Rising Above Our Challenges

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3 NIVHot air balloons flying over lavender landscape sunset

Brightly colored hot air balloons gracefully drifting upward remind me of rising above our challenges and choosing joy. Sometimes difficult, yes, but possible if we are spiritually well.

What is spiritual wellness? It is different for each of us as it is centered upon values and beliefs that give each of us purpose. Spiritual wellness involves making time every day for:

  • Relaxation, which may include play, exercise, meditation, prayer or other spiritual practices
  • Reflection about our beliefs and how they guide our actions
  • Gratitude, forgiveness and compassion
  • Altruism and service to others

Nurturing our spiritual lives in this way allows us to build reserve so that when challenges arise, we have the resilience and perseverance to rise above them.

By MaryAnne Toepperwein



Contributed by Margi Sauder

Make my joy complete by being of a single mind, one in love, one in heart, and one in mind. Nothing is to be done out of jealousy or vanity; instead, out of humility of mind everyone should give preference to others, everyone pursuing not selfish interests but those of others. PIMG_5207 (1)hilippians 2:2-4

I have a son who lives in the Snowmass, Colorado area and we “run away” from the heat every summer to visit he and his family. This picture is of the St. Benedictine’s Monastery in Snowmass. It is the home of one of the most famous contemplative writers of our time, Fr. Thomas Keating. I was fortunate enough to attend a contemplative mass in this idyllic setting last Sunday.

The homily was on humility. This theme has reoccurred in my reading and hearing several times these past months. I am pondering what God wants me to hear. Humility is not stepping aside and allowing situations and people to just wash over me. Rather, I bel
ieve, it is being aware when the ME thinking gets in the way of me being the best person God wants me to be. Allowing myself to empty all the things that stand in my way.Contemplative prayer is the best way I have found to do this. Fr. Richard Rohr says it best:

“Contemplation teaches us to live in an undefended way. Little by little we can let go of the need to prove ourselves right or superior. Contemplation retrains our bra
ins to understand the bias from the bottom, to know with true humility and love.”

If you do not have a regular time of contemplation, or just sitting with God, I would invite you to try. Start with just a few minutes. Clear your mind; focus on your slow and steady breathing. Sometimes I sit with a few words “God fill me with your love” or “Bless me God, help me to bless others” As you become more comfortable with this you might want to increase your time. There is no perfect amount of time, just feel God sitting with you and be open for what he might be saying to you. You might be amazed at what you hear!