Saint Vincent de Paul, Agent of Charity

September 27 is the feast of Saint Vincent de Paul. If you aren’t familiar with him, you should be! He was a devoted Christian and had great love for the poor.

Saint Vincent de Paul

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

Early Life

St. Vincent was born in France to a peasant family sometime between 1576-1580. His father was a farmer so he was required to help out with the cattle, sheep and other chores. However, he was found to be very intelligent and was given the opportunity to study with the Franciscans. He was ordained in 1600 but in 1605 he was captured by Turkish pirates and sold as a slave. Thankfully, he was able to escape in the year 1607.

His Ministry

St. Vincent spent his life preaching and dedicating his life to serving the poor. He visited the prisoned, opened hospitals, and performed all sorts of charitable works to ease their sufferings. He eventually created the Missionary Congregation and the Daughters of Charity. Many lay people joined him in his work and continue to follow his example of charity in organizations such as the Saint Vincent de Paul Society.

The Lesson

There are a couple of important lessons we can learn from Saint Vincent de Paul. First, he has a great love for God. He lived in a time when many priests were lukewarm and unknowledgable of their faith. His example of faith and love converted many people. We can ask ourselves: Am I lukewarm in my faith? Am I an example of faith and love to those around me? How can I do better?

Second, he was gentle and loving to those who were largely marginalized by the community of his time. He reached out to those in prison. He cared for those who were sick. He loved the unloveable. We are probably not called to give our lives in service at such a great scale but we can ask ourselves: How do I treat those around me? Am I gentle and kind? Do I make the effort to reach out to those who are lonely, poor, or not someone in need? How can I do better? Is there a St. Vincent de Paul Society nearby where I can volunteer?

As we celebrate the memorial of St. Vincent, let us ak his intercession that we may love our Lord and our neighbor in a deeper, more significant way.

Further Reading

Check out the following sites to learn more about Saint Vincent. He had quite a life and my post only touches on the highlights.

NewAdvent.org

Stvincentdepaul.org Eatontown

Piercedhearts.org

Catholic.org

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Psst: Just a reminder, there is only a couple of days (until September 30) left to make a difference for those who are facing tremendous challenges due to the recent natural disasters. You can grow your faith and help those in need at the same time. – a win/win!

We are Half Way Through the Year. How is it going?

Can you believe that we are half way through 2017? I can’t believe it is June 1st already! It is crazy how time is flying by so fast. I think it is a good time to take a look at how things are going and revamp some things.

It is funny how everyone makes goals and plans in January just to abandon them a couple (or few) months later. But, the thing is, every day is a chance for a new beginning – and so is every month or quarter. So let me encourage you: If you have made plans or goals in January that haven’t planned out, take a little time to create new ones or to tweak the old ones. Don’t be discouraged and think that it is all down the drain. It’s not. God gives us the gift of each new day and new chances to start over. He is so good!

Every Day is a New Beginning

For me, this year is definitely not panning out like I had planned at all. In some ways, I feel really behind, but in other ways, I feel like I am growing and evolving, which is a good thing!

My word for 2017 is courage. I thought that meant doing certain things for growing my business but it has turned out to be more personal. It was a tough school year for my son, especially academically, and we had to navigate and adjust to the challenge. It wasn’t easy but we got through it! On top of that, Andrew had a lot of activities and events – as well as other events in our family – which forced me out of my introverted self and into the world a lot of the time. I am learning that challenge (and change) can be a good thing.

Business wise, it has been interesting too. I haven’t spent much time on my writing website like I had expected, but at the same time, I have been growing and changing Simple Catholic Living in ways I didn’t expect. For starters, I joined a coaching mentoring program and I am now beginning to offer personal life coaching! This is definitely out of my comfort zone but also something that has been in my heart for a long time. It is my greatest desire to help women live purposeful and enriching lives (however that looks like for each person) and I think coaching will be a wonderful catalyst for that.

I’ve also created a Catholic Encouragement and Accountability Group on Facebook! It is free, of course, and I hope for the group that it becomes an active and safe group for like-minded Catholic women to support each other in our faith and lives. Now, I have to confess, that I have been absent from the group the last few weeks because I was away twice, finishing up Andrew’s homeschooling, and torn in many different directions. However, now that things are calming down, I plan to do Facebook live videos, challenges, themes, and more. Soooo, do consider joining the group and participating in the fun!

Therefore, even though I didn’t get the writing or publishing done that I thought would have been completed by now, I am giving myself grace. I am doing my best to let God lead and direct me, even when it means my plans go out the window. 😉

Now it is your turn. I would love to hear from you. Is 2017 shaping up the way you expect? Is it better than you expected or have you been thrown a curve ball or two? How will you tweak the rest of the year to make it what you want it to be?

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My Word for 2017

For the last couple of years, I have followed the example of Chris Brogan and set “3 words” to focus on for each year. This year, I am doing it a little differently. As I was praying for my words, only one word stood out:

COURAGE

No matter how I prayed or thought about it. It is the only word that stood out for me so I guess God is telling me something here!

My Word for 2017

Thus, 2017 will be a year of courage for me. It will be a year of action and a year of getting out of my comfort zone. I don’t know for sure what this will look like but I know it will mean some stretching and growing on my part. It makes me nervous but I know it will be a good thing!

I do know that I want to put myself out there more in an authentic and helpful way. This blog is all about encouraging and supporting women in their journey of faith and I want to do just that. And that leads me to my question:

What do you need? What struggles or questions of faith are you having? Would you be interested in coaching, retreats or courses about our Catholic faith? How do you think you can best be supported in living out a flourishing Catholic life? You don’t have to answer publicly in the comments. Feel free to use the contact page or email me a carol (@) simplecatholiciving (dot) com.

You are All Awesome – Thank You!

Over the last couple of weeks, I have gotten a lot of encouraging emails from readers letting me know that they were praying for me and my family.

Thank you!

I’m not sure what brought all the emails but I am so deeply grateful to each and every one of you! Thank You. It means more than you know.

One of the main reasons I started this blog is because I firmly believe that we are all in it together. We all struggle, have doubts, or feel like we want to give up at times. I believe that there are times when we lose our faith – or at least want to let our faith just go away.

And sometimes, we all need is a little encouragement, even from a stranger or online friend. 🙂 And, that is what the emails (and the comments I receive) did for me. They have encouraged me and blessed me so much. I just hope that through this blog, I can do the same for you and be an encouragement and source of hope to you.

God bless!

Happy Thanksgiving to You and Yours!

I wish all of you a blessed, wonderful and Happy Thanksgiving! We all face trials and tribulations but we also have so much to be thankful for. I know that I am thankful for many things and one of those things are you! Thank you for reading and connecting with me here at Simple Catholic Living. You are all such a blessing!

Thanksgiving

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

The Little Paris Book Shop Book Review

I am slowly fazing out doing book reviews here at Simple Catholic Living and will be posting them on my new website, carolda.com, which is dedicated to book reviews, grammar tips, and all things writing. I love doing book reviews and I think my writing website is a more appropriate venue for them, as I really want to focus here on faith-related topics.

In that vein, I have written an in-depth review of the lovely book, The Little Paris Book Shop over at carolda.com.

LitteparisHere is a snippet of the review:

“The best way to describe The Little Paris Bookshop is satisfying. It is the consummate book for book lovers. At 370 pages, not including the recipes and list of books recommended by the protagonist, Perdu, it is a long book. However, once I started reading, I didn’t even notice the length. In fact, it could have gone on for another couple hundred more pages and I wouldn’t even have noticed! It did take me a long while to get through the book, though, because I had a strong desire and need to savor every word…Continue Reading

A New Year and a New Focus

A New Year and A New Focus!

Another year is over. Wow. Where did the time go? It went fast, I tell ya. 🙂 In looking back over my goals from 2013, there are many goals achieved, and of course, some that weren’t. In many ways it was a year of growth. I got through two semesters of college and I only have about two more to go! Andrew grew in many ways and accomplished a lot in homeschool. We moved and added a new addition to the family by way of a  dog (we are actually picking him up tomorrow, New Year’s Eve).

Blogging was another story. Classes took up a lot of my time and so the blog suffered post wise. It was what it was and I am okay with that. However, now in looking ahead, I feel called to go in a slightly new direction with the blog. I feel the Lord is calling me to use this blog as a form of ministry to busy Catholic women. I want this blog to be a place of refreshment and spiritually uplifting to women who are pulled into many directions on a daily basis. I also feel the Lord is calling me to challenge women to grow in their faith and in their relationship with Him.

How this new focus will look like in the coming months, I’m not sure. The Lord has been nudging me to share my faith and faith journey is a more personal way. That’s hard though, isn’t it? There is a risk in letting oneself be vulnerable, in showing one’s true self, but if it is what God wants, it is worth the try. 🙂 I also want to find ways to encourage women to read the bible more and will probably offer up my own reflections on scripture from time to time.

One thing for sure, there will be less “filler” posts. I won’t be posting much  about Andrew’s homeschool, recipes or home management tips unless it relates to what I am writing about. I will be sharing about those things on Facebook and Pinterest, though, so if you aren’t following me there, please do! By the way, if you haven’t already, I encourage you to sign up for email updates. I will be sharing exclusive content with subscribers on a regular basis that you won’t want to miss (as well as the free ebook “Six Unique Ways to Find Time for Prayer” you receive when you sign up). To subscribe, fill in your name and email address in the box on the side bar or under this post.

As far as the blogging schedule, I will probably focus on one or two posts a week. Classes start up January 20th so I will feel less pressure (a pressure I put on myself, I know!) to blog or feel (unnecessarily) guilty if I miss a post or two.

My desire for 2014 is to be more intentional, purposeful and to grow and be all the God wants me to me. I want this for you, too. My prayer for each of you during the New Year is that you be filled with all the blessings, joy and peace that only God can bring!

(P.S. If you are regular reader/subscriber to Simple Catholic Living, THANK  YOU! If you commented on the blog or emailed me during the year, THANK YOU. I truly appreciate the opportunity to share with and connect with each of you. 🙂 )

 

E-Book Review and Giveaway: That Works for Me!

I have been participating in “Works for me Wednesday” for a long while now. You probably have noticed the link at the bottom of many of my posts. Even when I don’t have a tip to share, I head over to Kristen’s blog We are that Family to browse the list of tips gathered there. I *always* leave learning something new or find an idea or I’d find a new recipe to try.

So when I heard that Kristen and freelance writer Jennifer De Root were compiling the many tips linked up at Works for me Wednesday into an e-book, I was thrilled! I couldn’t wait for the book to come out because I knew it would be a great way to have easy access to all those great tips that have been shared over the last five years. (And, I was also excited to discover that a couple of my tips made its way into the e-book. How cool is that?)

My Review

The e-book did not disappoint. As a matter of fact, it’s fantastic “That Works for Me!” is a whopping, 180 page, interactive e-book chock full of “tried and true tips from Works for me Wednesday.” It is brilliantly organized into 24 categories ranging from baby, to cleaning to recipes to travel and everything in between. You can see a sample page here.

One of the great things about this e-book is that a part of the proceeds will be going to Mercy House, an organization that helps pregnant girls in Kenya, Africa.

More about “That Works for Me!”

The Giveaway

I am happy to be giving away TWO copies of the “That Works for Me!” e-book! To enter, all you have to do is leave your name and email address in the comments.

There are also lots of other ways to get extra entries, too. You can

1. “like” the “That Works For Me!” Facebook page and then leaving a comment here letting me know you have.

2. Follow @works4mebook and leave a comment here letting me know you have.

3. Sign up for blog updates here at Simple Catholic Living (on the side bar) and letting me know once you’ve clicked on the confirmation link.

4. “Like” the Simple Catholic Living Facebook Page and letting me know that you have.

5. Follow me @simple_catholic and letting me know you have.

I will be picking two winners on Tuesday afternoon, April 24th. I’ll be doing this the old-fashioned way and having my son pick the names out of a hat. 🙂

(This post contains affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy for details.)

Simple Catholic Living Monthly Check-up (December 2011)

Like I expected, my stats went down in December (20% to be exact). I didn’t post or link up to other sites very much, so it wasn’t a surprise. My demographics were pretty much the same they had been over the past few months. So, all in all, I don’t have tons to report this month.

google analytics dec 2011

This month’s top referrers: This has been the biggest change except for Google and “search engines” continuing to be my biggest referrers.

We are That Family (Works for me Wednesday)

Conversion Diary

This That and the Other Thing

Oh Amanda

Ehow

I also got a small amount of traffic (4 – 10 visitors) from KathleenBasi.com/blog, catholicmothersonline.com, and sarahsdeals.net

This month’s top posts: (Besides the home page which gets the absolute most)

How to Make a Spiritual Bouquet

Slow-Cooker Ham and Cabbage Recipe

Words to Live By: Life Lessons

Ten Fun Craft Ideas from Pinterest

Ten Family Game Night Ideas

A few honorable mentions include: Ten Reasons I Love my Husband; 10 Prolife Charities Worthy of Donations this year; Our Ten Favorite Christmas Movies.

Monthly (and yearly) goals:

I am keeping my goals for this blog very  modest this year. Like I mentioned on Tuesday, I am going back to school to finish getting my bachelor’s degree. This endeavor is going to suck up a lot of my time and energy, so my main goal is to maintain my almost daily posting schedule and current readership. Of course, I’d love to increase my readership, but my goals in that area will be minimal.

As for other goals, I want to write 4 e-books this year: one each quarter. My plan is to spend 30 minutes a day writing so achieve this goal. I also want to a weekly series of posts based on a monthly theme.

 

Simple Catholic Living Monthly Check-Up (September 2011)

Another month has flown by and before we know it Christmas will be here! Let’s not think that far ahead yet, though. 🙂

Again, this month’s Top Referrers are almost identical to last month’s (except in slightly different order):

We Are THAT Family (Works for me Wednesday)

Wordless Wednesday

This That and the Other Thing (Sunday Snippets)

Google (search)

Oh Amanda (Top Ten Tuesday)

Other referring sites worth mentioning: Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

This month’s top posts include: (Besides the home page which gets a lot of views)

How to Make a Spiritual Bouquet

Ten Fun Craft Ideas from Pinterest

Slow-cooker Ham and Cabbage Recipe

Top Ten Scripture Verses to Memorize With Your Children

Other posts worth a mention are Ten Quotes About God’s Mercy From St. Faustina’s Diary, Our Ten Current Family Read-Aloud Books, Ten Family Game Night Ideas and Protection and Healing Prayer. (As you can see, Top Ten Tuesday posts gets quite a bit of attention. 🙂 )

Top Site Demographics:

As with last month, most of my visitors come from the United States, Canada, Philippines, United Kingdom, Australia, India and Germany. I’ve also had a few visitors from South Africa, Malaysia, and United Arab Emirates and 10 visitors whose location was “not set”.

Other Stats:

Here’s a snapshot of my Google Analytics Stats. As you can see, I don’t get a ton of traffic, but I’m getting there. Last month my readership was up 2.88% from the month before. This month my readership is up 2.18%, so at least it’s going in the right direction!

google ana stats

Short and long term goals for Simple Catholic Living:

I had high hopes to be able to complete many of the goals listed here; but alas, I didn’t. I did start participating in one more blog hop (Wordful Wednesdays) but so far it hasn’t generated much traffic. I also joined Blogher and look forward to becoming active there. Other than that, I wasn’t very active at all in social media, except to check into Pinterest; so, I am keeping my monthly goals the same as it was last month:

My long term goals include: increasing my traffic and decreasing my bounce rate; participating in more blog hops and link-ups; guest writing for other bloggers; inviting others to blog post here; being more consistent in networking (especially Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest); updating and adding to the Free Resources section; creating videos and writing some ebooks.

My short term goals for September are to find two new blog hops and link up to them; write at least one blog post article and find a blog to seek submission as a guest blogger; spend five minutes per day on just one of the social networking sites listed above. I also want to finish writing and scheduling a series on Virtual Assistance I started (have just a couple of posts left to write about this).

How is your blog doing? What are your short and/or long term goals for your blog? If you’ve written your own blog checkup post, feel free to link it in the comments so we can take a peek!