Tag Archives: saints

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!

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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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….is the Thing with Feathers

hope

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

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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.

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Gentle Saints

all saints day meme

Today we celebrate All Saint‘s Day. The day is dedicated to the saints of the Church, that is, all those who have attained heaven. Of course I want to be a saint, as do most practicing Catholics. Saint Kelly… yes I want to be the first Saint Kelly (though there may be one already… I am talking about the ones recognized in the canon of the saints by the Catholic Church.)! But after the homily today I became a bit, just a bit discouraged… you see Fr. Phil said in his wonderful homily that he once heard someone ask a priest, “What makes someone a saint?” and the reply was, “A saint is gentle in everything he does.”
Gentle. Hm.
Me, gentle? Ha! That is probably the last thing someone would say to describe me.

I am a delicate feminie flower

Yup… that would be more like it. I am …hm… how should I say this… passionate… zealous… and at times quite honestly obnoxious. Gentle?… nope, not me. I am the proverbial bull in the china shop of life. I can be loud, selfish, opinionated, animated… the punk rock Catholic. I seethe … yes seethe at the statement, “Let’s agree to disagree!” Because no I don’t want to agree to disagree, especially when it comes to topics such as abortion… killing a baby is wrong so there can be no agreeing to disagree~ you are wrong, change your mind! I can be intolerant, yes I said that, INTOLERANT at times of other people’s opinions and beliefs (like on abortion)! So yeah… I can be intense and very UNgentle.
Case in point, last month while at Derry Fest (our town’s annual festival) I saw that Planned Parenthood had a tent… so what was my knee-jerk reaction? As I walked by I yelled out to them, “Defund Planned Parenthood!” Yeah, classy. My friend Jennifer, who is very involved in 40 Day’s for Life, was a much holier person than me that day. She went up to them and told them she would pray for them. She spoke kindly to them. She expressed her beliefs in a nice, kind way. Not like crazy, mad Kelly.
I do admit that I have been working on not being so…. ME. I have been trying to be holy. I am trying to not blow up as much (my Irish temper!). I am trying to hold my tongue. I am trying to not post as much (in-yer-face stuff) on Facebook (yeah that won’t happen haha 😛 ). This summer I actually stopped myself from freaking out on a woman who misunderstood how we (a co-teacher and I) were handling an autistic student who was melting down in the middle of Manchester Community College. She got all up in my grill, accusing us of things… which infuriated me, not only because she did not understand the situation but she didn’t understand our students… I was furious… BUT… I refrained from freaking all up and down her… I kept my cool and I turned and walked away. My co-teacher said she was impressed with me, in the past I would have lost my cool. So, there is hope for me… for Saint Kelly. 😉 ha!
So on this Feast Day I have learned something (thank you Fr. Phil). Be gentle. I need to continue to try to be less me and more Him. I know that it is hard. I know that it takes time… years even…. and I know the saints weren’t all perfect. And some were very wild too. One of my favorite Saint Francis of Assisi quotes (which I have quoted before) is, “I have been all things unholy; if God can work through me He can work through anyone.” God is working in me … no worries… There is always hope for us wild obnoxious Catholics.
Phew. Thank God.

saints quote JP2

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Prayer Before an IEP Meeting

Angel_Army

I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it years ago when I started as a special education teacher.  I am always praying before meetings, usually rosaries and Divine Mercy Chaplets on top of all my other morning prayers… and there are even times when I ask all my friends/prayer warriors to pray for me if I think a meeting may be a bit …hm… difficult.  My husband says he prays a whole army of angels and saints surround me at my meeting.

angel-army

Yeah! Makes me think of that Chris Tomlin song about the God of angel armies… at my side!  Makes me feel that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”… I feel peaceful and courageous.

So recently a co-worker, friend and fellow Christian and I talked about writing a specific prayer for IEP meetings…  so this is what I came up with:

Prayer Before an IEP Meeting
Heavenly Father
I thank you, Lord, for this glorious day
I thank you for my job as a special education teacher. I know this is the plan you have for me, help me be the best case coordinator I can be.
I thank you Lord for all my students. You placed them in my life for a reason. Help me to help them be successful.
I ask you to pour down your blessing, mercy and grace on ___________________’s IEP meeting today
I pray for peace, love, joy, courage, strength, protection, wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and compassion during the meeting. Surround me with your heavenly angels, Lord
I pray that all goes well and my student gets the services and support he/she needs to be successful at (Name of school).
I thank you again, Lord, for this wonderful journey.
Help me be obedient to your Word, to serve you and live the gospel in my life.
In Jesus’ Name I pray
Amen

This makes me think… I should write more prayers… for all I do…

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