Thursday, January 29, 2015

Joy! Week 14

  Sometimes I just have to laugh. My days are sometimes so very boring, typing a bulletin, running some papers. Then I have days like yesterday!  There wasn't a boring hour to it. First, I began the day by putting my contact lenses in the wrong eye. Those of you who have two different prescriptions for each eye know what I'm talking about. I have no idea how I got them mixed up, the case covers are different colors and say clearly "LEFT" and "RIGHT" and I think I was awake when I put them in...
Anyway, immediately they began to bother me, but it was pre-coffee so I chocked it up to be in the sleepy zone still.
   So quick breakfast and off to work. It was a gorgeous sunrise by the way. One of the perks of my work day beginning at 7:30 AM is I get to see the sun rise out of the east, the direction I am going; and see all the colors, the plane contrails, sun rays, you name it. It is an awesome display of God's wonders.  I did a little work in my office, then ran over to church for 8:00 AM Mass. It was when I was leaving Mass I noticed the heat pump on the church was frozen over and leaking...hmmm better make a call to our maintenance guy. 
  Get back in the office to screams from a co-worker whose computer has gone down and she handles payroll, end of year tax letters for the entire parish, anything financial. The last week of January is not a good time for her computer to go on the fritz. So being the by-default-designated-compute-triage person I go to work on her computer.
  By now I'm behind on working on a 50 page form my wonderful Pastor-Boss asked me to work on. Okay, still got time in the day...  And wow, I can't see the small type, what is up with my eyes?
  The computer turns into a disaster with nothing working correctly on it now and I am forced to call in the big guns!  Roger comes from the computer company across town and begins diagnosing. 
  Then my brother calls, my mom has a groundhog in the crawl space of her house. We spend 20 minutes trying to figure out how we're going to deal with that before it gets into her house. It's already chewed a hole through to the basement!!
  I get off the phone to find out a man has backed into the utility pole next to our Church and has possibly destroyed our data line with phones, computer and internet.  Sigh... and yes it's my job to fix it, or find someone who can!  I have a headache; and am beginning to wonder if I put my contact lenses in the wrong eyes. Should have thought of that much earlier.
  Back in my office I find out suddenly my computer is not working correctly now...they don't call them computer viruses for nothing!  Now Roger is working on my computer too.
  Back to planning for a funeral for tomorrow, finding music for the organist to play and me to sing. Wait, we don't have that sheet music, I need the internet to download it!
  I leave for lunch, to switch my contacts around and get back before more heck breaks loose! Boring? Not today!   JOY!!!
 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Joy! Week 13

  I am so excited! I am taking an online course on none other than Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation, "The Study of Joy in the Gospel" (Evangelli Gaudium)
  I've taken other online catechist courses, but this one was perfect since I was blogging about JOY!  And I hear from Francis my own thoughts on why we should being JOYFUL Catholics! Why else? We have the Lord!

" The great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience. Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades. This is a very real danger for believers too. Many fall prey to it, and end up resentful, angry and listless. That is no way to live a dignified and fulfilled life; it is not God’s will for us, nor is it the life in the Spirit which has its source in the heart of the risen Christ."
  If you are interested in reading some of it, it's very readable and enjoyable!
http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_exhortations/documents/papa-francesco_esortazione-ap_20131124_evangelii-gaudium.html#The_joy_of_the_gospel

  We find ourselves constantly confronted by Joy suckers, in the news, media (and I am a journalist so I can ride their case about that!) as well as our own tendency when talking with others to find a negative thing and wring everything out of it we can!  It's awful!  Yet it seems to be a common thread in our conversations.  The devil is in the world constantly tripping us up. In the guise of making us think we are being prideful if we are too happy, he throws out these little arrows and barbs that defeat our happiness bubble.  But if we can figure out his ploys he has no power over us. How?  Keep living joyful!  Keep a joy journal, thank God for the beauty of the day. 

This morning there was a gorgeous sunrise! There were a few clouds in the east, some wisps of contrails and painted behind all that was a pink, yellow and orange glow which grew deeper in color the closer to the ball of the sun it got.  THAT was awesome! Thank you God!

Do you notice people on the street as you drive by? Do you say a prayer for them if they look cold or lonely?  My morning drive to work is full of prayer, usually first about my family, but then I add names of other family or friends as well as people I don't know as I see them walking somewhere, working outside, or driving by at the stoplight.  Morning is when I can say prayers in my car. Unfortunately by my lunchtime or late afternoon drive home I'm not so patient. I know, I'm working on it. I wish I could stay in my morning prayerful mood EVERY time I get into my car.  I'm a work in progress.   I have taped the word PATIENT to the upper part of my windshield to help me in those times. I need to fill the top portion of my car roof with other reminders such as JOY! PRAY! etc to help me while in traffic. I'll keep trying. A joyous Christian is the best evangelizer!

Sometimes the best we can do is keep trying and trying and trying. Again I'm reminded of Jesus' journey to the cross when he fell, got back up and fell and got back up again. He did that just so I knew I can keep falling as long as I keep getting back up. Thank you, Lord. I do so many times a day, yet you love me. That makes me JOYOUS!!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

One of My Joys? Knitting!

  Several years ago I began knitting as a way to relieve stress that my crocheting was not doing. I began first with this cute cuddly bear pattern.  I had to read directions, follow pattern, something I was not good at. But the result?  A cute bear. At the time I was majorly stressed out. My dad was getting cancer treatments and I was trying to help my mom and he between doctor visits, figuring out the side effects of the treatments while still holding down a full time job and a full time family business. For some odd reason, making myself sit down at night and following a knitting pattern calmed me down. Crazy right?
 
  The result was a bear. Well, not just one. My first one got done in time for my dad to hold before he died. Immediately to work through my grief I began to make more bears. I made bears for my kids, for my mom and then for my brother and sisters and my nieces and nephews. The first two years following his death I had made over 35 bears.  Then I couldn't stop. I kept making bears for friends of my kids, for the babies of friends, and just because. In my closet now sits about 20 bears of all different colors and sizes. 
  After four years I finally moved on to other knitting, infinity scarves, hats, fingerless gloves and now sweaters.
  After completing a sweater complete with sleeves and a rolled collar I decided to challenge myself to an entire year of knitting sweaters in the hopes I can make one for each member of my immediate family. That's 5-6 sweaters. 
  So it's the second week of January and I've begun three. See I am easily bored with working on one project at a time so I begin a new one each week and switch between all of them. Did Ialso mention I am crocheting a blanket in here too?   The only time I get to spend on these projects is after making supper at night before I get too tired and must go to bed.
  So, I am hoping that in 11 months I will have those 5-6 sweaters and one blanket.
  Let's see how it goes.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Joy! Week 10, 11, 12...

What happens when you let your Joy lose in a crowd? 
  I learned the hard way yesterday while teaching my Confirmation class.  I had practiced, prayed and petitioned the Holy Spirit to give me the words I needed to help my 23 teenagers feel the presence of Jesus as we talked about the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.  I think I went a little overboard as I found myself wiping tears of excitement away from my eyes as talked excitedly to the class. I think they were even a little stunned as they sat and listened to me wave my arms about, talk about my Holy Spirit experience and encourage them.  In fact, I said later to the Holy Spirit, "you may have had me go a little overboard singing your praises! I might have scared some of those kids."  That's good, the Holy Spirit replied, "some of them need some scaring!"  In any case, the Holy Spirit was right there in the room, I just had to shut up and let Him do the talking!

Joy catches us in many ways, but so many times we get in our own way of letting Joy come out.  If we would just "let go and let God",  pray ourselves hot and let it go, we could help so many more people.

Many of the saints were so good at letting the Holy Spirit talk through them they could not remember what they said.  They truly were just being the mouthpiece for the Spirit to flow through them.   The Holy Spirit is so very good at helping us express our Joy.  We just have to remember to ask for His help. "Knock and the door shall be opened unto you!"  And receive His Joy!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

JOY! Week 7, 8, 9...

   Well you always know when it's that time of year when my writing takes a backseat to all my other hobbies err..jobs... In this case, it was job getting in the way as our parish was due to put out a picture directory and guess who was stupid, decided to volunteer for the last three months of making appointments, sitting at the hostess table, cornering others to help and sit and have their picture taken?
  Yes...well, that's done for another five years!  Then it was on to my home projects of knitting and crocheting and shopping for Christmas preparations...  Pardon my digressing!! On to JOY!!!!
  JOY!
  Tonight, we begin our parish novenas. I love novenas!!! They are a beautiful way to ready your spiritual self for Christmas...singing ancient O'Antiphons, prayers and quiet meditations.  And it only lasts 30 minutes! Easy enough for any busy person around the holidays to take time for the Preparation of Christmas.
  Speaking of JOY! My favorite Christmas song is course, Joy To The World!" And my favorite version  is the California Raisins Version! Make no judgement until you have seen it!!  You can watch and listen to it here! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=veX0HNgkkZw

So go get your JOY on this Christmas preparing season!!!


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Joy! Week 6

  In our search for Joy, and in trying to live Joy-filled lives, we are always reminded that constantly negativity surrounds us. It is hard to ignore and tends to make us get on bandwagons of negativity ourselves.
 I found a wonderful article in the November issue of the Liguorian, written by Kathleen M. Basi where she states the following message: "There is a time and a place for rising up with a prophetic voice to point out evil. However, typically, ranting, negativity, and finger-wagging are not more likely to produce success than standing on a riverbank and demanding the water run uphill. Yes, Jesus turned over the tables in the Temple - once.  The rest of the time, he dined with sinners, and he didn't spend those meals telling his hosts everything that was wrong with them!"

  This is so very true. If we are always looking for the place to lay blame, wag our fingers in people's faces, then we miss the opportunities for Joy.  Joy spreads our faith much faster than blaming. Joy is what Jesus brought to people; and they listened. He cured people, and they listened; He fed them and they listened.

  If we could also learn how to turn our 'life lessons' into joy-filled lessons, people may turn their gaze upon their souls more and want to become more like a joy-filled person living the life God wants them to.

  Just a thought!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Week 5: Joy - Is it really all that hard?

   I just finished reading a post on the internet about what makes people happy, like generally happy people, not all the time life-is-always-wonderful-type, but those who just try on a daily basis to be happy.
  Then I made the mistake of reading the comments beneath the article. You are right, I should know better, the only people who make comments on internet articles are negative people. These people certainly did not get anything out of the happy article. They booed it, dissed, it and were generally very negative.  Why?
   What is wrong with our society that we cannot think we are to be happy, joyful people? Why all the negative?
  I don't go around with a constant smile on my face; ask my family, my co-workers, the people in the car next to me at the light.  But gosh, I still think of myself as a generally happy person. I teach martial arts to kids and women because I want them to be safe. I know there are bad people in this world.  But we have to keep trying to be happy don't we? We have to keep trying to be joyful right? Or else, what else is there?  God created this beautiful world, universe, stars and most of all, gave us a reason to hope. Hope that there is something beyond this life once we've lived out our body. Hope that there is an eternal life, always joyous that we can look forward to especially when this life is getting us down.
  I say, "boo!" to all the negative naysayers!  Boo to you who squash people who are trying to be joyful. Boo, boo, boo.   and Shame on you!  Shame for your negative thinking and put-downs. Shame on trying to bring so called "reality" to light. The reality is God is in charge and gave us joy and hope and shame on you for not listening to Him who is stronger than anything in the world including negative thinking.
  Now! Go be HAPPY!!!