'Muff'in Dome

Category Archives: Faith

Made Great By Love

I had the privilege about a month ago to take some family photos for dear friends of mine, Matt and Catherine. These family photos weren’t just your average family photos, though.

They contained a message of hope, a message of love.

mcadoption7

“Great love can change small things into great ones…”
~ St. Faustina

During this Year of Mercy that is quickly coming to a close, the Lord has placed strongly on their hearts a pull to begin moving forward in the adoption process. It has been a desire on their hearts for a long time {for both, since before they knew each other!}, but the time has finally come to truly begin.

mcadoption-2

They are two of the kindest and caring people I know. I am certain that any children placed in their care will be greatly blessed and well-loved.  They are the godparents to my eldest and are to several other children of friends. This attests to their great love and faith. We love their hearts.

mcadoption6

Matt and Catherine have set up a YouCaring page where they are asking for donations to aid in the expensive process, a burden which is too much for them to take up on their own. They are relying on God’s grace and the kindness of others to make this possible.

Would you consider giving

I have a little incentive for you! I will be holding a raffle of this cozy, knit hat {retail value: $60} for every $20 in donations that is given to their fundraising page between now and December 6, 2016, 11:59pm PST. {So if you give $100, you will be entered 5 times!} Giveaway ended. Winner contacted.

knit hat

I knit this hat by hand with some of the warmest, squishiest yarn from Quince & Co. It is 100% American Wool, all natural. It is the softest, not in any way scratchy, and one of my favorites to knit with. My husband has a similar one that he loves to wear in the cold weather.

handsome husband

It would be a perfect Christmas gift, or you can keep it for yourself to stay warm this winter!

 

Also: Our friend, Jeni, is also hosting a fundraiser for this lovely couple. She’s offering shirts and sweatshirts for sale in a variety of colors with a quote from Hebrews 13:8. A simple, powerful message in sizes to fit all members of your family. The proceeds from the sales will go towards bringing baby Helgeson home.

 

Whether or not you are able to give in a financial way, Matt and Catherine ask your prayers for this endeavor. Let’s support them in this grand adventure!

mcadoption-4

 

November is National Adoption Month, so thank you for, especially, for supporting adoptive families this month! 

#write31days ~ day 9: counting your blessings

cornflowers

“Rejoicing in these singular moments of grace, I desired to see more of them and was better able to recognize His loving care woven throughout my days. My hope returned. The recognition of His presence in my life lifted me from the fog of despair and back into the light of hope.”

Today I am writing over at Blessed is She, sharing how the practice of daily gratitude can be an excellent way of keeping the joy of Christ in your life, even during turbulent, trying times. Whenever my mood is spiraling into a dark place for long stretches, I find that this practice of counting your blessings can bring great relief and inspiration through this great act of faith.

I often take an empty journal and just write in a thing or two each day that I’m grateful for. It’s an excellent practice to start during Advent or Lent as a devotion to enter into the season more fully. And one of the reasons I love the Blessed is She Liturgical Planner so much is that there is a space for this at the end of every day.

Two people that inspire me with their continual practice of this are Bobbi at Revolution of Love and Ann at A Holy Experience. Bobbi, a fellow BiS writer, is currently spending her Write 31 Days challenge sharing 31 Days of Gratitude. I read along with her last year as well when she kept this practice. {Although, this is actually her third year!} Ann has an entire book written on this practice {which I haven’t yet read, but need to!}. Her blog posts are filled with gratitude for even the smallest blessings in life.

 

Starting Somewhere {7QT}

When you’ve been away for a while, it is difficult to know where to start, so I’ll just jump right into the middle since it’s Friday, a.k.a. 7QT’s Day!

summer popsicles

1) I’m following along and living vicariously through friends that are in Poland for the annual World Youth Day with Pope Francis this week. I was blessed to be able to attend in Rome in 2000 and Toronto in 2002. I shared a bit about how Pope St. John Paul the Great has influenced my life through his great sermons given at these two events over at my friend Patty’s space, A Modern Grace.

WYD 2000 Tor Vergata Mass

WYD 2000 Pope John Paul II

WYD 2002 rainy morning Mass

2) I read through Pope Francis’ sermons {source: here and here} from the past two days and walked away with these gems that I’ll be pondering for a while:

“[God] is in our midst and he takes care of us, without making decisions in our place and without troubling himself with issues of power. He prefers to let himself be contained in little things, unlike ourselves, who always want to possess something greater. To be attracted by power, by grandeur, by appearances, is tragically human. It is a great temptation that tries to insinuate itself everywhere. But to give oneself to others, eliminating distances, dwelling in littleness and living the reality of one’s everyday life: this is exquisitely divine.”

“[God] does not want to remain on his throne in heaven or in history books, but loves to come down to our everyday affairs, to walk with us.”

“The eternal is communicated by spending time with people and in concrete situations.”

“Let us ask for the grace to imitate [Mary’s] sensitivity and her creativity in serving those in need, and to know how beautiful it is to spend our lives in the service of others, without favorites or distinctions.”

“To say that Jesus is alive means to rekindle our enthusiasm in following him, to renew our passionate desire to be his disciples. What better opportunity to renew our friendship with Jesus than by building friendships among yourselves! What better way to build our friendship with Jesus than by sharing him with others! What better way to experience the contagious joy of the Gospel than by striving to bring the Good News to all kinds of painful and difficult situations!”

Pope Francis WYD 2016 Poland

{source}

3) On the garden front, we’ve been fighting the good fight against an army of harlequin cabbage beetles {a.k.a. firebugs} that are ravaging our garden. They’ve gone from one plant to the next, taking them out. I finally found them in my tomatoes this morning, after grasping a ripe one and having a billion little babies crawl out of the middle. {Definitely woke up the neighbors with that squeal.} I promptly ran to Home Depot and we sprayed insecticidal soap all over the plant. I’ve tried regular bug spray {when I couldn’t use the soap on the nasturtiums} and pulling them off individually to throw them in a bowl of soapy water. It seems to kill a squad but not the entire army. Once I rip out the remainder of the bed where the nasturtiums are, I’m going to throw down the black tarp of death and hopefully extinguish them while the heat is still high so I can still plant a Fall garden come September.

harlequin/firebugs on chard

red nasturtiums

corn on the stalk

corn stalks

4) Lots of knitting this past month with many beautiful, hand-dyed yarns by this lovely lady, as well as some fun, blue color-way socks for my latest nephew. {First set of socks so please don’t judge.} Also, a warming set for my brother who is headed off for law school in Michigan next month and will get the chill of his life come winter.

blue baby socks

knitting tools

5) The heat burn has been phenomenal this week. Day time temps soaring past 100 and evening not dropping much below 80. Makes me ready for autumn…tomorrow. I’m just grateful we don’t live where the humidity is high or I might melt like a popsicle. The water table, kiddie pool and squirt guns have been our best friends. And I don’t just mean for the children.

watering the pool

throwing water

6) We had a TON of fun with our good friends and Evey’s godparents a couple weeks ago camping near the coast. It was the first time for the girls sleeping in a tent. Other than the scare Lucie experienced when she rolled into the side of the tent in the middle of the night, they were both troopers and slept like logs {albeit rolling logs}. We promptly came home and marked another one on the calendar in September.

munching s'mores

our campsite

searching for mysterious creatures

photo lessons with Matt

7) We’ve been dealing with many house issues this month too, which are slowly getting resolved one by one. The broken dryer for several weeks certainly slowed life down, as I was canvassing every spot in the house that might be “hanging rack” worthy. Maybe we’ll just forget the dryer from now on and install a clothesline. They are much more trustworthy, turns out.

hiking up the hill

Click over to Kelly’s space to read more of this week’s 7QT!

 

Encountering Truth ~ {A Book Review}

Encountering Truth book

A book of sermons isn’t typically high on someone’s to-read list. Mostly, because the majority of preachers are rarely consistently captivating and soul-stirring.

But Pope Francis? I dare you to find one from this current collection, Encountering Truth, that doesn’t have at least one nugget of inspiration. This man knows how to carry the Word of God to His people.

The book begins with an introduction, equally fascinating, by a fellow Jesuit, Fr. Antonio Spadaro, the director of La Civiltà Cattolica, a journal with close ties to the Vatican. He speaks of what it means to be a preacher, particularly a Jesuit one, and how Pope Francis embodies this to a ‘T’.

He says:

He who preaches therefore sows and nourishes with affection, creating an adequate communicative and affective environment so that the Lord may dialogue with his people.

The preacher is effective insofar as he better fosters an opening of communication between the Lord and His people. Pope Francis is stellar at this, particularly in the intimate setting these sermons were given in.

The sermons contained in this book were given at St. Martha’s, a private chapel at the Vatican, during the daily Masses held there from about the time Pope Francis began his pontificate until about a year later. Those in attendance included the gardeners, seamstresses, cooks — those who carried out the daily duties of life in the Vatican — as well as those from outside specially invited to these private Masses. Always a small crowd, no larger than 50, who came early in the morning to pray and offer the day to God alongside Pope Francis.

Pope Francis always speaks with great candor in relating the Gospels to the every day, to the human condition — and often with great humor! His metaphors even had me laughing out loud at certain points. Some of these you will remember as quoted in the media shortly after he gave them, but they are worth reading again and reabsorbing these all-important messages that cut right to the heart.

One of my favorite Gospel readings is the passage from Mark 9 about our calling to be “the salt of the earth.” Pope Francis had a wonderful reflection on it here. I will share a few lines that struck a chord.

This salt is not meant to be preserved, because if salt is kept in a shaker it doesn’t do anything, it’s no good.

Salt makes sense when it is used to flavor things. I also think that when salt is kept in a shaker the humidity ruins its strength and it’s not good. We must ask the Lord that we not become Christians with insipid salt, with salt closed up in the shaker. But salt has another characteristic: when salt is used well, you don’t get the taste of the salt, the flavor of the salt . . . You don’t taste it! You taste the flavor of each dish.  Salt helps the flavor of that dish to be better, to be better preserved but also more flavorful. This is Christian originality!

As much as I had always been inspired by this Gospel passage–to share the message of the Good News with others–that whole aspect of the originality that salt brings out in each dish–in each person–really was a beautiful thought. God calls each of us, in our own way, to be the ‘salt of the earth.’ Important to remember.

This collection is rather lengthy and there is so much wisdom to meditate on in each 1-2 page sermon, that it is definitely one of those to keep on the nightstand and have a daily perusal through for prayer time.

I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a review.

This post contains affiliate links. 

Making Space for Grace

“Then for each day there is grace. Day by day, I have only to make space.”  ~Chiara Petrillo

Grace is always there. Always. It is always available.

Perhaps not in the way you want or the way you could imagine, but it is always there to carry you through.

God’s grace is always sufficient. And it provides for all our needs. But sometimes we get in the way of its reception. Sometimes we reach out for it when it is not yet available for that situation. Sometimes we try to pick and choose which means of grace we are willing to accept…or not accept.

We attempt to piece the puzzle together the wrong way. You shove this piece into that piece–a space not meant for you {perhaps just yet}–and it only ends up ‘bent’ and frustrated. It may be haphazardly shoved together, seemingly with the colors matching up, but there is not a true cohesion.

The edges of grace are meant for a certain space. Rather than demanding, rather than pushing our way in, we must open ourselves to that gratuitous gift of grace and allow it to guide us to the proper alignment. The grace must be allowed to flood in where it was meant to be.

Strength comes in making space, in trusting yourself, in truly believing that God is good and that He has only astonishing things in mind for you.

Chiara Corbella Petrillo book

This quote comes from a biography I read recently about a courageous and holy woman, named Chiara Corbella Petrillo. Her short life was an embodiment of this openness to grace. Many of the stories we hear of saintly women and men of God take place in a hidden monastery. It becomes difficult to really identify with their stories. But this one is different.

Chiara was a wife and a mother. She lived out her vocation in this world as a witness to the grace of God working in an ordinary life in an extraordinary way. Her spousal love, her parenthood, her friendships, her daily life–all were imbued by the grace of God in a deep, deep manner.

In her prayer, she sought His counsel. She listened for His promptings. And she responded to the grace He poured forth abundantly in her. Almost with an effortlessness that clearly comes from the openness of her heart in close relationship with God.

It is not easy to live a life like this. We often have strong desires, great wishes, grand dreams, but God truly knows what is best for our lives. Every aspect. Down to the tiniest second.

“We do not at all feel courageous because in reality the only thing that we have done is said yes, one step at a time.” ~ Chiara Petrillo

It is that heroic moment taken over and over again. For most of us, it isn’t a grand event that will seal our heavenly reward, but a ‘yes’ to the promptings of grace. Repeatedly. Daily.

It is easy to grumble at the inconveniences, the hardships, the downright hard disappointments of life. Or detach from the situation at hand in an attempt to ignore the suffering.

But if, instead, our hearts our open to His grace, those moments of suffering are transformed. They are transformed by the Cross of Christ into beautiful moments–moments of great grace, moments of great joy–that stand out as testimony of His Love in this world.

Whoever thinks from a distance about his situation lives it with suffering; whoever is close to it lives it with consolation, the fruit of a true wisdom. 

Let us choose then, as Chiara did, to open our hearts to the promptings of His grace. Let us believe in His Providence. Let us respond to grace with our whole hearts, embracing exactly what He gives to us in each moment.

 

{I cannot recommend Chiara’s story highly enough. If you read one book this year, let this one be it. Quotes are all from the book.}

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What I Learned in March

Linking up with Emily for this fun exercise of sharing what I’ve learned this past month.
Also, with Kelly because when you have 7 and it’s Friday–well, 7QT

brunelleschi's dome florence

Source

One) The Secret of Brunelleschi’s Dome — For those who are unaware, I have a strong fascination with church architecture. This was awakened in me strongly when I studied abroad in Europe. When I was in Italy during my Junior year of college, we visited the town of Florence for a few days. Rightly so, one of our objects of study during our time there was the dome of the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore. At the time, the mystery of how the dome was standing was still unsolved {this was in 2005}. Although I am no architect and, admittedly, not even great at mathematics, especially geometry, I was intrigued with how even modern man couldn’t solve this puzzle.

Recently, I was browsing the DVD tittles at our local library and I ran across one called Great Cathedral Mystery. I picked it up, not knowing of what cathedral it spoke of initially because I love to learn about any and all, but when I noticed it was Florence’s, I was even more excited to view it. It didn’t reveal on the cover if the problem was actually solved or not, so I was very anxious to watch.

It turns out they have! Besides the herringbone structure of the interior brickwork, which they’ve known about for some time now, they used a specific pattern to build up the rounded walls as they worked. Interestingly, it is the shape of a flower. {If you did not catch the translation from the Italian, the cathedral is name St. Mary of the Flowers.} As they built up the rounding walls of the dome, they used a flower pattern to measure where each brick would go so that it would be secure and hold up the others that were built up around it.

I highly recommend watching the show. Absolutely fascinating. And what a monumental task in having discovered the secret!

Blessed is She Retreat - Ike N'dolo music

Two) The Power of a Retreat — When I was younger, starting about early high school, I used to regularly attend retreats. Some silent, some with discussion, but always very fruitful and inspiring. Since marriage and children, I haven’t been able to attend one, until just a few weeks ago. Blessed is She hosted one in Phoenix, Arizona, which I almost miraculously found funding for, tickets, and a place to stay, making it possible.

Not only was the fellowship wonderful in every way, but the time spent heart-to-heart with Our Lord was so sorely needed, in a way I couldn’t even imagine. I try to maintain that relationship with Him on a regular basis, but a retreat is like a weekend getaway with your Lover–so good for rejuvenating and reconnecting.

garden beginnings

Three) Pulling Weeds Actually Helps My Shoulder Heal — One of my shoulders has been strained for some time now. I was seeing a physical therapist in January and February to help alleviate some of the pain. It is an overuse injury so I’m stuck in a Catch-22: it needs strengthening to prevent further injury, but using it too much makes it worse. I’ve been attempting to strike a good balance, but having a hard time doing so.

With the arrival of Spring, we’ve begun working in the garden in the hopes of a lovely space this year. I started pulling the weeds after the last rainfall {which makes it SO much easier} daily, working an hour or two at a time. The first couple days, my neck and shoulders were literally screaming at me. I would put heat on them a couple of times a day, stretch, etc. I decided to push through a little bit, and by the end of the week, the soreness began to subside.

The movement required for pulling and digging was a great combination for stretching and strengthening my shoulders and neck muscles. I’m getting towards the end of the heavy labor with the weeds, so next up is my birthday gift: the rowing machine.

playing Candy Land

Four) To Say ‘Yes’ More Often to My Children — Too often I’ve made myself too busy to just drop everything and follow the request of one of my girls. Or I’m being too rational or stingy about a request they’ve made. But I’m trying to change that.

Evey has recently taken to playing Candy Land with me on the board I had as a child. {SO much better than the modern one!} She asks daily to play. Sometimes I do need to say no. But the other day she came up to me and asked “Can we play Candy Land tomorrow?” I suggested, “Why not right now?” Her eyes brightened so big and we played a few rounds. I want to incite that joy more.

Another day, I gave the girls an afternoon bath. Immediately after jumping out, Evey asked to wear her Easter dress and all the finery that accompanies it. My initial reaction was “No way!” because, although we were going out for a bit, it was simply to a little cafe for a treat. But I said “yes”. Why can’t she wear what makes her feel lovely for a short time, even if it is just to the store? She had many compliments while we were out…and was proud that she picked it out all on her own. {And she really was just so beautiful!}

every day mess

Five) Blog About the Mundane — I’ve had a serious block recently about writing on the blog because I feel as if no one really cares about the day-to-day here and I’ve nothing super significant to share. But then I realized that that is what others tend to comment on–and what I love to read at others blogs–the every day, nitty gritty. So I’m trying. I’m trying to better about sharing a bit of what we have going on here. Well, that’s what I started this for anyway!

dishcloth and Rising Strong

Six) How to Make a Knit Dishcloth — Kind of ridiculous, isn’t it? I’ve knit probably several dozen things at this point but had never done a dishcloth. They’re really quite simple and a great place to start if you want to learn. They are also wonderful for practicing a stitch you find somewhat vexing. It’ll probably be my go-to during the summer for knit projects as I can’t stand a knit warm blanket in my lap when it is a hundred plus outside.

writer

Source

Seven) I am a Writer — I feel ridiculous even writing this out, but it needs to be said. Although, Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic wasn’t a favorite read of mine, there was something that struck me hard. It was this: you have to believe you are, if you want to be a _____ {fill in the blank}. So often I tell others, “Well, I’m trying to write. I’m attempting to make a thing of this.” But, by golly, I am! Not only have I been doing this blogging thing for almost ten years now, but I’ve had articles published in journals, magazines, etc. since I was in high school. I’ve been a copy editor for a publication. {You can’t–certainly shouldn’t!–be doing that job unless you can write!} I’m a regular contributor with Blessed is She. I have experience. I practice my craft {albeit, irregularly, these days}. And I love to share my thoughts and stories through words. What more do I need to proclaim it?? Nada.

There you have it. I said it. I am a writer.

Next up: I am a photographer. Because I am, and I want to be that too.

 

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The Beginning and The End

annuncation fra angelico

Although we will not celebrate it today, it is the feast of the Annunciation–one of my favorite feast days to commemorate.

But the reason the celebration has been suspended is that today is also Good Friday.

bouguereau-pieta

I think of Jesus today. I think of the moment of His conception in His mother’s womb. I think of His consummation, His final breath. The beginning, the end.

I think of Mary today. I think of the Annunciation — her ‘yes’. I think of her standing at the foot of the Cross witnessing her Son pass from this life — her ‘yes’. Her unwavering ‘yes’ to all God had planned for her.  The beginning, the end.

When I contemplate the life of Our Lord, I often turn to Mary for help. I feel as if the mystery of her Son becomes just a bit clearer seen through the eyes of His mother. I identify with her well as a woman, a wife, a mother. She knew how to live that ‘yes’ to God with her whole being. She kept her eyes on Him no matter where or in what circumstances she found herself. ‘Yes’ when the news was good; ‘yes’ when the news was bad. But, still, sorrow in her heart when the news was difficult to bear.

My sorrow always fills with gratitude on Good Friday, just as I can imagine Mary’s heart did in each step of her sorrow. Contemplating His Wounds, I see His Mercy, His Love. I want to walk that path with Him, being able to say ‘yes’ to all — to the wounds, the crosses, the derision, the misunderstandings — just as He did…for me. From the beginning, throughout, to the end of my life.

Surrender. Surrender to His Love.

Pope Francis’ Speech at the World Meeting of Families

family-pope-francis

I couldn’t find the transcription from the beautiful speech Pope Francis gave at the World Meeting of Families tonight, so I typed it up myself from the words spoken in English by the translator. Here it is in its entirety:

Thank you to those who were willing to give their testimonies. Thank you to those who gladden us with your heart, with the beauty which is the path that leads to God. Beauty leads us to God. And a true witness takes us to God. Because God also is truth. Beauty and truth. And a witness given in order to serve is thoroughly good. It makes us good persons. Because God is goodness. He takes us to God. All that is good, all that is true, all that is beautiful leads us to God. Because God is good. God is beautiful. God is truth. Thank you all, those who’ve offered their witness and for the presence of all of you. That is also a great witness. A real witness that it’s worth being a family, that a society is strong and solid if its edified on beauty, goodness and truth. 

Once a child asked me — you know that kids ask difficult questions — he asked me, “Father, what did God do before creating the world?” I assure you, I found real difficulty to answer the question. So I said, now, what I’m going to say to you, Before creating the world, God loved. Because God is love. And so much love–Father, Son and Holy Spirit–it was so overflowing. I don’t know think this is very logical but you’ll understand: He was so big–it was so big, this love–that God could not be egoistic. It had to be poured out of Him, so as to share that love with those out of Himself. And then God created the world. God made this marvelous world in which we live. And because sometimes we are a bit confused, we are destroying it. But the most beautiful thing that God did, says the Bible, was the family. He created man and woman and he gave them everything. He gave them the world. That they may grow, multiply, cultivate the land. Multiply and grow. All that love He that he made in creation, He gave it and shared it and bestowed it on a family. 

And let’s go back further, all the love that God has in Himself, all the beauty and truth He has in Himself, he gives to the family. But the family is really family when it is able to open its arms and receive all that love. 

Of course, its not quiet earthly paradise, there are still problems. Men and women through the astuteness of the devil, have learned, unfortunately, how to divide themselves. And all that love that God gave, almost was lost. In a little period of time, the first crime, the first instance of fratricide. A brother kills another brother. And war. Now, the beauty and truth of God…and destruction and war. And between them, we walk ahead. It’s up to us to choose, it’s up to us to decide which path we want to take forward. 

Let’s go back… when man and his wife made a mistake, God did not abandon them. So great was His love that He began to walk with humanity, with His people, until the bright moment came and He made the highest expression of love–His own Son. And where did He send his son? To a palace? To a city? To a country? No, He sent Him to a family. He sent him amid a family. In a family.

And he could do this because it was a family that had a truly open heart. Doors of their heart opened.

Let’s think of Mary. She couldn’t believe it. How can this happen? But when the angel explained it. She agreed. St. Joseph–he finds himself in this surprising situation that he does’t understand. And he accepts. He obeys. And in obedience–love of this woman, love of this man–there is family in which Jesus is born. God plans so that our hearts will be opened. He likes to bring His love to open hearts. It comes out from Him. You know what He loves most? To knock on the doors of families. And find the families who love each other. Families who bring up their children to grow and move forward. To create, to develop in society, truth, goodness and beauty. 

We are celebrating the feast of the family. Families have a citizenship which is divine. The identity card they have is given to them by God. So that within the heart of the family, truth, goodness, and beauty can truly grow. 

Some of you might say, of course, Father, you speak because you’re not married. Families have the difficulties. Families, we quarrel! Sometimes plates can fly. And children bring headaches. I won’t speak about mothers-in-law…

But in families there is always, always, always light. Because the love of God, the Son of God, opened also part of us. But just as there are problems in families, there is the light of the Resurrection afterwards. Because the Son of God created that path. Forgive me, for I have to say that the family is like a factory of hope, it’s a factory of resurrection. God opened this path, this possibility. 

And children, yes, they bring their challenges and we also are the cause of work and worry. Sometimes, at home, I see some of my helpers, they come to work and they look tired, they have a one-month old child. And I ask them, “Did you sleep?” And they say, “I couldn’t sleep because they were crying all night.” In the family, there are indeed difficulties. But those difficulties are overcome with love. Hatred is not capable of dealing with difficulties and overcoming any difficulties. Division of hearts cannot overcome any difficulty. Only love is able to overcome. Love is about celebration. Love is joy. Love is moving forward.

I don’t speak too much because it would be late, but I would like just to offer two points about the family. Take special care…somethings we really do have to take care of: children and grandparents. Children, whether young or older, they are the future and strength that moves us forward. We place our hope in them. Grandparents are the living memory of the family. They passed on the faith, they transmitted the faith to us. To look after grandparents, to look after children, is the expression of love. It promises the future The people that doesn’t know how to look after their children, and the is a people that knows not how to look after grandparents, is a people that has no future. Because it doesn’t have strength or the memory to go forward. 

Family is beautiful. But there is effort involved and there are problems. In families there are inimical relationships. Husbands and wives quarrel. It can end up badly, separated. Never let a day end without making peace. In a family, you can’t finish the day off not being at peace. 

May God bless you. May God give you hope. God give you the strength to move forward. Let us look after the family. Let us protect the family because it is in the family that the future is at play. 

Blessed is She ~ One Year

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God’s blessings often come in the most unexpected places.

Just a short time ago, the Internet was living up to its isolating reputation for me and I wasn’t having much luck in connecting with female peers in my local community either.

I had a desire to delve more deeply into Scripture. I was searching for a community that facilitated this in a real way. I was looking, but kept coming up short.

I was on the brink of heavily writing off Internet time altogether when I stumbled across the seed of a ministry just beginning to form roots.

Blessed is She initially began by sending out the scriptural readings from daily Mass. Having just given birth to my second child and living as a single-car family, attending daily Mass was just impossible for me. With the BiS emails, I was able to pull up the readings in the inbox on my phone and read through prayerfully as I was nursing my daughter.

Then, these beautiful, short devotionals were added to the Scripture, written by faith-filled women sharing stories of their life where God was challenging them. So easy to relate to.

But God was calling me deeper. Soon, I was contributing to the devotions myself; then offering my time to edit the blog so we could further share the story of sisters who were in the trenches and answering God’s call in so many ways.

Twitter, never my forte, one day had me engaged with these same sisters in a discussion on prayer. We shared our favorite ways to engage in conversation with God, as well as prayer books that aided us.

Always up for a challenge and a lover of capturing beautiful moments in photos, I enjoyed the Instagram challenges for posting photos following daily prompts. And, in the process, ‘met’ and was encouraged by so many wonderful women all over the world!

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Then God nudged our fearless leader, Jenna, to begin regional Facebook groups. This allowed for even more ‘getting to know you’ moments and praying for one another in the joyful and sorrowful moments of life. This connected us a bit more locally. I’ve now had the occasion for meeting several of these amazing sisters in the flesh for a cup of coffee!

And then? Blessed Brunches! Last weekend, I attended and co-hosted one in the Bay Area with Kirby who warmly welcomed us into her home. We shared treats and our hearts with one another over the course of an afternoon.

This organic development — from reading and sharing the Word of God together online to great, Spirit-filled fellowship face-to-face — was such a wonderful sight to behold.

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I am no longer as skeptical as I once was about the Internet’s ability to bring us together. Great intention is needed to do so; we must move beyond that space.

Blessed is She has been the medium for forming so many great friendships. If not for its online presence, something on this scale would be possible. It has changed my heart for the gift the Internet can be.

But it has also encouraged me to reach out to friends I already had established relationships with and seek deeper fellowship with them too. It has helped me realize how important and what a blessing it is to have others in life to whom you can say, “What, you too?!”, and how vital it is to have a community who can come to your aid when you’re in troubled waters and to which you can return the call when another is in need.

I am truly in awe of the community that has been built up this past year. I am grateful for Jenna’s ‘yes’ to the Spirit’s call. I am grateful for every devotion writer who takes precious time out of their busy lives to sit down and write out the Spirit’s promptings on their hearts every few months. I am grateful for the artists who give their unique talents to create pieces of beauty that uplift our souls. I am grateful for the photographers who catch amazing glimpses of God’s creation to share with us in such a profound way. I am grateful for the writers who share with us their joys and struggles on the blog. I am grateful for those who share moments in those square picture boxes, revealing the blessings we have in our lives. I am grateful for each and every woman of the #bissisterhood who makes it the wonderful blessing it is. Thank you.

7 Reasons to Inspire Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus ~ {SQT}

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Throughout most of my life, I’ve had a strong devotion to and love for the Sacred Heart of Jesus. There are many reasons why, but I’ve picked seven today to help inspire you to the same.

1. It is a human heart which understands our own. {and vice versa}

Christ is fully man so His is a divine love capable of being expressed in a human way. Learn from Him. He also understands in a very human way what we are going through.

2. It is the “fount of mercy”.

No matter how many mistakes we make, how many times we fall, this Heart of our Lord wants to forgive us and have us return to Him. His mercy is never-ending and all-encompassing.

3. It inspires Heart-to-heart conversations with Our Lord.

How much easier it is to speak with God when we discover a heart like our own! The humanity of Christ makes those heart-to-hearts that we would have with a close friend so much more easy.

4. It is a place to rest your weary heart.

Rest in His Sacred Heart when you feel overwhelmed, beaten down, sorrowful. He understands as He has been there Himself and will help you find a way to overcome.

5. It is ardent and constant Love for YOU.

The Love of our Lord is so IMMENSE! And He loves you as if you were the only person on this earth. He will always be there for you.

6. It is what unites all Christians — the Heart of the Body of Christ.

To be an authentic witness and member of the Body of Christ, it is important to connect with the Heart of the Body for He is our Lifeline.

7. It is the author of all that is beautiful and good in this world.

To see beauty, to create beauty, to appreciate what is good, to choose what is good–this is the place to learn.

 

Linking up with Blessed is She on the topic of ‘Heart’ this week and with Kelly for Seven Quick Takes. 

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