Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wisdom for Wednesdays

(So blessed to know several people who fit this description, and hoping to become one of them. Thanks again to Pinterest for the quote!)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

You Wonderful People

You really know how to make a girl feel special for her birthday. The hand-made and snail-mail cards. The texts and phone calls. The shopping trip and dinner with one bestie. The scrapbooking convention with another. The spa night from my cosmetology bestie. Dinner with family. Thoughtfulness from the best mom ever. More shopping with my sister-bestie. Surprises from co-workers. Surprises in my car from dad. Surprise party from CCD students and co-teacher. You overwhelm me with your kindness. You bless my life not only with your thoughtfulness but also with your friendship and love. Wow. It's all I can say. And thank you.

(You'd think someone was turning 25 and you were trying to avert a quarterlife crisis! ;) )

Red Lobster with K.
Hair highlighting with V.

The CCD teens


Night in the big city

Ready for a weekend of card-making and scrapbooking with 70-some other women!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Choosing to Count

The alarm, an odd mixture of radio and beeping due to a faulty switch, roused me from my sleep one early morning. I trudged to the bathroom and looked in the mirror. Bags under my eyes. Hidden sorrows inside of them. Worsening PCOS. Relationship questions. Church commitments. My tendency to gossip and complain more lately. Little things and big things adding up to a heaviness I wanted to wash away with the cool water from the faucet.

I wasn’t depressed. I wasn’t despairing. I wasn’t really even discouraged.

I was just tired. I looked at the small wooden sign below the bathroom mirror.

Count Your Blessings, it read.

I knew what it was asking. I understood the reminder. Think positive. Choose joy. Mind over matter. One of my favorite topics.

Yet I looked at it, understood the meaning and the invitation…

And I said no.

With a few stray tears in my eyes, I said no. I just don’t feel like counting them today, Lord.

It wasn’t in anger or doubt.

It just was.

Then I drove to the church. I walked into the confessional, craving this sacrament of healing. I knelt down before a man who chose to give his life to serve the Church, who listened to my sins and failings and struggles, who ministered through the power of Jesus’ forgiveness and mercy (John 20:22-23).

When I was finished speaking, he spoke.

He told me, in these very words, to count my blessings.

He encouraged me to seek gratitude. To remember that every single breath is from the Lord. To realize that when we are truly and humbly thankful to God for every breath and gift, there’s no room for pride or jealousy or selfishness.

The coincidence of his advice—and those same three words—was not lost on me. God heard my overwhelmed ‘no’ of the morning and gently reminded me through the words of the priest that He has given me everything I have and that He will continue to provide for me in His loving way.

The heaviness was once again washing away and grace was pouring in.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Fearless

Long ago I picked up the guitar and learned to strum a few chords. My first song was Taylor Swift’s “Teardrops on my Guitar.” My little teenage self adored the melody and lyrics and my fingers were able to pick up the rhythm, so I sang and played my heart out.

I still enjoy her shallow-but-catchy songs when I hear them on the radio thumbing through channels. And I still really want her hair.

She has an album title song called “Fearless.” It’s cute, fun, and all about that adorable boy who makes her fearless.

But…(you knew there had to be a ‘but’, right?)

I can’t help but wonder about the true meaning of fearless when I hear the song lyrics.

Read the rest of this article at The Catholic Young Woman

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wisdom for Wednesdays

Forget Not:

1) to be patient with yourself.
2) the difference between a good sacrifice and a foolish one.
3) to be happy NOW.
4) the ‘why’ of the gospel.
5) that the Lord loves you.

-Dieter F. Uchtdorf

(Thank you, (In)Courage!)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Welcome, Brogan!




This little guy has completely stolen my heart and has made me passionate about animal adoption. Row after row of hopeful chocolate-doggie-eyes and matted fur hiding hearts of gold at the shelter had something to do with it, too.





Brogan came home on January 29th and is here to stay. I know some people have doubts about 'secondhand animals' from the humane society, but Brogan has been amazing. Housetrained, eager to please, and a snuggle-muffin (although we did have a few adventures that first week, including his stolen 'snack' of five Hershey kisses!). I cannot figure out why someone didn't want him!



I'm not going to go out and join PETA and I know that the human lives lost in abortion are even more valuable, but we still need to remember animals are God's creatures and we are commanded to care for them (Proverbs 12:10). It breaks my heart to see these loyal, loving dogs confused by abandonment, neglect, or even abuse. This poem is unfortunately the story of so many pets:


Do I Go Home Today?


My family brought me home cradled in their arms.
They cuddled me and smiled at me and said I was full of charm.
They played with me and laughed with me and showered me with toys.
I sure do love my family, especially the little girls and boys.

The children loved to feed me; they gave me special treats.
They even let me sleep with them - all snuggled in the sheets.
I used to go for walks, often several times a day.
They even fought to hold the leash, I'm very proud to say.

These are the things I'll not forget - a cherished memory.
I now live in the shelter - without my family.
They used to laugh and praise me when I played with that old shoe.
But I didn't know the difference between the old one and the new.

The kids and I would grab a rag, for hours we would tug.
So I thought I did the right thing when I chewed the bedroom rug.
They said that I was out of control and would have to live outside.
This I didn't understand, although I tried and tried.

The walks stopped, one by one; they said they hadn't time.
I wish that I could change things; I wish I knew my crime.
My life became so lonely in the backyard, on a chain.
I barked and barked all day long to keep from going insane.

So they brought me to the shelter but were embarrassed to say why.
They said I caused an allergy, and then they each kissed me goodbye.
If I'd only had some training as a little pup.
I wouldn't have been so hard to handle when I was all grown up.

"You only have one day left", I heard the worker say.
Does that mean I have a second chance?
Do I go home today?

-Author Unknown


Go get some tissues and then hug your dog.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Giveaway Winner!

The winner has been drawn for the crocheted washcloth and soap scrubby! Are you ready? Congratulations to:

Sue (an email entry)

Yay for you, Sue!! Thanks for entering and writing! I love to meet the people who read this blog. I just sent you an email with further giveaway details. Enjoy your gift!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wisdom for Wednesdays

"The Lord Himself will fight for you; you have only to keep still."

-Exodus 14:14

The Lucado Inspirational Reader: A Review

I had never read any of Max Lucado's books. I know! That's crazy, huh? I've seen him in many Christian book catalogues, so The Lucado Inspirational Reader seemed like a great fit for me-- a (400+ pages!) sampling of his best writings.

It's a neat idea--compiling pieces from different writing and organizing by meaningful topics. Some are simple quotes, other are paragraph stories or several pages long. I have mixed feelings about the book, though. Many were beautifully written and gentle inspirations. Others were encouraging stories of real-life people. They warmed my heart, opened my mind, and made me smile. however, some of his writing took some artistic liberties that aren't quite my style (filling in with his interpretations of what God thought or said in certain Bible stories, in a casual, modern way). Others seemed repetitive or too sappy for my tastes (and I like sappy!). Also, there are several theological points woven in that I disagree with.

My final summary? A neat book, beautiful and encouraging writings, but lacking some truth and depth at times. I would read it as a side-dish-inspirational -book rather than a main course.

(Thank you to Booksneeze for providing a copy for review at no charge. These are my honest and original comments.)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Front Row Pew

I could see her from my seat in the choir. She sat stiffly in the front pew, neck brace restricting any movement. Her face was taut with pain from recent back surgeries and complications, but her eyes were focused on the altar as she sang and prayed and participated in the Mass. Amidst the pain, there was an unmistakable aura of joy and trust.

It was beautiful.

There’s something about that front pew that inspires me. Every church has one—the pew reserved for those with special needs.

Those who don’t see well.

Those who don’t walk well.

Those who are in the process of healing.

They sit in that front pew and unknowingly inspire me with their focus and attentiveness. But especially with their joy. Their physical handicaps don’t hold them back from coming to worship and to receive Jesus. Their suffering doesn’t keep them from smiling. Maybe because they know the One who gives meaning to it, the One who first picked up a cross and then told us to do the same and follow Him.

The more I think about it, perhaps we all belong in that front pew.

Read the rest of this article at The Catholic Young Woman

Thursday, February 2, 2012

It's Giveaway Time!

I've been crocheting random little projects to use up my yarn leftovers. And you, my friend, just might benefit from my crochet craze. Now it's not much, but I'm giving away a homemade washcloth (for kitchen or bathroom) and a matching little-soap-bar-holder-scrubby-thing (can you tell I made that pattern up?!) for the shower.

The rules? You can either leave a comment on this post or email me. Since I'm a cardiology nurse and this is heart-health month, in your comment/email please share something you do to keep your heart healthy. This can be physical or spiritual. :) Make sure there's a way I can contact you if you win (email, blog profile, etc.).


The deadline to sign up is February 12th.