Although I have found my faith and put my trust in God in all things, I still occasionally find myself among the perpetual worriers of the world. In the Bible we read passages like the one of Lazarus and the rich man who enjoyed all manner of earthly pleasures while ignoring the plights of others.
Every now and again I can imagine parallels between myself and the wealthy man. Of course I try to be generous with my time, money and talents but there’s always more that could be done. I grew up in a beautiful home and thanks to my two loving parents, the majority of my childhood was spent without a care in the world. Even on my bad days, I always had everything I could possibly need. I feel unbelievably blessed to have parents who were so wholly dedicated to my health and happiness. As I’ve said previously on this blog, I was convinced that I was the luckiest kid on earth.
Of course, life has hardly been a breeze every day but on the whole, my trials have been relatively small thus far. Sometimes I struggle to keep my mind from wandering to those far less fortunate than me, people who face great loss or pain in their lives. These are two things that I’ve yet to encounter and I wonder if I’m up to the task. It’s easy to start asking questions of “what if” and worrying over what terrible crosses I’ll be asked to bear before all is said and done.
But God knows our hearts and our abilities. He doesn’t give us more than we can handle even if it is occasionally more than we envision ourselves capable of. We are not called to worry over what might happen tomorrow. We are simply tasked with bearing the crosses of today. He reminds us of this in Matthew 6:25-34 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body… Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.”
Now that the ice has melted and the dregs of winter are blowing away, it’s warm enough again for early morning runs through the neighborhood before work which is when I saw these peeking around the side of our house. Even before the Sun began its hike into the sky, God’s beauty still bloomed brightly in lovely pastels.
I don’t believe it’s ever appropriate to bad mouth your spouse whether they’re present or not. I think it’s behavior which reflects more poorly on you than on the husband or wife that you’re complaining about. Why did you subject yourself to lifelong commitment to that person if you find them so tiresome? On your list of priorities, their dignity and well being should certainly come before your own comeuppance for a minor, petty grievance, especially in the case of someone you’ve vowed to love and cherish all the days of your lives.
I’ve heard a number of friends and coworkers verbally degrade their partners on several occasions, all under the guise of good natured ribbing and fun. It’s often even more unsettling to meet the aforementioned partner only to discover that they have nothing but praise for their ill-mannered significant other. You don’t have to agree with everything they say or do. As a couple you should be able to have productive, civil, even compassionate disagreements. I’m not advocating total, stiff formality with your spouse. You need to be able to have fun together and must therefore be equipped with enough humility to laugh at yourselves. That just doesn’t include laughing at each other.
Anyone who knows me would agree that I am not a thrill seeker. I’m all for an eleven mile quest into the wilderness with my hiking pack and my family but I don’t spend my summers sniffing out the most terrifying rides at the amusement park. Therefore, this photo will likely be the only one of it’s kind. However, I also come from a bustling tourist town nestled in the mountains of Colorado, home to the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. My husband’s first trip to Colorado was packed with all the regular touristy experiences in addition to many off road treks. I do believe we successfully hit all seven wonders of Glenwood Springs in a single weekend, including the adventure park. I grew up perfectly happy never having stepped foot on this particular ride but then God sent me the man of my dreams who promised to hold my hand the entire time.
Catholic mothers are often said to have the biggest hearts and are known for the seemingly endless hospitality and love which pours forth from them. My mom is no exception although her love isn’t contained in just one but is spread throughout dozens of hearts. She’s never been the type to wear them on her sleeve but instead places each one with care in her Colorado home, bright little reminders of her love hiding in plain sight. I tried to number them once but lost count and more have appeared since then.
Some of her hearts are made of stone, plucked from a mountain top or lakeside during a family adventure. These now litter her bookshelves, all at home amid epic tales of Middle Earth and magic wands. Some of her hearts are made of colored glass and wire. She hangs these in her windows to catch the morning sun. Her walls are ornamented with hand carved wooden depictions of The Sacred Heart, flaming and wreathed in thorns, or else crowned and fluttering tiny angel wings. Still more of her hearts are scattered over dark wood tables, under coffee mugs or woven into the seasonal cushions which she uses to decorate her sofa and favorite armchair.
When visiting her house one is quite literally surrounded by her love and many people have been on the receiving end of it. Everywhere you look, her love smiles at you from every corner. But of course it doesn’t evaporate when one leaves her house. That’s just where she stores most of her hearts for safe keeping but she sends her love into the world with every visitor who comes and goes, generally after a delicious meal and a nightcap. When I moved away to Indiana she gave me a couple of her hearts for my bookshelf, starter hearts for my own collection. I’ve come to realize one can never have too many. Happy Mother’s Day Mom. Thanks for all the hearts.
“Are you nervous?” That seemed to be the question on many minds as we approached our wedding day. I heard it even as I waited hidden in the church for my walk down the aisle in our wedding mass (we chose not to do a first look and save the big reveal for the ceremony). My answer was always an enthusiastic and resounding “no.” I’ve always believed that I was made to be a wife and mother, even before I was Catholic. How could I be nervous about taking one step closer to the fulfillment of God’s plan for my life especially when His handwriting covered every page of our love story?
I’ve often told my husband that I couldn’t have dreamed him up. I wasn’t creative enough in my most unhindered fantasies to imagine a more perfect match than the one I found in him. I consider our meeting nothing short of a miracle and many of our big moments since then have occurred on days of special liturgical significance. It’s no coincidence that he chose to attend his parents’ church for the very same Easter Vigil mass where I was to be baptized, confirmed and receive first Eucharist. My husband saw me for the first time in the same hour that I became Catholic.
It took a few weeks for him to hunt me down and, after another few weeks and many phone calls, we met in person for the first time and our first date to Pentecost mass. Almost exactly one liturgical year later we met again at church to exchange vows in a wedding mass which was concelebrated by no less than three priests. There isn’t a shred of doubt in my mind that this is precisely what God intended. There was no reason for me to be nervous.
Many modern couples would certainly balk at a courtship of only six months followed by an equally short engagement. However, marrying the love of my life is the most spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally sound decision I have ever made. Truth be told, that six month engagement felt considerably longer as we both eagerly anticipated our wedding vows. It was a leap of faith we couldn’t wait to take.
This will likely be the start of a stupendous slew of spring and summer flower photos but I just love them so much! The other day the hubby and I enjoyed a walk through the neighborhood as we prayed our daily rosary and, naturally, I had to pull over a few times to capture the blossoming branches of every other tree we passed, all adorned in their spring finery. This coupled with the sent of lilacs which trailed us all the way to our front door was all a welcome reminder of God’s beautiful blessings.
My mom turned me onto veiling shortly after my baptism. It is a very traditional catholic practice for women to cover their heads at mass although it was somewhat abandoned after Vatican II. It is now much less common in the United States than in many European nations but veils can still occasionally be found in our own churches.
Because it is such a rare practice at my home parish I worried that I might unintentionally be making a spectacle of myself by adopting this particular habit. However, if approached through the proper frame of mind, there is nothing scandalous about veiling just as there is nothing wrong with attending latin mass. I quickly grew accustomed to veiling in front of the blessed sacrament and now I never go to church without my veil.
There are many reasons to veil but chief among them is to show reverence to Christ. It is an outward, visible sign of a woman’s faith similarly to how men remove their hats when they enter the sanctuary. It is a sign of respect and always helps me focus on the sacrifice of the mass. My veil is not like other garments, worn for its comfort or aesthetic appeal. It is reserved only for prayer and worship before the blessed sacrament and serves as a reminder to me of what is truly sacred.
I’ve also heard a few fellow millennial women occasionally bemoan the idea that women should be made to cover up while men are under no such obligation. To these women, my mom also had an answer. She once aptly observed that “you veil what is sacred.” In the Catholic faith we regard Mary, the mother of Christ, in the highest honor. She was free from original sin and unfailing in her trust and faith in God. She was assumed into Heaven and is Queen of the Universe. Veiling is a beautiful tradition in which we can imitate the most holy mother of God and acknowledge our catholic reverence for Mary and for motherhood and women in general. This is not an oppressive practice meant to hide women against their will. In fact, it does the opposite. It highlights the Mary-like grace, beauty and dignity of all women and is a freely embraced tradition of the faith.
Veiling is certainly not a requirement but I’m always struck by the reverent beauty whenever we attend a latin mass and see the church filled with veiling women and men in suits. It may take some getting used to but I highly recommend it for any women looking for ways to grow closer to God.
No matter where you are or what time of year, never underestimate the power of a refreshing stroll in nature. Even now, with the first leaves of the season just beginning to peek into the world and the remnants of winter still floating on the chilly air, there is so much beauty to be seen. Have a blessed day!