Well I am sure you have noticed, or maybe forgot that I actually had a blog, that I haven’t blogged in quite a while. In fact it has been about a month since my last blog entry.
In this return to blogging entry, I wish to share with you my thoughts on priorities. First of all our vacation in August was fantastic, everyone had a great time, we realized that our RV is a little smaller this year and is probably not big enough for a 4 week road trip. Maybe one day we will find the perfect RV, but it will cost more to purchase, cost more to maintain and big more difficult to drive :^). Here is a link to the video that my 11 year old daughter created using the videos and photos that we took while on our trip:
So onto the topic of priorities. We all have them, we all violate them and we all desperately need to re-evaluate them on a regular basis to ensure that they correlate with our mission. As a Catholic man, husband and father of 9 children, my mission is different than a vowed religious or a single person or a husband with fewer or no children. I have to remind myself of that often, because there are so many worthwhile, fun things that I could do to fill up my daily schedule. I have over the course of my life engaged in a regular workout program, the hobby of aviation, watching regular TV shows and lots of movies, coaching various kids sports (as well as playing some myself), and volunteering in various capacities at Church.
Each of these activities are good in and of themselves, but unfortunately, there is not enough time in the day to work a job, raise a family, have quality time with your spouse and still do even half of the things I mentioned above, at least not do them well. Which brings me to my main point, I need to prioritize, and since I am married and have children. I need to make sure that when I prioritize, I do not do make my priorities by myself, I live in community and thus must sacrifice my own desires for the good of the family in which I am an integral member.
This revelation really hit hard when we returned from our vacation to a home which had moving boxes all over the place, due to new flooring and paint upstairs. Despite our home being packed up and not really usable, I had to resume work from my home office (which is upstairs), the kids and Denae had to start school and our normal fall activities (soccer, RE, Adult faith formation). To say we hit the ground running would not be the right term, it was more like hit the ground tripping over boxes and looking for our shoes (which were in boxes) and still trying to keep all our commitments.
With this wake up call, my family and I have been re-evaluating which things are really most important right now, given our current state in life (18.5 years of marriage, 9 children, oldest 16 and a home that will be paid for within 10 months). We had such a rough start back at home after the trip that we had to turn to family prayer. Obviously, this should have been our first action, but it wasn’t, we tried to rely on our own strength to fix the situation – Our strength is in the Lord (Psalm 27:23).
So far this week we have begun our day with family prayer (prayer for a successful day of schooling and the like, mostly petitions and asking for God to be part of the day), and we have ended the day with a rosary and a daily examination of conscience from Fr. John Hardon which I highly recommend. After only a few days, I see a huge difference in everyone’s attitude, it is not perfect (far from it), but holiness is a life long project. But a funny thing happened, we noticed that our activities during the week were getting in the way of our family prayer time. So the priority settings continues, I think we know what is the highest priority for us, but letting go of those other things which keep us from our higher priority is a difficult task.
Please pray for us as we seek the will of God in our family and thus set our priorities to be in accord with His plans for us.
We will be attending a family retreat in early October, so if you are available, consider attending with us. More information here.