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Day 32: A Clean Heart

March 18, 2018

“Create a clean heart in me, O God.” (Psalm 51)

Once again I spent a lot of time with this psalm this past week. When you have to write a catchy but simple melody, you find yourself singing this line over and over again.

The beauty of playing for a mass? You get to pray with the readings and the songs you are choosing the whole week before hand. In what other capacity do you get to pray with the mass readings and sing songs that relate to them? I am honestly super lucky.

As we are drawing closer to the end of lent, I am constantly reminded of my need for God.

A few weeks ago, I told God I would say YES to whatever he was asking of me. And here I am a few weeks later, having rescinded my yes feeling miserable. I do not think it is any coincidence that I feel this way.

Even though more often than not I feel alone out in the desert, I still need a God that runs to me and welcomes me back with open arms. I need a God that is merciful and loving, even when I feel that he is stretching me to my breaking point. I need a God who looks me in the eye and asks why I am continuing to do what I do, and if I could be happier if I was listening to what He wanted me to do.

As I was writing a melody for this psalm, I kept begging over and over- Lord, create a clean heart in me. Eliminate my pride. Eliminate my vanity. Make me more like you. Help me to be better.

Those prayers haven’t quite come true yet, but I know that if I keep asking, He will help me to have a clean heart, yearning only for Him.

And tips on how to get there faster? I could surely use some =p.

 

 

Basilica of The Immaculate Conception: Waterbury, CT

Lifestyle

Day 31: He Meets Us In Our Mess

March 17, 2018

“Never before has anyone spoken like this man.” (John 7:46)

For some reason this is the line that really spoke to me. Everyone is so concerned about where Jesus comes from (Galilee- shudder! how gauche) , but when asked when they would be turning Him in, they say claim that they have never heard anyone speak like Him.

Everyone thinks He is crazy, but these people see something in the way that Jesus speaks and it moves them to their core. They know that He is speaking a truth to their hearts that will change their life.

He speaks of clothing the naked, feeding the hungry and visiting the imprisoned. He speaks of a son who turns away from his father, but upon asking forgiveness is given the best the father has to offer. He speaks of a widow that gives just a few coins that are worth more than the world to her, and the beauty of her sacrifice. He speaks of a woman, caught up in sin, but forgives her of it all if, telling those who condemn her to leave unless they are sinless.

This lent has showed us a God who loves and heals beyond anything we can possibly understand. He loves those on the outskirts, those with no one to love them, and those so entrenched in sin that they never think they could encounter God. And yet He met them there.

This God comes to meet us also. In our times of trial, in our times of joy. He is there for the good, the bad and everything in between. He loves us with a ferocity that can not be measured, and He works for our good at all times.

I know these things to be true.

Will you give him the chance to love you in this way? Will you allow him to meet you in your mess and help you to grow into the person you are supposed to be? It is worth every second. I promise.

 

Lifestyle

Day 30: the Lord is Close to the Broken Hearted

March 16, 2018

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.”  (Psalm 34)

Stop and read those words again.

How many of you have a broken heart? Sometimes I stop and think about that term.

Broken Hearted.

What does that mean?

Maybe you just lost someone important to you. Either it was sudden, or you knew it was coming. But death really has a way of adding salt to the wound.

Maybe you just ended a long term relationship. You thought he was the one and when  push came to shove, you weren’t living your fullest life and you knew he wasn’t going to be the one that got you to heaven.

Maybe you just got dumped. You thought maybe he would be it. You had so much fun together and you were both trying to figure out what God was wanting from you and thought he would be the path there. But he wasn’t and it hurt. More than you will ever care to admit.

Maybe you didn’t get into grad school. Maybe it was a crazy year of fighting and clawing your way into the program and you hate yourself for “not being good enough”.

Wherever you are in your journey to God, and whatever your broken heart entails, He is there in the mess with you, wanting to give you the comfort that you need.

I’ve been in each of those places. And coming out on the other end of each of them, I can tell you that He was there in the heartbreak, and that He has answered every desperate prayer. He has been with me in the darkness and has been the light that got me through to the next moment.

He will be there for you also. I can promise you that.

Lifestyle

Day 29: The Almighty A

March 15, 2018

I read today’s first reading and was like: uh oh. There’s that golden calf. You know, I always found this to be odd. People worshipping a cow made out of gold? Really doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

Until I put it into terms I can understand. How often do I worship at the altar of the Almighty A (and no I am not talking about pretty little liars)? Slaving away for hours neglecting my home, my prayer life and my friends to guarantee perfection? Day in and day out, slamming away at the macbook keyboard promising myself that if I can stay up for just a little bit longer, I will make time to pray and make time for friends and family. How many times have I said no to wonderful adventures God had planned for me these past 3 months because I so desperately NEED the A?

When I think about it like that, I am stopped dead in my tracks. Sure I didn’t melt down all of my precious metal but… I have sacrificed the things that bring my closer to God for what I think will make me a successful and happy individual.

But I am exhausted and quite frankly kind of miserable.

And so here I am.

I am here to say that I need to make a change. I need to start focusing on the things that are going to actually bring me to Him and not on the things that are making me successful according to the world. I need to accept that I am exactly where I need to be in this phase of my life, and that just because I am not doing what I view as big important work, doesn’t mean that my work isn’t important at all.

And in the recesses of my heart something is quietly saying: you can be happier. Your fight for joy doesn’t have to be as difficult as you are making it. Learn the balance then let me know how that fight for joy is going. One day at a time. Blink and the year will be gone. 3 months and 6 days until this class is done. Don’t let it absorb you body mind and soul. Make the time.

I am really going to try for the next three months to figure out what that balancing act looks like and how to spend my time doing more of what I was created to be doing.

Lifestyle

Day 28: You Have Arrived At Your Destination

March 14, 2018

“I will cut a road through all my mountains, and make my highways level.” (Isaiah 49:11)

You know, lately I have been wondering when God is going to swoop down and magically tell me what’s going on in my life and what the future holds. Isn’t that how this life thing works? The heavens open up and God says: TURN RIGHT. IN 400 FEET YOU WILL ARRIVE AT YOUR DESTINATION.

Okay not really. I feel like my conversations are more like that scene in Ferris Bueller where the professor asks if anyone knows about the Smoot- Hawley Tariff Act. Bueller? Bueller?

But today’s first reading tells me that God will clear a path if I can only wait upon His timing. I need not worry about all of the small details- He will take care of them for me.

I don’t really know about you, but this lent has been border line crazy for me. like… why in the world is it this difficult to stick to a yes you have given to God?

I seem to be wrestling with the idea of giving up my levels of control. I feel like if I could only do a little bit better, be a little bit more and find a little more time I would be the most productive person on the planet.

But today’s reading reminds me that I am not really called to be the one clearing the path. I can only be who I am. I can’t be anything more or anything less. And As long as I can be who God asked me to be, then He will clear the paths for me.

My brain gets it. But my heart doesn’t.

Here’s to many more days of prayer trying to understand how to give this yes!

 

 

Lifestyle

Day 27: Nothing Can Stop This Joy

March 14, 2018

“There is a stream whose runlets gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High.” (Psalm 46)

Oh man. Have you ever heard the song In the River by Jesus Culture? If you haven’t, click here and listen to it while you read this post.

This song is my jaaaaaaammmmm. I put this on in the car and I feel like I can conquer the world.

There is a lyric in the song that says: There is a current, stirring deep inside, it’s overflowing from the heart of God, the flood of heaven is crashing over us, the tide is rising, rising.

10 days ago I hosted a youth retreat for my diocese. I was a crazy person, running around in a tulle skirt and dancing with the participants with this song.

I was doing something I had never don before, and I felt more alive than I had in a very long time.

So I have kind of adopted this song as my anthem for the every day since I always want to feel alive. I turn it up way too loud in my car, and I dance along. Oh yeah. I am that person. People totally think I am cuckoo bananas crazy as I drive to and from work or school each morning =p.

Today’s psalm reminded me of my morning pump up song.

God is a loving and merciful father. And each and every part of this lenten journey has proven that to me time and time again. From an incredibly healing confession, to all of the ways God has shown me that He has a plan and that He will take care of me, these past few weeks have been life altering in so many ways.

I have been so fortunate to have so many experiences this lent that have brought me closer to God. Convivio. Holy hour at St. Joes in Danbury. Holy hour at Sacred Heart University. Mass at The Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Waterbury. My BIS lenten journal. The Diary of Maria Faustina. Dinner with a friend. A journalling Bible. A conversation with a good friend.

 

 

                                                                 Snowy Morning Musings

Lifestyle

Day 26: The Believe and Leave

March 13, 2018

“The man believed what Jesus said to him and left.” (John 4:50)

Wait I’m sorry… what?!

The man believed what Jesus said and left. 

Let’s go back to the rest of the story though because this gets even more wild!

The man’s son is very sick, and is probably going to die. He begs Jesus to heal his son, and Jesus says go he is healed. And this dude just believed it. 

*inserts astonished Dean Winchester GIF here.*

If I could even have a fraction of an ounce of this trust my life would be far more rich than it already is.

All of the times I have trusted in His plan and followed His direction, I have been happy, calm and at peace. All of the times I have held on with a vice grip to my plan of attack I have been miserable, tired and lonely.

I am seeing a trend here…

But why do I keep reverting to the way of choosing my way over His way? I want to have some big awesome answer for you. But the truth is? I actually don’t know beyond the fact that I am somewhat of a perfectionist, and that I like to be in control of my life.

But what freedom there is in the idea of not having to have everything right and figured out. What peace there is in being where my feet are, and living my best life that I am supposed to be living right now. What joy there is in knowing I am following the path created for me before all time.

I do not need to keep up with anyone around me. I do not need to find my value in what the world says is valuable.

All I need to do is trust that He will make it right.

And if He will make it right, then I have nothing to fear.

 

I am making these sneakers have a come back. It’s gonna happen. 

Lifestyle

Day 25: “Good is The Enemy of Great” (Jim Collins)

March 12, 2018

“Let My tongue be silenced, if ever I forget you.” (Psalm 137)

I played a mass at a new church today. I spent a lot of time with this psalm, trying to find the perfect chord progression to sing the “refrain” and then chant the verses.

Gonna be honest here- seems like a scary prayer to be saying over and over. If I forget you, make it so I can never speak again.

Wait What?! This sounds like a bad plan.

But how often I forget what He has in store for me.

A dear friend of mine introduced me to the Marian Virtues. Ever since we were roommates in college, we have picked one virtue a week to focus on, and try learn more about and how to be more like Mary in our day to day lives.

This week I really felt that I wanted to be focusing on remembering Him more. As I was looking through the virtues, I stumbled across Lively Faith, and saw it from a a new perspective.

Lively Faith: Always seeking the will of God and never settling for complacency.

How easy it is to forget God and His plan when my plan seems so good. But why would I settle for good when I could have greatness? Why settle for mediocre, when I could be living abundantly? Why would I choose complacency when I could choose absolute joy?

This week, I am really going to try to focus on the saying yes to His plan, and seeing the greatness that lies within that plan, rather than the okayness of my own plans.

 

New to the Marian Virtues? Click here for an amazing list of them. I keep this up on my iPhone permanently so I can always refer back to it. You should totally check it out!

 

 

(SIDEBAR: when did my hair get this long?!)

Lifestyle

Day 24: Certain as the Dawn Appears

March 11, 2018

“Let us know, let us strive to know the LORD; as certain as the dawn is his coming, and his judgement shines forth like the light of day!” (Hosea 6:3)

Mmmm. Today was a day. Today was a day I was grossly underprepared for.

I stayed up really late last night catching up with my brother in law, his wife and their adorable little baby. It was so great.

But I had a paper to write and then had to go meet up with my group to work out the details of this presentation that is due on Monday.

So I woke up extra early today, threw my headphones on and worked out the last parts of the paper while slurping down some coffee.

I then drove to school dejected to be leaving my family but knowing that June 21 is just around the corner.

Let’s just say the meeting didn’t go the way I had hoped.

I got in my car, a flustered hot mess and literally said: Jesus, where the heck are you? I am trying so hard here, but you’re really not helping me out at all. Hello… can you hear me? Bueller. Bueller.

How ironic that today’s readings would remind me that his coming is certain. His justice and mercy are a sure thing. And his love is not going anywhere, even though sometimes I cannot feel it.

Tonite, before I crash, I am going to try to dive into Hosea a little but more deeply. I want to know the Lord. I want to know his unrelenting and unsurpassable love. I want Him. I just need to figure out how to ask him to meet me where I am.

 

 

 

Lifestyle

Day 23: RSV vs. NAB

March 10, 2018

“I will be like the dew for Israel: he shall blossom like the lilly…” (Hosea 14:6)

Can we talk about an ironic moment in my life today?

I am in the throes of a very difficult project and feel like I have been thrown out into the desert with no water and no oasis in sight. I know that June 21 is fast approaching, but honestly? In the day in and day out of my life I wonder if I will every make it out of this barren wasteland alive.

Do you read the bible? I don’t read it often enough. The times I do are really fruitful and help me to hear God, but most of the time it just sits on my shelf.

I love the RSV translation. Something about it just speaks to my soul. But when Blessed is She put out a journalling bible I felt a stirring in my soul that was telling me: YOU NEED THAT BIBLE.

But I paused. Because this translation was the NAB. This was not my translation.

I hemmed and hawed and eventually I thought.. what the heck?! I can always go back to the RSV if I hate this one.

The Blessed is She bible finally arrived today… and I am in awe of the beauty found there. Seriously in awe. It was like a refreshing drink of water for my barren soul.

Do you need a new bible? Click here to order this new bible. It is absolutely stunningly beautiful, and I am so looking forward to diving into it this beautiful tool.