Thursday, July 28, 2011

Led by a Cloud

The challenge given to me this morning is to strictly let my life be led by what God wants me to do and not always by what I want to do. He has a plan. I'm all over the place. He wants me to finish. I just want to get on with the next best thing. He wants me to stop and think. I want to move on. He wants me to rest in His goodness. I want that and so much more. Today, we are called to be led by the cloud. When God wants us to move on, He will lift the cloud, He will give the sign, we will know. When He wants us to stay still and finish or contemplate on the task at hand, He will leave the cloud and we are to remain. Here is yet another time in our lives when we are challenged to be totally in sinc with what God wants us to do and not just humm drum through life doing whatever we please and never really finishing anything or accomplishing anything meaningful. Today as everyday we are called to listen to Him, to know His will and to follow Him completely. Not an easy task by any means.
"Whenever the cloud rose from the Dwelling, the children of Israel would set out on their journey. But if the cloud did not lift, they would not go forward; only when it lifted did they go forward."

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What Does 51 Look Like?

The other day my 13 year old daughter said, "I'm not trying to brown nose or anything but you DO NOT LOOK 51." "Oh, well, thanks honey." "You look more like 45."
This week being my birthday week, I've been thinking a lot about just what 51 looks like. When I was 13, my mom was 41. Quite frankly, I was too busy thinking about myself to even wonder what my mom was looking like or acting like. Nice.
After much thought, I remembered having dinner a little over a week ago with a group of other 51 year old girls who I graduated from high school with and we shared something that each one of us has accomplished recently. So, I came up with something like this. Fifty-one looks like owning an accomplished design business, closing on a new condominium, going to Washington to fight for the rights of the people, having amazing children, being a photographer, being promoted in my law office, taking care of an aging father between working and maintaining a home of my own, running a dance studio, carriage racing (yes, like in Ben Hur), publishing a second book while running a bookstore and raising six children, walking and running and taking time first for God and for family and for friends. Fifty-one looks and feels great. I am at 51, lucky to have been handed down strong genes from a strong woman who has done amazing things and never looked or acted her age. What does 51 look like? It looks like whatever you want it to be and from where I'm standing, it looks like we've come a long way and we have quite a long way to go.

Friday, July 22, 2011

"Called the Doctor and the Doctor said..."

I took three of my children for their physicals yesterday and I have to say, "What a pleasure." The entire time my daughters were fulfilling requests, the physician assistant was discussing about what to expect during these times in their lives and how to react to them. She would ask, "Do you have a cell phone or a facebook or twitter account?" "No ma'am." Smile for mom. "Well, when you do, always use the Church test when texting or sending any message to a friend or acquaintance. If what you want to say cannot be put on a large screen in the front of the congregation at church, do not send it." "Are your parents always in your business?" "Yes ma'am." "They do that because they care about and love you. Know that if you are ever at a friend's house and something is going on that makes you feel uncomfortable, you can call your parents and they will come and pick you up no questions asked. Do you wear a helmet when you ride a bike? How do you cross the street?" "Ummm. Look both ways?" "Of course, great." "You may worry that your actual weight is more than that of your friends but that's because muscle weighs more and you are quite strong." Smiles. My girls have starting running together and walking to stay in shape this summer, despite the heat. And the conversation went on and on. Positive talk about positive choices. How fortunate I am to have these pediatricians and their assistants and their nurses who love my children and know how they are being raised and who want to keep us all on the same page and confirm our choices. I realized yesterday that we have been together 23 years and I cannot say there has been anything but joy except for one incident with a shot and my youngest. Amazing group. As I told them yesterday, we are blessed.
When we were young, we too had the same doc the entire time, Dr. Daugherty, and the same nurse, Ms. Barnes. I had my tonsils out in his office. Those were the days. He seemed to be on the same page with my mom back then too. Nothing like a good physician.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Blessing of God's Peace

As I open my Magnificat (daily reading and so much more magazine) yesterday, the short morning meditation is a continuation of my own meditation and morning blog. I sit with the words just long enough to feel the Holy Spirit move throughout. "The unity for which Christ lived and died is not an abstract ideal. It is the result of hard work: suspending judgment, choosing others before self, forgiving, seeking reconciliation rather than nursing hurt pride. In other words, it requires that we die to self in Christ. The fruit? The blessing of God's peace!" Ahhhh, God's peace. The death of these things, all this stuff that holds us back, allows me to shrink so that Christ can be seen and the outcome is peace. God's peace. I thanked God to read that it is "hard work". It sounds so easy and yet it is all such a struggle for me to work on my dirt, to work on my self, to discover this blessing. God's peace.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Good Dirt

"But some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. Whoever has ears ought to hear.”
I have been thinking about the homily this past Sunday and cannot get out of my mind how important it is for me to work on my dried up, clunky old soil. Fr. Steve spoke about "good dirt". You know, the kind that something has to die to create. Maybe something needs to die like self-righteousness and over-confidence and pride. Maybe something like bad habits and the desire to be the center of attention and words. I've been thinking that to be good dirt doesn't mean I have to be boring and quiet. Quite the opposite, most of the good dirt I know is kind of fun and attractive. "Things" want to burrow in it and stay. I'd like to take that kind of good dirt and roll my kids around in it, let them cake it on their faces and throw it at one another. I witness that kind of good dirt take the seed that God sows and turn out an amazing harvest. I certainly do not want the gifts He sends to be "eaten up" or "scorched" or "choked". There's definitely enough of that being done in this world. Talents being held back and gifts being thrown away because the world screams they are not deserved or there is something better. We need good dirt. We need these things that get to us, this world, to die so that we can have the richness we need to grow and to produce fruit that can overcome all that holds us back from the love and goodness. I need to work on my dirt. Cultivate. Mulch. Weed. Prepare. The work can be fun and the results certainly worth it.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Painting


I love to paint. Now don't get me wrong, I can't paint like my mother, the artist here, but I love to paint the rooms of my house. There's something calming in the painting. There's something that relaxes me and renews me as I refresh a room. Granted, it's often a struggle to find the time and to overcome the soreness the next several days after going up and down the ladder a million times and lying on the floor and holding my mouth just right but it's always worth the time and the struggle. I like to do things where I can see and enjoy the accomplishment. Doesn't everyone? Painting gives me time to be alone except for the few strokes that my girls just have to try. Painting frees my mind of the outside world. It brings to life a new look and it makes me happy (and that's not because of the fumes). In a way, it makes me appreciate a real painter's incredible talent and it helps me to understand the hours one can spend at the task. There is solitude and joy and peace in painting.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Play Well

Joseph wept. Were his brothers sorry because he was their family and they mistreated him or were they sorry because of the consequence?
When we were young and our parents punished us for mistreating another sibling, I know, without a doubt, that I was sorry because I got caught. Now, as I correct my own children for teasing one another, they immediately have some excuse but rarely are they sorry because their sibling is hurt, rather because they are soon to be punished. Yep, what goes around comes around. Now, I'm just saying, God made us a family and although we didn't get to pick our siblings we should some how learn to get along because we should, not to keep from some punishment. From as far back as the OT to the NT to the 1960's to now, parents and leaders have been trying to teach us all to just love one another. To care for one another. To not sell out our brother the minute something better comes along or he/she irritates us. Jesus chooses His Apostles, us as disciples, as students, to learn to live together, to work together, to play together and to get along. Sometimes the way we treat one another makes us too want to weep. We are a family and the need to be together has been handed down through generations. Today, may we treat all as family, loving one another, treating each other well because it is the right thing to do.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Wrestling with Life, Holding on to God

Life is filled with challenges that we all have to encounter from time to time. Life is filled with joys as well as sorrows and through it all, if we cling to God, we work through to a place where we are sure that He is all we need.
In the reading from Genesis today, we hear that Jacob wrestles through the night and holds on to the One he has encountered face to face until God grants him a blessing. He holds on. In the Gospel reading paired with this we see the people coming to Jesus in their sickness and their brokenness and in His compassion, He comforts and He cures. They hold on to Him. "The harvest is abundant" as is the need in this world for us to comfort and for us to be aware of all in need, of all who wrestle with every facet of life. "The laborers are few" and those who are aware of the loving, saving power of the One we will some day meet face to face are needed. We wrestle and we hold on and we are called to bring others, to teach, to comfort and to care. As we all limp through this life, may we bring others a little closer to Him, to the One who is our all.