13 Years and Going Strong!

Today, my husband and I are married 13 years. I can’t imagine where all the time has gone. Some days it feels like we just got married and some days it feels like we have been married forever. LOL! But, that is how it goes, right?

My husband Michael

My husband Michael

The “honeymoon phase” has long past and has been replaced by respect, understanding, and a deeper love I didn’t know existed. And yet, there are still frequent moments of swoon. Even after all these years, I still get excited and rejoice when he comes home from being on the road. Maybe him being a truck driver has kept things fresh!

Marriage, as has motherhood, has also taught me a lot about love and forgiveness. There have been very difficult times, times when I just think it would be better to give up, too. We have struggled and worked through disagreements and arguments. We have had to forgive each other a lot and have had to rely on the commitment we made to each other. We have had to choose love when choosing love was the last thing we wanted to do.

But, you know what? I wouldn’t change a thing!

Happy Anniversary, Michael!

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P.S. Today is also the memorial of the Queenship of Mary. Read about that here.

Ten Reminders of God’s Love for You

(I am reposting this because I think we all need reminders of God’s love every now and again. When we are struggling or hurting in various ways it is easy to forget that we are not alone. So, if you are struggling, I hope these reminders will give you some hope and courage. God bless.)

Reminders of God's Love

Image by albertobarquin0 (2015) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain:

This post is dedicated to my Aunt Miriam who passed away a few years ago. She was one of the first people to encourage me to read the bible and to dedicate my heart to Jesus. I loved her so much and still miss her dearly. She loved God and understood His great love for us. She also loved to read her bible and did so faithfully. The Bible is God’s love story to us, so if you need a reminder of how much God loves you, here’s ten of them:

1. “O Lord, your love reaches to heaven; your faithfulness, to the clouds.” Psalm 36:6

2. “With age-old love I have loved you; so I have kept my mercy toward you.” Jeremiah 31:3

3. “The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior; He will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in His love, he will sing joyfully because of you.” Zephaniah 3:17

4. “As the Father loves me, so I love you. Remain in my love John 15:9

5. “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for his friends.” John 15:13

6. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal live.” John 3:16 (My personal, all-time favorite verse from Scripture!)

7. “What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we are being slain all the day; we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:35-37

8. “For I am convinced that either death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38

9. “I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the holy ones, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!” Ephesians 3:16-21

10. “See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet we are.” 1 John: 31

I pray that you are touched by God’s love today. I pray that whatever you are going through you will have the courage and faith to stay strong. Never forget: You are loved. You matter. Your presence makes a difference in this world!

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Hold Your Eyes on God and Leave the Doing to Him

I love this quote by Saint Jane Frances de Chantal:

Hold Your Eyes on God

It is a great reminder that God has everything under control, even when it doesn’t seem like it! And, it is a reminder that I need often. I struggle with anxiety issues and sometimes I get frustrated by the fact that I get worked up over such little things. This quote makes me realize that worrying will not get me anywhere. God will. He is present in all the craziness of life and will help pull us through!

By the way, did you know that today is the optional memorial of St. Jane Frances de Chantal? She was an incredible woman. She was also blessed with a double vocation in that she was married with six children and then became a religious sister some years after her husband’s death. St. Jane is also the foundress of the Visitation of Mary Sisters.

St. Jane is a wonderful role model for mothers, wives, and religious. I hope you will take some time to get to know her a little bit.

St. Jane Frances de Chantal, pray for us!

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How the “Stop Doing List” Changed my Prayer Life

If you know me, even a little, you know that prayer is very important to me. However, that wasn’t always the case. Like everyone else, I am busy and have a lot of responsibilities. It is easy to make excuses as to why I don’t have time to pray. However, prayer is something that I know I need to fit into my schedule regularly so I went on a quest to change my habits and make more space for it in my life.

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors (2013) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors (2013) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

Thus, I decided to finally create and stick with a morning routine. If you are a long-time reader, you may remember me gushing about Crystal Paine’s Make Over Your Morning Course. I’ve mentioned the course several times because ever since I’ve started implementing the strategies outlined in the course, I’ve been able to make time to pray in the morning almost every day. I kid you not. Sure, I’m not perfect and I’ve missed once in a while; however, skipping my prayer time is now the exception, not the norm!

The strategy that helped me most is the reminder that “the mornings start the evening before.” I created my 3-5 non-negotiable things that I wanted to get done each evening, started doing those things, and I was good to go. Therefore, when Crystal created the Make Over Your Evenings course, which I received as a free gift because I am an affiliate, I didn’t think I needed it. I mentally thanked her for the gift and promptly put it aside. Big mistake.

As usual, life got hectic and our evenings became busier. We were out of the house a lot during the evenings because of Andrew’s activities and my evening routine started falling by the wayside. Sadly, taking the time to pray before bed was one of those things that got dropped.  I knew things needed to change so I decided to go ahead and check out the Make Over Your Evenings course. At best, I figured I would get a couple of reminders reminders and get a little accountability.

I went through days one and two and completed the required exercises. Great. Then I started working through day three and – boom – MIND BLOWN!

On day three, Crystal encourages us to look at our calendar conflicts. She borrows from Alii Worthington, author of the book Breaking Busy, and challenges us to creat a STOP DOING LIST. What is that, you ask? A stop doing list is “a list of items you intentionally decide not to do so you can focus your time and energy on your greatest priorities.”

Reading about the stop doing list reminded me that I have a choice in how I spend my time. Just like with my mornings, I can determine what my evenings look like – not my schedule, not other people and their priorities – me. Crystal goes on to ask some pointed questions that really made me think. She challenged me to reexamine the breathing room (or lack thereof) in my schedule, my sleeping habits, and my present commitments. Even more importantly, she challenged me to look for areas in my life where I have lost my joy.

I won’t lie: making my stop doing list was hard. Saying no is hard. Saying no to good things is even harder. However, if I want to keep it real and make time for the important things, letting some other things go is a must. Thus, I made the list and started weeding things out. It hasn’t been perfect but I’m taking baby steps and taking each day as it comes. The best thing is that I am now able to get some time for prayer in the evenings. Not every day, YET, but a few times a week at least, so YAY for progress!

Are you looking to add some prayer time into your life? Are you looking to make some changes to your life and schedule, especially with school starting up again soon? If so, I encourage you to make your own stop doing list. Better yet, I highly recommend that you take either the Make Over Your Mornings or Make Over Your Evening courses. Both courses have made a big difference for me and I am sure they will do the same for you.

And, since each course is only $17 a piece, you get a great bargain. Well worth the price, for sure.

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(This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy.)

Is God’s Love Enough?

Has God ever punched you in the face? Not in the literal sense, of course, but in the way that you hear something and it just changes everything for you?

Is God's Love Enough?

Image by brunoabdon (2014) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

Well, He “punched” me about a month ago. I went to confession and when I was done telling my sins the priest says (among other things), “When we sin we are, in effect, telling God that His love isn’t enough for us.”

BOOM!

For some reason, those words rocked me to the core. “Of course, God’s love is enough! I go to Mass, I pray, I go to Confession regularly. I profess Jesus as my Lord and Savior and try to do right by him. Heck, I even have a blog to encourage other women with their walk with the Lord! Of course, His love is enough!”

BUT, is it? Really?

By definition, sin is a rejection of God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states,

Sin sets itself against God’s love for us and turns our hearts away from it. Like the first sin, it is disobedience, a revolt against God through the will to become “like gods,”123 knowing and determining good and evil. Sin is thus “love of oneself even to contempt of God.”124 In this proud self-exaltation, sin is diametrically opposed to the obedience of Jesus, which achieves our salvation.125 (1850)

Thus, when I sin, I choose self-love, self-wants, and self-desires over God’s love. So, yes, when I sin I am telling God that His love isn’t enough. I am telling Him that my immediate self-gratification and my self-will is more important than His Holy and loving Will for me.

Thankfully, God’s love and mercy is bigger than my self-love. He knows my hearts, all of our hearts. He knows that we are small and petty and foolish and yet He loves anyway. He knows that we will reject Him – are sins nailed Jesus to the Cross! – and He continues to choose us anyway.

Since that confession, I’ve tried to remember those words. When I am tempted to impatience, anger or other sin, I try to remind myself that God’s love is enough. I don’t have to choose impatience or bitterness, or whatever. It hasn’t been perfect. I’ve failed more than I’ve succeeded. But, guess what? That’s okay! His love is even enough for my failures!

God’s love is enough for you, too.

Whatever you are going through right now, try to think of those words. Are you suffering or in pain? God’s love is enough. Are you struggling with bitterness, anger or hatred? God’s love is enough. Are you lonely? God’s love is enough. Are you out of work or facing financial problems? God’s love is enough. I promise, no matter what you are going through, God’s love is enough.

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P.S. Know that I pray for my blog readers daily! If you have a specific intention you want me to pray for, don’t hesitate to let me know.

A Little Change in Blogging Schedule

Just a heads up that I will be cutting down on my posts each week. Our homeschooling starts soon, I am helping in husband’s business, and I have other projects and responsibilities that will be monopolizing my time. In order to manage everything, I think it is best that I scale down a bit. Therefore, my plan is to blog once a week for sure, and possibly two days a week.

I will still be around on social media and I am hoping to start a Periscope show soon!

Books Read in July 2016

I read a fair amount in July, including a book series! In total, I completed five books this month.

Image by publicdomainpictures (2013) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

Image by publicdomainpictures (2013) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

The first book I read is The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. I read this book for school eons ago and when I saw it at the library, I decided to give it a re-read. Plath has a raw writing style that grating, captivating, and powerful.

The book series I read was the Bride Quartet Series by Nora Roberts. I read all four books. There a few things that I pointedly didn’t like the book. The first thing I didn’t like was the repeated use of the Lord’s Name in vain. it was J this, or J C that and it upset me that a different word couldn’t have been chosen to relate the same sentiment.

The second thing I didn’t like was the sexual content. This is one of the reasons I stick to love-inspired romances. It is possible to inject romance and love into a book without all the semi-graphic sex. Now, Nora Roberts is new to me but apparently this is how most of her books are. If I had know that, I wouldn’t have started the series.

The third thing I had issue with was the fact that the book needs better editing. This series is one of her older novels I would imagine/hope that her later novels are better written and edited.

So what kept me reading? The character development. Roberts does a great job developing her characters. The series revolves around four long-time friends who own a bridal service. Each book focuses on one of those women; however, all the women are woven through all the storylines. And so do their men. She does such a marvelous job with keeping the reader engaged with the characters that I overlooked the other issues and read all four books. having said that, I will not be reading any more of her books.

Right now, I am reading a book called The Incubated Author: 10 Steps to Start a Movement. I am not in far enough to make an honest judgement of the book, however, so I will keep my comments until next month’s round-up. 🙂

What are you reading? Do share!

Mercy Bible Study: Session 6 Reflection

Whew! We made it to the end of the bible study, only this last chapter to go! How was it for ya? I hope you were as enlightened and as challenged I was!

Mercy Bible Study: Session 6 Reflection

Image by ToniaD (2015) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

The crux of this session is the mandate to be merciful if we expect God to have mercy on us. To illustrate his point, Father Pacwa expounds a bit about the parable of the “Good Samaritan” and the parable of “Lazarus and the Rich Man.” He shows the reader that in both cases, it is how we treat others and how we extend mercy toward them has a direct relation to the mercy we will receive.

In fact, in the discussion questions, Father pointedly asks, “Whom in your life do you need to extend mercy and forgiveness toward? Remember the words of the Our Father: ‘Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.'”

This question strikes a chord in my heart. Recently, a reader bravely shared with me her struggle with anger and bitterness. Oh, that is such a struggle I can relate with! Long-time readers may know that I was born with mild cerebral palsy. I was bullied while growing up and had other things happen that left me wounded. Because of these things, I struggled a long time with forgiveness and mercy. I won’t go as far as to say that I wished ill on those persons but offering forgiveness seemed impossible.

Through the grace of God, and help from some wonderful people, I have been able to heal in many ways and have been able to forgive those who have hurt me. However, it is not an easy process. It takes time. It takes work and it takes patience and it takes the willingness to want to move past the anger and bitterness and turn toward mercy and forgiveness. I have had to forgive and re-forgive. I have had to accept where I am and sometimes just say, “Lord, I want to forgive. I can’t forgive right now but I want to want to forgive. Help me.”

And, guess what? I still have to forgive. I (and you) will be hurt throughout our lives. We will always have people to forgive and we will always need forgiveness for the hurt (knowingly or unknowingly) we have caused others.

Therefore, I ask Father Mitch’s question again: Whom in your life do you need to extend mercy and forgiveness toward? What steps can you take now to begin the healing process in your life? I encourage you deeply consider these questions. Know that I pray for you daily! May God bless you and bring you ever closer to His Sacred Heart.

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Saints and Feast Days in August 2016

August is a week away and I am actually getting out this list ahead of time! Hopefully, this will give you some time to plan some fun activities for the various feasts. 🙂

Saint and Feast days in August 2016

Saints and Feasts

August 1:  St Alphonsus Liguori, bishop & doctor of the church (obligatory memorial)

August 2: St. Eusebius of Vercelli (optional memorial)

August 2: St. Peter Julian Eymard (optional memorial)

August 4: St. John Vianney, Priest (obligatory memorial)

August 5: Dedication of the Basilica of St. Mary Major (optional memorial)

August 5: First Friday Devotions (Optional)

August 6: The Transfiguration of the Lord (feast)

August 6: First Saturday Devotions (Optional)

August 8: St. Dominic, Priest (obligatory memorial)

August 9: St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross [Edith Stein] (optional memorial)

August 10: St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr (feast)

August 11: St. Clare, virgin (obligatory memorial)

August 12: St. Jane Frances de Chantal, religious (optional memorial)

August 13: Sts. Pontian, Pope, and Hippolytus, priest, martyrs (optional memorial)

August 15: The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (solemnity)

August 16: St. Stephen of Hungary (optional memorial)

August 19: St. John Eudes, priest (optional memorial)

August 20: St. Bernard, abbot and doctor of the church (obligatory memorial)

August 22: The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary (obligatory memorial)

 August 23: St. Rose of Lima (optional memorial)

August 24: St. Bartholomew, apostle (feast)

August 25: St. Louis (optional memorial)

August 25: St. Joseph Calasanz, priest (optional memorial)

August 27: St. Monica (obligatory memorial)

August 29: The Passion of St. John the Baptist (obligatory memorial)

August 30: St. Jeanne Jugan, religious (optional memorial)

Other Dates to Note

Every Saturday is traditionally dedicated to devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary

August is traditionally dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and to the Blessed Sacrament

August 3: Civic Holiday (Canada)

Here is a printable version of this list: SAINTS and FEASTS in AUGUST 2016. No opt-in required.

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The Greatest of These is Love

These three remain:

Image by WerbeFabrik (2016) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

Image by WerbeFabrik (2016) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

If life has you weary or the constant barrage from the news has you down. Take heart. In the end, love wins all. Sadly, we may never reach perfect love in our life times but we can all spread some love in our small circle. We may become disheartened by the constant barrage of news and feel helpless; however, we CAN offer a smile, a kind word, or a helping hand to those we know and love.

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