Spiritually Speaking Blog

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Trustees, Not Owners

We all try to make our lives as comfortable as possible with our many earthly blessings and gifts. But don’t get too comfortable. We merely pass through this life on our way to the next. All we have and all that we are, we have been given on loan by God. We are entrusted to care for these gifts for a short time until we reach our final destination. Until we come face to face with the Giver of all Good Gifts. Just what does God ask of us in return for these gifts? God asks that we be good trustees. God asks us to acknowledge, to wonder, to delight, and to be grateful by putting these many gifts to good use. How is God’s investment in you paying off? Will you and I have to face God with empty hands? Here’s a quick inventory? Imagine for a moment that you just have a few hours to live. It’s too late to change anything. You needn’t bother packing because baggage is not allowed. All you’ll be taking are your memories and your own heart – whatever you have become on the inside. What would comfort you and give you peace at that moment? What memories would make you say, “I’m glad that I lived; it wasn’t wasted. I can’t wait to see God and show what I’ve done with the life I was given?” What would allow you to say all that? It wouldn’t be memories of a barn full of stuff, or memories of having built the biggest this, or bought the best of that, or become the... read more

How to Survive on the Rollercoaster!

We all know that life is a gift. This precious existence takes us on the ride of our lifetime. Life is like a roller coaster. Life is made up of an endless succession of highs and lows, laughing and crying, triumphs and tragedies. It can be very confusing. Just when we think we have an understanding and a grasp God pulls us in a different direction. So how do we keep going? How to make something valuable out of the odd assortment of stuff that we find on our doorstep every morning? How do we survive success? How do we live through the losses and pains? The answer is we don’t – not if we try to do it alone. What life asks us to do, to be, to give and to endure is quite impossible – alone. Although life may try to trick us into thinking that we can go it alone, experience has shown us that’s a lie. God is whispering to us on a daily basis. Listen to your own breathing…and feel your life’s blood coursing through your veins. All the marvelous things, great and small, complex, intricate and beautiful surrounding us are God’s reassurances that we are never alone. God is everywhere with Love, surrounding us with miracles and gifts. Our Creator is inviting us to open our hearts to find our strength and comfort for the journey. God is calling out through all of creation, “Look what I’ve given to you. Trust me.” Diana Ross sings about such trust – “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”. Remember these lyrics? “If you need me, call me.... read more

Attitude is Everything!

I had to laugh when I read: “It’s been ‘one of those days’….3 years in a row.” But sometimes that is just the way we feel….maybe for 3 years. Hardship makes us feel out of control, not deserving of this suffering. Why me? We sometimes lose hope not seeing light at the end of the tunnel. No one can help. And God seems far removed in silence, not offering any answers Adversity, no matter to what degree, is a part of life. It’s an essential lesson in this “School of Life”. Adversity calls for the old fashioned virtue called Perseverance. For me, perseverance conjures up the mental image of bundling up in a parka, mittens, boots and scarf, working to maintain my balance braving the bitter cold gusts of a Midwest winter. This “stick to it” attitude, this “braving the elements” mentally keeps us on our course of action and purpose in spite of all the obstacles, difficulties or discouragement. We gut it out, not matter what the situation. We keep jumping through whatever hoop life might put in front of us. We build up stamina. We exhibit tenacity. We extend our endurance. Looking in the rear view mirror you can see that you have survived the storms. So you are a winner, batting 1000! As we plod through the syllabus of our own life lessons, let’s arm ourselves with the mental attitude of perseverance, remembering what Winston Churchill admonished. “If you are going through hell, keep going.” Because nothing lasts forever! Keep your thoughts Positive! Remember, Attitude is... read more

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