Authors, Books, Ministries, Speakers

Karen Dwyer

Karen Dwyer

WRAP Yourself in JOY – To bring people to Jesus to find true Joy, Love, and healing.

Karen Dwyer is an inspirational speaker and has been an award-winning college teacher, specializing in helping students and adults of all ages conquer their public speaking anxiety. She is the author of 10 books including WRAP Yourself in JOY: Find the JOY & Fight the Fear, WRAP Yourself in Scripture, Esther for Such a Time as This: Prayer, Reversals & Joy, Nehemiah—Rebuilding Hope & Joy in Your Life, The Joy of Advent—Journey with the People, Events &, Prayers at the First Coming of Jesus Christ, and iConquer Speech Anxiety.

Karen has been a guest on EWTN’s The Choices We Face and on several Catholic radio programs, including programs on Spirit Catholic Radio. She is the Coordinator for Magnificat-Omaha, founder of the Heart of Jesus Prayer Groups, a Council Member of USA Pentecost Today and has served on the Board of Directors for KVSS Spirit Catholic Radio and the national Mission Advisory Council for the Institute of Priestly Formation (IPF).

Karen says, “The Lord Jesus Christ wants to share His joy with you (John 15: 11). He is the One who sustained me through great tragedy and gave me His JOY. Our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, our Savior, and the Holy Spirit want to give YOU more JOY. “

Karen and her husband Larry are active members of St. Robert Bellarmine Parish, Omaha, NE.

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Name:  Karen Dwyer

Email Address: kdwyer1111@gmail.com

Location: Omaha, NE, USA

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Types of Prayer

There are times when I feel swept up by a passage in the bible, and I then place myself in the bible scene in the form of Ignatian spirituality and prayer.

It was the end of February and the winter in Michigan was growing long.  Snow blowing and shoveling snow on a regular basis, sometimes early in the morning around 5 am and then again in the evening, was making me physically tired.  Work was demanding and taking care of 2-month-old puppies had become stressful.  Having little time to take care of myself physically, emotionally, and spiritually was becoming a challenge.  I was craving me-time and it was not happening.  I had been praying to God, seeking peace, and asking for strength to help me get through the days, but I could tell that God was letting me stay in this state until I could figure it out, but it just wasn’t happening.

Then one morning around 5:15 am I woke up to Henry’s whining, our boy dog.  All was dark in the house, and I made my way down the stairs to get their collars, grumbling in my heart on why I had to do this and lamenting that I could not sleep longer.  As I knelt to Henry’s crate and opened the door, he pushed through and into my chest as I put his collar around him, wagging his tail and licking me.  I then found myself near Tyre and Sidon in the middle of the day, the sun was bearing down on the dirt roads, people were staying in the shade either by trees or by their houses, and the chickens were picking at the ground looking for food.  Jesus and his disciples had withdrawn to this area after rebuking the Pharisees for clinging to their traditions and elevating these above mercy and love.  Confrontations were becoming more frequent for Jesus but the time for his crucifixion was not to take place yet, so he needed to withdraw from Israel to this Gentile land.

Tyre and Sidon were 2 Phoenician cities along the coast of the Mediterranean and still present today in modern day Lebanon; Tyre was about 20 miles south of Sidon and about 12 miles from the current-day Israel and Lebanon border.  This area was known as the land of Canaan and was dominant up to the years 1250c – 1150 c. BC1 when it is believed a major catastrophe took place, possibly military, that resulted in the dissolution of their land and culture.  The bible has this time in history as the invasion by Hebrew General Joshua and the Israelites2. Tyre and Sidon prospered because of their seaports and trade centers.  The Canaanites were polytheistic and were considered corrupt and pagan by Israel standards, a threat to Israel’s monotheistic religion and relationship with God.  With time, the Canaanites military weakened and became inferior to the Israelites.  With this backdrop, I saw the Canaanite woman approach Jesus, crying out to Him, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me!  My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.” (Matthew 15:21-28).  Mark also recounts this story and places Jesus in a house that he had chosen to have his disciples rest (Mark 7:24-30).  The woman is well aware of the rivalry between the Jewish and the Canaanites, and acknowledges Jesus’ superior standing as a Jew, but also is willing to acknowledge him as the Messiah since she called him the “Son of David.”  Jesus does not address her initially, and only after the disciples urge Him to send her away, he replies, “I was only sent to the lost sheep of Israel.”

The woman, after initially crying out to Jesus for mercy, knelt near Jesus and said, “Lord, help me!”  He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.”

But in her inferiority and humility, she had acquiesced to the role of a dog while acknowledging Jesus as her master.  “Yes, Lord” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”  Because of her faith, Jesus healed her daughter.

While I was holding Henry in my chest and then proceeded to get Margaret’s collar on (our girl dog), I acknowledged that the winter had become long and difficult.  It had become difficult trying to be loving and charitable on my own terms, forcing this desire while at the same time having the desire to have my own “me time.”  I acknowledged that I had not let God in to help me with this dilemma because I wanted to do it in my own terms.  The load became heavy enough that I finally found myself praying to God, “Lord, have mercy on me, I am one the dogs right now and I could eat whatever crumb you let fall from your table.”

At that moment, I felt like humility settled in and I was now ready to accept God’s healing.  As we went down the sidewalk with snowbanks on either side, I contemplated the dark cloudless sky full of stars.  I was in awe that the universe could be so big and so beautiful, and God had created this.  In that silent walk I felt so engulfed by God.  My heart felt warm even though it was cold at 15 degrees and steam was coming from my breath.  As the dogs searched for a spot to potty on the snow, I continued to feel God in that beautiful sky, just letting myself drift into the vast space of the universe.  Peace settled into my heart and for that moment, as Margaret and Henry locked their eyes on me and I looked at them, I experienced a deep sense of love from them, and in return, I felt love for them too.  We stood looking at each other for what seemed to be minutes but were probably just a few seconds. No words were exchanged, just simply looks.  The cold air began to seep through my coat, and we had to make it back into the house.  It was an intense moment, a moment that I was able to bask in that morning but, interesting enough, I forgot the moment in its intensity once I got busy again with life’s routines and schedules.

As I went through March, I could remember the moment but could not reproduce its intensity like that morning in February.  I longed for that moment of love and peace, but I could not reproduce it.  It reminded me of Peter trying to build three tents for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah when Jesus underwent the transfiguration.  The moment was so intense, so full of love and peace, that he wanted to keep it for himself by building those three tents while they were up in the mountain, but Jesus did not want him to freeze-frame it.  As I thought of Peter, I came to realize that Jesus wanted me to understand that these experiences were eternal without a beginning or an end, and although I wanted to keep it for myself, my faculties would not allow me to remember the intensity of it.  I have come to believe that this moment was an infusion of love by God.

This excerpt is taken from Chapter 19 of my recently published book, Finding God Again and Again.  It highlights the style of prayer in Ignatian Spirituality as “placing oneself in the scene” as I pray in a passage of the bible and let the Word come to me with its message and healing.  Placing myself in the scene, I use all my senses as I meditate on the passage: what I see, hear, feel and maybe even taste, if necessary.  In this particular, winter story, the prayer happened spontaneously at 5:15 in the morning as I had read this bible story before and was able to recall the facts.  But at that moment, I was ready spiritually to let the Word “come to me.”  Sometimes I find myself trying to force prayer, even to the point of wanting my will to supersede God’s will.  It is only in humility and with patience that I can let God come into my heart.

Depending on the busyness of my day, I go from mental prayer (perhaps saying a few petitions or reciting some prayers) to meditative prayer (as above) to contemplative prayer, where I let God and the Holy Spirit take me where it wills, and as Jesus says, “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)

Lately, I have been reading about Thomas Keating and Centering Prayer.  This style of prayer has a monastic Christian love mysticism where I let God into my heart while I turn off my mind.  You could say that this is another form of contemplative prayer, and the key part is learning how to turn off the mind.  Certainly, a challenge for me but I continue to work on this.

You may see other posts on the book website, https://www.johnspitzermd.com/category/blog/

 

Resources

  1. Byers, Gary.  The Biblical Cities of Tyre and Sidon, Associates for Biblical Research, created January 26, 2010.  Retrieved from https://www.biblearcheology.org
  2. Mark, Joshua.  Ancient History Encyclopedia, last modified October 23, 2018.  Retrieved from https://www.ancient.eu/canaan/
Authors, Books, Ministries, Speakers

Amy Schisler

Amy Schisler

Amy Schisler – I write for the glory of God.

Amy has been writing all of her life as an author and freelance writer. Her first children’s book, Crabbing With Granddad, is an autobiographical work about spending a day harvesting the Maryland Blue Crab. Amy’s debut novel, A Place to Call Home, was released in 2014. Picture Me, A Mystery, published in 2015, was the winner of an Illumination Bronze Award as one of the top Christian eBooks of 2015. Amy’s critically acclaimed novel, Whispering Vines, published in 2016, was awarded an Illumination Award for Christian Romance as well as the LYRA for the best ebook romance of 2016. Amy’s Chincoteague Island Trilogy won numerous awards including the Illumination Award, a Catholic Press Honor, and the Oklahoma Romance Writer’s Award for Best Inspirational Fiction Book as well as six other national literary awards. Her most recent works include the Buffalo Springs series and The Good Wine, the sequel to Whispering Vines. Amy lives with her husband and daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland where she leads Bible studies and volunteers for her parish.

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Name: Amy Schisler

Email Address: contact@amyschislerauthor.com

Location: Bozman, Maryland, USA

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7 Best Journals for Busy Catholics

This post contains affiliate or associate links with several businesses (which means if you shop through the links, we earn a small commission). As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

How do you relieve stress, pray, and allow yourself time to be creative?  For me, I can do all of those things through writing in a journal.

I find comfort using a prayer journal in my home, at Eucharistic Adoration and even outside in nature.

Here are the journals I think you would enjoy using and allow you to not only grow closer to the Lord, but also achieve goals you have only dreamed of and see the beauty that is already in your life!

Continue reading “7 Best Journals for Busy Catholics”

Books, Lent, Promo posts

A Prayer Journal for the Holiest Week of the Year

This post is written by Sara Estabrooks, author of To Jesus, Sincerely. A prayer journal for the holiest week of the year.

Imagine yourself encountering Holy Week for the first time.

Place yourself into history.

You’ll walk by His side every step of the way. You’ll experience the fear, the pain, the suffering, and finally, the joy of this pivotal week in Salvation History.

With this prayer journal, you’ll enter into Holy Week in a whole new way.

Each day from the Saturday before Palm Sunday through the Resurrection has Bible readings, reflections, prayers, and journal prompts to help you immerse yourself in the reality of Jesus’ Passion, death and Resurrection.

Commit to living Holy Week in a special way this year.

Walk Holy Week at Jesus’ side.

Continue reading “A Prayer Journal for the Holiest Week of the Year”