Thursday, April 24, 2014

Miss Belle Turns 4!

Dear Miss Belle,
About a week ago you turned 4. Your birthdays always bring so many thoughts to my mind, because no matter how old you turn I can only ever think, "she's always just been Belle." Even when you were a small baby, you were still so strongly yourself, that you didn't seem much like a baby at all.

 Even though we grow to know you more every day, you have always made yourself so well known and your personality shine right through you, that it seems that you have been you forever. You are unwavering and have always known who you are from the minute you were born. You are Annabelle, a child of God first. You are James' sister, Mommy and Daddy's sweetheart, BooBoo's only weakness, Mimi's heart melt and the girl that makes Juliana cry every time you look at her. 

You are the girl who never says what she doesn't mean and never does anything she doesn't want to. You are unfailing in your kindness to others. You will be the first to give a helping hand and gladly take the last place in a line if it makes someone else happy. You are surprisingly the shy girl in a crowd of unknown people, but will give your whole self to the people you know and love. You will venture out on any adventure presented to you as long as you have your brother at your side. Your brother is your best friend and the person you are always fighting with. I don't always understand it, but I know you love him with everything in you. 

You are the girl running around dressed like a queen, because a princess just isn't good enough. You twirl your dresses, brush your hair, play make up, wrestle and get completely dirty all in one day. You laugh hysterically at "potty" jokes with your brother and think pre-school is just about the best thing on this side of heaven.

 You delight in pleasing mommy and daddy and will go great lengths to be a good little helper and earn a "marble". You throw fits occasionally when you don't get to wear an outfit you love and pride yourself very much on your strong and impressive independence in doing things. You value the ideal almost to a fault. If anyone, anywhere is doing something you know to be wrong, you shout it at the rooftops and often say a prayer for that person. You are never tired of giving hugs and kisses and tell me freely everyday how much you love me. 

I have loved every minute of watching you grow into the young lady you are becoming.  Though I will morn the loss of your "baby" years, watching you form into the sweet person we always knew was inside of you is one of the greatest joys in my life. I am truly undeserving to be your mother and hope that you can always forgive me in my shortfalls throughout your life. I love you Miss Belle. Happy 4th Birthday! 


Monday, April 14, 2014


The days are good in my home, but it seems in many of my friends homes, that life is falling apart. There is no doubt in my mind that Satan is very hungry for one thing right now: families. Your family. My family. Some people I know are going through some very very hard times. Harder than I could ever imagine because, to be honest, my life is pretty perfect. It may not always be this way, but that's not today.

This morning while doing dishes I was praying for all these people, one by one, my friends that are each hurting so bad in so many different ways. I was thinking about how much humility it takes to be a Christian. Many of us go to Mass on Sunday, proclaim we love Christ, but can't manage to be kind or loving to the people nearest us. We can sit and pray and read the Bible, but when given an opportunity for humility, to let ourselves be pressed beneath our cross like Christ, we cry out in pride that it's just not fair; that we deserve better. That if X, Y and Z would just change, our lives would be perfect. I was meditating on how if we all lived like we were supposed to, the world would be a different place. As St. Theresa puts it, "When we are who we are called to be, we will set the world ablaze".

Then I started thinking about salt. "You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless". (Matthew 5:13)

Too call something too salty is an insult. It's a ruined dish when all one can taste is the salt of it. On the other hand, if there is no salt in a dish, it is considered bland and without flavor. Salt is never the spice anyone comments on in a dish, but is the main ingredient needed to pull all flavors together. It is the necessary ingredient that never gets noticed. Salt is humble. I think we Christians have a spice problem right now. Either we are too salty and overpower the souls of this world by yelling in their face about all that is wrong, or we have lost our flavor all together and lie in our lukewarmness, too scared to be who we were created to be. To be salt takes a lot of humility.

Christ never states that we should seek comfort in this world; that we should make sure we are being treated right by others and getting just recognition for our good works. He never promises happiness in this life. Instead Christ calls us to take up our cross and follow Him; to forget ourselves, to treat others the way we want to be treated not the way we will be treated. If we spend even one moment contemplating the Passion of our Lord, all of life's questions seemed to be answered. We will know instantly how hard it is to truly be Christlike. Not just on Sundays, but in every day to every person we meet, and most importantly to our family. How many of us can get along with everyone around us, but struggle to practice our Christ-likeness to the most special and important people God has placed in our lives? It's me everyday. I proclaim Hallelujah on Sunday and yell at my children on Monday morning. I tell Jesus I want to follow Him and become a saint, but fail to stand up for my faith to an unbeliever. I ask for the virtue of humility, but when given the opportunity to practice it, decide it's easier to "stand up for myself" and make sure I get the recognition that is "due" to me for the work I do. I fall. But our loving God has shown us through his Passion how to get up. In humility, without grumbling and complaining and looking on to the task ahead.

This holy week I pray to be more salt-like. To serve without expecting anything in return. To be the unnoticed one who brings out the best in others and shines the light of Christ through her.