Wednesday, April 25, 2012

And the winners are.....


The winners were chosen by Text Mechanic Random Line Picker and are:

1. Sarah Dolph
2. Rachel Auld
3. Anna Lisa A
4. Monique O'Neill
5. Rebecca Novelli Dugan

Congratulations!!! Good luck with the challenge!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Stop complaining with me! Challenge and Giveaway!

That's me in the picture wearing my purple bracelet on Day 1 of my 21 day no complaining challenge.

The challenge is inspired by a book I'm reading called, A Complaint Free World by Will Bowen.  In the book, he makes the argument that stopping all complaining can help you start enjoying the life you always wanted.  People wear a purple bracelet as a reminder to not complain and also to share the challenge with others.  Can you imagine..a complaint free world?

I picked this book up because I can be a complainer.  I am very sensitive about the little aches and pains I feel throughout the day and I noticed, the more I complained about these things, they more they bothered me.  The same thing went with complaining about fatigue, complaining about my daily laundry piles, complaining about always picking up after the kids....

The list goes on and on..but the one thing that was certain was that my complaining did nothing to improve what I was complaining about!  Instead, what my complaining did was reinforce those negative thoughts and invite MORE negative thoughts to take their place.

So instead, I'm going to stop the complaining, the criticizing and gossiping and I'm going to see what positive thoughts and feelings will take their place!  It's a simple idea (not easy, but simple) but it can really make a difference.

Here is the challenge:
  1. Begin to wear the bracelet on either wrist.
  2. When you catch yourself complaining, gossiping, or criticizing, move the bracelet to the other wrist and begin again.
  3. If you hear someone else who is wearing a purple bracelet complain, it's okay to point out their need to switch the bracelet to the other arm; BUT if you're going to do this, you must move your bracelet first! Because you are complaining about their complaining.
  4. Stay with it.  It may take many months to reach 21 consecutive days.  The average is 4 to 8 months.
So there it is!  Won't you join me in this challenge?  Bracelets can be ordered at www.acomplaintfreeworld.org but I am giving away 5 bracelets to 5 readers! 

Just leave a comment to this post to enter! I'll pick 5 winners on Wednesday April 25th, 2012!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Dealing with Marital Issues - Guest post by Emily Kirchner


Every couple goes through marital issues and obstacles, sometimes even more so for Catholics. We often have expectations of how a marriage can and should be, and tend to panic at the first sign of deviation from that image. Thankfully, our faith provides us with all the answers we need to resolve any troubles we come across.
Here are a few tips that have helped me and my darling hubby power through the marital issues we’ve encountered so far:

Keep a Cool Head

The Bible is a rich source of advice for every aspect of our lives, including marriage. When it comes to those times when you’re headed for an argument, look to Ephesians 4:31-32 for inspiration: “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice. And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.”

Simply put, set your anger aside and focus on forgiveness instead. Couples will inevitably cross each other at some point in their relationships; no marriage is ever without its speed bumps. What the Bible tells us is that the frustration we feel distracts us from what’s really important—our capacity to love, forgive, and learn from each other in times of conflict.

Jesus Christ put it best when he said in John 13:34-35, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Through all our offenses, faults and mistakes, God continues to love us. Remember this fact through any marital issue you may face. 
 
Honesty is Still the Best Policy

Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy. It does not boast. It is not proud. It is not rude. It is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrong doing. It does not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres.”

1 Corinthians 13 is one of the most-quoted passages of the Bible, and for good reason: it teaches us to be genuine about our feelings, because love itself knows only truth. We often hide the truth out of selfishness—we might fear that our decisions will displease our partners, or we simply feel ashamed of what we’re feeling. God tells us to let go of these apprehensions and simply be honest with ourselves and our spouses. Love, and by extension, truth, will keep our relationships safe from harm.

Confessing something we did wrong to our loved ones seems scary because as much as possible, we don’t want to let the other person down. Hiding the truth, however, has the opposite effect: it adds another layer to our misdeeds while preventing us from being completely open with each other. We all have our doubts and mistakes; when we learn to embrace them and work towards a resolution with each other, our relationships can only grow stronger.

Ask for Help

If you feel overwhelmed about troubles, reach out to your community, whether it be your priest, counselor, or simply a fellow churchgoer. There is always someone willing to provide help when you need it, especially in matters of the heart. Sometimes, all it takes to resolve an issue is to get an outside opinion on the matter. It’s easy to get lost in our own feelings, and having a third party help us sort things out can do wonders. There is a remarkable strength we can tap in others.

Dealing with marital issues as a Christian couple takes love, patience and time. Work your way through any obstacle with God as the center of your marriage, and see your marital issues become a thing of the past.

Bio:
Emily Kirchner is a freelance writer for Discount Catholic Products, an online retailer of Bibles, patron saint medals, first Communion gifts, and many more. She’s been married to the love of her life for ten years and while it’s not always smooth-sailing, she wouldn’t have it any other way.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Why Catholics Hang Crucifixes




Alleluia! Christ is risen!

So why do Catholics still depict him hanging on a cross?

A crucifix is a cross on which hangs the crucified body of Christ.  It is a sign of Christ's unconditional love for us and a way we can express our faith as Catholic Christians. 

Archbishop Fulton Sheen summarized the reason for using a crucifix instead of an empty cross when he said, “Keep your eyes on the crucifix, for Jesus without the cross is a man without a mission, and the cross without Jesus is a burden without a reliever.”

Earlier this year when I was teaching Kindergarten faith formation, I asked the class "When people visit your house, how can they tell you are Catholic?"  The answers I got included: we pray before meals, we have rosaries in the home.......and we hang crucifixes.  When a child answered this, I quickly thought of my house.  We have a small cross in our kitchen where we do school.  I am embarrassed to say, however, that it is partly covered with CDs and unless you know where to look...you probably wouldn't even notice it.

Well, that had to change.

In my day to day life, I need to know that I am working for a greater good...that I am working for Christ.  What better reminder than a crucifix to make me remember this.

Our new beautiful crucifix is in the picture above. I placed it beside our front door so that our whole family can see it daily.  It is the last thing we see before we leave our home and the first thing we see when we enter.  It is in a prominant place in our home where it can not be covered with stacks of paper and, because of it's size, can't be missed!  Perfect.

It's also a beautiful reminder of our faith.  You can see this crucifix from our dining table making it a conversation starter for people who may visit our home.  It's also a reminder to me to pray and thank God daily for his sacrifice.

Finally, the crucifix offers spiritual protection.  Yup, it's not just something we see in the movies!  Crucifixes proclaim for all to see, the triumph of Jesus over sin and death.

"At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth" Philippians 2:10.

Our crucifix pictured above is from Discount Catholic Products.  They carry a huge assortment of Catholic gifts, jewelery, Catholic Bibles and crucifixes.  If you head over to their facebook page right now, they are holding an awesome sweepstakes if you Like their page!  Stay tuned for a guest post from Emily Kirchner of Discount Catholic Products coming soon!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

My problem with Sonlight

OK, so it's no surprise that I am a pretty big fan of our Kindergarten curriculum from Sonlight.  I've blogged before at how easy it is to plan my day and how school is not a struggle when we reach for our Sonlight subjects.  

Well, the honeymoon is over.  I've found a flaw.

Time and time again, I've gone to our bookshelf to get our books ready for the school day.  Without fail, there is always one missing.  It's usually one of our read-aloud books, but sometimes it's the Children's Encyclopedia or the Llama poetry book.  

You see Sonlight, you've chosen books that are just so much fun to read that my kids are constantly taking them off the shelf to read.  My eldest daughter has gotten into the habit of taking our read alouds and reading them to her sisters.  They hate having to wait for another chapter, so they do it themselves!  

I don't know how I'm going to keep the books together to save for the younger girls because not only do they want to read ahead...they also want to re-read the books we have already finished!!!!


Frustrating, right?

I understand Sonlight that you are fostering a child's love of reading, but for goodness sake, can you please make the books less appealing so my kids stop taking them off the shelf every single day?!?

I actually own two copies of the new Sonlight catalog...one for myself and one for the girls who are already asking for some of the books from Core B!  If you haven't received your copy of the catalog you can request one here

Be forewarned,  if you do decide to use Sonlight, expect to search for your books on a daily basis.  My tip: start looking anywhere your kids are.