Hush World, Just Hush for a Moment

www.joyfilledcatholic.com

 

I have not been great about keeping up with this blog. I could say that it is because I am focused on my children (a good thing of course), that the world is noisy and full of distractions, or that writing for my clients zaps every ounce of creative energy that I have – but the truth is, I can make the time. It is just scary for me to be vulnerable. In fact, I haven’t even told any of my friends or family about this blog. Well, I mentioned it to my mom the other day but I didn’t give her any details.

Why is that? What am I so afraid of?

I think I am afraid to speak out. To state my truth – or more importantly THE truth that Jesus and the Catholic Church teaches. Through my studies, I have learned things that make everything the Church teaches crystal clear – but it is hard for me to articulate it when questioned. Not that anyone HAS questioned me yet, but putting myself out here will definitely open those floods gates.

I’m always the person who comes up with the BEST comebacks about a half an hour too late. The thing that I am learning with apologetics though (not that I consider myself a Catholic apologist – yet), is that I don’t have to know all the answers, or have the “best comeback” at that very moment. It’s actually, as I have learned from amazing apologists like Trent Horn and Tim Staples, a lot about listening, asking the right questions, finding where we agree, and then giving my defense. When I think of it in those terms, it doesn’t seem quite so daunting.

I want to be able to share God’s truth! I so want to, but I have trouble discerning where I should start and how my perspective and life experiences can help lead people to Him and encourage them in their faith journey. So, the other day I decided I needed a little retreat to clear my mind. I needed to shush the world, meditate on His will, and get back on track, and I went to my most favorite spot in the world — The Grotto in Portland, OR

It is my happy place. It is where I go when I need to feel like I am wrapped in the arms of our Lord and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Where I can sit with Jesus and have a real heart to heart. Where the Blessed Mother is there to encourage and guide me along the way. Sure, I can do this anywhere, but The Grotto is where I can really connect to Him and disconnect from the world. Where I can truly be still and listen. While there, I did my best to shut out the world, the fears, the distractions, and to be like Samuel saying;

“Speak,  for your servant hears.”  1 Samuel 3:10

I prayed, I wrote, I meditated, I cried, and I snapped a few pictures that are beautiful – but could never do justice to the magnificence actually being there. Since that retreat I have been flooded with ideas for this little blog and I’m looking forward to sharing them with you.

 

Have a blessed day!

 

 

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“Do not be discouraged. Be Not Afraid!”

John 15 18 19

 

Sometimes I just cannot hide the frustration I feel when it comes to the world view on things like; abortion, euthanasia, gender neutral bathroom and locker room faculties, and other hot button issues. Our culture is so misguided and I often wonder, why can’t they wake up and see how incredibly wrong they are?

The thing is, these people passionately feel that they are right and that I, and people who agree with me, are wrong — but I wonder, if I was still part of that world, would I think they way they do? There is a good chance that, at some degree, the answer would be yes.

When faced with my thoughts on these issues, compared to popular culture, I realize how much I have changed – and that many of my views have changed as well. It is also difficult to keep quiet about my views – and that is a very good thing! None of us should keep quiet. We need to shout the Lord’s truth from the roofs tops, in a charitable and loving way.

So, as much as I know in the very depths of my soul, how wrong and confused the mainstream culture is, I can also see quite clearly how everything in the world has fostered a rich environment for these types of ideas and opinions.

When I was away from the church, living a life contrary to God’s plan, and wrapped tightly up in the culture, I was unaware that I was being brainwashed by what I was seeing and hearing. This was not just happening by watching the news, but also my regular television shows, commercials, song lyrics, etc. As I began to step back from that, it has become so clear and I see things in a way that I never did before.

Have you found this to be true for you?

The verse above perfectly explains what is happening. The more I disengage from the things that our culture holds dear and focus my attention toward Jesus and seek to discern the Lord’s purpose for my life — I belong less to the world and more to Him.

When I live my life in an effort to serve others and focus less on myself, I become happier. The more I learn about the Lord, nurture that relationship, live my vocation and seek Him in all things – the more JOY and fullness I feel.

So, let us all strive for holiness. Let us keep evangelizing. Let us live holy and the seek the Lord with all our heart, soul, and might. Let us be rebels and not go with what society tells us how — we should be, do, want, have, and think.

People are being lead by false prophets and fake ideas. They are willing to indulge people’s fantasies instead of facing the real problems of this world. They are jumping on and off whatever the most popular bandwagons is at the time.

http://www.joyfilledcatholic.com

Brothers and sisters, we must remain steadfast and not get discouraged by everything we hear and see. As St. John Paul II said — Be not afraid. We must be the voice of reason bringing the truth in this very confused and misguided world. In any way and every way we can — starting of course, with our own families.

God bless!

Catholic Bible Journaling

http://www.joyfilledcatholic.com

I have not always been very good about reading the bible. I’m actually not an avid reader in general, which has always made reading the bible seem like an impossible task. In the past, I would always crack open the bible to the first page and begin reading in Genesis 1:1 and by Genesis 5, where is starts listing the descendants from Adam to Noah, I was pretty much done.

Even though Catholics get a bad rap for not reading and studying the bible, I knew from my Catholic upbringing that during every Mass scripture is read during the Liturgy of the Word.

In fact, each Sunday we read from the Old Testament, New Testament and the Psalms (and during daily Mass there are 2 readings). So I was getting a good dose of scripture, right? Well, not so much. Yes, reading scripture during Mass is important, necessary, wonderful, and all of those things — but I was still missing a lot!

CBJ2

 

I realized that I not only wanted to read, but to memorize and meditate on the Word as well. I just wasn’t sure exactly how to do that, so I hit up Pinterest for inspiration.

Through my search, I discovered bible journaling. Everything I found revolved around using Protestant bibles. In these journaling bibles I found some amazing, creative, and beautiful faith-filled examples — but I wanted a Catholic journaling bible. So I went searching. When I had trouble locating one I emailed the Catholic Company and asked at my local Catholic book store but there were none to be found.

Why did I want a Catholic bible? Well, for those who don’t know, Catholic bibles contain the original 73 books of the bible, and during the reformation certain books were removed that conflicted with their teachings. To learn more about this I recommend:

Also, with some Protestant bibles, certain liberties are taken with the wording which I feel sometimes hampers gaining a true understanding of what the scripture is saying — but that is a post for another day.

The point is, I wanted a Catholic journaling bible and there are none to be found, though I have it on good authority that there is talk of one being in the works. However, it will mostly likely be a few years before one is approved and for sale.

In the meantime, I do have a bible that I love and I write in often but I do it around the edges where room allows. I also hightlight, and make notes in it which helps me understand and meditate on what I am reading.

CBJ

 

The thing I do most often though, is pick a scripture for the day and I create, meditate and pray in a beautiful journal that I got (see photo at the beginning of the post). Some people who journal – use stamps, stickers, tape, and a variety of other things to create some beautiful and meaningful pages.  I have just been using markers, colored pencils, and highlighters – but I’m looking to expand my journaling horizons.

To see a fantastic post on bible journaling in a Catholic study bible, head over to a post at Catholic Icing – Bible Journaling For Catholics- FINALLY An Affordable Catholic Bible Option!!!

I’ll be posting more on this topic soon because it is something I do regularly, and I’ll be leading our MOMs group in a bible journaling discussion and tutorial next week!

 

Want to be part of a group of warm, welcoming, creative women and learn more about Catholic bible journaling? Join the Catholic Women’s Bible Journaling group on FB and take a moment to introduce yourself!

Let’s Try This Again!

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

 

I know, I know. I started this blog. I got it (mostly) up and running; even wrote a few blog posts and then *POOF* — I was absent!

A terrible way to start a blog, I know. The thing is, I do write a lot of blog posts every month, but those are for my clients. I am just not very good about writing them when it is a personal project of mine.

However, I  have to remember that this blog isn’t just a personal project, I feel it is something that God has been leading me to do for a loooooooooooooooooooooooooooonnnnnng (get the drift) time.

Since today is June 1st, it seems like a good time to challenge myself to write a post every day for 30 days. We’ll see if that will help jump start my blog writing and make it something I do regularly. I think I have heard that if you do something for 28 days in a row that it will become a habit – so let’s see if that works.

I can’t promise that every post will be entertaining and filled with wonderful knowledge and inspiration, but I can promise — well, I probably shouldn’t promise anything. We’ll just see how the Holy Spirit guides me and see how well I listen and follow direction.

Some posts might be short, some might be long, some may be silly and others serious. I do know that I will need to let go of my insecurities and instead be confident in what I am doing. Some may love it, some may hate it, and others might be like “meh” but you know what, I’ll own it!

 

“But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength to proclaim the word fully, that all might hear it.” 2 Timothy 4:17

 

5 Catholic Apps I Can’t Live Without (you NEED them too!)

5 Catholic apps I can't live without

 

Isn’t technology great! I mean sometimes it isn’t but if we use technology for good, then it can be a huge blessing, and a powerful tool in evangelizing others and ourselves.

Let’s take for example apps. Sure, I suppose I could get lost for hours playing games on my phone — or I can choose to use this incredible technology to connect with the Lord and learn more about my faith. While I have been known to get sucked into games (and Facebook), now, I spend most of my time using one of these 5 Catholic apps.

5 Catholic Apps You Should Download TODAY!

 

Catholic Answers Logo

Catholic AnswersI use this app almost every single day to listen to podcasts from our nations top Catholic apologists. They feature remarkable guests that share their knowledge related to the church and the Catholic Faith. Thanks to Catholic Answers Live, I have learned so many things I didn’t know about the faith. It has also cleared up so many misconceptions I had about the church’s teachings on certain issues. When I would say, “I don’t agree with the Catholic teaching about…” what I didn’t realize, is I that I just didn’t understand the teaching or why it it that way.

I have learned so much from regulars like; Jimmy Akin, Trent Horn, Tim Staples, and host Patrick Coffin — and all of the guests they have on. They have a variety of topics that they tackle but some of my favorites are:

  • Why are you an Atheist?
  • Why are you pro-choice?
  • Why are you a Protestant?
  • Why aren’t you a Christian?
  • Open Forums

You can listen live, or to Podcasts that go back all the way to 2008. Watch this short video on their website to see what it’s all about!

By the way, Catholic.com is an awesome resource to find answers to any questions you may have. If you are not Catholic, but want to learn more about what Catholics believe and why, it’s perfect for you too! In fact, they would love for you to call into their live program, between 6pm-7pm ET, M-F, and ask your questions. Check out their radio calendar to find the best time to ask your question.

 

Relevant Radio

Relevant Radio – This is another app that I use every single day! Actually my toddler listens to Fr. Rocky do the rosary both before nap and before he goes to bed at night. He loves it and always asks to “pick prayers”, which means he gets to choose which of the mysteries he will be listening to – The Luminous Mysteries are his favorite🙂

There is so much to this app but I got started by listening to Go Ask Your Father, which is hosted by Msgr. Stuart Swetland. I have learned so much from this program and told my mom about it. She loves it too! Msgr. Swetland is a convert to the faith (as are most of my favorite Catholic apologists and authors) and I appreciate the way he answers the questions of his callers. I also love Morning Air and the Miracle Hunter – but I have listened to many of the programs and really like them all.

There are a ton of wonderful podcasts, audio prayers, news and info, and the daily readings. This is a definite must-have, and a helpful resource.

 

EWTN

EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network) – My husband was going through RCIA several years ago, and I started to realize I didn’t know much about this faith I professed to have. I didn’t really know why I was Catholic, or what that even meant. Shortly after he was received into the church, I was moved by the Holy Spirit to start watching EWTN TV, to find answers to questions I had about my faith.

I can’t really explain what I thought I would find there, but I can tell you I thought it would be super boring. Well, I  turned in on one day and started watching The Journey Home program, which features conversion stories, and is hosted by Marcus Grodi. Once I started watching, I couldn’t stop. In fact, I tune in every Monday to watch it! Then I noticed they had other programs I liked — and programs my KIDS liked!

So, of course I had to see if there was an EWTN app, so I could listen to The Journey Home, or watch it on my tablet. There WAS!

There are live streams, program schedules, video, news, prayers, and the bible. You can even listen to the Daily Mass. During my grandfather’s final days, my mom would put the Mass on for him to listen to. She said it was such a comfort and brought a sense of peace during that time and she was so grateful that it was available!

 

Laudette App

LaudateThis was actually the very first Catholic app that I ever downloaded. There are so many wonderful resources. I have had this app for a few years now, and it just keeps getting better! Here are some of the things you’ll find:

  • Daily Mass Readings, Saint of the Day
  • Liturgy of the Hours
  • Daily Prayer
  • The Order of Mass
  • Rosary and Chaplet
  • Confession
  • Stations
  • Catechism of the Catholic Church
  • and LOTS more!

It is a fabulous resource and a must-have for every Catholic.

 

Focus Equip

Focus Equip – Focus stands for The Fellowship of Catholic University Students and is geared toward young adults, but old adults like me also enjoy it. At least, I think they do. Maybe it’s just me?😉

Anyway, there are a ton of high energy, informative talks on there. I sure wish there were speakers like this when I was coming of age. Perhaps, I would have traveled a different path.

If you have kids in college – or kids who will be heading there – don’t send them out into the world without this app. Download it for yourself too – then you can talk about it together.

Want to learn more about Focus? Visit their website Focus.org and send your student to the Focus.org Student site.

 

Do you have a favorite Catholic app that YOU can’t live without? I’d love to hear about it. I’m always looking to add to my collection.

 

Welcome to the Joy Filled Catholic Blog

Welcome to The Joy Filled Catholic

Hello! Welcome to The Joy Filled Catholic Blog.

I am Christie, a joy filled Catholic, who, after being raised Catholic, attending CCD, and then Catholic School 7th-12th grade, drifted away from the Catholic Church and her teachings. I was what some call a “C&E” (Christmas and Easter) Catholic for many years and I slowly made my way back to the fullness of the faith, shortly after our twins were born. You’ll be able to read my story soon on the About Page, once I write it!

The reason that I decided to begin this blog, is because God put it on my heart to do so. This blog has been in my heart and on my mind for the past year. In fact, I created all of my social media accounts last year but put my blog on the back burner. However, this blog is constantly on my mind. I hear something or I read something, and I think – “That would make a great blog post.” I sure wish I had written all those ideas down at the time – though I don’t think I’ll run out of topics any time soon!

So what can you expect to read on this blog?

Well, I’ll share a little about me and my journey – but more importantly I hope to provide YOU with information and resources to help you along your journey toward the Catholic Church.

I also hope to provide information that will clear up some misconceptions that people have about the Catholic Church and her teachings. Though I have always identified myself as a Catholic, I didn’t adhere to, or think that I even agreed with the teachings.

In those days, you might have heard me say things like:

I’m Catholic but….

  • I don’t really go to church.
  • I don’t agree with all of the teachings.
  • I still like to have fun.
  • I just stay Catholic because that’s what I know.

…and on and on it would go. I shudder at the thought of things I said. The ways that I may have unknowingly lead people astray or gave them a false impression of the church. Looking back, I think I said these things in part because I believed them and partially because I wasn’t prepared to defend my faith against those I knew would challenge my beliefs.

www.joyfilledcatholic.com

Back then, I was FAR from the church. Goodness, I sure hope no one judged the Catholic Church based on me, my words, and my actions – but I’m afraid they may have. That is another reason this blog is so important to me. Maybe I can’t go back and tell anyone who I may of spoken to just how wrong, and uninformed I was – but I can share all that I have learned and continue to learn. I can joyfully evangelize and as St. Peter instructs us:

“Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence.” 1 Peter 3:15

I know why I’m Catholic now. I know that the Catholic Church is the one Christ founded 2000 years ago. I know so much more than I did and I’m learning more about my faith than I ever thought possible – and I’m so excited to share it with you!