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He is always present. Working for our good.

He is always present. Working for our good.

Psalm 56:3

Psalm 56:3

when seminarians visit your parish



We are deeply saddened to learn that TEDxMidAtlantic speaker Sam Berns passed away Friday night at age 17. Sam had progeria, a rare rapid aging disease that affects approximately one out of four to eight million children.

Above, moments from Sam’s TEDxMidAtlantic talk, in which he shares his advice for living happily, no matter the challenges. Sam’s talk displays his great courage, infectious positivity, and wisdom beyond his years. He will be missed.

Watch the whole talk here»

Watch his inspiring Tedx talk!


So I’m getting married.  I know this is old news for some of you, but for those of you who haven’t heard, this is what happened:

About four weeks ago, some friends of mine who live down in Orange County invited me to meet up with them at Disneyland for the day, which I’m always glad to do.  So I went, expecting nothing out of the ordinary.  As soon as we got to the Park, one of them asked if we could go check out the Animation building in California Adventure.  I was happy to oblige.  That’s one of my favorite places.  Inside, there are these huge projector screens all along the walls in this big oval-shaped room.  The screens show concept art, storyboards, screenshots, and clips from various Disney movies, and as each movie is featured, the music from that film plays.  But as soon as we entered, I started to miss Stu (my boyfriend) like crazy.  He and I had come here together when he was helping me move to LA back in January.  We spent the whole day at Disneyland, and this is where we came when we got tired, to just sit and enjoy one another’s company and soak in the magical atmosphere.  But once that day was over, Stu had to go back home to Salt Lake City.  We had been continuing our relationship long-distance ever since.  

However, shortly after I entered the Animation building with my friends a few weeks ago, the giant screens on the walls filled with balloons and the music from Pixar’s Up started to play. That made me miss Stu even more… Suddenly, one of the cast members working there walked up to me and said, “Hey, do you like Up?  We have this for you,” and handed me this incredible replica of the Adventure Book from the movie.  It had a red ribbon pinned to it with the grape soda bottle-cap pin from the movie and written on the ribbon was my name.  Confused, I took the book, opened it, and started to read.  I realized almost immediately that it was from Stu and that he had in fact made this book himself.  It was filled with pictures and stories of all the “adventures” we have had throughout our relationship.  There was a section of things we have done as well as a section for “stuff we’re going to do.”  I was dumbfounded.  I was racking my brain trying to think of how on earth he had gotten this here.  I had talked to him just the night before and he had told me in detail about how he had to work late back in Salt Lake…

Near the end of the book, it read, “Of all the places I want to take you, there’s one that stands out…” followed by a picture of the Mormon Temple (where we had talked about getting married).  Then on the final page he had written, “So that leaves one question… So maybe you should turn around now.”  

My heart leapt and I spun around, hardly able to believe what was happening. And as I turned, the lights dimmed and the projected walls suddenly filled with the lanterns from Tangled.  ”I See the Light” began to play.  And there was Stu, right behind me, down on one knee with a ring box in his hands.  He asked me to marry him.  Needless to say, I said yes.  Applause broke out as Stu slipped the ring on my finger.  I had never felt so wonderfully surprised.  For the rest of the day, I felt like I was in a dream.  I just couldn’t believe he was actually there!

It turns out he had secretly flown into LA during the night and organized this whole scheme with my friends from Orange County.  It was absolutely the most incredible, perfectly-tailored-to-me proposal I ever could have asked for.  It was better than anything I could have imagined. 

I am so excited to marry this guy.  He is without a doubt the best man I have ever known and he is so perfect for me in ways I never thought I’d find.  Next weekend, he’ll be moving out here to LA so that we can finally be together permanently and I can continue to live my dream working for Disney.  The long-distance chapter of our relationship will finally be over, and we’ll never have to live apart again.

And if you were to ask me
After all that we’ve been through
“Still believe in magic?”

Well yes, I do.

Oh yes, I do.

Of course I do.

Image source and story:

Can I live here, please?

(via brittanylisset)

"Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps; for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are, and what they ought to be."

- ― William Hazlitt (via psych-quotes)

(via thedelightedpeople)

"While I know myself as a creation of God, I am also obligated to realize and remember that everyone else and everything else are also God’s creation."

- Maya Angelou (via kvtes)

(via thedelightedpeople)

"Please hear me, Girl: The world has enough women who know how to do their hair. It needs women who know how to do hard and holy things."

- Ann Voskamp (via godmoves)

(via asideofirreverence) | The One Most Important Quality To Look For In A Spouse


There are so many lists of tips and tricks for dating, and so many opinions on what to look for in a spouse that I decided to boil everything down to one very simple idea. This comes after my many, many, um, months of living the married vocation, so it is clearly based on deep wisdom and experience. Actually it is based on philosophy, theology, and the hundreds of combined years of patients’ lives that have been shared with me in the therapy office, but my (18 months) of married life seem to be confirming my thoughts here so far.

There is no way to convey how significant the shift is from what is important before getting married to what becomes important after getting married. The fact is that living a single life is so dramatically different because of its independence. Even if you feel like you spend ALL your time with other people, if you are single, you are living a life that is radically more independent than any married person. It’s impossible to know what it will be like to offer the independence of single-hood up in exchange for marital union. In this independence, you have the time and perspective to sit back and think about things like attraction, holiness, virtue, family background, life’s goals, and other particular qualities you might think are important. Once you get married, you realize there is only one thing that really matters for the long haul.

If you are living according to the teachings of the Church, as well as any good psychological, sociological, or rational perspective, getting married is a shift from living alone in that independence to living with another person all the time. Not only all the time, but for the rest of your life with this one person. Has anyone ever asked you the question, “If you were to be stranded on a desert island for the rest of your life and could only have one book, what would it be?” If so, you know how incredibly difficult it is to answer that question. ONLY ONE BOOK?! How could you ever choose one book to spend the rest of your life with? Most people can’t imagine that and offer you the option of 3 books… Do I need to spell out the parallel here? You have to choose one person who you will be living with, making plans with, facing life’s difficulties with, raising children with, moving into different places to live with, earning and losing money with, eating good and bad food with, etc. etc. until DEATH do you part. That’s a long, long time.

How Long?

I know it is difficult to conceptualize how long the rest of your life might be. Try this: think back to when you were 3 or 4– your earliest memory. Think about how long ago that was. Was it 20 years ago? 30? Maybe more. Now think about how long ago that feels like, and project that amount of time into the future. Now double it. That’s how long you are talking about living and breathing and sleeping and not-sleeping next to your future spouse for.

Hopefully I’ve helped to crystallize a slight perspective shift for you single people out there to the point that you might think a little differently about the question, “What’s the most important quality to look for in a spouse?”

Only friendship could make the crazy demands of marriage humanly possible. Friendship makes it worthwhile to give up the radical independence of being single. Only if the person you marry is your best-friend will you be truly happy for the rest of your life in your marriage. This is really the most important –if not only- thing you need to think about when you are looking for “The One.”

Really, that’s it?

What about attraction; does it matter for evaluating good spouse material? Sure it does- to a point. But you shouldn’t have to think about it. If you are wondering, “Am I attracted enough to him/her?” you are not mature enough to be looking for your spouse. Also, if you consider deeply the reality of marriage as I’ve outlined above, you can be assured that the physical beauty and the butterflies that attracted you when you were dating are not what’s going to keep you sane for the rest of your life together.

There is also another deeply important aspect of love inherent in the attraction question. As you get to know a person more, and love a person more, you find the person more beautiful. As you give yourself fully to your spouse, you open yourself to receive more of him/her than you’ve ever received of anyone in your life. You have no idea how beautiful you will come to see your spouse if you truly love in this way. In many ways love between spouses begins on the wedding day. That’s why so many couples look back on their time dating and laugh at how naïve they were. The wedding day is the first day that your body and mind express together the totality of self-gift to another. That is the first day of a lifelong adventure, which is growth in love and holiness.

And holiness?

What about holiness then, does it matter? Sure it does. But any one of you that thinks you are “looking for your St. Joseph” or someone “as holy and pure as Mary” is not ready for marriage, especially the messiness of marriage. Marriage is a vocation; a vocation is a calling from God to live your life in such a way that you “seek to lose yourself that you may find yourself.” In other words, it is a path to holiness. That means that you don’t find a holy person to marry; you become holy through marriage. That means that you are far from holy before you get married. Read: Your spouse will be far from holy when you get married, too. Follow? God-willing, after a long and fruitful married life together, you are both holy by the time you are called to face that final judgment.

What about those lists?

Then of course there are the personality tests, the lists of interests, the cliché questions and everything else that sells magazines. All of those can be summed up in one quality- friendship. If you find a person of the opposite sex that you can generally feel like you are yourself with, that you can will the good of, that you can imagine taking a road trip cross-country with without jumping out of the car, you just might have found spouse material. Of course you can’t know that immediately, but you can have a generally better idea of what to look for as you plan dates with each other and other people. Does that comfort and willing of the good last over time? Can you make a reasonably good guess that you will feel that way in a year or two based on the person you are getting to know? You’ll know it when you find it.


if you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my core fundamental values and principles

(via pursuingchastity)

"I could more easily contain Niagara Falls in a teacup than I can comprehend the wild, uncontainable love of God."

- Brennan Manning (via kissthewave)

(via simplytonka)



Trixie and Pixie both want to lose weight. Losing weight is not inherently sinful, and can be a good goal.

Trixie’s means to that end? She practices self-control and sacrifice by eating healthier meals and smaller portions, and even fasting for a time.

Pixie’s means to that end? She eats all she wants, in any portion, heavy on the sweets and treats. Each time she is done indulging her palate, she retreats to the bathroom where she sticks her finger down her throat and vomits it all back up.

I hope we all can agree that Trixie’s means of losing weight is moral and ordered, while Pixie’s means of losing weight is immoral and disordered.

Bulimia contradicts the body’s design by accepting the pleasure of eating, but willfully thwarting its life-giving purpose.

Contraception contradicts the body’s design by accepting the pleasure of sex, but willfully thwarting its life-giving purpose.

Natural Family Planning is a good means to a good end, thus is ordered and moral.

Contraception? It’s just sexual bulimia.


- The Little Catholic Bubble Blog (via by-grace-of-god)

(via by-grace-of-god)