Saturday, February 17, 2018

How God Loves Us

I left morning Mass yesterday feeling a little lonely.

I get to communicate with my siblings often as we text and talk and work out a schedule to help our parents.  I get to see our two oldest daughters frequently as I am blessed to watch their children a couple of days a week.  I get to see my parents almost daily.

Still something was missing.

I told God all about it in very few words.  God works with what we give Him, no matter how small.

Yesterday turned out to be a very blessed day.

Two friends that live in separate cities, miles apart, in Massachusetts sent me elaborate heart emojis just to let me know they were thinking about me.

My Florida cousins (husband and wife) both texted me about totally different matters, but I knew that they were thinking about me.

Wayne and I got to have dinner together at the Lenten Fish Supper that our church hosts.

After the fish dinner we went to Stations of the Cross and a couple we are friends with sat behind us.  After the stations we were able to catch up a little bit. Wayne and I shared our date night journaling with them.

Turns out there was a talk for married couples that we and our friends stayed to hear.

The talk was very uplifting and each couple was given two notecards.   We were told to write a prayer for our spouse on the notecard and then pray the prayer over our spouse. It was lovely.

God sent all these people into my day to let me know He heard my prayer and was concerned about my needs.

Then He gave me a little something extra.

There was a give-away at the end of the talk.  The couple with the notecard that matched the card the presenter held up was the winner.

That was us!

We won a heart shaped box of chocolates (Ferrero Rocher-the good stuff) and a $75 gift card to Andiamo (a very nice Italian restaurant close to home)!  I see another lovely date night in our future.


All this to say, take your needs to the Father who loves to love us in so many ways.



Friday, January 26, 2018

Lent Begins When?

In case you haven't heard, Lent begins on, of all days, St. Valentine's Day.  February14th for the non-romantics out there.

Ash Wednesday, a day of fasting and abstaining vs. St Valentine's Day, a day of chocolates and date night dinners out.

You will all have to figure it out on your own.  I'm writing to encourage you to start thinking about Lent.

What are you going to do to draw closer to Christ this year?  After all, He made a pretty big sacrifice to draw close to us.  He came down from heaven!

Just let that sink in for a minute: The God who created EVERYTHING humbled Himself to become human so that we could know Him personally.

I think that makes what we do for Lent worthy of much thought and prayer.

There is a lot of reading material out there for the season.

Magnificat puts out a Lenten booklet available here.  It's concise and easy to read.  I used to buy it, but my parish now has them available for us for a $1 donation.

I'm intrigued by this offer called "The Last Four Things".  Daily email videos and essays to read for the 40 days of Lent.  The only thing slowing me down is the $20 price tag.  It looks amazing but if I get busy and fall behind I feel like I wasted my money. Praying about it.

Of course there is always that "giving up" part of Lent.  This year I am giving up internet time, whether it is on my computer or on my phone.  I am reading two wonderful books that encourage way less internet "boredom therapy."

I actually spent one full hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament today.  If I gave up an hour of internet time wasting I could do that everyday. I can't imagine the person I would be if I spent an hour with Jesus everyday (in addition to Mass).

I know for today I had a LOT to do.  I spent the hour anyway and got so much done afterwards that the day was just wonderful.  God will never let the important stuff go undone if you give Him your time first.

So, Lent starts in 19 days.  What is your Lent going to look like so that you look more like Christ at Easter?


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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

"Deep Work" vs Deep Listening

Deep Work: Rules For Focused Success In A Distracted World, by Cal Newport, is the January book for the Modern Mrs. Darcy online book club that I joined this year.  My hope was not only to read more, but to be able to discuss what I've read with others.

The book takes a look at how our culture and work places are hazardous to "deep work".

The book flap states that "deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task.  It's a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time."

Being a stay-at-home mom for the past 34 years (and homeschooling for a major portion of those years) means I have not been able to do a lot of deep work. My days consisted of 'demands' from the little people that needed me.

Well, the little people are not so little anymore and they are no longer homeschooled so I decided it's time to start honing my "deep work" skills.

I did not know this was a book I desperately needed to read, but God did.  He led me to Modern Mrs. Darcy and thus Cal Newport.

The author gives several examples of some pretty over-the-top lengths some deep workers have gone to achieve the quiet, uninterrupted time they required to go deep.

Psychologist Carl Jung built a two story house in the woods with what he called his retiring room. No one was allowed in!   J.K. Rowling, while writing the final Harry Potter book, checked herself in to a luxury hotel for more than a week so could finish her masterpiece without the distractions of home. Bill Gates has been known to isolate himself for a week at a time to do deep thinking and reading.

While I haven't found my deep work spot yet (it certainly is not in my house anywhere!) I absolutely know where my deep listening spot is; in the basement, with an iron in my hand, one of my beloved's shirts on the ironing board and the washer and dryer running in the background for some white noise.

This is where I hear God.

This is my prayer spot and my listening spot.  We have had some pretty good conversations, God and me.

They are not always earth shattering discussions but they change me; they ground me; they let me know I am definitely not in charge!

This morning's discussion was a bit different.  It was bold!  It may be dot connecting (you know the dots that God puts in your life that you don't really pay attention to, and then one day something happens and you look back and you're able to connect the dots?).

I'm not sure where we (Wayne and I) are being led, but if my God discussion from today bears fruit it will be a fun ride to get where we might be headed.

I may not have deep work down pat yet, but if my deep listening bears fruit, I will be needing my new skills and a place to hone them. I look forward to the challenge.

Prayers appreciated! Watch for updates.

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Saturday, June 10, 2017

A Date Night Journal Update

So I'm still getting used to "hearing" God tell me what Bible book and passage he has for me.

Case in point:  In my previous blog I explained our new date night routine.

Well, Friday was date night so we had dinner (at L.A. Bistro--it was amazing!) and headed back to the Adoration Chapel.

All week the first reading at Mass was from the book of Tobit.  It's a beautiful story that you may want to read if you never have.

On Wednesday, because I'm a bit impatient, I asked God what book he was going to have to go to on Friday.  He answered, "Tobit".  I figured it was just me because that is what I've been hearing all week, so on Thursday I asked again.  Again, "Tobit".

So on Friday, I knelt down in the Chapel, and tried really hard to clear my mind and just listen. Again, "Tobit".  So, I waited a few minutes and 'heard'  1 Corinthians 5.

Oh YES, finally I'm hearing properly.  I opened my Bible to 1 Corinthians 5 and read.  And it was all about incest.  :-(

And then I heard God say, "So......Tobit???"  Silly me.

I found the verses He wanted me to have and then sat there a little distraught.  I'm not usually at a loss for words when I write, but last night was hard.  To open up and be honest (which was actually one of the lines in 1 Corinthians 5) was going to be a little more challenging this time.  Wayne was sitting a few rows behind me and I could hear his pen scratching on his paper and he was going to town.  I knew I had to begin.   I started writing, and writing and writing.  It was pretty amazing.

The best part was sharing.

I started reading Wayne's journal first.  It meshed so well with my own (though he had a totally different book and verses to pray and write about.)  I said to him,  "This is incredible. If this isn't from God, I don't know what is!"

Of course, he hadn't read my journal entry so he wasn't sure what I was talking about.  When he got to mine, he said, "now I know why you said that. Wow!"

I whole heartedly recommend this date night activity.  No matter how long you've been married, God has so much to give to your relationship. Give it a try.  I would love to hear feedback.

Dearest Jesus, thank you for a new way to connect with Wayne. Thank you for your presence in this chapel and in every tabernacle in every Catholic church and chapel all over the world. Thank you for your gift of You to us. Keep drawing us closer to You and to each other.  Amen

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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Reconnecting

After 34 years of marriage, a majority of couples have had an empty nest for years, and have gotten used to the new normal of just the two of them.

We have been married 34 years and have 4 offspring still left in the nest, the youngest of these is 12 years old. It will be a long time before we know what it's like to be on our own.

Still, we are at a point where the kiddos need us to do less and less for them.  (It is very weird cooking for 4!)

We are learning how to be a couple again.

With an idea I gleaned from my cousin (she had done a 40 day journaling experience using Bible verses the Lord lead her to) we have a new date-night plan.


I found these soft cover journals at Staples.  On Friday nights, after dinner, we head to the Adoration Chapel and spend some time.  We sit apart so as not to impede the prayers and thoughts.  

I've often had people tell me that they sit in the chapel and ask the Lord to show them a verse to pray with.  I have tried it in the past but have been too impatient (or dull) to get anything out of it. 

Well, two weeks in a row I have been to lead to verses He wants me to ponder. Wayne, too, has had the same blessing.  

I tend to get books instead of verses so I figure God has a lot to say to me. 

We each write out the verse(s) we receive in prayer and then add a prayer or our own thoughts about how the verses speak to us. 

When we get home we exchange books and read aloud what the other has written.  It is a beautiful time and is making a huge difference in our communication.  

Dear Cuz,  you know who you are. Thanks for sharing your journey and leading us to this wonderful new date-night gift.  



Monday, May 15, 2017

A Thank-You Note to Jesus

Dear Jesus,

I just wanted to say thanks for all you do for me.  You bless me constantly and I am trying really hard to be very aware of all of my blessings.

The big ones are easy:

  • Awesome hubby
  • Awesome children and sons-in-law
  • Max
  • Grace 
  • Max's sibling due in July
And, of course, the rest of this huge family that I get to be part of.  For food and a lovely home. 

Thank you for the things that make my life easier: 
  • truck that runs (no payments)
  • phone
  • lawn mower
  • vacuum cleaner
  • dish washer
  • washer/dryer
  • refrigerator
  • stove
  • lights
  • heat/air conditioning
  • indoor plumbing
  • and so many more blessings
Then there are the parking spaces close to the door in the rain or snow,  and for all the times you've kept me safe driving here, there and everywhere.  For all the times you've said, "yes" when I ask you for things.  For the times you've said, "no" and then shown me why ( and even when you haven't shown me why yet.) 

Thank you for alone time, and me time, and time with those I love! 

Thank you for spring!!

Thank you for giving me ways to draw closer to you, my loving Savior; Mass, confession, Bible study, Dominicans, so many wonderful books to read to help me stay on track. 

 Thank you for giving me your Mamma as my Mamma.  

Thank you my Jesus for loving me like You do.  For picking me up when I fall and allowing me to try again to be the person you created me to be. 

Thank you most of all for becoming one of us.  Thank you for your life, death and resurrection and the promise of eternity with you that make this pilgrimage on earth so worth it.   

I love you, my Jesus.  Amen 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

"Mary-nating"

As part of my Lenten journey this year I am receiving emails from Fr. Richard Heilman.

His emails are called Nineveh 90 and are preparing us for the 100th anniversary of our Blessed Mother's apparitions in Fatima, Portugal.

Today's email went straight to my heart and exactly describes what it going on inside of me this Lent.

'The "one thing necessary" constitutes the essential foundation for the interior life and consists in hearing the word of God and living by it (I will serve!). It stems from the story of Martha and Mary (Lk 10:38-42), where we first see that, amazingly, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity was sitting right in their living room. Now, Martha remains busy with the good and noble protocol of hospitality while Mary sits at the feet of Jesus, her eyes locked on his holy face, peering into his soul, hanging on his every word. Mary is actually in adoration, soaking in everything our Lord wants to give her. I like to say that she is "Mary-nating" - soaking in the gusher of God's graces. ' (Church Militant Field Manual: Special Forces Training for the Life in Christ by Fr Richard M Heilman)

Yes, a new book will grace my life soon! I need to delve more deeply into what Fr. Heilman has to say.

As for being in adoration of the Second Person of the Trinity, the opportunity avails itself readily to us.  Christ is there in the tabernacle of every Catholic Church one enters.  He is available in every Adoration chapel, as well.  When the monstrance is placed on the altar (or even when Jesus is reposed in the tabernacle) HE is present.  He longs for us to come and "soak in everything Our Lord want to give [us]."  

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If you have never been to adoration, I encourage you to find a Church, or adoration chapel soon.  Go "waste some time with the Lord." (Fr. John Riccardo)  You will find that that "wasted" time was the best part of your day. And you will most likely find that your heart calls you back there again and again.  What more could we ask of this Lent, than to grow closer to the heart of the One who loves us best.  Go ahead--"Mary-nate".  You and Christ will be glad you did.


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