Use These 5 Strategies When Life Gets Overwhelming

Life isn’t easy. It just isn’t. It is stressful. It is messy. Relationships can be trying. We all have our cross to bear. However, there are days, weeks, and even months when it feels like so much “stuff” is being dumped on us we start to feel like we can’t take it anymore. There is an expression that came from somewhere that says that God doesn’t give us anymore than we can handle. Now, I don’t know about you, but to me, there have been times when it feels like He brings me pretty close!

When Life is Overwhelming

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In the past, when  hardships  and struggles and “life” happened, I would get so overwhelmed – almost unfunctionable. Depression would set in and I would feel like I am stuck in the muck forever. Thankfully, this doesn’t happen any more. I still struggle but I am able to use these strategies to help me cope. Now, you may not get overwhelmed with life, but if you struggle or have to deal with long-term challenges, I encourage you to try out some of these pointers and see if they help.

1. Know You Are Not Alone

Everyone struggles and goes through rough patches. Again, everyone has her cross (or crosses) to bear. So, even if other people don’t “get” your situation completely, all of us can all relate to having to deal with difficult circumstances.

Now, knowing this doesn’t change your personal situation, of course. However, knowing you aren’t alone can be comforting. Growing up, and having mild cerebral palsy, I was bullied a lot. I still remember how alone and lost I felt. I didn’t think anyone would understand what I was going through and yet, I wasn’t alone. So many young people were bullied in my youth, and sadly, there are many people (young and old) who are still bullied today.

So, believe me: No matter what you are going through you are NOT alone.

2. Step Away From The Situation

It is extremely difficult to be objective when you are so close to a situation. If you can, even for five minutes, walk away. If you can’t walk way, take a minute or two to close your eyes, say a prayer and/or count to 10. BREATHE. BREATHE. BREATHE. BREATHE.

Even better, if at all possible, get away for a couple of days. Everyone needs time to recharge and re-center themselves. It is a great way to get a new perspective on the situation.

Realistically, though, that’s probably not going to happen, especially if you are a caregiver to someone. Still, there are other ways to “get away.” Can you get up earlier for some quiet time or steal some quiet time in the evenings? Can you use some downtime to journal or pray?

For me, as an introvert, I need a certain amount of quiet and alone time. When I am going through a difficult time or when life gets extra busy and noisy. It is critical for me to take some time to sit in silence and process everything that is going on. This is particularly true when I am going through stressful times.

3. Beware of the Comparison Trap

Comparing ourselves is not only a waste of time, it is a waste of our emotional and mental space. It is also very misleading. When we compare ourselves to other people, it is tempting to think that someone’s life is better than ours. We read what people post online and assume that they have such a great life. Or, we talk to acquaintances and hear all about the good things they are doing and we fantasize about having their life.

Well, guess what? What we don’t see is the “behind the scenes” of their lives. Or the reality of their lives. People are selective of what they post online and will not normally post the ugly. Even when they do, it is usually “packaged” in a way that makes them look good. No one wants to look bad in front of people, online or otherwise.

The same is true about our “in real life” friends and acquaintances. We can’t see what is behind closed doors of their lives. We don’t see the arguments or the craziness that may go on.  Unless they share their ugly with us, we don’t know about it.

Here is the deal with comparison: It only adds to your problems. It causes discontent in your mind and in your heart. It can cause bitterness and jealously. It robs us of our peace. Comparing ourselves to others sows the seeds of discord. Believe me, it is not worth the time and effort to compare ourselves with other people.

Going back to my younger days, it was so easy to fall into the comparison mode. My parents, and my family, did not treat me any different than anyone else because of my cerebral palsy. But, there were still some things I couldn’t do because of it and there were things that I had to do because of it (such as special exercises). I would so easily fall into comparison mode and feeling like life wasn’t fair! In my eyes, everyone else was smarter, prettier, or better than I was. How silly of me! It wasn’t true, of course, but because I was too busy comparing myself, I didn’t realize that. So, with some tough (but much) love, I say to you: STOP IT. 🙂

4. Talk to Someone

Whatever you are going through, talk to someone you can trust. It can be your spouse, a priest or nun, a friend, or even a life coach. If the situation is serious, or long-term, consider getting some professional counseling. If it is appropriate, get involved in a support group. There is no shame in taking steps to change your life or to find healing. Getting the help you need is brave and courageous.

I am not going to lie. This is a difficult step for me. Like my mother always told me, I have a tendency to hold things in. Sometimes it is because I don’t want to be a “bother” or sometimes it is because I’m afraid of being misunderstood or rejected. It is scary and hard to be vulnerable. BUT, there is also power and grace in opening up and talking to someone. When you talk to someone, that ‘thing” that guilt or fear or shame or whatever it is, loses its power over you. When you open up to the right person, it is freeing!

Anxiety is something that I have dealt with most of my life. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to get some anxiety counseling. I wish I had gone sooner! I got some greater understanding about myself and the disorder and I got some practical tools to help me face the anxiety when it comes.

Word of caution: Be specific and honest about what you need and are looking for. If you are just looking for someone to listen and let you unload, tell her. If you are looking for advice and/or a solution to your problem, tell her. Let your confidant know ahead of time what you want and need from her. it will save time and help avoid misunderstanding. You will get the most out of your time together if your mutual expectations are clear.

5. Get Some Practical Help

If you can afford it, consider hiring someone to handle the many little things that crop up so you can focus on the important stuff.  You can pay someone to clean your house, to run errands or to babysit your kids. Seemingly small things can build and build until they become overwhelming big things; therefore, if you have someone do some of those tasks for you, it can bring some margin and breathing room into your life.

What can you do if you can’t afford to hire someone? Do a swap with a friend or neighbor. Barter. My son has to do a certain amount of hours of community service for his Confirmation prep. Maybe there is a preteen  in your area who also needs do some community service and would be willing to rake your leaves or mow the lawn or do little jobs for you for free. Get creative.

Oh, and if you have kids, don’t forget to put them to work!. Remember: It may be your responsibility to get things done but that doesn’t mean it’s your responsibility to actually do the work. Kids of all ages can, and should, be doing some amount of chores. And most of them will do extra in exchange for a little cash or treat. Again, be creative in coming up with ideas.

Now, I realize this suggestion seems a little silly or out of place. HOWEVER, when you are going through a difficult time – be it physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, or any combination of those – anything else adding to your stress or compromised mental state can feel insurmountable or overwhelming. Therefore, if you are going through a stressful situation or you are burdened in any way, please give this suggestion a fair consideration. It may make a huge difference for you as it has for me.

In fact, all of these strategies have made a difference for me. They still make a difference for me. It doesn’t matter if I am going through a big difficulty, like the death of my cousin, or something small, like my son being uncooperative during his school time, I always fall back on these strategies to get me through. And my prayer is that you, too, will use these pointers and that they make a difference in your life.

Know that you are in my prayers! God bless.

Why You Should Pray Novenas (and How to Pray Them)

all about novenas

As Catholics, prayer is an essential element to living an authentic spiritual life. There are many ways to pray and one of my favorite ways is by praying a novena. If you haven’t prayed a novena yet, I hope the following tutorial will convince you to give it a try.

What is a novena?

Traditionally, a novena is a prayer that is said everyday for nine days straight. (The root of novena is “novem” which means nine.) There are, however, other types of novenas, such as the St. Andrew Christmas novena which is 26 days. There are also novenas where the prayer is repeated several times a day like the Glory Be to the Father novena.  There are even novenas that are prayed weekly or monthly such as the Sacred Heart Devotion. However, normally, a novena is one prayer said once a day for nine days.

Why pray a novena?

Novenas are beautiful and a very efficacious type of prayer. The prayers are often centered on a particular theme and thus can help you stay focused in prayer, particularly when you are praying for special intention. Additionally, if you are in the habit of praying regularly, praying a  novena elevate your prayer life to the next level. On the flip side, if you are not in the habit of praying, a novena can help you get back into the habit of prayer.

How do you pray a novena?

Usually, especially for a big feast day like Divine Mercy Sunday or the Immaculate Conception, you will use preset prayers. You can find those prayers online or in a Catholic prayer-book. Thus, all you have to do is follow along the prayers for each day. There are many, many different novena prayers that can be said in honor a saint, a feast day, or other need.

There are other ways to pray a novena as well. Really, you can make up your own prayers and pray a novena at any time for any intention. For example, you can pray a novena of Hail Marys every day for nine days for a loved one who is ill, looking for a job, or in thanksgiving for favors received. Another idea is to pray short aspiration prayer for nine days for you and your spouse before your wedding anniversary (or for another couple).

There are many ways of praying a novena and the types of prayers prayed in a novena are endless. You could even do a novena for 12 days or 24 days or even three or five days if that works for you. The basic idea is the same: a set of prayers (or single prayer) said over the course of several days or weeks.

I encourage you to pray a novena soon. And when you do, let me know how it went. I am sure it will enrich your prayer life as it has done for mine!

Other resources to learn about novenas

New Advent

About.com

praymorenovenas.com This is a great site that I found that automatically sends you the prayers of a novena as they come up during the year. it’s website states, ” The PrayMoreNovenas.com community prays 1 novena together each month. You will get the novena prayers for each monthly novena delivered to your inbox on the morning of each day.” This is very handy if you are interested in praying more novenas or at least want to be informed of the various novenas as they come up. I signed up for the emails and although I don’t pray every novena, every month, and impressed with the many different novena prayers that are offered.

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Guest Post: Sitting with Jesus by Sr. Christina M. Neumann

(Editor’s Note: Please enjoy this lovely reflection by Franciscan Sister Christina.)

Sitting with Jesus

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

Last week, I was privileged to be able to attend a Eucharistic Holy Hour at the Catholic Newman Center on the local university campus.  It was a beautiful time, complimented by guitar and vocal music, which was very conducive to prayer.

After a crazy day (including working an unexpected night shift at our assisted living home), it was so nice for me to have this chance just to sit there with Jesus, led into prayer by the beautiful praise music.

Another great avenue (probably the best) for leading one into prayer is scripture.  I deeply treasure Christ’s Eucharistic presence, and finding Him present in His Word also is an important part of my prayer.

I most often use the scripture readings for Mass for the day, found in a missalette (and often in church bulletins).

Although ‘just sitting with Jesus’ is a beautiful thing, as weak humans, we usually need some help to get started in our prayer.  Putting oneself into a scripture (I often prefer the gospels) passage is a great place to start.  I’ve been using a simple format for scriptural mediation since my college years, and I’d like to share it with you here.

I prefer to pray before the Blessed Sacrament, but even if that’s not possible for you, I’d suggest the following steps for meeting Him personally in His Word.

 Praying with the Scriptures

Preparation

Pick out a Scripture passage (the gospel of the day is a good choice)

Pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance, to open your heart.  It is difficult to launch into prayer from the midst of a flurry of distracting occupations so take a minute – call to mind that Jesus is with you (in the Blessed Sacrament/in your heart).

Reading

Read a small section of scripture that you’ve chosen slowly and prayerfully.

 Consider

Who is pictured here? What are they doing? What does it mean to me? How do they feel/what would it be like?

Imagine what it would be like to be there.  What would you do?  How would you feel?

Conversation:  Begin to talk slowly to Christ, telling Him of your love for Him, your desire to serve Him, your willingness to do anything for Him. Adore Christ in the scene of the day’s meditation; express your love for Him; thank Him for past gifts; ask Him for new favors in the future;

When the conversation begins to falter, return briefly to the reading to get new thoughts for additional conversation with Christ.

Conclusion

This is entirely optional; but it may be of great value in making progress in prayer.  Thank God for the graces received during the time of prayer now coming to a conclusion.  Then, very briefly, one might examine failings during the period, and resolve to get rid of these in the future.  This determination to hold better conversation with Christ gives a strong determination to make further strides along the road of prayer.

Bio

Sr. Christina works at St. Anne’s Guest Home, a care facility for elderly and disabled persons in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Along with her regular duties there, she also runs a blog for her religious community of Franciscan Sisters of Dillingen and one for St. Anne’s as well. You are welcome to check out the St. Anne’s Scoop and Our Franciscan Fiat.

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The Secret to Holiness

(Repost but still relevant!)

Catchy title, eh? 😉 I don’t claim to truly have the secret to holiness, obviously. However, I think that as I’ve been The Secret to Holinessgetting older, I’ve discovered the secret of holiness for me.

In reality, holiness is nothing more than growing into a deep, living and personal relationship with God. We get to know God through liturgical and personal prayer, frequenting the sacraments, practicing virtue, reading scripture and studying our faith. It is living our lives in Jesus, and through Jesus, with the power of the Holy Spirit, with the Father. It is having our hearts aligned with God.

Isn’t that what the saints did (do)? They have an abiding prayer life – even when it is dry and difficult for them. They receive the sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Confession, regularly. They practice virtue, often to an heroic degree, daily. They often have a great understanding of scripture and the precepts of our faith, as well. (FYI, knowledge of scripture doesn’t always mean being “learned.” There were, and are, many “uneducated” people who have great knowledge of the ways of God!)

The saints make no excuses. They are consistent in following the ways of the Lord. Instead of falling into complacency they actively seek God and work to serve Him. And, therein, for me, lies the secret to holiness: consistency. Consistency is key.

I don’t know about you, but I make excuses. It is just SO EASY to make excuses or to put other things first. I make resolutions and fail to keep them. I justify myself when I fail in virtue (he “made” me be impatient, because he won’t do what I want!). Sometimes I feel like I am the seed that was choked among the thorns (Matthew 13:1-23). I start out promising to be patient or pray more or go to daily mass or whatever; then, life gets in the way. Or, rather, I let life get in the way. I don’t manage my time properly or get my priorities mixed up. I’m inconsistent in living my faith, not only the way I “should” live it but the way I ultimately WANT to live it.

Is it a lack of faith? Maybe. I’m not sure. Maybe, if I had the faith of a mustard seed (Matthew 17:20), all the excuses, justifications, and inconsistencies would disappear. I don’t know. I do know that I need to work at being more consistent and focused.

How about you? What do you think about this? what does holiness mean to you? What do you think is the secret of holiness to you?

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You Always Have a Choice

You Always Have a ChoiceI have a confession to make: I can be pretty impatient at times. I pride myself (therein lies the real problem!) as being very efficient, which can be a definite plus  until I take it too far. That’s why I call myself a recovering perfectionist. {wry smile} It’s very easy for me to get caught up in making everything “just so” that I sometimes forget the purpose behind what I am doing. This often leads me to becoming impatient when I have to wait for someone/something or if things don’t go the way I expect.

This impatience very often comes front and center in my relationship with my son. Every evening during night prayer, I have Andrew ask God for forgiveness for anything he may need forgiveness for during the day. Then we ask forgiveness of each other for anything we may have done or said that may have hurt the other person.

So, many times I have to apologize to Andrew for having been impatient with him during the day, especially when I over-react to his normal boyish behavior. One time during our nightly ritual he says to me, “You know, Peter Parker says you always have a choice (a reference to a line in the 3rd Spiderman movie), so you have choice to be nice or a choice not be patient.” (!)

Of course, I took the opportunity to remind him that he, too, always has a choice. He has a choice to be obedient, and do his chores and homeschooling cheerfully, etc.  We then proceeded to have an interesting (and cute!) conversation about what making choices are all about and how the choices we make can shape our lives.

Afterward, our conversation really got me thinking, and I still think about the conversation from time to time. We, as individuals, really do always have a choice – and not just about choosing to be patient or not being patient. We have  choices to make all throughout the day and, often,  NOT choosing is a choice. And I don’t know about you, but I frequently go through the day on autopilot and not always being conscious of the choices I am are making. That is why I have to make a point of being more intentional and focused.

Because each day I have the opportunity to consciously:

  • choose to live for and depend on God
  • choose to take time to pray and delve into The Word of God
  • choose to make my home a haven for my family
  • choose to reach out to a friend or family in need or just to make them smile
  • choose to live in integrity and love
  • choose to take a stand for what I believe in
  • choose to carry out my responsibilities cheerfully (and, yes, choose to be patient!)

Or, I can stay on autopilot:

  • choose to rely on my own self
  • choose to live in selfishness
  • choose to not respond in love toward others
  • choose to shirk my responsibilities
  • choose to not make a choice!

It’s up to me. I can take the steps to change by being more aware of my choices and actions AND when I get impatient to step back, assess the situation, and change my response. It won’t be easy but with God’s grace it is doable!

What about you? Do you struggle with living on autopilot or making conscious choices each day? Or am I alone in this?! 🙂 How do you counteract the autopilot tendency or impatience? Let’s pray for each other so that we all consciously choose what is most important: God and others (especially our families).

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7 Secrets to a Happy Marriage

This month my in-laws will celebrate their 51st wedding anniversary. That’s a big feat, considering that half of most marriages today end in divorce! On August 22, Michael and I will celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary which certainly is not as long as my in-laws, but we are getting there!

love-163690_1280marriagewm

Therefore, although I do not consider myself an expert or anything, I thought I would share our “secrets” for a happy marriage. Of course, these aren’t really secrets at all, but they have helped us through the ups and downs that inevitably all couples face.

1. Pray Together. Living a faith-filled life together is the most important foundation to a happy marriage, and the foundation for a life of faith is prayer. It is not always possible to pray together. I know that from experience. Life gets busy, and with my husband being a truck driver, praying together can be a real challenge. We just do the best we can, and at the very least, we go to Mass together when he is home.

2. Pray for each other. It is not enough to pray together. Don’t forget to pray for your spouse, too! If he works outside the home, you never know how your prayers may support him in his daily struggles. I’m convinced that my prayers are helping to keep my husband safe on the road with all the driving he does!

3. Look at the positive. It can be way too easy, especially after you have been married for a while, to start criticizing your spouse, nagging or nitpicking over little things. I know that I am guilty of this, especially during certain times of the month. AHEM! To counterbalance this tendency, I try to make a point of listing at least two or three positive things about my husband. Some days are harder than others, but when I do this, it helps me get a better perspective about whatever it is I am griping about.

3B. To piggyback on #3, I want to encourage you not to bash your husbands in public. It is one thing to discuss marriage problems or situations with a friend or family member that you trust and confide in. It is a whole other beast if you trash your husband with a bunch of girlfriends during a gossip session. Nothing good can come from that. It breeds bad blood and only causes more trouble than good. Instead, try to avoid speaking negatively about your spouse in public. If things are that bad, I urge you to consult a priest or marriage counselor.

4. Forgive each other. As you know, no one is perfect. We all do and say things that hurt our husbands, as they do to us. Most of the time, though, the infractions are inadvertent. Someone is in a bad mood or had a rough day or not feeling well, and he or she takes it out on the other. Or, there is a breakdown in communication leading to fights about finances or chores or whatever. That’s why it is so important to forgive each other. If we don’t, those seemingly little things can build up into something very big, and potentially blow up in your face!

5. Communicate often. Communication, in my opinion, is the hardest part of marriage; and yet, it is so important. It is important to communicate small things, so that there is order, and to keep everyone on the same page. But it is equally important to communicate about big things. Oftentimes, before couples get married, they share their dreams, hopes, and fears. Sometimes those conversations end after couples are married for a while. But, they are even more important during marriage. True communication is important for fostering a connection with each other.

If you are your spouse struggle with communication, you are not alone. My “thing” is writing. It is so much easier for me to write how I feel or what’s in my heart, and so terribly difficult to speak those same feelings. If you have to, take the time to write letters to each other once in a while, and share what is in your heart. But, if you can verbalize your feelings, and learn to communicate effectively, it can bring your marriage to a whole other level of love, trust and connection.

6. Spend time together. Seems like a  no-brainer, but with different schedules, and children’s activities, and work and other obligations, I’m sure you know some couples (or even you and your husband) who can go days without seeing each other, let alone spending time together. My husband is on the road a lot, so I can go up to almost two weeks without seeing my husband. It is hard, and when he is home, he either has a short time to get some things done, or he is so exhausted, all he wants to do is crash on the couch. But relationships don’t last if they are neglected. They take work, and I encourage you to find creative ways to spend time with each other, instead of living separate lives.

7. Make love often. The Catholic Church has a reputation for being a “kill-joy” and “prudish” for restricting sex for marriage. The Church doesn’t restrict sex until marriage to hurt us, but to help us. Sex is a sacred and holy act, meant to be shared between a husband and wife. Within the context of marriage, sex is a beautiful, and fun, thing! Unfortunately, just like everything else, after a couple has been marriage for a while, sex can become routine, and  just another thing to do, or for some women, something to avoid. Please try not to let that happen. Try and find ways to keep that spark alive (barring any health issues).

Now it’s your turn. What are your “secrets” for a happy marriage? Please do share in the comments!

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Shhh! We are in Church!

I will never forget the day Andrew “shh-ed” everyone in Church. 🙂 He was four or five-years-old at the time and we were still living in Ohio. We had come back to New Jersey for a visit and we were in Church for a First Holy Communion.

While waiting for Mass to begin, a lot of people, including some family members behind us, were talking. Hearing the chatter, a person would think that there was a party going on, rather than a Church service about to begin. All of a sudden, Andrew stands up, turns around, and says,

“Shhh! We are in Church!”

Then he turned and sat down.

The people sitting around us were quiet for a moment and then because giggling and talking about how cute and funny Andrew was for what he said. It was adorable and cute, however, I think they missed the point.

Don’t get me wrong here. I’m NOT condemning anyone, or saying that it is wrong to talk in Church, or that we should go back to the days of absolute silence in Church. I’m just as guilty as everyone else when it comes to talking in Church.

However, have you noticed just how LOUD our world has become, both physically and metaphorically? We are constantly bombarded with TV, radio, social media, news, and other noises. So much so, in fact that we don’t even take some time before the Sacred Liturgy, to compose ourselves and prepare our hearts. On top of that, we also live very busy lives running here and there, taking care of family, and fulfilling our many obligations. These are all great things but when we talk, talk, talk, and go, go, go, it becomes impossible to listen. More importantly, it becomes almost impossible to hear God speak to us.

Silence

God WANTS to speak to us. He wants to heal us and minister to us but He can’t do that if we don’t take the time to settle down and wait for His voice. More than that, we NEED to spend time in silence in order to recharge our batteries and fill up our souls. We all know the saying, “we can’t give what we don’t have.” If we don’t take the time to fill our souls, listening to God in the silence of our hearts, we will burn out.

That’s why I really want to encourage you to find a way to make time for silence. Believe me, I know you are busy, but if you can get up even 15 minutes earlier to spend in silence and prayer, I guarantee it will make a difference in your life.

A couple of weeks ago, I told you about the Make Over Your Mornings e-course (aff) that I worked through. I have always been a morning person, but still, this course has made a big difference in how I manage my mornings (and my whole day). This BIGGEST difference for me has been in the consistency in which I have been spending my quiet/prayer time.

Since tweaking my evening/morning routines, I haven’t missed my morning prayer time once in two weeks! Every morning, I get up at 5:50am (usually a little before that), do my stretching/exercising, shower/dress, and then grab my prayer-book and bible and settle in for 15 minutes or so of scripture reading and meditation. Even on the days I have overslept, I have made my morning quiet time an absolute, and it has made a difference in my mood and in how I approach the day.

For you, you don’t have to take the e-course (aff) to change your routine (although I suggest you do!). All you have to do is make the commitment to get up just a few minutes earlier than everyone else and commit to using that time for silence and prayer. Easier said than done, I know, but if you work at for a few weeks, and it becomes a habit, I know that you will reap the rewards. I promise you.

By the way, if you do add quiet time and prayer into your morning routine, I’d love to know how it goes. If you are struggling, I’d love to offer my prayer support. And if it is going great, I’d love to hear how it has changed your life and/or outlook. So, leave a comment or email me!

Blessings.

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Prayer for Fathers

This Sunday is Father’s day so it I thought I would share this lovely prayer that I found on lordcalls.com:

prayer4fathersday

(Andrew picked out the green color. 🙂 )

God our Father, We give you thanks and praise for fathers young and old.

We pray for young fathers, newly embracing their vocation; May they find courage and perseverance to balance work, family and faith in joy and sacrifice.

We pray for our own Fathers around the world whose children are lost or suffering; May they know that the God of compassion walks with them in their sorrow…continue reading

I will be praying for all dads, living or deceased, in a special way this Sunday. Blessings!

Three Words for 2015

3 Words 2015Last year, I got the idea from Chris Brogan to pick three words to focus on for the coming year. My words were intentional, love and brave. Now, again, it didn’t go perfectly, but I loved having the words as a way to stay focus or refocus as needed. That is why I am doing it again. 🙂

My three words for 2015 are Relationships, Prayer, and Grace.

It is very easy for me to lose focus on the importance of relationships – relationship with my husband, son, family, friends, God, and others. I am an introvert by nature and I love being along and doing solitary work. I guess that is why I love to write and read! I also have a detailed eye, and tend to be a perfectionist, which in turn, sometimes makes me a little cranky to be around. :/ (Just keeping it real, here!) Anywhoo, this semester, I am taking five classes (15 credits), and I am hoping that having the word “relationships” as one of my words, it will help me not get 100 percent sucked in to my work.

In order to focus on relationships, I need to stay grounded in prayer. My relationship with God must be first, no matter how busy I am. Therefore, I hope by having this word, it will remind me to skee to pray always!

Finally, my last word is grace because I know I will fail and this word will remind me not to beat myself up when I do! It will also be a reminder that no one is perfect and I must give, not only myself, but others grace as well. 🙂

Now, what are your words? Do you have one or more words to help you stay focused on your goals and intentions for the year? If so, share in the comments!

Ascension Thursday

Jesus Ascension(Image in Public domain)

“When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight. While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.” Acts 1:9-11

Today is the beautiful feast day of the Ascension. It is the day we celebrate when Jesus took his rightful place – Ascending into heaven of His own power – at the right hand of the Father. It is also a reminder for us that someday, after the final judgement, will be reunited into our glorified body and live forever with Jesus in heaven (or eternally separated from Him in hell.)

Because of its significance, the feast of the Ascension is a holy day of obligation. From what I have read on about.com, all the dioceses of the US – except Boston, New York, Hartford, Newark, Omaha, and Philadelphia – have transferred the obligation to the following Sunday, June 1. HOWEVER, here in NJ,  the Metuchen and Trenton Dioceses are maintaining the obligation for today, the actual feast day, and so may many others. Therefore, if you are not certain if the feast is celebrated today or Sunday in your church, I encourage you to contact your local parish office.

To read more about this glorious feast go here, here and here.

Ancient Catholic Prayer for the Ascension

Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God,
that we who believe
Thine only-begotten Son our Redeemer,
to have ascended this day into heaven,
may ourselves dwell in spirit amid heavenly things. Amen.

(From the Roman Missal [6th-8th Century]. Found this beautiful prayer here.)