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Sunday, November 30, 2014

The First Sunday of Advent


Jesus is honey in the mouth, music in the ear and a shout of joy in the heart.
-St. Bernard of Clairvaux

Preparation.  We are or should be in preparation mode.  Advent is here!

I could not help but think of Mary and how she was preparing for the birth of Our Lord.   What great Faith she had.  Unmarried, espoused to a man that could have turned his back on her, living in an occupied country, and yet she believed that God was going to take care of everything.

My faith waivers occasionally in the face of the unknown or when I am not sure of what God wants from me.  I hear Him knocking and sometimes I hesitate to answer His call.  I am fearful of what He will ask of me.  Some days I can not even be a witness in small ways.

I complain about other drivers, parishioners that are not behaving the way I think they should, the clerk at Wal-Mart, and my friends on Facebook.

So here I am in preparation mode again.  I am trying to remember the reason for the Season.  It has always been my favorite Season.  There is a hopefulness in the Season of Christmas.  There is a sense that all can be right with the world.  But this will be my second Christmas without Michael.  The first Christmas without him came so fast of the heels of his death that I was numb.  Now I am struggling with decorating.  Should I or shouldn't I?  Michael would want me to decorate and enjoy all that the Season has to offer.

I remember when he asked me if I thought he could make it to Midnight Mass and I had to tell him that I did not think he would be here for Christmas.  Yet all around me Christmas lights twinkled in the night dispelling the darkness, carols wafted in the air, and Mass was celebrated.

It is not enough for me to just sit in my pew.  No I am called to more.  I am called to be a witness.  I am called to open the door and invite Jesus into my heart.  I am called to be a light that dispels the darkness.

Lord,
I ask you to come into my heart
this Christmas Season.
Open it wide so that I may be a light in the darkness.
Open it wide so that I may be kind to those that are unkind.
Open it wide so that I may be a gentle reminder of Your Love.
Help me to have the Faith of Mary.

~Cindy

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving

The body is our cell, and the soul is a hermit who stays within the cell for praying to the Lord and meditating on Him.
    St. Francis of Assisi

I sit here the day before Thanksgiving and can not help but remember last Thanksgiving.  Last year was Michael's last earthly Thanksgiving.  We all knew it and so did he.  It was truly the best Thanksgiving that I think I have ever celebrated.

We were with family.  We had all kinds of contingency plans if Michael couldn't stay for the whole celebration.  But he surprised us all by sitting in the recliner with that sweet smile on his face drinking in everything!

This Thanksgiving marks the last of my firsts.  No more this is the first (fill in the blank) without Michael.  Now I am headed for the first anniversary of his death.  The year has moved faster and slower than I thought it would.  It has been a roller coaster.  I find myself looking forward more than looking back.  I am making plans. Plans to move on and to live my life.

I often talk to Michael and wonder what he is thinking when he sees me struggle with a volt meter setting or using the power screwdriver.  I know that I have given him some good laughs.  But as much as I miss him I KNOW that he is with God.  He is so unconcerned with the earthly mundane things that fill our days.  But I believe that Michael still cares and loves each of us.  My God would not separate us from those that we loved on earth.

So this Thanksgiving I am grateful for many things.  In fact my heart is overflowing with gratitude.

Lord,
I give you thanks for each new day,
for the love and support of family and friends.

I give you thanks for the memories.
I give you thanks for the new plans.
I give you thanks for my faith.

Lord, help me to be the person that you want me to be.
Help me to be a reflection of you to everyone I meet.

~Cindy

Monday, November 10, 2014

Time

When I was in High School my science teacher had a sign under the wall clock.  It read: TIME WILL PASS, WILL YOU?

I can not begin to tell you how many times when I was looking to see if class was over that the only thing I could see was that sign.  The phrase has stayed with me all these years.  I think of it when I am anxious for some event to happen or when I feel like time is standing still. " It is all about perspective" to quote Fr. Charlie.


Now I live in Arizona on the border of Nevada.  Nevada honors daylight savings time and we do not. So time can be confusing.  I travel twenty minutes to church but the clock shows that I either gain or lose an hour in those twenty minutes depending on which way I am traveling.  I keep a clock set to Nevada time in my house.  It makes it easier for me, except when I look at it and think that is Arizona  time.

My prayer partner lives in a different time zone all together and every year, twice a year we do the dance when the time change occurs.  We never can get it right.  We are math challenged anyway.  We have depended on our respective spouses to tell us when we should be praying in our time zones.  They have tried to explain it to us, but we only want the answer.  We do not want to see their work.  The first couple of days we are still getting organized and every time we pray early or late and apologize to each other.  By then end of the first week we are back on course and all new alarms are in working order.  Now, of course, you can use your smartphone to tell you what time it is anywhere in the world.  Not that that has helped either of us!

Sometimes I become confused about what time zone I live in.  Sometimes I become confused about which world I live in.  I forget that I am only here for a little while and that my true home is heaven.  I should not concern myself with manmade things.  My focus should be on God.  But like the time change and living on the border I do not always look at the right clock.

I spend my time being concerned about the conversations swirling around me before Mass.  My focus is gone.  I am more concerned with the speck in another's eye than the plank in mine.  I spend time in laziness and procrastination.

God tells us that we know not the hour or the day and that death will come like a thief in the night.  That is the only time we should be concerned about.  Have I used my time and talents wisely?  Will I be able to give a good accounting?

I think of how Michael and I spent our last months together.  We knew that his time was coming to an end on this earth and we were trying our hardest to make the most of it.  I believe that when I am asked to give an accounting of my time, that those months are at the top of my list of time that I am most proud.  It was not squandered.  I did not procrastinate.  I held every moment dear.

Lord,
So many times in the past I have squander time.
I have forgotten that time is a gift.
Help me to spend my time as you would have me spend it.
Help me to use my time to become the person that you want me to be.
Yes Lord,
Time will pass, 
Help me to pass also.

~Cindy

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Happy Birthday

I was like a stone lying in the deep mire; and He that is mighty came, and in His mercy lifted me up; verily raised me aloft and placed me on the top of the wall.
St. Patrick of Ireland

Today November 2, 2014 is Michael's birthday.  It is the first birthday that we are not together to celebrate.

This means that my year of "firsts" is coming to an end.  It is so very hard to think that we are not together to celebrate.  As our birthdays are only a day apart, we celebrated usually in between.

Last year our dear friends came to help us celebrate.  Boy did we celebrate.  It was a week of eating, laughing, and more importantly acknowledging that it would be the last time we would be together on this earth.  We were honest and talked about it.  We said those things we wanted to say to each other.  As exhausted as Michael was he said to me, " I would not have missed a moment of this for the world."

I am thinking of you and missing you and a little sad that you won't be here to see me turn 60!  I will miss you giving me a hard time about being an old lady.  But I will celebrate!  I will live my life, I will find new adventures and you will always be with me.

Lord,
I ask you to lift this stone from the mire.
Help me to remember that there is still celebration ahead.
I look forward to the day that we are all together;
Celebrating in Heaven.

Happy Birthday Michael!

~Cindy