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Here are this week’s must-reads:

+ From a few years ago — this is so sweet. “And so, when I get an empty email from my husband, I know it’s because he wrote “I love you.” He says it so often, at the end of so many emails, Gmail thinks it’s part of his name. Gmail thinks that’s who he is.” — Simcha Fischer

+ “You are deeply loved in the midst of your deepest dark”

+ “One of the most valuable life lessons I’ve learned is how the Lord uses our weaknesses…”

+ Mourning the life you envisioned

+ “At every stage and in every circumstance, we are held in existence by God’s love. The presence of an illness, disability, or other challenging situation never diminishes the value of a human life. God does not call us to perfection of appearance or abilities, but to perfection in love. Christ invites us to embrace our own lives and the lives of others as true gifts.” – (respect life dot org)

+ A husband’s guide to natural family planning

+ “But if we’re focused on what everybody else is getting or receiving, we don’t see what God is doing in our own life. It takes patience. It takes trust and patience in those places. And we can keep our eyes on Him or we can focus on what everybody else has going on.” – Heather Khym

+ “To repent is not to look downwards at my own shortcomings, but upwards at God’s love, it is not to look backwards with self-reproach but forward with trustfulness, it is to see not what I have failed to be, but what by the grace of Christ I might yet become.” —St. John Climacus

+ Four things God wants to tell you in 2021: 1) You are fully seen and known. 2) “You are altogether beautiful my love and there is no flaw in you” (Song of Songs 4:7). 3) “You are never alone.” 4) You are a beloved daughter of God.

+ “Love between man and woman cannot be built without sacrifices and self-denial.” (St. John Paul II). This last week, that has looked like my husband making me coffee every morning even though he’s not drinking it. It’s just for me. ☕️ And I’ve been so grateful. And I’ve looked at that pot every morning and thought about this small sacrifice John-Paul made for me. I think it’s helpful to do that once in a while — to be intentional and to look at how or where or when our spouses are sacrificing for us and serving us (the same can be said in our relationship with the Lord). In so many ways, these things can become so mundane and a part of our normal everyday lives, but they’re meaningful all the same. And it may soften our hearts to realize the things being done for us out of love, if we haven’t looked in a while. At least, it does that for me.

+ Lastly, here’s what’s featured in this week’s Catholic Wife, Catholic Life NewsletterI 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.

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