Pray, Work, Rest and Play (Vol. 2)

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“Sister Maria Assumpta walked up to the board and put up a basic compass shape. Rather than north, south, east, and west, she replaced them with work, rest, play, and pray. Very simply, she told us, “Your lives should always live in a balance with these four things.”

Welcome back to our weekly series — Pray, Work, Rest & Play — where we share a bit about how we’re striving to incorporate an order, a rule of sorts, to our daily routine here at Das Schmidt Haus. A routine that organically involves prayer, work, rest, and play. How are you incorporating these into your daily routine?


There’s something I haven’t been able to get out of my mind for several days now. The story goes something like this …

While pulling into the grocery store’s parking lot recently, I parked next to a Honda Civic hatchback. The compact car, probably manufactured in the early 1990′s, was weighted down with what appeared to be one soul’s entire possessions: a mattress and box spring tied down to the roof, garbage bags full of who-knows-what occupied the passenger and back seats, items of clothing stuffed here, there, and everywhere in between. As I walked into the store and passed the car, I noticed its Missouri license plates. I then mentally assumed the car’s owner was moving from the Show-Me-State to somewhere in Iowa or beyond.

After getting the items on my shopping list and feeling all to proud about a successful outing with three kids in tow, I returned to my vehicle. The Civic was still there, but now with someone sitting in the driver’s seat. I heard music coming from the car and noticed the driver, a woman, rocking back and forth to the tune’s beat. I tried to mind my business and get the kids and groceries loaded up in my car, but my eyes kept wandering toward the woman. She was young, probably late twenties, with long wavy brown hair, and looked maybe like an artist — creative, loving, interesting, naturally beautiful. As I buckled myself in, I looked over one more time and noticed her crying, sobbing rather, as she crumbled up a wrapper that once contained Buddig lunch meat.

And then it hit me: she’s not moving cross-country, she’s homeless and living out of her car.

So I sat there in my all too comfortable Honda Pilot with leather seats, heated leather seats no less, and pondered: What should I do here? How can I help a fellow sister in need? I rarely carry cash, but that day I had cash in my wallet. Should I give her the cash? How do I give it to her? Should I just tap on the window and hand her the money? Should I set it under her windshield wiper? Will she be offended by my gesture? Should I ask her first what she needs (à la Jesus, Mark 10:51)Maybe she’s just an eccentric soul who IS moving cross-country and threw her possessions in the car last-minute. Maybe she doesn’t need or want a single thing from me. How awful to assume I know what she needs.

And with that thought, I simply drove off. Without doing anything to help her. In this Pope Francis era where we are daily urged to be a missionary church who gives hope to the poor, I did absolutely nothing. 

And I’m still ashamed, unsettled, and embarrassed. 

Later that day when I finally had a quiet moment for prayer, I opened my daily devotional and read the following:

“Reflect on God’s goodness and, when in doubt, err on the side of generosity.”

Err on the side of generosity. It would have been so easy to tap on that woman’s window and ask, “What can I do for you?”

Joel suggests that maybe it played out the way it needed to, that now I’m convicted to do better. If I had reached out to that woman, I might be patting my back a little too hard and not thinking much about her. Maybe so. And I’m certainly thinking about and praying for her a lot since the encounter, and not only her but the homeless, the lonely, and those who have no one who pray for them.

Like Jesus asked of the Blind Bartimaeus, let us all be convicted to contribute to the missionary church and ask, “What do you want me to do for you?” of a person in need.


Many have asked how homeschooling is going with a newborn.

 … {can you hear the crickets sing} …

Let’s just say I’m running with the advice from a veteran homeschooling mentor: just read, read, read to those kids during this transition. So for the foreseeable future, we’ll be camped out with books galore spread out on the floor.

And busy bags, too!


BusyBag-JudeA busy bag is a simple, age appropriate activity that kids can easily complete independently. A few months back I was invited to a Busy Bag Swap where I made several bags of the same activity and shared with the other moms. In return, I received a busy bag from the other moms at the swap. Now I’ve been busy, pun intended, creating more bags to keep our toddler occupied during times I need to be one-on-one with our oldest.

What’s your favorite go-to “busy bag” to keep little hands occupied?


Another FAQ we’re hearing lately: Getting any sleep?

Yes, alleluia! Yes we are! It’s all relative, of course. But we are getting good chunks of sleep, all things parents-of-a-newborn considered.

I track information about Lydia’s feeding patterns on a handy-dandy app on my iPhone. Not that I’m counting, but since her birth, I’ve nursed for 2,350.6+ minutes. While the app is a great tool to track info, I’ve noticed I waste way too much time in mindless mobile web surfing mode. So for my “rest” challenge this week, I’m attempting to disconnect from gadgets during our nursing times in order to sit and gaze at this beautiful face. Remind me, please, to put the phone down. Please?



In honor of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary’s feast day, November 17, we’re having fun with bread (St. Elizabeth is known for taking bread to the poor). Here are a couple of good books on the subject.

Brother Jerome and the Angels in the Bakery by Benedictine Father Dominic Garramone who you may recognize from the 1999-2002 PBS cooking show, “Breaking Bread with Father Dominic.” The book is a sweet story about faith, encouragement, and perseverance. The story incorporates the Guardian Angel prayer as well, making it a good teaching source on angels.

brother jerome and the angels in the bakery

And Tony’s Bread by Tomie dePaola is the other book. It’s a delicious story of how the sweet Italian bread in a flower-pot shape came to be called panettone, or Tony’s Bread.


I also found a good recipe for panettone, so we’ll be baking some later this week. If you smell something sweet coming from Das Schmidt Haus, head on over and enjoy a slice with us. Better yet, to bring this edition of Pray, Work, Rest & Play full circle, probably best if we share a loaf with a hungry friend in need, huh?

How are you incorporating Pray, Work, Rest & Play into your daily routine this week?

3 comments to Pray, Work, Rest and Play (Vol. 2)

  • Love it all! Great job, Mama! Here is one of my favorite bread recipes-so easy and yummy!

    We did a lot of preschool bag activities too. A couple of our kids’ favorites since then and still today are a medium sized clear plastic box of dry beans and another one with dry rice/oatmeal mixed. They have lots of small old yogurt containers, funnels, cups, ladels, etc. to play with in there. We did learn quickly that those are best played with on an old tablecloth or beach towel/blanket for easy cleanup.

    Glad to hear things are going well.

  • Julie Nelson

    Oh, Lisa. I did the same thing with a homeless man in Rome (eternal city, no less)! And my family watching (double ugh). Joel is right…. it brands an ever motivating imprint on the heart and mind that I lasts for more than self accolades. Love the busy bag idea and glad to hear you are getting chunks of sleep! Miss you…

  • […] a big deal. The Month of December was saved by Lisa Schmidt of the Practicing Catholic blog and BUSY BAGS!!! I spent a little bit of money for supplies and have some entertaining and educational things for […]

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