My Mother, The Advocate for the Now

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As I was trying to fall asleep last night, I started talking to Jesus, telling Him about my bodily woes of that moment, asking Him to take it away if that was His will. I felt like He was telling me “You hurt now, yes, but there will be a day where You are with Me and no longer feel pain. Worry not about your body and continue to focus on your soul.” Then, I imagined this scene in Heaven at that very moment. Mary came in almost reprimanding Jesus, as a mother often would, telling Him, “Jesus! Yes, I know You care most about her soul and so do I, but look at how she is hurting! She is in pain right now! Help her.” God’s word is always final, of course, but the persistence of the mother’s request is just as effective in the plans of God as it is in the families here on earth.

I started thinking about the roles of the mother and father of a family. The father is the head of the family. His decision is final but just look at how much your mother can sway his decision. I remember when I was sixteen. Every single one of my friends at school had a cell phone. I didn’t, and it left me feeling embarrassed and out of the loop with my classmates. Looking back on it now, it really wasn’t that big of a deal, but at the time, my mother was compassionate toward my humiliation in those present moments. She stepped in as my advocate to my father, who did not believe it was time for me to get a cell phone. Within a couple months, you know I had myself a cell phone.

I also reflected on how the father can often see the whole picture better than a mother. My husband has the ability to discipline our children and see that sometimes they will need to be left to cry in order to learn an important lesson in the end. All the while, some systemic alert is going off in my body, crying “Alert! Alert! Your child NEEDS you, NOWWWW! WASTE NO TIME. GO HELP HER!!” Of course, I agree with my husband that my daughter needs to stay in time-out a bit longer in order to learn an important lesson, but that does not take away my nature to be compassionate or remove my strong desire to nurture them in the present moment.

We have the perfect example of this at the Wedding Feast in Cana(John 2:1-12). Mary, seeing the current pain and humiliation of the family running out of wine, goes straight to her Son, who she knows to be the Messiah with power to change all circumstances, and asks Him to save them from the humiliation. Jesus acts as if this is no matter to Him. He is God after all, and His thoughts transcend ours. He is able to look at the whole picture. He can see a situation of turmoil in the present moment, yet still see the past and future of the circumstance simultaneously. He already sees how He has brought about good through their current pain. The rest of us humans, including Mary at that time, are not able to see things in such a way without God revealing it to us. However, it was also His will to establish the role of His mother that day, her role as an intercessor for us in times of pain. This was the second time that the action of His mother brought forth the will of the Divine. The first was her Magnificat, the yes that was required to bring Jesus into the world. And now her action at the Wedding Feast in Cana brought about the beginning of Jesus’ ministry on earth. God intended for His mother’s requests to be effective in His Divine Will. Her immediate actions toward our pain, her persistence in prayer, and the grace God gifted her all play a huge role in the Father’s will for us. Yes, Jesus sees and feels our pain as Mary does, but He is the advocate of eternity- past, present, and future. He has chosen His mother to be the advocate of the now, to always share in our present pain. Often, it is through Mary that God is with us. It is often through Mary’s intercession that God finally responds to the requests of our hearts.

This is why Mary appeared to the children in Fatima. Realizing the pain of the world, she came to warn and she came to lead us to peace. Before Jesus entered into the world, He used prophets to send us this message just the same. When you realize that it is the will of the Father to use the Mother to offer His love, grace, mercy, peace, hope, and graces to us, it’s not so hard to ask her for help. As Saint Louis Marie de Montfort once said, “We never give more honour to Jesus than when we honour his Mother, and we honour her simply and solely to honour him all the more perfectly. We go to her only as a way leading to the goal we seek – Jesus, her Son.” And as Saint Maximilian Kolbe said, “Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did.”

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The Busy Bee

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I’ve been scared to death of bees ever since I was a little girl. I used to run around bare feet, step on them, and get stung. Awhile ago, a friend received a spiritual image of a bee that she believed was for me but neither of us knew what it meant. What is true for images given by the Holy Spirit is that if He wants you to remember it, He will reveal it to you over time. Well, I’ve been trying to figure out what it meant for months, which really isn’t a long time in God’s scope, but to me, it sure seemed like it!

In the past month, I’ve been seeing pictures of cutesy bees all over the place, like the ones you see in children’s books. Not necessarily hard for a mom of two little girls to be seeing pictures of bees everywhere, but I was taking notice nonetheless and I asked God to stop letting me notice them if it didn’t mean anything. Then, a couple days ago at my doctor’s appointment, I was discussing candida overgrowth with my doctor and she referred me to discuss this with her office manager. Well, lo and behold, this chick KNEW HER STUFF about candida overgrowth! Her sister had been battling very similar symptoms as me and she is now successfully treating herself after a long series of research and ups and downs. The office manager then pulled up the web page that had really made a difference for her. It was called Healing Naturally by Bee, with a picture of a bee pollinating flowers at the top. I got chills. I got excited. I started thinking, “Yes, God, yes! You’ve finally given me the answer to my prayers! This must be how I’m going to get healthy.”

The truth is, I had been praying another prayer as well. One that is much more important to my soul than the health of my body. I had been asking that God would reveal Himself to me as a loving Father. Through the past year and a half of dealing with illness, my faith has been broken down to what, at times, has felt like there’s nothing left. However, there was enough left to continue seeking Him or at least continue trying to understand Him. I knew for sure He is real. I knew He gave me life. I knew, logically, that He must love me if He placed me in a marriage to the friggin best husband ever and gave us the two cutest, most amazing daughters. Not only that, I saw how He was answering LIKE EVERY ONE ELSE’S PRAYERRRRRSSSS. Believe me, I’ve seen that. And I’ve been praying He would teach me to rejoice in their rejoicing, and also be compassionate to their pain. This journey has been important in that regard as well. But as far as knowing God as my Father, it just wasn’t there.

I felt like I knew Jesus. I mean, I could read Jesus’ actual Words written in the Bible. He could speak to me in that way, and He has trained me to hear Him in that way. It’s amazing the wisdom and knowledge you can gain through just reading a few lines in Scripture. Since Jesus is both God and human, I also feel like I can relate to Him and even just picture Him in my mind. That makes a difference, and I’ve always imagined this Divinely Beautiful Man with long flowing locks as I pray. I also knew Him in the Blessed Sacrament and received Jesus in the Eucharist every time I go to mass.

As I continued to seek God’s healing, I was connected with the diocese’ charismatic prayer group. My spiritual director knew many of them and had several loved ones who had received healing prayer from them. As desperate as I was to get better, I was eager to receive this prayer from them. I met with one of the women at adoration one night along with my family, and she prayed over me. I was very expectant of healing that day, probably a little too expectant and there may have been some pride in the mix that got in the way. I’m not sure, but I could tell that the Holy Spirit was there and was working in me. As she prayed, my eyes fluttered and my head was raised up and back. Afterward my husband told me that his eyes, as well, were fluttering during prayer. Though I wasn’t healed in that moment, the woman from the prayer group said it could be beginning of healing and I could come to their prayer meeting on Thursday night to receive prayer from others. Well, I did!

The day of the meeting I was excited and giddy. Something had come over me, and I wanted to learn more about the Holy Spirit. I had Wild Goose youtube videos playing nonstop throughout the day, (that series is AMAAAZING btw..go start watching them NOWWWW) and oddly enough, I had been watching Women of Grace on EWTN in my mornings that week and they had been discussing the 50th Anniversary of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal along with all the gifts of the Holy Spirit. After learning all about them, I was like “why in the heck don’t we talk about this more?” I knew, for instance, that all the Apostles were given and used said spiritual gifts on the reg to bring, oh I don’t know, THOUSANDS of new believers into the Church. I knew about the Descent of the Holy Spirit, in which tongues of fire rained down on them and they began speaking in tongues native to the languages of those all around so that the others could hear and testify to their praises. I also knew that just about every single Saint I ever read about was given these charismatic gifts, some of them extreme. Saint Padre Pio could see a person and just know his sins without the person speaking a word. He also was seen levitating in prayer and on his way to the confessional in order not to be seen or stopped. Saint Pope John Paul II had an amazing gift of healing and miracles. I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve come across of people who had gone to the Vatican for mass during his time, and came home to find out they are pregnant after years of trying to conceive. I had also been to a revival at another denominational church back in high school with a friend, where I witnessed several people speaking in tongues. My friend and I were also overcome with an uncontrollable laughter filled with tears. We were dumbfounded by it, and I knew it had to be the Holy Spirit.

On the way to the prayer meeting, I called my husband and joked that ” you never know! I could start speaking in tongues or something crazy!” Famous last words. At the meeting, I didn’t receive physical healing, although I did feel tingling and pressure all through my body. On the other hand, I was given an incredible revelation of the Holy Spirit. He was in me, and He was working. I knew I had better keep going to these meetings. God wanted me there for a big reason. The next week I sat next to someone who had been praying for the gift of interpreting tongues for a long while and had never been able to until she overheard mine (even though it felt weird like I didn’t know what on earth I was doing, like some type of charismatic poser). Again, confirmation that I was supposed to be there. So at this point, I was filled with joy. Though I was still suffering, I had an encounter with God through His Holy Spirit, something my faith had been lacking. And through this encounter with the Holy Spirit, my faith began to grow, and I now had a growing spiritual family to encourage and guide me through this journey.

Time went on and so did life, and I continued to wonder why I was still getting sicker. I continued to research and research. I started to realize it was a bad habit, and it wasn’t getting me anywhere. None of my efforts, whether self-prescribed or prescribed by doctors, was working. I began to get more and more frustrated, and my faith was tested harder than ever. Although some from the prayer group had seen images of me being healed soon, I wasn’t seeing it happen. This hurt, and I decided to take a break from it all. We were simultaneously living with my mother in law, as we had quickly sold our home and it took us 3 months to find our new one. I was worn out physically, mentally, and spiritually. I was also failing. I would set my mind to a different diet that supposedly cures candida, and I would go at it for a bit, then decide it wasn’t helping and eat a “forbidden” food to ease my woes. I was researching more cures when I should be playing with my daughters. I was so absorbed in myself and my pain that I was forgetting what was most important. I would sit and watch youtube videos or scroll Facebook, anything mindless and unproductive so I’d stop thinking about my symptoms. I told myself and God that if He’d at least just clear my skin, I would stop worrying so much and get back to living my life the way I should. That didn’t happen. Even when it started to clear some, I was still left with terrible scars, and even worse, large indentations from the steroid injections of another dermatologist’s recommendation. Deep down, I was starting to realize that I needed to learn to love myself. I needed to see my beauty in the eyes of the Father.  I needed to treat myself with love, stop believing Satan’s lies, and go straight to God to repent and seek help when I do fall. I also needed to stop seeing God as only this “Divine Punisher.” Again, I knew, logically, that the Father is merciful and He’s been spending century after century trying to get us to see that, especially by sending His Son to earth for us, then continuing to reveal this through the Holy Spirit, and then using apparitions of Our Lady as the last installment of this Divine Mercy. But still, even though I knew it, I couldn’t feel it. Feelings aren’t faith, but they certainly can help. I needed a reminder from the Father that HE chose me to be His beloved daughter. So I started praying for that.

Over a month ago, my daughters and I sat in front of my bedroom window watching a bee work on our Lantana bush. I reflected on this as I prayed the Rosary last night. I thought about how the bee would pollinate one bud then fly across the plant to another to pollinate, then back to one nearby, then across, then all around and back again. This went on and on. I remember wondering why the bee worked in such a way. What was it’s method? If it were me, I’d start in one spot, then make my way across the plant in an orderly fashion. I realized that it must have something to do with perfect timing. I saw how God the Father works in much the same way. He hears so many prayers constantly, and He is ALWAYS working in every one of our lives, working on each soul so that we can continually bloom and grow. The way He works often doesn’t make much sense to us, but only the Father knows not only what will be the best for us, but for every member of the Church. His way and perfect timing is necessary to produce the most beautiful and longest-living bundle of flowers. If God were to only “pollinate” one section of flowers and work in order, how sad would the bush look? One side would be flourishing while the other side looks dead. No. God creates things for glory. What’s glorious is seeing an entire garden of fruitful blooms, not one of them wilted.

What about the times it feels like God is off working on another soul and paying no attention to you? He’s still there. That’s what the rest of the Church is for! He’s made us all as his community of busy bees to come in and encourage and “pollinate” each other, if you will. I think that’s going to be my new incredibly awkward saying… Let’s get together and pollinate each other!

Yeah, that might not catch on so much. However, we can rejoice by knowing our time of suffering has brought about the greatest possible outcome for the Church as a whole, especially if we offer it up and give it back to Him. God loves and uses those sacrifices and prayers with gusto. I believe they are His favorite type considering He gave us the sacrifice of His only begotten Son, and He granted the mother of Christ, the soul who suffered the greatest pain of all on this earth as she shares in the cross of Jesus, the great honor of crushing the head of Satan.

I then reflected on my fear of bees and getting stung. I’ve also always feared God and His punishment. This is good and natural but God desires us to renounce sin out of love for Him and the Church, our family. Once He revealed His love for me through this cute, little bee, I better understand what He is doing in my life. The bee is always working toward good. If you get in the bee’s way, he’s gonna sting ya. And then you learn from your mistake. Similarly, God will discipline you when you get in the way of His plan for your life or for the lives of others. He does this out of pure Love. He wants us to be able to taste the sweetness of His honey someday.

My Father took one of my biggest fears and used it to reveal His love for me. I’ve never known His gentleness, His deliberacy, His sweetness as much as I do today. Father, you are so, so, SO good. I long to be with You someday in your Kingdom, a land flowing with milk and the sweetest honey.

Note: When a plant is cut down to size, the bee knows and gets straight to work. I believe this is what God has been doing to me through suffering. He’s had to trim me down so that He can create me anew to know and love Him better, and to serve Him better. Last week, my husband trimmed down the Lantana plant (those things grow like wildfire!). Last night, Edith and Camille brought in two freshly bloomed flowers. Aha! The bee’s been at work! Additionally, yesterday was the Feast of Saint John Chrysostom, whose symbol is none other than a bee! God pays attention to the details.

P.S.S. All this being said, I still imagine I’ll be seen screaming and running away if a bee or wasp is nearby. Eek! Ain’t nobody wanna get stung by those things!

Healthy No-Bake Scotchies

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We are big fans of the good ol’ fashioned chocolate peanut butter no-bake cookie over here… maybe a little too big of fans! My husband could easily demolish a whole batch in .2 seconds if given the chance. And I’ve been known to be that way with really any sweet if you leave me alone long enough. #dirtylittlesecrets

That being said, I usually do what I can to “healthy up” any desserts I make on those days that I just get the hankerin’. Today was one of those days. And plus, I had some butterscotch chips that I needed to use up. Now presenting: Healthy No-Bake Scotchies!

Healthy No-Bake Scotchies

1/2 c. Butterscotch chips

1/2 c. White chocolate chips(optional)

3/4 c. Peanut butter

1/4 c. Honey

1 c. Oats(Old-fashioned or quick oats work just fine)

1/2 c. Pumpkin seeds

1/4 c. Flax seeds

 

Heat medium/large pot over medium heat. Toss in chips, peanut butter, and honey. Stir until melted. Add in the rest of the ingredients. Stir until combined. Drop spoonfuls onto wax paper or parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Place in fridge for a few minutes to set, and voila! Easy Peasy. Makes about 16 cookies.

These make such an awesome mid-morning or afternoon snack. Packed with fiber and healthy fats! Enjoy!

Why Pro-Life Parents Should Focus on the Positives

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Remember what it’s like being pregnant for the first time? There’s the excitement, the nervousness, and all the newness! There is a lot to be joyful about, and there’s a whole lot more to look forward to. But then you come across some Debbie Downers along the way who just want to tell you about all the terrible things their children do and to make sure you stay pregnant as long as possible because once that baby pops out, your life will be a disaster.

Now was that necessary, Deb? Did ya have to go and rain on that sweet new mommy’s parade? She most likely already had to watch the “purple crying” video in her prenatal course along with the real life labor videos… and then was probably also shown forceps (those things ain’t for the faint of heart) and now you’re gonna go and terrify her with the thought of having imperfect children?! No no no no no! Just stop. Please, just stop while you’re ahead.

If you’re a pro-life mother, I’m not saying you have to be happy-go-lucky all the dang time (I admit it is difficult to do with children), but have you thought of the impression you are giving people when you speak badly about your children to anyone that has ears, most especially a woman who is expecting her first? Pro life means you promote life. That means you should be encouraging pregnant mothers. It means you should be thankful that they are willing to embrace the sacrifices ahead by giving life to another. You should be rejoicing with that mother and praising God. You should not be telling her, however,  that you wish you could go back to the days before you had kids because you had no idea then how incredibly difficult it would be and how much hair you would lose and how your body will never be the same and blah blah blah. This woman is already a mother. And guess what? With the laws in most states, she could still decide to end that precious baby’s life. Do you want to be a reason for that? Christians are called to share the Good News.

So I beg you fellow mamas to focus on the positives. That new mom you met at Walmart has already seen a few to get her to where she’s at now: the positive pregnancy test, the positive decision to continue carrying her child, the positive belief that she can handle what is in her future. Keep her going strong. Tell her how amazing it is to hold your baby in your arms for the first time and how calming it is to watch her sleep. Tell her how proud it made you to hear the word “mama” chiming so sweetly from her lips. Let her know how great the laughter and love in your life has grown since you became a mother, how you truly can’t explain the way that your heart continues to burst with every day that passes, how you understand God’s paternal love in a more profound way that would be utterly impossible without the blessing of your own children. Congratulate her on the life ahead. Congratulate yourself. You could have just saved a life.

Decisions, Decisions

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The parenting gig is overflowing with choices. Should one of us stay home with the tiny humans or should we send them to daycare? Should we use positive parenting techniques or should we smack their booties like the so-called “tried and true” method our parents’ used? Should we feed them all organic or… is that a wood chip in her mouth?!

See what I mean?? I could literally drown myself in all the articles I’ve read on this crap! But after 3 entire years of parenting as of yesterday (*tears welling up as I try to recall what she was like as a baby), I’ve come to learn, and don’t laugh at me veteran moms, that each decision we make as parents has to come primarily from our own hearts with a good heap of Wisdom.

Tonight my decision was to work out or to resume sitting in our big comfy chair and allow my 9 month old (*pause while I reminisce on her newborn picture for a moment too) to sleep soundly against my chest. Work out or listen to the sweet sound of baby breaths? Put myself through physical pain or soak up pure joy and peace from the warmth of that precious dreaming face? I mean really, dude, have you ever held a sleeping little one? There is absolutely no better feeling than letting your child sleep in your lap. It’s my heaven. It’s relaxing. It’s stress-relieving. It’s bliss. But alas, most days I have to lay the child down and spend some time with Daniel and Kelli. Yes, daily workouts are a great habit to keep but sometimes you just gotta push things aside and listen to that call of motherhood. And I was so grateful that I did! I cherished every bit of that time with my girl, knowing that it’s a tremendous privilege to hold a baby in my arms as she sleeps. And this brings me to my point…

Parenting is a privilege just as the choices we make each day are privileges. These are gifts from God, our Father. They are opportunities to love and to grow in virtue. God lays every.single.decision before us each day and affords us the option to follow His direction or to see what we come up with on our own. Haven’t you noticed how much better things turn out when we open up the door and let God in? The best days are always the days that I thought about God the most, that I depended on the Holy Spirit for guidance, that I stopped and thanked the Lord for the sweet moments. Our challenge as mamas and dadas is to constantly offer thanksgiving for these everyday choices we make whether they be difficult, life-changing ones or easy yes’s and no’s. Be thankful that God gave us freedom. Be thankful that God offers His help. Be thankful that God is willing to let us take care of His children.

Peace, love, and a big, warm hug,

Olivia

11 Patron Saints for the Stay-at-Home Parent

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Unless you’re some beyond belief future patron saint of patience, at some point or several points during your stay-at-home parent career, you probably find yourself wanting to pull out your hair, hide in your bathroom, or just plain run away. These eleven patron Saints can really aid you in your every day expeditions of conquering eternal laundry, perpetual messes, and cyclical toddler battles.

 

  1. Saint Hunna of Alsace, AKA “The Holy Washerwoman”: This chick can help you plunder through that pile of laundry. Laundry will always be my most dreaded chore, specifically the folding part. For some reason, I cannot stand the feel of warm, staticky fabric under my nails. It’s my own personal nails scraping on the chalkboard. However, when I actually pull myself away from my misery for a moment to say a prayer for St. Hunna’s intercession, I find the task is less daunting.
  2. Saint Martha, sister of Mary and Lazarus: Surely you remember little miss Martha in your Bible readings? She’s the one who was annoyed with her sister for just sitting and visiting with Jesus while she did all the work. And remember, Jesus chastised her for just that. (Luke 10:38-42) I like to pray for her intercession while I’m in the kitchen cooking or baking. She also helps me remember that it’s important to take breaks. If my daily chores are keeping me from God, then I need to take a moment to stop, pray, and spend time with Jesus and my kids. Then I can get back to work when the time is right, offering up my duties for the glory of God.
  3. Saint Philip Neri, the humorous Saint: With kids, you have to have a good sense of humor. Whether you just found your baby with a bunch of gum wrappers and minty fresh breath or your toddler strung the toilet paper through the house like a maze, it’s important to find the humor in the situation. These moments could either result in a stressed out maniac or a really good laugh with your spouse. Pause and ask for the intercession of St. Philip. He will help you find joy in the midst of calamity.
  4. Saint Gerard Majella, Saint of expectant mothers: This guy is legit. Are you trying to conceive? Are you in risk of miscarriage? Are you super prego and exhausted? This is your saint. I like to ask for his intercession for myself and also for those I know to be in the child-bearing years. When I was pregnant with my second child, I needed his intercession for energy to keep up with my toddler. I also wanted to be able to deliver my daughter via VBAC(vaginal birth after cesarean). Our baby was breech and we were losing hope that she would flip to head down position, and I would have to again deliver via cesarean section. We asked for the intercession of Saint Gerard, as well as Saint Gianna Molla(see 5), and guess what?! Our daughter flipped at 39 weeks, almost unheard of! This was followed by a healthy and successful VBAC delivery. Praise the Lord!
  5. Saint Gianna Molla, Patron of mothers, unborn children, and physicians: Pray for her intercession while pregnant, during labor and delivery, and every day motherhood help. This woman is honored for her bravery and self-sacrifice. She was diagnosed with a uterine fibroma in her second month of pregnancy. She was urged to abort the baby and continue on with her life. She instead chose to give the baby life, costing her own. What a woman!
  6. Saint Zelie Martin, mother of Saint Therese of Lisieux: She is so cool because she was just your regular housewife and mother yet called to become a Saint by living out every minuscule task for God. You can read actual letters and correspondences from her in this book. Also, this article brings some of her writing to light.
  7. Saint Therese of Lisieux, The Little Flower: While we’re on the subject of her family, let’s talk about this little gem. She was a young Saint. She lived her life for Jesus at a very young age. You want help subsiding a nasty temper tantrum? You want your kids to be well-behaved and walk the narrow path? Ask for this saint’s intercession.
  8. Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, the Divine Mercy Saint: Did you have a bad day in parenting? Do you feel like you failed your kids and God on this day? It’s time to ask for forgiveness and accept God’s bountiful mercy. Saint Faustina can help you with this one. Pray a Chaplet of Divine Mercy, ask for this Saint’s intercession, apologize to God and your kids, and whoever else you’ve hurt. Make plans to go to confession. Start fresh and do better the next day.
  9. Saint Anthony of Padua, Patron of Lost Articles: I cannot tell you how many things this Saint has helped me find. Did you lose your wedding ring, your phone, heck, your child? You better believe you’re gonna find it if you ask for his intercession. My husband asked for his intercession to find my cell phone after it had been lost for 3 days on a spring break trip. The day we were leaving he called it and some random guy answered it saying he found it buried in the sand. You kidding me??
  10. Saint Joseph, the husband of the Virgin Mother: Man, this man is awesome. So brave, so strong. He helped raise Jesus. He submitted to God’s great plan for his life. He was a carpenter. He was the head of his household. There are so many opportunities to ask for his intercession. I often ask for his intercession for my husband, for him to be the father, husband, and leader that God wants him to be each day. I also ask for his intercession when my husband or myself is taking on a house project. He’s helped my hubby with some pretty big tiling projects, and he’s helped keep me safe with power tools. Lord, knows I needed those prayers!
  11. Mary, Queen of Heaven and Earth: Ohhhhhhh boy! The ultimate Patron Saint of like ANYTHING you need. Period. She is the MVP of parents, homemakers, children, you name it. I mean, come on! She is the MOTHER OF GOD! Do I need to say more? I ask for her intercession day in and day out, and the Lord does not disappoint. He appointed this woman to give us graces and to ask for our mercy. DO IT. Just do it. Ask her to pray for you. Pray the Rosary. Ask her to protect you and your family from evil. She is ready to be your weapon! Consecrate yourself and your family to her help.

 

Of course, of course(!!!!!!!!) you can never cease in your prayers to God, Lord Jesus, Our Savior, and the Holy Spirit!! You know that! But these Holy Saints are in Heaven right now. They are SO much closer to God than we are, and He hears their prayers and grants them the opportunity to create miracles with His help. Just like you’d ask a friend here on earth to pray for you, you can ask the Saints. And YOU SHOULD! If you’ve never done it before, just give it a try and watch how God works through those who love Him.

My Child, The World’s Next Jesus

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Let’s be real here, we all have expectations for our children to live up to before we’ve even seen their tiny, little(or 100th percentile, if you’re in my family) noggins. For instance, I just KNEW that my first child would be the freaking smartest baby einstein this world has ever seen. Oh, you mean you don’t expect your child to know the alphabet, count to 100, do a backflip, run for president, walk on water, and find the cure to cancer before age 1? Well, I do… or did. Then God slapped me in the face and said “Woman, love your children.”

I don’t know if it was just my competitive personality or the shame I sometimes feel from deciding to be a stay-at-home parent rather than a workforce mother, but I wanted my kid to be the best from the start. I wanted people to notice how hard I worked with my baby. I decided I would teach her baby sign language, read to her every day, help her memorize her prayers, and go through flashcards daily. Now, there’s nothing wrong with doing these things with your kids or having the desire to educate them, but I’ve realized that I needed to be doing these things out of love rather than to gain pride for myself. It’s impossible not to be proud of your kids’ accomplishments, but to want the attention and praise that these accomplishments can bring is the opposite of the humility that our Lord needs from us.

Ever since my second daughter was born and I grew lazy with those initial “genius lessons” I had in mind, I started feeling guilty for not working as hard, for not putting so much effort into creating child prodigies. At the end of the day I’d think, what did I do with my girls all day? I was so unproductive, I often thought, and I would get really down on myself, feeling like such a failure. I’d let myself get overwhelmed and stressed, telling myself I was a terrible mother. In my heart though, I knew I was letting the devil get to me. I wasn’t listening to what God was trying to tell me. Love your children.

Some nights I’d share these feelings with my husband and being the wonderful man that he is, he’d do his best to lift me up. He’d pray with me. He’d think of solutions. He’d remind me of how much our daughters adore me. That would always make me feel worse. I’d tell myself that I don’t deserve their love, I’m selfish and lazy and not good enough. They deserve better. How can they love a loser like me and look up to me like I’m some kind of hero? That just made me feel all the more pressure. These girls are learning by MY example, and here I am showing them what it is to be a no good, lazy, crappy mommy. Deep down I’d hear God asking me, are you loving your children?

It took me some time, but I’ve come to realize what God wants most for my kids. Does He want them to become an inventor, a world-renown doctor, an olympian, a prophet, a famous Saint? I’ve got no clue. He’s got all that covered. What He wants me to do is love…  really, truly, love… my children. He wants me to pray with them and for them. He wants me to hug and kiss on them several times a day. He wants me to read them books and thank Him for those precious moments that they are small enough to sit on my lap. He wants me to smile and laugh with them and teach them to share. He wants me to show them pictures of Him and tell them how much He loves them. He wants me to chase after them in the backyard and point out the silly-shaped clouds in the sky. He wants me to teach them forgiveness by apologizing when I’ve done wrong and offering solutions to make up for it. He wants me to show them what holy matrimony means by choosing to love their father day in and day out, allowing them to see how excited I get when he comes home from work. He wants them to see me working hard in our home, accomplishing daily tasks without complaining, offering them up as acts of love. He wants me to teach them to rejoice in their own accomplishments, but more importantly to rejoice in those of others. He wants me to be an example of generosity by praying for the man begging on the side of the road and letting them drop money in the offering at church. He wants me to get up from the chair and dance along to my daughters’ favorite princess songs. He wants me to care for them when they catch whatever sickness is going around. He wants me to accept their hugs and concern for me when I am sad and assure them that though some days are hard, others will be better. He wants me to take them to visit their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. He wants me to ask them for help and encourage them to do tasks they don’t think they can handle. He wants me to believe in them but not allow pride to swallow me whole. He wants me to love and nourish my own body and tell them how beautiful they are each day so they won’t believe the world’s lies. He wants me to take them to mass and adoration throughout the week and bring them along when we go to confession, teaching them that I am a sinner and that God has mercy on me.

Love your children, He says, love your children as I have loved you.

And so, that is what I must spend these days doing. Though in moments of weakness, I may give in to those sinful ways of thinking, I will remind myself of what’s most important to Christ himself. My kids could grow up and not be the valedictorians of their classes, and that will be okay, so long as they have been taught how to love.