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The Storm

In recent months, all of us have faced one of the biggest storms imaginable. This storm has affected our lives on a personal, social, national, and global level. The COVID-19 pandemic has left devastation in its wake. Not unlike a similar, yet different, tragedy the world suffered in 2001.

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I lived under twenty miles from New York City on 9/11. Lifelong friends lost family members – brothers, sisters, parents. Others lost themselves watching the devastation unfold right before their eyes. Lives were permanently changed that day – a day forever seared into our hearts.

9/11 proved to be a time of renewal. People greeted, smiled, and opened their hearts. Intolerance was at a low. Respect at an all-time high. People unified. Over the last 20 years, this unification has been forgotten but with one constant. God! He has been standing by our sides.

Written by Mark Hall and Bernie Herms and produced by Mark A. Miller. Performed by Casting Crowns.

The storm we are facing will have different outcomes for each of us – loss, fear, anxiety. Walking through this storm remember that God has not left us. So let us, spread love, sympathy, empathy, and compassion so we can change the world.

“When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person that walked in. That’s what the storm is all about.”

~ Haruki Murakami ~

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Safe in Your Embrace

Safe in Your Embrace by Kevin Kern
Video by Lugnutify

If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.

~ Psalm 139:9-10 ~

In my life I have been blessed with truly amazing friends. When I moved from my hometown to a “new” hometown 450 miles away, God introduced me to a loving family filled with an abundance of light and love. You know what I mean when I say that. There are certain people that emanate love, kindness, and sunshine everywhere they go.

We spent a lot of time together when our girls were in Girl Scouts together. Then as you know, time takes over – weeks turn into months, months turn into years – before you actually meet up for that cup of coffee. Thank goodness for Facebook, Instagram and all of the other social media platforms because at least you can keep up with each other’s lives.

Two weeks ago, the youngest of my friend’s daughters passed away from a sudden illness. We were all devastated. This beautiful light who had just started her life and career was gone. Family and friends gathered support for this loving family. No words can ever be said that will replace the shining light that now lives inside each and every one of us.

My girls and I went to the church today to memorialize this gorgeous angel. Her light continues to shine through her parents and sister. Every person she met was touched deep within their own souls by her magnetic personality. This shining, glimmering angel was a girl whose laughter was contagious, whose smile beamed, and whose eyes were mischievously angelic.

I will keep her picture on my desk, not as a shrine to her, but as a reminder to acknowledge all who shine in my world and to keep joy in my heart. Her picture will remind me to find happiness in the smallest of things. Mostly, I will remember to always treasure the lights in my world, so that the light that shines in my heart can shine on others.

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Listen & Remember

Keep your face always toward the sunshine –

and shadows will fall behind you.

~ Walt Whitman ~

God touches my heart with song. For weeks He has been reaching out through, Danny Gokey’s song, Haven’t Seen It Yet. I can hear it when I go to sleep at night and when I wake in the morning. I have dismissed its message more times than not. I’m finally listening and sharing.

Why? It became clearer today, I thought maybe I could sleep in. Nope. I have two dogs and a grandpuppy. They do not care about the weekend. When it’s potty time, it’s potty time. I was not a happy camper. As I slumped out of bed, I did not know what was waiting for me. God did.

I walked into the brisk, crisp morning half asleep thinking ‘ugh, another hour would have been sweet’. As I looked up into the sky, I was mesmerized by its beauty. I was greeted by the most spectacular sunrise. Breathtakingly vivid colors of pink, purple, yellow, and orange painted the morning sky.

Not unlike everyone else, life can throw me curveballs financially, physically, mentally, and emotionally and it totally stresses me out. During these times, I forget to trust that He is working behind the scenes. He is painting my destiny.

It does not change anything, but I do find some comfort. I know things will change in time – in His time and in His way. If I focus on the beauty around me, I will find peace and tranquility in memories. Once upon a time, there was a girl who never forgot and always trusted.

Don’t forget the things that He has done before

And remember He can do it all once more

~Colby Wedgeworth, Ethan Hulse, Danny Gokey~

Songwriters: Colby Wedgeworth, Ethan Hulse, Danny Gokey
© ESSENTIAL MUSIC PUBLISHING
For non-commercial use only.
Data From: LyricFind

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Messages

“‘For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. 12As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness.”

Ezekiel 34:11-12

How often do we hear messages and ignore them? Too many times to count. I’m guilty. Last week, I was reading a book and one lesson stood out. Listen to your messages. They are all around us – nature, people, objects, animals, music or within ourselves. All we have to do is listen.

Messages are easy to ignore. A song that plays over and over in our head. Do we block it out? Or do we listen? A smile from a stranger. Do we smile back? Or do we ignore it? A wave from a child in the store. Do we wave back? Or do we think “thank God my kids are grown?”

The tiniest experiences in our day are given to us to bring us joy. They are there to remind us that there is good in each and every day. If we take time to see the small, the big will not consume us. Not only will it not consume us, we will be able to overcome anything.

A few days ago, I kept seeing butterflies everywhere I went. Not one, but a minimum of two or three. So pretty. I had not “seen” a butterfly for years. Of course, I had to look up its symbolism. It had many meanings but one stuck out. Tune into your emotional or spiritual life. Hmmm.

So, when I woke up this morning with the song “Rescue” by Lauren Daigle playing in my head on repeat. I decided to listen. I realized that I had a message. He was telling me that no matter what, He will be my rescuer. Yours too!

Rescue

You are not hidden

There’s never been a moment

You were forgotten

You are not hopeless

Though you have been broken

Your innocence stolen

I hear you whisper underneath your breath

I hear your SOS, your SOS

I will send out an army to find you

In the middle of the darkest night

It’s true, I will rescue you

There is no distance

That cannot be covered

Over and over

You’re not defenseless

I’ll be your shelter I’ll be your armor

I hear you whisper underneath your breath

I hear your SOS, your SOS

I will send out an army to find you In the middle of the darkest night

It’s true, I will rescue you I will never stop marching to reach you

In the middle of the hardest fight

It’s true, I will rescue you

I hear the whisper underneath your breath

I hear you whisper, you have nothing left

I will send out an army to find you

In the middle of the darkest night It’s true,

I will rescue you

I will never stop marching to reach you

In the middle of the hardest fight

It’s true, I will rescue you

Oh, I will rescue you

Songwriters: Jason Ingram, Paul Mabury, Lauren Daigle
© ESSENTIAL MUSIC PUBLISHING, CAPITOL CHRISTIAN MUSIC GROUP
For non-commercial use only.
Data From: LyricFind

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Life is Beautiful

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 ~

 

Do you live your life with the perception of the glass half full, or the glass half empty?  I was always the person who thought the glass was half full.  I did not understand the people who looked at life the other way around.  That is, until I became one of them. I had allowed loss, sorrow, hurt, and self-pity to rule over me.

I was driving with my cousins a few weeks ago. I made a comment that was not very nice. Honestly, I can’t remember what it was. But, after I said it, I commented out loud, “What kind of person am I.  I’m supposed to be a positive influence.  That was awful.  What a hypocrite.” My cousin’s reply was “You’re human aren’t you.” Umm, yes I am.

That prompted me to make some changes.  Since then, I have made strides in changing my perception of  life.  To look at life as a glass half full.  This has enabled me to see all of  the goodness that I missed during my period of negativity.  It has been absolutely enlightening.  I needed the negative to see the positive.

Being human allows you to experience happiness and sadness, and a myriad of other emotions.  Trying to be perfect is just not achievable.  It’s that voice in your head that spouts negativity instead of light.  I made the decision to allow myself to see the positive in the imperfections of life.

Give it a try.  It’s not always easy.  It can be a struggle when you’re going through it.  But, it will allow you to laugh.  It will make your heart happy.  It will allow you to see that even in the smallest of things – a child’s laugh, the wag of a dog’s tail – there is beauty.  My hope for you is that you will be blessed to see that “life is beautiful”.

 

 

 

Life is Beautiful

by The Afters

Through the window
I see you waiting
You were smiling
Coz I’m coming
Your eyes are a story
An ocean of memories
Pictures of faces and places

[Pre-chorus]
And all of the things
That make us feel like
We have it all (we have it all)
All of the times
That make us realize
We have it all (we have it all)
We have it all

[Chorus]
Oooh oooh oooh oooh oooh oooh oooh
Life is beautiful
Oooh oooh oooh oooh oooh oooh oooh
Life is beautiful
Oooh oooh oooh oooh oooh oooh oooh

[Verse 2]
Living and dying
Laughing and crying
We have the whole world
Or have nothing
I know there are long nights
But we’ll make it
With every sunrise
Comes a new light

[Pre-chorus]

[Chorus]

[Bridge]
A father’s love, a wedding dance
New year’s dreams, a toast with friends
A soldier coming home from war
A faith, a hope, so much more
A brand new life, a mother’s prayer
Shooting stars, ocean air
A lover’s kiss, hard goodbyes
Fireworks, Christmas lights

These are the things
That make us feel alive
These are the times
That make us realize

[Chorus]

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Joy


Proverbs 17:22

Have you ever felt like no matter what you do, you’re just a hamster on a wheel? All you do is spin, spin, spin. You never feel like things are going to change. You allow attacks on your heart. You find it difficult to let go. You forget to see the light. You just spin.

For me, it can be a huge struggle depending on the challenge I face. Sometimes it feels like things are going to get better but then I’m back to the place I was before. It’s like taking 10 steps forward and 20 steps backwards in a nanosecond.

The joy in my heart becomes diminished. It’s replaced by inexplicable heartache or panic. It’s an awful feeling. It is sometimes compounded by what an acquaintance calls a “flesh-attack”. So, appropro. We all have the few in our world that take joy in bringing us down.

When I was young, there was no doubt. I could brush off the attacks of my heart. My eyes full of light. My faith pure, untarnished. I could give up control. Now, I find it difficult. But, if I don’t, I end up back spinning out of control on my hamster wheel.

First song I heard this morning was joy., by for KING & COUNTRY. It was if the song was written for me. Maybe you’ll feel it was written for you, too.

joy. – for King & Country

I thought: “that’s exactly how I feel.” It wasn’t a coincidence. I know it was a message. A message to remind me to keep stepping in the light and allowing joy to fill my heart. Not fear. It was a reminder for me to denounce or deflect the “flesh attacks” that weaken my heart and mind.

As I walk through the valley of the night, light is in my next step. As I step into the light, I find joy in my heart. I hope you do too!

“Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued,

is always just beyond your grasp, but which,

if you will sit quietly, may alight upon you.”

~ Nathaniel Hawthorne ~

joy.

for KING & COUNTRY

Lately, I’ve been reading, watching the nightly news
Don’t seem to find the rhythm, just wanna sing the blues
Feels like a song that never stops
Feels like it’s never gonna

Gotta get that fire, fire, back in my bones
Before my heart, heart, turns into stone
So somebody please pass the megaphone
I’ll shout it on the count of three
One, two, three

Oh, hear my prayer tonight, I’m singing to the sky
Give me strength to raise my voice, let me testify
Oh, hear my prayer tonight, ’cause this is do or die
The time has come to make a choice

And I choose joy
Let it move you, let it move you, let it move you
Yeah, I choose joy
Let it move you, let it move, let it move you

Yeah-eh, back when I was young, my eyes were full of life
But now that I am older, I live at the speed of light
Feels like the cycle never stops
Feels like it’s never gonna

Gotta get that fire, fire, back in my bones
Before my heart, heart, turns into stone
So somebody please pass the megaphone
I’ll shout it on the count of three
One, two, three

Oh, hear my prayer tonight, I’m singing to the sky
Give me strength to raise my voice, let me testify
Oh, hear my prayer tonight, ’cause this is do or die
The time has come to make a choice

And I choose joy
Let it move you, let it move, let it move you
Yeah, I choose joy
Let it move you, let it move, let it move you
Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of night
Oh, with You by my side, I’m stepping into the light
I choose joy
Let it move you, let it move, let it move you

I need that joy, joy, joy, joy
Down in my heart, down in my heart to stay
I need that joy, joy, joy, joy
Down in my heart, down in my heart to stay

And I choose joy
Let it move you, let it move, let it move you
Oh, I choose joy
Let it move you, let it move, let it move you
Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of night
Oh, with You by my side, I’m stepping into the light


I choose joy
Go let it move you, go let it move you, go let it move youI need that joy, joy, joy, joy
Down in my heart, down in my heart to stay
I need that joy, joy, joy, joy
Down in my heart, down in my heart to stay

Songwriters: Ben Glover,Joel Smallbone,Luke Smallbone,Matthew Hales,Seth Mosley,Stephen Kanicka,Tedd Tjornhom

© Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.,BMG Rights Management,CAPITOL CHRISTIAN MUSIC GROUP


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Trust in the Now

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial, because having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

James 1:12

I knew I wanted to write about a certain topic. I just didn’t know how to approach it without sounding ungrateful or unfaithful. I’m not sure any of you have felt like this. For me, it’s part of who I am, I guess. I have a habit of dwelling in the past adding a bit of worry about the future. I constantly have to remind myself to stay in the moment, in the day, in the now.

I thought how am I going to write about that. Well, it became easy when I heard Bart Millard of MercyMe’s testimony. We all have those days. The days that “suck”. The days when we doubt God is really listening. The days when we need mountains to move. The days when the mountains don’t move. When His time is not our own.

My worrying causes anxiety over things that are out of my control. Things that haven’t happened yet. Things that probably won’t happen. Things that are being protected by the hands of God. God protects us even when we don’t think He is. He is always with us. He always sees the challenges we face even the ones that “suck”.

Even If – Song & Testimony by MercyMeh

This will sound funny to many of you. I’ve had an easier time dealing with the tangible more than the intangible. I’ve had cancer on and off for 25 years. I’m okay with that. It “sucks” but I don’t own it. I give it to God. It was easy. If I didn’t give it to God, I would have to own it and then, you know what, it would win.

Back to the intangible. My imagination. The things futile. The worry about the past and the future. The worry about what could have been and what may be. A total waste of precious time. It’s my struggle. It’s my inability to let go of certain circumstances in the past. It’s my imagination formulating a fictional future.

What saves me? Trust. Trust in God’s timing. Trust in God’s plan. Trust helps me forget the past. Trust erases my fictional future. My prayer for you is that when things “suck” or you are daydreaming of a fictional future, remind yourself to trust in God. There you will find peace.

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Wings of His Angels

Psalm 91:11

Earlier this week, I was driving home from the doctor with my son. I looked up into the sky and saw this figure in the clouds. Not all see the angel that I see. But, it brought me comfort. It was a message from above. A message telling me that I was being protected. We are all being protected.

The next day, I was in my favorite store when I overheard a man on his phone. At first I thought I misheard him. He said: “I’m going to bring a gun into the back room.”. I continued shopping. I was a bit unnerved but didn’t think about it for a moment or two.

As I was turning into another aisle, I heard him laughing into his phone. I thought “oh, he was kidding”. Until he added, “and then I’m going to kill two people.” My stomach dropped and I started shaking. I didn’t panic. I remained calm.

Unfortunately, I was at the back of the store. Horrible thoughts ran through my mind. I’m only 10 feet away from him. I would be his first victim. I have to breathe. I have to act like I didn’t hear his conversation. I need to nonchalantly alert the store of what I heard.

I found an employee that I knew from shopping there for more than a decade. She contacted management. I left my cart filled with all my great finds and left. As soon as I was through the front doors, I called 911 and alerted shoppers who were entering that there was a possible threat.

None entered. All decided not to risk becoming a victim. I remained on the phone with the dispatcher until 8 police cars and the k-9 unit arrived. I spoke with the officers for almost 15 minutes before they said I could leave. It was the longest 30 minutes of my life.

My hands shook for the next few hours. I felt nauseous. I felt that I had been violated. One of my favorite places to loose myself in had become tainted by the threat of violence. What’s worse? This person found joy in threatening the lives of others.

It took awhile before I could think about the incident clearly. By awhile, I don’t mean hours, I mean days. I was shaken to my core. Plus, I was pissed. Pissed because this person thought it was funny. Killing is not funny. It is not a joke.

This person had the potential of taking my life. The potential of lives lost was immeasurable. There were many shopping that day. There were many working that day. Men. Women. Children. Many innocent lives could have been lost. Families destroyed. Unforgivable. Inexcusable.

Four days later, I thought of the pictures my son took of my angel. It was truly a message from above. The workers, the shoppers, the police, and me. We all were being protected that day. The threat of violence was thwarted because of God’s protection.

I wouldn’t have been able to remain focused. I wouldn’t have been able to alert the employee. I wouldn’t have been able to call 911. I wouldn’t have been able to remain on the phone with the dispatcher. I wouldn’t have been able to do any of these things without God’s protection.

Protection from His angels. Wings of strength enfolding me. Keeping me from falling apart when that’s all I wanted to do. His strength and protection gave me the courage to make the choices I did. I was able to because I was safe in the wings of God’s angels.

“Never travel faster than your guardian angels can fly”

~ Mother Teresa ~

Your Wings ~ Lauren Daigle
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An Old Irish Blessing – Family

In February of 2012, I was blessed to find my Irish family.  My family welcomed me with open arms. In the post below, I share the experience that forever changed my life.   I am truly blessed!  Wishing you all a very Happy St. Patrick’s Day filled with love, happiness and blessings!

I grew up in the Catholic faith having an Irish/Italian ancestry.

My priest, Father Martin, sang this Irish blessing to us at mass on/or near St. Patrick’s Day in his thick, Irish brogue.  

“May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.”

We always talked about where he came from in Ireland – a farm outside of Dublin.  

I would tell him the little I knew about my Grandmother’s family – she was from a small island off the coast of Galway, Lettermullen.  

He told me that he never heard of it.  

Every summer, Father Martin visited Ireland.  

I never forgot to mention my grandmother and my O’Flaherty ancestry in Lettermullen to him.  

I hoped that one year he would have some news for me.  It wasn’t meant to be.

My grandmother and I used to send correspondence to each other from the time I could write until just before she passed away.

In one of her letters to me, she included picture of her childhood home – a picture I treasured.

This picture would lead me to my family almost 25 years after her death.

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In February 2012, dreary winter days in Cleveland left me thinking about my ancestry.

Where did I come from?

Did I still have family in Ireland?

I started to do some research on Ancestry.com.

There were still O’Flaherty’s in Lettermullen.

What were the chances that we were related?

My grandmother left Lettermullen in the mid-1920s.

I was hesitant about calling the post office where my grandmother grew up.

What if they rejected me?

It was easier for me to go through an intermediary; but, how would I find one?

I did a general search on Google and found the Lettermullen & Garumna Heritage Centre  -www.ionadoidhreachta.com/index_en.html.

I contacted them via email providing them with the little bit of background information I had.

A few days later, I heard back from the center’s administrator, Kathleen.  

She asked if my grandmother’s name was Bridget.

Yes, her name was Bridget.

Kathleen contacted the post office confirming my grandmother’s name.

She emailed me back within minutes.  

I had found my family!!!!

I provided her with my email address and phone number.

In a very short time, I was talking to my cousins in Ireland.

For 47 years, I did not know any of my Irish family and/or roots.

I went from having a very small family to having dozens of cousins.

Some of us are now Facebook friends.

My cousins are all over Ireland, in England, and in the United States.  There are some that we are still trying to find.

How silly I was to worry about not being accepted.  

I have never felt more welcomed and loved by family who I know for such a very short time.  

God was holding me in the palm of his hand until the very day I met my Irish family – a true blessing.

We talk about having a family reunion.  I pray that it is sooner rather than later.

My advice to you who are trying to find family – don’t lose hope.

Your blessing may be just around the corner.

I hold my family very near and dear in my heart always sending them all my love and a multitude of hugs.

With that, I wish you all a very Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

 “Lá fhéile Pádraig shona dhuit!”

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Energy, Power & Strength

“We can be tired, weary, and emotionally distraught,

but after spending time alone with God,

we find He injects into our bodies energy, power and strength.”

~ Charles Stanley ~

Ever since I was a little girl, there was only one way for me to find peace. Prayer. No one taught it to me. For me, it was innate. I prayed if I was scared, alone, or filled with anxiety.

I still can remember being about five years old. We would have wicked thunderstorms in the middle of the night. Of course, we had no air conditioning so my window was wide open. It was terrifying.

I would pull my blanket over my head even though it was hotter than hell in my bedroom. I would hold my Raggedy Ann and Andy tight against my chest and with all my might pray for peace.

Every scenario would run through my mind. A tree would be struck by lighting and land on our roof. Our house would be struck by lightning and catch on fire. A very active imagination, indeed!

When I was in high school, every night I would dream of being unable to find my locker. Or, I would dream that I could find my locker but couldn’t remember my locker combination.

I would meet up with my friends a half hour early for school. I truly believed that my dream would come to fruition. The anxiety from my dreams would seep into real life.

My friend realized this and would try to allay my fears. Every morning she would tell me that it was only a dream. It definitely helped having her show me the truth. She was and is a true friend.

Through the trials and tribulations of adult life, I lost my ability to pray for a few years. As a result, I lost myself. I lost myself to myself. I allowed the hurts, disappointments, and betrayals change me.

I forgot who the true me was. It took a few years for me to remember. I felt lost. God brought the right people in my life at just the perfect time. And, reconnected me with my forevers.

I remembered. I was always the quiet observer. Always doing my own thing, my own way. Always friends with everyone. Happy in being me even when alone – just me and my God.

I still face fear, anxiety, and a sense of loneliness because it is part of who I am. But now, in prayer, I find my peace. My wish for you is that you, too, find your energy, power, and strength in your God through prayer!

I pray you find your way “Back to God”!

Back to God – Reba McEntire

Oh have you looked around
Have you heard the sound
Of Mama’s cryin’
Or do you turn away
When you see the face
Of the innocent dyin’
In these darkest days
Are you not afraid
That it’s too late

You gotta get down on your knees, believe
Fold your hands and beg and plead
Gotta keep on praying
You gotta cry, rain tears of pain
Pound the floor and scream His name
‘Cause we’re still worth saving
Can’t go on like this and live like this
We can’t love like this
We gotta give this world back to God

Have you lost a love?
Do you feel like givin’ up?
Has your heart been broken?
Are your kids okay?
Will they come home safe?
Do you lie there hoping?
You can make a wish, you can knock on wood
Oh it won’t do no good

You gotta get down on your knees, believe
Fold your hands and beg and plead
Gotta keep on praying
You gotta cry, rain tears of pain
Pound the floor and scream His name
‘Cause we’re still worth saving
Can’t go on like this and live like this
We can’t love like this
We gotta give this world back to God

You gotta get down on your knees, believe
Fold your hands and beg and plead
Keep on praying
You gotta cry, rain tears of pain
Pound the floor and scream His name
‘Cause we’re still worth saving
Can’t go on like this and live like this
We can’t love like this
You can hope the best
Make a wish
The only answer is

We give this world back to God
Oh, give it back

Songwriters: DALLAS DAVIDSON,RANDY HOUSER
© OLE MEDIA MANAGEMENT LP,BMG Rights Management
For non-commercial use only.
Data From: LyricFind

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Be Fearless

“Fear never wrote a symphony or poem, negotiated a peace treaty, or cured a disease. Fear never pulled a family out of poverty or a country out of bigotry. Fear never saved a marriage or business. Courage did that. Faith did that. People who refuse to consult or cover to their timidities did that.”  ~ Max Lucado in Fearless ~

 

Fear. Where does it come from? A big question isn’t it. I know what I would answer if I asked myself. For me, fear comes from me. Yes, me. I’m the only one who can control it. It is baseless. It is restrictive.

 

In the past six months, I have faced illness and cancer. My future is uncertain as I await results of a possible autoimmune disease. But, do you know what has allowed me to stand strong?

My faith, my family, and my fearlessness. I have chosen to not let fear rule. I will not or cannot allow it to dictate my future. If I did, I wouldn’t be writing right now.

Fear is a coward. Just like Max Lucado states. If I allow it to overtake me, it wins. Once I allowed fear in, it ruled over me for quite some time. It was manipulative and self-serving. No more.

The days when I feel like I’m faltering I remind myself of my courage and of my strength. When I’m attacked by those who don’t understand or lack empathy of my path, I stand tall. Sometimes alone, yet fearless.

My fearlessness will enable me to achieve my goals. It allows me to be all that I need to be for myself and my family. Outside influences be wary of my fearlessness, I am untouchable.

Today, I was blessed to receive this daily prayer to Archangel Michael and the Lord. It’s timing perfect. A blessed reminder that we do not walk alone. I hope it blesses you as it did me.

“Thank you for walking with me every step of the way, for holding my hand, giving me confidence and courage, and guiding my thoughts and actions in the direction of love and my true life’s purpose.”

My prayer for you is to be fearless as you journey on your courageous path.

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I believe…

Believe in God like you believe in the sunrise.

Not because you can see it, but because you can see all it touches.

~ C. S. Lewis ~

 

Over the last month, I’ve abandoned the writing that I love.  I sat in front of my computer waiting for an inspiration.  Nothing came.  When I asked myself “what do you think about…?”  The response each time, “nah”.

My thoughts cluttered with, what is called in yoga, “chitta”  – the mind stuff.  It is the warehouse that stores your memories, images, feelings, desires, and emotions.  Not all positive.  Negativity tried to creep in and overtake my thoughts.

You know the thoughts I’m talking about.  The thoughts that make you forget who you truly are.  The thoughts that tell you that you’re not enough, you’ll never measure up, or you don’t belong.  This negativity causes insecurity and doubt.

I had to fight against this negative chitta.  To retain positivity in my thoughts and actions, I searched for quotes that inspired me.  Quotes that uplifted me.  Quotes that I hope inspired you.  Quotes that I hope uplifted you.

Each day, I was drawn to one song.  Honestly, multiple times a day causing tremendous eye rolling by my kids.  I was reminded of the long car trips they endured when they were little.  I apparently traumatized them by playing Bon Jovi over and over again.

Unbelievably, they each developed a love for all types of music.  So, hey, it couldn’t have been that horrific.  So, parental music torture does have its benefits.  Plus, they all have Bon Jovi on their play lists.  Hmmm.

Back to this month’s inspiration.  The song.  Lauren Daigle’s “You Say” from her album ‘Look Up Child’.  It has helped me to return to my writing chair.   It has helped me squash the negative chitta that wants to rise above my positive mind.

How?  It reminds me of God’s majesty.  He quiets the voices that bring us down.  He gives us hope, strength, and love.  Through Him, we can clearly see who we are in His eyes.  We are loved.  We are strong.  All we have to do is BELIEVE His words, His promises.

I BELIEVE……….

 

Lyrics
I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I’m not enough
Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up
Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low?
Remind me once again just who I am, because I need to know (ooh oh)
You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
You say I am held when I am falling short
When I don’t belong, oh You say that I am Yours
And I believe (I), oh I believe (I)
What You say of me (I)
I believe
The only thing that matters now is everything You think of me
In You I find my worth, in You I find my identity, (ooh oh)
You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
And You say I am held when I am falling short
When I don’t belong, oh You say that I am Yours
And I believe (I), oh I believe (I)
What You say of me (I)
Oh, I believe
Taking all I have and now I’m laying it at Your feet
You have every failure God, and You’ll have every victory, (ooh oh)
You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
You say I am held when I am falling short
When I don’t belong, oh You say that I am Yours
And I believe (I), oh I believe (I)
What You say of me (I)
I believe
Oh I believe (I), yes I believe (I)
What You say of me (I)
Oh I believe (oh)
Songwriters: Paul Mabury,Lauren Daigle,Jason Ingram
© CAPITOL CHRISTIAN MUSIC GROUP
For non-commercial use only.
Data From: LyricFind

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Let It Be

For the last few months, I’ve wanted to write about my Dad’s sister, my Aunt Kathy, or as my Dad called her Kath-a-leen. In the past, I’ve written about my Dad and his life growing up on the streets of NYC with his little sister in tow. Ultimately, they both ended up in foster care in upstate New York. They were placed in a home that my Grandmother believed would take care of them better than she could.

Unfortunately, the foster mother had a duplicitous personality. In front of my Grandmother, she was kind to my Dad and Aunt. When my Grandmother left, she was abusive to them and the other children in the home. At 16, after years of abuse, my Dad rebelled. He had enough. He was taken from the home, as was my Aunt. My Aunt sent to a loving home. My Dad to a farm for boys.

Neither of them blamed my Grandmother. I know my Dad would check on her to make sure she was okay and had every thing she needed. I believe she did what she thought was best. She believed that foster care would give my Dad and Aunt Kathy more than she could. My Grandmother was one of the kindest people I ever met. She was a very devout, proud, classy lady. Unfortunately, she trusted the wrong person.

The experience hardened my Dad. If you met him, he was the Archie Bunker of the ’70s and Gran Torino of the 2000s. Inside he was very kindhearted. He was very funny without even knowing he was. Most people didn’t give him a chance, including family. My Aunt, on the other hand, turned out to be one of the most loving, kind and sweetest people I know.

On more than one occasion, I have called my Aunt Kathy “Mom”. At first I thought she would be offended but she never said anything. Yesterday, I talked to her about it. She told me that she’s a Mom to whoever needs one. My Mom passed 8 years ago. I’ve missed calling someone that revered name. Now, I know it’s okay. I have more than an aunt. I have another Mom who loves me just as much.

We talked about how she and my Dad turned out so different from each other. This is what she told me. One night, as a little girl, she had a visitation from the Blessed Mother. The Blessed Mother told her that she was protecting her and that she would always be with her. She needn’t worry. After that day, no matter what she experienced, she knew she was protected and loved.

Her story reminded me of the song “Let It Be” by the Beatles written by Paul McCartney. Specifically, the lyrics:

“When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.”

Last week, a friend recommended that I watch the video of car ride karaoke with Paul McCartney and James Corden. In that video, I learned that Paul was referring to his mother, Mary, in the song. She appeared to him in a dream to let him know to take his worries and “Let It Be”. What a blessing!

Each and every day, we may be burdened by some sort of worry or concern – health, financial, etc. Some people may not believe that my “Mom” had a visitation from the Blessed Mother or that Paul McCartney’s Mom sent him a message through a dream but I do. It’s okay if you don’t. We all believe what we believe. I share with you a verse my friend sent me today to help me through a hard time.   Another reminder:

“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

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Strong & Courageous

How many times have you heard the phrase “this too shall pass”?  Not only have I heard it, but I have used it on countless occasions.  It seems so cliché when on a rollercoaster ride of endless challenges with no end in sight.  The challenge can be physical, emotional, spiritual, big, small or all of the above.  Challenges are tough whether one, two or a multitude.

Have you ever looked at someone else’s challenge(s) and wished yours were so easy? In your head you hear the unspoken words “God will only give you what you can handle”. You think “Don’t care.  his are easier.”  Then you remember that these challenges will make you stronger. You think about that for a nanosecond.   “Stronger?  Lord, I think I’m strong enough.  I am really good.  Truly.  I promise!”

Oh, come on, I know you have thought exactly that.  You would not be human if you didn’t.  Personally, I go through this a lot.  Why?  I have control issues.  I think I can fix everything all by myself without asking for help.  So, for that reason, God throws me buckets of challenges to force me to ask for help.  Still, it takes me a good while before I throw myself into God’s arms.

I used to be very good at it.  I never had a problem letting go of my challenges and placing them in His hands.  Twenty-four years ago, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.  My two eldest babies were only 22 months and 3 months old.  I was devastated for a bit.  Then, I remembered who I was.  No one, not anything, was going to take me away from my babies, my husband, and the rest of my family.  I gave it up to God.

Most people didn’t even know I had cancer.  Even now, most don’t.  I never took ownership of the disease.  I never let it define me even though I am considered an anomaly because I have only had two years in the past twenty four in which I was 100% cancer free.   Last week, my doctor said it’s time again for extensive testing.  He said “better to be safe than sorry.”  Paraphrased, of course.

So, once again, I face an impending battle.  It is not my only, but probably the most important right now.  I’ve been up every night reading to see if there have been any medical changes regarding my type of cancer.  While doing so, it came to me that I should share my story with all of you.  God reminded me that every time I have faced that battle, He has always been with me.

If He has been with me for this battle, why wouldn’t He be with me for all of the rest.  Honestly, I’ve gone blank.  Can’t think of a reason.  In my research, I did come across the scripture in Proverbs 31:25 that states:  “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.”  This is my intention.  No matter what the challenge I am equipped to handle it with strength and dignity.

I want you to know that I haven’t totally embraced letting go.  I still suffer from that control issue thing and a thickhead.  But, you know how God works, He had to send me another message.  My son walked in my office and I caught glimpse of his bicep tattoo.  Joshua 1:9!!!  Remember that you, too, are strong and courageous.  We all are with God.  He is with us!

 

Oh My Soul
Casting Crowns
Oh, my soul
Oh, how you worry
Oh, how you’re weary, from fearing you lost control
This was the one thing, you didn’t see coming
And no one would blame you, though
If you cried in private
If you tried to hide it away, so no one knows
No one will see, if you stop believing
Oh, my soul
You are not alone
There’s a place where fear has to face the God you know
One more day, He will make a way
Let Him show you how, you can lay this down
‘Cause you’re not alone
Here and now
You can be honest
I won’t try to promise that someday it all works out
‘Cause this is the valley
And even now, He is breathing on your dry bones
And there will be dancing
There will be beauty where beauty was ash and stone
This much I know
Oh, my soul
You are not alone
There’s a place where fear has to face the God you know
One more day, He will make a way
Let Him show you how, you can lay this down
I’m not strong enough, I can’t take anymore
(You can lay it down, you can lay it down)
And my shipwrecked faith will never get me to shore
(You can lay it down, you can lay it down)
Can He find me here
Can He keep me from going under
Oh, my soul
You’re not alone
There’s a place where fear has to face the God you know
One more day, He will make a way
Let Him show you how, you can lay this down
‘Cause you’re not alone
Oh, my soul, you’re not alone
Songwriters: JOHN MARK HALL,BERNIE HERMS
© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC,Universal Music Publishing Group
For non-commercial use only.
Data from: LyricFind

 

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Ups and Downs

That which is false troubles the heart, but truth brings joyous tranquility.

~ Rumi

I don’t know about you, but my life has been filled with ups and downs.  The ups are amazing, but the downs can become detrimental to my spiritual well-being.  Why?  I become fixated on things that are out of my control.  I allow myself to be overcome with anxiety.  When I am overwhelmed with anxiety, I stop listening.  I stop listening to reason – reason of my heart and mind, reason of my God and reason of my angels.  Thus, allowing myself to become incapacitated.  I feel like there is no hope in sight.

A few weeks ago, I was struggling with a multitude of health issues and felt that I had hit bottom.  I felt like a desolate soul. I was an emotional wreck.  So, I reached out to a few of my good friends.  They reminded me that I was protected and that God was with me.  They told me they loved me.  One of them introduced me to a woman who I would consider gifted.  She looked at me, tilted her head, and said:  “Why are you not listening to your angels?  They’ve been telling you all is well, but you’re not listening.”

And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying,
This is the way, walk ye in it,
when ye turn to the right hand,
and when ye turn to the left.
~ Isaiah 30:21 ~

Well, I received the perfect message.  Because of my Mom, I have a great belief in the guidance and protection of the angels.  Within minutes, I was awash with great relief. I was reminded that no matter where I was on my path – up or down, no matter my obstacle – God and His angels are always with me. The feeling of desolation tries to creep back into my soul, but I force it out.  I force it out because I am reminded of my new friend’s words, but more importantly, I am reminded that God is my only hope.

Since that day, messages abound.  I know that no matter my path, no matter my obstacle, all I have to do is listen.  God and my angels are always listening, so must I.  They are my protection along life’s path.  Through all my ups and downs, every single day with all of my breath, I remind myself that with God all things are possible.  He is my strength.  He brings me life.  He is my breathe.  They “comfort me when I’m beat down, broken.  Hold my heart when it’s split wide open…my sole protector.”  I just need Him.

I just need U. ~ TobyMac

Last night put the heavy on me
Woke up and I’m feeling lonely
This world gotta a way of showing me (showing me)
Some days it’ll lift you up
Some days it’ll call you bluff
Man, most of my days I ain’t got enough

And all I know
Is You’re my only hope

When I’m up when I’m down (uh, huh)
When the wolves come around (tell me)
When my feet hit the ground
I just need, I just need You
On my darkest days (uh, huh)
When I’m losing faith (tell me)
No, it ain’t gon’ change
I just need, I just need You
Lord, I need You
Yeah, I just need You

Yeah, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me
Thy rod and thy staff

They comfort me when I’m beat down, broken
Hold my heart when it’s split right wide open
Turn these eyes to my Soul Protector
Break the will of this born infector

Cuz’ all I know, all I know
Is You’re my only hope

When I’m up when I’m down (uh, huh)
When the wolves come around (tell me)
When my feet hit the ground
I just need, I just need You
On my darkest days (uh, huh)
When I’m losing faith (tell me)
No, it ain’t gon’ change
I just need, I just need You
Lord, I need You
Yeah, I just need You

When You pull me closer, I come to life
When You pull me closer, I come to life
When You pull me closer, I come to life
When You pull me closer, I come to life

When I’m up when I’m down
When my feet hit the ground
On my darkest days
No, it ain’t gon’ change
Oh Lord, I need You

When I’m up when I’m down
When the wolves come around
When my feet hit the ground
Yeah, I need, I need, I need, I need You
On my darkest days
When I’m losing faith
No, it ain’t gon’ change
Ain’t no way this thing gon’ change, it’s You

Is You, I need
Is You, I need
On my darkest days
When I’m losing faith
I need You, I need, Is You, I need
Every single day, every breath I take
I need You, I need You

Writer(s): TOBY MCKEEHAN, DAVID BLAKE NEESMITH, BRYAN FOWLER
Lyrics powered by http://www.musixmatch.com

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The Open Book

Love all, trust a few, do wrong to no one.

~ William Shakespeare ~

The quote above from William Shakespeare encapsulates the teachings of my earthly father.  He was a man who did not have an easy life as a child growing up in New York City.  His life experiences taught me more than any book could.  He taught me how to observe, how to feel, and how to listen to my intuition.  His lessons helped me to trust my own instincts.  Not unlike my father, I let few in my world to read the chapters of my life; but to those I was an open book.

The great lessons of my father became buried as I journeyed through adulthood.  His lessons were not forgotten.  They laid right under the jacket cover of my own book.  As a result, through one of the darkest periods in my life, too many read my book.  Some of these readers were pertinent on chapter rewrites; others should not have been allowed any editing privileges. I had forgotten the lessons of my childhood.  I lost the skill to observe, to feel, and listen to my own intuition.

During the last few years of my father’s life, he reminded me of his love of great literature and music.  He coveted a book from his childhood – a pocket sized book of poetry by William Shakespeare.  This memory helped me to regain control of my book. Once again, few are allowed to read its pages.  My book contains less characters than ever before.  There are few with any credentials for rewriting and editing.  I am the primary author and publisher.

My greatest hope is to honor my Dad in the chapters of my book.  For the last few days, I have been reminded of him on numerous occasions when listening to the song by Scotty McCreery, “Five More Minutes”.  I have never met anyone who was as courageous, loyal, and honest as he was – who loved his family more.  If I only had “five more minutes”, to tell him “thank you” for teaching me how to write my own book and leaving me his legacy.

No legacy is so rich as honesty.

~ William Shakespeare ~

 

Songwriters: MONTY CRISWELL, SCOTTY MCCREERY, FRANK ROGERS
© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Spirit Music Group
For non-commercial use only.
Data From: LyricFind

 

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Voice

If you hear a voice within you say

‘you cannot paint’

then by all means paint,

and that voice will be silenced.

~ Vincent van Gogh ~

 

I don’t know if this has ever happened to you, but it does for me every once in a while.  Not true.  It happens a lot.  I doubt.  My doubts can be detrimental.  They have been obstacles along my path.  They make me unsure if my goals are worth the effort.

My doubt comes in this obnoxious, negative voice.  In yoga, we call it ‘monkey brain’.  It’s that small voice that whispers in your ear.  You know the one I’m talking about.  It’s the one that says you shouldn’t, you can’t, or asks the question ‘are you sure’.

I have been working on a project for more than a year.  There are days when I’m filled with confidence and excitement.  Other days, I question whether or not I’m wasting my time.   Once doubt creeps in, it impedes my progress.

This morning, I woke to the lyrics from the song “Voice of Truth” by Casting Crowns playing in my head. For over two hours, I heard it over and over again.  So much better than listening to ‘monkey brain’.  It’s message couldn’t be clearer.

It is not only doubt that keeps us from accomplishing our goals. It is also fear. All I heard was ‘do not be afraid’.  I realized that the fear and doubt I was feeling was not what I should be listening to.

I should have been listening to the strong, soothing voice inside my head.  The voice that tells the truth.  Van Gogh is quoted as saying “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced”.

I’ve silenced my ‘monkey brain’ voice.  Now, I’m listening.  I’m listening to the truth that lies behind my doubt. I’m listening to the voice that tells the truth.  The one that brings no doubt.

It is the voice that reminds me that “In God, whose word I praise – in God, I trust and am not afraid…” (Psalm 56:4).  This voice does not cast doubt.  This voice is loving, supportive, and strong.  This voice is truth.

 

Songwriters: STEVEN CURTIS CHAPMAN, MARK HALL
© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, ESSENTIAL MUSIC PUBLISHING, CAPITOL CHRISTIAN MUSIC GROUP
For non-commercial use only.
Data From: LyricFind

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Heartbeat

The tower in the picture is from my Irish homeland in Connemara.  It reminds me of my heritage.  It is where I am from.  It is who I am.  This tower is part of me and I am part of it.  I can’t explain it any other way.

I mentioned my tower for a reason.  This morning, I woke up to Sprinter.  Freezing temperatures and snow flurries.  I sat outside and reminisced.  The joy and sorrow.  The blessings and loss.  My tower.  My strength and endurance.

Memories flooded my mind.  Emotions ran the gamut.  My heart started to flutter on overdrive.  Then, I felt it stop.  Almost as if someone was clutching it in their hands.  Squeezing it so tightly that it could hardly beat.

I tried taking some deep breathes.  It didn’t work.  I turned to my daily devotional.  I received the perfect message.  I was reminded of who gives me my strength and endurance.  My God.

The tightness in my heart lessened.  I felt some relief.  While waiting for an appointment, I browsed the internet to pass the time.  I came across a quote from Lawrence Welk.  My Grandma used to love him.  He said:

Never trust anyone completely but God.

Love people, but put your trust only in God.

Wow!  This definitely got my attention.  Over the years, I’ve trusted a lot of people.  Some that I shouldn’t have.  One of my biggest regrets.  Geez Louise!  What was coming next?  Getting hit by a bus?

Driving home I heard the song by Danny Gokey called “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again”.  Then,  my epiphany.  My tower.  It is me.  It is my family.  It is my God.  It is my constant.  My rock.  I did get hit by a bus – figuratively.

Suddenly, my heart began to beat freely and effortlessly.  Everything in my life has been  guided by God’s love and grace.  He has been carrying me through my joy and sorrow, blessings and loss.  What a blessed reminder to “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again”!

 

Writers: Randy Phillips, Bernie Herms, Matthew West

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See

When you look at the picture above, what do you see?  I see a building surrounded by beauty.  I am drawn to find out its’ history.  If you feel the same way as I do, you’ll want to know that this “ruin” has a name.  Its name is “The Office”.  It originally was a hospital during a flu epidemic approximately 100 years ago. The hospital eventually closed and became “The Office” for collecting rent.  It has a story, a name, a heart.

All of us have a story, a name, a heart.  Isn’t there beauty everywhere? If we just “look” and not “see”, we miss out on so much.  There was a time when I had closed down.  I just looked at the world, at people.  I was searching for the self I had lost and disassociated with seeing the world around me.  I didn’t want to stop looking and truly see who and what was around me.  Why?

I believed that I had to change to be part of a family, a group. I lost myself trying to be someone I wasn’t.  I conformed.  It wasn’t even to make myself better.  There was nothing wrong with who I was. As a result, I became silent.  Those who really know me will find that statement very funny.   I looked at my reflection and found a stranger -someone I didn’t recognize.

I have regained most of me, but with age comes change.  I am comfortable with who I see.  I’m not one to impress.  I wear holes in my jeans, converse sneakers, huge sweatshirts and no make-up.  It is the real me. Recently, while in a foreign country fresh off the plane, I was eyed up and down by the security guards in the city’s shopping district.  I laughed.

I didn’t fit in and I found it humorous.  Everyone was dressed up.  There was no way I was changing my clothes to window shop.  My point is that the guards looked at me, but they didn’t see me.  They missed the light in my eyes.  The light that lived in my heart. They couldn’t see beyond my weathered, holey Levis.  They missed my smile filled with joy.  So sad for them…for me.

To really truly see, you must be able to look beyond the outside and delve deep within.  In friends, family, and acquaintances, you may see what you never saw before.  Don’t look.  See the light that lives in a person’s heart.  Seeing may enable you to see God’s love and light shining back at you.  By seeing, you may shed the layers of protection surrounding you.  Seeing will allow others to see Him in you.

 

©ColtonDixonMusic

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Redeemed

“The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the blood of Christ;
all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone!
‘Father, the atheists?’
Even the atheists. Everyone!”
~ Pope Francis ~

My Sicilian grandmother was born in 1898 and was way ahead of her time.  I don’t remember how old I was when she stopped going to church, but I was concerned she wasn’t going to go to heaven.  When I asked her, she told me in her broken English: “I good. I not go to hell because I no go to church.  You see, my heart is full of love for God, Jesus, and the Blessed Mother.  Plus, ya know, the Mafia goes to church.  Hmpf.”

My father, who was born Irish Catholic, never entered the church when I was little.  Well, that’s not totally true – weddings and baptisms were the exception – plus, he was our parish’s maintenance man.  As a foster child, he had experienced an array of religions growing up.  As an adult, he believed that his relationship with the Lord was just that, a relationship between him and the Lord.

Today, I don’t frequent the church.  I miss it at times.  It is where I remember the most about my Mom and how she influenced my spiritual path.  I grew up Catholic, and ended up exploring every non-denominational church in the area of my young adulthood.  I returned to the Catholic church because I found no perfect church.  I grew to believe that it didn’t matter what building I celebrated in as long as my heart was with God.

Back to my little Grandma.  When I mentioned that she was ahead of her time, I meant it.  I believe that she would have truly loved the teachings of Pope Francis.  She believed that God loved everyone.  He did not discriminate.  He knew everyone’s heart.  She believed that a person’s heart and actions were more important than whether or not they entered into a certain building to pray.

I talked to my priest about it.  We joke every holiday.  When I go up to communion, he whispers, “nice to see you”.  My reply usually is “you, too.  The walls and the altar shook upon my arrival.  Did you feel it?”  He knows that I carry a wee bit of guilt over not attending Mass every week.  Yet, he always seems to reassure me that God hears my prayers and knows my heart wherever I worship Him.  I’ve been redeemed.

When I heard Big Daddy Weave sing “Redeemed”, there was a tweak in my heart. It was if God’s hand stitched an open wound. Holy Days are upon us and the season of Lent is drawing to a close.  I have attached Big Daddy Weave’s video below.  I hope that it blesses you as much as it has blessed me.  There is no greater love than God’s love.  Remember even in the hardest of times, we have been redeemed.

Blessings!

 

Seems like all I can see was the struggle
Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past
Bound up in shackles of all my failures
Wondering how long is this gonna last
Then You look at this prisoner and say to me “son
Stop fighting a fight that’s already been won”
I am redeemed, You set me free
So I’ll shake off theses heavy chains
And wipe away every stain now I’m not who I used to be
I am redeemed
I’m redeemed
All my life I have been called unworthy
Named by the voice of my shame and regret
But when I hear You whisper, “Child lift up your head”
I remember oh God, You’re not done with me yet
I am redeemed, You set me free
So I’ll shake off theses heavy chains
And wipe away every stain now I’m not who I used to be
Because I don’t have to be the old man inside of me
‘Cause his day is long dead and gone
Because I’ve got a new name, a new life I’m not the same
And a hope that will carry me home
I am redeemed, You set me free
So I’ll shake off theses heavy chains
And wipe away every stain now I’m not who I used to be
I am redeemed, You set me free
So I’ll shake off theses heavy chains
And wipe away every stain now I’m not who I used to be
Oh God I’m not who I used to be
Jesus I’m not who I used to be
‘Cause I am redeemed
Thank God, redeemed

Songwriters: BENJI COWART, MICHAEL WEAVER, MICHAEL DAVID WEAVER
© Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Granny charged with…

Years ago, I thought about writing a book about the strange things that happened in my life.  The title wasn’t original.   You Can’t Make This $*%& Up.  I think it’s a phrase most of us have used.  I never wrote that book, but I did set up one of the categories of this blog with that title.  I have been very hesitant writing about my unique and unusual stories. That is until yesterday.

I was driving with a friend to an appointment.  I told her I drove like a granny.  She said “I know”.  I asked why she didn’t make fun of me.  She said “you may be slow, but I felt safe”.  Phew, that was a relief.  I told her there was a reason why I drove slow.  I told her a story.  She thought it was hysterical.  Something that would only happen to me.  She said I should share it.  It was time.  I had to agree.  So, here it is.

I was driving to the cardiologist because I had been having chest pains.  My primary doctor thought it was a good idea to check it out.  I knew it was a “grieving heart”, but doctor knows best.  Anyhow, I was driving down the freeway to my appointment when a police officer pulled up behind me.  He quickly turned his lights on.  I shrugged my shoulders and thought “can’t be me…I’m only going 40 mph”.

Not only was I driving like a granny, but there was an accident on the side of the road. His lights were on so that traffic would slow so he could navigate four lanes of traffic.  Duh!  That’s why I was driving 40 in a 60.  Made sense to me.  I don’t think anyone else would beg to differ.  Well, there was one person who would.  The officer who turned on his sirens and pulled me to the side of the freeway.

Visual.  40-something-year-old mom of three teenagers in a minivan from suburbia. You can see it.  Right?  Now, I was shaking in my boots.  The 20-something year old police officer, who could have been my son, told me that he originally was pulling me over for expired tags.  Well, now, instead of a complimentary warning. I was getting a ticket.  All I could think of was “now I’m really going to have a heart attack.”

I thanked and apologized to him profusely.  Tick. Tick. Tick.  I’m going to be late.  After 15 minutes, I slowly pull away.  Imagine.  Slower than I had before.  Plus, paranoid to do anything wrong.  Perfect timing for a cardiology appointment.  When I arrived, I ran to the doctor’s office to check in.  I hadn’t even glanced at my ticket yet.  I filled out all the paperwork then pulled the ticket out of my purse to see what the damages where.

Damages?!  I was charged with fleeing and alluding a police officer in my mini-van.  I was having heart palpitations.  The doctor was running late so I told his staff I was stepping into the hall.  I was hyperventilating by this time.  Fleeing and alluding an officer is a felony.  A felony where I live is a hefty fine, plus six months jail time and community service.  It was a “WTF” moment.

I’m in the hallway pacing back and forth waiting for Mr. Attorney to pick up his phone. I’m having hot sweats and trembling.  He finally picks up.  He listens to my whole story and bursts out laughing.  Not funny ha-ha.  Laughing hysterically.  He told me to picture it.  Forty-something-year-old soccer mom from suburbia driving in her minivan charged with fleeing and alluding.  He couldn’t breathe.  Well, neither could I.

Mr. Attorney told me not to worry.  The charges would never stick.  Blah. Blah. Blah.  He wasn’t charged with fleeing and alluding.  Nope.  Nah.  Nada.  He could laugh all he wanted.  I was losing years in minutes. A heart attack was imminent.  Suddenly, the cardiologist came out to get me and immediately said “I wasn’t going to do this, but I think it would be a great time for you to have a stress test.” No s*(? Sherlock!

Amazingly, my stress test came out normal.  Really?  Machine must have been faulty.  Since my attorney thought the story was so funny, I decided to seek out a friend who worked in the city police department.  I called her.  She and her husband were my angels for the next few months.  I told her my story.  She was dumbfounded.  Her husband had been listening in and interrupted after a few minutes.

I had forgotten that her husband was the Chief of Police, Traffic of the city where I was “detained”. He inquired about the officer and then asked for his badge number.  Well, apparently, my police officer had a reputation for charging people with ridiculous offenses.  Thank God for friends.  Letters were written on my behalf to let the courts know about my good character.  Yes, “the courts”.

Six weeks later, I stood in front of the traffic court judge and approximately 100 other traffic violators.  When the judge read the charges filed against me, he laughed.  Yes.  I said he laughed.  Again, not a funny ha-ha, but hysterically.  I dimly smiled and let out a small, strained giggle and pleaded “not guilty, sir”. Through his tears of laughter, he managed to tell the court that “I’m sorry.  I do not try felons in my court. Next!”

My friend and her husband were with me the whole time for support.  Thank God or I would have passed out. Next stop.  Criminal court.  This judge was a bit more stern.  If he thought my story was funny, he didn’t show it at all.  I pleaded “not guilty” again.  I truly wanted to vomit.  The court officer was chuckling.  I was dying.  I had all my charges dropped, paid my court fees, and am now a felon-free citizen.

I can laugh now when I tell my “fleeing and alluding” story.  Admittedly, it took a while before I thought it was funny at all.  Now, I look back and think “I should have laughed my way through it, too.”  It is pretty funny I must say.  The most ironic thing about it is that I am one of the most careful, slow, grandma-like drivers that I know.  I’m afraid to go more than 10 miles over the speed limit.

As cliché as this may sound, the biggest lesson that I’ve learned from this experience and have been reminded of on numerous occasions is that “this too shall pass”.  It is all about timing.  Not my time, but God’s time.  I allowed this incident to stress me out more than it should have.  It was being taken care of.  My friends, my family, and God were all there laughing all the way.  I should have been too.  Laugh more.  Fear less.

God makes everything happen at the right time.

Ecclesiastes 3:11

 

 

 

 

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Persistence

Energy and persistence conquers all things.

~ Benjamin Franklin ~

 

Have you ever heard an inner voice whispering in your ear? I have. The voice’s message is so clear.  Follow me.  Seek me. Ask me. It will be a journey filled with peace and tranquility. Unbelievable as it is, I do not always listen.

I listen to my own voice which tends to bring me storms, tempests, hurricanes, and tornados – many challenges and much adversity.  I must then wait out the storm.  When it finally calms, I realize that I have climbed Mt. Everest.

When quiet and listening to my inner voice, I hike up a sweet, serene, peaceful mountain range.  My outcome remains the same.  The only difference is that it has been achieved through growth, understanding, and love.

Don’t climb Mt. Everest.  Expend your energy and persist to achieve your greatest goal listening to your inner voice.  It will be a protected and shielded journey.  One where you will find solace, support, courage, and wisdom.

 

Whoever is slothful will not roast his game, but the diligent man will get precious wealth.

~ Proverbs 12:27 ~

 

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Affirmation

The words that follow ‘I am’ follow you.

~ Rock Thomas ~

Over the last few weeks, I have been ruminating on the “I am”.  It is a phrase that I have heard on many occasions. I have read it in the Bible, used it in meditation, and learned about in yoga teacher training.  Its use never became a daily habit.  Why?  No idea.

My daughter sent me a video.  Topic unknown.  It was in my to-do pile for a long time.  The video was the story of Rock Thomas.  In the video, Mr. Thomas shares his heart-wrenching and inspirational life’s journey confirming the power of “I am”.

Two weeks ago, my friend gave me a book called the Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod.  A book on how to transform your life.  Guess what one of the six elements of transformation are?  Yes, you are correct!  Affirmations.  Mine “I am”.

So, there has been a trend in the messages that I have been sent over the last six years.  Recently, they have been banging at my door.  Have I listened?  Mmm, a tiny bit.  Seeds were planted.  I just wasn’t fertilizing the seed to make it grow into a habit.

“I am” can change your mindset.  If my day starts out with negative thoughts and emotions, my experiences are usually disappointing.  I have committed to starting my day with positive affirmations.  I am blessed.  I am loved.  I am happy.  The outcome…

Well, today, I was hesitant.   I pondered whether or not I should share the “I am” on my blog.  As soon as that thought entered my mind, my dogs began howling at the front door.  There were no visitors, no deer, no squirrels.  Just a message for me.

I looked up and the sky was absolutely magnificent – a gentle reminder to savor the beauty of each and every day.  I ran and grabbed my camera to capture nature’s gift, so I could share it with friends and family.

As I admired my picture of the morning horizon, I looked a bit closer.  There was an image in the clouds.  You may think I am crazy.  That’s okay.  I am sure I am to some degree.  What I saw was nature’s depiction of the Archangel Michael.

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Unbeknownst to most, Archangel Michael is my favorite angel.  Do you see him in the clouds carrying the sword?  I did not at first.  Neither did my daughter. His message to me were affirmations.  You are strong.  You are protected.  You are blessed.

As a result of my message this morning, I am writing to you to encourage you to find your affirmation and see the blessings in each new day. They are there.  Just wait and see.  You are strong.  You are protected.  You are blessed.

Jesus:  …I am the Way, the Truth and the Life…

~ John 14:6 ~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Cardinal

‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—

~ Emily Dickinson ~

For the first time ever, two days before Valentine’s and Ash Wednesday,  a cardinal flew in front of my car while driving to an appointment. I was ecstatic.  This was not just happenstance.  This beauty flew past my windshield for a reason.   I knew a little bit of what the cardinal represented, but there were many stones that remained unturned that I had to explore.

I knew that cardinals could spiritually represent a visitation from a loved one passed.  I also read that a cardinal represents a Valentine sent from heaven. If that is true, then I am truly blessed.  My Dad has sent me a Valentine almost every day for the last two years. After he passed, we have hosted a family of cardinals in our backyard.  He sent them to remind me that my parents, and all my loved ones remain alive in my heart.

In Christianity, the cardinal represents the fire and vitality of the living spirit.  It represents the everlasting vitality found through the blood of Christ.  The key to the knowledge and understanding of the mysteries of God.  The hinge on which the door to Christianity is opened.  The heart where divine love resides.  The crossroads on the road of life.  The cardinal and these symbols are reminders of our living faith.

God sent me a cardinal because of its significance in my life. His message intended to remind me to take refuge in his arms by having faith in the darkest of times, trusting during the bleakest of circumstances, and hoping when desperation overwhelms.  He did not want me to forget a promise I made to him many, many years ago.

As for me, I will always have hope;

I will praise you more and more.

~ Psalm 71:14 ~

 

 

 

 

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An unpleasant burden.

Unpleasant burdens. Not uncommon to most.  The monkey on your back.  Any burden of thought, negativity, anger, judgment, emotions, grief, sorrow, sickness, depression, pain, etc.  Negatively effecting our health in many different ways – sleeplessness, hypertension, infection, exhaustion, stress, plus a multitude of other ailments, if we let them.

Use your imagination as you read the poem below.  It’s not fiction.  It really did happen.  Here goes…

 100+ pound puppy sleeping.

I’m not sweeping.

Vacuuming close by.

I could easily get by.

Just a bit too close.

Panic stricken he rose.

Tail vacuumed up.

A frantic pup.

Walls, furniture, and doors beware.

He has been scarred for life, I swear.

My poor puppy knows what it is to have an unpleasant burden.  Since this happened a few weeks ago, he is terrified of the vacuum cleaner.  Every day, we work with him to overcome his fear.  He has made tremendous progress through praise and reward.  In another week or two, we are looking positively at him overcoming his fear 100%.

Do we do the same thing when we act and react to certain situations or burdens as my puppy? We most certainly do.  Unfortunately, doing so affects our health negatively.  This year I am determined to take on my unpleasant burdens with positivity.  I believe that by doing so I will not miss out on a multitude of beautiful life experiences.

I came across this Bible quote that I felt was very appropriate for this post.  As hard as it can be for me as a human to let go, I must never forget:

Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you;

he will never let the righteous be shaken.

Psalm 55:22

I am not denying what I am going through – the circus remains very much in tact. I am overcoming my burdens without adopting the negative effects of my situation.  Keeping my eyes turned upward, not outward, or inward.

 

 

 

 

 

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My Simple Religion

This is my simple religion.

There is no need for temple; no need for complicated philosophy.

Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.

~ Dalai Lama ~

 

Each and every day, I try to live by the words, actions, and teachings of Jesus, the Blessed Mother, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Buddha, Dalai Lama, and other great teachers and prophets.  Their words are so powerful and inspiring.  For years, I lost myself.  I allowed myself to be overshadowed and influenced by others.  Through trials, tribulation, loss, and hurt, I have reclaimed my journey.  My journey has allowed me to find an honest way to spread God’s love and follow my path.  Kindness…

Kindness is a simple religion.

Kindness cannot be found in buildings.

Kindness cannot be found in religion.

Kindness cannot be found in untruths.

Kindness is found in actions.

Kindness is found in words.

Kindness is found in self.

Kindness lives in the heart.

Kindness lives in your heart.

Kindness lives in my heart.

Kindness is my simple religion.

Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness and honor.

~ Proverbs 21:21 ~

 

 

 

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Promise

Consult not your fears, but your hopes and dreams.

Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfilled potential.

Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in,

but what is still possible for you to do.

~ Pope John XXIII ~

The New Year brings forth the promise to fulfill all potential leaving behind past disappointments. Pondering the above quote required reflection.  But first, the definition of “promise” by Merriam-Webster:

1a. declaration that one will do or refrain from doing something specified;

1b. a legally binding declaration that gives the person to whom it is made a right to expect or to claim the performance or forbearance of a specific act;

2. reason to expect something – little promise of relief; grounds for expectation of success, improvement, or excellence; and,

3. something that is promised.

Promises can be made with good intention. Promises can be meritless. Promises can be made for self-gratification.  Do not rely on others’ promises to fulfill your own hopes and dreams this New Year.

Fear and self-doubt can be debilitating.  Leave the past in the past.  Look forward. Know that God’s promise is the truest.  It may be hard.  There may be trials and tribulation, but His promise will not be broken.  Neither will yours.

“I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go,

and I will bring you back to this land.

I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

~Genesis 28:15~

 

Blessings to you and your family this New Year!

 

 

 

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Hope, Love and Strength

“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”

~Proverbs 16:9~

In 2014, I wrote one of my first blog posts titled, An Old Irish Blessing.  It is the story of how I found my family in Ireland with only a few bits and pieces of history that my Dad remembered from his childhood.  I am truly blessed to say that we were immediately welcomed by our cousins.  My greatest hope and dream was to one day meet my new family.  Two months ago that hope and dream became a reality.

One night, my husband announced nonchalantly that I would be joining him on a business trip.  I didn’t respond.  The house became uncomfortably silent.   I squeaked out: “yay”.  Let me add that I hate to fly.  “Ireland”, he said.  My response:  “oh”.  Everyone stared at me dumbfounded.   It took me a day or two to comprehend what he said.  I finally realized I was not dreaming.   IRELAND!!! MY FAMILY!!!  OMG!!!

Everything that needed to be done in preparation just fell into place.  Ireland was becoming a reality. I was going to meet my O’Flaherty/Keane family.   I was going to my family’s ancestral land.   A land that I heard was magical.  Magical?  Yes, it was, in more ways than one.  There was a transformation within me.  I could feel myself beginning to heal.  I felt a strength within that had been sorely lacking for a very long time.

From the moment our plane landed, we were welcomed with open arms and hearts.  I instantaneously felt a strong familial bond with each and every member of my family.  We laughed, cried, talked, ate, drank and celebrated life every moment of every day.  I became filled with a great feeling of love and contentment.  The heart that I shared with my father and  grandmother was home.

I  felt healing begin deep within my heart inclusive of the hearts of generations past.  Hearts that were missing integral parts of their history.  Hearts that needed mending from loss, desperation, separation, disappointment – all of life’s elements.  This journey began the healing of generations past, present and future.  No longer a wounded heart but one filled with hope, love and strength.

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Silence

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness.

God is the friend of silence.

See how nature – trees, flowers, grass – grows in silence;

See the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence…

We need silence to be able to touch souls.

~ Mother Teresa ~

Silence.  The word has been ruminating in my mind for over a month.  It is defined by Merriam-Webster as:

  1. forebearance from speech or noise :  muteness
  2. absence of sound or noise : stillness
  3. absence of mention
  4. to compel or reduce to silence : still
  5. suppress
  6. to cause to cease hostile firing or criticism

This post is not to be an English lesson although it’s probably what you are thinking right about now…I knew it.

Over the last year or so, silence has become a huge part of my life.  Some people may call it isolation, I call it self-preservation.

My mom used to say “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”  What she really was trying to say was “be silent”.  Why?

In silence, there is much to be attained.  Faith. Strength. Knowledge. Truth. Self. Acceptance. Stillness. Peace. Growth. Love.

Silence is where the voice of God can be heard.  The voice of evil, weakness, lies, judgment, adversity, and hate does not exist.

My wish for you is to find silence so that you can find the true “you”.

Listen in silence because if your heart is full of other things,

You cannot hear the voice of God.

~ Mother Teresa ~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Courage

“You’ve always had the power dear, you just had to learn it for yourself”

Glinda – The Wizard of Oz

 

Today, one of my best friends sent me a blog post by Caroline Myss called Three Popular Ways of Avoiding Powerful Guidance.  It was a powerful message – one that I needed to hear.  I’m sure my friend knew that and that’s why she sent it to me.  Myss states “this guidance is instantly recognizable because it’s impossible to repress sensations of discomfort, anxiety, the rush of excitement, or the passion that arises when you connect to genuine inspirations. The sensations that start churning in your gut simply won’t stop. Powerful guidance demands action.”

For me, the thought of taking action causes fear.  For years I experienced that aching deep inside that needed my attention.  Do what you were meant to do.  Write.  My Mom told me that when I was in 7th grade. My readers, other writers, family and friends encourage me every day.  Yet, some days, I question myself.  Am I? Should I? What if I fail?  Then I say to myself:  “I will only fail if I don’t do.  If I don’t do, I don’t have courage. If I don’t have courage, I give in to my fear.”  Failing is inaction and not listening to the “powerful guidance” within.

Caroline Myss said: “Courage is something that will never enter you through prayer. Only action brings courage.”  Courage.  I looked up its definition.  It is “the ability to do something that frightens one.”  If you follow my blog, you’ll notice I like to include a featured image on every post.  In search of an image representative of the word “courage”, the quote above from Glinda, the Good Witch, from The Wizard of Oz popped up.  Substitute “power” with “courage”, you’ll find the message remains the same. Qualities we already possess.

The Cowardly Lion, the Scarecrow and the Tin Man of The Wizard of Oz represent our lack of courage to listen to our powerful guidance. The Lion believed himself a coward.  Yet, he demonstrated bravery on numerous occasions.  The Scarecrow wished for a brain.  He was crowned the ruler of Emerald City because of his intelligence.  The Tin Man searched for his heart even though he was the most compassionate and caring character. Many of us have a Dorothy in our lives.  She is the unintentional liberator who encourages us to listen and take action.

Dorothy’s friendship and support of the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion enabled them to overcome their fears so they could find the courage to follow their “powerful guidance”.  In doing so, Dorothy is has unlocked qualities that she already possessed.  She needed to conquer her fears and find her own courage. This acknowledgment of and action upon her “powerful guidance” enabled her to return home to Kansas.

My hope and wish for each of you is that you, too, have a Dorothy. A friend who supports you. A friend who helps you to acknowledge that you need to listen and take action against your fears which will give you the courage to follow your own “powerful guidance”.

Home is knowing.

Knowing your mind.

Knowing your heart.

Knowing your courage.

If we know ourselves,

We are always home,

anywhere.

Glinda – The Wizard of Oz

 

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The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light.

~ George Washington ~

Have you ever come in contact with the proverbial “wolf in sheep’s clothing” on a personal or observational level?  These individuals prey on the vulnerable and weak.  Their personalities are duplicitous.  They portray themselves as having compassion, love, honesty and a multitude of other admirable qualities but their true nature is self-serving and dishonest.  Unfortunately, I believe we all have at some point in our lives.

Personally, I have endured a handful of unprovoked personal attacks.  I’m the first to admit I’m no perfect human-being.  I certainly have my own flaws.  Attacking others – physically, psychologically or spiritually – is not one of them.   Looking back, I realize that all occurred when I was most vulnerable.  How sad is it that these “wolves” need to prey on the weak in order to find their power or self-esteem.

Recently, I watched as an individual tried to verbally annihilate another.  This individual believed that with status and age came respect.  Whilst expecting respect, this individual was unaware that respect is earned.  This individual preyed on the innocent.  When unable to control this honest, strong, and beautiful young person, this individual became an uncontrollable, lying beast.  Utterly, unrecognizable.

These “wolves” are often unable to hide under their “sheep’s clothing” forever.  After time, the clothing that they wear will become thread-bare and tattered.  When this happens, their true selves will be exposed for all to see.  Please remember that if you ever experience a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” the darkness he/she brings will be overshadowed with your light. Your light will continue to shine brightly as the wolf’s dims and dissipates into the darkness.

See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.

~ Isaiah 60:2 ~

 

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Tears

“Tears are prayers too.  They travel to God when we can’t speak.”

~Psalm 56:8~

Tears

 

Silence

Inner strength broken

Heart crushed

Emotions volcano

Lava flows

Tears

Sorrow

Loss  of parent

Love unfettered

Loyalty undeniable

Truth abounds

Dad

Loss

Heart of complexity

Deceitful betrayal

Honesty defaced

Trust broken

Friend

Joy

Love of family

Faithful friends

Blessed life

Heart repaired

Tears

The following quotes really touched me today.  I hope they speak to you as well.  Blessings!

“The rose and the thorn and sorrow and gladness are linked together.”

~Saadi~

“Tears come from the heart and not from the brain.”

~Leonardo daVinci~

“Tears are a sign of sadness.  Sadness touches others’ feeling, whereas laughter cannot touch others very deeply.  Laughter is something on the surface, whereas grief comes from within.  Since grief comes from a person’s inner being, it must also enter into the inner being of others.  All who have experience in human life acknowledge this.  The shedding of tears is a sign of a broken heart.  Therefore, before tears can flow from the eyes, they must flow from the heart.”

~Watchman Nee~

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The Path

A long time ago, when I was in 7th grade, so let’s just say decades ago, my Mom told me I should be a writer.  I had written a fictional story for my English class and she loved it.  From a little girl, I would devour book after book.  I would come home from the library with a pile as high as my knees.  Granted, let’s not kid ourselves, I wasn’t reading Moby Dick like Matilda in the movie by the same name.  Every book I read, the words would just come alive.  I lived and breathed the stories I read.  I had the wildest imagination.

In high school, my curriculum was filled with business classes.  I had great aspirations.  I ran for a state-held position in Future Business Leaders of America.  I lost.   The overwhelming majority of voters stated that I was too shy for the position of President. I was well liked so I was offered the position of Corresponding Secretary.  I accepted and looked forward to the position until I was inappropriately touched on numerous occasions by my employer.  My path changed.

Sooooo…..I withdraw from my office.  Disappointed my teacher, my mentor.  I did not go  to the college of my dreams.  Instead, I worked as an Administrative Assistant for a group who became my second family. I took classes at night at my community college and pursued my degree in Business Administration.  I was blessed to date and marry one of my best friends’ brothers (we first me when I was a CCD student and he was one of the teachers – crazy huh).  My path now included wife,  business woman and future mom.

Becoming a mom wasn’t easy – three angels watch over us.  The birth of our first baby girl was my epiphany.  I wasn’t leaving my baby.  Then came our baby boy.  When he was just shy of three months old, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.  Work?  Not happening.  Health and family first.  My path changed to full-time mother.  When miracle baby girl number two came along just 3 years later, business woman became undesirous.  Staying healthy and raising healthy, respectful, caring, loving children became my passion.

I still read everyday.  I never lost that passion.  Book after book after book.  We moved from our hometown to Pittsburgh back to our hometown to Cleveland in seven years.  During that time, my cancer reared its ugly head a few more times.  After putting it in remission again, I realized I never finished school.  I absolutely did not want to become a business woman.  Yuck!  Not for me.  I wanted to be a teacher.  So, I went back to school to become an elementary school teacher.  My counselor convinced me to pursue English.

I graduated from college Summa Cum Laude in English.  I was so proud.  Now to get certified as an elementary school teacher.  Wellllll…..path change.  My mom was diagnosed with cancer and moved to Cleveland with my dad so that I could help him take care of her.  The best path change that ever happened.  I wouldn’t change those two years for a million dollars.  After my Mom passed and before my Dad became ill, I became a Yoga Instructor, Reiki Master, Chiropractic Assistant and writer.  All leading to…….

Me finding me.  Who I’ve always been.  That little girl.  The girl who would have been a meditating, yoga loving, tree-hugging  (except for the drugs), book writing, God loving hippie if she had been born a few years earlier.  Thank God, my family accepts my craziness.   No more will you find me at home dressed with full makeup on.  Now you’ll find me at home puttering in the yard and/or with my dogs in my jeans, sweatshirt and flip flops.  Peace in its best form.

Of course, there are days when I question my path.  Ha!  Let’s be real!  Almost every day.  I ask myself these questions.  Where am I going next?  If I pursue this, will it really happen?  Did these goals not turn to fruition because they were not the path I was to follow but the path I thought I should?  Was I following the path of someone else?  Did someone plant a seed and make me believe that this was the path I should take?  Was I too trusting of someone else?  Was I made to believe that my path would be easy and never change?

The only constant on my path is that I walk it with God and my family.  I walk it with God even when I question my faith.  There will be times when you’ll ask the same questions.  I can only advise you to stay true to yourself.  Keep your eyes on your God.  Follow your path, not the path of someone else.  Whether your path is winding, splintered, straight, wide or narrow, know that you are never alone.  Remember….someone is always with you no matter what.  That someone is God.

In all the ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.

~Proverbs 3:6~

 

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