Sunday, December 29, 2019

Enrich Your Life


So I mentioned in my last post that I chose a word for the new year of 2020. That word is ENRICH. To me enrich means to fill your life with meaningful moments. We often don't see that the simple everyday things hold so much value. We let time pass us by without appreciating the ordinary. 

Ways to implement this practically could be to add something to your life each month, or each week, that is meaningful to you. Perhaps you schedule an outing, try a new restaurant, pray a new devotion, cross something off your bucket list, spend time with someone you haven't made time for in awhile. Or more to the point, to enrich your life you could value whatever you are already doing and not take anything for granted.

A full, rich life is one that is receptive to the everyday graces God is sending us, and that requires taking time to pause and recognize His presence in our self-made busy routines. I liked this photo of a window surrounded in darkness opening onto the ocean because it shows that life is peaceful and beautiful if we open our hearts to God amidst our sufferings.

So here's to a year filled with enriching moments throughout 2020 that we will be able to look back on in 2021 and realize that it was those everyday glimpses of grace that made us richest of all.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Prioritize


I was recently talking to someone who suggested instead of coming up with a new year's resolution, to choose a word that you want to focus on that will help you reach a goal in the new year. It's not a bad idea and I think it's more manageable than big resolutions. I decided on one I'm really excited about and will write a post on that in a couple weeks, but one word I did consider was prioritize. And I wanted to write about that for this week going into Christmas.

It seems this time of year is the busiest for everyone. Last minute EVERYTHING. Shopping, cooking, preparing, organizing, cleaning, etc. It is so easy to forget what is really important. Even when you try to accomplish things ahead of time, there is always something else that needs doing right up to Christmas.

A great exercise is looking at what you can do without. Whenever I go on a trip, I'm amazed at how little I can bring and how little I really need. It's about where you are going and who you are spending your time with on that trip. The same is true for the holidays. Simplicity. After all that is what the first Christmas was truly like. 

So prioritize. Focus on the essentials and enjoy. Christmas is about Christ and about spending time with those you love, everything else is insignificant. I think the picture of the snowman shows how to prioritize . . . he's happy and content and all he has is the snow falling gently around him.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

12 Days of Christmas


Everyone has heard the classic song, "The 12 Days of Christmas," but few know of its hidden meanings. During persecution in England, Catholics had to be creative to pass on the holy Faith. This song is one of those beautiful creations, that actually taught children articles of Catholicism.

A partridge in a pear tree ~ Jesus (a partridge bird was willing to sacrifice itself for its young)
Two turtle doves ~ Old and New Testaments
Three french hens ~ Three theological virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love
Four calling birds ~ Four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John
Five golden rings ~ First five books of the Old Testament (the Pentateuch)
Six geese a-laying ~ Six days of creation
Seven swans a-swimming ~ Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Eight maids a-milking ~ Eight Beatitudes
Nine ladies dancing ~ Nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
Ten lords a-leaping ~ Ten Commandments
Eleven pipers piping ~ Eleven faithful Apostles
Twelve drummers drumming ~ Twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed

Now this song will mean all the more to you! Happy Gaudete Sunday!

Sunday, December 8, 2019

To Decorate is to Create


One of my recent posts was about renting versus buying a home. Whichever of the two is your story, either way one of the highlights of your own place is the ability to decorate. Not only to decorate for the everyday and arrange furniture and items as it makes sense to you, but especially at times of the year like this when you can add your flair of holiday creativity.

When you're on a budget, holiday decorations are commonly found at WalMart, Dollar General, or Hobby Lobby. It doesn't take a lot of money to make a space look wonderful, just a resourceful mind. Some great ideas for Christmas decor are: obviously a tree, garlands with lights, a festive tablecloth, a wreath, decorative plates, fake or real poinsettias, scented candles, nutcrackers, a nativity scene, an Advent wreath, an Advent calendar, spray snow for the windows, and the list goes on and on. Choosing only 2-3 of these would bring life to your home.

I truly think that decor reflects personality. Your tastes are unique to you and affect food, clothes, home, travel. You should feel proud of how you create a space. For after all, having a welcoming home is like telling all your friends and family they belong there.

What are some of your favorite Christmas decorations? (Mine are definitely snow globes!)

Sunday, December 1, 2019

The Spinning Screw


I went to the chapel recently to pray after feeling rather frustrated with one thing or another in life. I put up the kneeler and there was a loose screw. I tried to get it to tighten, but it was stripped so it just kept spinning no matter how much I turned it until I finally realized I couldn't do anything about it.

Ironically, this suited my state of mind perfectly. We often are spinning our wheels trying to navigate through problems in life and it seems like we are unable to change things no matter how hard we try. It's as if God is telling us just that. Sometimes we can't fix things because they are out of our control. For someone who likes to fix things, this can be a difficult reality to accept.

God wants to take those spinning screws from us.

We take on burdens that God would gladly take on for us. We should let Him be our Knight in shining armor Who would like to see us rely on Him more and not try to struggle along without His help. Often the best we can do in any challenging situation is pray. 

When we feel like we can't see the path we are supposed to take, be it for something small or big, we should be at peace with knowing if prayer accompanies us we will not misstep, even if things don't always go the way we planned, or when we reach the end of a path it led us somewhere we didn't expect.

Because the reality is, life is filled with twists and turns. If it was a simple straight road, we would look behind us and the person standing at the beginning of the road would look the same as the person at the end (meaning you won't change in any way). That person looks like a spinning screw because they stayed exactly the same.

If there were hills and valleys, dark and light patches, meandering and falling, the person who made it through that comes out really different than the first example if they didn't give up. Their screw held the kneeler together because it was anchored on prayer, and they triumphed despite all odds.

On this first Sunday of Advent, let us turn to God and let Him ease our burdens. That's what He is asking us this Christmas season.