Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Making a house a home
Yesterday, I had a very interesting conversation with my daughter, Grace. She wanted to talked to me about what it takes to be a full time homemaker. Let me say this, she is well on her way in knowing how to run a household. She has missed out on taking care of little ones although she did a bit of that before we left Massachusetts. Our discussion contained not only the practical but also the philosophy and flavor of homemaking.
In some ways, it was hard to be open and vulnerable even though we have always been that way with our children. I guess because the first things that came to my mind were the places where I fall short.
See our home is not so much in the physical place where we live but the way we live together wherever that may be. Our hearts are knit together, we love one another, forgive each other and we are pulling for one another. We laugh and cry together. Living by faith is not just a spiritual saying but we are actually living by faith. One of our loves is the written word. Some would say, "with all those library cards what are you doing packing all those books and lugging them everywhere?" A number of our books are treasures. We had read books together or one of us reads a book and then we pass it around the family. This is probably an aspect of homemaking that might not come to your mind but when I pack or unpack books it touches a place in my heart and my family is right there with me.

The legacy we leave will not be what kind of car we drove, what kind of houses (or apartments) we lived in, which cell phone service or Internet provider we used. It will be about the memories, stories and love we shared. It will be the type character we ourselves possessed and helped to cultivate in our kids. It will be whether we served others or expected others to serve us or whether all our striving was for God's glory or to make a name for ourselves. Home is where the heart is and when our hearts are in the Hands of the King, our nests down here large or small are just little campsites on the way to the Celestial City, our Eternal home.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Sometimes you have to let someone else say the words.
What if I stumble by DC Talk
"The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today
Is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips
Then walk out the door and deny him by their lifestyle.
That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable."

Is this one for the people? Is this one for the Lord?
Or do I simply serenade for things I must afford?
You can jumble them together, my conflict still remains
Holiness is calling, in the midst of courting fame
Cause I see the trust in their eyes
Though the sky is falling
They need Your love in their lives
Compromise is calling

What if I stumble, what if I fall?
What if I lose my step and I make fools of us all?
Will the love continue when my walk becomes a crawl?
What if I stumble, and what if I fall?

What if I stumble, what if I fall?
You never turn in the heat of it all
What if I stumble, what if I fall?

Father please forgive me for I can not compose
The fear that lives within me
Or the rate at which it grows
If struggle has a purpose on the narrow road you've carved
Why do I dread my trespasses will leave a deadly scar
Do they see the fear in my eyes? Are they so revealing?
This time I cannot disguise all the doubt I'm feeling

What if I stumble, what if I fall?
What if I lose my step and I make fools of us all?
Will the love continue when my walk becomes a crawl?
What if I stumble, and what if I fall?

What if I stumble?
Everyone's got to crawl when you know that
You're up against a wall, it's about to fall
Everyone's got to crawl when you know that

I hear You whispering my name [You say]
"My love for You will never change" [never change]

What if I stumble, what if I fall?
What if I lose my step and I make fools of us all?
Will the love continue when my walk becomes a crawl?
What if I stumble, and what if I fall?

What if I stumble, what if I fall?
You never turn in the heat of it all
What if I stumble, what if I fall?
You are my comfort, and my God

Is this one for the people, is this one for the Lord?

Sunday, January 28, 2007

One of the hardest lessons that I am learning is also one of the greatest arts in this life especially when it comes to personal relationships - listening. I am going to guess that a characteristic of a great conversationalist is the ability to listen and really hear another person out. It is my desire to be a better listener and to continue to improve this skill throughout the rest of my days.
Yesterday, my daughter asked me, "Don't you want to always be growing?" and I said, "yes, to the end of my days."
Really, it is my prayer and my heart's desire to remain teachable. I believe a key element to being teachable is the ability to listen to others, to learn from them and hear what message is being communicated.
There is a second type of listening and that is listening to God. The most basic way to do that is through the Word of God - to read my bible. I believe there are other ways: through people, through nature and in the midst of our circumstances. It is my belief that God does want to reach us through these means as well. My job is to discern and to listen carefully. In John Jesus talks about being our shepherd and us being his sheep. The sheep know the voice of their Shepherd. So, I believe that Jesus can speak to me through any means and if it lines up with His Word then I can pretty much trust that the word is from Him. Sometimes I need to check it out with a brother or sister in Christ and I am not afraid to do so.
Closing my mouth is not only helpful but is essential in the pursuit of becoming an active listener. For most of my pilgrim journey this has been an ongoing lesson. Some of us need to learn to speak up and others of us need to learn to keep quiet. I am so grateful to be on this road knowing that there are bends and turns that will continue to shape my character.
Thanks for reading. CM

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Young People
My children are no longer children, they are young people, teenagers. Growing up more quickly than I expected. We have had our share of struggles but all in all we are still enjoying and discipling our children. What I sometimes find hard is that I am still growing up as well. Yesterday in my spirit I felt like I was going to break but it is during those times that I think that I need to be still before our Father and remember that He is the Potter and that I am the clay, that my life is not my own that I was bought with a price, that I am to do His will and not my own.
I am so grateful for the relationships that I have with each of my children. Lately, I have been reading about and witnessing great struggles between young people and their parents. In my life, I have read many books (many more as an adult than when I was young) and some things really stick, "Rules without relationships equals rebellion" I read that in 1988 on my honeymoon (I could tell you book and the author too :-) It is not enough to lay down the law with our children, we must give them our time, attention and our hearts. It is the heart part that is the most challenging. It requires us to be vulnerable, open, honest and transparent but I am seeing how it is worth it, even when it is painful.
Today I am treasuring the time we have with our children as we can see the crossroads that are quickly approaching with our oldest - the others time is not far behind.

Friday, January 26, 2007

What direction?
I have these arrow stickies that I really like and right now I have 5 of them all pretty much pointing in the same direction. It is quite orderly in fact. Somedays do you feel like you have arrow stickies all pointing in different directions and you are not sure which way to go. I think I need to go to the Father as it feels like I have 5 stickies staring me in the face that requires me to go 5 different ways all at the same time. Augggh!
The new Switchfoot album has a song that states that we have one life to lead and at the same time asks the question, What direction? Going to the Father gave me the direction I needed and I was able to take the path that He led me down. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be must have been Him carrying me.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Most mornings I check my email. What's in my inbox this morning? NYTimes: Scramble for the Primary Race, Truth for Life Daily: Recall God's mercies, Region 8 tournament dates, I'd like to get this (from one of my kids), Expedia, Off-topic SHFL list: Struggling with teens (shouldn't that be ON topic?), Feedblitz, among others. Checking your email is like checking the answering machine back in the days before email. We use it to communicate with one another.
Remember when it was a novelty and you would get a nice email from a friend. It is not that I still don't get those kinds of emails but more and more this is how I stay connected to the world. Recently, I was gone for 2 weeks and I didn't get to check my email. I think I have gotten through most of it, but I missed checking it. I am unashamedly technology dependent.
I'm a saver too. My husband can't stand to look at my inbox and now that I have gmail, I am even more unlikely to clean it out. On occasion I do clean it out even though gmail "says" you never have to delete any email you have 2809 MB.

On the other hand, I have friends from around the country and it is a great way to stay in touch. I also love getting pictures of the little nieces and nephews back home who we are missing growing up. So I love when I get those invites from my sister-in-law, Shosh to view her latest photos. If people are not blogging about their life then the next best thing is the pictures. Some say a picture says a thousand words.
Writing this reminds me that I still have a few new email addresses to put in my contact list. Don't stop communicating with one another, keep in touch.
Hopefully I am sitting in your inbox waiting to be read.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Catch the Vision
In 2002, Grace and I attended our first Communicators for Christ (CFC) conference in MA. It was here that I first heard about the vision of Communicators for Christ. The next one we made was in New Albany, IN when we were living in VA Beach in the October 04. It was there that I began to see the vision but it was not until the fall of 2005 in the city of Nashua, NH that Dan and I caught the vision the Lord had given to David & Teresa Moon for the up and coming generation, to coach cultural communicators for Christ.

Communicators are being trained. Some of the most godless young people are being trained to lead our country and some of them will be leading flock astray as well (yes, I do mean from the pulpit). CFC says we can and must train our young people for Christ. It is not about the awards and accolades. It is about communicating the truth. We are indeed swimming upstream but in God's strength and not our own, there is great hope for this generation of young people.

It is our first priority to make sure our children know the truth and are walking in it. Of course, we realize that our children can not give away what they themselves do not possess. It is however, not enough for us to simply leave them there, knowing and walking in the truth. They need to be able to communicate the truth effectively, winsomely and intelligently. CFC is helping my husband and I to do that, as well as, giving our children opportunities to help others.

Now, I can't wait to get back to the club here in Gainesville and continue to encourage and exhort others to press on and continue to sharpen those skills to make a difference now as well as in the future.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

War of Words
This is the title of the book I am now using for my daily devotional. It is recommended by my friend Teresa Moon and written by Paul David Tripp. Yesterday, I did say there was hope in winning the war of words and the words from this book are not new, however they are important. C.S. Lewis said, "we do not so much need to be taught as to be reminded."

"we must learn to think before we speak" that is something I read this morning. How many times have I said this to my own children? or to myself after the "toothpaste is out of the tube"? Mr. Tripp refers us to
Proverbs 15 verse 28, "The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil." This is not a new lesson but sometimes it is forgotten. There are moments like the one in the van where I wish I had just paused for a moment and sought the Lord before I spoke. We can! but we must remember. My prayer is that I would take enough time to stop in my tracks and turn to the Lord and ask, will these words bring glory to YOU, Lord? and will these words be beneficial to my hearers?

Looking to be bold by the Might of the Lion of Judah,

Monday, January 22, 2007

Seventy times Seven
As some of you know, we (the Mullaney Pilgrims) are involved with public speaking and debating. The ministry of Communicators for Christ (CFC) helps us to prepare our young people for these activities and for the past 2 weeks we have been challenged, stretched and equipped to become better communicators at the 10th CFC Masters conference.
We heard from polished instructors and teachers who communicate in a professional and gracious manner and the following story from the road reminds us that the tongue is one of the most difficult things in this world to tame. However, there is hope in winning the war of words.
It's the 11th hour on the road and someone needs to go to the bathroom. Oh yes, there have been quite a few stops before this one, but like I said, it's the ELEVENTH hour and we are close to home. On this particle part of the journey I am riding in my friend's van (without her ;-( and 8 young people, three of whom are mine. Truth be told I lost my temper and not really sure now if I apologized or not, I think I did but if I didn't, I ask those of you who were with me, will you forgive me?
Why am I highlighting one of "my moments," the ones that we all hope and pray that everyone will forgive and forget about? Well it has to do with love - not the selfish love of I will love you as long as you give me what I want but the deep and true love that the Lover of our souls calls us to extend to one another. This is the love that includes forgiveness. It wasn't enough for Jesus to just love us, He could have done that from above, however in Romans Paul says, "but God demonstrates his own love to us in this, that while we were still sinners He died for us" and the death, the shedding of his blood was for the forgiveness of sins.
I sinned and I am truly sorry. The Lord granted us traveling mercies and for that I am grateful. It was a van full of firstborns, 6 including myself and it is amazing that the clashes were few and far in between. As we continue to debrief from our trip these things come up and I desire to be washed in the blood of the lamb and know that God's graces and mercies far outweigh my blunders.
Riding 800 miles with 8 young people was an adventure and I would do it again in a heartbeat. We road without a stereo or DVD player - IMAGINE, just with one another and a number of cell phones. Everyone took care of one another and stuck together; no one was left behind at McDonald's or anywhere else for that matter. There was an issue with the number 7 but all in all it was a good ride home and I look forward to more journeys in the coming year.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Body of Christ
Today I wrote emails to Mississippi, California and Washington. Just following up with some friends from the Masters conference. Our world has gotten so much bigger not just because we move often but also because of our involvement with competitive speech and debate. Our children are now also speaking out in the community and helping others to develop their communication skills while continuing to work on their own skills. It is an exciting and fast pace part of raising a family and I would not miss it for the world.
Thanks to everyone especially the Moon family for contributing to the lives of our three children. We are so grateful to God for you being a part of our lives.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

To Serve the Master

Dan finally caught his breath and said, "Grace is in the finals for the oratorical contest and it is about to start any minute." I was just finishing ballots for another activity that I was judging. I thought, I don't want to miss this, so I packed up my things and made it into the room, just in time.

We have just returned from the Communicators for Christ Masters Conference. Each year they have an oratorical contest based on the theme for the upcoming year and the speech the students have to write is based on that theme. This year's is "One Life Whose Legacy?" All three of my children wrote a speech for the contest - three very different speeches. The final round was a great group of very different speeches based on this one theme.

Grace's speeches starts, "What shall I say?" quoting Sarah Edwards the wife of Jonathan Edwards and the legacy of this man is what Grace would be sharing about in this speech. The powerful legacy left by this one man is inspirational but so is my daughter who is growing into not just an outstanding orator but also a beautiful hand-maiden of her Lord Jesus Christ.
Grace quietly and joyfully served faithfully in several areas during this Masters Conference and several of the local team expressed their gratitude for my daughter. As a mom it was humbling and heartwarming. I am grateful for all three of my children and our oldest child is completing the shortest season of life: childhood. Words cannot express the gratitude I have in my heart for being there in each stage of development.

The results of the oratorical will soon be posted at the CFC website
Check it out soon.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Not all commodes are equal

I plunged again this morning. The first day we were in this apartment we arrived without a plunger and we were almost immediately in trouble. One of the interesting things in moving often is learning to adjust to very simple things like the toilets. We have two in this place.
Life lesson for a pilgrim if I ever settle down: No two commodes are alike. I would want a permanent residence with a good powerful flush. (does that mean I am easy to please or just full of . . .? ;-)

Pax and Elimination,

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Heuristic Home Education

The world of forensics is consuming us, all for the glory of God. Now when I speak of forensics I don't mean we are examining cadavers. However, there are people who would rather be a cadaver then take the public platform to speak. It is just amazing that I even have access to this computer at this time since my children each need to Preparing speeches writing, practicing, delivering and debates, researching, writing cases, researching, debating, writing briefs, etc.
and "does this outfit look professional enough Mom?"
"Can we go to Wal-mart?"
"We are almost out of black ink mom....(we need to go to Wal-Mart)"
"When are we leaving (translates to: how much time do I have left to memorize these speeches?)

The three young people that live and travel with us are constantly learning new things.

Discovery, questions, findings



growing up

living at the same address (for more than six months) perhaps by the next time we move they will all know our zip code.





Tuesday, January 02, 2007

I realized today that the url for my blog was not the same as the title for my blog. If I were to change the name I go by again which I did in 1991, it would be "Caitriona." It was while reading a Stephen Lawhead book out loud to my kids that I first came across the name. Immediately I liked it. So perhaps when I turn 50 or get published hoping that the latter will come before the former I will take on a new name again. Caitriona Pellegrino or maybe Caitriona Palmer, both surnames mean pilgrim. It really would not be new just a different form of the same name which is what I did in '91.
Of course, there are a number of people who still call me by the name my parents gave me. I don't think Dan would appreciate my changing my surname, but if it was just a pen name I don't think he'd mind.

"A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold. " Proverbs 22;1

The meaning of my name is purity which was a complete joke to me before I was a Christian. Being bad was good. Growing up, I thought it was cool to be bad. Then I found out that everyone is bad and in need of forgiveness, redemption and restoration. Now I see that the Lord speaking my full name over me through my husband that He is in the business of making his children pure through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.

Here we are into the new year. It is a strange new year because we are not in a new place. Believe it or not, it has been a real adjustment for me. Something inside is longing to go. We really are creatures of habit. Soon enough I will be on the road with my children, heading to KY for a couple of weeks. It is however not the same as moving to a new city and state. Pray that the Lord give me peace and joy in being right where I am and doing exactly what he intends for me to do.