Author Archives: ginny

Goal for the week: One beautiful thing each day, shared aloud

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I have a goal for the week.  It’s one I think I might actually be able to pull off, even as busy as this week will be.

It’s to point out one beautiful thing to my boys each day.

What kind of beautiful thing?  The sunset.  The light shining through the leaves.  The fog over the hills.  A song on the radio.  Maybe even something like an elderly couple walking along holding hands; I’m open to whatever crosses my path.

I notice these sorts of things often, and sometimes I point them out to my kids.  But I don’t share them often enough, and I have a feeling that I’m missing a pretty great chance to slowly help build a sense of wonder in my kiddos.

So that’s my goal: One beautiful thing each day, shared with my boys.

Want to join me?  You don’t have to be a parent to do this; you could share your beautiful things with a spouse, friend, coworker, neighbor, or random person on the bus… however the Spirit moves you.

Happy noticing — and sharing!

Finding God with the senses

It’s been a real pile-up of end-of-quarter work lately, with stacks of papers to grade and all the stress that goes into wrapping up the term.  But in the middle of all the craziness, God keeps on speaking through the language of the senses.  And every now and then, I’ve been able to tone down the stress and listen.

Here are three examples from the last week.

TOUCH

Last week we had crazy warm weather, in the eighties.  While I don’t love that in October — give me more seasonal cold and rain, especially in the face of this horrid drought – it was awfully nice to sit at the pool during the boys’ swim lesson and bask in the sun.

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I had a book to read, but finally even that felt like too much effort.  All I wanted to do was luxuriate in the sun like a cat and feel the warmth … and, for a blessed half-hour, I did.   It was wonderful.

SIGHT

There was a full moon last week, or almost-full (sorry; I never can tell the difference).  I happened to be at my evening exercise class, which is held outdoors, and as I did the running portion of the circuit, I suddenly looked up and saw the moon there, just on the rise, astonishingly beautiful in its saffron splendor.  It was so perfect and round that it looked almost fake, like a moon in a  1950s MGM musical.

And then I thought: Why do I see beautiful things in nature and immediately think that they look fake?  (I do this all the time with sunsets.)  Have I forgotten that the natural world, the real world of fire and water and air and stone and light, is created by the best artist of all?

It was good to be reminded of that.

HEARING

My local classical radio station has put so many great artists on my radar, and one of them is the Canadian violinist Angèle Dubeau.   I’ve been listening to this beautifully evocative piece lately, and doing so feels like prayer.   Great music always makes you feel like life is full of promise, doesn’t it?

Where have you been finding God lately?

 

This screams out for a caption, doesn’t it?

The statue of Madonna and child on my mantel has some company these days.  (They’re the cake toppers from the boys’ birthday party, and they even light up!).

Somehow, this is the perfect snapshot of my life as a mom: the spiritual and the Star Wars, side by side.

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Amen to that.

Here’s one of my all-time favorite quotes, from the legendary Erma Bombeck.

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A book about angels for your own little angels

 

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Angel of God,
My guardian dear,
To whom God’s love commits me here.
Ever this day be at my side
To light and guard,
To rule and guide.

Amen.

Today is the Feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, which makes it a great time to talk about a darling new kids’ picture  book.  The book is God Gave Us Angels, written by Lisa Tawn Bergren and illustrated by Laura J. Bryant.  It’s a gentle, very appealing introduction to angels for the preschool/ early elementary set.

In the book, a little polar bear cub asks Papa Bear about guardian angels, and they have a conversation about angels as they move throughout a snowy landscape.  Other creatures make an appearance – penguins, birds, rabbits – and as they discuss guardian angels, a polar bear angel occasionally hovers in the background, wings unfurled, giving visual proof of the daddy bear’s words.

The question/answer format is an effective way to cover the range of kids’ questions about angels.  What do angels do?  Will I ever be an angel myself?  Can we pray to angels?  (Papa says no, you only pray to God, which Catholic parents can turn into a teachable moment about how different  people believe different things about prayer).   Papa also emphasizes the role of angels as messengers and protectors; the very last page shows Little Cub asleep in bed, her guardian angel watching over her as she sleeps.

My favorite question/answer page is when Little Cub talks about how she hasn’t always been safe, sometimes she has gotten hurt.  “Why didn’t God give me an angel those times?”

“I’m not sure, Little Cub,” is Papa’s response.  “But no matter what happens, we can trust he is near and watching.  He loves  us, even more than the angels do.”

I like how a child’s book has the honesty to admit that sometimes we just don’t know why bad things happen.   If there’s one thing I am learning, it’s that kids are smarter than  we often think, and they can see through us if we try to give a phony answer, particularly to the question that has stymied believers for centuries.   And I really like how the book  immediately reinforces the fact that God loves us always, constantly, no matter what.

God Gave Us Angels  is a lovely book, one full of gentle warmth.  It makes me want to check out the other books in the series (they include God Gave Us You and God Gave Us Love).  My kindergartener is enjoying this one  thoroughly and I like reading it with him, especially at bedtime.   At the end of a busy  day, it’s nice to send kids off to bed with thoughts of angels in their heads.

God Gave Us Angels is  published by Waterbook Press, and I was delighted to receive a review copy.  It’s available at the publishers’ website, Barnes and Noble.com, and Amazon.com.