somebodylovesmeblog

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


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Love Always Remains

Today’s post is one that is truly difficult to put out there in words…in black and white…which will suddenly make it all real.  My oldest sister, Patti, of whom I have written about on a few occasions, passed away on December 6, 2021, at the age of 79.  

For those of you who do not know her story, Patti was stricken with polio when she was 12.  She experienced a severe case, and almost died.  Her prognosis was not good at that time, and she was given only about 10 years to live in her condition, even after treatment in an iron lung and then physical therapy.  God had another plan in mind…she lived a full life, touching  countless hearts of all that came into her life.  Patti lived the remainder of her life as a quadriplegic, with only the use of her left hand and neck…and a brain filled with intelligence, love, trust in God, and an incredibly feisty and grateful spirit.

It’s hard to describe what Patti meant to me, and to my family.  “Back in the day,” there were no government programs in place for her or for any families that were caregivers for their loved ones.  There was no financial help, and no respite help.  Come to think of it, as far as I know, there were never any offers to help our family back then.  I am sure that most friends and family members were intimidated by the scope of what was needed for her care.

With that said, from a very young age, my other two sisters and I learned how to help care for all of Patti’s needs.  Bathing, hair washing, skin care, bedpans, turning her and changing her position so she would not get bedsores.  We also were “on call” for anything that she needed or help with the things she desired to do. We assisted her, and made sure that she had her writing tools and papers, books to read, the telephone to visit with friends and family, cups of cozy coffee, among many other things.

Patti was the center of our existence, and her role in our lives is so intricate that it is impossible to explain to others, even to other family members and friends. We grew up in a volatile, abusive, confusing and uncertain home. The kind of home where you never knew what was going to happen hour to hour, or even minute to minute.  There were wonderful times, that felt loving, lighthearted and fun.  However, those comforting times could change in a fleeting instant…and we lived in a home that the “spirit” of the day ahead of us could be felt in a palpable way. Our life was confusing, filled with the stark contrast of darkness and light.

That is one of the ways that Patti was a grounding for us.  She was a constant source of light, love, nurturing, connection, and positivity.  We spent a lot of our time as babies, toddlers, and teenagers, in her room.  She was there for us when we came home from school, to listen to whatever needed to be shared or discussed.  We watched special movies together, in her room.  (remember…there were no dvds or streaming back then so it was “a big deal”) We listened to record albums in her room, as a family.  This would include Shakespeare plays and most of the musicals.  I especially remember listening to Macbeth, all together in the dark.  Very memorable and scary!

My most precious memories spent with Patti, when I was a child, was laying next to her, listening to my favorite stories and poems that she would read to me for hours.  She most probably is the reason for my love of reading and writing.  As a little one, I experienced the stories of Poppy, Heidi, The Velveteen Rabbit, The Happy Prince, and The Selfish Giant.  I also learned about the love of Jesus and His Precious Mother…and countless stories of the lives of the saints.  She read me beautiful story poems and also whimsical, silly ones.  She was the one who helped me with homework, and also helped with special projects for school.  She offered much encouragement when I practiced for a speech or presentation…which absolutely terrified me.

Somehow, Patti knew how to touch my soul. Or shall I say that she was an open vessel for The Holy Spirit to work through.  This was evident in our family, and each person that she came in contact with.

Although she lived her life with a disability most of us can’t even fathom, she never complained or cried about her condition.  She chose a different way…the way of gratitude, love, and trust in God.  As I have said before, she was the least handicapped person I have ever known.  She forged through life, and viewed it as an adventure.  There was not much that she wouldn’t be open to, if there was a way for her to do it.  I remember the time in her life when she painted miniatures using a mouth stick.  That amazed me!  I also remember when she was strapped to the back of a motorcycle for an exhilarating ride. Yikes! (remember…she could not hold on or sit up on her own)

Actually, everything about Patti will always amaze me.

Patti, I know that you are in heaven, and are part of a world that I can not see.  But I know you are here.

You are here in my heart.  You are here when I enjoy the newness of each day and what it will bring.  You are here when my heart explodes with love for those that God has blessed me with…for your heart exploded with love into me when I was a confused little girl.  My fears and anxieties have kept me from many experiences throughout my life…everytime I am able to break through those fears and try something new or creative, you are right here with me.  You always encouraged me and loved me where I was at.  I am learning to do the same with myself and others.

Thank you for all that you have given to me and to the world. Thank you for showing me what a blessing it is to open myself to the love, forgiveness, peace and mercy, that only God can give.

Thank you for teaching me what it means to be truly grateful for all that God has blessed me with in this life.  You always focused on the beauty around you and that meant that your focus was always outside of yourself.  That is where your secret of happiness resided...it lived in the beauty of God’s creations and blessings, and especially in the hearts of those that He placed in your life.

Thank you for the love that you share(d) with me…I feel you so strong right now, that my heart is overflowing.  Thank you for being there for me throughout my life.  Your love and spirit  will be carried in my heart until my life has ended…and hopefully, will then be passed on to my loved ones and those souls that God places in my life.

God is love, and we will be connected in His love forever.  Thank you for teaching me that.

Your physical presence here on Earth is missed in so many ways.  It is not the same place without you.  However, the light that you shared will always be here to comfort us. Love always remains. I love you.

Patti’s Obit https://www.dispatch.com/obituaries/b0057891

Past Post about Patti  https://somebodylovesmeblog.wordpress.com/2014/11/25/patti-your-life-is-a-prayer/

 


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Feeling Hopeless and Empty?

In the last few years, I have personally experienced a roller coaster of emotions and issues, which were brought on by circumstances that I did not fully understand…and probably will never understand. Trudging through the thickness of my own private internal battles, I have managed to learn a few life saving gems.

These gems are not the sparkle and glitz types that are flashed at us through clever, and somewhat deceiving marketing ads.  What I am talking about are true nuggets…the kind that are hidden in plain view.  The kind that summon and invite us in, and once these nuggets are discovered, accepted, polished and lovingly cared for, will actually sustain us for life.

I have found that when I am at my lowest, feeling hopeless and empty, there are two areas that need to be acknowledged and developed. This is true in all of us… I witness it through all of the sadness, depression, confusion, anxiety, hopelessness and despair of those around me.

At this moment in time, there is much darkness enveloping our world.  There is much that attempts to bring fear and despair into our hearts.

However, at the same time, there is always love to be found…goodness that finds a way to radiate from difficult or dark circumstances.

The nuggets that lead us to truly see and and experience goodness and love are the virtues of gratefulness and humility.

Humility is understanding that God is everything.  We are alive because God wills it…every grace and blessing in our lives is gifted to us by God.  It does not matter what the world thinks of us, or how human eyes view us.  God created each one of us, and He alone knows our souls, and knows our true purpose.  He loves us with a love that we cannot comprehend.  

Humility is understanding and accepting that we are nothing without Him.

Gratitude, naturally flows from humility.  Once we know with our minds and hearts that life is truly a gift from God, and that all good things come from Him, we can’t help but to thank Him for every blessing and grace in our lives. One way to develop gratefulness is to thank God every night for each blessing that we experienced that day.

I once read something profound that posed a question to my heart.  “What if you lost all the things that you did not thank God for?

I try to thank God for everything in my life…starting with the fact that I am still alive. Listing out each of my senses, and how they are a blessing to myself, and can also lead to being a blessing to others.  I can walk. I have clean, running water. Hot showers. A cozy home. Food. Drinks. My husband. Friends. Family. Heat. Air Conditioning. We all have different blessings.

Once you get started thinking about all the goodness in your life, and know that God is the provider of all that is good…you start to see the world in a different way.  You start wanting to align yourself with God…and you learn to look up toward God for your joy and happiness, rather than continuing to search in all the wrong places for peace, joy and love.

Life is not easy, and never will be.  We are here to learn how to know, love and serve God.  And until we truly understand what it means to open our hearts and souls to the perfect love of God, we will struggle.  We must keep our faith in God, and know that we are saved through Christ Jesus. No matter how we continue to fall, and no matter how much we struggle and suffer…our hope and joy is in Him.

 

 

 

 


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What a Father Should Be

Since our move to the area, my husband and I have found a new church here in Fort Collins, CO at St. Joseph Parish.  It is a beautiful, traditional Catholic Church, and the reverence of the Holy Mass pulled me right in, including beautiful bells being rung during the Eucharistic Prayer, and an altar rail.  (which I have greatly missed)

I felt completely at home from our first visit, and realized that many things at this Parish remind me of my childhood Church.  (St. John the Baptist in Campbell, OH) Even though we are new members, I feel community, connection, and most importantly…I feel the presence of the Holy Spirit.

One of the first things that I learned, was that we are in the midst of The Year of St. Joseph...December 8, 2020 – 2021.

After Mass, we offer this prayer:

Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,

Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

To you God entrusted his only Son;

in you Mary placed her trust;

with you Christ became man.

Blessed Joseph, to us too,

show yourself a father

and guide us in the path of life.

Obtain for us grace, mercy, and courage, and defend us from every evil. 

Amen.

I  never heard of this prayer before, and being perfectly honest, I never even thought of St. Joseph and his so very important, blessed role in the Holy Family.

The first time I attempted to read the prayer outloud, my eyes and heart filled with tears, and the words could not be formed out of my mouth.

It took my breath away.

This prayer conveys the perfect example of manhood and fatherhood.  What a father should be to his family.

A concept that I was never able to fully grasp with my own father.

St. Joseph took on the will of God with submission to The Father, total love, and humility. He was worthy in God’s eyes to be entrusted with the care and guardianship of The Blessed Virgin, and her son, Jesus, Our Savior.   

The words touch my heart because the prayer describes what a true Catholic father should be for his children and wife. What an important and blessed calling it is!

“To you God entrusted his only son”  To you, God entrusted his child (children.)

“in you Mary placed her trust;”  In you, your wife placed her trust.

“with you Christ became man.”  With you, your daughter or son becomes a woman or man.

“Blessed Joseph, to us too, show yourself a father and guide us in the path of life.”  Show yourself a father and guide your children in the path of life.

“Obtain for us grace, mercy, and courage, and defend us from every evil.”  Pray and Live in a way that your children will be blessed with grace, mercy and courage and defend them from the evils of the world.  

Be sure that you, as a father, are never the source of evil in their lives…but the protection from it!

May we always be open and willing to follow the perfect examples of Jesus, and the role models of parenthood that God the Father blessed us with.  

May God bless you and your family on your journey to Him!

 

St. John the Baptist Church

 

 

 

 

 


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The Monsters We Create

The other night, I happened to see a discussion of the movie “The Bride of Frankenstein.” Upfront, I need to let you know I have never seen a Frankenstein movie and have never read the book. It just did not interest me. Although I usually do not put any credence in what “stars” say, Drew Barrymore’s  words interested me. She said it was a beautiful movie, with lots of symbolism. She also inferred there was a strong ethical and moral theme throughout the story, and a person could not help feeling sadness and compassion for the “monster”.

My curiosity was aroused, so I watched the movie.

Then I had to watch it again with my husband. This movie was filmed in 1935. There are many scenes that modern movie enthusiasts might laugh at, because of the acting and low technology, according to today’s standards. However, what I saw was a truly beautiful film, with much symbolism and reference to God, good, and evil. That kind of shocked me…I was not expecting that. Here was a monster that was created from dead bodies, and given “life” by crazed scientists. When the monster acted like a monster, the people were horrified, terrified, so of course they turned against him. They did not understand him, and were too afraid to even be in his presence. The monster stumbled his way around, because he simply knew no other way. He killed a few people indiscriminately, some of them by accident.

One truly beautiful scene, was when a lonely blind man was playing his violin in his little shack. The monster heard the music, and was drawn in by the beauty. He opened the door to the shack, and expected the man to scream and run. Since the man was blind, he did not do that. He literally prayed to God in thanksgiving…thanking God for sending him a friend in his loneliness. The man nursed the wounds of the monster, provided him with food and drink, and even tucked him into a comfortable bed, so he could rest. He accepted the monster as he was, without preconceived judgment. Not only did the man minister to his new “friend’s” needs, he also taught him to talk, and shared some finer things of life with him…namely wine and cigars. They became friends to each other. Because of the man’s blindness, he was able to show love without fear; he did not see the monster in his friend.

At that time, some men who were lost, happened to come into the man’s shack and saw the monster. They tried to kill him, and pulled the man out. The shack was left burning, and you see the monster escaping out of the flames, sadly calling out for his friend.

I won’t tell you the ending of the story, because I don’t want to completely ruin it for you. But let’s just say, the monster ended up having more humanity than the humans that created him had. I know it sounds weird, but that movie truly touched my heart. How many times do we create “monsters” and then turn our backs on them?

We allow the removal of God from our schools, and then are shocked when throngs of young adults turn their backs on God and the Church. And then, because of political correctness, we allow them to continue on their Godless path without a word, because we do not want to “offend” anyone.

We allow and condone the killing of unborn babies, the “innocents”, and then we wonder why there is so much violence and murder…and such disrespect for life in general. Again, we remain silent, after all, isn’t killing a baby in the womb a woman’s right? Really???

We allow our children to play violent, gory, evil games for hours on end, and then wonder why they cannot relate to people in a normal, healthy, loving way. In extreme cases, they play out their killing games in real life. Again, we make excuses. It’s only a game, it’s only a movie, it’s only music. Again I say…Really???

We allow the infiltration of our society’s minds, including our children’s innocent minds, with immodesty, promiscuity, and disgusting behavior. Then we cringe and back away when we see the results. Physical disease and debilitating emotional and spiritual sickness, unwanted pregnancies, suicide. But we often just want to turn away from what we have created. We judge and point our fingers at the “sinners.”  After all they chose that lifestyle, and need to repent. Right???

Because of busy work schedules and lifestyle choices, we spend less and less time together as families. Family meals are far and few between. Because of “smartphones” and other technologies, we have lost the art of personal communication and relationships. Families communicate through pithy and clever phrases, and don’t take the time to truly discuss feelings, dreams and beliefs. Our children are floundering…they are hungry for unconditional love and attention. But we are doing as much as we can; our family needs our two jobs, and we all need to be “active” and involved in community and recreational activities. We are exhausted…no time for anything else. Right???

Maybe we should all step back, and breathe in the love of God. Maybe then we will realize all the monsters we are creating on a daily basis…once created, the monsters we would like to ignore. The monsters we would like to destroy.

However, those “monsters” are our children, our friends, our family, our community, our country. The monsters are us. Instead of going with our first instinct of turning away in fear and disgust, we need to  look toward God for the grace to love His children in blindness to their circumstance and guilt, and love them for the beauty that  He sees inside their hearts.

Jesus sees the hurt, pain, sin, and darkness that we all have in our hearts. He is waiting for us to open ourselves in faith, submission and humility.

That is how our world will be converted to a much more beautiful place. With less monsters.


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The Desire of Our Hearts

Sometimes we forget that God knows our hearts better than we do.  

We trod along each day, searching for those things that we believe will make us happy.  As we attain our dreams and goals, we usually find that when we reach those goals, and actually have exactly what we were desiring, life still isn’t the perfect place we imagined it to be.  So, not understanding the truth and reality of life,  we move ourselves once again toward another imagined perfect scenario of happiness.

We all do it in one way or another.

It’s hard for us to understand that in many of life’s circumstances, there will always be a struggle…and with struggle, there is usually suffering.  We try to skip over the suffering part of life, because it can feel like the twisting of a knife in our soul.  It hurts so deeply, that sometimes we deal with it by ignoring or burying the pain.

That’s what I did for most of my life…ignored and buried the pain. I buried the memories and  feelings that I couldn’t bear to face, into different sections of my mind and heart…and lived  the life that I created for myself…my “happy place.”  For so many years, I strived for my own peace of mind, and to create a warm, inviting, loving home for my husband and sons.  All of my heart and soul were directed toward finding ways to make my family feel safe, loved and nurtured.

For many years, that goal brought me deep happiness, and I felt loved and at peace…until I didn’t.

Somewhere along the way, I started to become aware of a forgotten reality that would show itself to me in flashes and bits and pieces. Like the layers of an onion, the illusions that I held of my life started to peel away, one layer at a time.  As with an onion, the revealing truths that were exposed, caused stinging tears, pain, and heartache.

As I become more and more aware of my own feelings that I never allowed myself to feel,  and remember the reasons for the many issues that I struggle with every day, I am becoming closer and closer to Jesus.  Although sometimes things are unclear and confusing to me, I trust that I am being led to developing certain knowledge and virtues through the suffering.

No matter what life brings, or what pain I may be experiencing, I trust in the Lord. All things work toward good for those who love him.

God has always been with me.  He was there as I was suffering abuse and trauma as a child.  He was there with me as I shut down my feelings, and left my body, so I wouldn’t  experience the pain and horror that my little mind and heart could not fathom. He surrounded me with the gentle love that kept me together, until the time came for me to face all of what happened in our family, as my sisters and I were growing up.

Suffering brings us closer to Jesus (if that is what we choose) and helps us to develop love and empathy for those that we meet that are suffering.  Our eyes and hearts become wide open to knowing and seeing the deep pain and needs of those around us…especially when they experienced the same struggles that we did.

Our Lord doesn’t always protect and keep us from harm.  However, I believe that he is always working in ways we cannot fathom…giving us the opportunity to grow in faith, love and hope here on earth, leading us to the true desire of our hearts, which is eternal life with Him.

 

Take delight in the Lordand he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.  Romans 8:28

 

 


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Eyes are Always Watching

Every once in a while, God gives me a nudge or a confirmation…reinforcing my faith that He is always there, working through my life.  Let me share one of those experiences with you.

This last Sunday, my husband (Joe) and I were at Mass.  When the homily started, I pulled out my Mass Journal, and started jotting down some key points the priest was making.  I find it very helpful to do so, being that I usually have a problem with remembering things without writing them down!  Did I mention that  Catholics don’t normally take notes during Mass???  So, I was writing away, when the man behind me tapped me on the shoulder and said, “I really admire you for doing that.  I have been thinking of doing the same, but just haven’t done it yet.”  And he again said, “I really admire you.”

First, for those of you that are not Catholic, fellow parishioners usually don’t talk to each other during the homily, or any of the Mass, except for the Sign of Peace.  Just the fact that he was talking to me in his “regular voice” as opposed to a whisper, kind of surprised me. My next feeling was one of confusion. I was just taking notes, not even thinking about the effect it may have on someone, certainly that’s not something that would evoke feelings of admiration?  Really?

As I turned back around in my seat, a little voice told me to let him know what gave me the idea of keeping a Mass Journal.  On a little slip of paper, I wrote, “I got the idea from “Rediscover Catholicism” by Matthew Kelly.  Awesome book. Life Changing!”  When the homily was over, I turned around and handed him the note, and said “this is for you.”  He read it quick, and then looked at me in amazement.  He told me that he is currently reading the book!

Let me tell you…when he shared that he was reading the book, the Holy Spirit came over me so strong, I thought I was going to pass out.  I’ve never had an experience that powerful.  I believe the Lord was teaching me a valuable lesson.

When you turn your life over to Jesus, and pray for Him to work through your life, He does just that.  All I was doing was living my life, doing the normal things of my day. I didn’t have to do anything special, did not have to look or act in a certain way.  I was just being me, and God took my itty bitty act of faith, and magnified it to touch someone else’s heart.  And the extra special part came  when I was nudged into giving him the note.  When he saw the name of the book, and realized it was the one he was reading, he received confirmation that he is on the right track. Wow, just amazing!

Imagine how many times  your day to day life affects someone you will never even know about.  We were all created for a unique purpose, and have the opportunity to touch people that no one else could.  All we have to do is stay close to the Lord, pray, and listen for His guidance!

It’s important for us to remember that eyes are always watching.  When love for God is part of our being, and the Holy Spirit fills our hearts, blessings will follow.  May God continue to bless you!

 

Rediscover Catholicism” by Matthew Kelly  is a life changing book, whether or not you are Catholic.  I can promise it is not what you think it is, and will hold your interest from the prologue to the end.  Make SURE to read the prologue, it is very thought provoking.

 

1 Corinthians 15:58   Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

2 Corinthians 9:8   And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

Ephesians 2:10   For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.