Thankful Thursdays

Greed comes in many shapes and sizes. Is this humanity today, in a nutshell?

Heaven and Hell
A holy man was having a conversation with the Lord one day and said, Lord, I would like to know what Heaven and Hell is like.” So the Lord led the man to two doors. He opened one of the doors and the man looked inside.  

In the middle of the room was a large round table. In the middle of the table was a large pot of stew which smelled delicious and made the man’s mouth water. The people sitting around the table were thin and looked sickly. They appeared to be famished. They were holding spoons with very long handles that were strapped to their arms and each found it possible to reach into the pot of stew and take a spoonful, but because the handle was longer than their arms, they could not get the spoons back into their mouths.  

The holy man shuddered at the sight of their misery and suffering. The Lord said, “Alright so now you have seen Hell.”  

Then they went to the next room and opened the door. This room was exactly the same as the first one. There was the large round table with the large pot of stew which made the holy man’s mouth water. The people were equipped with the same long-handled spoons that were strapped to their arms, but here the people were well nourished and plump, laughing and talking. 

The holy man said, “I don’t understand.” And the Lord said, “It’s simple, it requires but one skill. You see, they have learned to feed each other, while the greedy in the other room think only of themselves.”

Feels to me like all we are feeding each other these days is a lot of BS, and the worst of our greed is starving us of spiritual nourishment. But it is said that an attitude of gratitude is the first defense against greed and unselfishness. So I say let’s begin with being thankful for what we have, and start using those long spoons for some good.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.+

“For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
-Matthew 8:36

 

Thankful Thursdays

Let me ask you something…If we didn’t watch the news for one week, how much healthier would our lives be? How much stronger would our faith feel?

The other day someone said to me, “I fear faith has been contaminated.” True statement, I tell you. And that day, when I watched the news, I felt it. It’s how I feel every time I watch the state of our world being played out in the media.  I mean, we already know how screwed up things are, and being reminded of it day in day out in the most untrustworthy and unrealistic of ways makes what is already frustrating pretty much unfathomable and hopeless. As the kids say, “it’s so extra.” It’s a barrage of negativity.

I miss the days of straight-up news, sports, and weather. Don’t you?

So today and everyday, for every time God helps me stay hopeful and protect my faith from contamination, I am thankful.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.+

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”
-G.B. Shaw

“One reason that cats are happier than people is that they have no newspapers.”
-G. Brooks

“Let your faith be bigger than your fears.”

 

Thankful Thursdays

In honor of Mother’s Day, here’s a timeless little piece I call “E-Ticket, Please.” 
[An E-Ticket at Disneyland/ Disney World was the most coveted. It was for any ride that aspired to theme park greatness – the ultimate of thrills].

Of all the blessings the good Lord has showered upon me, I would have to say motherhood tops the list, hands down. What a ride!  The fears and anxieties, the illnesses, the surgeries, the pain, the worrying and sleepless nights, the anger, the attitudes, the expectations, the failures, disappointments, and frustrations…all intertwined with the joy, the excitement, the achievements, the celebrations, the humor and the fun, the hugging, the sharing, the loving and the caring…I could go on and on….Sometimes making me want to speed up time, sometimes making me want to slow it down. Phew!!  Yes, it is exhausting. Through the trials, tribulations and triumphs of motherhood, I have experienced things and felt emotions on a level I cannot possibly explain to you. Except I can tell you that I would not trade any of it. I cannot envision, nor do I want to, life without Lauren and Danny. Come what may. And I know this is a life-time thing. I know this because my mother was still at it with me until the day she died. I cannot thank God enough for that. For that and for this blessing He has bestowed upon me. May He always catch me with my seatbelt on tight while on this, my E-ticket ride. 

I wrote that years ago. But, like I said, it is timeless.

I want to wish all the moms, grandmas, aunts, and godmothers a very happy Mother’s Day today and always. To my dearest friends, some moms, some not, thank you for always looking at my many pictures, listening to my stories, concerns and worries, and walking along with me through this motherhood journey.

A shout out today to a great mom, a special friend and my forever editor, Betty Bottomley, who is now cancer free. Praise the Lord…and St. Jude!

”Motherhood: All love begins and ends there.”
-R. Browning

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
    before you were born I set you apart;”
-Jeremiah 1:5

“For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
-Psalm 139:13

Thankful Thursdays

We rise and fall, picking up important lessons along the way. What important ones have you learned and from whom?

I’ve learned many of them from watching others. For instance, from my father, I learned about work ethic and charity; from Mom, I learned about strength and faith; and from my grandfather, I learned about patience and resignation.

For them, and the lessons they have taught me, I am forever grateful.

I could elaborate about the lessons above and others, but wanted to keep the post short. However, if  you’re slightly curious, you can read about them in “Things I learned When I Wasn’t Paying Attention,” one of the stories in my book. The proceeds from Scenes Everlasting and Other Essays continue to go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Give a thought to those who have taught you some of the most important lessons in your life.  Who and what are they?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

Life always gives us exactly the teacher we need at every moment.
This includes every mosquito, every misfortune,

every red light, every traffic jam,
every obnoxious supervisor (or employee),
every illness, every loss,
every moment of joy or depression,
every addiction, every piece of garbage,
every breath.
Every moment is the Guru.
-J. Beck

Highway 163, Arizona-Utah border, July 2006.

Thankful Thursdays

Lent is over. Hopefully, the fruits of our efforts during the season will linger. But, most likely, we are already distracted and losing focus. I know someone who just washed a full load of laundry without soap…

Speaking of laundry and focus…

A young couple moved into a new neighborhood. The next morning while they were eating breakfast, the young woman saw her neighbor hanging the wash outside. “That laundry is not very clean; she doesn’t know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap.” Her husband looked on, remaining silent. 

Every time her neighbor hung her wash to dry, the young woman made the same comments.

A month later, the woman was surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband: “Honey, look, she’s finally learned how to wash correctly! I wonder who taught her?” 

The husband simply said, “I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.” 

And so it is with life. What we see when watching others depends on the clarity of the window through which we look.

In this less than perfect world, friends and family, I pray the Lord gives us clear vision to perceive correctly. For every time He does, and I am able to, I am thankful.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“Judging a person does not define who they are. It defines who you are.”

 

Thankful Thursdays

On this Holy Thursday, I am thankful for His mercy, forgiveness, and promise of eternal life.”

To those of you who observe Holy Week, may it continue to be food for the spiritual soul. May the Miracle of miracles be with you always.

And may you have a blessed Easter.

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

 

 

Thankful Thursdays

For sticky notes that warm your heart. In our home, these hidden sticky notes especially turn up after “picadillo night.”  😉

Leave a sticky note today, friends and family, and warm a heart. Sometimes it is the smallest gestures that make life bearable.

For my flock, and sticky notes, I am eternally grateful.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“Never suppress a generous thought.”
-C.E. Kimball

“This small act of thoughtfulness hit the heartstrings that quietly ask, Who’s taking care of you? Who’s thinking of you?”
-C. Tosi

 

Thankful Thursdays

Good morning, boys and girls! Let’s lighten up the mood, shall we?

If you could teleport to the past on three different occasions, which moments would you choose, and why? Go ahead, put on your thinking cap. And remember, we’re trying to lighten up the mood here.

Me? I’d be tempted to jump back to fix something, God knows I’ve gotten a lot of things wrong. But, no. That would most likely change my present, and despite all of the tough times, I really don’t want to mess with the blessings that have come along the way. And not that I don’t think they were precious moments, but I think I’ll pass on both kids’ births…ouch, if you know what I mean. 😉

Instead, I’ll teleport back to this:

(1) Our wedding ceremony. It was special, it was funny (three priests and a church full of our craziest friends made it so), plus everyone in the family was still alive. That alone makes that night golden.

(2) My book signing. Sooo much fun, and for a semi-shy person like me, quite the accomplishment to share some of my writing in front of an audience. We had a packed house “full of love” as the Books and Books manager told me that night, and I still thank those who came out to support me.            

(3) Any one of the many moments Ray, Lauren, Danny and I coincidentally convened in some part of our home, typically the hallway (or anywhere else, for that matter), and launched into a group hug just for the hell of it. Actually, make this my number one. Especially now that we are empty-nesters, I would enjoy this moment the most.

Of course, we know we can’t teleport, but fortunately we have memories and, with any luck and the grace of God, we’ll have them forever.

What about you? Care to share which three jumps you would make, and why?

Until next Thursday’s post, boys and girls…si Dios quiere.

[Note: In case you’re not Spanglish-speaking, “si Dios quiere” means God-willing. Mom finished most of her sentences with that phrase. I added it to my sendoff in her honor after her passing].

“Know that love is truly timeless.”
-M. Ricksen

The people of quality that were meant to be in your life won’t need you to explain the beauty of your heart. They already understand what being human is—-a roller coaster ride of emotions during rainstorms and sunshine, sprinkled with moments when you can almost reach the stars.”
S.L. Alder

A roadtrip. Never pass up an opportunity for a mirror hug selfie.  😁

Thankful Thursdays

“Nada de eso importa,” she said to me one day while I whined to her about some drama going on in my life. None of that matters, my sister told me. She knew. Her days were counted as she fought for her life, and she understood more than ever what mattered.

I know it’s nature to whine and complain and to get all worked up. Even about the small stuff. It stems mostly from our thirst for control. But should we be putting off realizing what is worth our aggravation and what isn’t? What is real and what is soap opera? What matters and what doesn’t? At what cost? Our young adult kids, by the way, seem to live inside a constant soap opera; more than we ever did at their age, what’s up with that? If we let the small stuff get the best of us, how will we make it through the tough times? I say, bend like a palm tree or break in the mildest of breezes.

We get it. We all do, we just forget it. I do, trust me. Except, I don’t know if it’s my age, or the aches and pains I wake up with every morning now, or the adversity and tragedies hitting close to home and those happening far away, or a combination of it all, but I’m remembering my sister’s words more and more lately, and I’m feeling an urgency to live life like never before.

Let’s all make a conscious effort to figure out what’s worth the aggravation and what isn’t. In real time, as it happens. Because our days are counted, period, and we don’t always get a heads-up to the countdown.

For every time I realize, in real time, “que nada de eso importa,” I am so very thankful.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

[Note: In case you’re not Spanglish-speaking, “si Dios quiere” means God-willing. Mom finished most of her sentences with that phrase. I added it to my sendoff in her honor after her passing].

“The human capacity for burden is like bamboo- far more flexible than you’d ever believe at first glance.”
-J. Picoult

“That which yields is not always weak.”
-J. Carey

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
-E. Kübler-Ross


Thankful Thursdays

More and more, lately, I find myself saying “What the #%&@?!”

Seems like every week I learn of someone I know whose life all of a sudden was thrown into a wolf den upon learning they weren’t healthy anymore. This and that disease. Who needs a war? What’s going on? Really. Is it what’s in the food? In the air? Is it stress?

And those darn hidden masses! Don’t even get me started. They can sneak up on anyone at any time and turn our lives upside down. Whether they turn out to be malignant or not, the scare is bad enough to leave one scarred. I know, I’ve had those scares.

I want “Healthy” to be the new black. I want everyone to be wearing it, and I want to be able to take a break from praying for those who are struggling with health issues or fighting for their lives. I really want that.

Meanwhile, my prayers continue. If you are one of those who is struggling with a health issue, please know that I am praying for you, even if I don’t know you personally.

For every single breath we take in Health, I am so very thankful.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

[Note: In case you’re not Spanglish-speaking, “si Dios quiere” means God-willing. Mom finished most of her sentences with that phrase. I added it to my sendoff in her honor after her passing].