The Good Old Days April 21, 2015

Too often we have a hard time seeing today’s blessings because we are wired to look through our past filter.  Many of us, in fact I believe most of us, can find bad things that happened to us in the past and we cannot let them go.  As long as we are there, we are hooked and our present potential remains dormant.  Fortunately, today’s scientific world has found ways for us, with diligent effort, to rewire our brains so that we no longer wander through the dark halls of our minds. Practicing selective thinking, in the now, can slowly change perception.

I am deep into a Bible study which can show us how to begin this process of change. For example, maybe we have trouble remembering why we perceive things the way we do.  Here is a lesson.  Let’s look at our  parents, or main caregivers.  Find the worse three things about each of them.  Now find the best three things about them.  We can go back to our grandparents and do the same thing.  When we finish this exercise, look closely at the positives and the negatives.  We are looking at ourselves.

We discover raw and hurtful things, and we discover warm and wonderful things.  That is the new map of our life.  Now, direction cannot change overnight, nor can it change in the past or the future.  Now is our new beginning.  How do we do that?  Look for the good in everything – and I mean everything – from brushing our teeth to smiling at the grocery clerk.  Science says when we smile, we change certain chemicals and feel better.  Try it.

I have found in my 69 years, that Jesus meets me wherever I am.  He already loves me. That is grace.  I want to love like He loves.  I want that more than anything.  So, my life is one in process.  I change the thought if it is negative.  And because I do that, I believe it is the second thought that counts.  I meditate daily and get stronger with positive feelings.

That is my hope and prayer for all of us.  Oh, and we should tell our Creator how much we love and glorify Him, and what we are grateful for because He made us for His glory.  I saw literally thousands of white butterflies the other day.  Nobody can tell me that God wasn’t right there in the middle of them.  I smiled and laughed, and thanked God.  I love white butterflies.

Fall Into The Big Truth April 12, 2015

Judgement starts with a declaration of what is good.  But Jesus follows up with a warning:  We will all be judged by the same measure we use.  If we cannot hold to our standard, we should not apply that standard to others.  In today’s culture the popular opinion is “tolerance.”   But I think what Jesus really means is that we should amend our own behavior and live properly according to the morals and ethics of our culture.  Talk the talk and walk the walk, we hear a lot of people say, before exercising judgement.  And we should help others do the same with our examples.  As long as we hold to our own faults, we will see them in everyone else.  Judgement, like charity, begins at home.

Our Creator has the power to connect us to the source which connects us to everything else.  I believe we need to stay in His power and in His word, because when we are connected there are no accidents anymore.  The universe conspires to keep things on the right path.  When we get there, we know because we are no longer afraid.  We have fallen into the big truth.  We are part of the universe and we are loved by God.  And the most important thing about that is that we cannot change it.

Never Too Late April 2, 2015

It is never too late to walk on a beach, and feel the warm sand beneath your feet.  It is never too late to find a shell that calls to you.  You pick it up and turn it around.  Slapped by the sea for Lord knows how long, it is smooth, but looks like some small prehistoric creature.  You tuck it away in your pocket, vowing to put it in a place where you can look at it often and know that everything in life is beautiful.

It is never too late to sit on the sand, watching the waves roll in, tickle your feet, slip through your fingers, and then roll out again.  Rhythm.  In and out.  Good and bad.  Love and fear.  Listen to the ocean.  It has a sound all its own.  You know when it is happy and content, and you know when it is not.  The sea is a friend if you want it to be.  But that  demands respect.  You have to listen to its moods.

It is never too late to smell the sea.  It has a fishy sandy clean smell all its own.  Draw in a deep breath and know you are drawing in the universe, thirsting for compassion.

It is never too late to extend your loving heart.

Jumping The Cliff March 24, 2015

I am going to borrow an analogy from Father Jason that I heard this past Sunday.  So, please put on your Imagination Caps and get ready for this trip.

Picture two huge cliffs with drops that go straight down.  They are very high, a mile or more, and they are opposite each other by at least a mile.  They are exactly alike except for the fact that you are standing on the edge of one cliff, and God is standing on the other.  You don’t have any tools, but you want to reach God.  How do you get to God?

Now, everybody has a theory.  No, they didn’t have cell phones to call a chopper.  People love to talk (sometimes argue?) politics and religion.  Apologists are those who argue the faith and continue until they are certain they have the answer.  Many people just will not listen to another theory or reasoned explanation.  So, unless it is in what I call a   “religious/political safe zone,”  I never open my mouth.  (I know I have friends who think otherwise, but trust me, I am changing – a work in progress!)

The main reason I do not like apologetics is because there are no concrete answers, save one.  For man to get to God, some kind of “melting” has to take place.  Man has to let go of all his “stuff” and just hand it over to God.  Yes, I know, how do we do that?  I have come to the conclusion that we cannot do it once and figure everything is all right.  I think we have to hand over our stuff to God every single day.

I wake up every day and am first thankful that I have this day.  The second thing I do is tell God that it is His day, I dedicate it to Him, and turn over my concerns to Him.  I pray for those I love, and for those who have asked for prayers, then I petition God in the most gracious way I know how, ending with “Thy will be done.”

Oh, the cliff, the end of the story.  Faith in your life, constant faith, will cause you to melt, to become soft, and that is when your love shows.  When your love shows amazing things happen, like blinking your eyes and finding yourself on the other cliff with your Creator.  Father Jason says the bridge is Jesus because He taught us the “tricks of the trade.”  Somewhere along the line, some of us forgot them, some of us are just rediscovering them, and some of us never will.  But God is waiting.  What do you want to do?

Cut Expectations For A Cure March 14, 2015

I am always resisting some aspect of life.  But I have learned that the trick is that I have to meet resistance head-on to dissolve it.  If it rains and I want the sun, I complain.  I should just feel how wet it is instead.  When it is cold, I want to be warmer.  When I am too warm, I want to be cooler.  I should just meet these conditions as they are when they come.  There is no cure for the here and now; they will go on forever.  I could cut my expectations and make myself feel a whole lot better.

If I can look closely at the moment, try to feel it and ask the why question, I sometimes, not all the time mind you, but sometimes, I feel appreciation.  It feels like my mind and heart open and I feel the very core of just being.

Looking Deeply At Joy And Sorrow March 7, 2015

Loss is part of life.  Well, that’s hardly a profound sentence, is it?  We are conceived and spend probably the best part of this life in our mother’s womb.  We are warm and comfortable.  We move around without effort.  We can kick and feel.  During this process God gets us ready for the biggest shock of our life.  We are pushed, and sometimes prodded, and even cut out of this wonderful place.  We are cold and messy and somebody usually hits us hard on the back holding us upside down.  We cry.  This is the first big let down we experience in this life.

Until we are big enough to know who our “people” are, we still have a bit of our old soul in us, and can even see beyond the veil,  But as we grow and learn to react to outside sources, our ability to look beyond recedes and we then start to understand what it means to live in this world.

We grow up.  We usually have a family of sorts, a mom and dad, or people who have formed a union vowing to take care of us and love us.  By the time we get to 4th or 5th grade, we begin to form our own opinions and we begin to reason.  Ah, that gets interesting.

In today’s world, if we want to know something, we have the internet right at our finger tips.  In my younger days, I had to go to the library and look it up.  When my parents ordered the Book of Knowledge, a series of books on a myriad of topics, I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  Now, I use the internet.

By the time we are almost adult, we have experienced some kind of tremendous loss or hurt, or disappointment.  We have to learn how to deal with what happened and the feelings that go along with it.

We leave the nest, so-to-speak, and begin to do things for ourselves.  We might choose a career over a family or we might choose both.  We might have had some rough spots growing up that affect us deeply and keep us from being the best we can be.

But here is the thing:  Life does not give us any promises.  No guarantees.  The only thing we can do is look deeply at joy and sorrow, hoping and fearing, and all that lives and dies.  What truly heals us is tenderness and gratitude.

My mother has been gone for seven years.  My father passed just about two months ago.  Today I have to fill out the papers for Arlington National Cemetery so he can be buried.  It seems almost obscene to me that we have to wait that long for closure.  Lord I miss him.  The only thing I can do is remember them both with tenderness and gratitude.  I like the way Leonard Nimoy said it,  “Live long and prosper.”  We cannot do that without an open heart.

God Bless those who are no longer with us.

What To Believe & How To Behave February 22, 2015

Lift up you heart.  Put your trust in something greater than yourself.  Reject humiliation.  Rise above your enemies and do not be disappointed.  Use truth as a teacher.  Remember the only things that are everlasting are compassion and love.  Guide the humble and teach the lowly.  Be faithful to what is right.

This is from Psalm 25, versus 1 through 9, without God in it.  Amazing, isn’t it?

What If…? February 16, 2015

What if  there was no God?  How would our life change?  How would that make us feel?  What would the world be like?  We know there are a lot of people out there that do not believe in a Supreme Being or Creator.  They seem to manage just fine.  Or do they?  How well do we know somebody that does not believe in God, or maybe just isn’t sure, because after all, we can’t prove it.

I know a few people pretty well that call themselves atheists or agnostics.  They are nice people and I like them a great deal.  They live by their own set of ethics and morals that do not differ too much from mine, or so it seems until I begin to see the differences. There is one basic thing:  none of them, not one, lives by love first.  Once I get to know them, I learn that humility is not part of their make up.  Integrity does not rank high either.  Their code is to be who they want to be and do what they want to do.  There is no accounting.  If they disappoint their peers, it doesn’t seem to matter.  They live internally.  And when they die and are gone, after awhile they will never be remembered, or so some of them think.

While I respect them, I do not understand their views.  Folks, if there is no God, let us lay our Bibles down and quit going to church.  Let us quit giving to charity, or helping those who need a helping hand.  Let us forget integrity, Lord knows Congress has.  Look where we are now, worshiping the Kardashians, and movie war-mongers. The F word is part of the common language today.

I read somewhere once that “Courage is the measure of your heartfelt participation in the world……..there is no path we take without having our hearts broken, so why not get on with it!”  Do not look for extra special circumstances that take away courage.

Einstein said that no problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it.

So just try living well.  Just try.  Put love first, and put your neighbor second. Take the highest and best road for the highest and best use of what you are doing or about to do.  Do not spend a lot of time on thinking about how good or how smart you are.  Just follow the precepts of Jesus.  I know.  Jesus was just a man, or so some of my non Christian friends might think.  But what a man he was!

Remember that His story began only two thousand fifteen years ago.  Our world is much older than that.  I don’t know what happened twenty thousand years ago, but I bet it was something pretty special.

Kything February 8, 2015

Despite what some of us may feel at times, we do not exist in isolation.  We are part of a vast web of relationships and interrelationships that weave through each other like a large warm blanket.  We are all connected.

When we pray, we often cannot get out of our own way.  We pray for our families, for our friends, for those who have asked us to pray, and we pray the prayers we know.  But I wonder how often we listen to what God has to say to us.  I know the next question is, but how does one do that?

Kything is an old Scottish word used to express communication without words when there is neither speech or language.  For instance, our deepest messages of love are often conveyed without words.  Sometimes I look at my husband, or up at the sky for God, and I know I have no words which convey just how deeply I love them.  I acknowledge that our Creator understands that and I become silent.  I open myself up, I kythe.  I want to be vulnerable to what the Master of my soul has to say.

Being quiet, kything, opening your heart to love given to everyone, will bring it right back tenfold.  I believe it because I know it to be true.

The Empty Shell In The Box January 29, 2015

As you probably know, my family and I have been busy with arrangements for my Dad’s memorial service.  It was beautiful and went off without a hitch, but because he was a Military Veteran, it was his desire to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.  My Mother is already there, so it is not a problem, but we have to wait until April.  Why?  Because it is right and proper for a Caisson to carry my Dad to his final resting place.  The problem is that there are so many burials of this nature, that one has to get in line, so to speak, in order to obtain this manner of burial.  As you can imagine, it makes for difficult closure.  It also makes me wonder why we are fighting battles we cannot win.  But that is another story.

My husband and I, our children, and future generations will probably be cremated.  But my parents were from a different era, so we plump up a used up body with special fluid, dress them up, but them in a box for “visitation” before the Memorial Service so everyone can pay their “respects,” whatever that means.

I was busy calling countless people, but even I wanted to see my Dad.  So when the time came, I walked up to the coffin, looked at him and lost it.  I cried because I wasn’t there when he passed.  I cried because it was all finally over.  I cried because I would never see those sky blue eyes and that smile again.  I caressed his head that use to lay on my shoulder.  I pushed back his hair.  Then I cried because I realized that what I was saying good bye to was just a shell in a box.  Dad wasn’t there.  He went with the angels.  The Holy Spirit whispered from my heart and said, “It is okay, Judy.  You are still living.  This is all you have to grieve over right now.  God understands.”  I took a deep breath and took my time saying good bye to the shell in a box.

Dying is a part of living.  How many times have we heard that one before?  Do whatever you have to do to honor your loved one.  Be respectful.  Kabir said, “Why not look at the beauty your memory holds, so nourishing that light can be.  The past’s lips are not deceased.  Let them comfort you if they can.”

God Bless You, Dad.  Wonderful memories live on and on.