re posting today, since it is the Feast day of the Immaculate Conception. Yes…Immaculate…as in PURE!!!

stepping into it

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Puritas Cordis
June 9, 2012

Purity of Heart, one of the charisms of our Carmelite Spirituality. But what does it really mean, and how does it apply to the lay person.

When we speak of purity of heart to the average Catholic, the message of sexual purity is inferred. However, Puritas Cordis goes way beyond that. Think of Our Blessed Mother. Yes, she was pure in the context stated above…but her freedom from sin was total and complete. Her heart burned wholly for God and His will…and grace abounded.

We are all created with a God-shaped hole in our soul. It is so deep and profound and like St. Augustine said “we are restless until we rest in thee”. This realization of what we are craving comes to the soul of an individual at different stages of the journey. Often times some ‘desert time’ is required. This path can…

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Immaculate Heart of Mary

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Happy Friday

I’ve long discovered that something had to be done about how I planned my week. You see…I’d start out great…awesome intentions, lots of energy and then when the weekend hit it would go down hill FAST! I work well by myself but weekends when hubby is home, the dynamics are completely different.

So, here’s the new plan. FRIDAY is my planning day and essentially the beginning of MY week! I want to begin with a fast of sorts, to be able to let go of the previous week and embrace the new one with enough renewed hope to carry me through the rough spots. The weekend then becomes my recharge days, spiritually as well as physically and emotionally. Church, friends, family…you get the picture.

Seeing it from this perspective allows my weekends to become a ‘filling up’ process instead of a ‘release’ time. So that now I can make better conscious decisions to add more of what energizes me to my days and stay away from what depletes me.

Have a blessed weekend everyone!

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Junior High

These two very timely articles made me think…

http://m.us.wsj.com/articles/SB10000872396390443343704577549472535089552?mobile=y

http://seamlesskatherine.com/23-june-2014/

We have been homeschooling since the very beginning, I always felt called to it from the time that they were babies. It doesn’t mean that I don’t freak out as I go about planning a new school year. But I must admit that it has been nothing like what I’ve been feeling recently. I think it is the fact that my daughter is a pre teen and growing up way too quickly for my comfort level.

So we are now heading into the junior high years (yikes)…first, how did that even happen? And second…oh crap! Is homeschooling still a good idea? Time to re-evaluate our very laid back approach here. My heart belongs to the Charlotte Mason way of doing things, and the gentle approach is definitely what works best for this motley crew of mine and for this sensitive mama.

We started out with FIAR, because love of books and a great love for learning was what I wanted to instill in them the most. We then progressed to CHC, and then with Trail Guide to Learning being our most recent endeavor. I’m thinking of mixing it up a little this year. Go back to CHC, mostly because I miss the Catholic thread going through the entire thing and it also gives me back a little more control. I will need to look for something along the lines of Trail Guide for the history part of it though,I didn’t really care for what CHC had to offer on that.

So, overall…I think I’m starting to get excited…which is actually just putting a new spin on the nervousness I feel. 😉
So…bring it!!!

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3 Blocks to Breaking Free

http://brendonburchard.tumblr.com/post/86687244378/3-great-enemies-of-growth-happiness

At the link above, Brendon Burchard talks about the three blocks to growth…1)Doubt 2) Delay 3) Division.

I say these can be applied to breaking free from isolation, as per my earlier post HERE.

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Isolation

http://steppingintoit.com/2014/06/12/hiding-from-love/

P66. “One of the results of isolation is that we lose grace and truth. Generally, harmful hiding cuts us off from some combination of healing: unconditional relationship (grace) and some types of information that we need (truth). These two dynamics are the main ingredients of spiritual and emotional growth and repair. They work together like sunlight and soil to bring about the fruit of maturity in our lives. Without them we wilt.”

Using the Lazarus story again. He needed to come out of the grave of isolation and be in community in order to have his grave clothes removed. How that must have hurt as every stinking layer was pulled back.

For the sensitive soul, it all can seem overwhelming and maybe not even worth the pain. But those ‘coverings’ need to come off in order for us to live in total freedom the life that The Lord has designed for us.

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Happy Gotcha Day!!!

image

For those that don’t know, ‘gotcha day’ is a term that we in the adoption world use. It comes from the words ‘got you’ and it refers to that special day that our children come home to us or in some cases, when the adoption was finalized.

On this day 12 years ago, I received the gift of a life time. 😀

I have added the entire adoption story below if you are interested. Although many of you who follow me have already read it many times…so feel free to skip. 😉

July 14th, 1999

This is the day that my journey began in earnest.
It started out like any other day…at least those in most recent memory. Since the death of my mother on December 30, 1997…my world had been blown apart and nothing was as it should have been. This was her birthday and instead of celebrating it by throwing a party for her as I had done in the past…this year I had only her memories and deep depression to keep me company. Yes, I still had people that loved me in my life…I had my husband, my father, my brothers and their families all close by …but the pain and isolation I felt was so intense that none of that mattered…all I could feel and tried desperately to hang on to was what I had lost and not what I still had. In an attempt to ease the pain I asked my husband Roy to drive me to the cemetery. She is buried at Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge…it’s beauty and peacefulness has a way of soothing me…but on this day even that didn’t help much…there was no consolation to be had.

I got home that day and my soul kept struggling to find something, anything that would set me at peace…I thirsted but there was no way that I knew of to satiate this thirst…it came from my soul. Since my mother’s death one thing that had become very clear to me was my desire to have a family. In my heart I felt that I had been left as a child without a mother and as a mother without a child. My husband and I had been married for 13 years by this point and had tried fertility treatments to try to ‘fix’ things and did all we could think of to try to amend our situation…I read so many books on the subject that I think I can qualify as an expert on fertility issues. However nothing worked and to add insult to injury I got proof this same day that another cycle had been blown. Each monthly cycle always started with such hope and elation and month after month always ended the same way in utter desperation…it is amazing what your mind can dredge up and how much you can grieve for a child that never was.

All of this brought me to my knees…literaly. I remember lying on the bathroom floor sobbing uncontrollably, in total desperation I cried out to God. I shook my fist at Him and told Him that if He wanted me to get back up He was going to have to do something…my strength had all been spent…there was no more that I could do…I surrender! It was as if I could hear God speaking softly to my heart and saying ‘Finally’…’I’ve waited a long time for this’.

This was the beginning of a beautiful relationship. From that moment on, I started listening…there was nothing else that I could do. His voice is soothing but yet assertive…His directives were very clear…no, I didn’t Hear His voice audibly…I heard it in my heart, in the depths of my spirit. I heard Him in the books I read, the music I listened to, even in bill boards as I was driving down the street…it was unmistakable. The first thing He showed me was about obedience, and through a long track in the desert He kept calling me closer and closer to Him and His Church…this eventually led me to Carmel. But for the moment I had to learn to walk with Him one baby step at a time.

My first act of obedience was to get in touch with Catholic Charities about looking into adoption. This was something that had been burning in our hearts for ages…I think even before we were married…I remember reading ‘The Family Nobody Wanted’, which is about a couple who adopts several children from different races, when I was in Junior High and fell in love with the possibility of having that sort of family (amazing what kinds of seeds are sown early on and when they come to bloom). Anyway, that August when we met with them we were extremely cautious as we added our name to their waiting list…which by the way was going to be three years. We played it very safe with the ‘type of child’ that we would accept (yep, isn’t the adoption world interesting) so we were only willing to accept a child of our own race with no medical issues in their background. A couple of months later we received a letter from Catholic Charities that we were # 71 on the list…so wait we did.

God however was not asleep during this waiting phase…He was busy preparing us for what was to come. We went through a complete upheaval…new job for me, new home etc. We had to be constantly saying, yes Lord…may your will be done. Until one day in August of 2001 things had really started to fall into place, we were settled into our four bedroom home (try explaining that one to people…LOL) and He started prodding our hearts again. This time we felt Him leading us to open up our very strict requirement…and again we said ‘yes Lord’. That very same month we received confirmation of our request from Catholic Charities and a notice that our home study would begin…we were ecstatic…who knew it would be that quick. We went through our training the end of that year and then waited patiently through Christmas wanting so desperately a child to share in our abundance of not only material things but of love and God’s graces. Christmas and other holidays were always hard for me since my mom’s passing…it was just such a lonely time but somehow the world expects you to be cheerful no matter what.

Skip forward several months and my friend Karen asks me if we’d be interested in doing a Cursillo…my husband Roy was going through an upheaval in his job and with all the adoption stress, we decided to accept. Roy went first in May of 2002…which happened to be Mother’s day weekend. Which happened to be one of the most difficult for me…no mom, no kids and now hubby not home…I didn’t even have the courage to make it to church. Anyway, during the Lectio Divina portion …the reading that he was asked to meditate on was John 16:20 -24…
“Amen, Amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices: you will grieve, but your grief will become joy. When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world…”

That spoke to him as you can imagine and one of the phrases that he underlined was ‘a child has been born’.

On that following Tuesday we get a call from Catholic Charities saying that a baby girl had been born on Mother’s Day (May 12th) and if we were interested in being considered as adoptive parents. Our home study had not even been completed at this point. I asked what name they were using for her and was told that the foster family that had her were calling her Teresa…as a Carmelite, I felt sure that this was God’s sign that she was meant to be ours.

After what seemed like an eternity the birth family finally chose us and we prepared to pick up our daughter on June 22th. We couldn’t sleep at all, we were so excited…so up we were at 4AM (yep…a little taste of things to come…LOL)…we made it to Dunkin Donuts at 5 AM and to Mass by 8AM (we weren’t scheduled to pick her up until that afternoon mind you). Anyway the first reading for the day really spoke to us again…it was 2 Corinthians 8: 10 -14…here’s a little bit of what grabbed my attention.

“And I am giving counsel in this matter, for it is appropriate for you who began not only to act but act willingly last year: complete it now…” (We were like…woohooo….praise God, He’s definitely in this). Then it went on to say “Your surplus at the present time should supply their needs, so that their surplus may also supply your needs, that there may be equality.” I had always interpreted this passage in the past to be about material goods…but now I saw that it is about any of God’s gifts. It opened my eyes specifically about adoption, I had always wondered how God could allow pregnancies in certain situations or to certain women that weren’t ready for it, but not to others that desperately wanted to be a mom. This explained it to me.

That afternoon as they placed my daughter in my arms and I looked into her little face, I knew that she had been meant for me from the beginning of time and was well worth the wait. We named her Sarah after the Old Testament woman who had her much desired child at an old age (I was 39 at the time and thought I qualified…LOL) and for her middle name we chose Therese in honor of the Little Flower and also a derivative of the name that she was known by during her first weeks.

Now let’s skip ahead a bit again and it is now December 1’st 2003. Sarah is now 18 months old and the light of our lives. I just can’t imagine loving another child like this even though the thought of giving her a sibling was bearing heavy in our minds so we had placed a call to an international agency the week before to discuss the possibility of adopting right from Vietnam, which is Sarah’s heritage. Anyway, mid morning I get a call from the social worker at Catholic Charities that had helped us with Sarah’s adoption…she’s asking me if we had considered the possibility of adding another child to our family. I was kind of shocked at the question and wanted to know how she knew…LOL. She goes on to tell me that she had a baby boy in her office at that very moment that needed to be placed right away. He was not yet free for adoption and would be a legal risk but they didn’t want to keep moving him from foster home to foster home and would prefer to have him placed with a family that would stick by him until the outcome of the court hearings was known. I called Roy right away…I told him to sit down…LOL…and proceeded to tell him
the rest of the story. He surprised me with his eager yes and I called her right back and said sure. We didn’t know very much about the baby at this point other then that his name was Christian Adam which to me was another sign from God since here we were heading into Christmas…this was my little baby Jesus given to me to protect and love regardless of the outcome. The social worker came to drop him off that evening and Sarah took to him instantly…he was her ‘be-be’ and when the social worker were getting ready to leave, she started crying because she didn’t want ‘be-be’ to go. Of course, he wasn’t going anywhere…

Those first few months were very hard, as we all grew in our attachment to him and him to us…we loved him so much and yet the possibility of him being taken away was very real. One song that I would sing to him all the time was ‘you are my sunshine’ and even to this day cannot get by the verse that says ‘please don’t take my sunshine away’ without breaking down.

He was still having family visits at this point and it just broke my heart every time that the DSS social worker came by to take him and Sarah just screamed not wanting to let him go either. When our first Christmas together came around we decided to go away for a few days, we just wanted to cherish every single moment with him, we really didn’t know how much time we had together. That was a big lesson for me…to just live in the moment.

We kept going from one court date to the next until finally early in 2005 the birth mother’s parental rights were terminated and he was finally free for adoption. His adoption day was a great day of rejoicing for us and we quickly made plans for his Baptism too.

It’s been an incredible journey and I’m sure God is not done with us yet. I feel so blessed for the gifts that He has bestowed on me…my beautiful children, my husband, my family and friends but most importantly for the graces that He has provided to help me live His life abundantly.

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Corpus Christi

This says it all,
and so much better than I ever could. So I’ll just leave you with this picture to enjoy. Have a blessed day everyone.

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Taking Ownership of Your Life

They say that when you are ready, the teachers will come. I’ve recently discovered the powerful speaker Brendan Burchard’s videos. I don’t know very much about him at all, so if there is anything negative out there…just keep it to yourself for the moment. I need to live in my bubble for a little while. lol.

In the video that I have linked to at the bottom of this page, he talks about Personal Responsibility. I’m telling you…this is EXACTLY what I needed right now. In fact, what he’s talking about here is what this entire blog is about.

I’ve mentioned my struggle with anxiety and depression HERE , and I really believe that bad habits developed throughout my life have contributed to it. As controlling and obnoxious as I can be, I’m also very needy. In other words…I’m a big baby…or I WAS. This blog is all about documenting the process of me changing into who I’m supposed to be, who the Lord created me to be.

So I’ve acknowledged my issues, I see clearly what was holding me back…so what now? I take personal responsibility for where I’m going, that’s what. 😀 Lacking that, I’ve been lacking self esteem and confidence. That leads me to feel FROZEN, unable to live up to my responsibilities in life. I feel like a victim a lot, filled with frustration and oh so lost. And yes…DEPRESSED! Sounds familiar doesn’t it? I really think this is big in our society right now.

So Brendan in this video lays out FIVE areas that we need to take responsibility for.

1)Our Aim: We need to plan out our life. Find out what we want, what we really really want. 😀 What makes you happy? What makes you energized? What gives you life? No clue? Do you have a Pinterest account? If so, go take a peek. lol. Start being proactive on what you’d like to see happen in your life. Here’s my list .

2)Our Attention:This is a big one for me. I’m all over the place. I’m always saying that I have ADD, but truth is we all do. It’s just the nature of the beast…no…really. I believe that Satan throws every kind of distraction our way to keep us from fulfilling God’s plan for our lives. And the ‘distractions’ can be pretty much anything, if it’s taking our mind out of what we should be doing, then it’s a distraction. If it’s not adding to our aim in some way, then it’s a distraction. Our focus needs to be laser sharp.

3)Attitude: We can actually choose the attitude that we are going to be having through out our day, instead of letting others dictate it to us. Oh and being constantly grumpy is NOT cool. Where did we get that idea from anyway? lol. We don’t have to be wishy washy, and always allowing everyone to always walk over us. But we CAN choose our battles. We don’t have to go through life straightening everyone else out. Just let it be. Let it go, let it go…lol.

4)Our Affections: Love, connect deeply, enter into relationships. Don’t be afraid. I’m reading this book that is pretty awesome “Hiding from Love” and it goes deeper into why we ‘hide’ in the first place. I get it, we are all terrified of getting hurt. But really…what is the alternative? Shallow encounters like what this generation is embracing with ‘hook ups’ and the like, literally kills your soul. Everyone is scared silly of each other, yet it is exactly what we need for wholeness. Remember the story of Lazarus in the Bible? When Jesus calls him out of the tomb. He then asks those around him to unbind him. We too need to be ‘unbound’, and it’s only in community that this can happen. We need each other, it’s as simple as that. So…in the words of my beloved St. John Paul II, BE NOT AFRAID!

5)Our Actions:We need to be disciplined and start walking the talk. Maybe baby steps at first and then as we gain confidence we will do better. It’s not about walking in perfectly measured strides, but just moving forward.

Watch Brenden’s Video Here

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Distributism

This is sort of a follow up to my political post earlier. It seems to jive well with my own views from what I’m hearing. However I really don’t know much about it, but would like to learn more. What do you think?

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