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:

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'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:

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.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Fall Roses

Just simple beauty...

Let Civility Begin With Me

(with apologies to the Peace song, I remember lessons better with music...)

   Let there be civility and let it begin with me.
   Let there be civility,  the words that are kind from me.
   With God as our Father, brothers all are we,
    let us walk with each other, in peace and harmony.
   Let me use civility, let this be the moment now.
   With every word I speak, let this be my solemn vow
   to speak with niceness, correct with niceness and be more pleasant please?
   Let there be civility
  and let it begin with me.

Here is background on the woman who wrote "Let There Be Peace On Earth":  Jill Miller

Jill Jackson Miller was born Evelyn Merchant on August 25, 1913 in Lawrence, Missouri. Her mother died when she was three, and her subsequent childhood was difficult and traumatic. By the age of twelve she had become a ward of the court and the foster child, along with her older sister, of Mr. and Mrs. J. R. Cowan.

Jill was the youngest of four children. She had twin brothers, one of whom, Cullie Merchant, became a teacher and principal in the Phoenix area. The other brother died as a child from an accident with fireworks. Jill's older sister, Eva Mae Merchant, lived most of her life in San Bernardino, California.

Jill attended high school at Northeast High in Kansas City, Missouri. After two years of junior college she moved to Hollywood to fulfill her dream of becoming an actress. She lived at the Studio Club, a well known home for young aspiring actresses that provided a haven for young women in a strange city.

Using the screen names of Jill Martin, Harley Wood and Harlene Wood, Jill starred in several westerns and a serial in the 1930s. In 1940 she married Felix Jackson, a German writer and director who had immigrated to California, and she ended her career in films at his request. They had two daughters and divorced in 1944.

My sister Harley and I have vivid memories of being glued to our black and white TV, with our neighborhood friends sometimes seated behind, shouting excitedly, "Here comes mommy!" as we watched her galloping on horseback to save the day in one of her heroine roles. Jill's only regret from those years was the film "Marihuana", a movie she felt had been a mistake. In those days, the film was considered "sensational". Today it seems quite preachy and tame.

After the divorce, Jill attempted suicide, and during her slow recovery she had experiences that led her to a strong belief in God and inspired her to write.

She began her writing career with magazine articles and children's stories. In 1946 Jill met the man who would become her second husband and the real love of her life, Sy (Seymour) Miller, a musician, composer and writer for Warner Brothers Music. They married in 1949, and Sy encouraged her to write songs with him. Together they formed Jan-Lee Music and wrote many songs together - Sy writing the music and Jill writing the lyrics. The song that they are most known for is "Let There Be Peace on Earth (and Let it Begin with Me)".

After writing "Let There Be Peace on Earth", the desire for world peace became a quest that filled much of Jill's life. Over the years, as the song spread around the globe, she was asked to give talks about the song and the power of each individual to help create peace. Jill was an inspiring speaker who believed that all of her varied experiences had contributed to her understanding. She was always ready to encourage people to keep searching for their meaning, their inspiration, their true beliefs, and to forgive themselves and others for mistakes made along the way. And Jill readily illustrated her thoughts with tales of her own misadventures, a quality which endeared her to many.

Sy and Jill's song about peace was performed and recorded by countless singers, and used by many groups and churches, including the United Nations. It won the Valley Forge Freedom Foundation's "George Washington Medal" and an award from The National Council of Christians and Jews.

Sy Miller passed away on August 17, 1971. Jill continued her work for peace until her death in Hawaii, where she passed away peacefully in her own home in April, 1995.

Jan Tache
October, 2009

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

St Joseph, the Bodyguard

St Joseph is a good saint to look at as we approach the Advent season.  The Church reveres him as the patron saint of workers, fathers and a happy death. But he was also a man who had to deal with crises, the same crises that millions of families face today: government-sponsored terrorism, forced migration and the pressure of leading a family in distress.  Not once, but three times, the Gospel describe Joseph as a man on a journey. First he sets out for Bethlehem with Mary, his pregnant wife, for mandated census. Then with their newborn baby, they flee Bethlehem for Egypt. Later in calmer political times, Joseph takes his family to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of Passover.  Must of what we know of Joseph’s life then is an odyssey: heading from place to place over going great distances to fulfil the will of God.

It was state sponsored terrorism, when Herod ordered the death of all boys in his city that the families of Bethlehem awoke to hoof beats outside their doors, the metallic sound of swords being drawn and the frantic and terrified cries of mothers and children followed.

Joseph was forced to flee with Mary and Jesus on a 200 mile journey through a desolate desert to save Jesus’ life.

There are millions of refugees today that are having to do the same thing today. Central American migrants leave families behind to search for jobs in the north, Syrian and Lebanese families take dangerous voyages to Europe only to be confined in crowded camps; persecuted families in Eritrea and the Horn of Africa flee to Ethiopia only to find a drought.  There are literally millions of Josephs in our own time.

So Joseph stands out as an example of resolute trust. He conveys the same message carried to him by an angel: “Do not be afraid.” Without saying a word, Joseph offers steadfastness, surety and hope. He was able to cross the distance and keep his family safe.  Joseph can be the advocate for those people today, weeping, grieving and praying for them. His example of trust and quiet strength can serve as an encouragement to us as we struggle to maintain hope in times of difficulty and personal pain.

When you are faced with anxiety about the future, when worries seem to much, look to Joseph, who was the bodyguard for his family. He trust God to get him through all the anxious, worrisome times and to help him understand the mysterious plan God had for him.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Changing Hearts

Sometimes in the midst of all the arguing, anger and despair, we forget that no matter how hard we threaten, cajole, or rant, we cannot sway other’s opinions about God and his creation.  We must pray that hearts be changed.   Hearts that are open to listening to God, open to respecting our world and those who dwell in it are focusing on what is good.  But if we become mired in the mud and give up hope, we are not helping anyone and in a sense we are giving up on the goodness God put in people.

We must remember that we are ALL God’s creation, even those who don’t believe in Him or His part in their lives. 

Now Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus that if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way, he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains.  On his journey as he was nearing Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him “Saul, Saul why are your persecuting me?” He said, “Who are you sir?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.”  (Acts 9:1-6)   

And so we must be instruments of God’s Good News. We cannot wash our hands of them, keep screaming or make threats but act at Ananias  did when the Lord told him to go to Saul, “Go for this man is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before Gentiles, kings and Israelites and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name.”  (Acts 9:15-16) 

We too have to be confident that God will use us to help others see and know His love for all people. We cannot despair, and give up joy.  We are to proclaim God’s marvelous Words in our speech, our actions and the way we treat people and most of all we must pray for everyone to have the same conversion Saul did. “He stayed some days with the disciples in Damascus and he began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues that he is the Son of God.  All who heard him were astounded and said, “Is this not the man who in Jerusalem ravaged those who call upon his name and came here expressly to take them back in chains to the chief priests?  But Saul grew all the stronger and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus, proving that this is the Messiah.”  (Acts 9:19-22)

Live in joy and prayer, our God who is all powerful, loves us!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Battling for Our Faith

   I work in a Catholic parish office. There I said it. I hate being out socially and having someone ask me where I work because when I tell them the conversation suddenly veers towards someone else or at best I get an, "Oh okay..."  and the crickets start sounding really loud.

    Let me first say, I am not embarrassed to be a faith-filled person, or Catholic or to even work in a Catholic office.  What I am embarrassed about is many loud, critical Catholics in this country who have totally ruined my image.  And what IS that image, you ask? 

     Well, let me make it simple, you know how Pope Francis smiles and loves people? That is the image I wish everyone saw as universally Catholic.  I like to make people feel warm and welcome, loved by God and respectful of Him because whether you believe this or not, you owe God your life.  He made you, you didn't spring up out of the earth all by yourself.  He made you to just love Him.  He really didn't demand so much, oh maybe those 10 Commandments which really are just good ways to live your life, don't kill people, just honor Him and show Him and others respect.  These are 'rules' that are written in our hearts, by, you guessed it, Our Creator.  You can travel to any country in the world and pretty much ask a person on the street what a 'moral law' is and they'll most likely say, "Well, you shouldn't kill people, take care of women and children, be a decent person."  Those Ten Commandments are what make up being a 'decent person."

    But these days it doesn't seem that being a decent person is what is being 'advertised' as being a Catholic.  If you say you are a Catholic to some general person on the street they are most likely to associate us with Anti-Abortion, Anti-Gay, Anti-women doing anything.

     I find it extremely sad, and horrifying that our Catholic faith has been summed up in a few choice sound bytes, not just by the media or social media, but by Catholics themselves who can't seem to talk about anything else.

     Yes, I am Pro-Life, yes, I think marriage is between a man and a woman and while I work in a Catholic church and participate in many ways during the Mass as Cantor, sacristan and more, I do not want to be a priest. and yet there is WAY more to my Catholic Faith than any or all of those issues.

    I also feel called to serve the poor by listening to them when they come into my office or stop me on the street. I  help protect children by teaching them self defense, I help empower women by teaching them how to stay safe from rape and assault.   I am a writer and I write articles not only about faith but self defense for women and children.   I also go to Mass frequently to fill myself up with the presence of God in Holy Communion, to be reassured of His love for me in the prayers and readings. I teach young people how much God loves them and try to help them feel God's love for them showing them scripture readings that tell them this and having them help at our food pantry to feed the poor.   I write newsletters to our teens reassuring them of God's love for them, I teach them to sing and how to enrich other people's lives with their service work. I love my husband, my children, my friends, my parents by feeding them, clothing them, telling them I love them every single day. I smile at the clerk helping me at the grocery, I laugh with the receptionist at the dentist. I also experience despair, sadness and days when I just don't feel like getting out of bed. Terrible things go wrong, loved ones die, I am lonely or afraid and wonder if God is really listening to my prayers.

   All of that, ALL OF THAT is what makes me a Catholic. 

  Being a Catholic is walking in the footsteps of Jesus, with everyone in the world, not demanding they see or do things this way or that, but by showing them the Father's love for them so then they DO see why protecting unborn babies is so important, why God made us for creating and nurturing life, and why we must, like the lone leper who was cured, turn around and given Him thanks for everything He has given us. 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

No More Vulgar

To leave the stones unthrown, to turn the other cheek.
To bear a load an extra mile, to listen more than speak.
Such are the marks of love, the testaments of grace.
The daily glimpses of the cross, Christ call us to embrace.

                          (from the November, 2016 Magnificat)

These words hit my heart this morning as I was flipping over the November issue of the Magnificat magazine. I don't have a subscription to it but a friend gave me a copy today and wow, I could not doubt that God was trying to teach me something in those words.  When we are upset at people whether it be people we know, politicians, strangers in cars it truly is trying to live as Christ when we refrain from getting upset, spouting angry words,  or even thinking ugly thoughts.  Help me Lord to remember these words when I really need to keep my thoughts on You.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Anti-Vulgarity Experiment

  How many times a day do you say it?
  It probably slips right out of your mouth without thinking.
  When I stop to think about it, I am embarrassed to admit how quickly it comes out of my mouth. other words, bad words, gutter language, cursing, cussing, whatever you call's not nice.  I need to stop it and you need to stop it.
     It's become so bad in our nation that even Catholic bloggers have been fired for writing vulgar words in their posts.   Yikes!  Yet, I know I an guilty of thinking bad words and unfortunately letting them spew from my mouth like so much...well, you get the picture.
 Even when we're not angry we spew vulgar words, you know the ones I mean I don't have to spell them out literally. 
    My, my, that is such a vulgar habit using expletives to describe something. We all do it whether we're mad, sad, happy or excited. Weird isn't it?  Even the word vulgar sounds, well, vulgar, it even looks like a nasty word.
   While I have learned more about becoming a civil person, somehow my speech and mouth are still working on the lesson. Even though I can think more charitably about the person in traffic behaving badly, my mouth is on another track and says what it may.  That is vulgar and that must stop.
   Welcome to a year of living without vulgarity...let's start with elections.  Well, I cannot control that but I can control my mouth better and set a better example in my own home.
    Let's clean up America!  Clean up our actions, words, speeches, blogs and heads. Let's not stoop to the vulgar way of things.
     Let there be anti-vulgarity and let it begin with me.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Joy Costs Pain

"People love to have lived a great story, but few people like the work it takes to make it happen. But joy costs pain."   Donald Miller

 I can't tell you how many times since I published my first book in 2001 that people told me, "Wow, that's great, I've always wanted to write a book!"  And then I answer them, "Well, why don't you?"
And they tell me straight on with a sober face, "I just don't have the time."
  I am so very tired of hearing people say that line. It's an excuse for not doing anything in your life, taking a vacation, learning to knit, learning to cook or bake, taking your kids on an adventure. YOU DON'T HAVE TIME.
  Just what the heck do you do with the time you DO have?  Surf the Internet, watch television, your phone, going shopping for more clothing then you'll ever wear in your lifetime.  Even if you say I'm at work all day, saying you work is another excuse.  You get breaks, coffee, smoke, food, and you tell me the entire rest of your day is totally absorbed in typing away or whatever?
  "I'm too tired when I get home." Yes, that one gets used so we don't have to cook, help the kids with their homework, walk the dog, clean the house or go on adventures with our kids.  Stop it!
  Stop right now making excuses in your life!  God gave you a life, and if you stop and think about that life, it's probably pretty have a roof over your head and food to eat.
 Get off your bum and do something with your life!  Write a journal, get into photography and PRINT the pictures or make a BOOK with them!  Play board games or outdoor games with your kids. PLAY THEM don't watch them!  Your kids need you to be there for you want them to only remember you were the "I'm too tired!" parent?  Congrats...
  Yesterday while picking up some groceries so I COULD MAKE SUPPER AND NOT GO OUT TO SUPPER... I heard a grandma...YES a GRANDMA scream at the two children in her cart that she had worked all day and was too tired to listen to them cry.
  I am still mad at myself for not stopping her and saying "Shame on you! Shame on you for making it your grandkids fault that they are tired, hungry and just want to be at home instead of being stuck with a grandma who cares more about herself and not them!"

 Get out and experience some pain in your life! You'll never know joy without it.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Why Do We Resist Suffering?

Why do we resist suffering so much?

It’s really natural for us to do this, its part of our human nature.

But we think we’re supposed to be free from pain, we’re trained to be easily satisfied;  to not have pain.

Where evil is and sin is, then suffering will be a part of our lives.

What do we do in the midst of suffering?

We want to run or medicate, with alcohol, drugs,

But want to control the things in our lives so we choose things to stop the pain, we want answers so we ask ‘why’ so we can figure out the reason, or we blame others, or God because we don’t know what else to do.  We don’t know what to do in the suffering.

But if we can believe that God is with us in all things especially in our suffering, then we can let him in.

Suffering can elicit in our hearts the questions about life, the deeper things of our lives.

Our search for God can be intensified in the midst of our suffering and if we can go to God with those questions and that desire, we’ll find him there.

Sometimes people tell us to give that to God, give your suffering to God, but there is a trap in that because we want to get rid of the suffering and go back to being ‘normal’ again.

 But there is a difference between giving your suffering to God versus giving God permission to come into the suffering with us, to join with God and let him be with us in our suffering.

Redemptive suffering:  redeemed on the cross by Jesus, he redeemed the world and suffering.

When we allow our suffering to  be joined to his, we stay in communion with God, as our hearts stay with God in the midst of suffering, then we can join our suffering with his and be redeemed because he redeemed suffering on the cross. 

Let yourself be found.

There will be times in our lives when we feel lost, scared and we don’t know what to do, we need to remember that the most important thing for us to do during those times is to put ourselves in the position to be found. 
 God is pursuing us, calling us tirelessly no matter where we are, let God find you in the midst of your suffering.


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Looking For Peace In An Unpeaceful Time

   Are you feeling like me lately, surrounded by the noise, the clamor of the world's cymbals, yelling and indecision?  It's not just the elections but the entire world's anger about many things and at times it's too much, too much noise.
  It's at times like that when I try to remember that I must find some quiet place to just listen; listen to the quiet, listen in the inner room that God is trying to call me to rest in.  It's a place I can just settle down, turn off the noise, turn off my worries, anxieties and listen with a different ear...just my heart. I don't need to engage my thoughts to working on the problems...I just need to listen to the One and only voice that will calm me down: God's.
  I try hard not to question Him at those times because I always want to know the whys. I have to work hard on just being quiet, just letting things be. I have to work on reminding myself I don't need answers at this point...just quiet, calm, peace.
  It's only then do we let God work in us. If we bring too many questions, too many hurts, we are still unable to feel the peace...we have to quiet ourselves.
  So maybe you need to bring something along with you to quiet of those coloring books, maybe some knitting or crochet or your rosary beads, anything that helps you let go of thoughts and just be, just be in God's presence, not asking questions or wondering...just being and let Him do the talking.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Your Speech, Our Faith

   In our speeches about our faith, we need to be careful how we say things. Accusations against evil is one thing, but when you may blanket statements about a group of people or an institution it can turn people away from the faith.   Not all people in one political party are bad, not all people in positions of leadership are bad. To lump a group of people into one category is wrong and will only serve to turn people away from what our Catholic faith teaches us about love.  You are missing the point Jesus made about welcoming people to follow Him.  He didn't hit people over the head or make accusations (except to the overly righteous ones!)  so let's not do that either.  Talk to people as a caring faithful person...not righteous zeal.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

What My Dying Cousin Taught Me About Life...and Faith

  It's been just over year now since my cousin Jimmy passed.  But his laughter haunts my thoughts as I struggle to get through spiritual problems in my life.  When he was diagnosed with cancer he was very open to everyone about it. He had struggled for years with MS and this was just another fight in his daily battle for life.  He had every right to be angry with God for letting this happen to him, again, a man who had a wonderful wife, loving kids and a lot going for him.
  But he didn't get least not that any of us saw or heard. What we heard and read on his social media pages was his request for prayers, when days were good and bad...his concern for his wife and kids...going with his wife to buy her a new car so she wouldn't have to worry after he was gone about their old one.  His one request to his aunts and uncles and cousins was to come together one summer day and enjoy a good old reunion, like the old days when we were all younger and had fun times together.
  So any many of us did join him that day...young and old...gathered round his bright beaming face as we sang old family songs...told stories mostly about him as a kid...and enjoyed the love that was so very present in that room.  Angry at God? How could any of us be angry when God had instilled something in Jimmy that brought all of us together to share one final moment with him?  He was just going home...maybe a little earlier than we wished or expected, but like all of us, he was continuing on his journey to our real home. And Jimmy was ready.
  He thanked everyone for coming...he was ecstatic that so many of us came.  We were all overcome at his courage.  My husband still talks about his he met his illness with an even stronger faith, faith that shamed all the rest of us.  His faith that God was taking care of him, his wife and kids, his mother and siblings, and the rest. His laughter and love for us was never more apparent that day. A beautiful day we all remember.
  That is faith...I only pray I can be so faithful.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Children's Choir and Other Daily Joys

So after a lapse of several years, the school principal asked me about beginning a children's choir again. I've done this several times in the past. It comes and goes depending on the interest of the kids in school.  We've done everything from singing at the kids' Masses to performing on stage in front of other district school choirs. 

It's always been an interesting subject to teach seeing how one; I have never learned how to read music and have always learned songs and sung by ear; two; the teaching degree I received some 30 years ago was in Secondary Education English and Journalism, not exactly Music, choral directing or high school and three; it's always been a voluntary job so the incentive is I just happen to love singing want to instill that love of music in the future generation!

To fit practice into my schedule and the kids, we would only be meeting once a week, Mondays after school for 20 minutes. That may seem like a very short time in which to teach music, but I've honed this skill down over the years and it seems to be the right fit for this age group and for my sanity!

Our first choir practice was yesterday with 22 very eager, noisy 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th graders bouncing up and down on metal chairs in the school music room right after school. Getting them quiet was taking a little more brain cells than I remember having.

While I took roll and learned names and faces, I had one of the students pass out  the music we were going to practice, a song I sure that everyone knew, somehow forgetting that age and time is catching up with me. Doesn't everyone know "Let There Be Peace On Earth?"  Hmmm, not these kids.  A show of hands got me five out of the 22 that had heard it before. Well, it was easy enough to learn so we began, a capella.  The other downside to not knowing how to read music was I also didn't play piano or know my way around anything besides Middle C.  I totally depend upon my guitar to find my starting notes for songs. I strummed and all I heard was myself singing. So much for teaching the other two songs I had planned for the day.  Arguing erupted between two siblings that were in choir, over who knows what. "Okay," I sighed after shushing them,  "let's sing it together this time..."

Finally, though I had made a rookie mistake of assuming they knew this song which they were going to be singing in two weeks with only ONE more practice between now and then, they learned it fairly well this despite the boys complaining it was either too high or too low for them to sing. Yes, my choir included 8th grade boys who voices are changing and between all five them not a one was singing the same note.

Moving on to a song I knew they were familiar with because they used to sing it with our pastor at Mass every week, I got them started when there was a knock at the door and one of the teachers was motioning to me. "Who do you need?" I called over their voices thinking somebody's ride must have come early.  "You!" she answered.

"Keep singing!" I called out, hurrying over wondering what emergency made her show up at the door.  "I thought it would be a wonderful idea if the choir could sing the National Anthem at our Homecoming game," she told me.  "Umm, well sure, when is that?"
"Two weeks." 

 Okay...the stakes were getting higher...singing for Mass and now singing for the National Anthem both in two weeks.  I hurried back up to the front  of the kids only to see one of the 5th grade boys had taken my spot on the podium giggling and making faces at everyone. "Down!" I ordered, and got them to start them over on the round again.

"Mrs Simmons, how do the arm motions go on this song?" One of the 8th graders asked.  Putting down my guitar I moved my arms up, down and around which elicited a round of laughter from the siblings again. This is why teachers have seating charts I reminded myself. Finally remembering the motions, the words and the tune, we began again. Okay, I thought, that wasn't too bad, I glanced at the clock and time was already up. I ended with the spiel of meeting again next week, how we only had that one practice to get the song we were singing in our heads, reminding them they had to be quiet when sitting in church in the choir loft, that we were already getting requests to sing for other things when one of  4th grade girls raised her hand.  Expecting a question about what I had already discussed, I said,  "Yes, Caylie?"
"Mrs...what's your name again?"
 "Mrs. Simmons"
"Oh yeah, Mrs. Simmons, are we going to have choir next year?" 
"Depends on if we survive the next two weeks Caylie..." I sighed. "Class dismissed!"

Monday, September 12, 2016

A Little Adversity

Sometimes, a little adversity in life is a good thing. We may not realize it at the time, but hard times make us stronger, give us confidence and motivate us to try harder. 
 Even in the midst of adversity, when we feel we are drowning or are surrounded by rising waters, God lets us know He is always with us. It's called Hope.
Hope drives us to keep moving forward, to not give up, to rise above the floods of sorrow, fear, disappointment and shine!
So no matter how hard the waters try to drown you, bloom where you are planted, lift you eyes to the sun and see the strength God has given you to be who you are supposed to be!  Keep Thriving!


Friday, September 9, 2016

St Peter Claver; A Saint for Our Times As Well

Peter Claver was a Spanish Jesuit, who saw the horrors of slavery and wanted to make sure all those children of God knew the Father's love. When a ship arrived, Peter first begged for fruits, biscuits, or sweets to bring to the slaves. He then went on board with translators to bring his gifts as well as his skills as a doctor and teacher. Claver entered the holds of the ships and would not leave until every person received a measure of care. Peter gave short instruction in the Catholic faith and baptized as many as he could. In this way he could prevail on the slave owners to give humane treatment to fellow Christians. Peter Claver baptized more than 300,000 slaves by 1651, when he was sickened by the plague and later died.

Last Sunday during his homily, our pastor touched on the story of St. Peter Claver and added to his list of patronages the patron saint of modern slavery and the unspoken about yet thriving business of human trafficking. 

Sunday, my family and I adopted St Peter Claver as another role model in addition to St. Michael, St. Joan of Arc, St. Hallvard and St. Maria Goretti to follow in our efforts to help protect women and children from rape, assault, abductions and the sex trade. I urge you to not look away, realize this is going on before your very eyes and speak up.  Women of all colors, races and backgrounds are being assaulted in our colleges, in their homes, in every day businesses and no one speaks up for them.
I will speak up for them: right now!

Read more on St. Peter Claver

More information on helping: Joyful Heart Foundation

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

It's Not Going to Be Easy But It's Going to Be Awesome!

A quote from Steve Gleason, former New Orleans Saints NFL player, during the documentary of his battle with ALS and the journey he is about to undertake.

Can't wait to see this;

Friday, July 8, 2016

Joy! In the Midst of Darkness...Literally!

  Ever have one of those weeks?  It was the little things...appliances not working correctly, clients dropping off from the family business because it's the middle of summer...machines not working at the office...medical concerns with my mom...
  I was looking forward to a relaxing Thursday evening, just my husband and me. It had been hot and humid all week and we were even contemplating going out that evening for a dip in the refreshing waters of our nearby water park...when it hit.  A the noon hour.  We heard the sizzle of lightening nearby and then then house was in darkness. Okay, that's happened before. No need to be alarmed. It will be back on soon enough...
  Eleven hours later...
   Ragged from running coolers of our not so frozen food to our daughter's apartment, the office where I work, and also running food from my mom's house which is just up the block from us to my brother's house (which thankfully, is not up the block from us and they still had power), my husband and I sat down at the kitchen table trying to make believe that the candlelight between us was romantic.
  After 33 years of marriage, my husband and I love each other immensely, and we love our 'date' nights...but this night...well, was not one of those nights. We were exhausted from running here and there, juicing up our phones at our business, eating a meal at our son's apartment...and going back home to find the house still in darkness and ever growing humidity (75%) ) and heat (still hovering at 88 degrees at 9 PM)   and the dog and two cats looking at us like 'what is going on guys? Turn on the cool air!!"
  I snapped a picture, trying to be funny about the candlelight...but we were tired, dripping with sweat and really not looking forward to spending the night in the basement with the dog.
  But we did finally head to the basement at least until the lights popped back on at 10:20 and the air conditioner (poor thing) finally had the house cool enough four hours later so we could go back to our beds.
  We got up and though we did have coffee in the house, we didn't have any breakfast food (eggs, milk, butter all at our daughter's apartment) so Mike ran to the grocery to make what is probably going to be one of many trips we'll be making in the next day to replace the foods that didn't make it. He brought home eggs and muffins.
 We sat at breakfast contemplating when to begin the fetching of food from everywhere and if I would  still make it to work on time.  When it hit us.  We were very blessed, very lucky that a tree had not come through our roof, no flood waters had risen in our basement and basically, we were inconvenienced for a few hours. 
  Sometimes in the midst of our 'suffering' we forget to look on the bright side. And honestly I don't always appreciate other people trying to point out the bright side when I'm not there yet. But it was nice that we both thought of it at the same time, while sharing our breakfast coffee;  that the night could have been much worse. And as we bowed our heads to pray before eating, holding hands, we did thank the Lord for what we had. And it was good.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Joy! Every Adversity Carries the Seed of Greater Benefit

  I love this quote from the book, "Chasing Joy" by Edward Hays.  He speaks of "rejoicing always by searching for something good, the potential of happiness, hidden in every event-even events that are sorrowful." This last discovery of joy hidden in some misfortune requires trusting in God.
Faith encourages us to open ourselves to God's creative ability to convert darkness into light, to generate life out of death, to convert anger into peace and sorrow into joy.
  The quote, "Every adversity carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit," gives us the promise that these joy-laced seeds that are hidden in the darkness of suffering do not grow instantly or miraculously no matter how deep your faith is.  Rather, each adversity holds a seed that must be cultivated, nurtured and grown in trust and love.
  Nothing happens overnight...the universe which God began trillions of years ago is still must our trust and joy.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


Over and over again I am reminded that we are nothing without Joy.  Our faith, our lives, everything depends upon the Joy we let shine in our lives!  We were made for joy, it's why our face smile, our eyes light up, our cheeks become rosy and our lungs shout with laughter!
  Let nothing steal your joy.
  There's plenty of joy sucking obstacles in our lives every day...but don't let it happen! Put your joy back on, laugh, smile.  Why are we put where we are in life?  God put us here to be joyful, to be joy-filled and to spread that joy to others so they can share in God's love for them too. 
  I got that joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart!

Friday, June 24, 2016

With This We Shall Save the World!

  Seeing a great need for a renewal of the workings of the Holy Spirit...Forget not your Confirmation! The Seal of the Holy Spirit upon your forehead when the Bishop anoints you as a Soldier For Christ, and says, "Be sealed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit!"

You are therefore challenged to live out your Catholic faith!
 You have chosen to become a Soldier for Christ.
  How will you fight the battles that wage against the world?

* "The Holy Spirit who comes down with a life-giving descent upon the waters of baptism, in the font bestows beauty unto innocence, in Confirmation grants an increase unto grace.
  Because we have to walk during our whole life in the midst of invisible enemies and dangers, we are in baptism regenerated unto life, after baptism we are confirmed for the battle; in baptism we are cleansed, after baptism we are strengthened...
Confirmation arms and furnishes weapons to those who are reserved for wrestlings and contests of this world!

WE are those called to battle!  We the confirmed who choose to enter the fight and not shrink from the dangers in the world. Sometimes we are injured, mangled, torn apart, but we stand up again and return to the fight for that is what WE are called to do.

*quote from a 5th Century Bishop in a homily for Whitsunday or Pentecost Sunday

The Holy Spirit

"Forget not the Holy Spirit,

at the moment of your enlightenment (Confirmation)

 He is ready to mark your soul with His seal...

He will give you the heavenly and divine seal

which makes the devil tremble.

He will arm you for the fight;

 He will give you strength!" 



St. Cyril of Jerusalem

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Above All Else

   Above all else, help me always to remember that I have only one soul, that I have only one short life that must be lived by me alone. That I have only one death to die, and there is only one glory that is eternal.
   If I do this, as you have promised, there will be many things I will not care about at all.
   Nothing will disturb me.                     -Teresa of Avila

Look At the Helpers

Monday, June 6, 2016

Experiencing the Lord in the Hospital

  Just last week, my mom experienced a bad fall while coming out of church. It had been raining heavily and the blacktop was slick and down she went breaking her hip, pelvis and some vertebrae.
  Now, my mother is a very sturdy woman, instead of laying there between two parked cars and hoping someone came by quickly, she got herself up, continued walking to her car and drove to my home where she knocked at the door and told me, "I think I may have hurt myself."
  What an understatement! 
   But you see my momma has big faith in the Lord. The entire time she kept telling Jesus, "Help me Lord, just get me to Lisa's"
   When I saw her and the pain she was in I repeated this plea myself, "Help me, Lord, just get us to the Emergency Room!"
   Six hours, several x-rays and a cat scan later, it was confirmed that she had indeed hurt herself with a hairline crack in her pelvis, crack in her hip and cracks in vertebrae. So began the hospital stay. The next day we were buoyed up by the presence of a Extraordinary Minister to the homebound who visited my mom's hospital room and blessed us with his good humor and his genuine love of the Blessed Sacrament.  He looked at mom and me after exchanging warm greetings said, "And course you both will be receiving the Lord today?" 
  I loved the way he wasn't timid about it.  To him it was the most natural thing in the world to be receiving Jesus among the wires, alarms, bandages, tubes, needles and everything else hospital. 
  I hadn't realized how very tired I was at the time, having not slept for over 25 hours, concentrating on what doctors were saying and nurses were doing, my efforts to make sure Mom felt safe and secure in this strange place had put my prayers in the background.  But now, here was Jesus right there in the room with us, saying, "Just take and eat and I will help you!"
I gratefully received our Lord, thanking Him for the reminder that He was with us and everything would work out.
   The next day the same gentlemen was back, with his good humor and twinkle of Christ in his eye. This time, two of my sisters, and a niece were in the room too. He didn't bat an eye but again repeated, "And of course you'll all be receiving the Lord today?"   We did with much love and thankfulness for this God who sent His Son to us, in all occasions, in all strife and adversity to be sure we knew His love for us never wavers especially when we are going through hard times.
  We received Him gratefully for the encouragement He gave to our spirits and souls that day.
   By the end of the weekend we found out my mom would not need surgery but just plenty of rest to heal.  I found out again, as I have so many, many times, how very much I need the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament to help me.  "Help us Father, help us know how very important it is to receive you in the Body and Blood of your Son." 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Balloons of Joy!

   Working at a church sponsored event this past weekend, I livened things up by purchasing some helium filled happy face balloons.  Personally, I hate mylar balloons and here is why: when they enter my home, they follow me. And I don't imagine this, it's a standing joke in our family. No matter where the balloons are put, down in the basement, back in a bedroom; they come out, sneaking with quiet stealth and appear behind me!
  But, against my better judgment I bought them anyway and although they were fastened to weights and sat on top of a wall several feet behind me, they kept finding a way to bump themselves into my head.  After complaining about them, one of the parishioners told me, "Well, you know how smoke follows beauty, right?" I nodded. "Well, smiley balloons follow joy!"
  I smiled....

Spring Stress In Your Face

    Everywhere you, trains,
  What's a God fearing Christian Catholic supposed to do?  Even hermits aren't immune to the stresses in life...they have to grow their food, work and toil and Mother Nature doesn't always do them favors either.
    This is where your prayer life comes in. If you don't have one, get started!  Prayer doesn't take away our worries, anxieties or stress but it makes it all more do-able.  The other day while getting a check up my doctor told me my blood pressure was up.  I've been watching what I eat, working out several times a week, but the one thing I hadn't changed was stressing out.  It's a hard thing to do, letting go of the stress. Yet my own body was giving me warning signs.  Cut out the stress or you're doomed to deal with blood pressure issues.  Argh...  Really, truly giving God all my stress and worries had fallen down in my list of things to do each morning.  Why is it so very hard to remember that I can't do all this stuff and it really has to be given away to the Father who loves us and can do it for me?
    Far from having all the answers, we humans keep struggling with the idea of  'letting go and letting God.'  No matter how long we've been on this earth and know better, we still have to be reminded to let it go.
     So while I remember to let God deal with all my anxious worries today I'm going to invent a new hat, one that has a clip on the front where I can hang a sign in front of my face that reads:  "Let It Go, Lisa! Let It Go!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

It's Spring!

Laughing with another mom today...made my heart light again. Sometimes just talking with another person in a like situation can help your heart and soul!
Just like spending time with Jesus!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Grow Old With Me...

     Pope Francis, in writing his newest encyclical, (Amoris Laetitia) The Joy of Love, writes about both young couples, engaged and married and older couples.  In his years as a pastor, he has gained a keen insight into family life, young love and mature love.
      He reminds young couples that they are the brink of the future, and that "young love needs to keep dancing toward the future with immense hope. Hope is the leaven that in those first years of engagement and marriage, makes it possible to look beyond arguments, conflicts and problems and to see things in a broader perspective." 
     Beautiful, it's true. Looking back at my married life (33 years) when we first started out we were stressed out, finishing college, looking for jobs, eating out of the change jar. It was hard. But when I look back and remember those times I think, wow, it was so much easier then than now.
    Impossible you say?  I would have agreed with you when I was young. But now, I can truly say things are harder, yet when I look at my husband, I wouldn't have wanted to go through any of those things we experienced in our 33 years of marriage with anyone but him.
    Francis goes on to say this about mature love: As the body ages, it still expresses that personal identity that first won our heart. Even if others can no longer see the beauty of that identity, a spouse continues to see it with eyes of love and so his or her affection does not diminish.  Lovers do not see their relationship pass merely temporary. Those who marry do not expect their excitement to fade.
      He suggests that married couples try a little more tenderness. Tenderness is a virtue often overlooked in our world of frenetic and superficial relationships.  
      And yes, my friends, he is correct.  Without tenderness, my husband would have run out of the house when I was pregnant with our first child and could not stand the smell of our apartment.  We had to eat out every night and only after eating a meal away from home, usually a salad, could I stomach going back into our apartment. ( hormones and  super sensitive noses don't mix.)
  Without tenderness, I would have thrown up my hands and said, "forget it' when my husband's hobby, martial arts, landed up becoming 'our' hobby, our family vocation (for the last 27 years) and a side-line business.   He found a way to help protect kids and who was I to say no?
   Without tenderness, we couldn't have gotten through raising three beautiful children, watch one of each of our parents pass, deal with many heartaches that come along in a life, medical struggles, tests of faith and trust in God. 
    So you see, even though he's never been married, he lived in a family growing up.  Family, no matter what your vocation is as adult, affects you for the rest of your life. Family is togetherness that knows no bounds. Even if your family is out of sorts, not exactly like you'd like it to be, it's family, through thick and thin, good times and bad, better or worse, richer or poorer. 
  God bless you and your family, your spouse, your parents, your children, your pastor and friends. You need all of them to get through this life.  Always remember tenderness...and you'll grow old and the best will yet to be!




Thursday, April 7, 2016

Easter's Joyful Alleluia!

   The eggs were dyed and eaten, most of the chocolate bunnies are finished too. Ahh...time to enjoy the real part of Easter...the Alleluias, the scripture of Jesus appearing to his disciples, the time of Heaven.

  With such a huge build up to Easter, the events of Holy Week almost overwhelm us and wipe us out. At least in our parish, all the work that goes into preparing for Chrism Mass, Holy Thursday's foot washing and Adoration, Good Friday's Passion, Easter Vigil preparations and the three hour journey towards the light of the Easter Candle and Easter morning Masses, the joy and alleluias that resound, and finally a small Easter egg hunt complete with our own Easter Bunny mascot (thanks again, Caitlin) and Laughing Monday.   Are you tired?

   I was!  Yet the joy of the glorious resurrection that we celebrate it each and every year leaves me with satisfaction in my heart. It is a great relief to know that God again has sent his only Son to us, to suffer and die yet be resurrected on the third day. And though we have celebrated this for over 2,000 years it is still new to each newborn baby, each brand new Christian and yes, it is new to each of us 'old, veteran' Christians who make sure we see it brand new each year.  And we must see it brand new each year because that's why the Church celebrates it each and every year.

   It's not a once in a lifetime event for us, but a yearly reminder that God loves us. He loves us so very much He sends His Son to us.  Of course Jesus hasn't died every year for the last 2,000, but we are reminded through our own sins, our own receiving forgiveness that He is renewed in us in such a way that it's like we are there and it's just happened with us as witnesses!
  He has died for those sins we hate to confess. He's died so we can stand in that confession line and say we are sorry, once again for sins we keep committing even though we've tried hard not to do again.  He forgives us over and over again and as long as we are sincere in our confessing and effort to be better, He will continue to forgive us just like we read the Passion and relive the trial and scourging of Jesus every year.  Because God lives in our now, our present. We don't look back at that event 2,000 years ago and say, "Well, that was nice of Him, to die for us, we must remember that sometime and say thank you."  No!  We relive the passion of Holy Week in all its despair and sadness, in our shouting "Crucify him, crucify him." because we keep sinning...we...keep...crucifying...him. 

  We relive the Resurrection of Christ because it is brand new every year! Christ is living and among us! That Easter Joy of His love for us is with us all year long and should not be cast aside as some event from long ago. It happens every day in our lives, God loving us, forgiving us EVERY day of our lives. 

  Rejoice! Alleluia! Christ has risen from the dead!  God loves us.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Do Not Forget To Dance For Joy!

     There are two beautiful passages worth reflecting on even during Holy Week when we are remembering all the dark days leading up to the  Resurrection.
     The first is in 2 Samuel 6, when David was bringing the Ark of the Covenant toward Jerusalem. We read about these scenes in which David was shouting for joy - leaping and dancing for joy before the Ark.  What did the Ark of the  Covenant represent?  For the Jewish people it represented the presence of God.  They carried the Ark around reverently for forty years in the desert to remind them that God was with them. So David was shouting for joy, leaping for joy and dancing for joy in the presence of God.
     The second passage is the Visitation in Luke 1.  Here we read about Elizabeth's unborn child, John the Baptist, dancing for joy in his mother's womb when he heard Mary's greeting. Of course Mary was also pregnant carrying the child Jesus. This makes Mary the Ark of the New Covenant. Why was John the Baptist leaping for joy? For the same reason David was, he was in the presence of God.
     Living in the presence of God causes us to dance for joy. It is easy to lose site of his presence. It is easy to wander from his ways.  It is easy to become blind to his presence as a result of the crippling selfishness that we all fall victim to if left to our own devices. But God doesn't leave us to our own devices.
     The presence of Jesus is powerful. People loved being near him.
     This Holy Week, take part in the powerful story going on before your eyes through the Last Supper, Good Friday and the Cross and the Joy of the Resurrection will invade your soul on Easter morning! He has risen! Jesus loves us! Let us dance for JOY!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I have to laugh when I look up St. Patrick on the internet. Even though it's the only feast day we have a holiday for that actually includes the "Saint" in the name of the day, (unlike dear St. Valentine)  poor St. Patrick is rarely ever portrayed as he was. A Man. The clip art usually associated with him is of a cartoon or leprechaun.

So in honor of such a wonderful guy, here is an actual man. It may not be a photo (since they didn't have those in his day) but at least he's not a leprechaun!

Even though most of my own family is VERY German, we love St. Patrick's Day. My husband can find some Scots blood in his line but that's about as close as we get. Still my son's name is very Irish : Ryan Michael.  My husband and I loved everything Irish. and Ryan was even baptized on March 17th.  So St. Patrick is near and dear to our hearts.

I love the story of St. Patrick and his love for a people he could have loathed and hated since they had kidnapped him from his native land.  It reminds me that we get spoiled in America thinking everything should go as WE plan it; not as God plans it.  It's hard to remember sometimes that WE are not in charge of our lives, God is; and though we have Free Will, and the choice to do things in our lives, we still cannot control circumstances or enforce our will on others.  So while we may not get kidnapped and become a missionary in another country, we can still work on trying to do good things and listening to God who has great ideas for us.

God Bless you and Happy Saint Patrick's Day to you!

Monday, March 14, 2016

St Therese and Docility

 St. Therese was such a wonderful example of docility.  At the beginning of this Lent journey 2016, I was struggling with my own sense of docility.  It was so bad that even when reading some of Therese's writings about her life, I would find myself asking, 'Why didn't she do something about this? Why didn't she speak up about an insult or hurt?"

  I have spent much more time this Lent reading the writings of Therese as well as several other Lenten materials including the "Rediscover Jesus" book by Matthew Kelly and today it finally hit me. I've been missing docility. Matt Kelly describes in his book that Docility means to be listening deeply to the promptings of the Holy  Spirit; to be coachable, to listen to the voice of God especially in times of decision.  But I've not been doing that very well.

  Oh I have prayed asking for help, trying to listen. But many times my own pride, feeling insulted by someone's criticism, holding on to hurt feelings to assuage my guilt over things I may say, has really gotten in the way of me being a docile person.

  My husband and I joke about receiving those moments of revelation in life, when you finally 'get' something God is trying to tell you, as receiving a 'Golden Two by Four" in the forehead.  We rub our foreheads and laugh and say, whoops, guess I was supposed to get that one better."

  This Lent God has graciously seen fit to supply me with some of those Golden 2 x 4's. I'm embarrassed to admit it's taken several bumps to my head to help me understand that all my self pity and anger about things aren't solving any issues in my life.  I need to be more docile. I need to listen better to the Holy Spirit.

  Matt Kelly says, "We all have a distorted view of reality. We don't see things as they really are: we don't see ourselves as we really are. We have blind spots, biases, and prejudices.  Jesus wants to liberate us from all these and help us to see things as they really are, to see ourselves as we really are."

  It hurts to admit when your pride has caused you to fall down, once again... and again...and again. But before I feel so horribly unworthy of Jesus, to feel that there is no way to say I'm sorry enough for falling again...I see Jesus fall during the Stations of the Cross. Not once, not twice, but three times.  Not because of His pride, but to remind me of my pride and how I must get up again and again and again and keep trying to be better.  Accepting docility is accepting that we will keep messing up and knowing we need to keeping listening over and over.

    The humbleness we learn from being docile helps us each time not to sink so low. God loves us and gives us chance after chance and as long as we keep getting up, picking up our cross, we are on the right road, following in Jesus footsteps on our own way to  Calvary and the salvation that awaits us in heaven! 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Forgiveness Is The Best Revenge!

  We experience a whole lot of horribleness in our lives. Sometimes it's easy to forgive and forget.

   We know by trying to live in the shadow of the Cross, we cannot keep hating someone or something that has happened to us.  I met a woman the other day who was in severe pain. She was looking for answers to questions, questions of why her step-father had abused her, why her mother let it go on.  She said she had tried forgiving and forgetting. But every time she saw him it reminded her of the anger all over again.

    I was reminded of the Gospel reading where Jesus says we have to forgive seventy times seven. In other words, it's not a one time thing to forgive. It takes a long time to establish forgiveness. Jesus understood that. He was human, He knew how hard it would be for us to forgive really hard things.

   Even when we confess our unforgiveness toward someone one day, doesn't mean we won't have unforgiveness in us the next.  That's why forgiveness is a choice we must make EVERY day. We choose to forgive whether we feel like it or not. It's a decision; not a feeling.   Many times there are layers and layers of unforgiveness that build up over years.  You may find you have to consciously forgive every time you think upon the wrong. 

  And when you forgive someone it doesn't make them right or justify what they have done. It releases them into God's hands so HE can deal with them.

  Forgiveness is actually the best revenge because it not only sets us free from the person we forgive, but it frees us to move into all God has for us. 

  Sometimes we don't forgive ourselves for things we've done and give ourselves a lifetime of punishment for whatever we did or did not do. Sometimes we blame God for things that happened. Ask God to show you if any of these things are true about you. Don't let unforgiveness limit what God wants to do in your life.

Friday, February 26, 2016

St. Therese Thoughts- Don't Give Up

  I don't know if it's been because of the constantly changing weather this week...we had 70 degree weather last Saturday and Sunday, a blizzard with temps in the 30's on Monday and Tuesday, back up to 50's and 60's on Wednesday, back to snow flurries and high cold winds Thursday...but my faith life has been experiencing as many ups and downs this week. Someone said it was the weather, some say it's the full moon or something to do with some planets aligning up weird this week. Personally I think it's the devil because it's Lent...
  Whatever the cause, my faith life has been suffering because of it. Still reading and re-reading St. Therese's words on trying to offer up little acts of love. Why is it so very hard some times to do that? Then I read in her autobiography that she too felt incapable of the tiniest charity, the smallest expression of concern and patience and understanding. And she would time and again surrender her life to Christ with the hope that He would act through her.
  We don't get to a point in our lives where we can ever just sit and say, "There! I've done! I've achieved love and peace in my life."  It becomes more and more apparent to me that you almost never feel that way and yet if you dwell on that thought, the thought that you will never get there, all is lost.  I keep reflecting on how Therese kept asking our heavenly Father for help.  It's easy for us to look at her writings and life and say, "Wow, she did it, she mastered the patience and love she was working on." But that would not be true. It was a constant struggle for her. No one 'changes' just like that until we get to Heaven.  While she was faithful to the Gospel of Jesus and the core of His message, she struggled with living it on a daily basis. And there we see what we must also do.
  We tend to think that once-we've-begun-we-get-it-done." But that isn't how grace and mercy works. It would be too fleeting and never last.
  No, it must be a constant, daily or even minute-by-minute work of art for each of us. Just like our heart keeps a beat, our rhythm of breathing keeps repeating, so must our conscious desire to be patient, kind and merciful.  It may become a habit in some ways, but most likely it will have to be a rock in our shoe, a splinter in our finger that hurts and reminds us of the struggle.
  So don't give up on yourself. It's hard to sit during the Holy Mass and feel worthy enough to go to Communion on those days when I am fighting with myself again over my lack of compassion, patience or love...yet I fight myself to go because I so desperately NEED Jesus.  I know I am never worthy, but it's the food He gives me to keep trying every day to live with love. And when I receive Him I feel strength again. I know I can keep trying.  Abba, help me to keep trying!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

In the Spirit of St. Therese...

   I ran across the most beautiful example of someone who has made his job as a nurse in a hospital setting into a wonderful opportunity to show God's love for people.  The following link is about a young man who, during his nursing duties in the hospital, sings to his patients!
   Please take time to listen to the story...

Monday, February 15, 2016

Lenten Generosity

  Today, in our Lenten meditation from the Word Among Us, was the encouragement to treat those around us just like Blessed Mother Therese of Calcutta treated those she ministered to. It was she who told a visitor that you don't have to go looking for the poor to help them. We are all called to help those we live with, work with and encounter on an every day basis.
  And so, today, during Lent we are reminded to keep our Lenten fast by being generous to those we are with this very day. Even though they may not be poor in the physical sense, many of us could use an encouraging word, a smile, a happy thought to get us through our day.  We can be Mother Therese to everyone we meet by remembering the words of Lent this good mercy.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Lent Is All About Our Joyful Anticipation of Jesus' Resurrection!

  In keeping with St. Therese's Little Way us keeping Lent is all about our joyful anticipation of the resurrection. Yes, we are reminded to be sorrowful for our sins, to wipe our slates clean as it were. But if we are sorry and confess our sins are we not then joyful the Lord has forgiven us?

  Opening our hearts to let in more joy and sharing the joy of God's love is what we as God's people are called to do.  Remembering that God loves us and renewing our Trust in Him is what we do during Lent too.  Sometimes we forget about trusting God.  We make the mistake of thinking we are in control of so many things in our lives and when we find out we cannot control something or we are controlled by something, we forget to trust God to make everything okay in the end.  Maybe it doesn't happen right now, or even tomorrow. But He will make everything good, even taking bad things and turning something good out of it.
  So this Lent, remember Therese's little way of loving God. Don't make it so hard on yourself that you forget to just love Him who made you.  Remember to give trust to the Father who made us and let Him deal with problems that arise that we truly cannot do anything about.  This Lent, just give it to Him... and have the trust, the smile and the love of a child towards God, our loving Father.

For more on St. Therese and her Little Way try this website: