A Place for Rest – The Bedrooms

There is something sacred about your bedroom. I don’t think I consciously realized this until I noticed how fiercely my children guard their individual beds and bedtime things. Our kids each have a few (ok, total honesty? Clare, our 7 year old, has about 30 bedtime friends and multiple blankets in a friend fortress, or castle, or something it changes weekly) bedtime stuffed animals. These are special, sacred things to them. When we travel, they come with (no, not all 30 of Clare’s. We put the limit on 2. I can only handle keeping tabs on so many stuffed animals in a hotel room). For Gabe, our 2 year old, they are necessary for sleeping. He wakes up in the middle of the night and if he can’t find one of them, he cries for us to help him. You don’t mess with bedtime friends.

This isn’t to say that adults don’t have their own bedtime quirks, because they do. Ben feels pretty strongly about his pillow. If I were to switch our pillows he would immediately notice and insist on switching back. We all have a bedtime routine of some kind, even if it isn’t one we intentionally crafted. How many times have you gotten into bed and realized you accidentally forgot to do a part of your routine? I would bet you ultimately got up and completed whatever it was before you could sleep soundly.

As humans, we need rest. It is part of who we are and how our bodies function. Everyone knows what it feels like to be sleep deprived and most do what they can to avoid it. Our bodies have a whole series of functions and tasks that occur only during sleep. On the whole, we will not be able to perform our day to day tasks well if we do not sleep well.

Sleep scientists have compiled whole lists of things we can do to help us sleep better. Parents already know quite a few from their days of struggling to teach their children to sleep. A routine helps tell your body it is time to sleep. Engaging in stretching or other gentle exercises help to relax your body and rest your mind. Journaling is a great way to let go of the day’s work and worries. Environmental factors such as a lighting, temperature and breathing ability (sleep apnea is no joke) will affect the quality of your sleep.

As you spend time in your and the other members of your family’s bedrooms, consider the following questions:

  • Does this space encourage rest?
  • Can the person sleeping here access what they need in an environment that is conducive to sleep?
  • Does this room have unnecessary items that do not promote sleep?
    • This could range from an overflowing closet, too many toys, electronics, general clutter
  • All bedrooms inevitably end up with some kind of storage space, usually under a bed or in a closet. If you are up for a challenge, empty those storage spaces and see what needs to stay, what can be donated and what needs to go.

Spiritually speaking, God is a big promoter of rest. Part of God’s great actions of creation was to rest on the 7th day. We wouldn’t talk about it if it wasn’t significant. God modeled for us the goodness of rest and we should take note. In our modern culture, most jobs provide for time off during the week. It may not be on the traditional weekend (Saturday and Sunday), but the days are there. We recognize that it is not good for people to work non-stop. There has to be time for hobbies, for entertainment and for rest.

As Christians and Catholics, we also recognize that there needs to be time set aside for God. The Church offers us Sunday as our day of rest, the day that Jesus rose from the dead. We attend Mass, joining together with our community to worship God and keep holy the Sabbath as instructed in the 10 Commandments. But we know that to have a healthy relationship with God, we need to give Him more than 60 minutes on Sundays. Each day there needs to be time to connect with God, to talk with Him, to be with Him. Just as we need to sleep everyday to be physically healthy, we need to rest with God everyday to be spiritually healthy.

Take time this week to assess how much time you spend at rest. How do you use that time? Could you try to spend a few more moments resting with God, rather than Instagram? Could you read a Scripture passage instead of a Tweet? Challenge yourself to rest more with God and less with the things of this world.

One final week! I wonder what last space we will be in. I’m looking forward to talking with you about it then!

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com

Indelible Mark

This weekend has been the Catholic Moms Summit (if you haven’t checked it out you still have time! Hurry over, it’s all free, though if you want to be able to watch what you’ve missed later, as well as have access to the live events they held you will need to purchase the pass). I listened to a few talks, all of which were very good. My absolute favorite was by Beth Sri, Birthing 101. Beth is a Catholic wife and mom of 8. You can learn more about Beth here.

In her talk, Beth talked about the things she figured out after her first four births and wished she had known for them. I’m not going to get into the nitty gritty details of the practicalities of birth here, you can head over to the Summit if you want that information – it’s worth it, trust me!

One of the things that really left me floored was something she said toward the end about the spiritual aspects of birth. She had a spiritual director tell her, when she would share about a new pregnancy, “Thank you for your gift to humanity!” As Beth says in her talk, this sounds a bit dramatic, doesn’t it? But no! If we believe what we say we believe, if we as parents are truly participants in creation with God the Father, how could this new little person be anything but a gift?

Beth, of course, understands this also. She concludes her talk like this:

“You’re going to contribute in an indefinite way to eternity. Not only is your little person and your experience going to make a mark on the world, but it is going to make a mark on eternity. Forever, this new soul will exist forever.”

Wow, just wow. Taking this opportunity to announce we are going to be welcoming our 6th gift to humanity in March, I can honestly say I have not considered the indelible mark each of our children will have on eternity. On the world, yes. Ben and I have all of the usual hopes parents hold – we hope our children are faithful, brave, compassionate, truthful and cultivate all the other good virtues. We pray that they follow their vocation, that they listen to God’s Will in their lives and that they discover that happiness lies in self-giving love. But an indelible mark on eternity? I’m rendered a little speechless at that one.

Indelible means “not able to be removed,” or similarly, “not able to be forgotten.” By conceiving our children, heaven has changed forever. Every single child, whether they are born into this world or whether their mark is made only on our hearts, will make a new impression on eternity which cannot be forgotten.

God knows the number of hairs on our heads, even if your babies are born bald like mine. Not a single child is forgotten by their loving Creator, and heaven is all the better for it.

Indelible Mark #6
Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com

Don’t Just Share It – Say It

There is a lot going on right now. And none of it’s comfortable. I think I have to start there. There has been so much, from Covid-19, to the horrifying death of George Floyd, to the protests and riots, to the clearing of the steps of St. John’s Episcopal in D.C. There has been so much to wrap my brain around, and so much to break my heart. And not a single bit of it is comfortable.

I have written and rewritten this post at least 3 times. Because it’s not comfortable, and I have to get over that. Because for too long, so many black Americans have lived in less than comfortable, they have lived in fear. And it has to stop. So my discomfort really doesn’t matter in this moment. It doesn’t hold a candle to what others have lived with their entire lives.

Yes, I am a white person. And as a white person, living in America, I have benefitted from systematic racism. It makes me sick to say these words, but they are ones I have to own. It is also clear that I have to help change that reality. To be silent is to be complicit, and I refuse to let myself be used in that way. So, I’m taking up a challenge that Ivirlei Brookes put on Instagram. She posted a video about how she felt a white person could help in the fight against racism.

Toward the end, she said she was sure people would be posting and sharing about her video, and she’s right. But she asked people to do more than that. It isn’t enough to share a video and say, “oh look, I did my part, I’m good now, right?” Wrong. She called on everyone to go out and say what she said in our own words, staking our own reputation and claiming a new identity as a person who stands against racism in no uncertain terms.

Don’t just share it, say it.

So, here I am.

The first thing I need to do is spend time reflecting on how I have either contributed to racism, ignored racism, or stayed silent while it played out in my presence.

Next, I have to make a commitment to myself that I will not tolerate racism in my presence. It’s not funny, it’s not a joke, it’s not just an opinion, it’s not a one time thing. I need a bright line in the sand over which I will not allow myself to step past with anyone else.


That second point feeds straight into this last one. Ben and I will not raise children who are passive in the face of racism. I want them to be bold, to be willing to stand up for their friends, to have the words to express what they see, here and how they feel, and to demand justice where injustice exists. But above all of these good and true things, I want them to recognize that each person they meet is first and foremost a beloved child of God. That we all were loved into being by our Creator.

One simple thing I am going to do as a homeschooling mom is check what books I am putting in front of my kids. The literature they read is highly influential on how they are thinking. This is true for adults as well. I want to show them a rich diversity of characters and heroes who stand up for what’s right. But I need to be aware of who those characters and heroes are. Are my white kids only reading about other white kids? Or are they finding heroes in Asian, South American, African and Middle Eastern children as well?

There is an app which makes this so easy, there’s no excuse for all parents to be using it. It’s called “We Read Too” and it is a massive booklist broken down by reading level, including picture books. There are books upon books which have children of color as the main characters. There are books with black children in schools, Chinese American immigrants, Hispanic children celebrating Christmas and Easter – you name it. Each book has a short description and picture of the cover. Many are Newbery Award winners among other prizes. This is such a rich resource for all parents. Books spark conversations, they inspire new ideas and ways of thinking and they help us process challenging topics.

Now that this is all out there, it’s still uncomfortable, but a bit less. I have some words now, I am building confidence. I am still learning and listening. There can be no middle ground when it comes to racism. It is past time to end the systematic and pervasive subjection of black Americans to lives of fear, anxiety and less than the best we all have to offer.

So, if you want to become an ally for black people, especially if you a white person, take some time to dig within yourself. Where do you need to change? Make those changes. Listen to the stories of others, share what they are saying. But most importantly, say it yourself, using your own words. Don’t just support the change, be the change in your own life. Every single day.

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com