Revolution of Love

Revolution of Love

Do small things with great love.

Restore Workshop: Lessons Learned (Vol 3): Self Care & Prayer and A Day in the Life

NOTE: Today is the last day to sign up for the Restore Workshop. I am about a week behind the schedule. Some elements I like to take a little more time to work on and some days I simply run out of hours in the day.

You can read my other post about the workshop here –

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When I first talked about my Lenten goals with Brian, we both agreed that I needed to do a better job at taking care of myself – sleeping more, eating better, getting my exercise, etc. In the spiritual department my goal was to spend more time talking with God and doing a better job at spending quiet time with God. I think God was trying to put an exclamation point on those goals since many of the first lessons in Elizabeth Floss’Β  Restore Workshop dealt directly with those issues.

Tracy over at Making the Trek has a Day in the Life link-up and I thought it would be fun to join along. I wanted to combine the post with the lessons learned through Restore because it would be a good way to show you how I’m trying to incorporate it into my daily life. I am great at reading the books and making the perfect planner and finding cute printables but actually getting my butt in gear and DOING what I’m planning is a whole other story. I’m still learning and fumbling but you know my motto – baby steps. πŸ˜‰

A Day in the Life of A Mom…

6:20 AM – My first alarm goes off. Elizabeth encourages us to “embrace the first heroic moment of the day” and get out of bed immediately. (Spoken like a true morning person. hee hee) πŸ˜‰ I have not mastered that step yet. My first heroic act is not throwing the alarm clock against the wall. πŸ˜‰ Instead I hit the snooze and make the sign of the cross and thank God for another day of life. I reach for my iPhone and open iMissal to say my morning offering & morning prayer.

6:30 AM – Second alarm. Out of bed. I get ready to take a shower and right on cue Matthew knocks on the door. All the kids are still asleep but Matthew is an early riser and is ready to greet the day. I let him stay in the bathroom with me since I know Brian is in the family room saying his prayers and I don’t want him disturbed. Matthew lays down on the bathroom rug and watches Max and Ruby on my phone while I take a quick shower, undressing and dressing behind the shower curtain.

7:00 – Wake the kids up, say morning prayers with them, feed them breakfast and pack their lunches. The boys’ favorite weekday breakfast is a piece of toast, a half slice of cheese and fresh fruit. We have all increased our fruit and veggie intake. Luckily, we have plenty of options this time of year with our local organic farmer’s market that sells at reasonable prices.

7:40 – Brian watches the two little guys while I take Bella and Andrew to school. They are excited because it happens to be free dress and a special hot lunch day. (If you went to Catholic school, remember the excitement of a free dress day? LOL)

8:00 – On the days John-Paul goes to pre-school (T,W, & TH)Β  I have a small window to read the day’s scripture/ quote, say a short prayer and plan my Act/ Resolution for the day. (Right now I am using the prayers from the Restore Workshop but when it is over I will go back to my favorite mom devotional books.) I also look over my planner quickly and see what I need to get done for the day. Then I finish getting the little boys ready.

8:35 – 9:00 – I take John-Paul to preschool. On the drive I say a decade of the rosary while the boys talk and giggle in the back seat of the mini van.

9:00 – My mid-morning prayer alarm goes off. (I have Time for prayers and my reminder to drink water.

In Elizabeth’s essay on prayer, she spoke about the beauty of the Liturgy of the Hours, which consists of breaks in the day when you pray in the morning, mid-morning, noon, mid-afternoon, evening, night and (for the hardcore) midnight. My first reaction was, “What?? Ain’t nobody got time for dat!” But then I thought about Elizabeth’s podcast with Sarah from Amongst Lovely Things. Sarah mentioned how she prayed the L of the H and she has three bigger kids she homeschools, a toddler and twin babies! Dang, if that girl can do it then why the heck can’t I??? Elizabeth explained that depending on what season of life we are in, some of us can’t makeΒ  complete stops in our day to pray but we can stop for a few seconds and turn our heart to God saying,

God, come to my assistance.
– Lord, make haste to help me.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
– as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Ugh. I could hear God speaking to my heart. I kept pushing it aside but he’s tenacious in his love. I relented and said I would give it a try but I wasn’t ready to say the actual prayers and readings. I would set my alarm for the times and then turn my mind to God and say a short prayer. Maybe in the future I’d add on more. In the meantime I also ordered the book Elizabeth recommended The Everyday Catholic’s Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours and am almost done reading it. (More on that later.)

This photo is from a couple weeks back but the scene was the same. πŸ˜‰

Okay, back to the day…my alarm went off during the pre-school’s morning prayer and assembly so I turned it off knowing I’d be making a chapel visit in a couple minutes. Even if I wanted to skip stopping into church I couldn’t because Matthew INSISTS that we “go see Dedus.” He kneels with me before the tabernacle and I can hear his little prayer. “I lub you, Dedus. Pwease make Daddy better. I pray por Bewwa, Andoo, Bom-Paul and Mama.” He themΒ smacks pats my cheek and tells me it’s my turn, in which I have to say, “I love you Jesus. I pray for Daddy and Bella and Andrew and John-Paul (at which point he excitedly points to himself) and Matty.” He beams a smile and then furrows his brow becasue I forgot someone. He points to me…I say,Β  “and I pray for Mama.” Happily, he scoots me off the kneeler, says “Bye, Dedus, see you next time” and pulls me by the hand over to the candles where I light one and he blows out the match. It’s a morning ritual I’ve grown to love and cherish. πŸ™‚

9:20 – 10:00 – Matthew and I go for our morning walk. I’ll push him in the stroller for 3/4 of the route. Then the last 1/4 he gets out and walks with me. Getting exercise, and particularly getting outside in the fresh air, is emphasized in the workshop. When JP is at school it is easy to get outside and walk because but I need to work on the other days when I’m not driving around all day.Β  I have to make sure that I spend at least 15 – 20 minutes outside walking up and down our long deck or the driveway.

I always feel better after walking and I relish these last months with Matthew by my side before he starts preschool too!

The new planter of succulents outside our local Trader Joe’s.

10:00 – 12:00 – Time to get some shopping done. I have to run because I’m stopping at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Costco. My mom calls me while I am in line at Costco so I tell her I’ll give her a call when I am back home.

12:00 – My noon prayer alarm goes off. I say the Angelus while I unpack groceries from the car. Shortly after my father-in-law brings Andrew home from school. When I am done unpacking the cold items I go in the kitchen and pack a lunch for Andrew and John-Paul that they eat in the car while I go to pick up John-Paul. I grab an apple and re-fill my water jug. We are off again.

1:15 – 2:00 – We are finally home. We get settled and take a look at the sink. I can’t deal with that right now. I need to eat first.Β  I have lunch and take a quick breather. I tell myself that I’ve got to get up earlier to have time for a bigger breakfast or pack some healthy snacks for the road because by the time I sit to eat lunch I am starving and I want to trade my healthy salad for a greasy burger and fries and piece of chocolate cake. Ack! Something to work on. I get a few bites in and I hear “Mama, I’m done. Can you wipe me?” I walk down the hallway and hear, “Me too.” Wow, a double hitter. I’ve only had triple toilet/diaper duty once or twice so far.

I finish lunch and call my mom back for a quick chat while I get all the dishes washed and cleared away. My kitchen is a happy place again. The boys are playing outside and not giving me too much trouble. God is being merciful to me. I better keep moving before the tide turns.

Can you even tell this is a dining room table?

2:00 – I throw in a load of laundry and tackle all the dishes that have accumulated in the sink. I also wanted to do my best to tackle one bigger project in the house before I had to start dinner. Yesterday I had a mini-break down because there was so much junk accumulated everywhere. There are pockets of clean & organized and pockets of disaster. I heard a priest once say that the devil hides in the mess and clutter. Well, a devil was certainly there yesterday because I was yelling and having a fit like the old BC-Bobbi. (As in Before Christ). One of those breaking point triggers is our dining room table. It is a catch-all for everyone to dump all their junk. It would be okay if it was emptied off every night but a few busy days of not being home or doing other things and disaster strikes. So today I was striking back. The boys are tired from playing outside so I put a movie on for them and bribe them with crackers and cheese sticks (and maybe a couple of non-Lenten chocolate chips) if they sit quietly so I can finish my cleaning project. I also made a mental note to give them some extra playtime with me tomorrow since I was so busy today. Tomorrow is Friday and I don’t have to leave the house (much.) yay! Okay, back to work.

By the time it was over I could hear the angels singing. πŸ˜‰ And I only had to yell, “Boys stop fighting/ wrestling/ screaming/ jumping off the furniture” 20 times in an hour. Getting better. Note to self – Write that down in your gratitude journal, baby!

3:00 – My alarm for my mid-afternoon prayer goes off. I hear Matthew yell from the other room, “Time to talk to Dedus again, Mama.” I say a decade of the divine Mercy chaplet and refill my water jug. My father-in-law brings home Bella from school. I wash more laundry and have the kids pick up their toys that are scattered everywhere before they continue playing or do homework. I make a mental note to add that to my gratitude journal – I didn’t lose my temper when I saw their mess and I didn’t just quickly clean it myself but made them do it. (I’m getting make-the-kids-do-more-chores inspiration from my sis.) πŸ˜‰

4:15 – I set up my laptop in the kitchen so I can listen to this week’s Restore podcast that I missed on Monday. I start dinner while listening. I have to stop frequently to jot down notes but luckily I had leftover Sneaky Spaghetti Sauce so I only needed to make the pasta and salad. I’m glad for that because I am running out of steam. (Where are those chocolate chips?)

5:00 – My evening prayer alarm goes off. John-Paul calls out from the other room, “Time for you to say your prayers, Mama!” I’m glad everyone is keeping me on my toes. πŸ˜‰ Frankly, I am starting to get the hang on this stopping and turning my mind to God. It no longer seems foreign and ridiculous for my life. After three weeks of saying my own quick prayers and after almost finishing The Everyday Catholic’s Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours book, it’s making a lot of sense to me. I was moved by the part of the book where Daria Sockey says…

“This [Liturgy of the Hours] symphony – a melody of praise, sometimes sung, sometimes spoken – travels from time zone to time zone, twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year. It is like a flaming torch of prayer being passed around the globe, relay style, by spiritual athletes. This is what attracts so many people to the liturgy of the Hours: the idea that, when we pray these daily psalms and readings, we are praying in unison with our fellow believers around the world.”

I love that image of the torch being lit. Each of us doing our bit, uniting our prayers to God, pleading for ourselves, for our loved ones and for those most in need of God’s mercy. The visual image I have in my head is from The Lord of the Rings when they light the beacons.

Source

Each of us are in our own home/life lifting our hearts and prayers to God, lighting our beacon and joining others as they light theirs. From the heavens there are rows and rows of flaming beacons as we are united in our praise and united in our fight against the evils of this world. It makes me want to go a little deeper so I scheduled evening prayer at 5:00 PM when I am cooking dinner. I open up Divine Office.org on my computer and they have an audio option to hear the prayers being said. It’s only about 15 minutes and has worked great so far. They also have phone apps but my phone is maxed out and I’ll have to delete some stuff before I can download it. (Maybe I should start with the 1500+ photos. Even my phone needs some serious spring cleaning!) Anyway, I am going to try using the audio for some of the other daytime prayers, particularly when I am in the car.

6:00 – Time to eat. We light our Lenten candles and say our Lenten prayers together before grace because night prayers haven’t worked for us but dinner prayers has. Today it is Matthew’s turn to lead the petitions and pick out the new Act of Love and Prayer Intention for tomorrow. There are still a few “But that’s not fair” muttered by those who have a hard time waiting their turn but not as many as there used to be. We make it through the prayers and dig in.

6:30 – Dishes, dishes and more dishes. Yeah, I’ve gotten to enjoy making home cooked meals but all the clean up, not so much. I add a bean to the sacrifice jar. πŸ˜‰

7:00 – Showers, PJ’s and teeth brushing. I can see the finish line….

7:30 – We hear the usual protests that it is still light outside but they know by now we don’t care. It’s bed time.Β  The boys get a story read to them, brief night prayers, kisses and then lights out. Bella is allowed to stay up an extra hour in her room reading or drawing. I realize I haven’t taken any photos after dinner but I’m too tired do anything about it.

8:00 – My night prayer alarm goes off. I open up Divine Office.org but instead of listening to the audio I read the prayers myself and say my act of contrition. I write down my five things in my gratitude journal and jot a few thoughts in my prayer journal. I thank God for the grace to spend this time with him in prayer since I have always struggles with my prayer life. Prayer does not come easily and it still doesn’t but by taking small steps each day I am slowly making progress and that’s what counts.

8:30 – We kiss Bella good night then Brian and I catch up on the news about work and what went on during our day and how he’s feeling. (BTW, he’s feeling relatively good and survived his first cycle of chemo. He starts round 2 on Monday.)Β  We then sit down and pick something to watch from the DVR. Tonight it is The Blacklist, which always makes me want to watch Pretty in Pink. πŸ˜‰

10:00 – Brian goes to bed since he likes to get up early. I stay up for another 45 minutes and work on this post.I’m tempted to stay up later but I know I’ll be crying in the morning if I do, so I call it a night.

10:45 – I grab my camera and get ready for bed. I try to decide what I could shoot with all the lights off and everyone asleep. I take a snap of the bathroom sink and then get ready for bed.

11:00 – I say my good night to Our Lord and thank Him for such a blessed life.

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If you want to know more about the Liturgy of the Hours, I recommend these resources.

BookThe Everyday Catholic’s Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours by Daria Sockey

WebsiteDivine Office.org

WebsiteCoffee and Canticles

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Restore Workshop – Lessons Learned (Vol 2): Remember Gratitude

NOTE: It is not too late to sign up for the Restore Workshop. I believe it is open until this Saturday 4/12/14. You do not need to follow the workshop’s timeline. I am about a week behind the schedule. Some elements I like to take a little more time to work on and some days I simply run out of hours in the day. You can read my other post about the workshop here – Restore Workshop – Lessons Learned (Vol 1): Melt Downs & Being at Peace

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I am linking this post’s photos with Cari’s Theme Thursday: Remember. (Well, I was going to, but as of right now, there is no link-up. Maybe I missed something…)

I am linking up this post with the ladies over at Like Mother, Like Daughter for {pretty, happy, funny, real}, although it is a little out of order. πŸ™‚

{real}

There are many lessons we are learning in the Restore Workshop and one of them is gratitude. I know it is sometimes easy for me to get bogged down with the “what is going wrong right now” and not pay attention to “everything that is going right.”

Part of our goal is to end our day in prayer and reflect on being thankful. Elizabeth asked us to write down five things we were thankful for at the end of each day. I had a small blank journal I got on clearance at Staples gathering dust on my book shelf so I thought it would be perfect to use as a gratitude journal. I added a quote from Mother Teresa on the front cover. It says:

“The best way to show my gratitude to God is to accept everything, even my problems with joy.”

I’ve got a looooong way to go until I can accept everything with joy but writing down five things seemed easy enough. I have to admit, it is not always easy to come up with five things every night. Sometimes I really have to ponder, particularly on days when it was just me, the kids, and housework. I had to look at the little things that brought a smile to my face whether it was a moment of humor or a phone call from my mom or a new recipe I tried that actually tasted good but I have been keeping track. Elizabeth said we could write it down or take photos, whatever works for us. Sometimes I add photos to my journal that highlight something I’m thankful for.

Other times, I don’t have five sweet things to ponder since I am just happy to have made it through the day…

…like Wednesday when all I could write was “#1-5 I am thankful I survived this freaking day! ” Baby steps. πŸ˜‰

So with thanksgiving on my mind, here are some moments of gratitude from this week.

{pretty}

I took this photo today after the rain stopped. You can still see a few droplets on the petals. It’s easy to be grateful for God’s gorgeous creation.

I snapped this sunset with my phone the other day. After a long day I am extremely grateful when 7:30 PM arrives because it means the kids are in bed (despite their protests that it is still light outside) and I can enjoy a little respite with Brian. (I love my babies but I need some uninterrupted hubby time too. ;-))

{happy}

When I am cooking in the kitchen I usually chase the wild boys out but this time I was grateful for their laughter and humorous antics. So I hugged them and laughed with them and snapped their photo. (Although, afterwards IΒ  did send them outside so I could finish cooking. ;-))

After two days of rain we were all grateful to get back outside in the sun. (I don’t know how people with real winters stand months and months of cold weather!) I was going to set up a shot but Andrew was determined to photobomb it while riding by on his scooter.

 

That face. How can so much cuteness cause me so much trouble. πŸ˜‰ I’m grateful for a camera that allows me to record these precious moments that fly by way too fast!

My lovable boys are always eager to pose for the camera but Bella, not so much. I was grateful that she agreed to let me snap a picture of her. I love my sweet girl.

{funny}

For some reason Matthew loves going to the doctor and he gets upset when he can’t go with Brian to the cancer center. So instead he walks around the house singing “Time for a Check-up” but he was upset that his stethoscope kept falling down so he asked me to tape them to his ears. πŸ˜‰ LOL.

Have a great weekend!

PS – You can follow RoL on Bloglovin, Feedly or another news feed. If you are a social media fan like me, we can stay in touch through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, GoodReads, Letterboxd or Instagram. πŸ˜‰

 


Restore Workshop – Lessons Learned (Vol 1): Melt Downs, Being at Peace & Theme Thursday: Hear

I am linking this post’s photos with Cari’s Theme Thursday: Hear. I have been hearing God speak to my heart throughout the week.

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When I hear raindrops fall I think of God’s grace raining down.

Living in beautiful but dry California, we don’t have really have winter. (Well, other than instead of wearing shorts and bare feet around the house, on cooler days, I wear yoga pants and bare feet around the house.) So when the forecast called for rain, we relished the chance to watch the drops fall from the grey sky and hear the patter on the roof. It was cathartic to see the rain wash away all the yellow pollen everywhere and give drink to the parched earth. That is how I felt this week…like God’s grace has been falling down on my parched soul and it has been all because of the Restore Workshop.

Now I admit that when I signed up for the workshop I was a little apprehensive. Not about the workshop itself but about my ability to stick with it. I have started Bible studies and book studies and other online series only to let them fall by the wayside after a few days. Plus, life is just so busy! Logically, the last thing I need right now is extra stuff to do when Brian is in the middle of his chemo and with me having more responsibility at home so he can rest. Why bother?? But inside I just knew, God wanted this. So I signed up.

The course is set up so we have quiet reflection/prayer each morning of the week. On Monday there is a podcast, Tues – Thurs there is an essay to read and an action to work on. Friday is a hands-on activity or tutorial. The weekends are for spendingΒ  time with family. It seems ridiculous to add this course to my already busy days but I really felt God’s tug.

Hear my cry, O Lord.

I wish I could say that it all started out wonderfully but it seems that whenever I know in my heart that God wants me to do something, it is like Murphy’s Law – everything will go wrong to discourage me from doing what I need to do. I won’t bore you with the details but the night before I was to start, a sick child kept me up all night. Then once the day started one thing after another was going wrong. Stupid, everyday mom stuff really – fighting kids, a broken vase, an explosive diaper, a printer that wouldn’t work, sick kids, tired hubby with cancer, a burnt meal…all within the first hour of the day. I calmly (well, relatively speaking πŸ˜‰ ) handled each little crisis, asking God for the grace not to lose my temper but it was getting harder and harder as each thing hit.

I got the older kids off to school and the younger kids were playing with their train set while I pulled out my material and prayer journal and tried to spend a little time in prayer since I wasn’t able to earlier. After about the 5th interruption I told the boys that mama needed 5 minutes to herself so they were to play quietly while I got this done. They kindly gave me those 5 minutes but in the 6th minute when I had my eyes closed and was speaking from my heart to God and pleaded, “Help me, Lord,” at that precise moment, Matthew, who managed to find a cup with milk in it, came over and spilled it all over my shirt, my pants and the couch. It was the final straw. I packed up my bible and books and said that’s it. I give up.

Okay, so maybe trying to get some prayer time in while the kids were awake was not the smartest idea and maybe it was tragically cliche that I was crying over spilled milk but frankly, I don’t spend enough quiet time with God so I was just trying to fit in what I could, where I could. But you cannot reason with a woman who is upset and feeling PMS-y. I went to the bathroom to wash off and change and I couldn’t help but think of the scene from It’s A Wonderful Life when George Bailey was sitting in the bar and in desperation prayed out to God for help. Shortly after he was punched in the nose by that teacher’ s husband. Ha! What an answer to prayer. In reality, God had a plan for George. He was watching over him and was taking drastic measures to help George….but, whatever. I didn’t care about that so I angrily threw my milk-soaked clothes in the hamper, dried my stinging tears and went to do my usual chores as I tried to cool off.

Writing words down helps me to better understand what God wants me to hear.

Later in the afternoon/evening, the sun was shining and Brian was home from work. He went out on the deck with the kids, which left me with 15 minutes to myselfΒ  before I had to start dinner so I opened up my prayer journal again to try and finish my morning meditation. Here is what I wrote in my journal…

“So what is God trying to tell me today? What was the reason for my “punch in the nose.” As I sit here quietly and think, my eyes fall upon Brian’s icon of Jesus crowned with thorns. My mind hears, “Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto thine.” Jesus is asking me to carry my cross and to not get discouraged when I fall once, twice, and a third time. He understand what it feels like to be on the floor broken. But he also knows the goal he is trying to reach. During his passion he gathered his strength to stand back up and keep moving forward. Our Lord is ready to share that same strength with me, to lift me up off the floor, wipe my face, kiss my cheek and walk hand in hand with me. Whether my troubles are mundane or overwhelming, He is there always at my side…”

I apologized to God for my little tantrum that morning and asked him how he could possibly put up with me because sometimes I can be such a pain in the arse that even I get annoyed with myself. I could almost hear him chuckle and caress my cheek, the same way I do when Matthew simultaneously annoys me and touches my heart. At the end of the day I was convicted that this workshop is what I need right now and I have to give it my focus, even if it requires me to temporarily set aside blogging and other activities to make it happen. I have a lot of notes and thoughts I want to share with you but it is going to take awhile so I’ll just give you bits and pieces as time allows.

The window sill of my kitchen where many prayers are whispered for God to hear.

The podcast for Week 1 was with Sarah at Amongst Lovely Things and it was perfectly timed. Sarah is currently doing a blog series entitles Teaching from a State of Rest. Her podcast took that concept and applied it to mothering. When I heard the term “mothering from a state of rest” I thought maybe it was about how to raise your kids without leaving your bed. πŸ˜‰ Sarah explained that being in a state of rest means being where God wants us to be. It is doing what He wants us to do. Being at rest is learning to be obedient and to surrender ourselves to God in the daily duties of our mom lives. It is then that we can find peace and rest.

I also loved how she explained that we often get upset when our day is interrupted by various situations (yeah, I’m thinking…fighting kids, a broken vase, an explosive diaper, a printer that wouldn’t work, sick kids, tired hubby with cancer, burnt food…). But those aren’t interruptions to our plans for the day…they ARE our day. Those things are exactly what God wants us to be working on and he provides the grace to do so at those precise moments. But that is so hard to do! It requires surrender, not once, but continuously throughout our day.

Elizabeth and Sarah also discussed that it is good for us to have a general plan for our day or week (and not go to the other extreme of having no plan and just flying by the seat of our pants) but we have to be flexible. In the morning we offer our day and out plansΒ  to God but with a sense of detachment, knowing that God will be adding in his own plans for us. But the more we accept this and learn to let go the more we will be able to mother from a state of rest. I have been trying to put this into practice by constantly telling myself “God is asking this of you” when I am interrupted.Β  I love Elizabeth’s comment that “the daily grind is holy ground.” (Light bulb!) I love that image. It’s sometimes very hard to live it but being in that frame of mind DOES bring more peace to my day, or rather, brings peace to my soul, despite what my day looks like. It’s a constant work in progress but at least I’m working on it. πŸ˜‰

Well, I need to call it a night so I’ll post more this weekend. In the meantime, have a blessed night/day.Β  πŸ™‚

POSTSCRIPT – After I posted this I was browsing PlainGrace.com and realized Jenny wrote a post about the Restore Workshop and the podcast by Sarah. I love what she said about her take on finding beauty to restore your soul. I’ll be talking about that in an upcoming post. In the meantime, go read the great things she has to say. πŸ™‚

UPDATE: The next post – Restore Workshop – Lessons Learned (Vol 2): Remember Gratitude

PS – You can follow RoL on Bloglovin, Feedly or another news feed. If you are a social media fan like me, we can stay in touch through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, GoodReads or Instagram. πŸ˜‰