Catholic Conference for Moms – Oct 10-15

Hey everyone! I intended to get this awesome info in your hands last week, but the week (and Eliza’s mysterious fever) got the best of me. So here we are, the day before this exciting opportunity which starts TOMORROW! The Catholic Conference for Moms is an online conference that is totally, completely and 100% FREE for anyone who signs up.

This conference is so great. This year, the conference theme is Pass It On, thinking specifically about what we pass on to our children. What things do we want to pack in their proverbial life backpacks. Speakers from all over the country and walks of life share a bit about what the essentials for a well stocked life backpack would be. Each day 3 new presentations are available, but you can still see the ones you may have missed from the previous day. The presentations are simple videos of the person talking and are perfect to listen to while folding laundry, stirring a pot of soup, or sitting quietly with your cup of morning coffee (you might even be able to take a note or two). And you always have the handy dandy pause button to back you up when life happens.

Some of the topics covered this year are:

cc4m speakers

There are already thousands of moms, and parents in general, who have signed up for this conference. It is a worthwhile way to spend your week, especially as we are all looking forward to the holidays. What is truly important in our family? What are the lessons my own attitude is teaching my children? How can our family grow in holiness these last months of the year? What are the areas we are succeeding in helping our children lead happy, holy lives? What are the areas we need to concentrate on?

This conference is an opportunity to rest and rejuvenate yourself spiritually, especially within the context of your vocation as a parent. I cannot encourage you enough to sign up.

I’ll be posting again in a few days about Danielle Bean’s presentation “Love of Learning” which I got to preview ahead of time – it’s so good! My review will be here as well as on Catholicmom.com where you can join in discussions all week long about the conference.

Absolutely in love with the conference? Wish you could keep some or all of the presentations? Want a ton of free stuff and discounts? Be sure to check back on my review for information on how you can score a TON of conference swag, books, ebooks, discounts to Catholic websites of all kinds, and the presentations to keep. =) =) =)

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com

The Crown and why Mary’s is Different

I’ve been watching Netflix’s The Crown lately. I enjoy historical dramas, and historical fiction, both TV and books. It has been so interesting to learn about Queen Elizabeth II and the people around her. Of course there have been inaccuracies, or dramatizations but all in all I have greatly enjoyed it.

I recently watched an episode where Elizabeth is struggling with a decision regarding her sister, Margaret. Margaret has had quite the time trying to find her way in the world and was struggling with politics, protocol and the Church in her efforts to get married. Ultimately, the decision falls to Elizabeth as head of the family and head of the Church of England. At a certain point, Elizabeth is having formal photographs taken in all her “get up” – full crown, blue sash etc. As she poses, the photographer recites this somewhat speech in the background to set the tone for her.

“All hail sage Lady, whom a grateful Isle hath blessed. Not moving, not breathing. Our very own goddess. Glorious Gloriana. Forgetting Elizabeth Windsor now. Now only Elizabeth Regina”

Elizabeth finds herself torn in two. She is both sister and queen. As a sister, she wants to help her sister in her quest for love. As queen, she is compelled to deny her sister because of Church tradition and political ramifications. Elizabeth, as a mere human, simply isn’t capable of holding both facets of her identity at the same time. She has to choose.

All this talk of queenship got me thinking about another queen, one far more powerful than Elizabeth could ever be. Our blessed Mother of course!

What is so incredible about Mary is that this scenario that Elizabeth faced – am I to be queen or sister – never happens with Mary. Never does she choose between being our Queen and our Mother. Let’s face it, there are probably a whole host of moments in each of our lives where a queen would have ruled one way but our mother would plead for our second chance.

When I watch Elizabeth as queen I see the distance it puts between her and her children. It’s not so hard to assume that Mary, Queen of Heaven is now more distant than simply, Mary, our Mother. But not so! Pope John Paul II said:

Thus far from creating distance between her and us, Mary’s glorious state brings about a continuous and caring closeness. She knows everything that happens in our life and supports us with maternal love in life’s trials.

Taken up into heavenly glory, Mary dedicates herself totally to the work of salvation in order to communicate to every living person the happiness granted to her. She is a Queen who gives all that she possesses, participating above all in the life and love of Christ.

Mary is solely focused on our salvation. Her whole purpose, both as queen and mother, is to draw us closer to her Son. Her Queenship isn’t about gathering power, but as JPII said, she “gives all that she possesses” so that we might see Jesus a little more clearly.

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com

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