WHAT IF YOU HAD NEVER BEEN BORN?

GOOD MORNING WORLD

In trying to keep the Christ in my Christmas I am focusing more on things other than presents.  This morning the scripture readings and meditations that I do peeked my interest more than normal.  That is the point is it not?  Are we not supposed to read these and have them stay with us during the day not simply be an exercise to complete?

The scripture reading was about the angel coming to Joseph and telling him that it would be okay if he married Mary.  It was Matthew 1: 18-25.  I have it below for you.

18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about[a]: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet[b] did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[c] because he will save his people from their sins.”

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[d] (which means “God with us”).

24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

The meditation accompanying this scripture referred to the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.”  Coincidentally last night the final Jeopardy question asked what movie had originally been named, “The Man who was Never Born”.  In actuality this was a rename from the original 21 page story “The Greatest Gift” by Philip Van Doren Stern.  The second name came about when it was published in two magazines in 1944.   The name by which we know it came about in 1946 when it was made into a movie.

The question that was in all of the above was “What if you had never been born?”  What if the angel had not led Joseph to marry Mary and Jesus had not been born?  We know all the good things that never would have happened had George Bailey not been born?  What about you?  I asked that question of myself this morning.  What if I had never been born?

Thinking there is no simple answer to this as we as human beings are ever so complicated.  For a fact I know of 6 lives my not being born would have effected – my husband, our two children and three grandchildren.   This would have spread out like waves in the water to all the others that did not get to know these wonderful 6 people.  As I meditated on this I realized just how many lives my dad effected as evidenced by the packed church at his funeral.

I do not believe we are to live a life where we are intentional about the impact we want to leave on this earth.  I believe we are to live with love and respect for all – friends and enemies.  It, of course, would be even better if we had none of the latter.

I believe we are to relish and enjoy every day we have on this earth.  Greet each day with a “Good Morning World” yelled right out your window or front door.  We are to smile at everyone we meet and wave to those we pass by in our cars.

It really all comes down to one word does it not?  JOY!  If we live a life filled with joy and share it then we will have left an imprint that can never be denied.  This is the season for it isn’t it!!!

In the end question does not need to be answered.  Off to enjoy more of my wonderful life.  This has been a nice way to start my day.

…..ONWARD TO MORE MISADVENTURE…

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THE UNSPOKEN WORD DOES NO HARM

GOOD MORNING WORLD

After my rant of yesterday I was reminded of the above title quote.  My immediate response was that of course it was correct.  The other side of it is that the unspoken word does not fix anything either.  If there is something wrong then must we not speak up?  Are we not called to do so in fact?  I have written about all this before.  Speak up.  Remain silent.  How do you know which is the best in any given situation?

Yesterday, after I posted my blog I did my daily Scripture reading.  It was very interesting in light of the negativity I heard the day before.  The reading was from Luke.

Luke 6:36-38

Jesus said to his disciples: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.
Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”

My immediate response was to marvel at how closely this scripture came to the situation I was in on Sunday.  The person being so negative was putting that forth and it evidently was swirling right back to them.  This is not a new idea.  “Do unto others as you want done unto you” is also in that same book Luke 6:31.

Am I being called to speak these words of wisdom to Mr. Negativity?  If so the call is really clear that I must be kind and forgiving when doing so.

Another response I had when I read this was reinforcement that a spoken word can do good if it is the right word or done the right way.  We are called in John 13:34-35 to “Love One Another”.  In the same book in Matthew 5:43-48 and Romans 12:14 we are told to love those that persecute you.   I had not expected an answer so quickly and yet there it was in the scripture.  I was made aware of why the person could not see good.  He was not putting forth any good words to come back to him.  I also understood quickly how, if I was to respond, I was to do so kindly with well chosen positive forgiving words.

The other response I meditated upon after I read this scripture was to question why anyone would even question the relevance of the Bible today.  If the Bible becomes unspoken words so to do no harm how is it going to help?   We must speak the words we hear in the Scripture.  This is a living book.  The words need to be read, meditated upon, shared and definitely spoken.

I was amazed.  I look to my faith for answers in my life.  I believe God has a plan for me and gave me a book with any answer I might need.  All I have to do is read it.  The answer may not come in words as clearly as it did yesterday.  I may have to read for days or weeks or even years depending upon what I am asking.  The toughest thing for me is to understand that if the words I want to hear are not spoken to me then that too can be an answer.  It might be “Not yet.”  “Not at all.” I may hear a continual “No.”  That is an answer as well.

I believe no word in that book is void.  They are filled with answers and more questions and understanding when we read, meditate and speak them.  In the old testament in Isaiah 55:11 we are told, “…so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

The conclusion I take from all of this is when God speaks to me through this book He will get what He wants for me.  I hear that when we speak we must do so carefully.  Negativity as I have read in this Book brings negativity.  It was indeed what I was experiencing as the words were being spewed forth a couple of days ago.  Looking for the positive in my life I am called to give positive messages.  When I do this good will come back.  Seems fairly simple.  Unspoken words do no harm is wise and true.  When words are spoken they must be done so carefully.  Lesson learned!

…..ONWARD TO MORE MISADVENTURE…

 

 

GOD’S PLAN AND ELVIS

GOOD MORNING WORLD

Please stay with me as today is more journal than blog. I stepped out of my own way yesterday.  I quoted one of my favorite passages to those assembled who were choosing a direction for our volunteer work.

Jeremiah 29:11(NIV)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

The most wonderful thing is that at the end of my hand was my husband’s hand as we let God work once again in our lives.  We stood before His loving ‘hands and feet’ here on earth and said ‘here we are use us’.  He did.  He told us for the first time in over 20 years to ‘stay put do not move’.  We will be busy and what is not to like about serving the Lord.  We should have realized something was going to happen when yesterday’s scripture reading from

Mark 3:20-21 concluded with “He is out of his mind.”

We are happily onward to more misadventure.

We filled the hours of our 3 hr drive home with chatter.  Actually my very quiet husband did most of the talking and THAT was a change.  I was stunned.  The ride was filled with joy and thoughts and ideas and amazement at the beautiful process we had participated in earlier in the day to decide what God wanted for all of us in this particular section of our ministry.

We got home and got a bite to eat and literally crashed on the couch. Not much was on TV so we looked to see if we had DVR’d anything good.  I scrolled down to the show “God is Bigger that Elvis”.  My husband was intrigued and I was glad to finally be watching it.  It is the story of Dolores Hart who left Hollywood in the 60’s to become a nun.  She was the actress who gave Elvis his first on screen kiss!  (swoon)

In my childhood of the 50s and 60s we had one really big treat in our town  A movie theater.  My dad in his youth had been the usher in a theater above a store in another town.  He watched every movie coming into the old Neptune theater.  The Park was the name of our theater.

The Park was probably as big (or as small)  as the movie theaters we have now in the multiplex theaters.  The Criterion in the next town was an art deco gem and it was a big deal to go there for a show.  It was even a bigger deal when my tap class performed on that stage.  When the one act play I was in in high school was performed there it was huge!

Every Friday night after I was old enough I would go to the movie.  I think I have chatted about this in earlier blogs.  It was $.25 to get in and popcorn and candy was 5 or 10 cents.  There were few times I was not allowed to go.  Two movies in particular I could not see  on was the “Man with the Golden Arm” starring Frank Sinatra as a heroin addict. The other was “Peyton Place”.  I have since seen them and they pale in comparison to what is shown today.

I loved Elvis and watched every single movie he made. I liked any ‘chic flic’ going and in those days there a lot of them along with some shoot’em ups of the cowboy or war genre unlike today’s as they were lacking in blood though still as good.

Dolores Hart was a beauty.  Of course all the starlets were.  We had ‘Photoplay’ magazine along with others to tell us all that was going on in Hollywood.  It sounded like a magical place where all the beautiful people lived.  Rarely was there scandal.   Again unlike today’s relentless find all tell all show all paparazzi the stars were protected by their studios or news agents.  Occasionally a hint of a scandal would leak out only to be squashed quickly.

Dolores Hart was a good actress.  I liked to see her in the movies and especially the ones she did with Elvis.  I wanted to be her in those movies!  We all wanted to be the star Elvis fell in love with in the end as the credits rolled!  I did not know much of her story at the time.  I knew she left to go to a convent.  Seemed odd and was a blip in the movies news.

Last night as I watched the documentary made about her life, I was warmed by her affirmation of choosing the path less traveled.  I have provided a link for you to enjoy some of the story rather than type it all in here.

http://abbeyofreginalaudis.org/sitelive/community/MotherDoloresHart.htm

I heard an interview with Mark Wahlburg awhile ago when he said he goes to Mass every morning.  Dolores Hart did the same in the glitz of Hollywood’s Golden Age.  I am certain many other glamorous stars have strong  faith and live it. It saddens me that this is rarely a mention.  We are inundated with poor Lindsay Lohan’s self-destruction or the latest divorce or falling from grace of the wonder kid of the day.  I wonder what it would be like if good news was regularly reported about celebrities???  I know it is out there.

Rev. Mother Prioress Dolores Hart chose grace over glamour.  She is one happy lady.  She left a man she loved to devote herself to another in a cloistered convent.  Don Robinson never married and their friendship remains.  He visits her once a year.   I hope you can find this show on your own televisions.  It is an HBO special lasting about 30 minutes and was up for an Academy Award in 2012.  She appeared on the red carpet and I have included the you tube link as well.  I was surprised to hear she was still a voting member of the Academy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOuXUUiA_8c

My conclusion from all of this is that yesterday God gave me (us) a direction for my life for the next three years.  Last night through the documentary I was shown how wonderful a course correction can be in one’s life.

My favorite poet Robert Frost says it best in “The Road Not taken”.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

…..all the difference in the world for me as I work with my husband and dear friends in our ministry as we proclaim the value of the Marriage of a man and a woman and Holy Orders.  I am convinced that the world can be changed by our work.  I believe the world can be changed  if we listen to John 13:34-35..

New International Version (NIV)

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Today I am truly…………….

…..ONWARD TO MORE MISADVENTURE…

SUNDAY MORNING SINUS

GOOD MORNING WORLD

I have suffered with sinus problems most of my life.  Sometimes the headaches are almost blinding.  Sometimes they are simply a pain in the neck only over my eyes and around my teeth – yes there are sinus cavities around your teeth.  Some mornings it is a struggle to get out of bed with this junk.  Medicine works and that to quote ‘Martha’ is a good thing.  It just takes longer some mornings to get going.  One day I will find a solution.  A neti pot does help.

My mind is scattered this morning to post much of anything.  I did some blog looking yesterday.  There are some fantastic blogs out there.  Really interesting and some are just plain fun.  One I like – and she sometimes reads me – is a blog called ‘iamrising’.  This girl is a true warrior.  I am not sure what all she suffers from in her life.  I have not read all of her blogs.  The ones I have read share her struggle with bulimia and pot.  The good news is she is succeeding.  Go look at her blog it is wonderful.  It is ‘iamrising.wordpress.com.’.

As I was reading her blog yesterday I was struck with the quality of her writing.  As you know I love words and language and the use of both.  I write my blog from my thoughts and feelings and my heart and try to go deep.  This young woman succeeds in writing her blog from all of those and includes her soul.  She leaves herself all across the page.  Such courage.  She challenges me to do better.

Another challenge I face daily is health in general.  While I am healthy I no longer have all the correct numbers on my chart – some are way over and some are under and all need to be reviewed to reach the best there is for me.  I have good genes – not talking levis here – and I need to do my part.

Last night I while attending a birthday party for my 70 yr old cousin I found myself walking down a hallway with other members of my family.  Now you know my Dad is 91.  While my mother passed away when she was 35, the rest of her family have longevity on their side.  As we, members of my mother’s family, were walking from my cousin’s apartment to the activity room I looked around to discover I was the youngest one in line.

We were being led by my 96 year old great aunt.  She is wonderful.  Sharp as a tack as ‘they’ say.  She hasn’t traveled much lately.  She read an article about a woman a 90 making a plane trip on her own and allowed as much as she thought she actually could fly from Bangor, Maine to DC once again for this party.  She packed her walker and VOILA!

Beside her was her 67 year very pretty old daughter.  Beside them was the birthday girl’s sister aged 79 and herself a really strikingly pretty woman.  My mother’s brother and wife were next in line.  My uncle is 87 and I think my aunt the same age or a year younger.  Then my husband at 66 and me at 65!  It has been a long time since I was the youngest in the group!  It was such fun.  There was my maternal history marching along – well sauntering – all healthy and laughing and in really good shape for all the ages.  It is a wonderment.

Today’s scripture talks about making our ‘increase abound in love for one another’ (1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2) ‘so to strengthen your hearts’.  Well last night as I looked around the room at my maternal family my heart swelled with love and blessings.

The six of the  younger cousins were there with their parents.  The youngest cousin there was aged 6.  There they were my heritage from 6 to 96.  The Gospel today speaks of signs referring the tribulation.  Ignoring the dark reference I think I will look at the signs I had before me last night.  Health, vitality, celebration, love – does it get any better?

…..ONWARD TO MORE MISADVENTURE…

SUNDAY – LECTIO DIVINA

GOOD MORNING WORLD

On Sundays I like to have a bit of faith in my posts as my faith is such a part of my life – all my life.  I still wear a small gold cross that my Grandfather gave to me when I was born or baptized, I do not know which.  In fact as I write I am not sure which grandfather.  Thought is was Fred Victor Thurston and, since I have always heard only grandfather not grandparents, it could have been Gerald Hodgkins.  It is around my neck and I love it.  There used to be a diamond chip which has now been lost.

I looked at today’s scriptures for us.  The Gospel we are reading is Mark 13:24-32.  It speaks of the tribulation and darkening of clouds and stars falling from the sky and the powers of heaven being shaken.  Oh joy how uplifting!  It goes from the Son of Man gathering his elect, to the fig tree shoots and the lesson it teaches, to the last verse saying, “But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in the heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”  Sounds to me like the end of the world.  What am I going to do with that???

Best thing to do is wait to hear what Monsignor says and take from that perhaps.  We have had so many “The World Is Coming To An End” prophesies in our life time.  I remember we were all aware that the world was going to hiccup on Y2K 1/1/2000.  The Mayans have a prophesy that world is going to end in December.  Their calendar ends 12/21/12 and they believed that we had 13 years from 1999 to 2012 to get things right?  The sites to discover this information are varied and weird so I am not going to include them.  There are sites that debunk this as well.  Christmas shopping or not???

I think I will continue to – a favorite quote from ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ comes to mind as Sam answers Dr. Marcia Fieldstone on the phone,

“Well, I’m gonna get out of bed every morning… breathe in and out all day long. Then, after a while I won’t have to remind myself to get out of bed every morning and breathe in and out… and, then after a while, I won’t have to think about how I had it great and perfect for a while.”

I will not have to be so dramatic.  I can just get out of bed and start my day as the world continues to spin. The world is not going to end next month.  Hopefully not for a long time despite the unrest that exists.  So what do I do with this scripture?  Follow me…

The scriptures the old and new testament had much more in them today than the Gospel of  Mark.  The messages today could have been interpreted in many ways.  In the practice of Lectio Divina, which is a way you study and pray the scriptures, one picks a word or phrase and ponders that only for a meditation time.  So let’s do go back to that sentence and look at it another way.  Shorten it to simply ‘…..of the day or hour, no one knows…..’.  What does this bring to mind for you?

I had breakfast with a dear friend on Friday.  It takes us months to plan a breakfast or lunch.  Friday we were celebrating her Oct 30th birthday.  Our breakfasts start at 9 and go until.  Friday I was astonished when I discovered it was 11:30 and we were still at the table.  We talk about everything that has happened to us and the world and our families.  In there somewhere we eat a couple of eggs with sides and lots of coffee.

We were talking about Christmas gifts and she was telling me she was working on a quilt and I was sharing about my projects.  I was talking about my writing and where I was thinking of going with it.  She told me she was writing letters to her children to tell them how much she loved them and share some stories that were just theirs.  What a gift and I had just written  a blog about gifts.

The gift she was writing was one that would cost nothing – only time.  She went on to remind me that her mother had left written notes for her Dad and all of the children when she had passed.  She told me what a hard time they all had reading them after the funeral.  Imagine taking the time to do this when you know your time is short?  I liked my friends idea better.  Write them now.

I actually have done this in my life.  I remember seeing a movie in college and writing Daddy a note to tell him what a great father he was to me.  I have done the same with my siblings to accompany the quilts I handmade for them.  When we left North Carolina and left our two children  – grown children we were not abandoning them contrary to their belief – I did the same and gave them each photo albums with lots of copies of photos for them to have.

As I read the Scripture today I am not going to interpret it as the end of the world.  I am going to utilize it to encourage and foster the fact that the truth is we do not know when anything is going to happen so we are called to make the most of each day.   My friend is full of wisdom. I believe as she shares this information it will foster more love in her family now not when it is too late.

So who do you love?  Who do you like?  Who do you respect?  Did someone do something to impact your life in any way?  Go make a real gift of it!  It is the first day of Thanksgiving week.  Use that as a reason if you believe you need one.  Find a nice ‘Thanksgiving’ card or ‘thinking of you’ card or some pretty paper and tell them what they mean to you.  Let them know now before the time passes away.  As you know I believe I am going to live to 124 so I have plenty of time and still believe it is important to work in the now.  Your choice.

…..ONWARD TO MORE MISADVENTURE…

SUNDAY SONG IN MY HEAD

GOOD MORNING WORLD

I awoke this morning with scripture in my mind as well as a song. The scripture was Psalm 118:24 – ‘this is the day the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad in it’.  This was followed by the song Day by Day from Godspell .

Day by day
Day by day
Oh Dear Lord
Three things I pray
To see thee more clearly
Love thee more dearly
Follow thee more nearly
Day by day

Day by day
Day by day
Oh Dear Lord
Three things I pray
To see thee more clearly
Love thee more dearly
Follow thee more nearly
Day by day

The chances of me waking with these things in my head are really a roll of the dice.  Wonder what happens for that to occur?  I know I was thinking about what had happened the day before as well as the fact that in a few hours I would hear the church bells of my youth ring yet again calling everyone to the service.  Think this is kind of funny as the bells ring JUST before the start so if you wait to hear them you will be late for church!!!

As I got to the morning I was singing (in my head only as my voice could shatter glass and not in a good way) Day by Day and loving the words.  This song is simplicity at its best.  It says what it wants and repeats.  Perhaps that is a lesson to keep repeating what we need to do daily.  Many 12 Step programs speak of one day at a time.  There is wisdom in there.

Three things I pray.  The first is ‘to see thee more clearly’?  How can we see anything more clearly?  In the middle of chaos we are paralyzed.  If a storm is swirling how can you find the way out?  Perhaps the next two lines answer the question.  If we love thee more dearly and follow thee more nearly we may just find the direction we need to move from chaos to calm.

I had the occasion yesterday to witness my faith to a very young person.  We were talking about a TV show The Secret?  I have not ever seen it though have read the book it is based upon that says if you focus on it you can bring it to you.  I explained to this sweet dear young person that I believed that thought a very ‘new age’ idea.  I told them that I believed I was a bit more grounded than just focus and thought.  I believe in God and trust the Scriptures that tell me God will keep His promise and give me the desires of my heart if I am faithful to Him and do the work I need to do to reach a goal.  I have seen it happen.  He is 8 and looked at me respectfully like I was wonderful and quite a bit weird.  Perhaps I am weird.  I will walk in my weird belief today and see how it feels!!!

I know I have said this before and will probably again.  I cannot imagine my life without faith.  There were times when I was not actively living my faith.  When I think back on them they were kind of shaded.  I believe God was there letting me live my will and waiting for me to sync it with His will for my life. They really are not that much different I do not think.  The difference is that He wants me to be in relationship with Him as I live not shut Him out.  The shaded part was my living life with filters of my own choices which may not have been the ones He would have liked me to make. 

‘To see thee more clearly’ I need to remove my filters and see the homeless.  I need to acknowledge the broken.  To ‘love thee more dearly’ says I need to love the hurting.  I need to help when I can and love when I am needed without conditions.  I am called to be open to any occasion put before me to show God’s love to this world.

I also believe I have and will again speak of choices.  It is hard to make clear ones when life throws people, events and circumstances your way that do not agree with the path you have chosen.  The job is not what you think and you are laid off or go looking for a better one.  People let you down by not being whom or what you thought they were.  The blood work that was to be normal came back not so good like it did for me a couple of weeks ago.   It could be as simple as the sleep that doesn’t come at night and you have no idea why not. 

For example, I mentioned previously my argument with sleep.  I cannot control whether I sleep or not.  I can limit liquids and caffeine and practice good nightly rituals for relaxing and if sleep does not come the end result is I am tired the next day.  I marvel at those who sleep well.  The cliché is that good sleep comes with a clear conscience.  There may be more to that than just words. 

Many of these things are things of which we have no control.  We can fix what we can and then what happens to the rest?  If we can let go and trust that God has everything in hand what do we have to worry about?  It is the trust part that many find hard.  Bringing me back to the song…….

Oh Dear Lord
Three things I pray
To see thee more clearly
Love thee more dearly
Follow thee more nearly
Day by day

I am certain as a follower of Jesus Christ that if we do these three things all other things will fall into place.  We have to remember that He did not promise ‘no problems’ just that He would be with us during them.  Seems to me if we want someone to be with us when we need them we need to stay in touch ‘day by day’.

…..ONWARD TO MORE MISADVENTURE…