Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thank You, Jesus

Dear Jesus,

Thank You for walking the walk. 
Thank You for the love and stories and care and concern.
Thank You for the sacrifice.
Thank You for loving me even though I don't deserve it.
Thank You for the Passover meal that gave me Your precious body and blood.

Thank You!

Your beloved daughter,

Mary

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

5 Favorites, Lent


This isn't the kind of week when I have much to say.  Five favorites about Lent as it comes to a close.  

1. Lent is a great time to go to Confession.  Usually Penance is offered more than normal.  We have 2 parish Penance days and I went to a conference that offered Confession, so I am good, for now.

2. Lent is a great time to up the ante on my prayer life.  It is time to think about prayer more and practice different forms of prayer.

3. Lent is a time to take stock of my health.  Losing weight is a continual struggle for me.  Remembering that I am fighting the inclinations of the flesh, is a good Lenten practice for me.

4. Lent is a time to be thankful for the abundance in my life and to be mindful of those who are less fortunate.


5. Lent is a time when there are extra opportunities to grow in faith either by study or in a program offered in the parish.  I have been studying women in the scripture and how they use their gifts and talents to bring forth God's kingdom.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Tuesday Treasures, Russian Dolls

This was an old feature I used to do on the blog.  This post was originally from 2010.
 
 
This little Russian doll is my treasure for today.  I bought it in Brighton, England while I was a student at Brighton College of Education (Go, Dolphins!).  It was special and unique and I was immediately drawn to it.

And fun to play with because as you can see, It is not one doll, but four.
And here they are all put back together.  They are my little Russian girls. While they perhaps look old, they were new to me, so not really an antique.  They keep fading over the years and they look antique these days.
 

Thinker or Do-er

I am fascinated to read Jennifer Fulwiler's thoughts.  She is a self-admitted "brain in a jar" type, a thinker.  Where she runs into trouble and hilarity is when her thoughts collide with the demands of her real life.  Her real life is challenging, she is a mother of many small children.  But in her before kid life she did things with computers that I don't even fully understand.  I really admire her because she thinks so much about things.  She has great ideas that changed her life.

I am not stupid, well not completely stupid.  I think about things.  But I keep busy.  I read things and stuff little snips of ideas into my brain and into the practice of my life.  I am good with a few well placed slogans, some memorized prayers, and the parables. I like to stay busy.  When I am busy with something like a quilt, I don't have to think about things, to search my mind for great ideas.  I can plan my next move in the thing I am doing.  I get things done.

The reason I thought about this is that Jennifer Fulwiler wrote a post about ideas that changed her life.  I couldn't relate in any way to that.  Events in my life have changed my thinking.  Events in my life have changed my life.  But, great philosophies or the thoughts of some saint don't change my life.  I don't seem to be able to think that hard.

I have a set of beliefs that I carry with me on my life journey.  I have principles.  I have the Law and the Prophets.  But, using those and then walking with Jesus and trying to love, that is about all I have.  I am really glad that there are people who can think that hard about things and see their life from different perspectives, but that is not me.  I am a do-er.  I keep busy.

I have thought sometimes when I read Jennifer's posts that it would be a lot easier for her to live my life and me to live hers.  But, easy isn't the point, we are in the places we are to grow closer to God.  Each of us is equipped to carry our separate crosses.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Passion Sunday Prayers

Lord, on this day when I remember Your sacrifice, Your passion, Your death, I sorrow for my sins that led to this.  I ask for mercy. 

I praise You for Your courage.  I praise You for Your grace.  I praise You for having a plan so big and so mysterious that it is beyond human understanding.  I thank you for all You have given me, for all You have done for me.

Amen

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Right Relationship with God

I suppose that I am a slow learner, or that this has finally come to me later in life, but I have found peace and contentment in my life.  This is even when circumstances, other people, or events are not going my way.

I have spent many years struggling.  I have schemed and worked and planned and demonstrated and done various things.  Letting go and letting God was the position of last resort in my life.  My strong sense of personal responsibility and my assurance of my ability to overcome, to alter outcomes, to change circumstances and to be determined got in my way of letting go and letting God.

I have now recognized that in my greatest strengths dwelt my greatest weakness. I am a do-er.  I get things done and I keep busy.  I worked for things and prayed hard for things.  Usually I was most aware of God in my failed plans and unrealized expectations.  When things hit the fan I was finally aware that God had a different plan. On those occasions when things went well, I praised Him.  But, I patted myself on the back as well.

God still speaks to me that way sometimes in the disasters.  On Wednesday when my plans for a mobile library on a cart that would have been bad for my weak foot came crashing down, I went in the staff restroom and cried and prayed.  God spoke to me there in the restroom that I couldn't do what I couldn't do.  Without a working computer, my plans were toast.  I was kicked out of my library for special ed testing and would be for the foreseeable future.  I wanted to go home.  I wanted to quit. I dried my eyes and went out to face the day.

I sat in my roller chair in the lobby of my school, because that is as far as I got with my cart and my chair and my non-working computer and I prayed.  As I sat there and prayed, it came to me.  I was exactly where I was supposed to be.  I set up my "library annex" right there in the lobby.  Everybody who comes in and out of the school sees me.  The kids can find me.  Sitting there instead of pushing the cart around is easy on my foot.  And if I need I book I don't have on the cart, I can often sneak into my library to get it.

This is where the right relationship with God comes in, I need to pray.  I need to listen to the call.  When things aren't going according to my plans, I need to listen.  If I follow God's plans and accept them and embrace them, they will be the best for me.  God has a plan.  I need to pray and listen more.  Without becoming a completely different person and giving up the person I am, I can do less and serve God better.  The key is to stay in prayer and trust that God loves me despite my present circumstances.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Seven Quick Takes, Last Fish Fry in Lent Edition

Jennifer Fulwiler hosts this carnival of the blogs.  You could meet some interesting folks within her list.

1. Last Sunday was my hubby's birthday.  We went out to eat at Tuckers. There was  a lot of meat and baked potato.  Not my favorite.  The steak was good, but I like a few side dish choices other than baked potato. 

Hubby had a good birthday, even if he seemed to be coming down with my "allergies" which now seem to have been a cold since I am getting over it.
Aren't they handsome boys?


2. Monday at work the heat was gone and the air seemed to be running full blast.  Since it was cool and rainy outside, that made for chilly conditions. It was local home opening day for baseball and when I came home, there were the cardinals playing right in my front yard.


3. Tuesday, the election took the library so I operated off of a cart.  I called it the Book Mobile.  I was exhausted by the end of the day. Son and hubby went to the hockey game in the evening.  I am not a fan.  Hockey is too loud and fast for me. Blues lost.  We got to bed too late.


4. Wednesday, I was doing library on a cart again.  I had a meltdown when the computer check out system didn't work.  I am not sure exactly why except it hit home that I would not have my library to work out of for 3 weeks. The computer problem turned out to be a district problem and it was resolved by mid-morning.

I had book club after school.  I love those kids.  They are crazy.  But, I love those kids.

Then in the evening I went to YaYas my women's prayer group.  We are watching the Bible.  We have finally reached the New Testament.  I really think this series is way too violent.  Any nice, pleasant happy story is skipped and extra violence is added.  But, it was great to get with the ladies.

5. Thursday I carted the library in the morning.  I am calling it the library annex since I am right outside the library door.  I have decided to make the most of it.  When life steals your library, make it into a party.

6. Thursday I had the crown put on my tooth in the afternoon.  It took less than a half hour.  I had the afternoon off. It got into the 80s.  So after the hard winter and the long cold spring, it is air conditioning weather.
As I parked at the dentist's I was surprised to see a truck from Quincy, which is more than 100 miles north of here.  The name on the truck is one of a family who lived near me when I was growing up.  Small world?


7.  The little cat quilt I sent off came back yesterday.  Apparently the address was wrong.  Sigh.  And today is the last fish fries or seafood dinners of Lent for most parishes.  Next week on Good Friday, it is not time to celebrate.  It is time to be watchful and sober.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Thank You, Lord

Dear Lord,

Thank You for all the trials and hardships and sorrow, because of them, I am able to feel joy.  Thank You, Lord, for the inconveniences and annoyances so that I can recognize that I am not the most important creature in the universe.  Thank You for the spot of joy that happens after the "stuff" because then I remember how much You love me.

Help me to grow into a cheerful servant.  Help me to grow in praise and to focus my life on You.  Help me to remember that I may live in this world, but I am not of this world.  I have higher aims.

Your beloved daughter,

Mary

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Five Favorites, Working with Tweens and Young Teens

Hallie at Moxie Wife hosts this carnival.  You can learn stuff from some of these folks.

I work in a middle school.  Sixth through eighth graders are my clients.  They are a lively bunch and many people would not enjoy working with this age person.  I do and these are my reasons.

1. I like to work with the tweens because it keeps me abreast of the latest fashions.  And I do mean abreast.  Even though my school is a "uniform" school, we are rather loose in interpretation.  I have discovered that bling is good, the more the better.  Wearing your hoodie up even though it is against the rules is a fashion statement and sometimes claimed as a religious preference.

The youthful daring of these children is a sight to behold.

2. I like to work with tweens because they unabashedly walk up to me and ask where that "Shades of Gray" book is kept.  When I mention that I don't carry those kinds of books, tweens will demand to know "Why not?" and does the high school have it?

But, some will just as easily ask where I keep the Bible and when I show them, they are surprised that I will even let them check it out.

3. I love the tweens because they are just as likely to steal the stuffed bee off of my desk as they are to take something of greater value.  At least the bee usually comes back.  They choose the food out of the prize case more often than the more expensive items.  First things are first with them.

4. I like the tweens because there is still hope.  They haven't made up their minds yet and even though they think they know everything and are ready for anything, they can turn on a dime.  The worst sinner can become a saint in the time it takes to blink an eye.

5. I like working with tweens because they have energy and enthusiasm.  As the crashing noise resounds when they leave the building at the end of the day, I picture praises to the Lord.  These kids were made for great things.  I pray for them, because the world wants them to fall.  The world desires for them to turn away from what is good and holy and pleasing.  But, as I stand there, at the end of the day, I pray for good.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Guard My Thoughts

There are many instances in the New Testament where Christ told the apostles that they were not of the world.  Since they were flesh and bones men who ate and fished and walked, it seemed to me that they were pretty much members of the human race and therefore, of this world.  The world means more than humanity.

My first thoughts of worldly-ness are of money or of sexual pursuits, or power and influence.  "The world" could mean all the "bad things" that are around.  The world in this instance could mean sin.  Jesus was telling us to stay out of the way of falling into sin.

I have come to recognize that staying out of the "world" can mean also avoiding things that are not directly sin.  Near occasions of sin, if you will.  I have recognized that some "pleasures" whether they be chocolate commercials, luxury cars, or off-color humor can become and in fact are near occasions of sin.  They create the want for things I don't need.  They create a focus away from good and toward the things of this world that are not good.

That is what Lent reminds me of, that I need to fill my mind up with goodness, pureness, holiness as much as possible.  These things are in short supply in this world.  I need to create an oasis of these good things if I am to survive in this desert of a world.  If the things of this world seem attractive, I need to look closely at the Cross and consider the love that Christ has for me.