But God

I know it is common these days for people to lament how “adulting is hard”, “motherhood is hard”, “life is so hard” and so forth. I think it is good for people to share their experiences and feelings freely, and I too have shared this same frustration many times. Yet, I often think that God can’t possibly just want to leave us there with that feeling. Surely He wants to lift us up.

Elizabeth Foss shared a great list of encouragement from Scripture on Facebook today. She says that in her house, they  call these “but Gods.” As in, “Life is hard, but God’s grace is sufficient.” I have been thinking about this all day. This is the Truth. This is the Word of God to each one of His people. He wants us to receive it and allow Him to comfort us in our hardships, to encourage us in our struggles. If we don’t want to hear it (and I know that is sometimes the case for us all), perhaps we need more of His Grace to even desire to hear the Truth. Perhaps if we ask Him, He will soften our hearts to receive more of what He is in mind for us. Then, when we hear His Word, we can receive it and allow it to shine light into our darkness. He wants to be a consolation to us. I think we just need to let Him.

Here’s the list:

But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.
Genesis 31:42

If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been with me, you would surely have sent me away empty-handed. But God has seen my hardship and the toil of my hands, and last night he rebuked you.
Genesis 50:20

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
1 Samuel 23:14

David stayed in the desert strongholds and in the hills of the Desert of Ziph. Day after day Saul searched for him, but God did not give David into his hands.
1 Kings 5:4

But now the LORD my God has given me rest on every side, and there is no adversary or disaster.
Nehemiah 9:17

They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery. But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them.
Psalm 49:15

But God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself.
Psalm 73:26

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Isaiah 40:8

The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.
Jonah 2:6

To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you brought my life up from the pit, O LORD my God.
Matthew 19:26

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.
John 1:18

No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.
Acts 2:24

But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.
Acts 3:15

You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.
Acts 5:39

But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.
Romans 5:8

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:9

You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you.
1 Corinthians 1:27

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.
2 Timothy 2:9

 

 

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Hopefully my Last Blog Post about Blogging

It’s not that I don’t have anything to say or even that I don’t have time to say it. I have so many thoughts rolling around in my brain and I am not sure how to organize them or what types of posts are of interest to others. I want to write stories about our days, funny kid anecdotes, reflections and insight I have through prayer, homeschooling ideas, book reports and recipes… There are so many things to talk about and I love to talk!

(Writing is trickier so I just need to free write and get the words flowing onto this screen. I am much more of a pen-and-paper person so this doesn’t come naturally for me.)

Anyway, if you are reading, I would love to know what you would like to read about on this little blog. I think that I would write more if I had more of a sense of direction! Otherwise, I may just post a lot of randomness while I get the hang of this thing.

God bless you all! I hope all is well with you.

XOXO

Tamara

 

Well… Hello there!

Here I am, again. I have wanted to write more for such a long time but never really know how to get started. So I think I will just say hi and then carry on. Okay?

Okay.

Oh wait. First, I meant to say that I saw something on a blog recently and I totally want to steal it as a disclaimer on all of my posts too. It’s just this:

“I’m glad you’re here. This post probably contains run-on sentences, sentence fragments, affiliate links, and unnecessary ellipses.  If none of that bothers you, let’s be friends.” 

(That is from Dwija at House Unseen.)

I thought that was pretty perfect for this space too. (Except I don’t currently have any affiliate links.) There are many times when I want to write but don’t because I’m afraid that I will write the way I talk… and, well, that would make my freshman English teacher very sad.(I’m so sorry, Ms. Adkins!)

But, I want to write and I am not going to improve by just not writing, am I? Plus, I’m a girl with things to say and a desire to share with others. Sometimes deep thoughts, oftentimes not. I like to talk about food, books, my family, my Catholic faith, homeschooling, and pretty much any PG topics. Would you like to stick around for that? I hope so.

Let’s do this.

Winter Happiness

It is February! I know it is common for folks to be done with winter by now and, for the last couple of years, I would have been one of them. But this winter has been different for me in many ways and I am counting up every little thing as a consolation.

We had two birthdays in our family last week (including mine!) which we celebrate as holidays. We have very simple celebrations but the day is full of special time together as a family – no work, no school, just enjoying each other and honoring the birthday girl/boy. So, I always look forward to the last week of January and this year was one of my best birthdays in many years. I was treated to breakfast in bed and a massage in the afternoon. We enjoyed a trip to the local botanic gardens and went out for a birthday dinner. Alex and the kids baked me a cake and it was delicious. I took a walk with a couple of the kids and enjoyed the lovely sunny day.

I spent Saturday visiting friends who live a few hours away. We had such a wonderful time talking over morning coffee that we ended up also having lunch together. It was a total luxury for me to have so much time together and I enjoyed every minute.

Sunday was such a glorious day. We spent most of the afternoon soaking up sunshine and fresh air. The kids rode their trikes and scooters all over the driveway while I played with the baby and kept him from running out to the street.

And this morning? I woke up early for prayer and enjoyed the stillness of the house. My children stayed up too late last night and are – amazingly- sleeping in this morning. I drank my coffee while it was hot. I listened to the winter birds singing outside. It was just a lovely time.

It is supposed to snow some more tomorrow but I don’t even mind. I feel filled up with goodness and perfectly ready to embrace some more winter weather.

I count this all as grace.

 

 

 

Merry Christmas!

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We had a really good Advent and Christmas has been lovely.

Our children are at such fun ages for Christmas time. Allie had the excitement and anticipation going strong all of Advent. She was just like me as a little girl. She loves the rituals and family traditions and relishes in sharing them with the boys. It was the baby’s second Christmas but this year he is toddling all around and getting into the Christmas ornaments. It is all new for him!  Joshua and John Paul have really enjoyed the celebration as well. Every day, John Paul asks if it is still Christmas and he is so happy when the answer is yes. (Did you know that it’s still Christmas until Sunday?!) (I learned that when Allie was three and I told her that Christmas on the Ephiphany and then we went to Mass where our dear priest showed me up. I was a little embarrassed.)

Anyway, I hope you have all enjoyed this Christmas time and new year. I’m hoping to get back here soon to share with you a 2015 year in review and some more bits and pieces of our days. Until then, happy new year!

 

 

 

Our Little Calendar Time

I meant to show this to you a few days ago with the Advent wreath but it slipped my mind. We have been doing a little “calendar time” with the kids for a few years now.

(I think that makes it sound so much more involved than it really is, but that’s what we call it, so there you go.)

We used to have this just pinned on the wall next to a big classroom calendar but I was kind of over the calendar itself. When we moved over the summer, I decided it was a good time to change our set-up a bit. It wasn’t exactly on the top of my priority list, though, and I couldn’t decide how I wanted to do it. My son Joshua started asking about it a few weeks ago, so I promised him that I would get it together in time for Advent.

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I still hadn’t really figured out what I wanted to do when suddenly it was the Saturday evening before Advent. (Typical last-minute me.)*

*Side note: Speaking of last minute crafting… The first Lent we did this, I thought I had made the Lenten sign ahead of time. But when I went to look for it on Ash Wednesday, it was nowhere to be found. (I’m pretty sure now that I never did really make it. I just thought about making it.) So I loaded up the kids and went to Hobby Lobby and made it later that afternoon. The kids don’t remember that it was late. They just remember that we did it!

Anyway, I kept going back and forth between a few different ideas when I realized that I needed to just do SOMETHING and I could always change it later. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

I rummaged through my craft supplies and found some stick-on magnets that I had saved from a (failed) project a few years ago. I had just enough to attach these guys to the side of the refrigerator. This is directly across from our dining table so my people can see it clearly during meals and otherwise running amok. It’s a high traffic area of the house. :) We usually do calendar at breakfast time but sometimes it happens later in the day if we are too busy or forget in the morning.

Here’s what we do:

  • We name what liturgical season it is.
  • We change the liturgical color the priest is wearing on major feast days and solemnities (if I remember and/or we have been to Mass so the kids happen to know that the priest was wearing a different color.) My children like to know if it’s a feast day because those are the days when we get treats. :)
  • We talk about why the color is what it is. For example, purple is for times of preparation, red calls to mind the Blood of Christ, etc.
  • We tell a little bit about the saint of the day and say a brief morning offering.
  • When we had the big classroom calendar up, we also counted up to the current date and pointed out any special days coming up (birthdays, anniversaries, trips we were going on, etc). I still don’t have a plan for doing that again in the future, despite Joshua’s insistence.

I used this printable craft to make the priest activity. When I got it, I think it was just a free printable. I think you might have to sign up for email updates now or something. We use it every day, though, so it would be worth it to me.

Anyway, this very simple activity has helped our children to learn the liturgical seasons and to remember the saints in our daily lives. I just wanted to share it with you!

 

 

 

 

Our Advent Traditions

I have been trying to get here all day to share with you a few pictures of our Advent thus far. The encouragement to keep a simple, liturgical Advent first came to me through this classic Like Mother, Like Daughter post so I think it is very fitting to join in on the Advent link-up today.

I have gone back to that post often. I really took Leila’s words to heart and have found that she is right.

Simply by lighting a candle, we really can begin to inspire wonder in our family…

 

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We did not grow up with Advent traditions so we have started slowly. For eight years now, this is the main tradition we have cultivated. We light the candles before dinner as we sing one verse of O Come, O Come Emmanuel.

That is it.

There is something very wonderful about this simple act.

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(Funny side note- My son said he was holding that ruler to measure his personal space.)

It isn’t always perfect. Sometimes the baby is crying. Sometimes I am antsy to hurry up and sing so we can eat because I am getting cranky. But it is always a good to see the children’s eyes light up with the candles and to make an act of trust that “Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.”

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This year, we found ourselves ready to add the Jesse Tree to our family traditions. The kids are keeping strict tabs on whose turn it is to hang an ornament on the tree each day. The devotional reading that goes along with the ornaments is brief enough for my three year old.

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I have Advent music playing around the house as much as I can. I have a stack of picture books waiting for me to pick up at the library tomorrow. I’m trying to remember to pray the St. Andrew Novena prayer daily, if not fifteen times a day. These things are so lovely, and I’m enjoying their addition to our Advent.

But, if all else fails,  in the evening, I light a candle for hope.

“We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.” – Psalm 33:20