I REALLY dislike the Word - BLOG
In 2009, as my heart was being transformed in ways I had never dreamed through a 'reversion' to the Catholic Church; so was my desire to share that joy with others. Although blogging was already a thing in 2009, my pure disdain for the word kept me from launching my own until April 2012.
Why this change of heart? I saw the potential for engagement with others seeking to know Christ and deepen their faith. I also recognized how powerfully moved one could be when reading about the spiritual journey of others, particularly as it related to their every day ordinary life. My first post (see below) was short and sweet, no images and no hyperlinks. As my kids would say, I was a real newb.
NEW To Reconciled to You -- a blog about Living the Sacraments in our daily lives. This blog will cover reflections on actual sacramental events and the occasional informative post on the Sacraments themselves. These blog entries will come not just from me, but from various sources - since we all make up the body of Christ, it makes only sense that I span out to bring you the broadest picture of Life in the Sacraments.
How Times Change
Five years later, and I AM amazed at how the ministry and my blog has evolved. The Lord has opened up so many doors - starting in June of 2012, with an opportunity to write for Catholicmom.com. This allowed me to share my love of the Catholic faith, my family and writing with even more people like me searching to find God among the hustle and bustle.
My blog has grown to include:
Hate the Word, but LOVE the Action
While I still dislike the word - BLOG (bleck). I have come to absolutely adore blogging. The ability to share how the Holy Spirit continues to inspire me in my prayer life; participation in the Sacraments and through my exploration of Scripture - is such an amazing gift! In addition, the wonderful people God has introduced to me through this and the other blogs I've been blessed to contribute to - has made putting up with this stupid word - absolutely WORTH IT!! I guess, I can't deny what is in my heart - The Blog Life is definitely for me!
All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2017
I am a horrible friend
Some people appear to have a natural aptitude for being a friend. Me, not so much. I've often said, "I stink as a friend". I don't mean to. My self-centered needs usurps my best of intentions. Aware of my friendship deficit, I was unsure if I possessed the acumen to review Michele Faehnle and Emily Jaminet's new book. To be honest, when I received my copy of The Friendship Project: The Catholic Women's Guide to Making and Keeping Fabulous, Faith-Filled Friends from Ave Maria Press, I placed it in the "maybe review" pile.
I began my "reading" by exploring Michele and Emily's The Friendship Project website. My history with these two ministry powerhouses afforded a confidence that I'd find a storehouse of rockin' supplemental material. Likewise, I trusted TheFriendshipProject.com to guide my "review or not to review" decision, once I was acquainted with the book and the accompanying group study. After perusing the sample chapter and watching the group study videos, my enthusiasm for the book blossomed but I was still apprehensive about posting a review.
In their introductory video, Michele and Emily beautifully illustrate our shared belief that there are no coincidences in life as they share many moments in their friendship that only the Lord could have orchestrated. I call those "only God could have done this" type of moments a godcidence. My answer as to whether I was qualified to review a book on friendship came as my own godcidence moment. When I received an email graciously invited by my new friends, Michele and Emily, (thanks to gift of social media) inviting me to be a part of The Friendship Project blog tour. Clearly, the Lord knew I (like so many others) would benefit from reading (and sharing) this book. It was also the perfect opportunity to practice the virtues of friendship highlighted in The Friendship Project.
You Had me at No Guilt
The tipping-point came in a simple statement from the authors assuring me there is no guilt within these pages. After hearing that I knew I'd love this new book as much as I did their first, Divine Mercy for Moms. Her words reassured me that I could read this book and feel better (not worse) about my ability to be and accept friends in my life. Women are so hard on themselves. We set these ridiculous goals of perfection and even if we are reaching them never feel good enough.
Thank goodness for the blessing of friendship, beginning with the one God blessed Michele and Emily with, which made this fabulous new book and group study possible.
In The Friendship Project, Michele and Emily explore the cardinal and theological virtues with an eye toward friendship. Focusing on faith, hope, love, prudence, gratitude, loyalty, generosity, and prayerfulness, they help us answer questions such as, “What does it mean to be women of hope, and how does that change our lives and make us more compassionate friends during difficult times?” and “How does prayerfulness teach us how to listen to and talk with both God and our friends, which helps us reach out to those we love?”
Why Is This Important?
God did not create us in isolation nor to live in isolation. We are created from love, to love and to be loved. God does not ask the impossible of us. He provides all the grace, wisdom and understanding to accomplish his desires for our lives that includes fabulous, faith-filled friends. The Friendship Project offers amazing insights, resources and guides to bring your friendships to a whole new level.
The Author's Introduce the Project
Friends of Virtue
A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter:
Making and keeping friends has been a long standing struggle. I have often felt like a round peg trying to be the square peg to fit in with others. True friendship, I have discovered, comes from being able to be myself - and loved even when I am not being the best me. Wish The Friendship Project existed when I was in my twenties as I began to juggle work and friends; or my thirties as I navigated even bigger strains on my time for friends - marriage and motherhood. The more responsibilities added to my life the less time I found for others.
In 2006, I began attending a weekly faith sharing group. This was a game changer. My relationship with God strengthened but more importantly came an unexpected blessing of the addition of godly friends in my life. Though not without missteps and misunderstandings, my friendships have definitely evolved into sturdy shelters and cherished treasures. The excitement of sharing The Friendship Project with my faith-filled friends envelopes me with a Christmas Morning type anticipation. I can only imagine the soaring heights of joy, peace and hope God has in store for our relationships as we incorporate newly honed virtues into them.
Some of My Sturdy Shelter Posse
Michele and Emily's friendship project not only affirmed the wisdom of the power of friends of faith but also provide much needed guidance in making, building, and maintaining those relationships.
I highly recommend adding The Friendship Project: The Catholic Woman's Guide to Making and Keeping Fabulous, Faith-filled Friends to our reading list. As an advocate for Group Study, I highly recommend reading this with friends as well. God blesses us in many ways while we are upon this earth. One of His special gifts are the people he places in our lives. Let The Friendship Project become your owner's manual to getting the most of this precious present from our Loving Father!
About the Authors:
Michele Faehnle and Emily Jaminet are busy wives, mothers, and volunteers. They are also friends, Catholic speakers, and the dedicated coauthors of Divine Mercy for Moms, which continues to inspire women to come together to pray, study, and live in friendship around the Divine Mercy devotion. In the midst of their active lives, Faehnle and Jaminet found themselves missing their old friends and searching for new ones. They also realized that they needed to continually work to develop deep, meaningful relationships that would allow them to be themselves, to care for others and be cared for, and to deepen their Catholic faith.
In The Friendship Project, Faehnle and Jaminet explore the cardinal and theological virtues with an eye toward friendship. Focusing on faith, hope, love, prudence, gratitude, loyalty, generosity, and prayerfulness, they help us answer questions such as, “What does it mean to be women of hope, and how does that change our lives and make us more compassionate friends during difficult times?” and “How does prayerfulness teach us how to listen to and talk with both God and our friends, which helps us reach out to those we love?”
Faehnle and Jaminet answer these questions and more by employing Church teaching and telling us stories of their own friendships and those from the lives of saints and biblical women—including the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Elizabeth, St. Thérèse of Lisieux and her sister Servant of God Léonie, and Sts. Perpetua and Felicity. Not only will you be drawn closer to friends both new and old but you’ll also be reminded how these friendships—and the virtues you practice to nurture them—draw you closer to God.
Prayers, discussion questions, and a study guide make this a perfect resource for women’s groups.
(from The Friendship Project product page ~ Ave Maria Press)
Looking Back at my 2016 Reset
Do you make a list of resolutions on New Year's Eve? I am such an overachiever - I make 10 lists of 10 things I want accomplish in the upcoming year. I organize them by theme.
While I may continue to fall short in so many ways; I will continue to make these lists because goals are good! My 10 Lists of 10 Resolutions has become a wonderful yearly examination of my life - where I am and where I hope to go.
“Brothers and sisters,
Autumn becomes My New New Year!
As the calendar edged toward September this week, my heart began to spark with new excitement and hope for the change of the season. As a New Englander, this change of months is more than just a turning calendar page. The weather (finally) gets drier and cooler; the leaves burst with color ... pumpkins and cornstalks don lamppost and door steps. There is a physical alteration to the world around me.
While no longer a student, there is still something in my core that anticipates the promise of a new [academic] year. The Autumn Reset. The gift the Lord gives that nothing stays the same - while in some instances that can make us lament such as when we watch our children grow; but in other ways the ever changing days of our lives are a blessing. The hope that poverty (in whatever form that is presently taking in our life) will not last forever; illness or injury will someday heal; and bitterness will find itself immersed in mercy and forgiveness.
What DID I push the Autumn Reset Button on...
“Behold, I make all things new.”
Don't miss tomorrow's 2017 Autumn Reset post