Archives for July 2013

Facing Parenting Struggles With Optimism

I read an article titled “Life is Fluid” from Parenting Philosophy today. The article was full of beautiful insights that every struggling mother can probably relate to. While I enjoyed reading every bit of the post, I was especially moved by the author’s closing words. The point was that facing parenting struggles with optimism is something parents need to do. Let me share the beautiful words with you:

I see the path of my parenting journey has not always been right, or straight forward. It is littered with mistakes but covered with love and effort.  With my new glasses I see the complexity and simplicity of grace, of mercy and peace. Instead of looking at my children and thinking this is the right way I feel there are some ways, let’s see what works. Time changes perspective, priorities and I see the brilliance of colours, of options, chances and changes instead of black and white. The young mom who struggles to keep her cool with her toddlers in tow meets my eyes in a line somewhere I want to reach out my hand and touch her gently on the arm and tell her I can see her effort, she is doing a good job and everything is going to be okay.

I hope these words give you as much lesson and inspiration as it did to me. Facing parenting struggles with optimism may not always be easy, but keep an open mind. You will see that the positivity will bring good changes to your life.

The “Well, You Just Wait” Comment

If you are a parent, you must have heard of or maybe have even used the phrase, “well, you just wait…” Like or instance, a pregnant woman tells another parent with a newborn how uncomfortable being pregnant is and how she can’t sleep well at night. The parent with an infant would say, “Well, you just wait until your baby is born, then you really never get any peaceful sleep.”

In a post titled, “Why does talking about kids & negativity go hand in hand?,” One mother honestly expresses how she feels about this phrase and the negativity that comes along with it. I too, do not like hearing these words. Aside from the fact that they often undermine another person’s situation or difficulties, these words also make it seem like there can’t be anything nice about raising children (which by the way is so untrue).

Have you ever encountered someone who said the “well, you just wait…” comment to you? How did you respond to the statement?

What Does “Peace Be With You” Mean in Catholic Mass?

Reading, “At Mass, what does it mean to exchange “the peace of Christ”?” from Roman Catholic Spiritual Direction inspired me to put together a little something to explain what “the sign of the peace” or saying “peace be with you” at Mass means. While I understand that most Catholics know the meaning behind this rite of the Communion, I believe that there are also a few who might still be wondering what does “Peace be with you” mean in Catholic Mass.

The salutation, “peace be with you,” was actually inspired by Jesus Christ’s words upon seeing his disciples during his resurrection. (You can read the story in Luke 24:35-48.)

I read a very wonderful and concise explanation of this rite from a book titled, “How to Understand the Liturgy” by Jean Lebo, it said: “The Sign of Peace is a point where one sees whether the liturgy holds together. If the congregation has not really been welded together during the course of the Mass, then it is useless and inappropriate to perform this action.”

So what does “peace be with you” mean in Catholic Mass? Simply put, I would say that the “sign of the peace” is meant to remind us that we cannot become one with the Lord unless we we recognize him in the people around us.

The Wonder of God’s Grace

Do you ever feel hesitant to talk to God because you feel like you are not worthy to be calling his name? Some people feel this way because of their sins. Honestly, I feel this way sometimes. I have found myself several times having second thoughts about coming to God in prayer because I feel embarrassed of the wrong things that I have done. I guess we all have felt this way at one point or another–that we are unworthy to call upon God and ask for his help or blessing. The wonder of God’s grace is a thing to behold though. He forgives us of our sins!

Is it right to feel ashamed of our sins? Well of course! But is it right to let our sins keep us from coming to God? Definitely not. The great King Solomon gave us these words: “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13)

Do not allow our sins to take control our lives. Remember that the blood of Jesus is greater than any sin that you can commit! Dwell on what Jesus has done for you instead of what you have done against God. As it says in Ephesians 1:7, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace…”

Here’s a very simple yet meaningful illustration of the wonder of God’s grace: “God Teaching Me About Grace.”

Teaching Your Kids to Value Themselves

If you have a daughter, you should read this sweet blog post of one dad who made sure that he was his daughter’s first date: “Confessions of an Overprotective Dad: The Dating Threshold.” He took the inspiration from another father who made the tradition to be the first man to ever take his daughters’ out when they reach the right age to begin dating. He made plans for their date, gave them flowers, opened doors for them, took them to a nice restaurant and showed them how a gentleman should treat a lady. This post was more than just a lesson in dating. It was more about teaching your kids to value themselves.

See, the father did not only take his daughters to their first dates just for fun or just because he wants to, he instituted this custom to help his daughters set their standards so they won’t end up settling for less than they deserve.

Our children are our life’s most precious treasures. It is very important for parents to let them be aware of just how precious they are. Giving our children a high sense of value is one way of helping protect them from the wrong kind of people. We all know they exist, even if we wish they didn’t. Focus on teaching your kids to value themselves, no matter how you choose to do it. I thought this father’s idea was a great example though.

Encourage Stray Catholics to Come to Mass

I came across this article earlier today: “Invite Catholics back to Mass,’ Bishop urges Faithful.” Found in the beginning of the article were these statements: “Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton said that only one in five baptized Catholics attend church every Sunday. The other four have somehow lost contact with the Church.”

I am aware that there are Catholics who are no longer attend Church every Sunday, but I never imagined there would be so many (4 out 5 baptized members???).  This is just so sad for me to hear, and I know you feel the same way too. It’s just awful that people have found the Lord and his Church , but still made the choice to leave. Encourage stray Catholics to come to Mass. They once knew of God’s goodness, and just need a little help remembering it.

If you are a constant visitor of this blog, you must have read one of my posts encouraging Evangelization–sharing the good news of salvation to others who have not heard about it yet. Today I realized that aside from witnessing to those who haven’t received the Gospel yet, we also have a mission to help bring those who have “wandered” back into the fold of God.

Take the chance today to encourage a family member, a neighbor, or a friend to go back to Church. Studies show that 41% of those who have stopped attending Mass would return to the local church if a friend or acquaintance invited them. Be an instrument of God today and encourage stray Catholics to come to Mass.

How Can You Make Christ Known?

I read this very inspiring story from the Catholic Herald today: “Pilgrim walks 1,800 miles to Rio ‘to show people that God is alive.” Fabio Matues, a Catholic pilgrim from Brazil walked 1,800 miles from his home to Rio de Janeiro for World Youth Day with aims of making Jesus known to others. Walking past over 70 cities and towns, his journey was not an easy one with many nights spent sleeping in his hammock up between trees or along the roadside. After hearing this story it made me think how can I do something similar. It doesn’t have to be a long walk, but how can you make Christ known?

With his endeavor catching the media’s attention, he sure was able to make an impact on the whole world and not only to the people he met in his journey.

Can you make the same sacrifice that this man did? Would you be willing to leave your work and family for months so you could evangelize for Christ? Are you taking part in sharing the good news to the world? There are many small yet significant ways you and I can evangelize to others. There are a lot of people in our community that need to hear about the love and grace of Jesus.

Take this day to think about the ways you can take part in the sharing of the Gospel. How can you make Christ known to more people?

Every Child Is Different: Each Parenting Experience is Unique

I read this article today and I thought that it might be worth sharing: “Don’t decide to have kids based on how you feel about others’ kids.” The author of the article wonderfully stated the very words I want to say to individuals who have formed an impression about being a parent based on their experience with other kids. He said:

“This is not to say that parenthood is for everyone. My point is only that you can’t expect to learn much about how you’ll feel as a parent by watching other people, even close relatives, engage in parenting. Nor can you learn that much by taking care of others’ children.”

While I respect how some people decide to not have children of their own, I am in total agreement of what the author has to say about how it is wrong to think that one’s kids will turn out to be like the kids that they have interacted with or that their life as a parent will be like the life of the other parents they know. Every child is different, and that means every parenting experience will be unique in its own way.

As the author said, “From the outside the life of a parent has many unappealing aspects”, but it really isn’t as bad as it seems (at least for me). I guess some people will never know the real deal about being a parent as the only way to know what it’s really like is to become one. Every child is different, and parenting is the same.

The Impact of Our Catholic Faith

A recent post at The Catholic Writers’ Guild titled, “The Narrow View” brought me a wonderful realization today. The realization was that my faith has the power to affect not only the lives of the people around me or those who are living in my time, but can also possibly make an impact in the lives of believers in the future. The impact of our Catholic faith now, impacts the faith of Catholics for generations. Isn’t that amazing?

Just as how the faith of the 12 Apostles and the early followers of Christ affected (and continue to affect) the faith of Christians who lived hundreds of years after them; our faith too has the potential to transform the lives of others who will live years after we are long gone. Only if we work hard to strengthen and nurture it.

May the thought of how we can still continue bringing souls closer to the Lord even after we have left the Earth further fuel our desire for a life-long unwavering relationship with the Lord. The impact of our Catholic faith is far greater than any one of us, but we all contribute to the big picture.

The Power of God’s Promises

Reading a post titled, “Standing On God’s Promises,” today reminded me just how life-saving God’s promises can be. The power of God’s promises are extraordinary. They can be a person’s reason for pressing on and looking forward to better days ahead in the midst of life’s storms.

Right now hundreds of people are struggling with troubles and worries in their personal lives. I wanted to share 3 of my favorite Bible promises just in case someone needs to hear them:

“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus”. Phillipians 4:19

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!” Luke 12:22-24

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

If you are going through some tough times, turn to God. Through his words,prayer, and meditation you will find comfort and solace. The power of God’s promises is immeasurable.