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Archive for March, 2010

I would like to witness to the greatness of our God.

(This is a true story.)

He has worked mightily and miraculously in the life of a good sister who suffered a severe stroke back on December 5, 2009, while on holiday visiting her husband who was working in England.  Mary Elizabeth barely arrived in London with their 10-yr-old daughter and met her husband when she began to exhibit unusual symptoms.  Her wise and concerned husband insisted on taking her to a hospital where she lost consciousness and appeared to be on the verge of death.

Scott, the caring husband and exceptional journalist, began a very-personal webblog on Dec. 9th with the beginning of Mary Elizabeth’s story.  He then proceeded to keep a daily journal of his wife’s and his odyssey through dangerous onset of bleeding in her brain, emergency care that stabilized her condition, and long, arduous  process of healing and rehabilitation complete with set-backs and tears.  The chronicle written by a devoted, faith-filled husband is truly amazing, filled as it is with tales of humor, marital affection, curiousity, culture, and God’s miraculous working.  Scott designed his blog so that comments were easy to post and to read; thus, the comments became an integral part of the daily experience.

I was drawn to the saga of Mary Elizabeth’s struggle to live and Scott’s astonishing fidelity and devotion and tried to check up on her progress each day.  Most of the blog’s faithful readers (which we found numbered about 500+ ) were her friends, family, and acquaintances; she must be one of those outgoing, exceptional individuals that makes everyone they meet feel like a close friend.  But probably because I had recently returned from 11 months in England, I felt a connection with her and a zeal for her complete healing.  So I joined the many who were praying for her and followed her story, sometimes commenting myself, through the long winter!

If you would like to read this great story, starting at the beginning, go to:

http://getbettermaryelizabeth.wordpress.com/2009/12/09/the-story/

But the good news is, there is a happy ending, of sorts.  (It can’t be really over, because M.E.’s journey continues.)  Yesterday the highly anticipated post finally came – They will be returning home this weekend!   She finally was medically approved for plane travel and is set to leave for NYC.

Please say a prayer for Mary Elizabeth to travel safely back to her family and to keep getting better until she is able to witness herself about all the Father has done for her!

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Being humbled is good…

Do you have time to spend reading this blog post?  What do the duties of your state in life require of you right now? I don’t have much time, but I have something to share.

To get to the point, I recently realized that I can give in to the temptation to write something that I might never say out loud in an email.  I might even send that email to several people at once, compounding the wrongdoing.  Then, when I come to my senses and ask forgiveness of that same group of people, I am deeply humbled.  Though this is not a “good” feeling at first, the following grace-filled response I got from one brother-in-Christ gave me a new perspective:

Don’t be discouraged about your shortcomings!  Just keep trying.  The Lord isn’t so much worried about your mistakes as whether you are willing to keep working with him.  Rising from our mistakes is humbling, which is good, because it makes us more forgiving of others, and our forgiveness of others is necessary if we are to live together in Christ.  So rejoice, your struggles bring the fullness of the kingdom closer!  Glory to God.

May the name of the Lord be praised!  ~Job 1:21

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Here in NoVA (Northern Virginia)  it was a little over 60 degrees today!  That is a far cry from one month ago when the temps were in the upper 20’s and the blizzards were piling snow on snow.  It was so strange this morning when I awoke and looked out the window to our back yard that ends up in trees with a view of the neighborhood pool beyond.  Not a speck of snow was to be seen.  Every morning I have wondered when it would be gone; today was the day!  Not so, out in front where the walls of snow on the side of walks and roads were sometimes 6 feet high back when we were stuck indoors.  Now, two pitiful piles lay on either side of the entrance to our driveway and some rapidly diminishing blobs in front of our house where the sun never shines.  But due to the seasonable temperatures in the high 40’s, then low 50’s for the last couple of days, and 60 (!) today, even these stalwart reminders of S-NOVA are almost gone and the water table around here greatly enhanced.

Where have all the snowflakes gone, long time passing … (That just came to me … sorry, Peter, Paul, and Mary – r.i.p.)

Last Saturday, our family attended March Madness, the fun basketball fund-raiser put on by Trinity School at Meadow View where our kids attend.  It was a true bright spot in a Lent of much heart-wrenching soul-searching.  Our son J.T.’s Varsity Boys’ squad played against the Faculty/Coaches/Alumni who were darn good!  Both teams worked very hard and put a lot of fun into the mix as well.  I will try to post a few photos so you can get just a little bit of a feel for this jocund event!

One of many great moments at the game

If you like this photo, click on the link below:  (also, if you want to know who won, look to the last pic!)

MARCH MADNESS pics

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Our pastor noted last week that “Lent” comes from a word that means Spring season.  Another word he did not mention, but I have seen in older texts on Church seasons, is Quadragesima – a Latin term for forty days.  In Spanish, Lent is still translated Cuaresma from the Latin.  Whichever word is used, it means the 40 days of fasting to prepare for Easter.  Over the centuries, the practical applications developed, evolved, and grew into the multiplicity of possible ways to “fast” or prepare our “hearts” (read – dispositions) so that we can suitably celebrate the greatest feast of all:  God’s salvation in the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ!

When I was little, Lent meant “giving up” things which I now translate as sacrifice and penance.  Somehow, in my adult years, it is even harder to give things up than ever.  As a child I accepted that you just DON’T eat candy or dessert in Lent.  To be honest, the thought almost wasn’t given a moment’s notice in my youthful mind.  It would be a sin, I thought.  In those days, I didn’t want to sin and didn’t dare to sin either (or if I did, I hurried to confess my sins.)   Now as I look back on those days, I sense that I operated in the virtue of Fear of the Lord, an attitude I would do well to re-cultivate today.

It grieves me to think that now, if I wish to put aside my Lenten practices, I just do it almost without a thought or care.  A scorched conscience?  Maybe.   Or perhaps I am talking about a hardened heart, something like hardened arteries?   I understand that a common reason for hardened arteries is a diet with too much fat and cholesterol, too much rich food and too little exercise.  Sounds like the World’s (the Flesh’s and the Devil’s) “good life” which is not good for people at all.  Sins of excess… how close they are to spiritual decadence.

During Lent, if you are doing it well, you discover that “Yes, I am a sinner.”  I think I would have done very well at Meribah and Massa; I can often be found in the middle of the quarrel.  …to my shame…

Today at Mass, verses from Psalm 95 were chanted with the response, “If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts.”

Open the eyes of my heart Lord!  I want to see you … I want to hear you … I want to be with you…

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Today, I have been struck with the synchronization of this date of March 1, 2010.

It was also the first day of the 2nd week (sorry, but it IS the second week!) of Lent, but the first day I went to “daily” Mass as a Lenten action.  Yea!  For me, Lent is a series of weekly activities to grow spiritually as my Father wants me to.  Those activities center around using penance to purge sinful tendencies and focus on prayer, fasting, and almsgiving to get closer to the Lord.

The first four days (between Ash Wednesday and First Sunday) I revved up to get started.  I cantored at Mass on Ash Wednesday and successfully fasted.  Thank you God for the grace.  Then John and I went to Stations of the Cross (bilingual) at our parish church, St. Philip/San Felipe that Friday.

Unfortunately, the first week was a bust as I tried the penance of giving up sweets and found that I cheated by eating chocolate-covered dried plums (doesn’t THAT sound ymmy?)  something I wouldn’t touch before Lent.  We went to confession at church on Saturday as a family where I confessed about my failure.  The priest kindly pointed out that Jesus went to the cross to die for me, so maybe I could give up sweets for a little while.  (You got THAT right, Father!)

I decided to try something along the lines of prayer this second week.  So far so good.

Regarding the new day, week, etc., today I also learned something new – how to use an online calendar.  John has been encouraging me to write things down to get my act together.  I haven’t been very good at that in the past, and my efforts this time have not seemed to yield better organization.  But today, as I set out the family, Mount Vernon paper calendar to try to manage my unruly schedule, I thought, I should check the new POP google calendar that was only this Saturday integrated into my unused, personal google calendar.  I went to it, and was delighted to find events actually listed.  I thought, I will add my work events to the calendar;  thus, I created a new one for the job.  Then I read an email about Area events; so zip, another new calendar was born.  As a doctor’s appt. was made and I accepted an invitation to my parent’s for lunch, I entered them into my newly-launched personal calendar.

Voilá!  SUCCESS!

Maybe this works /could work for others, too.  Can I get a witness?

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