LESSONS I’M TRYING TO LEARN #1 in a series: IF WE HAVE A HEART FOR GOD


Nothing qualifies me to write this post other than the fact that I am a sinner. I do not have any theological education except for that gleaned from the pages of the bible, and various pulpits.  I realize I don’t know everything and am well aware that I lack understanding many, many things that concern the workings of the heart and soul of modern humanity with relation to God. This particular blog post is the first of a series I plan to write on lessons I’ve learned and is derived strictly from my own experiences and opinions. The subject is subjective.  So, proceed with caution. You may not agree with me. That’s your choice.  It’s ok.

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HIDDEN SIN AND THE NEED FOR CONFESSION

Nothing is more humbling than confession. I mean nothing. It borders on humiliation. I’m no expert but I know this to be true from personal experience. I am, however, an expert sinner. As I look back on my life, there are areas of sin in which I am truly ashamed. I won’t go into gory detail – that’s between God and me – but I’ve done things that would upset any mother if she heard such details about her child. The only redeeming part is that mothers are sinners too. We all are, of course. Unfortunately, escaping the desire to sin requires a strength that we, as mere humans, don’t possess. There is no human willpower greater than sin, only that given by the Divine. The catch is we have to ask for it. God gave us free will. He worked the desire to make choices into our DNA, so to speak. That part probably hurts Him but He has such innate love for us, His desire is to see us become whole in every sense of the word. And that includes our choices. It’s simple, really. One cannot consciously make horrible choices and expect to have a wonderful life. Can you identify? Geeez, I can. It’s a been there, done that, bought the t-shirt kind of thing.

Before I get into what I really want to talk about today, let me ask – why bother feeling bad about our actions? What is sin? And why is it so bad? I mean isn’t it simply normal to do the wrong thing sometimes? Well, yes. Yes it is. But when you weigh the difference between what hurts and what gives joy, it’s easy to understand. Do we want to always have a cloud of despair hanging over us, or do we want to enjoy breathing deeply of peace of mind and heart? If we have a heart for God and all things holy would we want to risk loosing them by following our own agenda for what we think brings happiness?  Could going against the word of God actually bring happiness?  That’s the definition of sin, that which goes against the law and teaching of God.  Sin clogs our proverbial arteries and keeps us from living life to the fullest. It’s like lung disease that keeps us from being able to breathe. Once it takes hold, we are forced to live with it but we can’t without coughing and spewing and gasping. It chokes the life right out of us. And that, my friends, is one reason why we bother worrying about our sins. We seek forgiveness of them because we can’t live a good life with them on board. God’s forgiveness is like a holy lavage washing away the obstructions and leaving behind clean, breathable airways. Holy forgiveness is like spiritually cleansing proverbial arteries and inserting stents to keep the life blood flowing.  Only it isn’t just a patch. It is healing.

Hidden sin. It’s a killer. It’s hard to see, hard to imagine, hard to find, hard to bear. It is just that, hidden. I’ll share a good example of that given to me not long ago. Let’s say a person decided to rob a store. He enlists the help of his good buddy to drive the getaway car. The poor buddy, suddenly excited about the worldly wealth coming his way, blindly follows the directions given him and the caper is pulled off. You know where this is going, right? Both are guilty, both have broken the commandment “Thou shall not steal”. Is one more sinful than the other? What if they both confess their sin and ask for forgiveness? Could there be hidden sin that needs confessing? There is in the fact that the first person enlisted the help of the second. He enticed his good buddy into sin. He essentially gave him a ticket on the train to ruin. Don’t think I don’t know that the second person did, in fact, accept the assignment. He did and that’s something he has to atone for. But what if the first person doesn’t confess the sin of dragging another down with him? The hidden sin becomes a thorn in his soul. It festers there and keeps him from complete healing. The first person needs to see what he has done in terms of leading another into sin. He gave the ‘ticket’ to his good buddy. It’s true the good buddy had it stamped, so to speak, and he is responsible for that, but the ticket (hidden sin) is what got him on the ride.
Now this is an extreme example, not one likely to be commonplace so lets think about something more relative. Let’s look at a scenario that is far too common – Let’s say a married man is attracted to a woman at work. She is vulnerable and desperately wants to be loved by someone, anyone. She says she draws the line at taking another woman’s husband but that doesn’t stop the man from pursuing her and trying to convince her that having an affair is a good idea. He comes onto her so strongly that finally she gives in and they have a full blown affair. They both come to regret it and seek forgiveness by confession. But let’s not forget this: her sin of adultery is strong enough to ruin lives. His sin of infidelity AND leading his co-worker into sin also has grave consequences. They both ‘bought the ticket’ but the hidden sin needs recognition and confession for a complete healing.

How many areas in our lives do we have hidden sin? Wow. Good question. And a good reason to seriously contemplate what we include in our confessions to God. Our desire, no, our need is for complete forgiveness and healing of our heart and soul.

Let me ask you this; have you seen a child learning to walk? Did you love to see him struggle to get to their feet and take their first steps only to fall to the floor and cry with a broken heart? Of course not. Well then, were you delighted when the child managed to get to his feet again and actually take those first steps with an ear-to-ear grin on his face, triumphantly clapping chubby hands and happily giggling? I like to think that this is how God feels when He sees His children get up off the floor and try again in terms of asking for healing and help to live a wonderful life in accordance with His will. The key to doing that is first carefully examining and then baring your soul to Him, hidden sins and all. Yes, I know He is all-knowing and already has seen what you are, much the same as you do with a child. But, oh how He loves when we learn to come to Him!

Think about it.

And by the way, please pray for peace.  Once again, let me say the world is depending on your prayers.  Please pray that mankind will wake up to the atrocities of war, famine, need.  It’s not too much to ask.  God surely has sent people with the skills and ability to do the right thing.  Please pray that people will wake up and finally do the right thing.

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In light of current tragedies


tree 005This is a wire Tree of Life shadowbox sculpture I did back in 2012 entitled Bayou Religion.  I did 3 of them.

I believe it is pretty appropo for today.  I hope you see why.  May they rest in peace.

Please please pray for peace, an end to violence and hate, and renewed hearts.

HONOR FLIGHT FOR VETS – THE UNDER APPRECIATED


Would it be possible for a daughter to be more proud of her father?  I think not.  I am proud to tell you that my father, TSgt. Bill Thoms Sr. (USAF ret.) was among 40 war veterans chosen to make an Honor Flight.  Veterans of WWII, the Korean conflict, and Vietnam war boarded a flight out of Austin, Texas on September 7, 2018, destination Washington DC.  The goal:  giving these under appreciated vets a chance to view, touch, and acknowledge the war memorials erected to serve as a reminder of hard-fought freedom, a service they provided with their blood, sweat, and tears.  Oh, I know that’s a cliche, but do you see the truth in it? Can you imagine what these men and women went through, what they saw, how they felt?  I can’t.  Although I was raised an Air Force brat, all I knew as a child was that Daddy was always gone somewhere across the world.  I was too young to understand the whys and wherefores but I do remember the fear that plagued the hearts of my older brother and I while he was at war.

Dad is a veteran of Korea and Vietnam wars. He offered 22 years of his life to the United States Air Force.  He served his country with an uncommon pride. He was a good leader and teacher who had a heart for the young airman he ‘sarged’ who were away from their families and were decidedly homesick.  He would bring them home on weekends and holidays to ease their angst.

Another thing about Dad, he loves his family.  His grandson Will accompanied him as his required guardian – as if he needed one!  (Even at 87, Dad is amazingly with it.)  It was just as important and moving for the grandson as it was for the grandfather.  How lucky was Will and what an awesome opportunity!  I’d be willing to bet these two share memories that will have a lasting impact on the rest of their lives.  No doubt, no doubt at all.

Please enjoy the following pictures of this dream-come-true trip made possible by Honor Flight Austin.  It is a privilege for me to share them.

 

 

 

 

 

Dad and Will getting ready to leave.  And no, that’s not a hat on Dad’s head.  Honored to accompany the Vets was Brian Manley, Austin Chief of Police.

dad escort Honor Flight Escort

 

 

 

 

 

dad in the middleLook at these wonderful Vets!  Dad is the 4th one in the second row.

 

 

 

 

 

Dad getting chummy with the President.  The Air Force Monument, and the boys in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

IMG-1367 Air Force Memorial with the Pentagon in the background.  He served them and he served them well.

 thumbnail_IMG-1363              Dad proudly sitting in front of the WWII memorial, Texas pillar.  Too young to serve in that war, but proud nevertheless.

viet nam mem  The Vietnam Memorial Wall.   His opportunity to see it is long past due.  Bless his heart.

thumbnail_IMG-1373 Air Force Monument.  I can imagine Dad just about burst at the seams when he saw this one.  For many years the Air Force was his life.

tomb of the unk solAt the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  Dad is the 3rd from the left.

Please note the link I have included.  It is from the Fox 7 news in Austin, Texas.    Really good viewing that shows the Vet’s parade, etc.

http://www.fox7austin.com/news/local-news/honor-flight-brings-40-veterans-to-washington-dc

AND THEN THERE WAS THE WELCOME HOME!

 

 

 

 

 

On the flight back to Austin, our vets received letters from loved ones and friends thanking them for their service.  Lots of love and tears were aboard that flight.  Once they landed in Austin, look out!  Please enjoy the following, it’s well worth the view.

 

 

I understand that all veterans deserve to be recognized.  Each and every one deserves to be saluted for their contribution, their sacrifices.  They deserve to be honored.  And by the way, I do include our men and women in the Middle East even as we speak.  I thank them all for their service.

Bill, Scott,and I, with our spouses, as well as all your grandchildren, want to thank you, Dad, for your service.  I do believe that serving your country was the most extraordinary and accomplished thing you have ever done.

Please pray for peace.  This blog post should convince you that we should pray and pray hard for peace in the world.  We’ve lost too many soldiers and loved ones.  It’s a sad, sad thing.

Eternal Father, we praise you for helping us get through these man-made conflicts that break hearts and destroy humanity.  Thank you, Lord, for these Vets who serve their country.  We ask, Lord, for your compassion and mercy for the days ahead.  We pray for peace!  Amen

GOD BLESS AMERICA

Please note:  Photo cred goes to Tina Lea of HONOR FLIGHT AUSTIN.

 

FAITH


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I’m sitting here on my back porch, relatively early in the morning for me at least.  You’ve heard the phrase “drinking in the loveliness of the morning”?  Well, that’s me at this moment.  It’s almost cool for the first of September, a little overcast, breezy.  I look at my flower beds, the pergola the hubs built for me, the wisteria that has decided after 17 years that it wants to relocate.  Hanging baskets on the porch.  Rocking chairs waiting for someone to put them in motion.  Wind chimes whispering, not full throated as they were designed, but quietly as if somehow they don’t want to disturb the peace of the morning.   You may think I’m nuts but I feel the presence of the Lord.  Yes I do.  Body, soul and spirit.  The love.  He is love.  It’s almost like heaven.

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I need this right now, this beauty, this peace, this love.  Isn’t He wonderful?

This morning I want to talk about faith.  I’ve been exercising mine a lot lately.  I’ve had to draw on it pretty regularly and I’ve come to think of it in a different way than I have before.  It was a remark made by a very compassionate priest to my husband while he was in the hospital this past week.  I wasn’t in the room but the hubs told me later.  Apparently, my man said something to him about me.  Father Bill told him that I have a great faith.  Who, me?  Hmm.  He doesn’t know how I really am, does he?  I don’t know the man well enough for him to see me in the throes of a tap-dancing fit, or having an all-holier -than-thou attitude.  Father Bill doesn’t know I am frustrated, fearful, angry, selfish, self-centered, my moral compass askew at times.  Trying to be strong and missing the mark.  How strange.  This man of God thinks I have great faith and my husband agrees.  Lord, I’ve got a lot to work on.  How do I live up to that?

I will say this:  I do love the Lord.  He has shown me His love by saving me from many perils; health issues, calamities, and indeed, from my own foolishness.  And you know what?  He doesn’t have to prove His love to me.  For heaven’s sake, He is God.  But He does, He wants to.  He envelopes me with His love.  He is always there when I need Him.  I talk to Him and I try to listen to Him.  He speaks to me through many different avenues – His Word, people he puts in my path, the beauty of sitting on my back porch.  Many different avenues.  I, the one who rarely trusts anyone, feel the pull to completely trust Him.  He has an uncanny way of revealing Himself to those who are open to Him.  I like to think I am.  I get in my own way sometimes and am not as alert to Him as I should be, but I try.

Is this faith?  Maybe.  But you know what?  I don’t want to have faith.  I want to be faith.  I want to have the fortitude not to ever doubt that my various situations in life are part of His will for me.  I want to trust without question, not constantly have to learn to trust.  I want to be faith enough to not have that knee-jerk reaction of fear every time my world cracks a bit and threatens to fall apart.  I want to be faith enough to be kind and loving, to help others find peace, to not think of myself first.  I am not skilled in any of those attributes but I’m trying.  It’s going to take a lifetime for me to reach that pinnacle, if I ever do.

Have you ever thought about these things or am I just weird?  Do you ever long to be as good as the saints and angels?  Here’s a news flash.  Those saints – most of them weren’t angels.  We just celebrated the feast of St. Augustine, that one was a real booger if you ask his mom St. Monica.  But he came around.  And he was one of the finest examples of faith a person can find.  (He learned it from his mom!) Amazing, isn’t it?  He didn’t just have faith, he was faith on earth.  The work he did for our Lord is incomparable.  Praise God!

Being faith as opposed to having faith is much harder.  But there is help.  You know Who.  Him, the kind Teacher, the compassionate Lover of all, the One Who is love.  The Object of our faith.  His offering to us didn’t stop on the cross, although that is the ultimate sacrifice and most important selfless act of all time.  He continues to offer us Himself.  He loves with abandon and teaches us how as well.  He never gives up on us no matter how wayward we become.  He offers us the gift of hope when we aren’t sure the sun will come up in the morning.  He has a plan for each of us individually, personally.  We just have to open our eyes, our hearts, our will to him.  We have to strive, not only to have faith, but to be faith.  One of the most marvelous things about God is that if you don’t feel like you can do this yourself, ask Him.  He will show you how.  He’s good like that.

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If you are a praying person, I have a few requests for your prayer list:

Please pray for the Catholic Church.  It appears that the enemy has wormed his way in, in an effort to destroy all God has built.  The Church as a whole will never give in to this.  Pray for the strength to oust this evil, to rebuild and to continue to proclaim the true Word of God to mankind.

Secondly, please pray for my beloved husband.  He is very ill right now.

Third, please pray for peace.  The world needs your prayers right now, this very minute.

Let me tell you about MY day!


Yesterday was quite a day for me. I had a ton of things on my to-do list, not the least of which was a fast trip to Lafayette, a Dr appointment, and having the oil changed in my car. I was only a thousand miles over due for all of it. I had to get serious and get accomplished.
The trip to Laffy was a success. Good news from the cardiologist! In fact, I told him “if this is what normal feels like, I wish I would have gotten a pacemaker years ago!” He smiled. I don’t think he quite understood me. But he’s not on the receiving end of going from 40 beats per minute to 60 beats per minute instantly. The best way I can describe it is being in a drag race. You know. You’re at the starting line and all you can do is idle. Then the green flag drops and somehow you’re in the ride of your life. This is no ordinary cruise. This is what life feels like! I’m so thankful to have that experience, especially since I’m young enough (ok, by my standards) to enjoy it. Ain’t God good?

The appointment behind me, on to lunch. The only reason I even mention it is because I wasn’t a good girl for lunch and maybe a confession is in order. In my mind the success of my doctor’s report meant I deserved to treat myself to grease, cheese, and sugar. How screwed up is that? But I never even considered I could be shooting my own self in the foot.  *sigh*  One day, I’ll learn. I’ll learn to think first. Maybe. Lord, please help me.

On to get my car’s oil changed. And gas. The little computer thing in my vehicle said I could go 48 miles before I ran out of gas which only added to my angst. Then to make matters worse, straight in front of me on this busy street, a little dog was practically skipping in the middle of the road, not a care in the world except for the two boys walking on the side of the road. He kept his eye on them but wouldn’t go to the side they were walking on. Instead he was dodging traffic and finally settled on trotting directly in front of my vehicle as if he thought he couldn’t come to any harm there. I, on the other hand, was breaking into a stress sweat, the worst possible kind according to the commercials on tv. Blowing the horn didn’t make the pup move. I rolled down the window and hollered at the boys. “Is this your dog?” The smallest one looked at me and nodded. The oldest boy just kept his face in his phone. I told them “son, you need to get your dog out of the road. He’s going to get hit or cause an accident.” The oldest boy waved me off and mumbled a few choice words I won’t repeat and something about not wanting to go all the way back home with the dog. The dog trotted to the side of the street with the boys. I drove on to the nearby gas station but I wasn’t happy. I was seriously worried about the unleashed dog and the potential for disaster. And I was fuming about the oldest boy’s attitude. In MY day… oh you know how that goes.

I was still worried after the side trip to the gas station. I had to drive back to the area I last saw the trio because it was right where I needed to go for the oil change. The boys and dog were still there. The dogs was darting everywhere, in and out of traffic, causing drivers to either brake or swerve. I pulled up beside the boys and got out of my car. “Let me have your mom’s phone number and I’ll call her to come get the dog.” The youngest started to say something, the oldest started to swear. He cursed me up one side and down the other. I lost it. An argument ensued. Yes it did. It ended with me getting back in my vehicle and retreating to a far away place in the parking lot so I could calm down. Then it hit me – call the police. So I did. The nice dispatcher listened as I relayed what was going on before very pointedly asking me if I was calling about the dog or the kids. Well, the dog of course. The belligerent kids were their mother’s problem, not mine. But I do have to admit my blood pressure had to be high. The nice lady said she would send a patrol car.
Again, I had to return to the boy’s vicinity (oil change, remember) and I parked where I could see the boys. On my way into the store, the oldest one spotted me and raised his hand, one single digit at attention. You know the one I’m talking about. He saluted me all the way to the store. The only thing I said was I’m sure your mother would be proud. That remark momentarily dropped the middle finger salute.
The store had big commercial windows that made it easy to watch what happened next.   The pup was playing in the grass on the side of the street with the youngest kid. I was happy to see the boy pick up the little thing and walk back in the direction from which he came. The oldest kid saw him leaving and caught up with him and started fussing. The little kid kept walking, apparently in defiance to what he was being told. I was proud. All this time the oldest kid never took his phone away from his face. From his expression, he seemed to be even more annoyed. About one minute later a pick-up truck pulled up behind them and a man got out. It appears heated words were exchanged. Then a police cruiser appeared, lights flashing. I turned away and went about the business of asking for an oil change. To be honest, a store clerk who watched the whole thing go down told me “good luck with that one. He comes in here and steals all the time.”
While waiting for my car to be serviced, I phoned a friend so I could ventilate. That was when I had the thought – what if the cops came into the store and arrested ME for harassing little children? Not that they were little children. The oldest was 17. I knew that because as he was spewing at me, he mentioned that he was no kid, he was 17. Lord have mercy.
The whole incident stayed with me all the way home. I fumed, I prayed, I complained to God about it. Later, I sat in the peaceful seclusion of our back porch and relayed to my husband what happened . He listened and gave me his opinion about juvenile delinquents and cautioned me to never stop anyone on the side of the street ever again. “You don’t know kids these days. One of them could have pulled out a gun and shot you!”

It wasn’t till later I finally calmed down enough to listen to what God had to say about it. Later was too late. I should have consulted Him first. He would have told me to go into the store and buy a leash for the dog, bring it to the boys and make a sorry situation better. I could have taken the high road but I didn’t. I gave into what, quite frankly, turned into a control game. I ‘lost my religion‘, as we say down here in the South. I could have, should have, done something different. I could have, should have, set a good example for the kids. I could have, should have, offered kindness and compassion. The truth is, it turns out I was a Saul before he became Paul.

Lord, I thank you for the lesson but I’m sorry I didn’t see it sooner. I’m sorry I didn’t think to do the right thing. I’m sorry I didn’t practice what I preach. Please forgive me and help me do better next time. In time. Not as an afterthought. Bless those boys, Lord and please put someone in their path who can and will lead them into the right direction. And please send a dog guardian angel to take care of the pup.

Love always,
Nancy

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Don’t forget to pray for peace, y’all.  Let’s storm heaven with our prayers!

“My child, if you accept my words and treasure up my commandments within you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; if you indeed cry out for insight, and raise your voice for understanding; if you seek it like silver, and search for it as for hidden treasures—then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.”

Proverbs 2:1-5

 

LESSONS ON LOVE – is there really such a thing?


angel of mine

Full disclosure: the following post may be boring to you. The reason I say that is because, well, it just takes me a while to figure things out. I’ve always been a late bloomer, perhaps a bit slow on the scale of “aha! I get it!” That’s not news to anyone I went to school with, worked with, or fell in love with. You, on the other hand, probably figured things out like a normal person. I have never ever professed to be normal. Sometimes that sucks but most of the time it rocks.  My husband says I wake up in a new world every day and he is right, but maybe not the way he thinks.  It works for me.

I want to talk about love. I’ve learned a lot about it over the years. And because I’m slow, I’ve made a ton of love mistakes. After all, I was single for 20 years between husbands. I’m afraid I spent my young adult years with a screwed up thought process about love. I simply didn’t know the reality of it, just the romantic fantasy of it. I hate that because I sure wasted a lot of time, time that I should have been using to lay a strong, solid, informative foundation for my own off-spring. Unfortunately, I have to take responsibility that my children didn’t really have a good example to follow.  Thankfully, my precious (almost middle aged) kids don’t hold it against me.  I think.  I hope.  Does that ring a bell with anyone?
It wasn’t all bad. You know what they say about mistakes – what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I hate that cliché but it is true. I’m strong. Very strong. That isn’t an acquired skill, it has to be learned and earned. I’m a survivor.

There is a huge difference between love and infatuation. Everybody knows that but not everybody acts like they believe it. These days most people fall in and out of love like they change their clothes. And the funny thing is it really feels like love. So they go full on with all the trappings they think love entails. Then it’s over. Hurt feelings. Move on. Repeat.

People, that’s not the way it’s supposed to be. Of course, I’m not saying this is the way it is for everybody in the whole world, especially not the young couple I have in my mind and prayers today, but people in general from what I’ve observed and experienced. It’s like our society has morphed into something else. You decide if this pertains to you or someone you know.

My point is something like this; love shouldn’t be all about feelings. That won’t last. You’ve heard that before, haven’t you? Feelings are important, don’t get me wrong. There has to be an attraction factor first. That is a feeling, but one based on all kinds of biology and psychology stuff, believe it or not. Which leads me to this – for heaven’s sake, don’t mistake lust for love! Lust is definitely based on feeling. Lust equals sex. Sex does not equal love. Sex can be a wonderful magical part of love, in fact it can be an amazing by-product of love. But you don’t have to have love to have sex. Lust is not all there is to love.

Loneliness is another love risk factor. We have all been there. Dare I say we have all fallen in love a time or two because of loneliness. Trust me, being alone is much better, in fact, much easier than fooling yourself into thinking you’re in love based on feelings (read lust). There is nothing worse than making yourself be in love with someone after the reality of truth sets in, and it will.

Here is another defining factoid of love; don’t think you are in love because you need him/her. It doesn’t work. We all need someone. That’s the way God made us. We were created to couple. But being needy is a different thing altogether. Being a needy person entails looking to a partner to meet all of your emotional needs and that just never works. It’s not fair to saddle another person with that much responsibility. You cannot depend on someone else to make you happy.  Loev doesn’t make you do that.  Part of being a mature person is learning to be in charge of your own emotional stability. Coincidentally, you can’t constantly keep rescuing your partner from whatever. There is nothing wrong with being partners with your partner as in supporting and helping each other. That’s what you are supposed to do. On the other hand, if you feel like you have to fix everything in your partner’s life, if you are in a frenzy to make sure he/she has everything you think they need, that’s not love. That’s co-dependence. And co-dependence is a much, much harder problem to work out than being infatuated rather than in love.

After you sift through the difference between infatuation, lust and love, loneliness and neediness, the learning curve goes way up. Oh my gosh, learning to compromise is a big deal. There is, in fact, an art to it. You simply can’t get your way all the time and expect a relationship to work. It won’t. People develop resentments, then maybe a little pay-back enters the situation, finally living without that selfish ass begins to look more and more attractive. Don’t go there. Give a little. You know you have reached a higher level of true love when you wake up in the morning and your heart asks “what can I do today for him/her?” Don’t tell me that’s based on feelings. That is based on action, loving, considerate action. Here’s another thing; don’t go getting all hurt when he/she says something you don’t agree with. Or, for that matter, does something you don’t agree with (Cheating and all illegal activity are the exception! J ) I’m not saying that you should put up with everything. I’m saying please keep in mind that just because you are a couple doesn’t mean that your partner should think and do everything the same way you do. There is a huge difference between men and women, if you didn’t already know that. There is the learning-to-be-compatible part. Compatibility is another art form, much like compromise. You have to work at it. Of course, the bonus would be that a couple doesn’t have to work too hard at it, that compatibility is what draws them together. That would be a wonderful thing but don’t assume it is going to pop out at you automatically.

There is another dimension of love – Holy Love. Because we are all made in God’s image, every one of us is capable of holy love which is the absolute best, loveliest, safest, most comfortable, happiest kind of love imaginable. It is the kind of love in God’s eyes when He set in motion the plan for man and woman. Of course, human beings have continued to screw that up since Adam and Eve, but that’s another story, another blog post. The point is holy love is what we should all strive for. It is love that goes beyond the norm, love that endures the good and the not so good. It stares down anything that causes pain and discomfort, loss and difficulties. Holy love happens when two people commit to feeding their relationship with good, not selfish desires. Holy love works through the nastiness that sometimes accompanies life. It joins two people as one (even if one or both of them snore, fart, and kick in their sleep). It perseveres through every cold, flu, or illness known to man. It holds together during calamity, heartbreak and hardship. It never gives up. Holy love unites a couple in ways that are difficult to comprehend these days. A couple can share a holy love even if they are as different as cats and dogs.  Ask me how I know.

Holy love doesn’t just happen. It takes a lot of work to achieve. It would seem that holy love is rarely sought after. How sad. Holy love is truly a reward for hanging in there when times get tough.

 

I invite you to interact with me. Leave a comment, like and share my blog, agree or disagree. It’s all good. Now that I’m finished with brain tumors, pacemakers and other life interruptions I’m going to get back to my blogging and writing. I can’t wait and I’m so looking forward to getting better at it! I hope I never ever stop learning.

 

Peace of the Lord be with you! And please don’t forget to pray for world peace. So many lives depend on it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’M JUST LETTING GO


It was so hard for me to get out of bed this morning. The alarm went off at 6 a.m. and I turned the bedside lamp on. At 6:30 my sweet husband came into the room with a cup of coffee and told me “I heard you snore so I thought I better do something.” What? Me, snore? Yeah, that was me. Oh how I wanted to sleep! But here’s the thing – I wanted to see Jesus more than I wanted to sleep. I practically had to scratch my way out of the warm and cozy trap that is my bed and adjust my crown of attitude into one more conducive to dedicating my Sabbath to the God of Glory, instead of What Nancy Wants. If attitude can get a person anywhere, projecting a good one is a start. So, half an hour late already, I struggled to set about getting ready for early Mass. Wonder of all wonders, I managed to get dressed and head toward Bunkie town.

Flash back: In June, I had the true honor of being one of the many prayer ministers at the Steubenville South Youth 2017 Conference in Alexandria, Louisiana. Long ago, when the movement first came to this part of the country, I was a part of the prayer team but took a hiatus when I married Pete and moved further south. It felt so good to be back into it this year. Man, if only I could tell you in human words what it is like to gently nudge a young person to the Way! All that to say this: The message, the speakers, the music, everything was great. It was mighty. A person would have to be a pillar of salt not to be moved. Hosted by Paul George, who by the way, knows how to get a young person’s attention (“clap once if you can hear me, clap twice etc.”) That really tickled me. The speakers were quite the line up of young adults who knew where they had been and know where they are going. Fr. Leo Patalinghug (EWTN, & Beating Bobby Flay – think “Holy Guacamole”), Megan Mastroianni, Chris Mueller, Sarah Swafford. Our own Josh Blakesley Band (http://www.joshblakesleymusic.com), and guest Sarah Kroger(http://www.sarahkroger.com) provided absolutely perfect music.

I’ve been a fan of Josh Blakesley & company for years. In fact, although my beloved and I are in our -ahem- 60’s, we have been known to travel the 40+ miles on a Sunday evening to Mass in Alexandria during which the music is rendered by said band. Enter Sarah Kroger. I had not heard of her before Steubenville South 2017. I found a couple of her CDs for sale and scored.

Ok, now flash forward to today: On the way to Mass, my thoughts were the usual “gosh I’m getting old, how did this happen, maybe it’s too late to do so-and-so, my memory is missing, something is wrong with my brain, gosh my hands hurt, oh, my back, this oldage is killing me, on and on and on.” Suddenly for some strange reason, I heard Sarah Kroger singing. Oh yeah, I forgot I was playing her CD. The words I heard captured me, literally dragging my attention away from my internal dialogue. Wow. How did that happen? The song must have been written for that very moment in my life. No? Well, you might not think so but I do. Let me say this about that; isn’t it amazing how God’s timing is perfect and how He reaches us exactly where we are and exactly when we need Him? Here, read these words.

“I thought by now I would be running on an open road

Not here standing with a heavy load

Unable to move

I thought by now it would be everything I ever dreamed

Not unsure of what there is for me

Or what I should do

And I can’t see straight and I just can’t seem to find my way

So I’m letting go, I’m letting go

For once in my life

I don’t need to know. I’m just letting go

Oh I’m letting go.

And like a friend this heaviness is settled in my soul

I don’t have to hold it any more

You whisper to me

“Be still don’t fight. Just let me make the burden light”.

So I’m letting go, I’m letting go

For once in my life

I don’t need to know. I’m just letting go.

Oh, I’m letting go.

I will not be afraid to open up my hands

I will not be afraid to let you in

I will not be afraid, your love is more than I could know

So I’m letting go, I’m letting go

For once in my life

I don’t need to know. I’m just letting go

Oh, I’m letting go.”

Powerful, huh? I meditated on that after I took a seat in church. The message I got from that wonderful song is simply to stop worrying and trust more. Sounds like a cliché but it is what it is. It comforted me. It helped me see that the course my life has taken is not so far off what it should be. I am more aware of the road I am on. If I can let go, if I can trust.

Now here’s where it gets Real. To my delight, Father Taylor Reynolds was the Celebrant for Mass. I’ve watched him grow up in Bunkie. His mother is a lady I know and admire. He is with our parish for the summer before he returns to Rome in the fall. So you can imagine how it warmed my heart to see him this morning. When Father Taylor read today’s Gospel (Mathew 14:22-23) he had my complete attention. What he said afterwards brought tears to my eyes. And it still does. It is the story of Jesus walking on water. Allow me to paraphrase the homily. First Jesus leads the disciples to the boat, rides with them to the other side of the lake, and then leaves them and goes off by himself to talk to his Dad. The guys on the boat carry on until the wind gets tough, the ride gets rough and terrible fear moves in. Suddenly, they look up and see Jesus walking on the water toward them. But, as Fr. Taylor pointed out, he didn’t calm the seas. He didn’t tell the wind to stop. He did, however, say “don’t be afraid”. Peter told Jesus “Lord, if it’s You, tell me to come to you on the water.” Jesus said “Come” So, Peter stepped out of the boat in faith. Then he faltered. But Jesus reached out and caught him. Thank God! Fr. Taylor pointed out how close Jesus was to Peter as he took his faltering steps and started to sink. He was right there, close enough to grab him. What wonderful news! What a fantastic analogy!

So the lesson God gave me today goes like this; Life is a journey, yet another cliché, but true none the less. On this journey we hope we are doing the right things. We have our problems, our burdens, our forks in the road. We don’t know where to turn. We need Him to show us the way. We need to trust Him through the storms. We need to step out in faith and know that Jesus is right there for us when we falter, and feel like all is lost or it’s too hard to carry on, or we don’t know what to do. We need to believe.

Let go. Release the heaviness in your soul, your burdens, your insecurities. Step out in faith knowing that He is in control and He won’t let you go. He’ll be there for you and with you throughout your journey. “Be still, don’t fight. Just let Me make the burden light.”

I’m praising Him for that lesson today! Oh Jesus, I’m loving you! Thank You from the bottom of my heart! I wish I could convey my concern and compassion to the many who have not yet entered into a life with Christ. It just doesn’t make sense not to want to love and be loved, not to want a richer life with riches that matter and carry over into the next life, the one that is Eternity, not to want a better, more meaningful life. I’ve had a life without Him, although as a believer I thought I had it all. Wrong. There is more. So much more.

Below you will see the CD cover I reference by Sarah Kroger.  She’s awesome.

 

Pray for peace, people. Our world needs your prayers.