Monday, November 26, 2012

It Won't be the Same this Year

It hasn't been the same since... 1997? 1998?  Whatever year it was that my uncle died.  (or any of the friends & family members who have passed since then)

This time of year is always hard, there's always the stress and anxiety that we bring into the holidays - have to clean the house, have to have the food just right, the decorations just right, get the right gifts for the right person... the list goes on.  When you've lost a loved one, it gets that much harder.... I mean, you eventually get used to the every-day activities without that person there, but when the holidays hit, you can't avoid realizing that there's someone, or multiple "someones" missing from the table.

The first year we had to survive a holiday after someone had passed, this is the song that brought me peace.  I can't tell you how many times I listened to this song on repeat one, how many times I would get to church early - sometimes hours early - to pray, light a candle, and play the piano... figuring out this song by ear, and singing it over and over again.  Oddly enough, I can't seem to remember how to play it now.... *sigh*

This year, I am missing both of my grandmothers, a lot.  This year, I hurt for the girl in youth group who lost her younger sister to cancer over the summer.  This year, I cry a few tears & pray for my friend who just lost her husband, and my friend who's mother passed away, and for my other friend who was unable to attend her grandmother's funeral last weekend, and I weep for all those touched by depression, mental illness, and suicide.  This year, I pray that all of my loved ones, and their loved ones are safe and able to share another holiday season with us.  I pray that we can all feel the presence of those who have gone before us, surrounding us with their love and prayers still.  Who knows- maybe a heavy smell of roses will overwhelm you, or you might hear that bell ring when nobody's standing near the tree... little signs that it's okay to cry, okay to miss them, and okay to move on...

When you can't seem to find peace, when you don't think you can make it through another day with the absence of that person lingering, pray.  Sing, write, talk, cry, scream, vent, pray.  God understands that you're hurting, and He will help you.  He will always help you.  He understand if you need to be mad a Him for a while, and He will welcome you back in close, open arms, as soon as you're ready. 

(again, let me know if the link doesn't work!)
by Vince Gill, album Let There Be Peace On Earth

It's time to pack our bags and hit the highway,
And head on out for Christmas holiday,
I'll fall apart when I pull in the driveway,
It's my first time home since brother passed away.

His favorite time of year was always Christmas,
We'll reminisce about the days gone by,
Oh how I wish that he was still here with us,
My memories with him will never die.

When the stockings are hung,
And Silent Night has been sung,
And Christmas is finally here,
It won't be the same this year.

Losing my big brother hurt so badly,
It's help me learn what Christmas really means,
There's nothing more important then your family,
We're all the children of the King of Kings.

When the stockings are hung,
And Silent Night has been sung,
And Christmas is finally here,
It won't be the same this year.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Giving Thanks

I have lots to write on this, but not a lot of time to write right now.... so please, read these amazing words by Crystsal Mazzuca!

A Different Way to be Thankful

Wise words, ma'am!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Counting Blessings & Little (or big!) Miracles

I tentatively share with you that I have been almost completely (almost) symptom free for the last 5-6 days!  No chest pains, no dizziness, no near-passing out, no tingling arms & legs... HURRAY! 

I really started noticing a difference after I threw up a few prayer requests to Saint Kateri Tekakwitha and Saint Therese of Lisieux.  Both of these women suffered illnesses and were determined to continue serving God despite the challenges of their conditions, and my spiritual director suggested I have a little chat with them.... spend time in prayer with them.... "breathing in the presesnce of the Holy Spirit"... That was October 30th.  I prayed & asked St Kateri & St Therese to pray with me, for me, every single day;  within nine days I started feeling better!  It wasn't any sort of official novena, by any means, but nine straight days of prayer....

Thank you, everyone, for all of your prayers - I know they are helping!  I still have to take the medication & supplements, but just being able to do... anything... without being afraid of passing out, without being in constant pain, constant fear.... AMEN.

I plan to spend some time at the Catholic book stores, I really want to find medals for Kateri & Therese, and wear them.  I don't ever want to forget that these amazing women of faith are with me every single day.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

He Won't Let You Go

Have you ever had a song (besides Amazing Grace or Ave Maria) bring you to your knees? 

I cannot get enough of He Won't Let You Go, also from The Kry. 

Clear your mind, silence the rest of the world around you, and listen with an open heart.  Unconditional Love of a parent, in it's purest form, is found in the lyrics of the last verse "He won't let you go, His Love will never change, Let Him hold you close, closer every day.  He would have died for you had you been the only one.  Don't you ever doubt it's true.  He won't let you go."

Even just typing it makes my eyes tear up....

(please let me know if this linke doesn't work)
The Kry

He won't let you go
the moment that you say
come and live in me
take me all the way
what He said is true
He will never leave you
forever by your's true

He won't let you go
though the seasons change
He's never been so close
He's just a prayer away
when you hear the Father's call
when He's calling to you
run into His arms
don't hesitate to do it


He won't let you go
when He's forever by your side
He wants you to know
Jesus has paid the price
He wants you to go
forever in paradise
getting close to Him
is really all you have to do
and even when you die
He will still be by your side

He won't let you go
His love will never change
let Him hold you close
closer everyday
He would have died for you
had you been the only one
don't you ever doubt...its true

He won't let you go

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Mary is in Fashion!

I've been watching TV lately, thinking it's so neat how celeb's are sportin' their faith more and more, for instance, how C-Lo Green was wearing a rosary around his neck during blind auditions on The Voice... But yesterday I wandered into one of my favorite little quirky-trendy stores to find this:

The tag actually had rosaries in every.single.color you could imagine labeled as "Fashion Jewelry"... !  WHAT?!  I mean, don't get me wrong, I think it's great for rosaries to be popular, but isn't it almost blasphemous to market them as jewelry?  For people to wear them naively, ignorantly, because they happen to match an outfit?  Isn't it a mockery of faith for them to be marketed that way? 

It kind of reminds me of the tables in the tabernacle, when Jesus is so outraged... ? I don't know... I'm not sure how I feel about it.  Don't get me wrong, I love to see Catholicism in mainstream popularity, but not because someone's wearing a rosary during an interview.  I guess it's my passion for Mary & her position within the Church that really makes me wish there was a way to inform people about the "necklace" they're purchasing. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pointing You in the Right Direction!

I absolutely love reading other people's blogs... and you do to, obviously! *wink*grin*

Please, check out my friend Crystal's blog.  She is a co-author & my favorite writer at Faith, Friends, and Frappuccinos.

Check it out!!! 

Friday, October 12, 2012

It Forgot Itself to Me

That's the literal translation of one of my favorite sayings in Spanish, "Se me olvidó"... then you're not really responsible for not remembering, whatever it is that you were trying to remember forgot itself to you! 

Things have been forgetting themselves to me quite a bit lately, I blame it on the chronic fatigue that's going with the symptoms of Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia.  (*shaking my head* inappropriate heart!)

I had a wonderful song & topic to discuss today, and can't remember what it was.  Do you think St. Anthony will help me find what it is that forgot itself to me today?  I sure hope so.....

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Mother, May I?

We all remember playing that game on the playground, right?  "Mother, may I ___________?" and you fill in the blank with whatever request will help get you to the finish line fastest.....

What do we ask for in our everyday self-mutterings that we think might get us to our hypothetical finish line faster than the next guy?

"Please let me make that green light" 
"Please let that car accident be on the other side of the freeway so I'm not late"
"Please let me be the next number they call"

Do you realize that, as trivial and/or exasperated as these requests might be, they're still a prayer of sorts?  Whether or not you intend to talk to God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, Mary, or any of the other Saints about what's going on in your life, when you put that up to the universe, someone's always listening. 

October is the month of the Rosary, and I challenge you to be a little more deliberate in your requests.  Make it a little more formal, put a little more thought into it (and I mean, like, 3 extra seconds - doesn't have to be a disertation!).  Ask Mary to pray for you, thank her for being with you through the day... (it's called secondary mediation, and it's the same as if I asked you to pray for me, only Mary won't forget because she's not distracted by worldly things!)  Rather than worrying about the car accident affecting your commute, say a prayer that the people involved are alright, and give thanks that it's not you!  Rather than stressing out about not making the green light, thank the Spirit for keeping you on the path that was intended for you that day.... catching on?  (sorry about the earlier typo, no- I was not speaking ubonics!)

Try to take those little irritations and ask Mary to give you the Grace to find them as little blessings in your life.  It's not easy, believe me, I struggle with it too. 

I leave you today with a Hail Mary.  Don't just breeze through it, say it like you would a conversation... "Hail Mary" is a greeting, and start from there...

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.

Monday, October 1, 2012


In September we prayed the Litany of Humility with the youth group, and it wasn't until last night as I was leading it that it really hit home. 

Oh Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus
From the desire of being loved, Deliver me, Jesus
From the desire of being extolled, Deliver me, Jesus
From the desire of being honored, Deliver me, Jesus
From the desire of being praised, Deliver me, Jesus
From the desire of being preferred to others, Deliver me, Jesus
From the desire of being consulted, Deliver me, Jesus
From the desire of being approved, Deliver me, Jesus
From the fear of being humiliated, Deliver me, Jesus
From the fear of being despised, Deliver me, Jesus
From the fear of suffering rebukes, Deliver me, Jesus
From the fear of being calumniated, Deliver me, Jesus
From the fear of being forgotten, Deliver me, Jesus
From the fear of being ridiculed, Deliver me, Jesus
From the fear of being wronged, Deliver me, Jesus
From the fear of being suspected, Deliver me, Jesus

That others may be loved more than I, Jesus grant me the grace to desire it
That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus grant me the grace to desire it
That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease, Jesus grant me the grace to desire it
That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus grant me the grace to desire it
That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus grant me the grace to desire it
That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus grant me the grace to desire it
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should, Jesus grant me the grace to desire it


What's really striking a chord with me today, especially given events that have happened lately, are the lines "That others may be loved more than I, chosen and I set aside, praised and I unnoticed..."  Wow.  How powerful are those lines, really?!  Especially in today's society!  Everyone wants credit for even the littlest thing they do, everyone wants to be the most popular, have their 15 minutes of fame in the limelight, and that's not what it's all about. 

A short & sweet food-for-thought to go with this prayer today....

Jesus grant me the grace to desire it.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


What does it mean to be forgiven?  Can we just say "I'm sorry" and be done with it?  Do we deserve to be able to say "I'm sorry"?  What does it mean to you when someone asks you to forgive them after they've wronged you in some way?  Is it easy?  Can you really forgive, forget, and move on?  It's not easy to forgive or to give forgiveness, and for a lot of us, it's not as easy as we think to actually be forgiven.  To be absolved of whatever wrongs we have committed is pretty hard - not because God doesn't forgive us, but because we don't always forgive ourselves.  We don't always think we're worth it.  That little pang of guilt hits when something reminds you of your wrongdoings. 

What we need to realize is that we can be forgiven, NO.MATTER.WHAT.  Now- it doesn't mean I'm going to go out, steal a few shirts or drink just to get drunk, and say, "Oops, I'm sorry, Lord, forgive me," be forgiven, and go through the whole routine again the next weekend... You have to really and truly mean it in your heart, and only God knows when you're there.  What we need to remember is that, when God forgives us, we also need to ask Him for the grace to forgive ourselves. 

I'd like to share a song with you - of course *grin* - called "You Love Me Anyway", from Sidewalk Prophets' album Three Simple Truths.  I encourage you to read the lyrics a few times before listening to the song, that way you really do hear them.  Unconditional Love.  Forgiveness.  Putting all of our sins aside, God loves us anyway.  The bridge is what really gets me, where the song talks about how we are every person who did Jesus wrong, and yet we are still loved.  We betrayed Jesus in Judas' kiss, we shouted & chanted for His blood to be spilled, we are sin, and God still loves us.  Even when we choose the easy way out, even when we tell that little white lie, even when we have hurt one another... God gives us the grace to be forgiven, the opportunity to love Him back, and in choosing to do that, we forgive ourselves. 

"You Love Me Anyway" ~ Sidewalk Prophets

The question was raised
As my conscience fell
A silly, little lie
It didn’t mean much
But it lingers still
In the corners of my mind

Still you call me to walk
On the edge of this world
To spread my dreams and fly
But the future’s so far
My heart is so frail
I think I’d rather stay inside

But You love me anyway
It’s like nothing in life that I’ve ever known
You love me anyway
Oh Lord, how You love me
How You love me

It took more than my strength
To simply be still
To seek but never find
All the reasons we change
The reasons I doubt
And why do loved ones have to die?

But You love me anyway
It’s like nothing in life that I’ve ever known
You love me anyway
Oh Lord, how You love me

I am the thorn in Your crown
But You love me anyway
I am the sweat from Your brow
But You love me anyway
I am the nail in Your wrist
But You love me anyway
I am Judas’ kiss
But You love me anyway

See now, I am the man that called out from the crowd
For Your blood to be spilled on this earth shaking ground
Yes then, I turned away with this smile on my face
With this sin in my heart tried to bury Your grace
And then alone in the night, I still called out for You
So ashamed of my life, my life, my life

But You love me anyway
Oh, God… how you love me
You love me anyway
It’s like nothing in life that I’ve ever known
You love me anyway
Oh Lord, how You love me

You love me, You love me
You love me, You love me

How You love me
How You love me
How You love me

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Different Point of View

This last weekend I did a vocal workshop that was absolutely amazing.  It was called Come Sing With Us, held at Kent Nazarene Church, and I'll tell you what.... LOVED IT.  For many reasons.  First, because I got to see a good buddy from high school & his wife.  He'd been asking me to come to their church for a while, especially when they have their music-related events, and it had never worked out before, but this time I made sure it did.  Yay!  Second, I LOVE GOSPEL MUSIC.  Love it!  Worshiping God, lifting your voice in song, and adding that wonderful element that IS gospel music.... *happy sigh*

While learning one of the songs, I think I witnessed what I can only describe as someone else's Soul Cry (link to a post that somewhat-explains these).... The person leading the workshop was talking about how he envisioned choirs of angels in awe as we were singing, and the look on his face.... I knew that look.... He was seeing the Kingdom of Heaven, and described it for us.  Then he started talking about how we need to remember that - through the hard times, the pain & suffering, this earth is not our home, that Home is in the Kingdom, with God.... Part of me wanted to approach him afterwards, to talk to him, see if he really does experience the Gifts of the Spirit like I do, because it's so intense, and so rare, and I would love to have someone to share this with!  Part of me wanted to run-n-hide, incase it was "contageous", because I've been dealing a lot with my own health issues & didn't, and don't have the emotional/spiritual/physical strength to allow a Holy Spirit-take over. 

So what did I do?  I got up & left the sanctuary, and cried.  It was a selfish cry, a self-pity cry, but I needed to do it.  I was bummed that I didn't get to hear the rest of the testimony, but I'm hoping that a conversation in the future might happen.  His words got me thinking about Carly's suicide and what her pastor said at her funeral; it got me thinking about my current heart condition and the struggles it's posing as a potentially chronic, potentially incurable condition; it was just too much....

We don't have to be strong, but we need to find strength.  It's okay to not be able to hold it all together, but know that God will help keep us going.  Seeing someone else's faith - Faith - manifested in a vision of Heaven helped me to feel like God's with me, that I'm not alone... seeing a Soul Cry from the outside definitely gave me a new perspective.

Friday, September 14, 2012

You Move Me

This is a song I've been listening to on repeat one for... oh.... a week?!  I absolutely love it.  It's been rather inspiring as I'm trying to come up with some ideas for the youth group, and I just had to share it with you.  Another gem by the late Carly Henley

Like the bird in sync with me as I drive
Soaring, dashing, flying by
You make me, you make me free

Like the swaying trees with the breeze
Moving oh so effortlessly
You move me, you move my soul

How do you love so much,
So close I can feel your touch,
It’s just the things you do,
You really see me through…

Like the colorful sunset
With all the beauty this earth can get
You paint my, you paint my world

Like my dancing shadow
Anywhere it wants to go
You’re always, always with me

How do you love so much
So close I can feel your touch
It’s just the things you do
You really see me through

Thank you, thank you for all you do.
It’s evident your love is true.
Thank you, thank you for all you give,
You make my life so great to live.

How do you love so much
So close I can feel your touch
It’s just the things you do
You really see me through, see me through…

Carly, rest in peace.


Dear Readers,

We have hit 2000 views! 

This week, you're reading from United States, Ukraine, Russia, & Germany, but our fellowship actually encompasses 10 different countries!!  It's such a wonderful example of how the Holy Spirit brings us together.

Be seeing you soon...

Peace be with you,
Melinda <><

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Last Words

If you knew the last thing you said to someone was going to be the last thing you said to them, would you still say it?

That is the question I posed on facebook the other day after a suicide, again, touched my life.  Life is so short, so precious, and we never know the impact that our actions/inactions, how our voice/silence may have on someone’s decisions, someone’s life.

Many times we see snippets in the media about this person tweeting something, that person posted about (insert controversial opinion) and is now retracting the statement and apologizing for how their words hurt and/or insulted someone. So why do we even say it?  It's not like "I'm sorry." will take away the pain we've caused.... Sure, it may make it easier for us to sleep better at night knowing we retracted our offensive statement or apologize for our obnoxious behavior, but it doesn't erase the memories or the pain that our words, our actions caused.  Why do we feel justified in putting it out there in voice, in print? What ever happened to the good ol’ cliché phrase “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

1 Peter 3:8 (NIV) says “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.”

To be like-minded: agreeing in opinions, goals; compatible, harmonious, of one mind
Sympathetic: feeling/showing sympathy, understanding (see Sympathy)
Sympathy: the act or power of sharing the feelings of another, compassion
Love: to have a deep tender, ineffable feeling of affection toward a person
Compassion: deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it
Humble: meekness or modesty in behavior, attitude, spirit; not arrogant or prideful

So, how does following what Peter tells us have anything to do with speaking out against someone?  How does it justify telling someone that their life-choices will land them in Hell, and how does it make it any better to try to apologize (on FB no less) after they've already died?  We don't have the right to treat anyone with anything less than compassion, sympathy, love... in following Jesus' footsteps, we are called to walk in humility, to love, not to judge. 

Think before you speak.  Take a deep breath, count to ten, and really, really ask yourself if it's worth it.  Think about who else is around you, who else is reading your tweets, fb posts, and blogs...

Friday, August 31, 2012

Still Listening...

Following up with my last post, I'm still listening, not quite ready to publish anything just yet.  And I'm okay with that. 

Actually, God's okay with that too, I'm pretty sure - taking last week's song choice as His approval....

I'm finding myself at a loss for words
And the funny thing is it's okay
The last thing I need is to be heard
But to hear what You say

Word of God speak
Would Your pour down like rain
Washing my eyes to see
Your majesty
To be still and know
That You're in this place
Please let me stay and rest
In Your holiness
Word of God speak

I'm finding myself in the midst of You
Beyond the music, beyond the noise
All that I need is to be with You
And in the quiet hear Your voice

Word of God speak
Would you pour down like rain
Washing my eyes to see
Your majesty
To be still and know
That You're in this place
Please let me stay and rest
In Your holiness
Word of God speak

I'm finding myself at a loss for words
And the funny thing is it's okay

Monday, August 13, 2012

I'm Stuck...

I really am, total and complete writer's block! 

There are half-phrases that I want to write from, but I just can't seem to string enough words together to form anything worth posting. 

.... perhaps this means it's just a time to listen....

"The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn't being said." ~ Peter Drucker ~

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Verse of the Day

James 1:22 - Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.

We've all done it... gone to church, listend to the Word, and on the way out the door done or said something in sin.  Even something as little as stubbing your toe in the parking lot and saying "Jesus!" or forgetting you needed to get groceries on the way home and let a curse word drop nice & loud as you turned the car around.  Or this one.... I know we all do this.... while greeting people & watching the crowds exit church, we start thinking, maybe saying something to our friends or family there with us, about how so-and-so did such-and-such, and can you believe it... passing judgement. 

We're human.  We make mistakes.  That's what forgiveness is all about... But it's not an excuse to not be diligent about living God's words in our day-to-day lives.  As you prepare yourselves for church this week, or weekend- rather, I challenge you to not only be receptive of The Word, but hold yourselves accountable to it.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Flabby Faith & Spiritual Love Handles

I recently joined the worship team at church, and realized that I do not know many of the contemporary Christian songs... DOH!  While I enjoy the challenge of sight reading every Sunday, it's better to actually know some of the music, especially when you're on a mic in front of the congregation...  So I've been listening to the local Christian Rock station, Spirit 105.3.  While I tend to get incredibly sapped-out by some of the "feel good" stories and DJ's, and while the "family friendly sound" of the child laughing makes me think more Children of the Corn instead of Children of God, I really enjoy the music. 

Today they were talking about giving thanks, and what were callers thankful for.  And I'm not quite sure how this story ended up there, but the morning DJ was talking about someone who had been in a 2nd or 3rd world country, spreading the word of God, and when he left the people hosting him said, "We're praying for you."  He turned to them and asked, "What are you praying for?"  And they were silent... eventually, they answered him that they were praying for persecution, so he could become stronger in his faith. 

That almost seems like a completely horrible thing to do, pray for hard times so someone can become stronger!  But then the DJ said something along the lines of how, in America especially, our Faith was flabby.  Indignantly I said to myself, "Ha, my faith isn't flabby, look at the personal struggles I've survived over the last 15 years!"  But really?  I think all of us have our little flabby-faith "love handles". 

Just like any other workout, start simple- a little prayer here & there.  Start with a new routine- give thanks as you brush your teeth every morning, say a prayer for a safe commute as you buckle your seat belt.  Eventually you'll find that you don't have to remind yourself to do these things, you'll just do them.  Then step up to the next, Spiritual-Cardio.  Be there for someone else while they're having hard times... ask if you can pray with them, pray for them, and commit to doing it every single day.  Even take it a step further, see if there are any peer-support programs in your area!  By helping others to carry the load they bear, you're helping to strengthen your faith and love for God, and God's children! 

Be that spotter than helps someone lift their new max-weight on bench press - quite literally help to lighten the load on their heart!!!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Understanding How to Heal

By now, we've all heard about the Colorado movie theater masacre.  I try to actually not watch the news much or read all the commentary about why someone did something so horrible.  Doesn't matter, it's still horrible. 

Dozens of peoples lives were changed, and they will never, ever be the same.  Ever.  But slowly, eventually, they will begin to heal, and find that it's either easier or harder than they thought it would be.... everyone heals differently.  Everyone processes things at different rates, in different ways.  There's no formula.  It's not like a recipe. 

The most important thing to realize is that every single feeling and emotion that you go through in this process is valid.  It took a long time for me to accept this, when I had to learn how to heal after losing so many loved ones in my life. 

"Healing does not mean going back to the way things were, but rather, allowing what is now to move us closer to God." ~Ram Daas.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Most Amazing Song

Laura Story

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we have faith to believe

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You're near
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home
It's not our home

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You're near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise

This has got to be one of the most amazing songs I have ever heard.  I first heard it months ago, when we were planning one of the Quest retreats, my friend brought it to the table.... Hopefully we can use it this coming year. 

There have been so.many.times. I have gotten mad at God, thinking He delights in our suffering, otherwise why would He let so much pain & so many bad things happen to His beloved children?!  BUT- because there's always a but - I remember, and this song reminds us, that we're not put here to be an end-all, we're not put here so we always feel good, we're here to bring God's goodness to others, and to find comfort & goodness in Him.  Sometimes the only way God can touch us when we need him most is by showering us with rain.  Sometimes we need to have those sleepless nights so we can listen to the silence of our hearts & hear His gentle words answering us. 

(BTW- if the video link doesn't work, please google it yourself, listen to the song!  I will check it when I get home, and fix the hyperlink)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Psalm 42:5-6

Why are you downcast, O my soul?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.

Last night, and very early this morning, I was wide awake - from 11pm until almost 2am.  Something just didn't sit right, something felt off... I still can't quite put my finger on it, except that maybe I'm fearing that certain situations might leave me vulnerable. 

In looking for solace, peace of mind, and something to turn off my brain from reeling through a million questions, I got out my trusty bible verse app on my phone & started flipping through the random verses.  Just like I was saying yesterday, psalms-it-is! 

These verses are pretty much a conversation with your soul, telling it to chill out- God's got it under control.  Now, does that mean that I fell asleep within seconds of reading this?  Nope.  But it did mean that I was able to direct the spinning thoughts in my brain down a different, more relaxing, less anxiety-filled path that eventually led me into a well-rested sleep. 

Here is Psalm 42, in its entirety:
for the director of music- a maskil of the Sons of Korah.

As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?
My tears have been my food
day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
"Where is your God?"
These things I remember
as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God
under the protection of the Mighty One
with shouts of joy and praise
among the festive throng.

Why, my soul, are you downcast? 
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God
for I will yet praise Him,
my Savior and my God.

My soul is downcast within me;
therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan
the heights of Hermon- from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.

By day the Lord directs his love,
at night His song is with me-
a prayer to the God of my life.

I say to God my Rock,
"Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?"
My bones suffer mortal agony
as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
"Where is your God?"

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise Him,
my Savior and my God.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Pass the Psalter, Please?

psalms: plural of psalm (Noun)
Noun: 1.A sacred song or hymn, in particular any of those contained in the biblical Book of Psalms and used in Christian and Jewish worship.

2.A book of the Bible comprising a collection of religious verses, sung or recited in both Jewish and Christian worship.

A dear friend in college said that you should always keep a Psalter by your bed, and I agree whole heartedly.  Nothing brings more peace of mind & soul than reading the poetry of the bible.  I don't know that I have an absolute favorite, but for now, any one of the Psalms that Dr. Richard Nance has arranged just bring me to a happy place - maybe it's because we sang so many of them, maybe it's because the memories that go with where we were when he arranged them, maybe it's just the very words combined to such heavenly sweet sounds...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

John 15:27

"Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid."

Quite fitting words for what's facing me right now.  A lot of journaling, a lot of prayer, but no words that are ready for sharing, not just yet.  There are snippets and post-it sized thoughts, but nothing that flows the way I want to have it flow for you. 

I'm still having heart issues, met with cardiology yesterday, have some more tests coming up in the next few weeks, and then another appointment with cardiology to go over results and "next steps" as far as medication, management, etc. 

I am praying for all of you, that the Word and His message reach you through whatever chanels I am able to provide.  Hopefully you feel Him in your day-to-day routines, busy hustle through out the day, and especially in the silence of your own heart. 

Like the song says, "Be still".

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Spiritual Silence? Forget About It! But for now....

It's been a looooong while since I've written... for those of you who have been readers for the last few years, I'm sure you've seen the trend- I go through slumps where words just don't move me.   It doesn't mean the Spirit isn't moving inside me- in fact the Spirit has been doing some pretty amazing work in my life lately, AMEN!  But that's not to say there haven't been challenges....

Right now I'm having some medical issues that have left me with little-to-no energy most of the day, and it has to do with my heart.  It's been about almost two weeks of the medicine - which is a temporary solution - and I'm just now feeling like myself again! *heavy sigh*  Please, say a little prayer that this resolves soon, because I miss being ME!

Today's quote of the day that greeted me is what I will leave you with today:

"I prefer you make mistakes in kindness than work miracles in unkindness." ~Mother Teresa.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Feeling Mortal

Just a quick note today about how very mortal we are...

I have a "sometimes" heart condition, where I randomly experience lone-bouts of A-fib and PSVT.  Basically, it means my heart races reguarly (PSVT) or irregularly (A-fib), anywhere from 100 bpm to 250 bpm.  It usually happens only once or twice every 4-6 months or so, but it has been happening off and on for the last 2 weeks now, and it has me a little freaked out. 

A little?  Well, that's an understatement, for sure!  It has me a lot-freaked out.  It's my heart!  Without a properly functioning heart, life changes, as we know it.  I find that I'm starting to make decisions based on the fear of what would happen if my heart decides to have another episode... I mean, it may or may not cramp up and start racing--- right now, 20 minutes from now, 3 hours from now, or this coming September! 

"To live in fear is a life half lived.".... hm... never heard that before, right? (note: sarcasm)  But seriously- yes, living with the fear that this heart thing will happen again is making me feel like I need to make wiser decisions, but if I don't make my decisions with my heart in mind, what if I only get to live half of my life? 

I hate it.  I hate feeling this vulnerable.  It doesn't help that the song stuck in my head when I woke up this morning (yes, I wake up singing quite often) was "If I Die Young" by The Band Perry.  Now- I don't think I will be dying young, and I surely hope I don't, but fear is fear.... it has a funny way of presenting itself.

I apologize- today didn't end up being so much words of inspiration, but a sharing of an honest, raw, fear, and I ask that you, my gentle readers, please pray for me. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Glass Half Empty

Easter Sunday we went to church with my brother & sister inlaw, and it was absolutely wonderful.  The homily was about how most of the time we want things to be full, or filled, whether it's our bellies after a good meal or our bank accounts, we want it FULL.

Easter is a time for those who are seeking to be filled- for those who's souls are empty, yearning for more God.  (as I type this, I hear "MORE COWBELL!" ringing through my head)... so, yes!  MORE GOD! 

This is one place where I hope that - while I feel completely filled with the Holy Spirit - I may remain empty, constantly yearning, constantly seeking more.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Palm Sunday Sucker Punch

Palm Sunday is always hard for me... the reading of the Passion, Christ's friend betraying Him, nobody actually standing up for Him as the high priest demands His crucifixion.... maybe it's because I was bullied so horribly growing up, but this has always made me weep.  I have always felt like I could identify with Christ.  (Yes, I was an odd child)

The last two weekends I managed to make it through watching the Passion of Christ without crying.  Last night I managed to make it through the reading of the Passion without crying.  Last night, what made me cry uncontrolably was the homily.  I got to the church right as mass was starting, and it was packed so I ended up sitting first row, center isle.  Usually that wouldn't have bothered me.  Usually Father comes down into the congregation to give his homily and I love it. 

Last night he stood right in front of me, happened to make eye contact, and asked us all to think of our worst day.  I instantly shook my head as my inner voice screamed "NO!" and he chuckled, as did the rest of the faith-community.  He followed with "now, the day after that was a little bit better.... and the day after that..." etc.  He asked us to think of the people God brings to us to help us get past our worst day.... and that's when I lost it.

"Why?" do you ask?  Well, even with all that has happened over the last 15 years, my worst day was caused by the very person God put in my life to bring me up from all those other times that I thought were my worst days.  The day "George" (this is what we will call him for anonimity's sake) brought my world crashing around me when he told me that our 8 year friendship was only in my head and that he was only kind to me because it was convenient for him at the time.  The beginning of April is always hard for me anyway because his birthday is the first week, and it's also when he sent me the email that tore my soul in two.

I thought I was done with this pain!  I thought I'd forgiven "George" for his decision to do what he did, to say what he said to me!  Obviously, I only burried it.  Not that I would ever wish anyone dead, but I think it would have been -- would BE -- easier for me to move on if someone had passed.  I know I've said this before, I know I've blogged about it before, but it's still how I feel.... with everything fresh again, like Father's words were a knife reopening the scar tissue that took so long to patch the pieces of myself back together. 

How do I really, truly get past this?  I'm not sure.... "George" is the only person who can pull me into my darkest place without having to even be present.  The hardest part for me is that we shared so much of my formative years as a Catholic, the years when my Soul Cries started, the years when I found who I was, when I was the one making the decisions in my Faith-Life, and he was there every step of the way.  There's a good 7-8 years of my life where every single day was infused with this person.  It's the "lesson" I don't understand yet.... it's the only thing I really, really question in God's plan for me.... What-the-heck good was it to have this person in my life if I was going to be permanently emotionally & mentally scarred by him?!?!  Doesn't it seem like there would have been a seriously less painful journey on my path, God? 

Of course, as I type this, the whole point of Father's homily comes rushing back in.... God put Jesus on.the.cross.  Couldn't there have been a less painful way?  No, not for us to really get the point.  Luckily for the early followers of Jesus, and I mean early- like people who were at his death-early, they received almost instant gratification in that Jesus was back in 3 days- BAM!- told you so! 

Unfortunately, I don't think I'm going to see that kind of relief from my grief.  (ha-ha, no intention of making that rhyme) *half grin*

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Strength in Weakness

2 Corinthians 12:19 "...My power is made perfect in weakness..."  That's one translation- and I must say, a much less confusing or conflicting translation than what I grew up hearing, something about how God's power is made stronger in our weakness.... I always hated the way that made me feel.  I hated that the bible asked us to be weak, made it sound like God glorified in it, that He was rejoicing that we were so powerless....

But now, looking at it, and reading the whole context around 2 Corinth 12:19, I see things a little bit differently:

"But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest in me.

I love it.  I LOVE IT! 

But how do you explain this to someone who hasn't felt Christ's Love, who hasn't felt God's power surging through every bit of their being?  How do you say, "I know it sucks right now, and nothing makes sense, but if you trust the Holy Spirit- yes, this invisible mist-of-a-travel-guide, the Spirit will pray for you when you don't know the words!" (Romans 2:26)  How do you explain Faith to someone who feels like the World has slammed the door on their hand, trapping them there with pain throbbing?

I pray.  I pray that the Lord uses their heart as a conduit even if they don't realize it, and that they feel the Spirit moving in them. 

Pray.  Trust that the Holy Spirit knows what prayer you need....

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Pen is Mightier than the Words?

I love to write.  I have something like six different blogs that I write, four of them quite regulary.  I have at least four journals that I am constantly toting around with me and jotting thoughts & notes down, and one is where I dump my entire 'everything'. 

This last weekend I thought I'd push myself and lead the closing prayer at youth group... I prep'd, I wrote down notes from the Sunday readings, referenced the Penitential Act (A), and took notes during the homily- so many things were pointing to exactly what message I wanted to share with the kiddos that night!  When it came time to speak, I completely froze.


Didn't say a SINGLE thing that I wanted to say!!!  Dang it!!!  All the wonderful words I'd worked on for almost a week flew right out of my brain!  *sad face* 

I still trust that something I said was something that somebody in the room needed to hear, because all night I just kept praying that God give me the words to reach people with the message they needed.... but dang.  I was sure disappointed in myself.  I feel like I'm so much more elloquent when I am writing or typing- even though I don't sit and ponder, I just write, even though I don't go back and edit much of what I'm writing or typing.... when I'm speaking, it still sounds good, but it's not usually what I've practiced on paper. 

Still working on the lesson in this.... perhaps my next post will be sharing the words I worked so hard to put together?  Perhaps it will reach one of you, my faithful readers....

Monday, February 27, 2012

Oh, the Challenge!

So, it's Lent.  I've given up flour & sugar, and it's been really good so far... until now. 

I'm sick, and all I want is some Mrs. Grass chicken noodle soup.  I just got my order of Girl Scout cookies yesterday too!  If I wasn't sick, I'd be craving those!!! 

There's a little voice in my head that says, "Just go ahead and make the soup, it's okay, it's not like you're being glutonous about it... you're sick, it's okay.  Jesus will understand." and then there's an answering voice that says, "WHAT?!  Jesus didn't get a 'time out' from the desert when He didn't feel well!  You can do this!!!" 

The cookies are hidden at work, and will remain there until Easter, at least.  Last time I brought a box to work, I put it away and then forgot about it!  It was a nice surprise a few months later.  (the package hadn't been opened, they were still fresh)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fat Tuesday- Ash Wednesday... Dive IN!

Timothy 4:7-8 "Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.  For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come."

The verse that I start with today is actually the verse-of-the-day from last week.  It seemed rather appropriate for a send-off into Lent.

I am quite literally enjoying "Fat Tuesday" before my lenton journey begins in 12 short hours, with a hot dog & cheetos for lunch, and my last Coke for 40 days....  I have made the choice to better my diet selection, in other words, I'm giving up processed flour and processed sugar.  At first it will actually be all flour & sugars, so as to get all the gunk out of my system.  It will be a challenge, but I've done it before- over 10 years ago!

During Lent this year, I will be focusing on the verse of the day every single day.  I'll journal about it, blog about it, pray about it.  I'm sure that it will - somehow, someway - tie into my junk-food-fast.  Keeping the focus on God, making the changes to better myself for God, in the name of God.... it all helps me stay focused on being godly, as Timothy writes.  Sure, it'll be great to eat healthier, and yeah, it'll be wonderful if/when I start to lose weight, but that's not why I'm giving up flour & sugar for 40 days.  A challenge, a sacrifice, a reminder of what Jesus gave up for us.... There's no comparisson here, 40 days in the desert definatly trumps anything we could give up or change, but, basically, it's the thought that counts. 

How will you be bettering yourself over the next 6 weeks?  One of my previous committments to better my life for Christ was to give up negativity.  You think not eating junk food or not using facebook or twitter for 6 weeks is hard, try losing that negative attitude, your own worst critic that sits inside you and whispers in your ear during your most insecure moments!  Rather than resenting Lent because you have to give up chocolate or coffee, think on a grander scale.  Take the money you saved by not indulging & give it back to the church, a charity, or a food bank.  Instead of living without caffeine for 40 days - or whatever you choose to give up - you helped that many more people with your small sacrifice.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

365 Days of Prayer

For anyone who reads my personal blog, I was wondering what to do for 365 days.  I've heard of people doing 365 days of photos, interviews, recipes, etc... I am going to do 365 days of prayer!  Starting 01/28/12, I am praying for the same person every day - without telling that person.  Sort of an experiment, just to see how the Holy Spirit will work in their life, how they might grow over the next year! 

In the past, I've silently prayed for friends to find God- it took almost 5 years, but they got there!  When I was in college there was a guy on the baseball team who was just a real jerk.... I prayed for him every day for 30 days and by the last week he was actually brining his bible out in the dugout and on road trips- what an amazing turn around!  I'm really excited to see what an intense year of prayer will do!!!

Maybe I will tell the person, maybe I won't... we'll see.  Day 4 down, 361 to go! 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Power of Prayer

Do you ever wonder how prayer works?  I mean- really, and truly, why and how it works? 

The final confirmation class for the youth group was all about prayer, last night.  One of the things that was mentioned was how God's just like any other good parent- He knows what we want, what we need, and what's best for us, but He still would rather have us ask Him in lieu of silence.  I guess it's kind of like a parent asking for a wish list before your birthday?  They know what you want, they know what's best for you, but they encourage you to think about it. 

God wants us to think about what we're asking for.  He wants us to grow in Him as we ask Him for help. 

Today's bible verse is James 4:10 "Humble yourself before the Lord and He will lift you up." 

AMEN!  I mean, well, yeah- there are those incredibly human moments when I am convinced that this is a cosmic joke, that God likes to watch us squirm and suffer as He waits for us to finally catch on, but for the most part, that's not really what I believe.  At all.  That's more of a "I'm frustrated and lashing out" response.....

So, yes- the point of the verse?  To ask for help.  The lesson of the verse?  Humble yourself in the Lord and He will help you see what He wants for you, and that will lift you up above any of your own wants or needs.  It's true.  If you humbly say, "I want to win the lotto" that won't work... can you really humbly ask for millions of dollars?  If you humbly say, "Lord, help me to see where You want me to be, help me to do Your Will" then of course He's going to lift you up and show you the way! 

Food for thought:  Next time you think you need to pray for something, instead ask for the Holy Spirit to help you understand the why of your current situation.  The enlightenment will be beyond words...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


"Time is strange.  A moment can be as short as a breath or as long as eternity." ~ Cornell Woolrich

Have you ever had those moments that seem to last for an eternity?  Or the enigma of the car trip that takes for ever to get to point A, but returning home takes 1/2 the time?  Or how about God's timing? 

God's timing.... ha.  Something that I'm sure we all struggle with, I sure know I do!  No matter how much I journal, pray, meditate, journal, inquire, ask for guidance, journal, self-assess, etc, I cannot find an answer to God's timing & why I haven't met my husband yet.  (or even someone I'd want to date?!)  God's answered me as to why I didn't get hired into the job I'm in until I did, or why I ended up moving 3 times between January 2010 and January 2011, and I've gotten pretty good at trusting His timing over what I think my own timeline should be, but the whole spouse thing just really gets me. 

What issues have you had to give up to God's timing? 

I know I've talked about it before, but I'm gonna say it again because I absolutely love the anaolgy: what happens on God's clock at 2 o'clock won't necessarily make sense sometimes until 10 o'clock the next day.  Now- the thing to remember, is God's timing is different then our timing!  I mean- creating the world in 7 days, Moses being hundreds of years old... ???

What is time, but a "name" that we have come up with to measure the passing of ... time... ?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Positive Soul Cry!

Last night I had a burning urge to call one of the families I know from youth group.  It was pretty intense, I was really, really worried that there was something happening that was bad, that they needed prayer for some unforseen tragedy- right?  This is how it usually happens for me! 

So, after the third day of feeling this feeling, I called them. 

Luckily, not a thing was going on!  It was just a quick conversation, a nice hello, and a "Gee, I'm glad that nobody died!" *grin*

Praise God for happy little miracles! *grin*

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Just. Breathe.

Today has been one of "those" days. 

Terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day, and I think I'm moving to Australia....
(reference to a beloved children's book: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day)

I have a meeting at church tonight for senior high youth group regular planning & retreat planning.  Somehow, I've GOT to turn my mood around!  I don't feel inspired, patient, or grace-filled at all- not a good way to start the afternoon, and definately not a good way to go into planning tonight, and not a good time to be going to church- I feel like I could snap someone's head off and not realize it happened until tomorrow!!!

While venting to my mom, she reminded me that these are the times when it is best time to go to church.  Even if it's not a service, even if it's not mass, just be present.  She's right!  (of course she's right, she's Mom.) *grin* 

While Australia might be a fun retreat, I don't think running half-way around the world is going to resolve my mood. 


Dearest Mary, Mother of God,
You have the power to bestow graces upon us- please help me find the grace to forgive those around me.  Please help me find the patience within to quiet my soul, and help prepare me so that I may be a vessel, bringing God's message to the table tonight.  Help me to be present in your Son, Jesus Christ, and help me to feel His presence in me. 

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.