Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2015 Reading Challenge

I've always been an avid reader - I was that kid who easily read 50 books over summer vacation. Now that I'm a big girl, unfortunately I do not have time to read 50 books over the summer, let alone in a year!

This past year, I read a large number of books, partly thanks to spending many hours on planes and trains, but I also spent a lot of time trying to figure out what to read, instead of just reading!

So, for 2015, I'm going to give myself a little challenge. My goal is to read at least 20 books this year, from classic literature to spiritual reads to fiction books that are hot, hot, hot right now.

I've made a list of some books that I'd like to read to get myself started, and I'd love to hear your suggestions too! Tell me what needs to make my list in the comments!

So, self, do you accept this reading challenge?!


The Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkein
Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

Kid Lit

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (re-read) (listening to the audiobook now!)
The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews (re-read)
Greenglass House by Kate Milford

Sci-Fi and Fantasy

Dune by Frank Herbert (I've tried before and failed... I shall try again!)
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel


The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Spiritual Reads

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
Walking with Mary by Edward Sri (re-read)


The Expats by Chris Pavone
The Accident by Chris Pavone
Human Croquet by Kate Atkinson

Top Pick Fiction

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker (reading now!)
The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

Links are Amazon Smile links - please select your favorite charity when you shop!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Lord is with you

It's very fitting that on the Fourth Sunday of Advent, we hear the story of the Annunciation.

The angel Gabriel greets Mary with, "Hail, full of Grace! The Lord is with you." But what does this mean, to be full of grace? What does it mean for the Lord to be with you?

The answers to these questions aren't easy - even Mary was "greatly troubled" and "pondered" their meaning.

When Mary told the angel to let it "be done according to your word", she said yes to being with God, yes to being full of grace.  Her yes affirmed this greeting - just as when we say yes to God, we are filled with His grace.

Just as John the Baptist cried out to prepare the way of the Lord, Advent is a time for us to truly prepare ourselves to be with the Lord.

We can never carry the Lord like Mary did, because she literally and physically had Him with her - she carried Him in her womb. We can, however, be "pregnant" with Christ by carrying him in our hearts.

The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us. God chose to come into the world through Mary, through her yes. Let us pray that in this last week of Advent, we will say yes to the ultimate Christmas gift and also share God with the world by carrying his grace in our hearts.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

#5Faves: Christmas Albums Edition

Linking up with Jenna!

We all love Christmas music. But let's admit it - with every pop singer ever to grace this earth releasing a Christmas album, some Christmas music is absolutely terrible. Lucky for you, I've scoured near and far to weed out the bad and find the good. Here are my five favorite Christmas albums, that I can pretty much listen to straight through, from start to finish.


You know how when you've listened to a CD too much, it gets all scratched up from too many plays and then doesn't play anymore? Well, that happened to this CD. After about a year. Because I listened to it year-round. I love MercyMe's music, but their Christmas album is absolutely amazing. They take many classic Christmas tunes and introduce more upbeat tempos ("Silent Night"), a different musical tune ("Gloria"), spine-tingling harmonies ("O Holy Night"), and/or beautiful instrumentals ("It Came Upon a Midnight Clear", "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen", "Little Drummer Boy"). Don't miss their heart-warming original - "Joseph's Lullaby" - either. Actually, you should probably just start on track one and listen the whole way through.


Amy Grant has many Christmas albums out there, and I have to admit that I haven't listened to them all, because I love this one so much. I grew up listening to this album, making sure to listen to "The Night Before Christmas" on repeat on Christmas Eve. Other note-worthy songs include "Breath of Heaven (Mary's Song)" (perfect for Advent and even year-round!), "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year", and "Joy to the World/For Unto Us a Child is Born".


Like most of their albums, Relient K's Christmas album is very punny, which means it's especially fun for the young and young-at-heart. Many of your classic favorites are also given a fun and upbeat spin, a la Relient K style. My personal favorites include "Angels We Have Heard on High", "We Wish You a Merry Christmas", and "In Like a Lion (Always Winter)" (perfect for Advent).


This is a classic, people. Just click play and sit back and soak up the joy of the season. I especially love the always wonderful "White Christmas", the fun and upbeat "Jingle Bells", the classic "It's Beginning to Look Like Christmas", and the timber tones of "Silver Bells".


I've tended to notice that Christian artists make really great Christmas albums. Casting Crowns' album is no different. "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day", "O Come All Ye Faithful", and "Joy to the World" are some of my favorites that are on repeat, while "Christmas Offering" and the gorgeously instrumental "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" may soon join the constant-repeat list.

What are your favorite Christmas albums? 
Tell me now so I can soak up all their goodness this season!

*Links provided are for Amazon Smile - select your favorite charity and start shopping!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

#5Faves: These are a Few

I'm going to keep it simple for my first time linking up with Jenna, and just share with you all a few of my favorite things...

~ 1 ~


~ 2 ~

~ 3 ~


~ 4 ~


~ 5 ~



If I could pick one more, it would probably be snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes...

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Be a Window - Over at Ignitum Today!

I am so excited to be working now with Ignitum Today! I will be editing posts as well as writing some posts of my very own from time to time. Please head on over to my very first post over there, and give me some love! Here's a little sneak peak...

Have you ever met someone who just seems to radiate Christ with every fiber of his or her being; where you can just see their love for God reflecting from their bodies? It's a sort of aura, a glow, that just emanates out and has the profound power to draw people in. It's a joy that is shown in a wide smile, loud laughter, a twinkle in the eye, a warm hug, finding happiness on even the darkest of days.

This kind of love is so much more than glorifying God with your body. As St. Paul wrote, this kind of love is glorifying God in your body (1 Cor 6:20)...

Read more at Ignitum Today...

Westminster Cathedral, London, England

Sunday, September 7, 2014

What I Wore Sunday: "Why Can't I Get a Decent Picture?!" Edition! (*Now Updated!*)

Hello hello to the three people who still read this here blog! It's time for another WIWS! Head on over to Fine Linen and Purple for the link action!

The lighting in my home is terrible. Well, I guess I don't need to tell you that because these photos are enough evidence.

Original: Boo Lighting!

Original: So you can actually see my smiling face

Thanks to Katie for some suggestions, I went in search of a well-lit corner and a makeshift camera stand to try again... I'll let you decide but I think these are much more decent!

Update: Using a hobo-esque camera stand... get some decent lighting!

Dress: Merona c/o Unique Thrift Stores for $4!
Cardigan: c/o TJMaxx
Belt: c/o an old skirt in my closet
Shoes: Croft & Barrow, c/o Kohl's (similar style)
Necklace: c/o Kairos Retreat, Fall 2008!
Frizzy hair: c/o my hair dryer and the hair straightener's inability to keep up with the humidity
How about those readings today, huh?  If I tell the wicked, “O wicked one, you shall surely die,” and you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked from his way, the wicked shall die for his guilt, but I will hold you responsible for his death." (from Ez 33:7-9) and “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone... If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector." (from Mt 18:15-20)  As my priest said today... no one likes the IRS!

These readings certainly go against the whole "do whatever you want, whenever you want, and don't tell others what is right and wrong" kind of culture we live in today! How can we possibly live up to being our brother's keeper in a world that decries anything like this as judgment?

I think the key here is the reading second from St. Paul's letter to the Romans (13:8-10). The answer, as always, is love. We are called to be each other's keepers because we love each other, and want what is best for that person and his or her soul (the best being Heaven, of course!). It's definitely not easy for the world to see us lovingly calling each other out as a manifestation of love, but true love puts the good of the other first. This is what our Church does, and she is persecuted for it; and this is what we are called to do as well, even if we are also persecuted for it.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Weekly Roundup

What I'm Reading: The Maze Runner by James Dashner and Saint John Paul the Great: His Five Loves by Jason Evert.

I have to be honest. I am not really enjoying The Maze Runner. I have heard so many people recommend it, so I'm a little surprised, but I am just having a really hard time getting into it. I won't give up though (yet)!

On the other hand, I am really enjoying soaking up Evert's book on JPII. It wasn't even on my radar until Miriam graciously sent it to me in the mail, hand-wrapped with a prayer card and saint medal. She is the sweetest! I am not too far into the book as I want to take the time to savor it, but so far I am really enjoying reading about JPII's life before he was JPII! It is so beautiful to read about little Lolek's life when he was growing up, and to see how that shaped his life-changing papacy. I first fell in love with JPII when I discovered Theology of the Body and the documentary Nine Days that Changed the World, and I have a feeling that this book will cause me to love him even more!
Thanks Miriam!
What I'm Watching: It's summer finale season! Already? Where has this summer gone? I am soaking up some of my favorite summer shows, including Rizzoli and Isles, Perception, Graceland, Royal Pains, and Suits.  Are there any new shows in the fall that you just can't wait for? I am intrigued by Scorpion, but otherwise haven't seen too many previews for new shows I want to check out.

This Week's Roundup: Last weekend, I went to my fatherland to celebrate my cousin's wedding. I went a couple days early to spend some much-needed quality time with on of my best friends from college and her 2.5 year old son. We spent a couple of days playing board games (our favorite!), taking walks to the farmer's market and park, and enjoying the nice weather at the zoo! Then it was time for the wedding weekend! My sisters and I are like the von Trapp family singers, except with instruments, so we played the music in my cousins wedding. Overall, it was a beautiful wedding and a fun party. I also got to sit down with my Grandma and Poppy to show them some pictures from my trip to London. It was fun re-living those two weeks with them (and brings back the fever to go back to England for Round 3!).

At the Rehearsal dinner, my Poppy walked up and said,
"Let me get a picture with my favorite granddaughters!"
You must know it is a competition between all us grandkids as to who is the favorite.
This is photographic evidence that we are the winners!

New Things:  I chopped a lot of my hair off this week! I went back to the bob haircut I loved in college and beyond... now that it's starting to cool down as we make our way into fall, I don't have to pull my hair up all the time. Maybe when it doesn't look like the ratty mess that it is right now (sleep is a beautiful thing... just not for your hair), I will consider posting a picture of the new 'do!

Link It Up:

The Corner With A View - I could probably link to a million of Julie's posts, but I am loving everything she writes lately (and all the pictures of Gracie!), so I will just link to her blog. Go say hi!

How to Pray with Kids - Yes, I know this post is technically written to help you pray with children, but I need to learn to be more child-like in my spiritual life, so I've been doing this myself every night.

The NCBC Response to the ALS Challenge - Some alternative charities that are morally and ethically a-ok if you want to make a donation for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

Threadflip - I'm addicted to Threadflip, which is basically so thrift-a-holics (like me!) can thrift without ever having to leave their couch (well, you have to go to the mailbox, but that's easy most days...). If you wanted to sign up using my referral link, I would be ever so grateful! You should also get some site credit for signing up with my link, so basically, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain (or buy)!

Laughs: In honor of all the kids going back to school and officially making me feel older than old...
What is the difference between a buffalo and a bison anyway? (Source)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Monday, June 16, 2014

My Favorite Charities

Charities and Tithing: How Do You Choose?
Trista @ Not a Minx
Amanda @ Worthy of Agape
...and YOU! Join us on Facebook!

I have to be honest with you all. I don’t financially donate 10% of my income. I have something called student loans that are oh-so-pesky that just never seem to go away. I decided in the long run that it is better to pay off my loans as quickly as possible (2 years! It will happen!), which will free me up financially to be able to save up more for the big things in life as well as be more giving with my charitable contributions. So, until then, I am very much a proponent of the Time, Talent, and Treasure tithing, and so I try to “donate” my time and talents in whatever way I can, whether it is playing the flute with the community band or helping to lead a high school retreat.

But, as my loans will be paid off in the not too distant future, I have been on the lookout for some new charities to support financially. It’s important to me that the charity is Catholic friendly – they do not have to be Catholic, but I will not financially support an organization that blatantly contradicts the Catholic faith. It’s also important to me that the charity is using my money wisely. I’ve found that Charity Navigator is a pretty good resource for finding out how an organization spends its money, but you still have to use your best judgment, especially for smaller charities which will have to spend more money on fundraising and administrative costs.

Here's where I've been sending my charitable contributions lately...

Dawid! Doesn't he have the cutest smile?
Connected in Hope – This is my latest find. I was introduced to them via Camp Patton and fell in love with not only their gorgeous scarves but their mission behind them. They provide holistic services to families in one of the poorest areas of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. They offer a weaving and sewing program for 70 widows, women with HIV and other vulnerable women in the community, allowing them to generate the income needed to lift their families from extreme poverty. The gorgeous scarves (and now jewelry!) are hand-made by the women, and every penny from the sales is re-invested back into their programs to benefit the women and their families. They opened up a Montessori preschool that now serves 51 children, and they provide the kiddos with education, healthy snacks during the day, basic health care, uniforms, and social work services. I recently started sponsoring a little boy, Dawid, and I love getting updates and pictures on how he is doing. They still need sponsors for a few more children, so head on over here to find out more information.

FOCUS – College can be a trying time emotionally, physically, and spiritually. FOCUS is a great organization that sends teams out to college campuses to engage the students and encourage them to grow in their Catholic faith. I have experienced first-hand the impact that FOCUS missionaries can have on the lives of college students, and so I know how important this ministry is. While I have yet to support a missionary directly, it’s something that I’ve been thinking about doing once my loans are paid off.

GW Newman Center – The Newman Center was where my faith life was set on fire when I was in graduate school, and it’s important to me to support them financially so they can keep providing activities, fellowship, and free food for every student that walks through their doors. Consider supporting your alma mater’s Catholic student center, or even the Catholic student center in your town, either financially or by volunteering your time.

Catholic Answers Live – I came across Catholic Answers Live podcast many years ago and fell in love. I have learned so much about the Catholic faith from their ministry, and have been a Radio Club member for a couple of years now. My favorite shows are the Q&A open forums for non-Catholics, but they cover a wide range of topics that are always so interesting. You can check out their show live from 6-8pm EST on your local Catholic radio station, or check out the podcast here.

What are your favorite charities to support? Be sure to link up with us over at the Facebook page!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Vacation Reads - What's in Your Stack?

Next week, my sister and I take off for our vacation - literally taking off as we fly across the pond to England!

I studied abroad in London more years ago than I would like to admit, and I am so excited to be going back and sharing that experience with my sister.

We've been spending the last few months planning and buying plane tickets and rail passes and booking hotels and picking what sites we have to see, and now that we have everything in order, the most important part of preparing for our vacation can take place... finding some great vacation reads!

Because a picture of books must look sort of vintage-y, right?
I spent lots of time trying to find some good reads for our long plane trips and hours spent on the train. I found all of these books at the thrift store or used book stores, so I didn't spend too much money on this little stack!

Help a girl out... which one should I start reading first?

...from top to bottom*

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn - I enjoyed the thrill of reading Gone Girl (even though I wasn't a fan of the ending), so I am looking forward to another fast paced psychological mystery.

Between Heaven and Mirth by James Martin, SJ - I've read a few of Fr. Jim's books, and I love his approachable faith and writing style, so I am looking forward to some laughs while soaking up some spiritual reading.

Gertrude and Claudius by John Updike - I found this on the bookshelf at the used book store and knew I had to get it. A prequel to Hamlet?! This has to be interesting, and will help immerse me in my favorite English town - Stratford!

The Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett - Ann Patchett is one of my favorite authors (hello - read Bel Canto... just read it. Now.) and I've never read something from her that didn't completely suck me in... so I'm hoping this one continues the trend and presents an engrossing read!

Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin - This book has been on my reading list for awhile, so when I saw it at the used book store, I snatched it right up! Hopefully it doesn't disappoint!

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton - This is the latest from another one of my favorite authors. I love the mystery and history of each of her tales.

What's in your stack of vacation reads? Share, share, share! Inquiring minds want to know!

*Links are through Amazon Smile. Please pick your favorite charity and use Amazon Smile when you shop!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Come Home

An open letter to women who have left the Catholic Church:
We want to invite you to come talk with us, and we are excited to meet you! Just like you, we are daughters, sisters, wives, and mothers; students, professionals, and stay-at-home moms. We are teenagers, 20-somethings, 30-somethings, and beyond. We are from many walks of life and from diverse backgrounds, but we share a common faith - one we want to invite you to revisit.
Some of us have been away from the Church, and by one way or another we've come back. Some of us never left - but that doesn't mean we’ve never questioned nor been confused. Some of us were raised outside of the Church, and made the decision to join as adults. In one way or another, each one of us has come to know and love Christ in the Catholic Church - and in keeping with Pope Francis’ request we want to share that love and joy with you.

Being Catholic isn’t easy, and we’ll be the first to tell you that we aren’t perfect; we have many planks in our own eyes to worry about. Our faith embraces paradoxes, challenges our culture's values, and makes us feel uncomfortable when we are called to examine our actions and our motivations. But - as you already know - just because something is challenging does not mean it is not worthwhile.

We know that you are intelligent and capable. We believe that you deserve answers to your questions, and explanations for the teachings with which you're struggling. We’ve all struggled with various aspects of our faith, but we aren’t here to judge or condemn you. We simply want to listen to what you’re feeling. We want to understand what is making you uncertain about being part of our Catholic faith. We want to help you find the answers and explanations that helped bring us home. We want to meet you, we want to hear about your experience, and most importantly, we want to invite you back.

Feel free to email any of us with questions or concerns you may have about the Church, her teachings, or what reversion means. If you’re not ready to bare your soul to complete strangers, we’d love to direct you to sites that helped us (and still help us) as we discerned our calling in life.
Wherever you are, whatever you believe, know that we are praying for you. You are our sister - another woman navigating a challenging world. We look forward to talking with you!
In The Peace and Love of Christ,

The members of #Cathsorority

Thursday, February 27, 2014

My Corner with a View

This view may not seem like much, but it is my source of sunlight during the day.

My office is four white walls covered with print-outs of patents, a colorful periodic table, and funny pages from a cat calendar. The only window in my office is from Microsoft; I don't get a glass window with a view of what is outside my four white walls for at least a couple of years.

Just outside my door, in the corner at the end of the hall, is a large window that lets the sun stream in. It gives me a glimpse of the outside world when my eyes need a break from starting at a computer screen; when my mind needs a break from thinking. I watch cars attempt to parallel park; I watch people walk down the street on their way to grab a coffee; and, every once in awhile, I watch moms with their little kids carrying backpacks that are way too big for their little frames.

In this view is the building where I spent the first four months of my job in training; the 7-11 where I used to go grab Slurpees during the hot summer days; the sushi restaurant around the corner that serves delicious lunch buffet.

I've heard that this view has changed over the years as more buildings go up and the street gets busier. In the distance, you can see the cars driving on the beltway. In the air, you can see planes taking off and landing over the water. In the winter, you see snow; in the spring and fall, rain; in the summer, heat radiating off the pavement. 

My corner with a view changes every time I walk by; and yet it stays the same.

Linking up with Julie!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

How to Be the Best Godparent

This post was originally written for and published on The Mirror Magazine... head over there to join in on the conversation! Thank you ladies of The Mirror Mag for hosting me!

~ * ~

Close from a young age!
I was holding Robert, my youngest baby cousin, for the first time when my aunt and uncle asked me to be his godmother.

Of course I said yes!

Robert responded by spitting up all over my shirt.

Apparently he agreed with his parents' choice... I had been chosen. 

That was almost 9 years ago, and at the time, I didn't realize what an important role I was taking on. It wasn't until a few years later, when I started to grow deeper into my Catholic faith, that I realized what a big deal it is to be someone's godmother.

Think about it for a minute.

During the Rite of Baptism, the priest (or deacon) asks the godparents:
Are you ready to help the parents of this child in their duty as Christian parents?
We respond (hopefully) with "We do."

The priest later says:
Dear parents and godparents: You have come here to present this child for baptism. By water and the Holy Spirit he (she) is to receive the gift of new life from God, who is love. 
On your part, you must make it your constant care to bring him (her) up in the practice of the faith. See that the divine life which God gives him (her) is kept safe from the poison of sin, to grow always stronger in his (her) heart. 
If your faith makes you ready to accept this responsibility, renew now the vows of your own baptism. Reject sin; profess your faith in Christ Jesus. This is the faith of the Church. This is the faith in which this child is about to be baptized.
... and later after the lighting of the Baptismal candle:
Parents and godparents, this light is entrusted to you to be kept burning brightly. This child of yours has been enlightened by Christ. He (she) is to walk always as a child of the light. May he (she) keep the flame of faith alive in his (her) heart. When the Lord comes, may he (she) go out to meet him with all the saints in the heavenly kingdom.
Help the parents. Constant care. Responsibility. Entrusted to you.

The faith and soul of a little child of God is entrusted to you!

Thankfully, as Robert has grown, I've learned more about what it really means to be a godparent. Here are some of the top things I've discovered:

Make your own spiritual life a priority

Your number one job as a godparent is to be a role model in the faith for your godchild, and you can't do that unless you make your faith life a top priority. This means you have to walk the walk and talk the talk. If you are going to be encouraging your godchild to attend Mass, you better be attending Mass too. If you're going to help teach your godchild to pray the rosary, he better see you with a rosary in your hand from time to time. Especially when your godchild is young, him seeing you living the faith leaves a huge impression that will last the rest of his life.

Live your faith life fruitfully

The Rite of Baptism also includes a prayer to "Make the lives of his (her) parents and godparents examples of faith to inspire this child."

While making your own spiritual life a priority is good, you have to be sure that you are living that faith life fruitfully. If your godchild sees you going to Mass, but hating it, then that doesn’t leave a very good impression on his young and impressionable heart. It's important that your godchild sees you living a life of faith because you want to, not because you have to. Remember that the fruits you bear from your faith life no longer benefit only your soul, but also the soul of the child you promised to help raise in the faith.

Be present both physically and spiritually

Robert's First Communion!
Spending time with your godchild helps build trust so that if there ever comes a day when he needs advice or has questions about the faith, he feels comfortable coming to talk to you. I was lucky enough during college to spend a summer living down the street from my godson. I wouldn't trade that summer for anything, because even though he was young, the time we spent together helped build our relationship.

Sadly, after college, I moved hundreds of miles away from my godson. While it's more difficult to be physically present, I make a point to be there for him for the "big" life events. I even made a special trip to be there with him for his First Communion, and he was so excited to have me there.

Since I can't be physically present as often as I would like, I make special effort to be spiritually present as well. One way that I do this is to send my godson little "I love you" notes and gifts in the mail from time to time - prayer cards, saint medals, etc. He knows then that I am thinking about him, even though I am far away.

And on that note...

Give good gifts

I know... I went from giving spiritual advice to talking about presents, but stay with me here! Gifts can say a lot, especially to a child, and they can also be a great way to introduce your godchild to different aspects of the faith at a very young age.

For me, I've made a point to make sure that every gift I give Robert includes something Catholic... but I also work hard to find good Catholic gifts. Nothing is more boring to an 8 year old boy than an old lady prayer manual, for example, so it's important to find things that your godchild will be excited about. For his First Communion, I bought him a comic book Bible. When he opened it up, he exclaimed with his hands in the air, "A COMIC BOOK BIBLE?!?! FINALLY A BETTER BIBLE HAS BEEN MADE!!!!"

As he grows older, he will outgrow clothes and toys, but hopefully he will never grow out of the excitement he has for being Catholic.

Pray for your godchild...

Pray for his daily life. Pray for any struggles or fears he shares with you, even if they seem trivial. Pray for your relationship with your godchild. Pray for his future vocation. Pray for his faith to continue to grow, and for him to grow in love for Christ and the Eucharist. Prayers go a long way!

...and ask your godchild to pray for you.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me…” I honestly believe that nothing is as strong as the prayers of a child. How could Jesus and Mary ignore the heartfelt pleas of a young heart?! So ask your godchild to pray for you and your intentions. I recently asked my godson to pray for a special intention for me every night before he goes to bed, and I trust that someday I will see so many fruits thanks to him joining my prayer army. Even more, asking your godchild to pray for you also encourages him to make prayer a part of his daily routine, which will subtly help him grow to have an active prayer life.


Not only have I learned that being a godparent is a big deal, but I've found even more that being a godparent is hilariously fun, rewarding, helpful at fostering my own faith growth, and a great learning experience for passing on the faith to our youth.

Are you blessed to be a godparent? What are some of the greatest things you've learned along the way?

Teaching him how to drive at the ripe old age of 7!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

One Word

When I was begging people for blog post ideas, one person suggested that I tell you all about a normal day in my life. Or what I'm thinking for Lent. Or my must-have food item.

What a surprise it was to me when I realized that all three of those ideas can be summed up into one post... nay, into one word.


You all are probably like - whaaaaaaaaat?! - but really. Chocolate is the answer to all of those.

A normal day in my life...  I said yesterday that if I wrote about my typical day, you all would be put to sleep. But I left one thing out of my monotonous typical day, and that is the fact that every day I am asking someone(s) somewhere(s) for chocolate. No one is safe from being asked the "Do you have any chocolate...?!?!?" question. No one. Not even my boss. There are even rumors that certain person(s) can tell that I am going to ask for chocolate just by looking at my facial expression. 

And if that person has the chocolate which my heart so lovingly desires...

Survival mode!

...and if there is no chocolate to be found...


What I'm thinking for Lent... So, it probably doesn't come as a surprise that like last year, I am once again giving up chocolate for Lent, among some other things I have yet to decide to add/subtract from my daily life. I've actually done this for a couple of years now, and I've survived. Barely. The first couple of weeks are the hardest. Then the next few are spent dreaming of Anthony Thomas chocolate bunnies. And by then, it's Holy Week so I just offer it up because we're so close to getting my chocolate back the celebration of Jesus' resurrection! In truth, giving up chocolate helps me work on the always elusive virtue of self-control/temperance while also giving me an opportunity to offer it up for some real life actual prayer needs as opposed to my insane chocolate cravings.

So, on Mardi Gras, you can bet that this will be me...

Squirrel! (see what I did there?!)

And then me the next day...

My must-have food item... I mean, is the answer not chocolate for some person in the world? I just don't understand how it could be something other than chocolate. Ever. I bake with it. I have it for breakfast. I melt it in my warm milk. I would use it as a condiment if I could. It is its own food group, as it should be.

So, I'm curious. If someone asked you to write about those three things, would you be able to sum it all up with one word?

I can sum it up in three.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Who are you and what have you done with Liesl?

Well, it's happening.

Someone must have kidnapped me and swapped my brain for another's, because I've decided to take on the challenge with Conversion Diary and pretty much the rest of the Catholic blogging world to write 7 posts in 7 days.

Yes. 7 consecutive days.

As I've barely managed to write something once a month in the past months, this could be interesting... so why am I doing this? Other than because I was kidnapped and replaced with someone else who looks and acts just like me in every way except she blogs like a fiend?

It will give me something to do. If I were to write a "Day in the Life" post, it would go something like this: Liesl wakes up. Liesl gets ready for work. Liesl goes to work. Liesl pretends to work does her work. Liesl goes home. Liesl watches TV. Liesl takes a bubble bath. Liesl goes to bed. Are you still awake? Good, I'm glad at least one of us is. One of the things I've loved about blogging over the years is that it gives me something to do (planning posts, reflecting on my topic, writing, editing, etc.) and connects me to other people; and this is something that I miss the most about not blogging as much. I can pretty much guarantee that I will not blog every single day after this week long excursion, but I am hoping it re-ignites some of that enjoyment I've had in the past... and in the least, it will give me something to do for a week besides taking lots and lots of bubble baths.

It will help me fight perfectionism. The reason I don't post as much as I used to (or ever...) is because I am a perfectionist. It's my one and only tragic flaw, I know... I come up with a great idea for a blog post, I write most of it out, and then it sits in unpublished land for forever because it isn't perfect. It's not good enough to publish yet or it doesn't have the right voice or it's a topic that I'm not sure I want to share with the world... take your pick. My perfectionist nature is keeping me from doing something I enjoy doing! So here's to fighting the good fight against being perfect... and hitting the bright orange Publish button.

It will help me cut down on the list of drafts... which seems to keep growing in size faster than my belly when confronted with lots of chocolate cake. Or, on the other hand, maybe those drafts are still drafts because they are terrible ideas and should never see the light of the interwebs. In that case, I'm going to need some blogging ideas, so you have anything you would like me (or look-alike me) to write about, let me know!

Will you join us crazy kids on this 7 day journey? You know, the blog party never ends, and tomorrow we gonna blog it all again!

I know, I know. That was terrible. Therefore, if you do join us, I promise to reference Ke$ha no more than once per blog post. If you don't, I'll have  to devote an entire post to the Catholicity all up in Ke$ha's music. So, to save me from having to write that and you all from having to pretend to read it, please join in on the fun!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Saint Stories

Saints: Picking Them, Picking Us

Julie @ The Corner with a View
Befriend the Saints and Be Prepared by Trista @ Not a Minx
My Unexpected Friends by Amanda @ Worthy of Agape
...and YOU! Join us on Facebook!

I don't know what I did without the saints.

Or, I guess the more accurate way of saying that is that they were always there, but I don't know how I survived spiritually before I realized they were there with me.

I've shared a few saint stories here and there as I've come to know the saints more on my faith journey. Each saint has their own story to tell; each saint's story is unique. Yet each saint has at least one thing in common with the others: they each offered up everything they had to love, serve, and follow God. Each saint has a story with their name; and each saint has that story to share with us.

Tonight I was praying the Rosary, and I decided to try out something a bit different for me. Instead of meditating on how the mystery related to my intention, I instead placed myself into that moment in Christ's life and tried to experience it as those who were present at the time experienced it. I watched as they watched, and waited to see where each of these meditations took me.

My mind started out watching Christ, thinking of his experience and what it meant in our salvation story. Yet, the other people who were present and watching Christ quickly distracted me. What about them? What did they see? What did they think? How did they feel? Most importantly, were their hearts converted in that moment?

That is when it hit me. There are men and women and children who were present at each of these moments of Christ's life who experienced profound conversion of hearts - whether it was at that moment in time or later in life - and who are now among the saints in Heaven. These events were not stories out of history books, but Christ was actually present and these things actually happened and these were real people who actually witnessed each of these moments in time firsthand.

Real people!

So I joined my heart with those surrounding me in each of these moments, and called out to these saints. Please! All of you who witnessed this moment, all of you who felt a stirring in your heart as you experienced this moment with Christ, join with Mary and pray for my intention! As you gave your hearts over to Christ in these moments, give him my heartfelt prayer! I did this throughout Christ's public ministry, all the way from his baptism to his crucifixion. I begged those who were there and believed to take my intention to Christ.

I instantly felt surrounded by something outside of myself. I wasn't speaking to people I had never met before, but I was calling upon people who had been and always will be there. I was calling upon thousands of saints to hear my plea and pray for it. Thousands! There were thousands of hearts that witnessed Christ just in these few moments and were changed for forever; thousands of hearts that now live with him in eternity in Heaven. And these thousands of hearts were praying with me; praying for me.

Death doesn't separate us from those in the past. Christ conquered death, and because of that, we are still all connected through him and with him and in him, connected to each heart and soul that has traveled before us on the path that led them each to sainthood in Heaven. I may not be able to call on each of them by name, but each saint has a story. They each share this story with me, pray with me, and cheer for me, as I stumble along trying to write my own saint story.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...