Praying with a Baby and Littles

Hi!  I’m Melina, mother of 11 and Grandmelina to 2!

I recently encountered the question in a Catholic Mothers’ Facebook group, “What kind of shape does your prayer time take when you have your baby & littles around?”

I didn’t have to think long to come up with my answer.

We’ve always prayed a rosary with our kids – right from the beginning. Daily mass was important to me too – for the graces I needed for my day, but also it was a shorter mass to teach my kids to be good, so that come Sunday they were better behaved at mass. I was always part of a bible study that “forced” me to schedule the reading of scripture and meditate on it. Middle of the night feedings gave me time for scripture reading or Mercy Chaplet. That was my “alone” time with the Lord even though the baby was present. I tried adoration but I would always fall asleep from lack of sleep. Then I read the book The Apostolate of Holy Motherhood where Mary is speaking to a young mother encouraging mothers to pray all 15 (now 20) mysteries of the rosary daily. I would start the morning praying a decade, and squeeze in as many decades each day as I could – while driving, folding clothes, washing dishes, nursing the baby, watching the kids play at the park, before falling asleep at night, during middle of the night feedings. Even if I didn’t finish all 20 mysteries, I would continue the next day where I had left off and then start all over again. This is the number 1 best thing I have ever done. I had 11 kids in 13 years and homeschool, and now that there are no babies in the house any more, I still continue this rosary praying and have reaped immeasurable graces from it. So it is true, one day you also will have no more babies in the house and the perseverance you have now with prayer will have a chance to blossom even more later on. Now, the days where I can pray all 20 mysteries all at once (during my morning walk) are my mini-retreat where God teaches me something new each time and builds my desire for adoration, scripture and sharing Jesus with those I meet during my day, especially my family.

Tea Biscuits

From Grandmelina’s Kitchen

tea biscuits 2

These always get a lot of compliments when I bring them to potlucks and the kids love them.  I loved eating them warm with butter (before my paleo days).  Make sure your baking powder is fresh.  Enjoy!

TEA BISCUITS

(Makes 12-18 biscuits)

  • 2 cups white flour
  • 4 heaping teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup lard (or butter)
  • 1 cup water (or milk/buttermilk)

Mix together the first 3 ingredients in a mixing bowl.

Cut in lard (using a pastry cutter or 2 knives crisscrossing lard) until mixture is the consistency of cornmeal.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the water slowly, stirring with a fork.  Stir until mixture sticks together and forms a ball.

Dump the ball (and any leftover dry ingredients still in the bowl) onto a well floured surface (I like to use a cookie sheet to make clean up easier).  Knead the ball until smooth, dusting with more flour as necessary.  DO NOT OVER-KNEAD!!!  As soon as it is smooth, stop kneading.  With your hands flatten the ball until it is about an inch thick.  Cut biscuits out with a floured round cookie cutter or a floured glass.  Gather the leftovers into a ball, flatten again, and cut more biscuits.  Remember to handle as little as possible to get the fluffiest biscuits.

Place the biscuits on an ungreased cookie sheet at least an inch apart (unless you like soft edges then make them touch).  Bake in a 450 degree F oven for 12-15 minutes.

 

 

 

Morning Prayer

 

Luke 10 38-42

Hi!  I’m Melina, homeschooling mother of 11 and Grandmelina to 2!

I wake up in the mornings and I immediately start thinking of all the things that need to get completed that day.  I’m making lists in my head, then transferring them onto paper…first, so that I can prioritize and second, so I don’t forget anything.  I may be known to forget important things, and maybe to double book…

I have learned through trial and error that my day is much better and my mood is more pleasant if my day starts with prayer.

Morning prayer for me has taken different forms over the years.

When I was a teen/young adult, my day started with PRAY praise, repent, ask and yes to the Lord  – followed by LMNOP listen, message, New Testament reading, Old Testament reading, Proverbs reading.  I filled my journal and was pleased to look back on what was written and see how the Lord was working in my life.  There were often patterns and recurring words.

When I was dating my husband, we would meet for 7am mass (we lived almost an hour apart) at a central location.  We made sure to go to confession each of those mornings before mass started so that we would remain pure in our relationship to each other.  Even though we weren’t perfect, we were virgins when we got married.

When the kids were little, our church still had daily mass and I tried never to miss.  I needed all the graces I could get to remain focused on the Lord in my chosen vocation.  I love being a Mom but things can get overwhelming at times.  I wanted the kids to love Jesus and church as much as I do.  There was a time when it was just me and the kids and one older couple who would meet in our pastor’s home for mass during the winter months.

Now we have mass just on Sundays and Wednesdays but we’re there faithfully.

Even though rosary was always a part of our family’s life, it moved to the mornings to replace the lost morning mass.  Rosary is followed by each of us taking a quiet time with the Lord and filling our journals with scriptures and words (and pictures) to reflect His faithfulness to us.

Now that I no longer have babies to worry about, I try to get out in the mornings before family rosary (consisting of 5 mysteries) to walk and pray those other 15 mysteries of the rosary.  On the days that I do accomplish this, I am able to move beyond “saying” the prayers, to meditating on the mysteries and contemplating the Lord’s work in my life – with its joys and struggles.

Of course my prayer doesn’t end in the morning.  It only blossoms from there.  Now my spirit is looking for quiet words with the Lord all day long.

OVERWHELMED?  Then start with PRAY – Praise the Lord, Repent of the wrongs you have done, Ask the Lord to fill your needs and the needs of those around you, and say Yes to the Lord, giving Him permission to work in your life today.

The result is more laughter and more faith, having placed the Lord at the center of my day. My duties are performed with more joy and peace, having left my worries on the altar of the Lord.

God is good!

 

 

 

Empty Rooms but a Full Heart

Hi!  I’m Melina, homeschooling mother of 11, and Grandmelina to 2!

Yesterday I got a call from a 2 1/2 year old.  After a little coaxing, I had a conversation about jumping on the bed.  It lasted approximately 2 minutes before my granddaughter hung up the phone.  And her mom had no idea the rascal had actually made the call before she retrieved her phone from the little thief.  A blessing and a laugh – God is good.

I’m sitting here this morning at my computer listening to the birds chirping outside and the odd car driving by.  But what I miss most on these quiet mornings is the sound of little feet and little voices.

It is almost a month since my 2 granddaughters and their parents have moved on.  After living with us for almost a year and a half, their absence is keenly felt.  No little hugs and kisses on a daily basis, no other woman in the house to share parenting adventures with, no other man in the house to share laughter with…and 4 empty spots at the table.

The day they moved out, I stood in their empty room upstairs.  I stood in the silence and felt the loss.

But new adventures await as God calls us on, for them and for us.  As each of our kids move on, we feel the loss and rejoice in their decisions.  Even though the rooms are empty, my heart is still full.

Cookie Mania – the Ultimate Oatmeal Cookie

Hi!  I’m Melina, homeschooling mother of 11 and Grandmelina to 2!

This has been a favourite in our house for years.  Some like it with raisins, some without, some like it with spices, some without…  We usually make half with raisins, half without, and no spices.  Always at least a double recipe.  Enjoy!

The Ultimate Oatmeal Cookie

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup cooking oil (I personally don’t like the taste of olive oil in the cookies)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. baking soda dissolved in 1 Tbsp. hot water
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup raisins (optional)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice (optional)
  • 1/2 cup nuts (optional)

Beat eggs in a mixing bowl until frothy.  Beat in both sugars.  Add cooking oil and vanilla.  Beat.  Add the dissolved baking soda.  Stir well.  Add the oats, flour and salt (and spices, if using).  Stir well.  Add in the raisins, if using.  Stir well.

Drop by spoonfuls onto greased baking sheet (you can alternately use a silicone baking mat or some parchment paper).  Bake in 350 degree F. oven for 8-11 minutes.

Makes 3 1/2 dozen

 

 

 

Our Lady of Fatima – May 13th

our-lady-of-fatima

Click HERE to get your copy of the above colouring page.

May 13th, 1917, in the middle of World War I, Mary appeared to 3 shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal – Lucia and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco.  Appearing six times, Mary stressed the importance of praying the rosary.

On May 13th, 1981, on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, there was a failed assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II.  He credits Our Lady of Fatima with saving his life.

While Catholics are not bound to believe in private revelations, Mary’s love for her people is keenly felt.  Following each decade of the rosary is often heard prayed the Fatima Prayer given by Mary to the children after a vision of hell:

“O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell.  Lead all souls to heaven, especially those most in need of your mercy.  Amen.”

THE DAY THE SUN DANCED is a great video to watch with the kids.

MOTHER’S DAY – Lowering our Expectations

Hi!  I’m Melina, a homeschooling mother of 11 and Grandmelina to 2.

First of all, I want to say how much I LOVE being a grandmother.  If you’re not one yet, it is something very special to look forward to.  Anyone who knows me knows that I am crazy about babies, and strangers are tolerant of you talking to their children, but what I really want to do is hold the child – and as Grandmelina I get to do that.  Nine days – that’s how old my youngest grandchild is.  I got to hold her when she was just hours old.  I got to smell that newborn smell, look in awe at her perfect features, and hold her close to my heart.  Already I can’t wait for the next one!  But I am happy to enjoy the 2 I have so far.

Now on to a lesson I learned earlier on.  I say earlier on because it did take quite a few years (and quite a few children) before I learned this lesson.  Now I enjoy Mother’s Day so much more!

I had 4 or 5 kids at the time.  I remember standing in the kitchen crying.  It was Mother’s Day in the evening, and I was standing by myself washing dishes – and crying.  I had prepared the dinner, served it, and now I was cleaning up by myself listening to my husband and young kids having a lot of fun in the living room.  There was lots of laughter.

Of course, I was having a pity party for one.  There were no dollar store gifts.  There were no homemade cards.  No one made me dinner or spoiled me.  No one was insisting that I sit while they cleaned up the kitchen. This was my single worst Mother’s Day ever, but I learned an important lesson.

As I stood there with the tears pouring down my face, God gently reminded me that I was a MOTHER.  What did being a mother mean to me?  In part it meant preparing meals that we could sit and enjoy as a family, taking the time to visit with one another and to enjoy each other’s company.  It meant guiding the older ones in service, helping the younger ones, serving my husband and leading by example.  It meant serving my family joyfully, every day, without exception – including Mother’s Day.

I realized that the best way to celebrate Mother’s Day was by being a mother – the best mother that I could be.  To be joyful, and content, and peaceful.  Suddenly the laughter from the other room no longer meant that I was forgotten or excluded, but that my family was happy and healthy and enjoying each other.

I also learned to announce to the kids that Mother’s Day was coming up and that I expected them each to come up with something to give or to do.  It is now a tradition that I get breakfast in bed. Sometimes each child insists on contributing to the tray.  One year I even got raw cabbage because they tried to have 10 different items on that tray and that’s all they could come up with.  The men at church cook lunch for the ladies.  Supper is take out on disposable plates.  No food prep.  No dishes.  Just time spent together and me treating myself.

Contentment and planning – 2 key elements to a successful and joy filled Mother’s Day.  I can hardly wait to see what tomorrow will bring🙂

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY

A Mother’s Challenge – Letting Go and Letting God

Hi!  I’m Melina, a homeschooling mother of 11 and Grandmelina to 1 (and a half!).

Today is the day I have to let go and let God, because this is the day I have to sit back and let one of my kids live with the consequences of his actions.

He left for college with high hopes of success and new adventures.  First semester went well, second semester came crashing down.  Sex, drugs, alcohol, cheating, stealing, renunciation of God – all the things we fear our kids might do when they leave home is what happened.  To be honest, it started a long time before college but now he had money and freedom to do as he pleased.

Or so he thought.  Then came eviction from residence, failing marks, and alienation of friends.  What could have been a great experience has turned into a train wreck.

Now comes my part.  My husband and I decided that we cannot allow him to move back home.  He had no respect for rules before he left, and his actions show no change and there is no remorse.  Promises were made, but there is no desire for change.

As a mother I know he is scared.  He has found no friend or family member willing to take him in.  His actions have closed doors.  He is afraid of being homeless.  He is afraid of being alone.  He wants to be taken care of.  But he is still unwilling to change.  He doesn’t yet see the error in his ways.

I want to hold him and comfort him and tell him everything will be okay.  But I can’t do that until he wants to change and is ready to change.  And he needs Jesus.  Boy, does he need Jesus.

What is my role at this time?  With him rejecting my advice and suggestions, and usually not responding to my messages, my role is to PRAY, PRAY, PRAY.

A friend once told me that God gives us children to bring us to our knees and to make us holy.  Well, I’m certainly praying.  Family and friends are praying.  And God is good.  I know this and I trust Him, but it’s hard for this Mama to squash her instinct to comfort and provide.  Hard, but not impossible.

God, You are my God.  I trust you, I love You and I come before You.  You know the concerns that I have as a mother for her children.  They are yours.  Teach them the lessons You want them to learn.  For my part, I will pray.  I will fast and I will pray that Your will be done.  You are all good, and with You nothing is impossible.  I will wait.  I will wait as long as it is needed, and I will trust.  Help me to remember all my children and the great works you are doing in all their lives.  God, You are my God.  I love You more than life itself.  I give myself entirely to you.  AMEN.

Interior Practices

Faith is more than our exterior practices.  It is more than the action of saying and of doing.  There is a deeper element – the interior.  Allowing God’s words to wash over us and the meanings to penetrate to our innermost self, allowing it to penetrate our thoughts until it speaks to our heart and to our soul. That is when we truly are in communion with God.

Jesus said, “Were you not able to keep watch one hour?” (Mark 14:37)  I have noticed that it is not until I am able to pray for at least an hour that I am able through thought and meditation during prayer to enter into the interior practice of prayer.  It is then that I am able to forget myself and focus on God and the lessons He has to teach me.  It is then that my soul is comforted.  It is then that true change happens.

I have noticed, while walking and praying, that at this point small animals (birds, squirrels, cats) tend to not be frightened, and not scurry away as I pass close to them.  It’s as if they sense God’s Spirit that is stirred in me.  There’s a sense of peace that surrounds me that they notice.  This only happens after at least an hour of prayer, and it doesn’t happen often.  It’s a little gift God gives me to reassure me that my prayers are heard.  At times like this I am reminded of St. Francis and his friendship with animals.  It is at times like this that I am humbled.

 

 

 

Prophecies (March 13-19)

As received by Deacon Stan Cor;  shared with permission

SHINERS SUNDAY (prophecy)

“The just ones shall shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mt. 13:43)
“I have called you to be shiners who let My light shine brightly for all to see. Light is not loud or noisy, but quietly shines with the love, goodness, kindness and glory of God. My people are called to be shiners to bring light to the world, to demonstrate My divine Light for all to see and to draw them to Me, the Light of the world.
Shiners, shine brightly by your loving kindness, faithfulness, peace, joy and patience. Shine with the glory of God within you. Shine brightly for all the world to see. Be shiners for Me and for the salvation of the world.”
“You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid.
No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” (Mt. 5: 14-16)

FAITH IN MOTION (encouragement)

Faith, to be real faith, must be faith in motion, faith that steps out and moves and does something. Faith that does nothing in practice is mere mental assent that cannot save, sanctify, or set free. Faith, like love, must act and speak of the Beloved. Faith pursues the One Who first loved us.
At Pentecost the Holy Spirit crashed in & upon the 120 in the upper room where they were praying. Empowered by the Holy Spirit they moved out into the streets praising God, speaking in tongues & boldly preaching the Good News of salvation inJesus Christ. Their faith was in motion and 3,000 souls came to faith in Jesus, were saved and added to the church. Faith in motion bore great results: from 120 believers to 3120! Praise the Lord!
Where is your faith? Stuck behind closed doors, still without a personal experience of Pentecost? Ask for and receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit Jesus promised. Let Him make you a person with faith in motion.
Faith in motion will make you a mighty man or woman of God, a blessing to the multitudes.

TRIUMPH OVER TESTS AND TRIALS TUESDAY (encouragement)

“Not only that – we even boast of our afflictions! We know that affliction makes for endurance, endurance for tested virtue and tested virtue for hope. And this hope will not leave us disappointed, because the love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5)
“I tell you all this that in Me you may find peace. You will suffer in the world. But take courage! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Leaning on Jesus as we work through tests and trials will lead us to triumph and endurance. He rose triumphantly. He had overcome the world even before His suffering and cruel death. Jesus had triumphed over all the tests and trials; the enemy had no power over Him because there was no darkness of in in Him, only tested virtue.
What about us? Do we have tested virtue or are we still being tested and purified? If the latter, let us run to Jesus for the graces we need to endure and triumph over every trial, test and temptation. Ask Jesus to purify our hearts so that the enemy find only tested virtue and thus have no power over us.
In and with Jesus let us triumph over tests, trials and temptations; He has overcome the world!

WORD ON FIRE WEDNESDAY (encouragement)
“Were not our hearts burning within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us? (Luke 24:32)
As Jesus walked with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, He interpreted every passage of Scripture that referred to Him. The Word He spoke to them burned within their hearts. The Word in Scripture became a living Word for them, a Word on fire!
They wanted more so they invited Jesus to spend the night with them. It was in the breaking of the bread that they recognized Him and He vanished. Immediately they returned to Jerusalem to share their experience with the others, how they had recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread.
May Jesus, the living Word, burn brightly within each of our hearts and reveal Himself to us in the breaking of the bread, the Bread of Life – Jesus.
The Word of God be the Word on fire for each of us!

The prophet Jeremiah spoke of the Word of God as a fire in his heart and bones. He had to proclaim it. (Jer. 20:8-9) May it be so with each of us who believe in God the Father and Jesus Christ Whom He sent. May our hearts be filled with His Word on fire; may it burn with such power that it impels and compels us to speak it forth. As God said to the prophet Ezekiel, “Whether they listen or refuse to listen, they shall know that a prophet has spoken.”
As professing, baptized, active Christians we have been made prophets, priests and kings/queens unto God our Father. Each of us is called to listen to the Word of God, know it and speak it forth in the unique way He has for each of us. He will give us the courage, grace and strength we need to do this. His Word accomplishes all that He sends it to do. God is speaking and wants to speak thru you.
The Word of God, Word on fire, be in your heart and on your lips! Amen!

ADORATION (encouragement)

Lord, I sense that You are saying that You want each of us to know that you love us, to experience and actually feel your love poured upon us and flowing through ever fibre of our being.
“Behold what love the Father has lavishly bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God and that is what we are! Dearly beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall later be has not yet come to light. We know that when it comes to light we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is. Everyone who has this hope based on Him, keeps himself pure as He is pure.” (1 John 3:1a-3)

FORGE ON FRIDAY (prophecy)

“Since we have these precious promises, beloved, let us purify ourselves from every defilement of flesh and spirit, and in the fear of God strive to fulfill our consecration perfectly.” (2 Cor. 7:1)
Forge on, My disciples, and witness to all those within your assigned circles of influence and assigned territories. Forge on, press in to grow in intimacy with Me, deepening union and communion with Me. Forge on to grow in holiness, zeal and the power of the Holy Spirit. Forge on to fully achieve the divine destiny you were created for. Forge on to grow in fellowship with like-minded Christians to support and be supported by each other.
Forge on, Beloved, forge on to the more and the new I have for you. Forge on!”

Forge on, press onward toward the high calling that is ours in Christ Jesus. Forge on; so much awaits us. Do not hesitate or falter but perseveringly forge on; the reward is a great eternal reward. Forge on and finish the course set before you. The Lord Himself, with all of heaven, is cheering you on, so forge on and fully accomplish the divine destiny you were created for.
Forge on, beloved of God, forge on!

SWEPT AWAY SATURDAY (encouragement)

Swept away are my sins in the cleansing merciful stream of the precious Blood of Jesus Christ, the Lord, my Lord! Swept away are my failures and hurts of the past to be remembered no more. They have no more power over me; I am free – Jesus, the Son of God has set me free and I am free indeed. Swept away by His loving response to my tears of repentance are guilt, shame and condemnation. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1) Swept away are my fears and feelings of inadequacy. As Paul says, “I can do all things thru Christ Who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
So I am swept away into His plans and purposes for me. He has swept me up into His eternal love and is transforming me bit by bit into what He wants me to be. To Him be the glory for it is all His gracious gift to me.
Be swept away by the love and mercy of God in Christ Jesus the Lord.
Be swept away today!

Swept away and made clean in the infinite loving mercy of God towards us we can stand before Him without fear. Father God has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ His beloved Son, not counting our transgressions against us. As Zechariah sang in his canticle, “He promised to show mercy to our fathers and to remember His holy covenant. This was the oath He swore to our father Abraham: to set us free from the hands of all who hate us, free to worship Him without fear, holy and righteous in His sight all the days of our life.” (Luke 1:72-75)
Swept away is all that kept us from Him, all that we admitted and repented of. Swept clean; now we are open to receive the good things the Father has for us and like Zechariah’s son John the Baptist “go before the Lord to prepare His way to give His people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins.” (Luke 1:76-77)
Swept away, and swept into His will and way for our lives. O happy day!

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