#TakeYourChapelWithYou – The Assumption – 200 Posts!

I’m starting a new hashtag – #takeyourchapelwithyou. This is something I’ve been thinking about on and off for some time, and I think I’ve got a full fledged idea ready for use. And, what better to post about on my 200th blog post than a brand new idea!

Most of us carry our smartphones around for some part of the day (how much of the day I leave between you, God and your phone) *wink wink*. Many of us also complain about how it would be so great if we could find more silence, or time for prayer, or just time in general. If only there was something that we had with us, almost all day long, something we looked at when we woke up, to keep track of the time, found recipes in, logged our gym time in, and use as an alarm clock before we go to bed. If only!!!

If only no longer, for I give you — da da da! The lock screen.

It’s simple, it’s unobtrusive and it’s ever present. You’re lock screen has so much potential for power. Everytime you turn on your phone you get a glimpse. If you happen to have a newer smartphone it’s possible that each time you simply pick up your phone you will be gifted with a moment with your lock screen.

The images people usually use on their lock screens are varied. Some are of their kids, some are of beautiful places or vacations, others are of silly memories or motivational quotes. Why don’t we take this ideal place and infuse it with the beauty of our faith? You can literally #takeyourchapelwithyou. Or the Vatican. Or the Nativity. Or Mary. Or the saints. Or Pope Francis. Or a sweeping sunset with a Scripture verse reminding you of God’s love. Or take your pick!

But where, where you may be asking do you find these inspirational images? Well, I’ve found a few websites that have them for free. I am also going to be growing a collection of FREE, already perfectly sized images that you can save and use and share. You can also make your own. Here are the websites I’ve found so far, if you know of more please share them in the comments or on Instagram or Twitter. Don’t forget our hashtag #takeyourchapelwithyou.

https://cassiepeasedesigns.com/portfolio/wallpapers/ – so many beautiful images here! Currently, this one is on my lock screen – I love icons

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https://blessedisshe.net/category/bis-wallpapers/ – Every week Blessed is She has a new wallpaper based on the Sunday readings. Some are simple and others are more elaborate. All are beautiful

https://lifeteen.com/wallpapers/ – a fair number of wallpapers here, from simple quotes to complex images.

Here are the ones that I’ve made so far. As I make them, I’ll also be adding them to the new page up above.

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MagnificatEvangelii GaudiumHoly Spirit WindowLet us love

What We Leave Behind

There is a brief story in the Acts of the Apostles about a woman named Tabitha (which is translated as Dorcas within the text). Luke, the author of Acts, recounts how Peter was visiting a community at Joppa and on that occasion one of their number, Tabitha, fell ill and died. When Luke introduces Tabitha, he paints a vivid picture of who she was with just a few words.

She was completely occupied with good deeds and almsgiving.

Completely occupied. I am so challenged by this phrase, especially given my penchant for bouncing from one thing to the next. Right now I’m re-reading the Harry Potter series, because in a few months Ben and I are going on a belated honeymoon (yay!) to London, among other places. The books have, if I may borrow the phrase, completely occupied my brain! I have the books open on the counter, I even made a little book weight out of duct tape and pennies so that I wouldn’t have to hassle with opening the book when I have a spare moment to read a few lines. The problem, of course, is self control. Reading beats dusting and dishes any day.

After Tabitha died, the other widows and members of the community bring to Peter the tunics and cloaks she had made for them while she was alive. This is even more indicative of the kind of person Tabitha was. She didn’t just think about good works, she did them. She poured her labors and efforts into those cloaks so much so that they became treasured possessions of those who remained.

Reflecting on Tabitha has been slowly unhooking my mind from those things that keep it from being fully occupied with Christ. Is reading for myself a good thing? Yes, of course! Is it a good thing if it becomes my excuse to neglect my chores or to be short tempered with my children because I didn’t get to finish my chapter.

It comes down to living more purposefully in the present moment. God has gifted me with this day, this moment. How am I going to best use it to bring Him praise and love? Unintentionally, the spot in the kitchen I chose to keep my book happens to be right below an icon of the Blessed Mother I have. I didn’t notice when I started keeping my books there, it was just a convenient spot. Looking back, I can hear God chuckling at me, knowing this process of growth I would be going through under the watchful eye of my little Mother, not realizing until later she was guiding me all along.

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Just as Tabitha gave all of herself to her community, Mary too was “completely occupied” with doing the will of God. Mary teaches us to “ponder these things in our hearts.” The day to day, the big and the small, the joy and the sorrow.

Now, when I go to read and find myself quickly pulled away by the needs of another, I look up at the icon and do my best to thank Mary for the opportunity to read, and the opportunity to serve. I hope that this model of a mother who strives to care for herself as well as others is one that sticks with my children. I want them to grow up recognizing that a life lived in service is a life well lived.Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com

The Crown and why Mary’s is Different

I’ve been watching Netflix’s The Crown lately. I enjoy historical dramas, and historical fiction, both TV and books. It has been so interesting to learn about Queen Elizabeth II and the people around her. Of course there have been inaccuracies, or dramatizations but all in all I have greatly enjoyed it.

I recently watched an episode where Elizabeth is struggling with a decision regarding her sister, Margaret. Margaret has had quite the time trying to find her way in the world and was struggling with politics, protocol and the Church in her efforts to get married. Ultimately, the decision falls to Elizabeth as head of the family and head of the Church of England. At a certain point, Elizabeth is having formal photographs taken in all her “get up” – full crown, blue sash etc. As she poses, the photographer recites this somewhat speech in the background to set the tone for her.

“All hail sage Lady, whom a grateful Isle hath blessed. Not moving, not breathing. Our very own goddess. Glorious Gloriana. Forgetting Elizabeth Windsor now. Now only Elizabeth Regina”

Elizabeth finds herself torn in two. She is both sister and queen. As a sister, she wants to help her sister in her quest for love. As queen, she is compelled to deny her sister because of Church tradition and political ramifications. Elizabeth, as a mere human, simply isn’t capable of holding both facets of her identity at the same time. She has to choose.

All this talk of queenship got me thinking about another queen, one far more powerful than Elizabeth could ever be. Our blessed Mother of course!

What is so incredible about Mary is that this scenario that Elizabeth faced – am I to be queen or sister – never happens with Mary. Never does she choose between being our Queen and our Mother. Let’s face it, there are probably a whole host of moments in each of our lives where a queen would have ruled one way but our mother would plead for our second chance.

When I watch Elizabeth as queen I see the distance it puts between her and her children. It’s not so hard to assume that Mary, Queen of Heaven is now more distant than simply, Mary, our Mother. But not so! Pope John Paul II said:

Thus far from creating distance between her and us, Mary’s glorious state brings about a continuous and caring closeness. She knows everything that happens in our life and supports us with maternal love in life’s trials.

Taken up into heavenly glory, Mary dedicates herself totally to the work of salvation in order to communicate to every living person the happiness granted to her. She is a Queen who gives all that she possesses, participating above all in the life and love of Christ.

Mary is solely focused on our salvation. Her whole purpose, both as queen and mother, is to draw us closer to her Son. Her Queenship isn’t about gathering power, but as JPII said, she “gives all that she possesses” so that we might see Jesus a little more clearly.

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com