Rest in God: Easter Edition

Right now I have multiple friends and family–mine included–who are going through challenging circumstances, so I’m sharing this profound quote on this blessed Easter Sunday as part of my Easter prayers and wishes for you. True rest is sometimes elusive for me, even on days of rest–and celebration!–such as Easter Sunday. In that vein, I find comforting the following words from St. Edith Stein. I’m embracing her sentiments in hope that today and throughout the following ones I will be experiencing this Easter week as “a new life.” Maybe you will want to do the same…

“God is there in these moments of rest and can give us in a single instant exactly what we need. Then the rest of the day can take its course, under the same effort and strain, perhaps, but in peace. And when night comes, and you look back over the day and see how fragmentary everything has been, and how much you planned that has gone undone, and all the reasons you have to be embarrassed and ashamed: just take everything exactly as it is, put it in God’s hands and leave it with him. Then you will be able to rest in him–really rest–and start the next day as a new life.”

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Faithful Friendship

Good friends; good times. Do we take them for granted or do we recognize the precious gift from God that they are? Yesterday I spent time with dear friends our family has known for almost 25 years and was immeasurably blessed! We currently live an hour apart and between our families’ schedules, health, and life in general I had not been able to be with them in their home for two years. They had moved last year and it was a treat to see their new home and how perfect it is for them! As usual, I was bathed in their solicitude for my well-being while there for their 21 year old son’s birthday party and was awed, as always, at their incredible gift for hospitality. I felt just at home in their new digs as I always have in their previous homes and the only good thing about having to leave was looking forward to our next time together! If you have received the gift of awesomely good friends please don’t take them for granted. I hope I don’t. Time goes by more quickly now that we’re middle-aged and yet some of our memories of good times together seem like just yesterday. I pray there will be many more memories to be made together, precious and sweet as all the others. They truly exemplify that “a friend loves at all times” (Prov 17:17). May I strive to be a better friend to them and with all the other dear friends I’ve been given.

Take One Day

“I just take one day. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not come. We have only today to love Jesus.”

St. Teresa of Calcutta

This dovetails nicely with today’s message from Dynamic Catholic’s “Best Lent Ever”–a fabulous free online resource–which stresses the importance of living each day in the present moment. You can watch the complete short video or read the transcript here:

https://dynamiccatholic.com/bestlentever/lent-reflections-2018/a-chance-to-turn-it-all-around

Each day we have is a gift. During Lent we intentionally focus on deepening our relationship with Christ so that we can celebrate Easter all the more fully when it comes. If you have difficulty–as I often do–with living one day at a time, one moment at a time, you can change. You can, as Matthew Kelly says, embrace the truth that, “God is constantly calling us…and saying, ‘Focus on the moment. Focus on the moment. Be completely present in the moment.’ ”

It’s never too late to “turn it all around.” This Lent, may you go deeper in your relationship with God the Father and His son Jesus Christ through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Have a holy Lent!

 

 

 

Lent is Here!

Technically it’s been here since Ash Wednesday, but, in typical procrastinating fashion, I’m just now taking the time to share something that my readers who observe Lent might find helpful. It’s the best one-stop shopping (so to speak) for all things Lent, from the wonderful Karen Edmisten. Grab your favorite beverage, settle into a comfy chair, and prepare to be informed, encouraged, and generally motivated to embrace this season in all its unique splendor. Yes, splendor! Lent is my favorite liturgical season, although I’ll admit that last year I sucked at it due to a protracted bout with depression that left me just limping along with the basic observances but without my usual enthusiasm for them. Anyway, I pray you and yours have, as Karen’s youngest daughter once said, “a meaningful Lent.” Blessings to you!

http://karenedmisten.blogspot.com/2018/02/its-back-meaningful-lent.html

 

Advent is Here!

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

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

 

The Power of Vulnerability

Living and writing from our place of suffering is the way we become more authentically ourselves…and we never know what pleasant surprises we may find along the way. Here’s a great post to that end!

Travis and the Brain

I never been the type of person that is willing to open up to people, and more so I would never open up to a random person I did not know. As far back as I can remember I have been an introvert, and for me to open up to you it takes me a long time to warm up.

Since my traumatic brain injury and dealing with all these mental health illnesses this part of me has been on extreme. I have isolated myself pretty well. I have closed myself off. We don’t have time to go into the details of why I am this way to begin with, and why I believe this has grown into a bigger issue. Rather I want to share a story of the power of stepping out of my comfort zone. The power of being vulnerable. The power of community.

Recently my wife…

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New Every Morning

Yesterday was a stinker. Pain wracked my body and kept me from being able to enjoy the day, much less be very productive. Last night wasn’t much better and I found myself getting up in the night to take my strongest pain pill to help me try and get some sleep since the pain was doing such a great job at creating insomnia. I don’t like writing about the times when things aren’t going well because I don’t know how it could possibly be encouraging–not to mention I don’t have the mental energy for blogging when I’m in a lot of pain.

Still, I got up at my regular time this morning and ended up poking my head out the front door to see if the FedEx delivery I was expecting yesterday had arrived last night and the guys just missed it during the football game. Instead of a dreary cold morning I was met with a glorious blaze of colors and crispness in the air that boosted my spirits enormously. My day may have not started off the greatest but here was a very clear and present reminder that God was in it and His mercies are new every morning. So this morning I’m grateful not only for my new, more powerful medication to help me cope with the pain but also for the simple reminders that each day is unique, and God’s grace is uniquely suited to each day’s needs. I may not feel great and have low expectations of what can be accomplished today but as my friend James says, “God is always good, and we are in His hands”–and for right now that is enough.  As Elisabeth Elliot would instruct me, I’ll just work on “doing the next thing” and do my best to observe “the sacrament of the present moment” (Jean-Pierre de Caussade) that gives meaning to all I do–or don’t do–today.

I hope your day is not stinky and that you are having a wonderful first day of December! But if you’re not, remember, you’re not alone. Many of us are suffering in one way or another and we will get through this day, one thing at a time, and ultimately “all shall be well” (St. Julian of Norwich).

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