One thing (…or three!)

Happy Saturday!

So, does anyone else out there love podcasts? I know I’m a little late on the whole podcast thing, but that’s because the headphones on my old phone didn’t work, and anything with audio was on permanent loud speaker…haha!  But things changed a few months ago when I updated to a newer phone. I’m now listening to podcasts almost daily. I feel like a kid in a candy store! There are so many options and treasures to be found.

So far, my favourite podcast is called Abiding Together- it’s just a fabulous combination of three women (one religious sister & two lay women) who speak about their Catholic faith through the struggles and joys of daily life. It’s so inspiring, and while it’s three women speaking, the topics are applicable for men and women alike.

IMG_0580.JPGAt the end of every podcast they share their “one thing” for the week. Something that they are enjoying, something that inspires them or something that they want to recommend. There are no rules for a one thing! 

So today I thought I would share a couple my one thing(s)! I would love if you shared yours as well in the comments below. What is making you smile these days? What is something you want other people to hear/know about?! Let’s share the good news, the happy moments and what is inspiring us!

1. My Orchid– This little guy is a new addition to our kitchen, and I love the element of beauty it adds into our home. I’m seriously becoming an orchid person. They are a ton of fun and gorgeous : )

2. The book “ Searching for and Maintaining Peace; A Small Treatise on peace of Heart” by Father Jacques Philippe. This is a small book, jam packed with so much wisdom. I am constantly highlighting sections of the book.

3. Letters from friends/family– Sending a letter is one of the nicest things you can do for someone. The joy of receiving and sending a letter is incredible! This week I received two letters; from a friend of mine and my 6 year old niece. Man- I’m still feeling the happiness “high” of these letters. It inspired me to buy some cute paper and keep the letter writing train moving.

So, as always. I think it’s truly the small things that count in making our days a little brighter, our hearts a little lighter and the world a little bit better. Let’s receive His love and spread it, ya’ll.

God bless

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the very bad, terrible, no good day.

Is it just me, or does it seem like a lot of people right now are going through a hard time?

It’s like that kids book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst on repeat. Ugh. And while this Alexander kid in the story had a pretty rough go, I feel like the adult version can be a lot more bleak. Sometimes I just wish it was gum in my hair, no toy in my cereal, or no one liking my painting in class…

I can name quite a few people in my own circle (me included), who just seem to be handed a very crappy set of cards these days. Whether it’s external circumstances, or things in their inner life being brought up, they are swimming upstream.

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Sometimes it’s really a fight to stay positive, focus on the good, and resist the temptation to despair or give in to the unhappiness. I read a blog today and she posted one of my favorite bible verses!  I really needed to read it today. I think it’s worth keeping in our hearts, especially in these troubling times.

 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect”- Romans 12:2

Yessss! We are not to be conformed to this world. The world right now is preaching a lot of stuff that can lead us astray. Money will bring happiness, the rich and famous are more happy, perfection looks like a beauty blogger with the perfect body, you need to have impressive material goods to show off on your Instagram account, life is about cool holidays and eating fun food and documenting them on social media.

Don’t get me wrong, some of these things in and of themselves are great; taking care of our bodies, enjoying traveling (which I love to do!), and celebrating the gifts God has given us through food and experiences. But so often these things become the ultimate goal.

However, God calls us to renew our minds, to discern with Him, what is good and acceptable and perfect! The joys that He has to offer are so much greater than any mega yaht, beach body smoothie mix, perfect instagram worthy scene and amount of money sitting in our bank accounts.

God wants our ultimate HAPPINESS and that is found in Him alone. Even as I write this, I am not necessarily “feeling” completely happy in Him. But I also know that this is true despite any feelings I might have. Even in these darker seasons, God is still rooting for our happiness. It might not come with bright snazzy lights, and warm fuzzies, but it’s going to be a beautiful final product. I guess were like that clay that the Potter is working on. It might be messy, unclear, and a little bit uncomfortable as things are moved around, but that final masterpiece is going to be worth saving and treasuring!

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So if you find yourself a little like Alexander on your no good, terrible, horrible, bad day; its alright! Seasons come and they GO, and your not alone. Right around you is someone else who is suffering, working through stuff, and figuring out life just like you. Pray for them, and they can pray for you! Let’s continue to renew our minds in the truth that is of God and His Kingdom!

 

He is good, you are loved

The Holy Spirit can move in the most small and wonderful ways sometimes. It’s been a really tough few days, with lots of things coming up and trying to steal my joy.  But randomly, during my morning jog today I looked down at my pointer finger and gazed on it’s print. I reminded myself that this finger print is one of a kind, non-repeatable, and uniquely mine. It’s simply there as a sign that my Father has chosen me and loves me.

A little later,  I needed to listen to some praise songs to lift my soul. It was a new song that I hadn’t heard before, but I decided to give it a try. The first lyrics were:

“Through your story is My fingerprint” 

Cool hey!? I guess God wanted to continue speaking through this theme of finger prints & identity. God will use even the smallest of things to speak His truth to us. We are apart of His story, and He apart of ours. He wants to speak love, truth, and joy into our hearts!

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For anyone struggling right now, finding themselves in a dark place, finding it hard to remain motivated, feeling lost or unable to pray, take a moment to listen to this song:

Good & Loved- Travis Greene & Steffany Gretzinger

This song is upbeat, truthful and inspiring. I just felt that they could praise with the words I couldn’t say, and they helped raise my spirit to a higher place. Sometimes when we can’t do it ourself, we need to let someone else do it.

So today, I want to pass along the message that God spoke into my heart. He wants you to know, wherever you are, and however you are feeling in this moment:

YOU ARE LOVED.

You have a Heavenly Father who crafted and formed you in your mothers womb (Pslam 139:14). He has never left you, nor will he ever leave you. No matter what we have done, no matter how far we have walked away, he is loving us with an incomprehensible love. For those times that it doesn’t feel like it, just look down at your fingerprint. There is only one of you in the world, carrying those precious fingerprints, and that is not an accident.

God bless xxx

 

truth is telling.

“I’m just a nobody, trying to tell everybody, all about somebody who saved my soul”

 

Wow. These lyrics are SO perfect. I really like this song “Nobody” by the Casting Crowns ft. Matthew West, 

It’s capturing exactly what my heart is feeling. I want to tell people about Jesus- even if I am nobody in the eyes of the world. God doesn’t require years of studying, a few letters after our last name, or being religious to speak about him. The story of how he has saved us, changed us, and blessed us is enough!

“Ever since you rescued you me. You gave my heart a song to sing. I’m living for the world to see nobody but JESUS”

 

I think thats going to be my anthem and song this week: “living for the world to see nobody but Jesus”. Let’s let the love, peace, goodness, mercy, faithfulness, honesty, generosity, forgiveness, and joy of Jesus shine through us!

 

sacred heart of jesus painting with brown frame

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a taste of beauty.

Wow! The weekend has a way of running away on us, hey!? Many of us are probably looking at the upcoming week plan already; appointments to attend, household tasks to finish, people to see, sorting out our lives… haha for over planners like me.

But there is still a little (or a lot depending on where your reading this in the world) weekend left! I think it’s worth enjoying. After mass today, we made our way to our favourite cake spot:

I think this was the prettiest it’s ever been! The autumn wind was cool, but not cold. The rays of sunshine were warm, but not hot. The insects were present, but not aggressive. It was truly wonderful. Plus the company I had was comparable to none! (shout out to my fantastic husband).

So I encourage you ( whoever and wherever you might be!!) to let yourself enjoy this Sunday September 8th 2019 with a little touch or taste of beauty! Perhaps it’s a special coffee you whip up at home, maybe it’s an extra trip to that gorgeous look out, maybe it’s a visit with a friend who is a source of joy and positivity in your life.

Whatever it is: enjoy your Sunday & please let me know what made your day a little bit more beautiful!

Ps. I just remembered it’s Mary’s ( like the mother of Jesus Mary hehe) birthday. Even more reason to celebrate!

freedom.

There is a line in that Joni Mitchell song, “Big Yellow Taxi” that says: ” don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone…”. (aaaand now I’m singing along to the rest of the song.. “they take paradise and put up a parking lot!“)

photo of yellow taxi parked near sidewalk

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It’s not everyday you find solid lyrics… but I think this line is pretty accurate. We often say we wished we would have appreciated that (insert person, place, thing, season, emotion) more. It’s usually after the removal of something from our lives, that we “snap into it” and realize just how important it really was.S

The other day, I found myself in a situation where I felt my freedom was being “attacked”  (okay maybe thats a bit too dramatic- but bear with me a moment). I am the kind of person who was raised with a lot of freedom, independence and room to “breathe”. Growing up my dad came from a religious community that was extremely restrictive and controlling. These two characteristics were exactly what my dad (and mom) did NOT do while I was growing up. They had an incredible gift for letting us kids be free, in a responsible way. I never felt that my choices were taken from me unjustly, that I had no say in my own life decisions, or that I was under the constant and oppressive watch of my parents. I felt valued, seen and heard.

In this situation I mentioned earlier, I felt so confronted with the reality that many people don’t function this way. For one reason or another, they have taken on controlling behaviour.  Trying to speak for the others, always making their opinion the “best way”, and over focusing on certain people/topics. They don’t leave room for others to have a plan, an opinion, or a new idea. They are always “one step ahead” and feel a false sense of authority to advise others how to act.

I honestly don’t think people completely realize they are doing this. I mean, to one extent or another, we have all probably done this. But I am talking about those people who are pushing the limits on control, and making others uncomfortable. At one point, I literally felt a sort of claustrophobia. I felt like I had to constantly justify myself, or fight for my own opinion. I felt as if I was fighting against a force that always tried to be stronger. This is something I don’t think we should ever have to do.

This whole situation brought me to the theme of freedom. Sadly, so many people don’t have freedom of ; speech, religion, movement, thought, expression, life… the list goes on. In the grand scheme of life, my “oppressed freedom” is like a grain of sand, compared to so many other men and women in this world. And yet- it hurt my heart nonetheless. The feeling that my freedom was being tampered with, made me realize how much I take freedom for granted.

I then had to think about the freedom that is of God. God is the one person who would have the most right to be controlling. He is all knowing, all perfect, all love, all justice, all mercy. He could completely put us “into check” at any moment.

But he doesn’t.

He gives us our freedom.

How radical is this reality! God, who has every right to control, chooses the greater gift which is LOVE. This is why God’s ways are so far above ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). He let’s us freely choose him, or freely reject him. He has no agenda in forcing something upon us. Although his ways are truly the best path to happiness, holiness, and peace ( and he sorrows so deeply when we do not come to him) he values your and my freedom even more. This is hard to wrap our heads around. He will, out of pure love, let us reject him who is love. All because he wants us to be free. To have the freedom to come to him without coercion or deception.

woman stands on mountain over field under cloudy sky at sunrise

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So the act of control, manipulation, obsession, guilt… these are not a way to love. These are actually doing exactly the opposite of what God does. So it makes sense that when our freedom is being attacked, in little moments, or big, our hearts are wounded by this. We are created for a freedom that should lead us to our Father. He will be there waiting for us, with outstretched arms, ready to bring us home. And on that day, we can rejoice, because this journey to him was out of love, it was out of a holy pursuit, and it was done freely.

sunshine for the soul

It’s amazing what a few weeks with family and beautiful scenery can do for one’s spirit! Visiting the Rocky Mountains was definitely a highlight, as I had never been before. Driving in, I could hardly focus on the road because the view was so breathtaking! I had to actively remind myself to keep my eyes on the road!

After crawling over a few rocks, we worked our way to the “front seats” and soaked in every minute of this view:

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Although the million and one tourists behind us were snapping photos, taming wild children, taking wedding photos (complete with dog) renting canoes, and jumping in the ice cold lake, I was captivated. I couldn’t seem to take my eyes off of this masterpiece. Here, God’s beauty and gifts to us were so tangible. I wanted to stay there forever. It was so apparent that God had his hand in this creation. Who would want to leave a place like that?

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Our Father in heaven has crafted this place, simply to bless us. It’s not just in the mountains we find his beauty. It’s in our families, our friends, the woods, the flowers that bloom, the song that speaks to our heart, the campfire that dances, the gentle gesture of a stranger, the authentic laughter of a child.

Getting away over the holidays was a much needed reminder that God is truly present in his creation. He wants to encounter and speak to us there. We don’t have to be in the Rocky Mountains to receive this gift. I think it’s about an openness to beauty. How can we see the beautiful creation that is already near to us? And how can we create spaces and places that are beautiful?

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” Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who have pleasure in them. Full of honour and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures for ever. He has caused his wonderful works to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and merciful” – Psalm 111:2-4

coffee chaos.

In the past week or so I keep coming back the fact that:

We live in a CHAOTIC world.

It started last week when I was having my prayer time in the morning. I had the door to the balcony open on my left, I had just put a load of laundry on in the kitchen and I was about to enjoy my cup of coffee! A few minutes passed, when I noticed the stunning melody of the birds outside. They were singing and chirping so beautifully. They seemed to be proclaiming some sort of joyful masterpiece. It sounded like mini praises being lifted to the Lord. Then, at what seemed to be the same moment, my ears narrowed in on the load of laundry that was washing to my right. The cycle was advancing, and the faster it went, the louder it got.

Instantly I felt divided between two “worlds”.  To my left out the window was peace, joy, prayer, God, and beauty. To my right in the kitchen was machines, work, noise, distractions and busyness.

It struck me again how often we feel torn between this world (the right side) and the eternal world (the left side).  We enter into this space of beauty, prayer, contemplation, or joy but the noise of the world is constantly trying to dominate with it’s messages;  be productive, make something of yourself,  be important, earn enough money, be perfect.

close up of coffee cup on table

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This “right side” world can sometimes seep into our own thoughts and actions without even knowing it. And while there is nothing wrong with my washing machine in the kitchen, it was a great “God moment” where I was reminded of the importance of true silence, peace and prayer. This world is constantly throwing signs, lights, messages, ideologies, false gods, and obstacles in our way. I think that the Lord calls us out of the noise, into the silence and beauty of his presence. It’s there, when we put the phones away, turn the T.V off, and walk away from work for a little while, that we will find his joy. A joy that often comes in unexpected places; sometimes even in your own backyard.