Sunday, May 15, 2016

Little things

Knitted Shawl that I made this winter.

This week, my little family and I went to see a wonderfully enchanting play called Miniscule by Dominique Leroux ( ).  It's about a miniature little girl sometimes made of yarn, sometimes made of paper, and it was enthralling.  Multidisciplinary and full of unique touches, the children loved it and intuitively understood what the artist was trying to say.  I thought it was lovely and only now, a while later, am I able to register why it touched me so much.

While the puppeteer/actress was describing the adventure she went on with her miniature friend, she described the fear and apprehension they felt.  With courage they went beyond what they knew and followed the road map found in their yarn creations.  When she projected the knitted piece of white yarn on the screen and I saw the detail within it more clearly, I had to catch my breath.

My eyes filled with tears.I don't know what's going on with me lately, but my artistic side has taken over and seems to be guiding me along quite strongly.  Not coincidentally, I've also started praying every morning and studying the Bible more seriously.  The more I pray, the more I read scripture, the more I feel I need to create things with my hands.

I feel tears welling up before a beautiful ball of yarn, gratitude that I can paint and draw and collage; I feel open and alive when I enter an art supply store; when I see stationary, I could sing (but you don't want me to, no talent there!!).

These things call to me.
They draw me close.

They bring me closer to myself and I feel my soul's contentment when I fulfill this part of my soul's journey here on earth.  God has put these small things on my heart and I can't help but do them--cut, paint, draw, glue, knit...sometimes separately, sometimes all together!

Could this be what the play was about?  We find our way through the small things that we do each day.  St. Therese of Lisieux would probably agree, maybe Mother Theresa too.  I think she once said that we should do 'small things with Great Love'.  This I knew to be true in the many things I do for my children and family--when I wash a baby, mop the floor, make some soup, I am serving God's purpose for me on this earth as long as I do these things with love.  When I do these things with love, I can feel that this true in a very real way.

It's funny how that can be true with objects and activities too, provided they aren't hurtful or damaging in some way to our souls or otherwise.

I feel drawn to things quite strongly sometimes. When I listen to my deepest self, I can feel like God has sent me the desire to knit and draw and create.

I suppose if He can speak to us through people (in their kindness, in their wisdom, in their actions), He can speak to us through His creation as well.

Lately, He's been sending me to the art store, the yarn aisle and the recycling bin for bits of colorful paper to cut up and paste.  He's sending me winks and nudges when I work with my hands, when I fiddle, paint, paste, and 'smush' around pastels to get a perfect angel face painted.

He's given me talent and when I use it, I know I am doing His work.  For now, and maybe forever, it is only in small ways, but even in the scarf I knit for my husband, the Mother's Day cards I made for special women in my life and the crochet creations I hand out here and there, I know I am doing what I am created to do.  

So, even though the song you sing may only be for one other person, if you sing it with the knowledge that you are using the gifts God has given you, it is a very fulfilling experience, indeed. 

Watching the play about the importance of  small things, reminded me that we participate in the world even in these little ways, adding our talents to the world.

How is God inspiring you lately?

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Finding Balance

Ever try to find time to pray and although you have the best intentions, you end up either not praying at all or having to squeeze in ten or so Hail Mary's and an Our Father before collapsing under the weight of exhaustion after a long day?

We all know by now that quiet time with the self, communion with God and a little bit of silence in the midst of a very busy day is a remedy for many modern ailments.  The trick is, how do we 'make the time' to do this?

I was inspired to make some changes by people I knew who spent time every morning in Meditation. I wasn't going to Meditate in the way a Buddhist would, but I saw the benefits this quiet time had on their lives.  I set up my own meditation times by deciding to pray more deliberately.  I wasn't going to 'empty my mind', instead I was going to fill it with Christ by saying a Rosary, going through a Chaplet etc.

I struggled to make time and even set up a prayer schedule with the intent of praying at specific times during the day, no matter what.  My main goal was to say the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3 pm and ask for God's mercy because, selfishly, I knew that I needed it. 

Well, it worked out a couple of times and then I quickly realized that young children and specific prayers at specific times didn't mix very well.  Apart from saying a prayer before meals, the other 'times' that I had set up didn't work well because some one or something always drew me away with legitimate requests.  I tried breaking up the times into short bursts of ten or so minutes instead of my 30 minute prayer time.  Even mornings became difficult as my nights weren't always restful and therefore my mornings weren't always as planned.  The children would wake up a different times depending on weather and school schedules.  Throw in Daylight Savings time and changing the time back again and I had a real problem.  Fast forward several months of frustrating and mostly failed attempts.

I realized, finally (I'm stubborn sometimes), that my plans didn't work...

I felt the dryness of my prayers when I did manage them because I was disappointed with myself and frustrated with my family for taking me away from what I wanted to be doing.  Then I realized the absurdity of this and I let go.

I let go of expectations from my prayer time.  I let go of specific prayer times all together.  I let go of boxes and schedules and I looked at the time I already had.

I began by appreciating the time that I had and I tried to use it more wisely.

I began to say Novena prayers before reading my other emails (I have the prayers sent to me via a website called Pray More Novenas).  I also started praying while doing my daily tasks.

Hail Mary's while putting away the kids' winter hats.  The Jesus Prayer while washing dishes.  Quick exclamations and calls for help to my favourite saints when my patience is wearing thin.

In short, I kept it simple and I've been feeling the benefits of this more realistic prayer 'schedule' ever since.  

Do I still want to sit quietly with the Bible and read?  Say an entire Rosary without falling asleep? Say a Litany or two in the morning?  Yes!!   These are all goals, but I'm working toward them and I'm not putting pressure on myself now because I just can't seem to do it.  I do what I can and I guess that's what I needed to learn. God doesn't ask for more than we can do.  He asks us to do what we can do without comparing ourselves to others.

How's your prayer life?  What are your struggles?

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

And so it begins...again

Here I am again dear friends.

It has been a long absence.  In 18 months (give or take) all manner of things can change and grow...two babies, for example.  Alas, I have not given birth twice in this time spent away from this little corner of the internet.

I have, instead, given birth to myself.  Such is the case when one is confronted with the truth of our human limitations.  We can't always push through, get it done, pull up our own boot straps.  Sometimes God helps those that help themselves, and I have most certainly felt that divine push on occasion.  Sometimes though, God helps those that ask for  help, those that take time to heal, those that pray more than they do.  God helps us be still when we need to.

The long and the short of it is that the thyroid is a very important part of the body and when it doesn't cooperate, it takes a long time to set things right.  I am now happy to feel better and happy to say that I prayed more than I accomplished this year, and in that I was very successful.  Now that I have the energy to sit and write.  To look at a screen.  To think without crying from exhaustion.  I am here.

It's spring.  A time for renewal, as they say, but also of a refreshed spirit.  It has occurred to me in these months spent more quietly that when I feel this new burst of energy, I need not spend it all at once.  So, I encourage all of you, and I put myself at the top of the list, to sit and breath and enjoy the stirrings in the soul that awaken when we finally see some green grass, some red-breasted robins and some yellow daffodils.

This season of renewal, I will sit and enjoy it (while I run around picking up toys, doing laundry and cooking, but you know what I mean).  I will let it stir me within and I will purposely not do anything about it.  This, so that I may enjoy it more, but also so I can learn to listen to those stirrings all the better.

Who knows, they may guide me somewhere new.

Let me know what you're doing this spring.