Spiritually Speaking Blog

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The Best Is Yet To Come!

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, what God has prepared for those who love him.”     1 Corinthians I need to read that daily, maybe put it on a sticky note on the steering wheel of my car. I need a constant reminder that we are not who we think we are. We are not of this world! The day-to-day responsibilities of this earthly life sometime saturate our minds pulling us into the falsehood that we are human bodies here on earth toting a spiritual soul. And that’s all there is. But just the opposite is true. We are first and foremost children of God. We were made as spiritual souls intended to have this earthly body for a physical existence. Our human bodies serve us as we make our journey, allowing us to learn lessons in the classrooms of joy and adversity. So exactly how does this change anything? I think it helps to put things in the right perspective. Amidst the earthly struggles, adversity, questions and doubts saturating and shaping our mental outlook, we need to remember that God is our father. We are “chips off the old block”! We share the same divine spirit of God. He planted the seed of goodness within each of us. God will never give up on us. That’s what God is like. Looking down upon us, God sees tiny implants of goodness just waiting to grow. God sees all the possibilities and all the gifts we have. God knows we’ve got good “genes.” There is no way God will... read more

Got Patience?

The virtue of patience is not my long suit. Last week I experienced an epi (epidural steroid injection) in my cervical spine. Listening to the instructions I didn’t think a little shot could be that much. After the numbing serum and the interventions sedative, the shot itself wasn’t that bad. What I did encounter was the surprise reaction at my lack of patience when I was out of my comfort zone of not feeling like my old self. I felt impatient with myself, others and probably God if I hadn’t realized that this was a very temporary setback. I was a little woozier than I usually am! Leaving the doctor’s office I had Joe’s steady arm to guide me. I had to clutch the handrail to keep from stumbling down the steps. (I don’t do “dependent” well either.) Once at breakfast I could raise my right arm to a certain height and then it would just drop. I couldn’t pick up my coffee with my right arm without scalding myself. Finding some relief that these setbacks were to last a few hours, I thought of all the times that I have been impatient with others who suffer with all kinds of impairments and some permanently with certain ailments. I berated myself thinking how I take my good health for granted. I mentally apologized for all the times that people failed to meet my time expectations. I reflected on all the times I tapped my toes in the grocery line as older feebler people fumbled paying for their groceries. Or when I lose patience walking behind slower amblers in crowds,... read more

How’s Your Vision?

“Don’t worry about the horse being blind, just load the wagon.” (John Madden) Sometimes we feel like that blind horse making our way, not knowing just where we are going, the whys, and sometimes the real purpose of our lives. Life would be so much easier if we could prepare ourselves for what was coming next. Surely we would make better plans if we were aware of upcoming events. Or, at least be able to endure certain hardships if we knew “why” they came our way. What lesson are we to take away. Life is made up of pop quizzes. Many times we cannot even study or prepare for what is asked of us. We try to make plans, only to adjust and readjust. (Ever feel like the GPS re-routing?) Sure we need a vision, but like the horse we need to plod ever forward pulling whatever load we have. The good news is that we don’t have to have 20/20 vision to find God. God will find us. All we have to do is to respond to his gentle (or sometimes not so gentle) guidance with a grateful and trusting heart. Like the rein on the back of the horse God will lead us in the direction for personal and spiritual perfection. We need to trust and honor that journey that God has in mind for us. We just have to face each day with a strong faith that the good Lord knows what is best for us. It’s not for us to know what is in the mind of God. Sometimes, when I struggle wanting to know... read more

Can You Be Positive in Negativity?

Can You Be Positive in Negativity? Upon rising I walked into our family room. Joe had the TV on with the morning news. “Who’s blowing up who today,” I greeted him. Besides the poor grammar, I caught myself in a negative moment. What a terrible way to begin my “glorious adventure for the day” that I had prayed for just moments BEFORE getting out of bed. In an instant, I had stepped away from my morning prayers ushering in a beautiful day into the bad news blaring. It seems like it’s a slippery slope downward from the heights of joy and anticipation to being caught up with turmoil, suffering, violence and seemingly impossible divisions bombarding us from all directions. The choice is ours. We can choose to live in this swarm of negativity or we can choose a life of happiness. We are not victims of our situations. Easier said than done, but try these 3 steps for a start. Become aware of the negativity. The pessimistic attitudes that others carry (sometimes unknowingly) rub off on you. Just listening to how someone’s day went can drag you down.  Be a strict gatekeeper of your mind. Assess and think critically, dismissing the onset of any negativity. Go mentally to a happier place. Make time in your day for happiness. Do things that lighten your spirit. Have lunch with friends who make you laugh, get some physical exercise releasing pent up stress, or enjoy some alone time reflecting on your blessings. Alan Watts, an English philosopher and expert in comparative religions, stated, “The whole art of life is knowing how to transform... read more

Where Did the Wonder Go?

Joe and I are not normal! Most normal people have children and grandchildren. We don’t. So you can imagine how nervous and thrilled we were when my niece and one-year old baby came to visit us trying to escape the terrible fires in Boise. Our house is not “baby proofed”. We have no cribs, car seats, playpens, or toys. Matter of fact I can only remember once when someone under 21 was even IN our house. What are we ever going to do??? No problem. As it turned out, we did not have to entertain HER, she entertained US while at the same time reminding us of an all-important lesson. This little person who could not walk or talk taught us how to live OUR lives. No fancy toys, iphones, or distractions. This small “teacher” found such delight EVERYTHING she saw, touched or heard. She was mesmerized by simple things like Tupperware lids. She played the same songs over and over again, never tiring of the same tunes. Whatever or whoever came her way presented a new opportunity for fun and friendship. Where did my sense of wonder go? Because we take so many aspects of life for granted we lose a sense of wonder in everyday joys. We forget about maintaining our sense of wonder for daily occurrences in our lives: spending time with family and friends, eating food that nourishes us, and soaking up the beauty that surrounds us in nature. We take things for granted. This little girl lived in wonder having no expectations. Whatever came her way was great. She’s not thinking, “I’ll be happy... read more

Did God Get It Wrong?

Does God not hear my prayers or does he just get it wrong? With the raging wildfires devastating the west coast and the hurricane rainstorms destroying the east coast, I thought perhaps God got things a little mixed up. I’ve been praying for all those rain-filled clouds in the east to help relieve the burning acreage in the west. This would solve a lot of our problems. So how come all these disasters are happening? Why is God allowing these terrible things to happen to good families? Why is God destroying this beautiful earth with all these natural catastrophes? Why all this suffering in spite of all our prayers? I remember Saint Mother Teresa’s response to adversity, even with humor, “I know God would not give me anything that I can’t handle, but I wish he didn’t trust me so much!” Facing afflictions of all kinds, even with a twinkle in her eye, Mother Teresa could endure the tragic circumstances and somehow know that God was there for her and that things would work out in the end. We call that FAITH! I’m also reminded of an adage that I rely on: “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.” Sometimes the world does look like it’s falling apart. And in some cases it is. Now at this time we need to hang on to HOPE! How do we get through this? With the heroic responses of our fellow human beings, we are surviving these upheavals and hardships. Televised rescues and neighbors reaching out helping each other, are a testament to the world that... read more

World Class Friends

How come it takes a tragedy to teach us lessons? Can’t we learn our life lessons quickly and easily? The ongoing disastrous hurricane hitting Texas and Louisiana reinforces valuable learnings for us all. Amidst our daily lives of striving to be the best and the greatest we are reminded that life is much simpler than adding up our bank accounts, our degrees, and how many powerful people we call friends. When all is said and done we realize that that the only thing that really counts is communion – family that comes only from a lifetime of building good people and good bridges to connect them. Looking at the catastrophe along our coastline we can see in action what building good people and good bridges actually looks liked. Time after time we see how people stick together, they do not run out on each other or quit on them in hardship. Television photos show responders holding the course, persistently facing and wrestling with all the things that they would probably like to flee or run away from. This is the task of each and every one of us; it’s the task of a lifetime. That’s all we ever have and all we are ever responsible for. We all cannot be the kind of recue heroes that we have grown to so admire in this recovery process. But we are called to do it every day, one day at a time in small things. Think of the people who have made the most difference in your life, the people who have brought the best out of you, and who’s imprint... read more

What Makes You Brave?

Who has not enjoyed an engaging Danielle Steele novel? This American novelist has sold almost 1 billion books worldwide, making her one of the best selling fiction authors of all time. Her novels revel life lessons that have carried her through heartbreak, the loss of loved ones, the challenges of a career, the demands and joys of motherhood and the importance of family. In a recent interview for her upcoming memoir, I found her answers to certain questions to be inspiring for us all. As I read this interview I found myself reflecting on these same questions. I’d challenge you to do the same. Question: “When do you feel your bravest?” Answer: When I feel loved. Upon reading this I reflected on the “analysis paralysis” situation I wrestled with deciding if I should leave the convent. On one hand I didn’t want to say “no” to God’s invitation to serve, that would be selfish; on the other hand I did not find the peace and joy of fulfilling my destiny, I despaired. My dear father gave me that love that Danielle Steele referred to encouraging me to be my bravest. When seeking his opinion if I should leave the convent or stay and serve, he spoke these words that I will never forget: “If you stay in the convent I would be the proudest father. But if you left the convent, I would be the happiest father in the world.” With that my dad gave me the unconditional love that I would need to ditch the guilt and burst out of my comfort zone. We daily encounter people who... read more

Are You Ready?

I recently had the opportunity to take a wonderful cruise. Every morning we were given the daily ship’s newspaper, “Passages”. This six-page pamphlet helped us “cruisers” to get the most of our days spent in port pointing out the features and highlights. Glancing over these key points we visitors were prepared not to miss all the wonderful adventures coming our way. Watch for this…don’t miss that….make sure you enjoy this special coffee….and be sure to watch your footing on this tour with challenging terrain. We were also ready with exactly what we needed: passports, room keys, appropriate clothing for the weather, customs, shoes for the terrain. The crew distributed water and umbrellas ensuring that we would meet any situation with success. Like little boys scouts, we were prepared! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every morning God would send us a pamphlet outlining our day so we wouldn’t miss one of his invitations and we were eager and prepared. We might read: Don’t miss this opportunity to help this person. Be sure to be grateful for this. You might need an extra dose of patience for this situation or you might call on your faith to see you through this troubling situation. But alas, we are on individual personal passages and each one of us is faced with different challenges, and joys in varying situations. Sure we can help, console, and support each other, but in the end, the journey is ours. It’s up to each one of us to prepare ourselves for the events ahead. So as we “pack and prepare” for the travels ahead, I think that a... read more