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Here are this week’s must-reads:

+ “So much of what I see and learn about on our gardening journey correlates to our spiritual journeys: what’s the soil like where we’ve planted ourselves? How will the root system change us, support us, transform us? And is that change for the good? Are we actively looking for the S(o)n, following Him, receiving His warmth? Or do we stay where we are and wait for Him to find us? I think it’s important for us to ask these questions once in a while and to be intentional about where we’re spending our time, what we’re spending it on, who & what we’re surrounding ourselves with: will it or they make us thrive and bring us closer to the Lord, or not?” — more here

+ If you ever find yourself struggling with *feeling* something different about Jesus’ real presence in the Eucharist, I think it might be helpful to look at this relationship — our relationship with Jesus in the Eucharist, the way that we treat our marriages… I wrote about that here in the newsletter that I made public (which means it’s free and you can read it here!) from a few weeks ago 🙂 I share these every Monday and they always include: two gluten-free recipes, a reflection & prayer based on Sunday’s Mass readings, and links to budget-friendly fashion & home decor. You can sign up for the newsletter here.

+ Three good practices for wellness and heaven from St. Thérèse’s Little Way

+ I used to think that my husband & I would create family traditions and a family identity, really, when we began to have kids. That seemed natural to me, maybe even easier. And I’ve had people tell me — just a handful of times — that because we don’t have children, we aren’t a family. But that’s just not true, realistically, in how we live our lives. The two of us are a family, that’s how we operate. And recently, we’ve been focusing more on creating those family traditions & our family identity.

We are the Deddenses. ❤️ We value showing up — for our friends & family, offering help before it’s asked, taking initiative in areas where we’re strongest, focusing on what’s good, true and beautiful, working hard, being generous, and resting, being thankful for what God allows, being faithful in what God allows, and not over-focusing or dwelling too long on what’s painful & heartbreaking or scary (there’s a balance, of course). And as always, we’re a work in a progress, always striving to grow. (Side note: there have been long seasons when we haven’t been able to do these things for the people we love most; those seasons are painful to think of, they weren’t too long ago, but it’s just a part of life to go through seasons like that).

There will be times when one of us gets discouraged about something or just doesn’t feel like doing something, and the other one of us will remind us both that, “We’re the Deddenses and we do ______.” I feel funny even sharing this, because it feels like such a small thing, but it’s made a big difference! I like our intentionality in our identity as a family. I like that we’re working to really become who we want to be & who God created us to be — that doesn’t happen without intentionality or discussions or reminders. It’s been so good. It’s been a weird fruit to come out of the quarantine and spending more time at home. While we don’t have the chance to do some of the things we most value right now — being with our family and friends or helping them in-person, it’s still been good to talk about these things, to solidify our identity in these values, and to dream of living these out when we can. — I wrote about this here 🙂

+ St. Maria Goretti! You might know a few things about her, but you probably don’t know this story…

+ “Not everybody’s story is going to end like ours, but I think the message I want to give women who are grieving is that, in the moment of your grief and your isolation and your sorrow, God is present and working on your heart,” she said. “He’s there in the silence and he’s preparing you for something. Sometimes we may not recognize what it is on this side of the veil. It might not be until our time on earth is done that we can see why things happen … but we can never lose that hope that God is faithful and he’s a God who will keep his promises and bring you out of your grief and sorrow.” Just as she wondered when her Good Friday would end, Everts’ message is to not lose hope. “Just believe that God has something for you, even in your grief,” she said. “He has that Easter Sunday that will come.” — “Will we ever see our Easter Sunday?”

🌸 As always, here are a few pictures of what’s included in this week’s Catholic Wife, Catholic Life Newsletter!

I share this newsletter every Monday and it always includes two gluten-free recipes, a reflection & prayer based on Sunday’s Mass Readings, and links to budget-friendly fashion & home decor.

You can sign up for the newsletter here!

You can sign up for the newsletter here!