#CreatedtoCreate

Happy New Year and all that jazz! It’s been quiet here on the blog with the holiday season joys and fullness. But there’s a lot coming up including a series of posts specifically on cooking during Lent and of course, the Lenten Journals. Big thanks to everyone who downloaded the Advent Journals and used them throughout the season. If you have any feedback for me on those journals, what you liked, didn’t like, wish you had instead, I would love to hear it as I work on the ones for Lent.

In case you didn’t know this about me, I am a crafter. I especially love fiber arts like crochet, cross stitch, and quilting. I have dabbled in making clothes, I have a fascination but with no skills attached to knitting, and a yet to be explored obsession with weaving. There is an underlying desire within me to always be either making something or learning how to make something new. 

I love cooking and making. I make our own bread and yogurt. I make pasta when I can. I make fruit preserves and homemade pies. New recipes inspire me (though not too spicy please!). I decorate sugar cookies for holidays and just because it brings me joy to do so. 

I am a maker, a creator. One of the codes, if you will, that I live my life by is: “Why buy what you can make.”

I know I am not alone in this desire to create, though the “maker community” is larger than you might think. Those belonging to the community are not just artists, designers, or builders. In fact, I would argue that every single person carries the title “creator” even if they do not know it. 

I recently read Every Tool’s a Hammer, a mix up of biography, how-to and inspirational book by Adam Savage. Savage was one of the co-hosts for Discovery Channel’s hit show Mythbusters. In the book, Savage reflects on what it means to him to be a maker, a person who makes [insert pretty much anything]. 

“We’re taking our experiences and filtering it through our words, or our hands, or our voices, or our bodies, and we’re putting something in the culture that didn’t exist before. In fact, we’re not putting what we make into culture, what we make IS the culture. Putting something in the world that didn’t exist before is the broadest definition of making, which means all of us are makers. Creators” (p 44).

Though not speaking from a religious sense, Savage couldn’t be more correct. Consider how the first acts of creation came about. God created the world, the seas, stars, plants, animals, everything. But only humans does He create in His own image (cf. Gen 1:26-27). Humans are told to, “Be fertile and multiply.” Go forth, create! Do as I did. Bring forth new beauty into this beautiful world. This has been the calling of humanity from the beginning of time. 

It is January, the month of resolutions. As I began this year, I was listening to Sarah McKenzie’s podcast The Read Aloud Revival where she highlighted the prolific children’s author and illustrator, Barbara Cooney. One of Cooney’s most well known books is titled, Miss Rumphius. Without giving the story away, I was struck by this one line which I plan to carry forward into this new year:

“You must do something to make the world more beautiful.” 

We are all made in the image of God. Just as God creates, so to we, at our own level, are called to create. In a hashtag, #createdtocreate.

On Mother’s Day….after Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day was just a few days ago, as I’m sure you all well know. It’s hard to miss the flowers, cards, and gigantic balloons (at least they were at our grocery store, the kids loved them!). At our Mass on Sunday, and many churches regardless of denomination, there was a special blessing for mothers and we were given a rose.

I happened to be the one holding Eliza, now almost 16 months old and full of her own spunk and will, so naturally I brought her to the front with me for the blessing and flower. During the course of the blessing, she caught notice of the yellow rose and lunged. What followed was a rather comical tug-o-war between she and I over that rose. At first she managed to simply bruise a few petals, but that’s when her desire to fully experience that rose kicked in. I nearly dropped her while trying not to smack the woman next to me with that tempting rose. Despite my best efforts, she managed to get a hand on it and began squeezing the bloom within an inch of its life. I did salvage some of it, now rather lopsided and looking less than full.

We still brought the damaged rose home, along with a few extras the girls received after Mass concluded. It is in our bouquet on the dining table. As I pass it, I meditate on how it is actually the bruised rose that offers the fullest representation of what motherhood is.

On Mother’s Day, motherhood is held up as the crown of roses it is. Mothers, those with us and those who await us, are celebrated, cherished and loved. And this is both wonderful and important. But Monday always comes. And Tuesday, and Wednesday, and every day after that. GK Chesterton so wisely said, “A crown of roses is also a crown of thorns.”

There are moments of motherhood that are bursting with roses, and those when you are acutely aware of the thorns. And this is true for all vocations.

It makes me wonder whether or not roses had thorns in the Garden of Eden. When everything was in perfect balance, would roses have needed thorns? Before the Fall of Adam and Eve, they lived in perfect harmony with creation and with God. Now, as products of that fall from grace, sweetness is mingled with sour, joy often contains a tinge of sorrow, a rose has a thorn. It goes both ways though, for even in sadness we find hope.

We look to the Cross for our prime example of this. When Jesus died, we don’t call it “Sad Friday”, but “Good Friday”. Here is the most awful, horrific thing that could happen to a human being. Yet we call it “good,” because through this terrible sorrow, the whole course of human history was redirected heavenward.

I hope that the vocation you follow is one blessed with abundant roses, even knowing that mixed in there will be thorns. May the beauty of the rose inspire you to look for the beauty and goodness in your life, even in the midst of the thorns.Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com

 

Don’t you know you have 4 legs?! Reflections on who we truly are

Well not you specifically of course! But you might be surprised how many times I have said this to our dog, Max, over the years we have had him. Whenever Max gets muddy we try to wipe at least his paws down before letting him back into the house. 1. He is a white dog so the mud really stands out and 2. the kids track in enough, I don’t need extra muddy footprints to wipe up. Nearly every time I have to clean him off he tries to escape around the 3rd leg. This leads me to inevitably complain, “Don’t you know you have 4 legs?! Stand still!”

I was sharing this with Ben a few weeks ago. I said something to the effect of: “You would think that even Max should be able to understand something so integral and basic to his identity. He has 4 legs. Period. Even if he can’t count per say, shouldn’t he at least be able to recognize that not all of his legs got cleaned off yet.”

As I was complaining, a light bulb went off in my head. We are just like Max. Not in that we actually have 4 legs (wouldn’t that be awkward), but that there are realities so basic and fundamental to our existence which we fail to grasp. We are made in the image of God. We have God’s life in us, grace freely given to us at our baptism. We have the opportunity to become living tabernacles, hold Jesus within us and letting His goodness, mercy and love shine through us. But so often we get caught up in the day to day, the sin, the temptation, the hustle, the bustle, the good times and the not so good times. We, or at least I for sure, lose touch with who I really truly am – a daughter of God.

Today is the first day of the new Church year, the First Sunday of Advent. Advent is a unique moment in the year where we are preparing for the coming of the Savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus, the most incredible and abundantly generous gift of our loving God, is truly God and truly man. St. Irenaeus teaches:

“For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God”

Advent is our opportunity to enter deeply into communion with the Word, with God, so that we might become a son or daughter of God. There are many ways we can enter into communion with God, especially during Advent. We can commit to a daily Mass or weekly Confession. We can carve out time for a Morning Offering or daily Rosary. There are many reflection series, both online and in print, designed specifically for Advent. Advent is an excellent time to explore God’s Word in a more prayerful and intentional way – have you printed out your free Lectio Divina journal yet?

Advent is a time to step back and evaluate who we are in relation to who God is. Who are we, in our most basic and fundamental elements? The Catechism of the Catholic Church professes that we are:

  1. Made in the image of God (355)
  2. Capable of relationship with God (357)
  3. Willed by God into being – both body and soul (362)

This Advent, what are you going to do to help you reconnect with these basic truths about your life? Why are they important? What impact do they have on your life and relationships? And, how will they bring you into deeper communion with God as we await the coming of the Savior?Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com