Friday, April 29, 2016
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Sunday, April 24, 2016
I heard someone say the other day that the reason the Catholic Church is losing members is because we are not a welcoming religion. In some cases, that can be true. But I have also known many other religions which are not welcoming either. Since I am catholic, I can only speak of my experiences in the Catholic faith.
I recall a Sunday when the priest, before starting his homily, mentioned that he had been asked by some parishioners to recommend rather strongly that families with small children use the cry room. Their concern was that any crying, laughing or other noises would be disruptive to people praying and concentrating on God and the Mass. I was pleased at the priest's answer to this. He started out by saying that the cry room was not a mandatory place to be used during Mass but an option. Personally, he had no problem with small children being in the main body of the church. Small children do not find themselves closed off to the formality of the church instead their "noises" are the
signs of life God has given to each of us. He believed that these "noises" were gifts of joy to all of the congregation. I like that. It is important that we welcome children in our faith just as Jesus felt children were the most important to Him.
Jesus said, "Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14
For over 20 years, I taught in a Catholic school and one of our main goals was for the children to feel welcome in church. Where the children go, the parents will follow. To do this, I felt it important that the children felt that the Church wanted them there. We talked about prayer and how they are "conversations with God." They did need to memorize some prayers but it was important for them to understand that God is their friend and like any friend, He wants to talk to you and hear from you all the time about anything you want to share. It is for this reason, He just wants to have a conversation with you. No memorized prayers are needed. We discussed how the music during Mass can uplift us as well as make us feel sad depending on the hymn. It is okay to sing with gusto and feeling as singing is another form of prayer. Many times, I have seen a child sway to a joyous hymn and sing out loud with gusto. On the other hand, I have seen a child almost on the verge of tears when singing about Jesus' crucifixion. I recall when the Bishop in our parish sent a letter to all of us in the Catholic school stating that at Mass, he considered it disrespectful and inappropriate for students to use sign language, movement or any other displays while participating in the Mass. Our children, just as we were, were upset about it. However, the Bishop had the final say and we obeyed him. One boy in my second grade class came to me shortly after the letter came out and asked me, "when is Jesus happier...when we sit quietly or when we show we are filled with His spirit?' My answer was to be diplomatic and I said, "He is happy all the time because He always knows we are filled with His spirit whether we are quiet or not." He looked at me and smiled and said, "If Jesus knows about football games, He would know that the star player always likes to hear the fans filled with joy."
What kind of fan of Jesus are you....the one who sits quietly and focuses on the Mass or the one who joins in with gusto and shows Jesus you are filled with the Spirit?
Friday, April 22, 2016
Thursday, April 21, 2016
I have written in diaries/journals for a good portion of my life. I enjoy it. I find it very therapeutic, calming, meditative to put my ideas, thoughts, opinions, etc. down on paper. It helps me put many things that might cause me stress into a perspective where I can see the upside of a situation or understand what happened in a situation that went what I considered the wrong way. I have always been a fan of writing out my journals in long hand. The feel of the pen in my hand writing my private words on paper feels as if the stresses of the day are leaving me just as the ink leaves the pen. I enjoy looking through bookstores, office supply stores, stationery stores, etc. for journals of different shapes and sizes and I have a large collection of empty journals on the top shelf of my closet waiting to be used. It is only since I retired that I have gone somewhat digital in my journal writing. One of my journals is a 3-ring binder. Now, normally, I would not use a binder. I like journals that are more unique but in this case since I had decided to create this journal digitally, a 3-ring binder was a better choice. Now I type my writings for this journal on my computer, print it out, punch holes in it and add it to the journal. This is more of a miscellaneous journal with all kinds of different topics and themes represented as I still like to write out my personal journal in ink and longhand.
Sunday, April 17, 2016
This morning I sat outside on my deck enjoying the warm weather and a hot cup of coffee. To some this may not seem like a monumental thing to write about but I have been stuck in the house since last September because of our UP winter. To be able to sit outside and enjoy my morning coffee in a relaxed warm environment is the closest thing to heaven as I can attain. The road was quiet as the young people who live a quarter mile down had not started driving their cars and trucks up and down the road yet. All that could be heard was the occasional bird chirping a good morning. As I sat there reveling in the refreshing breeze on my skin and the warmth of the sun on my face, I began to hum a hymn that seemed appropriate for this blessed morning.
"This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad." (based on Psalm 118:24)
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
First, I created the characters on graph paper (there are some wonderful examples on the Martha Stewart site). I also tried to include specific items that would distinguish between them. For instance, my oldest son has a beard and mustache, my daughter-in-law always wears her hair up and my youngest son has a goatee and always wears a baseball cap. Then I figured out what colors of embroidery floss I would need (this is a good way to use up any leftover floss from other projects). It didn't take long to create it. I spent 3 days on it only because I broke it up into an hour a day. I am very pleased at how it turned out. All that is left is to have it framed and displayed.
Wednesday, April 6, 2016
Within the month, both my sons will celebrate their birthdays. Now they aren't children anymore, they are men and it is sometimes hard for me to believe just how old they are. When I look at them, most times I see my little boys and remember what life was like when they were little. So, on the occasion of their respective birthdays, I decided I wanted to list some of what I miss.
1. Holding hands while walking. That lasted till about age 8.
2. I miss them telling me the details of their lives without me having to pull teeth about it.
3. I miss having the details of their day I do get make any kind of sense. When they were little, it was "Star Wars, Transformers or what was for lunch at school today". Now that they are older, it's about music ranging from marches to hip hop, Dr. Who, tattoos, jeeps, etc. Which is seriously hard to keep track of, but I try to keep track anyway even when I don't understand.
4. I miss them laughing at my jokes instead of rolling their eyes and thinking I have early onset dementia.
5. I miss being able to just go into a store, buy them things, and leave. Now that their personal tastes and styles are more individually developed, shopping is a major production and therefore gift cards are the new norm. I prefer to shop over giving gift cards.
6. I miss how they always wanted their mom when they were feeling sick. No one could make them feel better more than their mom. Now, they count on the wife or girlfriend to take care of them.
7. I miss the theme song from "Underdog" played a hundred times on a clarinet.
8. I miss being told that I have to behave and be quiet at baseball, football, soccer games, movies and concerts because I am embarrassing them. Though I do still get that every now and then.
9. I miss singing "Beer for my Horses" in the car.
10. I miss the sound of little, slippered footsteps sneaking into my bedroom in the early morning to
wake me up.
11. I miss being told not to call them "sweetie" or "baby" or kiss them in public because their friends might see or hear it.
12. I miss homemade cards and gifts that they were so proud to give.
13. I miss when they told me everything (even things I didn't want to know) and expected me to keep their secrets (though it still happens now and again).
14. I miss how they would roll their eyes and say "aw, mom" when I would pull out the baby pictures to show others.
Monday, April 4, 2016
"Does God answer all prayers?"
"Yes, but sometimes the answer is No!"
How many times have we prayed for something and we didn't get it? Then because we didn't get what we asked for, we ranted and raved at how mean God is. How He doesn't listen to us. How He helps everyone else but us. Didn't we ever stop to think that God has a plan for us and what we want and prayed for was not in the plan? What we prayed for was not what we needed at that moment and time in our lives? Shouldn't we have faith in God that He knows what we need and that sometimes what we need is not what we pray for?
Saturday, April 2, 2016
This morning I stood at the window and saw green grass where there had been a blanket of white just 2 weeks ago. I watched 2 robins hop across my yard stopping every now and then to poke at a bug or worm in the ground. I saw buds on my Maple tree and lilac bush and I was excited for spring.
This afternoon I sadly watched snowflakes fall from the sky and cover the green grass, the Maple tree and lilac bush. The robins had flown away probably in search of a warm place to nestle. I've always thought that this was Old Man Winter's way of reminding us Yoopers that the calendar may say spring but it isn't spring until he says it is spring.
So I will try not to get upset by the snow because it is April after all and no matter how much Old Man Winter sends us, spring will be here very soon. I am content with that thought.