Summer Reminders

We need to stop looking too much into the future! This is not the time to wish our lives away.

Summer is not over! Don’t wish it away either. I believe that many of us have been looking too much towards the fall – whether that’s because of school uncertainty, election issues, or another upcoming shutdown, but we need to stop. We need to stop looking too much into the future! This is not the time to wish our lives away. In Wisconsin, we spent several months in a shutdown and now, instead of enjoying these warm months with our families, we are spending our days worrying about the future – a future that we have absolutely no control over. So, here are a few summertime reminders, because after all we have several weeks to enjoy this glorious weather!

Photo by Andre Furtado on Pexels.com
  1. Faith. It’s time to make extra time for God. Let’s dust off those devotional books, put aside some quiet moments for prayer, and place our trust back in God. Bask in the sunshine, enjoy the warmth, and give the control back to God. This isn’t easy, but true freedom.
  2. Family. Family time should be a priority, but sometimes we place this on the back-burner. Yes, we need to earn a living. Yes, we need to provide support to our community. But if our family isn’t coming first, then we are not making progress – we are only treading water with nowhere to swim. Stop treading and start living. It’s okay to stay home all day, clean bedrooms, read books, bake cookies, or watch an old movie with the family. These are the important moments. The down-days will ultimately bring us more joy than the days we spend running around trying to fulfill commitments and barely recognize that our children only want time with us, not big events, but big hugs instead.
  3. It’s Too Short. In the Midwest, summer is too short and winter is too long. Why are we wishing for time to speed up as we await announcements beyond our control? Stop worrying. Yes, that’s easier said than done. But it’s wasting time to dwell on the uncertainty. Thrive on the here and now. Don’t wish summer away, winter brings 9 long months of dark and cold.
  4. Commitments. If you can’t remember what you did last week or if the calendar fills too quickly beyond you’re control – stop! Limit the engagements. Life is not suppose to be a rat race. We tend to say “when things slow down”, but they won’t slow down without intention on our part. Many of us enjoyed the empty calendars, the slow days at home that were brought on by quarantine. There’s no reason our lives need to return back to an unending sea of engagements. Determine what is most important and eliminate the rest.
  5. Conserve. If anything, this time has not only taught me to trust more but that I need to conserve more. Maybe some of these recent events proved our over indulgence is quite unhealthy – whether that’s too many commitments, too many treats, too much shopping, or too much entertainment. I’d have to say that within just a few months, I have learned a lot and have also encountered my flaws. Let’s not fall back into bad habits of giving into our momentary desires. Time with our families is more important than hours on social media or shopping on Zulily. Yes, there’s a time and place for all of those things, but are we doing too many things in excess that should be more controlled?

Holy Week Preparations for a BIG Easter Celebration.

You may be tempted to keep Easter “simple” this year, but please remove those thoughts. Easter does not change based on human command. Whether we are allowed to attend Mass or not, it is still Easter.

My heart sank when a teenage cashier at Target told me he forgot it was almost Easter. This was while he rang up items for the kids’ Easter baskets. It made me think how utterly sad this mess of a virus may have turned those hardened hearts closer to God and His mercy. Too many of us have forgotten that God won the fight. He is in control and it is only through our lack of faith and hope which spirals us into despair. So, after contemplating those careless words of the cashier, I plan to double-down this Holy Week and double-up our Easter celebrations.

With the prohibition of Holy Mass and the Sacraments, as we are resorted to observing Mass over a computer or T.V. screen, let’s double-check ourselves that we have not become too lukewarm during this time. Do we still observe Sundays as God intended? Are we focusing on our Lenten observations or have we given those up in light of the outside sufferings we endure. Don’t give up yet. We still have time to seek reparation for sin through prayer and penance. Let’s double-down this Holy Week and partake as humanly possibly in Christ’s Passion. Let’s pray and offer our penances for a miraculous removal of this virus after Good Friday. Jesus conquered sin on Good Friday, He most definitely can conquer this virus. Don’t forsake Christ during Holy Week. Yes, the activities and crafts are good for children to help them understand what occurs, but remember that God expects more of adults. We are to be the examples to the children. Double your prayers and penances, so that we can celebrate in full glory with God on Easter Sunday.

You may be tempted to keep Easter “simple” this year, but please remove those thoughts. Easter does not change based on human command. Whether we are allowed to attend Mass or not, it is still Easter. God deserves the best and since the Bishops have forbade Mass and the Sacraments, it is up to the laity to observe this Holy Feast to the best of our ability in our homes. We cannot forsake our Lord as so many did during His Passion. Let us be near His Sacred Heart and at the foot of His cross on Good Friday. By the observances of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, we will be able to celebrate with Him on Easter Sunday. God deserves the best! Give Him your best at all times, but especially during Holy Week and Easter Sunday.

Holy Week: Monday – Spy Wednesday

Our family spends these three days finalizing housework preparations for Easter. We clean out bedrooms, bookshelves, dust, scrub down bathrooms, vacuum every room on every floor, and complete any chores that were finished over the previous weekend. We also read the full Passion of Christ each day so the children truly learn the details and know exactly what is happening on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday.

Holy Thursday:

We will be observing a Procession of the Holy Eucharist from our car and will recite the Rosary. In the evening we will have a beautiful dinner to honor the Institution of the Holy Priesthood. Following dinner we will say the Stations of the Cross in preparation for Good Friday. My grandmother used to stay up through part of the night to observe the hours Our Lord prayed in the Garden. I hope this year to have the energy to do this, even though I’m pregnant.

Good Friday:

Since we are unable to attend Good Friday Liturgies at our church, I will be taking the children to the cemetery where my parents are buried around noon. There we will recite the Stations of the Cross and the Rosary.

It is a tradition in our family to dye Easter eggs after 3:00 pm on Good Friday. Even though we are

Holy Saturday:

We observe Holy Saturday in quiet as a family. There is no T.V., no radio, no music. It is a day of emptiness as we wait for Christ’s Resurrection. So, this is the day that we do most of our baking for Easter. It is a day of anticipation for the Greatest Feast in the Church’s Liturgical Calendar.

Easter Sunday:

We will be celebrating BIG like every year. Easter has always been one of my favorite Holy Days! Even though we will observe Mass over the T.V. everyone will be dressed in their full Easter clothes. God deserves on the best at all times, but especially on His Resurrection. Even though we will not be celebrating with extended family this year, I will still be cooking and baking all of the same foods, breads, and desserts (just in smaller quantities). I observe this time as a test. Am I willing to continue my path towards sainthood, no matter what earthly changes are made around me, or am I going to succumb to the unhappiness and gloom the world is exhibiting. For ultimately, the Resurrection of Christ is of much greater value than anything related to the virus.

Celebrating the Feast of the Annunciation as a Family

I find that Liturgical Living is an important part of Catholic family life. Our family started a tradition years ago. I believe I found it on Kendra Tierney’s blog, Catholic All Year, many years ago and it just seemed to be a good fit for our family.

The Feast of the Annunciation is a major Marian Feast, also known as “Lady Day”, which focuses on the Incarnation. The Annunciation commemorates the visit from St. Gabriel the Archangel to the Blessed Virgin announcing she would be the mother of Christ. This Feast dates back to the fourth or fifth century. How beautiful that Catholics have been celebrating this Annunciation for so many, many years! That is the beauty of the Universal Church.

So, how does my family celebrate? Since it is a major Marian Feast, we have waffles for dinner with powdered sugar or whipped cream and strawberries. The interlinking design of the waffles signify the connection between Our Blessed Mother to the Holy Trinity (similar to the Fleur de Lis). The powdered sugar or whipped cream symbolizes the Archangel Gabriel. It is important to note that the feast day of St. Gabriel the Archangel is the day before the Annunciation, March 24th.

These small meals may seem simple but are an important part in teaching my children about their Faith. It is through everyday associations that they will find connections to God and their Catholic Faith. Have a Blessed Feast of the Annunciation on March 25th.