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Today is the feast day of Our Holy Family. Today also marks the day a lady came up to me at Mass to ridicule my family.

I was calming down our 16 month old in the foyer as we have no cry room. My husband tended to our sons ages 7&5. We sit up front because our family wants to be physically closer to Christ. There are times where the boys fidget but refer to their ages and we quickly redirect their behavior.

She told me that our family is disrespectful that no one behind us gets anything from the service and that we probably don’t either. Ok, so I guess everyone behind us was polled about our family, including our daughter’s godparents…please read that with sarcasm. She also informed me that Fr is upset by us but won’t say anything despite us seeing him quite a bit due to our roles in the parish.

I told her thanks for her concern and she pressed on saying that when her 5 kids were young they behaved well at Mass and if they were ever disrespectful they wouldn’t sit up front. When I finally took a deep swallow to calm my nerves, I told her I would speak with my family. It was then that she thanked me for bringing my family to Mass. Yes, that all left me hurt and confused.

All I could do during Mass was pray for this woman six rows behind us. After Mass we usually go to the donut fellowship in the cafeteria, but I needed to speak with my family.

This interaction with this woman had me crazy close to wanting to switch parishes. My husband immediately went to one of our deacons to talk about this. He was just as shocked that today of all days this woman brought judgement on us, let alone that it took 2 years for her to say anything. He wants to speak with Fr about it and see if an announcement can be made about all families are different etc. I appreciate that.

Our boys went right to the doors and held them open for our parishioners as they left the church. My heart melted!

Please join me in praying for this woman and all others that may be like her. Pray their hearts soften and that they gain understanding.

Blessings!

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This past weekend we headed down to San Antonio for a homeschool conference. It was small but the message was big! Many of the speakers were homeschool moms of four or more kids. Some also ran home businesses or had time to write a book (seriously?!). It was much needed for our home. GamerDad was suggesting before the conference that when we move again, we put our oldest in public school so i can have a break, he can be in a real class, etc. none of what I want or need. These speakers expressed that their desired changed, mine have too. I once wanted to get back to work. Having kids and schooling them have put me on a different path. Home with my kids is where I belong. We learn about things together.
Fr Felix was my favorite speaker and I know he resonated strongly with my husband. He is a really funny guy with a lot of energy. Prayer was his main message. We teach our children the memorization prayers but many of us fail to teach our kids how to have conversations with God. GamerDad now starts off meal prayers ad-libbing and then does the “Bless us oh God, for these thy gifts…” I love seeing that change in him.

We also took time for fun: the Riverwalk boat tour, firehouse museum, the Alamo, Sea World, the zoo, and we attended the vigil mass at The Basilica of The Little Flower. I had to pay tribute to St Therese. After all, the morning of the anatomy scan of Little Miss, only my pink roses were in bloom, giving me a heads up on what to expect.

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Now we are home, our school books in the mail, and are starting the school year by writing to our first pen pal from Japan! How exciting! We are thrilled to get started!

God bless!!

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One of the pillars of Lent is alms giving. Today, our local paper featured an article about some friars in Rome using Kickstarter to fund the restoration of the cell of St Francis that he frequently visited. Their goal is to raise $125,000. Last I saw, they were close to $4k into their goal. If you see it in your heart to help their cause, please visit Kickstarter and donate to their cause. Any funds that go over will be used to restore the rest of the building. I think it is really cool that they are using technology to boost their signal.

God bless!!

*EDIT* They have $50k of the $125k needed. Only 9 days left!

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Today’s visit to the monastery almost did not happen. I did not want to tempt fate with all three kiddos at a mass specially arranged for my church group. GamerDad is on his way back home or he could have corralled the boys. Last night I got a call that one of the ladies was ill and the other twisted her ankle. Then another call saying she didn’t want to drive on her own so she was ducking out.
I said a few quiet prayers as I spoke to these women. The lady with the bum ankle came because she had food for the nuns and wanted to help me get there. Then I got a text from another lady who was going to go but did not want to try and manage her kiddos on her own either. Instead of us both being grounded at home with kids, she volunteered to watch my boys. What a blessings that was!
Then, my boys, who never sleep in, slept in. They are my alarm clocks! At 7am I flew out of bed and shoved the butternut squash lasagna in the oven. I promised the nuns lunch for after mass and it needed cooked before the hour and a half drive out there. Sleeping in was another welcomed blessing as we are in the throws of the 6 month growth spurt over here.
At 8:30, I gave the lady who didn’t want to drive on her own a call and told her I had room in my 8 seater. Once I got to the meeting place, I was pleased to see both ladies (M&T we shall call them). If it wasn’t for T, I would have gotten terribly lost!

Our Lady of Grace is tucked way, way, way back in ranch land. Dirt roads folks. I haven’t been on a dirt road like that since I lived in PA.

Cows were lined up beside the road, a llama was there too! Trees were all over the place! Loved it!

Then, when you think you cannot drive any more, you see the bell tower. This particular chapel was dedicated in 2001 but they have been there for 20 years as of last month.

Here is the main doorway into the chapel:

20140301-202948.jpg The bell tower is just above this door. I was in a hurry because mass was about to begin and we had chatted with two of the nuns for a good while beforehand. They got a kick out of Lil Miss and Mother Superior Mary Grace praised me for nursing and said Pope Francis would be so glad I was doing that!

Once inside, I totally fell in love with the small details, like this:

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And there are these lovely shots from inside as well:

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Fr Michael had a powerful message on prayer. That we often get distracted when we say the rosary or another long prayer. What is important is to stay focused and send out little prayers to get back on track.

Immediately, I thought of when I get frustrated homeschooling. I will sit there and scribble JMJ on the planner to allow The Holy Family to help me. It brings such peace. “The little prayers are like javelins we cast out into the evil.” Indeed!

After mass he spoke with us and grief came up. His words teared me up. M has lost too many children, my heart broke for her. He said it brings us closer to God, sometimes we need a firm shaking to get us on our knees. Then I brought up my miscarriages and how after that and our first successful pregnancy my husband returned to the faith and took me to my first mass. I shared that I converted after that and we have only gotten more active as a family with our faith. He was glad to see some of us younger folk returning because he has seen that my generation is slipping away. It’s that entitlement thing my generation has, “me, me, me, mine, mine, mine.” Nope, God should be the center.

It was a much needed trip and I look forward to visiting them again. I feel spiritually recharged!

In case you want to learn more of the sweet Carmelite sisters, here is their link

God bless!

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About a week ago I saw a really awesome meme from The Catholic Company. It shows how you can flip sinful behavior into virtues. Here is the meme:

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Deadly Sins: Virtues:
Pride Humility
Lust Chastity
Envy Kindness
Greed Generosity
Anger Meekness
Sloth Diligence
Gluttony Temperance

If we are humble, we can be less prideful. I think our Pope is the best example on how to be humble. Despite all the bells and whistles that go with his position, he has turned them down.

Lust: there are so many sexual images thrown at us every day. The other day, Middle Kid was helping me lug the laundry basket to the washroom. We had to pass the TV on the way and a “news” program replayed video from the Grammy’s. It was a next to naked Beyoncé shaking her rear. My hands immediately went to cover his 4 year old eyes. This was on at 6:30pm! I am trying to teach my kids to be chaste in this sexed up world. I am tired of all genders being objectified. That is a whole other post on its own. Adultery comes to mind when the sin of lust is brought up.

Envy is so easy to fall into. So and so has this awesome car, I want it too. If we are kind to one another instead of being hateful because someone else has what we covet, then we would all be faring better. Again, our world is full of material goods. It is all worthless junk. It isn’t going to get you through those pearly gates, so why bother? Hmm, ties in with humility a bit doesn’t it? Again, a commandment, thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s goods.

Greed falls into envy a bit. It is the “I want it all” syndrome. Kiddos seem to have a hard time with this, especially when exposed to ads targeted towards them or at the store when those objects are at their eye level. This is why I have my kids purge their stuff at least once a year to give to those that have nothing. When the toy box is over flowing, we know it is time to donate some stuff. They do it without complaint too, which is a blessing! Generosity goes a long, long way.

Anger! Having been a former yeller, I am so very guilty of this. Instead, we need to be meek. This is why we now have The Holy Family posted all over our house. We now reflect on the images when we feel heated instead of blowing up. God is slow to anger, so should we. We have control over our emotions and cannot blame anyone for them but ourselves.

Sloth is sheer laziness. It is also when we are filled with trepidation in what God calls us to do. Now that I am reflecting on these, I see that my near two years of hemming and hawing on veiling when I knew I should do it was sloth! Now I am diligent! Have faith and trust in God. Get it done! It is pretty awesome that God is patient. 🙂

Gluttony, we are all probably guilty of this in one way or another. I LOVE to bake and I LOVE to eat it too. However, I need to set a proper example to my kids. Too much of a good thing is bad. Moderation is key and I am re-teaching that to myself. This is called temperance. What happens when we gobble up too much junk? We feel like crud!! Our souls get holes as our stomachs bloat. Not cool. This is another instance where we could also be generous and give what we really don’t need away.

How do you all flip your sins to virtues?

Please do not forget to participate in my weekly veil fashion linkup this Sunday! It is ok of you post the day after as I know many of you abstain from the internet on Sundays.

God Bless!!

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Today there will be a new bishop in my local diocese. It covers a HUGE amount of Texas, about 39,000 square miles! We say farewell to Bishop Pfeifer and welcome to Bishop Sis! If any of you in the blogosphere want to watch the service live, hit up this link at 2pm CST.

I have written about Bishop Pfeifer in the past. In fact, he blessed my daughter the day before he got notice that his retirement had been accepted. Our local paper has done a couple of lovely spreads on our beloved bishop. He did a great amount of work in our community in his 28.5 years of service to this diocese. Bishop Elect Sis has also done outstanding things in the Austin Diocese. He has a knack with the youth. In this day and age, our youth need someone like him to keep them on the right path. We look forward to him shepherding our community and wish Bishop Pfeifer the best as he retires in San Antonio.

God bless!!

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Welcome to the second edition of the Veiling Fashion Linkup!

Today, we were blessed again with gorgeous weather. 74 degrees! I chose a short sleeved nursing dress. It was quite the debate as to which Pashmina to wear because none of them went 100% with the dress. GamerDad and I finally came to an agreement with this one:

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I did adjust my sleeve and shawl so that my shoulder was covered. My hair was in braids to prevent Little Miss from grabbing fistfuls of hair and the shawl. It worked! She decided to only gnaw on the Pashmina as well as her dress. Middle Kid told me that I did not have to veil any more and I told him that I did. I explained that it is an additional way that I show my respect in the presence of Christ. He kept his hands off of it today and honestly understood what I was telling him. Praise God!

If you veiled this week, please link back here and comment so we can see. 🙂

God Bless!!

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