Monthly Archives: April 2012

boy does time fly!

It is hard to believe that it has been almost 2 weeks since I last posted!  Time flies without us even realizing it is going.  When life gets so busy that we aren’t even fully aware of time passing and the opportunities being missed, it is time to once again slow down and refocus our energies.

When I look back at the last few weeks trying to figure out what exactly has kept me so busy that I haven’t been posting, I see a couple of things that have taken my focus off of my daily reflections.  First of all, I have been dealing with things I had put off for too long.  I finally bought the furniture I had been wanting since we moved almost one year ago (dining room chairs, couch, futon, and outdoor patio furniture).  I have also been working with the accountant on taxes, taxes, and more taxes.  There will be more of the accountant work in the near future as we restructure the business to take better advantage of some tax savings.  But, the item that has taken much of my free time is the new diet that I have been on since Easter Sunday.  The new program takes focus, planning, extra time cooking as I prepare food for the family and then food for me separately, as well as more time sleeping.

As I talked with my spiritual director yesterday, my goal even with this food program is to NOT turn the focus to me.  It frustrates me that I am separated from the rest of the family when it comes to eating.  I eat with them, but not the same food and the sharing of the same food at the same table has a meaning and significance that I hadn’t realized until it wasn’t happening.  I console myself with the fact that right now, I am taking care of my health needs right now, just as I did when I had surgery a couple of summers ago.  This is really no different and as then, it will not last forever.  3 more weeks of separate foods and then there will be much that I can eat the same as they do.  So, for now, I focus on what I need to day by day and strive to live the best that I can.

Today is the day of the Good Shepherd!  I will strive to be a good sheep (although my husband likes to point out to me regularly that sheep aren’t very intelligent) but I am comforted by the knowledge that if I stray away from the rest of the group, He will come and find me and gently bring me back.  Without His guiding hand, I would be lost and left out in the dark world very lonely and very lost.  It is only through His strength that I have been able to continue with this diet program even with all of the restrictions that go along with it.  On my own, I am weak.  But, with His guidance, I am capable of anything!

My remaining prayer is that I could continue to maintain my calm during the coming week or so as the schedule is stressed and I will be traveling and be out for meals.  May I stay strong and be a strong witness of the grace that the Good Shepherd has gifted me.

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the feather is flying…

Jesus said to Nicodemus:  “‘You must be born from above.’
The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes,
but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes;
so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”  John 3:7-8

Wow!  Sometimes in life, I feel as if I am being blown from place to place like a feather in the wind. *Picture the feather in the final scene of the movie “Forrest Gump”* I’m not completely sure how I have gotten to each of the places I have been or where I will be going next, but I know without a shadow of a doubt that God is the wind that is blowing me around.  I can’t see His presence.  I can’t hear Him speak with my own ears.  But, I know that my life is ultimately His and I am willing to allow Him to blow me around as needed.  I can look back on my life and know that certain people have been gifts given to me to help me through a particular rough patch.  And I can see how certain experiences have molded and changed me so that I am the person I am now.  I am not perfect.  I am not even close to being perfect.  But, I know that I am “good” because He says it is so.

Sometimes in life, something comes up where I have dropped onto my knees and asked God “WHY?”  Why this?  Why now?  Why me?  But, I have also learned that when I surrender myself into His hands, He will show me the reasons.  After the dust settles and I look back, I can see His plan and His hand guiding me along the path.

So, once again, life is pushing me to my knees and I am calling out to Him.  I know better than to ask Why? or Why now? or Why me?  This time I am asking … What is Your Will?  and What do I need to do to be born of Your Spirit?  For that is all I truly desire!

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doubt and worry

In today’s Gospel reading, Thomas doubted that his fellow disciples had really seen Jesus.  It took Jesus coming to him and letting Thomas put his hand into Jesus’ side and to see the marks on his hands and his feet in order for him to believe.

I remember the first time I heard this story where it really struck me just how much “I” doubt and worry.  I made the determination then not to worry as much but to turn it over to God.  I know He wants what is good for me and I know that He will guide me to the right choices along the way.  I have experienced this happening more times than I can count!  But, still, sometimes it is hard and takes a real act of will not to settle into the old habits again.

It is also hard when you see someone you love battle with doubt/worry as well.  You want so much to make things better but I have learned the hard way that there isn’t anything I can do to make it better or to make the doubt/worry go away.  It is only something that the person suffering through it can do.  THEY need to make the decision to battle it out and to trust in God.  No matter how tough things get, if we turn to God, something good will come out of it.  It might not be on our time-table and it may not be what we want, but something will come if we are patient and trust God.

So, if you are one who struggles with worrying about anything and everything or doubt that things will really work out right in the end, remember that no one can battle this fight for you.  YOU must take the bull by the horns.  Talk to God.  Tell Him your fears and your doubt.  Give Him the chance to help you help yourself out of your mopey, droopy, “oh woe is me” attitude and begin to live life the way He intends us to live.  He can give you the kick in your backside you need if you let Him.

 

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Seeing is believing!!

“I have seen the Lord.”

Can you imagine Mary Magdalene running into the room where you are exclaiming that she had seen the Lord?  That is exactly what happened to the disciples.  Once you see the risen Lord, you are never the same.  I know this to be true because I too, have seen the Lord.

One week, when I went to my scheduled holy hour, I was very depressed.  Several things were on my mind, especially the loss of my mother.  I remember sitting alone in the chapel with our Lord and praying for comfort.  I felt so totally alone and very cold.  I left my coat on because I was actually shivering, I was so cold.  As I sat there, I remember physically crying as my heart cried out to the Lord.  Within minutes, I felt suddenly warm.  I remember feeling as if someone had come up to me, put their arm around me and was comforting me.  I heard Jesus say to me that all would be okay and that He loved me.  I remember saying that I knew He loved me but that I missed my mother.  I then heard Him say to me that His mother was my mother.  Then, I felt another presence with me and more warmth as Mary, His mother came to me and comforted me as well.  I felt such warmth!  such comfort!  Such peace!  Such assurance!  I knew just as sure as I know my own name, that I had seen the Lord AND His mother.  All I can say is that life will never be the same.  Whenever I start feeling alone, I remember that time and again feel the comfort and warmth.  The Lord’s gift to me changed me in ways that I never would have guessed and will always be thankful for.

Have you seen the Lord?

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a day without…

A day without Jesus.  Can you imagine being one of the disciples?  Not understanding what Jesus had told them, they must have been terrified and so totally lost.  Whenever you lose someone you love, it is such a disorienting feeling and you just feel totally lost with no sense of direction.  So, I imagine the disciples much like that.  Confused, scared, disoriented, not knowing what to do now.  Jesus is gone!

One benefit we have that they did not, is hope!  We know that this is just a short time and that Jesus wasn’t really gone but was rising from the dead.  He will be with us tomorrow morning RISEN from the dead and there to guide us through the next steps of God’s plan.

So, as we reflect on Jesus’ absence, let us prepare to celebrate His rising!

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I’m not worthy…

Lord, I’m not worthy to have you enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed!

Today in Mass, I was struck with the total and complete understanding of just how UNWORTHY I am and just how merciful He is.  I love the Holy Thursday liturgy.  Between the  Scriptures, to the washing of the feet, to the setting of the Eucharistic table, to the distribution of His body and blood to all present as He asked us to do, to the cleansing of the altar after the Eucharistic meal followed by the silent procession with the reserved Holy Eucharist to the chapel.  I always love when the parish decorates the area of the tabernacle holding the reserved Eucharist like a garden.  I can just imagine Jesus asking the disciples to sit with Him for awhile and my heart just longs to stay there with Him and keep watch.  This is just the beginning and what a beginning it is!

As all of the rituals unfolded tonight, I was repeatedly struck by the conviction of my unworthiness for all of this that Christ did for me.  No matter how much I try to follow Him, I have fallen.  Repeatedly.  But, ALWAYS.  ALWAYS, He welcomes us back with open arms.  Have you ever imagined how hard it must have been being divine and KNOWING what was coming and how Judas would betray Him and yet to continue along the path of God’s will and not the will of his human side?  It struck me tonight that as He offered that first Eucharistic celebration at the Last Supper, He KNEW without a shadow of a doubt that the disciples whom he was serving would betray Him, deny Him, and abandon Him within hours.  But, still He washed THEIR feet and gave them the gift of the Eucharist.  Wow!

I thank God that He is such a merciful God!  I would be lost totally without His mercy.

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carrying the cross…

Today is Palm or Passion Sunday.  As I sat in Mass this morning and listened to the reading of Christ’s Passion narrative from Mark, I was especially caught up today with the image of Jesus in the garden wrestling with His own will.  He did NOT want to die.  He really wanted all of it to just go away.  But, instead of giving into His own desires, He turned His will to His Father’s and willingly walked back and faced what He knew was coming.  Then, the walk.  The walk of all walks.  The walk to His death which would lead eventually to His resurrection.  But, that walk!  Wow.  What a walk it was carrying that cross which pushed Him to the brink of His ability.  A walk surrounded by jeering people and people wanting you dead.  Just imagining what that walk would have been like is enough to make me want to become an ostrich and bury my head in the sand.  But, no.  We can’t do that.

No, instead of ignoring and trying to block out what is going on during that walk, we need to embrace it.  We are told that to follow Christ, we must also carry our own cross.  To carry my own cross, doesn’t just mean that I put a crucifix around my neck and go along my merry way through life.  No.  It means that when life gets tough and my will wants to turn tail and run away versus facing the tough times, I need to quiet my own will and turn to God’s will.  If that means turning and facing down a giant or a giant of a problem, that is what I must do.

This especially speaks to me right now as my doctor sat down and had a long talk with me a couple of weeks ago.  He didn’t pull punches and called it like it is.  In truth, I am obese and am beginning to experience many of the early problems of the obese including insulin resistance, GIRD, varying blood pressure and more.   So, he presented an option to me to consider.  It includes a strict diet and many life changes.  This means changing my routines, my cooking habits, my shopping habits, our meal “culture”, and so much more.  The promises that come with the program though are huge.  Especially huge to someone who has struggled with weight issues for as long as I can remember.  All of this is overwhelming and the only way that I can look at it and even attempt it is with the understanding that I truly believe that this is God’s will.  After really questioning whether to do it or not and praying about it (including asking for a sign that this was the right path), I had two independent doctors tell me that it was a good program and something I should seriously consider.  So, my cross has been handed to me and I am facing the path.  I know that pain will be part of it (daily needle sticks are not my idea of fun) and jeering from those who seem to want me to fail.  But, if I keep my eyes on Jesus and God’s will, I know I can do anything.

Looking at any struggle in light of Jesus’ journey with the cross is comforting.  Even Christ fell along the way and He needed help from Simon.  So, when we need some encouragement and picked up when we fall, it’s okay!  Just keep getting up and heading to the finish.  For the resurrection isn’t possible until the cross had completed its journey to the top of the hill.  That is what we need to set our eyes on.  The finish and the glory of God’s promises that await us!

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