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 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 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. 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 is thoughtfortheday,

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 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 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 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 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 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 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' 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 afternoon of conversation followed by an evening with a favorite I received the announcement that autumn is almost 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 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 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! fact, I am still feeling good... Thank you God...

I need to do this more 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 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 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 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 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 human being could ever do that....and that is why God's love is so 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 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.