Spiritually Speaking Blog

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What Makes a Good Day?

Charlie Chaplin’s quote, “a day without laughter is a day wasted”, is seen at many food and drink scenes! What makes a “day worth living” for you? What makes it a “good day”?  It’s a great question to ponder. Knowing what makes a good day for us will allow us to prioritize our day’s actions, getting the most out of each day. According to Nancy Collamer who wrote “5 Essential Steps to Have a Good Day” there are 3 questions to be asked at the end of the day: Did you spend your time and attention on things that matter? Did you feel that you did a good job and had the support of others? Did the day leave you feeling more energized than depleted? I appreciate the 3 items listed by Nancy Collamer above, but I need to add one more item to here list.  I’d add a touch of spirituality in every day. I mean I need an “Aha God” moment. …that divine tug in my heart. For just one split second I want to feel that Divine Presence in my life. Now this divine connection can come in many ways and forms. It could be when I read something inspirational in a book or even social media. Or it can come from enjoying family and friends realizing that these people are reflections of God. Maybe during a walk outside or taking in a colorful sunset, somehow the majesty of our Creator is apparent. These special moments come when I am “present” in the situation seeing it for what it truly is. A particular time given to... read more

Final Thoughts

This fall, Joe and I had the opportunity to travel to Norfolk, VA, never realizing that the Naval Station at Norfolk is the largest naval installation in the world! Before our boat harbor tour began we found this incredible tribute to our Veterans – The Armed Forces Memorial located just off shore by the marina. This memorial is located on the river which has carried more than 200 years of servicemen and women off to war and returned home. (Some not that fortunate). Within this memorial there are 20 inscriptions from letters written home by US service men and women who lost their lives.  Every branch of the service is represented. These letters, written not knowing their future, contain very personal thoughts of love of family, love of country, the hell in war, and reflections of life itself. “What’s it all about?” The 20 letters have been cast on sheets of bronze and are scattered across the memorial on the ground as if they had been blown there by the wind. The airmen, infantry men, nurses, sailors, men, and women representing every branch of the service, bare their souls struggling with their loves, hopes and fears. They represent brave men and women from these wars: The Revolutionary War (1175-1783), The War of 1812 (1812-1815), The Civil War (1861-1865), World War 1 (1917-1918), World War II (1941-1945), Korean War (1950-1953), Vietnam War (1962-1975) and the Gulf War (1990-1991). Walking around reading letters that read like a personal diary you feel like you’ve peeked into someone’s soul, so intimate and so touching especially knowing that these brave soldiers never made it... read more

No Time For Prayer?

Hopefully we get into the habit of daily prayer. But what happens when your daily routine changes, maybe an illness, vacation or too many things on your “to do” list? At least for me my daily prayer is pushed to the back allowing my pressing issues grabbing my time and attention. My dear friend, Jackie, who I befriended in sixth grade, recommended a book to me that helps put a “workable” approach to prayer especially during the times of our feeling “overwhelmed”. Author, Anne Lamott gives us the “Cliff notes” of prayer, during these special times, when words fail us or we are pressed for time. In her book, “Help, Thanks, Wow”, the author discusses these three essential prayers. The first prayer is merely “Help”…help those who are suffering.  “Help” those in need”.  “Help” our country. “Help” me get through these days without a family drama!  Simply pray, “Help”. (You know how to fill in the blanks!) The second prayer, “Thanks”, should be an easy one.   “Thanks” for getting me through that interview.  “Thanks” for my healthy child”. “Thanks” that I didn’t get a speeding ticket. A pattern of gratefulness builds happiness. The final prayer, “Wow” takes your breath away.  It’s the innocence in us that is breathless in the face of wonder.  “Wow” is seeing the vastness of the ocean for the very first time.  We are at a loss of words taking in the beauty of the Grand Canyon.  “Wow” look at those wildflowers along the path.  “Wow” look at Shamu!  “Wow” look at that sunset!  “Wow” expresses the “awe” that we live in, that we sometimes take for... read more

Pass the Salt Please!

On vacation this summer Joe and I were frustrated with the slow pouring salt-shakers! (Just one of our bad habits!) Taking matters into his own hands, Joe switched the tops of the salt and pepper-shakers giving us the “fast pour” on the salt. Salt is one of my four basic food groups. It serves us well for two reasons! Salt not only spices up our food but also has a valuable lesson for us. What can a common spice teach us? Back in its day, common salt was traded and valued like oil is today. It was because of what it did for other things that made it so important and esteemed. Salt was in high regard and often used as a high standard. (“He’s not worth his salt.”) Salt brings out flavor, and adds zest to everything. Salt acted as a preservative to prevent spoilage, as it does in many ways today, making it a very valuable commodity. Even Jesus used salt in his teaching, “you are the salt of the earth”. Just what are we suppose to learn from this? We are each called to be each other’s salt in two ways: We add flavor: We draw out the best in others, adding the spice of life – we make people smile, we dash their fears (real or imaginary), we add the zest of friendship, love, a hug, a phone call, sharing a meal. Salt in us brings out the best in ourselves allowing us to enhance the lives of others, just like the foods it serves. We preserve: Like salt, we also preserve each other, protecting health... read more

Prayer to St. Kateri Tekawitha

Prayer to St. Kateri Tekawitha Saint Kateri Tekawitha, our elder sister in the Lord, discreetly, you watch over us; May your love for Jesus and Mary inspire us with words and deeds of friendship, forgiveness, and of reconciliation. Pray that God will give us the courage, the boldness, and the strength to build a world of justice and peace among ourselves and among all nations. Help us, as you did, to encounter the Creator God present in the very depths of nature, and so become witnesses of Life. With you, we praise the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen. Holy founders of the Church in North America, Pray for... read more

God, Where Are You?

One more mass shooting, one more hurricane and we are crying, “God, where are you?” These are not just setbacks. These are not merely bumps in the road. These are full-blown, world altering tragedies bringing devastation to property and personal lives. As we’ve so sadly witnessed recently on so many fronts 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 it 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. When the world seems to fall apart and the bottom drops out of our lives, we need to see past the ugliness and through the pain to the ultimate reality of things – which is – despite all appearances, God is still in charge, still cares, still has the power to make all things right, and still intends to do just that – in good time!  What enables us to see all that so clearly when disaster has struck so hard? Faith! Even in the thick of turmoil, the Shared Presence of God can be felt. One phone call, one friend, one act of patience, one... read more

How Do You Talk To God?

How would you answer this 4-letter crossword clue: “Appeal to God”? Of course the answer is “pray”, but prayer is so much more than that. This divine connection, prayer requires more than just pelting God with our earthly needs. Similar to our earthy conversations, talking and listening, we need the same manners in our relationship with God. Just like nourishing relationships with friends and family members, we develop the same “manners” to cultivate prayer connecting to our Creator. We all enjoy learning about our families’ and friend’s life, but no one likes people who monopolize the conversations. In order to engage with others we also need to listen. We can share our desires, with God, but then we need to listen in order to hear his answer. We need to be silent. Surprisingly, the words “silent” and “listen” use the same letters. Listening requires silence. This strong connection with our God, both talking (prayer) and listening (meditation) will enhance our personal relationship with the divine. We are all pretty experienced with the “talking part” but our listening skills sometimes get shelved due to so many reasons. Here are a few suggestions to help you incorporate the meditative aspect of your prayers, taking your time and lifestyle in consideration. Of course, there is traditional meditation(a structured method quieting your mind), but also you can “listen” to God with-meditative walking  (outdoors with trees, foliage, meadows, birds or water), -listening to music (don’t forget about the Beach Boys hit, “God Only Knows” works for me!), -guided meditations (recordings can direct you efforts), -yoga (part exercise and part meditation connecting body and soul), and -labyrinths (meditative... read more

 Baptism By Fire

Sometimes life, like the ocean, can come crashing in with the strong undertow literally pulling the legs out from under us. When this happens we have two options. We can scream, “This is not fair”, negatively affecting all aspects of our life. Or we can embrace this hardship (fair or unfair) learning from it as we develop personally and spiritually. Adversity works as a giant stepping-stone in our spiritual growth. You’ve heard the phrase “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” Most likely overcoming difficulties won’t kill you, but undoubtedly it will wield its longs arms around you with far reaching effects. Positively or Negatively. This adversity can act as a personal transformation if we let it. (But during these difficult times are never seen as such a positive influence.) We call this “baptism by fire”. Baptism by fire serves a purification process. This is God refining his gems, us! I like to think of it similar to the petroleum refining process. Refineries take crude oil and through multiple steps it becomes useful products such as gasoline, etc. God works with each of us in the same manner. Through hardship God invites us to become a “new person”, maybe someone more compassionate, more hopeful, more faith-filled. More like God himself, reflecting like a mirror, our Divine nature. But becoming this new person, this better version of ourselves is not easy. Here’s what Kim Wuirch wrote: “When recovering from difficult things such as heartbreaks or traumatic experience, stop trying to find your old self. The old you does not exist any more, look for the new and improved version of... read more

Practice Aloha

At one of our favorite restaurants in Maui, Hawaii, you get a special bumper sticker with your check, “Practice Aloha”. “Aloha” is a friendly greeting of recognition. What a beautiful way to spread the peaceful island spirit. Why do we need a glaring bumper sticker to remind us? Why is there so little peace among us? Why is there so little joy among us? There seems to be so much of life lived as a cold war. We have not recognized one another for who we really are. Who are we? We are God’s very own, special people, whose innards are filled to the brim with the seeds of wonderful gifts that are just waiting to be discovered, valued, nurtured and brought to flower. Every time we fail to recognize in ourselves or in our neighbor the face of someone who is very special to God, someone who has a special gift to share, we are denying the seeds of peace and the aloha sprit. The making of peace begins not outside with diplomats, but inside the individual heart, yours and mine. That peace begins with the moment of self-recognition when we hear and trust the voice of God’s Spirit speaking to us, “You are my special loved one.” For at that moment we begin to value ourselves as great treasures to be treasured. Peace only begins there. It won’t happen until we recognize that God has spoken to those very same words to everybody else too; and every person we meet is a hidden treasure waiting to be brought to flower. Peace won’t really happen till all of... read more