Giving, Not Giving Up

We have 325 days, from the time Lent ends one year until it begins the next year, to think about what we will do; yet here I am once again, as always, still trying to figure it out on Ash Wednesday. After all of these years on this earth, you would think I’d be better at this. You would think that I would have a list of a dozen things to choose from. Give up this, add that, emphasize this, read that. But no, it never comes easily for me. I struggle with the Lenten decision well into the forty days, always wondering if I’ve made the right choice, if it’s having any effect on me, if it’s at all pleasing to God. 

And I realize that it’s not just during Lent that this happens. And it’s not just me. It’s not just Catholics or other Lent-observing Christians. I think we all spend 365 days a year questioning ourselves, our actions, and our intentions, wondering if we are doing the right thing, using the right words, making the right choices, and spending our time wisely. 

I ask myself, why do I always doubt and worry whether what I do or say is good enough?

And then it dawns on me, and I wonder, is it really that simple? Is it true that all we have to do is… Read more

Fine Wine

This afternoon, my husband, his sister, and I had the chance to visit a vineyard. What an amazing place with many, many years of operational history. Out of all of the steps taken to produce the number one wine in the country, the step that amazed me the most was the very first one. In order to ensure that every single grape is absolutely perfect, the vitner hand picks only the perfect grapes from the vine. All of the grapes are used in what he termed “every day wine,” but the award winning wine is made only from these hand picked grapes. What love and care must go into that process! Imagine spending the hottest days of the entire year, the first days of August, outside in the blazing sun, painstakingly choosing only the very best grapes – not too heavy with juice, perfectly colored, and without blemish. Read more

Nobody’s Perfect

Many years ago, a very wise man told me something that I have never forgotten.  After I graduated from college, I moved back home to find a job and save some money until my next great adventure came along.  The first weekend I was home, I attended Mass with my family at our church.  Our pastor, Father Paul (now Monsignor Dudziak), welcomed me home and asked me how it felt to be a college graduate.  I told him that it felt good but not great because I had graduated magna cum laude and not summa cum laude and had missed the higher honor by less than a tenth of a percentage point.  Father Paul nodded without comment and then asked me to follow him.  When we reached the altar he pointed to the floor and asked me “Do you see this carpet?” I nodded, unsure of why he was asking, and he continued.  “This carpet has handmade by Persian monks.  It took months, maybe years, because it was intricately planned and woven by hand.  They are experts at making rugs and create the finest works of art.  However, in every rug they make, they always weave into it a mistake.”  He looked at me and asked, “Do you know why?”  I shook my head, and he replied, “Only God is perfect.”  Humbled, I blushed and nodded. Read more