To My Husband on His Confirmation Day

black and white of confirmation medal and heart picture

Dearest Husband-

You are my love and my heart.  I truly cannot imagine a more wondrous gift than to raise our family together united in one faith.  This year has been a tumultuous one and my faith and trust grows daily in the Lord as I witness your steadfast belief in God.  I recognize that not all His and the Church’s teachings are easy or comfortable to accept and model.  I also respect that you are unable at this time to embrace a confirmation  name.  Thus, I offer my miraculous medal to you in place of the customary “patron saint” gift.  This medal was a gift from my mother and grandmother for my confirmation.  My initial confirmation into the church wasn’t pretty and I still struggle daily to follow God’s path, but this medal has always been a representation of God’s love and my family’s devotion.  Please wear it tonight and any time you need a reminder of the power of the Heavenly Father’s presence in our lives.  my confirmation medal collageI know that you may be initially resistant to accept this gift, because you know just how much I treasure this medal as one of my favorite possessions here on this earth. Know that the significant attachment that I have for this medal is the very reason I wish you to have it for your very own.  In reality, a miraculous medal can be purchased easily even online and blessed by any of the multitude of priests willing to do so.  BUT – this is my medal; blessed by my childhood priest – Father Nau at my childhood church – St. Ann’s.  I’ve worn this medal around my neck at some of the most critical times in my life; times when I rejoiced (getting accepted into college and my first positive pregnancy test) and times when I wept, including the funerals of my father and both your parents.   Even when I haven’t had it around my neck and it has hung in my jewelry box – the knowledge of its presence has always comforted my heart.  As you are officially welcomed into the Church, please know that I honor you and trust in you as the head of this family.

Happy Easter My Beloved.

Always, Erika

PS  Please consider allowing me to place the medal above your driver’s seat as my grandmother did with her medal to serve as a reminder of the love God and I have for you.

cat bit confirmation medal

PSS The teeth marks on the back are courtesy of Dawun, my childhood cat. Yes, I really spelled it that way. It’s truly a veterinarian’s miraculous medal :)

CONGRATULATIONS BABY!  Catholic Looks Good On You :)

RCIA Confirmation Catholic Collage 2014

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Posted in Catholic, Letters | 2 Comments

Mom Seeks God by Julia Roller (Book Review) and Kindle HDX Giveaway

Mom Seeks God:
Practicing Grace in the Chaos 

Many thanks to the author and Litfuse Publicity for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

As an extremely well read theologian and author of several bible study guides, Julia Roller presents a year long pursuit to improve her spiritual life through various forms of prayer.  The book is informative, yet entertaining.  Admittedly, several Christian literal references may be over the head of many readers (myself included), but the book certainly does serve to spur a desire to pray, meditate, and put the focus back on God during even the busiest of Mommy days.  Filled with poignant, relatable, touching, and often humorous vignettes of the author’s personal life, Mom Seeks God is a worthwhile read for those searching for grace in the vocation of motherhood.  Note:  This book reflects a Protestant perspective.

About the Book:

The first months and years of motherhood can be the most challenging and disorienting of your life—and faith. When you’re surrounded by the happy chaos of children, how do you spend quiet time with God if the only quiet time you get is while you sleep? How can you demonstrate a solid spiritual life to your children if you don’t have time to pursue one yourself?

When Julia Roller discovered that her spiritual growth had been stunted by the busyness of life with her toddler, she embarked on a yearlong journey through ten spiritual disciplines: prayer, fellowship, submission, study, simplicity, silence, worship, fasting, service, and celebration. As she focused on each discipline, she discovered practical ways to observe them—even in the chaos of her every day.

Buy Links: 

Amazon  | Barnes & Noble

About the Author:

Julia Roller is an author and editor. Her books include “Mom Seeks God” (Abingdon Press), “A Year with God” (with Richard J. Foster), “A Year with Aslan,” and “25 Books Every Christian Should Read.” Working with Renovaré, she has also co-authored four spiritual formation guides. She has written study guides for authors such as Desmond Tutu, Richard J. Foster, Henri Nouwen, Jenna Bush, and Rob Bell. Her articles have appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, Street Spirit, Group, Rev.!, and Children’s Ministry. She and her family live in San Diego, California.

Author Links: 

                                        Website | Facebook | Twitter

Julia is celebrating the book’s release with a fun giveaway and connecting with moms during a live Facebook author chat.

momseeksgod-400-click

One winner will receive:

  • A Kindle HDX
  • Mom Seeks God by Julia Roller

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on May 1st. Winner will be announced at “Moms’ May Day” Facebook Party on May 1st. Connect with Julia for an encouraging discussion on spiritual discipline and finding joy in the middle of motherhood. Win prizes, connect with other moms, and be inspired.

 
So grab your copy of Mom Seeks God and join Julia on the evening of May 1st for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book, don’t let that stop you from coming!)


Don’t miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 1st!

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A Confirmed Cradle Catholic – Welcome Home!

A cradle Catholic, my confirmation into the church was less than beautiful. Forced and ugly would really be my interpretation; even all these years later.  My dress at least was pretty.

Confirmation Dress Circa Adolescence

Confirmation Dress
Circa Adolescence

My mother had attended a Catholic private school for her education; a school at which my maternal grandmother taught.  She believed the faith and wanted me to embrace the teachings of the church, but was unwilling to cram the religion down my throat to the degree she felt she had experienced.  My paternal grandmother had no such qualms and actually told me it was her death wish that I be confirmed in order to get me to cooperate. The end result of my family’s wishes and my teenage angst was that I did indeed get confirmed, but I pissed and moaned so much about the weekly trips and the class work to learn about the church that I really didn’t learn much of anything.  Oh adolescence!  If only we could turn back those pages – or at least delete a few scenes :)

Fast forward a decade and I am in need of a car.  The black Chevy Malibu my grandmother drove during her last able bodied days becomes my vehicle.  Above the driver side seat, hanging from a pearl headed pin is her confirmation medal.  She always kept the miraculous medal there in remembrance and as a prayer for safe travels in life.  For the additional years I have this car, that medal stays right where she attached it working on my heart far more than her “death wish” ever could.  Every time I got in that car, there was my reminder, my evidence.  My grandmother truly believed.  Her reverence to the Catholic church wasn’t out of of fear or tradition or obligation, but out of love and faith.  That was what she and my mother wanted for me; not to join an organization or be socially Christian, but to truly accept the heavenly Father as my Savoir.  That medal still hangs above my driver side seat, its reflecting light often catching the interest of my little ones in the back of my secondhand, but much appreciated minivan.  Granted I won’t be using the “death wish” technique with my kids and grand kids, but I do truly hope and pray that every time they see my grandmother’s miraculous medal, they too are affirmed with love, compassion, and confidence in Jesus Christ.

confirmation miraculous medal in the car

Dear Heavenly Father-

Please ensure those joining the church during holy week be able to do so for the right reasons, free from guilt and fear.  Please let them accept you as their Savior with pure hearts and minds and motivations guiding them to seek your grace.

Amen

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Posted in Catholic, Family Tales | 3 Comments

Refresh: Balanced Challenge Day 11(Last Day)

This post is part of the Balanced challenge with Tricia Goyer—and you can join, too!

March 21: Refresh (Chapter Eleven)

Don’t think balance will happen overnight—or even over an eleven-day challenge. It takes practice, and practice takes time. Spend a few minutes reviewing what you’ve learned throughout this challenge and what you hope to continue implementing in your life. Then blog about how you can keep persevering and working toward balance after the challenge has ended. Share encouragement for those who might feel they’ve failed at balance.

I am grateful to Tricia Goyer for writing Balanced and for inviting me to join in this eleven-day challenge. All good “balancers” need to have a set schedule; yet, be flexible when items on our “to-do” list interfere with the needs of those most important to us!  This is a list of the areas in which I intend to focus as I continue my ongoing pursuit of being Balanced in my life :)

  • God
    • Always take time for adoration and gratitude to the Lord, regardless of the form it takes (prayer, devotion, journaling, meditation) every single day.
  • Focus on the Task at Hand
    • I need to make sure that when I’m with the kids, my husband, and family that I’m completely with them.  If we are spending time together I need to shut off my phone, walk away from the computer, and put down that book that I’m reviewing.
  • Be Flexible
    • Know that if something just isn’t working or isn’t getting done that it’s not the end of the world.  God knows best and if I put my trust in him it will work out the way He intended.
  • Worry Less
    • God has this and all I can do is “Do What I Can.”
  • Don’t Let the Negative Pull Me Down
    • Our loved ones can be a huge support, but if they are having a bad day it doesn’t mean I have to have a bad day too.  Try to pull them up, rather than letting them pull me down.

If I am on the right path I know that God will support me, guide me, and never ask me to turn my back on my family to get the necessary tasks accomplished!  The correct path will still have struggles, but it is the journey that is the most important, not the end destination.  God wants me to follow my passion and give through my gifts.  My current season of life requires that my children and marriage take up most of my time and my writing and other career objectives need to take a backseat to the immediate and constant needs of my family.  This doesn’t mean I need to give up my career goals, but I do need to be realistic about what I can accomplish and not set myself up for failure.  Thank you God for making me a Mother, Wife, Daughter, Caregiver, and Friend.  I dedicate my life and all my life’s works to you!

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might,

Ecclesiastes 9:10

Get Balanced!
Tricia Goyer Balanced

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Eight: Balanced Challenge Day 10

This post is part of the Balanced challenge with Tricia Goyer—and you can join, too!

March 20: Eight (Chapter Ten)

Read chapter ten and come up with your list of “eight.” Then write down those eight themes on a pretty piece of paper and post it somewhere you’ll see it often (bathroom mirror, refrigerator, bulletin board, etc.). Then take a picture of it and post it on your blog.

 

 

 

Get Balanced!
Tricia Goyer Balanced

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