Monthly Archives: November 2013

A Good Read for Advent…

Many years ago,when I was in seventh or eighth grade, my friend Cathy Miller, who lived next door to me gave me  the book Two from Galilee, by Marjorie Holmes as a Christmas present. Since that time, I have read that book probably twenty times, always when Advent begins.

It was a turning point in my spiritual growth, because it made me realize that the story of Christ was not something that happened in another “more Heavenly” dimension, but a real piece of spiritual history. It made Mary stand out as a real woman, probably my own age when she was  given to Joseph and became pregnant with Jesus.  Her struggles and joys are shared in a way that draws me into the story every time.

I highly recommend it!

Two From GalileeHere is the Amazon link if you would like to purchase it

Two from Galilee

Ellen Marie Dumer, LCPC, president and founder of Living Your Exceptional Life™, is a pastoral counselor, life success coach, published author, and sought-after speaker. She is a guide and mentor for Catholic/Christian women seeking to harness and cultivate their aspirations for a life based on faith in Christ.

She and her husband, Deacon Gary Dumer, live in Maryland, have 4 children and soon-to-be nine grandchildren. Ellen loves to paint and craft, read, go on long bike rides and walks, garden, and spend fun time with her friends!

How to Quiet Your Mind: Advice from a Real Thinker

Quiet My Mind

Dear Lord,
Teach me to quiet my mind.
Stop my thoughts from racing from one thing to another.
Stop me from the obsessive thinking about the lives of others.
Help me rest and quiet my mind.
Help me let go of trying to control others.
Free my mind to be at rest.
This I pray.
Strive not to be a success, but rather of value.

Einstein– Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein also said, ‘The more I study science, the more I believe in God.’

Ellen Marie Dumer, LCPC, president and founder of Living Your Exceptional Life™, is a pastoral counselor, life success coach, published author, and sought-after speaker. She is a guide and mentor for Catholic/Christian women seeking to harness and cultivate their aspirations for a life based on faith in Christ.

She and her husband, Deacon Gary Dumer, live in Maryland, have 4 children and soon-to-be nine grandchildren. Ellen loves to paint and craft, read, go on long bike rides and walks, garden, and spend fun time with her friends!

More, More, More…Inner Peace

“For each new morning with its light, For rest and shelter of the night, For health and food, for love and friends, For everything Thy goodness sends.”-Ralph Waldo Emerson

As we move into the season of more, more, more, I love that for those of us in the United States, where we have made that a mantra and almost a religion unto itself, we start this season with a holiday of gratefulness.

GratitudeI am reminded of a retreat master on a silent retreat that taught us how to be comfortable in a room full of people all eating at the same time…in silence. He told us that he practices mindfulness while he eats. If he is eating potatoes, he thanks the people that planted it, nurtured it, harvested it, transported it, sold it, prepared it and served it. This is practiced for each food that is served and for as many steps of its creation and preparation as he can think of. He then moves to being grateful for and praying for any needs that those around may have. Lastly, he includes his own prayers of the heart and ends with a grateful praise to God that he is on the earth and able to share his gifts for the Lord.

As we move into the busy, more, more, more season, I hope this exercise helps you to look around at everything at a slower more grateful pace. Into the calm that will ensue, the Lord will enter your heart and bring you the bliss of peacefulness and praise and realization that  joy comes with simplicity.

May you be blessed with the gift of peacefulness and calm in the coming days.

Ellen Marie Dumer, LCPC, president and founder of Living Your Exceptional Life™, is a pastoral counselor, life success coach, published author, and sought-after speaker. She is a guide and mentor for Catholic/Christian women seeking to harness and cultivate their aspirations for a life based on faith in Christ.

She and her husband, Deacon Gary Dumer, live in Maryland, have 4 children and soon-to-be nine grandchildren. Ellen loves to paint and craft, read, go on long bike rides and walks, garden, and spend fun time with her friends!

No Side Effects Prescription for Anything That Ails You

How many commercials have you seen lately for medicines, prescription or not? What always amazes me is that you must put up with so many side effects, some possibly fatal, others just nasty to deal with. Yuk.

But, if you are really sick you have to weigh out the benefits vs. the cost.

Watch what the Pope has in mind for some “complementary” medical treatment!

So now…go find that rosary you put away somewhere!
And here is a link to how to say the rosary that the Pope loves…with Mary the Untier of Knots:

http://www.theholyrosary.org/maryundoerknots

Ellen Marie Dumer, LCPC, president and founder of Living Your Exceptional Life™, is a pastoral counselor, life success coach, published author, and sought-after speaker. She is a guide and mentor for Catholic/Christian women seeking to harness and cultivate their aspirations for a life based on faith in Christ.

She and her husband, Deacon Gary Dumer, live in Maryland, have 4 children and soon-to-be nine grandchildren. Ellen loves to paint and craft, read, go on long bike rides and walks, garden, and spend fun time with her friends!

Inspired Leadership…Are You Participating?

‘Great leaders know themselves very deeply: they’ve come to grips with who they are, their strengths but also their inner demons. But even though they reflect deeply on themselves, leaders don’t get stuck inside themselves: they get over themselves, and live to serve others. So those would be the first two commitments that great leaders make: to confront themselves deeply, but then to serve others.’ –Chris Lowney on Pope Francis from Pope Francis: Why He Leads the Way He Leads

I love this quote. It speaks to my journey. MosesFor the past year I have been reading everything I can get my hands on about leadership. Every time I take any kind of spiritual gifts questionnaire or other talents test, it comes up on top. For awhile, I denied it. Too scary. Too much responsibility. Too much work. I just want a regular old life.

Sometime ago I realized that I was suffering from what I now call the “Moses Complex”. It would go like this: I pray that God show me what he wants me to do. Something comes along and I really don’t want to do it. So I message back to God, “I can’t do that!” Return message, “Well, Ellen you keep asking me what I want you to do. Do you think I would ask you to do something without giving you the talents and gifts you need? What are you really afraid of?” My response (read this with a tiny, embarrassed whisper of shame), “Oh, well…uh, no, I guess not. Sorry God.”

Ouch. Double ouch. I’ve been caught. Wanting to do what God’s will is, but only if I like God’s will…Ouch again. Hate it when I see myself clearly.

So, I have been confronting myself lately. And listening more deeply. And doing things that I was pretty sure I couldn’t. All in the area of leadership. Not just the public kind of leadership, but the important personal kind of leadership. The kind where you look at your “stuff” and find that it has to get cleaned up before you will be fit to serve others for God.

Some cool stuff has happened and will be happening. I’ll keep you in the loop.

I leave you with this. Look at yourself lovingly with the gaze of Christ’s compassion. Clean out the closet your soul sits in. Listen to your soul. Let it guide you to where your gifts will be used for the glory of God…you will be happier than you can imagine.

Ellen Marie Dumer, LCPC, president and founder of Living Your Exceptional Life™, is a pastoral counselor, life success coach, published author, and sought-after speaker. She is a guide and mentor for Catholic/Christian women seeking to harness and cultivate their aspirations for a life based on faith in Christ.

She and her husband, Deacon Gary Dumer, live in Maryland, have 4 children and soon-to-be nine grandchildren. Ellen loves to paint and craft, read, go on long bike rides and walks, garden, and spend fun time with her friends!

A Soul Swept Clean and Protected

“When an unclean spirit goes out of someone,
it roams through arid regions searching for rest
but, finding none, it says,
‘I shall return to my home from which I came.’
But upon returning, it finds it swept clean and put in order.
Then it goes and brings back seven other spirits
more wicked than itself who move in and dwell there,
and the last condition of that man is worse than the first.”
Luke 11:15-26

swept-clean

Many people, myself included, find that on the spiritual journey, as they move closer to God, more issues, events, and people seem to arrive to pull them away.
I think what really happens is that we are looking through a clearer window when we are at this point in our journey.

We become almost excruciatingly aware of all of the temptations and distractions that were there before our hearts were so enraptured with God and so, need even heavier armor to fight the evil spirit and his seven warriors away. The armor of “unceasing prayer and praise” for all that is in our life. Only with this protection and clinging to the loving relationship God has for us can we fight off the relentless return of our addictive human nature.

Be aware and may God be with you closely as you call out in praise in each moment of your day.

Ellen Marie Dumer, LCPC, president and founder of Living Your Exceptional Life™, is a pastoral counselor, life success coach, published author, and sought-after speaker. She is a guide and mentor for Catholic/Christian women seeking to harness and cultivate their aspirations for a life based on faith in Christ.

She and her husband, Deacon Gary Dumer, live in Maryland, have 4 children and soon-to-be nine grandchildren. Ellen loves to paint and craft, read, go on long bike rides and walks, garden, and spend fun time with her friends!

A Very Helpful Hint on Struggles

loveToday’s readings struck me as a reminder of what I have a constant struggle with. Before I let you in on what that is, here are a few thoughts on the stories presented…

In Romans 14:7-12, we are told that Christ died and came to life so that we are his in totality if we so choose, that only God can stand in judgement, and we are asked “Why then do you judge your brother or sister…why look down on your brother or sister?”

In the Gospel, Luke 15:1-10, two parables are shared. That of the lost sheep whose master sees as so valuable that he leaves the other 99 behind to save it and that of the woman who  lost one of her ten coins and searched until it was found, sharing her joy with all her friends and neighbors. I like to think that the one she lost was but a penny, but a shiny, bright new one! Such a treasure! Would we look so hard for a penny?

And it was the responsorial psalm that really brought them together to direct me to how to overcome my struggle, ‘I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.’

So what’s my struggle? Automatic judgmental thoughts. I used to say to myself, “Well, I don’t say them or take any action on them.” But, as my journey with God into a deeper relationship continues, I realized that I really just want them to stop!

Once again I am drawn to an inspirational moment many years ago when I heard Cardinal Keeler, then Archbishop of Baltimore, use this phrase in a radio announcement for the annual Lenten giving campaign, “See Christ in others.” This one phrase has followed me into many situations and I am eternally grateful for its guidance in my growing relationship with Christ.

So how to stop those automatic judgmental thoughts? SEE CHRIST IN OTHERS. Instead of looking at people  we don’t know and placing them in a category outside of ourself, we see each person as a long lost relative who we just don’t know yet! When we see others as our sister or brother in Christ and realize that we are from the same family, those automatic, judgmental thoughts are more easily doused in compassion and love.  And that comes from the Christ who lives within our hearts ‘in the land of the living.’

May you have the grace and honor to ‘See Christ in others’ today!

 

Ellen Marie Dumer, LCPC, president and founder of Living Your Exceptional Life™, is a pastoral counselor, life success coach, published author, and sought-after speaker. She is a guide and mentor for Catholic/Christian women seeking to harness and cultivate their aspirations for a life based on faith in Christ.

She and her husband, Deacon Gary Dumer, live in Maryland, have 4 children and soon-to-be nine grandchildren. Ellen loves to paint and craft, read, go on long bike rides and walks, garden, and spend fun time with her friends!

More on how to be a saint…

Waiting-Woman-2175Once you hit the age of 50, you start thinking a little bit more about death and contemplating that question, “Where the heck has my life gone and what have I done with it?” So I have been contemplating these questions a little more for the past 5 years (now you know how young I am!) and wanting as much inspiration as I can get, I am drawn toward stories like the one below. I am also a Jesuit junkie, even before the Pope, so it got my attention right away…

Today I dreamt I was dying, Lots of people were coming from every direction, pulling me along. ‘What’s this – where are we going?’ says I. ‘Haven’t you heard?’ someone replies. ‘No,’ says I. ‘We’re invited to the table of God’s Kingdom.’ ‘OK – I’ll sign up. I’ve got nothing better to do.’ READ THE REST OF THE STORY…

http://www.thinkingfaith.org/articles/20131105_1.htm

Ellen Marie Dumer, LCPC, president and founder of Living Your Exceptional Life™, is a pastoral counselor, life success coach, published author, and sought-after speaker. She is a guide and mentor for Catholic/Christian women seeking to harness and cultivate their aspirations for a life based on faith in Christ.

She and her husband, Deacon Gary Dumer, live in Maryland, have 4 children and soon-to-be nine grandchildren. Ellen loves to paint and craft, read, go on long bike rides and walks, garden, and spend fun time with her friends!