"The whole trouble is that -- literally -- we do not know what is good for us; and what makes the trouble still worse is that we think we do. We have our own plans for our happiness, and too often we merely regard God as somebody who will help us to accomplish them. The true state of affairs is just the opposite. God has His plans for our happiness, and He is waiting for us to help Him to accomplish them. And let us be quite clear about it: We cannot improve on God's plans." This Tremendous Lover, M. Eugene Boylan, O.C.R.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Let the children come to me...

Growing up Roman Catholic, it was a big adjustment to enter the Eastern tradition in the Melkite church. Many small differences were hard for me to accept at first. However, I have to say that I am SO grateful that our girls have already received their sacraments and can receive Holy Communion. Tonight, as we attended the Vigil Liturgy for Theophany, Maddie told me, "I want Jesus." She was ANXIOUS to receive Him in Holy Communion. My four year old desires to be close to God and I could not ask for more. TRULY.

May God's Spirit dwell in our girls and fill their hearts with His joy and peace. Amen.

My saint in training, wrapped in Mommy's coat at church.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A year in review

Today, I am sick...ugh...but I believe this is God's way of forcing allowing me to sit (even for one day) and reflect on the previous year. This is difficult for two reasons:

1. I am not good at sitting still. Ask anyone who knows me. In fact, it makes me anxious to sit and "do nothing." Which, in turn, defeats the purpose of "relaxing" when I am not relaxed! But, if like today, I am forced to sit still and think...

2. This constant need to move and do projects makes it a struggle to stay in a reflective mindset for long. Once I find something that needs to be worked on, I feel prompted to immediately do something about it. If, for example, I reflect that I need to lose weight and focus more on what my family eats, I jump up to start a project on a new recipe binder, complete with meal plan ideas for weeks, instead of simply logging that thought and continuing on with my reflection.

That being said, as I was looking through my pictures for this year...I wanted to share some highlights and reflect on the things that I am thankful for with you. And, in turn, I am feeling very blessed. It is so easy for me to dwell on what God has NOT blessed me with. I am glad today to think of everything HE HAS given me. Here are some blessings...month by month...that brought a smile to my face today.

January...I am thankful for my dad...who cracks pecans with our girls in his backyard and lets them eat them right then and there.

February...Grace's Valentine concert...I'm thankful for the pure joy in this picture. My amazing husband who provides for and protects us all...and our not-so-little anymore girl who is thrilled to have him in her life.

Still February...at the children's retreat at church...I'm thankful for my mom and my friends who rallied around me and really helped make this rainy day a success!

March...House blessings...I am thankful for my Bible study friends...the five of us along with Fr. Peter, our husbands, and our children, blessed all of our houses in ONE day! At each house, we ate or crafted, prayed, and sang. We talked and laughed as our caravan of 11 adults and 15 (or so... I lost count!) kids prayed all the way from south Gilbert to Scottsdale.

March/April...Our girls' birthdays! We did a very GIRLY tea party this year and a small party with just immediate family...quite a departure from my usual HUGE parties. It was very fun though! (and I'm thankful there was nothing for me to clean up!)

April...The girls received their first Communion and Chrismation!!!! They now are able to receive our Lord in Holy Communion! I am so thankful that even now, months later, they are still so excited to go up to receive Him each week.

And somewhere in there...though I don't have a picture...I celebrated my first wedding anniversary with the love of my life, Zyad. I could not be more blessed! I am thankful to have the marriage I always dreamed of.

May 2010... Speaking of that amazing man...Zyad has entered the Deacon's program for the Melkite Catholic Diocese of Newton and has begun a new journey of discernment. I am thankful for our faith!

June 2010 was our big move to the West side...I am thankful for little girls who LOVE to play outside...no matter how much (or little) they have to play with!

July 2010...Brought our annual Melkite Convention, this year it was in Seattle, WA. Z and I had wonderful time! I was elected as a member of the Diocesan Pastoral Council and am looking forward to helping our Diocese to grow. I am so thankful that we also had time to travel down to see my sister and brother in law in Portland and visit the rose gardens there. It was my first trip up to see them though they have lived there for quite a while!

August 2010...Grace started 1st grade at her new (private, Catholic!) school and we decided to keep Maddie home for "home-school" preschool. We LOVE Grace's new school, as does she, and Maddie can't wait to start this fall! I am thankful for my in-laws (especially Teta) who help us to get Grace to and from school and watch Maddie as well!

September...We celebrated Fr. Peter's 10th Anniversary of being a priest. I had so much help from those around me with creative ideas and talents! It was a perfect night and I think Father really felt appreciated! I am thankful we have such a loving, prayerful man leading our parish.

October was the All Saints Day festival and speeches at school. Grace was St. Therese of Lisieux (of course!) courtesy of my mom's sewing skills. She memorized her speech and delivered it perfectly! It was a proud moment for all of us, even her little sister! I am thankful for these memories.

November is Thanksgiving, and of course, this year would be incomplete without mentioning my joy and gratitude to God for helping my nephew, Max, to heal and grow! It was not that long ago when we weren't sure he would get the chance to play the piano with our girls! But, here he is, the most adorable, sweet boy I know! Check out his story (if you don't already know it) here.

And finally, December...family pictures that made us all look so glamorous! Plus, a perfect Christmas celebrating the birth of our Lord with so many of our loved ones around us!

Can you see now why I am BLOWN AWAY at the generosity of the Lord?! What a year we've had! I can't believe we packed it all in to just one year. I'm honestly hoping 2011 is a little less eventful. But knowing me...it won't be!

Sunday school starts back up in two weeks and I am hoping to be able to keep this page up to date with at least some of our crafts and activities. See you then!