Go ahead and judge this book by its cover!

yesI just pre-ordered it myself and can’t wait to get it and read it.

You’ll want to do the same; I promise.

I’ve been a longtime fan of Lisa’s work, starting with CatholicMom.com, through two other books — The Handbook for Catholic Moms and A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms, her blog at Patheos.com, and now this exciting new book, The Grace of Yes.

You can read all about it at Here.

old advice made new

Remember bulletin boards in elementary school? Before those teacher supply stores sold all the specialty borders and letters? Before chalkboard paint was a thing?

I saw a hand-lettered board just the other day. The poorly stapled message would have benefitted from a level. It annoyed me, possibly because it was shoddy work, but more likely because I was already annoyed by someone on Twitter.

True story. I was annoyed by a stranger on Twitter.

Unfollow you might say. Block. Well, yes. That’s an option. But it got me thinking about this person who is, quite possibly, a chronically unhappy individual and is constantly posting rounds of negativity, whining, and complaints. It’s a sad cycle of unhappiness, followed by complaints of unhappiness, which can’t possibly lift anyone’s spirit, so back again to a renewed round of unhappiness.

Unfortunately, it affected me.

I got to thinking, how often do I post something negative on Twitter because it is a convenient sounding board and forget someone is going to read it and perhaps have a reaction to it?

Do I really want to be that person spewing the garbage all the time? So I decided to make my own bulletin board here, reminiscent of the kinds I saw in the hallways at school:

T.H.I.N.K. Before You Tweet

T — is your comment truthful?

H — is it helpful?

I — does it inspire?

N — is it noteworthy?

K — is it kind?

make a wish!

dandelionI walked outside from work and encountered this perfect little dandelion seed head. It was just waiting for me in the grass next to my parking spot, calling 8 year old me to make a wish.

So I did.

I threw caution to the wind, plucked it carefully, and blew away the little seeds.

And now I wait.

Adlai Stevenson and the Triduum

Slide1An unlikely pairing, yes?

Yes. But give me a chance to explain.

I teach a couple of dual enrollment courses at a local high school and often admire the collection of inspirational quotes that have painstakingly been hand-painted on certain walls. This particular quote attributed to Adlai Stevenson faces the last hall before I get to my classroom.

I’ve read that quote dozens of times as I race down the hall toward my classroom. In fact, I’ve seen that quote so many times that I barely notice it anymore.

Today was a little different. I was still in a hurry to get to class, but for another reason. Today begins the Paschal Triduum, marking the end of Lent.

I had a few things on my mind — mostly planning my schedule for the next three days as I endeavor to attend the special liturgies that begin tonight with the Mass of The Lord’s Supper  and lead to the Easter Vigil.

I look forward to this every year. In spite of being a crazy busy several days, time seems to slow down for me. It’s a gift that I don’t question. So today I found myself standing in front of Stevenson’s quote when I’d ordinarily zip right past it.

As I stood there reading it for the hundredth time, it occurred to me that I could substitute one single word in that statement and it would encompass every challenge I’ve faced this Lent:

Faith is not a short and frenzied outburst of emotion but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.

I was struck with the simplicity of it. I like shiny things and am distracted easily by anything that is new and promises to be different. Because of this, I think I have missed a great deal of opportunity for growth in my spiritual life. I want to have the epic religious conversion. I want to get, as I often tell my close friends, a memo from God that spells out everything in black and white. In short, I want to be knocked off a horse like St. Paul.

Instead, I get opportunities to wait. To practice patience. To wait some more.

I missed that I could have, should have been doing something while waiting. While I continue to wait.

I’ve come to understand that there’s a certain peace in the long haul, the daily grind of faith.