For Busy Moms~6 Steps to the Best Lent Ever

img_1068

Are you a busy mom?

Do you struggle to live out your lenten plans?

What if I were to tell you I have a different way to observe lent this year?

Today’s busy moms face a pace and lifestyle that can set us up for failure if we try to approach Lent the traditional way. I’d like to suggest a different approach to lent this year. Read more

You Can’t Truly Experience Easter Without Truly Living Lent

I’m that person that would rather drive than fly. Although I am excited about the destination, I value the potential opportunities for personal insight and growth along the way.  There’s nothing like piling ten people in a fifteen passenger van, and driving across the country, to help you learn more about yourself!  I think the experiences that occur between my point of departure and my destination are way too important to miss, so I am willing to drive almost anywhere!  To me the journey, and all that comes with it, makes arriving at the destination all that more sweet. Read more

Opportunity in Disguise

Ok, so I had today’s post all ready to go, I was going to write something about the coming of Advent. That is, until I heard about a movie coming out this week. Maybe you have already heard about it? It is a movie that, if you are Catholic, may bring up some bad memories.

The name of the movie is “Spotlight”.  It is based on The Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in 2002, and the stories, and the reporters behind the investigation.  I don’t know anything more about the content of the movie, other than what I gleaned from watching the trailer.

I must say, it was uncomfortable for me to watch. You see, I love my Catholic faith and this movie depicts a very ugly time in its history.  As I pondered my own reaction to this movie, it occurred to me that there will most likely be a wide variety of reactions.  Although it might be uncomfortable to watch the movie, I think it is a great opportunity for us, as Catholics, to re-examine those events, decide how we feel, and how we will respond.

I feel the Globe’s Spotlight investigative group did us all a great service, as they uncovered not just one terrible crime, but two. They uncovered and exposed the actual abuse, as well as the cover up committed by Church officials, and others. I am grateful that their investigation prompted authorities to root this evil out of our Church.  There is  something that is bothering me though, they talk about the perpetrators of this heinous crime as if they were the Church herself.  Now remember I have only seen the trailer so far, so I don’t know if that is cleared up during the movie, but I’m willing to bet that it’s not.  Not because they are out to get the Catholic Church, but because they don’t understand the Catholic Church.

If the trailer is an authentic indication of the movie, they will present the idea that the Church is her leaders and the behavior of those leaders is the behavior of the Church. Thankfully, the Catholic Church is not our officials. Just as with anything there are good leaders and there are bad leaders. A great parallel is the governing system in our country. We have great leaders and we definitely have horrible ones. But in either case the leaders do not define America.

As Catholics we have an opportunity. The opportunity to acknowledge and accept that what happened was deplorable. We can acknowledge that evil exists, sometimes even in our own church. We can be thankful that the evil was uncovered and rooted out. We can understand that the priests who committed the crimes, and the officials who covered for them are not “the Church”.

Our opportunity is also in the response we choose. We might be tempted to respond in one of two unproductive ways, become defensive or avoid it altogether. There is another way, a better way. We can choose to be honest with ourselves and with those who might challenge us. We can admit it was wrong, horribly wrong, without blaming the Church, herself. We can celebrate the fact that the evil has been exposed.

As for me, I too am outraged. I too am sickened at the thought of such abuse. I too want justice. My heart is incredibly heavy with sorrow, for the pain these men caused for so many people.  Even though I acknowledge that these church leaders were blatantly using their position to perpetrate this evil, it is the men that failed us, not the Catholic Faith.

I love my Catholic faith. So, for me, it is important that I lean into the challenge of separating those evil men from what I love.

Carrot, Egg, or Coffee Bean

Carrot, egg, or coffee bean.
Which one am I? Which one are you?

With the recent renewed circulation of “The Carrot, the Egg, or the Coffee Bean” on face book and email, many of us have become acquainted or reacquainted with some version of this story.

The tale is really a parable of sorts, used to convey the possible effects adversity can have on us and our lives. According to the parable, we are not victims of life, we have a choice in the outcome.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to read and ponder the meaning of the story in light of your own life, I encourage you to take a minute right now to read it, http://www.heartwarmingstories.net/carrot.htm Come right back though! I’d love to share some thoughts with you!

Some people seemed to take offense at the simplistic nature of the story, saying that it is way more complicated than just “deciding” to feel, think or be a certain way. Me? I thoroughly enjoyed the parable and have pondered it off and on for a while. Sure it’s simple…. But then I have found in my own life that most things are simple, I’m the one who complicates things!

In my ponderings some things have come to mind….

It’s obvious that the parable is encouraging us to be like the coffee bean. Our essence should influence and permeate our circumstances and circle of influence. The way we handle adversity in our lives should leave a lasting impression on the people in our lives.

But wait!! What if right now, I identify with the egg? What if I’m feeling a bit hardened by what life has thrown my way. What if I’ve had enough? Is it too late for me? Am I hopeless? Is it once hardened always hardened like the egg appears to be?

What if I feel more like the carrot? Soft and mushy, having lost my original resilience in the face of multiple setbacks. What if the “heat” of my life has zapped my strength? Am I doomed to live an irrelevant life, because I lack the strength to “lean in” to my life right now?

It takes a lot of work to create a magnificent coffee bean. A lot of effort on the part of others who have had our best interests at heart, there is the planting, the nurturing the pruning, and finally the time comes when the bean is liberated from its home only to be tried and tested time and time again before the final step. The fire, you see the best beans must be subjected to just the right temperature as they are roasted to mouth-watering perfection, preparing them for their ultimate purpose…the final test….Will the bean cooperate with the heat of its environment (water), allowing it to penetrate and bring out its true character? If the bean cooperates with the water together they create something new and wonderful. Something different and more beautiful than if the whole process would have been avoided. It takes a lot of adversity to create a great cup of coffee!
I want to be a coffee bean!…. I want to cooperate with God and allow the challenges in my life to penetrate my being without losing the essence of who He created me to be! I want my life to be mingled with God’s will, to create something more real, more beautiful than had there been no adversity at all. I may have been a carrot or an egg in my lifetime (probably both depending on the challenge!)
But my future is not defined by my past!! … so I choose the bean!!

I want to be a coffee bean woman!

Will you join me?
Will you transform your circle of influence by joyfully embracing and living the life you’re in?

“All power rests in the will, and so these contrary feelings, far from lowering the value of the sacrifice in My eyes, will enhance it. Know that your body and soul will often be in the midst of fire. Although you will not feel My presence on some occasions, I will always be with you. Do not fear; My grace will be with you … (Diary, 1767). sacrifice in My eyes, will enhance it. Know that your body and soul will often be in the midst of fire. Although you will not feel My presence on some occasions, I will always be with you. Do not fear; My grace will be with you” … (Sr. Faustina Diary, 1767).