Learning About Lent

MaryToday we had a great pre-Lenten retreat at church.  I learned so much about icons, the rosary and how art influences our prayer lives.  Can we have too many methods to communicate with our brothers and sisters, friends and neighbors, our Savior?  I don’t think so.  Imagine being in a room where you’re the only English speaker.  Think you’d wish you’d been more attentive in your Spanish, Portuguese, German – fill in the blank.

So, I’ve learned that Icons are a window to prayer.  I know more about praying my rosary.  I’ve learned about Lectio Divina.  What a wonderful way to pray, meditate and talk to our Creator!

This post is short and sweet but I’m learning I don’t have to birth a novel each time I visit my blog.  I pray that Lent will be a season of prayer and fulfillment for you.  May God bless you abundantly, keep you in spiritual health and grant you the peace and contentment only He can bring.

 

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This Is Chula

She’s not well-known, but she is well liked by those who do know her.  Her tiny stature is deceptive.  She has a lion’s courage and her disposition is so very sweet.  She doesn’t ask for much…a kind word now and then; an occasional hug, a rib bone – raw, please, baby back if you have it.

A couple of years ago, she was attacked by a mastiff.  We were so scared by her injuries – large puncture wounds on her back.  Today she doesn’t walk well, stumbles frequently and can’t make it up the steps as well as she would otherwise, and though she may be slowed by these inconveniences, she’s not deterred.  That’s what made me think of posting about her this morning.

Chula - one of my heroines.
Chula – one of my heroines.

I watched her today hobbling along in the garden near the roses.  Her face is so serene.  When I call her name she looks at me with anticipation, complete trust, no fear.  The giant dogs next door can bark the roof off the house but she isn’t moved by them or haunted with memories of her attack.  I, on the other hand, am terrified they’ll knock the fence down!

Not Chula.  She continues her walk in serenity, ambling along with her awkward gait.  She refuses to allow her life to be determined by her injuries.  She won’t be intimidated by those mightier than she is.   At 5 pounds, she’s definitely not the largest dog on the block.  She’s not the loudest.  But, her determination and her refusal to be cowed brings me great joy and inspiration.  She strolls the fence line calmly, while on the opposite side creatures 20 times her size howl and bark.

Chula is one of God’s best things.  Why should I fear anything when I have her at my side?

 

This Is What I Know Of Life

It’s not fair.  You’ve heard that before.  Probably said it before.  And it’s true. Orphan children, starving elderly, homeless veterans, drug dealers with no soul, addicts with no dignity, no self respect, no hope.  It all strikes me as terribly unfair.  Life is a vapor and death comes for all of us, but we determine how we live.  God gave us free will.  We can love or not.  We can help or not.  We can care or not.  The world we’re leaving for our young ones mirrors our choices.  God tells us He will know us by our fruit.  He watches as we turn away from opportunities to make a difference. Have you dropped anything off at your local food bank lately?  Performed any random acts of kindness?  Do you smile at the grandmother in line at the grocery or look past her?  When was the last time you told a veteran thanks?  No matter your station in life, someone less fortunate exists.  Life isn’t fair but couldn’t we level the field just a bit? Continue reading “This Is What I Know Of Life”

Aging Gracefully

Where’s the moron who coined this expression???  There’s no such thing. Aging gracefully is an oxymoron. Like jumbo shrimp. Like clearly confused, pretty ugly, original copy!  There’s nothing graceful about crow’s-feet, age spots, three chins or sagging skin.  Nothing, I tell you!  Our Creator allows us X amount of time on earth (I don’t have enough information to solve for X) and, should that exceed 50 years, (X is greater than or equal to 50) the curse that is aging will overtake you.  He tells us our lives are but a vapor!  James 4:14 is quite poetic in the observation ‘life is like the morning fog – it’s here a little while, then it’s gone’.

I was amazed when I found (in the course of my obsession over this topic) 10 tips for aging gracefully.  And even more amazed with the discovery that there were 7 things I MUST avoid in my quest.  Further research informs me that aging gracefully is an art!!  Well, I’ve never claimed to be DaVinci…perhaps Picasso! But in Revelation 4:11, I”m reminded ‘You are worthy, oh Lord, to receive glory and honor and power:  for You have created all things’.  God is the Artist of our creation.

For the forward thinkers among us there is a modern guide to aging gracefully and, should that prove to be a bit too advanced, please consider the simple method to obtain your goal.  The modern method might be preferable if the simple method is a product of the late 1800s.  What did anyone know about aging gracefully then?  Wood cook stoves, no A/C, no birth control, no Botox, being treated as chattel…no way!.  Not difficult to understand why women would want to vote, have some control over their lives and bodies.   I feel compelled to point out that neither method takes God’s plan into consideration.  And He has one.

Possibly in an attempt to offer a hint of continental flair,  the New York Times will even help you to age gracefully in the french way!  That’s insulting!  French women have been aging longer, perhaps?  Ergo, they know more about the art of aging?  We’re back to art.  I don’t think an excess of experience will slow the process or alter the end result.  But we overcome when we remember ‘God has given us eternal life’ (1John 5:11).  This is His will for those who follow His teachings.

I understand the dread that comes with aging.  I understand the frustration that comes with getting older.  Our bodies betray us with aches and pains, limitations we aren’t mentally ready to accept.  Fighting back with creams, lotions, injections, laser procedures and surgeries may slow the process, provide a sense of stalling what is unavoidable, but it’s an illusion.  Far better to trust in ‘God’s mysterious plan’ – Collossians 2:2.

So, after much thought, I’ve decided I’m going to age with attitude!  I had my hairdresser color my hair platinum last week…my way of living in fast forward.  I won’t wait for it to get white!  I’ll embrace each change as it comes, adding my own unique twist and creating my personal style for middle age, secure in the knowledge that God is in charge.  His will be done.

It’s a dangerous world, my friend.  God’s peace to you.