Beatitudes of my life

Being grateful for everything in my life…. no matter what…

What are *you* doing for Lent? March 4, 2019

A few years ago, I wrote a blog post about “giving up” things for Lent vs “adding something” to Lent (see post HERE).  I think about this dichotomy each year and believe that there’s merit in rehashing the question.

LentenInvitation

 

Lent is a time when many Christians observe a period of fasting, repentance, moderation, self-denial and spiritual discipline. The purpose is to set aside time for reflection on Jesus Christ—his suffering and his sacrifice, his life, death, burial, and resurrection.  The idea of fasting and moderation/self-denial seems to have morphed into the giving up of things for Lent, but I don’t truly understand how giving up something (soda, chocolate, alcohol, or even Facebook) can help you get closer to Christ.  If you’re disciplined enough to actually replace the thing you’re denying with something spiritual, then I’m on board… but I know that’s not the way I would end up living during Lent.

 

Are you interested in keeping a Holy Lent this year?  I have decided to begin a daily devotional on Ash Wednesday, March 6.  I’ve purchased the book “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (Amazon link HERE), and am going to set aside 30 minutes every day to read the day’s scripture message and pray.  I will bring my devotional with me when we travel and, while I’m not going to put strict parameters on the time of day I devote, I will follow through to make this a more Holy Lenten season.

 

I’d like to think that focusing more on the spirituality of Lent might be a good way to start to making our lives a little more positive overall… If you’re interested in joining me, please let me know your thoughts.

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Giving Up For Lent? March 4, 2014

Filed under: Blessings,Life Balance — beatitudesofmylife @ 9:35 pm
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It’s all over the place today…. the big question on everyone’s mind…. “what are *you* giving up for Lent?”   Is this really what we’re supposed to be doing during the 40 days of Lent?GivingUp4Lent

 

I always had trouble with the idea that giving up sweets or soda might make my Lenten experience more Holy.  Shutting down my Facebook page or Twitter account might make me realize just how dependent I’ve become on technology, but is there going to be a big “aha” moment when I recognize how much I love staying in touch with the world around me with these computer programs?  While I might end up with the benefit of losing a few unwanted pounds or learn how to make it past the bakery department of my local market without buying a cookie, it isn’t something that will ultimately benefit my soul or help me get any closer to Christ.  Isn’t that the true purpose of doing something for 40 days in a row?  What could I “give up” that would turn Lent into an important time in my life… is it really about giving something up?

 

It wasn’t until a few years ago that I heard something that made so much more sense.   My priest mentioned that he never liked the idea of having to “give up” something… he preferred the plan to “add” something to his life that might bring him closer to his God.  Typically, he set aside a specified time of the day and would read particular passages of the Bible and contemplate how they might relate to or be incorporated into his life.  I loved this idea.  Finally… something that made sense to me.  I didn’t have to follow along with the rest of society and decide what I was going to “give up” for Lent… I could make the conscious decision to add something to my daily life that would ultimately bring me closer to my God… learn more of His word… do more of His work… act more as He might…  I could do that.   I could strive to make my Lenten experience one of spiritual revival, rather than earthly deprivation.FastGivePrayLent

 

Consider this alternative to the tradition of Giving Up something for Lent.  Come up with a way to remind yourself, daily, to commune with God in some way.  The specifics of “how” don’t need to be shared with anyone else.  Maybe you’ll set a phone app to send you a Bible verse each day.  Maybe you’ll use the reminder function on your FitBit (or what have you) to remind you to say a prayer at a specific time.  Maybe you’ll be able to push aside all the distractions of the modern world on your own (although I know I’ll be setting my FitBit, because the world is just too “shiny”) and read a Bible chapter or passage each morning/evening.  Whatever works for you, I challenge you to add something to your own Lenten experience this year.

 

I promise you that it will be worth the journey…

 

You just never know… March 17, 2013

Filed under: Family,Lacrosse — beatitudesofmylife @ 6:05 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Yesterday was to be a very low-key, lazy day for us… circumstances came together at the last minute to give me an unexpected day off of work, so we were moving really slowly when we first heard about a horrific accident in Pennsylvania.

If you haven’t heard about this terrible event, you can access the ABC27 link here: http://www.abc27.com/story/21660187/pregnant-coach-was-1-of-2-pa-turnpike-crash-victims

Due to copyright concerns, I’m not going to post the photos of this event here… it’s just too awful to fathom.

Here’s a general overview of what happened, as I understand it. At 8:50AM on Saturday, March 16, the tour bus carrying the Seton Hill Women’s Lacrosse team to their game at Millersville University veered through a guard rail on the PA Turnpike and crashed into a tree, sheering off the front left corner of the bus and killing the driver. First responders were unbelievably fast and every single person had been transported from the scene by 9:43AM, utilizing the 10 ambulances and myriad of trained personnel who responded. Three people were airlifted to Penn State Hershey and Holy Spirit hospitals and everyone was treated in one form or another at either Hershey, Holy Spirit, or Carlisle Regional.

We were glued to our computers for any bits of information that was being posted, primarily through Twitter. ESPN posted a notice about the accident on their website, but there was never any mention via their broadcast at any point in the day. Twitter was awesome… CNN was informative… the local TV stations (cumberlink.com, the Sentinal, and TV27) followed the story throughout the day and gave updates as they were released. The saddest bit of news, to date, was the announcement that Seton Hill’s head coach, Kristina Quigley, and her unborn 6-month-old son, were both pronounced dead at the hospital. It was one of the hardest things to hear about this unbelievable tragedy.

Don’t get me wrong… I am so incredibly glad to know that most of the lives on that bus were saved. I just keep going back to the thought that it could have happened anywhere, to anyone. Everyone I know has ridden a bus at one time or another. Every parent I know has sent a loved one on a trip with the same prayer for safety. There was nothing out of the ordinary about this trip… except that it wasn’t ordinary.

Seton Hill University holds a special place in our hearts because it’s where E spent his freshman year of college. He was lucky enough to be part of their men’s lacrosse program and logged more miles on his own bus travel than I’d care to contemplate. The MLAX team was close to the WLAX team and he knew many of the team members who were involved in this crash… one of his good friends is dating one of the girls on the WLAX team and, thankfully, is doing well after her ordeal.

Yet I wonder… how will these young women handle travel when they have to get back on a tour bus for their next away game? How will they work through the death of their young head coach? How will they, eventually, put this awful event into their personal histories and move on with their lives.

In response to this tragedy, there have been some incredible notes of hope. Someone created a “Play 4 Seton Hill” Facebook page, in which teams/programs are encouraged to wear crimson/yellow (SHU’s school colors) ribbons or laces and send a photo in support of the team. An amazing number of programs have already posted tweets and messages of support, using #Pray4ShuLax, #GriffNation, or #RememberQuigley. One of the best quotes I read was this:

“a griffin is part lion, part eagle. we must stay strong like lions even though some have now spread their wings like eagles” (from @rebeccajO, via twitter)

The school is having a Mass tonight and I very much wish I could be there, if only to be present for such a showing of love and prayer. If this message does nothing more than to remind you to hug your loved ones each and EVERY time they leave you, it’ll be enough. God doesn’t promise us a long life, but He does promise to be there for us. I’m sure He’s in that chapel tonight… and He’s touching hearts and minds as they try and understand the unfathomable.

Hug your loved ones… and Pray for ShuLax.. #play4setonhill

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Mantras January 10, 2013

Filed under: Blessings,Family — beatitudesofmylife @ 4:56 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

I used to think that a “Mantra” had to be a well-known phrase or quote.  “Less is more”… “You reap what you sow”… “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence”… you know what I mean.  I felt odd not to have a go-to phrase that would keep me going or get me going… that is, until the death of my husband’s college roommate a few years ago showed me that I’d had mine all along.

My mantra is a childhood dinner blessing that my father would intone as we were sitting down to dinner.  We typically recited the traditional “God is great, God is good, let us thank him for our food”… or the expanded version … “By His hands, we are fed, Give us Lord our daily bread”.  My sister was pretty young at this point, so it was just my brother and I who would roll our eyes anytime my dad wanted to say grace before the meal… we knew we were in for a paragraph and dinner would be delayed.  We weren’t happy about it, but I am so very glad he continued to say this special prayer, because it’s come to bring me great comfort in my adulthood.

Here’s the prayer that he would recite before we were allowed to eat:

Daddy'sBlessing

That’s really not all that long, is it?  Granted, to a 3 y/o and a 5 y/o, I’m sure it felt like an eternity.  The quicker prayer was our norm… our tradition… our ready blessing to say before we could dig into whatever mom had made for dinner that night.  It’s easy for kids to memorize and recite and it’s the one that’s most widely used so you don’t look like an outsider (or a weirdo) if you go to someone else’s house for dinner and they start saying a blessing before dinner.

I liked hearing the different spin that was added in an episode of The Big Bang Theory, when Sheldon goes home to East Texas and his mother insists that he say grace before eating… “Please know that we are truly grateful for every cup and every plateful

Still, it’s not that traditional prayer for grace that I recite anytime I need to pray.  I use the prayer that my father said… the one we thought he used to “torture” us as small children because it was so long… the one that can still to this day bring his voice into my subconscious.  This prayer centers me.  This prayer calms my mind.  This prayer brings me comfort that no other prayer, no matter the source, has ever done before.

I honestly don’t care why this prayer means so much to me…. I just know that it does.   When I recite it, I hear the words that my dad used… I take breaths where he breathed… I mimic his tone and cadence until it sounds (in my head) exactly like him.  My dad doesn’t say that prayer anymore.  Parkinson’s has challenged his speech and made it difficult to get through this prayer.  But when I say that prayer, my dad is whole and young, vibrant and healthy.  He’s my daddy who would have given the world for his little girl.  The actions of our collective past are irrelevant when I say that prayer… all is right with the world and God will provide.

This prayer has magical powers for me.  It brings me comfort from a time in my childhood when nothing bad happened that couldn’t be fixed by my parents.  It allows me to believe… and it calms my mind… and it centers me.

It’s the magic of God…

 

 
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