Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Holy Week Daybook

Outside my window ...
... we are in the midst of a cold snap. We had such lovely spring days last week and the week before, and now the temperature can barely get to 40, and some snow flurries fell from the sky today. Not very Easter-y weather. Hopefully by Sunday, things will feel warmer and be brighter!

In my thoughts ...
... are plans for the Triduum and Easter. I got out some Easter dresses from the clothing bins, but I still need to match children with dresses. I probably still need to purchase some tights and shoes. (Where did the time go to get all of these things done?) I hope I have the Easter basket goodies all figured out. And plans for various liturgies and traditions are underway. We have had a lot of stress within our family this Lent, so even though I intended to keep away from the checklists, I still do not feel like we did "enough." At the same time, I know I have limitations, both physically and mentally, so simple is OK this year. I feel closer to the suffering and persecuted Lord than I have ever felt before, and even though it is painful, I am grateful for that.

On the table ...
... Hot Cross Buns to have for Good Friday breakfast. On Good Friday, we also have a simple lunch, sitting on the floor, of bread, cheese and grapes. On Easter Sunday, we will have traditional brunch with egg casseroles, cream cheese coffee cake, fruit, juice and strong coffee.

I am wearing ...
... a fleece sweatshirt and jeans.

I am reading ...
... The Long Loneliness by Dorothy Day. I am not far into it, but I am enjoying it very much. Even though Dorothy Day didn't grow up in a religious family, as a child she has a profound sense of the sacred. She prays, even though no one has taught her. She tries to be a saint, even though she really doesn't know of an example to follow. I am currently reading about her years at university, where her faith diminishes and she begins her plight to help the poor. She is so far away from God and any type of religion. I look forward to reading about her conversion.

Here is a quote I recently read that resonated with me. I think most of us can relate to the "long loneliness" at some point in our lives:

During that time I felt the spell of the long loneliness descend on me. In all that great city of seven millions, I found no friends; I had no work; I was separated from my fellows. Silence in the midst of city noises oppressed me. My own silence, the feeling that I had no one to talk to overwhelmed me so that my very throat was constricted; my heart was heavy with unuttered thoughts; I wanted to weep my loneliness away (page 51).

A few of my favorite things ...
... doTerra essential oils that I'm slowly incorporating into my family's medicine cabinet.
... Flavored sparkling water that I'm trying to drink instead of soda/pop

I am thankful for ...
... Jesus' merciful love for me; Mary's strong example of faithfulness; the privilege to read at the Good Friday liturgy in just a couple days

I am praying for ...
... my husband and children
... the ability to recover from a financial hardship
... priests, religious and an increase in vocations
... YOU, that you will have a beautiful, prayerful and holy Triduum

Thursday, April 10, 2014

All or Nothing

Two weeks ago, I sat down with my husband and our calendars, and I said, "Greg, I need to find time this week to exercise."

Being the supportive husband that he is, he responded with, "Well, when do you want to do it?"

I said, "How about Monday, Tuesday and Friday evenings?"

He agreed and immediately put the dates into his Google calendar, and I wrote them into my Catholic Daily Planner.

As the week progressed, I worked out every single time that I was scheduled to do so. It was such a successful week! Not only because I scheduled my exercise, but also because I intentionally made my days more active.


By going upstairs one more time, instead of asking one of the kids to do it for me. By keeping up with the housework, which really adds up to quite a bit of activity. And by just trying to get more steps in each day, for example, by parking a little further away at Aldi or Target.

At the end of the week, I felt stronger, more balanced, less stressed and all-around in a better mood.

So, what caused me not to repeat that pattern the following week or even this week? Why wouldn't I workout or get more activity into my day, when I know it is so good for me—physically, mentally and emotionally?

It all boils down to perfectionism: If I don't start the week out strong, I may as well just forget it. If I don't workout Monday evening, why bother working out Tuesday or Wednesday? If I can't get exercise in at the ideal time of day, well, then what's the point?

If you have any tendency toward perfectionism, you can relate to my way of thinking. If you do not, you might just think I'm crazy.

With so many things in my life, perfectionism can rob me of good thoughts, good activities, good moods. And for what? Even I am not sure. But often that darn perfectionism really ruins things for me: like at least doing a little bit, even if I can't do it all. Like getting back into my healthy eating habits, even after I "slip up" one afternoon by dipping into the Easter candy early.

Someone once told me: If you accidentally spilled red wine on your white carpet, would you just say, "Oh well!" And pour the rest of the glass onto the carpet? Of course not! The same is true for slip ups in healthy eating or maintaining an exercise routine. It's NOT all or nothing! It's so much better and healthier to just do something! To say, "Yesterday wasn't great, but today I'm back on track!" Or even, "This morning wasn't great, but I'm not going to let that ruin the entire day!"

Today, I was talking to a friend on the phone about this exact subject, and thankfully, she understood me. She encouraged me—she encouraged both of us—to "do" 15 minutes sometime today. And her encouragement made all the difference!

When my kids got home from school this afternoon, we went outside, and we played. I chased them; they chased me, and afterward, we went for a nice walk. No, it's not a power walk, when you're holding a three-year-old's hand, and I didn't burn as many calories pushing my children on the swings as I would've if I had danced to my Zumba DVD. But my 15 minutes (maybe even more) broke the chains of perfectionism for at least today (but hopefully for tomorrow, too).

(Linking up to Minnesota Mom's Weigh-in Wednesday. Check it out! It's a very encouraging link up!)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Rediscovering the Sacraments: Part 3

On Monday, we started the series on Rediscovering the Sacraments by defining the sacraments and then exploring the sacraments of initiation. Yesterday, we continued with a look at the sacraments of healing. Today, we conclude our series on receiving the sacraments with intention and wonder by looking at the sacraments of mission: Holy Orders and Matrimony.

Join us at, and please feel free to join in the conversation with ways you receive the sacraments with intention and wonder.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Rediscovering the Sacraments: Part 2

Please join me today over at for the second part of my series Rediscovering the Sacraments. Today, I talk about the sacraments of healing: Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Rediscovering the Sacraments

One Sunday at Mass, I realized that I had just received the Eucharistic Lord mindlessly. I felt so badly that such a special moment was done without thinking, that I decided to renew my commitment to the sacraments, to refresh myself in their purpose in the Church as well as to me personally. Doing so has helped me receive the sacraments with greater intention and wonder. And when I begin to get lazy again, I just recommit (again and again).

Today, I invite you to join me over at for a three-part series on Rediscovering the Sacraments. It will be published today, tomorrow and Wednesday. As we enter into spring, many of us are preparing our children for First Confession and First Holy Communion. So, I thought it would be nice to offer a little refresher course for those of us who have been partaking of the sacraments for years and years. I hope it will be a series that renews and refreshes you, especially as we draw closer to Holy Week.

Here is a link to the first installment: Rediscovering the Sacraments: The Sacraments of Initiation. And please feel free to join the conversation either here or at


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