Thursday, January 28, 2016

Real Life Miracles...

Don't you just LOVE hearing about real life miracles?!?!?   There are so many that happen everyday, but so often we are blind to them.  What a pity this is!  I mean poor God, He gives us these amazing gifts EVERY day and so often we just ignore them as if they are no big deal.

And the doubt; O MY GOODNESS.  How we humans LOVE to doubt God's capabilities.  Even after we witness the most amazing things, we sometimes think, "Well he did that for such and such, but he wouldn't do that for me."

Ummmmmmm..... Yes. He Would.

SO I would like to take a moment to recognize some of these miracles.  Both the ones in my own life, and the ones that have taken place throughout history.   In my own life, I can say with out a doubt that the fact that we have been able to provide a Catholic education for our children has been a MIRACLE.  This is truly a GIFT from God, and I do NOT take it lightly.  I still get nervous how it is going to work financially next year, but SOMEHOW it always does.  WOW, God you've done it again!!!

There are lots of those sorts of things, that I tend to take for granted.  I need to be more attentive to these personal examples of God's faithfulness to me.  But just for a minute I want to take notice at some of the BIG HUGE unexplained miracles that God has done for others.

Like the parting of the Red sea.  That.  Actually.   Happened.     Pretty much everything written in the Bible -  MIRACULOUS!!    Loaves and fishes; walking on water; WATER TO WINE. (A favorite of mine.) THE RESURRECTION.  This actually deserves so much more than one line. (But you all understand - I hope.)

But how about some of the more modern day miracles?  The ones that unfortunately don't get as much press???

Have you all heard about the Staircase in the Chapel of Loretto in Sante Fe?

This is such a great story, and one that was turned into an equally great movie.  The Staircase.   The story is that the Achitect who designed the Chapel died before the chapel was completed.  Somehow he forgot to include a stairway to the choir loft, in the design.   The length of the chapel was not big enough to fit a proper staircase to reach the very tall choir loft.  The only option would be to install a ladder, which would have made it very difficult for some of the nuns to reach the choir loft at all.   The nuns prayed a novena for a solution to the problem and on the ninth day of the novena a stranger came with tools and built the most beautiful circular staircase.  It took him a few months, he built it all by himself, without nails, and some very rare wood that is not even found anywhere in the area.  There was something almost supernatural about the double spiral without any central support that amazed all those who saw it, and made them feel as though St. Joseph himself was the one who built it.  Oh and he left before the nuns had a chance to pay him, and he was never heard from again.

Now in our skeptical world, many people have explained away the miracle saying it isn't that miraculous.  But who cares??  The fact that these nuns prayed for nine days for a solution to their architectual problems; and on the ninth day they were answered by a stranger who left without asking for compensation clearly speaks to SOMEONE answering their prayer.  Of course it is a miracle; and a true testament to GOD's faithfulness to us.

Our God is a healer, a comforter, a shelter, and a shield.  But first, he is a Creator.  Even a creator of staircases!!!!

God, how much you can do for us, if we just trust completely in you!  Please use us in MIRACULOUS ways!  Help us to see the miracles all around us, and help us to be open to more miracles.  When we are faced with challenges help us to come to you FIRST, and not use prayer as a last resort.  We love you God, thank you for your continued faithfulness to us!!!  AMEN!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Create in me a clean heart...

Lately I have been suffering from an anger problem.  Probably a little bit of jealousy, bitterness, stubbornness, pride, and a feeling of entitlement could be the source of all this bad stuff.

And boy is it bad.  This heart of mine can become stinky, dirty, and dark with this nasty slime and not even a good scrubbing can get this crap off of my heart. 

When I notice this has happened, or is starting to happen, or even if I am really paying attention, is about to happen, I have been trying a new thing.  

I literally imagine my Jesus in front of me with hands open wide ready to take my dirty heart and give me a clean one in its place.

My Jesus the lover of my soul, my spouse and TRUE soul mate is looking at this dirty heart and without even a hint of a condemning tone asks me, "Katie, what happened?" More out of an appeal for me to share my despair than to punish me for messing up my heart again.  

As I explain what exactly I think caused me to allow my heart get dirty HE returns a clean one to me instantly.  Sometimes I am even still sharing with Jesus what happened and I get the clean heart dirty again.  He joyfully takes it back and replaces it again.  

Oh boy have I kept him busy lately.  

Thank you Jesus for the gift of a clean heart!  And thank you for always being ready to give it to me the minute I ask for it!!  Allow me to let go of the things that have caused my heart to get so dirty, to TRUST you completely with all things; so that I can Love others the way you have called me to. 

I love you Jesus!!!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Check out my recently updated Website!

Not only have I been working on creating a more original design for my header, but I also added some new pages that you might want to check out.

I hope you enjoy the movie reviews, and learning a little bit more about my family.  I am also excited about someday sharing more with you regarding my role as a Campus Minister at a Catholic school here in Tampa, and some stories of some of my favorite Saints.

I am still trying to figure out how the best format to share all this information with you is, so bear with me as I am learning how to do all this stuff.

Cross Country skiing tracks...

I live in Florida.  I was born and raised here, and know very little about skiing or anything winter related.  However, a few years ago during the Winter Olympics I noticed something about Cross Country skiing that I had never realized before.  The skiers ski in pre-set tracks.

Did anyone see this, or notice this???  They are skiing in these tracks, or trenches, and pretty much stay in them unless they want to pass someone ahead of them.  And then they have to hop out of the tracks, push forward, and trudge through the thick powder, along side the tracks, and then hop back in front.  (It seems like a lot of work to me, to pass someone, I guess I am just not that competitive?!)

Watching this olympic event, I said a prayer.  "PLEASE LORD, CAN YOU MAKE MY TRACKS EXTRA EXTRA DEEP???"
I don't want to get into a discussion regarding pre-destination vs. free-will or anything even close to that here.  But I do know for sure that with out a doubt, whatever it is that God desires for my LIFE, it will be way better than what I desire for my life.  So if possible I would like to relinquish my free will, and just become God's robot.

Darn, I don't think God will answer that prayer.  He wants me to FREELY CHOOSE His Will...everyday.

UGH!!!!  That is not easy to do, and sometimes I make mistakes.  Sometimes, because I am confused.  Sometimes because I am selfish.  And sometimes because I am both.  Either way, whenever i jump out of my tracks it is not going to be as good as staying in my tracks.  And when I make mistakes, I am worried that it will snowball into greater mistakes later.  (Sometimes it does.)

Alright then God, Here is my prayer again, "Please Lord, can you make my tracks so deep it would be nearly impossible for me to hop out of them??  And can you plant my skis firmly in the ground and make them really really heavy?  That way technically I am still freely choosing to stay in your will, but maybe it is more because it would BE WAY MORE Difficult to leave those tracks than it would be stay in.  Not necessarily because I am great at obedience.  Because, I mean really, which of us, is great at Obedience???  Mother Theresa??  Saint Theresa of Liseuix?  Exactly.  Not me.

1 Corinthians 16:13 should have maybe been written this way if the apostle Paul had read my blog. "Be on guard, ski firm in the faith, be strong, be courageous."

Happy Martin Luther King Day Everyone!!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Love me some John Denver...

I love Christians songs, that describe God's love for us.  There are so many that do this so well.  But, lately my relationship with God, can be summed up with this song which isn't even Christian.  I love the John Denver version, but I totally relate to this artist, Honey Ryder in this version. 

I think John Denver wrote the song about his Daughter "Annie."  At least I think it was his daughter, maybe his spouse, but I think Annie was his daughter.  I am not sure if the idea ever crossed his mind to consider the Creator when he wrote this.  But clearly this song is inspired. I totally listen to it, sing it in the shower, and pretend this is an intimate conversation between me and my God.  Whew!  Love that God!!!  Here is how I imagine the conversation goes....

Me to Jesus...

"Jesus, You fill up my senses like a night in the forest,
like the mountains in springtime, like a walk in the rain,
like a storm in the desert, like a sleepy blue ocean.
You fill up my senses, come fill me again."

Then Jesus says to me.....
"Katie, Come let me love you, let me give my life to you,
let me drown in your laughter, let me die in your arms,
let me lay down beside you, let me always be with you.
Come let me love you, come love me again."

Then me Back to Jesus...

"YES LORD, You fill up my senses like a night in the forest,
like the mountains in springtime, like a walk in the rain,
like a storm in the desert, like a sleepy blue ocean.
You fill up my senses, come fill me again."

Then Jesus back to me...

"Yes, Katie you just said that."
I see God's love for us as really and honestly being all three types of love.  Agape Love:  He loves us as a Father, who cares for us, and looks after us. He made the ultimate sacrifice for us and models the way we should love our own children.  Philia Love: He also loves us a friend and companion, enjoys spending time with us, laughing with us, and sometimes being funny with us. (Like giving me a very strong willed 5th child; that was a funny one GOD!!!)  Lastly Eros Love:  This is the makes me get all Hot and sweaty thinking about.  It is a love so deep and so intense, I could lay in bed all day just contemplating it and feeling filled and complete and super super JOYFUL.   

This song totally reminds me of the way God loves me in that Eros sort of way.  NOT X rated, because that would be completely UN GOD like.  But totally and completely God Like in a deep and intense sort of way.  Again. Whew!!!

I can't be the only one who feels God's love in this way...right?

Monday, January 11, 2016

Let's lighten things up a bit...

I realize I have bit a bit heavy lately.  So it's time to explore some of the lighter sides of my mind.

Recently I have had some conversations with a friend who made her own Blessed Mother doll for her girls to snuggle with at night.  It is an absolutely adorable and soft doll that brings comforts to her girls, and reminds us that Mary is always helping us.  I am a big fan of her title "Mary Help of Christians."

Tales of Glory Mary
So Cute!!!  It reminded me of this conversation I had with a Walmart employee in Charlotte, NC one time when I found a "Tales of Glory" Mary doll on a Walmart shelf.  I went to the register to buy the doll, but they wouldn't sell it to me.  They told me she had been recalled, and they were not allowed to let me purchase the doll.  I guess they thought she was dangerous or something.  I was welcome to have the Jesus doll, but Mary was unavailable for purchase.  (I already had Jesus, both the doll and the Man.)

Hmmmm.  Interesting.  I considered the entire conversation prejudiced against Catholics, and in a heavily evangelical mecca such as Charlotte, it was not unfounded.  The back and forth with the confused lady at the cash register was completely hillarious.  At some point unbeknownst to her, I turned the conversation into an argument about faith, and not about dolls.    Needless to say it was memorable.

Remembering this funny story made me want to see all the other fun little Catholic gifts we can give to our children.  Many of these things are not just cool for kids, but for Adults too.

Hair Bows for Life!  Every little girl LOVES gigantic bows.  Let her sport her favorite Saint while she is sporting her latest up do.  Check out these bows at the following link:  Hair Bows for Life

Holy Toast Stamper I am not sure what to say about this next crazy Catholic thing.  But this would be a great conversation starter at your kids lunch table.  (And possibly a good reminder to say your prayers while you eat your sandwich.)  Either way, you can purchase this crazy Catholic gift on Amazon here: Holy Toast Stamper.

Jesus Bandages.  Oh boy, talk about sending the right message to your kids with this one.  Not only does Jesus heal, he protects, comforts, and makes your boo boos feel better.  Another fun thing from Amazon:  Jesus Bandages

Lego Rosaries:  This would make praying a rosary totally appealing to my boys.  What a fun and unique way to get the kids engaged in praying a rosary with the family.  Found these for sale on Etsy.

And while we are are discussing Catholic things made from Legos, here is a link to a blog article from Catholic Icing, with all sorts of other ideas for kids to make from LEGOS!  Super fun!!

This last one is definitely more for the grown ups.  I hope none of you think it is inappropriate.  I think Jesus has a sense of humor, and this coffee mug makes me laugh.  Jesus Shaves mug also from Amazon.  When you pour hot liquid in the mug, Jesus' beard disappears.   

Enjoy your life everyone!!!

Monday, January 4, 2016

The other "F" word...

Oh MY Goodness.  Nothing has been making my ears tingle and hurt more lately than hearing the "F" word.


This word is something I never had much problem with, until recently.  It's all my fault actually.  I prayed one time a long time ago in a moment of extreme bravery and clear insanity for God to help me love, like he Loves.  Oh boy.  That did it.  I left the door wide open on that one.

The thing is, I really meant it.  I had just come off of an AMAZING life changing retreat, and I had really experienced God in a new way, and sort of fell in love with Jesus all over again.  I felt God calling me into a deeper relationship with him, much deeper than I had ever experienced and it was the most incredible feeling ever.  Like Hot-Flash Awesome.  Like my-cheeks-are-blushing-just-thinking-about-it.

SO this started this new level of my relationship with my Lord, and I started reading about some of my favorite Saints and their relationship with Jesus.  Saint Gemma Galgani was one of them.  Long story short she was an Italian chick who LOVED LOVED LOVED Jesus and actually experienced ecstasies with Jesus on a regular basis.   Read her story, she is a favorite of mine.

One of my Favorites! St. Gemma
Anyway...So I sincerely prayed for Jesus to help ME love others more deeply, more fully, so that I could LOVE him more deeply and more fully.  Now I have to clarify, I am no SAINT.  I ask for these things at the same time I ask for a new Louis Vuitton bag, or a bigger house, or to lose ten pounds.  I am basically just like the rest of the world; just crazier.   Well sure enough a few months later I was blessed to be able to experience a kind of betrayal from one of my best friends.  It hurt to the core.

But here is the thing, I had just watched a movie on Netflix about the story of Hosea, called "Amazing Love."  It's all about the prophet Hosea who married a prostitute and she kept cheating on him, and he kept taking her back.  The story points toward the truth of GOD'S FAITHFULNESS to us, no matter how many times we betray him.  No matter how many times we sin, or turn our backs on God, he NEVER leaves us, or gives us the cold shoulder, or says, "Forget you, I have given you enough chances, you have really hurt me, so now I don't have to be nice to you anymore." 

THANK GOD YOU DON'T DO THAT GOD!!!  Whew, God working through Netflix.  That crazy GOD, he really knows how to touch my heart.

7 times 70; right?  Or 7 times 77.  So I pick up my bootstraps and choose to go love this friend of mine.  Now in all honesty, she probably doesn't even realize the depth of her offense. But like I said, I was hurt to the core.  But what will teach my friend how better love Jesus?  To be loved?  Or to be resented?  To be revenged? Or to be forgiven?   AND WHAT WILL TEACH ME TO BE BETTER LOVE JESUS?  To Love? OR to resent?  TO seek Revenge?  Or to seek to Forgive.  And wasn't that MY prayer???? 

To Forgive.  UGH THAT WORD!

Alright God, I get the message.  In order to love you more deeply I need to learn to Forgive others.  I thought I was doing pretty good at it, but now I realize I had never been given an opportunity to really exercise forgiveness. Until Now.  And that is exactly what I am doing.  I am putting on my work-out clothes every day and doing 20 reps of forgiveness.  It is a slow process for me, but I am working on it regardless of whether my friend deserves it.   And like I said she doesn't have a clue how badly I need to give IT to her.  Forgiveness that is.

I read something recently about what IS forgiveness.  I can't remember where I read this, so I can't site the source exactly, but it described forgiveness in three steps.

1.  Recognizing that there was a hurt.
2.  Realizing that a debt is owed because this person did something wrong to you.
3.  Then canceling the debt.

Ummmmm, depending on the circumstances this can be VERY VERY TOUGH.  Here is what I am imagining in my head.  I have this precious item.  Someone steals it, or damages it, or ruins it.  Then, once I realize that this person did this, and say to them it's okay.  No you don't have to replace it, or make it up to me.  Just don't even worry about it.

It sounds easy to do if it was something I didn't like anyway, like some old necklace I never wore.  But what if it was EVERYTHING I ever hoped for?  Like my entire savings being squandered, or my child being killed in a car accident, or my spouse having an affair?   How do you say to someone who has hurt you like that, "It's okay.  I forgive you?"

I am not sure exactly.  But if you truly hand over your life to Jesus then you trust that he can help you forgive.  And in the process you will be made HOLY, and WOW, what a gift it would be to be made Holy.   At least I think it would be a gift.  You get to party up in Heaven for all eternity. And I hear the FOOD and the people are AMAZING in Heaven.