checking your resolutions - woman with sparkler

woman with sparkler

It’s been roughly a month since the New Year.  It’s time for a check up on your resolutions.  Do you still have resolutions?  Have you given up?  Have you decided you have failed miserably?  Are you accomplishing them one by one?

It is not uncommon for many to have dropped resolutions by now, but don’t let this stop you, you can continue and/or start again.

Check up on your resolutions

Do your resolutions still make sense?  If yes, continue.  If not, please go back to the drawing board for resolutions that make more sense.

How to keep up with your resolutions.

  1. Do a monthly or even weekly check up on your resolutions.
    • How are you doing with your goals and resolutions?  Are you keeping up?  Falling behind?
    • Are you on track?  If not, what can you do to get back on track?
    • What is getting in the way?
      • A small analysis can do wonders in the way of keeping on track.
  2. Write them down.
    • Writing them down does something in the brain.  Like you signed a contract with yourself.  Also, you can refer back to it.
    • Follow up with a list of things to do and a log of things you have done to accomplish these resolutions.
  3. Learn to forgive yourself if you fail.
    • Failure is almost inevitable.  It’s part of our imperfect nature.  Therefore, it is a must to learn to forgive yourself if you fail.
    • If you forgive yourself, you will gain flexibility to continue on your path.
  4. For every 8 times you fall, get up 9.
    • Or in other words, don’t give up.

These may sound a bit like common sense, but when we are in the midst of failure despair, it is easy to throw common sense out the window and give up, or worse, call ourselves a failure when we are not.

 

 

Seasons of spirituality

There are seasons of spirituality.  Everything has seasons.  The year has seasons.  Sports have seasons.  Vegetables and fruits have seasons.  Even TV shows have seasons!  Life has its seasons, and each season has its own cycles.  Within each season, there is a spiritual season, that echoes the seasons of the year:  Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter.  We will focus on the spiritual seasons.

Spring

During the Spring spiritual season, everything is being born again.  One is thankful for every little thing to God, and one is also hyper-aware that there is more to life than just the daily things we see.  There is a feeling of love in the air.  It’s like a little child, in wonderment of the world and every new discovery she makes.

Seasons of spirituality - road lined by trees.

Road lined by trees.

Summer

During Summer, spirituality peaks.  One’s spirituality reaches a certain maturity.  One knows God is there, and there is a certain understanding that things will work a certain way because one’s faith is just that strong.  Perhaps we have discovered what we think is all there is to know about the faith.

Fall

During Fall, spirituality wanes.  This doesn’t mean that you stop believing in God or that you change to a less intense religion.  It simply means that the peak has been reached and that the time to harvest is now.  A lot of the prayer and active time in the faith should pay off, or so we think.

Winter

During Winter, spirituality really dwindles.  There is a certain dryness in the air.  One knows that God is there, but one isn’t necessarily aware.  It may feel like God is cold, and that the environment is desolate.  It is perhaps hard to pray, or it may feel like there is no point to praying.  Only to be followed by a stronger Spring, when the cycle repeats again.

 

In this day and age, it is incredibly easy to find a date.  The choices are overwhelming, so setting priorities to find a date.  Apps and matching websites for this abound, but how does one go about getting a good one?  This is why it is important to set priorities.  When your priorities are straight, “weeding” out the incompatible suitors is easier.

Setting priorities to find a date.

hearts - setting priorities to find a date

hearts

My top 3 priorities.

With all the choices out there, setting priorities to find a date is important.  Then, find a website and/or app, and/or activities that align with those priorities.  As a fairly religious person, my priorities included:

  1. That he is Catholic, or at the very, very least, that he is deeply respectful of my Catholic practices.
  2. That his dating practices are serious (leading to marriage, no games, etc.)
  3. That we are compatible.

That he is Catholic (or the same religion as me)

This is very important to me, because in the past, (lessons learned) I have dated people who don’t have the same religious practices as me, and let’s just say it was a royal disaster.  I ended up being criticized for all my religious practices, and of course, we broke up.  And this is at a time that religion wasn’t even all that important to me, so when I got more serious about my practices, this was definitely a must.

That he is serious

I am not getting any younger, and I am not around to play games.  I am not an object.  I am not “one of the guys”.  I am to be respected.  I believe I have had enough learning experiences, I don’t need another one.  I am ready to meet a serious man.

That we are compatible.

This is also important.  We must have similar (not identical) likes and dislikes.  We must agree in the important things that are important to us.  That his level of crazy meets mine.

Conclusion

When setting your priorities to find a date, think of what is really important to you.  Once you do, choosing a good date is much easier, because you will know what to look for.

 

 

Spiritual Dryness

According to Wikipedia, Spiritual Dryness or desolation is a lack of spiritual consolation in one’s spiritual life. It is a form of spiritual crisis experienced subjectively as a sense of separation from God or lack of spiritual feeling, especially during contemplative prayer.

Those of us experiencing spiritual dryness – another term for “I am not feeling like God is around”- are in good company.  Many saints have experienced this, for example, St. “Mother” Teresa of Calcutta, St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa of Avila.

My journey through spiritual dryness

In 2017, I became aware of the term, and that awareness, that spiritual dryness exists, helped lead me back to my faith.  I learned, as noted above, that I am in great company.  And that it is probably part of the seasons of faith.

Girl on sand holding feathers on her hands

Spiritual dryness

For a very long time, perhaps since around 2012 or 2013, I had not really felt the presence of God.  I even went to the Holy Land, expecting to have a life-changing experience, and while it was a great experience, it was not life-changing.  I did feel the presence of God, which convicted me of His existence, but there was no super-natural “I’ve-been-touched-by-Jesus” moment.  There was no sudden re-conversion.

Even though the Great Pyramids of Giza truly are a wonder of the world, I enjoyed my time in Jerusalem a lot more than in Egypt.  By no means am I minimizing the Great Pyramids, or the breathtaking beauty of Petra, or the beautiful beach in Dahab, there was just something special in Old Jerusalem.  Yes, the sights were beautiful, but there was indeed some sort of holiness to the place.

Perhaps I had set my expectations a little too high, but you do read all the time about how wonderful so-and-so’s experience in the Holy Land was, almost like there was something magical.  While I felt no magic, I was able to affirm that God exists, just is not always felt.

On the up and up

I am still trying to figure out why, other than there are seasons.  When I was 15 or so, almost every encounter with God I had was really special.  There was always some kind of beautiful feeling and God’s presence with it.  It was a season of great belief.  But as I aged and grew farther away from the faith for several reasons, I stopped feeling this greatness when I pray, leading to Spiritual Dryness.  I believe there is a God that I should dutifully obey, but He is not felt.

Either way, it seems like this season of dryness is on its way out.  I am feeling more the presence of God, and His graces.

 

 

Crazy Cat Lady Mug

Crazy Cat Lady Mug

I have 5 cats:  Thumper, Missy, Baron, Rhea, and Spot.  It’s not quite half a dozen, but I think it qualifies me as a cat lady.  Crazy because all cat ladies are crazy in their own way.  So I am a crazy cat lady.  I joke about this often.  It is in a magnet in the back of my car:  Crazy cat lady with 5 cat paws (awww!).  I was the crazy cat lady for Halloween, too.  Either way, this was just such a nice gift from my fiance. 🙂

I will refrain from talking about my cats, because I feel obliged to post their pictures, and the little furries don’t allow themselves to be photographed!  I would need to go all paparazzi on them.

Reverence:  Word of the Year

Reverence humility and compassion written on the wall by a bicycle.

Reverence, humility, compassion

On the same vein as my previous post, my inspirational word of the year is “REVERENCE“.  I’ve been doing some deep thinking about this word.  So I started from the beginning:  According to Google, Reverence means deep respect for someone or something.

I like to think I am deeply respectful of other people’s opinions and decisions, but I often find myself mentally criticizing their opinions and decisions.  (I justify it with “at least I am not making my criticism public, but nevertheless, it still is criticism, not always constructive.)  So this is definitely something I could work on a little more.

I was also thinking that reverence has to do with humility.  The more humble I am, the deeper my respect will be. Yesterday, during Mass, Fr. Paul was telling us about humility and how this means putting ourselves in the position of the other person.  This way, we are more likely to see where they are coming from, and react with compassion.  Lack of reverence could also be lack of humility.  I know I could always use help in the humility department.

Practical Steps

I don’t think I lack reverence, but humility.  Either way, I could use some more respect at Church, for example, not taking my smartwatch or my smartphone into Church.  I don’t look at my phone while Mass is happening, but I get easily distracted with my smartwatch.  So that’s something that’s gotta go.  You know, my messages are so important that Mass can wait… NOT!

So, with that said, more humility is needed when I mentally criticize others.  I need to put myself in their position, and try to understand.  I need to see through their lens, and act compassionately towards them.  This will hopefully lead to more reverence, deeper respect toward my neighbor.

 

 

St. Adelaide of Burgundy

I have often said that if I were to be the patron saint of anything, it would probably be abuse victims, (among others) and Jennifer Fulwiler‘s saint generator gave me St. Adelaide of Burgundy  (also known as Adelaide of Italy).

I can really identify with St Adelaide of Burgundy.  She is, among other things, the Patron Saint of victims of abuse, brides, and in-law problems.  She is also the patroness of princesses.

“Adelaide of Italy, also called Adelaide of Burgundy, was a Holy Roman Empress by marriage to Holy Roman Emperor Otto the Great; she was crowned as the Holy Roman Empress with him by Pope John XII in Rome on February 2, 962”

During her life, she widowed, remarried, had in-law and abuse problems, and founded churches and monasteries.

How I identify with St. Adelaide

It is not a huge secret that I am a survivor of abuse, and a bride-to-be.  Thankfully, I don’t have in-law problems.  It is probably a huge coincidence that I was “assigned” this saint by a piece of code on a website.  However, it is pretty spooky how fitting this assignment is to me.  Maybe God does work in mysterious ways?  Also, here’s a little kicker:  Her Feast Day is December 16 – very coincidentally the day my fiance and I started dating 3 years ago.  Perhaps the little prayer I said before I clicked on the button had something to do with it!

How St. Adelaide will be with me for the year

I will learn more about her life, and ask her to be my intercessor.  After all, this year I will be a bride, and I will continue healing from the years of abuse I have suffered.  I hope that by learning more about her I will be a better bride, better wife, and better person all-around.

And Happy New Resolutions!

I follow this amazing site called Medievalists.net.  Hear me out, this is probably one of the sites I geek out on the most. Because I love the RenFaire, and I am fascinated over anything medieval, really.  These guys seem to be the real deal when it comes to Medieval Studies.

One of their recent articles is pointing out the resolutions for the New Year 1404, from an Italian merchant man named Gregorio Dati. He wrote these resolutions down “… so that [he] might remember [his] promise and be ashamed if [he] should chance to break it.”

He resolved from Jan 1st, 1404 to refrain from doing business on Holy Days, to refrain from carnal pleasures on Fridays and until the next day (it is unclear if he was married, but I digress), and to remember that we need God to provide for us.

My take

I don’t know about you, but even though these resolutions are literally from 614 years ago, I think it’s something we all need to follow through with NOW.  It would make our hectic world a little more relaxed, I think, and humble us down to human once again.  I mean, with the rise of the “nones” we need to remember that there is only one God and no idols.

Who keeps Holy Days as days of rest and family anymore?  I know for one, I will try my best to keep these days Holy.

In this day and age with hookup culture, I think it would be brilliant to refrain from sex at least on Fridays and Saturdays.

And, one I need to follow more often:  We need God to provide for us.  I so often forget that I can’t do anything without God, it’s ridiculous.  Pride takes over me so easily, and it is probably the worst of sins out there.

So, while I have the most typical “this-day-and-age” resolutions of losing weight and fitting into my wedding dress, I will add these 3 from Mr. Dati also.