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Love the Size of a Horse Chestnut

One of the many powerful healing tools I learned while engaging in the CHRIST Program from Hope's Garden was how to create a self-soothing basket. Laura suggests that within this basket, we collect items that help regulate our nervous system and bring us back to our balanced, Christ-centered mind. Included in this basket are tools to engage all our sensory needs., For example, we can include essential oils or scented candles for the sense of smell, tactile items such as Aaron’s Thinking Putty for touch, calming green tea mints for taste, along with sacred items such as our favorite rosary.…

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The Invitation

I have lately been contemplating this concept of invitation. When I think back to my childhood… a childhood which was without any formal religion, any sort of prayer life or any familial teachings in the way of Christ, I am in almost disbelief that I am even here today, in this life that I lead with Jesus in the center. I believe that I am a walking, talking testimony to the blessings of a simple invitation. I know that the invitation was only the beginning and that there were a whole host of souls who prayed for me, for my…

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Our Lady of You!

I recently attended a course entitled: “The Marian Mystery and the Theology of the Body.” It was a deep-dive into the wild beauty, tender love, and full fiat of our Blessed Mother. At one point, the instructor, Christopher West, showed images of Our Lady appearing to various cultures, as a native of that region in feature and dress. Our Lady of Guadalupe, for example, appears as a lowly mestizo, a combination of European and indigenous Aztec features, and she speaks to Juan Diego in his own dialect of Nahuatl. On her garment, there are many symbols that would have communicated…

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The Giving Tree

A boy loves to spend time under a tree. He eats its apples. Swings from its branches and slides down its trunk. He takes naps in the tree's shade. Day after day the boy romps around with a crown made of leaves playing king of the forest. Life is good. Until something changes, he changes. As he gets older he wants more from the tree. He stops visiting the tree as often. When he does visit, he makes demands. He wants money, a house, a boat, a wife and a child. The loving tree gives the boy (now a man)…

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Madonna House: Restoring all things to Christ

In May, I visited Madonna House in Canada, for two weeks. This very special Catholic farm community is nestled in the little woodsy town of Combermere, Ontario, along the Madawaska River. The setting is serene and lovely. Madonna House is a return to Nazareth, a sacred sanctuary, a Holy Family home, where communal Gospel living is carried out through a simple, concrete rhythm of the day: prayer, liturgy, work, meals, tea time, spiritual reading, and shared family time. This lay apostolate was founded by Servant of God Catherine Doherty and her husband, Eddie Doherty, in 1947, and is comprised of…

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Emerging from the Cleft in the Rock

Trauma rips a person wide open and uncovers past wounds they didn’t even realize they had, while at the same time layering new wounds onto an already-wearied soul. When the trauma presents itself in the form of repeated relational abuse and marital betrayal, a victim’s entire universe continues to spin madly. Nothing can stop this head-long dive unless the abuse is eliminated, to be replaced with healing love. I often turn to Sacred Scripture for comfort and inspiration as I continue to traverse my own healing journey. When I recently opened my Bible at random, I came upon these words:…

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You’re Not Doing It Wrong

“I don’t hear Jesus. I ask Him questions and I just get silence. What am I doing wrong?” “Everyone else hears Him, there must be something wrong with me.” “He doesn’t talk to me the way He talks to you. I must be doing it wrong.” I hear women say things like this frequently and I felt compelled to say aloud (write aloud!) and emphatically: You are not doing it wrong! If there is anything “wrong,” it is that we tend to think WAY too small when thinking about God. God, Who is without limits, will forever escape the power…

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Our Lady – Mary, Mystical Rose

I have always had an affinity for flowers. Any flowers… tulips, daisies, pansies, all are my favorites. I enjoy buying them, giving them, receiving them, planting them in my yard and having them in my home. I love the fragrance of the smelly ones as they fill the space and the emotions and memories which are emitted with certain ones. I especially love walking into Church during the Easter season and smelling the lilies. I breathe deeply of their beautiful fragrance (especially since I do not have allergies!) and I can only imagine that Heaven will have such a sweet…

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Behind the Wall

The Bride: I hear my Beloved. See how He comes, leaping on the mountains, bounding over the hills. My Beloved is like a gazelle, like a young stag. See where He stands behind our wall. He looks in at the window, He peers through the lattice (Song of Songs 2:8-9). The Bridegroom: Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me (Rev 3:20). I’ve recently moved to a new home—and have been experiencing all the stress and anxiety…

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You Are The Beloved One of God

“How you are is what I like. How you are is what I like. How you are is what I like. How you are is what I like.” These were the words my 3-year old nephew sang to his newborn sister, Lucy, to the tune of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” He made the words up himself. Just a newborn, Lucy hasn’t done much to earn her brother’s favor. Yet, she has it. No social media followers. No bank account. No titles or trophies. Who then does Joseph see when he looks at his sister? How is she? The priest and…

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