The Gift of Faith from my Father

June 18th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in Dad | Faith - (Comments Off on The Gift of Faith from my Father)

My good friend Susan wrote a post on her blog today about earthly fathers and our heavenly Father. Her thoughts and excellent writing always get my mind working. Here’s what she had to say about how we relate to God based on how we relate to our fathers here on earth:

I have read numerous books about Christian parenting since having my daughters. A common theme in many of these books dealt with how we view our “Heavenly Father” based on the perception we have of our “earthly father”. For example, if your dad was an angry father, you may see God as angry and  hostile. If your dad was gentle and loving, you may see God as calm and peaceful. If your dad abandoned you, you may view God as unavailable. It makes complete sense.

This really hit me because just yesterday I sent my own dad a text with this message:

Hey Dad, …I want to tell you happy father’s day! …You have had a bigger impact on my life than you’ll ever know. Thank you so much for the gift of faith and for just being you.

When I was a really little kid, I can remember specifically wanting to marry somebody like my dad when I grew up. It was obvious that he and my mom were still so in love, and he always took us kids fishing and to the park and swimming in the summer and sledriding in the winter. Plus, we always went to church and prayed before meals.

As I got older, I didn’t always get along with my dad. When I was a teenager we’d butt heads all the time, but I never for one second doubted that he loved me.

When I was in high school, my parents each went on a Cursillo, which is a Catholic retreat based on letting the Holy Spirit lead you to a closer relationship with God. After they got back, I thought they were a bit strange because they were talking about God all the time and praying spontaneous prayers at other times than before meals. What was that about?

A year or two later, at the encouragement of both my parents, I went on a Teens Encounter Christ (TEC) retreat, which is similar to Cursillo, except geared more toward young people. I came home from TEC on a “faith high” and felt like I could conquer the world and all the bad things in it just with my new found faith. Although the real world can sometimes disillusion you after a retreat like that, I had so much support at home and felt comfortable and excited to talk about my experiences with my family.

A few months later, a few of my good friends made the same TEC retreat. One friend had a wonderful time on the retreat and seemed to have developed a real relationship with Christ, but her parents said she was “weird” when she came back, so she never made another of these retreats again. That was the first time my teenage brain registered that what our parents think has an incredible impact on our actions, feelings, and relationships.

I went back to feeling like I really wanted to marry someone like my dad, and being forever grateful that my dad and I have a great relationship that has impacted my faith so much.

Fast forward 12 years to today – I AM married to man much like my father… in obvious ways like they both do construction work and kind of look alike (Creepy, I know). But more importantly, they are both excellent, involved fathers, loving husbands, and live their faith in God every day. It’s easy for me to have a wonderful relationship with Christ because of these men.

Thank you, heavenly Father, for the gifts of my dad and my husband.

Happy Father’s Day to all of you fathers out there, especially Dad and Tyler!

Make-a-List Monday: A Smack in the Face

May 21st, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in Faith | Make-A-List Monday - (Comments Off on Make-a-List Monday: A Smack in the Face)

Some days I just need a smack in the face. That’s what this list is. I found this over the weekend and cried because I know I am not as humble as God wants me to be. I believe that He puts

things like this in my life (even on a blog!) to remind me of what’s important. To shake me awake from my routines, to dump a cold bucket of water over me spiritually. Maybe Mother Teresa’s words can be your wake up call this morning too.

I’ve blogged a little bit about humility before, but I’m no expert and have a lot of work to do on myself.

I found this list via Pinterest on Truth & Charity –  The post “The Humble Pie Challenge” is based on Mother Teresa’s words. Head on over there for some amazing reflections on this list and how each part applies to the married vocation. Mother Teresa was incredibly humble and loving, and her entire life is an awesome role model for all Christians today.

Mother Teresa’s Humility List

1. Speak as little as possible about yourself.
2. Keep busy with your own affairs and not those of others.
3. Avoid curiosity.
4. Do not interfere in the affairs of others.
5. Accept small irritations with good humor.
6. Do not dwell on the faults of others.
7. Accept censures even if unmerited.
8. Give in to the will of others.
9. Accept insults and injuries.
10. Accept contempt, being forgotten and disregarded.
11. Be courteous and delicate even when provoked by someone.
12. Do not seek to be admired and loved.
13. Do not protect yourself behind your own dignity.
14. Give in, in discussions, even when you are right.
15. Choose always the more difficult task.

I wish all of you peace on this Monday morning, and Happy Birthday to my little Peach!

Good Friday – What Love Really Means

April 6th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in Faith - (Comments Off on Good Friday – What Love Really Means)

Today is Good Friday, the day all Christians commemorate the passion and death of our Lord, Jesus Christ. What He did on the cross was THE ultimate act of love, so let us remember today and always that we are NOTHING without Him. He was perfect in every way, never having sinned even once, and He willingly allowed Himself to be nailed to the cross for your sins, for my sins, for the sins of the entire world, past, present, and future. That’s what Love really means.

Lord, You are all that is good, our Creator, and our Redeemer. We are sorry for the sins we have committed that nailed You to the cross. Words cannot express the gratitude we have for Your sacrifice. Thank you, Lord Jesus. Please help us to always appreciate the gift of Your grace, and keep us close to You always. Amen.

Here’s a free printable to help us remember what Love really is.

Click on the image to enlarge. This is for personal use only. Please don’t crop out the website at the bottom.

Thank you, and have a blessed Good Friday.

Pledge to Wear Black on Fridays to End Abortion in America

March 25th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in Faith | Kids - (Comments Off on Pledge to Wear Black on Fridays to End Abortion in America)

AbortionBlackout.com is turning into a movement in the United States. Their short video (click below to view) explains simple statistics regarding abortions. It’s heartbreaking to realize how many children we’ve lost to abortion just in the last 30+ years.

Even if you feel you can’t participate in the Abortion Blackout each Friday, please pray for the children lost to abortion, their mothers and fathers who are probably suffering, and the healthcare professionals that they may have a change of heart.

Thank you Father Daren for bringing this movement to my attention. Feel free to reblog, share on Facebook, Pin It, Tweet about it, just spread the news about the Abortion Blackout.

The Saturday Spruce-Up – Trading "Luck of the Irish" for Faith

March 17th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in Faith | The Saturday Spruce-Up - (Comments Off on The Saturday Spruce-Up – Trading "Luck of the Irish" for Faith)

Today’s Saturday Spruce-Up is a quick fix in attitude and outlook on the wonderful holiday of St. Patrick’s Day. Jeff Cavins, a reputable Catholic author and speaker, posted this on Facebook today (with my highlights in bold).

Today we are giving up the “Luck of the Irish” for the “Faith of the Irish”.Photo courtesy of Jeff Cavins' facebook page

How many times have you discussed with your spouse or colleague what you would do if you won the Powerball? You can get lost in that dream world of “what if.”

Projecting out into the future what life would be like if you had the winning numbers, creates an illusion that more than likely will never come true. Instead of putting your hope in the lottery, put your hope in the same God that St. Patrick put his hope in.
Today for Lent, let’s emphasize that we are not dependent upon luck, such as Powerball and pulltabs but the providence of God and His faithfulness. 

Jeremiah the prophet said, “For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).
There are things in life that are more important than material things. Jeremiah goes on to say, “There is hope for your future, says the LORD, and your children shall come back to their own country (Jeremiah 31:17).

Jesus said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19-20).

Just to show you how serious I am about this, I’m not even eating Lucky Charms for breakfast today.

PS: The Irish have a longstanding history of spreading the Catholic faith around the world. We need to pray for our Catholic brothers and sisters in Ireland today.

My own plans fall through all the time, but I trust in God that He knows what He’s doing, and He’ll take care of me. Why Catholic? this year is focused on prayer. Last week and the next few weeks, we are focusing on the “Our Father”. Although many of us can recite it without even thinking about it, the challenge is to really think about each line and what it means. Pray with me (and think about each line!)

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name. 
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Amen. 

“Thy will be done” is the phrase I’m focusing on this week. Which parts of the “Our Father” are the most challenging to you? Which parts comfort you?

Back to Blogging: My Ketchup Day

March 8th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in Faith - (Comments Off on Back to Blogging: My Ketchup Day)

My honey and I were on vacation for 8 days in the Caribbean (aaahhhh) without cell phone service or internet access, so I feel like I’ve been off the radar for ages. Our cruise was just what we needed–to reconnect, to relax, to spend some time in the sun in the middle of winter. Pure bliss.

Anyway, this week I’ve been running around at 100 mph getting back into the kids’ routines and making sure my part is done for my brother-in-law’s wedding this weekend. Thursday is our jammie day, our go-nowhere day, my “ketchup” day. Get it? Catch up/ketchup? Oh, who knew I was so clever? 🙂

So that’s what I’ve been doing–catching up on my blog, on emails, on work, phone calls, etc. I am still not quite finished with my blog post for Catholic Mothers Online, which was due March 1 (sorry Angie!), but hopefully by the end of the day that’ll be on my done list as well.

Here is what I (and maybe you!) missed while I was gone:

1. Brett Miller is recovering at home after his brain surgery on February 24th. This is not the official website that his family updates. For the most up-to-date news on Brett’s condition, please visit his CaringBridge website.

2. A QND alum passed away this weekend. Brian Nuessen (who I remember as one of the “big kids” in the neighborhood) was a good friend to all who knew him and will be greatly missed. One great story about Brian that I’d like to share is about my older sister. She and Brian were in the same class in 5th grade, and one Saturday evening he called and asked her to go to a movie with him. My dad told her to tell him, “Sure, in about six years.” (We weren’t allowed to date till we were 16) I don’t know if they ever did go to a movie together, but what a stud to ask a girl out at 10 years old! 🙂
I’m praying for his family as they say goodbye, share memories, and lay him to rest today.

3. Kony 2012 is sweeping the nation! This 30 minute long video will change your outlook on what our military does in countries where fear, death, and sadness are the norm. I hope and pray that Kony is found and sent to prison for life for the atrocities he committed against children. Please watch the video here and if nothing else, pray.

Keep Praying – All 3,500 of You

February 24th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in Faith - (Comments Off on Keep Praying – All 3,500 of You)

Wow! I am in awe of our community, its faith, and the outpouring of love showed to Brett by praying for him while reading my post yesterday. I usually get between 50-100 hits on my blog per day, and my daily record was 206 hits in one day. Yesterday, the post requesting prayers for Brett Miller received over 3,500 hits. Thank you for all your prayers.

Here is what Brett posted on his CaringBridge webpagethis morning:

Brett, Lydia, and Malena. Photo from Brett's CaringBridge website

It is 5:53 A.M. and I thought being the day of my surgery and a long prayer chain about to begin that I would kick it off by saying a prayer for all of you involved in making this a reality. Also I hope God is giving special power and strength on this day to the surgeon team that they have the strength and wisdom to perform at their best!

God has truly blessed me thru 29 years of my life and I am thankful to all my family, friends, co-workers, students, aquaintances and anyone else who has had me in their thoughts and prayers thru this past week! I wasn’t aware how many people whose lives I have touched in so many ways that they have gone above and beyond asking for God to watch over me, simply stunning guys, simply stunning! Please God give me the strength and courage to display my gratitude at some point towards all of you who have helped lift me up to levels of strength I never imagined I had. It is simply proof that God does amazing things and thru the past week he has kept my spirits as high as ever, and often times I had forgotten that anything was wrong with me to begin with. Having Lydia, Malena, both sets of parents, Lindsay, and all the calls, texts, and messages from everyone rolling in has just had me as happy as ever, on cloud nine, experiencing a small taste of what I imagine heaven would be like. I may not be the luckiest man in the world, but surely I am pretty close, maybe even in the top 5% or so. 

Reality is beginning to set in some as I know I am T-minus 3 hours from check in at the hospital and not sure if I fully understand the whole process yet. How much will this hurt, how long will I be out of it, will the pain go away shortly after? I know I am a strong person both physically and mentally but even I am scared with what I am facing. It is hard to believe the restrictions I will be facing such as not lifting more than 10 pounds for six weeks! I can’t even hold my precious baby Malena and walk her around, maybe I can push her in the laundry basket still when we get back home. It sounds like I will have someone set up to monitor me 24/7 for a few days b/c those of you who know me can only imagine I’ll have a hard time being able to sit still and not do the things I know I can. I will get to walk for my exercise within a couple days so at least I won’t be completely inactive, but no running or weight training will be hard on me. By the time I get back to weight training class most of my students will have passed me up by then. So those of you who enjoy working out, get an extra lap or set in on occasion for me if possible. 

I am thankful for Laura (my sister-in-law) for keeping updates for everyone on this site. My sister Lindsay who is here with me does a great job relaying the news for her to post. I sit and take it all in but could never explain the whole thing the way they do. Thought I would make one thing clear about all the talk about how awesome these 2 different surgeons we have met with, it is very true. Both Dr. Ball and Vangumpel are awesome, very gifted surgeons from hearing them speak.The whole part about being so good-looking (Mcdreamy) or whatever those thoughts never once entered my mind. Don’t get me wrong they are no bus station skanks, but they are no Adam Wainwright either, LOL! So good news about the surgery procedure that I was able to gather is they should be able to remove 90% of this tumor, and it is a big tumor (grapefruit size). I am glad I have a big head and hopefully there will still be plenty of brain left for me to utilize afterwards. Percentages of affecting memory and speech post surgery are real low, so that is encouraging for me. It is scary the thought of radiation and chemo that will likely have to follow up, but I am willing to do anything and everything it takes to fully recover and dominate this tumor! 

Well it is closing in on hour 1 of my prayer chain and the energy and power is flowing thru me like never before! Keep up the great work everyone it is truly amazing! Keep in mind I would do this for any and all of you if the roles were reversed. As I wind down a few thoughts for the day. Sleep has been hard to come by this past week, but never has it weakened my spirits or had me in soaking in pain. I should be in for a long afternoon/evening nap throughout this long procedure so that might get me caught up some. My mind will be wandering thinking of all my friends and family who mean so much to me and I have had opportunities to speak with throughout the week. Thoughts are also with the Liberty and QND boys basketball teams tonight in regional championship action! Here is to big W’s for both and health for all players from participating teams involved! I will be cheering from my recovery room (if I make it there by then). This whole week I have had a Tim McGraw song in my head that has constantly been there. Someday I hope you get the chance to Live like you were dying! I never have thought for one second that I am dying but just the experiences, talks with friends and family all throughout have made me realize just how precious these moments have been for me. I get a new perspective on life and really soak up every moment I have, it is an amazing feeling to have! May God bless all of you and watch over you and give you strength to be at your best all day long, stay strong and smile, say I love you to all those who mean the world to you, and remember God will do the rest! 

Thanks again for everything, you all are truly wonderful and have been a great blessing for my family and I this past week! Now some time to play with Malena and visit with my family before check in! Love you all! Boo-yah!

God is great. Even in the difficult times–especially in the difficult times–He shows His glory by bringing all of you who are praying for Brett closer to Him. Please visit Brett’s CaringBridge page to follow his progress and continue to pray!

Also–I recently found out that another QND graduate is going through a very similar situation. Shawn Wagner, who graduated in 2002, had brain surgery on Monday. I have no other details about his situation, but God knows what’s going on, so please pray for him too.

The Power of Prayer – For Brett Miller

February 22nd, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in Faith - (Comments Off on The Power of Prayer – For Brett Miller)

I recently found out that my childhood best friend’s older brother has a tumor on his brain. He’s only 29 years old, has a beautiful

Brett with his wife Lydia and daughter Malena

wife and baby daughter, and countless people who love him.

Many of you know Brett Miller as a football player from Quincy Notre Dame who is now a coach there and a teacher at Liberty High School. He’s always been in great shape and in perfect health, so I’m sure this came as a complete shock to him and his family.

Here is what his dad had to say via Facebook tonight:

“I normally do not make entries on facebook as I am not one to talk about things going on in my life be it good or bad. However, when the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune hit you with a life altering situation, ones focus on life changes and you find yourself in unfamiliar territory…My second born, Brett, has been diagnosed with a brain tumor. He is 29 yrs. old, married to a most amazing, wonderful, beautiful woman, Lydia, with a most precious 13 month old little girl named Malena. We are currently up in Rochester, MN at Mayo’s. Brett has undergone several painstaking tests, and is currently slated for surgery this Friday, February 25th. We have a pre-op orientation tomorrow, Thursday, at 1pm, followed by a consultation at 3 with the surgeon and his team. We are not sure at this time how much of the tumor will be removed as it has worked its way deep into the part of the brain that controls speech and memory. What cannot be removed safely, will have to be treated with radiation and possibly chemotherapy. This situation has been devasting to not only Brett, Lydia, and Malena, but to my family, the Keck family, and all of Brett’s and Lydia’s friends! Brett has a lot of support and prayer chains going for him, so if I may ask one thing of my friends, I ask for a small prayer for him that this will have a positive outcome. Thank you and God Bless.”

Whether you know Brett or not, if you believe in the power of prayer, please say a prayer for him, his doctors, and his family. Don’t know how to get started? Pray with me.

Everlasting Father, you are worthy of all praise. You created me in your image, and you give me the grace to walk in your way. I praise you, adore you. Especially in difficult times, I’m grateful you are there.

I am truly sorry for all of my sins, for not appreciating the blessings you bestow in my life, and for worrying about the little things.

Thank you so much for all of the blessings you give me. Thank you for the food that nourishes my body, for the friends and family that bring me up emotionally, and for your grace that heals souls.

Lord, please lay your healing hands over Brett. Send your angels to be with him and his doctors as they prepare for surgery. Give Brett physical, emotional, and spiritual fortitude to keep a positive attitude and to trust you even in the darkest times. Give Lydia and the family the strength to help support Brett, the support system to break down if they need to, and your peace, knowing that you love Brett even more than they do. Lord, so many people depend on Brett and love him–please heal him completely, and help him and those around him to see your presence in all situations. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

If you know Brett and would like to follow his progress or leave a message for him and the family, a CaringBridge website was started for him a few days ago. Click here for more information.

i believe in a thing called Love

February 14th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in Faith - (Comments Off on i believe in a thing called Love)

Just listen to the rhythm of my heart.

This is what really makes my heart flutter this Valentine’s Day.

Click to download 12″ x 12″ PDF Printable Version

**This design is based off a teacher’s bulletin board I saw on Pinterest (if you know whose it is, let me know and I’ll give them credit!). I used Photoshop and InDesign to recreate it. Feel free to print and download for personal use.

Make-A-List Monday – Before I Was Mama

January 30th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in Faith | Kids | Make-A-List Monday - (Comments Off on Make-A-List Monday – Before I Was Mama)

Today’s Make-A-List Monday is things I never had to think about before I was the mama. Being a mom is one of the greatest gifts anyone can receive, but it also comes with major life changes. So here was me, before I was Mom:

  1. It took a half hour at most to get to the grocery store, shop, and get home.
  2. I peed alone.
    And the only butt I had to wipe was my own.
    And I didn’t stand up and announce, “I need to go potty!” every time I needed to go.
    And I had never had a toddler say (loudly), “Good job, Mommy!” after I finished “going potty” in a public restroom.
  3. My house was still unorganized, but I had no one to blame it on but myself.
  4. I had never planned an entire day around nap time. Oh, nap time, how I love thee.
  5. I never noticed how many f-bombs are in R rated movies.
  6. My favorite brands were NOT Graco, Osh Kosh B’Gosh, and Carter’s.
  7. I kept my make-up in the bathroom, not the van. These days, it’s either mascara at stop lights or nothing.
  8. I didn’t know it was possible to love my husband any more than right then.
  9. I relied more on myself than on God. My faith has grown 100 fold since I had children because most of the time, I have no idea what I’m doing and just have to rely on Him. I’d go crazy with worry if I didn’t have faith in God.
  10. I couldn’t function on less than 8 hours of sleep. Haha, that one just makes me laugh now.
  11. Lunch with my mom consisted of actually having a conversation with her and catching up on each other’s lives, not chasing or quieting or encouraging small children to eat more than just ketchup.
  12. Time went by more slowly.
  13. While driving, I actually listened to music or talk radio instead of babbling of babies and toddlers.
  14. I never knew how intensely my own parents loved me. Or how annoying and sad it was when I fought with my siblings.
  15. I had no idea how strong I am. Or how amazing the human body is. Or that labor pain wouldn’t kill me, but could actually bring another life into this world. I was much less confident about my body then.
  16. I didn’t know how much love my heart could hold. It’s like my heart grew bigger with the birth of each child, and I’ve grown to love my honey even more seeing him as a father. Oh, how He loves us!

My four loves at Rocky Mountain National Park last fall. I AM SO BLESSED!

 

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