Spiritually Speaking Blog

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It’s All Good!

Strolling through the streets on Catalina Island taking in all the window displays, my eyes and mind were captured by this one brightly colored tee shirt. It read:  “Wherever you go, there you are.” I laughed thinking “how ridiculous” or could it be “how sublime?” This affirmation by Ralph Waldo Emerson rang the same bell. “Wherever we are, God is, and all is well!”  I found this affirmation so comforting that I’m repeating it to myself a lot lately. In the midst of my worrying about this, fretting about that and losing sleep over the situations out of my control, I repeat this comforting mantra. “God is here, and all is well.”  Of course I pray telling God my concerns, (as if I had to fill Him in on my state of being). But sometimes I feel like I’m talking to a deaf ear. Is God really listening? Does He really care about my piddley problems in the whole scheme of the universe? On my soul level, I positively vow “YES”, but my mind has to be reigned in to catch up with God’s bigger picture. I’m not privy to this understanding while here on earth. With this knowledge and trust, I need to relax. I must totally give up control, letting go of the steering wheel, knowing that I’m in good hands with God in the drivers seat. Ask yourself these questions: Do you pray? Then why worry? After you reflect on these questions, repeat after me, “Wherever we are, God is, and all is well.”  ... read more

I Love You This Much!

“God will overflow your cup, so grab the biggest one you can find.”- Rob Liano Every so often we need to be reminded of how much we are loved, not only by our spouses and friends, but also by God. When life seems tedious, things don’t go our way and God seems to have forgotten us turning a deaf eat to our prayers, we need that reminder of his love and commitment to us. I remember the Bishop of San Diego under attack in newspaper feature stories and editorials being accused of excessive extravagance in the building of the Immaculta Church. The citizens of the city questioned his judgment. He had to answer for the excessive amount of money spent. I’ll never forget his words from the pulpit. “Whenever you look at this church and others like it that brim over with lavish plentitude, remember God’s love for you is just like that: over the top, way out of line, and above and beyond our expectations.” From under his beautiful brocade vestments, the bishop extended his outstretched arms. “God loves you this much,” he spread his arms as broad as possible. Even nearly 40 years later, the image of the bishop representing Christ on the cross, with arms outstretched, stuck with me as a visual representation of God’s abundant love for us. What does it mean that God loves us so much that he will withhold nothing from us – not even his son? What it means is that no matter what, God will always be there for us, with ALL his love and power, comfort and grace, no... read more

Stay the Course!

One of my favorite motivational saying is, “It may not be the cruise we signed up for, but it’s the ship we’re on.” We start out in life with high hopes, even higher expectations, and the knowledge that everything in life will go as planned. But somehow life has a way of dashing our game plan. We all want the best of life, but that may be the source of our problems. Small disappointments and failures are an important part of our life’s journey, planned or not. Don’t let disappointments pollute your mind. We must be aware that our outside circumstances have nothing to do with our inside happiness – what really matters. Remember your many gifts. Don’t focus on the losses or the negative challenges that come to all of us. Bouncing back from disappointment does not mean that it did not sting. Focus on the whole picture of your life. Life is a special gift so there is always reason to celebrate. Remember that the sunshine always follows the rain. Everyday friends, jobs, family, love, health are all miracles that we sometimes overlook. Enjoy each blessing and each moment that life gives you to put the positivity in your outlook. The happiest of people don’t have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything the do have. Here’s what I mean. As I was walking, I saw this weathered car, chugging with the engine that sounded like it was missing on a few cylinders, slowed down to a stop in front of the stately home adorned with well manicured lawns and sophisticated gardens. A... read more

Ashes To Go!

Patiently waiting in traffic I noticed this sandwich board on the curb next to a church on Ash Wednesday, “Ashes to go”. You have to give points to this innovative church for making it easier to observe the tradition of receiving ashes with this drive-thru ritual! This friendly curbside invitation reminds us that we are now in the Lenten season bringing the message of “Atonement (at-one-ment) – rethink your lives”. A little reflection is always a good thing. Maybe we do need to make some changes. So we give ourselves a fast once-over. “I’m a good person. I don’t lie, or cheat or steal. I don’t abuse my kids or cheat on my spouse. I’m honest on the golf course and always use receptacles for my candy wrappers. I even recycle! I’m not perfect but there are some things that I need to attend to, like losing about 10 pounds, exercise a bit more, volunteer a little more and watch my language when the golf ball misses the intended target.” All true. We are pretty nice folks and we could do some fine- tuning that would make us ever nicer. But during this season of Lent the Lord is calling us to think bigger – bigger than just nice, bigger than just staying out of trouble. God is urging us to ask ourselves two questions: First, what am I doing to justify the space I’m taking up, and the air I’m breathing? And second, are the people around me enriched each day because I’m here? Would their lives be noticeably poorer if I were gone? So how do we... read more

No “Risk It”, No Biscuit!

In a small restaurant backed up on the scenic ocean, a young couple stood in front of the picturesque view as the waitress held the camera for a photo. At that moment the young man took his girlfriend’s hand, lowered to one knee proposing his love. The whole restaurant hushed listening to his love and intended life together. “Will you marry me?” he asked. The diners, quiet as mice, sat forward in their seats waiting for her answer. A round of applause filled the venue as the young woman screamed, “Yes!” Wow, after wiping away some of my own tears I thought what a brave kid! Wonder if she said “no”….that embarrassing moment would be forever captured on the video in front of all of us. How important is our ability to take risks? At first I considered how risk takers put themselves in peril….Evel Knievel comes to mind. But then I remembered reading that one of the five qualities that most Octogenarians share is Risk Taking. In her book, “The Risk Factor”, Deborah Perry Piscione gives us some points to ponder to get the most out of life. Risk Takers: -Are in touch with a greater purpose in life. When we see our “greater purpose” in the Divine Plan we live a loving life, grateful for opportunities. -Generally have a lower level of fear than most people. Fear holds us back sometimes missing out on happiness. -Are curious about why things are the way they are. With this openness, curiosity creates a sense of wonder and imagination and has been linked to cultivating happiness. -They believe anything is... read more

Relax in the Lord!!

“To sit in the shade on a fine day, and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment.” (Jane Austen 1775-1817)  Everyday activities can create chaos in our lives. Fear, anxiety, anger and doubt play far too large a role in our lives and sometimes kill our peace and well-being. The antidote to the poison of our unhealthy fears, angers, and doubts is our ability to relax in the Lord. And then these everyday activities can be “the most perfect refreshment”. Take these “relaxing techniques” into your everyday activities: Relax and look at the stars in the vast, night sky and see a reflection of the mighty God who made them. Relax and look at the tiny fingers of a new-born child and see there a reflection of the tender God who made every new born. Relax and look at the goodness of so many people around you and see there a reflection of the good God who created them in his own image and likeness. Relax and look at the loveliness of a single flower and see in it a reflection of the gracious God who made every flower that ever bloomed. Relax and look at the wonders of nature that surround you and see the beauty of the creative God who reveals himself to us every moment. Relax and look at all the goodness within your own heart and see there a reflection of wonderful God who made you. Relax in the Lord and know on the inside how vast is his goodness and how unfailing is his kindness. That vast goodness and kindness of God is... read more

What’s the “Best Thing In Life?”

My mom Ginny, a wonderful teacher reminded me, “you can’t buy health.” These wise words often come to mind as I hear of so many struggling with health problems. It does seem that the REAL things in life cannot be purchased, no matter whom you are. Steve Jobs, CEO and maker of iPad…iPhone etc. died a billionaire and here are some of his last thoughts and words on his sick bed. “At this moment, lying on the sick bed and recalling my whole life, I realize that all the recognition and wealth that I took so much pride in, have paled and become meaningless in the face of impending death. Five Undeniable Facts of Life: 1. Don’t educate your children to be rich. Educate them to be Happy. So when they grow up they will know the value of things not the price. 2. Best awarded words in London … “Eat your food as your medicines. Otherwise you have to eat medicines as your food.” 3. The One who loves you will never leave you for another because even if there are 100 reasons to give up, he or she will find one reason to hold on. 4. There is a big difference between a human being and being human. Only a few really understand it. 5. You are loved when you are born. You will be loved when you die. In between, you have to manage! NOTE: If you just want to Walk Fast, Walk Alone! But if you want to Walk Far, Walk Together!” Yes, the best things in life are free. It’s up to us to... read more

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