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A Saint

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“Mother Teresa was considered a saint because she was seen to personify an idea: to love God and to love one’s neighbor. And yet, what she did was so simple that each one of us can do it–in fact, must do it, if we are to obey the command of Christ: to feed the hungry, care for the sick, invite the stranger in, clothe the naked, visit those in prison, and quench the thirst of those who simply need a cup of water.”

“It was constant prayer that gave Mother Teresa the strength to keep going and caused her to produce such tremendous fruit. And it is prayer that must under gird all efforts to obey God, because as Mother Teresa of Calcutta would be the first to say, obedience is not always easy.  In fact, without God’s help, it is impossible.”

Eric Metaxis, 7 Women and Secret of Their Greatness

I just finished this book and, as you may have guessed, I recommend it! (Thanks for the referral Carli!)

In fact, I read it while I was flying to another state to assist some of my children and grandchildren. I was so tickled to be asked to come since I always want to be appropriate support to my kids– but would it be right for me to go barging in telling them when they need me?

As I read the chapter on Mother Teresa, I kept feeling stinging tears because so much of her life is a direct parallel to most every mother I know, like you!

Three things in particular that crystallized in my mind during this reading.

When we serve our children we are serving God. Getting a picture of Mother Teresa who wanted to ‘do something beautiful for God’ going about collecting the dying, the children who had been abandoned, the uneducated, the sick and dying, the poor, is so simple, yet so stunning that it moves me in profound ways. But I ask you, how is changing the diaper of your baby or wiping a nose or bathing and soothing any child different from the holy activities of Mother Teresa and her helpers? I grant you that it can be easier in a way to care for our own, but comforting is comforting. Feeding is feeding. Listening and understanding and rocking and caring are Godly acts and no less holy in your home than on the streets of Calcutta.

But, sometimes we get off in our thinking and we get a bit proud and think that what we do isn’t as important as what others are doing. Or we may think that because we don’t get paid (Mother Teresa intentionally lived in poverty with the people she served) or thanked or praised, that somehow what we are doing day in and day out is drudgery and beneath our dignity.

Or we may get lopsided if we are waiting to hear that our efforts have pleased someone.

Serving God, which is exactly what we are doing when our motivations are true, doesn’t require us to please others. And you will save yourself much grief and heartache if you can do your best and not get pulled into a game of giving in order to receive the recognition and thanks. It doesn’t work that way.

Hopefully, those you serve will reciprocate your kindness and be appreciative, but when they don’t (because they may be clueless about what you are giving) remember your focus and whom you are truly serving.

Lastly, the life we have chosen as marriage companions and as parents creating families is not an easy one and requires all we have plus some. Prayer, as Mother Teresa knew, will ‘change the night to day’ as we are striving to fulfill our commitment to Christ and his doctrines to succor and lift and bless. Prayer is our life-line, our refuge and our strength. Please don’t try to lift and build by yourself! Ask for the divine help you need and watch the blessing flow. There is power waiting to be given, but in many instances that help is predicated upon our asking, just as my children reached out to me and asked for the support that I am over-joyed to give!

Of course there are stark differences between being a nun or a service missionary versus being a parent and a spouse. A lot! But in this one point I think we can be secure: elevate your service and your motivations and you too will do something beautiful for God. Right at home.

Bless you!

Love,

Jacque

 

 

 

Life is Long

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I saw this blurb on the cover of a book I just read by Newberry award winning author Elizabeth George Speare. It reminded me again that life is a long time! She got an education, married, taught school, raised a family and THEN began her very successful writing career!

And, I have no doubt that her writing was enriched greatly by the living she did in between getting a degree, in her case degrees, and actually publishing her first novel.

Besides that, what a full later life she must have had with children and grandchildren to enjoy along with her literary successes!

So go ahead and rock those babies, listen to the things those little people want to tell you and be present and full of joy! There will be a lot more life coming down the track later on.

For now, I hope you can be where you are and be at peace. All too quickly your little ones will be grown.

Much love,

Jacque

Dare to Create

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Do you consider yourself the creative type?

As I may have mentioned before, I think creating is our birthright.

It seems that we can get off on this important topic when we think that creativity has to look a certain way. For instance, if it needed to involve mod podge (how does one spell that?) or pipe cleaners or plastic canvas, I wouldn’t consider myself creative.

But since creativity is boundless, I am, and you are!

Anything that you can explain by putting ‘creating’ in front of it, counts. Creating order. Creating peace. Creating connections. Creating relationships. Creating a book, or a lesson or a plan or an itinerary works.

How about creating a power point document or a letter or an invitation? Could be creating a party or a tradition or a class or a book club.

And of course we could create a paining or a piece of pottery or jewelry or an afghan or a musical composition!

I think I feel most alive when I am creating. I need to consider ways to be in that space more often! How about you?

I hope you are taking care of yourself. I hope you are breathing deeply and letting go of what you cannot change. I hope you are keeping things simple and not expecting yourself to be superhuman, just enjoying your work and your play, your family and friends. Know I’m cheering for you and praying for your success!

Love,

Jacque

 

Back to Breathing

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Ever wonder about the “how to” of meditation? Here’s a little tip I was given and it is a good one! I am loving the ability I am gaining to reconnect with myself when I need to whether that is in the middle of the night when reality is tipped and worries creep in or if it is just when I sense fatigue or stress.

If you have a smart phone, check out the app called “Headspace.”

It will guide you through learning to meditate in a very simple and straight forward way.

I am amazed at the difference it makes in how I feel after even just a few minutes of focus and relaxation.

{Maybe someday we’ll create a Lioness meditation series just for moms! would you like that?}

I highly recommend taking a few minutes, when your children are in a safe and supported environment, to learn this art. The dividends are big.

Love you!

Jacque

P.S. The times when I have been most harried in my life have been the times I didn’t know how harried I was! During highly stressful moments, weeks or years, we can become so unaware of our bodies and our interior selves that we lose touch. And that isn’t a great place to be. Not only does it keep you from living in the present, but that translates into not having a past to look back on and enjoy. We have to learn to be present– not running away to some corner of ourselves– in order to connect with others, to learn, to experience, to teach and to progress. If you know what I’m talking about, meditation is for you. Three to ten minutes a day will be a life-changing, future-shifting Godsend to you!

The Cat

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My dad has a saying, one of many, that he offers to me whenever I am wondering if a big job is ever going to be over or if I am just generally being impatient!

He says, “It’s just like a cat eating a grindstone.”

Kind of a good visual, huh?

So much of what we do everyday in a family is an investment into something so big, it’s cosmic, but we don’t often see the progress we’re making. The outcome of the accumulation of years of work doesn’t seem to be profoundly visible until later, like when a milestone is hit! That’s why moms often cry at graduations and recitals and weddings and maybe even at the sight of a good report card! There are thousands of days, countless hours and many internal battles fought and won, put into creating those moments! They are a very big deal!

Just wanted to remind you that all of the little things you did today are adding up to greatness, growth, gifts and gratitude! This work you are doing will yield blessings and joys that can only be imagined by those who haven’t yet had the opportunity to work as a family builder.

Keep your chin up! You may not feel like it, but you are moving the world, and profoundly making it better, every single day. In fact, you are the world to those little people who need you.

Sending you love and kudos for another day invested well!

Jacque