Friday, May 27, 2016

Be Of Good Cheer, Jesus Is (Always) Here

Christ has died,
Christ is risen,
Christ will come again.

Notice how this prayer uses the verb ‘is’? That’s because Jesus ‘is’ – He has no beginning and will have no end. Remember when in the Bible He says, “I AM” just as God the Father told Moses? What a profound statement that is!

When you are worried and feel all alone, be of good cheer, Jesus is here.

Upset confused, and feeling hopeless? Be of good cheer and put your trust in Him. Jesus is here.

Happy, elated, and full of the Spirit? Appreciate the grace you have been given. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are with you.

No matter what our human condition presents, we can always count on one thing – Jesus is here to comfort, teach, love, and cheer us on. He is here.

Even in the times when our feelings are low and our world is filled to the brim with darkness, Jesus is here to console us.

We may not see him with our eyes, hear Him with our ears, or even feel Him in our hearts – yet He is with us always, to Eternity.

What a revelation! If we prayerfully guide our minds to this fact, good cheer should follow. Even if recognizing this takes some effort on our part, we can count on Him.

And when our lives are going exceedingly well, we must be mindful that He is with us – not to be cast aside like some useful talisman.

All our being, all we are and have are His to give. If we are His people, we will be of good cheer, embrace His Gifts, and offer them back to Him and our neighbor in true love!



Here we are again, joining Kate Motaung for Five Minute Friday #fmf - a fun way to participate in timed free writing with other bloggers.

Today's #fmf prompt is 'cheer'. Follow the link to check out some truly inspirational entries.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Well, What Do You Expect?

Expectations. We have a lot of them in life. Most often we aren’t even aware of them – that is until they aren’t met. But do we expect a certain thing just because we want it or do we make efforts toward the object of our expectation?

We all want to be loved, for example. That’s a given. Even Jesus, Himself, wants that. Yet when we don’t do anything about making ourselves lovable, how can we expect to be loved?

Of course there are those who love us without strings: God, parents, children even. But what about their expectations? Don’t they want to be loved too?

If we truly want to be lovers – which is what Jesus asks of us – then we must turn our expectation of love into love of others above ourselves. As contrary as that may sound, to be loveable we must first love.

So what to do? Think of the unselfish way God created us, His creatures. He is pure Love and wants only the best for us. Yet He also gave us Free Will. More times than not, we fall down and don’t live up to our potential. Yet he loves us anyway.

Think of the love of your parents. They, too, had a hand in your creation. They also love you unconditionally. Sure, there are certain expectations of success, but even when we fail they love us anyway.

It’s been said that to have a friend we must first be a friend. The same can be said for love. In order to be fully loveable we must first learn to love. Love as Jesus taught. Love as Jesus demonstrated. Then our expectations, and then some, will be realized.

True love is unselfish.



Here we are again, joining Kate Motaung for Five Minute Friday #fmf - a fun way to participate in timed free writing with other bloggers.

Today's #fmf prompt is 'expect'. Follow the link to check out some truly inspirational entries.

Friday, May 13, 2016

How Does Your (Spiritual) Garden Grow?

"Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?"

I remember my grandmother reciting those words to me from the Mother Goose nursery rhymes book she favored. My grandmother was also quite the gardener, which probably explains her love of this particular nursery rhyme. She had two gardens in two counties and canned, froze, and preserved to her heart’s content. Her idea of a good time was teaching young me how to can bread and butter pickles.

Years later, after Grandma Ruth died, my mother and I took up the gardening – but we had a penchant for flowers, preferring to get much of our produce fresh or frozen from the store at bargain prices. Five kids in a busy household in town didn’t quite fill the bill for homesteading.

My love of flower gardening grew and is a remnant of the good memories I have with my mother – now 22 years gone. These days I share that pleasure with my husband and adult daughter. Growing things is an awesome miracle of life. Our Creator certainly knew what he was doing when He gave us an earth filled with seeds and plants and food to grow. His scriptural references to growth – vines, grapes, mustard seeds, and such – show that He loves this aspect of His creation as well.

His favorite ‘crop’, however, is us humans. We grow in love and faith and hope as He tends to our souls. In return, we are asked to bloom where we grow- no matter what the environment, nourishment, or pruning we get. We are asked to blossom into children of God, with an eye toward Eternity with Him.

To Him be the glory!


Here we are again, joining Kate Motaung for Five Minute Friday #fmf - a fun way to participate in timed free writing with other bloggers.

Today's #fmf prompt is 'grow'. Follow the link to check out some truly inspirational entries.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

A Diverse Look at Mother's Day

May is here and we are once again reminded to honor those nurturers who have come before us. Mother's Day and Mary's Month are reminders of loving care and the 'yes' that changed the world. This month also bears sadness for many. Some have lost their mother, others mourn the mother they wish they had, and others grieve for children who either weren't born or were lost to this world too soon.

In the spirit of encompassing as many loving individuals into a warm hug as possible, I've listed four of my past posts. Their diversity is my attempt to make something good out of all circumstances - the knowledge that we are all fashioned for love. The one thing we all have in common is as brothers and sisters of a God whose love is unconditional.

Happy Mother's Day, I miss you!

Mother's Day is a time of great joy for many. It is a time for mothers to cherish motherhood and for children to remember their mothers. It is a time when fathers honor the mother of their children and when we all honor our grandmothers, aunts, sisters, and woman friends. It is also a time of sadness for those of us who have lost their mothers.

The anniversary of my mother's death was just memorialized on May 4th - 18 (now 22) years of being without my mother and best friend. This Mother's Day, I thought it only fitting to write a letter to Mom and tell her what I think of when I reflect on her life [read more]

Blessed Mother's Day to All Who Mother!

Here it is again - the day set aside each year to honor mothers. But who is a mother? Is she someone who has a brood of children at her feet? Is she the woman who can't conceive but desperately wants to nurture? Is she the woman, who through some misguided period in her life, chose abortion? Is she someone who has helped those who need her most - whomever that might be? The answer? All of the above. [read more]

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness 


Our daughter, Erika, wrote this poem and created the accompanying graphics in commemoration of the four children she lost through miscarriage. These little saints in heaven, known only by God, are waiting for us!

Millions of women are silently grieving for unknown lives.These quiet women walk among us averting their eyes from expectant mothers with proudly rounded belliesAnd arms full of healthy happy babies. [read more]


Can a Non-Catholic Find Comfort In Mary?

The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Recently I received a question from someone who is not Catholic. Although she thought it might be a silly question (it wasn't) she wanted to know if a Protestant owning an object with the image of the Blessed Mother, Mary, on it was objectionable to Catholics (it isn't). Apparently, this dear sister in Christ has a great affinity for our Mother and finds comfort from her. What a gift! Many Catholics could take a lesson from this question - I know I did.

Friday, May 6, 2016

You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone

No, I’m not being facetious, I’m simply putting recent thoughts into words. Lately I’ve thought a lot about the ‘last times’. Not the biblical last times or end days, but the things that we take for granted and aren’t prepared to miss.

When will be the last time your baby boy of 12 asks you to play Rummy or bake brownies? As much as it’s been a habit for all these years, there will come a time when he doesn’t ask anymore. When will be the last time? Did you miss it?

When will be the last time you have a shopping date with your mom? Lunch and shopping ‘til you drop with her kids and your kids was the norm for so long. But one day, it will be the last time. She’ll find out she has cancer and things will never go back to normal. You will miss it.

When will be last time you celebrate holidays in your house? The family has always come over – Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving. It’s an established event. Then, one day, you’ll find yourself moving and will miss those times. When they were happening you didn’t even realize they were the last time.

Our life, here on earth, is just for a time. Don’t miss out of the wonders, the love, the joy – even the tempering pain. One of these days will be the last time. Cherish, nourish, breathe it in. Love and be loved.

And when the last time comes, know that there will be a next thing. Maybe a new house, maybe a new friend, maybe grandchildren brought to you to hold by your children who still cherish you, their mother.

And in the end, we must not miss our opportunity to live life to its spiritual fullest. Because we don’t want to miss the roll call when final judgment comes. The new life we live with God will find that we don’t miss this life after all!

(Time Up)

Oh, and Happy Mother's Day to all - whether you're a mother, grandmother, aunt, sister, or just any kind of nurturer!


Here we are again, joining Kate Motaung for Five Minute Friday #fmf  - a fun way to participate in timed free writing with other bloggers.

Today's #fmf prompt is 'miss'. Follow the link to check out some truly inspirational entries.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Outlook from a Chair on Wheels

As humbling as it is to admit, I fell a couple of days ago. Not just any fall, oh no! I managed to tumble down the church steps as we all exited after Mass on Sunday. Of course, I was in full view of most of the parishioners of Saint Agnes Catholic Church – a parish we had never visited and probably won’t for a while.

As the priest and one of the standers by helped me to our van – which my dear husband drove up to the steps, onto the sidewalk – I was feeling both pain and humiliation. How quickly we can go from planning the perfect photo of all 7 grandchildren in front of a statue of the Immaculate Conception and total failure. That’s true of our faith life as well.

Saint Teresa of Avila famously said, “It is impossible for a person who prays regularly to remain in serious sin; because the two are incompatible, one or the other will have to be given up.” And so it is. In order to remain on our feet, spiritually speaking, we must find a way to roll with the punches meted out by life.

I saw a meme on Facebook this morning and it exemplified what I’m trying to live – both now and as a lesson learned for future reference.

“What defines us is how well we rise after falling.”

Yes, I physically fell down and am injured enough to be unable to walk right now. Yet, I’m adapting. My computer chair on wheels has become my new best friend. I can sit in it and roll, hither and yon, on my daily activities. I pray there, read there, and have even managed to use it to take care of our one-and-a-half year old grandson for the past two days.

As the old adage goes, “where there’s a will there’s a way”, and so it is with our faith life. In order to maintain our spiritual well being we must continue to find a way to practice it. Don’t have time for a daily Rosary? Think again. We have time for anything for which we make time. How about saying a decade at a time – while driving, doing laundry, lying in bed, or cooking? Can’t pick up a book for spiritual reading? What if you only read a couple of pages at a time? Books have even been written for just that purpose. Think of “33 Days to Morning Glory” or some of the Matthew Kelly books. Even “Consoling the Heart of Jesus: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat” can be read this way.

As I journey on in hopes of a speedy recovery the outlook from a chair on wheels doesn’t seem so bad after all. At least not for a time. I’ve learned some valuable lessons from this perch: patience, humor, and humility. Although there have been a few tears, I’ve found it better just to laugh at my predicament and I find ways to creatively continue in my life – both earthly and spiritually.