Moving Past Disappointment to Gratitude

Oh how sad I feel right now.  I prayed and prayed and prayed.  I wanted your wedding day to be everything you wanted it to be.  And with COVID-19, it will be a different day.  I really believe that God is in these plans.  I believe that we will still have a blessed day for your wedding.  And we need to look forward to what will be.

Today, when we have to accept changing plans, it is a time to feel feelings and cry.  Cry out to God.  Ask Him to be with us as we face the disappointment of today.  Thank Him that he is with us.  Turn to Him.  Sit quietly with God.  Cry with Him.  Let Him comfort you.  Feel your feelings and ask Him for strength.  Tell God how you feel.  Ask our Blessed Mother Mary to comfort you and pray for you.  Ask God to help and he will help.

God didn’t cause the COVID-19.  He isn’t causing all the panic and the closed venues.  We didn’t cause this either.  Politics need to be put aside.  Families need to be together.  We need to begin again.

We will appreciate what we can do to celebrate your wedding.  I am so thankful for you and for your future husband.  You are a beautiful couple and your wedding will be beautiful.  It will be small and intimate and we will have such a celebration later.  And we will be together with you.  Praying for you.  Loving you.  Listening to you.  I am grateful for so many things.  I am grateful for you.

Love,

Mymom

See others through the eyes of Jesus

I can’t think of a person who hasn’t let me down at one time or another.  And I’m sure that I have let others down many times.  God wants us to depend on Him.  He loves us and is always there for us if we turn to Him and put our trust in Him alone.  Only Jesus who leads us to the Father and works in us through the Holy Spirit.  If we can trust God, then we are free to joyfully love others and allow them to be imperfect.  We can love who they are and not who we wish they would be.  We are all imperfect humans trying our best in an imperfect world.  Our sense of sometimes feeling let down often comes from putting too much on the shoulders of that other person to bring us happiness.  Peace comes from those moments when we let Jesus take us by the hand and show us others through His eyes.  Accept, trust, forgive, love.

Love,

Mymom

Do not let the sun go down on your anger

“Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger and give no opportunity to the devil.” Ephesians 4; vs 26-27. In my study bible it says – In the case of personal insults, we should strive for reconciliation with the offender before the day’s end. That is a most difficult thing. I have had many times when I haven’t been able to do this and that leads to a sleepless night or a fitful night. Always remember that we don’t have to be perfect. Indeed, we can’t be perfect but with God’s help, we can make progress and do our best. Sometimes, the best thing is to calm down, journal, pray for help and begin again. Then decide whether it is worth the conversation or not. Maybe we just need to let go and love.

Love,

Mymom

Cooped up because of COVID-19

This has been a tough time for me and I know it is tough for everyone.  I’m grateful for so many things, home, family, food, warmth, working from home, the birds singing.  I’m sad about all the separation.  I miss my daughter, son in law and their children although we do talk to them often.  They live in Minneapolis and that is probably the worst area to live in.  Still in Minnesota, it isn’t so bad.  Our numbers remain very low. I miss church although I am watching it. I miss eating out and I don’t even eat out that often.  I bought show tickets this spring for the first time in a long time and won’t be seeing those shows.    I am sad for my younger daughter who lives in North Dakota, she is trying to look forward to her wedding at the end of May and dreading any news of further extensions of the stay at home orders.  Her venue is hopeful still and has many plans for keeping people safe including a backup date if we need to change it.  Still this should be such a happy time and it is instead filled with stress for her and for us.

 

I thought I was so grounded in my faith that this situation shouldn’t impact me so much.  I should be peaceful, faithful, obedient.  Truly though I have so many moments of anger and frustration.  I am worried about the situation around the world and so I gave money to Catholic Relief Services.  I am worried about my church.  Financially, how can it be solvent?  Donations down $60,000.  How can our church make the mortgage and pay the staff?  So, I gave more money to my church.  What is happening out there while we are all so preoccupied with ourselves?  I feel like I should listen to the news but it is so depressing that I can’t listen to the news.  All I can do is stay in place, work, and enjoy the people in my small circle; my husband, my sons, my daughter in law, and my two grandsons.  Six people.  My life line.  I make phone calls.  I use Zoom to connect with my community.  I watch sitcoms looking for light-hearted relief.   I pray, I work, and I wait.  Please God, help us find a cure, a vaccine, a test to show those of us who have already had this disease, help us to move forward and see each other again.

 

So to the government, from the bottom of my heart, I know that you mean well.  You have incomplete data though.  You have 300 million healthy people locked up just in case.  I agree with sheltering those who may be vulnerable but not in isolating them from their families and friends.  Trust us to wash our hands and take care not to spread germs.  We are a smart group of people.  We can take care of each other and will take care of each other.  No more extensions.  The curve has been flattened.  The hospitals have been built.  The equipment is coming in.  We are as ready as we are going to be.  Peace.

Love,

Mymom

How do I agree to disagree and move on respectfully?

Arrrg! I disagree with this decision you are making! It impacts me and I know you heard me but did you really hear me? I don’t want this direction to be a mistake. It will cost us money and time. We/you don’t have the experience needed.

Does this thought process sound familiar? Sometimes the littlest decisions can be big and divisive. Sometimes big decisions can be divisive too. When my husband makes a decision that I don’t agree with, I have trouble letting go. He is my best friend. I respect him. He is knowledgeable. I trust him. I ask his advice on many things. I tell him everything. And yet, when I disagree, it is hard to let go and let him make a decision and support the direction he is choosing to set.

What we try to do is let each other lead decisions that align with our expertise. My husband loves to do infinite research for making major purchases. I don’t have the patience for that so I will give him my wishes like I want a red car with 4 doors and a sun roof and I want us to buy it in the next 3-4 weeks. He will do the research and get it done.

I take care of all the monthly bill paying. I’m efficient and I work well with all the online accounts and I keep things paid on time. I also work with repair people for scheduling work at the house.

We have found our areas of responsibility and trust each other. A couple of areas are still difficult for us to agree on. We have learned to compromise for most of those areas.

Once in a while, we simply disagree. I find that when either of us take the disagreement personally, that can lead to a standoff. In these cases, we both lose. There may be consequences for incorrect decisions. There may be unexpected gains from good decisions.

If we disagree, it is good to hear each other’s point of view and then make the decision agreeing to disagree. Support each other in these decisions and always apologize if in an argument, I forgot to listen and support. In the worst case, we will lose a little money or time.

Perhaps the way to handle the situation is to trust that the outcome will lie somewhere between the best case and the worst case and we will learn to listen and trust each other all the more.  And we might learn a lesson or two.

But… As anyone who knows me knows, I sure do like to get my way. I thank God for a patient, loving, supportive, smart, and faithful husband.

God, please help me to let go of control and trust others, especially my husband. Help me to know that in all cases, You are there. Help me to learn to share my opinion and trust others to listen and make their best decision with the information they have. Help me to be supportive. Thank you for your guidance through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen

Love,

Mymom

Should I join a church? Isn’t it ok for me to just attend?

One of our responsibilities as Catholics is to be part of a church community.  We attend mass weekly.  We participate in the life of the church.  We join the church and are counted as part of the community.  We support the church financially so that it can exist in our community and we can attend the church nearby our home.

When your dad and I were first married, your Grandpa, who was on his church’s stewardship commission, sat down with us and explained that we needed to find a local parish near our home, join it and support it.  It is the only way to grow our faith community and sustain it.  The light bill doesn’t pay itself. Our church needs contributions from every one of us.  We have to pay the electric bill.  We have staff members who bring life to our ideas in the form of our worship, faith formation, and facilities.  We need to pay their salaries.  We have a church mortgage. It takes each of us giving what we can to make this all work.

You participate in the church through your time, talent, and treasure.  If you are gifted with musical ability, you might participate in the choir.  If you are gifted with small children, you might help in the nursery or teach faith formation.  What about your treasure, how can you decide how much you need to give each week to support the parish?   See Deuteronomy 14:22-26 and Acts 4:32-35.  We are asked to give 5 percent to our local church and 5 percent to other charities totaling 10 percent.    Practically speaking, if I work 40 hours a week, a five percent tithe would be equal to two hours of work.

Your dad and I have varied our donations along this guideline.  We do compromise a bit and give 10% of our take-home pay.  Our reasoning is that money will some day come back to us in the form of Social Security, Pension, and Savings and we will give 10% based on our income at that time.  So let’s make this simple.  Assume that you make $20 per hour.  That means that each week, you will take home about $14 after taxes, social security, and 401K contributions for that hour of work.  You may then pledge to give $28 per week.

What if that seems like too much?   I have other monthly commitments.  I simply want to encourage you to give what you can.  Give $14 per week if $28 seems like too much.  Give God your first fruits before you budget for your fitness classes and your coffee shop dollars.  Start somewhere and increase as your ability to better budget allows you to.  Increase your giving level when you receive pay increases.  Be a good steward of the money God entrusts to you.

And what about the Catholic Services Appeal or the other charities that we are asked to give to at our weekly masses?  Those amounts come out of the other 5% of our giving which include other charities as well.  If each family gives, we make our goal.

Think about what you can give joyfully and give until it feels good.  Call your parish office about setting up an automatic withdrawal.  By doing that, you help your church staff know that there is a steady income and how to budget for paying the bills.

May your church community be a blessing to you and you to them all the days of your life.  Oh God, help us to find the local church we need to belong to.  Help us to step up and join.  Help us to contribute our time, talent, and treasure for the good of our community and to help further your Kingdom on earth.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

Love,

Mymom

When does sharing news become gossip?

When we are all together with friends or family, it is loving and joyful to share news about those friends and loved ones who aren’t able to be there. We share news of blessings and suffering that our loved ones are experiencing and we rejoice and suffer together. One rule a friend shared regarding the difference between sharing and gossiping is that you should never say anything spoken to you clearly in confidence and you should never share anything you wouldn’t say if you were telling the story with that same person present. Keep your criticism and your editorial comments to yourself as they may be very hurtful. Don’t share comments meant to justify yourself or tear down the other person’s reputation. To that I say while tempting, it is bad form.

What if someone asks you directly about someone you are known to have a disagreement with? Please decline to comment. State that you have strong feelings between you and hurt feelings that are not yet resolved. Ask for prayer support for the opportunity to have the difficult conversation that will be needed to lead to reconciliation. Remember that peace begins with each one of us. Choose not to gossip but love and forgive instead. Pray for each other. Listen with love. Treasure these precious moments of time with family and friends. Spread joy, not gossip.

Oh God, help us to be instruments of your peace, where there is hatred, let me sow love, where there is injury, pardon through Jesus Christ or Lord, Amen. Mary, Undoer of Knots, pray for us. Our Lady queen of peace, pray for us. St Frances, pray for us.

Love,

Mymom

Come together in love and friendship

Our nation and the world need to come together in love, friendship. forgiveness, hope, peace, and a sincere attitude of cooperation and collaboration in the interest of the common good.  Dear God, we pray that you drive the devil out of our conversations and help us all to listen before we speak.  God bless each of our leaders in all areas of government and business, regardless of political party or level, with the wisdom to seek your will in all their words and decision making.  God bless each of us and help us to listen to your call and to love one another.   Peace be with you.

Marriage: Be together even when you are apart

In my relationship with your dad, we see each other in the morning as we both wake and get ready for our days. We always say a goodbye with a kiss, a hug, and a prayer for the day. We greet each other with a kiss and a hug. We hold hands. We pray for each other.

Some days are so very busy. There is so little time to be part of each other’s lives when there is so much to be done. So you need to be part of each other. When we married, God brought us together. Two individuals making a marriage with God at the center. When we are together, we are complete. When we are apart, we take each other with us as we go through the day supported in our love for each other. Not together in time and space, but never apart either.

We have been married for almost 36 years. I am always conscious of my husband in my life whether we are together or apart. I go through my day independently, fully supported in God’s love and in the love of my husband.

We are away from each other 10-16 hours a day depending on our work, social, or service commitments. When we are home together in the morning, your dad makes me breakfast and we sit together for a couple moments and enjoy breakfast. In the evening we have dinner together most days although that isn’t always possible. For many years when our children were small, we would stop what we were doing after the busyness of the day, after the kids were in bed, and share time together. This is a time for rest and nurturing each other.

There are many seasons to marriage: a time to be young and dating, a time to be newlyweds, a time to raise small children, a time to counsel teenagers, a time to put those kids through college a time to help aging parents, and a time to be those aging people. Throughout these times there is always each other.

Schedule time for important conversations. I learned to keep a list of what we needed to talk about so that I could let my anger go and know that we would talk when we were both ready. I learned to listen too.

Be confident in your loved one’s love for you. When we doubt each other, our communication suffers and erodes the quality of our time together. Trust each other. Share each other with the world around you and then come back together in the intimate moments, in the sorrowful moments, in the joyful moments and in the ordinary moments.

Oh God, help us to see you in our relationship. Help our commitment, help our communication, strengthen our marriage, be at the very core of us. You are our God. Thank you for our marriage. Thank you for our time together. Help us to do your Holy will each day even when we have to be apart through Christ Our Lord, Amen.

Love,

MyMom

Be glad to see each other

Our lives are busy. We work a job or run a business, we serve in our church and communities, we schedule time with family and friends, we spend time in prayer, we read, we exercise. Our days are so full. We often put ourselves and our spouses too low on our todo list. How can we reshape our days to put ourselves and each other higher on our lists?

We can start by greeting each other joyfully. When we see our loved one, we great him or her with great joy. I remember watching my parents greet each other after a long day at work. My dad would inevitably be late coming home. He had a demanding job that always had one more thing to attend to before he could leave for the day. My mom would try to be patient but would be overcome with frustration. She wanted him to be home on time for dinner and spend time with the family.

When Dad finally arrived home, he would sheepishly walk in and mom would let him have her best tongue lashing for being late. Here they were, longing to see each other yet unable to greet each other lovingly. It became a very bad habit for them.

If life’s demands give you only a short time with each other, make that time joyful. Every glance, each word, each touch should be in joy and love. Trust each other and Communicate your love for each other with a welcome and happy greeting. If you only have 5 minutes together today, make those 5 minutes count. This is true for each person in our lives. Make your moments together count.

Oh God, help us to see you in each other and in the moments of our day. Give us patience and joy. We thank you for the gift of each other and ask you to bless our time together with gratefulness and Love through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Love,

MyMom