I’m Back…Grateful and (still) Growing

Garden Hand Tools

After a little sabbatical, I am inspired to put my fingers back on the keyboard to share from my heart.  A couple of things have poked me to get back into blog world- a truth or dare type question in a group recently asking if I could do anything and not fail, what would it be.  Write.  (where did that come from??)  The second was when a friend, a writer I admire, questioned whether I would be interested in joining a workshop to write a book.  A book?  I don’t know about that- a little too much commitment there.  But, the seeds were planted.

So, where have I been and why am I stumped on what to write?

To look for a little direction, I read back through my blog history, my personal journals, and some of my other projects and I realized that my best writing, or at least my most frequent writing, was when I was struggling or even in pain.  I am not that person anymore, so how do I write now?  I’m actually in a really good place, not struggling or in any pain.  Now I am even more encouraged to share my journey from then to now.

Well, let’s start with what caused my little blog sabbatical.

I got married.

Even more important, I actually remarried my ex-husband.

That usually gets some odd looks and blunt questions even.   Next month will be 3 years! (and, in November, we will celebrate what should be our 30th anniversary… which, according to a favorite priest, is valid, since in God’s eyes we remained married during our not so little legal divorce decreed in a cold courtroom)

God is good – because He gets all the credit here!  So much happened to get us to that point and then there are all the events since to share.

sabbatical

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The Impossible Made Possible

all things are possible… with God

Who Moved My Tree

possible2

Yesterday was a good day, but it was also bittersweet.  We celebrated the life of a man I had only known for about 3 years.  But, in those 3 years, he was a huge part of mine and my husband’s life, and he will continue to be for the rest of our days here on this earth.

You see, he was the man at our Celebrate Recovery who was the ‘self-appointed’ greeter to the most broken and lost newcomer.  He was the encourager who cared deeply and knew how to genuinely ask how you were doing and to intently listen to your answer.  He was that man to my husband from the moment when he approached those doors the first time.

My husband was my ex-husband at that time, and he was turning to Celebrate Recovery because he was very lost, broken, and desperate.  “Bud” welcomed him from the first…

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“What could we have done differently?” 

I have the same feelings of frustration, fear and even guilt as I have watched my children floundering outside of our faith.
The journey is similar- the lack of thorough education and immersion in our beliefs is all of our faults.
I pray that with the increased availability of online resources (Catholic websites, blogs, EWTN and many catholic radio stations) returning to our beloved Catholic home will happen for our loved ones!

Gathered and Grown

I used to attend a mothers’ group at my former Parish. The mothers’ group met once weekly for a faith study and fellowship. Partway through the year, a seminarian was sent to our Parish to help and learn. While working at our parish, he was ordained deacon and eventually priest. We all felt a sense of motherly pride.

Deacon Matthew used to come and chat with us during mothers’ group. One day we got chatting about my oldest son. Once very involved in the parish’s youth group and reading ministry, he had made a sudden about-face and announced that he did not believe in God. Deacon Matthew listened and asked thoughtfully: “What could we have done differently?” To keep him in the fold, to prevent him from turning away from God and leaving the church.

At the time, caught off guard while bouncing one twin in the sling and the…

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Thank God it’s Lent

ashes

My favorite season is underway.

I have decided just this week that my favorite season is Lent and… my favorite holy day is Ash Wednesday.
We can talk about my favorite holiday another time.

Ash Wednesday?  Lent?  Really?  Really.

I heard the readings that day, especially the gospel:

Mt 6:1-6, 16-18

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Take care not to perform righteous deeds
in order that people may see them;
otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.
When you give alms,
do not blow a trumpet before you,
as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets
to win the praise of others.
Amen, I say to you,
they have received their reward.
But when you give alms,
do not let your left hand know what your right is doing,
so that your almsgiving may be secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you pray,
do not be like the hypocrites,
who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners
so that others may see them.
Amen, I say to you,
they have received their reward.
But when you pray, go to your inner room,
close the door, and pray to your Father in secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you fast,
do not look gloomy like the hypocrites.
They neglect their appearance,
so that they may appear to others to be fasting.
Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you fast,
anoint your head and wash your face,
so that you may not appear to be fasting,
except to your Father who is hidden.
And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.”

But, I wanted to keep that black and smudged cross on my forehead for others to see and to give outward testament to my faith, to the 1 holy, apostolic faith- to believing in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, The holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.
I love that I have that faith and belief.  I especially love the gift of God’s grace – His forgiveness, His promise – His love.

I love the opportunities and the reminder that Lent brings.  It reminds me to renew my closeness to God and to strive to be like He is.  The way Jesus taught us – to help the poor, feed the hungry, pray for the sick, comfort the hurting.  I know this should be an every day, year round behavior, and I hope it is, but, Lent is that extra special time that gives us an opportunity to dig deeper and think a little more thoughtfully in these efforts.

I am only slightly saddened by some of the realizations that this season brings to me.  I recognize that I have been a little lax in my Lenten efforts for too many of my 50 years on this earth, in fact it was almost non-existent sometimes.  I am also regretful of my lack of ability to pass this newly found passion onto my now grown children or my spouse.

They roll their eyes when I remind them that I was late for dinner because I went to evening mass after work.
They think I am rude or weird that I decline meat on Ash Wednesday and Fridays during this season.
I add more fervor to my prayers – more contemplative thoughts to my quiet moments with our Lord – praying for opportunities to be a witness and a guide to HIM, especially to those closest to me.
in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, AMEN

Insomnia Led Me to A Catholic version of a 12 Step Program

Insomnia is a gift sometimes.

sheep

 

Last night, thanks to my  bout of insomnia I caught a middle of the night talk show discussion on EWTN abut a 12 step program.  I was so excited to learn that the Catholic church had an organized approach to helping the hurting, the lost, and the habit consumed that I lay awake listening and then reading their website.

I won’t address the fact that I had a few moments of, ‘where was this when we needed them’, because I know so much better than that now.  God’s timing is still right, even if I don’t always agree.
I have mentioned numerous times that I have found a new way, new life, and my own miracle through a 12 step Christ centered recovery program, Celebrate Recovery.  My ex-husband also has his own new life and miracles he has discovered and lives out thanks to his working their program.  But, always I have wondered if there was something in our home religion and church that we missed or overlooked.

Now I know, there is a program there, but it wasn’t our time.  I still want to give mention to it, learn more about it, and hopefully support it even if only to point others to it.

http://www.12-step-review.org/

12 Step Prayers:
Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference; living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as a pathway to peace, taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to Your will, so that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen.

I finally slept, and woke refreshed this morning, inspired to reflect and share the hope that God provides when we look for Him and when we share Him with others. Are you looking for help, for hope? Look only for Him and you will be blessed. If you want to know where He is, look within yourself, know that He loves you always. Find a 12 step recovery program if you have any hurts, habits, or hangups that are keeping you from knowing God and loving yourself.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. AMEN!!