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

When Words Fail

I have been debating back and forth to write this post. Truthfully, I’m not sure what I can say, what I should say, or what I ought to say. These past 2 weeks have been full of tremendous pain, anger, sorrow and shame for our Church.

As a Catholic, I am so ashamed, even though I have no knowledge or contact with anyone who has suffered abuse or perpetrated it. As a mother, I am fearful and on edge, what if it happened or someday happens to one of my children? As a member of society, I am outraged that something this heinous could happen among people claiming to love and follow Christ.

Naming our feelings is just one of many steps in what will be a long, slow process of healing. We are still not recovered from the scandals of the early 200s. Wounds have been torn back open and new ones made in the wake of Pennsylvania.

In times such as these, it is perhaps understandable to want to circle the wagons, keep everyone and everything close at hand. We can read the Bible at home. We can teach our kids right from wrong at the park under our watchful eye instead of at Religious Education classes. There isn’t time for the parish potluck, and besides we don’t know who will be there.

Tempting though this attitude may be, it is not one that will bring healing and wholeness back to our Church. The temptation to isolate ourselves from our faith would be the height of achievement for the devil’s plans in this twisted mess. Bishop Barron, in his article about this situation, reminds us that “The devil works through temptation, suggestion, and insinuation—and he accomplishes nothing without our cooperation.”

As a mother, it is my job to work with my husband to raise our children in the ways of society and the truths of our faith. We would be abandoning both charges if we turned our backs on the Church in this moment. We show our children every single day what it means to be a member of society through our interactions with others. We model our faith in the exact same way. If we were to stop going to Mass or participating in parish events, we would effectively be training our children that 1. This faith stuff really isn’t the be all end all if it is so easily cast aside and 2. When there is a big problem, something bigger than just ourselves, our actions mean little and aren’t worth the effort to try and fix whatever is going wrong. Pope Francis  said, “today we want solidarity, in the deepest and most challenging sense, to become our way of forging present and future history.” We must come together, not be driven apart.

Like I said at the start, I’m still not sure what to say or how to say it. What has happened, what has been allowed to happen, are crimes against so much of Jesus taught us. He exposes the injustice of society. He reaches out to those in need and to those being trod underfoot and raises them up. He loves without measure and forgives without tiring. We as a Church are in great need of His mercy now, for we have greatly sinned.

Regardless of how closely related to this situation you are, your prayers and your presence are needed. I would encourage everyone to pray in a special way through Mary, Our Lady Undoer of Knots. This is a deep, dark problem. One that we most certainly cannot unravel on our own. It will take time, patience, diligence and justice. For the victims it will take enormous amounts of mercy, compassion, healing and hope.

Some other ideas for the way forward:

Read Pope Francis’ letter to the People of God and join him in prayer for the victims of these crimes as well as their families and communities.

Write a letter to your local bishop, archbishop or cardinal.

Pray with #sackclothandashes a growing movement that wishes to participate in acts of sacrifice, sorrow and reparation to God for the terrible sins committed against God’s people. This is a call for fasting and prayer for 40 days. Though it started on Aug 22, the Queenship of Mary, your prayers, sacrifices and support are never wasted.

Holy Mary, full of God’s presence during the day of your life, you accepted with
full humility the Father’s will, and the devil was never capable of tying you up with
his confusion.
Once with your Son you interceded for our difficulties, and full of kindness and
patience, you gave us example of how to untie the knots in our life. By remaining
forever Our Mother, you put in order and make more clear the ties that link us to
the Lord.
Holy Mother, Mother of God and our Mother, to you who untie with a motherly
heart the knots of our life, we pray to you to receive in your hands (the name of
the person), and to free him/her of the knots and confusion with which our
enemy attacks.
Through your grace, your intercession and your example deliver us from all evil,
Our Lady, and untie the knots that prevent us from being united with God, so that
we, free from sin and error, may find Him in all things, may have our hearts
placed in Him, and may serve Him always in our brothers and sisters.
Amen.

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com

Embracing Cloth: Living a Less Disposable Life

We have recently made the decision to switch to cloth napkins. This is following a more conscious effort to create less waste in our home. Instead of reaching for paper towels, we reach for dish towels, Swedish dishcloths or cloth napkins. There are many reasons why people make this kind of choice. Environmental awareness, scientific knowledge, smaller footprint, cost savings, etc. These are important factors, to be sure. However, they aren’t our primary motivator.

Linguists know, and so do we all deep down, that the words we use shape the way we think about the world. Something as simple and basic as changing a single word or phrase in a sentence can give us a fresh perspective on any number of perceived divisions, attitudes and injustices. For example: “These people are different than I am” or “These people are similar to me.” Or the classic Catholic example, “We have to go to Mass” versus “We get to go to Mass.”

The little things can make all the difference. After watching the Netflix show Cooked Ben and I have been talking a lot about how “disposabley” minded our American culture has become. Worldwide, roughly 140,000 disposable plates and cups are thrown away every second! In one year, approximately 73 billion Styrofoam plates and cups were disposed of in the US alone. Combine this conversation with our subscription to a website called MightyNest which offers sustainable products designed to encourage people to create less harmful (primarily plastic) waste and we landed at our dinner table. Specifically our napkin holder with its ever-emptying supply of paper napkins.

Now that Eliza is capable of getting up on the table unassisted (not at the table, on the table – literally), our napkin usage has skyrocketed. John, Rosie and Clare also tend to revile dirty fingers so you can quickly see that in a single day we could easily burn through 15 or more paper napkins. Most meals included at least one if not multiple napkins per kid, and not because the napkin was unusable. It was just more convenient to grab a new one. Ridiculous! We had created napkin monsters!

Maybe this isn’t a big deal in your house, and that’s awesome! But for us, we have chosen to see this tendency as a foundational building block for a less disposabley-minded life (I know, I totally made that word up but I like it).

IMG-2135

Just like we are taught from the earliest ages that it is polite to say “Yes, please” and “No, thank you,” shouldn’t we be taught to be mindful of the things we use? Humans were placed on the earth not to use it or abuse it, but to be good stewards of it (see Genesis 1-2). In this way, we are helping our children (and ourselves) to be good stewards of something small, a simple napkin. But, hopefully, it will help to form their conscience in a way so that when they are called upon to be stewards of something larger, they already have a good habit pattern to follow.Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com