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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 felt as though my preparation for the day had been done for 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 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 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 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 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 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

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

For a community to be whole and healthy, it must be based on people's love and concern for each other.”
-- Millard Fuller (Habitat for Humanity)

I read this and I smiled.  I belong to several communities.  They are whole and healthy and I love being a part of them.  My community at work is filled with children and teachers and families who really care. My church is full of love and caring and acceptance and forgiveness and joy.  I always look forward to going to work and going to church.  These are the places where I feel free to be myself and enjoy learning and sharing and life.

Today I thank God for the gift of community.  Community is how I embrace life!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

It's all about perspective...

Today is better than yesterday.  The challenges didn't go away.  They did not even get smaller.  I got a good nights sleep and with God's help, I accepted the reality of the situation.

Acceptance without embellishment is a good thing.  It is neutral.  It is just the way things are without emotional baggage.  Acceptance helps disappointment disappear and then your heart and soul find a new direction to proceed.

I changed my direction.  Now my spiritual and emotional world are back in balance and I am moving forward.  Hope is back along with patience and flexibility.  God is back in the center of my world.

I found this meant a lot to me....It is really all about perspective...

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”
― Abraham Lincoln

When I really think about it---my thorn bushes have beautiful roses!  Thank you God that I am free to change my perspective.

Monday, August 12, 2013

I came home, energized, motivated, ready to go....a little tired but enthused!  I went to work and my "happy world" came crashing down around me.  I was promised that everything would be ready on Monday, today, but that was not to be.  Circumstances were different and disappointment filled my whole psyche and normally what wouldn't have got me down, did!  Still fatigued from my weekend trip, I couldn't even muster enough energy to "make the best of it."  I was frustrated and angry but worst of all disappointed.  I hate that feeling most of all.  I did make an effort but most of the morning was I was inefficient.  Finally I left work...had a pity party on a parking lot with a chocolate ice cream cone and then went back.  This time, my spirit said "do something, anything" and with the help of friends I managed to go forward.

The feelings though did not go away and I carried them home.  I called my oldest daughter.  She made some suggestions and as I said before, I didn't have much energy, so I just followed her advice, too tired to argue.  I began to feel the weight begin to lift off my shoulders when I made the decision to stand up to the negative feeling and turn my day around.  I am in process now.

Even the best of us, can be caught off guard sometimes and get sucked into a black hole of disappointment and anger and frustration.  But we have to remember, justified or not, it is our choice to leave the darkness behind.  It has been a long time since I felt this low, and I forgot to do anything except to cling to the awfulness.  If I had said a prayer, God would have helped.  If I had accepted help from my friends at work sooner, I would have accomplished more.  If I would have meditated instead of eat ice cream, I would have become more resilient a lot sooner.  I am just glad that I listened to my daughter and began to pull myself out of the abyss.

I am always looking for words that help me with my challenges.  Today, I found this quotation from a Nobel Peace Prize winner and that gives me hope for tomorrow:

Enthusiasm is followed by disappointment and even depression, and then by renewed enthusiasm.
Murray Gell-Mann 

And then I remembered this verse and that gives me hope for all time:

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.




Sunday, August 11, 2013

I am home after my three day vacation in St Louis, MO.  I am inspired, energized, and looking forward to the future...I am also exhausted but in a very wonderful way.  I have a huge amount of gratitude in my heart.  Thank you, thank you God for beautiful weather and the exposure to so much science and art.  What a wonderful world you have created for us. Thank you.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Vacation is good for the soul

I am absolutely exhausted physically but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually I am psyched!  I have learned so much, experienced so much, and my two daughters and I have created wonderful memories! Vacations are good for the soul!  This vacation was full of art and science.  I appreciate this world even more after today..thank you God for opportunities!  Thank you God for family!  Thank you god for life!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Today is the day for experiences..
I am writing this post from St. Louis, MO....
It is a good thing for your spiritual soul to go outside the box.
I have had new experiences and it is a joy to look at the world with a fresh outlook.
I am enjoying the company of my two daughters.
Sometimes you need to leave the normal and have a vacation...
I am thankful for this opportunity.
Thank you God for this blessing and it is only Friday
I am looking forward to the next two days.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Being Ready

Today I catch up on laundry, pack bags, and make final preparations for a trip to St Louis, MO.  The highway was closed yesterday due to flooding, opened this morning, but now the rain has begun again. I really don't know if the road will be open or closed tomorrow, so I don't know for sure if I will be able to make the trip.  I will be ready.  I will just wait and see what tomorrow brings.

The present moment is all we have.  We can prepare for the future but we can not predict it, we can only guess.   We need to make the most of what we have which is now.  No matter what happens tomorrow I will have the laundry done and be ready to experience a new day.  I am looking into alternative ways to spend my weekend if the floods prevent a trip east.  I am even looking into fun things I can do if the best thing is to stay home.  I have decided to make the most of this day, and I have made a choice to look forward to tomorrow whatever that brings.

When it comes down to it, our lives are all about choices.  I could worry and fret and be upset.  I would be justified in doing so.  I can also decide to stay calm, look at opportunities, and decide that whatever adventure waits, I will be ready and happy about it.

I read a this posted in front of a church this morning:  Worry is concern without prayer.

My life is full of prayer so I am not going to worry.  I choose to be prepared. and I am ready.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Tolerance, Choice, and God.

I spent the morning moving classroom furniture into my new classroom and visited with the staff who are my friends.  I teach preschool at a Presbyterian Church and it is a wonderful place to work.  The preschool program was started as an outreach program for the church and it has grown by leaps and bounds!  If I wasn't such a strong Episcopalian who absolutely is dedicated to the church I already attend, I could easily become a Presbyterian and join this church who is my employer.  In fact, I have two church families so I am very fortunate.

I grew up southern Baptist, became an Episcopalian, and work at a Presbyterian church and I embrace the influences of all three denominations.  Christianity is Christianity and the fundamentals of faith are the same.  How we express our faith may be different...but we are all moving toward the same destination.  I know there are those who would argue this point with me and try to convince me that their way is the only way but I can't and I won't believe it.  God made us all unique individuals and each of us have to develop our own relationship with Him.  Even inside each denomination are differing opinions and there is no way that everyone in the world could ever agree on the one and only "right'  way to worship God.   God gave us the freedom of choice and as long as He is the center of our choice, I don't think the details are important.  Just because I prefer to use the Book of Common Prayer and take part in Holy Communion every Sunday does not make me a better or worse Christian than those who follow a sequence of events in their services and only take Communion on a quarterly basis.
It is our sincerity, and our choice to be close to God that is important.  We have no right to judge, only God has that right, and He is a loving and wise God.

So I guess my topic for this spiritual Blog today is tolerance.  We can be true to ourselves and allow others to be true to themselves.  We can love others, pray for them, and accept them without judgement or prejudice.  Our best witness for Christ is how we care and act towards each other.  God is love and if we have allowed Him in our heart then we become a part of that love....and that my friends (whatever church you belong to) is a beautiful thing!  amen

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Happiness is...

In the sixties when I was a teenager....1960's not 1860's....a little cartoon was very popular that always read "Happiness is....."  and then the blank was filled in with a sweet little word or phrase like "daisies picked just for you."  "A rainbow on a cloudy day."  "homemade chocolate chip cookies."   It was cheesy but I liked it and thought the sentiments were profound.  Now that I am over 60 (and over the "sixties")  I would like to rewrite that sweet  little cartoon with reality.

First I would change the cute little round belly boy and girl to a stick figure with arthritic knees, a hearing aid, and a big heart.  That is as close as I am willing to get to a self portrait. ...then I would write my opinions.  Here goes:

Happiness is being able to get out of bed in the morning.
Happiness is ibuprofen that makes it possible to get out of bed in the morning.
Happiness is being able to spell ibuprofen

Happiness is owning your car.
Happiness is planning a road trip.
Happiness is taking your seven year old car to the dealership for it's 100,000 mile checkup
and ONLY having to pay for an oil change.

Happiness is being able to wear your pants at your waistline.
Happiness is the choice to say no to a belly, nose, and tongue ring.
Happiness is being free of tattoos.

Happiness is a purse free of pampers.
the end of PTA meetings
and no more stupid enrollment cards to fill out.

Happiness is utilities turned on,
the choice for heat or air,
and enough hot water for a long shower.

Happiness is infrequent doctor visits (even though you have medical insurance)
Knowing your blood pressure is okay,
and realizing that losing a few pounds is your only major health issue.

Happiness is bills paid on time,
a little savings in the bank,
and a house almost paid for.

Happiness is more than a sentiment.
Happiness is a choice.
Happiness is the best way to live.

---written in the waiting room of the Ford dealership, today,  If I choose to be spiritual, I also choose to be happy.  Paulletta



Monday, August 5, 2013

Stay Calm and Carry On

This morning when the alarm went off my mind was already racing before my feet ever hit the floor.  I go back to work in a week.  I am taking a three day mini vacation to St Louis this weekend.  Summer for me is basically over.  Projects need to be finished and preparations need to be done.  There's housework and yard work and laundry and car maintenance and packing and lesson plans and......and the list goes on forever!  I was in a panic.  Why wasn't everything already done?  As I dragged the poor dog out to the kennel and Sky out of bed,  I was berating myself for procrastination and imperfection.  I was telling myself over and over again how I was a failure at life and I should have known better and get busy--maybe there was still hope.  I was almost out of control  when a gentle voice inside my heart said, "Shush."  I froze unable to move until the gears in my head stopped turning.

I put everything on hold.  I sat down.  I started to breathe deeply and slowly.  I derailed my panic attack.  It was time to think and not react.  But when I stopped reacting, it seemed my brain had put on the brakes too.  I sat.  Unable to move, unable to think, my world suddenly stopped.   I was back in the quiet.

I have worked very hard in meditation to get to the place where I can simply spend time and just be with God.  At first the only place I could do this was at church when I was alone but gradually, I learned I could stop and do this whenever I wanted to.  I always initiated the experience.  Today the experience "initiated" me--if that makes any sense--and it caught me off guard.  Shocked at the sequence of events but grateful that I was in the quiet, I made the decision to stay and just be with God for a time.

I emptied my mind.  I allowed the silence in.  I let go.  I slowed down.  And then this thought came into my head.  "Stay calm and carry on."   "Paulletta, just stay calm and carry on."  "Stay calm."
I inhaled the word calm.  I exhaled carry on.  My world that I had turned upside down was back in balance and the panic was gone and my mind began to think clearly.

All my life,  I was one of those people who always believed everything should have been done yesterday.  As a result, I was always "behind" and never did things "well."  I thought myself into failure.  More recently, I worked on this old habit and gradually it had less and less of an influence in my life.   But, as became obvious this morning, old habits die hard and this one raised it's ugly head and tried to create havoc.

I have learned the best way to get rid of bad habits is to create good ones that take their place.  I never imagined that meditation was the answer for panic but now that I write this, it is obvious.  What a precious gift that I have been given.  Thank you God.

And now back to my life....I am going to be calm and carry on.  Everything will be right, done the way it should be done, with no panic.   I look forward to the rest of the day and the experiences to come.
Thank you God.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

"What a Rule of Life Is  (adapted from A Rule of Life by Robert A. Gallagher)
A rule of life is the means by which an individual Christian establishes an intentional pattern of Christian discipline which can, over time, be reflected upon, revised, and deepened. Your rule is an expression of the faith and practice of the whole Church in your own life; a discipline freely taken on to give order, support, and direction to your life; and a means of rooting your life in Christ."

I copied what you have just read from the home page of the  Christ Episcopal Church in Cape Girardeau.  It was a concise explanation of what I am attempting to do and what I encourage every Christian to do.  If you "google" rule of life on the internet you will get many explanations but they say basically the same thing.  As the author of this article goes on to say, ".. a Rule of Life is a guide, a scaffold, a trellis on which you place those activities in your life which particularly point you to God.  In researching this, I liked the image of a trellis, where a seed is planted, allowed to grow upward toward and with the Son along a framework which is modified for the size, need of the plant..."   I personally like this image.

When writing my rule, I first thought of the things that I regularly do as a Christian.  I regularly go to Mass (again).  I pray.  I write about my own journey of spirituality.  I meditate.  I read the Bible.  I read books on faith and spirituality.  I try to practice the "golden rule."

These experiences are good but pretty general.  A Rule of Life, the way I understand it, needs to be more fact this same article says this:

A rule needs to be:
   1. Specific: You should be able to say whether or not you are doing it.
   2. Realistic: Something you can really manage.
   3. Sacrificial: It should demand something of you.
   4. Flexible: A rule must be appropriate to the circumstances of one's life.
   5. Responsive: Reflecting the claims and pattern of the Christian life as the Church understands and lives it.

So I looked at my list again.  

I regularly go to in my rule I have expanded this to going to Mass twice a week--for me I like Sunday morning and Monday evening.  Since Mass @my church is now offered at least four times a week..this part of my rule is specific, realistic, flexible, responsive, and maybe a little sacrificial.

I pray.  I believe in unceasing prayer but it would be nice to include a specific time of day to pray for a specific reason....maybe every morning for life in another day or maybe before bed, a prayer of gratitude.   Maybe out of the book of common prayer--regularly reading the office of morning and/or evening prayer.  For me to do this everyday is impossible (I have tried) but I love the office of Compline and I can say it every night before I go to sleep.  This is my "specific" of prayer.

I hope by now that you get the idea.  A Rule of Life is something between you and God--a promise to keep.  My rule is between God and me and it is not important (or necessary) for me to publish it here.  It is, however, very important to me that you know that I have one and that I am trying to live by that rule. 

My rule includes writing on this blog everyday.  This sometimes is hard work but I make sure I take the time and do what I promised to do.  Being a Christian includes discipline.  Just like going to church, the most important time to go to church is when you don't feel like it.  Some of my best writing (as I have said many times) has occurred when I could not ignore my computer because it reached up and grabbed me by the throat.

Anyway, I just wanted you to know that a Rule is Life is something that I have written and try to live by.  It has enhanced my life and my relationship with God.  It is important to do specific things on a regular basis to point you in the direction of God.  It is an exercise that I encourage you to undertake.



Saturday, August 3, 2013

Sensitivity and suffering

Over the past few days, I have written much about happiness and joy but that does not make me insensitive to what is happening in the world around me.  I am well aware of the challenges that face many in my family and many of my friends.  I have my own challenges that must be faced. I just made the choice for a little while to show good, to let me know and hopefully others that there is good along with the suffering. I wanted everyone to know that perspective is important in how you live your life.

Case in point-- Early this morning a loud thunderstorm woke me up from a sound sleep.  My dog was whimpering and the rain was pounding the windows... I touched my dog on the head and said, "Annie go back to sleep, it is just a thunderstorm."  Then I breathed a sigh of relief and said,  "Thank you God, it is good to have a new roof."  Annie rolled over and went back to sleep and so did I.  This time last year, rain meant disaster with a roof that had large gaping holes. I would have had to jump out of bed and empty containers full of water.  This time a few months ago, Annie would have cried and paced through all the lightening but I have been working with her to stay calm and this morning she finally trusted me.  Choosing to be happy and trying to look on the bright side of life does not stop storms from coming.  With work and faith,  the challenges can be met. so the rain just becomes a normal function of nature again.

There are those close to me in my life that are facing huge challenges.  I feel for them, I literally feel for them.  I am well aware of how hard it is to keep your faith when your body does not cooperate by being healthy.  I know what it is like when I felt betrayed at work and realized that my security and freedom had been challenged.   I have faced my own death and the death of others close to me, and that has never been or will be easy.  I have accepted bankruptcy as a way of life only to be given an opportunity to resolve the financial disaster in a way I didn't think was possible.  And the list goes on and on and on.

I am not bragging.  Just thinking about what I have accomplished overwhelms me.  When I look back at how I did it, I am incredulous at what happened.  I did not face these challenges by myself.  I had a wonderful support system who helped me not give up.  Most important of all, I had God with me.  I was willing to do whatever was necessary and God gave me the opportunities to face the challenges and the strength to endure the suffering.  I did not accomplish this is my life....WE DID.

So today if you are feeling angry, depressed, overwhelmed, sick, tired, exploited, exhausted,  or any other negative feeling.  It is okay.  You have the right to feel that way.  You are justified.  I understand.
God understands.  Now what are you going to do with that emotion?  You can hold on to it forever or you can work with God to face the challenge and the suffering.  There is a time to feel so take all the time you need to really feel.  And there is a time to fight.  When you are ready, God will be with you and so will I.  I can't read minds so you may have to tell me what I can do, but in the meantime, you are in my thoughts and in my prayers, because I really do care.

May God give you strength and courage.  May God bless your life.  Amen

Friday, August 2, 2013

It is incredible to be alive.

I didn't forget to write my post this morning.  I was just busy living my life.  My day was full of people and many experiences and it is nice now in the evening to reflect on this day and be glad.

I shared on Face Book two situations that happened today.  One this morning where I was trying very hard to mow my lawn and two wonderful people stopped to help.  They ended up mowing my yard for me and when I gave them some money they were so grateful because they were broke. Then this afternoon, I ended up going to the bank later that I had planned and missed being in a car accident that involved four cars by minutes!

But that is only a small part of my day.  I was able to communicate with several people either by email or phone and I enjoyed the conversations.  I talked to all of my grown children and realized how proud I am of them because of  way they are dealing with the challenges in their individual lives.  My bird feeders were full every time I looked at them and I realized that along with the sparrows and chickadees and cardinals and house finches  and bee wicks  and mourning doves that the golden finch is now a regular customer and that the tufted titmouse has returned.  My flowers are blooming and my herbs are thriving and I enjoy my garden along with the birds.

Inside my house, projects that I started are being finished and it has been a joy to paint furniture and find the right color chair pads for my dining room.  I paid my bills for the month and felt grateful that they are all paid and on time and I have money left over.  I even bought a new phone (land line) and installed it myself--something I had never attempted before--and I am proud of myself.  IT WORKS!

Sky had a great week at work. We celebrated with tacos for supper.  And now all is quiet except for the cicadas and crickets which are singing  a symphony outside my window.  It has been a good, full day and I am thankful that I am alive!

It is time now just to be quiet and just be with God...peace...

Thursday, August 1, 2013

"The secret of man's being is not only to live but to have something to live for."
--Fyodor Dostoyevsky

My yellow dahlia has bloomed.  It is large (eight inches across) and healthy and a joy to behold.  There are several more buds on the plant so soon I will have even more blossoms.  I planted the tubers in late spring and was disappointed when only one of the plants came up.  I watered it and cared for it and watched it grow strong.  This is the reward of taking care of a plant.--a reason to get up everyday and the enjoyment of beauty that only God can create.

Last November, I went to the human society and adopted a large Catahoula/blue tick hound.  This dog is large, stubborn, active, and very loving.  It takes time and energy to take care of her.  She has been abandoned once and I don't ever want that to happen to her again.  She is the reason I stay active and look at life with a different perspective.  She teaches me something everyday.  She gives me a reason to be outside, move even when I don't want to, and be aware of all the creatures that God has given to us to enhance our lives.

I have a twenty five year old daughter, Sky, who has Down Syndrome.  She has taught me patience and resilience and tolerance and the importance of structure.  She works a full time job and shows me that anyone can work hard--even the mentally retarded.  She also is a potter.  She initiated and pays  for an ongoing pottery class and I have a room full of her beautiful creations.  She is independent but needs a guardian to look after her welfare.  She also gives me a reason to live and to live life fully. 

I write. It is one of my passions.  I never have enough time to write all that I want to write.  I look forward to every day to see what unfolds on the page.  I live to write and I write to live.  It is a wonderful reason for living. 

I have so much to live for.  I can not list all the reasons here because I can not just write about life but I have to step away from the computer and live it.  

 I have heard some say that they have nothing to live for.  It is hard for me to understand.  God gave them life.  They have a purpose--they just haven't discovered it yet.   Today I thank God that I have an abundance to live for and I pray for all of those who think they do not..  I pray that their eyes and hearts are open to possibilities and they to can discover something to live for.   amen.