steeped in love ☕️

I think it’s safe to say that most of us experience desert like conditions in our prayer life! Perhaps our prayers seem insincere or maybe we have no desire to enter prayer because we feel lost, empty or confused.

That’s pretty much where I found myself today during my prayer time. After a lot of non prayer related thinking and worrying -I tried to actively receive the love of the Lord. Father Larry Richards gave a talk in a virtual conference a few weeks ago, and he mentioned how crucial it is to let ourselves be held and loved by Jesus. That talk and his words have really stayed with me and came back to my mind in prayer today.

So after finally letting go and just focusing on the love of Christ- I had this beautiful image. It was a very simple cup of tea. The tea bag was released into the hot water, and slowly the water was changed into a beautiful rich brown, full of flavour and depth.

Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

It seems to me that we could be likened to this bag of tea. We are called to steep in the waters of the love of Christ; in his warm, constant and life giving presence. Christ gives us this daily invitation to accept, receive and steep in his constant, perfect and all fulfilling love. What could be more wonderful?

spiritual seasons.

Hi!

I realized something today. I will never be one of those scheduled blogging types, managing to faithfully post each week… it feels like forever since I’ve written. Sorry for the delay!

There has been a LOT happening in the past few months, because were moving back to CANADA! Back to the land of my ancestors, the land of maple syrup, the land of my childhood. It is a very blessed and beautiful time in my life right now, with so many things (big & small) falling into place. It feels great.

Over the past two years, I didn’t say “things are falling into place” very often. It actually felt like I was constantly faced with one obstacle after the other. Instead of doors opening, doors were slamming. Instead of prayers being answered quickly, waiting was required. Instead of joy overflowing, despair was creeping in.

raining in the city

Photo by Josh Hild on Pexels.com

I am starting to learn that indeed, there are seasons of the spiritual life. I’m sure there are Saints or theologians who have expressed a similar concept with much greater eloquence… but this is how I have felt the “seasons” lately:

Spring Season– many moments of consolation, growing in the spiritual life, feeling the rays of the Son.

Summer Season; mostly moments of consolation, everything seems to be in bloom, constantly basking in the presence of the Son.

Fall Season– moments of consolation & desolation, lots of change in the spiritual life, seeing yourself/world/God in new “colours”.

Winter Season- primarily moments of desolation, feeling cold and far from the rays of the  Son, faith/spiritual life feeling bleak/grey.

So, whatever season you find yourself in right now, if you can, thank the Lord and remember it won’t last forever! That is sooo much easier said than done. I spent the past two years in pretty wintery conditions… and I definitely wasn’t always praising the Lord for my moments of desolation. But sometimes it takes someone who is in a slightly  “warmer” season, to remind you that you are not alone, it won’t be like this forever, God is faithful, God is working in your life, and the grey skies will turn to blue.

photo lavender flower field under pink sky

Photo by David Bartus on Pexels.com

May God continue to bless and strengthen us as we battle through the spiritual seasons of life. Let’s continue to pray for each other, that we do not take the moments of consolation for granted, or waste the precious moments of suffering.

You are loved! God bless!

letting go: the sweet life.

“None of the thoughts that render us anxious, and agitated in spirit in any way comes from God, who is the Prince is Peace…” (St. Frances De Sales)

This morning while reading Searching for and Maintaining Peace (Fr. Jacques Philippe), I came across a quote from St. Frances De Sales. I find this seemingly simple and perhaps even obvious statement, so rich and compelling. These words invite me to honestly reflect on the kinds of emotions and reactions that dominate my life. Are they anxieties, fears, agitations and doubts? Or are they ones of hope, peace and trust?

I chose to write about this today because I know that I am not alone in this battle of positivity vs. negativity and ultimately of good vs. evil. We are ALL struggling, at varying degrees, with the pressure, stress and demands of “life”. It seems that now more than ever, people are crumbling under the often crippling demands to be perfect, powerful,  rich, put together, successful and flawless.

IMG_0781.JPG

* God speaks to me in analogies… even if they are seats on the train hehe *  This image spoke to me of the redemption and newness that comes from God. He takes us when we feel dull, faded and used, and transforms us into something beautiful again!

Even as I write this, it seems a bit crazy and naive of us to fall into this trap. But when it’s our own lives, careers, relationships and life choices… things can become a bit blurry. We often find ourselves putting unrealistic expectations on our shoulders and fighting back feelings of failure, shame or regret when we fall short.

The good news is, we are not destined to stay in these low and often dark places. It’s not something we can just wish away, and for some of us, this journey is going to require more work and care than others, but there is always hope.

IMG_0790.JPG

The sweet life!

As the quote above says, God is the Prince of Peace and therefore with Him comes a peace that no one can destroy. God isn’t some magician who just takes away every hardship in our lives… but he gives a different and deeper kind of peace. I think this quote says it best:

“Peace is not the absence of something, but the presence of Someone” (unknown)

I pray that all of us can enter into the deep peace that is of Christ. That we find solace and hope in He who is the Prince of Peace. Let’s pray for each other, that we can let go of the anxieties and agitations that try to hold us back from freedom, joy and peace! Perhaps a little piece of cake and tea is just the perfect place to start?!

past the facade

It’s wise not to judge,

What we see from another,

Their faults and their flaws,

Perhaps merely a cover.

Of crosses they bear,

Heavy burdens that they hold,

Things they can’t control,

Many stories left untold.

May our hearts grow soft,

As we look at each other,

Showing tenderness,

In the lives of our brother.

monochrome photo of city during daytime

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Pexels.com

 

 

 

 

 

the very bad, terrible, no good day.

Is it just me, or does it seem like a lot of people right now are going through a hard time?

It’s like that kids book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst on repeat. Ugh. And while this Alexander kid in the story had a pretty rough go, I feel like the adult version can be a lot more bleak. Sometimes I just wish it was gum in my hair, no toy in my cereal, or no one liking my painting in class…

I can name quite a few people in my own circle (me included), who just seem to be handed a very crappy set of cards these days. Whether it’s external circumstances, or things in their inner life being brought up, they are swimming upstream.

adult art conceptual dark

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Sometimes it’s really a fight to stay positive, focus on the good, and resist the temptation to despair or give in to the unhappiness. I read a blog today and she posted one of my favorite bible verses!  I really needed to read it today. I think it’s worth keeping in our hearts, especially in these troubling times.

 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect”- Romans 12:2

Yessss! We are not to be conformed to this world. The world right now is preaching a lot of stuff that can lead us astray. Money will bring happiness, the rich and famous are more happy, perfection looks like a beauty blogger with the perfect body, you need to have impressive material goods to show off on your Instagram account, life is about cool holidays and eating fun food and documenting them on social media.

Don’t get me wrong, some of these things in and of themselves are great; taking care of our bodies, enjoying traveling (which I love to do!), and celebrating the gifts God has given us through food and experiences. But so often these things become the ultimate goal.

However, God calls us to renew our minds, to discern with Him, what is good and acceptable and perfect! The joys that He has to offer are so much greater than any mega yaht, beach body smoothie mix, perfect instagram worthy scene and amount of money sitting in our bank accounts.

God wants our ultimate HAPPINESS and that is found in Him alone. Even as I write this, I am not necessarily “feeling” completely happy in Him. But I also know that this is true despite any feelings I might have. Even in these darker seasons, God is still rooting for our happiness. It might not come with bright snazzy lights, and warm fuzzies, but it’s going to be a beautiful final product. I guess were like that clay that the Potter is working on. It might be messy, unclear, and a little bit uncomfortable as things are moved around, but that final masterpiece is going to be worth saving and treasuring!

red lighted candle

Photo by icon0.com on Pexels.com

So if you find yourself a little like Alexander on your no good, terrible, horrible, bad day; its alright! Seasons come and they GO, and your not alone. Right around you is someone else who is suffering, working through stuff, and figuring out life just like you. Pray for them, and they can pray for you! Let’s continue to renew our minds in the truth that is of God and His Kingdom!

 

He is good, you are loved

The Holy Spirit can move in the most small and wonderful ways sometimes. It’s been a really tough few days, with lots of things coming up and trying to steal my joy.  But randomly, during my morning jog today I looked down at my pointer finger and gazed on it’s print. I reminded myself that this finger print is one of a kind, non-repeatable, and uniquely mine. It’s simply there as a sign that my Father has chosen me and loves me.

A little later,  I needed to listen to some praise songs to lift my soul. It was a new song that I hadn’t heard before, but I decided to give it a try. The first lyrics were:

“Through your story is My fingerprint” 

Cool hey!? I guess God wanted to continue speaking through this theme of finger prints & identity. God will use even the smallest of things to speak His truth to us. We are apart of His story, and He apart of ours. He wants to speak love, truth, and joy into our hearts!

person s left hand

Photo by Isandréa Carla on Pexels.com

For anyone struggling right now, finding themselves in a dark place, finding it hard to remain motivated, feeling lost or unable to pray, take a moment to listen to this song:

Good & Loved- Travis Greene & Steffany Gretzinger

This song is upbeat, truthful and inspiring. I just felt that they could praise with the words I couldn’t say, and they helped raise my spirit to a higher place. Sometimes when we can’t do it ourself, we need to let someone else do it.

So today, I want to pass along the message that God spoke into my heart. He wants you to know, wherever you are, and however you are feeling in this moment:

YOU ARE LOVED.

You have a Heavenly Father who crafted and formed you in your mothers womb (Pslam 139:14). He has never left you, nor will he ever leave you. No matter what we have done, no matter how far we have walked away, he is loving us with an incomprehensible love. For those times that it doesn’t feel like it, just look down at your fingerprint. There is only one of you in the world, carrying those precious fingerprints, and that is not an accident.

God bless xxx

 

Chained to our Choice.

In light of the recent abortion laws passed in New York, I find myself struggling with how to react. With an angry, devastated, and confused heart, I bring my prayers to the Lord and his Blessed Mother- asking that they change the hearts of stone, into hearts of flesh.

 

We’re free to choose, yet

Chained to our choices.

Nothing to loose, but

Can’t shake the voices.

With pink lights aglow,

The papers all signed,

Smiles on their faces,

 To kill humankind.

Does freedom now reign,

In body and soul?

Women empowered,

And made to be whole?

Our hearts are aching,

So we ask and pray,

That your will be done,

And all find their way.

 

adorable baby baby feet beautiful

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back to Basics

For the past few months, I have been attending weekly speech therapy to help with my very problematic (and painful) jaw. I am required to re-learn a “correct swallowing pattern”. Yup- you heard that right. I have to learn to swallow again! Apparently, I have been doing that wrong for quite some time. When I first heard the orthodontist tell me that, I wanted to burst out laughing. I had no idea that people, let alone adults, could have to learn such a fundamental body process. Needless to say, it has been an eye opening, or should I say mouth opening, process!  Once I have mastered this technique, there will be significantly less stress on my jaw, resulting in less pain ( yahooo).

red and white mouth plastic toy and food plastic toys

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

I am probably the oldest client there by 10-15 years. I have only seen children or young adults in the waiting room. The funniest thing is, that once I begin therapy, I actually feel like a child again. Whether its making crazy faces while trying an exercise for my tongue or lips, playing games, talking into the mirror, or working on my posture… it’s always interesting. I think every time I have therapy, I find myself laughing out loud! At first, I was embarrassed; sticking out my tongue, puckering my lips, reading like I have no teeth. But the more I attend therapy, the more freeing it becomes.

I have never been a person who liked to stand out, or do crazy things, or be embarrassed in front of anyone. I kind of like to be “put together” and appear to have things “under control”. But speech therapy is teaching me to be more and more free. That doing things that make you feel silly, or being like a child is okay! It can even be really fun. I guess sometimes I get stuck in the responsible adult and practical role… but I want to get better at breaking away from that more often.

dawn sunset beach woman

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It is my sincere hope that I can keep growing in this childlike freedom and JOY! Life is just too short to be over serious, totally stressed, or hopeless. Although life can be complicated ( and mine feels that way right now), I want to take steps toward this freedom feeling. Here is a little list to make some concrete steps in this direction. Perhaps they are something for you to try, too:

  1. Let ourselves loose track of time. Goodbye clocks and phones and schedules. Take time to enjoy our hobbies & loved ones without feeling a time pressure
  2. Laugh. Really Laugh with those around us. For me this can be done with my day care kids and with my husband (sometimes we make “homemade” jokes… that always works)
  3. “Be a Duck”- My mom always encouraged us by using this analogy. To let (the negative) things roll off our backs  like the water rolls off the feathers of the duck. Not to hold on to the 2-3 negative moments, words, experiences of the day.
  4. Count our blessings- Foster a thankful heart that rejoices in the good, beautiful and lovely moment of our day.
  5. Pray- Sometimes we have areas in our lives that are like chains. Parts of our past, or our character that holds us back from being free. God wants to meet us there, and break the chains. He is there to help us, when we can’t do it alone!

let your lips reveal his glory.

Why is it that we are so quick to ask for prayer, but so slow to share about our answered prayers?!  Perhaps its just easier to pray when we suffer? Or maybe when we feel better, we are so quick to resume our ‘regular life’, that we forget to offer prayers of thanksgiving.

This winter I had been very ill and found myself clinging to the prayers of friends and family. Often I did not have the strength or desire to really pray on my own. After a lot of doctor appointments, tears, waiting, google searching and praying, I am feeling back to my good old self. Even a bit better! I owe a lot of the success to the intercession of St. Kateri Tekakwitha (a story for another day). Just a few days ago, I came across Psalm 40 and the following verses stood out to me:

I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the desolate pit, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure…I have told the glad news of deliverance  in the great congregation; see, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O Lord. I have not hidden your saving help within my heart, I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.

I just love this so much! The Psalmist is deeply touched by the saving grace of the Lord, that he finds no other answer but to tell the ‘glad news of deliverance’ and ‘speak of your faithfulness and your salvation’. After reading this verse, I saw so clearly that the Lord wants us to proclaim His mercy ! When he heals us, when he hears us, when he consoles us, when he inspires us, when he sustains us, when he speaks to us! We are called to share of how God works in our lives!

Like the Psalmist, I too must share my thankfulness to the Lord. That even through months of being sick, battling hopelessness, feeling abandoned, the Lord was holding me. This time of suffering was a time to really rest in the arms of my Father. To surrender to my own littleness. I didn’t think I would ever write a blog post like this, because I felt so stuck in that state. But the good news ( for anyone who feels this way), is that it doesn’t last forever. God will answer your prayers. God will bring you comfort. It might be a different timing, or a different style then you expect. But he will act. Let us continue to be like the Psalmist. Proclaiming the great and small wonders of the Lord in our lives!