My Resolution Is No Resolutions – Now that the new year is here, a lot of people have been talking about their resolutions. I have never really been into resolutions. I can barely decide what to do for Lent and I only have a little more success there because of the spiritual aspect. There have also been many blog posts about a word of the year… The Year of (Fill-in-th-blank). Even my mom was telling me about her word of the year. That idea appeals to me more than a resolution. Last year I did not make a specific “theme” of 2012 per se, but it definitely developed into one. It was the year of “homemaking.”
Martha Stewart, I Was Never Called – Truth be told, in 2011 I was really struggling with my inadequacy at what I thought a Catholic wife, mom and homemaker should be. I touched on it a bit with Those Perfect Catholic Moms Are Killing Me because I wasn’t doing all the amazing cooking, sewing, and art projects that I saw posted on the other mom blogs. I just had to accept myself as I was – a pizza ordering, plant killing, messy housed mom that can’t sew on a button. But God was slowly working in me. I was never going to be super mom but should I accept my inadequacies or try to improve them? Hence the slow start to the year of homemaking. I tried new recipes and simple crafts. I started cleaning and organizing. I still kill plants and can’t sew but I am enjoying what I can do and thanking God for my own unique blessings in my life. And I actually have a greater love of being a mom and homemaker! In the end, that is really the goal of a resolution – to make a positive change in your life. To make the world around you a little happier. I think I was able to do that in my own little way.
The End of Another Year – At the end of 2012, a single word has been on my heart – love… love and/or charity. I had been planning to redo the blog and it was the perfect time to reflect on the name we chose ten years ago “Revolution of Love.” We started it to show that we love our faith and are trying to live it not just on Sundays but 24/7. (You can read our original thoughts about the name here.) Back then I was newly married with only one child. My days were filled with taking care of our home and little girl. I had responsibilities and couldn’t evangelize the same way I could as a single young adult. There was one painting that I loved and it summed up the way I would live my Revolution of Love as a young wife and mother. It is Godspeed by Edmund Blair Leighton.
Where’s My Battlefield? – In the painting there is the heroic knight going off to war but I always wondered about his fair maiden that was left at home. She would not be going to the battlefront. She would not be facing the brutal combat. What could she do in the confines of her castle? It reminded me of St. Therese of the Little Flower. She wanted to be a missionary but that was not her calling. Instead she found her battle field, her mission ground within the confines of her convent. She accomplished great things by simply living her daily life and doing little acts of love for the heart of Christ. I loved that and tried to follow it in my own life. But fast forward ten years and four kids later, I find myself too often exasperated and complaining about what I don’t feel like doing.
When the Bell Tolls – Before I met Brian I was discerning the religious life and spent a summer in a convent like setting to discern my vocation. I remember the priest explaining to us that our schedule and the bell ringing calling us to prayer or meal time or a certain activity was a blessing from God. We did not have to worry about what was God’s will at that moment because He was literally telling us directly through the toll of a bell. When the bell rang we were to stop what we were doing and go to where we were called. It was to be an act of love to Jesus. I remember there were many times when I heard the bell ring and I thought, “Just one more minute…I am almost done doing this task…I can be a few minutes late…” and it was hard for me to just let go and do what God was calling me to at that moment.
I was not called to that life and I do not have a little bell telling me where to be at certain times of the day, or so I thought. So often, so very often, I can hear God softly whispering to my heart saying things such as, “That crying baby is your bell. Or that dinner that needs to be made is your bell. Or that dirty diaper that needs to be changed is your bell. Or that child that wants you to read a story is your bell… so stop what are doing and take care of him/it.” (I have a thick skull so the Holy Spirit sometimes has to get chatty with me.) I hate to admit it, but too often, far too often my answer is “Ugh! Fine! I’ll go do it.” Not exactly an act of love. That is why Our Lord is now whispering, “Do it for love of Me.” That is why I can’t get out of my head St. Therese’s words, “Little things done out of love are those that charm the Heart of Christ.” Even as I type this, tears are escaping me. It is that strong.
My Theme Is Chosen – These words are reflected in the new blog design and it is a reminder to me whenever I see it. I share this with you because I know that we, as moms, dads, single Catholics, all of us…can get caught up in day to day life. We can get overwhelmed with our obligations and become fed up. We can forget our first vocation and lose focus. We can get disenchanted when things aren’t going as we hoped and become cynical. These are the times we need to step back and call on God for grace. We need to reconnect whether it is simply saying a two second prayer in the moment or arranging time off for the grace of confession. God’s grace is at our fingertips. The Holy Spirit is waiting to whisper to our hearts and let us know what is out of order so we can correct it. We only need the humility to reach out for that grace and the selfless courage to act on it. And as we practice doing these little acts with love, we are better able to handle the larger crosses that accompany life.
So, yes, I do have a theme for this year. It is The Year of Loving God…Downton style. It has a little less cheek and a lot more “Yes, m’Lord (for love of You.)”