faith treats

Faith or a Toddler Trick or Treating

I found this back in the archives from 5 WHOLE YEARS AGO- Can you believe it?? And as is the case with faith, it still applies, so ENJOY!

I realized something while trick-or-treating with my 2 year old daughter tonight. It had nothing to do with commercialism or obesity or any other strange, angry topic that the news would have, it was about faith.

I watched my daughter walk up to each and every house, and instead of saying “Trick or Treat” (we tried, oh how we tried), she simply opened her bag, presented it to the adult with the candy, and said “Thank you.” At first I was certain that this was a sign of entitlement, and how my daughter was simply demanding candy, but I realized after a few houses, that it was all about faith.

She didn’t care what the adult put in her bag, but she had absolute faith, that she was going to have something placed in her bag.  We received chips, popcorn, and even kiddie dental floss at one brave soul’s house, but the point was she got something at each house- her faith was rewarded.

Aren’t we all a little like a 2 year old trick or treating? We approach the Lord’s house, Society’s house, a friend’s house and we present ourselves and say “Thank you” expecting to be filled with something. Sometimes it is good- like a full sized snickers bar, sometimes it’s those old fashioned popcorn balls, and sometimes it is something that a parent had to confiscate and throw away because it was questionable.

Remember to take care with what you fill yourself, and perhaps visit the house of the Lord a few more times as we “trick or treat” our way through life. And also, it might be nice if you thanked the Lord, because I guarantee he’s the one giving full-sized candy bars to all the kids on the block, and he’d probably give you a second, and third if you made the trip again.

God Bless & Happy Halloween!
Love, Kimmy

Lessons from a Toddler- Can I go? Can I?

When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. ~ 1 Corinthians 14:

My oldest son is finally old enough to go to our church’s gathering of the Children’s Liturgy of the Word. I wish that I had the same enthusiasm to go to mass each week as Matthew does to go to Children’s Liturgy of the Word! Each time is like the first time for him, and he get’s a big grin on his face as he follows his sister to the altar for their blessing before he follows the group to their special room downstairs.

When is the last time you were that excited to go to church? Why aren’t we excited to hear the word of God? There is a lot of hope and encouragement to be found in the word of god. Words of salvation, and heroes in a world where we desperately need better heroes! I think that we forgotten to be childlike in our enthusiasm- or our enthusiasm might be caught up in more worldly encounters- Facebook? Work? Netflix?

So, the next time someone asks you if you want to go church- “Can I? Can I go?” Try for some enthusiasm!

God Bless,
Kim

 

Lessons from a Toddler- Wandering Wisemen

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.”
~ Matthew 2:1-2 

There are no elves on my shelves. There are many reasons for that, but mostly it boils down to the fact that good behavior is a year-round endeavor in our house and it feels like adding an elf for a month once a year would complicate that idea.  It may seem silly, but I don’t want my children to behave well because “Santa is watching” through the little elves. I am absolutely not passing judgment on anyone who does Elf on the Shelf, it is a very cute and creative idea. My daughter has even asked if we will be getting an elf that moves all around this year. The answer, despite her asking, is still no.

I don’t remember there being an emphasis on Santa “watching us” when I was growing up. We definitely knew Santa was coming, and that if we were rotten little monsters there might not be any presents, but it was more of a peripheral awareness. We sang all the songs about Santa watching, and keeping his list, but the idea of actually being on the naughty list never occurred to me- my daughter is actually afraid of it. I have much clearer memories of designing my Christmas dress with my mother- and that is what I want for my kids. I want them searching for something else at Christmas, which is why three strange little men visit our house in December.

The 3 Wise Men search our house each December for the Baby Jesus, and isn’t that what we all should be doing- searching for Jesus? So the quest in my house is about finding Jesus, where are those silly wise men now, and the naughty list fades into the background. We love watching the Grinch, and decorating Gingerbread cookies, but what I love even more is knowing that the first thing my kids do every morning in December is search for the Wise Men searching for Jesus.

God Bless,
Kimwandering wisemen

Lessons from a Toddler- Good for you

But I have said to you: You shall inherit their land, and I will give it to you to possess, a land flowing with milk and honey. I am the Lord your God; I have separated you from the peoples. ~ Leviticus 20:24

My daughter has the room that she picked out and designed when we moved into our house. It is the exact color she wanted, with the artwork she wanted, and even a hand painted mural of Rapunzel and Tinker Bell together. Everything is exactly what she wanted and yet she persists in creeping into my room every night and sleeping on my cold hard floor. It would be much better for her- comfortable and warm at least- if she would sleep in her bed, but she persists in thinking she knows better! And isn’t that just how we are with our Heavenly Father?

We ask God for all sorts of things- a good job, money, someone to love, friends, lots of cool stuff, and yet- if it doesn’t meet our idea of what is best for us we will continually reject what God sends to us. Maybe your dream job is a business executive, but God has a plan for you to be the best football coach there ever was… it doesn’t mesh with our ideas so we ignore those yearnings, ideas, thoughts, dreams, and gentle nudges that the Lord sends our way.

So the next time that your “door” to happiness closes, check for that window that the Lord left for you- it could lead to something better. And since my daughter refuses to leave my bedroom door shut, maybe I will just lock it! I am sure that the Lord has had to lock a few doors on us in our time, just to make things better for his stubborn children!

God Bless,
Kim

Lessons from a Toddler- Hard to be good

Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it. ~Matthew 7:13-14

My 4-year old and I had a conversation that was one of those “duh” moments. We were talking about her behavior and what choices were not okay, and how we could fix them together and she looked me in the eye and sighed, “Mommy, it is hard to be good.” And I nodded, gave her a hug, and thought to myself “DUH!”

It is hard to be good- even when we know all the rules, are old enough to understand the consequences it is hard to follow that narrow path! We are told that the reward at the end of the path will be beyond measure- eternal life with our Savior, but who can really comprehend that? My daughter has no idea what a day without a timeout is, because she has never had one. We haven’t got to the “eternal life with the Savior” portion of our tour, so it is a struggle to continue working for a goal we don’t quite get.

The coolest thing is that God, our Father, really is a parent- something I didn’t get until I had kids. It doesn’t matter how many times we make a mistake, or have a “timeout”, or throw a fit. God loves us no matter what, because each day we try to follow the rules, and be “good girls and boys”.

God isn’t looking for perfection (YAY!), he just wants us to do our best.

God Bless,
Kim

Lessons from a Toddler- But you said!

Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.
~ Genesis 28:15

Toddlers tend to take everything you say literally. If you tell them they are going to visit their grandparents, you will turn around to find the front door open and your children half way down the porch steps to the car. Little things like, when you are going to visit don’t matter in those toddler minds. And if you aren’t getting in the car right at the moment, then come the tears, screaming, and toddler-recriminations of “But you said!!!!!”, while they throw themselves to the floor in utter despair. The other half of the statement, “We are going to visit Mema and Mepapa tomorrow” is completely unimportant because it didn’t meet the expectations of the children.

I have often found that I can be like a toddler in my relationship with our Heavenly Father. When difficult times arise it is easier to cast blame on God(who rarely answers us directly) “But God! You said that if I was a good person then good things would happen to me! You never said that people would mock my faith or yell at me!” We like to ignore the other side of the promise of God- following the path of Jesus Christ would lead to eternal life, but following that path wouldn’t be easy.

Faith is not an easy path. It is easier lay in bed, then shower and attend mass. It is easier to “forget”, then to take precious time out of busy schedules to participate with the church community. It is easier to ridicule something in a group, than to stand alone and pronounce a truth. It is easier to claim ignorance than to follow the difficult path that Jesus walked.

The path of Jesus is not wide, but we need to mature beyond our “toddler moments” and recognize that we were not promised a free ride, but the reward is worth all the effort we put forth, and so much more. Jesus Christ died for his faith, the least we can do is stand up for ours.

God Bless,
Kim

Lessons from a Toddler- More is ALWAYS good

The chief priest Azariah, who was of the house of Zadok, answered him, “Since they began to bring the contributions into the house of the Lord, we have had enough to eat and have plenty to spare; for the Lord has blessed his people, so that we have this great supply left over.”
~ 2 Chronicles 31:10

        My children always want more. More stories, more food, more songs, more playtime, more cuddles, and so the list continues on, and on, and on… You get the picture. As a parent it is often my job to regulate the “more” that my children get. The closer to the holidays, especially Halloween, we get the more difficult my job becomes. Now we have to worry about more treats, more parties, more staying-up, and more exhaustion- throughout the entire house! All this effort just for three tiny people… can you imagine God’s list?

       It has occurred to me that my prayer list is often similar to my children’s requests of me in one regard- I want more! Please God, I want more- time, patience, money, vacation, things… and so my own list continues. How exhausting to have to worry about the “More” of all of the Lord’s children! And yet, He continually blesses his children with more, and constantly gives of his love, forgiveness, and peace- if only we ask for more.

      So, as we prepare for the Holidays, and the never-ending requests for more… I will remember to give where I can. After all, I only have a chorus of 3 shouting “MORE, MOMMY!”

God Bless,
Kim

Lessons from a Toddler: Challenge Accepted

You set a snare for yourself and you were caught, O Babylon, but you did not know it;
you were discovered and seized, because you challenged the Lord.

Jeremiah 50:24

I think that when I tell my children that they may not do something, they take it as a challenge, and immediately set out to do this thing. It drives me crazy, and I always need to take a minute to pray for patience while sometimes inwardly gloating that their “quest” to prove me wrong failed! I was trying to figure out why they do that, when it occurred to me that a lot of people do that- there is a meme online that get’s tacked onto the end of any “impossible task” with a very determined stick figure.

However, when it comes to God, we are the first one’s to say how impossible it is to follow the commands of our Father.

You should care for the poorI have practice. I have homework.

You should go to massI have a game. I’m tired. No one else goes. It isn’t my thing.

You should volunteer- I don’t have time. I don’t know anyone.

All valid and understandable reasons for not doing something except when we add the amount of time we spend on social media, playing video games, going to the movies. God doesn’t ask for your entire life, he doesn’t demand your Sundays and refuse to see you at any other time. God wants to be a part of your life, in any way you can make it work. I find it hard to believe that a nation who has time to “Keep Up with the Kardashians” cannot make time for the Heavenly Father, who created the Universe, and sent his only son to die for our salvation…

So, the next time someone asks you to go to Teen Ministry/Youth Group, Mass, or to volunteer at an event, try to forget the excuses. I can only hope that when the time comes, my own children will respond like Jesus when God asked him to give up his life for a people who would belittle, deny, crucify, and forget him…

jesus challenge accepted

Lessons from a Toddler: Let it Go

Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.
~ 1 Peter 5:7

            If you have been living under a rock, it is possible… although not probable, to have not heard the rousing song- “Let it Go” from the Disney movie Frozen. If you have a toddler or a daughter you have probably heard it, sung it, and found yourself singing it in your sleep.

            The song serves as a moment of clarity for the main character about letting loose, and letting go of all the turmoil and stress that has haunted her life thus far. It is easy to pass it aside as an inspiring- “girl-power” anthem that Disney excels at. However, as the days get shorter, and to do lists get longer I find myself admiring the “Hidden Egg” that exists in the lyrics of that song.

           How often do we cling to our lists, and struggle with the shortness of time? How often do you hear someone lament that there just isn’t enough time in the day? Everyday is a race to complete a never-ending list that never leaves time for the spontaneous joy of a cup of pumpkin flavored coffee with a friend. Quick walks through the fall foliage, a trip to pick out pumpkins for carving, baking cookies and drinking cider are all activities that don’t make it to the list… Unless we follow the newest Disney mantra “Let it Go”.

          Unlike “Hakuna Matata” which tells you to ignore the stresses of your life, or stick to the “Bare Necessities”. “Let it Go” tells us that perfection isn’t real, but trying your best, being creative and fresh, and letting the difficulties go are all ways to enjoy the moment. So, I am going to sing along with my daughter, and when she demands I sing “Let it Go” I will belt it out along with Elsa, and hopefully just a few of my stresses will swirl away with the lyrics of the song.

Lessons from a Toddler- The Word

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
John 1:1

Sesame Street as a cute little segment called “The Word on the Street” where they ask people what’s the word? Francesca liked it so much that we have our own version at home, but our words consist of- patience, maybe, kindness, polite- words that we repeat constantly to make sure that the lessons are being learned.

I begin every blog post with a Bible verse, and I always think about the teens I work with every summer on their Bible Study. “How do we find the bible story? What are those numbers? Who the heck is John, and why do we care?” All questions I have heard, and it brings to light the simple truth that we do not know The Word.

Sure, we follow along in the missal on Sunday, and we might get the daily Bible verse delivered to our virtual inbox, but we don’t know The Word. We don’t read it from the Bible, and search for verses that might comfort us in our time of need. How often do we actually sit and pray let alone read the Bible when the going gets tough? I’d sadly have to be the first to admit that I have to work to remember to do those things!

My personal favorite- Psalm 118:24- This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. I feel that we should ing it every day, even at funerals, because I believe that there is no day we should not give thanks for, and that doesn’t make it easy, it just serves as a reminder. (Not to mention that Rory Cooney’s arrangement is really catchy!).

The Word of God has so much to offer! I encourage everyone to go out and find a favorite  verse, psalm, story, or letter. But no matter what you learn or how it speaks to you John- the Saint and Gospel writer- had it right…

 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.