Guide to Goodness

Finding Perfect Precious Love

Joy isn’t what happens when life goes perfectly. It’s what happens when you know you’re loved perfectly, even when life’s a mess.

Chris Stefanick, Living Joy

The journey of Smitten With Goodness began with a simple question.  What does it mean to love?

Continue reading “Finding Perfect Precious Love”
Guide to Goodness

Hope is Not Canceled

Today’s post is written by a guest contributor Jacquelyne Rocan. Jacquelyne has been a spiritual sister to me throughout the years and I am pleased to introduce you to her!

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent and I find myself recalling this time last year.  While there were certainly reports of the new coronavirus circulating in more and more communities, I celebrated Ash Wednesday in 2020 in many of the same ways that I have always marked that day — attending Mass, receiving ashes on my forehead, fasting, and setting in place plans for experiencing a holy and spiritual Lenten season.  This included plans for additional prayers, readings, and attending Stations of the Cross.  I marked times for all of the Holy Week services on my calendar — the Easter Triduum of Holy Thursday Mass, Good Friday service, and Easter Vigil Mass.  It was important to me to fully participate and prepare by attending these services, as much as I could (especially through many years of serving on the RCIA team in my parish).  My Lenten and Easter seasons have felt incomplete when I have been unable to prepare and attend the Easter Triduum services.

Of course, we now know, the many plans that we all had for 2020 came to a crashing halt in March when the scope and seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic became evident and closures and cancelations began in earnest.  While I could still pray, fast, and practice charity while at home, many of the big markers of Lent and Easter were suddenly gone.  Not being able to attend Mass and hear the rich and textured readings and experience the reception of our dear Lord in Holy Eucharist was difficult for me, and for so many Catholics.  I worried that I was missing out on Lenten preparations and I would not be ready for Easter.  My focus on what I did not have or could not do was overwhelming what I actually could do. 

Then, two weeks into the pandemic closures, I received an email with a daily prayer from the Missionary Oblates which contained the following:  “…PRAYER is not canceled, FAITH is not canceled, and HOPE is not canceled.”  This statement was a game-changer for me.  It helped me focus on what I could do, when isolated at home.  I continued my daily prayers and readings, my Lenten readings, daily rosary, and a weekly Stations of the Cross at home with increased commitment.  I was able to maintain a quiet, peaceful space to focus on Lenten preparations in anticipation of Holy Week and Easter Sunday.  For the first time in my life, I felt my experience of Lent and Holy Week was aligned with the Blessed Mother and the apostles and disciples.  Just like I have to live with the uncertainty of when and how the pandemic will end, I feel solidarity with the Blessed Mother and the apostles and disciples who did not know what would happen after Jesus suffered and died on what we now call Good Friday.  They remained faithful and prayed through the uncertainty of those dark and difficult days and received the greatest blessing of the resurrected Christ.  Their example allowed me to continue my Lenten preparations, even amid the uncertainty of the world around me.

I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Focus on His truth, Matthew 28:20

I will always remember this experience with gratitude and peace in my heart.  In previous years, I would rush to make sure I was on time for Stations of the Cross and the Good Friday service, participating in RCIA retreats, and meeting with family and friends.  While a beautiful and spiritual experience, I did not get to experience quiet and peace on this most solemn day.  I spent Good Friday last year in quiet prayer and contemplation.  I listened to Bishop Robert Barron and his beautiful talk on Jesus’ last seven words on the cross.  I conducted a private Stations of the Cross.  I watched Pope Francis conduct the Good Friday service from the Vatican, and also watched a special prayer service reverencing the Crown of Thorns from Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris (with memories of the fire that almost took that building from us on April 15, 2019).  Mostly, I focused on the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus made for all us, including me, over 2,000 years ago, and the gift of mercy that he gave to us all that still resonates through the years to the present day.  I felt closer to God in the silence and contemplation in a way that I had not experienced before.

This Lent, I pray that the quiet and contemplation of Good Friday 2020 will fill my heart and soul as I prepare for Easter.  I have identified several resources to assist me in these preparations, including many of the resources listed here.   Mostly, I plan to leave room for quiet prayer and reflection to focus and prepare for the great miracle of the Easter Resurrection.  While I still do not know when or how the coronavirus pandemic will end and what our new “normal’ may look like, I know deep in my soul that Jesus died for all of us, that He has risen from the dead, and that He is with us always, until the end of the age.  This reality fills my heart with joy, and peace, and love.

May we all be Smitten with Goodness during this season of Lent!

Jacquelyne

Jacquelyne Rocan is a life-long Catholic that enjoys continuing to learn and grow in the faith.  She has a special devotion to St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Calcutta.  Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, she lived in a number of U.S. cities while growing up and is now happy to call Houston, Texas home.  During the day, she practices law, and spends her free time reading good books, enjoying movies, drinking hot tea, and dreaming of when she can travel to Italy again. 

Guide to Goodness, Uncategorized

Are You A Giver Or A Taker?

I recently listened to organizational psychologist Adam Grant’s podcast about Givers and Takers where he breaks down three personalities and offers simple strategies to promote a culture of generosity in the workplace.  It was validating to know that the givers win out in affecting positive culture and increased results. Go figure!

Being a giver is good for others and good for us.  As we wrap up another Valentine’s Day, a day which has its roots in Catholicism and the profound concept of love, I want to focus on the third leg of the Lenten stool of good works: almsgiving or service to others. 

Because we are created to love and be loved, we yearn to love and be loved. This innate yearning is fulfilled and strengthened by the practices and traditions of our faith of loving one another which is service at its core.  

When we are in service of others, we willingly enter the loop of grace, giving away the gifts we have received.  A gift must be given for the original gift to be multiplied and enhanced. This is God’s grace. 

Most of us feel the weight of the symptoms of lack of love in our world today.  When we lift the veil, the problem is really lack of self-possession.  Self-possession is doing what is good, true, noble, and right.  Our ability to love is directly linked to the level of self-possession we have.  

How can I love my neighbor if all I am concerned about is myself and my needs before the needs of others?  

To give of ourselves, we must first possess ourselves.  Broken relationships, divorce, and dysfunction, which surround us, fuel our lack of self-possession.  But there is a blueprint for us to rebuild self-possession in the spiritual disciplines that make up the landscape of Catholic spirituality.  These disciplines are designed so we can love God and neighbor and be loved the way we were created to be loved.  The perfect Valentines gift to our world!

The foundational call of Christians to charity is a frequent theme of the Gospels.  During Lent, we are asked to focus more intently on almsgiving, which means donating money or goods to the poor and performing other acts of charity.  Our interior penance can be expressed in many and various ways, but scripture insists on three forms, fasting, prayer, and almsgiving, which express conversion in relation to oneself, to God, and to others.   

This conversion of heart is accomplished in daily life by gestures of reconciliation, concern for the poor, the exercise and defense of justice, by the admission of faults, fraternal correction, revision of life, examination of conscience, spiritual direction, acceptance of suffering, and endurance of persecution for the sake of righteousness.  All these expressions allow us to take up our own cross each day and follow Jesus. Voluntary self-denial such as fasting and especially almsgiving allow us to be reverent, and experience brotherly love to both the living and the dead.  

One thing I have been learning about recently is that the Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead.  I am understanding the importance of commemoration and helping those who have died by offer prayers for them.  

God blesses those who come to the aid of the poor and rebukes those who turn away from them.  The Church’s love for the poor is a part of her constant tradition.  Love for the poor is even one of the motives for the duty of working to be able to give to those in need.  It extends not only to material poverty but also to the many forms of cultural and religious poverty.  When we attend to the needs of those in want, we give them what is theirs, not ours. More than performing works of mercy, we are paying a debt of justice.  Our world is in such need of true justice!

For I was hungry, and you gave me food, I was thirsty, and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me. 

Focus on His truth, Matthew 25:35

The works of mercy are charitable actions where we come to the aid of our neighbor in spiritual and bodily necessities. Instructing, advising, consoling, comforting are spiritual works of mercy, as are forgiving and bearing wrongs patiently.  The corporal works of mercy consist especially in feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead.  

I will never forget my conversion of heart after I gave blessing bags every day of lent to a different person in need on the street.  Many times, I was blessed to see the face of Jesus as I looked into that person’s eyes.  For a COVID safe idea, check out the CRS Rice Bowl where you can help feed the world. 

How will you experience a conversion of heart and serve others this Lent?

As St. Francis of Assisi says, “Let us give alms because they cleanse our souls from the stains of sin. Men lose all the material things they leave behind them in this world, but they carry with them the reward of their charity and the alms they give. For these they will receive from the Lord the reward and recompense they deserve.”

Out of personal devotion, we may promise almsgiving as a sign of respect to the divine majesty, love for a faithful God and to be Smitten with Goodness.  Giving alms to the poor is one of the chief witnesses as to how we love our neighbor, and it is also a work of justice pleasing to God bringing His love into the world. 

In His Service,

Cynthia

Prayer

Feel Like Something is Missing? Pray….

“Through prayer, the Word of God comes to abide in us and we abide in it. The Word inspires good intentions and sustains action; it gives us strength and serenity, and even when it challenges us, it gives us peace. On “bad” and confusing days, it guarantees to the heart a core of confidence and of love that protects it from the attacks of the evil one. Christian life is at the same time a work of obedience and of creativity. Good Christians must be obedient, but they must be creative. Obedient, because they listen to the Word of God; creative, because they have the Holy Spirit within who drives them to be so, to lead them forward.”


Pope Francis
GENERAL AUDIENCE JANUARY 27, 2021

Prayer

Help Build A World Of Equal Dignity

We can all unite in the goodness of prayer…..

To End Human Trafficking

Loving Father,

We seek your divine protection for all who are exploited and enslaved.

For those forced into labor, trafficked into sexual slavery, and denied freedom.

We beseech you to release them from their chains.

Grant them protection, safety, and empowerment.

Restore their dignity and provide them a new beginning.

Show us how we might end exploitation by addressing its causes.

Help us reach out in support of victims and survivors of human trafficking.

Make us instruments of your spirit for their liberation.

For this we pray through our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen

St. Josephine Bakhita pray for us!

Guide to Goodness

Fasting For The Love Of It

Fasting is amazingly popular in our culture today if you are seeking to shed some weight or reap the debated health benefits.  A google search provides an overwhelming amount of information.  On the other hand, not much is written about fasting as a tool for our spiritual growth.  This time-tested practice is a proven method for shedding the weight of self-will and the evolution to our lower self.  Today, I challenge us see how fasting trains our soul for goodness and the higher purpose of love.  I have mentioned previously, God prunes our hearts through prayer, fasting and almsgiving, as we unite with Him. 

When our lives are aligned with and to God, we become conduits of enormous power.  A force for good.  When we step fully into our higher self and reflect God’s goodness in our broken world, we impact every person in our life.  

Attachments block us and break us from this flow.  The ego is involved in all our attachments.  We can be attached to wealth, possessions, persons, a group, our jobs, or our intelligence.  It is anything I convince myself I cannot live without such as money, power, pleasure, honor, comfort, social media, you get the picture, right?

This past year, with the pandemic and my husband’s transplant, brought to light many of my attachments that I am now choosing to let go of.  Clothes, purses, and shoes do not bring the same joy as they used to.  It is also time to let go of my coveted Houstonian membership as I simplify and pare down to only what I need. 

We have more than 2,000 years of history that point to the benefits of fasting.  With the right intention, fasting trains our soul for goodness and to resist evil. Out of love for His father, Jesus overcomes the temptations of sin and shows Himself as God’s servant, obedient to the divine will opposed to Adam who gave into temptation and ate the dreaded apple.   Did you catch that?  Jesus prays and fasts out of love for His father.  It is not about what is being offered it is the why.  As I offer things for God’s love, it increases my love and faith for my God. 

I love my coffee and there are days when I would really like to have a third cup.  As I have grown in my knowledge about fasting, I often offer up that third cup of coffee for God’s love and feel him smiling at me for this small sacrifice.  

In our developed countries the flesh rules and our lives are oriented to this reign of self-destruction.  We think it is a blessing that we can find whatever we want, whenever we want it, in abundance whether legal or illegal.  Instead of making our lives better, this addiction reverses the intended roles of our lower and higher natures.  Immediate gratification feeds our lower nature and our craving for the things of the flesh that seek to rule us.  It feeds our desires that lead us to the seven deadly sins and their offspring, all of which unchecked, lead us into our own personal hell.  These desires enslave us to the wants and whims of our feelings rather than to our intellect and will that God has given to us.  This enslavement leads to a weakened will and down a pathway to internal disintegration including anxiety, stress, and ultimate separation from God.  

Return to me with all your heart, with fasting. 

Focus on His truth, Joel 2:12

In the Lost Art of Sacrifice, Vicki Burbach provides a pathway to reinvigorating the lost art of ascesis – of saying yes to God and no to the flesh.  She gives us a process of reordering the flesh so that it is subordinate to the spirit which is essential in knowing the peace of God and to the soul’s progress to sanctity.  Fasting is a disposition that helps us develop the art of sacrifice.  

The precepts of the church are set in the context of a moral life bound to and nourished by the liturgical life.  Observing the days of fasting and abstinence prepare us for the liturgical feasts; they help us acquire mastery over our instincts and freedom of heart.   Interior penance can be expressed in various ways, but scripture insists above all on fasting, prayer and almsgiving.  Throughout scripture we find that God’s people fast and as they fast, the power of their prayers increased, especially when they are engaged in spiritual warfare.  Voluntary self-denial through fasting sets us free.

St. John Chrysotom wrote about God allowing temptation for us to grow our spiritual muscles.  Since we have received greater power and a sharper sword against evil through baptism, we learn through trials, the superiority of His grace and the greatness of this spiritual strength.  God allows these attacks and the opportunity to gain many victories. 

St. Thérèse of Lisieux shows us that making sacrifices in the proper spirit brings us joy and growth.  She understood that the size of the sacrifice is not important, but it is the motive of the heart.  As a child, St. Thérèse knew this power and would carry a sliding string of beads in her pocket as a reminder.  She wanted to make at least ten acts of love daily, so she would offer up a small sacrifice and pull one of the ten beads to the other side of the string, until all the beads were pulled. 

A friend of mine told me a story about the $8 Priest.  Every day this priest set aside eight one-dollar bills in his wallet as Gods money to use as He willed.  Some days the priest would be called to give the money to eight different people, others he might give all the money to one person.  Small things done in love. 

I hope this post helps you identify something in your life that you are willing to give up for love during the forty days of Lent.   For me, I think this year I need to give up worry.  Every time I start to worry, I will offer that up in prayer “Jesus, I trust in You!” 

As Matthew Kelly says, “Love is a choice, and an important one, because we become what we love.”   Will your higher self be victorious over your lower self as you reflect on your day?  I pray that our small daily victories add up to great wins so we can be smitten with goodness, spreading seeds of goodness throughout our world.

In His Love,

Cynthia

Inspiration

Growing In Good Works

I hope this post finds you settling into your word of the year as well as having a plan mapped out to get to know your Saint buddy. My prayer time this week included a plea for guidance on how to best get to know mine, St. Joseph. The next day, I was listening to the Godsplaining podcast and low and behold, they were discussing the Year of St. Joseph. This conversation gave me a good starting point for my plan. I love how God works! Do you have a plan to nourish your mind this year? Another practice I wanted to share that supports my growth is identifying twelve books that will challenge my thinking. Getting through this stack feels good when I complete in December.

Have you started thinking about Lent? 

Lent is early this year beginning on Ash Wednesday February 17, 2021. Just as Jesus suffered and was tempted by Satan, during Lent we are also called to enter the desert of our own lives. Through the good works of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, God prunes our hearts as we are united to Christ and his suffering. These practices give us the strength to resist sin and follow His counter cultural path of love. If we open our heart and hear His word, we learn how Jesus, exposed in his humanity, rejects sin when confronted with temptations and seeks solace in God the Father. This serves as an example for us in our own personal deserts. We will take the opportunity to unpack each topic of prayer, service and almsgiving over the next few weeks. The 40 days of Lent is a good time to solidify and root these practices in our life.

We must consider how to rouse one another to love and good works. 

Focus on His truth, Hebrews 10:24

There are many great resources out there to help guide your Lenten journey. Here are a few to explore to begin preparing your heart in what is best for you:

Blessed is She has a new Lent devotional Set a Fire which I will be using in addition to my Magnificat Lenten Journey and Word on Fire reflections.

Walking with Purpose helps to prepare your heart for the triumph of resurrection through several short, powerful bible studies:

Looking to feel revived and refreshed as you grow in the knowledge that you are loved? Choose Living In The Father’s Love.

Need to be awakened to the reality of who you are in Christ? Choose Fearless and Free.   

Desire to learn how all Scripture points to Jesus, and recognize and appreciate God’s plan for your own life? Choose Beholding His Glory.   

Want to counter feeling weighed down by a culture that all too often leaves us feeling empty and dissatisfied? Choose Beholding Your King.   

Dynamic Catholic continues their Best Lent Ever series and you can sign up for free. This year the topic is feeding your soul with prayer. Nothing will transform your life so completely, absolutely, and forever like really learning how to pray. It is not what you give up for lent, it is who you become.

To be Christian is to imitate Christ. Good Catholic and Fr. Ken Geraci are taking a journey through The Life of Christ that promises Christ will become more real to you, in His humanity and His divinity. You can learn more here.

Pope Francis says, the word of God consoles and encourages us. At the same time, it summons us to conversion, challenges us, and frees us from the bondage of our selfishness. For His word has the power to change our lives and to lead us out of darkness into the light.

Let’s use this Lent to walk through the darkness and further into the light being Smitten with His Goodness!

Cynthia

Guide to Goodness

Do You Have a Desire to Want Better?

The start of a new year has always provided me with hope, a chance for new beginnings, a fresh start, and a time to recalibrate.  It is a time when I want to remember to accept what comes my way with joy and peace as well as practice supportive habits.  Attending to my spirit provides a crucial foundation for the way I want to live. The new year touchpoint puts a symbolic distance between us and the year we have had.  This past year which has taken our ordered lives and brought chaos, heartbreak, and uncertainty.  We have all experienced some level of disruption including loss of freedom, of health, of loved ones and our ideas of how things ought to be.  I think you will join me in saying it was a year of disorder.  But with disorder comes reorder.  God is always calling us forward to recalibrate and refocus our vision.  I find it more than a little ironic that 20/20 is perfect vision. 

What does perfect vision look like in a spiritual sense?  It is remaining awake and diligent, proclaiming the light, spreading words of hope, and feeding the fires of joy in our heart.  Here are some practical steps to measure our spiritual foundation and goodness this year:

Be attentive.  Awareness is a superpower in my book. By remaining awake and diligent, I can discern the signs of God’s intention and purpose for me. By spending time in prayer, contemplation and reading His word, I seek and learn my purpose and know His will for me.  I feed myself with the soul food that nourishes and satisfies. God always meets us where we are and provides what we need.

Act.  Once I have discerned my purpose and what I am being called to do, I need to act.  This takes courage.  Sometimes we know what God wants us to do but we do not act, either out of fear, laziness, or bad habits.  Action is my word for this year.  Did you know that the bible defines Goodness as action?  It is not something we do only for the sake of being virtuous.  In Greek, the word goodness, “agathosune” means an uprightness of heart and life.   I am being called to move my 2020 contemplation into greater action, especially for Smitten with Goodness. This action is proclaiming the light and spreading words of hope.

Expect Opposition.  On my spiritual journey, I need to expect opposition.  This can be external and internal.  Because we live in a compromised world, I must accept the reality that I lean toward sin and selfishness.  What does this look like for you?  For me, opposition is leaving my comfort zone and surrendering control.  My co-dependent tendencies of “helping” others can quickly become me “doing” things for them.  I call on the Serenity Prayer and remember wise words like “Don’t do anything for someone that they can do for themselves.” When I really have my control-freak on, I can pray this Surrender Novena which creates a shift in my heart and gives control to the one who is really in the driver seat.  Here is a cool screen saver I downloaded to help me remember “Jesus you are the Lord of my year, you are the Lord of my life.”   

Bring My Best to Christ.  Of course, I can choose to stay in my comfort zone.  When I do, I deprive those I love, and the world, of my best self.  Stress and anxiety raise thier nasty heads because I am not living my purpose.  Several questions that help me focus are:  Am I serving with my whole mind, heart, talents, and abilities and loving with all my strength?  Each one of us has gifts and talents no matter our stage in life, what are the gifts and talents I give away?  Using these talents to fulfill my purpose brings peace to my world and stokes the fires of joy in my heart.  We can be like the magi, the wise ones who seek Him. 

Go a different route.  If I want to change my life, for the better, I usually need to do something different.  When I open my heart to Christ, I can expect change and to walk a different path.  A path of love which is different from our current culture.  In the catholic church, the month of January is traditionally dedicated to the Holy Name of Jesus. and today is the feast day of The Holy Name of Jesus, where Jesus receives his name “God Saves.” This devotion was popularized by St. Bernardine of Siena and is often symbolized by the monogram “IHS,” (sometimes called a Christogram), which is the first three letters of the Greek spelling of His name.  Will you let His goodness save your weary, scared, or hungry soul? When I look up to His goodness, it ensures my intention and frees me from my natural impulses.  I acknowledge my dependence on the Spirit within who is eagerly waiting for me to surrender and renew me. 

Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new each morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Focus on His truth, Lamentations 3:22-23

God always wants to bring us somewhere better – the question is will I be drawn to evolve.  I think we all desire to want better for ourselves and the world around us. If we get out of our own way, we can develop, grow, and change for the good.  Let’s use the action of goodness as our measure for a successful year ahead.

Have a great week and be Smitten with Goodness,

Cynthia

Uncategorized

Are You Living Your Why?

Picture a pre-COVID time when we might be having a cup of coffee, or more likely a glass of wine together and catching up on life.  What would you say if I asked you what is your why?  Why do you think you were put on this earth during this moment in time? 

Close your eyes and take a deep breath. 

What is your answer? 

Be honest, would you say it is to be the person that God wants you to be? 

Truth be told, until a few years ago, that was not my answer!  Of course, I valued being a good, moral faithful and responsible person.  I was focused on raising children, tending to my family, building a career, cultivating friendships…all good things in themselves but the singular why, the fulcrum on which everything rested was hidden.  I am happy to report that I found my why which is to bring God’s love into the world, and I believe that is your why too!

By exploration, learning and grace, I came to understand deep in my bones that my life is not about me.  It is a gift from my Creator.  I am His Beloved; wonderfully made to bring the unique gifts He has assigned to me to the world.  His goodness calls me to be holy and to follow His will which is love. Bishop Barron provides a simple and powerful message describing how we are called to be saints here.

In the catholic tradition, the month of November is when we honor the saints known and unknown.  How cool is that!  I never knew much about the saints but became fascinated with them after a pilgrimage to Italy in 2017.  St. Francis’ message of simplicity and love of nature along with Padre Pio’s philosophy of “Pray, don’t worry” had a profound impact on me during our trip.  These saints continue to provide me with strength and inspiration for my life today.

A goal of Smitten with Goodness is to provide resources for curious hearts to explore and help guide our journey in goodness.  I am sometimes overwhelmed by the resources available and hope to simply and highlight relevant ones for you.  Blessed Is She has developed a guide which helps us think about how to go about Making Friends With The Saints.  They also suggest another practice to pick a Saint Buddy each year and do a deep dive into their life, writings, and teachings.  My Saint Buddy this year is Mary.  There is something about Mary for sure and she has been a life changer for me but more about that later.  Take a listen to this to learn more on how you might choose your buddy for the coming year. 

Rediscover the Saints, Twenty-Five Questions That Will Change Your Life by Matthew Kelly is a quick read that helped me see how God is constantly trying to open our eyes to the amazing possibilities he has for our lives and how the saints encourage us to collaborate with Him to reach our God-given potential. 

Blessed are the peacemakers

Focus on His truth: Matthew 5:9

God’s dream is for all of us to be saints.  Are you up for the challenge? 

P.S.  If you say YES! the Beatitudes Matthew 5:1-12 give us the guidebook on how to shape our hearts and live our lives to be Saints and live a happy life.

Uncategorized

Introducing Our Why

Are you ready for a new perspective and to cultivate goodness in our world?

Smitten With Goodness

Do you ever feel numb and flat, feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders? Stretched so thin you have little time to think and when you do, you think I am never enough?  Does your mind long for rest from worry?  Have you come to the realization there is a situation you cannot fix or control?  Do you find yourself taking everything personally with your emotions spinning out of control at the drop of a hat?  If so, Smitten with Goodness is for you. 

Spoiler alert – we were not meant to live this way!  Perhaps I am the only one who has found myself in these states of life, but I think not.  The solution to all this is simple yet hard. Smitten with Goodness is a resource for those of us who are seeking a different way, a different perspective.

After many years walking down the path of what I deemed success, I was tired, anxious and had lost my sense of peace.  Sure, I was a good person.  A loving mother who provided well for my two children.  A successful fundraiser who raised philanthropic dollars to support important causes.  Ultimately a wife again after I remarried to a man who is the love of my life.  I was blessed with three adult bonus children and now two grandsons.  I was walking the path of recovery from the effects of growing up in dysfunction.  I had a curiosity for personal growth.  I was a devoted catholic who attended church every Sunday.  I believed in God and always had a strong faith. 

What was missing? 

Out came the vision board.  A common theme was “coming home”, “being the best version of myself,” and “getting back to me.”  I began to realize that so much of my life has been measured by the success of what I was doing.  Is this my legacy?  It felt flat and lacked meaning.  It was then that I began rebuilding my internal framework to measure success on how well I love.

How do I define love?

I must look to my Creator as my teacher and my guide.  The realization that God loves me not because I am good, but because He is good blew me away.   The shell around my heart began to break as I begin the walking through understanding what true love is and what it means.  I am learning to surrender and trust that His plan is much bigger than my limited one.  Friend, His grace is here, and His mercy is just waiting for us to invite Him in.  Get ready.  As you surrender your heart to the one who created you, my prayer and hope is for you to be Smitten with Goodness!

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever.

Focus on His truth, Psalm 118:1

By understanding who I am created to be, understanding who created me and aligning my life in right order, I can have a renewed sense of hope and restored peace of heart and mind.  We are not promised a life on this earth of everything we want but we are promised that we will have everything we need.  We will not have a life free from pain and suffering but we are assured we are loved and have purpose.   Even through our anxiety and worry.  Through our dysfunctional, failed relationships and recovery.  Through illnesses of mind and body.  

Are you ready to surrender to unconditional love and the peace of heart it provides?  Are you ready for your soul to be alive and have hope for your future? 

Welcome to a community that supports and guides the growth of our souls by being Smitten with Goodness in ourselves, our community, and our world.