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What’s Faith Got to do with It?

In today’s world fear and worry are always being brought to forefront. You just have to turn on the news and you hear about all that is wrong in the world. It is so easy to believe that we are doomed and forget that God is in control even when we think He isn’t paying attention. 

Even 25 years ago, before converting to Catholicism, I always had a sense of God’s presence but never really understood it. I still struggle at times to grasp the fact that He really does care and He is taking care of things even when it doesn’t look like He is. 

I am participating in the CWBN blog hop and the topic is “How my faith helps me worry less.” What a tough one! I would like to say I have mastered worrying less. But I can honestly say, I haven’t. I still worry. But I find that I worry more when I refuse to give control over to God. When I play tug a war. Ok, God here it is….wait I want it back. I can do it. Really, I can. No, God I want you to take it. And so it goes back and forth. Right now, at this very moment, I am struggling with handing over something financially to God and let Him take care of it. I know I haven’t handed it over, because I am still full of worry about how to get it taken care of. In fact, there are a couple of situations in my life at this time that are a battle on my part.

So, I think where I am at on my journey is that I do recognize that God does not want me to spend time worrying about things. He wants me to trust Him enough to let Him take care of whatever situation I have asked Him to. But, I struggle with letting things go completely and trusting. 

There are so many places in the bible that tell us not to worry. Here are a few:

“Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.” John 14:27

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

. “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.” Psalm 55:22

Anytime I go through a tough time, a time requiring me to trust God and my failing to trust completely, I can look back and see how He worked it for the good. 

In the big scheme of things I do think I worry less because of my faith. It’s always in the back of my mind in any situation that God knows what I need in order to grow and become more holy. Even if that means that something doesn’t work out the way I want it to. There is a reason to each and everything that happens. Even as recently as my job search and how badly I wanted the job I now have. I remember the night after my final interview and knowing there were two other candidates and praying that their interviews went well so that His will be done. And I meant it. Was I worried that I might not get the job. Oh yeah, I sure was. But I always knew that even if I was disappointed and didn’t get the job that it was up to God and it didn’t matter how well I did or didn’t do on the interview. I knew I had done my best but that God has a plan and I needed trust in that. Now, I have to fight the urge to ask God, “Are you sure I was the right person?” when I am feeling overwhelmed, or noticing my shortcomings and the battle heats up and I have to fight my way back to trusting in God and not worrying about the things that I really have no control over. 

Image result for picture of trusting Jesus

My faith helps me to remember that I am not in this alone. That the one who made me knows what is best for me. It helps me not give up when I think I am not going to make it. Holy week was a very busy week at work, being at a Catholic church and all. My assistant was on vacation. I am only a month into the job. I don’t know the parishioners well because I have only lived here since last July and I do not attend this parish. I was feeling alone and lost. It was Holy Thursday and no one had shown up to cover up everything for Good Friday. I couldn’t do it on my own. I didn’t even know where anything was. On my way to work on Friday in the car with tears in my eyes I said “God you put me here in this job, but I can’t believe you expect me to do this on my own. I need help! Please bring me the people who can help us to prepare for Good Friday.” I was at work not even an hour when I got a call from one of the parishioners asking if I had found the items he was looking for. But he then said, “I am going to take some time off work and come by see how I can help”. I got off the phone and said “Thank you, Lord” Once this gentleman showed up another parishioner showed up together we got things covered. on the way home from work I made sure to thank our Lord again for providing the help I needed. Looking at it today, I can see where God made me wait until I asked for His help. He is teaching me all the time. I need to learn to ask before I spend so much time worrying and trust that He will provide whatever help I need.

While I am still working on worrying less, I know that I am turning more to God on time of need. I may be delayed in remembering that He is only waiting for me to ask and he will provide what I need but I am learning.  My faith grows every day through the trials that I face. My hope is to continue to grow in that faith and to worry less. I pray that you trust God and spend no time worrying in your daily walk with our Lord. God Bless!

Catholic · Faith

The First Week of My 2017 Lenten Journey

time-flying

Whew! So the first week of Lent just flew right on by! Where does time go?

I want so much for this to be a time of building my relationship with our Lord. But this first week, my priorities might have been a little mixed up. I don’t think it was all a lost though, stick with me here. I was feeling stressed waiting to hear when I would start my new job! That’s right folks, I am back to work again.  I am so excited. I prayed so hard about this. It started during Advent when my husband and I were at Mass and learned that their would be an opening in the parish for an Office Manager. I wasn’t looking for work yet. The announcement tugged at my heart. And…..with some other things that were going on, well the timing was perfect. They wouldn’t be hiring until February and starting new hire in March. It seemed too perfect. Except, maybe not so perfect. There are some interesting things that made me question whether I would be the right person. But I knew that God knows the right person for the right time. So I put it to prayer and left it there. For nearly 3 months.

Two weeks before Ash Wednesday

I got an interview that was scheduled for the 16th of February for the Office Manager position.  It was the first interview, they were narrowing it down to 3 people from there. The interview went really well. I said an emergency novena that Saint Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta would say, )you can find more information on wonderful novena on this blog, here. ), prior to going in to the interview. Right there in the parking lot I prayed the novena. I felt so relaxed. I also invited the Holy Spirit to be with me and help me be authentic to who I am. As I left the parking lot after the interview I felt so relaxed, and smiled and made the sign of the cross. I knew I had company in that meeting. Then, I waited and waited.

The week before Lent….Specifically Thursday, Feb. 23rd

Finally, I got the call I made it to the second interview scheduled for the next week. Again, more prayer. I have never asked for so many people to pray for me. If someone talked to me I would say, please add me to your prayer list, or rather add the parish to your prayer list to be sure the right person got the job.  I wanted it, but I wanted it only if I was the right person for the job.  At around 8 p.m. that night after my 2nd interview I received a call that they wanted to offer me the job.  Good thing they weren’t watching, I was doing a happy dance. My mother in law just kinda stared at me like I had lost my marbles. I got off the phone and proceeded to let everyone that I could think of that had been praying for me know that I had gotten the job. Then I said, but you are not off the hook yet. Please continue to pray. The transition is not likely to be easy. I am so blessed to have so many people who will pray for me.

The Monday before Ash Wednesday

 I spent the whole  weekend worrying. After they called on Thursday to offer the job, I thought I would be hearing on Friday when to start. Saturday night, I bolted out of a dead sleep thinking “was I supposed to go in on Friday, oh Lord I have lost the job you entrusted me to, before I even started!” Yep, I have issues most of them rest in anxiety, rest is not exactly the right word. But you get the picture. So I was crabby Sunday and just full of worry. Then mad at myself for worrying so much. So Monday was spent moping. Not too proud of it, but it is true.

fat-tuesday

Finally got the call from Father asking if I could start tomorrow- Ash Wednesday. Sure! I will be there! Excited, scared, excited and scared some more!

Tuesday night….Husband reminds me tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. I think I may have stared at him a minute. I couldn’t believe how I had let so much time be given to focusing on a job and not about Lent. I really hate how time gets away from us. But I really get upset with myself when I forget my priorities  I tried to let it sink in that it was time to start focusing on our Lord.

ash-wednesday

I got up and got all ready for work. Then…Father calls me and says he overbooked himself could I start on Thursday. Feeling a little sad I said “yes, I could do that.”

But the Lord knows what he was doing. I spent time in prayer. I read scripture. I wrote in my journal. It was so good.

But I am so sad to say this, we could not make the timing work to get to Church to get our ashes. My husband commutes and I share a car with mother in law, who does not attend the same church. So for the first time in I don’t know how long, we didn’t get ashes.

The Thursday after Ash Wednesday

On Thursday I did a repeat routine of Ash Wednesday morning. Did scripture, prayer and wrote in journal. Then got ready for work.  Remembering Mass is offered at 9 a.m. and I work at 10 a.m.,  I headed to work, and what a blessing to go to Mass before work. God is good.

The Friday after Ash Wednesday

Friday, again a repeat routine of Thursday morning.

So while the week went quickly and almost got away from me, I am so happy to say that God found ways to ground me. Bring me back around. By Thursday I was doing scripture and going to Mass. I don’t think there is anything better than that. In fact, I know there isn’t.

So this week, rather then worry about how the week started off rough and I was not quite ready for Lent, God knows my heart and He made it possible for me to sneak some wonderfully needed time with him.  How has your first week been? I say week, but I really feel that preparing for Lent is so important.

bible

A scripture that has been stuck in my head and on my heart to ponder this week and continues to do so….Mathew 16:24 If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. Wow this verse has had me pondering, and writing.  My plan is to come and write about the things that have been put on my heart about this verse. I hope you will come back and visit, leave a comment and let us be brothers and sisters in Christ and get to know one another.

God bless!

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How We Pray, Fast and Give During Lent

I am joining Allison Gingrass and many other wonderful bloggers for the CWBN Blog Hop and the topic is How we pray, fast and give during lent.

This is great timing. I have been so busy I haven’t given the time and thought that should be put into the season that is springing upon us so quickly. Like….next week. Ahhhhhh! Oh wait a minute this is me we are talking about, I do my best work under pressure. So if you will join me, I would like to ask our Blessed Mother to be with me and encourage and show me what I need to do this lent in order to strengthen my relationship with her Son, Jesus…….

As I was saying a Hail Mary, in a timely manner as always, my beautiful cardinal showed up. He shows up throughout the day but there are just times that he shows up at the perfect time. Mama cardinal is here too, she seems to be waiting on him to tell her all is clear to go get some bird seed.

because my handsome cardinal won't stay put while I open the screen door to the porch I found another picture that looks just like him...
Because my handsome cardinal won’t stay put while I open the screen door to the porch I found another picture that looks just like him…

But I digress….

After some prayer and thought here is what I have come up with…..

How We Pray

Yesterday, I came across a post on facebook reminding me that the Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary will be starting on February, 20. Yep, that is today. This is truly how I work, last minute! But I do think this is a great way to add more prayer to this lent season. Marian consecration has been highly endorsed by many saints, including St. Pope John Paul II. My understanding of the 33 day prayer is to give Mary our permission to complete her job of helping us become more like Christ. I enjoy audio versions of many different things and have used the audio provided by Greg and Jennifer Willilts, which you can find here.

Fasting

Every year I struggle with coming up with the right thing to fast from. This year is no different. After a long hiatus from being anywhere near healthy I have been brought to The Daniel Plan and have given up sugar, gluten and dairy. I plan to continue doing so because I feel so much better. So it feels like giving up sugar is not a good idea. I have decided I will fast from comparing myself with others. I needed some ideas so I hopped onto google and came to a blog that I really enjoy and she had this listed as something to give up for lent and I thought that fits in perfectly with my recent walk with Jesus and the things He is teaching me. You can find more ideas from Meg Hunter-Kilmer here.

Giving

We have been going through a real tough financial situation about 3 years now. Moving to Florida added to that. Due to those struggles we have not been as faithful in tithing as we should be. I am going to step up our game and be sure we are tithing the 10% and trust that God will be sure that all of our needs are met. I am in constant struggle to trust our Lord with everything in my life and I long to hand it all over to Him because it is all His to begin with. I am just a steward that he has trusted with those things in my life, home, car, money, children etc.  God always has the best timing ever. My husband and I just began a course titled “Navigating Your Finances God’s Way” at our church.  It’s been well worth it so far and we are only in week 2. But  the course has been such a reminder that scripture tells us exactly what we need to do to be free of anxiety, worries and fear.  The timing reminds me that God is working through us at all times.

I pray that you have a wonderful grace- filled Lenten season. What are some things you are doing for lent to grow your relationship with our Lord? I hope you will share them with me.

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Advent and How I plan to walk with our Blessed Mother to get closer to Jesus.

I don’t know about you but I have thought many times how wonderful it must have been for Mary to bring baby Jesus into the world and to know Him. To get to hold Him and love on Him. As mothers we understand the sweet joy when we have our newborns in our arms. We gaze at them in absolute wonder, amazed at this little baby we brought into the world. Our hearts explode with love for the bundle of joy we hold. The first time I really was able to see Mary as more than this perfect woman whom God had chosen to carry His son was watching the movie The Passion. Watching that movie was the first time I understood how much I could learn about Jesus through Mary. The scene where Jesus is carrying the cross and falls and Mary has a memory of Jesus falling down as a young boy broke my heart. I remember thinking of my son and how many times I have helped him back up when he had fallen. Cleaned up his wounds. It was the first time I was fully aware of the fact that Mary was Jesus mother. She loved Him and wanted to protect  Him. I am reminded how much I can help someone to understand my son because of our walk together through life. So why wouldn’t Mary be the perfect way for us to learn about her Son.

With this in my heart I desire to slow down and enjoy the waiting. Learn from the Blessed Mother. Here are some ways I plan to do that.

Advent- Slowing Down and Making it Holy

Advent Season seems to always come and go so quickly. The hustle and bustle of everyone shopping, getting houses decorated, visiting family, baking, church events and the list goes on. For years I have always been frustrated that the season came and went and I didn’t get the chance to slow down and walk with Our Blessed Mother and wait for our Lord.  This year promises to be no different. With all the changes in our lives  I am finding myself making plans to go see family and trying to get things done before I leave.  For the first time in our seventeen years of marriage I will not be with my husband for Christmas. But this has helped me to really think about slowing down and savoring the time. Letting the Advent Season be a complete different season from Christmas. I plan to take it one day at a time. But I have my fighting gloves on and am going to fight to make this year different. I am going to soak it all in. I am going to make this journey with Our Blessed Mother. There are so many ways we can do this.

I have been trying to come up with ideas to make the Season more meaningful and have come up with a couple ideas….

Adoration

My husband, Don and I started it yesterday, the first Sunday in Advent by going to adoration. What a blessing! A perfect way to start the Season was to spend it with our Lord. We sat there with several other parishioners who felt the same pull to spend time with Jesus. As a group we recited the Rosary, alternating between English and Spanish, it was so peaceful, I didn’t really want it to end.  Earlier in the day, Don had gone digging through the Christmas decorations in search of my mother in laws Advent wreath.  We were worried that it would be hard to find due to combining households but Don found it and we were sure to put it on the table right away.  After such a wonderful and peaceful time, I made a decision to go to Adoration at least once a week as long as it is available to me.

Advent candle and scripture with dinner

The second thing we added to our routine was lighting the Advent candle at dinner time. Then I found a list of scripture to read each night together as a way of walking our way with our Blessed Mother as she waits for her precious Son. Tonight, Don read John 1:1-5.  It really made dinner feel special as we said our prayers and Don read the scripture.

Advent Wreath 2016
Advent Wreath 2016

Pray More Novenas-The Pray More Advent Retreat

And then…….I came across a special retreat. One that is done online. It is online, but offers speakers and reflections all through Advent!! I felt like I found just what I needed. A retreat at home. One that doesn’t require that I travel. But that I can go through the information at my own pace. Today was day one and I just love it! The title of the first presentation is called Six Ways to Keep Your Advent Season Holy Part I by Elizabeth Ficocelli. I was so excited to listen to it. It is just a short presentation but just chuck full of good information. Plus it comes with reflective questions, which I am going to use to journal with.  If you are looking for a way to add to your advent season go to PrayMoreRetreat.com and see about signing up for this retreat.

Saint Andrew Novena-A Christmas Novena

I will also be praying the Saint Andrew Novena starting on November 30 until Christmas Day. I love this prayer! I find it to be a daily reminder that we are waiting on our Savior to be born. The Saint Andrew Christmas Novena is often called simply the “Christmas Novena” or the “Christmas Anticipation Prayer,” because it is prayed 15 times every day from the Feast of Saint Andrew the Apostle (November 30) until Christmas. It is an ideal Advent devotion; the First Sunday of Advent is the Sunday closest to the Feast of Saint Andrew. The following is the short prayer to recite 15 times a day.

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.

The Rosary

In my quest to walk this journey with Mary, I believe that the Rosary is one of the best ways to do that. I love the scripture rosary in which for every Hail Mary you hear a scripture reading.  It takes a little bit longer, but I love how I can stay focused on the scriptures through the Rosary and not be just quickly reciting the Hail Mary’s.  I have found Rosary Army’s YouTube video to be a great way to recite the Rosary, watching the video you have the pleasure of listening to Greg and Jennifer Willits recite the prayer with the scripture. The video I watched today can be found at Scriptural Rosary Glorious.

So, there you have it. The ways I am hoping to walk through this Advent Season and be closer to Jesus. My attempt to close out all the noisy consumerism and grow in my faith.  I hope you will leave a comment below and share how you plan to enjoy Advent.

Catholic · Christian · conversion · Faith · Uncategorized

Conversion Story-God is Good

I have been Catholic for 25 years now. How my life has changed in those 25 years, God is good! I was baptized 25 years ago with my daughter, Ashlee and remember very little about it. Looking back I realize that my mom was going through her conversion and just started bringing me along. I went along pretty much because she was my mom. I had no real understanding of what being Catholic would mean. I took RCIA, but honestly I was so wrapped up in this newborn baby I don’t think I paid attention at all.  I only knew it was very important to my mom and wanted to please her so I went.

Our family although believed in God, never practiced anything or prayed. I remember being drawn to baby Jesus but not really knowing why. Christmas became a time to write out what we wanted for Christmas and mark the days off until Santa would come. I can’t remember talking about Jesus’ role in it. Not to say it was never talked about, I just don’t remember it.

As a young adult I remember when things didn’t go the way I thought they should, I would have a one person shouting match with God saying “what, you don’t love me?  Fine! Why should I even try ?” I wouldn’t be able to count how many conversations I had with God that went exactly like that. I felt all the bad things must mean that God didn’t love me. After being baptized these moments increased as God was trying to pull me nearer. I had no idea that this is what He was doing. I didn’t know He loved me so much and was trying to get my attention.

Over the next few years our family went through troubled times. An ugly divorce that was hurting the kids pushed me inside the Catholic Church doors in Evanston, Wyoming. I had no idea how all of this worked, I just went in sat in pew, and before I knew it I was kneeling and begging God to help my kids. They were being hurt by all the things around them, things I couldn’t control. I prayed that if it were His will a situation would have a certain outcome. I worried that if I relied on my own ideas of how this should end, I would always wonder if I did the right thing. So I gave it to Him and said please do what is right by the kids. To protect my kids I won’t tell that part of the story, but I will say the answer was given to me in a very clear way and the problem was resolved better than I could have ever imagined. It wasn’t until years later I could see how that prayer was answered and am so thankful. Unknowing to me, God was becoming a big part of our lives.

The next couple of years I would find myself at Church very lost but curious. Don, the kids and I  would sit in the very back at Christmas time. I still felt so awkward with all the sitting, kneeling, and shaking hands. Then in 2003, our family, Don, myself, Ashlee and Sean moved to Florida because of a job situation. I had never been this far from my family in Wyoming. A month into the move we got news that would change how we saw the world forever.

in February 2003, I was on the phone with my mom, just visiting. I had talked to my sister the day before and knew that her little boy, Brayden was sick with the flu but didn’t know how bad he was doing and mom told me he had been admitted into the hospital.  We were talking and she said hold on I am getting a call on the house phone. It was quiet when she picked up the phone and said “I have to go, Brayden crashed!” I had no idea what was going on, she hung up and my heart was in my throat. At first I thought what did they let him fall off of the bed? On the other side of the United States I had to sit and wait to hear back to find out what happened. I can’t honestly remember how long it was until I heard back. But my mom called and said “its really bad.” Feeling stupid I said “what do you mean he crashed?” She said “He was in Janica’s arms and stopped breathing, and it took them 20 minutes to get him back and he is now on life support, they have life-flighted him to Salt Lake City to Primary’s Children Hospital” It took a long time to let that sink in. Instantly I had pictures of my sister in my head, pictures of us as young girls who took care of each other when things were rocky at home and wondering how she would manage to get through this. We have always been very close and my heart just broke. Mom said that she was driving Janica to the hospital and that was a 2 hour drive. I said ok, let me know as soon as you know anything. It wasn’t much longer after that, Janica called me on her cell phone from the road. She cried so hard it was difficult to understand what she was saying. She calmed down just for a few and said, “Toni, he looks better already, now they got the IV in his color is back. He is going to get better, right?” I am not even sure if I answered her. I remember being so scared of the outcome. She said she would call me after she got to the hospital.

After getting off of the phone, I went out to our screened in porch and screamed. I mean screamed and I didn’t care who heard, I yelled at God “How can you do this to her, she can’t handle this!!” I don’t know how long I was out there before Don came out to get me and he had run a bath for me knowing that this would help me to calm down.

That evening Janica called me to let me know what the doctors were saying. It wasn’t good. They recommended taking him off of life support. She was crying and said “I am so confused, I want to keep him here so I can hold him and look at him, but I know that is so selfish, he is such a strong, playful boy I can’t stand the idea of him just laying there. She said I am going to pray and ask God to take him if he can’t heal him and remove the life support” The next day they removed life support and Janica, my niece and nephew said good bye to this precious little 23 month old boy went home to Jesus.

When mom and I were talking about the funeral, I told her I just didn’t have the funds to fly back with the recent move. But God sends angels our way in our time of need and my best friend from high school offered to pay for my ticket to fly out. My husband made all of the arrangements and I really don’t know how I got from point A to point B. I remember being so scared of seeing my sister, what would I say? Could I keep it together and be strong for her?

When I got there there were many things going on, lots of people stopping by. During all of this time we had to go through the preparations of the funeral. I remember Friday night we had confession and then a rosary afterwards. At this time I still wasn’t a practicing Catholic. But because everyone else was I thought I better go into confessional. I remember Father Murray rattling off something and I just stared at him and said “I have never done this before I have no idea what to do” He asked if I had been baptized and I said “Yes” so he asked if there was anything I wanted to talk about. I looked at him having no idea what to say, then I said “I don’t want to be angry” He nodded that he understood. He then put his hands over my head and at this time I had no idea he was praying over me. But what I will never forget was the sense of peace that flooded me and the feeling that I will never be able to describe that went through me from head to toes. When I left and we went back to my mom and dad’s place after the rosary, the mood seemed to have lightened. There was a little bit of laughter and teasing. Years later as a practicing Catholic I understand that Our Blessed Mother covered us in her love and she and her Son eased the pain, even if only for a little while. When I returned to Florida, I had a strong desire to attend Mass. My husband being protestant, didn’t protest at all. He just went with us, the kids didn’t seem to think anything of it and it became a part of our lives. There are so many other things that have happened over the years that I have to be thankful for but this post is long enough and I would be writing a novel if I had any talent for writing.

If God brings us to it, He will bring us through it……….This is true each time and every time I have to remind myself that all those years of telling myself God didn’t love me was a lie. He loves each and every one of us. We just need to turn to Him in our time of pain. Ask Him to help us through it. It doesn’t matter how you do it. All I said was “I don’t want to be angry” and he transformed my life. 

I hope you will share your conversion story with me. I would love to hear it, please leave a link in the comments below.

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Brayden Lee Reed

 

 

 

 

Faith · grief · life change · Uncategorized

A delayed flight, many tears and a message from God.

It was Sunday, May 15th and it had been a long day. A delayed flight and now a 2.5 hour drive before we were to reach our destination. Reaching Florida we knew that the moment that we were both dreading was upon us. My husband, Don and I finally landed at the airport hours later then scheduled. We were both tired and unsure of what to expect in the next several days. Bob, a childhood friend of Don’s, and his wife Kathy arfaro-airport-plane-landingrived at the airport to pick us up. They got out of their truck and gave us hugs welcoming us to Florida stating with their eyes and smiles,  they knew we had a long day and were empathetic. They also understood the grief that brought us on such short notice. Don’s father, Jim, who was 81 years old had passed just Friday, May 13th after a long battle with non alcoholic liver disease.

Getting into the truck, Kathy and I in the back and Bob and Don in the front. Don and I were so grateful for Bob’s natural ability to find things to talk about and keep our minds occupied for a little while longer. Bob and Kathy suggested that we stop to get dinner and have some time to decompress. There were mixed feelings that flooded both of us as we worried about Don’s mom, Ruth being at the house waiting for us but also thankful for a little more time to prepare for the whirlwind of emotions that were about to take place.

After a nice dinner we were on the road again. Thankful once again for the easy chatter between the four of us to keep us from thinking about seeing Ruth. It was so dark out and the place was so foreign to me I had no real idea where we were at, especially once we got off of the interstate and onto a highway. It was so dark but if I looked closely I could see lines of trees along the highway. But as we came to the little town which was only about 10 miles from Don’s parents house with the light from the street and a couple of stores I could recognize where we were. I immediately sensed Don’s anxiety. I was having a hard time concentrating on what Kathy was saying to me because I was so concerned about how Don must be feeling. We got news of his father’s passing over the phone just two days before while we were eating at Don’s favorite restaurant. I reached from the back seat to rub his shoulder and he immediately grasped my hand and held it tight. My heart was breaking thinking about the moment when he saw his mother, and that was when it was going to become real that the man who raised him had passed away. I could see Don tense up more and more as we got closer to our destination. Leaving the small town it was dark again, but Don knows this area really well, he knows he is so close to arriving at his mom and dad’s house where everything was different now. Bob must have been able to sense it as well, as the chatter had quieted down. We finally turned off onto the road that lead to his parents house and pulling up to the house Don nearly jumped out of the truck but then remembering his manners went to help Bob get our suitcase from the back of the truck. Ruth seeing us pull up met us at the back door. She hugged me first. She hugged me so tight and I let her cry for a minute, not saying anything until I finally said, “here let me give you your son” and Don went right into her arms. He reminded me of a young boy there hugging his mom. Bob, Kathy and I stood somewhat awkwardly trying to give them some time and knowing that this was a private moment between the two of them. A few minutes later we were inside the house. Bob and Kathy came in for a few minutes giving their condolences. They didn’t stay too long, they had a long drive back. We thanked them and gave hugs and wished them a safe ride home. The mother in me asked that they texted us to let us they made it safely and they assured us they would.

Once Bob and Kathy left we were in the kitchen and mom motioned for us to sit at the breakfast table and Don looked at the chair that Jim sat in and burst into tears he shook his head and said he couldn’t sit there, so I sat down there and Don grabbed a chair from the dining table to sit at the table with us. We were so tired but there was no way we could go to bed yet. Mom and Don needed to talk. Mom told us the events of the past week. Tears were shed, there were more hugs. Then came the defining moment that I will remember for a long time. Don got up and was hugging his mom as we were getting ready to go to bed. Because of my profound deafness I usually cannot hear what people are saying in a moment like that, with one person’s back towards me and the other person’s face buried into the neck of the person whose back is towards me. But in a quick second I heard the words spoken from a woman who I have known to be a strong, independent woman, who never wants to be a burden to her children, I heard as clearly as if she had said it in my ear and not Don’s. I heard her say “I need you.” I knew in that moment our lives would never be the same. I also knew that a moment like this was between God and I. He used moments like this to make it known that He was saying something and needed me to listen. I sat quietly watching a mother and son comfort each other and let the message God had given me start to sink in. Emotionally and physically exhausted we all went to bed to try to get some rest before awaking to a new day greeting us, another day to come to terms with our new lives.

balance · Catholic · Exercize · Uncategorized

Workout Wednesday

 

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?  For you have been purchased at a price.  Therefore glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

Part of this learning thing I have going on is accepting that everything I have is God’s first. It is not mine. I need to treat everything I have as though it belongs to God. My first lesson in that was learning that my children were not mine. God lent them to me and trusted me to take care of them. When I figured that one out it changed the way I looked at parenting in a very positive direction. At times, I felt overwhelmed with knowing the responsibility that came along with it, but also came to realization of the fact that these beautiful children that were entrusted to my care were God’s children first and He loves them.

Now, I am learning how I belong to God. I have a responsibility to take care of myself. So with that in mind at the end of November last year I started exercising again for the first time in six months. (I tried to start 6 months prior but an injury put it on hold). One thing I knew was I had to modify the way I looked at the time I spent exercising. In the past I would workout for an hour in the morning then an hour or so in the evenings. That is alot of time for working out and not a lot for much else. So in November for 7 weeks I worked out 5 times a week for at least 20 minutes. Then when I went to the doctor and learned that I had only lost 2 lbs I was devastated. For me it has always been a battle with that scale. I have read all of the don’t let the number determine your success. But I can’t help it. So with that news of just a 2 lbs loss, I gave up. I said nope, not going to do it. Then God has been speaking to me. Reminding me that I need to take care of myself. I need to do everything in moderation and that means exercising. So this week I am back on the exercise wagon. I am aiming for moderation and balance. So 20 minutes a day at least 5 times a week. That seems pretty doable to me.

What do you do to help with exercising in moderation?

 

Catholic · Uncategorized

Tasty Tuesday……

I firmly believe we are put in each others lives to learn from one another. I try to look at each person I encounter as a gift from God. It’s not always easy. But lately I have been so thankful for the people who have crossed my path or who are remaining  with me for the time being. We don’t always know why people are put into our lives, but one particular individual I have come to know recently has been such a blessing and inspiration. She has shown me how to love people with her gift of baking. She is such a giving person, I can see where she gives in all areas of her life, as a wife, mother, daughter and friend. As she generously gives of her time and love she has inspired me to be more aware of how I use my time and things in my life. I have a feeling my husband thinks she is the best gift ever! He is reaping the fruits of her inspiration with all the baked treats I have been making.

Well it is Tasty Tuesday but I was slaving away on Saturday. Here are some pictures of some of the goodies I made.

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White sandwich bread, Pineapple Chicken Salad Wraps, Skinny Pepperoni Pitas, Meat, Olive and Cheese dish. All of these things were made for our lunches for the week. The recipes were found on Pinterest. When I have more time I will come back to post links to the recipes.

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I also baked a blueberry crescent roll breakfast dish. Yummy!! Rice Krispy Squares, Pumpkin Whoopi Cookes, Chocolate Chip Cookies were also on the list. I did not get around to taking pictures of those.

What do you love to bake? Please share in the comments, I would enjoy hearing the different things people are making.

Have a fantastic Tuesday!

balance · Catholic

Balance. What does that mean?

I find as I get older it gets harder to find a balance. Maybe its not really harder to find the balance, but maybe my expectations are different. I know the order of importance has changed for me.

It used to be:

  1. Health
  2. Financial
  3. Family
  4. Spirituality

Now it is:

  1. Spirituality
  2. Family
  3. Health
  4. Financial.

Spirituality: After really thinking about it the order is important but not as important as getting the balance right. The one thing I know that has to come first is God, no matter what, He needs to be in the drivers seat of my life. No matter what. Balanced or not. This is so much harder than we might at first think. It’s so easy to go through life thinking we know whats best for us. Forgetting that the author of life really does know what He is doing. Making decisions without first asking God’s will can be a painful experience. But no matter how many times I find myself making decisions without knowing for sure it is God’s will, He is always lovingly waiting for me to come to Him to find answers. So what does the category of spirituality mean for me. Well it means taking time out every day to talk with God. To feel His presence in my life. I have heard it said, give Him the best part of your day everyday.

Family: With God being the most important part of my balance. His gift of my family comes next. I want to love the family he has given me unconditionally. First, my husband. God has given me such a wonderful gift in my husband. My hubby shows me daily God’s love for us. He works very hard at giving our family everything we need. He shows me daily how seriously he takes being my husband. Then my children have been loaned to us and I hope to help them be who God created them to be. It is a scary responsibility that God has given us. I see everyday how wonderful these two young adults are and hope that I am doing all that God has asked me to in taking care of them. Family, part of this balance is loving my family and helping them strive to gt to Heaven. 

Health. Corinthians 6:19 “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy spirit within you whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore glorify God in your Body. How many times have I heard this at Mass, or read it in the bible? We are a temple of the Holy Spirit. Health is a very important part of this balance that I am searching for. If I am healthy I can focus on all other areas of my life.

Financial: To be perfectly honest this one is the hardest for me. If I start thinking about being financially sound, I start feeling guilty for wanting more. I have just recently been taking the Church’s teachings on tithing seriously. 10% no matter what. It feels great! Over the past couple of months one of the things I have learned in my prayer time and walking through this tough time, is no matter what, it is God’s first. Everything we get is a gift from God. Everything. I am not sure that I have ever really understood that until recently. But as I continue to tithe I continue to understand more about tithing. Not just money, but also talent and time. So financially, I am still in prayer mode. I want to be financially responsible. I want to use any financial gifts from God for His glory. I am asking God to teach me and trust my husband and I with our finances. Teach me to learn to serve you God only.  Matthew 6:24 No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

I hope you will join me in my journey to sainthood. That journey includes finding a healthy balance. A balance that we can only get from God. I don’t know exactly what this balance will look like. And I know that it will be different for everyone. For me, I desire for God to show me what that balance is and to obtain it.

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Update: February 14,2016

Well it’s been another six months since I posted anything. I am always thinking about posting, when to post, what to post, but more importantly why am I posting? I think the biggest question I needed to answer was “why am I posting?”. I read blogs everyday, many,many amazing blogs. I absolutely love learning from them. But it always brings me back to the question why do I feel so drawn to blogs?

I have come to know that I need a place to put all these things I am learning and questioning everyday. At the end of each day I feel overwhelmed with everything and everyone God has put in my path. I don’t mean this in a negative way at all. I just feel so hungry for so many things in life right now. I feel God’s hand in everything.  Things that seem to all fall in that balance I talked about six months ago in the above post. I am very aware of all the wonderful people God has been putting in my life every day. And I value each and every one of them. There are moments of love, joy, peace, frustration, busyness, laughter and tears. And at the end of the day I want to be grateful for every one of those moments.

In processing all of this I started putting things from my head onto paper. Here is what I have come up with…..

Mindful Monday: Because there is always many things that I am not sure which category it fits in, Mindful Monday will allow me to write about this and that.

Tasty Tuesday: Sharing successes and failures with recipes and food choices.

Workout Wednesday: Talking about how we can take care of our physical.

Theology Thursday: Putting everything into perspective the best I can in God’s eyes.

Family and Finances Friday: Sharing things I am learning about finances and the importance of family, not just our immediate family but those who God has put into our lives.

I am so excited to discover who God brings along to share this journey with me. I hope you will share your stories and we can get to know each other.

Have a blessed day!!

~Toni