6 Feb 2016

His Refuge

Please Do Not Leave Social Media for Lent ... pretty please

Really. Don't leave for Lent.  I understand that many use this hiatus to spend more time working on their own personal spiritual growth and I can completely respect that HOWEVER.... please don't completely disappear for 40 days when social media needs you the most.  Okay, I've always had a flair for the dramatic but this is a serious situation.  Here's why... 

Lent is a time that many people, especially those who may have been lukewarm, maybe a bit disassociated or just plan lax work to spice or rejuvenate their faith life.  The internet just happens to be a place many people turn for guidance and even community to make that happen.  So, what happens when those who are most likely to post something faith based, could possibly answer questions or would be open to connect as community make a mass exodus off social media during Lent??  There are great missed opportunity to evangelize, catechize and support those seeking meaning through an experience with Christ this Lent.

Some alternatives to consider if you simply must follow a complete social media blackout  ... read more 

All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2016   ....Image: Pixabay.com PD

Alone in a Crowd


'Yet if you say so . . .' Sunday Reflections, 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

Miraculous Draught of Fishes, Raphael, 1515 Victoria &Albert Museum, LondonGospel Luke 5:1-11 (NRSV, Catholic Edition, Canada) 
Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.

The painter Raphael captures something of the awe of St Peter when he saw how much fish he and his companions had caught, despite their misgivings as experienced fishermen in following the advice of someone they knew to be a carpenter from the mountains of Galilee. St Peter, who had a long way to go in his formation as a follower of Jesus, recognised the utter generosity of God's providence.

Columban Fr John Griffin, a New Zealander who worked for many years both in the Philippines and Chile tells a story about St Alberto Hurtado SJ (1901 - 1952) - still known and loved in Chile as 'Padre Hurtado' - and his trust in God's providence in A priest, I bless you - Alberto.

Benedict XVI canonized San Alberto on 23 October 2005
Full post here.

5 Feb 2016

As the Morning Rising: Make Her Known to the World

As the Morning Rising: Make Her Known to the World: http://clonard.com/ Make her known to the world, Our Mother of Perpetual Help Icon surrounded by beautiful flowers. After the Noven...

How can you grow in prayer?


So, you have set aside a certain time every day to converse with God. You are reading short passages of Scripture as a basis for your conversation. You recognize that dryness is a normal part of prayer that even the saints experience.

Meditation on Sacred Scripture is just the beginning. God has much more in store for you. He desires the closest union with you. Now that you have taken the first big step, how can you continue to grow? Let’s explore what you need in order to steadily come into more intimate union with God.

St. Teresa of Avila wrote about the virtues necessary for continued prayer growth. The first virtue is perseverance. In Interior Castle she says to beginners in prayer, “Perseverance is the most necessary thing here.”

Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.

Luxembourg and Asteroid Mining

Stories like "Rip Foster Rides the Gray Planet" and "Red Dwarf's" Dave Lister singing "...Lived an old plutonium miner / And his daughter Clementine..." probably didn't help make asteroid mining seem like a serious idea.

Then there's the 1966 Outer Space Treaty treaty: a tribute to the high ideals, and international politics, of the '60s. The idea was that anything we find outside Earth's atmosphere would belong to everyone. Nifty idea, not entirely wrong, and I'll get back to that.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Not Being Loved on Valentine's Day

Unloved on Valentine's Day - Single Mom Heart in Darkness
Valentine's Day may be one of the most dreaded holidays for the divorced and separated, maybe more so for Christians who understand the meaning of Valentine's Day and what Saint Valentine, a man who strove to bring Love to the world, would have wanted his special day to mean.

Today we associate Valentine's Day with cards and candy hearts, bouquets and lingerie. We say we celebrate the Love we have for a significant other by giving them overpriced, obligatory flowers and oversized teddy bears advertised with sexual innuendoes and thinly veiled promises of what a man will get in return.
To make matters worse, when you don't have a special person in your life, Valentine's Day can make you feel worth less or find you searching internet dating sites and settling mistaking Mr. Right Now for Mr. Right rather than choosing to be alone on another Valentine's Day.

That's because we know Love is everything, the greatest of all is Love. Without Love You Are Nothing Especially on Valentine's Day!

Even the Bible tells us Love is everything. In Sunday's second reading, Saint Paul's Letter to the Colossians, we see Love. Is. Everything. Without Love we gain nothing. Without Love we are nothing!

As a single Mom of five boys, suddenly abandoned during the pregnancy of our fifth little guy, I know the ache many Catholics will feel this Valentine's Day.

Please join me for the rest of this post and some Hope for the Love you have on Single Mom Smiling!

God Bless...

4 Feb 2016

Inspired Thinking

As I mature in my walk with Christ, I have learned to not depend solely on my own logic but to take the time to listen to the Spirit. Divine inspiration always supplies new ideas and solutions, solutions I could never have come up with on my own.  Since we are all immersed in His Spirit, He is an integral part of every aspect of our lives. God is with me and cares about the tiniest details and problems I face.

There are several ways of looking at a problematic situation. Early on in my mothering career, I learned that I had a choice. I could either catastrophize every dilemma or consider each crisis as an interesting challenge.

With limited funds, surrounded by lots of little people on a hobby farm, I had to discover innovative ways of coping. When I relaxed, often an unusual, creative or even funny solution popped into my head. I just needed to keep everything in perspective and listen to my own inner voice as well as the whispers of the Spirit.
continue reading

FOR HEART & HEALTH: First Friday Reminder & National Wear Red Day!

A Little Reminder For Wearing Of The RED
In Devotion To The HEART
Along With 3 Wholesome Recipes For Heart-Healthy Treats of Red... [which could be perfect for this weekend, before Lent begins – if giving up chocolate:] ...

a Chocolate-Filled-Raspberries

3 Feb 2016

Mercy Music

St. Augustine once famously quipped: "Singing is praying twice." 

In celebration of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, Contemporary Christian music provides some beautiful insights into the power of God's love and mercy.

Click here for five favorite images....

Reading to Children: Tops on My List!

Reading to the Children During Catholic Schools Week

Yesterday, I got to meet with 120 children at Saint Pius X Catholic School in Greensboro, NC. As part of the Catholic Schools Week festivities, I read my new book, Adventures of Faith, Hope, and Charity: Finding Patience to the Kindergartners, as well as the First and Second Graders.


Wjhy Penance? Why Friday? Why Fish?

I grew up near Lake Erie. Every so often our neighbor Joe brought my mother some fish he caught. She was grateful, except for the fact that she would have to clean and debone them. You might wonder why we Catholics eat fish on Lenten Fridays. It began when Christians gave up meat as a penance, a way to atone for sin. In those early days, meat was expensive, the food of the wealthy, and a treat enjoyed mostly on feast days. Therefore it would hurt to give it up. On the other hand, fish, which was cheap and abundant, made a good substitute for meat. (Meat comes from mammals, not fish.) Click to continue

2 Feb 2016

Effects of Sanctifying Grace

1: Adopted Children of God

Only Christ is begotten of the Father by natural generation. We are children of God through adoptive generation or filiation. We are “begotten of God” through Sanctifying Grace.
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him. (Romans 8.14-17)
We are in the family of the Trinity! This is more than being adopted into a human family: through sanctifying grace we share in a mysterious way in the Divine Nature.

Number 2: Heirs of God

Read more at helenkablog.weebly.com

Never Distrust His Mercy

As the Morning Rising: Mercy is a river

As the Morning Rising: Mercy is a river: Mercy is a river Mercy is a river That sows itself In splashes Providing water For the thirsty Who are terrified of t...

For Friends in Crisis

Today I take one last stroll through "Prayerful Thoughts of St. Ignatius of Loyola," this time searching for wisdom in the face of my friends' deep suffering.

©Rick Schroeppel/Getty Images

Please join me in prayer at Praying with Grace.

1 Feb 2016

The Heart… Front & Center For Life! (In Honor of American Heart Month)

It’s February! …That special time of year
dedicated to the heart
The month known for being “American Heart Month” ever since 1964 —
And that has Valentine’s Day at it’s very center!
Our call to take time out this month for matters of the heart, and for seeing the big picture for us, as individuals, and for our country as a whole...
Would you know the Signs of having a Heart Attack?...
LORD, that we may become centered once again for sake of body, mind, and soul.

This Tiny Japanese Beatle

The cycle was the same. Everytime I’d go into the bathroom, I’d see this little Japanese Beatle crawling out of the drain. I’d turn on the faucet, and I’d wash that little bug down the drain. After the 5th time, I gave up. That tiny bug won the right to not drown and be washed away. Persistence.

Read more at Prayerfully Yours

As the Morning Rising: When Mercy's Work Is Done

As the Morning Rising: When Mercy's Work Is Done: St Brigid used rushes to make a cross when giving instruction in the faith to a dying man and St Patrick used the shamrock when teaching...

The Meaning of Repentance, Sacrifice and Fasting in Lent

Lent is around the corner again. My Facebook feed has been full of discussions about Lent and articles with this, that or the other Lenten recommendation. It’s amazing how many ways there are to “live Lent”. And each way has both die-hard supporters who see the spiritual value of that particular path through Lent, and critics who see the potential pitfalls. For an example of what I mean, take a look at an article Simcha Fisher wrote a few years ago – I think she did a pretty good job of showing some common approaches to Lent and the very real benefits and potential drawbacks of each.
I don’t think there’s one “right” way, or even “best” way of living Lent. I believe there are as many ways of living Lent as there are people. Although we often approach Lent programmatically, I prefer to see it as a journey, or dialogue between the soul and God. A dialogue is hard to copy or recreate, because it depends largely on the heart and mind of the people involved. A dialogue can have a certain objective and topic, but where it leads is hard to determine in advance. Heart to heart encounters aren’t predetermined. They revolve around receptivity and response.
 Continue reading at Eyes On Heaven.

Who is my neighbor?

WOW! What a week!
The love of God blanketed our region like a 24 inch coating of snow! Oh wait- that was snow!
And we are still feeling all of that love even now! My child is having eternal “snow days”, and as I write this blog, will be home again tomorrow. Because of this, I have had a chance to sit by the fire and think about all that I learned last week at the Something Greater Interfaith Forum-”Exploring the Mercy of God”. I hope you find it inspiring as well.

new series on parenting: Beautiful Souls

Beautiful Souls: A Series on Parenting Pt. 1 ~ A Day in the Life

Holiness in the home is the source of much grace.  When we make an effort at holiness, such as attending Mass, participation in the sacraments, seeking out a fully Catholic education, teaching our children how to work and learn, preparing them for First Communion, and teaching our children about the fruit and gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as other tenets of the Scriptures, we will, in turn, receive much grace.

This blog series is written as meant to encourage converts and reverts alike to continue seeking out holiness in your home, with a special Parenting Concentrate added in for good measure! ;)

What are you doing for Lent? I'm getting fit!

What are you doing for Lent?  I'm getting fit!  Every Lent I look for a new experience and this year I decided to focus on my health.
I'm at the age where my rock star idols are dying in bulk.  Though I'm in good health now, as I approach my 64th birthday, I think about my immortality just a little bit more.
You can read the article and view the photo gallery at Being Catholic ... Really.

Politics and Religion Intersect!

Politics and Religion

It’s that time again folks, where politics and religion collide! Today marks the beginning of the 2016 Presidential electoral process. The great state of Iowa, the first in the nation, conducts their Iowa caucuses today, to determine who will get Iowa’s electoral votes for the Democratic and Republican parties. Now the race is really on!

Have you been watching the political news? The Republican candidates are cutting each other’s throats with trash-talking and degrading language. One candidate is famous for spouting racial, cultural and gender bias against the citizenry. The Democratic candidates are no holy saints either. They try to set themselves apart from each other with negative “policy” commentary that somehow spills over into personal insult.

What’s the kicker?

31 Jan 2016

An Enclosed Carmelite Missionary?

It was my mother who first taught me something so profound that I could never forget itShe said even though I may make my Morning Offering alone by the side of my bed or in bed I was not alone. Nor would I be alone even if I became a hermit and lived in the middle of some distant desert or a prisoner locked up in solitary confinement.  My prayer would always be made in with and through Jesus and so with all other living Christians wherever they were. She quoted the Our Father to press her point home. When we petition the Father we do not petition him for ourselves alone as the prayer makes abundantly clear – it is – ‘Give US this day our daily bread and forgive US our trespasses as WE forgive those who trespass against US and lead Us not into temptation, but deliver Us from evil Amen.’  

She taught me further that praying to the Father in Jesus also means praying with all those who have died and who are now alive again in him. That means with Mary and Joseph, with St Peter and St Paul, St Dominic and St Francis, with St Catherine of Siena, St Teresa of Avila and St Thérèse of Lisieux, and all the other great saints and mystics too.
   read on...........

As the Morning Rising: St Brigid, Pray For Us

As the Morning Rising: St Brigid, Pray For Us: St Patrick's Church Ringsend Dublin St Patrick, pray for us St Peter's Cathedral Belfast St Patrick&#39...

Purgatory, Unresolved Grief & Freedom in Christ

Unresolved grief is a relatively new concept in mental health circles. Secular doctors are beginning to realize it is the root cause of many emotional problems.  In Catholic terminology, unresolved grief occurs when we cling to those we who have died, refusing to surrender their souls to God or embrace our new relationship to them in the Mystical Body of Christ.
A Catholic psychiatrist facilitates a group of faith-filled men and women who are learning how to grieve and release their forgotten ancestors to God, as well as miscarried and aborted souls in their family background. The change in these people, some who have been in therapy for decades, is miraculous.

 Even ‘Normal’ Catholics Need therapy

Tragically, few Catholis discover the root of their spiritual malaise because often it means seeking psychological help

Astonished by Beauty

'There was a lush cloister garden,' I wrote several years ago, 'and it was separated from the streets by high walls.  My plan was to sit with Bible and journal and gather together scattered threads of thoughts and prayers.  The sounds of traffic around?  No problem.  I looked upon those as bits of minor background noise.  I would spend the day with God, in peace.  An ideal set up for serenity.

That is, until the band.

From a campus nearby, there were sudden sounds of an outdoor concert.  A LOUD outdoor concert.  I sat in the garden surrounded by trees, statues, birds, and THUD THUD THUD THUD THUD.  Thud thud thuds out of context, setting my nerves on end.  Suddenly, ordinary street sounds began to unsettle me.  How long had there been planes flying overhead, one after another, and so close-by?  The city seemed filled with sirens.  Voices shouted, just outside the enclosure walls. Oh dear.  However could I pray?...' (continue)


Last week I talked about why I don't try to be someone I'm not: more specifically, why I don't insist that God equip me with what's trending in charisms. Also spirit-filled administrators and loose cannons. (January 24, 2016)

That Sunday's second Scripture reading got me started: 1 Corinthians 12:12-30. Today's second reading, 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13, picks up on the next verse:
"Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts...."
(1 Corinthians 12:31)
I could stop there, and claim that everybody should start clamoring for "the greatest spiritual gifts."

I've talked about cherry picking before. It's a bad idea....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Song of Songs 30 Day Retreat: Epilogue

O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, 
in the covert of the cliff,
let me see your face,
let me hear your voice;
for your voice is sweet,

and your face is lovely. SS 2:14
Our God desires to see our face turned to Him in prayer. He longs to hear our voice lifted in heart-felt praise.

When we read and reflect on God's Word prayerfully, we provide an opportunity for the Holy Spirit to speak to us. We experience Jesus move from the background of our life to His rightful place in the foreground.

I would love you to continue to participate in these twice weekly Retreats. I write on Sundays, and a volunteer from a small team writes on Wednesdays. The Gospel is taken from the Liturgical Calendar.

You can also access the 10 Minute Daily Retreat via Facebook or by downloading the App.

The Retreats will pause during the month of February as I prepare for the launch of my first novel, 'Twice stolen.'

Thank you for your participation
 in the Song of Songs 30 Day Retreat.
God Bless,


As the Morning Rising: Snowdrops - The Footsteps of St Brigid, and Brigid...

As the Morning Rising: Snowdrops - The Footsteps of St Brigid, and Brigid...: http://www.kildare.ie/kildareheritage/?page_id=8 http://www.stbrigidsparishbelfast.org/ Snowdrops - The Footsteps of St...

30 Jan 2016

Meeting Opal in Heaven

I met Opal when she was 99 years old and in hospice. I was working as a volunteer in hospice with my dog Pixie. Opal and I struck a friendship up immediately. Opal could barely speak, but we communicated well. We laughed and talked.
We both had a love of Sacred Scripture, and she had a quilt covered with beautiful verses on her quilt. We had our own Bible Study using her quilt. We’d laugh so much out of the joy of knowing each other.
I told her that people would wonder if we were really having a Bible Study because we laughed so much. 

Read more at Prayerfully Yours

Song of Songs 30 Day Retreat: Day 30

Beloved Come away, my beloved,
and be like a gazelle
or like a young stag
on the spice-laden mountains. SS 8:14
Read on Blog: http://susannetimpani.blogspot.com.au/

*Please continue for one more day for a brief prologue.

29 Jan 2016

'Is not this Joseph's Son?' Sunday Reflections, 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

Elisha Refusing Gifts from Naaman, Pieter de Grebber, c.1630
Private collection [Web Gallery of Art]

Gospel Luke 4:21-30 (New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition, Canada)

Jesus began speaking in the synagogue, saying: “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?”
He said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Doctor, cure yourself!’ And you will say, ‘Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.’” And he said, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown. But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.”
When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.

I left home for the first time when I was 11, though only for a month. It was during the summer of 1954 and I spent the four weeks in an Irish-speaking part of County Galway in the west of Ireland, just beyond An Spidéal (Spiddal) on the northern shore of Galway Bay

The Pier, An Spidéal [Wikipedia]
Full post here.

11 Ways to Celebrate Your Marriage

Once in a while, when I’m bored, or curious (or need a good introduction to a blog post!), I browse through the “Days of the Year” website. I never cease to be amazed at the variety of celebrations on the calendar. In February, people will be celebrating Stuffed Mushroom Day, Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day, World Nutella Day, and Gumdrop Day. Mouth-watering, right? February also includes Thank Your Mailman Day, Take Your Child to the Library Day, and Extraterrestrial Culture Day. If I followed my taste buds here, I’d probably be advocating for World Nutella Day; if I succumbed to my inner geek, I’d go with Extraterrestrial Culture Day. But, given the proximity of Lent, the lack of known alien life, and my focus on marriage and family life both in my job and at home, I’ll rise above the tasty and bizarre, and focus your attention on February 14. This year, February 14 is both Valentine’s Day and World Marriage Day. The two focuses actually go pretty well together, so here are a few ideas to help you celebrate your marriage on February 14 (or throughout the year – some of these things take more than a day).

Continue reading at Eyes On Heaven.

Mental Prayer During Adoration

I see Him walking on the road ahead of me. There are millions of people following Him, trying to seize His attention. I keep running towards Him. I fall often, but, in spite of the crowds, I get up, seeking only Him. Before I come near Him, He turns and looks at me. He’s smiling at me with great love. He motions for me to join Him and walk with Him. We walk together on the road. As we walk, He looks at me, and His eyes are full of love, mercy, and peace. He smiles at me.

Read More at Prayerfully Yours

Sleep and Being Human

Humans sleep, which shouldn't be surprising. Just about all critters with brains sleep: mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish — even insects and nematodes experience something like sleep.

Poets and playwrights have written of sleep....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Song of Songs 30 Day Retreat: Day 29

O you who dwell in the gardens,
    my companions are listening for your voice;
    let me hear it. SS 8:13

Read on Blog:

Australasian Christian Writers: Introducing Susanne Timpani, Debut novelist.

Australasian Christian Writers: Introducing Susanne Timpani, Debut novelist.:

Jenny Blake here, I am happy to bring you an interview with  Susanne Timpani who is releasing her debut novel on Feb 12th In my home...

Books available