Tag Archives: family

Finding The Little Flower

l owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to a little soul. I have never met her, but she has deeply impacted my life. When my husband and I were in need of tenderness and gentleness, she not only welcomed us with warm kindness, but brought us home with her. She made sure that we were not only well cared for, but that our children were embraced, too. She knew how hard life could be, so she sat with me and told me many stories that would prepare me for the years to come. She had a way of telling stories that made you feel as if you were there. I just knew whatever story she shared from her life, it was going to be important in my life. We became very close friends. At one point, when I least expected it, she introduced me to her best friend. It was just like her to sneak up on me and spring this friend upon me. I loved her so dearly already, how in the world could I not love her friend!? And he was amazing. The more time I spent with him, the more I wanted to spend time with him.

As the years went by, I discovered that I was going to be moving away. She had been a very important part of our lives. I really didn’t know how to tell her, but I think she already knew. I introduced her to many of my friends, hoping that they, too, would get to know and love her. I also wanted them to meet her best friend. Some of my friends were very thrilled to meet him, too. About a year ago, I had a chance to go back and visit her. She was just the same, but this time it wasn’t so hard to part ways because we had become so close that she was always with me in my heart. A few months later, a good friend surprised me with a special gift from her. It was a rose petal from her writing desk. Wasn’t that just like her to send her love in the form of a rose petal? It sits on my bedside table and reminds me that I have a dear friend who loves me.

St. Therese of Lisieux, pray for us!

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Best Mother’s Day Gift Ever!

My son had to write his first college entrance application essay. The college gave him 5 choices of topics. As I read the choices, I wondered who comes up with these questions? He selected one of the topics and started writing.

About halfway through the essay, he called me to his room. He was wondering what I thought the folks at the college were wanting from these essays. It was a valid question. I re-read the topics and quickly realized that it really didn’t matter what they wanted.

I told my son that there could be all kinds of agendas behind certain essay topics that neither he nor I would fully understand or want to understand. I suggested that his best course of action was to write honestly and well. If what he wrote did not fit their agenda, perhaps it was a good thing that he would not get accepted into that college.

Later in the day, I asked my son what topic he chose for his essay. He chose this topic: Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you? Interesting, I thought. I asked him, “So what is the place where you are perfectly content?” Without blinking, he said, “Home.” And that, my friends, was the best Mother’s Day gift I could have received this year.

Finding Perfection in Brokenness

My family had a rare evening last night when all extracurricular activities were cancelled. We decided to get outside and spend time at a park. It was a beautiful evening and even the family dog enjoyed it with us. When we arrived home, our children asked to watch a movie. Most of television programming is such junk today, that we have purchased some DVDs of movies which uplift and give hope. We let my youngest son chose the movie for us all. He chose Seabiscuit.

If you haven’t watched this movie, you should. It is a story that intertwines the lives of three people and the struggles they went through during the Depression. It is a story of those same people finding each other and healing each other through a race horse named Seabiscuit. There are some difficult scenes in this movie, so I would either limit it for younger children or watch it first, and fast forward through those scenes. But overall, it is such a powerful story that I highly recommend it.

The fact that my son picked this movie doesn’t surprise me. It seems that healing was a theme in my life yesterday. Earlier in the day, my sister and I were discussing how every person and every family has brokenness and sin. This came up because our extended family is planning a gathering at our family farm in Nebraska to celebrate a 50th Wedding Anniversary, and 80th Birthday, and a 17th Wedding Anniversary, as well as the upcoming sale of our family farm in Nebraska. The farm has been in the family for over 100 years. But we have been leasing the land to local farmers for decades as all of us moved on to other occupations. This is a time to remember and let go. It is a joyful and sad moment for my entire family, and when family gathers, all kinds of issues arise.

Our family is not perfect. We have alcoholism, overeating, anxiety, suicide–you name it and we probably have it. But the truth is we also have a lot of love. We know we are not perfect, yet our love is strong. However, there are some people in my family who harshly judge other family members. They cannot relate to them or do not want to spend time with them. They cannot stand their brokenness. In fact, they choose to think that certain people are “perfect.”

I love that line in “Seabiscuit” where Mr. Howard wakes up in the middle of the night very perturbed and tells his wife, “Perfect. He’s perfect. What the hell does “perfect” mean? What? You show me something that’s perfect, I’ll show you something that’s not.” People who think others are perfect are looking at the outside of people or the surface of their lives and they believe that these “perfect” people have no faults, no issues, no sin. This is setting these “perfect” people up for a big fall off the pedestal you have set them upon. They are sinners like you and I. Their families have brokenness, whether they want to face it or not.

The only person who is perfect is Jesus Christ. Yes, we are called to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect, but that takes a lifetime to come close to accomplishing. In the meantime, we have to learn to accept our weaknesses, change what we can change, and love each other the best we can. I guess the script writer of Seabiscuit said it best, “You know, everybody thinks we found this broken-down horse and fixed him, but we didn’t. He fixed us. Every one of us. And I guess in a way we kinda fixed each other, too.”

Prayer Warrior of the Dying

One of my dear family members is dying. He was diagnosed with a terminal illness many months ago. We were given a general timeframe (1 to 3 years) but also were told by the professionals that it may be only months. This is a cruel illness that slowly takes away everything, even his ability to breath. To add to the painful process, he also suffers from dementia. In case you think he is very elderly, he is not.

Last night, things seem to have turned for the worst. His whole family which is quite large was already planning to gather for Easter. Now, they may be spending time at the hospital. Many of them are wondering if they should be heading home today instead of tomorrow. I think Good Friday is going to have a whole new meaning for them.

I have been praying for complete and total healing for this dear one if it be God’s will. I have pleaded with Fr. Emil Kapaun whose cause for sainthood is underway. I have simultaneously begged that if it is not possible for complete healing, then for his eternal salvation. I have come to the point in my life where I want that for every person and am willing to sacrifice for it.

God knows this about me. He actually wakes me during the night and asks for prayer. I am a busy Mom who doesn’t get enough rest. I really don’t want to wake up in the middle of the night. I know that most people with my vocation as wife and mother are not asked to do this. However, I cannot ignore such a request at such critical times. I am not perfect. Sometimes, I fall asleep praying. Often, my prayer is disjointed because of my drowsiness. But I offer this up to our Blessed Mother who can take all things and make them perfect.

As for my family member who is dying, I pray that he feels relief from the pain. I pray that he knows he is supported in prayer for both his healing and his salvation. I pray that my family who is caring for him can be sustained. I pray.

 

Who knew suffering could be this good?

Last week, my family got hit with a really nasty cold virus. It started with one child, then spread through the rest of the family like wildfire. This was a quick onset,
take-you-down kind of viral attack. After 5 days, our house looked like a bomb went off inside of it. This illness was full of aches, pains and lost sleep. To sum it up in a word: suffering.

However, I looked at this week of suffering entirely different than I had in the past:

Being this miserably sick allowed us to cancel all outside activities and just “be”. We spent more time together as a family, even if we were not feeling so great. We even read a few classic stories out loud (whoever’s voice was working at that time), even if some fell asleep in the midst of it.

I had a chance to finally read some books and writings that fed my soul. The bonus was it was pretty much uninterrupted reading because my family was napping or just resting. Granted, I couldn’t read for very long or my mind would begin to swim. However, with this type of reading, you need time to digest the material anyway.

I realized why many holy people face illness. It gives them plenty of prayer time! I think I spoke more to God during those five days than I usually do in a few weeks. And it wasn’t just, “Please spare me from this illness!”

It may seem like a paradox, but I actually grew closer to God through me and my family’s illness. He gave me the strength to stay present with Him through this week and rely on Him in all things. And now that we are all recovered, I am still feeling God’s presence very, very close to me. Wow. Who knew suffering could be this good?