“…nothing will be impossible…”

salt Mark 9-50“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” Matthew 5:13

We moved, as most of you (my friends and family) know.  For those of you who do not know, we up and moved 3,000+ miles from pretty much all we knew and came to the “Last Frontier” and are endeavoring to make a new life for ourselves.  At our ages, it has been a hard decision and for the most part, difficult.  We have run into so many roadblocks, it seems pretty amazing we can still smile.  Don’t get me wrong, we are blessed in ways beyond measure.  We have our faith and our family and a roof over our heads.  And I know I am blessed in more ways than many people I know.  God is good.

All that being said, it does not mean there has not been, nor does it mean it does not continue to be, a struggle.  All change is a struggle.  But if salt looses its saltiness, it is no longer good for anything and must be thrown out.  Our lives were like that.  They needed to change! And speaking of change, I giggled as I typed that because I was thinking of something my mom told me once, “Always hold on to your clothes, because eventually everything comes back into style.”  She isn’t far off.  I now wear what we called “peddle pushers” or “clam diggers” when I was a kid.  I grew up in the 50s and 60s and we also had all the “flower power” styles going on and lots and lots of them are back (I love my longer “broom” skirts for instance).  Hair styles – long, short, colored, permed.  Been done.  Make up…the Egyptians had the “kohl-eye” thing down centuries ago. Story telling, marriage, family, society…it is in a cycle that repeats itself over and over again.

Basically, it is we who have to adjust to change.  It is not change that is unusual.  There is a series of history books that make an interesting statement in how they are put together.  There is all history prior to the Birth of Christ in one book, and then there is history that has occurred since the Birth of Christ in a separate book.  And history since the Birth of Christ changed; man and his experience on this earth, changed.  God changed us by giving us His only Son.  How we act and react to that singular event in the history of mankind determines how we live our lives, and how we adapt to and take part in, change.

Personally, I am frustrated some days. I wish things were like they were when we lived in our first dairy house.  Our boys were small.  Life was very simple and very quiet.  Well, with young boys, as quiet as that can be, while living on a farm.  It is hard to believe we have been married almost 30 years.  Time has just flown past and quite often I have a hard time grasping really where I am. I just had another birthday.  I am getting to the point where I am fine actually skipping them.  We can just celebrate those other milestone dates and forget the ones in between!  But then I see the faces of my sons, my grandchildren, and I know I am blessed to be where I am.  I have had days recently where I just stood next to my husband, with my forehead resting on his chest.  Standing there, wishing things were a little different, frustrated because they are not, but also so blessed at where we are.  Life is such a confusing mix some days.

When you relocate in such a drastic way, it can be hard because you have nothing familiar.  No friends around for my son, no familiar clerk at the grocery store, streets whose names I forget and driving down I tend to get lost in, and new things everywhere. Your senses get assaulted.  Oftentimes, I look around and because I am in a new city, I am totally confused at where I am, and I actually feel carsick.  My natural points of reference aren’t there (in Southern Cal, the mountains are in the north and the beach is in the south!  The mountains are in the east, and the beach is in the west!).  But still, I know that for some reason, I am where I am meant to be. So I ask directions and find my way.  Our Lord is the beacon that guides through our confusion, bringing us home.

The professional community or the working world here is also very different; it is NOTHING like it is elsewhere. And when you are older and have been taught to do business a certain way, climbing out of that pattern of behavior is very hard to do.  And it is frustrating to step out of our comfort zones to try and make things work, to get work!  I feel bad for my husband and he is pretty much getting to the end of his rope, too.  It is weird, because our lives are so blessed in all things but working.  We wonder where we need to make further changes and what Our Lord is asking for us to do. We search for those changes we still need to make, to have our lives ironed out.

Changing to Holy Silence is hard in a world of distraction, but we both feel called to centering ourselves and also digging in and making this work.  We know the Lord wanted us to come here.  We both prayed about it and talked about it and took our time making this decision, and nowhere along the road did we feel we were making the wrong choice.  Until we actually got on the road.  We have hit so many roadblocks to reach where we are (do not even mention Canada to me) and yet, we can still smile and know we are still blessed. I see my family, that little smile on the face of my grandson, and hear his voice yell, “Gaga-Gaga-Gaga” (his name for me) and I know I am where I am supposed to be.  Continuing this process of change, well, it may make us stretch in ways we never knew we could, but we are already blessed far more than we would have been, had we stayed put and let the world change around us.

We react differently because the world irrevocably changed 2,000+ years ago, when Christ walked, lived, preached, and died among us.  He changed the world.  I can work hard to change just little, old me.  If I work to be still and listen to His Word for my life, I can move mountains.  (He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20).  It is now that we have to dig in and put our “backs into it” in order to be successful and move some mountains in our lives.  Change is not for the meek or the weak at heart; it is necessary, though.  Christ changed the world; I just need to work on being the best me that He wants me to be, wherever I am.

mustard seed mustard seeds

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Today, I am breathing….

Abba IsaiasToday is Monday…in so many senses of the word!  First of all, our boiler, which provides us our heat, sprung a leak all over the garage last night.  So my husband, being judicious, shut off all the hot water to the house.  All the hot water.  This morning, the plumber told us he was on his way…that was at least two hours ago.  In the meantime, it rained all night long, and is still raining.  It is pretty dark outside.  They are laying all new electrical lines through our area and actually putting in sidewalks and streetlights (we live out of town).  This morning they “accidentally” cut our power.  Yay.  No hot water, no heat in the house, no sunshine, and now, no electricity.  On top of that, I had been trying to contact my retirement board from my former governmental employer – need I say more? Customer service is not their forte.

And so I found myself, sitting in the dark, in a sweatshirt on the couch with my newly-hairless mini-Schnauzer sitting next to me shivering, in complete silence, contemplating this turn of events.  I had been espousing Holy Silence at Church just yesterday.  I had joked about how loud life is these days with all the electronic interference.  I think I was just tempting Our Lord to give me an opportunity to practice Silence.

Frustration  does not even come close to what I am experiencing.  And I remembered the graphic above, quoting Abba Isaias.  Boy, did I need that!  In his book, “Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives,” Elder Thaddeus tells us that we can control our environment by how we react to it and by what we give back to it.  I was dealing with a crabby woman on the phone this morning, who needs so many lessons in customer service, and I caught myself snipping at her (“What do you mean, 4th from the bottom? The bottom is the bottom, there is nothing listed below the bottom of the list.  That’s why it is the bottom!” To which she replied, “Well, fine then; it’s the 4th UP from the bottom.”) and I stopped myself from going further and literally prayed for her in my mind.  I have worked in customer service in retail, for various governmental agencies; I have waited tables and tended bar!  I get the whole customer service thing and I realized, “It’s Monday!”  And I will be held accountable for the thoughts I have, and the way my thoughts project into my environment – my thoughts came spilling out of my mouth before I had the chance to edit them.  I apologized to her, telling her I did not understand the jargon common to retirement boards, and asked if she could please assist me; her demeanor immediately changed and I castrated myself for having let my frustration get the better of me.

Life has a way of bringing us up short some days.  We are hit right between the eyes with whatever weakness we seem to be trying to work on.  I had a priest tell me one time, “Never pray for patience, because that’s when all hell will break loose.”  He explained that God just doesn’t give us what we lack; He teaches us how to have what we lack. If we lack patience, He will use every opportunity available to teach us how to be patient.  With my frustration reaching its peak early today, God has been thrusting me into situations where I am learning to temper my frustration with kindness and to try to learn to relax in these situations.  Mark Hart the Bible Geek (check out his Facebook page) tells us, “God’s got this” and I totally believe that.  God does have this, and all the days of my life. I need to learn to get into sync with whatever He has for me. I need to slow down and be quiet; I need to learn to listen.  Is my life going where I want it to? No.  Am I better off than yesterday?  It depends on what we are qualifying.  I am better off because I have a great place to live (other than it’s dark and a little chilly in here today!!), I am close to my family, and my Church community is continually surprising me and blessing me with new friends and a wonderful place to worship.  Financially? Absolutely not.  We are pretty much at that desperation point, but I know God’s got this, too.  His timeline does not always coincide with what I think I need or what I think needs to happen, but that is what faith is all about.  Allowing God to work.  Giving Him time and space to evident Himself in all aspects of my life.  I keep thinking that the Lord has way more faith in me and my perseverance than I do, and quite often I look to heaven and make the “time out” sign the refs in football use!  But still, I awoke today. I had a visit from my grandson and daughter-in-law, who brought us some hot coffee.  My power was restored, by men working in the pouring rain, so I could sit here and type.  God is good and He is working.  “All good things come to he who waits,” as the old saying goes.

DidacheAs the Didache explains to us, the troubles that come to us are from the Lord. He is teaching us what He believes we need to know.  And so I hope in the Lord. I offer my frustrations to Him; I offer Him also my Silent moments, asking that He enter in.  I thank Him for my next breath, and I praise Him for being in my life and loving me, even when I trip and fall so far short.  God is good.

Breathe today

“..not theory, not philosophy…”

Icon wallToday it has been raining almost all day. It rained most of the night, too.  It was the sort of day where you want to wrap yourself in a cozy blanket, hold a cup of tea, and sit before a warm fire.  But we rarely do that on Sundays.  First of all, my husband is a Deacon and so we are obligated to attend Sunday Divine Liturgy.  But more than that, our Sunday would seem hollow if we did not get ourselves out and off to Church.  So off into the rainy day we went.  I have often posted photos of the interiors of Churches and I tend to favor those with candle-lit scenes.  The one above is one of my favorites; the Icon wall.  In our parish we are blessed with an amazing array of icons and our Iconostasis (the Icon screen that goes across the altar area) is beautiful.  We are also blessed with beeswax candles! Many parishes use the thin tapers, but they are not beeswax.  I feel blessed that we have them.  As I lit a candle each for the intercession of the Theotokos and Our Lord, I stood before their icons, bathed in the mystery, the awe, the solemnity of them.  But I was also awash in my other senses.  I could hear the rain spattering along the roof line and into the downspouts.  Everything smells wonderful when it rains.  And I could smell the incredibly aromatic beeswax candles.  Trust me, if you have never experienced them, they do make a difference.  The light they emit and the scent surrounding them is heady and enhances the whole experience.  So instead of snuggling on my couch with my blanket and cup of tea, I was surrounded by the essence of my faith in sight, smell, and once morning prayers and then Divine Liturgy began, the sounds of my faith.  It was truly a morning of heaven on earth!

St. NikolaiI have used the above photo quite often, too.  I truly believe that a large part of our faith is the faith we experience in our community.  As I stated in my post of the Dormition, we come to our faith in a corporate way, as part of a larger community.  Even if you have a “born again” experience as a Protestant, it is normally within a faith community; the community that brought you to that pinnacled moment in time.  I am often asked, “When were you saved?”  I have pondered it many times and have come to the conclusion that my salvation is a process.  Yes, I have come to know and experience Christ in my life. I am blessed to belong to a Byzantine faith where encounters with Christ happen quite regularly.  My personal encounters have been shocking, sublime, timely, and extremely profound.  And they keep coming.  Each time I am in contact with that moment where Our Lord touches me, I am deeper into my relationship with Him.  I am blessed in that.

Today, after Divine Liturgy, I met some wonderful women.  One of the women in our parish is an incredible soup-maker.  Today she provided the parish with broccoli soup that was so incredible, with warm bread to accompany it.  As we sat around and gabbed, enjoying our soup and the company, I realized how much I would have missed had I chosen to remain on my couch!  My faith was enhanced and I met some wonderful ladies, and enjoyed some incredible soup.  Our conversation was as edifying in many ways as our experience during Liturgy.  Because when you sit and talk with people and share your faith, you serve God.  His kingdom is solidified and strengthened when you share your faith with others.  There was so much wisdom at that table.  I find myself sitting with the widows and older women, rather than the younger moms with small children;  I suppose it is because they are closer in age to me, but I am not sure.  I do chat with the other moms who have children, as I have a teen still at home, but I sure enjoy sitting with these older ladies.  Today I shared the concept of “Holy Silence” and also the concept that “Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives” and it generated a lively chat.  Since most of them have numerous children and grandchildren, keeping Silence is often not something they think to practice first!  I was praying the entire time we chatted and I loved their insight and wisdom and I think they gleaned something useful from me, as well.  Experience…it is truly a great teacher.

CandlesI am glad that I roused myself and went off in the rain to Church. I came away edified and strengthened.  Father’s homily today reminded us of our great responsibility for our own faith.  God waits for us; He does not force us to welcome Him into our hearts.  He invites us to experience Him in our Church, in our fellow Christians.  We may not all worship in the same style or the same environment, but we are all believers of the True Faith.  Our corporate experience of the Divine makes Our Lord more present to each and every one of us…together and in solitude.  Let us also remember those who gave up everything, and are still sacrificing for their faith.  They are part of our faith, too.

Egyptains prayingIn our Silence, which I do try to practice as much as I can (being a homeschooling Mom, I am often relegated to moments of solitude to keep Silence.  Those are the moments when I choose Silence over distractions or chatter and are sometimes the only quiet I may have in a day) we commune with God and are part of the Church Militant – those of us still here, combating evil and seeking the Divine.  We share in the state of this militant Church through our prayers, our actions, and our thoughts.  Let us hold one another up as we struggle to combat the evil in this world.  Let our common experience as a community strengthen us on our personal roads to salvation, as well as helping each of those we come into contact with on their own journey towards the Divine.  Some areas of our world are rife with war and violence; there is little of the Holy Silence available in places where gunfire is more common.  Let us all unite in our common faith, holding up the Church Militant and conjoining the with the Angels and the Saints in the Church Triumphant.

I know I am glad I got off that couch this morning and enjoyed Our Lord and our community, celebrating the gift of the Divine in our lives!!

Feast of the Dormition? Feast of the Assumption? Feast!

Dormition IconIcon of the Dormition of the Theotokos

Being a Byzantine, or Eastern Rite Catholic, specifically a Melkite Greek Catholic, carries some interesting things with it.  One of them is the celebration of the various feasts within our faith.  Most Protestants do not celebrate today’s Feast; most are not even aware of it.  There are many reasons for that, mostly because the theology surrounding the Mother of God (in Greek – Theotokos) is so very misunderstood.

Today’s Feast is the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos, or the “falling asleep” of the Mother of God, Mary, for those in the east.  In the west, the celebration is called the “Assumption of Mary.”  There is a a slight difference in the emphasis, but not the event.  In the west, the focus is on Mary’s body, after death, being assumed wholly into Heaven.  Mary, being this perfect vessel, perfect Woman for Our Lord, was assumed totally and without corruption of Her Body into Heaven at the end of Her days on earth. We believe that God created His own Mother to be perfect.  A cute explanation of this was told to me once: If your little son brings to you the flowering weed he yanked from the yard, don’t you offer him your most beautiful vase in order to display his gift to you? How his face glows with the honor you have given to his gift to you?  How much more would God choose a perfect vase for the most perfect Rose, the Mother of God?! The most incorrupt womb in which to house the “Seed of Perfection” itself; Christ Our Lord?

In the east, the focus is on her “dormition,” or “falling asleep.”  The difference is explained in the Icon above.  We see Our Lord holding a baby, wrapped in white linens.  That infant is the soul of Mary, in all its perfection.  The white linens are the purity of her soul, shining forth in radiance.  The many stories handed down through the Apostles of this event are incredible to read. Most Protestants do not count this event as an historical fact and rarely speak of Mary, except at Christmas and perhaps some small mention at the Crucifixion of Our Lord.  But in the many apocryphal writings that survived through the ages, the stories of her Dormition are amazing.  Some relate how the angels were surrounding her home singing hymns of praise; how St. Michael the Archangel accompanied Christ Himself into her home, and stood with the Apostles around her bed.  She then offered herself, again, to the service and glory of Her Son and He welcomed her Immaculate Soul to His Sacred Heart. It is a beautiful, beautiful story and is an example for us all to aspire to.  At our last breath, we, too, should offer ourselves once again to Our Lord and await His presence in the Heavenly realms and prepare to attend His Banquet.  I have often stated that I am praying for nosebleed seats in Heaven; I do not require front row or even mezzanine.  I just want to be at the banquet.  I will even clear tables and take out the trash, so long as I am there!

And it is about this Icon that I wish to speak today.  The only apostle you will find missing in the Icon is St. Thomas.  Often he is referred to as “Doubting Thomas.”  But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe.” (John 20:25)  The story about the Dormition tells us that all the Apostles were brought supernaturally (on clouds, in some versions) to Mary’s bedside, except Thomas, who was “busy.”  He arrived late, after Christ had taken Mary’s soul with Him, and after her tomb was sealed. He asked if he could gaze upon her and offer her worship and prayers.  So her tomb was opened for him, but when he looked inside, flowers and a beautiful fragrance were all that was there; she had been assumed into Heaven already.  He had missed out, again, on a big event in the Gospel stories.  And although St. Thomas missed out on the Resurrection, he was the first to proclaim, “My Lord and my God.” (John 20:28).

As a family, we are clock-watchers.  We are NEVER late.  We may be early, but we are never late.  On the occasion of our first Hafla (which is Arabic for “party” and was a dinner/dance at our parish) we arrived at the 7:00pm starting time. Only the “Americans” were there, sitting at the only table filled with people and completely decorated.  Everyone else was running around setting things up and still cooking.  Very few of the parish were even there.  We were told, “Well, everyone knows that 7 o-clock really means 9 o’clock!!”  We all laughed about it at the time.  But it also was a lesson for us in cultural norms and expectations.  Much like Thomas, many people arrive to things on their own timetable, irrespective of the schedule of others or starting times, etc.  There is a young man who works with my son who is late almost every day. He was told the next time he is late to not bother getting out of his truck, to gather his tools, and just go home.

In Scripture, there is a story about the workers in the vineyard.  The vineyard owner offers wages (two denarius – a form of money) for the workers who showed up bright and early, and also offers the same amount to the workers who show up late.  When the earlier workers complain, the owner explains that they were paid according to their contract and the later workers were paid according to their contract.  A fair deal was made in both situations and the earlier workers should not complain, but be happy with their day of working and the wages they earned.  The story is allegorical for our “coming to the faith.”  (Matthew 20:1-16)  Our Lord welcomes us equally, whether we begin to follow Him early in life, or come to know Him later in our lives.

And I cannot help but think of St. Thomas.  He later went on to establish the Church in India and the Catholics there are known as “Thomas Christians” and are eastern-rite Syro-Malabar Catholics.  He traveled the world, spreading the Good News of Christ, even though he was late and missed out on two important events in the Gospel story – the Resurrection of Our Lord, and the Dormition of the Theotokos.  He was filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and loved Our Lord and Our Lady so very, very much. I am pretty sure he wasn’t late for many other important events! Ha-Ha!

Why do we attend Church today, or for that matter, on any Holy Day or Feast Day, or even on Sundays?  I read a wonderful article about how we are people of a communal faith.  We do not become followers of Christ in a vacuum, but rather, corporately, as part of a community.  Celebrating these feast days, these Holy Days, these Sundays, with fellow believers allows us to pray with the Angels and the Saints (the Church Triumphant) as the Church Militant.  Our chorus is added to the “thousands of archangels and myriad of angels, cherubim, seraphim, six-winged, many-eyed, soaring on their pinons; singing, proclaiming, shouting the hymn of victory and saying, “Holy, holy, holy Lord of Sabbaoth, Heaven and Earth are filled with Your glory. Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord: hosanna in the highest!” (Divine Liturgy of St, John Chrysostom).  And sharing in this glorious praise of God is something I do not want to miss, nor do I want to be late for!!

A story was told about a teen who did not want to attend Church and her mother, a devout Catholic, was saddened at her teen’s lament, “Why do I have to go to Church? I can pray wherever I want to, whenever I want to; God is everywhere.”  She had no cognitive response to her teenager.  For me, it is about celebrating with my community of believers, these amazing Feasts and Holy Days, and even each week on Sunday.  We share the Divine Mystery of Holy Communion together.  We share corporate prayer and worship together. It is uplifting and so powerful.  We know that Scripture tells us, “Wherever two or more are gathered in My name, I am in their midst.”  (Matthew 18:20). So for me, I will not be late.  I will not miss out on some amazing experiences being shared around a common faith, with a community who believes as I do.  There have been too many sublime moments in my life when I have known the presence of God, my Savior, while in the midst of my community.  And today is no exception.  Today I will celebrate the gentle falling asleep of the Mother of God.  The moment where she once again offers herself to Her Son, and He takes her Soul in His Arms, wrapped in white linen, as she once bore her Son in white linen…to His manger and to His Tomb.

St. Nikolai

“I have often repented….”

Abba AseniosI haven’t blogged in about a month.  I have had my little cocoon of a world tilted a little bit and I have been emotionally drained, and a little beat up.  Silence in times like these is quite often the best thing.  So I chose to keep my own counsel, rather than using this space as a place to vent or rant or complain.  Because of that, I have had time to churn things over in my mind, and to come to some conclusions.  I am open-minded enough to know that my conclusions will probably change as I age and other life experiences come across my personal timeline, nonetheless I will share my thoughts!

(1) Nothing, absolutely nothing, is static in life.  We are all swirling around the miasma of humanity, riding an orb that is spinning its way through the cosmos.  We hang on when we can; we trip and fall, but hopefully, we all get back up and back in the race.

(2) Yes, age is just a number, but as we age, it sure gets to be a bigger number!  As I approach yet another birthday, I am reminded that our lives here on earth, with our family and friends, is not eternal.  We have a numbered set of days to accomplish what we need to, and to prepare for our eternity.  Each of us gains our own eternity, but I also believe we are all called to the eternity Our Lord laid out for us, and it is a corporate experience.  “No man is an island…” John Donne.

(3) Sometimes there is absolutely nothing we can do about certain situations.  We cannot alter the path, nor can we affect a change.  The sole activity open to us is prayer.  We can pray for the people involved; we can ask for mercy or intercession, but we cannot do anything about it.  And that can be extremely frustrating.  Living in a fairly remote place intensifies that experience somewhat.  The good that comes from that is our reliance on faith becomes more absolute and our prayer life greatly increases.  All I can truly affect is what is directly connected to me.  Sort of a view of “if I can see it, touch it, it is real.” A real “doubting Thomas” sort of perspective…although St. Thomas was the first to proclaim the truth of Christ.  In John 20:28 it says, “and in answer Thomas said unto him, ‘My Lord and my God.'”  Through that, I cling to hope.

(4) My life is mine.  My attitudes are mine.  My thoughts are mine.  And through my thoughts, I do control my life. I can opt to wallow in the situation I find myself in; I can choose a dark outlook and become the “negative Nelly” in the room.  My other option is to always look for that streak of sunshine creeping through the clouds.  I am very much a “half full” person.  Although recently, keeping that glass half full has been extremely wearing and tiresome.  And so I do rely on my faith and my prayer increases in fervor and frequency.  As I learned from reading quotes like the one above, often times silence is the best thing I have going for me.  Silence is where I get in touch with my thoughts, where I connect to God, where I choose the attitude I wish to project into the world around me.  Yesterday, our new priest made several statements during his homily that were not new; nothing earth-shattering.  Except that he said one phrase, with a particular emphasis, and a particular look on his face, that I cannot get it out of my mind.  He said, “We are all called to love our neighbor.”  Some days, my neighbor is my son, my grandson, my husband – the people I am closest to.  And some days, I may be the only Jesus they see that day.  I fall woefully short most days.

(5) I need to practice letting go.  I cannot take anyone or anything with me when my numbered days are over.  I need to let go of stuff, which I am pretty stoked about because we purged big time to come up here and I have not accumulated anything since.  Simple in regards to things is working out very well for me.  But there are people and situations I truly need to let go of.  I cannot control their lives or the things that are happening to them. I can pray for them, but not much else.  I know that in my sensical, practical self.  But in my emotional self, I have a hard time allowing people and situations to just progress without interference.  Letting go of people who suck the life out of us is something we all need to practice.  We should pray for them, but we do not need them in our lives.  Letting go of situations we cannot change is something a little more difficult. For me, at this moment in time, that is letting go of my mother’s situation and allowing things to progress without my input or interference. It is her life; it is her situation.  Her situation is not unique among my age group, but it is still difficult. I also cannot affect change in my husband’s employment status.  All I can do is encourage and pray, but I cannot do anything about it and I need to let it go.

(6) As I spoke to my thoughts and my life being mine and how my attitude affects all of it, I realized that if we truly believe in our faith; in what the Holy Fathers tell us and in what the Gospel and Our Lord tell us, then we should always be able to find the blessings in all things.  For us right now, we are blessed to be where we are, geographically.  Our youngest son’s life is so blessed by this move.  We have a parish that is welcoming and is becoming a home.  Our house is awesome and we love where it is located.  We have family so close by, it is incredible!  We had none of those things where we lived before here.  We have no job, but we have faith that Our Lord brought us to this land to prosper.  “I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD. They are plans for peace and not disaster, plans to give you a future filled with hope.
Jer 29:11

DidacheWonderfully for me, this increase of pressure of the things around me that I cannot change, of the situations I cannot affect, these are all affecting my positive outlook.  Quite often I lament about things, but I realized that it truly comes down to loving my neighbor.  My interior outlook is the closest neighbor I have – myself. I am responsible for myself and through caring for my thoughts and my outlook, I become responsible for everyone around me.  It is sort of like planets in the proper orbit.  We all fear what may happen if the sun veers off course or the earth tilts even further on its axis.  All life on this planet and in our cosmos would be affected.  I need to remain faithful to Our Lord and His promises and I need to reflect His love for others, even when mine feels a little spotty or off-orbit.  God is so good, my faith becoming stronger with each setback, that I smile even as I think of all of this.  Our blessings are amazing; we just need to be faithful until all things are worked out.   “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much…” Luke 16:10