Violeta and Our Kids

In the words of her sister, “Violeta has cancer in her blood”.  Only six years old and a beautiful little girl, these events remind me again that He is God and I am not, as it doesn’t make sense to me.  Still we trust in the Lord and do all we can to help.  (See the Litany of Trust from two weeks ago if you need help there.)

We are praying for Violeta.  Several things have converged together as we learned of Violeta’s illness:

  • Cece, who assists in our school, suggested we pray to St. Jacinta. (Cece’s suggestion reminds me of the young girl in the story of Naaman the leper who suggests the army general go to the prophet in Samaria to be healed.  (2 Kings 5: 1-13)  I love it when the little among us have great ideas on which we take action.)
  • Jacinta is one of the three children of Fatima. She along with her brother Francisco will be canonized in a few weeks on May 13, the 100th anniversary of Our Lady’s appearance in Fatima.
  • Jacinta was a six year old girl who was ill, much like Violeta.
  • Jacinta was Portuguese, Violeta is Hispanic; they even look a bit alike!
  • And the clincher for me, which came after the other realizations……Violeta’s last name is Jacinto!

And so we pray often.  Each day at the closing announcements we pray, “For Violeta, St. Jacinta, Intercede for her,” three times.  The children are also praying in their families and classrooms, as are the faculty and many adults.

Helping is taking the form of prayer and action.  The Student Council members are getting white bracelets with orange lettering, the colors of Leukemia Awareness.  They will say, “Team Violeta” on one side and “St. Jacinta, Intercede for her!” on the other. They are teaming up with the Rosary Makers for a package deal, or will also offer an ala carte option, I would imagine.

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The Rosary Makers have gone mad; mad as in making rosaries like crazy and marketing them for the cause, even faster than they can make them.  Taking orders for specific colors has allowed them to manage the flow.  The girls who channeled the rosary-making efforts in the sixth grade toward helping Violeta are clearly evidencing the feminine genius in their desire to help, as well as organizing the project and carrying it through.  Sister Mary Guadalupe hardly knew what she was starting when a few months ago she offered to teach anyone who wanted to learn how to tie the knots.

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After the children launched the rosary-making for Violeta, and Sister was placing yet another order for rosary rope, we wondered if the twine makers might be willing to join in the work of charity.  Sister sent the following email:

Praised be Christ our King! What high quality twine and beautiful colors you provide for our rosary making!  A few of us, Sisters, have been making rosaries for several years, and your company has become the “go to” place for the best materials.  This year I taught my 6th grade students to make the knotted rope rosaries and many (about 40 out of 61) have become rather proficient making them. Since January, I have placed 2 orders for 10 spools of twine and many of my students have ordered on their own as well. We run out quickly each time. This morning two of my students had an inspiration that they would like to help one of our kindergartners (who was diagnosed with leukemia last week) and her family by selling some of the rosaries that they have made (and will make) as a fundraiser. They also want to make rosaries for children in the missions through the Holy Father’s Missionary Childhood Association. Would you consider assisting with this project by donating some twine or giving us a discounted price, or maybe even free shipping? We would be grateful for any assistance that you would be able to give and are grateful for the resources you provide to spread the kingdom of God through the rosary.  Recently I had to limit the children to taking only one rope to tie at a time, as they have become rosary-making maniacs.  The troubles we have some days are not what one might think!  Thank you and God bless you!

In His Love,

Sister Mary Guadalupe

The response of Twine By Design:

Good Afternoon Sister Mary.  After explaining your needs to our President of Twine By Design, he would like to make a donation of the twine.  Please email us your order instead of going through the website.  It is so wonderful that your students are interested in doing this as a fund raiser to help the other student and their family.  I am so sorry the youngster is ill.  I could not imagine having to go through that at all.

Thank you and God Bless,

Twine By Design Customer Service

 

Then a little later they added:

Hi Sister Mary, I wanted to also maybe make a suggestion, I don’t know which colors you were interested in, but we do have the option of making some or all of them the Leukemia Awareness colors (orange and white).  We were not sure how much you were looking at having donated, but we can mix and match if you want certain colors that are on our website and if you wanted the Leukemia Awareness colors we would be willing to make you some of that as well.  Please let us know exactly what you would like and we will get it together for you.

Thank you again,

Twine By Design Customer Service

What a beautiful response from the company!  That’s http://twinebydesign.blogspot.com/  if you want to support them, a good number of our kids are launching off on making their own rosaries.

Thank you for your prayers for Violeta.  She is doing considerably better and is in the midst of a four-week round of chemotherapy in Omaha at Children’s Hospital.  If you’d like a rosary or to contribute to a fund for Violeta email to office@stpeterslincoln.com. or send a note to school.

For Violeta, St. Jacinta, Intercede for her.

St. Jacinta, Intercede for her.

St. Jacinta, Intercede for her.

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Our Lady’s Rosary Makers – Not What You Think

IMG_4401Sixth graders are on fire.  They have made hundreds of cord rosaries and it appears we are still early in the process.  Eighth grade Giana Girls are also engaging in the process.  Even some fourth graders have gotten involved.  Sister Mary Guadalupe is the main instigator, and she is willing to teach a new Rosary Devotee how to tie a knot any chance she gets.

This week a small group of sixth graders came to me with a charitable request.  IMG_4397One of our kindergartners has recently been diagnosed with leukemia.  The girls, some of whom have very close associations with leukemia in their own families, wanted to help that kindergartner and her family.  They’d like to market their rosaries for her.  I love how their hearts that are making the connection that we could do this to help another.  The boys will be helping, too, but this core group has a good dose of the feminine genius that we will fan into flame.  They have the green light from me to proceed with their plan.  They have a strategy for posters as well as a time and place to engage not only the school community, but also our parish and a couple other parishes.  Some have also begun to reach out to their family members.  The leadership ability of these young people is growing, as is their charity to those in need.

IMG_4402We have been communicating with the cord manufacturers to see if they, too, would like to contribute to our cause.  I’m wondering who they think is on the other end of the communique.  Sisters in their 80s are a grace for the Church (someday I hope to be one), but that is not the “Rosary Makers” of today, here at our school!

Just yesterday a few eighth graders proposed a project to promote solidarity and prayer for the same intention…more on that next week.  In the meantime, join us in prayer for that little one and her family.  Many of our children have “tied one on” literally.  May they tie Rosary knots for charity and the good of the Mystical Body with regularity throughout their lives.

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Only a Good Friend Tells Me There is Breakfast on My Face

A while back a few of the little people in my life were visiting with me after lunch.  I had some fragment of lunch on my habit.  One of the little ones said, “Sister you have something on your……on your……..on your altar.”  How do you not laugh at their comments! We all need a little chuckle especially during Lent.

In Baptism each of us is given a share in the priesthood of Jesus Christ.  My altar is the desk of my office, my pew in chapel, the dining room table, the kitchen, the garden.  From each of these I offer to the Lord a sacrifice of love.  Some are so easy to give, even a joy to give, others, well, not so much a joy, but probably even more meritorious to give.

If I had a child, or better yet children, in diapers, I would put a crucifix over the changing table.  Just high enough that the little one wouldn’t be able to reach it at the maximum size for that changing table.  That would be my place of sanctity, the best place to offer to God a sacrifice of love.  (I have yet to run into anyone who says, “I just love changing a good dirty diaper!”)  As a former student of mine who now has seven children said to me just this week,  “I’m counting on God’s grace for all the little things I do to keep our home running.  I couldn’t do them without Him, and I wouldn’t do them all if it weren’t for Him.”  That’s a woman becoming holy.  God be praised.  May we all be among the faithful becoming a bit more holy.  Where is your altar of sacrifice?

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Hey, what are you doing in my soul?

On rare occurrences, a phrase strikes me as so true that it seems like it flowed  right out of my soul, or straight from God’s heart to mine, where it fits like home.  The Litany of Trust has more than just a few such lines.  We, as CKs, used the litany of trust as the novena prayer for our recent retreat for young women discerning important life matters.

For me, each of the lines is cause for a long meditation. As it is Lent, if the Litany does the same for you, I wonder if there is a place for it in your Lenten practices too.

LITANY OF TRUST

From the belief that I have to earn Your love,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the fear that I am unlovable,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the false security that I have what it takes,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the fear that trusting You will leave me more destitute,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From all suspicion of Your words and promises,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the rebellion against childlike dependency on You,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From refusals and reluctances in accepting Your Will,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From anxiety about the future,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From resentment, or excessive preoccupation with the past,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From restless self-seeking of the present moment,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From disbelief in Your love and presence in the midst of suffering and trial,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the fear of being asked to give more than I have,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the belief that my life has no meaning or worth,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the fear of what love demands,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

From discouragement,

Deliver me, Jesus.

 

 That You are continually holding me, sustaining me, loving me,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That Your love goes deeper than my sins and failings, and transforms me,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That not knowing what tomorrow brings is an invitation to lean on You,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That you are with me in my suffering,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That my sufferings, united to Your own, will bear fruit in this life and the next,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That You will not leave me orphan, that You are present in Your Church,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That Your plan is better than anything else,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That You always hear me and, in Your goodness, always respond to me,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That You provide the grace to forgive myself and others,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That You give me all the strength I need for what is asked,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That my life is a gift,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That You will teach me to trust You,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That You are my Lord and my God,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

That I am Your beloved one,

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Sister Faustina Maria, SV

I have worked with Sister Faustina Maria on a few occasions.  She is not a Saint from long ago, but a young Sister filled with life in the Sisters of Life in New York City.  God bless her, clearly this Litany is the fruit of prayer!  Thank you for your willingness to share the fruit of prayer, Sister.  It seems appropriate to close with the Church’s symbol for trust and hope, the ANCHOR.  It helps us stay firmly grounded amidst the storms of life.

anchr

Blessed Lent to you all!

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Is my child resilient?

Has your child ever been unsuccessful at something? Maybe he or she got a bad grade, or struck out at a ball game. Maybe an older sibling got to a higher level on a video game. Setbacks, even little ones, are a part of everyday life. But have you noticed how your child handles these?

A lot of research for more than 20 years has been devoted to a quality called resilience. Here’s a formal definition:
Resilience is a person’s capability to cope and thrive in the face of adversity, to recover from difficult situations and adapt to stressors.

Take Jim and John for example. Both boys are twins in the same class who did poorly on a math test. Both are disappointed. Jim responds by asking the teacher for help to understand the problems he did wrong and studying more for his next test. John responds by sulking and putting himself down, “I’m terrible at math.” He messes around in math class and doesn’t get his homework done. He doesn’t study for the next math test because he figures he’ll just fail again. So what makes the difference for these two boys? They are in the same family environment and have the same teacher. The answer is their degree of resilience.161.JPG

Back in 1962, Albert Ellis proposed an ABC model to explain how resilience (or its lack) works. This model became the foundation for resilience research. In a nutshell, here is the model:

• A is the adversity—the situation or event.
• B is our belief—our explanation about why the situation happened.
• C is the consequence—the feelings and behaviors that our belief causes.

We can’t change the A (adversity), but we can change B (what we think/believe) about the adversity. The C (consequence) then follows upon our thoughts/beliefs. Jim believed he could still do the math but that he just needed more help. This led to the consequence of getting help from the teacher and studying more. John believed he was bad at math, period. This led to the consequence of messing around in class and not studying. The key to the boys’ response was where their beliefs led them.

This is also the entry point for our Faith. The core belief that we are God’s beloved children is the foundation of our identity. Whenever you can remind your children that they are loved by God and that nothing, absolutely nothing will change His love, this belief can provide them with the confidence they need to face adversities in their lives. Perhaps, we need to remember this truth ourselves. When we know God’s love for us, we can then model that love to our children. May this Lent be a time for all of us to deepen in our truest identity as beloved sons and daughters of the Father!

For more information on resilience, check out these sites:
Video illustrating ABCs of resilience: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hp_tZr4qJp8
PDF outlining the ABC model: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~eap/abcstress2.pdf
25 Ideas For How You Can Teach Your Kids Resilience: http://www.momentsaday.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/25-Ideas-For-How-You-Can-Teach-Your-Kids-Resilience.pdf

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I (Hate, strikethrough)Love (stikethrough) Need Lent!

I Hate Love Need Lent!  (We have CLEAR ashes this year! Picture examples are sprinkled below.)

God knows me well.  My fickle spirit needs a regular resetting, a regular reminder to cooperate with His grace and strive toward the goodness toward which God calls, a restoration of at least a little discipline in life.  Oh how I need it!  It is so bad, I’m feeling really good about it….so far I’ve kept my Lenten resolutions well and….. it’s just about noon, 1/80th of the way to Easter.

At least I have a positive start.  I’m not below claiming that, so it’s onward and upward, please God!  A friend of Father’s just shared a list of possible Lenten resolutions.  I found them interesting; hope you do, too.  They come from daily family life:

 

 

 

your cellphone (or, texting, shopping online, Face-book, etc. online)

  • television or your favorite television show
  • television before a certain hour
  • television AFTER a certain hour
  • coffee (yes, coffee)
  • caffeine in any form
  • diet soda
  • donuts
  • hamburgers
  • pizza (yes, pizza)
  • chocolate
  • anything with chocolate flavor
  • all snacks or desserts
  • movies, Netflix, movie rentals
  • the Internet
  • March Madness
  • following your favorite sports team
  • video games
  • celebrity magazines
  • golf (an objectively grave moral evil) (only kidding)
  • booze (yes, booze)
  • watching golf on TV
  • a destructive, irresistible “friendship”
  • doubt that some very small goodness matters, it does!
  • foul language
  • picking your nose
  • not grooming properly
  • sports radio
  • satellite radio
  • music radio
  • talk radio

  • restaurants
  • eating lunch outside of work
  • driving when you could walk
  • sleeping in late on the weekends
  • hitting the Snooze Button in the morning
  • fast food drive-throughs
  • shopping for clothes or food
  • soap operas
  • working on cars
  • working in your shop
  • chess
  • fishing, hunting, four-wheeling, skateboarding

  • some of your “alone” time doing any hobby
  • your absolute favorite, passionate hobby (aha, you just fainted!)
  • nagging your husband (you know who you are)
  • criticizing your wife (she knows who you are)
  • interrupting others
  • knitting, crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, sudoku
  • knitting? (you addicts understand)
  • cigarettes
  • cigars, gum, and “phony candy” breath mints
  • cookies

  • chips
  • cellphone calls in your car on the drive home
  • Bluetooth headset (more difficult than you think)
  • fantasy football, basketball, or baseball
  • ice cream
  • betting on March Madness
  • gossiping at work—say something nice instead
  • stealing “little stuff” from your employer, including time online
  • relations with your spouse (on certain days or weeks)
  • thinking about yourself when you wake up or go to sleep (pray instead)
  • thinking about yourself when you drive (pray instead)
  • buying anything you don’t need

Or stated the other way you could add:

  • cooking breakfast for your kids
  • stopping by your neighbors to say hello for weeks
  • smiling when you arrive at the office
  • eating your vegetables (even you adults)
  • exercise
  • visit or call your “not close by” relatives

God bless and guide you in your Lenten practices as well as those of your family!

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“OK Google, show me ___________.”

OK Google is a function on mobile devices that is voice activated and does what you ask as much as it is able (Siri and Alexa have similarities).  Some small children have used it to learn about things they wonder about.  Some of the things they wonder about are age-appropriate and morally appropriate.  Other things are typical for their developmental stage, but a mobile device is not the place to learn about such things.

The following scenario is real, but reported anonymously here……Some kids last week were talking about what they were going to ask OK Google to show them.  The content was not appropriate.  Thanks be to God, perceptive adults had their ears open and the kids did not actually do what they spoke about.  One of them said, “My parents don’t have OK Google, but my uncle’s friend does.”  Many of us think our kids are safe because we have internet filters on our devices.  Such care is wise essential , but it can’t let our vigilance take a vacation thinking the job is done.  Many a child is exposed to inappropriate content at a friend or neighbor’s house.

Do you have a ready response for when your child tells you he/she stumbled upon pornography?  The question is not if children will see something inappropriate, but when, and what will they do?  We work to keep them from such evils that attack and destroy innocence, but open dialogues that enable them to talk to you when the preventative measures fail are essential if we are to help guide the children through the culture in which we live.

Literature that can lead you through dialogues with your child is of great assistance to some.  Matt and Jen Davis, parents of eight children, came to an SFA meeting last year and presented about a book called “Good Pictures, Bad Pictures.”  It is recommended for children aged 3-7.  It is available here with a 2-min. video of a parent sharing about the book:  https://www.amazon.com/Kristen-A.-Jenson-M.A./e/B00J0MGITQ  The following short podcast is a recent interview with Matt and Jennifer Davis about using the book:  http://www.lincolndiocese.org/catechist-resources/christ-our-teacher-podcasts

You may have a ready response for your child when they stumble upon something; planning is so wise.  A proper response is key to keeping children from shame and tendencies to return to the inappropriate material.  Father Kilcawley’s presentation at Integrity Restored helps parents know how to respond.  Father was here for the October SFA meeting with exceptional information.  The website has similar information and we hope to have Father back again.  See http://integrityrestored.com/getting-help/parents/.

May the Good Lord help us to shine His light into dark places.  Remember He can use ALL things for good if we place them in His hands.  We are His children and He is with us.  We are not orphans, but beloved children of Our Father.  Let us call upon Him for help as often as we need it, which for me is pretty much constantly.  He is a Faithful Father, who sends His help.

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