I am a precious fool.

ImageAs usual I am “winging it”… trying to figure this whole blogging thing out…so bare with me and I fumble through this process on my first day. Precious fool and all, ya know.

I suppose I should start this blog by explaining who I am and why I chose the title “Precious Fool” for this blog …if I had to explain myself in a nutshell (which immediately made me think of Austin Powers, but please, get that image out of your head!) I would have to say that I am: Catholic, conservative, pro-life, special education teacher, wife and mother of three sons.  I USED to be a liberal, pro-choice wild woman years ago, well, not that long ago … but that’s not to say I am not still wild in my own (new) crazy interesting way. Most people seem to think us conservative Christians are some boring, prudish _________ (fill in the blank with some sort of mindless nasty profanity…)… but let me tell you, being a conservative Catholic is FAR from being boring.

I am having a blast BEING Catholic: practicing and learning about my beautiful faith. Hey, I just got back from Eucharistic adoration, LOTH (praying the Liturgy of the Hours) and daily Mass at my parish. AWESOME! Yes …you heard that right, cousin, I said it was awesome. Yeah, I know, there are those who wonder, “What is this crazy woman talking about? Church is not interesting or cool. It’s boring.” Oh BUT you are sooo wrong about that. Catholic Mass is AMAZING. It is heaven on earth. Seriously. Read the book of Revelation again and get back to me… (or read Scott Hahn’s The Lamb’s Supper… that’ll explain it for ya)… anywho… where was I? Constantly derailed and confused…. oh yeah~ My interesting and exciting Catholic conservative life. Yes. Hm.  Are we (Catholics and all Christians) not being persecuted by our government right now with this whole HHS mandate? If you don’t believe me go ask my man Archbishop Cardinal Timothy Dolan (or Hobby Lobby, God bless them!). Seriously… it’s exciting.. because we have to fight this evil! WOOT! Our religious freedoms are being trampled upon! YET It is disturbing (that more people don’t see this or are indifferent to it!) and scary (what is going to happen?!) … but excitingexcitingexciting at the same time. I am the church militant! I am a prayer warrior! We will defeat this… (or we will have a good time singing songs in our jail cells together)… oh … hm. Which brings me back to the topic at hand… “Precious Fool”… yeah.

So several years ago I was on team for the woman’s May Cursillo at St. Basil’s in Methuen, Massachusetts….wait, what? You don’t know what the Cursillo movement is? … well, if I told you what went on at Cursillo I would have to kill you… (hahaha j/k… but no serious, I would)… it’s a weekend retreat (oh! but it is much more than that! but that is not my point… moving on!!!) so one night during our team meeting, we were praying, preparing, discussing, sharing and singing…   we were singing the song, “You are my All in All” …  great song, right? (OH you need to hear them sing it at Basil’s at Monday night liturgy! Beautiful!  Gives me God bumps! ..but I digress)… so my partner in crime (during Cursillo), Kate, who is not shy and has a great beautiful booming voice, sang this verse: “Seeking you as a precious jewel Lord to give up I’d be a fool.” in a unique and hilarious way. She sang, “Seeking you as a precious fool….” BWUAAhahahahahahahahahahaa …well forget IT! I could NOT stop laughing HYSTERICALLY … I was crying I was laughing so hard… try singing a holy song while trying to control your laughter… it’s not easy!  I could notnotnot control myself…. even when it was over I was trying to stifle a laugh as we went on with our team meeting. I failed. Remember being in school and your friend made you laugh in class and you were overcome with the giggles and you couldn’t stop… but you had to and you tried but didn’t succeed in controlling yourself (and got in trouble with the teacher?!)… yeah that’s what happened. Me…snorkling like a fool. I was useless. Riddled with giggles. Anyway… it made me think. Precious fool. That is perfect. We are all precious in the eyes of God, right? Yes (nod your head). And I am a fool for Christ…. wait, you say,  what does that mean you ask: Well let’s ask St Paul: Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.”So then, no more boasting about men! (1 Cor 3:18-21).  I will happily be mocked, scorned and abused for my belief in Jesus Christ and my Catholic faith. I am a precious fool. So there you go.

Oh St. Francis of Assisi was also called God’s fool. and I am a Secular Franciscan (I am not professed YET, but I am a member of the Greccio Fraternity)…. I will write about being a Sec Fran (as my husband calls it) another time. Man there are many things to write about… I am also writing because at the moment I am not working. I just finished grad school and student teaching special education in a high school (LOVED IT! I miss them!) and I am looking for a job (which is hard mid-year) … and I am on the sub list, but they have only called me once this week… poo. I was a sub in a Spanish class, good thing I took French in high school. HA! …Anyway.. lots to write about… but I should save it for another day… I could go on and on.

Precious fool, signing off.

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Set the World on Fire

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Wow. What wisdom.

It has been too long since I have written… blogged…. and what a perfect feast day to jump back into it.  Ah, one of my favorite saints, St. Catherine of Siena, though it is very un-catholic of me, I like to think of her as one of the most “bad-ass” female saints (right up there with St. Joan of Arc) … for she was very outspoken and persistent, something I strive to emulate. I need to be strong like her, strong in faith  … it seems recently I really need strong Catholic women (saints) I can look up to!

These past several months I had fallen into a mini dark night of the soul… this oppressiveness, bitterness, resentment, anger clutched onto me and would not let go… and I couldn’t seem to drag myself out of it.  So I persisted through it, offering up my sufferings and praying through it.  Of course trying to understand why we go through moments (months!) like these is sometimes next to impossible, we cannot see what it means now …. we just need to trust that He is doing something important. For God has a plan and He is working in us, making us better people, making us holier.  Though I, of course, did not feel holier during this time.  I felt like an epic failure. Was I supposed to learn something? (I didn’t). Was I supposed to be kinder and forgiving? (I wasn’t). Was a supposed to learn patience? (Good God I hope not!).  Or maybe I was just supposed to suffer yet endure. I have also been reading St Faustina’s Diary recently (another amazing saint!) and boy did she suffer a lot!  So I understand that at times we must suffer for God to work.  But suffering is just that… so painful, suffocating, difficult and draining…  how can I continue on when I feel so oppressed?

Why am I bringing this up on St Catherine’s feast day?  Well, here are two very powerful quotes that I feel help me get through.

St Cat fire

Bam! Be who you are meant to be.  That simple. God made you unique. There is no one else like you. There is a reason for that. So BE that person he created you to be, because no one else can do what you do.  No one else can set the world on fire like you!  Don’t let others drag you down and tell you to be something you feel you are not.  The only changing you should be doing is becoming more of a Christ like YOU (if that makes sense). God made me like this… at times outspoken  (obnoxious might be a better description. haha) … and rebellious and radical.  He did not mean for me to ever sit quietly and not speak out when I see something wrong. He made me like this!  So I find offense when I am admonished (and silenced) for speaking out, for asking questions or when I point out hypocrisy.  Hey!  Back off! Good wants me to be me.  I have struggled with trying to understand how I am supposed to act and who I am supposed to be … but I  now know that God wants me to be me, it’s that simple.  He wants me to set the world on fire in my unique way. He wants me to speak out.  Which brings me to this next infamous quote.

St cat cry out

YES! I will not be silent. She is right… especially now… the world is ROTTEN ROTTEN ROTTEN (Yes three rottens!!!) because of silence… especially recently…. everyone is so afraid to speak out about life, marriage and gender (among other things!) … and now we have lost the battle (read Matt Walsh’s book The Unholy Trinity, Blocking the Left’s Assault on Life, Marriage and Gender… he explains it all!) … It disturbs me that so many do not speak out! … but we should not give up! We need to continue to cry out!  So I will be ME and I will be brave… I will CRY OUT!

St cat start-being-brave-about-everything-drive-out-darkness-and-spread-light-don-look-at-your-st-catherine-of-siena-86-43-57

So thank you St Catherine for your wisdom! Know that your words give others like me the faith to be the strong Catholic women we are meant to be.

 

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Fat Tuesday Musings

what-if-lent

Hm….

So today, as I was googling “Fat Tuesday” memes to post on Facebook I came across this one. Makes ya think… doesn’t it? If you think you should give up something for  40 some odd days to bring you closer to Christ (which is the point of Lent) then maybe you should give it up altogether. HUH!

About 11 years ago I gave up drinking for Lent. This was, of course, back when I was still drinking… (obviously). It was very difficult for me, especially since St. Patrick’s Day is always during Lent and I love my Guinness on St. Patty’s day!   But I survived the “fast” and was quite proud of myself. I did it! After that Lenten fast I knew that I would eventually have to give up drinking (there was this still small voice in the back of my head) … I knew it deep down in my soul. Then four years later I finally did give up drinking for good (I am 6 years sober!). God was patient with me… and He gave me the grace to do so. I so needed to cut drinking out of my life. Being sober brought me closer to God.

Also about 3 years ago I gave up coffee for Lent… (AAAAHHHH! OH the HORROR!)

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… now that was even harder to do since it was something I drank daily!  Giving up coffee was a huge sacrifice!  But I drank tea during my coffee fast and  survived (though I hated tea for months after that haha).  I never thought I would eventually have to give up coffee… why the heck would I give up coffee?!  Coffee is not beer/booze! There is no reason to give it up! Or so I thought … Well, sorry Kelly, there was a good reason.  Health reasons… reflux/heartburn all attributed to coffee… so last fall I gave it up. Thing is… I’m fine without it. Go figure. And I feel better. Healthier. Praise God.

So … after seeing this “What if I told you…” meme… and thinking about my past “fasts” I was thinking … is this time of year (Lent) really a taste of what we should truly be doing…? A time to reassess how we have been living…  how else can we die to self and have a closer relationship to God?  Will what I “give up” this year eventually be something that is given up for good? And will the things I add become a beloved habit? .. Kind of scary… yet inspiring and exciting…

This Lent: I am setting aside more time for prayer/bible reading and reflection (up at 4AM!). I am going to write Haikus every day of Lent like I did last year (loved doing that!). and I am going to eat healthy (no junk food for you!). I hope, eventually, all of these things become a natural daily habit. God willing.

And for those of you giving up Facebook… well, you’re just crazy. Haha!

Well, Fat Tuesday is not over yet!…  and there are Rice Krispie treats to shove in my gob…

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May God bless you this Lent!

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They Were Satisfied

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Just a quick pondering …. Today’s gospel reading from the Gospel of Mark had me thinking… what must it have been like to have been there with Jesus and the disciples when He multiplied the loaves and the fishes?  Sitting there with a huge hungry crowd… Did the 4,000 + people know what was happening? Or were the oblivious to the miracle? All of a sudden, after 3 hungry days, they were handed enough food to fill them up and satisfy them…. Did they wonder where it all came from?  Did some of them who were close to Jesus and the disciples see them doing something with the food? Did some see the miracle as it happened? I wonder … what did that miraculous multiplied bread and fish taste like? Bread and fish that Jesus blessed…  Was it the most delicious meal they had ever had? It says “They were satisfied.” There were left overs…. fragments filling seven baskets… so obviously  everyone was full, satisfied, smiling and content, probably one of the best picnic lunches they had ever had.

To have been there.  When I read the gospels I always think of what it would have been like to have been there with Jesus.Wouldn’t it have been amazing to have been there and received that gift? A miraculous meal created by Jesus…

… and then… I had a “duh” moment… a holy dope-slap upside the head moment. A “D’oh!” epiphany (haha)… Der, Kelly… He does give us a miraculous meal all the time… every single time a Mass is celebrated… every. single. day.  The Eucharist. Body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. Right there. For us. A gift. …But do we take this for granted?  Do we go up to receive Him with the full knowledge of His sacrifice and His unending love for us…  or do we numbly, indifferently receive Him without a second thought?

eucharist-pope-bene

So tomorrow, when you receive the Eucharist, do so reverently (maybe on the tongue instead of in your hand~ I have started doing this!)…  with the full knowledge of what it all means. This miraculous meal… the most important meal in the history of the world. The gift of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. We should be filled with joy after receiving Him.

We should be satisfied.

eucharist-st-maria-g

 

 

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….is the Thing with Feathers

hope

Another trip around the sun…. another year older and hopefully wiser. Hopefully. Hope.

hope-4

This word that came to me as I was choosing my saint for 2017 (or was he choosing me?). I used the saint generator I use every year. Here it is… go ahead… find out who your saint is for 2017: http://saintsnamegenerator.com/ 

So the saint that was chosen for me was St Jude, the saint of desperate cases … the saint of the impossible!  

st-jude

I immediately thought to myself, oh no!  Does that mean something horrible will happen to me this year and I will need his intercessory prayer?  Aaaahhh!  NO! … But as I read up on him I found out that he is the saint of HOPE.  Oh good. Something I need; a soft, comforting word that I can wrap my mind and arms around. Great word. Hope.

I found a wonderful intercessory prayer to St. Jude about hope that I plan on reading every day of 2017:

God the Father, give me hope. Help me to know that your hope is alive in me as I offer kindness, forgiveness, and tenderness to others. I seek the calm that comes from trusting in your hope and your healing presence. I trust that your servant St. Jude walks with me in all the blessings and challenges of my life, and intercedes on behalf of my petitions. St. Jude, fill my heart with hope.  Amen.”  

Last year was the year of Mercy… this year, for me anyway, is going to be the year of Hope.

hope-anchors

Do I need hope? Sure, don’t we all?  Was 2016 a bad year? Hmmm. Yes and no. As I look back on 2016 I am not deeply troubled as some people are… it seemed the end of the year many celebrities died and many people expressed (on Facebook) that 2016 was a horrible year… um… people die every year. I am more upset that my friend died unexpectedly and also my husband’s wonderful aunt lost her battle with cancer than I am with a variety of random celebrities dying …  

2016 did not start off good…  I spent the second half of my school year (as a special ed teacher) humbled and depressed, though, of course, my students were/are always a joy, that is not what ruined the end of my school year … I will not going into it now … just know that I will be careful how I pray in the future.

So this caused me to rethink my summer job. Every summer I worked as a teacher at Camp Connect, a camp for autistic students.  So, though I loved doing that, I thought I needed a summer off because of the rotten end to my school year. Heck I’m a teacher and I have the ability to have summers off! I may as well take advantage of it!  So I did. Bad thing about it~  no extra income coming in, so that was a bit of a struggle. But I am glad I rested and gave myself a break for once. Plus I was able to go to morning Mass. What a blessing.

One other major obstacle/hard ship that happened this year was our old, corroded pipes leaking and flooding the basement for months with horrific sludge. We finally got the pipes fixed and we cleaned up the basement… but that was a real nightmare for us for several months. NIGHTMARE. O.o … Owning a home… it seems that something always needs fixing… but I am grateful for this cute little house. Our home.

Good things? Sure, lots. Went camping off season (mid-June, right after school got out) with my husband and sons at Papoose Pond in Maine. I read several novels, rode my bike, swam and sat around the campfire. Bliss.  Since I took the summer off I decided to get season passes for myself and the boys to Water Country a water park in Portsmouth, NH. We had a very sunny summer! One of the high points of the summer was my annual trip up to Gunstock in Gilford, NH for Soulfest a three day Christian rock concert. It was amazing this year. I finally got to see Skillet!  They were awesome!  The three days was a blast, always a good time! Most memorial moment during the weekend… the crazy storm/flood that happened during Saturday evening mass and ended as soon as mass ended. Wicked cool. Holy epicness. or Epic holiness?

Another bad/good thing that happened to me:  winding up in the emergency room thinking I was having a heart attack in July … which in turn had me reassess my eating habits… and now I am down 15-20 lbs (though I probably gained some over Christmas). Keeping up that life style change.

One of the best things that happened this year was a successful Rachel’s Vineyard retreat for the newly formed (well…4 years) RV NH team.  We had an amazing Holy Spirit filled weekend… probably because we had an army of angels, saints and friends (church militant!) praying for us… plus I soaked the outside of the retreat center with holy water. Haha. I am so blessed to be part of this ministry and to have such beautiful women in Christ as my friends.  So thankful for them!

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Probably the most important “good thing” that happened this year was the defeat of Hillary. Yes that defeat was HUGE for me. She had to lose… because I could not live under that gloomy, oppressive liberal cloud for another 4-8 years. As I went to bed the night of the election, not knowing what the outcome would be, sick and fearing the worst, I prayed and hoped and prayed for this country. I believe a lot of people prayed and many novenas were said!  I was so overjoyed in the morning when my husband exclaimed, “He won!” that I literally wept. Thank you, Lord!  If she had won 2016 would probably have been the worst year for me. Seriously. That was an early Christmas present. January 20th cannot come soon enough. Hope and change, baby!

Resolutions?… humph. I usually don’t like to make resolutions…  but knowing that there is HOPE in my future no matter what happens I will make a few.  First one: I will read The Lord of the Rings trilogy.  I had my oldest son buy it for me for Christmas; I have never read it and I believe it is an important work to have read before I leave this earth.

hope-tolkien

Resolution two: save money instead of spending it and getting horribly in debt. This is a big issue for me…

Resolution three…. Three? I better not keep adding more… I will surely fail if I have a big list. I suppose I can pray that I will become more Christ-like this year… this is something I need to do daily and not yearly.

Wait! Resolution four: blog more! I hardly blogged in 2016…

One more thing as I leave 2016 behind… there was a lot of great Christian rock that came out this year: Skillet’s new album was probably my favorite. Other favorites: Switchfoot, David Crowder, Kutless, Tenth Avenue North, Needtobreathe, Relient K, Thousand Foot Krutch, Unspoken, Decyfer Down, Newsboys, Rend Collective …  I am sure I am missing some… great year for music. So I will end this year with one of my favorite songs of the year… all about hope… but of course.

Happy New Year!  God bless.

hope_is_the_thing_with_feathers

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Why I refuse to say “Happy Holidays”

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Yes, you read that right, I refuse to say the generic seasons greeting, “Happy Holidays” this year, and come to think of it, forever more during the Christmas season. I will say to everyone I greet, “Merry Christmas!” with a big cheery grin, no matter who I am speaking to. I don’t care if you are not a Christian. I don’t care if you are Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, an Atheist or are from the planet Neptune. I will still say, “Merry Christmas!” with a big cheery grin even if you state you don’t celebrate Christmas. You may think that is being insensitive and politically incorrect in this day and age, but I do not think that by me, or any other Christian, wishing someone a “Merry Christmas!” is being insensitive or even offensive at all. I believe it does quite the opposite. It does what it was meant to do. It expresses kindness and joy.
Let me explain by giving an example. Say you moved to India, or Iran, or Brazil, or Neptune for a year and during that year while you were hanging out with your new foreign friends their big holiday came up. Now would you feel included and accepted if they expressed their happiness of the season by stating their favored expression, “Merry Sacred Cow day!” or “Happy Buddha’s birthday!” or “Happy Neptune Monster Day”… whatever? Wouldn’t you be happy to be included in their joyous time by having them express their happiness to you in their favored statement? Or would you be offended because you’re not Buddhist, Brazilian or Neptunian? No, of course you would be open to and would enjoy experiencing their holiday and all the happiness that goes along with it, wouldn’t you? Wouldn’t saying, “I don’t celebrate that and I’m offended!” be rude?
Okay, here’s another example. Back in the early 1990s I worked as a bartender in the Chinese Restaurant “Joyce Chen” in Boston’s Theater district. I was one of only a few Caucasians working there. I enjoyed working there and learned to speak a couple of phrases in Cantonese. I loved learning about the traditions and celebrations of my Chinese co-workers and friends. During the winter months (January/February) they celebrate the Chinese New Year. Now this is a big holiday, a huge celebration for these people and during this time they taught me how to say, “Happy new Year” in Cantonese, if I remember correctly it is, “Gung He Fat Choy” or something like that. Every member of the Joyce Chen staff would wish me this greeting and invited me to their big celebration at the restaurant. I felt accepted and happy that they wanted me to be part of their special time. They could have just thought, “Oh, she’s not Chinese, why should I wish her a ‘Gung He Fat Choy’? She’s not one of us.” But they didn’t do that, they reached out to me, and invited me to celebrate with them, and I thought that was awesome.
And that, my politically correct friends, is why I believe expressing my season greeting in the traditional way, “Merry Christmas!” (for it IS the Christmas season), is right and good and wonderful because it is embracing and sharing with the whole world my joyful time. I am not “shoving my religion” down non-Christian’s throats. I am not trying to convert (well, I do try to evangelize). I am just sharing joy. That’s it. By stating “Merry Christmas” to everyone I come across during this time I believe is showing them how much I care, that I want to share this happiness, this joyful time of year. How can saying this be offensive or insensitive if what I am doing is greeting them in a joyous way and wishing them peace and good will? It doesn’t make sense to be “offended” by happiness unless you have a mental disorder.

war-on-christmas
Now, I know what you’re going to say. Not all American’s celebrate Christmas; and some people celebrate other December holidays, so by saying “Happy Holidays” to whomever you bump into, you are covering all your bases. Okay, that is true, not everyone celebrates Christmas, you’re right. But how many is the question? There are Jewish people who celebrate Hanukkah (it begins on December 24
th this year, Christmas eve!  How awesome!!!). Hanukkah is cool, I used to watch my Jewish friends light the menorah when I was a child and loved being part of it. As for what Jews think of Christmas, I don’t know about the whole group, but I have heard from some Jews that they love Christmas and all the joy that goes along with the season, they don’t find hearing, “Merry Christmas” offensive at all. I also asked my Atheist friend about the statement, “Merry Christmas” and he also was not bothered by it either. And not to make any less of this “Festival of Lights,” but this holiday is not the big Jewish holiday of the year. Yet Christmas IS one of our big holidays (Easter should be our biggest). Besides Hanukkah, what other holidays are there? Hhhmmm… I know one person that celebrates the “Winter Solstice.” But how many celebrate that? Hardly any. So what is left? Aaaaah, Kwanzaa… don’t get me started… but you know what? Most people have absolutely no idea, not only what this “holiday” is, but its origins. For one thing it is NOT an African holiday. And it is only 40-odd years old. A paranoid, racist, torturing (yes he was all those!) criminal (yes he was a convicted criminal… he tortured, yes, TORTURED women!), Ron Karenga formed the radical, violent (yes violent) group the “United Slaves” (a rival to the Black Panthers) back in the early sixties and thought up this fake holiday~ a black alternative to Christmas. I personally find the story of the man who started this holiday to be horrific and disgusting and cannot accept or embrace this holiday as a real holiday at all. But that’s just me, I have principles.
So, that brings me back to Christmas, the biggest holiday of December. What IS Christmas? We all know that it is the celebration of Jesus’ birth our Lord and Savior. .. so what is Christmas about? Look at all those Christmas cards, the words they use are: Joy, hope, peace, happiness, and good will, to name a few. What do we do during Christmas? Reach out to one another; wish each other happiness and joy and good will. And we give, not only gifts but many people give to charities and spend time helping the less fortunate have a Merry Christmas. That is what Christmas is. It is something precious, something good in a world gone mad.
We all know this. But still, for the past several years (decade!) there has been a war on Christmas. Many American towns ban Mangers, or Christmas trees or candy canes, or caroling … any and every expression of the Merry season is banned all in the name of political correctness in mortal fear that one person MAY be offended. It’s all quite Orwellian, how you must watch what you say, the Thought Police are watching. God forbid you say “Merry Christmas”, you could be fired for being insensitive and “offending someone.”
But aren’t you offended by this nonsense? How many American’s celebrate the Christmas season in some way? What do you think? Fifty percent? Sixty? Seventy? No~ 96%! Read that again: ninety-six percent! That’s a lot! So, who are the teeny tiny minority who do not want us “intolerant” (yes I have been called that!) to “push” our Christmas on them? Who are the whining Humbug Scrooges who don’t like to have someone wish them a warm happy greeting? Really, that’s what they are and they have gone too far. I am offended and I am going to do something about it.
So, that is why I will forever more express my happiness of the season with “Merry Christmas!” I have already wished several retail workers and grocery store clerks a “Merry Christmas” and you should have seen the smiles on their faces and they greeted me the same way. Awesome!
And so the season starts and so the war continues and so I finish this by stating:
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a jolly good fight!”

 hesonhisway

Footnote:

I believe I wrote that approximately 6 years ago and I have posted it every year. Though I love this Christmas rant I actually think I should try to start a new trend. Instead of stating Merry Christmas I should wish people a “Happy Advent”… for Christmas does not even begin until Christmas day. Advent starts tomorrow!

advent-meme

I wonder what sort of reaction I would get if I stated, “Happy Advent” to everyone… would some people be confused and not even know what I am talking about? Probably. Well, let’s try it!  I’m game, are you? ! So, into the “season” we go.  Just remember people… keep Christ in your Christmas celebrations. God bless.

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Holy Cheerfulness

thankful

I have been kicking myself for weeks … months really, about not blogging…  what has kept me from blogging? … huh. Ya see I think I have a good idea but then I realize it is just angry ole me wanting to vent and rail about politics and how stupid and intolerant (especially those who claim to be tolerant!) people are… Yeah that’s what I want to write about!  My anger and frustration! This whole election cycle was CRAZY… before and after! I could go OFF on a rant about it… mostly disgusted at fellow Catholics who voted for her (!!!) … AAAHHHH… (thank God she did not get in!) …but that is not what I wanted to blog about today… I want to blog about what I am thankful for this Thanksgiving season.

Recently I seem to be battling daily niggling demons….  That feeling inside me of disgust, anger, frustration… it overtakes me and I stew and fume for hours about certain situations.. whether it be other’s (idiotic!) political ideology or just daily friend/work nonsense that irritates me…  I have a hard time letting it go…  the anger boils inside me and I really want to let someone have it. 

angry-girl

I found the only way to stop this irritating feeling is by prayer… by asking God to PLEASE give me the GRACE to be at PEACE! I want to lose that feeling of anger and frustration and just be filled with His peace and love…  so I let it go. I give it to Him. I pray. Sometimes just a small prayer, or a rosary, or a Divine Mercy Chaplet… and wonderfully… within minutes (sometimes hours) the feeling of despair and hate lifts. Those demons have been taken out (St Michael to the rescue!) and I no longer have that burden of loathing upon me. I am free. It is quite miraculous because sometimes I am really angry and I am “hatin’” bad… like I never want to speak to certain people again … it is that serious. It’s like this vermicious k’nid type demon has grappled upon my back, sinking it’s claws into me, seeping its evil venomous lies into my brain, poisoning me, smirking its yellow sharp smile, snickering and giggling as I fume on and on, temperature rising, steam pouring out of my ears, steely daggers slicing out of my eyes, hatred and mockery belching out of my mouth..… Yeah… that bad. I hate that it overtakes me so easily and turns me into something horrid, despicable… 

So I pray, beg, plead, because I do not want to feel this way… I do not want this fierce anger nesting in my soul. Unhinge this beast, Lord, and fill me with your pure light!  .. and He does. He answers my prayers. I am given the grace to overcome. There is no way I could do it without Him. No way. I am not strong enough. He gives me  …Holy Cheerfulness. I came upon this phrase today~ It is interesting that I read this chapter from Thomas of Celano’s  The Remembrance of the Desire of a Soul (the Francis Trilogy) today:

“This holy man (Francis) insisted that spiritual joy was an infallible remedy against a thousand snares and tricks of the enemy. He used to say, ‘The devil is most delighted when he can steal the joy of the spirit from a servant of God. He carries dust which he tries to throw into the tiniest opening of the conscious, to dirty a clear mind and a clear life. But if a spiritual joy fills the heart, the serpent casts its poison in vain. The devils cannot harm a servant of Christ when they see him filled with holy cheerfulness…’  The saint therefore always strove to keep a joyful heart, to preserve the anointing of the spirit and the oil of gladness.”

 I want to be like St. Francis,  (thus, as a Secular Franciscan, I follow his ways) but I need God’s grace to get there… to be always joyful and full of peace.

So this Thanksgiving I am thankful for many things…. from family and friends (to the election results!) … but most of all I am thankful for God’s grace. For the gift of Holy cheerfulness.

god-of-hope

 

 

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Perpetual Lent

cup-of-st-francis

Happy Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi! This morning I enjoyed a nice cuppa with Father Francis… a nice cup of… almond milk…. yes, almond milk! No, not my beloved and coveted coffee….  Yes I no longer drink coffee… GASP! I know, I know…  crazy as it seems I can no longer enjoy one of my all time favorite beverages… due to my evil reflux I had to acknowledge that coffee was indeed what was killing my gut and making me ill… so I had to give it up. *sigh*

Now as you may recall, several years ago for Lent I gave up coffee… worst thing I ever did. Horrible.  I was miserable! It was indeed a sacrifice!  So here I am years later HAVING to give it up due to my health. So about a month ago, one miserable Monday, I gave it up cold turkey. … and after enduring 3 days of head aches (and doubts!) I am actually happily surprised to say~ I am good. I don’t miss it. Really. Seriously. Ya know why?  Grace.

Remember when I prayed back in the summer to be healthy and lose weight and I wound up in the emergency room and I was pretty much forced to eat healthy? Yeah, that. Yeah well, God honored that prayer … He knew it would be difficult for me to do…  He gave me the GRACE to do it. I was able to do it and I did not deviate from the plan. I ate less, I ate healthy, and I did not eat any junk food for over 2 months (well, on my birthday I, of course, celebrated and ate cake, chips and cider donuts…)  and I lost approximately 20 lbs! Woooo HOOOO! Only by the grace of God was I able to do that! Because Lord knows I could not do that on my own.

So during this whole healthy eating cleanse it dawned on me… Again I am giving something up … being created new … I feel like, little by little, I am living…enduring … a perpetual Lent!  Six years ago I gave up beer (alcohol) and I do not miss it (that is GRACE!). I feel that every once in awhile God prunes me, makes me give something up, even when I do not want to(!!!), but He gives me the grace to do it and to become a better version of me.

I think that is why I love St. Francis so much. He was a wild party animal… but was touched and transformed by God…

st-francis-unholy

I feel the same way, if God can work through me He can work through anyone…  Thank you Lord for your love, mercy and grace. Thank you for always challenging me and working in me… for changing me for the better… though at times I go kicking and screaming… you help me through. Amazing grace.

and St. Francis was the father of fasting….

st-francis-lent

hahaha. Happy Feast Day my Franciscan peeps. Pax et bonum.

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