Prayer request

Could you please say a prayer for Shelly, a lady that I work with? This evening we got a semi-truck with merchandise in, and she and I were helping unload the HUGE box so that we could get it in our storeroom. She tripped on some of the strapping and fell, on concrete and asphalt. Her hand was swelling slightly by the time we were leaving, and I guess she is going to the emergency room just to make sure everything is okay because she is quite sore. 😦 She is a nice lady that really does not need anything more to go wrong right now…I hope nothing is badly injured. So, any prayers are appreciated. God bless!

Sighs of the soul

I have felt so out of sorts today. I keep trying to smile and have a positive attitude, but the headache prevails. I feel so lazy, like I should be doing something – but everything seems too difficult. Friction in my family the past couple of days hasn’t helped … but I cannot blame it on everyone else, because I have made my own share of bossy comments that add to such friction.

I guess these are the times that God gives me to remind me of my own nothingness. The times that I drag in the dirt, looking up and crying that I want to be “up”. And yet from my own power I cannot do anything. I need Love to give me something to live for; I need to remember what I live for. Times to remind me that I am called to “know, love, and serve God” … not focusing on being stronger than everyone else, but “just” striving to remain strong in Christ.
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Prayer request updates – thank you all for your prayers!

– Mr. W. seems to be doing fine. Surgery was not necessary, and all the tests came back fine. I think they are just altering some of his diabetes medication.

– As far as I know, my sister is over her strep throat.

– Amber’s cut has healed surprisingly well. I am sure she has a scar, but does not have to keep her fingers taped anymore and said it was doing very good.

“If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.” – 1 Corinthians 13:2

“At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.” – 1 Corinthians 13:12

"My heart…

wants to beat like the wings of the birds
that rise from the lake to the trees
My heart wants to sigh like a chime that flies
from a church on a breeze
To laugh like a brook when it trips and falls
over stones on its way
To sing through the night like a lark who is learning to pray”

I love the song “The Sound of Music”, especially when my heart is joyful. And that has been so much lately that sometimes it seems unnatural! I have the strength to smile when things are frustrating…I laugh at the smallest things. My face has hurt so much because of my “excessive” smiling! God is so good.

Sunday was very, very nice. I went early so that I was able to spend time a little extra time in the Shrine, and it was so very good to be there again. My family also came for the day! I was able to spend a little of time with the girls that were on the retreat, had a meeting in the afternoon, and many good conversations. Here are some pictures from that day, mainly taken my Mary and David. πŸ™‚ The flower crown in the shrine is made from flowers from all the Schoenstatt Family…there is a metal form of a crown, and everyone brings up their flowers to contribute, and some of the Sisters put them into the crown so that they will stay there. It is a beautiful tradition!

Monday my Mom and I worked on cleaning and re-organizing the office. It greatly needed to be done, and parts of the room still look “under construction” because not all the piles have been gone through. But it is nice to have a bit more room and not such a crowded feeling/look. I cleaned all the computer cords, dusted walls and surfaces, and found dust bunnies the size of quarters in several places…as a result I had a terrible headache from the dust. All in all, I think it was worth it…or will be worth it once it is totally done.

Tuesday I had an interesting conversation with two of my coworkers…although I never consider myself much of an apologist, I realized how much I enjoy talking about and explaining my Faith. I know that the work of conversion is ultimately the “job” of the Holy Spirit, so I try not to take the salesperson approach…but I firmly state what the Church teaches and try to make it understandable. It is a challenge, but an enjoyable challenge.

Wednesday and today have been fairly “normal” days. Nothing really noteworthy … last night I took a walk with David. We took pictures, chewed on some sweet grass together, and then I sat reading while he showed me how wonderfully he rides his two-wheeled bike. πŸ˜€

Lately, even on the times that understanding the harmony of attachment to God and attachment to man eludes me most, I seem to grasp an understanding that I never had before. I value family and friendship more than I ever have before … and at the same time I am better able to remember that all the little breaths of each day are a gift from God. It is my hope and prayer that I can grow even closer to God, and it makes more sense to me now than ever before how God has willed us to move together towards Him in friendship with others. It is such a beautiful thought…

“You are precious in my eyes and I love you.” ~ Isaiah 43:4

Daily ramblings

One of the things I miss about xanga is that I could see “footprints” and know some of the people who visit my blog. I would like to get somewhat of an idea how many people read this… So, if I know who you are, please say “hello!” and if I don’t know you…say hello too! πŸ˜€

Today wasn’t quite as busy as I would have liked, but we had Christmas ornaments to unpack and price so it wasn’t too bad. As I commented to one of the other ladies at work: ’tis the season for glitter inhalation! Probably from now until at least the end of January (unless I get a different job or move away for school), I will come home almost every day with sparklies in my hair, on my face, on my hands and arms, and all over my clothes. It is either glitter or styrofoam (sp?) year round. It is such a joy working in the retail business where Christmas “stuff” haunts us for at least 9 months of every year! *sigh*

Time has been going so fast this year…I thought it went fast before! At the rate that life is speeding up, I think that by the time I am 80 I will be flopping around like a chicken with my head cut off! For the past couple of weeks, I can not remember what day it is – everything runs together. Friday is my day to do dishes, and last night (I worked during the day) I completely forgot it was Friday until almost 9:00pm. 😦 I had a lovely walk and prayer time by myself, though! I probably would not have taken the opportunity to walk as much as I did if I had remembered “my day”. My family went fishing and I had the entire house and yard to myself. It was pretty funny, though, when they came home…it was after dark, and I was outside sitting on one of the steps on our deck – apparently no one saw me. Anna (12), Christopher (10), and Mary (8) were running through the house trying to find me, yelling “Lisa!!!!” “Nooo! You don’t get to tell her!” “Let me tell her!” “Lisssa!” When they came outside, I walked around the side of the house, and they all came running at me…the excitement was over a fish that Anna caught. It was a huge (for the lake they were fishing in) white bass – Dad said it was probably about 15″ long. I hate the smell of fish, so I stayed as far away as I could…but of course, being the only one in the house who owns a camara, guess what I had to do?!? Here is a picture of a very proud and excited Anna with her fish:

I also spent over an hour on the phone with my sister last night…and sat up talking with Mom…so, I did not go to bed early like I had planned. Ah well…I might take a nap on Monday.

Today I finished the last of my three books that I have been working on for about 1.5 months! “The Game of Love” is a series of sermons by Fr. Joseph Kentenich on the relationship of love between God the Father and us as His children…as exemplified by the Blessed Mother. It was very good – although when people asked what I was reading, it was difficult to reply. If I said “The Game of Love”, their response was “what is that?!?” – if I said “sermons” I got strange looks and disbelieving laughter. Now I must choose which books I am going to start next! So many possibilities…

Tomorrow I am going to Schoenstatt!!! It will be the May Crowning celebration, so I am sure there will be many people there. I am planning on going a few hours early to spend some time in the Shrine. I have not been there in over a month, it will be so good to just …be there.

“Let Schoenstatt flourish as a garden of God
which touches the widest circles of the Church
throughout the world,
a garden tended by our Mother Thrice Admirable
as the sunlit meadow of the Triune God.
Amen.”

Life is beautiful!

It is amazing to experience how much joy God gives through even one simple conversation! I have been blessed to receive so much joy lately. πŸ™‚ It is enough to make my heart hurt…

Today the weather was cool but very sunny. Since coming home from work, I have taken three walks around our property! The first time David (4) came with and Mary (8) joined us at the top of the hill; the next two times I was able to go by myself to think and pray. Our bridals wreath bushes are beautiful right now…with the purple lilacs right in between.

There has been a “long intermission” between writing the former and now! My sister called to ask prayers for her boyfriend’s Dad (Mr. W). From what I remember: he has been kind of sick lately but doesn’t like going to the doctor, and so didn’t…and he is a salesman, and travels all over. I guess even though he was sick, he still went on a business trip to New York (they live in California) …while he was there he was coughing so hard that he passed out, and didn’t wake up for 12 hours. When he finally woke up and was able to make it to the bathroom, he noticed in the mirror that one of his eyes was so bloodshot that it was actually bleeding…and eventually that happened to the other eye. Somehow he made it back to Arizona by plane, where some of his co-workers made him go to the doctor… He has something like a blood clot (it’s not that, but my sister couldn’t remember what they called it) from falling, and will probably have brain surgery tomorrow. Please pray for him.

Also, my sister has strep throat. While it isn’t as serious as the former intention, please pray that she gets well. πŸ˜‰

Please pray for a special intention for a friend.

One more intention: one of the girls I work with (Amber) cut herself pretty bad with a sewing sissors today – the doctors decided not to stich it because it is between her fingers, and it would most likely keep ripping open. Please pray that it heals quickly and well with no infection. πŸ™‚

And now I must really go to bed. Hopefully I can manage to get out of bed for Holy Mass tomorrow…so more stories of tonights conversations will have to wait. God bless and our Blessed Mother keep you all!

Temptation

Temptation is one of those constant obstacles that we must face and overcome throughout our entire life…

First of all, what exactly is temptation? It is the enticement by the devil to disorder our nature, and lead us away from God. The devil recognizes our desires for a good, and he makes an empty promise that evil will fill such a desire. It often provides an empty pleasure, but nothing more than that…and it slowly but surely makes it harder to give up that pleasure, however empty it is. As I wrote in my article Society…independence…God : “As our world seeks pleasure rather than the Source of pleasures, it is ruining itself. It seems as though we are picking the blossoms off of the tree, and then wondering why the tree never bears fruit! We grab things from the outside, taking momentary delight in them – and yet never seek the true source from whence it comes. Some seek money, some seek power, some seek bodily gratification, some seek comfort, some seek laziness, and all become slaves to pleasure.”

There are many kinds of temptations: but all are a denial to use our human nature and free will in the way that God wishes, and so we have to pay the consequences. When we do things against God’s natural plan for us, we become slaves to our nature, and further disordered. This is why it is so necessary to avoid and resist temptations! And we, personally, are not the only ones who “pay the consequences” … our actions have an effect on society as a whole. As humans, as societal beings – if we submit to becoming weaker, we are also submitting to the weakening of society. We have to remember that life and all it’s “features” are a gift, not a right. We must “obey the directions of the manufacturer”. For example, if someone gave you a lawn mower to use, you wouldn’t trim hedges with it…while it might cut the bushes, you are also more in danger of hurting yourself and anyone who is near – not to mention the probability of ruining the mower.

What are the “directions of the manufacturer”? The purpose of a lawn mower is to mow grass…what is our purpose? We are told in basic Catechism: “Why did God make us?” “God made us to know, love, and serve Him in this world, and be forever happy with Him in the next.” God is Love, and He loved us so much that He wants our love in return; He gave us the blessed ability to love Him in return. In knowing God, we love Him. And if we know and love Him, we will strive to serve Him according to His “plan in time” for our lives.

In order to truly enjoy natural pleasures, we need to use them in their correct context. The pleasure we receive from eating is ruined when we gorge ourselves; the purpose of eating is to sustain life, and so we feel sick if we eat too much. Sexual pleasure was made for the context of marriage, where man and woman are participants in God’s creativity through communal love; to use it out of that context may bring empty pleasure, but no more. Possesions are a “good” that God has given us – but it can be a means of our destruction if we become avaricious. And so on…

The more I think about temptation, the more I feel ill-qualified to write about it. There are many examples to look to in the lives of the saints: St. Augustine had to flee his former way of life in order to gain purity…St. Therese of Lisieux and St. Joseph Moscati had to overcome the temptation to discouragement…and the list goes on. Keep in mind that the saints are humans who have attained the crown of sanctity: they give us examples for our lives. We can find comfort in their weakness and strength! Comfort in their weakness – they also had temptations, failings, struggles, suffering; comfort in their strength of their love of God. Through love they were able to rise after each fall; without love (and without Love) it would be difficult…no, it would be impossible…to have risen to such union [with God]. Temptation is not a sin unless it has been willingly encouraged; sinning is the giving into temptation. And yet if we fail, we have a most merciful God who always wants to welcome us back and reconcile us to Himself and to His Church. We are all united in Christ, so when one person is weak, it affects the entire body; but as part of the same body, we can also draw from each other’s strength.

The road is long and hard, but “as long as we keep our face to the Light on the Cross, we will not see the shadows”. Avoid temptation, do not seek it! Keep your eyes focused on Christ, ever moving forward; and that faith and trust will lead you through. May God give us strength!

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Here is part of a sermon by St. Francis De Sales: Temptation . I strongly suggest that you read it, there are many things that he explains so much better than I. πŸ™‚

United in Christ,
Lisa

Living the simple life

A few nights ago, I was chatting with a friend…we were exchanging pleasantries, and I was sharing bits of my day. I was taken by surprise by the comment β€œI wish I had your life.” I guess it appears that I have very few problems, and that I just enjoy the simple joys of life. I am sure I do not have nearly as many cares as most people, but I thought about it long and hard: why am I able to have such a simple life, with as many problems as I really do have?…I think the answer to that, is just that you have to give your problems to God. There have been so many times that I have just said, “I can’t deal with it anymore…take it! Take it, or whack me upside the head to know what to do with it!” Have you ever heard the phrase “Let go…let God”? But it takes a lot of practice to learn to really trust. In the beginning it will probably feel like you are adding to your problems, by trying to remember to offer it up! This is where you must persevere with all your strength and then some. If you are serious about living a life of simplicity, you must pray with all your might that God gives you the sufficent strength.

In a humorous way, I like to say that God must not like dealing with our problems…because as soon as we truely offer them up, they seem to diminish! They turn from a problem into a circumstance. Instead of feeling as though the world depended on ourselves, we recognize Who it really depends on. We still know that we must pick up our cross and follow Jesus – but in picking up our cross and following, our “task is easy, and our burden light.” Jesus never said that our burden would disappear, but that it would become “light”. This is what I call the “mystery of the interminglement of joy and sorrow”…it is the process of the perfection of our love in our journey to Love. In reality, to simplify life means to “just” give everything back to God and allow Him to act in our lives.

Enough of the theoretical: how do I apply this to my life practically? One way is with my SDO. In Schoenstatt, we have a “tool” for our self education called the “Spiritual Schedule” or the “Spiritual Daily Order” (SDO). It is a simple graph that helps to keep track of resolutions toward our goal of sanctity. There is usually one resolution that you specifically focus on a certain point against your primary fault/weakness, and the rest are resolutions of “maintenance”. For example, in the beginning it might be effective to focus on praying your morning and evening prayers everyday; after you have conquered this point to an extent, you can include it in your SDO, to be sure that you do not all of a sudden forget about them. It does not necessarily have to be strictly spiritual strivings – include things that are necessary for daily balance. In some of my SDO’s I have included taking a daily walk, playing with my siblings, doing chores cheerfully, etc. At the end of the day, simply make a mark by each resolution to denote whether you have been sucessful in completing it “for today”. Perseverance is required to keep up with this as well, but it pays off. πŸ˜‰ Be cautious, especially if you are just beginning, not to over-do on your resolutions: sanctity is a life long task, and you won’t be perfect overnight. Be radical, but not ridiculous. πŸ™‚ No one (to my knowledge) has achieved perfection in a day so far, so why should you expect it of yourself?Another thing that I have learned, is that the more of your senses that you can use to offer something up, the more effective that offering is going to be. We are humans: called to love God with our entire body, mind, and soul. Everything must be united! An example: when I had problems with a member of the management where I worked at one point, I prayed and prayed to let go of the hurt caused…but not until I honestly looked at the situation and wrote a letter to God telling Him what bothered me, and asking Him to change things if it was His Will, that I was really able to let go. Write a letter, poem, song…draw a picture…perhaps burn whatever. Engage your senses in the offering! Make it as real and tangible as possible. Offer it to Christ and the Blessed Mother. Definitavely.

A Schoenstatt saying: “Nothing without you, nothing without us!”

And always remember: “Work as though everything depended on you, pray as though everything depended on God!” Holiness is a long, everyday path…towards a heavenly goal.