Monday, May 25, 2015

Five+ on Monday...the "other" edition

Yes, it's Monday. I'm dragging. Sorry.

1. Worship Aids

Lately we've had a lot of opportunities to practice putting "other" before ourselves. Personally, I love this and take any chance possible to teach the little people how important it is to sacrifice one's time to help someone else; to put others' needs first. One of the most fun recently is the worship aids at church. They are printed and every other week we have to count them out and put them on the chairs/pews. We've only done it twice but I can already see that it will become routine. What an easy way to help our great music director check one more thing off his schedule.

 The music elves

2. Anonymous Ministry

We were blessed this weekend to be able to help a friend with her usual ministry of taking flowers for the women at a post-abortive retreat. The little ones helped me "spot" some wildflowers (they were supposed to be non-professional bouquets) and put them together to be tied in a bunch. They turned out really well and I wasn't even arrested for cutting wild daisies off the property at Shop n This was one of the most God-touched encounters I've had in a while. I drove out to deliver them, put them where they belonged and walked to my car, completely without sight of or interaction with another human. I did spend some time in my car praying the the Blessed Mother would wrap these women, so fragile yet so brave to seek her Son's healing, in her mantle and help them find the grace to forgive themselves and move on. What an amazing lift to my day.

3. Helping Mama

My "baby" (who, as you know, is no a baby but a boy!) calls me "mama". I love that so much. I love it even more that the others have taken to calling me that on occasion as well. I do belong in the South.

While I was making my flower delivery, the little garden elves were preparing the soil, pulling weeds, and doing all the necessary things to prepare the garden for planting. When I arrived they were all most helpful in placing the plants and watering after they were planted. I love this time of gardening...great expectations!

 This year we tried Brussels sprouts and lots of herbs.

We also had to expand the plot area to meet demand (they love tomatoes)

4. Serving the Church

Happy Birthday to the Catholic Church! Yesterday was Pentecost Sunday, the day the Holy Spirit descended from Heaven. Praise to God for that gift of His continued presence among us.
I love the fire hats ;0)
Yesterday, during Mass, the new pastoral council was installed. It's exciting around here because both DH and my good friend ("godmama" to #4) discerned onto the council this time. It was nice to see some familiar faces in the group in addition to those two. I think the Holy Spirit did some good work. I pray the council can help the pastor do what is necessary to further strengthen our parish. I can only imagine the challenges society will present over the next six years.

It's exciting but it comes with the understanding that helping the pastor takes time and energy. There will be missed dinners and late nights. Still, we are all called to help in whatever way we are able and, at this time in our lives, this is a call that we as a family can accept. I am happy to know that DH will be serving the parish and I can take up the slack. Like a marriage, it only works when everyone does their part. 

5. Remembering our Loved Ones

One of my favorite things to do is go to the cemetery with DH and all the kids, say some prayers, explore some stones and, most of all, remember our family members who have gone before us. It is so important to me that our kids have a foundation. I want them to know from where they came so they can feel solid when moving forward. Part of that is remembering and honoring our dead.

We headed out Sunday afternoon...perfect day. We took the watering can but realized the other grave tenders had not yet planted any flowers (oops) so there was ample time to pray for and discuss all the grave flags and medals on our grave and all through the cemetery. It's good the little ones know about war and about the sacrifice men and women made long before their parents were keep the nation they loved free. Wow. Sometimes I wonder how many of this generation would be willing to do the same (then DH pipes up with "that's why they're called 'the Greatest Generation'") Indeed.
One day I will post the pictures of my sibs and I running down the same hill

This day was a bit different; in a good way. On our way back to the car one of the kids asked if they could go see the babies. The rest chimed in with robust agreement. G was asleep in the car so DH walked them up and I moved the car down to that section. 

I forget sometimes how uncluttered the mind of the little person can be. I know the warm weather brings to mind the memory of their sister and that memory brings to mind their brother and they really want to make that connection with the little ones who went on to heaven too soon for their liking. We spent time looking, praying, talking. It is heartbreaking to me to see how many little ones are there and yet many of them also have loved ones who are here, tending their graves and remembering. 
This says "Twin Sons" 1975. As always when we get bogged down in our own sadness, the Holy Spirit gently reminds us that we are so blessed and there are many others whose burden is greater. They never complain about praying when we are at the cemetery - for their relatives, "fresh" graves, or babies. I am pleased that they have learned this lesson young and I pray that they will keep it in their heart to remember often.

6. The Ultimate Gift to "Other" (worth an extra number)

We have been doing a lot of reading and talking about Memorial Day this past week. The older two are much more able to understand this year and even DH and I had some great talks. I remember being in Paris as a high school graduate and being taken to the underground tunnel where the Jews were loaded on boats during WW II. There was a long hallway that had one light for each person deported. I can't remember the exact number but it was a lot and I remember it almost thirty years later. (I just found it HERE . So powerful.) So many people affected during that and the other major wars. So much we have to give thanks all those who made sure our nation has remained free.
I suggested the kids get their markers and posters out and make some signs. It is essential that our gratitude be spoken, especially as we say goodbye to the few remaining soldiers from those great wars. We are grateful to all the men and women who have and who are or will serve in our Armed Forces. On this Memorial Day, our prayers and thanks are with those families who gave a loved one in the ultimate sacrifice. The debt can never be repaid. May God's blessings be upon you.

The response from the signs was sad and touching. Many of the parade marchers, even the firemen and police, told the kids "good job" or "thank you" and one Vietnam vet gave #2 a high five after he found out he had made the sign. It was sad because they seemed so surprised by the gesture. We need to do a better job of thanking our servicemen, active or retired, every time we see them. What an incredible gift they have given.

We are blessed.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful flowers for a beautiful ministry.

    I'm glad you have had more help in your garden from little people than I've had here. Granted, the top soil has had to come off, which I can't even do very well... but still :^)

    I miss that parade. You are blessed with front-row seats! Great signs, kids!

    Miss you.