Monday, November 29, 2010

An Advent with Our Lady

Last month I had a dream that really stuck with me. In this dream the Lord asked me to "put my hands to the plow" and, also, to renew my devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. In this dream he showed me a picture of myself praying the Rosary with all my heart and how much this pleases Him. I guess this is his gentle way of letting me know I've been getting a little sloppy in my meditations.

This Advent I am asking Mother Mary to help me prepare for the coming of her Son. I have dedicated this liturgical season to her and have asked her to take my hand as we walk through this time of preparation together. Under the guidance of Our Lady, with the help of the Holy Spirit, I hope to give this "spiritual house" a heavy duty cleaning so that Jesus will find a clean heart to rest in this Christmas.

I am offering all my Masses this month to Our Lady for souls who are living in the darkness of sin so that through her intercession the light of Christ may be brought to their hearts.

May everyone have a fruitful and blessed Advent!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sabbath Moments

Sabbath Moments is a weekly meme hosted by Colleen at Thoughts on Grace. Sabbath Moments are the moments when we "let go and let God" and live in the present moment.

Michaela has five days off from school. Of course, I would like to say that she can't wait to go back BUUUT nothing could be further from the truth. She has been ecstatic ever since Tuesday afternoon. Dancing around the house singing,  "Five days off! Five days off!" I'm not sure this bodes well for the future (lol). It's been fun having her at home all day though! We've played a lot of fun games on her Wii system and tonight we are going to have a family movie night.  She likes playing games against me because I stink at most of them and she likes to win. Randy and Michaela are competitive and their antics and comments while they are playing against each other crack me up!

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving meal at my parents' house. Great conversation, lots of laughs, and food galore! Everyone brings a couple things and we had tons of leftovers. Eight desserts to choose from - I kid you not. As a matter of fact, the first thing I did this morning after dressing was to put on my pedometer. I often attach it to my pants first thing in the morning and try to hit 10,000 - 15,000 steps per day ( note the word try).  Perhaps if I "tried" harder I wouldn't have 3 different sizes in my closet. On a lighter (or not)  note - I am doing my fiscal duty by helping to support the economy ;)

This week I've tried to focus on thanking the Lord for his many blessings. He has been very good to me and I am grateful! Thank you, Lord!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Virtues, Grace, and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit

I added a new favorite website to my sidebar that I thought others might be interested in as well. If you click on Spirituality 101 you can find a wonderful series of articles on virtues, grace, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It's a great site. My husband stumbled upon it during a google search and am I glad he did!


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope everyone enjoyed their day. I know I did!

God is good.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

World Wide Rosary Today for Persecuted Catholics in Iraq

Please join me in praying the Rosary today for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Iraq. Click here for more information. Thank you - they desperately need our prayers.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Cross Wise - Suffering with Joy

"Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me."      Mt. 16:24

There are folks who are wise in the ways of the world and then...there are folks who are Cross wise. Their vision has been lifted from this world to the next. The Cross, which seems such an obstacle to some, is a stepping stone to our Lord for others. They use their sufferings to draw closer to Christ and to obtain graces for others, also.

This week's Catholic Treasure is Barbara Schoeneberger's - Suffering with Joy. Barb is a gifted artist with a very keen intelligence and I always enjoy reading her thoughts and insights on various issues including, but not limited to, dealing with a chronic illness, the Church, the Arts, and Sacred Scripture.

Barb has been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue. In 2008, she also went through 3 hip surgeries. Despite her battle with chronic pain, Barb remains upbeat and offers her sufferings in reparation for sins of the world. You can read her story here. She is an inspiring and courageous woman and I highly recommend her site.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sabbath Moments - Holy! Holy?

Sabbath Moments is a weekly meme hosted by Colleen at Thoughts on Grace. These are the moments when we "let go and let God" and live in the present moment.

 God has been very good to me. Sometimes I have the bad habit of focusing on my flaws instead of God's amazing kindness. As if my petty little human imperfections matter more than the greatness of the Lord. The world becomes a very small place when one focuses on oneself. I know better than to do this. I know it's insulting to God's mercy and prideful but I still catch myself nitpicking myself and wishing I were holier. This topic comes up a lot in my prayer life. I call them my "whining sessions" because I'm not quite sure they pass as prayer (lol). Since the Lord is always with me - He's stuck listening. This week, when I caught myself acting as my own judge and jury I tried to put a "check" on it before I got carried away and tried to turn my focus toward God instead. I have come to the realization that it's always best to wait for the Holy Spirit to bring things to light because He is far gentler than we are! Trying to outrun the Holy Spirit just leaves me frustrated with myself.

I'm quite sure we impede the work of the Holy Spirit when we worry about our spiritual progress too much. It's like saying to the Lord, " I can't trust you with my sanctification. I am worried about my holiness because I don't quite believe you are powerful or loving enough to take care of this for me."  Or perhaps we think he'll let us down and that we won't reach the impossibly high standards for holiness that we set up for ourselves with our fallen natures that (of course) know better than God what holiness is ;)  I am very convinced that our ideas of holiness and God's are very different.

This counts as a Sabbath Moment since this is what I am thinking about in this present moment. Right?

Besides, my original Sabbath Moment about the Bible got deleted ( don't ask).

Thursday, November 18, 2010

This is horrifying

Allison at A Broken Fortress posted this article about a Minneapolis couple who are accepting online votes on whether they should abort or keep their baby. The couple's website is I don't know whether this is a ploy to get attention or if the couple is truly sick enough to leave a child's life in the hands of strangers.
It crossed my mind that these were pro-lifers trying to make a strong point but if this is the case - they are using evil means to get their point across and are causing scandal. If they are pro-life, LifeNews is unaware of it and is very concerned.
Whichever ultimately turns out to be the case - it's one of the sickest things I've ever read. This makes a mockery out of a little baby's life. Please pray for this baby... and the parents who are making sport of this little one's life.
And if this is really true...evil has been raised to new heights.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Dear Lord,

Today I want to take the time to thank you for your blessings. I wanted you to know that I am very grateful that I can:

-Pour a coffee without spilling it anymore
-Get myself dressed without pain
-Lift my daughter with ease
-Go for months without getting sick

I also thank you for walking beside me all the years I was ill and for lifting me up when I didn't think I could go on any more. My heart is yours, Lord.  Amen.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Darkness and Light

Christ be my light.

 I have to admit that I have had difficulty posting for a while. I even know the reason why.

I am confused. Baffled by a series of events that took place last spring around the time of my physical healing. Some before the healing, some after. I guess when God decides to intervene in a person's life in an extraordinary way he doesn't half step it. The healing of my physical body isn't what left me confused, it's the spiritual happenings that went along with it. The most I dared to write about this was a post last month called, "What if things are worse than we think?"

While I was being healed physically I "saw" an amazing interconnection among God's creation. I didn't just "see" it, I experienced it.  Not in a New Age pantheistic sense. I was still very much aware of my individuality as a human being but I also became aware of a spiritual reality that exists along side of us. Maybe along side of us isn't the right phrase. With us would express it better. I was alternately amazed and horrified by what I saw. Amazed - because we receive a lot more help and support from the spiritual realm than we realize. Horrified - because I have a glimmer of an understanding why Jesus would say, "Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do."

God is very merciful. If we could see the ripple effect of our sins we would sin a lot less. I would like to say that we wouldn't sin at all, but this would not be true since we would still have our fallen natures to contend with. We would also realize our utter dependence on God's mercy. Not partial dependence - total dependence. And this loving gift of mercy is given to all. We cannot stop the ripple effect of our sins but God can and does. Thanks to the Cross of Jesus. We owe Him everything.

Love has a bigger effect. The love of God washes over humanity. If sin has a ripple effect, love is like a tidal wave. It is far more powerful because it is from God. Evil is never from Him.

Can something be both the best and the worst thing you've ever experienced in your life? Can one's life be both "tipped upside down" and "set aright" at the same time. Because this is the way I think about it. My life was tipped upside down and yet, at the same time, set aright. Because God is kind, He allowed me to experience his love in a special way before showing me some "not so pleasant things about myself and this world" to put it bluntly. I cried so hard. "Lord, how can you love us so much?" He does, though. Very, very much. 

What I experienced has had both positive and negative aspects to it.

On the positive side...I have very few illusions left about myself. This isn't a bad thing. I also received spiritual healing along with the physical. That's a blessing, too. Plus, I have a better understanding of the mercy and support of God.

The negative side was temporary, thankfully. Being human, my first thought was to question my sanity. This didn't make sense, however. After all, why would God heal me physically just to throw something worse on me. Plus, as much as I would have liked to chalk it up to a lapse in sanity, I felt very sane. My second thought was to wonder how much Satan may have muddied up the waters. The second is probably likely, to a degree, which is why I am careful in what I write about. I say "to a degree"  because I have no doubt that I received tremendous healing and grace during this period of time and I am very thankful to God for it.

 When I spoke to a priest about the difficulties I was having making sense of things that had happened he gave me very good advice. He asked me to focus on my daily duties and tasks and to forget about the rest for a while. So I did. This helped me adjust back to "normal life".  I was blessed that he didn't bat an eyelash when I explained about the physical and spiritual healing, some priests have difficulty dealing with stuff like that. He took it all with equanimity and gave me practical, down to earth advice. This is also one of the reasons that I took most of the summer off, though part of it was lack of time.

The good outweighs the negative of course. God doesn't allow something to happen unless it's for our greater good.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sabbath Moments

Sabbath Moments is a weekly meme hosted by Colleen at Thoughts on Grace. These are those moments when we "let go and let God" and live in the present moment.

Those of you who read my last post probably know that I am a great fan of the Blessed Mother and the Rosary. This week I have spent a lot of time with these beads in my hands. Whenever I am feeling troubled or down I turn to Our Lady and I have received many graces over the years through her intercession. These moments I spend with the mother of God are very special to me and I am thankful for her love and care.

I often pray in the car. Everyday, actually. Sometimes, I use this time to simply thank the Lord for the blessings in my life. I'm sure people wonder who the crazy lady in the car who always mumbles to herself is. I can't pray silently in the car for some reason. I usually end my car praying sessions with music. I even alter the words to everyday songs and change them into songs of praise. It's nice to be able to use activities like driving as opportunities to get closer to the Lord.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Praying the Rosary and Purification of the Soul

  I am a huge advocate of praying the Rosary.

 Praying the Rosary on a regular basis has an interesting effect on the soul. The more you pray it, the more sin begins to repulse you. Especially your own sins. Can a person pray the Rosary daily (with sincerity) and not be changed? I don't think so. Mother Mary must have obtained some great graces for those who pray it because ... it is life changing.

  One of the first thing I started doing after my conversion was to pick up my beads daily and meditate on the mysteries of the Rosary. I had led a sinful life for years and was not really aware at the time just how deeply sin wounds us. I was susceptible to certain weaknesses and sins, especially in my thought life, and the Rosary became the weapon of choice for me. Actually, sin had dulled my soul to such a degree that the Lord had to "cheat" and poured extraordinary graces into it. He was "waking up" my soul and our Lady was helping.  It was necessary because one doesn't come back from sin on their own. It's pure grace. And sometimes this grace comes in ordinary ways, other times extraordinary. I am guessing that the Lord allowed me many glimpses into the work He was doing so that I wouldn't lose heart or despair over my sinfulness. God never stops knocking though we may stop answering the door at times.  A long time in my case. Thankfully, God is persistent.

I use the Rosary for intercessory prayer, to obtain virtues and special graces, as reparation for my sins and to meditate on Scripture. While meditating on certain Bible passages other verses often come to mind and I am often amazed by the connection between the verses. I don't always stick to the mysteries during the Rosary. Often I just try to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and see where this takes me.

When I pray the Rosary I'll notice thoughts that try to sneak into my meditations. Distractions. These are my "attachments and concerns" usually. If I can't ignore them, I sometimes pray about them because I know they are popping up for a reason. They tend to be the same distractions with slight variations over and over so this is a good hint from the Lord about things I need to work on.

Another way that the Rosary has benefited me is that over the years I have become aware of its purging effect. Slowly but surely Our Lady cleans house. When I go through these purging stages I often feel like Pigpen from Peanuts with a cloud of dirt and dust surrounding me and clouding my vision. I feel filthy but the truth is that I am actually just more aware of my faults at these times than during times of consolation. I had a humorous dream years ago about Mother Mary with a broom and have no doubt that she's working hard still.

The Rosary has become my "signal" to the Lord that I'm ready for more cleansing and that I am opening myself up to whatever work He desires to do in me. My tacit permission to go on. God doesn't force himself on us and respects our free will. Some people use a holy word to show their acquiescence to the work of the Spirit, I often use the Rosary. It seems to work better for me, plus I am also fulfilling my promise as one who is consecrated to Our Lady to pray the Rosary.

If I could give 2 pieces of advice to those who have recently returned to the Church it would be this:

Receive the Eucharist as often as possible and pray the Rosary. Oh, and one more - go before the Blessed Sacrament. These three things will change your heart no matter where you are on your journey.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day

My heartfelt thanks to all the men and women who have fought so bravely and risked their lives over the years to protect this country. May God bless you!

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Two Josephs

I have an endless fascination with the two Josephs and the three Marys in the Gospels. I swear that a week doesn't go by when these significant men and women of the Bible don't cross my mind. I'm constantly googling information about them, though I'm not quite sure where I'm going with it. I guess I'm not the only one who thinks about this because I stumbled upon this little poem recently which stoked my interest even further:

How Life and Death in Thee
Thou hadst a virgin Womb
         And Tomb.
A Joseph did betroth
        Them both.

Both at Jesus' birth and death we can find a Joseph on hand waiting. Silent but important figures. One helped Jesus out of a virgin womb while the other placed Jesus in a virgin tomb. The Bible makes these two points clear - the virgin womb of our Lady and the unused, virgin tomb that our Lord was placed into at death by Joseph of Arimathea.  There are a number of interesting parallels here which have given me much food for thought. There are even more than this but I thought I'd start here:

- One Joseph prepared a place for his birth - one Joseph prepared a place for his death.
- They both cradled his swaddled body.
- A virgin womb - a virgin tomb ( The Bible clearly states that this was an unused tomb.)
-  Jesus was born in a cave ( grotto) and his body at death was also placed in a grotto.
-The word grotto comes from the word crypta (vault, cavern) which ultimately comes from the Greek word  krypte - "hidden place".

Both the virgin womb and the virgin tomb were sealed. They were "hidden places" where 2 of the great mysteries of our faith took place. In both these places God changed the course of human history. In Jesus' birth, when the virgin womb was opened, we see that Divinity has descended to humanity. In Jesus death and burial we see that, when the virgin tomb was opened, humanity was lifted to the divine. Both are "clean" births, untainted by sin. The "new Eve" and the "new Adam"  have rewritten history.  We can now enter heaven, it is a rebirth for all humanity. In Baptism we were all buried with Christ and through his death and resurrection we may enter into eternal life. I often wonder if God placed the second Joseph at Jesus' burial for the very reason of pointing out the similarities between his birth and death and what these mean for mankind. We only have to look around the earth to see that God likes to speak through symbols. We see this in the Bible, too, which is rich in symbolism.

 During Baptism we are sealed in Christ.
Baptism seals the Christian with the indelible mark of his belonging to Christ (CCC).
 " Or are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life."             Rom. 6: 3-4

Don't even get me started on the three Marys. I filled a couple pages of a notebook on them.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sabbath Moments

Sabbath Moments is a weekly meme hosted by Colleen at Thoughts on Grace. These are the moments when we focus on the Lord and take time to just be with Him rather than do. I had some great Sabbath Moments this week:

Last Sunday my church held a family gathering day in honor of the saints and Mother Mary. All the children dressed up as their favorite saints and took part in a procession as they entered the church for Mass. Michaela was dressed up as Our Lady. The kids were adorable! After Mass, we all went over to the center and took part in activities to help the kids learn about Our Lady. It started off with a talk, followed by a story wall activity center, and then the kids made family banners. The morning ended with all the families gathering in the gym to pray the Rosary. A few years back the older kids had made a HUGE paper mache rosary that spans almost the entire gym. Each family stood behind a giant bead and took part in praying the Glorious Mysteries. It was awesome!

On Wednesdays and Fridays a group meets before Mass at my church to pray the Rosary together. This Friday we prayed for our country, state by state. Before each Hail Mary, the leader would pray, "We plead the Blood of Christ upon the state of Alabama and upon each and every soul in that state. " And then it would go on to the next state, with prayers for our government leaders in between decades along with a song such as "God Bless America". I have a great devotion to the Precious Blood and always cover those I am praying for with the Blood of the Lamb so this Rosary really touched me. Powerful! I am going to do this at home, too!

The pictures aren't very clear but I'm sharing them anyway!

Friday, November 5, 2010

"So shall the King desire thy beauty"

"Set me as a seal on your heart, as a seal on your arm"

Since I began blogging about a year and a half ago I have come across many wonderful Catholic blogs. On occasion I'll come across one that speaks to my heart in a special way and inspires in me a greater love for our Lord. This week's Catholic Treasure is Daughter of the King. I've always felt that Karinann's site is aptly named and that God has blessed her with a special gift that I like to call single-heartedness ... her eyes are fixed on God. She writes with a beautiful honesty that is hard to come by these days and her love for God is palpable. When I think of Karinann it seems to me that she is very like Mary, Martha's sister, despite her busy life, and that she has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her. I also have no doubt that, spiritually, she is paving the way for many conversions.

 Karinann's Reversion Story is a powerful witness to God's love for his people and his longing to heal them and gather them to himself. I was deeply touched by her story. For those of you that have family and friends who have walked away from their faith please read her post today. It will fill you with hope.

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thank you, Victor!

A big THANK YOU to Victor at Time for Reflections for the lovely flowers and the kind words. Your thoughtfulness and your wonderful blog are deeply appreciated!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Living Alleluia

Every part of your life can be a beautiful hymn that tugs at the heart of the Lord. Jesus sanctified every aspect of human existence during his life here on earth. Your very breath glorifies God. As do all the little things that make up the course of your daily life. Work, play, household tasks...we have numerous opportunities each and every day to compose a living Alleluia to our Lord. Is there anything that cannot be done in the name of God? Is there anything that cannot be used to compose this glorious love song?

Sin. Sin is the only thing I can think of that does not glorify God. Everything else can be a tool of grace to compose the incredible song that is your life. There are many people who separate their daily tasks from their spiritual lives not understanding that it is these very same duties, done for love, that make us holy. God is very easy to please. We do Him a terrible injustice when we think of Him as a hard taskmaster. All He asks is that we live our day-to-day lives humbly and with love. He'll take care of the rest.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Our new computer is up and running and I'm breathing a sigh of relief. Did you know that I used to be able to do all my dishes while my old one booted up? It was a laptop and had no memory available. A great virtue builder, certainly, but how much patience does one need to build up? Besides, we have kids to take care of that virtue. 

Speaking of virtues, I was thinking of how, God, in his goodness, put so many natural cures for vice upon this earth. Think about it.

What's the built in cure for vanity? Aging of course! It's the great equalizer and no one is exempt. And God is an equal opportunity employer - since wrinkles look good on men, simply take away the hair on their heads and make it sprout out of the ears instead. And perhaps their noses if they still aren't getting it.

Give the impatient a few kids and toss them in a voting line. They'll have no choice but to be patient.

Spiritual pride? No problem! Put them on blogger (lol).

Okay. I'm kidding around. But only a bit.

Speaking of virtue, I'd like to thank all my blogging friends who practiced charity by not mentioning that the background on my blog is electric pink and not the "lovely mellow rose" which I assumed was showing up on everyone's computer (since that's what showed up on my old one). My first thought when I brought up Beautiful Gate on my new computer was - YIKES! My second thought was - People are kind :)

I guess it's time to change the color. I'll have to wait until the pack of wild animals (oops! I mean kids! So sorry!) are gone.

The best cure for impatience? Four kids, three hamsters, one dog - all in one room. Trust me on this one.