Lent ISN’T just giving up, IT’S adding on

12717628_951584168210880_1099224796633797260_nI loved what our Pastor had to say this past Sunday: Lent is a time to look at what God is calling you to change, not just giving something up but being willing to accept new positive habits, becoming a new person, being resurrected with Christ as someone profoundly changed.

I believe this so much.  We must come through Lent a different person.

Some resources to help you on your Lenten journey:

I am Your temple Lord

Mommy Mantra for February 9, 2016
feb 9 2016

1 KGS 8:22-23, 27-30

May your eyes watch night and day over this temple, the place where you have decreed you shall be honored; may you heed the prayer which I, your servant, offer in this place.

This is from the first reading for today, what did I hear?  I heard this: God watch over me, (this temple-my person), the place where you have decreed you shall be honoured, (my life/my calling being expressed through my actions), may you heed the prayer which I, your servant, offer in this place, (through my mental/verbal prayers).

OMG….God I am beginning to understand You

Whatever villages or towns or countryside he (Jesus) entered.....begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak;and as many as touched it were healed.

Mommy Mantra February 8, 2016

Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered, they laid the sick in the marketplaces
and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak; and as many as touched it were healed. MK 6:53-56

As I listened to the Gospel, hearing of the people pressing up to Jesus wanting to be heal, pushing each other to be the first to get to Jesus, fighting to be able to touch a tassel; I was brought back to my children as toddlers.

We have all experienced our children coming to us, running to cling to our legs when things just didn’t seem right.  Our children came/come to us when they are hurt seeking help from us.  Our children who look at us as those people looked to Jesus: a source of comfort, love, healing.

I sat up in my pew suddenly aware of an aspect of God I was beginning to understand better: God the loving Nurturer.  This realization makes me wonder how much more I will become aware of this Lent, this Year of Mercy.

Moms remember why and how God created us

Nancy MacGregor

This is one of the best posts I’ve read about woman… Please read it completely… it’s worth it…

WOMAN. . . . . . . . .

When God created woman he was working late on the 6th day…….

An angel came by and asked.” Why spend so much time on her?”

The lord answered. “Have you seen all the specifications I have to meet to shape her?”

She must function on all kinds of situations,
She must be able to embrace several kids at the same time,
Have a hug that can heal anything from a bruised knee to a broken heart,
She must do all this with only two hands,”
She cures herself when sick and can work 18 hours a day”

THE ANGEL was impressed” Just two hands…..impossible!

And this is the standard model?”

The Angel came closer and touched the woman”
“But you have made her so soft, Lord”.
“She is soft”, said the Lord,
“But I have made her strong. You can’t imagine what she can endure and overcome”

“Can she think?” The Angel asked…
The Lord answered. “Not only can she think, she can reason and negotiate”

The Angel touched her cheeks….
“Lord, it seems this creation is leaking! You have put too many burdens on her”
“She is not leaking…it is a tear” The Lord corrected the Angel…

“What’s it for?” Asked the Angel….. .
The Lord said. “Tears are her way of expressing her grief, her doubts, her love, her loneliness, her suffering and her pride.”…

This made a big impression on the Angel,
“Lord, you are a genius. You thought of everything.
A woman is indeed marvellous”

Lord said.”Indeed she is.
She has strength that amazes a man.
She can handle trouble and carry heavy burdens.
She holds happiness, love and opinions.
She smiles when she feels like screaming.
She sings when she feels like crying, cries when happy and laughs when afraid.
She fights for what she believes in.

Her love is unconditional.
Her heart is broken when a next-of-kin or a friend dies but she finds strength to get on with life”

The Angel asked: So she is a perfect being?
The lord replied: No. She has just one drawback
“She often forgets what she is worth”.

As the late Bishop Pavich would have said: “Yes, You’re sinner, get over it!”

12651005_1042003345822878_4753864522810936798_nSpiritual Theme: This Sunday we read in the Gospel Simon Peter say to Jesus: “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” He felt so unworthy of what Jesus was inviting him to do.

As mom’s, we can feel the same way. How often have you said: “Me? I’m just a mom.” God doesn’t see us as just a ____ anything. Everything we do, are called to do are important to God’s plan.

Sunday’s first reading was Isaiah IS 6:1-2A, 3-8; Isaiah was a prophet of the southern kingdom. His call to a prophetic life took place in the year that King Uzziah died (740 B.C.), during a critical period in the history of the nation. Uzziah was one of Judah’s greatest kings; there was great conflict internally and externally.  During this time of conflict the prophet felt as if he was not worthy to speak for God.  He was unclean of lips.  As I pointed out in the Spiritual Theme, Simon Peter proclaims: “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.”

Both Isaiah and Simon Peter look around themselves and sees nothing but the sinfulness of others, importantly that they see the sinfulness of themselves.  It makes them feel vulnerable,  naked, exposed.  Maybe that is what God wants. He wants us to become vulnerable so God can wipe out what is holding us back, how sin keeps us stagnant. God wants us aware of who we are, to become naked so God can reclothe us anew.  God exposes what we have done, what we need to change so there is nowhere to hide only to see the positive change.

At no time does God rage, scream, belittle Isaiah or Simon Peter.  He purges sin, removes, REMOVES, the guilt.  God changes these men internally.  The changes strengthens them as they do as they have always done.  These men didn’t become superman, eliminating sin, no they still sinned.  To God that didn’t matter.

So why does it matter to us, moms.  Why do see ourselves as so unworthy/unclean that we become invisible to God to our call, to our lives!  During this year of Mercy I pray we have Mercy for ourselves.

Boy when things go bad you get your head on a plate

Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 18-31, 47, 50, 51“He saves his king time after time, displays his faithful love for his anointed, for David and his heirs for ever. Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 18:31, 47, 50, 51″

Oh Lord save me from these kids, this day, my hubby, my job!  Every mom knows these feelings: when nothing is going right.  Just the day before we felt like David, we felt like all that AND a bag of crisps. Then there are days when our head is on a plate and nothing we have done has been right.

That is when we realize that God displays His love for us, our family, loved ones, co-workers, community.  Something will happen during our day that will help turn things around.  Or we will get one of those “divine inklings” that we would be better off if we just change our attitude/view/idea.

We just need to keep our eyes, (spiritual and physical), open for all the ways we can change the day.

Help turning that frown upside down by living love: 

1. Do something nice for someone else. We hear this all the time, but don’t often know why it works.  Bad days can make us wallow in the why me of it all.  If we force ourselves to break out of the pattern it changes us, physically. The Happy chemistry of our brains: endorphin, oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine; God has created to help us with pain, (endorphin), gives us warm loving/mommy feelings, (oxytocin), experience the joy we feel when we are out in the sun on a beautiful day, (serotonin), and dopamine which helps us take pleasure in our lives; these all are activated when we step out of selves to do something for someone else.

2. Do something that lifts your mood. Lifting our mood has the same effect as doing something for others. With this we have stepped out of the wallowing and are deliberately putting us into a better STATE of MIND.  We are creating a new being/us.  God doesn’t want us to wallow that puts us in the realm of the negative.

3. Discern what could be at the heart of it all. Sometimes we can stand in front of our wall calendar and stare at it like deers in the highlights, then fear grips us and freeze in place.  Or we walk into the kitchen and find our lovely loved ones have “cooked” but the idea of cleaning up eludes them, again we can freeze.  So what can you do? First start by thinking about all you have to do try and put it into perspective. Identify what it is that’s concerning you, and break it down to smaller, manageable goals/tasks.  Is God asking you to understand if you take on more than you can do? Do you have to do it all, after all you didn’t make a huge mess in the kitchen? This step speaks to how you feel you are being perceived by others.  Is God calling you to look at how well you respect yourself.  When you feel walked upon, you feel disrespect. Can you visualise how good you’ll feel when you’ve got through it? By reducing the problem, you contain it, and it needn’t ruin the rest of your day.  What this really means is God wants us to take control of what we can in our lives.

OK God, what is up with that dream?

When I was in formation to become a spiritual director one of the things we studied in depth  were dreams.  Dreams have always been important to the spiritual understanding of a person.  Joseph, of the technicolor coat, had dreams that prophesied  to Pharaoh about famine and plenty in Egypt.  We have Joseph, foster father of Jesus, having the dream that saved Mary and Jesus.

Well, this morning I had a doosie. The first thing in understanding how God might be talking to you through your dream is for you to examine the setting, so here goes:

[Note:  always try and write down the dream as soon a possible after you awaken.  Prayerfully ask God/Holy Spirit to be with you and give you insights about the dream.  Write all impressions you were given, look at them to see patterns of understanding, what is God calling you to learn/release/become]

My dream – Greg and I were taking a vacation with the “children”.  But it is only our eldest son and twin daughters, our second son was not there.  That was interesting.  Why only those children?  [A little backstory:  My husband and I have four children, each with their own unique challenges, we have twins girls, is that important to the dream, and two boys, our eldest had a great many challenges, and he is represented in the dream – interesting.  Now all our children have/are successfully overcoming these challenges; is that important to the dream?]

We are driving to the “mountains”.  [Alright, one step in understanding your dreams is to try and remember every detail about the environment: what is the environment, what does it feel like, smell like, look like.  Does it have an importance to you, significance?] It feels like the mountains, there are families with children of all ages running around having a good time.  The air is sweet, it feels very relaxing.  We are driving to our cabin.  Greg turns to me and says: Now, don’t be afraid, just answer their questions, just tell the truth.”   (My thoughts in the dream) Truth? Why wouldn’t I say the truth.  (Then the thought pop in my head: My truth!) We arrive at our cabin.  Inside is a young woman, and a older woman.  The young woman greets me.  The older is in the kitchen area, “cooking”. [Cooking, nurturing?  Nurturing who, me, others?] Greg and our three children act as if they have interacted with both these women before.  Than the dream switches to our “house”.  But it’s not a house I have ever lived in.  I am in our eldest son’s “room” with our youngest twin looking at a huge dictionary.  Our eldest son comes in and says: “Stop looking at my pictures!” [What pictures?] Then the scene jumps back to the “cabin”.  I am nervously sitting on a stool in the kitchen/dining room area, twirling on the stool looking at my children and my husband as I turn.  [Is that important?]  The older woman starts to ask me questions about my childhood: What did my father do, my mother. Was I ever afraid.  What did I do with this fear?  The questions make me uncomfortable, why is she digging into my life like.  What right does she have?  Who does she think she is?  The scene switches again.  Now, I am wearing a huge dress, it doesn’t feel like mine, over it is a huge tee-shirt. Both are wet.  I have been “swimming’.  I feel embarrassed as I go from place to place between trees and open area looking for somewhere to “dry off.”  I feel as if everyone is looking at me, laughing.  In reality no-one is.

As soon as I feel this I am back on the stool with the older woman questioning me on my relationship with my father. I had a good relationship, it was the relationship my mom that was needy, clingy; am I being asked to look at my parenting style, or relationship style, slightly confused, what does she want?

Then she says to be to aware and live my truth.  Which truth, what truth.  That is when I wake up.

Taking a pledge to live conscientiously

Sunday’s readings speak of living the law. The Jewish people follow the Law of Moses, 613 laws that governed all their lives. Jesus comes along and turns that on its head. He has come to fulfill the law, to broaden the scope of the law, filtering it to it’s true essence – that it is about the deep relationship we WANT with God, and God’s desire for a relationship with us.  For Jesus, the law was not to be so rigid that IT became the focus.

If we believe that God is a God of love than God wants us to do our best, be our best.

Taking a pledge to live conscientiously is about not just doing something difficult, something we can see as impossible, burdensome.  It is about trying to live our calling from God.

It may be difficult.  We may falter, but THAT IS NOT THE POINT!

The point is that God understands and he is there to pick us up and help to dust us off, giving us a loving hug and saying: “You can do this, I’ve got you! Just keep going, keep praying, keep asking for support, keeping trying until it’s done!”

Divine Wisdom help us to remember the words of Isaiah 41:10: “… fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”