Monthly Archives: March 2015

In Mary’s Footsteps…

pathway of stones on stonesWhen the path is not clear, we look for a guide. How to choose a suitable guide for our journey? This question easily brings fogginess to the mind, blotting out clarity, and allowing us to continue our stumbling on the path of our own feeble creation.

For a Catholic woman, there are many choices, with hundreds of saints gone before us. And also, some still with us here on Earth, yet to be beatified for their daily, humble doings unseen, for there are saints that each of us know deeply in our own lives. Although they may escape the Papal crowning, our Lord sees and honors each of them as much and more!

While we may choose any or all of these blessed women, the Mother and guide of them all is our Blessed Mother. And with this in mind, she has been uppermost in my mind for many months now, with a renewed vigor and a compelling desire to turn to her daily.

So when the announcement of the exhibition Picturing Mary: Woman, Mother, Idea at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC, was announced, I was thrilled and made immediate plans to attend and spend time with the creations of others who also loved and followed in her footsteps.

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Today’s visit found me attracted to the beautiful Madonna and Child with St. Anne (Madonna col Bambino e Sant’Anna) by Orsola Maddalena Caccia (Moncalvo, 1596–1676), pictured here. It resonated with me at this time in my life because like St. Anne, I am a grandmother and a mother.

As my husband and I stood before it, it was he who mentioned that you never think of Jesus having a grandmother. She is not mentioned in the Bible as a part of his life, so it is impossible to know exactly what part she may have taken in his life. But, I am a fan of historical fiction, so I love the idea of envisioning St. Anne watching the Christ child playing outside his home, while Mary took care of her daily work inside…I can’t wait to ask her once I meet her in Heaven!!

May the Lord and his Blessed Mother and grandmother, St. Anne, bless you especially this week as we remember His death and Resurrection.

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!

The Great “Yes”

 

Annunciation Henry Ossawa Tanner

What do we say “yes” to?
Who do we say “yes” to?
Why do we say “yes”?
Ponder these questions.

When have we said “yes” and been unsure?
When have we said “yes” and regretted it?
When have we said “yes” under duress?
Ponder these questions.

Would we have said “yes” to the Angel of the Lord?
Would we have said “yes” without hesitation, in full trust?
Would we have said “yes” in obedience?
Ponder these questions.

Will we be asked to say “yes” to the Lord today?
What will be our answer to the Lord when that next chance to say “yes” in all humility, trust and complete love is presented to us?
Will we recognize the next time the question is being presented to us?
Ponder these questions.

We ask our Blessed Mother to be with us today especially so she may open fully
our spiritual eyes that we may see each opportunity
to respond in solidarity with her Son’s love and mercy.

Her secret to a humble and loving response?
Following her God daily and adhering to His words in her every action.

“I delight to do your will, my God; your law is in my inner being!” Psalm 40:8

May we be so blessed. Amen.

Image “The Annunciation” by Henry Ossawa Tanner

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!

Another share on Charity…

As I have been trying out the living of another virtue, Charity, I have been preparing to write my own blog entry on the subject for the past week. But other people’s blogs keep seeming so appropriate and fun to share. I must say that the Lord has once again asked me to be charitable here in my own space…

Haley Stewart, writer of Carrots for Michaelmas, provided a surprising piece on the virtue cinderella castleof charity as seen in the current version of the movie, Cinderella.

Another great revelation about this story? It’s Christian foundation! Read Father Robert Barron’s great article about it here, if you haven’t already!

Its a movie I will be seeing as soon as possible for a fun night out. Imagine a product of Hollywood with no doubts about whether it is appropriate! Worth spending the money on an actual theater viewing!

shutterstock_247370791 …and in view of the virtue I am trying to live out I will pay for a ticket for the person in front of me when I go…I challenge you to do the same as a small piece of your Lenten almsgiving!

May God send you blessings…

 

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!

Charity (def): Sharing something good

So we are moving on to the virtue of charity. If you know me, you will know that I LOVE perusing the Internet for luscious tidbits and I have to admit I have dug myself to the outer limits of the ethers on occasion. Always indulging my curious mind!

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As an act of charity and goodwill, I am going to share with you someone else’s writing on Mary’s ardent virtue of charity. Then I will be going to Reconciliation to repent of my envy of her wonderful blog site! Kudos Christy!

Christy from Fountains of Home, a young Catholic mother of five, finds time to love the Lord, her family and friends and shares all about the ups and downs of life in her blog. She has that wonderful humorous outlook on life that as women and moms we all need to tap into!

Last year she wrote this amazing blog on Mary’s virtue of charity…so glad I can share it with you! Hope you enjoy it!

 

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!

Ashes and Sackcloth: A new meaning

 

As I live in a pile of ashes that seems to follow me through Lent this year, I have found that soulflamea flame inside me is creating them. They are ashes of sin burning away from my mortal body. They leave behind skin that is raw and painful. Denial of bodily cravings, leaving mind-numbing television behind, and dragging my feet through the mud of humility, makes me evermore aware of the the burning fire of the Holy Spirit in my soul…

womandust

 

It tries to breakthrough and the burning is not quenched by any salve, but only by more time in prayer, with the Eucharist, and with my eyes wide open to the trail of the past, its revelations of where holiness may be possible.
I long for Easter and the new skin of purity to be worn through the next year, for a taste of the glorified body that will eventually be mine to inhabit.

All praise to our Lord Jesus Christ, be merciful to my soul!

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!

The Rewards of Humility

“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10).

Next week, we will be moving on to another virtue, but we will not leave humility behind. Putting this virtue in the forefront of my daily life has been quite revealing and it is summed up by this verse from Galatians.

Moving through the day and deciding what tasks on the ever-growing list were pulling at me most ardently took on a new character. I found myself more aware of the fact that many of the items were strictly what I wanted to do. No one had asked me to do them, they were just things pulling at me from my endless pile of “good ideas”. This awareness actually allowed me to relax (just a little!) and sort out the real priorities.

Because we are in the season of Lent, I had lofty ideas of getting up at the crack of dawn everyday, spending a couple of hours in prayer and writing, going to Mass everyday, not watching any TV at all, and of course, eating nothing but healthy food! And I have to admit that last year this was my Lenten plan and it went very well!

white flowers

But I am in a different place this year. Last year’s Lenten observances were a practice that moved me into a deeper relationship with God leading to a fuller life in His Spirit and with His people. So this year Lent has to be for the person I am now. And she is someone that God wants to slow down and actually enjoy the life she has been blessed with. Someone that needs to learn to stop and listen and be less task oriented. Someone who needs to stop “shoulding” herself and beating herself up for the things she didn’t get done.

Why is this so important to humility? Because we are to do nothing that God has not put on our list, at least until we talk to Him about it. When we get caught up in our own “important-to-do” list and are feeling overwhelmed, it is a clear sign that we may be caught up in our own need to be important or good. Become a servant of Christ 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!