Monday, February 28, 2011

The Beginning of Many, Many Thanks

Here's is my list of some of the countless gifts God gives me each day:

Thank you, my Lord, for
1. Bedtime, especially after a long day
2. A wonderful husband who I admire and love more and more each day
3. Sr. Josita, who's wisdom and compassion is beyond compare
4. Vanilla yogurt with grape-nuts (why didn't anyone tell me?)
5. Children and my choice to have them
6. My rosary with its missing bead. I admire broken things
7. The stars
8. Knitting
9. Knowing how close Jesus is to me
10. Comforting Psalms (Psalm 62 is my favorite)
11. Prayer with my girls at bedtime
12. Finishing a really good book
13. Surprise and not-so-surprise visitors
14. my blog
15. Waking up every morning
16. Marriage Encounters!!!

My list will continue from here, but it is amazing how I didn't have to stop and think of what I am so thankful for. I'm thankful for this very breath I am taking right now. Amen!

Start the movement, and your very own list:

You don't have to stop at 1000!

God bless!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Gusty Winds

"For God is all the life it has
And all the life it needs."
- Hymn from February 2011 Magnificat

Lately, I am like the trees in winter, bare, fruitless, leafless and lifeless. The wind blows gently and my branches sway violently. Life has been swaying ever so gently and my branches have been dramatically moving to and fro.

Lately, I keep forgetting to pray. I keep having to remind myself to put Jesus first. I keep turning my back on Him to fix and do all the things that come at me. All that wind, blowing my life away, and instead of standing there, eyes on Him, I am chasing after the objects the wind so easily lifts.

I must admit, it's very easy to look away and fix if we could. We think we're in control here.

But we're not.

Jesus slept through the storm and when asked, calmed the wind and waters with His voice. But amidst the turmoil, Jesus slept, eyelids closed, God the Father, His image in that dark.

"Don't you trust Me," He asks us.

Forget all the objects flying by, being broken by the force, some even hitting you on the way to oblivion. Let it pass and forget it all. Look straight ahead to Jesus, who is manning that wind, who is cleaning house for you.

I need to remember to look at Him no matter how soft the breeze or strong the gust. I need to keep my eyes on Him, even if they are closed and I am in the dark. Create an image of Jesus in your mind, frame it and keep it eye level so that every where you turn you see Him. I need to do that. We have to talk to Him, remind Him of our love. We must remind ourselves that all we have is because of Him and remember Him all the time.

I like when people say, "God is good, all day, every day." All day! Every day! Sunny days, rainy days, even wedding days and deadly earthquake days.

And to live, all we need is the Lord, because through Him, whether you remember or not, we have life. We have to trust in Him and His mercy. He loves us and His love is true and perfect, no matter what you're perceiving now.

I want to be a strong tree, one with a strong trunk that's roots go deep for miles. I want long, sturdy branches that embrace the earth and multiply at each turn. I want leaves that bask in the sun light and cup the rain and the snow. I want buds and pretty flowers, whose petals have intricate designs. When the wind comes, I will sway, but my roots keep me grounded.

Glory to You Lord, who makes all trees and brings the wind to prove their strength.

God Bless!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Spring Love

What a couple of days it has been!

My laptop is down and the inconvenience of going downstairs into the cold family room has kept me from writing to you. So sorry.

But I pray for you all the time.

What a winter! The spring-like sun is attacking the snow and the weather is getting a little bit warmer. The world feels alive today. Hey, I think there was a little more color out there too.

For most of us the winter is dark, colorless and depressing. God manages to place his beauty everywhere though, whether in the icicles on the tree branches or a frozen lake topped with brilliantly bright snow. We stay inside to escape the cold, but we miss out on the elegance of the wintry season our Lord creates for our eyes only.

But spring, oh sweet spring. God's really outdone himself in spring time with all the cacophony of colors and sounds, that warm weather embracing you. All the magical things that can happen during spring time can't be ignored. God is the king of romance and wooing.

Today, whether it's the weather outside, or the warm hearth of love aflame in my heart, I feel like singing (not a great singer) and dancing. I feel like giving all of me to the world. I feel loved and in love. Jesus is wonderful, isn't He? He's put a little spring into my step too. And it feels so good this sensation that I want to multiply it and give it out like a pill. This is what love should feel like.

Thanks JJ Heller for this one. St. Valentine's Day was yesterday, but who says you can't be shown love everyday?

He cries in the corner where nobody sees
He’s the kid with the story no one would believe
He prays every night “Dear God won’t you please...
Could you send someone here who will love me?”

Who will love me for me
Not for what I have done or what I will become
Who will love me for me
‘Cause nobody has shown me what love
What love really means what love really means

Her office is shrinking a little each day
She’s the woman whose husband has run away
She’ll go to the gym after working today
Maybe if she was thinner then he wouldve stayed
And she says…

Who will love me for me?
Not for what I have done or what I will become
Who will love me for me?
‘Cause nobody has shown me what love
What love really means what love really means

He’s waiting to die as he sits all alone
He’s a man in a cell who regrets what he’s done
He utters a cry from the depths of his soul
“Oh Lord, forgive me. I want to go home”

Then he heard a voice somewhere deep inside
And it said “I know youve murdered
And I know youve lied
And I have watched you suffer all of your life
And now that you’ll listen I’ll tell you that I...”

I will love you for you
Not for what you have done or what you will become
I will love you for you
I will give you the love, the love that you never knew

I will love you for you
Not for what you have done or what you will become
I will love you for you
I will give you the love, the love that you never knew

I love you all and God bless!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Feelings of Inadequacy

Where is my humility when I need it?

Perhaps because of the way I was raised, or my experiences in life, I've never been very confident in myself. I feel I fall short in all I do and then I wonder why did I attempt it in the first place. I struggle with this ALL the time.

I was told once that my perception of myself is extremely distorted. I can't tell you if that's true or not. I don't see a really good me. I keep seeing someone who is in constant need of improvement.


This life is full of surprises though. Just when you think you're down and all is lost, here comes that tiny window of opportunity and for some reason I've always managed to jump in. I win, for a little bit, but life is also like a parade, it begins and then it ends.

And it'll begin again next year.


If it doesn't rain.

God made good on all his promises to Israel. I've made some unspoken promises that I would love to fulfill. I'm in training let's just say. I've yet to reach my full potential. I'm under construction.

At least that is what I hope.

I keep thinking about after Jesus getting baptized. He went off into the desert to battle Satan. It makes me wonder if at this moment, at this entryway into great things, is Satan using my insecurities to tempt me? Am I being bamboozled by the devil? Or are these things about me absolutely true?

Jesus, if I've just been hijacked, whether by my own uncertainties, or Satan himself, save me! I don't feel right. Keep my eyes on You because if I lose sight of You I will surely die. And I am truly scared of what's to come. I don't know what it will make of me, or of anybody else for that matter. Moses had his simple staff, but he didn't have You and I do. Keep me humble. Let Your Word create a path for me. Let Your love be that light in the dark. Let Your death and resurrection be the oasis in the midst of all this sand. I'm in need of Your presence my Lord.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Musical Friday: All About You!

Love, love, love this song. It makes me feel so wanted and special. The lyrics are included in the video.

Here's one with a little more umph. I like this one a lot! Lyrics included in video.

One of my favs. I love the singers voice and this song is such a reminder that all we have can go in less than a second. The lyrics are included in the video.

This song makes me go, "Mmm!" LOL The words are so telling of the prodigal son in all of us. Lyrics included in video.

Enjoy, enjoy and enjoy, and of course...God Bless!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sacrificing the Best for Something Better

In my chaotic heart, there's a path that leads to redemption.

Today, I was presented with this question:

"What is the hardest thing for you to bring before the Lord as an offering or sacrifice?
(Your money, your time, your gifts, your talents, etc.?) Why?"

It brought me back to Cain and Abel.

Cain first, cause that how he liked it, but Abel was most definitely not last.

We all know the story, God favors Abel's gift over Cain and then warns Cain to watch himself because sin is "crouching" at his door, but Cain submits to sin and kills his own brother. God see this and sends him away.

Abel's gift was better, not because of the gift itself, but because of the intent. In Genesis, it doesn't say that Abel was good and Cain was evil, but we get an idea when God is talking with Cain, that his heart is not always in the right place and he seems to struggle with sin.

We can give, give and give. We can give our money to the poor, we can take the coat off our back for someone, we can volunteer at all the soup kitchens of the world, we can even minister to people, giving them the Good News. All this we can do, and it is right, but if our hearts are filled with pride then why should God look on our sacrifices? If we later boast about all we do, do we do it in His name, or our own? If we do all of this so that people can say, "Look how good she is with the homeless and the poor," or "He's such a good soul because he gives so much of his money to charity," is that honoring God's glory, or our own?

Perhaps Cain thought that offering the fruit he worked so hard to harvest was a show of sacrifice for all the sweat he poured into the land. But that was just it, a show. Abel, the shepherd, on the other hand, sacrificed the firstborns of his flock, the future generations of his livestock. His livelihood should depend on those newborns and yet he doesn't. He solely depends on God for his success and so he gives his very best to the Lord. It cost Abel his physical life, but Cain died that day too; a spiritual death. God removed him from his presence, left him to wander the earth, in search for his redemption from sin.

So sad.

This question also reminded me of Abraham and his son Isaac. Imagine if God told you that tomorrow He wants your firstborn child. Imagine He tells you of His plan to take that child back home to Him and you have to initiate it? Most of us will run from that plan, try everything in OUR will to stop it. Abraham did the opposite. After almost a lifetime of praying, waiting, God finally gives Abraham a son, only to learn that he must sacrifice Isaac to the Lord. Heavy-hearted, I'm sure, he takes his son into the wilderness to do exactly as God tells him, having some of the strongest fibers of faith that God will "provide the lamb for the burnt offering,...," and ending that statement with the words, " son."


Probably one of the most disheartening of passages. For Abraham to go forth and do what God asks of him, to kill his one and only son, this child he's been waiting for his whole life, well folks, that takes faith to a whole 'nother level.

See, here's the thing. God provided the sacrifice for Abraham then, and some time later, God put His own Son on the altar. He did it for us. He provided the lamb out of immense love for us. Here we are, sin after sin, confession after confession, and God sacrificing and sacrificing His lamb.

All for us.

So what are you willing to give up for God?

If you're having a hard time choosing, then maybe it's time to strengthen your faith, because whatever you have does not come from you, but from Him. Remember Job? Don't just focus on what Job lost, but focus on what he gained. Before God doubled the riches, Job gained humility, and redemption from pride, and best of all, Job was able to really see who God was. I think that's better than anything money can buy.

I can't tell you what would be the hardest thing for me to bring before the Lord as an offering, a sacrifice. That's between God and I, but I can tell you this. After lots of crying and heart-breaking thoughts, I realized that even if God did decide to ask for my sacrifice, I'd submit it to him, heavy-hearted, but with an abundance of love and faith that what He's asking me to do will take me through that little path in my heart that leads to my redemption.

God bless!

Not Mine, but Your Will Be Done

The story of Job is probably the best story I've read in the Bible. Here's a man, wealthy beyond belief, but upright and close to God. Satan wants to see what happens if Job's wealth was taken away; would he still love and trust God?

We live in a world filled with poverty. Seventy-five percent, if not more, of the world's population is living below the poverty line. We also live in a world where only a small percentage can worship without conflict, fear of condemnation, exile and even death. We are the lucky ones that can drive a car we own, or type in a laptop we own, even go to the local church and pray without fear of being defeated.

Satan was curious about Job. What an experiment; let's remove all his worldly good and see if Job still loves God. Will Job curse God, or will he continue to glorify Him despite all his lose?

Sometimes we get caught up with numbers, with who has more; I want more. Sometimes we get tangled in a web of pride, as if everything we have is due to our talents, our hard work, our hard-earned money. We say to ourselves, that we're good people, we're not mean to anyone, we go to Mass every Sunday (or at least try) and we even give our 10% to the church. Not only are we financially comfortable, but we are religious too.


But... rich are we in spirit? How full of love are we for God? Do you want more of Him or do you want the cool new cell phone that just came out? Do you praise His name, or do you forget to thank Him for all you have and all you are? Do we remember Him when someone gives you praise? Do you say Alleluia in the good times as well as the bad?

Because if you don't then you are very poor. If you don't, then you have nothing, because when you go, when you die, you can't take anything with you but what is within you. God allows us to live the lives we do. God allows us to showcase our talents. He allows us the opportunities to interact with the world our way. He permits us to have houses, cars, computers, even relatives, children and friends.

But with a snap of His fingers, He can take it all away, just like He did to Job. All Job's wealth, all his health, even his wife and children were taken from him and no one came by to eat with him anymore. Everyone who once honored him, now made fun of him. All Job had were three friends who, with all their intelligence and philosophy, tried to analyze why Job was in the situation he was in. And Job, poor Job, besides himself, defending himself to his friends, to the Lord, shouting out all the good he's done, all the evil he's never committed.

Then comes young Elihu to set Job and his friends straight:

Then Elihu continued and said,

"Do you think this is according to justice?
Do you say, 'My righteousness is more than God's'?

"For you say, 'What advantage will it be to You?
What profit will I have, more than if I had sinned?'
-Job 35:2-3

Okay, so we are nice to everyone, we give our money to church, we go to Mass every week. Great! As Chris Rock said in one of his stand-ups, "You're supposed to do that!" The question is, do we own up to it, or do we give ALL honor and glory to God?

Of course our Lord enters and gives Job and his friends the greatest answer of all. Man up, He tells Job, and answer my questions:

"Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding,

Who set its measurements? Since you know.
-Job 38:4-5

If you ever get the chance, read, or reread God's answer in Job 38-41. It's an excellent reminder to keep our intelligence, our philosophical ideas, our arrogance, and most of all, our pride and "celebrity status" selves at bay and that NOTHING is possible unless God wills it.

Not one thing.

Instead, we need to learn humility, to trust faithfully in God and praise all that He allows us to be and all He allows us to have. This faith, this trust, this love, will be the most valuable thing you can ever own in God's Kingdom, and the best part is that He gives this to us all, free of charge.

So before His fingers snap, get on your knees, bow down your head, say thank you, and remind yourself that no matter how hard you work, how much money you have in the bank, how many acres you own, how many friends you have, or how many times you go to church, His Will always be done. Then, never forget it.

God bless!