Spiritually Speaking Blog

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Ring For Service

Wouldn’t it be nice to just ring the bell to request anything that would satisfy our every whim? We’d have no worries, no pain, no sorrows, and anything to make our lives easier, more pleasant and more enjoyable. Buzz….buzzz In actuality we have something, Someone, much better. We don’t even have to push a buzzer to be cared for. God is at our beck and call to hear, responding with an answer to our every prayer. He hears every whimper from our hearts. He is aware of each thought tucked away in our brains. He celebrates every success with us and he is there to wipe away every tear falling from our eyes. The Lord makes sure we have everything we need for our earthly journey to fulfill our “mission”, our reason for being here. God would not commission us to this life without equipping us for the onslaught! When we need courage, faith, peace of mind, patience, tolerance, acceptance, honesty and love….ASK HIM….RING… And the Lord will provide us with what we need when we need it. Never fret because your buzzing seems to go unanswered. God works on DST (Divine Standard Time) while we are glued to our earthly clocks. God has our front and backsides covered as we walk with him in an untimely fashion. God’s time is not our time.  God loves us so much that he will withhold absolutely nothing from us. No matter what, God will always be there for us, with ALL his love and power, comfort and grace. Have faith! There ARE no limits to God’s commitment to us, none at... read more

Find Your Brave

After being “held up” by Krazy Ani, on the Heber Train ride through the Provo Canyon, this guitar -strumming-train-robber entertained us.   She amused us with her “train songs” but it was her original song that spoke to me. We listened to her new song, “My Brave”, as we chugged along. As her musical story unfolded, it resonated with us all. The lyrics, “Braver than I thought I was” and, “Meet the brave within,” melodiously reminded us of how life brings situations that call forth our fortitude and strength within. Sometimes to our own surprise! Fear, anxiety, anger, and doubt play far too large a role in all of our lives, and sometimes they kill us. But finding our buried “Brave” summons our strength from our Divine nature. Sometimes we can’t do it on our own, but have to discover the God, our power within. We are more than we think we are. Psalm 91 is the antidote to the poison of our unhealthy fears, angers, and doubts. God is reassuring us that his has sent his angels to keep us safe in all situations, even when they seem insurmountable.  “Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flies by day. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.” Psalm 91 resounds as a psalm of protection. (And who doesn’t need that?) People of the Old Testament invoked this prayer during hardship. (And who is free of that?) So as we journey through this school called Life, let us remember that our trials and hardships... read more

The Call to Serve

It’s not WHERE you live; it’s HOW you live. It’s not WHAT you have; it’s HOW you use it. We are all called to be of service, to serve one another.  Throughout the ages, wise sages from all walks of life remind us of this important message of service.  The Buddha relates: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things, which renew humanity. John F. Kennedy reminded us that it’s not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. Jesus preached whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave. (Matthew 20:26-28) Saint Mother Teresa warned that, “A life not lived for others is not a life.” How do we answer this call to serve one another?  The call to service begins as an everyday occurrence. It is woven into our daily activities. A smile to a passerby, a phone call, a remembrance, a reaching out, an inclusion of all in our circle of caring and love.  This awareness of serving others can ripple into wider circles…getting involved in charitable work, volunteering, and offering one’s services without being asked, without invitation or payment.  When we look around and see the many in need of our friends, families and communities, it may seem like we are swimming upstream, weighed down with a huge burden. It seems overwhelming. But Mother Teresa offers some advice:  “Never worry about numbers, Help one person at a time and start with the person nearest you.” Remember: “A little kindness makes... read more

Life is a Beautiful Thing!

“Life is a beautiful thing. Pack a bag, make a playlist. Watch the world. Don’t speak. Just listen.”- John Mayer Life is a beautiful thing, but sometimes we miss it. This call, to “don’t speak, just listen,” is consistently challenged in our daily lives. We can get caught up in the noise of daily life. This busyness of our world works to disrupt our spiritual connection. These distractions pull us outward rather than inward. The inside of things is what you need to see and respond to. Look and listen to each person, each creature, and each thing that crosses your path. Each has a message for us and it’s always the same. The silent message that the Lord is asking us to hear is “I am God’s good creation. Take good care of me.” If we listen with our hearts to the inside of each of God’s creature, we’ll always know how to respond to them, and will have the heart to respond with reverence, care, and graciousness. A rabbi once spoke, “We know that night has ended and day has begun when we look into the face of a stranger next to us and recognize he is our brother.” God, with gracious hospitality, has welcomed every single one of us inside a circle of love and left no one outside.  God is asking us to do the same, to make the habit of hospitality the foundation of our lives. How different every part of our lives could be if we refused to label anyone as “stranger”. When we respond with care to the situations in our lives,... read more

Don’t Trip Over the Small Stuff

“The art of being wise is knowing what to overlook.” – William James We are bombarded on a daily basis with small things that can bring great misery, small things causing worry and pain taking over our lives. Kind of like the ant taking over the molehill! A few weeks ago I wrote a blog about cheerfulness being an indicator of a wise person. A wise person can laugh off the “small stuff” that can bring us down into a pool of negativity. Richard Carlson, Ph.D. had summed it up in his book title: “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…and it’s all small stuff”. His premise is that nothing in this world is so important as to cause us to have constant anxiety and suffering. Besides learning distressing techniques, calming down, and acquiring the art of “chilling out”, the story of the dessert fork can be a great reminder. Remember the story about the woman terminally ill meeting with her pastor to plan her memorial service? After choosing particular songs and scripture readings, the dying lady had one more request. “I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand.” She further explained the meaning of this request going back to the many socials and dinners this woman had attended. She always remembered that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, “Keep your fork”, knowing that everyone’s favorite part was coming….velvety chocolate cake or deep dish apple pie! This lady’s last wish was to remind all who attended her funeral that ….the best is yet to come. So... read more

“Faithup”

My eyes, drawn to this license plate, read: “Faithup”. Immediately my mind started playing mind games:  buckle up, man up, eat up, stand up….. The driver of this car “got it”, and is sharing the important reminder with everyone on the roads. Yes, we need to “faithup” if we are going to make it in this life. Life is tough….buckle up.      When we are born we shoot through the birth canal only to be slapped into breathing and set on our way. What an entry! We come into this world remembering and longing for our heavenly home. St. Augustine said that, “our hearts are restless until they rest in thee, oh Lord”. God did not kick us out of our heavenly home without some divine support. God gives us the inner powers, the tools of the heart, that will enable us to carry on.  God shows us how we can be happy each day of our lives, even in the face of troubles and failure. God will not insulate us from adversity, challenge or pain. But if we are “faith-filled”, He will share happiness and peace even on the worst of days. The Lord will always see us through our trials and tests but promised to be with us until our journeys are ended. God gave us his promise and will not take it back. Life is not easy; it might feel like we are not making progress. But sure enough we are getting through with faith and that is something to celebrate. Let us take God’s word into our hearts with confident, and patient expectation. Let’s “faithup”... read more

The Lord is My Shepherd

“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.” Marcus Aurelius My carefree days of childhood were weighed with fear. Fear, not so much of death, but of disappointing, fear of getting into trouble, fear of getting hurt, fear of dogs, snakes, etc, fear of going to hell and fear of mostly everything and everyone. As Marcus Aurelius would say, “Never beginning to live!” But as I’ve matured, my fears are still with me but they have aged also. Now it’s fear of getting ill, fear of losing a loved one, fear of losing my mind, job, retirement. The same fear in this wacky world is difficult to shake. But amid all my fears (real and imaginary), I was raised in a family, school and community of faith. We learned (or had drilled into us from memorization that God is everywhere and always with us). We recited prayers, novenas and prayed the psalms all reminding us of God’s constant love and protection on this scary journey of earthly life. Psalm 23 is perfect for worrywarts like me:  “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want…. He restores my soul…He guides me in straight paths……Yes, though I walk through the valley of he shadow of death….I will fear no evil….For Thou art with me…Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” God is not insulating us from life’s troubles:Bad things do happen to good people. He is promising to give us what we need in order to face our trial and to prevail over our troubles.... read more

What Can We Learn From a Mermaid?

As I walked down the pier in San Diego I related to this hand painted wooden sign:  “Kinda Pissed At Not Being a Mermaid”.  Now I’ve always loved the water, its peace, its immensity and the many lessons that can be learned by the ocean. Guess I’m a “Mermaid Wanna Be”.  I never tied my legs together, but I do try to swim like one with my mermaid kick. (Similarly wrapping a towel around my head to try out being a nun…but that’s whole different story!) Why am I so enamored with these beings? What is the endless allure of these creatures, half air and half ocean? Can they teach us anything? I’ve read that mermaids are beings who show us how to love ourselves. This is because they love themselves without guilt, fear or hesitation. They revere desires, beauty and instinctuality. To me, the mermaids embody a beauty and grace that symbolizes the acceptance of flow and balance embracing the highs, the lows and all the spaces in between with beauty and grace.   I’ve often thought that maybe, just maybe our whole purpose of being on this earth is to learn to love ourselves as much as God does! Wow, that’s a pretty tall order, when we get caught up in the eddy of self-incrimination, judgment and rebuke, oftentimes missing the marks that society sets for us. Maybe, just maybe, the ocean is a sign to us of how much God loves us… how deeply, how vastly, how powerfully, how rhythmically and how constantly without judgement. Maybe just maybe, the mermaid is a beautiful creature here to... read more

Want to Start Over?

Do you ever think about going somewhere where nobody knows you and starting a new life? I found this question posed on the Internet. The question initiated a lot of conversation with almost 2,000 comments. I didn’t have time to read all the comments but the bulk being that most of the people answered yes! I was amazed at how many people wanted “out”, and even expressed it openly. Most were sharing intimate thoughts reaching out for comfort and confirmation that they were not alone. Most found themselves in the “muck of life” that we sometimes find ourselves in. Either of our own choosing or that of what fate has blown in. That’s life. Sometimes it’s difficult, even tragic. Being human brings challenging situations, but I don’t think the answer is to pick up and anonymously move out of town, even though the thought of starting over may be appealing. Wherever we find ourselves, no matter how much we think WE’VE screwed up or GOD has screwed up, there is always hope. We all have expectations for ourselves and others. We try to create our lives according to this vision, but our expectations can be dashed to the ground. But whatever the situation, it’s always an invitation. It’s an invitation to change, evolve, and move deeper into the human experience. Or we can remain in the status quo fighting, shutting down or running away through denial. The events in our lives are calls to action. We need to hold on and know deep in our hearts that God has a plan. (If we only knew the plan and purpose,... read more