Archives for August 2013

Giving More to Those in Need: Pope Francis’ Message

“The important thing is not looking at them from afar, or helping from afar. No, no! It is going to encounter them. This is the Christian! This is what Jesus taught: to go meet the most needy.” These are the words of Pope Francis to his fellow Argentinians as he paid them a visit on the feast day of St. Gaetano.

The message of the Pope focused on “encountering and touching the poor, rather than helping them in a distant way.” I find this message to be a much needed reminder for all of us who might be holding the belief that it doesn’t really matter how we give so long as we are giving. The focus should be on giving more to those in need, and I don’t mean more things.

As Christians we should approach the act of charity as Jesus did. He did not just “throw alms and leave.” He always made sure to go out there, meet people, touch them and then help them by giving them what they needed. When we give without meeting, we are just giving something perishable–something that will no longer be there in the next day or two. When we give with a handshake, a hug, a short conversation and a prayer, we are giving them comfort, love and a sense of importance–things that linger on much longer.

If you want to read more about the Pope’s message during the celebration of St. Gaetano’s feast day, you can read it here: “Touch the poor and needy, Pope tells Argentineans.” Giving more to those in need is something that Pope Francis advocates, and I think this is great.

What Makes a Good Parent Anyway?

I read something from a post ” titled TANTRUMS: Grace and Validation for Parents” today that I want to share with you:

If things aren’t going well or we’ve made mistakes – it’s not the current situation or the mistakes that make us rotten parents. No, being a rotten parent comes from the refusal to pause, reflect and make changes when our kids aren’t turning out how we thought they might, or when we’re having constant meltdowns and not trying different approaches. It’s the NOT TRYING TO MAKE THINGS BETTER that makes some parenting rotten. I think this, anyway.

A lot of parents deal with feelings of guilt on a daily basis. We often go hard on ourselves for each wrong decision, action, or judgment we make during our daily interactions with our children. What makes a good parent though? While there is nothing we can do to rid ourselves of these feelings of guilt, we should at least keep in mind that the little trips we commit in parenthood do not make us awful, rotten parents. We are imperfect–we have always been and will always be.

So long as you are learning and becoming better from all the mistakes we have committed, you are just as good as all the A-list parents in the world! So what makes a good parent? The effort, the perseverance, and (of course) the love.

3 Things That Remind Me of God’s Love

Reading “Ten Reminders of God’s Love for You” inspired me to do this post today. While this article gives readers 10 Bible verses that remind of God’s love, I’d like to make a list of the things that remind me of God’s immeasurable love. Here are 3 things that remind me of God’s love:

1. My family. There is no greater reminder of God’s love than the joy and love I receive everyday from my family.

2. Sunsets and sunrises. The wonderful display of the beauty of sunsets and sunrises remind me of God’s unfailing love. As Lamentations 3:22-23 says: “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

3. Rainbows. Seeing a colorful rainbow after a rain reminds me of God’s faithfulness and forgiving love for mankind despite our sinfulness. As you remember, the rainbow was created by God to stand as a covenant of God’s promise to man that there will not be “any more be a flood to destroy the earth.”

How about you? What are the things around you that make you remember God’s amazing love for us?

When Your Child’s Favorite Parent Is Not You

I read a very interesting article this morning. The article titled, “The pain of not being your child’s favourite…” was written by a mommy who feels hurt that she is not her little boy’s favorite parent despite the fact that she, “feeds him, changes him, plays with him, mops up the spills, kisses the bumps and grazes, reads to him and cares for him when he’s ill.” When your child’s favorite parent is not you it can kind of hurt your feelings a bit.

Have you ever felt this way with your kids? Feeling like you are less favored by your child/children than your spouse? While I think as parents we try to joke around and take our secondary status lightly, there will always be times when it will get into us–as what the author of the above article says, especially during times when we feel overwhelmed, stressed, or tired.

So what do we do when your child’s favorite parent is not you? I would say, try not to take it personally and think that your child loves you less. As psychologist and author Dr. Ellen Weber Libby puts it, “Having a favorite parent is totally normal. All people have preferences for those with whom they have an unspoken ease or simpatico. That doesn’t mean that the child doesn’t love both parents equally… it means that a given parent meets a given child’s emotional needs in ways that are beyond words.”

Why Kids Need Routines: My Opinion on This Topic

Reading this blog post today, “How Important are Routines for Children,” inspired me to share my thoughts on why routines are very important for both parents and children. I believe that kids need routines just as much as parents do. Personally I love having routine in my life, it allows me to be comfortable.

Over the years I have spent raising my kids, I have come to appreciate how enormously beneficial it is for children to have a predictable routine. As opposed to some who think that creating a structure for kids benefits only the parents, I think routines have more positive effects for children. How? Here are three reasons that I believe kids need routines.

1. It helps children feel safe and secure.

2. It helps children form healthy habits–brushing teeth, early sleep time and etc.

3. It helps children gain a sense of responsibility.

Kids need routines — even if they don’t know it. With schedules and routines, children will become increasingly anxious and fearful as they will constantly think of what’s coming next. However, you should remember that there is not a one-size-fits-all routine for kids. There are different suggested routines for each age group and you should structure your schedules to perfectly suit your family. Do what works for you!

Parents Should Know Their Children

I read an article today titled, Overweight child letters toned down so parents do not feel ‘criticised’ and I felt compelled to share it with all of you parents out there. While I agree with the decision of health officials to phrase letters discussing children’s weight in a “non-judgemental and positively phrased” manner, it saddens me that school and health officials still have to remind and advise parents regarding the weight of their children. Parents should know their children and the problems that exist in their lives.

Do we parents really need to be reminded of our children’s health? Aren’t we supposed to be the first one to know that something’s not quite right with our kids? Yes, many of us may not be sure of what we can do to help our children with their weight problems but surely, we must not need to be made aware by others that there is a problem.

If you’re worried that your child may be overweight, make an appointment with your doctor, who can assess eating and activity habits and make suggestions on how to make positive changes. Parents should know their children enough to recognize that some changes need to be made.

Feeling God’s Closeness Through Meditation

One very important, but overlooked way to connect with God is meditation. In this busy world that we are living in, very few people actually take the time to stop for a while, clear their minds of worldly cares, and direct their thoughts to the Lord. Meditation is a very crucial part of our spiritual growth and formation. Together with the reading of God’s words, meditation is the key for our thoughts and actions to be in line with our savior Jesus Christ. Feeling God’s closeness through meditation is something all Christians should get to feel during their life.

St. Paul even emphasized the importance of tuning our minds to the Lord in Romans 12:2 “Be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” 

It is through the habitual stilling of our thoughts and emotions that we can hear God’s whispered response and lead truly Christian lives.

Try this Meditation Exercise to experience the beauty and power of meditation. Feeling God’s closeness through meditation is a gift I want you all to experience!

Teaching Kids To React Appropriately

If you are the parent of a child who is already able to think on his/her own, I you’ve likely experienced a number of inappropriate, over-the-top reactions from your child regarding simple matters. I understand that the lack in logical and emotional development amongst children makes it hard for them to recognize, understand, and manage how they respond to things, I believe that there are some things parents can do to somehow help them realize the inappropriateness of their behavior.

Today, I read an article titled “Everything Cannot Be a 10” It is all about teaching kids to react appropriately and I think you will find the advice useful. I know that I did!

Become Spiritually Rich: Your Wordly Possessions Don’t Mean Too Much

Father Jim Hogan’s Weekly Homily drew my mind to this Bible text: “And he said unto them, take heed, and keep yourselves from all covetousness (the immoderate desire for wealth, the greedy longing to have more); for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” (Luke 12:15) What I take away from this is to become spiritually rich during life.

Living in a world that is becoming more and more obsessed with material things, all Catholics need a reminder lest we become one of those people who have (consciously or unconsciously) made worldly possessions their gods–people whose love of worldly attractions have become insatiable.

Obsession with worldly goods and the adulation of personal wealth can draw us away from God. It will keeps us from fulfilling our Christian duties, makes us selfish to the point that we will no longer care about the misfortunes of others and keep us from directing our thoughts to God.

As God’s children who look forward to living with him in heaven, we should focus our minds on the accumulation and possession of heavenly and spiritual riches and not become attached with the false treasures that this world offers. Become spiritually rich and keep that spiritual wealth with you forever.

Selective Catholicism is Not Okay

An article from the National Catholic Register titled, “The 12 Most Popular Catholic Buts” inspired this post today. Although brief, the article paints a clear picture of the the attitude and perspective of a lot of “Catholics” nowadays. Many people live their lives thinking that Catholicism or even Christianity is like eating in a buffet where you are free to choose which food to eat and which not to eat–that they can just freely pick the aspects of Catholicism that they want to follow.

This attitude is termed by some writers as “selective Catholicism.” Simply put, a selective Catholic is someone who just chooses a few bits and pieces of doctrines and teachings the church and the Bible to believe in, adhere to and live by. For instance, someone who says, “I’m a Catholic but I don’t go to church” or “I’m a Catholic but I don’t find value in confession.” My opinion, selective Catholicism is not okay. We shouldn’t be watering down our faith by saying what is and is not important. Everything about the Catholic faith is important.

Being a follower of Christ requires you to live your life just as Christ lived his. We have the Bible and the doctrines of the Church to guide us. The Lord has laid down his commandments in hopes that we will live by them and find ourselves worthy of life eternal in the end. The choice is whether we will follow his words or the dictation of our erring minds. Selective Catholicism is not okay. This is not a buffet, this is our faith!