Blessed to just be

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Worth the minutes

Praying the rosary brings peace to the soul for the whole day, and takes maybe 20 minutes.  

You need to make time to reflect with prayer and let it soak into your soul. Each bead of each mystery is an opportunity to think on the life of Jesus. It is never vain repetitious prayer. There is often a new insight or thought.  


I used to try to pray it on my commute, but I cannot focus my soul.  My language and feeling in city traffic definitely do not  dispose me to prayer.  I have a challenge with where my life and mind are right now, in stopping to sit and pray, unless I go to Adoration. 


 However, I enjoy connecting with God in nature, even if it’s just a stroll around the neighborhood.  So, I have recently taken to praying while I walk with Buddy in the morning, using the audio guide on the “Holy Rosary – Scriptural Edition v2.1”


And I recently acquired a rosary that has a definite tactile difference in the beads and is comfortable to hold. 


It may take you “a minute” to figure out where and when your soul is most disposed to praying, and in what form of devotion, but definitely seek the minutes. What a difference those few minutes can make. 

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. 

…into your heart.

“Prepare the Way of the Lord!” This is proclaimed to us by John the Baptist on the first Sunday of every Advent and separately so prepare your hearts! Standard, simple, nothing new right?
Oh I was so wrong, because I’ve always missed putting them together. I’ve stopped to have quiet and have not focused on the commercialism. I have invited family and friends for the season joyous beautiful things that I thought got my heart ready to have a beautiful place for the little King…But I missed the true opportunity of John’s message.
Our pastor with an amazingly gifted homily and, in my opinion, Catechist, Fr Duffy, put it together for us in his first homily of Advent.
“Prepare the way of the Lord!” When a dignitary visited a city in former times they would be carried in a litter. The roads literally would need the holes filled in and the sides straighten and cleared so that his retinue would not fall and drop the monarch!
I could see it in my imagination and if Jesus is our King, and he is – when we are told to “Prepare the way of the Lord” we have to fill the pot holes we have in our hearts, we have to straighten and clear his path so that when we get to Christmas, He can truly get to our hearts. Suddenly something clicked in my head – Wait! It is not just about fluffing up the pillows of my heart to receive Him. John is telling us to make our personal paths smooth, clear and comfortable.
But how?
1. Fill the pot holes – where do I have them? Obvious and a given in the Catholic Church – Confession. Set up and ready for us to attend almost without thought on my part, but this time I prayed to the Holy Spirit to know my sins not for just a few hours before and looked at the usual.
I prayed for a few days and asked to clean my soul of whatever was there! Two things I had forgotten about that I was ashamed to admit even to my self I rationalized away as not being sins. After a couple of days of prayer I saw them for what they were – sins, deeply entrenched. I faced them, and in confessional along with the usual I shared them, explained how I got there and shovel, shovel, shovel, filling pot holes started in the path to my heart.
2. “Make crooked ways straight!”
It helped me to straighten a path for some relationships I had explained away as never changing, that also with prayer, showed themselves as crooked that I needed to “straighten out.” And again prayer and I was led to sit down and talk it out and be open or to see with eyes of mercy and “making crooked ways straight!”…
3. Also clear the path
There is still one more blessed week in Advent for us, to prepare the way, I don’t know what I’ll be shown this week, yours might not as much work as mine apparently does 😉 but there is still time. Pray to prepare the way to your heart , listen now matter how it makes you realize you have been, and act in the way the Holy Spirit guides you – “fill the holes, make the crooked ways straight, to clear the way” and when you do, the joy won’t be temporary with the temporary moment and then let down after Christmas. The Joy and Peace will reside in your soul into the New Year and it will be amazing!
I am humbled, I feel a deeper sense of peace, and true excitement that I haven’t felt for this day maybe ever. I can’t wait until Christmas Mass and to embrace that beautiful little King and and to thank Him as He’s changing me on the way to my heart!
Blessed Advent! Merry Christmas and Christ’s Peace to you and your family.

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When You Think You Have Nothing to Give

Recently I was invited to bring a friend to a taping of “The Dr. Drew Show,” which was a trial taping on our area.  I had no idea what to expect. They think it went well, I hope it did. I found it to be an amazing experience, but for me the truth of that experience was far greater than a share in the market or efficiency for producing. It was about meeting the bottom line of my faith and God pushed me there gently but firmly. He orchestrated the day so masterfully and beautifully. From the delightful visit with my friend and my husband at lunch that day to receiving that particular pre-scripted question in an interview segment.  The topic abortion, the question to be asked, “Would you ever have another abortion?”  This was not some place I wanted to go after loosing our baby. I thought I can’t go there I have religious feelings, I have moral feelings that won’t be listened to.  The question I had was ridiculously lame compared to enormity of the topic.  I would never ask that question. Then I heard God the Father strongly – “Do this, it will be all right.” 

This girl I was to ask this of is a counselor at an abortion clinic, who found herself accidentally pregnant, her solution – to have an abortion, but not just an abortion.  She stated that her desire was to video a “happy” abortion and share it on YouTube. Mouth open stunned – literally – no – words. 
 
I found out right before I walked to the mike that our questions were not to be a discussion topic after a Skyped interview, but a live interview with this person herself.  An exchange – LIVE. 
 
When we got over to the wings from the audience the cue man said we are running low on time and might not get to all the questions as planned. The other two people who had been given the questions sounded like theirs would  be useful than mine, so I offered to skip mine, but God had other plans. The producer came up to us and said go up in the order you’re standing, that put me first.  I blanched – I had nothing to say of substance – immediately I remembered our joy at finding out we were pregnant and my delivering Olivia’s lifeless body and God gave me the words “Tell them I lost my baby last year, I was pregnant for the first time at 44. Tell them that.”  I started to tear up. I looked at the cue man, I think he and the producer just thought it was because they presumed I would rant sensationally. They had no idea, neither did they even come close to my feelings. I asked if I had to read it straight or could add to it. The cue guy said you can say whatever you want I looked up and told him about losing my only baby, feeling myself tear up. He stopped and put his hand on my back “yes, but you don’t have to.” Trust me I didn’t want to share that and I had no idea how what else I would say to follow up. But I prayed – your words Father not mine. 
 
To be honest I don’t remember the entire exchange, but here is what I remember…Telling the girl my story; her saying a few things back to me; the crowd around me reacting in shock as she said something in return.  I heard the audience react, but I didn’t hear her words.  It was like God blocked the distraction of her words and gave me what I needed to answer.  I do remember feeling incredulous at how she described other women who had abortions as grieving their loss and she wanted to tell them how easy it was…And the words from God flowed…”These women are grieving a loss?” I asked her “Loss of what?”  She couldn’t answer I did, “The loss of a life given to them by God.”  That was the end of that taping. 
 
My friend who was with me said there wasn’t a dry eye in the room, that standing there at that microphone, she said I put a face and a reality on the discussion – the precious gift that is life.  I know it wasn’t me alone, it was God, and it was Olivia. 
 
I hope that girl heard God’s message for her, I can’t presume to know what it was, but I know He was speaking.   I know a number of people, the host, the producer, celebrity panelists, crew and audience participants came up to hug me, thanked me, I was told, “I think the message was heard.”  A number of people came to me and shared their own stories of miscarriage, barrenness, giving a baby up for adoption, standing up for work for ProLife. I told each person how God did this, God led me. I don’t know if the show will ever be aired, but God allowed so many people present to be touched, by a moment where I was scared and really thought I had nothing to give.   God took my open heart like he took a few loaves and fish, and He made it enough for that crowd, enough for me. 
 
It was a powerful experience and it helped to reinforce to me to always be willing to go where He leads and He can redeem any situation.  You don’t have to feel ready, He will make you so. All you have to do is to be open to share what He’s given you.  

Martin and Brian

I played my husband’s beautiful one of a kind guitar for the first time this week. I finally felt ready. It is gorgeous to the eye and a feast for the ears. I realized a few things in prayer reflecting on the encounter of both their voices for the first time:

1. The guitar’s sound is similar to my husband’s voice, deep, rich, warm, full of promise – I smile(d) BIG!

2. My soul let out a sigh, and knew God had given her a new Home, a new song to sing.

So incredibly blessed – God so rocks!

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