wordnerd

Quit Grumbling and Complaining?

January 8, 2024

If Not Now, When?

As a mother and wife, I have heard the words, “Not now” or “I’ll do it later” far too often.  It drives me crazy because when I ask someone to do something, that is when I want it done, not at a future time (or more likely, never).  I have a note jotted in frustration from 2012 while in the thick of raising four children.  It says:  ‘Not now’ is the answer to a lot of things around here! “Do your homework”.  Not now.  “Try on these pants I bought you.”  Not now.  To the husband, “Let’s just relax for a while.”  Not now.  Well if not now, WHEN??

I am reminded of Bartleby’s famous words “I would prefer not to” from the book Bartleby, the Scrivener by Herman Melville.  Bartleby remains expressionless as he responds, “I would prefer not to” to basically everything he is asked to do at work.  This is about the only thing I remember from college English and literature classes.  It struck a nerve.

I can’t help but wonder what God thinks when we don’t do what He asks.  I’ve heard it said He will find somebody else.  I think of that when I see many of my ideas taken flight by other people.  It took me 40 years, like the Israelites wandering around in the desert, to finally get around to doing some more writing.  I always felt a nagging sense that is what I needed to be doing.  Saying “I would prefer not to” to the master of the universe isn’t a good idea.  The ramifications are a lot worse than not taking out the garbage when asked, or not trying on those pants!

When I was younger, I would get so bent out of shape trying to discern God’s will for my life.  As if it were a one-time decision.  I couldn’t come up with anything that felt right (except maybe writing) and many doors were slammed shut in my face.  I still think I may have made the wrong decision when I was offered a newspaper writing job after high school and didn’t accept it.  I have always wondered what direction my life would have taken if I had.  I feel like I am living my “Plan B” because I missed that particular opportunity.  But who knows, I only have the present.  The past is gone and the future is not guaranteed.

Now being able to look back over the years, I think we have many purposes throughout our lives. God’s will is a continuous journey with many twists and turns along the way.  Many times I think I didn’t even realize a lot of the things I was doing were actually God’s will for that time or at the very least, laying the groundwork for the future.

For instance, I worked as a preschool teacher for a time, but only looking back realized it was part of the path God had for me because I ended up raising triplets plus a fourth child.  That time spent working with preschoolers prepared me for my vocation of motherhood.  I was able to use the skills I had developed to run my household.  Triplet babies needed a schedule, if for no other reason than my sanity.  We had meals, craft time, nap time, outside time, music time, story time.  I had an entire repertoire of crafts and activities at my fingertips.  I was ready for the challenge!

So what is it you have been putting off?  Don’t put it off for 40 years like I did.  Whether it’s pursuing a career, improving your health, learning how to play an instrument, re-uniting with someone you are estranged from, whatever it is, there is no time like the present and that is why it’s fittingly called the “present”. The present is a gift, to ourselves and those around us, if we accept it and not let it sit idle. We should treasure and celebrate the present.  If not NOW, when??

Book:  The Present:  The Gift that Makes you Happier and More Successful at Work and in Life, Today!  by Spencer Johnson

Just an Ordinary Day

1-16-2023

It’s Ordinary Time.  If you are Catholic, you know what that means.  The Christmas season is officially over, (sigh of relief!) but don’t get too excited, it’s almost Lent.  “Always something” as we like to say.  And so it is in the Church, and in life.  As I get older, I appreciate the ordinary much more.  I even prefer it.  Just an ordinary day, what is more blessed than that?  A day where nothing extraordinarily good, or bad, happens.  I’ll take it!

Years ago, someone told me to be thankful for an ordinary day because she had just gotten word that a friend’s child was helicoptered to the hospital and it was no ordinary day for them. It was a reminder that we must count our blessings each day for we don’t know what tomorrow, or even the next minute, will bring.  (This awareness riddles me with constant anxiety but that is another article.)

We do God’s will in the midst of ordinary.  It is our earthly calling. Many saints of old and monks in monasteries today live simple lives offering their mundane tasks, such as routine cooking and cleaning, up to God.  We need to learn to welcome the ordinary and seek God there because most of our moments really are quite ordinary.  If we can’t find the meaning and magic in the mundane, we will miss so much of what life and God has for us.

So don’t curse the boring and the ordinary, it is often a good place to be!  Don’t get wrapped up in always looking for something better or greater, because it is in the simple, regular moments of our lives that we can find meaning and God.  So go embrace the ordinary!  You will be richer for it.

8 Ways to Encourage Solitude

December, 2023

“The Lord said to St. Teresa one day, ‘I would speak to many souls, but the world makes so much noise in their ears that they can­not hear My voice. Oh, if only they would stand a little apart from the world!’ ”

8 WAYS TO ENCOURAGE SOLITUDE

  1. Meditate or pray.    
  1. Use repetitive prayer such as the Rosary which many Catholics find meditative and soothing. I also find it gives me something to focus on, which helps quiet my mind.
He will keep those in perfect peace whose mind is fixed on Him
Isaiah 26:3

https://www.taize.fr/en 

https://mcgrathblog.nd.edu/how-to-pray-with-taiz%C3%A9-music

Taize song samples: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4-dnOrdJrs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTuFglyOQvI&list=OLAK5uy_mNaVB097GR-9ApCzZewgijW4p4jLwHCpw&index=1

14 Ways to Fight the Battle

When I received the Sacrament of Confirmation in the Catholic Church in 6th grade, the nuns endlessly drilled into our heads that we were going to become “soldiers of Christ”.  What on earth did that mean to a 12 year old?  Not much.  Who knew those words would come back to haunt me years later as I watch this country falling apart.  I now literally am feeling called to be a “soldier of Christ”.  Not a task to be taken lightly.

There is a battle going on right now for the soul of America and the world.  It hits me in the face every day and I can’t NOT see it. This is not a battle between Democrats and Republicans, black or white, young or old.  It is between good and evil, darkness and light, tyranny and freedom.

It is a battle in the spiritual realm and on the surface we appear to be losing miserably.  Good thing God knows things we don’t and He has promised to prevail in the end, but how bad will it have to get? 

“For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.”
Ephesians 6:12

I have never seen this more clearly in my lifetime than in these current days.

Too many people are still asleep. “Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness; rather, expose them, for it is shameful even to mention the things done by them in secret; but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that becomes visible is light.  Therefore it says:

Awake, O sleeper,

and arise from the dead

and Christ will give you light.”

 Ephesians 5:11-14

So what, then, can the average person who is awake to all this evil and corruption, do?  First, we can try to help others wake up, even if we get flack for it or if they try to silence us.  Some of us will of course be able to do more than others, but we can no longer turn a blind eye to all the evil and corruption around us if we want to preserve this great country and our freedom, Constitution and God-given rights.

Below are 14 suggestions for things we can do to help take our country back. Hopefully these will inspire you with more ideas.

  1. Pray like crazy as if your life depended on it, because it does.  “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)
  1. Know scripture.  God’s Word is truth.  The devil is a liar and word-twister.  Remember, even the devil can quote scripture as he did when Jesus was tempted in the desert for 40 days.
  1. If you have children, teach them the Bible and things of God.  Yes they will grow up and make their own choices, but at least the foundation is laid.
  1. Speak what you really believe and don’t censor yourself to be politically correct or follow the culture.  Refuse to use the redefined words the culture comes up with.  Tell things like they are; stop the pronouns! 
  1. Ignore anyone who calls you names such as conspiracy theorist, or whatever “-ist” or “-phobe” words the culture comes up with that are currently fashionable. 
  1. Support churches that aren’t following the culture.  These are getting harder to find.  Such as the ones that stayed open or didn’t bother you if you didn’t wear a mask during the pandemic.  Go into the ministry and follow God’s truth refusing to give in to the evils of the culture. 
  1. Speak with your dollar and shop less, or not at all, at businesses and entertainment venues that censor and support the woke agenda such as Amazon, Target, Disney, NFL, and many more.  There is a popular saying, “Go woke, go broke.”  Make sure of it.  I just came across the website publicsq.com where you can find businesses that support freedom, truth, the Constitution, and the family.
  1. Get off social media that censors and does not value freedom of speech, like Facebook.  There are alternatives starting up all the time such as Rumble, Gab, Telegram and Truth Social. I recently came across Godtube.com which has a variety of positive videos as an alternative to Youtube.
  1. Volunteer during elections.  We must make sure our elections are safe and secure, which they are not.  Support and protect the U.S. Constitution.  Vote for candidates that value life (the few there are).  Or run for office.
  1. Join your school boards.  Consider homeschooling or a faithful private school.  I went back to work and took my youngest out of the public school system when boys in the girls bathroom and locker rooms became an issue I was not willing to compromise on.
  1. Consider going to college to study history, political science, education or law and really make a commitment to fight the culture and woke agenda fearlessly. Hillsdale College in Michigan is one such place. They even have resources for K-12 classical education on their website. Join campus groups like a chapter of Turning Point USA and get involved.
  1. Form your own businesses, groups, websites, blogs, or become active in those that are leading the way. 
  1. Learn to grow your own food and become more self-sufficient.  Create new ways and systems of doing things like alternative health care and education.  Anything that won’t rely on government funding.
  1. And lastly, never become intimidated or apologize for the truth.

It is necessary to know your enemy before going into battle.  Our enemy is Satan and all his works.  He will try to silence us, have us back down, make us feel hopeless and give up.  Don’t let him!!  Put on your spiritual armor!

Chapter 6 in Ephesians continues: 

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground…. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all of this, take up the shield of faith…. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (verses 13-17, NIV)

The battle belongs to the Lord.  He will take care of things or issue punishment where it is deserved. Christ will triumph in the end.  But we must be aware that our actions and the seeds we sow today can save ourselves and future generations a lot of suffering tomorrow.  

The battle belongs to the Lord.  The victory is won.  But He calls us to take up the fight.

More Resources:

The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

no reason to hide by Erwin W. Lutzer

https://nypost.com/2021/01/31/10-ways-to-fight-back-against-woke-culture/

https://www.ourcatholicprayers.com/the-saint-michael-prayer.html

Interview with Eric Metaxas on Daystar.tv: https://daystar.tv/player/33568/528934

Nothing Else

I just want to lay at Your feet
and absorb Your love, O Lord
for I am weary of this world
and long to find rest
in You. 
   
                                                                                                 12-21-2022 WordNerd                            

That is the cry of my heart.  At least it was during Christmastime when life was busy and filled with visiting children and a dog.  My previous, fairly solitudinous life, shattered for a while.

However, that longing has been fairly constant for me regardless of busyness.  What is the cry of our heart?  Humans throughout the ages wrestle with this.  A yearning for something better, something more perfect, that which completes us.

Sometimes I am just so sick of this world and all the evil in it and what seems to be so few willing to fight for what is right, no matter the cost.  I can relate to St. Faustina’s words in her Diary, entry 867, “O Jesus, what a dreadful wilderness this life seems to me!  There is no nourishment for either my heart or my soul.  I suffer because of my longing for You, O Lord.”

In all of this mental and spiritual anguish, I come to realize that nothing else really matters but Jesus.  Eternal life is the reward I seek and everything else pales in comparison.  That is often my reality even though it may sound depressing to some. 

It’s difficult to describe, but sometimes it is as if everything dims and fades and swirls into a blur around me and there’s only Jesus.  Kind of like the swirling galaxy in the photo above.

Nothing in this world seems to really matter because our life on earth is temporary.  Each one of us is a tiny speck in time.  Everything is changing.  Everything will pass away.  But it will be okay because….Jesus.  What else in this world can give the same depth of contentment?

So in the meantime, this is our temporary home and we are just visitors passing through and all the earthly stuff of our lives is being crammed into a weathered suitcase, about to burst, which we won’t even need in the life to come.  But I am consoled because God will triumph in the end.

“There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator made known through Jesus.”  Wise words attributed to Blaise Pascal.

This Lent, and every day, perhaps we can come to better know this Jesus.

We can go before the cross and lay down our stuff, throw down our vices, read the Bible to learn who Jesus is, receive the Sacraments, and most importantly, just take time to lay at His feet and absorb His infinite mercy and love.  Because in Him we live…eternally.  There is nothing else.

Magnet of God

Have you ever experienced the “magnet of God”?  What is that, you might wonder?

One day I hadn’t planned to go to weekday Mass at the Catholic Church, when I started to feel what I refer to as the “Magnet of God”—a strong, supernatural pull to go.  This is just one small example of the many ways God draws us to Himself.

This particular day turned out to be the Feast of the Sacred Heart, which shame on me, I was not aware of.  But the priest said something that caught my attention.  He said, “I thank God for God loving me to Himself.”  I thought, ah-ha, he is referring to the magnet of God!  The very same thing that drew me there that day.

Of course I have the choice to ignore these promptings, and I have also experienced the opposite sort of pull, just as there are two poles, but nevertheless, there was a continuous gnawing in my Spirit begging for attention.  It was God Himself drawing me.

Many years ago I was in Fairbanks, Alaska. That year there was high magnetic activity in that location.  (I’m sure I don’t have the correct scientific explanation.)  But the point is I still remember feeling off, like something magnetic was pulling at me.  I had never felt that before.

I also learned various animals, such as birds, feel this magnetic pull of the universe.  It helps them with migration. 

Nothing God has created is accidental.  I am completely awestruck at how God’s design of the universe mirrors His relationship with us!  I think it’s quite overwhelming that God has created the universe with this magnetic force and it’s as if He uses it to draw us in.  It shows the vastness and immensity of a humongous God, beyond all human comprehension.  I am humbled and honored this God draws me in.

So be thankful and awed that this immense God of the universe is loving you to Himself.  He is our True North.  Keep your heart open to feeling the magnetic pull of God as you go about your days.  For He is always waiting for you.  He is always pulling for you.  He is always drawing you to Himself.  All you have to do is notice and respond.

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” 

James 4:8

Does Prayer Change Things?

Have you ever prayed for something for years?  Were your prayers answered?  Were they answered the way you hoped?

There is a popular saying — Prayer Changes Things.  Does it? 

St. Monica, a patron saint of mothers, prayed for her son to turn from his ungodly lifestyle for 17 years.  He turned out to be the influential St. Augustine who has impacted millions throughout the ages and is the author of numerous written works.  Not all stories end this well, but nevertheless, it speaks to perseverance in prayer and a mother’s love.

Then there was Sarah in the Old Testament (Genesis 17:15-19) who was barren and well past child-bearing years.  God promised her a child but in her impatience, she made some mistakes along the way.  Then at God’s appointed time, it miraculously happened, despite all odds.  

This gives us hope for perseverance in prayer.  If it’s in God’s will, nothing will stop it.

I have had occasions where it has taken years for a specific prayer to be answered–for a mate, for a child and so on.  When I fervently persevered in prayer for a child, I got triplets.  God has a funny sense of humor.  Mother Teresa said, “More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones.”  Keep that in mind.  Be careful what you pray for.

Yet what do we do when the years roll by and our prayers aren’t answered in a timely way or as we would hope?  This is when we need to consider the journey.  Prayer is not just about asking, it’s about relationship, a relationship with our Creator.  We can ponder:  What have we learned on this journey?  How has this period of waiting changed us?

  • We learn patience for one thing.
  • We learn to trust God’s plan and timing.  (as if we have a choice!)
  • We grow closer to God by spending more time with Him.
  • We increase our faith. 
  • We learn to keep trudging along and come to realize all the other blessings in our life we continue to have, as well as receive, while we wait.     
  • We learn an openness and receptiveness to whatever God may have for us.  It could be something we didn’t even expect or light years better than what we could have hoped.

Sometimes, we need to just pray for the strength to get through whatever our trial is, which can then change our attitude and ability to cope, if not the situation itself.  So we gain an acceptance of the situation.  Thy will be done, all the while learning to cast our cares upon Him.

 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11

We trust that God loves us and knows what we need.  Proverbs 3:5 tells us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”   God sees the future we cannot see.  He has the blueprints.

And this is just on a personal level.  What about the bigger picture?  People throughout the ages have had to pray for years, often decades, for their country to return to freedom or more recently, for Roe v. Wade to be overturned.  

Some of these world issues require the prayers of a great many people over a large span of time and most of them will not even live to see the fruits of their efforts.  But it must be done, to improve all of our lives and to save the future of humanity.  We must have faith that prayer, does indeed, change things. 

In the end, we will be strengthened from our journey through perseverance in prayer. We will become what God is molding us to be through His plan and purpose for us.  He does not wish to do us harm but desires for us to grow and strengthen our relationship with Him. At times that means He has to put us through trials and waiting so that we can learn valuable lessons. Just as a loving father teaches his children and gives them what they need, yet does not always give them everything they want.  Ultimately, we learn that if we cling to the God who made us and persevere, in the end, prayer does change things!

“Do not be troubled if you do not receive from God immediately what you ask Him; for he desires to do something even greater for you, while you cling to him in prayer.” 

Evagrius Ponticus

God Will Make a Way – 7 Scriptures

One example from my own life where God unexpectedly made a way, was when churches in my area had caved in to government tyranny in the spring of 2020 and went on lock down (for shame!!)  I had not been able to receive Holy Communion for months. You just don’t deny people the Sacraments, no matter what is going on.

That summer we drove to my daughter’s university to move her into her new apartment which happened to be directly across a small parking lot from the campus Catholic church. I split up from the group to walk over there and check things out. 

It so happened mass had just ended and people began flowing out the main door at the top of the hill.  I watched timidly from a lower, grassy hill which was near a bottom level church door.  Suddenly, for seemingly no particular reason, a young priest came out the door not too far from where I was standing.

He was wearing green vestments, and walked over to me and said hello and asked me if I had come for the ice cream after mass.  We got to talking and I explained that where I was from I was not able to go to church or receive Holy Communion for months.

He then graciously asked if I would like to receive Communion.  We went inside and just around the corner was the tabernacle in the church and I received Jesus!  Privately, just me!  This was a first.  What timing that I happened to run into him!

It was then that I realized it was Jesus standing on that hill greeting me through the priest, and offering me Himself.  It felt like a miracle!  I was finally being fed after starving!  (And yes, I did end up getting ice cream besides, which happens to be my favorite food!)

I discovered the priest had just been ordained 3 weeks prior and he was better at feeding his sheep than most of the priests back home who couldn’t seem to figure out they needed to feed their sheep, no matter what the cost.  A good father feeds his children.

Needless to say, I was rather ecstatic for a couple of days, continually rambling on how I was found and fed by Jesus Himself.  I’m sure I was driving everyone crazy, but that’s okay because maybe I planted some seeds since my daughter and her roommate were going to have to stare at that church building from their apartment window for the next year.  

Jesus came to me 500 miles from home when I least expected it and needed Him so desperately!  He made a way for me that day on that grassy hill, a spot which is now permanently etched into my memory. If Jesus can find me and feed me so far from home, I have no doubt He is always with me no matter where I am or whatever the circumstance.

Maybe you can remember times where God has made a way for you.  It can serve as encouragement the next time things seem impossible.  Following are a few Bible verses to encourage all of us along the road.

 7 Bible Verses Where God Makes a Way

  1. Luke 1:37  For nothing will be impossible with God.
  2. Exodus 14:21-22  Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord drove back the sea with a strong east wind all night long and turned the sea into dry ground.  The waters were split, so that the Israelites entered into the midst of the sea on dry land, with the water as a wall to their right and to their left.
  3. Isaiah 43:16  Thus says the Lord, who opens a way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters.
  4. Deuteronomy 31:8  It is the Lord who goes before you; he will be with you and will never fail you or forsake you.  So do not fear or be dismayed.
  5. Proverbs 3:5-6  Trust in the Lord with all Your heart, on your own intelligence do not rely; in all your ways be mindful of Him, and He will make straight your paths.
  6. John 14:6  I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.
  7. Ecclesiastes 3:1  There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens.

God will meet you wherever you are at.  You can expect He will make a way in His perfect timing. Sometimes you may have to wait.  Maybe a few minutes, maybe many years, but He will not forsake you.  He promised.

­­­

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you.

John 14:16-17

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together.  And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were.  Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.   (Acts 2:1-4)

For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.

II Timothy 1:7

Live to Seek God

Remember bookmarkers?  Back in the day when Hallmark shops had a carousel with tasseled words of wisdom?  As a child, I was mesmerized by them.  What profound truths would jump out at me?  I only have a small collection because it was a rare treat to be able to buy one.  Nowadays, if anyone actually reads a physical book, they may use sticky tabs, random scraps of paper, or maybe even a crumpled Kleenex as a bookmark. 

One day during my teen years, my dad happened to give me one of those tasseled bookmarkers.  I was ecstatic!  It said, “Live to seek God and life will not be without God.”  Leo Tolstoy  (tears) My father was not especially religious as far as I could tell, but it was one of the best presents he ever gave me.  It was during the time when I was entertaining the thought of becoming a nun.  I took it as a sign of encouragement, but maybe he was only trying to get out of paying for a daughter’s wedding, as was the custom back then, as well as one of his looming worries.

Live to seek God and life will not be without God, are good words that are just as applicable today as back then.  As I ponder these words with the actual bookmark before me, it echoes the words found in scripture, “When you look for me, you will find me.  Yes, when you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me…”  (Jer. 29:13)  We should never stop seeking God, but how often do we think about God seeking us, His beloved? 

God continually calls us to Himself if we are sensitive enough to hear His voice.  “Know that the Lord is God, He made us, we belong to Him.”  (Psalm 100:3)  Then there is the parable of the one lost sheep (Luke 15:4-7).  Also, “Behold I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will enter his house…”  (Revelation 3:20)  However, God is a gentleman and it is we who have to let Him in. The God of the universe shows us time and again that He actually wants a relationship with us because we are the creatures He made.  We are His works of art.

God obviously and purposefully chooses people for various tasks and reasons.  We see this throughout the Bible.  Jesus chose the twelve disciples and they weren’t the most perfect guys on the planet, and one even turned out to be a traitor.  Why would Jesus choose a traitor if He knew the future?  I guess it goes back to free will and human weakness.  Some choose money— the dark side, the devil and all his empty promises and lies.  We never know what is in God’s plan.  Jesus would also ask people if they were willing to give up everything to follow Him and sadly, many said no, so we do have to reciprocate.  It’s a two-way street.

If Christ seeks us out and chooses us, does that make some of us more special or favored than others?  What happens to everyone else?  Isn’t God’s love for everyone?  I finally began reading the book, Story of a Soul, The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux that has been collecting dust in my house for years.  I am only as far as the first chapter, but she muses about some of the same things I do.  She writes, “I wondered for a long time why God has preferences, why all souls don’t receive an equal amount of graces.  I was surprised when I saw Him shower His extraordinary favors on saints who had offended Him, for instance, St. Paul and St. Augustine…….”  “I wondered why poor savages died in great numbers without even having heard the name of God pronounced.”  So what about those “savages” St. Therese speaks of?  Did God really forget about them?

I think it comes down to being open to hearing God’s call and then seeking Him in return.  It’s a sort of dance, a weaving back and forth between us seeking God, our creator, and Him desiring us.  Like a bride and bridegroom.  Christ refers to the church as His bride in the Bible.  Another great saint, Teresa of Avila says, “Christ does not force our will, He takes only what we give him.  But He does not give Himself entirely until He sees that we yield ourselves entirely to Him.”  That’s quite a challenge!

Sometimes I also wonder if maybe God “edits” His work, like when we write or create art or music.  Usually we edit for the purpose of making improvements.  Obviously we all need growth and improvement.  History has shown God often chooses the most unlikely characters to do his work, so being perfect or the best is not a prerequisite.  “Consider your own calling, brothers.  Not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.  Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong…..so that no human being might boast before God.”  (I Corin. 1:26-29)  This should make us feel a bit better and less like we have to compete with the saints of old.  God will mold all of us into something more beautiful over time and for His glory if we let Him.  We are all saints in our own way.

I think St. Therese of Lisieux sums it up beautifully, “Just as the sun shines down simultaneously on the tall cedars and on each little flower as though it were alone on the earth, so Our Lord is occupied particularly with each soul as though there were no others like it.”  We are all special in His sight if we heed the voice of our Beloved.

I am humbled and deeply grateful that I have heard God’s voice and consider myself among God’s chosen ones, even if I don’t always live up to His call.  Let us seek God and be sensitive to when He is knocking at the door of our heart and say a resounding “yes” to Him as He pursues us.  Even if no earthly person cared for us, our Creator and the Lover of our Soul will always be there, waiting for us and welcoming us to Himself.  Live to seek God and your life will not be without God!

(All this from a bookmarker, truly they do impart words of wisdom!)

Prayer of Unknowing

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following Your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that, if I do this, You will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust You always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for You are ever with me, and You will never leave me to face my perils alone. Amen

Thomas Merton

Take No Offense

One problem with all of this is that it promotes victim mentality.  They are the victims and the other person or group is the perpetrator.  This can also be seen in our government, justice system and even churches.  It also prevents kids from growing up and makes them less able to solve problems in the real world.  Playing the victim becomes an easy way out of responsibility and a way to gain attention, or get what you want.  It can also foster moral superiority.   

Of course sometimes a person truly is a victim of a crime or abuse, but I’m not talking about physical safety here, which every human being deserves at all times.  Obviously no one should be throwing “sticks or stones”, or even worse, at anyone.  And students with real and serious mental health issues should definitely seek help.  But a lot of this is sheer nonsense.  Things have gone too far.  Everyone is offended with everything.  It has become a way to control how others think, speak, act and feel.  This is NOT appropriate. 

Unfortunately, universities pay staff excessive salaries to promote this kind of garbage and more.  They encourage the notion that any discomfort cannot be tolerated, yet life is uncomfortable sometimes.  Growing into an adult isn’t all fun and games, there is some pain involved.  Pain and discomfort is necessary for growth, and that goes for all of us.

College is supposed to be about learning, about interacting with all kinds of other viewpoints, about preparing for your future career.  Thinking, discussing, debating helps you learn and grow.  It helps you understand where someone else is coming from, and perhaps even results in reformulating your own opinions.  It is NOT to demand that everyone should think and speak the same way or according to some current cultural agenda.  Freedom of speech must be protected at all costs, even if it makes some uncomfortable.

Instead of arming kids with confidence to go out into the world and slay the giants, they are taught the giants are trying to slay them! However, isn’t that what the current cultural agenda wants?  To create as many weak, dependent, unquestioning followers because then they can be controlled.  Dumb the kids down and make them weaker, not stronger, all in the name of some delusion of equity.  

So where has sanity gone?  Is it hiding in the cry room??  I don’t think so. The Bible states, “And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.  Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.  And because lawlessness will abound the love of many will grow cold.  But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”  (Matt. 24:10-13 NKJV)  

It’s not just the college kids that get offended either.  I see plenty of adults who get offended at the slightest thing.  Either adults are getting touchier or maybe they are learning the wrong things from their offspring.  Whatever happened to turn the other cheek, kill them with kindness, forgiveness, telling someone calmly how you feel, or just ignoring someone or walking away if you are offended or don’t like something?

We can all benefit from being less touchy.  Certainly we can always try to fine-tune our behavior, treat everyone with respect, love your neighbor as yourself, be kinder, but victim mentality has become all too common everywhere you look, and it’s doing far more harm than good.

So if you are offended by this article, perhaps you need to go find a safe space or cry room and let the rest of society live their lives, the good, the bad and the ugly, the insults, wounds and bruises.  Because that is how we all learn and grow, and even heal. Not by playing the victim or hiding in a cry closet.   

Personally, I’d rather run into the loving arms of Jesus as my safe space.  How about you?       


You will learn a lot about what is going on these days. Choose wisely!

Life is Like Laundry

I bought a sign for my laundry area at the dollar store recently that reads, “Laundry, sorting out life one load at a time.”  It just spoke to me so I didn’t think twice about grabbing it.  Words of wisdom found at the dollar store!  Hooray!  Laundry truly is a lot like life, isn’t it?  

Don’t we all have many loads at a time to deal with, whether it be laundry or life’s burdens? Don’t we sometimes feel like “throwing in the towel”? (Which would just create more laundry.)

Perhaps sometimes we feel like we are on the spin cycle.  Everything is too much.  We feel like we are getting tossed about, everything moving too fast.  Our lives and minds spinning out of control.  Where is the stop button??  Pull out the plug! 

We have all had times like that.  I feel dizzy just thinking about it.

In life, as with laundry, we have to sort things out.  There are decisions to be made.  Big things like where to work, where to live, how to treat an illness, as well as all the little things on our to-do list, such as what to make for dinner.  So it is with laundry, we must sort the colors or they bleed and we end up with a big, ugly mess, a heap of ruin.  Not looking at all like what we had wanted or hoped.

Mom Moment when
college kids return
home for Christmas.

We wash one load at a time and then it is clean (and maybe put away) but there will always be another load to take its place.  One thing you can be sure of, laundry is certain to pile up again, a healthy sign of life lived.  Laundry doesn’t disappoint, it always returns, like a dear and loyal friend. 

My son played baseball for many years.  I would dread washing his baseball uniform as there were always grass stains to deal with.  I had to find the right stain remover and scrub and scrub and hope for the best.  Life, too, will stain us.  We need to try to scrub away our bad habits and failings. As humans, we all carry the stain of sin.  But Jesus, our Savior, has bled for us and will wash us clean if we ask.  “If we acknowledge our sins, He is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrong-doing.”  (I John 1:9)

Picture the laundry rinse cycle or standing in a refreshing downpour, drenching us and cleansing us.  I have a Precious Moments picture I stitched in my bathroom that says, “He cleansed my soul”.   O how sweet it is.  “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.  Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.”  (Psalm 51:1-2)  Also words the priest prays during Catholic mass.

Laundry also has to get hung up or dried.  Life often hangs us up. Time passes, clothes become out of style or worn and so do we.  We get wrinkled, physically and figuratively.  We may have to iron out the wrinkles now and then.  Hopefully we won’t get put away like the clothes, or left in a forgotten heap.  

Personally, I don’t mind doing laundry.  Menial tasks are the stuff of ordinary life with their own rhythm and flow.  Plus they are great procrastination tools.   Nothing like vacuuming when I am putting off something else.  But I must admit I was glad when all of my kids were away at college doing their own laundry.  Sorting out the fabric and colors of their own lives.  It is no longer my job. 

In doing a bit of research on laundry, I came across a business called “Life Without Laundry”.   At the top of the website they ask, “Can you imagine a Life Without Laundry?” and then they list services for pick up, delivery, etc. so that you don’t ever have to do your own laundry.

My answer to that is “no thank you”!  I can’t imagine a life without laundry. 

I prefer not to hand over my dirty laundry to someone else.  I will deal with my own loads and relish every minute.  The dirty and the clean.  The wet and the wrinkled.  It is part of my cleansing journey.  It is my load to carry and mine alone.  No one else knows how to sort out the fabric of my life. 

So my advice is to appreciate those loads of laundry piling up, for you never know what treasures you may find.  People have been known to find money in their pockets they have forgotten about. My son once got a new phone because I washed and ruined the one he left in his pants pocket!

I think I will go hunt down some laundry now!  What about you?


Here’s a snippet of inspo I found along the way:

https://www.loyolapress.com/catholic-resources/liturgical-year/lent/ash-wednesday/life-laundry/

Wait!  There’s more!  Here are some tips for your laundry day pleasure!

https://tide.com/en-us/how-to-wash-clothes/how-to-remove-stains

https://assets.ctfassets.net/ajjw8wywicb3/1nid5bL6SmTJiy0ACpJZ9c/66ab4c2f45f25d8e5171c90205f79cb0/Tide-Your-Guide-to-Decoding-Laundry-Symbols.pdf

Time to Laugh or Cry?

I’m not a Jolly Jane when I wake up in the morning.  All my problems and worries immediately come flooding into my brain. Or, I am angrily awakened by neighborhood noise such as garbage trucks, landscapers, or birds chirping in the nest they decided to build right outside my bedroom window.  My sentiment is frequently something like: Ugh, another depressing day on planet earth.  I didn’t ask to be here.

I tend to lean negative so I doubt I will ever be one of those people who excitedly jumps out of bed ready to greet a new day. I guess I can’t help but see reality.  A teacher I would share my woes with in high school would tell me, “Life isn’t always a bowl of cherries, sometimes it’s the pits!”  Exactly.  I don’t like to sugar-coat things. 

Growing up, I was influenced, albeit a little too much, by my grandmother who repeatedly warned in German, “After laughing comes crying!”  (Nach dem Lachen kommt das Weinen.)  In other words, don’t get too happy because something bad is right around the corner to steal your joy.  As if being a punishment for daring to be happy.  I suppose this is understandable from someone who had a difficult life and survived World War I and II.

This kind of thinking does paralyze a person and sometimes prevents them from getting things done.  It also makes for stressful vacations.

“Be sober and vigilant.  Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 
1 Peter 5:8

Many years ago, someone suggested I flip the words in my grandmother’s saying to “After crying comes laughing”.  I was stunned.  I never thought of that!  Yet at the same time, I was also kind of angry.  That’s not how the saying goes! 

Maybe I wasn’t ready to hear that back then.  That one phrase was so ingrained in me and had taken over my life for so long.  It takes a lot of concerted effort to change thoughts and habits we have had for years.  I think I only recently made the connection that there is a Bible verse that is the exact opposite of my grandmother’s words!  “Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.” (Psalm 126:5)  It’s amazing!  Can it actually work the other way around?

I am further reminded of the man in the Bible that was healed at the pool of Bethesda.  He had been sick for 38 years.  He sure was stuck in his situation.  Jesus approached him and asked him, “Do you want to be healed”?  The man replied by saying he couldn’t get his mat into the healing waters and that there was no one to help him, but he did want to be healed.  (John 5:1-15)          

Maybe you are stuck in a bad job, a bad relationship, or have a chronic illness.  Whatever it is, there are many reasons that can keep us “sick” or stuck.  We must ask ourselves:  Do we want to get well?  Do we want things to change?  At what cost?  It may not just be due to a lack of courage or laziness.  Is our “sickness” serving some purpose or benefit?  

If we do want to be healed, we must “pick up our mat” as Jesus instructed the man at the pool of Bethesda.  Getting up and walking, is the first step on the journey to recovery or change.  It’s not always easy or instant, but it is possible.

Ironically, I wrote much of this article before I got out of bed one morning and when I went downstairs my husband greeted me in a jollier than usual mood with “Life is good.  You will be having a fantastic breakfast I am going to make for you.”  Seemed like one of those God coincidences to me.  Something horrible doesn’t always have to be around the corner. Maybe we can just enjoy life.

Jesus offers us healing for our bodies and our souls.  Do we want to laugh again after crying?  Do we want to reap joy after sorrow? Jesus asks all of us, “Do you want to be healed?

Sacred Space

Heart

O Sacred space

Fill up with Love

Gratitude and Grace.

Expect,

Hope,

As a mother with child

Birth a miracle

and treasure the present

steeped in Mystery

Breathe in deeply each day

Life,

Abundance,

Joy,

until harmony unfolds.

Find rest

and healing in the power of

Divine, enter my heart

my Sacred space.

— Word Nerd

A Psalm

I am a prisoner of my mind
It accuses me all the day long.
It insults me, betrays me.
My mind assaults me as I sleep
It shows me no mercy.
There is no escape, no matter
how far or fast I run.
Fear and worry stand on either side of me
They grasp my hands tightly and walk with me.
Together we wait for tragedy to strike
The ultimate of which is death.
Will it be death to my self -- letting my mind reign?
Or will it be death to the demons fear and worry - crushing the
prison of my mind once and for all?
At this time I do not know
It is a constant battle.
My mind is the communist -- will it ever
find freedom?

-- Word Nerd, 12/8/1989

MUSINGS of a HIGH SCHOOL POET in the 1970’s

Each of Us
is a gift
whether we like it 
or not
depends upon
the extent 
of a process
called
unwrapping.
                                                     
                                         -1976

Thoughts flow within me
Like an endless stream
Drifting past the forest pines
Touching the very heart of my soul
Revealing my innermost dreams
Making me free as a butterfly.
My thoughts dance to the music
                          of the wind in the trees
                          the songs of the birds
                          and the roar of waterfalls.

Suddenly -- a storm crashes through
Blocking out my peace with broken
Dreams thundering inside me,
Haunting memories flashing past like lightning
Tears are raining upon my
Peaceful, happy thoughts.
The stream is now a broken mirror
                           reflecting shattered images
                           broken promises
                           and a broken self.

I hear music........
My soul is filling with harmony
After each storm I gain new meaning and expression
Yet my innermost dreams are still clinging
While my rainbow of thoughts stretches
Through my soul and beyond
Glowing radiantly until --
                            I burst
                            and feel
                            and can be
                                  The inner me.

— Word Nerd, 1976

Season Revelation

Nature speaks
              softly
                    slowly
Thru
        growth of stemmed treasure
        strength found in newborn deer

Producing a Word.

Nature speaks
               softly 
                     slowly
Thru
        graceful movement of gentle waters
        greenery of a woodland

Producing a sentence.

Nature speaks
              softly
                      slowly
Thru
        shedding of multi-colored tears
        disappearance of earth's fine friends

Producing a paragraph.

Nature speaks
             softly
                     slowly
Thru
        sparkling white flakes
        ice hard as stone

Has man failed to read?


                                                              ---1976   Word Nerd



     


                    
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