'Muff'in Dome

Our Triumph, Our Joy

sunrise Half Moon Bay

The triumph of life over death is where we find our JOY as Christians. Christ has conquered death through His rising from the grave!

The sin and evil in the world is nothing compared with the love of our God. We know that despite the hardships we face, there is joy in the suffering, for it will not have the final say. Glory will come in the morning.

Let us proclaim Christ’s resurrection when His light illuminates the darkest moments of our existence and we are able to share it with others; when we know how to smile with those who smile, and weep with those who weep; when we walk alongside those who are sad and at risk of losing hope; when we recount our experience of faith to those who are in search of meaning and happiness. With our attitude, our witness, our life, we say: Jesus is risen! We say this with all our soul. … Easter is the event that brought radical newness to every human being, for history and for the world: it is the triumph of life over death; it is the celebration of reawakening and regeneration. Let our existence be conquered and transformed by the Resurrection!  ~Pope Francis, Regina Coeli Address, Easter 2015

We must be a witness to this joy of the resurrection in our own lives, leading others to see that Christ will overcome the darkness of pain and suffering in their lives. He will carry us through and revivify us after our sorrow.

There is hope for tomorrow. 

My Favorite Childhood Books {7QT}

I’ve been working through Modern Mrs. Darcy’s 2015 Reading Challenge. She recently gave some great ideas for the category — “a book from your childhood”, so I thought I would share a few of my own.

I’m not sure when I get to it whether I will choose one I have already read and enjoyed or pick one that I meant to read as a child but never got around to it.

Here are the top 7 books from my childhood:

little women

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – Perhaps it was a lack of sisters that drew me to this book, but I always loved the stories of these lovely ladies relating to and leaning on one another. Beth was always my favorite. I even got to play the part of her in a short excerpt from the play I did in an acting workshop. Definitely a highlight of my childhood.

sideways stories from wayside school

Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar – These silly stories were so entertaining for someone who didn’t spend much time inside the walls of a school (I was homeschooled). Perhaps it was the imagining of the somewhat unknown in this way that made it all the more fun.

TheBFG

The BFG by Roald Dahl – The character for whom this book is named seemed the giant who would defeat all the scary monsters of my imagination. And it is good to have one of these.

hailstones and halibut bones

Hailstones and Halibut Bones by Mary O’Neill – I’ve never been one who was too hot on poetry but this one stuck by my side throughout childhood. I think it was the lyrical poems paired with the beautiful color drawings that captured my attention. I even attempted some of my own poem/drawing pairings inspired by this book.

Beezus_and_Ramona

Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary – I’m not really sure why, but I always identified with Ramona from this book. Although I was the older sister and probably would have been a better fit with Beezus, I liked her antics and sassiness.

linnea in monet's garden

Linnea in Monet’s Garden by Christina Bjork and Lena Anderson – This book sparked my love for Monet and his paintings from a young age. I still love to look through this book and admire his waterlily paintings. It was a huge lifelong dream when I got to see many of his works at the Orangerie in Paris while I was studying there. Someday, I hope to go to his home and see his garden.

From-the-Mixed-Up-Files

From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Koningsburg – Was this a favorite because it took place in the MET? I don’t know. ;) There seems to be a common theme of art here in many of my favorites. I love the adventure she went on with her brother there and I secretly hoped to do something as adventurous in life.

 

I also had a serious thing for the “Choose Your Own Adventure” series. I usually ended up going back to the beginning several times, trying out all the different options. But I don’t think I will be revisiting those at this time. ;)

 

What are some of your childhood favorites?

 

Linking up with Kelly from This Ain’t the Lyceum for Seven Quick Takes Friday.

 

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The Ancient Path {A Book Review}

The Ancient Path

I’ve dabbled a bit in reading the works of the Church Fathers {or Patristics, as it is commonly called}, but my familiarity with it certainly falls short. This became quite apparent after reading John Michael Talbot’s latest work, The Ancient Path: Old Lessons from the Church Fathers for a New Life Today.

To be honest, I picked up this book because I love his music and several dear people in my life have a love for the Christian Eastern spirituality {where knowledge of the Fathers is much more prevalent} and I wanted to know better why. I didn’t know quite what to expect. And I got much more than I bargained for in reading it through.

Talbot introduces us to his great love for the Fathers’ works by recounting his journey with them through his conversion, his establishment of a monastic lay community, and beyond. I never heard his full story {and I won’t spoil it here} but it is an inspiring one of honest struggle with the truth of God and how He calls us to live out our lives.

The Church Fathers guided Talbot on the path to Catholicism. Throughout the first half of the book, He shows where they affirm and confirm how Scripture finds its source and measure in the Church, uphold the doctrine of the Eucharist, defend the Church against heresies concerning Christ’s humanity and divinity {still alive and well today in slight variations}, show how Apostolic authority is handed down, and demonstrate the development of doctrine.

The second half of the book, he turns to Catholics reminding them of the importance of the Church “breathing with two lungs” as Pope John Paul II called it. He invites Westerners to delve more deeply into the Fathers so can come to appreciate and welcome more easily what the East has maintained and shares with us in their Liturgy and customs today.

I had heard of the Jesus Prayer {Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner} before but this simple prayer became all the more rich and beautiful after his explanation of it. {Note: Found out he’s written an entire book on it.}

That simple formula includes elements of adoration, contrition, and supplication. It confesses Jesus’s divinity and our own sinfulness. It’s as hard as a diamond, but it rises lightly as a breath. It has sustained the inner life of ascetics and ordinary folk in the Eastern churches for well over a millennium. . . .

The Fathers teach us to unite the Jesus Prayer with our breathing, and breathing takes place in two motions. We inhale, and we exhale. . . . With the intake, we say, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God”; and then with the outflow, we say, “Have mercy on me, a sinner.”

As we inhale, we fill our lungs up, and so symbolically we fill our spirit–with Jesus, the Lord and Christ!

Then, as we exhale, we’re letting go. We’re separating ourselves from sin by our confession that we are sinners and our plea for mercy.

We would do well to adopt this prayer.

Be warned: this book just might add more reading to your shelf. My first purchase after finishing this book was Jimmy Akin’s The Fathers Know Best.

Time to fall more deeply in love with all that the Church has handed on to us.

 

I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a review.

Moments {Vol. 7}

swinging at the park

Always enjoy swinging together. “Stisters” – as Evey likes to say.

milkshakes at the park

Picnic in the park per Evey’s request, complete with milkshakes. 

strolling at the park

Not too thrilled that she’s missing out on the milkshake.

resting

Sleeping off all that awful illness and allergies that just won’t quit.

St. Francis hug

Hugging her friend, St. Francis, when she spotted him at the nursery.

standing at the bookcaseShe’s pulling up on EVERYTHING {and unloading EVERYTHING}.

mixing up waffles

My little helper in the kitchen mixing up Sunday morning waffles.

cousins meeting Jed

Cousins meeting Gram and Pumpkin’s newest addition – Jed, the puppy. {He almost disappears in this pic!}

hanging with Jed

Not sure who wins the cute contest here {but the grumpy face may disqualify you, Lucie}. ;)

bone for Jed

Evey picked out a little, rubber bone for Jed at the store and was excited to bring it to him at the puppy shower.

Jed's puppy shower cake

Puppy shower kibble cake made by my uber-talented SIL, Nancy.

exercise attempts

Trying SO HARD to get back into an exercise routine {but mostly failing miserably}. Although, these cute leggings from Nell at Whole Parenting Goods help me find some joy in the endeavor.

Easter crafting

Easter crafting it up. {Never finished our project, though. Story of life right now….}

Easter bunny

This is what it means to have an older sister. She sure is a cute bunny, though.

visiting great grandma

Visiting Great-Grandma’s grave on the 2nd anniversary of her death, which happened to fall on Good Friday this year.

flowers for great grandma

Helping Grandma put flowers at the gravestone.

sponge painting

Artful Tot at the Crocker this week. We thoroughly enjoyed stamping with the finger paint. {But preferred not to get our fingers messy.}

glue blobs

The glue was also a hit. She just sat there squeezing it for 15 minutes straight, into a little pile on her paper. She was fascinated.

le chat noir

Skipped {literally} through the Toulouse-Latrec exhibit at the Crocker, where our favorite {of course} was the black cat {although we misnamed it the “white cat”}. Perhaps for what it lacked?

old soul tea break

Intense rain storm called for a warming treat at a local coffee shop where they know how to do latte art right. Evey and I read while Lucie napped in her carseat. A huge thunderstorm blew in while we were enjoying our treat and we watched it hail for a few minutes, and heard the thunder which drew rather close. It was special, peaceful, wonderful moment I shared with my lovely Evelyn. <3

library explorations

Waiting for Daddy to finish work, we killed time in the library and let Lucie burn off some steam after being cooped up the stroller and carseat most of the day. She was most interested in munching on the back of chairs. {And I wonder why we’ve been sick most the winter…..}

Inspiring Magazine for Young Women – Radiant Awakening {Giveaway!-CLOSED}

Radiant Awakening Email Cover

Growing up there were very few magazines that truly left me inspired, particularly ones geared towards the teen and young adult set. Most articles had something to do with crushing on the latest celebrity, how to gossip well, or the secrets to catching that guy’s attention with sexy (and skimpy) attire. Sorry, editors, but there was a little more to my life than these frivolous matters.

Fortunately, there are better things on the market today, most notably, Radianta magazine for the young, Catholic woman. 

It features a beautiful spread covering a variety of topics related to living out the Faith in one’s daily life.

Real stories of faith-filled, young women praising and honoring Jesus through their every day lives. A glimpse at hip, modern fashion that puts an element of fun in modesty. Delicious recipes to wow your friends and family with your culinary skills. How-tos in boosting particular virtues in your life that seem rather elusive. Opportunities for bringing God’s love and Good News to others.

This year they are publishing a single issue — Radiant Awakening — which will be coming out in mid-April. And I have a free copy to giveaway! (courtesy of the editor)

To be entered to win, simply comment on this post with why you would like to receive a copy. Giveaway will end April 14th, 9pm PST.

 

You can also head here to purchase your copy. 

 

**Anne Marie Barr — you are the winner of the giveaway! Congratulations! I’ll be emailing you shortly to get shipping information.**

 

The Quotable St. John Paul the Great

pope john paul ii

I’m thinking of St. John Paul the Great today on the tenth anniversary of his death, which happens to coincide with Holy Thursday this year. He died on the vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday. It seems rather apt that the recollection of his death always falls within Lent or the Easter season, as he was an amazing witness to living the life of Christ crucified, especially towards the end of his life.

This heroic man was a man of great faith, great hope, great love in this oftentimes rough world we live in. He had a profound impact on my youth as he did in the lives of many others. That’s a story for another day, but I wanted to share a few of my favorite quotes of his with you today, as well as my favorite books.

His writings and words are nearly inexhaustible and everything is so rich. Most things I have read at least twice, which is saying something as it is not something I do often with books.

 

peeking jpII

  • “Faith and Reason are like two wings of the human spirit by which is soars to the truth.”
  • “Artistic talent is a gift from God and whoever discovers it in himself has a certain obligation: to know that he cannot waste this talent, but must develop it.”

jpii arms outstretched

  • “Do not be afraid. Do not be satisfied with mediocrity. Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”
  • “A person’s rightful due is to be treated as an object of love, not as an object for use.”

Pope_John_Paul_II and baby

  • “As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.”
  • “Ask yourselves, young people, about the love of Christ. Acknowledge His voice resounding in the temple of your heart. Return His bright and penetrating glance which opens the paths of your life to the horizons of the Church’s mission. It is a taxing mission, today more than ever, to teach men the truth about themselves, about their end, their destiny, and to show faithful souls the unspeakable riches of the love of Christ. Do not be afraid of the radicalness of His demands, because Jesus, who loved us first, is prepared to give Himself to you, as well as asking of you. If He asks much of you, it is because He knows you can give much.”

john paul ii actor

  • “The Gospel lives in conversation with culture, and if the Church holds back from the culture, the Gospel itself falls silent. Therefore, we must be fearless in crossing the threshold of the communication and information revolution now taking place.”
  • “Limitation of one’s freedom might seem to be something negative and unpleasant, but love makes it a positive, joyful and creative thing. Freedom exists for the sake of love.”

Pope-John-Paul-II-Shaving

  • “Life is entrusted to man as a treasure which must not be squandered, as a talent which must be used well.”
  • “Without wonder, men and women would lapse into deadening routine and little by little would become incapable of a life which is genuinely personal.”

pope-john-paul-ii

  • “Christ is the sacrament‎ of the invisible God – a sacrament that indicates presence. God is with us.”
  • “Man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, can fully find himself only through a sincere gift of himself.”

JohnPaulOlder

  • “We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures, we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of His Son Jesus.”
  • “Faced with today’s problems and disappointments, many people will try to escape from their responsibility. Escape in selfishness, escape in sexual pleasure, escape in drugs, escape in violence, escape in indifference and cynical attitudes. I propose to you the option of love, which is the opposite of escape.”

jpii writing

Books

Love and Responsibility
Theology of the Body
Person and Community
The Jeweler’s Shop
Crossing the Threshold of Hope
Memory and Identity: Conversations at the Dawn of a New Millennium
Rise, Let Us Be On Our Way

Encyclicals and Letters

Faith and Reason {Fides et Ratio}
The Gospel of Life {Evangelium Vitae}
The Splendor of Truth {Veritatis Splendor}
On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering {Salvifici Doloris}
On the Most Holy Rosary {Rosarium Virginis Mariae}
On Commitment to Ecumenism {Ut Unum Sint}
On the Family {Familiaris Consortio}
On the Dignity and Vocation of Women {Mulieris Dignitatis}
On Catholic Universities {Ex Corde Ecclesiae}
Stay With Us Lord {Mane Nobiscum Dominae}

Two Great Biographies

Witness to Hope by George Weigel
John Paul the Great: Remembering a Spiritual Father by Peggy Noonan
Saint John Paul the Great: His Five Loves by Jason Evert

Obedience as an Act of Love

sharing

We are entering into the years where we begin expecting obedience from our toddler. Obviously, it is not that easy — even if she understands what I’m asking her to do, she doesn’t jump to it right away. It is a process that is ongoing and difficult and growing {for both of us}.

Even for the most docile of children, obedience is not automatic. Even for the children that like to please their parents, it is not a given. These are helpful, but I’m finding that what is even more important is what I GIVE.

 

I recently started the Popcaks’ book, Parenting With Grace. Within the first few pages, I stumbled across something that really struck a chord with me: inspiring obedience through an example of loving service. The goal isn’t to instill obedience out of fear – of what might happen if they don’t obey, but rather instill obedience out of love – and what might happen if they DO.

I’ve always loved St. John Paul the Great’s Theology of the Body. One of the things he emphasizes over and over in it is the fact that the body is made to communicate the person and that the body speaks the language of self-donation or gift. Our bodies make us capable of giving of ourselves. They make us able to serve others. Through our bodies we are capable of committing acts of love.

As parents {and in any other capacity where we expect obedience from others}, we must first give example through loving service. We must give of ourselves in order to inspire others to do so in return.

This teaches an obedience based on friendship rather than fear.  We want to teach our children an obedience that anticipates and fulfills the needs of another, so that, in turn, they may learn to do this for others themselves.

Seen in this light, obedience is really another form of intimacy where one person attentively seeks out the needs of the other and lovingly fulfills them, often without being asked, certainly without being asked twice. (Popcak, p.25)

We want to inspire our children to be obedient through an example of loving service. If we are generous and loving with our children, in turn, they will want (hopefully!) to be generous and loving with us.

 

Christ gave us this example on the Cross. He gave a complete and total gift of Himself when He died on Good Friday. Christ sought to inspire obedience in us through His loving example.  We love Christ because He loved us first. Through His generous gift of self, we are inspired to do the same for Him.

 

Through acts of love, may we obey Christ and inspire our children to return the love in obedience to us.

bislinkup

 

Linking up with Blessed is She‘s #bissisterhood on the topic of “obedience”.

Ten Fun Toys for Entertaining Toddlers on a Plane

flying with E

We’re headed to New York City next month for a few days which will require a long cross-country flight with our girls. We’ve done a flight that long with Evey before when she was about 7 months, and she did fairly well. {Probably better than we did, actually. ;)} But we’ve got two this time — both at very active ages — so I’m filling up my bag o’ tricks in the hopes that things will go smoothly with a steady stream of entertainment for the flight.

L & friends

Here are a few things I’ll be adding to our travel bag:

Madeline Magnet Characters – I used to love these and felt boards when I was little. The possibilities for storytelling and imagination are endless. {I also have a small copy of Madeline I can tuck into my bag as well so we can read the story along with acting it out on the board.} And don’t miss this company’s fridge magnets of different varieties — they have ABCs, NumbersFruits and Vegetables, Farm animals, Babar, Andy Warhol, Eric Carle, and many others. We have the ABCs and we LOVE them!

Flash Cards – Mudpuppy makes a great variety of themed flash cards all attached with a ring to keep them together. I really like their Counting Fruits and Veggies and Animal ABCs.

Animal ABCs Mark Place Mats – This silicone place mat comes with wipeable markers so we can color the picture again and again. Because we like that sort of thing. ;)

Tegu Magnetic Blocks – These little blocks come in their own sealable pouch so they can be contained when not in use. And major plus on their magnetism! This will, hopefully, keep them from tumbling off whatever surface we are working on whenever their is turbulence.

Our Lady of Fatima Shining Light Doll - The girls both love to play with our Shining Light dolls which are a perfect size for slipping into backpacks for on-the-go. It’s a great way to introduce them to our heavenly friends.

Classic Wooden Vehicle Lacing Beads – Lacing beads are a favorite pastime for little fingers around here. These ones and others by this company are great because the shapes can be played with separately too.

Toy Camera – Evelyn likes to “take pictures” on our travels too. This fun, wooden camera is perfect for doing just that.

Story Box Circus - The box this comes in doubles as a stage for the circus characters. Another great win for imaginative play on-the-go!

Winnie the Pooh character toys – I know these are listed as bath toys but ours have never seen water. They are tons of fun for entertaining and chewing on for teethers.

Travel Magna-doodle – If you take nothing else, this is a must. Evelyn has had hers for about a year now and it has saved us numerous times on long car trips, during mama’s shower time, and when she’s just in a plain, bad mood.

Any other recommendations for good travel toys to bring for little ones?

holding giraffe

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{7QT} : Spring Has Sprung!

Some rambling thoughts about what’s been going on at the homestead lately……

Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 9.45.53 AM

One) I’m in a total Spring cleaning mode now that the weather has turned to warm. So much to be done…so little time.

I’ve been making some major headway going through clothing, giving things away, storing out-of-season outfits, and the never-ending swapping to the next size that happens every few months with babies.

I’m also digging in and trying my hand out at sewing some things for the summer months. My friend, Nell, has inspired me with her awesome hand-sewn threads to try out working with jersey fabric this year which I’ve always steered clear of for fear of lighting my machine on fire or something with it. {It’ll probably be something quite less dramatic, I’m sure.} I haven’t stitched anything just yet, but I’ve gathered a few cute fabrics to make the girls pull-over dresses and I might — just might! — try out shorts or leggings too. We’ll see how brave I get.

In those rare moments where the nap gods smile down on me with simultaneous sleepers, I’ve been whipping Evey together some basic skirts. She’s getting quite good at dressing herself these days. Well, I’m actually not allowed to touch anything unless she finds herself completely hopeless, trapped with her head in a sleeve or something similar. Part of that, involves putting on as many pieces of clothing as I will allow for the weather. She likes to slip a skirt on over her pants especially, so I thought I’d give her a little more variety. It’s a good excuse for me to buy as many cute fabrics as I can because I have an easy way to use them. And a girl can never have too many skirts, right?

embroidered flowers

Two) While we’re on the topic of stitching, I recently took up embroidery. I’ve done plenty of cross-stitching in my days {although it’s been a while since I’ve whipped up anything…and that may have to do with the awful carpal tunnel I developed with one of the last projects I did while ill one day, ALL DAY}. Knitting has, admittedly, been my poison during the winter months, but I’m not digging it as much with the 80 degree weather. So embroidered tea towels it is. I’m considering stitching some designs onto one of the skirts I’ve made for Evelyn. We’ll see if I get so daring.

 photo de64b6e9-c77c-443d-89f2-9dbda1dc1586_zps9t4oyjzx.png

Three) I’ve been a bit quiet here as much of my online time has been devoted to editing the blog over at Blessed is She. We’ve had some beautiful posts on there the past few weeks. Check it out. And while you’re at it, stop by and link up with us on this week’s topic: TRUST. And just when you thought Jenna’s brilliancy couldn’t get any brighter, she comes up with this.  !!!!

Four) We’re in the final countdown weeks until Steve is done with his MPA program. {Can’t wait!!!!} He’s been working so hard and I’m so proud of him. If you could spare an extra prayer or two for him, it would much appreciated. :)

sleepy head

Five) I mentioned this in my last post, but we were slammed with a major bug {or two} this past month. Every one of us ended up at the doctor at some point. And only Lucie made it out without a prescription. The after effects have been hanging on. We are definitely looking forward to better health and warmer weather that, hopefully, comes with the Spring. {Happy Spring Equinox, btw!}

rainbow carrots

Six) We veered a little off course from the traditional corned beef and cabbage for St. Paddy’s Day, and went with a hearty Irish lamb stew and soda bread on the side. Personally, I’m all for nixing the former entirely and going with the latter exclusively from now on. It was one of the best dishes I’ve ever had. I also tried my hand at making homemade Irish cream. It was quite tasty. Even better the second and third day. Next time, I think I will make it at least 24 hours in advance so the flavors can meld together better.

Seven) Easter is on the horizon. This has been a slow-and-steady Lent. He’s been molding me in ways I was not expecting. I’m excited to start the preparations for Easter. We’re going on a trip to NYC in mid-April for a wedding so I’m trying to gather a few things for the girls’ baskets that will be useful on our trip for entertaining. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post with a few ideas I’ve hatched up. {Pun intended. . . I crack myself up sometimes.} I’m done.

 

Linking up with the lovely Kelly over at This Ain’t the Lyceum for Friday’s Seven Quick Takes.

Be Reconciled, One to Another

“So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24
Rembrandt - Prodigal Son

Sometimes it is difficult to see the value in seeking forgiveness or granting forgiveness. It’s easier to think that I’m right and they’re just being stubborn or to just go on sulking about the way she treated me. The thoughts that easily creep to mind are: I can’t let her get away with that! or He’ll probably just treat me that way again if I let him think I’m weak enough to forgive him. or No way am I apologizing first after the way she treated me!

But these thoughts are destructive. They are destructive of relationships.

No one of us is perfect. We all fall at different points in time. I don’t know about you, but I want mercy in those times I am weak. I don’t want to be made to feel like my wrongdoing is a stone which sinks me deeper into the abyss that I’ve thrown myself into by my actions or words. I want to be cut free. Free to swim alongside my friend, rather than sink further away.

If the good Lord can forgive our shortcomings so easily, how can we deny the same to others?

If we can’t learn the art of forgiveness, we might as well be pouring cement into our hearts, watching it set until it becomes impenetrable.

forgive

These past few weeks have been rough. Every single one of us has been sick, and most with multiple issues. It has made for some very tense moments. The overwhelming fatigue has not helped anything. We’re already very much in survival mode as Steve finishes off his final semester of grad school, so to add one more thing to the mix has made the days seem insurmountable at times.

I began the few days leading up to Ash Wednesday, this Lent, thinking of the self-imposed penances I would take on. But there was no need. God has gifted me my Lent. He is showing me where I need to be strengthened and what rough edges need to be made smooth. He knows me better than I know myself.

Lent is traditionally seen as a good time to seek reconciliation with God in particular areas where we find we are turning our backs on Him. But this is equally important with the people in our lives. As a college professor used to remind us, our vertical relationship {with God} is often a mirror of our horizontal relationship {with others}. Since what we do unto others, we do unto Him, we must strive to strengthen and maintain the relationships He places in our lives.

So with all of the tough stuff I mentioned going on at home, we’ve been practicing the art of forgiveness on the horizontal plane. A lot.

A few days ago, I got offended over something I really shouldn’t have after an interaction I had with Steve. In the moment, I felt he was being rude, when really it was me. I didn’t feel well. I was deep in chores that were piling up by the minute. No excuse, really. But isn’t it easy to make them? Isn’t it easy to tell ourselves that we’re not the ones at fault?

It took a few minutes, but I realized my mistake. I walked over and wrapped my arms around him, asking for forgiveness.

I’m not always this quick to notice my mistakes. Nor am I always this quick to seek forgiveness. Sometimes I just want to wallow in my pride and continue counting up the points against the other person, ticking off the reasons why it couldn’t be my fault.

But, I find, that if I recognize even one thing to be my fault, I should tear down the invisible wall being erected between us by reaching out a olive branch of peace. It doesn’t help to continue laying on the bricks.

Especially with things stewing in a household between family members, you set yourselves up for further offense. Hatred builds in a place where love should reign supreme.

I noticed an immediate response from him of broken tension. The hurt began rushing away.

I am very blessed to have such an understanding man, who accepts my olive branches, even on my worst days.

 

Steve and I work on offering and accepting forgiveness between ourselves not only for the sake of our own relationship, but also as an example to our daughters. We, too, teach them to say sorry when they have hurt another. We ask for their forgiveness when we have made a mistake or offended them. They will gain a stronger sense of God’s mercy through these acts and be better able to ask His forgiveness when they begin to recognize an ability to sin.

We image the mercy of God to them and to each other. 

reconciliation

As Pope Francis remarked today,

“We are ministers of mercy thanks to God’s mercy, and we must never lose this view to the supernatural that makes us truly humble, welcoming and merciful towards every brother and sister who wishes to confess.”

Let us be mercy to one another so that His mercy, too, may be sought. Let us live and love as Christ does, so that by our example we may bring others to rest in His love.

 

Force yourself, if necessary, always to forgive those who offend you, from the very first moment. For the greatest injury or offense you can suffer from them is nothing compared to what God has forgiven you. {St. Josemaria Escriva ~ The Way 452} 

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