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Sunday, January 8, 2017

Why?

St. Teresa of Avila said, " Dear Lord, if this is how you treat Your friends, it's no wonder You have so few," as she was bucked from her horse while on her way to one of her monasteries.

Do you ever feel that following God is too demanding? More than you thought it could be or should be? Shouldn't life following God be sweet?

It's hard to explain to a looker on the maxim "by the grace of God go I." If life is so hard, why not chose an easier route? It is yours for the choosing. But we each have our own path God has called us to walk, and we recognize the light on our path and know there really is no other option than to follow. It's like a magnet drawing us on. 

But what makes it so hard? Why does following Jesus have to be so hard? Maybe it's because we care too much what happens to us. We want to be seen in a certain way, we want certain creature comforts to make us feel important, we want general admiration. We want to relax, take it easy, and really just have no worries but what pleases us. Too much responsibility really cramps our style! All of this leads to the conclusion that we still think we know what will make us happy and don't live the Faith of a true child that lives happily in His Father's house. If we do, we can thank the people who have shown us how, who have made it easy, and thank God for that mega grace. 

Don't get me wrong. There are noble parts in our soul, or we wouldn't be following the path. And these noble parts keep us trudging, thank God! And there are great and unexpected joys as well, joys that we wouldn't have otherwise known even existed if we didn't follow the path God set for us. But the crosses are entwined along the road and are just as much a part of our reality. 

Let's pause to reflect upon them, because that is our gripe this morning. "Dear Lord, if this is how You treat Your friends, it is no wonder You have so few(!)" 

Our crosses carry out an inner purification that slowly set us free, inch by inch on that journey. And set others at a quicker pace if we bear some of our load for them, or even bear their load for a bit. And then we can all start to smile more as we see into the heart and true, spiritual successes of our friends, knowing we are getting on in the journey, peering into the water jug inside of us that is being cleansed from murky water and so, capable of holding more and more of the Living Water. 

We are friends with God. Let's not forget it for a moment. And God didn't just skate by in life. So "carry" on, and live more freely and fully in His house. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Heavenly Peace please!

This Christmas, take time with the Baby. Maybe we have a baby and we know what that means.. How a baby makes everything else halt. Time has to stand still, and the baby needs his mama. He needs 24/7 care. He invites us to rest and love and be present. We smell his aroma, our hearts fill with love when we feel his soft pure skin against ours. At least, that is what he invites us to. 

So often, we are Martha. I think that's why the story is written for us. We are busy because there just IS so much for us to do! Even through the parable Jesus tells us the work will always be there. At Christmas we are reminded of his real wish-Just be with me. Hold me in your arms and let me rest awhile there. I loving you, you loving me. I as the baby, you as the mother, or father, or sister or brother. 

Why would you come as a baby, Lord? Because babies come first. Everything else is secondary, and serve the baby's life and happiness. People always come
First, starting with the God-baby, and that time is not stolen from the real life you live. It IS the life. Advent is the beginning of the new year. It puts our resolution before our eyes and presents him in a manger. 

What can we eliminate? What, besides our vanity and pride, can we give less importance to so we can make time to hold the Baby? And the babies and children and spouse and friends we are given? 

St. John Paul 2 wrote we live in relatio, we live in relationship to one another and that the relationship we hold with each is vastly key to who we are. Too often, that human contact is lost. Are we being wife, mother, child, sister? Too often, work, whatever work it is, be it the work of a CEO or the work of the home, or both(!), takes first place in defining our lives, how we see ourselves and live with others. Christmas invites us to live in  relatio once again. How can we be at peace in our souls if we can't take time to hold the Child, holding him as he sleeps in heavenly peace? 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

the enemy of the good




(housebeautiful.com)

The good of what, exactly? Well, to answer that, I have to go back in time a little to when I was in college and was required to take 4 classes in Philosophy, something I wasn't even remotely interested in. Picture a basset hound who is sleeping lazily on a porch on a hot day and whose ears and head remain lazily down even at the arrival of its master. But this requirement was a brilliant move by my college and one of the top few things I am profoundly grateful for in my life. Through philosophy, my soul was awakened and the curtains of my mind were thrown open, and light came flooding in, the dust particles slowly floating away. Crazy? Well, the truth is sometimes crazy.

I in no way claim to be a professional philosopher, just a lover of the quest. So please excuse any rough edges as I try to explain "the good." When talking about "the good," the good of the ( and therefore ANY) human person is what is meant. What a lofty claim! How can anyone say there is a good? That is an argument for a different day. But, I like to picture it as man freed, walking briskly, happily, contentedly, knowing he is on the right path, knowing where he is going, and so, doing what he ought, and happy about it. No barriers exist, not even external obstacles, because those are not road blocks, but merely meant to be hoped over through virtue. These bumps in no way affect his happiness or his goal. Now, this also means that the right path doesn't lead to anything tangible or material. Because those things can be taken away, but rather, the person's flight toward virtue. I've done my best this morning.

Lets bring this thing down back to reality, shall we?

I get overwhelmed sometimes. ( With 5 kids... REALLY? :) I wish I could get my house organized in a timely fashion, meet every need for myself and those in my life. But it isn't possible. It's overall possible, but not when broken down into the minutiae that is our life. Yesterday morning, I was desperate to get the dishes out of the sink but I first needed to empty the dishwasher. I also have my toddler and 2 month old hanging out with me all day, so I can't always get to things as quickly as I would like. But that is where I realized I could actually celebrate emptying the dishwasher in part. I couldn't do the whole thing just then. But, I could work toward my goal and actually feel good about it. "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." - St. Josemaria Escriva

So next time you want things to be different or think you or someone else could be better, you of course are right. We all can be better and we all can work toward the better. But, we can also celebrate the smallest step in moving toward it when "the better" is a long time coming.


Saturday, March 26, 2016

Multiplied



(howwemontessori.com)

I think its safe to say most people are afraid of having a lot of kids.. Or even one! I think the fear is natural. The responsibility increases, the sleep decreases. The duties increase, the time in which to do them decreases.... or does it?

Yesterday, as I sat in my messy house ( the kids are home for spring break and let's not forget I have a newborn!), I hear some commotion in the main room. In Florida, most of the houses are completely open and are one level so you can see/hear pretty much everything from everywhere. So, back to my story. I found my daughter hard at work, bucket of soppy water near by and mop in hand. Yep. She was slowly making her way throughout the entire living area ( remember, open floor plan, so a relatively large space) mopping the floor, sweeping up particles, and drying it!!! I asked her why she was doing this, and she said, "the floors were dirty."  Keep in mind this is not one of her chores and I've never sat down and taught her how to do it. As she went along, I had a few tweaks to make, careful not to destroy the moment or her spirit. And just like that, my floors were gleaming.

"Heaven, I'm in heaven.." - eva cassidy 

It struck me for the first time since we started our family 11 years ago; My time is actually multiplied with my children, not diminished. My kids, although completely their own persons, are extensions of me in some mystical way and I literally don't have to do everything MYSELF. I can hear the music...

So, when we feel afraid of what we think God may be suggesting to us, remember "seek ( Me; your true self; the truth of your life) and ye shall find," even  if it takes 11 years.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

the stuff of love

They say "family is the school of love." I've often wondered what that means, exactly, and have thought I could explain it in a few words when necessary. Having just had our 5th, with all of the beauty, blessings, demands, and struggles a large family brings with it, it makes me reflect anew on what I am seeing and understanding about our family and how, exactly, it is a school of love. 

Each time our family grows, it evolves, it changes, and I am given more glimpses into what love Is.
I no longer think I can put it into a trite statement, although the Gospel
puts it best, to no surprise- love is to give of ones life for a friend. But so much is packed into that word life, it
takes a lifetime to unpack.


I will share a moment of love I had the luck of witnessing this morning between my 1 and 6 year old. He ( 6 year old) was watching tv ( after 10 years we finally got one again) and she ( 1 year old) was tinkering next to him. She pulled his pj shirt down over his belly. He didn't notice/care. She pulled it back up and gave him raspberries. This, of course, caught his attention and they had a happy moment together with smiles and an exchange. It was but a few minutes when was over. It was simple. But it was perfection.

Love my one year old feeling so free to interact with another, even touching him, without giving it a thought, but knowing she could, because in some sense, he belongs to her, and with him, she in her entirety is safe. Love is my six year old not caring if his toddler sister stops by to engage him, even when he is preoccupied with something else. It is appreciating the gift that comes with a mutual affection. And all of this is the most natural thing in the world, that its not even given a thought.
 
Natural, too, is the fighting over the bag of chips that quickly followed. Because only with your sibling can you feel so free as to express your emotions, because underlying it all, again without consciousness of it, this person is with you on this journey, and it is taken as an expected truth ( and in time needs to be learned not to be taken for granted).


There is so much to the family being a school of love. Today I got to peek through a window in the schoolhouse... And my love for order and conclusion would love to categorize it and say I know what it is I am providing each day and moment, along with my husband and children, who, after all, have their own part to contribute. But love is not exact, nor ever complete. Because love is infinite, and I have a lifetime to discover more of and bask in its radiance.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

aging gracefully

Is it possible? I wonder when I am 60 if it will be easy to look 60. I am in my thirties and expecting my 5th. It shows.


Varicose Veins on back of Woman's Legs
(webmd.com)


I always thought I would be ok with aging. It doesn't make rational sense not to be, after all. But even with some of the negative consequences, the choices I've made have had many positive consequences that more firmly set me on the path I have chosen. My legs are still strong, but one is now tie-dyed purple. Some moms see me coming with my four kids and after polite conversation and ready to escape my chaotic existence. I can't keep up with fashion because I have to keep up with the bills. But none of this makes me sad.

In fact, I am very very happy. Maybe happy is not the word. Maybe content is the word. I am growing more into who I am, with my feet more firmly placed on the ground. I am making real, true friendships with women I admire and who see something in me as well. My kids make me look at how I can be a better person each day. And they make me laugh watching them enjoy each other in what a doctor admiringly called "the truly creative process."

So my house is a long way from where I'd like it to be, the messy chaos showing children at work/play; you'll often find us running/driving through the neighborhood looking for my dog that gleefully escapes through an slightly opened door; I'll never finish putting the laundry away. But I am living the life I have always dreamed. It looks different on the outside than I thought it would, but its what's on the inside that really matters.