The sun is rising on my right
The moon is setting on my left
The birds are singing in front of me
and God is behind me
– Julie Babe
The sun is rising on my right
The moon is setting on my left
The birds are singing in front of me
and God is behind me
– Julie Babe
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! This is one of the best holidays of the year because it’s all about love. No, you do not have to be married or be in a relationship to celebrate Valentine’s Day. It is a day to show love to everyone. Say hi to that homeless person you pass on your way to work each day. Pay for the coffee for the person behind you in line. Write a letter to someone you haven’t talked to in a while. Put a note in your child’s lunch. Hug a stranger. Read a story to someone in the hospital. Go out in freezing cold temperatures in the dark to put a key out for your neighbor so their house can get painted. (You know who I’m talking about, K!) Desi kept me company.
What I’m trying to say is you are love because you are God’s child. Go spread that love around! Have a great day everyone!
Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, but only saps today of its strength.
I love this quote. It was in my inbox one day from Goodreads Quote of the Day and it put my feelings into words so succinctly that I saved it because I knew that one day it would inspire me. I incorporate this wisdom into my life every day. I have three kids, I could worry myself to death! Instead, I choose to handle issues the best I can when they come up and leave the rest to God. I have taught my children (young adults now) how to make good decisions and to always do their best. Whether or not those lessons are always followed is another story. I rarely took my parents’ advice. I always had to find out for myself. A lot of kids are like that, including mine, and I am ok with that. I would rather have them try something and fail, or learn a lesson, whether positive or negative, than to be afraid to ever spread their wings because something bad might happen. Someone else in my family, who shall remain nameless, doesn’t share my philosophy. That person gets very frustrated and angry when the younglings’ choices don’t match what that person thinks they should do. I generally take the brunt of it because I encourage them to try.
When my oldest wanted to go to his first concert, I said, “Go!” That other person was more hesitant and worried until said child was home. That person has an ulcer…I don’t. Don’t think that I don’t worry or care what happens to my children, I do, but I prepare them to experience life and then I let them try it in appropriate increments. Sometimes, I think that other person would protect them forever and then expect them to know how to live in the world when they got to a certain age. That person would disagree with me on that, though. As parents, the best we can do is prepare our children as they grow, pray, and leave the results up to God.
I look at it this way: If I actively worried about my children every time they were out of my sight, I would never sleep, I would have an ulcer, I would be completely unproductive, and I would be the crankiest, most controlling witch in the world. My kids sometimes think I am anyway, but I just tell them that it’s my job. When my kids get hurt, and they do, both emotionally and physically, then I am there for them, to help them through whatever challenge life has brought them. If I worried and controlled them too much, then I would be too tired and sick to help them when they need me.
I can’t control that drunk driver on the road or that semi driver who isn’t paying attention. What I can control is what I teach my children. I teach them to be attentive to other drivers, to not be that drunk driver, and to help others when they see a need. I teach them to make good decisions and to take responsibility for those decisions. I will sleep peacefully at night even when my children are out late, or working midnight shift, or driving somewhere they have never been before, or riding a motorcycle over big jumps. Worrying won’t get them there any safer. Preparation will. So, until I get that phone call in the middle of the night, I will sleep peacefully, and trust myself, my children, and God (not necessarily in that order!) to take care of things.
So prepare for life. Live life. Don’t worry about all the “what ifs”. Handle things as they come and sleep peacefully, knowing that God is really the only one who has any control.
A worry free and well rested Julie! 🙂
**The related articles below are all good and deal with worry. Check them out.**
*WARNING*: Darkness ahead
Have you ever been screwed over so many times that you just don’t care anymore only to find out that you do, probably when you’ve gotten screwed over one more time? Actually, it doesn’t hurt anymore, not really. What hurts is thinking I can be the kind of person who doesn’t care. That’s not me. It never has been, although I am sometimes very good at hiding it. I can bluff a person with a straight face and go off and cry for hours. Right now, I’m introspective. I tend to get this way when I have a lot to think about and process. I could go without saying anything for days. Having a family sort of makes that impossible, because I care about them too much to blow them off like that especially for someone who has screwed me over so many times. When do the hard feelings overtake the good feelings? Where is that line? I have no idea, but it has been crossed. I guess for me it was screwing with my mom one too many times and then screwing over your own flesh and blood because of selfishness, fear, greed, whatever. Partly, I don’t understand how someone could do that and I don’t think I want to understand that. It’s too dark. I just want to get over it and move on, which brings me back full circle. I now have to deal with my feelings before I can move on. It may happen quickly and it may linger for many years. I don’t know what I want to do about it or how I want to handle it. Well, I know how I want to handle it, but I also know that that uncaringness is not who I am inside. I suppose it is a part of me, as humans we all have that potential, but I have chosen not to live that way. I guess the thought that I could makes me uneasy. Now, what do I do about it? I’m sure this doesn’t make sense to anyone, because it is literally the ramblings of my uneasy mind. I don’t want to be hopeful that a life will end sooner rather than later, but I find myself leaning that way. Otherwise my mixed up feelings will go on for years. As it is, they probably will anyway, but better to have the conflict resolved and work out the feeling and emotions after. I don’t want to have to care about someone who I don’t like. I don’t want to love someone I don’t like, but that is what God wants us to do isn’t it. Love our enemies.
Is anyone else a little superstitious about numbers? My mom’s “numbers” keep coming up today. The same exact ones twice so far today and a second one just dawned on me as I was writing this. My heart and my mind are battling it out and the turmoil is futile. I know what I should do, and it’s not what I want to do or what my family wants me to do, but it would also be good for them to see me do it. I’m sure they wouldn’t understand how or why, but they would remember it forever and it would perhaps shape their lives for the better. They say God doesn’t give us more than we can handle, but He sure does push the limits. I think I’m going to apply a bit of AA methodology to my life and take it one day at a time.
I’m not at liberty to be more specific at this point, but writing it down sure helps my brain organize the chaos. This probably belongs in a private journal rather than on a blog, but sometimes it helps to talk to strangers. I can vent here and appear all calm and together for the people who see me every day and they’ll have no idea of the conflict I’m working through. Sorry for the darkness. I hope I haven’t disturbed anyone by straying from my usual happiness here. That is why I put the warning at the beginning. I am still a happy person and leaving a little of my darkness here helps me stay that way.
You must think I’m insane! No, I don’t love hard work. I enjoy it sometimes and feel good when I’ve accomplished something though. A good soreness throughout the body that says I’ve done something physical can actually make me smile because I know that my body will get stronger. The discomfort is just a precursor to the strengthening of the body. That is not even why I like hard work. It’s the enjoyment I get when I take a cup of tea and walk around my yard in the evening and see all the beautiful trees and flowers growing, and hear the birds chirping and singing happily, settling down for the night.
I work hard each year to keep my plants healthy and enrich the soil for them. I prune and trim and rake and hoe. My body hurts sometimes, like this week when I hurt my back, but if I didn’t do it, I wouldn’t be able to see for the first time in about several years, I’m not sure exactly, the beautiful flowers on the unknown flowering tree in my little arboretum. I call it that, but it’s really only about a 10×10 section of my yard where I plant trees and saplings that I don’t want to die. I have to give most of them away because I have no where to put them, but I can’t stand to kill a living thing just because it’s in the way or I can’t use it.
We used to have this beautiful flowering tree in our front yard. I never could identify it properly, but the closest I came was some sort of flowering almond, though it never got nuts either. It was a small tree, perfect for little kids to climb, but it was too delicate. My kids didn’t understand that and a few major limbs got broken, on the tree not my kids. Eventually there came the time when the tree had to be cut down. I really wanted to cry. Evidently, we didn’t get all the roots because we kept getting sprouts growing. Some got to be rather large, and were in the way now because I wanted to plant a garden in that spot. I moved two of the deformed tree growths to my arboretum thinking that maybe I could get them to grow straight. They never grew straight and they never flowered again, but I just couldn’t get myself to give up hope completely. I thought someday I would find a spot for them in my yard again. Well, I did, right where they are and have been for the last I don’t know how many years. Last evening when I was doing something in my bedroom, I looked out the window which faces our backyard and saw a very tall tree with pink flowers all over it. I couldn’t believe it, but it was that awkward stick that I had planted so long ago! It is more bush like than tree like, but probably 30 feet tall and full of flowers! I was so excited that I grabbed my husband and made him stop what he was doing to drag him outside to see it. I hope I can take a picture that does it justice, but don’t count on it.
I don’t think words can describe my joy in those moments. Up till that point, I was going to write about the lilacs blooming and how when I open my front door I can smell them on the breeze coming through the screen. I absolutely love lilacs and the fact that I have one right next to my front door. My husband has wanted to cut it down for years, but I refuse to let him.
My joy in that one flowering tree, completely overshadows my lilac bliss, and enhances the peace and happiness I feel when I take my cuppa and walk through my yard in the evenings and take in the beauty that God has grown in my yard through my hard work. So when my back aches, and my muscles are sore, and my brain can’t think a coherent thought, I can take myself away for awhile and walk in beauty and know that it is all worth it.
We’re all looking for followers aren’t we? We try to get followers on Facebook and Twitter, on Pinterest and our blogs, a lot of different places. Jesus wants followers too, he wants every single one of us to be His follower. He wants followers so much that he when he died he left the apostles and His many disciples behind to continue getting followers for Him.
The very first words that Jesus spoke to Peter were “Follow me”. Peter did and his ultimate goal after Jesus died and rose to heaven was to get more followers for Jesus. Peter took that role so seriously that he became the first pope. We are Jesus’s followers just like Peter was and ultimately our goal is to get more followers for Jesus also.
I’m not saying that we all need to go out and preach and tell people directly to become Christians or Catholics, some are called for that and some are called to follow in other ways. Just as sheep follow a shepherd, we need to follow Jesus. He is our shepherd. Would a sheep follow a shepherd if the shepherd didn’t take care of the sheep, or if they didn’t trust him completely? A shepherd’s voice becomes familiar to his sheep and they follow it. Jesus risked His life, GAVE His life, to protect us and save us. He is our shepherd, the Good Shepherd. We need to make His voice familiar to ourselves and to others.
We can do this through example, through our words and actions, how we treat other people. Jesus gave us a new commandment, just one, and it is the hardest one to follow, but if we follow it, we follow all of them. Jesus said, “Love one another as I have loved you.” Can you do that? All Jesus asks is that we try our very best.
“I am made in God’s image and I too am called to be shepherd in my small part of the world.” -The Little White Book April 25, 2013
Make that a mantra of sorts. Say it every day to remind yourself to a good example for others.
What? You still don’t know how to be a shepherd? Start by being a lamb. Here’s a little story for you:
Every year on the feast of St. Agnes the pope blesses some little lambs that are raised nearby the vatican. She is often called the little lamb because her name is so close to the latin word for lamb which is agnus. The wool from these lambs is then used to make palliums that are given by the pope to new archbishops every year in June on the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.
There’s Saint Peter again. Why St. Peter and St. Paul? Well, it makes sense to me that they were chosen because they were Jesus’s lambs from the start and they became shepherds of the church, as are the new archbishops who are given palliums. Like Peter and Paul, our role is two-fold. We are to follow Jesus, the Good Shepherd, and we are to shepherd His people on earth by the example of our lives.
The little lambs are an example of being useful just by existing. God gave them everything that He wants and needs from them, namely their wool. The little lambs are useful just by being who they are. God gave them the ability to grow great wads of wool from which many useful items are made. All they have to do is give it back to God as thanks. God has made each of us useful also, after all, we are His lambs too. God has given each of us a gift and they are all different and unique, but all useful to God. All we have to do is hone our gifts and give them back to God. Just mastering our gifts to the best of each of our abilities and using it is giving it back to God. You may be a good cook and you may be called to use that gift to become a master chef, or to feed your own children healthy meals, or to cook in a school cafeteria. All of those are useful to God and they are all giving back to God. We just have to share what God gave us with others and not hide our light under a bushel basket.
If you are uncertain about what your gift is or of sharing it with others just read John chapter 10. The overall theme that I got from it was ‘He will be with me every step of the way’.
Have a great week and remember that you are useful and you are loved! God Bless!
One of the blogs I follow, Morning Story and Dilbert, posted this story today and it really touched something in me, so I copied the story here and wrote my thoughts on it at the end. I hope you like it.
As the story goes, they built a new church building and people came from far and wide to see it. They admired its beauty! Up on the roof, a little nail heard the people praising everything about the lovely structure-except the nail! No one even knew he was there, and he became angry and jealous.
“If I am that insignificant, nobody will miss me if I quit!” So the nail then released its hold, slid down the roof, and fell in the mud.
That night it rained and rained. Soon, the shingle that had no nail blew away, and the roof began to leak. The water streaked the walls and the beautiful murals. The plaster began to fall, the carpet was stained, and the pulpit Bible was ruined by water. All this because a little nail decided to quit!
But what of the nail? While holding the shingle, it was obscure but it was also useful. Buried in the mud it was just as obscure, but now it was useless and would soon be eaten up by rust!
How true this story is. Most of us don’t know our own worth. We are never recognized for any great accomplishments or scientific discoveries, we just plod along through life doing what we do. Many of us are always looking for that praise from others just like the little nail was, but it never comes. We need to realize that that is okay. It’s like searching for the meaning of life, you’ll never find it and it’s different for everyone. God has a plan for each and every one of us and only He knows it. It’s is our job to search out God and be the best person we can be in our circumstances, ask God for advice, follow where He leads, do what He asks. He will never lead us wrong. We can fool ourselves and end up in a wrong place though. When this happens we just need to ask God to guide us back to wherever it is that He wants us to be. Maybe if that little nail could pray it would ask God to make it useful again. Maybe a kid would walk by and see it and pick it up and stick it in his pocket. Maybe a week later that same kid would find the nail in his pocket and be inspired to build a dog house or a fort. And maybe, just maybe, that kid would grow up to build great skyscrapers…or homes for poor people. God always has a use for us even if we lose our way or never know what it is. Whether large or small, each and every one of us has a critical role in how the world works. So we should all just keep plodding along doing what we do and talking to God all along the way so that He can keep us on His path for us, or bring us back to it should we get lost.