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Say "yes" to the unknown

Sometimes it's so easy to say "no" to something when you're feeling unsure. But just imagine getting a visit from a stranger -- an angel, no less -- who tells you that God has chosen you to give birth to His son. It was a pretty daunting mission! But Mary had the courage and faith to say "yes," which can give us the courage to say "yes" when we're not sure of what lies ahead.

Keep calm under pressure

When life seems out of control we can get into a panic, but we can seek serenity by following Mary's example. Being the "highly favored one" came with a lot of responsibility -- and stressors. Mary had no idea what Joseph, her betrothed, would say to the idea of her conceiving the Son of God. Yet she remained calm and humble. There was no drama, just trust and peace that God would be faithful.

Be there for others in need

We often shy away from helping those in need because it can make us feel uncomfortable. Mary faced many difficult situations. She made haste to help her pregnant older cousin, Elizabeth. She went through the agony of watching her son be crucified. If we're present and attentive to those in need we're imitating one of Mary's finest qualities.

Fulfill your civic duty

Whether it's making the effort to vote or filing taxes, sometimes we balk at our civic duties. Well, Mary made sure she was present for the census in Bethlehem, even if it meant an exhausting journey on a donkey while heavily pregnant. Mary followed the precepts and laws of her time, so by being a good citizen we're following her example.

Help your kids spread their wings

Our children trigger many emotions in us, including worry. Mary and Joseph went through every parent's nightmare when 12-year-old Jesus went missing for 3 days. When Jesus was found in the Temple in the depths of theological conversation, He asked Mary why they'd been searching for Him, because He was in His "Father's house." While it may have seemed like rejection, Mary embraced her Son's path and helped Him on His way.

Be humble of heart

As a human being, Mary was -- and always will be -- unique. She was the chosen woman; the one who gave birth to the Son of God. But she didn't flaunt it, brag about it, or allow it to go the her head. As Jesus grew up and she witnessed many amazing and, no doubt, bewildering events, she continued to "ponder them in her heart." Like her, we can humbly accept our own particular tasks and mission in life.

Be willing to sacrifice your own needs

We often hear about parents needing "me time." But when you're tired and desperate to recharge your batteries, think of Mary, who sacrificed her own plans and dreams to put the needs of God and her son first. It helps to put things in perspective!

Wear blue!

The color of our clothes can have an effect on our state of mind. Try wearing the color of the Virgin Mary -- blue -- as a beautiful nod to her, but also because it's considered to be a color of faith, loyalty, truth, and heaven.

Call on her for protection

If you're suffering sleepless nights why not look to Mary for some motherly soothing? Although turning to Mary might be part of your normal prayer routine, why not offer up a Hail Mary before you go to bed to ask her to stay close to you or comfort during the night? By reaching out to her we're honoring her as our beloved heavenly parent.
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