Thursday, February 4, 2016

Living Your Life the "Little Way"

  I recently re-discovered St. Therese the Little Flower and her little way to holiness. It was something I desperately needed right now in my life as I find my 'civility' towards others waning at times.    So this Lent I'd like to try following her Little Way to peace and mercy in my life. I invite you to come along...

St. Therese believed that the people of her time lived in too great fear of Gods judgment. The fear was stifling and did not allow people to experience the freedom of the children of God. St. Therese knew from her life that God is merciful love; many scripture passages in the Old and New Testaments bore out that truth. She loved the maternal images for God in the Old Testament and the love of God for us in Jesus Christ. In fact, St. Therese once wrote that she could not understand how anyone could be afraid of a God who became a child. She also knew that she would never be perfect. Therefore, she went to God as a child approaches a parent with open arms and a profound trust. 

St. Therese translated "the little way" in terms of a commitment to the tasks and to the people we meet in our everyday lives. She took her assignments in the convent of Lisieux as ways of manifesting her love for God and for others. She worked as a sacristan by taking care of the altar and the chapel; she served in the refectory and in the laundry room; she wrote plays for the entertainment of the community. Above all, she tried to show a love for all the nuns in the community. She played no favorites; she gave of herself even to the difficult members. Her life sounds so routine and ordinary, but it was steeped in a loving commitment that knew no breakdown. It is called a little way precisely by being simple, direct, yet calling for amazing fortitude and commitment.

In living out her life of faith she sensed that everything that she was able to accomplish came from a generous love of God in her life. She was convinced that at the end of her life she would go to God with empty hands. Why? Because all was accomplished in union with God.

Catholics and other Christians have been attracted to St. Thereses style. Her little way seems to put holiness of life within the reach of ordinary people. Live out your days with confidence in Gods love for you. Recognize that each day is a gift in which your life can make a difference by the way you choose to live it. Put hope in a future in which god will be all and love will consume your spirit. Choose life, not the darkness of pettiness and greed. St. Therese knew the difference love makes by allowing love to be the statement she made each day of her life.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

One Badass Book of Saints

I just finished reading a wonderful book whose title sounds slightly quirky but is a wonderful collection of stories of many different, wonderful women, some of them saints, some just good women who did saintly things.  It's called, "My Badass Book of Saints" by Maria Morera Johnson.

  It is filled with stories Maria collected  of extraordinary women in her life including her relatives and saints she know about, who helped her develop her faith and live courageously.
  For every woman, young and not so young who wants to know there are other women in the world who are smart, funny, faithful and not afraid to buck the system and never afraid to be a woman!
  I loved the message of this book because it reflected how I tried to raise my two daughters.
  I grew up in the 60's and 70's when feminism was growing, but the kind of feminism reflected by society was not the kind I was interested in. I want to be a faith filled woman who could fight fires, fend off the bad guys and mix it up when needed.  I picked martial arts as my vehicle and off I went fighting and learning how to defend myself in a man's world. What I came up with was how to stay a woman and learn how to fight like a woman and to teach other women how to defend themselves.
  Now my daughters not only also teach self protection to other woman, they also are strong, outspoken and have begun their own businesses helping others.  They are still having to do it in a 'man's' world where unfortunately chauvinism is still a big part of the business world.  But 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger' and they are stronger because of it.  I am so very proud of them!
  So if you are a woman, read this book, be courageous and know you are not the only woman out there who wants to be strong, independent, gentle, loving and faith filled. God made you the way you are so be that and give all your efforts to Him.  He will guide you in the way He wants you to go.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Writing Books and Other Adventures

  Where oh where does all my time go? There was a time (college) when I had so much time on my hands that my imagination soared and I wrote books...stories...and more. Nowadays I can hardly find time to write my columns, blogs and newsletters much less adventures stories. I yearn to sit on my sunny deck and think creatively...get the juices going on an adventure.
  What does it take?  Just the determination to sit down and contemplate and bubble up another adventure! How hard can that be?
  I think that maybe for Lent this year I'm going to force myself to write another adventure story...whether it's another adventure for Kip in Book 7 of the Kip MacAllister Adventure Series or something brand new...Church Secretary Mysteries...
  Whatever it is, I know God made me a writer and though I've been putting my writing skills to good use in my job at the parish office, I feel the yearning for exploring some more adventures.  Maybe a serial for the youth...
  One week to go until goes... "It was a dark and stormy night..."

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Bar Hopping

  Like to go bar hopping? Here are some good ideas to keep in mind!

Marriage, Marriage is What Brings Us Together...Today

  Because I myself am married, when I run across articles that sound interesting concerning marriage I try to read them. I found one today as I was reading a website called ,"Catholic Link" and I liked this article so much I'm linking it here.  It's about the Wedding at Cana and Jesus miracle of the water turned to wine.  But what is most interesting is it is written by a priest who discovered the reason why the image of marriage is so frequently used in the bible.  Here is just a short excerpt :

"In all sincerity, married couples impress me with their courage and they are teaching me what it means to give one’s life for the other. I’m always left marveling at their desire to gamble their lives for the sake of another’s: another that can always change, betray, fail. To marry is to put limits on one’s life: allowing the other person to become a boundary for me. To marry is to diminish oneself in order to make room for another. It is to accept being pulled out of our own radical egoism every day. In other words, to marry is to incarnate love!"

Many married couples may not see their marriage in this light, and yet it is true, marrying another forces you to think less selfishly, at least that's how it's supposed to be.   The whole idea of marriage is two people joining with God to become a family. Even if they are not blessed with children, they are still a complete family.  The team of God, husband and wife is an unstoppable superhero force.  There's a very good reason God created man and woman because they go so well together with Him.  Kingdoms ruled by a King AND a Queen usually ran for the better because all the aspects of helping your subjects were covered, what the man doesn't think of the woman does, what the woman overlooks, the man remembers.  The God, Man and Woman team is an awesome power.

  If you get a chance, go check out the entire article!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

How Moms Were Made

I ran across this this morning, I don't know who the author was, but I know my dad gave me this copy when I was a young mom and I thought it was I am sharing it with you. If you are a mom or know a mom, pass it along.

How Moms Were Made
   By the time the Lord made mothers, He was into the sixth day working overtime.
   An angel appeared and said, "Why are you spending so much on this one?"
   The Lord answered, "Have you read the spec sheet on her? She has to be completely washable, but not plastic, have 200 movable parts, all replaceable, run on black coffee and leftovers; have a lap that can hold three children at one time and that disappears when she stands up. She must have a kiss that can cure anything from a scraped knee to a broken heart and have six pairs of hands."
   The Angel was astounded at the requirements, "Six pairs of hands? No way!"
   The Lord replied, "Oh it's not the hands that are the problem. It's the three pairs of eyes that mothers must have!"
   "And that's on the standard model?" asked the Angel.
   The Lord nodded, "Yep, one pair of eyes to see through the closed door as she asks her children what they are doing even though she already knows, another pair in the back of her head are to see what she needs to know even though no one thinks she can. And the third pair are here in the front of her head. They are for looking at an errant child and saying that she understands and loves him or her without even saying a word."
   The Angel tried to stop the Lord, "This is too much work for one day, wait until tomorrow to finish."
   "But I can't," the Lord protested, "I am so close to finishing this creation that is so close to my own heart. She already heals herself when she is sick AND can feed a family of six on a pound of hamburger and can get a nine year old to stand in the shower!"
   The Angel moved closer and touched the woman, "But you have made her so soft, Lord."
   "She is soft," the Lord agreed, "but I have also made her tough. You have no idea what she can endure or accomplish."
   "Will she be able to think?" asked the Angel.
   The Lord replied, "Not only will she be able to think, she will be able to reason and negotiate."
   The angel then noticed something and reached out and touched the woman's cheek. "Oops, looks like you have a leak with this model. I told you that you were trying to put too much in this one."
   "That's not a leak," the Lord objected, "That's a tear."
   "What's the tear for?"
   The Lord replied, "The tear is her way of expressing her joy, her sorrow, her disappointment, her pain, her loneliness, her grief and her pride."
   The Angel was impressed. "You are a genius, Lord. You thought of everything for this one. You even created the tear."
   The Lord looked at the Angel and smiled, "I'm afraid you are wrong again, my friend. I created the woman, but she created the tear."

Monday, January 18, 2016

We Are What God Made Us

I am borrowing from fellow Catholic blogger today, Julie Davis over at Happy Catholic, a quote she had from Caryll Houselander.  I thought it really described my mood the last several days and helped me over the edge of disgust with myself:

"There is one big thing we can do with God's help, that is, we can trust God's plan, we can put aside any quibbling or bitterness about ourselves and what we are.

We can accept and seize upon the fact that what we are at this moment, young or old, strong or weak, mild or passionate, beautiful or ugly, clever or stupid, is planned to be like that. Whatever we are gives form to the emptiness in us which can only be filled by God, and which God is even now waiting to fill."
                                                                               Caryll Houselander
Because you see we all have one or several of those days when we feel we're just not getting it right; getting what we are supposed to be, what God wants us to be, or even what we think we are.  Sometimes it's a fight to just get up in the morning!
  Yesterday was just that day for me. I was going to teach my Confirmation class all on my own, my own way and I was looking forward to it. I had everything ready; my lesson plan, activities, enthusiasm...and I fell flat.  Yes, flat. I have no idea what happened. I began my lesson and instantly I knew it wasn't there, 'it' being whatever was supposed to burst out of me from the Holy Spirit and inspire my talk.  I had prepared, I had prayed.  I have no idea what happened. But 'it' didn't happen.  I felt like I was drowning, my head kept bobbing up to the surface for air, but I wasn't getting anywhere.  It reminded me of my panic when, during my family's trip down the Arkansas River in Colorado, two of my kids and I were thrown out of the raft we were riding in.  Thankfully my two kids surfaced right away but I got stuck under the boat and it took me few more seconds to get to the surface.  My talk was beginning to feel like that feeling I had under the boat, panicked, struggling for air.   Come on Holy Spirit, what am I doing wrong? By the time class ended I was exhausted, near tears and never wanted to teach a class again.  I felt I had failed God miserably. 
  There are times when even if we're in the place God wants us to be, we still aren't going to get things exactly right at least in our way of thinking. But we have no way of knowing what His plan is for us or how He is going to use us.  We just have to keep going, doing His work and hope He can make the best out of what we have to offer.  It's hard not to feel like giving up, yet we cannot do that. Just like Jesus, we follow the Father's call and do what He asks.  It's not up to US to make it useful, that's God's doing.