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

Prayer overcomes 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, please help each of us to stay focused on you and your Holy Word.  Please deliver us from evil and grant us the freedom to worship you.  Please grant peace in our day and protect us from evil. Grant this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Love, peace and goodness,

Mymom

Mindfulness

The new name for presence. Be present in the moment. Be mindful of your surroundings and the people around you. See the way the snow lays on the branch on the tree outside your window. Notice how your dog or cat sit near you and just want to be in the same room with you. Breathe. Breathe deeply. When you breathe in, close your eyes. Enjoy the moment.

Thanking God, praising God, knowing that God is here with you in this moment. Take a mindful 10 minutes each day. This is called meditation. Meditate, breathe, Be still. If you can’t manage ten minutes, start with one minute. Listen to God. Let your mindful phrase be, Jesus, I trust in you. Thank him and then be quiet in this moment. Listen.

Oh God, let me always seek you throughout my day, living mindfully of all the blessings around me. Let me seek you when my day is troubled. Let me run to you when the news is bad. Let me cling to you. Lord, I turn to you through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.

Love, MyMom

Choose Your Attitude!

An oldie but goodie… your brother recently mentioned the FISH book that I read to all of you about a dozen years ago when you were all still home. He wanted me to know that he is choosing to like his work and he likes interacting with his customers and helping them with their moves (he is working for a moving company). He asked me if I like my work and I had to pause and think about that. Too often, I can see only the obstacles and fail to see all the positives. It is really important to live in the present and I often get caught up in future and what if thinking. So, do you remember the 4 principles of the FISH philosophy? Be There (Be present), Make their day, Choose your attitude, Have fun (play). Thanks to the reminder, I’m having more fun today. Here is the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cHj6Wj0pko  and the link to the book: FISH, A Proven Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results by Lundin, Paul and Christensen, https://www.amazon.com/Fish-Proven-Morale-Improve-Results/dp/0786866020/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1475604961&sr=1-1&keywords=fish+a+proven+way+to+boost+morale+and+improve+results

Oh God, help us to be present where we are this day, in this moment.  Help us to see those around us and pay attention to their needs, be there for them, and make their day.  Help us to choose our attitude and see how we can have fun with the work we have to do this day.  Thank you God for our work, for our co-workers, we pray for each of them and each other through 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

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

 

Addictions or False Gods

How I wish I could help you with your addiction!   It is easy to see the addictions in others.  Unfortunately, addictions are difficult to recognize in ourselves.  We all fall prey to addictions.   You might be addicted to video games, gambling, TV, shopping, people, sex, have an eating disorder, be a workaholic, an alcoholic, be addicted to prescription drugs, tobacco, chewing tobacco, food, exercise, the list goes on and on.  If you are addicted to one thing, you are most likely susceptible to other addictions.

Addictions are anything we obsess about and put as most important in our lives.  Addictions are our false Gods.  They prevent us from seeing what God wants us to do today or prevent us from turning to God in our need.  When I am troubled and should be turning to God in prayer, asking for His help, I turn instead to TV, shopping, video games, tobacco, or any number of false Gods.

The best remedy for your addiction that I know of is recognizing it.  Seeing that we are putting something or someone before God.  Then we need to seek him in prayer.  There is something that God wants us to do today.  Our addictions prevent us from praying and seeking the will of God in our lives.

For very difficult issues like alcoholism, see the Twelve Step program.  http://www.aa.org/.  See also the book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.  You may benefit from counseling regarding your addiction.  Has it taken over your life so that you can’t function without it?  Seek help.

The first commandment that God gave to Moses was “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.  You shall have no other gods before me.”   Exodus 20:1-2

In Matthew’s Gospel 22:37-38, Jesus tells us “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.”

God wants to help us.  He wants to be our light and our salvation.  Pay attention to who or what you turn to when you are stressed, troubled, hurting, anxious… Turn to God in prayer.  Spend time with God and He will give you rest.

Dear God, help us to see our addictions.  Help us to see the areas of our life where we need healing.  Help us to seek you in all things and to turn away from our addictions or false gods.  Help us to seek you and you alone, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Love and prayers,

Mymom