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

Grandma and Timmy’s Hope


Timmy was waiting by the front window for Grandma to arrive. “Will she remember me?” thought the little four-year old. Timmy remembered Grandma’s sweet perfume, and soft cheeks. He loved her laugh. He was bursting at the seams waiting for her arrival. Then, he saw the car pull up in the driveway. Daddy ran around from the driver’s side and opened the passenger door. There was Grandma! The wait was over!

Timmy ran out the front door and dashed into Grandma’s arms. He hugged her tight, never wanting to let her go. “Grandma, it’s so good to see you,” Timmy said excitedly. “I’ve missed you!” It was only after getting his hug, that Timmy noticed something different about his Grandma. Read more…

A sad anniversary and a free chapter of Trusting God with St. Therese

This is my family (plus two friends) on June 10, 1974. I'm the one with the braids in the front. Terri is behind me next to my mom.
This is my family (plus two friends) on June 10, 1974.
I’m the one with the braids in the front.
Terri is behind me next to our mom.
Here is how our car looked thirty minutes later.
Here is how our car looked thirty minutes later.

Today is the fortieth anniversary of one of the saddest events in my life so far. On June 10, 1974, our family was driving to the annual Catholic Charismatic Conference at the University of Notre Dame. We began our journey in Spokane, Washington, where we had spent a weekend on retreat. Just outside Missoula, Montana, the car rolled over three times, landing in the median of the freeway. I was in the back with the seat down and no seat belt. So were two of my siblings and two friends.

I ended up with stitches in my leg and a bump on my head. My sister Terri, who had been sitting next to me, was thrown from the car and died. She was ten years old.

Why did God let this happen? Didn’t He know where we had come from and where we were going? Hadn’t He heard Terri’s voice, when she had volunteered that morning to pray for a safe trip?

Continue to Connie’s blog to receive a free chapter of Trusting God with St. Therese.

Let Teresa of Avila teach you about patience


Window in the Convent of St. Teresa (photo credit: Wikipedia).

Teresa of Ávila wrote these words on a bookmark she kept in her breviary:

Let nothing disturb you;
Nothing frighten you.
All things are passing.
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
Nothing is wanting to him who possesses God.
God alone suffices.St. Teresa was determined to reach the heights of holiness. Yet at the same time she was realistic, based on her own experience and those of the nuns under her care as head of the Discalced Carmelite Order. Put these two characteristics together, and you have one of the wisest guides to the spiritual life. Let’s take a closer look at her advice.

Perseverance is a key to success Remember the parable Jesus told about the persistent widow (Luke 18:1-8)? We must never give up praying when it seems God is not hearing us. Teresa advised her sisters to apply this lesson to growth in prayer.
… I say that it is very important – it is everything to have a strong and firm resolution, not to stop till we arrive at the water [union with God], come what may, or whatever may be the consequence, or whatever it may cost us. No matter who complains, whether I reach there or die on the way, or have not courage to endure the troubles which I may meet with, or though the world should sink under us… (Way of Perfection, Chapter XXI)It’s easy to get discouraged in prayer. Seeing no measurable growth in intimacy with God, we might be tempted to give up. We might wish to say along with the doubters in the end times, “Where is this coming He promised?” (2 Peter 3:4).  Don’t!

Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.

What the Assumption means for you

File:Virgin Mary - Diego Velazquez.jpg
August 15 is the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven, a Holy Day of Obligation. We celebrate the fact that God took Mary bodily into Heaven. But why did the Church make this a feast? Why is it important for your life?

Mary shows us our destiny Unlike Christ, Mary was a mere human to whom God gave special graces. When Jesus took His mother into Heaven, body and soul, He showed us what is in store for those who die in a state of grace.  At the end of time, He will raise us bodily from the dead. The faithful will have glorified bodies in Heaven. We will not be ghosts for all eternity. We will be complete, perfect versions of ourselves. This is one reason prayers like the Salve Regina call Mary our “hope.”

Mary shows us our purpose God made us to be united with Him in love. In her death, bodily resurrection, and Assumption, Mary embraced Christ’s mission. Since she was free from original and actual sin, Mary did not have to die. The Church has not defined infallibly that Mary died, but the general consensus of Church Fathers, along with the Church’s Liturgy, teaches that she did. In choosing to follow her Son’s example as closely as possible, she most likely chose to participate in our redemption through dying like He did.

God calls us to be conformed to Christ as well. We must die because of original sin. However, we can unite our suffering and death to Christ’s and help to advance the salvation of the world. We can also choose to die to ourselves in the course of ordinary events.

Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.

Diary of a Country Mother: a review

Diary of a Country Mother

Cindy Montanaro is a Secular Carmelite and former homeschooler. She is also the mother of Tim, a boy she and her husband adopted as an infant. Tim had Tourette Syndrome, phobias, and other mental health issues. In 2005 he died tragically. Their story was published recently by Roman Catholic Books. Dairy of a Country Mother–so named by Tim when no one dreamed he was soon to pass away–is a gem to share with any mother this May.

“Five years ago today I picked up my pen and started a year-long journey of prayer, meditation, and writing. I envisioned an extended period of time in which to record, before memory failed me, all the little humorous and profound incidents that made up my son Tim’s short life. ” So begins this beautiful memoir of a boy who loved people. It is a story of the joy he brought to everyone he met. It is a record of his mother’s faith and acceptance. It is an exploration of the meaning of Tim’s life, which Cindy generously shares with us. She would probably say her generosity is one lesson she learned from Tim.

A tale of joy, not grief
Diary of a Country Mother: a Year Remembering Tim is not A Grief Observed. It is not a book about how Cindy and her husband and remaining sons struggled to accept Tim’s death. Instead, it is the celebration of his life.

Continue reading.