Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Wisdom for Wednesdays

"Let us not forget that in all human activities there must be men and women who, in their lives and work, raise Christ's Cross aloft for all to see, as an act of reparation. It is a symbol of peace and of joy, a symbol of the Redemption and of the unity of the human race. It is a symbol of the love that the Most Holy Trinity, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit had, and continues to have, for mankind." 

-St. Josemaria Escriva

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Tuesday Talk # 25: This Holy Week

It's the holiest week of the year! The week before Easter, known in the liturgical year as Holy Week. Yesterday it began as we held our palm branches and sang hosanna at Mass and will continue with the celebration and commemoration of the first Eucharist on Thursday, Christ's death on Friday, the waiting on Saturday, and then the joyous rising on Sunday.

So much grace this week. So much grace. This is the week we celebrate the events that changed the course of our lives. Beautiful redemption.

It makes me want to sweep my calendar of anything and everything and simply immerse myself in the beautiful church services this week and focus only on the spiritual. But alas, I am body and soul, flesh and spirit. So instead, I'm pondering ways to bring the spiritual to the temporal. How can I remember, cherish, and live out the truths of Christ's suffering, death, and resurrection in my life this week?

What are your favorite things about this week? If you are not Catholic, have you ever been to a Catholic service during Holy Week?

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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Love vs. Fear

"Perfect love casts out fear." -1 John 4:18

My progesterone level plummeted last week, a hormone that should normally rise in pregnancy.

But our little one continues to dance around beneath my heart and I'm taking one for the team with two injections a week to help my levels rise.

So many tears and so many fears that day. I was frustrated and exhausted by the hope/fear cycle of pregnancy after loss. It feels like each time my heart begins to soar with unfettered joy for the life within, something happens to jolt me back to reality that a happy ending isn't always certain. I had just started to feel the amazing kicks of our baby and rejoice in the beauty of connecting with the unique child inside me by his or her sweet movements...then a few days later my body fails to protect that child.

I've been reflecting on the experience and the Lord is showing me a powerful, challenging truth.

We are called to love fearlessly in this life. 

Everything is uncertain. We are not in control-- which can be both terrifying and comforting at different times! But what we can do is choose to love no matter what comes, even if it be loss or lack.

Fear can hold us back from experiencing true love and the abundant life Jesus offers us (John 10:10). When we fear, we hesitate. We hold back. We don't want to get attached or fully invested. But by doing so, we're missing out on freedom. Fear cripples us. It binds us from love without limits.

When we love without fear of rejection or loss, when we allow our love to conquer fear of the unknown or the unwanted, we experience the truest freedom and fullest love. We let go of the chains and we now can know boundless love...which leads to deep joy and peace.

That means talking to my sweet baby (he/she can hear now!) and relishing these moments of communion, even if Jesus takes our little one to heaven sooner than I would want.

It means sharing my deepest self with my husband--physically, emotionally, mentally-- without fearing he'll love me less or find me inadequate.

It means diving deeper into my relationships with family and friends instead of fearing losing them to distance, changing circumstances, or even death.

It means tithing, giving, and sharing with others instead of looking ahead and fearing financially as we add another person to our family.

It means sharing the truths of my God and my Faith with a friend without fearing she'll make fun of me or misunderstand.

It means throwing myself into my Heavenly Father's arms when I make mistakes, commit sin, or just feel like I'm not living up to my potential, trusting that He will never reject me and is always ready with mercy and grace to start fresh.

In what areas of your life is fear holding you back from love? How can you cast out fear by loving more fully, more freely?

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Monday, March 14, 2016

On My Bookshelf this Month: Two Book Reviews

Yep. I couldn't resist this same type again. A godly children's board book just like Snuggle Time Prayers. And this one totally stole my heart as well. There are so many children's books out there with propaganda (relativism, gay marriage, etc.), I am so thankful and refreshed when I come upon one like this. It is absolutely adorable. 

A simple, serene, comforting book about getting ready for bedtime and how God is always watching over your little one. Through playtime and bathtime and snuggle time and finally bedtime, your child is reassured that God is watching over you. 

I feel like even as an adult, I would be reassured by this book before bedtime and sleep much more peacefully! I can't wait to add this to our baby's collection. Five stars. :)

[Thank you to Book Look Bloggers for sending me a complimentary copy for review! This post contains my honest and original thoughts.]

And now for my big girl book. :)

This one took me awhile to read and even now at the end, I'm not sure fully of my rating. There were things I really liked about this book and there were things I would want to improve. 

Dana Yeakley wrote this book to encourage us as women to not stop at simply being a disciple of Jesus Christ but to also disciple others to come to follow Him as well. My husband and I are both very interested in the concept of discipling/mentoring and feel that it's so important in our culture, especially with young adults. 

Here's where I struggle the most: am I competent and grounded enough in my own faith to disciple others? There's a part of me that feels the older I get, the less I know. As a teen, I was pretty confident (cocky?) in my faith and probably would have been more fearless about the idea of discipling someone newer in their faith. And while I still know the beliefs of my Faith and have a relationship with the Lord, I no longer feel like I 'know it all' and there's a part of me that wants a mentor myself rather than being one to a younger woman!! ;) 

However, the author assures us that we can both disciple others and be discipled ourselves through many seasons of life. While I may need discipled by an older woman, there are also things I can share with a younger woman or a woman newer in her faith. 

I like the way this book was written and organized. The author has a beautiful heart for the Lord and seems very authentic and encouraging. Despite my own wavering fears at the idea of discipling, Mrs. Yeakley gives practical and thoughtful ideas and topics on how to begin. I definitely would love this book even more if she were Catholic and could incorporate Catholic living into her mentoring plan for women. 

So there you have it. A beautiful woman with a beautiful mission wrote this book and definitely stirred my own heart on this issue, but I can't say I'm ready and raring to begin...perhaps not necessarily the fault of the book but rather something I need to take to prayer! If anything, this book challenged me to go ever deeper with our Lord so that I will be prepared should He bring an opportunity for discipleship into my life. 

[Thank you to Tyndale Publishing for sending me this complimentary copy for review. This post contains my honest and original thoughts.]

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Wisdom for Wednesdays

“Women are called to bring to the family, to society, and to the Church, characteristics which are their own and which they alone can give: their gentle warmth and untiring generosity, their love for detail, their quick-wittedness and intuition, their simple and deep piety, their constancy.”                                                 
~St. Josemaria Escriva

(qtd. on Woman of Grace)

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Tuesday Talk # 23: Of Spring and Things

We're seeing 50's and 60's this week for our temperatures and the air holds such a beautiful promise of spring! Just two more weeks and spring is officially here according to the calendar. One of my favorite parts of its coming is seeing the little buds on the trees and the little green shoots of daffodils and other spring bulbs poking through the dirt. We haven't lived at this house in the spring yet, so there's both a sentimental sadness for all the spring plants at my old abode and an exciting anticipation to see what surprises spring up in the landscaping here.

Some may also begin to think of spring cleaning when the warmer weather starts blowing in! I don't really have a routine for it, but I'm considering taking a week or two of going one room at a time and simply working on one deep cleaning project in each room (cleaning baseboards, organizing a closet, etc.) Or maybe I'll just open all the windows, let a sunny breeze blow through, and call it good. ;)

What's your favorite sign of spring?

Want to join this week's link up? Grab our button below and link back to one of the hosts!

 Becky at BYBMG | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
Michelle at Grammie Time | Pinterest | Instagram 

You can join us on Pinterest, too!

Follow Sweet Little Ones's board Tuesday Talk Features on Pinterest.

Join the party, friends, by linking up with your favorite post from the week! Here's the scoop:

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Tuesday, March 1, 2016