Women’s History Month Spotlight – Mary, Mother of Jesus

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As far back as I can remember, I wanted to be a mother. Little did I know back then, that role would far surpass any joy I’ve ever experienced. And that it would rocket my capacity to worry past the moon. I’m pretty sure I can count on one hand the number of nights of uninterrupted sleep I’ve had since my boys were born. And this month they turn 24 and 27!

Mary, on the other hand, knew she was going to lose her son. She knew she was going to give birth to the Lord of heaven and earth, and knew from Jesus himself what was forthcoming. Could you imagine? I’m not sure–no, I am sure–I would never have been able to handle that with such grace, such trust in God, such beauty, as she did. She was the epitome of what a mother should be.

I’ve kept journals for each of my boys until they were 12 years old. I wrote in those journals every day when they were younger, a little less frequently as they got older, but even then, at least a few times a week. I tried to capture the miracle of everything life gave them every single day – the joy, the hurts, the lessons. When I read those journals, it’s like experiencing those magical days of motherhood again. What a miracle! My boys have taught me the definition of real and unconditional love. They’ve taught me how beautiful it is to see life through the eyes of a child. And through it all, they’ve taught me to trust Jesus.

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Another miracle of being a mother? I’m a grandmother. And what a joy that is! 🙂

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Women’s History Month Spotlight – Mother Teresa

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Anyone who has followed my blog for any length of time knows I’m completely in awe of Mother Teresa’s greatness. So my first “spotlight” woman for Women’s History Month isn’t a surprise.

Mother Teresa was the picture of humility, compassion, love, and service. She loved unconditionally, with no prejudice or judgement, leaving the world a much better place than when she entered it.

Mother Teresa described herself so eloquently: “By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus.”

What a beautiful example of a woman. She has been both a blessing and a lesson to countless others.

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“G” is for…

Guilt.

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It wasn’t my fault. Honest!

It’s such a harsh word.  GUILT.  It seems to scream “Villain!” or “Bad!”

Having been born and raised Catholic, I’ve felt my share of guilt as I was growing up.  And that guilt is still laced throughout my daily life.  When I’m feeling uncomfortable and don’t seem to know why, I can usually find it’s connected to feeling guilty about something.

But what I’ve found throughout the years, is that guilt is not necessarily a bad thing.  There is such a thing as healthy guilt. It’s learning to recognize the difference.

Healthy guilt shows when I’ve acted less than loving, when I’ve done or said something I knew was wrong, and that I’ve likely compromised a moral standard that is part of my compass. It can be a behavior guide, offering a checks and balances system.

What’s not healthy, however, is feeling guilt about things beyond my control.  Or when guilt is the byproduct of false self-importance. When I can pinpoint the discomfort I’m feeling as guilt, I have to stop and wonder why I think I’m so powerful as to control outcomes and events or why I think I’m so special that someone having a bad day would actually be about me.

When I feel guilty about something, I can let it paralyze me from moving forward, getting stuck in the rut of self-pity, or I can put on my big girl panties and climb out of that rut, make amends if needed, and move forward.

Not the person someone thinks I should be or good enough to meet their standards?  Not in my control.  Let it go.

Missed my daily word quota?  Forgive myself and move on.  Or better yet, make it up the next day.

Said something harsh or unloving to my husband or kids? Sincerely apologize, setting a healthy example of how to right a wrong, and move on.

“True guilt is guilt at the obligation one owes to oneself to be oneself.  False guilt is guilt felt at not being what other people feel one ought to be or assume that one is.”  -R.D. Laing

Peace.