Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Irony of It All

  My life is full of ironies it seems. Is that what helps us not take ourselves so seriously?  I don't know. But when one giant irony occurs in my life, I have to stop and consider just what was I wishing for?
  Last night, while beginning supper plans I ran limped downstairs because my knee and I are not friends right now, (tendonitis has my left knee inflamed and refusing to let me put much weight on it)  to find some frozen vegetables in the freezer. Now, before I go further I need to let you know I am known in our household as "The Nose." If you are not sure about a food going bad, ask Mom. I sniff out mold before it even thinks about growing. Not sure if your shirt is clean? Ask Mom's nose. I could have worked as a canary in a mine, but I digress.
   With that being said for the last month I've had allergies attacking my usually sensitive olfactory receptors and some smells have been escaping me so I've been worried I am not keeping up with the unpleasant smells that come from having a shaggy part hound dog and two cats inside the house.  So when I descended the basement stairs, in spite of  my stuffy nose, the smell of the litter box seeped into my stuffy nose. Oh, gross, that needs to be changed and the whole basement needs to be deodorized before my daughter's fiancĂ© comes over tonight.  This is gross, how long has this been a problem? Has it been like this since my allergies plugged up my olfactory detecting skills?
  I hobbled back up the stairs and asked my husband to change the litter box. Ever since we've had a cat or rather, two cats, this has always been my job, mostly because I was the one who wanted a cat. So I figured that was only fair that I clean up after them. He cleans up after the dog outside (as well as does the vacuuming, dusting, and so much more so I can do laundry and the books for our business, so it all works.) But lately, I've been getting behind on my cat duties and my very supportive and uncomplaining husband has been picking up my slack. So when I asked him to do it, he replied that he had just changed it out just a day or two ago, to which I replied, "but it smells awful down there." So instead of arguing he went downstairs to change it. Then I asked my daughter to go deodorize the basement. I wasn't going to have my home all stinky just because I couldn't breath properly. Goodness knows how long things have been smelling this way since my allergies have been raging!
  I turned on the stovetop for the vegetables and turned to get out a saucepan to put them in. I placed the pan of veggies on the stovetop and turned to the refrigerator to get out more ingredients for the sloppy Joes I was making. I began notice an awful smell; that smell you get when something gets on the burner or inside the oven. Goodness, how did something burn that fast? I checked on the hamburger which was fine, I even checked in the oven which had frozen fries crisping but that was fine too. What was making that smell?
  I finally looked down on the stovetop at the veggies which were just sitting there, still frozen, in the saucepan on the back burner with no heat on. It was only then I noticed that the hot pad I placed on the front burner, the one I had actually turned on, was smoking...I mean really smoking!  I grabbed my towel and grabbed the hot pad and threw it in the sink, it was then I noticed it was on fire. I turned on the water faucet, the thought racing through my mind, is it okay to douse this fire with water? What is it about stove top fires you're not supposed to drown with water? Oh, yeah, grease fires, no this is not a grease fire it's an actual piece of something burning!  Yes, all those thoughts went through my head, it's like when they say everything slows down and you are seeing everything in slow motion. That was exactly how this went down and I did it all so calmly. 
  Of course then I realized the smoke billowing all around my head and the stove top and quickly switched on the fan. I started coughing and at that moment Caitlin popped up from deodorizing the basement a puzzled look on her face. "Quick, take this town and fan the smoke alarm before it starts shrieking!" I said.
  I threw open the kitchen window, then hurried to the dining room window and the family room and opened up the patio door and the windows. I didn't care if was only 40 degrees outside, I had to get that smoke out. By this time Cait was also coughing and I began to worry about smoke inhalation which I'm sure as I'm looking back on it now wasn't really the problem, but I had watched too many episodes of "Emergency!" in my childhood to take any chances.  "Keep fanning, don't breathe!" I told her.
  I raced downstairs to find the box fan, but it is usually in the cat's room where my dear husband was cleaning out the litter box. Apparently he hadn't heard any of the commotion upstairs yet because he didn't even turn around. But the fan wasn't there, and I remembered we had taken it over to our martial arts center.  Argh!
  I ran back upstairs which was really painful to do because my knee was still refusing to cooperate with me in this emergency and grabbed another towel and tried fanning the fumes and smoke out the open window.  I suddenly realized I needed to check to see if the bedroom doors were open because the smoke would head back there and Cait's wedding dress was in one of those rooms. Oh Mylanta, it can't make her dress smell like smoke!!  The door to that room thankfully was already closed. I rushed back to towel fanning duty.
  As things calmed down, my husband appeared at the head of the basement stairs. Not saying a word he headed back to the bedrooms.  I looked at Cait who was still fanning the smoke alarm and she looked at me and shrugged.
  Finally with everything under control, I continued cooking supper, Cait went back to working on her wedding decorations and my husband came back out. "You okay?" he asked.
  I looked at him and burst into tears. He hugged me. "I know I should ask what happened, but really, you were worried about the cat box smell?" he laughed.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Listen


 
 
Sit down and relax.  Listen.  Listen to God trying to speak to you in this busy world of yours.  Smile. He is reaching out to you, gently calling your name so you just listen to Him.

I’ve been trying to spend five minutes each morning just sitting, listening to Him.  I always have my petitions, my wants, my worries in front of me, rushing to tell the Lord all of them, asking for help with them…but sometimes, He just wants us to listen.

There is a lot of silence in listening. It’s easy to get distracted or think you are making up a conversation in your head, but just listen.  As I practice just listening, just ‘being’, if I stop thinking, stop remembering the next thing I need to ‘remind’ God about in my life, I can hear a soft whisper in my head.  I hear consoling words urging me to be calm, be at peace, to rest in the knowledge that God has me in His hand right this very moment.

Lent is only a few weeks away and as we finish up the Christmas season, begin listening to the silence more.  As the days are cold and you bundle up against the cold wind, listen for God in that wind. Listen with your ears and listen with your heart.  God wants to speak to your heart but we have to silence ourselves to hear Him.

Take a deep breath, watch the birds fly across the sky and listen.  Hear God stirring in your heart, a little voice urging you towards peace.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Nuns Speak Out Against Those Who Use Women

There is an order of nuns in Italy who are fighting back against sex trafficking and prostitution, not just by helping the women who are being victimized but by pointing out the perpetrators of these crimes:
 "We are especially looking at the problem of clients. It’s a topic no one talks about. Everyone talks about victims, victims, victims. It’s true, women become victims – of the passion of men,” Sr. Monica Chikwe told journalists last month

She pointed to how in the bible, there was a woman who had been caught in adultery and brought to Jesus, but “if in the act of adultery, I ask ‘where is the man?’ No one speaks about the man.”

“It’s the same thing today. Many speak about the victims, but who is using these victims? Who is the client?” Sister Monica asked, explaining that the clients aren’t homeless living on the street or men with some sort of mental disability. Instead, they are “good men, office men, fathers of families, men who put on a tie and go out on the street as if it weren’t a bad thing.”

Sr. Monica, a member of the RENATE network against human trafficking, spoke to journalists at a press briefing about their Nov. 6-12 conference in Rome, titled “The End of Trafficking Begins with Us.”
RENATE is a European network of religious who are committed to work together in the fight against human trafficking and exploitation. Members consist of women religious, priests and laypersons who all have professional training in fields such as psychology, counseling, law and law enforcement.
Taking place at the Roman hotel Tra Noi, the conference focused on the mission that they are “Called to give voice to the voiceless.”

Read more at:
http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/in-the-fight-against-prostitution-whos-talking-about-the-clients-77513/

To Forgive Is Not A Sentimental Proposition

  A small boy witnessed the assassination attempt on Pope St. John Paul II.  Now an adult, David DePerro talks what forgiveness means...it's not an easy thing to do...


"While the Pope’s forgiveness is beautiful, it’s also a challenge, DePerro continued. “I have been the victim of violence myself. It was really hard to forgive that person. It was really hard to feel safe again in my own neighborhood, where I was attacked.” However, the example and experience of John Paul II was a call to not be afraid or hardened. “I call John Paul II someone we can turn to in our prayers for ourselves but also for the other person.”
Because of the difficulty of forgiveness, St. John Paul II’s actions after the assassination attempt should not be seen as merely tenderhearted or kind, but a duty and a part of healing, DePerro counseled. “To forgive is not a sentimental proposition,” he said.  “It is a demand that our Lord places upon us but it’s a demand for our benefit.
 

Friday, December 9, 2016

The Little Way

  I go back time and again to reading St. Therese of the Child Jesus "Little Way" of living her life.  I struggle frequently with getting through my days without aggravations, stress and letting things annoy me. So by reading about St. Therese and how she just did 'little things' as acts of love for Jesus, it helps me to also just "offer up" some injury or sadness I am experiencing today.
  "Her life was routine and ordinary but steeped in a loving commitment that knew no breakdown."
  St. Therese knew the difference love makes by allowing love to be the statement she made each day of her life.  To many even in the convent, Therese was an average ordinary person. Her greatness showed in the constancy of her love for others in the most simple ways.
  She did not like long prayers, she fell asleep during community prayer and could only pray from her heart as a child does to a parent. She saw herself as a child of God and liked to keep things simple and focused as a child does. Trust, specially trust in God, is a childlike virtue.  It's that childlike trust that we should have at all times, but especially when things hurt us in our lives. When it seems "God lets things happen to us." that we  need to trust.  Because God gave all humans free will, some will choose evil and that evil may hurt us. But God is always there and though He doesn't will something bad to happen, it happens because people choose evil, God is there to help you when you get hurt.
  God always loves you, especially when you are sorrowing, sad and despairing. Reach out to Him and ask for His help.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Happy Feast of St. Nicholas!

  Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Nicholas who was in essence the Santa Claus that popular society has adopted.  St. Nick was really Bishop Nicholas of Myra who gave money to help three young women who were being taken advantage of.  He was also a defender of the faith at the Council of Nicea and was quite ardent about it!
See more about St.Nicholas at the following links:

 http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=371

  http://www.whychristmas.com/customs/fatherchristmas.shtml


Friday, November 11, 2016

Today I Shall Be Content

Today I shall be content
content as I ought to be
for being content  is not settling for less
or letting the world bother me.

Today I shall be content
and happily wear a smile.
I love my life, with its joys and its pain,
and it's alright to rest for awhile

Today I shall be content
for it doesn't mean I have less.
It means I am happy with what I do have
and not making my life a big mess.

Today I shall be content
while sharing  my joys with you.
For I care for my family, my friends and co-workers
and hate to see anyone blue.

Today YOU should be content
and realize the blessings you're given
make your life a big smile and rest for a while
God loves you, your sins are forgiven.