What Are We Teaching Our Children?

I purposely do not get political online (or publicly) and I don’t plan to now; however, I feel called to share my heart. The events that have transpired since election day has been alarming and heartbreaking. It is also aggravating. (Warning: mini-rant below)

What are we Teaching Our Children?

What I am referring to is the rioting and violence that has erupted since Trump was elected. I am referring to the over-dramatic response by many, especially our young people – and not-so-young people. Over the weekend, I heard about someone who was verbally attacked just because she asked someone if they were okay (because the person looked upset and as if she had been crying).  I also read about a young boy who was bullied and yelled at by an adult because he voted for Trump in a mock election. On top of all this, you can’t go on Facebook or other social media site without being bombarded by anti-Trump news, protesting and riots.

So, I can’t help but wonder what we are teaching our kids. What is going on when college classes are being canceled and counseling services are being offered for those “adversely affected” by the election? Seriously? Are we really raising a generation of infantile, indoctrinated people with an entitlement mentality?

How about teaching our children about how democracy works? Or, how about we teach them that they can’t always have what they want when they want it? How about teaching them that there is disappointment in life and give them tools for dealing with it more maturely? How about we teach them how to accept defeat graciously. I see what’s going on and it looks like a bunch of babies having temper tantrums just like my son sometimes does when he doesn’t get his way!

Now, don’t misconstrue me. The disappointments and anger of Clinton’s supporters are real. They have a right to their opinions, and feelings. They have a right to be respected and their feelings are valid. And, they have a right to express those feelings. Just like anyone else. At the same time, however, those feelings need to be expressed in better and healthier ways. How is rioting and destroying property helping anyone? How does beating up people or ridiculing people with different opinions (especially those who voted for Trump) make a difference? Those actions will not change the results of the election.

If the Republicans or conservatives did half of what is being done, there would be no media coverage. Or if there is, it would be to bash them for not accepting the results. There is a huge double standard here.  But our young people! They have witnessed some the worse anti-Christian behavior, including Christian against Christian.

What example are we giving our children and young people when we slam each other (with our words, and sometimes fists)? What are we doing by allowing our schools to indoctrinate our children with anti-democratic (and revisionist) rhetoric? Why aren’t we teaching our children to have a strong work ethic and empower them to become productive members of society who can think for themselves? Why aren’t we helping them to learn to listen to and respect perspectives and opinions different than their own?  We owe them that much. We owe ourselves and our future that much.

The world isn’t going to implode or explode because of the outcome of the election like the over-dramatic babble would like us to believe. We owe it to Trump as our new President to give him a chance, as we had to do with Obama. And guess what? Many of the events and problems which the left / Clinton and Obama supports are so afraid of have existed long before Trump ran for President. Division, discrimination, economic problems, and other issues shamefully existed before Trump and some things even got worse in Obama’s administration (Obamacare has crushed my family financially & coverage-wise). So, for our kids’ sake, we need to take a deep breath and start thinking with our heads. We can’t let fear control our lives.

Besides, we may not know what the next four years (and beyond) will bring but we know that God is control. Therefore, I have hope. I have faith in the power of God. I know that no matter what happens we are in His hands. Our children are also in His hands. So, I will continue to pray. I will pray for President-elect Trump, all our leaders, for our children, and for those with whom I differ. I will pray for those who have rioted and have caused havoc this past week and I will pray for their victims. I will even pray for the media and Hollywood elite who are so far misguided and out-of-touch with common America it isn’t funny.

So, I will pray, pray, pray. Will you pray with me?

**********

Tweetable: What Are We Teaching Our Children?

Write 31 Days Challenge – 31 Days of Prayer!

Do you remember when I wrote that I was going to cut down on my blogging schedule? Well, it looks like I will be writing {almost} for the next 31 days. LOL!

write31days2016

After some reflection, I have decided to participate in the Write 31 Days writing challenge. I participated in this challenge last year on my other blog; however, this year, I feel lead to take the challenge here on Simple Catholic Living.

And, the focus of this challenge will be prayer.

Therefore, for the next 31 days, I will post a prayer of some sort *{almost} every day. Some prayers will be traditional prayers, some will be lesser known prayers, and some will be prayers that I write from the heart. I will link to each day’s prayers here for easy reference.

Why am I doing this?

If you spend any time here at Simple Catholic Living, you know prayer is important to me. I’ve mentioned this before: prayer is essential if we are to live a Christian life. It is the foundation of our relationship with God. Without prayer, our relationship with God will be mediocre, at best or nonexistent, at worst.

Besides that, the world desperately needs prayer. It needs God. Sometimes, it seems like the world, and everyone in it, has gone completely nuts. And, the only effective way to have a real and lasting change is through prayer. Jesus says that with the faith of a mustard seed we can move mountains. I truly believe that, with prayer and faith, we can make a difference in this world.

Will you join me? Each day, come back to the blog for a new prayer. Or, save this post and come back to it daily. Like I mentioned above, I will link to the day’s prayers here so they are all in one place. Together, let us pray for ourselves, our loved ones, and for everyone.

God bless.

Day One: St. Therese

Day Two: Glory Be

Day Three: Guardian Angel

Day Four: Saint Francis

Day Five: Healing and Protection

Day Six: Saint Bruno

Day Seven: Our Lady of the Rosary

Day Eight: The Hail Mary

Day Nine: Lectio Divina

Day Ten: Thanksgiving Prayer

Day Eleven: Armour of God

Day Twelve: Prayer for Daily Neglects

Day Thirteen: Our Lady of Fatima

Day Fourteen: Abandonment to God’s Providence

Day Fifteen: Saint Teresa of Avila

Day Sixteen: Pray for Peace

Day Seventeen: Saint Luke

Day Eighteen: Saint Paul of the Cross

Day Nineteen: Our Father

Day Twenty: Prayer for Patience

Day Twenty-one: Saint John Paul II

Day Twenty-two: Saints & Feast Days in November 2016

Day Twenty Three: Saint Anthony Mary Claret

Day Twenty-Four: Act of Faith

Day Twenty-Five: Act of Hope

Day Twenty-Six: Act of Love

Day Twenty-Seven: Prayer Before a Crucifix

Day Twenty-Eight: Saint Jude

Day Twenty-Nine: Prayer for Vocations

Day Thirty: Prayer for the Deceased

*I may or may not post on Sunday. I try to honor the Lord’s Day as much as possible so unless I have the opportunity to pre-post, there will be no live posts on Sundays.

***********

Tweetable: Write 31 Days challenge – 31 Days of Prayer!

31 Days of Prayer

Image by Foxy_ (2012) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Today marks the beginning of the week of prayer for Christian Unity (Jan 18 – 25). This year’s theme is “Called to proclaim the mighty acts of the Lord” (1 Peter 2:9).

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Image by geralt (2014) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

It is so important, especially in today’s world, to focus on what unites us rather divides us in our faith. In this way we can be a better witness to the world and work together to end the moral evils that surround us such as abortion, euthanasia, and threats to our religious liberty.

Fittingly, today is also the day we remember the contributions of Martin Luther King, Jr. He too, in his own way, fought for liberty and unity.

May this week be a catalyst to bring us together in prayer and deed as we work to bring about God’s glorious kingdom!

**************

Tweetable: Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

How to Pray the Scriptures

Praying the scriptures is an integral part of a Christian’s life. How can someone get to know Jesus and the heart of God without reading His Word? And, although it seems like a “well-kept secret” for us Catholics, praying the Scriptures (Lectio Divina) is a long-time tradition within the Catholic Church. In fact, reading/praying the bible wasn’t just for priests or religious, but for the laity as well.

prayscriptures

There are many books on Lectio Divina, but the simplest instructions I found is on the Plain Catholic site (used with permission – italics are my insertions):

How to do Lectio Divina

1. “Take up the Bible in your quiet prayer place. Say a simple prayer such as the opening lines to the Liturgy of the Hours: “God come to my assistance, Lord make haste to help me. Glory be…” or “Lord open my ears and steady my heart to hear Your Word,” (I like to pray the ‘Come Holy Spirit’ prayer).

2. Open the Bible to the Mass Gospel readings for the day (or other scripture verses that speak to your heart). Slowly and prayerfully read the passages. Imagine yourself listening to Christ Himself, just as Mary did at His feet.

3. Sit with the Scripture you have just read, listening with the ear of your heart (As St. Benedict called it in he Prologue of the Rule). Do not rush it. Simply move through it gently.

4. At the end of the prayer time, thank Jesus and offer praises to the Holy Trinity; offer up your day to Him. (I pray an Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be…)

Notes:

The average time for Lectio Divina is 20 minutes (you don’t have to use a timer unless you want/need to). Some days it will take 10 minutes. Other days it will take longer. Give what you can to the Lord and be at peace about it.

When you first begin Lectio Divina, stick with the gospels. They are easier to start with because it will feel more natural to “sit with Jesus’ words and listen to them”. Eventually, you will find the Psalms, Proverbs, and all the New Testament as fertile ground for Lectio Divina.

If you are having difficulty during your prayer time, try to remember that there is no such thing as “wasted prayer time.” If you get distracted, simply offer Jesus that distraction. Do not force yourself into trying to conform what you think they prayer time should look like. Most importantly, do NOT let yourself give into discouragement: instead, do the best you can and give the rest to God.

Listen to the Advice of St. Benedict:

‘LISTEN carefully, my child, to your master’s precepts, and incline the ear of your heart (Prov. 4:20). Receive willingly and carry out effectively your loving father’s advice, that by the labor of obedience you may return to Him from whom you had departed by the sloth of disobedience.

To you, therefore, my words are now addressed, whoever you may be, who are renouncing your own will to do battle under the Lord Christ, the true King, and are taking up the strong, bright weapons of obedience.

And first of all, whatever good work you begin to do, beg of Him with most earnest prayer to perfect it, that He who has now deigned to count us among His children may not at any time be grieved by our evil deeds. For we must always so serve Him with the good things He has given us, that He will never as an angry Father disinherit His children, nor ever as a dread Lord, provoked by our evil actions, deliver us to everlasting punishment as wicked servants who would not follow Him to glory’

Therefore, if you don’t already spend a part of your day with the Lord, reading the Bible and praying over God’s Word, I highly encourage you to do so. Even if you can only find 5 minutes to read the Bible, and pray the Scriptures, I promise you, the time will be well worth it. 🙂

____________

Click to Tweet: How to Pray the Scriptures

For reference, you can print this post as a pdf here (no opt-in required): How to Pray the Scriptures

Image in Public Domain

Book Review: Christian America: Shattered Dreams in a Veiled Society

Christian AmericaHappy Memorial Day! Normally, I do not blog on Memorial Day, but this is an important book and I didn’t want to put off the review.

From the Description:

The Christian Church in America has long experienced freedom of her Religion as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States. Today, more than ever, that freedom is now in question. The body-politic has said, ‘no more’, and implemented programs and policies to resound their cry. How do we know? Through extensive research and documented findings all in this small publication.

My Comments:

I have to start this review out with a disclaimer. Catherine Francis is a friend of mine and I had a hand in helping to proofread the book; therefore, I am a little bit biased. 🙂 However, please don’t let that slant your view of this review, because Christian America is truly an important book.

What is the book about? In brief, it is an exposé on the history of incorporation and tax exemption within the Church, and the devastating results of “bending to the will of the state” (A Note from the Author ).

For me, this book is an eye-opener. I do not know much about incorporation and tax-exemption status and all that is involved with it. Quite frankly, I never gave it much thought, especially about how incorporation affects the Church, so when I read this short book I was surprised with what I learned. I think you will be too.

And you might be skeptical. I was. Maybe in a small way I still am. A part of me doesn’t want to believe that there are forces, government or otherwise, seeking to undermine and/or destroy the Church I love. However, I trust Catherine Francis and she does a good job defending her thesis with examples and lots of references throughout the book.

I urge you to get your hands on a copy of this book and draw your own conclusions. I give Christian America four (4) stars.

——————

This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for details.

Wordless Wednesday: Live Nativity

Sort of. 🙂 There’s a Christian church that does a life-size nativity scene every year. They don’t use “regular” people, just mannequins; however, they use live animals.

live nativity 1

live nativity 2

live nativity 3

live nativity 4

live nativity

live nativity 6

Top Ten Favorite Christian Music Artists

A lot of people enjoy listening to Christian music so I thought I’d share some of my current favorites.  I’m always on the look out for great Christian musics, so if you have any suggestions, do share… 🙂

1. Avalon. Well, I actually only have one album of theirs: “Testify to Love: The Very Best of Avalon” but I absolutely love it! I listen to this over and over again! One of my all-time favorite Christian Albums.

2. Mark Mallet. I’ve mentioned Mark before. Besides his blog, though, he has a music ministry. His voice is amazing and when I pray along with his rosary CD, I am transported right into heaven!

3. Casting Crowns. What can I say? Casting Crown rocks! 😉  Get a taste of their latest song “Until the Whole World Hears” in video on their official website.

4. Mercy Me. My mother introduced me to Mercy Me a couple of years ago. I am so glad she did! You can find more about them here.

5. Dana. You may be familiar with Dana. She performed for Pope John Paul II back when he visited the United States. I got to meet her briefly during the Youth 2000 event the late Cardinal O’Connor hosted in 2000. I love her soothing voice (even when singing “fast’ songs!).

6. Third Day. I’m not a huge fan of rock music; but, I’ve been a big fan of Third Day for a long time. One of my favorite songs from this is the well-known “Cry Out to Jesus.” They have a new album coming out in October and I can’t wait to check it out.

7. Jars of Clay. Although Jars of Clay have been around for a long time, I’ve just recently discovered their music. They have some really good songs.

8. John Michael Talbot. I love John Michael Talbot’s soulful voice. Listening to his music lifts my soul into heaven and many of his songs have helped me enter into a prayer.

9. Critical Mass. What a little edge to your Christian music? Critical Mass has it. 🙂 They are another group that whose music I’ve just discovered, but so far I like what I’ve heard.

10. Francis Koerber. If you enjoy sacred music, you will love Francis Koerber. He is a composer of original ( and very beautiful!) sacred music. You can listen to his music here.

(Add your list to Top Ten Tuesday.)

10 Ways to Make Time for Prayer

clockAs Christian women, we know the importance of making time for prayer. We want to foster our relationship with Jesus and spending time with Him is the only real way to do that. As busy moms, we also know that finding time for prayer can be a challenge. We make excuses. We get caught up in all the details of homeschooling, running our homes and (sometimes) playing chauffeur for our children.

If you want to make prayer a priority but can’t seem to find the time, the trick might be to sneak it in! Here are some tips that have helped me fit prayer into my day:

1. Get up early. Yeah, that can be hard, I know; especially if your young ones are early birds. Until recently, my son would be up between 5:30-6:00am and getting up at 5:00am was HARD. Still, if you can get up even 20 minutes before your children and spend just 15 minutes or so with the Lord in prayer or reading the Bible, you will be amazed at how it can set your day right. You’ll be more focused and prepared for the day and have that extra boost to keep the Lord in your heart during the day.*

2. Make a prayer appointment. We make hair appointments, doctor appointments and all kinds of appointments so why not make a prayer appointment? When you are calendaring your other appointments, blot out a time for prayer each day or at least once a week. If you can leave your child/children with grandparents or mother’s helper for a while even better. Take that time for adoration before our Lord in the Eucharist if your church offers it. **

3. Pray as a family. Praying with your children is an awesome way to not only find time for yourself to pray, but also instill a habit of prayer in your children. It doesn’t have to be long. You can do five minutes of morning devotions before starting school or pray a decade of the rosary after dinner. Let each child take turns leading the prayers each day so that they feel involved.

4. Hide some aspirations around the house. Okay, this might sound silly, but it does help! Write little aspirations (such as “Jesus I trust in You.” or “Sweet Jesus, be my salvation.”) or scripture verses down on sticky notes and post them on the inside of your kitchen cabinets or doors, mirrors or any where around the house where you will see them frequently.

5. Pray while you work. Throw on a rosary DVD while you clean the house or tackle a household project. Or, put on some worship music so you can sing out your prayer to the Lord. (A fun homeschooling project would be to have each kid write his or her own “prayer song” to sing during devotional time.)

6. Exercise. Again, put on some worship music and dance before the Lord! You’ll get in a good workout and pray at the same time. Going for a run or bike ride? Don’t be so quick to put on those headphones. Use that time to pray and chat with our Lord, Our Lady and/or the saints. Lifting weights? Say an aspiration with each repetition.

7. Pray in the car. Going on a long trip? Listen to the Bible on tape for a while. Throw on a DVD of the Divine Mercy Chaplet or worship music while on your way to or from the store, appointments or activities. Dropping the littles off somewhere? Spend a couple of minutes in the car before driving off to your next destination. Picking them up? Get there a few minutes early and sit in silence before the Lord before it’s time to get them.

8. Turn off the TV. Believe me, I know how tempting it can be to plop down in front of the television after a busy day. You want to get off your feet and relax. Why not put off turning the TV on for 30 minutes and work on a bible study or read the Catechism or pray the rosary first? You may change your mind about turning the TV on at all. 🙂

9. Pray in bed. If he’s willing, take a few minutes to pray with your husband before drifting off to sleep. Having trouble getting to sleep? The cadence of the rosary or divine mercy chaplet is very soothing and easily can put your body and spirit to rest.

10. Join (or form) a mom’s prayer group. Getting together with other moms to pray for and support each other in your journey with the Lord can be an awesome blessing. If there isn’t a group already formed, get a few of your mom friends and see if they are interested. Each mom can take turns hosting or meet at a local park (weather permitting). The kids can play while the moms can pray!

BONUS! 11. Head for the restroom. Hey, sometimes you’ve got to get creative! 🙂 If all else fails and you’ve been too busy to even think, head for the restroom for a minute or two (even if you don’t have to “go”). Use that time to re-group and re-center In the Lord.

Obviously you can’t (nor should you, necessarily) do all these all day everyday. What’s important is to take time to strengthen your relationship with the Lord so take it slow and experiment with the different suggestions until you find the ones that work for you.

Do you have any creative ways for incorporating prayer into your every day? Do share! I’d love to find new suggestions for growing in my relationship with the Lord.

*If you are  having difficulty getting up in the morning, you may have to re-think your evenings! Are you going to bed too late? Can you re-arrange things so you can get to bed earlier? Of course, if You are a night person, praying at night instead of the morning will work for you instead. 🙂

**Another idea would be to do a “kid’s swap” with another mom. You take her kids for an hour or two one day a week and she takes your kids on another day of the week. This is a great way to give both moms a break. (Just try not to cheat and run errands or do other things when you could be praying!)

(This post is linked to WFMW and Top 10 Tuesday.)

(Photo Credit: Dennis Hill and Friends)