somebodylovesmeblog

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


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Unless You Become Like Children

Last night my husband and I had the most entertaining and special time.  We had our 23 month old grandson, Brayden, over for a sleepover.

What fun!  We all enjoyed each and every minute that we shared together.  You know what moments I am talking about.  The ones that are completely special while doing nothing special.

Moments spent building houses with blocks, reading favorite books, giggling together while Brayden paraded around in our shoes and slippers, being with him as he pointed to all the interesting things he found, including snow globes that completely fascinated him, and wind up Santas and Snowmen that played music.  Time flew by as we sang songs, cuddled, and were just plain goofy together.

When it was Brayden’s bedtime, I thought that it was the end of our beautiful night together…and we started his bedtime ritual.  His jammies were on, his teeth were brushed, and his stories were read.  I cuddled with him a little, and as I rocked him, I felt his little head nestle into my neck.  What a precious feeling that is!

Sooo…I laid him down in his cushioned pack and play, in the spare room, for the night.

Now, I have watched him many times, and he is a good napper and sleeper for me.  When it is at his house.  But although he feels secure with us, he wasn’t so sure about spending the night in a different room and a different bed..even with his familiar sound machine and favorite blanket.

As I turned out the light, and started to close the door, I heard him whimper my name in the most pitiful little cry. All I heard was a faint “Gigi.”  (his name for me…pronounced GeeGee with a hard G) He melted my heart, and I turned back to him.

His pained little face with tears welling in his eyes were all I needed to gather him back in my arms to comfort him.

I know at this point, many will “judge” me because I shouldn’t spoil him!  However, grandmas are not bound by all the same rules as parents:-)

The best part of the night was the forty five minutes that followed, and will remain in my heart forever.

I laid the little guy down in his makeshift bed, and told him it was time for sleep.  As I rubbed his back, I told him I would stay with him.  I turned out the light, closed the door, and laid down on the floor right next to him.  He was positioned in the corner of the playpen, and I was facing him, with only the netting between us.   It was completely dark, so we could not see each other.

He was quiet, and I could hear his rhythmic breathing.  After about fifteen minutes, I thought he was sleeping.

Then, I felt his presence close to me, and his warm breath breathing down on me.  I heard a whispered “Gigi” and realized that he had popped his head up in the darkness to see if I was still there.  I answered, “Gigi is here,” and he laid back down without a sound.  We went through the exact same scenario about five or six times before he felt safe enough to fall asleep.

What really touched my heart, as his grandma, was the inner knowing…that he was looking to me for comfort, and trusted me in a way that allowed him to feel secure enough to “let go”.

He just needed to know if I was still there.

My mind turned to this Bible Verse:

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”  And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them,  and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  Matthew 18:1-4

Unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  

How can we humble ourselves like a child, so that we can enter the kingdom of heaven?

One way would be to follow Brayden’s example.  When he was afraid in the darkness, in his innocence he called out my name…just to make sure I was still there.  He could not see me, but he knew my voice when I answered him, and he felt my presence.  He didn’t stop himself from calling out time after time.  Once he felt secure that I was with him, he had no trouble falling asleep.  He slept peacefully all night.

And when he woke up in the morning, and called out to me, I was still there for him.

We should never be afraid to call out to Jesus when we are afraid, hurt, or in darkness.  As many times as we need to.  In our darkness and despair, we will learn to feel His Presence and hear His voice.  Sometimes, it will take many cries, of “Jesus, are you there?”  

Once you feel the love of Jesus wash over you, like Brayden you will be able to finally let go.  As you learn to recognize the voice of Jesus, you will find the peace and mercy that will allow your spirit to rest comfortably in the knowledge that you are loved, and you are never alone.

Always remember that truth…you are loved and you are never alone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This is the Day

This is the day the Lord has made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

This is the last day of 2015.  Usually, it is a day of pondering all that has happened in the last year, and wondering what the new year will bring.  Many will also start lists of resolutions in order to better their lives, or the lives of their families.

All of these things are good, when we keep them in the right context of our lives.

I decided to do something different this year. Instead of looking back, and looking forward, I am choosing to be in the moment. The Lord has given me this day…this moment.  What will I do with it?

As my day unfolds, I will stay open to His voice.  I will open my heart to His presence in a purposeful way.

How many times will He put new souls in front of me?  I will keep open to the Holy Spirit, and really SEE each person…including the ones I see every day.   I ask the Lord to allow me to be a vessel, so that His love pours out of me through a smile, words exchanged, or a kindness.

As I go through my day, I choose to focus on the blessings in my life…they are countless!  My greatest blessing is my husband and our marriage.  Thank you, Jesus, for a marriage relationship so strong that we are one in all ways.  Because YOU live in us and bind us together in and through YOU. 

Thank you for my sons, their wives, and our first grandson, who is due to enter our physical world in February.

Thank you for the family that you designed me to be a part of.  For my sisters and their families and friends.

Thank you for the friends that are deeply intertwined in my heart and always there for me…help me to always be there for them in their need.

Thank you for the beautiful home, which to this day, I am amazed that we have been blessed with.

Thank you for the comforts you are providing…plentiful food and drink, accessible water, a heating system that keeps us cozy, inspiring and entertaining books, beautiful music, movies that fill my heart with faith, love and hope.

Thank you for always providing our needs and the desires of our hearts…for your Holy Spirit knows those true desires and needs in a way that we cannot even comprehend.

Thank you for the difficulties of this day and this moment.  I trust that all things work toward good for those who love You.

Yes,  sometimes it is very appropriate to look back, remember, savor the past.  And in the hope of the Lord, to look forward to the New Year and our future in Him.

But, for me, TODAY, I choose to live in this present moment of love.

This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!

 

 

 


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How Long Will You Choose to Wait?

Today, I received the following words to share with you.  I pray that they touch your heart, as they did mine,  and help you to grow in your relationship with Jesus.

Why are you fighting against me?  You have heard that quiet voice in your heart as I speak to you…but you tune me out.  You have felt the direction that I am guiding you toward; however, you ignore me and continue on your familiar path.  You see the wonder and beauty of my creation all around you each day, but you choose to skim over all those beautiful sights  I specifically  place in front of your eyes, and replace them with worldly glitter and gaudy replications.  And you wonder why you feel unhappy and that  “there is something missing”.

What are you waiting for?  Why do you keep me waiting, with my arms outstretched in love?  I ask you again, how long will you wait?

Are you waiting until you have time?  What is keeping you from me?

Is it…

Family

Friends

Date Nights

Work

Volunteering

TV

Music, Concerts

Reading

Movies

Sports

Addictions or pleasures

Laziness

Stubbornness

Or just waiting for the “perfect” time…

 

Take a moment now to breathe in the peace of my spirit.  You do not have to live without my grace and love any longer…it just takes a daily decision to want to be in relationship with me.  All that I ask is that you open your heart, and allow me to live within you.  Allow the Holy Spirit to heal the darkness that you are fighting to hide deep within yourself.   You feel far away from me because of the darkness that lurks…I understand that darkness and am waiting for your invitation for me to wipe it away  and replace it with my light.

It is your decision…how long will you choose to wait?

 

With more love than you can imagine,

Jesus

 

 

 


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The Christmas Chair

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As I get older, I realize that true joy is found in the blessings of “moments.”  I would like to share one of those moments with you.

Twenty one years ago, my husband, our two sons, and I moved from Northeastern Ohio to the Northern VA/DC area.  It was a traumatic move that happened rather quickly.

My husband and I were in dire need of employment, and the Youngstown area did not offer much opportunity.  Through friends of friends, we were made aware of available positions for both of us, in Springfield, VA, at the same company.  We would be starting at entry level positions…with room to grow.  When I called to inquire about the positions, I was told that we would need to be there on Monday, ready for work.  Did I tell you I called on a Wednesday?  That gave us two and a half days to pull some of our belongings together, and make the drive to Virginia on Saturday.

At this time in our lives, we were pretty much broke.  It will take a very full post to share all the miracles and all the ways that things just “fell into place” regarding our move…that story will be shared soon!  The four of us drove to Virginia  in a car we borrowed from my dad, with as much “stuff” as we could shove in the trunk and around the boys in the back seat.  We had enough cash for gas, some food, and a little to carry with us.  We were moving and living on faith.  We knew the Lord would carry us through our journey.

Coni is the woman who opened the door for us by offering us both a position in the company she worked for.  Not only did she offer us jobs, she offered, and insisted that our family of four stay with their family until we got on our feet.  Coni, Kevin (her husband), and their son, opened their beautiful home to us for what turned in to two and a half months.  Although we helped as much as we could once the paychecks started coming in, they never asked us for anything at all.  Jesus was definitely working through them.

We made the initial move to Virginia on December 4th, and then needed to drive to Ohio for Christmas and to pick up more of our belongings from our home.  That Christmas was a very lean one…we were unable to buy any Christmas presents at all.

What we didn’t know, was that Coni and Kevin had snuck some wrapped gifts into the trunk for all of us.   Our thirteen and ten year old sons knew, but were told to keep it a secret.

When we pulled up into the driveway of what still was “home” to us, my heart filled up and I had to just swallow the emotions I was feeling.  I kind of turned off my feelings, because I didn’t want my sons to know how much I was missing “home.”  Since we would only be there for a few days,  there were no Christmas decorations.  The thought that it was the last time we would be sleeping in our home was hanging heavy in the air.  None of us articulated what we were feeling.

What we didn’t know, was that Michael (our youngest) snuck into the crawlspace and pulled out our twinkle lights.  He then proceeded to wrap them around and around our recliner by the front window…where our tree usually stood.  The decorated, lit up chair was in the “laid back”  position, with the gifts that Coni and Kevin had sent for us laying underneath.  It was such a sweet, joyful moment, that I have tears in my eyes as I write this.

Needless to say, after experiencing the “Christmas Chair”, we realized how important it was to enjoy our last Christmas in our home.  We all dragged some decorations from the crawlspace, hung the wreath and displayed the Nativity Set.

I thank God every day for my husband, and my sons who teach me time after time  what is truly important in life.  I also thank God for all of the special  friends He has blessed us with over the years.

And we will always have a special place in our hearts for Coni, Kevin, and Robbi…who as “casual friends” that hardly even knew us at that time, chose to open their hearts and their home to our family, to help us on our journey.

My wish for you during this beautiful Christmas Season, is that you keep your hearts open to all the simple, beautiful moments that are presented to you and your family each and every day.  These moments are the true gifts that the Lord blesses us with.


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Thanksgiving Memories

Each and every day I am filled with thankfulness for all the blessings in my life…especially for my family and friends.

Tomorrow, on Thanksgiving Day, we will hopefully all slow down, relax, and inhale the beauty of those around us. And take some extra time to pray in gratitude and love, asking that the Lord allows us to see Him in each one of them.

somebodylovesmeblog

This is the first year we will be celebrating Thanksgiving Day without our sons.  They are living across the country with their wives, in Colorado and California.  It’s a weird feeling, because we miss them and wish we could spend this special holiday with them, but at the same time we are really looking forward to having a cozy and wonderful day.  It will be the three of us…my husband Joe, my mother and me.

Sometimes I wonder if my sons savor the memories of Thanksgiving Day in the same way I do.  Just thinking of Thanksgiving brings up all kinds of memories and feelings.

I remember waking up to the sounds of my parents preparing the turkey for roasting.  That would always include a lot of arguing for some reason, but in our house, that was normal.  I loved to watch them stuff the bird, and then pop it…

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Simply Trust God

Peace of Spirit

Peace of Spirit

Why is it sometimes  so hard to let go and simply trust God?

My husband and I recently returned from our much anticipated and needed vacation…which consisted of visiting our son and his wife in Colorado, and then visiting with our other son, and his wife, in California.

Before I share about the joyful, perfectly wonderful time we enjoyed with our family, I need to confess something.

As anyone who is a parent would understand, the most important focus in our lives  has been our sons, and building our relationship as a family.   We wanted to provide them with a strong foundation of love and stability.  Through the years we made lots of personal changes as the Lord led us to  learn and grow…a lot of times through trial and error.  As we watched our sons grow into strong,  responsible and loving men, we also felt ourselves blossoming and growing into better versions of ourselves.  In our eyes, God worked a miracle in our lives…blessing our family with a close,  trusting relationship.

As our sons married, our family was expanded and our two daughters-in-law added a new dimension to our family dynamics.  By the way, they feel more like daughters than daughters-in-law.  It seemed that all of our prayers had been answered, and felt very blessed that we all were close and were able to enjoy each other’s company.  Life was good.

Then they decided to move across country.  From the East coast to Colorado and California.  

Although I would like to say that I was extremely happy that they were following their dreams and moving away from the traffic and craziness of the DC area, I have to admit, I can’t say that at all.  And the fact that both couples researched and found wonderful laid back communities that offered the beauty of the mountains and/or the ocean, and conducive to a peaceful life where most travel is by bicycle didn’t phase me at all.

Why would they leave us?

Not only move, but move as far away as possible from us.  Didn’t they know that everything we did was for them and our family?  Didn’t they know how much we struggled to make changes within ourselves so we could be good parents to them and give them what we never had?  Didn’t they realize what they were leaving behind…parents that are always there for them and the awesome times we enjoyed together?

Although my mind was happy for them, my heart could not let go.  I was holding back with clenched hands, and could not let go and offer my children to God’s safekeeping and His plan for their lives.  I wanted to selfishly hold on to them…and keep things the way I wanted them to be.

I wanted my family to be the peaceful haven that we worked so hard to attain, and I just did not allow myself to give it up.  In actuality, I was substituting  the love and need of  my version of  family relationship for my love of God.  My family had become my idol.

Thank you Lord for opening my eyes.

You have been flawlessly working your plan through all of us.  Because of the way your Holy Spirit guided us, we raised two wonderful sons that chose wonderful, loving wives.  Each of them have talents and gifts that you will develop and use for your perfect plan, and because of your divine intervention, our sons are strong and grounded enough to be able to follow the call that you set in their hearts.

So was this the most awesome and perfect vacation ever?  A thousand times YES!  The time we spent together will be treasured and remembered in our hearts…the time together was the most important facet.  Now add to that…bicycling, hiking, soaking in natural spring hot tubs, brewery tours, wineries, touring the Hearst Castle, attending Mass as a family at a beautiful Catholic Church and also a Mission,  meeting up with and visiting extended family in California, the mountains, the ocean, and also meeting some of our sons’ friends and coworkers and realizing the wonderful communities that they are now a part of.   Also the fact that both couples showed us their love by sharing their homes with us,  planning our time together, and the wonderful meals and special touches just for us.

Yes, I still miss them.  But I have finally opened my clenched fists to receive the grace to let them go and trust God with their lives and also ours.

Thank you Lord for this lightening of spirit that you have blessed me with.  Please keep us all in your light and open our eyes, ears, and hearts  to your voice and guidance.  Help us to quiet our lives and souls so we can hear your whispers, and give us the strength and courage to take up our daily crosses and follow you.  Wherever that may be.

 

And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. “For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?…  Luke 9:23-25


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Blessings Through Adversity

As I was sitting with my husband at Mass last Sunday, the love of Jesus enveloped me while witnessing a loving family’s interactions. I am sure their living testimony touches many hearts each and every day, and I wanted to share it with you.

The first time I noticed them, was when I heard an exuberant  boy’s bellowing voice piercing the silence of our congregation before Mass. He was excitedly greeting church members as his father was guiding him, with his walker, to his seat toward the front of the Church. Their walk up the aisle was slow, due to his disability. At the time I would guess that this child, who radiated joy, was about 10 years old.

Fast forward about twelve years. This family continues to be a beautiful testament to the love of Christ. Do they stand out as “the perfect family”, always smiling angelically and always doing the “perfect” thing? Not at all. I watch his father guide him slowly toward his seat, with a staunch look of determination as his son is attempting to converse with each person he passes. I watch his mother, who is already seated, help him out of the walker and holding both of his hands, ease him to his seat, which isn’t easy due to his size.  However, it is very clear that he is a blessing to his family, as they are a blessing to him!

There are no visible halos surrounding them as they lean over, hug, and whisper to their son when his voice gets too loud. What a blessing this whole family brings to me and to the Church! It is impossible to miss the love this family has for each other. Their decisions made every day, to love and care for each other, no matter how difficult things may be from time to time, glorifies God in a beautiful way.

So many times I hear and see instances where a person or family is elevated by many for being “blessed”.  We tend to equate blessings with so called “good things” in a person’s life…the earthly…the outward appearance. Such as the glow from families who were blessed financially, who seem to do all the right things, have status in the community, have children that are thriving in their education, volunteerism, and extracurricular activities, and seem to have it all together. All of those things are good and hopefully are blessings. However, sometimes looks can be deceiving.

Sometimes the greatest blessings can be found in adversity. They can be found in the day to day struggles. They can be found in a family who have literally given their lives for the care of their loved one. Sometimes those blessings are disguised as difficulties, and are accompanied by frustration, impatience, and fatigue.

The true blessing is always found in open hearts. Hearts that place all their trust in God, and give thanks in all things. Hearts that pray, “Let it be done according to Your will.” Hearts that are so open to God’s love, that the Holy Spirit fills them to overflowing.

That love is what I witnessed in that special family on Sunday. May God continue to bless them, and may He open our eyes to the true blessings in our own lives.

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.  1 Thessalonians 5:18

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;  In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

Saying, Father, if you be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but yours, be done.  Luke 22:42