Catholic faith

It’s O Antiphon time!!

I love traditions!

Growing up as number 4 I had the blessing of a family life well established with traditions.

Traditions for birthdays, Lent, Easter, Saint namesake feasts, Advent, Christmas…. each year marked out by treasured memories!

Creating traditions is therefore one of my most favorite aspects of parenthood! And discovering NEW old traditions, especially when it comes to our Catholic Faith…. well I’m like a child in a candy store!!!

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This year is the first year we will be adding the O Antiphons into our Advent traditions! (squeal!! 🙂 )

In the evening prayer of the Church called Vespers, the beautiful prayer “The Magnificat” (Luke 1:46-55) is preceded by an antiphon. In the 7 days leading up to Christmas, these antiphons all start with “O”. These beautiful antiphons find their origin in the Monastery’s of the 6th/7th centuries. They reflect the words of Isaiah anticipating the coming of the Messiah, crying out from the wilderness through time and into our hearts and homes. They are also the verses we commonly know from the Advent hymn “O Come O Come Emmanuel”.….. Ah Ha! I hear you say 🙂

Each of the O Antiphons highlights a different title for the Messiah:

O Sapientia (O Wisdom),

O Adonai (O Lord),

O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse),

O Clavis David (O Key of David),

O Oriens (O Rising Sun),

O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations),

and O Emmanuel!

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There are so many ways to add these beautiful prayers into our Advent celebrations and so many great resources online! As we are only beginning this year, I’m trying to not be too ambitious! 🙂

DECEMBER 17th – DAY ONE – “O WISDOM”

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O Wisdom…. how we all need the Wisdom of God!

King Solomon knew that Wisdom was greater than any treasure he could ask for.

“Come and teach us the way of prudence”

Prayer: I have downloaded and printed out this great prayer companion from Family, Feast and Feria which we will pray tonight at dinner time. We will also listen to these beautiful audio tracks of the antiphons being sung…. not to mention listen to “O Come O Come Emmanuel”…. here is one of my favorite versions… LISTEN HERE

Decoration: Red Poinsetta table cloth, Advent wreath, colouring in sheet (from Michele Quigley)

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Gift: Catholic Prayer book – I have some pretty amazing ladies who I know through online groups and they enjoy making prayer card images which they share with us all. I was able to take these beautiful prayers and put them together in a Diamond Photo 6 x 4 photo book. Each of the children received one this morning as their “O Wisdom” gift.  photo (12)

Fuzz and his prayer book!

Fuzz and his prayer book!

Food: I’ve heard sheep’s brains have been served as an option for today…. firstly I don’t think I could handle cooking them and secondly I think only Curly Sue would be brave enough to try them, seeing that she is my Lambs kidney fan!

So I’ve gone for a safer option and have made a version of my Date & Almond cocoa balls. I figured dates are rich in Selenium which is good for your brain and the almonds are a good source of protein :). Wisdom balls they are!

Recipe for “Wisdom Balls”

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– 1 packet of pitted dates chopped (I use scissors)

– 1/2 cup of water

– 1 tsp vanilla extract

– 1/4 cup cocoa powder

– 3 tbsps honey

– ground almonds ( I free pour this so it will make sense soon!)

1. Put chopped dates, water and vanilla into a saucepan and heat slowly until the mixture becomes completely mushy

2. Take off heat and add cocoa powder and honey. Stir until completely combined.

3. Now add ground almonds until you have a stiff enough dough to make into little balls.

4. Wet your hands (this helps them not get too sticky) and roll into balls.

5. Roll in ground almond or leave as is.

5. Refrigerate until firm.

Have a blessed day!!!!

Ruth

Wonderful St Joseph

It is the Feast of St Joseph, husband of Our Lady and foster father of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

What a feast!!! 🙂

As each year of rich liturgical feasts and celebrations role by, I get more and more enthusiastic with incorporating them into our family life! Now the children are older and therefore more able to understand and participate, I have great joy planning for each big feast. I am also dutifully reminded by Sunshine and Master Luke about what I have done in the years past… just in case I forget 🙂

Last year I came across a truly beautiful Italian tradition for celebrating the Feast of St Joseph… A St Joseph Altar. Below are a few links to give you the history and also a peek at what others have done (not to mention a link to my last minute attempt last year! :))

History of St Joseph Altar

Shower of Roses 2013 St Joseph Altar

Our humble attempt at a St Joseph Altar 2013

Therefore I am REALLY buzzing with excitement about tomorrow! 🙂

This is what we have planned to celebrate the wonderful, humble man who was given the precious role as head of the Holy Family.

ACTIVITIES:

– A simple family altar set up with pictures of St Joseph, Holy Family and candles

St Joseph picture

This is my latest edition to our holy pictures collection 🙂 I LOVE the added gold highlights

– Family morning Rosary (Joyful Mysteries to meditate on the role of St Joseph)

– A St Joseph Mini Lapbook – I use a simple manila folder and the children cut, paste, fill out and colour to their age and stage :). I have put this together myself, so the link for the PDF is highlighted if you would like to download it. If you do, please make sure you link back here if shared. Thanks 🙂  St Joseph Mini Lapbook

– Sort the Order colouring in activity and pinned timeline – I have quite a lot of BRILLIANT Catholic colouring in books that I photocopy on a regular basis for my kids. I have sourced a range of pictures depicting scenes from the life of St Joseph. The kids will have to order them as a timeline correctly and after colouring them in (if we have time :)) they will pin them along a string chronologically above the family altar. Below are the three I have used for St Joseph.

Life of Mary Colouring book by Sr Karen Cavanagh

Life of Mary Colouring book by Sr Karen Cavanagh

Colouring Book about the Rosary - St Joseph Coloring Books

Colouring Book about the Rosary – St Joseph Coloring Books

Communion of Saints Coloring Book - Holy Imitation series

Communion of Saints Coloring Book – Holy Imitation series

St Joseph Altar

Our parish is having a sung Latin Mass tomorrow evening at 6pm to celebrate the Feast. St Joseph has a very special place in the hearts of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer (the order who look after our Parish). It is worth reading why… CLICK HERE!

Following the Mass we are going to have a shared feast to celebrate. We will decorate a St Joseph Altar and share in some of the traditional foods that are found in Italy on this feast. The kids and I are going to be VERY busy baking, cooking and crafting our contributions tomorrow!

Here is our MENU we are creating (Catholic Cuisine by the way is a WONDERFUL site to check out for feast days!)

Pasta Milanese

– Honey Pasta

– Lentil Soup

Zeppole

St Joseph Bread

Fig biscuits – thanks Catholic Icing for this clever way of recreating the original 🙂

Frittelle di San Giuseppe

Yum, yum, yum!!!! 🙂 The house will smell wonderful and our hearts will be lifted up in thanksgiving…. I very much look forward to tomorrow!

One last thing 🙂

I have recently painted a picture of St Joseph (below) and have limited edition prints for sale on my Etsy store. Here is the link if you would like to check it out 🙂 ETSY STORE – RUTH GREEN

St Joseph - original painting by Ruth Green 2013

St Joseph – original painting by Ruth Green 2013

May your own feast of St Joseph be truly blessed!!!

Ruth xxx

 

Into the desert

Lent is almost here again.

I can still feel the pancakes from our EARLY Shrove Tuesday breakfast digesting in my stomach :). Curly sue and Fuzz are finishing theirs off for morning tea while watching an episode of Mister Maker. The elder two  wish they had not eaten theirs in one sitting :).

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The rain is pouring outside, the wind roaring and whistling down the chimney. It is a bleak day. Autumn is here doing its best to remind us that winter is just around the corner.

And as I take a moment to gather my thoughts, I am struck by the stark beauty of the season upon us.

Lent strips everything back like the stormy wind outside.
It exposes our weaknesses and failings.
It makes us vulnerable and in need of protection.
We find our hearts seeking shelter, seeking the warmth of Gods merciful embrace.

Lent opens our eyes again to the brutal, humbling reality of the Cross

Allowing us to pick up our own with renewed vigor as we walk beside Christ.

Lent is not pretty or comfortable.
It is inconvenient and long.

Through the season of Lent we are painfully, beautifully moulded into a better likeness of Christ.

I have come to LOVE Lent!

As today is the last day before it all begins, I have been making preparations. Below is a list of what our wee family will be doing. Feel free to use any ideas as most of mine are inspired by others 🙂

Lent in our Home

Hubby, Myself, Sunshine (9), Master Luke (6), Curly Sue (4) & Fuzz (2)

– Family prayer table covered with a purple sheet and simplified. Room made for Lenten prayer focuses. Crucifix left uncovered.

– Lenten chain – a paper chain made up of a purple link for each day (a different colour for Sundays) before Holy Week. Each link has something written on it to do. Each day you break open the link for the day and action what it says. I got this idea from a range of pins on Pinterest :), but below is the list I have created for our family 🙂

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  • Ash Wed: Bury Hallelujah (make a sign with the word Hallelujah on it), seal it in a plastic bag and bury it 🙂 You get the symbolism
  • Thurs 6th – Trad feast of St Perpetua & Felicity (watch DVD from Catholic Heroes) and talk about sacrifice and love
  • Frid 7th – Stations of the cross (great colouring in ones online)
  • Sat 8th – Temptation cookies (bake cookies and place them somewhere prominent to cool. Kids can’t eat them until Sunday. Discuss temptation 🙂
  • Sun 9th – Confession and Mass (feast of St Dominic Savio)
  • Mon 10th – Make a tomb scene (pinterest has HEAPS of ideas!… not sure which one we will use yet :))
  • Tues 11th – Mass, Adoration & Divine Mercy Chaplet (these happen to fall onto the same day for us with our outings!)
  • Wed 12th – Memorise the Act of Faith
  • Thurs 13th -Fill a bag of toys/clothes to donate to SVDP
  • Frid 14th – Stations of the Cross
  • Sat 15th – Acts of service around home
  • Sun 16th – Confession and Mass
  • Mon 17th – St Patrick’s Day
  • Tues 18th – Mass, Adoration & Divine Mercy Chaplet
  • Wed 19th – St Joseph
  • Thurs 20th – Make a get well parcel for Great Grandma
  • Frid 21st – Decide on and make a meatless meal for the family
  • Sat 22nd – Family Sabbath meal (as a child my family used to have a very simple Sabbath meal each Saturday night to welcome in the Sunday. I’ll post about this closer to the time :))
  • Sun 23rd – Confession & Mass
  • Mon 24th – Trad feast of St Gabriel
  • Tues 25th – Feast of the ANNUNCIATION  (other activities as well as bring flowers for Mary statue and visit Jesus in Adoration)
  • Wed 26th – Make a salt dough crown of thorns and nails
  • Thurs 27th – Make up a food parcel for SVDP (St Vincent de Paul Society)
  • Frid 28th – Stations of the Cross
  • Sat 29th – Acts of service at Grandparents home
  • Sun 30th – Confession & Mass
  • Mon 31st – Make stick puppets for Holy Week (stay tuned!)
  • Tues 1st April – Mass, Adoration & Divine Mercy Chaplet
  • Wed 2nd – Write thank you letters to Priests
  • Thurs 3rd – Visit the local Zoo – talk about the significance of Jesus the Lamb of God and see the donkey’s (weather permitting!!!!) … otherwise we will use toys and books at home 🙂
  • Frid 4th – Stations of the Cross
  • Sat 5th – Sabbath Meal with friends
  • Sun 6th – Trad PASSION SUNDAY – Confession & Mass (religious pictures/statues put away or covered with purple tissue paper)
  • Mon 7th – Finish making puppets
  • Tues 8th – Mass, Adoration & Divine Mercy Chaplet
  • Wed 9th – Watch an Easter Movie (this is a fave… “the Miracle Maker”… need to find a DVD copy as we don’t have a VCR anymore! :))
  • Thurs 10th – Make prayer cards to give out as gifts on Palm Sunday
  • Frid 11th – Make an Easter parcel for an old lady the children now
  • Sat 12th – Feast of St Gemma Galgani
  • Sun 13th – PALM SUNDAY

– Fasting from meat and only simple meals on Fridays

– Listening to Lent in Ephesus , a BEAUTIFUL CD of music for Lent 🙂 ( I got mine off Itunes)

For me personally I am doing the following:

– No Facebook 🙂
– Skirt/dress a day…. Aghhhh! This one I’ve been unsure about but it would be VERY challenging for pants loving me… So therefore probably very beneficial 🙂
– reading some of St Alphonsus Liguori’s work and A Thousand gifts by Ann Voskamp
– rising before 6am to pray

I pray that this wonderful, graced season will bear much fruit in your life and in the life of your family.

Remember all is naught if there is no charity in our hearts! 🙂

“Do everything in Love!” – 1 Corinthians 16:14

Blessings!

Ruth xxx

Chalk and Cheese

I started this blog back in March 2012 as a way of recording the many beautiful lessons I have and continue to learn as wife, mother and homeschooler. What I didn’t expect was the journey of discovery I would undertake in particular regard to my two wonderful girls, Sunshine (8) and Curly Sue (4).

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As different as chalk and cheese, my girls at times overwhelmed me with their different needs, desires and expectations. The same parenting, the same structure, the same emotional investment could not be applied to each of them. I started to struggle under what felt like the most impossible of tasks.

Until… 🙂 (“pause for dramatic effect” – Gru )

I started to actively and consciously love them as incredibly unique individuals. But to do this I had to learn what was required for my Sunshine toolbox and what was required for my Curly Sue toolbox…. not an easy task!

Labels are not ideal and I do prefer not to go down that path, but they have certainly helped me equip myself to a degree with strategies and tap into the past wisdom and experience of others. The labels I had to come to terms with were to do with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), for Sunshine it was “Sensory Sensitive” and for Curly Sue “Sensory Seeker”.

The diagram below I have used before but it is pretty clear…

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In lay mans terms, Sunshine is the yellow (how appropriate!) and Curly Sue is the pink (even more appropriate!). Sunshine experiences the world in technicolour, full stereo surround sound with 4D effects and responds immediately to this stimulation in many ways, most often emotionally. Curly Sue finds everyday life unstimulating and can often be heard saying “what can I do NOW?”. For her there is a real daily need to be stimulated physically, whether it be swinging, tasting, jumping, squishing etc. As evident from the above graph… my two girls are completely opposite! Chalk and cheese!

This discovery was simply life changing for me and turned my parenting on it’s head 🙂

So where are we know? Am I still struggling? Do I have this SPD parenting sorted? Am I able to blog about how brilliantly we handle these gorgeous kids?

The reason this particular blog post has come about is because I have been pretty unmotivated in my consciously competent parenting (see here for post on this!). The result of this lack of motivation is an ever increasing impatience and frustration which festers and feeds on itself. I haven’t got it all sorted….. in fact I have been only just coping!

Cue a much anticipated trip to Australia for one very blessed Sunshine and her Daddy.

Suddenly for the first time in almost 9 years, I am without my Sunshine for 6 days. Master Luke (6), Curly Sue and Fuzz (2) are without their big sister for 6 days. EVERYONE feels the absence. EVERYONE misses her!

And I get some much needed thinking and praying time, and a good kick up the backside (excuse the expression) in regards to my attitude and lack of unconditional love.

My children are such precious treasures, and having one absent has opened my eyes to the richness they bring to my life! So instead of sharing some of the challenges and tools that have come my way dealing with SPD recently, I want to lift up the unique beauty of each of my girls.

CURLY SUE

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Strong, willful, generous, righteous… at 4 years old Curly Sue looks like the cutest of poppets with her big green/blue eyes, long lashes and head of golden curls, but she can roar like a lion and fight like a pirate given half the chance! She has a take on the world that is calculated, unemotional and wise beyond her years but will be moved and brought to tears by unusual things. She is fearless when it comes to physical feats, but cowers behind her big brother in the dark. Her voice at play is the loudest in our family, but she can be lost for periods of time at home curled up quietly in a “nest” of her making. Out of all of my kids, she is the one I struggle the most to find any resemblance to me in, yet she is the one I look forward to dealing the most with as a teenager :).

I love her by letting her have a voice and listening. I love her by letting her sit on my feet as I walk around the kitchen. I love her by creating goop, playdough and warm spaghetti baths even when I have just cleaned. I love her by letting her push her physical boundaries (within reason :)). I love her by letting her cross the road walking close beside me not holding my hand. I love her by swinging her round, hanging her upside down, wrestling her and letting her snuggle against my skin inside my dressing gown. I love her by kissing her when she roars at me. I love her by thinking of creative, messy, sensory play ideas. I love her by letting her be Curly Sue and by providing a strong, unwavering set of boundaries that give her the courage and confidence to grow! I NEED to love her by reading this again tomorrow and actively choosing to do these things 🙂

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SUNSHINE

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Radiant, sensitive, deep, theatrical, emotional, philosophical…. at almost 9 years old, Sunshine can be a brilliant ray of light in our lives, or just as easily grow into a rocking, rolling thunderstorm. Her anxieties and drama queen episodes are very real and often all consuming, but her effervescent chuckle and smile illuminated from within are priceless treasures! She is sensitive to sound which leads her to feel music and interpret it with grace and depth of understanding. She sees beauty in created forms and constantly thinks of ways to recreate them herself. She daydreams the hours away, lost in a vivid imagination rich in characters and language. She knows God and loves him personally from a faith that wells up from within calling us all on in her own special way. She likes order and routine, always seeking to know what is coming next and suffers deeply when plans change. She invests her heart freely into people, always desiring to make bosom buddies but is still learning how to read social cues and seek what is in the other person’s best interest. She doesn’t play with things, but would rather be in character. She is slow to undertake or complete normal daily activities, getting distracted or lost in her imagination….. but this trait that frustrates me the most about her… taught me a valuable lesson the other day!

photo (14)Sunshine had the idea to make a doll of Our Lady of Guadalupe. So feeling motivated and inspired I said “Yes” and we got the required materials and began. I gave clear instructions on hand sewing which she had only done a few times before but in a much smaller degree. “Keep to the line as much as you can and keep the stitches small and closely spaced to help the stuffing stay in”. Master Luke (6), launched in guns blazing and got off to a great start. He was half way done when I glanced over to Sunshine who had completed not quite a quarter of the stitching. I made the occasional “you might need to speed up” and “if you are going to get this doll finished you will have to” comments, but to no avail. It was then that I heard a slight mutter coming from her lips. As I listened, I realised that she was praying a Hail Mary for every stitch……..

………………….OH…………………………………humbled……………………………………….wow!…………………..

I asked her what she was doing and she told me that because it was a doll of Mary, she wanted to treat it with respect and thought that praying her way through making it would be a good thing. I really was speechless. Here I was trying to speed her up, when in fact she was making the most of ever second by offering it up to God in prayer. To add salt to my pride…. when she finished, her stitching was AMAZING :).

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I love Sunshine by making myself present. I love her by taking control of her coping mechanisms. I love her by providing stable routines. I love her by giving her space and a time frame to get things done. I love her by making my expectations clear and simple. I love her by feeding her good music, literature and art. I love her by encouraging her to take physical risks and letting her do them in her own time and pace. I love her by teaching her filters and providing her with tools for social environments. I love her by feeding her the right food for her brain chemistry and avoiding the junk that messes up the wiring. I love her by being her advocate and not her judge. I love her by affirming her strengths and not emphasizing her weaknesses. I love her by giving her responsibility and trust. I love her by giving her my ears and mind to download on. I love her by recognising her fears and anxieties are real. I love her by helping her rise above them and to soar. I love her by taking her to the Sacraments. I love her by accepting that she sees and will continue to see the world in a different way than I do, and by giving her a solid foundation of love and acceptance which will give her the strength to fly! I NEED to choose each day to consciously and competently love my Sunshine!

Whoever your children are, what ever quirks, gifts, personality traits etc. that God has given them, no matter how they exceed your expectations or fail to live up to them…. they are treasures! Here today, gone tomorrow, our lives are truly precious and as parents we need to live a life of gratitude and praise for Our Heavenly Father has entrusted us with the extraordinary gift of raising His own! It is ok to struggle and it is ok to wonder how you are to possibly love a child in the midst of a struggle, but LOVE raises us up, strengthens us and makes us capable of more than we think is possible!

Tomorrow, embrace your children and then spend the day looking at them in wonder. Observe them, ponder them, allow yourself to learn about them and then take those heart notes and turn them into a mission…. a mission to actively love!

Many, many blessings my friends!

Ruth xxx

Finding treasures in my draft folder :)

Good morning 🙂

I’m not a strong stroke swimmer (can you tell we have been learning about alliteration :)) when it comes to daily life. I am more of a doggy paddler, gulping water and getting cramp. But there are times when I have a glimmer of the Olympic medalist within me and that usually has something to do with my thankfulness.

“The joy of the Lord is my strength” – Nehemiah 8:10

Stock standard scripture memory verse.

AND… WONDERFULLY, MERCIFULLY TRUE!

No matter how deep or wide or long the current “pool” of my life is, the JOY of the Lord is my sustaining, life giving strength. All it takes, to quote St Therese, is  ” A SIMPLE GLANCE DIRECTED TO HEAVEN” and the simple cry of THANK YOU.

This morning as I was tidying up some bloggish stuff, I stumbled across this post that I never published. It is simple, straight to the point and reminded me to spend today being thankful for everything I have…even a 4 year old who has multiple changes of underwear a day!

May your heart be lifted today in thanksgiving!

Blessings

Ruth xxx

Below is the old post I found 🙂

I’m thankful for ugly concrete that can become the canvas for beauty!

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I’m thankful for a sink full of soapy water and a sticker earring clad happy boy!

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I’m thankful for a new dining room that is flooded with evening sunshine and provides a space for Master Luke’s creativity!

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I’m thankful for the brainwave to turn an old set of drawers into a bureau for table wear and to also become our new family altar!Image

I’m thankful for an unsettled, grumpy, Curly Sue who in the midst of a stormy morning can draw Jesus on the cross and leave it on the family altar…Image

I’m thankful for a new Pope, who has a heart like Christ for the poor!

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I’m thankful today!

What are you thankful for?

Blessings!

Ruth

My ever evolving, beautiful life…

I’m a perpetual juggler, very rarely stationary, always dreaming, a constant beginner but not always completer of tasks.

As a teenager I used to wonder at those remarkable people with focus and direction. People with a singular, glorious talent in which they could excel and inspire with.

I on the other hand could do a plethora of things, well but not brilliantly. I could (and still can) fly by the seat of my pants and seem knowledgeable about a lot of things…. BUT I lacked the perseverance to follow through completely unlike certain wonderful members of my family and close friends.

I was an early developer in many ways, but I feel like I’m a late bloomer when it comes to perseverance and patience. Aging is gracious to people like me, for as you become thoroughly aware of your faults, you also become wise to the fact that they don’t define you and if humble, one can learn to change 🙂

So here I am, months of no blogging behind me, ready to share a little of my daily, beautiful life. Beautiful, because it is ever evolving and developing and because it is infused with Divine Grace which makes even the most chaotic, fault riddled life, a work of art!

Here are a few changes going on in my world :)…

1. I’ve decided to ditch the http://www.pulchradoctrina.com site and stick with simple old WordPress. I will blog about whatever I’m inspired about and do my best to tag effectively so you don’t have to troll through too much that doesn’t interest you :).

2. I am opening an online shop for my art TOMORROW!! So feel free to check it out and like the Facebook page which will keep you up to date with what is for sale and specials. Here are the links to my: Felt Shop and my Facebook 🙂

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3. I’m falling in love with the Extraordinary Form of the Mass and my family and I have made our new Parish home with the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer (a branch of the Redemptorist’s who celebrate the Extraordinary Form solely). This has been and is continuing to be a marvelous journey of faith and trust which I will blog about soon. It is a sensitive topic for many, and I want to approach it the right way :). NO FEAR, we still love the Ordinary Form 🙂

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4. After 14 years of journeying from the darkness into light with my dearest friend, I was privileged to stand beside her as she was fully welcomed into the Catholic Church last weekend. It was an extraordinary moment of grace and an amazing gift of which I will be forever thankful for! It was an even greater day due to the fact her 8 year old son and 1 week old son were baptised as well :). Praise the Lord!!!

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4. 3 years after the magnitude 7 earthquake we experienced here in our city of Christchurch, our family home is finally up for repair. This is going to be  a mammoth job of which we will keep a video and photo journal of.

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(Note: You used to have to climb the steps and then step up onto our front door step…. it now sits almost one metre below!)

In a nut shell, life is busy, slightly chaotic, colourful, challenging but gloriously full! I am grateful for the rich blessings God has and continues to bestow and I ask for your prayers that I may lean less on my own strength and more on His!

God is good!

Blessings

Ruth xxx

I choose to be consciously competent!

I have very wise parents.

They have been married for 40 years, raised a family of 5 and love each other more now, than they did all those years ago :). Their secret, to Give without counting the cost.

This simple, but profound moto, is infinitely deep.

Those six words, are summed up in the very act of our Salvation.

God is Love and Love is total gift of oneself. 

No strings.

No conditions.

No selfishness.

No resentment.

Nothings impure or imperfect.

Now, I’m not saying my parents are perfect, as they would readily agree, but they ACTIVELY choose to Love each other each day, and that has been their secret 🙂

On our Catholic family camp recently, they spoke about The Law of the Gift and in particular how we need to be “consciously competent” when loving those God has given us.

What is “consciously competent”?

It is a term coined in the field of psychology.The four stages of competence label our process of learning, and “conscious competence” is stage three. See the diagram below…

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The reason I want to share this with you, is that this has been significant for me in how I parent! As fantastic as it would be to reach “unconscious competence” as a parent, to be utterly fabulous, a multi-tasking, compassionate, meek & mild, always positive, evangelising super Mum, the reality is quite different!

My Dad spoke at the camp about choosing to stay at the “conscious competence” stage when choosing to love. To always be aware of what we need to do and making a choice to do it, is so important when it comes to love.

Love is not a habit! 

Love is a living breathing life force that we must surrender to each day and allow, by our actions and words, to shine out of us.

I choose to be a consciously competent parent.

I choose to be a loving and compassionate parent, slow to anger and merciful in action.

As a mum of four gorgeous treasures, each at different challenging stages, this choice is a LIFE LINE for my sanity!

Yesterday I prayed, begged God to give me the grace to choose… and though not perfectly, I DID CHOOSE! The day handed me many opportunities to loose the plot.

My tin of sewing pins was strewn across my wooden slat floors, creating a forest of upright pins.

Playdough was eaten and squished into carpet. 

Ears were not turned on and friendly wrestles became causes of pain.

2 year old rages and screaming weeblies wore patience down like nails on a blackboard.

Excited, energetic dancing and singing caused supermarket hazards.

(after writing all that I feel that I have to say my kids are actually really well behaved 🙂 )

There are days like this, when at every turn you are faced with a choice; to turn into a fire breathing dragon or a lighthouse in the stormy sea.

Yesterday, with the grace of God, I was a lighthouse.

The difference…. miraculous 🙂

In the face of chaos, I had joy. In the front line of rage, I had peace. In the midst of disobedience, I had merciful love.

Today, the challenge is set!

I CHOOSE TO BE CONSCIOUSLY COMPETENT!

blessings

Ruth