#Laura

Beyond Lip Service

A few years ago, a close British friend of mine came to visit me here in California.  During our first meal together in the States, she thought many things were hilarious:  free refills on beverages, American accents, but especially how often we say, “Thank you!” for EVERYTHING. When she brought this up, I began thinking about it.  We Americans say thanks to so many little actions throughout a normal day.  However, I realized how often my “thank yous” were merely lip service.  I even started recalling how many times my words of thanks were said with a hardened heart, perhaps because I didn’t receive exactly in the manner I was expecting. I want to mean what I say.  I want to look at the person who is journeying with me in some way, big or small and acknowledge it completely.  I need to put my heart into these words because I know they have the power to transform my life and the lives of others.

by Laura

The Joy of Being Human

There are days when all our lives can seem so boring, monotonous and repetitive.  It’s easy to just focus on the next big step in our lives rather than on the moment we are living  With this mentality, it’s so easy to forget that each ordinary day has purpose. These are the times I turn to e-learning to fill me with joy. Like many young people today, I am able to watch a lot of films on my computer, phone or tablet.  The film, “The Human Experience” about the lepers in Gahanna, Africa,  completely shook up my soul.  There is one man who apparently has had leprosy for a long time; no nose, feet or fingers.  Yet the JOY that radiated from his deformed face brought tears to my eyes.  He then shared his secret, “If God has me wake up in the morning, then I know He has something for me to do today.”  If we truly see each day as God’s gift, then we will have joy.  Here, now, today.

by Laura

Moments of Littleness

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shutterstock_262789442With all new beginnings, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.   As fall comes upon me, work kicks into overdrive and the slower pace of life is long gone.  I get frustrated with myself, because it feels like I’ll never be enough.  I come face-to-face with my limitations, weaknesses and imperfections.  It’s shattering to know that I’m not invincible.  I often find myself in prayer just crying out, “Lord, I need you!”  It was only recently that I saw these moments of littleness as the HUGE graces they are!  I need to see my human limitations, because only then do I let God BE GOD.   One of my favorite lines from the movie Rudy comes to mind here.  “There is a God and I’m not him.”  What a relief!

by Laura

Baby Steps to God

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shutterstock_147589190Recently, my 1-year-old twin nephews just learned to walk.  It is beyond adorable, amazing and nerve wracking all at the same time.  I love sitting a few feet away from them and watching them excitedly toddle toward me.  The best part is the end where they fall into my arms with total relief and joy. This must be how God views us in our own journey.  We can feel that our spiritual accomplishments are so small and insignificant, especially if we have been struggling in our relationship with Him.  However, God delights in us as any loving parent (or aunt!) would.  He views every single step with delight beyond all telling, especially when that step was taken with so much great effort.  That step signifies a brand new beginning. “A small step, in the midst of great human limitations, can be more pleasing to God than a life which appears outwardly in order but moves through the day without confronting great difficulty.  Everyone needs to be touched by the comfort and attraction of God’s saving love, which is mysteriously at work in each person, above and beyond their faults and failngs.”  Pope Francis in  Evangelii Gaudium 44

by Laura

Rags to Riches

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Like many people throughout the world, one of the reasons I love this country so much is the promise of a future filled with great potential.   We become enthralled with the “rags to riches” stories of our fellow citizens.  There have been countless individuals who truly changed their life through hard work, perseverance and ingenuity. Similarly, there is the promise of God the Father who offers us unending potential.  We all come to God in our own rags: depressed, destitute and alone.  Yet in the Lord’s immeasurable grace, he takes away these rags and gives us the great spiritual wealth we all desire!   He takes our rags away and gives us grace, mercy, joy, peace, forgiveness and life!  In the heart of our God, we all find the freedom we long for.  We all find a home in God.

by Laura

Joy Day 25: Secret Joy of Today

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There are days when all our lives can seem so boring, monotonous and repetitive.  It’s easy to just focus on the next big step in our lives, rather than on the moment we are living:  graduating from the best school, having the wedding our dreams, having perfect children, landing the dream job, or finally retiring.  With this mentality, it’s so easy to forget that our daily lives have purpose. There was a film, “The Human Experience” that completely shook up my soul.  In the film, they interview lepers in Gahanna, Africa.   There is one man who apparently has had leprosy for a long time; no nose, feet or fingers.  Yet the JOY that radiated from his deformed face brought tears to my eyes.  He then shared his secret, “If God has me wake up in the morning, then I know He has something for me to do today.”  If we truly see each day as God’s gift, then we will have joy.  Here, now, today.  (PS.  I completely and wholeheartedly recommend seeing this film!  It will change your life!)

by Laura

Joy Day 11: Oh Happy Fault

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No one wants to admit that they have screwed up.  As I was raised in a good Catholic household, aversion to all sin was a big focus point.  It was humbling, saddening and difficult whenever I recalled that I had fallen short in being perfect.   However, this Easter the title of “sinner” took on an entirely different meaning.   Easter Joy can really only be felt by sinners.  If I was perfect, then the saving act of Good Friday and life-giving Resurrection of Sunday have literally no meaning in my own life.  Now, there is no need to put on the mask that says I have it all together and that sin doesn’t come my way.  I don’t need to be perfect; Jesus knew I wouldn’t be.  And that’s exactly why he came.

by Laura