Lent 2014: Reflection


It’s always interesting to make resolutions for yourself in the hope of making yourself just a little bit better this year than last year. I always find that my Lenten resolutions end up being better for me in the long-run. Whereas with New Years I have until December to deny what I’ve failed at, or celebrate what I’ve achieved, Lent is a solid, straightforward forty days. I think it also helps to see all those constant reminders that I’m not the only one on this journey. Instead of New Years, which lives on in every radio commercial for the first two weeks of January, I’ve got constant support moments from the beginning of Ash Wednesday to the silence of Holy Saturday. It can be as sacred as Mass every Sunday and as silly and consequential as the advertisements for fish specials every Friday. Either way, I am always reminded to be grateful for my faith during this time, especially the communal rituals that are constantly giving me the support and guided reflection that I need to make myself in to the woman God made me to be.

So how did I do this Lenten season? For starters, I’m really glad that I wrote my Lenten resolves down. I find it becomes so easy over the Lenten season to simply forget or reason away the things that I wanted to achieve or wanted to try. I wanted to make sure that I was more accountable than normal, and that has definitely helped.

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As for the resolutions themselves:

1) I resolved to make time to memorize the Guardian Angel prayer and prayers of St. Rose of Lima. That ended up being a massive failure. I prayed them every morning, that’s for sure, but I didn’t get any bit of either of them memorized. I didn’t spend enough time clearing my mind first before my prayer- which in and of itself has been an illuminating experience in that I’ve realized that I’ve been doing my morning prayers in a low gear. I hope that in this burgeoning Easter season I will be more mindful of working on that.

2) Continuously forgot to add a chaplet to St. Rose on Fridays, but was pretty adamant with my continuing to pray a rosary each Sunday.  I feel like this is due to my closer relationship to Momma Mary than St. Rose. During the Easter season I will take a trip down to my parish library and perhaps check out anything I can find on the life of St. Rose to help me relate more to her and forge a better relationship between us.

3) I resolved to wear a chapel veil to mass every Sunday. That was a total success. After the initial weirdness, which was entirely born out of my own ego, I was able to swallow my pride and focus more on the Mass and the people I was supposed to be in communion with than what I looked like or how my own prayer life was going. I was actually able to say hello to strangers at Mass first, invite families to sit next to me during the Mass, and enthusiastically offer the sign of peace to people I didn’t know. I think the most interesting and surprising thing that came from me wearing the chapel veil was this inexplicable feeling that I was somehow protected from many of the fears and ticks that keep me from enjoying and participating in the mass as fully as possible. I think I stumbled across a new, highly effective coping mechanism. As a result, I am getting a second, longer veil and have committed to wearing the veil every Lent and Advent season. I was also able to connect with the generations of Catholic women in my family who wore the veil before me, which was a humbling experience that was practically swollen with love.

So, all in all I would say that this Lent has been a fruitful one. Like with all attempts to make myself a better person, it’s been a struggle and I’m sure not at the point that I want to be yet. But I do have a better idea of what I need to work on now and where I want to go with it next.

Feel free to let me know in the comments how your own Lenten journey was this year.

And now, without further ado:

He is Risen, Hallelujah! Happy Easter, everybody. I hope you all have a wonderful day full of peace, love and joy!

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Lent 2014: Giving Up


download (1)As many of you most likely know, I am a practicing Roman Catholic. Which means by the time you’re all reading this, I will have begun observing the season of Lent, a time of humble preparation for the joyful mystery of Easter.

Trying to figure out what I’m going to ‘give up’ for Lent is always a bit tricky for me. When I was a kid, it was all about giving up something that I used in my everyday in order to make myself more mindful about the fact that I was supposed to be in the mindset of Lent- every time I didn’t put my additive sugar in my food or refused to eat a piece of chocolate, I was reminded of the season and what it stands for. As an adult, it is no longer as easy as giving up coffee or sweets, and I am often loathe to repeat the same abstinence twice (which has included giving up social media, getting back into praying the rosary at least twice a week, not cursing, writing letters to friends, going to Stations of the Cross every Friday, etc). I like to take up practices for Lent that I think will make me a better, more mindful person in a way that will last beyond the season of Lent and well into the rest of the year.

So, after some prayer and reflection, I’ve come up with my Lenten practices for this year:

1) I will give up time to memorize the prayers of my confirmation saint, St. Rose of Lima, in order to foster a better relationship between her and myself, and in doing so strengthening my relationship to the communion of saints and the cloud of witnesses. Hopefully this will open my mind to the larger community of faithful here on earth as well, and lead me to be better receptive of the advice and support of others.

2) I will give up time to memorize the Guardian Angel prayer to become more mindful of the ways in which God protects and is with me in a profoundly intimate and individual way through the medium of my guardian angel. Hopefully this will help me open my heart to the many different ways in which God can be present in my life.

3) I will pray these prayers once every morning, and add a chaplet of St. Rose on Fridays to keep up the practices.

4) At Mass on Sundays during Lent, I will give up my pride and take up the practice of wearing a chapel veil. I will adopt this practice with the goal of learning a new form of humility, as well as to rejuvenate my experience of worship during this season.

Whether or not you are Catholic, support during this time in the form of encouragement or prayers would be greatly appreciated!

For my followers, and those new to the blog:

If you practice Lent, what will you be ‘giving up’? If you don’t practice Lent, what kinds of things would you like to ‘give up’ for forty days in order to change perspective in your own life?

Acquisition Notice: Doxa


Doxathe Literary Journal of Nebraska Christian College, has acquired five of my poems. The five poems, which will appear in the issue coming out Fall of 2013 are as follows: The Road from Jericho, The Widow’s Mite, Consolation, Who Are You To Speak of God? and Vocation.

 

The issue will be available for purchase from Dr. Bob Miliken through the website for $10. I suggest you check out their current offerings, Doxa’s 1 through 3.

Drunk Dialing the Divine


 

As promised, here is an audio-reading of ‘Drunk Dialing the Divine’. I realize that the captions get wonky at two spots, and I will eventually get around to going back and fixing those. For now, however, enjoy this accompaniment to my first collection release, which is available still for $2.49 in electronic format!

Pomp and Fanfare: It’s Launch Day!


 

 

Drunk Dialing the Divine is now available from eLectio publishing! Go to electiopublishing.com to pick up your copy for less than $3 ($2.49 to be exact) in ePub, HTML or PDF formats!

 

 

How would you respond when a friend drunk-dials you to make a prayer request? What do you say when you are furious with God, but aren’t willing to part with Him? How do you vent your frustrations to your Creator? When is it okay to be angry with God?

Drunk Dialing the Divine is an attempt to capture a glimmer of the darker side of the emotional struggle of the deeply faithful. Though each poem begins in a negative space, they resist both the angry and the naively optimistic ending–instead finding a ray of hope in  the maxim “Things are because God is.”

Release Date: Monday, November 12th!


Good news, everyone! We now have a release date for Drunk Dialing the Divine– Monday, November 12th. The e-book will be available first from the eLectio publishing website, and then made available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The book will be $2.49, and will be available as an e-pub file (for readers), an HTML file (to be read right in your browser) or as a PDF (my favorite kind).

 

The blurb on the website for the collection:

How would you respond when a friend drunk-dials you to make a prayer request? What do you say when you are furious with God, but aren’t willing to part with Him? How do you vent your frustrations to your Creator? When is it okay to be angry with God?

    Drunk Dialing the Divine is an attempt to capture a glimmer of the darker side of the emotional struggle of the deeply faithful. Though each poem begins in a negative space, they resist both the angry and the naively optimistic ending–instead finding a ray of hope in  the maxim “Things are because God is.”

Speed Demons!


Not to piggyback on that last post or anything, but I just got word from my editor, Jesse, this morning that the release date for Drunk Dialing the Divine is being moved up! Which means that the world will soon be exposed to my poetry in little over a week (can you tell I’m an optimistic person?).

While this is extremely exciting, this is also becoming a tad stressful. Things that we had until the end of the month to do initial we now have around-ish seven days. Is it a bit daunting? You bet it is. Can we do it? Heck yes we can. With my can-do attitude and Jesse’s genius you bet this book release is going to be nothing less than sweet and miraculous!

So prepare for a ‘cover reveal’ post as soon as that puppy gets settled on. Normally, I’d have a bit more of a drum-roll set up for this but I’m not complaining! Also, I will be putting together a video reading of ‘Drunk Dialing the Divine’ (the poem, not the full collection), to be released at the same time as the e-book online.

I hope I’ll still be worthy of all of your support by the end of this! My thanks goes out to all of the people who have been following my blog since my first publication, to all of the journals and editors who have taken a chance on my art, and the biggest thanks to eLectio publishing and the eLectio family- as well as my flesh-and-blood family, without whom there would be no words for me to write.

Time of Singing is now on Facebook!


Time of Singing, the Christian literary magazine that I have been published in twice this year, now has a Facebook page! If you would, go ahead and like itTime of Singing is a quality publication edited with love with the wonderful Lora Zill, who accepts submissions from out of the country and from young, inexperienced poets like myself as well as some of the best in the genre. If you’re looking for some Christian inspiration through some surprisingly good contemporary poets, Time of Singing could use your support!