What I learned from Theology of the Body

The negativity train had been slowly pulling into the station these last couple days and was slowly steeling my joy. As Chika Anyanwu put it in her talk at the online Theology of the Body conference, THE DEVIL IS A JERK. But God is so good and drives out the darkness. I’ve watched Chika’s and Chris Stefanick‘s talks from the Theology of the Body conference this weekend and they put seeds of hope and love on my heart. God continued to speak these words to me on my daily walk. So here’s what God put on my heart walk as I soaked up the sun:

God is love and the God of the entire universe chose you. He chose you for your family, for your children, for your spouse, for this exact moment in time in your life

We are chosen by eternal love, one of Chika’s words of wisdom from her Theology of the Body talk.

I am enough because the God of eternal love chose me from before I was in my mother’s womb, and choose my daughter in exactly the same way. (*mind-blown*)

God loves me when:

  • I feel overwhelmed by everything going on. When I just want this whole thing to be over and go to story time at the library with my daughter and on a date with my husband.
  • When I feed my daughter boxed Mac and cheese for lunch. It’s yummy and has the calcium she needs.
  • When I loose my patience when food is thrown to the floor or water bottles, remotes, and a maraca are thrown in the trash.
  • When I just need a break away from this apartment I’ve been in for two months, aside from walks, driving to pick up prescriptions, our Target order, or food.
  • When I can’t keep the apartment clean.
  • When I am on my phone way too much.
  • When I have a bad day.

God loves me.

I am enough.

God loves me and he loves you. What has helped me stay hopeful is praying morning prayer from Liturgy of the Hours. It has reminded me to pray, and put the words of scripture into my heart. Through it I get to join in the liturgy of the entire church and that gives me a sense of community with the body of Christ. Dance parties have been known to help, and actually doing my makeup and hair this morning has helped tremendously. But above all I need the reminder from 1 Corinthians 15:10, “I am who I am by the grace of God.”

I am enough.

The Theology of the Body conference is free for the rest of the day, I highly recommend checking it out! https://www.tobvirtualconference.com/

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers, grandmothers, those who long to be mothers, those who have lost their children, and all those struggling today.

J+M+J

Stacy

It’s All About You, Jesus

What a wild ride these last six weeks have been! Oh, and have you heard about the giant Asian hornet???

My daughter and I were listening to 90s Christian music on Spotify while making banana bread, when “The Heart of Worship” by Matt Redman started to play. Oh, boy did God capture my heart with the lyrics

Being away from physical buildings and tangible sacraments has been hard for all of us. Hanging on to the faith in the midst of the current events is absolutely necessary. Yesterday, we managed to watch Bishop Baron’s Sunday Mass while eating dinner right before baby girls’ bedtime. Her 5 am wake-ups, plus navigating her new schedule while dropping from 2 naps to 1 has been exhausting so we only got around to watching Mass at the end of the day when we were all tired and hungry. But God meets us in the middle of our simple, sometimes chaotic domestic churches. God is searching for us in relationship in with him. Between social distancing and the necessary separation from the sacraments, I can feel the ache of my heart for God growing stronger and stronger as he keeps pursuing me. First, it was through Becky’s new book “The Inner Chapel,” and then it was through The Burrowshire Podcast on the Liturgy of the Hours. God further grabbed my attention with a random Instagram story from Glennon Doyle that if you have a desire to write your a writer, she said that if you have a desire to write you are a writer because most people don’t ever think about writing. Then I downloaded Jennifer Fulwiler’s new book, “The Blue Flame,” and started listening on Audible and God lit a spark inside me. Now I’m listening to all the books and podcasts I can to grow in the faith, and writing blogs at 9:30 at night when I woke up at 4:50 this morning!

In the midst of this pandemic, God is pursuing me and he longs for deeper relationship with you too. It’s all about Jesus, and he wants to pursue your heart if you only crack open the door for him to get in.

J+M+J

God Bless,

Stacy

The Inner Chapel Author Interview

It’s launch day for my dear friend Becky Eldredge!!!!

I met Becky on a young adult retreat in Dallas 7 years ago. (How have seven years gone by since that retreat?) It was there where I was first introduced to Ignatian spirituality and spiritual direction. I spent many mornings in her home sipping cups of coffee in her cozy office. When Becky announced her new book on social media, I knew immediately that it was a book I needed to read. Not only is the cover one of my favorite colors, but there was a prompting deep within that this was a book I needed in my life. I’ve made it through about half the book and it has already changed my life and my relationship with God. It truly brings me back to that little office being guided by Becky’s stories and her wisdom.

inner chapel mug

As a stay-at-home Mom, learning about my inner chapel has changed my life. This book reminded that I have my inner chapel to retreat to in the still moments of the day, even if it’s only for five minutes. God can work miracles every second we give him. I need this inner chapel now more than ever as we find ourselves sheltering in place and only seeing the outside world when we go on walks.

For example, this past Wednesday morning, I had a Zoom Doctors appointment and as I waited for my doctor to start the call. I sat in my room and entered my inner chapel. It was only for five minutes but those precious minutes brought me more peace than I could have imagined as I began to ponder the Gospel from Spy Wednesday. A week ago, I would have just wasted time but that day I used it for much needed spiritual nourishment.

My favorite nugget of spiritual nourishment is nine simple words spoke to Becky and shared with her readers. “Who I am in God is Who I am.” Those simple words have been written on my own heart and God keeps unpacking the wisdom and his promises within then!

who-i-am-in-god-is-who-i-am-1

I was able to sit down with Becky, through e-mail cause you know we’re all social distancing and we live in separate states! :), and ask her some questions about her life, her faith, and her new book!

  • Favorite drink: “Coffee, water, and wine!  :)”
  • Favorite food:          “Chips and Salsa
  • Favorite place to pray: “In my chair in my prayer space in my home or outside in nature”
  • Favorite book of the Bible:  “Ohhh! This is tough.  The Psalms, John or Phillipians”
  • Favorite Saint:        “ Ignatius of Loyola with St. Teresa of Avila and St. Mother Teresa being close behind”
  • Favorite song: “This is so hard to narrow down.  For writing The Inner Chapel it was Take a Moment by Will Raegan

What is your favorite part/chapter of your new book, The Inner Chapel? Yes, I know that this is like asking you who your favorite kid is! 🙂

Some of my favorite parts of the book are sharing the memories with my grandparents and their wisdom.  They had such an influence on my life and my faith that it feels like a way of saying “thank you” for all they taught me.” 

How do you fit in prayer with your many responsibilities as a writer and as a Mom of 3?

When I was in college, a religious sister, named Sr. Ily helped me think through how to pray in a busy life.  She invited me to make time for the relationship that matters most in life.  Since then, I have had a set time of prayer each day.  It has changed as my kids have grown up.  When they were babies, I prayed while rocking them or nursing them.  When they had regular naptimes, I often prayed during their naps.  As they got older and still in the present, I get up before my kids do in the morning to have some quiet moments to be with God.  That routine of getting up each morning and making time for prayer has changed my life.”

You’ve had many holy men and women journey with you throughout your faith journey inspiring you to a deeper relationship with God. What advice do you have to someone who doesn’t have this kind of support in their lives?

 “First and foremost, know you are not alone.  God is with you.  Second, pray for God to bring people like this in your life.  Third, go seek them out.  Many of the people of faith I have met came from a “yes” to an invitation to participate in something.  When in high school, I was invited to attend a Catholic leadership program.  I said “yes”, and through that met a ton of people who inspired and continue to inspire my faith.  I have attended many retreats and met and listened to many wise retreat facilitators.  Also, I began working with a spiritual director over twenty years ago.  This time each month to tend deeply to my prayer life and my relationship with God supports my faith and invitation to always go deeper.”

How do you incorporate prayer and our Catholic faith in your family life with your children? 

 “Such a great question! Chris, my husband and I, talk about this often.  For prayer, we begin all meals with prayer.  Most nights (please read “most” nights) we do family prayer before bed.  This is nothing formal, but we pile into one of the kids’ beds and say prayers together.  Sometimes, it is a simple praying a memorized prayer together.  Other times, we might do a family Examen or share intentions.   

 For our Catholic faith, we attend mass each Sunday as a family.  We bring Catholic symbols into our home such as the Saints.  Right now, sitting on our kitchen table is a candle that each family member made that has medals of the Saints each person chose tied on twine.  We light these candles before our evening meal, and we call on these Saints to intercede for our family.  At holidays, we bring in rituals of our faith into our day to day life also.  Things such as the Advent wreath and Jesse tree during Advent.”

We all currently find ourselves in an unprecedented global pandemic, it’s a stressful and uncertain time for us all. What is your go-to prayer or prayer method in times of stress and anxiety?


“The Examen is my go-to prayer method when I am stressed or feeling overwhelmed.  It is a five step prayer that allows my brain to go step by step, and yet the prayer opens up my heart to bring my entire life before God.”  Becky has an audio guided Examen meditation found here: Guided Examen with Becky Eldredge

What is your biggest piece of advice for someone who is just beginning the journey of going to their inner chapel and nurturing their relationship with God?

“Know you are not alone.  God is with you.  As much as you desire the relationship with God, God desires one with you even more.  It is always about the next right step.  Start with a set time of prayer each day.  Begin with 5-10 minutes of prayer allowing a few moments of silence for God to speak to you as well.  Finding a spiritual director is also a great tool for support!”

What is one thing you want people to know about your new book?

“I want people to know that because the inner chapel exists- we are never alone.  God is always with us, and that we are given beautiful promises to build our lives upon.”

 

 

Thank you, Becky, for taking the time to answers my questions! It was such a joy to read your responses. If you enjoyed this interview, even more of her wisdom can be found in her book, The Inner Chapel. If you’ve been wanting to grow deeper in your relationship with God, I encourage you to pick up a copy of her book and grab some from your family and friends. Her book can be found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Loyola Press. #TheInnerChapel

launch-team-1

+JMJ+

 

God Bless,

 

Stacy

 

Arise…

I have to admit that I’m not a huge podcast listener, I don’t typically drove long enough to delve into one and if I try to listen at home I’m too distracted and don’t hear much of anything.

But today I had to drive to Target, and almost right before I left my friend mentioned the Abiding Together podcast episode titled Good Soil. The 30-minute podcast episode wrecked my heart in the best possible way.

I sit trying to get my daughter to nap as tears stream down my face because the Holy Spirit has used this episode to till the ground of my heart. I’m seeing the lies that were planted so many years ago that prevented seeds from sprouting. I’m seeing how God protected me from so much during a time I could have been led down a road of destruction. But God is so full of love and mercy that he brought me my husband who through the years of our courtship and marriage has shown me how much I am loved and cherished by Our Heavenly Father through the love of my spouse.

How great is our God that he’s there even when we have no clue that the mustard seeds are being planted deep deep down in the soil? We just have to get dirty and pull up the weeds. Then nourish and work the soil to see the growth happen in our lives.

And how hard he’s been building my story. He’s been building my story so that my daughter will know she’s loved endlessly by her Father in heaven and by her parents,  grandparents, and all her family. And who knows who else has been touched already by more story, or how he’s building me up now at this moment in my life to tell my story and that God will use this to lead me closer to Jesus that I may know myself truly as He knows me unclouded by the lies of this world.

The whole podcast was great but these were the two notes I took:

Satan NEVER tires.

Jesus shows us who we truly are.

“My beloved calls to me,  ‘Arise, my darling. Come away with me, my beautiful one.” Song of Songs 2:10

Jesus, I trust in you.

The School of Prayer – Kitchen Edition

There was a day not too long ago where I was feeling particularly stressed and I was reaching my breaking point. Which as a whole rarely happens but the circumstances at my house have diverged from our normal routine. But that night I needed to make sure that my daughter would have something healthy to eat for dinner, so I got out the ground beef from the freezer and put it in water to thaw. I then started the work of cutting an onion, carrots, and bell peppers all while listening to Linkin Park. The act of preparing a meal for my daughter was therapeutic and it allowed me to center my thoughts…in the midst of the rock music.

I realized that as a Mom it’s much harder to get to an Adoption chapel or sit for long periods in prayer. We more frequently do the dishes, mop the floor, sweep, scrub the toilet, clean the counters, and nurse and feed our babies/families, etc. These are our chapels of prayer. This is what we are called to do in our ordinary lives, make everything a prayer. Our tiny sufferings throughout the day can be lifted up. The chores we hate doing can help get ourselves, our husbands, and babies to heaven.

I did a quick search for a kitchen prayer, below is a prayer that perfectly articulates live as a mother.

Written by Klara Munkres

Lord of all pots and pans and things
Since I’ve not time to be
A saint by doing lovely things or
Watching late with Thee
Or dreaming in the dawn light or
Storming Heaven’s gates
Make me a saint by getting meals and
Washing up the plates.

Although I must have Martha’s hands,
I have a Mary mind
And when I black the boots and shoes,
Thy sandals Lord I find.
I think of how they trod the earth,
What time I scrub the floor
Accept this meditation Lord,
I haven’t time for more.

Warm all the kitchen with Thy love,
And light it with Thy peace
Forgive me all my worrying and make
My grumbling cease.
Thou who didst love to give men food,
In room or by the sea
Accept this service that I do,
I do it unto Thee.

What is the chore you hate the most and how can you begin to use those moments to pray?

Hello. My name is…

Stacy. (I cannot be held responsible if you now have a certain song from 2003 in your head.) I’m a wife, Mom, a daughter of Jesus Christ, and a writer.

I’m starting this blog to chronicle my journey a first time Mom, to share how we live out our Catholic faith at home (very imperfectly), and my love of cooking. Mostly, I miss writing immensely and desperately need a creative outlet to stoke my blue flame.

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