Wednesday, November 25, 2015

On Being Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving Friends!  

I’ve been thinking a lot about thankfulness in the recent weeks.  Here are a few of my thoughts:

There are varying degrees of thankfulness.  For instance, you can be thankful that your favorite team won the big game, which is not the same degree as being thankful that you have a huge, loving, supportive family.  There are many degrees of thankfulness between those two.  None of them are trivial or wrong.  It’s ok to be thankful that you don’t have to get up early and go to work on Saturday, just as it is ok to be thankful that you are healthy and happy and have a roof over your head.  Gratitude is gratitude no matter the reason.  I think it’s especially important in these times to be thankful for everything.  It makes your heart lighter and your outlook brighter.  No one has a perfect life and many, many have it way worse than most of us reading this today.  But it’s not only the good things we should be thankful for.  Because when I said we should be thankful for everything, I meant exactly that.  Everything.  Good and bad. 

It’s important to give thanks for the wonderful as well as the wearisome.  I’ve practiced this for a long time, although not as consistently as I should.  No one is perfect, right?  Recently I’ve been really thinking about being thankful when life throws you things that are really hard to handle.  And as I have practiced this over the last few weeks I have found something really amazing has happened.  I have such a peace of mind about everything.  That’s not to say that I know everything is going to turn out rosy, but more importantly I know that no matter how it all turns out, everything will be ok.  Because I know that no matter what happens, God is always with me, guiding me to try and see the purpose in everything.  And when I express thankfulness to God for EVERYTHING in my life, I feel at peace.

At night, when I say my prayers I end by thanking God for every good and beautiful and wonderful thing in my life and then I thank Him for all the trials and tribulations and heartaches too.  Because everything, as long as I draw breath on this Earth, is a gift from God.  Even the bad stuff.  We may never know the reason for the trials but that’s ok. Just knowing that God has a plan is enough.  Trust me.  It’s enough.

This Thanksgiving my wish for all of us is to have the peace and happiness that comes from being truly thankful for everything.

I love you my friends.  God Bless.


Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Power of Prayer

I'm going to apologize in advance for any mistakes in this post.  I haven't slept in 36 hours.  I am exhausted beyond belief.  But I have to put my thoughts down now while they are fresh in my brain.

Yesterday evening my son-in-law, Adam, fell 20 feet and fractured his spine in three places.  He had to be air lifted to a trauma center.  He had no feeling below his belly button.  In the beginning things were confusing and scary and as the night wore on they were down right frightening.  I knew I was going to need a lot of help with this. 

I contacted my siblings and my OKC family.  We are a huge group.  I asked for their prayers.  Many of them asked others to pray.  My daughter Sarah contacted her friends all over the country.  Adam's family called on all of their family. Eventually we had whole congregations of people who didn't even know Adam praying for him.  The whole thing gave me a great sense of peace. 

Prayer works people!  Adam had the best outcome possible at this time.  His spinal cord is intact but severely bruised. At this point it is a waiting game to see how he recovers from this. The swelling and bruising have to heal.  We are choosing to be positive and feel that he will regain complete function.  He is a strong and determined young man.  I have no doubt that he will do whatever it takes to rehab from this.  It is going to be a long and difficult road but I have faith in him.

You know, in the world we live in it is very easy to become cynical and lose sight of the goodness in people.  Today the goodness was overflowing.  Just to know that there were literally hundreds of people, many who didn't even know him, praying for his filled my heart to overflowing.  I can never express how grateful I am for all the prayers and positive energy.  Please continue to pray for his recovery and for strength for his wife, my daughter, Beth.

I must find a pillow now.  But before I do I need you all to know how grateful I am for all of your prayers.  Thank you to everyone I know and everyone I don't know.  My heart is overflowing with love for you all. 

Prayer works people!  Our God is an awesome God!  Praise and thanksgiving to Him for all of todays blessings.


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Happy 35!

Tomorrow I will celebrate 35 years of marriage to an incredible man that I am lucky, by the grace of God, to share my life with. 

35 is a big number.  At this point I’ve been married longer than I was single…by about 14 years.   And I can honestly say that it is the best thing that ever happened to me (sorry kids!).  I get to have this great friend who knows me better than I know myself.  He takes care of me, encourages me, comforts me, supports me and lets me crochet instead of cleaning or making dinner….and he never complains about it.  He hates my anxiety and yet he still lets me get in a car with him when he knows most of the ride will be spent with me making gasping noises from the passenger seat and telling him not to “drive so close!”   We don’t share a lot of common interests except for sports and a few TV shows.  I don’t get his obsession with softball and weird reality TV and I know he doesn’t get my obsessive love of reading, crocheting and musicals (especially Wicked!).  But, he will endure going to musicals with me because he knows I love it and he knows how much I hate to drive across town to the theater.  I could fill this page with the many little ways he shows his love.  I always tell people that he is way better to me than I am to him because I am always so grateful for everything he does for me. 

That doesn’t mean that I don’t give as well as I receive.  I mean…who else do you know would put up without a shower for as many years as I have?  Or tolerate the many, many, many hours he spends running a softball league and coaching girls who are not his daughters.  Or putting up with an epic level of procrastination that I don’t think can be matched by anyone on this planet.  My problem is that I am a natural complainer and Dan is not.  Dan is stoic to a fault…me, not so much.  If I’m feeling it, then I’m sharing it.  If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy….and you’ll hear about it in my Christmas letter.   But to be truthful, I don’t really mind any of those things…well, the procrastination I could do without, but the rest of it, I’m ok with because I know it’s what he loves and I’m happy that he has those things in his life.  I love that he loves coaching and helping girls to have a safe place to have fun and be competitive without pressure.  It takes a lot of time away from me, but how could I ever be upset by such a noble endeavor.  It’s one of the reasons I love him so much.  He is very selfless with his time and talents. 

Over the years we have learned to tolerate those little irritations because we can see the bigger picture.  Life doesn’t have to be perfect all the time.  We were meant to be together.  For better or worse…we belong to each other.  With all our faults, foibles and idiosyncrasies…we are two halves of one whole.  Together we are so much better than we ever would be apart. 

A special message to Dan:

Life has not always been easy for us but it has been fulfilling and filled with love.  I can never express how much I love you.  I love the wonderful husband you are to me and the exceptional father you are to our children.  You have been such an excellent example to our kids of what it means to be a giving person.  I think they are all much better people because of you.  Thanks for putting up with me all these years.  I love you to the moon and back and I am looking forward to seeing what the next 35 years have in store (hopefully there’ll be a shower in there somewhere ;).

 Happy Anniversary!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

I Love America

On this 239th celebration of American Independence I have a few thoughts I'd like to share.

First and foremost:  I love America.

I love everything about it. 

 Here’s just a small list of some of the things I love: 

  • I love the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution and The Bill of Rights.
  • I love that it was built by the blood, sweat and tears of millions of immigrants.
  • I love that there are people braver than I who protect it with their lives….keeping us the land of the free…and the home of the brave.  And I love all those that went before them who fought for Independence and freedom.
  • I love that we don’t all get along, and that’s ok. 
  • I love that my daughters are afforded the same opportunities as my son.
  • I love that I get to worship where and when and Who I want…and you do too.
  • I love that I get to choose who represents me in my government.
  • I love that I have the right to vote.
  • I love that even though it makes my blood boil…people have the right to burn, stomp on and disgrace the US flag.  And if they have that right then they also must have the right to display whatever flag they desire.  Be it Confederate, rainbow or Nazi.
  • I even love that sometimes these days I am so frustrated by a segment of society that believes it is the most tolerant when in actuality it is the least tolerant…but they have the right to voice their opinion the same as I have the right to voice mine.
  • I love that we have the separation of church and state.  And if you believe that the Ten Commandments should not be displayed on a government property then you must also believe that a church has the right to marry whoever they choose according to their beliefs.  Because that’s what the separation of church and state means.
    For me, loving America is like loving my children.  I love it with every fiber in my being, even though sometimes I don’t agree with everything it does.  I don’t stop loving it just because it’s strayed from the path I believe it should be on.  I’m disappointed in its actions sometimes, but I still love it. 
    I still believe in the ability of the majority to stand up and right the wrongs. 
    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
    ~Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776~

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

On Lent and Divine Mercy

I have spent the last several months doing a lot of soul searching.  I'm going to admit something here that I have not admitted to anyone...not anyone.  It is really hard for me, but I feel it is necessary.  I fell into a spell of doubtfulness.  Like Thomas before me, I was having a hard time believing.  I was succumbing to the evilness in the world.  Not something I have EVER experienced before.  In fact, I always prided myself on my unwavering belief.  Well, pride goeth before the fall...isn't that what they say?  I suppose most people go through times of questioning...usually it happens earlier in life than your mid-50's but for me, I have never questioned my faith...until recently.  And it's not so much that I was questioning the existence of God or His love and mercy...but something just didn't feel right for me.  The world seems like it is spinning out of orbit. Things are crazy out there people!  But instead of falling wholly on the Lord for strength...I questioned.  I'm not proud of it...but there it is.  Why do these trials come upon us?  I think sometimes we need to go through the trial to get to a new place of understanding and devotion.  That is where I am right now.  On the brink of a new understanding and a deeper devotion.  I share this with you because maybe someone who will read this will be going through the same thing and possibly, through prayer, we can lift each other up.

Usually for Lent we give something up as a sacrifice...candy, caffeine, get it.  But this year I have decided to do something different.  I'm going to pray the rosary...everyday until Divine Mercy Sunday (the second Sunday in Easter).  And hopefully by that time I will have made a new habit and I will continue to pray the rosary everyday.  That is my goal. And just maybe you might be tempted to pray along with me.  Here is my plan:

Both my parents were very devoted to the Blessed Mother.  It served them well and so I've decided to look to Her for guidance in my quest for a deeper devotion. I will pray the rosary everyday with the intention of peace in the world.  I am so upset, horrified and frightened by the things going on in the world right now.  I feel called to pray for peace.  I have also been reading about the Marians of the Immaculate Conception and Divine Mercy Sunday.  They inspire me. If you are interested you can follow the link to their website.  It has lots of info and even a section on how to pray the rosary. So what is Divine Mercy?  The following is from Fr. Michael Gaitley's book Divine Mercy Explained:

Okay, so what is Divine Mercy? What is this thing that gets to the heart of Sacred Scripture and to the very center of our faith? To begin, mercy is "love's second name," as John Paul II said. It's a particular kind of love, a particular mode of love when it encounters suffering, poverty, brokenness, and sin. Divine Mercy is when God's love meets us and helps us in the midst of our suffering and sin. In fact, because this side of eternity we're all sinners and because suffering is our lot in life, God's love for us here always takes the form of mercy. It's always the Lord stepping out in compassion to help us poor, weak, and broken sinners. From our perspective, then, every good we receive is an expression Divine Mercy.

Poor, weak, and broken sinner...that is me.

So this will be my Lenten journey.  The rosary and Divine Mercy.  I hope some of you will take it with me. We need to pray for peace.

Peace be with you my friends.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Prepare Ye The Way

Merry Christmas friends!  I hope each and every one of you have a blessed and joyous Christmas. 

Today is the last day of Advent.  Advent...the season of hope.  The season of anxious waiting.  The season of preparing for the coming of the Lord.  I love Advent.  It is filled with the hope of a promising future.  The end of Advent is the summation of one of the most awaited prophecies. The birth of the Savior.  The One.  The Great I Am.  He who will lead us out of the desert into the promised land and eventually fulfill the prophecy of dying for our sins and then the greatest prophecy of all...coming again to bring us home.

The world is truly messed up.  Things are crazy right now.  I'm sure my parents felt the same way in the turbulent '60's.  Sometimes I do wonder if we aren't traveling a fast road to the end times.  No one knows.  Which is why we have to always be ready.  We have to make way for the coming of the Lord...every day.  Advent, more than any other season, brings this home.  Prepare ye the way of the Lord!

Even with all the ugliness in the world, I am still hopeful.  Hopeful that each of us in our own way can bring God's grace to this world.  That we can be that light, the candle in the darkness for those who have lost their way.  Through our actions we can fill the world with grace and peace.  It starts with each of us.  If we carry Advent in our hearts throughout the year we can fill a dark world with light.  We can prepare the way of the Lord.

If we choose to live in the Light we can change the world.  We can do it.  

The Lord is coming.  Prepare ye the way of the Lord!

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Luke 2: 8-14

Friday, July 4, 2014

Let Freedom Ring!

“America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You've gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say, 'You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.' You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country cannot just be a flag. The symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Now show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the land of the free.”   Michael Douglas as President Andrew Shepherd in the movie An American President 

This is one of my favorite movie quotes.  Which may surprise those that know me well, considering it comes from what I consider a movie with a pretty liberal slant.  However, this exact sentiment is what I learned from my father, who was as conservative and patriotic as they come.  It says exactly what it means to be an American.  You have to stand up for what you believe in while respecting the views of those who believe what you abhor.  It’s tough.  Especially in the political climate we live in.  But instead of ranting and raving about that which you are opposed.  Use what you already have at your disposal.  Use wisely your voting power. 

America is advanced citizenship. 

Such a powerful statement and something we are sorely lacking in America today.  People don’t think for themselves anymore.  We live in a nation of lemmings.  People who listen to a 10 second sound bite, via some type of social media, and make decisions based solely on that.  We have people who vote for a person based only on the color of their skin or the political party they represent.  Both are wrong. 

We don’t value our voting privilege.  Because that is what it is in my mind.  A privilege.  A privilege that was bought and paid for by young men and women from the inception of this country to the present day.  They fought, bled and died for our privilege to vote.  Don’t you think that makes us responsible to use the privilege wisely ? 

I think it is incumbent upon us to be responsible care takers of this great nation.  We should cherish it as much as we cherish the lives that were lost defending and keeping it free.  We should vote responsibly.  Do the research.  Read about the candidates.  Research their back round, their values, and their vision for the country.   Voting is the most important tool we have as Americans, and as a group, we use it poorly.  It’s the most powerful tool we have to create change.   

So while you are enjoying the food, drink and fireworks this Independence Day, remember what the day is all about.  Remember that we are a free nation of free people with the right to choose their own leaders and live in that country without oppression.  And remember the price that was paid for the privilege to call yourself an American. 

I'll leave you with this quote as a little Independence Day food for thought:

"The tyranny of a prince in an oligarchy is not so dangerous to the public welfare as the apathy of a citizen in a democracy."   ~Charles de Montesquieu~

Happy Independence Day my friends! 

Let Freedom Ring!!