Single Mom Experiences (survey)

Peter the Rock SMOM

Please answer the following questions:

1. How long have you been a single mom?

2. Were you married before you became a single mom?

3. If divorced, how long did it take you to recover financially, emotionally, etc.?

4. How much of a network do you have (family, friends, community)? What kind of help does your network offer (emotional support, food, money, education, emergencies, childcare, shelter, safety, etc.)?

5. How involved is the father of your child/children?

6. What topics are relevant to single moms? If you have found good forums or websites for single moms, please recommend those sites here.

7. Which resources do you feel are most lacking?

8. Which resources do you think are most helpful?

9. What aspect of single parenting is most frustrating?

10. What aspect of single parenting is positive?

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Community Experiences with Single Moms (survey)

Peter the Rock SMOM

Please answer the following questions:

1. How many single moms do you know?

2. If you know any single moms, do you know how they became a single parent?

3. In general, are the majority of single parent households headed by men or women?

4. What are some of your reactions to finding out a woman is a single mom?

5. How do you differentiate between single moms who are divorced and single moms from other circumstances?

6. Have you had personal experience with divorce; that is, have you been married and divorced?

7. What are some challenges that you think single moms face?

8. What are some positive aspects you’ve seen in the single moms that you know?

9. How much research have you done on single motherhood?

10. What is your primary attitude toward single motherhood?

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Praying Peacefully

SaintlySages

St. Francis de Sales, renowned for his practical and effective spiritual direction, gives these suggestions on how to pray peacefully:

“Remember that the graces and favors of prayer do not come from earth but from heaven and therefore that no effort of ours can acquire them, although, it is true, we must dispose ourselves for their reception diligently, yet withal humbly and tranquilly. We ought to keep our hearts wide open and await the blessed dew from heaven.”

“The following consideration should never be forgotten when we go to prayer, namely, that we draw near to God and place ourselves in His presence principally for two reasons. The first is to render to God the honor and the homage we owe Him, and this can be done without God speaking to us or we to Him, for the duty is fulfilled by acknowledging that He is our Creator. . …

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Be gentle not only towards your neighbor but also to yourself (spiritual advice)

“My poor heart, here we have fallen into the snare,

from which we have so often resolved to escape!

Come, let us rise up once more and forsake it forever,

let us call for God’s mercy, and put our trust in it,

for His mercy will assist us in standing firmer for the future,

so will we return to the path of humility.

Let us not be discouraged, but be well on guard from this time.

God will help us and guide us.”

–St. Francis de Sales

Perhaps due to negative voices from the past that demanded perfection OR because you demand perfection from yourself today, right here, at this second, OR maybe even because you try to live up to unrealistic (worldly) expectations OR because you have been abandoned for not living up to another person’s expectations, you find yourself in the awful condition of self-loathing–so much self-loathing that you cannot even see the good gifts that God has endowed. There are several external and internal reasons for reaching a state of self-loathing.

From St. Francis’ great wisdom on humility, this type of self-loathing does not come from humility and is not love, so it cannot be coming from God; self-loathing feels uncomfortable because God is love. He is contrary to hate [the hate you have either received or give to yourself], and He is present to offer His hope, love, and gentleness to you. Our Lord wants to help you live a life of hope, love, and gentleness, so He draws you during these times of self-loathing. It is a battle, so to speak, that He wants to help you win. So, feeling the pain of self-loathing does not mean God has left. It means He is there to help you find a better way.

Humility helps us to see both our gifts and our imperfections honestly, but humility nurtures hope, not despair.

St. Francis reminds us in this next chapter to be gentle to self:

Goal: To remain balanced in our attitude towards self, neither too bitter nor too sweet.

Effects of being too harsh towards self:

Bitterness towards one fault often builds anger causing another fault–rage.

Pride is nurtured because we have already assumed that we are perfect and should have no faults/sins.

We often scream at one type of sin and let others slide because bitterness, not honesty, becomes the guide.

Remedy:

Be honest (objective)–Look upon faults calmly, methodically, and with reasonableness and repentance built on hope.

Be hopeful–Encourage yourself to keep trying, but also be patient.

Be proactive–Learn how you can personally avoid sins and how you can be strengthened against them.

Be balanced–Remember that God has also endowed you with good gifts, most especially a soul and heart that seeks Him-Who-is-Love.

When a sin is too grievous for gentleness:

A firmer self-reproach might be necessary in order to stop committing grievous sins. However, always remember to focus on God when trying to amend your life, not self. Trust in His mercy. Give Him praise under all conditions. Believe that He is stronger than your sin. He has won you by the Cross. You are extremely important to Him. Pray that you might have the courage to let Him transform you into a better person, one step at a time.

“Therefore when your heart has fallen,

raise it gently,

humbling yourself greatly before God, and acknowledging your fault,

but without marveling at your fall: it is no marvel

that infirmity should be infirm, that weakness be weak, and that frailty is frail.”

–St. Francis de Sales

Mysteries for reflection:

Third Luminous Mystery–The Proclamation of the Kingdom, the Good Shepherd

Fourth Joyful Mystery–Finding Jesus in the Temple, He can always be found

First Sorrowful Mystery–The Agony in the Garden, He has to the strength to help you through the most difficult times

Reference: An Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales, Part III, Chapter 9

 

 

Blessed Mother and Child by J. Kirk Richards

Past Imperfect

SaintlySages

St. Francis de Sales readily acknowledged that each of us has troubling and embarrassing imperfections. In the following excerpts, he urges us to be patient with ourselves and with others.

“Do not examine yourself so carefully to discover whether you are in perfection or not; for, should we attain the greatest perfection we should neither know nor recognise it, but always consider ourselves imperfect. The end of our examen should never be to discover whether we are imperfect, for that we should never doubt.”

“We should never be astonished at imperfection or let it sadden us; for we cannot fail to find ourselves imperfect in this life, and there is no remedy for it save humility, since by this virtue we shall repair our faults and gradually improve.”

“It is for the exercise of this virtue that our imperfections are left to us, since it is inexcusable not to seek…

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