Spiritually Speaking Blog

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Are You a Worthy Wink From God?

Recently a new friend of mine gave me a wonderful book, “When God Winks” by SQuire Rushnell (Yes, he spells with it with a capital Q). The central theme of this book explains how God guides our lives through the power of coincidences. We all know that there is a “Bigger Picture”, but only when we look at the “coincidences” coming together at some end point can we get a small glimpse into the Divine workings. In creating the world and all that is in it, God left his fingerprint on every creature. We are all part of God’s handiwork coded to work together in the further unfolding of the Divine Plan. God uses each one of us and every situation to reach out to us. (I call it a G-vite – an invitation from God). This author refers to these circumstances as “winks” from God, giving us each a special nod of love. God is speaking to us and to the longing in our hearts. We long for communion, for peace and most of all love that lasts. If we want love that lasts, we have to give love that lasts; love that watches over and takes care, love that takes turns at giving one another a life and a love that sticks together through thick and thin. We actually are working in partnership with God. We can be the wink and nod to everyone we meet. I ask myself, “Am I giving and receiving this lasting love?” I want to act as a worthy wink from God. Always remember: “Our duty in life is not to see... read more

Can Silly Be Saintly?

At the beginning of my spiritual journey I used to assess what it took to be a saint. “Sainthood” is a title bestowed indicating that this person had “made it”, successfully in God’s eyes. (Isn’t that why we were given this life?) My spiritual views have grown and developed along my road. I used to look at pictures and read the lives of the saints. In the accounts that I read the saints seemed to reinforce what I was learning in my Catholic schools: life is serious business and don’t screw up! We learned about mortification. (Death to the flesh). Denial, fasting, and abstinence were encouraged as bringing us closer to God. Remember the sermon about the rich man not entering heaven, only through an eye of a needle. (Still a little difficult to understand). All these tenets were very scary for a child to understand but did so shape my young life. I was a pretty serious kid wanting to please my earthly father and my Heavenly Father. Now that I’m older (and hopefully wiser) I’m reassessing some of my earlier beliefs. Previously there didn’t seem any room for much fun and laughter. Religion did not reach its long arms around any kind of frivolity. I recently enjoyed a visit from my two younger sisters enforcing my newer attitude of the power of laughter, silliness, and fun. The three of us laughed at the “stupid” things we do. We howled at some of our “missteps”. And giggled, as girls are ought to do. After the “sisters” visit, my theory on lighter is even more convincing. I’m sure that... read more

When Should You Pray?

I’m writing today, dedicated as the National Day of Prayer, to celebrate the importance of prayer in our lives. It seems lately I’m drawn more and more to prayer and connection with God. Maybe it’s the world we live in or maybe it’s just me, but I know that it’s a good thing! Cardinal Joseph Bernardin in his book, “The Gift of Peace” written in the priest’s last two months of life encouraged us to pray when we are young! (That’s me, and probably you too!) At the time of his book, the Cardinal was dying of cancer and found it difficult to pray. So his message to us is to “pray early” while you feel good before the weakened body impedes the spirit. In his chapter on letting go the Cardinal reminds us that prayer is not a one-sided practice. Prayer involves speaking and listening on both sides. It’s a conversation between two dear friends, the Loved and the Beloved. No one likes people who monopolize conversations. The same is true with our conversation with God. We can’t just pelt God with our requests and needs, we need to listen for answers. Surprisingly, the words, “silent” and “listen” use the name letters. On Mother Teresa’s business card it read, “In the silence of the heart God speaks.” It is in this silence that we hear where God is leading us. Oftentimes God is asking us to “let go” of certain things that we hold near and dear to us. In this case the prayer is mostly for us. We use this silence to attune, aligning our wishes and... read more

What Message Are You Living?

As we go about our daily routines we interpret our vision of what life really means to us. Because we live in community we can’t help but share it with others. By our actions we broadcast what our vision of life really is and what we value near and dear to us. Behind every action and reaction there is a message. We are leaving a trail of communication behind us, whether we know it or not. Recently I shared a “walk in the park” with close friends coming across a trail bench dedicated to a woman who volunteered on the trail from 1980. This woman’s friends erected and dedicated this bench to honor her 90th birthday. In part it read: Happy 90th birthday, Anne Mayo – Beloved trails volunteer since 1980- Teaching us each day: Life is poetry, Family is everything Music lives in all of us, and Adventure awaits down every path! I could almost feel this woman’s energy and love for life. Life for this volunteer was an adventure to be lived, shared, and savored. I picture a joyous personality bursting with life and an open heart. Wouldn’t you love to be her friend? This woman’s friends captured “Anne’s” philosophy from one of Shel Silverstein’s poems: “How much good inside a day? Depends how good you live’em.” Let’s “pick up” what Anne was “laying down”. Her vision and values make life an exciting walk on the trail to be relished every step of the way. The cheerful approach to life that Anne was broadcasting has been well received and recorded. Our G-vite for today: I ask myself,... read more

Do You Speak in Code?

In this fast paced world we live in today, we are often limited in our time and opportunity for real communication. We are sometimes reduced to mere code detectors to decipher the meaning of the message. We have short cuts to convey our thoughts as seen in text messages and the 140 characters of the tweet. We might see “r u (with a symbol of a sandy shore line)? Code for: Are you going to the beach? The reply might be “k” or a symbol of a thumbs-up emoji indicating that, “OK, yes I’m going to the beach”. Surprise: OMG (Oh, my God). Happiness: LOL (Laughing out loud). I’ve seen people have whole conversations without ever using a word. Entire unspoken messages are translated by little icons, symbols, and emojis. Birthday messages: Smiley Faces, Balloons, Cakes, Gifts! Happy Birthday! Our actual personal communication and greetings are mostly casual also. In our routine encounters with those we meet we hear “Hi”, “Bye”, “Chao”. And if we really want spend some time wishing our contacts a little more you might get a spoken “Have a Nice Day”. On my daily meditative walk I try to greet passers-by with a “Have a good day”, which I have my own code for. I want to send them on the rest of their day filled with many blessings so I adopted this Apache blessing as my code for “Have a good day”. In my heart I am wishing them the following good thoughts: “May the Sun bring new energy by day. May the Moon softly restore you by night. May the Rain wash away... read more

Find Your Beach

  We’ve all seen the beer commercial that encourages us to, “Find your beach”. Returning from an island vacation, enjoying the sand, sun, and shimmering water, I now have a fuller understanding of that advertisement. We humans, are like little electric or hybrid cars. We can go just so long until we “run out” of juice. We need to plug in, recharging our energy and strengthening our resolve. We need to STOP, halt our normal running around and connect with the Source of all Energy. So we need to find our chair on the beach, a rock, a mountain top, a pew in church or a bench in the woods and just “take it all in” to regroup. Just what does this “beach” do for us? How does it recharge, refresh and renew us to go back into the normal crazy lives that we all lead? These “beaches” in life, take our breaths away. We gasp, “Oh, my God”. “This blows my mind.” This vastness, this “over the top” unimaginable beauty, and boundless tranquility could only be the work of the Divine. For this brief time on the “beach” we suspend our normal thinking patterns of work responsibilities, time urgencies with social and financial pressures bearing down on us. We see our puny lives in comparison to the Bigger Picture. We realize that all our so-called important matters are not all that important in the grand scheme of things. We’re humbled by a Divine Presence, and can almost feeling the Almighty among us. While we’re awed by our smallness in the REAL picture we also are overcome with gratefulness,... read more

Live Like a Lost Boy

Joe and I were recently vacationing with the opportunity to do some island cruising. I sat immediately behind our young captain! The embroidery on the back of his ball cap grabbed my attention: “Live Life Like a Lost Boy.” At first I didn’t know exactly what that meant. My first thought being “if I was a lost boy, I would panic with fear setting in.” With a second glance taking in the high-sailing explorer, I concluded that “fear” would not be his underlying motivation. Imagining his presumed life style, I figured I missed something returning to my reflections. Following my initial reaction of “fear”, I enjoyed musing on how our captain (all of about 40 something, appearing footloose and fancy free) approached life. Tossing conventions aside, the oceans of the world are his highways with open seas offering an oyster of freedom. Following my newer takeaways, I now have a fresher outlook on the meaning that I will be try to incorporate into my life journey. Little lost boys see life as an adventure to be enjoyed. Little lost boys see time as fleeting never putting off until a “better day”. Little lost boys will make the best of the situation, no matter what the obvious “rule” is. Little lost boys will “tackle” any situation that comes their way. Little lost boys see a “rope” and see a “swing”. Little lost boys will toss convention aside, adopting anything necessary to improvise. Little lost boys approach life without overthinking the problem. They just “go for it”. Little lost boys don’t stew over being lost analyzing how did this happen. They... read more

Let’s Make a Deal!

Have you ever made a deal with God? “Dear God, if you let me pass this algebra test, I will say three rosaries.” “Dear God, if I give up this for Lent, will you…..?” We are all tempted to make deals with God trying to swing his will in certain situations to our liking. We offer God a tempting behavior on our part if He would only see His Divine Providence fall our way. Previously we saw prayer as growing into a position of trust. Our prayers shape us into a mindset of surrender to God’s will, not trying to pelt God with our wants, desires, and needs. Those are already taken care for in the Big Plan. So how do we move from a position of pleading with and bartering with God to one of trust and surrender? In my book, “G-vites ~ Everyday Invitations From God”, I offer my “Prayer of Surrender” for you to use. It is based on 4-evers: whatever, however, whenever, and forever. Whatever – Lord, whatever your wish is my command. Whatever you want me to do, I accept. I say, “Yes, Coach, put me in.” Bring on the people you want me to love, the situations you want me to take on, and the lessons you want me to learn. Whatever! However – However you choose to solve my problems, I accept your way. I know that you have the Bigger Picture that puts what is happening to me daily in a much more comprehensive life perspective. I know it works out for the best, the way that it is meant to... read more

My Way?

Most of us aspire to Frank Sinatra’s hit song, “My Way”. Yes, in spite of all the difficulties I did it MY WAY. If we hold this ideal we maybe on the wrong track. Lately I’ve been sharing the prayers of children on my two Facebook Pages, (“Patty Kogutek – Author” and” Finding Your Joy”. These innocent prayers bring many smiles and also remind us of important messages. Here’s a sample: “Dear God, Thank you for the baby brother, but what I prayed for was a puppy. Joyce” After a good laugh we have to examine the message. We have to praise this child, Joyce’s, ability and desire to honestly reach out to God in prayer. She expresses her gratitude for the new baby, but goes on to “remind” God that the baby brother was not what she prayed for! How often do we feel that we have to give a gentle nudge to God to answer our prayer OUR way? In our prayers we must start with the basic belief of trusting God. We trust God enough to let go and look through his eyes – the eyes of a wise Father. If we approach prayer with that frame of mind our hearts will be open and we will begin to see what God sees and hope for what God hopes. We’ll begin to want what God wants, and do what God does. That’s what praying in faith does inside us. It slowly reshapes our ideas and desires to match God’s. We change our perspective to shift our wants and needs from our values and expectations of life... read more