The Key to Peace is Presence

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The Key to Peace is Presence Transcript

Hi and welcome to Coffee and Pearl’s 15 minutes of wisdom for Catholic moms. I’m Sterling Jaquith and today I want to talk about how the key to having peace is presence. Now a lot of stuff is going on right now. This is the middle of March. We’re kind of in the middle of what’s happening all over the country with the spread of this virus all over the world. And a lot of you are immediately coming to grips with the idea of having your kids home or your husband home or activities canceled. And so I wanted to come in and do a whole peace series. So I’m going to do a whole piece series and I’m going to talk about the things, really the tools that I use to maintain my peace. That is so important to me when I have lost my peace. I know I’m not walking with God and I have a lot of cues or red flags show me that I’ve lost my peace and I have a lot of tools to bring my peace back.

So today I want to talk about the first one, which is presence. And I’m going to combine presence with the idea of deep work as well. And for those of you who are familiar with Cal Newport’s work on deep work, he talks a lot about the importance of focusing on something deeply for 90 minutes. He does. So mostly in a work context, but I’m going to make that relevant for moms where we feel like there’s absolutely nothing we can do for 90 minutes without being distracted. So I will help us kind of puzzled through that. So first you know, my husband pretty much works from home most of the time he goes out to do fence bids. But he’s home a lot and I’ve homeschooled my kids for the most part for the last five years. And so our life is oddly enough, not going to change that much.

I think there’s probably one class we take outside of the home that we might not be able to take. But because of my bed rest and because we had so many kids in the last three years, you know, we largely stay home. So I just wanted to share with you what I’ve learned about fighting that and making it more difficult for myself and just embracing that and finding peace and easiness in the staying at home all the time. And really that boils down to presence. When I want to do what I want to do, whether it’s reading a book or looking at my phone or being on my computer or listening to a podcast or listening to music, if I want to listen to music that’s my music and not like toddler music. It is really frustrating for me that the kids then make lots of noise and talk to me, especially when I’m just like jammin’ right?

It’s like my favorite song is on and I am singing and I’m just like feeling joy and energy and it’s great and that feels like such a good thing. But then when my four year old is like, mom, I’m star bang. You know, it makes me angry, like anger flashes up in that moment. And that’s a horrible feeling. It’s a horrible feeling to look at your sweet child who needs something totally reasonable. Or even if it’s unreasonable and to just feel so frustrated that they’re just like ruining your flow. . And so I found that the more I tried to do those things, especially spontaneously, you know, music, looking at my phone, reading a book anything at my computer, talking on the phone, any of those things, then interruptions from the children tended to trigger anger in me. . Now it’s to feel anger, but we don’t want to act out of anger.

You know, we want to calm ourselves down and reply, you know, calmly and with peace and preferably joy into the children. And so for those of you that are suddenly like, have all these people in your space, I need you to immediately let go of this entitlement that you get to do any of those things if you want to have peace, ? If you want to keep doing those things and being interrupted and being frustrated and feeling irritable all day, totally fine. But if you got to the end of yesterday and you were like, wow, that was not an awesome day and I was not the best version of myself. This is one key area to look at. You know, when were you trying to do your things and when you got interrupted trying to do your things, what happened? How did you respond? Because we want to step in between the stimulus of being interrupted and an angry response.

We want to step in between stimulus and response and we want to take a hot minute, maybe breathe, maybe say a quick hail Mary. I, my personal favorite is just to throw up a quick Jesus, Mary Joseph, all the saints in my mind, I say that like, please just help me in this moment. And then to respond calmly, Hey, we need to be really present with what we’re doing. And if you have a lot of children home or little children or blessed them, a needy husband, then you need to let that stuff go your stuff. If you want to maintain your peace, , now it’s not going to be forever. And I’m going to talk about that in a minute. So what I do throughout my day is I try to have really clear blocks that I communicate overly. So to everyone, this came from one of my, I think a Dave Ramsey business book, either Dave Ramsey or Michael Hyatt, I don’t remember. And they were saying, you need to communicate the vision for your company until you’re blue in the face. Then you need to do it some more. You need to do it about 20 times more than what you think you need to do it. So for us to make that relevant as moms, as we’re trying to be the peace center of our homes and as we’re trying to, you know, just get us through these days,

It’s great to communicate to everyone what your goals are. And so for me, actually my goal is peace. I want to have a peaceful home. I want to have kind children and I want us to be praying and getting our work done and then having fun. Right? We’re definitely like work hard, play hard family. . And I communicate this to the kids. I’ll say at the beginning, Hey you guys, you know we’re going to do breakfast chores and then school and if we can work really hard to do those things, I will make a smoothie and we’ll take a walk. . And then I’ll say, what are we going to do? And they’ll say, breakfast chores, school. And then what are we going to get to do after that smoothie? And I’ll say, and a walk. , but, and you might need to say that four times and you think that’s ridiculous.

I shouldn’t have to tell them four times. But if Michael Hyatt has to tell his company as the CEO over and over and over again, how much more is it that we have to tell that to children who have a short attention span and are easily distracted by shiny things. ? So communicating what’s happening first and then really committing to be present for those things. . And so we are, we usually do chores before we do breakfast. The kids do the laundry and the dishes. While I’m doing breakfast, then we have breakfast. We might do a little bit more chores after that depending on what needs to be done. Then the little kids have to go into the playroom and the big kids are doing school and I am sitting with them and doing school. I’ll tell you one thing I’ve learned as a homeschooler it is not possible to multitask. It’s just not every time I tried to do the dishes or read a book or even work on my goals once I was like, I’m just going to sit with my notebook next to them and it’ll look like I’m doing my school and I’ll just write with a pencil and work on my goals. Nope, their productivity went way down. I literally just have to sit there with my two girls and be like, do you need any help?

Do you have any questions? And it drives me nuts. I mean it used to drive me nuts because I felt like I was just sitting there doing nothing. But we get through it so much faster and with happy hearts. Then when I tried to do literally anything else and it is annoying, so about once every two weeks, I’ll, I’ll think, I haven’t this yet, but I’d be like, maybe I could crochet, maybe I could crochet while I was sitting in there because it feels like a waste of time. But I, I promise it is not because one of my goals is to homeschool my children. Well

And that means I have to give up for this time what it is that I want to do. So I sit down with them, I’m completely present to both of them. The older your kids are, the better it is because they can read themselves. But, and I really mostly help them with math. I’m really, really this 100% present for math. Once we get our math done and that is the first thing that we do then they’re much more independent for their reading, writing history stuff. And so I don’t have to sit down next to them for that. But being present is really, really helpful and just don’t shortchange yourself. It will make your day go better. Cause it will all get done faster, then you can do something else. Right. So then after they get through their math, then I usually have a little bit of me time and I am so intentional about my me time. . I will tell the girls, you need to finish your writing and your reading. Come check in with me when you’re done with that. And I now know that I have probably 20 minutes at least to do something on my computer or my phone.

And so then I go do those things. The little kids are still downstairs, are not allowed to come up yet. And the big kids can interrupt me, but they won’t unless they really need something. And it’d be a question like, what does this word mean? You know, pretty simple. And so then I really, I sink myself into those things that I want to do and I relish them because I know that this is my time and my moment. And then I go back into, after we’re done with the school block then we either eat something or do some exercise. Now when I take them for a walk is when I pop in one ear phone and listen to a podcast or a book. And so we’re walking, I’ve got the little kids strapped in, a stroller, a the baby and an ergo. The other kids are on scooters, walking or bikes.

So they’re not talking to me. I do leave one ear out though in case they holler or they need something. But mostly I’m just walking around the block. This is weather permitting and listening to something and learning something. And I also tell myself, Oh, aren’t we just enjoying this me time? That’s me time. Even though the children are there, I’m leaning into that time. I’m really appreciating it because one of the things that’s going to drive you bananas is if you think that all day you don’t get any you time and you’re constantly being interrupted. So you have to tell yourself, Oh, this is it. I’m eating the chocolate cake. It’s not chocolate cake. But you have to celebrate that a little bit. You have to be present with yourself. So I try to be really present with the kids. But then I tried to be really present with myself and that is such a gift and it, it makes me so much less bitter and feeling like I’m taken advantage of or that I’m, I’ve given my whole life away. And serving people by the way, is not giving your life away to such a great gift, but I totally understand the sentiment of getting to the end of the day and, and feeling frustrated. So be really present with yourself.

Then set up at least one block of time where they can’t talk to you. So I usually do this when my 18 month old is sleeping cause he’s kind of 18 months is such a hard age and not much you can do about that. And so nap time for the young ones is when I will tell the other ones, you know, I’m going to be in this room. You cannot come in unless something is really wrong. And that’s usually where they’re listening to audio books or coloring, doing something quiet. Sometimes they play board games but they can’t interrupt me. So this is usually happening in the afternoons for us. And so, you know, we don’t do perfect 90 minute blocks and I don’t keep track of time in general. But I do try to group, we do a meal and some chores and like I said, sometimes it’s a sandwich, a little bit of chores and then a meal and then some chores or it’s one than the other or it’s flip flopped. But those two activities go together and then, then we’re doing like fun things, exercise things, school things. But we try to do things in, in about 90 minute blocks. Don’t do school for longer than 90 minutes. They can’t do that. We can’t do that as an adults. So 90 minutes should be the longest you’re doing it. And then they should have at least a 15 to 20 minute break doing something totally frivolous and fun.

Really be present with what you’re doing. Help them to be present with what they’re doing and then give yourself time that’s really time for you and lean into it and do whatever you think is best for you. Sometimes I love the social media scroll. Sometimes I need to read my Bible. Sometimes I almost every day now I’ve been taking a walk and listening to something and, and that has felt like such a gift and it helps. I do it when the 18 month old is up because he’s the hardest for me right now. He’s the one that cries the most and drives me the most bananas. But he’s happy as a clam and the stroller. I don’t let my two and a half year old walk. It’s not a choice. He either gets to ride in the stroller or he has to stay home with a sister.

Because if you try to walk with a two year old or two and a half year old, that will drive you nuts. I mean, first of all, he wants to wear his rain boots, then he falls because he’s wearing rain boots and he wants to hold the stroller, but then the wheels roll on his feet. Like it’s just terrible and it’s just not even a choice anymore. So in order for it to be my time, he has to be in the stroller too. But then the other kids are pretty good about walking. And so I want you to be a scientist this week. Ladies, I want you to just get to the end of the day with no judgment, no shame, no guilt, no exasperations and just say what worked and what didn’t work. And then I want you to, when you’re getting frustrated in the back of your mind, be like, Oh right.

Sterling told me that if I was going to try to listen to my favorite playlist and the kids talk to me, it was going to drive me bananas. And that’s why I feel so angry right now. Good to know some good data that proved correct. . Or your phone or your computer or your book. Create strong boundaries with your children, but give them all of you. When it’s their time, when it’s outside or book reading or school time, just be with them outside goes both ways. Sometimes the kids are outside without me and then that’s their time. But sometimes I go out with them and then I play with them. Which is annoying you guys. I’m not a playing mom. . I don’t like it, but I like having a happy home and I like not feeling guilty when I want to do things by myself.

And I’m telling you if you run around your backyard and tickle your kids for 15 minutes and play superhero or monster or crazy dog or whatever game you want to play with them and then you say, no one can come in my office for an hour, I’m going to be reading a book. You’re not going to feel bad. That’s, that’s what’s great about being really present with them and then saying, I need some time for myself. , so this is your first tool. Presence is the key to peace. . Now I just want to wrap it up with some of that deep work. How do I want to say it’s strategy that Cal Newport talks about? So he talks about it in terms of like shutting down your computer, turning off your wifi and like sitting down and writing your thesis paper or getting your board presentation done.

And that doesn’t make sense if your mom, because you know that you can’t sit down and get anything done for 90 minutes. But instead I like to think about it in terms of hats. What hat am I wearing and when I’m wearing the mom hat I am all in on that. I am looking at their sweet faces. I am just responding to what each one of them needs. I’m not even cleaning cause I’m not wearing the cleaning hat. Right? So when I’m wearing the meal making or cleaning hat, that’s different than, I’m not the mom hat. I’m not even as sweet then cause I tell the kids it’s working time, we’re all working right now and then we’re doing that and when one of them goes, mom look at my art. I go up now is not the time for that. I would love to look at that during school time. . You want to acknowledge them but they’re not going to derail the working time.

And in some ways, I mean bribe is the wrong word, but I do almost always say if we get our work done, well we’re going to do this and just for them to look forward to something. And I do that to myself. If you can get down and be a playing mom and read three more alphabet books to these kids, then you to get your own free time. Sterling. . Like we’re all playing that game. It’s not bad. So deep work means just being really present with what you’re doing. And then of course there’s going to be distractions. Like when I’m trying to read books to the girls in the 18 month old crawls up, that’s okay because it’s still within the mom realm. And so I’ll say, Oh girls, hold on, let’s get some blocks for Blaise and then we can keep reading.

Right. I’m, I’m still wearing the mom hat. That’s my deep work, but I’m not multitasking into a different thing. So we try to do deep work on meals and chores, deep work on school, deep work on quiet time. That’s a block. Quiet time is usually my time. And that’s when they’re reading or doing audio books or art. And then we try to do outside stuff all the time, every day. They may think that’s their time, but I’ve tricked them. It’s really my time. . But I’m there and we’re doing it and they’re having a great time. . So think about that instead of really flitting from one thing to the other and constantly cleaning, constantly cooking, constantly momming all of that throughout your whole day. Try to create some blocks. I know there’ve been a lot of funny names going around and they are funny about living in chaos and watching lots of television and all of that. And by all means, if that’s what you need to do, then do it. But if you get to the end of the day and you say that was the best thing that could’ve happened,

You need to be honest with yourself about whether that was true. Because I find that when I allow them to watch television, we all have a worst day. And what’s great about homeschooling is you get that data really quickly, right? So I have had more days to test out these things and go, Oh, is it better if I let them, you know, watch blue planet. Is it better if I try to put on, you know, my favorite songs while I’m cleaning? And the answer was no because then it drove me nuts when I was trying to sing my favorite song and they interrupted me. You know it may be different for you, but get to the end of the day and just say, when did I lose it today and why? And it may not have been one moment. It may have been a series of things that were building up to that one moment, but try to figure it out because you are the peace center of your home. We’re going to talk about that in a later peace episode and it is your job to figure it out. All right, I’m praying for you guys. I think it could be really cool for all of us to get to know our kids, get to know our homes, create new routines.

We’re doing some cool things in our house that are new. Even though we were homeschooling before, but it just kind of feels like a time of renewal and trying new things out. So I’ll be sharing more about that later. But I’m praying for all of you. I’m praying for everybody in the world. Really? Gosh, it feels like, Oh, a worldwide thing to pray for. And I just love you and you’re going to be and your kids love you. And more than anything, I’m just, I’m praying that you have peace in your heart and in this time where it would be so easy to grab onto chaos and chew on it all day long. I want you to grab on to peace and rest in it. All right ladies, thanks so much for listening to coffee and pearls and have a blessed day.

 

The Power of Gratitude

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The Power of Gratitude Transcript

Hi and welcome to Coffee and Pearls 15 minutes of wisdom for Catholic moms. I’m Sterling Jaquith and today we’re in the second of the peace series and we’re going to be talking about gratitude. Now, most of us know that it’s important to be grateful and some of us may think we were even doing a pretty good job or being grateful, high five. That’s awesome. But I want to share with you just some more reasons to be grateful or even more grateful than we’re being and ways to involve your children in that practice. So the first thing I want to talk about is, is why I chose gratitude as one of the tools for obtaining peace. And in Robert Emmons book, Gratitude Works, which is a fantastic book, he talks about all the things that we get from the practice of gratitude. And I’m going to explain what the practice of gratitude is in a little bit.

But first I want you to know this is what we get out of practicing gratitude, increased feelings of energy, alertness, enthusiasm, and vigor. Woo, that sounds awesome. I need some of that success in achieving personal goals, better coping with stress. Think we could all use some of that. Bolstered feelings of self worth and self confidence, generosity and helpfulness. When we’re grateful, we go out and we help others improved cardiac, cardiac health through increases in vegal tone. Amazing. Okay, one more, more grateful. We move more, we’re healthier and then a greater sense of purpose and resilience and we see this in the Bible hundreds of times. Give thanks, give thanks. Even the word eucharisteo… Eucharisteo from which we get the word Eucharist giving thanks for any of you who’ve read Ann Voskamp’s book A Thousand Gifts, right? It’s just all about this practice of gratitude and if you think about it just in the terms of what takes up our mind space, if we’re filling up our mind space with thoughts of gratitude, then we don’t have time to fill up our mind with thoughts of fear and bitterness. This is what God wants from us. He wants us to look around and grateful. Even if we’re spending 40 years walking in the desert, this is what he is asking of us. He says, I’m giving you enough bread for today. I want you to look around and be grateful for what is in front of you.

Okay?

No. Robert Emmons talks about kind of the better way to be grateful. He goes, look, you know, at a minimum once a day, just think about a couple things that you’re grateful for. But he says, you know, there’s much more that we can do and the more that we do, the more we get that stuff that I just listed. Okay? Of course the first tip is writing it down, right? Writing it down. Just blows it out of the water. Write it down and edit a minimum. If you can write a list, do that right? Kids, husband health, whether short and sweet, if that is your first baby step, do that. Do that every single day at the end of the day, at the beginning of the day, just write down three to five things that you’re grateful for,

Okay?

He says, no, if you can, if you can bump that up. Whole sentences makes it even better. Lord, I’m so grateful that it is sunny enough that the kids and I can walk outside. That makes a huge difference. Let me says when it comes to gratitude, depth is better than breadth.

Okay.

Now I do appreciate Ann Voskamp’s kind of be grateful all day. That’s kind of her thousand gifts idea. And so I think that’s can be very powerful too, right? If you’re, or if you’re meditating on that all day long and thinking about all the little things and you’re just listing them that even she would say, if you have the time, use some beautiful language to describe it cause that will be better.

One

Thing, a tip out of this book is he says include some surprises. And I loved that one. He said, you know what? Unexpressed unexpected blessings did you benefit from today and what were you dreading that didn’t happen? Love that. Moms are such worriers, we worry about so many things. Write down something you worried about that just didn’t happen. That happens to me all the time, especially with my 18 month old, the, Oh, you know, just yesterday he had to give him a bath and he hates bads. And so it was just dreading it. I was like, Oh, I don’t want to do it. It makes me sad when he cries, you know, and I put him in the bath and he just didn’t cry. He just didn’t. And we played with toys and the only time he cried was when I washed his hair at the end and we did it super fast and got out. And I was just so for that. So being grateful for surprises.

Another thing he says is to use the language of gifts. Think of the things that you received today as gifts. That was such a gift from God. And I even said that to my husband. I said, Oh God gave me such a gift and Blaise didn’t cry in the bathtub. And maybe it’s because gifts are my love language that I like to phrase it that way. But I thought, what a wonderful way to just look at the things that God gives us as gifts. Another recommendation he said is to think about it instead of taking things for granted. Think of them as being as granted. And I think in this time right now as we’re kind of all losing our minds in the world feels really weird and scary. Just say, just look around your room for a second. It’s, it’s utterly amazing that we have electricity, the internet, incredible science. I mean the last time, I mean, every time I read anything about, you know, the Spanish flu, which is so devastating, like they just, there was no way that they could mobilize the way that we’ve mobilized. What an amazing thing that has been granted to us.

We have so many modern marvels in our world right now. That’s a phrase Brian Johnson uses a lot. Modern marvels. I love, I love that word, Marvel. And just to be in awe of whatever room you’re in right now, just look around and just give thanks for this incredible time we live in.

And so I want you to make a practice of writing down some things that you are grateful for and even better if you can do it with your children. Do that. I was in target for the first time in a long time, I don’t know, a couple months ago and I was walking by that, I don’t know. There’s this section in the front where they have things that are not very expensive and one of them was a small gratitude journal. Actually I think it was a planner, like a daily planner, but it said something like give thanks or joy or something on the front. And I thought, you know what I want, I want to buy this. It was a dollar and I’m going to take it home with the kids and we’re going to write down together three things that we’re grateful for. And I thought the best time to do it would be when we pray our rosary at night right before, cause we talk about things we want to pray for. But I thought, let’s just tack that into that moment. Three things that we’re grateful and it is such an easy thing to do

And it’s so powerful and I want to teach them this skill of getting to the end of the day. No matter how yucky, no matter how many poopy diapers there were, no matter what went wrong. There is always something to be thankful for. I mean we could probably come up with 20 things everyday, but I think three is a good number for children. Show them that you are a woman of gratitude. Show your husband that you are a woman of gratitude when you are talking to your friends, if you are sharing something that is difficult, share it and then add something that you are grateful for. Right? I tried to do this when my friends say, you know, Hey, how are things going? I’ll be like, Ugh, it’s hard having three babies in diapers and especially because the boys, bless them, they like to hold to let out their poop in three rounds with like 40 minutes in between so then they’ll have three poopy diapers for what really is actually one poopy moment.

Right? But I have to do it three times, but I think praise God that I’m home with them, that I have the money for diapers, that we have a good diaper system and that actually pooped doesn’t bother me that much. That’s just like not one of my, one of the things that drives me nuts about kids and I’m so blessed that I’m their mom who loves to change their poopy diapers. I will. I take all the kids from my husband if they’re poopy, I say, Oh, let me do that. Whereas I’ll tell you on the flip side, when any of my infants spit up, it makes me want to throw up. I hate that so much. Okay. Like if he throws up on me, I’m just like, ah, I’m out. Spits up like just baby spit up. I just think is the grossest thing I’m all the time. So you know, just share something that’s difficult, but then also just share something you’ve learned throughout that time. An unexpected gift or something that’s going well. You know, when, when our basement flooded, we couldn’t be downstairs and it was just so gross and horrible. I was still so grateful that we were in a house and we were all living on one floor and Michael was home. Our business was closed in January, so he was home for that time. So grateful for that.

I want people to identify us as Catholics by seeing that we are full of joy and full of gratitude. Even when things are dark, we have to be the light in the darkness. We must look like we handling this situation differently than those who do not walk with the Lord. And the more gratitude you practice, the more peace you will have. That is what I want for you today. I want your day to be filled with peace. I want you to walk around feeling grounded, being really present with your shoulders back and your head held high and a small smile on your lips because God has given you a wonderful life and you are so pleased to be living it. And gratitude is a significant key to having that kind of life. All right, ladies, thank you so much for listening to Coffee and Pearls and have a blessed day.

 

Be The Peace Center Of Your Home

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The Power of Gratitude Transcript

Hi and welcome to coffee and Pearl’s 15 minutes of wisdom for Catholic moms. I’m Sterling Jaquith with and in this third part of our peace series. We are talking about being the peace center of your home and I am sure I have talked about this many times and may have even done an entire podcast on it, but it is time to talk about it again because we can never talk about the good things enough. Ladies, you are the peace center of your home. This is a phrase that first came to me when I was reading Spiritual Head, Spiritual Heart from the lovely Katie Warner and it has just become my job description ever since. Ever since I heard that, I was like, yes, yes, absolutely. That is my job. I am Sterling CEO of my house, center of peace of this home. That is my charter.

The kids will learn how to be peaceful by watching me. I have the ability to bring my husband into peace through practicing peace. Not a guarantee. He has free will, but it’s a lot easier to have a peaceful husband, when he’s looking at a peaceful wife. It is a lot easier to take care of children, when you’re not at the end of your rope and screaming and frustrated when you can learn to have peace in those moments, even the craziest, and we can, it makes the house run so much more smoothly.

You know, we have this funny thing in our society right now where we kind of want to glorify the hot mess mom, right? Oh, it’s so funny. I’m a hot mess. You know, I left the house in my sweatpants or the kids watched Netflix all day and we make these jokes and it’s okay, and I’m all about mercy and caring for people where they’re at. I’m not judging those choices, but I certainly will not celebrate them. I’m not going to lift up the hot mess mom and say, that’s great because it’s not great. It’s fine. Maybe that’s what she needs to be doing. Maybe I could help her. Maybe she needs some help, but it’s not what I want to look up to. I want to look up to moms who are peaceful, calm, and love the Lord and spend time with him.

And those two things usually go together. By the way, my all the moms who I know that are super peaceful, are the moms who go to adoration every day or daily mass all the time or you know, do the hours of the liturgy of the hours for an hour in the morning. There’s a strong correlation there. By the way, I’m not one of those moms yet. I want to look up to those moms and I want to be that kind of mom for my kids and show them this is how you have peace. In another part of the series I’m going to talk about how moms can be like Navy seals. It’s going to be super fun class. But it is possible. It is absolutely possible for us to have peace in the worst yuckiest most stressful moment. I’m not talking about happiness. You don’t have to be happy, but you can be calm. You can walk with the Lord and this is absolutely what he is calling us to do. Whether you are married, whether you have children, if you’re single and you live in an apartment with roommates, if you’re in your sixties and you live in, you know, an awesome nursing home and your own studio apartment, it doesn’t matter. He is always asking you to be the peace center of your home.

And that starts with having peace in our own minds, which is why even if you live alone, you need, it’s worth fighting for your own peace of mind and then cultivating an atmosphere in your P in your home and atmosphere piece. And we can do that through candles. Lighting candles is such a powerful tool that Catholics have used for centuries and it brings peace into the home playing beautiful music, classical music or Gregorian chant. And you have to do that all the time. You can rock your Taylor Swift too, but Taylor Swift doesn’t bring peace to the house, right?

Yeah.

Find music that brings real peace to your home and play it.

Lighting scented candles or burning something that smells really great on the stove. I love, you know, creating your own kind of homemade popery on the oven. Just throw some cinnamon sticks or cloves in there or lavender. You know what? I’m laughing right now because I guess all of you, a lot of you do that with essential oils. I just don’t do that yet. So what I really mean is for you to throw something in your diffuser to diffuse that. So I guess I’m doing it kind of the old school way where I just throw cinnamon sticks and oranges in a pot, but you know, diffusers and beautiful smells or baking things that smell wonderful. I want my children to remember how my home smelled wonderful and how it sounded beautiful. And the light of the candles flickering on the walls. That doesn’t have to be some, you know, Laura Ingall’s romantic pioneer life story. You tell yourself that, you know you can’t do, you can do it with little, you can do it for short bursts, you can begin to practice those and you don’t have to do it every day. Of course I don’t live like that every day, but I see when the energy in my house is getting weird and we need to bring it back.

And we often do that with candles or music or good smells or baking something, you know? Or even just, I’ll try to make string cheese and Apple sauce. Wonderful. I’ll be like, Oh your guys whispering helps. I’m not going to keep whispering cause it’s a podcast, but I pretend them whispering this in a lovely, lovely tongue. You guys. Let’s sit at the table and have a string cheese and an Apple sauce and I will read a couple books to you. And first of all, your older kids are gonna roll their eyes and be like, Oh that’s so lame. Okay, my children are not above that. Okay. I don’t have these lovely like Prairie children that don’t do that. Of course they do that and then I kind of look at them with my serious eyes. It means don’t ruin this for the little kids and we both know you’re going to like it, you know? And then they’re like, Oh right. And they sit at the table may to eat their string cheese and listen to, you know, wonderful. Read out loud blueberries for Sal or whatever it is that you’re doing.

And even if you could just find a pocket, like a seven minute pocket to give them that, it just changes the energy. You have the control to change the energy of your home. And it’s not just the ability, it’s your charter. It is your charter to be the peace center of your home. And I want you to love that about yourself. I want you to feel like that is your super power. Instead of feeling dragged down by these things to do, I want you to realize that God gave you a home and a husband and children to take care of and to do this for.

And it’s beautiful and you don’t need to feel bad if you’re not doing it. But I want you to feel absolutely fantastic when you do, right? Give yourself a big inner high five. We are rocking motherhood today. I’ve just been complimenting myself. My husband’s terrible complimenting me. He doesn’t do it. And so I just realized that if I wanted to be complimented, I was going to have to do it myself. And it’s ridiculous. You guys. How good it makes me feel. Sometimes I just do it to myself. I’ll go shearling that was outstanding mothering that you did right then. Good job. Right? And it’s like, I feel a little tingle. I feel a real tingle even though I’m just complimenting myself. Or I’ll do it to my husband. He’ll come home and he’ll say something and you know, I’ll say, you know what?

I did some awesome things. These are some awesome things that I did for our kids today. He’s not going to see that I made sugar rock crystals and we’re growing them on the mantle and say, I can’t believe you took the time with six kids to make sugary syrup that made the kitchen messy so our children could experience some science and feel the joy of putting food dye in sugar water and watching it grow into crystals. He’s not going to say that. And it would be so easy to be bitter and think he doesn’t see any of the things that I do, which of course is not true. Of course he sees lots of things that I do, but if I want to be complimented on it, I’m just going to compliment myself and it works. I feel great.

God sees what I do and he knows when I do things, even though I don’t feel like it, and I’m literally just doing it for the good of the children or my husband, you know, and I give myself a little hug for that. Just a little. Just pretend like I’m hugging myself like rock on. You did great. That was a good choice. You’re such a good mom. Her kids are not really gonna say that. They may even think it or believe it. They may tell everyone that they know in their thirties that they had such a great mom, but right now if you need to hear that, I need you to tell yourself that I am such a great mom. I am the peace center of my home. I brought peace to those children today. I brought peace to my husband today. I showed them the love of God in our home today. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? Don’t you want to be that kind of mom and again, don’t go the other way. Don’t start saying, Oh, I never do that. I’m terrible. I’m broken. Just knock it off. We don’t even need to go down that way. We only go forward. We only stand still and say, I see what needs work. Or we go forward and we say, good job.

Love that baby step. That’s incredible. It is incredible to me. Every single time you have the opportunity to do something easy and self centered and instead you choose to do something a little bit harder for them. That is incredible to me. Every mom I meet is a hero because I know she does that all day long and that is amazing. Okay, so I want you to think about just simple things that you can do to be the peace center of your home and to increase the peacefulness. I mean, I would love for you to pray the rosary. We’ll talk about that in a different episode too. And how we do that as a family. But, you know, light a candle, play some Gregorian chants, throw on some classical music, bake something that smells good for no reason.

You know, just read some books to the kids. Create some moments of peace. That is what God is asking you to do. Especially right now. Your kids should feel like home is safe and lovely and calm. It doesn’t mean that there isn’t craziness in between. I’m not asking you to live, you know, like a monastery all day long. I’m just saying, find some pockets. Give the gift of peace to your children and to your family. All right ladies, thank you so much for listening to coffee and pearls and have a blessed day.

 

You’re Training for a Marathon

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You're Training for a Marathon Transcript

Hi, and welcome to Coffee and Pearls, 15 minutes of wisdom for Catholic moms. I’m Sterling Jaquith, and today in our peace series, we are talking about training for a marathon. Okay. Now we’re not actually training for a marathon. That would make me throw up right now if I thought I was doing that. What I mean is that we’re kind of training for two marathons right now. One is just the marathon of parenting, right? Of motherhood. This huge endeavor that we’ve undertaken, you know, 18 plus years per child. We’re staring down, you know, decades of parenting and I’m sure it never really ends. That’s one giant marathon that we’re training for. But the other marathon that a lot of us are training for right now is this kind of, “Hey, the world is in a super weird place right now. A lot of the kids are home.

All of a sudden life has changed drastically” marathon. The kids could be home for a very long time. Who knows? And if any of you are listening to this, you know, outside of this Coronavirus stuff, then maybe you’re just staring down like summer break and that feels the same and all the kids are home there too. So that’s the marathon I’m talking about maybe a difficult season, right? Any kind of difficult season and you know it’s going to be months and you’re trying to lean into it and suffer well. Right? Basically that’s what I’m saying. We’re trying to suffer well. So that’s the marathon that we are training for right now. We’re actually already running it but we’re trying to run it. Well I suppose the metaphor is breaking down but it’s okay. Hang with me.

I need you to step up and be an adult and take care of yourself right now. Okay. When you are training for a marathon or any great feat, you are eating well, you’re hydrating, your stretching, you’re learning about running. You usually have some sort of buddy that’s motivating you to stay strong. You have some sort of goal in mind. And for most of you who’ve ever trained for a marathon, you know you also have sleep goals on top of everything else because you couldn’t do all of that if you weren’t sleeping well. Okay. Whether you have chosen this or not, you are absolutely in the thick of a hard season and you need to take care of yourself. It’s, it’s going to be a harder season if you decide to just eat crap and drink a ton of alcohol and watch a ton of television and sit for most of the day, no judgment on that.

I think there’s, you know, we get confused about speaking the truth and then judging people for not doing that thing that we’re talking about. Right. And those can be two separate things, right? Like I guarantee lots of my friends are going to do some or all of those things and we won’t even talk about it. I don’t even care. They’ll just be like, Hey, have you watched this awesome show? Because I’ve been watching it for like four hours every day and I’m like, no, tell me about it. That show sounds hilarious. Right? That’s what being a friend is. But I’m not your friend right now. I’m here to speak the truth to you and to say that when we do hard things, we make them harder by not treating our bodies well in the process. Okay. I know how hard it is to have a difficult day of lots of poop and crying and arguments and sibling fights and just ridiculousness.

And then I feel like I don’t even breathe until eight o’clock so my littlest kids go to bed at seven 30 and then, um, my six year old goes to bed at eight. And so by eight it’s kind of like me and my husband. And then the nine year old who loves being alone, it’s like tucked away reading a book somewhere. So it’s by eight o’clock that I finally feel like, okay, it’s quiet. And that moment is when I want to medicate so badly. Right? So badly at eight o’clock I want to numb out. I want a little bit of me time. I just need something. Okay. That’s not totally true, but it feels very true. So I just want to, you know, common humanity stand right with you and say, yeah, that’s how we all feel. Okay. We get to the end of the day and we’re just like wrecked and we want some wine and chocolate at Netflix or something crunchy.

I like crunchy, salty things more than sweet things, but whatever. We’re just there and it feels like, like a desperate plea from our brain and our body saying give us something that only the adults can have. You know, like just something came. So one totally normal. Totally natural. Okay. But two pretty destructive. Okay. Whatever we choose to do in that time has the most profound effect on our ability to get a full night’s sleep. That I just, I, if I could just be the small whisper in the back of your brain that says, do you really want to do that or do you want to wake up better tomorrow? Right. Cause that’s the choice that we’re making when we eat late. Pretty much anytime after seven when we drink right before bed chocolate, right before bed, blue screens, television, something intense right before bed. It completely wrecks our ability to get a good night of sleep. And honey, you are running a marathon at six 30 tomorrow morning. You know what I mean? For most of us, that kid alarm goes off at like six 30 whether we like it or not and we are running and I don’t know about you, but I would like to be well rested for the marathon.

I’d like to be hydrated throughout the day. I would like to feed my body good food. And I think, you know, I’m by no means doing this perfectly. And so what I seek to do is to identify something bad that I’m doing, like, like something I know that’s not optimal and replacing it with a more optimal version of that. Right? So right now for breakfast, I needing straight up a protein bar from Costco, right? I’m not making eggs and spinach and whatever. I’d love to do that. But I am in grumpy breakfast eater. I’m not even hungry when I wake up. I do not like making things that are warm and eating them. I really like eating at 11 okay. But when I’m breastfeeding, I can’t wait until 11 to eat what I want to eat. So I just eat a protein bar is probably not even a great protein bar.

Right? Like the super crunchy people. It’d be like, look at that label. What are those three things? And be like, I don’t know man. I’m just eating. This is just what I’m eating. Okay. And so that’s not optimal and I know that. But I also know that it’s better than like donuts, right? Or something. Carby and sugary cause it’s neither of those things and it’s contained. So I can’t overeat it cause it’s just a bar. Um, and same thing at night. I, uh, if I really want a piece of chocolate, I try to do it at seven and I try to like leave the children like, Oh, I’m gonna, I have to leave for a little bit and just go sit in a room by myself for five minutes and enjoy that piece of chocolate and then just kind of transport myself to later in the evening. Right. I try to go, Oh, this is just, this is a wonderful chocolate. We’ve almost made it to the end of the day and what a special treat this is. And I just like really tried to lean into it and enjoy it and eat it slowly and feel that same like release or high five that that I want at eight or eight 30 right. Then [inaudible]

and then the other thing I do is I drink tea with some Stevia in it at eight and so all day long I’m, I kind of pep talk myself and I’ll say, Oh, but you know what, at eight o’clock you can make some lemon chiffon tea and it’s gonna be so good. Okay. Now when I’m drinking lemon chiffon tea, does it taste like wine and chocolate? No, it doesn’t. And it is not as good as wine and chocolate, but I’ve hyped it up. I really choose to savor it and I know that I’m going to sleep well because I’m running a marathon tomorrow. And until we see the wisdom in that, until we choose to be mature enough to pick the longterm gain over the short term burst, we are going to continue to run ragged on empty with no fuel.

And I’ve been kind of challenging my husband on this because you know, we tend to grow at different times. I’m sure there’s a wonderful godly reason for that. Uh, but it’s annoying too, because sometimes all want to grow and I’ll be like, come with me. And he’ll be like, no, I’m not ready for that. You know? And this is one of those where I’ve been kind of pushing for doing more mature things at the end of the day instead of the things that I know that hurt us. Okay. I’m not going to say that it’s bad for everyone, but probably for most of us, right? Like for most of us, it’s probably not great to eat bad food and drink and watch TV right before bedtime came. And again, I know when you’ve got little kids or a lot of kids, that just feels like the only time you have. And to that I would respond. Yeah maybe, but is it worth your sleep?

And you have to answer that for yourself. And when I blow it, cause sometimes I’ll just be like, no, there’s such a rebellious teenager in me. I’ll be like, Oh forget it. I’m not even aware of my blue light blocking glasses. I’m just going to watch three episodes of LARC Rowdy’s to Candlefield right now. You know? And then I have a horrible night’s sleep and I wake up and I’m like, yeah, I totally did that. I totally chose that. And I guess it is true that when I watched TV right before bed, I don’t sleep well. You know? And that’s fine. It’s good for us to do that every once in a while I think just to know like, yeah, okay, I guess my rules are there for a reason.

Okay

mama, you are running a marathon tomorrow and what you eat and what you do today is going to determine your night of sleep, which is going to determine your energy tomorrow. Stop short changing yourself. Okay.

And I’m also kind of saying this because I think for the people that listen to coffee and pearls, you guys are self-helpy kind of people, right? You’re the ones that are like have those moments where you’re like, Oh, I should be better at this. And then you want to pop up and hear something like this. I think there are a lot of you that a lot of women out there that’s not their cup of tea and they’re like, I would hate this podcast. I’m like, totally, you would totally hate this podcast. And go listen to a different one. Like um, abiding together. Love that podcast. So beautiful. That is like a cup of tea and a hug, right? Those ladies are just like cup of tea and a hug. You know, mine is a little bit more like a kick in the pants. This is like a Holy kick in the pants podcast. That’s what it is. But I know that you want to be the best version of yourself and I know you want more energy.

Okay.

And I know you don’t want to feel like you’re drowning and if you can control nothing else in your life, you can control what you put in your mouth and what you choose to watch. And when you go to bed,

I want you to be filled with peace and it is really hard to be filled with peace when you’re tired. I had one horrible night of sleep. I was like, we can half ago, four hours, and I was like Gollum the next day. I mean it was just, it was like that. It was like, you know, dr Jekyll, Mr. Hyde. Like I was a totally different person that day and it was so hard for me to do all of these things and I was like, we should order a pizza because when you don’t get enough sleep, your body goes, please give us easy carbs and sugar for more energy. You know, like I just broke down and, and it was good. It was so great for me to see one that I could be grateful for. How many nights of good sleep that I had had that that was unusual and hadn’t happened to me in so long. I was so grateful for that. Um, and then I was just grateful for everything that I’ve read and learned and that I work so hard to sleep well so that I can run this marathon every day and take care of these six kids. And those three, you know, boys under three and I’m doing it. You guys. I’m doing it.

And most of the time I have peaceful. I’m doing it. And I know that’s why it’s possible for you, no matter what the circumstances are. All right ladies, thank you so much for listening to Coffee and Pearls. I’m praying for peace for all of you. Have a blessed day.

 

An Exercise for Saturday and Sunday

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An Exercise for Saturday and Sunday Transcript

Hi and welcome to Coffee and Pearl’s 15 minutes of wisdom for Catholic moms. I’m Sterling Jaquith and as we continue this peace series, I want to offer up two exercises that I think you should go through, one for Saturdays and one for Sundays. And I’m going to describe both of them in detail. And then at the very end of the podcast I’m going to go over them again. So if you’re driving or folding laundry while you’re listening to this, don’t worry about having to remember it because you can come back, load up the episode, skip to the end, and then back up just a little bit to catch those questions. So the first one is an exercise that I think you should do on Saturdays. And I’m calling this the love yourself exercise. Here’s what I want you to do.

I want you to sit down in a quiet place. I want you to close your eyes and I want to, I want you to picture yourself as a little girl, maybe seven and nine years old. Usually an age will resonate with you. A little girl and she’s sitting on the couch and her knees are tucked up underneath her arms and she looks worried. And this little girl is yourself and you’re going to sit down next to that little girl and you’re just going to listen to what she has to say as if you are an adult. And I want you to kind of put on your mothering hat for a moment because while we made you a really good job of emotionally supporting our kids, we do a pretty crummy job of emotionally supporting ourselves. And so a lot of you have gotten to the end of the week and gotten to this Saturday and you think, man, I really, I bungled it.

I really screwed up. I really lost it on my kids. I really lost on my husband. I’m a wreck. I ate five pints of ice cream. I didn’t change out of my jammies for three days. I don’t even know what day it is, right? You’re just, you’re telling yourself this story and you’re laying on the guilt and the shame to yourself. And that’s what we’re hoping to combat. So instead I want you to picture yourself as a little girl. Sit next to this little girl. She just look at her for a moment. She looks scared, she looks maybe anxious, maybe she’s worried you’re about to lecture her. Maybe she looks a little scared of you. And I just want you to talk to her when she say, hi honey, how are you doing? And she’ll probably go fine, but you know she’s not fine. And you say, you know what, honey? It’s okay if you’re not fine. This was a crazy week. A lot has happened. It’s okay if you’re feeling really worried or nervous.

And then I want you to ask her about the week, what happened this week. And she’ll tell you, she’ll say, Oh gosh, I was just, I was so nervous on Thursday, you know? And I just, I was scrolling on my phone and it made me crazy. And then I snapped at one of the kids and I just feel awful. I’m so scared. And you say, yeah, I totally understand that. That is a completely normal reaction to what’s happening right now. I totally get how you could have acted in that way when I’m scared. I do that too. That’s exactly what I do. And I want you to just continue having a conversation with a younger version of you and I want you to come for her like you would comfort a child

Because children make mistakes all the time. Some I caught my nine year old being really rude the other day and instead of freaking out and being like, why did you do that? That’s terrible, right? I waited until she was alone and I just said, you know, I could tell that you are really frustrated and you know what? When I get scared or frustrated, I tend to be rude to sometimes and you know, it’s not okay to do that, but I totally understand where you’re coming from. And usually when I’m scared, I just want someone to understand me. But when I’m snarky and rude, that doesn’t happen.

Right? And so you can see how as a parent, we tend to explain things with love and grace and mercy because we’re training them. But somehow along the way we turn into adults. And then we think we should just know how to do everything. And of course we don’t. No one has experienced what we’re experiencing right now. There’s no book for how you should survive quarantine week with a potential worldwide pandemic that we don’t know or understand very well. It’s okay that you had a wonky week. I’d be surprised if you didn’t. And so I want you to stop beating yourself up. I want you to just get quiet, sit with that little girl version and just hug her. Just love her. Tell her it’s okay. Tell her that you’re going to love her no matter how she reacts and you’re always there for her and she’s a good mom. Okay? She’s a good girl.

And if you do it right, this isn’t a requirement. But if you do it right, most of the time you’ll end up crying, okay? Because you’ll realize just how mean you’ve been to yourself all week. And I want you to just release a lot of that and just let it go. Okay? Whatever you did this week, it’s fine. It’s what you needed to do to get through. Now, that doesn’t mean it was the best version of you. It doesn’t mean that that’s the kind of week you have to have next week, but whatever is done is done and there is no point in chewing on that and beating yourself up about it. Okay? So I want you to do the love yourself exercise on Saturday. Then on Sunday, I want you to do a peace exercise with your spouse. Okay? let’s call it something different. Husbands are probably not going to like that.

Let’s call it the check-in exercise. Okay? We’re going to call it the check in exercise. So you’re going to check in with your spouse. You’re going to say, Hey honey, I need you for 15 minutes. It won’t be longer than that. Just a quick check in about the week and what’s happening next week. My husband likes it when I sound kind of businessy. It doesn’t scare him as much as let’s talk about our feelings, right? And so I want you to sit down and the first thing I want you to say is, this has been a crazy week and I’m really sorry for the things I said when I was tired and scared. That’s it. You don’t even have to go into more details. Sometimes I like to go into more detail and I’ll say like on Thursday when you were trying to be really helpful, but I snapped at you. I wasn’t about you. I was just really anxious that day. I’m worried about the kids. I’m worried about you. Whatever. We’re worried about something, just say what it is and just say, I’m sorry.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say 100% of you need to apologize to your husband for freaking out a little bit this week or saying something not nice to him while you were tired or scared. If you didn’t rock on high five, you should teach the rest of us how to hold it together a little bit better. Okay? Start off by apologizing. Don’t expect an apology from him. That’s not the point of the exercise. That’s not important. Okay. So just apologize. And then I want you to say, you know what, we’re trying to find our new normal in this situation. And I just want to know from you what you think went well this week and what you think didn’t go optimally this week. Okay, no blaming. It doesn’t have to be a big deal, but we’re going to head into the next week tomorrow and I think we should have a game plan.

And so I just want to say like what did we learn this week, right? So the three questions are what went well? What needs work, what are we going to do differently this week? Tan. Because I really want you to come together and feel like a team. And I think starting by acknowledging that it is a stressful and a time of tension is really good. Because when we pretend that it’s not, we don’t have the same amount of mercy and grace for our coping behaviors. And some of us cope with just lashing out in anger. Some of us are coping with, you know, whatever we cope with, television, alcohol, food, online gambling. Don’t do that. I don’t know anybody who does that, but maybe some of you do. And I want you to really feel connected with your husband right now. Now I will say, and most of you know my marriage, still not in a great place, right?

We’re still not a great place, but we can still do this because it feels business-y and safe. And we just kind of say like, Hey, I want to be on your team. How can we, how can we make sure the week goes smoothly? What can I do for you? What do I need? But really we’re just going to ask the three questions, right? What worked, what needs work? What are we going to do differently this week? Okay. And so I think those two exercises are going to be really powerful, really simple and hopefully really helpful for you to go into the week feeling a little bit more merciful and kind to yourself and a little bit more unified with your husband having a plan for your family. Okay. So for most of us, we’re heading into week two of a completely new life. And remember it takes at least two weeks to get adjusted to something.

So this next week isn’t going to be like the easy week. Hopefully it’s easier than last week, but it’s still going to be a puzzle. Every day is going to feel like, Hmm, that didn’t quite go the way that I wanted, or here’s a new variable that I wasn’t planning on and we’re just going to ask ourselves every day. At the end of the day, what went well? What needs work? What am I going to do differently with no expectation of it going smoothly or having totally figured out. None of us have this figured out right now. We have no idea what we’re dealing with and that’s okay. All you need to do is have somewhat of an idea of what you’re going to do in the morning. But even the best planners, like they say in the military, Oh, what’s the phrase? Something about how the best laid plans work really well until they meet with the enemy, right?

And so you can plan as much as you want, but as soon as you get onto the field of combat, the plans usually go out the window, right? Cause you have no idea what to expect. You can have some guesses, but we don’t really know. And your goal should not be to have a perfectly planned out day that goes according to plan. It’s that you have enough tools in place, you’re feeling resilient enough and you’re being loving enough to and to everyone in your family for what’s going on. My kids are still pretty young, so I don’t see a lot of weirdness in them. But I can imagine that if you have an 11 year old or a 15 year old, that they’ve gotta be acting pretty weird. And I’m sure it’s subconscious, right? They don’t know, but they’re just kind of weird and off.

And I bet that could look like misbehaving or disrespect. And so recognize that they’re going through something weird to you may, you may sit down with them on Sunday and do the same exercise. Hey, it’s a little crazy right now. What worked for you last week? And on what was challenging for you last week. See if you can work with them and say, you know what, would it be more helpful for you this next week? And that’s all we have to do. We have no idea what next month is going to look like. We can’t even really know what the week is going to look like, but we can make an educated guess and come up with a plan and then we can already have mercy with ourselves that it probably won’t go according to plan. All right, so those are the two exercises. The first one is the love yourself exercise where you’re going to get really quiet and sit down with a young version of yourself, maybe seven to nine and you’re going to ask her how she’s doing and you’re just going to tell her that you love her no matter what and that

She’s going to be okay and that you’re there for her and that all of her reactions are normal. All of our reactions to unusual fear situations are just perfectly fine. We’re working in and out came. And then the second exercise is going to be the check in with your spouse exercise. You’re going to sit down and the first thing you’re going to do is you’re going to say, I’m sorry for the things I said when I was tired or scared. And then you’re going to ask three questions. Question number one, what went well this week? Question number two, what still needs work? Question number three, what are we going to do differently this week? All right, ladies, I’m praying for you and your families. I hope you’re enjoying this peace series and hang in there. We’re all doing this together. All right, I love you. Have a blessed day.

 

Don’t be An Optimist

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Don't Be an Optimist Transcript

Hi and welcome to Coffee and Pearls, 15 minutes of wisdom for Catholic moms, I’m Sterling Jaquith and today I want to talk about the danger of optimism and that might sound silly, but as someone who is pretty optimistic, well, I want to say it’s funny, I’m, I’m both hand a lot of times, I’m definitely the optimist, right? Even in our marriage I’m like, “Oh, it’s going to be great!” And I can just see all these amazing possibilities and I have so much joy. But at the same time I’m also kind of the melancholic depressive one where I think, Oh, it’s terrible. It’s never going to get better. And so it’s funny, I wear both of those hats in our marriage. But in general I would say I’m a pretty optimistic person. And yet it was a couple of years ago, maybe more than that, that I heard this story about James Stockdale.

So James Stockdale was a veteran who survived almost eight years as a prisoner of war. So he was in a prisoner of war camp for almost eight years. And somebody asked him, they said, you know, thinking about all of the people that you were with, you know, for the people who didn’t make it, what do you think they had in common? And he said this, he said, Oh, that’s easy. The optimists, Oh, they were the ones who said, we’re going to be out by Christmas. And Christmas would come and Christmas would go. And then they’d say, we’re going to be out by Easter. And then Easter would come and Easter would go, and then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart. And this is a very important lesson because you must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end, which you can never afford to lose with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they may be.

End quote. And I remember reading that and it was the first time that I saw my optimism as a weakness, which, you know, most people don’t consider it a weakness, but it was such an important lesson and one that I continued to learn, especially when my optimism creeps in and pushes out reality that it’s important that we have faith, we have faith that we are going to prevail in the end we are going to be okay and I think to front right now we need to have faith that we’re going to be in heaven, right? That that’s our goal and that’s what we’re striving for. But also faith that we’re going to be okay. No matter how big this pandemic thing is going to be. In my opinion, the sickness stuff is going to be at least three months. I think it’s going to take at least three months to run its course.

I’m totally making that up. I’m not a doctor or anything, but that’s just kinda my gut feeling. I do not think kids are going to go back to school. I think, you know, we’re going to be mostly staying at home for about three months and then I think the economic and financial impacts are going to be probably 18 months to two years with a little bit of an echo for five years. Right. I think this is going to be a big, big deal and not in a scary way, you know, it feels scary maybe because we’ve had it so easy for the last, you know, 50, 60 years in a lot of ways. I don’t mean to minimize the struggles that we’ve gone through personally or you know, as Americans or in the world, but in general, this is kind of a big, huge deal and something we haven’t had to deal with in a long time. And despite it being big and maybe scary, I think we’re going to be just fine as we have been throughout all of time because I believe in God and his goodness and his ability to carry us through. I also believe in his Supreme power, right? And so I’m not going to stand and say, God, why are you doing this? Well, I’m sure he has a good reason for doing it. My prayers instead, or God, give me grace to make it through while practicing the 10 commandments and being virtuous, being kind and loving.

And I’m trying to be realistic about how long it’s gonna take. So I think if you’re going into this and you’re like, okay, it’s, you know, it’s going to be a rough two weeks or her rough two months, you know, I don’t want you to die of a broken heart. Now obviously we’re not in such extreme situations as being, you know, a prisoner of war. But for a lot of us, this feels extremely painful, extremely confusing. And so I want to give you the gift of perspective, right? And so let me read the last sentence of that quote again. He says, you must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end, which you can never afford to lose with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality. Okay. So we want to stare what we’re facing down in the face head on and say, you know what?

Like we were talking about before, this is a marathon, but I’m here. I’m going to do it. I’m going to have a good attitude while I’m doing it and I’m not going to lose faith. I’m going to be okay. Right? If you are one of those families who lost your job immediately overnight, I want you to try to hold onto the idea that you’re gonna be okay. You’re going to make it through this. You may have less money, less comfort, but you’re going to make it. And that’s obviously the pep talk. I’m having to give myself rights to the small business owners. A lot of us are really going to be quite expendable and we’re just going to close and it would be so easy for me to think like this was it. It’s going to just eat up everything that we have and maybe we’ll lose the house and I don’t know.

I could go down that rabbit hole over and over again, but instead I’m telling myself, yeah, this is going to be a rough go. It’s going to be, you know, the, the short term rough girl was all being in the house and not getting to see our friends and not getting to go out. But then, you know, longterm I think there’s going to be a ton of economic impacts that are going to be difficult for all of us as a country and we’re going to be okay with that too. And I want that to be a message of hope. So let us be filled with faith and not necessarily optimism. I like to say that I’m an optimal list. Now an optimal list is someone who’s always improving their life, looking for ways to be strong and kind of how we talked about in the last episode, what’s working, what needs work.

And then also makes me think about the time that I was on bed rest. And you know, it was a difficult time. It was a dark time. But I also remember a lot of good things that came out of that. You know, when I look back I don’t think, Oh, the whole thing was terrible. I see the gifts that were there, the lessons that I learned, the ways that it made me stronger, that it made my marriage stronger. Even just the two girls last year who helped take care of my kids, you know, we, we now almost consider them part of our family. It was such a gift that I wouldn’t have had if I hadn’t gone through that. And it’s a little early to tell for all of us, but I was just noticing from my friend Kimberly that she is finishing her book.

She’s been writing a book and and she wrote today, you know, that she had been praying that God would give her more time to finish the book, but she never expected it would come like this. And so she’s, you know, fortunate to already see kind of the good that is coming of this in a big way. You know, maybe some of us have seen it in small ways, getting to spend more time with our kids or reading a book that we’ve intended to read or you know, pulling out grandma’s cookbook and baking some new things that are going be so many gifts that we’re going to receive in this time. It is going to make us strong. I already see the amazing way that communities are pulling together. It’s so beautiful. And while nobody wishes for tough times, tough times are what make us strong and able to enjoy the golden times that come after.

And so begin to look this week for those gifts and imagine yourself, you know, in your sixties with your grandchildren and they’ll say, Oh, tell us about the twenties assuming this ends up being a big thing. And it’s written about in the history books and they want to know, remember the good things that came out of it, the sweet stories. I love the pictures of children putting art in their windows so that the other children walking by can see them. That is just such a beautiful thing and we’re going to remember those beautiful things, so I want you to pick your head up this week and look for those. Look for the sweet stories that you’re going to share and it’s not that we’re not going to share that. It was tough, but it’s funny when we describe things that are tough, we tend to sum them up quickly, like like my bed resting. I’ll be like, Oh yeah, it was really hard to be in bed that long, but I immediately will say, Oh, but this is what also happened, and I’ll explain that in more detail because it feels like that’s more powerful to share and more important.

We’re going to get there, have faith that we will prevail. In the end, we’re going to come out the other end of this stronger, hopefully with stronger, more close knit communities and hopefully with a tremendous number of people who strengthened their faith in God or who came to form a relationship with God. What an amazing gift that could come out of this time. And we can be part of that. We can bring people closer to Christ by being calm and having gratitude and sharing the beautiful stories and lifting each other up. And that is my prayer for my family and for all of you. All right, so this week, let’s try to be optimal lists instead of optimists, and let’s shine the light of Christ into the world. Thank you so much for listening to Coffee and Pearls and have a blessed day.