Happy New Year! 10 days later…

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I love the New Year. It’s a time to start afresh. No matter what you’re doing in your life or whatever point you are at, January 1st is a date when you can stop and say, let’s start something, anything, review old things, revamp things etc. etc.…. I think it should officially be declared ‘a day of action’!

Now you can do this at any time during the year but there’s something special about January 1st.  It gets your adrenaline going, it seems like the right thing to do. Because a whole brand new year awaits us. We have a clean slate before us and we have the chance to do anything…. The prospect is exciting and yet challenging. What should we do?

I like coming up with goals for the coming year. I realize a lot of people don’t like doing this. There are good sized camps on either side of this debate, to do or not to do. But I like putting my goals on paper. Writing things down firms it up. Thoughts are flimsy things, if your goals are only in your mind somewhere, that’s exactly where they are, ‘somewhere’. Could be anywhere because thoughts can disappear quickly or moved in your brain; to the subconscious, unconscious or even the back of the brain! But once they are written down, they are like affirmations. You can read them, and unless you destroy the paper, it is there forever. It is tangible. You can see it and touch it.

So every New Year, I actually write out my goals. And then, during the year, I revisit what I have written and make changes, if needed. A while ago, I came across some past goals. One had a year of 2011 and the goal? To start a spiritual blog.

I started this blog in 2016. It amazed me that I had this inclination way before. It took me only 5 years to get around to it! 🙂 Every year, after 2011, I would write the same goal. This thought of starting a blog would not go away. I had to do it just to get rid of the goal!

But do you see what I mean and where I’m going with this? Writing goals helps us to focus, to hone in on what we want to do. It gives us a starting point, a call for action. To move from one place to another always keeping our sights on the goal ahead. It gives us direction. This recurring goal showed me just how much I wanted this to be. I don’t know why I took so long to do it.

Life happens, and we get distracted. But our true selves, wants and desires will always make itself known. Pay attention. Listen to what your head and your heart is telling you again and again and again.

Happy New Year! I wish you all the best that life has to offer. I know I’m 10 days late. But I’m still celebrating the New Year and trying to make every day count. January tends to pass by very quickly but I’m determined to achieve something every day. Trying to ensure that I live each day fully in the moment with a sense of accomplishment and purpose.

So my challenge to you today, is: step out of your comfort zone, take a minute to think about what you want to do and write out your thoughts on where you want to take your life. What direction, what way, what path forward. What changes do you want to make? Or not make. And as you do this, say a prayer that whatever it is you wish to do, is in conformance with God’s will for you.

For, If God be for us, who can be against us?”  Romans 8:31.

 

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A Perfect Day!

pray-hope-and-dont-worry

 

When my daughter was young, but old enough to learn to say a morning prayer, I had to come up with something easy and short that she would be able to remember. So I put together a simple one that went like this;

Good morning Heavenly Father, Good morning Lord Jesus, Good morning Mother Mary. I love you. Give me a perfect day, Amen.

And as I said it every day with her, curiosity made me reflect on this during my morning commute to work. It took me 45 minutes each way so I had ample time to review what the ‘perfect day’ looked like. I was pleasantly surprised to learn, that the perfect day was filled with the usual problems, in other words, an ordinary day.

  • Crazy mornings, rushing to work, disgruntled co-workers, unreal work deadlines.
  • Traffic chaos.
  • Snow in the mornings that meant I had to get up way earlier to clean the car that my husband had not put in the garage.
  • A cranky child in the morning who had to be rushed, dressed and put on the school bus.
  • Facing an angry boss, computers not working. Etc. etc.

Problems that everyone faces at one time or another. I was not left un-frazzled but went through the day knowing that I would be able to deal with everything. A sort of knowing that someone was looking over my shoulder to help me get through the day, that ‘this too shall pass”. As I drove home from work, I was at peace, that all the events during the day were dealt with. Somehow, God gave me the patience and the grace to face each problem squarely and come up with a solution. And, I realized a perfect day didn’t mean I would be free of issues. Rather, it meant a peaceful end to my day.

A perfect day – God gives me just enough happenings that I can handle, with some left over, that makes every day a little bit different!

Hebrews 13:6 so we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
Psalm 55:22 cast your burden on the LORD, and He will sustain you; He will never permit the righteous to be moved.
1 Peter 5:7 casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.
Psalm 56:3 when I am afraid, I put my trust in You.
Psalm 121:1-2 I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
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Keep in touch!

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Are we living in the last days?

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Giving my two dollars

Every church I’ve visited has candle stands. People light candles as an offering for intentions that they bring to the Lord. And invariably, attached to the candle stand is a donation box. The box typically has some writing on it, suggesting a monetary amount of $2.00 or so (the amount varies).

I confess, in my youth I have visited many a church, lit a number of candles and presented numerous petitions to the Lord. But – not always have I put in the customary $2.00, exactly, in the box. I know I have fallen short, often. No one knew and it never bothered me.

As my spiritual life has grown, I had an epiphany. God knew! How could I have gone into the house of the Lord and done that? The irony struck me hard.

God sees everything. He knows everything. He knew us before we were born. He knows our imperfections. And yet his loving kindness envelops us. He is full of mercy ever willing to welcome the repentant sinner just as the prodigal son (Luke 15: 11-32) was feted by his father after a life of sin.

Previously, I have never given a thought to the seeming ease with which I was able to reconcile or even rationalize this apparent incongruity. This sudden awakening made me think of other areas in life where we may fall short. There are many, but I’ll only list two :-).

  • The odd comment(s) about a person that puts them in a bad light in the mind of another.
  • When negative comments to people brings their spirit down, possibly unintentionally.

I am becoming more conscious of the little (or not so little ways) in which we do not give our $2.00 to situations that come upon us, every day.

Perfection should be our goal. Will we reach it? I hope so but possibly not. But God sees us trying and if we ask for it, He also gives us the grace to overcome and succeed. Will we stumble? Sure, we are Homo sapiens after all!

So, I get up in the morning, knowing that I will probably muck up things, commit new blunders (sins) or repeat old ones and I ask the Lord to give me strength to resist the temptations. And with every passing day, I know I am moving a step forward in my walk with the Lord. As I overcome each trial, I get stronger. Some days I falter, and have to start again. It’s okay, I tell myself. I am trying, and have committed to keep trying. And very sincerely I resolve to add the Act of Contrition to my daily prayers.

Dear God,

I am heartily sorry for all my sins and detest them,

Because I have offended Thee,

And because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell,

But most of all because I love Thee my God,

Who are all good and deserving of all my love.

I firmly resolve with the help of Thy grace to confess my sins, do penance and sin no more. Amen.

Psalm 119:133 – Direct my footsteps according to Your word; let no sin rule over me.
Psalm 51: 1-2 – Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love; according to Your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
Mathew 6:14 – For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
1 John 1: 9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Proverbs 28:13 – Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.
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A Prayer for Peace

Summer seems to be coming to an end but acts of violence are not. July and August were filled with one act of terror or another. And even September is no exception. It has become so common place that we struggle to remember as the barbarity of one event out does the next. I like to think that talk and action should go together. So what can we do about it?

I am reminded of Saint Therese of Lisieux, who also came to be known as the Little Flower. She believed that it was not necessary to do heroic acts, or great deeds to become holy and love God. But following the ‘little way’, that is, in whatever way you can, can also accomplish the same objective.

We’re not the movers and shakers to get a whole lot of action going. But you know what we can do? We can pray! Our God is a God of the impossible. He can move mountains. And so can we. Remember the parable of the little mustard seed? In Mathew 17: 14-21, Jesus told His disciples, “…. if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

So armed with trust and faith, let us pray to our Almighty God:

For the people who have died –

Dear Lord, we pray for the people who have died in Nice and Belgium, the USA and all over the world in acts of terror and violence. Have mercy on their souls. May they join You in the heavens and have eternal life. Forgive their earthly transgressions and in Your loving kindness may their souls rest in peace.

For the relatives and friends whose loved ones have passed in this manner –

Dear Lord, we pray for the living, the friends and relatives of the people who have passed away in such tragic circumstances. Give them comfort O Lord, and solace in this time of grief. Turn their sorrow into understanding. May they trust in Your ways and keep the faith that they will surely meet their loved ones again.

For the strangers who watch with sadness from afar –

Dear Lord, give them the grace to be kind to their neighbours. To harbour love and goodwill in their hearts and spread the peace one person at a time.

For the perpetrator(s) who orchestrate these gruesome acts –

Dear Lord, we ask for Your mercy. Forgive them for they know not what they do.

For people with evil intentions –

Dear Lord, we ask You to pour out the gifts of love and understanding upon them. Soften their hearts so that they may recognize the difference between good and evil.

Amen.

Mathew 18:20 – For where two or three gather in My name, there am I with them.
James 5:16 – Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
Jeremiah 33:3 – Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.
Jeremiah 29:12 – Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.
Psalm 145:18 – The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
Romans 12:12 – Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
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Everything is not always as it seems.

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Oftentimes when I’m walking through a high-end store in a big mall I enjoy watching people’s behaviour, mannerisms and interactions with each other. It’s an entertaining, if quirky hobby. Everyone has a story to tell and I’m fascinated with ‘people’ stories, probably that’s why I enjoy biographies so much. Self-analysis at any stage is always interesting.

Well, in this store, I find all sorts. The confident ones zoom by. Some make a beeline for the exact items they’re looking for. Some look around, some don’t, some are preoccupied, others are not. The unsure ones look around nervously, they’re not comfortable in the store. It is high-priced after all, but beautiful! You can see the wistfulness.

But everyone is there for a purpose. To look at the merchandize on display. Some to buy, others to window shop only. And still others who just use the store as a pass through to another destination.

The store assistants fascinate me. If a person is well dressed, the store assistant will rush or turn toward them. And perhaps smile, or offer them a sample or move to assist. No one looks at the person who hasn’t gotten it all together. I mean the person who may not be immaculately dressed or someone who just looks different. Let me amend that, they are definitely looked at but no one gives them a second thought. It’s more a look, judgement, decision and then a dismissal. I’m guessing a connection between looks and purchasing power comes into play.

But everything is not always as it seems. Haven’t we read countless stories on this topic? The Princess and the Pea, The Frog and the Princess, Beauty and the Beast. Don’t we know the outcome? Can’t we do better?

I am reminded of Hebrews 13:2, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares”. It makes me give people a second look, get past the judgement, reach out to my fellow traveler and offer them a passing glance, a smile or a comment for we may not meet again. But in this instance we have shared a moment that may have some impact on their life or mine or none at all. I could have done a good deed, unaware, my response may have been what they needed or I may have learned something new. Who knows? 🙂

Never knew a walk through a store could make me this philosophical about life. And here I was just wanting to take a leisurely stroll through a very lovely store, and admire the beauty of man’s creativity.

Enough! Got to give the brain a rest. Maybe I’ll just sleep instead. 🙂

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