Missing MyMom

My mother told me many times that she missed her parents every day.   I was a teenager at the time and I thought that was so odd.  I mean, of course I loved my grandmother.  I knew her.  I was 14 years old when she died.  She seemed terribly old to me and I thought my mom should be more use to not having her parents.   My grandfather had died when I was just five years old and I only have one brief memory of him and it isn’t a positive memory.  Hmmm, I wondered where this longing came from.  Logically, they had been gone a long time and yet my mother missed them very much.  She remembered how her mother had taught each of her daughters to guard themselves and to dress modestly and to work hard.   There was a mistrust that was passed along from Grandmother to mother to daughter regarding dangers in the world.  I carried that fear for many years and conquered it after taking an Impact training class (high contact self defense where you learn to kick heads and get away).  I learned hard work and that everyone loves the person who takes care of the dishes after dinner.  I always help to clean up.

My grandfather taught my mother about gardening.  I understand that he always had beautiful gardens.  He also had a big temper and when I slammed the door to his kitchen one too many times, I received a slap on the head that left my ears ringing.  I remember running to his garden and walking there for solace. My grandmother came out to console me and talk about not slamming doors.  She said that I should appreciate my grandpa for the beautiful garden and that he loves me enough to teach me not to slam doors.  I never really learned not to slam doors but I do think of him every time I do.  And I remember all the lovely days I would spend near my mom as she gardened.  I know that love of gardening came from her dad.

I really miss my mom today.  I can tell you so many stories about the person she was.  You only saw her in her older days when she was tired and sick with such limited mobility.  I remember her vigor and how she taught me so many things: to cook, to sew, to knit, to try.  She taught me about God and his Holy Mother Mary and passed along her steadfast faith.  I know that I will see her again one day.

I am grateful that I still have my dad with us.  He has always worked hard and been a very action oriented man; a leader who always has a plan.  I know that these days of diminished capacity are difficult for him.  I hope that I am helping him in these years and enjoying his company as much as I should.  What a blessing my parents have always been to me.

I miss my mother in law too.  She and my mother died in 2012.  Sometimes their passing seems so raw and fresh to me.  My grief and longing overwhelm me.  Many times I think of them.  Such good, loving women that God so graciously put into my life.  Not perfect but good people.  I know they both forgave my failings, took pride in my success, and loved me with all their hearts.

We are fortunate to still have my father in law too.  He is still strong willed and able.  He golfs multiple times a week although he needs a cart now.  He should ask for help more often.  We are so glad when we spend time with him.  After he recently visited, we had the golf channel on our TV for a couple of weeks.  We would turn it on and watch a little golf, think of dad and then turn to our current Netflix series.

It may be a bit self serving of me to say this but cherish your time with your mom and dad.  Cherish the time with your grandfathers.  Truely, “Honor your father and your mother”.   I know that we will see our moms in heaven again.  I know that our time with our dads is fleeting.

Oh God, help us to be the sons and daughters that you desire us to be.  Help us to Honor our fathers and mothers.  Help us to forgive them their failings, to love them, to listen to them and to honor the place you have given them in our lives.  Through Jesus Christ Our Lord and Savior.  Amen.

Love you,

Mymom

What you say matters!

There is an old philosophical question “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?”  My answer to you is that of course it does make a sound.  What you say matters whether or not anyone else is around to hear it.  What you think matters too.  You are to conduct yourselves at good and honorable people, examples of Christians in the world.  Sometimes you will get angry.  Sometimes you will hit your thumb with a hammer and you will want to curse.  When I have been the most frustrated; in a car, in the basement, in the woods, those times when I thought I could swear like anything and no one could hear me anyway, someone is always around to hear me.  Sometimes it is my husband, sometimes a stranger, sometimes a friend, sometimes a child who just happens to walk into the situation where I think I’m alone and no one can hear.  I really regret the times when I indulge in venting and fowl language.  It is always unbecoming of a Christian and reflects poorly on me.  When you are angry, say you are angry.  When you need to vent, vent in a constructive way.  Hold your tongue and go for a run or just take a deep breath and ask Jesus to help you to handle the feelings that you are having.  Your feelings aren’t wrong.  The permission that you give yourself to vent, curse, or act out is what is wrong.

Also, never, ever talk badly about another person.  The sarcastic comedy that has permeated our society for the last 40 years has just gotten worse and worse.  It has become so lewd and unrighteous that it is hard to find kindness in any man or woman.  We are asked by Jesus to love one and other.  We are also asked to love our enemies.  When we find it impossible to love, we can ask Jesus for help.  When we fail, we ask Jesus to forgive us.  Admit when you are wrong and ask for forgiveness from each other.  Pray for those who you find most frustrating.  They need our prayers.

Oh God, help me to say yes when I mean yes and no when I mean no.  Help me to speak with grace and dignity.  Help me to hold my tongue and choose to handle my feelings in constructive ways.  Help me to see you in each person and love them.  Help me never to speak harshly about another but to be charitable and forgiving.  I can do these things through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Love,

Mymom

 

 

It’s about love and mercy

Today is the Feast of St Francis of Assisi. St Francis is known for how he left worldly things behind and learned to be present with the Lord through all the people he met at all times.   I went to daily mass today to celebrate St Francis.  The priest gave a lovely homily about St Francis and it gave me much to think about.  I have been studying the lives of St Francis and St Claire as I discern whether to join the Third Order Franciscans.  I have been on this path for 15 months.  This order is a way of life devoted to simplicity and presence with others.  St Francis learned to love himself and then he learned to love others modeling himself after Jesus who is love and mercy itself.

I like the reminder that we have an awesome God who loves me. He made me and I am good. He made others and they are good too. Please remember that and hold fast to your relationships with each other.  Be merciful and loving toward yourself and your neighbor.  St Francis and St Claire give us good examples of how to do this.

When you have an issue with others, forgive them, talk to them, and love them. All of your relationships will be better. Always remember that the devil is the one who wants you to be righteous and angry and unforgiving. God is the one who asks us to be humble and loving and forgiving.

Oh God, thank you for the example of St Francis and St Claire.  Help me to love You, to love myself, and to love others just as St Francis and St Claire did.  Help me to see you when I look at my neighbor and at myself through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Love,

Mymom

How to Handle Evil

  In a world full of sin and evil and apathy and lack of faith it is hard sometimes to see God working in all things for the good of those who love Him. He is present in every moment of every day. He is aware of every breath that we take and cares about every aspect of our lives. We are His children and we are cherished. My prayer of late is all about how we can make a difference to others through our love and our example of mercy and service. I try to remember that when I see evil, I am looking right into the face of the devil and he must be rebuked through the Holy name of Jesus. I must pray for each person and persistently pray for peace in our day. When I pray the Our Father, the rosary, the Divine Mercy chaplet and my prayer intentions, God is glorified and He listens and answers according to His Holy will. I can rely on my mother Mary to guide me to her Son, Jesus. I can rely on her to intervene on my behalf. I ask her to pray for each of us and our intentions. I can have hope in today. I can feel joy in this very moment amidst all the distractions and trouble of the world, if my focus is on Jesus. God is good all the time and all the time God is good.  

Oh God most Holy.  Protect us from evil.  Grant peace in our day.  Give us focus that we may keep our eyes fixed on you.  Give us freedom to worship you and keep us persistent in our prayers for our troubled world through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Love, peace, and goodness, 

Mymom

Replacing Bad Habits with Good Ones

Replace your bad habits or addictions with positive ones.  We all have bad habits to overcome.  Some of us stay up too late, drink too much, smoke, game too much, eat too much, fail to pray, fail to exercise, fail to go to church, show up late, interrupt others or fail to listen.  Our self-talk about our failures is very negative.  Sometimes we are not honest with ourselves and make excuses for our behavior and procrastinate the change we know we need to make.

Prayer, study, exercise, eating right, taking the dog for a walk, reading a good book. When you feel the urge to use tobacco, drink, game too much or any other negative behavior, think about the positive things you could do instead and create good habits. 
Forgive yourself, make sure your self-talk is positive, and choose to create positive habits.  Focus on your prayer life first.  Ask God for help.  He will help you and you can do this.

Romans 5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Oh God, help us to overcome bad habits and especially addictive behavior that hid us back from living the full life you have planned for us.  With Your help, we can replace our bad habits with good ones and better serve You through Jesus Christ Our Lord.  Amen

Love, Mymom

Book Recommendations: The Bait is Satan: Living Free from the Deadly Trap of Offense by John Bevere

I read The Bait of Satan in 2013.  At the time, I had no idea how hurt I was by my feelings of being offended.  As John explains in his book, there are many reasons to feel offended.  Our reasons are usually good ones.  Our parents, our spouse,  our children, friends, neighbors, co-workers, boss, pastor, fellow Christians, teachers…and the list goes on and on all have times when they offend us.   When I feel offended, I may choose to wallow in my feelings instead of having conversations and forgiving the ones who have offended me.  

John Bevere calls the temptation to feel offended and disrupt or sever our relationships with others, the Bait of Satan.  It is what Satan uses to hook us into not only feeling bad but to quit talking to those we legitimately feel have harmed us.  Falling into the trap of rightous unforgiveness is a sin.  These sins separate us from others and more importantly, turn our attention inward and separate us from God.

Jesus has told us, we need to forgive others always.  

Matthew 6:14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you;”

Forgiveness is never optional as a Christian.  If we are to be forgiven, we must forgive.  Satan tempts us with the offenses of others.  His goal is that we be separated from God and others.  Worse, our separation leads us to other sins of gossip and treating others badly.

The Bait of Satan opened my eyes and I started forgiving others.  Occassionlly, Satan still catches me with his bait.  Most of the time, I’m able to recognize the offense and call it out.  When you have a conversation with the offender, you often find that you misunderstood the situation.  Their intention wasn’t to offend and even if it was, let them be, forgive, and do not be held captive by the offense.

Oh God, help us to recognize when we feel offended and to swiftly forgive others.  Help us to truly mean it when we pray “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”.  Through Christ Our Lord.  Amen

Love, MyMom

Book Recommendations – The Greatest Story

I want to share books that have been very significant in my life, so over this next month, I’ll give you some book recommendations.  The first book is the most significant.  It was very difficult and wonderful to read as are most spiritual books.  I would get distracted and have to bring myself back to it time and time again.  I first started exploring this book when I was a teenager.  I would read it avidly for a few weeks and then I would get out of the habit and come back to it later.  This book is the bible.  The first time I read it cover to cover, I read it with my young husband.  We used a study guide called God’s Word Today which I believe is called God’s Word Among us today.  The study guide took us through the bible one chapter at a time.

Each month, we would get a new booklet with daily readings covering a book of the bible.  The study alternated between the Old and New Testament books of the bible.  We would pause each morning before we began our day by reading a chapter or two and reading the reflection.  Over the course of three years, we read the whole bible.  It was such a special time for us to read together and reflect on God’s word together.  We learned so much about God and about each other.  My own faith deepened and at the same time, I had so many questions.

Over the many years since, I have read the bible multiple times.  I have taken the Bible Timeline class by Jeff Cavins.  I’ve read a daily reading guide of the mass readings.  Actually, the daily readings offered at mass will take you through the bible once about every three years.  My current guide is called “Living Faith, Daily Catholic Devotions”.  This year, I have committed to reading the bible cover to cover.  I’m using a devotion book called “Your Daily Walk”.

I also have an App on my phone.  Evangelizo has the daily readings and reflections.  More about Catholic Apps for your phone in another blog.  I’m learning new things every time I read a reflection.  The Word of God is infinite in its messages to us.  I meet God in a very personal way in the bible.  I find so many interesting facts.  So much comfort and so much challenge at the same time.  Why don’t you pick up the bible and read.  God has much to say to you too.

Let us pray, Oh God, help us to seek you in all that we do.  Help us to dive into your Holy Word again and again.  Please deliver us from the Evil One who finds every possible reason to keep us from reading, reflecting, and resting in You and your Holy Word, the Bible.  In Jesus Holy name, Amen.

Love,

My Mom

 

Listen, don’t judge

Many times I have failed to be present with you, to listen to your story.  I have jumped to conclusions and I have judged you from my own background and experiences.  I have tried to fix things for you and I have undermined your self confidence.  I’m sorry.  I truly want to listen and accept you where you are and trust you and God with your future.  You will have setbacks.  You will have successes.  You will succeed and you will fail.  Get up.  Plan your day.  Seek help.  Ask God what you should do next.  Spend time with Him in prayer.  I am praying for you.  I will listen to your story without judgement.  I will help when you ask.  

Jesus, Son of the living God, help us as we communicate with each other to listen and to see each other as you see us.  Amen.

Love, Mymom

I Can

“It is God’s resounding I Am that drowns out our weak, I Can’t” from Your Daily Walk , daily devotions to read the bible in 365 days, January 19.  How very often I have said I can’t.  How often I have had to realign myself to God’s will instead of my will.  It is tons harder when instead of my will for me, I am focused on my will for you, my children.  Oh how tangled I get.  It can look selfless in that I only really want good things for you, my children.  I make it hard for you to pray and listen to God’s voice in your life because I am so busy sharing my voice.  

Today I say peace be with you.  I trust you with your future.  I trust you to make mistakes and pick yourself back up, ask God’s forgiveness, pray, listen and begin again.  I trust you and God with your future.

Tomorrow, I will need to pray and let go again.  God is good.  He is the great I Am.  I can let him be God of your life and I will be your mom.

God bless you.  Love, MyMom

Living in the Present with Patience, hard work and Love

I am so delighted to see your progress.  You’ve gotten engaged after patiently cultivating your relationship.  Persistently seeing your future in front of you.  You didn’t give up on each other and now you can enjoy your engagement and plan your marriage.  I love seeing your happiness.

You’ve gotten that promotion that you have worked hard for and thought would never come.  You showed up every day.  You did your best job each day and now, you are seeing fruit from your labor.

You’ve finished another semester and you persevered through that class that was so hard for you.  I’m so proud of your efforts.  You are another step closer to your degree.

You had a difficult semester.  Now you are picking yourself up and planning your next steps forward.  I know this is hard for you and I believe that you can find your way.  You’ll need to think through your options and explore your path.  You can do this.

Your friends are all starting to buy houses, have kids, adopt pets, getting better jobs… it is easy to compare and wish and feel dissatisfied.  Your self talk can become bitter,  envious or it can be content and joy-filled as you help your friends celebrate their successes.  You will achieve your own dreams in your own time.  Be patient.

As the year comes to an end, it is natural for us to look back and assess where we have come.  We can easily brush past our joys and focus instead our sorrows or mistakes, on that pound or two that we didn’t take off, on the debt that we didn’t make as much progress on as we hoped.

What I say to you is that  December 31 is really just another day.  January 1, follows.  What really matters is how I live each day.  Setting my goals and then living to fulfill those goals one day at a time.  Serving God, serving my neighbor, and living in gratitude for all that I have and all that I get to be.

My prayer for you as one year ends and another begins is that you may live in the present moment.  Never wishing away a single minute.  Do the work you have to do this day.  Appreciate the joys and help each other through the sorrows.  Your attitude is your choice and your future depends on how you live this present moment.

Each morning, look back at yesterday for what you have to learn and then let it go.  Pause a moment and think about tomorrow and the direction you are heading.  Then let it be in the future.  Look at how you want to live today, plan today and then act.  Live each moment:  See, feel, hear, smell, taste.  Let your moments be alive and live them with intention.

Don’t be afraid to work hard, ask for help and reach for your dreams.

Dear God, help each of us to live in the present.  Help us to see you in our lives and walk each day with you.  Help us to thank you for all that you do for us.  Help us to be patient as your plan for us unfolds.  Help us to love others.  Help us to be truly ourselves as we trust in you.  God bless the coming year one day at a time in Jesus name.  Amen.

Love, Mymom