Monday, April 30, 2007reader idea
Dear reader, Stephanie in Utah offered a great idea:
Do you find yourself struggling to stay focused in your housework or to be attentive to your children because of constant telephone interruptions? If you're anything like me, a phone call throws things off since it takes me a while to get myself back on track even after the call is over. I don't personally have too many phone calls during the day but I don't feel bad about not answering the phone sometimes. Steph is considering having her phone off all day and setting aside a specific time a couple times a day to simply check her messages, at HER convenience. It's interesting how our society always places phone calls as a top priority. Have you ever noticed how if you're being helped at a customer service desk and the phone rings, they almost always immediately answer it? Some have the courtesy to ask the callers to hold, but others simply ask YOU to wait and tend to the call. Maybe its the urgency or annoyance of the ringing that we feel the need to tend to immediately. At any rate, I've made it a priority in MY home, not to let the phone dictate the day. I don't answer it during quiet or napping hours. And we don't answer it during our meals. This is enough for us to have a controlled day. But some of you may have in-home businesses or such where you may need to regulate your phone time even more than that. All I can say is do what you need to do! Ask yourself what kind of atmosphere you want in the home and do what it takes to cultivate that. Stay tuned for my feelings on cell phones! ;o)
Labels: useful ideas
Don't get too discouraged when you are disciplining a strong-willed child. I know it sometimes feels like your efforts in vain. Some kids are just plain tough! The parents can be on them for every infraction and consistent every day but the child might just persist in naughty ways.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007St. Mark the Evangelist
Today we celebrate St. Mark who wrote the shortest of the four Gospels. Today's Collect reading is as follows:
Tuesday, April 24, 2007More than a trite phrase: Support our Troops
With the ongoing war, it's so easy to grow apathetic to the fact that men and women are risking their lives every single hour in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of us have the cute yellow ribbon magnets on the car: "Support our Troops." What are we actually doing to walk our talk?!
Please consider supporting Soldiers' Angels... a non-profit group that is doing everything they can to make sure no soldier goes unloved. Many don't have wives or families to receive letters and care packages from... and these are the things that do more than ANYTHING else to boost morale. And anyone who knows anything about military warfare knows that troop morale is essential to efficient operations and well-thought-out choices on and off duty. Through this website you can adopt a soldier to correspond with and/or contribute packages in a material/monetary way. My close friend works with this group and she's testified to me all the great things they are doing. It also links to many other websites that are doing good things. Just two of note are the following:
Operation Take a Vet Fishing. This is a basic website designed where ANYONE, anywhere in the US can offer to spend time taking a veteran fishing. A simple gesture that may make a world of difference in letting our veterans know they are loved and appreciated.
Sew Much Comfort. This group makes adaptive clothing for servicemembers who've lost a limb or who need to be in some kind of brace or prosthetic due to war-related injuries. You can sign up to be a volunteer seamstress or help the financial costs related to buying fabric and sewing supplies.
Please don't forget what our servicemembers our doing right now! However you feel about the war is irrelevant in supporting THEM as individuals.
Labels: useful ideas
Monday, April 23, 2007St. George and fairy tales
Today is the feast day of St. George; all that we know for sure was that he was a soldier and a martyr. But there are many legends that are fun to entertain about him, especially his slaying of a dragon. We've honored this day by checking out a book called St. George and the Dragon by Margaret Hodges. Don't expect a particularly pious rendition of George's story, but this is a fairy tale in it's finest complete with lovely vocabulary and gorgeous illustrations. Never underestimate the greatness of fairy tales! (On that note, Andrew Lang has compiled some of the finest if you need a recommendation; his "colored" fairy tale books are wonderful!) They are traditionally filled with accurate conceptions of Good and Evil and help to foster appreciation for the virtues of nobility, honor and truth.
St. George pray for us!
Saturday, April 21, 2007Anxiety. Haste. Stress.
All too often I'm reminded of how immature my faith truly is. What are the symptoms of a lack of faith or an immature faith? Anxiety, haste and stress. Ever feel those things? As mothers and as human beings it is natural to experience these sentiments. There is nothing wrong with that. What is wrong is when we submit to those feelings and allow them to overcome us and consume our thoughts. My husband was recently diagnosed with a chronic disease. Chances are pretty good that he is going to be medically boarded out of the Navy in six months. He is one who had his whole career in front of him if he wanted... making rank at impressive speed, his command's "golden boy." There was nothing he couldn't accomplish. And now the military is basically going to say "You're not any good to us anymore since we can't deploy you." So that life is coming to a crashing halt. Don't bother with comments of condolences or anything. We are both thankful for God's will.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007What's YOUR false god?
One of my biggest struggles is moderating my time on our computer. While we are doing some work on our back rooms, we have this machine in our front living room which makes it a very prominent presence in my life.
Labels: useful ideas
Monday, April 16, 2007hooray...
... for updated pages! All of our profiles are updated. So is our booklist and diaper page. Don't forget to check out our children's booklist; I am always thankful for good resource lists on kids books especially. There is even a link on that page where all the authors are listed alphabetically so you can have an easy print-out to take to the library with you.
I also put a perma-link on our sidebar to Hope's CD which you can purchase. It's awesome!
Labels: our website
Friday, April 13, 2007Growing the Good
I have pride and I have anger. And I sometimes feel inclined to do what many other mothers do by putting on a mask of competance and benevolence in public in order to hide these negative qualities in myself. The devil rationalizes this to us, helping us think that what we are doing is for the greater good or necessary. And I admit that sometimes it's a good thing when one of my boys does something very unruly in public that I don't shout at him or spank his bottom-- it gives me pause to think and calm down in my own mind so I can approach the child in a peaceful way, not in a reaction to my anger. But this is all done to keep up the appearance of being a good mother to others. I want others to look favorably on me; I seek their approval. What a shame. The danger in putting on this mask in public... though sometimes beneficial in immediate dealings... is that it helps us to ignore the roots of the problem. Pride and Anger-- the bedfellows that are the most dangerous obstacles to parenting. Only when we really humble ourselves and pray to purge ourselves of these defects can we really begin to cultivate the good in our children.
Oftentimes we fall into the trap of thinking that raising kids is simply a matter of correcting their faults and disciplining their bad choices... as if their "natural good" will spring through if we are busy cutting down the bad weeds. This is a grave error. Children have original sin like the rest of us... you will constantly be chopping down their sinful weeds because they will always be there.
The way to truly nourish their goodness-- their wholeness of character-- is by cultivating the good inside of them. Make the ground fertile for this good to grow by focusing on it and tending to it and investing your energy in developing it. The way to build the character of a child in a manner worthy of the dignity Christ instilled in him is to cultivate the good, not vainly trying to destroy the evil. Of course, this doesn't mean being totally lax with your child or ignoring their faults (another form of abuse in my opinion!) but to only take naughtiness in proportion to the whole soul with which you've been entrusted. To really spend time enjoying your children, learning with them, loving them and encouraging the growth of the beauty, skills and "goodness" God has given them.
Doing this will not only produce beautiful "plants" (i.e. souls), but it will achieve the dual purpose in humbling us as mothers and avoiding our own sinful tendencies to rule over the children with pride and squashing badness with anger.
Thursday, April 12, 2007New Little Babe!
Labels: in the news
Monday, April 09, 2007"Let me think about it."
A thought in between laundry loads:
Friday, April 06, 2007Hot Cross Buns
Hot Cross Buns are usually thought to be a Good Friday tradition... the cross on top symbolizes the Crucifixion, but I always remember my mom making them on Easter Sunday for a quick breakfast before the early Mass. There are several recipes online you can use. I'll be making ours this Sunday with dried cranberries instead of the traditional raisins. The recipe I really like was made for a bread machine; I don't have one of those so I have a slight variation on the directions here. Don't let the length discourage you; these are worth your effort!
3/4 cup warm water
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon instant powdered milk
1/4 cup white sugar
3/8 teaspoon salt
1 egg white
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon yeast
3/4 cup dried raisins/cranberries
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons milk
Mix the yeast, 1 cup flour, sugar, salt, and other spices in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the milk and water together. Combine the dry ingredients mixture, the liquid ingredients, and the butter in a large bowl. Beat for 2 to 3 minutes at medium speed. Add the egg and beat 1 more minute. Stir in the raisins, fruit, and enough of the remaining flour to make a firm dough. Knead the dough on a floured surface for about 5 to 7 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Use additional flour if necessary. Place in a lightly greased bowl; turn over to grease the other side of the dough. Cover and let rise in a warm place. After about 15 minutes, test the dough to see if it has risen sufficiently and is ready to be shaped. To test, gently stick two fingers into the risen dough up to the second knuckle... take them out. If the indentations remain, the dough is ready.
Does your family do the whole Easter Bunny schpeel?
Thursday, April 05, 2007Do not be afraid
I think a lot about this fearing the Lord- what does it mean? Fearing to hurt him is what I have heard and most of the time what I settle on... I would love to hear what our readers think of this gift from the holy spirit.
But most of the time when I find myself lying awake at night fearing, it is not of our loving Father but of his Arch-enemy, and his legions of fallen angels that are out to destroy our families, our children, our souls. I have been reading about Padre Pio- and loving him as I never have before. His spirituality both comforts me- because of his words and holiness, and kind of scares me- because he was so in tune with suffering, and I am not. Since childhood, he had frequent battles with the devil- even physical ones- and it is my opinion that he knew the devil better than any man of our times. However he spoke of the devil in a way that comforted me... he said do not be afraid of him, he is like a vicious growling dog or beast but on a short chain. He has only one door to us, and that is our will. He cannot come in without permission.
In addition though, he said that the devil is loud when he is unhappy with you, and the devil is quiet when he has you where he wants you. I don't feel like he is very loud in my life right now, but I hope that means he has given up and left me alone for the time... but it might mean that my habitual sins do enough damage that he is happy with my lack of spiritual progress.
That being said, I have been praying lately for protection. A recent conversation inspired me to daily pray for the Blessed Mother's protection- on myself, my husband, my children. She can hide us in her mantle, and clothe us in armor so shining and bright that it repels every creature of the darkness, even the prince himself.
-Hope writes from Fillmore, CA
Tuesday, April 03, 2007From the desire of being esteemed, deliver me Jesus.
After nearly a year of regular posting, we are shifting gears here at Coffee and Diapers. We are going to put this blog on the backseat of our attentions and post only when drawn to a reflection or thought through the course of our regular mothering lives. Hope, Sia and Ellie all have things going on, as do the rest of you, and we're beginning to realize that we've sometimes pushed out posts like cans of soup just to have something new each day. We'd rather not sacrifice the quality of what we do by forcing ourselves to think of something clever for Mondays or something interesting for Fridays. We understand that many of our regular readers will leave us altogether; this is the nature of the blogging beast. If you don't stay current, you lose your crowd. But we aren't here to "save our readers" so much as we are here to "save our children" and our families first. It's time to step back and live the life our Blessed Mother lived... one that is hidden and holy in the shadows of the Cross. We still plan on using this space as a place of reflection and practical tips. But we are giving up on trying to be on the ball all the time. We don't pretend to be holy or interesting enough to supply our readers with juicy thoughts every day. We also want to avoid any growing sense of false piety or self-importance that is almost inevitable in the blogging world and stay true to the purpose with which we originated: inspiring and encouraging women in their vocations. We are just simple moms, dealing with groceries, diapers and temper tantrums like the rest of you. But we are trying to deepen our OWN spirituality, and if this blog is cause for us to neglect that... no matter how lofty our "mission"... we have failed.
For those readers who do stay the course with us, remember that there are plenty of archives to browse at the bottom of this page, as well as many other great blogs out there to read. We also want to encourage you, once again, to send us any of your own thoughts or ideas for us to consider sharing with our readers. Thank you so much and we wish you very happy mothering...
Labels: our website
Monday, April 02, 2007they're not so far away...
One of the most damaging views people can have of saints is that they are dressed up, transcendental legends that are so far removed from our day to day lives. I wonder, how eerily and ironically the evil one works sometimes in the way he can weasel into our thoughts so that we THINK we have the right perceptions. One example is what I always call "pride in reverse", that being people who think they aren't good enough for God's love or aren't worthy enough for His mercy. To think that we could possibly sin bigger than what Christ's sufferings covered!! It's hogwash... or more articulately, it's the devil trying to tell us discouraging things to separate us from His UNDYING and ever attainable Love.
At any rate, it's occured to me that the devil may have even a hand in the way saints are portrayed. Of course they should be seen as notable people, worthy of emulating. But they should never be sugar-coated to the point where we imagine them as too perfect to be relevant to our sinful world. This is one of the reasons, Sia has always encouraged me to use alternative images or icons of the saints in our posts; the traditional images associated with many saints are often so syrupy-romantic that it is important to see different perspectives so we don't get stuck thinking they are so unreachable! Look at the picture at the top of the post compared to this one and consider which image, of the same man, is more relevant to you. The greatest infraction of sugar-coating is committed against Our Blessed Mother Mary. We see how distinct and exalted she is, so it seems impossible that we could ever follow in her footsteps... which lead us closer to Christ than anyone else can.
Robert Louis Stevenson nailed it when he simply said, "Saints are sinners who keep on trying." The men and women we've read about from our youngest years were human like you and me. They had annoying things to deal with and problems and sins to combat of their own. What makes them different? Their undying commitment to conform their lives to the will of God. It's that simple. Yet, this simple path is littered with all kind of confusion and trials that cause us to second guess ourselves. Details are so minor! The goal of this post is to inspire you to sainthood. It's not unreachable. It's what we are called to. So get on it! Go deeper.