Saturday, July 31, 2010


I am having technical difficulties.  I prefer to sit in a quiet room with my laptop when I blog.  But for the past two evenings, e.v.e.r.y t.i.m.e I have tried to sign in to blogger, I get a message saying something about the security certificate.  Having the same problem with my web-email.  It doesn't matter whether I use my school board laptop or my personal laptop or whether I use Explorer or Firefox.  But for some reason, it's OK on my desktop??  Maybe that's why my desktop is slower than molasses? 

It's really cramping my style.  Hopefully I'll be back tomorrow? 

For what it's worth, I got the same warning/error when I tried to post comments on other people's blogs. 

It stresses me when technology gets too smart for itself!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

whoever has ears

My blog friend, Mary, commented that God has been having some incredible conversations with me lately, and I have to agree with her. I think that these conversations are happening somewhat because I have time to listen and process.  The pace of life is slower right now, and I have time to actually have a complete thought, to reflect, to recognize God's fingerprints and hear His whisperings.  In a way, it's like having the radio tuned in to the right frequency.

Twice in the past week, the Gospel reading has ended with, "Whoever has ears ought to hear."  I thought maybe that should apply to our elected representatives in Washington , but then again, maybe we won't go there right now....  More than hearing, it's about listening.

A week from today, I return to the dungeon.  I am going kicking and screaming.  Mentally, anyway.

The readings from today spoke to me, and it wasn't necessarily a whisper.  ..."Thus the LORD answered me:  If you repent, so that I restore you, in my presence you shall stand..."  OK - confession is on the agenda for this weekend...the list is ready to go....that pesky lack of trust is on there..."Though they fight against you, they shall not prevail, For I am with you, to deliver and rescue you, says the LORD...."   So we will get through it. God doesn't lie.

I thought it was interesting that the readings the past few weeks have been from Jeremiah.  When I was visiting my friend at the monastery last week (was it just last week??), I sat down in the chair with the Bible, and it opened to a card with Bible verses in MY handwriting.  Last year, when I was there, I had been working on homework for a Bible Study, and I had copied a few verses that I liked.  Guess where they were from??  Jeremiah.

A little while ago, I opened one of those emails that gets forwarded to everyone on some people's email list.  You know the ones - forward this if you're not ashamed of Jesus, yada, yada - (I never do.)  This was a powerpoint,  (nicely done), but on one slide, I just had to stop and stare for a minute.  It said, "The Lord said, 'I will bless the person who puts his trust in me.'"  Bet you can't guess where that is found in the Bible?  Give up?  Yep, Jeremiah.  (17:7)

Edited to add:  After I posted this last night, I popped over to Mary's blog to read, and I noticed that among the blogs she follows - right above mine - was one named...... are you ready for this..... Jeremiah 29:11.  

I think Jeremiah and I need to get reacquainted.  He just might have something to say.  Maybe.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

God's promise

For more than one reason, the end of school last year was brutal.  There was a lot of prayer, a little fasting,  and a ton of grace involved in making it to the end.  I made it, but I had a lot more gray hair when the year was over.  This summer has been good; a time of renewal.  I have prayed that things will be different, and I know that God can do wondrous things.  But on the other hand, I am very much afraid of what He has waiting for me or what will be expected of me in the upcoming year.  As bad as last year was, I can tell you in specific ways how this year might be worse.

I went to Mass this morning and stayed after for some quiet time.  I talked to God about this.  Intellectually, I know "be not afraid."  I struggle to admit that the fear comes from a lack of trust that God knows what is best for me, and that whatever happens, He will be there.  The "whatever" is where the problem is, I think.  I don't mind carrying a cross, but I really would like MY way to be nice and smooth (so that it doesn't hurt to walk in bare feet) and I would prefer if the cross wasn't too heavy.

On the way home this morning, I snapped this picture.  Yep, another interstate snapshot.  I just set the camera on the steering wheel to steady it, point it in the general direction and hope for the best.  Sometimes you get lucky.  (If I had my other computer, I would crop out the power lines and make it a little prettier,  but you get the general idea here.)  
Do you think God is telling me that it will be alright - "whatever" it is?  He will be there with me.  Just a gentle reminder for one who finds it hard to trust the One who is all-good and all-loving.

I saw a rainbow last Tuesday, too.  I was on my way home from the monastery, and very uneasy about my first flight before I even got to the airport.  Sure enough, it was bumpy for about the first hour or so.  I could see those big engines bouncing around on those 2-inch thick wings.   On my second flight, though, I looked at the window back over the wing, and saw a rainbow.  I knew it would be OK.  

Lord, I believe.  Help my unbelief.


Nothing deep or overly meaningful.  Maybe you'll find something along those lines in other posts.  Just a picture of a spider and his reflection in the window this morning.  I'm sure there's an official name for them.  We just call them "banana spiders".  Harmless as far as I know; big and relatively plentiful at this time of year.

Look at how delicate and detailed they are.  How finely crafted.  If God took that kind of time with a spider, what more has He done for us?

Linking to Jenny's "Just a Minute" and Sixty Seconds on Tuesday.  They have cool pictures there.

Monday, July 26, 2010

why i get up early

Yeah, I get up early so I can drive down the interstate and take pictures of the sunrise.  Not really, but it is an added bonus - lagniappe.

I can't see the sunrise from my house, or much of anywhere else, for that matter.  Too many trees.  But on my way to Mass this summer, I have been treated to some that are simply breath-taking.  And I've started carrying my camera with me in the mornings in hopes of getting a shot.   Today traffic was light, so I was able to go at a safer speed and the view was beautiful.

Mostly, though, I get up early to go to Mass.  I started a few years ago during Lent.  (Four??  Five??)  And I was hooked before Lent was over.  I had always been a night owl - staying up to the wee hours of the morning when it was cool and quiet.  But just like that - I was sliding out of bed at 5 a.m. - and excited to be doing so.  There is something about slipping out of the house when everyone is still sleeping.  A lot of the time, it's still dark at that hour.  I've been to Mass in snow (once) and pouring rain and I've heard the wind of an approaching tropical system howling through the rafters.

Always, always I am glad that I went.  I know that when I go, at least one thing has gone right in my day. I can sit in the still silence and collect my thoughts, catch my breath, pray.  I am nourished by His Word.  Sometimes the readings or the homily is exactly what I need to hear.  I receive Christ - Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity - in the Eucharist, and there is strength and grace there that I will probably not ever fully appreciate this side of heaven.    And, if the cares of the world are weighing me down, confession is available fifteen minutes before Mass. There are miracles that happen every day while much of the rest of the world is still sleeping.  And that's why I get up early!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

on the road again

I'm home, but my boys have taken off again.  They loaded buses on Friday night headed for the National Scout Jamboree.

Here's a picture of my 2 guys before we left home on Friday.  They look handsome in their uniforms!  (I'm not biased or anything!)  I'm glad that they will be able to share the experience, but the house is a lot quieter without them!

And how about a picture of them with their "brothers from other mothers"?  My other sons...their tent-mates for the next two weeks.  Just for the record, my younger one is not *that* much younger than the others, he's just under-tall.  Happens when you have 2 parents who are 5'4".  He and the "tall one" --> are 20 months apart, and *my* other 2 boys fall between them in age. 

Yesterday they did some whitewater rafting in Tennessee.  They had pizza for lunch.  Apparently when arrangements were made, one of the owners of the rafting company told the scoutmaster that "someone" would pick up the pizzas and bring them to the group.  Apparently this didn't sit well with the owner's mother (the co-owner?)  But she ended up giving the scoutmaster the keys to HER car to pick up the pizzas.  And while they were there, the owner of the pizza place was a Boy Scout supporter, so he threw in five extra pizzas!  Three cheers for CiCi's Pizza (near Cleveland, TN).

In the evening, "Father Pete" came to the campground where they were staying to say Mass.  He is also an Eagle Scout.

Bar-b-q hamburgers were on the menu for supper, and by all reports, the boys were behaving and life was good!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

i said yes

A few days after the confession in this post, I got an email from my pastor.  The email was in reply to one I had sent him a couple of weeks earlier about finishing up the painting in the parking lot.  He answered my question, and then thanked me for my patience, as it had taken him quite a while to reply.  He had a few kind words, and then closed by saying that he and Jesus would "love" to have me as a Eucharistic Minister, and asked what I thought about the idea.

My first thought was, "Anything but THAT!"  I was a Eucharistic Minister for a brief time when I was in college, and as terrible as it sounds, it wasn't something I really enjoyed.  I had issues with the technical aspect of giving Communion on the tongue.  Placing the Blessed Sacrament in someone's hands is not too difficult.  On someone's tongue apparently required a bit more eye-hand coordination than I had at the time.

Over the years, I've had a few people suggest that I serve in this ministry, and I've always told them, "no thanks".  Perhaps as a lector, if there was need, but not as a Eucharistic minister.  I am quite happy just sitting in the comfort zone of the pew. But now I've got Jesus AND my pastor asking.  How do you say "no" to Jesus?

The doubts immediately start to flood in.  I don't have the "right" clothes.  I don't like being in front of people.  I don't know what I'm doing.  All about me and my issues, you notice.  But this is not about me, at all.

So I told my pastor that I was going to spend a few days the following week at the monastery and that I would give him a definite answer when I got back.

I will confess that I didn't spend tons of time praying or thinking about that particular issue while I was there.   But there were things that seemed to open the way to serving and a lot of things that seemed to point to the idea of developing a deeper relationship with Jesus in the Eucharist..  The idea of doing what Jesus asks, of putting Him first, of bringing Him to others.  There was another thought about setting an can I expect my kids to serve as altar servers, if I am not willing to serve? 

After I got back, I told my pastor that I was WAY out of my comfort zone with such a thing, but I said "yes".   He was OK with that, and said not to worry. 

So, be not afraid?  But do say a prayer as I take another step out of that comfort zone. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

parting gift

The time had finally come.  I'd spent the last 4 days at the monastery where my dearest friend lives.  It was a wonderful visit.  Time to connect, time to be alone, time to be with God.  But it was time to say good-bye.  My shuttle was coming at 7:30.  Mass was at 7:15.  So we were meeting at the "turn" at 7:00 for a final hug.  Don't know when we'll be together next; there's over a thousand miles between us.

As I left my room, I saw these guys across the front lawn.  Last year there were deer all over.  I half expected one to wander into the chapel one afternoon, but this year - not so much.  It's too hot.  But this morning, it was like a parting gift. I ran back in to get my camera.  Not the greatest picture quality, but hopefully you get the idea.

Linking this to Jenny's Blog and Sixty Seconds on Tuesday.  Take a minute to capture something ordinary and see it as extraordinary.    (If you're visiting Just a Minute, you might enjoy some of my posts from recent days.)

Monday, July 19, 2010

God paints

So this time I'm going.

Last year, the last night I was here, I sat outside and cried let the tears fall.  Sad to be leaving my friend, but we've said good-bye before.  We haven't lived in the same town for nearly 30 years, and we've gone years without seeing each other.  More sad, I think to be leaving this place and the stillness and peace that I had found here.

This time, though, I had a better idea of what to expect, and I didn't have to fumble around quite so long trying to figure out the rhythm of the days.  It has been grace-filled.  There is a peace here that is hard to explain.  It has to be experienced.

But I think it goes back to one of the Lessons that I learned a few months ago.  Peace comes from Presence.  And there is a very definite Presence here.


It rained today for a bit.  I went and stood outside in it.  Just because I like the smell of rain.  (I didn't get very wet.)

Tomorrow, I'm going home.  I'm bummed that I will miss Mass in the morning, but I'll be there for Morning Prayer!

In one of my conversations with my offspring, one told me that "someone" needed to come do the dishes.  I asked today if he'd found anyone to do the dishes, and he said that Dad had.  I asked if he'd taken pictures of that event!  The other one tells me that there's a whole pile of dirty clothes.  But they can wait until I get back.  What part of "I don't want to come home to 87 loads of dirty clothes" is hard to understand?  I asked if he wanted me to post laundry directions on his Facebook page.  But he said that over the phone was good enough.

God painted for me tonight. 


Masterpieces from the Master.

He said that there is a blue sky behind every gray cloud.  
And that He will be with us always.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

the better part

I am spending a few days with a friend who is a cloistered nun, and it has been absolutely wonderful! We have been friends since high school - over 30 years! (That means we're getting old.) I would love to make it a yearly trip.  (Hopefully she wouldn't mind if that happened.  I know I'm somewhat of a distraction to the life here.)  We are able to connect a few hours each day at different times, but the rest of the time I am on my own.  I can hang out in my [air conditioned] room, walk around the grounds (too hot), spend time in the chapel [with the broken A/C].  So it has been a good mix of girlfriend time, God time, and me time. 

Last year I spent a lot of my time here getting acquainted with the finer points of Facebook, but I have tried to guard against letting the computer suck up large blocks of time this year.  I can tag pictures when I get home.  I can't just walk out my door into a chapel and stay for 30 minutes or an hour when I get home.

But this is where I spent a nice chunk of yesterday afternoon. I was "resting in the Lord".  It was quite relaxing.  Very comfortable.  (Yeah, I know the interior decorating didn't just hop off of a page of  [insert name of interior decorating magazine here], but you have to consider the source.

Today I spent some time in the chapel, too.  It is beautiful.  It is quiet.


See my buddy, St. Tony, here?  Aren't the flowers at his feet beautiful?  See that fan?  That could be my next new best friend.  I had the perfect spot in the second row where I could get a bit of a breeze now and then.  But when I dropped by this afternoon, the carpet square on which it sits had been slightly moved [gasp] and there was no more breeze.  I didn't feel like it was proper to go messing with someone else's fan.  But wait until I'm by myself in there tomorrow...  There was a lot of penance done in that chapel today, if the people were so inclined.  It really was cooler outside.

It's Sunday (in case you missed it), so there was Sunday Mass with a few more people than what shows up for weekday Mass.  The chaplain here is a gem.  He kind of shuffles in (my friend says he's about 80) and you think, "Hmmm... wonder what this is going to be like..."  But his homilies are relevant, memorable, engaging, thoughtful.  The first reading today was from Genesis where Abraham welcomed some visitors and was very hospitable to them.  He says that prayer is like that.  We are present to God (as was Abraham) and God is present to us.  It isn't about us doing all of the talking.  Sometimes it's just about being present.  

Martha and Mary were the gospel characters.  I really enjoy hearing Bible stories with women as the central characters.  Easier to relate to, maybe.  It made me think that we really play both roles.  My family is fine with me playing the Martha role - making sure there are clean clothes and dishes, and something to eat (I won't claim to do most of the cooking), just being there if they need something.  But more and more, I would like to be Mary - sitting at the feet of Jesus, learning, listening, being.  But that makes them uneasy for some reason.  But both my friend and my confessor have told me that it is OK to spend time as "Mary".  No need to feel guilty for not helping or being Martha.  And today's Gospel tells us that Mary has chosen the better part. 

When I genuflected to leave the chapel, this was my view.  

Last year, I sat on the aisle, so I had a better view from the pew.  But this year the fan is my friend.  (although if I stretched out on that tile floor, it might be cool...)  Here's a close-up.  It really is a beautiful little garden behind the altar.  Last year my prayer time was shared by a cardinal who would repeatedly fly into the glass.  Looking for weakest link, I think.  The sisters named him Butch.  I'm sure he's gone on to his final reward.  Or found another glass to hurl himself into.

I don't think I've had any startling spiritual revelations today, and that is just fine, really.  It was about being present and enjoying the better part. 

Saturday, July 17, 2010

comfort zones

I'm wiping out the original entry and starting over....trying to see if I can get the formatting right. 

Yesterday, I was sitting in the chapel during Evening Prayer.  It was the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.  Maybe that plays a role in the story, maybe not.  As I was sitting there, I was profoundly aware that Jesus had given me a gift during the retreat I went on a month ago, and that the gift was His Mother.  I don't know why it took me so long to figure that out.  Maybe it was obvious to everyone but me, but Jesus gave me His Mom.  I know that He gave her to all of us as His last act before He drew His final breath, but I haven't been willing/able to open myself to that gift.  I didn't think I needed it.  An awesome gift, isn't it?

I saw this on Immaculee's Facebook page a week or so ago.  (Yeah, this is gonna be one of those ADD posts that goes everywhere - or nowhere. 

I realize that God never shows us something we aren't ready to understand.  He lets us see what we need to see, when we need to see it.  He'll wait until our eyes and hearts are open to Him, and then when we're ready, He will plant our feet on the path that's best for us....but it's up to us to do the walking.

Right now I can sense that I am in a pretty good spot.  I know I'm on the path and the walking is pretty easy.  It's nice to have times like this, because sometimes the path seems to be all uphill in the snow.  Barefoot.

I didn't make it to the chapel much today.  Morning Prayer, Mass, and Evening Prayer.  It seems hottest for Mass at 7:15.  I visited a good bit with my friend, and we talked about (among many other things) how God continually calls us out of our comfort zone and invites us - key word - INVITES - to draw closer to Him.

For me, the most obvious example of being drawn out of my comfort zone has been my experience with the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  At some point, I had to admit that once every ten years wasn't cutting it.   God was inviting me to Him more often, and I finally accepted.  So it became once every year or two during the Advent Penance service.  Safety in numbers there, you know.  Lent would come along a few months later, but I had *just* been, so we'd skip that one. 

Then one of my offspring asked why we only went once a year.  God was inviting us to come to Him more often with our faults and failures and struggles.  So we began to visit him every three months or so during that Saturday afternoon confession time.  That was a big stretch out of my comfort zone!  I didn't know how the lights on the confessional worked (did you know that one red light means GO?  and two red lights mean STOP?) and I just KNEW everyone was looking at us.  The Sinner Family. 

Then He invited me to stop in more often - without the kids sometimes.  He told me that I could come before morning Mass at 6:15 a.m.  Another little step out of the familiar.  How can anyone confess at that hour??  But I did , and it has been a grace.

Once again, I am being drawn out of my comfort zone by an invitation of Jesus - down another path. 

But I digress.  This afternoon, I felt God inviting me to take a nap, and that was right in my comfort zone, and so I did!

Yesterday, I mentioned about words jumping out at me.  Today it happened almost literally.

I was sitting in the recliner to pray the Rosary.  I am still pretty new to the whole Rosary thing.  I said it as a kid with the lady across the street, but that was a lot of years ago (and mostly so we could get the cookies and kool-aid that we got when we were finished).  I had a Rosary booklet that I had brought with me, but after looking everywhere I could not find it.  So I settled down with a different book that had scriptural references for the mysteries.  Looking for anything to help with the meditative part of the rosary, I pulled a Bible off the shelf to look up the scriptural references.

The Bible fell open to a card with Bible verses written in my handwriting!  Still there from my visit over a year ago.  This is what "jumped" out at me today:

I will place my law within them, and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more.  ~Jer 31:33-34

I was working on homework for a Bible Study class last time I was here, and I found (and still find) ...I will be their God, and they shall be my people.... such a comforting image and promise.  He is our God.  Are we His people?  Are we willing to follow Him on the path that He places us on?  Even when it leads out of our comfort zone?

Friday, July 16, 2010


I have no idea which direction this post is going in.  Just sitting down and letting it write itself.

Got some of the comings and goings out of the way.  I went.


Do you think God lives here? 


Or maybe here - next to the rain storm? 

I could take pictures out of airplane windows forever.  Each minute is a new and more beautiful view.  I imagine my seatmate thought I was a little weird.  I'm probably the only grown-up snapping pictures out the window.  It's just clouds, anyway.  Of course, if she was thinking things about me, I had my own thoughts.  I haven't flown much, but I've never seen anyone curl up on two airplane seats and try to sleep.  I was tired, but I thought that looked like a lot of work - trying to sleep like that.

So my flight was actually early, though my shuttle driver got stuck in killer traffic and got a little lost/turned around.  I mean, I gave them the address when I made my reservation.  Don't ask ME for directions.  I kinda, sorta know where I'm going, since I've been here before, but I'm a long way from home!

It is oh-so-quiet here.  I dropped my luggage on the sidewalk by my room, and walked on to find my friend or someone with a key.  I was hit with quiet.  Shhhhh...... It's its own brand of quiet.   I ate dinner alone with the hum of the refrigerator and the twitter of birds outside.  And these two little guys.  Aren't they precious?

It is quiet enough to hear God.  

Bed notwithstanding, I am well taken care of and very comfortable.  The boiled eggs in the fridge were ALREADY PEELED!  I had requested reading material (a past issue of a magazine that they get) waiting on my bed, and something of equal interest in the drawer of the nightstand.  Maybe the Holy Spirit sent it?  I have a FAST internet connection, but am trying to limit the time that gets sucked up by a computer.

I went to the chapel mid-morning to pray.  I was the only one there.  And even without A/C it was comfortable.  I carefully selected my spot, and then I aimed the fan my way.  Wonderful quiet.  Like one-on-one with God time.  I prayed for my friends and their needs - the ones who sent me requests.  I added in some extras for some of them.  Some of them asked for very little for themselves.  I laughed at the fact that two of them (both educators) asked me to pray for "sanity".  Does that say something?

Don't worry.  I'll pray for the ones who didn't send requests later. 

I wonder if you can pray with pictures?   The chapel is small, and I took a good many last year when I was here, but there were more today.  When I go to pray, I take my camera.  Usually there is something I want to try to capture.

Before Mass early this morning, I was sitting, looking at this. 

I was trying to figure out the "P" word at the top.  I couldn't quite get it.  "Prioress?" I wondered.  "Or maybe "Priorities?"  I knew that wasn't it.  But then my mind wandered off to the root word - Pri/Prior... who knows, and that it must mean "first" or "above".  Mass starts, and the homily is about ...... priorities and putting God first.  Coincidence?

Putting God first.  Something we know intellectually, but have such a hard time with in practice.

The word itself - nothing to do with priorities or being first.  Does this help?  

Probably not.  I'm going out on a limb and guessing it has something to do with poverty, and that the three words taken together are Chastity, Poverty, and Obedience?  Probably more about being last than first.

How about this?  I have a picture of this statue from last year.  But it doesn't capture the look of tenderness that you see here.  

God speaks through His Word, too.  I mean, really, that makes sense?  Using Words to speak?

What's jumped out at me today? 

A humbled, contrite heart you will not spurn. ~ Psalm 51   Always good to know.  Especially comforting if one is thinking about confession. him in integrity of heart. ~ Wisdom 1:1  Just something to remember.  Can't play games with God.

And maybe there will be more...if I listen. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

comings and goings

Please be patient with me.  Things are as crazy as crazy can be this week.  My husband's six grandkids are in this week.  I am leaving to go out of town in a few days, and my children are leaving to go out of town in about a week and a half.  I hope to be back to blogging later this week, but in the meantime, I am ready for the asylum!  Stay tuned....

Saturday, July 10, 2010


My blog friend, Mary, passed along a new award to me earlier in the week. 


I'm honored!  I do try to include at least a little substance, although one of my "gifts" is to write about absolutely nothing at all.  I'm sure some posts have more substance than others. In the midst of the craziness at my house right now, this is probably about as much substance as you're going to get at the current time!

This blog is part journal, part scrapbook, part creative outlet.  

I have 2 boys that I am trying to get ready for the National Scout Jamboree.   I am trying to get patches sewed on uniforms.  My husband's oldest grandchild is staying with us for the next week or so.  (The other 5 are staying with my sister-in-law and my stepson's mom.)   I am leaving next week to visit a friend for several days.  I need to get the kids' school uniforms bought before they leave for the jamboree. ANYWAY....

Back to the substance.  I am supposed to sum up my blogging philosophy, motivation and experience in five words.  At the risk of copying off of Mary.....


My faith and my family are the most important things. Though I don't think any of my family knows about this blog, there are quite a few posts about them!  Faith and my practice of mine takes up a fair share of posts.     Memories.  There is too much stuff in my brain to remember, so when I can write stuff down, it frees up more space in my brain.  Plus I then have a written record!  Honesty.  No need to make things up here, since most of the people that stop in here to read are people that I'll never meet in real life. It is what it is.  Expression. I can think when I write, and since I don't have a whole lot of other creative talents, this kind of fills the bill!

And as part of the deal, I'm supposed to select some other blogs with substance.  Of course, all of the blogs that I read have substance or otherwise I wouldn't spend time reading them. no particular order:


Wednesday, July 7, 2010


I've got a zillion things to do in the next week, so I'm not sure how much blogging will be done.  Probably just enough to avoid facing things that need to be done.  Like right now, I have 4 Boy Scout shirts that need to have all the patches sewn and/or glued to them by Sunday.  I'm probably not half-way yet, and that is just the tip of the iceberg..

I'm still kind of contemplating that "Wonderful!"  comment I got the other day during confession.  It makes me think of this song by Amy Grant:

I hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

prayer with friends

It was a rainy, gray morning this morning.  Rumbling thunder, lightening, umbrellas welcome. 

I went to Mass at the Monastery and stayed after to pray.  Blessed silence.  Except for the rain on the roof.  I had an inservice at 8:30 and it didn't make sense to drive all the way home to turn around and drive back.

I snapped this picture out the passenger side of my vehicle in the driveway.  My older son has quite an affection for St. Michael.  I figure he's a good friend to have!

It reminded me of a recent email conversation with my best, best  friend.  (She also lives in a monastery.)  I had confessed to her that I wasn't much of a "Mary person."  That if I needed something it just seemed easier to go straight to Jesus.  She emailed back that the best things in life are not so much about efficiency and getting the job done, as they are about friendship.  Very true words.  And so we pray with friends - both those already in Heaven and those on their way.

St. Michael the Archangel, protect us. 

Linking this to Jenny's Blog and Sixty Seconds on Tuesday, because she and her friends have cool pictures!  Stop in and visit or join us - finding beauty in the ordinary.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

they're ba-ack

The boys are back from camp.  Last  year, the only complaints were the hills (we are flat-landers) and the food.  Cajuns take food seriously, and they were unimpressed with both the quantity and the quality of what was offered in the dining hall.  So....they took their burners and loaded the trailer with food, and cooked for themselves this year.  Sausage po-boys, gumbo, jambalaya, fried fish, chili.  No complaints at all this year!  Not even about the hills.

The sun was setting while we waited for them to arrive.

Finally the van and trailer pulled up, and they emerged from the van after a 13 hour ride.  They had all grown a few inches in the week that they were gone.

He looks like a happy camper, wouldn't you say?

15 in a couple of weeks, and he is just too cool for words!  He personalized his shirt a few weeks ago when we painted the parking lot at church.

The each took a camera and two whole pictures came home.  A slushie and a flower.  I'll have to see if they are blog-worthy!

And just for me - they brought.....

They each earned two "real" merit badges.  Little brother earned Lifesaving and Leatherwork and big brother earned Small-boat Sailing and Rowing.  They both took Water Sports (Water Skiing), but didn't quite finish it, and both took Personal Fitness, which is required for Eagle, but must be finished at home.   They also earned two "spoof" merit badges - Duct Tape Preparedness and Pirate Cultural Awareness.

weapons of choice

Thank you, Immaculee.   After years of using the Rosary as a cure for insomnia or just mindlessly reciting the prayers along with the CD in my car, I have actually PRAYED a few Rosaries in the past few weeks.  I was impressed by the claim that the Blessed Mother will grant whatever we ask for or give us the peace to accept the answer if it is "no". There's a few things that I could ask for....

One prayer that I often pray is "Lord, help me to see what needs fixing in my life," or some variation on that theme.  We get so used to ourselves that we can hide our weaknesses and faults from ourselves better than we can hide them from other people.  So I asked to see.  Even when I am trying to see, when I am wanting to go to confession with some sins to confess, I feel like there is a great deal left undiscovered.  Father, I am sorry for these and all my sins that I can't even think of??  I don't "see" very well.

They weren't kidding when they said that Jesus will grant whatever His Mother asks him for.  Tuesday night, we met to pray the Seven Sorrows Rosary.  One of the things it promises is "true repentance", so as the CD played, I thought, "Yeah, that's what I want, Lord, true repentance."   Wow!   When I went to the Adoration chapel on Sunday... oh my!!  Be careful what you ask Mary to ask for.  I thought it would take a little while for my request to get "processed", so this was somewhat unexpected.

"Lord, help me to see."

"Well, Karen, what about the times when you judge others?  (Nothing like getting right to the point?)  Or don't pray for those you don't like?  Or look to blame others for things that are your fault?  Or lack patience with annoying people?  Or? Or? Or?"

"Whoa!  Hold on Lord.  Slow down, should I get my pen and paper?" 

"Do you need me to repeat anything for you?  Or should I keep going?"

He kept going.

I left the Adoration Chapel that day, reflective, but not really all that amazed at the conversation. The experience got just a couple of lines in this post.  It took a while for it to sink in.  By the end of the week, I found myself looking at a calendar trying to figure out when a good time to go to confession would be. 

My "ideal" confession frequency is every month or two, and it had just been two weeks.... But the list was already made.  Clearly God had other plans than the once a month or so deal. 

I still get nervous.  There is no line.  I took a deep breath and opened the door.  "Bless me Father, for I have sinned.  It's been two weeks, and it wasn't my idea to come back again so soon.  But God spoke, and I took notes.  And I brought them with me."  He smiled.  I just read off of my list.  Attitudes, thoughts, failures.   Some of it was "the regulars", but others were things I'd never admitted before.  Quite humbling to sit there and give voice to.  I couldn't hide the nervousness in my voice, and I stumbled through my list. Just get me to the end.  No explanations, no excuses, just the bare truth.   When I reached the end, the only comment I got was, "Wonderful!"

Really??  Ummmm.... OK.

Isn't God's mercy awesome?

The crux of the homily Friday at Mass was that when we recognize our need for the Divine Physician, He will lead us deeper into the Heart of God (it was First Friday when we celebrate the Sacred Heart), and the Heart of God is Mercy. 

And the best part?  The Divine Physician is on everyone's plan and there no co-pay, no deductible.  The bill has already been paid in full.  And not by us.  Our only responsibility is to show up for the appointment.

So I'm looking back over this and seeing that I've gone from the Rosary to Reconciliation. Weapons of choice?