Showing posts from May, 2017

Where's The Peace?

Since cancer treatment resumed, I've been struggling. One day last week, I felt particularly discouraged. After all, I need the ongoing treatments, but the side effects are debilitating me.
One Saturday afternoon, feeling discouraged, I didn't know where to go or what to do. I just needed to get out. So I raced to church where I sat, all alone, in the empty sanctuary, sobbing.

There were no lightning strikes or booming voices from heaven that day, but God did have a message waiting for me.

Days later, I returned for a weekday Mass. My attitude was no better. I was still angry, discouraged and frustrated. I want good health so I can go on and live my life. It's not happening. The thought of returning for additional treatments the next day was daunting.

I don't want this, I kept thinking. Ugh. I just don't want this.

Additionally, some of the symptoms I'm having caused my medical team to request an MRI of the brain. So, during the Mass, my negativity spiraled do…

Would You Follow this Leader?

Once you glimpse the glory of God shining all around, you can't help but be attracted to this God. At least, that's what happened to me. 

Luckily, I was standing on fertile ground.

At the time, our oldest daughter was enrolled in first grade at St. Mary Magdalen Catholic School, so my associates were faith-filled moms I met daily in the carpool pickup line. Their conversations and faith helped build mine.

It's no mistake that papers and projects from my daughter's religion class made it into my hands, helping me to grow in matters of faith.

And it was no accident that my daughter was thrilled to see me attend the weekly Masses, where I began listening to kid-sized sermons that fit my appetite.

All along, God had his hand on me.

I became part of the tight-knit faith community. When the school raised funds for a mom who was critically ill and needed a special van, I contributed an amount bigger than any donation I'd ever made before. 

Change was taking place.

One day I st…

Thursday's Thoughts

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11

Think He's Got Your World in His Hands?

I'm struggling through another round of debilitating cancer treatments. It's discouraging. Sunday I felt too poorly to go to church, and really, I could have used the inspiration.

So on Monday I was determined to get to Mass. Mass is my tranquilizer. God speaks to us there, guides, directs and comforts us.

I trudged my way into the church as the priest approached the altar.  Immediately his opening statements hit home, making me glad I was there.

"It is the Feast of St. Rita," Fr. Frank said. "She is the Patron Saint of Incurable Diseases and Impossible Situations.

What? Really? 

I'd never thought of it this way, but I do have an incurable disease. After all, the cancer I have, while treatable, is incurable.

And I have an impossible situation. The problem I mentioned in a recent post, the distant relative who betrayed me, is an impossible situation. Although he wants an apology from me, he refuses to accept an apology from me.

I relaxed my shoulders. Just k…

Gotta Get You Into My Life

As I continued my search for God, my prayer changed.

Instead of praying for specific outcomes, I became more interested in knowing what God expected of me. I wanted to know Him. I wanted to know His will for me.

I questioned every decision I made, especially my decision to continue business pursuits. Doubts plagued me. At the time, I was primarily a stay-at-home mom. I didn't need the money. Did God really want me working? Were my priorities wrong? Was I greedy?  I wanted the job, but more importantly, I had to know: Is this what God wanted me to do?

I struggled with those questions for what seemed an eternity.

Then one day, out of the blue, I got my answer. It was simple, yet direct. It left no room for doubt.

I was driving home from working at a downtown office when, approaching the highway ramp, I was awestruck by the beauty of the cloudless, blue sky. An overwhelming feeling of thankfulness arose and I bubbled with gratitude.

The words just came out: "Thank you, Lord, …

Thursday's Thoughts

I will praise the Lord at all times.
I will constantly speak his praises.
I will boast only in the Lord;
let all who are discouraged take heart.
Come, let us tell of the Lord's greatness;
let us exalt his name together.

I prayed to the Lord and he answered me,
freeing me from all my fears.
those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy;
no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
I cried out to the Lord in my suffering and he heard me,
He set me free from all my fears.
For the angel of the Lord guards all who fear him,
and he rescues them.

Psalm 34: 1-7

Can You Believe This?

It's been a challenging week.

Cancer treatments resumed, delivering an unexpected punch. A distant relative betrayed me. I felt knocked down, and I wasn't sure I wanted to get up again. I'm tired of the fight.

My thoughts were spiraling downward:  If I can barely function while being on this treatment, and I need this treatment forever, what’s the point?

That got me feeling lonely, scared, and afraid.

So yesterday, while battling my fears, my husband and I sat outside, enjoying the sunset. Silently, I prayed for help. I needed a distraction...a good, effective distraction.

Specifically, I was wishing we had something social to do.  I figured conversation and a waft of what's happening in someone else's life would be refreshing.

Suddenly, my phone rings. It’s dear friends...neighbors...Would we like to come over for dinner?  Right...Now..?

What? Really? Yes!

I was amazed. Unbeknownst to them, it was an answer to prayer.

I hung up. A gentle breeze fluttered throu…

Here Comes the Sun...

The stories I've told on my Monday posts relate the mighty stepping stones in the direction of healing from the reign of grief.

Although each step was enlightening, change didn't happen overnight. Healing from grief was a marathon, not a sprint. Despite the impact of the wondrous incidents, finding hope, healing and God in the rubble was a process.

Like this: My brother Jim died shortly after my youngest daughter was born, so, almost without even being aware of it, her initial birthdays were overshadowed by dark, smothering clouds of grief.

I baked cakes, invited friends and wrapped birthday presents in happy, sparkly paper, but my joy was dominated by a thick blanket of  sadness quietly hovering over my heart. Every year it would appear. Every year I'd go through the motions.

But that finally changed.

As we planned her fifth birthday party, I looked at my husband and heard myself say something I'll never forget: "This is the first year her birthday is just her …

Thursday's Thoughts

Be still and know that I am God

Psalm 46:10

Will You Let This Prayer Change Your World?

Have you ever prayed the rosary? I mean, really prayed the rosary. It is not a boring monotonous prayer, it is a rich walk through the life of Jesus as seen through the eyes of His mother. It's not meant to be repetitious, but contemplative.

When I gather with others to pray the rosary, an amazing transformation takes place. No matter what concerns we carry, by the time the final prayer is recited, a hush falls over us. Peace settles in, a stillness so thick it feels tangible. It always happens...Doesn't matter who. ..Doesn't matter where...Doesn't matter when.

Peace reigns.

And we're not alone.

Years ago, I interviewed the last fighter pilot to escape Saigon the day it fell to the communists. He said he found himself deserted on a lonely airfield, amid rounds of artillery fire and violent explosions, and scrambling to escape...And what did he recall?

He remembered scenes from his childhood, when his family gathered the in the living room to pray the rosary. He recal…

Will God Bless Us...Every One?

I'm nearly through telling stories of the long trudge out of grief following my brother's death, but the postings wouldn't be complete without this story. These events took place early, within weeks of Jim's death, so it's a little out of sequence with my Monday posts. I apologize for that, but keep reading...I must share this with you.

It was a sunny spring day and I was home alone. Well, home alone with my infant. My brother had died suddenly several weeks earlier and my heart was a vast wasteland, tangled in a web of grief.

Around mid-morning, I found myself staring out the kitchen window, engulfed in that all-too-familiar gnawing, sinking, persistent, desolate feeling of grief. I saw nothing good in the day. I wanted out of that pain.

Desperate, I found myself reaching for a bottle of wine. I wanted to wash this pain away.

As I reached for the corkscrew, however, I came to my senses. It was 10:30 in the morning! What was wrong with me? What was I doing? Had I go…

Thursday's Thoughts

Mary responded- Oh, how I praise the Lord, How I rejoice in God my Savior!
Luke 1:46
How about you? Are you praising the Lord today? Are you rejoicing in God, your savior?

This song is for you! Click here to listen to Michael Talbot, with his rendition of Mary's response to Elizabeth (Luke 1:46-55) commonly called the Magnificat. The mighty God has done great things for all of us...Holy is His name!!!!

It's May - Do You Know What That Means?

Welcome to the month of May!  In the liturgical calendar, this month is devoted to Mary, the Mother of God.

Let's pray the rosary! Let's walk through the life of Christ, letting the prayers of the rosary lead the way.

Just a clarification for my non-Catholic friends: As Catholics, we don't worship Mary. We worship God. We worship Jesus. But not Mary. 

However, we recognize Mary's holiness as the devoted mother of Jesus. She is our role model. We want to see Jesus through her eyes. When we pray to her, we are asking her to pray to God for us, the same way we ask our friends to pray for us.

Please hear this, my dear non-Catholic friends. We are together on this: All glory and honor belong to Christ.

Next Wednesday I'll share some stories of what the rosary means to some people who pray it.

But for now, please consider this: Dynamic Catholic is challenging us to pray 5,000,000 rosaries (collectively, of course.)  Learn more by visiting their website at www.dynamiccatho…

Dream Weaver...Can You Get Me Through the Night?

When I arrived, the funeral home's parking lot was filled to overflowing. Cars were jammed along the curbs, in the grass, and beside whatever tiny strips of space that could be found. I finally wedged my Ford between a cluster of vehicles behind the building.

I shut the ignition off and squeezed my way out of the car.  I arrived too late to hike around to the main entrance, so, squinting in the bright sunshine, I zigzagged my way to the nearest door, which happened to be a beat-up, utilitarian-looking, backdoor entrance. 

I grabbed the knob and flung the door open. There was no corpse, no visitors, no serious-looking-men-in-black suits. It was just a room...just a small, quiet, empty room with a counter that divided me from the other side.

As I stood surveying the chamber, the door opposite me suddenly opened, flooding the place with bright light. In it, I could see the image of a janitor, who had entered the room, pushing a mop.

The image seemed surreal. The janitor seemed unaware …