Monthly Archives: November 2014

Thanksgiving Grace

thanksgiving

Thanksgiving would have to be my favorite holiday, hands down. I know most people love Christmas, but I love Thanksgiving for the sheer simplicity of the holiday. What do you do on Thanksgiving? What is expected of you? EAT! EAT! EAT! That’s it! Sure you may have to travel or you may have to cook for a whole crew of picky relatives, but seriously all that the day entails is relaxing and eating. Yes, of course it is about being thankful to God for all we have. But all we have to Do is hang out with family and/or friends and eat. No pressure. That’s what I love about it. Keepin’ it simple.

And that is what I dislike about Christmas. Yes I just said that. Dislike. At least I did not say hate or loathe. I did go through a phase where I really seriously loathed the Christmas season. Why? Because it was stressful. Buying presents for everyone. Having the money to buy presents for everyone… ugh. I hated hating it. But I did. I just couldn’t get into the meaning of Christmas when I was expected to buy buy buy…

That is why Thanksgiving is awesome. No presents. Just our presence. Being present to each other. And eating, of course. I wish Christmas was more like Thanksgiving. Why can’t our gift be just BEING with each other? <Sigh>

And then there is Grace~ saying grace at meal times. I was just discussing this recently with my book club. I was commenting how many people, and even Christians, do not say grace at dinner. They may only say it on Thanksgiving and/or Christmas. The Catholic grace: “Bless us, Oh Lord, for these thy gifts, which we are about to receive from the bountiful hands of Christ our Lord, amen.” Actually only my family, the Cody family (and now the Richardsons), say it this way. Most Catholics say: “from thy bounty of Christ our Lord, amen.”

My son, Hunter will even remember to say grace when we are out at a restaurant (he keeps us in line!). My favorite memory was one Christmas dinner, back in I believe 2004-ish, there was a room full of people smushed around several tables and we were all about to dig in and Hunter, four at the time, said, “Aren’t we going to say Grace?” You could have heard a pin drop. The whole room went dead silent. But, thankfully, we did say our grace, though I knew most of the people in the room did not even say grace normally. It was a very cool ‘out of the mouths of babes’ moment.

And then someone at book club said they say grace at every meal. Every meal? Huh. I always ONLY said it before dinner. Made me think. Why? Why did I only say it at dinner? Maybe because it was the only meal where we, as a family, were all together. But why shouldn’t I also say it any time I eat, whether alone or with others? I should be thanking God about the food I was about to partake in every time! Right?! We all should be saying it at every meal and hey, even during snacks. I need to try to remember and practice this.

This is the first Thanksgiving in 15 years that I am having Thanksgiving at home with just us. I used to love cooking dinner at home. The last time I did this was when we lived in Dorchester, Massachusetts. I am so looking forward to this.  I am looking forward to NOT traveling. Staying home. Just us. With a fire in the wood stove. A turkey cooking in the oven. And my boys and I just hanging out enjoying each others company.

So this Thanksgiving, we will give thanks to God for all we have, but I will mostly be thankful for the simplicity of just being home with my family.

And remember as we step over the edge of Thanksgiving and fall screaming like a girl into “the holiday season”… let us remember the reason of the season this “Black Friday”….

black friday

amen.

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Small

alone

Have you ever felt insignificant? Invisible, like you and your opinions don’t matter? Every felt like no one pays attention to you, or they misunderstand you, or they have the wrong perception of who you are? Every felt like no one gets you, no one appreciates you, no one includes you, or no one really cares what happens to you? Left standing there alone, forgotten … Ever felt … small?

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We have all felt under-appreciated and unloved at times. This can be depressing, devastating, frustrating and even infuriating at times. You wonder if you really matter, if anyone even cares what you say, do and think. That hollow feeling, a vacuous pit, which fills up with tears, self-pity and melancholy.

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But then…. You look up at that sycamore tree. You see him way up there at the top. Desperately you begin to climb, breaking branches as you go, causing leaves and twigs to flutter down. All the way up, grasping branch after branch, pulling yourself higher and higher. You settle in next to Zacchaeus. He nods at you, smiles, thanks you for joining him. Two small sinners, waiting for a savior.
He does not disappoint. He stops below the tree as if He knows. He looks up. Smiles. He sees you. Let me say that again, HE SEES YOU. Really sees you. He calls you by name. He calls you down. He wants to dine with you, to be with you. He does not care what the others say or think about you. He does not see you as they do. He wants you to know that it does not matter what anyone else says or thinks. He sees you and He loves you. It is okay if you are small. Do not worry.

Jesus shroud

He sees you.

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Enjoy This Season

Happy-Halloween-Meme-7

Yeah. That pretty much sums it up. Christmas shoved down our throats since November first… and actually before then … you definitely saw all the Christmas decorations lurking, skulking and inching their way onto store shelves since late summer… seriously. Best way to kill my “holiday” spirit is by shoving it down my throat months in advance. I have always said I don’t want to see or hear anything Christmas until the day after Thanksgiving … but yeah, unfortunately, every year it comes … earlier and earlier. The only way to avoid the chaotic cacophony of Christmas is to climb under a rock… it is everywhere… on TV, the radio and in stores … it is almost impossible to avoid this madness.

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You tell him turkey! It’s November. It is still autumn… Enjoy the NOW! I was just walking my dog Cooper, enjoying the sunset and the spray of autumn color… all the amazing hues: rusty reds, burnt oranges and mustard yellows. Some trees are still holding up their colors with pride, others stand naked with a blanket of leaves decorating their feet. It is beautiful. Relish the moment.

Enjoy November. This is the “thankful” month, where we give thanks to God for all we have and all we are. We are thankful for this great country… which brings us to today: Veteran’s Day. I am thankful for those brave men and women who have served our country in the armed services. Without their service and their sacrifice we would not have the freedoms we now have.

November will also forever be my father’s month. One year ago today, on Veteran’s day, I left my parent’s house in Syracuse NY knowing I would never to see my father again in this life. I prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet with him right before I left (sobbing through the last decade). Ten days later he passed away. Though my father, the General, was never in a war, he bravely fought the biggest battle of his life his last couple of years… against that damned evil disease Myasthenia gravis. He is my hero. And I miss him terribly. I thank God for the gift of my father.

So, I reiterate… it is November… not December… turn off those Christmas carols, please. You can wait until …Advent! Yes Advent! Christmas doesn’t actually start until, you got it, Christmas day… and it goes until Epiphany which is January sixth. Can we please celebrate these holidays during their appropriate seasons? When you drag out Christmas into other seasons and then end it right when it begins it tends to lose its spark. And you seriously ruin it for me. Yeah, bah humbug.

So~ Enjoy each moment, the here and now. Now is autumn, now is November … now let’s be thankful. Amen.

thankful

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Sitting in God’s Hand

God the potter

The recent Lectio Divina scripture verses have been a plethora of awesome visuals for me. Going from my last blog “Wash Away” where God washed and dried me in body and soul… to a new visual… God the creator~ the potter at the wheel.

After reading 2 Corinthians 5:17 “So whoever is in Christ is a new creation.” I immediately had the vision of God taking me, you know… little me, little Thumbelina/Tinker Bell sized me, and placing me gently on the pottery wheel. “Sit down, Kelly.” Spinning on the spinning wheel, held by the hands of God, cupped, held tightly, around and around I go, year after year, as the world turns He is molding me into a holy Christian woman… a new creation. Lord knows … He has to continuously work on me…”Sit still Kelly and let me mold you!” Haha… I can see me fighting Him sometimes, wanting to do it all my way. “Hold still, Kelly! This is for your own good! You will see!” … reluctantly, humbly I obey. Dizzy I smile up at him.

Ez 11

And then the next scripture that bloomed epiphanies for me was from the Prophet Ezekiel. “I will give them a new heart and put a new spirit within them; I will remove the stony heart from their bodies, and replace it with a natural heart.” Ez. 11:19. Again, God takes me, sets me in his hand. He reaches into me and gently takes out my stony heart. What does this heart look like?

Stony Heart

Like a gray, brittle, cracked stone, small, shriveled and pathetic. He takes this heart of mine and throws it away. Far away. He reaches into His own chest and pulls out a big, red beating heart. He presses it into my chest and I am immediately warmed throughout. My eyes, once dead, dark and dull… light up, my face glows … I get up, smile, shine, praise God, rejoice, so filled with love and life that all I want to do is live life for Him … be His hands and feet. I tell Him this. God laughs, kisses my forehead and sets me down, blows on me (again) and moves me forward to where He wants and needs me to be.

I need these daily reminders that God is willing to speak to me in scripture. That He loves me, that He is my Father, creator, teacher, friend… the one who loves me for who I am… who wants me to be who I was meant to be, who will always help me to become that person… I just need to open up the bible. Daily. I just need to open the ears (and eyes) of my heart… to see and listen… and to let Him work in me and through me. God is Good… (you know the response).

And now… today… I opened up to Luke 19… climbed up that sycamore tree and hung out with Zacchaeus … us little sinners need a better view of Jesus… hm… let’s muse on what God wants me to grasp from this vantage point…

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