Friday, December 21, 2018

Be strong! Be courageous! For the Lord your on your side!

Early this morning I'm outside, sipping coffee, and praying. It's chilly, the skies are grey and so is my mood, Today I'll attend the funeral Mass for a friend's husband who lost his battle with cancer.
I feel sad. I feel lonely...but God won't leave me there...
My phone dings.
A text pops up.
It's welcoming words from a dear friend. A holy friend. A just-what-I -needed friend! 
My heart jumps. A smile spreads across my face as I realize it's another 
gentle reminder: We may feel alone, but we are never alone.

Be strong and courageous! Do not be frightened, do not be dismayed. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.  Joshua 1:9.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Making the Most of Now...

Just before Thanksgiving, I completed the latest rounds of ongoing cancer treatments.There were some rough days, but soon afterwards, things got better again. 

The best way to describe my health is to say it feels like an unpredictable wild animal lives inside me. On the worst of days, it's attacking; debilitating. On better days, it's simply crouched nearby, growling. At's lying in the corner....quietly making its presence's's always there...ready to pounce...

I've learned to listen to its cues. I've learned to modify my life. I've learned what's important and what's not.

And I've got a dream. As crazy as it sounds, my book, My Emmaus Walk; True Stories of Faith, Hope and Inspiration, is calling me back into life. 

Recently, (with exceptions) I've been able to make a simple plan and that simple plan has been to speak to groups about the book's message...the glorious reality of the presence and the love of God in our everyday lives...because He's here, you know. .the good Lord is with and now. ..always and everywhere...

Isn't that something worth shouting about? 

It's my passion. It's my life. It's my reason for being.

So, dear Larann Wilson, Steward for Children and Family Ministries at St. Mary Magdalen parish - a heartfelt "thank you" for the opportunity to speak to parents of the religious education classes earlier this month! What amazing work you're doing! What an engaging group they are! What a joy it was!

And to Oakmonte Village Assisted Living Facility in Lake Mary, for allowing me the privilege of reading excerpts from my book to a group of residents who gathered for the stories...thank you! thank you! How wonderful was that?!

And to the woman who bought a book for her daughter who was having a 'hard time' and she thought the book would encourage her. Aren't you thoughtful? 

And to the nurses in the infusion lab at the Cancer Institute who wanted copies of my book...what a blessing! Thank you! You are instruments in the hands of God in more ways than one. I pray the words in those pages bless all who read it.

I'm thankful for so much...for this stage of life, and for all it took to get me here. I'm thankful for my dear husband, Joe, and his unshakable support. I'm thankful for my daughters and my sons-in-law. I'm thankful for my grandchildren. I'm thankful for the blessing of my extended family. I'm thankful for my faith. I'm thankful for my friends. I'm thankful for my coworkers (yes, I still consider you that!) I'm thankful for the good times and even the struggles. 

And today, as I inch forward, I'm thankful for the dreams planted deep within. So, Josie, I look forward to speaking to your group next week. 

May God bless us all, as we fix our gaze on him.

And the God of all grace...after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast.   1 Peter 5:10

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

More cancer treatments and an unexpected remedy (not the crackers)

Sandra, my cleaning lady, is richer than me. 

And I don't mean monetarily.

As these latest rounds of cancer treatments take their toll, I am debilitated once again. Except this time, I'm frustrated. I expected to be feeling better than this.

Sandra could see it in my countenance. Her advice? 

"Read your bible," Sandra said. She leaned on her mop.

"Your spirit will lead the body...

Body, mind, spirit...Live in the spirit."

So, frustrated with my aching body, I took her advice. Lying on the sofa, I randomly flipped open my Bible...My gaze fell onto a page, and I began reading:
  • For we know that when this tent we live in now is taken down, when we die and leave these bodies,  we will have wonderful new bodies in heaven, homes that will be ours forevermore..(In my suffering, this was actually a freeing thought!)
  • How weary we grow of our present bodies. (Yep, I felt weary!) That is why we look eagerly to the day when we shall have heavenly bodies which we shall put on like new clothes. ..(Please, can I do that now?)
  • These earthly bodies make us groan and sigh (no kidding - was the Gospel writer living in my home? Could he hear?) but we wouldn't want to think of dying and having no bodies at all.  
  • We want to slip into our new bodies so that these dying bodies will, as it were, be swallowed up by everlasting life. (In my agony, this actually was a hopeful thought!) 
  • This is what God has prepared for us, and, as a guarantee, he has given us his Holy Spirit.  (Is that what made me open my bible to this particular passage?)  (Cor 5:1-5)

Sandra was right. Reading my bible sent my spirit soaring above my aching body. 

Frustration departs. Hope prevails.

The picture above is my view in the infusion lab. Cheez Its are my favorite snack to ward off nausea. And there's always a little light reading.

This song is my gift to you today.  Click here for I Will Follow by Chris Tomlin. It says it all.

Monday, October 1, 2018

New life! A cause for celebration!

Have you ever witnessed a birth before? I mean, besides your own. Have you ever been present to the gift of new life coming into this world?

I haven't...until last week. That's when our newest granddaughter was born.

Here's a picture of her being weighed for the very first time...about an hour or so after birth...about an hour or so after I watched her little head begin to emerge. I was freakishly calm, yet utterly convinced this looked impossible...I mean, really, how does that happen?

And yet, within moments, as you see, the impossible became possible...

Words can't describe our joy.  We stand in awe. She's beautiful, born into the loving arms of her holy family.

And, along with that blessed newborn, a divine message was delivered. It's one we can hold in our hearts forever. She's living proof...and so are you.

With God, all things are possible.  Mark 10:27

Thursday, August 30, 2018

More bad news...what do we do?

“I am disgusted with the Catholic church,” I said.  I laid the news down as I finished reading yet another report of sexual abuse by priests.

Strong words for someone who loves Catholicism...someone who embraces Christ present in the Eucharist...our universal church...our apostolic succession.

But now...again...more ugly reports? What’s going on?

I shuddered. Maybe the critics are right. Maybe I should leave the church. How can I remain with an organization where some of its leaders did such horrific things?

I’m tormented. Confused. Angry. I want to run...away.

But where would I go?

There are so many things I love about the Catholic faith. I love the Mass and the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. I love that Catholicism is universal...worldwide. I love that it’s an apostolic church, with roots in Jesus.

I love praying the mysteries of the rosary, the stations of the cross, and the liturgy of the hours. These devotions are empowering. They draw me close to Christ.

Could I really leave all that?

My shoulders slumped.

“Do you want to pray the rosary?” my husband asked.

“Yes,” I said. I reached for my beads.

We prayed for the Catholic church. We prayed for the abusers, the abused, the enablers. We also prayed for the good and holy priests and bishops. We prayed for all lay people, for we are the church.

Afterwards, I turned my thoughts to God himself. What should I do? Where is this going? 

What do you want from me?

Answers came.

Suddenly I thought we are not much different than the early church.

One of the leaders of the early church, indeed, one of the 12 disciples chosen by Jesus, did something horrific. He handed Jesus over to be crucified.  He intentionally had Jesus killed in a vulgar and ugly manner. The innocent lamb was slain.

And please, let’s remember that the 11 remaining apostles weren’t perfect either. Peter, James and John fell asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane. Peter denied Christ three times, and while John and Mary were at the foot of the cross, nobody else was. 

Judas hanged himself. Jesus was crucified.

The remaining apostles must have wondered: Now what?

They must have felt like I do today. Disgusted. Defeated. Deceived. 

I’m out of here.

Ready to give up. Wanting to leave.

But listen:  Here’s what they did.

They huddled together in the Upper Room, fearful, behind locked doors. They prayed...and their prayer had powerful effects.

Jesus appeared to them. And again, urging doubting Thomas to believe.  Later, the holy spirit appeared to them, filling them with courage to go forth and preach the good news.

What looked like the end of the church was really just a beginning.

I’m glad the remaining disciples, angry, confused and discouraged as they must have been, didn’t walk away.  

I’m thankful for the Catholic church and what it means to me.  

Let’s not leave. Let’s right the wrongs. Let’s stand strong.  Let’s pray.

Others are counting on us.

Lord, have mercy. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Are You Looking for A Good Read? True Stories That'll Leave You Inspired?

Five reasons to purchase My Emmaus Walk, True Stories of Faith, Hope and Inspiration:

1. It'll remind you how much God loves you
2. It'll inspire you
3. It'll make you smile
4. You'll make my day!
5. You'll make someone else's day when you gift it to them

Okay, that was hard to do. 

Really, I'd much rather write than promote. 

But, now that the book is done, the publisher flipped the promotion switch into high gear. My head is spinning. Whaaat??? I have to do whaaat?  Promote the book?  Time stands still for no one, and the wheels are turning so fast, that if I stand still, I'd fall down!

So here I am...shamelessly promoting!

And it's okay...

Because I believe this book was written for you...I believe God has something to tell you in these pages... and, for whatever reason, I believe this is His timing...

My Emmaus Walk is now available for purchase at AuthorHouse, Amazon, and bookstores in paperback, Kindle and most e-readers. Please tell your friends and family! Think birthdays! Think Christmas!

But, additionally, let's create a little more fanfare!  Let's make it a little more fun! 

My thinking cap is on...stay tuned! 

If you have any fun ideas, please email me at  Oh, how I appreciate you!

Friday, August 17, 2018

Drum Roll...Please Stay Tuned...

I always knew I'd write a book...I never knew it would be now...but God had a plan!

Stay tuned!   The grand launch is coming soon!  Amazon...Kindle...

You matter...and I'm so excited to share this with you!   

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord..  Jeremiah 29:11