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


Spirit…Not Just Personality

Out to Dinner Bernadette and Mom

Out to Dinner
Bernadette and Mom

God always answers prayers, although sometimes they are in ways we could not have imagined. I am learning to trust His ways, especially when we cannot see the answers, because He knows what we truly need, not just what we think we need or want.

When my dad was experiencing a decline in health twelve years ago, I prayed that he would pass away before my mom so I could get to know her. In my mind, I would be able to forge a “true” relationship with her, and get to know her as a person. I imagined long heart to heart talks over coffee and lunches, enjoyable shopping dates, being there to help her with household chores, and do all the things I fantasized were things that close mothers and daughters did together. I wanted to know her true personality, and I wanted her to know me. This was my prayer.

The Lord knew what my true prayer request was, even though I didn’t know the fullness of what was needed to fill that spot in my heart that was longing for my mother’s love.

He knew that I needed to know her spirit…her heart; not just her personality.

So the Lord placed my mother with Joe (hubby) and me, and she made her home with us for the past eleven years.

I wish I could say that all those years were a breeze, and that every moment spent together was quality time. I wish I could say that my heart was always right and that every thought I had was loving and peaceful. I wish I could say that we had long, intense mother to daughter talks that allowed me to know about her life, and that we chatted endlessly about mother/daughter things. Because those were the things that my mind had the capacity to wish and hope for.   I was looking for an illusion of what true love is.

God, in all His mercy and love, revealed to me what true love is all about.

He gave me eleven years of snippets and moments of love with my mother. He helped me to love my mom through our interactions, especially when my mind and heart were not in it. He showed Himself through her smiles, her patience, her love, her gentle spirit, her ability to take life as it was given to her, accept it, and offer it to God each day. I watched her as her health declined through the years, and she was able to do less and less. I watched her struggle to walk a few steps to the bathroom, then struggle to move in bed. I watched her struggle to just breathe. I knew in her last week on earth, that her suffering was united with Jesus, and that I was privileged to share in that beauty. That beauty was manifested in a love that permeated my whole being…an all-consuming love that was almost overwhelming in its intensity.

You see, God answered my prayers, although in a way far superior to what I requested.

I asked that He allow me the time to get to know my mother’s personality. What He blessed me with, was the opportunity to know her spirit. And her beautiful spirit is what will be a part of me, and all who knew her, forever.

Thank you, Jesus, for loving us so completely, that you know our hearts and needs more than we do. Help us to always trust in your mercy and love, knowing that your desire is for us to find peace and true joy in your presence forever.



One Heart at a Time

Yesterday, as my husband and I grabbed our morning coffee on the way to work, we were not greeted in the usual, friendly way we are accustomed to.  Most every morning, we enjoy pleasant conversation with the very warm and smiling staff.

That was not the case yesterday.  We were called to the register of the one young woman who seems to be in her own little world.  She did not look us in the eye, did not smile, and did not offer us any friendly banter.  She gave us our coffee, took our money, and delivered our breakfast sandwiches.  All of this without the least bit of a smile or acknowledgement at all.

So…why am I telling you this?

It is so easy to judge people by their actions, and by what we perceive them to be.  To tell you the truth, in times past, I would have probably written a note, or sent an email to the manager to make sure he/she was aware of this employee’s lack of customer service.  I would have been indignant as a paying customer, making sure that “they” knew how unhappy I was with the service I felt I deserved in their restaurant.

But yesterday, I felt something much different.  My husband and I both felt pain for this woman, who for some unknown reason, is visibly devoid of joy.  It was not the first time we noticed her behavior.

The first thing I thought about was to pray for her, and to try to brighten her day whenever we see her.  Instead of allowing whatever darkness she has in her life to consume us, we made the choice to share The Light in us with her.  And I think that we will send her a special little card anonymously, with a letter inside, letting her know that she is loved and treasured…by us and by Jesus who loves her more than she could ever fathom.

Because of this encounter, my eyes and heart are more open to the needs of the ones I meet everyday.

Through the Lord, we can touch so many lives with His Love.   Especially during this Lenten Season, let’s make a commitment to really see the hearts that are hiding behind joyless eyes.  Sometimes those eyes are angry, sad or desperate…or maybe even trying to camouflage with a fake smile.  Let’s look past all that, focus on the heart, and ask the Holy Spirit to direct us and to bless them.

What a different world we will live in as we share God’s love…one heart at a time!



True Freedom of Choice

Each and every day we are given countless opportunities to choose between good and evil, true joy and despair, and the choice to find beauty in all situations.  Let us open our hearts to the Holy Spirit, so that we are led to the choices that are bathed in Christ’s love.

Let’s make the choice:

To see the good in others and ourselves;

To fill our minds and hearts with goodness and light instead of darkness  and evil;

To enjoy music, movies, books, and magazines that glorify our Father in Heaven and lead us to Him;

To share our blessings;

To help those in need and suffering;

To pray for others and a world in need, especially for those that hurt us or treat us badly and the ones we disagree with;

To boldly take a stand for the sanctity of the life that was given to all from God; from the miracle of conception through natural death;

To look toward Jesus in all things.

For true freedom is the freedom to choose good, and the freedom from the bondage of sin and evil.

Thank you, Jesus!  Praise your holy name!

Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.  Romans 8:21

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.  2 Timothy 1:7

As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.  1 Peter 2:16


The Christmas Chair


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.


My Day was Changed

Today, instead of the salad that I had planned for lunch, I decided to go out.  When I left the office, it was very dreary; a little chilly, no sun, and while heading in to the restaurant it started raining.  Add to that the haze I have been in due to a respiratory bug I am recuperating from…my spirit really needed  some lifting.

As I was sitting and enjoying my lunch, a sweet little girl caught my eye.  She was about two years old, with short, shaggy golden brown hair that magnified her beautiful, smiling brown eyes.  She was in a cute little polka dot shirt and black leggings.  As she sat on the table facing her mother, every now and again she would burst out in laughter due to unknown words her mom whispered to her.

Their joy was contagious!  The innocence and beauty of the love between this mother and her daughter touched me, and I felt my heart fill up.  For some reason, I felt a connection with them, and couldn’t keep myself from smiling.

As they were on their way out, the little girl broke free from her mom, and ran over to me.  She looked up at me with those gorgeous eyes, said good-bye, then ran back to her mom.

My day was changed in a matter of moments. 

In the past, I may have not even noticed the beauty that was occurring right in front of me.  Sometimes it is so easy to be overwhelmed with the negative around  or within us…we forget to open our eyes to the goodness that is always right there in front of us.

As I grow in faith and maturity, I am learning to keep my eyes, ears, and heart open to God’s whispers to me.   He never lets me down.

Today, He was reminding me that His love is all around me, sometimes in unexpected places.  And I am reminded to praise and worship my Lord and Savior, and to be grateful in all things.

Need I tell you, the sun is now shining and there is no sign of rain?


Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.  Philippians 4:8-9

We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.   Romans 8:28





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Prayer for Peace

Today has been an introspective kind of day.  One of those days where I’m just not feeling it.

This beautiful prayer speaks to me…it all comes down to love and selflessness.  Thought I would share it with you.


Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light;

And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,

Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;

To be understood, as to understand;

To be loved, as to love;

For it is in giving that we receive,

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.



–St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226)