The Waiting…

images-1I’ve been waiting.  Not so patiently.  I have complete confidence in God to direct my path, and yet, I keep trying to help Him.  Ridiculous, I KNOW!  So, this evening I turned to scripture to look for some advice on waiting.  I did a search ( just out of curiosity) to see how many times “wait/waiting/waited” is used in the bible.  I got conflicting answers (depending on the version cited), but suffice it to say, the word is used 130+ times.  In fact, it seems as though waiting could be one of the bible’s major themes!

Here are a few verses I find helpful:

Psalms 27:13-14   I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!

Proverbs 3:5-6  Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.  (My favorite verse – even though it doesn’t use the word “wait,” I think it applies.)

Isaiah 30:18   Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.

Isaiah 40:31   but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Lamentations 3:25   The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.

Micah 7:7   But as for me, I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.

AND always a good reminder:

But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day.  The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.  But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.

 Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness,  waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire?  But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.

 Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish;  and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him,  speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures.  You therefore, beloved, since you are forewarned, beware that you are not carried away with the error of the lawless and lose your own stability.  But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.  2 Peter 3: 8-18 NRSVCE

Something Inspirational:

AND just for fun – a blast from the past:)


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Sweet Sunday in Independence, LA

We went for a Sunday drive this afternoon to look for three little roadside chapels in neighboring Independence, Louisiana.  Our journey took us just north of Hammond off of Interstate 55.  We found only one of the chapels open for visitors – St. Joseph Chapel, off of 1065 a quarter of a mile past Blackcat Rd.

The chapel dedicated to St. Expedito was only able to be viewed from our car.  Sadly, a junk yard – for lack of a better term –  has sprung up literally right against the left hand side of the tiny church.    I’d never heard of a St. Expedito, so I did an internet search.  The article is most interesting.  You may click on the link above to learn more.

Lastly, we passed the Liuzza Strawberry Farm on the way to Our Lady of Perpetual Help Chapel.  We couldn’t get inside of this chapel but were able to view a little grotto honoring St. Francis Xavier Cabrini round back.  I’m sorry these photos are not in any particular order – too tired to rearrange:)

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Liuzza’s property

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Liuzza’s farm

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OLPH Chapel

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OLPH Chapel

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OLPH

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The Strawberry Fields

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St. Joseph’s Chapel

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at St. Joseph’s

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St. Joseph’s

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Lighting a candle at St. Joseph’s

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tiny town of Independence

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St. Expedito’s Chapel

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Liuzza’s Farm

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St. Joseph’s

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Closeup of the Altar at St. Joseph’s

Posted in Catholic, Catholicism, photo entry, photography, Prayer, Saints, travel/my hometown, Uniquely Catholic | Tagged , , , , , ,

I Saw God Today

This past week, I shared an i photo slideshow with my students set to “I Saw God Today” by George Strait.  I wanted them to be inspired to “stop and smell the roses”-  The world we live in now is so hectic and noisy.  I also realize that we can cover a lot of information in class, but if the kids don’t develop a personal relationship with God, none of the info. will matter much.

You know, If we don’t purposefully look for beauty as we go throughout our days, we will miss so much that God wants to show us.  I challenged my students to snap a few “I Saw God Today” pictures over the upcoming two weeks.  We will then compile them into a slideshow and share our inspiration with each other.

After giving my students this assignment, I realized that I had not picked up my camera in quite sometime ( I used to carry it with me practically everywhere).  Upon arriving home from work, I took a little walk around the neighborhood – camera in hand.  In the dead of winter, finding beauty can be more challenging, but it’s there.  One must simply walk more slowly and look more closely.  The same rings true during the dark times in life.  There are still moments of joy to be found, if we only look purposefully and allow ourselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit.

Here are the little treasures that I found on my God walk:

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a really blue bluebird

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dead tree stump – strangely beautiful!

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little fellow making sweet music

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pinecone from atop

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my neighbor’s dog – gorgeous eyes!

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some lettuce I should have picked already

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butter leaf lettuce

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a lizard enjoying the sun with me

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amazing color

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a different perspective

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Silky milkweed seeds

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little surprise under the birdfeeder:)

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Making Sense of Suffering

A good article about suffering. I hope you find it helpful.

 

 

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Celebrating the Feast of the Epiphany

There are just two quick notes I want to mention here with regard to the feast of the Epiphany (traditionally celebrated on January 6th) which we will celebrate at mass tomorrow:feast-of-the-epiphany

#1  If you have not watched the documentary entitled The Star of Bethlehem, it is so worth one hour of your life.  It is amazing!  The man who studied this proposes that God wrote history into the stars.  When He created the world, He knew precisely when Jesus would enter the world, and when He would be crucified.  It is literally written in the stars and alluded to in the bible!  He also explains the Star of Bethlehem and what was so special about it that would cause the Wise Men to travel for months to the place where it stopped – Bethlehem!

#2 There is a custom that originated in Germany of blessing your home on the feast of the Epiphany.  With all of the evil spirits prowling about our world, every family and home can use some extra graces and fortifications!   This is a fun thing to do as a family, the domestic church – a great way to start the new year!images-1

Posted in Catholic, Christmas, education/teaching, Faith & Children, family, Prayer | Tagged , , ,

My Favorite Gift

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Immaculate Heart of Mary

Isn’t she lovely?  I received many really nice gifts this year, but this one was a special surprise.  My brother and his wife asked me what I’d like for Christmas.  I told them that I really didn’t want or need anything.  I asked them to surprise me.  (They have impeccable taste!)

My sister- in- law told me that she saw this in a local gift shop and knew that she had to buy it for me.  I am sooooo glad that she did!  The look on Mother Mary’s face is so tender and sincere.  I never tire of looking at this image of her.

Ironically (or not so), the February before last, I consecrated myself to Jesus through Mary using Fr. Gaitley’s book 33 Days to Morning Glory that I’ve already talked about here.  I’ve felt called to pray the rosary for years, however, I must confess that my heart was never truly in it.  It seems monotonous to me.  Well, this past year, 2015, I’ve grown greatly in my relationship with Mary.  I now often pray more than one rosary a day, as I’ve become dependent on the peace that it gives me.  I need that peace.

Once upon a time, I was afraid that becoming close to Mary would take from my most important relationship – my relationship with Jesus.  Instead, I have found that the more I meditate on the mysteries of the rosary and ask Mary for her intercession, the closer she brings me to Jesus.

That makes the picture of Mary even more special – a perfect gift I will cherish always!

 

 

 

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Breaking My Silence

I’ve stopped writing altogether the last month.  Part of me needed the break – time to reflect on where I’ve been and where I’m going – what God wants of me.  I’m not entirely sure I have the answers.

The last time I wrote, I think I eluded to my growing desire for solitude – to kind of “go off grid” so to speak.  I don’t think I could ever really do that completely, but the need for simplicity is there.  I have been finding emails, Facebook, responding to comments, etc. all very overwhelming.  I’ve needed to step out – take a step back from all of the technology.

These past couple of years have been very difficult for my family.  I know that all families have their difficulties.  The question is where do we go from here?

That is a question for which I do have a definitive answer.  We will keep our eyed fixed upon Jesus, our Help, our Savior, our only Hope, and we will keep putting one collective foot in front of the other.

I’ve been doing a lot of praying and spiritual reading.  I read every new post that Mark Mallet writes.  I read and re- read the Volumes books.  I’ve been studying Catholic prophecy from Saints and former popes.  I’ve been reading a lot about Mary’s appearances at Fatima. I believe that there is something significant about the upcoming 100 year anniversary of those apparitions.

My husband was getting concerned that I was getting obsessed with “doom and gloom.”  Ironically, I find the prophecies and the words of Mother Mary to the visionaries quite comforting – very hopeful.

I do believe that 2016 will be a very tough year.  It doesn’t take a prophet to tell us that as a human race, we are headed for trouble.  As a matter of fact, we’re already in trouble!  When society as a whole has told God to “butt out” of our lives, He will not force Himself on us.  Because of His great love for us, He respects our free will.  We are destroying ourselves.

More important that any destruction we have done to our bodies, or to our environment is the damage we have done to our souls.  Millions of souls are being lost, and I have no doubt that this causes Our Heavenly Father, Jesus and our Heavenly Mother great pain and sadness.

Ours is not the only period in history when it has been extremely difficult to be a Christian.  I do believe, however, that ours is likely the most difficult time to raise HOLY, happy kids.  As a mother, I grieve for what my children have had to go up against.  In my weaker moments, I worry about their futures.  Then, I recall our family consecration to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and I return to my senses.  I know that Jesus and Mary will take care of all of our necessities and concerns according to God’s Holy Will.  What more could I ask?  The world has spun out of control, but God is still in control!

The hope that the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the reign of the Sacred Heart of Jesus are the lights that will follow this time of darkness keeps me going.  Jesus told St. Faustina that before He comes as Just Judge, He would come as King of Mercy.  The pope has  proclaimed this the Jubilee Year of Mercy.

Let us throw ourselves and our families on the Mercy of God.  Let us spend some time reflecting on our NEED for mercy.  In a world where evil has been labeled good and wrong, right, many would have us believe that there is no such thing as sin anymore.  This belief is grievously, grievously wrong!  So much is at stake!

Let us offer all of our prayers, works, joys and especially our suffering for the conversion of our own souls, those in our families and those our brothers and sisters all over our world.

In 2016, I do not wish for health, wealth and happiness for you and for me.   I pray that God will give us all the graces we need to love God more and truly put Him first in our lives… to live more simply and to love others moreto forgive those who have hurt us and to have the courage to ask forgiveness ourselves.

Have a blessed 2016, The Year of Mercy!

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With Gratitude in our Hearts

Please read my latest post at NOLA Catholic Experience.  I hope you had a wonderful, blessed Thanksgiving!

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The Power of Praise

imagesPraise has the power to energize, to propel.  Praise takes a dwindling ember and fans it into a flame.  Praise can bring you out of your personal darkness and into God’s great light.

I’ve told you that I struggle with depression.  I’ve also diagnosed myself with seasonal affective disorder.  I struggle most when we have long stretches with little/no sunlight.  It’s been gray and rainy a lot here lately!  I have a friend who has also been battling stretches of deep sadness.  I suggested to her that she put on some upbeat, uplifting praise and worship music and sing – even if she didn’t feel like it at first.   Often this is helpful to me, but I wasn’t really sure why – couldn’t explain it in words.

Today, I heard a woman speak about the power of praise.   She said that praise elevates us – spiritually and mentally because it takes the focus off of ourselves and places it on God who is all good and all worthy of praise.  That’s it!  Sometimes when we are hurting, we can’t think of anything but our hurt.  It consumes us.  In humbling ourselves before our God and singing His praise – singing and praying despite the hurt – through the hurt –  we are lifted up!  So many things about our faith is paradoxical.  This is one of those great paradoxes!

Even if God never did another thing for you or for me, God is still worthy of praise.  He loved each and every one of us into being.  He thought of us long before He created us in our mother’s wombs.  He humbled Himself and took on human flesh.  He suffered and died for you and for me!

I was blessed to spend sometime this morning in prayer and praise with a group of faith- filled women.  That experience of worship set the tone for the rest of my day and gave me a boost I’ve needed.  God is so good!

Next time you are feeling blue, stressed or distressed, put on some praise and worship music – even if it doesn’t appeal to you at the moment – even if you feel too tired to do it.  Pray, “Come Holy Spirit.”  Listen to the music until you find your voice.  Sing!  Sing!  Sing to Jesus!   You will bring a smile to His face and console His Sacred Heart!  It will likely make you feel better too.

Here are a few of my favorite praise and worship songs from recent months.   “My Story” reminds me of my momma.  When I was a girl, she used to play hymns on our baby grand piano.  One of my favorites was “This is my story.  This is my song…praising my Savior all the day long…”  The modern version sort of gives a “shout out” to this old hymn.  I’m putting links to these in case you are interested.  Enjoy!

Touch the Sky by Hillsong United

First by Lauren Daigle

Feel It by Toby Mac

My Story by Big Daddy Weave

Overwhelmed by Big Daddy Weave

Also good – particularly for women are Audrey Assad, Joy Williams, Plumb, Kitty Cleveland, Kara Klein

 

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Reflections on the Readings for Sunday, November 1, 2015

Readings for Sunday, November 1

Speaking with friends, family and acquaintances, I get a sense that everyone is struggling just to survive – spiritually and mentally, as well as physically.  There isn’t much “thriving” going on for sure!  Everyone is completely overwhelmed with life.  So many people are suffering from cancer, and big losses.  It seems simply unprecedented.

I try only to speak positively here, but I feel moved to admit that I have not been handling this feeling of overwhelming stress and sadness well as of late.  These past few months I’ve been fighting depression (and blasted hot flashes.)   Normally, I can put on the radio, sing along to some of my favorite Christian music and it makes me feel happy – uplifted.  Normally, I get joy out of greeting people with a smile or a kind word.  Normally, I go to adoration and feel such peace that really lightens the load.  Lately – no relief.  Nothing seems to give me joy.  I guess this might be similar to St. John of the Cross’ dark night of the soul.  I know that God can use this too, for good – perhaps to test or to purify me.   I just wish it wasn’t so miserable.  Why do I “confess” this?  I just want you to know that if you’ve been struggling, you are not alone. 

I believe that the fight between good and evil is ramping up – coming to a head so to speak.  I think that things are going to get worse, unfortunately, before they get better.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or even a prophet to see the writing on the wall.  We MUST hold onto hope, however.  Without hope, what have we got?  Without hope, this mess that we are living through is for naught.  I don’t believe that it is all for nothing.  God is still in control.   I believe that the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart and the Reign of the Sacred Heart are coming soon.

It is always darkest before the dawn.  In the first reading, we hear John’s vision of the opening of the seals.  God restrained the angels from destroying the land until the foreheads of the elect were marked. “These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb.”  Oh how I look forward with anticipation to the time that follows our time of great distress.  We must remember that when we suffer (even though it seems to drag on to the point of unbearableness), it will be but a second in light of eternity.  Perseverance – ugh – I don’t like that word.  It means hanging in there when things are tough.  It’s so hard to do, but so necessary for the “Christian soldier.”  Lord, give us the strength to persevere – for Your greater glory.

Lord, this is the people who long to see your face!   Because of Jesus, we have Hope – that we will someday soon be comforted and satisfied.  We will know justice.  The kingdom of heaven we will share.  Oh what a wonderful, glorious day that will be!

 

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