Joy

Song of the Seas

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Then he said to me:
Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel.
They have been saying,
“Our bones are dried up,
our hope is lost, and we are cut off.”
Therefore, prophesy and say to them: Thus says the Lord GOD:
O my people, I will open your graves
and have you rise from them,
and bring you back to the land of Israel.
Then you shall know that I am the LORD,
when I open your graves and have you rise from them,
O my people!
I will put my spirit in you that you may live,
and I will settle you upon your land;
thus you shall know that I am the LORD.
I have promised, and I will do it, says the LORD.   ~  Ezekiel 37: 11 – 14

          Almost three weeks ago, bound by illness and fear, I searched desperately for hope, but none was to be found – only because I was searching in the wrong places. The medications which normally worked didn’t seem to be working. We have always been a family that recovered speedily from illnesses, but it wasn’t the case at that time. And never before had we all be ill at the same time.

          I was sick with fear. What if we needed to go into hospital? The pathetic excuse of a hospital we have in our town and the even worse medical personnel working there, charading as doctors and nurses, ruled out going there for treatment. Our next option was a reputable private medical centre but it was almost two hours away and despite being the strongest of the lot, I didn’t think I could drive the family there.

          What illness was this that we were having?

          Oh, the fear was deep indeed.

          In that state, hunting high and low for hope and not finding it, I suddenly quit searching. If there was to be no escape from this sickening fear, no respite from our illness, it dawned on me then that it was God’s will that we suffered this. Although no part of me embraced this suffering, a gentle visit from an old friend a few days later brought me to a door I didn’t want to open: the door to humble acceptance of suffering.

          Then, through the powerful intercession of St John of the Cross, my prayer changed to,

Help me to suffer this for Thy glory

          From then the mists lifted slightly from the path. Each time the fear came, each time I felt I could not go on, each time I struggled to rise and to walk and to work, I prayed in desperation,

Help me to suffer this for Thy glory

Help me to suffer this for Thy glory

Help me to suffer this for Thy glory

         Still, I struggled mightily, for to love my cross is my greatest cross. There is nothing I want less. It is my personal Calvary, the path along which I fall and fall and fall.

          And so, even as I prayed to accept my sufferings so that God be glorified, I could not find the love with which to embrace the prayer. Yet again, God showed me He never leaves us to suffer alone. He sent His beloved Mary to me. The Mother of God took pity on me and deigned to gather me into Her arms and to whisper to me Her words from that old day in September, fourteen years gone,

Sorrow before joy

          Upon hearing Her words once more, an odd strength began to flow into me, to ask in sincerity for the grace to suffer my then afflictions for the glory of God. One day wove its tendrils into the next, and into the next, and the next. When all of us felt dizzy and weak, when I felt I just could not cope with work, when the high fevers returned undeterred to all of us despite the meds, over and over, I prayed with all my heart and soul now,

Help me to suffer this for Thy glory

          Still, I puzzled at this change even as I welcomed it. How did this happen, I questioned as I peered through the remaining mists. I sure wasn’t praying better now because I felt good things were coming and that this was just a phase to get through – long years of suffering certainly put paid to that kind of hope even if it were true. I neither longed nor sought for joy as a respite from suffering. In fact, in a sudden turn of the seas, I seemed to have instead found an odd, indescribable vigour for suffering.

          Then, days later, without warning, the seas turned a second time.

My spirit began to sing through suffering!

          It was a full-bodied song which I have never, ever in my life heard. It began swelling and pouring through my dried out spirit, in silence and in gentleness and also in soaring power. Granted, each one of us in the family had begun to slowly recover from the flames of illness but the recovery this time was like climbing out of a grave after being buried alive. We were all still within the shadows of horrors of that pit. Thus, despite knowing we were getting better, our hearts could not quite sink into relief and happiness yet.

          But that strange, new song continued to pour its many cadences into my spirit. And I knew then, with an unshakeable conviction, that the raised skies of my heart was not due to relief nor simple happiness. It was something else. It was a secret, hidden joy, flowing and flowing through me each time I cowered before a cross and then, chose to pray in truth and sincerity, Help me to suffer this for Thy glory.

          Today, as the sun curls gold lights through me, heaven finally whispers the secret to me, of where this song of the seas comes from.

I will open your graves
and have you rise from them,
Then,
I will put my spirit in you

that you may live.

Sorrow Before Joy

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          Today, for the first time in a pretty long while, I found the time to sit in the corner of our little garden in the afternoon and let the Mother of God take care of me. This was the first Saturday of shiny, new August, a day when Catholics like me venerate Mother Mary in a special way through the 1st Saturday devotions. This is also the first Saturday we were home to enjoy all the beauty of a lovely and quietly cheery weekend after so many weeks of sacrifice, of travelling to the city, spending hours and hours there till night. Our weekend busyness had wound to an end last Sunday with our daughter’s Confirmation ceremony, a happy and satisfying day that nonetheless, ended unexpectedly with me and another daughter falling ill by evening, followed by all the rest in the family over the course of the week.

          It made for an exceedingly tough week.

You may think you suffer much but there is someone whose name I cannot reveal to you who suffers far more.   ~  St Paul of the Cross

          Have you no mercy for me, St Paul? I asked, more than a tad annoyed with the saint who’s always there for me with words I least want to hear. But the quote did its trick. We had all come down with a bad clot of flu; yet, miserable as it was, it was nothing compared to what the mystery person alluded to by St Paul and others had to endure with far worse illnesses.

          But I also knew my God would not want me to aspire to be strong by ignoring our own illness and struggles nor making light of them. He had a better way and He showed me.

Help me to suffer this and to bring glory to You, O Lord.

          Over and over, I prayed this entreaty. Slowly, the strength to cook and clean came. The hours and days passed, and one by one, the family began the slow trek to recovery.

          On Friday, another saint, one whom I love with all my heart, came to sit by my window. As always, he stayed only long enough to leave me a gentle invite, wraithing into unseen-ess before I could hold on to him. I looked down into what he had left for me, saint who had saved my life.

Novena to St John of the Cross

Novena to love our crosses

          I jumped back and away like one scalded. No, no, no, Lord, I moaned. I’ve had it with these crosses. I’ve had it with being put through fire. No more crosses, Lord, please.

          Still, when a dear~heart friend invites you to his precious abode of light, despite the reluctance that roosts strong within you, you go. As I did. Running my heart along words of the novena,

…intercede for me and obtain from God for me

a love of suffering,

together with strength and grace

to bear with firmness of mind

all the trials and adversities

which are the sure means

to the happy attainment of all that awaits me in heaven…

the words were like thorns, drawing pain because I had not healed yet from the suddenness of this recent test, all of us being ill at the same time. The fear, the worry. Will we make it? Why were we so ill after all the good home care? Will the children make it if they are away from us?

          When afternoon came today, I felt an unusual call in my heart from the garden. There, in its sunny peace, as the breezes wreathed their hymns in ribbons around me, I knew the Mother of God was bidding me to pause and rest in Her maternal heart, to let Her care for me in the way no one else on earth could.

          As the winds gently danced around me, Our Lady turned my gaze over this old garden I’ve come to love so much, its beds of bachelor’s buttons, zinnias and chrysanthemums which the children have coaxed the earth to love and yield. The flowers I’ve grown myself – the gardenias, jasmines and old fashioned roses, the starflowers, periwinkles and celosia, each one with their own story of teetering at the cliff edge of life, then, somehow having the tide turn in their favour.

          I suddenly saw something countless gardeners must have long known, that our gardens often reflect our own paths through life, from strife and drought and fear to joy and peace and glory. And that our life journeys are often cyclical rather than falling along linear paths.

          You need to encounter pain over and over in order to meet with joy over and over as well, said Mother to me. Sorrow before Joy.

          And with that, I saw once more Her old words to me, that dark, breezy dawn 14 years ago when I didn’t believe joy would ever be possible again.

          Yes, sorrow must come before joy. Each time. Over and over.

Heralds of Spring

Canadian Geese Flying in V Formation

For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself. But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them; you may even find yourselves fighting against God. After recalling the Apostles, they had them flogged, ordered them to stop speaking in the name of Jesus, and dismissed them. So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the Name. ~  Acts 5: 38 – 41

         The birds around our home were in the throes of mad, secret avian joy, their calls ringing out in exuberance just as the early dawn rays began flaming the skies into golds and yellows and tangerines. One chapter of my life has ended today, and with it, hopefully, much of the darkness. Yet, I greeted the news with an unnatural calmness. For a moment, I wondered if it was because I was not being grateful enough. Nonetheless, I had to admit that I was also very tired, that having given all I had within me these past years, it had likely taken me beyond the point of celebration.

          Still, reaching out to close the old gates behind me and to walk into this next phase of working life, I wished for some joy. Even a spark would have been welcomed.

But there was none. I was well and truly spent.

          It was past twilight when I came to the readings of the final Friday of the month of the Holy Eucharist.

…they had them flogged,
ordered them to stop speaking in the name of Jesus,
and dismissed them.

          I thought of the calvary we had endured as a family these past years. Cut after cut of an invisible whip, days, weeks and months of it. Fear, anger, pain and shame. Choking grief. Over and over telling God, I cannot go on. I just cannot. Over and over, He had put His hand out to me,

Oh yes, you will.

Do not waver.

Keep going, you’re almost there.

Walk on water.

Meet Me at the other end.

I am already there.

          Each time, impossibly, I would rise to my feet through the love of so, so many who would not give up on me, to let me fall to the earth and die. With their arms about me, each time I managed to stand up and to make my way forwards. On and on till I reached today.

Oh, for just a spark of firelight now at the shores of freedom.

          Just as I was wishing for that special joy to sing once more, something made me look up from my writing. A quick scene on the tv.

A flock of Canada geese intent on their journey across the bluest of skies.

One swallow does not make a summer, but one skein of geese, cleaving the murk of March thaw, is the Spring.   ~  Aldo Leopold

          In that tiny moment, I felt the spark. Even a heart still frozen in the old ice of winter knows that life is about to live once more when the geese are sighted in blue-shot skies.

For they are the heralds of true spring.

Lent 20 ~ Grief to Joy

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          Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.   ~  John 16: 20

          One major problem is resolved today even without the win of a court case to help us. My heart is filled with a deep peace and serenity to see the joy in other hearts. For the confirmation of the good news to come on a Wednesday, a day I dedicate to St. Joseph, means a lot to me. It says to me that St. Joseph heard a mother’s plea.

          Looking back over our journey these past few months especially, something stands out – after struggles, consolation comes, but it lasts for short time before another struggle looms bigger. I often felt as if we needed to ask for grace and strength and hope – every few days. It puzzled me why grace didn’t seem to last very long. Often I wondered if it meant that I wasn’t being grateful enough or if I was blind and deaf to what God had so kindly laid out for me.

          While it is all that as well, it came to me today that perhaps this is what it feels like when it gets closer to a summit. When the path gets steeper towards the end, consolation gets replaced by a new need ever so often, making us seek new light from heaven just as soon as we have been comforted.

          I may never know the answer to it. In some ways today, it matters not either. As the eastern skies burst into a blaze of silvery orange, I know that in this one grief of ours, the old words I heard one still dawn 14 years ago, Sorrow before joy, has come true.

          Grief has indeed become joy.

Lent 16 ~ The Song to Sing

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Now the older son had been out in the field
and, on his way back, as he neared the house,
he heard the sound of music and dancing.
He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean.
The servant said to him,
‘Your brother has returned
and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf
because he has him back safe and sound.’
He became angry,
and when he refused to enter the house,
his father came out and pleaded with him.
He said to his father in reply,
‘Look, all these years I served you
and not once did I disobey your orders;
yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends.
But when your son returns
who swallowed up your property with prostitutes,
for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’
He said to him,
‘My son, you are here with me always;
everything I have is yours.
But now we must celebrate and rejoice,
because your brother was dead and has come to life again;
he was lost and has been found.’   ~  Luke 15: 25 – 32

          Today, I finally saw what others had long before caught: that the older boy in the parable was likely jealous. And that his jealousy prevented his heart from rejoicing over his brother’s repentance.

          I’ve always felt sorry for this older boy/man. It is never an easy thing to slog at something and be contented with small rewards. It is much harder when it is left to us to pick up the slack caused by others; worse when we seem to be left out in the cold while the everyone else fêtes those who have made things difficult for us.

          Except that the parable of the prodigal son has never been about a forced and meaningless celebration. It has never been about burying the hurt and projecting a happy we don’t feel, nor about killing the fatted calf for someone who has come home the same he was before.

          Anyone who has been scarred by jealousy knows its dark power – as well as the suffering it is capable of inflicting. Jealousy has poor tolerance for good news. Its participation in joy is often short-lived and uncertain. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about a jealous heart, it is that it is extremely short-sighted, not able to see too far beyond its personal borders.

Everything I have is yours

          Jealousy will never allow the heart it rules to be convicted of that truth because a jealous heart cannot share sincerely and generously. It will keep careful accounting over anything given. What it gives today, can be demanded back the next day – because it struggles with sharing. So, even when God promises that Everything I have is yours, a jealous heart can only view it with suspicion.

But now we must celebrate and rejoice,
because your brother was dead and has come to life again;
he was lost and has been found.

          Nonetheless, God stands very firm – and fair. Even as His decree is that we open our hearts to the good news of conversion, He gives us the Light that will help us to transition from hurt and hardness to love:

Rejoice over repentance

          No matter what suffering we have endured, when the dead come back to life and the lost finally found, we must celebrate the return. Not tolerate. Not merely acknowledge. But sing the lyrics of rejoicing until its song is one with our hearts.

          Because it is that song which heals the wounded heart. And to be healed of jealousy, no one can sing that song but us.

Lent 12 ~ While In The Midst

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I came home on Monday.  The snow, followed by days of rain, had turned the yard in to a large mud puddle.   There wasn’t a single ray of sun either.  The countryside looked drab and untidy   . . .so I remembered the irises and the pale blossoms of the peach tree to “tide me over” for a while.  The earth is filled with promises, I reminded myself.  This sparked a joy in my heart.  Suddenly, I took a second look around me and noticed the many shades of silver in the sky.  There were all sorts of chestnut and coppery browns and soft greys.  Even the puddles were full of life.  Soon, lamps would shine through the old windows of the farmhouse and the house would smell like supper. 

I chided myself for waiting for beauty, while in the midst of it.

~  Michele Warren, rabbitpatchdiarycom

Lent 10 ~ Come and Rest

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In green pastures He makes me lie down;
 to still waters He leads me;
 He restores my soul.   ~  Psalm 23: 2 - 3

          I didn’t live the days of this week too well. Too much work and way too little rest. Thankfully, I was still filled with good cheer and didn’t mar the days with occasions of ill temper or grumpiness. Still, I wasn’t happy. While much had been accomplished, all the ticks on my list on only heightened my dissatisfaction over the way I had lived these Lenten days. I had not read any Lenten reflections. We had not recited the Family Rosary in a long while. I missed a day or two of My Lenten promise to recite one decade of the Luminous Mysteries each day for healing. No exercise, no workouts, no time spent in the garden.

          Not good.

          Then, yesterday morning, I discovered something interesting for work. With my limitations and slow understanding, learning how to use the apps ate into my hours. Somewhere in the evening, I nailed one, able to comfortably navigate it now. Buoyed on by sheer glee and hope, I rushed through dinner and went to try the second app. I could feel my younger children watching me very carefully, trying to determine if they could safely sneak in some harmless mischief. When I’m in this mood, I become very focused and I was determined to learn how to use this platform before I called it a day. So, it was the kids’ lucky day and boy, did they light the fire. Nonetheless, nothing distracted me. It was midnight, by the time I leaned back in satisfaction.

          Just before turning in for the night, something occurred to me and I returned to the app to check it. And found all my effort for naught. Absolutely naught. There was a glitch of some sort and it was beyond me to figure it out.

I’m going to mop the house first thing tomorrow, I thought to myself.

          Not to work on it or to get help with it. But to wield the mop and shine the home because something told me this was the end of the road where that app was concerned.

          I slept in a bit this morning and then rose to give the house some loving. The deep cold of past mornings had suddenly given way to an intensifying heat. A storm was likely some days away. But the happy singing of the birds and the laughing breezes playing tag amongst the trees had turned the day into gold.

          Like liquid incense, that golden joy spilled into my own heart. A smiling, rosy lightness lifted me.

In green pastures He makes me lie down;
to still waters He leads me;
He restores my soul.

            Come and rest, said the Lord.              

Blue~Sky Rose

         

          I couldn’t have picked a more beautiful day to plant my first rose cutting. I know how ridiculous that must sound to everyone who has planted roses hundreds of times. But it’s the truth and a beautiful one at that.

          I’ve always adored roses. Even as a young girl, I’ve loved them, especially the most common one in gardens where I grew up – the dark pink China variety. I remember one childhood incident. Both my parents worked and they had to leave home very early in the morning. I had begun attending kindy at that time and my parents had arranged for me to wait for my ride to the kindy, in my elderly neighbour’s house. Only I never stayed put inside the kindly old woman’s house. Captivated by all sorts of flowering plants this woman cultivated, I roamed in awe amongst her many pots.

          My favourite spot had to be the fat rosebush just by this lady’s iron gate. And one morning, just one fat, dark pink rose sat in luscious complacency atop its throne of dew-wet leaves.

          Now, if there was one thing I loved more than roses, it was the happy, cheery man who was my ride to school. He had a little carriage attached to his bicycle in which I sat, mostly alone, sometimes with another tiny companion. In all my years since those mirthful days, I’ve never known another happier person than that man with a heart of gold.

          I never knew his name, though. It never occurred to me to ask my father his name because back in those days, my father reserved his sparse stock of politeness only for the rich and he likely wouldn’t have known or cared either. People like the man who did our lawns, or the one who brought us our groceries, and this one who took me to school, were treated with condescension.

          Even as a child, I always winced at the way my parents treated the poor. If anything, even from that age, I felt very comfortable with the poor, and my parents’ treatment of them troubled me. I couldn’t understand just how people who had been poor themselves could forget their past so quickly.

          I liked my kindy-man. My mother often narrated the tale about hearing me chatter nonstop at the highest decibels with this man as he carefully took me in his carriage to school. Each day, to and from school, I told him all the little things that were so important to me and he was a cheery and intent listener. Now, I wonder exactly how much he understood because I spoke only English and he barely did. But not once did he let on. Instead, for a few minutes each day, this golden~souled person allowed me to enjoy being at the centre of someone’s universe.

          Something about his happiness must have touched me, I who seemed to find so many creative ways to upset my mother each day, I who could never please her.

          And so, that fateful morn my neighbour’s cherub rose sat high above its green kingdom, I saw the perfect gift for my old friend. Hearing his approaching bell, in a thrice, I plucked that gorgeous bloom from its lofty perch. Climbing into the carriage, I cheerily waved to the unsuspecting old lady who stood by her front door, readying to go to her morning prayers.

          Then, I gave the rose to the old man who laughed delightedly at it, promptly tucking it behind his ear. It was so funny to a five-year-old.

          Now, decades later, what stands out so clearly about that morning is the wide grin that almost split his face.

          The next morning, my old neighbour was waiting for me with a look I had never seen on her before. In measured tones that didn’t bode well for me, she asked if I had plucked her one and only rose. I told her I did and that I gave it to my kindy-man. Unmoved, she proceeded to very firmly tell me not to ever touch her flowers again as she wanted them for her prayer altar, where only the best flowers would do.

          The woman was well within her rights to set me straight on the do’s and don’ts of her kingdom, but being the ever sensitive child I was, the sting of her rebuke stayed long and bitter with me. It certainly didn’t help that she informed my mother about it, thus helpfully adding another bullet to my mother’s already impressive arsenal against me.

          Still, that did nothing to dampen my love for those old fashioned roses. Years later, we moved to another state where people led very busy lives and rosebushes became scant. I never thought of them much till I married a man who delighted in them.

          But even with marriage, roses were always more my husband’s thing. He took great pride in his and it never occurred to me to want to grow any of my own – till sometime last year – when I was seized with a strange madness to have my own roses.

          What I hadn’t known then was that the yearning for roses was my Heavenly Mother’s call to begin the building of a new life of freedom and joy. When the yearning took root in me, we hadn’t had roses in our garden for many long years, except for an old button rose bush my husband had been gifted with during his job posting down south. All the other roses he had grown so beautifully before had slowly died as we struggled through years of sorrow and grief. Although we mourned each rose death, it was all we could do to get up and go out to work each day during those dark years; to plant and to care for a garden was asking too much of us.

          More than ten years passed before I told my husband I wanted us to plant roses again. I told him I wanted to try and build something of my own that didn’t bear the stamp of formal work and all the drudgery I associated with it. So many people had testified to gardening being therapeutic, and in dire need of healing from the almost daily wounds of work, I strongly felt that better days for me lay in the kingdom of roses.

          My mistake was telling my husband about it.

          Although he agreed heartily with my suggestion, he wanted to be the one to pick out the plants for me and to set them out in a pot. And what was left unspoken but as certain, was that he would guide me as I cared for them.

          I knew just what guide meant.

          But that’s just who my husband is – careful, deliberate and exacting, his vision of our new garden flowers the total opposite to my vision of a wild decadence of roses growing in profusion.

          Granted, my husband has all the gardening-sense I don’t, and a whole lot more, but when our visions collided, my little rose-dream died an immediate death. My husband, though, went on to build up a beautiful rose patch from plants he had rescued from a closing down garden centre. I was so happy for him. Still, while I rejoiced over and enjoyed each new rose that bloomed now outside our front door, I never again thought about getting my own plant. There was no point to it if I had to go through my husband. I love my man dearly but I also wanted the freedom of planting and caring for my own roses, and the freedom of making mistakes even.

          But no fence was high enough to keep out the rose-whisperer I had married.

         Until today.

          Our Lady of Knock, Queen of Ireland, You gave hope to Your people in a time of distress, and comforted them in sorrow. You have inspired countless pilgrims to pray with confidence to Your divine Son, remembering His promise “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find.” Help me to remember that we are all pilgrims on the road to heaven. Fill me with love and concern for my brothers and sisters in Christ, especially those who live with me. Comfort me when I am sick or lonely or depressed. Teach me how to take part ever more reverently in the holy Mass. Pray for me now, and at the hour of my death. Amen.
Our Lady of Knock, pray for us.

           A few weeks ago, alone in church on a Friday, someone lightly tugged my heart towards the Knock apparition. I knew about it and made a mental note to look for a prayer to Our Lady of Knock. But soon, I forgot.

          Until this morning. This morning, the above prayer popped up. Remembering my intention, I said the prayer, tracing each line with my heart. Then, in case I missed something about the apparition, I looked it up.

They called it the silent apparition.

          Our Lady was silent, but through that silence, She communicated Her comforting presence to the broken and suffering. She didn’t need to use words to convince the suffering that She was with them.

          That understanding hovered like fine mist over my heart. I knew something was being whispered to me.

          A few short hours later, standing at my open window, enjoying the warm breezes play tag with each other, I suddenly saw that the clear afternoon sky was a vivid blue. It was sky-blue, but so rich and living a blue!

          The beauty of that sky caught my heart and spun it in a dance! I hastened outside. Indeed, my eyes had not fooled me. As my heart sang in harmony with the jubilant wind~sashes trailing their gusts and breaths ecstatically across the sky, I knew that the blue robes the sky wore was the sign of Our Lady’s presence.

          And then, I understood. Just like in Knock, She was telling me She was by my side, silent but ever present. In moments of joy and light. When the hours darkened. In my sadness. In hope.

          Then, She put out a gentle but firm Hand and seized my heart and turned it towards roses.

          Before I could even summon any hesitation or protest, my rose pot was ready and the first cutting sunk into moist soil. I carried it carefully and placed it just where the afternoon sun likes to linger, in a little spot within reach of my gaze as I cooked and washed and stilled myself.

          Just like that, my little rose plant came to be, in a moment so silver~quick. I hope she lives – and thrives – under my care, because she stands for many things:

          For all that I am hoping to change and improve about my old life. The way work controls me so much. The way I often miss so much of the beauty God places all around me. The noise within my heart.

          For bits of the old which I still want to adorn my present. My abiding memories of that loving, old kindy-man, faithful to his duties till the end. Even of my elderly neighbour and the way she loved her God by giving Him only the best. For that time when the pace of life was gentle and unhurried, and it was easier to love.

         For all the living that lies ahead of me.

          But most of all, because I feel this little plant was gifted to me by my Heavenly Mother, silently watchful, ever by my side even when life binds me tight and away from Her.

          I call my little friend Blue~Sky Rose. Because she came to be on this blue~gold day when the skies sang their hearts out in joyful ode to Heaven.

Savoring Sixty and Beyond

"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day." 2 Corinthians 4:16

Dona's Blog

Musings about life, Christianity, and mental health.

Scraps of Joy

- a Joy infused view of the world

CatsinCambridge

Life with cats, and other things...

Oceans in the Desert

God saturates our desert places with the ocean of His love

Brenda @ It's A Beautiful Life

Going Towards the Light

Touching the Sunrise

Living more deeply in Christ through self-knowledge, self-compassion, and self-surrender

AnaStpaul

Breathing Catholic

chopkins2x3

Life, love, photos, poetry, prayer,and personal musings: a bit of everything

rabbitpatchdiarycom

comfort and joy from my home to yours

Reflections from an Open Window

Linda Raha's Writing Corner

Muddling Through My Middle Age

Definitely older, possibly wiser....

Peaceful Heart, Open Mind

Going Towards the Light

The Breadbox Letters

Going Towards the Light

The Invisible Scar

raising awareness of emotional child abuse and offering hope for adult survivors

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