01 June 2020

What to Say to Catholics Going Through Divorce

I try to use my little space here responsibly; to share with authenticity and talk about painful topics sometimes we don't know what to do with in the Church.

If you have been around here for awhile, you know at the age 30 I went through a divorce, annulment, and in time began the process of learning to date in a new way. My life is radically different from those years.

I think my experience of those things as a young Catholic woman is a perspective not very common in Catholic circles.

As I have done my own healing work, I've realized God can use my experience to encourage or share hope with other Catholic women in a similar situation.

Over the last few years, I have begun to write and share from that season of my life. I receive a steady stream of emails from Catholic women looking for help, resources, and a place for their voice to be heard and pain to be seen.

In the last week, I came across some blog posts I had published with the CatholicMatch Institute on the experience of divorce as a young Catholic. I offer them here for you; whether you a navigating this in your own life or you have a friend or family member facing the pain of divorce.

Sometimes when we have not walked a particular experience or situation, we don't know how to respond because that has never happened to us. I have heard this again and again from other Catholic women who have gone through a divorce.

There are some helpful and not so helpful things to be aware of when walking with someone in your life going through a divorce.

There have been plenty of times where the many good people in my life have offered me advice that challenged me and helped me grow. At the same time, there have been incidents where people offered advice that was less than helpful or just plain insensitive.

In a particular way, I think for divorced Catholics, receiving helpful or hurtful advice can be sensitive to navigate. When I was navigating my own divorce and annulment, I was very fortunate to be surrounded by an army of friends and family who loved me and walked alongside very closely through the pain of those years.

Thankfully, I only had one experience of a friend who said something hurtful and unkind in regards to my circumstances.

Sadly, I know this is not the case for everyone else.

There are some important things to keep in mind.
You can read more about them over at CatholicMatch Institute . . .

(Another post discussing The Struggles of Going Through a Divorce While Young may be helpful or encouraging to someone in your life). 

I never claim to be an expert in any of this but I know I am not the only Catholic who gone through this. 

I hope if that is you (or someone close in your life) it speaks to where you are and helps you feel seen and heard.

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26 May 2020

3 Big Dating Mistakes Women Make

Ladies, I promise I am not trying to throw you or any of us under the bus.


Can we all admit to something?

All of us who are dating and seeking to find the right man (or woman if you're a man reading this) have made dating mistakes along the way. I could write a book about all mine over the years. 

Friends, none of us have this figured out.
We are not perfect when it comes to dating and it is important to take responsibility for our part.

I know this has been a lesson to learn for me on more than one occasion. I ghosted a man when I should not have, and really regretted how I treated him. There have been other times I reacted too strongly to something that turned out not to be a red flag. On other occasions,  I became too emotionally attached or invested in man too soon.

Needless to say I have been in the trenches with you figuring out and learning (sometimes through big or small mistakes!) how to be a healthy dater.

Over the last year and a half, I have spent a lot of time reflecting on my own dating mistakes. I have thought about what dating mistakes I see other Catholic women struggling with just like me. 

The three I most see common for Catholic women?

  1. Letting your heart run away with your mind
  2. Attaching to a particular outcome
  3. Focusing on him vs. your own life

Head over to the CatholicMatch Institute to read more . . .

What are some of the dating mistakes you have made or learned from in your own life?

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18 May 2020

Virtual Ways to Experience Beauty at Home

How are we all doing right now in quarantine life?

I definitely think we can agree and say life feels a bit overwhelming and uncertain right now. It can be difficult to find and experience beauty and goodness when life requires us to stay home, but we can still experience the beauty of the world around us.

There is open wall space in my living room, and currently I am turning it into a wall of encouragement, filled with words or phrases that breathe peace into my spirit.

Head over to Verily to read what I wrote on finding beauty and goodness virtually without having to leave your home.

Where are you finding beauty in your life right now?

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09 May 2020

Why Mothers Day is for All Women

Mothers day is for all women.

Physical mothers who carry their babies for nine months. Spiritual mothers who may not have children of their own. Adoptive mothers. Birth mothers who carry their babies and courageously give up their babies for adoption. Foster moms who become moms to children who have no mom. Godmothers. Spiritual mentors.

This second Sunday in May is for each of you.

Rewind to an October day in 2018.

I was driving on the freeway to my parents making a visit to drop off something.

While in the car I was talking aloud to Jesus. I was telling him honestly about some of the things on my heart these days: fears about dating after my annulment, how to know when I meet the right man I will marry, and fears that perhaps its not in the cards for me to marry and have my own children someday.

You see, that last one was an extra sensitive subject for my heart. 

I have wanted to be a mommy from the time I was a little girl. As I worked through the loss of my marriage and adapting to a new life, I had to name and wrestle with the reality that perhaps it wouldn't be in the cards for me to marry again and have children of my own.

For awhile now, I danced around being fully transparent with Jesus on this topic. I tip-toed around it thinking as long as I didn't actually express my feelings, I'd be fine. FALSE.
You can never fool God.

Anyway, back to that car ride.

So, I decided to be really honest with Jesus. I started to cry.

I told Jesus all my fears and insecurities that those things would never happen for me. There may have been some choice (aka four lettered) words I used. But I was really honest with God.

I got it all out.

Later on in the day, I was doing some cleaning at my apartment. While scrubbing the toilet (God really can speak anywhere!), I had such a sense of the presence and the peace of God. 

I will be okay if those things don't happen for me. I have impacted the lives of many people. I can be a mom in lots of different ways to my nephew, my godsons, and the children of close friends. Life will still be good and meaningful if I never can be a physical mother.

It just kind of downloaded on me. I knew this was God because of how deeply things resonated in my soul. There was a shift for me that day, toilet brush in hand.

Why share this?

Sometimes Mothers Day is a very hard, sad day for people. 

Maybe your mom is gone, abandoned you, or you have a tumultuous relationship at best.

Perhaps you don't have children, are unable to conceive, or do not understand why everyone else around you gets pregnant except you. Maybe you are single and wonder if you'll ever experience being a mom.

Those of you who are physical mothers and have birthed babies through your incredible bodies, please do not hear this as not recognizing or seeing you. What a beautiful joy and privilege to have such a gift like that in your life. 

I am genuinely and sincerely happy for you. I really mean it.

But as a Catholic woman who does not have children, sometimes Mothers Day is hard because it feels like the focus of the day is on something I do not have, children.

There have been years it is difficult to be at Mass and the priest asks all the moms to stand for a blessing.

You know what he should do? Ask EVERY woman in that church to stand up, because every woman is a mother. Every single woman in that church should be standing up.

Physical motherhood is an incredible gift, but it is not the only way to be a mom.

While we are not able to gather in church buildings this Mothers Day, let's just be aware to celebrate and honor all women today. Remember those too for whom this day is painful, sad, or lonely.

A mother is not determined by the babies she wishes she had or how many earthly children she has.

In her writings Edith Stein continually points out, to be a mother is to nourish and protect true humanity and bring it to development. 

What does this mean for all women this Mothers Day?

It means a woman's greatest strength and power lies in her gift of maternity, both physical and spiritual.

So celebrate all the women on Mothers Day; acknowledge all the many beautiful ways women can be moms in their communities, families, and the world.

Because the second Sunday of May each year is for every woman.

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29 April 2020

Pray + Plan (BIS Pre-Orders Live!)

I don't know about you but I am fairly certain your planner or calendar the last few months has looked very different than you expected.

I know mine has.

Looking ahead to when life resume a bit more from this virus and #quarantinelife, I am eagerly looking forward to starting the month of August with the new Blessed is She 2020-2021 Academic Year planner.

Pre-orders began this week and they're at a discounted price ($10 off!) for people who pre-order. They planners will begin shipping at the end of May.

Continued from last year, there is a larger size and the mini version of the planner.

Larger Size - Monthly Layout

Mini Size - Monthly Planning Section

Mini Size - Weekly Layout

I wanted to share with you what are some new features this year and the meaning behind Pray + Plan.

New this Year:

  • a gold elastic band to keep everything in place. Am I the only one losing my papers or reminder notes?!
  • A monthly call to prayer with prayer prompts and space to journal right in the planner.
  • At the very beginning of the planner are various prayer guides: How to Pray a Holy Hour, an Examination of Conscience, popular Catholic prayers, and How to Pray the Rosary.
  • One novena per month that lands on a specific saint's feast day.
  • For both planners, the pre-weekly planning sheet has been cleaned up a bit.

The Purpose of Pray + Plan:

This year's Catholic planner invites women to encounter Jesus as we plan our days with and for Him. We will dive into the persons of the Trinity in this planner: Father, Son, and Spirit. Women are invited to contemplate a different name / attribute of God with a bible verse and prayer prompt at the start of each month.

I am so excited to connect more with each Person of the Trinity this year!

If you have specific questions about the planner or which size is best for your needs, head over to the FAQS page. Don't need the FAQ and want to snag the order discount?

As always, thank you so much for using my affiliate link when shopping with Blessed is She.

Money from affiliate sales goes right a my next smallest loan in my debt snowball. Be impressed, Dave Ramsey.

Happy Planning, friends! :)

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23 April 2020

The Power in a Purple Dress

On Easter, I dressed up and wore a beautiful purple dress.

It was comfortable, had pockets, and fit me like a glove. I decided to dress up especially for Easter this year even if I was going to be physically alone and not see my family.

You see, my purple dress means something very important to me.

This month was four years since my divorce, April 5, 2016.
It is certainly not a day to celebrate, but it is a date that represents something important to me.

This day in my life is an example of the sacred tension where grace and suffering meet. A day filled with incredible loss and sadness, but a day equally filled with hope and newness.

That's where the story of my purple dress begins.

After I left the courthouse with my mom, she decided we would spend the whole afternoon together. We went shopping at Home Goods and Nordstrom Rack, laughed and cried, and she bought me a stunning purple dress.

This wonky sunlight is not helping me become a fashion blogger.

Later that evening, my brother, sister, and BIL took me out for a delicious dinner at a fancy restaurant. It was by no means a celebration of my divorce, but a way for them to support and love me on this very difficult day.

I remember going to the bathroom and catching my reflection in the mirror after I washed my hands. I smiled at what I saw, grateful I said yes to this dress and hopeful of what it represented in this new life for me.

The night was perfect. My brother made sure we ordered and ate all of the 15 appetizers on the menu. I even swallowed the fish eyeball from the cooked trout.
We ate yummy food, laughed, and drank too much wine.

I hadn't thought about that purple dress until I recently tried it on again, cleaning out my closet for the warmer months ahead.

It might sound silly, but as I look back that purple dress represented a new chapter in my life, new beginnings.

While I looked and felt great in this piece of clothing, it did something to my spirit. It became a representation of where my life was going, even if I didn't know all the twists and turns in this new season.

Purple was the new Patty, a different and stronger version.

Life has been good to me since that day, as well as difficult and hard.

We are living in weird and crazy times right now. 

Do you have something in your life that is the equivalent to my purple dress? It points to a stronger, more whole version of yourself. 

Does it bring hope or new perspective in these times?

There is still a lot of meaning for me in that purple dress.

I hope you find a purple dress in your life too. :)

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20 April 2020

The Quietest Alleluia

Its the Lent, Holy Week, and Easter (for some reason!) Jesus wants us to have, I remind myself.

What a simple Easter this year, the quietest Alleluia I have ever known.

And yet, I wouldn't change much.

For over the last month or so, life has changed in ways I never dreamed possible. I think all of us feel that way.

There are days I (still) am in shock at how different life looks.

Not seeing any of my immediate family or friends was a difficult transition at first, especially living alone. Thankful for the security of my parish job, I have adjusted to working from home and mastered the art of leading reflections and retreats on Zoom for people in RCIA.

My family perfected our collective Zoom skills by sharing a virtual Easter dinner together and have arranged a handful of quarantine care package drop-offs and hugs through windows.

The first few weeks of this new existence for me were just plain hard, as is for many of us. I consumed too much media and news coverage on the growing number of cases in my state to the point I was losing all my peace. 

I burst into tears at the thought of not seeing my family at Easter. I had to adjust to not getting a hug from my boyfriend and learned to savor our nightly FaceTime dates of prayer and connection.

I navigated the days where I used peanut butter M&M's and Easter candy as a way for dealing with the anxiety, stress, and fear of the future.

Slowly, as days crept by, I developed a new rhythm.

I tried news forms of exercise and kept up my running outside. I read more books, enjoyed streamed symphony performances while folding laundry, and sent out over 50 love notes to friends and seniors in the parish where I work.

I disconnected from social media and have had more silence in my daily prayer.

These days are uncertain, overwhelming at times. There are so many things to consider or get worked up about that I could probably give myself an ulcer.

As the days pass, more of us know people who have gotten sick, died, or have family members in the medical field on the front lines of battling this virus.

We all have losses to grieve, messy ways of learning this new normal, and fears that we are trying to deal with.

About three weeks ago, as I was navigating this new existence, I posed a question to Jesus one morning.

Jesus, what are you teaching me here?

That question proved so fruitful, I decided to paint a colorful reminder of it in my apartment.

I sat with that question in the stillness each morning.

What I heard spoken back to me? 

Radical dependance. 

The world around and inside me is teaching me radical dependance. There's so much more to this that I have been unpacking in prayer.

But I share that with you as an invitation; gentle encouragement to ask Jesus what he is teaching you right here, right now.

What is Jesus teaching you in this space?

As the weeks pass on, life adjusts more to this new normal. I look forward to the smells and sounds of spring and freshness around me.

I look forward eagerly to the day I can go on coffee dates with friends, hug my parents, and go out to dinner with my boyfriend.
There are things we all miss and want to return to normal.

But there are some things I don't want to go back as they were. 

I am learning what radical dependance looks and feels like right now. How will it develop and change when life after quarantine resumes a bit more?

Time will tell.

This year was the quietest alleluia that ever was, perhaps similar to the first one uttered that first Easter morning.

I hope as life resumes and things open up again we each are changed in profound ways.

I pray that for myself and the world as these days pass.

Asking Jesus that one question has been a good spiritual practice for me right now.
I pray it is one that bears fruit and insight in your life too.

Sending you light and love this Easter season, friends!

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17 April 2020

Sex and the Catholic Feminist (a Book Review)

Sex, Catholicism, and feminism.

Do I have your attention?

These words are spoken about more frequently these days, both online and in Catholic culture.

You might not think that those three words go together at all. In many ways, these words do go together. The intersection of these words have powerful implications for the Catholic Church and for women.

Defining the Terms and Exploring History

A few years ago while browsing the FemCatholic group recommended books to read, my eye was caught by Sue Ellen Browder's book Subverted: How I Helped the Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women's Movement. As a woman who values certain but not all ideals held by feminism, I was very interested to read this book from the perspective of a woman who used to identify as a secular feminist. 

One of the main things I learned? Abortion and contraception were never originally a part of the 1960's women's movement. I was shocked. The book went more deeply into the background and history of how those changes came to be.

Fast-forward to the present day.

Sex and the Catholic Feminist Book Review

In January of 2020, Sue Ellen Browder released her newest book, Sex and the Catholic Feminist: New Choices for a New Generation.

The premise of the book delves more deeply into tracing back the roots and history of feminism in the United States while taking up a battle cry for the ardent need for Catholic women to take back the word (and ideals) of feminism.

Secular feminism has reduced a woman's dignity and personhood merely to her sex organs and desirability. At the same time, it denies motherhood, marriage, and exults abortion and contraception.

How Did We Get Where We are Today?

The author does an incredible job of laying the historical foundation of feminism in this country )also covered in her previous book). In this book, she also introduces readers to several women from the women's movement in the 1960's and how their individual influence has brought our culture to where it is today.

I want to highlight two of them so you can get a fuller picture of how we ended up here.

Have you ever heard of Betty Friedan and Helen Gurley Brown?

Read more on the Blessed is She blog . . . 

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06 April 2020

Encouraging Instagram Accounts to Follow in a Time of Stress

( I hope in these scary, difficult days you and your family are safe and healthy. In the coming days, I am hoping to write a blog on what I am learning and how God is speaking to my heart in these days. I hope you are finding peace in the middle of the chaos).

Life can quickly become stressful and feel like it is going off the rails.

When you sense that shift interiorly, it can be helpful to take a step back. Give yourself a mental time out if needed. Take some deep breaths. Start counting out loud the things for which you are grateful.
Pay attention to what is happening in your life. Ask yourself, "What just happened that is causing this emotional and physical reaction in my body? What can I do about it right now?"

Sometimes when I feel anxious I catch myself mindlessly scrolling on social media (particularly Instagram) as a way to deal with my stress. It tends to be pure distraction from taking the time to understand why my body and mind feel stressed. But I am usually left feeling more anxiety, and now I'm comparing my life to what I see as I scroll as well.

But, while endless scrolling is not a tool for dealing with tress, it sometimes helps with stress to have your feed more full of people who are encouraging and life-giving to your spirit.

Here are a handful of encouraging accounts that always breathe freshness into my spirit when I need it most.

In these we're living right now, don't we all need more peace and encouragement?

Head over to Verily to get some new ideas on encouraging accounts to follow ...

Who are some of your own favorite, encouraging Instagram accounts to follow?

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26 March 2020

8 Things People Told Me About Catholic Dating - That Turned out to be Wrong

Let's acknowledge the awkward, giant elephant sitting in the living room of our hearts: Dating as a Catholic Woman in 2020 is a weird place to be.

I am 34 years old and unmarried. As I have navigated the dating scene (and learned from many mistakes), I have heard plenty of unhealthy and weird things; and just plain bad advice.

I suspect some of you can relate to this.

Maybe it was a rigorous "purity culture" that lacked pastoral compassion. Perhaps it was unhealthy attitudes from books like I Kissed Dating Goodbye. Or maybe it was an excessive focus on things like virginity, modesty, or how a Christian woman "should act."

I think for many Christian women today, that list would go on and on.

Over the years, as I have learned to date in a more healthy, self-aware manner, I have thrown away much of what I used to believe about Catholic dating - and there was a lot of garbage to toss out.

Based on a conversation in the FemCatholic Forum and my own experience, here are eight things we were told about Catholic dating that turned out to be wrong.

Head over to FemCatholic to read more ...

Would you say some of these were true to your own experience?

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12 March 2020

Erin Go Bragh (Ireland Forever!) + Ways to Celebrate Saint Patrick's Day

Many Americans hail heritage from the Emerald Isle, myself included. Some of my great grandparents (and great great grandparents) on both sides of my family emigrated from Ireland.

Growing up, my family had special traditions to keep us connected to the roots of our family history. We cooked certain foods or special family recipes and listened to stories about my great grand parents.

A picture of an Irish cathedral, because why not?! 

As an Irish American, I am struck by the importance of celebrating the feast of Saint Patrick

If he never went back to evangelize the pagan culture in Ireland, Catholicism may not have taken root and spread. Maybe it's a stretch, but I like to think my Irish relatives were Catholic because of Saint Patrick.
And, in a way, so am I.

Regardless of whether you claim Irish heritage or not, the life and legacy of Saint Patrick (like many of the Saints in the Church) have impacted the world we live in to this day.

I am over at the Blessed is She blog today sharing some fun, unique ways to celebrate the wearing of green this March 17th.

Head over HERE for some food, prayer, and music ideas.

Saint Patrick, pray for us!

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25 February 2020

Is Codependency Bad For You? Here's the Science

I started going to counseling several years ago. What first brought me there was a troubled relationship - a negative situation that, of course, I thought I bore no responsibility for. I didn't know how wrong I was, and how much learning I had ahead of me.

I know it might sound utterly ridiculous, but I really thought I was doing okay. The other person I was dealing with was the one who "had all the problems." I thought I had it all together and did not have any work to do on myself.

Within the first six months of working with a therapist, I found myself engrossed in a topic that had been 100-percent foreign to me: codependency. What I learned opened doors for me to take responsibility for myself, which was a huge step in my journey toward personal growth.

What is codependency?

A number of people could have their own unique definition to capture what codependency is, but no one captures it as well as leading author Melody Beattie. She explains, "A codependent person is one who has let another person's behavior affect him or her, and who is obsessed with controlling that person's behavior."

The important thing to remember about this definition is that it is focused on our own behavior, not someone else's. Beattie explains that though a relationship might seem to be outward-centered, codependency "lies in ourselves, in the ways we have to let other people's behavior affect us and in the ways we try to affect them: obsessing, the controlling, the obsessive 'helping', caretaking, low self-worth bordering on self-hatred, self-repression, abundance of anger and guilt, and communication problems."

Codependent tendencies are often found in people who are dealing with a person who is struggling with an addiction. In some sense, a codependent uses these unhealthy ways of coping to deal with the chaos they find themselves in.

A codependent may actually think they are "helping" the other person by trying to control them. In actuality, they are taking responsibility for someone other than themselves; and that is always a dangerous role to undertake.

But when we know better, we can make better choices.

Read the rest at Grotto Network . . .

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13 February 2020

A Practice That is Changing how I Pray (& Hear God's Voice)

Asking Jesus questions.

Friends, this has become a game changer in my prayer life.

It is a practice that is deepening my relationship with God.

Jesus, what do you think of me right now?
Jesus, how are you loving me right now?
Jesus, what do you have to say to me about ________?

It sounds like such a simple little thing. But really, it has been changing me and how I hear God speak to me.

Let me back up a bit to February 2018.

I was in Phoenix for one of the regional Blessed is She retreats. One of the talks was given by a priest. In his homily at Mass, he spoke about the importance of inviting the presence of Jesus into every area of our lives, asking Him what He thinks or desires for us in a situation.

Jesus, what do you have to say to me about ________?
What do you think about ________?

It made an impression on me. 

I came home from the weekend and kept thinking about that question.
So much so, that I even hung those words up on my letter board in my living room.

That was two years ago.

Since then, I have noticed in little ways a heart shift within myself. If I start to worry or feel anxious about particular situations, I try to catch myself and ask that question, Jesus what do you have to say to me about this?

It slows me down, settles my easily rattled heart.

It is not a fool-proof method, but I am finding myself being more aware of my inner thought life as I live each day.

This practice of asking Jesus questions has helped me nurture and make time more for silence when I pray in the morning. 

When I get distracted in prayer (which is often!), I will go back to asking Jesus and just sitting in the silence, listening...waiting.

With asking Jesus these and various types of questions, it has also more deeply developed my ability to hear the voice of God in my life.

When I was new to growing in my faith, I felt so confused about how to know if this was God speaking to me or not. I over thought it and sometimes got myself worked up into a tizzy.

The older I get, the more I mellow and settle in my spirit; especially in a spiritual sense.

Asking Jesus questions helps me listen better and see the need for silence in my life. It is teaching me new things about the nature of God and how he personally speaks to me.

What are the spiritual practices changing you in your life right now?

What is God doing in you and where is he moving in new ways?

Ask Jesus a question and see where it takes you.

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05 February 2020

Retreating, Speaking, & Living

I took off some time over Christmas +New Year's. It was absolutely delightful.

Since 2020 rolled around, it has been go-go-go. There have been some exciting things happening around these parts along with some sweet surprises.

One of the spiritual goals I had for this year was to go on a silent retreat. Several years ago, I did the Spiritual Exercises with a priest friend over the course of five days. Wanting to do something a bit different this time, I have booked a room at The Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani for five days in May.

It is a Cistercian monastery which was the home and is the final resting place of Thomas Merton. He is one of my favorite spiritual writers and thinkers of all time.

My time there will not be a guided retreat, but more open-ended. I will attend Mass, participate in praying The Hours, and only bring my Bible, journal, and maybe a book for spiritual reading.

The last months have been busy with preparing for upcoming speaking events. This past weekend I went to Branson, MO to lead a day retreat for women at a parish. 
My host Nyssa was so gracious and kind, I met some lovely women (not to mention Nann my Uber driver!), and I was able to get Chick-Fil-A for dinner my last night.

I had the most wonderful time and came home happily exhausted.

At the end of this month, I am flying to speak at a diocesan youth conference in St. Augustine, Florida and have a few local things between February and March.

As I do more of these things, I see how much it feeds my soul, how much I love it. I just keep praying for God to open more doors and new opportunities as He sees fit for me.

I had a special movie date with my nephew Xavier. 
The same night, my sister Annie and I had a special movie marathon together.

I have started seriously dating someone. It is going really well and has been a sweet surprise from the end of 2019. 
It was a surprising (even jarring) at first because right off the bat it felt so natural, easy, and comfortable...it continues to feel that way. I shared with my mom a month or two ago, Mom, is this what is supposed to feel like when you meet the right person?
She smiled saying, Yeah, I think so sweetie.

We are not rushing down a church aisle, but the pace of this feels different yet very good. I am making mental notes along the way and paying attention to how I feel; and so far, this feels very good to me.

We have been meeting each other's family and friends and that has been going well. Apparently my two-year old nephew gave his stamp of approval. I am looking forward to some fun adventures we have coming up in the next month or two.

I have been able to catch up with a couple of dear girlfriends over the last month and am looking forward to going out with a few more this month.

I am staying present (as best as I can lol) and reminding myself that God's will, with all things in my life, is revealed in a quiet, beautiful unfolding. 
Life is rich and meaningful, and for that I am very grateful.

What is new and exciting in your life as we start this new decade!?

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27 January 2020

Resources We Need But Don't Discuss in the Catholic Church

I think there are some conversations we have well in the Church.

However, there are certain conversations we don't have enough (or at all).

Recently on my personal social media accounts, I have spent time sharing and opening up on certain conversations we need to have better in the Church around pornography and sexual addiction.

Navigating this in my life in a very personal way has been a journey at times I wish I did not have to go on. Sometimes I wish I could just share about my favorite books or latest find at Target.

I have promised myself (and God) that I would never want another Catholic woman to feel as alone or isolated as I did when I was married and trying to decide if I was merely surviving or thriving in that relationship.

As I grew healthier, my eyes were opened. 

Over the last few years, I have begun to write, speak, and do local ministry in my diocese trying to open up a messy, sensitive issue in the Church.

The reality is that pornography and/or sexual addiction will likely touch the life of someone you know. There may be a day where you need to have recommendations for a good counselor or book titles for a wife looking for validation of her own experience.

In my own recovery work and talking to many women, I have developed a resource list that I think offers some of the best counselors, books, and programs for women and men that this negatively impacts their relationship.

With the help of local CSAT (Certified Sex Addiction Therapists) therapists in Southeast Michigan, I have developed a detailed resource list for navigating a porn-saturated culture.

Because it is located and stored on my personal Google account, I will not share a direct link here. However, if you would like me to share and send you a copy of the information, I would be happy to do so.

My purpose of writing about it here is to see the information get into as many hands as possible.

I hope this is something you find helpful and supportive in a conversation that we sometimes don't know where to begin.

For questions regarding this, feel free to contact me under my Contact tab.

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17 January 2020

How Shame Really Impacts Us

I am bad.

I am dirty.

I am unlovable.

I am not enough the way I am.

Something is wrong with me.

Shame - it is a feeling that is part of the human condition, but inherent to the experience of it is the way it makes us avoid talking about it or facing it.

I know shame has crept into my own life and hurt me. I felt ashamed when a family member made insensitive comments about my eating habits and physical appearance. Shame hit me like a ton of bricks when I was sexually assaulted on a school bus in high school. Shame whispered at my heart when I made poor choices with a boyfriend, or when I compared myself to the standards of other women.

I hate this feeling.

It is dark and scary, like I am bad or dirty or a lesser person because of something I did or something that was done to me.

Shame is a powerful, destructive force that can twist the way we see ourselves, our place in the world, and our worth and value before God. Whereas guilt says I did something wrong, shame tells us that we are bad, that there is something wrong with us.

Shame has made an impressive comeback in culture, psychology, and popular media. Work by well-known researchers such as Brene Brown are helping men and women name and face the role that shame plays in our individual stories. People are starting to talk about something every human across the globe wrestles with.

But how do we start?

Head over to Grotto Network to read more . . .

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14 January 2020

God is Here, Too

Do you ever have phrases that seem to define certain seasons of your life?

I know I feel that way in my own life.

Your current reality is in the center of God's will.

The above sentence speaks deeply to where life finds me right now.

Friends, God is here, too.

In your present moment, the current chapter - even if it is not necessarily what you wish for or desire.

I found myself thinking about this sentence again today as the 2020 Blessed is She Lent Devotional launches.

The theme and title of this year's devotional, Here, Too: Where We Meet God, accompanies readers through the Gospels, Psalms, and personal stories from 8 different writers on the team whose experiences and sharing reveal those unexpected times and places where we meet God in life. 

Throughout Lent, we will journey together; through the desert, storm, at home, the tomb, and many more places we may not even consider.

There is also a beautiful bundle option that includes the Lenten devotional, a gorgeous rosary from Chews Life, and a tote to carry around in daily life. 

If you would like to pray through Easter, you can grab this combo deal that includes a copy of Risen: 50 Ways to Celebrate Easter. The Easter book is undated so you can use this book every year.

Where are you this season in life?

Do you believe God can meet you there, too?

I promise you, He can and He will.

Your current reality is in the center of God's will.

Wherever your life finds you right now, you can meet and find God right here, too.

I am looking forward to journeying with you this Lent.

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13 January 2020

How to Choose Godparents for Your Child

I was so excited when my sister and brother-in-law asked my brother and I to be godparents to their first child, Xavier. As all of us are practicing Catholics, my sister and her husband wanted to have my brother and I over a "godparent lunch" to discuss how they saw our role as godparents in their child's life and what we understood this important role to be.

At the end of the day, it is more than just a title.

Over breakfast quiche, homemade waffles, and mimosas, the four of us had a very honest conversation. My sister said it was important that we did not just show up for birthday parties, but were to play a key spiritual role in the formation of their son. It was important that we take seriously our role as spiritual mentors for our godchild and to be an active part of his entire life.

I was struck by this intentional way to choose and discuss the importance of the role as a godparent. 

Part of my current role as a Pastoral Associate in a parish is teaching the Baptism prep class for parents wanting to their child baptized. I have seen a lot of different families attend class with varying levels of belief or commitment to the practice of the Catholic Faith. Some know it is important to have a child baptized, but may not see the importance of weekly Sunday Mass or being a part of the parish community. Some may be well catechized and others may not.

You can find some helpful questions to consider and ask your (potential) godparents over here ...

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