Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Another Soul Cry - Prayers for Anne

A few days ago one of the former church choir member's names kept running through my head.  A whole sort of prayer-aura flashed through my head, and I allowed it to envelop me in prayer for her. 

This morning I received an email sent to the church choir stating that Anne has multiple cancer spots and is choosing not to treat them, as it would be too hard on her body, at her age. 

It feeds my soul to know that, even when I feel distant from the connection I once knew, the Holy Spirit still uses me to help lift people up in prayer. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Just Be There

"Sometimes we need someone to simply be there.  Not to fix anything or to do anything in particular, but just to let us feel that we are cared for and supported." ~Unknown ~

This is one of the images I see going around FB and Pinterest, and I absolutely love the quote that someone has put on it.  I found the image separate, as it has a different meaning for this particular post...  A friend of mine from church & from choir lost her daughter this week, in the wee-small hours of the morning, and she posted a memory of just after it happened, how the morning star was there... this quote, coupled with the solemn image of Charlie Brown & Snoopy with the bright star above them instantly popped into my mind's eye... there really is nothing you can do to make it all better when a loved one passes away.  The most important thing you can do is just BE PRESENT for that person.  If they need you, if they don't, that's up to them.... just be available, be there....

Thursday, September 17, 2015

"I AM Doing This... We ARE Doing This."

These are the words that brought hundreds of people to tears Friday night. 

I friend that I've known for thirteen years is currently battling stage IV cancer.  She calls it "Act IV".  She is a single mother of a beautiful 18 month old daughter, and has more fight in her than anyone I've ever known.  Even before the cancer, I've always said that I'd never want to meet her alone in a dark alley! 

If you know me, you know that I used to be an avid swing dancer, and cannot speak highly enough of the swing dance community, world-wide.  They are the most charitable, trustworthy, loving people I've ever known outside of my immediate circle of friends and family.  Within less than 48 hours we raised over $40,000 to help cover all expenses while my friend goes through her treatment.  There was a fundraiser-dance last Friday to keep raising money for her & her daughter, and it was beautiful.  I cry as I post this because the unconditional love and support was overwhelming.  Whether it was finding a chair for her during the performances or picking up the lei when it slipped off the chair while she danced, people from all walks of life came out to support a member of the dance community.  Professional photographers donated time & talent, dancers performed through out the night.  I kept telling people, it was better than a high school reunion!  Getting to catch up with people I've known for decades - people I actually liked & know they liked me too - it was the happiest my heart has been in a long time! 

Even though there was a lingering bittersweet twinge for the first half of the dance, the speech my friend gave thanking all of us erased any sadness.  The tears I cried were out of raw emotion, an overflow of love being given & received by every single person in the room.  While speaking, my friend said "I truly believe I can be this.  My job is to beat this.  And eat kale." (I guess kale is good for kicking cancer's butt?  I'd be screwed - can't STAND kale!)  then she said, "I can do this.  I AM doing this.  And together, we can do this.  We ARE doing this."  We all looked at each other with tears spilling over, at that point.  The friend who runs the ballroom and put the event together talked about the strength within our community, and I believe there are no words that can actually bring justice to the word "strength" in this situation.

I can't even say "God was present" and leave it so exclusive... I mean, of course I believe that God was present, I believe He's everywhere, all the time.... but it was bigger than any definition of God.... does that make sense?  Or maybe it was the first time I'd ever experienced the omnipresence of God.  All of us there have different belief systems, or maybe even the belief that if you do good, good comes to you, and it doesn't matter.  Good people came together to do good for a loved one. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Struggles with Facts of Life

Particularly the whole living-dying part of it. 

A lot of cancer going around lately, a lot of terminal cancer, and it's just too much for me to handle.... and it's not even me!  I can't begin to imagine how it feels to find out that you may or may not lose your life to such a horrible, internal disease. 

Please, just pray. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015


So, I was on vacation when SCOTUS made one of the best decisions ever.  And then I was so elated and outraged at everyone's responses on social media that I've just been letting it process....

Let me start out by saying that I am a Christian.  I am a Catholic.  And I support the right of a same-sex marriage.  Jesus asks us to do two things, and two things only.  Love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor.  He doesn't ask us to judge anyone. 

The blanket arguement that homosexuality is against the teachings of the bible is not a legitimate reason to blast or boycott anyone or anything!  Christians get divorced, nobody demands that the wife be stoned or publicly shamed.  Christian children speak out against their parents, dishonoring them, and nobody cuts out the childrens' tongues.  Sin is Sin.  If you judge one, then be fair and judge all.... but, really, just don't judge anyone, because we are all sinners! 

Because it was a post on facebook and it's so easy to mis-read what someone's intent is, I am not sure if the person posted this comment to be sarcastic or not, but his post said "If Love wins, who loses?  What was Love fighting?" and the string of comments were so upsetting that I hid the entire post!  And then there are those who made the point to go online and post "I just have to say, I'm a Christian and I don't support this." and continue with a lengthy paragraph about how they're not going to judge, but they are going to express their disapproval and support it with bible verse after bible verse, some in context, some grossly out of context.  I even found myself getting slammed by people who "love the sinner but hate the sin" because I shared an article about how fiercely and ferociously "Christians" were responding!  I had multiple people ask me to give specific examples of people's comments.... and in an attempt to NOT lose friends and educate the naive, I politely explained that it wasn't anyone in MY circles, but overall. 

Love wins, Hate loses!  I don't understand why it's such a hard concept for people to grasp.  It wasn't until the Supreme Court's ruling in 1967 that interracial marriages were made legal.  Love wins, Hate loses!  My friend is white and her partner is black.  My friend his asian and his wife is black.  My friend is male and his husband is too.  All three are in loving, committed relationships, and nobody had to choose one side or the other. 

One of my friends posted this, and I think this is VERY well put:

"I pray that the SCOTUS ruling... opens up the floodgates of God's love and that every person can feel how important they are and hwo valud they are.  I do believe that boundaries ar ea  necessary part of freedom.  I don't believe that I have the right to choose boundaries for others.  I celebrate the joy that has come with the SCOTUS ruling and I have no need to fear for freedome to practice my faith.  I have a Protector who will provide for my needs.... I want to be sure not to shy away from sharing the magnitude of what Christ has done in my life... I honsetly do not know what jesus ouwl say today.  I have a lot of ideas about what He would not be saying and unfortunately I feel a lot fo Christians are saying those things... my stance is clear.  I am glad that all people can legally partake in the joy of love and marriage."

Along with her words on fb, she shared this beautiful picture of three crosses that she took in her many travels around the globe.  Thank you, Laura, for letting me share your post & photo. 

Love wins.  There should be no question of what that means. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

St Augustine's Prayer

God of our life,
There are days when the burdens we carry
chafe our shoulders and weigh us down;
when the road seems dreary and endless,
the skies gray and threatening;
when our lives have no muisic in them,
and our hearts are lonely,
 and our souls have lost their courage.
Flood the path with light,
run our eyes to where
the skies are full of promise;
tune our hearts to brave music;
give us the sense of comradeship
with heroes and saints of every age;
and so quicken our spirits
that we may be able to encourage
the souls of all who journey with us
on the road of life, to Your honor and glory.
~St. Augustine
We are all struggling with our own challenges.  Usually we try to encourage ourselves to push aside our challenges, our woes, and say "it could be worse"... but this prayer is a unique one.  Rather than minizing our own struggles, St. Augustine encourages us to acknowledge that things might just SUCK right now, and guides us to ask for God to show us His hope on the path. 
That is such a healthier way to face our daily lives!  Acknowledge that we are weighed down, and then ask that God show us the other side of our struggles, and guide us to where we are already going! 
We are never truly alone.  

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Where are the Nail Holes?

Father Dave told a story this weekend of a very philanthropic man who died and was at the Pearly Gates, and St. Peter started reviewing his life, and began to frown.  He asked the man, who had done many charitable works, lived a good life, "Where are the nail holes?  Where did you feel your neighbor's pain?  Where did you help to heal the hurt in your community?"

Father hit the proverbial "nail" on the head with that parable!  I think we, as a society, placate ourselves by donating - mostly during the winter holidays - and saying "My $5 helped someone in need."  But when do we really, truly open ourselves to share in the dark times too? 

Every day at work I see people at their very worst.  It's hard.  Sometimes I'm the only person who gives them 2 hours of my time to listen to their story.  But those nail holes, they are right there.  Mental illness.  Physical disabilities, Poor, destitute, no where to turn.  The hardest times are when people are truly mentally ill, and either extremely violent, or self-destructive.  Their physical scars do not compare to the scars in their soul, the hurt, the pain, that feeds the cycle of destruction.

Where are your nail holes?  I'm not saying every person needs to go out and find the lowest point and start from there, but just listen.  Sometimes it's as easy as talking with the person in line with you.  Sometimes it's a little more.  Be safe about it, but be present in the lives of others.  Help to take care of their hurt, and be receptive if someone offers to help you with yours.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Indiana - FIX THIS NOW

This is what the Indianapolis Star's front page says. 

What's happening?!  Gov. Mike Pence has been back-peddaling from the time their Religious Freedom Restoration Act was passed.  He blames social media and national news outlets for the misunderstandings of the law and the negative image that is now painted about Indiana. 

He needs to encourage the "good people" of Indiana to look in the mirror. 

The RFRA doesn't specify that any one group should descriminate against any other, rather, it protects them in their choice to do so.  It is no misconception what the intent was of the shop owners who put signs in their window, right under the 'open for business' signs that said ' NO GAYS ALLOWED". 

For shame, Hoosiers, for shame.  The governor calls you "...a loving, kind, generous, decent, and kind people.".... I don't see how, not when you're runnining with this RFRA and using it to exclude so many. 

The only two things Jesus asks us to do, AS CHRISTIANS, is love God above all other, and love our neighbors as ourselves.  Not love every third person who is in a heterosexual relationship and meets our criteria for being good..... And if you are one of the millions of people who suffers from self-loathing and depression, that does not give you the right to hate everyone as you hate yourself.  You are still called to love- it just means that you have to work on loving you too. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Daily Struggles

We all have them.  There are things that seem harder for us and easier for others.  For me, right now, it has been finding time to focus on the Spirit.  Originally I had planned to do a photo-a-day for Lent, places I found God based on one word. 

I failed at that, miserably.  I didn't even make it a full week.  I didn't even realize that my photo album on facebook was private, that I wasn't sharing my discovery of Holy with anyone!  And not that I had to, but it was my intent to.... I think this is the first time I've not kept my Lenten promise in a very long time.  While trying to figure out what was different this year, why it was not possible for me to keep it, my brain immediately responded, "There was no time to wander around and take photos, find the perfect opportunity to express Holy in one word!  There was no time!"  And I accepted that answer!  Initially, that was acceptable to me, that I didn't have time to see God....


Wait a minute!  I have always had "time" to find God in the little bits of every day life!  There is Holy all around us!  How can I be content saying "I don't have time"?!? 

Perhaps it all falls back to the lack of Spirit I've felt lately?  But just because I'm not feeling inspired to glow radiantly with His love doesn't mean I can slack off on helping bring His love to other people.  So, March 1st I happened to have a few Soul Cries.... three, actually.  Two of them I shared with the people involved, one person responded that I was spot on, and the text book "How did you know?"  I just said "The Holy Spirit told me you needed prayer, so I prayed." 

Now... the Holy Spirit woke me up just after midnight on the morning of my very first 5k, which I completed in less than an hour and was very proud of myself, considering I walked most of it when it was still below 40 degrees outside.  God MADE time for me to find Him. 

I don't feel like it's so much of a daily struggle to find Him in what's around me, which is nice to sort of be back to where I used to be... I'm still bummed out that I failed Him and myself for Lent this year... luckily He's a forgiving God.  *wink*grin*

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

This Lenton Season...

The Lenton Season is upon us, and I have no clue what my "change" is for Christ.  Perhaps it will be to put myself first - not in a selfish way, but in a respect-myself sort of way.  Not that I mistreat myself all the time, but there are decisions I make that do not honor my body or myself as Christ would want me to. 

One thing I really miss is photography.  I used to keep a camera on me at all times, and take photos of EVERYTHING! 

I found on Pinterest a photo-a-day challenge from last year that a church had posted.... I'm going to use their word list and get it started for this year.... At first I was thinking I'd start an instagram account for it, but I'm not sure that's what I want to do, since I want to use a real camera, not my iphone... idunno, I have to figure this out... I have until midnight..... I will keep you posted.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Just a Moment

At church this last weekend, there was a moment where the priest mentioned about how we can experience the Spirit through sharing our gifts with others - and I had an "AH-HA!" moment - that's EXACTLY what I've been doing! 

It's a very foreign experience for me, and I'm looking forward to honing in on it a little - or a lot - more, experiencing the Holy Spirit as a third party. 

I pose the question, to many of you who may or may not respond, have you ever had that happen?  I would like to open a conversation about it, but I'm not even sure where to begin!  Perhaps it's time to re-contact my spiritual director with the archdiocese...