Showing posts with label Catholic faith. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Catholic faith. Show all posts

22 Jun 2017

5 Scripture Verses that Helped Changed My Life

How Scripture Helped Allison Gingras of overcome anxiety and insecurity . These Scriptures can help you too.

How Scriptures Helps Me Overcome Anxiety and Insecurity

By Allison Gingras, Reconciled To You

Most of my life I have struggled with anxiety and insecurity. There were days, if I could get myself out of bed, I would not leave my home afraid of what evil or injury may befell me. Honestly, there are still days my Germaphobia paralyzes me at the entrance of a building afraid to touch the door handle or hinders me from even shaking people's hands. When fear is not wrestling with me insecurity is. Unsure of my abilities and fear of failing has left many a dream incomplete or unfulfilled.

Discovering the Word of God has been this empowering gift! While I continue to battle my fears and phobias, the Scriptures have given me strength that nothing else was able to. I can stand on the Word of God to battle those demons that threaten to steal my joy and derail the plans God has for me. Listening to Jesus in the Gospels teaches me how to trust in Him, have hope and discover that I am loved beyond measure. Those battles that have lost in the past are now squished beneath the weight of the truth the Scriptures speak to my heart.

Discover the Power of God's Word for yourself ... Read More

16 Jun 2017

An Unexpected Invitation to Spend Time with Jesus

Learning Something New

My road to sitting with Jesus in Adoration began nearly 10 years ago.  Quite, some might say serendipitously but after spending many hours in His presence, I would say this has the Holy Spirit's finger prints all over it!!

My husband and I, along with our children, had just made the transition to this new Church.  It was actually where we met and were eventually married,  but we'd not worshiped there since our wedding nearly 20 years earlier.  We had moved out of town, and spent many years at my childhood Church until circumstances changed and it became clear we had to find a new place to call our Spiritual Home

10 May 2017

PODCAST: A Confession Chicken Comes Clean

Once incredibly fearful of the Sacrament of Reconciliation - my experience with a friendly, enthusiastic priest changed all that.  Have you ever been called back into the confessional?  

While I still get butterflies before a Confession [discomfort is good indication of contrition - more of that in the podcast below] over the years, the Holy Spirit has shown me what a true GIFT participating in this Sacrament is.  Do not thin of it as being made to go but of actually BEING ALLOWED to go to Confession!  God provides this amazing experience of actually HEARING the words, "Your sins are forgiven."  That is not all He gives us - he also takes our guilt, shame, and pain and fills us GRACE! His Holy Spirit within us, that Spirit which helps us to strive closer toward holiness, and so much more! 

30 Apr 2017

Help for Common ADHD Communication Issues

Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity (ADHD) can present many challenges in completing one's education, holding down a job and maintaining personal relationships. I would know because in the course of my life with ADHD I've struggled in each area.  Although I remained undiagnosed until my early thirties, I am happy to share it is not too late to identify those challenges and make the necessary challenges to not only cope but succeed. My strategy has been to tackle one at a time. This required being brutally honest with myself, seeking the counsel of a trusted friend, and conducting lots of research to formulate a plan for change.  Most importantly, it required a humbling of myself and instead of continuing to blame God for my circumstance, to trust He had a plan for my good in allowing ADHD in my life.

Excuse Me Are You Listening?

Building meaningful personal relationships can be incredibly difficult when you are so stimulated by your surrounding environment that it is almost impossible to maintain attention on just one person and what they are saying.  I would inadvertently come across as disinterested and flat out rude especially in social situations such as weddings or crowded parties.  For most of my life I had absolutely no idea I even displayed this behavior, never-mind how it might effected others.  My looking beyond the person speaking was often perceived as my searching for someone else to talk with as if this person wasn't interesting or important enough for my attention.

Once was inattention was brought to my attention, I began the process of teaching myself to focus.  The first humbling step was ...

Overcoming 3 common communication struggles ... read more 

All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2017

19 Feb 2017

Find Something Besides Facebook to Give Up for Lent

Really. Please don't leave Social Media for Lent.  I understand that many people use this hiatus to spend time working on their own personal spiritual growth; and I can completely respect that HOWEVER.... please don't completely disappear for 40 days when social media needs you the most.  Okay, I've always had a flair for the dramatic but here's why I am begging you to stay:

'Tis the Season

Lent is a season when many people make a resolution to investigate or rejuvenate a faith life. The internet just happens to be a place many people will turn for guidance and even perhaps seek a community to take the journey with.  So, what happens when those who are most likely to post something faith based, could possibly answer questions or would be open to connect as community make a mass exodus off social media during Lent?? There is a risk for missed opportunity to evangelize, catechize and support those seeking meaning through an experience with Christ this Lent.

5 Dec 2016

#MusicThatMoves - Faith Sharing Series

God does 'Impossible Things' 

Spend just a few minutes learning my story and you'll know without a doubt that God truly does impossible things.  He mends the broken so they are able to forgive the seemingly unforgiveable. Prepares the unqualified and anxious to be soldiers in his army.  Jesus worked miracles to allow the blind to see and lame to walk; today he continues to give sight, but now perhaps moreso to those who are spiritually blind.  Offering strength to walk in His ways to those stumbling due more to circumstance than physical ailment.  He raised Lazarus from death to life; and awakens our hearts to new life in him.
Close your eyes (after you hit play of course) and allow Sarah Kroger's beautiful voice to transport us in this moment to a place in our hearts where we believe - that God can truly do Impossible Things.      
CONTINUE HERE for the Seeking Scripture and Reflection ... All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2016

25 Jan 2016

How Can You Excel This Lent? #ExcelLent

We know that Lent is a time for praying, fasting and giving.  However, those three words have a multitude of meanings for each of us. What I have come to realize as I peruse the plethora of ideas on what to do for Lent  that can be found online and in print, is  that what makes for a meaningful Lent for me, may not have as much, or  any, meaning for you.      We are each uniquely and wonderfully made by our God.  And we are each called in unique and wonderful ways to serve Him.

So how can you excel this Lent?     I don't have any new ideas that haven't already been shared.  What I do have are some suggestions to help you discern what you could  do this Lent: 

Be authentic.  Don't compare yourself to what others are doing in their Lenten journey.  If giving up one simple thing (sodas, chocolate, meat, etc.)  is what works in your life and allows you to more deeply enter into this season, then do not judge yourself harshly because your friends are giving up something which seems to be more profound.  Be true to yourself and your journey.

Read 5 more suggestions and 3 more Facebook Covers/Images here....

13 May 2015

Laying down one’s life: the decision to adopt a special needs child—a conversation with Allison Gingras, host of “A Seeking Heart” on Real Life Radio

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:12-13
In this new commandment Jesus took, “Love your neighbor as yourself” several steps further. Now love involves sacrifice. His greatest demonstration of this commandment was his death on the cross. But because he was willing to sacrifice his life, he rose again to new life in a body glorified.
Waiting For The Word Resurrection 60, from Flickr Creative Commons
Waiting For The Word Resurrection 60, from Flickr Creative Commons

from right to left: Allison and Kevin Gingras and their daughter, FaithThis is the love he requires from us. It’s a radical love, a sacrificial love.
What does it mean to lay down one’s life? Are we literally to die a martyr’s death? What other ways are there to lay down one’s life? Recently I had a chance to hear fellow Catholicmom columnist Allison Gingras describe a way.

from right to left: Allison and Kevin Gingras and their daughter, Faith

Click here to continue reading. 

16 Mar 2015

My traveling companions for the Lenten journey

I decided this Lent that I would not travel alone. I asked St. Bernadette, the visionary of Our Lady of Lourdes, if she would accompany me.

In the course of our walk together I am rediscovering someone I had long forgotten but who has not forgotten me.

A classic movie

It began on the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes with a suggestion from a friend to watch “The Song of Bernadette,” a critically-acclaimed 1943 movie based on the book by Franz Werfel. It was available on YouTube so I could watch it at my leisure. The movie is long so I viewed it on my tablet over the course of three nights.

Unexpected emotions

That was a good decision. I did not expect to be so moved by the film and was glad I could cry in private. Each time "The Lady" appeared to Bernadette, the tears would flow. I did not know why. Was it the beautiful music? Was it the way Bernadette (played by Oscar winner Jennifer Jones) looked at "The Lady" with such love?

Maybe it was because of Mary herself. Perhaps my heart was telling me how much I missed her in my life ... click here to continue.

1 Mar 2015

Prayers from a Night Worrier

Are you a night worrier? My mother has never had any trouble falling asleep at night. But once in a while, if she’s unlucky enough to wake up during the night, that’s it for sleeping. She calls them “racing thoughts.” Turning, churning, and tumbling in her mind at a pace that won’t stop.
What is it about the middle of the night that things always seem so dire? We awake with a feeling of dread. A worry that seemed small during the day seems to blow up in the dark of our bedroom. Taking on a menacing shape. Like that monster from our childhood, threatening to creep out and grab us in our sleep. Larger problems seem insurmountable, even hopeless.        Read more

8 Dec 2014

The Empty Box

I think the wise men are trying to tell me something!

That's right, I openly admit it, it is the second week of Advent and we have not made our candles yet!  I feel like Advent is flying by and I still can't get it all together. It has been a rough start with sickness, unexpected delays, my husband working lots of overtime, and general chaos. I looked around today and thought, I am failing! This is not what Advent should look like. Where is the family Nativity that consumes the entire entertainment center with over 25 unique pieces? 

 We made a fresh, evergreen Advent wreath, but have yet to roll the candles, and have consequently only prayed the Advent prayer once. We are doing a Jesse Tree, but do not have an actual tree to use, so we are settling for an artificial pine garland that is precariously draped over the bookcase. We are only behind on two days of Holy Heroes videos, but there are only three of our handmade ornaments hung because we have been reshaping the few paper clips I could find into hangers, since I have not gotten back into the attic to find the boxes upon boxes of ornament hangers we own. 

I am following Father Barron's Advent reflections, the Magnificat Advent ebook devotional, and the Christmas Crib devotional but am behind by two days in at least two of them. Where is the beauty? Where are the Angel choirs resonating through an Advent ready home? Why is my mission not being accomplished, my to-do list not being done? What would those who read my blog think if I were to photograph right now, right here? Sigh, deep sigh!

In my heart cry, God reached down to me and quieted a spinning head. I was reminded of Fr Barron' s description of how we are all held in bondage....

Read more at Veils and Vocations.

3 Nov 2014

The Power of the Eucharist

I've been meaning to write about a rather extraordinary thing that happened to my husband and me, on a rather ordinary day, while we were doing ordinary things.  I don't know why I didn't write about it immediately after it happened, so that I could tell it in sharper detail, remembering the exact words spoken by all the players.  But I'm afraid now that if I don't tell it, it'll grow too fuzzy in my mind to repeat.  (Although considering the circumstances that isn't likely.)

So here it is: a true story about the Holy Eucharist--and its power over even those who don't comprehend its significance.
(You won't want to miss this one; it'll give you goosebumps.  You can read the rest of the story here at String of Pearls.)

11 Jul 2014

Blogging Through a Haze of Self-Doubt

I'm sure that every Catholic blogger has asked themselves at least once why they do it. Is it really worth the time spent away from work, from family, from prayer? Is anybody listening? Does anybody care? One of my friends recently shut down his personal blog altogether, saying "While I have a lot of respect for many bloggers, I feel the blogosphere to be a net negative to the Catholic Faith.  ... It is the epitome of Francis' 'self-referential Church.'  Far from leading to a deepening of the faith, it has led to a corrosion of it." Could this be true?

My friend's words certainly don't describe the work of CatholicMom or any mommy blogger I know. But I've seen the corner of the Catholic blogosphere he describes -- the place where people attack one another viciously over minute points of doctrine or liturgical practices that baffle non-Catholics and fail to bring anyone to a holier and more peaceful frame of mind. I regularly engage in verbal fisticuffs with Catholics on LinkedIn who insist that if the majority of lay Catholics reject the Church's doctrine on artificial birth control, then the lay Catholics must be right and the Popes must be wrong. I have to ask myself if I'm really helping when I enter the fray.

Read more here...

9 Jun 2014

Baby Catholic Answers All the Things, Volume 1 - Hail Mary

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There are three reasons I decided to start this blog series by addressing the common misconception that Catholics worship Mary. One is that a friend of mine actually did express some interest in having this cleared up in a previous blog post comment. Another is that I think that this might be one of the biggest objections that non-Catholics have to Catholicism, so I thought it would be good to address upfront. The third is that, to me, it's one of the easiest misunderstandings to set straight.
As a child, I didn't think about Catholicism much (my only point of reference for the phrase "Hail Mary" was a last-second desperation throw to try to win a football game), but when I did, I vaguely thought that Catholics worshipped Mary. The fact is that I didn't know the first thing about Catholicism in reality. My belief about Mary was simply a parroting of something I heard an adult say.        Read more HERE.

17 May 2014

Introducing Myself---Again

I cannot remember how long ago Melanie asked that we introduce or reintroduce ourselves, but at last I have put something together.  This is a reintroduction.

Some Things about Me that You Might Like to Know

  1. Lifelong Catholic
  2. Married 35 years and still going strong
  3. Mother of one
  4. Mother-in-law of one
  5. Retired since 2008
  6. Professed Lay Carmelite
  7. Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, but now living in Northern California, after having lived in a few other places as well
  8. Educated at Palmer School, St. Edward School, Sacred Heart Academy, Resurrection High School, DePaul University, Northeastern Illinois University, Franciscan School of Theology
  9. Employment history: waitress, lab tech, school teacher, U.S.A.F sergeant, Chicago police officer, director of religious education, and more
  10. Learning guitar and Spanish
You can find more, if you like, at my blog, From the Pulpit of My Life, on the "Meet Ruth Ann" page.  I would enjoy hearing from you!

2 Apr 2014

Pray The Rosary

Occasionally,  I post "unsolicited advice". I was told, after I turned 50 that I was old enough to give unsolicited advice, so I though - why not?!

One of my favorite posts from last year that I re-blogged today is about praying the Rosary.

When going through security, Sister Helena Burns was asked if she had any firearms or weapons, her response, "I'm wondering if I should declare my Rosary". HA...

My unsolicited advice today – PRAY THE ROSARY!
I have a special relationship with Mary. She has always been with me, since we met long ago. I needed a mother and she stepped in. Praise God!  And – Because I have an affinity with Mary, I love to pray the Rosary.  It helps that my birthday month celebrates praying the Holy Rosary. How lucky am I?
Blessings All,

1 Apr 2014

Our Lady's Image - Veiling Series

Happy Tuesday All,
I hope your day is blessed.

I wanted to invite you all to participate in a Veiling Series on my blog. There is a new lady telling her veiling story every Tuesday. We hope to have a husband or two and a Priest or two also participate.
Additionally, there are many kinds of head coverings that are being spoken about.

If you are discerning wearing a head covering or you already wear one, you will love this series.

The Introduction to Our Lady's Image is here: Our Lady's Image, An Introduction
So far, I have told my story: Our Lady's Image, My Veiling Story
Karen Zenti has told her story: Our Lady's Image, Karen's Veiling Story
Mae Lacy has told her story: Our Lady's Image, Mae Lacy's Veiling Story
AND - today, Lily Wilson Beck has told her story: Our Lady's Image, Lily's Veiling Story

Next Tuesday there will be a new story told. Each story is original to the series (meaning we've all told our stories before but these must be new to the series). It's been very exciting.

Currently we are booked through June.  Would love to hear your story!

We hope and pray these stories are a blessing to all.

Many Blessings,
In Christ,

27 Dec 2012

Sorry, No Steeple

“Sorry, No Steeple…but we do have a drive-thru” is what the clever, cool, hip billboard sign proclaims.

I wasn’t exactly sure what it meant so I didn’t pay it much never-mind. 

Then another one popped up with something that was, to me, similarly vague: We don’t accept perfect people. 

Still, not paying attention. 

Then a topic of conversation was begun in my small Catholic study group. The essence of the conversation, which has taken more than a few twists and turns along the way, was this: Should we allow—or even encourage—our Catholic teens to attend non-denominational churches? In particular, this local one with the clever, cool, hip billboards? In a way, though, the conversation was almost a non-issue since it appeared that our Catholic teens (and even many of our adults) were already attending on their own without our small group’s permission—or seemingly without much guilt, either. 

At first we decided this was a good thing. Maybe because our hand was forced: everyone was doing this without our wisdom, guidance, or input. 

So, in our minds, we were able to argue that it was better to have our kids attend a non-denominational service every week and fall in love with Christ than attend Mass a handful of times a year and fall asleep. We all agreed that Mass couldn’t possibly compete with whatever the non-denominational service offered. Although, since none of us had ever attended such a service, we weren’t actually quite sure what it was that was drawing our kids (and those adults) to these services and away from the richness of their Catholic faith. 

But we knew it must be awesome! 

After all, these people were walking away from the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

And they were walking away from the Sacraments of the Catholic faith. 

Basically throwing out two thousand years of history for…what exactly? 

We weren’t sure; but we all agreed that it really had to be amazing.

Then God provided a turning point for me: a publisher sent me a book in which the popular female author opined about the “boring” homily she was forced to sit through.
My heart just sank. 

Boring? You want to indict the priest for his homily versus your own heart during Mass? 

All of a sudden this non-denominational option for our Catholic teens (and those adults who also left the Catholic Church) seemed far less appealing.

With that, God also brought to my mind two separate instances in the past couple of years in which adults who had left the Catholic Church for non-denominational affiliations had, in fact, received communion at different funeral services that they had since attended.
Wait a minute! 

Do you get to do that? 

Add to this image, the words in this book about the “boring” homily and now I’m ready to defend my faith; I’m no longer willing to see how it might be a good thing for Catholics of any age to leave Mother Church.

The author’s words kept reverberating in my mind. I kept thinking: if this is what adults are taking away from Mass, can we expect anything more from our kids? 

The indictment ought to rest on our shoulders since it is not up to the priest to entertain us. Rather, our attitude ought to be “Speak Lord, Your servant is listening.” If He is using a less-than-perfect instrument, does that take away from what God may be trying to say? 

The same attitude should be taught to our children: Mass isn’t about “entertainment;” nor will it ever be able to compete with the world we and our children live in. 

Walking into Mass is a time to put our lives aside and connect with God. It is a time to open our hearts and minds to that which will draw us into a deep and personal relationship with our Savior. Mass is not meant to keep pace with our world. The opposite is true: it should remind us that we are in the world but not of it! To make demands upon our faith to keep up with where we are in our everyday lives is to rob us of what our Savior came to do: to seek and save, not condemn. 

And isn’t our world ripe for condemning? 

Why would we want our Church mirroring our fast-paced lives that are ripe for condemning? 

We must not clamor to change our Mass into a place that looks like our world; we ought to rejoice in the knowledge that Christ and Holy Mother Church had the foresight to have carved out a sacred place that saves us from the world.
Is it better for our Catholic teens (and those adults) to attend a non-denominational service every week instead of attending Mass a few times a year?


It is better for each of us to more fully understand what our Mass is and what it offers and trust in the Holy Spirit to answer our prayers for our family’s faith. It is better for each of us to witness to the beauty and majesty that is our Catholic faith and trust in the Holy Spirit to move the hearts and minds of those around us. 

If you’ve not yet read Dr. Curran’s book The Mass: Four Encounters with Jesus That Will Change Your Life (published by My Catholic Faith Press), you’ll want to do that asap. 

Cheryl Dickow

17 Oct 2012

Wrapped Up: God's Ten Gifts for Women

Wrapped Up by Teresa Tomeo and Cheryl Dickow is a book for quiet reflection, focusing on ten aspects of the spiritual journey, including God's love and forgiveness, a joyful attitude, suffering and the sacraments. Each chapter is divided between the two authors, as Cheryl shares insights about the matriarchs of the Old Testament and Teresa provides data and anecdotes about the struggles faced by contemporary women. Both writers include snippets from their lives and how they have each found deeper peace in their vocations as Catholic women through becoming open to the gifts which God gives.

Teresa comments on the discouragement with which so many women must contend, and which can be an obstacle to having a healthy spiritual life.
In addition to the personal baggage we carry, the other signals constantly received or detected on the private sonar remind us that unless we can feed the family with  a fabulous 'yummo' Rachel Ray dinner in thirty minutes or less, raise perfectly polite and poised Harvard-bound children, look like Angelina Jolie, and earn at least a six-figure income, we might as well throw in the towel....(p.9)
Teresa cites several studies which show the steady decline of self-esteem in women and girls, especially in how they view their bodies. With all that is now available to women and all the "freedoms" we have, we are still miserable about how we look and how we live, more miserable than ever. It is a sad commentary about our modern world.

The answer, of course, is found only in acknowledging that we each have worth in the eyes of God and are part of His infinite plan. As Cheryl says in the chapter on the gift of suffering:
I am very conscious that, without my illness, I probably would not be in pursuit of knowing, loving and serving God — all in spite of my sins and shortcomings. It was how God called me to himself. Through my suffering, Christ allowed me to discover the richness of my Catholic heritage and develop a personal relationship with him. I persevere toward heaven with confidence, knowing that I am a loved sinner with a place in God's kingdom. (p.53)
Peace is to be found only in doing God's will, not in the vain and fleeting phantoms of worldly happiness, by which we are so often deceived. It appears that more than ever women are led astray by the siren songs of earthly achievement as being the purpose of living; it is only through a strong interior life that we can remain grounded in the realities that are everlasting.

I can see this book provoking lively discussions in a women's prayer group or book club as well as being useful on a private retreat. A Companion Journal is also available in order to hone one's growth experiences and record personal reflections.

(*NOTE: This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.)

20 Jul 2012

'Come away . . . and rest a while'. Sunday Reflections, 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

Jesusdetail from The Calling of St Matthew, Caravaggio, 1599-1600

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)

Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)

Gospel Mark 6:30-34 (Revised Standard Version – Catholic Edition)

The apostles returned to Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. And he said to them, "Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while." For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a lonely place by themselves. Now many saw them going, and knew them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns, and got there ahead of them. As he went ashore he saw a great throng, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.

'Come away . . . to a lonely place'
Lake Taal, Philippines. Photo by Fr Rolly Aniscal

This week's Sunday Reflections looks at the experience of young volunteers from Ireland in the Philippines and of college students in the USA spending their spring break serving the poor and growing in their faith as they do so.

Full post here.

God, Love and Clouds

Today's Gospel, Mark 9:2 through 10 , describes the Transfiguration. I'll be talking about that. Partly. Also Peter, perceptions,...