The Lone Female Amongst The Sea of Males

It’s no secret that I have three young boys: Philip aged 7; Isaac aged 4 1/2; and Aaron aged 19 months.  They have taught me a lot about the way boys see the world and the way their humour is.  A lot of times I end up rolling my eyes at their silliness, but at the same time, I am also in awe of the wisdom that comes out of their young mouths.

They teach me to have more fun and to let go a little.  I love the way they make my heart melt with the warmness of their love.  They inspire me to be a better mother and better role model. SOOOOOOO…… the reason for my post this week is to talk about the importance of raising my boys to treat their future spouses with respect and love that Christ has bestowed upon us.

Since learning about the Theology of the Body and how it saved my marriage, I vow to make sure my boys know about this beautiful teaching and hope they take it to heart and be able to live in this society working to heal it from its deep wounds.

I have a lot of funny stories that pertain to the raising of young boys…. oh…. tons of them… hahaha

Let’s start from the beginning…. Philip was born in 2009, and he will be catalyst for this teaching. He is also the one that is now truly responding to it.  Thankfully with the grace of God, he has been understanding the teaching and even reminding his brothers what to do.

Having boys definitely has its challenges, especially in the realm of appropriating their bodies.  Philip is a silly kid and he often dances silly at home and then brings his silliness to school, and that often gets him in trouble.  The boys and I often have discussions about making sure they respect their bodies and that their bodies are sacred because we don’t just have a body, we are our bodies.

Soooooo I’m going to give some practical tips on what I’ve been doing to teach my boys the basics of the theology of the body:

  1. Use appropriate terms for body parts.  Always, always, always use the proper names for body parts.  Think about this…. we don’t have silly nicknames for our eyes, elbows, or feet, so why do we insist on using names like “bird” or “doodle” to describe the male anatomy?  We used to use nicknames for the anatomy, but now we have fixed this and have continued to use the proper terms for the proper parts.
  2. Find out what they know. Before you start divulging all the ins and out of the birds and the bees, you need to figure out what your kids know and what made them think of asking that question. Because kids are curious, they ask lots and lots of questions, but you need to know what information they have received and from where.  One time Philip asked me “Mommy, what does sexy mean?” I thought it was a funny question, but I asked him “where did you hear that word?” He said “I heard it on the radio.” My first thought is… Definitely have to filter their radio station… the next thing I said was “Well, sexy is a word that people use to describe another person, but it is not the most respectful word that we can use.  You can use words such as beautiful or pretty instead.”
  3. Always tell the truth (age appropriately) of course.  Before you tell your children everything under the sun… give them simple answers.  They are curious, so you can stay away from giving so much detail, but they do deserve a response: the TRUTH. Philip asked me one time “Mommy, where do babies come from?” My answer was simple: “Well buddy, when mommy and daddy love each other, their love, along with God’s love brings you into the world. It’s through our love that has allowed you to be be born.” This satisfied his curiosity, for now, at least…. we’ll see how long that will last. haha
  4. Give your kids lots of hugs, kisses, and appropriate affection.  It is important to show your children that you love them by showing them.  Give them lots of hugs and kisses.  Tickle them and make them laugh.  It is also important to make sure that your children know what inappropriate touches are.  You want them to know that their private parts are covered by their underwear, and that no one should be touching that area of their bodies.
  5. Teach your children the glorious reason that God created them.  I constantly talk to my boys about the reason they should keep their hands away from their penises (because their bodies are sacred and that is disrespecting their bodies).  I  talk to them about the sacredness of their bodies and that God created them to be a gift to their future wives, so by touching themselves, they are choosing self-gratification over God’s glorious purpose for them. If marriage is their chosen vocation, they are going to learn how to treat their future wives.  Quoting St John Paul II “Only the [human] body is capable of making visible what is invisible:
    the spiritual and the divine. Through…bodiliness,… masculinity and femininity, man becomes a visible sign of…Truth and Love, which has its source in God himself.” (TOB 19:4) My boys are going to know that they were created to love as Christ loves.
  6. Show affection to each other.  It is important that your children see their parents kiss and hug.  It’s funny because Isaac, my middle son, hates it when Rios and I hug or kiss.  Rios constantly tells him “I kiss and hug mommy because I love her! But it’s important to respect her!” I must say that I am blessed to have a husband who loves me as Christ does.

These are the things I’ve learned while studying the theology of the body, and how it relates to my child rearing.  My sons are the fruits of my labour and by the grace of God, they will continue to learn how to treat others with respect and dignity.  This is my job and I’m going to do the best I can to raise these boys right!

Thanks for reading,

Your sister in Christ,

Jeanette

 

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A Little Glimmer into the world of God the Father!

Yesterday of all days was one I never want to relive, nor would I want my enemy to experience. Everything started two days ago (Monday)  when Philip was feeling sick; he had a fever, so he stayed home from school, and because I couldn’t leave the house, to drive Isaac to school, he stayed home too. Around 7:30 pm, Isaac started to feel sick, so I gave him medicine and he started to feel better, but early the next morning, Isaac’s temperature rose too fast too quick, and he had a febrile seizure.

As I stood over his convulsing body, I couldn’t find the words to say. Watching your child go through something and not be able to do anything about it is heartbreaking. All I could do was pray for him to be safe and for it to go quickly. In a panic, I called Rios, and then my mom, and then the ambulance.  As I waited for the ambulance, all I could think was, Lord, please allow him to be okay!! My mom arrived first, and she came to stay with the Philip and Aaron as I was getting ready with the paramedics to transport Isaac to the hospital.  It’s better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to your kids.  Thankfully, Rios caught his bus home in order to make it back to us before Isaac and I left. I looked at my little guy with such love and care and I knew that he was being well taken care of.  He would be alright and I was grateful to the Lord.

I had a thought as I was sitting in the waiting room, if I’m feeling like this, what more of our father in heaven??? He looks at us and must weep for us. If only we knew how much He truly loves us! He watches us and hopes that we know that He is taking care of us. He knows what we need, when we need it, but we have to be open to looking for the signs that He sends us.  Sometimes He will send people, or occasions, or deep emotions in order to wake up our love for Him.  His love is so infinite that it is His love that we are searching for when our lives feel hopeless.  Yesterday’s emotional roller coaster had me exhausted and trusting.  I was emotionally exhausted from having a full conversation with a sleeping child, and from the turmoil that would happen later that day, but I also felt the love of God with me as I was going through this process.  Especially during times of lent, we will be tempted by the devil, but it is in those times where we constantly pick the Lord that will help us draw closer to Him.

Reflections on Patience

It has been the first few days of Lent and I’ve already messed up. For this Lenten season I decided to do something slightly different. I decided I was going to be more patient with my kids and keep my voice down when speaking with them…… BUT as I mentioned before, I already messed up!

My kids go to school about 7 minutes away…not too far, but far enough, and to get them up and ready to go can definitely be a difficult task. They wake up groggy and want 5 more minutes and they dilly dally…. typical boys! Hahaha I really want to have a nice and easy morning with them, but it has been hard especially when they fight over very silly things. This morning was a better morning than yesterday, but I always feel so rushed.

Every time I start to feel the anxious feelings of being late, I ask God to grant me patience, but now reflecting on this, I see that God is granting me more opportunities to practice the virtue of patience and love. I pray a hail Mary to ask for Mother Mary’s intercession to allow me to be changed by her prayers. I realize that with the grace that God has given me, I am called to exercise a lot of patience.

I have apologized to my kids for raising my voice at them, and they were very kind to forgive me. I understand now how my mom felt when I was growing up. She used to come into my room and wake me up, and I would raise “the finger” (pointer finger) indicating that I wanted one more minute. She used to get so mad… and now I understand what it must have been like for her. She must have lost her patience more than I recall.  In those times when my kids are testing my patience, I will remember that God is allowing me to have opportunities to practice the virtue of patience!

Please God give me the grace to practice patience!

Sincerely, you disheveled daughter,

Jeanette

The Conversion of Saul to St Paul

The benefit of being home with my kids is that I get to participate in morning mass.  I  love listening to the word of God.  It’s even better when Aaron comes with me and behaves.  hehehe…Today’s readings were about conversion: the conversion of St Paul.

What causes our confusion??  What causes us to lose hope, to doubt in the existence of God?? I think for the most part, we are lacking faith.  In a previous post, I mentioned that faith is the ultimate reception of God’s love and gift.  We don’t believe that God will give us our gift, so we grab for it instead.

St Paul was one of the most hated among Christians because he persecuted them.  He tormented them and killed them, so why would people believe he had a conversion??

People are so skeptical of others that they can’t believe anyone could actually have a change of heart.  How can an invisible “God” really talk to us? Or, look at Jeanette’s life…she is always gossiping about others, how can she be a follower of Christ?  Christians are put under a microscope because we are expected to have all the answers and have a seemingly holier life, but people often forget that we are humans, not divine beings.  We are working everyday to get rid of the stigma that follows Christians, or at least we should.  Our lives should reflect the life of Christ.  We need a Paul-like conversion.  We need a total 180 degree change in our attitudes and lives so that we are now reflecting the life of Christ.

But how can we do that??  How can we have a deeper conversion??  I’ve been reading and contemplating this book called Deep Conversion, Deep Prayer by Fr. Thomas Dubay (I will post a link below) and it has really helped me deepen my prayer life as well as help with my conversion story.  He quotes St Bernard of Clairvaux, “There are more people who convert from mortal sin to grace, than there are religious converted from good to better!” WOW!!!  This is thought provoking….  why is it that this happens??  In one word: CONVERSION.  What is true conversion??

True conversion is looking at your life and seeing the faults and working towards God and mirroring your life after the saints, apostles, Jesus and Mary.  If it wasn’t for the conversion of St Paul, a lot of us would not be here believing in the gospel.

My conversion happened when I started studying the Theology of the Body.  Those writings of St. John Paul II really changed my life.  I am looking for ways to bring this to the wider group of people.  A lot of people can have their own conversion by listening to these very healing words.  There are many ways God can call us for conversion, but TOB was mine.  After going to the Theology of the Body Institute and learning more, I have total faith that I’m following the right path.  I am so happy I came across these writings, so please pray for me.

Below, I will share a link to download a talk by Christopher West entitled: Your Body Tells God’s Love Story!  It is an introductory talk on the Theology of the Body! I hope you enjoy it!

May God bless you and help you with your conversion story.

Your sister in Christ,

Jeanette

 

Link to Deep Conversion Deep Prayer:

http://www.amazon.ca/Deep-Conversion-Prayer-Thomas-DuBay/dp/1586171178/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1453736061&sr=8-1&keywords=deep+conversion+deep+prayer

FREE talk by Christopher West

https://members.thecorproject.com/file/nYezD8ZRkd0

Mary and Jesus: My Reflection

In yesterday’s Gospel reading we hear about Jesus’ first miracle: the miracle at Cana. It is beautiful to note the relationship between Jesus and Mary.  Even though Jesus said “it is no my time yet,” he perfomed the miracle on the request of his mother Mary.

So what does this mean for us??

Christ wants to fill our lives with His love.  Throughout the bible there is marriage.  The bible begins with a marriage between Adam and Eve; the bible ends with a marriage between Christ and His church; in the middle of the bible is the Song of Songs.  Jesus perfoms his first miracle at a wedding: the wedding at Cana.  Jesus and Mary are the new Adam and new Eve: the masculine and the feminine.

People often say that Mary isn’t as important as us Catholics make her out to be.  In reflecting on this topic, I would say that Mary is the most important woman in the bible. Mary is the perfect example of faith: being open to receiving the gift.  She did not understand God’s plan, but she said yes to it.  Because of Mary, we have Jesus and because of Jesus we have Mary.  The two cannot be separated.  In a similar way, Christ and his church cannot be separated. The funny thing is, Mary is the church: the church is feminine.  Why people say that the church is a patriarch is beyond me, in fact the church is feminine but has masculine components.  They are both needed and cannot live without the other.  Jesus is the ultimate example of masculinity: He was our gift in that He gave His life for us. In today’s society, we have a need for a truly masculine example, and we can find that in Jesus.  Mary, on the other hand, is the ultimate example of femininty; she perfectly received the gift.  To understand the feminine, we must look at Mary for our example.

The filling up of the wine is a representation of Christ being the one to fill our lives.  We fill our lives with things in the finite world: sex, drugs, and alcohol, and as much as it numbs the pain, it will never truly satisfy.  The only one that can fill the desire of our hearts is Christ, in the same way that He filled the jugs of water with the most delicious wine.  He wants to fill our lives with His love.  Mary is the one who helps us know her son.  She is the one that is always pointing our lives to her son. She is always with us on this journey to find Jesus.  As the saying goes: “no one can honour Mary more than Jesus her son.”

Secular world drama

I have been having conversations with some interesting people these past few days. I am a Catholic and will be for the rest of my life. I believe in the truths of the Gospel, and I believe that God calls us to a spiritual battle on a daily basis.

I spoke with someone the other day, let’s call her Nancy, that struggles with pornography. Nancy grew up in a Christian/Catholic house and sadly something happened while she was young that caused her to think that her body was an object of someone else’s desires. Nancy’s view of her body and of men skewed her view on what the true meaning of sex is. It opened the door to a battle with pornography that she was never meant to struggle with. In an ideal world, that situation that happened when she was young would have never happened. The man would have been there to protect her instead of take advantage of her. He would have loved her as Christ loves us, by giving up his life for us all. Instead of becoming a slave to his desires, that man would have desired only the pure, the good, and the beautiful. That man scarred Nancy, he tried to break her. He almost did BUT the Lord is so great. He has redeemed Nancy. He gave her the graces she so desired and has been trying to restore her life to its once original innocence.

The other person I spoke with was once a priest who used to fully believe in the truths of the Gospel, but now has since taken a sabbatical in order to discern what his place in this world is: let’s call him George. He has mentioned to me that he has been turning away from religion and has become more accepting of the secular world, which generally I’m ok with. I understand that not everyone is in the vocation that they were meant to be in, but I also know that there are such things as moral absolutes. George was mentioning that one doesn’t need God or Jesus to live a moral life. I honestly don’t believe that because morality, what is true, good and beautiful, can only come from God. He mentioned that you don’t need Jesus to tell you that murder is bad…. Really??? I think, as humans, we need to have rules set for us, or our world would be in utter chaos. We need to be told what to do because obviously we don’t seem to be getting it right. To the person that has morals without faith, who tells you that you are living a moral life? Did you wake up one day and say…today I’m not going to kill anyone…and go about your business as you would any other day??  Is it enough to live in this world being content with the truth of the secular world? Or do you believe that you were called to do something greater than what’s at the end of your arm’s length??

In both cases, Nancy and George have been working through issues that have been caused by what the world has to offer. They have both become victims of their generation. The devil is a very sneaky seraph, and I must admit that he has a good strategy to distract the faithful. He often makes us doubt ourselves and doubt the loving nature of our Lord. The oldest trick in the book is for us to believe the lie that God will withhold the gifts that He has for us; to put doubt in our hearts. In my conversations with my friends, I have been pondering a lot about the truth of how the Theology of the Body can help to restore our broken society. But before we start, we have to ask God for faith. If we don’t ask, the answer will always be no. Having faith is allowing ourselves to be vulnerable to the will of the father and remaining open to hearing His whispers. He always gives us a choice to either do good or bad, so we need to be open to receiving the gifts He has in store for us!

To Nancy and George, I pray that the Lord will give you the graces you need to understand the truth He sets before you!

Your sister in Christ,

Jeanette

 

Insight!

This past week has definitely been an interesting and insightful week for the truth of my character. I left my job after giving birth to my third son Aaron because I felt a calling to do something more in life. Because of how the Theology of the Body impacted my life, I felt/feel a strong calling to take this beautiful teaching and bring it to a wider audience. At my parish, St Anthony of Padua, we are going to offer the introductory Theology of the Body Course in the DVD format starting in April, but until then, I am biding my time praying and reflecting on deepening my own prayer life.

One of my favourite Saints, St Teresa of Avila comes to my mind and even though she was in a lot of pain in her life, she used it as a way to show others her love for Christ. She knew how to live in the ache. She had an understanding that everyone is broken but it is how we use our brokenness that will either make or break a person. If not her, who? The same can be said for us, if we are not doing the Lord’s work… who is?? The Lord has no body on this earth but ours, but are we going to allow him to work through us? If we are all called to be a part of the Body of Christ, what part are you? It made me think… I am being called by the Lord to proclaim the good news about why we were created, and I’m looking for opportunities to speak this truth… this week has made me realize that this mission is bigger than I am and that I need prayers please!  can anyone help me get in touch with speaking opportunities??

 

Your sister in Christ,

Jeanette

Aha moment!

The moment came when I realized I needed to learn the Theology of the body (an encyclical given as 129 Wednesday audience talks written and preached by the late St John Paul II) was when Rios and I were going through a rough patch.  I’ve had the Theology of the body for beginners book since at least 2005 (I’ll include a link at the end)… but NEVER picked it up!! If I knew the knowledge that it could provide for me before I got married, or early in my marriage, I wouldn’t be divulging this information now… I would have been a serious follower of Christopher West (who wrote the beginner book) way back then. Alas, the Lord knows when to reveal himself to us and it just so happened to be at the perfect time.

I always felt sort of odd after I gave birth to Isaac (my middle child), but I never thought it was my understanding of my role as a woman.  I honestly thought that there was a problem with me.  I looked into speaking with doctors about this condition I was feeling…  or this lack of feeling as it existed in me, but I never actually did anything about it…I let these feelings fester within me and at the same time, Rios was struggling to regain his manhood.  I had broken him; to the point that he wanted to leave.  As this blog goes on, I’ll share little nuggets of information about my life, but for now you’ll get this! 😉

I can safely say that we’re still together… hahaha, so no need to worry, BUT I will say this….  The THEOLOGY OF THE BODY saved my marriage… if it can for mine, it can for anyone!

“The human body includes right from the beginning…the capacity of expressing love, that love in which the person becomes a gift – and by means of this gift – fulfills the meaning of his being and existence.” TOB January 16, 1980, St John Paul II

 

http://www.amazon.ca/Theology-Body-Beginners-Introduction-Revolution/dp/1934217859/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1452655968&sr=1-1&keywords=theology+of+the+body+for+beginners

 

First Post

So this is my first ever blog post, and I’m kind of excited.  I’m hoping that I will be able to express my feelings and thoughts on this blog as well as provide my readers with some insightful information.  I have been thinking about starting a blog for awhile now, and I suppose, if I want to be a public speaker, I need to have some kind of blog or online diary.  Most of the content of this blog will be about my thoughts on the theology of the body, my kids, my husband, the Catholic Church, and my favourite Melaleuca products.  I hope you find some great information on this blog, and I thank you for coming on this journey with me.

God bless,

Jeanette