**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.
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:
It took a half hour at most to get to the grocery store, shop, and get home.
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.
My house was still unorganized, but I had no one to blame it on but myself.
I had never planned an entire day around nap time. Oh, nap time, how I love thee.
I never noticed how many f-bombs are in R rated movies.
My favorite brands were NOT Graco, Osh Kosh B’Gosh, and Carter’s.
I kept my make-up in the bathroom, not the van. These days, it’s either mascara at stop lights or nothing.
I didn’t know it was possible to love my husband any more than right then.
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.
I couldn’t function on less than 8 hours of sleep. Haha, that one just makes me laugh now.
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.
Time went by more slowly.
While driving, I actually listened to music or talk radio instead of babbling of babies and toddlers.
I never knew how intensely my own parents loved me. Or how annoying and sad it was when I fought with my siblings.
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.
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!
January 29th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in Faith - (Comments Off on Obamacare's Violation of Religious Freedom)
So yesterday I attended a wedding shower for my future sister-in-law and did a music trivia night to benefit our local Catholic high school, so I ran out of time to post anything for my Saturday Spruce-Up. I know my rabid readers are so disappointed, and I apologize…
Anyway, I was just introduced to a great article detailing the slippery slope we may be on in Obamacare’s mandate that everyone pay for things such as contraceptives, abortion causing drugs, and sterilization, even if it’s against one’s own conscience. Here is an excerpt from the article on WSJ.com by Timothy Dolan:
The Catholic Church defends religious liberty, including freedom of conscience, for everyone. The Amish do not carry health insurance. The government respects their principles. Christian Scientists want to heal by prayer alone, and the new health-care reform law respects that. Quakers and others object to killing even in wartime, and the government respects that principle for conscientious objectors. By its decision, the Obama administration has failed to show the same respect for the consciences of Catholics and others who object to treating pregnancy as a disease.
This latest erosion of our first freedom should make all Americans pause. When the government tampers with a freedom so fundamental to the life of our nation, one shudders to think what lies ahead.
In addition, Dolan explains that it’s not just the Catholics that object to this mandate.
Certainly many of these good people and groups [who objected to the mandate] were Catholic, but many were Americans of other faiths, or no faith at all, who recognize that their beliefs could be next on the block. They also recognize that the cleverest way for the government to erode the broader principle of religious freedom is to target unpopular beliefs first.
The government is basically attempting to take away freedom of conscience for the individual, which is against the Bill of Rights (Remember the first amendment – Freedom of Religion?). So what can we do about it? Pray, pray, pray. Spread the word, and don’t be afraid to speak up.
No matter what you believe, this is not just an issue about contraception, it’s a direct violation of everyone’s freedom of religion. If we just let this go, what’s next?
January 25th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in Faith | Kids - (Comments Off on March for Life 2012 – Love is the Answer)
You may or may not have heard, but the March for Life in Washington, D.C. took place again this year on Monday, January 23rd. The main stream media is not super interested in covering this because abortion is such a widely accepted practice in our country. Pro-lifers are almost seen as radicals in our day. Tim Muldoon, a blogger for Patheos.com, wrote an amazing post about the March for Life, calling it the “March for Love.” Here is an excerpt from that post (with parts I liked best in bold):
In our experience, the metanoia of loving has meant seeing orphans not as problems to be solved, but as beloved children who will gladden adoptive parents. If you are pro-choice, or if you are someone who has had an abortion, perhaps it may help to imagine what gives fire to the pro-life movement. Each pregnancy we see as a new opportunity for love, an irreplaceable gift that challenges us to love anew. We see abortion as an interruption of the potential for love, the opportunity for love, and so we hope to build a society in which those opportunities are welcomed. Our hope is both simple and profound: to treat human beings through the lens of love, rather than primarily through the lens of reason.
In the big picture, love is the far more powerful way of looking at the world. Love is the game-changer. People die for love; they stretch their energies and resources for love. They move to the farthest ends of the earth for love. They take on the greatest challenges for love. They fast, tighten their belts, work extra jobs, lose sleep for love. They imagine new possibilities. Reason is often a wet blanket: it tells us why we can’t do something (it’s too expensive; it will require too much work; it’s too hard…). Love, on the other hand, moves us to find the ways we can do something. It is the most deeply human dimension of our lives, because it is at the same time the most deeply rooted in the divine.
Wow, if we can all truly look at life through the lens of love, think of what our world could be. There are no “official” statistics out there, but it is estimated that between one and two million couples are waiting for a child to adopt, waiting to be able to show their love to a beautiful little child. So what is the right thing to do if you are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy? LOVE is always the answer.
I also found this video trying to help people understand the reasons behind the March for Life posted by The Bad Catholic. Check it out here:
And if you believe in the power of prayer, please pray for the victims of abortion, for their mothers who have been hurt emotionally, spiritually, and physically by abortion, for those pregnant women who are feeling alone and scared, and for a change of heart our country’s leaders.
Since I became a mother, my gross-out threshold has shot way up, but there are still some things that have a real ick factor. Let’s hope I’m not the only one.
Cheese out of an aerosol can(like Easy Cheese). Really, what must that stuff be made out of?
It's hard for me to even look at this picture! Yuck!
Getting poked with needles. I’ve given birth three times and had to be given IVs and had blood taken numerous times, but really, ew.
The smell of vomit. Yes, I’m a mother and I deal with it. I have to muscle through it when my kids are sick, but it really, really grosses me out.
Roaches. Thank God we’ve never had them in our house. We’d have to move.
Mice. These disease-harboring rodents give me the creeps, but at least they aren’t roaches.
Man vs. Food. Have you seen this show? A guy takes these food challenges and gorges himself on whatever the food of the day is. No matter what he eats, he looks like he wants to vomit when he’s done.
Raw chicken. Enough said.
Feet. Little tiny baby feet – adorable! Big kid or adult sweaty dirty feet – ew!
The low priority placed on faith. We as a country get so excited about sports, but we are never as excited or up front or even able to defend our faith. Think of the rejoicing that would go on in heaven if everyone got as excited about God as they did about the football games yesterday! Can you even imagine?
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January 7th, 2012 | Posted by Bryn in Faith - (Comments Off on The Power of Prayer – for Ella Cain)
I believe in the power of prayer. Do you?
This week in Quincy, IL, a family lost their home to an electrical fire. Their 15 month old daughter suffered severe burns and will likely be in the hospital for several months. If you believe in the power of prayer, please pray for Ella Cain. You can join the Facebook group to pray for her and receive updates here.
In addition, if you’d like to donate clothing, toiletries, other household items or make a monetary donation, please visit help-ella.com.
I have never met anyone in this family, but I do believe in the power of prayer that this little girl’s tiny body may be healed. If you don’t know how to start your prayer, just pray with me now.
Psalm 30:2 – O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.
Almighty Lord, I praise you and adore you. You are my creator and you rule over all things. You are everything that is, was, and shall be. I am truly sorry for everything I have done wrong lately, and I know that I am not worthy of your love and mercy. Please forgive my sins. Thank you for loving me and all your children anyway.
Lord Jesus, thank you for all the blessings in my life and for the blessings you have shown the Cain family. Although Ella is hurt, she is alive, she is the care of excellent doctors and nurses, and she has given so many people a real reason to hope and pray. Please heal her tiny body, lay your healing hands on her, Lord. Be with her doctors and nurses; guide their hands as they perform surgeries and procedures, and give them the knowledge on which paths to take in her recovery. Lord, be with Ella’s parents, her brother, her family, and everyone who loves her. Give them comfort in their times of need. Give them strength in times of weakness. Give them hope when things seem hopeless. And let them feel your love and the love of the thousands praying for them. Please also bless all those suffering for any reason, especially children and their parents. I ask these things in your holy name, Amen.
See? It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just a quick prayer will do.
To read the full story of the Ginster/Cain family’s house fire, visit help-ella.com.
Humility. It’s something we often don’t think much about. In our society, everyone is competing to make more money, to get the top spot in whatever they do, and to win. Always to win.
It’s especially that way in sports. Tim Tebow of the Denver Broncos (NFL football for my non-sportsy friends;) had an ad out at the Superbowl last year supporting Focus on the Family, a pro-life organization. (Click below to see the ad. I personally don’t see why anyone would find it terribly offensive, but whatever.)
Tebow, aka “God’s Quarterback,” is up front about his faith in Christ, and this rubs people the wrong way quite often. I admire the guy because in the world of professional sports, when it’s the norm to be promiscuous, greedy, rude, etc., he goes against the grain, is humble, and openly prays during games. He is being who he is, an authentic person. Even if you don’t agree with his beliefs, you have to respect him for being true to himself and to God whom he worships.
He is a wonderful role model in today’s “all-about-me” society as someone who is faithful and humble. He attributes all of his blessings to God. He usually has a bible verse on his eye black during each game. The one I saw recently was Eph. 2:8-10, which reads
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Tebow knows that God has prepared him to do good works in His name, and that his success is not of his own accord. Pretty cool when you think of all the arrogance in professional sports.
It’s also really important to have humility in marriage. Being humble gives you the ability to think of your spouse’s needs before my own, to perform acts of service for him, and acknowledge your own strengths and weaknesses.
Am I always humble? Of course not. I’m far from perfect, but always striving to do the right thing and to be a good person in God’s eyes is what I expect out of myself.
Are you humble?
Here is a check list to help examine the humility in your own heart:
Am I able to admit when I am wrong?
Do I handle criticism well or do I get defensive?
Am I able to recognize my own weaknesses and learn from them?
Do I tend to talk more or listen more?
Am I gracious when I am right and someone else is wrong or do I tend to gloat?
Do I give credit to those who have helped me or would I rather enjoy claiming glory for myself?
Do I enjoy “working behind the scenes” or would I rather be up front showing off?
Am I willing to ask for help if I need it?
Do I tend to get to know people for who they are, or do I judge them by their appearances?
Do I think of others’ needs (especially my spouse) before thinking of my own?
The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector – Luke 18:9-14
He then addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else.
“Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity—greedy, dishonest, adulterous—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’
But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Happy Thanksgiving! I think it’s so great that our country dedicates an entire day to celebrating the act of being thankful. It’s an act of the heart, and it’s not always easy to see how grateful we should be for the things we have, the people in our lives, and the blessings that have been bestowed on us.
My little Indian at his Thanksgiving feast at preschool
We are thankful. But who are you thanking?
I thank God, today and every day. Without Him, I’d be nothing. Without Him, my life wouldn’t have meaning.
With Him, all things are possible, and there’s always light at the end of the tunnel. Especially when I’m going through hard times, I rely on God to pick me up and bring me out of the darkness. I’m sure I’ll share some of those stories on here someday, but today is about being thankful.
So here is the short list of things I thank God for tonight:
Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Without this ultimate act of love, we’d never even have a chance to experience eternal life with God.
My honey. He’s my knight in shining armor and my favorite person to laugh with. Being his wife has changed me for the better, and the life we share together is more amazing than I ever could have imagined. He is stunning. In all possible ways.
That the sweetest kids I’ve ever known call me “Mom.” Who knew these little people could teach me such big lessons in life?
My parents and siblings. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without them.
Our little house, our vehicles, my husband’s job, and the rest of our material things. I have days when I just really want more and more things, but we’ve got all we need and more, and I’m thankful.
The health of myself and my family. A lot of people don’t have the blessing of good health, and I don’t want to take it for granted.
Retreats like Teens Encounter Christ and Cursillo. The communities of people that put these on make such a difference in bringing people to Christ and helping them to understand their faith. God has done wonderful things in my life through these movements.
Laughter and a sense of humor. Because who wants to be serious all the time?
October 6th, 2011 | Posted by Bryn in Faith - (Comments Off on Respect Life Month – 180 Movie)
I am posting this video in honor of the over 50 million children lost in this country alone since abortion became legal. It’s a 33 minute video, but it’s worth your time. Shocking, horrifying and thought-provoking all in one.
October 2nd, 2011 | Posted by Bryn in Faith - (Comments Off on Word of God Speak – The Cornerstone)
Today’s gospel is Matthew 21:33-43. At the end of this parable, Jesus says, “Have you never read in the scriptures: `The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”
The Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis - August 2011
So what is the “head of the corner,” aka the cornerstone? I looked it up.
Dictionary.com described “cornerstone” as
a stone uniting two masonry walls at an intersection.
a stone representing the nominal starting place in the construction of a monumental building, usually carved with the date and laid with appropriate ceremonies.
something that is essential, indispensable, or basic: The cornerstone of democratic government is a free press.
the chief foundation on which something is constructed or developed: The cornerstone of his argument was that all people are created equal.
Each of these definitions applies to Jesus as the cornerstone of the Church – the body of Christ, not a building.
The first definition makes me think of Jesus as uniting the Jews and Gentiles of His time. At that time, Jewish people would have nothing to do with Gentiles and regarded them as unclean. It is true that the Hebrew people had the original covenant as God’s Chosen People. Jesus showed them that although they were His chosen people, God loves everyone and calls us all to be holy and have faith in Him. Each group is a wall, and Jesus is the one thing to build on, the one thing which we can all agree.
The second definition reminds me that our entire faith, the way we live our lives, the way our Church is in the world is all in relationship to the fact that Jesus came to earth to be our Savior. Without Him, we wouldn’t have a place to start.
The third definition tells us that Jesus is essential, indispensable, and basic. The words “essential” and “indispensable” actually mean “absolutely necessary.” Jesus is absolutely necessary to our individual spiritual lives and to our collective lives in the Church. Jesus is our moral and ethical guide. The word “basic” means “forming an essential foundation or starting point; fundamental.” As Christians, Jesus should be our starting point for every decision we ever make.
The fourth definition also applies to both our individual spiritual lives as well as to building the Church. He is our rock and our foundation. He is strong even when we aren’t. When there is any question of morals or faith, we can turn to Christ. Prayer becomes our lifeline, and He is always faithful to His promises.