Monthly Archives: May 2015

Love is What???????

Sometimes the most moving and profound changes are set in motion with a very small, very familiar piece of life. Sometimes, if one is not attuned to listening and watching and being a part of the whole of life one could miss it.

I have been going to the Adoration Chapel at Blessed Trinity for quite a long time now, getting close to a year. Some weeks it’s only once, others it is almost every day. I sit in the corner of one of rows, to be out-of-the-way of others as they come in, and, too, to be as undisturbed as I can be so as to listen to the “still, small voice of God”. Sometimes it is so difficult for me to turn off the chattering in my mind all I can do is pray with my books of prayers written by others. Sometimes I have to put in ear plugs so the small noises are shut out of my conscienceness. Sometimes, as a gift from the Mighty One, I can slip into His presence and listen at His knee. And sometimes the Holy Spirit wafts through my own spirit and brings his gift of understanding.

Yesterday was a Holy Spirit day. The following is what I learned from the Breath of God moving through my spirit.

1 Corinthians, chapter 13, verses 4 to 8 are some of the most often quoted and prayed of the letters of St. Paul. His writings on love are used at numerous weddings world-wide. They are some of the most beautiful words Paul set down to us fellow Christians as well as to humans every where on this Big Blue Marble.

Verse 4: Love is patient – Oh Lord, how I struggle with this! Being patient, not getting stressed because the line is too long. Not trying to out think God on what should be happening right this moment in my life. Patient in the face of adversity. Patient in the face of everyday living where people seem to push everyone else out of their way. Patience in this time of life, whatever that time is, with God’s plans being the perfect plan and mine being second to his. Patience to the point of immobility when that is the perfect response. Patience is now a verb in my mind.

Love is kind – Not just nicey nice, truly kind. To constantly remind oneself that every living creature on this Earth is created by God. Not by me, to direct and to push, and to order about. Even when that other creature in front of me does not seem to see any other person in this world at all. Kind to the expenditure of all of my personal effort. Kind to point of my being second. Second to what God is doing, right here, right now. The first response of mine is to be kind.

Love is not jealous, or envious, or snobbish, nor does it put on airs. – Oh my Lord! Jealous? Who me? Oh yea, me. It is a subtle little demon, sneaking into my thoughts when I least expect it. ‘Why do they have that and not me. I could use it so much better than they. I could be so much more expansive and helping if I only had more money.’ Holy Spirit shows that those with the least in this world are most often the least jealous and the most generous. Where I am, what I am doing, where I am living, what my circumstances are, all of these tangible things are dust that can be blown away in an instant. To be content, to be truly happy in this world, is to see each day all the gifts given from a generous God.

Verse 5 – Love is not rude. – Rude. Me? When patience eludes me, when my self rears up to cry ‘what about me’, oh yea Rude. We are all quick to point out others, especially strangers, whom we deem to be rude. When we are stuck in traffic are we nice and kind?? Maybe not. If love is the motivating factor in our whole being, would love mutter ‘that guy up there must be an idiot’? Would love honk? Would love slide in front of the struggling old lady in the grocery line? (Even if you were oh so late?) Would love tsk and glare at the young mother so harassed and weary with the screaming child in the grocery store? Love reaches out with whatever it has right then.

Love is not irritable. – Oh boy! I get irritable and oh so self-righteous over such very small things. Do I truly think I can live everyone’s life better that they are? Am I a bit (or more) ill-mannered at situations and people who I deem less than me? Oh Lord, calm me! Smooth down my self-centeredness. Remove from me this penchant for looking down my nose at what I have decided is just not right. May I always, forever, talk to you first!!!!!

Love is not angry. – Anger. Terrible, scary, out of control, destructive anger. It is the exact opposite of love. Love builds, anger destroys. Anger sits inside waiting for opportunity to leak out. To wash everything with a tinge of red. Count to ten before speaking the therapists say. Take a walk. Breathe. In those moments pray! The antidote for anger is God’s great love. It is a natural feeling, but it is only a feeling. Feelings just are. Anger is notice that something right here, right now, needs to be addressed. If I can’t see it through the red curtain, Lord God, help me step out of the situation for you to place your hand on my shoulder and remove the curtain.

Love does not keep a record of wrongs. – Every time I think I have let something go, there is that scenario popping back up again. I look at the wound, probing it to see if it still hurts. I open up the locked cabinet to see if the result might have changed. Did those that hurt me ever figure it out? Oh Lord, help me to let it go. Help me to leave all of those hurts to your healing care. Help me to have selective memory, may those wrongs and hurts just fade like morning mist in the light of our love.

Verse 6. Love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth. – Ah, can this be blazoned across the TV screen, the pads, the phones, the every type of communication device in the modern world??? Happy with the truth. God’s truth. True truth. We are all stuck somewhere between Pontius Pilate’s “what is truth” and “I am the Way the Truth and the Life”. We can all point out others untruths, but do any of us see our own? A little “white” lie is OK, right? It doesn’t really hurt anything, right? Only the soul. Only leaving a smudge on it where a bigger lie can push in. Truth is tough sometimes. Really hard. Truth about abortion is it kills baby humans. Truth is freedom isn’t free. Truth about lies is they feed on each other. The only remedy is truth.

Verse 7. Love never gives up, its faith, hope and patience never fail. There is no limit to its forbearance, to its trust, its hope, its power to endure. – Never giving up. What a gift! It’s so easy to give up. To quit. To just sit down. Lord, sometimes I am so very, very weary of not giving up. My tiny little self has limits. It has so very little power. St. Paul, how can this be in me? “In my weakness is God’s strength” “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. Ever the teacher, Paul reminds me that all things are possible with God.

Verse 8. – Love never fails, love is eternal. God is love. That is where all love comes from. Heaven is chocked full of love. It is love we all are seeking. Love is the motivator for every one of us. As Paul says in verse 13, “Faith, hope and love remain; but the greatest of these is love.” In seeking love, Lord, let me always start with you, the Source, Summit and Center.

In your precious name, Lord Jesus, Amen

Thanks be to God!!!!!

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Let Freedom Ring!!!!!

On this Memorial Day my thoughts are turning to my country, to those who gave so very, very much so that I can sit here at my ancient computer and tap out these words. There really are no words in any human language to express my thanks. Maybe only tears can. For those who will never see their babies, for those who will never watch their daughters come down the walk to their very first prom looking like Cinderella, for those who will not see their sons stand tall as they take the same oath they did. Maybe only my soul’s groanings can express that.

One thing I can do is speak up with the opportunity they gave me with their ultimate sacrifice. I owe it to them all to speak of the truth of things I see. I owe it to my grandchildren, their children and their children’s children to point out what I see that is working its way in our country with the sole purpose of destroying what its stands for.

Freedom. To chose what releases your creativity to create a spot of light in the world. To worship God as moves your soul to get closer to the creator. To spread good in a world that is dying for it. To speak universal truths to a confused and conflicted world.

In honor of that hard-won freedom, this is what I see from my French desk looking out into this hurting world:

If one wants to be treated equal, one must treat others as equal. If you destroy, if you scream at others, if you berate and threaten others, if you demand more than others, if you incite those around you to violence and destruction, if you make outrageous and inflated statements that have not one iota of truth at any level contained in them then you are a very huge part of the problem. To threaten to attack an old woman, to kill just because they are not like you, to defile if it is not to your liking, then you are doing the exact same thing you purport to be against.

No where in the world is that condoned, accepted or allowed. Bad, destructive, alienating behavior is unacceptable. Period.

I learned in therapy if you want someone to stop screaming at you speak slow and low. It makes them stop making noise to find out what you are saying. It has a tendency to diffuse a situation, at least to where the parties can do some communicating. it is time for all the little camps of shouting people to stop shouting and start to speak, preferably slow and low.

If you want me to listen to your story, do not come at me with a bat or a gun. All I will see is the weapon. I will not hear a word out of your mouth.

It is a terribly sad thing that a whole section of our great country has come to where they are led away, down the path of anger and destruction, by those who are using them as stairs to power. If someone who purports to be “on your side” pays people to stir up your emotions to the point of burning down your own neighborhood, are you really sure that one in on your side? Or is that person on their own side; seeing visions of complete power being placed in their hands by the total destruction of your life? Is this the same person who has endorsed and encouraged you to become depended on another entity instead of controlling and following your personal path? Is this the one who teaches young men to never grow up and be a responsible adult and father? Is this the one who keeps the women dependent on a government agency–a government agency that has the power to cut off the money and extras on a whim?

Our military personnel, since 1776 mind you, have fought for and sacrificed for, and given their lives so those of us here, right now today, can pick our own lives direction. Your freedom was hard-won and never was free. The Constitution states “the pursuit of happiness”, not the handing out of happiness. For if any one or agency hands it to you, that one or agency has the power to take it back. It is what our independence from Brittain was fought so long and hard for; that all who live in these United States are entitled to keep what they earn (note that word, it means to work yourself), not to have a government take it away from you and “redistribute” it.

To my own ancestors, from Gen. Greens Continental army, to Chateau-Thierry, to Iwo Jima, to Korea, to Saigon, to Afghanistan, to Baghdad–everyone of them knew the true value of freedom. I close my eyes and see them all, ringing me, nodding their heads and smiling slightly.

Never, ever forget the price. Never, ever take it for granted. And absolutely always, never, ever let it slip away for lack of effort on our part.

Semper Fi Dad!!

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Being Me is Perfect

I have been listening to the Feminist rhetoric for, well, nigh onto forty years now. There is some truth in it.  I have to acknowledge that.  But, for the most part, the idea of equality has been highjacked by a completely different set of ideals.  And, lets face it girls, we are not really “equal” are we?

If being equal means I am required to relinquish being a woman, if it means to lose the part of me that makes me unique and wonderful and exciting and passionate and moving to the sound of my own soul’s music—then I want no part of it. I do not have to move toward not being feminine. I do not have to jettison my life views to be of value. I do not need to be more of a unisex individual to have a voice.

If we look back at the long road to being a participating citizen of the world our sisters in this struggle took we can see that they did not give up being feminine. Their struggle was to open the minds of the men who were happily running the world their way to the simple fact that women had brains. The men were appalled.  A woman’s place was not to think but to follow what they dictated her path in life was to be.

Yes, ladies, thank God some of those men finally listened. But, wait, are we really all that much better?? Ask the woman living below poverty level, with a salary less than the man sitting next to her, struggling to feed her children, if she thinks she has finally made it.  Ask the woman sitting in the abortion clinic who is encouraged, even almost pushed, into killing her child so she can believe the lie that the child is an inconvenience to her at this stage of life.  Ask her a few years later, when the business of abortion has no more use for her and she is abandoned into her sorrow and regret.  Ask the woman who has worked all of her adult life thinking that the only way to show the world she had value was to get a job and give up her dreams.  Ask the grandmother who is sitting by the window in her room at the assisted living facility, set aside by her children and grandchildren, treated as an annoyance, a bother.

Some of those things listed above could conceivable apply to men also. And to be quite honest, in this new idea of no gender, they could be left in the dust just as quickly.  Our whole society here in this country is laboring under the idea that if one does not think as the loudest voice, there is something wrong with that one.  Youth is best, stars spend their considerable fortunes staving off the fact that the human body just gets old. Voices of politicians are constantly haranguing us to change our perception to theirs, the premise being theirs is the only one right.

Feminists have hitched themselves to the bandwagon that seems to get them, personally it seems much more often that not, what they want.  We have a woman candidate this coming election who has no sense of right or wrong, but is basing her whole thrust on the fact that women will vote for her because she is a woman. Each of those throwing their hat into the political ring have their own firm ideas—along with their unshakable delusions about their ability to cater to their voting base.

I, just me now, do not want anyone telling me how to think, act, live or anything else. I am a human being with decent intelligence. I can see through their games. I can see the agenda they try to hide from me. I am the woman my sisters early last century wanted to secure the right to be. I am myself.

I am not a non-gender person. I am a woman. I have a woman’s feelings. I have a woman’s view of the world. I see things that some others might just pass over.  I am committed and connected to my fellow human beings, especially my sisters in this world. I like female doctors, dentists and  therapists because I can start at the problem, not explaining myself to someone who is alien to the essence of womanhood that males in those positions in my life have been known to exhibit. (Not all of them are that way, my cousin is a great therapist who happens to be a man. Kudos to him!)

My point is this: I will not stop being me to fit into the ideal others wish to impose upon me. I have a brain, I use it daily. I have a spirit that feels and loves and gives only as a woman can. I am as God made me, with all my flaws and cracks and successes and failures. My strength to get up when knocked down comes from that God.  In honor of those who went before me, those who endured and are still enduring, a world and a society which perceives them as Less-Than, I will not ever give up.

Without women where would men be?

Without women there would be no softness in this world of hardness.

Women and men compliment each other. One is not over, better, bigger or best.

Hand in hand is the way to move forward.

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Is This a Hand Basket We are Riding In?

I have been trapped in Facebook lately. Yes, trapped in the scrolling; almost addicted to the shocking, laughable, scary, rotten behavior of my fellow human beings. It has set me to contemplating what has happened to not only me, but my country and the world in general. It is akin to gawking at the accident on the side of the road, the one with the fire truck, the ambulance and at least four police cars all with the lights flashing. It is the same as watching the scariest horror movie, knowing you want to not look but being so stuck you can’t move.

I sit here in my Little Portion, safe (well, for now anyway), looking at the pageant of the rest of the world I see seemingly literally going to Hell in a handbasket. Not only is it going south, there seems to be a party in that basket. There is no thought to the consequences of any of what is happening. No even nod at what the future might hold.

Sometimes I feel so very, very small and helpless. So very past the time in life where I can truly make a difference in anything outside my very tiny portion of this great big world. Except this: I can pass on my learnings, my gleanings from living here for over half a century. So, here ya go.

Things I have learned as I wandered, rolled, danced, crawled, skipped, drove, flew and walked through this life.

You know most people by their behavior, for most only just pass through your life. Only a few we know well, usually they are family or the jewel of true friends. Sometimes we are granted the precious gift of the friendship of one other human being that we know instinctively will stand with us no matter what. Take that lesson and pass it on to someone who needs you to be there no matter what.

Our family just is. They are not there just for you, they are there for the whole world. Each of us has a task, each of us has a commission to make this world just one ounce better. So let that family member who drives you totally nuts go do their ounce. Your job is to love them, not to direct them.

We get examples, living, breathing role models, in all sorts of different guises. Sometimes they are other human beings, most times they are other living creatures. When mankind becomes lost in itself, when it begins to forget how all creation is created by the good God; he sets one of his creatures in our lives, right in the center of it, to lead us back to that truth. God does not categorize anything he made as less-than any other thing. All is good. Thus we are granted a dog who shows us how to love, a cat who shows us gratitude, a guinea pig who shows us how to just be content with what we are. He gives us YouTube videos of lions laying down with the lambs to give us glimpses of what is to come.

Faith is not exclusive to one religion. Faith is a gift from God. Given freely, given to uplift, to sooth, to shelter and to love. We get lost in the rightness of our own way of getting to God. We conveniently forget that he said “I have other flocks, not of this flock”. Remember, God is not to be contained. God is not constrained by time, or matter, or the small human mind. The best way to tell good people is by the things they do, not by the sign on the door of the building they go into on Sabbath.

Love is to be given away. Picture, if you will, how a beloved dog greets their humans (or if you are a cat person how your kitty finds such delight in your presence); the joy in you is unbridled, the wiggling, the waving tail are all unrestrained. My Pepper even has to vocalize his joy at seeing me, even if it was only twenty minutes I was gone. Yuri brings me a toy, showing off his protective proress and super skills, his fluffy tail like a banner. Joy, free, gloriously happy joy! Love that way. For the giving of love, every ounce of it you have in your heart, is how your heart is filled to overflowing with love from God who is Love.

The hardest lesson I learned in all my ups and downs is this too shall pass. Nothing here, in this life or in this world is forever. Each thing, each hurt, each joy, each difficulty, each happiness has an end date This is not in anyway shape or form permanent. Our true home, our permanent and forever home is Heaven. That is where all will be revealed, celebrated, forgiven and we will live in true peace and love forever.

That last one is so very hard to get a grip on. This world is all we know. This life is so very familiar to us. We grasp it, try to contain it, do our best to lock it into what we like about it and jettison what we don’t like. Gotta read the instruction book. This too shall pass away. This too is transient. It is all there, between the pages of the Bible. Given to each and every one of us mere humans as a road map to get us to the destination our soul longs for.

Today is a beautiful day here in Central Florida. What my Mom used to call a Chamber of Commerce day. Sunshine, small cool breeze, not too hot, fairly low humidity—the perfect Florida day. A time to sit on the glider on the front porch and just be. The other thing I learned in my long years of living is to catch such days; to wallow in the beauty, the warmth of the sun on my body, to do my best to stimulate my inner self to record pictures and sounds and feelings so I will always have them. I have a whole mind-trunk full of these memories, with so many more to go into it.

So, really and truly the only advice I can give is to get out there and live. Live the life you have been given. Love the people who walk with you or through your life right when they are there. Then, when you finish your days you can say to God “I did the very best I could, Lord. I loved with the love you blessed me with”. Then he will open his arms and hug you to Heaven.

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The Traveling Trunk

My heritage, my life story written in objects, has finally found me. There must have been some thing in the group that voted to travel, to see things unseen, before settling in to the mundane and quiet life waiting for it here in Central Florida. For these things of mine, this group of “stuff” that I sit here today looking at, tweaking, touching and trying over there, or maybe over here; these things have been farther and to more places in this country than I have.

First of all, they went ahead of me to Ohio. Blazing a trail so to speak to a new and unknown place and life that just might be a good settling place. Truly unknown. The things were there three months before I arrived. Just waiting patiently in their little tucked away unit. It took some time for me to find the little Dog Cottage for DaBoys, me and those things to live in. The day cousins unloaded the truck to put the items into the cottage was a great and homecoming sort of day. Pepper was a happy, happy puppy!

Then, Winter came. The cold was brutally difficult for us three to adjust to, so very, very different from anything Pepper, Yuri and I had ever been exposed to. Not just cold, but dark. As in no sun for days, weeks and months (well, it seemed like that to us, creatures of the Sunbelt as we are). I realized that for me to go out when the snow was falling was a huge folly. Not only was it incredibly slippery, it was not a skill I had. I could see I had absolutely no business being out on the roads. I kept to the house. We did go out occasionally for walks, but swift and bundled up like Eskimos!! DaBoys did NOT like the sweaters and coats I bought for them. Much too confining for free-spirited dogs from SoCal.

The Heritage Pieces were quite happy, they did not have a problem with the cold—they were inside; especially the trunks, one of which has been traveling quite a lot for a trunk. The Four Frogs Fountain had a moment of contention when the water froze one morning. Once it was drained of any liquid it recovered quite gallantly.

When the decision to move closer to the equator was finally arrived at, the daunting task of packing up my two bedroom cottage, complete with a garage and laundry room became my driving force for just about one solid month. Felt like much longer, but it was only about thirty days. It was a task I did myself. The last time I packed it all up to move from SoCal I had a network of the best friends one could ever imagine who would just show up on any given day and start wrapping things up and putting them in boxes. My best friend Pat even made sure on the day that movers came to haul it to the truck that I had a person in my corner as I watched my life I knew so well-being tucked into a moving van. I suspect she even gave them a hefty tip to make sure her friend was treated the best.

Not this time, this time it was mine to do. It was hard, it was watered with tears, it was a lot of whining and more than once or twice scream-crying at God as to why? Always and forever Why? The last day I was driven to the floor on my face with the questions that seemingly were not prompting a loving God to give a nice neat answer.

The answers came later. Long after I packed up the last little bits and bobs into Jaws, the big, white van, and pulled onto I75 heading across the Mason/Dixon line. It was a very simple answer, one we have a tendency to discount as too simple. The answer is: there is nothing we can do, nothing we can obtain, or work for, or acquire that can save us. The saving, the rescuing, the infinite care is God’s and his alone.

So as my earthly possessions sat in a storage unit in Ohio while me and DaBoys sat in a rented mobile home in Florida the truth slowly revealed itself to me. That day I ended up face down on the floor with sobs and wails coming from my very soul was the day that God reached down to hold me. He whispered into my soul’s ears that “this too shall pass”. He picked me up, wiped my tears, set me on my feet and lead me to today.

He is a God of how ever many chances it takes for us to see him as the God of the Universe. I heard a song recently that had words that resonated with me. “I gave the sun and the stars their shine, I will always be with you.” Its a bit paraphrased, but the essence is there. This God who made the stars and “called them by name”, as the psalm says; this incredible God who created this world so we could have bright Spring mornings, soft Summer evenings, crisp Fall days and silent snow fall in Winter—he has not nor will he ever abandon us.

Now my Traveling Trunk, the one that came across these United States on the its first leg of adventure, sits in a place or honor in my Little Portion here in Spanish Oaks in Central Florida. All of my “things”, the heritage pieces, are tucked up with it. Each of them with its own place, each of them its own distinctive and unique self. This trunk, this object that one can touch what people from one hundred seventy years plus ago who packed up their whole lives into just like I did, this trunk of theirs has a bit of them clinging to it. Just like it has a bit of me and Joyce and Jan and my Mom and my Gramma and other relatives and ancestors. When it comes time to pass it on, when my time here is done, the Trunk will tell me who it needs to travel with.

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