Feast of the Archangels

In honor of St. Michael, St. Gabriel, and St. Raphael, here’s a prayer from today’s Morning Prayer of the Divine Office (Liturgy of the Hours):

O God,
who dispose in marvelous order ministries both angelic and human,
graciously grant that our life on earth may be defended by those who watch over us as they minister perpetually to you in heaven.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

Less is More

Recently my husband and I had a conversation about personal electronics which ended on the note, “first world problems.” Sometimes we forget that earthly treasures–although in and of themselves a neutral thing that are meant to be used for the glory of God–are not as essential as we might think.

For example, collecting–or just plain keeping–too much stuff in our homes can lead to chronic disorganization at best and hoarding at worst. Not to say that anyone can determine for others how much stuff is too much for their personal tastes, which varies wildly from the minimalist to the curator of multiple collections. But the general idea is that, if we’re not careful, as we’ve heard before, our stuff can end up owning us instead of us owning our stuff.

Likewise, earthly wealth can be a useful tool in the kingdom when wisely stewarded. But in some cases it may be that the best thing for one to do is to dispose of it. Today is the feast of the apostle St. Matthew and I like what St. Bede has to say about Matthew’s relationship to stuff in the form of earthly riches. It reminds me that although the outcome of my husband and mine’s conversation resulted in my receiving a Chromebook to replace a Macbook Air that had died, the new laptop is not going to change my life the way Christ has and is and will continue to (as long as I cooperate!).

“There is no reason for surprise that Matthew the tax collector abandoned earthly wealth as soon as the Lord commanded him. Nor should one be amazed that neglecting his wealth, he joined a band of men whose Leader had, on Matthew’s assessment, no riches at all. For Matthew understood that Christ, who was summoning him away from earthly possessions, had the everlasting treasures of heaven to give.”

St. Bede the Venerable, from September 21 entry in My Daily Catholic Bible

Something to think about as we manage our own earthly possessions.

The Weaver

 

My life is but a weaving, between my God and me,

I do not choose the colors, He worketh steadily,

Oftentimes He weaveth sorrow, and I in foolish pride,

Forget He sees the upper, and I the underside.

Not till the loom is silent, and the shuttles cease to fly,

Will God unroll the canvas and explain the reason why.

The dark threads are as needful in the skillful Weaver’s hand,

As the threads of gold and silver in the pattern He has planned.

B.M. Franklin (1882-1965)

Found in Corrie ten Boom’s Tramp for the Lord.

Thoughtful Thursday: I’m Not God

Today’s post is from a friend who has nailed it. For anyone dealing with the “stuff” of life that can clog up your heart or mind, this essay–along with good counseling/therapy and ideally a support group like Celebrate Recovery–can help you begin to clear out the muck and remember (or perhaps see for the first time) some timely truths.

http://beckismswithasideofbacon.blogspot.com/2016/06/im-not-god.html

 

 

Gettting Things Done with Chronic Illness: Chronic Pain edition

Today I thought I’d provide a personal update on how my Rule of Life formation is going in light of a flare-up of back pain. Thankfully, I’ve been free of chronic back pain for eight months since going on a new medication–which has provided the first remission since I was pregnant 18 years ago. However, 12 days ago it flared up and so I’ve been challenged to remember my coping skills. Thankfully it has not been 24/7 pain and so I’ve been able to follow the basics of my simple Rule much of the time but sometimes I’ve forgotten things due to the pain. Since the pain is not constant–which is different from my decades long struggle with chronic back pain–I’m not sure if I’m handling my pain meds the best way so I have finally promised myself to call the doctor’s office when they open today and schedule an appointment for some help with my medication strategy, etc. If things don’t improve, I’ll be needing a massage or two to get my pain levels down and although I enjoy them immensely they aren’t covered by insurance so in my present circumstances they are third line treatment, meds and lifestyle accommodations being the first and second.

Aside from not enjoying this return of something I had hoped might be gone forever, my son graduates from high school in one month and we’ll have grandparents here for five days and, as always, I need to step up my game regarding the level of my housekeeping. Aside from the normal challenges of ongoing decluttering, back pain doesn’t exactly make cleaning the most appealing task in the world. So, I’m having to dip into my old toolbox of tips for living with back pain and come up with some helpful reminders of things other than medication that will allow me to get housework done when my back is being cranky or even outright uncooperative.

My first and best tool is music therapy. I can either put my phone in my pocket and use earbuds or AirPlay the music off our TV (which has the added benefit of giving me access to my husband’s iTunes library; woo hoo!) as well as listen to favorite songs I don’t own via YouTube. This helps put some pep in my step and whether or not I’m capable of singing along while performing my household tasks it definitely makes them go by faster!

Another tool–one particularly helpful when the pain levels are higher and/or I’m just worn out from coping with the pain–is watching something on Netflix in spurts. Currently I’m gearing up for the final season of Person of Interest by going back through all the previous episodes. The way I use this tool is to watch for a set amount of time–e.g., 10 minutes–and then get up and work for a set amount of time–say another 10 minutes. This is really helpful to me as it gets my mind off the pain and I get more done than I usually would with just taking plain reading or music video breaks (although these are also good alternatives to TV). I’ve also found that if I’m rewatching something, as in my current POI situation, I can often just listen to the episode while working at mindless tasks–dishes, laundry, dusting, putting things back where they belong–and this strategy keeps me on my feet longer than I usually would be willing to try. I just have to be careful not to overdo how long I’m working when engaged in a particularly interesting storyline!

The last tool I’ll share today is aromatherapy. Using a wax melt burner continuously with whatever scent seems appropriate for my needs on any given day–or even during a certain segment of the day–has become a daily tool I use even when I don’t have back pain as it assists with improving my mood and energy, something I can always benefit from every day.

Additionally, from my work-in-progress Rule I use the Liturgy of the Hours Divine Office app’s audio option to pray when I’m feeling frazzled and need a boost and want to do something that will help me as well as fit in with my desire to live a more prayerful life. The daytime hours’ offices are often around 10 minutes and so this makes them very doable while I’m experiencing pain or brain fog or even just plain old fatigue.

I hope these ideas have helped. Perhaps you have some of your own that you’d like to share in the comments; I’d love to hear them and I’m sure they’d be welcome by this blog’s readers with chronic illness. Despite whatever physical and/or mental illness you’re struggling with today, I wish you a meaningful and productive day–whatever that may look like with your current limits. Enjoy!

Getting Things Done with Chronic Illness: Lupus edition

Today’s reblogged post is written by someone who knows the ropes when it comes to managing her lupus. Thanks to Sara Gorman’s innovative, comprehensive approach–detailed in her outstanding book, Despite Lupus: How to Live Well with a Chronic Illness (my all-time favorite book on living with chronic illness)–she has been able, over the years of learning to live with lupus, to write a book, blog (Despite Lupus), have two children, and start a home-based business related to her lifestyle (Sara Gorman’s Pillbags). Despite what you might think, she’s no superwoman but rather an extremely realistic person who has accepted her limits and learned how to manage her health so that it supports her life’s priorities, all one step at a time. I thought this post might appeal to my readers who are chronically ill and/or are writers who are chronically struggling with finding time to write.

http://despitelupus.blogspot.com/2016/04/finding-time-to-manage-lupus-just-put.html

More on a Rule of Life

Here is another helpful description of what a Rule is and isn’t:

A rule of life allows us to clarify our deepest values, our most important relationships, our most authentic hopes and dreams, our most meaningful work, our highest priorities. It allows us to live with intention and purpose in the present moment…creating a list of rules to follow is not the intention of a rule of life…

It is not something fixed and rigid, but something which can and should be adapted to our present circumstances and shaped to fit our current needs and desires…

Like any spiritual discipline, adopting a rule should help you to live more faithfully. It is a tool to aid you in living a rich and meaningful life. Designing a rule is not an end to itself, but rather a means to an end: namely, to live our lives for God with purpose and intention.

Br. David Vryhof, Living Intentionally: A Workbook for Creating a Personal Rule of Life, available as a free PDF download at:

http://ssje.org/5.pdf/cowleypdf/2011%20Summer%20Insert.pdf

 

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: