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.

 

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LETTING GO: an exercise in faith, a gift of grace


Nobody, and I mean nobody, likes change, that is, the change that interrupts our lives and makes the world we know uncomfortably different. I’m tired of the old cliché that states change is good, necessary, and a catalyst for growth. *foot stomping* I don’t like change!

But I don’t want to be stagnant either. And because I am a believer, I live by the assertion that I must change to live up to the potential assigned to me by God. What? Am I so full of myself that I actually think the almighty God of heaven and earth knows me personally and even takes the time to direct my path if I ask Him to? Yes. Period. Therefore, I must accept change as it comes and then discern how I choose to react to it. I must exercise my faith to allow whatever change is at hand to make me a better person, one more worthy to live up to God’s expectations of me. In the meantime, I don’t want to miss any of the graces He wishes to bestow upon me as a direct result of my decision to accept the direction of His hand over the changes of my life. And in the bigger picture, the change that effects me will have an affect on those around me. It’s a domino effect, you see. The changes in other’s lives influence me, the change in my life influences others.

Simple truths, right? Yeah, it’s easy as long as it is happening to someone else. “Therein lies the rub.” In case you didn’t hear me the first time, I don’t like change. But change is a lesson we all have to learn and grow from, hopefully. It’s a lesson that creeps up on us every day and demands we pay attention. It is stubbornly present and won’t let go, much like a dog and his favorite bone.

We liken change to either good or bad and, face it, the bad changes are the ones that really get our attention. Unfortunately, the good changes are the ones we accept, perhaps joyfully, but more often than not, without a second thought that they may, in fact, be blessings and graces sent from you-know-Who. Both good and bad are golden depending on our reaction to them. Uh huh. It’s true. Let me illustrate why I feel this way.

I haven’t blogged much since I had a brain tumor removed in August 2015. Even though it was a simple (! Did I just say that??), nearly painless surgery, it has not been without it’s effects and that has taken some adjustment to get used to. For example, I have written the previous sentence three times. Moving on… My memory is affected. I don’t remember a lot of the more recent past, things I have done, places I’ve gone, most notably, people I’ve met. Not too many weeks ago I was in a grocery store and a couple passed by me. They greeted me by name as if they knew me well. I had no idea who they were. I nodded to them, smiled, and proceeded on out the door. But it bothered me a so much that I didn’t recognize them that I had to go back into the store and find them. That lovely couple was gracious enough to understand my explanation that I had no idea who they were. I apologized to them and told them about the effects of my surgery. I felt like a fool. But they were kind and actually seemed happy to fill in the missing blanks. What a relief!

All of that just to say this: I’ve been through a lot of changes lately. Trust me. And I suppose there will be more to come. God, please grant me the grace to go through them the way You would have me to.

So, some of these changes I’ve been through recently have been pretty hard. They get the most attention, of course. The biggest and hardest change has been the death of our former daughter-in-law. Erica was not without her issues. If you are a human being, you too have issues. But Erica’s issues were a bit out of the ordinary. The first time I met her (she answered the door at my son’s house and promptly closed it in my face) I thought she was incredibly rude. Little did I know she was afraid of what my reaction to her being in my son’s house would be. Poor thing. I often wonder what on earth my son told her about me to cause that fear! No matter. I learned to love her. In fact, the day she married my son I fell in love with the brilliant loving smile she gave my son after they were pronounced husband and wife. Aside from that, she bore my first grandchild. When he was born I felt a love like I had never felt before in my life. She was responsible for that. Had it not been for her, who knows if I ever would have discovered what unconditional love was all about? Erica and my son divorced after their difficult marriage refused to survive. They were forced to continue their contact with each other in order to raise their son. And by the way, that boy is awesome which speaks to the success of their efforts. Even so, they went their separate ways. Not too many years passed before Erica became seriously ill. The choices she made hindered any healing that we all prayed for. Over time she lost function of her kidneys and liver and had to go on dialysis. Eventually, her circumstances dictated she live in a nursing home until she could get on her feet. The rehab was good, she was successful and was ready to be discharged to home. The last time I saw her at the nursing home she was so happy and full of life and ready for a new beginning! We rejoiced and she ascertained that her healing was certainly due to Divine Intervention. Then she had an accident and smacked her head on the concrete. It was the last assault her body could tolerate. Within two weeks she was gone. She died at the age of thirty seven just when she was getting her life in order. Now, I’ll be the first to tell you that our God has a purpose and a plan for everyone. But I had a hard time accepting it, even now, a hard time believing it. My head says no way. My heart says it has to be. That, my friend, is the definition of faith; believing in what you cannot see, like it or not.

As it would happen, on the day before Erica’s wake, my grandson and I went out to lunch. He is very nearly fourteen years old now and such a man already. I had heard from one of my former neighbors that my old house, the one I poured blood, sweat, and tears into, was being demolished. This I had to see for myself. So on the way back from lunch, the boy and I drove past my old address. The neighbor was telling the truth. There wasn’t a house standing, there was instead rubble strewn about, piles of bricks, pipes reaching out of the ground as if looking to connect to something, anything. Lumber, solid, hard heart-pine and oak, was stacked along the perimeter of the old house’s stead. Ghost-like, lonely. There was a man sitting on a pillar of bricks and one standing close by, obviously the workers employed to take the house apart. He approached me as I pulled up and greeted me like a long lost friend. He didn’t know me but somehow he recognized the attachment I had to this place, this ground on which a lifetime was lived and children were raised. He let me tell him how I loved this place when I lived there, how I raised two boys there, how I remodeled the kitchen and built that deck laying in pieces over in the far corner. He smiled knowingly as I told him that was MY home, the one I bought and paid for myself. As if to comfort me, that darling man proudly assured me that he had already removed the kitchen cabinets and, in fact, had recycled them into another project he was working on. And the doors. And the beautiful parquet floor that I put down piece by piece on the floor. (My knees have not been the same since!) His eyes lit up and he told me he figured I was the one who stained the glass on the back door and bathroom windows. Yes! It was me! He proudly led me around the back of the property to show me he saved them somehow knowing a person would come around asking about them. Yes, me again.

For the next few days after Erica’s funeral, I mulled over these big changes set before me. Big big changes. You know, I came to understand something. I spent more time living and loving, and trying to live life in that old house than I have anywhere since, at least so far. I learned about myself and others. Life lessons. Heartache. Joy. Self-discovery. I had hard lessons about growing up. Sacrifice. Selfishness. Forgiveness. From 1987 to 2001 I lived there. I sold it in I think 2002 or 2003. I poured heart and soul into that old house. I gardened to my heart’s content, coaxing flowers from the earth, fashioning sidewalks and secret flowerbeds. I labored and was constantly surprised at the results. Working on that old house gave me the confidence I lacked previously to accomplish many things, personally and professionally. I think there was not one inch of that house and the ground beneath it that I didn’t touch. My identity was tied up in that house for a time but I wasn’t sorry to let it go. It was, after all, just a building. I was grateful to have had it. It sheltered us and gave us a sense of security. It had a foundation when I didn’t. Then the boys left home and I got married and moved away. Change happened.

I can in no way compare loosing Erica to the tearing down of my old house. That would be ridiculous. I can share my reaction to the changes. Loosing Erica hurts. Her presence leaves a hole in the life of her precious son and all who love her. The demolition of the old house merely evokes sentimental musings. Both soul and building are now memories, albeit one more poignant than the other. One leaves behind a legacy, a life, and now love eternal. The other, just memories.

I am a better person for having loved both. They represent different planes in the plan of life. I have learned lessons from each; patience, perseverance, love, frustration, epic failure, joy, happiness, satisfaction, hope, forgiveness. Yes, big changes indeed.

Eternal Father, You Who loves us in ways we can’t imagine, thank you for the gifts You have given. Thank You that Your daughter Erica touched my life, gave me my first grandchild, and taught me lessons no other could. Thank You for that old house and the lessons I learned there; the strength and stamina I needed. Please let me keep these blessings in my heart always and never be afraid to think of them and grow from them. Father, I’m asking that my faith be strengthened to accept Your will and not question it. Thank You again, my Lord, that You love us.

Amen

 

Please don’t forget to pray for peace.

What’s Love Got To Do With It?


SECRETS OF THE OLD LADIES CLUB

Guess what?  I got a phone call from a fan!  eeeeekkk!  I did, from a real fan!  I saw stars, my head started spinning, and my chest kinda puffed out a little bit.  A man who actually read my book (Secrets of the Old Ladies’ Club) called me to say he enjoyed it.  And so did his mother.  I was elated – surprised, but elated.   Actually it was a humbling experience because it has been a while since it was published.  I didn’t purchase a marketing package when I self-published with IUniverse because I put all the funds I could muster up into publishing the book.  That was it.  Tapped out.  But I was happy with that.  My goal was to tell a story that was rolling around in my head bumping on the inside of my skull to get out.  And I was able to accomplish #1 on my bucket list.  For me, it isn’t about the money I coulda, woulda, shoulda made.  Trust me, I would have been happy to make a lot of money, but realistically speaking, I wasn’t going to hold my breath.  I think my first royalty check was for – ummm- $31.   Are you suitably impressed?  Perhaps if I had purchased a marketing package I would have done better.  Who knows and who cares?  All I can tell you is that phone call from the fan made a huge impact on me.  And not for the reasons one might think.  It was because of the impact my book had on this man’s life.  Yeah.  Let’s talk about a humbling experience!

So it went like this:  I had contact from this man some time back.  He heard about Secrets from someone I knew and wanted to read it.  I was more than happy to send him a copy.  When he called me the other night, it was to tell me he loaned it to his mother before reading it himself.  And now that he was nearly finished reading it, felt compelled to tell me what it meant to him.  At this point in the conversation my heart stopped.  What was going on?  He was struggling to control his emotions.  Through the phone line I could hear him choking back the tears that rendered him unable to utter the words his heart wanted me to hear, the very purpose for his phone call.  But he needn’t have worried.  I heard him loud and clear and my heart was moved.  How could it not be?  A forty something grown man going to pieces because of something I wrote?  Unheard of.  Plenty of women have told me they enjoyed the book.  A couple of men told me they enjoyed the book, but hey, they are related to me so they kinda have to say that.  I’ve had a ton of wonderful, great reviews with the exception of two: one said don’t waste your money, another said it must have been written by a 14 year old.  Haha!  I let it roll off my back.  But I digress.  Back to the fan.  When he was finally able to gather himself, he said “I am that gay boy”.   He said I nailed it on the head regarding the ways he identified with my book.  He said he finally found someone who understood what his life was like.  I was floored.  And humbled.  And thrilled.  His reaction was something real, something more than I ever expected.  What did I tell him?  I said that if for no other reason than for him to read my book, I was glad I wrote it.  And glad I fought to save enough money to publish it. For one person to have such a strong reaction is more than I ever dreamed of.  Accomplishing #1 on my bucket list turned into something more.

Let me take this one step further.  I’m going to involve God in the equation.  I can say this for certain that He does know the desires of our hearts and longs to see them fulfilled.  That’s not just for me, but for all.  If the desires of your heart fall within the perimeters of His will for your life, He will stop at nothing to see that your heart is fulfilled.  I know that to be the truth.  Of course, sometimes our desires are outside His will for our lives.  I’ve had that happen before too.  I wanted to be – , I wanted to have – , I wanted to do – .   but you know what?  Growing in relationship with the Lord changes things.  The more you get to know Him, the more you want to know Him.  And then the more the desires of your heart change.  They quietly kinda slip to the back burner until one day you discover that the desires of your heart include, first and foremost, that all you want is to do is His will!  To follow Him closely, snuggle up under His arm, and allow Him to be God to us.  In retrospect, it would seem that the desires of our hearts make a path straight to His heart and His desires for us.  It opens a way for us to learn how to love and grow in love.  That’s His message, isn’t it?  To love always?  That’s the way I see it.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to properly assume what God is thinking these days.  Did you watch the Republican Presidential Debate last night?  Good Lord in heaven!  The topics alone will bring a saint to their knees.  ISIS, abortion, gay marriage, social security, jobs, immigration, building a wall separating the United States and Mexico.  Oh, then there is balancing the budget, Hillary bashing, Obama bashing, bashing each other.  One thing I found interesting is that, when pressed, pretty much every candidate declared a strong belief in God.  I liked Ted Cruz’s answer when asked if, because he’s a Christian, God speaks to him.  He said yes, on a daily basis, God speaks through the Bible.  What a beautiful thing to say!   I seem to recall that later he went on to say that God wants us to love one another.  Well.  How do you like that?  I was waiting for the gay bashing to take place.  Thankfully I was wrong.  I’m so tired of it.  I’m tired of all this hating.  I’m not even remotely related to God so I can’t say what His take is on it, although I have seen all the scriptures concerning the “abomination”.   I’m tired of people looking at gays and lesbians as if they have two heads and three eyes.  What’s the matter, don’t people understand God loves them as well?  We are all His people, His love!   Why get all freaked out and homophobic?  (disclaimer: I am married to a homophobe, yet I still love him with all my heart.)  I say we should all reserve our judgment for worse things, like abortion, war, murder, starving children, etc.  And then, in love, do something about those instead of working to make certain people feel like less than they are.  Amen?

bear

Pray for peace, people!  The world needs your prayers!

AT THE END OF THE DAY…


jesus and child

I’m sure somewhere around the country, a beautiful sunset is about to be enjoyed.  While I enjoy evenings, in my part of the country, this evening is the end of a long rainy day.  It’s Easter Sunday.  And Easter Sunday is a day of hope for believers.  I love it, I appreciate it, I need it.  It is a lesson that one never stops learning; put your hope in the Lord.  Believe in the reality of it.  God came to earth in the form of an ordinary man, flesh and blood, with a need for nutrition, shelter, and love.  He sweat, probably had indigestion occasionally, and no doubt shared any and all maladies effecting human beings during that time in history.  As a carpenter, he probably worked very hard, was practical, and had a sense of design.  He must have had the occasional splinter, busted finger, and sneezed sawdust.  He was real.

And he still is.  He is not a fable or a legend.  He really did die.  He really did come back from the dead.  He really did ascend into heaven, where he lives and reigns.  He really did send us his Holy Spirit to guide us.  He really did.

How do I know these things?  I can say I have faith, but that wouldn’t be the whole truth.  That wouldn’t satisfy the average skeptic, because I too have doubts.  Can you believe that?  Yeah, it surprises me too.  So, I have had to look for proof.  I found it.  Don’t expect any fairy stories here.  I’m a romantic, but also a realist. (Blame my life experiences for that.  It hasn’t a perfect one.)  My proof was rationalization.  I read the stories of Jesus in the Bible.  But I came to discover that the Bible isn’t the only proof of His existence and life.  His very existence, and those of his disciples and family, are documented in other ways.

I also consider the extent of His follower’s passionate beliefs.  And the extent of that belief reaching far and wide, to places the original disciples could never have dreamed of.  Plus, they were eye witnesses.  And many more eye witnesses surface in history.  Consider the saints.  Visions and prophecy?  Sounds far-fetched but mysteries such as those are beyond my realm of understanding, but that doesn’t mean I don’t believe.  A short post of mine will not provide all of the proof a skeptic needs.  Everyone has to do their own exploring.  I can only testify to what I believe.

So, it’s been a quiet Easter Sunday here.  The hubs recently had surgery and is quietly recuperating in his big easy chair.  I took a nap too and have spent the rest of the day contemplating how blessed I am to be a believer.  At Mass this morning, Father Charlie Ray passionately spoke of the life, death and resurrection of our Lord.  He said something unique that will always stay with me.  It was in regards to the legions of us who aren’t so faithful about worshiping in church, those of us who come up with all kinds of excuses not to go.  He said “God doesn’t want you to worship Him the way you want to.  He wants you to worship Him the way He wants to be worshiped.”

I  can’t presume to second guess what God wants.  But I have a good feeling that the traditions of believers over the centuries can’t be entirely wrong.

At the end of the day, appreciation goes a long way and appreciation of what God did for us, the way He brought us from the brink of living in hell, lends itself to a type of worship that is beyond understanding.  I hope He receives it in the spirit it is given.  It comes from the heart.

How To Make Curtains and Still Keep Your Religion


Do you have times in your life when you bite off more than you can chew?  I do.  In fact, I am the Queen of biting off more than I can chew.  I don’t know why I do it, I just do it.  It’s not that I think I can do anything, rather it’s more along the lines of I’ve got to try.  My friend Sue believes that I am brave enough to try anything.  Wrong.  My friend Mary believes I can do just about anything.  Wrong.  My friend Barbara has known me since I was eighteen years old and she knows I am a gifted in the art of fake-it-till-you-make-it.  Sometimes I bite off a mouthful because I don’t think I can afford to pay someone else to do whatever it is I want done.  I’m, kind of cheap that way.  My husband would tell you I do it because I don’t think anyone else could do it the way I want it done.  Tsk tsk.  I thought he knew me better than that.  There are very few things I do that can’t be done better by Anyone else.  I understand me better than anyone else does and that makes explaining what I want (and how I want it) a lot easier when no one else is involved.

With that said, perhaps it would be better if I could step out in faith and pay someone to bring my projects to life instead of struggling to do it myself.  For example, the curtains I just made for my living room and dining room.  I put that project off for over a year before I got the nerve to start.  I just couldn’t cut the fabric, a beautiful piece, by the way, that I purchased at a phenomenal price.  Picture this, gorgeous up-graded burlap style with a French postage print.  It was originally $38/yard.  Omygoodness.  I could never pay that!  So I waited and waited and waited till it went on sale for 50% off.  Then I went to the fabric store on ‘Old-Lady-Day’ and saved another 15% on my dream fabric.  (Senior citizen discounts are the bomb!)   Just think – 65% off!  How cool is that?  It is so beautiful that I couldn’t bear to touch it for fear that I would ruin it.

I think this is THE most beautiful fabric.

I think this is THE most beautiful fabric.

Fast forward a little over a year.  I’d put it off long enough so I began to plan how I would manage to bring my project to fruition.  I searched online and found some room darkening fabric curtain panels at such a low price, taking them apart so that I could use them in my own curtain project wasn’t a problem.  I’m not ‘shamed to say I’m cheap!  Even if they aren’t exactly the right color…The back won’t show, right?

 DSCF9279

Now do you see why it might be a good idea for me to actually pay someone else to do the work for me??  I’ll cut to the chase and tell you exactly how it went.  I cut the fabric into four nice 90 inch pieces.  I took apart the room darkening panels.  then I got in the floor with one of the expensive fabric panels and covered it with one of the el cheapo fabric panels.  I cut them to the same size, pinned them together and sewed up the top and both sides.   I then ironed the seams flat and clipped on the rings that would suspend them from the new curtain rods (which I bought at Kohl’s online using my ebates account at a 6% rebate!  I’m so cheap.)   I learned a good lesson when it comes to ironing.  If the iron is too hot, it will melt your room darkening fabric.

As my beloved late mama used to say - "Sheee-it".  She was a great seamstress but mama was no saint!

As my beloved late mama used to say – “Sheee-it”. She was a great seamstress but mama was no saint!

Here is where the comedy begins.  The new curtain rods, oh Sweet Jesus, why do things have to be so complicated?  Let us just say that after a long effort and several practice runs, I managed to get the brackets up.  It was touch and go there for a while.   I took them down, made some adjustments, put them back up.  To say nothing of me on a ladder – not good.   It seemed to be a never ending series of errors.  But I got it done.  Yep.  May not be perfect, but it’s done.   Except that I ran out of that really expensive, gorgeous, high-end burlap fabric with the French post script on it.  Yeah.  I did.  Each window needs at least another panel.  *sigh.

Not too bad,  if I say so myself.

Not too bad, if I say so myself.

But the curtains are up and of course, my good God didn’t let me get very far in the process without a lesson or two thrown in.  He is so good that way.  Don’t you love it?  As I was taking apart and sewing together, I was reminded of Job, a book in the Old Testament.  The devil was on the hunt looking for someone he could bring down.  He badgered God and hounded Him, taunting Him that he could turn a believer into his own disciple.   Poor Job, he was really in for it.  He went through so many devastating trials, any ordinary man would have keeled over under lesser circumstances. Scripture tells he was a faithful man but he was human as well. He had his doubts from time to time. He was shaken to his core. Over and over, his friends tried to convince him that God had forgotten him, sacrificed him, turned him over to die. But Job was wise in not listening to them. He knew that God would not forsake him. And God proved that He is faithful, even when we have our trials and tribulations. Even when we have to start over. Even when we make mistakes, become discouraged, feel like giving up, when nothing fits, the seams aren’t equal, we can’t seem to measure up.  Even when we think we have bitten off more than we can chew.

The lesson is to prevail, to keep doing what you have to to get the end result you want. And beyond that, the lesson is to trust, to believe, and to have faith. God is a good God. We human beings have trashed the world He has given us. We and our ancestors have poisoned, plundered, and murdered the paradise He put together with His spoken word. Yet, He still loves us. Every one of us is beloved to him.  It doesn’t matter who you are or what you have done. He absolutely loves you, purely and faithfully.

How do we repay him? Do we do as Job’s friends suggested and turn our back on our Maker when the going gets rough? Or do we offer ourselves, time and talent to the One who promises unending love, security, and peace? Do we work for Him and with Him? Or do we run into the world, away from our troubles and refusing to help anyone else in dire circumstances? You know, trouble will follow you. Running away won’t change a thing. Ask Job, he knows.

As I was studying for this post, I came across several scriptures that relate to God’s love for us.  If you are led to, read the book of Job.  The ending is worth it!  Then do yourself a favor and read Psalm 139.  Awesome.  That kind of reading will make a believer out of you!  If you don’t know already, you will see that God has it all worked out for you.

“For I know well the plans I have for you, plans for your welfare and not for woe, as to give you a future of hope. When you call me, and come and pray to me, I will listen to you. When you look for me, you will find me, yes when you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me …” Jeremiah 29: 11-14.

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I was surprised to realize that I haven’t posted anything since November.   Wow it was a busy year end!  We had our annual Grandchildren’s Christmas party on Dec. 27th and man, was that a blast!  I’m thinkin’ one of God’s plans for me was to be somebody’s grandmother.  That’s a good thing because it has always been my favorite dream.  Back to the year end –  we had a beautiful celebration on Christmas eve with some dear friends; dinner and exchange of gifts preceded by a rosary.  It was a holy and heartfelt celebration.  Santa wasn’t invited but the Holy Spirit was!   Although I missed my grown children and all my other relatives spread across these United States, this Christmas season was spectacular in the area of spirituality.  I have a lot to be thankful for.  The Hubs, our home, our Lord.  We have blessings that are never ending.   I found out I have a brain tumor.  It is not cancer and I won’t need surgery unless it begins to grow.   Take that you old devil ~ I’m standing with Job and giving thanks and praise to the One who sustains and heals!

Now to make another couple of curtains…

Don’t forget to pray for peace y’all.

Happy New Year Ya’ll


Gloire `a Dieu dans le plus haut et sur paix de la terre, bonne volonte’ vers homes.

Twenty-thirteen…

I won’t bore you with the used up clichés about it being a beautiful year or one of the best, etc. You know it was. And I’m sure you were blessed in many ways this year, as was I. Don’t take it for granted, ya’ll. Most of us have an easy life compared to the millions who don’t even have basics like food, water and shelter. Geez, if I want water I turn on the tap. I have more than enough to eat. I climb between warm sheets and blankets each night under a solid roof, out of the elements and away from the city. I am spoiled. If I want something, I go to the store and buy it. Even when I have more month at the end of the money, I still have more than those in, let’s say, third world countries.

Humbling, isn’t it?

Why me? Why am I so blessed? To think of my position in life along those terms is mind-blowing. My short-comings and disabilities are nothing. My needs are met even if my ‘wants’ aren’t always met. It’s hard to admit, but even my pets are better off than at least half of the world’s population. Sure, I have difficulties, trials, seemingly insurmountable issues. But they can and are dealt with, not necessarily on a first come first serve basis, but without a doubt fixable one way or another. I can’t imagine it any other way. Again, I am spoiled.

“There, by the Grace of God, go I.”

I recently read a book by Deb Hunt. Dream Wheeler is the story of a remarkable woman who started her life over at the age of 61 years. She moved to another country, bought a shell of a house without any useable essential amenities and set about creating the life she wanted. When I tell you Jane started over from scratch, I mean from scratch. And she did it from a wheel chair.

dream wheeler

Could you do that? Could I? One part of me would love it. Wow, starting from the bottom means there only one way to go but up. Would I have the courage? the confidence? the means?

I highly recommend the book, by the way. I got it from Amazon in ebook version. I think now I’m going to get it in paperback. I want to be able to put my hands on it and read randomly. I’m quite sure I would get nearly as much inspiration from it as I do from the Bible or other inspirational writings.

So Happy New Year to ya’ll. I know I said I won’t bore you with clichés but I have to say ~ enjoy your life and do your best to make someone else’s better. You can start by praying for peace.

Oh. And you might think about giving glory to God. He’s the best.

NO JUDGMENT HERE


spoiler alert: Got some good preachin’ goin’ on up in here!

Isn’t it odd how we think of ourselves as good people because we are good deed doers and don’t judge others for the mistakes they make, for being down on their luck, or suffering from their weaknesses? How sometimes we go out of our way to help a person because they have a specific need? How we think we are doing the right thing when we give to the salvation army, or buy raffle tickets for a worthy cause, or do volunteer work? It makes us feel good, like we are nice people trying to do the right thing. Like we are people who don’t judge others. See a man on the side of the road picking up cans? Here, you can have this one too. No judgment here. See an obviously homeless person hitching a ride? Jump in, no judgment here. Some painfully poor person panhandles for your loose change? I’ve got plenty, no judgment here. How about this one: a perfect stranger on face book needs someone to listen to her problems? Sure, take my ear. No judgment here.

My question is this: Do we exert ourselves in the same manner for our family, and friends? Are we as kind to them as we are to some strangers down on their luck? Do we give the people we love the most the same amount of respect as we do to people we don’t even know, or perhaps will never even meet?

I’m asking these questions of myself today. A distant memory triggered this onslaught of soul-searching and I realize there are a lot of sins I have not asked God to forgive. I hadn’t asked Him to forgive me for resenting my mom’s efforts to help a child in another country with a monthly donation. It was probably thirty five years ago and I remember my grandmother saying at the time “charity begins at home”. I agreed with her because I thought my mom would have better spent her money on me every month, after all, I was a single mother trying to get by. In all actuality, I was a self-centered knot-head with an it’s-all-about-me attitude. My world had an invisible boundary that hindered my ability to think beyond the ‘dome’. I never stopped to consider that my mom’s contribution might very well have changed the future for one little person, a change that might have an impact on the whole world, all because of that one little gesture, one little contribution. God said He forgives me. I hope my mom does too. If she were still with us, I would ask her from the bottom of my heart to forgive my selfish resentment – and for judging her wrongly.

Mankind is best served by all of the do-gooders out there and for obvious reasons. Jesus said “love one another”. Did you think this post would be about serving others, taking care of the poor or homeless, loving others as we love ourselves? In a way it is, but don’t forget about those already in your life, people. Don’t forget that your family, maybe friends, too, need your kindness. Or understanding. Or forgiveness. Or even to be forgiven. Don’t forget them in all your efforts to serve God’s people. They might be the ones who are down-trodden, disheartened, or misunderstood.

Don’t judge them either.

I used to be the world’s best at judging others. Just ask any of my former co-workers. I was baaad. It’s really hard to think before I judge, but I am practicing.

I’m going to have a go-to-Jesus meeting for a long list of wrongs I’ve done that I brushed aside because I thought ‘doing the right thing’ was enough. And I’m sure you’ve heard (over and over) how if you are in flight and the oxygen mask falls down, put it on yourself first so that you have the strength to help the person with you.

That’s what I’m talking about.

So keep doing good things, people. Don’t stop, increase your efforts. And keep in mind there will be no judgment here.

think before speaking

And don’t forget ya’ll – pray for world peace. Our entire world needs more prayer.