Catholic…catholic…communion…

catholic -adjective/ including a wide variety of things; all-embracing.

Catholic-noun/ Roman Catholic faith

communion-noun/1.the sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, especially when the exchange is on a mental or spiritual level/2.the service of Christian worship at which bread and wine are consecrated and shared

I find myself wide awake at 4 am considering how I came to this ‘blog’.  My grandmother on my mom’s side was originally Catholic (with a big ‘C’) and then Pentecostal in experience. There is a vague sense somewhere in my mind that she was more catholic than I knew. She was a wise and generous woman whom I loved dearly. She taught me many things. She prayed (communed with the Father) a lot and she had the rattiest looking Bible. Her bedroom was always the smallest room in the house. It usually had a single bed with a chair a comfortable chair and a small table with a lamp. When she wasn’t working that is where you could find her. She took care of elderly people, a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 7  or 8 depending on where she was living. She worked hard and died at 76 worn out. She wore herself out for others. There is a lot more to her story, but tonight it’s my story and at 70 years of age it is just beginning.

Having read much throughout the years, I have considered the martyrs and saints much further along in faith than myself. My aging body has begun to give me fits and starts and I find I am becoming more catholic…thus the beginning definitions. Their main source until the  death of the saint was their communion with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They became more like Jesus. What drew them to the Father was their pain and isolation, their ‘communion’. They did not waste their pain and isolation. They learned ‘holy communion’ with the Holy Trinity.  Even in the act of participation in ‘Holy Communion’ with others we are drawing closer and expanding our vision of God’s community of faith.

So I am considering that when someone asks me about my faith, I might just have to say…”Well, I’m a Christian of the catholic persuasion. A communicant of catholic communion.”

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70 and marching on…

Rick told me I needed to ‘blog’ this event because it’ll get lost in the shuffle of time and necessities, but the memory of it is going to be right up there with my introduction to Rick, the most clear and important day of my life.  I met Rick on a Sunday in September of 1972 and the day is as clear to me now as then.  I don’t have a picture of it, like I do for my 70th birthday, but there is the movie in my brain of hearing God’s voice in the matter and Rick’s beautiful smile that lights up my life even today.

Back to being 70. My sister Renee comes to Florida (snowbird) and just happened to make it here 2 days before my birthday. She always has a lot going on in her life because she is friendly, talented, a nurse, musician and of course family. She told me I had to be ready at 5 pm on my birthday with makeup and dress up so we could celebrate.  She had sent a few things and wouldn’t let me open them. Now that I’m older, impatience isn’t so much a problem, I can wait, I’ve slowed considerably in the last few years. The Lord has taught me that. I was hoping to go to Abuelos for Mexican food…I can go there anytime…

Renee came about 4:45 and told me to go to my office and stay put for a few. Then it got noisy. She rolled my grocery cart outside. Rick was in his office grinning. I was playing ‘Bejewelled’ on my laptop in the office. Then I heard Willie’s voice…hmmm, now I’m thinking. I talked with her earlier yesterday and asked if she was going to come with us and she said, ‘Well, I might have to move around a client.”  She was part and parcel of the whole shindig.  She’s moved her Wednesday night client a month ago already…then Renee called me to the kitchen to check me out. Makeup, dressed up, and then crowned up and even a beauty sash…”birthday queen”.  Her announcement….”in about 10 minutes 40+ people will be showing up!” Rick and Susan W. sent out email invites and the 4 of them, Rick, Renee, Susan and Willie, had prepared a full blown party, cake, food, plates, napkins, tea and centerpiece (compliments of Mickey Norman). In 10 minutes the house had changed to party central.

And here they came…more than a half dozen with potted plants and flowers, including one friend who brought garden markers along with some starts of lettuce and another vege to plant in my garden. (I’ll have to taste to find out because I don’t recognize it.) Everybody with cards and gifts and big smiles. Two months in the planning and nobody, I MEAN NOBODY slipped up. I had no idea. Renee took about 60 pictures. I will have the memories though for a life time. With or without the pictures. To top it off it was a Wednesday night…church night and some had to leave, but there were so many folks, our house wasn’t going to hold them all at once. Some left for Harvest festival with the kids, others to choir practice but many stayed on and visited. There is nothing like having a fellowship of true believers be your surrounding family. They have walked with us for many years, more than just the 4 years this coming weekend, the anniversary of Rick’s stroke. They have listened to us teach, worked with us, read our books and remodeled our home, picked up and delivered whatever we needed, stayed the course with us, visited us, encouraged us…true representations of the children of God’s family at it’s best.

It’s almost 5:30 am and I might need a nap before breakfast…blessings on all and to all a goodnight.

 

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Movie Night…I never do reviews….

This evening for our entertainment pleasure…(with tongue in cheek) we viewed a 3 hour movie called ‘The Tree of Life’.  It was agonizingly true to life and how it seems to move most days. I got up about 3 or 4 times to get a drink, get the mail, answer the phone, change into my nightgown, just to get some relief.  Rick also played the review by Bishop Robert Barron afterwards, which healed my heart, some.

I don’t watch depressing movies if I can help it. This one was just too real and relentless. Life does not just go by in a flash, although it seems that way at times. The grind of the reality in our natural life, in our natural body can be enormously stressful and clouded by emotion, physical or financial pressure. The agony of birth, life and death are portrayed with real emotion in this film. Most of us feel like time is flying when everything is going good, but in the tough times it slows to a deadening pace and the reality of the ‘natural’ closes in on us.
The upside is ‘Grace’…’grace’ carries with it love, compassion, peace in the midst of the storm and relief. Sometimes the relief of a nap, or a special treat of visiting friends. Was that only this morning? Relief in hearing from a friend in the form of a letter and that did happen this evening.

My sweetheart and I have a date in the evenings, but tonight, well, I now have a lot of stuff running around in my head. The NATURAL me and the GRACE-filled me are going to have to have a prayer meeting. Loving, kind, generous, forgiving is who I would like to be, but a short spiritual examine is due now to make sure the ‘natural’ nature comes into line with God’s grace.

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Friends…

I was going to post on Facebook, but I have this ‘blog’ thingy that gives me a different view of life in general. Short quips and short encouraging messages are a good venue on FB. More thoughtful is the ‘blog’ worthy and more lengthy.

Today again we have had friends come to our rescue in different ways. One returned some artwork and helped me rehang it. Feeling fairly energetic, I decided to vacuum the dryer hose out. Well! Unscrewing the clamp  holding the hose on to the dryer was easy, vacuuming the dust out was easy…that’s where I ran into a snag…

Left-handed and hefty! I couldn’t get both arms behind the dryer to hold the hose on and turn the screw on the clamp. Henry to the rescue.  He’s thin and strong and was able to put the hose back for me.

Eric brought Lime sherbet for Rick…I don’t have to go to the grocery store. Sulema came to help clean and I was able to get some mending done. The mending was piling up and now I don’t have to look at it anymore.

Isolation is not a good thing and not just because ‘things’ don’t get done, but the fellowship encourages the heart. Even if friends just come for a visit. Yesterday we had our weekly prayer group…praying for one another, the concerns of our country and loved ones in need, is a great benefit AND it does the body and soul good. Fellowship takes the focus off ourselves.  As believers, our focus is the will of the Father day by day, moment by moment. Visiting with others gives us opportunity to ‘friend’ and be aware of the needs. Don’t know what we would do without the ‘friends’ who minister to us almost daily. Lord Jesus, bless them beyond their fondest hopes.

 

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Inattentive…

I haven’t blogged since May 2018. Life has a way a making a sucking sound when busyness takes over. Lately it has lightened up because of health issues being alleviated somewhat. Throughout my absence I have made sure that focus on the spiritual life has remained constant. IF I become inattentive to my spirit, stuff starts to creep in little by little. Things like complaining, dissatisfaction, anger, frustration…all raise their hoary head.  When life is a little better, like now…inattention to the spiritual life allows for other  more insidious issues. It becomes more an issue of ‘my will’ to make me not do and say what it is unseemly or unwise. I want more out of life and can’t scratch the itch without the daily disciplines. Not just the spiritual disciplines but other small but really necessary things, like thinking of others, doing for the other, speaking kind words, encouraging. When I sense the feeling of a spoiled child who can’t have…do…be… IT IS A SOBER warning in my spirit…pay attention! The inner alarm goes off!  Something is going awry inside…attend to your spirit!

Since I now have a bit more energy, I get to decide what to do with my time after the necessary. Choosing wisely is important. I have time to read, to do some art projects and it’s wonderful.  Keeping my mind on the straight an narrow by reading George MacDonald…sorting through 45+ years of family photos…keeping up with the upkeep of the house and garden. (actually gave the garden up to a gardener-not in that good shape)

We still have our daily devotions at meal times but how I spend my free time is now becoming an issue. I could start writing on chapter 6 of my next novel…nah…too much work! I could make more phone calls to friends who are out of circulation at this age.

If I pay ATTENTION to what the Lord is calling me to do each day, stay in the Word and continue in fellowship, there will be plenty to keep myself busy in the will of the Father and my spirit will gain ground and others will be blessed. This I pray!

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Missionaries of a sort…

Rick and I have been talking about ‘missionaries’. I went to a Bible College, now a University and know many who went in to mission programs around the world. In fact we used to tell someone who aggravated us that we hoped God would call them to Africa. It was a far away place and it seemed a reasonable distance to not be bothered with whatever the nonsense was at the moment. Then I grew up!!! Many friends were called to Africa, South America, China, Europe, the middle east. They gave up their lives to Christ to dedicate themselves to ministry of the Gospel of Christ…where He called them. Some of them come back to the states every few years, but once they’re here, they can hardly wait to get back to ‘their’ people. Even those with children who have gone to other mission fields or stayed in the states, they still desire wholeheartedly to be in the place where God has called and placed them.

I’m crying now…we had a mission and thought we were taken out of our service to God by our circumstances. A major stroke and colon cancer for Rick, Lyme disease, spinal stenosis and a bad knee for me, seemed to make our future service questionable. We have a new MISSION and we have just come to recognize it within the last few days. How did we miss it? We were always active and social in ministry; teaching, writing, singing and participating in many different ways while we were able physically. This is a whole different tact and we did not see it until now.

Heavenly Father thank You for Your gracious calling and Your patience while we ‘came to’…

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God is faithful…

In our lives we face things that seem insurmountable, some the consequences of our own actions, and some because we live in a world that is fallen, where sin reigns. The kindness and mercies of God come in many different forms and may not seem “kind” or “merciful” in the moment.

As we turn to His Word and become better acquainted with Him through prayer and submission, we see the picture much differently. Our hearts may be broken, our lives may not look like they did before, but the grace of God is worth much more to us now. We begin to recognize that God’s mercy and love are always drawing us into a closer more intimate relationship. He must be our priority. There is great joy, security and contentment resting in God’s mercy.

Lamentations 3:22 It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

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