Wednesday, June 6, 2012


I'm trying to move over to Wordpress.  You can find me at  I will try and double post as much as I can--but my goal is to write more and create less work! 

Thanks for reading!
I had the opportunity to speak at the Catholic Consortium of Lake County during a mini retreat.  What follows is the talk that I gave.  I 10 minute presentation--for those of you who know me I can't really give my address in 10 minutes--so trying to get all this information out was so hard for me.  I wanted to talk and talk but hopefully if the teachers really want to hear all that I have to say they will call me!  Thank you God for the gift of this opportunity to plant the seeds of adoring Jesus in the minds of 75 teachers and staff.  I will pray that each one of them will find joy, peace and grace in a way that serves them best!

I'm a newbie to Adoration.   I did not discover Adoration on my own but the Holy Spirit really had to patiently show me several times before I caught on.  It all began about 6 years ago and this is my journey.

The first time:  I found myself at the
Adoration Mass one day and had no idea why no one was leaving.  It was very awkward for me—so I did what I do best—I asked a question.  The Grandma next to me assured me that I could leave.

The second time:  Then a few months later I was at an evening Mass and they had the end of Adoration processional back to the tabernacle and I thought that was so beautiful--but again had no idea what was going on.  I was so in this moment of following Jesus—that I forgot to ask any questions.

The third time:  My son who was in 1st grade was paired with an 8th grade buddy and the Mom quickly became my mentor. She was an awesome spirit/faith filled knowledgeable catholic woman who I admired very much and felt like I hit the jackpot. She was not the “fancy mom” but rather the soft spoken and just seemed to be filled with grace and joy.  I knew that she would know about Adoration so I asked her--and she gave me the scoop. She said that she went each week and it gave her peace and grace to carry on with her busy life with 4 kids.

I am not a fancy mom nor am I soft spoken but I knew that I really wanted to be as joyful, and just as authentically happy as she was.  I had 4 kids technically under 5 I felt authentically tired.

Well, since I wanted to be like her I thought Adoration was the next logical step in my walk with the Lord. But I had no idea how it would change me.

I asked her if she would teach the kids and me about Adoration and she was so happy that she could bring a whole new family to Jesus in this way.  Ding Ding that bell went off in my head about the actual presence of Jesus. 

The fourth time:  The next week we met after school on Thursday and she explained to the kids how going into adoration was spending time with Jesus. Sort of like a playdate.  It was a special time.

So we went in and I didn't really know what to do and the kids didn't know what to do so we just sat silently and felt the presence of the Lord.

I didn't feel different. I didn't feel grace filled. I didn't feel overwhelming joy. I was hot and hungry and so was my baby.

The fifth time:  The next week I went in the morning again and the homily was about seeing Jesus in everyone we meet. I thought that I can't possibly do that--I'm too cynical, to see Jesus would mean that I would need to stop and look at people in the eye and actually care. I would need to stop imposing my approval system on them. 

So I started by looking at the people in the chapel. Really looking at the people in the chapel. Then one of the Grandmas whispered to me--"I'm praying for you" and I thought WOW--someone is praying for me! So I said "I'll pray for you too!" and I actually did it--and I felt Jesus in a new way.

Now I truly see Jesus in my kids their teachers, the clerk at Dominicks, and the lady who cuts me off in traffic.  I see how Jesus really is the branch and I’m really a vine of opportunity in the world to make a difference. 

During that first year of Adoration with my kids  5,  3 year old, 1 and newborn--I took my kids to Jesus. We knelt at the altar. Sometimes for 2 minutes sometimes for much longer. Each week I would explain that we were going to see Jesus. They drew pictures (I bought special coloring books), brought flowers, they wrote out notes to Jesus, I would let them draw pictures while we were there. I let them look at the children's bible, or play with a rosary or string beads to make a rosary. If they didn't want to go in--they had the option to sit on the steps outside the chapel. I never forced them to go.

Now we go to Adoration often without drama. We go on vacation and have visited some beautiful chapels. The kids are quiet and more often than not actually prayerful. Each one of my kids has their own way of being with Jesus.  Some sit, stand or just lay at the altar. 

I REMINDED them that Adoration was like a playdate with Jesus. How do you prepare to spend time with a friend?  Do you dress up?  Do you make a plan of things to talk about? Do you plan an activity?  How would we plan time with our own friends?

Adoration is a way for kids to experience and be part of the Eucharist long before their first communion.

This past week it was so beautiful to see Mrs. Marciniak be the Eucharist Minister and so mindfully give the body of Christ to the kids—the kids were looked like they were going to explode as they walked up the aisle and afterwards.  That excitement, yet reverence should be what it is like for us—however long ago we made our 1st communion.  I just wanted to tap into that moment and tell the kids that they can ALWAYS have that feeling.

I think of Adoration is like the biggest “Redo” that we can give ourselves.  When we have kids do the “redo” it is usually for just one thing—not a whole day of blunders.  I tell me kids to focus just on one thing if they struggle with an idea to take to Jesus before we go to Adoration. 

Jesus meets us where we are. He meets me in a different place than where he meets you.

We all have common threads through our lives--we are all children, we all have parents, we are all loved by Jesus, we have a God who has given us a purpose for our lives we all have so many Gifts, we are all invited to spend time with  Jesus.  We have all had joys and heartache.   We are all very much alike on different levels.

Jesus sees us for who we are.   He really sees the good the bad and the ugly stuff and wants to help us.  He wants to hear our joys, our troubles, so we can give thanks and praise for everything-- including the hard days.

As we become more honest with Jesus (and ourselves), more transparent, more authentic, more intentional, as we peel away the layers that cover our hearts, anger, heartache, disappointment, despair, cynicism, hatred, intolerance, as we clear away all that clutter   

Jesus will fill our hearts and minds with what we need at this moment and prepare us for the next.  Each time we come to him he has the opportunity to work in our lives. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012


We have one more day of school left! We are all looking forward to not rushing. In the homeschool community, when you pull a kid from school in the middle of the year or after a turbulent time there is a period of "not doing anything" and it's call Deschooling. I'm sure others have a different definition but I think that sums it up.
Deschooling is training your body not be in school. I think at the beginning of summer vacation parents and students alike need that time to deschool. A time not to think about packing lunches, clean clothes/uniforms, getting homework completed or anything related to school. I would think it would be easy to just stop but it isn't--it is hard to go slow.
So many camps, retreats, vacations and events to go to I wonder how slow the summer will really be? How slow does it need to be?
When we brought my son home to be homeschooled, we ended up "deschooling" for about 2 months. During that time we had a schedule and I still had babies so we had 2 nap times to work around but it was very unstructured time. Then one day my son decided that he wanted to go to the library and we were on our way to learning in a different way. We gradually moved from "deschooling" to "unschooling" then back to a more traditional "homeschool". The months that this took place the kids found true joy in learning and discovered a new found joy in being with each other. It was amazingly easy to teach.
So for our family we will have Monday at school for the morning, then celebrate Last Day of School with gifts for each child, Tuesday is Lego Discovery Center, the rest of the week will be the Waterpark, hanging out and getting the new Heartlake City built with Legos.
I'm looking forward to having some lazy days where I can start a knitting project, the kids can play for an entire day on whatever makes their hearts sing, listen to the basketball bounce and the soccer balls hitting the fence! We all need time to decompress and slow down. We all need time to just be.
We will plant our garden, can our food, bake lots of fresh bread, nap, take lots of field trips, go to the cabin, fish, camp out, build fires, harvest our crops, and have a great time TOGETHER.
The kids will be able to explore, build and read. I will be able to write and knit.
Thank you God for times of feast and times of famine. We learn to appreciate the seasons of our lives as you guide us, challenge us, and give us a purpose to do your will.

Friday, June 1, 2012

God's Toolbox

God's Gift

Children's Adoration May 2012

At our baptism God gave us a gift.  God is so generous that he gave us a "toolbox" so that no matter what comes up in life we will have the right tools to do His work and serve him.  God gave us ALL the SAME toolbox.  Remember, God knows us and he has planned our life and he knows how we will have times of greatness and times when we struggle (Psalm 139-again).  The tools that he gave us are the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. 
  1. Wisdom
  2. Understanding
  3. Counsel
  4. Fortitude
  5. Knowledge
  6. Piety
  7. Fear of the Lord.
All of these gifts work through the power of Grace.  What is Grace again?  Grace is the God given power in your soul.  Grace is the spot in our soul this is filled by the Holy Spirit. 

A hammer looks easy enough to use--hammer, nail, WHACK, but it isn't that simple is it.  You can hit to hard and the nail bends or to soft and it takes forever or you can hit your hand--a hurtful reminder that we aren't using the tool correctly.  God's tool box is no different.

Wisdom is given so that we can look at all of our options and chose the ones that bring us closer to God.

Understanding our faith so that we can choices based on Godly ideas not worldly ideas.

Counsel or right judgment is given to us so that we might be able to tell if our chosen actions match up with God's honor. 

Fortitude is what God gives us to keep going, and going and going to serve him and do his work.

Knowledge of what is pleasing to God and to turn from what is not pleasing.

Piety means to come back to God whenever we find ourselves doing things that might not be quite the best choice. 

Fear of the Lord is to be in awe of God's work.  To see the beauty in flowers, your teachers smile, a beautiful singing voice, how eggs hatch and all the million things that need to happen perfectly--God made that.  God made you--different from everyone else--how incredibly amazing is that?  Stop and think about it--that is why you are here! 

God gave you this toolbox so that you would have what you need as life comes up.  At different times we may need to rely more on Wisdom or when summer is coming and we just want to be outside playing--Fortitude might be our tool.
June 2012 Children's Adoration Meditation

The Feast of Corpus Christi translates to “body of Christ”.  It is a feast of the Holy Eucharist.

 It seems sort of strange that we would have a feast day for an event that we are called to do each day.  Why would we have a special day set aside just for taking communion?  We do lots of things every day; brush our teeth, take a shower, eat our meals, and try to be gentle, loving and kind to those around us, yet we do not have a feast day for any of those events.

 Well the Holy Eucharist is very different isn’t it?  At the Last Supper, on Holy Thursday, Jesus took the bread, blessed it and broke it saying “Take this all of you and eat it.  For this is my body, which will be given up for you”.    In the consecrated Eucharist Jesus is there!  Jesus gave us the gift of himself. 

Well the Holy Eucharist is very different isn’t it? At the Last Supper Jesus took the bread, blessed it and broke it saying “Take this all of you and eat it. For this is my body, which will be given up for you”. In the consecrated Eucharist Jesus is there! Jesus gave us the gift of himself.

We have to opportunity to celebrate the Holy Eucharist on Holy Thursday (also known as Maudy Thursday) as Lent ends and during our Easter season on the Sunday after Holy Trinity Sunday. The Feast of Corpus Christi began because Jesus wanted another day for us to give loving attention this wonderful sacrament.

 When we go to communion—our walk up the aisle is our walk to meet Jesus.  We need to be mindful and focused on meeting this awesome friend who makes our lives so much better.  Sometimes it is hard to not be distracted during the Liturgy of the Eucharist but it is really important to get ourselves back on track when we find our eyes drifting or our minds wandering and thinking about what we might be doing after church . . .

 When we hear the words “the body of Christ” and we say “amen” we are saying “yes” to Jesus.  At that moment Jesus is in us.  Jesus lives in us!  Jesus becomes part of us!  Just like Mary said “yes” to God—we can say “yes” to Jesus.  (Next time you take communion think about it as the body of Christ—try not to just pop it in your mouth and keep moving—but for one moment—thank Jesus for this gift).

How long does Jesus stay?  Jesus will stay with us until WE give him a reason to leave.  Jesus has been very clear about what he expects from his disciples.   If we can follow in his ways he will be with us.  If we make a mistake his is with us to help us figure things out.  We can ask for forgiveness, go to confession and then go back to “the body of Christ” and begin new.

Adoration is another time that we can seek Jesus and he is physically with us.  Adoration is such a wonderful time to spend with Jesus to share with him our life at this time.  He helps us figure out what happened in the past, what we might do in the future but really he wants us to be with him—in this moment.  Just be.  Just be with Jesus and enjoy your time.