Saturday, October 6, 2018

The Importance of Dating Your Spouse... Even After 20 Years

The importance of dating your spouse ... even after 20 years
Photo credit jeffreyhulse.com

As Brian and I celebrated 20 years of marriage last month (YAY US!!), we were asked by another couple what one thing helps us keep our marriage strong. 10 years ago we might have struggled to come up with an specific answer, but over the last 5-6 years we figured out what really seems to make a difference for our marriage. 

Continuously dating your spouse.  When we got married Brian used to joke, I got you, now I can stop wooing.  And we’d laugh.  But we’ve discovered that in marriage, the wooing must never stop. We must remain in the mindset of dating or wooing to keep our marriage strong. 

If you’re like a few people I know who shall remain nameless, you’re going – Lisa, what in the world is “wooing?”  So, here’s the definition according to dictionary.com.
Woo  - (verb)

to seek the favor, affection, or love of, especially with a view to marriage.

 Don’t you love it?  We’ve used that word for 25 years, but I’d never looked up the official definition until now and somehow, it’s perfect! 

I know it sounds a bit corny, but we've found that wooing or dating your spouse has several perks that strengthen our marriage.
  1. Dating helps our relationship be a top priority. Let's be honest, finding time to date your spouse can take a bit of creativity and planning.  We've discovered our date can be a walk around the block, hanging out in the backyard without the kids or a quiet dinner together after a long family-filled weekend.  But, finding that time, making our dates a priority for us, has helped us truly focus on our marriage. We need to put each other first which means, sometimes above our family or work commitments. 
  2. Dating keeps lines of communication open.  We've found that just being together, the two of us, allows us to talk.   Sure, sometimes we talk about the kids, work, the household and our schedules, but that helps us work through details and issues that we'd not found time to talk about yet.  And sometimes, we find ourselves daydreaming and sharing our hopes, dreams, fears, and plans for the future.  It is amazing what can come out of those conversations when we relax and be together.  
  3. Dating enhances your outlook.  I’ve found that when my husband and I are dating, we’re in sync. I feel lighter, more able to handle problems, and more positive.  Maybe, it’s because I’m reminded we’re a team and I’m not alone in the difficult moments.  When we have a date night on Sundays, I start my Monday feeling ready to tackle the week.   
  4. Dating helps you model Marriage for the kids. Throughout their lives, kids are taught that marriage is an important sacrament and foundation for the family.  By watching their parents date, they witness us placing a priority on our relationship and strengthening the family foundation. Only good came come from our kids watching us make time for each other.  
  5. Dating reminds you of why or how you fell in love. When you make the time to woo each other you find yourself doing the little things for the other person you might have done years and years ago.  Or you start noticing that your spouse is still doing those little things you found endearing before you were married.  Dating my spouse finds me smiling when he texts me in the middle of the day “just to check on how my day is going” or discovering that we still love to hold hands. 

Recently I shared more thoughts on Dating my Spouse on a Facebook Live event for CatholicMom.comYou can watch it here






Are you still wooing? How has it benefited your marriage?


Photo Credit JeffreyHulse.com

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

12 Quotes from St. Teresa of Calcutta

My 12 Favorite quotes from St. Teresa of Calcutta
St. Teresa of Calcutta made a deep impression on me as a young girl as I watched her on tv and in news. Who doesn't remember the iconic picture of Mother Teresa with Princess Diana splashed across all magazines, newspapers and news shows?  To me, Saints were people who lived a long time ago, but here she was, a saint in the making.  Mother Teresa was a role model of how to become a Saint in our modern world, by giving her life to God through her dedication to the poor.

On her feast day, I want to share with you a few of my favorite quotes from St. Teresa of Calcutta.   Her words are seemingly simple and straightforward but packed with meaning.  My selection comes out of a new favorite book I picked up called, Mother Teresa: Her Essential Wisdom by Carol Kelly-Gangi.  This little book contains hundreds of quotes from St. Teresa of Calcutta centered around specific themes as well as a summary of her biography and quotes about her from others. 

"God does not demand that I be successful. God demands that I be faithful." St. Teresa of Calcutta
"God does not demand that I be successful. God demands that I be faithful." St. Teresa of Calcutta

"Holiness is not the luxury of the few; it is a simply duty, for you and for me." St. Teresa of Calcutta
"Holiness is not the luxury of the few; it is a simply duty, for you and for me." St. Teresa of Calcutta

"Holiness is for everyone of us as a simple duty - the acceptance of God with a smile..." St Teresa of Calcutta
"Holiness is for everyone of us as a simple duty - the acceptance of God with a smile..." St Teresa of Calcutta

"You have to be holy where you are - wherever God has put you." St Teresa of Calcutta
"You have to be holy where you are - wherever God has put you." St Teresa of Calcutta

"Holiness grows fast where there is kindness." St. Teresa of Calcutta
"Holiness grows fast where there is kindness." St. Teresa of Calcutta

"Try to put in the hearts of your children a love for home.  Make them long to be with their families." St. Teresa of Calcutta
"Try to put in the hearts of your children a love for home.  Make them long to be with their families." St. Teresa of Calcutta

"Love to pray. Take the trouble to pray.  Prayer opens your heart until it is big enough to hold and keep God." St Teresa of Calcutta
"Love to pray. Take the trouble to pray.  Prayer opens your heart until it is big enough to hold and keep God." St Teresa of Calcutta

"Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God." St. Teresa of Calcutta
"Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God." St. Teresa of Calcutta

"Prayer is as necessary as the air, as the blood in our bodies, as anything to keep us alive" St Teresa of Calcutta
"Prayer is as necessary as the air, as the blood in our bodies, as anything to keep us alive" St Teresa of Calcutta

"There are many people who can do big things, but there are very few people who will do the small things." St Teresa of Calcutta
"There are many people who can do big things, but there are very few people who will do the small things." St Teresa of Calcutta

"And so let us always meet each other with a smile." St Teresa of Calcutta
"And so let us always meet each other with a smile." St Teresa of Calcutta

"Let us pray that we women realize the reason of our existence..." St Teresa of Calcutta
"Let us pray that we women realize the reason of our existence..." St Teresa of Calcutta

Do you have a favorite quote from Saint Teresa of Calcutta?






Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Prayer to End the School Year

Another school year is coming to an end.  And what a year the 2017-2018 school year was.....

The events of the last 9 months have made me not only thankful to see it end but needing to get on my knees to Thank God for many things.  This school year began with Hurricane Harvey hitting our area and ended with the devastating school shooting at nearby Santa Fe High School.

In the middle of the crisis around us there were so many beautiful things, events and people that touched and changed our community and family for the better.  Let's just start with the teachers and administrators who have interacted with my kids this year...  A special social studies teacher that made a fast friend out of my geography obsessed daughter, an ELA teacher who slowly won my oldest daughter over with her love of the written word, a soccer trainer who pushed my son harder than he thought he could handle, and then helped him recognize how that hard work paid off.  What about a school nurse who repeatedly gave my child reassurance when she felt her anxiety getting the best of her, or the teacher who spent many extra hours creating clubs at school for kids to come together in a shared excitement over Harry Potter, K-Pop, or Creative Writing? I cannot forget the choir instructors, several of them, who provided opportunities for my girls to develop their skills in singing, but also encouraged them to truly use their gift to entertain and inspire others.

That's just small taste of the special people who entered our lives this year.  When I sit and think about our year, the list of people that supported our family, encouraged my kids to thrive, or just truly inspired us with the way they live life is nearly endless.  

My own words to adequately describe or commemorate this 2017-2018 school year are inadequate, but I found a prayer that somehow captures what I'm feeling as my kids take their last finals of the year.

Prayer to End a School Year from Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers
This Prayer to End a School Year appears in Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers: A Companion to The Catechism of the Catholic Church


As you finish your school year, I pray God gives you the refreshment and peace you seek.








Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers: A Companion to The Catechism of the Catholic Church
Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers
The Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers: A Companion to The Catechism of the Catholic Church is my "go-to" when searching for a prayer that sums up my thoughts or a prayer in a needed situation. You can pick it up on Amazon here.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Make Today Matter

Make Today Matter by Chris Lowney - Blog Hop

From the moment I pulled this little book out of the mailing package I  knew it was going to be special.  Why you ask?  Just a hunch based on the smile on my face when I saw it and read the cover.  First of all, the colors were happy and the gold radiated like the sun around the words. "Make Today Matter: 10 Habits for a Better Life (and World)."  Um, Yes Please!

I immediately opened the cover and read the first words, “Picture Houston in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey’s fury…” my eyes welled up, my chest tightened and I was immediately intrigued to read more.  How was this author going to relate what our city and community went through less than a year ago and making today matter?  The introduction title is, "Why Does it Take a Crisis?" and not to spoil the intro, but I'll share that the author, Chris Lowney, understands #HoustonStrong and how our communities came together to support and take care of one another.  

Diving into this new book from Loyola Press, I found myself looking for a notebook to write down all the big things I wanted to remember for later.  I even jumped on Instagram during Chapter 2 to share a statement I found truly inspiring.
"Bring big heart by making the most of every opportunity, by perceiving your opportunities  as broadly as you can, and by developing your gifts as fully as you can, and using your gifts for great purposes." 

Chapter five, "Banish the Inner Demons: Be Free for What Matters" struck a deep chord with me.  Let's be honest, we all have a habit or two that is holding us back in life.  As I read through this short chapter, I worked to identify what mine might be.  I stumbled onto "procrastination."  Oh my, Yes.  I put off so many important things until the last minute.  My mind reasons I'm just in a busy season of life with a million things going on at all times and I'm just trying to get it all done.  Hmmm.  That's an easy out and I know it deep down.  After going through the first few chapters of this book and identifying what matters to me I'm ready to be a little more honest with myself.

When I examine which things I put off and which things I tackle right away I see that I'm procrastinating out of fear.  These are things that I'm afraid to fail at and worried about the outcome.  It's almost like I'm setting myself up with a ready made excuse.  "If it isn't any good, well, it's because I had to do it in a rush."

Wow.  What a revelation for me.  This changes how I look at tasks I'm avoiding at the current moment.

When I say this little book packs a punch, I'm not kidding.  Chapter five is only six small pages and it helped me realize not only the "why" behind something holding me back but it's lit a fire in me to want to free myself of it.  I want to do this so I can pursue the life I want, a life that matters.

Thank you Chris Lowney and Loyola Press for gifting me this book in return for joining your blog hop.  I haven't even finished reading it but I'm ready to gift a copy to so many people in my life who would benefit from this message.


Make Today Matter by Chris Lowney

If you are interested in "Make Today Matter: 10 Habits for a Better Life (and World) head over to Loyola Press to pick up a copy.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

I Dare You to See This Movie Once

I Can Only Imagine

We love movies for the stories they tell. Their ability to transport us into another world, far far away.  Occasionally a story comes along with the power to touch our soul – to change our lives.

"I Can Only Imagine" reveals a story closer to home, a reality for many.  A story first captured in a song, written by lifetimes of pain and separation: physical, emotional, and spiritual. Of a hurt so deep, it feels impossible to let go.

Do you know that pain? I dare you to see this movie once.

As a child, Bart faces pain and separation from the father who abuses him and the mother who abandons him. Throughout his life he clings to various touchstones found in others, in music, in God, that offer him Hope and opportunity, for a better life following new dreams.

But the pain, unresolved, follows him, an anchor rooted in his past.

His father also lives a life of pain; the pain of failed dreams, of abandonment, of addictions. This story illuminates how a life of pain twists a man into a monster. How the pain feeds the monster. And it is this pain, shared between generations, that threatens to destroy all hope of ever experiencing enduring love.

As Bart pursues his own dreams, a career that takes him away from his childhood, we recognize that he is only running away from his troubles, including the inevitability of becoming his own monster. By not facing his pain, the pain becomes a barrier preventing him from realizing his desires.

When finally challenged to be honest with himself, to yield to his past, face his fears, and be vulnerable to offer and receive forgiveness, he can’t.  He begins an angry journey, a duty or task that is required, but not desired. He faces that pain, personified in his father, with anger, only seeing him through old eyes, not new. Bart is unwilling to listen to his father, to be open to God’s promise of redemption. He is unable to recognize something changed in his father, which is so clear to us.

At one point, his father pleads with him, “If God can forgive everybody else, why can’t He forgive me?” Bart spits out his words bitterly, “God Can. I Can’t.”

God Can. 
And He Does. 
Lord help our unbelief.

God offers His Grace to all, showing us Mercy, allowing us to find and receive redemption from our hurt. But Love is Action and Action requires conscious choice. It is in our choosing the act of forgiving others that we too will be forgiven. By others. By ourselves.

This choice requires our surrender, our ability to yield to His desire for us.  Thy Will Be Done.  This is where the healing begins. This is where the healing leads into transformation.

God can do so much. He can make good out of every bad thing in our lives. And He gives us the opportunity to fix our lives, if we only have the courage to act.

And when Bart takes the stage to sing “I Can Only Imagine” for the first time in the movie, it will feel like the first time you’ve ever heard it. Your heart will be so FULL that you will desire that peace and forgiveness in your own life. God’s Overwhelming Love.

Don’t believe me?
 
Have Pain?

I Dare You to See This Movie Once.





We know that all things work for good for those who love God, 
who are called according to his purpose 
- Romans 8:28
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