that was then… this is then in the next second

When I was a little girl I always thought about the fact that tomorrow never actually comes because when tomorrow comes, it is today.(that makes sense to me)

I have always been on some sort of diet most of my adult life. It always seem to start… tomorrow. I guess the philosophy I stated in my opening line kind of makes me realize no wonder I am always going to go on a diet…… tomorrow never comes, thus the diet really never starts.

Bear with me this is not going to be a post on dieting, I myself find it rather boring to talk about it. I also abhor when I am out to eat with my friends and they say I should not eat this but…. Food is meant to enjoy and savor otherwise why would it taste so good. But I digress~ It was brought up as an analogy of the passing of time.

I have a friend who just recently had her beagle Bella die after being hit by a car. This has hit her very hard. She apologized the other day for being so emotional about a silly dog. Pets are just as much a part of our families as we are to each other. I do not diminish the fact that we grieve our pets. They provide us with unconditional love. She kept saying that she did not want to “feel” this way.

That got me to thinking about how I “feel” about death. I told her I felt that death was just the next chapter of life. Everyone dies….. Why is death so hard to talk about. I remember when my son died, I had people say I am sorry you “lost” your son. Bear with me, I was 23 when my son died, immature, so I would say to these people, I did not “lose” him, he died. I know right where he is, he is in the arms of God with all those people who died before him. Most especially my baby brother who died a few moths prior at the age of 16. This always made people uncomfortable. My delivery was probably more of the cause for that then the actually idea behind the sentiment of my words, I should have just accepted the expression of condolence and be a bit more gracious.

Death to me really is the final frontier. The conclusion of life. The last chapter. I think people are so uncomfortable because it is so unknown. It is not like a trip you take to Hawaii and come back and share amazing stories and pictures. I do imagine heaven similar to Hawaii though. (without the hurricanes or monsoons or whatever they get there)

Death does not bother me, I do cry about it, I cried about Bella the beagle. It is sad when people and pets we love die. We “lose” their actual physical presence, the tactile ability to feel their love and hug them.

I think that the reason death has become a glorious thing is because I do not fear it. I feel my loved ones and pet who have died …… I feel them in my heart, soul and spirit. I keep that attachment and it keeps me. It provides me with sustenance to continue my own life.

I know that I know that I know (that means I really know) in my heart (it is not a learned knowing but a heart knowing) that I will be united with my God and all the people who have loved me and who I have loved that have died.

I will not debate with you on whether or not there is a God or heaven. It IS my reality. It IS my TRUTH. I hold tight to that belief and try to comfort others with that concept.

Besides, if it is not true and there is no God or heaven, if there is just blackness and an abyss of nothingness then no harm no foul.

I have the blessed assurance that all things work together for the good for those who are called according to God’s purpose (oh come on, get your Bible out and look up Roman’s 8:28) 😉

That means all things…………..ALL~~!! Good~ purpose. Makes it all so much better.

Now about that diet, talk to me tomorrow. Be blessed.

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Time marches………. on……. and then runs away

This new year I am going to start writing more. Reading more and maybe even get some online classes to move forward… The new year always comes with renewed hope, optimism and “Joie de vivre” (it is french..look it up it really does mean “Joy of Living”)

I have learned…and this has served me well the last few years as I thought a divorce after 13 years of marriage, moving out of the house I had known and painstakingly remodeled for 18 years….that home isn’t a place…….. and bear with me I am being very reflective this morning…

Home isn’t a refuge from the storm. It’s a Perfect Love that storms our hearts.
Home isn’t the light at the end of the road. It’s an unquenchable Hope that lights our way.
Our zip code may change and the familiar may fade, but when we build our lives on the cornerstone of God we are never far from home. The best gift we can give each other is to extend prayers of grace,love and peace in each others hearts.

Psalm 90:1, “God, it seems you’ve been our home forever …”

John 15:5, “I am the Vine and you are the branches. Get your life from Me. Then I will live in you and you will give much fruit. You can do nothing without Me.”

I have made a commitment to myself to write each day. My health is a little bit wonky right now. I am more susceptible to germs than most ….. but preventive measures are in effect. Until tomorrow… practice that Joie de vivre

History~~revisited

Oh my gosh!  Its been a few days since I had a post. 

I have been writing furiously in my many notebooks in long hand. I am writing a memoir of sorts of my life.   I have been inundated with memories that I thought were buried so deep in my sub-conscious that they would never surface.

Oh, but surface they have!! I have always said to myself, (yes, I talk to myself and I am quite fascinating)  I said, “self why do you not remember your childhood memories?   I have had a few, but they are mostly memories achieved through pictures or old 8 millimeter movies ( ya. I am that old but we will side-step that point with denial)... bits and pieces. Moving pictures without sound…….  my sister dancing the twist with a small little sister (me) dancing beside her mimicking every move in hopes to be just like her.  I was kinda’ cute! The admiration I have of my sister is so painfully evident even when I was 2 years old!

As I have been writing my so-called memoir, the memories have been bubbling to the surface like a small hot spring.

The steam of the memories rising.  Maybe I remember more than I thought.  I have many memories of my rebellious teen years…. I had an opinion and I was not afraid to express it causing many heated debates with my equally opinionated mother! The memories before are blurred and distorted.

Almost like an old black and white television that produces a picture in between static and white noise. I am struggling with the flimsy antenna trying to get the picture back into focus.

I think I will spend some time today…. watching those blurred images that have been now transferred on a DVD and get my notebooks out…..and see where it leads me~~!! To be continued.

Aside

small hurts~~ greater good?

 

“Blessed are they that persecuted for the sake of righteousness

for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven”

Oppression, victimization,mistreatment,abuse,discrimination………. all synonyms for persecution.  Heavy stuff.   Last night while I was at home, after a nice hot bath, clean pj’s, a nice cup of tea,  I settled in to watch the movie “The Help”.   I had read the book a couple of times.  When I read a book, I form images in my mind of what the characters look like, their mannerisms and the setting they are in.  That is one of the joys of reading for me,  but I digress.

As I was watching the movie, there were times when the tears came and I was so convicted.  I came to the realization of how people of “color”  “African Americans”, “black” people were so mistreated and discriminated against, abused, victimized, oppressed all the synonyms for persecution.  It was not that long ago, the 60’s, when this persecution was happening.  The mind set that black PEOPLE were not people at all, but items to “own”. I am sure that the mind set of racism  still goes on, that many people still feel the same way. It makes me sick.

That got me to thinking of all the ways we can persecute.   As a society, we are called to be cohesive and in harmony & peace with each other.  Ideally accepting and loving.    There are many subtle ways we persecute each other.   Can we say that we always feel that all people are created equal.  Do we have a sense of being better than, lets say the man who stands at the intersection with a sign that says… :”will work for food”  are we empathetic to his plight, or do we give a few dollars with the underlying thought that he will probably use the money to buy drugs or alcohol.    I have thought that before, but was convicted by my beliefs that I am not to judge and to give to others without expectation.

All people deserve to live their lives as they will, as long as it does not cause others harm.  It is funny how as I wrote the last sentence, it came to mind that some people choose to cast judgment on others, because they disagree with how they either are or what they believe in. Persecution…..

God made us to be individuals with free will.   I believe that God set out commandments for us to live by.  10 simple rules.  For those who do not believe in God, ~ Atheists have  beliefs that  I am not that familiar with, However,  an article I read in the Huffington Post, about Atheist “churches” that are springing up more and more in the United States.  It states~~They don’t bash believers of God, but want to find a new way to meet like-minded people, engage in the community and make their presence more visible in a landscape dominated by faith.  And why not.  Again…. the free will part.   Everyone is entitled to their beliefs….. everyone.  

As I have always told my children, who grew up Catholic on their dads side…. and with me( a recovering Catholic, who believes the tenants of the faith, just not the religiosity and legalism of the Catholic faith)  as they got older,  I encouraged them to find their own beliefs. My oldest son is raising his family in the Catholic faith, church on Sunday, no meat on Fridays during lent, first communion and confession all the legalism of organized religion.   My daughter believes the Buddhist tenants are for her.  My youngest does not attend any church at all. As they were growing up, they attended the Catholic mass with their dad.  When with me, I gave them the choice of going to church or not.  When they went with me, they found a charismatic church that was very different in style of the mass but basically had the same message.

I do not know how I could live my life without my beliefs in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.   I believe with all my heart.    I also believe in free will and choices.   “Christianity” is my belief system.  I go to a church that is non-denominational.  It is a new church.  No building yet, so we meet at the local movie theater.  We have an awesome worship team and a pastor who is in essence very real, down to earth, & practical. I invite friends to attend and a few have and they have really enjoyed it and attended again. 

The point I am trying to make is about the persecution of anyone.  We have all been persecuted in some way.  The judgment of others is a persecution of you.  The person that forces you to believe what they believe is a persecution of the others free will to choose.  As a Christian,  I am called to spread the good news, that Jesus died for me and I will live again after death, if I believe.  I am not an evangelist, I do not hand out tracts to people on the street,  I do not wear a sign saying “Repent the end is near!!”    I do try to live a life that is non judgmental (it is not my job to judge), a life that reflects love, charity, generosity, good will, kindness and open mindedness to others.  To love others as God has loved me.  That is my evangelism to others.

 

Persecution is when someone is  oppresses another, abuses another, mistreats another, discriminates another…….  We are all called to abolish persecution.  ~~be kind one to another.  Respect each other.  Live in harmony with each other.  That is a start.

I believe that at this time and on this earth………….. we will not see persecution abolished  ~~ but in the next life….. those who have been persecuted will get their just reward.   (and theirs is the  kingdom of heaven). 

 

Aside

Peace..Harmony..

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Blessed are the peacemakers

for they shall be called children of God

 

 Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me~~  One of my favorite prayers is the prayer of St. Francis.   In it there is a reaction to the injustices that I am sure all of us have had to deal with.  Being a “peacemaker” can be very hard.  I have learned in my life that if I have an opinion or a mindset there will also be either an equal viewpoint but mostly an opposing opinion.

I never really liked to be in debate about how I believe.  In my heart, I have always been one to allow others their opinion and to make their point in honest and productive debates.   I thought I was a peacemaker, but in fact I was just someone who did not want to argue and I was the one with the question….. “why can’t we all just get along”   I am still of that mindset.

As I look at this beatitude, where it says “they will be children of God”.   I have found in my life, that children do pick up many of their parents traits, good & Bad.   In my faith my God has nothing but good to give His children.  Thus, as a child of God we are emulating His Godly nature to do good and be good, being a representation of God.

Being a peacemaker is learning, as my photo before my post says, “In your garden of thought  cultivate harmony”   I would have just that picture to conclude my post.    It really is very simple to cultivate harmony.  Harmony is peace with cooperation.   Harmony is blending together the whole of the music.  Sometimes the harmony is a bit off, but with practice and cooperation the orchestra can blend many different instruments and vocal qualities to be “in harmony” and in turn a beautiful harmonic blend of all the differences.   Celebrating all the different ideas in a cohesive tapestry of love and respect for each and every voice that is to be heard.

Being a peacemaker and one that cultivates harmony can be a challenge. When people hate it is very hard to cultivate love and not counteract with more hate.  When someone injures your spirit it is hard to forgive them the hurt and not hurt them back. It is hard to become stronger in your faith when all the signs around you make you doubt. When someone who experiences despair it is very hard to cultivate hope.  Experience  darkness counteract with light~~ Sadness with joy. It takes practice and diligence.

It is something we have to work at.  When we are being a peacemaker, we also have the additional benefit of  peace in our hearts.  When we cultivate that harmony ~~  our harvest will be full of peace and those around us will see that we are children of God, the ultimate peacemaker.

 

katharos

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Blessed are the pure of heart

for they shall see God

 

The Greek word for “pure” is “katharos”. Fundamentally, it signifies that which is clean, or free from contaminating substance.  Pure Gold.  Pure water. Pure bliss. Pure love.  

The word evokes many  “word pictures” for me.   A newborn baby is pure.  The first snowfall is pure. The unadulterated embrace of mother and a child with the underlying unconditional pure love given  without expectation.

This beatitude gives me the chance to shed my grown up skin that I am in and look deep into my heart to find the “pure” heart as a small child, before the world infiltrated my heart with contaminants .  To look to the world around me as a child would.  Pure…. unstained.. not contaminated but free of any ingredients mixed in. Untainted.

One thing was brought to my mind~~~ the Ivory soap claim that it is “99.44/100% pure”.  Nothing added… pure and free from any additional “stuff”.  When my heart is pure, I am able to be free enough to receive all that God has to offer me.

One of my favorite Scripture passages is  ~~God, create a pure heart in me, and renew a right attitude within me. Psam51:10.

This to me is the “pure”  (pun intended) essence of being pure of heart.  Our hearts and minds are  inundated with so many worldly things, attitudes of intolerance, destruction of simple morals and we strain to remain true to our heart and our beliefs. We become cynical  and we let down our guard and let the the bulls**t of this world enter into our hearts, mind and spirits.

Let’s face it every human being has heart problems. We all struggle to keep within us a pure heart.   As we grow into our lives we pick up small little things that nick and tear tiny lesions on our hearts. Sometimes the tragedies of our world gouge deep wounds in our hearts.  They cause scarring and make our hearts hard. Almost like a keloid scar over scars and striated.

When we are pure of heart, we are able with Gods help to heal those scars and re-build the once hardened heart.

Another Scripture that I love is Proverbs 4:23~~ Guard your heart with much diligence, because the source of your life flows from it.

Being pure of heart takes diligence … most all of these beatitudes come down to being truly humbled in our “humanness” and learning to discern with that still small voice inside of us what can hurt us and what can help us.   To recognize the things that chip away  and scratch our hearts in even the tiniest way, so that we do not allow those things to even touch the surface of our hearts.

One of my favorite songs is by Shaun Groves ~  The title of the song is “Welcome Home”  He equates his heart to a house. I love the whole song  but the beginning verses…. are

Welcome to this heart of mine
I’ve buried under prideful vines
Grown to hide the mess I’ve made
Inside of me
Come decorate, Lord
Open up the creaking door
And walk upon the dusty floor
Scrape away the guilty stains
Until no sin or shame remain
Spread Your love upon the walls
And occupy the empty halls

Being pure of heart means being humble (oh man there is that word again) humble enough to let God do a bit of redecorating and allowing God to give your heart a fresh “pure” coat of paint.  When that remodel is done,  you have a purer heart that is not confused by all the clutter and then you are able to see God more clearly.    As we open the eyes of our hearts the more clearly we see all that God has in store for us.   When our hearts are pure….. expecting to see nothing is when we truly see God in His purest form… through love, tolerance, gentleness, patience and true unconditional love.  A love that is willing to come into our hearts with the tools needed to clean up our hearts.   As the chorus from “Welcome Home”  says:

Come inside this heart of mine
It’s not my own
Make it home
Come and take this heart and make it
All Your own
Welcome home

 Next one is…peacemakers….  blessed they are..  

Mercy… Mercy… Mercy~~

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Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.

 

 This beatitude should be a no-brainer…… Give mercy…. receive mercy.   Tit for Tat.   

When grace and mercy intersect…it will bring peace into your relationships.    That is all I have for today.  Have mercy on me~! 

 

I was up most of the night with a hell of a toothache… have lots of mercy on me.

ravenous righteousness

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Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.

 

 

Without righteousness, you cannot live spiritually. I love that little illustration of how righteousness is found.  Not in us (self righteousness)~~ not by being unrighteous (sitting in and being unrighteous)  but by God’s grace is when we achieve righteousness.

Think about this: God will satisfy your deepest desires if you look to him for fulfillment.

Trust me when I say I know this from experience.  Most of my life I have looked to other “things” to fulfill me in my life.  While some have been very fulfilling (like the true and unadulterated love for my children and the pride I have for them,and I know that God graciously gave me them, my family no matter how dysfunctional and loopy,  and my friends who are always there for me…..)

None of these “things” are things.  They are people….. not objects of wanting.  Righteousness is an element of your spirituality.

When you feed on the element of righteousness,  you absorb  righteousness in such a way that it becomes part of you. Righteousness must be absorbed into your being in the same way that the food that you eat is absorbed into your body. It becomes part of you.  As it is “digested” within you ….. it becomes a nutrient of peace, joy, grace, love and a true sense  of justice overcomes you. You have to absorb it. You have to internalize the nature of God’s righteousness. You must have God in every part of your being.

  In order to hunger and thirst for righteousness….. you need to have an appetite for it.  If you are not hungry you have no desire for the “food”.  This is a conscious effort to seek righteousness in your life and in turn the life you lead. A starving spirit will look for spiritual food and when you look and seek out fulfillment through God’s grace, you will never go hungry spiritually.   No amount of religiosity  will fulfill your spirit.  It is a simple, primitive desire of your heart……. siting in church Sunday after Sunday just to fulfill an obligation and hoping you will get filled by osmosis will not suffice when you are hungry for righteousness.  You have to go right to the food source….  dig into the garden and pick the organic spirituality that fulfills your soul.  Take it and eat it.   Digest it and let it ruminate in your soul and spirit…. Most of the time people who are religious will sit at the table and see the righteousness on their plates…. and never partake in what is presented.  They externalize their spirituality with the rote mechanical or habitual repetition of prayers that are not truly ingested.

I want to be someone who truly hungers for righteousness, not only in my life but to be able to extend that righteousness to those around me.   Simple, primitive and organic ……. and with the “seasoning” of God…. so very delicious!!