holidays

Lent Pieces

As a former Lutheran, Lent was never really a big deal.  I cringe to say that.  The church was decorated in lovely purple, there were palm fronds.  The children did an Easter pageant, adults did special readings.  We never gave anything up for Lent, I didn’t even know that was a thing until 15 years ago, when it was discussed at a spiritual retreat.

I’m not revising this blog to convert anyone to Catholicism, but I do have to say — this religion really takes apart the Word of God and applies to life.  You don’t HAVE TO give up meat, or give up anything at all.  But for me, after reading about Lent, what it is, why it’s lived, celebrated and taught; I learned that if something is coming between me and God – then that is what should be given up.

I have a list a mile long of what I should not only give up for Lent, but give up all together!  Don’t we all?  Make an effort.  Pray for sanity and endurance.

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life experience

Learning Pieces

For the past fifteen years I have been a spiritual seeker (and hope to continue).  I have attended a variety of churches, Unitarian Universalist taught me how to care for Mother Earth, how to make change with social justice and I met a minister there who challenged my beliefs (in a good way), by asking me to define what I believed and to shake out the old cobwebs of my childhood.  With the task, I created a “mission statement” of my beliefs.  It still involved Jesus and a Christian approach to my life, so “questioning everything” was no longer filling my spirit.

I moved onto Episcopalian, which became a church similar to my protestant upbringing.  But this church was also missing the other part of my life; my husband.  We all reach enlightenment in our own time, but a longtime prayer had been, that one day – we would walk the path together.

The pieces were all coming together.

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Through the many years of soul searching; I semi-regularly attended retreats, classes and an occasional mass; all at Catholic monasteries, retreat centers or churches.  The Catholic beliefs pulled at my heart, I always felt great peace in my spirit when I was in the presence of people from this religion.   It was a calm I had never experienced before.

I began Spiritual Direction late last summer.  I was evolving in more than spiritual ways, I was coming from full-circle from cancer.  I was shaking off the old and injured parts of my psyche, ready for new.   It was there in those gatherings of discussion, did I realize that I wanted what I had always experienced in monasteries and classes, I wanted to become Catholic.

Symbolism, rituals, peace of heart, calm spirit, the focus on prayer, the great love that Jesus has for me, the desire for something so much greater than myself.

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I now attend weekly RCIA classes to become an official Catholic.  It is a place to ask every question pertaining to the Catholic church, faith, “why do they A, B or C.”  I was ignorant in the parts of Catholicism I didn’t know.  There are still questions and I haven’t got the rosary down yet, but I’m a work in progress.

And now, I walk the path; separately and together, with my hubby.  It seems that this “faith thing” is now coming together!

#beblessed  #faithisnotareligion #wisdom

 

 

life experience

Pieces of Expectation

If you are anything like me, and have a little trouble with control, then this post is for you!

It’s pretty easy to look at the life of someone else, particularly a loved one and think – they should be doing A, B or C.  If they did those things, it would go so much smoother for them.  It just makes more sense than how they are doing it.  And sometimes we interject our opinions into their lives, whether it was asked for or not (generally; not).  Our expectations for their lives, cause drama, hostility, brokenness.

Isn’t it enough to manage our own life?

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This is a problem for a lot of mothers with their adult children.  I was guilty of this and then a war commenced, years passed and she unexpectedly died.  There was not time to repair and forgive.

But don’t let that happen to you, because it’s tragic — don’t let it happen because you are growing in faith and wisdom and caring for yourself.  And when you can’t; you hand it over to your Heavenly Father.  Do the same for those you love.  Hand them over and remember, God works in mysterious and incredible ways, He will not only provide for you, but for your family, loved ones.

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life experience

Pieces of Comfort

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Empathy.  Comfort.  Care.  Concern.  All human beings need understanding.  Oftentimes, listening is the best gift you can offer.

Prayer with another is also comforting.  The words aren’t important, just sit together, pray silently, read an inspirational poem or scripture, have some tea and cookies.

Solitude makes depression and worry so much worse for people.  Email and a card in the mail do when you aren’t close in distance, but if you are – stop by with a bouquet of yellow flowers, a book your friend might enjoy, but DO stop by.

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life experience

Pieces of Change

I have never considered myself a particular religion.  I was baptized and confirmed “Lutheran,” but haven’t attended a Lutheran church in 40 years! Spent four years with the Unitarian Universalist church, meeting amazing people who challenged my beliefs.  Met a new friend who invited me to her church; Episcopalian, new to me, but also similar to the Catholic churches that I had explored, including retreat for more than fifteen years.  Seems that maybe I was heading the way of Catholicism, but never felt the draw to convert and join.  UNTIL NOW.

I’m on a new journey; again.  Thank goodness that God honors and encourages the soul to seek.  At least, that’s what I believe.

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So once again I put my thinking cap and glasses on, looking toward a new future, one that saves my soul, captures my spirit, embraces my faith and brings me closer to home.  Amen.

life experience

Pieces of Friendship

Jesus was friends with many people and in our quest to be more like Him, we share our life with friends also.

There are many variations of the bible; versions such as King James or the Living Bible, Good News, etc., but until today I had never heard of The Message.  I love how it breaks down these verses in Job 29:3-5

Job now resumed his response: “Oh, how I long for the good old days, when God took such very good care of me. He always held a lamp before me and I walked through the dark by its light. Oh, how I miss those golden years when God’s friendship graced my home, When the Mighty One was still by my side and my children were all around me, When everything was going my way, and nothing seemed too difficult.

What a beautiful definition of friendship with God. 

Today I spoke with a friend who is a snowbird in Texas.  We try and talk  once a week now, but oftentimes it’s less often.  I miss seeing her whenever I want, but I know she is just a call away.

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Maybe we feel that way sometimes with God.  We haven’t been studying His word, or spending time in prayer, worship or in solitude.  He too, is just a call away, He is always here, we just have to ask, cry out or pray.  Sometimes all three!

May you be blessed this week, finding time with a good friend and with the best friend; Jesus.

life experience

Pieces of Prayerful Habits

I pray a lot in my personal life, but rarely at meals.  This was a not-open-for-discussion subject when I was a child.  We said “grace” at every meal.  As I grew up; solo and married, it was a forgotten importance.

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A friend of mine prays at every meal, just like when I was a kid.  When we (she and I) go out to eat, or gather at one or the others’ homes, we pray.  Oftentimes she “makes” me pray.  I’ve gotten now – where I either have a prayer ready; or take her hand and start the prayer.  It’s amazing how habits can drop and start again.

Come Lord Jesus, be our guest, let these gifts to us be blessed. (Traditional prayer before a meal in my childhood home).

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What prayerful habits need to be restarted in your life?  Pray on it!  God is always listening!