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Somehow I managed to mess up cross-posting between Tumblr and…

Somehow I managed to mess up cross-posting between Tumblr and WordPress so they continued bouncing off each other every half hour in an infinitely loop of insane madness.

At least the post was about hope, right?! … I’ll just go over here and hide now.

hope in who you are

Last weekend was the last one before our youth minister leaves to take a full-time youth minister position in the south. He’s both sad and excited about it, and we’re both sad to lose him and excited for him about this new chapter in his life. After the announcement, he received some text and Facebook messages from the teens expressing the powerful impact he’s had on them. He said you never know how you effect someone.

He’d been surprised about these messages because he’d had doubts on his effectiveness. He could have been more organized, he said, and gotten information out to the volunteers sooner. He could have scheduled more fun events, said better things, pressed harder for a “cooler” room to meet in, and any number of things. But what he was really good at was chatting and relating to our teens, listening to them, challenging them in his unassuming way, living the way he tried to teach, and sharing his experiences. All those other things he could have been better at weren’t important to the people who were most important!

I think we all struggle with stuff like this. Sure, we should always be looking toward self-improvement, but some characteristics are more important than others. People you hang out with feel this about you more than you know!

Being disorganized or not as funny as someone else isn’t cause for despair. There’s hope in what you already are! Where there’s hope, there’s the chance to become even better if we trust that it can be so! Remember that, darlings!

the Chickadee

to be or not to be

I’ve taken to reading the Youcat a little a day during Lent. (Awww, yeah.) I got to the part today that talks about God and His name:

“God does not wish to remain incognito. He does not want to be revered as a ‘higher being’ that is merely sensed or surmised. God wishes to be known and to be called upon as someone real and active. In the burning bush God reveals to Moses his holy name: YHWH (Ex 3:14)…”

Youcat, pg 31

I was struck by the ‘bigness’ of that name. YHWH/Yahweh literally breaks down to mean “to be”. (And he said, “Say this to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.'” Exodus 3:14) So God isn’t just a supreme being, but He is. He’s the verb itself, He is “to be”, he is and is the cause of “being”. We are because He is. God isn’t “in” all things–he created the tree but doesn’t inhabit the tree–but all the potential and possibilities there are in existence exist in God. This is so big that the Israelites (and today’s Jews) don’t speak that name out of reverence for how deep and amazing that is. I’m just gonna let that blow your mind for a second.

After you’ve gotten over the fact that the origin of existence exists, now think about this: The origin of existence is a person with a “personality”, that of a perfect and loving parent trying to raise about 6 billion defiant and inquisitive teenagers. But because He’s perfect, He knows you out of 6 billion, always has your back, and wants the best for you. That’s huge.

Going a step further, if God is what it means “to be” and “God is love” (1 John 4:16), then in order for us to be in the same way God, the origin of existence is, then we have to love. When we love how God does, then we are at the most basic and truest level. We’re closest to the origin of existence. We’re closest to God.

That’s some big food for thought right there. Or in my case, birdseed for thought! Have a lovely week, dears!

the Chickadee


the right to complain

In my flutterings around the internet, I ran across this video this week. It’s been out for a few months now, so bear with me if it’s old news to you. It bugs me when seventeen people send me the same video to watch too–first world problems.

Hearing our first world problems read aloud to use by third world citizens who have much less than us makes them sound so hollow. Actually, it calls to our attention just how hollow those complaints really are. Knowing how good we have it, do we have the right to complain?

A lot of times we say stuff like that as a joke, other times we whine and don’t fully mean it. You might say I’m making a big deal out of a little thing. But there’s that small piece of us that really does wish you didn’t have to be interrupted from whatever you’re doing to go downstairs to get your cell charger. Thoughts like that grow over time if we don’t keep watch on them.

Letting yourself be annoyed by trivial things is lazy. Remember, you’re tough. You’re strong enough to both go downstairs and get the charger AND do it with gratitude for the cell phone that needs charging. You can do it! Don’t complain, you’re way more awesome than that!

the Chickadee

let’s be honest

If you were turned off by my first post last week because it was too metaphorical, don’t worry. I won’t wax poetic too often, at least not unnecessarily. Now, in my second blog post ever, I’ve gotta be honest with you guys.

I’m not really here of my own volition.

Okay, I am to an extent. No one’s got a gun to my head or strapped me to a desk forcing me to write, but here’s the thing. Over the last few years, I’ve dug deeper into my faith and have learned to actually hear God speaking to me through other people, random events, Scripture, and more. Maybe you know the feeling–you’ve been having trouble with a particular thing or have had something on your mind, when ping! The lyrics of a song on the radio you’ve heard 50 times suddenly strikes you as an answer, and in the quietest part of your soul, you know Who is calling. Then, the choice is whether to answer God or let Him go to voicemail.

The first ping! for The Virtue Tree came more than a year ago, while reading Matthew Kelley’s Rediscovering Catholicism. I forcefully hung up on God’s call, thinking to myself, “What do I possibly have to say that someone on the internet isn’t already saying? My small voice wouldn’t make a difference.” He responded that Sunday with the Gospel reading on Jesus feeding the 5,000, and the priest’s homily focused on giving the small gifts you have to Christ who will multiply them beyond your imagining. I thought about that for a while, amazed, but soon I was back to doubt. “I see what you did there, God,” I said, “but come on. I’m young and don’t know everything, and why would anyone even listen to me?” And soon the reading at Mass was:

Then I said, “Alas, Lord God!
Behold, I do not know how to speak,
Because I am a youth.”
But the Lord said to me,
“Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’
Because everywhere I send you, you shall go,
And all that I command you, you shall speak.
“Do not be afraid of them,
For I am with you to deliver you,” declares the Lord.
Then the Lord stretched out His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me,
“Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.”
Jeremiah 1:6-9

Well, crap. Can’t argue with that, right? But I did for a whole year, going back and forth in the same ways. On this subject, I just tuned Him out. It is so hard to let go of your fears and release them to Christ–to trust that He’ll take care of it–even though you know it’s the exact thing to do.

As I touched on last week, there was a section in Rediscovering Catholicism about how in order to become the best version of yourself, one not only should avoid vice but actively cultivate virtue. Trusting in God, aka humility, is something I really need to work on. Who knows if this will even go anywhere? It’s not my problem, it’s God’s. As my favorite Mother Theresa says, “God hasn’t called me to be successful. He’s called me to be faithful.”

It’s Ash Wednesday where we start a season of spiritual “spring cleaning” so it’s the perfect time to decide to start trusting. I’ll be over here working on my nest! If you’re still thinking about what to do for Lent, how about using your Facebook page for the good of mankind until Easter? Check out this Facebook event at I Am for Life.

the Chickadee

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