Monday, November 29, 2010

Are You Tired?

Women of Faith:
Are you tired? I am. And I no longer have kids at home to chase after, or pick up after, or cook for or any of the other things they need. But who do we ask for help?

How do we slow down? How do we anticipate and prepare for Christmas (or get thru the day) physically, mentally and spiritually?

It’s Advent, the time of preparation for the birth of Jesus, for Christmas. In society it is a time of rushing around, attending Christmas parties, cooking, and of course, shopping.

How often have you said, or heard someone else say: “I can’t wait to get it (Christmas) over with?” I know I have been there many times—too busy to even enjoy a simple conversation or sit down to a meal with our family, yet alone take a prayerful moment for myself, or have time to help a friend without worrying about what I have to get ready for next.

But What Would Jesus Do? How would he be asking us to prepare our lives for His birth?

As our priest said yesterday, “I won’t be politically correct.” This is a time to Slow Down! It is a time to prepare spiritually, not materialistically; to prepare not for a “social” party but for the Birth of Christ; to prepare NOT for presents; but instead to prepare for His Presence-- Jesus’ presence in our lives.

It is not Christmas liturgically until Christmas Eve, and then we should joyfully worship, celebrating Jesus’ birth, and His very real presence in our lives. But as the readings today said, we are supposed to be “awake” and ready, not so tired we just “want it to be over with.” Mt 24:37-44 & Rom 13:11-14

So until Christmas think about how Advent is intended to get us ready, slow us down, and awaken us spiritually. Ask God to become a more “real” part of your life, so that we can be ready for the true Christmas gift—Jesus.

Try to take some time each day for silence, to ask God for the needs of your heart and to hear His whispering presence, comfort and support in your life. Pray that He will prepare our hearts and make us ready for His presence. And just as we have to ask God for what we need, ask your spouse for help in managing the kids and the house work (or a friend or family member if you have parents or someone else to take care of) so that you can have that moment of quiet time. And if you don’t have young children ask your spouse to join you in slowing down and praying; or volunteer your time to someone who needs a break from their busyness, to allow them a chance at that very important quiet time.

Let’s teach our children (and be an example to our friends) about the priorities of the Advent season (and Christmas). What is Christian life really all about? Let’s make Jesus our priority and slow down. Let’s be quiet enough to let Jesus inspire us and build us up in times of busyness and the day to day tiredness.

I challenge us all to Make Jesus the REASON for the SEASON.

Dear God, I praise your light in the darkness. I ask for your Presence in every aspect of my life. Help me to make you my priority. Help me to have the self control to deny myself more “toys,” and instead focus on the needs of those who don’t have food and warmth. Give me rest when I am weary. Help me to quietly find Joy, Peace and Love in your presence as I slow down to prepare for Your coming this Advent Season. Thank you for Your promise of the greatest Christmas gift ever, Your son, Jesus. Amen.

Blessings in the Silent Preparation,

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Blessings

Women & Couples of Faith:

I wanted to again share with you this “unordinary” list of Thanks

I hope you all have your own “lists” to add not only on Thanksgiving Day, but on every other day for all that God has given us.

Dear God, Thank you for giving us your son here on earth to teach us the truths, to live and die for us.

Thank you for dying on the cross so that we may be forgiven for all of our “human” interpretations, sins, errors, actions, hypocrisies, and misunderstandings of your truth.

Thank you for giving us the sacrament of marriage to teach us how to be unselfish and to depend on our faith in you.

Thank you for the sufferings in my life that have brought you nearer to me and my family.

Thank you for teaching me to pray so that I can give you my burdens.

Thank you for putting me in a place here on earth where I am not prosecuted for speaking your name, but have the ability to spread your word/truth by my actions and speech.

Thank you for giving us friends who share our values/your truths and who are willing to inspire us with their wisdom.

Thank you for Your comfort when I am lonely or sad; Your hope, when I am discouraged; and Your peace, when I am worried.

Thank you for parents, grandparents and great grandparents (those older than us) who teach us love, perseverance and courage from days past.

Thank you for the hugs, smiles, and innocence of children and grandchildren, our own and those that are shared with us, for they are God’s greatest blessings and our future.

Thank you for the ability to share my bounty: time, talent and treasures, with those less fortunate.

Thank you for every moment here on earth I am given to spend with my loved ones.

Thank you for the time I was allowed to spend with the loved ones that have gone before me.

Thank you for giving me hope in the Word that by living as your servant and following your Truth I will reach your eternal kingdom in heaven. Amen.

Happy Thanksgiving and Thanks for Being Part of our Family and for Your Friendship—
Stan & Charlotte & family

Monday, November 22, 2010

Winners or Losers?

Women of Faith:
It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game. The exception to this may be what I will call the ultimate game, the game of life. There, winning is heaven, and I don’t even want to think about losing.

Unfortunately, as I try not to judge, I fear that our society may be losing as I watch us accept sin as a norm. As I watch society try to put their “spin” on what the bible teaches. And as I watch people, who grew up in Christian homes, who know there is a God, who were taught about God from an early age, leave church, ignore the commandments, or worse yet, try to justify their sin/s.

I find comfort and hope by the outcome of a vote to “oust” judges who accept gay marriage as a right, and I find Hope in the prayers of the many who I know attend church regularly and who are unafraid to “speak” against sin and who volunteer in ministry in many forms.

I also find hope in seeing those who have the faith to accept their sufferings, knowing that Christ too suffered for us.

As the gospel said yesterday: Choose REPENTANCE, it is never too late. Lk 23:35-43 “Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us." The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, "Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." He replied to him, "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

The second thief is the only person we know who has entered the kingdom of heaven with Jesus because of this passage. On the cross this thief asked for forgiveness, but just as importantly accepted that he was a sinner, that he deserved earthly punishment and that his only salvation was true faith in Jesus.

Are we like the first thief, expecting God to save us, even though we have no shame, guilt or repentance for our sins? Is our pride preventing us from acknowledging our sins and seeking forgiveness?

Or are we like the second thief who admits to our sins, accepts our burdens by sacrificing our life for God, receiving just punishment for our sins and most importantly receiving God’s promised forgiveness, healing and grace given to us when Jesus died on the cross?

The earlier we learn to be like the “accepting thief” the more happiness, joy and peace we can find in Christ’s forgiveness and ultimately our salvation. And the easier it will be to bear our burdens and sufferings because like the “Footprints in the Sand” we will be carried by Jesus through the toughest of times.

Dear God, I praise Your healing grace. I yearn for your forgiveness and love. Please help me to live each day as your servant, accepting my burdens, sacrificing my time and using the gifts you have given me wisely. Help me to be less self-serving, less judgmental and more hopeful with the grace of Your Spirit. Let me be a witness to Your goodness in faith, hope and love. I ask that you open the hearts of each person, family and friend, those that I know, and will come to know, those that I can in anyway help or touch, so that we will be better listeners and learners of Your word. And especially this Thanksgiving Week, Thank you for the gift of Your Son, Jesus, who has granted us eternal salvation. Amen.

Blessings and Thanksgiving for all of our faithful friends.
Charlotte, Stan and family

Monday, November 15, 2010


Women of Faith:

My journal this week says, “Destruction brings unity.” It made me think about how our country and the world unified in the days following 9-11. And how the people around Parkersburg united following a devastating tornado and then the death of Ed Thomas, mentor and coach.

Are we at attention as God calls us to be? Are we still unified or have we fallen back asleep? Are we still calling on God in our lives as we did in the days after 9-11? Yesterday’s and today’s readings call us to be ready, to see the signs, to change our hearts and to have faith. They talk of the end times, of our blindness to sin and the signs that Jesus is near.

“When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for such things must happen first, but it will not immediately be the end." Then he said to them, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.” Lk 21:5-19

“The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to him, to show his servants what must happen soon. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who gives witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ by reporting what he saw. Blessed is the one who reads aloud and blessed are those who listen to this prophetic message and heed what is written in it, for the appointed time is near.” Rv 1:1-4; 2:1-5

“Then Jesus stopped and ordered that he be brought to him; and when he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” He replied, “Lord, please let me see.” Jesus told him, “Have sight; your faith has saved you.” He immediately received his sight and followed him, giving glory to God. When they saw this, all the people gave praise to God.” Lk 18:35-43

Jesus is always near, whether it is the end time or not, because our lives here on earth are numbered. We don’t know whether we have only today, tomorrow or a 100 tomorrows to be with God, in God and thru God.

And like the blind man, we are to have faith even when we cannot see the destruction (sin). Because the most harmful destruction is the destruction in our hearts, the anger, the unforgiveness, the selfishness that is caused by materialism, by succumbing to societies law, instead of living God’s law and by the blindness of our human failings, the sins we choose to ignore.

We are called to be at attention, to pray more, to seek His forgiveness, to heed His message and live His commandments. We are to have faith, even in our blindness, and hope in God’s promises to keep us from eternal harm, IF we heed His message.

And if you knew that today was your last, what would you do differently? Would you be more tolerant of your own sufferings? Would you be more patient with your spouse’s bad habits? Would you take better care of your body, speak with more kindness, or love more? Would you be less about yourself, and more about others--spending your time or money caring for the needy, homeless, hungry or lonely?
Would we act more deliberately, with more intention, like we did in the days following 9-11?

God calls us to hear his message, to pray harder, to live in faith. When disaster happens, when a loved one is taken away from us, when Jesus comes again, then it may be too late to change. We must already be at His attention living his commands.

As Father said, just thinking about change is not enough, we must change from our hearts, and have hope that our change will affect others; because the more we love, the more others will love; because the faith that others see in us, will give others an example of the joy His faith brings. As God’s people we are to be His living bible, His living message.

Almighty Father, Lover of All, Bring us to your attention. Help us to live your words, to forgive those who have wronged us, and to pray for those who have not yet come to see you in their lives. Thank you for the blessing of seeing change in those we love. Help us to never grow weary, to become complacent, or to think that it is someone else who needs to change. Change me. Protect me. Keep ME at Attention. Amen.

Do we have God’s attention because we are following, leading or dividing His church?

Make the move! Come to God’s peaceful, loving, and forgiving attention. Blessings!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Date Night Reminder

Friends in Faith:
We would like to invite you to join us for St. Pat's Date Night on Sunday November 21 at 5:30 for faith, food, fellowship, and tools to be used in your marriage journey.
Each date brings new tools for Christian marriage and assists in reminding us of the vow we took to each other and with God on our marriage day.
As Matthew Kelly says we are never too old, or too young to enrich and change our lives: our youngest couple is engaged and soon to be married and our oldest couple has been married over 60 years! Making, and taking, time to "date" is one of the tools to a healthy, happy marriage. And all of the work of deciding where to go, where/what to eat, who to go out with and who's going to watch the kids is already taken care of :)
If you need daycare please reply back to this email or call our home phone below and leave a message.
For your calendar future date nights are scheduled on Jan 23, Feb 13 and March 27, 2011.
Hope to see you next Sunday night, St Pat's, 5:30.
Blessings on your marriage,
Stan and Charlotte

Monday, November 8, 2010

Gather Us In

Women of Faith:

As I reflected this morning I searched for guidance, God’s Spirit to lead me to the words that could tie together the fragments of our lives scattered by society evils and family demands.

Sunday I wrote at the top of my church journal—Gather Us In. As usual God seems to find Me—to put before Me--just what I most need to hear. The song ‘Gather Us In’ says: “Here in this place new light is streaming, now is the darkness vanished away. See in this space our fears and our dreamings, brought here to you in the light of this day. Gather us in the lost and forsaken, gather us in the blind and the lame; Call to us now and we shall awaken, we shall a rise at the sound of our name. We are the young our lives are a mystery, we are the old who yearn for your face, We have been sung throughout all of history, called to be light to the whole human race. Gather us in the rich and the haughty, gather us in the proud and the strong; give us a heart so meek and so lowly, give us the courage to enter the song.”

Even as my heart “analyzed” what I was singing I knew I was in church to be “gathered in” to put the pieces together, to unscramble life’s puzzles and challenges. And as Father said, “have the message PROCLAIMED into my life.”

And then I read the following verse and reflection from the USCCB website: “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me”. (Philippians 4:13)

“Paul is writing to the Philippians and saying to them that there is a secret that leads to survival and, indeed, joy in every circumstance in life. The interesting thing about this secret is that it is no secret at all! The problem is that we too seldom avail ourselves of the power of it. The name of Jesus, the person of Jesus, the personal touch of the Savior, the closeness that is closer than our own skins - this is the "secret" Paul speaks of. It is one of the most widely known and poorly used secrets in the whole world.

“Wherever you may be in life, look to Jesus. Go to Jesus, speak with Jesus. Whatever is happening, Jesus has the ability to help you cope. In good circumstances and bad, remember and reverence his Name. In a famous spiritual classic of the Orthodox world, one Pilgrim through the world endeavors to say His name with every breath and with every step. Such would be a good practice for us as well. Whether we are in good times or bad, fast or feast, famine or abundance, Jesus is the one who helps us - He is our strength, our mainstay and our hope. He is the one who gives us the power to rejoice in chains and to conquer our enemies through love. And the only true conquest, the only lasting victory, is Love - Jesus Himself.” –Saturday, Nov 6 USCCB daily reflection

Dear God: Gather Us In! I come to you, lost, lonely, blind and lame. Awaken me to find the “secret” that is in Your Spirit of LOVE; leading me every step of the way and rejoicing in the knowledge that you are close. Thank you for seeing my fears and helping me get through each minute, of each hour, of each day. Thank you for seeing my dreams and helping me to put those dreams into the proper perspective, in good times and bad, in sickness and health, for richer for poorer—Give me the courage to enter the song.

Are you missing the “secret” ingredient in the recipe of your life?


Monday, November 1, 2010

Snooze Button

Women of Faith:

Are you like me in the morning, hitting the snooze button 3, or 4, or more times. Sometimes even pushing the alarm clocks “snooze” limit?

Are we pushing the “snooze” button on God? God says we can’t push Him to a limit, but have we “hit snooze” so often that we are oversleeping and missing the rewards
He offers us each day, His ability to care for us in every aspect of our “daily” lives.

Monday: Set the tone for yourself and God: Am I sleeping and exercising regularly and then choosing the right foods to eat? Or is “snooze” the name of the diet and exercise plan, saying I will “snooze” til tomorrow, the weekend or maybe even a New Year’s resolution?”

Tuesday—Our Country: Don’t snooze, VOTE tomorrow!! God’s choice is LIFE, not protection of our economy but of the people He created. “No servant can serve two masters. 8 He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." Luke 16: 13

Wednesday—Spirit Day (Religious Ed/church night): If you are taking the kids to get educated, are you educating yourself in God’ ways by what you are reading and watching? Are you in “snooze” mode with escape books, reality TV or rap music, or are you reading a self help book (Matthew Kelley), watching EWTN (Catholic TV) or listening to Christian radio (99.1 or 101.9).

Thursday—Societies “model.” Are we “snoozing and losing” focus of God because of the society and peer pressures around us. Don’t give in to “saying and doing” what society says is right. We know in our heart what God is asking us to wake up to and to speak for and against. If we are awake to God, His joy in our lives will be contagious to those around us.

Friday—the day of the cross: Are you hitting the snooze button on asking for “forgiveness?” Someplace there is someone we need to tell, “I’m sorry.” When was the last time YOU held YOURSELF accountable and received the sacrament of reconciliation? God’s forgiveness and mercy is for all, regardless of the seriousness of our sin, and if we ASK. As yesterday’s reading from Wis 11:22-12:2 reminds us: “But you have mercy on all, because you can do all things; and you overlook people's sins that they may repent. For you love all things that are and loathe nothing that you have made; for what you hated, you would not have fashioned. And how could a thing remain, unless you willed it; or be preserved, had it not been called forth by you? But you spare all things, because they are yours, O LORD and lover of souls, for your imperishable spirit is in all things! Therefore you rebuke offenders little by little, warn them and remind them of the sins they are committing, that they may abandon their wickedness and believe in you, O LORD!”

Saturday: Date night! How important have I made my spouse this week? God tells us that the purpose of marriage is to take our spouse to heaven. They can’t come with us if we don’t ask them to come and if we don’t make them our priority—not just on

Saturday, but all week long, in every decision, in every step we take with God. Quit putting them on “snooze” just because they are the most “tolerant” and understanding person in your life. Make your spouse your priority. (If you are not married: a parent, a “spiritually lonely” child, the elderly or someone without a family: someone is seeking your friendship so that you can share God in their life.)

Sunday—God’s chosen day. Are we taking ourselves (and our children) to church, or sleeping through another “snooze” on the alarm clock, saying “this is MY day to sleep in?” God doesn’t “sleep in!” He is awake all the time, seeing our every “snooze,” and listening attentively to our every prayer. Be awakened by Church, listen to His word and be fed his body and blood so that we can remain spiritually healthy when we go home and want to “snooze” in the other parts of our life.

All Loving, All Merciful God, Wake me up. Help me to turn off the snooze button in my life and say “Good Morning, God, I am awake for you today. Amen.

God's Alarm! Snooze! God's Buzzing! SNOOZE! GOD's CALLING! Wake up, if you have not already done so, because it’s “your” time, in your life, to do something for God.