"God made us for joy. God is joy, and the joy of living reflects the original joy that God felt in creating us." (St. John Paul the Great)

Monday, August 31, 2009

My Daybook - August 31, 2009

For Today... Monday, August 31, 2009

Outside my window... it is perfect -- sunny and 70 degrees, a bit autumn-ish.

I am thinking... about how much fun we had at the MN State Fair yesterday. The bigger kids are old enough and The Baby is young enough that we were able to stay until dark for the first time! I really enjoyed the parade, the baby animals, the giant slide after dark, and (of course!) the food!

I am thankful for... the fact that I opened and unpacked the last box from our move (in November!) The basement is almost done!

From the school room... a disaster! I can't believe we're supposed to start our lessons next week. I've spent so much time in the basement lately, I have a lot of catching up to do this week.

From the kitchen... hmmm... that's a good one. I need to get to the grocery store. What are we eating tonight? I still have a whole thirty minutes before the scrounging begins!

I am wearing... jeans, tennis shoes, and a coral T-shirt.

I am creating... my first Daybook entry! To see others, visit here.

I am going... to take all three of the older kids to their dance lessons tonight.

I am reading... Parenting with Grace. Again.

I am hoping... I can get the bare minimum done in order to start our school year next week.

I am hearing... The Baby fussing -- I'm guessing she flipped herself over onto her tummy again, figured out she doesn't want to be on her tummy, and is frustrated that she can't flip back over to her back. (I was right ... time for a change of scenery ... now she's in her saucer ... all is quiet.)

Around the house... the basement is almost done, but in the process the school room looks like a tornado hit it. The kitchen floor needs to be washed AGAIN! The kids have done a superb job (!) keeping their rooms clean since we deep-cleaned and organized a few weeks ago.

One of my favorite things... order! Enough said.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Finish the basement (today!) Organize the school room. Get lessons ready for next week.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing...

Gotta love the State Fair!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thursday Thoughts from Cardinal Joseph Mindszenty

I originally wanted to name this blog Building Cathedrals, based on one of my favorite quotes:
The most important person on earth is a mother. She cannot claim the honor of having built Notre Dame Cathedral. She need not. She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral -- a dwelling for an immortal soul, the tiny perfection of her baby's body.... The angels have not been blessed with such a grace. They cannot share in God's creative miracle to bring new saints to Heaven. Only a human mother can. Mothers are closer to God the Creator than any other human creature. God joins forces with mothers in performing this act of creation.... What on God's earth is more glorious than this: to be a mother. (Cardinal Joseph Mindszenty)
But that title was already taken by seven young Catholic mothers, friends from Princeton, so I went with my second choice (but I really like it, too).

The quote has always been a source of encouragement for me. It is on a bookmark I use in whatever parenting book I am currently reading, to remind me of why I'm reading it.

Some time after I received this bookmark, the analogy likening raising children to building cathedrals became even more explicit when a friend sent me the following story (apparently the author is unknown):
It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, "Can't you see I'm on the phone?" Obviously not. No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all.

I'm invisible.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, "What time is it?" I'm a satellite guide to answer, "What number is the Disney Channel?" I'm a car to order, "Right around 5:30 , please."

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude -- but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going ... she's going ... she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in.

I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a banana clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it.

I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, "I brought you this." It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: "To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees."

In the days ahead I would read -- no, devour -- the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:

(1) No one can say who built the great cathedrals -- we have no record of their names.

(2) These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished.

(3) They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.

(4) The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, "Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it."

And the workman replied, "Because God sees."

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, "I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become."

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.

The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.
So, to all of you mothers who sometimes feel invisible, take courage! And keep building!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Baby Flips!

Yesterday was a big day for The Baby -- she rolled herself from her back to her tummy for the first time! She's still working on how to get her arm out from under her and back in front where she wants it though.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Weekend Update - New Words, New Art, and New Music

Well, I didn't finish the basement. It turns out the second half requires a lot more work than the first half did. There are definitely more half-unpacked boxes in the second half! I spent as many hours down there as I did last weekend, but it looks worse than it did when I started. (Although my dear husband assures me I am making progress and reminds me how easy the next move will be with everything so organized. He even took time out of his writing to run to Target to buy me about twenty large plastic bins to aid in the organization process, as things were starting to get damp and smell of mildew in the boxes, and we definitely don't have the room to unpack everything.)

The Boy was especially happy with the progress I made because I found a bunch of his toys that have hitherto been buried. He was happiest about his cars, but his hammer was a close second.

When he wasn't racing his cars around, he was happily "hamming" away -- what a great onomatopoeic verb!

(Which reminds me of some other words The Boy has invented along the way. Some of my favorites have been: the "comfterble": that thing on your bed that keeps you warm and comfortable at nap time and at night (aka as a comforter) -- the "giving room": the room of the house where one "gives" of his or her time to other members of the family and guests (aka a living room) -- and the "pahcuter": that thing mom is always sitting and typing on (aka a computer).)

After spending all day Saturday in the basement, I needed to leave the house on Sunday. We found a new place to visit -- Caponi Art Park. There are hiking trails and a sculpture garden and an outdoor theater. The sculptures in the garden weren't exactly "my cup of tea" (as Gramma would say), but some of the landscaping and architecture were fun.

The mosquitoes just about carried us away, so we didn't spend a lot of time in the woods.

But the outdoor theater was excellent! After escaping the woods, we were quite early for the evening's event, so we enjoyed a picnic dinner and a chapter of The Last Battle, the final of the Narnia series. The setting reminded me of the ruins of the amphitheater in Pompeii. The Art Park hosts various events, including a Shakespeare weekend and a Medieval Fair, that we are excited to attend in the future.

Last night the Park hosted a performance by Zeitgeist, a music ensemble comprised of two percussionists, a pianist, and a woodwind player (what do you call someone who plays a woodwind instrument!?!) Anyway, Zeitgeist is all about "new music." Personally, I prefer the old stuff. My husband and I joked that it had a high "twitch factor." After a long day, or a sleepless night, loud noises, including overenthusiastic children, cause me to twitch (in a joking way, as if I'm on the verge of a breakdown). We are not music experts, so we judge music according to "the twitch factor." We prefer music that calms to music that causes us to twitch. But it was a great opportunity for the kids to experience live music, in a beautiful setting (and it was free!).

This week, the plan is to stay on top of my work, spend a couple hours each day in the basement, and start getting things ready for the new school year. My hubby is planning on working three long days writing at the library, in the hopes of making his Friday deadline by Wednesday. If that happens, we will celebrate by getting the tent out for the first time this summer (!) and heading North. Wish us luck!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Quick Takes - Volume 1


--- 1 ---

This is my first Quick Takes. I've seen other bloggers use it, and I like the format. Thanks to Jennifer at Conversion Diary for hosting!

--- 2 ---

The kids just finished their second of two weeks of swimming lessons. They have all been very comfortable in the water, but have never taken formal lessons.

The Boy's big accomplishment was jumping into deep water ("without water wings, Mom!!!").

The younger of The Girls finally learned how to stay afloat on her back.

The older of The Girls really enjoyed the aquatic climbing wall. (What a great idea!)

--- 3 ---

Guess what they're doing? (Answer in next post!)

--- 4 ---

The Baby had her first book read to her yesterday. Her sister read her Angel in the Waters. What an appropriate first book! And how sweet!

--- 5 ---

We decided earlier this year not to take any major trips this summer, in order to maximize my husband's writing time (he's GOING to finish his dissertation this year!). Instead, I signed the kids up for a bunch of different camps.

In June, the girls attended horse camp for the first time. They had expressed an interest a couple years ago. I told them, thinking it was a phase, to start saving their money because horse camp was costly. They didn't spend a dime of birthday or Christmas money in two years and saved the half ($150!) required of them to attend. They had the time of their lives and are already saving for next year.

--- 6 ---

There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING on my calendar for next week! All summer camps and lessons are over. It is summer break for the dance school. Fall activities haven't started yet. What will I do with myself? More importantly, what will the kids do with themselves? I plan on getting things ready for school to start. I have a feeling the kids will be only too happy to play at home for a week without interruptions.

--- 7 ---

We had planned on taking a camping trip this weekend, but my husband is behind on his writing deadlines and I am not ready for the school year, so instead this weekend, I will be tackling the second half of the basement.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thursday Thoughts from Maya Angelou

I have a quote from Maya Angelou's autobiography on my fridge. It reads:
If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love. Don't be surly at home, then go out in the street and start grinning 'Good morning' at total strangers.
It is meant to be a challenge for me.

I think of the times we're snapping at each other around the house, and then visitors come over and everybody puts on a happy face. Or I'm crabby with the kids in the car, and then I walk into the store and am the nicest person in the world to the clerk and other shoppers.

Why is it I can suck it up for others, but not the ones I love the most?

Recently, my husband and I were watching an episode of The Waltons (the best TV show ever made!) on DVD. John Boy was having a bad day and snapped at his mother, who replied, "Are you angry with me, John Boy, or am I just handy?" What a great line! And likely the reason our loved ones are subject to the brunt of our bad moods -- they're just handy, they live with us.

But therein lies the challenge. And the call to holiness.

At our house, my dear husband gets the shortest end of my stick.

He works hard all day and comes home to find ... peace and tranquility? I wish. Maybe someday. We'll keep working on it.

After dealing with small crises all day, I am usually completely worn out by the time the dinner hour arrives (also known as "the witching hour" around here). My ability to communicate effectively has nearly diminished. My patience is gone. All I want is the kids in bed.

This is what my husband walks into most nights. And most nights he steps right into the pandemonium to relieve me. And after working just as hard as I do. All day.

My hubby rarely gets my smile, my best attention, my best energy, my best anything. He gets what's left of me at the end of the day. And sometimes that isn't too pretty, or easy to live with.

And he never complains about it. And he still loves me. And THAT brings me great JOY.

So, sweetie, this smile's for you! I love you!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Water-mill

As I was correcting reading assignments from last year (another item on my to-do list mentioned last week!), I came across this poem in one of the girls' readers. The author is not named.

Listen to the water-mill;
Through the live-long day
How the clanking of the wheels
Wears the hours away!

Lazily the autumn wind
Stirs the greenwood leaves,
While in the fields the reapers sing,
Binding up the sheaves.

Then comes this saying to my mind --
A saying true to the last --
"The mill will never, never grind
With the water that has passed."

Take this lesson to yourself,
And study it through and through;
For golden years are fleeting by,
And youth is passing too.

Learn to make the most of life,
Lose no happy day;
For time will never bring you back
The moments thrown away.

Leave no tender word unsaid;
And love while life shall last.
"The mill will never, never grind
With the water that has passed."

Work while yet the daylight shines,
Man of strength and will!
Never does the mill-stream glide
Vainly by the mill.

Wait not till to-morrow's sun
Beams upon the way;
All that you can call your own
Lies in your to-day.

Clear mind, strong body, youth and health,
May not, cannot last;
"The mill will never, never grind
With the water that has passed."

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Great Experiment

Well, we've done it. We've packed away the TV.

Yes, we're crazy. We admit it. But this will be our great experiment: Will we really miss it?

We've already been a largely television-free family. Sure, we'd turn on the Olympics or the Presidential inauguration or other similar events, but regular TV watching has never really been part of our lives -- no time, too many better things to do. (Although I have to admit I'll miss Dancing with the Stars, which I got hooked on when I was on bedrest with The Baby.)

The television issue has come to the forefront as of late because of our move. Our first two houses had finished basements and the television set was kept there. Largely out of sight most of the time, it was also largely out of mind. But the house we're renting right now doesn't have a finished basement, so the television was smack dab in the middle of the living room, the main room of the house. And having it in sight was a constant reminder to the kids of the endless possibilities. I heard, "Mom, can we watch ...?" so many times a day it was driving me crazy -- even if it was easy to tell them no.

So, my husband and I decided we'd let them turn on cartoons on Saturday morning so we could sleep in. They had their choice of two channels that met with our approval. But when I started hearing about how The Girls needed a Bumpits (Say Hello to FAB hair. Order Bumpits Now!) and how I should order an Aqua Globe ("Mom, it's only $14.99!") to automatically water my houseplant for up to two weeks (because I can't do that with a cup for free?), we decided even if the cartoons weren't that bad, the commercials were feeding their already growing consumerism. So we banned television watching altogether.

The harder thing to give up will be movies and Little House on the Prairie and The Waltons reruns. There's nothing we enjoy more than all cozying up on the couch on a cold winter evening with popcorn to watch something together. And I'm not saying this is a bad thing. But my husband and I have noticed that we often take the easy way out -- our time together is too limited and too precious to sit and passively watch. So we packed the television away in favor of increased conversation, reading together, and playing games.

There will be some exceptions to the no video rule. A child who has to stay in bed because he or she is sick has always gotten to have a portable DVD player or laptop on which to watch movies. Long car trips may be an exception (although our car player is broken anyway). And then there are the educational videos we use for homeschooling -- the kids Latin teacher is on DVD and we can't do without her, after all. We also discovered last week when the tornado sirens went off that we should probably hook up the small 13" in the basement in case of emergencies.

What we hope for in the long run is that, even if we do take the TV out again, the kids will be better able to choose something else over watching it.

So, maybe we are crazy. But we're happy. So far. And I'll keep you posted on our great experiment. Why don't you join us?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Tranquillitas Ordinis - Part 1

Tranquillitas ordinis -- the tranquility of order -- is usually used in reference to just war theory. I use it to describe how I feel when there is a place for everything, and everything is in its place.

I mentioned last Tuesday how one can barely walk in my basement.

Note the teetering piles -- something falls every time I try to move around down there -- and the piece of plywood on the floor -- that is supposed to be where The Girls practice Irish dance (needless to say, they haven't been doing very much practicing lately).

Well, I am very proud to say that, as of today, one can now walk in half of my basement. I spent the WHOLE day unpacking boxes, repacking boxes (we'll likely be moving again in another year and it doesn't make sense to take it all out), putting things away, cleaning, organizing, throwing, and donating (and sweating and complaining).

I HATE (sorry, I do) moving. I am a person who thrives on order. To me, mess equals noise. I have enough noise with four kids. More noise makes it hard for me to think and hard for me to function. Really. I've been avoiding the basement for months.

I decided the basement must be dealt with before school starts again. It is beyond frustrating trying to locate what I need down there. And so ...

Note the clear practice floor (and mirrors even!) And the dryer actually has a flat surface!

It's not the nice finished basement I'm used to. And it's nowhere anyone would want to spend any time. But at least there is order.

And, in that, I find great JOY!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Summer JOY

I have not finished unpacking from our move last November.  The basement is full of half unpacked boxes.  One can barely walk.

The grades from the 2008-09 school year are not done.  I have stacks of school work to go through and correct.  

I wonder if there are any late bills in the piles of mail sitting around the house.

My school plan for the 2009-10 school year is not finished.  Some of my books are not ordered yet.  Usually I am done with this by June.

I started trying to make this rental house a little more like a home, as we made the decision to stay for another year.  In the process, the house is looking more like a tornado went through it.

It is nearly ninety degrees out and we don't have central air.  

It is summer.  

We went to the pool for the day!  ; )

EnJOY it while you can!

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Head Chef and The Sous Chef

One of the girls will be in charge each week, and the other will be the sous chef.  They get to choose the menu.  They have to make a list of ingredients they need before the weekly grocery trip.  They do the preparation and cooking with as little supervision from me as possible.  

Tonight was our first try.

The Older of The Girls was in charge this week.  She had chosen a Louisiana Style Corn and Crab Chowder from one of my cookbooks (corn and crab chowder!?!) and a big tossed salad -- I let her choose what she wanted; I had never made this before.  She gave me the list of ingredients last week.  This afternoon, she read and followed the recipe with very little help from me.  I did step in to cut the round vegetables (potatoes and onions), which are a little tricky when first wielding a sharp knife (and made mom a little nervous), but as soon as they were no longer round, she did the dicing.  She bumped the hot soup pot a couple times, and quickly learned to keep her distance.  She diced tomatoes and yellow pepper and string cheese and hard-boiled egg for the salad.  Her sister helped by peeling the potatoes and peeling the eggs and setting the table.  She also made a pretty arrangement of crackers and carrots to "decorate" the table.

I was very proud of them.  And they were VERY proud of themselves, especially the head chef.  And I was able to get a little more work done. 

I am looking forward to next week!  Mangiamo!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Of Pirates and Sword Fightin'

The Boy has been attending Pirate Art Camp this week.  And he has absolutely loved it!  First, he loves anything having to do with pirates.  Second, he loves art and making things with his hands.  And, third, the camp is for boys only -- The Boy feels outnumbered at home and loves spending time with others of the male species.  

He has made a pirate T-shirt and a pirate hat, some treasure maps and a treasure chest, and he and his sisters have pulled out our other pirate paraphernalia -- another hat, an eye patch, a hook (to replace one's hand), and a plastic sword, among other things.  The pirates are running rampant around here.  The Older of The Girls is Elizabeth Swan; she captains a ship named The Rocking Horse.  The Younger of The Girls is the Princess of the Deep, captain of the Black Pearl.  And The Boy is Blackbeard, captain of the Jolly Roger.  This morning they were making flags for their ships.

They are asking me to find the other plastic swords.  I have been reluctant.  But if I don't find the swords, they'll be using sticks, or something else, anyway.  I was reminded of a great post I read on House Art Journal on rules for sword fightin'.  I think I'll discuss this with the kids later when I get out the other plastic swords and send them out to the backyard to play.

Have a great day, mateys!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wednesday Wit

Yesterday The Younger of the Girls caught me staring at The Baby asleep in her swing and asked what I was doing. I explained to her that I found great joy in watching my children sleep. I told her that each night before I get in bed I bless each child and spend some time staring at how beautiful each one is. Always one to catch me on a technicality, my daughter reminded me that staring is impolite! ; )

Here are three of my favorite pictures of The Boy sleeping.

on the glider

on the stairs!

on the floor. in his fort. under his bed.

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Timothy Nunn, Rest in Peace

Today I attended the funeral of Timothy Nunn, a fourteen-year-old boy, the son of one of my former teachers.  I had only met him once when he was small.  He was in apparently good health and died unexpectedly while on a Boy Scout trip in New Mexico.  As the pastor said in his sermon, "This isn't the way it's supposed to be."  As a parent, I cannot imagine the pain of burying a child.

I was very impressed with descriptions of this young man.  In particular, one of his Boy Scout leaders eulogized that Timmy embodied the Boy Scout oath and law.  I grew up with two brothers in scouting and was familiar with its tenets, but I have never given them much thought.

The Boy Scout Law: A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.

The Boy Scout Oath: On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.

I would love to raise a son that people would describe as embodying the above, and I congratulate the Nunns on a job well done.  I pray for consolation for Timmy's family and friends during this time of sorrow, and for eternal rest for Timmy.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.  And let perpetual light shine upon him.  May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.  Amen.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Rediscovering Sunday

"This is the day which the Lord has made: let us rejoice and be glad in it" (Psalm 118:24).

"I love Sundays!" -- I must have said that to my husband at least three times yesterday at the beach.  Truthfully, I don't think I could survive without them -- I think I'd be in an institution, or worse.  God, in His infinite wisdom, has shown me time and again the necessity of a day of worship and rest. 

It was in college that I was first made aware of our call to give the whole of the Lord's Day to the Lord.  I had been raised Catholic and knew that attending Mass was an obligation of my faith, but as I began to claim that faith as my own and take it more seriously, I realized that "keeping the Lord's Day holy" meant more than merely attending Mass.  And so, I began to refrain from work on Sundays, which at that time meant study.  I am the type of person who is always wishing for more hours in the day to accomplish my never-ending list of things that MUST be done.  So to know that whatever was not done by dinner Saturday evening would have to wait until Monday morning was sometimes difficult, but I was rewarded with renewed energy for my studies, and with a greater peace and sense of balance that I think I would have had otherwise.

My husband had done the same thing in college, and so it was natural for us to continue refraining from work on Sundays during our marriage.  Again, sometimes this is difficult for me, what with piles of laundry or paperwork or attacking dust bunnies.  I would probably never rest if not either forced to by a breakdown or (thankfully) reminded and encouraged by the Church (and my husband).  Sometimes it means we HAVE to leave the house for the day so that I'm not constantly reminded of what needs to be done, but again, we have been rewarded time and again for giving the Lord's Day to the Lord, and to each other and our children and extended family.    

As a family, we try and start our Lord's Day celebration on Saturday evening with a special meal together.  We start with a time of prayer and song.  Sometimes we share bread and wine.  My husband reads the Gospel for the week and we discuss it, which the kids find helpful at Mass the next morning.  Though we attend Mass daily as often as we are able, Sunday Mass is seen as a "little Easter" and we dress in our finest.  After Mass, the day is spent together as a family, sometimes with extended family or friends, relaxing or enjoying one another's company in a way that the busyness of the week does not allow.

John Paul II, of happy memory, wrote an Apostolic Letter, entitled Dies Domini, which is a great reflection on the Lord's Day (and the word "joy" is found in it 67 times!)  Our Holy Father writes, "If we wish to rediscover the full meaning of Sunday, we must rediscover this aspect [joy] of the life of faith.  Certainly, Christian joy must mark the whole of life, and not just one day of the week.  But in virtue of its significance as the day of the Risen Lord, celebrating God's work of creation and 'new creation,' Sunday is the day of joy in a very special way, indeed the day most suitable for learning how to rejoice and to rediscover the true nature and deep roots of joy."  In the letter, John Paul II, "strongly urge[s] everyone to rediscover Sunday: Do not be afraid to give your time to Christ!  Yes, let us open our time to Christ, that he may cast light upon it and give it direction.  He is the One who knows the secret of time and the secret of eternity, and he gives us 'his day' as an ever new gift of his love.  The rediscovery of this day is a grace which we must implore, not only so that we may live the demands of faith to the full, but also so that we may respond concretely to the deepest human yearnings.  Time given to Christ is never time lost, but is rather time gained, so that our relationships and indeed our whole life may become more profoundly human."

May the Lord help us to rediscover the joy that is Sunday!