My Top Ten

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In honor of Mother Theresa’s canonization tomorrow, September 4th, 2016 and of her feast day on Monday, September 5th, I’m posting my top ten favorite nuggets of wisdom from Mother Theresa in no particular order.  I especially love the ones in bold.

“Words which do not give the light of Christ increase the darkness.”

“We can do no great things, only small things with great love.”

“The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.”

“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.”

“Peace begins with a smile.”

“Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.”

“I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world.”

“I do not pray for success, I ask for faithfulness.”

“I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much.”

“It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.”

This is just a small, small sampling!  You can find a more complete list at Catholic Online/Brainy Quote.

Here is a wonderful little tribute to Mother Theresa done by Catholic News Agency/Catholic Review Media.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

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Favorite Weekend Moments

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Gulf Fritillary on the Milkweed

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An afternoon downpour

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A Wonderful Treat

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My daughter’s beautiful hand

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It’s been awhile, but this weekend I picked up my camera again.  I think I was able to capture a small sampling of the beauty in God’s creation – and one amazing human creation – the donut:)

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My Two New Obsessions

There are two (relatively) new songs out there that really speak to my heart.  I like to sing them like anthems, especially when I am feeling weak.  Thy Will by Hillary Scott and Family (of Lady Antebellum) and Trust in You by Lauren Daigle.  The last time I tried to post links to Youtube, they didn’t work.  Sooooo, if the links don’t work, you must please do an internet search for these songs to listen to them for yourself.  They are incredibly inspired, powerful and healing.  I’m obsessed!

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Simplicity and Humility

dcaecb3d32fd3cd8456c2a0835f236e8    I’ve been thinking a lot about these two words and what they mean to me at this point in my life.  There are so many things that I feel “done with.” Life is passing so very quickly, and some things just aren’t worth my time and energy anymore.  Of course I care what I look like, but I’m tired of fighting my fine hair and the effects of gravity on the rest of me.  Of course, I want to be liked and respected, but it’s a lot less important to me what others think and more important what God thinks at this stage of the journey.  I want my yard to look tidy and manicured, but if there’s something more exciting and family oriented to do, the grass and weeds can wait.  I feel the need to strip away the unnecessary and the frivolous.  I long to just be  – though I’m not good at simply be- ing for too long!  My family knows, I’m usually giving 110% or I’m sleeping.

Today, I did a lot of work.  I cleaned out my Mary garden and painted a bathroom that REALLY needed it.  Both look fresh and almost sparse, but I think that’s good.  I pruned back the rose bushes harshly, trusting that they will be loaded with buds in time once again.  Simple and clean feels good.

I also enjoyed some time on my back porch listening to the gentle afternoon rain.  In fact, I stepped out into it to catch some raindrops on my tongue.  The rumbling of the thunder reminded me of God’s power and majesty.

I’m going through a reading and reflecting phase – kind of taking more in and sitting with it – than putting my thoughts out there by writing.  I’ve begun keeping a spiritual journal, making note of thoughts I have while sitting with Jesus in adoration, or things I believe God is using to get my attention.  Crows have been significant for me lately, though I’m not exactly sure what their presence means.  I’ve been reading up on these very intelligent birds. I also just finished “The Boy Who Met Jesus, A Message for Humanity” by Immaculee’ Ilibagiza.  It is a short, but powerful book with lots to consider.

I just finished reading the mass readings for tomorrow,  Sunday, August 28th.  They speak to us about humility.  I’ve been taught that humility is the key to holiness.  If we want to grow in holiness, we must first grow in humility – “He must increase, but I must decrease.”  John 3:30  Once I prayed to grow in humility, and God sent me, an elementary school teacher, a parent who I could not seem to please no matter what I did.  It was a long school year!  After that, I shied away from praying for that grace for several years!

Anyway, I came across this prayer card.  When I first read it, I thought – this is ROUGH!  There is NO WAY I’ll ever achieve THIS level of humility.  I tucked it in a book because it was a holy card, and it didn’t “speak to me,” however, I  just couldn’t throw it away!  Recently, I rediscovered it.   The last line really speaks to me now in the times in which we live:

Humility is perpetual quietness of heart.  It is to have no trouble.  It is never to be fretted, vexed, irritated, sore or disappointed.  It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me.  It is to be at rest when nobody praises me and when I am blamed and despised.  It is to have a blessed home in myself, where I can go in, shut the door, kneel to my God in secret and am at peace as in a deep sea of calmness, when all around and above is troubled.

All around and above seems troubled – really troubled!  Sometimes it is overwhelming.  This is when we must realize that we don’t have to go all over looking for comfort – for God.  He is as close to us as the beating of our own heart or our next breath.  We can read His Holy Word, quiet ourselves and close our eyes.  When we humble ourselves before our God who deigns to dwell within His beloved, the madness of the world disappears.  He ministers to our world-weary souls. We no longer feel vexed or scared.  We feel His love and His incredible peace – the kind of love and peace the likes of which the world could never give.

I believe that this constant “plugging in” with scripture, adoration, the sacraments and prayer will be very necessary to weather the storms ahead.  You know, I used to find the rosary to be just repetitious prayer ( for me).  I couldn’t “get into” it.  I don’t know what happened, but I began praying the mysteries of the rosary in the quiet of the adoration chapel, in the presence of Jesus, and it has been truly transformative.  It gives me such great peace, comfort and strength.  I wish the same for you, my friends!

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My Favorite Things about Summer

…having the time to sit and watch the birds on the bird feeder; barefooting in the grass, playing and going on adventures with the kids; 9 a.m. bubble baths; gardening in the early a.m. and at dusk; the sounds of crickets, locusts and frogs at night; wonderful greens and blues (my favorite colors); passion flowers & black-eyed susans; swallowtails; reading a book in my sunroom; athletic shorts nearly all day – everyday; the smell of sunscreen; no homework and no scheduled bedtime; lunch dates with friends; laying on the trampoline and gazing at the stars as they appear one by one; fireworks; how everything stays relatively neat and clean and organized; afternoon naps; having the time to try new recipes; making breakfast for my kiddos (and me) – not eating in the car on the way to school; time for a second cup of coffee; watching the geese in the pond grow and get their adult feathers; blueberry picking; the beach; fruit & berries; matinée movies; extra snuggle time with Sadie; a change of pace; time to really reflect upon my blessings:)

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Decisions Made Simple

“Do nothing without consulting Him in the Tabernacle. But then act fearlessly, if you see it is for His honour and glory, never minding what others may think or say.

Fr. Willie Doyle

I don’t know who Fr. Willie Doyle was exactly, but I began “following” him on WordPress because we share a common last name!  I was intrigued!  A quote from his blog yesterday is the perfect introduction to what I want to speak about today.  This is the next chapter in “my visit from Jesus collection” I’ve been writing as of late.

Another truth I heard loud and clear when “Jesus” came to visit my house was this:  We don’t have to make others happy – we only have to concern ourselves with making God happy with us.  When our focus shifts from pleasing the world to pleasing God alone, it makes decisions ever so much more simple.

In any given situation, we can ask ourselves, “Would this be pleasing to God?”  If the answer is, “No,” then we know exactly what you must do!  It works on everything from deciding which movie to watch to deciding which job to take or whom to marry.  When pleasing God is the basis of all of our decisions – big and small – we find ourselves cutting away a bunch of junk – activities, things and sometimes people who pull us away from our relationship with Him.

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Think of this: “If _____________ doesn’t edify my relationship with God, then it is not needed.”  I love that word – edify.  By the way – getting back to Fr. Willie’s quote – my favorite place to go when I have a decision to make (or for a myriad of other reasons) is to the tabernacle.  Jesus’ presence is calming and somehow always seems to put things in proper perspective for me.

My visitor also pointed out another truth:  “What comes into our eyes and into our ears can change our hearts.”  We need to be super careful about what we allow into our eyes and ears – is what we see and hear edifying to our relationship with God?  Is is just “junk,” or is it actually detrimental to the health of our soul?

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Speaking of junk – I’m just about done with television!  It is so difficult to find something that is appropriate and edifying to watch as a family.  Even when we find that one show, the commercials punctuating the program are often terribly inappropriate!  We must try, try, try to minimize our exposure to the things that are ungodly.  I’m not saying to turn a blind eye to what is going on in the world.  We need to be aware of it in order to pray about it – and to do so fervently!  We just don’t want to allow ourselves to be so inundated by it all that we  become desensitized to things that once disturbed or appalled us.  Remember: what comes into our eyes and ears can change our hearts!

Have a blessed Sunday!

Posted in adoration, faith, Faith & Children, family, Prayer | Tagged , , , ,

Reflection on the Readings for Sunday, June 26, 2016

Readings for Sunday, June 26th

Unknown-2  When reflecting upon the second reading from Paul to the Galatians, I was struck by the whole concept of freedom, and how we have really twisted its meaning.  Society has this mistaken notion that freedom is the right to do whatever we want – “as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone.”  The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “Freedom is the power, rooted in reason and will, to act or not to act, to do this or that, and so to perform deliberate actions on one’s own responsibility.”   (#1731)   Freedom is a gift from God that allows us to respond to His great love for us.  Without freedom or free will, real love cannot exist.  That would be called manipulation or control- not love. Freedom is not only a gift, but a responsibility – something to be employed thoughtfully – wisely.

Paul said, ” For you were called for freedom, brothers and sisters. But do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh; rather, serve one another through love.”  Real love is selfless – not selfish.  It is life-giving.

That has been my experience of God’s love.   So often, we find ourselves caught in a whirlwind of things that consume us – work, responsibilities, entertainment – noise, noise, noise, movement, movement, movement…  God’s love is life-giving and refreshing.  In order to feel that, however, we must put Him absolutely first in our lives.  Doing the minimum – mass on Sunday and a prayer before turning in isn’t going afford us that peace that our hearts and souls are craving. We’ve got to carve out time each and every day for silence and stillness, for it is there where we might hear God’s whisper and feel His calming presence deep within.  “He is as close to you as the very beating of your heart,” a woman once told me.  I’ve held onto that wonderful thought!  Sit for a few moments and try to focus on the pulsing of your heart.  Imagine your heart and Jesus’ heart beating as one together. He’s that close!  Isn’t that amazing and awe-inspiring?

The gospel reiterates the importance of putting God first in our lives.  Jesus makes it very clear that second or third place will not do!  Our priorities have got to be

#1 God, #2 Family, #3 Everyone/Everything else

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When we order our lives this way, we acknowledge and honor God’s dominion over our lives.  We use our gift of freedom to return love for Love.   It is then that we can rest in the knowledge that God will be faithful to us – ever-present – always providing exactly what we need when we need it.  God’s generosity is never outdone!  To this I can surely testify!

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.”  Matthew 6:33

 

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The Next Installment – When Tragedy Strikes

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“Remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope.

This is my comfort in my distress, that your promise gives me life”.

                                                                                                                 Psalm 119: 49-50

I’m still not out of revelations to share from my visit with “Jesus” almost two weeks ago. It was that profound! Another thing I took from that conversation was the importance of employing SUPPORT – especially when life gives us way more than we can handle.

The absolute sadness and tragedy of this past week’s events are still very much on everyone’s minds. Our hearts go out to those who died in the mass shooting and the little boy who was snatched by the alligator. I’m particularly worried about those left behind. After all of the memorials and funerals are over – when the world goes on “as usual,” how will the family members of these people find the strength to get out of bed in the morning? Will grief consume them?  I pray that they have faith to sustain them.

There are many different forms that support may take: scripture reading, prayer, exercise, meditation, medication, therapy or a confidant to share with, gardening (or something that helps you to connect with the beauty of God’s creation), good nutrition, reaching out to help others, receiving the sacraments frequently… My visitor experienced a great loss in her life. I asked how she managed to continue to put one foot in front of the other – to get out of bed when she’d surely rather withdraw.

She told me that withdrawing for a time and sitting with the pain is necessary for healing. Crying can be downright therapeutic. She also emphasized the importance of using lots of support of different types like the ones listed above. She reminded me that we only have to “Do Today.” We really mess ourselves up when we look too far down the road saying, “How will I be able to sustain this horrific grief for days and months and even years? I can’t do it!” We can’t do it alone, but we are not alone! There is Someone who wants to carry us – to help us bear the weight of our grief!

Another important aspect of gaining peace in the midst of tragedy is being able to forgive. Forgiveness TRULY is freedom. I have benefitted greatly from the grace of being able to forgive.  It was not something that happened overnight – or even something that I could do on my own.  That is why I call it a grace!  (I will talk more about that another day.)

“Lord, we pray for those who have been devastated by recent tragedies. We remember those who have lost their lives so suddenly. We hold in our hearts the families forever changed by grief and loss. Bring them consolation and comfort. Surround them with our prayers for strength. Bless those who have survived and heal their memories of trauma and devastation. May they have the courage to face the days ahead.

Help us to respond with generosity in prayer, in assistance, and in comfort to the best of our abilities. Keep our hearts focused on the needs of all the community. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.”    (Taken from http://www.amm.org/praywithus/tragedy.aspx)

 

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Highlights of our Alexandria Trip

#1 Annie’s graduation from High School!  We are so proud of our girl!

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Fooling Around

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The Immediate Fam

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Senior Slideshow

#2 Visiting the Louisiana State Arboretum and seeing Bambi up close and personal!

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Where we first found Bambi

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She wasn’t afraid of us at all!

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LA State Arboretum

The Alexandria Zoo which was celebrating it’s 90th birthday.

Yes, the jaguars were feeling frisky!

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We saw many of these which let us know we were where we were supposed to be:)

Attending mass twice at this Cathedral was a real treat.  I got to see a priest ordination for the first time!  Simply beautiful!

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Just Do Today

(part 3 in the installment – Jesus came to visit…)

Life can be downright overwhelming.  There are surely times of celebrating and great joy, but there’s a lot of hard stuff, too.  We get ourselves into a big mess when we worry about what will happen tomorrow, three weeks or even a year from now.  If we are in pain now, we worry about how we will be able to withstand it – what shape we will be in six months down the line.  We can get ourselves all worked up and really off track.

My visitor last Thursday reminded me of some very good news.  She said, “Life is hard…but it’s o.k…I can do hard.”  Instead of dwelling on the fact that circumstances at the moment are nearly unbearable and allowing those negative tapes to play and replay in our heads, “Oh my gosh.  I can’t do this.  This is too hard.  I can’t bear it…blah, blah, blah.”   We can sit with the fact that “It hurts, but I’m o.k.  I’m still here.  Life is hard.  But I can do hard.”  We can do “hard” with God’s grace and only with God’s grace.  That’s why they call it AMAZING!

The great news is that we only have to do today.  God gives us grace for TODAY.   We cannot get a loan on grace for something that has not occurred yet and may never happen.

I’ve lived long enough to learn that life can turn on a dime.  Things can be completely different (or at least hopeful) in 24 hours.  If there’s on thing I could say to people who are feeling the desperation of suicidal thoughts or despair, it would be hold on.  Get some support.  Things can look very different in a small amount of time – especially when you are holding on to the one who holds you in the palm of His hand.  (Isaiah 49:16)  He never, EVER leaves us alone.

We only have to do today.   Oh, that is very good news!

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A little treasure from Hobby Lobby!

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