His mission was clear...the hour is here...and the path to salvation appeared.
Here we are just finishing our third month in our new home of Lovettsville, and we’re starting to venture out a bit here and there. This adventure took a Dad and five kiddos on a walk down the backstreet where my mind went right into our Lenten lessons….
If you told my wife and I we’d be moving eleven times, escorting six kids through life, work our way through five miscarriages, enduring some long term illnesses, and I’d have an overall mediocre professional life twenty years ago we’d be surprised and overwhelmed. We had our plans, and we were going to follow them!
This Lent we listen and read lessons from our Good Catholic series created by the Catholic Company. The main focus is to help us understand God’s will, live in his will, find happiness in his will, and then endure the hardships of a fallen reality on the way to our final judgment. One key lesson they harp on again and again is our main sources of stress come from our personal choices to deviate from God’s will in our actions.
Outside of the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes, God’s will for my life is pretty hard to discern. I have no outstanding talents. I have far too much pride. I will never rise to the top of my daily profession. I have no idea how I will work my next profession….and all this leads to stress over “what is the right course of next actions.”
Thankfully Father had a reminding us (paraphrasing a bit): “ The past cannot be changed, the present is where we are now, and the future is not here yet. God gives us enough grace to survive the present, so stay in the present. Make each present decision in accordance with his instructions, and it will all work out in accordance with his will.”
So as I walked one of the little backstreets of our little remote Loudon County town, I just enjoyed the moment. My pains disappeared, the sky seemed a little nicer, the cold winds didn’t cause me to shiver, and I enjoyed the laughs of my children a little more. Somewhere out here, in what the world would call a backstreet, God’s will called and I listened to it.
I have to walk the backstreet a little more with an even better attuned ear.
Getting used to having dinner with the grandparents...wish both sets we're nearby! Kids and parents alike love it.
The last eighty-five days presented complete chaos to my family as we struggled to move quickly, sell a home, find a home…and tried to keep the kids lives somewhat normal. Believe it or not, they actually crave being able to do their schoolwork again.
We landed on a hill in Loudon County, Virginia. On arrival my wife and I decided to dedicate our time here to the Holy Family and their example of good living. It is fitting in every way.
Like Joseph I sweat through relocation, moving, getting the house ready, dealign with unexpected pests in the house….etc. We dealt with sick kids during the move in process. Nothing was easy, but through it all my wife held us true to our family values. She planned special events for kids, nurtured them when sick, reminded big kids to set up the Christmas tree while we found dishes…and made sure St. Nicholas would not miss the house last night in any way. Even today at mass with a rowdy three year old, it was Mom who kept reminding me to calm down and enjoy mass. She was my Mary keeping me in the hear and now, reminding me to focus on Christ in our midst at mass.
So in the first week of living on this hill, we already used their pious virtues to refocus us as a family team on what matters….Thanks be to God for their example. I think we made a good choice with dedicating this homestead to them…
Merry Christmas! Let the hope of Christ we feel today recommit us all to begging god for the gift of faith…and the Charity needed to be his hands on earth. Amen!
When visiting a steel, concrete, and otherwise "ah" location you need to keep your eyes wide open for incidental wonderfilled moments. A nominal alleyway may be the place you need to peek for a bit of color.
I heard much sad news, was stuck indoors, and saw the constant clouds out the window today. So I looked for a moment of solace. To find one I went into "view my memories mode"...and found a bit of color to share. It helped me think of the glory of God, and crack at smile to end the day.
The title suits my baby Big Girl. Took this after a hot day, late summer birthday party with her friends riding ponies. I swear you can see her independence, sweetness, and sass all in one shot.
Some people say a good portrait is supposed to let you see more than the image of a person...it is supposed capture the essence of the person. I can use some more practice, but this captures Kelley....
Time is in very short around here. It is a constant race against time to get up, feed, cloth, clean, teach, maintain, and then get back to bed before it starts all over again. It seems at least half of the eight of us are always out of sync with the others....Too often our weekends are merely Groundhog Days.
Well in the midst of all this I was able to take advantage of a wonderful opportunity provided by the Cherokee Gun Club. I was able to spend over four hours with the two big boys on the range learning safety, good habits, and showing them what a fun lifetime hobby looks like under the guidance of an incredibly patient guide and trainer from the club. Look them up, and if you have kids who want to learn the same...contact them. You will not regret it, in fact you'll be trying to schedule another visit! The boys will not let me forget to...and Momma liked the confidence the boys came home with.
The key to the day was the tutelage of Mr. Richard. You will not find a calmer and nicer man to enforce safety while displaying the joys of shooting. He listens, coaches, and keeps the focus of boys in a way I wish I could emulate. He made my job of being an extra safety and assistant coach a joyous one. In fact he made it easy for me to come home and say I helped my boys grow up a bit today. So I got as much a gift from today as they did.
One message I always find myself returning to in this blog is why my photography is important to me...and it so much relates to life. You have to find the good moments and appreciate them. Today was one of those good moments to be a Dad. Thanks God and the Cherokee Gun Club.
One thing I love about spring in our home in Georgia is the ever unfolding reminder of the march of time. All through the summer the blooming bushes and flowers will rotate with a beauty to remind me of how much greater His Glory will be in heaven. If you can find a loveliness like this here in a fallen world; imagine what beauty will await where perfection, justice and holiness prevails everywhere.
Happy Sunday! Enjoy some time with God today!
Today my wife and I had a Sunday afternoon date...to complete our Divine Mercy Novena and Sunday at our church. While I am still processing all the lessons from the last ten days, I rarely allow myself to miss a nice moment or two with the capture of a frame of electrons, ones and zeros. The image on the program matches the beauty of the Holy Hour... so I just had to share.
Jesus I Trust in You!
Just a few shots from going out and about with Kevin after dinner tonight. This boy may have a hard time concentrating on finishing his dinner, but he focuses pretty hard out here with his rod and reel.
Carry your cross today. The Saints remind us, the only way to heaven is through the cross. We must suffer, and learn to rejoice in that suffering. This is such a hard concept if we are of this world and not Christ's. (I struggle with this debate daily myself!) So let us not be like the masses and flee our Lord in his time of need. Let us take up our personal cross, and follow Christ in his way of the Cross.
PS Please pray for the boys...we start carrying our cross today at 1155, St Brigid to Regina Caeli, Academy.
St John Paul the Great says: "No one apart from God can give you true happiness." He calls us to follow the example of Mary, in complete unconditional "yes" with no compromise or laziness. "Humanity is in urgent need of the witness of free courageous people who dare go against the tide and proclaim with vigor and enthusiasm their personal faith in God, Lord and Savior." This mission is never easy...and is impossible if we rely on the power of man alone. He quotes Luke to remind us "What is impossible with men is possible with God."
I am starting to get "it" in the long line of repentant sinners knowing I just need to do what we should. Tonight I'll pray we can all embrace the power of the supernatural God to be what we are truly called to be in our eternal home.
(Quotes and Lesson courtesy of Lent and Easter, Wisdom from Pope John Paul II, Compiled by John V. Kruse and published by Liguori Publications page 54)
In the darkest of times...where people keep faith in God they will find hope he placed in our hearts by the same God to do the works of charitas needed to build a foothold of his kingdom on earth, and earn entrance to his kingdom in eternal life.
If we loose the faith...the darkest of times becomes a very dark eternity without hope, and a complete isolation of self from others and our creator.
Who is able to go through a pint of yogurt without blinking?
Who asks for second breakfast yogurt?
Who wants yogurt for lunch? Dinner? Dessert?
Just another crazy day with snow and ice in North Georgia. Dad got 15 minutes for photos and this is what I got!
The last two weeks were crazy: Long work days, family fighting off various rounds of the December virus, robotics competition, about two cords or more of fallen tree branches in the yard, family challenges that come with six kiddos, we lost a great American soldier I once was proud to call my own, trying to discern God's will for my family, and a dozen other crazy moments and challenges.
All this made me have a hard time focusing today. Very hard! All that stuff was running around in my head. Luckily I was able get a good rosary in at church, and then work on that yard doing physical labor for a few hours. In the rhythm of prayer and breaking down branches I centered myself for a while. So when Kalen and I came in from the rain, I was able to appreciate this one moment of two boys of mine playing.
In that moment of personal peace I was able to catch a photo of two boys secure in a warm house, loving each other, two boys who know they are loved by their parents, and safe from so much evil in the world...for just a moment. Now at the end of my day a friend lost his son-in-law in an accident, and I know I need to pray for him and his family. The sorrows and confusion of the world is back on. They, and so many others, need a moment of peace to begin to work towards healing.
I'll pray for all those who need their moment, because in my moment of peace I realized again how blessed I am. Blessings however cannot stay still, they must move on to help others. So I will do what I can in prayer tonight. I'll also pray someone who reads this, may just be inspired to join me in looking for moments of peace to share with the world.
This year, amidst the toil and agony of an angry world, we have a great deal to be thankful for. In our house we have a new life (Josiah Anthony), we have a good new roof over our heads, food in the kitchen, friends who pray for us, opportunities to worship God in our faith, educating our six children at home, and one child who stood before God and the whole church this year to declare she stands with God in the Catholic faith as an adult.
In many parts of the world personally choosing to do any of those actions would result in arrest, "re-education", torture, confiscation of goods, violence going to and from the store, and of course even death. I can see what I am thankful for, and I am not blind to hidden dangers of ideologies which put man's scientific law over God's Natural Law. I am not blind to how selfishness causes people to cross six lanes of traffic at 75mph almost killing six people because you cannot be bothered to fix a wrong turn on our own, stealing millions from companies for your "salary" rather than building it up with good wages and local investment, how elected leaders can bankrupt a country by creating funny money to buy votes, and the danger of growing totalitarian socialism groups brought on through professors across our college campuses, and lack of good faith formation in the domestic church.
I've seen evil face to face in my life. I know the dangers of the world those threats alone provide. I wish everyone could. Maybe we would appreciate what a gift we throw away through drug use, oversexualizing everything, infidelity, shutting down life in our families, following Marx and other false God's, or a lack of the Fear of God
So I am thankful today for the gift of a loving wife and six children who will grace our table. I am thankful for the extended family, and adopted Army/Church family I'm graced with throughout the world. In this country we can still I can breathe, think, and fight for justice. I am also thankful for the gift God gives us to make that fight, and suffer the pains which will come from it. Nothing good ever comes without suffering, and suffering for justice allows the blood of the lamb to mingle with ours. This can save at least a little part of creation in place in time. (Well at least the saints say so...)
So today I hope we can all pray for thanksgiving for all the good we received. Then looking at where we stand, as leaders of our domestic churches, commit our families to proclaim, "As for me and my house we stand with God." Joshua 24:15