somebodylovesmeblog

Sharing God's love with the world, one heart at a time.


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Choose the Sparkle

There are two shirts in my summer wardrobe that I especially love to wear.  They are both made from beautiful fabric with lots of color.  They also have sparkly sequins.

These sequins show up everywhere.  I find them on furniture, on the floor, stuck on the leather in our car, outside on the ground…  This morning, while at work, I saw some on the floor by my desk, on my chair, and I just saw them in the bathroom.  Seeing them there made me smile.

Joe (my husband) and I always laugh when we see those sparkly things all over the house – he says that it is “Bernadette’s sparkly trail”.  The sparkles show where I’ve been, and they are remnants that reflect my existence.

What remnants do we leave behind as we go through life?  Do we share the love of God with the people all around us on a “normal” day?  Do our thoughts and words edify the ones God has entrusted us with?  Do our actions reach out in love?

What “trail” will be left behind, once our souls leave our mortal bodies?  Will the remnants of our lives sparkle with the love and light of God, or will the trail be a darker one?

Each day offers us fresh opportunities to make countless choices to love.  Always stay aware and listen for the whispers of the Holy Spirit.  When we keep our hearts open to the Lord, His Holy Spirit will open our eyes, ears and hearts, guiding us to where His love needs to be shared.

Jesus is always with us…it is our choice to invite Him into our hearts and receive the shine and sparkle of His light and love. 

Which choice will you make today?  I am choosing the sparkle.

 

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.  Ephesians 4:32

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.   John 13:34

He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.   1 John 4:8


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How Can I Help?

How many times have you wondered how to support a friend or relative who has taken on the role of caregiver? Or maybe you would like to offer your assistance or friendship to that special senior citizen that just can’t get around like they used to? Every time you see them, the same thought swirls through your heart and mind – “how can I help?”

Sometimes it’s so hard to know exactly what to do…even when your heart is in the right place.

I’ve been thinking about this, and would like to provide you with some concrete ideas that would be helpful and much appreciated to both the caregiver and the one who is being cared for.

Just so you know where I am coming from, let me give you some background of my current situation. I can only offer thoughts based on my personal experience. However, I believe that most, if not all of the suggestions, can be applied to most scenarios.

My husband (Joe) and I have been married for 35 years. We have two grown sons, who are now married and out on their own. This was to be the time for us to enjoy our “newfound freedom” and revel in our alone time. After all, our marriage had its ups, downs, and struggles, and we made it through, victoriously! Our sons are the joy of our lives, and we are so proud of the men they’ve become and happy that our relationship with them and their wives is still strong. However, when they  moved out, they were ready to be out on their own, and we were looking forward to some long awaited “alone” time.

Plans have a habit of changing. About 10 years ago, my father passed away after many years of fighting heart disease. My parents had been married almost 50 years, and were inseparable. My mother lived in Ohio, and we are in Virginia. Joe and I traveled back and forth for about a year to help her as much as possible, but it was obvious that she could not live on her own. Mom was getting weaker, she did not have a driver’s license, the neighborhood they lived in for most of their married life was no longer a safe place, and my sisters were unable to help. The decision was made – mom would sell her house and live with us in Virginia.

My husband and I are very blessed to have my mother with us. I am learning things about her life that I would never have known if she was not here with us. We have become much closer than we’ve ever been.

However, the stress that I feel as her caregiver is a feeling that I’ve never experienced. I am responsible for my mom’s health, social life, emotional well-being, physical care, finances, doctor’s appointments and medications. I am also her personal assistant for anything that she might need. We’re talking extra things like buying and mailing cards, shopping, wrapping and shipping gifts, scheduling and providing transportation for hair appointments, and trips to the library, etc. I feel completely stressed and worn out, and at the end of the day, there is not much left for myself or my husband.  Sometimes it feels as though my life has ceased to exist, and now everything revolves around my mother’s care and what she may need.  And, yes, we both work full time jobs.

 I know there are many other caregivers out there that are struggling with these same issues and could use some help. After a lot of thought, I came up with some ideas that I feel would be helpful.  These are ways we can all help each other, to brighten someone’s day by sharing our hearts.

• When offering assistance or respite help, don’t leave things as “let me know when you need help”. It is extremely difficult for the caregiver to ask for help. Instead, give your friend the times and days you are available and plan for the time.

• A homemade meal or dessert would be much appreciated. Be sure to ask if there are any special dietary needs/restrictions, and let them know when you will be providing the meal.

• The caregiver could use some encouragement. Finding personal notes and “thinking of you” cards in the mailbox are a great pick me up!

• If possible, offer to take their loved one for an outing. She (he) will enjoy the time out with you, and the caregiver will relish their time alone.  Some ideas: Bingo, shopping, lunch, ice cream cones, hair appointment, manicure, pedicure, senior center, Church events, walks

• Schedule some time to visit one on one – play a favorite card or board game…just the two of you. Or bring over a few favorite movies. Plan in advance so the caregiver knows she will have some time to herself.

• The elderly often feel alone, and especially miss getting personal mail. A warm and friendly note, some family photos or a small gift mailed to them periodically will brighten their day!  Find out if there is anything they may collect or need. (It’s fun to see the look on my mother’s face as she unwraps a new Barbie or Beanie Baby to add to her collection! And she also LOVES Word Search books…she never has enough) It doesn’t take a lot of time or money to lift spirits!

• Much of the time, when caring for a loved one, money is very tight. A gift basket, gift card, or movie tickets would be very much appreciated by the caregiver.

• Maybe you have a friend, relative or church member that feels drawn to ministering to the elderly. Let them know of your elderly friend that could use a visit or card. You’d be surprised how networking can work miracles!

• Listening is one of the most powerful and loving ways to show your support. Listen with love, compassion and a nonjudgmental spirit.  Every heart has a story to tell!

Every day the Lord is whispering ways to show His love to a world in need.  May He continue to open our eyes, ears and hearts so we may touch the people He places in our lives.

James 1:27 – Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Ephesians 4:32 – And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

John 13:34 – A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.


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Prayers Answered

So… something very exciting is happening…

If you have read my “About” page, you know my story of discovering the rosary.  I have been meditating on the rosary for about a year and a half now.  In that time my faith has greatly deepened, and I have been offering those daily rosaries for many intentions.

One of those intentions was for a good friend of mine, who was filled with many questions regarding faith.  Although she considers herself Catholic, she was not attending regular weekly Masses, and she and her husband were never married in the Catholic Church.  She had a confused and sometimes depressed spirit, which I could identify with.  She reminded me of myself…just a short time ago.  I could literally feel her confused “dark” spirit when she was with me.

I have been praying the rosary for her and her husband for over a year.  My prayers focused on them getting married in the Church, and also that she would be able to get her questions and doubts answered, and become closer to Jesus.

About four days ago, when she walked toward me, I could see and feel a noticeable difference in her whole demeanor.  She was glowing.  Her spirit felt joyful and light.  It was so wonderful to see her so joyful!!!

A few days before, she confided in me, that there were some women who were really upsetting her.  She had walked in and interrupted two conversations in which they were actually talking about her!  On top of that, these women were doing specific things to make her life miserable.  I suggested that she pray for them, even though it would be hard.  I let her know that not only would the prayers be good for the two women, they would also help to soften and open her heart.  The prayers were definitely answered!  I have never seen her so happy!

But that’s not all…she and her husband are preparing to marry in the Catholic Church, and she will be Confirmed!  When she told me, she was so happy, that it made me cry.  She is excited to be learning what the Church teaches about love and marriage….things she never thought about before. (even after being married for 10 years)  She is amazed about learning new things about her husband, who is also enjoying  the marriage prep classes.

I am watching a life being transformed by the love of Jesus!

Thank  you, Jesus, for allowing me the honor of praying  for one of your precious ones!  Help me to always keep my eyes, ears and heart open to ways of sharing your love with all the people in my daily life.

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;  Matthew 5:44

Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.  James 5:16


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A Grateful Heart

Sometimes ideas just pop in my head.  You can ask my husband, my gears are always turning, and he usually hears most of those thoughts.  Probably not the best thing for him…he does his best, but I have to admit, sometimes I see his eyes glaze over and I know it’s time to “zip it”.  Enough said.

This morning, I was taking a short walk before starting work, and I tried to just clear my mind and listen to the birds and crickets.  I feel closest to God when I am outside, surrounded by His beautiful creations.  Even if there is one little patch of grass, a few flowers, or one bird singing, it is awesome to me.

I felt really peaceful, and then the thoughts flowed.

In the past, I often wondered why it is so important for us to worship God, pray to Him, ask forgiveness, and thank Him for our lives and all the blessings.  I reasoned, if He is our Sovereign God, and is Perfect Love, why does He need us to worship Him or pray?  Is it because He needs His ego stroked?  Or maybe because He wants us to constantly bow down to Him to keep us “in our place”?  I never really understood that.

Here is what was revealed to me.  As all of you have done, on many occasions I have given a gift of time, money or a particular present I chose for someone.  I don’t “give to get”, my gifts are given with love and no strings attached.  I don’t “need” a thank you or acknowledgement to make me feel good about myself.

However, I am always aware of the gratitude or lack of it that the recipient shows.  Why?  Because I can usually get a feel of where their priorities and spiritual life are.  If the gift is never acknowledged, and thanks are never given, there is definitely room for growth in that area.  I have been guilty of the same thing; I am not judging people’s hearts, only God can do that.  I am only stating the obvious…that if a person does not respond with a spirit of gratitude and love in response to a gift that was freely bestowed on them, gratitude is not on their priority list.  That is my cue to pray for them.  Only when a person has a grateful heart, will they experience love in its fullness.  That is what the Lord wants for us!

Another way to see where someone’s priorities are, is if they are even willing to give the gift of time or a material gift to another person…or maybe they just grab anything they see, without thought, to fulfill an obligation?  Do they put real time and thought into it…to bring joy to someone’s life?  A thoughtful gift is so much more meaningful than an expensive one.

Little things are very telling.

So, does the Lord NEED us to worship Him, spend time with Him, thank Him, or give Him the gift of our love and appreciation, so that He can be happy?  No, He is an Almighty, Sovereign God.  He is Perfect Love.  He doesn’t need us to be anything…He DESIRES to share His Love with us!!!   He desires for us to share in His glory! He knows that we will be happy and joyful when we have a heart filled with love and gratitude.

The Lord knows where we are in our spiritual walk by our actions, priorities, and our heart’s alignment.  When we take the time to pray, spend time with Him, worship Him, and thank him for all the blessings He bestows on us and the whole world, He knows we are on our journey toward an eternity with Him.

Praise you, Jesus, for your sacrifice, so that we may have eternal life with Our Father in Heaven.  Thank you for shining the light of the Holy Spirit in our souls, so that we may journey toward Perfect Love.

O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.  Psalm 107:1

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  Matthew 6:21

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.  James 1:17


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Heartsick!

I just had to share Mary’s thoughts and prayer with you, regarding what is currently happening in our culture. May God bless you as you read her words!

maryhallrayford

After reading and responding to a number of comments regarding the Zimmerman case and the incident in Wisconsin, I am heartsick to see that so many Americans are so full of hate.  It does not matter what the ethnicity is–I see hatred pouring out from all sides and it is indeed sad to see.

There are some promoting the nonsense that only Black Americans commit crimes, some saying that no black person between the age of 7-70 should be trusted, some saying that height determines adulthood so if a black male is over 5’5″ he could should be considered a man, not a child regardless of age.  Is this truly the plight of America? Have we become such a blinded nation that we hate without reason or cause and attempt to justify our hate? 

What is even sadder about some of these comments is that those making them profess to…

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Your Normal Day

Once in a while, I get a craving for what I consider a “comfort food”, and yesterday I really felt like having an omelet for lunch.  I work about 5 minutes from a Bob Evans Restaurant, so you know where I headed!

I’m not sure what caused it, but I had a horrendous headache…my head was pounding.   The hostess led me to my table, you guessed it, right next to a large table of children (6 to be exact) with their mother.

As I read the menu, I could hear one of the kids behind me rapping one of their eating utensils on their table.  It was going bang…bang…bang and it seemed as though it would never stop.  On top of that, the kids were loud (not misbehaving, just acting like kids!) and my head was about to explode.  My eyes started to scan the restaurant looking for another table for me to sit.  Just as I was starting to feel really negative toward the whole family  for “disrupting” my peaceful lunch, an amazing thing happened.

Across from the large table there sat two women who were enjoying some wonderful “girl time” together.  You can tell by their conversation and shared laughter, they were old friends.

One of the women started talking over the noise to the mother across the aisle.  In a casual, very friendly voice, I heard her say, “what beautiful children…are they all yours?”  When the mother answered yes, the friendly lady told her what a great job she had done.  She said that it is rare to see children so loving with each other, and she admired her for the love and discipline it took for her to brave the elements and take all of her children to a restaurant.  Then the two ladies started talking to the children, and it was heartwarming to hear how sweet they were.  When the little boy said, “Guess what I can do.  I can spin around and I don’t even get sick” I laughed out loud.

Guess what!  My headache went away.  I sat there, alone at my table, with my heart filling up with love for the family, and especially for the two ladies who not only shared love with the mother and her children, but also shared love with me  and opened my heart.

Momentarily, I felt very guilty for the negative feelings I had, but I quickly realized that I am human, and we are all here for each other.

See how God uses us all to edify and love each other?  These things happen all the time.  We just need to stay open to the source of the goodness.

Anyway, the family left, and the two women were getting ready to leave.  I went over to their table and shared with them the story of my headache, how the kids were hurting my head and annoying me, and then how their simple act of love toward the mom and her kids completely turned my day around.  I thanked them.  One of the ladies (Deborah), introduced herself and her friend, Carolyn, to me, and then took my hand in hers.  She had tears in her eyes as she squeezed my hand.  We talked a little, and then parted ways.  They thanked me for coming over to talk with them.

Because of their simple act of love, my day was changed, and my heart was once again filled with Christ’s love.

Don’t ever think that little acts of love and kindness don’t make a difference.  You don’t know the ripples that happen because of the ways you show love every day through your “normal” day.  Not only is the recipient of your gesture affected, but also people around that are watching you.

You can be the reason for changing someone’s day, or life…and never even know it.  When the love of Jesus resides in your soul, don’t be afraid to reach out and share it.

He will bless and magnify your efforts in ways you will never be aware of, to build His Kingdom!

May God bless you and bless your “normal” day!

 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.  1 Peter 4:8


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Always Know I am With You

This morning, I was alone.  My husband left early to work at a Georgetown market (we have a graphic tee business), and my mother was still fast asleep.

The thought went through my head to go back to sleep, being it was a Saturday and 7am, but I realized this was my chance to have some stillness and quiet time with God.   And…I LOVE mornings.  I grabbed my eggs, toasted english muffin with strawberry jam, and a cup of coffee and set out for the back deck.

I was just sitting there, with my eyes closed, listening to the faintest of breezes, and the beautiful music of the birds in the backyard.  Thankfully, there was a break in the rain spell we have been experiencing, and the humidity level was lower than normal.  Things were good:-)

The temperature was 76 degrees, and the air felt pretty near perfect, and it was overcast.  The sun was behind some thick clouds.

With my eyes still closed, I leaned back in my chair, fully at peace, and asked the Lord to let me know what He wanted for my day…what did He wish for me to know.

As soon as I finished that request/thought, my body was enveloped with unbelievable warmth and light from the sun.  I mean it completely overcame my whole being, and I felt myself basking in God’s love.  He spoke to me.

“Keep me in your thoughts and heart and you will find me all through your day.  Always know that I am with you.”

When I hear the Lord speaking to me, I listen. (or at least try to!!!)  I will keep my eyes, ears, and heart open, today and everyday, to look for Him. I know that He will show up in places that I do not expect.

I am looking forward to being surprised by my Heavenly Father, and looking for the ways He will use me to share His love.

May God bless you with His Holy Spirit, so that your eyes will see Him, your ears will hear Him, and your heart will know Him.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.   John 3:16

I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.   Proverbs 8:17


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Somebody Loves Me

We are all looking for love…after all, we are human and that’s how we’re programmed.

I believe God created us in his image, and his image is pure love.  Our soul is constantly being drawn to love…ultimately to be drawn to our heavenly father.  I also believe that we are all in communion with each other, both on earth and in heaven.  Each one of us plays an intricate part in God’s plan and his kingdom.  Our lives are meant to touch each other, in a way that edifies and leads to the love of Jesus.

Sometimes, a person who is lonely, angry, hurting or spiritually empty, needs to know that “somebody loves me” before they can even fathom that “God loves me.”

Something happened last night that really jarred me.  It was just a small thing, but I believe small things can be damaging, or can lead to big blessings.

My 85 year old mother has lived with my husband and me for nine years. My dad passed away 10 years ago, and she was not able to live on her own anymore in Ohio…we moved her to Virginia with us.  She had to leave her home that she made with my dad over the course of 50 years.  She was not able to bring too much with her.

Something that really bothers her is the fact that she does not receive mail.  She gets some junk mail and bills, but usually, not much else.  (she does get occasional mail from my sisters…and I sporadically send her cards)  I know that she feels that her life does not matter much anymore…like she is just “floating” and feels that she lost her identity that was so intertwined with my dad.

So…last night she told me about a solicitation for a donation that she received.  She receives lots of them, from many places, because she sends money.  I told her that I will send it back, with a note to “remove from solicitation list.”

She answered me, “No, don’t take my name off the list; then I won’t get any mail at all.”

When she said that, my heart just ached for her!  I mean, isn’t that sad?  How many people do you think there may be all around us, who are lonely, and feel that marketing solicitors are their only friends?  Something is wrong here…

One of my personal small “ministries” is sending out cards and notes of friendship, love and/or appreciation to as many people as I can.  My little way of letting them know that “Somebody Loves Me”.

I would love to send a card to someone  you may know that could use a “hello”, or to let them know someone is thinking of them and praying for them.  It will be anonymous, (through somebodylovesmeblog.wordpress.com) because I think it is fun that way.  I know that my mom appreciates cards from me, but she sees me every day.  If she received an anonymous card, it would peak her interest!!!

If you would like for me to send a card out for you, please email me @ blmaluso@hotmail.com with  name, address, and if you wish, a little info that would be useful for me to write a short note.  It will be my pleasure to send the cards, so there will be no charge.  If the demand goes beyond my capability, we will see where the Lord leads.  (Your email and info will not be shared for any purpose)

Maybe, together, in this small way, we can let more people know that somebody loves me.

7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.   1 John 4:7-8

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”   John 13:34-35


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Get A Grip!

Tina has a way of touching my heart with true wisdom disguised as shared life stories. Thanks Tina…for your willingness to be God’s vessel!

Just Ask Tina

When I was a little girl, my dad lived on a lake. And while I admit that I don’t make it a habit of swimming in lakes these days – particularly because of the prevalence of alligators in Florida – it’s something I very much looked forward to on my weekends at my dad’s house.

One Sunday, Daddy said my sister, Jerri, and I could go swimming after church. As soon as we got home, we scampered into the house to change into our bathing suits while Daddy moseyed out to the bank and sat down, taking off his church shoes (a/k/a cowboy boots) and socks as he waited for us to come out.

We darted out of the house and raced through the yard and down toward the water, jumping in with a splash. Daddy looked on with a smile as we giggled and frolicked in the cool water…

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