lenten feels

Do you talk to your Self?

I mostly write to mine!

Giggles.

My journals are filled with articles, statements, or comments that I collect and piece together for a personal reflection, or chat-session.

Some are short.

Some are therapeutic.

Some are silly.

Some I delve in deep.

And some….may be a necessary private rant!

Below are bits & pieces of a former March chat that I found, while revisiting some older journals.

I’ve decided to finally finish the conversation …

feel free to chat back!

Dear Dm,

Remember Lent is a time to practice gratitude and humility in response to God’s outpouring of love and mercy for all! 

That love was demonstrated in the ultimate sacrifice anyone could make, giving one’s life for another.  

Jesus did this for all humanity in his crucifixion on the cross to fulfill the promise of salvation in His glorious Resurrection.

During Lent, we begin a journey of repentance in which we strive, in spite of all of our human frailties and failings, to become all that God wants for each of us, earned through his sacrificial love.  Lent is a challenge to open our hearts to God’s will for our lives; to open our minds to the Truth of his Word; and to open our eyes to a vision of hope and in seeing the needs of others.   This is a time for applying deliberate effort, exercising discipline, and making sacrifices.  

The usual means is through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.   These require action and selective use of our time in various ways. 

Have I given Him the time He deserves?

The church guides our path by setting minimum rules for abstinence and fasting as Lent begins.   We are given more opportunities for confession (Sacrament of Reconciliation) and for community prayer in Lenten services.  Of course, we can make changes in other ways, such as setting aside more time away from the distractions and noise that consume our every minute.  Whatever we do, and if we falter, we never lose God’s invitation to keep trying.

Have I been willing to take His outstretched hand?

The first day of Lent (and Good Friday) is one of strict fast in which the consumption of meat is not allowed.  Catholics are required to abstain from meat on each subsequent Friday throughout the remainder of Lent. Faithful are encouraged to expand fasting throughout Lent if possible, though not mandatory. 

However, we are reminded that giving up (anything) during Lent is merely an exercise, if not practiced with spiritual intention. 

Our fasting is a discipline that enables us to make choices. 

Are my choices most pleasing to Him?

Through fasting we find we do have the ability to delay gratification, focus our priorities, and become more attuned to things beyond our immediate desires.  It is less about giving up than exchanging old patterns for new beneficial ones, less about food & vice than about understanding God’s plan for each of us and following his will.

Have I remained open to His plan?

Preceding Lent, the Gospel readings remind us of how we are to act during this holy season in our Church calendar.   We read in Matthew 6:14-21 that when we pray, we are to pray in private as Jesus then follows with teaching his disciples the “Our Father”.   And He tells us in our fasting we are not to change our appearance so that everyone knows we are fasting;  and finally that we are to make it a practice to store up heavenly treasure, as Jesus says: “where your treasure is, there your heart is also (Matthew 6:21).   We also hear the message of St. Paul that begins with Romans 13: 11-14: 4.  Reading beyond those passages, St. Paul reminds us that our abstinence should not become a stumbling block for ourselves or a reason to judge others.   Instead, St. Paul states “Let us, then, make it our aim to work for peace and to strengthen one another.” (Romans 13: 19).  This reminds us that each of us are weak in different ways.   And so in our own conscience we need to reflect, focus and work on our own failings, and not others. 

Do I reflect enough on the GOOD in others?

For this reason, the Church gives us the healing Mystery of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  During this time of Lent, we are fervently invited to benefit by going to confession one-to-one with a priest, who acts in the persona of Christ.  This is the same power to forgive sins that Christ gave to his apostles (John 20: 22-23).   Even if we have not experienced the healing power of Confession in a while, we find comfort knowing the Father, as in the parable of the Prodigal Son, welcomes us with open arms.

Lord I pray all, especially those whom I love, will come home to you. May they come to know, to love, and desire to serve you above all other things.

The final week before Easter is known as Holy Week. 

It is considered a separate time apart from the previous 40 days of Lent.

During Holy Week there is an elevated intensity each day with a different focus.

Holy Week is an extraordinary week in Churches because it brings our Christian faith to a climax!  REMEMBER, we are given this time to make changes in our lives so we can fully celebrate our joy in our Risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Thank you, Jesus!

Love you,

Me

Revisiting my journals has been enlightening.

And not always, but this (2021) Lent has been a blessed 40 days for me!

As a consequence, as I enter-into Holy week, I am planning my own Great Fast! I will unplug from all Social Media, increase my attention, and place myself wherever He calls me to be within the Passion narrative amidst minimal distraction.

I look forward to discovering whether I will be in the garden of Gethsemane? Will I be in the crowded streets agonizing over His journey with the cross? Will I be on the hill sharing the distress alongside the blessed mother? Or will I be in the upper room tidying up from the last supper?

I don’t know.

But I do know wherever He will place me this Easter; it is for a purpose, because there is always a lesson He needs me to learn.

And I am already grateful!

hugs n’ Easter blessings for all the ways you will learn of His great love for you and the depths He will go to show you!

*I can’t wait to hear what you will say, when He does!

building up.

“Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.”

Matthew 12:25

Do you remember a moment when you realized you just couldn’t do it on your own?

I am learning how, in these moments, it is important to become vulnerable, fall on my knees & have my Prayer Team on speed-dial!

American culture has historically encouraged us to be independent.

This freedom of choice is a gift, and yet it can also lead to us feeling as though we are the masters of our own destiny. Even now, as independent as the modern life may be, we are still part of many social structures.

Continue reading “building up.”

added together.

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I know I haven’t posted very muchly about the Blogging U course I began taking several days ago; however, that does not mean I haven’t been working diligently on  my assignments!

“I so verily promise!”

What I have quickly discovered is that retaking this particular course has offered me the opportunity to re-examine and re-evaluate my blog site and how it has developed over the course of the past year and a half!

I quick-it-ly decided that rather than daily bombard my reader with this personal evaluation I would compile a review of what I have discovered thus far and include a few other wonderful discoveries I happily made along the way!

Do you too enjoy an expedition of self-discovery?”

I promise if you follow along, it will make perfect sense to you, too!

If you’d like to read about Lesson One you may find it here.

Lesson Two invited us to Take Control of Our Title and Tagline.

Choosing a site title and tagline can feel like a big decision, but it doesn’t have to be.

Your title should reflect you, your personality, and your blog’s subject.

A title is typically only a few words, so consider adding a tagline as well — a phrase that appears under your title and helps flesh it out. Think “Burger King: Have It Your Way.”

My site, of course, is titled

hugsnblessings

and the chosen tagline which follows is:

GIVEN FREELY!

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Both have remained pin-point accurate throughout the duration of my blogging experience, thus they shall remain unchanged!!

More on how I originally was inspired to chose the Title and Tagline for my site can be found at: Say Your Name!

Lessons Three & Four I combined somewhat as both lessons involved interactions with fellow bloggers.  Lesson Three reminded us how to use “tags” to identify like-minded writers and reading material we might enjoy. And Lesson Four encouraged us to identify our own audience and that specific person (or persons) we are writing to.

“Who is my ideal reader? Is it you???

I already understood the usage of tags; however, had limited myself the opportunity to use them for my own purposes in discovering other wonderful sites out there!! I took several days to explore and visit many wonderful like (and not so like,) minded bloggers and have made some new friends that I look forward to following as their own sites develop!  Such as:

 God is in Your Typewriter,

Travel Much?,

and A Catholic Convert in Ottawa!

There are so many others that I discovered, or am already following, I am seriously considering adding a Widget to let you all know just just who they are!  But until then, or incase I never do, please don’t hesitate to ask,

“Hey, who are you recommending to read these days???”

And as far as Lesson Four’s evaluation…

I do believe my audience can be simply described as:

“Anyone looking to receive a hug and a blessing for the day!”  

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I try to share the very common aspects of my life, in journal format, to inspire, ignite, and propel others to find the hugs & blessings they are experiencing themselves, in their own lives!  Whether through the common and ordinary (and even the extraordinary at times,) they are there just “waiting” to be received!!  Sometimes we think those hugs and/or blessings only happen during the “trumpet” moments of our lives…but there are so many, many, many waiting for us to embrace in the everyday messiness of life!  I hope my site encourages an expedition to find them and I pray everyone experiences a sense of gratitude in their own individual discoveries!

“Won’t you please stop by to share your own hug n’ blessing with me?”

Lesson Five encouraged us to truly love our Theme!  Simply described, a theme is the blue-print, or template, of your blog.  I use the Ever After Theme  offered through WordPress and I absolutely adore it!  In choosing our themes we were guided by three rules of thumb:

pick something that speaks to you, consider your content, think about your priorities.  

The Ever After Theme checks all three boxes for me and I couldn’t be happier!

“What do you think about my theme?”

Lessons Six (About Me) and Seven (Personalizing my site,) were very personal explorations and I welcomed re-visiting them.  My About Page has remained unchanged…and if you check it out you shall very quickly see why it has hap-happily remained the same!  And I had great fun evaluating the personality of my site with its Headers, Colors and Boarders which I have decided continue to reflect the whimsical way in which I try to embrace life!

“Do you too believe life is simply…magical???”

Lessons Nine & Ten had me again traveling through cyber-space into the Blogger’s World as we were encouraged to “Introduce Ourselves” to our blogging neighbors as well as to be inspired by the ones who we meet!  A great place to meet a blogging neighbor is at the Community Pool, which is a fun place (no swimming goggles reguired,) to meet fellow bloggers and for peer feedback and advise, along with providing a productive space for discussion. Just no running on the deck allowed!!

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Last year I also joined another Blogging Community Forum called:

Blogger’s World!

This particular community was formed as an alumni group from a previous Blogging U Course I took and is filled with very supportive and encouraging bloggers from around the World!  I have learned so much from them & it is a joy being a small part of this loverly community! And please note that new members are always welcome!

“Won’t you consider joining us there??”

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In the next several days I plan to introduce you to a few new “Neighbors” I’ve met and high-light some of the great discussion which developed as a result!

“And I hope-ity-hope,  you will be just as delighted to meet them too!”

hugs n’ blessings are promised to those who do!!