Spiritually Speaking Blog

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Re-Calculating…

“At the next corner make a legal U-turn,” my GPS squawked at me. When I flew past the “next corner,” the same reprimand came through once again but this time annunciating little more forcefully and with stern authority (Now you see why I call her Pearl, the “dash witch”. At last I won the road battle and Pearl was forced to give in to my way of arriving at our destination. She waived the white flag of surrender as she explained her silence, “Re-Calculating”. It’s not just Pearl who has to re-calculate, but we too. We THINK we have a destination in mind. We’ve mapped out our goals and strategies starting out with firm determination and high hopes. But like Pearl, all of us have to constantly re-examine the course of our lives. We may miss an opportunity. Our lives may swerve unintentionally. We wonder where do we go from here? How do we get there? Our lives are in a constant building process, rerouting our journey. When one phase is done, another has to begin. So how does God teach and guide us as our inner building proceeds? Usually very quietly but always persistently because most of us are slow learners. God teaches us without words. Sometimes through sadness calling us to share our gifts. Sometimes through uneasiness the Lord may be pulling us in a different direction. And sometimes through our joy the Lord may be saying, “You got it right! Good for you!” Always our Lord is there, quietly teaching, probing and showing us the way. But are we learning? Sometime not! Partly because we’re not... read more

In a Blink of an Eye

Sitting in her kitchen enjoying a morning cup of coffee with her husband, a four foot torrent of mud ravaged through my sister’s house knocking her husband down to the ground. Thankfully Larry could get up and both he and my sister hurried to higher ground. This turned out to be more of a chore than it sounds because my sister, Peggy having a knee replacement 6 days prior, was forced to flee sans walking aids. As we’ve so sadly witnessed recently that life can turn in a second, unannounced. One doctor’s diagnosis, one storm, one missed red light, one frantic phone call, or one beat of the heart. Sometimes we get so caught up in our day-to-day living that we take our life for granted. We fall into the trap of thinking that this human condition is forever. Our lives consist of a collage of all these precious TEMPORARY years, days, and minutes that we are on this earth – for better or worse. Often is takes the jolt of a tragedy to look to God for meaning. We need to remind ourselves that God is with us, and speaking to us through ANY situation. Even in the thick of turmoil, the Shared Presence of God can be felt. One phone call, one friend, one act of patience, one thoughtful gesture, one encouraging comment and one idea or one leap of faith can move us in a new direction. So let’s share this powerful gift, both on good days and bad. Let’s share this steadfast compassionate presence. Our strength, our goodness and our willingness to continue walking at... read more

The Call to Serve

It’s not WHERE you live; it’s HOW you live. It’s not WHAT you have; it’s HOW you use it. We are all called to be of service, to serve one another. Throughout the ages, wise sages from all walks of life remind us of this important message of service. A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things, which renew humanity. The Buddha John F. Kennedy reminded us that it’s not what the country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. Jesus preached whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave. (Matthew 20:26-28) Saint Mother Teresa warned that, “A life not lived for others is not a life.” How do we answer this call to serve one another? We don’t have to sell all of our belongings to enter a convent. (Although this works for some). And we don’t have be a Marine to serve our country. The call to service begins as an everyday occurrence. It is woven into our daily activities. A smile to a passerby, a phone call, a remembrance, a reaching out, an inclusion of all in our circle of caring and love. This awareness of serving others can ripple into wider circles…getting involved in charitable work, volunteering, and offering one’s services without being asked, no invitation or payment. When we look around and see the many in need of our friends, families and communities, it may seem like we are swimming upstream weighed down with a huge burden. But Mother... read more

What Matters Most?

Life pushes forward by cycles: days, weeks and years; autumn, spring, fall, and summer; infancy, teens, middle age and senior citizen; joys, sorrows, and resilience. At each of these junctures in our life, it’s important that we just don’t blindly follow the herd into the next series of events, missing our big AHA! We need to pause, REFECT, REFOCUS and RECOMMIT to what matters most. And what does matter most? In the end when all the seasons and life cycles are completed there is one question for evaluation: How did you fulfill your life’s purpose? We are put on this earth for a special reason. We are put on this earth to achieve our great self and to live out of purpose, our destiny! We have one life and we don’t want to waste it as we run from one day to the next. It’s a time for Reflection – Where are you on your journey? Are you happy? What strengths have you been given? How are you using your particular gifts? What makes your soul sing? It’s a time to Refocus – What exactly is your life’s purpose? How are you measuring up? Did God make a good investment in creating you? What are you giving back to your earthly and heavenly communities? It’s a time for Recommitment – Your journey is not yet finished. Take a deep breath, buckle up for the rest of the ride and renew your commitment to your answering “yes” to God’s daily invitations. Making sense out of your life and putting its pieces together well is no simple matter. It’s a task... read more

Let’s Be Children At Christmas and Throughout the Year!

At Christmas time I believe in the things that children do. Even Jesus encouraged us to become like little children, likening it to the kingdom of heaven. So what do the children believe? “I believe with English children that holly placed in windows will protect our homes from evil. I believe with Swiss children that the touch of edelweiss will charm a person with love. I believe with Italian children that La Befana is not an ugly doll but a good fairy who will gladden the hearts of all. I believe with Greek children that coins concealed in freshly baked loves of bread will brings good luck to anyone who finds them. I believe with German children that the sight of a Christmas tree will lessen hostility among adults. I believe with French children that lentils soaked and planted in a bowl will rekindle life in people who have lost hope. I believe with Dutch children that the horse Sleipner will fly thorough the sky and fill the earth with joy. I believe with Swedish children that Jultomte will come and deliver gifts to the poor as well as to the rich. I believe with Finnish children that parties held on St. Stephen’s Day will erase sorrow. I believe with Danish children that the music of a band playing from a church tower will strengthen humankind. I believe with Bulgarian children that sparks from a Christmas log will create warmth in human souls. I believe with American children that the sending of Christmas cards will build friendships. I believe with all children that there will be peace on earth.”(Daniel... read more

Don’t Forget

During this busy season, more than ever we seem to be operating from lists – gift lists, grocery lists, social lists, etc. We don’t want to overlook any festive touch or special person. We are all terribly forgetful. None of us is immune. But as we are swept up into the overwhelming festivities, let us not forget the simplest of Christmas messages: that the Lord comes to us as a tiny helpless infant born in a lowly stable. Oh, come oh come, Emmanuel. Oh, come be “God with us”. He comes to find us, holding our hands reminding us of what really matters, and that we are not walking this road alone. We’re walking with the Lord who is right at our side. The Lord walks with us as a partner and mentor who want to see us succeed and who understand that it’s going to take us awhile. Now what more could we ask. After all, God is with us and for us! Let us drop whatever it is we are so busy about these days to accept this small seemingly insignificant birth. Let us not lose this unpretentious message searching for something massive and overwhelming. God is not demanding large lavish celebrations and enormous blinking light displays of faith this year. All God wants is to walk with us as a partner and friend. As a true friend and partner we trust God, talk to the Lord and listen to his tugs on our heartstrings. Talk to God about the real stuff of our lives because God cares more than anyone else…and God knows the way home... read more

The Story is “Ours to Write”

These days before Christmas are spent in many hours of preparation. We busy ourselves planning the many aspects of the holiday season – decorating trees, writing cards, cooking family recipes and gift shopping. Weeks, days and hours are spent in anticipation. But as high as the build up, so low is the let down. I think we all have experienced the dashed hopes and shattered expectations as we flip the calendar month to the New Year. But let’s remember that the celebration of Christmas is not the end of the season – it’s the beginning. It’s the linchpin for the rest of the year and the rest of our lives. Christmas merely prepares our hearts and minds showing us the way to find the Lord every day. This Christmas season brings us grace to see our surroundings with “new eyes”. Christmas doesn’t merely happen on the outside, but on the inside. When we have taken in the Christmas message, we now understand what is of REAL importance. We have prepared to choose what to see and what to ignore. The message of the holiday, “Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men”, will help us see through all the contradictory surface data and into the hearts of others, recognizing them as brothers and friends. The Lord is dwelling here in our midst, where he has always been showing himself to each of us in diverse and subtle ways every day. Some of us will recognize his face and invite him inside because we have prepared our hearts and made them receptive. Some of us on the other hand, will see... read more

Are You a Miracle Seeker?

Tis the Season for merriment! Just look around at the decorations, carols, and parties, all building excitement. “Never forget that anticipation is an important part of life. Work’s important, family’s important, but without excitement, you have nothing. You’re cheating yourself if you refuse to enjoy what’s coming.” Nicholas Sparks We’ve all seen the bumper sticker: “Expect a miracle.” We need to anticipate the miracles that surround our daily lives, not only in this “month of merriment”! We need to build the joyful exuberance of hope and sing about the expectation of a miracle in the gift of another day. We need to be Miracles Seekers! Miracles Seekers anticipate each day. Before our feet even hit the ground, we ready our minds for another inspiring day. “Thank you, Lord, for another grand and glorious day.” Wonder fills our intellects with the potential of marvelous adventures God has planned. Anticipation of the yearning for something good to come acts as a powerful tool for happiness. Research shows us that more happiness comes from the anticipation and planning of the vacation than the actual trip itself. The study even determined that the benefits of napping in bringing down a person’s blood pressure are brought about beforehand merely by the anticipation of the nap rather than the actual siesta. Miracle Seekers adopt an attitude of intent: they want to see, expect to see, and intend to see everything working for the highest good during the day. Maintaining this attitude throughout the day will insure that you don’t get bogged down in the negativity of errands, meetings, appointments, and lengthy to-do lists. So as... read more

Lighting Your Way Through the Holiday Season

We are now in full “holiday mode” – planning, preparing and plotting how to make this celebration perfect. So much time and energy we expend chasing the “to do” list. We are so busy getting caught up in the hustle and bustle that we sometimes miss the best part. We see events, but don’t get their meaning; we hear the words, but don’t grasp their significance. We often stay stuck where we are and don’t grow. Think of all the wonderful things that happen to us every day: the sunrise, the freshness after a rain, the smell of a rose, a small kindness, laughter, a hug, a winter fire, a new idea, an old friend. We have so many lights to light our day teaching us that life is a blessing, and that our good God is with us for sure. So many lights that go unnoticed and unnamed. Sad things and hard things may also come into our daily lives. They too, have much to teach us. Our failures, our bodily pains, our pains of the spirit, our disappointments and our losses, our grieving and our weeping: these are part of all our lives and God does not shield us from their pain. But in each – no matter how terrible, is an invitation to life, an invitation from God to become more: more whole, more true, and more happy. And hidden there along with the invitation is always God’s promise to give us all the power and strength that are needed. But, too often we sleep through these messages. And their light does not lighten our darkness.... read more