Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy Feast of the Holy Family!

(Drawing by Maddy, age 5)

Today we enjoyed "A Festa Beleza da Sagrada Família" with Holy Mass at the Cathedral in Brasilia, followed by a surprise from Daddy that he received a half-day of work (so, the rest of the day with us!), family grocery shopping, family swim, yummy pizza dinner, and cake decorating, with each of us having one small cake to enjoy.

Somos cinco!

We are so blessed to have the most beautiful and humble family to look at and celebrate and learn from day-by-day in the Holy Family. We give God thanks for our little family and our parents, grandparents and siblings who continue to inspire us to shoot for the heavens, where one day we hope to share an everlasting feast with the Holy Family. Saude!

(Drawing by Caleb and given to Mommy on Christmas day)

(Made by PaPa)

It was so enjoyable to wake up again this morning, sit with Caleb and say morning prayers with our girls nearby (and Little Caleb soon-to-awake) and know that we have the Holy Family's feast to celebrate. I look at the three of our little treasures and give God thanks, for I know that I did nothing to be blessed with such gifts, and that they are not ours but His to return. But, they are gifts. And, gifts are to be enjoyed, well-cared for always with a grateful spirit. I am grateful for family. We sat this morning and read reflected on Blessed John Paul II's strong and encouraging writing in the meditation of the Magnificat today (only in part below):

The Church is deeply convinced that only by the acceptance of the Gospel are the hopes that man legitimately places in marriage and in the family capable of being fulfilled.

Willed by God in the very act of creation, (3) marriage and the family are interiorly ordained to fulfillment in Christ (4) and have need of His graces in order to be healed from the wounds of sin (5) and restored to their "beginning," (6) that is, to full understanding and the full realization of God's plan...

(from Familiaris Consortio)

Where would we be without the family? Madge told us today on our way home from Mass how excited she was to hear Daddy was staying home. She said, "During Mass I was getting distracted from looking at Jesus, because I just kept thinking 'Daddy has to go back to work." Caleb told me later that during Mass Madge had her head on Daddy. How loved each person is in the family. Thank you, Lord, for your gift of life. May it always be sanctified.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

So, Bring Us Some Cookie Pudding!

We have been singing Christmas songs around the house lately, trying to prepare ourselves for Christmas. 

Unfortunately--or fortunately--there are no radio stations here in Brazil with 24/7 Christmas songs. On the one hand, I miss some of the songs. On the other hand, there are lots of songs I've heard enough ("sir, I want to buy these shoes..."). Perhaps this dearth of radio songs has incentivized more singing ourselves. Madge has recently been enjoying the song, We Wish You a Merry Christmas. It's pretty cute: she has her own rendition that goes, so, bring us some cookie pudding, so bring us some cookie pudding... Mares and I think that it's so cute that we haven't wanted to correct her. I say let the world eat cookie pudding for Christ's birth. (Besides: I have heard some reviews that figgie pudding is overrated.)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Santa Picture at Park Shopping Plaza

We walked through Park Shopping Plaza on Saturday. There was a nice Santa Claus (from Minas Gerais). Maddy was excited to sit on his lap. Pita was looking askance at Santa the whole time and wanted to sit on my lap. Baby Caleb was pretty clueless. All in all, a wonderful Christmas memory. We topped it off with frozen yogurt at the mall: for toppings, Madge chose colored marshmallows, Pita chose gummy bears.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Breakfast with my Loves

This morning we were all up, except for the Prince, Mr. Cal-see-don, as Pita calls him. :) Pita asked for crepes, which are a breakfast treat usually left for the Saturday morns. But, what a treat it is to be here daily with my three little loves. These moments are treasures I need not wait to celebrate on the weekend, but to live, and live now, in the moment. (If I could only remember and raise up this great gift every second of every day.) Thank you, Lord, for this opportunity to serve you, through Your little ones.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Generosity in Marriage

The NYTimes article The Generous Marriage pointed to new research that more fully describes the importance of generosity within marriage.  While I doubt it comes as a surprise to anyone, I always think it's interesting when research backs up common sense and expands on it. This is one such case. According to the researchers, the top three predictors of a happy marriage are (1) sexual intimacy, (2) commitment, (3) generosity.

Furthermore, the article states:
Preliminary findings suggest that children with more-engaged parents are more likely to be generous toward others, which may bode well for their future relationships — and their parents’ too.
As I was reflecting on the article just now, I realized that if I were pressed to encapsulate my spouse in one word, this would be it: generosity.  Generosity is the best word to sum up Mary, my spouse, my best friend, my companion on this journey of life.  Anyone who has met Mary will immediately sense this incredible generosity that she has.  Her generosity flows out to me as her husband, to our kids, to anyone who enters our home, to anyone we come into contact with, really.  Such generosity is a true boon for our marriage and is incredibly hard to come. Mares, thanks for your example of generosity.  You help me to break out of the self-centered bubble I all-too-frequently occupy.