Tag Archive | Jesus

A Special, Precious Moment … with Love


Jesus-Mary-Joseph-manger-sceneWe live all year for these moments – these special Christmas moments. Whether in the hearts of children looking forward to Christmas plays, cookies, and visits from Santa to load the tree and stockings. Or whether in the hearts of compassionate adults looking forward to time with family and friends, special songs, and thoughtful giving to those who are less fortunate. These longings, traditions, and special celebrations are what we measure a year by sometimes. The waiting makes them both fleeting and precious. Sharing a smile and a surprise is the fun part. We spend time in labors of love by baking, shopping, wrapping, decorating, and random acts of kindness.

All this joy, and yet it is not enough.

Because Christmas, while it is celebrated in these and many other ways, is not complete until we reflect on the TRUTH. Take a moment or two as you hustle and bustle about your day to remember why we even have this holiday at all. That tiny baby, born so long ago with one purpose – to redeem and save the souls of mankind. With reverence for the season, I share with you 2 great songs – from a parent’s perspective.

IT IS FINISHED!


ItIsFinishedTBToday, for Christians around the world, is a solemn, sacred day. It’s not about theologians determining the exact historical day that it came to pass, but rather, it’s about what today commemorates. Today we hold vigil for the greatest travesty and most sorrowful of days in our faith practice – Good Friday. The day that Jesus wore the crown of thorns, bore the ridicule and scorns, suffered the beatings, and ultimately was crucified.

I cannot imagine the terror that was in his heart as he faced his sentence and walked the long and painful path to his ultimate sacrifice. As a mother I cannot bear to think of the horror that Mary felt as she watched her son, the pure and loving man, writhe in agony as he was hanging on that cross.

But I also recognize that it was the day that Jesus uttered the mightiest 3 words ever spoken – IT IS FINISHED!

For those of us who recognize the power of those 3 words, it is the most sacred of all spoken. It is in those 3 words that the world shifted from needing salvation, to having a Savior. Those words completed the sacred purpose for Jesus’ walk upon the earth. And today, with grateful tears, I remember the passion of The Christ. I pray with gratitude that He paid the price I cannot pay. And I know, if I was the only human on this earth, that he would have done it just for me. And likewise … he would have done it just for you! That is the humbling reality to the perfect love of God.

Here’s a song from my childhood that still bring me to tears as I remember the greatest of all sacrifices: 

Know that you are loved and be blessed!

Jn3

Spirituality moves me …


Today I had an interesting conversation with a work colleague/friend. It’s not the type of conversation I venture into very often because for some people it is controversial. But, since this is my blog and my thoughts, I figure I’m entitled to share them here if I so choose. So I do so with a caveat – if you disagree, I am completely fine with that and respect your point-of-view, and hope you do the same for me. Please refrain from any negative harassment as I won’t tolerate it on my page – either by readers or towards readers. It’s just my ethics.

religion-spirituality-christianity-scopo-ebook-98710433233_xlargeSo… the conversation was about spirituality vs. religion. Now to be fair let me say that I was raised Catholic – Catholic orphanage run by nuns, Catholic grade school and high school, also run by nuns. I even attended a Jesuit Catholic college. My world was singularly Catholic, which is not uncommon in Cincinnati as it is a predominantly German Catholic culture. That was, until I lived for 5 years in a small town that was decidedly NOT Catholic, by majority numbers anyway. I am proud of my upbringing and find solace in many parts of my religious upbringing, particularly the reverence I find present in the church during worship.

Nope, that’s not the controversial bit. What is … is that I find as I get older I become more spiritual and less religious. The more I know about the big churches (no, not just the Catholic church) the more it is blatantly apparent that the “rules” have really strayed quite a bit from the life of Christ and I find it difficult to look at them without seeing that. As I’ve grown older I’ve continued to seek God and to deepen my relationship with Him. That life of spirituality moves me and … it supersedes religion. This is a relationship that makes my soul sing. It is a place that recognizes God in people no matter what their religion or background. Funny things is, I learned so much of this from some nuns I met in my adulthood.

I still consider myself Catholic because I believe in the basic tenants of the faith. But I do not consider myself to be a blind follower of “the church”. Yikes that won’t sit well with many people I know and love. And I’m okay with that. Actually I believe when we die and transition to heaven there will be a lot of Catholic people (and others too) who will be shocked to look around and see who else is there. lol Sorry, I can’t help myself from laughing. I know that God is love and love is all encompassing. I know that the building you sit in to praise him is irrelevant to him. The labels we use for ourselves and others are meaningless in an eternal view. Jesus did not come here to start a religion. Wow – that’s quite a heady statement if you really, really, really examine it. And with all the human frailties and sins committed by people of every faith I cannot imagine a scenario in which God’s Heaven – His eternal domain, is not big enough and loving enough to include us all. We all sin differently but we all sin.

spirituality

I saw a bit of shock in my friend’s face when I stated this. And in that moment I knew, yet again, that spirituality is a topic that doesn’t get talked about enough. There should be no mystery about a relationship with God just because there are religions who profess to know all the answers and have the only path.

And so I sigh a heavy sigh. I pray unceasingly that Love overtake the world, no matter what the denomination.

Be loved and be blessed!

A Special, Precious Moment …


Jesus-Mary-Joseph-manger-sceneWe live all year for these moments – these special Christmas moments. Whether in the hearts of children looking forward to Christmas plays, cookies, and visits from Santa to load the tree and stockings. Or whether in the hearts of compassionate adults looking forward to time with family and friends, special songs, and thoughtful giving to those who are less fortunate. These longings, traditions, and special celebrations are what we measure a year by sometimes. The waiting makes them both fleeting and precious. Sharing a smile and a surprise is the fun part. We spend time in labors of love by baking, shopping, wrapping, decorating, and random acts of kindness.

All this joy, and yet it is not enough.

Because Christmas, while it is celebrated in these and many other ways, is not complete until we reflect on the TRUTH. Take a moment or two as you hustle and bustle about your day to remember why we even have this holiday at all. That tiny baby, born so long ago with one purpose – to redeem and save the souls of mankind. With reverence for the season, I share with you 2 great songs – from a parent’s perspective.

With all you are and with all you do and believe, I pray that you be blessed. Merry Christmas!

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Grateful for YOU!


Today, like so many other people, is my favorite holiday. In the US the 3rd Thursday in November is “Thanksgiving Day.” Oh, it is the feast to end all feasts. It originated in the humble beginnings of our nation as the settlers and American Indians came together in peace to celebrate and share the bounties of the harvest. Those are honorable and neighborly roots – some of the best of our national history.

Today, every family has their traditional fare in which turkey, stuffing and all the fixings and side dishes are featured at the table. Cooking and planning takes days or weeks and not hours. There is nostalgia as traditions are repeated year after year. Favorite dishes might only show up on this special day. And in true US fashion, the fall event is punctuated with parades through the streets and on TV to usher in Santa to the season, lots of American football games to rally the men around the TV, and all the fun (and sometimes crazy) dynamics that family gatherings seem to produce. Oh yeah, and the insanity of the kick-off to the holiday shopping frenzy (not my favorite part I must say).

That’s the logistics of the day. And while I love and cherish the traditions of the day, the real reason it is my favorite holiday is that, at its heart is the spirit of gratitude. It is a day for THANKS giving and not gift giving. It’s a day where people come with hands full of offerings and not open for receiving. It is a precious day set aside to be thankful and for that reason, today, I count my blessings.

Here’s a few for this year:

> I am thankful for God and my faith. It is the sacrifice of Jesus that gives me eternal life, hope, and daily guidance. Without it, I am a shell of  a human and I am grateful.

> I am thankful for my job and that both of my children are once again gainfully employed as well. I am thankful that hope and perseverance will rule the day and others I love and care for will also find employment. It is my prayer and my belief for them.

> I am thankful for the love of my family, where I have 2 Grandmothers, my parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, my dear sisters, their husbands and my precious nieces. And a brand new dose of gratitude for the newest, my 2 day old niece Abby. What a lovely addition to a wonderful, loving family.

> I am thankful for the reunion with some precious members of my original family. The healing is complete. The appreciation has begun. I am grateful and blessed to have more family to love – Shirley & Lynette.

> I am thankful for my friends who have held my hand and my heart through thick, thin, joy, pain, fear and fun. They are precious in every way. I am especially grateful this year for Jeanie, my oldest and dearest friend who has fought the valiant fight against breast cancer and won. Praise God for that special blessing!

> I am thankful for new acquaintances who have come into my life in varied and surprising ways – from my summer intern Ellidia, to friends across the nation and across the globe that I have connected with over the year.

> I am thankful that in my country we can dissent with passion, speak out our minds and our hearts, and peacefully shift power and authority in our government. Agree or not on the choices, we democratically and peacefully shift.

> I am thankful for those that serve – military, police, and fire fighters. They honor us with their daily sacrifices and they serve to protect all that we hold dear – our ideals as well as our lives. I am deeply grateful.

> I am thankful that my education and experience have given me success in my career and my skills are sought after by those who offer opportunity for recognition and new growth.

> I am thankful for my spiritual sisters and brothers who come into my life daily, weekly, and monthly in loving and supportive ways. I especially treasure my Wise Women & Bill friends who speak only of love, acceptance, gratitude, and friendship. They feed my soul and my heart on a constant basis and bless me in countless ways.

> I am thankful for this platform and the virtual friends who I have met online. You have broadened my world, allowing me to see my life and talents differently. Not only do you listen but you also contribute to my world. Especially you Dan – you have opened my eyes to how blessed I am in big and small ways. Your humor and your loving, generous spirit bring a light into my world and I am grateful.

This is just the beginning of my grateful list. As I prepare the meal for my family today I will continue to joyously and gratefully say prayers of “Thank You.”

I wish you all an awakening to your heart of all that blesses you – the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual gifts that make you “you” and your life so precious. Happy Thanksgiving Day … be blessed!

 
 


 

Breath of Life


Today at work our women’s network had nationally recognized self-defense speakers Debbie and Mike Gardner. They were excellent and I highly recommend them. She’s a former police officer and I believe he’s still a current officer.  They teach the “really-really” message of how to prevent and/or survive an attack. Excellent stuff but not the same old messages of  fear. This is the gritty stuff that you need to know. But most importantly – it was filled with courage coaching and how to enable yourself to do what you need to do.

The first thing they teach you is why people “freeze”. It’s actually not freezing at all – it’s holding our breath. And when we hold our breath we cannot think, walk, or react because the blood and oxygen aren’t there. There was so much info packed in the 2 hours but it was surprisingly easy to remember.

What really strikes me is, once again, it’s a lesson on not holding our breath as a foundational lesson. It brings another level of awareness that the “breath of life” is indeed not just for stress reduction – it’s for survival. As Debbie says, “The last one breathing wins!”  Here’s a link back to my previous posting/poem related to breathing – Shifting.

There is a repeating message in my life these days. I can shift my life by breathing. I can relax and calm myself by breathing. And now, I can save myself and others by breathing. I’m excited to know that it STARTS with something as simple as this, now the hard part is remembering it and following through with the rest.

And this reminds me of a song … and another “breath” I cannot live without. Take a listen to Amy Grant singing “Breath of Heaven”. 

Breathe my friends! Don’t forget that this simple thing is the key to so many things we need to live and to survive. Breathe and be blessed!

I cry and pray


I am disappointed time and time again when I see so-called members of my Christian faith behaving in ways that would make Christ cringe and cry. Yes, I read the Bible. Yes, I go to church. But I do not espouse to believe some of the degrading and unloving things that I hear come out of the mouths of people who are both leaders and followers in the Christian community at large. At the end of the day, the parts of the Bible that come from the teachings of Christ is what was the foundation of Christianity as a new belief and a new religion. And some days you would never know it by the things we see and hear in the news or in our smaller communities.

To read how Jesus preached compassion, understanding, salvation, forgiveness, faith, hope, and all things related to unconditional love makes my heart and soul breathe in a mighty Allelujah! And inspires my mouth to shout Glory to God! It is that positive message that has survived in spite of 2000 years of persecution, misconduct, wars, and many other atrocities. And it is that original loving message that is the guiding principles for my beliefs and my actions.

But to see self-proclaimed Christians live and preach hate, division, judgement, unforgiveness, and all things related to intolerance makes me want to deny the title just in order to be in no way associated with them. Those thoughts, philosophies, and words are a blight upon the believing community. I do not know how preaching the opposite of the man we follow can possible bring souls closer to God or glorify his Divinity. And for that my heart weeps. In spite of what wisdom they think they are preaching these unloving people are forgetting a very powerful statement:

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21

I pray for those who speak and live a misguided and unloving life. And I pray even harder that true, loving Christians speak and live loudly enough and well enough to drown the others out. May the true Christians stand together in love.

Believe, live, and be blessed!