Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival is hosted by RAnn at This That and the Other Thing. Sunday Snippets is a weekly meme that gives bloggers a chance to share their favorite posts with others. It's also a great way to find new blogs. Since it is Lent, the first post I'd like to share is on fasting.
http://openingthefloodgatesofmercy.blogspot.com/2010/02/holy-spirit-is-busy-today.html. The second post is a short post about the two gardens:http://openingthefloodgatesofmercy.blogspot.com/2009/11/two-gardens.html. The last is a reminder to praise God http://openingthefloodgatesofmercy.blogspot.com/2009/07/gross-is-heart-of-this-people-they-will.html as we begin to see more clearly the signs of our times. He is the Rock and our peace is in Him, not in this world.

My prayers go out to all my brothers and sisters in Chile and those suffering from the after effects of this earthquake. May God's mercy and love encompass you.

I'm full!

Lord,
You should probably stop feeding me so much humble pie. It's Lent, Lord, I'm supposed to be fasting .

Sabbath Moments - Quiet


Colleen at Thoughts on Grace hosts Sabbath Moments; a weekly reminder to rest in God, to just be rather than do. To be honest, I was blessed to even have one this week. I had a bit of trouble finding peace and quiet...so it found me instead. It was a hectic week - bad weather, taking Michaela to work with me, play dates and noise, noise, noise. The laughter of children is good noise. Children screaming and dogs barking at the same time...Ouch!

Wednesday night I had insomnia. I tried to get back to sleep but couldn't. I got up and thought,"Hey! I'll go on the computer!" This thought passed quickly as the urge to pray came over me. It was still dark out and very quiet :) So, I prayed the Rosary, the Mercy Chaplet and just talked to God. The Lord knew I needed time with Him and provided it. Plus my sister called and invited Michaela over to play later, so I even got a nap in. Peace + quiet + sleep. Now that's a triple blessing!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

"They cry peace, when there is no peace"

The last two days I can't get these words out of my mind. Each time I try to move my mind and heart away from them they come back more strongly. I've been pondering why the Lord has been sinking these words into my heart over and over. What comes to me is that, worldwide, the spiritual situation has become so dire that it borders on emergency. I think that this is why I [and others] keep getting 911 warnings. The truth is people are deceiving themselves about the condition of the world and our country. Without God, there is no true peace; deep interior peace comes from God alone. Can we look around and honestly say that the people of our world have turned their faces toward Our Lord?

You walk into bookstores and you see so many new age books. We are surrounded by false prophets. Wolves in sheep's clothing. Their words sound pleasing to the ear, especially to those who are hungering spiritually. " Everyone is fine. There is no such thing as sin. There is no hell. Jesus was an ascended master." An ascended master? What the heck is an ascended master?!! Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God! The Savior of the world ...whether one is aware of this fact or not. Some New Age followers say that Christians are " unenlightened" and that their minds have not yet been opened to the truth. I even heard a celebrity say that Christians are the biggest problem in this country. We are narrow-minded. We don't think it's okay to murder babies and store them in glass jars or throw them in the trash.

"They say to those who despise the word of the Lord,
  'Peace shall be yours' ;
And to everyone who walks in hardness
  of heart,
  'No evil shall overtake you.'

The most dangerous "religion" in the world is New Age. Why they call it New Age, I'll never know. It's been around in various forms for hundreds of years.Why do I call it the most dangerous? Because many people are drawn in by the mixture of truth and lies that the New Age proclaims. It is Satan's greatest deceit, yet. In many ways it is more dangerous than out and out Satanism because it draws one in slowly and bit by bit draws people away from God. It places the focus on self. Self-worship. Isn't that the very same thing that caused the fall of Lucifer? Pride. At least those who practice Satanism know that they are doing it, the poor New Agers have no clue that they are working for Lucifer who disguises himself as an angel of light.

I went into a bookstore one day and picked up a book. I didn't even have a chance to open the cover before I heard,  "Put it back!" I immediately put the book back on the shelf. The book was by someone called Eckhart Tolle. This happened to me another time at the same store, I picked up a book and again heard,"Put it back!" This one was called "The Secret" or something like that.  I had vaguely heard of the book and was curious as to why it was a bestseller. I put it back, though. I guess there's really no great secret anyway. It's simple really:
"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."   John 14:6

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A bit of a scare

Yesterday afternoon, I decided to lie on the couch for a bit and accidentally dozed off. When I woke up, Michaela was nowhere to be found. I was terrified, especially when I noticed the door to the condo slightly ajar. I ran through the house screaming her name and then into the halls. I was about to call the police when one of my neighbors came running down the stairs and said, "Mary! It's okay, she's upstairs with Amber."  Come to find out, Michaela had gone upstairs and told my friend Shannon that her mommy said it was okay for her to go over their house. Shannon thought it sounded fishy and asked her again if I knew. Michaela lied and said yes. Shannon didn't believe her and came downstairs to check and heard me screaming Michaela's name. I went upstairs to get Michaela - she knew what she had done was very wrong and ran past me, headed downstairs, and went in her bedroom.

This shook me up terribly, I wasn't even sure how to handle it. I blamed myself for dozing off, you can't doze off with a high energy child. She's a good girl but impulsive, still, I was surprised that she had done this. She knows better.

Today, I started on a round of Prednisolone. I would rather not take this but after what happened yesterday I feel that I have no choice. I probably wouldn't have dozed off if I had been feeling better.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A working dilemma

I'm not really giving up cleaning for Lent [though I'd like to] because my  mom wouldn't have any help at work. My mom and I are kind of stuck. She is 71, but pretty healthy. Still, cleaning all day must be hard for her. She has to keep working because my dad's medications and medical bills run into the thousands each month, so she carries a Medigap policy through her cleaning company. These policies cost around $10,000 a year.  No work = no coverage. When she retires - so will I [from cleaning, at least]  but she is trying to last as long as possible [ and so am I]. Sometimes I wonder how long I can continue to clean for a living, it's a peaceful job but very hard on my body. One of the reason that my house is messy so much is that by the time that I get out of work my energy is far past spent. They say "Cleanliness is next to Godliness". Not so. At least in my case. Would it be better for me to keep my own house spotless? To do that I would have to give up working and my mother would have to work twice as long. I've weighed the two - my illness against her age- and so far her age wins. Her knees are pretty spent from all these years of working. She raised 5 kids through thick and thin and her knees and hands bore the brunt of it. She barely ever complains though I know that she has to get up 2 hours early for her muscles to warm up enough to work. She tells me that God gives her the grace to continue and she is going to work as long as possible. As for me, I'm not sure how much longer I can last doing this. It leaves me in quite a quandary. I have been praying for God's will in this area but I am having trouble discerning it. For now, I am just leaving it in His hands. Things tend to work out on their own if they are placed there. But if anyone has any helpful advice, I'm all ears :)

Monday, February 22, 2010

The moon over my family

Young men really need to get over wearing super large jeans with the oversized boxers, especially the thin guys. We got mooned twice today at church when someone's pants fell down, not once, but twice! The two teenage girls in front of us were giggling so hard they had to leave the church for a few minutes, even Randy was chuckling :) Good thing Michaela wasn't paying attention (as usual) because Michaela whispers really loud. I quickly peeked over to see if she had noticed but she was facing the back of the church. This time I thanked God for her short attention span because if Michaela had seen it the whole church would have known about it. If you're wondering if I laughed....you bet I did. Funny things are even funnier during solemn occasions. I've always had trouble smothering laughter though I have the coughing cover-up down pat from years of practice (I learned that one when the nuns used to take us to Mass when I was a kid.)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Dear Randy

Dear Randy,
If you go on my blog tonight, please don't read the previous post.

Lenten Sacrifice :)

This Lenten night
My house is a mess
Toys everywhere
A pit, I confess

I stepped on Hello Kitty
Tinkerbell caught my toe
There's gum on my shoe
And on the carpet below

Dust bunnies are dancing
And taking their bows
For their litters had litters
Throughout this fine house

My kid's in a huff
My husband is bent
'cause this tired momma
Gave up cleaning for Lent!

and
   as
     for
        me...
I'm quite content :)


Here is a true story, my daughter is my witness. The other day she said, "Mommy, the whole house smells like throw up!!!"  My husband and I noticed it, too. We searched the entire house thinking that one of the dogs had barfed in a corner somewhere, but we had no luck. My daughter said it was making her gag [me, too, for that matter] so we continued the search....still no luck. I gave up and sat in front of the computer. A few minutes later my husband grabbed something off the dining room floor and walked over to me. He waved a pair of his work socks in front of my nose, "Could this be it?"  I almost fell out of my chair the stench was so bad. "Yup, that's it!" Randy walked out of the room yelling, "Peanut! Don't worry! It was just Daddy's socks."
aaah....the joys and blessings of marriage .

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sabbath Moments - Resting (updated)

Sabbath Moments is a meme hosted by Colleen at Thoughts on Grace. These are moments that we rest in God and just be instead of do. Resting in God is exactly what I am going to do tonight. I have never wanted to crawl into bed so badly in my life. So tonight, I unite my sufferings with you, O Jesus, and I am going to listen to what my body has been telling me to do for the last two days and I am going to sleep as long as I can. Goodnight, everyone. If I feel better, I'll edit this in the morning :)

Okay, it's morning...and I couldn't make it to work today. I usually do my posts on Friday night because I work Saturday mornings. I got a good night's rest but it doesn't always help if I'm having a major flare-up. Despite the pain, I did have some great moments with the Lord this week. Wednesday was a wonderful day, it registered low on the pain scale, I was full of peace, received my ashes and spent a great day with the Lord. Sometimes, to prepare me before the really bad days, the Lord will give me a day of love and wonder. Wednesday was one of these days. I felt His Love surround me the entire day. Days like these are very consoling for me, most days are very difficult physically because of the chronic pain. Sometimes chronic pain can dampen your spirits, but I try to keep this from happening by placing my focus on the Passion of Christ and uniting my sufferings with His. This has always been fruitful for me spiritually - once I started accepting the pain instead of fighting it. I actually want to touch upon this subject in my next post as I know many people have chronic pain. How to use it to get much closer to the Lord.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

333, 1:11 and 11:11...strange but true

I have finally met a blogger who, like me, sees the number 1:11 (or111) and 11:11 all the time. At least she is the first one to leave me a comment about it. By now, most of you have probably heard of the 11:11 phenomenon that has swept throughout the world. (Well, if I'm insane - at least I have plenty of company!)  This phenomenon is happening to millions around the globe. If you google 11:11 or meaning of 1111 you can find millions of pages on this. Just watch out for the New Age pages, there are plenty of good Christian sites on this phenomenon. Michael Brown at Spirit Daily has numerous articles on 11:11 and 333, just go to the archives and punch in the numbers on the search engine. Today, I decided to write a bit more on 333, I wrote a bit about 1:11 and 11:11 before, also: http://openingthefloodgatesofmercy.blogspot.com/2009/09/eleventh-hour.html
http://openingthefloodgatesofmercy.blogspot.com/2009/06/heart-of-jesushouse-of-god-and-gate-of.html
For those who see these numbers all the time (along with 777 and 911) , we know it's far beyond coincidence and reaches into the realm of God-incidence. Every day, many times, I see these numbers, sometimes miraculously. 333 was the first number that started this - it began shortly after my conversion when the Lord began to wake me up at 3:33 each night and draw me into prayer. Throughout the day my attention would be drawn to this number. Basically, I think 333 means: pray, pray, pray. It is the symbol of the Trinity and a call to the prayer warriors. Many people pray the Mercy Chaplet between 3:00 and 4:00, this is mercy hour. I often pray this during the day between these times. The other week I was on a site and the ticker flashed to 333 and then back to the original number. The oddest thing is that this was a "Lost" (the show) ticker. I didn't miss the significance of the word "Lost" and the prayer call because I pray for lost souls when the Lord wakes me up at 3:33. The site I was on is a wonderful Catholic site and many of you have probably been on it. This is the 2nd odd thing that has happened to me concerning this site. The other was a song that began playing through my head while in some driving trouble one day. The story is here:http://openingthefloodgatesofmercy.blogspot.com/2009/07/my-family-goes-to-beach-for-few-weeks.html. Clocks in my house often stop at 3:33. The other day I got into my mom's car and the thermometer in it went to 33.3. (My dad loves gadgets and I have another story concerning one of his gadgets that I'll have to write about sometime :) ) This has happened to us so many times that we have lost count. I say "us" because this also happens to my mom, my dad, my husband and a few friends. It's amazing how many phone calls I get at 3:33 (my mom, too). Or how many receipts I get with $3.33 or $1.11. License plates, clocks, computers, phones - the list goes on and on. This is part of the reason I use the name Mary333 on my posts. The other reason is on page 333 of The Diary of St. Faustina:
"Write down these words my daughter.Speak to the world about My mercy; let all mankind recognize My unfathomable mercy. It is a sign of the endtimes; after it will come the day of justice. While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fount of My mercy; let them profit from the Blood and Water which gushed forth for them."

I was one of these souls that profited from the Divine Mercy. The Lord in His Grace made the unseen visible to me and brought me into the presence of  this mercy where the rays emanating from His Heart pierced my soul and healed me. I speak the truth. God is my witness to this and I don't take those words lightly. Why was I chosen to receive this grace? Only God knows, but it is sinners that need His mercy so much, so it is likely that He decided to choose someone with two feet in hell to show the transforming power of His grace to others. What would be the point of choosing someone good? I was drowning in sin and the Lord heard my cry. If not for this great grace I probably would have ended up in hell one day...for I was well on my way.

No wonder I love praying the Mercy Chaplet.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Packed like sardines

It made my heart glad to see how packed the church was today for Ash Wednesday. I usually only see it this packed on Easter and Christmas. I remember looking at a survey a while back that named the 5 least religious states in the country and New Hampshire was among them. I was shocked and apalled to learn this. "Lord, this has got to change. Please help us. Can you imagine living in a state that is one of the least religious? No wonder I have such trouble finding people who want to talk about You.!"  My assumption is that "least religious" means fewest church attendees, whatever religion they may be. It concerns me because one of the Ten Commandments is:
-Keep the Sabbath Day holy

We have a lot of Catholics in our state, I'm guessing that many of them are non-practicing or the numbers wouldn't have been so low. Vermont did even worse than us. That is why I was so pleased to see that the church was so packed for Mass [and it's a large church]. Still, I have been praying that the Lord will lead people back to His House and praying for the conversion of our state and New England in general. Imagine how pleased the Lord would be if every church in the country was packed to the gills every Sunday. They should be full if we are truly a Christian country, shouldn't they?

Operation Rice Bowl

This Lent we are taking part in the Operation Rice Bowl. I'm trying to help Michaela understand making sacrifices for others and charitable giving. Operation Rice Bowl is put out by Catholic Relief Services and the money is used to help the poor. The basic premise is to prepare simple meals during Lent and to make family sacrifices. You put the money you save through these practices in a container and send it in after Lent. We are planning to give up our Lenten pizza night on Fridays [because we usually order it from a pizza place] and various other family treats. I asked Michaela if she wanted to give up sweets for Lent and I bet you can guess her answer :) "My sweets! Oh, mom! Anything but that! I'll give up other things instead."  Well...I tried. She did have a nice long list of things that she WAS willing to give up so I guess I should be pleased. She often prays and thinks of people in need, especially children. During her school food drive I watched this tiny child lug a backpack and a bag of can goods to school. She could barely walk! I offered to help her but she wanted to do it herself. Last night she dug through our change jar and pulled out the pennies for the "Penny Drive" at school. The kids got to pick out the charity that the money goes to. I think she is getting the right idea :)

Michaela likes to practice  "random acts of kindness" and I explained to her that these are what pleases God the most. Doing things for love alone. If she learns this I will be so thankful, for everything passes on this earth except love ...we take this one with us when we go.

Dear Heavenly Father, please bless all families this Lent. Help us teach our children about love and helping others. We are very blessed to have a wonderful example in the Holy Family. Help us to model our families after Joseph, Mary, and Jesus and pour your healing love upon us all, that there may be no divisions among family members or among the Body Of Christ on earth. I ask this in the name of your beloved Son. Amen.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Silence

"Be still and know that I am God."     Psalm 46:10

One foot in time
One foot in eternity
O, be still my mind
Be still my soul
For in the deepest silence
of the human soul
lies the peace which
surpasses all understanding
and in the quiet chambers
of a peaceful heart
time stands still
and eternity begins

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts become troubled or afraid."         John 14:27

This is the peace I longed for my entire life; this peace that surpasses all understanding. I reached for it but it kept slipping through my fingers. I could not grasp it, I leaked grace like a broken vessel. Because I was a broken vessel.  The Holy Spirit sealed these cracks and God's peace filled me but it took years of capturing my thoughts in Christ before I felt this peace on a regular basis.  I had to [and still do] work on my thought life on a daily basis. I knew God's Word was true and I placed my trust in it. Over time, peace became my friend - a gift from a gracious God. I sometimes lose this peace on the surface but deep down inside it stays...solid as a rock.

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of your peace; an interior peace that's firm even in the middle of  the world's chaos. Pour this peace into the hearts of your children this Lent, O Lord. I ask this in the name of Jesus, who promised this gift to all who believed. Amen.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

No wonder Randy's middle name means beloved!

Thank you, Lord, for my beloved Valentine!  Randy took his two best girls to dinner last night and had Valentine suprises for both of us. Mine was a beautiful card; a gorgeous print from one of my favorite local artists. I scanned both the card and the wonderful words inside. And I wasn't moved to tears by this?
The words didn't come through clearly on the scan but part of it says:
I am blessed beyond belief. It is more than a joy for you to be my lifelong partner. God has the master plan and He put us together to complete his plan. We are a great team because we strengthen each other's weaknesses. Definitely, you are the kindest, gentle, caring, loving, thoughful, understanding, and sweetest woman on the planet! I am the proudest man in the world to call you ,my wife, my best friend and for this day MY SWEETHEART!

Who says men aren't sensitive? This made my day. My husband and daughter are the greatest gift God has ever given me. Thank you, Lord.

A Thank You

A big thank you to all who prayed for Diane. The surgery went beautifully and she has been recovering at an amazing pace. She was joking around with her kids the day after the surgery. The doctors think that they got all of the tumor and she is in good spirits. She still has to go through chemo, but this operation went much better than her last one. Prayer is powerful :)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Contest at Thou Art Jules

Julia at Thou Art Jules is having her first contest, a chance to win two books. To find out more, go here:http://thouartjules.blogspot.com/2010/02/my-first-contest.html. While you're there, take a look around - Julia has a great blog!

Sunday Snippets-- Cold hands, warm hearts...the homeless

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival is hosted by RAnn at This That and the Other Thing. This meme allows bloggers share there favorite posts with others. I have found some wonderful blogs this way. This week, my posts are about reaching out to others. They are both about homeless men that my husband and I met. The first is about Jacob, someone I'll never forget. Jacob was funny, sweet, and kind and I felt honored to have met him. The second is about Gregory and this story is very strange. My husband and I have not seen either of these men since I posted about them though we keep looking.
http://openingthefloodgatesofmercy.blogspot.com/2009/07/jacob.html 
http://openingthefloodgatesofmercy.blogspot.com/2009/08/fisherman-or-fisher-of-men.html

The plight of the homeless is increasing during these tough economic times. My mother is friends with a number of homeless people. One waves to my mother and points to his mouth whenever he is hungry :) Another is a lady who rides her bike around with the words "HELP" written on signs hanging from the front and the back of her bicycle. My mom says she is a wonderful lady and stops to help her out, regularly. Another homeless person that we know is named Larry. Larry attends Church daily but doesn't like to accept charity. He has found shelter this winter, thankfully. Larry loves the Lord immensely and has a great devotion to Our Lady. I have yet to meet a homeless person who has frightened me in any way. Most of the time I walk away feeling blessed to have met them. Many homeless people eat at soup kitchens and get food from food pantries, so please remember your local food banks. You can also donate blankets, coats, clothes and other necessities directly to the shelters. This weekend there is a food drive at our church that we will be participating in. I usually let Michaela help choose the foods, especially food for kids :)

Sabbath Moments - At the Lord's Feet

Sabbath Moments is a weekly meme hosted by Colleen at Thoughts On Grace. It is taking the time to rest in the Lord; to just be instead of do. In our rush, rush world resting in God is a priority. I try to spend quiet time with the Lord daily. Silence nourishes the soul. The constant cacophony of the world can leave us drained if we don't pull ourselves away from it regularly.

I love praying the Rosary. On Wednesday I went to Church early to pray the Rosary with my fellow parishioners before Mass. The group meets on Wednesdays and Fridays. Praying the Rosary before Mass seems to open and prep my heart to receive God's Word. I notice that when I pray it before Mass I am always flooded with peace and love and this Wednesday was no different. I especially enjoyed the Gospel reading Wednesday about Mary and Martha because the Lord has given me this as a personal word many times. Whenever I hear or read the words: "Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her" I am either flooded with the Holy Spirit or moved to tears. For in this world that is endlessly rushing - I sit at the Lord's feet ....and it shall not be taken from me. This is His promise and in faith I believe and trust His words to me. They have not failed me yet and never will... for our God is faithful and true.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Holy Spirit is busy today

 Interesting day. Aside from the excitement at Church, the Holy Spirit has been quite busy today. This morning, after I prayed the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, the Lord laid these words on my heart, "Rend your hearts, not your garments." I think He is simply confirming to me how important it is to circumcise our hearts this Lent as it is similar to the word He gave me yesterday. Love is what He desires most. The Lord's timing in these words doesn't surprise me as I am trying to work extra hard [with His Grace] on charity this year. These words are from Joel chapter 2. I decided to read the whole chapter. Here is part of it:

"The Lord raises his voice
at the head of his army;
for immense indeed is his camp,
yes, mighty, and it does his bidding.
For great is the day of the Lord,
and exceedingly terrible; who can bear it?
Yet, even now, says the Lord,
return to me with your whole heart,
with fasting, and weeping, and mourning;
Rend your hearts, not your garments,
and return to the Lord, your God.
For gracious and merciful is he,
slow to anger, rich in kindness,
and relenting in punishment.
Perhaps he will again relent
and leave behind him a blessing,
Offerings and libations
for the Lord, your God."

The whole chapter is beautiful and well worth reading in this week before Lent. This Lent I will definitely be fasting but I will also be rending my heart with the help of his grace and love so that on Easter a new Mary will arise out of the ashes as the Holy Spirit burns the willfulness from my heart.

At Mass, my mom also received a word today.She has been under stress lately and has even been having little panic attacks before cantoring.  She whispered it to me after the Rosary, " I sought the Lord and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears." We both smiled at each other during Mass when the priest read,"Martha, Martha, you are anxious about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the best part and it will not be taken from her." (My mom can be a bit of a Martha.)The Lord reassures his people that we need not worry. We are safe in His Hands:)

Utterly Thine, O Lord! I praise Thee and adore Thee, my Lord and my God!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Slain in the Spirit and a visiting Lady

Wednesday is my day off and as usual I decided to head to Mass a little early for the Rosary. On the way, I picked up my mother since she wanted to pray the Rosary before Mass, also. The tiny lady was there, as was Ann [the one who usually catches her after Communion]. We were all caught off guard today, however. My little fragile sister in Christ went and knelt on the steps before the altar and WHAM! - down she went. This took place after the Rosary but before the Mass started. Nobody was there to catch her, so Ann, her husband and I [and a few others] all rushed over to make sure that she was okay. Ann explained to everyone that this happened all the time and the lady was just "Slain in the Spirit". Still, we were very concerned. The lady woke up wreathed in smiles and when she saw us all around her, said , "Don't worry, I'm fine. Really, everything is fine." I reached out my hand to help her up, she looked at me and smiled, " I'm all right,"  I smiled back at her and said, "I know. I watch you move to Ann's seat before Communion so that she can catch you." I gave her my hand. When she grasped my hand, heat flooded my body and I received a witness in the Spirit. Her eyes radiated peace and love. I handed her purse to her and her husband helped her to her seat. Ann talked to her for a bit and then came over to speak to my mom and I. It seems that my tiny sister in Christ sees Mother Mary, kneeling before the Tabernacle and smiling, now and then . I always knew we had a Holy Visitor at our Church - this just confirmed my suspicions :)

I love the thought that my feet touch the ground where Our Lady was seen. This will give me much food for thought next time I clean the Altar area. Then again, I receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. What could be more intimate than that.

Prayer request

A friend of my family is undergoing surgery to remove a brain tumor as I write this. She has been battling cancer for years. For those who read this, could you offer a few prayers that she comes through the surgery safely? Thank you in advance :) My brother is going to update me when he gets information from her son.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Offer Praise

"Offer praise as your sacrifice to God,
 fulfill your vows to the Most High.
 Then call on me in time of distress;
  I will rescue you, and you shall honor me."    Psalm 50: 14, 15

A few months ago my mother received a word  "I live in the praises of my people". Another one was, "The whole earth is groaning." Seeing that Lent is almost upon us, I thought it was a good time to reprint these words. During Lent, as we abstain and fast from things of the world let us remember that as good as these things are -  it is most important to keep our eyes on God and offer praise for all that He has given us, but most of all, simply because He is God. We must remember to circumcise our hearts. The entire earth is groaning with the weight of our sins. This Lent would be a good time to take a long hard look at ourselves and to fast from anger, unlovingness, unkind thoughts and words. Get to the HEART of the matter. Fasting and then turning around and yelling at the driver behind you....is this what God wants? Giving up sweets and then acting in an unloving manner toward others...does this please God?  No, we should fast, pray, AND work on charity and the other virtues.

"But to the wicked God says:
"Why do you recite my commandments and profess my covenant with your lips?
You hate discipline; you cast my words behind you!
When you see thieves, you befriend them; with adulterers you throw in your lot.
You give your mouth free rein for evil; you harness your tongue to deceit.
You sit maligning your own kin, slandering the child of your mother.
When you do these things should I be silent?
Or do you think that I am like you?
I accuse you, I lay a charge before you.

Understand this, you who forget God, lest I attack you with no one to rescue.
Those who offer praise as a sacrifice honor me;
 to the obedient I will show the salvation of God."    Psalm 50: 16-23

Father of all, may we all increase in charity during the Holy Season ahead. Pour your love into all the dark corners of our hearts so that we may become aware of the areas that we need to work on. May we respond to the grace and light you shine upon us that we may truly become like your Son, Jesus Christ. Heal the wounds and divisions among families and countries. I praise You and thank You for your goodness and patience with us, but most of all I praise You because You are the great I AM and everything is yours.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Sunday Snippets-- Suffering in Christ

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival is a weekly meme hosted by RAnn at This That and the Other Thing. Sunday Snippets is a chance for bloggers to share their favorite posts with others. Anyone can participate: Choose the posts you would like to share and then sign Mr. Linky at RAnn's Blog. Remember to leave a link to RAnn's blog on your post, also. Lent will soon be upon us so this week I am sharing two posts about suffering that I wrote a while back. The first one is:
http://openingthefloodgatesofmercy.blogspot.com/2009/09/stepping-stone-not-stumbling-block.html  
The second is:
http://openingthefloodgatesofmercy.blogspot.com/2009/07/suffering-in-garden.html

I do speak to God about my illness and suffering but I try not to grumble in my head about it. Grumbling is a quick way to ruin a good day :)

Sabbath Moments - Resting in the Lord... literally

Sabbath Moments is a weekly meme hosted by Colleen at Thoughts on Grace . They are moments of rest in God, just being rather than doing. They can be planned or may just come upon us by surprise.

Today, I attended the noon Mass. When I think of the words "rest in God" it often brings to mind a lady from my Church . She is a tiny little bird of a thing whom I often see during the weekday Masses. I do not know her but I often smile whenever I think of her. You see...almost everytime she receives Communion she passes out. At first, the priest temporarily stopped giving her communion [he didn't want her to get hurt] but now they seemed to have worked out a good plan. A minute or two before Communion, she gets up out of her seat and moves to the front row and seats herself next to Ann. Ann is a big-hearted strong lady who helps my mother and I clean the Church and center sometimes. Our priest gives the tiny lady Communion, seated, and Ann puts out her arms and catches her when she passes out. I love watching this, it never fails to make me smile. It's not just the lady who passes out that gets to me [though I do wonder what happens when she's out], it's the teamwork between Ann, the priest and the lady. When I see Ann's strong arms around her, it sometimes moves me to tears. Ann didn't want the lady to not be able to receive communion so she offered to catch her. And she does every time. How the Lord must be touched by this loving gesture....I know I am. This is truly Christian charity. Ann may not see what this lady sees, but I ask this: Who is more blessed here?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Three moments with Jesus



Judy  from  A Thoughtful Woman's Book of Blessings tagged me for this special edition meme. This meme was created by Michael at Reach Paradise and asks: If you could witness 3 moments in Christ's life, what would they be? To make this a bit easier, you can choose one hour time periods. To make things harder, you cannot choose his birth or any time period from the last supper on. If you have a blog, post this question and rules, tag 3 people to do the same and go to Reach Paradise and leave Michael with a link to your post. 

The first moment I would choose is when Jesus healed the deaf man. Whenever I hear this Gospel read I always put myself in front of Jesus and imagine Him looking up toward heaven and saying "Ephphatha!" I am the deaf person and my spiritual ears need healing so that I may more clearly hear and understand His Word . I always ask the Lord to open my ears and to plant His Word deeply and richly within me.

The second moment I would choose is when Jesus walked on water. This is one of my favorite meditations. When the winds and storms of life hit, this is the passage I turn to. I imagine Jesus reaching out his hand to me and saying "Come." And I step out of the boat of life and in faith walk across the water, never taking my eyes off of Him, until He grasps my hand. The truth is, when I keep my eyes on Jesus all is well; when my eyes are on myself I fail every time. This passage reminds me to have faith and trust that the Lord will not let the waves of suffering and trials overcome me. His hand is always upon me and all who trust in Him. The only thing I have drowned in is His Mercy. Thank you, Jesus!

The third moment I would choose is the Transfiguration. The unimaginable glory of this moment! To see Christ transfigured, radiant as the sun! And to hear the voice of the Father say, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him." We, too, shall be transformed someday and hopefully will hear these words spoken to us when we enter heaven. I try to listen to Jesus in the hope that one day my Father in heaven will be pleased with me, also.

I am tagging Julia at Pondering His Goodness 
Mary B at Me Myself and Mercy
and Barb at Suffering with Joy

I have read each of your blogs and think that the 3 of you would be good at this one... if you have time.                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Hair photos - before and after



The top two photo's are pictures of my hair after my coloring adventure and after using the purple shampoo. Still pretty bright, you should see it outside in daylight! The bottom two pictures are my driver's licence pictures taken a few months ago. Big difference!

Hair Anthem

O say, can you see
 My hair's brand new highlights
That so proudly I share
 It's so bright and so gleaming
 Please ignore the red flare!
 And the orange in there!
 Gave proof to my plight
 The gray flags are still there.
O say do those stiff  gray wires yonder yet wave
In the hair that's now lice-free
On the head I may shave!

To be sung to the melody of our national anthem [yes I skipped a part]. Used without the permission of Francis Scott Key.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Purple Shampoo

Hey! Did you know that there is a purple shampoo that gets rid of pumpkin head? I found it at CVS and I hope it works. It's actually violet colored and it is supposed to neutralize brassiness [though mine goes BEYOND brassy]. As long as it doesn't turn my hair purple, I'm good. Purple and blue hair is pretty common these days but I can't pass for a teenager anymore, crowsfeet are a dead giveaway. I have a couple grays, too. These did not turn orange, unfortunately. My hair is fine and the grays are wiry and stiff. My sister is older than me and doesn't have any yet. She still gets carded in her forties! Often!  Luckily, I only have a couple gray hairs. Not that there is anything wrong with gray hair mind you, it is just that they are stiff  little buggers and break, then they stand up straight on your head like little flags waving for attention.

No wonder I have to confess vanity every month.