20 Aug 2014

The world is not a horrible place

The world is not a horrible place, but I can understand why some people might thinks so.
The news has been awful lately.  The execution of James Foley and the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson fills every newscast 24/7.
You can read the rest at Being Catholic ... Really.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux: A model of peace for these troubled times

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” – Matthew 5:9

How do we deal with the violence, war, and conflicts that we face in our world today?  How can we serve as true peacemakers in our 21st century culture?

St. Bernard of Clairvaux, a Cistercian abbot, a contemplative, theologian, and mystic of the twelfth century is an excellent example for us to follow. Due to the numerous schisms which had arisen in the Church during his age, he traveled extensively throughout Europe, restoring peace and unity. Not only did he deal with divisions in the Church, but he also mediated in secular disputes and was sought out as an adviser and an arbitrator by the ruling powers of his era. What was his secret for restoring peace and unity to a troubled world? He was merely a modest monk with no worldly power or possessions. What made him so influential and valuable to others was the fact that he was a man of heroic virtue. Which virtues made him effective as a peacemaker in his environment and which should we strive to imitate today? Let us listen to the voice of St. Bernard Clairvaux, who instructs us in his own words.

Continue reading.

Unbridled Grace by Dr. MIchael Norman, reviewed by Nancy HC Ward

Fresh out of medical school, Dr. Michael Norman answered a 2-line ad for a part-time job three days a week in a medical clinic to supplement his fledging private chiropractic practice in Carrollton. He managed all the medical clients and paperwork and his two bosses handled the office management and business accounts.
After less than two years this young husband and father received a subpoena to testify in a civil lawsuit brought by an insurance company against the two owners who were Taiwanese and Russian. Michael soon discovered their connection with the Russian Mafia. Shockingly, the network of multinational and multimillion dollar illegal businesses of check cashing, money laundering, staged auto accidents and insurance fraud involved hundreds of lawyers, businessmen and criminals. Michael’s signature was not only on all the medical documents but appeared on corporate documents as part owner.
He obediently testified against his employers at the deposition with the insurance company.  He agreed to gather evidence and testify against his employers to help clear his name.  For his cooperation he received a federal subpoena to testify in the hearing of a member of the Russian Mafia. This put him in great danger with the Mafia, but not as great as with the federal agents who soon framed him with a discovery of $300,000 stashed in a self-storage unit close to his own unit and near his private practice. He was further deceived into helping the friendly Secret Service and IRS agents allegedly on his side. They slanted his deposition as a full confession of his involvement in the Mafia crimes and warned him of a forthcoming criminal indictment: The U. S. vs. Michael Norman!

The Visitation in Honor of the Assumption

On the feast of the Assumption, the Gospel was the Visitation. I thought it fitting to share the reflection I wrote for our SND Associates this year: Imagine suddenly becoming pregnant with the Messiah, the Savior of the World. What would you do afterwards? Any ordinary woman would probably seal herself in the house, taking Click to continue

Dynamic Women of the Bible: A Review

Awesome, awesome book! When I received this book from the publisher, it was in a format that I could only read on my computer. Honestly, I blew off reading it for a month because the last thing I wanted to do was read a book on my computer. Three hundred pages? Staring at a computer screen? Please! Once I started, however, I had a hard time stopping. The writing was entertaining and engaging. I was easily able to read all 334 pages on my computer, and thankfully, you won’t have to.

To read more of the review, including an unfortunate warning for Catholic readers, visit True Dignity of Women.

You're Nothing But a Worthless Dog - Gospel Reflections

dog behind a fence
Don't let doubt about who you are or who you were meant to be keep you locked up.
Sunday's Gospel from the Book of Matthew always bothered me. Here you have a woman begging the Lord for help, begging, not for herself, but for the healing of her daughter.

And you have the Lord Jesus ignoring her and then brushing her off with this:
I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
I have read this passage many times and thought, "How hurtful that must have been. How much courage must this woman have had to go to Jesus through the crowd of those so unlike her, those who knew, knew, they were better than her, those who knew they were better because Jesus had even said He had come for them - not for dogs as herself."

And then I'd always wonder with pain in my heart, "Why would Jesus, who is the One who should have understood her pain, brush her off so badly?"

And then that negativity she must have felt from all those pressing in on her would have solidified as she asked again and Jesus' response became even more harsh.
It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.
To read more and to understand the value of self-worth as I understand it and in context with this passage, please go to Single Mom Smiling.

God Bless...

19 Aug 2014

Two Kids' Book Picks: One Light, One Heavy

Since my children's school only assigned a grand total of eighteen books for my six kids to read over the summer, I decided to add a few more unassigned kids' books to my reading list this summer. Hah! If your local school is like ours and your kids need to read 25 books each just to complete the school year requirements, either of these two choices would be great picks.

1. Saint Nicholas and the Mouse of Myra, by Jay Stoeckl. This graphic novel is the sequel to Saint Francis and Brother Duck, which I reviewed last year. I enjoyed Stoeckl's second book even more than his first, perhaps because our family loves St. Nick so much.

Read more here...

God's Shepherd

18 Aug 2014

It Is Time to Smile at Ourselves

Nothing is worse than Christians who takes themselves too seriously. Humour levels our egos and puts everything back into the right perspective. We are invited to live as free as children, filled with the joy of the Lord, which is our strength. A sense of humour is our safe-guard against pride.
read more>

The Transforming union or the Mystical Marriage

609px-Miniature_depiction_of_Andrei_Rublev_Trinity The final stage in the mystic way is usually called the Transforming Union or the Mystical Marriage.

Now it doesn’t suddenly begin because God does something other than what he’s been doing all along – it begins because what he’s been doing all along finally destroys everything in us that’s been keeping him out. Many years ago I met a very holy Cistercian monk in his eighties. He told me that for over twenty years he had undergone a profound purification in the Dark Night.
It was while he was ill in the Monastic Infirmary that suddenly all the darkness disappeared and he felt himself completely enveloped by the love of God and this experience never left him. ....read on...

One Sister Can Change the World

At the heart of my blogging is the hope to inspire others to pursue the religious life.  I prayed and thought deeply for years about joining a religious order and living the consecrated life.  In fact, for 95% of our engagement, my husband and I spent time considering and praying for vocations. We both felt that we might have been called for religious vocations and did not want to marry until we were sure that marriage and children was our God ordained vocation.  I have children that I want to lead deeper to the faith, but also that I want to open up the door to possibly serve as a priest, nun, deacon, etc.  It has been difficult to find any resources to help in teaching about the vast opportunities for girls in vocations.  I began Veils and Vocations as a means to explore that very topic and bring the resources I did find to other mothers, like me, who were searching for them.

Enter the Imagine Sisters Movement...read more at Veils and Vocations.

In God We Trust, that's Why We Pay Cash

This is a short post but a little epiphany that came to me the other day and I wanted to share.  At a recent homeschooling conference, I had to bail a friend out because the vendor selling the books she needed would not take cash.  That's right, they would take checks, credit, debit, anything but cash.  It is very curious, however, I have realized more and more how we have gotten away from the use of cash.  I am trying very hard to move in the opposite direction.  We do have credit cards and debit cards, although we have never carried a balance. {Actually, to be honest, I did carry a balance once because I wasn't being frugal and attentive and figured I will just take a couple of months to pay.  I learned very quickly how much more it costs to do that and never did again!}  However, since I have moved from working part-time to being home ful-time, I am trying harder to save a bit of money and manage my money better because there is signifcantly less of it.  It is proving a difficult transistion, but I am making headway and have actually save about $200 over the past six months.

The main way that I have saved money is using cash because I can easily move a dollar or two to a "savings envelope" when ever I feel like it and that money is actually saved.  I am not just living under the illusion of saving big because of coupons, etc, which do have their place but do not put money in your pocket.  Anyway, I began thinking of how our culture is becoming one of the virtual.  Letter, pictures, bills, payments--everything can be accomplished at the click of a button, which is great sometimes, but we have lost something.  One thing we are losing is our focus on God.

Read more at Veils and Vocations.

In-Law Problems? There is a Patron Saint for That!

Very few people know about St. Jane Valois. She was a deformed and sickly young daughter of King Louis XI of France. The Catholic Church has given her February 4th as a feast day and many turn to her intercession when in a difficult, loveless marriage for she was in an arranged marriage that was without love and still she prayed for her husband for decades.

She is just one of the many interesting saints in the Catholic Church.

The following excerpts are taken, with permission, from the daily devotional Tending the Temple by Kevin Vost, Peggy Bowes, and Shane Kapler. Kevin, Peggy and Shane are regular guests on such popular shows as Sonrise Morning Show on EWTN among others where they talk about health and fitness, Catholic style.

17 Aug 2014

Touring Chicago's beautiful churches: Old St. Pat's

Old St. Pat's is the ninth church in my series "Touring Chicago's beautiful churches."  My husband and I haven't been to this church in nearly 30 years.  We remembered it as dark and green.  What we found was a transformation to a beautiful pastel luminescence.
My husband and I attended the 12:10 PM Mass on August 15 for the Feast of the Assumption.  The church was filled and the congregation sang enthusiastically.
Please continue to read the rest at Being Catholic ... Really.

Hide Me

Over these last weeks, I am appreciating more than ever the Refuge we have available to us in this torn, aching, wounded world.  If we don't realize that parts of our planet are in great distress just now, we have been living under a rock.

And whether or not we know of the distress around, we may be sure of this:  we can live on and under and within THE Rock.  Jesus is our Rock, our Refuge.  He is our Hiding Place, our fortress, our one true cloister.

I see the truth of this when I consider so many saints gone before us... martyrs who much preferred death to the possibility of turning away from Christ.  What grace they received - exactly when they needed it.  This gives me hope.....

Consider St. Ignatius of Antioch, as he was on his way to be fed to lions.  "Leave me to the beasts," he wrote, "that through them I may be accounted worthy of God...." (more)

Robin Williams, Suicide, and Hope

Robin Williams was a few months older than I am when he died. That photo is from 1979, when he was becoming famous for his role in "Mork & Mindy."

I admire Williams' work, regret his addiction to cocaine and alcohol, and am sorry that he is dead. He was a remarkably talented actor and comedian. Sadly, he apparently decided to hang himself.

We can't be sure, but it's likely that suffering from depression had something to do with his death.

Celebrity deaths get heavy media coverage: so when yet another movie star dies from suicide, drug overdose, or some other avoidable cause, it can seem that fame leads to self-destruction.

Although famous folks from Hannibal to Margaux Hemmingway killed themselves, I think it's prudent to remember that many high-profile folks didn't: like Lauren Bacall and Bob Hope.

I'll be writing mostly about life, depression, death, and why I haven't killed myself. You'll find links to articles about Robin Williams near the end of this post.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

16 Aug 2014

Uniting with Christ Through our Senses

How do we perceive the Divine and communicate with God as beings who possess both physical and spiritual senses?

Some ascetics might try to starve their physical senses to sharpen their inner senses, but such a notion seems to me to be contrary to Catholic wisdom and practice. The Catholic Church  repudiates Gnosticism, realizing that believers come to a fuller sense of Christ through the totality of their human person.
The first time I walked into a Catholic Church as a child, I was hit by a sense of a Holy Presence.  Overwhelmed by awe, I tip-toed  around this foreign Church. The whole atmosphere seemed exotic, with dim, soft lighting coming through gorgeous stained glass windows and a few votive candles. Incense assaulted my nostrils, countless paintings and statues begged for my visual attention and the holy water in the font felt holy. This encounter was an experience of both sensory and spiritual overload, a profound experience of the Holy.  God touched that little child’s inner spiritual self through her physical senses.  Although  as a child, I could not yet articulate an explanation. Now, I understand that  the art, sculpture, water and incense are sacramentals, physical objects infused by the Holy Spirit, imbued with the Divine.
Contrast this rich atmosphere with the stark place of worship of my childhood in the Presbyterian church.       continue reading>

15 Aug 2014

Seven Quick Takes: In the End Only Three Things Remain

I am writing this post for my friend Mary.  After a week of disheartening news cycles and personal frustrations, I rode home from Mary's last night thankful for my Godly friend but also a little distracted, until one of my favorite verses came to mind.  St Paul wrote, "In the end only these three things remain faith, hope, and love. The greatest of these is love!" (1 Corinthians 13:13) Here are my reflections on that verse in 7 quick takes.

St Paul was absolutely right, when all is said and done, when you have been stripped of every earthly good and pleasure, there are only three things left: faith, hope, and love.  Most certainly, love is the greatest, for without love there is no faith, without faith there is no hope.   Everything you need and the sum total of what can never be lost starts and ends with love.
Read more at Veils and Vocations

Infallible Pope?

Infallible Pope?

Blessed, Beautiful and Bodacious By Pat Gohn - Reviewed by Nancy Ward

Pat Gohn, cancer survivor, celebrates womanhood by exploring a woman’s dignity, gifts and mission with exciting, personal stories. Discovering the gift of her womanhood brought her into a deeper relationship with God, her husband, family, and, to her surprise, the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Her formation in life and the faith revolved around music. Garage band guitar music.  When she gave her heart to Jesus Christ at a retreat, she realized God was inviting her to use her guitar playing and writing gifts for his purposes. In three words: Blessed, Beautiful and Bodacious, she helps us discover who we are and what gifts we have that reflect our innate and eternal beauty.
Blessed is a sublime dignity we did not earn. “God configures us to be like Christ, the beloved Son. We are beloved daughters not only like Jesus in identity, but also in action. We are called to behave like him, too. Like spiritual DNA, grace enables us to forgive, to reconcile, to heal, and ultimately love like Jesus. We. Were. Made. For. This.”

Neurosynaptic Cores and Retinal Implants: Getting a Grip About Tech

IBM's neurosynaptic cores may not show up in home computers for years. Their circuits emulate a brain's neural circuits: and require an entirely new sort of software.

Retinal implants are another matter. Thanks to new tech, several folks who would have been blind can see: a little....

..."Metropolis," Tsukumogami, and the Roomba Revolution that Wasn't

The inventor Rotwang in Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" is more 'evil wizard' than 'mad scientist:' my opinion. It's still a good movie: but not, I think, a particularly realistic look at what we'll see in 2026.

Rotwang's maschinenmensch looked more like the human she was built to impersonate after a high-tech makeover, but even without upholstery she was remarkably — human....

But so far, artificial intelligence has been quite obviously "artificial:" and emphatically not up to the task of leading a Roomba revolution.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Dormition of the Theotokos

This hanging was done for today's feast day - the Assumption of the Virgin.  It often requires a bit of explanation.
You see Christ there behind the body of Mary holding what looks to be a baby - that represents Mary's soul.  It's an interesting sort of reversal in imagery since there are so many of Mary holding the infant Christ child.
Above the whole scene is the assumption of the body of Mary being taken to heaven.  I knew a Protestant minister who said that he believed in the bodily assumption of the virgin, because who knows WHAT people would do in the way of tests and such if her body were found.  
People sometimes ask who the man is over on the right side hunched over.  That's Paul, and in traditional icons of this piece he is usually there in a posture of grieving.

'Lord, Help me.' Sunday Reflections, 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

Christ and the Canaanite Woman, c.1500, Juan de FlandesPalacio Real, Madrid                           [Web Gallery of Art]

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa) 
Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon.  Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.”  But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.”  He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”  But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.”  He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.”  She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”  Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly.

The video above was posted on 22 July. There seemed to be some hope for the Christians of Iraq. But thousands have since fled from their homes because of threats to their lives by members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

ISIS hope to control a much wider area, including the region known in Biblical times as Canaan, which is further south.

The anguish and prayer of the Canaanite woman in today's gospel reflects the anguish and prayer of the Christians of northern Iraq and Syria today, whose ancestors were already there in the time that the incident in today's gospel happened and who became Christians in the time of the Apostles. Lord, help me. Lord, help us.

Pope Francis expresses his anguish about the situation in a letter to Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations. The Pope writes: 
Full post here.

Feast Day Fun: Saint activities, crafts and family traditions!

Have you discovered Feast Day Fun yet? It's my new series of posts over at Equipping Catholic Families!
...Presenting special Saint Feast Days with the Kelly Saints images (my 15 year old daughter has created for me), a brief bio or some saint stats...and activities, crafts and family traditions to help celebrate these heroes of our Faith!

Some excerpts are taken from my book A Treasure Chest of Traditions for Catholic Families. Whenever I can, I like to showcase relevant Saint activities from other Catholic blogs...and past tutorials and crafts from my own Catholic Blog.

Earlier this week, I wrote about St Lawrence and since he's the patron saint of cooks, comedians and fire prevention, I included some family fire safety plan ideas.

I wrote about St Clare, along with some monstrance crafts and some things to consider when establishing screen time guidelines at home.

St Max introduces Good Deed Beads, Marian Consecration, Enthronement and DIY Armor for your own Knight of the Immaculate.

...and this is my growing Gallery of Feast Day Fun, where I'll be adding each Saint's Feast Day post!

Oh! ...and I'm Monica McConkey!
I'm new to the Association of Catholic Women Bloggers, but you may recognize me from Equipping Catholic Families and the Catholic Bloggers Network.

Melanie graciously invited me to join the ACWB and I'm so happy to be here!
I hope you'll come and check out my blog!

The Assumption of Mary: Quotes and Images

 Dormition of the Virgin - Fra Angelico, 1431-1432
Juvenal, Bishop of Jerusalem, at the Council of Chalcedon (451), made known to the Emperor Marcian and Pulcheria, who wished to possess the body of the Mother of God, that Mary died in the presence of all the Apostles, but that her tomb, when opened upon the request of St. Thomas, was found empty; wherefrom the Apostles concluded that the body was taken up to heaven.

“And from that time forth all knew that the spotless and precious body had been transferred to paradise” (John the Theologian, The Falling Asleep of Mary; 400 AD)


14 Aug 2014

“I’m Eileen, and I Have a Problem with Gluten”

I was dead, and have come to life again;
I was lost, and have been found.   
Then the celebration began!
For it was just this past week—within the past 7 days,
that He, who is Wisdom, showed me my way back.
Truly, beyond grateful I am! ...
farm cross

Praying in the Dark Night

1280px-Amaldus_Nielsen-Aftenstemning_over_havetFor the last post I made a few suggestions from my own experience about how to pray in the Dark Night when the prayer once used can no longer help. I chose the prayer Jesus himself made upon the Cross, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me’? When I felt in the pits I turned to the De Profundis‘Out of the depths I cried to thee, O Lord; Lord, hear my prayer’. However what I found, and what you’ll find, is that in time the full sentence will be too long, and you’ll feel the need to reduce it to, say, just ‘My God, my God’ or ‘Out of the depths’. Then the time will come when a single word will be all you need, like ‘God’, or ‘Jesus’, or ‘mercy’. I can’t give you rules when to change down from many to few, you’ll know for yourself. It’s like changing gears in a car, once you get used to using them you know automatically when to change down. read on ....

The Golden Hail Mary

I once had a prayer card with a beautiful poem entitled "The Golden Hail Mary."  After many years and several moves, I can no longer locate it, but I always remember reading it over and over some days.  I have searched high and low for that poem online and have not been able to find it again.  The gist of the message was though, that a simple Hail Mary said in haste is worth more than many other
prayers repeated at length.

The Hail Mary is a perfect prayer, it not only calls upon the Blessed Mother's intercession but extols her Holy Son to his proper place of being within the middle of every act of worship.

Hail Mary, Full of Grace
The LORD is with thee
Blessed are thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb
Holy Mary, Mother of God
Pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death. Amen

Read more at Veils and Vocations

Little Spiritual Powerhouses

Blythe Kaufman emailed me when she happened to see my blog post on children which was highlighted on the New Evangelist Monthly. She hoped that I could help spread the word about her children’s prayer groups. Well I am delighted to feature them.

.Children’s Rosary

The Children’s Rosary is a prayer group movement that was begun out of love for Our Lady and Her Son. Jesus tells us “Truly, I say to you unless you turn and become like children you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 18:3). The Children’s Rosary is an effort to begin in parishes rosary prayer groups composed of children and led by children. Through prayer of the Rosary Our Lady will guide our young people while at the same time sanctify families and Parishes
In her email. Blythe related an interesting story about starting rosary groups for kids: 

13 Aug 2014

Why is the Giant Sleeping?

The persecution of Christians is nothing new, it has been going on since the time of the first apostles. However, if you have not realized the escalation of persecution in recent times, you must begin educating yourself on the mass assault on fellow believers. It is tempting to think, that is in x, y, or z country. They are at risk because of a, b, or c. The reality is an attack on the Church is an attack on all of us. What is happening to Christians in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and other areas is a threat to all of us no matter where we live. Should we allow the giant to continue to sleep?

There is great power in a body if believers, when two or more are gathered in His Name, Jesus the LORD is present. As these lovers of Christ that include the elderly, children, mothers, fathers, the infirmed and especially the clergy are slaughtered and tortured, their cries are rising to God. But where are the voices of those who stand with them?

Read more at Veils and Vocations

“What I do, I do not understand… For I do not do the good I want.”

“Miserable one that I am!”
It’s as if these words have been my very own
these words of Saint Paul (within his Letter to the Romans, chapter 7);
though for me, just last week, they had a particular health-&-wellness twist to them…
For, at times, I see within myself “another principle at war with the law of my mind, taking me captive” (Romans 7:23); or off route, at the very least.
So, there I was, rather ruined (miserable & unable to function) throughout that evening & night, into the following day as well—all because I resisted, and decided to say “no” to what I have long known to be good for my own well-being.  Maybe you, too, can relate.
For the flesh has desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you may not do what you want…
Way quote. Lord that I may have Wisdom III

Old St. Patrick’s Church: A Chicago Renaissance Story

Old St. Patrick’s Church: A Chicago Renaissance Story is a new local documentary which will be shown on WTTW, Thursday, August 21 at 7:30 PM (central time).

You can read the rest at Being Catholic ... Really

Welcome to hell !!!

Pope Francis' Recipe for Happiness

Bloggers sometimes invite others to write a “guest blog.” This week my blog is “written” by Pope Francis and consists of his ten secrets to happiness, which he gave during an interview. His items have been criticized for being too humanist (because they don’t refer to God) and too non-gospel (because one of them discourages proselytizing. What do you think?
Live and let live.
‘The Romans have a saying, which can be taken as a point of reference. They say: ‘Campa e lascia campà’ (Live and let live). That’s the first step to peace and happiness. Move forward and let others do the same.” Click to continue

Depression and the Average Christian

With the sad and tragic death of Robin Williams, there is now a lot of talk and speculation about depression and suicide. Suicide is always a tragedy. I do not agree with the people that are saying Robin Williams is free now and in a better place. Yes, we can entrust him to a loving and merciful God but I am not going to presume he is in a better place. It is so tragic that he felt there were no other options than to end his life. 

Continue Reading at Beautifulthorns.com>

The Seraphim

One day while I was on my way to Holy Mass, I saw my priest walking up his driveway.  I said a prayer for him and pleaded to the Holy Seraphim for him,that he would be protected.   I sought the highest level of angels for him because I was given how much a Priest is hated by the evil one.  If the demon was given the choice of any person whose life he could take on the earth, the first person he would pick would be a good and holy priest on the path to becoming a saint.   We do not understand the protection God gives us daily by His angels. 

For a moment I was no longer in my car... TO READ MORE CLICK HERE!

Be careful little mouths what you say {thoughts on depression}

"We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives." 

This morning the world is reeling with opinions on depression and suicide. Words are flying onto the page and scrolling in front of us. Words of kindness, compassion, confusion, and even hate fill our mind.

Dear Church, please remember during this time what we believe. It doesn't matter what our emotions are. It doesn't matter what our own experience with depression is or is not. It matters what we believe.

We believe in a kind and compassionate God full of mercy and justice. That God knows that depression is a terrible and ugly thing that whispers lies and hopelessness. Our God knows that when that much despair finds its way into our life, we are very ill, in pain, and under much stress. {Read more here...}

12 Aug 2014

Signs of Fall, Cheesecake, and a Toad:: Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow

What I know::

God is never out of our lives unless we push Him away.  Even if we push Him away, He is always there waiting for us to return to Him.

Life is not easy.  Each day we must pick up our cross and walk with Him even when we do not understand

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways
my ways, says the Lord. 
 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts."  Isaiah 55:: 8-9

So, when I Pixie and I walk, we leave behind the problems of the day, which helps.  

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day."  Matthew 6: 34

Read More At:: His Unending Love 


When God Rocks Your Boat

Stormy Seas
This Sunday's Gospel, the Gospel of Matthew 14:22-33, was the well known story of Jesus walking on water and of Peter going to Him over the waves. It's a story many of us know well and have seen paintings of since childhood.
The dark ominous clouds, the stormy seas, the frightened looks of the followers huddled together on the boat and Jesus in shimmering white glory walking slowly, steadily, toward them, a look of utter peace on His face, His glorious features unmarred by line or wrinkle, His eyes kindly smiling, even twinkling a bit as He looks at His brothers, His children, understanding their fear, but above it as we often look at our children when they experience a fear of the dark or some other thing we know holds no real power.
And then there's Peter who bravely calls out,
“Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”
To which Jesus answers simply, "Come."
I often wonder what if it hadn't been Jesus and whoever it was had still said to come, what then? What if it was, in Peter's fear, his mind playing tricks on him? What if Peter had stepped out of the boat then?
To read more, please go to Single Mom Smiling.
God Bless...