Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Every Time You Smile!

  Every time you smile at someone it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing. - Mother Teresa
This new year's resolution: Smile!  The civility thing rubbed off on me a little, I think I got better. So this year I'm going a step further and SMILING!! Yup, not just looking away when I feel anger and indignation coming on, actually smiling at whatever, whomever.  Besides smile wrinkles are better than frown wrinkles!!   Smile!  :0

Monday, December 28, 2015

Wait for the Wings!

  I loved this today...taken from "Day Five" Let Nothing Disturb You"  Teresa of Avila

"More courage is required of those who set out on the road to perfection than of those who suddenly become a martyr, for perfection is not attained overnight. 

You have yet to conquer your passions. Yet by the very fact that you seek to love God, you expect to be extremely brave, as brave as a great saint. You find yourself praising the Lord, but at the same time knowing deep sadness of soul. Many turn back at this point because they have no idea how to help themselves.

Many souls desire to fly before God gives them wings. They begin with good desires, with great fervor and determination to advance in virtue.

Some actually give up all things for the sake of God. They see in others who are further along the way great virtues to which they can only aspired. They lose heart.

Do not be troubled, but hope in the Lord. For if you desire to do the will of the Lord, if you pray and hope and do what you can for yourself, God will bring about in your soul all that you desire.

If I do my best, I will be victorious, I will fly, but not before you give me wings. Grant me patience. Let me not turn back now.  For if I have you, God, I will want for nothing."

"Let nothing disturb you, let nothing make you afraid. All things are passing. God alone never changes. Patience gains all things. If you have God you will want for nothing. God alone suffices."

St. Teresa of Avila was a contemplative nun, religious reformer and gifted writer who founded the Discalced Carmelites and became the first woman to be named Doctor of the Church.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Merry Blessed Christmas!

  I hope and pray you are having a blessed and peaceful Christmas. The world does not make it easy to remember the joy and excitement we should be anticipating as we await Jesus birth. Too much news, too many illnesses can fog our 'Jesus meter' and make it hard to grasp the true meaning of what Jesus did for us over 2,000 years ago.
  Yet we must remember, that despite everything surrounding us, the good, bad, and ugly, we need to see the beauty in this time. We need to feel God's warmth and love in our hearts. Sometimes it has to be a very concentrated effort. It may not come easy, but we truly must stop and remember.
  Maybe it's because I'm older now and know much more about the world, see more of its ugliness more often, yet I have to remind myself, this is NOT the end...this is only part of the journey that will lead me to God's love.  And I must be open to it and help others see and feel it too.
  So, my wish for you this Christmas is for you to feel God's love and warmth in your soul. Please stop and take the time, look at a favorite ornament, smell the balsam of the tree, see the Christ Child in the manger, the wonder on a child's face and remember that God loves you so very much!  Nothing in this life on earth can take that away from you. 
  Merry, joyful, and a very blessed Christmas to you!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Civility, Because Life Is Short

  Why choose civility, when everyone else around you is not?
  I recently began a self study of the writings of St. Teresa of Avila. Mostly because I love the way she has conversations with God. She tells Him what is on her mind.
  I feel like I do that, and up to now have always felt guilty for thinking I could be so free and easy with the Lord our God.  And while I still feel I need to be more servant like with our Heavenly Father, reading Teresa's words makes me feel that it's okay sometimes to offer my questions to Jesus.
  Why did this happen? Why can't I be more peaceful? Why don't you protect those who love you?
   Yeah, I know, I still have a lot to learn but I'm working on it.
  Back to civility. I read this quote today and it struck me that being a civil person demands you think this way: "A whole lifetime is short. I cannot depend on anything that passes away."
  At first you might think, ouch, she is saying she can't trust anyone in her life?  But that's not what this quote means. It means letting go, letting go of my controlling nature, letting go of my constant worry and anxiety and trusting in the ONLY thing that is everlasting...God. Because I can't do anything to change God or the world around me. I can only change how I approach God and the world. So if I use civility in everything I do, I can be a better person to this world around me and while that may not mean I don't get hurt, or yelled at or worse, it does mean I feel more at peace.
  So while my whole lifetime may be short (or long or whatever length God desires) what matters is who, what and where I put my faith in, something or someone who won't die or pass away or in God who is always going to be there before, during and after I pass from this life and with whom I wish to live in eternity with.
  Live civil.

Monday, December 14, 2015

M.O.M. App

Last night while discussing the trip our family took over the Thanksgiving holiday, I was complaining a little about my lack of paper maps for our route.  In the past, I have always made sure I had a map of every state we were traveling through.  Now, in the day of Google, Apple Maps, Garmin and more, who needs paper maps? I do!
  It was extremely frustrating to not be able to look ahead on my phone map and see what was coming up next as far as towns, etc. Google and Apple Maps only took me so far.  I am one of those people who like to plan ahead.
  During this discussion, I also mentioned how it would be helpful to have a smart phone app that told you things like 'Fasten Your Seat belt!' 'Turn here', or 'watch out for upcoming rain storms' and more.
My husband dubbed it the M.O.M. app,  Multiple Operational Messaging App. It would work like your mother was with you wherever you go, whether it was away at college, in your new job, apartment, home...
  It would remind you of several things and you could even have it wake you up in the mornings!  Our daughter was listening to this conversation and reminded me that aren't parents supposed to be raising their kids to be able to do all that stuff by themselves?  Why would they need an app for that?
  I did have to agree, but there are still lots of times you wished your mother would have told you things like, "Those two colors do NOT go together, go back to your closet and begin again."  or, "No way are you getting a tattoo young lady!" or "Yes, it is perfectly normal to be crying one minute and laughing the next right after having a baby."
  See there are lots of situations you could use your mom telling you things without having to call her.  One of my daughters hates calling to complain about things in her life. She tries to just ride it out.  I tell her I can't always be telepathic so she needs to call me. So an app that let you send out an alert to your mom without really calling her would be ideal!  The app would alert the mom to a possible upcoming crisis and suggest now would be a good time to call the daughter, you know,  just to 'check in' and say 'hi!"
  I told my son in law, who writes computer programs about this, but I think I need to explain it a little more. He was very good natured and thought it sounded great. But secretly I suspect he was thinking what is the use of something like that?  I need to explain it would work just as well for sons as well as daughters. You could even have it alert your dad when you want to ask for help, but don't really want to CALL for help, like how to change a tire, is that knocking sound your car is making a bad sign, and more.  Once he's convinced I think he'll be on board.
  Until then, we do have a M.O.M. app for many of our spiritual crisis, it's called the Rosary and it makes a bee-line straight to the Blessed Mother. If you haven't tried it, give a turn.  It grows on you. Like my paper maps of old, you should never leave home without a good sturdy rosary in your pocket or purse. You never know when you might need to call on mom!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Save Me From Drowning!

  Save me from drowning, Lord!
   Do you feel like yelling that a lot during your day?  Are the winds and waves in your life threatening to overwhelm you?  When we find ourselves like St. Peter, walking on the water and suddenly realize the wind has picked up, the waves have begun swamping our feet, when those anxieties, when those sins, when those difficulties beg us to look down at the water rushing over our legs, then we need to be like St. Peter and call out to Jesus, "Save me, Lord, I'm going to drown!"
  It's then we need to look at what is holding us back. What are the troubles in our life? What are my sins, my worries, my anger that threatens to take my gaze off Jesus on threaten to sink me into the deep?
 Saint Mother Teresa had a beautiful saying:  The finger of Christ appears in two areas of our life. First He is looking at us, beckoning us closer, the other he is behind us tapping us on the back saying, "Turn around and come back to Me!"
  In other words we should always be looking toward Christ, not the disturbing waters of our sorrow, sin, the world, but the light of Christ that beckons us towards Him.  He is the only one with the answers, the medicine for our souls, the water for our thirst.
  Keep moving toward Christ through the tempest, through the storms of your life. Look toward Jesus to get you safely home.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Confirming the Gifts

  Ah, it's that time of year when we begin Confirmation classes again with our high school students. I love the sacrament of Confirmation. The Holy Spirit coming down and infusing you with an extra dose of the Gifts of the sacrament,  Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety and Awe and Wonder or Fear of the Lord is such an amazing grace when you accept those gifts.
  Accept them? Yes, you don't get them unless you accept them.  Like everything with our Father in Heaven, YOU have a choice.  He never forces his love on  you, you have to choose whether to accept or reject God's love.  It's a gift. 
  So if you are preparing for Confirmation and you are preparing well to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit you will receive them. But if you are just going along with everything because your family or teachers say you MUST be confirmed, you will not.  Likewise if you are not truly living the Catholic theology, you are not preparing yourself to receive those gifts either. Getting drunk, having premarital sex and ruining reputations; these things do not prepare your soul for the gifts God has for us.
  So think about it.  Are you REALLY ready to be confirmed as a Catholic?  You have to make the choice to receive God's blessing and graces.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Those AHA Moments in Life!

One of my daughters, gave a talk at a retreat several years ago that I thought was so wonderful, I wanted to share it again with you. She had an awesome way of looking at the things in life that reminds me to look at things good and bad in a different way and to not take your faith for granted. Here she is talking to her peers about that very thing:


I’ve always had a pretty strong faith life and have loved having this solid base and direction for my life and decision-making. Until not too long ago, though, I really thought I was missing something or doing something wrong. See, I had never had that one big “Aha!” moment. You know, that huge experience that suddenly puts everything in your life into perspective and completely recreates you?

Well, one sunny day, I was lounging outside between my college classes with my Cherry Coke. It was one of those rare moments when I felt like the absolute only thing I had to do right then was to be right there under the gorgeous blue sky. It was like God had reached down His hand and scooped up all my worries and stress, and there was no way He was going to let me ruin that beautiful day with any black clouds of my own. It was right then I had this sudden realization, a baby, Aha, you could say, that everyone’s faith is different, and unique and I’m not doing anything wrong just because I hadn’t had a giant Aha moment. I DO experience Aha moments, in mostly smaller, daily ways, like sitting on a bench, enjoying the sun. So as I sat there, I slowly started remembering other little Aha moments in my life:

I’m 3 years old and get my finger stuck in Mom’s sewing machine trying to see how close I can get the needle to my skin: Aha, listen when Mom warns you!

I’m 12, looking forward to a new baby cousin when my aunt has a miscarriage: Aha, WE do not always have perfect plans.

I’m 14 and in the 8th grade when one of my best friends and her entire family dies in a plane crash, causing my classmates and me a nauseating, disbelieving, confusing pain we’ve never felt before: Aha, I will not always understand.

That same year, my grandma has a series of paralyzing strokes leaving her confined to a wheelchair, her right side paralyzed: Aha, I do not always have total control.

I’m 15, learning to drive and back into a storm drain during my first driving lesson: Aha, I can pick myself up after mistakes and move on AND, curbs are a good thing!

I’m 17 when my Dad gets downsized from his job and I instantly dislike the person in charge of personnel: Aha, hate solves nothing!

I hesitantly experience a TEC retreat for the first time and leave on an excited, refreshed high: Aha, God loves surprises!

This summer I became a Eucharistic Minister at church: Aha, God is SO present He gives me shivers.

The guy I want to continue dating gives up his partying lifestyle so he can be with me: Aha, people CAN change and I am worth that change!

August 29, my Aunt gives birth to a perfect baby girl, four months prematurely: Aha, life is a beautiful struggle.

Not long ago, one of the most truly amazing men I have ever been blessed to know suddenly dies of a stroke, only halfway through his life: Aha, I cannot take a single person or moment for granted.

Don’t ever be afraid or feel inadequate for never having a single, gigantic moment in your life where your faith is perfectly, permanently connected, because faith is the constant journey of us becoming better, always learning and God always teaching. The experiences, both joyful and painful, that we go through shape us and show us how God is molding us more than one Aha moment ever could. All we have to do is let Him scoop those worries and troubles into His hand and realize He helps us through even through toughest times if we just let Him. He wants us to let Him be in control so we can see all those little Aha’s!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Everything Old is New Again...

I ran across this article again from my Civility Days and thought it was worth visiting again: 

  Civility in dress; I had a hard time finding a quote that fit this. “Modesty is important because it is that which protects the castle, yet it is also the frame that enhances the picture.”
   Why am I on this modesty kick? I know my daughters roll their eyes every time I bring this up, because they hear it so often. But when you have girls, it seems you are constantly having to help them battle the Fashion Attack where dresses, tops, prom gowns, and wedding gowns have gone way too far in the revealing side of our bodies.

   So, dear sisters this week’s Civility Lesson is on being civil in body and spirit! When we treat our bodies civilly we dress not just for comfort, but for the comfort of other people’s eyes!  If we lead men into temptation because of the way we dress or aren’t dressed, then shame on us! You see, it’s a known fact that guys are guided by what they see. Women are guided by not only what they see but what they feel. It’s that whole “sensitive side” we sometimes wish guys understood better!
   And forget arguing about it, it’s just the make up of DNA and genetics at work here and I’m not about to argue with nature.  Be it enough to say that guys react more to things they see and women don’t. You can look that up somewhere else.
   For now, as women, if we aren’t into sewing our own clothes, we are at the mercy of fashion designers who want to make us all look like ladies of the evening.  I have hardware I don’t want anyone but my husband to see. Why would I advertise that to the world?  If I want to act civilly to other men I am not going to flaunt myself in low tops or high skirts.  Even if you are not married why would you flaunt your hardware to just any guy you are meeting on the street?  Prudence would say that was not wise given that statement above about guys and them acting on what they see.  You don’t want that.
   Plus, there’s the whole living like a Christian thing which states we should not lead others into temptation.  In fact, Jesus says those who DO lead others into temptation should have a millstone tied to their necks and be drowned.  Yeowch!!!  That’s enough to scare me into covering everything up!
   While,  yes, men should have enough self control and most of them do, to just “not look” at you when you are wearing something way too revealing is that really fair? Why should they have to be the ones to “not look”.  We make up laws that say you can’t smoke in certain places because we don’t want smell it or reek of smoke, we make up laws that say you can’t kill each other or drive drunk.  Do guys need a law that says, “Hey, don’t dress that way, it’s hard for me to remain a gentleman when you are dressed like that.”
   Bringing back a civil society begins with our dress, our manners and how we, as Christians present ourselves to the outside world. Whether it’s in our cars not yelling at bad drivers or not humming in line at the grocery store or not dressing in a way that says we’re something we’re not, has to begin with you and me. If we take back civility in every way, then we become as human beings something much closer to what God intended us to be. It will be easier to love each other and help us all on the road to Heaven.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Highlights! or Why It's Good To Be Young, Fun, & Catholic!

Why it's good to be Young, Fun and Catholic: 

The Pope, the Pope, the Pope visited us this week!  I love his smile!

So beautiful! This is what I imagine Jesus would have looked like talking to the children!

Also, wow, cool the Lunar Eclipse, God's show of the universe in our own backyards:

So cool! Thank you Lord for sharing your world with us!  How you could ever think someone great is not behind all of creation!

Confirmation Prep!  Yes, you heard me correctly! Normally I cringe when I have to begin getting materials ready for our parish confirmation program because we don't have a specific program we to use. This year I've discovered a program that really speaks not only to the teens, but to their parents and sponsors and to me too!  It renews me as a catechist and parent and writer!
 And as someone whose mission in life is to get everyone I know and even those people I don't know to heaven, it has had a renewing, invigorating effect on me!

St. Francis de Sales. Yes, I've heard of him lots of times, in fact I have studied his teachings because I am a Daughter in the Society of St. Francis de Sales, but while reviewing my confirmation materials, I came across a story about him being an unsuccessful proclaimer of the Word until he began writing notes to people and slipping them under the doors of their homes. He was reaching out to the un-churched, those who aren't making it to Church.  And that's what I do with my youth newsletters and staunchly defend spending the paper and postage to keep mailing it to every child in my parish!  They have to hear about God and the Church somehow if they aren't coming to Youth Group!

And of course, my patron Saint, Michael's Feast Day is today and the Guardian Angels Feast Day is Friday!  St. Michael and St. Joan of Arc are my patron saints because I teach martial arts self defense to young people. 

So celebrate!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


   Just recently I began a 12 week workout program my personal trainer, who is also my daughter, invited me to join.  I thought it was a good time to get myself a little more in shape, tone up and evaluate my eating and exercise habits.  Three weeks into the schedule I find myself huffing and puffing through the exercises at times struggling to keep up with the other shall we say, much younger women who are also in the program!
  It made me think about little I knew how much I had "lost" in tone and muscle since getting a desk job eight years ago and how I really need to remember to fit my workouts into my busy days.
  The same could be said of my spiritual workouts.  How often do I go along every with my prayers, going to Mass every week and kind of forget to 're-tune' my spiritual self?  My physical workouts have me looking at my spiritual side too wondering if I need to 're-tone' aspects of my prayer and studying.
  Because everyone needs a tune-up!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Feast of St. Monica Mother of Augustine

   Today, August 27th, is the Feast of St. Monica, the mother of St. Augustine who was kind of a big time person in the Catholic church!  Okay, he was a doctor, as in philosophy and theology not the medical kind!
  His feast is celebrated tomorrow, August 28th.
  St. Monica was a typically devoted mom. She was married to a pagan, but she herself was Christian, Catholic specifically and she made it her mission, as many of us moms do, to get her husband and children to heaven!
  This would require quite a feat of prayer, fasting and 'stormin' the heavens' as my own mother says.
   Yet, Monica never gave up and before she died she would get to witness not only her son become Catholic, but her husband too!
  Yet, unlike all the nice stories we read as kids, or the movies, it was not a quick conversion story or happy one. 
  Monica was married to a man several years older than she, he was a pagan and his mother lived with them. Neither of them were very easy to get along with, he had a raging temper and his own mother not pleasant.  But Monica began praying and begging God for a change of heart which occurred with both her husband and mother-in-law and they both became Catholic.  Monica had another son and a daughter and they both joined religious societies. But then there was Augustine, the son who ran off seeking worldly wisdom and pleasures, had an illegitimate son, and really did not want to change his wild ways.  But Monica, being a really good mom and a worrier, kept praying. In fact it was said that she bugged the heck out of her local bishop to pray for her son.  After 17 years Augustine did indeed return and eventually became a Bishop and Doctor of the Catholic Church. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

New Podcast! That Lady From Church!

Introducing a podcast about keeping things Catholics!  Short, fun and sometimes funny insights in living the faith as a young adult or young parent!  Give it a try! Come on, it's free, it won't hurt I promise!

That Lady From Church Episode 1

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Bitterness Backfires on the One Who's Bitter: Why I Will Never Read Comments on the Internet Again

  Bitterness abounds. We can't seem to escape it. Bitterness is having a heyday on the internet these days. You can't write anything, post anything without someone making a snide comment or being negative. I don't care if you think it's your "right to free speech"!  Stop being so bitter!
  In "52 Little Lessons from It's A Wonderful Life", Bob Welch, states: "Bitterness, no matter what it's form, is self-induced misery. When we vent our frustrations at others it only increases our own frustration.  When we fail to forgive, in other words, free others to be human, we enslave ourselves.    When we obsess over having what others have (or say or write) we become all the poorer for doing so."
  In other words, "If you can't say anything nice, shut up!"

  I know I'm being a little strong here, but I'm tired of reading articles by well meaning people and then see really crass, bitter comments at the end.  Who died and left you as the editor of all things written?  If you didn't agree what the author wrote why did you read it? Why should I care what YOU think about the article?  Go write your own article.
  Let's get back to being nice here, people!  We are young, we are fun and WE ARE CATHOLIC!  And we can rise up above all the bitterness and hate and set a good example!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

It's the Soul That Sings!

   It has always been mankind's history to sing when working or playing, laughing or crying, sorrowing and being joyful. Singing lets out the soul's yearning for the God of love.  We know that despite all the sadness of the present world, God is waiting for us, watching over us. Despite bad things, sad things, troubling times, we know that in the end, we will live in eternal happiness. And when we are happy and joyful the soul bubbles forth in joyful song.
  People who were enslaved, people who were enduring hard times, starving, watching their children starve, people who have been persecuted also knew that this life was not the end.  The true spirit of Christianity is sharing this joy of our eternal life, the joy of a life of eternal happiness. That's why we are commanded to spread the "Good News."
    When describing to pagans those who belonged to the new Christian movement, a second century martyr by the name of Justin, said, "We always give thanks!"
  Give thanks by singing with your soul for your soul speaks directly to our Creator, whether in sorrow or joy.

Thursday, June 18, 2015


   Some days those obstacles to joy hit lightly. You tell yourself to smile, say a prayer and keep going.
 But there are those days when evil hits you right in the stomach; hard.  It bends you over and makes your eyes water, your body waver and your knees begin to fold.  It's hard to imagine things getting better.

  Yet...you know this too will pass.  Not quickly...not without help. 

   It is for these obstacles you must work out your spirit on a daily basis. It is for these obstacles which create such hurdles in your life, that you must prepare for, because they will come.  It will threaten to rob your joy forever.  And you must not let them.  So you must practice, daily, just like you practice for a marathon, a journey, a physical event.  You must strengthen your soul so you do not quit the race.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Holy Spirit Is Always Stirrin' Things Up!

Usually when you accuse someone of 'stirring' things up' it is not a compliment.  So when I read an article on Happy Catholic about the Holy Spirit 'bothering us'  I thought, you know she is right, the Holy Spirit is always stirring things up, whether it's helping us move forward as The Church or just in individual ways as in  "I need to change."

  Of course I admit sometimes I feel a little put out by all the bothering and stirring.  Why do I feel like I'm ALWAYS having to do the changing?   What about all those people I'm around who are always negative, or who drive me nuts?  What do you mean I have to be the one who changes?
  In pops the Holy Spirit saying, "open up the Cheer Up Jar your daughter, Caitlin. made for you, you'll like the quote I've chosen for you today:

  "An entire sea of water cannot sink a ship unless it gets inside the ship.  Similarly, the negativity of the world cannot put you down unless you allow it to get inside you."

  Okay, Holy Spirit, I get it.  It's about me...I have to change again.  I am the one you are 'bothering' to change my attitude and my mood and move forward.
  So the Church is made up of all of us, we are the ones who must do the changing. All of us.  One person at a time, He does the stirring, or the bothering to goad us along because truly most of us, myself included, would like to just leave things alone, stay in our own little part of the world and wish everyone else would just get their happy on.  Lest I forget, and the Holy Spirit must keep reminding me that I am also part of that stuck in the mud crowd who grumbles and gripes and lets negativity into my life.  Rats, how did that happen again?   If we don't move forward or do some changing we become like stagnant water, smelly, rotten and undrinkable.  We must continually be stirred to stay fresh and clean and attract those who are thirsty and show them the Lord.  It is that way with the  Church and it is that way with us as individuals in the Body of Christ.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Catholic Digest | The Magazine for Catholic Living | My mother the worrier

For all those who think their mother worries too much about them!  This is an explanation!!  (and for all you mothers who do the worrying too…give this to the one you worry about!)

Catholic Digest | The Magazine for Catholic Living | My mother the worrier

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Let's Be Kids...

I still get wildly enthusiastic about little things...

I play with leaves,

I skip down the street

and run against the wind.                          

  -Leo Buscaglia

Friday, May 1, 2015

The Anti-Bully Effect

   These days everyone is talking about bullies. We have bully rallies, bully defense classes in school and the shame of bully blogs.  But I want to share with you an episode of Anti-bully behavior.
   My husband, my kids and myself own a self defense and fitness business where for the last 25 years we have taught children and teens how to protect themselves, and how to look out for others. We don't do competitions, we don't give out trophies. We work on building confidence and respect in the kids we teach. We also work on family or in the secular world it would be called 'team' building. But since my family teaches kids as a 'family' we call it family building.  Each child in our class is encouraged to think of each other as brothers and sisters and we watch out for each other.
  So yesterday in class we had a young boy come in who normally attends class on a different day so he did not recognize any of the kids in the class he walked into.  For most children this is not frightening, but for this young man it was.  My daughter who is a head instructor and myself talked with him, trying to make him feel comfortable. But it wasn't until we convinced him to sit down in the group that a very beautiful thing began to happen. The other children sensed he was upset and immediately came over to sit by him, introducing themselves and smiling and asking him his name. Now, this was not prompted by my daughter or myself, we just sat by his side. Each of these kids were concerned and took the problem upon themselves to solve.  In five minutes he was talking with them, laughing and joining in the class.
  Never was there a snicker at him crying or being upset from any of the students. There was an instant compassion that met him at the door of the workout room.  The instructors never said a word to the rest of the class. We didn't have to. The other students knew what to do.  It was beautiful to experience.
  God gives each of us the capacity for compassion and if we nurture it right it grows and blossoms and gives to so many others.  It was the greatest lesson we all got to take part in that day.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Happy Catholic*: Easter Monday: Living Under Enemy Occupation in th...

Oh Happy happy JOY!!!!! I love this week!!!!!!!!!!!

spread the joy of your faith this week!!!!

and read Julie's post below on the battle being won!

Happy Catholic*: Easter Monday: Living Under Enemy Occupation in th...: I've been posting this one since waaaay back in 2007. It is still as valid now and I, personally, need the  reminder. Now think of the...

Friday, March 27, 2015

JOY-filled Lenten Journey!

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

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

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

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Welcome Home!

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

Friday, February 27, 2015

Road Rage and Lent

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

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

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

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Power of Love

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

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

Friday, February 20, 2015

Giving Up...

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

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Lenten Joy!

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

Monday, February 9, 2015

Joy, Joy, What week is it? 15, 16, 17

  Yikes, where does time go?  If you recall when we last met I was sorting through 'emergencies' in the office, computers going haywire and switched contact lenses. Well, all that was leading up to another 'emergency' - me being sick.
  In the seven years I've worked in the parish office, I never so much as taken a day or two of sick days and never in the same week!  Last week the stars aligned, being too prideful or something came crashing down on my head and I caught a cold like I've not had in a long time.  I was sort of miserable. Enough to call in sick on a Monday. I thought Tuesday would be okay, but by Wednesday I was out again!  I had a funeral to sing for Thursday and drug myself in for that stuffed with cold meds, cough drops, water and Kleenex.  Nothing like a cold to bring your pride to its knees!
  This week I'm still weaning myself off cold meds and drinking water like crazy but it's better, come on Summer!!
  Though I've been sick my class on the Joy of the Gospel has been ongoing, luckily it's all online so I've been able to keep up with it.  It has been a wonderful thing dialoguing with other Catholics all over the world. Many of those taking this class are from Australia!  Wow, it is so cool to talk with them and share our lessons on joy and learn some new ideas from the Holy Father.
   Speaking of joy, I'd like to share with you a beautiful tribute to the Holy Father that was done for his first anniversary as Pope.  We were given this link in my online class and I love it! It's a PowerPoint presentation with pictures of Francis and his quotes.  See for yourself!  http://www.vatican.va/auguri-francesco/pont_2014/en/index.html

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Joy! Week 14

  Sometimes I just have to laugh. My days are sometimes so very boring, typing a bulletin, running some papers. Then I have days like yesterday!  There wasn't a boring hour to it. First, I began the day by putting my contact lenses in the wrong eye. Those of you who have two different prescriptions for each eye know what I'm talking about. I have no idea how I got them mixed up, the case covers are different colors and say clearly "LEFT" and "RIGHT" and I think I was awake when I put them in...
Anyway, immediately they began to bother me, but it was pre-coffee so I chocked it up to be in the sleepy zone still.
   So quick breakfast and off to work. It was a gorgeous sunrise by the way. One of the perks of my work day beginning at 7:30 AM is I get to see the sun rise out of the east, the direction I am going; and see all the colors, the plane contrails, sun rays, you name it. It is an awesome display of God's wonders.  I did a little work in my office, then ran over to church for 8:00 AM Mass. It was when I was leaving Mass I noticed the heat pump on the church was frozen over and leaking...hmmm better make a call to our maintenance guy. 
  Get back in the office to screams from a co-worker whose computer has gone down and she handles payroll, end of year tax letters for the entire parish, anything financial. The last week of January is not a good time for her computer to go on the fritz. So being the by-default-designated-compute-triage person I go to work on her computer.
  By now I'm behind on working on a 50 page form my wonderful Pastor-Boss asked me to work on. Okay, still got time in the day...  And wow, I can't see the small type, what is up with my eyes?
  The computer turns into a disaster with nothing working correctly on it now and I am forced to call in the big guns!  Roger comes from the computer company across town and begins diagnosing. 
  Then my brother calls, my mom has a groundhog in the crawl space of her house. We spend 20 minutes trying to figure out how we're going to deal with that before it gets into her house. It's already chewed a hole through to the basement!!
  I get off the phone to find out a man has backed into the utility pole next to our Church and has possibly destroyed our data line with phones, computer and internet.  Sigh... and yes it's my job to fix it, or find someone who can!  I have a headache; and am beginning to wonder if I put my contact lenses in the wrong eyes. Should have thought of that much earlier.
  Back in my office I find out suddenly my computer is not working correctly now...they don't call them computer viruses for nothing!  Now Roger is working on my computer too.
  Back to planning for a funeral for tomorrow, finding music for the organist to play and me to sing. Wait, we don't have that sheet music, I need the internet to download it!
  I leave for lunch, to switch my contacts around and get back before more heck breaks loose! Boring? Not today!   JOY!!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Joy! Week 13

  I am so excited! I am taking an online course on none other than Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation, "The Study of Joy in the Gospel" (Evangelli Gaudium)
  I've taken other online catechist courses, but this one was perfect since I was blogging about JOY!  And I hear from Francis my own thoughts on why we should being JOYFUL Catholics! Why else? We have the Lord!

" The great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience. Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades. This is a very real danger for believers too. Many fall prey to it, and end up resentful, angry and listless. That is no way to live a dignified and fulfilled life; it is not God’s will for us, nor is it the life in the Spirit which has its source in the heart of the risen Christ."
  If you are interested in reading some of it, it's very readable and enjoyable!

  We find ourselves constantly confronted by Joy suckers, in the news, media (and I am a journalist so I can ride their case about that!) as well as our own tendency when talking with others to find a negative thing and wring everything out of it we can!  It's awful!  Yet it seems to be a common thread in our conversations.  The devil is in the world constantly tripping us up. In the guise of making us think we are being prideful if we are too happy, he throws out these little arrows and barbs that defeat our happiness bubble.  But if we can figure out his ploys he has no power over us. How?  Keep living joyful!  Keep a joy journal, thank God for the beauty of the day. 

This morning there was a gorgeous sunrise! There were a few clouds in the east, some wisps of contrails and painted behind all that was a pink, yellow and orange glow which grew deeper in color the closer to the ball of the sun it got.  THAT was awesome! Thank you God!

Do you notice people on the street as you drive by? Do you say a prayer for them if they look cold or lonely?  My morning drive to work is full of prayer, usually first about my family, but then I add names of other family or friends as well as people I don't know as I see them walking somewhere, working outside, or driving by at the stoplight.  Morning is when I can say prayers in my car. Unfortunately by my lunchtime or late afternoon drive home I'm not so patient. I know, I'm working on it. I wish I could stay in my morning prayerful mood EVERY time I get into my car.  I'm a work in progress.   I have taped the word PATIENT to the upper part of my windshield to help me in those times. I need to fill the top portion of my car roof with other reminders such as JOY! PRAY! etc to help me while in traffic. I'll keep trying. A joyous Christian is the best evangelizer!

Sometimes the best we can do is keep trying and trying and trying. Again I'm reminded of Jesus' journey to the cross when he fell, got back up and fell and got back up again. He did that just so I knew I can keep falling as long as I keep getting back up. Thank you, Lord. I do so many times a day, yet you love me. That makes me JOYOUS!!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

One of My Joys? Knitting!

  Several years ago I began knitting as a way to relieve stress that my crocheting was not doing. I began first with this cute cuddly bear pattern.  I had to read directions, follow pattern, something I was not good at. But the result?  A cute bear. At the time I was majorly stressed out. My dad was getting cancer treatments and I was trying to help my mom and he between doctor visits, figuring out the side effects of the treatments while still holding down a full time job and a full time family business. For some odd reason, making myself sit down at night and following a knitting pattern calmed me down. Crazy right?
  The result was a bear. Well, not just one. My first one got done in time for my dad to hold before he died. Immediately to work through my grief I began to make more bears. I made bears for my kids, for my mom and then for my brother and sisters and my nieces and nephews. The first two years following his death I had made over 35 bears.  Then I couldn't stop. I kept making bears for friends of my kids, for the babies of friends, and just because. In my closet now sits about 20 bears of all different colors and sizes. 
  After four years I finally moved on to other knitting, infinity scarves, hats, fingerless gloves and now sweaters.
  After completing a sweater complete with sleeves and a rolled collar I decided to challenge myself to an entire year of knitting sweaters in the hopes I can make one for each member of my immediate family. That's 5-6 sweaters. 
  So it's the second week of January and I've begun three. See I am easily bored with working on one project at a time so I begin a new one each week and switch between all of them. Did Ialso mention I am crocheting a blanket in here too?   The only time I get to spend on these projects is after making supper at night before I get too tired and must go to bed.
  So, I am hoping that in 11 months I will have those 5-6 sweaters and one blanket.
  Let's see how it goes.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Joy! Week 10, 11, 12...

What happens when you let your Joy lose in a crowd? 
  I learned the hard way yesterday while teaching my Confirmation class.  I had practiced, prayed and petitioned the Holy Spirit to give me the words I needed to help my 23 teenagers feel the presence of Jesus as we talked about the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.  I think I went a little overboard as I found myself wiping tears of excitement away from my eyes as talked excitedly to the class. I think they were even a little stunned as they sat and listened to me wave my arms about, talk about my Holy Spirit experience and encourage them.  In fact, I said later to the Holy Spirit, "you may have had me go a little overboard singing your praises! I might have scared some of those kids."  That's good, the Holy Spirit replied, "some of them need some scaring!"  In any case, the Holy Spirit was right there in the room, I just had to shut up and let Him do the talking!

Joy catches us in many ways, but so many times we get in our own way of letting Joy come out.  If we would just "let go and let God",  pray ourselves hot and let it go, we could help so many more people.

Many of the saints were so good at letting the Holy Spirit talk through them they could not remember what they said.  They truly were just being the mouthpiece for the Spirit to flow through them.   The Holy Spirit is so very good at helping us express our Joy.  We just have to remember to ask for His help. "Knock and the door shall be opened unto you!"  And receive His Joy!