Discovering Important Things About Yourself

All my life I thought if I could have an office space away from noise and distractions that my writing would take off. I had NO idea how wrong I was about myself! Hubby, God bless him, obligingly cleared a place upstairs over his workshop for a nice little office with a pretty view from the window. It took him a whole day to get that space cleared of his stuff and set up with my desk and book cases and other favorite things. I liked it up there. Quiet. Nice view. Rug I liked. Books. No distractions.  But I … Continue reading

Sewing Skirts: Preparation

Sewing my own clothing is a goal of mine. I feel that it is part of my personal vocation and thus essential as an aspect of seeking God and seeking sanctity in this life.  Quicksilver to Gold is about this journey, this path of discovery in which I figure out what activities are meant to be included in my plan of life.  Sewing is one of those activities I feel strongly is important for ME.  It may not be something that belongs in your plan of life, but it does belong in mine. Skirts are an easy sewing project.  Some … Continue reading

Creating a Routine

MAKING A ROUTINE If you want to create a routine that can move quickly and get a lot done in an hour or so, you could make a list of those actions you want finished in the period of time for which you are creating a routine. In my case my first routine is: Coffee, bottle, pets… Take your list and break each into steps: “water into microwave”– “bottle into water”– “feed bottle”;  “Start Coffee Pot”– “Put Cup back through grounds”– “drink cup of coffee”; let dogs out–check water–fill water–rinse dish….  Each tiny thing.  Be sure to include things you … Continue reading

The Value of Routine

Summer days start out early, the sun shines brightly through the skylight and I wake with the dawn.  Today, I woke at 6:00. MORNING OFFERING I attempt to remember to greet the day with a brief prayer asking God to accept my efforts this day and asking for His aid in doing my work well.  This is the ideal, this sometimes even happens!  Other days, sadly all too often, my morning offering is made well after I begin my day.  Still, I keep reaching for that ideal I have of waking and dedicating every day to God even before my … Continue reading

Discerning a Vocation

God desires our highest good and so He gives each of us a vocation to bring us closer to Him. God makes use of common things to communicate to us about our vocations. We pray for discernment and then look around at the evidence of God’s will for us that already exists. Why do we do this? Because most of the time the information about our own particular, unique vocation is already available to us but we aren’t looking properly and miss it. MY VOCATION I have discerned my vocation, prayed, evaluated my life, and practiced detachment to let go … Continue reading

Lay Vocation

What is a Lay Vocation? A vocation is the work a lay person does for God and includes everything that person does in this life. Every vocation is as unique as the person to whom that vocation belongs.  Each of us has a special call, a special vocation, and it will be made up of many elements unique to us and is designed to help us become saints.  A Lay person is any person who has not received Holy Orders (anyone not a deacon, priest or bishop). What are the elements that make up a vocation?  Every single activity in … Continue reading

Lay Person, Christian, Saint…say what?

What is a Lay Person? I’m Baptized Christian, specifically a Catholic Christian, and as I am not a priest that means I am a LAY PERSON. Even monks, friars, sisters and nuns are LAY PEOPLE, unless the monk or friar is also a priest.  A Lay person is any baptized Christian who has not received Holy Orders.  That is pretty much every Christian out there.  We are all called to be Saints. What does it mean to be a Christian and to become a saint? To be a Christian is nothing less than turning our lives around and living the … Continue reading

Wednesday Blogging and Laundry

A plan of life includes time for every essential, or it should do so.  Blogging is something I do for many reasons.  To share about my journey, my midlife transitions, and moving into my personal vocation in a new way are all reasons why I chose to blog. It requires learning to use new technologies better.  I’d jumped into the internet reluctantly. No, lets be honest, 20 years ago I was dragged kicking and screaming into the internet age and discovered I enjoyed Compuserve.  Later, when Compuserve was bought out and began to change in ways many of us old … Continue reading

A Plan Of Life: a review

A Plan of Life by Joseph M. Muntadas, Scepter Publishers, 1997

This is a free booklet that can be downloaded from Scepter Publishers as a PDF.

Everyone seeking balance in their lives comes inevitably to the question of “how do I organize my life to bring about balance?”  This booklet has some considerations for creating a balanced life including moments to place some needed focus on God.

To include God in one’s life, not just on Sundays or the occasional moments of panic when we turn to Him for help but to actually make one’s FAITH an element of one’s entire day is certainly easier dreamed about than done.  Mr Muntadas gives a simple plan, one that a busy mother or career woman can adapt to the daily schedule of activities.  This is what attracted me.

I’ve spent years attempting to keep my faith central to my life and most of that time I must say I failed more often than I succeeded.  I’ve tried a lot of different options.  Reading the Rule of St. Benedict every day I tried to figure out how to apply that beautiful way of living to my housewife, grad student, mom life.  Ever tried managing kids, meals, kid activity schedules, laundry, housecleaning, study and praying the Liturgy of the Hours?  It made me stressed out worse than not praying.

So I looked about and found a wonderful Lay Carmelite chapter.  The Rule of St. Albert is much easier to manage and the instruction for a Lay Carmelite takes into consideration the demands of our station in life, but again, even just managing morning and evening offices of the Liturgy of the Hours gave me fits.  It was too monastic and in my family it simply did not work.   A busy mom is not usually going to be able to apply a rule designed for hermits, monks or nuns to her secular life.

I tried, by using the book A Mom’s Rule of Life to create my own rule of life so that God would be incorporated into my day.  This too fell flat.  No two days in my life are enough alike to create a rule that works.

Yesterday, while purchasing a couple of copies of the book our women’s reading group will be doing, I browsed some free downloads from Scepter.  This was the first one I printed out.  This one has a plan of life that is flexible enough for a mom with a household to run, work to do, kids to teach, and the entire busy array to manage.

In the morning, first thing, the moment your eyes open, you make a morning offering.  What this means is that as you are struggling to sit up in bed and get up quick enough to get some clothing on before a kid screams and you must go rushing into mommy mode– you, in your own words, tell God good morning and dedicate the work of your day to Him.  I discovered that I can do this before I finish getting my feet into slippers.

The second thing is equally easy: Mental prayer.  Mental prayer is when you take a moment to go over what is happening in your day and tell God about it.  The ideal seems to be to swing 15 minutes in the morning and again 15 minutes in the afternoon.  Some women have told me they do their prayer over their morning coffee.  This author suggests using a bit of scripture to get your started if you need help.  I just tell Him all about the worries and schedule conflicts and everything.  It does help me to get perspective.  It is also unscheduled, so anytime I get a breather before Lunch is good.

This author’s third point is about managing to get to Daily Mass.  I WISH.  I know people who can do this, but they live nearer to Church.  My schedule is not totally my own to create and my husband likes our time to be in the evening, so making the 7AM Mass is not happening here, and as he likes the evenings as a family, that puts the 6PM mass out too.  Luckily, there is a 12:15 Mass twice a week and today I arrived just a bit early.  My entire list of errands was done on the way home afterwards.  I need to find a mid-morning Mass I can attend on days I am in town, but every day is not likely to be possible.

The next point, Spiritual Reading, will be familiar to most people.  Taking some time to read a part of the gospels and a bit of other Scripture is spiritually uplifting.  This author suggests reading the same passage over and over again to gain new or more complete insights into the passage.  This is very similar to what the Lay Carmelites meant when they said to practice Lectio Divina.  In either case, one reads a scripture passage and prays silently about it, then reads it again, repeating the pattern several times and giving the Holy Spirit your attention so that you can learn to understand and live the scriptures more deeply.

This next point, much like Daily Mass, is going to be easier for those who live in town and near the Church.  The author recommends dropping into the Church briefly to pray before the Tabernacle where the Blessed Sacrament is kept.  This is a wonderful spiritual practice and when I worked at a place just a few blocks from a Church with Perpetual Adoration I would stop in a pray after work.  The practice left me feeling energized and more able to be present to my children in the evenings.

Devotion to Mary is next.  We are mothers, our Lady was a mother. We work to maintain a home, our Lady worked to maintain a home. We can take Mary as our example. Her focus was on God both in her faith practices as a Jew and in her vocation as the mother of God in the person of her son Jesus. How might we be different as mothers if we are thinking about her? This author recommends the Rosary, a beautiful scriptural prayer in which we walk through the gospels thinking about each scene from the point of view of Mary. Another Marian devotion is the Angelus, a lovely prayer whose words are taken almost verbatim from the gospel account of the visit of the Angel to Mary and the response of Elizabeth when Mary visited her before the birth of John the Baptist. The Angelus is brief and prayed at noon.

Before bed the plan of life includes a brief period of thinking over the day and examining one’s conscience to evaluate if one met one’s goals for the day.  In what ways did I fail to live up to Christ today?  How might have I handled those situations differently? What is my intended game plan if I happen to find myself in that situation again? And asking God for His mercy and forgiveness.

The examination of conscience leads into the practice of frequent confession.  This sacrament fulfills the scriptural obligation to “confess to one another” in a gossip free manner. The priest is not going to blab and serious sin requires that one fulfill the commandment to confess to one another in order to be forgiven serious sin.  How often one avails oneself of this sacrament varies but the advice I recently received was weekly, previous advice urged monthly.  For me, I think weekly is probably a good idea, but monthly is likely good for nearly anyone.

Lastly, the author writes on certain small things that enable us to keep God in mind all day.  Just as a mother is always tuned to sounds from her child, so we might practice the presence of God in the same manner; contemplating our divine filiation which means contemplating that we are children of God, will also influence how we act throughout our day. We can give our Work to God and we can work cheerfully.  These help us to keep God in the plan for the day.

The great thing is most of these elements in this author’s Plan of Life can be done in our minds, while on the run, or while waiting in the car, or in that ten minutes we get to enjoy a cup of coffee before the next major push to get everything in the day done.  It is flexible and yet still effective.

I recommend you take a jaunt over to Scepter Publishers, click on Scepter Booklets and download the PDF of A Plan of Life. It is free and his version is better written and more complete than mine here.  Enjoy!



The Yearly Retreat

Tomorrow is the day I go on retreat. Once a year it is good to get away for a couple of days and take the time to think about where life is going and if changes are needed.   I’ve not done this exact type of retreat before, one that is directed and intended for spiritual growth.  In the past, I have attended various conferences, taken a room by myself and taken time between events and in the evenings to do my thinking and praying about the direction of my life.  Done this way even a conference without any religious component … Continue reading