26 September 2016

What Buddha taught me on idolizing other people.

One of the ways I grow most as a human being is reading books on culture, spirituality, social issues, etc. from a wide variety of viewpoints other than my own. It helps me have a wider, richer view of the world and makes me a more well-rounded person (hopefully).

I recently finished several books on Buddhism. No Mom, I'm not converting.

I found it interesting for the first several hundred years after the Buddha died, there were no images of him. All there was were his teachings which were passed down orally from generation to generation. Eventually, people wanted an image to remind them of their spiritual ideal, and that's how statues of Buddha came to be.

The thing about having statues of Buddha is to remind followers of the ideals in that person they are trying to emulate. As a Catholic, I would say the same things about having a statue of the Blessed Mother or a particular saint; that is a reminder to me of the ideals in that particular person I strive live in my own Christian life. A visual reminder of what I want to be like.

The difficult thing about Buddha statues (or Mary or a certain saint) is that people could be tempted to idolize the statue.

It can become very easy for people in our world today (me) to idolize mentors and teachers, those people who support us an encourage us to grow. It can be so easy to look at big-name speakers or authors and think they have it all together; that through their own success have found the golden ticket to enlightenment, success, and joy. Because news flash we're all secretly the walking wounded, whether we realize it or not. On some level, none of us really have it together.

And I wonder if people stopped to consider that more there would less idolizing of each other or comparing my life to his or hers.

Let's just stop idolizing other people.
Look in the mirror.

Realize you have everything you need to learn your lessons. You have all the courage you need it takes to do those hard, scary things you may want to avoid. You have everything you need to live your one life well.

I know for me sometimes, I don't even realize when I start idolizing people because it can creep on me and I don't even notice it. What helps me most in breaking my mindset of idolatry is deep, heartfelt gratitude. I start counting "gratefuls" and it breaks through that tunnel vision.

One of my favorite authors Shauna Niequist wrote something beautiful on her blog last year sharing how often in the world of Christian-ese speakers and writers, people will identify someone as "The Next _____."

Stop idolizing other people.
Don't be the next anybody. Be deeply, weirdly, completely, totally, you.

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24 September 2016

Craving Silence (or why I so desperately need it)

I recently shared with my spiritual director, that in living on my own right now I am much more aware and convicted that I am the only one who prevents me from things getting done. If I don't pray, it is only me that stops that from happening....or folding laundry or exercising or eating well.

Since I moved into my new apartment, I have been noticing how noisy my life is. I was almost always listening to a podcast or to favorite stations on Pandora or car dancing to the radio. And let's not even discuss the watching of Netflix. There was always something playing or going in the background.

When I started to notice this, it made me uncomfortable. And for this loud-mouthed extrovert, I knew I could ignore it or dig a little deeper to see what was coming up for me. As soon as I did the later, I knew why my spirit was really beginning to crave silence and why I so desperately need it right now in life.

In the silence I have to face something I was running from for a long time before and while I was married: a fear of being alone, lonely. And also fear of having to face my own wounds, hurts, and insecurities. Well who the Hell wants to do that!? #signmeup

When I finally got real with myself, I realized that restlessness was God's gentle way of nudging me toward something I had been avoiding off and on for awhile. Being on my own again, I told God I want to use this time well, purposefully and with intention. I want this chapter of life to be focused on healing, getting healthy, and facing all the unprocessed crap I dragged into my marriage.

I need the silence. And the more I make time for silence, the more I crave it.

Silence is showing me who I am before God, and what are the things inside me I can no longer run away from. Silence is helping me get healthy and whole from the inside out.

In a weird way I am learning to love the silence right now, like my soul actually craves it on a daily basis. Its like something inside my soul starts twitching if I sense too much external noise and distraction. 

Silence in prayer can be intimidating. I think on some level I'd still like a diagram or picture of "How to do silence in prayer." There really is no wrong or right way to do it. Showing up (yes distractions and all!) is really most of the battle.

I trying (some days are better than others) to start and end the day with 15 minutes of silence. Nothing fancy, no long drawn out big words. Just stillness. Throughout the day, I try and looks for ways to build in silence: like no radio in the car or cooking dinner or doing chores or taking a shower. 
Sometimes I use imaginative prayer to help focus me or just pray "Come, Holy Spirit," several times to quiet my mind. 

Now all of sudden, I find myself on the look-out for moments of connective silence. Because when I make time intentionally to be still, I actually connect more deeply to God and my own true identity as his daughter.

Last weekend on the plane ride coming home from Minnesota, I finished a great book on the essential writings of Thomas Merton. One the things I most love about Merton is the way he writes about silence and contemplation for the average working man or woman, not just the monks or nuns in cloistered communities like his own.

Merton writes, "Contemplation is really simple openness to God at every moment, and deep peace." Sit with that one for awhile, right?? If we try to do it in a constant stream of noise, we can miss so many hidden opportunities.

Finding silence in your own life may be harder for you right now than it is me. 
But even in little ways, you can seek it our or build it in you might be pleasantly surprised.

Be still and know.
Be still.

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19 September 2016

My Tribe. My Sisters.


What a beautiful, amazingly awesome weekend #bisteamretreat turned out to be.

Honestly I wasn't sure what to expect as my plane arrived in St. Paul on Friday. I only "knew" these women from an online ministry we all are a part of. 

We arrived on Friday as online acquaintances. On Sunday, we left as sisters and friends.

The weekend was full of laughter, lots good food, and even better conversation. Not to mention, all the cute babies that were constantly passed around like s'mores around a campfire. We prayed the rosary around the bonfire on Friday evening. We talked and dreamed some big dreams for the future + growth of Blessed Is She. We ate some AMAZING food. And we talked and talked and talked.

One of the most meaningful experiences for me was the small group discussion on Saturday afternoon with the three other women in my group: Mary, Jacqui, and Elise. We got real and vulnerable. There was tears, honesty, encouragement, and hugs. We opened our hearts and just laid them out on the table. It did something fiercely good for my heart.

Coming home, I was just in awe of it all.

As I drove back to my apartment on Sunday, I just wept and wept. Yes a few tears it had to end, but primarily tears of gratitude and thankfulness that I have such a community in my life where I can just be me. Where just being Patty is enough and a-okay. Where I am supported, loved, encouraged, and challenged just the way I am...
I want all women have such a community in their own lives.

Every woman I got chance to talk with and get to know on a deeper level was like adding another rare, precious jewel to a treasure chest in my heart.

I am so excited I finally got to meet these sisters of mine!

Do you have a community, a tribe to call your own?

If not, we would so love to have you into our home :)

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15 September 2016

The 30 sisters I never knew I had.

While I love my younger sister, as the oldest kid deep down I always wished I had an older sister. Sure being top dog of the birth order has its perks, but sometimes it doesn't.

This weekend I am heading to Minnesota for a weekend retreat and get-together with almost 30 of the writers + creative minds behind Blessed Is She. It is a Catholic women's ministry where you get an e-mail each day with the Mass readings with a devotion to accompany it. Plus, now they a membership (complete with online classes!), a shop of gorgeous goodies, Facebook groups, and one of the most lovely Gram feeds I follow.

Y'all. I am SO flipping excited and have been saving up for my plane ticket since last spring.

It is crazy to think after chatting with so many of these lovely via Skype or Facebook messaging, I will finally get to meet them in person and give each a big hug.

I have had hit or miss experiences with making friends and/or small groups over the years, but I am blown.away. the sense of community and sisterhood with these ladies. It is so cool to be a part of something bigger than me in being a part of Blessed Is She.

My airline ticket is printed.

Laundry is finishing in the dryer.

And I feel like a little kid on Christmas morning giddy with excitement.

Cannot wait to meet you sisters I never knew I had or needed in my life:) 


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14 September 2016

5 Ways to Make Your Book-Buying Habit Easier on Your Wallet

I like to read books. A lot. 
So much so, I like to keep  running list each year of all the books I have read. My goal is get to 80, maybe even 100 by the end of the year. #ihaveaproblem

While I love to read, it can easily get very expensive making regular trips to Barnes and Noble for my latest fix.

So here's a round-up of 5 smart ways I try to penny pinch when it comes to my voracious appetite for books.


This is a newer find for me, and it distantly related to eBay. On this site you can sell items (books, textbooks, music, games, and music!) for a fixed price instead of the auction system eBay is known for.

Shop Thrift Stores & Garage Sales

So this one takes more focus and energy, but scouring local re-sale shops or garage sales you might be surprised what literary treasures you can find. That is basically how I supplied my love of Nancy Drew mystery books in junior high.

Make friends with the Library

Okay.for.real. I loved going to the library something fierce as a little girl, but now I love it even more as an adult. I easily make at least 1-2 trips a week to return titles and pick up new ones. Some of the librarians even know me on a first-name basis. 
Oh and thank the good Lord for the renewal system in public libraries!

Before I ever buy a book now, I tend to try and read it the first time through the library.

I like this website because it is based on your personal interests and taste. Sign up for an account and then set what interests you, which tells Bookbub what you like to read. The site then alerts you to big discounts on e-books (and free too!) and you are able to read them on any device.

Book Swap with Friends

I have been to purse and clothing swap parties...who's to say ya can't do it with books?! Clear your bookshelf of titles you already devoured and score some new finds from your friends. Throw in a bottle of wine, some appetizers, and you've got yourself a party!

Any other book-buying tips you might add?

Happy reading! :)

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12 September 2016


Friday was my birthday, hence the title.

I have a wonderful group of friends, family, and volunteers in youth ministry. Friday night some sweet friends took me to a new favorite in Detroit. Saturday a friend from out of town visited and we tried the most adorable coffee shop in downtown Northville, and that evening had dinner+drinks with my brother and parental units.

After our Sunday evening leadership team meeting, the youth leaders and adult volunteers surprised me with cake, flowers, and dinner.

So basically my Weight Watcher points were toast. Up a little but worth every sip of that dee-lic gin tonic ;)

It has been quite the year: getting a divorce, moving in with my parents, starting annulment process, and moving into my own new home. Amidst the pain and worry, I am really, really excited for this coming year. 

I just have a fresh hope and anticipation God is doing something mighty in me, and trusting in that feels very secure. I am so excited and peaceful about where God has me.

Another blogger friend Bonnie did a list of things she wanted to do in her birthday year, and I thought  it would be fun to crank my own out list too. Here it is:

Thirty-One Things

1- Get a second tattoo

2 - Attend Onething 2016 Young Adult Conference with Sarah

3 - Read more books on Merton and Dorothy Day

4 - Run more half marathons

5 - Run a full marathon

6 - Read my Bible every day

7 - Smile more at strangers

8 - Read lots more books

9 - Do a silent retreat at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky (where Thomas Merton lived & is buried)

10 - Celebrate my godson's First Holy Communion

11 - Write more letters

12 - Intentionally mentor several teens in youth ministry

13 - Get a third tattoo (maybe)

14 - More silence every day

15 - Weekly social media Sabbath

16 - Host a traditional Jewish Sabbath or Passover meal for friends 

17 - Host Christmas Dinner in my apartment for family

18 - Pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy each day during the hour of mercy (3pm)

19 - Read books & listen to podcasts of folks who see life and believe things different from me

20 - Ask for more of Holy Spirit each day

21 - Grow herbs in the spring on my balcony

22 - Give birthday cards to staff members

23 - Drink more lattes + find new coffee shops

24 - Eat at Ethiopian restaurant

25 - Buy espresso machine

26 - Go on family vacation to Mackinaw Island

27 - Plan mission trip for youth ministry

28 - More silence in the car

29 - Vacuum once a week

30 - Learn more about essential oils

31 - Be radically available to Holy Spirit...still praying on what that means ;)

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05 September 2016

Finding Calcutta in the Burbs.

To celebrate the canonization for this gal yesterday, a good friend and I went to the cathedral in our diocese for Mass honoring St. Teresa. It was awesome because in Detroit there is a community of Missionary of Charities and to see their joy and happiness in the celebration for such a happy day was beautiful.

As we were leaving the cathedral, a reporter from the Detroit News came up to us and asked us why we came today, what about Mother Teresa's life mattered to us. We had a really good conversation. 

The reporter made reference to a point in the Archbishop's homily where he asked us to reflect on what our Calcutta is in our own lives. So the news reporter asked each of us. I told him my Calcutta in life right now is young people: young people who know Jesus, don't know Jesus, or have no faith at all. My Calcutta is to love them and walk alongside them wherever they are.

I have fiercely loved Mother Teresa since I was a little girl. As a child who loved me some dress-up there are plenty of pictures of me playing dress-up as Mother Teresa. No I didn't have a sari, but it was complete with my blue baby blanket. I remember taking off all the clothes on my baby dolls and scooping them up in a basket like she picked up dying people off the street.

It is one of the most distinct memories of my early childhood.

As I got older, I was always so struck of Mother Teresa's challenge for people to "find Calcutta" in their own lives. While its a wonderful to go out, for many of us our mission field will be found in our own back yards, in the suburbs of downtown USA.

While I may never go on an international mission or make it to Calcutta, I know there are plenty of ways and places I can find Calcutta right here where God has me.

Yes Calcutta can be found in the burbs, prisons, hospitals, detox clinics, high schools, tantrums, and in changing poopy diapers.
We find it anywhere. As long we open our eyes to the needs of others.

And wherever my Calcutta is at varying times in life, I hope I can reflect some of what St. Teresa's life was totally about....Jesus, always Jesus.

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03 September 2016

20 things every woman needs in her life

I've given up on the idea of "finding balance" in life, it really doesn't exist. Like the word normal. Normal only exists as a setting on the dryer. Rather, I am trying live my life in "healthy tensions." 

Healthy tensions meaning I know life is not perfect or as neat and tidy as I'd like, but there is still plenty of things to be grateful for and find joy.happiness.meaning.purpose in.  Throwing away balance for healthy tensions helps me live more in the present and less in the future.

I've compiled a list of sweet, little things every woman can benefit from in her life. Read through and see what is already a part of your life, or what you would add to it.

When we take time to notice the intricate details and choose to make time for them in our everyday life, we discover gratitude for what we already have. And then we are able to start to notice all the other many unnoticed beautiful blessings in our life.

  1. A dress you love.
  2. A beautiful mug that just makes your morning coffee or tea more enjoyable.
  3. A signature perfume.
  4. A few minutes each day of silence
  5. A gratitude journal.
  6. A relaxing scent in your home--essential oils, WoodWick candles, fresh flowers
  7. A comfy, cute pair of slippers.
  8. A bra that fits. Who knew this could be hard at times to find?
  9. A red lipstick.
  10. A good planner.
  11. A trust worthy mechanic.
  12. A monthly subscription service-clothes, magazine, makeup, essential oils, meal prep guide, etc.
  13. A podcast you love. (Too many here to list them all!)
  14. A beautiful piece of art in your home.
  15. A real set of pearls.
  16. A great pair of sunglasses.
  17. A coloring book with markers.
  18. A cute pair of lounge pants for home. 
  19. A set of Mason jar glasses.
  20. A bold patterned shower curtain.

What would you add to sweeten up your life?

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