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


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New Traditions

Although traditions that have been in our family for years will always have a special place in my heart, I need to share a new tradition that my husband’s side of the family started this year.

Actually, our niece, Heather, suggested this idea.  It sounded interesting, however I didn’t realize how awesome it really was.

Each person, or family, received a name.  We were not to send a gift “for” that person, we were to send a box of items that depicted “who we are”.  You see, our family is a large one, and we are strewn all over the country.  We are losing touch with each other a little, and don’t know about each other’s daily lives or special interests or talents.

The first blessing of this tradition is actually choosing the items that will represent yourself, or your family. Our family box represented my husband, me, and my mother who lives with us.  After much thought, we made our selections.

My husband works hard marketing and screen printing  graphic tees for our business, so we included two tee designs.  He also loves to brew beer, so a bottle of his latest brew was lovingly wrapped  and added to the box.  Since I read so many inspirational and spiritual books, I chose to include “The Promise” by Jonathan Morris, a book that opened my eyes in so many ways.  My other contribution was homemade cookies that I love to bake each Christmas.  (as a side note, I am still baking more and will be baking until New Year’s Day probably!!!)  My mom parted with one of her beloved “Beanie Babies”…a bright red Cardinal.  She LOVES Beanie Babies, and does not part with them easily.  However, she made an exception for the “Family box.”  Not only is the Beanie Baby one of her treasures, but the Cardinal is Ohio’s State bird, which is our hometown…both my side and my husband’s side of the family.  She also included a Word Search book, because she spends hours a day finding words!  The last thing we threw in was a White House Ornament to represent the Northern Virginia/DC area where we make our home.  We sent our box, with love, to my sister in law and our niece.

It is more difficult than you may think, to decide on a few things that depict your life, or your family.

The second blessing comes with receiving the box that your “giver” family assembled for you.  Our box was from our niece, her husband and daughter.  As we were opening each package, we actually felt the spirit of their family.  It was a beautiful and fun experience.  There was a handmade bracelet and hand drawn notecards, created by my great niece, a bottle of  a favorite local beer, Ohio beer glasses crafted in their town, handmade birdseed ornaments which they handed out to neighbors as gifts this year, local Tony Packos relish and a Carruth Angel that was created by an amazing local artist.  They have many Carruth pieces displayed in their backyard, and now we have one more to lovingly display in ours.  My niece also added some PB2 (powdered peanut butter) which she loves in smoothies and ice cream.  I had never heard of “PB2” before, but it sounds interesting and we are looking forward to enjoying it!  She also creates beautiful handmade cards, and tucked one of the most beautiful cards I have ever seen in the box.  The card  listed all the items and what they meant to each of them.

The third blessing from this tradition, lies in all of us sharing about what was in the box we received. We have a group message going on, and it is exciting to see pictures and descriptions of each family’s box.  What a fun way to get to know each other in a deeper way!

Right now, my heart is completely full of the warmth, love, and appreciation of family.

Thank you Lord for the amazing gifts of love and family.  Help me to always look for ways to share those gifts with all the people you place in my daily life.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.  James 1:17

 

 


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One Year Ago Today

One year ago today, my mother in law, Velma, left this earth and returned to her heavenly home.  As I sit down to write about the blessing that she was (and always will be) in my life, my heart is completely filled with love and many emotions are welling up inside me.

After knowing her for 39 years, and being her daughter in law for 35 of those years, it is easy to see the transition of our relationship, although for some years it was difficult.  Words can never express what I feel for her, and the empty place in my heart knowing that I will never again see her face, hear her voice or laughter.  I will never again feel her hand holding mine or her arms around me.

However, I will always feel her love.

Pulling a line from one of my favorite romantic comedies, “Sweet Home Alabama”, Velma was “a complicated woman.”  She struggled through a horrendous childhood, one that she spoke of often to me; however, she never fully acknowledged or released the evils and pain she endured.  Instead, she focused her entire being on raising her six children…5 sons and a daughter.  She loved them intensely, and wanted to give them a secure home, in the only way she knew.  That was through homemaking.  She kept house like no one I ever knew, and her cooking and baking were her shining glory.  That was how she showed love…by nurturing.  Velma had her flaws, as we all do.  Deep in her heart, she knew she had these flaws.  She compensated by DOING for people…in so many ways.

When I first met Velma, I was dating her son, Joe, and I was just 17.  She nurtured me…helping me to feel accepted and loved, by inquiring about me and my family, and always feeding me something special.  I remember, she would sit me down, and ask if I wanted a steak.  Then she would reach in the freezer, pull out a steak, and fry it for me. I never had my own steak before…my family always ate “family style”, so that impressed me.  She made the most awesome sausage and pepper pizza I have ever tasted…her pizza dough recipe was the best, and the tomatoes and peppers were home canned.  Simply delicious.  And her cookies, Swedish tea log,  bread pudding and pizzelles.  Yum!

Remember… Velma had six children.  That lead to crazy unforgettable Holidays, filled with her children, grandchildren, food, love, laughter and lots of noise!  The whirlwinds of activity were overwhelming, but how I miss those times!  Those were the years that changed the “in-law” relationships to “family” relationships.

Velma’s greatest gift to me is her wonderful son, Joe.  (my awesome husband) All of my brothers- in-law, sisters-in-law, and their families are also a blessing to me.  We are a family of heart…separated by circumstance and miles.  But we are always there for each other, in mind and spirit.

When I was a very young newlywed, Velma was very intimidating to me.  Since her cooking, baking and cleaning were the best (her favorite line…”that’s the way I do it”), and my self-image was zero, that was an uncomfortable time for me.  In my own mind, I could never live up to Joe’s mother, and I felt inadequate as a wife.  This feeling continued through the birth of my two sons.

I always felt I had to be “perfect” in every way…clean house, perfect wife and mother, perfect food, etc.  And I knew I wasn’t perfect, so I had a real dilemma in my own mind.

Two things happened that changed and molded our relationship.

The first thing was something that probably shouldn’t have happened.  Joe and I were experiencing extreme pain and difficulty in our marriage.  I went to my mother-in-law in despair, and shared what was happening. (through the  years I learned not to share those kinds of things concerning our marriage)  I later learned that while I was at work, my mother-in-law showed up at our front door, and confronted Joe.  She let him know that he had a good, loving wife, and in no uncertain terms, gave him a piece of her mind.  When we talk about it now, Joe gets a chuckle out of the memory.  I feel the love; in finally being aware that she loved me, and thought I was a good wife to her son.

The next thing that changed our relationship was mortifying to me at the time.  I had been a stay-at-home mom, and then had to work part time.  With two young sons, I just could not get it all together.  My house was a mess, and I left it that way when I left for work one morning.  A few hours later, my mother-in-law, who had our house key, had decided to drop over to bring us a few things. Oh, did I tell you how many times she stopped over with bags of food and “supplies”?  So she called me at work, from my dirty house!!!  I had never felt so exposed and embarrassed.  She let me know that the house was now clean, and there were some groceries she brought and put away for us.

At that moment I realized, I never had to pretend to be perfect for her again.  She loved me no matter what.

And I learned to love Velma no matter what.  Because through the tense times, hurtful words spoken, and all that occurred due to human frailty and weakness, I was able to feel her love.  She loved her whole family immensely. And because of that, she left a legacy in her children and their spouses, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

On the morning of her death, she was found, peacefully unresponsive, with hands still holding her rosary.  Although my  family did not arrive in time to hold her hand to say our last good byes, she was surrounded by other loving family members.

She will hold our hearts forever.

We love you, mom.

We know you are in heaven with Jesus and the angels He allowed you to see while on earth.  We know that you are enveloped in His pure love, peace and joy that can never be felt on earth.

We will carry you in our hearts until we meet again.


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Shooting Stars and Miracles

Sometimes I am not sure who really does the most “teaching” in families…the parents or the children.

In my own family, I know that my two sons taught me some awesome truths.  They helped to stretch me out of the confined box I had unknowingly built myself into.  As all you parents will identify with, the love and connection that my husband and I felt for them was something that we never felt before.  However, even where there is great love, there is always more to learn about what love really is.

It feels like both yesterday and a lifetime ago, our family had the opportunity to camp out at a friend’s beautiful property, which included 110 acres of wooded land and a lake.  We had a wonderful time there…it was the kind of place that was so far away from city lights, that the night was intensely peaceful and black.  When you looked up, you could see a sky filled with beautiful stars.  It was breathtaking, and so peaceful.  It was like heaven; our family being together in that beautiful setting, just enjoying the stars and the sounds of crickets and frogs.

My youngest son, Michael, who was about 10 years old at the time, was excitedly telling me that he just saw some shooting stars.  I said, “Are you sure that’s what you saw?  Have you ever seen a shooting star before?”  He answered, “Mom, I see them all the time.”

I told him I never saw a shooting star.

That’s when he uttered words that stay with me to this day.  He said, “Mom, you never see them because you don’t look for them.”

And guess what happened.  I looked upwards, and I saw a shooting star!  My heart was amazed!  From the mouth of babes, a spiritual truth was revealed to me.

God is all around us.  He is in the air we breathe, the sun that shines on us, the flowers and trees, the oceans, the rain that falls from the sky, the sounds and beauty of the birds in the air and all the animals, the moon, planets  and stars in the sky.  He is in our children, spouses, parents, friends, relatives, neighbors, and all the people of the world.

The Lord’s Holy Spirit and his miracles are always around us…why don’t we see them?  Why do we think miracles do not exist on a daily basis?

Because we are not looking for them.

Today, when I was walking and praying with my Lord, He spoke to me.  He told me to always keep myself open to Him, and I will be amazed at what is revealed.  There will always be a new thing of beauty to see, there will always be a new beautiful song to hear, there will always be a new opportunity to love.  God’s creativity is endless.

Are you ready to really look for God all around you?  You will find Him everywhere…starting right in your own heart.

And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?   Matthew 21:16

Thou hast heard, see all this; and will not ye declare it? I have shewed thee new things from this time, even hidden things, and thou didst not know them.   Isaiah 48:6