Thankful Thursdays

For the holiest of days and the hope they instill. This week for me is not merely about a last supper, or a betrayal, or a crucifixion, or a resurrection. This week I believe is also about remembrance, forgiveness, sacrifice, and salvation — the culmination of successive miracles that give us hope, I feel. And for hope, day after day, I am thankful.

Wishing those of you who share in my faith, a very blessed Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. May the Miracle of miracles be with you always.

“We sinned for no reason but an incomprehensible lack of love, and He saved us for no reason but an incomprehensible excess of love.”
-Peter Kreeft

“Unless there is a Good Friday in your life, there can be no Easter Sunday.”
-Fulton Sheen

Is that possible? Not just to live happily ever after but to die—and still live happily ever after? It’s the most audacious claim of Christianity, the one element that marks the brand indelibly, that trumps the claims of all other major faiths.”
-T. Hendra

Thankful Thursdays

For hallway group hugs. The last member of the family strolls in late in the evening after class, one by one we meet up in the hallway where a long group hug turns into catching-up about our day: work, school, health, and upcoming plans. Some goofying around later, the gathering breaks up and we’re off to do whatever’s next. But the moment has charged our family battery.

We feel fortunate that our (adult) kids are still home, even if they don’t always feel about that the way we do. Well, except Danny, he feels way too comfy, I think we’ll have to kick him out eventually. 😉 Truth is, our time together at home dwindles with the seasons and their uncooperative schedules. So these sporadic instances are what we treasure the most now. Even if they happen late at night and in the middle of the hallway. Because life isn’t perfect, but it sure does have its perfect moments. And for that, Lord, I am thankful.

Family and friends, please take advantage of your moments with each other, with your pet, with your friend, whenever and wherever. Life is fragile, hug tight, hug long.

What are you thankful for today?

I dedicate today’s post to the children whose lives so brutally ended in last Tuesday’s chemical bombing in Syria. May God hold them tight now.

“I’ve learned that those things that are most fragile are also the most precious.”
-O ben Malka

“Life is fragile, handle with prayer.”
-H.B. Lee

Thankful Thursdays

Most grateful that there is a better place. Whenever someone dies, we take comfort in saying they’re “in a better place.” For those of us who truly believe, knowing that the end here is but the beginning elsewhere, is the stepping stone toward healing the unbearable pain from loss.

Yesterday morning, my good and long-time friend, Betty Bottomley, “Boop,” to all who know her, lost her loving husband, Don. Theirs is a long-lasting marriage to admire. Togetherness, fun, adventurous, companionship, barely scratch the surface of their partnership.

Betty, my friend, my editor, my encourager, we are here for you. Let not your heart be troubled, be not in doubt for a second, Don is absolutely resting in peace and looking down on you…from that Better Place.

“But, as it is written: No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him.”
-1 Corinthians 2:9

“There are stars whose light only reaches the earth long after they have fallen apart. There are people whose remembrance gives light in this world, long after they have passed away. This light shines in our darkest nights on the road we must follow.”
-The Talmud

“Very often people come to me and say: “Mr. Moody, do you think we shall know each other in Heaven?” Very often it is a mother who has lost a dear child, and who wishes to see it again. Sometimes it is a child who has lost a mother, a father; and who wants to recognize them in Heaven. There is a verse in Scripture in answer to this, and that is: “We shall be satisfied” (Psalm 17: 15). It is all I want to know. My brother who went up there the other day I shall see, because I shall be satisfied. We will see all those we loved on Earth up there, and if we loved them here, we will love them ten thousand times more when we meet them there.”
-Dwight L. Moody

Thankful Thursdays

For a “beast” of a remake and a chance for Lauren and I to relive its enchantment. Recently, we watched the live-action retelling of my favorite Disney animated movie. The one I played over and over when Lauren was a baby. Okay, so I realize that that may have had something to do with her obsession with Belle and all things Disney. That and our countless visits to those parks. But oh well. She’s well-adjusted so no harm done. After all, it’s been grand to see her grow up into her own version of Belle.

Back to the film – it did not disappoint. This “tale as old as time” doesn’t grow old. Its magic is still there, only now more real than ever (because aren’t most Disney movies better appreciated as adults?) In this one, so are its lessons of trust, selflessness, acceptance, and love. And most of all, its message that beauty is found within. It was nostalgic for me, to say the least, for Lauren and I to have this moment together and watch this story come to life, to react to our favorite scenes, note our little inside jokes and, of course, to get to see “something there that wasn’t there before.” So grateful.

What are you thankful for today?

“Minutes turn to hours, days to years then gone But when all else has been forgotten Still our song lives on That’s how a moment lasts forever: When our song lives on.” – Alan Menken and Tim Rice – Beauty and the Beast (2017)


Thankful Thursdays

In the midst of parenthood, there are instances when a good parental moment meets an observant child.
Saw this Twitter post from Lauren while the four of us were on a quick getaway this past weekend:
It feels good when they notice the good stuff too. So thankful.

“We’re [parents]) always bluffing, pretending we know best, when most of the time we’re just praying we won’t screw up too badly.”
-Jodi Picoult

“To be in your children’s memories tomorrow,
You have to be in their lives today.”
-B. Johnson

Thankful Thursdays

Check your pulse. Okay good. Now thank God. Repeat as necessary. And let’s be thankful for our daily routine.

We get so bogged down by having to do the same stuff day in day out, don’t we? But don’t fret. Remember, Bill Murray (Groundhog Day) had a chance to do it better each day. 😉 We may not always get do-overs, but with every heartbeat comes a do-better.

“A nod,
a bow,
and a tip of the lid
to the person
who coulda
and shoulda
and did.”
-R. Brault

“Feel the heart beats. Experience the presence. This is how to be thankful.”
-A. Ray

“Let nothing put me to unease,
nothing to deceive.
I have conceived,
I exist.
Because I am blessed,
To gather time,
in hearing,
my breath,
so tranquil.
To life,
I am, thankful.”
-J.K. Gumber

Thankful Thursdays

For Lent. I am so glad we have entered the season of Lent. Maybe, just maybe, it’ll help put out some of the fires. This is a time when we strip away the unnecessary and try to become more mindful of God and how He works in our lives; a time when we practice fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. I say we start off this Lent by challenging one another to fast from insensitive, irresponsible and idiotic comments. Yeah, that task alone should keep us on our toes. Next, we take something on – let’s be tolerant, encouraging, listen more, and forgive often. And lastly, we throw in some acts of kindness in the mix for good measure. Now, there’s a recipe for a good Lent.

What a great time to unplug from the incessant hostility around us, and water down these social fires with patience, positivity, and goodwill. Let’s do this, people!

Wishing all of you a blessed Lenten season.

“No act of virtue can be great if it is not followed by advantage for others. So, no matter how much time you spend fasting, no matter how much you sleep on a hard floor and eat ashes and sigh continually, if you do no good to others, you do nothing great.”
-John Chrysostom

“We need to take time to connect with the poor, resist our unceasing cravings, and pray. But we also need to gather with friends and family, share in God’s good provision, eat delicious food, tell stories that encourage us all, and celebrate the risen Lord.”
-Chris Seay

“For you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
-Genesis 3:19

Thankful Thursdays

For 39 years and counting. This coming Tuesday, my students will receive the sacrament of Confirmation. It’s been another great year with another great group of kids. Mission accomplished. I pray for them, for their success, health, and happiness, and for a long life led by the guidance of their best friend, Jesus Christ.

For me, this marks my 39th year as a catechist. That’s a lot of Saturday mornings of muttering to myself “God put your words in my mouth and your patience in my heart,” as I enter class each week. Because they are a challenge, these teens, I tell you, but one which I welcome. I learn from them more than they’ll ever know. It has been a huge blessing to have been given the opportunity to pass on my faith all these years. An opportunity I most definitely would characterize as a calling. And I pray God continues to use me to sow the seeds and water those plants a little. The rest, I know, is up to Him.

What is your calling? What are you thankful for today?

“The reality is that the Lord never calls the qualified; He qualifies the called.”
H.T. Blackaby

“We email, Facebook, tweet and text with people who are going to spend eternity in either heaven or hell. Our lives are too short to waste on mere temporal conversations when massive eternal realities hang in the balance. Just as you and I have no guarantee that we will live through the day, the people around us are not guaranteed tomorrow either. So let’s be intentional about sewing the threads of the gospel into the fabric of our conversations every day, knowing that it will not always be easy, yet believing that eternity will always be worth it.”
-D. Platt

Thankful Thursdays

For 90-minute drives. Not the kind that take you to and from work, no please, not those. More like the east coast to west coast kind. Long enough for some nice chats, yet short enough to get us there with plenty of time to enjoy great eats, meet some of the locals, and take in an awesome sunset before driving back home feeling totally re-energized. So grateful for those hop-away escapes.

Friends, disconnect to reconnect. Find your day drive.

What are you thankful for today?

Dust if you must, but wouldn’t it be better,
To paint a picture or write a letter,
Bake a cake or plant a seed,
Ponder the difference between want and need?
Dust if you must, but there’s not much time,
With rivers to swim and mountains to climb,
Music to hear and books to read,
Friends to cherish and life to lead.
Dust if you must, but the world’s out there
With the sun in your eyes, the wind in your hair,
A flutter of snow, a shower of rain.
This day will not come ’round again.
Dust if you must, but bear in mind,
Old age will come and it’s not always kind.
And when you go and go you must,
You, yourself, will make more dust.

Photo by Connie Perez – Feb. 11, 2017, Gulf Shore Drive, Naples, FL

Thankful Thursdays

For human decency. I love to be on the receiving end of politeness, thoughtfulness, compassion, good will, tolerance, and forgiveness, don’t you? Let’s bring decency back into fashion, pretty please! We champion so many causes. Save the trees! Save the whales! Save the ice caps! Sure, I’m all for the environment, don’t get me wrong. I love the outdoors. My husband, kids, and I are huge fans of the National Parks. If you know us, then you know that we’ve been on a national park quest since the 90’s and continue to be. We visit them, we donate, we recycle, we do our part. But, can we forget about the trees for a little while and focus on decency? It’s being squeezed out, lost among the insults and disrespect, the stealing, the vandalism, the assaulting, the road rage…¡qué locura! And all we do is point fingers and displace blame for the toxic state of our society. We continue on the path of destruction with total disregard for self-accountability. You would think that since Adam and Eve, give or take a day, we would’ve had enough time to practice how to get along, but, obviously, that perk known as “free will” turned out to be “un arma de doble filo,” a double-edged sword. I mean, people, c’mon, if there’s no one there, to begin with, when the tree falls, how are we going to know if it really makes a sound [wink, wink]? Do we want to be around to save the environment? Let’s save human decency first! I’m just saying.

What are you thankful for today?

“Discipline yourself and others won’t need to.”
-John Wooden

“The best place for discovering what a man is is the heart of the desert. Your plane has broken down, and you walk for hours, heading for the little fort at Nutchott. You wait for the mirages of thirst to gape before you. But you arrive and you find an old sergeant who has been isolated for months among the dunes, and he is so happy to be found that he weeps. And you weep, too. In the arching immensity of the night, each tells the story of his life, each offers the other the burden of memories in which the human bond is discovered. Here two men can meet, and they bestow gifts upon each other with the dignity of ambassadors.”
– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
-Mother Teresa

“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”
-Philosophical thought that makes us crazy.