Are You Noseblind?

I think by now we’ve all seen the Fabreze commercials about not being noseblind. It’s a unique term and the various scenarios in which persons find themselves “noseblind” are quite funny.  I hadn’t thought much about this until I met a new friend here in Texas who uses the flameless candle wax melts. Whenever I go to her home it always smells so good! It got me wondering what my home smells like to others when they walk in. What am I noseblind too?

Afraid of what I would find, I too have joined the flameless candle bandwagon, though the generic kinds so Ben can pre-approve sents 😉 Though I can’t say for sure what our home smelled like before – probably a combination of Italian spices, windex, diapers, dog and muddy shoes (who wants to come visit now?) – but I couldn’t smell it. I was noseblind. Now, however, I’m learning to pay closer attention to the whole issue.

With the wax melts, I have learned, is that you don’t want to keep them on all day. You really only need an hour or two in the morning and again in the evening. Also, after about a week or so, you will not notice the scent as much. This isn’t because the wax is losing its scent, it’s because you are going noseblind to it. Time to change up your scents!

How much of life goes the same way. Your workout routine is boring, your diet is unappetizing, your housework is stale, your prayer life is arid. It’s time to change up your scents, your routines. There is beauty in habit and structure, but sometimes we go noseblind, life-blind. This happens even in our prayer lives. Dare I say, especially in our prayer lives.

In the last 6 months, how many of the following have you done or tried to do?:

  • Sat in a different seat at Mass or attended Mass at a different time than your usual routine
  • Told someone you are Catholic/engaged in healthy dialogue with another individual about your faith (the individual may or may not be Catholic)
  • Learned a new prayer of the Church (like the Angelus, the Memorare, prayers for before or after Communion, etc.)
  • Memorized a piece of Scripture
  • Prayed as a family at a time other than before a meal
  • Said a novena or engaged in some form of intercessory prayer for a long period of time (anything longer than a single instance of prayer)
  • Made an intentional sacrifice for another person or cause
  • Gone to Confession
  • Learned about a new saint
  • Read a book that deepened your spiritual and/or theological knowledge

0-2: You could be noseblind in your faith. Your habits are well ingrained and could use some shaking up. If you feel like your faith is in a stagnant place or that God isn’t close, consider trying out one or more of the ideas above to stir things up and discover new fervor and focus.

3-5: Depending on who you are and what things you’ve tried, you may or may not be noseblind. This one is more subjective based on your personal habit patterns and faith life. Are the things you said “yes” to experiences that stretched your faith, or are they part of your typical lived faith? If you were stretching yourself, then you probably aren’t noseblind. If they are part of your normal, you might still reflect on whether your faith life needs some stirring up.

6-8: Wow, I would be pretty confident in saying you are not noseblind. You are actively engaging in your faith, rather than walking through the motions. There is always more we can do to deepen our relationship with God, but it would seem that you have found a variety of opportunities to see Him and grow in your love for Him.

9-10: Amazing! There is no way you are noseblind. You are engaging your faith at all levels, finding God in Scripture, Mass, community, the Sacraments, intellectual knowledge and spiritual knowledge. You must be consistently seeking new ways to grow in your faith and share it.

I hope you found this exercise interesting. I know it was enlightening for me to come up with these categories and answers and realize just how easy it is to become noseblind in our faith.

What other ideas do you have for keeping faith fresh and at the forefront of our daily thoughts and actions?

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com

 

Book Review: God is Not Fair

god-is-not-fairI almost didn’t review this book because I didn’t slow down long enough to read the whole title. God’s not fair? Of course He’s fair, who came up with such nonsense anyway? Then I re-read the title: God is Not Fair and Other Reasons for Gratitude. Well, ok, since I slowed down enough to read the whole title, I suppose I could slow down enough to recognize the wisdom behind that statement. Thank goodness I did!

This slim-ish book by Franciscan priest Daniel P. Horan has been a game-changer for me. I read the first page, still just the introduction, and before I got to the end I got up and got a pen so I could underline the following:

God’s lack of fairness by human standards should challenge us to consider now how capricious or malicious God is, but rather how inappropriate, unchristian, and inhumane we are. It seems to me that too much of our faith is governed by our own insecurities, self-interests, and fears.

I have underlined, taken notes, asked myself questions and written down challenges in this book in a way I haven’t done since formal schooling (and I loved it!). One of the many positives of Horan’s work is that he writes it as a collection of essays. Each “chapter” or essay is between 2-3 pages in length, some just a single page. Though short in length there is nothing lacking in content, depth or message.

Horan’s book is so refreshing because he is not afraid to proclaim boldly the ways we humans often completely miss the mark in order to show the reader the overabundance God showers on us. Consider the following in a chapter reflecting on Luke 6:36-38:

It can be easy to think about the Gospel in the abstract, but it is very difficult to live it in the particular…It is often for this reason that mercy is not our path; wrath is. Generosity is not our disposition; selfishness is. Forgiveness is not found in our attitude; anger is…Christ calls us to do something else, something far more difficult than minding our own business and watching our own backs. It is to love, forgive, heal, and be merciful in the way that God is already with us, even if we are so preoccupied with ourselves that we cannot recognize it (71-72).

So good, right! And yikes, I think I have some life evaluation to do.

No one is perfect, which is all the more reason why we should be grateful that God isn’t fair by our standards. This truly is the main message. God is Not Fair highlights the ways that we not only need God, we desperately need God’s overabundant love, mercy and forgiveness. It challenged me to slow down and consider my relationship with God and to see the areas that I project my opinions on Him, rather than allowing my attitudes and actions to be formed into His.

~ Happy New Year! If you pick one book to read this year, God is Not Fair should definitely be on the short list of candidates

 

God is on the Move….on Instagram!

Happy Mother’s Day! To all the moms out there, especially my own and my mother-in-law, thank you for your daily love, dedication and sacrifice to your children and families. For all the women who are hoping to be moms or struggling to be moms, find a friend, companion and dear mother in our Blessed Mother. With her, find the courage to say “Thy will be done.”

For those of you who follow me on Facebook you may have noticed a few new Instagram photos popping up. Yes, I have indeed decided to try out the pictorial world of Instagram.

I’ve been blogging for about a year now and am starting to feel that this is more than just a whim or fancy for me. I’m feeling called, challenged even, to write more and more often. Some of my writing projects are here, on the blog. Others are at CatholicMom.com. Still others are tucked away in my “Other Ideas” folder on my laptop that is increasingly filling up to the point where I should probably start using subfolders.

My greatest desire in all of these endeavors – blog, Facebook, Twitter, and now Instagram, is to allow God’s grace to shine through the words and pictures. I’m simply sharing where I find God and how I live my faith. Perhaps it will resonate with someone, perhaps it won’t, but that’s not really the point.

What is the point, you might ask? Great question! The answer I alluded to already. On the days that I’m on, I’m firing on all cylinders, I’ve got the right attitude and perspective, the point is – to give honor and glory to God who has inspired me and enabled me to share these simple thoughts and ideas. This is the goal I strive for, the heights I hope to attain.

On other days, days when I’m not feeling great, judgmental, gossipy, tired, whiny and worried, the goal is muddled. It’s easy to get lost in a desire to be noticed, to be seen, to “be somebody.” I get caught up in “wow, wouldn’t it be so great to write a book for my own fame and ego building” and “hey, hey, I have so many more followers on Twitter than a few months ago!”

But that shouldn’t be the reason why I am doing what I’m doing. It’s not the point of this blog and frankly, it shouldn’t be the point of my life. Though it’s another form of social media, I’m actually really enjoying using Instagram. It’s really helped me keep things in the proper perspective.

God is on the move...Instagram. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com #DailyGraces

Before, when I was using just Facebook and Twitter, I was starting to get caught up in word counts and how to phrase things to sound like I knew something about what I was talking about without carrying on and on. Sometimes it’s hard to express a feeling or emotion fully in just a few sentences without setting the stage, explaining the backstory or why this moment was so significant. Enter Instagram where truly, a picture speaks 1,000 words. I’ve been able to capture little moments of grace that are truly everyday ordinary things. Like cooking with my son, or putting together frozen breakfast sandwiches with my daughter for a family expecting a baby soon. They are moments of closeness with my husband or joy in accomplishing household chores.

I’ve got a song stuck in my head right now that I love, called “God is on the Move” by Seventh Time Down (which is a fantastic change to “Woody’s Roundup” from Toy Story 2 – yikes, I was desperate enough to get that out of my head I started singing other annoying children’s songs…completely ineffective.). In this song – God is on the Move – the band is singing about how every time someone chooses the good, chooses the light, chooses to share God’s Word, it’s another moment where God is on the move, He’s still on the move, and will always be on the “move in many mighty ways.”

Now this song speaks of some big moments, like when someone fully submits themselves to God’s will or takes a stand against injustice, which are incredible acts of faith. I would like to add a few that help me remember that God is on the move. They are smaller, more simple and more ordinary.

God is on the move when:

  • My son throws his arms around me for no reason and says “I love you Mommy”
  • My “baby” now 19 months gives kisses to all her baby dolls and pretends to be their mommy
  • My daughter dances with reckless abandon
  • I see new blossoms on our lemon tree
  • I wake up a few minutes before the kids and have time to appreciate the stillness of the morning
  • My husband gets home from a trip and cooks us his famous pancakes
  • The dishes are done!
  • So many more times and thanks to Instagram, I’ve found a new way to capture them.

I would love to see the moments when you know God is moving in your life. I’m using #DailyGraces on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and hope you will too. Together, we can see how God is working in all of our lives and give one another ideas for even more places we can recognize His presence.