Archive for the Spiritual Life Category

Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by Jen in Books, Movies & TV, Happy Holidays, Parenting, Spiritual Life |

I can’t believe Thanksgiving is here already!  I’m so very very VERY excited.  This is my favorite time of the year.  Thanksgiving is just the beginning…then we have the entire Christmas season to look forward to.  Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas trees, Christmas Carols, twinkly lights, mall Santas, Salvation Army bell ringers, eggnog, very special Christmas episodes on our favorite TV shows, Advent calendars, presents, family visits, snow (hopefully!), decorations…wheeee!  There is no other time of the year like this one.

Last year we didn’t get our Christmas decorations up until the middle of December.  That bummed me out so much that I made us keep them up until the end of January to make up for the late start.  :)   This year, though, we started early. November 21st was our decorating day and the house looks beeeeaaaauuutiful!  (I’m hyper-excited, can’t you tell?)

As for the rest of life – it’s all going so well.  The college savings fund is growing at a slow, but steady pace.  My new interest in tapping into my creative side has been a lot of fun.  I’m currently playing around with scrapbooking and some creative writing.  I don’t have much drawing talent, but scrapbooking is kind of like doing a web layout on paper.  I don’t really have to draw anything – thank goodness!  Digital scrapbooking is fun, too.  I am using a program by Serif, called Digital Scrapbook Artist.  It’s a really fun and addicting with a ton of free designs to use.  The creative writing…well, I’ve actually read a lot of books on writing and journaling recently, but I haven’t actually spent too much time doing the actual writing.  This is typical of me though.  I spend weeks and months preparing for a task before I actually do it.  :D   I’m getting there…

Meghan is feeling so much better these days.  The doctor finally determined that she was probably suffering from a flare-up of her previous sinus infection.  That is why she was getting daily headaches and low-grade fevers.  Her previous antibiotic didn’t quite clear it up and it was getting progressively worse during the past 2 months.  Her energy is back now and she doesn’t seem to feel quite as miserable as she did a few weeks ago.  Hopefully, this is the beginning of a positive upswing.

Speaking of positive…I have also been reading some pretty interesting books, which have been giving me a much more productive and positive view on life.  It kind of started with one of Judith Orloff’s books about positive energy. That led me to some books on living “in the now” (Zen-type books) and then I switched over to Steve Covey’s books (The 7 Secrets of Highly Effective People) and ended up reading a little bit of Bruce Lipton and finally moved on to Wayne Dyer.  His books focus on positive affirmations, higher energy living, service to others, etc.  I’m kind of taking a bit of everything and filling in the gaps with some of the beliefs – including the Christian beliefs from my childhood – and the habits which have worked for me in the past.  The final result is…well, I’m not sure yet.  I’m definitely a lot less worried these days and I feel a lot more centered and enthusiastic about all the little twists and turns my life is taking.  I no longer see my problems as “problems”…they are “projects.”   I forgot where I read that, but for some reason that really stuck with me.  Labeling them like that can put a positive spin on those situations which normally cause us stress.

So – all in all, it’s been a good couple of weeks here.  I cannot wait to enjoy the rest of this holiday season.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  Enjoy your holiday! :-D

Living In The Now

Posted by Jen in Personally, Spiritual Life |
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When was the last time I actually sat still and did nothing? I honestly can’t remember.

A few months ago my car had a  flat tire.   I brought my car to the repair shop and they told me the wait was going to be about a half an hour.   I seriously didn’t think I could last that long in the waiting area.   I wanted to call someone to pick me up and bring me home.   I figured I could just return later to get the car.   The idea of sitting there not doing anything actually felt torturous to me.

I used to love having quiet time….being able to sit and just sort out my thoughts.   I can’t seem to do that anymore.   I can’t even watch TV without having a book next to me or my laptop in front of me.   My browser currently had 10 tabs opened and I have six windows opened on the bottom, too.

Has technology done this to me?  Have I become so accustomed to being able to do multiple things at once that I never really thought about whether I should be doing multiple things at once?  All I know is that something needs to change.

It’s so easy to say that I am just going to spend some quite time each day, but what isn’t easy is knowing HOW to do that.   How does one actually have “quiet time” or “meditation time?”  Should I think?  Do I hum?  Do I not think?  Should I go outside? Should I kneel?  Do I pray?  Do I write in a journal?  I tried doing a variety of those things and found myself thinking of something that I needed to do or wanted to do and within moments my “quiet time” was over.   I got antsy and distracted.

So,  I am making this my goal.   I am going to try to limit my multi-tasking activities.  I need to train myself to do one thing at a time and really focus on it.   Really pay attention to the task.   I think that is where the problem really lies.  I am so used to having a ton of things running through my head at any given moment.  Time flies so quickly and I feel like I am barely experiencing any of it.

I need to learn how to live in the now.  The “now” being the one task I am currently attending to.  If my mind drifts to thoughts about another task, I will just push those thoughts aside and allow myself to spend a good solid amount of time on the first task before I move on to the next.  Maybe this will finally train me to actually sit outside on the deck and just enjoy the pretty day…without jumping up after 2 minutes because I suddenly thought of a million other things to do.

So, how does everyone else do this?  Does anyone else have the problem with living in the now?  How do you focus?  I can’t be the only one who sometimes feels like life is rushing past them and they aren’t really getting everything they can out of their life experiences.  There has to be a better way to do things.  I’m going to work really hard to figure that out.

Catholic and Christian

Posted by Jen in Spiritual Life |

Something came to my attention today that surprised me a little. Actually, it surprised me a lot. I was on a Christian site and according to the author of the site, Catholics are not Christians.
I go to a Roman Catholic church, but I have always considered myself to be a Christian. I was taught that Catholicism is one of the many different religious denominations within Christianity.
What are my beliefs, you might ask?
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord. I believe that Jesus died for our sins and that I am saved because of this. I receive Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.
Isn’t that what Christianity is? And, since these beliefs were introduced to me through my Catholic teachings and my reading of the Holy Bible, how can anyone say that Catholics can not be Christians?
I would first venture a guess that it might depend up on a person’s definition of “Christian”. But, doesn’t the word Christian pretty much define itself…”Christ”ian. Someone who follows Christ.
Here is an excerpt from something I read online:
…The Roman Catholic church is a denomination. Just one part of the Christian whole. The question is whether or not a Catholic confesses with her mouth the Lord Jesus and believes in her heart that God has raised from the dead – then she will be saved (Romans 10:9). After all, Mother Theresa was Catholic – and I don’t know anyone on earth who would say that she is not in heaven now because of mere doctrinal differences…
Every Sunday, I sit in church and declare my faith in God and Jesus Christ. It’s offensive to have someone tell me that because I go to a Roman Catholic Church, I am not Christian. The doctrines within these particular religions may differ, but I am most certainly Christian – whether I go a Catholic, Methodist, or Baptist church.
I suppose the most important thing to remember is that God knows me. Jesus knows me. They know what is in my heart and they know what I believe.
I am a Roman Catholic because I attend Catholic mass and because I follow the traditions and doctrines of the Roman Catholic church…but I am also a Christian because I follow Jesus and I know that I am saved through the sacrifice He made for us.
In heaven, I don’t think the titles of “Catholic”, “Methodist”, or any other religious group is going to matter to God. It all comes down to what we believe…and I intend to live my life according to these beliefs, by trusting and loving Jesus and following the word of God. It will not matter if I go to a catholic church or not….what matters is that I know and love and believe in God and in my Lord, Jesus Christ.

Time for prayer

Posted by Jen in Spiritual Life |
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As I mentioned a week or so ago, I’ve recently decided that it was time to make some major changes in my life.
I also came to the decision that the first (and most important) change was to work on my prayer life. A quick 30-second prayer in the morning and a 30-second prayer at night just isn’t working anymore. (Actually, I don’t think it ever worked) Half the time, I am just talking on auto-pilot as my mind is somewhere else, planning what I am going to do for the rest of the day.
I’ll never know how I could have gone from being a devoted pray-er and living a Christ-centered life to becoming self-absorbed, intolerant, tense…etc. (no need to list all of my faults here!) – it happened so gradually that I didn’t even notice the change. Or, more accurately, I didn’t think the changes were all that bad until recently, when I began to see these undesirable character traits appearing in my daughter.

So, I have read some really terrific books about prayer lately and pulled out some of my old devotionals from the bookshelf. I needed to reacquaint myself with the true Christian life again. Over the past week, I have decided that this is just too important and prayer will never ever again be placed anywhere but 1st on my daily To Do list. And, I am talking about real prayer. No distractions, no noise….a scheduled time where I can really get in touch with God and let Him help me plan my day, and thank Him for his blessings, praise Him for his love and patience….and listen for any guidance He can give to me. Listening is a tough one for me. I really like to talk. :)
Well, I have been spending a solid half hour of prayer for the past few days and although, I am sort in this “fake it until you make it” state of mind, I am determined to make this a permanent part of my daily life. If a person can make breakfast, lunch and dinner a daily part of their routine…or if a person can schedule a time to take a shower or brush their teeth every day, then a person should most definitely and absolutely make time for God every day. I am finding myself honestly looking forward to this time and I hope that I might be able to pass some of this enthusiasm to my daughter, too. It’s never too early to learn the joys of spending some quality time with God.

Well, it’s almost bedtime for Meg. My brother, Brian, got his new computer today and Meg got his old one. It’s a little faster than her previous one, but it has triple the storage space, so she’s been having me install nearly every single computer game in the house for her.
I hope everyone had a good weekend!