If you are seeking peace…

Pray the rosary.

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I learned to pray the rosary when I was two and my father was thought to be dying of a perforated colon.  Despite what the doctor’s told us, he miraculously survived.  Much later in his life, when my father was very close to death, his heart was still not aligned with God’s will and Dad was in spiritual torment.  My mother and I prayed in his room while he slept and when he heard us praying he would tell us to stop that…Until he woke one time while we were praying the rosary and he didn’t ask us to stop.  When we saw he was awake, we continued to pray, but much quieter.  He said “No, keep praying.”  My mother looked at me and started praying in a louder voice and I did as well.  Shortly after we finished, my father confessed that he was afraid to die because he loved my mother so and would miss her.  I saw an opening of his heart and spoke the words  a dear friend had shared with me, seemingly out of the blue,  about losing her husband years ago.  “Death is not the end of love, it is loving everyone as intensely as you love your spouse here on earth.”  My father sighed and gave his will up to God.  He became peaceful about everything and died in peace a few weeks later.  His soul could be at rest. IMG_3639

Not every end to my prayers has been as miraculous an answer…Jeff didn’t survive the second cancer.  Our baby didn’t make it out of the womb alive…Or maybe they have.  It’s just not the way I wanted the prayers to be answered.  I prayed Jeff be free of the cancer.  I prayed our baby would be happy and follow the Lord always.

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What is undeniably true for me however;  is that when I do pray the rosary, I am given a peace much like my father exhibited.  When I pray the rosary, I see the life of Jesus.  I reflect not only on how Mary felt, but how different people in the mysteries reacted to God’s message.  When I pray the rosary I notice that it makes it easier for me to align my will with the Father’s will, through His Son and guided by the Holy Spirit, the spiritual spouse of Mary.  I used to go to the rosary only in moments of trouble of severe need.  It struck me that it was selfish if I only went when I needed something so desperately.  It is a devotion of  growing closer to Jesus through the eyes of His mother.  Do I only want to be close to Him when I am in sever straights?  No!  I want to continue to know Him better and be closer to Him all the time.

I remember someone in prayer each rosary I offer. Sometimes it’s the souls in Purgatory, sometimes it’s for someone who has been presented to me with a specific need. 

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I pray the rosary while I walk our dog in the morning, besides other times.  I think Buddy likes me feeling peaceful too.

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Growing in Faith, Hope and Love

While social media as of late as been a source of stress and turmoil, today it was a reminder of faith  hope and love, growing together with my newest best friend, my husband Brian.  A 5 year video celebrating our “friendversary” popped up on my wall.  The pictures reminded me that we have lived a lifetime in these brief 5 years: married; got pregnant and lost a baby; buried two parents-  a parent a piece;  changed jobs; embarked on new careers; made new friends; celebrated friends’ children’s weddings; sold a house and found a new spiritual home…

All the things you usually get to experience over a 40 year period God gave to us in a much shorter period, and through them strengthened us in the faith, hope and love and the sacrament we share.  I guess my point is that it’s not the amount of time you’re given with someone, but what you do with it, where you let yourselves be led that makes it full.  

And then of course there is Buddy, what a full, beautiful experience this life is! Thank you for the reminder FB.

In the Garden of life 


While Buddy and I tended our gardens, I remembered something my husband said,

“It looks kind of haphazard, but it works.”

 

And I got thinking, events in time may feel or appear haphazardly “planted” or possibly come in unwanted combinations…

Really though, could something so full of life be so random?

Nah…The plan is just not yours.

Thank you God for the seemingly random nature of life, still so full of lush possibility and moments of sense-filling beauty. To You it all makes perfect sense, please help me to see that that’s enough. 

And Buddy, it’s enough for him.

A small kindness – packed in love

My mother passed away very suddenly this past Sunday evening…

That afternoon, my aunt, and my husband and I had been touring nursing homes because the chronic illness she was suffering from was progressing beyond the abilities of the facility she was living in. We found the perfect place- safe, great staff, comfortable and aesthetically pleasing with spiritual offering and activities and PT even if there was no long 

Four hours later, we receive word that she has suffered cardiac arrest and was dead.  It was a shock not that it could happen, but that as focused as we were on the next step of movement to a place here on earth, God had another plan, a better plan, the perfect place with Him. 

When I stopped at the local Trader Joe’s and told the cashier that I had better stock up on their unique and interesting greeting cards, because I had a use for them. We discussed my mother’s passing and his mother’s in similar circumstances.  We talked of allowing those we love to be cared for by God – ultimately loving them enough to let them go Home.  But it’s not easy and it can make you weary.  Physically and mentally and my soul eagerly awaits the memorial Mass.

He smiled at me and asked me to wait a minute, walked off and when he came back he offered me a bouquet of flowers from Trader Joe’s with their condolences. 

 I hugged him twice so taken by his thoughtfulness and love.  So much love packed into that one small gesture, brief moment.

That afternoon I was so weary  I thought I would fade, and not rise, then that man offered a word and a gesture and the power of God’s love for another human being bound me up to move to the next task, renewed! 

If you have the opportunity to offer that miracle to someone look for it, embrace it, offer it, because it could do so much 


Seeing It! With your soul

I love it when you’re struggling and praying and trying and 
suddenly boom you see it!

God saying “See I’ve got you, My love surrounds you!”
Well I don’t like the struggling part, except it means you are aware the dark place you are isn’t where you are called to be. 

Truly “Risen”

God will use any medium to teach us/help us, if we listen.  The movie “Risen” is fast becoming one of my favorites, and as I reflect on it I hear new messages of consolation, hope and faith.  

Recently I was afraid of a life situation of which I have no control and it could be devastating.  I was constantly allowing myself to be stressed and anxiety ridden. 


There are at least two scenes in the film when people are struggling with something and Jesus, who is portrayed so lovingly says “Tell me, what are you afraid of?”  And they do and they are freed from their fear.  It struck a chord with me at the time and came freshly to my mind in prayer.    


Isn’t that the truth of it? what He is asking of us when we struggle with issues in life. “Tell me…” So I told Him.

I felt Him say, “I have that, be at peace.”  It was like awakening to a beautiful day 🙂  


Every time that fear creeps back into my mind, I stop and remember – He has it, and I do the next thing He gives me to do. 

Because I cannot help but be a catechist, it is through the acceptance of the gift of the Holy Spirit we received at Baptism and affirmed in Confirmation that,  we may know Him. Ask for the gifts of the Holy Spirit to increase in you every day.

May you realize that His grace and love are far stronger than your fears and may God’s Peace that is beyond all understanding be with you.  May your heart release it’s burdens this day. 

There was a strong and violent wind rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the LORD—but the LORD was not in the wind; after the wind, an earthquake—but the LORD was not in the earthquake;
after the earthquake, fire—but the LORD was not in the fire; after the fire, a light silent sound.

~1 Kings 19:11-12 

“Be still and know that I am God!”

~Psalms 46:11

I thought I was losing my mind.

I started tearing up in lab when we talked about the reproduction system and I started thinking of how that was our Olivia Marianna too and how she had been growing inside me.  When they showed a fetus at 16 weeks, about how old she was when she died… I had the urge to throw up then and there, the hurt was so intense and immediate. She’d be a little over two by now.

  

I have been teary ever since, so I took my sadness to Jesus and asked Him, “Come be with me Lord, hold my hand and walk with me.”

Later that same day I saw a little girl at the store, first time I’ve seen her or her mother. The woman was around my age and the little girl she said, had just turned  one.  This little girl had the smile of an angel with lightly strawberry blond curls like my sister did and blue eyes like Brian and I thought to myself, “Wow, she reminds me of Olivia.”  And then I thought, “You weirdo! How would that be possible? You’re crazy.”

Yet, something about her caught my heart.  She kept turning so gently to look at me from her mother’s arms as they browsed the store.  At the counter the little girl smiled and smiled and turned her head deeply to each side to get what felt like a look into my soul and her mother looked at her a little puzzled.  The words came from my lips unbidden “Your daughter’s  smile will stay in my heart.” The mother smiled. 

 I foolishly thought that since Olivia had never lived with us and I hadn’t watched her grow up like my friends who have sadly lost adult or older children, the grief would be different.  A dear friend who had lost a baby said “You’re not crazy, it hurts and it will hurt. Olivia was giving you a kiss from heaven, through an encounter with that little girl.”  Thank you Jill.  

I don’t know why I didn’t think that Olivia Marianna would do it or could do visit, but she is very much with us as Brian says “watching us from heaven” and like Y-O and finding dimes or Jeff with the Steelers rosary  etc. she’s letting us know she’s there and she loves us.  Jesus took my hand as I asked and brought my daughter with Him.  It still hurts and I’m still crying a little, but now I’m smiling a little to at the thought too.  Thank you Jesus for her visit. 

For anyone who has lost a child at any stage of life, I am praying for you, Jesus is walking with you right now, God bless your healing heart. 

An interesting little Lent 

I am not a writer, I am a teacher and a photograpical essayist.  So it’s odd to me after many years of attempting and failing to have taken to spiritual journaling recently.  I feel called to carry my black moleskin journal wherever I go!  I am now even drawing in it!  Make no mistake,  I will never be confused with an artist…But it makes my soul smile when I see the colors take shape with the words.
  

  I will pull it out at Mass and often catch a whisper of the Holy Spirit or sometimes a down right forehead slap!  I open it during the Divine Office and Scriptrual reading. In Adoration, I write down all the names and intentions from FB who asked me to take them with me or just liked the post. 

 When I asked Jesus what He wanted me to do with their prayer requests and Likes, He said “Remember them to me.” And so if you respond to my request to pray for you, I remember  you to Him,  who you are and your “soul shine”- whatever about your soul that calls out to me as I remember you to Him- your smile, your kindness, your authenticity, your joy, your laughter, your service, your devotion, your strength, your silliness, your “you-ness!”

And I thank you from the bottom of my heart! Because when I Remember you to Him something in me is changed and touched by you…Your opening to His Mercy and Love is making me a more aware person, a grateful person, a less judgemental person, I hope a better person…Simply by allowing me the honor of praying for you. 

I especially thank Allison Gringas of http://reconciledtoyou.com/a-seeking-heart-blog.html – Catholic podcaster, writer, speaker and friend, for her example and loving manner introducing me to this way to pray.  It is amazingly powerful and yet simple. You are a true woman of prayer and light. 

It’s how we get Home, loving each other, being in communion, accepting this beautiful grace in a community that prays in words and actions.  

Fingerprints of God – William

Covered with marks of Sacrifice, Courage and Determination.  Survived “The Great Depression,” three cancers, and the death of his beloved wife, “Gen” and three of their unborn children.  Received commendation for services rendered in WWII.  Provided, guided and befriended two of his children into adulthood. A face with a ready smile and a hand to help a neighbor. Welcomed me into his family as his own.

20140428-103659.jpgPictured in Manila, 1940’s, in retirement.

Who have you seen covered in God’s fingerprints?