by Jessica Rinaudo As a convert to Catholicism there is a lot to learn that cradle Catholics often take for granted. In addition to the prayers (which, fortunately were similar to my original faith tradition), there are many physical actions … Continue reading
I have a spiritual accountability partner (henceforth referred to as SAP). Like many souls, my drive and motivation tend to fluctuate and I can’t tell you how this girl helps keep my heart above water. We check up on each other every few weeks and though our discussion frequently strays from the spiritual to the domestic, I’m always inspired at the close of our conversations. We haven’t been doing this for long, but it’s certain that God is working through her to move my soul. The other day we were talking about disciplining young toddlers and she mentioned maintaining “the angelic sweetness of Mary” toward both her little ones and husband. Since our conversation, this phrase has been playing non-stop like a song in my head. I’ve read that angelic sweetness stems from a prayer life that is constant – a life that is centered on God. What’s particularly wonderful to me personally is that my confessor recently advised me to always stay in touch with God; to bring Him everything – EVERYTHING. (Side note: How cool that my SAP and confessor mentioned the same ideas around the same time!) I want to bring God all matters great and simple because I know that without Him, I’m nothing but bad habits on two legs.
Ok – for example :) It’s rough getting out the door to scoot about town running errands with Liam and a [very large and active] in-utero baby boy – I need the diaper bag, keys, my wallet, the to-do list, Liam of course, energy, God’s grace, and a third arm. Hauling everything and everyone out to the car after first setting the house alarm and locking the door is a juggling act; and in this relentless heat of the South, it’s sticky and frustrating. This is the type of thing I want to remember to bring to Christ, asking Him to get the little men and me to the car, strapped in, and on the road. Will disaster strike somewhere between the front door and end of the driveway? Probably not, but knowing that Christ is present in my endeavors strengthens my will profoundly. In bringing Him everything that’s on my heart – each stress and joy – my soul will certainly obtain angelic sweetness. I have long had the desire to be sweet, but could never put my finger on how to go about it. Prayer should not be limited to a routine 15 minutes a day, 20 seconds before dinner, or 1 hour per week; rather, it should be breath, constantly flowing in and out of my soul, receiving the love of God and offering it back to Him. It goes without saying, however, that the virtue of constant prayer develops from these instances of habitual and ritual prayer.
The other part of the concept of “the angelic sweetness of Mary” is the Blessed Mother. Consider how sweet she is – the Queen of even God’s heart. I was thinking the other day about how earth-shattering it would be to have Christ physically present in your family at all times as she and St. Joseph did. The quality of marriage they had must have been HUGE! and that’s what I want. To a certain degree, I’m limited because I wasn’t born without sin like Mary; but if I allow God’s grace in my soul and breathe prayer in and out, I can bring so much more to the table than what I do now. With just one person moving toward a life of prayer and virtue, things change for every surrounding life. My husband is already a “man after God’s own heart” and inspires me because he actively pursues to be even more so; and Liam sets a great example because he hasn’t even sinned yet, so I have to catch up! The truth is that developing angelic sweetness is a feat in itself, but when I do remember to offer Christ the on-goings of my mind and heart, there is nothing more comforting or empowering than His presence in every nook and cranny of my life. With persistence and the grace of God, this extraordinary virtue can become ordinary for my soul.
- My mother-in-law and aunts-in-law threw Thomas a baby shower just this past Saturday. It was so exciting because receiving the new things on his behalf made his imminent arrival a little more real to me. I’m pregnant. WHAT??!! It was a wonderful blessing and everyone had a great time!
- Liam is 17 mos. now and I am LOVING this early-toddler stage! He is so sweet (with a bit of a bite sometimes) and we have a great time. He turned on his radio the other day and “Livin’ On Love” by Alan Jackson came on – he got up from the floor so he could shake his arms and bounce up and down (read: dance), and I swept him up and we laughed and danced and tickled to the whole song. What a BLAST! He is so playful and darling that I know when this passes, I will forever miss it. But at the same time, I’m so eager for the increase in fun his increase in age will allow!
- Of the 7 women I know who were expecting at the beginning of the summer, 2 of them have delivered and 1 is having her baby on Friday! The domino-effect is underway and it won’t be long before it’s my turn! 7 more weeks til Thomas Joseph Gabriel arrives! In the beginning of my pregnancy, I thought it was taking FOREVER but I can’t believe it’s almost over. As of right now, he is pretty active and playful, which I’m sure will grow with his size. My due date is October 15th, but I’m crossing my fingers for an early delivery. Maybe on the 10th – his great-grandma’s, uncle’s, AND grandma’s birthday??
- A big occupant of my time lately has been NESTING. When we found out that Thomas was a boy, I sat down and made a GIANT To-Do list for the house; deadline October 1st (I’d like to have it all out of the way WELL before the littler man arrives). I’m so proud to say that thanks to the unwavering and sacrificial support of my husband, there remains but a small handful of items to check off! I’ll have to post pictures soon, but the boys’ room is painted, decorations hung, bathroom tub re-caulked, living room rearranged, corners de-cluttered and closets purged – among other things. The summer has been VERY productive and so much fun! I’m all about doing it on a dime, too.
- BEST for Last: Andrew is my hero and favorite person. Have I mentioned that? Last week he came home with a dozen roses and just the other night surprised me with a dinner date at a restaurant neither of us had tried! We’ve been having a great time lately and life is happily moving right along. It’s a blessing and sweet comfort to know that (God willing) he will be by my side for the rest of my life.
Life sure gets busy doesn’t it?
We excitedly moved into very own house a year ago in June and since then, we’ve been waiting with bright, hopeful eyes (maybe it’s just been me) for life to settle down and slip into some state of normalcy. Uhh…yeah right. Owning a home, it seems, involves more financial demand than the monthly note and not just because of the house itself, but living in a home and being a family has a bit of chaos stirred in as well. No doubt that, like most bits of Life Wisdom, I had to learn this one on my own, rather than hearing about it from someone who’s been there or who is there.
Our car was totaled, our 60-year-old tree is falling apart, the plumbing is going haywire, and the washer is broken - on top of the little here-and-there stressors from the daily experience. All of this “Life Happens” stuff has been just a touch overwhelming lately. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen and realized that God has provided for us more than we could have possibly hoped! but in hindsight, I’m astonished at how easily I stooped to discontentment and just being a GRUMP about everything. I’ve always thought of myself as a perky, happy, contented sort of person; and not just happy, but strong in my happiness with little that could shake me. I think what would really help me maintain this peace is if I answered a persistent echoing I’ve been hearing in my soul – Give Me your burdens.
Type A, Type B – I’m not sure where I fall with either personality, but I do know that I like projects. I’m detail-oriented and I enjoy managing and being a real go-getter. What goes hand-in-hand with all of this is that I get stuck in the rut of “I Can Do It Myself.” So stuck in fact, that it doesn’t even occur to me to ask help from anyone, even God. Especially God. But over the past couple of months, I’ve heard 3 or 4 different people each mention that after submitting their anxieties to Christ, life was happier and easier; though the burden may still have been present, knowing that it was in God’s hands was enough to make them stop worrying. God doesn’t just accept our burdens, He wants to take them from us; He wants us to entrust Him with every bit of joy and anxiety in life. After being beckoned so persistently by God in this way, I feel that I’ve finally heeded His plea for my soul. A soul who entrusts all to God is lighter and at peace, even with the world spinning and crumbling. Where have I been??
On a very related note, I’ve had the song “Everything” by Lifehouse in my head lately and I remembered seeing a skit set to it on YouTube. I found it online the other day and watched it just for kicks, but I was blown away at how profoundly it addressed the on-goings of my heart.
Though the trials in the skit are certainly not my own, the point is that life, sin, and temptations can consume me; but I CAN submit all to God – hopes, anxieties, troubles – and He absolutely wants them. While putting all of myself in His hands, I will be at peace. “Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) Give Me your burdens. Dearest Jesus, why did it take me so long?
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving
make your requests known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding
will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4: 6-7)
Just ONE WEEK until we find out what Baby #2 is! When people ask me what we’re having I say, “It’s a girl, but we find out at the end of May.” I was 100% certain with Liam that he was a boy and as soon as we learned we were expecting this baby, I exclaimed with the same confidence, “It’s a girl!!” Of course, we’ll see how good my Mother’s Intuition is a week from now :) Aside from a couple of instances of indulgent eating, I’ve felt fantastic this trimester. Movin’ right along with just about 5 months left!
God has not just smiled upon us, He’s grinning ear to ear in our direction: We got a Honda Odyssey!! Though I’ve been calling it the Honda Fantasy :) After a poignant trade-in of my Ford Pride & Pickup for 7 years, I proudly cruise the concrete in our own Swagger Wagon and I love it. So much space and room for plenty more little ones and all of their accessories. Road trips will be a BREEZE in this thing!
I took Andrew out on a surprise date the other night and arranged for Liam’s Aunt Mikki to stay at the house after he went down. Andrew didn’t suspect a THING and we had a great time getting ice cream and walking around downtown. We were pretty beat after our excursions to Yankee Candle and Bass Pro, so we watched The King’s Speech (fantastic) when we got home. Andrew asked me back when we were engaged if I expressed my love for him the way I hoped it would be expressed to me. Since then, I’ve tried to act on this challenge: surprises, little notes, and happy greetings for him when he comes home from work or anywhere else. SO fun :)