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


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.







What Love Really Looks Like

Lately the words “What Love Really Looks Like” have been going through my head.  Probably because of our recent visit to Central California to enjoy some time with our son and daughter in law, and to meet our first grandchild, Brayden.  Watching their family bond together, and all that goes into the care of an infant, etched into my heart the reminder that love does not usually look like the love that is marketed to all of us on a daily basis.

Yes, there are times of carefree romantic bliss, and those moments of angelic babies surrounded by an aura of sweet white light.  Like the moments  that are portrayed by Hallmark and on social media.  Do we even remember anymore that most of the photos we see now are the result of careful staging, that depict perfectly put together couples, adorable babies, and trendy families?  Whatever happened to the uncomfortable, and many times unflattering pictures of old?  The ones that truly show life as it is…spontaneous and messy.  I must admit, I am the first one to delete “bad” pics of myself or anyone else that I feel would not be flattering.  Why do we desire to show the happy “perfection,” and not the struggle?

Sometimes, in trying to make our world “look good” to ourselves or others, we kind of forget what love really looks like. 

As we get closer to Jesus, we realize that through the suffering and struggle of our daily crosses, when we open ourselves up to His love and healing mercy, we begin to experience His Divine Love.

What does love really look like?

There is beauty in love that is revealed through joy, happiness, and contentment.  We all have known moments of great love and happiness…when we are so filled with love that we feel our hearts will just burst.

However, there is a deeper love…a greater joy that unites us with Jesus.  That unfathomable joy is shown in ways we don’t expect. Some of those moments don’t “feel” like love when they are happening.  The love is shown when we experience those moments, and allow the Holy Spirit to work through them, and work through us.

What does love really look like?  It looks like…

Hearing your newborn scream incessantly no matter how you try to soothe him; living on a few hours of sleep, and feeling overwhelmed. Changing dirty diapers that look like an explosion took place…how could all of that even come out of that tiny baby?  Then your baby focuses and gazes straight into your eyes, and smiles with his whole face.  Your heart instantly melts.

Doing what needs done as a couple to run your household and raise your children.  Getting up everyday to go to work, when you’d rather stay home or do something much more interesting.  Or maybe you are the one who is staying home to raise your children and manage your home…and the day to day “drudgery” sometimes feels as though you can’t do it one more day.  Then, through the little things of daily life, through a smile, a hug or a special moment, you are once again reminded of the big “why” and your spirit is renewed.

The misunderstandings, arguments, and pain that happen in your marriage.  The times when you bite your tongue when your spouse says something that hurts you to the core.  Or the times you are the one who lashes out with angry, biting words.  Then, through a miracle, the both of you once again work through the issues and difficulties, and become even closer through the struggle together.

Being the caregiver for someone in your life.  The daily care, responsibility, and the pain of watching the one you love suffer, and then pass away.  The grief.  And then the joy of knowing he/she is with you forever, and no longer are you separated  by sin, but united in love.

The pain of a mother, hearing that her daughter was killed while on a date with a boyfriend, who was driving drunk.  That mother’s grief and pain in losing her daughter was overwhelming.  However, the love of Jesus allowed her to stand up in the courtroom to speak up for the young man that was responsible for her daughter’s death.  She was able to hug and love him, through the fullness of the Holy Spirit working in her heart.

The look of anguish between a husband and wife, as one of them confesses to infidelity, and the forgiveness that is offered from the heart to the offender.  The grief, the pain, and the days, months and sometimes years of suffering together to restore the marital trust.  And then the joy of discovering that the journey of healing miraculously built a truly happy, whole marriage relationship that is their greatest gift in life.

A well known country singer, who was diagnosed with cancer, and knew that her days on earth were coming to an end.  She allowed her final loving days with her family to be shared with the world, in order to share her faith and love of God with those that may have needed to see through her eyes of faith.  Beautiful.

What does love really look like?

It looks like Our Savior, sacrificing Himself to suffer and take on full  punishment for our sins.  It looks like a man, bloodied, scourged, tortured, mocked, hanging on a cross, and uttering the words “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” and then dying for us.

Then there was Easter Sunday!  Triumph over death!  Alleluia!

Thank you, Jesus, for showing us what love really looks like.  I ask that you work through me, allowing your love to reach those in need of your mercy.







The Gift

One of the first things you will notice upon meeting my mother are her beautiful, clear blue eyes that are complemented by her silvery white hair.  When she laughs, her eyes sparkle.  When I look into her eyes, I don’t just see her at her current age…I see a lifetime. I also see her as a child, teenager, young woman, complete with the hopes and dreams that lived in her heart and spirit.

Mom’s current life consists of her love for God and the Blessed Mother, family, Barbies, Beanie Babies, all children, and all animals.  She is very selfless; always looking for ways she can help people, or little gifts she could give them.  Time with family, praying, reading countless books, word search, card games, movies, shopping, and dining out, fill her days.  Mom’s mobility isn’t what it used to be, so she depends on me and my husband for her outings and social life.  Being that we both work fulltime jobs, plus the responsibilities of home and a home business, we don’t get her out of the house as much as we would like.  Mom is a very social person, and I know she is lonely for friends.

Mom has lived with my husband and me for the past nine years.  At 85, she has lived through lots of life.  There has been joy in her life, and also a great deal of pain and struggle, which culminated with my dad’s death ten years ago.  After almost fifty years of marriage, her life’s love and best friend was taken from her.  To this day, she hasn’t gotten over the pain of losing him.  Although she is happy with us, I know that she misses him every minute.  I definitely understand that, because if I lost my husband, I would miss him every minute, too.

My mother raised four daughters.  I am second to the youngest, and was daddy’s girl.  Although mom took care of my needs, I never felt a close relationship with her while growing up.  She was always “my mother” and I never knew her as a person.  Everything in our home revolved around my dad…it’s hard to describe the person he was.  Let’s just say he was full of life, and everything usually revolved around him and his moods.  Although my relationship with him was confusing at times, I knew who he was, and some of what he had gone through in his life.  During good and bad times, I had a close relationship with my dad.

When my father’s health started to go downhill, and he was no longer able to do the things that brought him joy, it was difficult and painful  to see him so vulnerable.  My mom told me she used to go in a room by herself, pretending to play solitaire on the computer, and just cry.  We lived states away from them, so we didn’t know the extent of his weakness.  Her stories of how he would fall and she would struggle to get him up are just heartbreaking….the last time he fell, she dragged him with a sheet to the couch where he finally was able to hoist himself up.  Mom would never go anywhere without him, because she was afraid that he might pass away, without her being there.  He wanted to die in his own home, not a hospital, and she wanted to be there for him.

It was the Sunday after Easter in 2003, and Mom was in their kitchen preparing a roast for the crockpot. (she retells this story a lot) She heard my dad call her name twice, “Mary, Mary”.  She ran into the bedroom, and he was half off the bed – kind of caught between the bed and the wall.  He must have hit his head on the dresser, because he was bleeding.  From what she says, I think he was already gone.  She ran into the other room to get the phone, to call 911. She will always be sorry for not just staying with him and holding him.  No matter how many times I tell her that Daddy knew how much she loved him, and her name was the name he carried with him to meet God, she still feels that guilt.  I believe her inner life is filled with memories…mostly good, with bad and guilt swirled in.  Isn’t it the same for all of us?

There are many experiences Mom has never shared with me.  I know she goes much deeper than she has revealed so far.  But one of my prayers was truly answered.  When my dad was getting weaker, and his health diminishing, I would pray that God take him first so I can get to know my mother.

When we first took my mother into our home, I did it out of honor and respect for her.  I was happy that we were able to give her a safe and happy place to live, and felt that we were presenting her with a gift. 

What I have finally figured out, nine years later, is that she is the gift… to me.

I am learning so many things about my mom.  I have always known that my temper is from my dad, but my ability to forgive and love, came from my mother.  My mother sees the good in me, and although she also sees the rough spots, she mostly overlooks the negative.  It makes me sad, because every now and again I will lose my temper with her (always because of politics), and afterwards, I feel so bad.  When I apologize, she just says, “sometimes things just build up and things have to come out”.  I appreciate her words, but still feel bad that it happened in the first place.

Because of those moments with her, I now understand how she and my dad filled each other’s lives so perfectly.  My dad was very hard to live with sometimes, and she was able to let that go.  She knew and understood his heart…and forgave the actions.  BIG LESSON for me.  I have also learned many little things about her life, which help me patch together a feeling of the struggles she went through.  However, when I ask her what she would change….she says that she would change nothing.  She did the best she could with the circumstances that she was placed in.

And she does what she has always told me to do…she offers it all up to God.

Thank you, Mom…for such a beautiful gift.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;  That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.  Ephesians 6:1-3

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

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.  …  1 Corinthians 13