First Family Christmas Card Commission

I’m commissioned to write my family’s inaugural Christmas card.

Pray I have inspiration to think up of something before next week’s deadline.

I did receive a message from my future self that the words: platypus, shenanigans, inaugural, and wherewithal must be included in it.

P. S. If you’re wondering about the time travel don’t question it. It is 2020 after all.

P.P.S. I won’t talk about the “successes” of my perfect life because my life ain’t perfect. I’m limping to the finish line of 2020. But I will be jovial and honest about my year.

P.P.P.S. Do you write family Christmas cards? Why or why not?

Awkward Family Christmas card meme
Thank you for sharing!

How Pressure and Suffering Makes You Beautiful and Stronger

🚫 Demands without the grace of time & patience makes success almost impossible.

This year has been bat**** (no pun intended) crazy from millisecond number one.

Mind blowing stuff right?!

I never juggled while getting chased by a rabid platypus but I think I still have time to check that off my not-bucket list. 😉

Your plans probably didn’t work out (unless you’re currently on contingency plan 215— this means you probably beat life and unlocked bonus levels).

😔 Mine haven’t worked out not in the slightest.

Frustration brews daily.

What new challenge will slam us now?

2020 meme

I’m writing this post with the four minutes of free time I have to get this message out— suffering doesn’t make you a failure.

No, suffering means you’re a human. A freaking normal, beautiful human being.

Crises bring out the worst in people.

But pressure and stress over a long time can transform ugliness into beauty.

Thankfully, you have have time.

💎 Time to achieve your dreams (it not be how you planned or expected but God’s plan usually surprises people)

Are you coal or a diamond or something in between?

God making diamonds out of us

💎 How have the pressures of 2020 transitioned you from coal into a diamond?

#writing #personaldevelopment #2020 #life

Thank you for sharing!

10 Catholic Role Models You Need to Learn About Now (An Updated List)

List of Catholic Saints

Last year, I wrote an article about Catholic saints and (soon-to-be saints, hopefully) who I’m incredibly thankful do. Interested in reading it? Check out Announcing 10 Catholic Role Models to be Thankful for!

This year has brought a seismic shift to our way of life. Political tensions and race riots added to the stresses caused by the pandemic. Despite, all the changes, my faith in God remained as strong as ever.

How exactly do you find strength and calm during horrifying news like the McCarrick scandal?

It’s okay to be frustrated, disgusted, worried, angry, sad, or any other raw negative emotion. I am deeply saddened by the abuse and corruption in the Catholic Church. But the Church is a reflection of the Incarnation— it’s both human and Divine.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 1118,  ”

The sacraments are “of the Church” in the double sense that they are “by her” and “for her.” They are “by the Church,” for she is the sacrament of Christ’s action at work in her through the mission of the Holy Spirit. They are “for the Church” in the sense that “the sacraments make the Church,”35 since they manifest and communicate to men, above all in the Eucharist, the mystery of communion with the God who is love, One in three persons.

Individuals who life fully in the sacramental life and leave they previous life behind transform from sinners into saints. Holy men and women allow and cooperate with God so intimately they in a sense become “little Christs”. Jesus, Mary, and the saints always draw me back to the Truth as taught by the Catholic Church. Here is an updated list ten holy Catholics you should learn about.

brace yourself

tiger tony meme

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Venerable Fulton Sheen

Reading the works of the American archbishop helped me learn my faith in a clearer and more articulate fashion. His book The World’s First Love: Mary the Mother of God influenced more than any other work on deepening my relationship with the Blessed Virgin. He famously said, “Judge the Catholic Church not by those who barely live by its spirit, but by the example of those who live closest to it.”

St. Josemaria Escriva

Since receiving his book The Way as an unexpected Christmas present, this Spanish priest became a huge role model for me. Fr. Escriva’s practical advice and wisdom on work being a pathway to holiness helped me become not only a better employee, but also a better husband as well.

St. Teresa of Avila

Saint Teresa of Avila is a wonderful role model for how to clear out the clutter of fear and sin in my life. I even named my youngest daughter (Avila) after this Doctor of the Church. My spiritual life need not be at the surface level. Her spiritual work, Interior Castle, helps me invite God past the entryway of my “spiritual home” and into the recesses of my heart.

St. Catherine of Siena

Over the past year, I had the privilege and joy of acclimating myself with the teachings of this Doctor of the Church. In light of the recent clergy crisis, I oftentimes sink into despair as I think that a simple lay person such as myself has nothing to contribute or weight to affect the good of the Church.

Reading the many letters of Catherine of Siena proved to me that even the laity have the ability—and the charge—to holiness and call on Church leadership to be good shepherds to lead the flock faithfully!

St. Maria Faustina

Being my wife’s confirmation saint, I did not learn about Sister Faustina until we started dating in college. Along with the impact the Polish nun had on my wife, her Diary of a Soul proved helpful for my spiritual life.

As a lifelong Catholic, I always knew of God’s mercy, but her ability to articulate boundlessness of Divine Mercy and the Divine Mercy icon now have become staples in my spiritual life.

St. Athanasius

Growing up as a cradle Catholic, I am ashamed to admit I never heard of this amazing doctor of the Early Church. Since taking a graduate course on Christology and reading [enter book title], St. Athanasius’ intrepid stand against the most sinister heresy—Arianism—in the history of the Catholic Church always inspires and fascinates me! I am grateful to have had the opportunity to read the sainted bishop’s On the Incarnation.

St. Pope John Paul II

The Polish pope overcome much adversity in his life: losing his immediate family members by the age of 21, living through Nazi and Communist regime, and suffering from polio at the end of his life.

John Paul II’s ability to suffer gracefully and his strong devotion and daily reception of the sacrament of Penance make him the perfect role model for faithful Catholics.

St. Francis de Sales

Although Frances was a bishop, his spirituality largely impacted the laity. His spiritual work Introduction to the Devout Life, remains  as relevant now almost 500 years later.

St. Therese of Lisieux

Whether I experience doldrums or dryness in the spiritual life, reacquainting myself with the Little Way of St. Therese provides me spiritual nourishment to withstand those dry spells.

The simplicity of her spiritual helps to provide me perspective that I do not have to perform grandiose works to grow in holiness. Actually, that path it found through consistent prayer and trust in God’s will. I am thankful for her loving witness to trust in the Father’s Divine Plan.

St. Louis de Montfort

Every great saint has a strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, but arguably no other saint has written about the Mother of God with such clarity and beauty as Louis de Montfort. I learned about his books during a Marian consecration. True Devotion to Mary and The Secret of the Rosary are required items on your bookshelf. Re-re-reading both books have become a yearly tradition for me.

“[Mary] is the safest, easiest, shortest and most perfect way of approaching Jesus and will surrender themselves to her, body and soul, without reserve in order to belong entirely to Jesus.” — St. Louis de Montfort

Bonus Catholic Role Model —J.R.R. Tolkien

While the father of fantasy and beloved creator of Middle Earth may appear as an outlier in this list, the late Oxford professor strongly influenced and deepened my Catholic faith in recent years. His ability to teach truth without sounding preachy is second to none.

Reading his works sparks my imagination. When I found out that his Catholic faith permeated his entire life, even his writing,  I too dove deeper into the pursuing the joy of the truth founded in the Good News of Jesus Christ.

More information about my admiration for J.R.R. Tolkien can be found be clicking on this link to an article I wrote for EpicPew: https://epicpew.com/an-unexpected-journey-the-case-for-the-canonization-of-j-r-r-tolkien/

test of happiness

 

 

 

 

 

Hope you enjoyed this list and find it helpful in your spiritual life!

Thank you for sharing!

Copywriting Supertip—Use the Rule of Three

💫 💫 💫Hope you had a wonderful weekend! Time for another Supertip (this is a series I started on LinkedIn and figured why not add it to my website).

I love sharing information & connecting individuals with each other. While theology is my expertise a deep passion of mine is writing about writing. I want YOU to power-up your writing skills. You will be able to do that with this supertip!🚀

Here is my tip ⤵️

💡Excellent copy provokes a response.

It prods (like a bear in hibernation) and awakens your audience toward an action.

Legendary copy makes you act.

Here’s an epic example of copy from the comedy The Office.

Bears. Beets. Battle Galactica.

Jim used this line to get Dwight’s attention (and viewers).

This quip is among the most famous from the show.

I wear a hoodie with Jim’s quote…

And every single time I’ve worn the hoodie I got a reply at least once!

Bears. Beets. Battle Galactica.

It follows two important rules of copywriting:

🐻 Rule of three— include a trio in your copy to make it easier to remember

Use a pattern (small, medium, large) or a random break on the third item

🐻 Alliteration— the human brain loves similar sounds

Delight your readers with delectable copy.

That’s my tip. Now, the super part of comes in from YOUR participation in the comments!

Share a tip specific to your niche and tag a connection who helped you the past week in the comments ⤵️

Bears beets Battlestar Galatica
Best scene from The Office.

P. S. No bears or beets were harmed in the writing of this blog post. I can’t be for certain about whether any starships were captured by aliens.

Thank you for sharing!

💡Copywriting tip #13— Simple copy beats complicated copy

Publishing is easier than ever.

But imposter syndrome kicks in when you get momentum.

Really content creation boils down to sharing a story that contains something valuable for someone else (an audience).

The next time self-doubt strikes you dodge the attack with this defensive pivot:

🔷 Substitute the word ‘share’ in place of ‘publish’

🔶 Change out ‘content’ for ‘story’

🔷 Replace ‘valuable’ with ‘helpful tip(s) for someone’

Essentially, content creation and publishing valuable content for your target audience is really much simpler 👇

💡 Share your story about how you can help others.

Include tips, best practices, something you wished you knew from the start.

Don’t overcomplicate (oops even I did that with such an obnoxiously obtuse word) or add difficulty to your copy.

Simplify it.

Content creation is about sharing your helpful story to others who will relate to it and find it helpful.

❓How do you make your copy simpler?

Thank you for sharing!

Reviewing Faith Hakesley’s Glimmers of Grace

Glimmers of Grace

The Catholic Church has endured an awful abuse scandal. It’s easy to view the Church as exclusively a human institution and fall away from the faith. I can’t even imagine the anger, horror, grief, sadness, or despair that one would feel when abused by a member of the clergy.

I had the pleasure of following Catholic author Faith Hakesley on social media. Her book Glimmers of Grace: Moments of Peace and Healing Following Sexual Abuse, is a gift inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Faith shares a vulnerable and grace-filled story about a Catholic priest who sexually abused her and how her journey toward healing involved trusting in God’s will. In the introduction, she writes, “Breaking my silence was one of the greatest graces I have ever received” (p. 11).  Healing begins when you allow others in on the suffering you are enduring. Inspired by Saint Therese of Liseux, Hakesley relates how she shared her cross and suffering.

According to the author, “Writing was therapeutic, a way for me to put my deepest feelings into words, a way of finding connection between certain events” (p. 13). Faith wrote Glimmers of Grace to give to other victims (and survivors) of sexual abuse.

Analysis of Glimmers of Grace

The book is divided into three sections focusing on: finding grace, finding healing, and finding freedom. Every chapter in Glimmers of Grace is written in a letter format and ends with reflection questions. Additionally, Faith includes tangible action steps (called One Small Step) to help the reader move toward healing in baby steps.

While I personally have never been a victim of abuse (let alone sexual abuse), I still found value in this book. In 2014 and 2017, I suffered immeasurable loss— the deaths of my unborn children due to miscarriage. My healing took A LONG TIME. Faith details out her healing path and how it took her quite a while to trust the clergy. She even admitted how the abuse affected intimacy in her marriage. I gained strength and hope carrying my crosses simply by reading about Faith carrying hers.

Along with her vulnerable account, I found the format of the book to work perfectly for her story. Hakesley draws in the readers by writing in a direct and sincere style. Her practical tips for healing and holiness are a great resource for anyone (no matter your cross).

A Book of Hope

Glimmers of Grace is a book about healing and discovering the miracles of ordinary life. Faith writes, “What’s a glimmer of grace anyway? It’s a term inspired by my mom, referring to the little miracles that God sends our way” (p. 17). Reading this book helped shift my thinking about miracles. The miraculous can be big (like in the Book of Exodus) or small.

Faith Hakesley is an outstanding writer. Her humility, vulnerability, and trust in God shine through the text of Glimmers of Grace. I strongly recommend this book to any Catholic struggling with the sexual abuse scandal in the Church. You will find perspective, hope, and grace after finishing this book.


Follow Faith Hakesley on Facebook or visit her website at https://www.faithhakesley.com/

 

Thank you for sharing!

I Just Got Quoted in an Article on a major Catholic news website!

I was quoted for an article on a major Catholic news website—Zenit.org

“Our society definitely is hungry for truth. This would provide so much value and help foster professional development for Catholics.”

Jennifer Nolan, Ph.D is co-founder and president of Catholic Polytechnic— a university dedicated fostering the gospel through technology and engineering.

She conducted a LinkedIn survey early this year about her school and selected my comment to be included in an interview for Zenit.org (a premiere Catholic news website).

Jennifer’s interview was postponed many months due to the Covid-19 pandemic but she kept me in the loop consistently about the publication of the article.

Her knowledge and kindness are a model for everyone on LinkedIn to follow.

🙏 Thank you Jennifer for selecting my quote for your interview!

Check out the entire interview by visiting Zenit.org

Thank you for sharing!