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In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

I believe the title is the beginning to any great story, right? If you are new to the Bible, this is the first sentence in the book of Genesis. Don't be confused though, this blog is not about rattling of scripture...because that would require me to know a lot of scripture and I am still a Bible novice. I'm actually a novice at most things!

Now to the good stuff.

Welcome, thank you for taking time to find Stella Maris and especially this blog. This is a new adventure, but like Saint John Paull II said, "Life with Christ is a wonderful adventure". I want this to be a wonderful adventure for you and me. As life evolves so will this blog, website, and hopefully your relationship with God.

Today, let's answer the question why. Jaime, why did you create this website? Were you bored and decided to take a class on website design? Did you run out of reasons to NOT fold laundry, so picked up a side hobby? Did you have a feeling inside that is hard to describe? A feeling like a small spark or a pull towards something that was not defined yet? Well, I think you can guess which one is the reason why I started Stella Maris...I really do not like doing laundry!

Ok, ok, it's the latter.

I would say there has been a small fire within me for more than 4 years, but something (now I know this to be the Holy Spirit) sparked within me around January 2020 to do something more to reach more people and provide for them in a unique way. I've gone to the extent of attempting to broker a deal to purchase a Catholic bookstore, leading multiple bible studies and journaling daily about God and faith, not knowing where these words may go, if even anywhere. Well friends, we are at anywhere! I have prayed to God to help me have the sense of where I need to be in life and how I can best serve others. I prayed for the grace to be patient and understand that it is at his will, not mine. I was not able to come to an agreement to purchase the bookstore, so that dream died. I definitely know that God was protecting me in that situation. A month after I knew I would not be able to come to a deal, the pandemic hit. Commerce slowed to a snail's pace, people were isolating, stores were closing, goods were halted in transit. It would have been financially and emotionally devastating to purchase this bookstore and then close for an undetermined amount of time. God was protecting my family and me. Thank you, God, for always knowing what is best for me and allowing me the grace to follow your will.

Life continues over the next 18 months, I continue to stay engaged with my bible study group, read books, listen to podcasts, attempt participating in adult formation, attend a parish led bible study, share the Catholic faith with my children, all the things. During those months, I was content, but like a good friend told me, "with faith, if you are not moving forward, you are moving backwards". Our journey's path is always moving, and we either put forth the effort and move forward and closer to God and Heaven, or we stand still and get pushed backwards...or you turn around and put forth efforts that are taking you further away from God and Heaven.

A good analogy would be a rowing. We row against the current on our journey to God. It is difficult, but not impossible. It is easier if we have a group of people rowing together in the same direction (living JOY...I'll cover that in a different blog post ;)). If we stop rowing, we will start moving backwards, the current will push us further away from where we want to go. Then we have the option to give up and just start rowing the opposite direction because it is easier, even though we won't like our destination at the end. There are times when your group will pull you along even though you stopped rowing and that's what family and friends are for. There are times when you will need to row twice as hard to help keep that same family member or friend moving in the right direction. Then there is the time that someone from your boat decides to abandon ship and slowly slips away going the wrong direction. You pray for them, you throw them a life jacket, you do all you can, but in the end, it's their journey and you pray they will find the strength to swim upstream and be reunited with you on the journey to God and Heaven.

As I am typing this blog, I realize this has come full circle and I know that this is God working through me. I did not know what I was going to write about when I sat down this morning. I knew it would be an introduction, but WOW, the words flowing through the keys as I type could not be more in harmony with the name, Stella Maris, Our Lady, Star of the Sea. I cannot take full credit for Stella Maris, the name was recommended to me by a woman I deeply respect. I knew whatever she recommended would not be random or without discernment. Another reason to give thanksgiving to God, putting the right people in your boat!

There are 3 main parts to Stella Maris.

Suggested Reading: I have added photos of books that I have read with my bible study or on my own. My hope is to add reviews of the books to this section, along with links to purchase.

Shop: Curated collections for faith apparel, stationary, and gifts. The revenue generated from the shop will be the backbone to operating this site, so please share with others and help make this a success. Expect to see collaborations with collections changing periodically.

Blog: If you have made it this far, then you know what the Blog is about :)

Today I pray that Stella Maris intercedes in your life as a guide and protector. She will always be a guiding star that can be seen day or night on your way to Christ.

with a grateful heart, Jaime

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