Gifts vs. Calling

Gifts and callings, Amayzing Graces, Karen May


“Your gift will open doors for you, but your calling will help you open doors for others.” Rev. Tejado Hanchell

We are given so many gifts. It can take us a while to discover what they are, and even if we do know, it can be hard to know what to do with them. We may have a clear idea, and may even be using them well in our lives.

No matter where we are in our understanding of our gifts, the real thing is to see Continue reading

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School’s out for summer

Summer time, living easy, Amayzing Graces, Karen May


Even though we are having a beautiful, unseasonably cool day here, summer starts tomorrow in our house. School is out, and camps, vacation, activities, and general summer fun with my children begins.

Don’t get me wrong. I love school. I love the activities that give them Continue reading

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Pick a Saint, any Saint

Who is your favorite Saint? inspiration, Amayzing Graces, Karen May

This weekend we had confirmation at our church. One of the many things I love about confirmation is that each person chooses a Saint for their confirmation name. Now, I have to confess that I chose my Saint solely because I liked the name. I knew nothing about her. Maybe I found something, but I really didn’t pick Catherine of Sienna because of it. Fortunately, she has turned out to be perfect for me. Of course.

The way it’s supposed to happen is that you look for a Saint who is someone you want on your team. Someone you look up to or want to have as a role model in your life. Someone you want praying for you, and you know they’ll be invested because something about you is close to their heart already. It could even be someone who has qualities that you don’t have but would like to develop.

As I sat listening to all the wonderful Saints who had been chosen this year, there were a few that were chosen many times. We kind of have a top ten that everyone knows, but there are so many more that are so incredible. So, as I get ready to prepare my daughter and her peers for their confirmation next year, I was thinking about putting together a resource to help them find these other Saints and choose someone meaningful for them.

I’d love to have your help.

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Spelling Lessons

Spanish lesson, translation, Amayzing Graces, Karen May

As I taught some basic Spanish to a class of second graders, I thought I would get some help from an expert. There was a little boy in the class who had recently moved from Mexico. His English was quite good, so he had obviously been attending an English speaking school, but I knew that he spoke Spanish at home.
I had the best intentions of helping him feel like a valued part of the class as I asked him to help us spell a few words in Spanish. I was surprised as each time he spelled them wrong. This was my expert. He was raised speaking Spanish. Then it hit me. Continue reading

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reason for your hope, 1 Peter 3:15, Amayzing Graces

When we can see our blessings and God’s work around us, it changes us. There is something different that is almost tangible. You may have felt it – the peace, the joy, the awe of seeing that there is much more to this world than meets the eye. I think of this as I read Peter’s letter to persecuted Christian communities.

It is easy to be defensive when you are under attack. It is easy to want to fight back, and sometimes it is necessary. But, even in this, there is something different if we have faith. Continue reading

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Show me a sign

transfiguration of Jesus, give me a sign, Amayzing Graces, Karen May

Transfiguration of Jesus – Carl Bloch

Whenever I meditate on the Transfiguration – the time when Jesus went up a mountain with Peter, James, and John, and was revealed in all His glory – I always think of our desire for signs. In fact, in the Gospel of Matthew, this story comes shortly after the Pharisees and Sadducees ask Jesus for a sign and are flat-out refused one because they wouldn’t be able to interpret it anyway.

A few days later, Peter, James, and John get a pretty clear sign. How wonderful when we can see Jesus so plainly in our lives. It happens sometimes. In big ways and in small, Continue reading

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Let’s talk

Church, Gospel, Amayzing Graces, Karen May“The Gospel lives in conversation with the culture, and if the Church holds back from the culture, the Gospel itself falls silent.”

– Saint John Paul the Great

We naturally gravitate towards people who think like we do, agree with us, or otherwise make us feel comfortable in our beliefs and lives. It makes sense. If we want to live our lives a certain way, it is helpful to be with people who will encourage and help us to live that way.

The problem is, and has always been, that we can easily isolate ourselves and become dismissive or judgmental against anyone who doesn’t agree with us. However, as Christians, we are called to live another way. We were never Continue reading

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Take all I have

“Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, all my will – all that I have and possess. You, Lord, have given all that to me. I now give it back to you, O Lord. All of it is yours. Dispose of it according to your will. Give me love of yourself along with grace, for that is enough for me!”  – St. Ignatius.

As I head to my daughter’s  graduation, this prayer resonates with me and with my theme this week on prayer. These are simple words, yet so profound. This is how we place God in the center. This is how we give Him our lives, knowing that however He transforms or uses what He has given to us in the first place will be enough.

When you pray this prayer, pray slowly – paying attention to what it is truly saying.

Whether you have long since finished school, Continue reading

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Short and sweet

Jesus, What's in a word, Amazing Graces, Karen May

I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead. – Blaise Pascal

Continuing on the talking theme…

I love this quote. There are times that we just need to vent, express ourselves, or explain something in detail. Then, there are times when only a few words will do.

I can call my husband’s name, and it can mean a million different things. From “Come here fast, something is about to fall apart, and I’m out of hands to hold it together,” to “I need a hug,” to “Stop doing that,” he knows me enough to understand what I’m saying with only a word.

Doesn’t Jesus know us Continue reading

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Talk, talk, talk

St. John of the Cross, In the beginning, Amayzing Graces, Karen May

When we pray, when we talk to God, it is so easy to fill our prayer with words. There are endless suggestions for ways to pray with words. Here are just a few I know of:

ACTS – Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving, Supplication.

5-fingers – the thumb for those closest to you, index finger for those who teach you and point the way, middle finger for those who stand above us in authority, ring finger for those who are weak, pinky for ourselves put into perspective of all the others.

JOY – Jesus, Others, You

Of course, there are many pre-written prayers such as the Lord’s Prayer.

All of these are filled with words, and they help us express our love and our needs in beautiful ways. But, we can forget that prayer is not actually about the words, Continue reading

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