DREAMS COME TRUE

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I am thrilled to announce that my first book, Dreams Come True: Discovering God’s Vision for Your Life is now available.

Here is a brief description:

Drawing on two decades of work with young adults James Walters provides an accessible guide for vocational discernment. Rooted in the Christian tradition, engaged with the wisdom of other religious traditions and fully conversant with contemporary research in “appreciative inquiry”, Walters shows how the dreams we have for our lives can come true in ways that build a more just and united world.

Available on Amazon and New City Press in both paperback and Ebook

Also available on Ebook on GooglePlay and Nook.

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Testimonials:

In a time when it’s easy to settle for what the world offers, Dreams Come True provides a higher standard. James Walters guides the reader through concrete, time-proven methods for discerning the unique call that God has for each of us. —Dr. Michael St. Pierre | Executive Director, Catholic Campus Ministry Association

Dreams Come True isn’t just written, it’s curated. So many voices, so much wisdom, all opening us up to God’s possibilities. It’s perfect for those who stand overwhelmed before the wholeness of life ahead, and for those of us about to turn 60 who are still wondering what we’re going to be when we grow up. —Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, CM | President, Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities

 

 

STUMBLING INTO LENT

Last year, Ash Wednesday occurred on February 26th. We marked our heads with ashes before we covered our faces with masks. Three days later, the first known Covid-related death was recorded in the United States. As the questions were raised and fear grew, the invisible virus soon made us realize that Lent, and life, was going to be very different.

Almost a year later, we find ourselves with almost 500,000 dead Americans. There are millions who are unemployed, hungry, lonely, mourning, angry, and lost. So many are wounded, tired, and grasping to whatever hope is left after a year of isolation, cancellations, and heartache.

This year, many of us are stumbling into our Lenten journey.

Perhaps Lent arrives at the perfect time. Might we allow Lent to be one of rest and transformation.

Recall Jesus and His 40-day journey in the desert. It was this time of isolation where He not only faced and overcame temptation, He prepared to return to civilization as a teacher and healer. His 40-day’s alone with God was one of spiritual nourishment and peace.

We are invited into this same experience. When Easter arrives on April 4th (for Catholics) and when the pandemic loses its lethal punch sometime this year or next, how will you be transformed?

Give yourself this gift of Lent to reconnect with God and with your true self. We need it, now more than ever before.

At the same time, hear the cries of those in need these days. The invitation to serve remains.

How will you be like the angels who ministered to Jesus in the desert? How will you heal others now-by your service, prayers, and sharing of gifts and resources?

Like Martha and Mary, find the balance to serve and to listen to God.

We might be stumbling into Lent, yet we find our loving God waiting for us once again to transform our hearts so we can transform the lives of others.

A blessed Lenten journey to all and remember, be kind to yourself- these are not easy times. Prayers for all!

CAN YOU BE GRATEFUL?

This day, can you be grateful for

  • your 20,000 breaths
  • your abilities and your disabilities
  • your shelter
  • your nourishment
  • your strength
  • your rest
  • your courage
  • your kindness
  • your contagious laugh
  • your unwelcomed tears
  • your earned wrinkles
  • your gray strands of hair
  • your smile in hearing a familiar tune or friendly voice
  • your memories of those who loved you
  • your memories of those you loved in return
  • your God who lives within you and loves you unconditionally
  • your technology that connects you to others
  • your Spirit that connects you to God
  • your pain to discover grace
  • your loss to find appreciation
  • your rejections to find better
  • your faith
  • your reconciliation with lost friends before all was lost
  • your reconciliation with God
  • your reconciliation with self
  • your voice to be heard
  • your ears to listen
  • your nose to remind you
  • your eyes to discover
  • your hands to embrace
  • your past to teach you
  • your journey to finally let go and let be
  • your 24 hours to soak in the magnificence that is this unpromised day

a COVID invitation for transformation

ILLINOIS MONARCH PROJECT / ILAGFORMONARCHS.ORG

When I was a child, I remember my teacher asking us to create caterpillars out of egg cartons. We colored it with our favorite markers and drew a smiley face on the front to make it our own. When we returned the next morning, our caterpillars “miraculously” transformed into butterflies as colorful paper wings were added and they were creatively hung from the aging school’s ceiling.

During this past year, I turned to the metaphor of a caterpillar’s metamorphosis as a spiritual image to better understand my own transformation. It is not as easy as that creative craft from a very distant past.

As we passed 400,000 American deaths last week, the pandemic continues to raise new, necessary questions. As I look back and within, I recognize that since last February, instability and fear shook me at my core. I was all of a sudden a bit unsure about all that was once secure.

This set me down a new path, one that I try daily to be one of growth. I sought out support to ask different questions, started healthy practices like yoga and meditation, and I approached this difficult journey as an opportunity to emerge from the pandemic truer to myself and to God’s design.

In a spiritual direction session over the summer, I referenced the journey of the butterfly from its humble beginnings as a tired caterpillar. I found a weird solidarity with this unique and inspiring insect.

My director pointed out that in the process of metamorphosis, a caterpillar turns into a form of mush and it isn’t very pretty. After some simple internet research, I learned that the process is not as smooth as the egg carton craft from childhood.

It turns out that the process is a bit painful. The caterpillar digests itself before its sleeping cells grow into parts of the soon-to-be butterfly. The caterpillar literally has to let itself die to become new.

This might sound familiar to Christians- death and resurrection. Other spiritual traditions call upon this similar shedding of the past. As spiritual author Eckhart Tolle teaches, it is in the crucifixions of our life where grace enters.

The beauty of the butterfly reminds us of our own inner journey’s destination and God’s amazing grace. We must first trust. Second, we need to let somethings die- be it relationships, behaviors, perspective- as they are no longer working.

A wise litmus test is to ask what might be making you tired. Like the caterpillar near the end of its journey, this might be the clue that a new beginning is not that far away.

The pain of our own metamorphosis is not an easy one. Yet, the end result should provide hope. This change, is not just for the butterfly itself. It is for all to wonder and to be reminded of the beauty and glory of God.

How often do we see a butterfly and stop in our tracks. We grab for our phone to catch a picture, or point it out to our companions as we recognize the beauty that is temporarily flying in our midst.

As we emerge from our transformation, we can also emerge as a point of inspiration. Not only will others benefit from our loving energy, they will also look within and see their own invitation to change- to let what is no longer working come to its necessary end.

In life, we will experience many metamorphoses. Each time, if we see with grateful and aware eyes, we will find the challenge as opportunity. Might we spend some time today to look within and begin to wonder how our majestic new wings will lift us to new soaring heights.

Bring this to prayer, and invite the divine spark that shines within to brighten even more. In what has been, and continues to be, a horrific year for humanity, perhaps we can emerge from it, both individually and collectively, as greater sources of inspiration and hope.

review dreams come true

Hopefully by now, you have grabbed your copy of Dreams Come True! If so, please leave a review on Amazon. You can click here, scroll down to reviews, and provide a score out of 5 stars and/or leave a brief review.

Why is this helpful:

DCT has been doing really well, but we are still looking to get this book in more hands to invite a deeper relationship with God and a transformative life.

Book reviews on Amazon help increase the book’s standing and promotion.

Thank you for taking a few minutes to help extend this invitation.

If you have not read DCT yet, please consider purchasing your copy. As we begin a new year, the practical activities and inspiration will invite a year of peace and love.

Thank you to all for your continued support!

all you need is love

The New Year’s Eve Ball photographed as it is raised at 1 Times Square in New York City on December 31st, 2012.

“In the evening of life, we will be judged on love alone.”

-St John the Cross

Did you feel that anxiety this morning?

Maybe it started last night.

The first Monday of the new year. The return to school for most children and teachers. The unofficial start date to healthier eating, increased exercise, and improved productivity.

After a horrific 2020, many are looking at this new chapter as a fresh start- an opportunity to fill in the gaps and to make necessary changes, all while keeping a distance with masks still on face accompanied by very clean, yet dried out hands.

As I felt this “rush” as I gulped my first and second cups of coffee, my anxiety was calmed by watching my two children play by the soon to be taken down Christmas tree.

They did not feel the pressure of their fresh to-do lists. Instead, they just loved one another and they were very much present to the moment and task at hand- my oldest building blocks, and my youngest attempting to crawl.

No matter what tasks must be completed this day and this year, no matter what resolution is going strong or yet to begin, remember to remain gratefully present and most of all, love!

Love your neighbor and stranger, alike.

Love by being selfless instead of selfish.

Love God first.

Be loved by God first-allowing your cup to be filled so you can fill the cups of others.

Take a deep breath this day. Remember to be patient and good to yourself. And, if you do many things or just a few, secure that all of it is filled with love.

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