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The other day I was explaining money to my daughter. We have Give, Save, and Spend envelopes for her per Dave Ramsey. If she gets $5, we put $1 into Give, $1 into Save and $3 into Spend. Those ratios will change as she makes more money but right now she gets $.25-.50 for most of her chores so we’re not talking hundreds of dollars here.

She’s been more eager lately to earn money and to think about ways to spend it. I made the mistake of showing her a cool Kickstarter campaign I stumbled upon where you can actually buy jellyfish! She was asking me what I like to spend my money on. And after monologuing off the cuff for a bit, I ended up saying, “Because Jaquiths choose hard things.”

I immediately thought, “That is a great motto for our family and I want to add it to our Mission Statement somehow because it really is a big part of who we are.”

I was explaining that her mommy and daddy grew up with very little money so we worked hard in school so we could get good jobs. Then when we got our jobs, we saved our money instead of spending all of it on fun things. I interjected, it’s okay to buy some fun things but you want to be saving up for something big in the future.

I told her that when mommy and daddy had worked very hard and saved up a lot of money, instead of buying something fun, we chose to buy a business knowing that this was going to be hard. She saw how hard this last year was for us so she understands that the business was a lot of work. But I told her that someday, after we’ve worked very hard, we want to buy a farm.

We dream of having five acres and maybe some cows, chickens, and horses. In a funny way, even our dream will end up involving a lot of hard work… but that’s what Jaquiths do.

It’s important to me that she understands we will work for the rest of our lives. If you have the expectation that you’re just trying to get from weekend to weekend or just to make it to 7 p.m. so you can lay down and watch TV, you’ll be missing the joy and deep satisfaction from choosing to work hard and being good at it.

As I was reflecting on this phrase more, I realized that… Catholics choose hard things. It’s one of the reasons I love our faith so much and I also think it’s why our faith is so often misunderstood.

Because Catholics believe in redemptive suffering and because we are striving for sainthood by trying to become the best-version-of-ourselves, many of us aren’t afraid of the hard things. We choose to staff an Adoration chapel 24 hours a day. We say our sins OUT LOUD to a dude in a small room because we believe that this very difficult task has the reward of washing us clean.

It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

We go to Mass every single weekend even if we’re traveling, camping, or don’t feel like it. We don’t use birth control. Many choose to have big families even though it’s an incredibly hard adventure to take on. We give of our time and money to help feed the poor, care for the unwanted, and fight for justice.

I am proud to tell my daughter that Catholic choose hard things. I want us to feel pride that we are ready to roll up our sleeves and work for Christ. I want her to expect a lifetime of this because no matter what vocation she chooses, it’s going to be hard work.

And in telling this to her, I realize that I had lost sight of this for myself. I was feeling bad about my crummy January. I was wallowing and being a little bit lazy, truth be told, using pregnancy and snow as an excuse. But guess what? When I’m not true to myself, when I don’t try to be the best-version-of-myself… I inevitably feel depressed.

Deep down, I know I didn’t give it my all. I feel bad that I wussed out.

Now don’t get me wrong, I talk all about Survival Mode in Catholic Mom Challenge so by all means, you need to know when NOT to beat yourself up.

But I’ve allowed this Christmas break to drag on and it’s time to get back to work no matter how much snow is on the ground or how many days of school are cancelled (which doesn’t actually affect us but for some reason I want to check out when the rest of the city is off of school 😉

Jaquiths choose hard things.

Catholic choose hard things.

Let us not be scared of the work. Let us roll up our sleeves and give thanks to God that we have work to do. It means that we have houses to clean, children to love, jobs to go to, and our faith to share. What amazing blessings we have! Let us not let our search for leisure lead us to miss the great satisfaction of work.

“The knowledge that by means of work man shares in the work of creation constitutes the most profound motive for undertaking it in various sectors. ‘The faithful… must learn the deepest meaning and the value of all creation, and its orientation to the praise of God. Even by their secular activity they must assist one another to live holier lives. In this way the world will be permeated by the spirit of Christ and more effectively achieve its purpose in justice, charity, and peace . . .  Therefore, by their competence in secular fields and by their personal activity, elevated from within by the grace of Christ, let them work vigorously so that by human labor, technical skill and civil culture, created goods may be perfected according to the design of the Creator and the light of his word.” –Pope John Paul II in Laborem Exercens