Maria’s Sunday Paper is back after her spiritual break

I’VE BEEN THINKING

Good Sunday morning to you!

I’m writing this as I would write a note to a friend who I haven’t spoken to in awhile. I’m back from my self-imposed spiritual break and wanted to check in. How are you? How is your world? How are you feeling on this day about our larger world?

I know I don’t have to ask that question of Mother Earth. She feels as angry as she’s ever been. But, I hope those living directly in her path feel supported by the outpouring of love, unity and assistance that is coming their way.

At a time like this, it almost feels mundane for me to talk about my time away this past month. But, The Sunday Paper is dedicated to trying to provide a sanctuary and a moment of reprieve from the storms that surround us — be they climate-related, political, or otherwise. So, if you don’t mind, I’ll bring you up to date on my last few weeks.

My time away in August was wonderful and productive. Before I left, I wrote down a list of intentions for my break. I wanted to step back from the noise of our world so that I could reflect, reconnect and approach my life and work with a renewed sense of passion and purpose.

There were so many times along the way that I wanted to jump back into the world of social media to comment on this or that (North Korea, Charlottesville, Heather Heyer and her inspiring mom, Houston and Hurricane Harvey, etc…) So many times that I wanted to drive my car back into the office so that I could feel plugged in, connected and purposeful. But, I didn’t.

I had challenged myself to take time. Time away from the virtual world. Time to focus on my family—immediate and extended. I challenged myself to have at least one deep meaningful conversation with each of my four brothers. (Gotta give me credit: Trying to get grown men to have deep, meaningful conversations is no easy task. I did it with all four, and then we had a group conversation.) I also did the same with each of my four children. (The conversation I had with my son as I moved him back to college and into a frat house was eye-opening.)

I challenged myself to begin each day in silence—which allowed me to focus more on the love in my life…not the lack of love in my life. That enabled me to focus more on the joy in my life and less on the struggles. It also helped me focus on my good health (fretting less about small issues like my frozen shoulder and instead feeling grateful that I don’t have a debilitating disease!). It also helped me focus more on my relationship with God and my faith in myself.

Since I had already applied the lessons of Marie Kondo’s book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” to clearing out my physical space, I figured I would apply it to my internal space as well. I looked within and asked myself if the feelings I was holding inside were really bringing me joy.

What did I learn? Well, during this period of reflection, I realized that I was carrying some beliefs that no longer served me and, for sure, weren’t bringing me joy. I also looked hard at some opinions that I came to discover weren’t my own. Then, in Kondo style, I trashed them. Yup, I put those beliefs and/or opinions in a folder and got them out of my mental space.

I cleared out the self-defeating language, negative beliefs and harsh judgments that had been my companions for too long. They pushed me for a long time, but they no longer served me. Lo and behold, when I cleared them all away, I found my joy. I also strengthened my relationship with my faith and with my God. I threw out old beliefs that made me think of God as a punishing, mean, and shaming power. I replaced them with the image and belief of a non-judgmental, forgiving, caring, and loving God—one who accepts me and others as we are and who guides us to a better place.

I also challenged myself to go through my days with a different perspective about work and its larger-than-life role in my life. These intentions may not have brought about any dramatic changes that are visible to someone else’s eye, but they did bring about small ones that I can feel, and that’s big to me. I learned that I could step away from social media for awhile and, lo and behold, it would keep going on without me. That’s important to remember the next time you think you have to stop whatever you’re doing and comment online. You don’t.

As I watched the news in our world unfold (OMG), there were so many moments that reminded me how blessed I am. That, in turn, reminded me of the importance of reaching out to be of service. It also reiterated to me that small acts done privately can often bring more joy than the larger, more public moves.

I know that in the past if I had three weeks off, I would have planned some big trip. But going nowhere allowed me to go everywhere that my mind and my thoughts wanted to take me. Now that I’m back, I feel I have a better and more hopeful perspective.

I know I’m here (as I believe we all are) to be of service. For me, that’s in the women and Alzheimer’s space through the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement. It’s also wherever else I can be of assistance, like now with the hurricane relief efforts. (Please join me Tuesday night for Hand In Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Relief. I’ll be answering phones, along with others, for the telethon that’s airing at 8pm ET on multiple networks, including NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, HBO and Bravo.)

I also believe that I am here to be a light in the world, as I believe we all are. I also believe that we’re here to use our voices, our hearts and our minds to Move Humanity Forward—personally professionally, and politically. That’s exactly what I intend to do, and I hope you’ll join me.

I also invite you to share with me what you’ve been up to lately. To paraphrase my friend Mary Oliver, I ask you: What have you been doing with your one wild and precious life?

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Click Here to Read the Entire Post of Maria’s Sunday Paper.

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Study Finds Parents are as Addicted to Devices as Children

 

Students at St. Joseph Academy in Brownsville, Texas, check their smartphones during lunch May 3. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

Dec 7 2016 – 11:07am | Mark Pattison – Catholic News Service

For adults complaining about America’s youth being saturated in media usage, it appears the apple hasn’t fallen far from the iPad.

Parents spend more than nine hours a day with screen media, and the vast majority of that time is spent with personal screen media, according to a study issued on Dec. 6 by Common Sense Media, a San Francisco-based organization that has long been tracking children’s media usage.

Even so, according to the study, 78 percent of parents believe they are good media and technology role models for their children. Continue Reading

 

 

 

 

 

 

At Home with Faith

A family-focused approach to religious education
Dec 7 2016 – 4:46pm | Randy Young America Magazine Online

Many parents are familiar with the ritual of dropping kids off at parish curbsides once a week for religion class and retrieving them an hour later. This system of education for educating children who do not attend Catholic school is widely accepted. But is this the best way to educate our children in the faith? Many young adults who have completed their catechesis now find themselves disconnected from the church. How can religious education help lay the groundwork for a more lasting faith? Continue Reading Here

 

Tidings of Great Joy

America magazine online
How ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ defies common sense

When “A Charlie Brown Christmas” debuted on Dec. 9, 1965, CBS executives were so sure it would fail they informed its executive producer, Lee Mendelson, they were showing it only because they had already announced it in TV Guide. “Maybe it’s better suited to the comic page,” they told him after an advance showing.

Despite six months working on the show, the animation director, Bill Melendez, felt much the same. “By golly, we’ve killed it,” he recalls telling Mendelson after a screening.

The American public disagreed. In fact, 45 percent of Americans with a television set watched “A Charlie Brown Christmas” that night, making it the second highest rated show of the week (behind “Bonanza”). The program would go on to win an Emmy and a Peabody, and it has been broadcast every Christmas season since.

Continue article click here

 

World Youth Day 2016: 7/22-8/2

It’s this week! World Youth Day in Poland with a week’s worth of events. Click on the official link to learn more.

http://www.krakow2016.com/en/

(From the official website) The theme of the XXXI World Youth Day Krakow 2016 is: ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy’ (Mt 5:7). Our Holy Father Francis has chosen the fifth of the eight Beatitudes, given by Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, to show the importance of the Beatitudes which are at the heart of Jesus’ teaching. In his first Sermon, Jesus presents us with eight examples of qualities that bring us closer to the Kingdom of God.

The choice of Krakow and World Youth Day’s motto lead us to the Spark of Mercy. Since the appearance of Jesus to St. Sister Faustina, Mercy has been radiating from Krakow-Lagiewniki to the whole universal Church. Krakow is widely known as the centre of worship of God’s mercy, and young pilgrims who come will surely want to see the place of the revelations, Sister Faustina’s tomb, and the shrine – the place where St. John Paul II entrusted the world to God’s Mercy.

It’s worth noting that the fifth Beatitude sums up the first two years of Pope Francis’ pontificate as well. During that time he has striven to show the Church God’s love towards man and the necessity of being merciful to each other.

At a meeting with young Argentinians in Rio, Pope Francis advised: ‘Read the Beatitudes, it will do you good.’ Our task is to re-read the message of the Beatitudes. For three consecutive years, the Pope has chosen for us three out of the eight Beatitudes as the themes for the WYDs. Each one is elaborated on in his addresses, in which he comments on theological matters and gives the youth some tasks for the next year of spiritual work.

 

“Read the Beatitudes – it will do you good.”

Pope Francis, Rio de Janeiro

Family Table Talk

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Family conversation at mealtime just got a lot more fun—and a lot more faith-filled—with The Meal Box, the perfect antidote to family dinnertime drudgery.

The Meal Box contains 54 cards, each one featuring a creative question guaranteed to spark fun family conversation during family meals. The questions, such as If you could have the voice of any famous person, whose voice would you have?, are sure to engage everyone in the family. The reverse side of each card features a quick “Food for Family Thought” tip from family expert Tom McGrath. The tip makes it easy, and downright fun, for families to apply the question and answers to their lives of faith.

http://www.loyolapress.com/the-meal-box.htm