All Saint’s Day

I am working on our family’s liturgical living calendar.  I am starting to plan out how our family will celebrate different feast days, solemnities, and church seasons throughout the year.  For All Saint’s Day this year, Henry and I got out some of our holy cards and put them on the table.  We talked about different saints throughout the day.

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It was neat to see how Henry was looking at the different holy cards throughout the day and was practicing saying the saint’s names.

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Happy Halloween

From Craig, Megan, Daniel Tiger, and Mickey Mouse.

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We had lots of fun celebrating Halloween this year.  We started our celebration Friday with a Halloween party at my Dad’s office.  Henry quickly figured out what Halloween is all about by grabbing candy from the bowls, putting it into his bag, and figuring out how to open candy packages so he could eat it without Mom and Dad noticing… or so he thought.  Henry tried to share some candy with Joseph, but Mom and Dad said no.  Even though Joseph didn’t have candy, he enjoyed all the fun times, as well.

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We went to Boo at the Zoo Saturday night with Nana, Papa, and some cousins.  It was fun seeing all the decorations and costumes throughout the zoo.

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Halloween night Craig and Henry went trick or treating at a couple houses in our neighborhood.  Then we went trick or treating to see John and Aunt Ellie, as well as to Nana and Papa’s house.  It was a fun few days filled with lots of talk of Daniel Tiger, Mickey Mouse, learning to say trick or treat, and trying to sneak in some candy.

Spousal Prayer

Shortly after Craig and I got married, we attended a talk on spousal prayer.  It was based on a book by Deacon Keating called ‘Spousal Prayer: A Way to Marital Happiness’.  It gives spouses structure for a way of praying together.  We started doing it at night following the talk, but we unintentionally stopped.  A couple months ago, I was reminded of it from my friend, Maeg.  It has come up twice since she brought it up.  Craig and I decided we should try something similar to it again.

We pray night prayer together before we go to bed.  Following the examen, Craig starts by sharing the best part of his day, and then he shares something that was either difficult for him or that he struggled with that day.  Then I share.  Then we pray for each other together.

This is where we have started.  We aren’t perfect at it, and some nights we don’t go to bed at the same time so we don’t do it.  When we do spousal prayer, though, it has allowed us to intentionally be vulnerable with each other in a way we may have let slip away before doing this together.

I love hearing how other married couples pray together as we are striving to do this and learning what God is calling us to do in prayer with each other.

Here is a talk by Deacon Keating about inviting Jesus into marriage.  He gives a beautiful reflection on what love is during the second half of the talk.  If we want to know what love is, he says to read John 19:34 — “One soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out.”  The talk had some great points to reflect on and invited me to reflect more how I can grow spiritually for our marriage.

Joy in Our Ordinary

Our ordinary at the Pytleski home…

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When Henry, Joseph, and I got home one day recently, Henry was lingering in the garage as I brought Joseph inside.  When I went back out to check on him, I found him in the La Croix boxes in the garage.  I couldn’t wait to show these pictures to Craig.  Like father, like son.

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Joseph turned 2 months old on October 15.  He is smiling so much and makes the sweetest cooing sounds.  He is growing so quickly.  I had to pull out our 3-6 month clothes a couple weeks ago for him.  Joseph likes when we smile at him, talk with him, Sophie the giraffe, baths, you name it.  He is a content little guy.  Henry still loves being his big brother.  He asks for Joseph almost every morning when he wakes up and loves giving him hugs and kisses.  When Joseph is crying, Henry has started saying, “Joseph, it’s okay!”  He also likes to talk baby talk with Joseph.

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We went to Lost in Fun this week with our cousins.  Henry loved running around, swinging on the tire swing, and jumping on the inflatables.

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The other night, Henry and I were reading the book, “My First Book of Things to Spot”.  In the book, we found a boy wearing a hat as well as lots of owls.  He immediately thought he should go upstairs to his room to get his hat and Joseph’s owl backpack.  He had fun continuing to find the hat and owls throughout the book after he started wearing them.

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David and Annie put on a memorial walk for Grant at Holmes Lake.  We had a wonderful time at the picnic and walk remembering Grant with family and friends.  Henry and Emma loved the juice pouches, and Joseph enjoyed the walk in the stroller.

Spirit of Poverty

A few weeks ago, my phone fell, and the screen broke.  It wasn’t a big deal.  I have lived with a broken screen on my phone before.  A few days passed, and I was going to take a picture using my phone.  I realized my camera wasn’t working.  Now I was kind of bummed.  I still thought I would be fine with my phone for awhile.  But of all the things on my phone, the camera is one thing I really do use.  Craig and I decided it was time for me to get a new phone.

When we went in to buy it, we learned all about the new way you have to pay for phones.  It was going to add to our phone payment every month, which meant adding more money into that part of our budget.  I was so frustrated.  We had been working on decreasing areas of our budget to make it work for me to stay home, and now we had to increase what we were spending… on a phone.  A phone is not exactly where I’d like to be spending more money.

Choosing for me to stay home has really caused us to look at where we can cut back.  Where is God inviting us to live more simply?  What have we been spending excessively?  Where is God inviting us to live more with a spirit of poverty?

For now, we are starting small.  We had the mid-speed internet, and we changed to the slowest internet.  We are only buying clothes on sale or used as needed.  We aren’t eating out, unless we have to.  We are being more strategic about our meal planning and food purchasing for the week.  We are being more simple with our meals.  We are being sure to turn all the lights off in a room when we aren’t in it.

Like I said, small.  But it has brought about a little bit of ‘uncomfortableness’ in some areas.  In my uncomfortableness I have a greater need for Jesus.  I turn to Him.  I depend on Him.  I am denying myself and the little pleasures of life for God and for my family.  This is what God is calling me to do right now.

“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” Matthew 16:24

Lord, I pray that you help me to deny myself so that I may put You first, my family second, and myself last.  I pray you continue to show me where else I may live more simply with a spirit of poverty.  Help me to take up my crosses each day – with joy – for You.

Jesus’ Sacred Heart

“Place your desires deep into the sacred heart of Jesus.”

Craig told me that our friend, Fr. Andrews, told him this today.  These words really resonated with me, and I can’t stop thinking about them.  I’m thinking it may be an invitation from Jesus to share my desires with Him.  He is there, waiting, with his hand open to me, sharing His heart with me.

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Jesus, I place deep into your sacred heart my desire to know You more intimately.

Jesus, I place deep into your sacred heart my desire to love You deeply and more than anything or anyone else.

Jesus, I place deep into your sacred heart my desire to share You with each person I encounter and to make You known to others.

Jesus, I place deep into your sacred heart my desire to do Your will.

Jesus, I place deep into your sacred heart my desire to be a good and holy wife to Craig.

Jesus, I place deep into your sacred heart my desire to be a good and holy mother to Henry and Joseph.

Jesus, I place deep into your sacred heart my desire for Craig, Henry, and Joseph to be your disciples and to be saints.

Jesus, I place deep into your sacred heart my desire to lay down my life for my family and friends.

Jesus, I place deep into your sacred heart my desire for peace, joy, love, wisdom, and courage.

Jesus, I place deep into your sacred heart my desire for community.

Jesus, I place deep into your sacred heart my desire to give more than I receive.

Jesus, I place deep into your sacred heart my desire to be fearless and to set the world on fire for You, with You, and in You.

Jesus, I place deep into your sacred heart my desire to live intentionally.

Jesus, I place deep into your sacred heart my desire to seek holiness in the ordinariness of each day.

Jesus, I place deep into your sacred heart my desire to imitate your Blessed Mother.

Jesus, I place deep into your sacred heart my desire to do little things with great love.

Opening a Gift

“Every good and perfect gift is from above.”  James 1:17

I thank God every day for Craig, Henry, and Joseph.  I always tell God how they are gifts to me given from Him.

The other day, I was talking with Joseph, and he started smiling.  He has the biggest and sweetest smile.  It is so contagious.  As I was with him, I had this vision in my mind of me receiving a present.  His smile, his joy, his peace, the time with him in that moment were God allowing me to open a little bit more of the gift that Joseph is to me.

Each day as I spend time with Craig, Henry, and Joseph, God allows me to open a little bit more of the gift that they are to me.  Whether it is the time spent with them, how they challenge me to grow, watching them grow, seeing them delight in something, learning something about their heart or their mind, serving them, etc., each day God gives me a gift through them.  I am filled with so much gratitude to God for choosing me to be Craig’s wife and Henry and Joseph’s mom.

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St. Mary of the Angels

A few years ago, Michelle and I went to visit Maeg and Kelby in Chicago.  While we were there, we did a mini pilgrimage and visited a few of the Catholic churches in Chicago.  One of the churches we went to was called St. Mary of the Angels.  It is one of the most beautiful churches I have been to in the United States.  The beauty in the church is breathtaking and lifts your heart to heaven.  The beauty raises you to a deeper reverence for Christ within the church.  I also loved the church because it has a relic of St. Josemaria Escriva in it — a saint who I have a devotion to.  Opus Dei does a lot at this church, as well.

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The summer after Craig and I got married while I was pregnant with Henry, we were in Chicago.  Craig had not been to the church before.  I told him we had to go visit this church, but unfortunately, when we tried to, we couldn’t go in because a funeral was taking place.  When we stopped in Chicago on the way to Jeff and Marianne’s wedding in Michigan, Craig and I decided to try stopping at the church.  We thought it would be particularly special for us to bring Joseph there, as well, since St. Josemaria is one of his namesakes.

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St. Josemaria Escriva, please pray for our family.

Pumpkin Patch

We went to the Pumpkin Patch a couple weeks ago.  We went to Skinny Bones in between Omaha and Blair.  We met Jennifer and Emma there.   We had a lot of fun.

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Henry and Emma enjoying their ride into the pumpkin patch.  They shared a cheesy from Amigos on their way.  It doesn’t get much better than a wagon ride and a cheesy — it’s the little things. 🙂

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The slide was pretty fast.  Henry, being a gentleman, went down the slide first.  Henry’s trip down the slide made Emma decide she didn’t want to go down.

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They really did like this tractor ride.  They went on it about 3 or 4 times.

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Emma, Henry, and I in the petting zoo.

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We enjoyed the petting zoo!  It had a donkey, geese, goats, chicks, chickens, turkeys… you name it!  It was neat!  Henry and Emma both pet the goats.  They liked seeing the animals.

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Cousins making memories together.

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Joseph had fun, too.  He got his own pumpkin.

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Henry with one of the pumpkins he picked out.

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Henry really liked the pumpkins and kept saying “puppi” for pumpkins.

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Henry and Emma filling the wagon with pumpkins to bring home.

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It was a fun day at the pumpkin patch!

Ordinariness

Craig and I talk a lot about ‘ordinariness’.  Most of our days are pretty similar in structure — Henry, Joseph, and I will either play at home or go do something (e.g., go to the zoo, library, walk, park, etc.).  Henry takes his nap.  Then we all play some more.  We have dinner and family time.  It is in these moments that God is calling me to holiness.  How do I react to the moments that happen in the ordinary?  How do I respond and view these moments?  Do I respond with virtue and love?  Do I invite Jesus into these moments?  Am I intentionally spending time with those God has placed in front of me?  Am I being Christ to others in front of me?  Am I putting others before myself?

I have heard and read a few people talk lately about Mary in her ordinariness.  Mary rocked Jesus to sleep.  Mary folded Jesus’ clothes.  Mary cooked dinner for Joseph and Jesus.  I am called to live these moments with excellence with Christ and for Christ.  I hope Craig, Henry, and Joseph come to know Christ through how I treat them and respond to them.  I hope they always strive for excellence and find purpose in each little moment of the day.  I hope they choose Christ in each moment.  Each moment, each word spoken, each interaction, each pause in the day, each emotion, each activity is a moment to grow in holiness.

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Henry checking out where him and Craig are hoping to build a fort someday.

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We had lots of butterflies on our plants.

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One of Joseph’s first smiles.

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Making angel pancakes for the feast of the Archangels.

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Hey there, Henry.

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Craig and Joseph having fun.

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Painting a wooden pumpkin.

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I love these little boys and feel so so blessed to be their Mama.

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Joseph’s sweet, sweet smile.

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Spending time with Mr. Joseph.