Recipe 4 Holiness: Small Acts

Pope Francis_Recipe for Holiness


To our #Recipe4Holiness we will now add a special ingredient, that is actually many ingredients in one…  Small Acts – those often unseen moments our of lives that create a saints heart within us!


If you’ve been reading my blog for a while – or even a few days – you are acutely aware of my many deficiencies.  The one that I regret the most – and try the most to overcome is my lack of hospitality and thoughtfulness.  Though, probably a more fair assessment would be my lack of follow through!

I often think of the nice or caring things I could do to help others – however, for a myriad of reasons (none of them good); my follow-through statistics are very low.   At first this behavior came from self-preservation and lack of instruction; but as an adult with fully formed conscience it is not longer acceptable behavior.


While I would love to say, that once I realized the necessity of a life in Christ to include reaching out to others my behavior changed – I can not.  I still every day have to resist my self-absorbed ways.  In all too painful ways the Lord has allowed me to feel the DEEP regret of not acting on an inspiration of the Spirit to reach out to another.


All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2016

Recipe for Holiness: 3 parts Fortitude

fortitude francis

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.”James 1:5  Where I lack the greatest wisdom without a doubt is in discerning the Will of God. There are several factors that block my clearly hearing God speak in my life – primarily my own voice and will are often drowning out God’s voice. A very anxious person by nature – I erroneously believe the more of my life I control; the better my life will be. I seem to have this crazy notion that I know better than the creator of the universe what is needed for me to be happy.  

God is not in the happiness business – he is in the holiness business.  Paradoxical however  the more I order my life to holiness – the truly happier I will be. Not the fading worldly happy but a much deeper, “it can’t be taken away from you” joy! His ways are always ‘different and higher’ (Isaiah 55) from any ideas I may hold onto.   I see tomorrow, and the next day – he sees into infinity (and… oh come on we have to go there… BEYOND!). My greatest desire is always to avoid pain and suffering – though God did not spare his only begotten Son this fate; why would mine be any different.   Jesus willingness to accept the Father’s will, to drink from the cup that was not passed him by – opened the gates of Heaven.   Jesus instructions are clear. If you want to follow him – if you want to journey toward those open gates – pick up your cross DAILY and follow him.

A few years ago I was leading a Confirmation retreat – at the end of the day – one young man stood up and began to YELL at me!!  Yell… swear… berate — completely misunderstanding and twisting my words, he stirred the entire class into a frenzy.  In my arrogance, I fought back. 

FIND OUT how this all turned out … read more on Reconciled To You ….

All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2016

Recipe for Holiness: 2 Parts Courage

Pope Francis_Recipe for Holiness

Personally, I am not good with courage or living simply.   My anxieties have me afraid of pretty much everything:

  • lightning storms
  • spiders, snakes, anything that creeps
  • germs
  • being alone
  • injury or illness to my kids

…just to name a few.

As I have well documented in my Money Monday series; my inability to live within my means for the last 30+ years has wreaked havoc on my finances and my peace of mind.  Where was Pope Francis’ message when I needed it? If I’m honest, would I have even listened back then?

Well, luckily as long as I’m breathing – there is always time to find out.  Here’s the amazing thing about being a believer and a friend of God – “see I make all things new” (Revelation 21:5); today I can make the changes necessary to embrace this message and apply its teaching to my current (and for hence forth) circumstances.

Life requires courage.  That is clear in the horrific events of this year – just making the decision to leave our homes can be cause for pause.  In the case of my dear friend from our parish, stabbed in her own home by a random act by a distraught young man, even home doesn’t feel safe any longer.  There is illness and accidents; and so much beyond our control that can lead our hearts to ache; and fall into despair and fear.   As a person who has battled anxiety her entire life (diagnosed with a ‘nervous stomach’ at age 9); just watching the news or reading social media can send me spiraling into a panic attack.

So what do we do?  …  read more on Reconciled To You 

All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2016
Cover photo copyright – Debbie Guadino, Saints 365

Recipe For Holiness – Ingredient #1: Grace

Pope Francis_Recipe for Holiness

The Grace Trifecta

Standing before a room of 30 or so women facilitating my first faith sharing back in 2006, I fumbled around for the proper words as I tried to answer one participant’s seemingly simple question on the grace of God.  What is grace?  While I had this innate understanding, I could not formulate the right words to express what I believed it to be. I realized, I had no definition.

Fast forward a few years, I am sitting in a small chapel in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament (aka Jesus in the Eucharist). In my reading I once again face the question, what is grace? This time I open the Catechism of the Catholic Church; and prayed for guidance from the Holy Spirit.   That day the Allison abridged version of how I define the grace of God, was born … Read More at Reconciled To You 

All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2016

Navigating God’s Way Out of Debt

money mondays

Reflection on Week 3 of Navigating Your Finances God’s Way:

Last week, it was time to pull my shopping happy head out of the sand, and make the list I have been dreading – pulling together a list of our current debts (specifically credit card)!

As long as I could make all the monthly minimums (sometimes even a little extra), I never felt the need to add them all up.  Hence, the November disaster of 2015!    We learned in this week’s scripture readings that debt has some stinky consequences (enslaves us*, for one) and that it is NOT what God wants for us (OWE Nothing – Romans 13:8).  As I sheepishly listed credit card balance after credit card balance, I was amazed at how far into the sand I had placed my head.

*Let me just quickly add here – that the Lord made sure I understood this concept first hand this week as I was faced for a few decisions that required me to consider the motives behind why I was or wasn’t accepting an invitation.  It amazed me how many times I have decided not on what I felt I was being called to  but what would bring in some type of payment  –  I have been totally enslaved and I LONG to be free to follow where the SPIRIT guides and not where my creditors require!

I have said it before, spending money is one of my drugs of choice. I know it has addictive qualities by my reaction to when I am in the midst of the behavior (shopping elation is totally a thing) and how I feel as we discuss things such as … read more

All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2016

Lent Musing: Tithing Our Prayers


Alms-giving or Charity – sometimes it is difficult to decide how one can increase what they give during Lent, especially if you are already generous the rest of the year.

Here are some thoughts I’ve had — would LOVE to hear yours:

  • Tithe your prayers.  I can get REAL self absorbed during prayer time with a lot of my family needs that, O Lord bring me this. So I am making a more concerted effort during Lent to pray for others.
  • Giving more of our talent.  So my wallet may be stretched but that doesn’t mean I have exhausted all I have to give.  I’m trying to find ways to use my gifts to serve the Church and others during Lent.
  • And then there is actual money … for more idea please visit Reconciled To You


All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2016

​Elisa Lardani Marchi: Body Given for Love


A touching story shared by guest blogger, Michelle Arnold Paine :

In the evening of February 27, 2015, I received a text message from my dear brother in Christ Alessandro: his sister Elisa had delivered her baby, was in surgery and they were not sure she would survive. He was asking me to spread the request for prayer to our network of American friends, those who have been students or faculty for the Gordon College in Orvieto program over nearly 20 years. Quickly I emailed and called several faculty and former Orvieto students to ask for their prayers. A few hours later another text – the hemorrhage that had begun during the birthing process was continuing and she was fighting for her life.

Through the night I was up several times nursing my own five-week-old baby, and that night checked my phone frequently. The next day, Saturday, we found out… read the rest of Elisa’s story on Reconciled To You 


All rights reserved, Michelle Arnold Paine, 2016

A Messy and Foolish Book Review


Messy and Foolish by Matthew Warner
*disclaimer – I get free stuff to review.  It is a great blessing. This book included!

Discover the art of making a “mess,” being a “fool”, and evangelizing the world. We shouldn’t have to tell people we’re Christians.  It should be obvious by the way  we live our lives. Learn how to live that radical, meaningful, and joyful life.  ~ about, Messy and Foolish

My Review:

  1. IT is a small book.  I like small books. Get to the point and do it in the shortest amount of time – life is busy.  Check!
  2. Build the idea of your book on the words of Pope Francis.  I like Pope Francis. Talk about getting to the point! I was on Copacabana Beach at World Youth Day, 2013, when Papa Francisco said, “Go!…the experience of this encounter must not remain locked up in your life or in the small group of your parish, your movement, or your community.  I want a mess. I want people to go out!”  Check!
  3. Remind people they have been commissioned by their Baptism to share the good news, to be heralds of the Gospel – that it is not just for their benefit.  In fact, if we are not willing to take bold risks -to be MESSY & FOOLISH, the fire ignited by Jesus Passion will be extinguished. … but wait there is MUCH much more… read the rest of my review here!

All rights reserved Allison Gingras, 2016

I Gave God a Little and He Surprised Me… again


Lent is a time to focus on our discipline of prayer…and sometimes to look back at the power of prayer:

After completing my 54 Day Rosary Novena jaunt around the house – I felt compelled to begin another when given a small tattered copy of Rosary Novenas to Our Lady (see image below) by a stranger when I attended a friend’s Ultreya to hear her give her testimony.  As one who believes in GODCIDENCES (if you ask me there are no coincidences in life especially in spiritual matters), there was no way I was going to ignore this invitation from Our Blessed Mother to spend another month and half in prayer with her! The grace and blessings as I closed on the first 54 days was truly remarkable!!

One of the most miraculous moments came when I went to my bank on November 30 – prepared to beg for leniency with overdrafts I was sure had been incurred after paying an unexpected HUGE house bill and then a creditor unwilling to hold off on their payment for just a few days, withdraw another large amount.  On that last day of the month, sure that things were as bleak as they could be, I sat down in the branch manager’s office of my small town bank, asking her to pull up the account and assess the damage. As she scrolled and scrolled through the account, her face scrunched with confusion.

She found that …. find out the miraculous finding here

All rights reserved, Allison Gingras 2016

God, Money & LOTS of Debt

money mondays

Our money problems did not start overnight.  They built overtime.  Every decision held a consequence, yet we were blissfully unaware as we spent and then after the debt had built, we continued to be blissfully unwilling to change – and consciously choose to ignore it (Problem #1).

To figure out where we are going, first we need to look at how we got here.

Kevin and I met when we were in high school and began dating his freshmen year in college (my junior year of high school).  We were married 5 years later, while I was still in college.  We were 21 and 23, and absolutely clueless on how to manage finances (Problem #2). I had embraced the 1980’s with great zeal — amassing over 15 credit cards (mostly of the store variety) by time I was 20 years old (Problem #3).    Kevin was unaware of most of them (Problem #4).  We were both hard workers but underemployed (Problem #5).

So what now? Where do we start to reclaim our lives? First, we need to rediscover God’s role in our finances … read more 

All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2016