Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Well Wrapped Gift

     While driving to my first Catechises of the Good Shepherd formation class in September, I was reveling in the joy of a dream coming true.  For 5 years I thought about attending this formation course but knew that when the time was right, God would show me.   I began to give God praise and glory during the drive.  In that prayer time, God showed me that this formation course was going to be a gift that had to slowly be unwrapped.  There were many layers of wrapping paper to this gift.  That day, I received my first gift.

The adult, who is to proclaim the most essential points of the Christian message, is to listen to it with the children, and to observe the children in order to know their needs, should remind himself that he is the "unworthy servant" of the Gospel. The adult's function as a mediator is necessary in the evangelization; nonetheless, it should not be overvalued. The Catechist proclaims a Word that is not one's own and assists the child's potentialities, which in no way belong to oneself.
                                        - from The Religious Potential of the Child by Sofia Cavalletti

     I heard those words read during the formation class. Unworthy Servant.

     Unworthy Servant.

     Unworthy Servant.

     Those words stuck to me the rest of the day.  I went from feeling great about the class to questioning why I was there. I was "unworthy" to be there.  All the self -doubts, the low self-worth, and fear came back again.  Who did I think I was taking this formation course? 

     On the drive home, I asked God some hard questions.  Did he really call me?  Why did I feel so unworthy?  Then I was reminded of the centurion's words to Jesus. 
Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed. - Matthew 8:8
     The centurion felt he was unworthy but asked in faith for healing of his servant.  Couldn't I do the same?  Couldn't I ask Jesus to heal me of my self-doubt, my low self-worth, my fear?   So there, in the car, sitting in traffic, tears streaming down my cheeks, I asked to be healed of my fears, self-doubt and low self-worth.  I asked to be His unworthy servant. 

     In the quiet of my heart, I heard,

     "You are worthy. You are the daughter of the King. You are my daughter.  " 





Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Year of Living Joyously in Review

     In just a few hours, it will be a new year with new goals.  2011 I strived to live joyously.  I had every good intention to keep a daily list of things that bring me joy.  It fizzled out when I couldn't find a pen or paper.  I thought I'd remember to write it down an the end of the day.  At the end of the day, I only remembered to say a quick prayer before going off to sleep.

     I did, however, look for joy every day.  That was my goal and nothing was going to get in the way of my goal not even the numbness in my hand and arm, not even the migraines, not even the deaths of family friends, not even the recently diagnosed Lyme Disease. I found joy in it all. The joy bubbled out from knowing that in spite of the setbacks, I could still do things. I smiled because I could.  I walked because I could. James 1:2 says "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds."  I counted it all as joy.  Oh, yes, I did!  It wasn't easy. 


     These last few days I've been praying and pondering on my 2012 word.  Receive is my word.  As I read my post on Joy again, I see that God has been working on me so that I was able to open my clenched hands and feel his gift of joy this year.  And for that, I am grateful. 


Thursday, June 02, 2011

Ascension Thursday Daybook

Outside My Window
It's a beautiful sunny windy day.  The temperature is in the 70's.  It's quite a difference from the last week of heat and humidity.

I am Listening
to the sound of the girls laughing while they swing.

I am so Grateful for
time with my husband. Lots of overtime lately means little time at home.

I am Reading
just the commentary from The Annotated Sense and Sensibility by David Shapard. I'm finishing up a year of reading and studying Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility with my Jane Austen book club.

I am Wearing
tan shorts and a white tee.

To Live the Liturgy
40 days since Easter!  Nine Days until Pentecost!  Tomorrow we begin the Pentecost Novena .

I am Inspired
by our veterans who fought so that we may live freely.

I am Hoping and Praying
for continued good health.
those who are facing lay offs.
for those missing loved ones right now.
for those who are sick.
for our priests.

Around the House
We're having a yard sale fundraiser in a few weeks.  I have to set aside time to go through toys we no longer use. 
From the Kitchen
Oh, the farm fresh produce!  I've been busy in the kitchen making lots of wonderful salads, rhubarb and strawberry muffins and fruit salads.
One of My Favorite Things
I just love picking up strawberries from the farm in the blue/green cardboard containers.  I just feel like I've gone back to a simpler time.

A Few Plans for the Rest of the Week
Drive to the last First Friday Mass of the school year, attend the JASNA luncheon and  finalize plans for the last week of school

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Courage to Face Myself

Sometime the hardest thing to do is to face yourself.  Last winter, as I prepared for Lent, I asked the Lord what He wanted me to do.  "Declutter,"  I heard in my heart.  So I  embarked on a journey of what I thought would be decluttering my home that Lent.  I went through drawers, closets and shelves each day for a couple of weeks. Little by little bags were being taken to the garbage or to St. Vincent de Paul. It was a great feeling to be rid of things we no longer needed.  Then God changed courses on me unexpectedly. 
 
"I want you to declutter your heart" I heard one day.  I gulped. 
 
"Who? Me?"  I was taken aback. Silence. "I guess it is me," I thought. "What do I need to declutter?" I asked. 
 
"Pride. Envy. Vanity. Perfection. Low self-esteem.  Fear."
 
Ouch!  I was not expecting that!  If that pained me, what was it doing to Jesus?  From that moment on, I felt like I was being pruned down to a small brown stub. I learned a lot about myself.  Pride was a motivator in much of my actions.  I was being called to rethink many decisions that were made.  Were those decisions being made because God wanted me to do those things or was it because I really wanted to do those things for the praise and acclamations? 
 
The hardest moment was when I had to literally face myself in the mirror and say "It's alright to make mistakes."  Sounds simple when you aren't a prideful perfectionist.  I could hardly look at myself, let alone speak the words.  But slowly I voiced those words. The smallest sound came out of my mouth. Then I said it again. My voice was a bit stronger. I repeated those words over and over, each time getting louder.  "It's alright to make mistakes" I said through tears until I could look at myself the way that God looks at me. 
 
Freedom.  Sweet Freedom.  The tears stopped and the laughter began.  I was free.  I was finally free.  I was giddy as a school girl.
 
It's been a year now. Life changing decisions were made. I faced a lot of demons, criticism and disappointment head on. I came out on the other side stronger for it.  As Lent approached this year, I wasn't dreading it like other years.  I found that the daily gospel readings were touching my heart like no other time before.  I wasn't reading the words with my intellect.  I was reading with my heart.  
 
It takes courage to be the woman that God called me to be and not the woman that the world wants me to be.  As long as I am doing God's will, I will be able to face myself in the mirror and say with a smile, "It's alright to make mistakes." 
 
Please visit Elizabeth and others as they take Small Steps too.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Lost in the Clicking

For several years now, I've taking a break from the Internet during Lent.  By that, I mean I do not get online to read blogs, check message boards, and read the latest news.  The Internet is strictly used for checking emails, weather reports and any other site necessary to make our household run smoothly.

 
I've found this Lenten fast to be a wonderful thing for me in so many ways. 
  • It has helped me to cut off my "addictions" to message boards.  The first year I did this, I returned to the message boards after Lent and I realized what a drain the boards were to me. Many were not life giving at all.  I had gotten lost in all of the politics before the fast.  I could hardly believe it. 

 
  • The internet fast has helped me to take inventory on my life. I have more time to read spititual books and to seek answers to questions I pose to myself.  What am I doing in my life that is right?  What needs to be corrected?  Where does this time all fit into God's plan for me? 

 
  • It helps me to prioritize again what is wasting my time. I've found that one link leads to another and so on.  I often get lost in the clicking. Before I know it, I've spent one hour online and never got anything accomplished online that I had planned to do.

 
  • It helps me reconnect to nature.  During the winter months, it is so cold and icy that one can only be outside for a short time.  It's easier to spend time online instead of outside.  With Lent comes the hope for spring and all joy that it brings.  Yard work gets done. Soil gets turned.

 

As I write this, it sounds like giving up the Internet is really not a sacrifice but a normal course of change from one liturgical season to the next.  Perhaps it is.  I wasn't going to give up the Internet this year.  I really feel like I have a better grip on my Internet usage.  Yet, I keep sensing this is where I'm being called to sacrifice my time.  Maybe my usage isn't as low as I thought? Maybe I could do better?  God has something He wants me to learn. I need to sit and listen.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

First

With Lent quickly approaching, my mind has been on what to do for Lent. What will be my Lenten sacrifice?  Do I give up my time to do something worthwhile?  Give up food? Give up money for a worthy cause?  "Lord, what do you want me to do?"

In the gospel reading from Monday, a rich man asks Jesus what he should do to be a better person.  Jesus tells him to give up all of his things and follow him.  It's made me think.  What things hold me back from following Jesus? What baggage won't allow me to get through the narrow gates? 

Those are tough questions to answer. I find a million excuses for how those "things" are important or why I need that "baggage."  Do I really want to offer those things up so that I can follow Jesus?  Do I really want to leave those bags at the gate to follow Jesus? My lips say "Yes."  My heart says, "Well, maybe, but first..."

Then I hear Jesus, again, from Sunday's gospel.  "Seek ye, first, the Kingdom of God and his rightousness."

Yet again, in today's gospel, I see the word - first.  "But many who are first will be last and the last will be first."

My heart is stirring. I need to make a holy offering this Lent.  I need to seek those things that will put me in touch with God first and not with being first in the world's eyes.  I need to discern what is holding me back from seeking God first.



Monday, February 28, 2011

The Last Day of February Daybook

Outside My Window
it is foggy and rainy.  The temperature is going to the low sixties.
I am Listening
to rain hitting the windows.

I am so Grateful for
the quiet of the early morning.  It helps me to hear God's whispers to me.

I'm Reflecting on
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him,
“You are lacking in one thing.
Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor
and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
At that statement, his face fell,
and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

- Mark 10:21-22

I am Reading
Wounded Healer by Henri Nouwen. 

I am Thinking
that sometimes I'm too focused on the goal that I forget to enjoy the journey.  I caught myself doing that yesterday and by the grace of God, I was able to change my focus to enjoy the rest of the day's journey.

I am Creating
a schedule for the month of March.  I've signed up to do short term classes/projects which are all converging at about the same time.  Add that to Confirmation preparations and everyday life and I'm feeling overwhelmed.  Schedules allow me to free my mind of worry.  All I have to do is read and act.

Education
It's been real life learning this month.  Six of the seven of us were sick.  Not much got done. It looks like that's how it's going to be for a few more days this week and next week.

Rhythm and Beauty
Ash Wednesday is next week.  I'd like to get out our Lenten books and Station of the Cross pictures this week.  I'd also like to work on some more "new" meatless meals for Fridays. 

I am Wearing
tan jeans and a navy turtleneck.

To Live the Liturgy
I've been incorporating the gospel readings with Lectio Divina.  It seems to mesh together nicely for me. I'm thinking about making journal entries out of it so I can look back on the year and see how God is working.

I am Inspired
by stories of people thinking they are helping the poor when in fact the poor are helping them.  God is so good. All the time.

I am Hoping and Praying
for continued good health.
those who are facing lay offs.
for those missing loved ones right now.
for those who are sick with the flu and other winter illnesses.
for our priests.

Around the House
Not much got done with a house full of sick people in February. There is a lot of catch up work to get done around here. 
From the Kitchen
I'm going to bake shortbread this week for my Jane Austen book club meeting.  I haven't baked shortbread since I've been married.  I think I'll bake a trial batch first.  I've got 6 quality control testers available.

One of My Favorite Things
a handwritten thank you note from my oldest after nursing her back to health. 

A Few Plans for the Rest of the Week
This week and next week, I'll be spending part of my day decorating for our school's fundraiser. My husband and I have a Habitat for Humanity fundraiser to attend.  I've also signed up to join a choir for an upcoming retreat day for moms.  Our first of three practices is tonight.