Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Deo Gratias - Thirty-Five Years


"If the only prayer you ever say in your life
 is thank you, it will be enough." - Meister Eckhart

Deo Gratias is Latin for "Thanks be to God." Remembering to give thanks for all of our blessings, big and small, helps us to find God in our everyday moments and gives us an attitude of gratitude! I invite you to share your blessings here on Wednesdays. Be sure to sign into Mr. Linky below and grab the button.

1. Hubby and I renewed our wedding vows on Sunday. It was a beautiful moment, one of many beautiful moments in our 35 years together. Deo gratias!

2. I forgot to ask someone to take pictures when we renewed our vows, but a couple of women had their phones with them and they took some pictures of us. Deo gratias!



3. Saw a beautiful sunrise on vacation and I forgot to post this picture! It is too beautiful for words! Deo gratias!




4. Love, love, love books. I have to make time to read but I not only love to read, I need to read. I am reading a great book on Merton right now. Deo gratias!

5. I went to adoration last Friday. I have no words to describe what this gift means to me. Deo gratias!




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Monday, July 21, 2014

Light in the Darkness - Rescuing a Veteran


Maria at Four Blessings Academy is hosting an uplifting meme for every Monday called Light in the Darkness. Here we share stories of hope and joy. We can link to a news article or video or tell a story from our own lives. Post about your story and then link to Maria's blog. There is enough negativity in this world. Let's spread some joy and light up the darkness!

Read this true story of how some employees at Lowe's go above and beyond the call of duty. They not only rescue a veteran, they help make his whole life a lot easier.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Sunday Snippets - July 20

This is the weekly Catholic Carnival! Be sure to visit RAnn at This, That and the Other Thing and check out some posts from other bloggers participating in Sunday Snippets this week. Why not join us and share a blog post or two from last week?

Question of the Week:  Were there any religious sisters in your parish when you were growing up?  Are there any now?  Which community (ies)? - No, I grew up in the Protestant tradition and we have no religious sisters in our parish.

1. God Changes Hearts

2. Light in the Darkness - The First Salute

3. Deo Gratias - Rainbows

4. Leaving Our Cares Behind (my podcast blog)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Deo Gratias - Rainbows!


"If the only prayer you ever say in your life
 is thank you, it will be enough." - Meister Eckhart

Deo Gratias is Latin for "Thanks be to God." Remembering to give thanks for all of our blessings, big and small, helps us to find God in our everyday moments and gives us an attitude of gratitude! I invite you to share your blessings here on Wednesdays. Be sure to sign into Mr. Linky below and grab the button.

1. I saw a rainbow on my way to work yesterday. A double rainbow! It has been a long time, but worth the wait. Deo gratias!
2. I love coffee and I love candles and wouldn't you know? This week I bought candles that have a coffee scent. What fun! Deo gratias!
3. I love quotes. Michael Seagriff's kindle book has 100 quotations and is free if you order it from July 15-17. Be sure to check out his blog, too. Deo gratias!
4. Hubby and I are renewing our vows this Sunday at Mass. We will be celebrating our 35th anniversary next week! Deo gratias!
5. I am so grateful for my ministry of spiritual direction. Thank you, Lord, for calling me to this ministry. Deo gratias!



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Monday, July 14, 2014

Light in the Darkness - The First Salute


Maria at Four Blessings Academy is hosting an uplifting meme for every Monday called Light in the Darkness. Here we share stories of hope and joy. We can link to a news article or video or tell a story from our own lives. Post about your story and then link to Maria's blog. There is enough negativity in this world. Let's spread some joy and light up the darkness! 

This story brought tears to my eyes (what else is new?). A grandfather gets an awesome surprise from his granddaughter after her graduation from the US Naval Academy.

The First Salute

Sunday, July 13, 2014

God Changes Hearts

"...some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. Whoever has ears ought to hear." - Matthew 13:8-9
God’s love is infinite and abundant. He does not hold back his gifts and his love.
But we do.
The soil of my heart had some pretty rocky ground when I first started attending a Catholic church with my husband. I really did not want to be there but yet I did. I thought it would be good if we all went as a family. I wanted to be there for my husband and my sons.
But I did not enjoy it nor did I intend to enjoy it. I just went. I sat. Like a rock.
Still ...  I did it out of love for my family. And maybe that love in my heart started to grow some roots and rich soil as I attended Mass there week after week, listening to the Word. And watching the consecration that had caught my attention.
One day, everything changed. I had been listening to the Word of God for months. The seeds must have taken root. In the middle of Mass, the thought came to me. It was time to make a commitment.
One year later, I became a Catholic.
God is generous. God is patient. God is love.
And God changed the soil of my heart from rocky to rich.

Thank you Lord, for your generous and loving heart. Thank you for bringing me closer to you. Please work through me to bring others closer to you. Change our rocky hearts into hearts that bear fruit. – Amen.


posted 7/10/11

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Sunday Snippets - July 13

This is the weekly Catholic Carnival! Be sure to visit RAnn at This, That and the Other Thing and check out some posts from other bloggers participating in Sunday Snippets this week. Why not join us and share a blog post or two from last week?

Question of the Week: Any nun (sister) stories to tell? 
I grew up in the protestant tradition so did not have interaction with nuns too often, if at all. However, shortly after I converted, I was fortunate to meet some wonderful nuns who ran the Catholic school at a church nearby. When the school first opened, we put our sons in the school and these nuns were awesome. They loved the children and were very good teachers and administrators. My boys truly loved them. By the time my youngest graduated from the school (8th grade), the nuns had left and the school changed shortly thereafter. However, I was glad we had the blessing of their presence and their vocation for as long as we did and will always be grateful.
 

1. Light in the Darkness - Hug-A-Thon

2. Praying the Hours

3. Deo Gratias - Fun with Son and Sun

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Deo Gratias - Fun with Son and Sun


"If the only prayer you ever say in your life
 is thank you, it will be enough." - Meister Eckhart

Deo Gratias is Latin for "Thanks be to God." Remembering to give thanks for all of our blessings, big and small, helps us to find God in our everyday moments and gives us an attitude of gratitude! I invite you to share your blessings here on Wednesdays. Be sure to sign into Mr. Linky below and grab the button.

1. My husband loves soccer and he is thoroughly enjoying the World Cup. He has watched as many games as he can. Deo gratias!

2. I had a 4 day weekend for the 4th of July and enjoyed every minute of it. Deo gratias!

3. I have a whole new attitude since going on vacation and retreat. My husband is relieved! Deo gratias!

4. Our youngest son took a break from working on his new house and came to visit us last weekend and took us out to dinner. What a treat it was to see him! Deo gratias!



5. Part of my vacation was spent on the beach. Just a couple of days to unwind and watch the ocean, one of my favorite things to do. The sunrises were awesome! The first picture is my new header for the blog. Deo gratias! 







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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Praying the Hours

I love to pray in silence. Saying words from a book or reciting memorized prayers is difficult for me. Way too dry, I can hardly get through it.
However, praying the Liturgy of the Hours with the monks in community is something else again. It is not even so much the words, it’s the presence of others praying together, the timing, the rhythm.
And the chant. The chant of the monks. In harmony. Praising God.
Too beautiful for words.
At the monastery where we recently went on retreat, the monks sat in the monastic choir stalls nearest the altar and we retreatants sat in the choir stalls behind them. The books to use for the prayers and songs were open and set on the right page for each prayer time. A few of the monks had that job of fixing the books for everyone, including us. Especially us, since most of us did not know what we were doing.
Once we understood what books to use and when to use them, we could stop worrying and really immerse ourselves in the prayer. And once we got the tune and rhythm of the chant, we could join in. Quietly. We did not want to throw them off key! (Have you ever tried to “whisper-sing”?)

The schedule for prayer:
4 am - Vigils
7 am - Lauds (morning prayer) and Mass
12:15 pm - Midday prayer
5:20 pm - Vespers (evening prayer)
7:30 pm - Compline (night prayer)

We did not go to the 4 am Vigils that first morning. Actually we really had no intention of ever going to Vigils. Too early! But then we heard that the monks usually pray for about 30 minutes and then turn off all the lights and leave for 30 minutes and then come back to pray some more. And we retreatants can just stay there and pray in the dark. And the silence.
I was intrigued. I mentioned to my husband that I might set the alarm and go to Vigils. Wake me up if you go, he told me as he turned in for the night.
Now mind you, we were only about 60 seconds from our seats in the church. Our rooms were near the door at the end of the hall. We just needed to walk through that doorway, down about 6 steps and there was the door to the church. Several steps later and we were in our seats.
So at 3:30 am, my alarm went off. I quickly got dressed, woke up my husband, washed my hands and face and we slipped quietly down the dark hall into the dark church and found the choir stalls. When the prayer started, some of the lights came on, just enough so we could read.
When the lights turned off for that 30 minutes in the middle of the prayer time, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. So quiet. So peaceful. And I sat and listened to the Lord speak to my heart. That 30 minutes just flew by. I was so surprised when the monks returned and the lights came back on.
I decided then and there that whenever I was in a monastery where they prayed the vigils, I would go. 4 am or not. It didn’t matter. It was such a blessing to both of us, and so difficult to explain.
David Stendl-Rast (author with Sharon Lebell of “The Music of Silence”) wrote that the hour of vigils is “… the night watch hour, the time for learning to trust the darkness.”
Learning to trust the darkness. A darkness that gives light.

“The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it. “ - John 1:5
Ever since we came home, I have been trying to pray in the darkness in the morning. I cannot recapture the vigils with the monks. But I can take that time to start the day. I can take that time to learn to trust the darkness.
And to listen to the silence.


This is the third in a series of posts on the retreat that my husband, Rich, and I attended at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, in Georgia.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Light in the Darkness:Hug-A-Thon


Maria at Four Blessings Academy is hosting an uplifting meme for every Monday called Light in the Darkness. Here we share stories of hope and joy. We can link to a news article or video or tell a story from our own lives. Post about your story and then link to Maria's blog. There is enough negativity in this world. Let's spread some joy and light up the darkness! 

This story is inspiring. Not only is the young man and his family inspiring, but listen to the fireman's explanation of how they give to the community.


World's Friendliest Restaurant Holds a Hug-A-Thon