Monday, October 31, 2011

To See

Women of Faith:
From the other side …Is that you I hear? Laughing loud and calling out to me! Saying SEE, it’s everything you said it would be. And even better than you would believe… And finally you’ll SEE. “SEE” words and music by Stephen Curtis Chapman

As I have been known to do since I was old enough to read I spent the “wee” hours of the night reading the entire book, “Choosing to SEE” by Mary Beth Chapman. (Couldn’t put it down, so yes, the book is highly recommended )

(Mary Beth Chapman is the wife of Steven Curtis Chapman, Christian songwriter and musician, who’s 5 year-old adopted daughter, Maria, was tragically killed when she was struck by a car driven by her brother in May, 2008.)

And I wondered why I was reading in the middle of the night and when I would need this message: to take the courage to SEE?

As I read her story it gave me hope that I too would have the faith to trust in God and to be able to SEE God in the similar footsteps of tragedy, pain, and suffering. Lord in Your great love, answer me. Ps 69:30

I thought of all of those who I have watched walk with faith through different yet similar struggles in their lives. Choosing to SEE God blindly—facing the future with hope, faith, and trust even when they were afraid and having difficulty just taking the next step forward.

And I prayed for those who have been unable to SEE God: for those who are struggling to trust and hope in His constant presence in their lives. And I prayed for those who choose to ignore God’s presence or for those who choose to take an easier way out—seeking not God’s truth, but scorning God’s call to draw closer.

I wait patiently for the Lord; He will turn to me and hear my cries…Many will SEE and fear and put their trust in the Lord. Ps 40: 1-3 present tense by Mary Beth Chapman in Choosing to SEE

Will I choose to “SEE” God each day in every situation and decision even when I don’t “feel” His presence?

Whether it is in a major tragedy, or in the times that we are simply let down by someone we love, we are asked to forgive and asked to trust; we are asked to have hope in God’s plan, that God’s will shall persevere. God is loving us through our pain, so that we will draw nearer to Him, so that we may SEE more clearly.

God asks us to be patient. He tells us that He is always near and that He is walking with us. His love for us is all merciful and “equal” regardless of any past sins and failures.

Heavenly Father: Help me to have courage and perseverance to SEE you when things don’t go my way. Help me to have patience and hope to SEE you in the darkness of pain and suffering. Help me to SEE you in trust and faith when I am afraid. Thank you for allowing me to SEE you through even the smallest of blessings you gift me with each day. In you Lord I have found my peace. Ps 131:1 Amen.

May you be blessed with the faith that gives you the courage to SEE and the hope to believe in what you SEE,

Monday, October 24, 2011

Today is Special

Women of Faith:

Today is special. No, it is not my anniversary or my birthday. It is the beginning of an ordinary week. I am not expecting any extraordinary gifts, births or deaths or even to go anywhere or see anyone I would not normally see.

So why do I say it is special?

Think about the times you have taken the time with one of your children and later proudly heard them say, “Mommy helped ME (color) this today.”

Think about the times a struggling teenager says, “MY _______ told me I could do it.” And because they believed, they achieved.

Think about the times you talked to a friend and they said, “I was hoping YOU would call today.”

Think about how you make your spouse feel when you pull them back into the room just to say, “I need you.”—to share another hug, another kiss, or an “I love you.”

To be quite honest, I know today will be special JUST BECAUSE I am focused on YOU, not me. I have said it will be special so my actions will follow my thoughts and my thoughts have already made it so.

I will find the blessings, because I am looking for the blessings. I will feel love because I will give love. I am what I think I am. I will go beyond my “normal” boundaries and reach for more. Today will be special because I CHOOSE it to be.

Being blessed, feeling special, loving--these are not feelings, but rather the action I create, the memories I seek to make.

"Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?" He said to him, "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments." Mt 22: 34-40

The WHOLE LAW depends on our love. It depends on what we do, not what we feel.

Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Cor 13: 4-7

Love is an action which entrusts in us the ability to overlook our humanness and feel the blessedness.

Heavenly Father, You have blessed me with this special day. You have asked me to do only one thing, to love. Help me to love with all patience, all forgiveness, all hope. May we reflect Your love, revealed to us in Your son Jesus and shown to us in his cross. Help me to endure my sufferings and burdens. Send Your Spirit to me so that I may share Your love. Amen.

When we love as God teaches us to love then our day will be special not because we are seeking something for ourselves, but rather because we are choosing to make someone else have an extraordinarily special day!!

Make this message be your “forward” today.

Blessings on your special day and on whomever else you bless with your love,

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Marriage--Small Steps, Big Rewards

Friends in Faith
At our date night on Sunday we had a panel of couples married 30+ years. Our next date night is Sunday, November 13 at 5:30 at St. Pat's. All are welcome!!

Here is a summary of the panel’s list of small steps which has graced their marriages with BIG Rewards: from 155 years of combined experience and in no particular order.

The top four: Be committed, Forgive, Communicate and Pray (Put God at the center, He has a plan.)

Never let the “sun go down on your anger.”

Communicate. Speak what is in your heart. Your spouse can’t read your mind.


Realize that your spouse is different than you. (Male/female) Just because you feel one way doesn’t mean they do too.

Go to church together.

Tell your spouse what you need. Ask. Your spouse can’t read your mind.

HUMOR! Be ready to laugh at the situations you get into. And be ready to laugh at yourself first.

Give them little love notes.

Never think the D word. Be committed to making your marriage work.

Go to a Marriage Encounter or retreat. (This was mentioned by all 4 couples!!) Enrichment-Focus.

Write letters to each other. (Texting works for this too, but don’t it means more when you say it in person!!)

DATE your spouse. REGULARLY. Make the time!

Make them your priority. EVERYDAY!! At some point it will be just the two of you again.

Make a “cup of blessings” (put notes about memories/blessings of daily life into a box or container as they happen). Pull them out on the not-so-good days of life—helps to remind us of the joys in our lives.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate. But tell it to your spouse, not your friends, your siblings, or the world. Keep it between you.

Seek enrichment. – Date Night, Marriage Encounters.

Like them. Know them.

We are each others best friends. Treat them even better than your other friends.

Don’t put other people in the middle. Talk to your spouse first.

Prayer is intimacy.

Give them a kiss before going to bed. EVERYDAY!! (Even when you might not want to—don’t let the sun go down on your anger). Forgive!

Choose your words with care. Communicate with Love. Be compassionate.

Come to date night :)!!!!!!

Be ready to change, every day is a new day. Struggles and conflicts are life.

Sign each other with the Sign of the Cross before you go to bed.

Have meals together. Sit down together as a family. Go to church together—kids too!!

Work side by side—be attached. (Did anyone notice that all 4 couples work together every day?)

COMMITMENT, Love no matter what!

Pray together, at meals and before bed.

Have a half full cup—on the top.

Be willing to share your cup with your spouse—fill each other up.

Be able to make your spouse laugh.


Pray to give God your worries, anxieties, and with praise and thanksgiving—in glory and honor

Rely on God.

There is always someone or something else that is worse than your “bad”.
Look for the gifts of each day.

LISTEN. Don’t answer a question before it is asked. Your spouse might be thinking something different.

Walk in the other persons shoes. Try to think as they are thinking.

FORGIVE. And forget. Have a Bad memory. Don’t keep bringing up the “same old, same old.”

Let it go. Let God have control.


Make your own dream/goal lists and share them with your spouse. Set goals together. Write it down!!

The top four: Be committed, Forgive, Communicate and Pray (God at the center, His plan.)

Thank you to Gary & Dorothy, Tom and Mary and Deacon Joe & Francie for sharing their insights.
Blessings on your marriages,
The DATE NIGHT TEAM—Stan & Charlotte, Jay & Vickie, Jim & Kris, Deacon Joe & Francie

Monday, October 17, 2011

Know what you Don't know

Women of Faith:
Some of our most difficult relationships are with people who “know it all.”
They always have an answer. For everything! Even the questions that have no answers.

Tough questions, like “why is this happening to me.” Or, “why do bad things happen to good people?”

Those questions and many others are God’s mystery in our lives.

Searching for and asking the right question is the beginning of wisdom. (Hallowed be His name—Pray in Praise.)

Knowing we will never have all the answers is humility. (Thy kingdom come--Pray in Thanksgiving.)

Trusting in God’s plan is letting Him have control of our lives. (Thy will be done--Pray for His aid and to answer His call to serve.)

In yesterday’s gospel, Jesus wisely answered a question with a question. “Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. And you are not concerned with anyone's opinion, for you do not regard a person's status. Tell us, then, what is your opinion: Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?" …Jesus said, "Why are you testing me, you hypocrites? … "Whose image is this and whose inscription?" At that he said to them, "Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” Mt 22:15-21

As Christians we believe that all life was created by God: so, we should strive to live our lives in longing to belong to God: to honor Him by giving Him back what is rightfully His. (And we cannot honor both God & mammon (Ceasar/money/secular society) Lk 16:9

May we seek to find trust in God and to give control TO God instead of testing God with our questions.

May we also find in our hearts the will to do His will, to follow His plan as Jesus did on the cross: in our marriages and all relationships—with the same unselfish service and forgiveness on earth as it is in heaven.

Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. May I be reminded that it is Your creation, that it is YOU I long for, and that it is not my place here on earth that I seek, or that will fulfill my needs. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done. May I live to repay You what you have given me. Thank you for every person who I have been blessed with here on earth. May I humbly forgive, on earth as it is in Heaven—without measure; and in trust of Your plan, without seeking to know it all. Amen.

Seek and you will find; trust and know that God is near.

Monday, October 10, 2011


Women of Faith:

You’re invited! You are invited to finish reading this invitation.
You’re invited to attend church each Sunday. Ex 31:12-17 & Heb 10:25
You’re invited to pray daily. Eph 6:18 & Col 4:2
You’re invited to accept your sufferings, just as Jesus accepted his. 1Peter 2:19-21
You’re invited to accept Jesus’ forgiveness and mercy. Mt 18: 21-22
You’re invited to serve one another. Mt 7:12

You’re invited to enrich your marriage. (Come to date night this next Sunday at 5:30 at St. Pat’s. (Email or call for daycare). Eph 5:25-26

“He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come…..Then he said to his servants, 'The feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come. Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find. The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, bad and good alike, and the hall was filled with guests…..Many are invited, but few are chosen." Mt 22: 1-10

Do we say yes to the invitation?

Yes to bringing Christian messages into our lives. Mt 10:40
Yes to attending church each week and being fed food for eternal life. Jn 6:53-58
Yes to praying; asking and allowing God to take control of our lives. Mt 7:7-8
Yes to our sufferings; the acceptance of God’s will. Mt 6: 9-13
Yes to forgiveness; and yes to forgiving; compassion and the acceptance of His mercy. Mt 6:14
Yes to service; the acceptance of gladly working for God’s glory. Mt 25:35-40
Yes to strengthening the love within our marriages; accepting God’s design for faithfully, freely, totally and fruitfully being united together. Eph 4, 5, 6

Yes to attending the feast of Jesus where all are gathered, all are invited, but we will be chosen only because we have chosen to accept and say yes to God’s invitation of each of us.

Heavenly Father: “I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. In verdant pastures he gives me repose; beside restful waters he leads me; he refreshes my soul. He guides me in right paths for his name's sake. Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side with your rod and your staff that give me courage.” Ps 23 Thank you for the invitation. Help me to humbly accept all that You offer. Amen.

You’re invited. Will you accept the invitation? And will you pass the invitation on!


Monday, October 3, 2011


Women of Faith:

We took several members of Stan’s volleyball team to a college game yesterday. Not wanting the girls to miss the opportunity to attend a Sunday church service we invited them to attend with us before the match.

The priest gave a coaching homily for team players –although I am sure that was not really his intention when he prepared it.

He spoke first about “doing your best”—and how we feel when make excuses because we didn’t win.

He spoke about “investing” –toiling and laboring and how we feel when we let the team down, or don’t get the best grade.

He spoke about “trusting”—and how we feel when a team member lets us down.

He spoke about “teaching and sharing”—so that our teammates will grow with us, so that we can win together.

And the priest suggested that instead of asking God, “Why haven’t You answered my prayers?” and “What will You do for me?” We should ask, “What more can I do to give it my all?”

Should God be doing more for me, or should I be doing more for God?

We know what we want and we make our wants very specific. And typically we pray for what we want.

But do we pray for what God wants?

“Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4: 6-7

The priest said that we should be kept awake by the question, “Are we giving it our all?”

Do we have the qualities of an MVP?

Do we always do our best, or do we give up on ourselves, the team, or the coach when the going gets tough? Do we pray even when our prayers aren’t being answered the way we want?

Do we invest and practice hard; all the time, not just when it is convenient to us—even when we are tired—even when Sunday church service is not at the most convenient time or place? Do we go the extra step?

Do we treat our bodies with respect; eating, exercising and being nourished by the greatest food of all—the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist?

Do we trust God’s plan? Do we look for and follow the coaches He puts in our lives? Or do we follow coaches who have the easiest way?

Do we teach and share; so that in all of our relationships helping our teammates is a priority, so that we can get better together? Do we become a coach to others and share our God given talents, or do we just use them for our own purpose?

Jesus calls us to follow his example on the cross and to lay down our lives for others. Hopefully we are giving our all, especially to our spouses, children, parents and friends—our teammates in marriage, family and community.

Heavenly Father: ”Help me to do: whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you.” Phil 4:8-9 Amen

God has given us the gifts to give it our all and to be his MVP’s—praying for HIS Will (investing); following HIS coaches (trusting); and serving HIM always (sharing).

Make your team better by making yourself better this week. Be God’s MVP!
Blessings, Charlotte