The Belly of the Whale

My sweet husband took me to Lourdes, France this summer. On our first morning we attended the International Mass in the Basilica of St. Pius X. The Basilica of St. Pius X is a huge underground cathedral with a maximum capacity of 25,000 people.

During the mass there were many times that I didn’t understand what was being said, because it was held in many different languages. In these moments, I took in my surroundings and was amazed to realize that I was sitting in what looked like the belly of a whale.

We were not there for 3 days and 3 nights, instead about 3 hours, but in that time I prayed and praised the Lord for inviting us, bringing us and preparing all of us, me, my family, everyone there (about 2000 people), to do His Holy and Good Will!

Jonah 2:1-10

From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. He said:

“In my distress I called to the Lord, and He answered me.
From deep in realm of the dead, I called for help,
and You listened to my cry.
You hurled me into the depths,
into the very heart of the seas,
and currents swirled about me;
all your waves and breakers swept over me.
I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight;
yet I will look again toward Your holy temple.’
The engulfing waters threatened me,
the deep surrounded me;
seaweed was wrapped around my head.
To the roots of the mountains I sank down;
the earth beneath barred me in forever.
But you, Lord my God,
brought my life up from the pit.
When my life was ebbing away,
I remembered You, Lord,
and my prayer rose to You,
to Your holy temple.
Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them.
But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to You.
What I have vowed I will make good.
I will say, ‘Salvation comes from Lord.'”

And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.


“It is the Lord”

Someday we will finally realize that He is here, in all of us, with all of us, all of the time. He is with us, helping us as we do something good, and He is with us, covering for us when we do something that is not good.

When this day comes, the veil will fall and like the disciple whom Jesus loved we too will cry out, “It is the Lord!” to EVERYONE we see!

As these beautiful thoughts run through my mind, I sit quietly, yet inside hope filled, joyful anticipation builds within my soul – let the fermentation continue my sweet Lord!

Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way:  Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.

 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”

“No,” they answered.

 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.”When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!”

John 21:1-7

Something beautiful is being lost…

Something beautiful is being lost.  It has been gradually slipping away for a long time, without anyone noticing.  Now as the effects of this great loss are beginning to come into the light, the belly of the beast is being exposed. We are frantically grasping for answers, looking for solutions and applying bandages without really understanding what is being lost.

Look around you, look at the world we have created and are still creating – it seems to be a world of my will, your will, their will being done.

Let us return to the ancient paths and His word…

Jeremiah 6:16
Thus says the Lord:  Stand at the crossroads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way lies; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.

Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name;
Thy kingdom come, Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

AMEN

The Golden Touch

If we could realize the merit concealed in the actions of each moment of the day… if we understood that surrender to the will of God is the true philosopher’s stone that changes into divine gold all our occupations, troubles, and sufferings, what great consolation would be ours!

I read this the other day in The Joy of Full Surrender by Jean-Pierre de Caussaude (chapter 9, Holy Made Easy) and I immediately thought of King Midas.

I’m sure you have heard of King Midas.  He was a king of great fortune who wished for – The Golden Touch, for everything he touched to be turned to gold.  Initially he received his wish with great joy, running through his castle turning everything to gold, but his joy quickly turn to fear as he realized even the food he tried to eat turned to gold before reaching his mouth, and finally his fear became true horror when he turned his own daughter to gold by giving her a hug.

Isn’t it crazy how quickly the desires of our flesh that seem good, can be twisted and turned into horrors?  Yet with the eyes of faith, a heart of love, and a true desire to fully surrender to the Will of God, we all gain The Golden Touch and everything we do is changed into divine gold in His Heavenly Realm.

Matthew 6:19-21
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done!

Aligned

Isn’t it funny that when waves are perfectly aligned they become bigger, or when a mirror is aligned with a light source the light is doubled, or when a compass is correctly aligned it can be used to find the way.

Sweet Lord, please align the ripples flowing from my heart with the tsunami of Your love , please align my mirror so that I may reflect Your perfect light, and please align the compass of my heart with Your Will so that my path will be straight and clear!  Please let me be an infinitesimal addition to the Your infinite goodness!

Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth.
Luke 3:5

The land of milk and honey…

About two weeks ago the men who mow our lawn told me that they thought we had a bee hive in our yard.  They led me through the front yard to the city water access which is located in a hole in our front yard and sealed with a black cover.  We stood there for a min and watched as 3 to 4 bees squeezed into and out of the hole in the cover every few seconds.

My first thought was, ARGH… who do I need to call to get rid of these bees?   A few min later I came to my senses and remembered the multiple documentaries I have seen on the tragic subject of the disappearing honey bees.

Within an hour I had a bee jacket, a smoker and a hive box in my Amazon shopping cart!  I was so excited… I had decided that I was going to attempt to domestic this hive and begin raising honey bees!!!  I started reading about transferring hives and looking into beginner classes for raising honey bees.  I couldn’t wait to share the good news with my sweet honey when he came home from work so that I could finally press the “Purchase” button on Amazon.

Well don’t get too excited… I am not raising honey bees.  My husband came home and reminded me of his very serious allergy to honey bee stings, he does swells up pretty badly.

So… I called our pest control service to schedule an appointment.  Since they were already scheduled to come about a week and a half later, I told them that it would be fine to take care of the bees at the same time.

During that week I tried to convinced a friend to transfer the bees to a bee box and begin raising them herself.  I unknowingly picked a pretty likely candidate because during our conversation I found out that her brother actually raises honey bees a few states away, but unfortunately even though she was excited at the idea it didn’t work out.

Then I started wondering if I should look into calling some actual bee keepers who might be interested in attempting to transfer the hive, but as usual the time got away from me and the pest control appointment day arrived before I called someone else about the hive.

I led the man from our pest control service to the box and we watched it for a min and did not see any bee activity.  We did see a few flies, but other than that nothing.  He then asked me to step back while he popped open the cover and jumped back.

We found a dead hive.  The hole in the ground was filled with water from the rain two days before and the hive had drown.  There were tons of bees floating in the water and five soggy honey combs attached to the black cover.

The bees are dead, we have no honey here my friends, but I will keep that sweet honey in mind to help me remember where we are going and to help me stay on course so that someday I will arrive home to the land of milk and honey.

Keep Him in mind always and look for Him every where!

Come Thou fount of every blessing!

I love this song!  It has been a favorite of mine for a long time.  I even composed a very sad version of it on the piano once while visiting my sister.  She is so sweet, she saved it and every time I visit I can find it tucked safely away in her piano bench.

This song came on while I was running today and it hit me… every thing is a blessing, the good, the bad, the confusing, the hurtful, the funny… EVERY THING.  His fountain is always pouring down on us and it is all good!  There are so many times when we don’t understand or believe that it is good and even times when saying something is good will bring anger, frustration and hatred from others, but His ways are mysterious and His plan is big and every move He makes is made with one thing in mind… bringing all of us home!

Whoever coined the phrase, “S’all good”, knew what they were talking about!

S’all good my friends.  Have faith through your tears, believe through your pain, and say Thank You for EVERY THING!

Thank You My Love for keeping Your focus on bringing us home, despite our tears.

Look for the little flowers!

This morning I saw a man stop and offer help to an older woman who was pushing her own wheel chair across a parking lot.  It was a lovely scene, quiet and small and probably not noticed by many.  I love seeing these small and beautiful moments of kindness and goodness in the world.  They remind me that God’s tapestry is full of small and beautiful pictures that we can see even now.  I like to think of these small moments of goodness as the little flowers decorating the trim of His tapestry.

I think His tapestry is also full of large scenes of which we only have the ability to see small portions.  When we focus on the small parts of the large scenes, we might see what we perceive to be evil.  We might notice the drops of blood, a weapon, a betrayal, a death and if we don’t have faith to trust that these things are necessary parts leading up to the overall goodness of God’s scene, His plan, His beautiful tapestry, then we lose hope in the goodness of God and His ability to use any and every action of ours to finalize His beautiful and good plan.

I know it is very cliche to say, but I must repeat what so many others have said before me.

Jesus please help us to focus on the small things, help us to seek out the little nuggets of golden goodness You have sprinkled throughout everyday, and when something bad happens help us to remember that our faith is being tested, and that we must believe in You and have faith in You and Your ability to turn anything all around and upside down.

Saying “It is Our Best Life”…

I started saying “It is our best life” every morning and every night on Jan 23, 2012.  If you have read the background or the first post on this site, you already know that before this date I was saying “It is my best life” on a regular basis.

About a week before Jan 23, 2012, I posted a note on facebook for my friends.  In my note, I gave them the background and then challenged my friends to say “It is our best life” every morning and every night for a month.  What I didn’t tell anyone at that time was that I was scared to start my own challenge.

At that time, my life was good.  My husband had recently taken a new job that allowed him to be home more.  My girls were happy and healthy and attending a new school that we all loved.  Since moving to a new city, I had reconnected with a college friend who quickly became a best friend.  Life was good and I was scared to rock the boat.

The whole week before Jan 23, 2012, I stopped saying “It is my best life”, but I did not say “It is our best life” either.  I waited until the morning of Jan 23, 2012, but when I woke up that morning I whispered “It is our best life” and I meant it.

The fear of having opened a unwanted can of worms with my new mantra “It is our best life”, didn’t go away for a few weeks, but I kept saying it.  No worms showed up, no axe fell and by the end of the month, I had formed a habit and my old mantra “It is my best life” was gone.

The challenge for my friends came and went without much follow-up, but I was hooked and I kept on saying “It is our best life”.

By Easter 2012, I had found Jesus and come to the realization that I hadn’t known Him before despite having thought I knew Him.  I love Him so much!!!

Now as Easter 2013 approaches and over a year has passed since I started saying “It is our best life” and close to a year has passed since I truly fell in love with Jesus, I look at my life and I almost don’t recognize it.  I have never been more deeply in love with my husband!  I have never been in such awe of my girls and the amazing things they say and do.  I don’t think I have ever been so relaxed, as much fun or full of so much laughter with my family!  I know I have never in my life been full of so much gratitude.

Thank you Jesus for making all things possible!  I believe Our Best Life will only get better as more people believe it is Our Best Life!

Mirrors!

I think we all want others to see the good in us, or to let Jesus shine through as some of us would say!

How can you help everyone see Jesus within you without ruining the good intentions of an action and even running the risk of taking Jesus out of the action entirely by worrying that others see it, notice it, acknowledge it, pat you on the back for it?

I know I am not the first to say this and I am definitely not very good at doing this, but we will not help Him shine through by focusing on ourselves or our good deeds and actions.

Ephesians 2:8-9
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Now imagine that you are a mirror.

  1. What is your sole purpose in life if you are a mirror?  To reflect what you see.
  2. Can you as a mirror be good or bad?  No.
  3. If you are a mirror and have a soul, does this change whether you can be good or bad? No.
  4. If you are a mirror and have a soul, would you have a preference regarding whether you reflect good or bad? Yes, I would prefer to reflect good.

Therefore as a mirror with a soul, I am still bound by the sole purpose of a mirror which is to reflect what I see, but if I desire to reflect only good then the only way this is possible is to see the good in everything!

I think the only way to truly help Jesus shine through ourselves is to focus on finding Him in others and then be their mirror!  The more light of Jesus you find in others, the more light of Jesus your mirror can then reflect back on everyone!

Can you see it?  A world full of mirrors constantly reflecting the light/love of Jesus!  It would be blinding, it would be beautiful, there would be rainbows everywhere!

It is Our Best Life… Jesus please help us to find the good in everything so that our mirrors will be full of Your light!