Thankful Thursdays

For my plan:

“God to enfold me,
God to surround me,
God in my speaking,
God in my thinking,
God in my sleeping,
God in my waking,
God in my watching,
God in my hoping.” -Celtic Prayer

It’s a good plan. It’s not an easy one, but if I can pull this off, I’m set for life. The beauty of this plan is that it’s entirely mine for the taking and mine for the making. And for that, I am thankful.

Do you have a spiritual plan?  And what are you thankful for today?

I dedicate today’s post to all the moms and mom figures. May you all have a blessed Mother’s Day.

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“Look for God, suggests my Guru. Look for God like a man with his head on fire looks for water.” 
-E. Gilbert

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
-Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Thankful Thursdays

For our God-given GPS.

They say conscience is God’s voice in men. I happen to believe that. Sometimes that voice is loud and clear and easy for us to follow. Sometimes it’s muffled, or we pretend it’s muffled, conveniently, and we try to brush it off. In my case, at times it’s my mother’s voice I hear. Boy, she can be relentless. Or could be God speaking in my mother’s voice, who knows. In any case, I listen and obey. Or else!

Seriously though, I appreciate the moral GPS. It guides me through my journey and keeps me grounded. And for that, today and always, I am thankful.

How ‘bout you? How often do you follow your conscience? And what are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“I will pray to the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, that he may be with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world can’t receive; for it doesn’t see him, neither knows him. You know him, for he lives with you, and will be in you.”
-John 14:16-17

“Always let your conscience be your guide.”
-Jiminy Cricket

“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”
-M. Luther King Jr.

Thankful Thursdays

For this week’s post, I wanted to do something a little different, so I gathered a bunch of thankfulness from family and friends to share along. And it goes like this:

Ana B.: “I am thankful for God’s faithful love and am grateful for his seeds of faith, hope and love that have always blossomed in my life through family, friends, work, art, music, loss and this blessed world. Always thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love endures forever.”

Barbie R.: “I am thankful for my life, my faith and this blog. Because it always reminds me that there are still good-hearted souls, faith-filled people in this world who believe in God, family, friendship and paying it forward.” 💖

Arturo and Maria.: “Hi Sis, La China and I are grateful first because our parents brought us to this country of opportunities. Also for the families we have been able to raise and for our family from all sides. For our friends, for being healthy, and for our faith in God.”

Regina S.: “I am thankful for my son, Cristian. He’s taught me to appreciate what most people take for granted (even the smallest of things). He’s also taught me to realize that one day you can have something great and then the next minute it can be gone. It’s important to count your blessings and be grateful for what you have. It may be a little deep for people that don’t understand or relate.”

Betty B.: “Thankful Every Day” to all who touch my life by word, by deed, by thought…past, present and future….I am truly blessed.”

Betsy S.: “Connie, I am Thankful FOR YOU!!! You are such a good gentle soul and are a constant reminder of who I aspire to be every day of my life. During this Easter celebration I often reflect on how I can be a better person. You are someone I look up to each and every day. Your faith and dedication to your family is so incredible!!! You should be so proud of your accomplishments and I hope you will share this as I stated above – I am thankful for you!!!”

Edna P.: “I am extremely thankful for all of my blessings, but I am especially thankful that the Good Lord has healed my sister and is guiding her on her journey to new beginnings at a different destination. Thank you Lord!”

Roxana V.: “MY Thankful Thursday post. I’m honored to be asked what is mine! I love and look forward to these postings every week. I’m thankful for my mother. She is 95 years old. She widowed at 52 years of age and managed to raise her four children devotedly. If I do say so myself, we are good people. God has blessed me with her presence in my life for so much longer than most. She’s strong willed, clear minded and an inspiration to keep living life to the fullest. I pray that God will keep her around for another 95 years… what can I say… I’m greedy and know a good thing when I see it! I love you Mom!!”

Nancy G.“I’m thankful for my mother who’s my rock, my best friend and who keeps me grounded. She is the most selfless person I know. She raised me to always do good onto others without expecting anything in return. As she always tells “haz un bien y no mires a quien”. She has a way of making me see things in a different way I can’t do on my own because of my short fuse and lack of patience. I love her to the moon and back and for her I am extremely thankful.”

Jose (Ray): “Thankful for my family, my health, my job, my faith, and all the rest of God’s blessings everyday.”

Lauren Christine: ““Although sometimes out of tune, my faith, I am still most grateful for it. Just like everything else in life, it takes practice. But when in doubt, I know the good Lord has my back and I can always count on that. It’s a peace of mind, a safe place, and my backboard, and it’s always when I am in need that I remember He is always there even if I wondered off the path a little.”

Danny: “I am thankful for the support of my family and friends. If it wasn’t for them my transition into my new career wouldn’t have been as smooth as it’s been.”

Lauren Ashley: “I am thankful for new beginnings. New starts come around only a few times in a lifetime. You have to make the most of them when you can.”

Cary G.: “I am thankful for the faith that my parents gave to me. In times of hardship I always know that with God everything is possible.  When I couldn’t walk, he would carry me.  If you have faith, He will provide.”

Emoy P.: “I am thankful for quiet time in the midst of a busy city…. time to wind down, reflect, pray and recharge.”

Ledys R.: “For my faith. It is only by faith through grace that I have made it this far in my life. My faith in God and His will has been the key to overcoming situations involving a wide myriad of family, health, or work related situations, some of which at the time I thought had no resolution.

God works best when we give up, and give it all to Him. Faith allows that. Faith is what I’m most thankful for.”

Del and Marianne C.: “Del and I would like to thank God for our bountiful blessings. We bless and thank HIM for our continued good health, our home, our jobs, our prosperity, our education, our ambition, our understanding of the need for generosity, and our desire to maintain a “community of family” around us throughout our lives.

We thank HIM for having granted us a wonderful family, especially for granting us our children: Eric, Lauren (and Danny), our parents and grandparents (both living and deceased), our siblings, and our entire family: the Campana, Seiler, Vazquez, Bertran, Navarro, and Wickenden Clan!

We thank you for allowing us to have found and fostered solid friendships with close friends, coworkers, colleagues, Emmaus sisters, Marianne’s current and former students, neighbors, and even with those whom we simply have as casual acquaintances.  It this through this network of “family and friends” in whom HE grants us the opportunity to be continually reminded that we must not simply be “takers” from this life, but that we must continue to be generous, forgiving, and that “we are our brother’s keeper”.

We are thankful for HIS guidance and quiet wisdom, which he showers upon us throughout every minute of our lives, as we attempt to navigate our path through life.

We ask that HE continue to bless and protect all of us until we see him again in his Kingdom. In Jesus’s name, we pray.”

And me? Well, as I lie in bed today fighting a very stubborn bug, I am thankful for doctors, nurses, and medicines. I am thankful for my loving family and awesome friends. And on this Holy Thursday, I am thankful for His mercy, forgiveness, and promise of eternal life.”

Thanks for participating and sharing, you guys rock!

To those of you who observe Holy Week, may it continue to be food for the spiritual soul. And may you have a blessed Easter.

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“Life without thankfulness is devoid of love and passion. Hope without thankfulness is lacking in fine perception. Faith without thankfulness lacks strength and fortitude. Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road.”
-J.H. Jowett

“Today I choose to live with gratitude for the love that fills my heart, the peace that rests within my spirit, and the voice of hope that says all things are possible.”


Thankful Thursdays

For a lifetime’s worth of words.

Some pictures, as they say, are worth a thousand words. Others, a lifetime of them. Here is one of those. One image that turns 70 this month.

On an April day in 1949, my parents, then teenagers and dating, took a day trip to Las Cuevas de San Vicente, in the province of Pinar del Rio in Cuba, and had this photo taken. A moment long ago when I wasn’t even a bleep on their radar, but without question was already part of God’s plan for them. The thought of that blows me away.

Every time I look at this photo, scenes of their lives play in my mind – – what I know about them, as recounted by Mom, the storyteller, and what I experienced firsthand through the years. Countless scenes of laughter, of tears, of sacrifices, of hard work, of parenting and love that exemplify their legacy: the ongoing social, emotional, and spiritual lessons that served to educate my siblings and me on the art of living right. Still today.

Those of you who know me know I love a good photograph. I can definitely tell you, I love this one. It’s a mouthful of memories.

I hope you all have many photos in your lives that speak 1,000 words to you. For mine, today and always, I am thankful.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.”
-S. Sontag 

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
-Proverbs 22:6

“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.” 
– S. Alder

“I had an inheritance from my father,
It was the moon and the sun.
And though I roam all over the world,
The spending of it’s never done.” 
– E. Hemingway

    Arturo y Olga, Las Cuevas de San Vicente, Pinar del Rio, Cuba (1949)

Thankful Thursdays

For my collage of happy.

I like the way a positive thought can carry me through the day. Even a rainy day. I have found that if I start off my morning with good thoughts (and prayer), chances are the rest of the day will feel pretty good. Of course, there are glitches: watching or reading crazy news doesn’t help; dealing with difficult people doesn’t help; worrying doesn’t help. Sometimes I have to keep flipping on that “good thought” switch to reframe my state of mind. But, whatever, I’ll do that as many times as I need to as long as I can rid myself of negativity.

It’s true that there are times when circumstances beyond our control take over our minds and gloom sets in. The stars don’t always align for us, do they?. We all have those days. But, I believe positive thoughts attract positive circumstances, so why not inject a bit of happy into our brains anyway? What do we have to lose?

I’ve created a “collage of happy” I use for such times. A group of snapshots of funny, special, and perspective-filled memories I am grateful for, and I picture them often. Because I tell you what, nothing drowns out negative thoughts like gratitude, as I have learned.

So, let’s think good thoughts. Let’s remember what lifts us. Let’s be thankful. Let’s kick our day into gear with positive thoughts,  prayer, and happy memories, and see what a difference that can make.

For my collage of happy, today and always, I am thankful.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“Beautiful things happen in your life when you distance yourself from all the negative thoughts.”

“People tend to be generous when sharing their nonsense, fear, and ignorance. And while they seem quite eager to feed you their negativity, please remember that sometimes the diet we need to be on is a spiritual and emotional one. Be cautious with what you feed your mind and soul. Fuel yourself with positivity and let that fuel propel you into positive action.”
-S. Maraboli 

“It’s a funny thing about life, once you begin to take note of the things you are grateful for, you begin to lose sight of the things that you lack.” 
-G. Kent

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
– Philippians 4:8


Thankful Thursdays

For free stuff. The kind that’s good for the soul.

My favorite free thing? Kindness. It’s the kind of stuff we can all afford to give (although sometimes it seems like pulling teeth). It’s great to give and awesome to receive. Truth is, you never know just how big of an impact a little bit of kindness can have and, whether we are at the giving or receiving end, we are all affected by it.

I see it time and again – when I think evil has taken over the world, I witness or experience this wonderful act, and it instantly restores my faith in our fellow man. It’s just that invaluable to humanity. I mean, it’s a tough, harsh world, folks, but we don’t have to conform, do we?

So let’s spread it. Let’s spread kindness like wild fire. Be kind, be kind, oh please be kind.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates Love.”
-Lao Tzu

“Be so good they can’t ignore you.”
-Steve Martin

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
-Romans 12:2

Thankful Thursdays

For divine connections and human bridges.

Every time I think about the individuals who were strategically placed in my life solely to help me connect the dots or link me with others who would come packed with added purpose, I get goose pumps. What the heck, just incredible.

There was the acquaintance I hadn’t talked to in forever and one day e-mailed me to refer me to the job I still thank God for fifteen years later, then never heard from her again. There was the two-minute encounter at the book fair with a childhood friend of my daughter’s which led to my book signing opportunity. There was the ten-day nightmare caregiver who recommended someone as her backup while she took time off and that someone turned out to be just the right caregiver I needed for Mom. There was the neighbor who had long moved away and one day came around and, upon hearing of our situation with Mom, offered her free services to sell Mom’s house.

Those are some of the more obvious ones now. Who knows how many other connections I’ve had in my life which purpose has not manifested or come to fruition yet.

God sends them in the nick of time. They are instruments appointed to help us connect the dots and move forward. Here’s the thing, though: these divine appointments rarely come packaged the way we expect. So best be on the lookout. And please, don’t fret, but be patient, because God tends to send in these people to pinch-hit in the ninth inning, so I’ve learned. I’m just in awe, and it never gets old.

For divine connections and human bridges, today and always, I am thankful.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

Your love, Jesus, is an ocean
with no shore to bound it.
And if I plunge into it, I carry
with me all the possessions
I have. You know, Lord,
what these possessions are—
the souls you have seen
fit to link with mine.
-St. Thérèse of Lisieux

Thankful Thursdays

That God is in control.

Raise your hand if you believe that He’s got this.

Me, me, me, I do!

In good times and in bad times, through thick and thin, He’s got this. Believing He provides every single piece of the puzzle my life is, is how I stay in peace. Figuring out where the pieces go, well, that’s what keeps me on my toes.

All we have to do, is do our best. He will do the rest. Stay in faith, friends and family.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”
-Corrie Ten Boom

“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”
-Psalm 27:14

Thankful Thursdays

For the shake-up season. Hello, Lent!

Yesterday brought us the beginning of this holy season and, for me, it couldn’t have come at a better time. I find myself being consumed by the level of wide-world criticism, negativity and hostility, and none of it is doing anything to fuel my spiritual soul. On the contrary, I’m engaging in it and that’s just sharpening my tongue. So I welcome this season of Lent. I need it. I need it like a man with his head on fire needs water.

I know that during the next few weeks, I’ll intentionally put myself even more in tune with God. He will fill my heart with positivity and peace, and hopefully that’ll cool my thoughts [and my tongue]. I’m counting on His divine therapy, really, because I know there are better things on which to focus my energy. “Lent is the time for greater love,” Mother Teresa would say, and that’s exactly what I’m shooting for: greater love for others. That’s my Lenten resolution, what’s yours?

Because Lent is here to shake me up, I am thankful.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“Even the darkest moments of the liturgy are filled with joy, and Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the lenten fast, is a day of happiness, a Christian feast.”
-Thomas Merton

“Make few resolutions. Make specific resolutions. And fulfill them with the help of God.”
-St. Josemaria Escriva

Thankful Thursdays

For the difference they have made.

This past Tuesday, my students received the Sacrament of Confirmation. May God and the Holy Spirit always guide their paths as they venture out into the jungle. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of kids to finish off my CCD run, or a more beautiful ceremony. It was a joyous occasion for all, although, for me, it was most bittersweet. As pleased as I was that night, the realization that this class would be my last Confirmation group, that this term would be my last year teaching CCD, just got me feeling heavy-hearted.

When I gave notice back in December, I posted about my decision and shared with you what a meaningful experience this has been (Thankful Thursdays 12/6/18), an experience filled with unexpected and unimaginable rewards.

Forty-one years ago, I volunteered. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I had set out to answer a calling to share my faith. [By the way, we all have one, listen carefully to yours, whatever that may be.] Once it hit me, once I figured out what my purpose there was, all I hoped year in, year out was that the words coming out of my mouth would help make a difference in some kids’ lives.  In truth, THEY are the ones who made a difference in mine. And for that, today and always, I am thankful.

What are you thankful for today?

Until next Thursday’s post…si Dios quiere.

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”
-Matthew 4:19

It is not what WE do for God, but what HE does through us.
-Judy Sexton