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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Room 330

Photo Credit:  Kenn W. Kiser from
My precious mother-in-law had to stay in the hospital recently for some testing.  Yes, you read that right.  I said precious AND mother-in-law in the same sentence.  I admire this woman greatly and feel so blessed by her.  She is beautiful inside and out.  I am inspired by how she loves, cares, and prays for her family, and by the way she raised the incredible man that I married.  I love countless things about her, but specifically her loyalty, kindness, encouragement, faith, optimism, and contagious happiness.

Personally, I think it would be hard to continue spreading happiness while sitting in a hospital bed, but somehow, she managed to do it.  That’s just her style.  That’s how she rolls.

She said that each and every one of her nurses was so patient and attentive to her.  She appreciated their care and she was sure to let them know.  I bet all of the nurses were fighting over who would get to have her!

And, while many might moan and groan about having to be in the hospital and eat “hospital food,” she chose to take a different approach.  She said she was very appreciative that she didn’t have to cook the meals and wanted to be sure that the kitchen staff knew.  So, after each meal, she would write a little note and place it under the plate cover.  The notes read, “The meal was delicious!” or “Yum!  You did it again!” or “Thanks for everything.  Signed, Room 330.”

I’m assuming that someone working hard down in the kitchen received those little notes of gratefulness and smiled.  A small piece of paper…a tiny gesture…that had the potential for a really big impact.  I’m sure that one of the staff members thought, “Some kind person in room 330 noticed my hours of behind-the-scenes cooking and was thankful.”

There are three “G’s” that come to mind when I think about what the happiest people on this earth have in common: gratitude, generosity, and God.  They continually count their blessings.  They never stop giving of their time, talent, treasure, and themselves.  They never cease prayer.

While many sources in today’s culture suggest that selfishness is a pathway to happiness, I’m more and more convinced that instead, it’s gratitude, generosity, and God.  Many times, when we are self-absorbed and think only of what WE want, we fall into a mire of restlessness and discontentment.

As Matthew Kelly says, “It is often through our generosity that we are able to bring the love of God to life for others in very real and tangible ways.”  The sweet lady in room 330 was bringing the love of God to life for someone during her hospital stay.  I’m sure of it.  Even if she was nervous or scared, she didn’t let that stop her gratitude and generosity from flowing in abundance.  She was generous with her praise, appreciation, and encouragement toward those who cared for her.

Another piece of Kelly’s wisdom to consider is this:  “God invites us to a life of gratitude while the world fosters discontent.  God proposes trust; the world arouses fear.  God promotes giving; the world promotes getting.  God invites us to cooperate with His providence while the world rallies behind self-determinism.  God appoints us in stewardship while the world touts ownership.  The world encourages entitlement when in reality, everything is a gift from God.  God invites us to look out for our neighbor; the world tells us to look out for ourselves.”

While Betty was in the hospital, I admired her ability to stay grateful.  It’s easier to feel gratitude when things are going our way, right?  But, it’s not quite as easy to have a thankful attitude when they aren’t. 

It seems to me that genuinely happy people, like her, have an overwhelming sense that their lives have been abundantly blessed, no matter where they are or what they’re going through.  They are always mindful of the people who bless their lives in some way.  They often think about the ordinary things that make them feel blessed – food on the table, a roof over their head, and clothes on their back.  They say prayers of thanksgiving for a safe trip, a good health report, a child’s accomplishment, and friends who love them.

Many times, we think of all we don’t have.  I know I feel a whole lot better when I focus on all that I do have.  As Matthew Kelly suggests…next time we are in a bad mood or become overwhelmed by a situation, we need to ask ourselves if we are grateful.  “It is impossible to be grateful and be in a bad mood.  When we step away from gratitude, we become irritable, restless, and discontented.”

I’m positive that the employee who found her notes was glad that the patient in room 330 hadn’t stepped away from gratitude.  Thank you, room 330, for yet another example of how to show God’s love through something as simple as a generous serving of gratefulness.

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

On The Inside

What a glorious Easter weekend it was!  Honestly, the weather could not have been more perfect here in South Texas.  The warm caress of the sun felt like a hug from the Lord himself and the mild, gentle breeze was fun to watch as it flirted with the leaves on the trees and on the ground.  The unwelcome and unwanted oak pollen is still hanging around, but we won’t talk about that.  Only the good stuff.  Only the good.

What a beautiful way to end the Lenten season.  The festivities started on Thursday with class parties for my three kiddos.  We ended the day with Holy Thursday Mass as we celebrated and remembered the Last Supper.  Father Bentil washed the feet of the “disciples” who happened to be a little younger than the ones in the Bible.  A dozen second graders who will be receiving their First Holy Communion this year had the opportunity for this special role…and they LOVED it!  I think there might have been a couple of extra disciples this year, but Father thought that surely Mary was there and maybe a friend too, right?

The high school students of our parish led the Good Friday Stations of the Cross, which was probably THE most memorable Stations that I have ever been to.  Each student was a character along Jesus’ walk to Calvary.  They explained what was happening from their perspective and asked all of us, “Were YOU there?” after each Station.  Powerful.  I hope to get a copy of that script very soon.

On Friday evening, our friends, Lindsey and Darrell, invited us over for a big fish fry and glow-in-the-dark egg hunt.  We had a wonderful time visiting and the kids had a blast playing together and dyeing eggs.   The highlight was finding the eggs at night as they sprinkled the grass in an array of neon rainbow colors.  Who knew that a glow-in-the-dark bracelet squished inside a plastic egg would captivate the attention of both kids and adults alike?  Fun times!

Saturday and Sunday were days full of family, church, and laughter as we gobbled up all the foods we had given up for Lent and burned the subsequent calories while laughing about my phone.  Yes.  That’s right.  My phone.

How on earth could talking about a phone produce enough laughter to burn off 500 calories?  Well, this isn’t just your ordinary phone.  It’s a bedazzled, bejeweled LG flip phone.  Don’t be hatin’ and please don’t be jealous.  Ha!

It all started when I pulled the phone out of my purse to call a friend with directions to the Easter gathering on Saturday.  I think the gorgeous gems glistened a little too much in the sunshine and blinded my cousin, Laurie.  She said, “OH MY GOSH, WHAT IN THE WORLD IS THAT?!”  (Yes, she said it in all caps!)  “Oh, this?  This fancy gal is my FABULOUS FOOHHNN, sista!”  I replied back with a smirk.

That’s when the fun began.  EVERYONE wanted a glimpse (and a laugh) at my one-of-a-kind phone.  Hey!  My phone is functional.  I can get a signal when many phones can’t.  I can place calls.  I can receive calls.  The phone hugs my face like a phone should.  (hee hee)  AND, my phone is unique.  NO ONE has one quite like it.

Oh, the ribbing would not stop!  (I seriously enjoyed it!)  “Does that thing work?  Oh, gosh, it’s just horrendous!  Do you really talk on that atrocious phone in public?  I think I’d run and hide when I got a phone call.”  And, so it went…on and on and on.

Oh mercy, how we laughed!  Heck, I’m still cracking up as I write this.  I totally went with it and told them that when I answer it, I stop everything I’m doing and kick my hip out to the side and say, “Hello, dahling” every single time I open that baby up!  It’s not just a phone.  It’s an experience.  Heh!  I told them that flip phones would come back around, just like those big ole head phones.  For realz.  Then, EVERYONE will want my vintage phone.  Everyone.  Ha ha!

I told them, “You’re welcome for helping you burn all those calories with copious quantities of laughter.  Now, go grab another Easter cookie and thank me!”  I told them that it really wasn’t about the outside, it’s what’s on the inside.  When I open that phone, it’s just an empty phone line ready to be filled with words and laughter.  Surely, they’ll laugh the next time they call me and remember what I said, “Give me a ring-ring on my bling-bling!”

Anyway!  Speaking of inside vs. outside, my friend, Lindsey, recommended a crafty little website called “Catholic Icing” that looks to be lots of fun.  I’ll definitely be checking it out in further detail soon.  But, the one thing that I ADORED was on the blogger’s “About Me” page.  Lacy Rabideau writes:

“I’d also like to say that I get asked this question a lot: ‘How do you do it all?’  My answer is, ‘I don’t.’  Remember that no matter how many of my blog posts you read, the bad stuff never goes up here.  Never compare the inside of your family to the outside of another, and please don’t let Catholic Icing be a place where you get your daily dose of inadequacy!  If you knew me in real life, you’d know better!”

I love her honesty!  “Never compare the inside of your family to the outside of another.”  Aren’t those wonderful words of wisdom to tuck away for a rainy…or down-in-the-dumps kinda day?  I think so.

Another inside vs. outside thing to remember is why eggs are so popular at Easter.  Why in the world do we use so many eggs?  Eggs celebrate new life.  For many Christians, the egg is a symbol of Jesus' resurrection.  The outside shell is like the tomb.  Once cracked, they stand for the empty tomb.  New life springs forth…either as a baby bird…or as the new life in Jesus Christ.  Christians remember that Jesus, after dying on the cross, rose from the dead.  This miracle showed that life could win over death.  Eggs were always thought to be special because although they do not seem alive, they have life within them.

Over the years, I might have heard bits and pieces about the Easter eggs being symbolic of new life, but I don’t think I’d heard about why we dye them.  On Catholic Icing, Lacy shares:  “It is said that Mary Magdalene met with Tiberius Caesar after Jesus’ resurrection, and she was carrying an egg.  She proclaimed to him, ‘Christ has Risen!’  He scoffed at her and told her that that was as unlikely as the egg in her hand turning red.  Then a miracle happened and the egg immediately turned red!  It’s great to remember where this tradition of dyeing eggs started.  Make Easter about the Lamb, not the bunny!”

When I reminisce about all the egg hunting that went down this past week, I remember that my children weren’t really hunting for the plastic egg itself.  They wanted what was inside. 

As we journey through this gift of life, what are WE hunting for, looking for, searching for, and yearning for?  The egg or what’s inside?

Norman Cousins once wrote, “Death is not the greatest loss in life.  The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.”  Let’s never let the love for our Lord die within us.  “God’s not dead!  He’s surely alive!  He’s living on the inside.” (Newsboys)  Let’s be grateful for the new life within us as we thank God for what happened at Easter!

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Wash Me

For most of my driving years, I’ve owned a black vehicle of some sort.  However, living down a gravel road doesn’t always allow the black to shine through.  For instance, when I had a tire changed a few months ago, the worker asked if I was the owner of the gray vehicle in the parking lot.  Hmmm….I said, “Nope, I don’t have a gray car.”  Then, he repeated the license plate number and sure enough, he was indeed talking about my car…my filthy, dirty, grimy car.

My not-so-black vehicle often has the words “wash me” lovingly displayed in the dust in several places, along with other artwork done by my sweet children.  I just hate to wash away their masterpieces, so I leave it there for all to see.  (hee hee!)  Honestly, I just have a hard time washing it when I know it’ll be mucky the next time I drive down that road.

I admit that I don’t often wash my vehicle, but I do love the way it shines when a cleansing rain comes down and washes away the dust.  On Monday, we had quite the windy rainstorm here in South Texas and it certainly did a great job at bringing back the shine!

There is a song about washing that’s been playing in my head for a few days now. 
If you haven’t heard it yet, check it out.  The video isn’t the best quality, but I think you’ll still enjoy it.  Here are the words to “Wash Me Away” by Brett Rush (2006):

Wash away all the sin that stains my life.
Wash away the thousand lies that fill my mind.
Cleanse me anew each day; my life, Lord re-define.
Wash me in Your river one more time.
Wash me away, Wash me away.
Wash me away, Wash me away,
Till only You remain.
Wash me away.
Wash away all the pride that's in my life. 
Wash away the wounded faith that blinds my eyes.
Cleanse me anew each day in grace and love divine.
Wash me in Your river one more time.
More of You and less of me; saturate my life.
Wash me in Your river one more time.

What I love the most about this song is that it reminds me that I need more of Him and less of me.  He must become greater and I must become less (John 3:30).

During this holiest of weeks, I think it’s the perfect time for us to ask the Lord to “wash me away, until only You remain.”  We can ask Him to wash away the things that prevent us from being like Him.  We can pray that He wash away our pride, jealousy, greed, selfishness, and sinful ways so we can be filled by Him.

I read a story from Mikey’s Funnies that reminded me about how much I desperately need the Lord.

A man dies and goes to heaven.  St. Peter meets him at the Pearly Gates and says, "Here's how it works.  You need 100 points to make it into Heaven.  You tell me all the good things you've done and I give you a certain number of points for each item, depending on how good it was.  When you reach 100 points, you get in."

"Okay," the man says, "I was married to the same woman for 50 years and never cheated on her and loved her deeply."

"That's wonderful," says St. Peter, "that's worth two points."

"Two points!?" he says. "Well, I attended church all my life and supported its ministry with my tithe and service."

"Terrific!" says St. Peter, "that’s certainly worth a point."

"One point!?  I started a soup kitchen in my city and worked in a shelter for homeless veterans."

"Fantastic, that’s good for two more points," he says.

"Two points!?”  Exasperated, the man cries, "At this rate, the only way I'll get into heaven is by the grace of God."

"Bingo! 100 points!  Come on in!"

I thought this little story was a nice reminder to thank God for His mercy and grace.  We cannot do it without Him.  This life is short.  Heaven is forever.  I’m also reminded of His love for me when I listen to the Sidewalk Prophets’ song, “You Love Me Anyway.”  The verses that always get to me are:

“I am the thorn in Your crown,
But You love me anyway.
I am the sweat from Your brow,
But You love me anyway.
I am the nail in Your wrist,
But You love me anyway.
I am Judas’ kiss,
But You love me anyway.”

How quickly do we write people off when they do us wrong?  How often do we refuse to forgive?  Thank you, Lord, for not holding grudges against us like we oftentimes do toward others.  I’m humbled to think that I’ve been the thorn, the sweat, the nail, and Judas’ kiss and He still…loves me.

As we get closer and closer to Good Friday, I can’t help but think that Jesus died for us, knowing that some of us might never love Him back.  I can’t imagine how heavy that cross was…the physical cross and the cross of knowing that. 

Each one of us has a cross to bear…our own, unique cross that others may or may not know about or even see.  Will we carry that cross FOR Him and WITH Him?  I pray for the grace every single day.  “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me."  (Luke 9:23)

I found a few inspirational quotes yesterday on a Facebook page called, “Less of Me and More of You, God.”

“If we feel hurt and offended when someone fails us, just imagine how God must feel when we continue to do the things He asks us not to do, after He gave his ONLY Son for us.”

“God has a plan for our life.  It doesn't matter what we’ve done or the mistakes we’ve made.  He doesn't expect us to be perfect.  He just wants us to have a willing heart.  He wants us to be willing to live according to His Word.  Some say that God loves us if we change.  The Gospel says that God's LOVE changes us.  Come as you are!”

“The devil will do whatever he has to do to make us turn away from God.  He will try to put us down.  He will try to crush our dreams.  He will make us feel worthless, unforgiven, hopeless, lost, confused and unloved.  But, that's when we have to remember our identity in Jesus Christ.  According to God's Word (Colossians 3:12) - We are His chosen people, holy, and dearly loved!  We mustn’t forget who we truly are.  We can’t let the lies of the devil get to us.”

I found many of these reminders helpful as I ask God to wash me away during this Holy Week.  Empty me of ME, Lord, so I can be filled with YOU.  A cleansing way to start is the wonderful sacrament of Reconciliation...a time to bathe in God’s forgiveness and mercy.

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines, and have a blessed Easter!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Don't Look Too Far

Photo Credit:  Kristen Burnup
Last night, my son asked me what this week’s post was going to be about.  I told him that I really didn’t know.  Nothing had jumped out at me…nothing extraordinary to share…and no epic falls like last week (thank the Lord).  I pondered with him on what to write.  Then, my son thoughtfully replied, “Mom, there are zillions of things you could write about.  Zillions.  Just look around.”

Yes, indeed, my son, there are.  Why did I think I needed to look too far?  Inspiration is certainly found in the everyday…the simple, run-of-the-mill everyday.  But, am I seeing it?

My friend, Kristen Burnup, shared a picture that caught my eye.  It was a picture of her daughter holding up a piece of cereal.  Really?  Cereal?  It was JUST cereal one might say.  BUT, there was a perfect little heart found inside one of her Cheerios and her precious little girl noticed.  If only we’d remember to take a little more time to notice things like that.

Of course, one could dismiss the tiny whole-grain heart as a fluke.  But, honestly, I’d prefer to seek Him everywhere in everything and everyone.  It brings more hope and happiness along the way.  It takes courage to look for Him. 

As Matthew Kelly reminds us, “Everything in life requires courage.  Whether it is playing football or coaching football; crossing the room to ask a woman on a date or rekindling a love that has grown cold; whether it’s your first day at college or your first day back at college after twenty years; starting a business, battling a potentially fatal disease, getting married, struggling to overcome an addiction, or coming humbly before your God in prayer…Life requires courage.“

Talk about a college kid with courage…just this weekend, my mom and I went to see “God’s Not Dead.”  (If you haven’t seen it…go.  You won’t be disappointed.)  The blessing was that it was sold out.  What?!  Is that a blessing?  Well, initially I was royally bummed, but then I realized what a gift that THIS movie was sold out.  A Christian movie that expresses how God is still so very much alive in our world was sold out a week after its arrival…a gift indeed!

The extra blessing was that my loving hubby agreed to watch the kiddos a little while longer while my mom and I went to see the next feature.  Did I mention that Mom and I had a great, uninterrupted two-hour chat while waiting in her van for the next show to start?  An unexpected blessing.

Then, I received an e-mail from Mikey’s Funnies reminding me about Jesus’ love:

A man fell into a pit and couldn't get himself out. 
A subjective person came along and said, "I feel for you down there."
An objective person walked by and said, "It's logical that someone would fall down there."
A Pharisee said, "Only bad people fall into pits."
A mathematician calculated how deep the pit was.
A news reporter wanted the exclusive story on the pit.
An IRS agent asked if he was paying taxes on the pit.
A self-pitying person said, "You haven't seen anything until you've seen my pit."
A fire-and-brimstone preacher said, "You deserve your pit."
A psychologist noted, "Your mother and father are to blame for your being in that pit."
A self-esteem therapist said, "Believe in yourself and you can get out of that pit."
An optimist said, "Things could be worse."
A pessimist claimed, "Things WILL get worse."
Jesus, seeing the man, took him by the hand and lifted him out of the pit.

When I first started reading this, I wondered where it would lead.  After I finished the last sentence, I was touched.  Jesus just took the man by the hand and helped him.  No judgmental words…just the love of Jesus.

Speaking of love, a beautiful young woman who was dearly loved in our community passed away after her battle with cancer.  I didn’t know her, but I’ve been moved by the words of those who did and I wish that I had met her.

Missy was a science teacher at Industrial High School and touched the hearts of countless individuals, from what I’ve read.  She was a loving wife, daughter, mother, aunt, sister-in-law, niece, cousin, and a true friend who will be dearly missed.  She graduated from Texas A&M in College Station with a degree in biology and was a loyal Aggie and Cobra supporter.
It’s also obvious that this young lady never met a stranger and had endless love to share.  To many, she was an angel on earth.  Her friends were a joy in her life and agreed that Missy would light up a room when she entered by bringing much laughter wherever she went.  She was a sports fan, especially when her children were involved and she loved the outdoors.

Her family and friends said good-bye at her funeral on Monday morning.  And, just like Missy lit up a room, it is only fitting then that she would light up the sky with a double rainbow from Heaven that afternoon.

It’s obvious by their facebook posts that many of her closest friends and family found such comfort in the promise of that rainbow.  My children were the first to see it and hollered at me to come quickly.  A few brief sprinkles of rain and then the most vibrant double rainbow I have ever seen appeared across the azure sky, seemingly out of nowhere.

Her friends shared their thoughts on the rainbow:
“It always amazes me what signs we get from our loved ones in heaven.  On a day we lay our sweet Missy to rest, a double rainbow set over the Cobra Community as if a sign to say, ‘I'm here with you.’”

“A perfect end to this day…may the angels welcome you to paradise.  May you see the face of the Lord on this day.”

“We feel it was Missy's sign of true happiness and beauty of where she is now and her love for everyone who supported her and the family.”

Many times I don’t understand His plan and oftentimes, I question it.  But, I have to hold tight to the belief that God is good…all the time.  My prayers will continue for this family as they mourn the loss of an amazing woman.  I’m sure that Missy’s love will continue to be found in the eyes of her children, friends, and loved ones.

One final thought - As we go about our day-to-day lives, we get distracted.  As Lysa TerKeurst reminds us, “When we’re distracted by one wrong thing, we can miss out in seeing the many right things.”  Let’s remember that we don’t have to look too far to find Him.  His love is there...right smack-dab in the middle of our ordinary a zillion things…a piece of cereal, a movie, an unexpected conversation, an e-mail, or a double rainbow, just to name a few. 

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Alone, But Not Lonely

Photo Credit:  Penywise from
A couple of weeks ago, I left the gym feeling more sore than usual.  I mean, my arms, legs, abs, derrière, (wrists and ankles even) were screamin’.  Now, on a normal day, I might have been proud that I felt so terrible because that meant that I had REALLY worked out…pushed myself to the limits…you know, rocked it.

The sad truth is that I actually made it out of the gym feeling just fine.  I most probably needed to have challenged myself a little more even.  Why the soreness then?  Well…lemme tell ya.

That particular day, I had parked right by the curb, under a nice shade tree.  I gracefully made my way to the car, feeling pretty good for having even gone to the gym that week.  I unlocked my car and opened the door.  With my left foot on the curb and my right foot about to step up into the car…it happened. 

My left ankle buckled on the uneven surface and in one swift and ever-so-clumsy maneuver, I found myself on the ground.  I clawed the inside of the door in a grand effort to save myself from going down, but proceeded to scrape a burn on my arm that I had gotten the day before from a sizzling fajita platter.  Ouch.  How my right foot was still in the car, I’ll never know.

Just call me, “Grace.”  However, I’m fairly certain that I won’t be growing old gracefully at all.  From the looks of it, I’ll be going down kicking and screaming.  My poor, dear, sweet husband...surely, God will give him the strength to put up with me.

Did you know that it is, in fact, humanly possible to jump 32 inches from a sitting position on the ground straight into your car?  Well, it is.  I did it.  I didn’t even scan the parking lot to see if anyone had seen my royal wax out.   I was OUT.  OF.  THERE.  Within seconds, I was in my car and driving to somewhere far, far away…NEVER to return.

Never, that is…until I picked up my daughter from pre-school and noticed that my phone was missing.  I quickly looked through my purse and the car, knowing full well that it was probably laying on the ground right where my backside met the pavement.  I knew I had to go back…and face it.  So, “NEVER,” just so happened to be a whopping 30 minutes later in this case.

Slouched down low in the driver’s seat, I eased my car back into the parking lot.  With my darkest shades on, I pretended to be chillin’ like a cool cucumber.  If I can’t see them, they can’t see me…you know the drill.  I reasoned that if I did drop my phone there, it would indeed still be there.  No one, I mean NO ONE, would want my phone.  It’s an old-style flip phone that has more flop than flip these days.  I also decorated it with my daughter’s rhinestone stickers so my husband could easily tell the difference between our otherwise identical phones.  Say it with me now, “Fancy….Fan-SAY!”

I was right.  No one took it.  Woo-hoo!  There it was, resting in a pile of brown leaves near the “scene,” with all the pretty bling-bling glistening in the sun.  I thanked God for allowing me to find it because it would have been super inconvenient having to locate everyone’s phone number again.  I also prayed that any and all eyes that had witnessed the horrific stunt didn’t recognize me.  And, I said another quick prayer thanking the Lord that I hadn’t broken anything during my earlier, uhem, fall.

It just so happens that one of our topics during Bible study was about walking, well, walking humbly with God.  Of course, in my case, I should learn how to walk…period…but, I digress.  “Be fair and just and merciful, and walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8) In order to walk humbly, we need to listen carefully to the revealed will of God in our lives.  As much as we’d love to think we are in control.  Really, we’re not.

But, how can we listen carefully to hear God’s will?  One thing that might be helpful is to sprinkle our week with some alone time.  And, by alone, I don’t mean lonely.  No one likes “lonely.”  There’s a difference. 

My trusty little “Worrywart’s Prayer Book” has always offered a dose of inspiration at just the right time.  Nolan reminds us that Jesus is the One who can relieve the gnawing feeling of loneliness.  “People come and go in our lives and we feel at times, lonely, afraid, and forsaken.  But, Jesus promised us, ‘I am with you always.’  Even better, the Bible tells us that nothing can separate us from Him.”

Nolan also shares, “Let’s stop running away from solitude.  Let’s embrace it, make time for it, and use it as an opportunity to strengthen our connection to Jesus.  Let’s foster His companionship above all others and remember that with Him by our side, we may be alone, but we can never be lonely.”  I love that.

The Lord asks us to walk.  He asks us to walk humbly (Micah 6:8).  He asks us to walk by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7).  He asks us to walk with love for others, following His example (Ephesians 5:2).  He asks us to walk with the Holy Spirit so we aren’t led astray (Galatians 5:16).  He asks us to walk the godly paths to find rest for our souls (Jeremiah 6:16).  He asks us to walk with the Light because whoever walks in darkness does not know the way. (John 12:35)

Surely, with all this walking, we might eventually stumble, right?  I mean, I hear that people do….you know, stumble…sometimes.  Uhem.  Father Bentil shared a hopeful message during Mass last weekend.  He reminded us that not only does God bless our successes, but He also blesses our efforts.  I like that.  A whole lot.

The Lord knows when we are trying.  He knows when we are giving it our all and when we’re not.  When we fall (and we will), we need to slowly get back up and try again.  Or like me, just jump up in one 32-inch vertical leap and quickly get the heck outta there.  (Kidding.  I’m kidding).  Remember…I ended up having to go back to the place I stumbled and face it. 

Whatever “it” might be for us, we don’t have to tackle it by ourselves.  If we ask the Lord for help, His will be the outstretched arm that reaches down to help us get back up. 

Let’s grab some alone time this week to reconnect with a friend…our forever friend…One who will never leave us lonely.

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!