Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Putting Family First!

This week, Jesse & I were asked to write the bulletin article since our priest is out of town. Here's what we came up with. I'm thinking we should figure out a way to make a living doing this!!

“We have to keep our kids busy with many activities so they stay out of trouble.”
“Let’s get through this month and we will take that family vacation…I promise.”
“Where did this week go?! I ran everywhere for everyone and I am exhausted.”

                 Life is zooming past us at such a hurried pace.  Time is our most precious asset, yet where & who are we spending it with? This week, we decided to show you some techniques that have worked for our family. Don’t think this means that we have it all together! Like many families, we struggle with all of the above scenarios, but wanted to share things that help us overcome it. We believe our culture has taken the family model & shattered its purpose. Society places a high value on entertainment & a fast-paced lifestyle. We are tricked into believing that if you aren’t busy, if you aren’t doing something, you aren’t creating value. Our value should be found in our relationship with God, not in how much we produce. God has led us out of slavery, yet often times we enslave ourselves to our work & other misguided priorities. Today, allow God to free you from those burdens! We need to reestablish the importance of our relationships & grow in faith as a family.

                Communication is essential!  We have to force ourselves to stop & reflect on what we did each day & share it with our families. Otherwise, we’ll just forget & just keep moving at 100mph. Part of prayer is reflection - it’s how we grow into better versions of ourselves. “What was your high today? What was your low today?” These are the two questions that each member of our family answers at the dinner table every evening. It’s a fun conversation starter & allows each person to tell us what they like & dislike about their day. As simple as this strategy is, it helps us to connect as a family. We believe that if we are able to talk about the small stuff every day, then it will make it easier for us to discuss the more challenging situations as they arise.

                Another key component of communication is honesty. Our children need to see us succeed in life, but they also need to see us fail…and learn from our failures. By being examples for our children & being honest with them, we are giving them a realistic example of what it means to be an adult, to be a parent. We need to forget about trying to be the “perfect” family & give thanks for our real family. Life is not perfect, in fact sometimes it is downright messy! But we need to embrace all of it, & show our children that loving each other through all of these situations is more important than how we look to others & is a key component in obtaining grace.

                Communication takes time. Right now you might not be able to fathom how you’re going to find quality time in your busy schedules, but trust us to say that you must make family time a priority! It has taken us many years with Jesse’s chaotic schedule to find this balance. But, with our children now in school, we knew family time had to take place. So, we began our Tuesday night family night. Every Tuesday, after school & work, we come home, prepare & eat dinner together & then spend our evening with the TV/phone turned off, spending quality time together. We’ve also begun to incorporate a weekly gospel reflection with questions & a video that lead us into discussion. This allows us to share our love for our faith with our children & teach them how they can learn from & interpret the weekly readings in their own lives. As parents & a married couple, this tool has also been beneficial as we now take time to read & reflect on the gospel & come to Mass prepared & engaged. If you are interested in joining us & doing the reflections as a family, go to http://massimpactus.blogspot.com/.

                When God called Elijah up the mountain, God was calling him to be present on the mountain. God understood that when Elijah climbed to the top, he was going to be thinking ahead to climbing down. The literal translation of what God said to Elijah means, “Be on the mountain.” Isn’t it human nature to be thinking ahead to the next thing, the next plans? When it comes to family & faith, we need to be present, be family. Don’t spend all your energy moving so fast, thinking forward to the next thing. Just be. Stop. Breathe. Enjoy the view of the mountains. Enjoy being together. Enjoy being a family.

                Please keep our family in your prayers, we are keeping you in ours as well. Let’s do this together! God bless, Jesse & Jessica

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