the better part

For my birthday Mike got me a prayer book that I’d been wanting called The Better Part:  A Christ Centered Resource for Personal Prayer by John Bartunek.

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I ended up liking it so much I thought I’d do a post on what it’s all about.  It’s written by a Catholic priest, but any Christian could use it as a daily meditation tool.

Format – The first section is a detailed guide to Christian mediation.  Basically a how-to.  And it breaks Christain meditation into 4 categories:  concentrate, consider, converse, and commit.  The second (and main) section is divided up into small units including a passage from the Gospels and a four-part commentary based on the same four themes throughout the book:  Christ the Lord, Christ the Teacher, Christ the Friend, and Christ in My Life.  It’s easy to commit to reading and meditating on one of these units a day.

Additional Guidance – After each small unit there are also questions if you were to use it in a group setting.  There are also suggested Catechism readings after each unit for further examination.  Two indexes are included.  One list the units in the order in which the Gospel passages appear throughout the liturgical year.  The second lists them in relation to virtues of the spiritual life.

This book has a lot to offer.  The first section of the book I found to be very beneficial.  It’s a great reminder of things to remember while praying to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your prayer time.  Think of it as a miniature ‘how to pray better’ boot camp.  Having that part to refer back to while reading through the small units will be handy.

So if you’re in the market for a personal prayer resourse, check this one out.  🙂

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desiderata

One of my favorite prayers is the Desiderata poem by Max Ehrmann.  The entire prayer is so helpful to me, but I’m particularly drawn to one of the first few lines:

“Avoid loud and aggressive person, they are vexations of the spirit.”

A vexation of the spirit sounds like something I really don’t want to be.  Vexation meaning something that provokes irratibility, anxiety, or distress.

I wouldn’t say that I surround myself with people under this classification, but when I read this I always hope that I’m not falling under that classification either.

Before that line is this:

“Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.”

I think if I’m able to do this I can avoid being a vexation of the spirit. 🙂

rose

And the last paragraph always brightens my day:

“Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be; and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul.  With all its shams, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.  Be cheerful.  Stive to be happy.”

Amen!

having faith

Another inspirational post for the week!  Having faith is usually the answer to many problems.  Here are some nice reminders.

let god

We’ve all seen this before, but it’s true!  And very comforting.

mustard seed

Matthew 17:20.  When I read this I remind myself that it’s not asking much to have a little faith.  I can handle having faith as small as a mustard seed – which are 1 to 2 mm in diameter in case you were wondering.

pray more

Easy peasy.

big god

Many times when I’m worried about something having a little perspective helps.  Lucky for me my problems usually aren’t nearly as dire as I think they are.

just breathe

Again…easy peasy.

unseen

This verse is the inspiration for my blog title and extremely helpful in keeping faith.

Hope this post cheered up your day!

power of positive thinking

This is something I’m always trying to remember, because it is so true!  For some, being positive comes easier than others.  But I never want to be the person that makes people feel exhausted and drained from a bunch of negativity.

To me, negativity comes in many forms but basically it’s anything that doesn’t benefit my growth as a person.  If I encounter people who thrive off negativity I usually describe them as “toxic”.  And that’s the last thing I want to be, so here are some good reminders.

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  • No Complaining – The big kahuna of negativity that permeates everyday life is complaining.  I’ve posted this quote before, and it’s a great thing to remember.  Do I want to be the person that complains about traffic, or celebrates the beautiful weather?

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  • But Seriously, Stop Complaining – This deserves two bullet points.  We all do it way too much.  Sometimes I ask myself, would I be embarrassed to be complaining about this in front of someone less fortunate than me?  99% of the time the answer is yes.

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  • Stop Complaining (again) and Pray – Whining never makes me feel better, but praying does.

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  • Fake It Till You Make It – Sometimes we have days where we just aren’t feeling it.  It can be hard to muster all that positive energy.  That’s why faking it till you make it is a great tool.  It’s incredible how easy it is to trick our minds into doing what we want them to!

positive2

  • Strive To Be Happy No Matter What – This reminder, to me, is the epitome of positivity.  If you can be positive no matter what happens in your life I want in on your secret.  It’s the ultimate thing to strive for; joy no matter what the circumstances.

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  • Have Simple Pleasures – Having small things throughout the day to look forward is very helpful for staying positive.  So if you don’t have those, make room for them!

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  • Don’t Beat Yourself Up – Beating yourself up doesn’t make you a stronger person, it wears you down.  To be a positive person you have to think positively about everything, including yourself!

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  • No Worries – Easier said than done, but important.  Worrying doesn’t solve problems, action does.  And if it’s an issue thats completely out of your hands, lucky you, that means you should let it go completely!

I have a feeling I’ll be revisiting this post in the future.  Hope it helps!

how to simplify life

In our day and age we all have tons of things competing for our time and money.  Here are some things I try to remember when I know I need to simplify.

live simply2

I Can’t Do/Have It All – I think that having a good sense of self helps when nothing seems like “enough”.  An easy way to narrow my focus and keep things simple is by making a list of all my interests.  The key is making sure the list isn’t ridiculously long, that’s how you run into trouble.  For example, if I was interested in photography, cooking, reading, golf, scrapbooking, fashion, and going to concerts I’d be, first of all – broke and secondly – overwhelmed.  Try to narrow your list to 4 or 5 things that you like to do regularly.  If there are things you like to do (i.e. shop for clothes, go to movies) but you don’t do them regularly, no need to include them.

Prioritize – The key to living simply in my opinion.  How important are those 4 or 5 things in my list to me?  Am I spending time & money on things that don’t matter as much to me?  What things should I really be doing but I haven’t been?

Be Cool – Slowing down and taking a breather is another great way to simplify.  Sometimes my own actions complicate life, and I end up needing to take a time-out.  For example, getting worked up over small things or buying a bunch of unneccessary stuff adds disorder to your life.  Take time to chillax.  FYI – being cool only helps when I’m about to add chaos to my life, not when there is something that actually needs to be attended to.

Consistency – Prioritizing and consistency go hand in hand.  Whatever you do consistently is what you prioritize.  If I want to prioritize saving money then I would not shop consistently.  If I wanted to prioritize being healthy then I’d cook at home and workout consistently.  If I wanted to prioritize organizing my home I’d consistently get rid of things and clean up after myself.  You get the idea..

Prayer – I’m at my best when I slow down and pray.  It helps me to think clearly and gives me perspective.  And when I’m able to do that life always gets much simpler..and happier!

Everyday Simplicty – A Practical Guide to Spiritual Growth by Robert J. Wicks is a great book to help you lead a simplified life.  I strongly recommend it.

everyday simplicity

Living simply isn’t “in”.  We place too much value on what we have or what we will have in the future.  That’s too bad, because we end up missing out on the things that really matter in life.  I think that life is much more fulfilling when I take out all the excess and keep it simple.

lenten reminders

This post is somewhat late, but there are still 4 weeks left of Lent!  Here are some things to inspire you on your Lenten journey.

begin again

If you fall off the wagon with your resolutions don’t forget that that’s the whole point of Lent!  If it was easy nobody would strive to fulfill their resolutions.

lenten goals

You can click on this to make it bigger.  These are great ideas for ways to remember what Lent is about.  Dedicate a small (or large!) portion of you day to focus on what God is calling us to become during Lent – hopefully more like Him!

son of god

Go see this movie.  We did and it was really good.  It inspired me to keep moving forward with my resolutions and to pray more consistently.

forgive

The part where Jesus says this in the movie really stuck with me.  Jesus says this when he is up on the cross about to die.  So the next time someone cuts me off on the road and I want to freak out, I’ll just remember this.

soul nourishing

You can click on this to make it bigger too.  Another great thing to read to put your heart and mind in the right place for Lent.

Everyone’s resolutions are different for Lent, but I’ve found that if you’re already pretty healthy it’s a good idea to resolve to do something that makes you more like Christ – don’t gossip, pray more, give to the poor, give up swearing, be polite, don’t be selfish, be more positive, etc.

I hope this post will help give us the push we need for the next 4 weeks of Lent, and hopefully even longer than that!

inspiration

Ever had a day when you’re stressed or anxious?  Me neither.  😉  I have a board on pinterest (here) dedicated to inspirational quotes and I thought I’d share some of my – of the moment – favorites:

freely you received

let go

it'll be okay

real and lasting value

people are just as happy

fixed on the unseen

The last one is where I got the title of my blog from, but right now I’m really liking the first one: Freely you have received, freely give, Matthew 10:8.  Sometimes if things aren’t going my way I get frustrated because I feel like I’m not getting something that I deserve.  Reading that verse is a good reminder that I’ve already been given so much; being alive is a privilage.  Putting my desires aside can feel like giving up, but more and more I realize that it opens my eyes to the things in life that really matter.