Growing up it was not uncommon to find inspirational quotes and notes throughout our home. My Mom would post tips for good habits, good living, and faithful inspiration on bathroom mirrors, the refrigerator, on her desk, and throughout the house. They were little reminders to all of us. The quotes came from a variety of sources, anything from a motivational book to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The options were endless.
Now that I have my own home, I do the same thing. What’s a bathroom mirror without a great quote or prayer? What’s the space above the light switch without a thoughtful word of reminder? What’s a refrigerator door without a prayer? We have little “signs” all over our home.
Truly, this is one of those little things that was weaved into the fabric of my upbringing that I love so much and is now something my own children have come to expect and enjoy. I think these signs are a perfect, gentle reminder to stay on track. It’s so easy to get caught up in the ordinary tasks of each day that sometimes we need a prompt to remind us to turn our thoughts to Heaven, to be a little more focused on loving the people around us, and to build good habits of faith, manners, and living.
Here are a few examples of signs in my home. They change with the seasons of our life.
Posted on or near each bedroom door and over the light switch in our kitchen is a single word: GENTLENESS. As a mother I am reminded that Mary must have been the gentlest of mothers. I want so much to emulate this beautiful response when I interact with my own children, husband, and the people around me. By practicing gentleness I am also teaching my children how to be gentle with each other.
I recently added two new words: PRAY and LOVE. The boys always have big plans for what they will do when they grow-up. Top on their list is rescuing the world from one thing or another! When they share their plans I usually ask them, “What are the two most powerful things you can do to change the world?” They know the answer, “Pray and Love.”
Another sign is posted on our refrigerator. It is our morning offering.
O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day, for the intentions of Your Sacred Heart, in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, in reparation for my sins, and for the conversion of all sinners. Amen.
Just below our morning offering is the obituary for my uncle. It is a reminder to pray for the repose of his soul and the souls of all the departed.
Currently we have a calendar posted on our kitchen wall with various feast days. The calendar itself is a rich sign and a reminder to help our family feel the rhythm of the Church year throughout the week.
In our first bathroom a prayer is posted on the mirror. It is a prayer I said in college at the start of several classes and I absolutely love the truthfulness of the words. It is humbling and focuses my thoughts.
Grant me the grace, O Merciful God, to desire ardently all that is pleasing to thee, to examine it prudently, and to acknowledge it truthfully.
In the boys’ bedroom the signs change more often than other places in our home. Periodically my husband or I surprise the boys with a letter posted on their wall. We’ll sneak in before we head to bed and post it just below their light switch. They love, love, love this! “Mommy, will you surprise us with a letter so we see it when we wake up in the morning?!” These letters are our way of sharing how much a special moment in the day meant to us, how much we love them, and how much we are looking forward to spending the day with them.
Now, this is where the signs get more interesting. My children sometimes post notes for my husband and me. They sneak in our room and post them on the back side of our door or slide them under the door. I can’t bring myself to take them down sometimes. The latest one, from months ago, is a list of things to do the morning we were going to replace the tube in my son’s bike tire. He was so excited and wanted to make sure everyone knew exactly how the morning should go! My favorite part of that list is #5: “Daddy. Wake up unearly.” It has “love” written all over it.
The first sign I see each morning and the last sign I see before I go to bed is a quote from Padre Pio.
“No pilgrim soul can worthily love God. But when a soul does everything possible and trusts in divine mercy, why would Jesus reject such a spirit? Has he not commanded us to love God according to our strength? If you have given and consecrated everything to God, why be afraid?”
And sometimes the signs are merely thought-provoking and not at all profound. Posted on my garage door: “Trash Out (Tues!)”
None of us is perfect. As mothers I think we can be especially hard on ourselves, “Am I doing this mothering thing right? Am I failing my kids? I really blew it today!” The list goes on. But we have to remember to pick ourselves back up and keep going. That’s the message of the signs in my home. They are little pep talks to ward off discouragement. They are gentle reminders to love. They are nudges to do my very best in the midst of the ordinary moments of each day.
Sarah enjoys writing about what inspires her in the ordinary moments of her day. Her thoughts can be found at The Happy, Resourceful Home.