Lent and Onions: for when you need a good cry

How Ash Wednesday and the Transfiguration point us toward heaven.  A reflection on  mortality and immortality.

Whenever I need an excuse for a good cry, I add onions to the menu.

While I prepare dinner, I take time to reflect on life’s toughest problems.  As I peel back the onion’s layers with my knife, I peel back the layers holding the sorrows in my heart.  My eyes sting from the pungent mince under my knife, and my sorrow surfaces with the tears.

My pain releases, and it doesn’t take long for the healing waters to wash over me and restore my heart.

By the time dinner is complete, the bitterness of both the onion and my sorrows will turn to savory sweetness.

This week, we enter into Lent – the bitter onion that often brings me to tears.  Continue reading “Lent and Onions: for when you need a good cry”

My Dear Friend, I Can’t Convert You

Only God can convert. My job is to evangelize.  A letter to a friend who doesn’t yet embrace the Faith, and a reflection for those who have friends and family whom they desperately want to see come home to the Church.  

My Dear Friend,

I can’t convert you.

But have you ever heard of Saul?

The early Christians were on fire with the Faith.  They taught about Jesus all the time and everywhere.

But Saul wasn’t buying it.

No, more than that.  Saul hated it. Continue reading “My Dear Friend, I Can’t Convert You”

Run so as to Win: A Spiritual Fitness Program

A plan to help you integrate your faith into your daily life.

Run so as to win.  1 Cor 9:24

Pinterest Fails is one of my favorite Google searches.  So. Funny.

We glorify failure all over the internet.

It’s funny to complain about how much you can’t stand your kids.  It’s cool to be a nagging wife.  It’s commonplace to have a thousand items on your to-do list that you can’t get to.

But when failure becomes the standard, we’re in for trouble.

It’s time to stop.  We don’t need to embrace failure.  We don’t need to put it on a pedestal as if it’s a good thing. Continue reading “Run so as to Win: A Spiritual Fitness Program”

Unite Your Suffering to Jesus: It’s Not a Waste of Time

*Your suffering is not a waste of time.  Unite it to Jesus’ suffering on the cross, and reciprocate His love!  I wrote this when I was down with a knock-out virus.  But I dedicate this revision to all those who are suffering any kind of illness or cross, and especially the elderly as they suffer the pains of failing health.  This reflection was read at the bedside of my dying Grandfather, and is dear to my heart.

I had our vacation week planned to the minute.

My husband is home from work, the kids are home from school, and we were GOING to have some quality family time. Continue reading “Unite Your Suffering to Jesus: It’s Not a Waste of Time”

Hope: How to Live with Confidence in God

A modern examination of conscience.  (But not too modern… we’re loyal to the teachings of the Catholic Church here!)

In God is my salvation and my glory: he is the God of my help, and my hope is in God.  Psalms 61:8

Our hope in God is different from “I hope it snows.”  The theological virtue of hope is not wishful thinking.

When we hope in God, we don’t expect good things to magically happen to us.  Hope means we believe in eternal salvation and we pray and act with confidence to attain it. Continue reading “Hope: How to Live with Confidence in God”

What I Learned From a Brush With Death

Remember to live for Heaven, because death will come like a thief in the night. 

I’ve never been so close to death.

The car was silent.  My kids were sound asleep, safely strapped into their 5-point carseats. I swung my car around and backed it between the two white lines up to the curb and the grassy divider.

I turned the car off and hopped down from the grey cloth driver’s seat onto the hard black asphalt.  I side-stepped around the car and up onto the divider to open the back hatch, quickly removed the stroller, and hustled back around the car to release my kids from their restraints.

I opened the back door and climbed into the car to unbuckle my one-year old.

Suddenly the furious screeching of brakes and the squealing crunch of metal against metal shattered the silence. Continue reading “What I Learned From a Brush With Death”

A Reflection on the Quiet Years of Jesus’ Life

The Quiet Years: a guide to embracing the ordinary.

In a world of information and connection, we can be tempted to share every detail of every moment of our children’s lives.

The adorable thing they said.

The Lego they built.

The meal they ate (or refused to eat) for lunch.

Since every moment is precious and important, we feel we must shout it out loud for all the world to know.

The Quiet Years

But Your childhood, Jesus, is in stark contrast to this attitude.  The first 30 years of Your life were the quiet years. Continue reading “A Reflection on the Quiet Years of Jesus’ Life”

I Have Extra Arms and Extra legs

For all the babywearing moms.

I strapped my tantruming 2-yo to my back, rolled up my sleeves, and dug into the dishes, hoping the closeness and the movement would help her calm down.

The cries eventually turned to whimpers.  The whimpers to sighs.  The sighs to silence.  She was asleep.

Time to lay her down for a nap.

But first I stepped into the bathroom to scoop up the dirty clothes for the laundry.  I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror.  My silhouette was augmented with extra appendages.  Little tiny fingers, toes, arms, and legs, were peeking out from the left and right.

I stopped.

And stared. Continue reading “I Have Extra Arms and Extra legs”

How to See God’s Message

When you can’t hear God’s words, look for them instead.

Lord Jesus, I struggle to know what You’re saying to me when I can’t hear Your voice.

I close my eyes.  I take a deep breathe.  I’m listening.

Nothing.

I don’t hear anything.  But in my mind’s eye I see something. Continue reading “How to See God’s Message”