Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Special Visitor on a Special Day

 
     Today marks 5 years since my dear sister Connie's passing. I knew it was coming, but I actually did not even realize it this morning until I checked in on Facebook and saw my beautiful nieces post. Today was the day. I thought about her for a few moments, but didn't have the luxury to fall apart at work. That is until Charlotte walked in. She actually texted this morning to see if I had any time so I squeezed her in my morning. Charlotte is one of my favorites, a devout woman of God, we always have great conversations. I thought to myself of all the clients I might see this day, I was glad it was Charlotte. She always has a kind word and an uplifting message. When she came in today though she was visibly upset, on the verge of tears. I knew her grandson had been sick with Leukemia and my heart sunk. What's wrong Char? I asked.  The tears were streaming now. "I knew I shouldn't have tried to come today, September 2nd is the date Barry and Julies plane went down." Swissair Flight 111 crashed shortly after takeoff with her precious son and daughter in law on board. The only items belonging to them that they recovered were their bibles. I hugged her and said "No you were supposed to come today, it's five years today since I lost my sister." We hugged some more and said a few prayerful words to each other and got on about the business of the day, fixing her hair. Charlotte had a lunch date with a friend suffering from cancer and her ministry called her, even in her darkest day, to carry on for the Lord. We chatted a bit more and she encouraged me to take my mom a rose and give her a hug. I'm so glad Charlotte came in today. There is healing in shared grief.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Todays reflection Proverbs 17

 
   
    Lord help me to love at all times. To forgive others sins against me. To help me understand that trials are the fire that refine me and purify my heart. The fire that burns off the impure. Help me to be a true friend and to see people created in your image even if different, especially if different than myself. I know each one of us was crafted by your hand for our own unique purpose with our own unique gifts. Help me to not judge others as I do not know their struggles as they know not of mine. I want to be your student, to keep learning and growing in your light. To understand the greatest goals are those of self discovery and evolution. Wisdom, honesty, patience and love. The greatest goals of all. Make sure I align myself with the goals that matter, not the fleeting fantasies. Goals of a rich spirit, a truthful heart and a joyful soul. This is what I pray today, this is what I seek and continue to walk through fire for.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Todays reflection Proverbs 15

 

Dear Father, Show me your light, your wisdom, your truth. Help me see through the selfish and deceitful ways in myself and others. Give me the patience to discover what is righteous and good. Change my heart to seek out the wisdom in correction knowing that I am a sinner who needs to be shown the subtle evil that lurks. I want to stay true to your vision and purpose for my life, to weed out the unbelievers trying to sway my heart and my mission. Give me the strength to make the sacrifices, to do the hard work to stay the course. Help me seek justice and care for others. Soften my words, make them fruitful that they may return riches of the reward of eternal life in you. Give me patience, to not share foolishness and anger but spread love and joy and good council. Help me pray for my enemies, to take their works and use them for good not harm. Shield my thoughts to surrender to you, to cherish your lessons and your guidance. That I take the time to be still and listen to the faintest whisper of despair and doubt and instead hear life and joy. Thank you for our savior Jesus Christ who rescues us all.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Todays Reflection Proverbs 9-10

 

     "On judgement day, each person will stand alone, accountable for all of his or her deeds. At that time, no amount of riches will buy reconciliation with God. Only our love for God and obedience to him will count."  Life Application Study Guide. 
     Father God I value your word. What a blessing we have in the bible as our GPS. To help us recalculate when we are seduced by the ways of sin and the works of the evil. Ground me in your word, your wisdom so I can be righteous. Not perfect, for perfection is impossible for us mere humans. Love the Lord and seek to follow his teachings is all we can do here on earth. I ask God to change my heart, to help me love instead of hate, give rather than receive. Help me continue to seek wisdom, even from my critics where growth is revealed, the path to wisdom. Wisdom is birthed with knowing God, studying his word and letting his truths cover my life like a warm blanket on a chilly morning. Being covered in the word and the truth helps me grow and seize the opportunities to live fiercely for Him.

Hatred stirs up conflict, but love conquers all wrongs. Proverbs 10:12

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Todays Reflection, Proverbs 7-8

 

     Lord I come before you broken, to put the pieces back together in Your order. My whole being seeks out Your wisdom and I give myself to You. I offer my sins up to You for You posses the all knowing truth. Help me continue to seek You in my brightest moments and my darkest corners. There is no part of my life You do not know, no part is secret from You. Your wisdom is there always like the sun, a shining example of the way and the truth. Walk with me, stick close to my heart that I should stay cleanly on Your path and not the path of destruction. Help me avoid what the world lays out for my seduction, the shiny objects of distraction that hold a moments pleasure but enslave me in lifelong pain. I thank You for Your sacrifice of life so that I might live fully in Your kingdom. I praise You, I worship You. I thank You for the many blessings You so generously bestow on me. Make me continue to be aware of Your presence and Your grace so that I can know peace. Let my peace be a testimony to others to see the riches that await for those that seek You.

For those who find me find life and receive favor from the Lord. Proverbs 8:35

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Todays reflection, Psalms 7-9

    
     Father God I thank you for your never ending love and mercy. To take myself a sinner, and to bless me and guide me, never giving up on me. I know I have your unending support. I know you are there for me, always, loving me, encouraging me with the people and events you put before me. God help me see these praises ever so slight and small so I can recognize your glory and your path you have so generously set out for me. Help me see your way the only way. I so want to know you better, to understand your word and to use your word to enrich your purpose for me and the way of your teachings. Help me remember to seek you not just now but throughout the day in the moments for real growth. I so give glory to your wisdom and support of my life as your servant. Help me maintain a servants heart to not always look for the good solely for me but the good of your kingdom. I truly want to be your light, a reflection of belief in a sometimes dark and lonely world. Help me seek others that are living in your word and more importantly those that have fallen away. Help me grow stronger through guiding others, enriching my faith and believing in your power and love.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

God Save Our Women



 
     I went to Catholic school, and CCD. I saw the videos of aborted babies, I heard all the negative comments, and I know it is against everything the Church stands for. But at such a young age, with no life experience to build meaning to the argument I never took a real stand. Until today.  Hearing of this viral video of a woman’s abortion on Vimeo I thought… really? I had to investigate for myself. I am not here to judge this girl, that is not my job, but I can certainly have an opinion about it. The whole thing sickens me and saddens me. The film of this young woman, going through an abortion on camera, is just wrong. Her background as an abortion counselor should have given her the means to prevent this. I can’t help but wonder if this former “actress” used this opportunity for fame. She knew the moment she got pregnant she would have an abortion. She is being applauded for taking the mystery out of this procedure and showing other young women it is “no big deal”.  I understand everyone has free will and a choice to determine what happens to her own body.Who speaks for the child?  I am not free from this shadowy subject. At 43 years old I got pregnant. I was initially mortified. I had just opened a business a year earlier and was working crazy hours to get it up and running. I immediately thought of this as an inconvenience, or a cruel joke. But I also wondered if this was truly God’s plan for me. I called Planned Parenthood and heard their whole spiel about the process. I even questioned the best days for me; honestly, trying to figure what would work best in my busy schedule. Something I am not proud of. But ultimately in discussion with my now ex-husband we decided to keep this baby. I thought most certainly there was purpose and a lesson in this “gift” we were given. So we embraced the pregnancy, and told our children. Two weeks later I began bleeding and ultimately lost the baby. I felt an enormous amount of guilt; did I wish this baby away? Was I being punished for initially not wanting the baby? These questions would haunt me. The decision was mine, just as it was of this young woman. I am not holier than anyone, I am a sinner. But I am also at this point of my life seeking more answers on my journey to the kingdom of God. And trying my best to live on Gods purpose for my life. And shame on Cosmo. I must admit I was an avid reader of Cosmo in the day but looking back I have to wonder if ANY of the articles that I read did me any good in the long term. If I was not having the best sex, or the clearest skin, or the thinnest thighs or flattest abs I was just not good enough. This constant barrage of pursuing the ultimate self-fulfillment lauded by Cosmo and most magazines today did me no favors. This selfish pursuit and narcissistic approach left me insecure and doubting my worth, a struggle that continues today. I choose to take a stand, to not applaud this self-first and the rest be damned attitude anymore. It is a work in progress as am I. The feminism of Cosmo back in the day and the radical feminism of current media are creating a visionless society of women.  Those that seek self-gratification before serving others, before serving God.  And the media that applauds this sickens me. Satan’s work is to overturn Gods order.  He does this not through grand gestures but small whispers, daily to lead us astray. You just need to look at the state of the world today to see this. My hope and prayer is that we go back to standards and morals of years gone by. Where we seek the wisdom and guidance of people we can respect. Not the consumerism driven media.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Serendipity

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   God has so been trying to speak to me, I have been too busy to listen until today. Sunday I was a lector at church. One of my sister Connie's friends said hello on the way out and congratulated me on the reading, and I shared the story of how I was asked to be a reader, on her birthday. She gave me such a warm smile and hug it was heaven sent. Monday I attended the 9 am mass at Holy Angels and the gospel was from Luke, about giving to receive and forgiving to be forgiven. Fr Dan encouraged us all to be open to God and his blessings like St Patrick was. At the end he sang an Irish blessing, one we sang at CYO camp so many moons ago that got me sniffling. Following mass at bible study one of the questions was who was your spiritual mentor. I shared my sister Connie had always been an example of Christ to me and just when I think I can talk about it without being overwhelmed, it overwhelms me. Which leads me to today. I had every intention of attending 7 am mass at Holy Angles but alas I am really not a morning person. I hit the snooze promising myself I would get up for the 9 am mass at St Joan of Arc. Wavering momentarily I pushed myself to get in the car and go. As luck would have it the presidor was Fr Adam, from Holy Angels, and it was the parish school mass with all the children. From the gospel of Matthew he asked the students what titles they had. I immediately thought sister. As the students went up to receive the Eucharist I watched them file out with their teachers and there it was, my aha moment. All I could think was Connie was doing the same thing, right then, in her wonderful, beautiful, perfect self guiding her students in heaven. What a wonderful blessing once I was open, and listening, to God speaking to me. Through life and family struggle, stay close to God and his healing grace.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Come Clean

An amazing story from a friend

During my work at the Mission these past months I developed a friendship with a resident by the name of Mike.  Mike's story was very interesting. Embalmer, paralegal, military pilot.  I often wondered how Mike ended up at the Mission.  He only explained that he had issues with his ex wife, and also recent girlfriend.  That's the norm at the Mission. Everyone has a story.  I never pry, just ask in a cordial fashion. What ever they offer up is fine.

I wondered why the coordinator referred to Mike as the Andy Dufresne (Shawshank Redemption) of the place.  Mike was very intelligent and quite engaging. He studied law at Ashland U. very well spoken, a great story teller.  I saw him every Thursday. Mike even offered to fly me to Flint  to pick up my daughter at school.  That I opted not to do, but considered it.  I spent some time with Mike these past weeks helping him build out a linked in profile, and encouraging him in a job pursuit  He was trying to land a job as a paralegal.  In a strange sort of way I developed a fondness for Mike.

There is a feature article in this weekend's newspaper.  Yesterday, Michael Pratt pleaded guilty to the murder of his wife in 1992.  Two previous convictions were overturned (which I did not know about)  The Lord finally got to Mike, as I prayed He would.  He came clean.  Every saint has a past. Every sinner has a future.  We often encourage the residents to let it all go. Paying the debt.  God will forgive all, but of course, there are consequences.  I pray that God will forgive Mike for what he has done.  May his wife now rest in peace.

Whatever you may be holding on to, let it go.  Come clean.  God's blessings won't flow in your life until you do.

I found this such an amazing God-incident. So many forces working together, colliding in purpose. This is a real story that happened to a friend, in his words.
(names have been changed)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Take a stand

Every once in a while I attend a service at Grace Church in Middleburg Heights. Although I am a practicing catholic I enjoy the experience of worshipping at another church. This Sunday I attended a bible study at 10:30 and met my boyfriend for noon mass. Their masses have a message series and Sundays was the last in the Financial Fitness Series. The information Pastor Jonathan Schaeffer shared was very valuable and of  course based in scripture. But my story is not about the content of his message. During his message there was a person that would randomly laugh or make weird noises. He kept forging ahead, ignoring the distraction.  I tried to look around but could not detect where it was coming from. I didn't want to be too conspicuous by rubber necking. There is a parishioner at Holy Angels that has turrets or some similar affliction that causes him to randomly shout out so I just assumed this was the same here. Until...Pastor Jonathan stopped, and asked the person if they would kindly watch the rest of the program from the lobby. He asked security to escort this person out and apologized that this person was not very happy with him and was deliberately disrupting the service. The mood became very tense and uncomfortable for a few minutes until this person was removed. I don't think I have ever seen a church service halted, but this person was obviously troubled. Once removed Pastor Jonathan finished his teaching, although the room was quite somber. In Grace fashion they ended the service with an upbeat Christian song but before we were dismissed Pastor Jonathan asked if he could explain a bit more about what happened. He didn't want the audience to think his actions were rude or insensitive. Apparently the outbursts began last week and while not removed this person they did  identify who she was. This person, he went on to share,  has caused much trouble in the church and brought heartache to many of the parishioners and he felt as its leader he had to take a stand and not allow this disruption. He likened it to the devil, how he likes to creep into our lives distracting us while we try to ignore him. At some point you have to take a stand and cast this evil out. I don't know the details of this story and am very torn by the turn of events. Yes it was disruptive to have this woman deliberately acting out but at the same time it was upsetting to watch her get thrown out. I guess I was not sure if the added background to the story made me feel better or worse.  I know that the pastors intent was to protect his congregation. At the end of the day I guess we all have to make those difficult choices, to stand for what we believe in and protect what is ours.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Get Jesus on board

     A dear friend shared with me that her brother committed suicide on Monday. My heart sunk. I know how it feels to lose a sibling due to God's hand, I couldn't even imagine the pain of losing one at their own. Of course one's first thoughts are, "I had no idea they were suffering", "If only". I begged my friend not to go there. We can never truly know the depths of an others struggle. I went to mass today with the intent of offering up the mass for her family. The gospel was right on God's timing. It was Mark 6 45 when Jesus walked on water. After Jesus fed the 5000 he told his disciples to get back in the boat and head across the lake to Bethsaida while he said his goodbyes and sent the crowd home. He went by himself to the hills to pray. Later in the evening he saw the boat with his disciples struggling against the waves. He headed across the water intending to pass by them but when they saw him walking on water they became hysterical thinking he was a ghost and cried out in terror. Jesus spoke to them and said "Don't be afraid. Take courage! I am here!" The moment he stepped in the boat the winds calmed and peace came over the lake. Fr Adam invited us to ask Jesus into our boat. Cry out for help from the Lord and invite him into your storm. Having faith doesn't prevent storms, it calms them. I know my friend is a woman of faith and my hope is that she ask Jesus into the boat, into their struggle, to bring the peace only the Lord can bring.