Bluey…Again

I know, I know. Repeat topic and a kids’ show no less. But seriously, Bluey has got it going on! The particular episode in question is entitle, “Duck Cake” should any of you want to go watch it for yourselves (you should, 8 minutes well spent).

Episode synopsis: It’s Bingo’s (the little sister) birthday and she gets to pick out her cake. She chose, obviously, a duck shaped cake. In a brilliant move by the creators, its Dad who gets the privilege of trying to construct a duck out of cake while Mom takes Bingo to hockey practice. Blue stays home and is asked to clean up the huge Lego bonanza she and Bingo have created in the entryway to the house. But only her half, let’s keep that clear.

Bluey, as most any child, doesn’t exactly throw herself into her task. She wants to help make the cake. Dad tells her she can’t just help with the fun stuff, she has to also do what she was told. Bluey, unsurprisingly, begins bartering with him. First stickers, then money, then being able to lick the beater. She does, eventually get her side of the mess all cleaned up. While she is just starting to lick the beater, Dad is attempting to position the head on the duck cake. It falls to the side and splats on the floor. He sinks to the floor in defeat, taking a few minutes to sit in sorrow. Bluey looks from her beater to the mess, and quietly hops off her stool to clean up the mess. After, she offers a suggestion to Dad about how to fix it, which he accepts but says he has to clean the floor first. He is shocked to find it already clean. He makes intentional, genuine eye contact with Bluey and says, “Thank you.”

Bluey’s tail starts to wag. This tail wag is central to the whole story. Bingo knew the Duck Cake was her cake because when she saw it, it made her tail wag. On her way out the door with Mom, she asks how other animals know if they are happy without tails, because when her tail wags it tells her she is happy.

None of Bluey’s other “prizes” for cleaning up made her tail wag. She decides to try to make it happen again. She quickly goes and cleans up Bingo’s side of the mess. When Bingo and Mom get home and see the room clean, Mom has a similar thank you moment with Bluey. Her tail wags again.


8 minute episode people, it’s amazingly genius! I already loved it. Then, I read this by Chiara Lubich:

In our daily duties there are always burdensome elements which entail some measure of fatigue and discomfort. But these are the very things that we should appreciate as precious gifts that we can offer to God.

Everything that tastes of suffering is, in fact, of utmost importance. The world does not accept suffering, because it is no longer familiar with the value Christian life gives it, and because suffering goes against our human nature. Thus, the world tries to avoid and to ignore it.

Yet, suffering has a mysterious task” It can become a way to happiness, to that true and enduring happiness which alone can fill our hearts. It is the same happiness that God enjoys and that we humans, destined to what is absolute, can share already in this life.

Precisely through his suffering, Jesus has given joy to every person:joy here on earth and unending joy in the next life. In the same way, by accepting and offering to him our daily worries and concerns, we obtain happiness for ourselves and for others.

Chiara Lubich, “A Mysterious Task.” Heaven on Earth. New City Press, 2000. pg. 78

We don’t find happiness in prizes or bribes. We find true happiness when we serve others, when we suffer even a little for someone else. The greatest achievements come from a path of suffering, self-denial, sacrifice. Running a marathon, owning a company, giving birth to a child. The list goes on and on. As Chiara said, the greatest and most perfect joy to enter the world, to change the world, came through the Cross of Christ.

Every day, we have the opportunity to participate in this mysterious task. To suffer and sacrifice on behalf of others which will bring both us and them happiness. Letting someone else go before you in line, listening well to a child’s story of their imaginary friend without also scrolling on your phone, tidying up another person’s mess, anticipating a need before being asked. That list, too, goes on and on.

We don’t have tails which tell us when we are happy or not. But we do have a heart. Our heart warms when we make good choices but especially when we make a good, hard, choice. We have a conscience which, when well-formed, can help to steer us along a path which leads to that true and lasting happiness. It means discipline and often self-denial. It is hard. This is why Jesus talks about how the vine grower (God the Father), “takes away every branch that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more” (John 15:2). God desires the very best for us, and sometimes that means pruning away what is holding us back from bearing more fruit.

Advent isn’t over yet. There is still time (there is always time, even when it isn’t Advent) to consider how the birth of the Savior has changed the world, has changed you. How is God calling you to serve those around you so He can love them through your actions of love and sacrifice?

I am thoroughly enjoying how this sweet show is encouraging such good conversations in our family. I hope you’re finding it inspirational as well. I promise, this isn’t going to turn into a Bluey fan blog, but I can’t promise this will be the last post about it either. 😉

When You Don’t Know What to Pray For

I am stuck. I don’t know what to pray for in this particular situation and it is uncomfortable, to put it mildly. Have you ever been unsure of what to pray for? It’s more than apathy, or not caring about what comes from the situation. I genuinely don’t know what I want from this moment in time.

Let me back up. As you know, Ben is in the military which means we move a fair amount. Actually, we have moved less often than many of our peers. This has been a blessing but it’s catching up with us for Ben’s career. We are looking at another move this coming summer, putting us at a brief 2.5 years in Kansas compared to the 4+ in both California and Texas. The upcoming move is poised to be an even quicker turn around. Ben is eligible for a leadership school which is a fantastic opportunity. However, it means we move…somewhere…for a year. Then move again.

From where we stand today, it looks like we have 2 possible options.

  1. Do the move. Pack everyone up, move to a new place for a single year, knowing we will be moving again. The moves would be during the summers, so at least the kids would have some consistency in school. I do not know at this point if we would go back to homeschooling for that year or keep them in traditional school. That’s a whole other issue. But we would all be together.
  2. Don’t move. Ben goes, we stay. The kids can continue at our local parish school which has brought so, so many blessings to our family. They have some continuity with friends, location, activities, etc. We have found so much good here, I am extremely sad to think that this is going to be such a short duty station for them compared to previous. But wow, Ben goes. That means Ben is an airplane ride away (based on the current information we have). He would be able to come home only as we have funds for him to fly, the military will not pay for any of those visits.

So….right. How to pray in this situation. I truly don’t know what I want. I don’t want to move knowing how brief it will be. I do not want Ben to miss the majority of a year of time with us, especially when it’s of our own choosing.

We don’t have to make any decisions yet, and we still need to be informed of where he would be attending school. That particular detail – the location – is going to be a big factor of this decision process. We don’t get to choose that part, however, the Air Force will tell us where we are going. What do I pray for? The locations we would want to move everyone to? The locations we would not?

I’m sure others have been in similar situations. You want to get the job but it means leaving good friends and coworkers. You desperately need a snow day but don’t want to shovel (just me?). Someone has to die for your family member to receive a life-saving transplant. Whether serious or otherwise, there are genuinely times when we just don’t know what we ultimately want to happen.

I have had to step back and recognize that, in the end, it’s not supposed to be about what I want. I want a lot of things, cheesecake and yarn included, but that doesn’t mean I always get them or actually need them. In this particular situation, what I want doesn’t actually matter because I have no influence over the situation. I can’t call up the Air Force and let them know how I desire things to play out. It’s in God’s hands, not mine.

Which means I need to change my prayers. I could say, “I don’t know what I want so there’s no point in praying about it until the Air Force gives us more information, then I’ll think about it.” But this is a lie perfectly planted by the devil himself. St. Paul tells us to pray without ceasing. We shouldn’t put God on hold until x, y, or z falls into place. Or worse, come to the conclusion that God is only worth praying to if x, y, or z happens.

I may not know what I want, but God knows what I need. Instead of praying for what I want to happen, I have been trying to root all my prayers in Jesus’ prayer:

Not my will, but Yours be done

Luke 22:42

This situation isn’t about me, though it affects me. This is bigger. It is about where God desires our family for the next year. The people we will interact with, the blessings we can offer others, the blessings others are called to share with us. By pulling myself back and checking my emotions, I am slowly becoming more peaceful about the phone call that will, fingers crossed, hopefully be coming to Ben soon. Whatever God is calling our family to next will be hard, but I trust it is going to be God’s will for our family. He will continue to provide for us as He always has.

I have only come to this place of peace because of Adoration. We are blessed with a 24-hour Adoration chapel at our parish. Whenever we are at the chapel, aside from Sundays for whatever the reason, Gabe, our 3 year old, asks if we can stop in. We only spend a few minutes, but those minutes add up. No matter the time spent, the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist is powerful. I am so thankful for these minutes and that it is Gabe who has drawn me into that quiet space. It was there I felt those simple, hard words resonate within me.

Perhaps what God is calling you to next will be hard. Maybe you don’t know what you want next from a present situation. That just means that He is already preparing the grace you need to shower upon you as you set forth into that new place. Join your voice with Jesus’. Allow your desires and wants to diminish as you gaze upon God’s loving face. As it is Advent, this is a fantastic season to spend time in Adoration. Run to God, open your hands and let Him see you know know what you want next. Let Him remove that burden of choice from you and allow His Will to become your true desire.

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com

What Would Chile Do?

Depending on how old the children in your life are, you may not have heard of the sensational kids show, Bluey. It is an Australian show that Disney has picked up and it is, in a word, phenomenal.

Bluey is approximately 6 years old and is, coincidentally, a blue dog. She has a little sister named Bingo, age 4, and parents, mom Chile and dad Bandit. The foursome make up the core cast of the shows which run only 7-10 minutes.

I love this show for many reasons. The music is great, the messages of each episode are excellent, and the show is intentional about speaking to both its young and adult audience.

For example, a favorite episode in our house is called, “Grannies.” Bingo and Bluey are pretending to be grannies (little kid Australian accents while pretending to be old ladies is hysterical!). Bingo keeps doing the floss dance and Bluey insists grannies can’t floss. Eventually, Bingo becomes tired of being told she is wrong and stops playing. Bluey can’t understand why. She’s right after all. They even FaceTimed with their real Granny and she couldn’t do the dance.

Bluey asks her mom what to do and Chile asks a fantastic question back, “Do you want to be right, or do you want Bingo to play with you?” Such a deep question! Which is more important, harmony or winning the argument? Bluey decides on a 3rd option. She calls her granny back and teaches her how to do the dance. She shows Bingo that grannies actually CAN floss and Bingo decides to play again. Bluey sacrificed her original rightness and created a new situation where Bingo was right. Then they celebrated the change together.

Amazing! All in a 10 minute episode!

I could go on. What prompted this post, however, was a specific episode I watched with our little boys one day when I had a stomach bug and couldn’t do much that morning except sit and watch Bluey. The episode is called, “Neighbors.” Chile, the mom, comes into the living room looking for the couch cushions. Bluey has a number of them set up as a pretend house and asks if Chile want to play a game called Neighbors. In most kids tv shows, the mom would either immediately say Yes or No. “Yes, I am a perfect mom who can drop whatever I’m doing to play with you for hours on end.” Or “No, sorry kid, I’m doing whatever is more important and the lesson of this episode is to learn about imaginative or solo play.” Both overgeneralized statements but both things I’ve seen and felt as a viewing adult.

But not Chile. Chile says, “Umm.” Then she looks back to where she came from in a distinct moment of choice. Ultimately, she says yes. That pause is what caught me. The show provided all the adults in the room to watch another “adult” consider the choice in front of them and choose play. Each time my kids ask me to play, there’s a choice there. I can choose to continue what I was doing, or I can choose to join in their game. There are, of course, legitimate times when I do have to say no. But realistically, there are many times I could have said yes and didn’t.

Bluey has been challenging for me as a mom but in such a good way. It takes a light hearted approach to life while instilling good choices and behavior. It makes you stop and think, like the “Ice Cream” episode that causes everyone to wonder what fair actually is and what lengths are worth going to in order to ensure “fairness.” Or in “Take Away” when Bandit, the dad, doesn’t want the girls to get wet in an outdoor faucet while they wait for their take away (in the US we say take out). They have to wait longer than expected (so you can imagine there are antics and spills with the girls) and the owner brings out fortune cookies to apologize for the delay. Bandit’s fortune says, “A flower may bloom again but a person never has the chance to be young again.” Bandit then let’s the girls play as much as they want in the faucet because it’s just water, they will dry, and they will never have the chance to be young again.

Bluey fully embraces the little things in life and the little happinesses of children. The sheer joy a blanket tucked over your head as you make believe you’re a granny. The silliness of your dad-patient while you pretend to be a doctor. It’s not just about kids imagining but also about how their parents join in the play and fully embrace the game.

I could go on and on. From what we’ve watched, I highly recommend you take the time to watch a couple episodes, even if you don’t have kids. It’s that good. I didn’t even talk about “Camping” here but it might be my all-time favorite.

Lots of Bluey love in this house and lots of appreciation for the writers and creators who have made a show so thoughtful for its full range of viewers.

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com