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

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

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

Grieving a Sinful World

I am shocked at how commonplace mass shootings have become in the United States. Instead of a couple of times in 100 years, we now know that something will happen and it will happen soon and it will be very, very bad. We don’t even talk about it anymore. Did you hear about … isn’t even in our everyday conversation.

We have to keep talking about terrorist acts, mental illness, isolation, greed, and all the terrible things happening. The devil wants to separate and divide all of us. Republican or Democrat…. do I want to listen to you or not is what goes through our minds. Stop the hatred. Stop the blindness. Stop the separation. Stop the anger. We must love one another. Love is what we need and God is Love.

Pray without ceasing. Love each other. Pray for your enemies. See Jesus in each other. When you start to feel separated, pray “Get behind me Satan.” Recognize that the evil one is behind your feelings of isolation and run back to God. Pray. Love. Treat each other kindly.

Listen. Pay attention to each other. Put down your phone once in a while. Forgive, love, be a friend, and know that I am praying for you. Be a positive, loving, listener and voice your opinion only after carefully praying for direction.

Oh God have mercy on us for we have sinned, we don’t know where to turn, help us to turn to you first and then to each other. Forgive us Father. Love us. Help us. Bless my children and grandchildren and relatives and friends. Bless the people of Florida and people throughout the world as we cry for peace and pray for those who are mentally ill or isolated, Through Jesus Christ our Lord who is Love for the world. Amen.

Love, 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