Monday, June 10, 2019

Commencement

What a wonderful weekend we have had!
Paul, my youngest student, has graduated from high school!!
I am so proud of the young man that he is becoming. He is so well-grounded and he has such a heart for others. He is strong and loves his Lord, and that is all that I could hope for. I know that he has a lot to decide, as he looks at the different ways to approach his future, but he is doing the work, and that's what will get him there.

I am in an odd place in my life, since educating my children has been my focus for the last 24 years. I am certainly not going to stop educating, but my own kids are well prepared to tackle whatever academic pursuits that they are called to. I am confident that they are well educated, and that I have done all that I can to give them a solid foundation. It has been a beautiful road and I am so grateful for the honor.
Now I will watch them find their way, and the things that they do will be their own.

What to do now? I pray and I seek.
Yesterday was Pentecost. The Holy Spirit, working and active in the world gives us the gifts and the grace to use them. He is the energy that drives all that is good. I know that there is something that I am meant to be doing in the world, and I know that He will show me. I have the background for teaching and I believe that I have the gift for that, but there is so much more. There is so much that I have been given as a woman, a spouse, and a mother. There is so much that comes from living in this world and learning through it's pitfalls and it's hopes and joys. So much that has made me who I am and given me what I need. I feel the need to organize it and look at it. I want to create a map of my life that I can use to discover the ways that I can use it to work in the world. Or maybe that's just navel-gazing. Maybe the Holy Spirit just wants me to step out and say yes as He leads, without a plan and without too much thought. Maybe thinking too much has slowed me down. Maybe praying needs to take precedence over thinking. Of course it does.

I am so grateful for my family, and I am so happy that I can see the families that they have and the dreams in their hearts coming to fruition.
It is a blest life.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

It's Show Season Again!!




What a wonderful opening to the 2019 Horse Show season for Lilly.

The winter weather has finally let go and it was actually warm out! The ponies were all clean and trimmed and mostly behaving.

Lilly has a new pony, Cici, that she is riding this year, and they are really looking good! Cici, has been hanging out in the field with her girlfriends for the last couple of years, so she has gotten pretty attached to them, which makes show day a rather anxious time.




She did really well today though and I was very proud of Lilly for managing a rather difficult horse this morning.
They did very well in their under saddle classes, and they jumped beautifully!
They both like that the best. Cici is a very willing jumper and Lilly is really lucky in that respect. Not all the other horses feel that way...
It was a great day at the barn, and I am so excited for the summer ahead!





Thursday, April 4, 2019

Your Story is The Story

Today's Gospel is one of my favorites, because Jesus is telling the Jewish leaders about the testimony that is given about Him, not just in the days leading up to His ministry, but in all of History!
 He speaks of John the Baptist, and then reaches back into the Scriptures, all the way to Genesis and Exodus, and shows them the testimony that even Moses declares about Him. In the end, the whole story will be about Our Lord Jesus Christ.

What I find fascinating is that each one of us is not just a part of the story, but we are main characters in our own story, and Jesus is the author. He doesn't just write the story, he gets into it with us. So when we are going about our daily tasks and duties, when we spend time with people, whether we have momentous experiences, or live a quiet life at home, the story is important.
It elevates something about the human experience.
 It is an epic that illuminates something that no other story can illuminate. We have a specific number of chapters and He has the plot in His Heart.
It is so beautiful and comforting to look at the way that He writes and to know how He wants it to end.
We live a drama, and every story is different. Some are filled with tragedy and heartbreak. Some are tales of hard work and struggle, and some are serene and quiet. All are love stories.

When I look at the story of my life so far, I can see the chapters where I was so ignorant of the way that my actions would impact the later parts.
I can see the chapters where I did things that the reader would know were going to lead to trouble. I was that stupid girl that made those bad decisions, and had to be rescued.
I can read the parts of the story where I was afraid of the way it would end, so very afraid. Those were the chapters where I learned to trust.
There are the parts where I had to step out without a clue as to what the author was doing, and then the realization that He really had me all along.
There were plot twists, in which I would think that I understood where it was all going, only to find that I had been TOTALLY wrong! And mostly those were times that I was surprised, and grateful!

The way my story intertwines with the stories of others, the people that God has put into my life, is the most fascinating aspect of the whole thing. He is writing the world and he loves His craft.
He puts down each word with care, and he tenderly layers all the things that He wants us to learn into the plot.

I think of all those that lived at the time of Moses. They all had their own stories and everyone of them was so important. Some of them were about the Hebrews, but many of the were about the Egyptians. There were those that lived in the world that we never even hear about in the Bible or elsewhere. Living difficult little lives, scrabbling to grow or raise enough food, staying warm, dealing with poor health, losing children to disease. These lives were also epic stories. Stories that we won't read until the end of time, unless someone stumbles onto the place where they lived and digs it up and studies it. Every single one is the greatest story ever told, to the one that it is about, and it is tied into the Greatest Story of all time in it's own way. We will have eternity to learn from this amazing library that is God's masterpiece.

I want to understand the plot better, but it is not mine to know.
The characters in these stories are able to choose how the plot will progress, but not to know what happens. We are given the gift of relationship with the author, and we are able to become somehow co-authors, but are not given the burden of how it will all come out.
I am excited to get to the end of the story. I have hope that the remaining chapters are filled with great adventure and that the final chapter is a happy one.

I don't want to put it down.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Our Mother Needs Us

There is a lot of talk lately, about the number of people leaving the church because of the scandal that has resulted from the victimization of children and others, by priests, and the covering up of these criminals by many bishops. Many bishops.
Those crimes cut me to the core. When I think about the monstrous evil that has been perpetrated pretty much in every corner of the world, and throughout the centuries, it is hard to even imagine.
Dwelling on it makes me ill, and I am inclined to shut out the horrific thoughts. However, it isn't fair to shut them out. It isn't fair to the victims, and it isn't fair to the Church.
Our Lord went to the cross with the sins of these monsters on His shoulders, and we need to offer up our own sacrifices with His. Our pain can be united to the suffering of Christ to in some way mitigate the effects that come from this wickedness.

Of course we are furious. We feel blindsided and powerless, and it seems like there is no place to take these emotions. They are legitimate and need to be expressed.

What I think is being misunderstood however, is the proper placement of our anger and frustration.
People see the Church as an organization or an institution, and while it has many of those qualities, it is actually more than any of them. The Church is something that is outside and beyond anything that has ever existed in this world, and it can't be defined in worldy terms. The best possible comparison, in our terms, would be a family. A huge family with Christ as the Head and the whole Church, Triumphant, Suffering and Militant, as His bride. We are members of the Church as there are members in a family. Different people have different places in the family, different responsibilities.
In every family, some more than others, there are those that struggle, those that fail, and some that are just plain bad apples.

Sometimes the people who have been entrusted with the most, fall in the most dispicable ways. For the people that they fail there is tragedy. They are hurt, they are abandoned, they become unable to trust. And that is a horrible fact.
The Church has some of those awful people in it. It has it's share of bad apples, and those bad apples hurt people. When they are the people that we look to as Fathers, it is even worse. The children are left with pain and distrust and lifelong scars.
But when a father and husband fails his family. When there is abuse or neglect, that is the time for the family to come together. When dad is a jerk and hurts your family, betrays your mother, or leaves, you come to the defense of your mother, and you are there for your brothers and sisters. You stay close and you heal together. That is what families do.
These men have cheated on the church, and have wounded her. They have not upheld their vows, or they have committed outright crimes. And sometimes the people who were supposed to be there to hold them to account have failed as well. They have chosen power and prestige over the good of the family. They have tried to keep the crimes out of sight so that the neighbors won't find out, so that they won't be embarrassed, so that they can hang on to their positions, or in the hopes that the whole thing will just blow over.
This is murderously wrong. These men are not behaving like fathers and they need to be held to account as much as the predators should be.

Our Mother needs us. She is the bride of Christ, and right now she is bruised and broken. She needs to be loved and comforted by her children. She needs us close to her.
We can't turn back the clock, but we can try to support those that have been hurt, and we can work to be sure that light is shed in every corner of the whole Church. It's time for all of us to attend to the suffering. Evil won't triumph, we have that on good authority, but it is for us to walk with the wounded.
This Bride will heal. She is destined for the Wedding feast of the Lamb and nothing will keep her from it. Her children will sit at the table and her Beloved will shower her with Graces.
Those who have stood by her in the bad times will celebrate with her at her triumph.
Hang on Children. Stick with her. He won't let us down.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Having My Own Back

I love my work so much. I love working through the problems that people face with their homes, with time management and the journey from chaos to order. I even love the physicality. Moving and lifting, and creating change. The time with clients is really special, and I can't imagine being in any other field. It is such a Blessing.
Today I realized that there will come a time when I can't do the work. The mental and psychological work is no problem at all, but today, for the second time, I actually felt like I might not be able to finish an appointment. My body just wore out. My back hurt so bad. I could hardly stand and walk.
It was so weird, because I rarely feel like that. I have never felt like I couldn't keep going, and usually the physcal work is a joy.
I don't know what it all means. I probably just need to do some strength training and build up my muscles for now. The problem is that there are some very odd lifting situations, and the jobs are always different. There is never a way to know what you are going to be dealing with. It's so strange to get so tired that I don't feel like I can keep going. That is not like me at all.
I guess I just need to recognize that I am going to run into limitations as I get older. Especially with my back. It hasn't been that good for a long time and I need to give it a rest and some attention. I am going to need it for a few years longer.
So, I am going to take a break from the heavy work, get some xrays, get some physical therapy and start doing more work on my shoulders and back.
I hope that I can get things back into shape so that I can keep going.
I am really looking forward to a few years of work before I hang it up, but if God has other ideas, I'm listening. I'll pray and see what happens.
That's how life rolls....

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Hey There


Just dropping myself a line to catch up.
Life is good here and now. Things are moving along at a doable pace, and life has a good flow!
I know I have posted a few times about feeling overwhelmed, wanting to find direction and not knowing which way to move. I think I have found what works for me, for now anyway!
I am not looking anymore. I am not seeking, searching, planning, building or trying to find...
I am waiting. I am praying, and trying to listen. I am not great at seeing the big picture anyway, and there are so many moving parts to my life so far that it isn't helpful to try to pull it all into a coherent plan. Invariably anything that I try to glean from my own thoughts ends up being a half-measure.
Much better to do what I know I need to do for the day and the tasks that God has given me and leave tomorrow's "trouble" to Him.
It is so freeing to wait on the Lord! He has given me everything, and written my life, and I am so blest! Entrusting the future to Him makes me feel held. I am resting in the certainty that my Father will keep me in the place where I will be the best that I can be.
The things that are the most rewarding and beautiful in my life have always been those things that came out of nowhere, that He put in place to use for the things that He has in mind.
If I keep filling up my time with my plans, and don't pray enough, listen, and leave time for His plans, then when He shows me where all this is going, I might just be in the wrong place, or not listening.
The most important thing is to be in prayer, everyday, and in all things.
To keep my mind and heart open to His promptings, and to be willing.
Having the flexibility to be able to say yes when someone asks me to help with something that I know God wants me to do, that is golden.
When He calls, I can answer, and give the task that He asks of me my full attention and effort.
I am so blest to have this opportunity.
All of life is a miracle. Every day that we have is a chance to be a part of His beautiful plan.
I just want you to know, that it's all good, right here, right now....

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Where Have I Been All My Life?

So here's a thought.
If we are really to live the TOB, we have to exult in our bodies as well as our souls.
For so long I have lived as if my body was something that I needed to bring into submission, needed to overcome and force into a form or a shape to make sure that I was doing health "right". I have been thinking that as I have learned in TOB, the body should be as much a part of the faith experience as the spirit. I need to combine these parts of myself and be more integrated. Start enjoying more of what I have for so long worked at. The starvation diet in the TOB language is a form of restriction that keeps a person from experience. We are afraid of what our appetites will cause us to do, so we whip them into submission, get them under control and keep a tight rein. That is not how God intended for us to treat either our physical or our spiritual selves. We have to seek balance. To overindulge in any way is problematic, but to keep ourselves tightly "in check" and to never use the gifts that we have been given becasue we are afraid of losing control, that is also the wrong perspective. My body and my health are a gift and all the gifts that we are given should be given back in forms of worship. Every day should consist of intentional experiences, both in mind and body. I should not just think about what I am feeling in my heart, but also what I am feeling, tasting, how I am moving, what the sun feels like, how it is good to be able to enjoy a walk, what I am hearing. Going through the day as just a series of activities isn't worshipful. It gets things done, but it isn't the way to connection. Knowing that He is there, in every moment, requires all our senses. I am a body-person and so simply seeking God with my mind is only seeking Him with half of my being. My body is for experience, it is for using to reach Him. We have all the senses filled in all the sacraments. At Mass we are moving, singing, hearing, smelling, and certainly tasting.
In the sacrament of marriage we are certainly using our bodies as the sign of the sacrament, and in the other sacraments we have the sights, sounds, and feelings.
This helps us to grab hold, it provides a bodily memory. Every day should be like that! Every day should be a feast for the senses. I feel like I have been blind and locked away, even as I have been taking good care of my health and trying to be sure that I check all the boxes. It's the same as checking all the boxes in our faith. Ugh. I am a total box checker!
This Lent I need to learn to do more for the sake of worship. What are the ways that I can create moments of worship? Certainly more intentional enjoyment of the moments of the day. Thinking about what I am doing, and glorifying God in the lovely parts of the day. The touches, tastes and sounds. BEING present to each moment. Not just seeking to hear His voice in my heart, but to see it, taste it, and feel it, all day long. To push my body to be a little more responsive, to learn more about what it wants and needs. To find the things that I can do with it that glorify God even more.
It's so weird that I am just now figuring this out. I have been such a stoic in all my physical experiences. Making myself do this, that, and the other for the sake of doing the right thing, but then not enjoying it when "the right thing" gets me to the place where I can. Walking everyday on the treadmill has gotten me fit, but being fit for it's own sake is stoicism. Being fit so that I can feel the sunshine, walk up a mountain, get out and feel all of nature, that should be the point. Eating should be almost a religious experience. Not just something I do and something that I discipline myself about. Enjoying what God has given is part of gratitude. Enjoying it physically, not saving it, but savoring it, being here. Showing up, and then embracing each experience.
THAT is where TOB should be taking me.
Where have I been all my life?