Busted Halo
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November 27th, 2013
How can we celebrate the season we’re in -- and avoid the rush to Christmas?

It finally happened to me. This year, for the first time ever — and hopefully the last — I was ready for Christmas before it was even Halloween. Now it could have been that I started in on Halloween a little earlier than usual (I was lucky enough to get to Six Flags Fright Fest the weekend that it kicked off back in September) or it could have been the weather (it was starting to get a bit chilly already toward the end of October), but as likely as both of those possibilities may seem, I think the true culprit here is good ol’ marketing. At the end of September, Christmas lights, decorations, and all sorts of other holiday wares have crowded the shelves, urging us to skip over the fall altogether and jump straight…

November 25th, 2013

There is really only one way to make stuffing. I don’t know the recipe. I know there’s a lot of sage in it, and definitely no sausage, and certainly no fruit or nuts. It is the definitive stuffing, because it is my mother’s recipe for stuffing, and I have eaten it every Thanksgiving of my life. So there.
I won’t be able to eat the Thanksgiving stuffing par excellence this year; I’ll have to settle for another, inferior stuffing. It might not have sage in it and, heaven forbid, might actually have sausage or fruit or nuts in it. Also, I won’t be playing bingo after dinner this year, or Scattergories or Balderdash, the way my family does. I thought everyone’s family played games after Thanksgiving dinner?…

November 22nd, 2013

In light of Thanksgiving, I’m sure we’ve all learned numerous ways to be thankful, especially in this season that outwardly reminds us to be. As in, “Just in case you forgot to express gratitude the rest of the year, here’s a seasonal reminder to say, ‘Thank you!’”
In a lot of ways, we shy away from our natural desire to show our gratitude. Sure, it’s great to be thankful in our own minds, but have we forgotten how to reach out, say it aloud, or write a thank you card?
Yes, prayerful thanksgiving is important. But it’s not the only way to show our thanks. Gratitude isn’t private; it’s lived out loud.
Think of it this way: Gratefulness is one of the ways we express love. It can go under the “love”…

November 20th, 2013

I freaking love Thanksgiving. I love that the holiday invites reflectiveness and gratitude as well as merriment. I love the relative absence of soul-sucking commercialism (oh Christmas, where art thou?). I love being together with friends and family. And, yes, I love the food. I really frigging love the food.
You might think that as a pescetarian I’d feel alienated from a holiday alternately known as Turkey Day. Nothing could be further from the truth. All an herbivore needs to do to have a cozy and delicious Thanksgiving is follow two simple rules.
#1 Come out of the vegetarian closet.… Possibly someone has invited you to Thanksgiving dinner at his house, and possibly that person doesn’t know you’re a vegetarian.

November 18th, 2013
Lessons learned from 12 years of keeping a gratitude journal

I distinctly remember the day I sat in my junior English class after returning from Christmas break. My teacher asked us what our New Year’s resolutions were for the year. To be honest, I can’t remember mine, but I remember a classmate’s: starting a gratitude journal. That sounded like a good idea to me, too.
Today, it’s been nearly 12 years since I made the commitment to keep a gratitude journal.
Over the years, what started as practicing gratitude slowly evolved into living a lifestyle of gratitude, two slightly different things. Think of it this way: When you announce to your officemates that you’re going to start running, you make a decision to run each day for so many miles (let’s face it, some days…

November 14th, 2013

I’m going to go out on a ledge here and just say this: Kanye West isn’t all that bad. He’s been getting a lot of press lately surrounding his “Yeezus” tour, particularly for bringing “Jesus” on stage at the kickoff concert of the tour for his grand finale. The act was bold, certainly, and may have offended some who viewed the appearance only on its surface, but a second look reveals that Kanye may have actually had a point. In a recent interview with San Francisco’s Wild 94.9′s the JV Show, West explained his intentions in making a heavenly encounter part of his show, saying he wanted to point out that, “you can have a relationship with Jesus. That you can talk to Jesus.” West also…

October 30th, 2013

Supernatural thrillers often kick off the terror with a temptation. For Reagan in The Exorcist, it’s the Ouija board. A haunted doll intrigues two freaked out roommates in The Conjuring. Some friends in Evil Dead find a spell book in the basement and unwisely read from it aloud. The tempting item is always something that should just be left alone, but never is. Where’s the story if people have sense enough to steer clear of trouble? Years ago, I made mistakes much like those by the movie characters and ended up opening the door to real evil. I’m sharing my story to help you (or someone you know) avoid turning your life into a Halloween nightmare like I did!
Here’s a quick spiritual snapshot…

October 29th, 2013

Have you ever watched a soccer match and thought? “What art this is.” Or seen the fresh cut lawns of Wimbledon and remarked, “What a beautiful place for sport.” Or after running a few miles on the treadmill commented, “What a gift from God that was.” What might it look like to approach sport with such gratitude, appreciation, and awe?
As the World Series nears its end, bringing another baseball season to a close, there is time for reflection and thoughtfulness. With this season’s end came the close of a storied career; veteran New York Yankee and future Hall of Fame pitcher, Mariano Rivera retired after 19 seasons. He may be leaving even a bigger void than many think. Rivera approached his sport with…

October 28th, 2013

“Everybody out!” the firefighter shouted as he banged on our doors. It was the evening of October 29, 2012, and Superstorm Sandy had arrived in New York City. My packing time cut short, I threw on my slicker, grabbed my bag, and headed downstairs. A crane on the site of a new skyscraper up the block had snapped and was left dangling 70 stories in the air. One by one, the buildings on our street had been evacuated, and now it was our turn. I mentally ran through the list of what had made it into my bag — a pair of pajamas, flashlight, laptop, camera, cell phone, wallet, teddy bear, book, three bottles of water, and a box of graham crackers. I kicked myself for some of the things I’d failed to pack, but…

October 16th, 2013
Encountering the faith and art of Fr. Bill McNichols

“I believe that everyone has a landscape in his or her soul that corresponds to an actual landscape on this earth. In other words, the place one feels most at home. I found it in New Mexico…” — Father Bill McNichols
John Muir said, “We are now in the mountains and they are in us.” Though he was referring to the Sierras, Muir’s realization hit home for me in Taos, New Mexico, as a writer-in-residence at the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation. I remember Super Bowl Sunday 2012 not for the Giants beating the Patriots, but because it was that day I drove with my dog through the desert, from California to New Mexico, grateful to be given three months to write at the fellowship, unaware…

September 27th, 2013

When we first met Walter White back in 2008 — and if you’re not already familiar with the AMC drama Breaking Bad, which commenced its final half-season August 11, consider this your official SPOILER ALERT… — he was a just-turned-50 high school chemistry teacher recently diagnosed with lung cancer. Wanting to provide for his pregnant wife and disabled son, Walt (Bryan Cranston) turned his scientific training to the production of the best, purest crystal meth on the drug market.
That’s a cute, quirky premise, one that sounds like a setup for a crime comedy in the vein of Ocean’s Eleven, Pulp Fiction or Weeds. True, Breaking Bad has its darkly comic moments, and, true, Walter does start out as sympathetic

September 24th, 2013
How a view from above helps me look within

I sit on the balcony with my sandals off, the chill of a beer bottle cooling my hand. A slight breeze ripples the hemline of my skirt and I settle into the creaking plastic chair beneath me. I’m not at the beach, a hotel, or a cutesy B&B overlooking a hillside somewhere. I’m on my friend Karen’s balcony, which we’ve nicknamed “the veranda” to sound more aristocratic than we actually are, exactly 12 blocks from my apartment in New York City.
I’ve found myself here quite frequently. Before landing my current job, I was in a pretty dark place. I had been without consistent work for a few months, struggling with the unpredictable nature of my field (television), feeling the pressures of dwindling funds,…

September 18th, 2013

This has been a big week for video game fans. Crowds flocked to retailers Monday night, eagerly awaiting the midnight launch of Grand Theft Auto V, the latest in Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto series. The game, which cost a record-breaking $265 million to develop, has already more than made up its budget in pre-order sales alone. But while for some the promise of this new game has been like the thrilling countdown as the ball drops on New Year’s Eve, for me it feels more like a time bomb waiting to burst. That’s because, as a video game junkie myself, I dread the storm that is inevitably coming in the wake of GTA V — the onslaught of the question, “Do violent video games inspire real-life violence?”…
Before

September 3rd, 2013
6 tips for getting back in the swing of things after summer vacation

So, you’ve been on summer vacation. You’ve had a few weeks or months off to sleep in and relax. Maybe you’ve gone away to visit family or soak up the sun’s rays.
But now it’s time to go back to a school or work schedule (or both). This can be difficult after the summer lull.
Luckily, Busted Halo® has these handy tips to help you get back in the swing of things.

Good Night, Sleep Tight
You’ve probably spent your vacation staying up late, whether watching movies, having late night dinner with friends, or roasting marshmallows by a campfire. Now that you’re back to work or school, this will probably change. Remember that you need a full night’s sleep to function well,…

August 29th, 2013
Help for figuring out what to do with the rest of your life

Labor Day is upon us, and recent college grads are entering the workforce for the first time. However, far too many young adults are unemployed, unable to find a suitable job, much less a career. For many more, their current jobs don’t exactly match up with their idea of a “dream job,” and scores of others are underemployed (overqualified for their position) but need to work to pay the bills.
In my work as a spiritual director, I often specialize in helping people find meaningful work. I spend time helping young adults find where they believe God may be calling them and then help them take some proactive steps to put those desires into a practical career path. At the very least, I work with young adults to articulate…

August 21st, 2013

When I made the decision to go to graduate school, I only had two examples to help me anticipate the experience: friends who had gone back to school and Adam Sandler in Billy Madison.
While Billy Madison is certainly entertaining, I dwelled more on the experiences of my friends. One thing was clear: graduate school seemed like undergrad on steroids. I recall undergrad being difficult, but it seemed like this idyllic time in life with perfectly manicured landscapes, late-night dining options, bike racks, and your friends all living just a block away. Sure, there were homework and papers. However, it seemed like a big playground for young, or “emerging,” adults. It was real life, but it wasn’t.…

August 20th, 2013
And how to deal with the panic that'll ensue

For many, going back to school is done with sighs and groans and dreams of summers to come. For people like me, rising college juniors, it is done with all the emotional stability that Lindsay Lohan and Amanda Bynes show on Twitter.
Collectively, we college juniors and seniors are a mess. But to be clear, not the kind of mess that needs to be swept under the rug. We are a mess because we are intelligent and resourceful people who understand that the world outside our hallowed college halls is quite different from that within. We want to go and stay all at the same time. We are ready for responsibility but terrified of disappointment. Personally, I am petrified that I’m going to have to join the traveling circus after…

August 13th, 2013

Earlier this year, when the End It Movement urged hundreds of thousands of people to wear a red “X” on their hands to promote awareness of the 27 million people in slavery around the globe, Amor Sierra decided to make hers permanent.
That’s because she’s brimming with gratitude for the ability to choose her own mark and passionate about helping others do the same. Once counted among the 200,000 slaves in the United States, Amor escaped in 1988 and went on to become a successful commercial real estate senior manager. After 22 years of corporate work, she sensed God calling her back to Miami. She obeyed, not knowing exactly what that would look like. Soon after rejoining Calvary Kendall Church and starting…

July 5th, 2013

Travels and tans, sandals and sunscreen, boats and beaches — summertime is upon us! Busted Halo® has compiled some tunes for your summer listening pleasure. Surf through our playlist, which includes classics and newly released hits alike plus a variety of genres and artists. Along with the music, these songs speak to some important spiritual themes through their lyrics.
Whether you are taking a road trip to your local beach or throwing a barbecue for your closest friends, add these songs to your soundtrack for the summer.
And share your own favorite songs of the summer in the comments section!

#1 “Gone, Gone, Gone” by Phillip Phillips…
Something about the combination of guitar strums

May 30th, 2013

Vacation Church Search
Rather than taking a vacation from church, make church an exciting part of your vacation by celebrating mass somewhere new. While on vacation, make it a point to find an old, popular or interesting place of worship nearby. If you’re in the tropics, search for an open-air church. If you’re vacationing on the East Coast, check out a historical church. If you’re opting for a stay-cation this summer and sticking close to home, visit a new parish in your community. You never know where you will find inspiration!

Rekindle Your Spark
Plan a backyard or beach bonfire with family, close friends, or by yourself! Relax. Roast some marshmallows and make s’mores. When you are…

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