Getting Out What We Put In

Seek and you will find. Matthew 7:7

My oldest son, Zack, started weight lifting in the fall. I’ve never seen him work so hard at anything in his life. He watched video after video to establish a routine that would target different muscles on different days. He researched diets and then overhauled his – removing a lot of junk food and replacing it with protein, fruits and vegetables. He dropped some serious cash on muscle strengthening powder drinks and consumes them before each workout.

Physically and mentally, he’s completely transformed. His shoulders and neck have broadened, and his arms bulge. He can now bench 200 pounds!

When I asked him why he got so into it, he took a moment, and then responded: “It’s the first time that I’ve gotten out of something what I’ve put in.” I believe the same holds true for our faith lives.

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The Lens We Look Through

Published on CatholicMom.com

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I’m really not a social media girl. But needing an effective way to promote my new book, I find I’m on it all the time. The more I scroll, the more I’m amazed by the stunning images people post. Inevitably, I end up envying their picture-perfect lives. That’s when I find myself striving to emulate their snapshots.

Yet, when I place something beautiful in front of my camera, the rendering on my phone never captures what I see. After posting sub-par images for months, I finally figured out why.

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Giving Ourselves Permission

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity. Ephesians 5:15-16

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Shortly before Thanksgiving, my double oven died. Turns out the control panel needs to be replaced. With the digital chip shortage, it could be a while before the part becomes available.

Initially, I defaulted to the “woe is me” response. The oven isn’t our only appliance that’s gone on the fritz in the past six months. We recently replaced the dishwasher. And the repair guy for the refrigerator has been here so often, I fed him dinner last week!

It’s not surprising though. Eighteen years ago, when our home was built, all the appliances were bought new, at the same time. It makes sense, then, that they’re all dying at the same time too. It just gets overwhelming to have it happen all at once. Until I look on the bright side…

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Blinded by Expectations

The Lord opens the eyes of the blind. Psalm 146:8

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Zack and I have been having a tough run lately. It’s no singular incident; it’s just par for the course. He’s seventeen and thinks he knows it all. I’m a control freak and want him to see and do life like I do. That combination creates friction in just about every interaction we have.

I also feel the clock ticking. By this time next year, he’ll be away in college and my opportunity to mold and shape him will be gone. That makes for added pressure to turn every interaction into a teaching moment – one he doesn’t want to hear because he thinks he already knows it all. Can you see the cycle? Can you envision the friction?

Then enters God, stage left.

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No Room for Misunderstanding

Published on CatholicMom.com

The Savior – yes, the Messiah, the Lord – has been born today! Luke 2:11

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Those of us who haven’t taken theology classes can be confused sometimes by what we read in the Bible. Some Scripture can be so ambiguous, one scholar interprets it differently than another.

But not Luke 2:11. There’s no misunderstanding the angels when they announce to the shepherds that the Savior has been born. To make their message foolproof, the angels go on to call Jesus the Messiah, the Lord.

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Limiting His Power

For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:8

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Jocelyn came into the kitchen yesterday, hopping on one foot, saying “refrigerator, refrigerator, refrigerator!” When I asked her why she was chanting that, she said, “I’m saying ‘refrigerator’ so I don’t say anything bad.” Come to find out, she’d stubbed her toe and it hurt a lot. Rather than giving in and saying something she shouldn’t, she chose a random word and repeated it.

It got me thinking.

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