Think about those times in your life when you have felt inspired to something really great. Where does that inspiration come from?
The Holy Spirit. God inspires us to do great things with our lives.
----Matthew Kelly

Who is TNSPC?

I'm Not Ready

I'm not ready for Christmas. My heart's not ready to rejoice in the birth of Jesus. This has been a tough year for me; this will be the first Christmas without either of my parents. Somehow I knew that last Christmas would be the last one with my father, but when you actually live through it, it hits hard. On top of that, my oldest son is clear across the country. This won't be the first Christmas he hasn't been home, but he's always been closer to home.
I'm trying; I really am. Here are some things I'm doing to attempt to get my heart ready:
I've attempted to get back into the routine of reading the daily mass readings and reflecting, as well as getting back into the habit of daily prayer. That meant updating my prayer list a bit, but that in itself was a bit of a prayer. I don't seem to be getting much out of the reflections, but I know I have to keep trying and eventually, I will.
I've kept up with Dynamic Catholic's Best Advent Ever. This year, I received a book in the mail. Every day, there is a chapter to read that goes along with the daily reflection. The book, Beautiful Hope, is speaking to me loudly right now. So maybe I'm not supposed to be getting much out of the readings right now.
If you aren't familiar with Dynamic Catholic or Best Advent Ever, check it out. During Lent, there will also be a Best Lent Ever.
I had to get a box off to my son, so I made some of my traditional candy for him. I spent a day making 3 different kinds of candy. This is severely scaled-down for me. When the boys were little, I would spend a whole day making candy and another whole day baking cookies & other goodies. I looked at a cookie recipe and thought about it, but then decided against it.
I baked. It was without Christmas music, though. I usually have the music blaring as I'm working in the kitchen. This year, though, it was quiet. I think I needed that quietness of an empty house with no extraneous noise.
I went to confession. In the past, my parish has had a penance service; however, this is the second year that the priests have been available the 2 Wednesday evenings leading up to Christmas Day. I think I like this better.
I decorated the house, even though I wasn't really "into" it. I hoped it would get me more into the "spirit". It has helped some, but this Advent definitely has a different feel to it.
I participated in the Catholic Sistas Advent Photo Challenge...up until 2 days ago, anyway! I have to catch up! If you don't know what that is: Check out their website. They usually do a photo challenge during Advent and again during Lent. A word is provided every day, and you interpret that word however you want. Take a picture and post it on Instagram, Facebook, and/or Twitter.  Use the hashtag provided. It's quite fun to search the hashtag & see how everyone else interpreted the word for the day.

Yes, this year is completely different than past years. For the past 3 years (following the passing of my mother) I picked up my father and took him to Midnight Mass. Sitting next to my daddy at Mass last year, somehow I knew that would be the last one. He's celebrating in Heaven with my mother by his side, and that makes me happier than you could ever know. It's a "new kind of normal", and it's going to take some getting used to.
What do you do to get your heart ready for Christmas?

This post was written with the intent of participating in 7 Quick Takes hosted by the amazing Kelly at This Ain't the Lyceum; however, it would appear that Kelly is taking December off, so I'm doing this one solo!

It's All About Community

I'm so busy dealing with my own salvation that I forget about my responsibility to others. Salvation isn't just about's about everyone I meet. Not just those I meet on a daily basis, but even those who may enter my life for a fleeting second.
We are called to evangelize, to spread the news of God. In today's First Reading (Ezekiel 33:7-9), I applied it in my life as meaning that if we have the opportunity to evangelize but don't say anything, we are responsible for that person not being saved. But...if we say something and that person chooses to ignore, they are accountable.
I have a co-worker whom I have seen at Mass. I mentioned to her that I didn't realize she was Catholic, and she said she wasn't; the man she is seeing is so she has been coming to Mass. (The times I have seen her, she was coming back from communion but I didn't make it a point to watch to see if she was taking the Eucharist, or if she had her arms folded.) She said she enjoys coming to Mass but doesn't understand all of it. I invited her to look into RCIA, and gave her Sister's name to call at the church office if she was interested. We were around a group of people, so I didn't want to say anything about her taking communion. I decided I would wait until I see her alone and bring it up. It also gave me time to think of how to word what I needed to say. I'm going to start by telling her that I'm not judging, just informing. That was mainly because I didn't know if she was taking communion. Last week, however, I didn't play in the choir and was sitting in the congregation when I saw her go to communion and take the Body & Blood of Christ. Now, I feel that it is imperative that I speak with her, only I haven't had time. I need to make the time to talk to her. I can't be so busy that I can't find a couple of minutes to talk to her. Am I nervous about it? Absolutely. I'm more nervous that she will say something & I won't know the right words to say back to her, but this is a discussion that needs to happen...soon.
That takes us to the Second Reading (Romans 13:8-10) and the Gospel (Matthew 18:15-20). We should love our neighbors enough to care about their salvation. Even those people we don't particularly care for deserve to be saved. I don't know about you, but being a cradle Catholic, when a Protestant friend comes up to me and spouts off Bible verses and starts talking about Jesus, I get uncomfortable. To me,  your faith is personal and is unique to each person. We don't have to say anything to evangelize...actions speak louder than words. And, as St. Francis is attributed as saying: "Preach the Gospel at all times and if necessary, use words." BINGO! That is exactly what I think the Readings are saying! Always be preaching. I'm so guilty of acting one way in the work place and another way at home. At work, I try to be all sunshine & roses, and by the time I get home I'm over it. My poor husband takes the brunt of it. It's not easy to preach all the time; in fact, it's quite exhausting. Jesus didn't say it would be easy, though.
In the Gospel, we're given a plan. If someone wrongs us, we are to go directly to that person. If he can't be swayed, then we get a couple of people to go back with us and try again. If that doesn't work, we get the church involved. (That had me a little puzzled, until the Deacon mentioned in RCIA that "church" meant "community".) If that doesn't work, then we make them aware of the estrangement. To me, this means that at some point you have to let go for your own sanity. If you've gone through every step you can to reconcile, then it's time to back away and continue to pray for that person. I'm not a confrontational person; in fact, I avoid it at all costs.  In reading the meditation from Magnificat, Pope Francis says that "This approach is one of sensitivity, prudence, humility, attention towards the one who committed a fault, to avoid wounding or killing the brother with words." In his Homily, Father said that he is often the last to know that someone isn't happy with him, because that person rarely comes to him and tells him. He finds out 3rd or 4th hand. When you go to that person who wronged you, you do it out of love. When you go to someone else and that person goes to another person, and so on, you may be destroying that person. As Pope Francis said, "words can kill". I am guilt of gossiping (I don't know anyone who isn't), but I do have a responsibility to stop gossip. I heard someone say that if you tell 1 person you're venting, but if you tell more than 1 person, you're gossiping. Oh, but isn't it so easy to "vent" to a few people at a time? And, couldn't it be avoided if you just went to that person and discussed the problem? Hmmmm...seems like I read that in today's Readings!
As Father summed up the Second Reading: "There is no evil in love". I had the pleasure of listening to Father Leo Patalinghug last year at our Diocesan CCW Convention. His advice is to pray for the person we don't care for. How can you dislike someone you're praying for? Good, sound advice!
I don't think the Readings are telling us to have the weight of the world on our shoulders. It's not telling us to be anxious about trying to save everyone. It is telling us to act like a Christian, be humble, sensitive, prudent, and attentive. Or, as Matthew Kelly puts it: "Be the best version of ourselves". If we do that, others will take notice and will want to emulate us. It's our responsibility to show that love and to spread the Gospel. It doesn't have to be with words; actions will do.


Photo by Kris Schulze
I really didn't want to get up and go to Mass this morning. I initially planned to go last night, but got busy with a project and didn't go. I've got to focus on Him. I definitely feel like I've lost that focus that I had over the past few years.

I read the Readings while in Adoration on Thursday...that is, after almost falling asleep saying the Rosary. The First Reading (Jeremiah 20: 7-9) had me duped.  Why was Jeremiah saying those things? Why in the world is that the First Reading? After reading it a couple of times (to make sure I read it right the first time), I opened the Bible and read what came before and after, as well as the introduction to this book. It kind of made sense after that.
Jeremiah was called to be a prophet, but it didn't always go well for him. My take on this reading is that he was just tired of being a prophet and sick of being unappreciated. The Catholic Study Bible (3rd Edition) indicates that he had more of an impact after his death. He voiced his frustration in what we read today, but then he turns it around and says that the Lord will prevail over those who are condemning him. But then...he goes back to wishing he hadn't been born. Such a conflicted soul!

The Second Reading (Romans 12:1-2) is a short one, but reminds us to stay true to God. Do what is right and don't succumb to peer pressure or what's going on right now. Our country is such a mess in terms of "if you don't agree with me, then you're (insert word here)." Instead of respecting others' opinions, the "other side" is criticized and ridiculed. St. Paul tells us in this very short passage to stick to your guns and don't succumb. You know what is right...keep doing it and believing it. Even when, like Jeremiah, you get discouraged and it seems that the whole world is against you, keep fighting the good fight.

The Gospel (Matthew 16:21-27) wraps everything up. If you stay true and conduct yourself as you should, you will receive your heavenly reward. Peter & Jeremiah both wanted to take matters into their own hands, forgetting God's will.  During RCIA last week when we discussed this week's Gospel, the question came up about knowing what your cross is that you have to bear. Maybe we don't really know what that cross is; we have to have faith that whatever it is, God will give us the grace to carry it as long as we don't turn our back on Him.

As I said in the beginning of this post: I really didn't want to go to Mass this morning. While I was in the shower, I thought about how the devil is trying to get me to not go, and he will not win. I refuse to let him win or have any power over me. So I finished getting ready & went. Imagine how surprised I was when Father said "When we least feel like being at Mass we need to be there most." That was definitely a "Jethro Slap" moment!  (If you watch NCIS, you know what I'm talking about.) No matter what you're going through or whether you're on fire, lukewarm, or kind of cool about God & your faith, keep working through it. He's there for you, and he's waiting with open arms. After all, even the saints went through cool periods in their lives.

{SQT} Stressors All Around

I'm trying to get back in the swing of Seven Quick Tips on Friday, hosted by Kelly at This Ain't the Lyceum.

I've discovered that I'll never be a "big time" blogger...I don't have the issues that most of them seem to have. Has anyone else noticed that? I lived a very normal life in a small town in the South. Hmmm...maybe that's a good thing?
The solar eclipse is supposed to be at 100% in my county. All of the schools are going to be closed so we can all experience this once in a lifetime phenomenon. I was a little concerned about how scared the little ones are going to be, so I'm glad they'll be at home. The concern now is that some of them will look toward it without eye protection.
Daily prayer. I'm finding it really hard to get back in the routine since school has started. We have my son's dog staying with us until June (when he graduates); she's not quite house-trained, but she's almost there. How this ties in: it takes her a while to potty when I take her out. I'm not sure why; you'd think she'd be just about to bust when I take her out in the morning. That eats up time. I suppose I could pray while we're out, but I spend that time repeating over and over, "Come on, girl. Make your tee-tee" or "Make your poops". Makes it a little hard to concentrate on prayer. Did I mention that we don't have a fence, so she has to be on a leash, which means I have to actually walk around the yard with her? And, we live on a busy road...and she's a terrier and bolter?
Between the dog and the hellacious kitchen remodel, I was super-stressed this summer. It's been going on for 2 months and counting. Anything that could have gone wrong, has. I've felt like a prisoner in my own house, or rather, living room. With 3 dogs. There is an end in sight. Hopefully, anyway.
People in my house that don't belong here: That's a huge stressor for me. The beginning of the school year is another one. Oh, and the dog that didn't belong here, too.
Grown Boys. I have 3 grown boys: 1 lives in Washington, 1 in Louisiana, and 1 in the basement. The one in the basement is the least stressor of the three.  I'm still trying to let go and let God take care of them. Easier said than done.
Here's the thing: I don't deal well with stress. Stress makes me want to curl up in my bed and stay there until it passes. But...that's not real life. I feel like I've actually done a fairly good job dealing with the stress of the kitchen remodel...most of the time. Yes, I've shed tears in Home Depot. Yes, I've had to get a little nasty with the contractor. Yes, I will have a beautiful kitchen when it's all said and done. But, boy, if I had it to do over....

Not Letting Fear Be the Motivator

Photo by Pexels
What is your first reaction when you meet someone who is "different" than you? I'd wager that 9 out of 10 times, it's fear. When I was growing up, any time I met a disabled person (whether it be physically or mentally disabled), I was scared. I didn't know what to say or do. I was also quite a bit anxious with some fear mixed in when, for 3rd grade, the school I attended went through integration. I was taken out of my white, middle class world and thrown in with a whole bunch of kids who were "different".
You're thinking, "yeah, well, that was when you were a kid", and that's true. As an adult, I know some people who are frightened when they see someone with a disability, and I can't say for sure whether or not I would be one of them. Since I work with disabled children, I don't have that fear any longer. I know people who, when they see a person of color, will automatically think the worst of him/her. I can definitely say that, when I meet a woman with a hijab (I hope I'm using the correct term!), my initial reaction is fear, but then I calm down and am interested. (I'm interested to the point where I really want to ask questions, but realize that it's probably not socially acceptable to walk up to a stranger and bombard her with questions about her beliefs & customs in the middle of WalMart.) Then I'm able to see Christ in that person.
Photo by Timothy Ah Koy on Unsplash
In today's Gospel (Matthew 14:22-33), Peter's fear makes him sink as he's walking on the water. He yells out "Lord, save me!", and Jesus reaches his hand out for Peter to grab. In the homily last night, Father focused on our fear of anything different than how we are.
When we feel fear and anxiety, we are refusing to see God in others' how they look and in what they wear. He urged us to not let fear be what motivates you; see Christ in everyone we meet. Fear is what takes us down. When we have those feelings, picture God's outstretched hand pulling us up and seeing Him.
Photo by Anton Darius | Sollers on Unsplash
I have friends who are protestant, or are agnostic, but I'm not afraid of them. Why then, does the fear creep in when I meet someone who is Muslim? If I met a Muslim who did not cover her head, I wouldn't know she is Muslim; therefore, I wouldn't have any fear or anxiety at all. It's the outside appearance that causes the fear and anxiety.
Our society is such that we have been programmed to look at the outside of the person first. What they're wearing or how they're acting causes our first impression. The media has a huge part in telling us how we should conceive those first impressions. What would society be like if the media reported on the inside of people, not the outside? How much nicer everyone would be to each other!
Photo by Sonja Guina on Unsplash
I some non-Catholics feel anxious when they meet a priest for the first time who is wearing a collar?  I wear a miraculous medal necklace and a bracelet with a St. Benedict medal every single day. Still, I'm not easily identified by looking at me as Catholic because my miraculous medal is a very small part of the necklace (it's in a cross) and isn't easily detectable as such. But, if it were, I wonder how differently I would be treated.
The nuns (or "sisters" as we are now supposed to refer to religious who work in communities and aren't cloistered) who wore their habits...were people fearful of them? (I'm not talking about anyone who attended Parochial School!) What about the sisters who continue to wear their habits? Do they feel it? I have to say, I've never thought about that until just now. A cradle Catholic, being around it my whole life, there is not one ounce of fear or anxiety when I see them "out and about".
With the abuse scandals, do non-Catholics have that anxiety when they see a priest? Do they pull their children in closer to them out of fear? I think as Catholics, we may think it's silly, but think about it. How is that any different than many of our initial reactions to seeing a Muslim woman?

I challenge you to say a quick prayer "Lord, save me" the next time you come across someone who is "different" than you. Ask God to allow you to see Him in that person. If everyone did that, the world would be a much nicer place in which to live.

{SQT} Netflix Binging

I'm linking up with Kelly at This Ain't the Lyceum for Seven Quick Takes. Thanks for hosting us every week, Kelly! 😁
Even though technically Summer just started, mine is halfway over already. As I mentioned in a previous post, binging on Netflix is one thing that an empty-nester school employee does during the summer. Here are some shows/movies in which I've been indulging. 
House of Cards. I started from the very beginning since I only watched Seasons 1 & 2 before, and I couldn't remember what happened. Claire & Frank are some devious people, for sure. I don't know why they had to make Frank bisexual. I guess they thought they needed to for the ratings, which is sad. It wasn't necessary at all.
Queen of the South. This one was really good. Even though Teresa is in the drug cartel, she has a good heart; I found myself pulling for her through all of the misfortunes she goes through.
The Ranch. There are a lot of big names in this show: Ashton Kutcher, Daniel Masterson, Debra Winger, Sam Elliot (BIG reason to watch!), Megyn Price, Kathy Baker, and some cameos by Wilmer Valderrama. (Kutcher, Masterson, and Valderrama all starred in "That 70's Show"). The downside is that there is a lot of f-bombs flying around and premarital sex (I don't recall any nudity), as well as a hokey laugh-track. In spite of all that, I think it's actually really funny.
Bloodline. This is one show that I kept up with, so I only watched the last season. I don't know if they had a different writer, but, man! it was weird. I didn't like that Kyle Chandler played such a bad guy in this show, and last season left off with such a cliffhanger. This was definitely a dark show.
Manchester By The Sea. My husband & I started watching this, but had to stop. It was just too weird for us & we didn't "get it". Maybe if we kept watching it would have been better, but I can't believe it won all of those awards.
Full of Grace. I saw this as an ad in my Divine Mercy emails, and it was on Netflix. The movie follows Mary through her last days, and Peter is there with her. Other apostles also come, but Peter is there first. He is in quite a dilemma as the leader of a new church, he has no idea what to do. It really makes you think about what he felt and how lost he felt as the leader of the Church. Mary guides him back to ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. The only disappointing thing of the movie was that Mary quietly passed away in the movie...she wasn't assumed into Heaven.  Disappointing end, for sure.
Father Brown. First off, the British do tv and movies so much better than we Americans do! This is a BBC series about a Catholic Priest who is quite a sleuth. The man who plays Father Brown also played Mr. Weasley in the Harry Potter movies. There are quite a few tongue in cheek jabs as only the Brits can do. 

I'm watching so much Netflix because I'm kind of stuck at the house waiting for my kitchen to be done. We're on week 3 (when we were told it would only take 2 not counting the countertops) and it looks like we have about 3 more. There was a problem with the cabinets. Every Thursday on my Life in a Small Town blog I am documenting what's going on. You can read it here

{SQT} VBS Week

It's Friday (YAY!), so it must be time for Seven Quick Takes, hosted by Kelly at  This Ain't the Lyceum
Since I "don't work during the summer", Sister asked me if I would be able to help with Vacation Bible School this week. I, along with another lady, was in charge of getting the snacks together and getting them to the kids. It's been a great week! The program that we're using has everything: activities, stories, crafts, music, and snacks that are all centered around our theme, Apparitions of Mary.  Since every group but one has been to the story room before snacks, I had to tell them about the "Apparition of the Day". By Wed., I realized that I need to do a quick read the night before to make sure I know what I'm talking about!
Monday's Apparition was Lourdes, which some of the kids thought was "Lord". (Southern accent!) When we were planning the snacks, one of the activities looked really cool: a little bit of powdered pudding, a little bit of milk, and a drop or 2 of blue food coloring, all in a ziploc bag. When the kids squished the bag to mix it all up, the "water" (blue food coloring) came to the "top of the ground". It looked good on paper!  What we should have done was make the pudding ahead of time, put a little bit in each bag and put a drop of food coloring in between the spoonfuls of pudding. Then when they squished the bag it would turn blue.
The other snack we had was cheese & crackers in the shape of a decade of the Rosary.
Cheese & Crackers arranged to look like a decade of the Rosary
I was amazed at how many kids had no idea what a Rosary is! No wonder we're losing people!
I wasn't there on Tues. due to a couple of previously made appointments, but it was "Fatima Day". The kids at least had heard of her since our parish is Our Lady of Fatima. For snack, we found (on Pinterest) some cute crackers & cheese put together to look like a sun. No one took a picture of the finished product, but I asked some of the kids how it went & they said they really liked it.
From Creative Food
Wednesday was "Our Lady of Guadalupe Day".  We made sombreros using round crackers, canned cheese (for decoration), and a grape in the middle. We also made a Juan Diego with a tilma using a pretzel rod & a fruit roll up.
Juan Diego with a sombrero and tilma
Thursday was "Our Lady of Knock Day". Snack was a crown using round crackers, cream cheese and goldfish.
Photo courtesy of Luis Ramos
Our original plan for Thursday was to let the kids put the crowns together themselves, but we decided that some would just want to eat the ingredients instead of getting the full effect of the crown, so 4 of us got them all ready. We had a few kids who said they didn't like cream cheese, so we asked them to try 1 little bite. Some ended up liking it; the ones who didn't were given crackers & goldfish.
If I had to do this over, I would use a cookie and frosting, then use the graham cracker goldfish.
1 of the women brought some tamales to share. Oh...MY, it was good! This was definitely one of the perks to being Catholic: Having a Hispanic sister bring tamales!
2nd breakfast of tamales
AH....Friday at last! "Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Day"! We made scapulars out of brownies, frosting, pretzel sticks for the crosses, and twizzlers for the string that attaches them. One of the ladies made the brownies on Wed. before we left for the day. Some of the kids who weren't going to be there on Friday were a bit disappointed.
Our music director is a young guy who is just fantastic. He's so talented, and has the talent of making music fun for everybody, no matter what your age. I would have loved to have shown you a clip of the kids, but apparently that's frowned upon!

How does this compare with Vacation Bible School at your church? Do you, or have you ever helped?

How My Faith Helps Me With Grieving

I was speaking with a young adult one evening when he received a text informing him of his great-grandfather's passing. I gave my condolences by saying "I'm sorry", which sparked a conversation between the 2 of us. We spoke of what part our faith plays in our grieving.
Two very different passings
Why do people say "I'm sorry" when expressing their condolences, especially in the case of the elderly? I don't know how many people told me that when my father passed away. He was terribly lonely, with my mother passing away almost 3 years earlier. In fact, he was just miserable, he missed her so much. He was ready to go, and had been for several months.  When people told me they were sorry, I responded with, "It's okay. He lived a long, full life. He was ready to be with Mama."
As I thought about writing this post, I came across a passage in Matthew Kelly's book Resisting Happiness. As I read page 62, I thought of my mother: She passed very unexpectedly. We (my siblings and I) expected that she would live the end of her days in a nursing home since she was showing definite signs of dementia. But, as someone pointed out to me, God is a merciful God. He called Mama home before her dementia was such that she didn't know us or Daddy. I had conversations with my father about that same thing. God showed all of us so much mercy by not making us live through that experience.
My father's passing was the total opposite, but again, God showed us all mercy by not allowing his illness to linger. He didn't suffer with his congestive heart failure long: He went into the hospital on Jan. 1 and passed away Feb. 1. That's another reason why I tell people "It's okay".
I miss both of them terribly, but I know I have 2 more people in heaven praying for me and my siblings. They weren't perfect, but they were just about the best parents anyone could pray for, and I can't even begin to tell you how blessed I am that God chose me to be their daughter. That gets me through those times when that hole in my heart seems enormous.
It's not them
After my mother passed, I went to the cemetery with my father pretty regularly, although it dwindled as the months passed. The cemetery is on a very busy highway & I was concerned that he may have an accident. I have to admit that, since his passing, I've only been to their graves a few times. Why? Because that's not them; they aren't there. All that is there is a shell in which their beautiful souls were encased. I don't go to their graves to "talk to them"; I talk to them all the time throughout my day. I don't think about their bodies deteriorating; that's not them.
In the May issue of Magnificat (p. 419), I read the following:
That sums up how my faith helps with grieving. I think flowers are beautiful, especially dogwoods and Bradford Pears, but it seems that the blooms are gone with the blink of an eye. So it is with our loved ones. God places these beautiful people in our lives, and, in the grand scheme of things, doesn't it seem like they're gone with the blink of an eye, too? Even if you're fortunate to have them for many years, when you look back it seems to have gone too quickly.
Faith and hope
I was so very fortunate to have had my parents with me for so long, and that they were healthy in mind and body. I'm not going to sugar coat it: There are many tears, and there is a huge hole in my heart where they once were. Their passings give me hope; my faith that they passed to me confirms that hope.
So, when someone tells me she's sorry for my loss, I have to wonder if what she really means is that she is sorry that I'm grieving, because I know my parents are in heaven, smiling down on me, and saying "We did good".

{SQT} 7 Materials to Help You Reflect

With the internet, there are so many options to use for reflecting on Daily & Sunday Readings. These are what I have found helpful. Some can be delivered right into your inbox. isn't only for moms. There's something for everyone on this site whether you're single or a dad. Their Daily Reflections are short and to the point. 
Blessed is She is another reflection that can be delivered daily to your inbox. While some of them are geared more toward the younger crowd, they are usually well-written and connect the readings to every day life.
ePriest's reflections begin with a prayer, petition, then 3 main points for the Gospel, followed by another prayer and ending with a resolution.
The Catholic Company doesn't have reflections, but they do have morning offerings, daily meditations, links to Mass Readings (from USCCB) and Homilies, as well as the daily saint, devotions, and links to daily prayers. Just be aware that if you sign up, you'll also receive offers from them.
The Word Among Us can't be sent to your inbox, so I sometimes forget about going to this site. (If you subscribe, you may be able to have the daily meditation sent; I don't subscribe, so I'm not sure.) It's actually very good; another short reflection that connects the readings to every day life.
Catholic Study Bible. This is the one I have, but really, any of them would do. Read the readings, and read the footnotes. Read what comes before and after the Gospel for that day/week.
A friend of mine just made a Mass Notes Journal (pdf format). Someone else made the comment that it will be great to take to Adoration. This can be used throughout the week. Included are Homily Notes, Scripture References and questions, goals, moments of grace, a place for art, a thankful page, help me page, prayer requests, and faith in action. It's a great way to reflect on the whole week using the weekly Readings.
If you have a Spiritual Director, this would be fantastic to take with you when you receive direction.

She has made it available to everyone, for free. There is a choice of 5 different covers. I put mine in a notebook, but you could bind yours. She thought of everything: She has 2 versions: Sermon Notes Journal and Mass Notes Journal.
If you would like to download it, click HERE

What do you have delivered to your inbox for reflections?

I'm linking up with Kelly at This Ain't the Lyceum for Seven Quick Takes.

{Pentecost} Eucharistic Adoration Doesn't Have To Be Silent

Last week, I was looking forward to my hour of Perpetual Adoration. I took my notebook; I was expecting an hour of silence and some time to allow the Holy Spirit to guide me with this post. Well, God has an incredible sense of humor, and he let me know right away who was in control.
The past few weeks, I've had the Chapel all to myself for the hour, so I was expecting the same this time. I walked in, and there were no fewer than 6 people already there. I love to go to Adoration when no one else is there. I know God can listen to everyone at the same time, but I'm selfish. (Even though I'm in my mid-50's, my 9 siblings still use the word "bratty" to describe me.) I like knowing that I have his full attention. I get more distracted when there are other people in the Chapel than when I'm alone. I was a little disappointed, but I made the best of it. I pulled out my Rosary and closed my eyes, trying to concentrate. You can probably guess what happened next: I came this close to falling asleep. Small victory for me: It didn't actually happen...this time.
Following the Rosary, I pulled out the readings for Sunday, as well as my notebook. The First (Acts 2:1-11) and Second (Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13) Readings didn't appear to meld together.  As I looked over my notes, it clicked. There were individuals coming together to gather within the apostles and the Jews. Each individual had their own God-given talent; each is unique in what they bring. Just as a body can not completely function without the other parts, the Church is unable to function without each individual bringing his/her own talents. When the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles, it wasn't to make them all the same. Each individual had a job to do, and that job perfectly fit the talents and strengths of that person. When you stop and think about that, it's just incredibly amazing. The apostles were suddenly able to speak in other languages; my guess (I'm not a theologian and didn't read this anywhere) is that the language(s) they were able to speak were in the native tongue of where their evangelization would take them. The Jews who were gathered were amazed. Even within that group, even though they heard the apostles speaking in their own language, there were doubts and talk of "too much new wine" (Acts 2:13).
The reading from Acts is the image most of us probably have in our minds when we think of Pentecost.  The Gospel Reading (John 20:19-23) confused me a bit. Is this a different account, a different perspective, of the First Reading? As I read the notations in my Catholic Study Bible, it is mentioned that the verses from the Acts may not have been that dramatic. Could Luke have embellished what really happened? Or, were these 2 completely different events?
As the last people who were "sharing" the Chapel with me left, one woman remained. We've shared the Chapel before, so I felt very comfortable being there with her. As soon as the door closed, I spoke up and asked her opinion on what I was thinking. We read the 1st Reading and the Gospel out loud, and then went back and read the passages before them to see if we could understand them. Did I feel bad about talking out loud in the Chapel? Absolutely not. I truly believe that this is part of what the Holy Hour is about: growing in fellowship for His glory.
We may not have answered the question correctly, but we came to an understanding of the timeline of the First Reading and the Gospel. After reading both passages and having some discussion, we came to the conclusion that the passage from Gospel came first: since Jesus appeared to the disciples, this would have taken place before the Ascension. (This passage also gives the explanation of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.) Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit into the disciples, but in the passage from Acts, the Holy Spirit descended upon them.
Our conclusion, right or wrong, is that the First Reading and the Gospel depict two separate events. I left Adoration with a song in my heart. The hour was vastly different than I expected it to be, but sometimes God does that to keep us on our toes!

{SQT} Keeping it Light

I'm joining Kelly at This Ain't the Lyceum for 7 Quick Takes. 
It's summer vacation in my neck of the woods; it's time to take it easy & keep things light. Enjoy!
(The following pictures were grabbed from Pinterest unless where otherwise noted.)
Fidget spinners are all the rage. They've been around for a loooong time!
From uCatholic: This is a story about a monastery's newest member. You can read it here.
You have to at least chuckle at this one!
Get it? 
In the South, there aren't a lot of us around, so this is so me; especially when I saw someone in a deli with a Benedictine Medal.
Q: How do you beat that? A: You don't even try!
The first time I heard this was last year when Fr. Leo Patalinghug spoke at our CCW Convention.

1 more thing. Did you know Pope Francis does ride-a-longs? I found this on Amazon the other day when I was looking for something else:
Have the Pope keep you company while running errands.
They are currently out of stock, but keep checking...they'll have some more soon!  (Thumbs Up RW-POPELHD Ride with Pope (Left) ) 

If nothing else, I'm at least getting 7 Quick Takes in on this blog! I have a couple of ideas for future posts rolling around in my head, so check back next week for at least one of those.