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November 29th, 2013

It’s almost here — Black Friday. The big shopping day that follows the big eating and giving thanks day (although those lines are blurred more each year). There is something admirable about avoiding the frenzy altogether, but let’s be realistic. If you are going to venture out on Friday to start, continue, or finish your Christmas shopping, how do you avoid losing yourself in the consumer-driven, line-cutting, short-tempered mayhem? Here’s a guide for making it through the mall with your spirit intact:
Be grateful. Say thank you, out loud and with gusto, to anyone who holds open a door, moves aside in the aisle, or lets you pass them for a parking space. Remember, Thanksgiving — a day meant to…

November 27th, 2013

Thank you for sharing your stories of gratitude with us this month. They were reminders to us of how important it is to celebrate gratitude not only on one day, but throughout the year. It was truly a pleasure to read through the submissions — and difficult to pick winners!
We haves selected the following seven stories to share with you. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Lauren Stark from Hawthorn Woods, Illinois (and Spain)
What are you grateful for this Thanksgiving?

I had been in Spain for two days, and I was ready to go home. The problem was I still had 108 days to go. I was convinced that I’d never feel comfortable during my semester abroad. The food was new, the language was new, the

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
Share your stories of gratitude -- now through November 22

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. It’s a day when we celebrate the things we are thankful for — life, family, and material and spiritual blessings. At the heart of our turkey dinners and family gatherings are expressions of gratitude. This year, we want to invite you — our readers — to air your attitudes of gratitude and submit (short) stories of thanksgiving. Here are three “thankful” writing prompts:

What are you grateful for this Thanksgiving?
Why is it so important to celebrate gratitude?
What’s your favorite Thanksgiving memory?

Send us your submission (guidelines below) by November 22, 2013, and you could have it published Thanksgiving Day at www.BustedHalo.com…

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 19th, 2013

Every year on Thanksgiving, 20 to 30 members of the DeRose clan descend upon one cornucopia-adorned suburban Chicago home for turkey(s), mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie. Each year on this particular holiday, I am reminded of the many blessings in my life, especially the blessing of family. I am overcome with gratitude for the community and all the chaos that these folks bring to my life. (Roll around with a toddler on the floor for 30 minutes after turkey and two glasses of wine, and you will feel both exhausted and filled with pure joy.)
Many family traditions for Americans mirror my own. Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate all that is bountiful in our lives and give thanks for the gifts we are given. It is also a time…

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…

November 13th, 2013

Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov is one of my favorite books; “The Grand Inquisitor,” my favorite chapter. In it, Dostoyevsky masterfully crafts a parable that would hold any Christian’s attention. Christ returns to earth during the time of the Spanish Inquisition, and is condemned to exile because his judge disagrees with Jesus’ responses to the Devil during the testing in the desert. Besides being an incredible work of literature, this chapter is very difficult to digest for anyone who takes the Christian life seriously. Dostoyevsky left me, and I am sure many others, with a haunting question: How would I treat Christ if he were to come into my life?
Being ready for Christ’s return…

November 6th, 2013

Having celebrated All Soul’s Day November 2, Catholic parishes and other faith communities employ the day as a mark for a month-long remembrance for all who have died. In the same spirit, we provide you this moment to remember the people in your life who have died. This virtual retreat offers a chance for you to reflect more deeply on what they have taught you, as well as giving you an opportunity to offer thanks and determine how their legacy will guide your life.
Click here or on the image below to open/download a PDF of the retreat.

Click here or on the image above to open/download a PDF of the retreat.…

November 4th, 2013

For the past two years I have been juggling prayer and grief. I have lost a friend, my mother, my grandmother and others. It has been tough to go through, but I’ve not been alone. Friends have reached out with concern, hugs and text messages. They’ve read my reflections about these losses and listened over the phone as I shared memories.
Losing these special people in my life has challenged my faith like no other hardship in the past. And I have never found it so difficult to pray. I’m left wondering how to pray to God when I feel angry and hurt. The dance of trying to reach out to the God of comfort while pulling away because of loss “caused” by God has moved me to pray to my loved ones directly. I’ve been asking…

November 1st, 2013

Thank you for entering your photos in The Great Busted Halo-ween Photo Contest! Here are the winners — selected from the 10 photos that received the most votes in the contest:
First Prize: Fr. Louie, OSB, from @SandeeKremers via Twitter
Second Prize: “We’re off to see the Wizard…” from Denise via Facebook
Third Prize: Saint Agatha from @Kmeder via Instagram
If you don’t already, follow BustedHaloPhoto on Instagram. Stay tuned for our next photo contest. Now, back to your regularly scheduled Halloween candy eating!

November 1st, 2013

November seems to be a month for reflection as we begin by remembering all the saints and souls that have gone before us and end the month (in the U.S., anyway) with a day of thanksgiving. Use these days for your own reflection, remembrance and thanksgiving.
The wallpaper is available in sizes that will fit both widescreen and full screen monitors, as well as mobile devices. Download the files directly below, mark your calendar, and enjoy this easy way to stay aware of important feasts and holy days heading your way.
Download:
16:9 [2560 x 1440] · 16:10 [2560 x 1600] · 4:3 [2400 x 1800] · mobile [640 x 1136]…

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 29th, 2013
How to avoid compassion fatigue and continue to help those affected by tragedy

It’s been a year since Hurricane Sandy killed 72 Americans and did $65 billion worth of damage to the East Coast, not to mention the lives and property lost in other countries. I’ve never been to the Northeast, where Sandy wrought the bulk (though not all) of her destruction, but I have a pretty good idea of what people up there have been going through for the past 12 months: an endless tug-of-war with insurance companies and contractors, crippling financial hardships, and a whole lot of emotional stress.
For those of us far from the affected areas, it’s easy to forget about natural disasters. Life gets busy, the news cycle moves on, and the stories and images that made us pull out our checkbooks and our rosaries…

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 24th, 2013

Every day allows us another chance to start over. While that might sound cliché and maybe even unrealistic, I believe that it is true and completely possible. It is probably not true that you’ll have the chance to start over in the eyes of other people, but for yourself and for God there are unlimited chances for renewal and forgiveness.
Growing up in the Baptist tradition, this idea of forgiveness was present, but did not seem as central to understanding God as in other traditions, namely Catholicism. I never had the experience or practical understanding of Reconciliation that classmates in my Catholic grade school did.
It was not until I went to high school (another Catholic school) that I was explicitly invited…

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