31 December 2018

19 Ways for Singles to Live Better in 2019

I think sometimes New Year's Resolutions get a really bad rap.

I actually have always loved the hope and promise of what another New Year brings. I get excited about things like goal planning and thinking about new habits or structures I want to build more into my life.

What I think can feel overwhelming for some people is making these broad-sweeping types of resolutions. The best way to tackle goals and make lifestyle changes is by setting small goals and making progress.

Once you tackle the smaller goals, reach higher! Dream bigger!

It is not about perfection, but progress over time. Show yourself grace and kindness.

Here are a few ideas to get you thinking about new habits or structures to implement in the New Year:

1. Need help with your finances?

Use to 2019 to work on paying off debt and learning to pay for things with cash. Dave Ramsey and his course Financial Peace University is a great resource to help people learn to stop letting their money control them.

2. Practice gratitude daily by counting your daily gratefuls.

Buy a journal and use it to count the things you are grateful in life, for all the ways God blesses you.

3. Struggling with too much screen time? 

Try building some social media guidelines to help you use your phone more intentionally and with greater focus. I have found it very helpful to set timers and when the timer goes off, I am done for the day.


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12 December 2018

Tacos, Tamales, and Our Lady of Guadalupe

The last parish I worked at was 35% Hispanic. We had a full-time Hispanic ministry program as well as religious formation classes, Alpha, and other Bible studies offered in Spanish.

For a primarily white-Anglo parish, it was interesting for me to learn more about the special cultural traditions for my Catholic Hispanic brothers and sisters. In my years as the youth minister in that community, it was a great gift to learn more and experience the beauty of the Hispanic culture from many Spanish speaking families I came to know.

One of the most special, important feast days is Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12th (today!).

Every year, there is a special Mass in Our Lady's honor, complete with mariachi bands and a procession of her image in the church adorned with many different colored roses. After the lively liturgy, there is a big fiesta in the parish gym, with every type of delicious type of Mexican food you could imagine. The party went till midnight, complete with pinatas for the children, games, and lots of dancing!

While I am definitely not a Mexican American, I can certainly appreciate the festivities and celebration of other culture when it comes to living and celebrating our shared Catholic faith.

One of the things that appeals to me in living liturgically or celebrating particular feast days, is there is not one size that fits all people. We don't all have to do the same things in the exact same way. Find small, meaningful traditions that work for you or your family. Do the small things well. You do not have to beat yourself up or compare how other Catholics live and celebrate the liturgical year.

Here is a short list of idea's to get you thinking how you can celebrate our patroness of the America's:

  1. Eat some Mexican food - I know this one seems obvious! It doesn't have to be an extravagant five course meal. It can be as simple as tacos with chips and guacamole. Have some type of Mexican food or dish as a way to remember and celebrate this special feast.
  2. Go to a Spanish Mass today - Whether or not you live near a parish with a Spanish Mass, make an effort and do some research to find an opportunity to visit one on this day. It is such a beautiful, celebratory liturgy with traditions from different Hispanic cultures. If you cannot find one at a parish, check with your diocese to see if they are hosting a Spanish Mass or some type of cultural celebration at your diocesan cathedral.
  3. Purchase an image or statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe - If you don't have this image in your home, consider purchasing one and having it blessed. Maybe think about buying some red roses to put near Our Lady. It is a simple way to show our Mother honor on her feast day.
  4. Research the story behind the image - It is fascinating! Many scientific studies have been done on Saint Juan Diego's tilma. For me, this is one of the most beautiful parts of this Marian apparition. Check out some websites to read more on what science sees what Mary saw from the tilma here, here, and here
  5. Think about buying and donating some baby care items to a local pregnancy center - Remember in this image of Mary, she appears and is pregnant with Jesus. Our Lady was a young, unwed expectant mother when she appeared to Saint Juan Diego. Do something today to bless other young women who find themselves in this situation. 
  6. Do an act of charity for the poor today - Juan Diego was a poor, humble, peasant when Our Lady appeared to him. Why not show your love for our Mother by doing something charitable for those closest to her heart - the poor, forgotten, and little? Be on the lookout for an opportunity to bless someone less fortunate than you.
Have you ever celebrated today's feast?

Would you add anything else to this list?

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the America's, pray for us and our families!

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