Hot Pursuit

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I am a firm believer in the fact that God communicates with us – if only we walk with eyes and ears and a HEART wide open.  St. Augustine once said, “God loves each of us as though there was only one of us” – as if we were a long awaited, treasured only child.  He loves us so much that He does not just sit around on His throne up there tapping His fingers waiting for us to respond. Of course, true love can never exist without free will.  He loves us enough to allow us to reject Him if we so desire BUT if we take the slightest step toward Him, He will pursue us to the ends of the earth.

I am so very grateful that the Lord deems to send me reminders of His faithfulness – His presence, His love – because I am one insecure child who needs many reminders and reassurances.  One of the ways I believe God has been speaking to me for several years now is through hearts.  They’ve literally littered my path – always popping up unexpectedly – and often when I need them the most.  God is soooo good!

That’s just one of the many reasons I am hopelessly in love with Him!  I wish that love could be contagious, because I’d love everyone to be infected!  Here’s a song from Toby Mac that I’ve quoted  below.  It speaks to me.  I hope it speaks to you.  Be open!

“…But You loved me enough to pursue me…

When love broke thru
You found me in the darkness
Wanderin’ thru the desert
I was a hopeless fool
Now I’m hopelessly devoted
My chains are broken
And it all began with You
When love broke thru
And it all began with You
When love broke thru…”

 

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A Beautiful Blessing

Yesterday, I read a post from Courageous Priest.  He spoke about a beautiful blessing that a priest can give to a mother and father who have experienced a miscarriage or stillbirth.  I did not know this existed!

Most women of childbearing age have experienced miscarriage.  Some, sadly, have experienced several.  I remember mine vividly.  It happened in November of 1995.  I still have a rose that my husband brought me that I placed in a little glass heart shaped box (when it dried out) to commemorate that child.  It was tough.  I remember the incredible sadness I felt that no one could soothe.  Even though my baby was peanut sized, he/she was already a part of our family.

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I think it is because we are all more than just a body – we are body/soul composites.  My baby was more than a tiny body that failed to thrive, but he/she was a BIG soul who now resides in heaven.   I can’t wait for us to meet one day!

Anyway, if you know of anyone who has recently suffered a miscarriage or stillborn child, you may want to share this beautiful prayer service and blessing.

 

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How to Pray Continually

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If you have not been taking advantage of The Best Lent Ever, it is not too late.  The tips given are very practical – easy to put into practice right away – if you can “slay resistance!”  Yesterday, Matthew Kelly taught us how to pray continually as St. Paul commanded us in 1 Thessalonians 5:17.  Personally, I have had some success with attaching prayer to daily routines – like turning the ignition in the car, or brushing my teeth.

Matthew suggested setting an alarm on your phone hourly and offering that hour’s  activity for a particular person or intention.  That way we are offering all that we do each day as a prayer.  My goodness, if everyone were doing this, can you imagine how that simple act would change the world?  If you don’t want to set an alarm, you could simply tell God an intention each time you begin a new task.

I tried this yesterday with an activity that is – let’s just say “distasteful” to me – like walking the dog in the cold, dark moonlight and picking up his poop in plastic baggies by flashlight.  Ugh!  Strangely, it seemed to take some of the displeasure away, knowing that someone was benefitting from it (besides the dog)!

So what are you waiting for?  We are already 15 days into Lent.  What little tweak can you make to your daily routine to break out of routine and make this your best lent ever.

 

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Spring has Sprung!

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As you know, I enjoy taking walks in my neighborhood at different times of the day/year with my camera – trying to capture just a bit of the beauty of God’s creation. Now that I have Tommy, the dog, to walk, picture taking is a bit of a juggle or challenge.  Tommy was patient enough to let me capture these early signs of spring.  I hope you enjoy them!

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On the Verge of Something Significant

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I’ve been doing some thinking these last few hours as the Mardi Gras celebrations are winding down – and in light of tomorrow being Ash Wednesday, the start of lent.  I have to say that for the first time (maybe ever), I am excited about the start of lent.  I really want to get as much out of it as I can this year. I’m not sure why, but there seems to be an air of urgency for me – maybe it’s the state of the world, or maybe it’s because I’m not getting any younger!

I want to empty myself as much as possible so that the Lord has more room to fill me.  I want to seek out areas of my life where I have failed to surrender to God completely, and see if, with His grace, I can let go more fully.  I want to become closer to Jesus.  I want to stop running from the pain and ugliness of the cross and see it for what it is – my salvation.  I’ve only watched the Passion of the Christ once, and I’m ashamed to say that I fast forwarded through the scourging scene, like a coward, because it was very difficult to watch.  I think I will watch it again this lent – from start to finish.  passion-of-the-christ

I’ve just finished reading “Resisting Happiness” by Matthew Kelly at Dynamic Catholic.  It was a great, easy, encouraging read.

I highly recommend it as quality lent reading  material.  Just one of the little tips I took away from the book is how to pray unceasingly as scripture tells us to do. small_5199c57033f5b244186659bb

It’s easy to do if we offer our work/prayers/studying, etc. for a particular person or intention an hour at a time.  Ex. This morning from 8-9, I will offer my walking the dog in the rain, doing the laundry and the dishes as a prayer for _______________.  At 9 a.m., I begin to study for an exam and offer that (dreaded) activity for conversion of souls or for my family members in purgatory.  I like it!  It’s concrete!  I can do that!41a4igwcrgl

I’ve also decided to participate (unofficially) in Nineveh 90.  I don’t know if you’ve heard of it.  It was organized by a priest, (with men in mind -I think)  but I like the idea, so I adapted it for myself and have made my own “spiritual boot camp” daily chart.  It includes a checklist for things like morning prayer, mass readings of the day, spiritual reading, rosary, fasting days, etc.  I’m a list person!  I love to highlight tasks as I accomplish them, so I think this will be good for me!

Anyway, I’ve gone in search of some Lenten resources to (hopefully) really make use of these next 40 days.   I’m going to put links to what I’ve found that I really like that might be useful to you:

Dynamic Catholic’s “Best Lent Ever” short video daily reflections

USCCB’s Lenten Lectio Divina

Art & Faith: Lent  – short video reflections on beautiful artwork as related to the Lenten journey – unique!

Women of the Passion  online mini retreat “following the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus as it was experienced by women.”

Pray as You Go Scriptural Stations of the Cross

I hope that you find these ideas & links helpful.  I pray that you (and me both) have the most meaningful, significant lent ever!

Posted in Informational, Lent, Prayer | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Rewind – 2016

36, hearts and crows popping up in unexpected places???

The two things that have helped me immensely in 2016 – without

question!

A couple of spiritual highlights were learning more about Our Lady of

Tickfaw, seeing miraculous photos and getting to see a priest’s ordination

for the first time in Alexandria.

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A new place to attend mass on Sunday, St. Jane de Chantal – love it!

Low point – the flood in March, but we got new floors:)

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Turning the big 50 – ugh!

Milestones – Annie graduated from H.S. and John got his 11 year

immunizations.  He’s also started taking gymnastics and performed dub

step  at the school talent show!

Our eldest built his 1st home and got married to the love of his life.

Annie modeled for 5 fashion shows, and Eric and I attended quite a few

weddings – including one with a photo booth – fun!

In January, we lost this little lady and adopted this handsome Houdini, Tommy.

We took a couple of mini trip including an unforgettable walk in the woods

where we got to see this little fellow up close for several minutes.  The beach

is always a favorite get away!

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Still hoping, praying, loving and laughing!

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Reflecting

I’m not trying to be a “Debby-Downer” by mentioning the obvious, but I’ve been thinking lately about how more than half my life has surely passed.  I’m on the other side of that hill called “life.” More than ever, I know in my heart that our lives are held in God’s hands and that nothing happens to us without His knowing and allowing.  I also know that life can often turn on a dime, therefore each moment is to be lived, savored, used to the fullest to nourish those around us and to give glory to God.  Our time on this earth is indeed limited – all we can be sure of is now – this moment.

Two weeks ago, we lost another beloved pet.  Sadie had her quirks and eccentricities, but she wormed her way into our hearts four years ago, and made her mark in Doyle family history – along with Emma and Dillon and Nicky.   She was taken suddenly and tragically.  We were not at all prepared.  I guess that I somehow took her presence and her youth for granted.  Sometimes, life teaches us some pretty tough lessons.  Sometimes, life stings.  Sometimes it burns.

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Sadie’s death, and the ongoing, relentless suffering of some people I love, has caused pause for reflection.  What is the meaning of life?  Why do our lives matter? How does God want me to spend my remaining time?  Is my use of time pleasing to Him, or do I waste too much of it in mindless activity or worry?   I find myself at a crossroads, perhaps.  I don’t know where the road leads from here, but I know that it’s o.k.  No matter what happens, God’s got me.  He has shown me that in powerful ways this past two weeks…this past three very difficult years…heck, my whole life!   He’s carrying me and He’s carrying you too!

Recently, I was traveling in my car through a very dense fog – so dense that I couldn’t see the car in front of me.  Incredibly, that driver did not have his/her lights on which made it worse.  Normally, when driving in fog, I can keep my eyes focused on the tail lights on the car in front of me until I drive out of it or reach my destination.  This time, I had nothing to keep my eyes fixed upon.  I simply had to pray ( unceasingly) and trust whole-heartedly that God was going to get me to where I was going.

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I thought of this as a metaphor for life.  We cannot see what is in the future.  Mercifully, God only allows us to see a few feet in front of us.  Normally, we can keep our eyes fixed on Jesus as we navigate those few feet until the way becomes more clear.  Sometimes, however, we cannot see even a few feet in front of us.  There is a veritable wall completely impeding our view.  This is when prayer wells up from our hearts in desperation and trust becomes radical.  

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This afternoon, I spent some quiet time on my back porch swing, taking in the warmth of the sun and cradling our new family member, a rescue named Tommy.  He’s a cutie, right?!

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I listened to the wind whistling through the mesh on the screens. I watched the ripples glistening on the pond water. I looked in awe as the tall pines gracefully bowed and bent, surrendering to the invisible but powerful gusts.

What came to my mind as I talked to Jesus was #1  “Winds of Change” (We have surely been seeing this played out all over the news in recent months)  #2 The Power of the Holy Spirit (Come, Holy Spirit!  Come!) and #3 In order to weather the changes, we must remain flexible like those pines, surrendering to the gusts, yet standing firmly in the warmth and light of the sun (Son).

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I leave you with this passage from Scripture, God’s love letter to us:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart.  Hebrews 12: 1-3

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Don’t Let it Go!

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For the past two weeks, this one rose has been blooming and hanging on to the bush.  Looking out the window toward Momma Mary, it caught my eye – as it was the lonely splash of color.  I thought it unusual how long it was there, as the individual blossoms usually last a few days, then fall to carpet the ground below.

Finally, this morning, a cool front is pushing through, and with it came the wind.  (It has been unseasonably warm and gloomy here in the Deep South.)  Right after I took the picture of the rose to show you, the wind came and swept it away.

The single rose reminded me of a favorite Traditional Christmas Hymn,  Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming.

Riding around my neighborhood, it is so sad to see how many neighbors have taken lights down and put the tree out on the curb- some the very day after Christmas!  I’m not condemning.  I’ll admit that I am trying to resist the urge myself.  Things get so cluttered during the weeks leading up to Christmas with the decorations and packages that it seems natural to want to get things “back into order” – to simplify again.

Let us hold onto the joy of Christmas ! Let us remain in awe of that baby – our King in the manger.  Let’s not put away the crib too quickly.

When someone in our own families gives birth, we celebrate!  New life brings joy and hope to all.  We don’t simply leave the baby and parents at the hospital and move on – back to life as usual.  No!  We count the moments until we can behold that precious baby again and hold him/her in our arms.  We take delight in watching the child grow and celebrating all of the milestones!

Jesus was no ordinary baby though – God took on human flesh to save you and me!    That precious infant that lay in a most humble animal trough wants to draw us close.  He wants our love for Him (and in turn our love for others) to grow exponentially – not just in this Christmas season – but in everyday of 2017 – and forward.   Let us bask in His presence awhile longer and cherish the true gift of Christmas!

 

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December 2016: Noel!

Finding the perfect tree-

Decking the Halls-

 

Slowing down –

Reflecting on the beauty of the message and reality of Christmas…

Noel!

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Light of the World

Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel
,

which means “God is with us.”  

from Sunday’s gospel reading  (12/18/16)  Mathew 1: 18-24

My advent obsession is linked below- a song by Lauren Daigle.  It is truly inspired by the King of Kings!  I hear that Lauren Dangle may be up for a Grammy this year.  I so hope she wins – I love her voice and her music.  Check out her lineup on YouTube.  She’s got so many great, powerful, uplifting songs!

Lauren Daigle,  Light of the World

Enjoy!

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