Wednesday, September 23, 2009

"I, Ezra, rose in my wretchedness, and with cloak and mantle torn I fell on my knees, stretching out my hands to the LORD, my God."

I just find it interesting after commenting on the conference I went to yesterday that in today's reading Ezra tears apart all that holds him back from the Lord, his shame, his wicked deeds and his guilt, and stands with his wretchedness bared. "In a short time", mercy came to Him from the Lord.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Woman at the Well

Today I had the good fortune of participating in a mom's retreat at the Nashville Dominican's St. Cecilia Motherhouse. Sr. Mary Angela gave two conferences during the day and we spent time in the incredible chapel during Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, invited to go to confession and left alone in silence (the most difficult part for me of course). The day was awesome and I'd like to share a few thoughts.
The day was themed, "Moms at the well" based naturally on the scene where Jesus meets the woman at the well and asks her for something to drink. She is there in the heat of the day probably because it's the only time she can be there without the other women who know her and know she is a sinner. Jesus tells her to call her husband and when she says she has no husband, Jesus tells her "what you have said is true." Jesus wants us to name our difficulties. He doesn't want us to dress them up and make our families or ourselves look or sound better than we are. He wants us to put a name to our problems and give Him the truth. People who tell us that all is great and their kids are awesome, over the top, are probably not telling us the whole story. After they have spoken and Jesus reveals that He is "he, the one who is speaking with you." And this is my favorite part of the day, she puts down her water jar. She puts everything, all her burdens, all her cares, all her imperfections AT THE FEET OF JESUS. The big burden, the huge jug is left at His feet. We have to put down everything that keeps us from loving others so that we can go out and tell the town the good news of Jesus Christ. I just simply love that entire scene. And, something to remember is that neither of them drank water and yet both were quenched, filled. Today, I was filled.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Here's to my mom's birthday today! Born and raised in East Nashville with two brothers, Joe and Billy. Homestead Road, Holy Name, St. Cecilia (8th and Clay), St. Mary's (New Orleans), married (Dayton with Bill). Plays, art, drama, sweet William, indian dances, hard times, good times, sandwiches, yellow page ads, apartments, Loveman's window displays, children, more children, Normandy Circle, Moss Rose Drive, Vaughn's Gap, Brookhollow, Sunnybrook, Estes, West End. Every Country imaginable and many States. Grandchildren, more grandchildren, St. Mary's Bookstore, and another, more grandchildren, fun, games, Naples. A woman of strong faith, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a great-grandmother, an artist. Jean, Nona, Mimi. Worried about all, feeds everyone, sends leftovers. Awesome woman. Loved by all. Happy Birthday!!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thirst Quenching Opportunities

So many times in my life I feel just like this picture of my son behind this waterfall. God gives me just what I need to quench my thirst. All I have to do is cup my hand and drink and yet I let it just fall all around me. Opportunities wasted. And not just simply wasted by not taking the initiative, but also wasted by not removing my goggles to see God's plan clearly.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Artist


I just have to share this picture of my mom, the artist, my sister and my niece in the Amsterdam Whitney Gallery in New York. Three awesome women who use their talents to the fullest. It was the premier of some of my mom's newest paintings. I know I've blogged before about her art and the link to her site is on my page but I can't help but share one more time. Pretty cool to raise eight kids, run a four-story bookstore and be an artist who shows in a gallery in New York! No small fete. All three have never stopped learning and continually teach.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Ambition

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."
--Philippians 2:3-4
I have to say that I have been working once again on a daily meditation. It is tireless work and yet rewarding. There is no doubt that I have nothing to say that would make a difference in this world. I have to sit and wait for the words and then write what is given. Oftentimes, if I don't write it down the thought is gone forever and sometimes when I read it over days later, I have no recollection of the words. Now, I will say that when I write what I want and when I write just to finish something so I can turn it in and say "look at me", the words are just a group of words. Meaningless. I want to be published again but I have to understand that there are so many out there who are better. I have to continue to read and to learn and to listen and to practice. I am no better and what I do have to give really has nothing to do with me. I am an instrument to be used and I must allow myself to be just that. Dang it! Once again I'm reminded that it's not all about me. Use me today Lord to make a difference. Let Your words flow through me because I've heard myself and I have nothing to say.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ears to Hear

I absolutely love when I fall into a talk or workshop that clicks perfectly with something going on in my life or the lives of my children. And, to top it off it relates back to a homily or Gospel reading for the week. I began the week hearing our priest relate the story of Jesus healing the man unable to hear and to speak. How Jesus stuck His fingers in the man's ears and spit in His hand and touched his tongue so he could be cured. He left us with the message, "As Jesus opens our ears, let us listen to what He wants us to hear." What does Jesus want us to hear?
As I started Monday night at Vanderbilt's Campus in a "Love and Responsibility" talk that would be a 4 part series for 4 nights I had to ask, "Lord, what do You want me to hear?" The Dominican Sister giving the well attended talks started with the alarming statistics of the high divorce rate and sad state of families in today's society. She spoke mainly about love and sacrifice and selflessness. She shared that the only way to break the cycle of the high divorce rate and deterioration of the family is by living in the complete love of Jesus Christ. Any experience of love is an experience of God and the opposite of love is selfishness. Mother Teresa said "You are as miserable as you are selfish." Love gives life meaning. The more we teach our children to sacrifice while they're young the more they will be prepared for bigger sacrifices in their relationships and in their lives as they get older. As Jesus' fingers popped from my ears, I continued to hear the importance of selflessness both for myself and to pass on to our children. We live in such an "It's All About Me" world and "if it feels good do it", that I, through 24 years of marriage and 20 of those years of raising children, often forget the importance of self sacrifice; of giving in; of letting someone else feel good about it or take the credit; of sharing; of it's not all about me. Living in the complete love of Jesus is selfless. Lord, open my ears to what You want me to hear.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Turtles

I've been so lax about this blog. I'm working at night right now and since putting the kids back in school have not had much of a moment to just sit and meditate. So.....for a little while, I'm popping on these stories I wrote some time ago for a little entertainment. In other words, I'm stalling until some fresh ideas come to the worn out brain.

God is our protection. Our shelter. Our hard shell that we can duck into and feel safe from the outside would. We carry Him with us, inside us always, and although we may feel His ways are too slow and meticulous, He gives us all we need. If we follow the rules, if we listen, if we love, then when we step outside our shell, we will be strong enough for all the world has to give.
Seventh grade welcomed our class’s first boy/girl party and I was on the list. Renee’s birthday could pop me up a notch in the cool group if I could choose just the right gift to make an impression. Other girls were talking about music and make-up and jewelry but I couldn‘t possibly pick a knowledgeable gift in those departments. Then it hit me, and word spread quickly that I was going to buy Renee a turtle. Cool. Complete with the bowl with the built-in island and rocks and food. My mom was not as excited but agreed to take me to Kuhn’s on Friday for all I needed. As Friday arrived, I had a basketball practice that ran late. Consequently, my mom purchased Renee’s birthday gift. The party was that night so I was stuck with whatever she decided. I expected her to have the turtle and his needs but as I was getting ready she walked into my room with a medium sized wrapped gift. Knowing it wasn’t a turtle, I dared to ask. She had forgotten about the turtle and been by Cain Sloan and picked up a purse. “A purse! I promised a turtle.” I was furious. I begged not to take the gift and go anyway but when she dropped me off the gift was in my hand. I was just about to stick the box behind the front bush when Mrs. Duke opened the door.
People were all over the house. I immediately found a game being played outside and joined. Susu, Julia, Gina and I shot basketball and talked to a group of boys until Mrs. Duke called us inside. I ran up the back stairs across the deck and wham! Right into the sliding glass door. I rocked back a few steps and felt my forehead begin to swell.
With an ice bag securely in place and sympathy definitely in my court, I watched painfully as Renee opened the shiny black purse my mom had purchased. A few murmurs went through the crowd about a turtle but I continued to hold my head and avoid eye contact. I’m didn’t know what other gifts Renee received because my eyes stayed focused on that black patent leather purse. I cared too much what everyone thought. I let a stupid promise that I never should have made ruin my night. I thought I would never be invited to another party again. My life was doomed.
When I got in my mom’s car, I asked sincerely if she sent a gift that had previously been my owned by my grandmother. “I bought that purse. I thought it was cute.” After explaining all that happened, I tucked into my shell and didn’t speak for the rest of the night. I knew that hand-me-downs stayed in the family and I knew that my parents did everything they could to protect us from getting hurt. But for some reason, I wanted to hurt her feelings.

Lord, today help me not to make promises that I cannot keep. Teach me to seek You in times of difficulty and to know that You will be me shelter. Although I am all over the place, constantly going, remind me that when life is tough, my home, Your heart, is my shelter.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009