Thursday, March 28, 2013

Happy Easter!

  "Joy is the serious business of heaven." C.S. Lewis

  Holy Week already here
  Mass of Chrism male voices appear
  Feet washed clean on Thursday night
  Good Friday Passion gives my heart fright
  Holy Saturday no longer sin slaves
  Happy Easter! Alleluia !Christ is Risen from the grave!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The "Tang of Living"

Jack London, author of Call of the Wild and White Fang, referred to his life as his "adventure path" and was always in pursuit of the "tang of living."

Aren't we, as Catholics called to the "tang of living?" What is faith all about if it doesn't give a flavor to our lives? If we don't use faith to help us move mountains, follow our dreams and live the life God gave us with zeal and enthusiasm?

Sometimes we get bogged down in everything bad going on, wars, fights, battles for morality. We tend to forget our "tang for living."

Today I will seek my "tang" or the zest in life, and not forget that life is about the enthusiasm of living!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Encouraging Words: March 18, 2013

“When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.” ~ Alexander Graham Bell, Scottish Scientist and Inventor  and Helen Keller


“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States from 1933-1945


Yes, I needed two quotes this week to remind me that I can do this. Last week I wrote about being strong and facing those moments in parenting when you have to let go by multiplying love. Right?

Well, this week I am totally failing in that letting go thing. Laura, spoiler alert, your mom is still a control freak and I fail quite frequently!

Control, yes, those of us who think we are good at it have to have constant 2 x 4’s slapped across our foreheads reminding us we are NOT in control. As much as we would like to think we can be, should be, that it is our God-given right to be, our good and gracious God keeps giving us lessons, I mean opportunities to let go and let Him do everything.

For all my bravado last week in talking about Multiplying Love, I am failing miserably in the mom department through three time zones this week. I am embarrassed to say that I have spent the last three nights unable to sleep because I’m worried about one daughter spending the week on one coast, taking a college course, and the other daughter on the other coast driving through rain storms.  Now after 26 years of being a mom, I  KNOW God is in charge, I KNOW my children are adults, and I KNOW I simply cannot tri-locate to be everywhere. However, in my heart, late at night, there is a part of me that still thinks I can. And when I can’t, I worry. And when I worry, I don’t sleep. 

So now it’s Wednesday and sleep deprived me is trying to work at my full time job in the church office, help teach at our family martial arts business because we are short handed this week, and still pretend that I am a fully functioning adult who won’t burst into tears at any given moment because she wants all her children closer to home.

It’s enough to send me over the edge wishing for life when my children were little and I worried about the fever one of them had. 

You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” Eleanor says, yet letting your children grow up, watching your parents get old and be lonely when one of them passes, is harder than I would have ever imagined.  It’s during those nights, lying wide awake that I fear I will not be able to do this.  Has any mother died from worrying too much?  Or is it just a cumulative thing, hence the gray hair, wrinkles, heart conditions, stomach ailments that wear our bodies down?  Why is it we can be so very good at letting God take care of things one moment and the next be right back worrying again in the next?

The human condition is constantly battling over this. We KNOW God loves us, and is in charge, yet we despair and worry, and think we can change things. That Mom power is so very powerful we can move mountains – literally! 

Peace only comes when you become so worn out by crying, worn out from  shaking your head at God saying “Come on, why can’t it be MY way this time?”  Worn out from sheer exhaustion of willpower that still does not change anything because, guess what, that’s life. It is NOT perfect, or just the way you want it.  No matter HOW HARD YOU THINK YOU CAN CHANGE THINGS.

I come from warrior women stock. My people descended from the nomadic Germanic tribes that came from the frozen north, invaded the Romans, and built a country or two. We sailed ships to coming to America looking for a better life for our children. We did those things. But in the end, we still cannot control everything.

Peace comes only when resignation, not in the sense of defeat, but in the acquiescence of our will to God’s will finally settles lightly upon our souls. It isn’t like a hammer, it doesn’t come suddenly. It floats down upon us like a feather, and like a balm, spreads the ointment of “just let it be.”

I keep thinking, okay, I get it. But as time goes on, I realize you never “get it” all the time. It’s a constant learning thing. Uggg…grow tired of lessons. I grow tired of growing… I read the Psalms in the Bible and I begin to understand that it’s not just me…it’s all of mankind…having to be molded and shaped…because it will never be MY will to be done…molded and shaped, fired and beaten, into tensile steel of love…multiplying love that will always win out in the end because God made me this way. He made me strong, and controlling. He made me a wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend and in becoming great at all those things takes time, tears, patience and love. And the greatest of these is love.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pope Francis

  Wonderful news! We have a new Pope. Pope Francis!  What a wonderful name and an inspiring man.
 Here is a wonderful news article on his example of humor and humility:

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Encouraging Words March 11, 2013

Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle,
and the life of the candle will not be shortened.
Happiness never decreases by being shared.
- The Buddha


   Many years back, my sister-in-law was pregnant with her third child and I was already raising three kids all of whom were in grade school at this time. I remember her asking me “how do you divide your love between three kids?”

     Somehow the Holy Spirit intervened because I am not known for my eloquence in speech, just ask anyone in my family, because I actually answered, “It doesn’t divide, it multiplies!”

    And it’s true. As the years have gone on I never felt my love was divided between my husband and my three children. It was always on the grow!  And today that love has grown to include a wonderful son-in-law and even to his two brothers who feel like sons to me too one of which even asked his mom if he was supposed to call me “mom” too now since we were all ‘related’ by marriage!  I was so touched!

Multiplying your love, in my experience as a mom, has brought thousands of joys in my life. It has also brought tons of worry, anxiety, and sorrow too. Like when my freshly married daughter followed her husband two thousand miles away in his new job.  How would I, the mom who had to hold everyone’s hand in at the mall, who didn’t go to sleep at night until I had looked in and blessed all of my kids and knew they were safely at home, who uses text messaging as a crutch to check in on my kids who aren’t living at home any more, deal with a child moving that far away? And then not only the miles, but the two hour time difference.   I was going to bed when she was getting off work!

   Multiply the love, says the Holy Spirit.

   Who knew multiplying the love would help in mileage too? Not me and if you would have tried to sell me on that before they moved, there would have been No Sale!  I still don’t like it, but since I haven’t won the lottery and can pay them to stay local, I guess I have to be thankful they have jobs and are experiencing the closeness and bonding of a married couple only being so far apart from family can do.

Multiplying the love helps me get through the day after my son tells me he is planning a trip to go sky diving, or my other daughter joining a college group to travel to our nation’s capitol to take part in a conference.  Multiplying the love means I am able to deal with my husband’s blood sugar drops and lows with diabetes and knowing what to do without panicking.

When this same sister-in-law was pregnant with her seventh child, she went into premature labor at 19 weeks. She was put on bed rest, then a hospital stay, but my tiny niece was born at 21 weeks, with a very slight chance of surviving.

   There in the hospital, inside an incubator, with tubes and lines going all over her tiny little body which at the time didn’t even have skin growing on it yet, I wondered how in the world my brother and his wife could cope with this when they had to leave her at the hospital and go home to their other six children who needed them too.  Once again, the Holy Spirit shut me up and instead of my words, the Spirit’s words opened my mouth to reassure them, “Her guardian angels will be here the whole time with her, I know they are here with her.”  Multiplying love. It works miracles and somehow they were able to go home, get rest and reassure their children everything was in the Lord’s hands.

   I take no credit for knowing anything about Multiplying Love. It’s a phenomenon of the Holy Spirit. Truly. I only know that it is incredibly hard to do, make no mistake, it takes prayer, tons and tons of prayer. But you know where Multiplying Love comes from? Trust.

   Trust: That word weighs like a ton.  It settles on your shoulders and your heart.  And the ONLY one you can trust with all the weight and the worries, anxieties, fears and sorrows is God.  It’s a constant work in progress, it is an action; trust. I wake up every day having to recommit to it. It does not come easily some days. Trusting in God and letting go of myself is like having to do exercise! But the more you do it, the better you get at it. I didn’t say it becomes easier, because it does not. But you can manage it and get better at trusting and love.   Trust is what fuels Multiplying Love.  Multiplying Love comes directly from God. He is so very good at love and it’s nothing for Him to love the billions of people in this world all the same at the same time.


   Your candle will not diminish, only grow all the brighter as you light the candle of others!


Friday, March 8, 2013

Even More Joy!


“Man is fond of counting his troubles, but he does not count his joys. If he counted them up as he ought to, he would see that every lot has enough happiness provided for it.”  Fyodor Dostoevsky

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Jesus! I Love Youuuuu!!

  I was sitting behind a young mother and her very young daughter, probably age 3 during a weekday Mass today. All through Mass, mom would point out the stained glass windows, the statues of Mary and Jesus on the cross, very quietly, but it was something to keep the 3 year old occupied.

  Finally, after communion and the priest had taken his seat and we all sat down, I could hear this tiny little voice sing-song out, "Jes-sus, I lov-ve youuuuu!!!

  So sweet!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Encouraging Word March 4, 2013

"Throw back the shoulders, let the heart sing, let the eyes flash, let the mind be lifted up, look upward and say to yourself... Nothing is impossible!"        --  Norman Vincent Peale


Even though it’s Lent and we may be thinking of pain, sorrow, of giving up instead of getting, let’s not get mired down in the mud of fasting and ashes.  What Lent truly is about is learning to look at the JOY in our lives.

What our fasting can do for us is clean out our spirits, make room once again for the JOY that God has given us to live.  We get so bogged down by the day to day struggles, making ends meet, working the job, cleaning the house, taking care of the kids, our friends, parents, our Church, that our Joy is depleted and we forget to fill it up again.

During Lent, maybe what we need is not to concentrate so much on fasting as drudgery again, but as a clean up of sorts. Just like when you finally had enough of the dust bunnies, the finger prints in the dust around on the shelves, that dirty spot on the kitchen floor we still haven’t cleaned up, JOY during Lent can enliven our hearts again, lift us up above all the day to day making do.

Joy, Joy, JOY!!! It’s a word that is so encouraging. The mere mention of the word joy cannot be taken in any other way than to celebrate the fact that God loves YOU!  And your heart wells up inside because none of your other problems matter.  All that spiritual dryness we experience in life can be refreshed again if we truly look at the joy in our lives.

So what if your job is horrible right now, your friends or co-workers are crabby. They can’t steal your JOY!

“Joy always springs from a certain outlook on man and on God. “When your eye is sound, your body too is filled with Light.  The vocation to happiness always passes through the channels of knowledge and love, of contemplation and action.   This attainment of such an outlook is not just a matter of psychology. It is also a fruit of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus had joy because the Spirit who dwelt fully in him made his earthly life so alert to the joys of daily life, so tactful and persuasive for putting sinners back on the road to a new youth of heart and mind. It is the same Spirit who animated the blessed Virgin and each of the saints.  It is the Spirit of Pentecost who leads those living today to be followers of Christ.”  (excerpt from Gaudete in Domino Pope Paul VI – 1975)

So live your JOY! Clean out your heart this Lenten season. Let your joy bubble up in you! Look at the day and see how you can let your light shine!