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Faith: Wrapping Our Heads Around It
Written by Allison Ricciardi, L.M.H.C.   


allison nametitleFaith: It may be one of the most confusing concepts to wrap our heads around and to make proper use of. Everywhere in the Bible we see stories of faith. Jesus was very clear that without faith we can do nothing. And yet we struggle.

I think some of the confusion comes in regard to what we are actually putting our faith in. Jesus tells us that if we have faith the size of a mustard seed we could say to a mountain move and it will move. So is our faith in the power of our mind? Or in our own willpower to accomplish something? I know when I was little I used to think that if I just concentrated hard enough I could make something happen or come true.

We seem to see a lot of faith these days - just look at the Human Potential Movement or popular new age religions that preach the power of our minds or our positive thoughts. From there they advance to the power of the “loving Universe” to make our dreams come true, make us richer than we can imagine, and so healthy that we can live forever. Hmm.…


Read more: Faith: Wrapping Our Heads Around It  [Faith: Wrapping Our Heads Around It]



It’s All About the Marriage: Things Smart Stepmoms Know
Written by Brenda Snyder, LCSW   


brenda-snyderUp to 70% of remarriages where there are children from previous relationships fail. Some folks might be surprised by this, but stepmothers will nod knowingly. These marriages are HARD.

Every relationship is complicated in a stepfamily. The ones with the kids, the ones with the in-laws, the one with the, ahem, ex-wife. Even relationships with your family are affected as your parents and siblings try to figure out what their role is to be with your instant family. The stepmothers I know are highly successful, intelligent women who have conquered previous challenges, if not with ease, than with dedication and perseverance. And they had no reason to believe they wouldn’t be able to do this.

A difficult ex-wife? Ha! You handled the last project meeting with the misogynistic team leader so well he thought he had come up with your ideas. Adolescent stepkids? No problem! You organized the last Youth Group ski trip at your parish and those kids LOVED you.

Stepmoms get blindsided when their efforts don’t create the scenarios they had envisioned. You didn’t expect it to be easy. You did expect it to be possible. It can feel like giving up if you don’t continue to redouble your efforts to be the best stepmom ever. That’s why it’s really hard to put your effort in where it ultimately counts the most, and where the rewards are most tangible. You need to focus on being a WIFE.


Read more: It’s All About the Marriage: Things Smart Stepmoms Know  [It’s All About the Marriage: Things Smart Stepmoms Know]



Creating a Catholic Home
Written by Sean E. Stevens, Ph.D   


door-wreath-13529 640-pixabayAs Catholics, we can better prepare our hearts to the devoutness of our faith through creating a thoroughly Catholic, Christ-centered home. It not only remind ourselves in a thousand ways who we are as Catholics and what our lives are about: but by doing so we also evangelize our children, their friends, our relatives, and our friends. That one’s family is a committed Christian family should be obvious to anyone who spends even a small amount of time with us.

In Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Moses exhorts the Israelites to cling to their identity as the people of the covenant, and to teach their children to do likewise. He knew that the people of Israel would be surrounded by pagan nations, filled with idolatry and with abominable practices such as child sacrifice and ritual prostitution, and Moses knew the danger of adopting pagan ways. In order to retain their identity and their fidelity to the Lord, Israel developed a way of life that was imbued at every level with the worship of God and faithfulness to the Torah (a lifestyle we still see today among, for example, Hasidic Jews).

Catholics and other Christians live in a similar atmosphere today: the secular culture of death makes war on Christian beliefs and values at every level. It invades our homes and minds through much of the content of the Internet and popular music and movies, and most prime time TV programming. Any child educated in the public school system – as well as in many “Catholic” schools is relentlessly evangelized with the gospel of political correctness from pre-school on. Long gone are the years when one could count on a Catholic school education, weekly Mass attendance, an occasional family rosary, and parish picnics to ensure one’s children would grow up committed Catholics; I doubt if such a situation ever existed.

So Moses’ exhortation applies just as surely to us as to the Israelites to whom he spoke:

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deut 6:4-9)


Read more: Creating a Catholic Home  [Creating a Catholic Home]

ct angel"When Jesus saw the vast crowd His heart was moved with pity, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things."
Mark 6:34