Monday, December 29, 2008

Offended self-love

Peace always seems to be a theme running throughout my life. Without it, things are not fun at the O'Brien household but with it, all is right with the world. That doesn't mean there aren't fights and that things don't go wrong but I am way more adaptable to these things when I'm peaceful. From the I Believe in Love book (my "playbook" for life along with the Bible);
"Another fruit of peace is equilibrium of soul. Peaceful souls are neither pessimists nor neurotics. They are not smug optimists, but have a wise and legitimate optimism, based on the Heart of Jesus, for they know that nothing happens but what God wills and that for man who lives in faith, everything is grace, everything is love. Mild temper, forbearance, goodness, and serenity grow only in peace." Further in this same chapter is this; "Notice that it is not by keeping you away from temptations and struggles that our Lord will guard you...Remember that the grace of Jesus is sufficient for you, and that it will never be lacking. It is so important to find calmness right away again after each fall!"
So, I feel like I've been on this quest for peace forever! Well, I guess that we all are because that's just human nature. I know the tools to get there but the realization of the difficult work that it takes gets overwhelming at times. This is where the importance of calmness after each fall comes into play. I pray that my response time to the falls shrinks.
I know that I have struggled with feeling peaceful since before Bill died because I remember spending many hours before the Blessed Sacrament begging Jesus for peace. I then started researching the word peace. I found a lot about world peace, family peace, and group peace but not much on spiritual peace - other than some new age crap that involves centering and yoga and blah! It was during prayer that God revealed to me (when I say that He revealed something to me - I don't actually hear an audible voice, He's just found a way to communicate with me so that I know that it is Him) world peace, family peace, and all the other kinds of peace all have one thing in common: humility or the lack of it (pride)
I have had the audacity to tell myself while waiting in line for Confession that I really don't have any sins to confess! Can you believe it? How prideful! As though because I have encountered difficulties and hardships that I am immune, somehow, to the "sin standards" of others! I realized this the other day and have felt panic attacks as I await my next opportunity to go to the sacrament of Reconciliation!
I have tried to figure out why I would even begin to think that my sinful words, behaviors, and actions don't "count." It all boils down to pride and a true lack of humility! I really despise my sins but the problem lies in that I regret the sin more because of how it might affect my life than regretting the sin itself! This is called offended self-love. I want the grace and the love of God but mostly because it makes ME feel good! I want God to feel good and to be happy and proud of me but, ugh, I think I want His approval because it makes me feel good! How awful!!!!!!! I have known this for quite a long time but I have not been able to admit it to myself or to others! I desperately try to do service for others through meals, babysitting, cards, phone calls, volunteering, etc. and I know that's because it serves God. I have sincere intentions in what I do and I most definitely want to lead others to Christ by example! Having said that, I think that I need to do more with my personal relationship with God. I need to find the peace that God intends all of us to have through his grace (it is enough) This means exorcising these demons of mine. I need to just get down to the bare essentials and focus on Him and His Love instead of my picture of what love is.
That was painful to reveal in writing! I am hoping that through this pain that I will now feel the true meaning of peace. Not just for me but for my children as well.

ps. I wanted to acknowledge on my blog the generous gift that I received from a 3rd grade parent. I did indeed get Briege an American Girl doll and she was so surprised and happy. I explained to her how I was able to do this for her and she was very moved by the kindness of St. Anthony's school parents. I have no way of thanking this anonymous friend except through this blog. So, thank you and God bless you! My little Briege will remember this Christmas always and I will too :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Depths of the Ocean

I've thought a lot about peace lately. I have felt such lack of peace in my heart and in my house. As the head of my household, I have a huge responsibility to maintain peace. It starts with me and it ends with me! If, in my heart, I don't have peace then my actions do not project it. This starts the cycle - I yell at the kids who yell at each other and then it begins again! I miss the quietness in my heart! It is missing because I've grown lazy in my prayer life. I've neglected the one relationship that brings me love, peace, happiness, joy, blessings, etc. I've neglected God! I don't know why it continues to surprise me that when I put God first in my life then everything else falls in line. That, of course, doesn't mean there is no drama or hardship, but God's presence is abundantly clear when we need Him most. My goodness, I sure need Him!
It's been hard to "find" him because my mind and my heart have been clouded with worldly thoughts of Christmas presents, homework issues, sports drama, family issues, and more. There is a way to have peace while also dealing with the every day life. It is not by putting God on the back burner - that hasn't worked so well yet! It's by putting Him front and center right in the hottest part of the flame! He is my buffer, He is my saving Grace and why don't I have Him front and center? It is much easier to just complain that life is hard and that I'm tired all of the time instead of finding a way to rejoice in these challenges and rising above them with His help.
"This peace comes through fidelity to grace, fidelity to confidence. It gives sweetness to your intimacy with Jesus. To lose confidence is to draw back from His arms, and at the same time it is to lose peace" (p.136 in I Believe in Love) Also from this book is this fabulous paragraph (it's long but so rich and worth it);
"The fruit of this peace is supernatural calm. The Devil fishes in troubled waters. Whoever lets himself be troubled does not see clearly anymore, stumbles, falls into a panic, and ceases to judge rightly. We can be very shaken, very upset, as long as it is only on the surface, but the depths of our soul must remain tranquil as the depths of the ocean, even during the greatest storms...Weep in bereavement or misfortune, but weep in peace." (also p. 136 in I Believe in Love)
I love the line about the Devil fishing in troubled waters. It doesn't imply that we won't have troubled waters or misfortune but that we have a choice to not become troubled we don't have to "let ourselves" become troubled while in the moment! We must hold on to peace and tranquility! We must remain faithful with full fidelity to our relationship with Christ Jesus!
I have told people that the most peaceful time of my life were the times that I experienced the greatest sadness. When I placed my baby for adoption 18 years ago, I can't explain to you the sadness that I felt! To get in the car and drive away from a child that had grown in my womb for 9+ months was excruciating! It was also peaceful. The pain that I felt was tied with the peace that I received (I was gifted this) in choosing this path for my life. I made these choices with God in my heart and with God on my lips and with God in my thoughts. The times that I have gone wrong have been the times that God wasn't a part of the process. When I brought Him back in (not that He ever left) my decisions were made peacefully not easily but peacefully.
Another time was when Bill died. The suddenness of it all was more than I thought that I could handle. However, I turned to my faithful family, my faithful friends, and my faithful clergy to help keep it all focused on God. It is hard to describe to anyone how I could physically feel the loving arms of Christ around my shoulders. Not in a figurative way but in a literal way! At times, I felt myself turn around expecting to see someone there only to see no one. The peace was tangible. It was as if I was on auto-pilot. I know that part of this was the grieving process but the other, more significant part, was that I felt lifted up by God Himself during this tragedy.
I miss that feeling! I mourn for that reassurance! It seems like so much "work" now to pray, to attend Mass, to acknowledge God each day. It is my cross right now! I am pushing through this dryness in hopes and in peaceful reassurance that it will only make me stronger and make my joy that much greater! The advice that is given to me is that I should lay these struggles at the foot of the cross and let Jesus take them from me! This is so hard for me because I feel as though He has taken so much from me and that it was my sins that got Him nailed up there in the first place. It's difficult for me to truly "give it to God" but I know when I do, peace will come!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Celtic Thunder

video

The Refrain in Gaelic:
A Lhiarana Dean Trocaire.
A Chriost Dean Trocaire.
A Thiarana Dean Trocaire.
A Chriost Dan Trocaire.

Lord Have Mercy.
Christ Have Mercy.
Lord Have Mercy.
Christ Have Mercy

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Some Pictures



Pandora's Box

Well, I opened up Pandora's box this morning. I confirmed to Murphy that there was no Santa. To my surprise, he still had total belief in the big guy! When I realized that he totally believed in Santa, I wanted to go back and undo what I had just done! We both had tears in our eyes as the realization suddenly hit us - his childhood suddenly took a turn. I am sure that this is hitting me harder than I thought because he's my first to discover this fact about Santa. My other two will probably find out from him, as I think most younger siblings "find out" about Santa from their older siblings. I wish that I could truly explain how crushed he was to find out the truth! I really thought that, by now, he would have had more suspicions about it all but, obviously, I was wrong!
Now the box is open...
My reasons behind revealing this Santa business to Murphy was to prepare him for a lean Christmas. My kids are not spoiled but at Christmas time, I have managed to find a way to get them the things that they wanted the most. This year, I'm not sure how I'm going to do it. So, I wanted to spare Murphy some disappointment and anger that other kids got way more from Santa than he did. Again, I don't mean to paint a picture that my kids always get what they want - they are aware that there are kids out there with a lot less and they are thankful. The reality of it is that there are always a lot of kids that get the American Girl doll for Christmas where I, in my state in life, cannot afford to spend that much on one gift. This is not to criticize anyone getting their kids high priced items, I am just not there.
Last year, we were visited by the Christmas Commandos. They are a group of anonymous donors that help a family affected by a challenging situation (death, sickness, etc.) and they show up at the family's house undercover of night and leave heaping boxes of presents. It is beautiful and overwhelmingly generous. I will never be able to thank these kind people enough. Now there is this year. How to adequately explain that it is going to be a different kind of a Christmas? I hate all of this commercial crap! I love Christmas and all of its wonder and its holiness! It is quiet and sacred and beautiful! Then it gets all mucked up with the rest of the pressures.
The long and the short of it is that I really wanted to prepare Murphy for a different kind of Christmas. I was soliciting his help in preparing his siblings for the lean Christmas and in the process forced him to grow up a little quicker than either one of us would have liked. I'm sure we'll both get over it but we'll never forget it either.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Duh!

After reflecting some more about my day and my week, I really need to vent! I am really struggling why God chose me to be a widow. I ask this not because I want to be spared from the pain of losing my husband and I definitely don't want another person to go through this pain. I ask because I really suck at it! Truly! The "widow" part is easy - I'm single, so what! But it's the single with children part that kills me! I know millions of women do it and some do it alone even though they're married or they have the support of the fathers. I know! I know! I just don't understand God's wisdom in this path for ME. What good can possibly come from my poor kids being stuck with this drill seargant for a mother? It really has been ticking me off lately! I truly believe that God has a plan and that gets me through each and every tough moment but I often question His choice in me as that widow.
I can hear the voices of my loved ones telling me that I am too hard on myself and I know that I am. However, I do come from this in a rational manner! I really and truly just don't get what it is that is inside me that God thought that I could handle this! I am strong, I am faithful, I am dedicated, I am humble BUT... I am frustrated, I am tired, I am flawed, I am angry, I am confused, I am...
I am struck as I re-read this post before saving it, the answers are all right before me! Instead of questioning why, I should obey God and carry on in righteousness and in faithfulness. Obedience! In my neglected reading of I Believe in Love I just read a chapter on "Great Desires, Humility, and Peace" and a few things jumped out at me that I am only now recalling; 1st -> "The majority of hurts, offended feelings, grudges, and bitternesses in life with others come from this obsession with our rights, this need for esteem, so strongly woven into our self. He who honestly puts himself in the last place is not astonished when others put him there, too." So true - it is my own need for esteem that points out how "unfair" life is!; 2nd -> "The Word became flesh. He shed His Blood to the last drop in order to save us. Yes, that is true; but He did this in order to obey His Father, and by this loving obedience, to carry out the immolation of His Sacrifice." If Jesus, being unblemished and perfect obeys His Father, why shouldn't I obey the Father? I need to just trust and obey. Isn't this what we want from our own children? "Stop asking why and just do as I say!" How many times I've yelled this!! Yet, I am behaving like my own children! Obedience because HE KNOWS WHAT IS BEST FOR ME!!!! Ok, I feel better... sorry about the little outburst at the beginning of my post but I still do kind of wonder what it is exactly I'm supposed to do in this role God has laid out for me. OBEDIENCE!!!!

Revelations

At my lowest today, I turned on my computer and in my email box was an email from a friend who writes reflections based on a message from the Blessed Mother from Medjugorje. I'm going to copy it in its entirety because it really spoke to me and where I'm at right now! I hope that someone else can grow from her wise and eloquent words!
Dear Family of Mary!

"I want you to be a flower which will blossom for Jesus on Christmas. And a flower that will not stop blooming when Christmas is over. I want your hearts to be shepherds to Jesus." (December 21, 1984 Jelena)

A flower blooms when it is well nourished and has gotten enough sun. A flower can only bloom at the right time, and usually flowers only bloom for a couple of weeks at most. Blooms are momentary. I was wondering what Our Lady could mean by this blooming that doesn't stop.

She seemed to say to me: "Your soul, little one, is a blossom, an eternal blossom. It will never die and it is to be nourished by the eternal gardener whose providence will never be exhausted. Your soul seeks the light. The sun light for your soul is the Eternal Light whose rays can never be darkened or diminished. His Light nourishes your soul with eternal power. So you can blossom and not stop if you submit to the Lord of Life and stay in His care."

"I don't understand my soul. I know it is me, but it is such a mysterious thing."

She seemed to answer me, "Your soul is the place of intersection, the home of your person, where spirit and body connect, intertwine, the place where you experience being, where your memory lives, where your intellect functions, where your will decides, where your emotions surge, where you live and where Jesus comes to be with you. It is healthy when it is in harmony, everything working together for one purpose, to find and then worship Jesus, to seek and then adore the Father, and to desire and receive the Holy Spirit. When your whole being is yearning for God, you are a blossom seeking the sun."

"But having a soul and being a soul is scary to me. Being eternal is, well, more than I can comprehend or bear. What can I do to become ready for eternity? I am nothing."

She seemed to answer, "You are not nothing. You are a person and in your personhood is found the answer. You can relate to Jesus, you can seek Him, find Him, desire Him, love Him, recognize Him, obey Him, listen to Him, follow Him, trust Him, enjoy Him, laugh with Him, eat with Him, talk to Him, go with Him, understand Him, and live with Him. He will provide for you for all eternity, you have only to receive from Him. Your soul is the key to your relationship with Jesus. Rejoice at the gift of your being!"

So, fellow flowers, we have only one task - to fall in love with Jesus and yearn for Him as our only Light, our only joy, our only love.

In Jesus and Mary!

Cathy Nolan

© 2008 Mary TV

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Freckles

I've had a bit of a disappointing 4 days! I feel like a child who for the first time in his/her whole life got made fun of for having freckles or for being taller than someone else or whatever. Life sails on, when you are a kid, with nary a thought that there might something "different" about you that will cause someone else to point out this "flaw". Then that sinking feeling that happens when you try to come to terms with the fact that life will never be the same now that you know you have freckles and other people may not - you might be different!!! Well, it's been that kind of 4 days for me. I'm too emotional to give specifics so I'm turning it over to God and I'm going to try and let it go! If I only had a $1.00 for every time I let it go and then took it back! Now, I'm going to go kiss my kids with all of their millions of freckles on their little faces!

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Cupboard

Well, here I am trying to get back to normalcy after what has been a long two year fight against the evils of the "Dark Side" I'm just kidding, sort of! I have gotten many emails in regard to the results of the election and I finally feel hope. Do I feel hope because "The One" got elected, not so much. I feel hope because I have finally put hope where it should have been all along, in Christ! What a relief to just hope in the Lord and know that no matter our differences or who is president of our little country that He's got us!
This is our time to embrace what He has been doing for us since the very first chapter of this world began; He has loved us despite all we, as a people, have done to muck it all up with corruption, immorality, sin, despair, war, murder...; He has protected us from destroying ourselves completely despite the increase in violence in the world and in our backyards; He has guided us even through tragic situations such as the death of a spouse, terrible accidents, financial devastation and hardships, and other can't-get-out-of-bed moments; He has been patient with us despite the fact that we have taken Him out of our public schools and our public buildings and despite the fact that even many of our Church leaders have failed to lead with the courage and the determination that we, the Faithful, have needed during most difficult times; Most of all, God is! He just is! It is a tremendous comfort to me that at any point or second or millisecond of my day, I can turn to Him with the full knowledge that He is there for me and for me alone. Nothing that I say is too trivial, too petty, too stupid, too childish, too simple for Him (and believe me, I am all of these things at times) He just wants us to turn to Him so that, as the Divine Parent, He can keep us from harm - the harm that happens deep in our souls!
The other day, I was putting my dishes away and I forgot that an upper cabinet was open and smacked my head on the corner! I saw stars and had to sit down for a moment as I cried like a little kid. My first reaction was to say "God, you can come from the mountain to Moses, but you couldn't have kept me from banging my head on that cupboard?" I was hot! How dare He inflict such trivial yet real pain on me - what did I do? Wasn't He supposed to be watching over me? Not soon after these words popped in my head (and out loud in the form of a choice swear word - I'm a sinner, I know!) my sister's 18 month old fell on my ceramic tile kitchen floor and got a goose-egg size bump on his head. Now, where was I to protect Brady from hurting himself? I have the ability to pick him up yet he still fell and hurt himself.
It was such a slap in my face that I dare to question God's love for me over a stupid "encounter" with a cupboard! I picked Brady up and offered my pain for his and then looked to God and asked that any pain that I may have suffered (it was minor but at the time I thought that I was dying - a little dramatic!)as a result of this incident be offered up for HIS PAIN! What a little lesson that was for me! So, I try everyday to have my reaction time less than it was yesterday. I pray that I may think to offer up what I have, good or bad, FOR Christ rather than asking Him to take it all away. I'm no martyr and I pray that God will never ask me to become one because I hate pain - clearly! - but I realize what a tremendous gift suffering can be at times.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

It's Finally Here!

Election Day - I hope all that could, voted! May God bless America!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Sunday, November 2, 2008

2 Days!

2 days! That's it and this drama will be over - or will it just begin, who knows? I am confident that the Lord has done wondrous things in the midst of all of this nonsense! He has drawn many, many people back to prayer - you know the good old-fashioned kind of praying! Fervent-passionate-pleading-loving-shouting to the Lord kind of prayer! It's a "chore" to keep up that kind of prayer sometimes but isn't it worth it? My kids have noticed that my Rosary is out a lot more than it used to be, that's a good thing! They have also wondered what to do or say when someone has a differing opinion and other than telling them "Mom is always right" (just kidding) I tell them that in the end, Christ renews us all! I truly believe this! He's bigger than ALL of this! It's difficult to remember this when we get sucked into the drama of the election or the wonderful things of our particular candidates (well, McCain, of course)
In these last two days I am going to be more gentle about the election and all of its issues (I almost couldn't write that!) I am going to fervently pray for a McCain victory, yet, I'm going to just pray; I'm going to continue my Rosary for life and I plan on doing this until there is no more abortion; I am going to pray for the softening of Sen. Obama's (I always want to put his name as O'Bama) heart on the rights of the unborn; I am going to pray for the supporters on both sides so that we can somehow come together and make sure that our politicians are doing their jobs - for the good of us, the voters!!!
Let's take this opportunity to remember what it feels like to open up communication with God! Let's embrace this "fight" as one that has made us a little bruised but a lot more in tune with Christ's love for us. Let's pray and then continue to pray long after November 4, 2008 has come and gone! Pray, pray, pray!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

3 Days Left until Election 2008!

I spent the day at ND stadium watching the Irish lose a heartbreaker in 4 OTs! It was nice to be able to forget the drama of the election and focus on something much more light-hearted - although, it would have been way more fulfilling had the Irish pulled out the win but it was fun spending that time with Murphy!
Even while "forgetting" the election, it did creep into my mind a few times especially when a plane carrying an Obama sign flew past - UGH! I did take a moment and pray for the unborn. So what could have been me being irritated became a moment for prayer, isn't God great?

Friday, October 31, 2008

4 Days until Election Day!

Pray, pray, pray! Pray that no matter what the outcome of the election that our prayers do not cease! Pray that we will continually renew our fight for the rights of those affected by abortion - the unborn, the mother, the father, the world! Pray that we lift up those government leaders making big (or little) decisions, laws, bills, etc. that will affect our lives - may we lift them all up in prayer a little everyday. Pray that we all crawl, run, walk, scratch, and fight our way back to putting God first and prominently in our lives - let's do it now! NOW!
Pray, pray, pray!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Patriotic Rosary - 5 Days until Election Day!

I am copying a great Rosary to say to prepare for the election. Well, it might be a good one to say daily forever! I'm posting it below:

Patriotic Rosary

Before each prayer, offer the following intentions:

Apostle's Creed - for the conversion of our Nation's Capital

Our Father - for the Holy Father

Three Hail Mary's - for Bishops, Priests, & religious

Glory Be - for the conversion of our country

First Mystery:

Our Father - for the Presidency of the United States of America

Before each of the 10 Hail Mary's - "We plead the Blood of Jesus over (state) and every soul in that state" - AL, AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA

Glory Be - for the conversion of our country

Second Mystery:

Our Father - For the Supreme Court of the United States of America

Before each of the 10 Hail Mary's - "We plead the Blood of Jesus over (state) and every soul in that state" - HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD

Glory Be - for the conversion of our country

Third Mystery:

Our Father - for the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of America

Before each of the 10 Hail Mary's - "We plead the Blood of Jesus over (state) and every soul in that state" - MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NJ

Glory Be - for the conversion of our country

Fourth Mystery:

Our Father - For the office of the Governors of the United States of America

Before each of the 10 Hail Mary's - "We plead the Blood of Jesus over (state) and every soul in that state" - NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC

Glory Be - for the conversion of our country

Fifth Mystery:

Our Father - For all County and Municipal Offices of the United States of America

Before each of the 10 Hail Mary's - "We plead the Blood of Jesus over (state) and every soul in that state" - SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY

Glory Be - for the conversion of our country

By the time you have completed 5 decades, you will have prayed for every soul in the nation.

MEDITATIONS:

First Mystery: "No one can rejoice more than I do at every step the people of this great country take to preserve the Union, establish good order and government, and to render the nation happy at home and respectable abroad. No country upon earth ever had it more in its power to attain these blessings than United America. Wondrously strange then, and much to be regretted indeed would it be, were we to neglect the means, and to depart from the road which Providence has pointed us, so plainly; I cannot believe it will ever come to pass. The Great Governor of the Universe has led us too long and too far on the road to happiness and glory, to forsake us In the midst of it. By folly and improper conduct, proceeding from a variety of causes, we may now and then get bewildered, but I hope and trust that there is good sense and virtue enough left to recover the right path before we shall be entirely lost." -George Washington, June 29, 1788

Second Mystery: "It may be the will of Heaven that America shall suffer calamities still more wasting and distresses yet more dreadful. If this is to be the case it will have this good effect, at least: it will inspire us with many virtues, which we have not, and correct many errors, follies, and vices, which threaten to disturb, dishonor, and destroy us. The furnace of affliction produces refinement, in states as well as individuals. And the new governments we are assuming, in every part, will require a purification from our vices, and an augmentation of our virtues or there will be no blessings... but I must submit all my hopes and fears to an overruling Providence; in which, unfashionable as the faith may be, I firmly believe." -John Adams, July 3, 1776

Third Mystery: "Review the great scenes of history: you will find mankind has Always been obliged to pay bear for the blessings they enjoyed... The struggles of a great people have almost always ended in the Establishment of liberty... Such a people are spoken of with admiration by all futures ages...." "Their souls glow with gratitude for the virtue and self-denial of their forefathers. They consider them as patterns for their own conduct on similar occasions and are continually pointing them out to the reverence and imitation of their children. These are the glorious effects of patriotism and virtue. These are the rewards annexed to the faithful discharge of that great and honorable duty, fidelity to our country... I pray to God that the fair character I have described may be that of America to the latest ages." James Iredell, May 1, 1778

Fourth Mystery: "To the kindly influence of Christianity we owe that degree of civil freedom, and political and social happiness which mankind now enjoy. In proportion as the genuine effects of Christianity are diminished in any nation, either through unbelief, or the corruption of its doctrines, or the neglect of its institutions; in the same proportion will the people of that nation recede from the blessings of genuine freedom, and approximate the miseries of complete despotism." " All efforts to destroy the foundations of our holy religion, ultimately tend to the subversion also of political freedom and happiness." "Whenever the pillars of Christianity shall be overthrown, our present republican forms of government, and all the blessings which flow from them, must fall with them." Jedediah Morse, 1799

Fifth Mystery: "Soldiers! Let us humble ourselves before the Lord, Our God, asking through Christ, the forgiveness of our sins, beseeching the aid of the God of our forefathers in the defense of our homes and our liberties, thanking Him for His past blessings, and imploring their continuance upon our cause and our people." "Knowing that intercessory prayer is our mightiest weapon and the supreme call for all Christians today, I pleadingly urge our people everywhere to pray. Believing that prayer is the greatest contribution that our people can make in this critical hour, I humbly urge that we take time to pray-to really pray." "Let there be prayer at sunup, at sundown, at midnight - all through the day. Let us pray for our children, our youth, our aged, our pastors, our homes, Let us pray for the churches." "let us pray for ourselves, that we may not lose the word 'concern' out of our Christian vocabulary. Let us pray for our nation. Let us pray for those who have known Jesus Christ and His Redeeming love, for moral forces everywhere, for our national leaders. Let prayer be our passion. Let prayer be our practice." General Robert E. Lee, 1863

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Please Pray for the Election - 6 Days Left!

Please continue to pray for the outcome of the upcoming election. I am praying for the defeat of Sen. Obama - I don't think that anyone is shocked by this revelation! I truly fear for what his administration will do to this country. If there is a Democrat majority in Congress and a Democrat in the White House, nothing but liberal ideology will be passed - this means the dreaded Freedom of Choice Act will pass (it is a horribly named bill which makes abortion more accessible, allows minors to obtain abortions without their parents consent, does not provide medical care for infants born alive as a result of a botched abortion, and more)
Please familiarize yourselves with the platforms of both candidates. It is not enough to say "I'm sick of Pres. Bush so I'm voting for Sen. Obama!" It is not enough to read the Bishop's guide for "responsible voting" and then justifying your supporting a candidate that is most radically pro-abortion! You need to read what their actual positions are on abortion - by the way, please, please do not think that abortion cannot be overturned! God is amazing and if we fight for the unborn and those under-represented, anything can happen! Please read about the candidates real plan for the safety of our great nation, read about their plans - long term - for the state of our economy, read about their health care and tax cut plans. Not only read them find out what it means for the greater good and for you and for your neighbor and for your fellow Church-goer.
I'm frightened by Sen. Obama, I really am! He will usher in a ideology which supports the culture of death - abortion and infanticide! It's shameful! For those that point to the war in Iraq as an equal "atrocity" to abortion, that is smoke and mirrors and we must pray for peace but war is sometimes necessary. Really read biblical stories on war, read encyclicals, books, articles to familiarize yourselves with the proper knowledge you need to make an informed decision. It is not enough to see a commercial, a rally, an interview and call yourselves informed.
Most of all, pray for this election. God's will is going to prevail no matter who wins this election. He gives us free will to make our paths in life but, ultimately, it will be His will that leads us.
I have been doing a Rosary Novena for the upcoming election - we are on day 4 but it's never to late to begin dedicating some part of your prayers to the upcoming election. I love doing Rosary novenas because I am talking to Our Heavenly Mother and asking Her to protect us and by doing this, I'm talking to my Father in Heaven. I know that I could directly go to God, and I do, but sometimes it's nice to go to "Mommy" or "Gospa" and she kisses our boo-boos and says "I'll talk to your Father" I just love thinking about the Blessed Mother this way as well as God in this way too. It is probably because I have such great parents on earth so they paved the way for me to be able to see Our Lady and God the Father in a more tangible way! A little shout out to my mom and dad!
If you are interested in doing a Rosary novena there are many resources to join one -I am doing one with a group from this site www.tlmmichiana.blogspot.com (I have this site linked from my site so you can click on it on the right) Really, any good Christian prayers offered up for the election are good - it's a personal decision, I was just sharing with you my form of prayer during this election time!

PS. The 40 Days for Life Campaign is still going on at the Women's Pavilion on Ironwood Circle off of Ironwood in South Bend! Heck, I'm going to continue my prayerful vigil even after the 40 Days campaign is over and the election has been decided! I want that place shut down and I'm storming Heaven to do my part!!!

Keep Praying - 6 Days Until the Election!

I am posting this email that has been circulating around the Internet. I don't know who Mark Gregg (he even may be a made up person) but I love what is stated, I only wish that I could write this well! Again, I know, I'm cheating by "stealing" other's writings and postings but until this election is over, I can't concentrate on anything else.

Dear Mr. Obama,
It is October 1st, 2008. My name is Mark Gregg. I am a 50 something conservative white male. I have
followed your campaign closely, including the speeches you and others made at the democratic national convention. I am respectfully providing you with seven simple (probably shallow) reasons why I could never vote
for you. I believe my opinion is shared by many people. While there may not be quite enough to prevent you from becoming president of this nation, I do think there is an awakening to the fact th at you are not a (the) messiah
that the media and liberal Hollywood entertainers are trying to portray you.

1. I hear your mantra of change, change,change. Yet, you picked a long term, liberal, insider (Joe Biden) to be your
running mate. This is NOT change. It is a move that hypocritically refutes the very thing you supposedly stand for. Your campaign then slammed McCain for picking Sarah Palin, apparently, because she is NOT a
insider. She is a maverick who cleaned-up 's quagmire of political scandals. Which way is it, Barack? Is it okay for you to pick a insider under the mantra of 'change', but not okay for John McCain to pick a smart, aggressive,
reformer?

2. You have the single most liberal voting record in the senate. This indicates to me and others like me that you may very well be an angry black man seeking to punish our country for sins of a different generation. I am not racist. I have some biases just like you and every other human alive. Unlike the democratic party who claims to be for the minority (but their record heavily refutes this), I will give any person who truly needs help, help. I married a 'minority' girl 35 years ago (she is Hispanic) and have seen the evils of prejudice first hand. However, I have also seen my wife and my children and others in her family throw off the veil of self imposed prejudicial bondage and move ahead. They love our country and do not view themselves any different than I view myself as a citizen of this country. Your lovely wife so disappointed people like me during this campaign when she stated it was the first time she had ever been proud of this country. She apparently never
noticed the massive aid we give dozens of other countries. She apparently never noticed the sacrifice of literally millions of veterans who helped make this country a free nation and helped liberate other nations from brutal dictators such as Adolf Hitler. She apparently does not remember that she attended ivy league universities with scholarship money that ultimately (at least some of it) was paid for by our taxes. This troubles me more than you
know. She is an angry black woman who appears to not like her country very much. I don't want her representing me to the rest of the world.

3. You claim Christianity but apparently do not realize that the Bible teaches that he who does not work, does not eat. The Bible does not say or even suggest that he who CANNOT work, should not eat. Yet, your liberal policies reward people who are capable of working, but choose to not do so. This bothers me. I know that if you are elected our taxes will spiral upwards. You should heed the words of Winston Churchill: 'We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle..' If I like anything about you, it is your campaign promise to balance the federal budget. Unfortunately, we have heard this a huge number of times from a number of different politicians and we realize that when you energize the very liberal Nancy Pelosi, Robert Byrd, Ted Kennedy, Barney Frank, etc, etc, and the many other democrats like them, a balanced budget will never, ever happen on your watch.

4. During your question and answer session with Rick Warren of Saddleback Church your answer concerning the question of where does life begin, stunned me: 'Above your pay grade?' Does this mean when something bad happens as President of this nation that you are going to look at your salary to determine if you can respond? I am sorry, but this was the most serious gaffe I have seen you make. Frankly, it shows me that you are pandering in the most obvious manner. You will choose your words not from your heart, but from an agenda that I believe is still hidden from the American people.

5. If anything stands out about you it is probably your appeasement mentality. In this era of rampant, radical Islamic extremism and with the latest stunt pulled by the re-energized Russian government, I am not sure appeasement is healthy. I again revert to the words of Winston Churchill: 'An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.'

6. You and your party tacitly believe that a 13 or 14 year old girl must have the parents' approval to have the school nurse provide them with a Tylenol when they have a headache at school. Yet, this same girl can become pregnant and the school can skirt her off to a clinic and abort the child in her body without the parents knowing or being notified. This scares the hell out of me. You have two little girls. Would you be upset if this happened to them and you were not informed? Then why do you stand for this? It makes no sense to me.

7. My seventh and final point (for now) is your supporters. I have watched the Hollywood entertainers who support you, systematically embrace Hugo Chavez of and others like him. I see the continuous smut and garbage produced by , the very people who promote you the most vigorously. It is not a positive point to me and others like me to see these over-paid, bizarre, poor examples of human existence fawn over you and push you and your liberal agenda as hard as they do. The way I see it; When the devil is for you, we should question whether or not we should be against you.

In closing, I just want you to know that you scare me. I cannot vote for you. It is not because of your skin color. It is because these items I've listed and many, many others like them. Do not claim that my dislike for you is race based. It is because I do not feel you have the best interests of this nation at heart.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Novena for the Election - 8 days!!!

A Call for a Rosary Novena
By Fr. John Corapi


Among the most important titles we have in the Catholic Church
for the Blessed Virgin Mary are Our Lady of Victory and Our Lady of the Rosary. These titles can be traced back to one of the most decisive times in the history of the world and Christendom. The Battle of Lepanto took place on October 7 (date of feast of Our Lady of Rosary), 1571. This proved to be the most crucial battle for the Christian forces against the radical Muslim navy of Turkey. Pope Pius V led a procession around St. Peter's Square in Vatican City praying the Rosary. He showed true pastoral leadership in recognizing the danger posed to Christendom by the radical Muslim forces,
and in using the means necessary to defeat it. Spiritual battles require spiritual weapons, and this more than anything was a battle that had its origins in the spiritual order—a true battle between good and evil.

Today we have a similar spiritual battle in progress—a battle between the forces of good and evil, light and darkness, truth and lies, life and death. If we do not soon stop the genocide of abortion in the United States, we shall run the course of all those that prove by their actions that they are enemies of God—total collapse, economic, social, and national. The moral demise of a nation results in the ultimate demise of a nation.

God is not a disinterested spectator to the affairs of man. Life begins at conception.
This is an unalterable formal teaching of the Catholic Church. If you do not accept this you are a heretic in plain English. A single abortion is homicide. The more than 48,000,000 abortions since Roe v. Wade in the United States constitute genocide by definition. The group singled out for death—unwanted, unborn children.

No other issue, not all other issues taken together, can constitute a proportionate reason for voting for candidates that intend to preserve and defend this holocaust of innocent human life that is abortion.

I strongly urge every one of you to make a Novena and pray the Rosary
to Our Lady of Victory between October 27th and Election Day, November 4th.

Pray that God's will be done and the most innocent and utterly vulnerable of our brothers and sisters will be protected from this barbaric and grossly sinful blight on society that is abortion. No woman, and no man, has the right to choose to murder an innocent human being.
May God grant us the wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and counsel to form our conscience in accordance with authentic Catholic teaching, and then vote that well-formed Catholic conscience.

A Quick Thought

This little quote is from St. Faustina's diary - it's amazing and beautiful:

Thank You, Jesus, for everything, because it is not the greatness of the works, but the greatness of the effort that will be rewarded. What is done out of love is not small, O my Jesus, for Your eyes see everything (Diary, 1310).

† I want to plunge myself in thanksgiving before the Majesty of God and to continue in this prayer of thanksgiving for seven days and seven nights; and although I will outwardly carry out all my duties, my spirit will nonetheless stand continually before the Lord, and all my exercises will be imbued with the spirit of thanksgiving (Diary, 1367).

† Jesus I trust in You †

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Bridge

I am posting this video that I saw about 3 months ago - it is a little lengthy but very powerful. I know that this is cheating on my posting but there have been too many things going on to dedicate my time to a really good post - but I'm writing stuff.


video

Friday, October 17, 2008

More Reflections on a Birthday

Today, my first born son is 18 years old. There are many days that it seems as though it never happened. For this, I am sad but I am also thankful that God gave me this grace to move on in my life knowing that my child has a wonderful new family and that God is watching over them. God has given me His permission to focus on my life with the comfort that God's there and all is well. Then there are days that I swear that I can smell his hair and that I can feel his heart beating against my chest as I say goodbye for the last time. I can still feel how unbelievably sad I was when I rode the elevator for the last time. Yet, through it all, I felt and I feel God's presence and His compassion and His love for me. It is because of this compassion and love that I was gifted the opportunity to have Murphy and Briege and Keagan. His sustaining love enabled me to open myself up to the wonders of life as a wife and as a mother. What an amazing gift the Father has given to me! This chapter in the book of suffering has taught me so much about forgiveness, about true love, about self-less courage, about submission to God's Will and its fruits, and also about the joys that inevitably come after the scars of the suffering have healed. It's a wonder to behold how much He loves us to make this possible. I thank God everyday for my 18 year old Joseph. I pray that we will be reunited one day and that he will meet his siblings who have all learned about their special family member within the last two years. If he chooses not to seek us out, I pray for him anyway and I know that God's hands are on his heart and that he will, somehow, know of my love for him.
Happy 18th Birthday Joseph Kelly!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Friday, October 10, 2008

Thoughts on a Birthday


I have been having trouble finding anything of "worth" to post. Then I remembered that this blog is for me! It is to work through the frustrations of life; the happiness and joys of life; the struggles of life. Sometimes it's just the everyday struggles in life that tell the story and not the huge "look at me" moments. This seems to be a common thread in most of my thoughts and in my writings. Trying to find my worth is woven throughout my life. Having the best birthday for my kids is my latest trial. It is so insignificant in the grand scheme of things but, at the time, huge for my kids. Birthdays have always overwhelmed me! I'm still trying to figure out why it is that they conjure up such anxiety for me. It's not that my childhood birthday parties weren't fun or fulfilling because they were. I had many parties where it was just my family and I having dinner and singing happy birthday to my sister and I (I'm a twin after all!) I remember, fondly, the times that we would get to be the center of attention and we got to decide what's for dinner and what kind of cake that we got - it was awesome!
Hmmm...I wonder if it's the whole attention thing that has me "stuck." As a mother, I tend to put myself last or, at least, second (or third or fourth) It has been many years where my birthday meant that I was going to be spoiled and indulged - well, maybe not indulged but at least humored. As an adult, we are expected to kind of put our selfish wants behind us to make room for our children's needs or the needs of our spouses. That, then, puts the huge burden of fulfilling all of those childhood memories on our loved ones and that is a big shoe to fill.
As I think more on this birthday "thing" I got going on, I am reminded of perhaps the most poignant gift that I have received, Murphy! My 11 year old son was gifted to me just after midnight on my birthday. The back story of his birth on my birthday is a miraculous confirmation of God's love for me. In 1990, I was a freshman at Purdue University and was dating a guy - so not my type but that was what appealed to me for some reason - and I got pregnant. It was shortly after my second semester (naturally, it was after the deadline for tuition reimbursement!) and I came home to my loving parents that forgave me and loved me through the mess. As my pregnancy progressed, I went in for an ultrasound where the doctor informed me that my due date was October 11th - my birthday! I had been planning to place for adoption and I was thrown for a loop when I saw the due date! How on earth could I go through with an adoption with a baby born on my birthday? So, right then and there, I made a little deal with God (isn't that funny how we do that?) If I had the baby on my due date, I would know that I was to keep the baby and if I had the baby on another day, I would know that it was in God's Will that I place for adoption. Well, I had my little boy on October 17th - side note: my jersey number all through high school was always #17 (just a little tidbit) He was beautiful and I loved him instantly but I knew that he was not mine to keep - God had another plan for me. It was very painful but very peaceful at the same time. I signed the papers a week later and began to pick up the pieces of my life by transferring to the University of Saint Francis on a volleyball and softball scholarship. In 1996, I married my husband Bill and in 1997 I got pregnant with our first child. My due date was October 9th (another October birth) and yet, I gave birth to Joseph Murphy on my birthday October 11th! It was as if God had confirmed our "deal" by gifting me my son on my birthday just as we had agreed upon back in 1990 when I placed my first son for adoption.
So, as I work through this aversion I have to my own birthday, I am reminded everyday of the gift that God has given me in my sons and my daughter. Someday, I hope to be reunited with the beautiful boy that I placed for adoption. It is wonderful how God works if we let Him! Now, I just need to remember to LET HIM WORK!
Happy Birthday Murphy - Happy Birthday Kerry!!! I love you both as big as the sky or as the Irish say "Bi da kye!"

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


video

A little obnoxious of me but I am very proud of my kids and when I can get video of them doing great things - I'm gonna post it! They are great kids every day but I don't get it on video. So here is Murphy running for a 65 yard touchdown! Unfortunately their uniforms look similar to USC but despite that - Run Murphy Run!!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

video

I got this from a friend's facebook page and it is from youtube. It is amazing and such a gift to me today and tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow...

Friday, September 26, 2008

Silent Sadness

Silence...Sadness...Many emotions flooded my senses as I drove around Ironwood Circle this morning. My time slot for standing/kneeling vigil was for 11:00 and I noticed that there were several people there not even scheduled to stand vigil that came on their own, it was a beautiful thing! I then took note of the full parking lot of the abortion clinic next door and my heart broke. I'm not outraged at the issue of abortion. I am silent and I am sad. I have been a young woman with a crisis pregnancy. I know the temptation of "making it all go away." I know the fear and the shame and the anger that comes from making a choice that led me to become pregnant at 19 and unmarried. I know the conversations that can happen behind one's back and even right in front of one's face because you got "caught." I know the sleepless nights that can happen as you wonder how life will ever be the same after this moment. These things I know because I was that girl!
But... I also know that one can come out of this situation whole and strengthened. I know what it's like for someone to take my hand and give me hope in a hopeless situation. I know what it's like to have everyone telling you what you should do but I also know the relief I felt when someone told me to take my time and to just breathe! I was blessed to know the Lord - even though I felt as though I had failed Him tremendously and that He would probably not want too many to know that I follow Him. I also know through my friends, my parents, my parents' friends, and others that the Lord was carrying me. God worked miracles because I was quiet and I listened to Him and I let him carry my cross with me.
My prayer for those most affected by abortion - which, in essence, is all of us because it's our doctors, our priests, our mothers, our teachers, our fathers, our religious, our bus drivers, and so on that are being aborted - my prayer is for peace. We usually only hear a prayer for peace in regards to war and this is a war! Those faced with a crisis pregnancy need peace; they need guidance; they need prayers; they need solutions; they need options; they need us! I pray, most especially, for those that work in any capacity with these women - the doctors, nurses, counselors, volunteers, drivers, legislators, lobbyists, - that their hearts and their eyes will be opened to the horrors of abortion. It is not a necessary thing in this 21st Century! There are options and there are solutions!
Let's all pray, pray, pray - Pray without ceasing!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Check out http://www.40daysforlife.com and join the campaign. My family and I will be doing our part with prayer, fasting, sacrifice, and silent (prayerful) protest at the Women's Pavillion off of Ironwood Drive on Ironwood Circle (Ironwood Circle is a small road just next to the McDonald's on Ironwood between Edison and Notre Dame Avenue)
It is time to let God work and it is time to turn the issue of life over to Him through this campaign!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Something Short

From the book, I Believe in Love, "And if, in addition to all that, you give Him your many miseries with great humility, but also with great confidence, then you give Him His great joy - His joy of being Savior. Every soul in a state of grace is for Him a Heaven which only that could could give Him." Are you kidding me? Isn't that huge? I have never thought that about Jesus' role as Savior. Sure, I am in awe of the kind of love and obedience that it took for Jesus to die on the cross - it's unfathomable! But to think that He actually feels joy from His role as our Savior - JOY! I am going to try to wrap my over-tired and overwhelmed little brain around this gem!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Big Enough

I have heard many stories of survival lately. On the Today, show there was a man that survived getting run over by a train; on Oprah, a woman fighting her third round of cancer; on the Internet, a woman that survived a botched abortion - she being the baby! In each of these cases, the comment was made that God must have something important for them to do and that's why their lives were spared. I've heard that statement many times and I've even said it once or twice to a survivor of something. It makes sense, that statement, but it doesn't seem accurate. I know the meaning behind it - these people survived the "unsurvivable", they dodged death and why? There has to be something that they are supposed to do now, right? Something huge that God has planned for them. In my jaded eyes, I then thought, couldn't these people have just been saved from death and that's the important thing. That they get to continue living, couldn't that be God's will for them? Couldn't it end there?
On the other hand, shouldn't we all be searching or wondering what important thing(s) that God must want us to do? See, because I struggle with the huge thought that God could possibly love insignificant me, I think there has to be more that I'm supposed to be doing. I haven't survived cancer but I survived losing my husband to cancer! Does that count? Am I now expected to do huge things? Oh my! The pressure we put on ourselves to do the big things instead of seeing the big things! Keagan pooped in the toilet (lovely, huh?) that's a big thing! I didn't do it, I helped teach him to do it - that's a big thing. Murphy took a shower tonight without complaining or sighing, that's a big thing (believe me, it's huge) Briege, my little saint, got all of her spelling words correct for her first test in the 3rd grade - big thing! Why can't I/we see these things as pleasing to God? Must the things be demonstrative? Must they be obvious to the world? Must they be tangible?
We live in a world that says yes to all of these questions. You must be like Oprah or like Joel Olsteen or like Pope Benedict or like Derek Jeter (can I have a moment?) I so want my kids to grow up to be like Murphy O'Brien and like Briege O'Brien and like Keagan O'Brien and know that this is huge - it's a big thing; it's a beautiful thing; it's a God thing! That should be enough for us because I know (the Bible tells me) that it's enough for God!
Don't get me wrong, the survival stories that I mentioned are inspirational and definitely God-made! I am moved by these stories and many more - local ones like Bobby Kloska inspire me and make me want to fight to live! We can all glean from these stories and we get to see God's amazing work in tangible form but it should awaken those "radars" so that we can see God's amazing work in the hidden things and in the small, every-day things. It is a daily challenge for me to find these little things and just take a moment to say thanks be to God for them! The shower thing with Murphy, not always something I'm thanking God about because most days/nights it's a battle and I pray to God for serenity, not thanks. But maybe next time I'll try thanking God when Murphy gets in the shower, fight or no fight, and just maybe, I'll see what a big thing it can really be! (on a side note: Murphy, if you are reading this, I'm sorry if this embarrassed you - it was only to illustrate my point and I love you)
There is this song called Big Enough by Ayiesha Woods - listen to it sometime on iTunes or wherever - it really has become my theme song - a good line from it is "I don't want to box You in; You've been doing big things since the world began. Sometimes I just don't want to believe that You're big enough." Isn't God big enough to know us and that we can just stop trying to prove to him how big we are and let Him be big enough for the both of us! Ahhh... I just love God!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Work in Progress

In getting back to my reading, I Believe in Love, it has been such a gift to read this book because every page is a wonder to behold. This particular line I love; "What is more, we must live a presently existing love. Too often, we make our life of love with God in us something to be realized in the future - someday when we shall have made sufficient progress for that. The word sufficient makes me smile, because, after all, how could we ever establish this sufficiency?"
Don't we all feel this way? I hate to presume that others feel what I feel but for the good of my sanity, I like to pretend that I am more like others than different! I am often caught up in the thought that I am a "work in progress." While it is true, that we never stop learning or growing or improving, etc. Right now we must accept God's love as complete. His love is not depending on the fabulous things that we will or may do in the future. His love is right now - flaws and all! I am in the habit of beating myself up for not having accomplished big things in my life as if then I'll give God a reason to love me. To realize that He already does love me, given what I've already done and given that He knows what's to come, is more than my little brain or heart can take! Yet, to accept that love RIGHT NOW is something that I hope to cherish sooner rather than later. In my heart it makes sense but in my brain it makes no sense. I will continue to try and mold my relationship with the Lord with my heart and not so much with my brain and all of the old, rusty, dusty, dirty, painful, hurtful, twisted, etc. thoughts about what I think God needs and I'll fill it with what I know in my heart and in my soul that God has already received from me and know that I have so much more to give Him! It's just amazing how much we still have to learn about the tremendous amount of love that God has for all of us.

Monday, September 15, 2008

To Bridge the Gap

It is amazing to look out my window and actually see the sun peeking out from behind a cloud today! I didn't think that I would ever see the sun again with all of the rain that we've had here. I gave pause before complaining because of those that have been hit much worse with rain and terrible winds due to the hurricanes in the South. So, I complain with a light touch!
I think that the weather started to affect me spiritually. I have been feeling like I've been in a bit of a spiritual drought lately and wanted God to quench my thirst somehow. Ironically we smashed records with the rainfall we've had and yet, I'm still parched spiritually. It's funny how when we feel numb, indifferent, dry in our faith that we turn to God and ask Him what the problem is. On the one hand, I think that's just what He wants us to do - turn to Him when we feel lost or "lazy". On the other hand, how convenient that God becomes the one I blame for any kind of separation from Him. I have been assured by Scriptures, by theologians, and by oral traditions that God does not separate Himself from us, we do the leaving!
As a parent, I watch this relationship that I have with God and I see me leave; then I see me come back crying and crawling; then I see me leave; then I come back promising never to distance myself again; then I see me leave! Do ya see the pattern? I guess the good news is that I keep coming back but I wonder if God has any of the same frustrations that we earthly parents have with our children just not trusting us to know better. The blaring difference between God and us (quite obvious) is that He NEVER fails in His decision-making or in His immense love for us. I know that I have failed many times (like right now) in making too-quick decisions and in saying "NO" too often instead of taking the time to talk it through. I want to have the kind of love that God has for me and I want my kids to get that from me! To bridge that divide between Heaven and Earth is the key, I guess!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Challenge

God often puts challenging people and challenging situations in my life for a reason. He is so smart and I realize it is to improve my patience and my compassion along with a laundry list of character issues that I need to improve. Honestly, most days I just want God to "test" someone else! I'm tired of it all and I'm tired of failing the test. So, for more than a few moments, I wallow in the poor me mentality until it hits me - perhaps I'm not doing so well and in God's HUGE capacity for love, He keeps giving me chance after chance. And, heck, I'm still blowing it time and time again. But, now when I blow it (just snapped at Murphy during homework time) I realize it more quickly and I amend my way and I try again. I am so glad that God isn't impatient with me! I can only imagine what it would be like if God took a page out of my parenting playbook! So, I am painstakingly trying to be more patient and to have more compassion for those challenges in my life. To those I've snapped at, I'm sorry, I am truly working on it!

As I continue to read I Believe in Love, I am continually in awe of how simple life is when we get out of God's way and just let Him lead with love! A quote from the book that I love which can be attributed to St. John Vianney, the holy Cure of Ars, is; "The good Lord is more eager to pardon a repentant sinner than a mother to rescue her child from the fire." That is amazing!
So, in keeping with my earlier mention, my challenge with difficulties, this only further comforts me. God's incredible desire to love and to welcome our tired little souls warms me! I thank God so much more than I have before today. Hopefully tomorrow I will thank God a little more than I have today.

Now I must be off to break up a fight between my three lovely little challenges - Oh Lord, please pray for me!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Background

A little bit about my story -
On March 7, 2007, my husband, Bill, died from the side effects of cancer. He didn't suffer, it wasn't a long, drawn out process, the kids were quietly asleep when he died, and Bill died in his sleep. This should all bring me comfort but it doesn't. I know that, faithfully, God granted my family a gift not having to watch my husband and the father of my children suffer greatly. I know this! I struggle with being cheated out of being his Florence Nightingale.
Like any marriage, during our 12 years together we had experienced many ups and downs. We had 3 beautiful children together yet we lost 2 more to mid-term miscarriages - up/down. We attended the wedding of Bill's oldest son, Michael, only to watch as their marriage crumbled (they have since reunited and had a baby girl, Kaylee Rose but not until after Bill died) - up/down. Bill started a successful business or two or three only to see them all crash and leave us almost homeless - up/down. Then there were the things in between - struggles with addiction, a brief separation, new jobs, new houses, new schools, new churches, deaths in the family - all of which caused us to fluctuate between love and despair.
So, when Bill went to the doctor with a lump in his neck that was fairly large but not at all painful, we were geared up for the news. We were hoping that it would be Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma because the treatment is aggressive but the survival rate is good. This is what the primary diagnosis was and we were cheering but gearing up for the fight. When they did further testing on the tumor after the biopsy it showed that it was not lymphoma in any form but it was Squamous cell carcinoma. This is, in laymen terms, inside-out skin cancer. It was located near the throat so for simplicity, we called it throat cancer. A huge blow made bigger because the survival rate is dim. I was still prepared to fight! But, Bill wasn't.
He felt such guilt for "getting" cancer. He apologized to me many times until it just started ticking me off! I could tell that he had given up on trying to fight before the fight began. I have had such a difficult time forgiving him for not fighting but I have slowly received the gift of forgiveness. Bill wasn't me and the month before he died he spent fixing all of the loose ends in the house - hanging pictures that weren't hung, finding paper work that was essential in case he died, loving on the kids every moment that he could, and finding a right place with God. In watching him do all of these things, it just made me mad! How can you just give in to it and not be willing to fight? For me? For the kids? For your mother? It has been over a year and I am, as I said before, slowly forgiving him. I try to imagine the torment of knowing that you are going to die while the world is still moving on as usual.
I remember the morning after he died, driving to my parent's house and being so angry that people had the audacity to pump gas while I was mourning the loss of my husband and while my children were wondering where daddy went! How dare the world go on when I didn't know how I could pick out a casket, pick out the flowers, call the church, or just live on without him. This was going to be insane! What was God thinking when He thrust me into this scenario? Doesn't he know what a wimp I am? I can fight for my kids, I can fight for my husband, but this? But then I began to say, why not me?
In a nutshell, it is a process with ongoing hardships, sadness, joys, disappointments, laughter, and much more. I thank God for this trial even though I don't think that I am at all equipped to handle it as well as the "next guy." I have faith in Jesus' friendship for Lazarus; His friendship for Kelly and for Murphy and for Briege and for Keagan. I wake up every morning asking for just a little less hardship and a little more laughter and He delivers even if the two are sometimes entwined into one!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Friendship for Lazarus

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

Why I started a blog!

First, I guess that I should mention how I came up with the name of my blog - Friendship for Lazarus. I have been reading a great book called I Believe in Love by Fr. Jean C. J. d'Elbee, it is based on the teachings of St. Therese of Liseieux. In one of the first chapters entitled Humble Confidence, the author describes some examples of Jesus' friends that displayed confidence in Jesus and their reward for that confidence.
Martha and Mary demonstrated their confidence in Jesus at the bedside of their dying brother, Lazarus. They sent out a message to Jesus asking Him to come to the aid of Lazarus because they knew of Jesus' friendship for Lazarus - they knew Jesus' heart and His enormous compassion. The reason I love the story is because Jesus does not do the obvious which is to heal Lazarus on the spot even though it pained Jesus greatly that His friend was dying. Jesus allowed Lazarus to die so that Martha and Mary could demonstrate an even greater degree of confidence. By rewarding their confidence, he allowed an even greater sadness thus testing the strength of their confidence in Jesus.
Perhaps my favorite line in this chapter is "This is what Jesus is like with those who love Him. He does not grant the first prayer; He permits a greater trial. And we become distressed... Because God loves you, He wants to see how far you will push your confidence. He wants to be able to say to you, as He did to the Canaanite woman, 'How great is your faith!'"
So this is how I came up with the title for my blog - Friendship for Lazarus. I have humble confidence in Jesus' friendship for Lazarus and His friendship for me! It is a huge comfort in times of trials that I know that Jesus has my back. I am called to believe in the love of Jesus for me. For me!! It is a hugely overwhelming thought! To think that He, the Lover of love, the Sacrificial Lamb, the Great I Am, loves me in a way that can never be duplicated by anyone. I just don't feel worthy but who is, I guess!
I hope to use this blog as a place that I can turn my trials and tribulations into a demonstration of my humble confidence. I pray that those reading this blog know that I am a broken girl with an immense love my God. I do not claim to be anyone of importance and I certainly cannot solve the world's issues but I do feel called to share my story and that's what I'm gonna do!
Tune in next time...