Over the past month or so I've been peeking at my site stats out of curiosity as to what draws people to my site. I was especially interested in what key words brought people to The Beautiful Gate. What I found interesting is that, other than the keywords "beautiful gate", many visitors end up here accidentally by googling "purple shampoo" and "rotten potatoes". I guess brassy hair and foul potatoes are quite common (lol). I can see why. Having pumpkin head is no picnic. But I would rather have my heart shine as a beacon than my head! Still, I often pray that God leads people here accidentally on purpose and this seems to be the case at times. Who says that God doesn't answer prayers!
For those who visit and are wondering if purple shampoo really works? Yep! It does! Cuts the brassiness in half. John Frieda puts out a purple tone restoring shampoo that you can find at CVS and a few other drugstores. Just figured I'd make your search easier.
I'd like to make another search easier, too. Often, what we think of as an accident is actually the hand of God working in our lives. I cannot count the number of times God threw people in my path when I was far away from him. Though at the time I didn't recognize these events as coming from the Lord, it is clear to me now. Looking back, I can see that the Lord guided my steps, carefully, back onto the right path through "chance" meetings with those who knew him well or through "random" events. Through these instances He was paving the way for my conversion. Of course, at the time, these things went right over my head. I didn't know that God actually took a personal interest in people's lives unless it was to pick on them and I was flying under my own steam back then, with an occasional prayer thown in for fire insurance. Little did I realize that these little prayers of desperation were soon to be answered in a big way. Maybe He didn't want to scare me because I was a fearful person, though outwardly this may not have always shown. I didn't think that this world was all that great a place to live and nothing about the circumstances in my life had really proven this to be otherwise. While I believed in God, as I grew older I certainly didn't credit him with much kindness or love, that's for sure. After all, what kind of God would allow so much suffering in the world? I think I blamed the suffering on him rather than recognizing that our sins cause the deepest sufferings here on earth. I remember being in awe of God as a child and determined to become a saint or a martyr, but life got in the way and my early love for him was buried under the ashes of despair and fear. I soon forgot God (probably on purpose) but he didn't forget me. God resurrected this earlier love for him in a powerful and unexpected way.
I had heard of Saint Paul and his "Damascus moment" but it never occurred to me that God still did such things. That is why I was so surprised when I sat on my bed one evening, cried out, "Jesus, I am fed up with my life!", and instantly found myself in the presence of a great light. I immediately understood that I was in the presence of Mercy, Himself. This knowledge was communicated to me. Not through words. God can make things known without words - through directly infused knowledge. I had no awareness of my body at all but total awareness of myself and Jesus. Rays emanating from his Sacred Heart pierced my soul and I was filled with love and peace. I received tremendous healing. It was as if scales fell from my soul and I could suddenly see and understand God's incredible love for me and for us all. When I was returned to my body I was still sitting in the same position as before and stunned at what had just happened. Nothing like this had EVER happened to me before and I was in a state of shock.
It kind of tips your life upside down. Especially the life of a sinner like me.
An after-effect of this time in his Presence was the realization on my sinfulness and what a grace I had received. During my first Confession after this experience, my sins just poured out of me. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is an immense gift to the Church.
One of the things that struck me was the color of the rays which pierced my soul. They were colors that I have never, ever, seen upon this earth. At the time I had never heard of Saint Faustina and so knew nothing of the Divine Mercy picture or the Chaplet. When I did find out about her I was immediately captivated by both the picture and the Divine Mercy Chaplet. I have the Divine Mercy picture on a stand by my bed as a constant reminder to be thankful of the gift I have received. As in the picture, the rays I saw were both light and dark. A deep, dark, rich red and a lighter color tinged with a pale pink. This is a bit different from the picture but these colors were not of this world and this is the best I can describe them. My URL is based on the Divine Mercy and the title of my blog is based on the cripple who begged outside of the "Beautiful Gate" of the temple. It seemed like a fitting title because I was crippled by sin before entering the Gate of Jesus' Mercy. I needed healing before I could walk.
As for rotten potatoes, after you clean the cupboard, put a box of baking soda in there. That should do the trick :)