Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Where Charity And Love Prevail

     So this is going to be a quick one, and most likely not the most well thought out. I was thinking the other day, about charity, and how many people are too proud to accept it. You know, "I could never accept a handout" type people. Yes, I'm included in that group; receiving gifts is not a strong point of mine. Anyway, I got to pondering the origin of such a response, and quickly decided that it was pride. Kind of a no-brainer there. But then I got to thinking on the origin of "Charity", and, though it may seem blatantly obvious to some, I finally put 2 & 2 together and realized that it was the same word as the "Faith, Hope, and Charity (Love)" Charity. *foreheadpalm* 
     Derived from the Latin caritas, "Charity" refers to the love and friendship one has for God and, by extension, all of mankind. Though it may not seem so anymore, the origin of charitable donations stemmed from a desire to show love of God and neighbor by giving to those who needed something but did not have the ability to give reimbursement. It was/is a way to show Love
     Back to Pride, now. What does Pride do? Causes us to reject Love. The Proud Man is incapable of accepting or giving Love. Love requires and demands humility, to allow oneself to be open and vulnerable to being known by another. But Pride hinders our willingness to be understood and to understand, even though it is what we as human beings most desperately need and want. 
     To decline either gifts or help out of Pride is, in essence, to deny Love which is being offered to us. It is to say, "I want love, but on my terms and conditions. Anything which causes me to humble myself, and face humiliation, does not fit the model, and thus I will have no part in it." To be too good for a charitable act is a sign of being too good for Love. Something to keep in mind as we enter this Holiday Season, where Acts of Charity are so often a major focus of this time of year.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I Didn't

     It is tough adjusting to being a mom, having to put basically everyone before yourself. Oftentimes, it seems as though you never get to do anything that you want to do, or sometimes even have to do. It is easy to get caught up in the "I didn'ts" of the day:  I didn't get to finish the laundry, again; I didn't get to getting us all outside (*gasp!*); I didn't get to finish that article; and so on. It is easy to start to slip into the thinking that we are failures - I mean, how hard is it to finish a load of laundry, really? Nevemind that the help of a toddler and 9 month old is really much more of a hindrance. Even finishing what used to be the simplest of tasks is now a huge deal. My huge successes last week? Actually having dinner made by the time Code Monkey got home, three days in a row. The first time that has happened in basically 9 months. But even that victory was overshadowed by the list of "I didn'ts", which it seems haunts my every move. 
     Tonight, though, my perspective was shifted a little bit, as I was thinking about the day while nursing Juanito down to bed. It started out with the typical "I didn'ts", but then I thought about how I didn't lose my temper today. I didn't yell, even when José was hitting me with the book. I didn't lose my cool when José wasn't able to keep the dish water in the sink. I didn't get bent out of shape when Juanito decided that 10 p.m. was a better time for sleeps than his historical 8 p.m. I didn't let the little things get to me today. This is a list of "I didn'ts" that I can feel good about, even proud of. I'm finally seeing, more and more, how much my actual attitude toward and view of a situation really influences how I feel about it (much to my chagrin most times). So when you get stuck in the rut of negative "I didn'ts", try and see if you can't throw a few positive ones in there as well, even if they are really ridiculous. Pretty sure it'll help make a bad day into a not as awful one.  

Monday, September 1, 2014

Giving Grace

Figure 1.
          So, I'm sort of experiencing writers block tonight.  Yes, in spite of this very long list of potential topics to blog on.  See Figure 1.  I'm just not in the mood to try and tackle any of them, though Giving Grace would be a fitting one considering my current state. So I guess we'll go with that, then.  Except I think I was wanting to preface it with my meager thoughts on Pope Francis.  Which was going to be prefaced with Doesn't Apply To You. And somewhere in there Division is the Devil's Work would fit nicely.  Oh, guess I should cross off Friends Who Blog, since that was last week's.  Well, back to Giving Grace, then.

          This past week has been a doosie in regards to failings and humility and the need for grace.  I won't go into detail, but I pretty much sucker punched myself in the gut and toppled squarely into the category of  "People I Never Thought I'D Be Like".  Not the first time I've joined "Those People" (you know, those people who do X, Y, or Z, and make us swear we will never do X, Y, or Z...), mind you, but this time it was really something else.  Anyway, awful as I was (I don't recommend trying to get into such situations), it is a timely reminder about how much we all need grace, not only from God, but also from each other.  We need to treat each other with mercy, compassion, patience, understanding, and charity at all times, and most especially when we really, really don't feel like it, because they simply "don't deserve" it.  Why?  Because that is how Christ treats us, every single time we do something that hurts him.  And we are called to follow in His footsteps.  Though falling in with the "Those People" crowd isn't a good thing of itself, there can be good that comes from it.  A reminder that we really aren't that much better than anyone else, that "But for the grace of God" we could very easily be the prostitute, the druggie, the abuser.  A reminder of just how little humility can be found up there on the pedestal where we had placed ourselves.  An opening of our eyes to our own need for grace, and the understanding of just how much others need it, too. 
          So I try to give grace.  To the parents whose child is acting out, because I know that someday I'll be there too.  To the girl who's living with her fiance, because she is afraid to get married again.  To the rebellious teen, who's fighting an inner battle they are afraid to let anyone see.  To the mom who screams at her kids, because I know what it's like to be at the end of my rope.  To the dad who feels like he's a lousy father because all he seems to do is work.  
          How do I give grace?  By listening; by doing my very best to understand where they are coming from; by patiently and lovingly giving advice where needed; by not condemning them to everlasting hell fire because of their past, or even their present.  Not to say that we should overlook the graveness of sin, but perhaps focus more on the things which they are doing right; give encouragement where it is due.  Because every single one of us has a past.  Some may have larger sins than others, but each and every one of us has contributed to the Passion of Christ, each and every one of us has wounded His Most Sacred Heart.  Yet Christ fiercely desires to see each and every one of us united to Him in the Beatific Vision and treats us with compassion and mercy.  How can we do anything less?  Give Grace.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Writings of Friends

     Cheap post tonight. The Juanito Burrito was not cooperating with bedtime, and didn't go down until 2-2.5 hours after the usual, and then I've just been wasting time on FB and stuff, though I did leave a comment on another blog, which took me a bit of time to word because my thinking brain is fractured into a million little pieces and has been swept under the couch somewhere. Anyway, I thought it'd be fun to list the blogs of friends and acquaintances, to try and boost some of their ratings. I love that so many people I know blog; it is so interesting and enlightening to read their thoughts - it provides a different insight into their personalities that speaking doesn't quite reach. Go check them out!

Laura at This Felicitous Life - Laura is the wife of one of Code Monkey's ex-coworkers. I've only recently discovered it. 

Mr. Janaro at Never Give Up - Ok, so I don't actually really know him personally, but I've seen him at Mass before, and his brother is the registrar at Christendom, so that almost counts, right?

Conquistadora at Riding Shotgun and Stocking Design, and contributor to Banana Bum - sister to one of my fave girlfriends from school.

Mocking Byrd at Banana Bum, Kiddos 101, and The Bug - Mocking Byrd and Conquistadora have wonderful senses of humor. 

William at Brass + Lead - father to one of my besties from school.

Katherine at Half Kindled - good friend I sorta knew at school, but have grown closer to and am honored to have her in my group of friends here. She recently started her blog within the past month or so. 

Kestral at Pisstified - Did not actually know her from school, but she sort of took my place when I wasn't able to afford senior year. Proud to call her one of the Byrds, and I look forward to getting to know her better. 

Leila at Little Catholic Bubble - Right, so here's another one I don't actually know in real life, but I won a book by accurately defining some term I don't remember now, and she was kind enough to accept my FB friend request, and a bunch of people I know in real life seem to know her too, so that also counts. 

Emily at Theological Librarian - also was acquainted with her at school; I'm sensing a trend here....

Olivia at The Musings of a Wanderer and Theatre Phoenix Jewelry - Also a good friend from school. 

MichiGoose at Musings of an English Major and Confessions of a Mother-In-Training - Another Byrd from school, past roommate, best friend. 

Well, he doesn't have his name listed that I can see, so we'll call him Mr. J. at Seeking Omniscience - friend from school. 

Bryna is my cousin, and this is her company's blog 2Fold. They do graphic design type stuff. 

Jane at Blue Ridge Buttercream - acquaintance from school. Unfortunately, she is taking some time off, but she is a fantastic baker! And her cream cheese frosting passes my super picky approval test.

Guiseppe at The Three Bs - friend from school.

Fidelio at Midnight Radio - friend from school, married to Guiseppe. 

Mar at Enjoying the Sunsets - friend from school who also happens to be a cousin to a great family I knew from back home. 

Clever Knack is home to a few of my friends writings as well. 

And Bacon From Acorns, where one of my fav philosophy profs from school blogs. 

Well, there you have it. Took forever to get formatted, lots of copy and paste going on, but didn't take much brain activity, which is what I was going for. Except for the part where it's like 12:30 and I'm not tired, and really should be sleeping by now....