Get Your Ash in Church

We are just days away from one of the greatest non-holy days of obligation in the Church. I always have mixed emotions around this time of year. On the one hand, I love Lent. It is the wonderful time of year when we contemplate our own mortality and focus on our necessary ongoing repentance. At the same time we work on fasting and penance. Lent is a time of year that always makes me cry, either during Stations of the Cross or Good Friday. Tears are a gift from the Holy Spirit that we can experience during this time, all starting with Ash Wednesday.

Ash Wednesday is one of two days (Good Friday) during the year we are called to fast. That means those who are 14 or older are to refrain from eating meat. Those between the ages of 18-59 are allowed one full meal and two small meals that do not equal one large meal. Fruit juices are acceptable but snacks are not. If you have a medical condition that would be affected by this, you are excused from this prescription.

As mentioned, Ash Wednesday is not a holy day of obligation, contrary to observation. It is good to go to Church as often as possible, including Ash Wednesday. I will definitely recommend you go, but you don’t have to. The whole point of this holy day is to remind us that we will die and we want to go to heaven. That means we must make a daily practice to go following Christ.

During Ash Wednesday, I typically fast from all solid food, because it’s my preference. I like to go to Mass in the morning and get my ashes, then spend the day reading and journaling. I always choose a spiritual book that will help me get into the Lenten spirit. This year I’m reading Consuming the Word by Dr. Scott Hahn. I will do a book review for it in a couple weeks, subscribe to my YouTube channel so you can see it.

When it comes to your choice of penance, I recommend praying and asking our Lord what he wants you to give up or add to your daily practice. Some people choose give up Starbucks, chocolate, or reality TV. Some people choose to add a holy hour, daily Mass, or Divine Mercy Chaplet. What ever you do, it should be something that draws you closer to God. If you feel the Lord moving you to do a bible study, you can check out this one I made.


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Last night as I was meditating, the Lord came to my heart. As I typically do, I ran my hands around his hands. I noticed his soft fingers with clean, short fingernails. No rough edges or marks on them other than a large clean hole right in the middle. There was no blood or hanging flesh, there was no bone exposed but it was red inside. He also had traces of hair on his wrists and back of the hand. For a great deal of time, I just sat playing with his hand. He brought us to a spot in a plush wood and he sat with his back against a tree. I could hear the sound of a waterfall in the distance. As he sat with one knee in the air, I pulled myself into him and placed my ear to his Sacred Heart. I began to slow my breathing to meet his steady heartbeat with my own. Mother came and sat smiling with us. Then a baby appeared in my arms. A beautiful tiny infant, only a few days old. He had a little fuzzy hair, brown eyes, and a delicate little smile. When he yawned, I smiled. I felt such great peace, contentment, and love for this little child. I spent much time rubbing his cheek and head, giving him kisses and holding him as close to my heart as my body was to the heart of Jesus. Then the Lord said, “Give me your baby.” I was taken aback by the idea of this tiny infant being my child. I did love him dearly, but I had no husband and I’ve never given birth. I looked Jesus in his brown eyes and he repeated, “Give me your baby.” I looked back to my son and found myself unable to give him up. Then Mary stepped in and said, “Give Him your baby.” I began weeping strongly at the thought of giving up my beautiful boy. He was such a tiny thing, so warm and fragile. I didn’t want him to be anywhere except my arms. The Mother repeated, “Give Him your baby.” I wasn’t ready to give him up. I cried and kissed him on his forehead. His beautiful brown eyes remained closed as he slept comfortably in my arms only twitching a few times. I wept louder and began repeating to myself, “Give Him the baby.” I know God’s plan is always good, I know he would never do anything to hurt my baby, yet I could not bring myself to hand over my only son. I weep now as I recount the anguish my heart felt as I stared down on that tiny little human, my tiny little human. After repeating to  myself, “Give Him the baby,” many times, I handed my infant son to my Lord Jesus. Immediately I was in the streets of Jerusalem on the day of my Lord’s sufferings. I watched as the same Jesus that held me at the tree in the woods, carried a cross larger than he was, beaten by soldiers, and spat on and had feces thrown at him as he walked the streets. I saw Veronica wipe the sweat and blood from his face. I followed by removing my white church veil to wipe his beautiful face and kiss him. A faint smile through such extreme pain broke his lips but only for a moment. The whips at his back returned and he continued to move. I stood at the cross when they rose him upon it. I found a stool near by to climb on in order to hold his body up so he could breathe. He was too heavy and he was too weak to even speak. He was bloodied and broken, nothing like the man in the woods. His heart was erratic and his breath inconsistent, not like it was in the woods. I again wiped his face with my veil and held his face in my hands. I could not take this pain away. I called for help but no one answered me. There were people around but they just stood and watched as I continued to try to help him breathe and keep blood from his swollen eyes. There was nothing I could do, then he died. When he was taken from the cross, I dropped to my knees and screamed. I screamed and I screamed, wailing until I had no voice. All the pain I felt came out of my belly and through my mouth. I was broken. It was then dusk and I lay curled in a ball in front of the large rock where Jesus was buried. I laid crying alone in the cold night, puling my clothing tightly around me to keep warm. My tears warmed my face. I stopped wailing, but the crying didn’t end.

That is where my meditation ended. At first, I thought Jesus was asking me to give up my dreams of being a wife and mother when we were in the woods. I have fears about the possibility of being called to religious life. All I have wanted for year is to be a wife and mother, yet I am not. I must trust God’s timing, I thought. Now I fear I must trust God’s call. For the past couple weeks I’ve been dealing with the fact that this may be the vocation I am being called to. Putting my child in God’s hands felt like a gesture of release of my dreams for myself. But when I left my meditation, I realized I was the Blessed Mother. I was Our Lady with an infant without giving birth or having relations with a man. I was Mary as I let go of my beautiful boy and placed him in the arms of God with the hope that he would be protected. I was the Mother that wanted to clean my son’s face on his way to Calvary, and hold him up so he could breathe. I was her as the body of my son was taken from the cross as I screamed without unconsolably. I was Mary as I fell asleep in the cold wrapped in a ball outside the tomb where my son had been buried. I was Mary. The first time I prayed Stations of the Cross, I was moved to tears as I united myself to the Mother of God as she sacrificed her son for the sake of sinners like me. In my mediation, I was again united to her sorrows. Yet I continue to sin, I continue to fall short of my obedience to God, I still lack trust in God, I still fear what it will mean for me to give up my dreams to accept an alternative vocation. I pray for Mary’s obedience, courage, and trust. I am thankful to have the opportunity to experience her sorrows, but I hope to also experience her virtues.

Bedtime Routine

One of my goals for January is to get on an eventing routine. Being on a routine to wind down at the end of the day can aid in falling asleep quicker and having deeper sleep throughout the night. So I thought I’d share with you my evening routine attempt for this month.

  1. Tidy Room: It’s hard for me to go to sleep with a messy room. Plus one of my habit tracker items this month is cleaning my room. I also light a candle at this point.
  2. Technology: It’s common knowledge that screens are the worst thing for sleep. But being a Catholic millennial, it’s hard to let them go. But it must be done. So I set my alarm, turn my phone to sleep mode, and plug in my twelve devices on the other side of the room.
  3. Bathroom Time: I wish I could be disciplined enough to take a nightly bath, my aunt does that. But instead, I brush my teeth, wash my face, and take a shower. I wash my hair twice per week. If I do, I will also blow dry my hair. I also put on one of my favorite products right now, Pacifica’s Wakeup Beautiful night cream.
  4. Coconut Oil: I like to put coconut oil on my feet and cover them with socks. My feet are so soft when I do this. I also put it on my hair ends and finger nails. Coconut oil is basically the best thing for a beauty routine.
  5. Prayer Journal: It’s super important to reflect on the day. I write down what I’m grateful to God for and where I struggled. I find both are necessary I really like to write this in my bible binder.
  6. Planner: I inevitably come up with a million things that I’ll need to remember the next day. So I have my bullet journal and blog binder with my desk ready for notes.
  7. Reading and Tea: I make myself a cup of chamomile tea with a squeeze of lemon, and sometimes a bit of honey or agave. I curl up in my chair next to my candle, with my tea, and a spiritual book. I don’t read novels before bed because they tend to keep me awake, even after putting the book down. If I read a spiritual book, it gives me something to contemplate while I’m trying to fall asleep. Right now I’m reading the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis.
  8. Yoga: When I have a lot of time I like to do yin style yoga. In this style, I get into a position and stay there for a long time. In class, it’s between three and five minutes. Doing it at home, I stay in the position for as long as I can. If I don’t have a lot of time, I’ll do a quicker bedtime routine. Before I forget, I do this by candlelight only. It helps me relax and get into sleep mode.
  9. Finishing Touches: The last things I do are pretty simple and quick. I’ll turn on my fan because sleeping in a cool room helps one get to sleep. It also has a nice hum which helps down out some of the noise in the house. I’m a really light sleeper, so I need this. I also turn on my essential oils diffuser. I’ve been loving lavender and orange lately, but I change it up every so often. I also fluff up my pillow because let’s face it, a comfy pillow is a must! The last thing I do is blow out my candle. Then it’s time to crawl into bed.

My goal is to be in bed by ten, sometimes that happens, sometimes it doesn’t. What is your bedtime routine? If you enjoyed this post, please consider commenting, subscribing, sharing on social media, and making a contribution to my Patreon.


Thank you, and have a SPARKLY day!

Most Charitable Generation

Charity is so important and millennials are one of the most charitable generations. As a demographic, we do a great job of stepping outside of ourselves to help others in need. We start charities that help the homeless of our cities, we are the first to show up and protest injustices against refugees, and we are happy to raise money for environmental and animal conservation. We are a generation that does not shy away from doing hard work for those who need it.

I think this, more than our technologic savvy, is what makes our generation so amazing. We seek peace, not war, we embrace freedoms, and try to leave the world aa little better than the way we found it by opening gout hearts and our arms to the less fortunate.

Our Lord is very consistent and very insistent on the need to take care of those who are most vulnerable in our society: the orphans, widows, and foreigner. In the time of Moses, these people needed protecting; when Jesus walked the earth these people needed protecting; and still today, these people need protecting, Catholic millennials are poised to rise to the occasion to help young people affected by gang violence, support the single mother who has a husband in jail for having an ounce of marijuana on him, or to be a voice to the voiceless in other countries torn apart by war. Caring for those who can’t care for themeless is what we do as Catholics. According to St. Lawrence, the poor are our wealth as a Church. As millennials, our joy is found in this service. We love to use our time, talent, and treasure to help all people live happier, fuller, more inclusive lives.

I don’t need to write too many tips on today’s topic because this is just who we are, as a generation. It is written in our DNA to extend our arms to the needy. They only thing I will say is that Pope Francis said not to just give to the poor, but to encounter them. Whenever I give money, I like to look a person in the eye and remember their eye color. If I walk away from that person without remembering their eyes, I din’t encounter them, I didn’t recognize their unique human dignity. But to look someone in the eyes is to say they are your equal, equally loved by God, equally worthy of love, and an equal citizen in this country. We all need to feel equal so try to encounter people when you are serving them.

  1. How do you care for others in your community?
  2. How can you do more to use your time, talent, and treasure in the service of your neighbor?

Challenge: Look someone in the eye today.

Modern Crafty Queen

Before we get started today, I should probably define distaff and spindle. Both are tools used for working wool and flax.

Whenever I read this verse, I see the Proverbs 31 woman is crafty. I love crafty women, my grandmother is crafty and my childhood babysitter was crafty. They always made us things and let us help them with projects. Being crafty is important for a few reasons:

  1. You can make great, cheap, gifts for people which is important because we are always trying to save money. Plus gifts made of love are more cherished.
  2. Idle hands do the devil’s work. So rather than being mischievous, we can teach younger generations different crafty skills.
  3. Selling projects at craft fairs, online, or anywhere else, can be a good way to make a little extra cash. Remember, the Proverbs 31 woman is always hustling.

I think crafty arts are bring lost today to digital media, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Although I would recommend all young people learn handicraft skills like woodworking, sewing, and knitting, I think it is just as important for this generation, and future generations, to learn about coding, blogging, and e-commerce. As millennials, we are more technologically advanced than previous generations and we have found ways to monetize and build businesses around technology. We should embrace that and use laptops and wifi the same way the Proverbs 31 woman uses her distaff and spindle.

  1. What handicrafts have you always wanted to learn?
  2. What technical skills do you know and how can you use them to build income?
  3. What are some practical ways you can spend less time being idle, and more time working?

Learning Through Liturgy

Learning Through Liturgy is a bible study I have created to help share the beauty of Catholicism with people. I am a convert and one of  the things I found during my conversion journey was that there is a lot of information out there about Catholics. Some of it is good and true, some is ugly and incorrect. I wanted to provide a resource for people who were like me and walking on a spiritual journey searching for answers to why the Church does the things she does and teaches the things she teaches.

I found that each week in the Mass, the readings inspire a particular theme that can help answer questions the faithful may have. I used the readings as the foundation for Learning Through Liturgy. Each day we study a different reading from the week and use it to discover more about the Church. Each week, I have created a video to help fill in the gaps and explain the answer to the questions. I do this using our beautiful 2,000 years of Church history by quoting saints, popes, the catechism, and the scriptures. One of the things you will hear me say often is that the Church stands on a three legged stool: Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the Magisterium (the popes and bishops). I believe standing on a three legged stool is a lot more safe than a pogo stick of just Scripture. That is why I utilize so many references in the study.

If you would like a preview of the course you can check out my free Advent study which is the same format at the rest of the Learning Through Liturgy course.As a thank you for those who are coming from my free Advent study, you can use the coupon code ADVENT to get a 75% off when you buy the full package.

Go to to find Learning Through Liturgy Year B and other studies for the spiritually curious.

Strength and Vigor

So my first thought when reading this verse is, “do you even lift, bro?” For me, yes, I love lifting because being strong is awesome and it’s great for the metabolism. But I don’t think that’s what the Proverbs 31 woman is about. She is a hard worker, someone focused and devoted to her tasks. She has  a vision of what needs to get done, and she gets down to business.

I’m a dreamer. Sitting here in chapel as I write this, the Lord said to me, Princess, if you spent less time worrying and more time working, you would have what you dream of. I love a quote by Pope Francis where he says, “You pray for the hungry. Then you feed the hungry. That’s how prayer works!” It’s almost amusing in its simplicity but it is a very important lesson to learn.

I think too many fantasy books and television makes us think prayer is magic. We wish we had something really bad, we visualize it, then we click our heels together three times and suddenly we have it. The Proverbs 31 woman is wise and knows anything in life worth having is worth working for, so that’s what she does, and that’s what we will do.

Becoming hat woman takes dreams, yes, finding your dreams is very important. Then pray about it, asking God if this is in his plan for you and how you can participate with the blessings he will bestow upon you to help make your dreams a reality. Next, make a plan. Gather your dream, the Lord’s grace, then form an executable plan to help you get from where yo are to where you want to be. Finally, execute said plan. God helps those who help themselves to get to work like the Proverbs 31 woman, gird yourself with strength and exert your arms with viol.

Things won’t always go according to your plan but take comfort knowing they will always go according to His plan. If you did step two, consulting with the Lord and inviting his Spirit into the planning process, you will find success in whatever you are looking to achieve. We have a God that always finishes the work he starts in each one of us. Be stubborn about your dream but flexible with the plan. Allow Jesus to wrk in you and your situation to bring to fruition the goals you have in mind.

  1. What are your dreams?
  2. How do your dreams fit into God’s plan for you?
  3. What’s your plan?

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A wife should be kind, especially in the difficult moments.

It is easy to be kind when someone is being kind to you, when you wake up on the right side of the bed, and it is a beautiful sunny day outside. It is far more difficult to make the choice each day to be kind to the person that knows where all your buttons are and how to push them. When married, a husband will be that person. At times he may wish to be playful and push those buttons for fun, he may be angry and choose to push those buttons out of spite. Regardless, it is important to react with gentleness and kindness.

There are people in our lives now that know how to push our buttons. They may be parents, siblings, or best friends. My brother knows how to push my buttons, luckily he is too afraid of me to do it often…or ever. I trained him well when we were children. My mom knows how to push my buttons, but often doesn’t realize she’s doing it. After I take a minute to cool off, it is easy to move past things wit her because she truly means no harm. My father can be a different story. He likes to push my buttons on purpose when he’s angry, at me, my brother, his boss, he just likes to pick at me.

It is very difficult and very sanctifying to remain kind when you know someone is purposely trying to hurt your feelings or get a rise out of you. What I usually do, but don’t recommend, is disengage, bottle up my feelings, and smile. This isn’t kindness, although many think it is. Some think being kind is about walking on eggshells around another person as to not upset them. This isn’t true kindness, and it isn’t being kind to you. You have a voice, given by God, to use to advocate for injustice. But you must speak with a gentle tone and kind words.

I would like to work on being kind, especially with my dad. First, it is important to recognize what the other person may be going through which has led them to treat you with unkind behavior or words. Second, humble yourself before that person and before God to see things from their perspective. Third, consider how Jesus would want you to respond to that person with honest loving kindness.

The people closest to us are the most challenging people to practice virtues on. They know us so well and we are comfortable enough around them to reveal our deepest self. Unfortunately for many of us, our deep self is sinful. Thankfully, we have a God in heaven who shines his grace into the hears of those who ask for more virtues like kindness and patience so that we are better equipped to love those he has placed in our path. I pray God will bless you and me with kindness, especially with those who intentionally push our buttons.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider commenting, subscribing, sharing on social media, and making a contribution to my Patreon. Thank you, have a sparkly day!

WQ kind

Acquisition and Investments

Again in today’s verse we see the Proverbs 31 woman does her homework when she picks out a field. I notice she acquires it; although we know this woman already has a husband, I think this can communicate a lot to us single girls. I often hold myself back from certain things because I want a partner to participate in the process with me. I don’t want to travel alone, buy a car, or a condo without a companion to be part of the selection and accession process with me. But his is self-sabatoging and I don’t know how God’s plan for me will unfold, so I should be making steps in the right direction now.

Working hard for your money and using it wisely is very important for money awareness particularly when it comes to saving; here we see investment. There are a lot of different ways to invest your hard earned dollars: stocks, bonds, real estate. After doing your homework, and assessing your current financial situation and financial goals, see how you can begin making investments. Property has long been an investment, so much so we see the Proverbs 31 woman investing in property. She plants a vineyard on her land, but you could also rent a room or fix it up for later use. Regardless of how you choose to invest your money, it is important to do your research, calculate risk/reward, and pray before you make any moves. The Lord will tell you where your money, time, and effort will be best spent.

  1. Are you holding back from making big steps?
  2. What are your financial goals long term?
  3. How can you achieve those long term financial goals?

If you enjoyed this post, please consider commenting, subscribing, sharing on social media, and making a contribution to my Patreon. Thank you, have a sparkly day!