My Gift to the World

“Let your countenance shine upon your servant and teach me your statutes.” (Psalm 119:135)

Today I pray for:

  • a greater security in belonging to Jesus
  • a more complete detachment from the world’s attractions
  • metanoia

I’m not being called to mimic or duplicate any other woman. The unique gift of myself that I offer back to The Lord is the greatest contribution I will make in this life. I’m praying with all my heart that it will be enough for me. Because that’s all I can really give…

In the Midst of Us

“Again, amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:19-20)

Today I pray for:

  • the inspiration to pray
  • to fight the temptation to worry
  • to include my husband and my children as I am praying

Out of my prayer, I realized that:

  • there is so much I haven’t given to God
  • the enemy is actively trying to steal my peace
  • I just need to pray

App for Life

It was such a great privilege to be part of this App for Life promo video. When my sister Roselynn told me she was pregnant at 16 years old, I didn’t know how to speak up for the life of her unborn baby. She said she was thinking about abortion because a friend of hers recommended it, and her boyfriend had the money to pay for it. Of course she was scared and didn’t know what to do. After talking to my mom, Roselynn decided to keep the baby and sadly lost little Jocelyn in miscarriage. What love our mom showed to her in the midst of family hardship, even as we struggled with our dad’s illness and his eventual passing that same summer of 1995. We are so glad that my sister chose life because an abortion would have not only killed my niece but also caused Roselynn more emotional pain on top of everything she was already dealing with.

Now as educated Catholics, we understand how valuable the life of each human being is from the very moment of conception until natural death. No matter the circumstances, it is not up to us to determine when a person’s life should end. When we get the notifications through the App for Life to pray for these pregnant mothers and their babies in crisis, we don’t know how difficult their situations are. We have no details about whether they are married or not, whether it is their first pregnancy or their fifth. All we know is that they need our prayers…so we pray.

We pray that Jesus will give them the courage to choose life for their children and that they will get the support and resources necessary to either grow their family or allow their babies to be adopted by generous and loving couples. The App for Life has become part of our family culture. And I invite you to make it a part of yours, too.

Please download it onto your phones and offer your intercession for life. Donate if you can. Volunteer when you are able. Join the movement. Change the culture. Help save lives. The next generation depends on it.

Because 56 million lives in the U.S. alone have already been taken.

It’s time to take a stand. #prolife

My Secrets to Surviving This Journey Called Life – #1 PRAYER

Some friends recently asked me about my daily prayer routine, so I thought I’d also share with you what keeps me afloat and fuels my days…

There was a period of time when all I could cry out to God was, “Jesus, help me!” Very much like Peter begging the Lord to save him from drowning, I was desperately seeking the hand of God to pull me out of the raging sea. My sister chuckled when she noticed the prayer bouncing around my computer screen – it was that much a part of my life.

Fortunately I’m in better times, but I still need that constant communication with my Maker, especially because I know I can’t go through life spiritually blinded. So I start my day with the following:

• MORNING OFFERING – I’ve been praying this for about 7 years every day both when I wake up and first thing in the school day with my students. It’s a beautiful prayer that helps me give to Jesus everything that is going to happen in my day so that each moment becomes a gift back to Him, even if I go through difficult times. You can find the prayer here:

• LITANY OF HUMILITY – I fell in love with this prayer back in 2002 and recently started including it in my morning ritual after hearing the suggestion from Catholic speaker and former model Leah Darrow. Now this is definitely a transformative prayer because it helped prepare me for situations that would have otherwise broken and discouraged me. Instead of dwelling on the hurt I felt, I offered it back to Jesus and thanked Him for the opportunities to humbly suffer for love of Him. I cannot recommend this litany enough for the graces and virtues that flow through it! You can find the litany here:

• Meditate on the DAILY MASS READINGS on my iMissal app – I slowly and prayerfully read through these “lectio divina” style…asking the Holy Spirit to speak to me in the words of Scripture. Once a verse stands out among the others, I copy it and share it on my Facebook page!

• MUSTARD SEED REFLECTION from Matthew Kelly – Emailed from Dynamic Catholic (you can check out their website and subscribe to receive the emails). These quotes often relate to experiences we all go through on a day-to-day basis and make the Gospel message more tangible for today’s Catholic-Christian.

• FACEBOOK NEWSFEED – Only if I have time…this is extra…I totally flooded my Like Pages with Catholic ministries, organizations, homeschooling groups, inspiring priests/evangelists/speakers so I get a lot of good stuff on FB to encourage me throughout the day.

…and then at some point during the day (it was usually on my morning commute to work…now it’s whenever I have a 15-minute block of quiet time) I pray the Rosary, give thanks before each meal, visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament after I’m done seeing Creighton clients in the evenings. This is in addition to the numerous occasions I have to lift up any physical pain I experience for loved ones or others I know who need conversion.

And this is my current bedtime routine (after praying with Gary and the kids):

• THE POWER OF A PRAYING WIFE by Stormie Omartian – A little devotional book one of my clients gave me – I write my own personal prayer for Gary in the book, too! I love these short prayers because they truly focus in on all the details of my husband’s life. I has kept me united in spirit with him in a way that we’ve never connected before, as I’ve asked God to cover and bless everything about him and what he goes through that I may not understand or even know about.

• IMITATION OF CHRIST by Thomas a Kempis – I’m also trying to read more classic spiritual books, and this one was both one of St. Therese’s favorites as well as my dad’s. I use the iPieta app so I can copy and paste the tidbits that really strike my heart. I have a Facebook album of quotes for each chapter.

• 33 DAYS TO MORNING GLORY: Preparation for Total Consecration to Jesus Through Mary by Fr. Michael Gaitley – It’s an AMAZING book jam-packed with spiritual gems from some of my favorite saints! I made a FB album for this, too! Not only is this helpful for me to look back on when I need to revisit the messages, it becomes a spiritual “memory book” of sorts for me and keeps me accountable to doing the meditations every day.

The Evening routine is the one that evolves depending on what I need at the moment. When I’m finished with these books, I’ll need to search for other devotional reading that will speak to the particular circumstances I am dealing with.

When things get really bad, I just keep saying His name, “Jesus…Jesus…Jesus” through my tears because it is the name of Jesus and only His name that can deliver me out of darkness and despair.

Prayer is the life-blood of my soul. If I decided to stop praying, my spirit would shrivel up and waste away, very much like a neglected plant without water or a body without breath. It looks like a lot, but it only takes about 15 minutes at most to get through the Morning routine and just as long for the Evening prayers. It’s not realistic for me to get in a solid uninterrupted Holy Hour like I did when I was single and going through the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises, but now that I have my own children it’s nice for them to see me praying throughout the day and keeping my personal relationship with Jesus a priority.

In the past, it was hard for me to develop a regular prayer schedule. Working at a Catholic school helped since we had to pray certain prayers at certain times, but I knew that I needed something for me…something I could do on my own apart from my job so that I could more clearly hear God’s voice in my heart. It was a gradual working up to what I do now – very much as it would be when you start exercising – but these prayers and meditations really do give me the peace and the strength I need to carry out His will in all aspects of my life.

So if you’re thinking about getting a routine together, start simple and do what your heart calls for. The important thing is that you are consistent. Don’t stop praying just because you don’t feel like it because you’ll fall back into that spiritual funk really quickly, and it’s hard to get out of when you’ve given it up for so long. Before you know it, you’ll notice a difference in how you react to life’s challenges…you’ll be more aware of those daily blessings and miracles that happen all around you…and you’ll see the fruits of your prayers in every relationship that you have.