Posted in Notes from the Field

Coming to Grips with Being Chosen

February 8, 2018

I had the strangest dream last night.  Everything was black except for this green mask in the background.  Then a voice said, “You’ve got to believe you’ve been chosen.”  An odd dream which caused me to wonder if I did believe.  I’ve never thought of it in those terms.  God said, “Why don’t you start a magazine”, or something along those lines and I said, “Okay.”  At the time, I thought it was an odd choice.  One that didn’t mesh with my talents, but (as can be expected) I was proved wrong.  Yet, I never questioned that God wanted me to do it.  I do have to say, though, there is a surreality about it all.  Perhaps, I don’t believe.

So . . . chosen, huh?  I’m not fond of the title.  It denotes honor.  Not that there’s anything wrong with honor, per se, but being honored by God means so much more.  It’s like being inducted into the Hall of Fame.  That doesn’t mesh with how I view myself.  I never considered myself one of the players. Instead, I’ve always felt a part of the crowd.  So it’s like one moment I’m sitting in the stands, the next I’m in the Hall of Fame, and no one has told me why.  I only have my own judgment to go by and it’s telling me I don’t belong there.   The entire experience has become surreal because of it.

Chosen.  Considering my problems with pride not an honorific I’m willing to embrace.  It’s too easy to move from that to the Chosen One.  If that doesn’t give me a big head, then I don’t know what will. 

Chosen people?  That’s a little better, not so singular, but not so great either considering what happened to the Pharisees.  They got so jealous of their position they lost sight of what they were about.  Look how that ended.  No, it won’t eliminate my problems with pride.

Chosen for a job?  A definite improvement.  The kingdom of God is massive and has many positions which need to be filled.  Mine is just one of them.  Looking at it this way puts it in terms I can wrap my head around.  It also gives me a greater sense of community: one of many working towards the same common goal.  Of course, it also lessens the honor, but with it goes the pride.  In its place I can appreciate the blessing bestowed on me. 

Yet, for all that I have this sense I’m missing some point regarding faith.  Hmmm.

. . .

As much as thinking of my ministry as being a job helps, it lacks faith.  The Holy Spirit expressed it to me during prayer, “God choosing us should be all the approbation we need.”  And I get it.  Who better to judge our fitness for a job than He who is omniscient?  Who better to know how things are going to turn out?  Me, who can see no farther into the future than her nose, or God, who knows exactly what’s going to happen?

What a great definition for faith: substituting God’s judgment for our own.  This is such a game changer.  It doesn’t matter if I don’t believe I’m not up to the task because God knows better and He chose me. 


Photo generously donated by Alexander Shustov @Unsplash

Posted in Christian Life

9 Days for Life: Day 9

Day Nine: Friday, January 26, 2018

Intercession: For God’s peace to fill the hearts of all who travel upon the path of adoption.

Prayers: Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be

Reflection: The Letter to the Hebrews reminds us to “hold fast to the hope that lies before us. This we have as an anchor of the soul, sure and firm” (Heb 6:18-19). We pray that all who are involved in the adoption process would be filled with the hope of Christ and “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding” (Phil 4:7). We also remember that we too can cling fast to this anchor of hope, for we have received “a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, ‘Abba, Father!’” (Rom 8:15). May our loving Father envelop each of us in his love today and open our eyes in faith that we may see and rejoice in his love.

Acts of Reparation (choose one):

  • Make an act of faith, hope, or love (
    • Fast from snacking today. Eat three meals only.
    • In “An Adoption Love Story,” Jenny* shares her and her husband’s story of adopting their son, Andrew. Read about some of the challenges, concerns, and joys on their journey at, and spend some extra time in prayer for all who are involved in the adoption process.

One Step Further:

Accompanying Expectant Mothers Considering Adoption” suggests nine ways to offer ongoing support to a woman who is considering placing her unborn child for adoption ( Many of the tips given are also helpful for supporting a friend who is experiencing a challenging unexpected pregnancy, even if adoption has not been brought up.

Supplemental reference information regarding adoption can be found at

*Names changed for privacy.

NABRE © 2010 CCD. Used with permission. Copyright © 2018, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved.

Posted in Christian Life

9 Days for Life: Day 8

Day Eight: Thursday, January 25, 2018

Intercession: For an end to the use of the death penalty in our country.

Prayers: Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be

Reflection: As Catholics, we believe and put our hope in a merciful and loving God. We are conscious of our own brokenness and need for redemption. Our Lord calls us to imitate him more perfectly by witnessing to the inherent dignity of every person, including those whose actions have been despicable. Our faith and hope is in the mercy of God who says to us, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Mt 5:7) and “I desire mercy, not sacrifice” (Mt 9:13). As Christians, we are called to oppose the culture of death by witnessing to something greater and more perfect: a gospel of life, hope and mercy.

Acts of Reparation (choose one):

  • Do something kind for someone else without being asked or telling anyone. Pray for him or her while you do so.
  • Ask God today for the grace to be extra joyful and share Christ’s love with those who need encouragement the most today.
  • Read about the life of a modern saint. You might be surprised by how much you have in common with him or her.

One Step Further: For some people who are committed to upholding the sanctity of human life, the death penalty can present a challenge. Properly understood, however, Catholic teaching against the death penalty is both persuasive and eminently pro-life. Learn about the death penalty within the context of respect for God’s gift of human life in “Death Penalty: Catholic Q & A” (


NABRE © 2010 CCD. Used with permission. Copyright © 2018, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved.

Posted in Christian Life

9 Days for Life: Day 7

Day Seven: Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Intercession: May those who long for a child of their own be filled with trust in God’s loving plan.

Prayers: Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be

Reflection: It can be very difficult and painful when the Lord doesn’t answer our prayers the way we hope. We may have many doubts and questions, wondering why we face the challenges that we do. Yet even though our suffering is often shrouded in a sense of mystery, we believe that the Lord loves us with great tenderness and compassion that is beyond our imagination. Knowing this, we can trust that “all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose” (Rom 8:28).

Acts of Reparation (choose one):

  • Give up your favorite form (or all forms) of social media for the day. Spend some of the extra time meditating upon Romans 8:28 or another Scripture verse or passage.
  • Learn how to pray the Angelus prayer and consider saying it every day for the next week— on awakening, at noon, or at 6 p.m. (or all three times).
  • Spend quality time with a family member or friend; offer to help them in some way.

One Step Further: “Seven Considerations While Navigating Infertility” ( seeks to provide compassionate guidance that is both practical and informative for married couples who are walking on this road. Although geared to such couples, the article is also helpful for anyone to read, offering insight into the experience of infertility and giving awareness of the need for sensitivity in our relationships with those who may be affected.

NABRE © 2010 CCD. Used with permission. Copyright © 2018, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved.

Posted in Christian Life

9 Days for Life: Day 6

Day Six: Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Intercession: May those near the end of their lives receive medical care that respects their dignity and protects their lives.

Prayers: Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be

Reflection: When Maggie’s active father suffered an accident that eventually led to his passing, he taught her that pain and loss of autonomy doesn’t diminish our human dignity, and that life—however much is left—is worth living.

As a 50-year-old wife and mother of three, Maggie needed this message when she was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Instead of giving up hope, she embraced her father’s legacy: “[M]y life is, always has been, and always will be, worth living.”

Meet Maggie in a 3-minute video (, and read the brief article it inspired: “Maggie’s Story: Living like Dad” (

Acts of Reparation (choose one):

  • Pray a decade of the Rosary ( for your deceased friends and family, as well as those who have no one to pray for them.
  • We look forward to eternal life by preparing now, in hope, for our passage from this life to the next. Spend some time prayerfully reflecting on “Catholic Considerations for Our Earthly Passing” ( Several considerations are given as starting points for understanding and preparing for our earthly passing in a way that respects God’s gift of human life.
  • Read and reflect upon “Caring for Loved Ones at Life’s End” ( Ten suggestions anchored in unconditional respect for human life help readers know how to provide authentically compassionate care. (Supplemental information:

One Step Further: Proponents of doctor-assisted suicide try to draw a sharp (and tragic) distinction between those with a mental illness who want to end their lives and those already nearing death who express the same wish. Although polls indicate the public is receptive to the general concept of assisted suicide, when people understand the associated dangers, they are less likely to support the practice.

Learn seven compelling reasons you can share for opposing assisted suicide: “Top Reasons to Oppose Assisted Suicide” (


Copyright © 2018, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved.

Posted in Christian Life

9 Days for Life: Day 5

Day Five: Monday, January 22, 2018

If you or someone you know is suffering after abortion, confidential non-judgmental help is available. Visit

Intercession: May each person suffering from the loss of a child through abortion find hope & healing in Christ.

Prayers: Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be

Reflection: Today, on this 45th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we consider the past four decades in which our society has legally permitted abortion. Since that tragic decision, many children’s lives have been lost, and many suffer that loss—often in silence. Yet God’s greatest desire is to forgive. No matter how far we have each strayed from his side, he says to us, “Don’t be afraid. Draw close to my heart.”

“In the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation, also called confession, we meet the Lord, who wants to grant forgiveness and the grace to live a renewed life in him. … We bishops and priests are eager to help you if you experience difficulty, hesitation, or uncertainty about approaching the Lord in this sacrament. …we are ready to welcome you.”*

Let us run into the arms of Jesus, who is love and mercy.

Acts of Reparation (choose one):

  • Go to confession today or this week. Before you go, look up St. Faustina and learn a little about the message of Divine Mercy that she shared during her life (
  • Do you know how to help women and men suffering after abortion? Consider the suggestions in “Bridges of Mercy for Post-Abortion Healing” (
  • Pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy ( for those who are suffering the loss of a child through abortion, asking that they find healing and peace.

One Step Further:

If a friend confided in you tomorrow that she had an abortion, would you be able to respond in a way that brings her closer to healing? Learn what to do and say in “How to Talk to a Friend Who’s Had an Abortion” (

Did You Know?

In the Catholic Church in the United States, January 22nd is designated as a particular day of prayer and penance, called the “Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children.” As Catholics, we are called to observe this day through the penitential practices of prayer, fasting, and/or giving alms.

More Information:


*“God’s Gift of Forgiveness: Pastoral Exhortation on the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation,”

Copyright © 2018, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved.

Posted in Christian Life

9 Days for Life: Day 4

Day Four: Sunday, January 21, 2018

Intercession: May all people embrace the truth that every life is a good and perfect gift, and is worth living.

Prayers: Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be

Reflection: Our culture is obsessed with perfection—a superficial perfection. Photos are edited, and social media sites depict seemingly perfect lives. God calls us to seek perfection, too. He does not call us, however, to perfection of appearance or abilities, but to perfection in love.

In “A Perfect Gift” ( one parent shares about the experience of raising a child with Down syndrome, contrasting it with what onlookers might perceive: “It’s like looking at a stained-glass window from the outside: The colors look dark, and you can’t quite make out the figures. From the inside, however, with the sun shining through it, the effect can be brilliant. From inside our family, love illuminates our life with Charlie.* What may seem dreary to others, perhaps even unbearable, is actually filled with beauty and color.”

May each of us experience the power of God’s transforming love, that our eyes may be opened to the incredible beauty of the people the Lord places in our lives.

Acts of Reparation (choose one):

  • Pray the short prayer “Every Life is Worth Living” (, reflecting on how you can bring Christ’s love to others today.
  • Read “Supporting Families Who Receive a Prenatal Diagnosis” (, then spend some time praying for babies who have been given an adverse prenatal diagnosis and for their families.
  • We can sometimes forget how blessed we are to have many of our daily comforts. Give up sleeping on your pillow tonight.

One Step Further: Charlie’s mother shares in “A Perfect Gift” that when people say, “I could never handle a child with a disability,” she explains to them, “[Y]ou aren’t given a child with a disability. You are given your child with a disability. …You are not called to ‘handle’ a disability. You are called to love a particular person, and caring for him or her grows out of that love. …Our [family’s] hearts…have become larger [by caring for Charlie].”

She also talks about the “secret” that is the fundamental truth of our existence, which she and other parents of children with Down syndrome share. Find out what it is in “A Perfect Gift” (


*Name changed for privacy.

Copyright © 2018, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved.

Posted in Christian Life

An Open Book: January 2018 Reading List

Welcome to An Open Book where bloggers share what they’re reading each month.  You can link up or view what others are reading by going to My Scribbler’s Heart or I’ve found some very good books to read this way.

I’m starting off this month by telling you what I’m not reading: Karl Marx.  Never read him, never wanted to, and still don’t want to; but it seems I can’t turn around without bumping into Communism.  First we had the 100th anniversary of the Fatima apparitions which included the warning about Russia spreading their errors throughout the world,  the intimation Communism was behind the sexual revolution and abortion, Saul Alinsky’s activism tactics, Antifa name and tactics, The Lost Condemnation of Communism of Vatican II, and, to top it all off, the HVAC repairman discussing it during a service call.  Since I don’t want to read Marx I’ve decided to read books that explain what’s wrong with Communism:

Encyclicals:  Reread Rerum Novarum by Pope Leo XIII on Capital and Labor and Quadragesimo Anno by Pope Pius XI on Reconstruction of the Social Order.  Both of these encyclicals explain why Communism and Socialism are contrary to a Christian ordering of society.

Book Cover ImageCommunism and the Conscience of the West by Fulton J. Sheen

An excellent book published over 60 years ago.  It not only covers the similarities between some western beliefs and Communism (as the title implies), but shows how Communism is opposed to Christianity.  He also made some predictions as to what we could expect in the future.  These predictions are so spot on they’re chilling to read.  I highly recommend this book.

The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr SolzhenitsynBook Cover

From what I understand this is a history of the labor camps (GULAGs) strung out across Russia.  Labor camps Lenin and Stalin used to dispose of those who opposed or did not conform to Communist doctrine.  I chose this book because I heard Solzhenitsyn dissects Communism showing all of the problems with it.

That’s it for Communism.  Let’s move on to a New Testament theme that perplexed me: making your bed.  Yes, there are number of occurrences where, after a paralytic is healed, the person is ordered to get up and make their beds or pick up their mats (Acts 10:1, Mk 2:11, etc.).  Even Christ made His bed after the resurrection from the dead (the ultimate paralyzed state).  Now, I’m all for neatness, but it’s not the first thing I would expect someone to do after being healed from a lifetime of paralysis, so I turned to those who also set a great store on making beds: the military.

Book CoverMake Your Bed: Little Things that can Change Your Life . . . and Maybe the World by Admiral William H. Mcraven

I have to say, for a book I wouldn’t normally have read; it had a profound effect on me, especially the chapter about Giving People Hope.  In this chapter McRaven describes a scene during Hell Week of Navy SEAL training.  It’s the third day in and the trainees are already exhausted.  They are in pain, cold, wet, hungry, and rest is nowhere in sight when an instructor gets on the bullhorn and tries to seduce them into quitting.  In a friendly voice he offers these cold, exhausted and hungry men warmth, rest, and food.  That scene brought home to me how many times I’ve been seduced to do the pleasant thing rather than the hard or disliked thing.  Then it struck me how these men were undergoing all of this to save our country.  As Christians who are meant to save the world, how much more should we be doing?  Like I said, a profound effect.

As to the answer of why make your bed? The answer lies in why upon rising for the first time after recovering from a long illness McRaven got up and made his bed: “It was my way of showing that I had conquered the injury and was moving forward with my life.”  It was Christ’s and the Apostles way of awakening the healed person’s minds to the fact that they were no longer dependent on others: an act of mercy allowing them to assume responsibility for their lives and a restoration of divine order.

Thank you for stopping by and don’t forget to let us know what you’re reading!

May all of our readings be blessed by God!

Posted in Christian Life

9 Days for Life: Day 3

Day Three: Saturday, January 20, 2018

Intercession: For victims and survivors of human trafficking.

Prayers: Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be

Reflection: Pope Francis calls for a renewed commitment to end human trafficking, which he aptly describes as “deplorable…cruel…criminal” (Angelus, 7/30/2017). International Labor Organization’s 2014 estimate placed the number of traffic victims — men, women, and children — at 21 million worldwide.

Those who are vulnerable are most at risk for being lured into situations where they are trafficked, particularly migrants and refugees. They face significant barriers such as language and adapting to a new culture, lack of support systems, and the burden of poverty. Easily tempted by false promises of traffickers, they often find themselves in forced labor situations with no means of escape.

When we meet others in our daily lives who have come from other lands, are we extending them the simple warmth of a smile and a welcome? Are we in tune to the red flags that might indicate trafficking in our own communities? Learn more about how you can fight trafficking under “One Step Further.”

Acts of Reparation (choose one):

  • Contact a local service provider who assists victims and survivors of human trafficking to learn more about human trafficking in your community and how you can support their efforts. (If you don’t know who the local service provider is, ask your local Catholic Charities office.)
  • Spend some time reflecting upon the Catechism of the Catholic Church 2414.
  • Use the USCCB Migration and Refugee Service’s National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month & Day of Prayer Toolkit to raise awareness about and encourage prayer and action to fight human trafficking.

One Step Further:

Would you know how to identify a potential trafficking situation? Learn more about human trafficking and the red flags through the USCCB’s Anti-Trafficking Program at

Almost half of the reported victims of human trafficking in the U.S. in 2016 were foreign nationals. Consider bringing the Amistad Movement to your parish to help raise awareness about human trafficking among immigrant populations.

If you suspect someone is a victim of human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline (888-3737-888) for immediate assistance. They can communicate in over 200 languages and provide immediate information, assistance, and local referrals for potential human trafficking situations. 


Excerpt from Pope Francis, “Angelus” © 2017, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Vatican City. Used with permission. Copyright © 2018, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved.

Posted in Christian Life

9 Days for Life: Day 2

Day Two: Friday, January 19, 2018

Intercession: For the end to abortion.

Prayers: Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be

Reflection: More women and girls consider abortion than we may realize. They are our relatives and friends, people who work with us or for us, married or unmarried. Even if someone identifies as being pro-life, the shock of an unexpected pregnancy, the devastation of a difficult prenatal diagnosis, shame, pressures, or fears may influence her to consider abortion.

If someone shared with you she was pregnant and hadn’t ruled out having an abortion, would you know how to respond in a loving way that is life-affirming for both her and her baby?

Learn about the four steps of the L.O.V.E. Approach™*: Listen and Learn, Open Options, Vision and Value, and Extend and Empower (

Acts of Reparation (choose one):

  • Go to an abortion clinic and pray, or set aside an hour today to pray for those who are struggling with a decision of life or death for their unborn child.
  • Read “What to Do When a Friend Is Considering Abortion” (, and spend some time reflecting on it. Would someone in a difficult pregnancy situation know she could turn to you for loving support?
  • Donate needed items to a pregnancy care center, or volunteer an hour of your time at one. Find a center near you at

One Step Further: Find out other simple tips on how to provide loving, life-affirming support for a friend who is unexpectedly pregnant: “10 Ways to Support Her When She’s Unexpectedly Expecting” (


*The L.O.V.E. Approach™ is trademarked by Heartbeat International, Inc. and may not be adapted or modified. The L.O.V.E. Approach™ is used in “What to Do When a Friend Is Considering Abortion” with permission from Heartbeat International, Inc. Copyright © 2017, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved.

Posted in Christian Life

9 Days for Life: Day 1

Day One: Thursday, January 18, 2018

Intercession: May a culture of life grow ever stronger in our communities.

Prayers: Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be

Reflection: From each tiny child waiting to be born, to people nearing death, all are precious and deserve our care and protection. Women and men suffering after abortion, individuals tempted to end their lives, expectant mothers facing challenging pregnancies, people pushed to the margins of society by a “throwaway culture,” and every other person—each “has a place in God’s heart from all eternity” (Amoris laetitia, 168).

As Pope Saint John Paul II reminds us in The Gospel of Life, we are asked not only to love and honor human life, but also “to work with perseverance and courage” to establish “a new culture of life, the fruit of the culture of truth and of love” (no 77).

Acts of Reparation (choose one):

  • “Unplug” for some time praying in silence with a short reflectionon this year’s Respect Life theme, “Be Not Afraid” (
  • Use one of our Respect Life social media toolkits ( to build up a culture of life on social media.
  • Do you love your cup of tea or coffee? Fast from caffeine today, or try your coffee black.

One Step Further: Watching the news and reading the headlines, we may sometimes feel helpless seeing the heartbreaking lack of respect for human life. How do we respond to Pope Saint John Paul II’s invitation when our efforts to make a difference feel small? “How to Build a Culture of Life” ( briefly explains where to start.


Evangelium vitae (The Gospel of Life), no.77 © 1995; Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), no. 168 © 2016, Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Used with permission. All rights reserved.  Copyright © 2018, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved.

Posted in Totally Off Topic

Flooring, Deadbolts, and Doorknobs

I’m all for being up to a challenge, but it seems for the last few months it’s been nothing but challenges.  I feel like I’m running track: one hurdle after another with not much of a break in between and the track seems to be endless.  A prime example is when my deadbolt broke and I got locked out of my apartment.

I unlock my deadbolt to go in the apartment and the door won’t open.  It has to be the deadbolt because that’s the only lock I use.  I happen to know where the maintenance man is, so I decide to wait out in the hot sun, so I can waylay him when he finishes his current job. (No, I’m not impatient or pushy at all ;-))  He finagles the deadbolt and gets me in the apartment.  It was kind of late and he was going fishing (making me very glad I had waited for him), so we decided to change it out the next day.  I simply wouldn’t use the deadbolt.  No problem.  I had some more work to do outside so simply closed the door without locking it.  All’s well.

Finished work, returned to my apartment. I’m locked out again, but this time the maintenance man is off fishing.  I call a neighbor to help me with the dead bolt, so I can get back in the apartment.  Once in I remove the dead bolt and shut the door.  Problem half solved – now there’s a hole in my door.

Went to leave to get a new dead bolt and the door won’t open.  I’m now locked in the apartment: a big improvement over being locked out, but still not good.  I jimmy the door open with a screwdriver and remove that knob. No knobs on my door and no chance of being locked out again, but it means that no one else is locked out either.

(Now, you may be thinking it was the doorknob, not the deadbolt, causing all the problems.  I had that same thought myself.  I would agree with that idea if someone can tell me how messing with the deadbolt makes a broken doorknob work.)

By this time I have to go the restroom.  I get in there and through some bizarre happenstance my belt has gotten turned around and the belt buckle is hiding under a strap.  I’m now locked into my pants. Being distracted by my bladder it took me longer than it should have, but finally figured my way out of that one.

Taped a piece of paper over the holes in my door to keep out the resident wasps and head over to the shop to get a new doorknob and deadbolt because no door knobs mean no putting it off until tomorrow.  I get over there and my key doesn’t work.  I’m locked out.

I get some help with that lock, get in the shop and there are no lock sets in inventory.  There are some old doorknobs and deadbolts lying around, but not ones with keys.  It’s okay because I know enough to know that it’s more than likely the shaft that is broken and the rest of the doorknob works fine and I don’t need a key for the deadbolt.  For now I just need something to fill the holes and actually works when you turn it.

Parts in hand I start replacing doorknobs and deadbolts.  Doorknob goes in fine, but the deadbolt doesn’t fit.  By this time I’ve had enough.  I’m done.  I say screw it, re-tape the paper over the hole, block the door with a heavy chair because a locked doorknob with a hole right above it is not very burglar proof, and call it a night.

The next day everything went much smoother and I’m happy to say I have a working deadbolt and doorknob.

But that’s how my life has been for the last month or so.  And that’s how I ended up installing a vinyl plank floor.  Call someone to do it.  They don’t show up.  Call them again.  They say they’ll be there the next day and don’t show up again.  Stop calling that person and call someone else where the entire process starts all over again.  This lasted for a month.  At that point I decided to do it myself.   I was so disgusted with bad attitudes and no one showing up there was no way I was going to let any one touch that floor but me.   I actually locked the door and hung on to the key, so no one else could go in there (Working on the very slim chance they did happen to finally show up).

After some mishaps and a relatively small learning curve the floor was finally installed.  Here it is:

Unfortunately, I can’t claim credit for the baseboards.  The maintenance man did those and a lovely job he did.

All-in-all, not bad for my first floor.  The planks were no trouble at all.  The problems I encountered had to do with leveling the floor.  That wouldn’t have even been so bad had the products advertising themselves as self-leveling actually were.  In my mind, if it sits there like a pile of mashed potatoes, it’s not self-leveling.  This ended up costing a lot more time than needed, but it got handled and the floor is finally finished.

So how’s your life been?

May everyone have a blessed day!

Posted in The Word

An Apt Prayer for our Time

The crazier things get here in the United States, the more Bible verses I run across that speak to our times.  The first highlighted line, in the passage below, stood out because tolerance does not seem enough these days.  No, they want more.  Like Mordecai, they want us to bow down and worship them as the parade by.  When that doesn’t happen religious persecution begins.  That was exactly what Jewish Mordecai experienced when he wouldn’t bend the knee and worship man.  What he underwent so long ago is what American Christians are undergoing today.

” . . .O Lord, Lord, almighty king, for all things are in thy power, and there is none that can resist thy will, if thou determine to save Israel. Thou hast made heaven and earth and all things that are under the cope of heaven. Thou art Lord of all, and there is none that can resist thy majesty. Thou knowest all things, and thou knowest that it was not out of pride and or any desire of glory, that I refused to worship the proud Aman, (For I would willingly and readily for the salvation of Israel have kissed even the steps of his feet,) But I feared lest I should transfer the honour of my God to a man, and lest I should adore any one except my God. And now, O Lord, O king, O God of Abraham, have mercy on thy people, because our enemies resolve to destroy us, and extinguish thy inheritance. Despise not thy portion, which thou hast redeemed for thyself out of Egypt. Hear my supplication, and be merciful to thy lot and inheritance, and turn our mourning into joy, that we may live and praise thy name, O Lord, and shut not the mouths of them that sing to thee. – Esther 13:9-17

The final line, especially, “shut not the mouths of them that sing to thee” drives home the purpose and end of all the current legal harrassments; simply shutting Christians up.   Mordecai’s prayer; uttered in a time, place, and language so very different from ours; is a prayer apt for our time.



Posted in Notes from the Field

Getting Started in Your New Ministry


July 18, 2017

First an update on why nothing has been posted on the blog.  Frankly, after going through the arduous (at this stage it is truly arduous) task of editing and rewriting a post I’m tired of looking at it.  Having lost its luster in my own eyes it’s hardly something I want to share with anyone else.  It ends up in a computer file with a bunch of other unpublished posts. I don’t know how writers maintain enthusiasm for their work.  Maybe that’s why they invented editors.  Perhaps they knew if they didn’t writers would never turn anything in and nothing would ever get published.  That would be the end of any and all publications: not book, no magazines or blogs. Nothingness.

That’s plenty about me.  Let’s focus on you.

The Delft Design Approach

So you have an idea of what you want to do, but no idea of how to bring that idea to fruition.  You’re entirely mystified on how to get started.  The most likely reason you’re having problems is the form the final product or service is going to take hasn’t been visualized yet.  The course Product Design: The Delft Design Approach being offered by the Delft University of Technology at can help.  I’ve just started the course, but I can already see how it can be applied in this area.

So let’s say you discovered there’s no soup kitchen in your small town.  You want to change that and start serving breakfast and dinner.  The first step is a thought experiment.  You start by making a timeline of how you imagine you would carry out that service.  You’ll want to include as much detail as possible.  This needs to include the place you’ll be when carrying out the task, the items or tools you use to accomplish it, etc.  The idea here is to make you aware of the resources you will need and discovering areas you’re not sure of and will need further research.

The image belowshows a timeline I started for the fictional soup kitchen.  You’ll notice I also included questions I thought of as I wrote up the timeline.  You can do that now or you can wait until you finish the timeline and then study it to ascertain any questions that arise.  I kept it fairly simple, but even with just a few items on the timeline I was already thinking about funding sources, bookkeeping systems, the number of people I would be feeding, etc.  If I was to continue  on I’d soon figure out I’d need a filing system for the receipts, a place to store the uncooked food, pots and pans large enough to cook the food, etc.  That type of information will be a big help in getting you started on your new ministry.


In the previous image I wrote up a timeline from the perspective of one performing the service.  The Delft Design Approach is about designing for the user.  With this in mind you can also make up a timeline for a fictional homeless person who will eat at your soup kitchen.  A portion of that timeline is portrayed in the image below.  You’ll notice that timeline generated a different set of questions which may have never occurred to me if I had only focused on how I was going to perform the task.  For instance, that they have to walk to the soup kitchen might never have showed up on the other timeline.  It’s sounds like it would be obvious, but if you’re not homeless, than it just might not have occurred to me.


You’ll notice the second timeline includes images and emoticons.  Images are used to help you visualize what’s going on and the emoticons are how the person feels at each step of the way.  You could also them on your own timeline to help you get a better grip on how your new ministry would play out and how you feel about it.

There’s more to the Delft Design Approach than I’ve posted here.  I think the timeline will help you start giving form to the call you feel in your heart.   If you’d like to learn more about the Approach, you can enroll in the online course.  There’s a $49.00 fee if you want to receive a certificate of completion.  Otherwise, you can audit the course for free or a donation amount of your choice.  Whatever you choose good luck and God bless!

Posted in Totally Off Topic

Theology and Revolution – An Open Book: July 2017

A new month and new books to read.  That’s the great thing about books: one never seems to run out of them, especially with the advent of the ebook.  Now we not only have a choice of new books to read, but old books that were no longer in print or were hard to find are becoming accessible. I wonder if this could be considered the time of the bibliophile?

But for book lovers reading them is not enough.  Always on the lookout for a good book we are ever curious as to what others are reading and are more than happy to share our current reads.  Hence, An Open Book monthly linkup hosted at My Scribbler’s Heart blog and  Let your fellow book lovers know what you’re reading by posting a blog with the title and description of the book(s) you and/or your family are planning to read this month.  Don’t forget to include the links to those two blogs in case others want to share and/or find some possible new titles to read.  After you’ve posted simply  link up your post at My Scribbler’s Heart or and you’re done!

Before July–June

Luckily, I was able to fit another book in June.  Since it wasn’t on my An Open Book list for that month I want to include it here.  The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person can Create Extraordinary Change by Adam Braun is the story of how the author came to found his own nonprofit Pencils of Promise. 

In college Adam signed on to the Semester at Sea program where students study on ""board a ship while traveling and visiting different countries.  It was in one of these countries that he asked a poor child, “If you can have anything in the world, what would it be?”  The child answered, “A pencil.”  With further questioning Braun discovered the child wanted a pencil because in the child’s mind pencils were synonymous with education.  Being a real eye-opener for the author he continued to ask the same question of other children and found the same answer everywhere he traveled.  Where education wasn’t available to them he found that’s what they wanted.  This eventually led him to found Pencils of Promise which works with local governments to build schools in areas where they otherwise couldn’t afford them.

But the story doesn’t just explain why he started this ministry, but also how he started it.  Using his own experiences Braun shares the valuable lessons he learned along the way.  His hope is that others can benefit from these experiences to found their own ministries.  So, if you’ve ever wondered what it takes to start a ministry, then this would be a good book for you.  I also recommend it because he shares some valuable life lessons.  There’s wisdom there which I found surprising from one so young.

Now for July reads

First up is Transformation in Christ by Dietrich von Hildebrand.  I’ve been wanting to read this every since reading a review in the Catholic Herald.  The review included a quote which as soon as I read it I thought to myself, “This man knows God.”  Now that ""might seem like a silly thing to say about a theologian, but not all theologian’s are created equal.  I’ve heard some strange teachings coming out of their mouths, enough to know they don’t all know God.  Now,  I’d heard about von Hildebrand to trust him as a theologian, but never anything about any particular book that would make me sit down and read one.  At least, not until I read that quote.

Apparently it’s a “modern spiritual classic” (sometimes I feel so clueless) which “gives a penetrating analysis of the true path to holiness for those who love Christ.”  Below is a description from Alice von Hildebrand on how the book helped her:

“Again and again as I read it, I was led to realize how often I had fallen into illusions about myself, and how often I had followed a path that actually had led me away from the true goal: to be transformed in Christ.  It was as if scales had fallen from my eyes.

I hope it helps me as much.  It just came in the mail today and I’m only two pages into the introduction by his wife, Alice, and I’ve already discovered three gems.  I think I’m going to love this book.

Interesting factoid: The book was originally published in German.  It had not yet been translated into English when Alice Jourdain, later to become von Hildebrand, first heard about the book.  Her interest in it was so great that she learned German just so she could read it.""

Rules for Radicals: a Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals by Saul Alinsky is another author I’ve been hearing about since around 2008. I don’t know what made me read it now.  Maybe for the same reason I read Subverted: How I Helped the Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women’s Movement last month.  I’m just looking for answers.

Alinsky says he wrote it for those who want to know “how to create mass organizations to seize power . . .”  Another reason was the only revolutionary writings available to those who wanted to bring about change at that time were ""communist writings;  “Here [in communist writings] they can read about tactics, maneuvers, strategy and principles of action in the making of revolutions.”  But those following communist writings were getting defeated in the outset because their methods were so closely tied in people’s minds with Communism.  Alinsky apparently wanted to put some distance between the two giving revolutionaries a better chance at success.  Clean up revolutionaries’ reputations, if you will.  I’m not sure he succeeded here as I can’t say his reputation is any better than communism’s.

I’m only about a quarter of the way through it, but, as can be expected, I don’t agree with much of his philosophy which seems very Machiavellian in his outlook in that any means justify any ends. Just get the job done, even if you have to corrupt your soul in the process.  Alinsky doesn’t see corruption as a problem though. He’s decided that everyone and everything is corrupt.  He uses this belief to justify any type of behavior which furthers his or the revolutionary’s goals.  It’s an old tired worn out excuse for committing evil, so Alinsky is doing nothing new or original.  He’s simply making some money off of communist ideas.

For all I disagree with him I do plan on finishing the book.  Only because I want to read about the strategies and tactics.   Even though published in 1971 others have claimed the rules are still in use today.  I would like to be able to recognize them when I see them in action.  ""

Because of the recent Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America called by the USCCB I’ve interrupted my reading of Pope Leo XIII encyclicals to reread the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelli Gaudium of Pope Francis on the the Proclamation of the Gospel in Today’s World. Simply because this exhortation was the inspiration and goal of the convocation.

And that’s it for reading.  No fiction lined up this month either.  I guess I’m just not in the mood.

I hope you find some great books to read.  I look forward to learning what everyone else is reading, so don’t forget to link up at


Thank you Ben White for the use of the lovely photo via




Posted in Notes from the Field

Long Time, No Write

July 1, 2017

It’s been so long since I’ve posted anything about the magazine.  There’s a reason . . . well, a couple of them, actually.  First, I discovered I had truly overestimated my knowledge of grammar.  I knew I didn’t remember much, but I knew even less than I thought I did.  So I’ve undertaken the task of learning more about the subject.  Unfortunately, it’s  so very boring and really not worth writing about.  That is, unless you’re teaching it or complaining about it, then it might be worth a line or two. 

One of my co-workers suffering a stroke is the second reason.  Fortunately, he came through much better than we expected–thanks be to God–, but he’s still down for the count.  I’m trying to take up the slack to the extent that I’m able, but that means I’m pretty beat by the end of the day.  This leaves me with very little inclination to try to overcome my lack of motivation towards learning grammar.  To make matters worse, each time I do start a lesson the first line of the song “Conjunction Junction,” from the old School House Rock episode, pops into my head  and refuses to leave.  As a result, I end up rocking out to “Conjunction Junction, what’s your function?” instead of studying.  It really is a snappy little tune. I’ve posted it below in case you missed it:

Maybe, I should just watch old School House Rock videos to pick up my grammar skills.  That could be a valid option at this point.  It just might give me the needed push to get me going.  Worst case scenario would be learning a line from a different song that could endlessly repeat in my brain.  At least, then it would add a little variety.


I haven’t been completely useless, though.  Trying to get into an editorial mindset I’ve been playing around with how to present graphics on the blog and in social media that look more magaziny.  Since that takes so long in Photoshop, I’m picking up some graphite and colored pencils tomorrow for the sketching class I’ll soon be starting.  This should not only help me sketch layouts, but also help me articulate what I do or don’t like about a photo/drawing/layout.  Also, towards articulation purposes, I’ve been studying up on reading and writing. People are going to need feedback that’ll provide them with clear direction.  “Meh” is not going to do it.

The plan from there is to find blogs in a variety of styles.  From these, I’ll pull articles which I’ll use to practice my burgeoning skills.  The article will be edited and my comments added as to what’s working for me and what needs improvement.  Then I’ll rewrite it to make the actual corrections and see how it worked out.  Using the blogs color scheme and style I’ll then try to sketch out a magazine layout for it.  This’ll induce me to work with different color schemes and typefaces and, once again, critique it.

That’s pretty much what I’ve been doing or not doing, depending on how you look at it.  Design and, now, grammar are the two things I know the least about, so those have been my focus.  Unfortunately, it does not make for interesting blog posts.  I did make the exception this time just to keep you updated, but if I’m not writing it’s because “Conjunction Junction, what’s your function?” is doing an endless loop through my brain.

God bless you!

Posted in Totally Off Topic

Real or Fake News? Catching an Electric Car, May 1893

I ran across this on the front page of the May 24, 1893 edition of the Livingston Herald.  I can’t make up my mind whether it was fake or real news.   Being on the front page makes me believe it was a true story, but knowing the entire paper only had 4 pages makes being on the front page a little less impressive.  I did learn that by 1885 electric trains pulling 8 cars were getting speeds up to 25 mph and by 1890 speeds on streetcars had reached 40 mph, so 60 mph in 1893 is feasible.  The idea of jumping, from a standstill, onto a vehicle moving at 60 mph seems truly unlikely.

You read it and let me know what you think: real or fake news?

Catching an Electric Car

Not So Easy As It Seems When It Is Going a Mile a Minute

There is one elderly gentleman in Boston who will think a long time before he again boards an electric car while it is in motion.

He was standing on Tremont street with a nervous glitter in his eye that showed that he was in a hurry to get somewhere.  Car after car whizzed by, but they did not seem to suit the old gentleman’s fancy, and his glances up the street became more frequent and more apoplectic.

At last one appeared in the distance that caused the watcher’s eyes to brighten.  It was a very handsome car, with a broad green belt and a yellow dasher.  True, it was bounding along at a rate of 60 miles an hour: but what of that?  The old gentleman was in a hurry, and then he knew how to get on easy enough.  He had seen lots of people do it.  All you had to do was to wait until the middle of the car was opposite to you, and then stretch out one hand and one foot, grasp the rail, and there you were.  Nothing could be simpler.

The electric car came bounding playfully along, and the elderly gentleman shifted his weight on to one foot so as to be ready for it.  When he was opposite to the middle of the green belt, he leaned a little forward, stretched out one hand and grasped the rail as it flew past.  Either he hadn’t ascertained correctly how the thing was done or else he was a trifle slow with the other foot.  At any rate he didn’t board the car.

There was a terrific jerk, and the old gentleman found himself streaming horizontally behind the car like a pennant on a masthead.  After he had flown for several blocks in this manner, the elderly gentleman concluded that his position was ridiculous for one of his age, and with a short mental prayer he let go the rail. Before he landed he turned five double somersaults and a very difficult handspring, besides knocking down three inoffensive passersby.

When he had been restored to consciousness, and his hat and glasses had been fished out of the snow by some kindly souls, he sent one meaning glance in the direction of the retreating car.

“Some people may call this civilization,” he said bitterly, “but I call it h—.”

And disdaining the sympathy of his rescuer he jammed his snow covered hat over his eyes and tottered feebly int he direction of the Parker House.–Boston Herald.


Posted in Christian Life

Lopsided Relationships

The best analogy of God and man’s (excepting the saints) relationship that I’ve ever heard. She totally nailed it!

Reflections on My Catholic Journey

Tower of Pisa for blog

There’s an old saying that you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you get your Prince Charming.

That was certainly the case for me. One young man, with whom I had a summer romance, had to have everything his way. And I mean everything. A sandwich, for example, had to be made to his exact specifications: “First the mayonnaise, then the lettuce, then the meat, then the tomato, in that order only.” If the sandwich had all the same ingredients but the mayonnaise was next to the tomato, he absolutely refused to eat it.

This attitude of his drastically affected our relationship. Any behavior of mine that wasn’t completely up to his standards was cause for criticism. For example, he told me how rude I was for phoning him while he was watching television—as if I could have known what he was doing while I was dialing…

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Posted in Notes from the Field

Organization is Key when Starting a New Ministry

""Many challenges come with starting a new ministry from conquering a huge learning curve to tackling bureaucratic red tape.  You can expect to spend your time researching, planning, and brainstorming resulting in a copious amount of notes, tasks, and ideas.  What you may not expect is how fast you can forget or lose track of them.  There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to decipher a two-month old idea  that had been jotted down on the fly or wasting time trying and failing to find notes on a subject you researched; especially, if it means having to spend precious time researching it again. To prevent this you’ll need some way to keep track of it all.   This is especially true for those that aren’t used to working with large projects. I know because this is a challenge I recently faced.

Unfortunately, many an idea and research was lost before I figured out my old system couldn’t handle the new workload.  So to help you get started out on the right foot I’m sharing the solution I finally came up with. Because you may already have a system that you like, I’m also sharing the method I used to overcome the deficiencies in my old system.

Pre-ministry I had a very simple system in place for tracking tasks and appointments/birthdays/deadlines.  The tasks were written on Post-it® flags and put in the daily planner. Appointments were written in on a one-page monthly calendar.  Tracking tasks for small project and lists was as easy as writing them down on stickies and organizing them on a sheet of paper by subject: “Places to Visit”, “Books to Read”, “Vacation Planner”.  When it was time to perform a task it was moved from the project/list sheet into the daily planner.   It was woefully deficient in tracking research notes, resources, and capturing ideas.  That needed to change.

 1. First order of business, determine what’s working and what’s not

  • The system already in place for to-dos was easily expandable, so no problem with having a massive amount of tasks.
  • I like flexibility in a planner, so I used Post-it® flags to write down all of my tasks. They can easily be moved from a project sheet to a current task list or switched from one day to another.  I tried using the same technique with ideas. That way when I was ready to implement them I could just move them to the planner. However, I found the size of the Post-it® flags was too small.   There just wasn’t room to write down the information needed that to would make it easy to recall the idea later.
  • The notes from books, videos, online courses, and ideas that won’t come into play until later were getting buried. Without some type of organization they may never be seen again.  That’s a lot of wasted time and effort.  This definitely needed to be fixed.

2. Next, come up with possible solutions

  • Use larger Post-it® notes for article ideas.
  • Try to be more concise when writing article ideas.
  • Keep all notes about one subject together in a 3-ring binder with dividers. Have the binder just be for those notes that pertain to the ministry.

3. Then, evaluate your solutions

  • I’ve tried using larger Post-it® notes in the past, but they just take up too many pages. Even though I’ve had to expand the number of pages of to-dos, I’ve been able to do it logically by category, so I’m still retaining order.  Each category is one page which makes it easy to locate, scan the different tasks and prioritize.  I’ll lose that by using larger Post-its®.
  • Being more concise is a good goal to work towards. Keep this in mind, but I should have something else set up for those tasks or ideas where concise just isn’t going to be enough.  Sometimes I already know the articles main points and I need to capture that information while I have it in mind.
  • The binder idea is better, but doesn’t help making the contents easy to locate.

4. Repeat steps 1-3 as needed until you come up with something that does work for you

Second reiteration

Step one: what’s working and what’s not

  • I haven’t resolved the problem with the small size of the stickies I’m using. I really want to keep those.
  • Everything is organized, but still not easily to locate.

Step two: possible solutions

  • I could make up an alphabetized index of the notes I’m taking and the ideas I have. That way everything will be together in one place, the subjects will be easily scanned and easy to locate.
    • Need to come up with some kind of numbering system for notes pages to reference in the index.
      • With a numbering system in place I can write down my ideas in greater depth on paper and reference that page on the sticky in case I need a memory jog. This means I can keep using the small size Post-Its® that works so well in other areas.

Step three: evaluate solutions

  • The indexing should work as long as I do it on the computer and not on paper. With paper it will be too hard to insert new entries in alphabetical order.  Using MS Word I can easily insert a new entry anywhere in the index.
  • Using the index will allow me to cross-reference and perform a search, if needed.
  • Do I really need that 3-ring binder with the dividers? Since I’ll be numbering the pages couldn’t I just have one small notebook with everything in it?  Many of my ideas are triggered when I’m studying.  Rather than having to go to another section of a binder and pull out a different paper to write down the idea, I could jot it down right then and there.  As long as I know where to find it does it matter where it’s located?

5. Give it a test run and fine tune using steps 1-4

  • The new system is working so well I’ve decided to use it for capturing notes on anything I want to keep for future reference and not just for notes pertaining to the ministry. I’m also using it to jot down the locations of any documents, resources, or reference material I’ve found online or downloaded and filed in my computer.
  • It’s been a little tricky trying to determine the correct subject to index them under, so I’ll know where to look them up in the future. This was solved by making multiple entries under different subjects for the same notes.
  • It does take a little time to index. This is especially true when I’m cross-referencing.  When it seems a little too time consuming I just remember how much more time I’d be spending re-looking things up or how upset I’d be at losing a good article idea.
  • Ditched the binder and ended up using a small 8″ x 5″ 80 sheet notebook. It’s small enough to fit in my purse and doesn’t claim much desk space.  I will probably end up needing more than one, but they can be numbered and easily stored, so I don’t see it as a problem.

The Final Solution

I ended up writing everything learned, resources discovered, digital document file locations, and ideas in one 8″ x 5″ notebook.  Ideas are captured in greater fullness in the notebook, a shorter description of the idea, along with the notebook page number, is written on a Post-It® flag, so I’ll remember it.   No more lost ideas.

There’s no logical order to the notes.  The order comes from the index kept in a MS Word document.   The entries are indexed at the end of the day or when finished taking notes.  I still use Post-it® notes for all tasks, they’re just more pages of tasks.  I also kept the one-month calendar for appointments, birthdays, and deadlines.  So far it’s meeting all of my needs, whether that stays true in the future remains to be seen.

It may seem like a lot of work because I’ve listed every detail, but it really didn’t take that long, nor was it very hard. The longest and hardest part was articulating what I wanted and needed.  After that it was just a matter of trial and error: keeping what was working and throwing out what wasn’t; until a system was in place that met my specific needs. This made it worth the time and effort.  You and your ministry are also worth it, so invest in yourself, if your current system isn’t all that it should be.  You’ll thank yourself later.

Good luck and remember God would not have given you the responsibility for a ministry, if He didn’t think you weren’t up to the task!  God has faith in you even when you don’t.

Posted in Totally Off Topic

My Reads for An Open Book: June 2017

""MyScribbler’s Heart and are hosting Open Book: June 2017 where you share what you’re reading for June.  One would think a blog all about words would include more posts about what I’m reading, but those type of posts have been few and far between.  So I’m taking advantage of this opportunity to make up for that lapse.

The Encyclical Providentissmus Deus on the study of Holy Scripture by Pope Leo XIII

I’ve been sticking to my resolution to read all of the Church encyclicals.  It’s been a great experience.  Reading them has both opened my eyes and left me in the dark.  They’re enlightening both for what they teach and how they show the problems the Church ahs faced at the different periods in history.   For example, Providentissmus Deus, my current read, was written by Pope Leo XIII against the Rationalists who “are in possession of numerous schools, taken by violence from the Church, in which, by ridicule and scurrilous jesting, they pervert the credulous and unformed minds of the young to the contempt of Holy Scripture (10).”  That was something I never knew before, but who are the Rationalists and how did they “violently” take schools “from the Church”?  As to that, I’m left in the dark.

The Pope goes on to say how the study of Scripture should be taught in colleges and who should teach them, but it leaves one asking, “Are they doing this somewhere?” Where would I have to go to be taught in this manner?  Once again both light and darkness.  If anyone can suggest a good book regarding this period in Church history I would be grateful.

Next on the list by Pope Leo XIII are Immortale Dei on the Christian Constitution of States and Superiore Anno on the Recitation of the Rosary.  Perhaps others, depending on the amount of time I have.

True Devotion to Mary: With Preparation for Total Consecration by St. Louis de Montfort and translated by Rev. Faber

I’ve heard so much lately about this devotion because of the 100th anniversary of the Fatima apparition I finally decided to read it.  I’m having a harder time with it then I thought I would.  Before anyone gets offended my problem is not with the Blessed Virgin Mary.  There’s nothing good you could say about her that I would disagree with.  The problem is the way I’m built.  It’s the same reason I have a problem with the communion of saints.  Not with the reasoning behind the communion of the saints, but simply going to them rather than directly to God.  As long as I can remember I’ve gone directly to the source when I needed something.  No intermediaries, just straight to the source.  I do understand the Son is the intermediary to the Father, but He is also God.  It just makes no sense to me to have an intermediary to the intermediary.

Anyway, after going back and forth while reading the book I’ve finally decided to let the Holy Spirit lead me in this.  Whenever, I’ve had a problem with any teaching of the Catholic Church the Holy Spirit has always showed me why the Church was right.  I have no doubt the Holy Spirit will do the same this time.

Subverted: How I Helped the Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women’s Movement by Sue Ellen Browder

This is the next book on my list to read.  I’ve been dying to read it every since I first heard the author interviewed on an episode of Women of Grace.  If anyone had asked me the sex of person behind the sexual revolution I would have bet everything I owned on it being a male.  A reprobate male, but still a male.   Seriously, sex without ties and on demand, no commitments, and no babies; it would be a reprobate’s dream.  But according to the author it was a woman, Helen Gurley Brown, who was pushing this.  I still have a hard time fathoming that, so I want to read the book to find out if there was a man behind the woman.

Another thing I’ve always wondered about was why the sexual revolution took hold.  It seems odd to me that someone came up with the idea and everybody decided to jump on board.  Well, apparently, they didn’t.  The idea had to be sold.

Which brings me to the next reason I want to read it: how did they manage to sell it?

Yes, I do read fiction, but I just finished Assassin’s Fate by Robin Hobb and haven’t chosen my next read yet.  I started reading The Quest by Nelson DeMille, but can’t get into it.  That’s unfortunate because he’s one of my favorite authors.  He’s the only author whose writing has the ability to transport me to another place.  Apparently, The Quest was the first book he ever wrote.  He’s, obviously, developed his craft over the years. So no nonfiction until I run across something that will hold my interest.

Posted in Notes from the Field

Book Review: “Discover your Next Mission from God” by Julie Onderko

Discover Your Next Mission from God by [Onderko, Julie]So you’ve been trying to discern what your mission from God is or whether “mission” even applies to you.  You’ve heard about Julie Onderko’s book “Discover Your Next Mission From God” and you’re wondering if you should pick it up.  My advice to you is yes, you should.

The book is an admixture of how-to and reassurance.  You should purchase it, if you feel you are not qualified for a mission due to your age, past, and/or current circumstances.  In the book Onderko, using examples from the lives of the saints, assures us that there is no age qualification for performing some service to God, no past God cannot use for the good, and no disqualifying circumstances, and none too ordinary.  This last point is especially significant considering the current culture where simply being a parent, single, married, or, heck, being male or female can be of extraordinary service to God when lived according to our faith.

This brings up the most significant thing I learned from Onderko’s book: our primary mission is being a good Christian.  A simple idea when you think about it, but one few of us realize.  I know I hadn’t until I read this book.  Onderko is absolutely correct when she says finding your mission will define and focus your life.  Understanding Christian as mission a long time ago would have been a great help in keeping me focused on the truly important.

While I don’t want to downplay that mission, Onderko asserts that there is yet another mission that is specifically tailored to each individual and only that person is uniquely qualified to carry it out.  Fortunately, the way to discover it also lends itself to furthering  our primary mission of being a Christian, so it does not become a matter of either or, but one of building up and on top of a solid foundation in Christ.  This is done by drawing closer to Christ whether that be through acquiring the virtue of humility; an increased or more sincere prayer life; relying on our guardian angel, St. Joseph, and the Blessed Virgin Mary; spiritual direction from a director, a priest, and/or holy friends; and discernment through the corporeal and spiritual works of mercy.  These are tried and true methods and there is possibly no other way to discern and fulfill our mission.

What you won’t find in her book is any reassurance about failing.  Onderko does give assurances that God can get you pointed back in the right direction when you’ve headed in the wrong one by starting a mission different from the one God has planned. She also assures us that God equips us for our mission, but no assurance that we won’t fail.  I was surprised by this because so many people have this fear.  Now, it may be a moot point.  If we have the required relationship with Christ, have discerned our mission correctly, and God equips us, then failure is, most likely, not a valid fear and need not be addressed.  However, “Discover your Next Mission from God” would be greatly improved if that point was made explicit, since it is of concern to so many.

The only other criticism I have to offer is the title.  Only because the title led me to believe the book to be written for those that have already overcome any misgivings about their abilities or circumstances in life and are ready to get started.  With that expectation assurances weren’t something I welcomed.  As I kept reading them I began to wonder who Onderko’s audience was.  It wasn’t me.  Upon reflection, I decided there may be those out there who would like to be of greater service to God, but do have those issues.  Desiring to help God, still uncertain they are suitable, they may still decide to pick up the book.  In that case, the assurances are entirely valid and I stand corrected.

Posted in Notes from the Field

Today was a Day for Lessons or . . . I’ve Been Schooled

May 8, 2017

As the magazine is a one woman show at the moment I’m trying to learn every facet of magazine publishing.  What one soon finds out is putting theory into practice isn’t that simple. This has been especially true for me in the area of design where I’ve been trying to test out what I’ve been learning.  It has not been going well, especially, in the area of color.  Honestly, my 8 yr. old granddaughter could do a better job of putting colors together.  Thankfully, I came across a video on how to make up and use a color scheme by Niki Hart at  It was incredibly helpful and I can’t thank her enough.

If that had been my only problem, then I would have called it a day.  What I’m finding out is one problem solved actually opens up the door to other issues.  Having finally, gotten the mission statement in order actually helped me to focus on the types of articles that would be included in each issue.  Yay!  However, it also led to including articles that would kind of be pointing out faults that we, as Christians, might want to overcome, so that we can grow closer to God.  The problem: whose going to read an article that points out their faults?  I was puzzling over this when I sat down to peruse some blogs I follow and here comes Brother Isaac over at Along the Way with a post doing just that.  Since it happened to be one of my faults it really hit home.   But you know what?  It wasn’t offensive at all.  I was actually grateful because Brother Isaac did it in such a way that led to my correction without being offended.  Lesson learned: if handled correctly articles like that will be of use to people.  Also, another problem popping up isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Just as there are more problems, there are also more solutions.  Take heart!

The last lesson was the hardest. Probably, because it caught me off guard.  It started out innocently enough with a comment I put on another bloggers post regarding Rod Dreher’s book “The Benedict Option.”  I felt that the blogger had completely mischaracterized Dreher intent and pointed it out with a direct quote from the book contradicting what the blogger claimed.  The blogger didn’t agree with me, which was fine, but it was the way  he did it that was the problem.  He just ignored anything I had to say instead of rebutting my statement or stating reasons why he didn’t agree.  In that instant, the blogger lost all legitimacy in my eyes.  He was no longer someone I was interested in hearing what he had to say.  (For the record, the blogger did supply a rebuttal recently.)

If it was just that, then it wouldn’t have been a lesson.  The two subjects I spend the most time discussing online are God and politics.  The way the internet is so full of hate today you can’t do that, if you aren’t a little thick-skinned.  You just learn to ignore some people and keep on moving forward.  This is how I would have normally handled the blogger’s reply, so no lesson there.

Nor was it the fact that I felt the person was wrong in their views.  All of us are wrong at some time or another.  I read blogs whose opinions I don’t wholeheartedly agree with all of the time.  I still enjoy them and I still learn from them, so no lesson there, either.  It was how hard it hit me that left me feeling I had been schooled.  The realization that such a small thing could have such a dramatic effect on how I viewed someone felt like it was being impaled into my brain.

Was this a continuation of the previous lesson learned?  Brother Isaac shows me what to do and the other blogger what not to do?  Two sides of the same coin?  Or was it now that God has put this magazine in my sights, I’m paying more attention to issues that may come into play later and that’s driving these lessons home?  I’m not really sure, but I am thankful that I’m learning them now from someone else, rather than later, from my own mistakes.

Here’s hoping everyone has a great day!



Posted in Notes from the Field

Yay! I Have a Mission Statement for the Magazine!

May 7, 2017

Well, today was a good day.  After, not being able to quite figure out the types of stories that would be included in each department I took some advice from the books I’ve been reading and decided I needed a mission statement.  The idea behind the mission statement is that it will keep you focused on what you originally set out to do.  It’s especially helpful in evaluating whether a course of action is really in line with your goals.  If it’s not, then toss it.  In my case, it will help me determine what type of articles to include in the magazine.

It took awhile to figure out because according to “The Layers of Magazine Editing” by Michael Robert Evans it can arise in two ways.  The first way is by focusing on your audience and what type of material they want.  The second way is to use your inspiration for starting the magazine.  The first wasn’t helping at all, so went the inspiration route and came up with to bring all people closer to God. 

I have to admit it seems a little grandiose in it’s goal, and I don’t believe I will accomplish that mission. However, that was what was in my heart, so I went with it.  While I’ll try to bring out the best magazine I’m capable of so as to achieve that mission, I’m really relying  on God to determine it’s affect on the world. 

Besides being grandiose, from what I’ve read about mission statements, that’s a pretty broad statement and should probably be tightened up a bit.  Much easier to stay on track, if  it’s more narrowly defined.  When a statement is too broad, you can take on too wide a variety of projects or articles, in my case.  This leads to inconsistency between issues which can cause you to lose subscribers because readers have certain expectations that you need to meet each issue. However, as a starting point it helped a lot, so I’ll stick with it until I can nail it down a little better.



Posted in Notes from the Field

Kicking my Game up a Notch

April 25, 2017

Study, study, study.  That’s how my time is being spent these evenings.  I am thankful that there are materials to study because it has been fruitful. Thank God for the courses available on Coursera and EdX, plus the information available on YouTube.  It’s all beginning to sink in.  Mainly they’ve been about graphic design.  There’s nothing on magazine publishing, so I had to research those areas a little more.  Found the colleges for magazine publishing that are considered to have the best programs and looked through their course catalogs for that major, found those courses and made up a list of the textbooks/readings they use from the course syllabuses.   Once I finish the online courses I can start digging into those books/readings.

At some point in this process, it hit me that a magazine is not a blog and I’m going to have kick up my game a notch.  This is especially true when it comes to research and writing.  Right now, writing of God is inspired, but will that be enough for a magazine?  Or will I have to go through the laborious process of citing every Biblical passage involved and providing explanations for how those passages apply?  That will definitely change the style of story and writing.  Have to figure out how to handle that.  What I don’t want it to become is some dry research article.  Magazine stories may allow more emotion than those or newspaper stories.  God sure knows what He’s doing.  He knows me down to my toes.  I have no desire to write boring research papers.

On the upside, I have come up with the different departments for the magazine.  Then it came down to what type of stories fall under those categories . . . and the real kicker: how and where will I find them?  The book on being a magazine editor has addressed this issue to some extent, but I still have to do it, so I need to search out sources for those.  In addition, I need to learn how to do interviews.  I have so much to learn.

All this learning has left me with little time for writing.  I don’t think that’s good, so I’ve decided to put more focus on that and scale back that learning a little.  To that end I want to push out two blog posts per week.  This will also allow me to play with a new writing style that will bring the story and references together (once I learn how to do that) in something entertaining and informative.  I pray.

Posted in Notes from the Field

What is Man?


April 18, 2017

It’s funny how you can hear something said 100 times and it’s all just words which, though that have meaning, don’t truly penetrate into our inner being.  Then one day your writing one of the features for the magazine and your faced with the question of why?  Why does God go to all the bother of creating man? teaching us? adopting us? redeeming us? sacrificing His Son for us? bestowing on us the power to become children of God? keeping careful watch over us? residing in and among us? loving us? weeping over us?

What is man that God should do all of this for us?

I don’t know that I have the answer to that question.  The only possibility I can come up with is our capacity to love to such an extent that we are willing to sacrifice ourselves for God and others.  And we do it because of faith.  A faith that sustains until the end.  A faith that lifts us to become something greater than what we currently are.  Without that we would be like the secular world using/sacrificing others for our own pleasure. 

I don’t know if that is the answer, but God certainly let me see how much He has, is, and will do for us, so I’m a little in awe of man right now. 

I don’t even know how to act anymore.""

All mixed up in this somehow was the idea of God building the Blessed Virgin Mary a house.  Similar to when He built David a house.  That house is the Holy Catholic Church.

Posted in Notes from the Field

Layouts and Typeface and Colors . . . Oh, My!

March 27, 2017

Spent most of last week trying to figure out how to go about designing a magazine.  Watched hours of YouTube videos on graphic design theory.  Went on Pinterest to look at images of different magazine layouts.  Discovered that all magazine layouts look ugly on Pinterest.  Spent some time in the store checking our different magazines, and, I’m happy to say, they look much better close up.  Not all of them though.  Can’t quite figure out what I don’t like about them. 

Decided I needed to choose some fonts, so spent all of Saturday making sample cards of most of the different fonts on my computer.  Found about five that I really liked, but soon discovered they don’t work so well together.  Luckily, I had made up those sample cards, and that’ll  make it easy to go back through them to find something that does work together.

What color scheme to use?  There’s a great website called Design Seeds that is nothing but color schemes.  Unfortunately, have no idea how to use a color scheme.  How much variety should be used?  Does it change with every issue? At this point, I’m considering asking people for advice and God says no.  It needs to be me.  That made it a little easier.  Now I can go by just what I like, while bearing in mind what I’ve learned and will learn.  These are very talented people and they are doing things for a reason.  It would be stupid to throw all of that out the window.  It does let me make it my own, though, rather than trying to adhere to some other persons design.  And that is what I would have done, if God hadn’t stepped in.  What Design Seeds did teach me is I can get color schemes from pictures I like.  Found some of my favorite pics on Unsplash and will use those for inspiration.  Apparently, I like dark rich colors, but I also like clean, simple images.  That’s what I’ve decided to go with.

Did start working on the cover design.  God helped me with that one. Gave me an idea to start with.  Up to that point was hitting a blank wall. Very happy with the way the title looks.  I’m hoping it’s not second grade level: something that I’ll look at in a couple of years and ask myself what was I thinking.

The really hard question is how often should the magazine come out?  Finally made that decision.  It’ll be a quarterly magazine to start.  That should give me enough time between editions to do all that needs done as it is really a one woman show at this point.  I do miss writing on the blog, though.

To top everything off the cat has decided to take over my desk chair.  If I leave it for two minutes he’s in it and asleep.  When I pick him up to move him I get this pitiful little mew.  After a week of this, I finally let him win and started working on the laptop in another room.  At that point, he decided he no longer needed to sleep in my desk chair.  Stupid cat.

Posted in Notes from the Field

Lessons in Humility


March 1, 2017

I had originally planned to post  Who’s Offense and Who’s Defense in Spiritual Warfare on the 28th.  At the latest, 3/2.  Then yesterday, I had decided to incorporate some magazine ideas into the blog.  Since magazines are themed and I knew that I could write another couple of post related to the Who’s Offense and Who’s Defense . . . post, I was going to hold it until I could write those additional articles and figure out ways to reference the others from inside each of them.  (At some point, I’m going to have to have some time to get my mind around all of this, instead of trying to do everything on the fly.)  It would have been a mini-magazine with the cover and the Letter from the Editor in the This Week post and the related articles released during the week.  A kinda slow release mini-magazine.  Then Lord Jesus said no.  It had to go out on the 2nd.  I was a little miffed, but followed his lead.

So then I’m writing and getting to a part that I’m really excited about and Lord Jesus says “to be continued . . . ”  I’m like, noooooooo!”, but I did it.  I have to admit, if one was going to stop, it was a really good place to stop: which one would expect from God.  It made it complete.  If I had kept on like I had wanted, it would have really been two posts stuck together.  First lesson in humility.Then I get the urge to go back and read Turns Out I’m Actually Suited for this Ministry  and I see a formatting error in the first two sentences.  This was funny because the post was about the editorial qualities I thought I possessed and one of those was detail-oriented. 

I was really tempted to leave it that way as a lesson in humility, but then decided, since I’m new to all of this, there will be plenty more lessons forthcoming, I’m sure.

I do need to step up my game.  I’m journaling almost daily and it’s very difficult to catch errors without stepping away from it for awhile.  However, I am posting them out far enough ahead that if I proof them one last time the night before they go out, I should be able to catch most of the errors.

God bless!

Posted in This Week on the Blog

Under Construction

Hello and welcome,

I have been writing so much these last few weeks there’s been very little time to focus on the magazine.  Something needs to change and it’s going to be my focus.  The new focus will be on the magazine and the blog will be secondary.  There will still be journal entries and posts.  They have been such a great learning experience it would be stupid of me to give those up.  The publishing rate needs to slow down, however, so I can concentrate on learning how to put a magazine together.  So any posts will be on an ad hoc basis and, probably, farther between than they have been.

I hope everyone has a great week!

God bless!

Rebecca, Editor-in-training

The beautiful construction photo was donated by Jeff Cooper @Unsplash

Posted in The Word

Reflections on Part 1 of What Christ Won for Himself at Golgotha

I don’t think people realize that when I go to write a post I don’t always have the knowledge beforehand.  It’s true that my older posts are about thoughts I’ve held or things I’ve experienced, but these new posts have been a source of discovery.  So it was as I was writing What Christ Won for Himself at Golgotha part one.  That was not the post I meant to write.  I’ve read Job before and the most I ever got out of it was after everything was said and done Job no longer had the fear, although I never understood why.  Then on Sunday when I was summarizing Who’s Offense and Who’s Defense in Spiritual Warfare in the This Week post  the Holy Spirit had me substitute “through the suffering servant” for “not sinning.”  “Not sinning” is accurate, but it’s just one part–a big part, but still a part–of the dynamics involved.  The rest I didn’t truly understand until writing part one of What Christ Won . . . .  Reflecting on that post over the last few days has led to some revelations on my part.

In my old understanding Christ as the suffering servant made sense: He came to serve and He suffered unjustly, like Job.  Christ paying for our sins made sense.  He died for our sins.  But it wasn’t until the Holy Spirit put it all together for me in that post that it truly came together.  In the Garden of Gethsemane the apostles fleeing–leaving Christ alone– represents how Lord Jesus stands in the breach for us.  We get to go free while He faced the wrath that, without grace, would have fell on us.  Now I know why there were no Christians in Jerusalem when it was sacked.  Christ had warned them when to get out.  That was the coming wrath that Christ said they would see in their lifetime.  Now I get what Christ meant when He said when you see these signs don’t stop to pack a bag,  just go.  There’s some serious stuff going to come down and, because of Christ’s sacrifice it’s no longer meant for us.

Now is there going to be persecution against Christians?  Yes, pick up your cross and follow me.  Help Christ hold that breach, giving others time to come in and time to grow in grace. Holding until reinforcements come. We help Him hold it knowing that what we experience is a tiny fraction compared to what the world is going to experience.  It really makes you rethink history.  We also know that there is great grace merited.  What 100 (figurative number) men could normally accomplish can be done by one persecuted person fighting the good fight, most especially when they are doing it at God’s direction.  Just look at how much God accomplished through Christ’s sacrifice.  This is one reason why in the OT/Hebrew Scriptures you see God whittling down the numbers that actually do end up engaging in battle. That and so people will know that it is God behind them which glorifies God.

We do all of this knowing that not all battles take the same form.  Christ was victorious over every power that came against Him and not once did He raise His hand against any of them.  They, however, all raised their hands against them and they did it through abuse of their power and authority.  They sealed their fates when they killed Him.  Unlike a military campaign between armies, where the advantage goes to the side that kills more of the other side, the war between powers and principalities is won by who can hold out the longest without sinning.  Once they killed Christ they fixed the outcome.  He had no more opportunity to sin here on earth.  Game over.  He remains sinless because the battle was fought out here on earth.  Once He died that battle was over. All that is left after that is to help Christ hold the line giving the necessary time to gather everyone in.  This includes giving those who were enemies of Christ time to repent.

The main battle is to not give into temptation and abuse/neglect your power and authority. Whether living in comfort or under persecution the toughest fight is remaining vigilant and dutiful.   Dereliction of duty is probably the number one temptation for those living in comfort.  When nothing seems pressing or on the line it’s pretty easy to get sidetracked and set aside our responsibilities.  Whether that simply be daily prayer, weekly mass, spending time with family, donating our time/expertise, and/or civic duties, etc.  Could you just imagine the change that would take place if all Christians just exchanged one distraction/amusement for one responsibility?  The funny thing about this one is that we’d all probably enjoy our lives more if we spent more time on things that matter.The seriousness of sin is restored.  This is something that is desperately needed in our own time when so many seem to believe that there is no sin.  I love that people aren’t terrified of Lord Jesus and that God made Him so accessible .  It gives those who feel/are unloved someone who loves them.  It gives those that who are truly repentant for their past sins the forgiveness and confidence they need to move past them. But if we don’t put Christ’s sacrifice in perspective of holding back God’s wrath, then sin is diminished.

Minimizing sin minimizes Christ’s sacrifice, God’s mercy and His great love for us.  If there is no sin, then what do you need Christ for?  For who need sacrifice their life for a righteous man? If there is no sin, then God becomes simply a big meanie keeping people from enjoying themselves rather than a God who loves us so much He sacrificed His only begotten Son to be a covering from His great wrath.  If there is no sin, then Lord Jesus, rather than someone crazy in love with us, just becomes a really nice guy along the lines of Ghandi.

Evangelizing also decreases when sin is diminished.  It’s pretty hard to get enthusiastic about evangelizing when there doesn’t seem to be any consequences to being a sinner.  Once you can see what is in store for them in this life to come and after death, then evangelizing becomes a great deal more important.Down is not out.  Things looked bad for Job and really bad for Christ.  You don’t get much more down than dead.  Yet, not only did God bring them out of their situation, but they were better off than they were before.  So things can look pretty grim, but, with God at the helm, and people turning to God to ask for that help, situations can turn around in an instant.Suffering has been redeemed.  It’s no longer some senseless experience that has no outlet.   God, who works all things to the good for those that love Him, has provided an outlet for our suffering.  As Christians we are sharers in Christ’s sufferings: our sufferings are united with Christ’s.   They have similar redemptive value as Christ’s.  What this means is that we no longer have to hang on to those hurts and limp through life with them. It’s not all for nought.  We can let all of that pain go by offering it up to God for the good of those we love and for the Church we love.

This is not just for individuals, but for other bodies who have a shared history of pain and suffering.  This would include families, communities, races, and nations.  Coming together to let it all go by offering it up, so God can redeem it, can help them move on.  Don’t let the acts of hateful and/or careless people take away the life God always meant for you to have.

The forgiveness of sins was offered to the world, but it is mainly for the Church.  That’s who Christ laid down His life for: His friends. Now the Church was tiny at that time and Christ had many friends still out in the world and still to come.  No Church no place for them to come into, so it’s imperative that the Church not fail and it’s failing badly.  When that happens more persecution against the Church  is going to occur because we’re failing to help Christ hold the breach.  We’re a partner with Christ in this.  We have responsibilities, too

So what do I do?  Every morning I offer up my day to God.  I started out with conversion of sinners, but since learning all of this I now offer up my day to shore up the Church.  Throughout the day whenever I get any type of pain I take a second a offer it up.  Even though the pain and suffering was not a direct result of persecution I still offer it up because the death and decay that we all experience is a result of original and communal sin and we all suffer for it.  The same could be said for anything that breaks on us that causes frustration or makes the day harder, social interactions that didn’t go so well that day, a pain caused by a family member or friend whose undergoing some trials or left the flock, and pain caused by the state of the world or your situation.  In other words, anything that is a result of ungodliness–and any type of breakdown is a result of ungodliness–that causes you pain and suffering qualifies, whether it be emotional, mental, or physical.

This is not to say we just have to sit around and take all of this without trying to change it.  That would be a dereliction of duty.  We are supposed to be acting to change the world to a more godly one.  In the meantime, help hold the breach by offering it up.

We can also offer up thanksgiving when things go right.  That’s a true blessing from God.   It gives us hope and shows us how God meant things to be.  He should be thanked for it.  We’re way too negligent of God in our everyday lives when we make it all about man and forget at the core of everything is God’s purpose for the existence of the heavens, earth, and man.  God is doing a great work and He has done all of this for that purpose.  We need to remember this, so we don’t get sucked into the world’s vision of what life on earth is really about.It’s just as imperative that we, like Christ, do not fall into temptation.  When we fail the impact may not be so catastrophic, on a cosmic scale, as it would have been if Christ failed, but it can still have catastrophic consequences.  For example, this article highlights how young Christian women base their decision to have an abortion on the fact that God will forgive them later.  This has catastrophic consequences for the unborn child, supports the idea that abortion is an valid option, keeps the abortion mills in business which leads to catastrophic consequences for other unborn children , and allows the sale of baby body parts to continue, etc.  All of that because of a single failing made by one person.  When this same decision is multiplied over and over again the results can become catastrophic on a worldwide scale.

One thing I hear a lot from people is how everyone else is doing it, so why shouldn’t I?  I don’t know when we all decided to settle on the lowest common denominator, but that is not an imitation of Christ.  It’s the exact opposite of what Christ was aiming for: excellence or perfection.  God’s grace and mercy was meant as impetus to help us overcome our sins.  In no shape or fashion should it ever be construed as a reason to sin.  That defeats the very purpose of His sacrifice.  Christ’s sacrifice was meant as a covering, not a cover up.

Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots to divide his clothing. Luke 23:34

Christ is a covering for us because we come into the Church from a world which teaches us things that contradictory to God’s will for us.  While God does much for us when initially called we still have much farther to go.  In a nutshell, we don’t always know better.  It’s going to take time, study, diligence, grace, and mercy to get us to the point where we need to be.  That’s what the Holy Spirit and the Church are for. That’s why Christ sent the Holy Spirit and why He set up the Church, so that people would have a place to gather and could find the resources and sacraments they needed in order to restore their relationship with God and join together under the covering of Christ to help bring about God’s great work.

May we all come to experience the love of Christ! God bless!


Posted in Notes from the Field

What was in the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Heart of Hearts?

March 5, 2017

I can tell you from my personal experience when you start to realize that God is supplying your heart’s desires it’s a little bewildering.  The first thing that perplexes you is why. “Why me?” “Why now?”  “What did I miss?” Sort of like David when God told Him He would build David a house. The first thing David asked was, “Why?” 

Another perplexing thing is the form God uses to answer your prayers.  God is answering many of my prayers and He is doing it in the form of a magazine about God.  I never prayed to run a magazine someday.  As far as I know I never even considered it.  I didn’t even like English in school.  What I did pray for was a return to my former relationship with God, to hear the wonderful things about Him, to be in a position to write about God all day, to be God’s scribe, to have people return to Him, to live a more integrated life with God, . . .  And in answer, (even though I didn’t realize it at the time), God told me to start a magazine.  And for that I am incredibly thankful.

But still a little perplexed because in my wildest imaginings I wouldn’t have guessed this would be the form the answers to my prayers would take.  So it took me awhile to realize God was granting my desires.  If you go to the Godfest page you will see a bullet list of prayers of the heart God is answering in the form of a magazine.  If you had to come up with one thing that would satisfy those desires would you have come up with a magazine?  I wouldn’t.  But this is classic God: taking all of these little various pieces or strings and tying them together, so they are all answered/end in one thing/point.  Because God does it all so neatly it’s hard to recognize they are being answered. When God first suggested a magazine I was truly bewildered as to why and clueless that my prayers were being answered.

Adding to the perplexity, some things are obvious answers to prayers, but some are not. As I said previously God was granting me desires I didn’t even realize I had because I had quashed them so long ago.   When it isn’t readily apparent you find yourself trying to look into your heart and wondering if this was something you truly desired.  So I can really see why at different points in her life, the Blessed Virgin Mary would ponder things in her heart.  Because with all I’ve been learning I can confidently say God was granting the Blessed Virgin Mary the desires of her heart.  It does make me wonder what was in her  heart of hearts that would result in the Christ child?

I can’t say for sure, but one day I was nattering on in my mind about how nice it would be if God saw things my way once in awhile.  I think I was going through one of those periods where God is getting you somewhere that is good for you.  Once He gets you there it’s all good, but the getting there is not always pleasant.  This is especially true when you can’t see where you’re heading and you have some attachment to what you’re leaving.  Anyway, I must have been going on for some time because God finally interrupted me and said, “I”ll only give you those thing that we both agree are good.1”  And that I think is the key to the Blessed Virgin Mary’s heart.  A heart so perfectly formed all the desires held there aligned completely with God’s and could be wholly answered in one form: the Christ child.

This is another thing Christ won for Himself at Golgotha: a people after His own heart.  A people whose desires of the heart could only be answered with God.""1 There really is no difference in the end result.  God is still not going to give me something that’s not good for me and deep down I truly don’t want what God rejects as good.  In addition, God gives us the grace to get us where we do appreciate and want what He wants, so we end up calling the same things good anyway.  What that episode did was let me know God cares about what I want, too.  Salvation is more inclusive than forgiveness of sins, but about bringing the entire person to a place where the life of God and man join together.  Sometimes Christianity just doesn’t feel like that.

Posted in Notes from the Field

Is This What the Promised Land Looks Like?


March 3, 2017

Since God made me realize the start of something new makes us vulnerable to temptation and I happen to be at the start of this ministry I’ve been trying to look ahead to how I’ll feel in about 40 days.  I’m having a hard time accomplishing it because I’m receiving so many blessings right now.  But then I started thinking about the Hebrew people in the wilderness.  I imagine they were feeling pretty good about life in the beginning, too.  God had just delivered them out of bondage, defeated Pharaoh’s army, was leading them to the Promised Land, and providing manna from Heaven each day.  For all that, they begin to pine for their old way of life.  And I can see why they might. 

Seems to me the less grounded one is in the familiar and the more time spent in the unfamiliar one is going to long for something solid in their life.  Since, the familiar was behind them, longing for those things seems logical for the Hebrew people to want when trying to get on firmer ground.  We know how to navigate the familiar.  We know where to go to get food, we know what time we have to be at work, and we know who wakes up grumpy and we know to steer clear of them until they’re fully awake.  We have all of these markers to guide us.  Not so when we decide to step out in faith.

Stepping out in faith seems akin  to trying to walk on water: incredibly insubstantial. It’s based on a promise.  A promise that is as good as gold, but without the necessary faith we can quickly find ourselves in over our heads as I did when I  jumped in with both feet.  It bears remembering that is was not Lord Jesus who asked that of Peter, but Peter who asked that of Him.  When God brought the Hebrew people our of Egypt He parted the sea, so they could walk on firm ground.  Then He led them through the desert.

The desert is very similar to the ocean in that the sands, like water,  shift underneath your feet, and without landmarks, there’s just endless rolling dunes , so, like the ocean, you still need to look to the heavens for guidance. Much like the wise men following the star to Bethlehem.  But it’s different from the ocean in that there is ground beneath your feet, even if a little less firm than you’re used to, which makes for hard going, but it’s not an entirely different substance and, unless there is quicksand about, you don’t have to worry that with each step you may end up over your head. 

It’s like going to visit a relative who lives in a town you’ve never been before.  You don’t know the streets or landmarks and you don’t know how long it will take to get there, but you do know how to drive, and you do know towns, you have direction, and you know the destination. By good direction, faith in the one giving it, the humility to follow it, the resolution to stay the distance, and not losing sight of it all you can get there.   

I think that is a much better analogy for a ministry.  When the Hebrews left Israel they took all of their substance: their goods, knowledge, skills they had acquired in Egypt, and faith in God.  They did not leave empty.  What they had to learn in the wilderness was how to trust God, to follow His direction, and to put that substance in the service of God.  Where they were lacking God provided.

And I do have God giving me direction, I do have some skills and, what I lack, Lord Jesus is teaching me, and I know the destination: working with Lord Jesus, (I cannot do this type of magazine on my own), on a magazine about God which will allow me to live  the life I’ve longed for.  For we do long for God in our daily lives.  We do long for a closer relationship with Lord Jesus here on earth.

All of this makes me wonder: Is this what the promised land looks like?  Is this what God meant for the Hebrew people when He led them out of Egypt?  Not only to remove them from a life of bondage; a life spent in service building up someone eles’s kingdom, a someone who has no interest in your well-being, but only what you can do for them: for that is what slavery is.  A kingdom that expects more and more of you, while giving less and less back.  Whereas, God supplies you with what you need before you even know you need it.  And God doesn’t use us and discard us.  It’s not a master/slave relationship, but a marriage of God and us.  And God bringing us to a place where that marriage can happen.  Where we can live that life with God that in our heart of hearts we’ve always wanted.""I hadn’t realized that a ministry would be such an enlightening spiritual journey.  For this alone I would recommend anyone start one when God calls them to it.

Posted in Notes from the Field

I’ve Always Lacked Vision

March 3, 2017

I’ve never been artistic, nor really been attracted to taking it up.  There are two exceptions of which I’m aware: sculpting and mosaics. Yet, I’ve never done either of those unless you count Play-doh and a ceramics class in high school.  So I was rather surprised when I found myself quite happily trying to mold the magazine into some form.  It occurred to me that this would be similar to sculpting. That was a surprise because I had always been attracted to sculpting.  Later I was thinking about redoing the image for My Ministry Journal entry posts to provide more variety from post to post.  As I was considering how to go about that I realized that the images should really be laid out so when viewed in a column the colors would go together: like a mosaic. Once again, something I had wanted to do, but never tried.

And since God seems to be granting me my heart’s desire I began to wonder had my heart truly been set on being a sculpture or doing mosaics?  So I was searching my heart when God said I had.  Why had I never pursued it?  It was then that I remembered I had desired it, but, at the time, hadn’t  a clue on what I might sculpt. When I tried to picture it: nothing.  I was completely uninspired.  And lacking that inspiration when I tried to look down the road and see if it was a good fit for my life I couldn’t see it.  The same could be said after watching a documentary on the artists who formed the mosaics for the Vatican.  What would I make a mosaic of?  A big black blank.  No inspiration and, therefore, no vision. 

God made me realize that much of my life had been this way: I’ve always lacked vision.  I’m not sure if this is good or bad.  After reading an article by Michael Novak on the narrowness of the modern woman’s vision for herself I realized that the world ended up supplying that vision.  And seeing the muck it’s made of things I can definitely say that’s bad.  But as I didn’t become Christian until I was in my 40’s, from whence should it have come?  My worldly parents?

Perhaps.  In his autobiography Benjamin Franklin relates when he was old enough–which would have been fairly young as apprentices started at an early age, so they could reach journeyman status the same time they attained adulthood–his father took him around to all the different trade shops in town.  His father did this so Benjamin could gain an understanding of what each trade involved.   After each visit His father would ask him if this was something which might interest him.  What his father was doing was trying to find a good fit for his child.  What he wasn’t doing was forcing his child into something that wasn’t right for him.  Nor did his father have him seek after riches and fame, or a flurry of activities.  Instead, he showed Benjamin good honest work.  Work which Benjamin would, hopefully, love.  This might be a good middle ground for non-Christians or even a starting place for Christians.  Even though much of the world’s vision for my life made me unhappy I was able to zone in on a couple of areas that suited me to a tee.  Those made me quite happy.

 After getting glimmers of what God envisions for my life I think there is a better way for Christians.  God, as only God can, is taking all these various pieces of me and forming them into a cohesive life. And thanks be to God for it because if left up to me it would be like dross compared to what God seems to have in store for me.  There’s no doubt in my mind that God wants to do this for all His people.  After listening to the March 6th Johnette Benkovich Women of Grace podcast, where I discovered that the world sells their vision through magazines, I thought that another reason why God chose a magazine may be to provide the world with His vision: what He always meant for them be.

Posted in Notes from the Field

Coming This Week: March 20 – 26


Hello and welcome to this week on the blog,

It’s going to start in the same place it began last week: envisioning our lives.  What I’ve discovered with everything God is showing me is I’ve Always Lacked Vision.  Where I had none, the world supplied one.  Like it has others, this led to being what the world wanted me to be and neither what God nor myself wanted. He has a different vision for our lives.  Problem was I didn’t become a Christian until my 40’s.  What then?  I reflect on a possible solution to that problem, plus God’s vision as the way on Tuesday.

Attaining that vision is a different problem.  Having taken the first steps in faith away from Egypt and into the desert I’m trying play offense by reflecting on what’s needed for a successful journey.  Even there, my mind seems to be leaping forward to where I think God wants to lead us: the Promised Land.  Although my current understanding is limited I can’t help but marvel at it. Is this What the Promised Land Looks Like?  Look for that on Wednesday.

Thursday’s post is about forms.  Answers to prayers do not always come in the form we expect.  It can be so different from our expectations that we may not recognize our prayers are even being answered.  Once we do recognize that fact when a new facet of it is expressed you find yourself going back and asking did I pray for that.  This is what I see happening to the Blessed Virgin Mary and leads me to ask What was in the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Heart of Hearts? which led to her prayers being answered with the Christ child.

That’s pretty much it for the Ministry journal entry posts.  However, God has let me know that part one of  What Christ Won for Himself at Golgotha while very illuminating in one respect, wasn’t very enlightening in what it all means.  I’ve been  reflecting on it and I’ll put those thoughts in Friday’s post given the very original title of Reflections on What Christ Won for Himself at Golgotha.

I pray everyone has a blessed week.  Remember, if you have any questions or comments don’t hesitate to ask/post them.  If you don’t want them to show up in the comments section, then send me an email via the contact page.

God bless!

Rebecca, Editor-in-training

Posted in Notes from the Field

What has God Gotten me Into?



March 1, 2017

I always learn a lot when I’m writing; perhaps, too much sometimes.  I was writing the Who’s Offense and Who’s Defense . . . post and I had just finished the paragraph on how much Lord Jesus had suffered during His passion.  I had included every aspect of it I could, so people who don’t normally reflect on it could truly see how much He endured and see the weakened state He would have been in.  My intention for the next paragraph was to talk about how the devil attacks when we’re weak and remark the passion was the only time Lord Jesus was weak, when it dawned on me that wasn’t true.

He was a weak little baby when Herod tried to kill Him.  He was weak from hunger in the wilderness when the devil tempted Him.  His will was weak at the beginning of His passion when St. Peter tempted Him and He was weakened from all of the abuse heaped on Him during His passion.

What I noticed in all of this He was weakest at the beginning of each new phase of His life.  And the time spent in the wilderness was the beginning of His ministry.  Now, remember, I had just written a entire paragraph about all the suffering He had undergone.  Pair that with my observation about the timing of the devil’s attacks and I get the following thoughts: “I’m starting a ministry.”  “It feels like I’m in a wilderness.”  “What has God gotten me into?” 

Now, I know why at the beginning of this God wanted me to fix this magazine ministry firmly in my head as  a reality.  It looks like there may be some bumpy roads up ahead.  I don’t know what’s coming or if anything’s coming, but the Bible is full of wisdom.  So I’m sure it’s no coincidence that Lord Jesus was at His weakest at the beginning of each new phase of His life.  Nor that at the beginning of my new phase God teaches me this now.  I guess now I know I’m headed towards a weakened state and a prime target for the devil.

I’ve always thought that people do better when they know what to expect, so I’m thankful God is giving me a heads up.  Here are some things I already know to expect: this is going to be hard, you always feel the stupidest when you’re learning something in which you have no previous experience, and you’re going to make mistakes when you try new things.  I’ll need to take a closer look at the temptations of Christ and the Hebrews in the desert to see if I can’t get a better idea of what might else be coming.

I’m thankful I decided to journal the experience and that God inspired me to share it with others.  I’ll try to keep an eye out and remark on anything I feel is significant in this area.  If others can learn, then that is to the good.  Sometimes you just have to take one for the team.  Hopefully, it won’t be too bad.

The significance of this just hit me: today is the first day of Lent!

The funny thing about this is, while I feel like I’m in a wilderness I also feel as if God is raining down blessings on me at every turn.  So from my perspective it looks like God is getting me into something very good!

God bless!

Posted in The Word

What Christ Won for Himself at Golgotha, part 1

In part one we saw how Christ was playing offense, not defense; that Golgotha was the final objective and not some tragic ending; and since it was the final battle the devil was defending it for all he was worth in order to tempt Christ. In part two we learned why God had to become man to redeem man, why He had to undergo the same temptation as the devil to beat the devil, and why anyone who sets themselves against God is fighting a losing battle.  In this post I’d like to start looking at just what Christ won for Himself. Before we do that let’s take a look at some of the dynamics in play.

Temptation is very real for those with power and authority

Because I don’t want this to become meaningless, I want to stop here for a minute and reflect on the very real temptation for those with authority and power.  We all have some level of both.  At it’s most basic, is the authority and power over our lives.  We’re not born with it and, normally, don’t gain it right away.  In most cases, we have to to win/attain it.  We have to prove ourselves worthy. We accomplish this by learning, trying, training, studying, etc. and then passing some kind of test.

All other things being equal, once won, we retain it until we are found to be unworthy. We are found to be unworthy when we abuse/misuse/neglect that power and authority vested in us in order to feather our own nests.  There seems to be some sense that those who have everything are no longer subject to temptation.  This couldn’t be farther from the truth.  Look at Saul, David, Ahab, the Pharisees, and Solomon (who seemed practically insatiable), to name a few.

In general, what occurs after depends on the circumstances, but in the main some sort of punishment ensues.  Depending on the severity of the trespass it can be anything: from asking forgiveness, a fine, recompense, relinquishing the authority/power, prison, to death, or some combination.  For our purposes, we’ll only be concerned with the relinquishing of authority/power as that seems to be the big problem in most of these cases. Instead of accepting God’s decision, repenting, asking forgiveness, and getting on board with God’s plan they tend to dig themselves in deeper by trying to hold onto their power and authority.


We know from the temptation in the wilderness that the devil had been given power and authority at some point (Ps 18:14) and he lost that power and authority when he rebelled against God, even though he still retained after it had been lost.

Then Satan answered the Lord, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have you not put a fence around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” Job 1:9-11

Instead of repenting, the devil, being jealous of his position, wasn’t willing to accept God’s decision because he thought God was acting unjustly: man was as unworthy as the devil was. As we can see from Job, the devil felt that the only  thing keeping Job loyal to God was the benefits Job gained from that relationship, (I think this is incredibly ironic since it was at the peak of his power that the devil sinned and not when he was laid low.), and fear.  Then the devil accuses Job of blasphemy–even though Job was innocent of that charge–and tells God he can prove it by removing the profit motive.

But Job does one better than the devil: Job has power and authority, yet does not sin.  I’m going to give the devil his due here; fear does seem to be the reason Job does what he does.  Job may even be trying to stave off the wrath of God by trying to appease God through offering sacrifice, instruction, and admonishing people not to sin.  Similar to someone trying to shore up a falling building.

Anyway God gives the devil the go ahead–with certain limitations–, the devil tries to get Job to blaspheme God to His face, but Job doesn’t.  The devil loses.  The point is, after everything is said and done Job changes in two ways: Job no longer fears he needs to appease God and Job can now see Him where before he could only hear Him.

Christ’s suffering in light of Job

What you’ll notice in the story of Job is how similar this is to the story of Christ in that we start out with someone who is given power and authority; which He uses to admonish and teach people, but doesn’t sin by using it to profit Himself; is falsely accused of blasphemy; and, in the Garden of Gethsemane, does show fear of the coming wrath of God.  Christ, like the prophets and priests (including Job) before Him, tries to stave it off through His teachings, admonitions, and sacrifice. There are differences, too.

Unlike Christ, Job was powerless to save himself, so he didn’t have that temptation of calling on that power while undergoing his suffering. Job’s test was to not blaspheme God to His face.  Christ, being God, was not going to blaspheme Himself.1   Unlike Job, Christ knew why He would undergo suffering and death, even though, like Job, He still dreaded it.  Job always feared it, but his worldview was that if you acted righteously, then God protected you.  So Job, like the devil, felt He was being treated unjustly by God because he was innocent.  He had done everything right.  What Job didn’t realize is if the wrath of God falls on the guilty, then it hasn’t been staved off: it’s been realized.  When it falls on the saints, out of His great love for the saints, it’s only a small fraction of what it would have been had it fallen on the guilty. Compare what Christ underwent and what happened to those who didn’t come to believe in Him during the sack of Rome.  I hear it was pretty horrendous.

While a fraction of the wrath is received, there seems to be no bounds put on the grace and mercy merited which covers an incomprehensible number of sins. This is one of the major victories, (and the one I’m most grateful for), Christ won with His sacrifice: to be a covering for those who have believed, do believe, and will believe in Him. Thanks be to God!

The sacrificial lamb and the scapegoat

As I tried to explain in Jumping in with Both Feet God has this way of pulling many loose threads together, so they culminate into one point.  So it should be expected, not surprising, that Christ can be both the scapegoat and the Lamb of God at one and the same time.  The lamb because He was the sacrifice God had promised Abraham.  The scapegoat because the devil and the Pharisees blamed Lord Jesus for their own failings.  Remember, Jesus was, among other things, a prophet and they don’t usually show up unless someone has sinned.

If you truly want to see the face of God, it is in Christ.  A point where the OT wrath of God and the NT mercy and grace of God come together.  The wrath of God has not gone away.  Sin hurts people.  God will never ever condone it.  There are people who go through their entire lives wounded by others sin and they in turn hurt still others. There is a very certain wrath waiting for those who do not convert to Christ.   For the sinner, and we have all sinned, repent and get on board with God, so the Christ won grace can give you a new lease on life. Otherwise, you’ll have to face the wrath of God. For those wounded by sin God has provided a way out of this mess and can give you the healing you desperately need to restore your lives.  And so it isn’t all a senseless waste, raise up your suffering to something higher and better and unite them with those of Christ and offer it to God for the conversion of sinners or, better yet, for fallen away Christians so as to shore up the Church.  For many of them are as you once were: hurting others by either repeating the sin in trying to come to terms with it, or acting out in hurt, anger, or fear.

Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing! Rev 5:12

To be continued . . .

1     I believe He was accused of blasphemy by the Pharisees to tie the two stories together in order to show that they, like the devil, believed He would blaspheme God (remember, they didn’t believe He was God) under the right circumstances.  When the false witness shows up and mentions destruction it appears to be a real AHA! moment for them.

Paul’s testimony before King Agrippa in Acts confirms that persecution was used by the Pharisees in order to get a person to blaspheme God.  In Acts 26:5 Paul states he belonged to the sect of the Pharisees.  And in 26:10-11 Paul asserts he was authorized by the chief priests to do the following: imprison Christians, cast his lot against them when they were being condemned to death, and punish them in the synagogues as a means to force them to blaspheme God.

Unmodified post photo generously donated by Ben White @Unsplash


Posted in Notes from the Field

Reconciling the Godly and the Practical

February 28, 2017

As this journal was originally intended to help others deal with starting a ministry it’s time to get down to practicalities.  And I’ve long had a problem with reconciling the practical and the godly.  Take marriage for example, two people ordained by God to be joined together as one.  Something incredibly beautiful and much of it comes down to whats for dinner?  There seems to be this huge discrepancy between the two.  And it is this discrepancy of moving from the godly to the practical which has always made me uncomfortable.  It seems so cold somehow.  Until this morning when I come across this passage:

In the midst whereof above shall be a hole for the head, and a border round about it woven, as is wont to be made in the outmost parts of garments, that it may not easily be broken. Exodus 28:32

The entire passage is dealing with the details of putting together the priestly vestments, but the last part about reinforcing the neck, so it wouldn’t rip popped out at me.  It seemed so very practical. I wonder if this is part of what Paul means when he says in Phillipians 2:12 to “work out your salvation”?  We do need to work out how we are going to live God’s truths.Might as well start in and get my hands dirty by putting some aspects of a magazine into practice here on the blog.  I’m changing the category name “Journaling my magazine experience” to “Journaling the Inspired LIfe” because it really is more than just about a magazine. 

[That was the shortest-lived title ever.  The Inspired Life is already being used.  Oh well, I like God-breathed better and it probably has more masculine appeal, then the Inspired Life.  That’s taken, also.  Infused?  This is not bad because it gives the sense of infusing everything we do and there is a sense of fusing of God and man, but the Infused Life doesn’t really do it for me. The Fused Life?  I’m going to have to do another sit-down.]

[Regardless, of that title] I’m not going to change the name of the blog because living an inspired life and starting a magazine just adds more layers to the title I already have. I do need to update the About page.  It should reflect the added layers.

I also need to change the graphic for the journal posts to reflect it. Right now, I’m using a very feminine image for the background which probably wouldn’t attract very many men.  Since, I believe that an inspired life would be applicable to both men and women I need to change that graphic out.  I’ll have to research what appeals to both.  I think it’s something like strong patterns with muted colors. And it needs to reflect inspiration, while still keeping the journal aspect of it.  A piece of religious art or a window with the sun shining through it in the background, perhaps?

I’ve decided on a window in the background with an overlay of a woman writing.  Journaling is like a window into the soul, so it’s applicable.  They have strong lines, which should suit men and most images of them have flowers in them, so it has a touch of femininity, also.  Plus, windows are very intriguing  [went with just the window for now].

I also need to vary up the background image for the journaling posts.  I was over at Social Media Examiner and for the different types of posts they had an icon representing what type of post it was; much like I’m doing here.  When you had a list of the same type of posts in front of you the icons were the same.  Seeing that over and over again got old really quick.  If someone decides to pull up all the journal entries the same thing is going to happen to them because those post images all use the same background.  Probably, should have about 7 different ones: one for each day of the week.  Similar enough, so it is recognizable as a journal entry post, but different enough so there is variety.

On discovering why God chose a magazine, figured out a couple of things about my blog posts.  The This Week posts are similar to a magazine cover in that it tells about what’s inside.  The only difference is that the material is not all in one spot.  Instead it’s being released over a week.  In addition, I don’t know that people realize what the This Week post is for.  I’m going to change out the photo for that post to look more like a magazine cover.  I’ll include the titles of the posts and, instead of page numbers, I’ll have the dates those posts are coming out.  Also, like a magazine my posts for a certain week seem to be themed.   Since the letters from the editor in a magazine explain what the theme is for that issue I’ll include that also.  Up until recently I’ve just been listing the names of the posts without really tying them together.

I might want to find someone to do a cover mock up for me.  I’m going to need experience in articulating my wants to artists and writers someday.  Might as well get some practice in now.

Since these articles are related and need to stand on their own do I need to somehow reference the previous and/or upcoming articles in the one they are reading?  I read somewhere that in the Harry Potter series J.K. Rowling did an excellent job of working the backstory into the current story.  Look for an article that explains how she did this and see if it will work for what I’m doing here.

I wonder if I should include the weekly roundup in the weekly theme: choose stories that contribute to the overall theme for the week?  That would be similar to a magazine having different writers contributing the different aspects of the theme or topic without me having to write them.  Every since this started I’ve been writing like crazy.  Another prayer answered!

That means that I’ll need to start planning out weeks farther ahead, much like a magazine does, to make sure that the posts are ready to go, themed, and on time.  That last one is going to be hard for me.  I may have to plan ahead five years.

My task list is getting longer and longer.  I feel like an editor-in-training!!!!!

Posted in Notes from the Field

Inspiring versus Aspiring

February 27, 2017

I’ve been reflecting on how different an inspired life is from a worldly life.  When we are of the world we aspire to things, but we are not inspired by things.  I would know having spent approx. 40 years being of the world.  I was always unhappiest when I was aspiring to be what the world thought I should be.  It really wasn’t until after I had been Catholic for a year of so that Lord Jesus was finally able to convince me that it was okay to be me. 

This isn’t to say that I wasn’t ever happy, but I was happiest when I was being true to me.  I loved my job, but that was because before I went to college I did a sit-down and I looked at what I liked to do, then I looked at the type of jobs that would allow me to do that.  But, even then, there was always this sense of trying to satisfy the flesh though the world’s approval.  I was being true to myself in one sense, but I was doing it in a way that the world thought it should be done.

[This paragraph added March 10th] And guess what?  The world, being not of God, will lie to you to get you to do what it wants.  I was just listening to the March 6th Johnette Benkovich Women of Grace podcast featuring Sue Ellen Browder author of Subverted: How I Helped the Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women’s Movement.  Browder relates how when she wrote for Cosmopolitan she had to make up the stories of what wonderful sexual experiences women were having because no one was actually living that life.  And they made up these stories to sell their magazine and their vision of what a woman should be.  Compare this to God who gave us Christ: the way, the truth, and the life.  God doesn’t lie to us to get us to do what He wants.  If you want the Christ child, then you’re going to have to change some diapers.  If you want to follow Christ, then pick up your cross and follow Him.  And what God wants is only for our good–not to sell magazines–but to live the life He always envisioned for us: one where will be happy in truth and one that encompasses the whole person.

To achieve their vision the world needs you to leave certain parts of yourself out.  Leave the mother and Christian at home. To accomplish this you must compartmentalize these different pieces of yourself.   Doing this sets them at odds against one another.  You can’t be a career person and a mother.  You have to choose one or the other.  

. . . many young women have developed an intensely narrow vision of their own identity . . The sudden intrusion of motherhood afflicts them as a complete loss of control. . . “their perception of their choice is ‘my life is over’  or ‘the life of this new child is over.'” -Michael Novak, Why They Hate Pro-Lifers So

Yet, parenting is not something you do it’s who you are.  If you’ve chosen wisely, a job is not what you do, but who you are.  And when that merges with our Christian selves Motherhood and a career become infused.  Are you an ex-con?  Don’t bring that to work.  In the infused life God wants the whole person [more of this coming up later].  God wants the ex-con because that’s a part of who he is.  God inspires him to use that to help others. 

In trying to live the worldly vision these different parts of us pull us every which way.  No wonder we feel frazzled and conflicted.  There’s no cohesion.  Even as Christians, going to Church is sometimes something we do, but not part of our lives.  I don’t know how many times I’ve done some type of Christian thing where it seemed I was taking a break from my real life.  This seems so wrong, because I am a Christian and that should infuse everything I do.  In some ways it does as far as not lying or stealing, trying to be patient and kind, etc.  But in other ways it seems I leave the Christian behind.  It’s as if I’m living two lives instead of one. 

Yet, there’s one small part of me that says not everyone can live an inspired cohesive life.  Not everyone can keep God as their focus and let the Christian permeate the entire person.  I don’t think that part is right.  I think the world is screwed up enough that there is plenty of work out there for us.  Plus, there are other services, like the magazine, that we can provide to each other.  Not only that, whose to say that the doctor and the garbage man can’t be infused?

Posted in This Week on the Blog

Coming Up This Week: March 13 – 20


Hello and Welcome,

Last week was a turning point in this magazine ministry: it moved from an earthly one to a spiritual one.  This week God has been giving me glimpses of the type of life He has always envisioned for us.  At the same time, He’s given me some insight into the vision the world has for us. I reflect on the two competing visions in Inspiring versus Aspiring.  It was a real eye opener for me as I hope it will be for you, also.

Thinking a thing and doing a thing are vastly different, especially when it involves Reconciling the Godly and the Practical.  Once again, God to the rescue; through a scripture reading for that day.  Now that God helped me overcome my difficulties I decided to dive into some of those practicalities.  Since, so many people get intimidated–like myself when I went jumping in with both feet–and because I do want to journal this entire experience I decided to record the thoughts and decisions behind what I’m doing.  Not that I’m making such great decisions, but it will serve to

  • show others that you can get started even when you’re not entirely sure of what you’re doing;
  • be a resource of sites or information that others may find useful;
  • show others the difficulties I’m encountering; in hopes to encourage them when things don’t go as planned;
  • show others that their initial decisions don’t have to be chiseled in stone, but are constantly changing: in the beginning everything is in a state of flux and it’s okay;
  • record this incredible journey; and
  • record (for myself) why I made the decisions I did and, hopefully, learn what worked and what didn’t.

I don’t know if it was me taking that initial step and God was warning me what to expect, if it was the first day of Lent, or both; but writing Who’s Offense and Who’s Defense in Spiritual Warfare? was incredibly enlightening.  It also freaked me out; so much so I ended up asking myself What has God Gotten me Into?  Turns out it was all to the good and I highly recommend this post for anyone starting a new ministry.

And lastly, the feature story: What Christ Won for Himself at Golgotha: Who’s Offense and Who’s Defense in Spiritual Warfare? part 3.  When I first wrote part one I never expected this to become a little series.  Now that it has I’m incredibly jazzed about all three(?).  Part one really changed my thinking on which side we’re playing in spiritual warfare. It was writing this I learned through the suffering servant Christ was actually leading the offensive on Golgotha.  Part two firmed up my understanding of why God had to become man and the exact nature of the temptation Christ had to undergo and why.  In part three–What Christ won for Himself at Golgotha–I hope, God willing, to list everything Christ achieved through His great victory.

And once again, the feature post is not yet written.  Since I want to make it as inclusive as God will allow; I’m willing to look inept and postpone it for a week, if that’s what it takes.  I apologize, but if it is all I think it’s going to be, it will be well worth the wait.

God bless! and here’s hoping everyone has a great week!

Rebecca, Editor-in-training 🙂



Posted in Notes from the Field

Should we be Living Inspired and Infused Lives?

February 27, 2017

I don’t have the words for what Saturday was. 

Right before waking up Saturday morning  I had a dream that there was this monster kinda hovering out there on the periphery.  Shook that off. Coffee made. Sat down to read the newest blog posts from those I follow.  I was reading Melissa Pressers most recent post at God is in Your Typewriter and she’s talking about spiritual monsters.  Kinda freaky coincidental, but kept reading.  Her monster was that she was afraid, stemming from her abusive childhood, she had nothing to offer God.  And I got a flash of the Blessed Virgin Mary giving the baby Lord Jesus a bath, feeding Him, going about her daily duties which were so centered around Christ.  To put it another way her whole person revolved around Christ even when that meant she was simply cooking dinner.  This is the first glimpse I received of what it truly meant to live as a Christian.

Then it came to me that as a lawyer and a Christian Melissa was entirely suited to tackle some of those religious persecution cases that are being, and I’m sure will be, fought out in the courts.  Melissa could be God’s defender.  Even though I’ve never seen the woman I got a flash of a woman standing in court.  The flash was of her whole person.  Lawyering is what she does for a living, but it is very much a part of who she is, and when she takes who she is and merges that with her Christian self does that make for an inspired life? 

Later after I had my sit-down with God and I was laying out in my journal what type of magazine I would truly love to put together I got another flash.  This time it was me in an office overseeing a layout of this God-centered magazine.  An inspired life?

What got me thinking about all of this is another conversation Melissa and I had about feeling benched by God.  On top of that I’ve been feeling pretty uninspired for the last year or so.  Every since the above happened the thought kept popping in my head, “I wonder if she’s still feeling uninspired.” I no longer do, but I don’t know if I feel inspired yet, either.  This is all coming so fast I’m still processing it all.  What I do have is a glimmer of what God has planned for us.

Is it supposed to feel like a dream when you start living your dream?

I can’t stop thinking about God breathing life into Adam and Lord Jesus breathing into St. Peter.  Inspiration is to breathe in.  Is that one of the reasons God became man?  To show us what an infused life looks like.  That merging of God’s breath with our person? our humanness?  The two somehow becoming one? The incarnation of the Word?In one of the YouTube interviews I watched a man said that everyone should start a magazine because it’s a once in a lifetime experience.  He wasn’t just whistling Dixie.  So far it’s been an amazing experience.  

Posted in The Word

Defending the Indefensible

In  Who’s Offense and Who’s Defense in Spiritual Warfare? we begin to see–in the ignorance of what the game is, who’s playing which side, and the stakes–the first glimmer of the grand delusion the world lies under.  The belief that it can go against God and profit from it

For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Mark 8:36

Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I betray him to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he began to look for an opportunity to betray him. Matthew 26:14-16

or, conversely, believing they have something to lose by following Him.

So the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the council, and said, “What are we to do? This man is performing many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation.” John 11:47-8

It’s delusional because there is no way that God was ever going to create a world in which He could be defeated by His enemies.  So when it appears to be otherwise–the death of Christ–one has to ask, “What’s really going on?”  What is the game?

The game is to not sin. Christ, to be an acceptable sacrifice, had to die sinless.  Christ’s death and resurrection was not a matter of God simply experiencing death just because we do, sleeping for a couple of days, and getting back up.  For God to redeem man, then God had to become man and succeed where we had failed.  If he wanted to beat the devil who had tempted them, then He had to be susceptible to the same temptations.  Compare these two verses:

And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. Luke 4:6

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Matthew 28:18

Now, remember, it was Lord Jesus whose authority and power was so vast He could command demons to come out of people and they had to obey (He could have ordered the devil to back off), He had the power to instantly heal people (He could have healed Himself), to multiply bread and fishes (He could have fed Himself), and to calm storms (He could have calmed the crowds). He could have done all of that, but it would have been an abuse of power, misuse of authority, and a betrayal of trust.  Because Lord Jesus would have been using them to profit Himself instead of the purposes they were intended: to glorify God.  Compare that to the devil in Luke 4:6 who uses his authority to profit himself with the temptation of Christ.  The fall of Christ would in no way have glorified God.

Even though Christ never sinned can you imagine how incredibly tempting it must’ve been? Especially, while He was dying on the cross.

For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. John 10:17

We get a little taste of this each Lent when we intentionally set something aside for 40 days: something which is completely in our power and authority to pick up again.  If we have a hard time doing this, think how much harder it would be to set aside one’s own life?  To undergo death rather than to be tempted to use that power and authority to save oneself.

If Christ had given into those temptations, then He would have failed.  Mankind would not have been redeemed, Christ would not have been resurrected, no justification, no saving grace, no mercy, no forgiveness of sins, and no Holy Spirit to comfort us and guide us. Mankind would have been lost just as it had been before.

Christ achieved a great victory at Golgotha by remaining sinless even unto death

Does that mean that the devil would have won? No.  Oh, he would have been successful in what he was trying to accomplish, but that’s not the game.  The game is to not sin.  The devil lost that game the moment he rebelled against God.  When he later went up against Christ during His passion he was defending an indefensible position.  All he would have accomplished was to add to the number of sinners and sin in the world.  A short-term gain for a long-term loss.  That’s the grand delusion: the more we gain through sin the better off we are.  When it’s just the opposite: the more we gain through sin the worse off we are.  We think we are winners, but we lose the moment our foot steps on that path.  Consider those who wanted Christ crucified. They were probably feeling like winners when Christ died.  That lasted for about three days.  That was while they were alive.  There’s still the judgment to come after death.  Wonder how they’re feeling now?

I just have one more thing to add.  Anytime anyone turns away from God they are leaving the rational for the irrational and the truth for a lie.  This is why the more the world sins the more irrational it gets.  And having no rational basis for what they do the arguments become one of emotion rather than truth.  Now, this isn’t always going to be the case.  There are times when someone simply can’t explain the positions they hold even when they are right, but it’s a good rule of thumb.  If you want to discover whether something truly is a sin, then just look for the lie whether it be in the premises, the logic, intentional omissions, intentional obfuscation, or in the meaning of the words.

May we all come to appreciate the great things God has done for us! God bless!

Original post photo provided by Ben White @Unsplash