Friday, March 27, 2015

JOY-filled Lenten Journey!

 Despite my initial first week of Lent, I did manage to keep my Lenten resolution this year: Keeping my temper while driving!  The first week was extremely hard as I documented here and I went through an entire bag of Milky Ways!  (read my earlier blog to find out why I was eating chocolate during Lent.)

 But it really is true if you keep working at breaking a habit for several weeks, you will eventually break it. And I did!  I began to calm down during my drives, I was even praying for other drivers and myself to be a courteous driver.  And, I am happy to say, did not have to resort to any more bags of Milky Ways!  (my hips thank me for that too!)

 I learned a Lenten lesson that  you can change your personality if you try hard enough and have a good reason:  all the sinning I was doing by getting angry in my car!  So, trying to do positive things should work the same way, keep at it for several weeks and you are becoming a more positive person. It's worth a try!
Happy Holy Week to all my friends/readers out there and a very blessed Easter! Remember that God loves us no matter what, but we have to work on ourselves, getting better, mastering the humanness in ourselves by praying, receiving the Sacraments and most of letting God in our lives!
  God bless all of you!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Welcome Home!

  Sitting in the airport last night waiting on my son who was coming back from visiting his sister in California, I got to enjoy watching "homings" again. Homings are what happens when family and friends are waiting for loved ones to cross from the 'restricted gate' area of the airport into the commons area.  It reminds me of what we have waiting for us when we reach the end of life here on earth and are greeted by our Heavenly Father in heaven, big open arms, a huge smile and a "welcome home!" on His lips!
  This week we've buried four parish members and since I cantor at most of the funerals I've been there to 'sing them to heaven.'   And though those times are extremely sad, I'm always reminded that we are all headed toward our final home someday and I'm so very grateful for the faith God has graced me with.  Without it I could not face singing at funerals or let my children go off on airplanes half way across the country.  Faith gives me trust, hope and 'homings' to look forward to. 
  During this time of Lent, our joy may be little more subdued, but it should still be there with us because we have God's welcome waiting for us some day as believers!  Welcome home, good and faithful servant!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Road Rage and Lent

My fellow and one of my fave bloggers, Kathleen Basi has an interesting blog about road rage.
See Kathleen's full story here: http://kathleenbasi.com/2015/02/20/road-rage-and-other-rage/

I couldn't help myself in commenting on her blog about my Lenten attempt to give up my road anger:

This Lent I decided I really needed to work on my Driving Etiquette – in other words, I would not get angry at other drivers, no matter what, I would not yell and scream or even mutter under my breath that they were being jerks no matter how many horns blared at me, fingers, near misses and selfish driving acts I was the ‘victim’ of. In exchange, because I knew this was going to be a monumental task for me to undertake – I’m very much a MommaBear because all my kids are on the road driving with these crazies too – I thought I would lift my usual ban on chocolate for Lent. I thought I may need the balance of candy to outweigh me staying calm and happy in my car. So far week two of Lent has seen me eat an entire bag of snack size Milky Ways to appease urge to get out and upbraid the selfish driver running the red light, all the drivers going way to fast for road conditions after a 13 inch snowfall, and the honkers who think I’m stupid for waiting an extra second when the light turns green to make sure those red light runners don’t hit me! I feel guilty about the candy but so far I have stayed calm in my car. I am reconsidering a better exercise program to work off the candy

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Power of Love

   A tragedy of Christian history is division among the followers of Jesus. Today there is a wounded unity in the body of Christ. Undoubtedly this happened because Christians preached their own message instead of heeding the gospel call of the Lord to repentance and service.
   More than ever before the members of the human community need to grow closer to one another, if simply for the survival of the species. Human community is fostered by unity. Christians believe that the Lord Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit - the Spirit of love - can bring about what human efforts cannot. Like a magnet that draws particles of iron to itself, the power of love can attract Christians to Christ and thus unite them to one to another. United, Christians stand as a beacon to a world searching for light; divided, Christians fall and scatter the fire of hope.
     For love to work its mysterious wonders, Christians must strive to live according to the gospel of Jesus.  Mutual respect, a genuine desire to learn from others, shared prayer and humble works of service for those suffering - all these are essential for  Christian unity. The religious antagonism of the past has no place in a world struggling against the forces of evil for its mere survival.  All people of good will must join hands to help work for God's kingdom. By centering on Jesus and letting go of superior attitudes towards others, Christians place themselves in a much better position to be the light of the world they are called to be.

Excerpted from This Is Our Faith by Michael Pennock Copyright 1998 by Ave Maria Press, P.O. Box 428, Notre Dame, IN 46556. Used with permission of the publisher.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Giving Up...

I am giving up driving for Lent.
Or it seems if I am to keep my Lenten promise I will have to give up driving.
Driving in our not so big but not that small town has grown to be a penance in itself lately. Also known as I'm-getting-older-and-not-as-patient-with-people I can leave my home or place of business in a kindly, wonderfully patient mood only to arrive at my destination red faced, mad as heck and wanting to give out my own set of traffic tickets or arrange some Jesus meetings for others.
Not very Christian-like of me I must say. So, I thought giving up getting upset in my car, would be a great practice for me during Lent.
 This is day two following Ash Wednesday and I think I'll have to give up something else!
  Granted this week we've had over 12 inches of snow in a semi-southern climate that is not used to snow, icy street driving so I should excuse others more. Not so! When you are racing 20 miles over the speed limit on icy roads you should be...well...chastised at least!
 I've begun singing in my car every time I get upset with another driver. So at least now other drivers think I'm jamming to a tune in the privacy of my car.   Singing 'la-la-la, la-la-la" has been working so far in calming down.  But I don't know how I'm going to make it another 38 days. Truly...
We don't really have a bus system in our town, at least not one that goes the places I need to go so unless I enlist the help of my husband to drive me everywhere while I keep my eyes closed and sing at the top of my  lungs, I'm going to have to figure out how to deal with it.
 Prayers would, of course, be appreciated!  La-la-la-la-la...

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Lenten Joy!

  Oh I know, what joy in Lent? Isn't it supposed to be the opposite? Joy isn't allowed just like the "A" word we sing before the Gospel. 
  Yet, I tell myself, JOY is always part of our Lenten journey. Our lives are like Lent, we are constantly experiencing dryness in our lives, not just during Lent, we experience sorrows, sadness and yearnings; not just during Lent.  And yet we as Christians are asked, no, we are commanded to be Joyful because WE HAVE THE RESURRECTION!!  Christ died and ROSE for us!!
  So it makes sense to have joy in Lent because we know what's coming. It's like cleaning up your house for a party or when you know a family member is coming home. I truly dislike mopping the floors, cleaning the carpet, dusting especially up on those shelves in my kitchen where I keep nick-nacks.  But you know the dust bunnies are up there and must be swept away at least once a year.
  So it is with Lent. We must get rid of the dust bunnies in our souls!  Lent helps us clean ourselves up, tidy up our souls for the Great Arisen Jesus!
  When my kids were little, we used to cut out different colored hearts from construction paper before Ash Wednesday, then every day during Lent we all had to do something special for one another.  It might be take over someone's chores that day, help them with homework, clean our room without a reminder from Mom, or smile at someone we don't really like much.  Then after supper that good deed was written on a heart and put into a basket on the kitchen table.
 On Easter Saturday we would dump out all the hearts and with the help of some Scotch tape, hang up our hearts around the picture of Jesus that hangs above the kitchen table.  It was a beautiful reminder of what we had worked on during Lent - the company we were expecting in experiencing the Risen Christ.
  So yes, there is Joy in our Lenten journey!  We are preparing ourselves for company!