Debating Abortion…200 Characters At A Time

So anyone who follows me on good ol’ Twitter can see that I occasionally will engage with abortion supporters in an effort to have a fruitful dialogue. I have learned to pick and choose my battles carefully, not bothering to really engage or tweet at someone who is clearly just trying to stoke the flames. I do try to see if there’s some logic behind someone’s response to the most divisive issue of our day.

With all of the heartbeat bills and restrictions being passed in various states lately, the conversations are dissolving into shouting matches, but I do find that there’s hope for a resolution to this. And I’ll be the first to admit that Twitter is not the best place to have this debate but honestly, sometimes you can really have great conversations in 200 characters or less. (For those who aren’t familiar with Twitter, you only have about 240 characters to make your point before you have to keep replying. It’s not like a comment box on Facebook or an email where the characters are limitless).

What follows is NOT one of the fruitful dialogues, unfortunately. But what I just wanted to give readers was a glimpse into what, as far as I can tell, rational, sane people are saying about abortion. In case you didn’t know, the days of “safe, legal, and rare” are LONG GONE. Abortion is now being touted as on demand, plentiful and good.

So in this thread, I responded to a young woman named Lynne (I blocked out her screen name even though her profile is public) who said something about “children should only be born if they are wanted.” Notice how she never uses the word “mother” or “female” or “woman” when referring to pregnancy. This is not by accident. Pro-aborts and the left carefully construct their terms so they never acknowledge the sexual difference. Thus, they use the phrase “pregnant person.”

The sexual difference is being erased, folks!

Anyways, I responded with a question:

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Lynne had responded that she didn’t believe my last sentence was truthful about men not leaving before abortion and contraception came on the scene. I then tried to help her understand that contraception turns women into objects for use because you are erasing your fertility. I admit I could have done a better job explaining this but the fact remains, that before the Pill, if you had an affair, you took a risk that your indiscretion would be found out if the woman became pregnant.  With the Pill, people could have consequence-free sex, which led to an increase in infidelity and divorce. And when birth control fails, as it frequently does, it leads to an unplanned pregnancy, which leads to – duh – abortion.

Lynne didn’t respond to this and just called me a crazy person because I didn’t believe in contraception and in her mind, “contraception prevents abortions.” I then sent her this study from the pro-abortion research arm of Planned Parenthood, Guttmacher, that proves that contraception does not prevent abortions as much as one is led to believe. She didn’t reply. Pesky facts. 😉

In a separate thread Lynne had said that babies shouldn’t be born unless they can be “properly taken care of.”  She responds by saying she is a social worker so she considers herself an expert in this.

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Her comment about people believing the lie that “abortion is awful” struck me in particular. So I decided to define what an abortion is to her. To which Lynn retweeted my definition and took it upon herself to “shout her abortion.”

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I was going to exit the conversation at this point, but the fact that she is trying to promote abortion as being “great” needed a response:

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Thus ended our Twitter “conversation.”

This is just one encounter and no, I don’t sit there for hours wasting time “tweeting” to people who clearly are not going change their mind. It’s really not about that. It’s about planting a seed here and there. Because if she truly is post-abortive (yes, people do LIE on social media so it’s entirely possible she tweeted “Abortion is great” to get a reaction), she is in need of mercy and healing, which is why I sent her the Project Rachel Twitter handle. She also deserves to be told the truth.

And just look at her sad response about her parents “shouldn’t have been able to reproduce.” She isn’t the first pro-abortion person to say something along those lines. I wanted to be able to at least plant a seed that plenty of women regret their abortions. But, as you can see, she called those testimonials “bull****.”

Sadly, the abortion debate is only getting more and more volatile. This little twitter conversation between myself and Lynne is extremely TAME compared to the absolute hatred and evil coming out of people’s mouths (or keyboards in this case).

Case in point: I came close to tears watching this encounter at a pro-abortion rally in D.C. The woman screaming is in desperate need of healing. You can see it and hear it in her voice as she lashes out at the young woman holding a pro-life sign in front of her. My heart breaks for her:

Abortion supporters lash out at pro-lifers at #StopTheBans protests

The final video in that article is the one that truly breaks my heart. Her reaction to just scream vulgarity is NOT A NORMAL response. I want to find this woman and hug her. She is in so much pain. But she’s clearly not in a place to hear the truth.

So now for some good news.

An actress on a show I used to watch called “The Good Place” recently tweeted about how great her abortion was. She then proceeded to give her opinion on foster homes and how “cruel” that situation is. Well, that didn’t go over too well with the adoption/adoptee’s on Twitter who responded with their inspiring stories of choosing life:

The people whose lives you suggest aren’t worth living? They can hear you.

And finally, a really great thread initiated by a supporter of abortion.

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She was clearly expecting crickets to her tweet, but was ratio’d* badly as you can see. *Ratio’d means the replies, in this case 13,500, far outnumbered the amount of Retweets, in this case 1,500.

The common misconception among pro-abortionists is that anyone who is pro-life is “really only pro-birth. Once the baby is born they don’t care!” This is the typical go-to response from pro-abortion people. I’ve gotten it several times. But what this woman didn’t expect were the onslaught of responses from pro-lifers, which you can read about in this article:

Pro-lifers really do care about single moms, and it shows

So this is just a little peek into Twitter and the abortion debate today. As volatile and divisive as it is getting out there, I remain very hopeful that Roe is going to be overturned and the decision goes back to the states. While making abortion illegal will not stop it from happening, the day is coming, and I believe it’s coming very soon, when abortion will be unthinkable.

Pray for Lynne, pray for that woman in the video, pray for scales to fall off the eyes of all people who have been duped into believing the lie that abortion is good.

Ask the Lord to forgive them. They know not what they do.

Note: I am compiling a list of pro-life resources, books and articles on the facts of abortion for my blog. In the meantime, both websites listed above Live Action and Secular Pro Life are great starting points.

Your Body Tells a Story

A wise person once said:

You Don’t Have a Body. You Are a Body.

If I AM a body and it is not something I have, then why or how could I possibly consider changing it?

I think too often we focus on the negatives of our bodies. “We hate our own bodiliness,” was also a statement I’ve been hearing these past few months.

I can’t help but agree.  I talk to people on both ends of the spectrum when it comes to what to do with “this body.”

Either:

We hate our body and we do everything possible to hide it, to lie about it, to use it, and abuse it in an effort to make it appear acceptable, perhaps even attractive according to outside influences or societal standards. This becomes an obsession to the point that we become envious of anyone who has the body that we desire so much. This also could lead to despair as we try over and over to attain this “perfect body” with little to show for it. We don’t value our bodies at all and think ourselves unworthy.

Or:

We love our body so much that we become vain to the point of over exposure. We boast and brag and show off and become completely obsessed with maintaining this “perfect” physique. A narcissistic attitude takes over. We believe our body is something to be worshiped by those who hate their own bodies. We don’t understand how some people just don’t “get with it” and aren’t in love with fitness and health like we are.

But perhaps the overwhelming majority are those in the middle:

These folks have a love/hate relationship with their body. They struggle just like everyone else with maintaining their weight but they don’t obsess over it. They “watch” their diet but they don’t write down what they eat and they most certainly don’t count calories. They like what they see in the mirror but they don’t love it. There’s always room for improvement but they probably only get to the gym once or twice a month.

 

If there’s one thing all of these people have in common, it’s that they see their bodies as Objects. Things. Possessions.

But what if you looked at your body as a way to tell a story. How?

Simple: How you live your life through your body tells your story.

You can either tell a good, honest story, or a story of lies and deception.

Some examples:

I’m a smoker and I go to my doctor for a checkup. The doctor tells me that I’m showing all the signs of lung cancer and that I had better cut back or quit on the smoking if I want to live longer. Meanwhile, let’s pretend this is the 50’s and he lights up a cigarette after telling me this. That would be lying with his body.

Or:

I go to a used car salesmen to try and find a good deal. He sells me this great looking car, I take it for a test drive, the price is right and I drive off the lot but not before he shakes my hand and tells me I made a great decision. Meanwhile, he goes back to his desk and laughs to himself because he knows he just sold me a lemon. By shaking my hand and sincerely telling me I made a great purchase, he lied with is body, as well as his words.

Or:

In the gym, let’s say I take some video demonstrating an exercise or I take a few pictures to put up on my website. When someone asks me how I manage to be so strong or in such great shape, I tell them “Hard work!” but in the meantime, I’m taking some performance enhancing drugs or steroids. I would be lying with my body.

So how do we use our body to tell the truth?

I think the most obvious example, for me personally, is posting my progress pictures. (I know I’m in need of posting updated ones). But you’ll always notice I never even add so much as a filter to the pictures. I let it all hang out, I don’t do any re-touching. I merely admit that I get a spray tan to cover up some minor “flaws” that I’m honest about.

Other ways we tell lies and how to tell the truth:

You see someone at the gym using a piece of equipment completely incorrectly to the point that they are probably going to injure themselves or someone else. Lying with our bodies would be to say nothing and walk away knowing full well we know how to help them. (I am guilty of this).  Telling the truth would obviously going over and explaining what to do to that person so they won’t hurt themselves again.

(I avoid confrontation because I’m intimidated by people sometimes. If I took my own advice, I would see that I don’t need to be afraid to let someone know they are using their bodies to HARM or cause an injury.)

Or:

We see some good looking person at the gym and we want to show off a little bit. So we grab a set of heavier dumbbells (Men do this ALL the time, I am convinced) and lift just a little heavier than we normally do. We know we cannot and shouldn’t be lifting this heavy but we really want to catch someone’s attention. That’s lying with your body. Even if you manage to get a few reps out, you’re deceiving others by making it appear that you are stronger than you are.  Don’t be a hero Johnny. Stick to your usual weights.

With diet and food this is much easier to slip up and lie. How?

Let’s say you’re on a diet. Let’s say you actually signed up for sessions with a personal trainer. And let’s say you know that since your trainer/friends can’t see you every minute of the day, you take it upon yourself to sneak a few “cheats” in here and there. After all, no one will know! But you made a commitment to be true to yourself. To be true to your body and try to stick to this diet or this workout plan. And you know full well that “cheating,” even once in a while, is going to make your trainer look bad, it’s going to make you feel worse and it’s and not going to help your health. This is one of the more common “lies” we tell with our bodies. When asked, “Did you indulge this weekend at all?” and we answer, “Of course not! I was “good!” we lie right to our own faces/trainer/people who care about us and want us to succeed.  When it comes time to step on the scale, you can’t act surprised when it’s not where it should be.

 

Start to think of your body as more than just this “thing” you have to deal with and work at and drag around. It’s who you are.

You are telling a story every minute of the day with your body.

What kind of story are you telling and what would you want people to remember about it?

 

 

Social Media Overload: How to Manage Your Social Media Addiction

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With the latest social media addiction called Periscope, I have already seen the downside of how social media can cause some negative habits creep into my life, personally. I actually did “scope” about it on Monday. Oh the irony! But people said it helped them. And even just talking about it helped me immediately. So let me give you some pointers.

A quick word about Periscope: It’s basically Twitter with video but you have more than 140 characters to deliver your message. Think YouTube video with live comments. Or like a Google+ Hangout but only one person’s face is visible. Some say Persicope won’t last or that it’s not THAT big of a deal but I have heard differently. I can see firsthand how this will change the way we watch TV actually. Some TV shows, like home improvement and makeover shows, are starting to broadcast from Periscope. Yeah the video quality isn’t as great as your HD TV, but it’s LIVE. And we love LIVE content. It’s like we are right there with them. And we can TALK BACK to our “TV” this way! Very interactive and fun…and, yes, addictive.

But here are some things I’ve learned from just being a “Scopeaholic” after one week. And these tips can be applied to FB and Twitter as well.

1. Be selective with your following/friends. Good old Facebook gave us the gift of “unfriending” people but they also added that lovely feature, “Unfollow” and “Hide from timeline.” Ahhhhh, relief. We no longer have to see that friend of ours vent about the latest candidate running for office or Aunt Sally posting pictures of her latest crocheting project (Isn’t that what pinterest is for anyways?) or look at all our high school friends become engaged/married/pregnant/divorced. Best of all, we can unfollow that “guy who always posts every detail of his life.”  With Twitter, you can “Mute” people and “turn off Retweets.” That’s one of my favorite features. Some of my tweeps just RT all day and it really clogs up my timeline making it hard for me to seek out those that I really want to see.

As for Periscope, the big thing is “Sharing.” We are constantly bombarded with requests from our followers to “Watch this scope!” when the last thing we want to do is get back on our phone and sit through a boring broadcast just because the broadcaster told you to share it! Unfortunately, the only answer to this problem on Periscope is to turn off notifications all together. But I found the next best thing which brings me to point #2.

2. The Do Not Disturb Button is your friend. I don’t know what Android users have but iOS devices have this lovely feature that puts your phone essentially asleep. YAY! No more sound effects altering us that someone is “scoping.” Or someone replied to one of our status updates or some replied to one of our tweets. Relief! The downside is that now you won’t know when anyone calls or texts you until you check your phone. Bummer.

3. Schedule Your Social Media time. Put it in the calendar if you must. For someone like me who depends on a lot of the internet to drive my business and get me some new clients, I can’t afford to just deactivate all my accounts. One of the perks of cross-pollenating on all major social media networks is that I am highly accessible. So I have learned to schedule my scoping time. I also have my Tweets from my blog match up with my Facebook Personal Trainer page so no worries on having to double up on that. My “personal” Facebook page is a whole other story. It’s touch to schedule something like Facebook when that’s where I get a lot of my news. But, I resolved this problem by subscribing to The Skimm. They send out an early morning newsletter daily that literally is just the headlines and a few sentences so you can sound intelligent when someone asks you “Whats the latest news with Yemen?”

5. Stop Getting Sidetracked. I was noticing that during my short time of being addicted, that I neglected my usual morning routine. I had it down pat for practically 2 years and then this darn thing came along and I was totally thrown off my game! I have a usual routine that consists of reading the Daily Scripture Readings (oh there I go talking about my faith again, sorry) and thanking God for a list of things I’m grateful for and then I end with a prayer from St. Thomas Aquinas. Well…I forgot to do these things for just 2 days in a row and boy was I a mess. It would be like if you had gotten on a fitness kick for 2 years and then one day you woke up and the gym you used to go to every morning was replaced with a diner that served all your favorite foods. “Oh…well I can find another gym. Everyone needs to eat breakfast and it’s not so bad! Oh yummy, is that French toast?”

And how many of us check our phones first thing in the morning? How awful is that? Or what about the radio station we put on when we get in our car? The songs you listen to can definitely have an effect on your mood: “Damnit if I hear Sam Smith whine one more time about Staying with Me I’m gonna puke!”

What about if we check social media first thing in the morning? Ugh. Talk about setting the tone for the day, yikes! Don’t let what someone posted on FB interfere in your life and ruin your day. Don’t let a tweet you saw this morning bring you down. Of course, checking your phone first thing in the morning can also set your mood in a good way if you read or hear something uplifting. It all goes back to rule #1: Be careful who you follow.

Sidenote: I ended up creating a secondary Twitter account where I only follow positive tweeters. I check that more often and my day is immediately brightened. And no I will not reveal the name of my screen name. My little secret happy world, get your own. 😉

4. Is this a waste of your data? Before you comment, tweet, post, or scope, ask yourself if this is going to be a good use of your time. Pretty sad it has come to this right? But I always think, “Would this be something I would be able to say to someone’s face?” If you don’t have the guts to post something because you think it will offend someone or cause a conflict, and you’re legit concerned you could get fired or get reprimanded for it, by all means don’t post it.  But if you’re posting or sharing something to generate a discussion, I’m all for it! Educate, spread positivity, but try and keep it brief. Time is something we don’t get back and you don’t want to waste it by being on an electronic device all day.

Scope Safely, Tweet Wisely and Post Smart Everyone!

-Michelle

Periscope – Get On Board!

Have you heard of Persicope? If you’re on Twitter, you probably have by now. Sounds like Twitter created this video app that allows you to “broadcast” from your phone whatever you want. Then your followers can view what you’re recording and add comments/ask you questions.

Think Chat Room meets YouTube is probably the best way to describe this.

What are people broadcasting? Well, it depends on who you’re following. Just as on Facebook or Twitter, people post whatever interests them, their opinions, photos of their kids/dogs, etc., You have the option of unfollowing or “hiding” them from your feed. Persicope is the same way. Currently I follow a variety of people like comedian Jim Gaffigan, personal trainer and fitness model Gregg Avedon, and then a slew of people that I found through just searching “Who to follow.”

So far, I’ve watched “scopes” (broadcasts) of everything from a Memorial Day Parade just a few towns over from me, to Jim Gaffigan hosting a party, to a woman in Montreal showing us a canal built in 1812, to a man in Melbourne Australia discussing his preworkout routine, to a woman taking a hike in the mountains of California, to Chris Hardwick (from The Talking Dead) show us a concert in Vienna benefitting HIV/AIDS research.

As you can see, the possibilities are plentiful for whatever you wish to broadcast. And if no one is awake when you decide to broadcast, if they follow you, they can watch what you “scoped” for up to 24 hours. Right now I’m watching a woman in England walk around a park and show us some castles.  Yesterday I watched a man take a trip somewhere in Boston Massachusetts in his plane.

This got me thinking: What can I scope? What would people care to see from a personal trainer? Would I limit it to just fitness or could I scope what’s happening around town? If it’s just fitness, what do people want to HEAR and SEE as opposed to just READ? I posed the question to a woman who has just started scoping and she did a scope specifically addressing my question which was super nice. She suggested things like meal prep tips, a Q & A on health and fitness in general, an actual WORKOUT that people can do along with me, simple cooking tips, etc.

With that being said…I’m developing some ideas on how to use this newest app. We all know in this day and age, these apps come and go sometimes. What is popular one day could be obsolete the next. So in a year I could be saying, “Remember that time I thought Periscope was the coolest things since sliced bread?!” 🙂

I really hope not. If this takes off, I think it has a ton of potential to connect people in a more meaningful way.

If you care to follow me, my screen name is the same as my Twitter: @FromFitToFigure.

Stay tuned….literally!

The Kids are NOT OK

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“Deep breath. Don’t judge. You don’t know her. She’s not a client. You have no right to tell someone what to post online. You don’t have kids. You couldn’t possibly know the story behind this picture, if it’s fake or real. Don’t judge. Don’t judge. It’s just a kid…”

These are the thoughts going on right now in my mind. I don’t know who posted this. I believe it IS real and not photoshopped from the information I gathered from the original poster of this. *Updated to include that yes it IS real and it was posted by a father who promotes Herbalife. I saw pictures of his daughter and she indeed looks very fit.*

But, the fact that it was shared publicly makes me think I have the right to comment on it, right? Do I have the right to comment? Do any of us? I’m treading carefully here. This is no one I know personally. But it’s promoting a product I have no respect for. It’s using a child to do so and that makes me uncomfortable. When a regular person posts a photo like this on social media, I seriously question them. Do I have the right to do that? It’s on the internet. You put a picture of your child on the internet. It’s here forever, parent! I must first ask, okay WHY? She wanted to boast about her child’s transformation.

This child’s body transformation. And she’s a little girl. A little girl!!! I should be happy for her right?!? Right?! But why does a picture like this make me sick to my stomach?

Here are my issues, and I’m trying very hard not to judge this person. I just feel like a I need to voice my concerns.

  • When you post a picture like this of your small young child, who is your audience? Clearly parents of other children who might need to lose weight? Okay. I can sort of see that.
  • Why is she wearing a bikini in the first photo and then showing off her abs in the after? What message does that send to kids? Nevermind the parents for a second here…the kids. The young girls who look at this. I don’t know any 6 or 7 year old girls so I can’t ask them. Maybe they would be unphased. Maybe they would say “So what?!” But what if a young girl or boy looks at this and thinks, “My belly looks more like that picture on the left. Is that bad?”
  • I’m trying to overlook that this is promoting a product. A product I have ZERO respect for as a company. Spare me the nutritional value in Herbalife products. I do not care. It’s a pyramid scheme. But let’s say it’s NOT a pyramid scheme. Let’s say it’s just a super healthy smoothie. Heck, let’s take it a step further and take Herbalife out of it. Pretend the parent replaces “Herbalife” with “healthy fruits and vegetables and a balanced diet.” Would that change my opinion? Actually no, honestly. I have a problem with the PICTURE itself.
  • Why? I want to know why you feel the need to post your child’s transformation. Why are you using her like this? What happens if she loses that six pack Mom, Dad? Because, as we know as adults, to be that lean forever is a pipe dream. I don’t care if this girl turns out to be a gymnast or a dancer or star athlete. She will not look like that forever. How will she deal with that knowing you boasted about how great she looks now???

I want to cry for this little girl and I don’t even know her.

All I can say is please, to whoever this mother is, please don’t do this again. Please let Zoey go on doing whatever it is that she’s doing and please don’t boast. Be proud of her and tell her. But don’t tell the whole world (that my not have been your intention, maybe you just wanted to share this with a few friends on Facebook and it sparked a firestorm) but please understand that Social media spreads like wildfire.  I’m sure you didn’t intend to harm her or instigate anything with this picture. You’re just sharing. I get that, trust me I get it.

But please, everyone, think before you share pictures of your child. Body image issues and childhood obesity are serious concerns. And young people are so impressionable. We have to be realistic when it comes to setting expectations for our children and their health and their abilities. Obtaining a six pack is a pipe dream for the AVERAGE ADULT. If children think it’s EASY to accomplish this by just drinking shakes, they will be very disappointed when they realize it is not that simple.

And what kind of picture does that paint?

 

The Best Quotes About Lent

The practice of Lent

Matthew 6:1 Jesus said, “Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.”

Pope Benedict XVI: “Lent is like a long ‘retreat’ during which we can turn back into ourselves and listen to the voice of God, in order to defeat the temptations of the Evil One. It is a period of spiritual ‘combat’ which we must experience alongside Jesus, not with pride and presumption, but using the arms of faith: prayer, listening to the word of God and penance. In this way we will be able to celebrate Easter in truth, ready to renew the promises of our Baptism.”

Mother Teresa: “As Lent is the time for greater love, listen to Jesus’ thirst…’Repent and believe’ Jesus tells us. What are we to repent? Our indifference, our hardness of heart. What are we to believe? Jesus thirsts even now, in your heart and in the poor — He knows your weakness. He wants only your love, wants only the chance to love you.”

Pope Francis: “Live your Lent as if there is no Easter.”

“No act of virtue can be great if it is not followed by advantage for others. So, no matter how much time you spend fasting, no matter how much you sleep on a hard floor and eat ashes and sigh continually, if you do no good to others, you do nothing great.” – John Chrysostom

Fr. Robert Barron: “Jesus, having resisted these temptations from the devil in the desert for 40 days, is now ready to make God the center of His life. This, too, is our purpose during Lent.”

Prayer:

Matthew: 6: 5-6 “And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

Martin Luther: “To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.”

Paul E. Billheimer: “Satan does not care how many people read about prayer if only he can keep them from praying.

Various Priests and Deacons: “Pray in your car, it’s the perfect setting. You’re alone, you’re forced to slow down when you’re stuck in traffic. Begin a conversation with God right there.”

St John Damascene: “Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God.”

Fasting:

Matthew 6:16 “And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Pope Francis suggests we fast from indifference to others:  “Indifference to our neighbor and to God also represents a real temptation for us Christians. Each year during Lent we need to hear once more the voice of the prophets who cry out and trouble our conscience.”

Fr. Robert Barron: “The pleasures of the body sometimes dominate and take over – so we fast from them purposely so as to allow the deeper hungers to arise and emerge.”

John Piper, Author of A Hunger For God: “Christian fasting, at its root, is the hunger of a homesickness for God.”

Almsgiving:

Matthew 6: 2-4 “So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

Father Robert Barron: We all have too many material things. Here are 3 ways you can express almsgiving:

  • When you receive something in the mail and it is requesting money, donate to that cause.
  • If you see a homeless person who asks you for money, give them something (does not have to be money).
  • When you want to buy something, take a look at what you would consider your first choice. Then buy the model or the version just beneath it/less expensive than your top choice. Use the money that’s the difference between those two and give it to the poor.

Mike Aquilina – Catholic Education Resource Center: Almsgiving is a form of prayer because it is “giving to God” — and not mere philanthropy. It is a form of fasting because it demands sacrificial giving — not just giving something, but giving up something, giving till it hurts.

Book of Tobit 12:8-9: “Prayer and fasting are good, but better than either is almsgiving accompanied by righteousness … It is better to give alms than to store up gold; for almsgiving saves one from death and expiates every sin. Those who regularly give alms shall enjoy a full life.”

Fit in Your Faith Today (and this Lenten Season): Practice the 3 aspects of Lent – Perhaps you take just one a day. Which one do you need the most help with? Do you find that you aren’t giving to the poor enough when it’s NOT Lent? Work on how you can give to those less fortunate, even if it’s not monetarily.

Do you go about your day skipping prayers and forgetting to give thanks to God? Arise every morning with a short prayer of thanksgiving.

What do you have too much of that you can fast from this Lent? It could be food, it could be social media, or it could be a certain bad behavior/habit you have been meaning to cease.

Is 46 days too much to ask to abstain and use that time/energy/money on something for your community of fellow Christians? Start your Lent off on the right foot and start a calendar or write down in a journal how and what you’re going to accomplish this Lent. At Easter, note how closer you have come to putting God first in your life.

Pray for Those Who Won’t, Those Who Can’t and Those Who Don’t

Spend time praying for 10 things that don’t benefit you. – Dale Partridge

Dale Partridge of The Daily Positive posted this status update on his Facebook page the other day.

I shared it on my own Facebook page with the subtitle  – “A great 2015 resolution!”

Quite the challenge for all of us. Not only to pray for others but to pray for things that will aren’t necessarily going to benefit us. Of course, any type of prayer is always good for us but Dale’s point was for us to see that prayer doesn’t always have to be all about us. It’s quite selfish to always pray for circumstances to benefit ourselves, although that’s what prayer is sometimes – a request for help.

But I think Dale’s point was to get us to stop thinking of ourselves for more than a few minutes a day. Think of others. Think about ways to help someone else for a change.

I admit it was challenging for me to think of 10 different things to pray for that don’t involve me. At first, the first few were easy to write down and pray (a friend of a friend who is ill, a family member looking for a job, a parishioner who recently had surgery) but then I really had to stop and think about more people and events that did not directly affect me. Of course there are always people out there who need our prayers. But do we really stop and think about them? These complete strangers?  These unknowns?

I thought of 3 categories of the people who need prayers:

Those that don’t pray: Non-believers, or just anyone who makes it a point to tell you that they just don’t pray. They might even believe in God and maybe go to church regularly. But, these people just don’t pray. Maybe it’s just not their thing. Maybe they don’t think prayer works.

Those who won’t pray: The people who refuse to acknowledge a higher power. The ones who perhaps believed in something or someone at one point but have left the church or had a bad experience with faith. Maybe they think God hurt them in the past.

Those who can’t pray: Those who are physically or mentally unable to pray; someone with a debilitating disease or condition who can’t speak or communicate in any way; those who have passed on (yes they need our prayers too!).

So those are the people and their unfortunate circumstances that I’m praying for currently. And of course, this challenge isn’t just a one-and-done type of endeavor. I plan on trying to do this everyday. Let this be a challenge for all of us in this new year. To give and to think about others. To cease our selfish ways for a moment and pray for others.

Fit in Your Faith Today: Challenge yourself and pray for 10 things that don’t directly benefit you. Write them down and pray for all 10 things every day for a week. Then start a new list the following week and continue for the whole year. What a tremendous accomplishment and what an amazing number of answered prayers to be thankful for at the end of one year.