Waiting

Waiting is hard. Waiting is no fun. Waiting is something I’m not very good at doing. Right now I’m waiting to see when we need to let go of our sweet 14-year-old Basenji. Rascal had been in good health for his age up until a few weeks ago, when things began to go wrong. In a nutshell, he’s in kidney failure and to add insult to injury his cataracts are now causing blindness and arthritis and accidents have set it. We just got him started on pain and incontinence meds this week and so far they are helping this difficult situation we’re all in.

A thoughtful member of the Facebook group we’re in for other Basenjis that have been rescued and given new “furever” homes sent me the following helpful link to help us in making a timely decision. I hope no one reading this needs it but if you should I’m including it here below. I’m so thankful the good Lord created pets for our companionship but saying goodbye to them is excruciating.

https://vet.osu.edu/vmc/sites/default/files/import/assets/pdf/hospital/companionAnimals/HonoringtheBond/HowDoIKnowWhen.pdf?fbclid=IwAR1-0gzYYIhs6as5q841AZs30Fj3T7Ww5kdmSGfnusLSJxJHBguFTXPQYH8

 

 

An Anniversary Amble

Today is my parents’ 56th anniversary. What could potentially be a dreary day due to a combination of weather, health challenges, and COVID-19 is still an opportunity to celebrate over five and a half decades of matrimony. When I talked with Mom on the phone she shared with me that her plans–since they’re stuck at home instead of going out to celebrate like usual–included the following fun idea. For every year they’re married she thought they could think of a highlight of that year. It might be what they did on an anniversary or my sister and mine’s births or other highlights over the years. I thought that sounded like a wonderful plan and maybe Hubby and I will do the same with ours later this spring. Knowing us, it will be largely populated with movies and music that came out in any given year!

So Happy Anniversary, Dad & Mom! Many happy returns of the day, and may you be blessed with many more years in which to make fond memories for recalling together. I love you both dearly!

Walk Between Two Worlds

Yesterday afternoon I ran away from home to the local rural cemetery that’s about a mile away from my home. It is a great place to walk, think, read or write (at the picnic table under the pavilion), and generally just be. It may sound like an odd choice for some but I find comfort among the gravestones, knowing that whatever challenges I’m facing pale in comparison with the loss of a loved one, especially a child. It provides a good reminder of my own mortality–although not in a morbid way–and encourages me as I think of how many of the souls whose bodies were laid to rest here are part of the great cloud of witnesses and are praying for those of us trying to press on in our own trying times.

Yesterday’s time there was spent walking as it was too windy to read or write in a physical journal I had taken with me so I got to enjoy the beauty of the pastoral view that stretches out amidst the surrounding hills and valleys. Often I pray as I walk and I feel a unique sense of walking between two worlds–this one and the eternal one. In the 16 years I’ve spent time in this place I’ve often wondered what the people here struggled with during their lifetimes and the longer I’ve lived in the community the more I get to know some of those stories.

My favorite remembrance is from a gentleman who went to be with His Lord and Savior last year. He has two adult daughters around my age that are local friends and his explanation to me of what a crucifix represents to him in my early years here has remained in my mind all this time. As he shared with me, he said the crucifix shows us just how much the Lord Jesus loves us all because He stretched out His arms in death to embrace us so that we might not have to spend eternity apart from him (John 3:16). I loved this and sometimes when gazing upon Jesus on the cross I think of Roberto’s words and am strengthened.

Every day is a walk between two worlds but some days I forget that this one isn’t the more important one as I get caught up in anxiety and fritter away my time worrying about things that may not even happen–or, even if they certainly will, worrying about them will not change a thing except make me more miserable. Elisabeth Elliot has a perfect reminder for me at times when I’m struggling to live in the present moment and trust God in all things and get on with doing the next thing.

“Today is mine. Tomorrow is none of my business. If I peer anxiously into the fog of the future I will strain my spiritual eyes so that I will not see clearly what is required of me now!”

May we all see clearly what is required of us in our own walk between the two worlds today.

Beginning Again

This is probably the longest hiatus my blog has had…poor little neglected thing! However, with many–if not most–of my readers finding their lives more confined these days due to the COVID-19 virus perhaps some posts are in order. I thoroughly appreciate the sanity that social media is providing me as I’m high risk and so am stuck at home; not easy for an extrovert. I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before my guys–both introverts–are under a shelter-at-home order but as we live in a rural part of the Ozarks it’s slow coming. Anyhow, in keeping with my “anything is on topic” nature of my blog I thought I’d start sharing random aspects of my quarantined life in order to stay sane!

I’ll start back with this wisdom from Thomas Merton about embracing the day’s challenges:

“You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.”

Scribblings on the Sacred Heart

Oh Sacred Heart of Jesus
Please do not let me down
I want so much to grow and change
To turn my life around
If anyone can help at all
I know it must be You–
Waiting oh so patiently
For me to come to You.
Help me as a brother, please
Do not despise my pace
Of sloth and pride and
Everything else that got me in this place.
Be with me Gentle Jesus–
Take my heart and make it pure–
So I can do the next thing always
Just like that sacred heart of Yours.
 
Copyright 2019 Sabryna Noltie
 
The above verse just popped into my head this morning so I hurriedly scribbled it down. Then I read today’s daily mass readings for the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and they were so encouraging that I hope you’ll take the time to peruse them (http://usccb.org/bible/readings/062819.cfm).
 
Chocolate chip cookies will be served at dinner tonight for our celebration, plus I just began reading a young adult biography–Saint Margaret Mary and the Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus by Mary Fabyan Windeatt–that I had donated to our parish library when we finished homeschooling but before I had read it. It is devoted to telling the story of how she became the Apostle of the Sacred Heart and how the First Fridays devotion started (https://smile.amazon.com/St-Margaret-Mary-Promises-Sacred/dp/0895554151/ref=sr_1_fkmr2_1?keywords=saint+margaret+mary+fabyan+windeatt&qid=1561738470&s=gateway&sr=8-1-fkmr2).
 
Then, wonder of wonders, I made it to the First Friday mass this morning, something I haven’t felt well enough to do for a long time. Have a wonderful Friday and a special solemnity of the Sacred Heart!
 
 
 
 

Benedictine Blessings: Peace

As I learn more about Benedictine living in preparation for hopefully becoming a Benedictine oblate, I’ve decided to share snippets of my journey with you. Today’s inspiration is from the prologue of a long-beloved book, In This House of Brede, by Rumer Godden.

Why would a lay person be interested in becoming an oblate? I’m guessing there are as many answers as there are oblates but for me it is nicely summed up in the following opening quote from the book:

“The motto was ‘Pax,’ but the word was set in a circle of thorns. Pax: peace, but what a strange peace, made of unremitting toil and effort, seldom with a seen result; subject to constant interruptions, unexpected demands, short sleep at nights, little comfort, sometimes scant food: beset with disappointments and usually misunderstood; yet peace all the same, undeviating, filled with joy and gratitude and love. ‘It is My own peace I give unto you. Not, notice, the world’s peace.”

Along my journey to God I have found that “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,” truly “will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:7, NRSV). I pray that you also have found this truth.

 

Second Sunday in Advent: A Prayer for This Season

Yes, we’re now in the second week of Advent and life is just whizzing by–or at least it is for me and I suspect the same is true for you. If you could use some practical, realistic, non-guilt inducing inspiration for the season then this just might do the trick…

Prepare a way for you, Lord? I’ve got lots of work to do!

Help me prepare a way for you into my home, Lord:
help me find a place, a room, a corner, a chair
where you and I can meet each day to pray.
Perhaps I’ll put a candle there, with a Bible;
maybe a statue or a picture; a rosary or a prayer card:
something to mark the spot as the place I keep
to go each day to sit and rest, to take a deep breath,
to remember your presence and open my heart in prayer.

Help me prepare a way for you on my calendar,
an “appointment” each day;
even just ten minutes for you and me to get together,
to talk about the day, its ups and downs,
and get to know each other just a little better than yesterday.

Help me prepare a way for you to enter my thoughts, Lord.
When I’m trying to figure things out, nudge me
to ask for your guidance and counsel,
your Spirit and your wisdom,
when I’m making decisions and choices.
Help me prepare a way for you, Lord,
in my family and among my friends, at work and at school,
in my parish and in my neighborhood.
Help me prepare a way for you to come into the hearts
of those around me who are alone.

Help me prepare a way for you, Lord,
in the crazy rush of Christmas all around me.
Help me remember it’s your birthday
and that you should get some presents—from me.
Help me remember the poverty of your nativity:
make your way into my wallet and spend generously
on those whose needs are so much greater than my own.
Help me remember that of all the gifts I might receive,
none is greater than the love you have for me.

Help me prepare a way for you
to enter my life decisively, Lord.
In the quiet of my prayer, Lord,
help me clear the path you walk into my life, into my soul.

In the stillness of my prayer, Lord,
help me see you as you make your way towards me,
and show me that no matter the roadblocks I put up,
you’ll find a way to come, to enter,
and to fill me with your presence. Amen.

From Good Morning, Good God! by Fr. Austin Fleming, The Word Among Us Press, 2015, via

https://wau.org/resources/article/a_prayer_for_advent/

Advent is Here!

Disclaimer: This is a rerun from last year with a few brand new music recommendations included…

If you observe the liturgical year, then let me wish you a Happy New Year as you celebrate the first Sunday in Advent. If you use an advent wreath or candles and already have them out, good for you! Here are a couple of resources you might not know about to enrich your Advent experience as you prepare your heart to celebrate the nativity of the King of Kings.

Flock Notes’ Carpe Verbum text messages for Scripture reading, prayer, and thoughtful action.

You can read the blog but it’s more convenient for many of us to get their daily text for reading, praying, and listening to God as preparation for how you will live out the day. There’s even a nifty image and capsulized message that can be saved and used for your lock and/or home screen. The content was written with teens in mind but I haven’t found this to be limiting. In fact, some of the features designed for the younger mindset come in handy for the over 50 crowd as well–both my mom and I are using the daily screenshot reminder of that day’s key point, along with an Advent candle graphic, to keep our Advent focus going in a festive yet practical way.

http://www.carpeverbum.org/

Young Oceans’ Advent album for a soundtrack.

Good contemporary music for Advent is hard to find. So imagine my surprise when I went searching this morning on Amazon Music Unlimited this morning and found this gem! I am mesmerized by its perfectly pleasing mellow harmonies and lovely musical textures, not to mention the solid Advent lyrics. Plus, the multiple instrumental pieces are both soothing and uplifting with an anticipatory feel to them. I’m a musical fussbudget but this is something reminiscent of both Taizé and Jars of Clay but altogether its own sound. If you’re looking for something new for Advent, I highly recommend sampling this.

https://smile.amazon.com/Advent-Deluxe-Young-Oceans/dp/B00BKBJUYA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1512318686&sr=8-1&keywords=young+oceans+advent#customerReviews

Additionally, a brand new resource available for 2018 is Matt Maher’s ingenious album: The Advent of Christmas. As always with his music, there’s something for everyone in terms of style and content from the soothing sublime to scintillating songs old and new.

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B07H9FGWF7?pf_rd_p=c2945051-950f-485c-b4df-15aac5223b10&pf_rd_r=30RPVAQ4B2FTTGXVVMHG

Finally, there are also two new albums of piano music for Advent and Christmastide in 2018 for a nice ambient touch. Thomas Keesecker’s The Quiet Center: Piano Music for Advent and Christmas and The Quiet Center: Music for Christmas and Epiphany.

https://smile.amazon.com/Quiet-Center-Piano-Advent-Christmas/dp/B07DPV1XZM/ref=sr_1_2?s=dmusic&ie=UTF8&qid=1543764019&sr=1-2-mp3-albums-bar-strip-0&keywords=Thomas+Keesecker

https://smile.amazon.com/Quiet-Night-Piano-Christmas-Epiphany/dp/B07DGKSQDJ/ref=sr_1_1?s=dmusic&ie=UTF8&qid=1543763979&sr=1-1-mp3-albums-bar-strip-0&keywords=Thomas+Keesecker

What are some of your favorite Advent resources? Please feel free to share. Have a blessed season of preparation to celebrate Christ’s birth!

On Being Whole

For quite some time I have not posted and I wanted to let my readers know that–despite my silence–I am thankful for all of you. Between not doing well healthwise and writer’s block I just haven’t been able to muster up the mojo to get anything written. After talking with a wonderfully encouraging friend recently I decided to start back using baby steps: posting a quotation that I’ve run across and perhaps saying a few words about it. This way at least I’m getting over the hump of resuming posting on my always irregular basis…So, without any further ado, this Thanksgiving I just want to say how grateful I am for all my family and friends and readers and I hope to be more active again in the future. In the meantime, here are some words worth pondering…

“God did not tell us to follow Him because He needed our help, but because He knew that loving Him would make us whole.”

St. Irenaeus

Our Spiritual Implant

A guest post from Sandra Ralph…

Recently while watching the local evening news I saw a remarkable story. A baby (I think nine months old) born deaf had received a cochlear implant and was hearing the sounds of her mother’s voice for the first time while sitting on her lap. The wonder and sweet smile that kept appearing on her little face was precious, and the mother was overcome with emotion.

Earlier that day I was reading from a Sonja Corbitt book–Unleashed: How to Receive Everything the Holy Spirit Wants to Give You–and she was relating the importance of learning to “hear” our heavenly parent’s voice and the blessings that flow from that. Surely that is God’s intention, but due to our broken world (and often broken bodies) we, too, need help in becoming able to hear clearly. But when we can–and do–the joy our Heavenly Father desires for us is made manifest. Praise be to God!

Lord of all creation…help me to hear your voice. Heighten my sense of your presence in times of gladness and times of sorrow or suffering. Implant your spirit deep within and be the instrument that enables me to hear you clearly.

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