Tuesday, December 18, 2012

On its way

Our computer is on its way!!!  I hope to resume as soon as it is up and running. Of course I will be posting about Newtown as we all bleed and hurt for our brothers and sisters there. Our grief has been so much harder than we anticipated it to be as the time has gone on. Go figure. I thought it was going to get easier. We thought wrong. It's just different I guess. Some aspects are easier, others are not. Please do not forget us, esPecially during this time of year. Blessed be God!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Quick but Lovely

I still do not have a computer just yet. However I could easily cut and paste this poem by Mother Teresa.

Mother Teresa's Anyway Poem

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
It was never between you and them anyway.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Quick Check

Well, I know it's been awhile!!  I don't have access to a computer right now and I can't type much from my phone. Hopefully in the next few weeks we will get a new computer and I plan to resume my posts. We have moved out of my in-laws. Big step since we were there since Stella passed. I also started a part time job as an after school teacher. Lots of adjustments. I know it is moving forward but it's been exhausting and challenging for me as we try to establish a new routine. It's hard not to think, "This isn't my life. I want my old, comfortable life back." just trusting there ate great things ahead, just more growing pains. Please keep checking in and thank you for your patience. I have not been doing so well with it - patience that is. Blessings

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Uniformity with God's Will

I've been picking up here and there a 30 page booklet recommended by my brother-in-law's wife called Uniformity with God's Will by Saint Alphonsus de Liguori.  I would recommend this to anyone and everyone. It is very rich in wisdom.  I keep it in my purse so if I'm waiting at a doctor's office or something I can pull it out.  There is a story he shared in it that I wanted to share.

"Our Lord assured his apostles: 'Your joy no man shall take from you...That your joy may be full' (john 16:22.24).  He who unites his will to God's, experiences a full and lasting joy; full, because he has what he wants, as was explained above; lasting, because no one can take his joy from him, since no one can prevent what God wills from happening.

The devout Father John Tauler relates this personal experience: For years he had prayed God to send him someone who would teach him the real spiritual life.  One day, at prayer, he heard a voice saying: 'Go to such and such a church and you will have the answer to your prayers.'  He went and at the door of the church he found a beggar, barefooted and in rags.  He greeted the mendicant saying: 'Good day, my friend.'

'Thank you, sir, for your kind wishes, but I don recall ever having had a 'bad' day.'

'Then God has certainly given you a very happy life.'

'That is very true, sir.  I have never been unhappy.  In saying this I am not making any rash statement either.  This is the reason: When I have nothing to eat, I give thanks to God; when it rains or snows, I bless God's providence; when someone insults me, drives me away, or otherwise mistreats me, I give glory to God.  I said I've never had an unhappy day, and it's the truth, because I am accustomed to will unreservedly what God wills.  Whatever happens to me, sweet or bitter, I gladly receive from his hands as what is best for me.  Hence my unvarying happiness.'

'Where did you find God?'

'I found him where I left creatures.'

'Who are you anyway?'

'I am a king.'

'And where is your kingdom?'

'In my soul, where everything is in good order; where the passions obey reason, and reason obeys God.'

'How have you come to such a state of perfection?'

'By silence.  I practice silence towards men, while I cultivate the habit of speaking with God.  Conversing with God is the way I found and maintain peace of soul.'

Union with God brought this poor beggar to the very heights of perfection.  In his poverty he was richer than the mightiest monarch; in his suffering, he was vastly happier than worldlings amid heir worldly delights."


Peace be with us all! 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I am Simon

"On their way out they met a Cyrenian named Simon.  This man they pressed into service to carry the cross."
Matthew 27:32

This verse has been ringing in my thoughts.  I didn't hear or read it recently.  I just thought of it and can't stop thinking of it.  I looked it up in every Gospel.  It is in every on except for John.  The words were almost identical in each one.  The word "pressed" stands out to me and was used in each Gospel.  It is apparent that Simon didn't want to help Jesus.  He was forced to.  I wonder about the interaction between he and Jesus.  Did they interact?  Were they both just trying to carry the heavy wood?  I doubt Jesus was.  He knew exactly who was with him, helping him.  Was Simon appalled walking next to a beaten, bloodied man he perceived as a criminal? Was Simon ashamed that people could possibly associate Him with Jesus?  Or...was he moved with compassion?  Was there a moment of grace where Simon realized who he was walking beside?  When he was done, was he relieved or converted?  I wonder about these things. 

I wonder about them because I can relate to Simon.  We can all think of a cross we have been pressed to carry at some point in our lives.  Maybe some of us can think of many, or a cross that has been carried for a very long time.  Whether it is forced upon us or not, the question to me is, what has become of me because of it?  Do I allow Jesus to make all things new in me?  Do I allow myself to be moved with compassion for Him and the world, or do I scuff and complain at the load?  Am I open to a deeper love?  To deeper conversion?  Or am I just waiting to be relieved of my duty? 

Yes to all of the above at different times.

As I searched Scripture for the passage I checked all the Gospels because I wanted to know if any of them talked about what happened to Simon.  I wanted to read the next verse and hear it say, "And he looked at Jesus after he helped carry the Cross and proclaimed, 'You are the Son of God!'"  None of the Gospels mention what happened to Simon.  I guess it is up to us to see how Simon responded.  We are all, or have been, or some day will be...Simon.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Poetry I Found

I went through some of a journal of mine.  I read this passage I wrote a while ago.  I was touched by it and I often fall upon old writings and I move my very own self.  Kind of funny how that works out.  It is as if someone else wrote it and it was just for me. 

"My soul cries out to You my God. 
This mystery of me searches for the Mystery of where it came. 
I want to burst inside. 
Explode.  All of me wants to be free.  My soul is trying to respond to your call.
I am bleeding, Jesus.  The blood doesn't stop.
I think I have bled so much, how could I possibly still be alive?
It is you alone that sustains me.  It is you my soul looks upon desiring greater things than EVER before.  It is this bleeding of my soul that arouses more depth.
How could this be?
Love must give all, as you have asked for the greatest treasure I have.
I cannot and will not refuse you, for it is in You I have it all.  For you came so that whatever has been given to you will not be lost.
So as my blood continues to pour, it empties my soul. 
It makes room for your Spirit, it's greatest desire.
What will become of me? 
Free. Free.  Free.
I miss her."

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mercy

I wanted to share this beautiful excerpt from The Visions of the Children - The Apparitions of the Blessed Mother of Medjugorje.  I thought this testimony was beautiful.

"It is obvious that genuine sinners come to Medjugorje as well as the faithful.  Many people who have been away from organized religion for fifty years or more are drawn to the holy mountains.  Their attitude is open.  One old man in his eighties arrived knowing he had only a few weeks to live.  He was trying one last time to find the great God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob before he died.  How was his trip?  He said, 'I heard the Lord.'  When asked what he heard, the man was moved to tears.

'I asked Him why He bothered with me, after so many years that I denied His existence.  The Lord told me, You are the child of My great covenant with My people.  All my children are sinners.  To repent is to choose Me, to choose My ways.  Your peace is only My will.  'I asked Him, 'Father, how do I obey you now?' and He told me, 'Pray more, My son.  Pray with great confidence in My mercy.  My mercy is your garment now and for all eternity.'  I thought of His justice and I was afraid.  Then He said, 'My justice is joyful.  See how it corrects?  See how it cleanses?  Do not seek Me in places.  Seek Me in your heart.' "

'Did you ask Him about churches?' someone asked.  The old man sighed. 'Yes.  I haven't been in a church since I was a kid.  I didn't even got to hte church when my mother and father died.  The Lord told me, 'The church is you home on earth.  Wherever My church is, so is your home.'"

One of the people listening said, "Did you see a burning bush too?' No one laughed.

The old man was weeping now, 'I asked Him, 'Father, how do I find you?' He said, 'In you heart, My son.' I asked HIm if it was too late for me and He said it was never too late. 'Keep your heart pure, My son.  Do not fill your heart with sensual longing.  A pure heart is My dwelling place.  That Tabernacle of the Most High is your sanctuary from all the cares of the temporal world.'

I asked: 'Dear Father, what must I do so that only you swell there?'  He said: 'Hold all things of the earth with great love for Me, dear child.  Consecrate every moment of your life to Me.  Consecrate your use of every moment in time.  Consecrate your use of everything you experience to My will Consecrate every encounter with every creature to My will.  Then every use of all things will be for Me, and with Me, and in Me.  Then you , too dear child of Mine, will be a servant of humanity with Me and for Me and in Me.  Then total peace will be yours.  The tears will flow for love of Me.  Those tears will water My souls who long for Me.  Those tears free my wounded children.  Those tears melt hearts of stone frown cold with neglect and nonlove. Love My Son.  Love My world.  Love My lost children.  Love My wounded children.  Love My broken children.  Bring their hearts to Me by your compassion.  Never fear, My child.  Find Me in the peace of your heart.  Do you see now why your heart is the center for peace?'

Everyone was weeping now.  Someone said, 'Heaven is right here, isn't it?' no one answered."


I see a little clearer now, how the heart must be protected at ALL cost.  It is our haven here. It is the Lord's tabernacle.  

Monday, August 27, 2012

Something to Think About - Seriously

I see a little clearer what I think the Lord is doing more in me and our life.  I hear a calling in my heart, an old one.  But as we know Truth doesn't change, but the layers do go deeper.  The agony lately has been more preparation for my soul.  I think of one of the many messages Our Lady of Medjugorje has given. (The message is that of the Gospel, so it doesn't matter if you believe in these apparitions or not.)  However, she pleads with her children, all of us, if we want to be happy we must live simply and humbly.  I hear this call in my own heart and soul in a new way.  I long to have heaven as more of my reality, it cannot be with too much stuff and desire of this world.  This is hard for anyone to accept.  Think of the man who wanted to follow Jesus and Jesus said, "Go sell all your things, then come and follow me."  The man would not.  I read and think of, for example, of the visionaries from Medjugorje and every thing I read or see about them, I desire.  They are so pure of heart and full of joy.  They don't have much at all.  I've thought the Lord has refined me in this area so much, but I see there is more I can do to fulfill this. I want to be happy, who doesn't?  I am so thankful for this.  Even today, I was explaining to John as he shared a new desire for a new toy.  I always tell him that it's not good to always want things, that toys don't make us happy, only for a moment etc.  But today, from my own lesson I'm learning I got to share with him how when we have too much stuff in our lives, in our home, in our hearts, there is no room for heaven.  Or maybe we just have a little room.  And if there's just a little room left, Father God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, Mary, Stella, and ALL OF HEAVEN won't be able to fit!  Heaven is too big for a small space in our lives, in our soul, in our home.  He then asked for garbage bag so he could give away a lot of his toys.  I chuckled because I heard all this commotion in the closet, expecting to see such big changes.  He brought me the large bag with a few toys in it.  I thought to myself, "I'm just like that with God."  I get this beautiful lesson and desire and then I show up with a small offering.  However, I am so proud of his initiative and joy and understanding.  We will continue to work on it.  I will help give things away.  The Father is our parent and does the same thing, I think.  He is pleased with our desire and our trying.  He will help with the rest.

  We are called to leave the past behind, not to foolishly indulge on memories unless the Lord takes us too them to see them in the light of His Love.  We are asked to move forward.  I have a greater, bigger longing like never before to offer more for the conversion of souls.  I think of a moment I had the other week when John was sick. I was in such agony.  I was wailing on my bed.  I looked at the tiny crucifix on the wall through my tears.  I asked Jesus if he could just come off the Cross with all His blood and wounds and wrap himself around me.  For I know and believe His wounds heal.  I was also a bit angry and told Him if he understood what this kind of suffering was like.  For I would rather have my body tortured than my heart.  All of a sudden, I saw with the eyes of my soul Jesus' face in front of me.  I saw it covered in blood and a crown of thorns.  I heard Him say to me, "How can you think I do not suffer like that?  I taste the death.  I know what it is like to lose a child, lose many.  You have not experienced the death of a child."  And so it is.  He knows what real death is.  To lose a child for all eternity to a place that is well - hell.  That is real death.  He knows what real grief is.  Souls need our prayers and sacrifices.  Our brothers, our sisters need them more than ever.  How I want to help Him.  This separation gives me great empathy for my Savior, for my Mother.  Who lose children to a place that is not necessary for them to go.  We choose heaven or hell while we are here.  It is grave and very much a thing to be assessed in my life.  Saints didn't just do "good enough".  They gave ALL, they showed Love He was worth it.  I'm such a coward, keeping such focus on myself. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Bummer

Well, that's a bummer.  I was trying to post pictures of Johnny's birthday and can't do it for some reason.  They are so precious.  I have a passage to share that I will type up tonight when the little guys are asleep. 

It's baffling to me to experience grief harder than ever.  Phillip and I both are.  I think the stress of the non-stopping world adds to it.  Everything changed in a moment for us. We lost our daughter and house all in that moment.  Our life that we were building got flattened in a moment.  I missed our home so much when we had Johnny's party.  I missed everything.  And it seems like we have had no time to just gather a thought.  Bills still have to get paid and life still has to be done.  So what do I do?  I try to look at the bigger picture I guess.  I feel abandoned, but I am not.  I feel like what have I done so terribly wrong to have this happen to me?  But I know, nothing.  I read this message from Mary our Mother and I this part in particular comforted me so. 

"I am with you, little ones.  Do not disappoint me by swelling on the past.  Leave the past forever.  It has no power over you unless you invite it, nourish it, and foolishly indulge in it.   Lot's wife could not accept God's Will.  She was therefore consumed with sorrow. 

Move on, my dear children.  Move forward with great trust in my presence and courage to accept God's Plan for you lives.  There are days ahead that will fill your human hearts with amazement.  Prepare now to help the millions of souls who shall depend upon your faithfulness to God's Will for you."

I felt like this was just for me.  However, I feel weary of reading such things.  I want to see my Mighty Lord pull us out of this.  See things get better, not just read of the hope there is.  I think I need to ask for patience.  Today is the Feast of the Queenship of Mary.  She received the most glorious Crown in Heaven, the Crown of the Queen of Heaven, Earth, the Cosmos, everything.  She guides and helps many to the Heart of Jesus in all her splendor and glory.  Praise be to God forever!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Super Quick Today - Too Tired

Johnny's sick, so you know that it means a heightened anxiety time for me.  He was suppose to have his birthday party today.  Poor little guy.  I also ask for prayers for a friend who has battled cancer the last year and has now been given a couple weeks.  She is a young mom and wife.  A truly beautiful soul.  More to carry I know.  But we have to do it together.  Thank you

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Life as a House

Today is our eighth wedding anniversary.  We actually celebrated last week because my in-laws are out of town this week.  Phillip and I went to a local resort for the night.  The last time we got away together was six years ago.  And I actually got really sick so I was stuck in bed.  Johnny had his fifth birthday on Sunday.  Praise God for his life!  These events are so bittersweet for us though.  The days are comprised of mixed emotions.

There is a house a being built across the street.  We know the wonderful family who bought it.  They have completely demolished the house and are building from scratch.  They even had a HUGE hole dug to fit a basement.  As I continue to see the new progress day to day I can't help but see the deeper meaning.  The original house was fine.  It really could have simply been redone to make it a decent, nice house.  But to make it magnificent, the rebuilding from nothing would be the best path.  I have also seen the extremely hard work put into it.  I hear the men working on it at times yell in pain, as they probably touch something that has been sitting in this hot phoenix sun.  I pray for them as they toil in this heat all day long.  And seriously wonder how it's even possible.  So yes, isn't this what I must look like?  I was that original house.  I was fine, even getting some minor work done on myself.  But God's plans are much bigger for me.  He wants me to be magnificent, brand new, perfect from every part of me.  However, the path is hard work.  I have been demolished to the ground first, in order to be rebuilt.  The new construction is messy, ugly, loud, and painful but the Contractor has the blueprints and plans in hand and knows the steps that must take place to make a sturdy foundation for newness and beauty to thrive.  I sure hope this is what God is doing with me.  I don't want to remain a demolished house. 
 " 'The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,' says the Lord Almighty.  'And in this place I will grant peace,' declares the Lord Almighty." Haggai 2:9

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Miracle of Divine Mercy

I wanted to share this beautiful excerpt from the book The Secrets of Mary by Janice Connell.  This is a recorded story pertaining a miracle of Divine Mercy.  I read this months ago and remembered it this last week.

" In a southern state in the United States, a hardened criminal awaited execution on death row.  His behaviour was obviously evil.  A young lawyer was assigned to the case who did not believe in capital punishment.  He tried his best, at great personal sacrifice, through every available legal means, to have the criminal's death sentence commuted.  As each appeal was exhausted, the inmate's chance for life diminished.  At the height of his frustration, the lawyer received a telephone call from a nun he did not know.  She asked to have a meeting with the condemned criminal.  The lawyer quickly assured her that the warden on death row would never allow such a meeting.  But the nun persisted and begged him to ask the warden for the meeting.  The lawyer begrudgingly agreed.  To his shock, the warden readily acquiesced.

  Before the date of the execution, the nun met with the heavily guarded criminal.  She gave him an image of Jesus Christ, the Divine Mercy and asked him simply to look at the image as often as possible.  The meeting lasted less than two minutes.  Several weeks before his execution, the criminal, born and raised in the dregs of Appalachia, requested baptism.  On the day of his execution, he stood between the prison minister and his attorney.  Holding the image of Divine Mercy to his heart, he praised the mercy of Jesus Christ and begged forgiveness of all whom he had harmed.  His attorney was stunned, as were those who had known the hardened man during his incarceration.

  When the executed criminal's lawyer attempted to find the nun who had insisted upon seeing his late client, he was told the young woman was confined to a nearby nursing home.  Surprised, he decided to return the well-worn image of the Divine Mercy to her.  He found her terribly crippled and in the final stages of multiple sclerosis.  The illness had come upon her quite suddenly after her visit to death row.  The lawyer patiently explained to her the spiritual events surrounding the final hours of the condemned man's life.  'Souls are expensive,' responded the suffering nun.  She was thirty three years old."

Monday, July 23, 2012

With Love

The last few weeks I haven't been able to sign in to the blog account.  That's why I haven't been able to post anything.  Kind of wondering if it's still something I should be doing at this point.  Life continues to proceed on.  I'm continuing to carry my cross, as it continues to be extremely heavy.  This last week I think I've cried every day.  That hasn't happened for awhile.  The feeling of abandonment has been consuming.  I had four days this week that I was shown something with great power and weight.  The grief emotions are terrible, guilt is usually the one that is absolutely hardest for me...until this last week.  It was the first time I felt completely and utterly abandoned and hopeless.  I felt confused and angry.  Now, yes, I have gotten angry with God and told Him, so but this was different.  How so?  The darkness I experienced was like no other.  I felt like Jesus on the Cross, with blood saturating every inch of His body, every muscle throbbing, and life slowly beginning to leave His mortal vessel. Like, Jesus, in that condition I cry out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?!!"  For four days, this abandonment took a blow to my head, knocked me to the floor and as a result, I felt so confused about God and His existence.  It was the most horrible experience.  I realized how everything I do, everything I am is because of my desire for Him.  Therefore, without Him, what is there for me?  Without hope for Heaven, what am I doing on this earth?

As this started to pass, I have come to realize what that time was to show me.  There are many many souls walking this earth in this darkness.  The experience I had for those days was heavier than the sorrow I feel for Stella.  Which seemed impossible.  I will endure this life without her, in all the agony of grief, for the hope I have in Jesus, in Home, in Heaven.  Many people do not accept this or even search for it.  No wonder people do what they do and are who they are.  I got a glimpse of that.  No wonder when I pass through the grocery isle I see the child speak so disrespectful to the mother, and the mother speak even worse to the child.  No wonder, I hear conversations that do not glorify things that are lovely, beautiful, and pure.  Conversations that may even appear harmless but have no depth, leaving me wonder how that soul detached itself so far from Meaning, from Truth, from its very Lifeline. And the way a soul walks down the bread isle, with brisk stomps and huffs and puffs.  His eyes full of anger and bitterness. The way he then snaps at the check-out clerk over a silly mistake. Why pornography shops and strip clubs continue to thrive.  Why abortion is no big deal and families are broken apart.  I get it.  Because after those four days, feeling like He wasn't there and never was.  I could easily become one of those dying souls.  For without Him, there is NOTHING.  At least nothing really worth living for.  My heart bleeds for the world, and I see a little clearer why sacrifice and suffering is so needed to aid my brothers and sisters as we all continue to travel in this land of exile.  It is the cross that one carries united to Christ's that opens the doors of Grace for a lost child to accept the Grace needed to accept God.  And isn't there that military saying, "A good soldier never leaves a man behind."  If we have been trained in any way by God's Grace, we must, I must, strive to never leave a man behind.  That is what this is all about, isn't it.

However, tests continue to come my way.  I am an exhausted soul soldiering on in this war for souls.  I feel like Peter the Apostle, when Jesus speaks to him after He resurrected and Peter had denied Him three times. Jesus asks, Peter three times if Peter loves Him.  Peter keeps answering yes, and finally after being asked for the third time Peter sounds exasperated and answers "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you."  The words simply aren't enough.  Jesus then, replies " Amen, Amen I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted, but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go."  He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God.  and when he had said this, he said to him, 'Follow me.'" John 21:18-19. 

That's how I feel. For the greater glory I have been lead where I didn't want to go.  But who am I?  I was created for this cross, just as each of you are created for yours.  But the glory will come.  The Cross is the only way to get there.  I am just so very weary.  God bless you, the few that are even reading this any more.

I do want to share a precious Gia story.  How to describe Gia?  Gia thinks she's an adult.  She is very joyful, but is learning the hard way she is actually not in charge.  All of my children are strong willed in some way, but Gia I think is the most.  She's hilarious and endearing in this way as well.  Gia has been developing Stella's CURLS too!  I need to post a picture.  She is very independent and likes to do things on her own.  SHe thinks Johnny is her baby brother and she should take care of him.  So...we try to go to daily Mass.  She is very busy the whole Mass, but she loves walking down the isle to receive her blessing from the priest or Eucharistic minister at Communion time.  Crazy, "grown-up" Gia walks down the isle ever so slowly with her hands folded in prayer form.  She not only like to get her blessing from the person who awaits us in our line, she cuts off other people to get blessings from every Eucharistic minister and the priest.  So here she is not abiding by the rules that she doesn't think apply to her, but she does it with such reverence that everyone at Mass is so blessed by it.  She also loves going around and giving the sign of peace to everyone.  All I think about is Stella telling her when she was a newborn, "Gia, one day you're going to be a GREAT SAINT."  I hope I can rear her and her characteristics that have the up and downside in a way that will be pleasing to God and her.  Great saints must have spunk in them because this Road is not for wimps.  So I love watching the "Great Saint" in the making scream commands one minute and then walk down the isle at Church so reverently the next, however, cutting other people off.  It makes me laugh and brings joy to my heart.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Ugh..

Sorry for the delayed post.  It was a REALLY hard week.  I feel competely depleated.  Gia got really sick last Tuesday night.  She had a high fever for six days, breathing treatments, and then I took her in for the third time to find she got ear infections too.  Moan...Now, I get it.  It's life, children get sick and will continue to.  However, for me, it's different.  I go into panic mode pretty fast.  I have to come to terms that if it's God's will for him to take Gia too, then I have to surrender.  It's such a hard place to go through.  I hope this gets better with time.  However, added to that anxiety, I start having really hard memories and grief about Stella.  I start questioning, blaming myself, tormenting my already bleeding heart.  This last week has been such an agony.  Yesterday, after the third doctor's visit I was in the bathroom washing my hands.  I wasn't thinking about much at all.  I felt kind of numb.  My brain ran out of gas.  The water running over my hands.  I look in the mirror at the tired mother staring back at me, hoping this latest news of Gia's ears will be the last of this virus.  I then heard in my soul, "You have to give her to me."  I responded in frustration, "I'm trying.  Actually, I told you that if it's Gia's time, then I know I have to surrender."  I then got a little anxious and that thought.  Then I heard inside, "No, not Gia.  Stella."  I knew He was right.  He continued, "You must give Stella to me.  She, and the situation was never yours to have.  She is so happy and yet when she sees you like this, her heart aches and some of her joy is taken from her. You must give her to me."  I then proceeded with saying, "How? I'm trying.  You can see why when one of the kids gets sick, how hard it is for me. How will I get better?"  I realized it will be through practice.  I will be tried again.  I also know Mary is particularly aiding me.  There is too much work to do, and time cannot be wasted. 

And to confirm everything said, Phillip came home and told me that He really felt the Holy Spirit today while he was at driving tell him, Phillip needed to tell me I have to let Stella go.  That we have work to do here and we will have eternity with her.  More processing...

Monday, June 18, 2012

Holy Crap

A couple months ago, I decided I couldn't take the mess on my inlaws back porch.  I'm not trying to bust them out, because I love them so much.  They are wonderful, their back porch just got overlooked for way too long.  There was an immense amount of, well, disgusting garbage that piled up over time.  It was repulsive. I'm describing, this because it is imperative to the story.  I won't go into detail about all that I was cleaning.  I was outside in 100+ degrees, sweating, cleaning, carrying bags full of rancid finds.  I was grumbling, angry, and repulsed the whole time.  I almost dry heaved about three times as well.  I was not doing any act of real love because I was so disgusted and angry the whole time going through SO MUCH stuff.  I wasn't angry at them, just at all of it.  Some of my anger was just from me, my life, and it was coming out on the whole area, the task at hand.  So I'm going through everything.  Layer after layer I pick up, all with anger, sweat, and disgust.  And sure enough, amongst all the putrid materials, I'm on my last layer, and I see I pile of sparkling, gold STARS.  I thought to myself, "Of, course Lord!  Of course, you had a plan in this.  Of course you wanted to show me something in all this crap."  I was still angry and didn't feel like accepting the teaching.  I knew once my steam blew off, I would.  So the teaching isn't hard to get is it?  Well, at the time, it was.  Looking back now that I am not feeling angry and working away, it is easy to accept.  I guess there's a lesson in that as well. 

Amongst all of our layers of absolute disgust, no matter how are lives are or have been, no matter what choices we made or think we should have made, God is there.  When we finally decide to get our hands dirty, and try to clean, we find Him.  He was there the WHOLE time.  And while we try to do the dirty work, it's not always easy to accept His love, His presence, His beauty.  But when we step back, when time passes a bit, we can.  We see much clearer.  Believe me, those stars I saw, were the only lovely thing I encountered on the porch.  They stood out even more because of all the horrid mess around them.  I think my Stella was also reminding me, she's in it with us.  She's in this mess of grief we are in.  She's reminding me while, I move forward and my soul is purifying, that she is here, and Heaven beauty awaits us.  Do you have a time when God stood out to you in the messiest of times? 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Who Am I?

The computer was completely down the past few days.  I'm so sorry about that.  Well, life is busy.  Lots of prayers going on.  It just seems like so many of us our in need of sacrifice and prayer.  There are so many HEAVY crosses being carried right now.  And when one is carrying a heavy cross, lighter crosses added to it feel so heavy as well.  Wouldn't it be nice if Heaven could just lift the veil for each of us and give us clarity and understanding so our journey on earth would be so much more peaceful, maybe even easier?  I guess that can't be though.  We have to prove ourselves, our trust, our FAITH.  If we saw with complete clarity, it would be like cheating on an exam.  However, we do get glimpses and aid, but we must not become dependent on such things.  That is not faith.  Faith is believing in what we do not see, what we don't understand with perfect clarity.  At the very least, it takes our life time to get this.

I was reading Scripture and I have been reading the book of Matthew.  However, I opened up to Job and started reading it a little.  I've read it plenty of times before.  Many of us know the story.  Just in brief for those who need a recap.  Job was a man considered righteous in the eyes of God.  Satan challenges God and says, well of course Job is considered righteous.  You have blessed him on earth so much.  He had a wife and many children.  He had land and many animals.  He was a wealthy blessed man.  Why wouldn't he be a good a servant to the God that has blessed him so.  So God allows Satan to have his way with Job.  Everything is taken from him.  Job continues to bless God's name.  He does start to question however, what he must have done to deserve all of the curses.  Finally God's roaring voice answers.  The first thing out of the mouth of God, stirs in my own soul.  He says to Job, "WHO IS THIS THAT OBSCURES DIVINE PLANS WITH WORDS OF IGNORANCE?"  This gives me chills in my spirit. The words used are so powerful and so humbling to me.  Who am I?  Who do I think I am?  To question the Creator's authority with my thoughts of IGNORANCE.  We are all part of His Divine Plan, not just our plan, or a little plan, or even a bigger plan, a DIVINE PLAN.  The question puts me in my place.  I am gratefully, humbled. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

My Dream

I had a dream Friday night.  Granted, there was of course some strange aspects of it, just like any dream.  But it still has caused me to ponder it.  Mother Mary was in my presence.  I couldn't see her in my dream, but I  knew she was there.  The next thing I knew, I was in a huge conference room with a crowd of people.  We had to watch on a gigantic movie screen, Christ's Crucifixion.  I don't think I saw any specifics of it, but I know I was watching it.  After it was over, everyone was just talking a having a good time.  As if they hadn't even seen what we all just saw. I, however, had marks on me of the Crucifixion.  I wasn't in pain, but my lower body, mainly legs and feet were in bad shape.  Then I just heard our Lady say to me, "If only you could accept the suffering my Son did for you." 

Those words ring in my head.  Over and over I hear them.  If only...what?  If only I could, then maybe more peace would be mine.  If I could, then there would be NOTHING to worry about.  Well, Lord, I'm working on it.  The accepting, I mean.  It's different than accepting my own cross, my own suffering.  To accept what Jesus did  for ME, that is so much to take in.  To accept that love, personally, that's hard.  I can accept easier my own pain. I'm human, we love focusing on our pain.  But how do I hold with GRATITUDE a high price paid for ME?  An undeserving mess of a soul?  Only through heaven's help, I am sure. Much to dwell upone this week.  How do I accept it better?  Once I figure that out, I guess it will just be practice.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Hold On

I can't help but share this amazing story a woman I know experienced.  She has four children, the youngest is ten.  Her husband goes on mission trips around the world.  He was in Turkey on one of the trips.  They only got to speak one time on the phone together during his absence.  He told his wife, he had a dream they adopted twin boys and their names were Jordan and Isaac.  Ok, well, just a dream...However, she had the exact same dream!  That alone is pretty incredible, but God can and does do anything and all things.  So I shouldn't be so intrigued, but I am.  Anyways, she gets a call about some friends who are fostering twins.  My friend, asks if they are boys.  Yes.  Not really expecting anything she asks what their names are.  The friend says the first one's name is Jordan and the second is, Isaan but his name is in the process of being changed to Isaac.  Crazy, huh!!!??!!?  I have tears in my eyes and so does this woman.  God's faithfulness and plans are so beautiful.  I wanted to share the story because it is awesome, but I also wanted to share it because of an key factor in it.  Her husband was in Turkey on the mission trip, 11 years ago!  It has taken 11 years for this to even begin to take place. 

I have to remind myself, my inpatient self, that sometimes the things that I have known God to reveal to me, might not be as quick as I would like, or thought, or expected.  I think of Abraham and Sara from the Old Testament.  God told Abraham that he was going to grant him and Sara a son.  Abraham didn't believe it because they were both so old.  However, not only did God do it but it was many many years after God told him.  That means, they were both REALLY OLD!  It glorified God even more, showing that He is bound by no rules or laws, that He made to begin with.  I encourage myself and all to hold tight and strong with great faith in perseverance in what God is doing in each of us - RESTORATION.

"The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim the good news to the poor.  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim a year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion -
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.  They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor." (Is. 61:1-3)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Prayer Request

I'm actually going to make this a short post.  We've had an emotionally draining day.  Our four year old niece, Emma, was just diagnosed with cancer.  I implore your prayers for her and her family.  She is the second youngest of five.  Again, another family whose life has just been turned upside down.  

Last night, I was crying and I sat before the Father.  When I pray, I often go to Jesus and implore the saints and Mary's intercession.  Last night I just wanted to go to the Father.  He has often intimidated me because He is...well....GOD.  The author of all, the Creator, the Beginning and the End, the Mystery.  Anyways, after I was praying, I opened my book on Mary Queen of Angels.  Most quotes are about her, and other Scripture passages.  However, I opened up to one of the few that are the Father speaking in first person.  No coincidence.  Anyways, these words were given to St. Catherine of Siena, who is my Confirmation Saint. 

"In all things humankind still finds rebellion.  I [God the Father] did not do this for want of providence or concern for your well-being but with great providence and concern for you well-being, to take away your trust in the world and make you run straight to Me, your Goal.  Thust the vexation of troubles, if nothing else, will make you raise your heart and will above the world.  But people are so foolishly ignorant of the Truth and so weak when it comes to worldly pleasures that even with all these wearisome thorns they find in them, they seem unwilling to rise above them, unconcerned about returning to their Homeland...That is why in My Providence I allow the world to bring forth so many troubles for them, both to prove their virtue and that I may have reason to reward them for their suffering and the violence they do to themselves..."

Here's just one of my favorites, given to St. Catherine of Siena - "I, [God] gentle first Truth name the situation, the time, and the place, consolations or trials, whatever necessary for salvation and to bring souls to the perfection for which I choose them...Everything I give is for love, and they therefore should accept everything with reverence."

Monday, May 14, 2012

Thoughts Caught Up On

I think of quotes I've read from saints and Mary, Mother of God.  The ones taht carry the same message.  "When you are carrying a cross, do not ask 'Why?' but ask, 'Lord, is there anything else You want me to do?' "

In the midst of my Calvary,  I have not found those, nor even forced them for that matter,to form on my lips.  I tend to ask "Haven't I given enough?" or "Aren't you done with this yet?"  I can't help but but wonder - WHO ARE THESE SOULS WHO HAVE WALKED ON THE SAME GROUND MY CLUMSY FEET STUMBLE AND TRIP ON ALL THE TIME?!!  I am so thankful for them!!  They cheer me on and inspire me.

I see a place I am familiar with. I knew it would eventually come in this process.  I am learning not to be so uncomfortable with it.  The place of going deeper.  When extraordinary consolations and high feelings that come with them tend to hit a lull.  The place He stretches us some more, even when we don't think we could stretch any more for awhile.  He calls. He calls. He calls me to the place of deeper, deeper trust.  Trusting in Truth, in Supreme Goodness, in His Fatherhood, in the heart of  Daddy God.  My soul hears these words over and over - "Faith is NOT a feeling.  Heaven is NOT a feeling.  My presence is NOT a feeling."  I know how I operate.  My emotions easily influence my reactions.  But He wants to take me to place that is much more secure.  Truth is a rock to a build a mansion upon.  Feelings, are one of the many illusions that can be compared to sand.  Not a sturdy foundation.  I know this, but why do I still object inside sometimes - wanting all the good feelings and fuzzy thoughts? 

This weekend was a somber one.  Stella's birthday was on Friday.  We celebrated.  I FELT sad.  Mother's Day was Sunday.  I wanted all of my children physically around me.  Last year for her birthday, I FELT heaven just envelope us.  This year, Heaven was a bit more...subtle.  But just because I didn't FEEL my heavenly family as strong, doesn't mean they aren't just as present - maybe even more so.  Heaven's interaction and existence doesn't depend on MY experience, MY faith, MY belief, MY thoughts, MY feelings.  And that gives me actually a deep sense of security.  It is unchanging, unlike my emotions.  But why must my soul experience memory loss?  Waiting eagerly for another answered prayer in the way that I want it answered?God is so incredibly good.  Many lessons to keep learning.
 "Amen, Amen I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.  When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world.  So you also are now in anguish.  But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away. - John 16:20-22

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Johnny's Stella Dream

I wanted to share a dream Johnny told me about.  Our conversation: John - "I had a dream about Stella last night."  Me -"You did?  What was it?"  J - "She watching me sleep.  She watched me all night long.  She touched my tummy, where it was hurting."  Me- "That's so special.  She loves you so much Johnny."  J- "She was smiling at me all night long.  She was jumping on yours and daddy's bed. But you didn't see her.  And when it was morning, and it was time for us to wake up, she went back to heaven."  Me- "  All night, she was with you John? Do you remember what she was wearing?"  J- "She had a beautiful dress, uh...kinda like the color of the dress of the girl in Mr.Popper's Penguins.  You know, the big girl."  Me- "Oh, yes, the older sister, had that silver dress on." J - "Yes, that color." 

I shared the dream with my sister-in-law Monica.  She said John has shared that dream with her, but there were some differences.  I figured maybe he had the dream a while ago and told Monica and just now told me.  But Monica said, no.  She went on to tell me how he shared the dream with her and she asked if he had told his mom and dad.  John said no.  He then went on to say, "It's my favorite dream.  I have it a lot."  When John told me about that dream I couldn't help but smile and thank the Lord for those confirmations for him.  I told John how those dreams are real.  He replied, "Yeah, they are.  But not scary or weird dreams like with cars in them."  I smiled and said, "Right.  Those ones aren't real.  But the Stella dreams, they are." 

Monday, April 30, 2012

Something to Share

I wanted to share a couple excerpts from the book "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp.

"I wonder too...if the rent in the canvas of our life backdrop, the losses that puncture our world, our own emptiness, might actually become places to see. 

To see through to God.

That that whcihc tears open our souls, those holes that splatter our sight, may actually become the thi8n, open places to see through the mess of this place to the heart-aching beauty beyond.  To Him.  To the God whom we endlessly crave. 

Maybe so. 

But how?  How do we choose to allow the holes to become seeing-through-to-God places?  To more-God places?...

To fully live - to live full of grace and joy and all that is beauty eternal.  It is possible, wildly.

...Bowed at the edge or the world, Jesus asks me spun in circles, me coming to, only to lapse and to forget again, He asks soft of me who is yet again lost what He asked of the man born blind: "What do you want me to do for you?" ...He knows what I want, need.  Has He called me because He wants me to do my plumbing of the soul?  What do you want? Isn't that the sole question we all need to circle back to, over and again?  And who knows the answer? 
   I feel in it my chest first, before any answer or layer of answer finds shape in image words. (For all real answers, don't they come in strata, gradations of understanding?)  My body know it, the way tension drains from shoulders and a heart unknots.  I loosen, breath long.  I slow.  Moonlight cascades and a smile spreads in its wake.  What do you want? Why have I run?...A summer of pain.  ALways running.  A summer of grace.  Always the revelation.  Pain is everywhere, and wherever the pain there can be everywhere grace, and yes, Jesys, I am struggling and I get turned around but I think I know, at least in part, what I want.  If I had never run, if I had never falle, and here, I am not sure I would have known with blazing clarity.  I may not know all that it means, but this is what I want. 

This kingdom laden with glory, this, the pearl of great price, the field I'd sell everything to possess.  This is the pearl that crams me with a happiness that throbs, serrated edge, pit open wide for more of His glory.

The only place we have to come before we die si the place of seeing God.

This is waht I'm famished for: For of the God-glory.  I whisper witht he blind beggar: "Lord, I want to see." (Lk. 18:41)

That's my moaning pulse: "See. See." "

Monday, April 23, 2012

Suffering and Sweet

I do have a glimpse of heaven story to tell.  But first a few thoughts.  I finished reading John Paul  II's Apostolic Letter On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering.  It was a short 56 pages but FILLED with richness.  As I have been earning my "PhD" on suffering, this letter particularly enlightenened me on a couple beautiful points on suffering.  The ground work that needs to first be established is that John Paul  II experienced MUCH suffering in his life, tragic, long term, slow term, all terms.  He definitely has ground to write about suffering in the light that he does.  It is all incredibly hope-filled and amazing coming from a man who experienced and witnessed IMMENSE suffering.  The first revelation that made my soul's eye open a little more was this - "suffering is present in the world in order to release love, in order to give birth to works of love towards neighbor, in order to transform the whold of human civilization into a 'civilization of love.' "  That is a profound statement.  Suffering produces LOVE.  I remember making a comment after Stella died and being deeply touched by so many people.  Their works, their actions, words, their vulnerability and openness to me.  It was so beautiful, so...human.  People I had only known on the "surface" and they only me on the "surface,"  shared moments that only come from deep within.  It was real beauty.  I remember saying, "Why does it take things like this to make us so vulnerable and really loving with one another?"  So yes, I see how suffering births love.  Suffering is neccessary for love to be released.  Amen!!

The second point that woke my soul more was this, "This is the meaning of suffering, which is truly supernatural and at the same time human.  It is supernatural because it is rooted in teh divine mystery of the Redemption of the world, and it is likewise deeply human because in it the person discovers himself, his own humanity, his own dignity, his own mission...revealing of man to himself and making his supreme vocation clear...It also happens - as experience proves - that this can be particularly dramatic.  But when it is completely accomplished and becomes the light of human life, it is particularly blessed.  'Through Chirst and in Christ, the riddles of sorrow and death grow meaningful."  WOW!  Suffering allows a person to discover himself, or often what we say "find out what one's made of."  Through this discovery a person, a soul finds his\her mission, his\her supreme vocation.  God has one for each soul from the moment He calls it into being. Jesus had a divine purpose God had for Him, But we must remember WE ALL DO.  For a closer look at a unique soul's purpose please check out the blog - iwillcarryyou.wordpress.com. 

Now for my heaven story.  Johnny was laying on the couch with my mother in law. She was resting and he seemed tired too.  I went up stairs to put some laundry away with Gia.  I hadn't heard a peep downstairs and I figured he must have fallen asleep too.  I looked down the stairs and he was just laying there with his eyes open, maybe day dreaming.  Later that afternoon, we were outside playing.  Both of the children were up in the tree.  I was standing next to Gia.  I found a star in the grass and gave it to her.  I said, "Gia, did you see Stella today?"  I always ask her that.  I asked again smiling and nuzzling into her chunks.  John solemnly responded, "I did. I saw Stella."  Johnny is very "guy" like in his thinking.  Practical.  He doesn't like when I make jokes to him or use figures of speech.  Anyways, this caught my attention.  "When did you see her?"  I asked.  "I saw her in my dream, but with my eyes."  I didn't really understand.  I assumed he meant when he was sleeping last night.  As we went back in forth about when this happened.  He made it clear when he said, "You know, when I was laying on the couch with Nonna."  He saw her with the eyes of his soul and didn't know how else to describe it.  I asked what she was doing.  "She was in an ocean petting a shark, but the shark was not mean. And the water was gold and silver."  I asked wanting to hear more "Did she say anything to you?"  "Yes" he replied.  "She said, 'Johnny, you will be in heaven tomorrow.' And, 'I love you Johnny...and Gia."  I smiled at him and said, "Johnny, I'm so glad you got to see Stella, but I'm even more glad that you are learning to use the eyes of your soul to see.  That is praying Johnny and I'm so proud of you!"  I huggged him and peace wrapped us both in our embrace.  Meanwhile, Gia is yelling over and over "Lella! Lella! Lella!"  for Stella.  It was all so sweet.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Must Pass

I'm getting over a terrible stomach bug and cold. Yuck. I'll post next week.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Quick Easter Week Thought

I remember somebody telling me one of those "analogy stories" about a lost sheep sometime during the last year. They told me how when a shepherd loses a mother sheep, he immediately finds her baby in the flock and throws the small lamb over his shoulders. He then proceeds to search for the mother sheep. He knows the mother will respond immediately to her babe's call. I remember in some way feeling a little offended by this analogy. My over sensitive self felt a little wounded, thinking, "What are you trying to say? I'm lost and God had to take my daughter to make me come to Him?" Here I am sitting and writing and I found comfort now in this story. I see myself tonight, for who and what I am - a sinner, in desperate need of her Savior. I know there's a great purpose in this path of suffering for myself, my family, and many others. The Salvation story continues through each of us if we are willing.

However, I see myself and think how I've grown in my journey with our Creator but how very far I still have to go. And whether it is the way I would choose or not, I do feel like that mother sheep. Where my child is, I want to be. I desire to respond even harder, faster, and quicker to the call of hers I here. Stella being with Him has yanked my wandering eyes into better view - Heaven's view. I falter too much, but pressing forward is not an option. I wrote on Stella's Feast Day about my name and it's meaning. Tonight, I was reading "Queen of the Cosmos" a book of interviews of the visionaries from Medjugorije by Janice Connell. Vicka, one of the visionaries was talking about God's plan and how we are all part of it. How He called and knew us all by name before the world was made. He loved us and knew each of our purpose. He gave our parents the grace to name us what He had already named us. She continued to talk about how there are no coincidences and she even broke down the name meanings of all the visionaries and how they coincide with their role in the appartions and their role on earth. So just as I type this I think of how I just wrote about my name meaning, the story of the mother sheep and lamb came to me, and now I think of Stella's name meaning - star. What are stars noted for in history? Guidance. So yes, my star, my Stella, from the beginning was meant to guide her mother and I'm sure many others to our Heavenly Home, Home meaning Him. Stella continues to shine brightly drawing attention to God and His ways, which will never pass away. UGH! But I want to be and do so much better! I truly have mountains of self-love to climn over so that I can stand on the summit and see the Valley of Beauty I know I was made to be a part of.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Through Her Eyes

I want to share a passage from the book I read over a year ago "The Life of Mary as Seen by the Mystics." As we come close to Jesus' Passion and Resurrection I thought sharing this would be a different outlook. It is Mary's perspective. This is - "The Crucifixion - As Described by the Mother of Sorrows to St. Bridget of Sweden."

When I came with Him to the place of the Passion. I saw there all the instruments prepared for His death. He was ordered to take off His robe, and He immediately did so. And after he had undressed Himself, the soldiers said to one another: "These clothes belong to us, because He who is condemned to death will not use them again."

Now upon being ordered to do so, He lay down on His back on the Cross and stretched out first His right arm. Then His cruel executioners seized Him. First they attached His right to the beam, in which a nail hole had been prepared, and they drove the nail through His hand in the part where the bone was firmest.

Then they pulled His other hand in the opposite direction with a rope, as it did not reach the other nail hole, and they nailed it down in the same way. Next they nailed His right foot, and over it the left, so that all the nerves and veins were torn apart and broken. Then they replaced on His holy head the crown of thorns which caused such deep wound that His blood streamed down, filling His eyes and His ears and matting His whole beard.

When the first nail was driven into Him, through the shock of that first blow I lost consciousness and fell down as though dead. Everything turned black before my eyes. My hands began to tremble. And my anguish was so bitter that I could not look up again until He was completely attached to the Cross.

When I came to myself and arose again, I saw my Son hanging crucified in misery. And I , His deeply grieving Mother, felt such a shock through and through my whole being that I could hardly stand.

I also heard men saying to one another that my Son was a robber, others that He was a liar, and others that no one deserved death more than my Son, and when I hears such words my grief was renewed.

Now the crown of thorns, which covered half of His forehead, was pressing down onto His head so strongly that His blood was running down over His face, filling His eyes, hair, and beard. His whole head seemed to be nothing but one stream of blood, and in order to see me, as I stood by the Cross, He had to press the blood away from His eyes by contracting His lids and brows.

Because I was very close to Him during His Passion and did not allow myself to be separated from Him, for I stood right next to His Cross, and because the nearer something is to the heart the keener is its stab, so His suffering was more painful to me than to others. And when He looked down at me from the Cross, and I looked up at Him, tears streamed from my eyes like blood from veins. And when He saw me overwhelmed with grief, my sorrow made Him suffer so much that all the pains which He felt from His wounds were surpassed by the sight of the grief in which He beheld me. Therefore I boldly assert that His suffering became my suffering because His Heart was mine. And just as Adam and Eve sold the world for an apple, so in a certain sense my Son and I redeemed the world with one Heart.

While He was hanging there, bleeding and pierced with nails, He had compassion for my suffering as I stood near Him, sobbing. With His blood-filled eyes He looked down at John and commended me to His care.

Then after He had entrusted me tot he care of His Beloved Disciple, He saw me and His friends weeping inconsolably, and from the depths of His Heart He cried out in an overpowering voice, raising His head and His tear-filled eyes toward Heaven: "My God, My God, why hast Thou abandoned Me?"

I was never able to forget that cry until my Assumption into Heaven. And yet He uttered it more out of compassion for me than because of His own suffering.

Then His eyes appeared half-dead, His cheeks sunken in, and His features grief-stricken. His mouth was open and His tongue was covered with blood.He abdomen had fallen in toward His spine and seemed to have collapsed. His whole body was pale and weakened form continuous loss of blood. His hands and feet were stretched out in the cruelest way, drawn and forced by the nails into the shape of the Cross. His beard and hair were clotted with blood. While He was hanging there so torn and livid, only His Heart was still vigorous, for it was of the best and strongest quality. At His birth, He had acquired from my flesh an extraordinarily pure body and an excellent constitution. His skin was so fine and delicate that the slightest blow caused the blood to flow at once. And His blood was so red that it could be seen coursing under His clear skin.

And because His constitution was so very excellent, now death struggled fiercely with life in His pierced body. Alternately the pain rose from His torn limbs and nerves tor ward His Heart, which was still strong and undamaged, causing Him indescribable torture, and then the pains would flow back from His Heart into His limbs, and thus prolong the agony of His death.

And yet, though He was in the midst of such suffering, when He looked down at His weeping friends, who, rather than see Him suffer, thus, would have wished to undergo the same pains themselves, the sorrow which the suffering of His friends caused Him was far greater than all the bitter pain which He had to endure in His body and His Heart, for He loved them tenderly.

Then in the excessive anguish of His humanity He cried to His Father: "Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit!"

When I, His Most Sorrowful Mother, heard these words, in my keen grief of heart all my limbs trembled - and indeed as often as I later thought of that cry, I could hear it again in my ears.

Then the color of death came over those parts of His body that were not covered with blood. His cheeks hung down over His teeth. His ribs were extended and could be counted. His nose became pointed and thin.

Now as death was near and His Heart was breaking from the intensity of His suffering. His whole body quivered. His head rose slightly and then sank down again. His half-closed eyes opened partly. His mouth fell open, and we could see His tongue all covered with blood.

Then His hands shrank back a little from the nail holes, and His feet bore most of the weight of His body. His fingers, and arms which had been convulsively contracted, straightened out, and His back pressed against the Cross: Finally His head dropped, and His beard rested on His chest.

Then my hands became numb. Darkness appeared before my eyes. My face turned as white as a corpse. My ears could no longer hear, and I could not utter a word. My feet gave way. And i sank to the ground.

But when I arose again and saw my Son more despised than a person afflicted with leprosy, I directed my will completely toward Him. Then I fully understood that everything had happened in accordance with His Will and that it could not have happened unless He had permitted it. And I thanked Him for everything. A certain joy was even mingled with my grief, for I perceived how He, who had never sinned, had willed to suffer so much for sinners, out of His great love.

Now His half-closed eyes were turned downward, and His already dead body hung down. His knees had bent in one direction, and His feet had twisted around the nails in the other direction as on a hinge. Then some persons who were present said in a mocking way: "Mary, your Son is dead now." Others, who were more considerate said, "Woman, now the agony of your Son has come to an end in eternal glory." And still others said: "Though He is dead, He will rise again!"

And while they were saying this, a man came up and drove a spear so forcefully into His side that is almost came out on the other side. And as soon as he drew it out, its point was all red with blood. The Heart of my beloved Son was so violently and mercilessly pierced that the spear split His Heart in two.

When I saw that my Son's Heart had been stabbed through, I felt that my own heart was likewise pierced, and it was a wonder that it did not break.

While the others left the scene, I did not want to go away. Later my Son was taken down from the Cross. Two men set up three ladders. One reached to His feet, the second came to His arms under the shoulders, and the third reached the middle of His body. Then one of the men climbed up the second ladder and drove the nail out of the one arm. Then he moved the ladder and drove the nail out of the other hand, for the nails extended far beyond the beam of the Cross. Then, while he held the body up and slowly came down a bit, the other man went up the ladder that reached to the feet and drove out the nails. When they lowered the body near the ground, one supported it at the head and the other at the feet. But I who was His Mother, held Him in the middle. Thus we three carried Him to a stone which I had covered with clean linens.

All my Son's limbs had become stiff and cold in death, and the blood which had flowed over them during His Passion adhered to them. But I was indeed consoled that I could touch His body and take Him onto my lap, examine His wounds and dry up the blood.

I took His white body onto my knees. It was like the body of a man suffering from leprosy. His eyes were lifeless and filled with blood, His mouth was as cold as snow. His beard was twisted together like a rope. His fave was contracted. He lay on my knees as He had hung on the Cross, like a human body that has been twisted apart in all its limbs.

I did not want to bend His arms, which had grown so still that in trying to fold them on His chest, I was only able to place them over His abdomen. His knees too could not be altogether stretched out, but remained up, as they had stiffened on the Cross.

Then they laid Him out on some clean linen, and with my cloth I washed His wounds and His limbs. And with my finger I closed His eyes and His mouth, which were open when He died.

But I did not sew up the cloth, for I knew for sure that He would not decay in the tomb.

Then Magdalen and other holy women came up and also there were many holy angels present, like bright sunbeams, to render honor to their Creator.

It would be impossible for anyone to describe how sad I was then. I was like a woman who gives birth to a child, after the birth her whole body is quivering, and although her pain is such that she can hardly breath, yet in her heart she feels the greatest possible joy, because she knows that her son which she has borne will never again have to go through that suffering which he has just experienced. This, though I felt a grief over the death of my Son that could not be compared to any other, I also rejoiced in my soul, because I knew that my Son would not die again, but would live forever. And thus some joy was mingled with my sorrow.

Then they placed Him in the tomb. Oh, how gladly would I have allowed them to entomb me alive with my Son, if it had been His Will! I can truly say that when my Son was entombed, there were two Hearts in one sepulcher. Is there not the saying: where your treasure is, there is also your heart? Therefore my thoughts and heart were always in the Tomb of my Son.

After all these things had been accomplished, the good John came and led me to his house.

So you see, my daughter, what my Son suffered for you. Consider therefore how great was my suffering at the Death of my Son, and it will not be hard for you to give up the world.

Monday, March 26, 2012

A Response

I received an email from a fellow "hiker" - one of you. Her email was quite relevant to the temptations I faced recently. We were out as a family Sunday. We went down to a lovely area in the city. A place that has lots of "green". Trees, grass, and we even saw quails. I love quails because they are part of many childhood memories. I haven't seen them here in Phoenix. Looking at the area, the homes, we then ventured to an outdoor shopping mall. The children were running and laughing around. It was evening time and many families were out and about. The stores were all lit up with beautiful items. I was taking all of it in. Instead of just thanking the Lord for the beauty of everything, I couldn't help but feel comparisons coming on. Why couldn't we be one of those families? A family with all children here. What about all the beautiful over-priced merchandise? It was all so beautiful. Why does everyone look so happy and COMFORTABLE? I want comfortable. Why don't I deserve any of that? Why do they? Such feelings and questions started to whirl in my head and emotions in my heart. As we walked by each store, I looked at each one and would just say to myself - "Lies." Pottery Barn - "Lies". Vera Bradley "Lies". Origins - "Lies" Saks Fifth Ave - "Lies". Haagen-Daaz - "Li-- No actually delicious." J.Crew - "Lies" too. However, none of this put out the fire of envy. Where do these things come from inside? I love beauty. I enjoy it. I am drawn to it. Who isn't? However, seeking the mere imitations will only last briefly. My wise husband reminds me again, that even as I look at the people who seem to have "comfortable" lives with all children present, we still never know what their lives are like or what they have been like. And most people who are worth admiring went through great trials and overcame them. How does he speak such words and immediately my soul is calmed. The embrace follows and I feel very COMFORTABLE in his arms - actually more than comfortable, I feel safe, loved...content.

The sister in Christ who wrote to me told me a quote her father would tell her that he heard from priest. He said, "God doesn't call us to be comfortable. He calls us to be extraordinary." Thank you, sweet sister, for reminding me of this. Why not both? Can't we be comfortable and still receive heaven? At times we are. God gives us respits on our journey. He places oasis in the desert, havens during storms, plateaus when climbing the mountain. He is so good. But He does not want us to get too comfortable because something awful happens if we do - we become lukewarm. And Jesus promises that if we are lukewarm he will spit us out of His mouth. It's more repulsive to Him than being cold towards Him. Therefore, comfort is for the Kingdom, not for our earthly life time. I know, I cringe at that reality too.

I was also asked what I do for my prayer time and if I could blog about it. Hmm...My prayer time is constantly changing and like everyone else, finding time to make it a priority can be challenging as schedules change and life flies. I'm no different than anyone else for that matter. My prayer time lately is in the evening. It's a difficult time of day for me because I am so tired, but no matter how exhausted I am, I know the Lord honors it. There are times I when I sit before Him so tired and weak, and simply say "Well, I'm here. I made it." And that's it. I just sit ready to fall asleep. There are evenings it doesn't happen. I remind myself of what St. Therese said when she could not go to Mass and receive the Eucharist because of her poor health. One of her many famous quotes is "Everything is Grace". This stemmed from it. She mentioned that when she gets to go to Mass every day it is indeed a grace, however times when she cannot is a grace as well. The intention of missing prayer time must be pure , not just "I don't feel like it." However, I have said that as well and then I rely on God's Infinite Mercy as well after I ask for forgiveness. I often fall asleep praying the rosary or Mercy Chaplet sitting still. I pray those during the day usually while I'm driving, running, etc. I sit in silence. I am learning to let the Holy Spirit speak more than me. I praise God aloud. I read Scripture. I read other spiritual books. I meditate on the Passion, on Jesus life. I write in a journal. I cry and complain. I don't do all of them in one sitting. Some nights it is a short prayer time - ten minutes. Some nights it is long 1-2 hours. I remind myself when I want to unwind in front doing something I enjoy - art, TV, reading, emails, etc. That if I have time to those, I have time to pray first. However, I know my day is a prayer too. All my offerings, my service, my teaching the children, and loving those before me are all prayers. We have images of Jesus, Mary, Saints etc. and they remind me throughout the day to praise God in a moment. I sing praise songs while I do the dishes or get meals ready. I talk to Heaven throughout the day. We stop and make a visit at a chapel. We try to go to Mass throughout the week. So I know, the prayer is my life, not just the moments I decide to sit down in silence. Both disciplines are just that - disciplines. I work at them constantly. I fall short daily. I get back up and try again. Mondays, John has atrium class while Gia has her morning nap. I LOVE that time because I get to pray in the morning while I am refreshed. But that is just Mondays. God will take whatever we have to offer and multiply it. That's the business He's in, that's who He is. Think of the story of the fish and loaves. Never get down on yourself for falling short. It gives Satan too much room to work. I hope that was the answer looked for. I find too as a parent, it is so important my children see or know we, as their parents pray. It's different than even saying a family prayer. It teaches my children how important it is for one's personal life. They see the consistency just like they see me cook three meals a day for the families needs. The food of the soul is just as important! More so actually. It shows them that God is first in their parents lives. It teaches them to do it as well. I shared how Stella would do it - not every day but she would ask me to light a candle for her and she would go in her room for five minutes and say she was going to go pray. It was soooooo precious. She would come out skipping and happy and telling me what she prayed for. OH SWEET GIRL, I MISS YOUR SHEER JOY!! How all of Heaven must marvel at it in you, Stella!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Water Water Everywhere, Yes in Arizona

The beauty of water has intrigued me surprisingly this last week. I know the health benefits, the uses of it, the power of it, and the capacity of it to change form. But I've been enamored by the sheer beauty of it. I almost feel like I haven't been able to get away from it recently. Where to start? John and I have helped my father-in-law plant his spring garden. I love all the fresh veggies! John, Gia and I go outside almost every day and check to see if anything has come up. If any new, promising life has started to crawl out of the dark, mystery earth. The other day I caught a glimpse of the drip system. The sun at dusk was peeking over the West wall, giving the fertile soil one last kiss good night. The drops of water hitting the ground looked like hundreds of flashing diamonds, taking tuns dancing and showing of their reflective splendor. I said with a tone of awe "Johnny, look!" He peered over and said with a bit of a solemn voice, "Wow, mom - beautiful." It was indeed.

The kitchen window sits over the sink as many do. Bubbles fill it - water bubbles from the pressure of the faucet, not soap bubbles. The sun gleams warmly through the glass pane. Each tiny bubble holds an entire rainbow of its own. Precious and quite incredible if you think about it. I place the fish just starting to thaw from the drive home from the store in the freezer. As I open the freezer door my eye catches another beauty of water. The light from the freezer combined with the natural light from the sun peering through the kitchen window turn the bag of frozen fish into a bag of glitter. I stop and enjoy the fairy dust-like sparkles in hand.

We had a big storm yesterday - all day. The weather dropped twenty degrees over night. Us, Arizonians weren't sure what to do. We took the children to play at an indoor play area in one of the malls. The parking lot connects to the mall by an outside walking bridge. We left around six. It was pouring hard outside but there were sunbursts all over. Just as we crossed the bridge, there was a full arched double rainbow! Not just one, but two! People were stopping and marvelling. We did too.

Why all these thoughts about water this week? I sit and ponder it, knowing there must be a revelation in here somewhere. I sit, I pray, I think, I examine, I listen. I think of an art history class I had in Rome. I loved it. It enthralled me. There was so much beauty to see, to sense, to learn about, to take in. My memory falls short on the specifics. I recall looking at some paintings that came from artists in Venice, Italy, a city built on...WATER. There was a period of art that focused solely on water, and especially the way light played on it. Artsists became intrigued by water, wanting to capture it's beauty on canvas. That's it! There's the revelation. Each moment I had that drew me to water's beauty involved light. The way the light hit it, the different light from different times, combined with different forms of water. I beheld more aspects of water's beauty by observing these different variables. I could stop there. Many people choose to. Others don't even get that far. They don't even take notice at all. Some do and take it in, admiring the water's interaction with the light. They might even be so enthralled by it, they paint it and start an era of art history. One might even receive "fuzzy and happy" feelings by observing such beauty and its dimensions. But is that all? Why stop there? Why stop at the worshipping of water? I CHOOSE to go beyond. To look at, admire, soak up, and adore the One who created each and every aspect of water. So I see His ways a little more when looking at the water. I see myself, my soul a little clearer and its relation to Him, my Creator. I see the key to water's stunning beauty and all her faces this past week was dependent on light. It was the light that could touch and reveal the water's potential to hold rainbows in all different sizes and reflections.

Is this not like my own soul and her God? The beauty potential and revelation of my soul is dependent on The Light. It is the Creator shining upon all the different facets of my revealing endless possibilities of all the potential I didn't even know was possible to begin with! A soul, like water is still something to marvel at, because of the nature of it, its purpose, its substance, but it transforms to glorious and almost magical when it is in a place where Light can reach and shine upon it. Light, melts icy hearts, Light makes one's self dance like sparkling diamonds, and hold spectacular colors within, and therefore project spectacular larger colors on the entire world. This is only possible for water with Light. However, the soul, like water must be in the right place for the Light to touch it in order for such things to even begin to take place. Grace must be received, accepted in order to take root and thrive in a soul, in a life. Light can be cut off by objects and create shadows, hindering the "AWE" effect. The soul must work endlessly to keep objects out and move ones in the way, so shadows can not be cast. She must work tirelessly to put herself in a place to only hold and project rainbows for her own sake and the sake of the world around her. THAT is where the challenge lies for each of us. Thank you my Father for speaking so loudly, and the grace to hear you. Thank you for the beauty I experienced through one of your creations this week.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Hiking Foreigner

Sorry about not posting last week. Gia had pneumonia. I was emotionally drained as it brought me back to hard grief. The processing continues on. It has passed, and I am thankful. I see how far I have come, but still how far I have to go.

During last week when Gia was sick. I couldn't help but cry out to God and say, "She shouldn't have died! She was a healthy little girl! She shouldn't have!" When the storms of emotions calmed as I sat in quiet prayer. I was led to contemplate on the First Station of the Cross - Jesus is Condemned to Death. The next day I would remind myself of the first station. Not sure of what I was suppose to think about or dwell on, or what the Holy Spirit would show me, but I just kept trying. I thought of what that must have been like to be condemned to die. How did Jesus feel as He looked out into the crowd shouting "CRUCIFY HIM!" The crowd with some of the same people that followed Him miles, and watched Him perform miracles. Did He feel hurt? Scared? Betrayed? Misunderstood? By pondering this one aspect of His life, I saw how He used it to speak to mine. Christ shouldn't have died either. He was innocence itself. He came so we might have life and have it in abundance. He came to spread hope that the world had never heard or seen or experienced. He came to give love - agape love. He performed no crimes, all the evidence points to the same conclusion - He, too, shouldn't either. But He did. Why? Because it was the Father's Will, and that is why He came. It wasn't enough for Him to be a good person with good things to say. He had to give the Father all. He had to complete what He was sent to do. That is why we are all here, to do the Father's Will. His holy, perfect, all-loving Will. The Will that is not the path wide and smooth. The Will that takes us on the straight and narrow. The Will that many do not choose to follow because it is often so very HARD. The Will where the weak, the wretched, the lost, and the broken are the VICTORS. The Will that leads to everlasting life, to perfect love, to only belonging, and forever safety. His hands are in everything, even in what appears to be repulsive and unbelievable. Stella, pray hard for all of us! The path to the summit is getting steeper. Let no soul be left behind. Blessed be God forever and happy hiking.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Best I Can Give Tonight

I'm actually not sure of what to write about. Even as I have contemplated this last week, I still couldn't come to any conclusions. The truth is, it's been really hard. Everything seems so fresh again sometimes. And I guess that's just what it is. The last month seems to have had more harder days than not. That's the name of this game though - ups and downs. It's all just exhausting. The road of life looks long right now and even as I continue to press forward and push, I sometimes just stop and let it be. I just let all the pain be where it is, right inside. I try not fight it too much because surrendering is sometimes the best choice. I see the Truth, but sometimes it doesn't set in and reside in me. This is where habits of trust and service come in handy. I fall back on them and I am grateful. All the questions spin in my head as the world continues to spin as well. How? I wonder. How does time continue to move? I gaze upon Jesus hanging on the Cross - limp, lifeless, bloody, and battered and I say "I trust in You, my sweet, sweet Jesus." Can't we just skim over this part? Go straight to beautiful, glorious, light-filled Jesus after His Resurrection? It gives good feelings and brings happy thoughts. No. We can't. Seeing the "before" picture, makes us see the real transformation in the "after" one. And besides, I relate more to the body hanging on the Cross right now. Thank you Lord, for choosing me. Thank you for choosing all of us sinners. You didn't have to. Your really actually shouldn't have... but You did. Thank you. I will praise you all the days of my life, no matter what they look like or what is in them. I hope against all hope for the glory to be revealed in times to come, in places to come, in LOVE to come. I hope against all hope in the Love that is here, in all of these tears. I throw myself at the foot of your cross and intercede for many who are suffering. For those you have given me knowledge of and those I have no idea about. You allow these moments of pain to continue to visit me, just as You allowed your own death come upon Your very life. For You knew the life of this world was NOTHING compared to the one to come. Why do I try so hard to understand it all? I can't. It's not humanly possible. I surrender it all. Thank you for the wounds I gaze upon. Thank you for those wounds you bore so my daughter could be held by all the splendor and glory only pure Love embraces. Please, come close to me now and comfort this little fragile soul, your Francesca.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Exerpt

"If I were to direct you to a course that would bring you closer to Me, would you accept it? Would you walk into this course with joy, singing My praise because I had taken your hand and led you quickly into the heavenly mysteries of holiness? Would you be grateful to Me for choosing you amongst many to be one of My closest companions? Would you recognize that great grace that I had given to you by selecting you to proceed with Me down this course that leads so directly to My heart, even if it were to lead you away from your companions? My beloved one, if you are suffering, be assured that I have chosen you to accompany Me as a close companion. Only in suffering is it possible for Me to visit you with certain heavenly graces. These graces are distinguishable from other graces by the impact they leave on a soul. This impact alters permanently the viewpoint of one who has experienced suffering. Some reject My presence in the cross and become bitter. Poor, poor children of God, who do not see God in their cross. You must pray for them and rejoice if you are one who suffers and understands that your Savior is asking you to accompany Him on the walk to Calvary. Could I abandon you with your suffering? Would such a thing be possible when I, Myself have chosen you to be My closest companion? If you experience the cross, My beloved apostle, you experience Me, but you must desire My companionship as I desire yours.

My beloved apostles, do not be downhearted because you suffer. Consider that suffering is learning. What do I teach you in suffering? There are so many advantages and revelations possible in suffering that if you are suffering you should say, 'Truly, I have embarked upon a course of study. I am studying Jesus in the cross.' In this way, you will view your time spent carrying the cross as time spent with intensive learning and intensive advance into things holy. One of the the things you will struggle with is temptation to reject the cross and rebel against the cross. Anyone who is carrying a crosss of suffering requires exertion. You must exert yourself to remain faithful and recollected when you are carrying a cross. This is wearisome at times. But the fact that one is tired does not mean that one is finished. If the cross has not dimished then you must carry it for a time longer. I am the personal instructor of those carrying crosses. Do you listen carefully to your instructor? Do you seek to remain close to Me? If you do, I will teach you how to carry the cross in the way that benefits your most, and by benefitting you, remember that heaven benefits all around you and all that is close to your heart. Just as the Father blessed many through My Passion, He will bless many through yours. You are not alone. I am with you."

- Whispers from the Cross,
Reclaiming the Church through
Personal Holiness

Monday, February 13, 2012

Frustrating Self

Have you ever been so frustrated by your own weaknesses? Do you ever surprise yourself by how the things you know you shouldn't do or say or think, you still do, say and think?! Paul talks about this in the New Testament. I do it all too often. I drive myself nuts, actually. Using all of my self-control to not say or do something and then I still end up saying or doing it! It is baffling how weak I am. How I want to be all good and loving and yet I am not. I am not God. However, there are two things that I can think of that are good in this. I realize that I am able to see and recognize the faults in me. It gives me the desire to at the very least, to keep trying and trying to become better and overcome these hindrances. I am in no way in denial of them or don't care enough to work on them.

The other thing that I see in the struggle is that there must be more than this world for me. In the constant struggle to be better, to overcome, to fight, and at times be victorious, I see that I am made for so much more. I read these words from Jesus and they settled in my soul - "While you are serving in exile, away from heaven, you feel that you are apart from something that you crave. This is a good feeling because it shows that you are experiencing the longing for heaven that calls you home. I, too, experienced this longing for heaven. It is an aching feeling. It tells you that there is something else that you should have that you do not have? It is union with your Savior. You will feel complete when you have this forever; with no risk of losing this union." I do experience this. I am thankful for feeling this. For many years, I did not. I felt longing for Christ but longing for Him in m life on earth. Heaven, home, was an after-thought, a bonus to loving God. By observing and living in my weaknesses, I become disgusted with myself. I see a sliver of the vast space between God's greatness and my nothingness. This viewing of our great distinction reminds me of His Divine Mercy. It reminds me of glimpses of who I can be, where I started and how far I've come. In Christ, for Christ and through Christ I crave a better me. I know it must be possible because I crave it so intensely.

It reminds me of when someone falls in love. Not only does the beloved want to behold her lover because of him, she wants to behold him because she is a better version of herself with him. She sees never-known possibilities of her own grace and beauty, her own transformation. This is what I crave when I think of unity with Christ, with Heaven. The best version of me. The version I no longer have to battle so much. The version I will be completely at peace with. The version that will no longer have to search, gain, and lose again. Complete - me. Complete with God. But until then, I keep on fighting. Keep analyzing my struggles. Keep asking for forgiveness. Keep getting up time and time again after each fall. Keep on working towards becoming better. Keep relying on Him. One day at a time, one moment. Blessings on your week. I have to go now and yell at the children ;)

***By the way, I was wondering if ANY of you reading or checking in on my blog would like to be a feature writer for a week. Don't just count it out right away. I ask that you just pray about it and see if maybe you are called to. Email me your thoughts, your experience, your gratitude, etc. I would LOVE it. Then I get to use your writing here and there throughout the weeks. Remember, we are all in this together!! ***