Monday….

Hello from Niagara-on-the-Lake on this muggy Monday.  There is the chance we will have a severe thunderstorm in the next while and I hope it rains torrentially.  The earth is so dry here.  Lawns look scorched and thirsty.  This ongoing heat has everything craving rain – and with it a change to cooler, less humid temps.

I have been feeling tired today, up extra early for some reason.  I’ve been chipping away at the pile of things to do on the desk for hours and listening to songs that are touching and inspiring. Hamilton soundtrack playing as I write.

I do have to go to the Post Office to see if my wandering eyeglasses have finally made it here and we are completely out of bread, but truthfully, I am feeling a little nervous about being out and about today.  Le sigh.

We have entered phase 3 in this region.  Today there is news of Covid shutting down restaurants in Niagara Falls that have JUST opened.  The weekend saw thousands of tourists in our little town.  Someone described it as a zoo.  It feels like everything is about to unravel after all these months of being so careful.

Time to regroup, folks.  We need to recommit to kicking Covid’s butt.

I spoke to an officiant who was sharing how this strange wedding season has affected her.  With masks and physical distancing she cannot hug the couples or stand with them for pictures.  With the coronavirus so active, I still question why couples absolutely have to get married right now.  Venues are closed for the most part.  Vendors are really not active.  And as an officiant, I am really not comfortable unless everyone is on the same page about precautions and protocol.  There is too much to risk. Still.  Months later.

How are you doing in the midst of all this?  I hope you are able to grab something nice to drink and sit somewhere shady and quiet.  The chatter will always be there, pushing fear and worry thoughts our way.

We know what to do: Wear a mask.  Sanitize. Keep your distance from people you do not live with.  Be careful when you are out and about. Be kind and courteous.  It really is that simple, right?  Turn off the news.  Don’t let the headlines drag you down.  And pray that resistant people will finally understand that their blatant ignorance can be deadly for themselves or those who they love.

Try and stay in your bliss.  Now more than ever, we need to take time for ourselves to be restored and renewed.  I see many games of Scrabble with a brilliant woman in my near future. 🙂

Have a great day everyone.  Be kind to yourself.

This is an awesome video I stumbled across this morning.  Imagine being this little girl?
Check out from 8:22 onward.  It’s the best.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oilZ1hNZPRM

Blessings,
Bishop Deb

Rainy Wednesday

jesus mask

Over the past few years I have been doing “prayer on the go” podcasts from my car as I am out and about.  These days, I am not out and about a lot.  In fact, I am happy to stay home and let this COVID thing pass by.  Every day is busy and life is never boring.

COVID cases are up in Niagara again – as they are everywhere as people start to move about more freely.  We are social beings – we WANT to be out and about.  But truly, these are dangerous times.

I went to the Post Office on the main street yesterday.  It’s July and it is typical for the streets to be very crowded in this tourist town.  Groups of people passed by as I waited in the physically-distanced line as one by one we went in to our mailboxes. The passing groups were young and old,  enjoying ice cream or holding a coffee in hand, talking and sharing, enjoying their day.  It could have been any typical summer day.  Unbelievably, very very few of them were wearing masks.

This is a problem.

Yes, it is not possible to eat or drink while masked, but I didn’t see any masks in evidence,  Nothing adorning necks ready to pull up again, nothing peeking out of pockets.  Hmmmmm.

I do not understand this rebellion against something that can save your life and the lives of those whom you love.  The virus is not a hoax – as we can see by skyrocketing numbers around the world.  Some are saying these are just typical numbers of deaths slapped with a COVID label.  Not so.  Talk to any nurse or doctor and they will tell you that what they have been battling is not just your average upper respiratory infection.

Are people just escaping, thinking if they don’t wear a mask the virus will not get them?  Is it an attempt to just pretend that everything is normal as they enjoy their stroll down Queen Street?

Their selfishness can be deadly for someone they may never meet.

We are called to love one another.  To see everyone as a Child of God.  To know in our hearts our deep connection.  We are one race, one family.  Instead, we are witnessing the rise of racism and people acting badly.  Simmering hatred is being openly expressed. We see basic human rights being rolled back.  We see the rise of an ugly, hard-fisted approach to peaceful protests – witness Portland, where protesters are being basically kidnapped in ways that we have seen in the brutal regimes in South America.

Not wearing a mask is a part of this insidious, shadowy unrest.  Somehow people have gotten it into their heads that this is a political thing.  That it is a conspiracy thing.  That NOT wearing a mask expresses their freedom and is a bold assertion of their rights.  (We have the right to be ignorant, I guess.) Meanwhile, their rights and freedoms – OUR rights and freedoms- are slowly being eroded in the backrooms and in bills that are being passed in Ontario as I write this.

The mask thing is a distraction.  We go for the bait every time.

I didn’t mean for this to become a rant. I have cut out many paragraphs just now. lol It is just hard not to feel overwhelmed and helpless in the face of so much fear and chaos.  So many people are emotionally and mentally exhausted from the wear and tear of these times.

Let’s reset.

I am getting my pom poms again. Cheerleader Deb has taken over the keyboard.

We effect the change we want to see.  Maybe it is time for us to come together as community as never before.  To look out for one another.  To share what we have.  To plant vegetable gardens and stock up for what could be a very difficult winter for many.
To celebrate our diversity and honour everyone’s unique gifts and talents.  We need each other.  It is clear to me that the people in power do not always have our best interests at heart.

What is the one thing you can do today to make life a little less stressful for yourself?
What is one thing for which you are truly grateful?
What is one thing that you would like to accomplish or see happen today?
What is one thing that you can do to help someone in need today?

We are powerful.  We are gifted.  We have everything we need to enjoy a successful and happy day.  Set the intention and watch things around you shift.

Have a fantastic and uplifting day!  I am off to visit with some friends at a peach farm in Queenston.  Maybe we will dance in the rain with our masks on.  Appropriately distanced, of course. 😉

Blessings,
+Deb

 

Back to the Blog…

Hello, dear friends.

Well, it has been a while since I’ve sat at the keyboard and added to this blog. So much has happened in our world.

I have been getting requests to reach out once more sharing thoughts, memes and podcasts and so I offer this with love, hoping it will assist in some way.

We live in very strange times.

We hear uncertain and unsettling reports of people actually killing each other for something as simple as a request to wear a mask, unrest in the US, growing partisan politics in our country, economic hardship, rising COVID numbers… we know the list. When there are so many mean and disrespectful incidents happening every day, we know must focus on loving kindness and good things more than ever before, but that can be a challenge.

We get stuck in some sort of paralysis of spirit. The news is unrelenting awful. We feel lost and afraid. Overwhelmed. Battle-weary.

Our inner light is barely an ember.

It is challenging not to feel the effect of fear and worry in the face of the global situation and what is happening in our own homes and communities. It can be scary.

Time for a shift perhaps. Think of me as your cheerleader, waving my poms poms here. Let’s raise the energy. I am here to remind us all that we do not do this alone. Holy Angels surround us and Divine Love enfolds us.

We have the power of Heaven to assist right here, right now!

We forget that, don’t we. Remember that fear is often False Evidence Appearing Real. We are Children of the Light (Love is Grace, Hope and Truth – i just made that up. lol) Gimme an L ….

Remember who you are. Remember Who called you into being. You are loved and beloved. You have the spark of the Divine within you! It is time to bring our lights together and shine, reflecting the power of the One, who works in each of us to effect good. We have the power to transform everything with our love and intention. We are called to burn so brightly that shadows vanish.

We need one another in these shadowy times. We are people of the light; darkness cannot extinguish us. We are children of the Most High God; evil cannot harm us.

Divine Love always wins.

As we hold fast to what we know is true and good, as we look for blessings and freely share with all, the light within us will continue to shine. Love will shine in us, around us and through us. We will see and know the difference in our soul.

Friends, above all, now is a time for prayer; for taking time to connect with Divine Love, to draw on that unlimited strength to power us through each day. Prayer is our super power, supporting us on every level of our being. It is the fuel for our light. It is our connection to grace, healing, transformation and miracle.

Here is a little prayer that I offer for peace, healing and protection.

Blessings. Please wear the mask and keep washing those hands.
+Deb

August Already

gratitude

*** As I went to post this, I heard the news about the mass shooting in Dayton this morning on the heels of the shooting in El Paso yesterday.  Pray for peace, dear friends.  Pray for those injured, the families affected, for those who have died. Pray for first responders and medical personnel. Pray for all who are tested by this act of violence.  May angels comfort us all. Visualize peace and love blanketing the planet.  ***

Hello, everyone!

We all know how busy life can get.  It has been a whirlwind few months for me, and while I manage to do “Prayer on the God” podcasts fairly frequently, this blog got lost in the shuffle.  Sorry ’bout that.

I put up the gratitude phrase from Melody Beattie today.  That rose in the garden was just aching to be celebrated and I was grateful for its vibrance and fragrance.  It is a simple thing, to see this beautiful splash of red against the green of the backyard, but it reminded me of the many other ways blessings surround me.  Little winks from Heaven.
All is well.  Even if it feels like all is in chaos in the world.

We are all feeling unsettled about something or other these days.  How can we not?  We turn on the news and see another mass shooting.  We talk to a friend to discover they have been going through a difficult time in their life.  A loved one falls ill.  Bills exceed our bank account.  Relationships crumble without warning.  The sand shifts beneath our feet and we get stressed and out of balance.  We wrestle with negative emotions. We get depressed and withdrawn, resentful and overwhelmed….

Sound familiar?

We have to look out for one another in these times.  As we retreat and process, we cut ourselves off from the love and assistance that is available to us.  I read recently where having nights out with besties can help us live longer.  I believe this!  Laughter, dancing, letting go and being silly — it’s the perfect antidote to fear and worry.  Being with loved ones, watching funny movies, playing in the garden, singing, walking in nature…. these are just some of the things we can do to bring back balance and get our minds shifted away from problems and back onto the happy things of life.

There is no question that we are living in challenging times.  Remembering every day to count the blessings we have and trying to remain in that place of gratitude actually makes us receptive to more.

Jesus said in Matthew 6:33 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

When we remember the blessings we have been given by Creator, when we look to Divine Love in our dark times, when we remember that we are loved and beloved by the One who knows how many hairs there are on our heads, then we trust that things will work our our highest and best.  When we focus there, then we will find things shifting.  Our attitude and understanding of things changes.  More blessings come as we give thanks and look to our loving God to bring us grace and love.

When we are in the midst of the pit, it isn’t easy to climb out into the light of day once more.  The sun is shining up there.  People are walking by with ice cream cones and having a great day.  We are stuck in the pit, feeling alone and helpless.  Every blessing we count can be a rung on the rescue ladder.  Reaching out to a friend can bring the rope we need to escape the darkness.

Taking time to read something spiritual, connecting with Love, with our angels, writing in our journals.. there are so many ways we can find joy once more.  It is okay for us to be happy.  It is important for us to be happy.  When we seek God’s love and give thanks for blessings received, then we are stronger.  We in turn reach out and share that love with others.  They in turn reach out and help — and so on.

With this world so caught up in fear, we all have a call as children of the Most High to remember our heritage.  We are sparks of the Divine.  We are powerful, created to enjoy life and experience the goodness of Creation.

It’s time to step up.  We have work to do.  We can’t buy into the negative mindset encouraged by those who wish to keep us unhappy and fearful.  Seek first the Spiritual, the realm of Divine Love.  Connect there and everything will come to you – understanding, joy, healing, prosperity, and gratitude.

We need peace in our hearts and the understanding that we truly are one on this planet.  I pray that today you will see the many blessings that surround you, despite the challenges and give thanks for the good that comes.  It will give us strength and hope in these challenging days.  Good comes to us now.

Blessings,
+Deb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Friday in Lent – IWD

jesus and mm

Today is International Women’s Day and a fitting topic for today’s Lenten blog.  Shining a light on the women of the world celebrates just how far we have come in matters of justice and equality — but even more importantly, it shows how very far we have to go to ensure the safety and protection of women and girls everywhere.

In recent times, the #metoo movement bravely brought to light the many ways in which women have been victimized  and abused by those in positions of authority and power.  Most of my women friends can share experiences of lecherous bosses or handsy guys.  I recall a salesman making some overt comments about me at a convention a very long time ago.  Over the course of dinner and a number of scotches, his intentions were more and more clear and I, a very naive 20-something company rep, would have been in deep doo doo had I not been rescued by an observant co-worker who basically dumped the interloper on his derriere outside the restaurant.  I know many other women for whom there was no intervention.   #metoo has helped to put a laser on this behaviour.

I remember a distraught friend rushing over to my house in a blind panic.  She had suddenly remembered a date in college that was in fact, a drugged rape.  For fifteen years she had no memory of that night, except the puzzle of waking up in her bed naked, alone.  She had married, had kids and one day, watching the news of a woman whose date had drugged and raped her, the puzzle pieces came back together and she remembered what had been done to her.   Who could she report this to?  Where was the guy now all these years later?  How many other women had he raped?  Helplessness turned to rage.  And frustration.  And horror. And shame.  After so much time, there was not much to be done other than make a report.  Women deal with these kinds of feelings all the time. I think that is why #metoo has been so important.  It is time to raise consciousness.

Every day, women are emotionally and or physically abused by their boyfriends or husbands. They receive less money for the same job as their male counterpart. They get told they are hysterical when they show emotion, and called a bitch when they are justifiably angry.

When I was first ordained in 1985, I was told that I would have to work a whole lot harder than my male counterpart to be accepted in my role as clergy.  When I got up to preach, some people walked out because it was offensive to hear a woman in a leadership role in the Anglican church at that tender time of change.  I was told that women priests were distracting and cause men to think unclean thoughts.  When I was first pregnant I was “jokingly” told by my priest supervisor that he shouldn’t have given me time off, since I obviously enjoyed myself with my husband while we were on vacation….  oh, I have stories.

The battle for respect, equality and fairness is ongoing here in North America, especially with someone in the White House who has a vocal and blatant disrespect for women. There are states ruled by GOP men who are passing more and more oppressive laws dealing with women’s reproductive rights.  We need to be vigilant and not lose hard-won ground.

International Women’s Day casts a spotlight on the women in the world who still have NO rights, who live in oppressive societies, who may at any time be beaten by their husbands and whose lives are impossibly harsh. I saw an item on CNN that showed an app used by Saudi men who track their wives’ every move (some have multiple wives) and make sure that they don’t leave the country.  Hello?  2019.  Deck is stacked against anyone not male.

We cast the spotlight on those women around the world who are forced into the sex trade and treated like commodities, who have no freedom, no life of their own. When will serious efforts be taken to keep women safe?  This is evil borne out of greed and the behaviour of those who fuel this monstrous activity treating women and young girls like chattel.  Disposable.  Of no value other than for a man’s pleasure.  I read where 3 year old girls are being sold to be married in Yemen so families can survive.  This is unspeakable.

We cast the spotlight on the countless women who go missing every month.  Here in Canada, we continue to question the government about the dozens of Aboriginal women who’ve disappeared.  Where are they?  What happened to them?  They count.  They matter.  What are you doing to stop it?

This is a day when we take up the banner and make a noise. A loud and angry noise.  A noise so loud that it rises up like a collective volcano of hot fire and ashes.  We are strong. All women matter.  All women are important.  Don’t mess with our sisters.

Women matter. That should be obvious.  But as long as unevolved men who are threatened by the talents, intelligence, ingenuity and loving spirit of women are in charge, we will continue to fight for equality for all women on this planet.

Jesus was outspoken about the rights of women in his day.  He broke  patriarchal boundaries and spoke directly to women of other cultures.   He brought women into his group as spiritual leaders and disciples, even though Scripture doesn’t literally declare it.  He defended women who could be divorced by their husbands for any reason. He saved a woman from stoning by pointedly asking the men there about their own sins and actions. He reached out to heal both women and men.  He taught both women and men.  He did not indicate in any way that women were lesser.

It might be a good thing for those who call themselves Christian –especially those in authority — to go back to their bibles and read it, especially the gospel of Luke.

It was the women who stayed with him while he died on the cross. It was the women who prepared his body for burial. It was to Mary Magdalene that he appeared on that Easter morning.  Food  for thought.

Here is a beautiful prayer written for today by a Franciscan named Deborah Hirt.  May it be our truth.

Lord, make me an instrument of peace:

Bless all women who daily strive to bring peace to their communities, their homes and their hearts. Give them strength to continue to turn swords into plowshares.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love:

We pray for all women who face prejudice, inequality and gender disparities. Help us see and to face the discrimination against women in all the many forms it may take.

Where there is injury, pardon:

Comfort all women who suffer from the pain of war, violence, and abuse. Help them to become instruments of their own reconciliation and peace.

Where there is division, unity:

Forgive all women and men who let differences breed hate and discrimination. Let your example of valuing all of creation help us to see that we are equal partners in the stewardship of your world.

Where there is darkness, light; where there is untruth, truth:

Comfort all women who struggle in the darkness of abuse, poverty, and loneliness. May we stand with them in light to acknowledge their suffering and strive to remove the burdens of shame or embarrassment.

Where there is doubt, true faith:

We pray for all women who live in fear of their husbands, fathers, and forces that control their lives. Help them to be empowered to be their true selves through your everlasting love and faith.

Where there is despair, hope:

We pray for all women who live in the despair of poverty, violence, trafficking, slavery,and abuse. May the light of your love bring them hope.

Where there is sadness, new joy:

Help us to see the strength and goodness in all women and men.
Transform our hearts to celebrate the love and grace of all people.

Amen

+Deb

 

 

Reframing Suffering

lent2
Today, I have mostly wiped the schedule.  So much planned, including a badly needed haircut, but my throat is scratchy and my head is achy.  I am staying put, taking vitamins and letting my body rest.

There is an idea that we must forge on when our bodies are not well, or when we are lagging behind.  Shake it off.  Push through it.  It’s just a cold etc.

We’ve been told from various pulpits that we must override the weaknesses of the body and not give in. In some religious circles, suffering is recognized as a kind of badge of honour.  Maybe this is a nod to St Paul who complained about his unnamed affliction, but continued his missions into foreign and often hostile territories.  I have friend who offers her suffering to assist those in Purgatory.

I find all of this confounding, this dislike of the flesh, this denial of our unique beauty.  We are made in the image of the Creator.  We are all sparks of the Divine.  God delights in us and wants us to be joyful and creative.  God wants us to be like Christ.

Oh. And Jesus suffered.  Jesus went to the cross for us.  So we must suffer too?  Cue the record scratch.

Let’s be clear.  God does not throw down thunderbolts at us.  God does not cause us to be ill.  God does not wish for us to bear heavy emotional burdens.  God does not want our pain.  Jesus took that on for us.  Willingly.  He did it to free us so that we know the LOVE that God showers upon us every minute of our lives.

That got twisted along the way.  christianity1

Today, let us celebrate the love that God brings to us to embrace and to share.  Here is my little podcast that talks about all this.

https://www.spreaker.com/episode/17253213

Blessings,
+Deb

Ash Wednesday

aw

Today, the wheel of the Church year turns once more and we find ourselves beginning a new season: the season of Lent.  On this Ask Wednesday, I invite you to listen in to our online service, live at 9:30 a.m. but available at the link whenever you wish to hear it.
http://tobtr.com/s/11232279

I am sharing my homily here because it tells us about Ash Wednesday and what lent is about.  You can read along when you listen to the service. 🙂  Have a holy and blessed day, everyone.

Ash Wednesday Homily
Well, the pancakes have been consumed, Mardi Gras has wrapped up, the noisemakers and perhaps the treats have been shelved as we greet this new day. This first day of the season of lent.

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of our 40 day journey through Lent leading to Holy Week, Good Friday and ultimately, the empty tomb of Easter.  As we begin the season of Lent, we are invited to take some time for self-examination, to really look at our lives and how we spend the time we have been given.

This is a good exercise any time of the year, but as we prepare our hearts for the events of Good Friday and Easter, it is a deeply spiritual thing to do, one that can help us grow in our faith and our self-understanding.

Over the next 40 days, we choose make time in our day to think about the people in our lives whom we have hurt or who may have hurt us and to work on moving to a place of peace and forgiveness.  We give this over to God and own up to our own behaviour, knowing that each situation has brought up lessons and insights into our lives. As we let it go, we also forgive ourselves.  And as we consider others that have wounded and hurt us, the point is not to excuse them but to move on in our own lives.  Give them to God, look to the strengths and good things that have come about as the result of the challenges.  There is healing in this for you even if resolution cannot be found.

During Lent,  take time each day to connect more fully with divinity – by reading inspirational books, by meditating, and by praying for ourselves and others.We can also to think of ways to reach out and give of our time, talent and resources.

Many people choose to test their discipline and willpower and decide to give up something that they enjoy.  This mirrors the sacrifices that Jesus made for us as he went to the cross and gave up his life for us.

I have learned over the years, with the ups and downs and stress of life that it isn’t always easy to give up something I like – such as chocolate.  When I cave in a and eat some it tends to cause more stress and even guilt, so I have changed that practise.

Now I use the weeks of Lent to get out my journal and think about the things that have a negative impact on me and release them from my life.  If something is not contributing to my self-esteem and confidence or making me feel good, then I choose to let it go.  I try very hard to shake the dust, even if it means letting go of a friendship.  If I am not being honoured or respected, then that person or circumstance has no resonance in my life.

During Lent, I use my “God Can” a lot more.  If I am worried about something, I write it down and put it into the “God can”, a special jar appointed as the receptacle of my fears, concerns, worries and negative thoughts.  I give it over to God and then as much as I can, choose to spend my day being happy, trusting that things will resolve for good with the angels and God working on it.  And, I try and do one act of kindness for someone in the course of the day.

Lent reminds us to live by faith, to deepen our connection to God and to all the people on this earth.  I do not believe that God wants us to sacrifice something I like or to suffer through a bad situation.  Jesus already did that for us!  God wants us to see ourselves as I we are regarded by our Creator – beautiful, perfect, joyful, prosperous and beloved. Forgiven and free, called to do the loving work of Jesus in the world.

So, I do turn Lent on its ear.

Instead of wearing sackcloth and wearing ashes, I profess my faith in a God who loves me so much he sent Jesus to tell me about that love and to show that love even beyond death.  I give thanks for Jesus who told me to reach out and help my brother and sister, to embrace everyone as a child of god.

I try to live each day connecting to God, writing down my worries and putting them in the God can, working to squeeze the most out of each beautiful moment in the day.  And, you know, living like this for the next 40 days as best we can, will make Easter a much richer experience as we proclaim the mystery and the wonder of our faith – that Jesus not only died for us but came back to tell us that we need not far anything in this life or the next because we are so completely loved by a all-accepting creator who is with us each and every day and into the life after this one too.

I pray that you have a wonderful and holy Lent, however you choose to observe it.  Let us have a prayer to set us on our journey.

Gracious God, be with us this day as we search our hearts.  In the things that we have said and done that have separated us from your love, forgive us.  May we be aware of you loving presence walking with us, holding our hand in the dark, bringing to us people who will love and uplift us, bringing us blessings and good things.

Be with all whom we love this day bringing peace to those who are under any duress, healing to those who are ill in body, mind or spirit, joy to those who are without hope, and love to all who are tired in spirit.

We ask your angels to fill this whole earth with your divine light and grace, melting every hardened heart, clearing the scales from the eyes of those whose hearts and minds are consumed by anger, greed, avarice and lack of compassion.  May we be instruments of your peace, your truth, your holy love and by our faith in you shine your light everywhere we go.  Amen.

Blessings,
Deb

 

Hello again

perfectsm

Feb 10, 2019

Yes. I know. It has been about 6 weeks since I posted.  In that time I sprained my ankle pretty severely and the whole family came down with a horrible respiratory virus.  And I lost my keys.  Not the nicest beginning to 2019.

It is clear that I was being told to slow down and stay put for a while, and it has been a time of quiet and self-reflection.  And a lot of tylenol and tissues.

Now that I am feeling better, I have to put it all in perspective.  In the grand scheme of things, I really have nothing to complain about.  I have a warm, cozy house.  I have a loving and supportive family and group of friends.  In that horrible bitter cold snap, we had heat, lights and food.  I am so grateful.

Yes, I got upset and depressed at times. It is normal to throw a pity party every once in a while.  But then I turn on the tv and see what others are dealing with – homelessness in deadly temperatures, families hitting food banks in record numbers, threats to social safety nets, natural disasters…  I have nothing to complain about.  Really.

I am grateful.  I am strong.  God is good.

It is important to count our blessings each and every day, several times in the day.  Truly, most of us have much for which to give thanks.  In the challenges, in the tough times, in the moments when we feel lost and afraid we need only to look for that one good thing that we can hang onto like an anchor in the storm.  What –or who– is that anchor for you?

As people of faith, we do have an anchor and we do have the understanding that we are safe even in the storms of our life.  We reach out to Creator.  We remember Jesus in the boat, sleeping and awakening to stretch out his hands to calm the raging storm.  He will calm the storms of our life too.

Yeah, the past few weeks have been really miserable at times.  But Jesus has been in the boat with me.  He’s in the boat with you too.

You are safe.  You are surrounded by holy angels.  You are upheld by our loving and compassionate God.

It helps me to know that even in the midst of the storm, I am not alone. Neither are you.

You are a beloved child of God.

Things will happen.  Storms will stir up.  It will pass, you will move forward, and hopefully, you will do so with the understanding that in every moment, Jesus is there with you.  He will stretch out his arms to still the storm.  He will stretch out his arms to embrace you.  He will stretch out his arms to show you the way forward.

A friend says “All was well, and all is well and all will be well.”  May we know this truth today.

Need some inspiration? Here is a link to today’s worship service on blogtalkradio
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/spiritofloveradio/2019/02/10/sunday-worship-with-the-community-catholic-church–feb-10

Have a great day, everyone.
Peace
Deb

The last day of 2018

love

December 31, 2018.  Here we are on the cusp of another new year.  I know several people who are happy to say goodbye to this year, having encountered some difficult challenges and hardships. Maybe you can relate.

As we go through each year, there are ups and downs, triumphs and tragedies, good days and not so good days. It is true that some years are worse than others.  For me, this has been a year punctuated by great blessings, but there have been times when my mantra has been “this too will pass.”

There will always be challenges in our lives.  Sometimes we may shake our fist at heaven and demand answers.  Sometimes things can happen that overwhelm us.  This too will pass, I promise.  The pain of the moment will shift eventually and balance returns.  Sometimes the biggest difficulty we face can be the key that transforms us for good.

When we ride out a life challenge like a rodeo rider on a wild bucking bull, we can find out many things about ourselves.  We may get thrown off and hit the ground hard, but when we stand up, dust ourselves off, there is much we can take away from the experience. We discover that we are stronger than we thought. We discover who is truly there when we have a need.  We realize that we understand what others go through at a whole new level.  And, we count our blessings a whole lot more.

The hardest thing for me is to hear folks blaming God for the hardship.   This is the result of bad theology and wrong understandings and keeps many people separated from Creator and the blessings that are available to them.

As people who follow Jesus, we should know better.  Jesus came to show us the way back to God by his teachings and his actions.  He healed the sick, embraced the outcast, forgave sinners, and promoted compassion, kindness, justice, mercy and above all, LOVE.

When hardships befall us, we want to look for a culprit.  We need to point a finger.  We want to know why this has happened to me?!  We think, “Who can erase it all?  God.  “Who isn’t making it go away yet? God.” We turn up the volume. “Where the heck is God, anyway?  Hello?  A little help here, please?” We look to almighty Creator and (wrongly) come to the conclusions that we are being punished or somehow targeted.

No no no no no.

God does not visit terrible things upon us.  Just the opposite.  God is with us on the bull, sometimes holding us and breaking our fall.  It is through our faith in God that we come to understand grace and healing.  It is through reading Scripture and seeing how Jesus stretches out his hand and heals people from all walks and stations of life, that we can understand he is stretching out his hand to us too.  He says to the people,”do not be afraid.”  He says,”Your faith has made you well.”  He says this to each one of us too.

As we move into this new year, this is an important truth to take to heart.  God loves you.
God has your back and is there when you are in need.  God does not cause the accident or the illness or the job loss or the misfortune.  God sees you as a beloved child and extends love, blessing, healing and good things to you.  What is required on our part?  Trust, patience, prayer, meditation, and an understanding that answers do not always come in the way we think.

If we start each day with a prayer of thanksgiving, counting our blessings and offering God our grateful hearts, then our day will bring ways for us to be grateful.  As we focus on the positive aspects of our lives, the obstacles and challenges that pop up are dealt with more easily.  Knowing that Creator is with us -not against us- means that we can give thanks that the situation is already being handled, for our highest and best.

I believe that 2019 will be outstanding.  May we remember to walk each day prayerfully and gratefully.  This attitude will affect everyone around you, reaping great benefits and transforming hearts to be filled with more kindness, compassion and caring,

Also! Your prayer journal is an invaluable tool.  New year, new fresh page. Write down the needs and concerns of your heart and those of others, and watch how each gets crossed off as you review each week.  Our God is an awesome God and you will see prayers being answered and things being resolved.  You will come to understand how very much you are loved and cherished.

Here is a little prayer I found on the Loyola website:

God, thank you for a new year. May everyone in our family be willing to begin anew with a clean slate. We know that you are always ready to forgive us. Help us to be willing to forgive ourselves and to forgive one another.

As we begin a new year, remind us of our truest values and our deepest desires. Help us to live in the goodness that comes from doing what you want us to do. Help us to put aside anxiety about the future and the past, so that we might live in peace with you now, one day at a time.

Happy New Year, everyone.
Blessings,
Deb

 

 

 

 

Friday after Christmas

Hi everyone!

I hope that you are enjoying this time between the celebrations.  Just three more days left in this year.  Many are very happy to see the end of 2018.  It has brought challenges and hardships, but also lessons.

I try to keep the perspective that as bad as it may seem sometimes, there is always someone who has it a whole lot worse. I pray for those folks, who are likely thinking that as bad as it is for them, someone has it worse.  It is really important to count our blessings and muster up gratitude for all that we have in our life.  It really does keep us grounded and in that place of trust.

Bishop Jean deals with challenges by adding the word “yet.”  When we are facing a stressful situation, it is often hard to see past it.  By adding that little word so much can change.  “I have no money to pay this bill… yet.”  “My health is not improving… yet.”  “My soul mate hasn’t arrived in my life… yet.”  See?  It changes a rather grim statement into an affirmation of hope.

Affirmations are a great way to keep us focused on the possibilities of life.  Sometimes it sounds as though we are making it up, but as we repeat these gutsy little sayings, things do shift and change.  “All is well in my life.”  “I have everything I need in this moment and I am blessed!” “Life is good and getting better!”  “I am loved and beloved.”  Try it for a few days and see what good comes to you.

Here is a little prayer I wrote a few years ago to capture hopes for my life and all who share this planet.  I believe that as we pray and send out these intentions, lives will improve, including our own.  Every blessing to you and your loved ones.
+Deb

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