“…lift up our hands and bless him.”

baby-feet13Today is the first of May.  Spring is really here!  There is a small patch of snow under our front window, trying to hang on.  But I think the grass will win…we have a whole week of sunshine predicted!!

Yesterday was an awesome day.  I had the car…so that is a huge thing for me! I was all over town, having been to three places, before 9:00am! Whoopee!  And then we got texts from our middle son, which totally made our day.  His wife is expecting baby #2 and it is a GIRL!!!!  Having raised three sons (well, #3 is almost done), I love having little girls around. It just melts my grandma heart.  I love all things girly – except on me! Ha-Ha!  I love the little outfits, the socks, the cute and frilly undies that cover their diapers, the shoes, the BOWS!!  They never had bows like this when I was a kid.  My mom used to use Caro’s syrup to glue a ribbon on my head so people knew I was a girl – I was pretty much bald until I was 2 or so!!  The two granddaughters I have so far have such different hair…one is looking a sandy blonde (leaning towards brunette) while the other is a strawberry blonde (leaning towards outright red!!).  Both of their smiles just take my breath away; they melt my heart (I know I keep saying that).  I absolutely adore my grandkids. My grandson, being two and the oldest grandchild, occupies a special place in my heart, too.  He was the first and he opened the floodgates of my heart when he was born.  Who knew??  I think I was created to be a grandma. It is the best thing – ever!!!  (I think the meme below applies to grandmas is such a special way…)

PreciousJewelsYesterday was also a day when I just could not stop crying.  I got some news that a friend we were close to many years ago passed away from cancer.  It devastated me and my husband, too.  We have such fond memories of their family and some great times spent with them.  And I have been praying for his soul and for his family.

HolyOilCandle.HolyBookAnd there have been some other things going on and I am trying to juggle all of them.  I usually fall back on what I know and I rely upon – my faith – to help me make sense of things.  I try to listen to others, and to see where perhaps they are coming from or to understand why they would communicate in the way they do.  But sometimes I feel like people already have a response in their head; it’s almost like a previously written and prepared litany they have to get out, that comes out in spurts between what I am trying to say.  They aren’t really listening at all, which becomes obvious by their responses. I pray that I am not like that; I really do.  If I could glean anything from what I have learned, observed, and been taught it is that each life is precious. Each person has a divine right to be here, and as such, they deserve our attention.  In an earlier post, I spoke about leaving people out of our lives, and not paying attention to what people are saying is exclusionary.  I pray, pray, pray that I do not do that to anyone.

Intent to replyI majored in Anthropology at a major University. I received an amazing education.  I minored in Biblical Archeology.  What an eye-opener that minor was!  Through that education, I came to look at the world a little differently. I am not set in my ways as some assume.  I love learning about new cultures, ways of doing things, and traditions.  One of the most annoying things about us converts to other faiths is that we come at them from an adult perspective.  We come to our faith with our eyes open, having experienced some of life, already.  We are exploring, digging, learning about this new thing we have found.  You know how annoying former smokers are? Or people who were fat and are now thin?  People who used to be couch potatoes but are now marathon runners?  People who were liberal but are now conservative? (Or, egad, the opposite??)  All of those things are annoying to those who were born and raised in it.  Why?  I think it is because those born into it are somewhat complacent about it.  They take much for granted.  But another issue is that when people who are born into it, stop learning about it.  Whatever “it” may be.  In the area of religion, I came to my faith after quite a few stops along the way. I have been baptized more times than is even sane, and have experienced worship for some time as a Protestant (and a few versions of that, too!), Mormon, Jewish (Reformed), Roman Catholic, and now Melkite Greek Catholic.  And all of that was accomplished in just 50 some years.  I have been Melkite well over 10 years now, pushing towards 15.  And I am still learning.

Don't compareI endeavor to make sense of the patterns shown to me of this life. And I try, really try, to give people the benefit of a doubt.  Sometimes people try my patience and I loose my cool.  On Facebook today, a young person challenged me, in a very rude and obstreperous way, and I lost my cool.  I have learned to remove myself from the string when things like that happen, but I allowed this kid to get under my skin.  Why?  Because I have all these other battles I’m dealing with and this kid was an annoying gnat flying around my face. I just could not be bothered with the comments any longer.  And I find that is, as I said to a new friend, “my bad.”  I need to be more tolerant because faith is not about who “wins” or who is “right.” Salvation is each of us, reaching out to help our fellow sojourners to God.  It is not being first across the finish line or being able to turn around from some higher place, sneer and say, “Neener-neener, I was right!”  How many of us will absolutely not give in to someone simply because we don’t want to hear the comment, “I was right?” And quite often we allow people who are raging at us, or persecuting us for what we say or believe, or who completely disagree with us, get under our skin.

“Bless them that persecute you.’ If our enemy cannot put up with us any longer and takes to cursing us, our immediate reaction must be to lift up our hands and bless him. Our enemies are the blessed of the Lord. Their curse can do us no harm. May their poverty be enriched with all the riches of God, with the blessing of Him whom they seek to oppose in vain. We are ready to endure their curses so long as they redound to their blessing.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

And I strive for this; I really do.  And so even though battles wage here and there in my life, I do endeavor to shrug them off and replace them with love and blessing.  It is difficult some days, and today I tripped, yet again.  God is just so good and teaches me from my knees, where I have fallen before those who hurt me. I did not raise my hands in blessing today; I should have. I chose to react and for that I seek God’s forgiveness.

But then again, God blesses us in so many disparate areas of our lives.  I lost a friend yesterday, but I found out I am blessed with another granddaughter.  One of my oldest son’s friends and co-workers was hurt very badly yesterday, but today he texted my son from the ICU and said, “I’m going to make it.” What a blessing.  I worked on an issue that I thought had become a lost cause, but was encouraged enough later in the day, to be very hopeful.  These “givings;” these “taking away”…they balance our lives; they give us character and strength; they motivate us to keep going, keep learning, to keep our journey of Theosis pointed in the right direction – towards Him Who saves us.

Elder PaosiosAs of this afternoon I have already faced some demons in my life and in my little neck of the woods. I also dealt very poorly with a particular young man, but out of that experience, I sought forgiveness and I grew another step in learning patience to raise my hands in blessing when someone opposes me.  This morning, lolling its way into this afternoon, has produced some awesomeness of its own! I have had very productive talks with two different sons about a variety of subjects, thrown in a couple of loads of laundry, worked on some issues with friends, and if I can just produce an evening meal, I will feel really blessed!!

God is working in me today and I rejoice in God my savior.

Advertisements

“Behold, I am making all things new…”

handsAnd He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” (Rev 21:5)

I had a nice chat with my mom today. She is 83 and lives in a retirement facility in Southern California.  I always get, “It’s so pretty here. The sky is so blue and not a cloud in the sky! It’s going to be a gorgeous day today.”  I am loosing my mom a little more each day; she has Alzheimer’s and the progression is inevitable.  Sometimes we have a fruitful conversation and we don’t repeat for, perhaps, 10 minutes.  And then it’s back to, “It’s so pretty here. The sky is so blue…”  Today she kept saying, “It doesn’t matter where you go, you pay a price for where you live” at every opportunity she could wedge it in.  She gets on kicks like that and we just have to talk it all the way out, so she can move on.  She told me at least three times that she was getting dressed for lunch.  And, “Well, I could have it worse. It’s a pretty nice place. But of course, you pay a price for where you live, you know.”  Ha-Ha.  I love her so much.  At least she is happy and seems content.  Gradually, as with all Alzheimer patients, you just stop thinking about what you forget and it eventually becomes lost in a haze forever.  Even now, as my mom is at lunch with her friends, she does not recall we spoke today. It is a horrible disease.

And as God is good and would do something for my happiness, I no sooner hung up with my mom than my daughter-in-law came by for a drop-in visit with my grandchildren.  It made my day.  And as I sat holding my 4-month-old grand daughter, I reveled in the marvelous relationship building with both her and my daughter-in-law. (Actually, I am blessed with two amazing women who married my sons.  They could not have found better mates! I feel like I now have two daughters, but more importantly, two friends).  And as I held my grand daughter and watched her giggles, drools, and smiles, I fell in love all over again. I thought of the wonderful thread of lives, all the generations, in fruition in my grand daughter.  “And I make all things new.”  God re-energizes our family each time it grows and expands.  And each time I am presented with a grandchild, my heart expands again, re-energizing me and filling me with love.

I told my mom this morning that I think I was born to be a grandmother.  This particular time of my life, right now, and in the coming years, are my best.  I love some of the early years when my boys were young and we lived on a dairy farm.  Those days are precious to me, and I look on them as my “good old days.”  It was carefree in a way I haven’t had since.  All that taken into consideration, I think I have grown to be a better person over the years and am disposed to my grandchildren much better because of the times gone by.  Of course, I still have a 15-year-old at home, so I am also still raising a young man, and that helps me relate to my older sons and their wives in a way I never thought I would have.  It is a difference and it’s like we’re becoming friends, and I love it!

“For everything there is a season…” Ecclesiastes 3 has so much wisdom to share.  We all have times in our lives where certain things are appropriate.  We grow to fill the time we occupy.  For example, one of my mom’s favorite sayings is, “Children are for the young.”  I didn’t fully appreciate that until I grew into my late 50s. And now I have patience and time for children, but even more so, I have boundless patience and time for my grandchildren.  I know I am blessed!

“…a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
(Ecc 3: 2)

Tulips in snowIn our lives, the cycles move…and they don’t stop because we would like them to.  They keep on moving; that clock keeps ticking.  I like to explain it as a “generational shift.”  One day you look around your life and realize you are now your mother; she is now your grandmother, and your children are now you.  Your place and perspective have changed; you moved up a rung.  And it feels odd sometimes, because you feel like a teenager in your head, but when you look in the mirror, the gray hair and wrinkles remind you that you so are not.  (Even if you still secretly feel like you’re still “cool” and can rock it! Ha-Ha!!).

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live;” (Ecc 3:11-12)

As I struggle through Great Lent this week, I keep my eye focused on the prize: my eternity. God and His Church gives me this time every year to stop and re-focus my energies and my daily life onto my eternity.  It is a time for reflection, for prayer, for penance, and for almsgiving.  For me, almsgiving has always been something more of the heart than of the wallet.  Some of the most satisfying days I have ever enjoyed were shopping at the local food bank and buying food to make for our homeless and needy population, who surrounded our parish in SoCal.  I would go to the local foodbank and fill my suburban to the brim and load up my two boys still at home, and off we would head to the parish.  I would set them up with a table and chairs to do their schoolwork (homeschooling mom here) and then I would head to the kitchen. I loved the afternoons of chopping, slicing, and dicing with the other ladies of our parish.  We had such a great time.  And that type of almsgiving, to me, is just so satisfying.  We were making a difference in our community.  I miss those days.  And during Lent, the people who came to be fed knew we fasted, and they loved how we made fasting food that tasted good!  They often stayed to listen to Evening Prayers (Vespers) we had after we had cleaned up.  The candles, the incense, drew them in and gave them a respite from the ugliness out there.

We can all struggle through Lent, or we can be joyous about it, while we struggle. Remember the admonishment in Scripture?  Matthew 6: 16-18 tells us:  “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

What screws us upWe are all called to make something of this time of fasting.  I have been shown so many wonderful things.  I have seen my blessings in the lives of the family we have gathered around us, and those we hold dear in our hearts who live far away.  I have been blessed with friends; some who I have loved for decades, and some new ones, too.  I have been taken to a land that has gotten under my skin and a place that I don’t see me ever leaving. I am not even anxious to vacation away from it, as there is still so much to see and experience.  My faith has been widened to allow for “other” and “different” to be accepted and even welcomed.  This Pascha will be my first one celebrating with Slavonic traditions and I am so excited!  The baskets, the covers, the red eggs…I am really looking forward to it and am loving all the prep for it!  One thing that is hitting me very strongly this Lent, and it is a great truth I am learning, well worth the “look-see” time of the fast, is this:

St Nikon of OptinaI am here, I am still me.  My zip code is really different than last Lent.  My entire life is upside down.  The view is drastically changed, as well as the environment I find myself in.  I left all that was familiar, and so many relationships.  I miss my friends, but I have also been taught the value of friendship and who are my true friends.  As my mom said today, “It doesn’t matter where you go, you pay a price for where you live.”  She is so right-on (‘Let days speak, and many years teach wisdom.’ Job 32:7) but I should not be surprised. Lots of people in my mom’s life chose to ignore her for her intelligence (she was usually eclipsed by someone else around her) but she always had wise things to say, if you but sat and listened to her.  Her tongue was sharp, as was her mother’s before her, but once she aged, she imparted more wisdom than vinegar!  And now I find myself listening to her today and thinking on her wise words to me.  She misses me because I am so far away, but she understands my need to go.  She left New Zealand to come to America with my dad; she knows what it is like to leave all you know for the unknown, and how to make a life where you are, still retaining who you are, while remaining open to new things.

For this Lent, one of the biggest lessons to me is that things are not what I had in my head; I am where I am and guess what? I brought baggage with me.  And now I am being shown all these blessings and learning the baggage is far less important to me, as I have opened myself to growth.  I am finding a peace that I never realized I lacked.  God is good, so good, if we just sit still and allow His presence to be the most important thing in our lives, allowing Him room to do His great work in us. I am still learning and I am more than halfway “home.”

“Behold, I am making all things new.”  (Rev 21:5)

Blessed Lent.

KeepCalm.Pascha

“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

“He’s trying to change your heart.”

Didache.Two RoadsWe recently decided to try a different approach to our health.  We started using a new kitchen gadget and way of eating.  It was really strange, because nothing was added to our diet that was in pill or powder form, neither was it a medicinal addition.  We ate all natural foods, and very simply, too.  For me, I felt clear-headed.  I also was happy.  My mood had definitely felt elevated!  And I also had more energy, more drive.  And it seemed like this was a good idea.  Some friends came to stay this weekend, a way of sharing some time with us before we relocate thousands of miles away.  We have been close friends for about 27 years or so. Over the weekend, though, we made (my husband and myself) some very poor nutritional choices, veering about as far away from our chosen path as you can get.  We had burgers, fried mushrooms, onion rings, sodas, Mexican food with too many chips, a late evening drive through Dairy Queen for some Blizzards, and then bacon and eggs breakfasts…on and on it went!  Decadent, not fasting at all (our friends are Protestant and do not keep the fast at all), and definitely not good for us.  By Sunday afternoon, I felt miserably sick.  My stomach was roiling, I was tired, and cranky, and felt wiped out.  I slept miserably on Saturday night, as well.  And I could not help but think that our step back into our former habits was completely to blame.  Our new habits had just begun last Tuesday….it will just be a week tomorrow…and we failed miserably at keeping our new ways going, in favor of accommodating some dear friends.  The interesting thing was that the male counterpart in this friendship is diabetic and his numbers stunk so bad, and he knew it, so he did not even want to test his blood!  The four of us knew we had been very, very bad!!

White Tulips Best PixIt is such a glorious day today!  Spring is here and the sun is out, and I am drinking my morning “Berry Blast” and determined to right my wrongs of the weekend.  I realized that my wrongs, although dietary, are significant.  These wrongs were gleefully carried out, with barely a nod to my resolutions about my diet. Our friends had also made great strides in their approach to eating and were feeling much healthier.  We get together and bam!  We are eating bad foods again, being decadent, and it was obviously not in our best interests.  How did this happen so easily?

In life, I have been patiently shown, over and over again, that we have paths to choose from.  One is good for us, one is not. One path is towards God, one is not.  One is towards life, one is towards death.  Life is about choices.  We make them every day about a multitude of things.  I chose very poorly this weekend and felt the physical remorse of doing so.  What else am I so easily willing to compromise?  Well, none of us went to Church.  Our friends are Protestant, so we did not push attending Divine Liturgy, even though it was Palm Sunday on the western calendar, and we are now in Holy Week.  How did we allow the pressure of visitors cause us to compromise our path to God?  Our culture pressures us every day to compromise our walk towards eternity with God.  I had a conversation with my son last night about raising his son, how he wants to rear him, what values are important for him to share with his son, and how he does not want interference with the process from others.  It was an enlightening conversation and another facet to that conversation was it got me to thinking about God, Our Father.  How much He wants to share with us, without outside influence, without anyone interfering with that process.  And it made me just stop.  Here we are, at the end of Lent, and I feel once again like I failed miserably.  I have, yes, made some wonderful strides and have learned so very much.  Elder Thaddeus has become, for me, like an intimate friend and spiritual father, and I feel blessed he is in my life.  Keeping silent has also had a profound influence on my life, my heart, my head, my soul.  I am blessed in that, as well.  I discovered something that is working for my betterment in health, and that is also a blessing (as I take another swig of my morning “Berry Blast”!!) But how easily that wide, decadent path to death enticed me back in.  How weak I am and how much I need God, in every aspect of my life, every day. I need to develop a stronger backbone, a way of saying “no” in a loving manner, when situations or people entice me away from the person I am choosing to become.  My “Berry Blast” this morning is more than a healthy alternative to bacon and eggs. It is a rallying point for me and as I look at it, sitting here on my desk, I am inspired to pick myself back up and re-enter the race.  Christ Himself promises us that He is waiting for us. There are innumerous examples in Scripture where God welcomes those “late to the Supper.”  The one I love is where He pays the workers in His vineyard the same wage, regardless of when they show up to work.  Some of the workers, having been toiling all day, are jealous the late-comers get the same wage and He tells them:  “Friend, I am not treating you unfairly. Didn’t you agree with me to work for the standard wage?  Take what is yours and go. I want to give this last man the same as I gave to you.  Am I not permitted to do what I want with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?  So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” (Matthew 20: 13-16) And I cling to that promise, that although I may be late, I will still be paid the same – salvation.  I work and work on myself, and am continually finding myself at the short end of the stick and yet I am comforted by knowing that I am still participating.  And I am also comforted by the fact that I knew, within hours, that I had lost my will and caved to the pressures of being with friends.  I had not insisted that we go to a salad bar!  I caved and went to a ’50s burger diner, had miserable food (horrible service, as well) and then paid for it for two days afterwards!  But I knew; I realized exactly where my error was and it has not left me since.  I also knew, with a sinking heart, that we should have invited them to participate with us, rather than worry that it would drive them away, on Palm Sunday.  We lost an incredible opportunity to share our Byzantine faith with some very dear friends.  The remorse is palatable today.

God is changing your heartToday, I choose to step into the Light of the love of God once more. To strap on the armor of God, and to battle my weaknesses and the wiles of the enemy.  God is working so hard this Lent to change my heart.  I know that change is happening, because my awareness has grown!  I knew when I slipped – I knew it.  Before my challenging Lent, I simply would have fallen and not really noticed, because I would have been back in what has been a “comfort zone” for years and years.  I think that one of the lessons from this weekend is that I need to stop trying to please other people. I need to focus, instead, on living this Psalm:  “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14). This is basically telling me that only what is pleasing to God should concern my heart, my behavior, my actions.  I also believe, and have shared before, that if I can entrench deeply into my heart these precepts of God; if I can live according to His Word, emblazoned on my heart, then all these other things will also be a blessing to God.  My interaction with friends, family members, parishioners, strangers I meet along my way, will be so very different because they all will feel the light emanating from me; the Light of Christ.  And all will be well.

Eph 5-8