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Sometimes, doing what Jesus asks of us isn't always as clear as it might seem in today's world. Join in our newest video that gives some over-the-top examples - (some obvious and some not!) that remind us that our everyday behavior makes a difference in our lives as followers of Christ!
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Have an amazingly blessed day!
Josh Gates' Expedition Truth would have no need to run an episode on one monster that is purported to exist. There is ample evidence to prove its existence. This well-known beast's green eyes reflect a contagious light that afflicts its unsuspecting victims with pain, unhappiness, and even fear. Known throughout the world as the Green-Eyed Jealousy Monster, this lurking friend of the devil makes its way into every culture of every nation. Few are completely immune to it, but there are many who have learned to protect themselves against its influence.
As followers of Christ, we are called to arm ourselves against it. The poison that it leaks into our souls can easily spread with a life expectancy of a one hundred-plus years if not stopped.
So...how can we protect ourselves from this monster? For some it is not easy. There are so many different reasons why jealousy appears in our lives, and some personalities and temperaments have a harder time fighting it than others.
There are some tips, however, to help us protect ourselves. Here are some things we can do to give us the upper hand on the effect that those green eyes have upon our souls.
1. Recognize and validate that our feelings are real.
Just the very act of acknowledging our jealousy can take away some of its power.
2. Assess the root causes.
Be sure to include your upbringing and any influences in your life that may be contributing to your feelings. (i.e.: Are there feelings of self-worth that were affected in the past? Are my present feelings of jealousy stemming from a lack of self worth now?)
3. Approach God for help.
Jealousy has the power to consume us, and in some cases it can become almost impossible to overcome. But, the Green-Eyed Monster is powerless against God. True to form in the battle between good and evil, the Holy Spirit can sometimes be the only difference between a win and a loss. We need Him to fight it with us, and perhaps even for us. Don't try it alone!!
4. Learn from it.
Am I jealous of someone because someone is doing something that I really want to do? If so, could I try to make arrangements to do this myself? (Like signing up for piano lessons or the gym.) If I am unable to fulfill this specific desire right now (or ever), then I need to approach God for help to accept it. As we know, some of our desires don't always line up with God's timing or even with God's plan for us. When this happens, we can find much solace in realigning our life focus with His, remembering that His plan is bigger and better than ours could ever be in the grand plan of eternity.
5. Pick out some positives regarding the situation.
Even if you aren't the glass-half-full type, attempt to name at least one good thing that can be found, whether it be the ability to spend more time on another relationship (i.e.: spending more time with an aging parent or ill child when you feel pulled in other directions) or even acknowledging that an act of offering up the painful feelings of jealousy can help another's soul.
When the Jealousy Monster strikes, take a breath and count 5 things that you are grateful for in your life at that moment. Unrelated or not, this brings us back in touch with humility, reminding us that God is in charge. And, since the Bible says, "In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18, I would even go so far as to challenge you to thank God for your moment of attack. I can guarantee you that the Devil will NOT be happy, turning more control back over to you!
7. Count again.
Count at least three things that you like about yourself. If you struggle in this area, picture things that someone you love might say about you. So often jealousy strikes at a time when we are vulnerable to feeling a lack of self-worth in some area. Although you may be tempted to pass this tip up, think again. It can have measurable effects on our abilities to control jealousy.
The Green-Eyed Jealousy Monster is very real. While some perpetrators prey only on the most vulnerable among us, this monster can find weakness in even the strongest of individuals. One of the reasons it has such power is due to the fact that our souls long for fairness. However, if we find ourselves holding out for perfect fairness, we will find ourselves sorely disappointed in this lifetime.
Just ask Jesus. No one could better understand the concept of the unfairness of life more than He. However, He also understands well the fulfillment of fairness that is waiting for us when we come home to Him. We would do well to remember this ourselves!
I truly hope that some of these tips can aid and support you when jealousy strikes. God loves us with all of His heart and He longs to help us become the people we were meant to be.
Let's remember that we are never alone on this trip back to Him!!
Photo Attribution: https://pixabay.com/en/cat-eye-grass-view-lauer-position-1367000/
"Junebug! Come here now!"
Our Mini-Australian Shepherd froze for a second, her eyes dancing back and forth between a tiny kitten and me in torn confusion.
Although annoyed with Junebug, I sympathized with her plight. She was born to herd, a job she took seriously when we operated a rare-breed pig farm years ago. Since the pig farm folded, she and her daughter found themselves needing to be content with herding our free-range chickens, ducks and barn cats. So, when an area cat showed up on our front porch recently and delivered 5 kittens, the opportunity to keep the kittens within their "porch territory" was too much to pass up.
The problem with this opportunity is that although these kittens are not ours, we do need to find homes for them, and exploring the yard and its surroundings is a part of normal maturity. Another issue is that in preparation for other families, the kittens seemed to have become too comfortable with the dogs, losing a bit of awareness in regards to their natural survival instincts.
So, as I watched Junebug chasing the kitten who had gone "outside" the comfort zone of her territory, I knew that her desire to obey me and her strong herding instincts would clash dramatically, and there was little I could do but let her make her decision.
Isn't life like that for us? We hear God's voice calling us daily to follow His plan for our lives. Deep down, we really do want to obey, but sometimes the effect of concupiscence is rooted so deeply that we can find ourselves torn and confused as to which decision to make.
And God will never force His hand in our decision-making process.
For the good of our own souls, He waits, allowing us to respond in love to the unfathomable gift of His love that He breathes on us in every moment that comes to pass.
Each day we may find many of these "torn" moments. Today, let's try to recognize when they come our way, choosing to say no to our earthly baggage and yes to the God Who loves us beyond imagining!
It's time for our new challenge! I spent some time going through the month of July looking for a basic theme but kept coming up short. There are so many feast days of such incredible saints like St. Ignatious, St. Mary Magdalene, St. Bonaventure, St. Kateri Tekakwitha, St. Veronica, St. Maria Goretti, St. Thomas More...and the list goes on!
So, after much deliberation, we've decided to make this summer month's challenge based on all of these incredible saints. Considering that there are so many to choose from, one could easily do a challenge every week, making it simple to get those creative juices flowing! We can't wait to see what you've created!
Please don't forget to take a picture and send it in with our submission form. We can't wait to see it!
Lately it has become more and more difficult to listen to the events going on in the world around us. Sadly, there are times when I even turn my head because I just can't take hearing another word or seeing another image. Why is this??
I've spent some time wondering why I struggle with this so deeply, and I believe that some explanations have finally begun to surface. And, aware that I am not the only one combatting this issue, I thought I would share some of my personal revelations in the hope that perhaps they may provide a sense of solidarity in thought and prayer.
Perhaps first and foremost, I find that the biggest obstacle for me is the awareness that so much of the pain, suffering, and misery that occurs is so unnecessary. In case you are wondering how I could feel I have the right to make such a comment, I believe it is because I sadly join the ranks of those who have been there, those who have experienced these particular kinds of suffering - the kinds that occurred because of our connection with sin.
I admit that I happen to hold a bit of a checkered past, and not in a good way. I hurt people and let them hurt me. I fell face-first into the culture of darkness and understand well its draw.
However, I also now understand something that goes far deeper: the needless and completely unnecessary pain and misery that exists in this culture. This pain that I am referring to would not be considered redemptive per say, although Jesus has the power to make it so if we, on our part, were to actually offer up this suffering. The kind of misery that I refer to is that which is the direct result of sin.
Yes, I recognize that technically all suffering is the result of sin. But I'm not referring to the suffering that occurs so directly due to the sin of our first parents, like sickness and death for example. What I am pointing out is the suffering that is more recent, more acute, as a result of the act of sin, the environment of sin, and being surrounded by a climate of brokenness that filters in its dillusion mostly sadness and heartache.
And I think that this is where my problem begins. My heart aches for these people - my people. I long to reach them and show them that there is another way.
It is so easy for us to get angry and denounce those that we hear about on TV and cyberspace, especially in our current political climate. Thoughts of "Are they crazy? Can't they see what they are doing? They claim to be Christian or, at the very least, American, but their actions are horrific and prove otherwise" can't help but pass through our minds. And this is the cruz: in a way they are crazy. But not necessarily crazy in its immediate interpretation. Their hearts have been crazed with a sickness of dillusion that the devil has done well to deceive. He is the master at it, and without exposure and a full dousing of extraordinary grace, these people are lost to it. Many of them, if not most, have no clue that there is even another way. And, if they have heard of any, they believe that we are the ones suffering from a dillusion. How could anyone find happiness in something or someone that can't be seen and demands so much?
Likewise, if they are tempted to believe at all, this knowledge would demand change, and their already hardened hearts either confound them from figuring out where to begin, or convince them that change would be impossible.
I have mentioned before that I have been attempting to spend more time in getting to know the Holy Spirit in a more intimate way. Astounding things have happened in my life since I have begun doing this, with one in particular that directly affects this topic. As I spend time with the Holy Spirit as I would a friend, I have several times been completely filled with an intense love for those who do not know Him. The Holy Spirit has revealed in astonishing clarity the depth of His love for those who suffer needlessly. When I experience this, I long to run out and tell everyone I meet about this boundless, unconditional Love - yes - Love with a capital L. I want to run to the city streets and hug every soul I see in the hopes that each hug would somehow communicate even a small drop of this Love, because it would be all they would ever need.
I know...for some of you I may have just appeared to go off of the deep end. When I was younger (or maybe even a few years ago), I might have felt concern or doubt in hearing such words myself.
However, there are really no words to actually explain what happens when one experiences the Holy Spirit in like ways. I can say that I do understand Pentecost more profoundly now. Leaving the room where they had been hiding, the Apostles were compelled to rush through the streets, speaking the truth as the Holy Spirit prompted them. No longer were they confined by their fears. The result? Thousands were converted, starting an avalanche of conversions that would continue to present day.
The Trinity is in love with each of us. We often experience and discover the love of the God the Father. We hear about the indescribable love of Jesus Christ the Son. And we have been told about the boundless love of the Holy Spirit that we have experienced through the Sacraments. Each of these realities of love are considered separately on a regular basis.
But, I propose a new reflection for some: Imagine being loved to such an unfathomable degree by three Persons! Have we really spent time thinking about it in this way? I know that I haven't.
And I have been missing out all of these years.
Such reflection may be almost impossible to grasp, but if we were to even understand it minutely we should be greatly comforted.
May the Love of the Trinity be made known to each of us. May it inspire us to believe that change is possible and needless suffering can be eased. May our lives that bear the mark of the Holy Spirit be not afraid to proclaim His name to the rooftops, prompting an avalanche that will touch every soul.
And may the Holy Spirit rush in an avalanche over this battle-torn world, filling every crevice with His healing and exhilarating promise of new life!
Sooo....summer is here and in full swing! (This mom says Yay!!) Although I am still waiting for it to calm down a bit, I know that there are moments when we may be looking for other ideas and things to keep the kids busy during those down times or rainy days. At one of our reader's suggestions, we've decided to put up a Lego and Craft Challenge up for the summer. This year we have decided to change it up a bit and put our summer challenges on a monthly schedule with a broader idea base that can inspire different takes throughout the month.
So here is this month's theme:
June - a month for Popes!!
The feast days for several popes occur this month, including the feast of St. Peter, our first Pope! Make a creation that celebrates any of our blessed popes who have sat upon the seat of Peter.
We would love to see some of your creations on this theme! :)
Feel free to make a Lego creation, sand castle sculpture, painting or anything that tickles your artistic fancy.
And, as always, we'd LOVE it if you would take a quick picture and upload it to our Catholic Challenge Zone above.
The possibilities are endless. God bless your creative juices as you praise Him through your works!
The love that St. John Paul the Great had for teens and youth was no secret. He understood all too well that the success of the Church and bringing the Good News to the world lies with them. But his love for them went even deeper than bringing Christ to the future human race. He sincerely and deeply desired each child and teen to experience the joy that only Christ can give - one that, if experienced authentically, can wipe away even the darkest sorrow on this earth. This great Pope knew this deep joy and was living proof that it is possible and even expected to attain.
So, when Autotunes created this cover song, my affinity for it was instant! I LOVED how they literally tuned the Pope's words, spoken by himself, to fit the song phrases. The song stuck with me the second I heard it! In fact, it is because I heard my two daughters singing it to themselves today that I realized that I should put this out on a blog post. I HIGHLY recommend playing it for your teens and youth. They will come away with a glimpse of the great love he has for them and will remember verbatim some of his famous speech phrases.
It's an awesome win-win!
Hope you enjoy it; but be warned that it will likely not leave your head for the next week!
We love getting comments on things here at the blog or on our YouTube channel! We had a great comment from a teacher who shared her success in using the Sacrament Song in her classroom, requesting that the lyrics be available. We completely agree, so here is a PDF version of the lyrics.
Feel free to download the lyrics by clicking on the image above, but keep in mind that the copyright is pending. :)
God bless your Saturday!!
Did you ever wonder how often things actually go as planned? I know that God allows this to increase our reliance on Him, although when things get repeatedly in the way it becomes necessary to discern if we are getting in the way of God's plan or the evil one is really unhappy with what we are doing.
This has certainly been the case with this video! Forced to make this discernment, we've decided that although the evil one is likely an unhappy camper about our focus on the Trinity, this has also been a test of perseverance as well.
This very simple, supposedly quick video was created as a way to inspire kids to look for ways to understand the deeper mysteries of our faith in the world around them, specifically using the idea of the Holy Trinity. It has taken a week and a half to finally get it posted after crazy issues with iMovie, corrupt files that required reshooting of footage, and YouTube full-blown public shut-down on uploads (a major complication for YouTube that just happened to occur as we were uploading).
I will admit that given the lack of time we have had lately, getting this "quick" video done had became very frustrating and disheartening to say the least. We have some much more complicated (and exciting!) videos in the planning stages and can't wait to get started on those, but this last video of craziness attempts to bring with it a bit of doubt and trepidation for these future ones.
However, I say...Fear Be Gone! (Imagine a superhero voice...)
We are here to do God's work - no more, and no less! :)
So here is this short unassuming video about searching for the Holy Trinity...we hope the kids enjoy it and are inspired to search for more correlations on their own!
Happy Feast of the Holy Trinity!!
I have a distinct memory from when I was a kid that centered on the Trinity. I had just overheard two adults talking about how hard it was to wrap their minds around "three Persons in one." I remember feeling shocked and confused. Without considering that I might be out of place due to my youth, I assured them that it wasn't hard at all to understand it! Somewhere I had gotten the image of a three-bladed fan that I correlated with the Trinity, and I shared this with them. Although they appeared to be impressed, my guess is that they were likely patronizing me a bit. However, that memory still lingers, and I have thought about it often throughout my life. Were those two church-going adults truly confused about the three-in-one concept, or were they actually puzzled about one of its deeper mysteries?
This feast is one of the few feasts designated in the church that centers on a specific mystery. I think that this is perfectly understandable given that it is so central to our faith.
Personally, I think that the Trinity is mindboggling.
There is so much to learn and so many avenues to follow in exploring its depths that one could easily spend a lifetime searching and only cover part of it.
For those who love learning and the thrill of discovery, the Trinity is a perfect go-to. Revelations abound, so getting into this intense mystery provides lots of reward for those explorers willing to dive deep.
And for those of us not feeling the call to take that plunge quite yet, there is still so much to gain in just touching the surface. Understanding the Trinity is to understand who we are. Unearthing some of its truth means we can find some of the answers to the questions of why we are here, what we are called to be, and where we need to be going. We all need these answers. The whole world needs these answers.
So let's not be afraid to take a chance and stick our toe in the pool! I think we'll find the water cool and inviting, drawing us ever deeper into an understanding not only of God but of ourselves as well!
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Be With Us, Holy Spirit!
Enjoy some songs to help us become closer to the Third Person in the Trinity!
If a song's title includes (family recording), please refer to the blog entry on 3/8/16 for info...
Hi! I'm a Catholic mom who loves to encourage and support others in their journey to live the beauty of our Catholic faith in a modern world. It can be a struggle, no doubt, but God has given us the tools we need! Join my family (both immediate and extended!) and me as we take on this incredible journey of our path to holiness.
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