Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Changes seem to be happening at geometric proportions....I find I am frustrated and overwhelmed and then a conversation with one of my brothers and a gift of tea--extraordinary, gourmet tea--from my son, with some time spent in the quiet sipping the tea and reflecting on my conversation, and the world slows way down.....these are gifts from God--blessings that come to me through two very special people....and I am so grateful....earlier this evening I did not know how to feel about anything...now I just feel gratitude in my heart and I am embracing the moment.....a sense of peace fills my spirit and I know that God is near and it is time just to accept things as they flow and know that all will be well.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Chaos in the world brings uneasiness, but it also allows the opportunity for creativity and growth.
Tom Barrett 

This is how I feel...uneasy, chaotic....It is though I left one world behind and woke up to a new one...everything is familiar and yet, everything has changed...I recognize my environment but see it with different eyes....I recognize my face but wonder who is the person inside that face...I am in the process of fulfilling some responsibilities I chose to take on but no longer give me any sense of joy or fulfillment....I will not volunteer to do anything like them again...I am beginning to do what I want to do but then question myself as to what my motivation really is....I do not have to justify or validate my actions any more....I am making sound choices....but I am surprised at what I am doing....and I surprised at what I am not doing....and I am not surprised at what I should be doing...

LIfe is different....a widow, in charge of my own destiny and the guardian of my daughter Sky's destiny..I can choose to go down many different paths....I can be isolated or involved...I can find balance or choose not too...but I need to make choices and take action now because I do not have a lifetime to wait....I have lived two thirds of my life....1. childhood, 2. marriage, and now,3, a single parent of an adult with Down syndrome.. I am young at heart but physically mature, aging...  hopefully, there is time to finally discovering who I really am.

I realized this week that the chaos I find myself in, is manifesting many opportunities for growth and creativity....It is the freedom I have search for all my life....now I have to let go of the anxiety that comes with change and begin to enjoy the answer to my life of prayers.... 

I know that God is at the heart of everything good in my life.  It is only with Him at the center of my life will this new freedom I have gained have any real meaning or joy....and so I meditate and I pray and I hold onto my faith and feel sincere gratitude in my heart...

tonight I pray this prayer from the Book of Common Prayer, with one difference.  I have changed all inclusive pronouns to the personal:

Almighty and eternal God, so draw my heart to thee, so
guide my mind, so fill my imagination, so control my
will, that I may be wholly thine, utterly dedicated unto
thee; and then use me, I pray thee, as thou wilt, and always
to thy glory and the welfare of thy people; through our Lord

and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” 
― Albert Einstein

The last two weeks have been about change---change in my perception of things, change in my behavior, trying to initiate positive change in my life....my world hasn't turned upside down but it has been shaken up.  The first thing I noticed is that I have spent a lot of time just thinking.....and then when I realized that I was only thinking I would take care of what it was I was milling over in my brain...and be obsessed by it until it was done...I am not being effective,  I am not embracing new perceptions, I am only reacting to change and be un-nerved by it..  I could be enjoying the positive in my life but the old habits are like friends who I am pushing out of my life...with these "friends" my life although not healthy or good was predictable and I cling to that security....I can not live in two worlds...to do the best for me, i have to give up the old securities.  I have to have faith in God and myself and leave the old security of what was behind.  I did not realize how hard this would be.

I have to change the atmosphere of my home...this is my biggest demon... I thought for a time that just picking up and moving was the answer but I realize now that was just running away.  I wanted perfection that I perceived would be anywhere but here...I was wrong.  first of all there is no perfection except in the love of God and secondly, I can have it all, if I would conquer my dragons here.  "Having it all"  means a healthy, loving environment and financial security--not one or the other.  I did not have the faith in myself or God to know that staying put would inevitably be the source of my greatest freedom.  Logically i know now this is right.  Emotionally I am torn.  .

Home is where the heart is...my heart has been absent for a long time....I made a commitment to make this house my home years ago.  iI was an answer to prayer in a time that any answer would have been a miracle.  but life and hard times got in the way, and I blamed the house for it's lack of perfection and all the dreams I had were worn away...today I have to learn to love this house all over again and find new dreams to make it the home I always wanted.

I started with my daughter Sky.  She has down syndrome and she can not imagine any home but this one.  her bed was old and broken.  Friday I ordered her a new bed.  It is the bed she always wanted but better--a captains bed with two drawers of storage under neath and a bookcase headboard. This bed is
perfect for her and for her room.  She got excited and then talked to me about the curtains and blinds she wanted and the color of her woodwork-sky blue.  i could see in her eyes that she loved her room and now she would love it even more.  I wanted that enthusiasm and faith.  She "knows" that her room is becoming just what she always wanted.. Sky lives in the moment.  Most of her memories of the past are good times she wants to repeat...her future is one holiday to the the nest...she does not have "baggage."

I have to find her balance in my life.  I have to look at this house with new eyes.  I have to embrace change--good change--and I have to let the old of my life disappear into the past...I can not do this by taking on a challenge of another house....I have to do this by living here, where I am, and slaying my dragons one room at a time....and by accepting and loving the place where I find myself now....and I have to let God be in charge, guiding me every step of the way.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

today I prepare for my guests tomorrow...it is a labor of love....

“Just don't give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there's love and inspiration, I don't think you can go wrong.”
Ella Jane Fitzgerald (1917-1996); Jazz Vocalist

May God bless this endeavor and show me the way of sincere hospitality......

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


I am back from my retreat--actually I have been home for several days....so far I have not been able to put the experience into words...I have tried but nothing I write seems to give it justice.....but I can write about one thing....the self assessment test.  I had to face what I already knew which was the fact that I do not have very many close relationships outside my family and work...everyone needs friends...close friends... and for the first time in my life I have the freedom to make friends and build relationships
....but I haven't a clue how to go about doing this.... as far as problems go, I have minimized this challenge thinking I could fix it at any time....the truth be known, this idea of making new friends and building relationships scares me....

Long story short---after we took the test and then wrote out an exercise in who we are and what we want and more...it became obvious this was something that needed to be dealt with now... so day after tomorrow I will have company--I have invited those who were with me on the retreat to come to my house for coffee... I can't believe I did that....my house is in various stages of renovation and downsizing and I have never had friends over for coffee---NEVER....associations outside of work and family and even church were discouraged in my marriage..so for the last 20plus years, I have not been a hostess in any sense of the word.  the last two days after work I came home and was paralyzed, unable to think or do anything that might enhance the experience...I couldn't dust or vacuum or mop or even put stuff away.  I could not see anyway that I could make this a place where anyone would feel welcome, much less want to come back....I just wanted to get on the phone and cancel it all.....but then I remembered what one of my new friends told me at the retreat....."Friends come to your home to see you and not your house"..... I also remember that one of the dreams I wrote down for myself was the idea that I could become known for my hospitality....

Today I began doing general cleaning in spite of my fear and then took the time to look up the word hospitality....this is what is said:
generous and friendly treatment of visitors and guests 
My focus was wrong.....
Suddenly everything changed....we were on a retreat together and all that time we spent talking and sharing and getting close and praying and worshipping God could not be squelched even by how I perceive my house....I love these women and they are taking the time to come and see me in spite of where I live...the very least I can do is relax....and allow the fact that along with being anxious I am excited to spend even more time with them....it' is really going to be okay....no, it is actually going to be more that okay, it is going to be good.

Thank you God for helping me come to my senses!  Now I think I can vacuum the carpet and mop the kitchen floor without the old baggage....I want my life to heal and it may as well begin now with my new friends!


Hebrews 13:2
2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.


“In Ireland, you go to someone's house, and she asks you if you want a cup of tea. You say no, thank you, you're really just fine. She asks if you're sure. You say of course you're sure, really, you don't need a thing. Except they pronounce it ting. You don't need a ting. Well, she says then, I was going to get myself some anyway, so it would be no trouble. Ah, you say, well, if you were going to get yourself some, I wouldn't mind a spot of tea, at that, so long as it's no trouble and I can give you a hand in the kitchen. Then you go through the whole thing all over again until you both end up in the kitchen drinking tea and chatting. 

In America, someone asks you if you want a cup of tea, you say no, and then you don't get any damned tea.

I liked the Irish way better.” 
― C.E. Murphy, Urban Shaman

Thursday, October 3, 2013

tomorrow I leave for my retreat...it is a short one but I am looking forward to it....I haven't thought much about writing because I think I need to get myself into the mode of listening and being quiet and letting go.....will post again after the retreat....pray for me

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A good friend sent this to me today:

Hi Pauletta. I read your blog, and thought of this scripture from 2nd Timothy:
This saying is reliable:
“If we have died together, we will also live together.
If we endure, we will also rule together.
If we deny him, he will also deny us.
If we are disloyal, he stays faithful”
    because he can’t be anything else than what he is.

Another good friend suggested I read Luke 12.....

I am grateful for both of these messages and that they came from inspired writers in the Bible....human as me, they were given truth to share and I accept that truth....they were forgiven, so am I.  We all have to try are best but when we fall, we get up, ask for forgiveness and try again..

It is a new day for me....thank you God.

Monday, September 30, 2013

“I'm not upset that you lied to me, I'm upset that from now on I can't believe you.” 
― Friedrich Nietzsche

I have been thinking a lot about trust lately.....you tell someone you are going to do something and then it doesn't get done you have broken their trust.... two promises I made to God....I would go to Mass every Sunday @ 8am and Monday @ 6pm.....and I would write on this blog everyday....  I do both things most of the time but sometimes life gets in the way..... I really believe now I should have promised God that I would write and go to Mass most of the time or as much as was possible or anything but perfection....I am human and as good as my intentions are sometimes I screw up---doesn't matter if the reasons were viable....I made a promise that I should have know that I could not keep
perfectly....and I feel bad....I want God to trust me....I did not intend to lie or break my promise.

I promised the court when they gave me the honor of being Sky's legal guardian that I would do the best for her....most of the time I do...but sometimes I get busy and she gets to bed late....or we eat fast food...or I let one morning slide by without her brushing her teeth....I know I am a good guardian and a good mother...but I am far from perfect...have I broken my promise?  Can the court trust me? Can Sky?

I have worked for the past five years trying to settle my sister's estate.....it is only now that I can see the end....I don't know if I have done everything right or wrong....I want her to know that her trust in me was valid and I have tried my best...could have someone else taken care of it better than me? Did I let her down?

My husband was a functioning alcoholic....was I partly responsible for his death?  Is it okay that on one hand I feel a sense of relief?  At he end, he had lost trust in just about everything except whiskey--that seemed to be the only thing he could rely on and then it killed him.

Trust...trust...trust....when is it okay to trust?  Is it enough that I do my best so that I can earn trust?  I feel like I am trustworthy and yet I know there have been times when others have lost their trust in me....is it my fault? is it theirs?

I say I trust in God and yet I find myself doing things in lieu of Him.  

I feel so vulnerable today...I want absolutes and all I have is faith....and for some reason, I am even questioning that?  Can I trust myself to be true at least to God?  Does God trust me?

I don't have all the answers---sometimes I seem to not have any answers....all I have today is questions...and they are wearing me out...so in spite of everything I choose this:

I believe in God.  I trust God.  I trust that God understands me even when I don't understand myself....I choose to have faith in God because anything else would not make sense....tonight I am giving all these questions of trust to God with the belief that whether I can resolve the issues or not, God can.  I will continue to love God, have faith in Him, and try very hard to be the person He wants me to be....and then I will accept my imperfection and His forgiveness.....and work on being trustworthy....


Sunday, September 29, 2013

“Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for.” 
― Maya Angelou

For the past five years I have been trying to settle my sister's estate---it was very complicated with her personal property stored in one state,  her house in another, and she died after living a few years in yet a third....She was brought up and I reside in a fourth state...problems had to be confronted and solutions searched for.....then a little over a year and a half ago, my husband died....there was no estate but lots and lots of financial problems and solutions had to be searched for...for the most part except for a few days spent with my brother in even another state, there has been no day away--no respite....

On Friday I will leave on a retreat and leave everything behind for 24 hours or so....that will be wonderful...then around Thanksgiving I will again visit my brother for a week, that will be even better, and then next year on spring break, I will go to Sedona, Arizona and finally spread my sister's ashes....and enjoy the one place we both loved together....

It is important to work and confront problems and find solutions...but it also can be destructive if you spend 24/7 and that is all that you do....I need to heal and I am taking and making the time to do just that.....My lists of things to do to resolve the affairs of my husband and sister are almost done....now it is time to heal and just be....

Thank you God for the strength and tenacity to take care of these things....there is a new day dawning in my life, stay with me....come on my respite and heal me....and all this I ask in Jesus name, amen...

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Life is divided into three terms - that which was, which is, and which will be. Let us learn from the past to profit by the present, and from the present, to live better in the future.

William Wordsworth

The last time I wrote on this blog was Tuesday...today it is Saturday....

The past showed up and overwhelmed the present and except for work, I had a hard time functioning, much less writing.....I dealt with it and prayed a lot.....I realize now that it is all apart of the grieving process...and learning to live in the present....and looking forward at a different future...My sister has been gone for over five years now and my husband a year and a half....just about the time I think that I have everything under control, memories come, good and bad....and I am trying to learn to live with them....this time I just stopped and allowed them to happen....

Along with the memories came the work that I have to do to finally settle my sister's estate and deal with some issues that my husband left me with....so with the work and the memories and my job and the prayers, I didn't feel like writing....I was overwhelmed but managed to get through all of it....today I just spent time being quiet.  Today I really don't feel anything--a friend reminded me that sometimes emotionally one must rest...after this week that is what I did today.

I am glad the day became cloudy and it rained...somehow it made everything okay.  So much change has happened in my life that I really don't know who I am any more...All I know is that God is here and I am not alone.  Tomorrow is Sunday...I will begin again at Mass discovering who I am and where God wants me to be....for right now I am content to be quiet...and just be with God...

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I read this online today...it is thoughtfortheday,org.uk.....

Healing Power of Spirituality 
The deepest wounds we all carry are locked in our subconscious (out of our awareness). Deep memories and subtle impressions, from unfinished experience, rooted in the past. The pain from those wounds comes to revisit; to block and paralyze us in the moment called now. We all know it comes without warning - “Why am I feeling this way, I didn’t mean to do that, I don’t know what made me say that.” Healing does not mean finding and treating every single inner scar. It means going even deeper, past the wounds, to the core of our spirit, where we find the light and warmth of our own core qualities of love and peace. That’s what heals. That’s why it’s called spirituality and not therapy.

Most of the time I find answers when I write...today I found what I was looking for by reading what someone else wrote.  I couldn't have written it better.  this is what I needed to hear.

Monday, September 23, 2013

I like Mondays.

This is the day for new beginnings.
I introduce a new subject to my class, we learn a new song or finger play, we do a new craft....I enjoy my job!

This is the day for "quiet" Mass.  Sunday Mass is important...it is sharing your faith with a whole community....but Monday Mass is more intimate...It is just as important to me as Sundays are...

This particular Monday felt like the season is really changing so it is time to embrace Autumn all over again.  The cycle of nature keeps life interesting, always with something to look forward too.

Exercise and work and eight hours sleep meant that today was better than yesterday....  I understand full well what the saying means that says, "what a difference one day makes."

Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending. – Carl Bard

I am working on a different ending to the story of my life and I am starting again now...

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Bad day eventually got better...

woke up with a severe headache,  allowed depression and anger a place to simmer and thought my day was going to get worse...it did... for awhile...

My brother and my youngest son reminded me that I had a choice..actually choices

Mad at myself... and others.... and just life in general, I needed to vent...talking it out helped, but going to swim @ the Y for an hour was the cure along with 20 minutes relaxing in a warm jacuzzi...physical movement helps get my head on straight...

Only I can live my life, and with God's help I would like to live it well...somedays I succeed, somedays I fail, and some days are just days I survived....

I work hard to be positive and do the right thing but sometimes the not-so-good experiences of my life
catch up with me, and WHAM!  Yesterday was hard in spite of my attitude...memories came back, some good, some bad,...I got tired, I was overwhelmed by what has to be done,  I felt frustration and discouragement ease back into my psyche...I tried to avoid thinking about all of it...physically crashed into bed last night and then got up feeling lousy....

I didn't pray about it...I didn't look for answers in the Bible or anywhere else....I just got mad and felt sorry for myself....a waste of time that gave me a headache....now I am better

I can brow beat myself for being human or I can turn the rest of the day around....I chose the latter....
Life is all about choices...

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
Samuel Becket

Like success, failure is many things to many people. With Positive Mental Attitude, failure is a learning experience, a rung on the ladder, a plateau at which to get your thoughts in order and prepare to try again.
W. Clement Stone

I am going to try again....

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Turning work into Joy

I have good intentions....but when I don't do the work, they just linger as ideas...

Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work
Peter Drucker

Today I made a workable list to accomplish this day.  When I looked at my list I decided that nothing there was work but joy manifested....all I had to do was find the joy...

Here are a few of my ideas:

laundry---I thought of how nice it will be to smell clean sheets when I sleep tonight and also if all my clothes are washed, how cool it would be to put together what I am to wear this week.  Two good reasons to sing through the laundry.

organize the front porch--i thought how fun it would be to take the used furniture, write a free sign on ti, set it by the curb, and see how long it would take for the stuff to disappear--if it doesn't, I will just load it in the care and take it to the thrift store...now there will be a clean porch and someone happy to take what I don't need any more.

clean up my bedroom/craft room--obviously if this is done, sleep will be better, creativity will be better, and it is fun to find things I forgot about and fill a box for school and /or charity.

Now work is work and it can be accomplished with or without this mentality...but for me, to get it done is found in the motivation and if it can be "fun".  A reward is nice too---so todays reward is for me to be free to go to "Cider Days" (a large art and craft festival)  tomorrow.  I have created a win-win situation!

It is just a little past noon and I have already washed the bedding and made the bed.  I set up boxes in my bedroom and they are slowly filling with what goes to charity, what goes to school, and the rest is being put away.  I feel good and am enjoying the "work."

I believe that God wants me to embrace my life and this is one way that I can do this.  I am grateful to be physically, and mentally able to succeed.  Most of all, I am grateful that I can make a choice to do what is necessary with joy.

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.

Colossians 3:23 
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters...

Friday, September 20, 2013

Change, change, and more change....

Today, I finally was able to take care of a loose end...a truck that had been abandoned in my back yard...It had sat for several years. in limbo, deteriorating.  Finally after exhausting all legal avenues, it was mine to dispose of....today a salvage yard hauled it away.   There are many memories associated with that truck, both good and bad.  It served it's purpose and now it is gone.

Now there is more space in my back yard.....but where the truck sat is thick weeds and a then a bare spot.  After cleaning the area up and planting grass seed-- down the road-- no one will ever know that a truck sat in that spot for years.  The yard changed when it was parked there and now it will change again.

Summer is at it's end.  Fall is just around the corner....leaves will cover the space and then later snow..
the only constant is change....unless you are referring to God...we change, life changes, everything changes but God does not....It is good to know.  It is the best reason to rely on God--always there to love and protect and care....we can count on God....I'm sad that God can't always count on me, but I am trying.

Most of us struggle with change whether it is positive or negative....we want the security to know that all is the same and most of the time it isn't....so today I have decided to meditate--to really think on "change" in God's presence and I am using these ideas to help guide me:

If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.
Lao Tzu

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
Mahatma Gandhi

Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change.

Ecclesiastes 3
A Time for Everything
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: 
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up; 
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

Autumn, the visit of an old friend

“But then fall comes, kicking summer out on its treacherous ass as it always does one day sometime after the midpoint of September, it stays awhile like an old friend that you have missed. It settles in the way an old friend will settle into your favorite chair and take out his pipe and light it and then fill the afternoon with stories of places he has been and things he has done since last he saw you.”
― Stephen King

I love the Fall.  for me it is like an old friend returning and I allow the time to be taken to enjoy his company.  My favorite things are hoodies, and candles, and books, and slow afternoons....pumpkin pie with whipped creme, hot tea, and the smell of burning wood in the air.....an afternoon of conversation followed by an evening with a favorite quilt....today I received the announcement that autumn is almost here...it came in the form of rain, cool breezes, and a gentle fog.

Thank you God for the gift of seasons

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

“Action expresses priorities.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

I had this great desire to go on a women's retreat at Rivendell.  I have been wanting to go on a retreat for a long time but I knew with my responsibility of Sky that it probably wouldn't work out.  Most of the time I just dreamed about it but when this specific retreat came up, I decided finally that no matter what I would make the arrangements to go.  The first person I asked to stay with Sky said yes.  I was so excited that I signed up and made the rest of the arrangements to go.  I put the dates on my calendar and started counting down the days and then today happened.  At our staff meeting at work, we were told our annual training would be the same weekend as the retreat....my heart sank but I said nothing and decided to go home and pray about it.

I take my job seriously as a teacher and a part of that job is taking a required amount of training hours each year.  In the past, I would have just bowed out of anything that was in conflict with that training, but this year I can not.  This spiritual retreat is that important to me.

Tomorrow I will have to let the director and staff know that I can not be there to take training with them.  It will take a little work, but I will have to find the necessary training elsewhere.  I love my job and I do to the best of my ability everything I can to fulfill what is necessary to keep that job....but this year my spiritual retreat takes precedence over my job training.

When it comes down to it, life and choices are all about priorities.  I will get the training, just at a different time.  The retreat comes first.  I made a commitment to God and to myself.  I set the priority and it is a good and important one.  My actions express my priorities.....and in the long run, I will not only become a better person but a better teacher as well....

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

My quote for the day.....

"Tell the negativity committee that meets inside your head to sit down and shut up. "

I really don't know who said this...I just read it somewhere....no matter how spiritual I want to become I am always human and like everyone else I have a "negativity committee" that loves to have meetings in my head.  When life is going badly, they have frequent, loud meetings that I seem to encourage.  When life is going good. they have "but what if..." meetings and if I listen to what is presented, I seldom enjoy the good.  In fact my attendance to their agenda makes what "good" I had go away!

God does not create this "committee,"  I do.  It is created out of fear, and lack of faith.  Prayer, time in silence spent with God, spiritual reading, communal worship of God all combat this nuisance but I have to take charge to make it go away.

Today there was no reason for a "meeting" but one went on in my head anyway.  When I realized what was going on I said, "SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP!"  The "committee" disappeared.  This made me feel really good!...in fact, I am still feeling good... Thank you God...

I need to do this more often...how about you?  Is there a meeting being held in your head?

God grant me the serenity 
to accept the things I cannot change; 
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time; 
Enjoying one moment at a time; 
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; 
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it; 
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life 
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

--Reinhold Niebuhr

Monday, September 16, 2013

Just read this and it reinforces what I wrote:

Faith is trusting in the good.

Fear is putting your trust in the bad.
I am a great fan of Henri Nouwan.....what he has written makes sense to me...this was something I found in my inbox today:

Keeping It Together

How can we not lose our souls when everything and everybody pulls us in the most different directions?  How can we "keep it together" when we are constantly torn apart?   

Jesus says:  "Not a hair of your head will be lost.  Your perseverance will win you your lives" (Luke 21:18-19).  We can only survive our world when we trust that God knows us more intimately than we know ourselves.  We can only keep it together when we believe that God holds us together.  We can only win our lives when we remain faithful to the truth that every little part of us, yes, every hair, is completely safe in the divine embrace of our Lord.  To say it differently:  When we keep living a spiritual life, we have nothing to be afraid of.

- Henri J. M. Nouwen

If we follow God's lead, trust in Him, love Him,  we have nothing to be afraid of.  Fear alone is destructive.  Faith alone goes nowhere.  But when we have faith in God AND are willing to work on what we are afraid of, then the fear disappears.

I used to be afraid of a lot of things....as my faith in God grew and as I learned to listen to the still soft voice and do what it directed me to do,  I became less and less afraid.  I still have fears but what fears I have do not incapacitate me any more.  I try hard to turn these fears into challenges and then figure out a plan to conquer them.  Sometimes I am successful, sometimes I have to regroup and try again but God is always with me.

Reading this devotion today reminded me that I don't have to be afraid any more....I can choose God or I can choose fear.   My choice is God.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Thank you God for Sundays
September 15, 2013

This has been a beautiful day, cooler with lots of sunshine....I went to Mass, my  daughter and I took my mother out to lunch, all of us did our grocery shopping together, I took a little nap this afternoon, washed the car, and am now in the process of getting things ready for the new week.  This was an easy, relaxed day where things were accomplished and the overall stress level was low.

Could I have done more?  Oh my goodness the answer is a big YES!  I have a house that needs major renovation, lots of sorting and downsizing because my husband hardly ever threw anything away in our over 25 years of marriage, and my lists go on and on....but I keep thinking about how the Bible stresses a day of rest....today was restful and I feel recharged and am looking forward to the week.  I enjoy Mass, taking my mother out to lunch, even washing the car....except for grocery shopping none of what I did today was "work"  and the shopping really doesn't enter that category either....  the nap was nice and the rest was wonderful!

A spiritual journey needs rest just as the rest of our lives.  I have nothing profound to say today except that it is nice to enjoy just being alive knowing that I am on the right path with God.  I know there will be challenges ahead just like there have been challenges in the past.  God helped me with those and he will be there when I need him again...but for today,  we just enjoyed each others company and I was happy.

Thank you God for Sundays!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Writing on this blog everyday has become work to me....not because of the writing but because I decided that I had to follow another's lead and write comments on what they wrote...not necessarily a bad idea but a real stretch for me...and there is also more to my world than just this little book....so I decided to write what I felt "lead" to write and on days that I have writer's block or nothing relevant to say, then I would follow through on this devotional book that I started....this way I can have the best of both worlds!  So today will not be "Day 7," it is "Mother Theresa" day.

A good friend emailed me this, and I can not stop thinking about it:

Mother Teresa's Anyway Poem

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
It was never between you and them anyway.

I had heard parts of this poem but had never read it is its entirety.  Now I have and it is exactly what I needed to read at this moment in my life.  This is the best advice that I can give myself.  This is what I need to do to stay on my journey with God.

Thank You Mother Theresa and my special friend.....thank you God for their wisdom....

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Bless this House
Day 6

ה He

33 Teach me, Lord, the way of your decrees,
    that I may follow it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law
    and obey it with all my heart.
35 Direct me in the path of your commands,
    for there I find delight.
36 Turn my heart toward your statutes
    and not toward selfish gain.
37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
    preserve my life according to your word.

At first I did not see the correlation between the titles of the devotions and their reference to Psalm 119, but after six readings, I think the light is beginning to dawn in my understanding....Psalm 119 was central to the faith of Celtic Christians...Using it to praise God and also to request His help, the Psalm can be applied for all things in daily life.  

Today the poetry and prayers all spoke about God's grace for the home.  Home meaning a place where one resides and but also a place you share with God.  

"Bless this house O Lord I pray
Keep it safe by night and day"  
                    Helen Taylor and May H. Brahe

To live a strong life of faith in God,  you must have a home where God is the center.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Day Five
"Bless the children"

Psalm 119:29-32

29 Keep me from deceitful ways;
    be gracious to me and teach me your law.
30 I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
    I have set my heart on your laws.
31 I hold fast to your statutes, Lord;
    do not let me be put to shame.
32 I run in the path of your commands,
    for you have broadened my understanding

Today the author of this devotion speaks of children....I wonder if he did this because this part of the 119th Psalm sounds to me like what one would say to God before they depart on their life journey. They have been taught the ways of God and have made the choice to follow Him...In my minds eye, I can visualize parents saying good by with the knowledge that they have trained their children well and that now their young adult is leaving on his or her own path.  

The author speaks of children as children and also children meaning all of us--God's children.  It is as though there is no difference at all between the two....at first, this seemed confusing to me but not when you think of blessing.  The title for today is "Bless the children."   All of us no matter what our age can be a blessing to God and to our parents and to our children and to each other if we believe and follow God.  God blessed us with Jesus and all we need to do is accept that fact and then when we pray not only ask for help to stay on the path--but bless God because we know what path to follow.

The ancient Celts were always on the move--searching for food, trying to avoiding disease, and because the times were full of war.  A blessing meant that God went with them and was with them wherever they went---a blessing meant that God also was with those who were left behind.  I think the evening prayer that was chosen explains it better than I can...

The blessings of God be to thee 
The blessings of Christ be to thee
The blessings of spirit be to thee
And to thy children

To thee and to thy children
The peace of God be to thee
The peace of Christ be to thee
The peace of spirit be to thee
During all thy life
During all the days of thy life.

The keeping of God upon thee in every pass
The shielding of Christ upon thee in every path
The bathing of Spirit upon thee in every stream
In every land and sea thou goest

The keeping of thy everlasting Father be thine
Upon His own illumined altar
The keeping of thy everlasting Father be thine
Upon His own illumined altar
                     --Carmina Gadelica

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Day 4
Joyous Death

Psalm 119:25-28

ד Daleth

25 I am laid low in the dust;
    preserve my life according to your word.
26 I gave an account of my ways and you answered me;
    teach me your decrees.
27 Cause me to understand the way of your precepts,
    that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds.
28 My soul is weary with sorrow;
    strengthen me according to your word.

The author of this Psalm and the writer of this little devotional book don't mess around.  It is only Day 4 and we are already speaking of death...When I first glanced at the Hebrew letter at the beginning of this section I swore I saw the word death, but I was wrong.  It was Daleth.  I really didn't want to read or write on a devotion about death but I took a deep breath and dug right in.

I did not find the doom and gloom I was expecting...what I found was beautiful prayers and poetry speaking of the angels and saints and Mary in heaven to waiting to to welcome and embrace us as we left our earthly life and arrived to be with God.   Everything was reassuring and not scary or bad or threatening. Everything spoke of joy and love and hope.  It is almost too hard to believe that the ancient Celt Christians had such a compassionate and loving perception of death.  Their lives were full of disease, famine, and war.  One would think that the idea of death would reflect the ultimate despair....

At the end of this wonderful devotion I found this prayer--the adult, but just as reassuring version of "Now I lay me down to sleep."

"Our Father
If we should die before we wake, then let us go to sleep in confidence that where we wake is not as important as the keeper of our slumber.  Blest be all those who have rubbed the earthly sleep out of their eyes to find their gaze was wrapped in a new light and a better world than that where we fell asleep.  They slept in the gray mist of the world that couldn't own them to wake in the golden haze of a city built foursquare.  Sleep-shield us Father, till we understand that while our sleep resembles death, our longing days are short and the thrumming of the right bell will one day be replaced by the blare of trumpets in the morning!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Day Three
"Ecstasy of Praise"

Psalm 119: 9-16

ב Beth

9 How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
    By living according to your word.
10 I seek you with all my heart;
    do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart
    that I might not sin against you.
12 Praise be to you, Lord;
    teach me your decrees.
13 With my lips I recount
    all the laws that come from your mouth.
14 I rejoice in following your statutes
    as one rejoices in great riches.
15 I meditate on your precepts
    and consider your ways.
16 I delight in your decrees;
    I will not neglect your word.

When you are in love--romantic love, you can not do enough for the person you are in love with. When you realize God's love for you and you begin to really love God--this is not romantic love but love on a whole different level....big and overwhelming and glorious and yes, it is ecstasy!

For years I said that I love God and that God loves me.  I was sincere.  I believed what I said....then one day after several years of almost daily meditation and almost unceasing prayer, I was alone in my car, driving down the highway and all of a sudden the thought, "God loves me"  filled my head and then my heart and then my whole spirit.  It was incredible!  I wasn't saying God loves me anymore--I was feeling God's love and I felt a bliss that is very hard to describe in words.  I felt as though I was glowing with the energy of this love and it filled me to overflowing!  I "heard" God say, "I love you, Paulletta."......and it was real!  And I wanted to do was be able to give it back....I wanted this love God was giving me and I wanted the relationship of this love forever.....

This ecstasy lasted for awhile but gradual over time slowed way down and I was sad....and then this small quiet voice spoke to me to let me know that if as a human, I felt this all the time, I would literally be consumed.  I had a long way to go before I could handle the full force of God's love.  I would remember the experience, but my "work" had just begun.

In my whole life, I have only felt this bliss a few times....but it has happened enough for me to know that God's love is real, God is real, and that God is love.......and that is why I continue to pray and to meditate and try very hard to live the life God wants me to live.

When I originally read this devotion of prayer and praise and poetry and the psalm, I was reminded of that special day not too long ago but forgot the wisdom that God had shared with me.  Love and devotion are just what you do that is sincere--done out of love.  It is not trying to "prove" by good works...lot's and lot's of good works...that you have earned God's love.  I could never do that...no human being could ever do that....and that is why God's love is so heavenly....it is unconditional and when you finally begin to understand this, then you feel the ecstasy of praise.....

Sunday, September 8, 2013

I am still here...the next devotion I am to write about is the ecstasy that is encountered when one realizes the love of God.  Since reading the devotion, all I can see is how I fall short is trying to share that love.  It has been three days....

I know that there are homeless women who have no safe place to sleep at night, I mailed the organization that now provides them with one a check....I know that kids go hungry on a regular basis in the town where I live....I bought several bags of groceries for them....I am in pain over what is happening in the middle east and I am praying for Syria and Egypt...the list goes on and on...but in my mind it falls short..

Over the last few days thinking about God's love for me has been overwhelming....He loves you and everyone else the same way....with love comes ecstasy...and with that ecstasy one finds pain.  God loves us unconditionally and no matter how we try, we can never come close loving Him back the same way...

Overwhelmed by this thought, I really tried to make a difference these last few days.  I gave and gave and gave and it was never enough.  I am exhausted and sad.  This is not the way God wants me to feel.

So what did I do wrong?

I forgot that unconditional love means God loves me as I am.  He does not expect me to be perfect.  He does not expect me to do everything.  He accepts me for who I am, a human, fallible creature, who will always fall short.  The only thing he "expects" of me is to love Him with all my heart and do what I can when I can and embrace life.  And to top it all off, he allows me to make the choice.

What a wonderful, wonderful God that is.  God is love, real love, and that is the only thing I have to remember.

God wants us to love HIm, love others, and love ourselves.  Trying to give twenty four hours a day and work ourselves into exhaustion is not what he wants.  We have to take care of ourselves while we take care of each other and try very hard to be the person he wants us to be...

For the first time in three days, I finally feel a sense of peace.   Over this time, I worked and worked to be in service to God but I also forgot that sometimes the best thing you can do for God is just be with him.   Today was Sunday, a very special day.  I went to Mass at my church (St John;s Episcopal) and then I went to another church (Westminster Presbyterian)  for their service which took time to recognize the staff and volunteers of the preschool where I teach.  i was greeted by love in both places and all I could do in my heart was cry.  Again I was feeling that unconditional love, but this time something had changed.  I went home, took a nap, and after I was completely awake, I realized what Jesus was trying to say....

Faith, hope, and love....the greatest of these is love....Loving God is my job, not saving the world.  but l
can make a positive difference and if we all do this then the world will be saved.

“Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.” 
― St. Thérèse de Lisieux

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Day Two
"Walking the path"

Psalm 119:4-8

4 You have laid down precepts
    that are to be fully obeyed.
5 Oh, that my ways were steadfast
    in obeying your decrees!
6 Then I would not be put to shame
    when I consider all your commands.
7 I will praise you with an upright heart
    as I learn your righteous laws.
8 I will obey your decrees;
    do not utterly forsake me

Walking the path is just another way of expressing your life with Christ.   The psalmist recognizes the importance of following God and sincerely wishes that he could.  He praises God because he knows that his heart is right even if he falters and that he tries and asks God to never forsake him.

What a wonderful faith this writer has.  He knows what is right. He tries. He knows that he is human and sometimes fails.  He believes that God is just and he understands his human frailty.  He is humbled by God and asks for Him to be with him always even though he knows he is not worthy.  This, I believe, is the understanding one must have to be a true child of God.

And in today's devotion, if that is all I chose to read and think about it would be enough.  But the writer of this book wants you to understand this psalm and why it was such an integral part of praise of the Christian Celts.  So he shares more of their poetry and his own description of walking the path.

My walk this day with God, 
My walk this day with Christ, 
My walk this day with Spirit,
the Threefold all-kindly

....begins another poem by Carmina Gadllica.  It is a beautiful song of praise for the Holy Trinity who is with us on our journey in this life.

Then Calvin Miller illustrates what our position is with God when we walk the path.  God is like an eagle who shields her young from the heat of the day and the darkness of night with her strong wings.
He encases us with His love and we live with the promise of eternity.

And he ends the devotion with a prayer by St Columbia.  "The path I walk, Christ walks it......"

This devotion meant a lot to me this day.  It expressed the joy one feels when walking with God. and the feeling is the same with the ancient Celts and it is with me.  Beautiful!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Day One
"Small Things"

Psalm 119

א Aleph

1 Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,
    who walk according to the law of the Lord.
2 Blessed are those who keep his statutes
    and seek him with all their heart—
3 they do no wrong
    but follow his ways.


Psalm 119:1 This psalm is an acrostic poem, the stanzas of which begin with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet; moreover, the verses of each stanza begin with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

It is no small thing but I wish I could read Hebrew...the translated words of the first three verses of this Psalm are beautiful in themselves but to be able to see the acrostic poem and read this poetry of praise by using the Hebrew alphabet would be a wonderful experience.  As a writer and a poet, I recognize the great skill of the author to do this and I am in awe of him.  And because of this, I almost missed the point of what he was trying to convey.

How many people do you know "who walk accordingly to the Law of the Lord?"  How many keep God's statutes?  Like me, most of us fall short, but I know a few who come very close, and they are not only blessed but are a blessing to me."  I don't think the author thought these people are "perfect" but in his eyes they do no wrong because they live their strong faith. St. Francis of Assisi comes to mind when I read this praise, and St Clare.  Mother Theresa is another person that I know he is talking about.

This, following God. also is no "small thing" so why did the writer of this devotion call the first day, "Small things." In this and the following devotions, there is ancient Celtic poetry to read, and prayers to recite, along with part of the 119th Psalm to be read....when taken all together you see an image emerging of the small things becoming larger than life itself....

The poetry, i read today, sings praises to Jesus for his ability to heal the withered tree or to wither the healthy one. It goes to say in a beautiful way that all of nature recognizes this and sings.  The prayers remind us that nature recognizes the creator and that this is something we must do....and that recognition alone is not enough.  We must celebrate God.

So the "small things" are recognizing God as our creator.  It is following His laws and doing what He asks us to do.  The "small things"  are the very first steps we must take in our relationship with God.  

I thought studying this book would be easy...all I have read is the first three pages and what I have just written is what I understand right now, in this moment...I believe that there is even more to be gleaned in the devotion...but it is time for me to rest...and hope that God will instruct me as go further into the book.  Maybe I am not to understand it all now....maybe I am just learning like you and down the road all of us will become enlightened.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Celtic Devotions by Calvin Miller

I know now what spiritual reading I am going to do...it is a little book entitled, Celtic Devotions, written by Calvin Miller.  I bought it a while back because it seemed like the thing to do and today when I was cleaning, I came across it again and what made it so enticing was what was written on the back cover.

Calvin Miller (1936-2012).....He summed up his rule of life in four words:  "Time is a gift.".....

My thirty day journey begins tomorrow....I am not a scholar but what I intend to do is read, reflect and then write....I hope that yet again God helps me with my words and understanding.

I would love for you to come on this journey with me.....
to new beginnings....

Labor Day and the summer is officially over.  I am back at work, the temperature is cooler, and after three months of rest, I am recharged.  This is a good day to make new goals and start doing and stop so much resting.  Now is a good time to make sure I have balance in my life--physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.  Now is a good time to live the life I want to live instead of just talking about it.

I feel good that I was able to see all my brothers this weekend but time was short and between me ending up in the ER and down sick, I could not spend as much time with them as I wished.  I hope they all understand.  I will make time to make sure that I stay in communication with them.  Life is too short not to embrace the family you have.

It is time for me to make a commitment to spiritual reading.  I have several books here just collecting dust so as I clean and make plans I will decide which one to read.

For now, I am going to stop everything and meditate on God's gift to me of family and the opportunity to continue working "to get it right" in my life.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Prayer, God, and Healing

I am an Episcopalian and in our Book of Common Prayer we have prayers for about everything.  This is a good thing, when we have a specific need and can't think of what to say.  It is a good thing when we pray as a community together.  Of course we can pray with our own words any time or just be silent trusting that God already knows are needs and hears us without a word being spoken.

Today I did not feel very well and as they day went on, I felt worse.  I ended up in the emergency room and was diagnosed with something serious but not life threatening.  Relieved, I picked up the medication that is necessary for me to heal and went home to rest which in my case was sleeping all afternoon.  When I woke I was better, not "cured" but better.

Today my prayers were all over the place.  Worried I prayed that what was wrong with me would not be serious.  Unsure of what to do, I prayed for guidance.  When I finally went to the ER, I prayed that everything would turn out okay.  When I finally got home, I thanked God for everything--and then prayed for rest.  This evening, I looked to the Book of Common Prayer and found this.  This is the best prayer of all for me today:

For Trust in God

O God, the source of all health: So fill my heart with faith in
your love, that with calm expectancy I may make room for
your power to possess me, and gracefully accept your
healing; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Now I have stopped worrying, and am allowing the healing to take place.  I am very grateful to God that I have access to health care and the means not only to pay for it but also for the medication that I need to take.  I am grateful for all the staff that made sure I was seen quickly and that most of my day was spent healing instead of getting sicker. I am blessed and now know that the healing I need will happen and that God is with me always.

This is a good feeling in spite of my lingering earache, slight headache, and bloody eye.  Tomorrow will be a better day and I intend (with God's help) to get a good nights rest.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Sometimes I have to deal with disappointment.....

Had a very pleasant dinner with my brothers and extended family....after taking my mother home, they went on to another venue to relax and visit.  I wish I could have gone but I am Sky's mother and legal guardian and there is just some things that I have to let go...one is late night socializing.  Always for a fleeting moment, I am disappointed because at my age it would be nice to finally be free of such a responsibility--- but I took it on and even knowing this limit I would happily do it again.

This is the one thing that is hard about being a parent and legal guardian of an adult with disabilities.....there are limits to what you are free to do.   I can make arrangements for Sky to do things like a pottery class but if I want to do something like this, it has to be during her time away... I have tried to find someone to stay with her on a regular basis but so far that has not worked out. Usually I can get someone to stay with her (or for her to stay with them) once in while--like for a funeral or a doctors appt. or training I have to take for work..but so far no one wants to make a commitment for more than a day once in a while.  So most everything I do includes Sky or I can't do it.

Case in point---i would like to go on a three day retreat at a beautiful place called Rivendell....it is not possible.  My mother can handle spending time with Sky for an hour or two but not three days.  My other adult children have jobs and unlike mine their jobs begin before Sky goes to work and end after Sky gets off...plus the fact they are not free most weekends to be with her.  This retreat is of a spiritual nature and I would really benefit from attending but....it is not to be.  I suppose I could take Sky with me but most of my time would be spent caring for her needs so very little time would be spent in quiet contemplation....so I would be better off at home.

When my children were born, I made a promise to all of them, that I would be a full time parent until such time they were grown and could take care of themselves....Sky is grown, very independent, but still needs someone (a caring adult) around all the time and it will be for the rest of her life.  This is part of my vocation.  God gave me the gift of Sky knowing full well I would do whatever is necessary for her.....but at the same time, I have this strong desire to pursue a closer relationship with God....taking classes, going on retreats, and so much more...but these are not things that "work" for Sky.  So what am I to do?  I continue to pray about this but so far I have not found any opportunities open to me....and when an impromptu situation like tonight happens,  I am reminded of what my limits are.

Most of the time, I don't give my relationship with Sky a second thought...it is natural and I love it....but once in a while, I want time for myself..not writing time, which she respects...or prayer time....but dinner with friends, a painting or photography class, a retreat, a short vacation--just me without her but knowing that she is well taken care of....I don't think that is a bad thing...I just have to have faith that if this is to be, then God will reveal to me opportunities....anyway, I hope so....and I hope that God is not disappointed in me for wanting these things....

Dear God, please give me the tools to deal with disappointment....

“Reunion reveals friendship potential that haven't yet been emerged in the past.”
― Toba Beta, My Ancestor Was an Ancient Astronaut

Today all of my brothers and I will share a meal together.  It has been a while since we have done this.   I believe that over time, we have all become wiser and realize that every time we do this could be our last.  Our sister Donna is gone...I regret that we were not able to share another meal with her.  but I know she will be there in spirit.  I hope that we embrace this time together and that all of us will realize what a great gift this is.

I am excited and I am sad....Daddy and Donna are gone.  I miss them.  The only hope I have is that one day we will have a glorious reunion in heaven --but for today, I cling to the good memories and my earthly family.

Thank you god for the gift of family!


Friday, August 30, 2013

This was my meditation for today.....I choose life every day and really work on nurturing good towards others...some days are easier than others, but always it is worth the effort!

Choosing Life

God says, "I am offering you life or death, blessing or curse.  Choose life, then, so that you and your descendants may live"   (Deuteronomy 30:19).

"Choose life."  That's God's call for us, and there is not a moment in which we do not have to make that choice.  Life and death are always before us.  In our imaginations, our thoughts, our words, our gestures, our actions ... even in our nonactions.  This choice for life starts in a deep interior place.  Underneath very life-affirming behaviour I can still harbour death-thoughts and death-feelings.  The most important question is not "Do I kill?" but "Do I carry a blessing in my heart or a curse?"   The bullet that kills is only the final instrument of the hatred that began being nurtured in the heart long before the gun was picked up.

- Henri J. M. Nouwen
Tonight part of my family shared pizza with my brother and part of his family.  Tomorrow we will grow even larger with my other two brothers and their families and Mom....all I can think of is gratitude....how fortunate we all are who have family...they can become our greatest teachers and our strongest support....

You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them.
Desmond Tutu 

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who settest the solitary
in families: We commend to thy continual care the homes in
which thy people dwell. Put far from them, we beseech thee,
every root of bitterness, the desire of vainglory, and the pride
of life. Fill them with faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance,
patience, godliness. Knit together in constant affection those
who, in holy wedlock, have been made one flesh. Turn the
hearts of the parents to the children, and the hearts of the
children to the parents; and so enkindle fervent charity among
us all, that we may evermore be kindly affectioned one
to another; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
                               --Book of Common Prayer

Thursday, August 29, 2013

“Three Rules of Work:
Out of clutter find simplicity;
From discord find harmony;
In the middle of difficulty
lies opportunity.”

~ Albert Einstein

This is what I am thinking about right now in this moment....
It is a lot to think about......
Sometimes it is a good thing just to think and reflect...
That is exactly what I am going to continue to do....

Received this in my email this morning....the "note" says it all:

Acts of kindness, Paulletta, however small - a smile, a compliment, a helping hand - plant seeds of hope, love, and beauty in a spectacular garden you'll one day call home. 

Talk about "Miracle Grow," harvest down the road...

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

My Imperfect Faith in God

Yesterday, I referred to two Bible quotations that that gave me a sense of peace....after I wrote my post I went directly to bed and woke up refreshed and ready for the day.  I had not done some of what needed to be done last night and when I went to look for what I needed I found everything in a few minutes...it felt as though my preparation for the day had been done for me....my anxiety over things that I had no control over was gone and I looked forward to the day---breathing a huge sigh of relief.

It is late afternoon and the day went well.  I shouldn't be surprised but I am.  I honestly believe that God helps when we ask for it, but the human doubt in me is always surprised.  Maybe it is because that many times I have trusted human beings, only to be disappointed and somehow I transfer those experiences.  Whatever the reason, I need to work on faith.  I like to think of myself as someone with strong faith but what I realize is that I am as human as the next person and faith along with love and hope and happiness is a process....I am always learning and sometimes I get it right and sometimes I don't....

This is why daily prayer, Bible reading, meditation are so important.  This why a strong bond with my religious community is so important.  This is why attendance at Mass is so important....and working on a rule of life....and for me writing daily about my spiritual journey is important.  As human beings we will never get it right all of the time....but it something we should strive for anyway.

I am trying....I am trying very hard...and today I realize that God knows this and I should not be anxious or afraid....I have to have faith and hold on tight!  I may stumble sometimes but if I reach out my hand, God will help me find balance and then I can go forward with Him.

Monday, August 26, 2013


A lot of "stuff" is happening all around me...most of which I can not control and am not sure how to deal with...this uneasiness I feel is very uncomfortable...I tried looking up a quotation on uncertainty but what I read did not help me at all....then I had an "aha" moment and turned to the Bible....I found a lot that would help but the following helped me the most:

Philippians 4:6-7 ESV 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

1 Peter 5:7 ESV 

Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

I "know" this but somehow I let the world in again and let it dictate my feelings .....it is time to stop....change my focus....let go and let God....Trust Him....

Will I ever get it right?  In time maybe, but one thing has improved...I am remembering God a lot faster than I use to....so any uncertainty doesn't stay with me very long....that is a good thing...

Thank you God for your help. Now I can sleep with peace in my heart...

Sunday, August 25, 2013

In God's Hands

This has been an incredible Sunday where I was just the bystander and saw what a positive difference God's love through His community can make in two of my children's lives.  They are both adults and have been struggling with "church" for a long time...today the struggle turned into acceptance and joy.

Details aren't important...that they found their place with God is...I saw smiles and felt their joy....I am overwhelmed with what they have done.

There are many paths to God and everyone has to find their own and follow it.  It would have been nice if they had followed my way but for one of them, it is a different road-- but the destination is the same--a close relationship with God. I recognized the spirit of God in both of them and my heart sings.

Thank you God for wonderful days like today when I can feel your presence in others.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

“A dysfunctional family is any family with more than one person in it.”
― Mary Karr, The Liars' Club

I read this and laughed!  I come from a reasonably large family....not necessarily a large family with reason.  With the birth of my own kids, I inadvertently continued the tradition.  You can not have a family of individuals without challenges.  A family is made of humans so to expect perfection is ridiculous.  Family like most things in life is a process --and that being said we might as well embrace the dysfunction which is a natural consequence of that process.

Ask me how I feel about my family and it will depend on the moment in time that you are asking the question.  Ask me if I love my family, I will mostly answer yes.  Threaten my family and I turn into a she-bear protecting even the member who I have the most problems with.  That is just the way it is.

I think that God gives us family so we can learn about tolerance and patience and forgiveness.  On good days I am up for the lesson.  On bad days, I am harsh judge and extremely intolerant.  Just because the same blood runs through our veins does not guarantee that we will always like each other.--or even sometimes like each other.

This coming weekend, all my siblings that are still alive will be in town.  One would assume that we will all greet each other with unconditional love.  (If that happens it will be a miracle!)  We have our own agendas and what will happen will happen.  It would be a special gift to our mother if we can just stop for a second and be grateful for the gift os our family.  We would not be who we are without it....we became who we are in spite of it... and we might as well accept our DNA.

I am sharing all of this because I think all of us take this part of life way to seriously--me included.   If we could look at our families with love and a sense of humor and realize that we are as much to blame for the outcome of our relationships as "they" are, then the air of tolerance and compassion would take precedence when we are all stuck in the same room together.  Besides, it is only a weekend.  Thank God,when it is over we can go back home to our own lives!

Now, if by chance my brothers are reading this, please remember
* I am the oldest and it is my job to tell you what to do
* I figured out that at sixty two I am entitled to state my opinion and I don't have worry about  the         consequences any more
*Most of the time, I am proud of you all
*We will have difference of opinions, more often than not.
*When forced to admit it, I do love all of you....honest...and I want you to have good lives.

Thank you God for the gift of family.  Without it, my life would be boring, and I would only be half the person I am today. Embrace all of our lives with love and help us to see each other with your eyes,

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Quality of Life

It is very hard to accept an early death.  When friends die who are seventy, eighty, or ninety years old, we may be in deep grief and miss them very much, but we are grateful that they had long lives.  But when a teenager, a young adult, or a person at the height of his or her career dies, we feel a protest rising from our hearts:  "Why?  Why so soon?  Why so young?  It is unfair."

But far more important than our quantity of years is the quality of our lives.  Jesus died young.  St. Francis died young.  St. Thérèse of Lisieux died young, Martin Luther King, Jr., died young.  We do not know how long we will live, but this not knowing calls us to live every day, every week, every year of our lives to its fullest potential.

- Henri J. M. Nouwen

This is what I read this morning.  This is what I have been thinking about all day.  A little over five years ago, my sister was alive, my husband was alive, my friend Ingrid was alive and kicking!  Today they are gone.  There is no choice to be made about the quality of life or how long they have on this earth or whether they lived a life without regret.  It's over for them.  What is done is done.  But I am here today.  If you are reading this, then you are still alive.  We have time to make choices and embrace life....but like them, we don't know the when of our death, so if we are going to live our life to the fullest potential, we had better begin today.

Embracing God is a good first step.  Asking Him how to maximize our time on earth is a good second.
Balance and moderation in all things, sounds like a good idea too.

Living life to its fullest potential does not mean cramming everything you can into every minute---that is just being busy.

Living life means taking time for friends and family and yourself.  Living life means spending time with God in quiet meditation and serving God by helping others.  Living life means feeling gratitude and living your passion.  Living life is always more that just surviving.

I think it would be hard to be "ready"  to die.  I have been around death enough not to fear it anymore but at sixty two, I have just learned what it is to truly live life  Many prayers of mine go something like this:  "God, I know it is your decision when I leave this earth but please, please let me have enough time to fully embrace my existence.  I want to really live my earthly life to it's fullest potential. Now that I have the opportunity, please allow me plenty of time."And as with all my prayers, I end saying, "not my will, but thine be done."

The human part of me has to ask God for this blessing.  The spiritual part of me knows that all I have for sure is this very moment so make the best of it....really the best!   When it boils right done to it, this is it--the present moment.  What am I doing to embrace this gift?  (What are you doing?)

I don't have tomorrow to fix things...I just have now.  I can't do it all now, but I can begin and take the steps to do what I want to do and go where I want to go....i can embrace the moment and enjoy a positive quality of life.  I can embrace the moment to be with God and then the quality of my life will be taken care of--- and death will take care of itself.

It is all about choices.  The quality of our lives is the result of our choices.  Look around and see if you have made good choices.  If you are like me, some choices weren't the best but I know now that I can still turn my life around.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

it has been a full week...I don't feel spiritual.  I just feel tired....but I could not have made it without God's help...time to let go...time to let God be in charge...time to rest...

sometimes even I don't have much to share...sometimes it is good just to be quiet....sometimes it is good just to rest...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

After today, I will stop crying....

Today the Memorial Service was held for Ingrid.  She would have liked it.  Lot's of reminders of Christian faith and hope.  Snippets of the incredible woman that could make us smile.  There really wasn't any reason to cry.  Everything was the way Ingrid would have liked it--even the length of the service--not to long-- and lot's of friends and family in church together.

What I learned anything from Ingrid it was this:  Embrace life.  Don't be afraid.  Trust yourself and God who created you.  There is always time to help someone else.  Love, love, love and you will be loved, loved, loved.  Smile often and don't take yourself too seriously.

Ingrid was one of a kind.  I am going to miss her a lot....but after today I will stop crying....she would rather I hug the kids, make them laugh, teach them about the world,  and look around to see what I can do to make others have a better life.  She would want me to embrace my life and let her go.

I am so grateful that Ingrid was in my life.  I will never forget her.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Too late to say thank you?

Ingrid is on my mind.  She died over the weekend and tomorrow is her memorial service.  I loved her her so much.  She was kind and generous and just "salty" enough to make life interesting.  She volunteered at the preschool where I work and the kids loved her as much as I did.  When she got sick, I went into a form of denial because I could not imagine life and especially work without her.  When my sister died and then my husband, Ingrid was there with hugs and food and support and love.  She always remembered me at Christmas and on my birthday. She always smiled and teased me and she was a really great friend.

I can't remember if I told her that I loved her.  I'm sure I said thank you to her a million times but in passing.  I just felt she would always be around and that there was lots of time.  I was wrong and now it feels too late to tell her thank you for being a part of my life--for making such a difference.

Most of the time, when someone close to me dies, I miss them, wish we could spend at least one more day together, grieve, but for the most part I don't have regrets.  I try to take time to make peace with those I have hurt and let everyone that I love, know that I love them....but once in a while I feel that I messed up. Ingrid "knew" that she was important in my life, but it would have been better if I had taken the time to really tell her.

I don't know what happens to us when we die.  I just have to believe that it is good...a time of transition from an earthly life to something else.  I know that there is a God and that God is good and that God is love.  I know God loved Ingrid and she loved God.,,,,,her soul is with God....and maybe by continuing to love and by remembering her, somehow she will realize what I feel in my heart.

I don't want to say this...but good bye, Ingrid.  I will miss you.  I will also know you again in the next life and I promise that this time I will get it right and make sure you hear from me a big sincere thank you and I love you..

Blessing to you, my friend....

Monday, August 19, 2013

Have you loved today?

This question was asked by my priest at Mass today.  I repeated it on Facebook in a post...and then once more in a message to my brothers.  Now I am asking the question here on my blog.

Have you loved today?  Have I loved today?  The question is profound and I can not stop thinking about it.  Before you give an answer you have to know what love is....and Fr Kendrick was speaking of love is association with God.  God is love.  So what does the question ask?

I am still working on the answer....but while I think about it, I can be kind, and compassionate and wise in the way I treat people.  The only thing I know for sure is that Jesus is the only one that can answer this question with a resounding YES!  For the rest of us,  the answer is a continuing challenge to make God the center of our life and try to love the way He does.

So have I loved today?  I hope in some small way I have and that tomorrow, with God's help, I will love even more.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

LIfe and Death, Joy and Pain.

Today is a day of mixed blessings.

I met my new students and their families at our open house and I am excited about the new year.   I work hard to make my classroom child friendly and the kids and their siblings came in and started playing and exploring.  That is a very good sign of the year to come.

I also found out that one of my favorite volunteers has died,  I am so sad--my heart hurts.  I loved Ingrid and she was a joy to be around and the kids loved her too.  She was very ill but I just couldn't imagine school without her, so I believed that she would return in time.  Now I know she isn't coming back and that hurts.  i have to believe in heaven because Ingrid was a good soul and deserves a place without pain and suffering.  I will miss her but I have faith that she is with God and all is good.

Today was also a day of joy because I went to Mass and was embraced by my community there.  It was a day of some pain as I had to except the reality of some issues outside of my church but a definite part of my life.

All I know is that God was with me through all of what happened and He is with me now.  Life is life. Up and down.  Good and bad.  Happy and sad.  But full of hope when God is with you.

Now it is time for me to be quiet and just spend some time in quiet reflection....

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Just Being with God

I designate today to be a quiet day,..not a day of silence, just quiet...no rush, just movement in a positive direction...let my mind rest,..taking time to get back into the flow of life.

this is not a do nothing day..it is a day where I pick up, put away, let the past be stored into memory, let the plans for the future unfold, and live each moment as it comes.  This is a day I look forward to where the mundane feels important and life slows down just a little.

I plan to spend time today just being with God....taking time to stop, and allow all thoughts to be of God...taking time to stop and really listen to the quiet, the place where one can always find God.

I plan to savor the coolness of the day, appreciate every breath I take, enjoy the security of my strong heart beating, and be grateful.

I will appreciate a house to clean because there are those who have no shelter.
I will be grateful for meals because there are those who are hungry
I will enjoy laundry because I have the convenience to do the 'work" easily and because I have an abundance of clothes.
I will dust with happiness in my heart because I have things that others do not.
and as I do these things I will think of what I can do to make a positive difference in someone else's life because this is the way I say thank you to God for my life.

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24 ESV

Friday, August 16, 2013

To be able to look back upon ones life in satisfaction, is to live twice.
Today everything came together, ready for my first day on the job with the kids.  Challenges were met and I feel really good--satisfied with how the week turned out.   Thinking back over everything that was done,  remembering the support of friends, and then today feeling accomplishment, I have to admit that the week that didn't start out so well, ended well.
Now if I expand that idea and think about this past summer, then this last year, and eventually my whole life,  I am really surprised at how satisfied I am with everything.  My existence has been far from perfect.  It has been disastrous at times. but that is not the point.  Overall, I not only faced the challenges but in a lot of cases, overcame them.  If my life had been easy, I would not feel the way that I do now.
Khalil Gibran was right,  "To be able to look back upon ones life in satisfaction, is to live twice." I lived through this week and now remembering this week, I feel good.  It is as though I am living it again but I already know the positive outcome.  
God has blessed my life and has been with me every step of the way.  How could I not be satisfied?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

One Face of God's Grace.

I faced some challenges this week but I got through them with God and with the help from others. Support was in abundance.  Once people reached out to me, then I was able to reach out to others, and then I watched as the support grew and grew into a big circle that encompassed us all.  In a few short days all of us found some peace and some hope and that was a very very good thing.  All of us felt gratitude and that is one of the many faces of God's grace.

Day to day, all of us including me take so much for granted and on the top of that list are the people who share our lives.  That list includes co-workers, custodians, hair stylists, the clerk at the grocery store, the mail person, the familiar face at church, the family next door, and this list goes on and on forever....Today I let my hair stylist know for the first time how much I really trusted and cared for her. I took time to write a public thank you.  After all these years, a tip and a quick thank you as I left was not enough.  She had made a positive difference in my life.  The wonderful people I work with, I can not seem to thank enough.  We have become more than co-workers, we are close friends. When one of us stumbles, there is always someone to help us find our balance again.  I seem to want to thank them over and over again.

Yesterday I wrote about community.  Today I want to express how much community can make a huge positive difference in our lives.  All of us have ups and downs so when we belong to each other then we are there to help or be helped. That is the kind of community that Jesus worked so hard on this earth to create.  And even He did not expect all of us to be the same (remember the GOOD Samaritan) but He did expect us to care about each other and be grateful.

So from now on I am going to work even harder to appreciate the wonderful lives that share mine and thank God for privilege.

“Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”
― Voltaire