Inspiration Mind Prayer

What, Me Stressed?

Yesterday was a kind of  funny day.  I had an important meeting that I was quite stressed about, mainly because I wasn’t sure what was on the agenda. I don’t know about you, but I think there’s something unnerving about being asked to meet but not being sure what will be discussed.

I was told about the gathering several weeks ago, so there was more than enough time for the tension and anxiety to ratchet up.  In these times, you just don’t know if you’re going to be told you’re getting a pink slip, or that you’ll be called upon to do even more with even less.  I talked about all this the night before with a priest-friend of mine, who also serves as my spiritual director.  He gave me some great advice.

Blogging Inspiration Mind


One of the most popular blogs in the world is written by Leo Babauta.  I think his post below will resonate with a lot of the readers here at Making All Things New.


The moment my first daughter Chloe was born, I was filled with an overpowering joy — she was a living miracle! I was also filled with soul-trembling fear — here was a fragile new life, entrusted into my incompetent hands.

It was overwhelming, this mixture of two powerful emotions.

I call it Joyfear.

Copyright pending.

I discovered this word in an exercise on Sunday at the World Domination Summit during a talk by the amazing Andrea Scher and Jen Lemen of Mondo Beyondo (check out their site, it’s awesome). During the exercise I came up with the word and wrote it on my arm.


It turns out that the birth of each of my kids was filled with Joyfear. And it turns out every single defining moment in my life has been filled with Joyfear, with a mixture of intense joy and intense fear into one ball of powerful emotions that both lift me up and make me see things clearly when I hadn’t before.

My first marathon was filled with Joyfear (actually every marathon had it). I felt Joyfear when I quit my day job and became self-employed. Joyfear was there when I fell in love with my wife and then when I married her, when I moved my entire family with absolutely nothing to San Francisco last year, when I published my first book, and in a smaller way every time I create something new and put it out into the world to be judged.

Having only joy is great. Having only fear sucks. But having both … that’s life-defining.

Do not shy away from Joyfear. Seek it out. Recognize it when you happen upon it. Joyfear will change your life, and you’ll never forget the moment you find it.

Gardening Soup On Saturday Soups and Stews Vegan Vegetarian

Chilled Tomato and Basil Soup

It’s funny how things work.  The hot weather has just about cooked my basil plants and they are looking a bit sad, but the heat is helping my tomato plants thrive.  I guess I’ll have to go out and get a couple of more basil plants, since we’re nowhere near August, when Maryland tomatoes are at their peak.

I’m thinking the tomatoes I used for this recipe came up from Florida.  They’re good, but Maryland tomatoes are better. 🙂

This is a very easy recipe to prepare.  Serve it up with a baguette and salad, and you’ll have a terrific summer meal.

Ignatian Spirituality Inspiration Mind Personal Development Prayer

Five Ideas To Help You Create Some Excitement

When was the last time you were really excited about something?  Maybe it was last night, watching your favorite baseball team have a big win.  It could have been the call from a friend/family member telling you that she’s going to have a baby.

You could have gotten excited about a phone call you received telling you that you got the job you interviewed for, or that you are being promoted.  For some, the excitement they experience could come from a great time of prayer they had, walking away with a clarity they’ve been seeking.

Sadly, some of us might struggle with this exercise.  Nothing immediately comes to mind.

Ignatian Spirituality Inspiration Prayer Spirit

Don’t Assume The Worst

Who could blame the disciples?  Here they are, on a little boat, Jesus asleep, and a violent storm whips up.  They are scared out of their minds, thinking that they’re going to die.

As the boat was being swamped by the waves, they wake Jesus up.  The Gospel writer Matthew writes (8:23-27) that the men shout, “Lord save us! We are perishing!”  Jesus, being the Person that He is, was not amused.  They just don’t get it, He probably thought to Himself.  First, He rebuked them for not having faith.  Then, He rebuked the wind and the sea, and everything instantly calmed down.

Most of the time, I think we’re just like those disciples on the boat.

Ignatian Spirituality Inspiration Mind Personal Development

Boxing Ourselves In

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about identity. How our identity is shaped. Should we box ourselves into only one?

What happens when everything changes and we lose that identity we worked so hard to create?

Trying to figure out the answers to these questions has been on my mind, mainly because of all the transitions many of the people around me are going through right now.

It seems to me that most of us, first and foremost, find our identity through the career that we are in.  Of course, this would make sense.

Italy Main Course Soup On Saturday Soups and Stews Vegan Vegetarian


I was sitting in an outdoor cafe in Florence the first time I had Panzanella. The main component of this frugal Tuscan dish is stale bread.

Teamed up with tomatoes, onion, cucumber, and basil, mixed together in a vinaigrette, the dish sings.

Now that things are getting hot and humid, this recipe makes for a terrific light lunch or dinner.  Serve it up with a Pinot Grigio or some other light white, preferably from the same region of Italy where this bread salad is a lunch/dinner-time staple.  


Make It A Good Day

Yesterday, a little girl I know missed her last day of school 🙁 Diagnosis: chickenpox and poison ivy.  How could one person be so lucky?

When her mom told me the news, I knew there would be some drama surrounding the fact that she wouldn’t be able to say goodbye to her teacher and friends.  So, I jumped in the car and picked up some flowers for her.

Ignatian Spirituality Inspiration Personal Development Prayer

Building Dreams

I met with an old friend for several hours last night about a project I’m thinking about doing.  Actually, I’ve been talking to several friends about it over the last few weeks, and things are starting to come together.  It’s exciting.

When something starts to take shape in our lives, when we begin to see the potential of a dream becoming a reality, it’s critical to bring in wise counsel who will be honest and objective.  Can I really do this?  Is this where my gifts and talents lie?  Is this what God wants me to do?  What hurdles will I have to overcome to be successful?

Catholic Church Inspiration Prayer Spirit


This past weekend, I went on a Men’s Retreat with a Catholic group called the King’s Men. Overall, it was a great experience for me and the two guys I went with.

Rustic to say the least, the retreat took place at French Creek State Park in Pennsylvania, not too far from Amish Country.

The 120 participants varied widely in age and background, and came from up and down the eastern seaboard.

Everything the King’s Men do has three common themes running through: How can men be better leaders, protectors, and providers for their families, friends, and community.  I got a lot out of how these themes were presented, and overall the retreat left me with much to think about.