A DYNAMIC Prayer Life

During the Christmas Vigil Mass, St. Brendan gifted one copy of The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic, by Matthew Kelly to each household. It was a pleasant surprise and reminded me once again how awesome my home parish is!

Matthew Kelly studied parishioner’s church engagement and summarizes the following in his book:FB_IMG_1423155109916

  • 4% of registered parishioners contribute 80% of the volunteer hours in a parish. 6.8% of the registered parishioners donate 80% of the financial contributions. There is an 84% overlap between these two groups.
  • The aforementioned stats mean that 7% of Catholics are accomplishing more than 80% of what the Catholic Church is doing in America today. The Catholic Church is already the largest charitable organization in the world; imagine how engaging just another 1% of Catholics could change the world. Wow, chew on that for a bit.
  • Highly engaged Catholics (the 7% who are accomplishing 80% of the Church’s work in America) are aptly named Dynamic Catholics and have four things in common. The four signs of a Dynamic Catholic are:
    • Prayer: Daily prayer routine.
    • Study: Students of Jesus who spend on average 14 minutes daily learning about Christ, His teachings and His Church.
    • Generosity: Generous with their time, talent, & money. Generous with love in their daily lives.
    • Evangelization: Invite others to grow spiritually by sharing your love of God with others.

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Sunday Night Cook-Up

I’m definitely an emotional eater. I have basically eaten my way through infertility the past 10 years resulting in some serious weight gain. You can read more about that in my previous blog entry LORD HELP ME I’M FAT.  In an effort to get healthy, I’m taking part in a guided sugar detox. Sugar for me is both an addiction in itself and a trigger for binge eating. It is also very bad for people who live with auto-immune disorders. I decided on Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar (IQS) 8 week program because it focuses on a gentle sugar detox while eating real foods. In addition to weekly meal plans (with grocery lists), I have been given access to dietitians, nutritionist and psychologists. There is a lot of support included in the IQS program. My goal is to permanently quit sugar while learning to nourish my body – which is a gift from God in which the Holy Spirit dwells. COR 3:16

Do you not know that you are the temple of God,
and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
If anyone destroys God’s temple,
God will destroy that person;
for the temple of God, which you are, is holy.

So, yesterday I had my first Sunday Cook Up in which you prep food for the week to save some time. This included some quinoa, chia pudding and a gluten-free buckwheat loaf. Continue reading

Lord Help Me I’m Fat!


I’ve really procrastinated writing this particulate blog entry as well as delaying its post. But I’m blessed to have a husband that believes in me and has held me to task, so here it goes…..

Does the world hate fat people? I don’t think so.  I have a little more faith in humanity, but I do think there is a general uncomfortableness and aversion. At worst, there is a widespread disapproval.  Let’s be honest with ourselves, we have all felt that sense of dread when an obese person is assigned to the seat next to us on the plane. We have felt disgusted when watching the overweight friend or family member overindulged in pizza, sweets or soda.  Repeatedly our society has portrayed being fat as a death sentence or personal choice.  There is certainly some truth in that, but it’s not the whole truth. Biology, genetics, illnesses, and social/emotional factors also contribute to being overweight and some of these issues are not within our control. Lastly, not all thin people are healthy and not all overweight people are unhealthy. Continue reading

Let Go and Let God?

Proverbs 30.16

Sheol, a barren womb,

land that never gets its fill of water,

and fire, which never says, “Enough!”

Yesterday I was at the Doctor’s office. I’m now a mature woman in my EARLY 40’s, but when I was a young girl I was diagnosed with endometriosis. It was the aggressive stuff that less than 2% of woman with endometriosis experience. I was stubborn and despite 3 nerve blocks and weekly visits to the pain management clinic, I would not have a hysterectomy. Over the course of the next 11 years I would have 13 surgeries. In my 20’s & early 30’s I just refused to accept that I would not give birth to my own children. It was not until I was 36 that I realized I was out of options and consented to a total abdominal hysterectomy. Uterus, ovaries and cervix are all gone. Immediately post operative, my physical pain was relieved and I was able to stop all pain management.  In the years since my hysterectomy, I have been diagnosed with a general autoimmune disorder resulting in multiple bouts of pleurisy and other inappropriate immune responses.  My Doctor’s believe that my autoimmune issues may have been what caused my endometriosis to be so aggressive; conversely, my endometriosis treatments (such has chemotherapy) may be what have angered my immune system. It’s a ‘what came first’ scenario.

Anyhoo, back to my Doctor’s appointment yesterday. I was meeting with an endocrinologist regarding my thyroid. He asked the same question as my internist and gynecologist before him, “Do you work?” I responded with the same answer I gave the other doctors and told him that I do work. He then gave me a familiar response, “Can you work less?” And there it was. The question my husband and I have been pondering for the past four years.

There were two predominant issues that kept me working full-time. One was my desire to adopt a child. Prior to my hysterectomy I was obsessed with preserving my fertility. Post hysterectomy I became obsessed with adoption. The second issue was that my step-sons were in chaos. I feel the need to define their chaos: their mother had a child with a married man, this man and his two-year old son were often spending overnights in their home, threats to be moved out-of-state, a cousin who is transitioning gender from female to male, depressive episodes, and everything else that comes with disorder in the home. I don’t have to tell any reader with children that when they are in chaos, it can be a financial strain that you will gladly carry to remove them from a state of disorder and place them back into a state of order. Both of these issues have since resolved (though not in the way I desired).   Continue reading

Step-parenting is REALLY hard (but not for the reasons you might think)

I have the privilege of step-parenting two boys. I’m unable to have children and I was lucky enough to marry a man with two. I love these kids. They are one of my greatest sources of joy and they are one of my greatest sources of pain. I imagine, in that way, step-parenting is very similar to organic parenting. For the sake of this blog post I’m defining organic parenting as a child living with a custodial mother and father who are either biological or adoptive. Organic parenting involves a child being in your home full-time and decisions (good and bad) are made by both mom and dad. Organic parenting is natural. It’s never perfect and it’s not always successful; but it is the best parenting model. It’s been tested; it’s the old tried and true. Organic parenting is the only parenting model which unites children with both their mother and father.

Step-parenting is none of these things. It’s not organic. My step children are not in our home full-time; they split their time between two homes. Decisions (good and bad) are not made by both mom and dad. My step children do not get to experience a parenting model which unites them with both their mother and father. My step children have to live with a parenting model in which mom and dad are split. It’s not natural; nothing organic about it.

What makes step-parenting difficult is that there is nothing a step-parent can do to rectify this situation for their step-children. Many adults are unable to acknowledge that this problem even exists. Just the mere mention that step-children do not get to experience an organic parenting model angers many adults. We have created soft phrases to describe split parenting such as “co-parenting” or “modern family.” Continue reading

The Catholic Woman: local, organic, sustainable.

Local, Organic & Sustainable.

We have all heard these words applied to everything from food to textiles. I have been known to visit the local farmers market or the certified organic grocer. I try to purchase items friendly to the environment and attempt to reduce my household waste. I understand the importance of supporting local merchants, putting chemical free foods into my body, and sustaining our environmental resources. I get it (most of the time).

Local, Organic & Sustainable. These three words have been used for so many different products and practices; their meaning is in danger of being lost. My mother, while having her hair colored at a salon, was informed by the stylist that the hair dye was not only organic and environmentally friendly, but vegan. Hair color so harmless that it is edible.

My husband and I were talking about this phenomenon.  We have come to expect these words when describing our purchases or lifestyles, but have become numb to their meaning. Through our discussion it occurred to me that outside the Catholic Church there is nothing more Local, Organic or Sustainable than the Catholic Woman. Continue reading