Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Week 4 of Advent has Come & Gone...

... I apologize, for I have no meditations or food for thought on this.  It was a very challenging time for me, and I have no explenation as to why!  It didn't feel like Christmas, it didn't feel like was prepared for Christmas, and it still doesn't feel like Christmas has happened yet.... I'm not sure what changed, or when it changed, but I just haven't been hit with that "feeling" that usually comes this time of year. 

I read lots of different postings and prayers for the fourth week of Advent and nothing moved me.  Not.a.thing. 

Why share this?  Why not just fake some inspiration?  Because that wouldn't be fair to you!  I'd like to think that I have a strong, un-shakeable faith, but I don't.  Not that there's any doubt, it's just a lack of ... idunno what.  It happens to all of us. 

If you find yourself with a lack-of-idunno-what, just keep pluggin' along.  Whatever it is that feels like it's "missing" will find its way back eventually, I promise.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Prayer for Advent, Week 3

This is from an email subscription I have through

Christmas Joy, a devotional by Mel Lawrenz

My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. -Luke 2:46-47

One of the worst things that can happen to a person is to live with a shrunken understanding of God, a shrunken soul. This is the perfect reason to take Christmas seriously, as our best hope for our minds and hearts to be enlarged with God's greatness.

Mary's response to the message that she would bear the savior was a remarkable song of praise, sometimes known as the Magnificat (Luke 2:46-55). It begins, "My soul magnifies the Lord," which means that because God's announcement opened her heart him in a way that she couldn't have imagined, her soul was beginning to grasp the bigness of God.

I remember the first time I looked through a telescope at the open sky on a cold winter evening. When I pointed it at the half-lit moon, I was stunned as it came into focus-to see mountains and plains, unlike the picture books I was used to, but the real thing in real time. An ethereal, bright disk hanging in the sky was now a real place to me. The telescope magnified its reality. The moon didn't increase, but my comprehension of it did.

Sometimes human beings look at God as if he were a distant point of light. But when we take his word into consideration, and if we accept it by faith, our perspective changes drastically. We see that we are living in a greater reality, with a greater God than we had imagined, and with greater possibilities in our future.

Mary knew her life would never be the same-not just her life, but the lives of countless others-because of what God was going to do. This stretched her soul, and it can stretch ours.

Prayer for today:

Lord, this Christmas, give me a larger vision of who you are. May you be magnified in my soul, and may others see that you are the focus of my celebration.

A Prayer for Advent, Week 2 (observed)

Sorry for the delayed posting- the common cold has had me down for the count! 

While I was only able to work a few hours on a few days last week, I was praying for Graces to be bestowed upon me.... whether it was patience to get through the morning commute, or compassion while dealing with customers at work, or while the grace to forgive certain family members who have chosen a very dark path and have turned their backs on the family...

And who better to pray with than Our Mother, Mary!  The second week of Advent we celebrated the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, and she is the mediatrix of graces for us.  I like to think of her as if she were by my side, with her arm around me while I pray:

Hail, Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with thee! 
Blessed art thou amongst women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, mother of  God, pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death,

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

When is the Right Time for God?

As I sit here doped up on cold medicine, I'm watching a TV show I really enjoy called The Middle.  Forgive me if my thoughts don't quite track, I'm trying to keep this straight.... stick with me.  I tried to type while the actors were speaking, to get the closest, most accurate words.

The youngest son reads EVERYTHING, ALL THE TIME.  He comes in during breakfast and says "Mom, how come you didn't tell me that church was based on a book?"  Her answer, as she was trying to get kids out the door, "Now's not the time for the Bible, it's too early."

That night, he comes up to his dad and starts asking questions.  He says "Dad, I've read it all, but I have a few questions- like 'How did Jonah survive in the belly of the whale, wouldn't the whale's digestive juices take care of him?' and 'How did Noah get two of every animal on one ship, the waste alone-' and his dad said, "Not now, Brick, it's too late." 

Brick's response, "Well, then when is the right time?  This morning it was too early, now it's too late...?!"  The comedic moment was when the dad said "Well, Sunday morning, from 9-10."

As the show went on, Brick's sister brought him to talk to Rev Tim-Tom, a roving reverend who plays the guitar with new-age worship music while ice skating, helping to bring God's love to everyone.  She insists that the reverend make her brother believe because she's afraid he won't be saved. 

Brick's first point of frustration was this, "the more I read, the more questions I have!" And he went on to raise a few good points..." If God is all powerful, why didn't he make everybody nice?"  "And the whole burning bush, Moses parting Red Sea- the believability- MEH!"  The reverend's response, "If you believe in God, miracles happen every day!"

When the sister asked Rev. Tim-Tom how it went, he said it was more like a time release thing- that Brick needs to come to it in his own time. 

Before traveling to the next town, Rev. Tim-Tom came to see Brick's sister- Completely distraught, she asked, "Why did you give up on Brick?!"  The reverend answered, "I didn't give up on him- he's a questioner- if people didn't ask questions, God would be out of a job... the world has always been full of questioners... Do you like Justin Bieber?  He can't make everyone like him... Jesus rolls like Justin- JC put the good word out there and let the people follow him. Lighten up, let him find his own path."

One of the closing scenes is the two kids looking out the window at snowflakes, and Brick's sister says,"Isn't it amazing that each snowflake is different?  It took me an hour to cut 10, God has to do - like - 50 million.  You can't tell me that isn't a miracle."  Brick answers, "Good point.  So, do you really believe all that stuff in the bible is true?"  His sister answers, " Absolutely!"  Scene ends with Brick saying, "Yeah.... I still don't know.... but it is a really good story.... I just wish it had roman numerals- nobody writes about roman numerals anymore."  (random, I know.... watch the show, it'll make more sense!)

So- to reiterate Brick's question, when is the right time for God?  Why can't it be in the morning, during breakfast, or on the way out the door. Why can't it be at night, after dinner, before bed?  How many times have discussions similar to this happened- maybe not so much with the 4th grader reading the Bible in one day, but the child asking the parents questions, and the parents putting off answering the hard questions? 

I really like how the writers of the show had the reverend answer Brick's questions.  I really like how he helped the sister understand that she couldn't force her brother into believing in God, that she needs to let her brother get to the point of believing on his own time.  I don't know that I would have made the connection with Justin Bieber and Jesus Christ, but it was a great way to explain it- JB (Bieber) puts his music out there, that's all he can do.  JC (Jesus) puts the good word out there, and waits for people to come to Him- He can't make us love Him, we have to come to that on our own.

Perhaps, today, the right time for God is prime time.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Prayer for Advent, Week 1

I have come to bring you peace.

I found this prayer (hyperlinked) on  The website has a weekly Advent prayer, and while I wasn't too inspired by their selection, I really liked this one.  Isn't that a wonderful idea?  When has someone said that to you?  Ever?  "Hey, how's it going?  I've come to bring you peace, just wanted you to know that you're loved, and that it's on a level so deep that you can't really even begin to fathom what it really means...."

My favorite- absolute favorite part of this prayer is the third phrase- maybe it's because I have the absolute hardest time with self-acceptance, self-love, self-worth... But I'm workin' on it!  I have good days and bad days, and those good days are starting to out number the bad- amen. 

As we enter into this Advent Season, prepare yourself to welcome and accept Love! 

I have come to bring you peace.

Not the peace of the season, for it is too fleeting,
Not the peace of the carol, for it is nostalgic,
Not the peace of the greeting card, for it is too slick,
Not the peace of the crib, for it is too wistful.

Rather, I have come to bring you peace,
Peace of the ordinary, the daily, the homely,
Peace for the worker, the driver, the student,
Peace in the office, the kitchen, the farm.

I have come to bring you peace,
The peace of accepting yourself as I fashioned you.
The peace of knowing yourself as I know you,
The peace of loving yourself as I love you,
The peace of being yourself as I am who I am.

I have come to bring you peace,
The peace that warms you at the completion of a task,
The peace that invades you at the close of the day,
The peace that sustains you at the beginning of the day,
The peace that reinforces you when you are reconciled with one another.
The peace that touches you when your family is in order.

Without peace, my coming is unfulfilled.
Without peace, my birth is forgettable.
Without peace, Christmas is a contradiction.
I have come to bring you peace.

© Liguori Publications
Excerpt from Advent - A Quality Storecupboard The Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer


Friday, November 25, 2011

1000 Views; Sharing on God's Time

Thank you for 1000 views on this fine day-after-Thanksgiving! 

I write to you, today, about sharing your stories, your testimonies, your "God" experience... and what it means for me to be sharing some of my story. 

I have no problem sharing most of my experiences with people, especially if it means helping them get closer to God in their own personal relationship.  The kids at youth group love personal sharings, they feel like they can really relate to them!  As we go in to planning our senior high retreat, we decided that it'd be good for all of us "adults" (I will never get used to being in that category) know one another's stories so we can know when who's sharing would best reach the kids. 

Unfortunately - FOR ME (selfish reason right here!) - the stories I'm not quite ready to share are ones that will definately help the senior high group.  They've had some pretty scary things happen amongst their peers over the last year or so, and while I'm not right out of high school, I can definately say, "When I was your age" and "been there, done that, lived to tell the tale and still love God."... but it's 

Before joining a faith-community, I prayed about which church to join, and where to offer my time, talents, and treasures.  God's answer was with these teens, and at this particular church.  Since college, and since you-know-who denounced our friendship, I've been longing, asking, praying for someone with whom I can share my faith life, someone who will help me to heal where I feel like I've been stuck.  It took.... 8 years?... but I'm in that place, and now that God has presented me with a rock-solid group of my own peers, as well as teens ready to relate and grow in their faith through my sharing, I'm absolutely terrified to feel so exposed. 

The best way I can describe it is like having a huge, gnarly scab on your knee.  You keep it hidden, beneath band-aids and your pants, and when you're not really thinking about it, you sort of rub it or cradle it, keeping it from getting bumped or pulled or exposed.  You take care of it, putting neosporin on it and airing it out for  a little while, but you just aren't brave enough to let it be fully exposed. 

That's how I feel.  I share a lil-bit, here and there, hoping that will be enough to keep the wounds protected.  I am absolutely terrified to leave myself - my aching bits of heart & soul - exposed to the air, even though I know the air (aka God in this analogy) will bring healing. 

The inquiry for sharing stories during this Quest planning is like the person who rips the bandaid off for you... I can't honestly serve where God has guided me if I don't expose myself. 

Why am I so afraid to do this?  I was asking, begging, pleading, and thought that maybe God wanted me to do it alone.  But now I see that I needed to wait until He was ready for me to share... it's just a matter of trusting that His timing is better than my timing....

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Experiencing Technical Difficulties, Please Stand By...

Apparently, Blogger is not IE friendly anymore, I can't get half the pages or features to load.  This means I can only blog from my laptops, since I'm not going to even try blogging from a smartphone... who knows what horrors would come up with the auto-correct features, especially with both English & Spanish keyboard options! 

No more posts on my breaks at work... I will be posting shortly though, promise! 

Are there any topics you'd like to read about?  Anything you'd like me to pray about for you? 

I'm going to be doing some research on the new Missal translation for our Life Teen- Life Night, so that's what is on the horizon.  I don't know much about it just yet, only that I have the app on my phone so I won't get lost during mass.  Of course, I don't want people to think I'm texting or browsing the internet during church... hmmm... maybe I'll just have to get to church early enough to make sure I get one of the cheat sheets :-)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sharing a Little Miracle

A miracle, indeed! 

You may not be aware of how severe my allergy is to cat dander- if I'm within 5 feet of cat dander, I go into anaphylactic shock.  Even a piece of paper from a cat-owner's house is enough to make everything swell shut!  So, as I go to any youth group activities, I always say a prayer that my allergy does not prevent me from helping people, from doing God's Will.

That being said, there are a lot of kids who have cats in their homes. *scrunched up face* It makes me sad, because I'm always afraid that someone will forget and stand beside me or behind me, and that's that- inhaler, epi pins, 911...

So, while working with the kids, I've been cautious.  I was talking with a few this weekend and their mother came up and said, "Get back, they have cats!"  I was completely taken aback!!  While I'd had problems with my allergies around the mother, I had never had problems around the children, and hadn't even put 2+2 together!  It gets even more amazing- the cat apparently sleeps on one of the kid's beds!!  That means cat dander would be everywhere, as it is smaller and lighter than anthrax and hangs in the air after a cat has left the room... I never had a single reaction to being around her.

Amazing... Absolutely amazing...  What's even more amazing is that- going into convention weekend- I had said "If ever there was a time for a healing, now would be a perfect time to get rid of my cat allergy, Lord."  I said it in jest, the gal next to me laughed and said, "I know, right?!" 

AMEN!  It would absolutely break my heart if I was unable to help someone truly in need of God's help because of my stupid, over-active immune system!!!  God is good, He still performs miracles, this is my proof.  Now, it doesn't mean that I'm ready to go test my theory and start rubbing cats all over me, I think this was more of a one-time/temporary/situational 'assist'... we'll see.

"I will consider all your works and meditate on your mighty deeds.  Your ways, God, are holy.  What god is as great as our God?  You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples." Psalm 77:12-14

What I love about this part of Psalm 77 is what comes before it- all the doubt, the suffering, the pain...

"I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me... I sought the Lord... stretched out untiring hands, and ...would not be comforted... I meditated and my spirit grew faint.  You kept my eyes from closing; I was too troubled to speak... My heart meditated and my spirit asked - will the Lord reject forever?... has His unfailing love vanished forever?"

How many times have we felt forgotten by God?  I know I have, more times than I can count.  When you're there, when you're feeling that the Lord has rejected you, that His unfailing love has vanished forever, remember His miracles of long-ago. (77:11)  Know that you are not as alone as you feel, and that somewhere- someone- is sharing your doubts, and longing to find God again. 

Dear Lord,

Please remember your people.  Help us to understand why we feel we are alone, naked, exposed; why we feel like you're not there.  Help us to see that you are- that, for whatever reason, you are helping us to stand on our own. Gather the saints around us in these dark hours, for many of them expierenced feeling a lack of your presence on their journey.  Help us to see the Holy Spirit around us at all times, and help Him to guide us down your path.  Our minds know you are there, and you are good, but our hearts feel abandoned and doubtful- please, erase this doubt and replace the pain of abandonment with the joy of your love.

Amen <><

Monday, November 7, 2011

Post Update: It's Okay to Cry

A little while ago I posted about how I cry at Mass..... when the Spirit moves me, I let it move me!  I realized I have a lot of healing to do, and over the last 10 years that I've worked so hard to help other people in their struggles, I have built such a high, thick wall around the wounded areas of my heart, my soul.  When I realize this, when one of those bricks comes down, I can't help but cry- out of pain, out of Glory to God for healing me with His love, out of fear that I will be too weak to endure the struggles if I don't have that "foundation"- that FALSE foundation of brick-n-mortar that I've built.

Yesterday, while celebrating Mass with 1600 high school students at Youth Convention, a little more healing took place, and I cried.  While I was crying, allowing myself to open up for God's healing grace, I found myself begging, pleading for rain.  Then I remembered that I never posted the hyperlinks for the song Rain in my post "It's Okay to Cry"... so, here it is.

Amazingly, although not completely unexpected, I had a Soul Cry while I was at Convention this last weekend- but I'd like to share it with that individual before I share it with all of you. 

As you listen to "Rain", I encourage you to check out Carly's other songs, and Tess and Carson's too... their whole family is so incredibly talented.  But I also encourage you to say a prayer for all those affected by depression, suicide, and loss.  I also ask you to say just a little prayer the next time it rains- that God's healing waters rain down on you and anyone else who needs to feel His love. 

In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost- AMEN.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Consider the Source

With the youth group at my church, we've been challenging the kids to read one bible verse a day and to meditate on it.  I found an awesome emailer that sent the verse and a guided reflection in a cute little format, looked like it was a framed scroll of parchment, very easy on the eye.... Before recommending that the kiddos read it, I figured I'd better do a little research on who was sponsoring the organization/emails....

HOLY SMOKES!!!  It was "one of the largest non-trinitarian organizations" out there!  What's the big deal, you ask?  Non-trinitarian means no trinity.  No power of three-in-one, Father-Son-Holy Spirit.  As a Catholic, that is absolutely FUNDAMENTAL.  I was completely shocked!  It looked like a good source to hear The Word.  It had some wonderful reflections.  It talked about God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit, but they do not believe that the three are one. 

Sometimes it's better not to have all that pretty fru-fru fluff-n-stuff. has a wonderful verse of the day, and I subscribed to their Old/New Testament readings, working on reading the bible over the course of 365 days. 

Be careful what you're reading... watching... observing... know your Faith, your foundation, and always- ALWAYS- stay true to it! 

Proverbs 26:23-25 (NIV) 23 Like a coating of silver dross on earthenware are fervent[a] lips with an evil heart.  24 Enemies disguise themselves with their lips, but in their hearts they harbor deceit.  25 Though their speech is charming, do not believe them, for seven abominations fill their hearts.

Today's bible verse from “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,” Ephesians 1:18 NIV

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Thoughts on Soul

There's something stirring, and I can't quite put it into my own words just yet, so I am going to share, with you, a few quotes I have found....

"Whenever I hurt, wherever I tingle, whenever I weep, whenever I guffaw, my soul is humming... It operates in my heart, my deep guts... My soul entangles me in fantasies & surprising emotions."
- James Broughton

"The soul is one of the most sensitive parts of the body.  You can ask ten people and get ten different answers.  Soul is whatever rings your bell.  But soul is definitely within the body; it's in the mind of the observer, like plugging a cord into a receptor."
-Helen Maybell Anglin

Friday, September 30, 2011


"When you go to the ends of the earth, you will find traces of God; if you go to the depths of your soul, you will find God Himself. (When the little monk dreamt about finding God)"

I have a wonderful book called The Little Monk: Wisdome from a Little Friend of Big Faith, by Madeleine Delbrel.  The author was born in 1904 in the south of France, and she was born and raised as an athiest.  She would often say "God is dead- Long Live Death!" because she felt that was the only certainty!  She was a progressive, learned woman, and wore her hair scandelously short.  Her life changed forever when her fiance left her to join the Dominicans, and she realized that life didn't seem meaningless and absurd to her Christian friends, and this started the beginning of her finding God. 

The quote I randomly turned to just now hits home with me so much right now, both as my soul longs for the peace and quiet it finds at a body of water, as well as how it longs for a deeper relationship with God.  It reminds me of a poem I wrote in high school:

I looked for my soul, but my soul I could not see,
I looked for my God, but my God eluded me,
I looked for a friend, and then I found all three.

Who'd have thunk I was so insightful as a teenager?! 

How many times have you looked, searched with all your being, to "find God"?  Did you think to look inside?  I know I forget to. 

Madeleine's inspiration was Teresa of Avila, and how she recommeneded to silently think of God for five minutes each day.  It sounds so simple, but try it.  No radio, no phone, no TV, no computer- just you and your silent thoughts about God.  You won't need to go to the ends of the earth, you will find your soul and your a friend.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

It's Okay to Cry

I cry at mass every Sunday.  It's not necessarily the same time every Sunday, but at some point during the service, I am moved to tears.  And I'm okay with that. 

This last week, and the first Life Teen mass for me at St. Stephen's, it started with the Prayers of the Faithful, and didn't really end until I distracted myself after communion by making faces back and forth with the toddler in front of me. 

Sometimes it's really embarassing how much I cry- luckily I've managed the art of silent tears- because I've come out of church before with wet spots on my shirt!  But you know what?  I'm okay with it.

It's okay to cry. 

Sometimes the power of God's presence is just too amazing not to!  Sometimes a song takes me right back to Mass at PLU before my friend renounced our friendship.  Sometimes it reminds me of how much I miss my grandmothers every single day.  Sometimes it's because I feel the pain of a fellow member of the congregation.  Sometimes I am humbled by my humanity and God's love for me.  Like I said, it's something different every time.

When I was little, and actually- an innocent part of my still does this- I would equate rain to angels' tears.  When my grandfather died when I was young, I was sure it rained whenever I missed him.  When kids were horribly mean to me at school, I knew the angels were sad that one of Jesus's lambs was hurting so badly.  When terribly tragic events happened personally or globally, there was rain.  Now, yes- I know- this is the Pacific Northwest, where there's 363 days of rain, one day of snow, and maybe a few days of sun... but the rain was always a subtle reminder for me that God shared my pain because he loved me so much! 

We have close family friends who lost a loved one to suicide, Carly Henley.  She was a beautiful college student, musician- singer/song writer, and one of my favorite songs that she wrote "Rain".  This is the original YouTube video, and here is the studio cut sung by her cousin Tess Henley.  How healing the rain is, letting it fall down over you...

When you feel moved by the Spirit, laugh- sing- shout- dance- share it!  Please remember, it's okay to cry.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

My Cup Runeth Over

... or, er, my brain runeth over.... with snippet of ideas on what to write!  What do you want to read about?
  • Feeling Your Way
  • Songs for Your Soul
  • Religions & Traditions & Learning Styles, Oh MY!
  • For You, I Pray
I know, some of these might seem a little vague, but I don't know that I'm ready to go too much farther with them in an opinion-survey of sorts.  Is there anything else that you want to put out there?  My brain, body, and spirit have been on a little bit of overload right now.... settling in after moving, trying to find things after moving, working overtime right now, and jumping on board with the youth ministries high school team at church... I see quotes, hear song lyrics, and have little 5-minute discussions in passing about some of the above-topics, and I can't tell you how many post-it notes I have stuck on my desk at work, in my calendar that I carry with me, stuck in my journal on my nightstand- things I want to write about!  I think I need to bust out the whiteboards and just keep a running list, or maybe a brainstorming map. 

Dear Lord,

Please grant me the peace of mind, body, and spirit to see clarity in where Your path is leading me.  Help use me to speak to Your people, help me to be inspiried by the Spirit so that I can write to the needs of those who cry out to You.  Use me, Lord, use me.  I say, "Yes!" 

Let Your Will be done, Amen.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Spirit Is-a Movin'!

Yesterday I went to my first Baptist service, it was a funeral service, and it was the most fun I've had at church in a LOOOOOONG time!  Not that church should always be fun, but I tell you what- I was ready to start sayin' "Amen, alleluja!" and "My Lord, preach it!" along with everyone else.  The preacher had some really good words too.... not so "Hell-and-damnation" like some funerals I've been to, but more along the lines of "when was the last time you talked to Jesus?" concepts.  Keeping Him close with you, being ready to go right now- not tomorrow, not a week from now, not 50 years from now, but now. 

There's actually a few incredibly charasmatic Roman Catholic churches in the Seattle area, and I think I might have to go to them a little more often.  I can't tell you how amazingly moving it was to have the pastor burst into song, and upbeat, jazzy-bluesy spiritual in the middle of prayer.  And it was simple enough that the congregation joined in harmony. 


I sent a text to my brother after the service, and it said, "This is the best funeral EVER.  If Jesus was giving a locker room-pep talk, this would be it!" 

So, are you ready to follow Jesus, right now?  Is your soul ready to let go of this world when God's time says so?  I don't know if I can say "YES!" just yet, but I'm sure gonna work real hard at gettin' there.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A New Song, An Old Feeling

I love music.  Any music.  All music!  I have over 9000 songs in my music library, ranging from Chopin to Third Day, Duke Ellington to Dropkick Murphy... and then some!  One of my ex-boyfriends burned a few data CD's of music for me, years ago, and I am always surprised at some of the songs I have because there were hundreds on those CD's.  Yesterday, with my Zune on random, I heard a song I've never heard before & it brought me right back to some of the most spiritually intense, moving times of my life.... it was wonderul, and it reminded me of where I want to be- where I've come, and where I want to return.

 If I Stand
Rich Mullins

There's more that rises in the morning
Than the sun
And more that shines in the night
Than just the moon
It's more than just this fire here
That keeps me warm
In a shelter that is larger
Than this room

And there's a loyalty that's deeper
Than mere sentiments
And a music higher than the songs
That I can sing
The stuff of Earth competes
For the allegiance
I owe only to the giver
Of all good things

So if I stand let me stand on the promise
That you will pull me through
And if I can't, let me fall on the grace
That first brought me to You
And if I sing let me sing for the joy
That has born in me these songs
And if I weep let it be as a man
Who is longing for his home

There's more that dances on the prairies
Than the wind
More that pulses in the ocean
Than the tide
There's a love that is fiercer
Than the love between friends
More gentle than a mother's
When her baby's at her side

And there's a loyalty that's deeper
Than mere sentiments
And a music higher than the songs
That I can sing
The stuff of Earth competes
For the allegence
I owe only to the Giver
Of all good things

So if I stand let me stand on the promise
That you will pull me through
And if I can't, let me fall on the grace
That first brought me to You
And if I sing let me sing for the joy
That has born in me these songs
And if I weep let it be as a man
Who is longing for his home

And if I weep let it be as a man
Who is longing for his home

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Not a Soul Cry, but a Soul Crying.

Yesterday I learned that one of my friends lost her son in a bicycling accident.  I am absolutely heart-broken for her family, and my soul is crying for her.

This started me thinking about the difference between being sympathetic vs. being empathetic.  We often say "Oh, I know how you feel..." when we're trying to talking to others, but do we really know how they feel?  Can we ever? 

I know that I did not have a vision or what I call a "Soul Cry" when her son died.  I know that I did not have any sort of Divine intervention telling me to pray for them, or that some unimaginable tragedy has happened... I just wept for the pain that I knew she was feeling.  Losing someone is so horrible, and knowing someone who's lost someone has got to be one of the closest "next worst" things on the proverbial list.

It's probably been mentioned in a few of my posts, but I'm going to talk about it again... when I first started having my visions, premonitions, and empathic feelings of sharing other people's pain, I was a freshman in college, and it was so, so hard.  By the time I'd finished college, so many loved ones had died unexpected deaths, I couldn't cope with it!  One of my friends at the time had said "The shortest verse in the Bible is this:  Jesus wept."  That has always stuck with me.  Now, I totally fail at quoting exact verses, so I couldn't begin to tell you where it is, but I know it's there... I've found it myself before, randomly while flipping through pages, seeking words of comfort.

Jesus wept.  He didn't have to, He knew that there was a bigger plan, that everything and everyone had their time and place on this earth, but in His human form, Jesus wept when his friend died.  God wept for the compassion He felt in this frail and fragile human body that was a man named Jesus.

I used to call this gift a "cursed gift" but I don't feel that way anymore.  These Gifts of the Spirit have helped me to help other people, and I am doing my best every day to surrender to that!  If only there were a way to control when and where it happens, but that defeats the purpose of surrendering to God. *half grin*chuckle*  Oh, the irony when the human mind tries to logically reason with the Holy Spirit!

Sorry for the slightly disjointed thoughts right now, my writing has been feeling more like a glorified brainstorm lately.  I'm hoping that goes back to normal after I get back into a better routine.

Dear Lord, 

Please keep angels with my friends as they mourn the loss of their beloved son.  As a parent who lost His only Son to this world, You have felt their pain.  Help to heal their hearts, and let them see little signs of your Glory and their son down their road to recovery.  Please help comfort their pain and sorrow as they get used to living with the hole in their heart, and help them to receive Your Glory, help them to fill that hole with nothing but Your love. 


Friday, August 26, 2011

My Buddy, JC.

Jesus Christ is my buddy.  He goes where I go, no matter what.  Have you thought about that?  It definitely makes you re-think some of your choices...  I haven't always thought about having JC at my side- I mean- I knew, proverbially, He was there, but in the last few years I have really been aware of Him.

Do you talk to people who practice other branches of the Christian faith?  I have quite a few friends who actually left the Catholic church, and their primary reason for being "born again" and "rebaptized" was because they never felt like they had a personal relationship with Jesus.  I try so hard to understand their perspective, how they could say that they went to church every week, Sunday School, Youth Group, etc, and not have a relationship with Christ?  It makes me very sad for them, that they missed one of the best friends they could ever have had for the last 20-30 years of their lives.  But-- it also made me instantly think of the movie Dogma, and how they're trying to promote the Catholicism-WOW! movement with the image of the Buddy Christ- aka Sacred Heart Christ giving a winking thumbs-up.  The first time I saw that movie was in college, and we had the members of Catholic Club watch it.  If you haven't seen it, or saw it and hated it, I ask you to watch it again- with a little more of an open mind, and really look at the message it's trying to get out into pop-culture.  (No, I don't think God is really Alanis Morrisette, doing cartwheels barefoot in the grass, or a homeless man playing skeet ball)  But really- bring Jesus down to you!

Talk to Jesus like you would a friend.  Yes, it's good to have formal prayer times, but I challenge you to keep an open dialogue with Him.  Encourage your friends & family to participate in this challenge.... You'd be surprised how present Jesus is in your life, whether you knew it or not.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mary's Got the Blues.... ?????

Last night, on my way home ... (I feel like a lot of my blogs are starting this way lately???)... I was listening to Sacred Heart Radio and with the stormy weather, the AM station was going in-n-out.

It was the (somewhat cheesy) Rosary with the pretty music and the people with the Irish accents lilting through the decades, and I absolutely love it.  The Rosary is my favorite prayer so far, and I find so much peace and strength in it.

I was letting myself fall into rhythm when it was lost to static... and when the radio station came back, it was Blues music!  I don't know how that happened, but last night's ride home not-so-smoothly transitioned from one of my most favorite Holy things to one of my most favorite secular things.  Talk about Utopia! 

Now.... if only I could find someone who would pray the Rosary with me and lead me in blues dances for the rest of my life....

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

You Can't be Baptized in Milk Shakes!

Isn't that an absolutely hillarious visual image?!  I love it! 

Driving in to work today, EWTN's 7am broadcast of The Catechism, with Fr. Nagel (a rebroadcast of a show that aired in March, year unknown- I wish they would offer bibliographies on their programming or something!)  He was talking about the Sacraments, and it was great.  Let me tell you, though, I wish they had transcripts I could read over after I'm done commuting!  It's really hard to take notes and drive at the same time!

While talking about the Sacraments, he was talking about the "stuff" of Sacraments- using physical things to help us relate to God, Jesus, the Mysteries, and the Miracles.  That's when the reference came up about the right parts for a Sacrament, that you have to have the right tools in place, you have to have a minister, you have to have the intention... "You have to baptize in water; you can't use a milk shake or pop..." 

Fr. Nagel also talked about how the Sacraments need to be performed in the right place, in the Church.  Sharing in these life-changing events is something that needs to be done - quite literally - through Him, with Him, in Him, in unity with the Holy Spirit and the body of Christ- the church-body of Christ.  Your Faith Community is where you find the strength as you reach these important times in your life! 

It really made me miss having a Faith Community.  I long to find that fellowship, especially with some fellow women of Faith.  It's such a challenge. 

This feels somewhat disjointed.  I will have to revise and maybe even repost later... ttfn- ta ta for now!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Please Pray

Pray for Big Joe. 

He is sick, in the hospital for a week (?) now, and is still not getting any better. 

Please, pray for him and his family. 

Thank you,
In Christ.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Eeeny-Meeny-Miney-MO! ...?

Listening to NPR (National Public Radio) on the way into work today, they were discussing how theological scholars were debating whether or not to continue accepting Adam & Eve's creation story in Genesis.  Some theologian from somewhere (you can tell I was really engaged in what he had to say) said that it's scientifically and statistically impossible for the entire human race to have come from just two people.  He said that it would take about 10,000 people to create the world we have today, and that science shows humans are descendants of primates. 


I guess I didn't realize we could pick-n-choose what to believe in the Bible.  I mean, obviously we can, "free will" and all... but really?  I think that study, with all of their statistical facts and findings, missed the whole point of what it means to have Faith.  If I sit there and pick any random teaching, of course science can prove it "wrong".... it doesn't mean I believe in it any less.  Yes, science shows that evolution exists, and I believe that- if you have brown rabbits and white rabbit living in a field of hay, the brown rabbits are going to blend better, the white rabbits will not be able to hid from prey as easily, and slowly the brown rabbits will exist in that field.... because of natural selection, because of survival of the fittest, the fastest rabbits who blend in will survive and pass their genes to generations after them.  It doesn't mean I think that humans came from monkeys, but it does mean that I believe in evolution.  Who's to say that God didn't create natural selection to help species evolve and survive for their environment? 

You can choose to believe in Faith and science, but you have to be opened to both.   

Monday, August 8, 2011

Breath of Heaven (I found this post in my "drafts"- somehow it wasn't published?!)

(This blog entry was started back in December 2010, when I was still in choir, when I was singing the solo as Mary for the song Breath of Heaven.  Sadly, we had to cancel the concert, and due to the severity of my cat allergies and how many choir members had cats, I had to make the difficult decision to leave Songs of Sonoro)

Mary really had to trust, a lot.  Blindly.  Wow.  I've written about how Mary's "Yes" led her down her path, and how my "Yes" led me to Norway... hardly the same, but for me, it was still a huge risk. 

But I digress....

The lyrics to Breath of Heaven are written in the first person, Mary wondering if what she's done was the right choice, if her "Yes" was the answer she should have given.  I don't know, maybe it has something to do with me being raised and most comfortable as a Roman Catholic Woman of Faith, but I really do identify with Mary. Not to say- not at all- that I think I'm like her, but more that she is a role model, a hero-if you will, to look up to. She had to have the ultimate Faith.  Does this mean that, in scripture, it shows where Mary doubted God?  I can't answer that- sadly, I'm not that well versed.  What it does mean to me is that it's okay to have moments of doubt.  God still leads you down your path, you can still have Faith that He will do that for you, even as you doubt that you're going the right direction. 

It wasn't until I was practicing for the solo, embracing the words, the meaning, becoming the "voice" in the piece, that it really dawned on me... My doubts in Faith, no matter how incredibly trivial they seemed, were okay.  I mean- if Mary could doubt God's plan, then surely it was okay that I did, right?  As long as I find my voice and say "Yes." 

Faith in the 21st Century

We often don't realize how today's culture influences our knowledge and understanding of things, especially for children.  Here's the conversation I overheard while browsing around the Catholic book store in my town

Boy, "Daddy, who do you like better- God or Jesus?"
Father, "Well, I like them both the same."
Boy, "No, Dad.  You have to pick one!"
Father, "No, son, see- it's like God is inside of Jesus."
Boy, "Oh.  Why did Jesus eat God?"
Father, "No, no, no.  It's more like God and Jesus are the same."
Boy, "Oh.  Okay.  (pause)  Dad?  Why do they have fairies with Jesus?"
Father, "What?!  Oh- those aren't fairies, son, those are angels."
Boy, "Noooo.  Blue Angels are airplanes.  These are blue fairies."
Father, "No, the Blue Angels are blue planes that are nick-named 'angels'.  These statues are of actual angels wearing blue robes, with Jesus."
Boy, "Oh.  Okay."

It was so precious, I smiled right down to my soul and said to myself, "I miss kids' logic."  I was in the elementary schools for a while when I was still a school-of-ed major in college, and it was so refreshing and entertaining to listen to how kids processed the everyday stuff we take in and take for granted! 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Prayers for Norway

Oslo was rocked by multiple bombings and a tragic shooting today.  Please, pray for everyone affected.  I visited there for Holy Week last year, and it was such a beautiful, peace-filled, accepting country... One of my friends there said it's the worst tragedy that's happened there since WWII.  My heart aches for them. 

Lord, please keep the people of Norway close to you in this time of terrible tragedy.  Let them to feel Your presence and comfort as You dry their tears and calm their hearts.  Amen.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

International Fellowship

I've been checking out my stats in the blogging world lately, and was incredibly delighted to see that people all over the world have been hopefully inspired by what I've shared over the last 2 years!  So- who's been reading? 

In no specific order: US, Russia, China, Japan, Ukraine, Georgia, UK, Thailand, German, and Iran!  The darker the green, the more hits on the website.  I only wish that more people would comment.  I would hope that this can be a place for open conversation about faith-based discussions. 

While you're here, please say a prayer for a friend of mine who is struggling with a life of vocation. 

A prayer for vocation:

Almighty Father,
You send the gift of Your Holy Spirit
for the building of Your Kingdom.
With the help of this Spirit,
Give us the grace to listen to Your call in our lives.
Give us strength & courage to do Your will.
Grant us wisdom & humility to choose Your way
even when we find it most difficult.
Lord, bless all the faithful in Your church
who are seeking holiness,
But in a special way,
watch over priests, borthers, & sisters.
Help them to give their lives in joyful service
that they may be signs of Your presence among us.
We beg you, Father,
to fill our hearts with a burning desire to follow Jesus.
May there be many who offer their lives
for the service of Your church,
that all may come to know and love You.

We ask this through Christ our Lord,

Monday, July 18, 2011

♪♫ Oh Lord, Hear My Prayer ♫♪

*giggle* Aren't the music notes delightful?  Really- it's the little things in life, like key-shortcut combos. ☺

There are three songs I remember from the Taize prayers in Tower Chapel at PLU.  The one that I find myself singing the most is this:

Oh Lord, hear my prayer,
Oh Lord, hear my prayer,
When I call, answer me.
Oh Lord, hear my prayer,
Oh Lord, hear my prayer,
Come and listen to me.

It is so comforting- Taize, this meditation melody, all of the above!  I close my eyes and imagine one candle in the center of my heart, and that candle spreading light through out my entire body until it radiates through my entire being... *speechless grin* 

I wish there was a way I could share that feeling of balance, focus, Agape; the presence of God's love is so amazing in those moments.  I've been yearning for it more and more, and unfortunately find it harder and harder to encounter lately.  (Mostly because my 75 lb dog crawls onto my lap and starts licking my face as soon as I sit down.)  I use my daily commute to talk to God- it's not ideal, as I have to split my attention with God so I can pay attention to traffic... Yay! for multitasking!!  A lot of times I will either start or end with that song... in my head, I hear the harmonies that go with the melody, and I like to think that it's my guardian angel singing with me, helping to intercede. 

I will close today's blog with another song I sing a lot, also from the Taize meditations.  The melody doesn't actually resolve, and I kinda like it that way because it's like an open invitation for God to come and live within:

Take, oh take me as I am.
Summon all that I can be.
Set Your seal upon my heart
and live in me.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Fill in the Blank.

On my way in to work today I found myself listening to Sacred Heart Radio again.  It was Sisters in Christ talking about our relationships with Jesus, and a car drove by with about 13 various Christian bumper-stickers.  The one that stuck out the most was a little black rectangle that had white font & said :

Jesus is _______.

It was perfect timing, as one of the sisters was saying what her relationship was with Jesus, what it meant to have different kinds of relationships with Our Lord, and that sort of thing. 

What's the first thing that comes to your mind when you see that bumper-sticker?  What's the first word that comes to your mind?  For me, it was "cool".  I know, how very 7th grade, right?!  I guess my heart must be communing with Him as a brother, a friend.  Next word, of course, was "amazing."  AMEN!  How true is that?!  We might not always keep a present thought on God's son, but He's always with us, always thinking about us, just waiting for us to say "Hey there, wanna come play?" 

I don't have tons of time right now, but it's one of my goals to keep up the good posts.  Please, share your thoughts!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tid-bits of Inspiration (title track)

Since my junior year of college, I've been thinking about writing a book of some sort.  I've bounced around some different ideas and concepts, and have some brainstorming word-documents I've transferred from one computer to another with every upgrade.  My brother got me a great book Putting Your Passion into Print, and I've been working my way through that book- it's written pretty well, two points for my lil' bro! 

It hit me today while I was driving in to work while listening to EWTN.  Not sure how or why the inspiration hit me while I was on the freeway, but it did. 

I have 2 composition notebooks, a lovely stack of post-it's, and some of my favorite pens.  *grin*  Now, I'm just waiting for tid-bits of inspiration to start rolling downhill! 

Is there anything you'd like to read about, something I've talked about in my blogs on which I should follow up? 

I fixed my blogger settings so I'm now notified when you comment!  My sincerest apologies that it took me over 2 years to find your last comments.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Daily Inspiration

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love quotes.  I surround myself with them, I put them at the bottom of my emails in a signature, I carry a book of quotes that I've collected, I have pages of them printed at home, and book after book of various kinds of quotes for every occassion! 

My daily inspiration has been a quote that came through one of my (many) email subscriptions for a quote-of-the-day:

"I believe in the sun even when it's not shining. 
I believe in Love even when I am alone. 
I believe in God even when He is silent." ~WWII refugee

Now, while my times are not NEARLY as hard as the survivers of WWII, or the thousands of people affected by what's been happening in nature and politics around the world these last few weeks, my life- like many others- has suffered droughts of love, droughts of faith, and definately times that have felt like never ending night. 

I don't believe that God is ever, truly, silent.  He may be listening, He may be observing, but I don't believe He leaves us with an absense of presence.  I believe that, most often, we don't hear God because we are way too preoccupied.  Sometimes rightfully so, but none-the-less, preoccupied.  Take, for example, the concept of an unanswered prayer.  Often times we will look back and say "Thank God for unanswered prayers."  A blessing in disguise, right? 

Now- please don't get me wrong- I am NOT saying that the horrors that have happened through out history are unanswered prayers, or prayers, or lack-of-God... that's a whole other topic of Good vs. Evil that I'm not getting into right now. 

I'm saying that- as a single person living in the Pacific Northwest who has been feeling her faith falter off and on for the last few years, even when I don't feel the sun through the rain, even though I don't have someone to come home to, even though I don't always go to church--- the sun comes up, I see and feel love all around me, and I know that God is near.

Monday, April 4, 2011

It's Been a While

I went to Mass last week.  It felt right.  It felt good.  It was perfect timing. 

Then I realized the reason why I've been avoiding Catholic churches so much these last few years- I would not know what to do if I walked in and a certain someone happened to be the guest priest or deacon for that weekend.  How well do you think it'd go over, to walk up and slug a priest? 

Yeah.  Not so much.

BUT, that's when I said "God, I put my faith in You, that You will protect me from hurt when/if that time ever comes."  *shrug*  Here's to hoping!

I did also contact the leader for junior high/high school faith formation.  I want to be involved.  I know that God has given me so much that I need to share, it's not fair of me to keep it all bottled up inside just because the person who really helped me find who I am as a Christian and as a Catholic then renounced our friendship and crushed my soul!  (hmmm.... I thought I was done being bitter- guess not!?)

So, yeah.  Hopefully I will be able to meet with the director for the older kids' faith formation classes, and start helping out with that ASAP. 

I'm excited!