Welcome to the Catholic Newbie blog. My name is Lyn Mettler and I hope to share with you how I came from being a 30+ year non-believer to a Catholic convert. I was opposed to any sort of organized religion for most of my adult life but in 2011 had a dramatic change of heart. I became Catholic on Easter 2013, and I hope to daily share my thoughts, worries and hopes with you and others on the same journey.

Matthew Kelly’s “Resisting Happiness” Review & Book Giveaway

Resisting Happiness by Matthew Kelly Book Giveaway via @ACatholicNewbie

Matthew Kelly was key in my conversion to Catholicism. I was already on my way, as I was in RCIA and had decided to at least go through the process to learn more, but he tipped me over the edge into full confidence in my conversion with his book “Rediscover Catholicism.”

So any new book he writes is always tops on my list to read. The title of this one caught my attention — “Resisting Happiness” — as I feel like I know a lot of people who are definitely resisting happiness. While I felt the book got a bit off track of what it promised on the cover — “a true story about why we sabotage ourselves, feel overwhelmed, set aside our dreams, and lack the courage to simply be ourselves … and how to start choosing happiness again” — it still delivered inspiring content about how to change our lives to follow God and find peace.

Finding God’s Purpose for You

For me this book was largely about finding God’s purpose for you in life as a way to find joy and peace. Kelly gives specific examples of his journey and how he came to start Dynamic Catholic after years of speaking on the road in his 20’s.

He gives fantastic examples of those who have figured out their mission and how they did so. I loved the story of an older woman who wanted to help Dynamic Catholic and spread the word of God, but who was not physically able. Instead, she bought as many copies of “Rediscover Catholicism” as she could and sent them to everyone she knew, even mailing them to important figures around the world — all with a personal letter. What a great mission!

Or the story of a successful business man who longed to be an evangelist like Kelly but never could seem to find the time to get started. Eventually after years of prayer, he discerned God had given him the gift of making money through his businesses, not of speaking, and so he decided he was to make as much money as he could and give it to Dynamic Catholic for their good work. I love it!

Key Points on Finding Your Purpose

Some other key points Kelly makes in the book to help those struggling with their life’s purpose:

  • If you don’t have a talent that others do, you don’t need it for the mission for which God has sent you. Let go what gifts you were not given.
  • The key to happiness: Find a way to lay down your life for others in a way that engages your talents and abilities.
  • Place your talents and enthusiasm at the service of life.
  • Look at your talents and your availability. What are you passionate about? What are you really good at? You are likely to find your purpose at the intersection of those two questions.
  • Don’t focus on what you were called to in the past but what you are being called to RIGHT NOW! Your calling changes over time.

Other Gems

I have gotten in the habit of making notes in the back of the books I am reading with bullet points of actions I want to take or key points I want to remember so I can go back and review later. Here are some other notes I jotted down from “Resisting Happiness”:

  • The most important things are almost never urgent; that’s why you must schedule them.
  • Pray at the beginning of each hour of your work, offering that hour’s work for a special intention.
  • If you want to be an interesting person, read books and develop a love of learning.
  • Learn how to say no. If it’s not a definite yes; it’s a definite no.
  • Take a pilgrim’s attitude instead of that of a tourist; accept that things will go wrong on the journey and that is simply a part of your walk.
  • Persistence is the antidote to resistance; take some action, even the smallest of actions, to begin the process to overcoming anything.
  • Be gentle with yourself.

If you enjoy Matthew Kelly’s writing, you’ll enjoy “Resisting Happiness.” As always, it is full of practical ways to bring yourself closer to God and written in conversational language accessible to anyone. What I loved about “Rediscover Catholicism” was how he was able to take the ancient practices of the Church and make them relatable to me today in the 21st Century. He helped me to understand WHY the Church teaches what it teaches and how those teachings helped me grow into the saint God designed me to be :). And in that same relatable way, he offers more words of wisdom in this latest book.

Book Giveaway

I’ve got 10 copies of “Resisting Happiness” to give away thanks to the folks at Dynamic Catholic, which I support through their Ambassadors Program! To enter to win, I ask you to do TWO THINGS:

  1. Sign up for my email below, which simply means you will get my blog posts via email (currently, no more than 2 per week) by Nov. 18, 2016.
  2. “Like” Catholic Newbie on Facebook below
Subscribe to Catholic Newbie by entering your email:

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I will draw 10 random winners on Nov. 19, 2016 from those who sign up for my blog email by Nov. 18, 2017. I will then double check that you have “liked” the Facebook page before I declare you a winner. Only one winner per email address. Copies will be shipped to you directly from Dynamic Catholic. Winners announced on the Catholic Newbie blog on Nov. 19, 2016.

Parishes, or others, who buy “Resisting Happiness” in bulk can currently purchase them for just $1 per copy. A great gift to give your parish — and anyone you know — this Christmas!

Read More:

A Wonderful Prayer in This Distressing Election Season

I know I have been very distressed at certain points during this political season, but with much prayer, I have made peace with it, deciding to act for myself and let God’s will be done.

PrayMoreNovenas has a most wonderful prayer that reminds us that no government can replace our God and that in fact prayer and belief in Jesus Christ is what will save us, not the next president of the United States. So join this wonderful apostolate with whom tens of thousands pray novenas together and let us pray for God’s will to be done. That’s something we can all agree on :).

You can sign up to receive the daily email with the novena prayer here.

Here is the lovely prayer:

Heavenly Father,

Nothing can overcome your greatness. But we are weak and need a deeper gift of hope as we face worldly governments.

Help us remember that political power can never replace the mission of the Church to preach the Gospel to all nations.

Lord, we give you permission to form our consciences according to the Gospel so that we may both vote and act for the Kingdom of God.

As we wrestle with the complexity of political life, never let us forget the poor, the weak, the unborn, the refugee, the migrant, all those affected by war, those struggling financially and all those suffering from the failings of the political systems of this world.

Give us the courage to always be detached from our political loyalties and be first a faithful follower of Jesus, the true King.  And when it comes time for us to contribute to the political realm help us to cast our vote in a way that is pleasing to You.

For these elections in our nations, O God, please bless us with the best rulers possible, in this fallen world, at all levels of government.

Finally, just as You brought our salvation from the horrible death of Your Son, we pray that from the political campaigns of this world, You will bring about great good for Your people.

Amen.

What You Need to Know About Writing in a Candidate for President and Why Writing in Pence Could Backfire

can I write in a presidential candidate

There’s a lot of talk about writing in a candidate for president for the 2016 election, as many, including me, are unhappy with our two major party choices. In fact, several Congressmen, including Senator John McCain and New Jersey Rep. Frank LoBiondo, said they would write in a candidate such as Mike Pence.

Did you know that your write in vote may not count, and if you write in Mike Pence in Indiana where I live and who I think would be a much better choice, you might actually be voting FOR TRUMP! Make sure you know how to properly write in a candidate so your vote counts!

Here’s what you need to know about writing in a candidate for president. This is based on information I gathered from talking with the Indiana Secretary of State’s Election Commission office, but keep in mind it could be different in your state. Call your state’s election commission to confirm your options.

  • In Indiana, if you write in a candidate, your vote WILL NOT count unless you are voting for someone who has officially applied to run as a write-in candidate. Here are our Indiana options.
  • If you write in someone who’s NOT registered as a write-in candidate for president, your vote will not count. So consider it a protest vote.
  • Planning to write in Mike Pence? He is NOT registered to run for president in any state. So that’s likely a no count in most states. According to the Indiana Secretary of State, it’s possible they may actually include write-in votes for Pence to be a vote FOR the Trump-Pence ticket. So your write-in could end up supporting Trump. That is certainly not my intention. They indicated they have yet to determine how such a write-in will be handled. Could you imagine the extra votes that could unintentionally accrue for Trump? That could be a HUGE issue of contention as votes are tallied if Trump wins.
  • You can also choose not to vote for any particular race, including president.
  • The Indiana Secretary of State’s office indicated that write-ins are also largely subject to the discretion of the precinct manager, so there could be much debate, reviewing, recounting there, as well as to what counts, what doesn’t. Recall the hanging chad incident anyone?
  • Remember, you are actually voting for electors to choose your candidate, not the candidates themselves.

Write-ins are going to be a huge issue in this race and I predict potential chaos in correctly counting and allotting votes, especially those write-ins for Pence. Make sure you know what you are doing when you write someone in and what that really means.

Spread the word! We need to be fully informed this election!

Don’t Want to Vote Clinton OR Trump? Let’s Vote our Consience as Catholics & Write in a Candidate

Alternates to Clinton and Trump

Note: In further researching this piece, I discovered you CANNOT write in a candidate unless they have registered with your state and some states don’t allow write-ins at all. So the better procedure here is to research who is a write-in candidate in your state and if you find one who fits your values, write them in. This piece was also written before the latest Trump controversy regarding recordings of statements he made about women, but I think it holds even more relevance now.

In my opinion as a Catholic, we do not have a good choice for president this year. I wholeheartedly agree that as Catholics we cannot vote for Hillary Clinton and advance the abortion agenda. Life is the first and foremost issue. But I also believe it is a moral evil to vote for Donald Trump, who goes against almost every value I hold as a Christian and as a human person with dignity.

He does not respect the dignity of the person (which Pope Francis talks about so much), regularly tearing people down by their appearance, making fun of the disabled, proclaiming in news conferences how he would love to “hit” people (that’s condoning violence for no reason in my book), making bigoted statements (Miss Piggy??), not accepting refugees and exploiting people wherever he can to advance himself and his profits (not paying vendors after he went bankrupt). I know people who work for him say he is great, but that does not make up for his other morally-corrupt actions toward others.

I don’t expect anyone to be perfect, as we are all sinners, but I do expect the person I vote for to be an upstanding person and at least up front and apologetic of their faults. He is not only unapologetic; he is proud of these immoral character traits.

I know as Catholics we don’t want to see abortion advanced, and that is the reason cited by many to vote for Trump. (Though I am glad to see CatholicVote.com finally calling for Trump to step down; I hope more Catholic organizations will follow.) But the Catechism of the Catholic Church says that the “ends do not justify the means” (#1759) and I don’t think we can justify voting for Trump, a moral evil in my opinion, as our means to the end of not advancing abortion. What if we had two pro-abortion candidates? Would we have to vote one over the other then? I don’t think so. I choose to not vote for either Clinton or Trump, abiding by my Christian-formed conscience.

I propose we instead all write in a candidate, someone who is a much better representative of Christian values, and which still allows us to cast a vote and fulfill our duty as American citizens. We DON’T HAVE TO VOTE for these two immoral candidates – that is not a given; it is NOT our only choice. We can think outside the box and write someone in! Here are the write-in candidates who have registered to run for president. Note: They MUST HAVE REGISTERED or your write-in vote will NOT COUNT. Here is a list of registered write-in candidates.

God has placed these two unacceptable candidates in front of us at this time for a reason. Perhaps, it is what we deserve as Americans for letting our country stray so far from what it was founded upon. But I know I personally have to vote my conscience, as Pope Francis guided us to do so earlier this week. He said: “study the proposals well, pray and choose with your conscience.” God’s will be done – whatever it is. I know he will make good from evil, just as he did with Jesus’ death on the cross. But I cannot play a part in letting an immoral individual lead our country; I will not cast that vote as a means to an end.

I know I will catch much backlash for this, and not that I am in way in their company, but so have many saints spoken against the populace for what is right and taken a verbal whiplashing.

Let’s do things differently, American Catholics, and let’s make a stand for Christian values. Even if our voices do not ultimately win out, we will have followed our consciences and what Jesus teaches — that’s all He asks of us. As St. Teresa of Calcutta says, God does not call us to be successful, only faithful. Amen brothers and sisters!

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