5 Reasons for Almsgiving

With Lent comes an emphasis on prayer, fasting and almsgiving. The rice bowls or other ministry containers come home and we are reminded to take the money we save from fasting and give to the poor. Some people take this seriously and some people don’t. Sadly, for a long time I was one of those who basically ignored the almsgiving portion of Lent.

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

Money can be a touchy subject and there are those who think that the Church is all about money. Yes, the Church needs money to run but almsgiving is (and should be) a deeply spiritual act. And, it doesn’t always mean money. If you have limited funds, you can give some of your time or talents or prayers. With a little creativity, there is no doubt that the Holy Spirit will inspire you with ideas for almsgiving.

If you need a little nudge, here are three reasons you should start a regular almsgiving regimen:

It’s Biblical

Tithing goes way back to the Old Testament and Jesus mentions the importance of giving several times, including:

Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.” Matthew 8:10

Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.” Matthew 5:42

I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.” Luke 21: 3-4

It is an Act of Mercy

Feeding the hungry, give to the thirsty, clothing the naked, visiting the imprisoned, visiting the sick, sheltering the homeless, and burying the dead are all corporal works of mercy. Therefore, donating (almsgiving) to organizations that provide these services is, by extension, an act of mercy.

Better yet, you can give the alms of yourself by volunteering at an organization that provide these services. Or, just take some time to visit the elderly in a nursing home or a shut in. I worked with the elderly for a long time and I can assure you, it would be a great gift to them and incredibly rewarding for you! God is enormously generous and we always get more than we give.

It Fosters Gratitude

We all go through different struggles in our lives, some times can be worse than other times. When this happens, it is easy to get tunnel vision which makes past our little world a challenge. When we give to those who are less fortunate than ourselves, it can open our eyes and our hearts to the suffering of others. This is especially true if the almsgiving is from our necessities (think of the widow’s mite) and not an afterthought of our surplus.

It Can Help Form a Habit

Hopefully when we start almsgiving at Lent (or any time of the year), it will become a habit of giving and generosity. There are a lot of people who give (especially to food banks) during the Advent/Christmas season but than that falls off. The needy aren’t just needy during the winter holidays (although it is most noticeable then). There are people who need help all through the year.

Therefore, starting to do almsgiving at another time of the year, such as Lent, may help you get you into the spirit of giving on a regular basis.

It Can Strengthen and Enrich our Prayer Life

Or, rather, it should. When we pray, and enter into the heart of God, it is natural to want to spread His love to others, thus making almsgiving an overflow of our prayer life. And when we give alms, it can open our hearts to others and to God in a circle of blessing and grace, thus enriching our prayer life.

There is a reason prayer, fasting, and almsgiving is the trio focus of Lent. All of them, including almsgiving, work together to convert our hearts and our minds to God. If you focus on one or two and ignore the other(s). then you miss out on the fullness of grace that could be yours.

So, I encourage you to prayerfully discern what alms the Lord is asking you to give, be it money, time or talent. And once discerned, have courage to give without cost because, believe me, you will receive so much more than you could ever receive.

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REMINDER: I go live in my Facebook group every Monday at 10:35 am EST and every Thursday at 1:30 pm EST. I hope you will join me!

PSST: If you are looking for accountability or focused encouragement in growing your spiritual life, I’d love to chat with you and see if we would be a fit for working together. Book a call with me here.

Do You Want a Healthier You in 2017?

(I am interrupting my Christmas break to give you some news from one of my favorite bloggers, Money Saving Mom. 🙂 )

15 Days to a healthier You

One of the biggest resolutions people make each year is to lose weight. I’ve made that a goal of mine many a year! But what if you could do it differently? What if you could focus on the “whole you” and not just the diet and exercise bit of getting healthy?

Well, Crystal Paine is on a mission to do just that. She has created a course aptly named, 15 Days to a Healthier You. In this course, Crystal will take a holistic approach and help you make realistic goals, make health a priority, and boost your energy.

In this 15 day course you will get a daily 15 minute live video with Crystal (will be recorded), daily lessons and projects, access to a private Facebook group, accountability and more! It is a great opportunity to get the new year off to a great start.

And guess what? Your investment is only $15. That is a dollar a day. Not bad, huh?! I suggest you go sign up now because sign ups CLOSE on January 3. Then, access to Facebook group opens January 6th and the program starts January 9th.

For more information go here.

Weekly Goals

Set GoalsHappy Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception! Our Lady is the patron of America under this title. May she pray for us and bring us to Our Lord! Now, here is how I did last week:

Marriage/Parenting/Home Management Goals

1. Send Michael a “love text” twice this week.

2. Create Christmas shopping list and Christmas card list. (Just didn’t get to it…)

3. Spend at least 10 minutes reading with Andrew.

Personal Goals

4. Get up at 6:00 am.

5. Spend at least 15 minutes reading the bible and prayer every morning.

6. Exercise at least 15 minutes, 5 times this week.

Educational Goals

7. Finish final draft of Senior Seminar I paper and submit.

8. Finish Anglo-Saxon final paper and submit. (Finished rough draft, final is due this Wednesday)

Blogging/Writing Goals

9. Write and post book review of A Love Undone. (Read the review here.)

10. Work on the other website I am creating.

This is my plans for this week:

Marriage/Parenting/Home Management Goals

1. Send Michael a “love text” twice this week.

2. Create Christmas shopping list and Christmas card list.

3. Spend at least 10 minutes reading with Andrew.

4. Clean out Andrew’s room and get rid of some junk!

Personal Goals

5. Get up at 6:00 am.

6. Spend at least 15 minutes reading the bible and praying Advent devotionals every morning.

7. Exercise at least 15 minutes, 5 times this week.

Educational Goals

8. Finish Anglo-Saxon final paper and submit.

Blogging/Writing Goals

9. Write and post book review of 20 Short Ones.

10. Continue working on the other website I am creating.

Now it’s your turn. Share what you have going on this week in the comments, or join us over at Money Saving Mom with your own goals.

Weekly Goals

Set GoalsSo happy to have had a good week! Here’s how things went:

Marriage/Parenting/Home Management Goals

1. Send Michael a “love text” twice this week.

2. Take Andrew to the pool at least twice this week. (If I include the pool club near where we had our family bbq yesterday, we went to the pool every day except once this week!)

3. Start reading Little Lord Fauntleroy to Andrew.

4. Organize homeschooling area and  gather materials for new school year.

Personal Goals

5. Get up at 6:00 am. (Got up at 6 once, the other days it was more like 7 or 7:30. But, I’m okay with that because I knew last week was to be a bit of a relaxing kind of week.)

6. Read a chapter each day of the book study I am doing, and spend ten minutes in quiet time.

7. Exercise at least 15 minutes, 5 times this week.

Blogging/Writing Goals

8. Finish reading and write review for Answering Your Kids’ Toughest Questions. (You can read the review here.)

9. Work on the other website I’m creating.

10.  Create a blog schedule and pre-write some posts.

Final week before I start my classes for the fall. I really hope it is a productive week. I want to get ahead start for the fall schedule…

Marriage/Parenting/Home Management Goals

1. Send Michael a “love text” twice this week.

2. Host get-together with one of my good friends and her kids.

3. Continue reading Little Lord Fauntleroy to Andrew.

4. Organize homeschooling area and  gather materials for new school year.

Personal Goals

5. Get up at 6:00 am.

6. Read a chapter each day of the book study I am doing, and spend ten minutes in quiet time.

7. Exercise at least 15 minutes, 5 times this week.

Educational Goals

8. Get books for my upcoming classes, and start reading ahead.

Blogging/Writing Goals

9. Work on the other website I’m creating.

10.  Pre-write some blog posts for the fall.

Now it’s your turn. Come join us over at Money Saving Mom with your own goals.

 

Weekly Goals

Set Goals

Here’s how I did last week:

1. Pray at least one decade of the rosary each day and St. Andrew’s Novena.

2. Get up by 6:30 am each morning.

3. Pray over devotional for bible study I am participating in.

4. Blog at least twice. (Sort of. I’m counting the goals post.)

5. Write review for “Biff and Beckas Stupendous Vacation.

6. Finish both research papers and upload them to class dropbox. Man were they tough! I hope I did well.

7. Work on final project for Health, Healing and Laughter class.

8. Work on final paper for Christian Tradition.

9. Study for exams!

Here’s my goals for this week:

1. Pray at least one decade of the rosary each day and St. Andrew’s Novena.

2. Get up by 6:30 am each morning.

3. Blog at least twice.

4. Write review for “Biff and Beckas Stupendous Vacation.

5. Work on final projects for Health, Healing and Laughter class and Christian Tradition class.

6. Study for exams!

7. Decorate for Christmas and get tree.

8. Finish Christmas cards and send them out.

9. Work on special project. (More info to follow in a few weeks. 🙂 )

What are your plans for this week? Let us know in the comments or head over to Money Saving Mom and share them with us!

Weekly Goals

Set Goals

I didn’t intend to neglect the blog for a whole week but between home-schooling Andrew and doing my own course work, school has taken over my life. This coming week is already set to be busy but I will do my best to get a couple posts (besides this one) done…In any case, here’s what went down from two weeks ago:

1. Pray the rosary twice this week.

2. Get up by 6:30 am each morning. (Again I was up late so I’ve been getting up around 8am.)

3. Keep up with the readings and assignments for my classes.

4. Keep Andrew on track with his home-school assignments.

5. Blog at least twice  this week.

6. Start reading the Catholic Update guide to Mary (affiliate link). (Haven’t even looked at the book this week. BUT I have to get the review done so I will be making time for this book by hook or by crook! Like my rhyme. 🙂 )

Here are my plans for this week:

1. Pray the rosary twice this week.

2. Get up by 6:30 am each morning.

3. Keep up with the readings and assignments for my classes.

4. Keep Andrew on track with his home-school assignments.

5. Blog at least twice  this week.

6. Start reading the Catholic Update guide to Mary (affiliate link).

7. Take Andrew to CCD.

8. Take Andrew to the homeschooling Coop opening mass. (It is the mass to officially open our Homeschooling support group.)

What are your plans for this week? Let us know in the comments or head over to Money Saving Mom and share them with us!

 

Weekly Goals

Set Goals

Slowly getting in to a new routine but at least I’m getting there. Here’s how I did last week:

1. Pray the rosary each day.

2. Get up by 6:30 each morning.

3. Get started with the reading assignments and work for classes. (One of my classes is Christian Tradition so I will be doing bible reading for the class; therefore, I’m taking the bible reading off my list.)

4. Find a sitter for Andrew. (My babysitter for while I’m at school on Tuesdays had to back out last minute.) (Still working on this for a permanent sitter but at least my mother-in-law can take him this Tuesday and my mom will take him next Tuesday.)

5. Blog at least twice this week.

6. Finally, If I can swing it, I want to create and list one item for Etsy. (Didn’t happen. It is taking me a while to get my newest project done because it contains a lot of info. I’ll be so excited when it is done though, because I think it will help a lot of people!)

Here’s are my short goals for this week.

1. Pray the rosary each day.

2. Get up by 6:30 am each morning.

3. Keep up with the readings and assignments for my classes. (Still waiting on one of the books I need for a class, so I will have to do some major catch-up when it comes in!)

4. Blog at least three times this week.

5. Find a permanent babysitter for Andrew.

6. Keep Andrew on track with his home school.

7. Read and review the Catholic Update guide to Mary (affiliate link). It’s a small booklet so I’m hoping I can fit it in between reading for class.

What are your plans for this week? Let us know in the comments or head over to Money Saving Mom and share them with us!

Weely Goals

Set Goals

It was a weird week. I felt like I was spinning my heels and didn’t accomplish much. I didn’t get in hardly any prayer time. That was my fault, though. I was off schedule and overslept more than not which turned my schedule upside down.I did cross a few things off my list, at least:

1. Read at least one chapter of  the gospel of John per day.

2. Pray the rosary each day.

3. Read Letters to Katie and write review.

4. Continue making and adding items to my Etsy shop. (Well, I have several home-school printables created that I need to upload. I will be doing that today, hopefully.)

5. Spend five minutes per day on fiction writing.

6. Spend about half-hour of playtime with Andrew each day.

7. Revamp and prepare our homeschooling curriculum for the fall.

8. Start school with Andrew.

Here’s what’s going on this week. I hope I have a better week!

1. Read at least one chapter of  the gospel of John per day.

2. Pray the rosary each day.

3. Finish reading Letters to Katie and write review.

4. Continue making and adding items to my Etsy shop.

5. Get up by 6:30 am each morning.

6. Spend about half-hour of playtime with Andrew each day.

What are your plans for this week? Let us know in the comments or head over to Money Saving Mom and share them with us!

Weekly Goals

Set Goals

Here’s how I did this past week:

1.Continue reading  the gospel of Mark five minutes per day. (Very slow going but will get done eventually!)

2. Pray the rosary each day with Andrew. (Kind of fell off the rosary this week but will try again next!)

3. Work on next speech project, work on next quiz and paper for biology. Register for Shakespeare class for fall.

4. Write for at least 5 minutes (of fiction) each day. (Not fiction writing done this week, but I’ve been doing a lot of other writing!)

5. Work on the e-book I’m writing. (It is a book on prayer and it will be F.R.E.E.!)

6. Participate in the 30 Day House Cleaning Challenge.

Here’s what’s up for this coming week:

1.Continue reading  the gospel of Mark five minutes per day.

2. Pray the rosary each day with Andrew.

3. Work on speech project and prepare for final exam in biology.

4. Write for at least 5 minutes (of fiction) each day.

5. Work on the e-book I’m writing. (It is a book on prayer and it will be F.R.E.E.!)

6. Participate in the 30 Day House Cleaning Challenge.

What are your plans for this week? Let us know in the comments or head over to Money Saving Mom and share them with us!

Teaching Kids How to Handle Money

Teacking Your Kids How to Handle Money

Yesterday, Dawn over at By Sun and Candlelight wrote a great post about Kids, Money and Chores. She asked the following questions:

” 1. Do you give your children an allowance, and if so, must they earn it by doing chores?

2. How do your children handle their money – deciding what to spend, save, and give?

3. Do your children have jobs outside the home?”

Great questions, no? I posted my answer over at Dawn’s blog, but I wanted to do so here as well for two reasons: 1. I can give a more comprehensive answer; and 2. I’d love to hear my readers (that would be you!) handle this topic with their children.

In my answer to Dawn’s first question I stated that we don’t give allowance – not exactly, anyway. Nor do we connect doing chores with getting paid – in a way. We kind of combine the two. There are certain chores that Andrew has to do (without pay) just because he is part of our family. These chores include making his bed, keeping his room clean, picking up after himself, putting his laundry away, setting the table before meals and helping to clear the table afterwards.

When those chores are done, and done well, then he can do other chores that he gets paid for. These chores include helping with the garden, sweeping or vacuuming the floor, dusting, or whatever else he and I come up with. The cost for each chore depends on the time and difficulty of a particular chore. What makes this different from an allowance is that he gets paid for the chore the same day, and not weekly. Sometimes he gets paid immediately after the chore and sometimes at the end of the day.

The reason we do this is because, well, it works for us! Andrew is only 7 (so obviously #3 is taken care of, he doesn’t work out of the home) and he likes the immediate reward of getting his money right away. He gets his money and makes a big deal out of counting the money (homeschool activity) and putting it in the band. When he gets older we will be switching to a weekly payment – with a twist (taking out “taxes” – more on that in a future post).

How does Andrew handle his money? We follow a system similar to Dave Ramsey. Andrew has three banks. Part of his money goes into a bank for saving, part of it goes into a bank for giving and the rest goes into a bank for spending or short-term saving. (Either this week or next I’ll do a post showing how this works.)

Our biggest challenge in teaching Andrew how to handle money is being consistent. I’m the frugal one in the family and Michael is for sure the spender – although he is MUCH better now of the last few years than ever before. We’ve done the Financial Peace University program and learned tons from it. We are doing our best to follow the principles laid out in the program. We’ve struggled, are struggling, financially but we are working on getting debt free and following the system the best we can. We want to teach Andrew by example and we want him to develop good money habits NOW while he is still young.

How are you teaching your kids how to handle money? Do you have a system in place or just ‘winging it”? How would you answer the above three questions? Leave your response in the comments.