Monthly Archives: December 2013

All Things New

ImageAs we reflect on 2013, what can you say that you learned from this past year? How was God working in your life in 2013? Did you recognize His hand? Did you see and acknowledge what He was doing, even if you didn’t understand it?

I, myself, can say that I am happy to see 2013 go. It has been a difficult year for me. But through all the difficulties I pressed on, trusting, hoping, and knowing that God was there with me. I did not like most of it, but I know that … God has plans for me “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11. And I also know that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28.  I may not know what God is up to in my life, but I know that he has a plan and that I need to trust, to let go, and let Him do His thing.

I also found myself stating, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” (Philippians 4:13) A LOT in 2013! I took on many difficult tasks this past year. Starting my new job as case coordinator, resource room teacher and special education teacher… the first day my boss saw the ‘deer in the headlights’ glaze of terror on my face and announced, “Baptism by fire!” which it surely was. I took on a lot from the very beginning and at times had no idea what I was doing… but I did it anyway! I endured… only because of faith… praying and relying on God’s mercy and grace. I am still learning how to do this job, it is still difficult, but I love it and I am thankful for it… and thankful that I had the faith and had God by my side every step of the way.

As I said many difficult things befell me this year… a difficult new job being one of them. From the very beginning of the year I felt I was spouting “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks, for it is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18. That was my mantra this past year.  Perfect joy. Being JOYfilled even when all about me was crumbling and all hell was breaking lose.

God knocked me down a couple times, not only to get my attention, but to show me the power of my faith, the power of prayer and healing.  I became injured chasing an overwhelmed, overheated autistic boy this past summer. Through the pain I saw God working in my life… through my friends who prayed for me. I was witness to a healing, my own, not only physical but spiritual as well. I understood God was there (is always there) and God was speaking to me. Slow down Kelly. Stop, take a look around. Breathe.

Probably the hardest thing that happened to me this past year was the death of my father. Seeing him, the strongest man I know, and will probably ever know, become weak and helpless… that was the most awful thing … watching the General succumb to Myosthenia gravis.  Several times in 2013 I had asked EVERYONE I knew… all my prayer groups, to pray for my father, and they did. And though he did not become healed in the way I wanted him to be healed, he did die as we all wish to die, peacefully, at home, in his sleep.  And that is a blessing, an answered prayer.  I will miss my beloved father, but I know he is no longer suffering and is in God’s loving arms now. Thank you Lord.

I learned a lot this year through my hardships and through my joys. I learned mostly that I need to trust in God and not let anything, ANYTHING, bother me. God is in control. God is love. God loves me. Knowing this gives me courage. “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?” Psalm  27:1.

What will 2014 bring? I have no idea. But I know if I continue to build my relationship with Jesus, take his hand and walk with Him and let Him teach me… I know I will be alright.

So as 2013 crashes around us…. Look ahead… there is a clean slate before us! A new beginning!  So let us be new, start again, be new creations, be children of light … let Jesus breathe eternity into your heart… May God bless you in 2014.

 

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Christmas Baby

walking-with-God

“Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’ All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’ When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.” Matthew 1:19-24

I am a Christmas baby. Wait, you think… your birthday is not on Christmas or even in the month of December… What are you talking about, Kelly? Well… let me explain… I will go off on a tangent now… one that actually seems to go in the opposite direction…. But be assured it will make some sort of sense (I hope…haha).

If you know me, you’d know that I actually do not really care for the Christmas season. It has always been stressful for me. Yes I will defend saying Merry Christmas (my last blog) but really, it is not my favorite holiday. My favorite holiday would have to be Thanksgiving… all that is expected of you is to cook and eat food and BE with family… and be thankful to God for it all…  I wish Christmas was like that…

I suppose it IS, or is supposed to be… a time to get together with family and be joyful… but I don’t feel that way during the month leading up to Christmas. When I hear people say, “This is my favorite season! I love Christmas!” I sort of sneer to myself (bah humbug)… I have never completely felt that way about Christmas… well, maybe as a child… but once I became a parent and had the burden (yes I used that word… burden) of buying gifts I have always felt stressed over the season. YES I KNOW it should never be about the presents (loot!) but seriously…  it is… no ifs, ands or buts… it is what is expected from us… to buy others gifts! I hate that … the whole BUYBUYBUY mentality~ It stresses me out to no end. (I know it shouldn’t but it does… still working on that… it’s taking me years).

To me the perfect gift is seeing my kids smile and rejoice over the gifts they receive… and if I cannot buy them what they want I feel like a failure, like I let them down. YES I know, Christmas is about Jesus and his birth… BUT it is a holiday for children and if I disappoint them I feel I have failed. So… I stress out … and to top it off it is also the month where it seems I have the most bills to pay…. Ugh.

And this year has been the hardest for me. My father passed away a week before Thanksgiving, so this will be the first Christmas without him. Also the same time my father died my husband was without a job… so add that on top of how I usually feel during Christmas… o.O yeah… not pretty.

But I prayed (and hoped.. and tried not to worry. HA!) … I asked ~intercessory prayer~ from St Joseph (patron saint of workers) and to my father… and within a couple of weeks my husband was working (praise be the Lord!)! Sigh of relief. So thankful for our Father God in Heaven, for St. Joseph, my father and for my husband.

On this Fourth Sunday of Advent the gospel centers not on Mary… but on a good, honorable, righteous man, Joseph, her husband and Jesus’ earthly father. His reaction to the whole crazy situation… finding his wife with child and then hearing and responding to the angel… wow, thank God for St Joseph and his own ‘fiat.’ As I thought about this gospel reading this morning in church (between the gift of tears) I thought of my own father.  It struck me several years ago… nine months before I was born~ what time of year was it, what were my parents doing, what was going on in their life, where were they? My birthday is September 24th… so count back… I was conceived around (or on!) Christmas Eve! See, though I act like a whining Grinch… I am a Christmas baby!

So as we head into the last couple of days of Advent, I let go of that stress… I let go… and let God. And what did He do?  I was reminded this morning during mass (by the Holy Spirit… who likes to wap me upside of the head with small epiphanies) that I was created (49 years ago!) out of my father’s love for my mother during the blessed Christmas season.  Yeah that’s awesome…

Now that is the greatest gift.

Image

My dad and I, circa 1968.

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Saint Nick

StNicholas of myraDecember 6th. The snow was lightly falling outside the clinic.  It was Tuesday morning.  Procedure day.  The waiting room was filled with expectant women. A silence huddled and shuffled in fingered damaged magazines. Myra, the receptionist, sensed something different about the day.  Maybe it was because it was the Christmas season. 

            ‘No one wants to be in an abortion clinic having to deal with their “situation” during Christmas,’ thought Myra.

              But here they were. Heads bowed, eyes red and downcast. Sitting on cold, ripped Naugahyde couches the color of bile. Waiting for their names to be called.

            ‘Whose idea was it to put up a Christmas tree in the waiting room?’ thought Myra as she shook her head.  It looked ridiculous and she could tell it made the women uncomfortable.  It reminded them of happiness and childhood. The last thing they wanted to think of.

            “Myra!”  Edith said from down the hall, “Call the first name on the list.  Dr. Wanza needs to be in Springfield by noon.”

            “Okay,” Myra stood up and was about to read off the first name when the door opened and a large man in a red suit walked in followed by a great gust of snow and the jingling of the door bells. The man filled the room with his presence.

            Eyes bulged, mouths hung agape as the women realized who he looked like.  He was all dressed in red with the tall pointy hat of a Bishop perched on top his head. His hair and full beard was white as snow and flowed over his shoulders and down his cloak.  He held in his white gloved hand a regal staff.  He looked around at the women with knowing blue eyes.

            Several women got out of their seats as if stung and backed into the wall. A table toppled causing a lamp to crash to the floor.  The women gasped as he stood before them. All was quiet.  He said not a word.  He just stared at each woman in turn, nodding as if stating he knew each one. No one moved as if they were afraid, not knowing or understanding who this stranger was, what he wanted or what he would do. Why was he here?

            “Myra!” yelled Edith from down the hall, “What are you doing? Call the first patient!”

            Myra did not move, but stood with her mouth gaping, open, aghast.

            “Incompetent fool,” mumbled Edith, as she irately marched down the hall to see why Myra was standing around like a buffoon. Not looking into the waiting room she grabbed the list out of Myra’s hand, “What are you doing? Don’t you understand that Doctor Karl has a busy schedule today?”

            She noticed Myra’s stark white face and goggling eyes staring into the waiting room.  She turned and looked.

            “My God! What the…,” she was taken aback, not expecting to see what she saw. Such a big man.  All in red and fur.  And that hat!  He looked important, regal.

            For a minute she said nothing, so shocked by the tremendous figure standing in the middle of the room.  Big, encompassing all. She looked around the room at the women’s startled faces.

            “Oh, no, no, no! What do you think you doing here? You can’t be here. You need to leave right this instant.  Can’t you see?  You’re upsetting our patients. What are you thinking?”

            The man did not even look at Edith.  He breathed in and let out a great, sad sigh.

            “Sir!” Edith yelled, “Do you hear me?  You cannot be here!  This is private property!  You need to leave immediately!”

            She stepped forward but then stopped as if unsure if she should confront him.

            “Sir?! Do you … um… understand English?” she asked.

            The man, as if hearing something from above, looked up at the ceiling with interest.

            “Do you hear me?” Edith getting irate continued, “You cannot be here!”

            The man raised his hands as if reaching for something.

            “Sir!  I am asking you to leave this instant!”

            “Edith! What is going on?  You know I have a tight schedule today,” Dr. Karl Wanza stuck his head out the examining room door and yelled down the hall.

            “Sorry doctor but there is this man out here…just…standing … and he will not leave!” Edith explained.

            “What? Standing?” the doctor yelled confused, “If someone is causing a disturbance call the police!”

            “But, doctor, it’s….” Myra’s voice came back.

            “It’s what?” the doctor annoyingly barked.

            Myra waved for him to come, “You…you just have to see for yourself.”

            The man in red continued to stand completely still, eyes raised, arms raised as if waiting to be given something.

            “I don’t have time for this nonsense, can’t you incompetent women deal with this yourselves and call the first patient?” the doctor remarked as he walked down the hall toward them.

            When he saw the big red man he stopped in his tracks and swore under his breath.

            The man in red put his arms down, turned his head and looked the doctor in the eye.  As if stung by his stare the doctor flinched and backed against the receptionist’s desk.  He fumbled and fell backwards and scurried down the hall away from the man in red.

            “Doctor!  What should we do?” Edith yelled after him.

            “Call the police!”  He yelled as he slammed the office door.

            One of the women skirted her way around the man in red and left out the front door.  The man in red sighed heavily.  Another woman, with shaking hands ran towards the door.  The man in red reached out and touched her shoulder as she passed. She stopped, looked up at him, kissed his large white gloved hand and sobbed as she left the clinic.

            “Call the cops!”  Edith hissed through her teeth at Myra, “Hurry!  Before they all leave!  He’s scaring them off!”

            Myra, watching the man in red, did not move.  She watched him as if she understood who he was and why he was there.  She shook her head at Edith and mouthed, ‘No.’

            Another woman stepped forward, he took her hand in his and she smiled, tears pouring down her face. He smiled back at her, nodding.  She left.

            “Hurry!” Edith barked, “They are getting away!”

            Myra would not move.

            Maria, the custodian, stepped into the waiting room.  When she saw the man in red she gasped, crossed herself, kissed her fingers and began praying under her breath.

            “Stop that!” Edith said shaking Marie.

            “Saint…” Maria started.

            “No it isn’t, stop that!” Edith cut her off and shoved her back into the hallway.

            After another woman left Edith shoved Myra back and grabbed the phone.

            “Yes, I would like to report an intruder at the East side clinic.  Send the police!”

            As the eighth woman willingly left of her own accord, two police officers showed up.  When they stepped inside the clinic all was eerily quiet.  They both blinked at the man in red and looked at each other with smiles, about to break out into laughter.

            “Officers!” Edith pointed out, “That is the man!  Arrest him!”

            “Him?” One of the officers asked, “No way!” He laughed.

            “Lady?” asked the other officer, “You want us to arrest Santa Claus?

            “It’s Saint Nicolas,” explained Maria in awe “Today is his feast day. He is the Patron Saint of children.”

            The older Italian officer looked at the younger red-headed officer, “Hey Murphy, what do you think Saint Nicolas is doing here?”

            ”And where is here, Sal?” asked Murphy.

            “What do you people do here?” asked the older cop.

            “Reproductive health.  We’re a clinic.  We help women in need,” Edith barked, “You need to arrest him.”

            “You know what that means, right Sal? Remember what we were talking about earlier?”  Murphy nodded at the older cop.

            “Yup,” he crossed his arms over his chest and glared at Edith.

            “What?!  Do your job! Arrest this man!”

            “For what?  He is just standing here,” Sal pointed out.

            Another woman stepped forward and embraced the man in red.  He hugged her back.

            “Yeah, he looks really threatening,” Murphy said.

            The woman left.

            “You see, he is scaring off our customers!”

            “Yeah he’s wicked scary,” Sal laughed.

            “He is an unwanted… man …in this establishment and he is driving away our clients!” Edith was hysterical.

            “No one else is complaining but you,” Sal pointed out.

            “I’m complaining,” Doctor Karl yelled from down the hall.

            “Who’s that?” Murphy asked.

            “Doctor…” Edith started.

            “The abortionist,” Maria finished.

            The two police officers looked at each other.

            “What’s he afraid of? Leaving the women out here to fend for themselves.  What a…”

            Another woman grasped Saint Nicholas’ hand, sobbed and ran out the door. Three female patients were left in the waiting room.  They all looked at each other embarrassed and with tears in their eyes.

            “Seems to me he’s doing a good thing,” Sal stated.

            “He is driving business away!” Edith spit.

            “Business?  You call this…. Business?” Sal asked.

            “Despicable,” Murphy shook his head.

            “How much money do you make per baby?” Sal asked.

            Edith looked at the eyes of the last three women, “It’s not…”

            “It is too.  How much does she charge you?” Sal asked one of the women.

            “Five…” the woman shyly spoke.

            “Five hundred dollars?!  Holy smokes!” He bellowed as the woman ran out the front door.

            “Well, now, Sal, you scared that one away,” Murphy pointed out.

            “Good.  I’m helpin’ the big guy out,” he nodded at the large man in red.  He nodded back.

            “So the rest of yous are going to fork over five hundred big ones to these people…to do…. What? On Christmas? Really?” Sal asked.

            The last two women broke down and cried.  Saint Nicholas hugged them to him and led them to the door. Then he turned to them and laying a finger to the side of his nose they all watched as Saint Nicholas slowly sparkled and disappeared.

            Edith screamed then fainted.

            Maria and Myra turned to each other and crossed themselves, “God be praised,” Maria cried, “I have been praying for this day.”

            The police officers stood gaping at the spot where he was, “Did you see that, Sal?”

            Sal looked at Murphy dumbfounded and choked up, “Wow,” was all he could muster as a tear fell from his eye.

            Maria and Myra helped Edith to her feet.

            “Did he, did he? Where? How?” Edith stuttered as they set her on the couch.

            “Christmas miracle,” Myra stated.

            “Did he finally leave? Good! But, wait…Where did all the customers go?” The all turned to see Dr. Karl Wanza standing in the reception area with his hands on his hips.

            “Yes, he did finally leave.  And all the ‘customers’ went home… to embrace their families, and to acknowledge and accept the one who is to come,” Sal stated.

            “Baby Jesus?” Maria asked.

            “Well, yeah, him too.  Come on Murphy, our work is done here.  Let’s get the hell out of this…place. Merry Christmas,” They tipped their hats to Maria and Myra.

            “Merry Christmas, and God bless you.”

            As they departed a great swirl of snow blew through the room as the bells on the door rang out their song.

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