Sunday, April 28, 2019

The Solitary Envoy


The Solitary Envoy follows an independent young woman named Erica Langston on a journey as a merchant in revolutionary times in both America and England. She is dealt a tough hand early in life to defend her family's good name and must stand strong amidst powerful adversaries. An enemy in her eyes, Major Powers, falls in love with the intelligent Erica, and seeks to win her affections. Will love triumph in Erica's life or will it be justice?

I thoroughly enjoyed this historical novel, a refreshing read compared to most books written in our times. A truly Christian novel with themes of hope against all odds and perseverance in the worst of trials. The characters were dynamic and filled with depth, responding to critical plot points in the most human of ways. 

The idea I took away from this story was that life is a journey, a journey in which we can choose to take alone or rely on the friends God places in our life, even if we do not recognize them as such. There is no greater treasure in life than a true friend, and Erica must decide if that is the road she has the courage to take.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

364 Yesterdays


When a birthday comes around, I love to look back at the 364 yesterday's that were between the birthday last year and the birthday this year. It can be hard to look back at the struggles and trials and sufferings that made you a year older, but somehow those aren't the moments that stick out. When it comes down to it, the days that come readily to mind are the ones filled with triumphs, fun times, and happy memories.

Those moments fill your heart with gratitude. For all the gifts that God gives, the difficulties don't seem to matter anymore. I think that's what Heaven must be like, where there are no tears. Up there, one can only see the purpose those hard days had and they don't seem like a burden at all. 

My uncle is terminally ill, and on my birthday I get to attend Mass in his bedroom. I think that is the greatest gift I will ever receive. It's only happened a handful of times, and somehow this treasure landed on my birthday. He attended Mass twice a day for years and years, and his devotion to the Holy Eucharist was what made me love Adoration, Mass, and the Faith. 

When I look back next year at the days between birthdays, out of all 364 days, this memory I will treasure for the rest of my life. Here's to my uncle, who words cannot describe how he made my yesterdays special.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

What God Thinks


So here we are at the start of Holy Week and preparing for the solemn feast of Easter. Some of us may feel satisfied with how our Lent went and some of us may feel disappointed. I think that when we are on the disappointed side, we forget how God thinks. Because what He looks at is if we did our best in the moment. We have all heard the phrase "if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans." Well it's the same as what our plans were for Lent. We make plans to accomplish certain resolutions, but life happens. 

Maybe we didn't get that extra penance or spiritual work in, but we persevered in our daily duties with a smile. Maybe we ate dessert when we gave that up, but it was to cheer up a friend with an ice cream. Maybe we weren't as patient as we wanted, but we were undergoing physical suffering that was offered to God that tried our patience. Whatever it may have been, what God thinks is the intention of our hearts. It doesn't matter what someone else thinks or what we even tell ourselves sometimes, but only what God sees.

I love these words of Mother Teresa, "People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway. If you are honest and sincere, people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway. What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway. Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway. In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway."

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Our Tastes


Something I found interesting this Lent is how certain things are penances for one person but not for another. Do you think that means our tastes/preferences reflect our personality or something that is uniquely you? Are tangible aspects of ourselves rooted in our souls? I found this a thought provoking concept that I don't really know the answer to, but it makes one wonder.

For example, one thing I chose to do was give up ketchup. Many will laugh at this penance, but for those who don't know my food habits, ketchup will find itself on pretty much anything I am eating. I don't know why I like this condiment so much, but it if it is missing, my food experience is truly subpar. 

So this image of a hamburger with pickles and ranch dressing/dip may look like I am complaining by saying it was difficult to eat, but for some reason a hamburger without ketchup is a challenge for me. Does that seem petty? Well yes, yes it is when put in perspective, but I chose something that I would find difficult but not impossible so as to focus more on the love behind the sacrifice. 

Did I fail at times the last couple weeks? Yes, yes I did, but that made me realize I am too attached to things of this world and need to keep trying, which I think is also a valuable lesson. On the flip side, it also showed me that there is variety out there. I found myself trying/experimenting with other flavors I wouldn't have otherwise tried and it turned out I enjoyed! 

So what is my point about ketchup? I think our tastes show how truly unique each individual person is and the infinite value we are to God. And that should be a reminder as we approach Holy Week, that Christ gave His life for us and thought of you individually on the Cross.