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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Rise Up and Pray


Well come to our second Spiritual Journey First Thursday!  I am hosting the round-up today, and I thrilled that you are here to share about my one little word RISE.

This is my fourth year to choose a one little word, and is something I have fully embraced each year.

When I chose RISE for my OLW and "Embrace Challenges" for a monthly motto, I had no idea how it would play out so quickly in my personal life.  I began to think about God's influence in the choosing of our OLW.

Does He put those words on our lips and in our minds?  Does He place us in experiences that cause our words to choose us?

Each year that I have chosen a word, I believe He led me to those words.  This year is no exception.  Just a few days after I posted about my word, I learned that my sister had cancer.

I believe that God knew what was going to happen and led me to that word.  

I believe He knew that I was going to have to RISE for my sister.

I believe that he knew this was a challenge that I was going to have to embrace, and he wanted me to TURN toward him in these times of trial.  He wanted me to RISE up and pray.

Image from I Will Trust in You
What part has God played in the choosing of your one little word?

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Rise - One Little Word 2017



It is hard to believe that almost a year has passed since I posted on this blog, which was created when my one little word was turn.  I wanted to turn more toward God, but that is a constant struggle for me.  That is why I appreciate the small community of bloggers who write for Spiritual Journey Thursday.  Holly Mueller at Reading, Teaching, Learning began the community, and it slowly grew.  We took a hiatus for awhile, but Irene Latham at Live Your Poem has brought the group back together.  Each month will feature a different topic from a different blogger.  This month's roundup about our One Little Word is hosted by Carol at Beyond LiteracyLink.

When I chose Rise as my one little word this year, I knew I wanted to make a positive difference in the lives of others.  I knew I wanted to..

Rise each day with
love on my lips
hope in my heart
thankfulness in my thoughts
...always in my actions.

At Catholic mass we make the sign of the cross on our heads, lips, and hearts before the reading of the Gospel.  This is a way of praying and inviting the Word of God to be "in our minds, on our lips, and in our hearts."

I was not thinking about this part of mass when I wrote my words.  (Honestly, I wrote "hope in my heart" and was trying to use alliteration.)  It wasn't until much later when I realized the connection between being positive and opening my heart to the Word.

My first day back at school I became frustrated with a colleague about being negative.  As I was talking about it with a different colleague, I realized I was doing the same thing.  If this had been a resolution, I would have broken it four days into the new year.

This is the power of one little word.  It is a guide, and we do not have to feel as if we have failed when we have a set back.

I also have created a purpose for positivity for each month.  This gives me ways to use words other than rise.  

January is "Embrace challenges."  I think back to the book of Exodus when the Israelites were escaping the Egyptians.  When God led them out of Egypt, he didn't make the journey easy.  They experience challenges as they traveled through the dessert and reached the Red Sea.  And when they were being chased by the Egyptian army, they were afraid of what may happen if they were caught.  But Moses told them, "The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still."  Exodus 14:14

It is when we meet these challenges with God's Word is in our minds, on our lips, and in our hearts, that we can Rise above them.  I ask you to embrace the challenges with me, knowing that God will fight for all of us.
My 2017 Manifesto

Monday, January 25, 2016

Checking My Credentials

Last night as I was reading the additional verses that accompanied the devotion for the day, this one spoke to me. Maybe I heard it because we have had many conversations at school lately about senior scholarships applications, letters of recommendation, and resumes.

"You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all.  And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts." ~ 2Co 3:2-3

 If I am God's letter of recommendation, what are my credentials?  Are my actions sincere, or they just "good to have on a resume?"

Do I need to check my credentials to assure Him that I am a faithful letter of recommendation?

We are all called to be servants of God.  When we serve Him, He blesses us abundantly.  It is only when our actions and words give Him the glory, that we can add these lines to our faith resumes.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Returning



Last week I wrote about acknowledging God's prescence and how wide the gap is between believing and acknowledging.  I also included three ways to maintain devotion time from the blog While I Ponder.  

This is the perfect segue to Michelle's word ~ selah.  This word seems to have many definitions, but I prefer this one:  pause and reflect.

This week I have decided to take you along on my journey as I take time out to pause and reflect.  I have dusted off my devotional, Jesus Calling, Enjoying Peace in His Presence by Sarah Young and have once again started reading it.  I love this devotional because it is conversational in nature.  I feel like Jesus is speaking straight to me.

Yesterday's devotion was perfect timing.  (How does God seem to know just what we need just when we need it?)  He tells us that wondering while praying is human.  We should not get upset, just return to Him throughout the day.  We should remember that He is always with us, waiting for our return.  

This practice of returning to Him helps us to acquire a gentle and quiet spirit which is what He wants to see.  It is through our weaknesses that we see His power and strength.  ~ 2Co 12:9


"but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious." ~ 1Peter 3:4

Thank you for taking time to pause and reflect with me today.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Present


Today is Spiritual Journey Thursday, a day to spend some time turning toward God.  Please feel free to join me on this journey each Thursday with Holly Mueller and friends.  For the next several weeks, Holly will be featuring the spiritual aspects of our one little words.  This week we are writing about Margaret's word, present. 

Last week Holly mentioned on her post how "there was never a time when I can't remember believing there was a God."  I am the same way.  Each week we would recite the Nicene Creed at Mass:
I believe in One God, the Father almighty...
I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ...
I believe in the Holy Spirit...

I have always believed, but how often do I acknowledge His presence?  
I know the answer.

My first response would be during the "big life" times, those times of trouble or times of need. Sometimes it is in those times of great joy.  Many times I have looked back and I have noticed His presence, but it is usually in hindsight ~ not in the present.  For me, believing in God and acknowledging His presence can be separated by a wide distance.

How often do I acknowledge His presence in my every day?  Those mundane times when we are just going through the motions of another day.  Those times of daily chores such as washing dishes, preparing meals, or doing laundry.
I know the answer.

I live in a world of distractions and obligations.  I do not want to turn these into excuses.  I know I must not allow this world to separate me from God's presence.  I know I need to turn toward him more than what I do now.  That was the purpose of this blog.  But have I honestly taken the time to be  truly present?
I know the answer.

I recently found a new blog, While I Ponder, by Karlene Arthur.  She wrote a post on three ways to maintain devotion time.  She lists:

                           1.  Choose devotion resources you LOVE.
                           2.  Find a routine that works for YOU.
                           3.  Relax and be kind to yourself.

All three of these steps are tightly wrapped in being present.  I know it is time for me to look at and to reorder my priorities.  It is time for me to shorten that gap between believing and acknowledging. 

I know many of us in the original group have referred to this verse many times, and it is a constant reminder of what I need to do:

"Be still, and know that I am God." ~Psalm 46:10

I hope all of us find time in the coming weeks to be still and be present.  I think He has something important to say if we just listen.  How will you be in His presence this week?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

I Believe


Today is Spiritual Journey Thursday, a day for me to spend some time turning toward God.  Please feel free to join me on this journey each Thursday with Holly Mueller and friends.  For the next several weeks, Holly will be featuring our one little words.  This week our word is believe, the one little word by Carol from Beyond Literacy.

"And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him." ~ Hebrews 11:6

Today I write with a heavy heart.  We received word today that a student in our community unexpectedly passed away.  She was a second grader.  Her sibling is a student in Megan's class.

It is so hard to believe when things like this happen.  Why would God take a beautiful little girl when she still had so much life to live?  We do not have the answers; we are only asked to believe.

I know that difficult times are not meant to make us stronger, but are meant to strengthen our faith in God.

This is not easy, but we are asked to just believe.  

Below are the words from a song by Brooks and Dunn. I have included the video, but the words really say it all.  It is a song about believing when we really have more questions than answers. When we are trying to sort out this thing called life.

When I raise my hands, bow my head
I'm finding more and more truth in the words written in red
They tell me that there's more to this than just what I can see
I believe
Oh, I believe

Thursday, December 31, 2015

An Unlikely Gift


Today is Spiritual Journey Thursday, a day for me to spend some time turning toward God.  December's theme has turned out to be gifts.  Please feel free to join me on this journey each Thursday with Holly Mueller and friends.

Dear Spiritual Journey Friends,

These past five months have been a true test for me.  

A test of strength. 

A test of faith.

As you know, Megan started her first year of teaching in August.  It was during this time when I had never felt so helpless as a mother.  Megan was miserable, and I would say a little bit scared. She had just spent the last four years of her life preparing for a career in which she now hated. She threw her hands up in the air and wanted to quit so many times.

I didn't know what to do; so I prayed.  I left the house each morning with a pit in the bottom of my stomach.  And I worried all day long.  During our moment of silence each day at school, I prayed a mother's plea, "God, please help her."  

I felt like my own prayers were not enough, so I called on many of you to pray for her too.

And you did.

Little by little God started to reveal His answer in an unlikely gift.

Megan has one student in particular who has some difficult emotional needs and who is Megan's biggest challenge as a teacher.  

One day, Megan showed me a picture of her student, "J," and she had completely surrounded herself with cardboard dividers.  I knew then there was more to this little girl than neither Megan nor I could imagine.  But what I didn't know was that she was the very person who would save Megan.

One day Megan came home and told me about a letter "J" had written her.  She looked at me and said, "Mom, she just wants to be loved."  I wrote about that letter here.

God's answer was being revealed day by day.

Then another time, Megan and "J" had  lunch together.  "J" confided in Megan and told her that she trusted Megan because she was her teacher.  I wrote about that here

I knew then that God had answered my prayers, our prayers.  He has placed in Megan's hands a gift, a gift which Megan never expected and a gift which helped her to realize she was called to be a teacher.

Thank you my friends.  I think she is going to make it.