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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