Blue Swallowtail Blessings

I can’t make this stuff up!

Usually while I’m having my cup of morning coffee, I am thinking about what I’d like to write about for the day. Because I’ve been contemplating starting this blog up again for a very long time, I have a lot of draft versions of blogs I’ve begun but not finished. So this morning without really thinking a great deal, I remembered a piece I wrote long ago entitled, “Metamorphosis”. I thought briefly about reprinting it, because this is how I”m currently feeling, but as soon as the thought entered my mind I decided not to. I’m trying not to go back in time to reprint blogs of days gone by. Besides this, I think of that blog as something to be posted during the Spring, because that’s when nature is re-birthing itself.

I finished my coffee, then pulled out my prayer journal. I sat for a moment, then wrote a few thoughts and ended with a five item gratitude list. One of the items I listed was this blog and how I am really enjoying writing on a regular basis. I’m thankful to God that I am able to express myself in this way and even happier when my words touch another person’s heart. Then I decided today would be the day I post my gratitude and invite others to do the same.

As usual, the drive to work brought more contemplation and my regular internal dialogue with heaven. I was expressing my gratitude for Charlie’s mother, for my mother, for my relationship with Mary, the Blessed Mother of Jesus, who is Mother to us all. I didn’t really verbalize it but that “Metamorphosis” blog was still in the back of my heart. Again, I think this is what I am feeling lately, so it makes sense for it to be there in my heart.

I pulled into the parking lot at work where I saw two of my favorite people, so I hopped out and chatted a bit. Afterward I walked around the corner towards the door. From out of nowhere appeared a beautiful little Blue Swallowtail butterfly*! She did circles around and around me and I squealed like a child with sheer joy! First of all, butterflies have always been special to me, but blues ones? They are my sign from the Blessed Mother! Hoping to get a photo, I dropped my bags just as she was flying off. I called to her (What? Did you expect me NOT to tell her to wait?) She actually landed and let me take this video! Look how CLOSE she let me get!

Then she posed for this photo! She wants you all to know how much you are loved, even when you aren’t feeling like it.

img_7220-1I walked through the door to my office knowing my first instinct was right. Someone out there needs to read about the journey to the cocoon. I could hardly wait to get home to deliver it!

*UPDATE: I just found out this isn’t a Swallowtail. It’s actually called a Red-Spotted Purple.  I don’t care. I still love it!


Metamorphosis

I am no fan of the caterpillar.

Funny, as children we joyfully grab them from the pavement, talk to them, pet them, let them crawl on us and even try to keep them in jars. Forty years later the mere site of one gives me the heebie jeebies. Gross!

Last week after watching hundreds of these slinky silken beings travel across my deck and front porch-each of them in search of a safe haven in which to transform- I had an epiphany.

Maybe as children we intrinsically recognize the caterpillar as part of our own selves. I can remember feeling a certain empathy for these creatures, which is probably why I used to pick them up and carry them across the parking lot, assuring them a safe journey to the woods. I didn’t want to see a single one meet an untimely and squishy death.

Today I ponder the fact that we are all a part of the caterpillar and vice versa. In a sense we are all trying to make our way across the asphalt jungle of life, trying to get to a place where we can finally feel free enough to release our inner beauty. I look back on my own life and recognize there have been a lot of little kid hands lifting me up and carrying me when I didn’t feel I could make it across the lot on my own.

Over the weekend I saw a caterpillar making his way up my front door. I didn’t stop long enough to see where he was trying to go, nor did I really care. I was busy with my list of tasks for the day. A little later on, after I’d been in and out a few more times, I noticed something interesting. He’d spun his cocoon and gone into his chrysalis right on my doorbell button! What a fitting symbol for me at this time in my life.

The butterfly has been a personal sign of mine for many years (I’m sure I am not alone in this). Throughout my life I’ve had many experiences of cocooning, hiding myself away from the rest of the world, spun into my own little nest, trying to transform and emerge anew. Maybe this is why I recoil when I see a caterpillar. Eek, bluck, and gross. Sometimes it’s not easy remembering the journey to the cocoon, even when we have already transformed into butterflies.

That caterpillar deliberately placed himself on my doorbell so I would see him every day and be reminded that I am Blessed beyond comprehension. In just a short while, he will emerge a transformed being to fly off and begin anew. In much the same manner, I will be opening the door to a new and wonderful life as well.

The doorbell? Well of course you do know that “every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings”? (Couldn’t resist that one, sorry. Cough.)

The butterfly is a universal symbol for the transformation of life. It is a symbol of great joy and great change. But most importantly, butterflies remind us that the power of metamorphosis is always within our reach.

May you find a caterpillar at your front door very soon!


My Dearest Lord:

What an incredible day this has been! From the depths of who I am, I thank you. I am still in total awe about the very unexpected beautiful butterfly who absolutely made my entire day!

Today I lift my prayers to you for anyone out there who needs to feel Your presence and love. I know there are those who are still tightly wrapped within their cocoons, perhaps feeling lost, hurt, afraid or lonely. Let them know that they are in my heart and that I wish to share my faith and love with them.  You are the great Universal healer. Please grant them courage to break free and emerge anew. 

Thank you for enabling me to see the beauty in this life and for allowing me the grace to finally accept the things I cannot change and to blossom where I can…and to remember… I always can.

I love you.


“For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20

The Incredible Blah Lifting Egg!

Don’t Judge a blog by it’s title. (giggle)

It happens to all of us. Everything is going along smoothly and then something unexpected happens to knock you off your spiritual path. Usually these are the times when we’ve actually made the decision to start to be better about prayer or good deeds or service to others, etc. In my life, I’ve come to realize that when I am trying the hardest to be grounded, something always comes along to try to knock me down. When it happens, it’s easy to become more and more lazy about spirituality when in reality this is the time to fight harder.

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I don’t know about you, but in my life, things move along at a much happier pace when I am engaged and connected with God and the angels. The times where I am lazy or so consumed with things of this world, I more susceptible to feelings of depression and loneliness.

After several weeks of feeling completely happy inside, this morning I woke up feeling BLAH for no apparent reason. I slept really well and I had wonderful dreams about preparing food. (I meant it when I said I am obsessed with all things food related!) Still, I got out of bed feeling slightly off. Charlie said he felt the same way. We discussed how important prayer is to the both of us and affirmed together, that we must keep vigilant with our prayer armor.

Don’t ask me why, but I felt an odd compulsion to go right into the kitchen and whip up some bacon and eggs, so that’s what I did. Weekdays I usually skip breakfast and fast until lunch time. Today, it felt like the thing to do and so we dined on beautiful fried eggs, bacon, avocado slices, cilantro and yummy garden-fresh tomatoes. Afterward I felt so happy inside. Being productive really works to combat the blues. Listening to your intuition works even better!

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When I arrived at the office this morning, I made the phone calls I’ve been putting off. I prepared the reports that are not my favorites and in general, I chose to do the things that I usually am not thrilled about doing. Guess what? The blahs floated off into the atmosphere transformed as joy. I hope they land on top of someone who deserves a virtual hug and a ray of sunshine.

I am not advocating doing things you loath in order to feel better, but I am saying that knocking things off your To-Do list is a wonderful way to feel better. I’m very pleased that this morning I chose to do what I felt compelled to do. That’s why I persist in  preaching about tuning into your heart/gut/intuition. It will always steer in the right direction.

Admit it. You’re hungry for eggs now, aren’t you?

Love,

Bobbe


My Dearest Lord,

Today I want to express my gratitude for the happy feelings I have inside. I ask for continued help in the areas of self-reflection, following intuition and keeping You in the front of every aspect of my life. Additionally, I humbly ask these things for all who may discover this page today and in the days to come. 

Last week a social media acquaintance of mine lost her battle with cancer. I know she is with you today feeling restored and joyful and in the presence of the son she lost too soon. I know her friends and family are feeling sorrowful. Please give them the strength, peace and grace to carry on and the knowledge that they will see Lisa again. Until then, the highest tribute to her is a life well lived.

My sweet friend Angela has asked that I remember her husband in prayer as well.  I know you are already present in their lives as You are the greatest of all healers. Please add my prayers to theirs for relief for both of them. Caring for our ailing relatives takes a toll on the heart and the body. Let his spirits rise to meet yours so that his heart isn’t so heavy. Instill in him the knowledge that he IS going to get better.

For anyone who awoke this morning feeling the slightest bit, “Blah”, as Charlie and I did, I pray for relief. I pray for levity. I pray for the impulse to get up, move along and make today into something meaningful.

These days, Lord, I find I cannot stop expressing my gratitude. I feel Your hands on my heart every day. Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.

I love You.

Amen.

 


“No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their vindication is from Me,” declares the LORD. Isaiah 54:17


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Stupid Old Boyfriend-Near Life-Sized Signs

Here is the part where all of you question my sanity. I’m okay with that.

Once upon a time I had a boyfriend who made the frustrated declaration, “Oh Bobbe, you think everything is a sign. Not everything is a sign from God!” This was twenty nine years ago and I can still hear his words ringing in my ears. I know exactly where we were, what the weather was that day; I even remember what I was wearing.  I was completely flabbergasted. (Don’t you love that word?)

I have navigated my entire life by spiritual guideposts and feelings and I guess when he said that to me, it was the first time I realized that other people don’t. (I know there is more to life planning than floating about watching for signs. That’s not what I mean here.)

For instance. Last week was the first time in eons I started posting my spirituality blogs. I’d been feeling for some time that this is the direction I wanted and needed to take. I prayed a tremendous amount of time over it as well. I haven’t started talking about it here yet, but a strong part of my spiritual roots in later life, comes from my devotion to The Blessed Mother. (Yes, Mother Mary.)

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I am on Facebook every evening and in ten years not once have I ever seen a post from anyone (but me), regarding messages from The Blessed Mother. Yet, on Thursday evening, I ran into the following post from “The Medjugorje Web”:

Message to Mirjana Soldo of August 2nd, 2018.
Dear children,
With a motherly love I am calling you to open hearts to peace; to open hearts to my Son, so that in your hearts love for my Son may sing, because only out of that love peace comes in the soul. My children, I know that you have goodness, I know that you have love – a merciful love, but many of my children still have a closed heart. They think that they can do it without directing their thoughts towards the Heavenly Father who illuminates–towards my Son who is always with you anew in the Eucharist and who desires to listen to you. My children, why do you not speak to Him? The life of each of you is important and precious, because it is a gift from the Heavenly Father for eternity. Therefore, do not ever forget to keep on thanking Him: speak to Him. I know, my children, that what is to come afterwards is unknown to you, but when your hereafter comes you will receive all the answers. My motherly love desires that you be ready. My children, by your life keep putting good feelings in the hearts of the people whom you meet, feelings of peace, goodness, love and forgiveness. Through prayer, hearken to what My Son is saying and act accordingly. Anew, I am calling you to prayer for your shepherds, for those whom my Son has called. Remember that they need prayers and love. Thank you.

Why is this significant? Because earlier that very day, I shared some of my very personal conversion story with a dear friend of another faith. I don’t mind saying that every time I relate my  story, it’s a little bit frightening, because it’s so personal. She was so moved by it she encouraged me to pursue writing about it in depth. (Those closest to me know this has been a dream of mine for almost thirty years. It’s a dream I am currently, very seriously revisiting.)

Every part of that message up there speaks right to my heart and it’s what I’ve been putting in to practice daily for as long as I can recall. I saw it on Thursday. I saw it again on Friday. And on Saturday, an interesting thing happened on the way to the grocery.

Charlie and I wanted to go to visit Aldi’s to see if it’s a place we want to include in our regular shopping circuit. (It’s not, by the way.) We were driving along a beautiful street lined with pretty houses with well manicured lawns. I was enjoying the ride very much when we drove past a house with a huge picture window in the front. Imagine my glee when standing in that window I saw an almost life-sized statue of The Blessed Mother! I was so excited, I cried a little bit. I felt just like Mary herself had just given me Her nod of approval.

Blessings.  They are coming to us all every moment of every day. The secret is to keep an open heart and mind and to accept them for what they are. Remember when I was talking about tuning into the heart? This is part of it.

We are not alone here. Whatever it is you’re struggling with or need help with or want to share, open your heart and talk to God about it. You will be heard.

Ask. Believe. Receive. Say Thank you.


Dearest Lord:

Today I want to pray for those among us who are struggling in this life with issues regarding faith, hopelessness, courage, self worth and even direction. I know that there is never a time when You are not present with us, listening to our prayers and loving us. Please help us all to begin recognizing the multitude of signs of Your love, mercy and grace.

Thank you for the gift of Your Beautiful Mother, who I love, adore and hold so dear. 

Help us all to remember to practice putting good feelings in the hearts of the people we meet, feelings of peace, goodness, love and forgiveness and to pray for our Shepherds and Leaders, regardless of whether or not we agree with them.

I love you.

Amen.


 

“And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” Revelation 12:1

Furball Blessings

Don’t you wish all the decisions that would yield great Blessings were easy to make? They are.

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A little over a year ago, Charlie and I welcomed this little dog-being into our home. We call him, “Sammy-the most interesting dog in the world.” (aka: #Sammythepeoplesdog)

One day I was popping around Facebook and I ran into a photo posted on a lifelong friend’s page. She was saying that she had just gone to the pet store and played with this precious, little guy and that, “Someone seriously needs to go get this little guy; he’s adorable.” She went on to say that she would have taken him in herself but he is so small, he’d be “hawk-bait” where she lives in the country.

I took one look at him and immediately clicked through the link she’d provided. We were not in the market for a new dog. Not one word had been spoken between hubs and I regarding wanting to add anything or anyone new to our recently rennovated home. I wasn’t sitting there gushing over how adorable this dog was; I just knew he was already mine. Before five minutes had passed, I’d filled out the application, texted with the Director of the Rescue place and committed to picking up the dog-site unseen. Then this conversation happened:

Me: “Cha Cha?

Charlie: “Yes, baby.”

Me: “We’re adopting another dog.”

Charlie: “No, we are not. We don’t want or need another dog. Maybe later, when Chinah has passed, but not right now. Nooooooo.”

Me: “Look at this photo.”

He looks.

Charlie: “When do we pick him up?”

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Two days later, 5.6 lb. Sammy was inspecting our home. Thankfully, we passed and we’ve been living, loving and laughing together ever since. He’s the brightest, funniest, most playful dog we’ve ever had. His presence in our life is an enormous daily Blessing.

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Don’t you wish all the decisions that would yield great Blessings were as easy to make? They are. It’s a matter of tuning into your heart and fearlessly following it’s direction.

Every mistake I have ever made occurred when I decided to steer away from what my heart told me to do. (Take a minute and think this through regarding your own life. I’ll wait… It’s truth, isn’t it?)

We’ve all got people in our lives who believe they know what’s best for us and those who are gifted in making sure to tell us where they think we are steering in the wrong direction. Let’s face it, there are people out there who appear to make it a mission to criticize and point out flaws.  And what do we do in response to these people? Sometimes we go against our better judgment just to please them OR just so we don’t have to hear about it from them. (Can I get an “Amen” here?) I can’t count the number of people out there who are living a life that someone else has dictated for them. When asked why they don’t or won’t pursue what they really want, the response is always the same. “I can’t because so-and-so won’t let me.” (Feel free to insert “…will be mad if I do”, “…says I’m not cut out for that”, “…wants me to stay this way”; the excuse list is endless, and I say this with love because I’ve been there, too. ♥)

So how does one begin the practice of tuning out the white noise of well-meaning friends and relatives in order to start listening to the contents of the heart? If you know anything about me you can predict what I’m about to say is the first step. (I can hear you, ya know. “God, this woman is a broken record. Doesn’t she ever say anything else!”)

The first step is in fact, prayer. I can already hear some of you saying, “But I pray and pray and pray and nothing different ever happens”. I challenge you on this one. There is never a time when earnest prayer doesn’t yield results. Part of the first step is committing to the realization that your prayers are in fact, being heard. You must stop expecting the answers to appear at the front door. It doesn’t work that way. (More on this later.)

The second step is action. You must give up the notion that you don’t have to be an active part in your life. In order to manifest anything new in one’s life, you must be willing to take a new and different step. It doesn’t have to be huge; just any little positive step that’s different and that moves you towards the direction of your heart.

Here’s mine. From the time I was a little girl, I have always expressed myself in writing. In later years, the one and only dream I have ever had for myself is to become a best selling author, but not just any best selling author. I want what I write to impact people on a soul level. I want to be a vessel of God’s love and I want my reach to be far and wide. I want to tell my own story, because it’s a doozy.

This morning I looked outside my front door and darned if there STILL wasn’t a throng of contract-yielding publishers all fighting to get to me first. (Whaaaat? Maybe tomorrow.)

You are reading one of many of the baby steps I am putting into action in order to get closer to manifesting my dream. I can’t expect to write a book if I am currently not writing a thing now can I? The other REALLY IMPORTANT step I started taking in earnest five months ago is my health. I haven’t been happy about my body in years, so I have stopped being mad at my image in the mirror and am now actively working on my diet and exercise. When I see progress, I feel happier. When I feel happier, I work harder. When I work harder, God always meets me half way.

The third step is to keep it quiet for now. You can’t tune into you heart if you are seeking accolades, approval or “go ahead’s” from others. (I know I’m not keeping quiet about what I’m doing, but I’m not the one seeking to learn to listen to my heart, now am I? ♥)

Let’s recap:

  1. Present your intentions before God by way of honest prayer.
  2. Commit to the understanding that your prayers are heard even if you don’t see or feel proof of it. (A lot of times in my own life, the greatest Blessings are those I don’t readily see or even know about.)
  3. Take some baby action steps.
  4. Keep your big mouth shut. Instead, feel how your heart feels when you are tip toeing towards your intentions. It might feel a little scary at first, but it still feels good, right? That’s your heart talking. Try to memorize what it feels like.
  5. Say thank you in advance for your Blessings.

Rest assured, I will be expanding on all of this soon. For right now, I’ve given you a very achievable mission. Should you decide to accept, your rewards are quite possibly infinite.

Love,

Bobbe


My Dearest Lord,

Today I want to take the time to thank you for all of the furball babies that have crossed my path.  There is so much to be learned by these creatures who offer us unconditional love and companionship. Thank you especially for our dog, Sammy, who makes us giggle on a daily basis. 

Jesus, for all of your children who feel trapped by life’s circumstances or who feel scared to break free of living under someone else’s expectations, I offer my prayers for your Blessings and courage. I know that we all have the capacity to become what our hearts desire and the first place for any of us is to start with You. 

Please join my prayers with the prayers of my friends, family, coworkers and readers. Thank you in advance for all of our Blessings, especially the ones we don’t readily see. Help us to trust with our whole hearts that when we place You in the lead of our lives, our rewards are often beyond our wildest dreams.

Let us all be proud to stand and call you, Father.

I love you.

Amen


 

1 John 5:14: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clutter Clearing, causes Spirit Cheering.

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If you’ve been around my blog for any length of time you already know that I’m a foodie in every sense of the word. My parents think I am crazy. My father often remarks that Charlie and I are obsessed with food. (It’s true. We ARE! We are not ashamed!) It’s the first thing we talk about in the morning and the last thing we talk about at night. Our most frequent outings involve seeking out new markets and grocery stores and the most watched channel in our home is of course, The Food Network.

One of the Blessings in our life is being able to creat the Fellowship meal for Crescent Hill Baptist Church once per week. (Having grown up Catholic, I seriously think our religion missed out by not adopting this practice.) I love the fact that once per week, the people of this church meet together to share a meal and fellowship. They probably don’t stop a lot to realize this, but it’s a beautiful practice and I love witnessing it. This Wednesday we’ll return to the kitchen after having had the month of July off and we are ready! In fact, only a select few of them will know it, but we are DOUBLE ready!

Bear in mind that a church, is a church, is a church. Think about the times you have cleaned your home and have found items that you feel still have life and that someone could use? Where do you think about taking them? The church? Yup. Speaking for “THE CHURCH”; it’s always appreciated, but it can get overwhelming. (Example: Once upon a time we had a bunch of last generation Big box big screen TV’s taking up HUGE space in the basement. They still worked! WHO could fit one into a tiny apartment or afford to have it moved?)

And the church kitchen? It’s just about impossible to keep the refrigerators and freezers free of random packaged items that people drop off, afraid to throw away, certain that someone out there can use it. Our cabinets have been stuffed to overflowing with donated plastic containers, cutlery, napkins, etc. for as long as I have been there. We share the space with a school and since the first day I started cooking there, almost seven years ago, I’ve always wanted to go through and organize and clean every single cabinet. I had to wait, however, until it didn’t seem too presumptuous. (LOL!) This past Friday, six+ years into our catering, I finally decided to do it.

Friday Charlie and I cleared our schedules in order to tackle defrosting the Industrial freezer, cleaning out the refrigerator and clearing out about ten years worth of “stuff” from four very large, sprawling cabinets. Both of us worked the entire day, yet we couldn’t finish it all. Monday I went right back in there and tackled the rest and I still didn’t get 100% finished.

Oh, but what we have accomplished makes my heart sing with glee. The entire feeling of the kitchen has changed. I was so grateful when a co-worker walked in and said, “You can literally FEEL the difference in here.” It’s absolutely true!

I am a huge advocate for clearing the energy of a space simply by eliminating clutter and giving it a good old fashioned cleaning. Do you ever feel restless, irritated, or uncomfortable in your home, office, car, or in any other space? Chances are good that you’re existing within trapped energy. You may in fact be tapping into stagnant or even blocked energy, which can have an adverse affect on your spirit. (The church kitchen definitely felt stagnant to me before we cleaned and organized.)

I recently heard the greatest quote from a friend who said, “Turns out, we’re all a little like Pig Pen from Charlie Brown.” We were discussing energy and how even though we don’t see it with the naked eye; we’re constantly walking around in a cloud of particles and we’re unconsciously leaving bits and pieces wherever we may go! Think about the last time you walked into a room just after something negative had happened? You felt it, right? The same goes for starting out in a bad mood and running into someone or something that instantly lightens your spirit. We feel things long before and after we ever say a word.

Now imagine a place like the kitchen I just cleaned. Every nook and cranny had some form of something that was placed there by who knows who? Each little baggie or piece of plastic ware or roll of paper towels arrived already laden with energy. Then it was shoved into a cabinet where it co-mingled with a plethora of other things. Every time a new person used the kitchen or passed through, even more stagnant energy piled up on top. Sounds pretty gross, doesn’t it? (Go on admit it, you’re in the mood to get up and clean house now, aren’t you? ha ha.)

The entire point of my writing this out is to illustrate that if you are experiencing any type of blockage of spirit; an easy and free remedy is right in front of you: Clear your corners! (Translation: clean and organize your space!) When I am at home, I like to burn white sage throughout the house and as an exclamation point, I pull out the Holy water to Bless every room.

Go on. Give it a try.  You can thank me later.

Love,

Bobbe

 


Dearest Lord,

Thank you for the Blessing of reflection. So often lately I am presented with opportunities for growth and learning. I find myself looking back in time fully able to see where I have come from and how I have grown and changed. I strive every day to work for you whether it be ministering to others or simply to get on my knees and clean a cabinet.

Thank you for all of the beautiful people I share this Universe with, especially my family, friends, and the multitude of strangers I encounter, who stir something in my heart.  I know the stirring of my heart is your hand upon on my soul. I love you. Thank you. 

Amen.


“Let all things be done decently and in order.” 1 Corinthians 14:40

 

Bittersweet Blessings.

I count myself as pretty Blessed among my friends and family because although my parents are in their upper 80’s, they are both still here and both in reasonably good health. There are times when they might need assistance doing certain things and when the occasion arises, I like to try to help. Having had a rocky relationship with them “back in the day” and even sometimes in the present; I still want to do what I can for them while they are here.

Sometimes I am asked why I do it and my response is simple, “They aren’t going to be here much longer. I want to know I did my best to love them well while they are here.”

Yesterday my Dad needed some help getting to the new location of the Driver’s License Bureau. It happens to be in my neighborhood, so I offered to drive him. Then we received word that one of my parent’s old dear friends had passed and that the celebration of his life would be held yesterday at the country club where our family practically lived my entire life. I knew Dad wouldn’t feel comfortable going by himself, so I offered to drop by and take him to both places.

Bear in mind I really am a creature of habit and practically a social recluse. Charlie and I have carved out a peaceful routine that works for us. We laugh at ourselves frequently for excitedly making plans to go somewhere new or to some social event and then at the very last second we look at each other, shrug our shoulders and say, “Naaaaaaah. I don’t reaaaaaaally wanna go, do you?” Nope. And then we stay home. (99.5% of the time, this is the exact scenario.)

The prospect of having to make small talk makes me recoil with intimidation, so I was sort of dreading going to the Country Club. Add to this the fact that I knew I would be seeing people who hadn’t seen me in almost forty years. I have been over weight off and on for a lot of years and whenever I think about seeing people from my past I become very insecure. (Translation: I used to have a very high level of confidence regarding my appearance! In fact, one might argue correctly that long ago my entire sense of self was wrapped up in the package of my outward appearance.)

All morning long I wrestled with the same feelings of dread that a person goes through when he/she is about to take and important test. Then I arrived to pick up my Dad at 3:00 PM.

This is a memory I won’t forget. After I had been there for a few minutes talking with my Mom, my Dad appeared all dressed to go. The man is 87 years old, yet when he stepped into the room, he was styled from head to toe looking as modern as any other person on the planet right down to his socks! He and my Mom giggled telling me that she had recently bought the pants he was wearing and hadn’t realized she was picking up, “the skinny leg” variety. It looked so good on Dad it made my heart smile. (My Dad has fought getting old his entire life. At almost 88 next month, it persists.) I was struck by how adorable he looked. It made me feel so good. He was dressed up to go out with ME, regardless of the occasion. (Sniffle. So sweet. I wish I had taken a photo, but that memory will stay with me forever more.)

Our trip to the License Bureau went off without a hitch and soon enough we were walking across the parking lot of the country club. This was a walk both of us had taken separately and collectively hundreds of thousands of times. This time, however, my Dad reached for my hand and we walked up the stairs together to pay respects to a dear friend and his family. It was a bittersweet feeling. This was a place that was a second home to us from birth until my early thirties. My Dad spent nearly every day there playing golf. (He reminded me on the trip over there that he and his buddies used to play on New Year”s Eve no matter what the weather.) I spent my youth in the pool and at the snack bar and then when my daughter was born, we were there together daily during the summers. This is the place we celebrated every special occasion; birthdays, weddings, Anniversary’s, Funerals, out of town guests, and of course, the Kentucky Derby and Breeders Cup!

We were both unprepared for the wash of feelings that hit us at the door. The first thing I noticed was a giant portrait of my Dad’s old good friend, Pee Wee Reese. Dad and I walked over to it and then noticed they had created an entire area dedicated to him. It was fun looking at the art and then peering out the window to see the pool area that had meant so much to me. Then we walked through the archway into the bar to pay our respects the family. The son of my Dad’s friend is a person I ran in the same circles with in high school and his wife graduated with me. It was so good to see them both and to hug them and just spend a few moments together. Looking around, it didn’t take long for Dad and I to come to the unspoken realization that he wouldn’t be seeing many of his old friends. They have all passed on or are in too ill health to socialize.

Trying to take the focus off of that fact, I took his hand and suggested we sneak around the club to see what it was like now. And so we did. What we found were a few changes named for other passed on men who were his best golfing buddies. We stopped in the bar and searched the wall for the plaque with his name on it for when he was the 1980 Club Champion. When I found it, I couldn’t help but reflect that in 1980 I was a Sophomore; probably the same year I started actively socializing in high school.

How did we get here, so far along in life? Gosh, it’s gone by so fast.

We took a few more steps out to the veranda to watch the golfers coming in. I knew Dad was probably remembering all of the times he’d played that course. The screaming elephant in both of our hearts was knowing he would not be playing that course again and that this is a place now predicated by the words, “used to”. I don’t have adequate words to paint what was in our hearts at that moment. I just have gratitude that we experienced it together.

On the way out we ran into two more of my high school friends and I got to hug their necks and say hello. Then I hugged my friend, who’d just lost his father and I told him from my heart, that I love him and although the occasion absolutely sucked, I was so happy to see he and his wife. I meant that. His Dad was important to me and by proxy, that made me always think of him as “brother”. I told him that too. It came out easily.

The drive home was filled with small talk and memories of days gone by. As he was getting out of the car, my Dad took my hand, and with tears in his eyes and told me how much it meant to him that I had suggested we go and that I took the time to come pick him up and Chauffeur him to and from. He said he was glad we were present there, “together”. I was too.

Having worked together for over thirty years, my Dad and I haven’t always seen eye to eye. There was even a time when we didn’t speak to or see one another for three years. Though it was emotionally hard, I count this day as a Supreme Blessing. I cried all the way home thanking God that love honestly does transcend all.

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PS- That photo up there was taken when I was just twenty years old. Dad and I were in San Diego attending a business meeting.


My Dear Lord,

Things pass so quickly here on this earth. While we are busy going about the tasks of our daily lives, please help us to remember to look up and to savor where we are in life. Far too often things happen in a flash and then we are left looking back lamenting and wishing we’d stopped before it was too late. Help us to cultivate the relationships we may be taking for granted and to communicate our feelings to those who may not realize how important they are to us. 

Thank you for allowing me precious time with my parents. Help us all to make the time to go the extra mile for our precious loved ones, even when to do so, requires supreme effort and extra energy. The are always unexpected Blessings there.

Thank you for the life you have given me. Thank you for the dear friends I’ve made along the way. Thank you for helping me speak the words that have long been hidden in my heart.

May we all be better vessels of your love and light today and always.

Amen


“Let all that you do be done in love.”  1 Corinthians 16:14

Confessions of a Spiritual Foodie.

I have a confession to make.

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I have a confession to make. As much as I adore cooking and sharing my recipes, there is something I adore sharing more and that’s who I am on the inside. Every time I come to this blog and post a recipe, I am pleased, but I have a secret sense of guilt because I’m not doing what I truly want to do. I go away asking myself what I really want to say and then I end up talking to God about it every morning on my drive to work. Quite a while ago I put a filter on myself for a stupid reason.

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I became worried that if I wrote about who I truly am on the inside, I might offend someone. How stupid is that?

This morning on my drive to work, I had a profound sense of knowing that it’s time to take off that ridiculous filter.  Undoubtedly this is coming as a result of a thousand and one walks around the Sanctuary where I work, talking to God and trying to be silent enough to hear what is said to me.

For the past four weeks I’ve been working hard on my self image and that includes being on a very strict keto diet. I joined a secret group of good friends who are also doing the keto way of life and with discipline and their support, I’m starting to feel a little more like myself each week. Yeah. It might surprise a lot of people to know that I’ve not been happy with myself for years. I am finally weary enough of saying, “I used to “insert whatever thing of the past I no longer am, no longer look like, or no longer do“.

It’s over.

The question, “What have you got to offer the world” comes to my heart a lot. The answer is always the same. I can lead almost anyone to a greater sense of spirituality and faith in God. So what am I doing turning this blog into an exclusively FOOD blog when I have so much more to offer the world?

At my workplace, which happens to be a Baptist Church (I am a practicing Catholic), the most frequent phrase I hear from members of the church is, “I have no idea how you do all that you do.” I usually smile and say, “me either”, but the truth is that I know perfectly well how I do what I do. My strength comes from my unwavering faith and constant communication with God. Period. (Don’t start unsubscribing yet. I am still going to post recipes!)

I can’t recall there ever being a time in my life when I didn’t have a lifeline connected to the Holy Spirit. I used to share this part of my life openly. The reason I did so was because it helped cement things in my heart and the bonus prize was that others would read and relate to it. Although it seems foreign to me, there are tons of people out there who are reluctant to share what’s going on in their hearts. Sometimes through sharing what’s in mine, the by-product is that it gives others courage and validation to really look at what’s taking place in their own.

Today my heart is calling upon me to post this blog. It’s been sitting in my drafts folder for over a month waiting for me to make my move.

Before I do here is my prayer for today:

Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my unwavering trust in You. It is amazing to me that the You would take time to listen to me and to care about what I say, but time and time again it’s been proven to me that it’s true. I ask that through my sharing, others may experience Your profound love, support and guidance, just as I do on a daily basis. Help us all to see with open eyes and to feel with understanding hearts, that You are a living presence among us and that we are to turn to You for guidance when needed. 

Thank you for all of Your Blessings, especially the ones we don’t readily recognize or understand.

Amen


Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.