Monday, February 28, 2011

Don't Worry. Be Happy.




It is so typical.  I ponder something in my heart all week only to find the answer waiting for me at some point during Mass on Sunday.

This past week I was questioning my preparedness for hard times ahead.  I am not a worrier by nature.  There are worriers in my life and I spend much time encouraging them to take heart and fear not;  God is with us always. Yet there are times when I do wonder if I have allowed myself to be too peaceful in this life.  If I should be doing more to prepare for the unknowable future.

Then I go to Mass.  With early morning sunlight streaming in through circular windows, falling softly on the faces of so many families who have also come for a word of grace, I inhale deeply the unique peacefulness that comes when so many faithful people are hushed together in reverence.

The Gospel is proclaimed.  Matthew 6:24-34.  And as the words are read, a slow smile spreads across my face.  Here is the message God wanted me to hear today.

Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your lifespan? (verse 27)

 I resist the urge to elbow those around me who are bona fide "worrywarts" and remember that, today, these words are especially for me.

So do not worry and say, 'What are we to eat?' or 'What are we to drink?' or 'What are we to wear?'...
Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. (verses 31 and 34)

Father begins his homily by saying, "Jesus is telling us to stop worrying!"  The words are so simply profound I cannot help but get the message.  Father goes on, his long green robes swinging as he approaches our side of the church, "But how are we to do that?"   He then explains the following three steps to a worry-free life:

1.  Trust God to provide. 
~  We pray give us this day our daily bread - not this week or this year's bread.  
~  Refocus on God and less on your daily needs.

2.  Live each day for God.  
~  Wake up each morning and thank Him for this day.
~  Seek God in each person that you meet.
~  At night, thank God for the day and give Him all the worries since He's up all night anyway.

3.  Seek everlasting life.  
~  Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you besides. (verse 33)
~  Know what you can change, what you cannot, and the difference between the two.    

I feel a hand reach for mine.  Warm, strong fingers twine with mine and squeeze.  He knows my heart.  He knows I needed to hear this message.  All is well, all will be well.  Don't worry.  Be happy.



Join Elizabeth Foss in pondering sacrifice.









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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Snippets ~ A Catholic Carnival


I have linked with RAnn from This That and the Other Thing for her Sunday Snippets Catholic Carnival.  Catholic bloggers are invited to share their favorite posts from the week.  Please stop over to see what they are sharing. 

My shared posts for the week are:



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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Trees and Trains









I hope you have time this weekend to set foot into God's great creation.  There is peace to be found among the trees.  Blessings!


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Friday, February 25, 2011

Lost In The Moment


Magazines, books and blogs urge me to live with mindfulnessto be "present" in the current moment.  Not to miss the beauty in the simple things of life.  What if the world in which I live is so disappointing I would rather live in a fog of my own mindlessness


I vacillate between trying to stay on top of current events and turning it all off and tuning it all out.  It seems impossible that such dramatic events can occur in the same world where people spend money on Silly Bands.  The news can be so frightening that I would rather watch Food TV and become lost in learning to make chicken empanadas.  Somehow it begins to seem foolish to spend so much time blogging, decorating and running errands.   Is being so narrowly focused causing me to miss the call to be more prepared for reality?  Am I getting so lost in savoring the small moments in life that I will be unprepared for the inevitable bigger moments to come?  Have I forgotten that evil is real?


The truth is, evil does exist.  Especially as a Christian I believe that to be true.  
                                        And lead us not into temptation
                                        but deliver us from evil.
                                               Matthew 6:13
 Jesus prayed these words.  I pray these words but do I really notice them? 


Lately, I have begun to wonder if I am ready to face truly challenging times. I need only to look to the life of my Grandmother to know that hard times can and do hit.  Have I prepared our family?  Our finances?  Our pantry?  


This is not the topic to bring up at Bunco or over coffee with girlfriends.  People don't really want to think about it much less talk about it.  But I find myself asking bigger questions and wondering who might have some answers and advice.  For now, I am asking God what I should be doing rather than doing only what I want to be doing.   I am making my way out of the fog.

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Timepeace



He just turned nine last week.  Yesterday my son said, "I can't wait 'til I turn 12."  Our precious neighbor hit a milestone today and awoke to find her lawn covered in skunks.  Apparently, she should wish to stay the age she used to be.  


How often have I wished to be an age I am not, yet, and, nowadays, an age I once was?  Why not simply be content to be the age I am today? 


Because it takes courage. To live deeply within this minute, to inhale slowly, exhale extravagantly, to be alive and to really appreciate it, takes a deeper level of consciousness than many people want to be bothered with.  Life is rarely about what is happening right now.  For many of us, it is consumed by what happened to us yesterday and what we have to do tomorrow.


"Much, much stress results from your wanting to make things happen before their times have come. ... Instead of dashing headlong toward your goal, let ME set the pace.  Slow down, and enjoy the journey in My Presence."  January 9 entry from Jesus Calling.
 

Today, I will slow down and be 38 years old.  I can never be this age, on this day again.  Let me find the beauty of now.





   




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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - 7



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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Birthday Zone



It was the first one that did it. My son was four and invited to his first-ever birthday party.  It was to be at the little girl's house one Saturday afternoon in October.  Since I had never met this family, I decided to stay for the party myself along with several other parents.  You see, the entire class was invited.  Nearly 30 four year olds had arrived at the front door of a lovely home and stepped into the "Birthday Zone".

The first stop upon arriving was to stand still and have a photograph taken.  Then it was into the double garage where long banquet tables were laid out with tablecloths while toddler-music pumped from a nearby stereo. On one side were four card tables covered with crafts supplies and adult helpers stationed to assist.  At one station, kids made spiders for Halloween, at the next, they decorated picture frames.

Then it was on to games.  The children were divided into groups and moved through several simple game stations such as bean bag toss and clothespin drop.  What made these games less than simple was that the crafty mother had sewn special bean bags for the party, painted each clothespin to look like an animal and so on.  The amount of detail was staggering.

After a stop at the tables for hot dogs and cake, the now-worn out children sat in a circle to watch the birthday girl open all her presents.  Upon departure each child was presented with his own photo inside the picture frame he had just created as well as nearly as much candy and treats as we would later collect while trick-or-treating.

And that did it.  I knew I would never, ever, host a birthday party at our house.  Not only was it chaotic but I was in no way prepared to go to such details to keep little ones entertained for three hours.  I felt insecure and overwhelmed.  For the next few years we took what I thought was the easy route, combining our boys' parties at locations like bounce houses, bowling alleys and go-karts. All we had to do was to show up.  It was great.  But it still felt like too much.  Too much stimulation, too much money, too much hustle and bustle, too much extravagance.

This year, in keeping with my word of the year, Enough, my boys agreed to go back to basics.  We had separate parties, each with only four friends invited. Goody bags contained one pack of jellybeans, four chocolates and a mini calculator from Target's dollar spot. I found a party decorating kit at WalMart with a tablecloth, balloons, shiny table sprinkles and a banner. I bought simple paper goods and the day of the party stopped at my grocery store, chose a pre-made cake and had them add my son's name. We ordered pizza and played with toys and games the boys have at home.  For most of the party the boys played in the backyard together.   It was heavenly.  My husband said, "This is the best idea you ever had." My son said, "This was the best birthday party I ever had." As for me, I loved the ease and simplicity of these parties.

Isn't it what all the adults are complaining about these days: kids who expect so much, are easily bored and so often disappointed with what they get?  Kids who are spoiled and don't even know how good they have it?  Well, it makes sense to me to begin in my own home, demonstrating that fun is simple. I love it when people go the extra mile to decorate and entertain for all types of parties but I often wonder, at what personal cost?  Were they screaming at their little ones right before the party, hurrying to decorate and perfect? It reminds me that this is Motherhood, not Marthahood, and simplicity is peace.


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Monday, February 21, 2011

Daybook 2-21-11

A photo thought

Outside my window…pewter sky and the occasional dry leaf flip-flopping by in the wind.
I am thinking…how nice it is to have a calendar with big blank boxes after the busy week we just had.
I am wearing…pj's since the boys have no school today we are staying cozy all morning.
I am hearing…flying, giggling, boys leaping off beds upstairs.  Anytime I hear crying now I expect to go to the ER until someone yells, "Don't worry, there's no blood!"
I am thankful for…my husband being home later than usual this morning, the big bowl of budding tulips from a friend, this new day.
I am going…to the park to meet friends and enjoy the warmer weather, to Target for a coffee to bring to the park!, and home for playtime in the backyard with the boys.
I am hoping…to find the instruction paper for my son's book report due this week.  I think I may have tossed it in the recycling bin.  He read a biography of Albert Einstein and needs to share it with his classmates this Friday.
I am praying for…Terri as she prepares to leave for Germany and an experimental treatment.  If you could please continue praying too?  Her husband told me yesterday that she has regained some speech.  God hears our pleas!
I am readingRhythm of Life by Matthew Kelly.  Almost finished but life still not totally in rhythm!
I am pondering…a new soup idea I have and must try.  Pot-sticker soup sound good?  My boys love sushi and pot-stickers.  I brought some home on Friday and all the sushi is gone but no-one opened the pot-stickers.  Itching to get into the kitchen now...
God is leading me…toward family prayer.  Last night after dinner and baths we lit candles and prayed the Glorious Mysteries together.  My toddler fell asleep in my arms and I felt the graces all around us as we put them all to bed.  My husband wants to do that every Sunday night.  I am so grateful for his leadership.
In the kitchen…tonight is left-over Lentil Tomato Soup,  later this week we'll have chicken enchiladas and some kind of salmon.  Still have birthday cake to finish so no need for sweets.
Around the house…more organizing hot spots to cover.  Most pressing - my toddler's clothes spilling off the shelves in my closet and my older boys' bookshelves, also spilling over, 
One of my favorite things… my new Shark cordless bare floor vacuum.  Over the past few years I have gone through four Swiffer vacs and they always die out.  I bought this at Target over the weekend and even got a $15.00 Target gift card back with the purchase. It is sublime!

To add your own Daybook go to:



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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Saturday Sweets {silky chocolate fondue}


Stop over at Bake Me Away for a quick and delicious dessert idea you can make tonight. 
Have a sweet Saturday!

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Sing Songs of Beauty


Warm breezes through open windows, budded branches and two birthday boys this week simply made my soul rejoice. On Wednesday morning I read the lyrics of a hymn in my Magnificat.  The words echoed my spirit's silent song and reverberated through the past two days. Even if the breezes blow cold and the branches remain barren, I hope these words can awaken your own spirit's song of peace and praise today.


HYMN

Thanks be to God, O give him Praise
And publicize his great name.
Shout out, proclaim aloud his deeds
To ev'ry land and peoples,
Sing songs of beauty to the Lord;
Praise him with spirit jubilant.
Tell over all his marvels!

Glorious is his holy name;
Let ev'ry heart be joyful.
Cleansed they become through fear in faith
Who struggle now with courage.
Look to the Lord and to his strength;
His acts recall, his judgments sound.
Never forget his wonders!

He surely is our God and Lord
Who all the earth rules justly.
His cov'nant he will not forget;
It is his word and promise.
All generations this confirms:
He is unfailing, faithful, true;
His trust is everlasting.
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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award





The Stylish Blogger Award:

Alana at All is Amazing has honored me and my baby blog with this award. I hope my own readers will stop over to read her inspirational posts on homemaking, organizing, step-by-step tablescapes and more. 
Thank you, Alana, for giving me this award!




The rules for this award are:

  • Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award.
  • Share seven things about yourself.
  • Award seven recently discovered great bloggers.
  • Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award.


Seven Things About Misty of mistysmornings.blogspot.com:



I am a Targetaholic.  I try not to go there everyday but now that Starbucks is inside, it can be very hard to stay away.  Many people have toured my house and asked, "Where did you get that cute thing?" and the answer is always, "At Target."  They are amazed.  Soon they are telling me about all their great Target finds.  Spread the love!


Soy profesora de español e inglés.  I couldn't decide whether to major in Spanish or English so I majored in both and taught every grade, 6-12, in the the seven years post college graduation.  I haven't taught a day since the birth of my first son which just so happens to have been nine years ago yesterday.  

♀♂

Sadly my father passed away when I was two and a half years old.  I grew up in a household of women only: my mother, sister and myself.  God gave me all boys.  Sometimes I think I hear Him chuckling.


My husband and I were engaged to be married and while digging through papers saved since childhood we found a dating survey from our 8th grade year.  Guess who had been his number one dating match?  Yep - yours truly.  Did he ask me out?  Nope.  At least not then.  It took a ride home from college with a mutual friend to finally get us together.  We displayed that survey at our rehearsal dinner as "proof" we were meant to be.



I am a Roman-Catholic convert by way of Presbyterian Sunday school, Assembly of God youth group and Lutheran college.  Praise be to God for all those beautiful paths I walked along my journey home. 



I realized that I have made and kept one life-long best friend from every city I have ever lived in.  You five ladies know who you are and I am so blessed to have you in my life.  Almost makes me want to move again to see who God has in store for me next!



My favorite time of day is pre-dawn to mid-morning.  I love to sneak downstairs around 5am, put on the coffee and light a candle.  The sunrise is so energizing for me and hearing the birds singing makes my spirit sing too.  Thus the name of this blog.  I hope it helps your spirit sing a little bit too.   


Now for Seven Great Bloggers I read and highly recommend for a little dose of:

Please stop in to see these beautiful blogs and leave us a comment if you have the time.


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Wordless Wednesdays - 6







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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

52 Weeks of Organizing {Family Binder}



How do you keep it all together? All the papers, magazines clippings, ideas for crafts, service contracts and more.  I have spent many hours trying to figure it out on my own and finally landed on a few helpful blogs that described how to set up a homekeeping notebook.

Over the past summer I tried to put my own together.  Every few weeks I go through my "inbox" where I have tossed all those important loose papers.  I end up throwing many of them away and then hole-punch the rest to go into my Family binder. I cut scrapbooking papers to insert inside the plastic covering on a large three-ring binder.  Lately I have put a greater importance on making functional items more beautiful.  Stickers and scrap papers work wonders.

These sticky divider tabs were fabulous for creating the sections in my binder.  Some of the categories I have are: Books, Decorating, Directions,Dreams,Family Meetings, Gardening, Gift Ideas, Goals, House Projects, Medical/Dental, Milestones, Old Info (former addresses, schools, doctors etc...), Prayers, Services, Wisdom, Wishlists, Vacations and there are many more.  I found I had so many recipes that I created a hanging file box just for them. 



This week my goal was to go through the inbox again and tidy up the binder.  It is still evolving but I like knowing that I have a way to contain my random paperwork and ideas in one easily accessible place.

I would love to know about your system for keeping it all together as well.  Happy organizing!




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Monday, February 14, 2011

Daybook 2-14-11 Happy Valentine's Day!

A photo thought...

Outside my window…blue sky, sunshine, gentle breeze bringing warmer weather today.
 I am thinking…about Valentine's Day.  Loving so many people, my God, my life.
I am wearing…a coral tunic top and black yoga pants.
I am hearing…"Bless the Broken Road" by Selah on my computer and my two year old playing trains.
I am thankful for…the changing of each season.  I always decide I like the next one even better than the last.  It feels like time to think about planting flowers and bringing out Easter baskets again.
I am going… to stay home today.  Mondays are my work at home day - laundry, beds, general tidying from the weekend and making lists and plans for the week ahead.  Also need to wrap the little gifts I got for Valentine's Day!
I am hoping…my cousin will still be able to visit us overnight tonight.  Feel better!
I am praying for…my friend, Terri, whose benefit is this week at the Blarney Stone.  She needs miraculous healing, prayers and donations. Terri's birthday is also this week and I am so grateful for our 31 years of friendship. May God Bless you friend.
I am reading… Small Steps for Catholic Moms: Think. Pray. Act. Every Day. by Danielle Bean and Elizabeth Foss.  It has very short three-step devotions for each day of the year.
I am creating…a week of celebrations: Valentine's Day and two birthday parties!
I am pondering…this blog post about the urge to quit making art  when things get tough.
God is leading me…to pray the rosary more often.
In the kitchen…a big week of requests for birthday breakfasts, lunches and dinners! I'll be posting about these recipes at Bake Me Away all week. For Valentine's Day we'll be having Chicken Wild Rice Soup and chocolate fondue with fresh fruit.
Around the house…next on the list for 52 Weeks of Organizing is my home-keeping binder system which I'll post about tomorrow.
One of my favorite things… God's amazing grace.  My dear friend was having trouble making ends meet while paying for Catholic schooling for her children.  She and her husband prayed for an answer and kept making sacrifices.  Last week she got a call from the school secretary saying that an anonymous donor had paid the ENTIRE REST OF THE YEAR'S TUITION for their family.  Whoever that was  - she says THANK YOU and THANK GOD!




To add your own Daybook go to:



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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunday Soup Night {Chicken Wild Rice Soup}

My three soup-lovin' sons.

This is the soup I am making for dinner tonight.  I will double it so there will be enough for lunches tomorrow as well.
Have a delicious Sunday!
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Friday, February 11, 2011

Peaceful Snow Day


Yesterday we had the most lovely snow day.


The woods were simply begging us to come and explore.



We had new trails to find and secret passageways and hideouts.



Reading about nature is fine, but if a person walks in the woods and listens carefully, he can learn more than what is in books, for they speak with the voice of God.
George Washington Carver


There were tracks to follow.


And tracks to make.


Occasionally, the wind blew mini blizzards of snow around us.


And then the sun returned and the sky gleamed blue.



The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.
Ralph Waldo Emerson


There were hints of Spring.



And reminders of winter.




We made wonderful memories.




And then, there were the snowy camellias.








I got a little swept away by their color and beauty.





I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.
e.e. cummings


It really was a magnificent day.



We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature - trees, flowers, grass - grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence... We need silence to be able to touch souls.
Mother Teresa

I linked this post to Foto Friday over at Household 6 Diva.  











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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Small Successes {morning bliss}


Because it's so much easier to find the flaws...
FaithButton


  1. Re-organized the hall closet. *Major sigh of relief*.  Blissfully easy mornings before school.  Why did I wait so long to do this???
  2. Updated my calendars with all school events and synced with my husband's travel schedule.  Made several appointments that needed to be made.  Feeling on top of obligatory things.
  3. Ironed all of my husband's work shirts and even the boys' school uniforms.  I actually like ironing but rarely get around to it.  Now hubby can get ready for work without hassles.  Here's to quick and easy mornings!

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Acrostic Marriage Poem

In June my husband and I will celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary.  There will be no new diamond anniversary ring, no public renewal of vows, no obvious sign to the outside world that anything of great importance has occurred.

But we two know.  It has taken fifteen years to become the couple we are today.  A couple who has known bitter tears, raucous laughs, deep divisions, sublime communions, late night talks and early morning goodbyes.  There has been not enough time, not enough money, not enough me to go around and yet... yet... God has filled the gaps, been there for me when my husband could not, been the miraculous money that got us through to the next month, been the third leg of this matrimonial stool.  And we plan to celebrate because, to us, something monumental has occurred. Something monumental is occurring everyday in this beautiful, messy mosaic of our marriage. While 15 years may seem a lot to some, in reality, we are still a very young married couple. In trying to summarize what I feel has helped us out so far I created this little acrostic poem:

M ~ make time to talk, to laugh, to be together.
A ~ ask forgiveness and forgive freely.
R ~ rely on God and pray together out loud.
              This will transform your married life.
R ~ remind him you love him everyday.
I ~  initiate intimacy.
A ~ argue with dignity.
G ~ guard your words in his presence and out of his presence.
E ~ exalt the best, ignore the rest and pray that he will do the same.

I hope that in ten years, upon our 25th wedding anniversary,  I can return to this silly little poem and find that it still describes us, as we once were and as we continue to become.

Joining Ann Voskamp in exploring "the practice of marriage".






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