Real Solutions, True Healing

“…they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak; and as many as touched it were healed.” (Mark 6: 56 NASB)

Scrolling through my Facebook feed, ads promising better everything vie for my attention and click. Improved relationships through proper nutrition, intermittent fasting for middle aged women going through menopause, shinier and healthier wavy to curly hair through personalized products, improved mindset through new daily practices are among the cures for my many “ills.”

Most of us are well aware of social media apps tracking our internet activity then feeding us ads accordingly. Creepy for sure but also very telling. Indeed, I have researched variations of these topics and have found useful information to make improvements in my life.

Still, how easy it is for these concerns to drown my truest and deepest need, our truest and deepest need. How easy it is to follow that rabbit down the hole of ad and article clicking only to discover more issues we may or may not have known we “should” be concerned about. How easy to miss what we don’t even realize we are truly searching for: dignity, love, connection, belonging, acceptance.

“God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female* he created them.” (Genesis 1: 27)

Allow this verse to sink in. Allow the awe to wash over you. Yes, awe, that you were created in the image of God, as a female, as a male. We learn from reading the creation accounts in Genesis that God created and He saw that everything He created was good. We are good, beautiful, loved; we are full of dignity. Thus, when we relate to others and just as importantly, with ourselves, we should sense that awe that we are holy, we are sacred. That is what we are called to be.

And there is more: in our longing to be connected, we realize that God longs to be connected with each and every one of us. He longs to be in a relationship with us. To do so, He came in the form of Christ, in the form of a human being that we could relate to. Through Christ, He crosses the chasm and reunites us with Himself, which is pure love. All we really need to do is open our minds and our hearts and reach out to Him.

So, just like the people “scurrying” about even just to get a touch of his cloak for the healing of physical ailments, we can reach out to Him to find healing, peace, love, and connection.  Take a few deep breaths, quiet your mind, envision laying all your concerns aside. All of them, no matter how serious or how trivial. Read Mark 6: 53-56. Envision yourself in the scene. Maybe you are a bystander watching or maybe you find yourself reaching desperately for his cloak. Immerse yourself. What is our loving God speaking to you?

Kindness: The Guy From the Sandwich Shop

Photo by Lisa Fotios on

I walked into the place. It was bright, clean, and not crowded at all, just a couple at one table and another man sitting by himself at a corner booth. The smell of grilled thin slivers of steak mixed with peppers and onions filled the air. As I approached the counter, I could smell the cold cuts and fresh veggies piled into neatly arranged silver containers. 

A young woman working the griddle busily tossed the meat mixture from side to side. The young man approached me. He was normal looking. I mean, rather average. I mean, he wasn’t some big buff dude. He wasn’t anything like the type of men that many romance books describe as tall, chiseled, broad shouldered, etc.  No, he was none of that, he was, well, normal looking.

He wore his required cap over short, cropped hair. His face was clean, bright, not pocked, red, or dried out from too much partying or drinking.  A thin beard covered his chin and jaw, no mustache.  He wore thick wire framed glasses. His almond shaped eyes were bright, not bloodshot, or tired looking. He was thin, probably not an ounce of fat on him. There was a small tattoo on the side of his wrist which I couldn’t read.

He approached me and quite standardly asked what I would like. I placed my order and he was quite friendly in an, again, standard sort of way, assuring me that my order would be “right up.”  So, I stood at the counter as he prepared my sandwich and I spaced off, my mind on things work-related. That’s when he asked me how I wanted my toppings.

I remember just staring at him, as if he spoke a foreign language.  “Pardon me?” I asked, feeling quite stupid. He repeated his question, whether I wanted all the toppings.  I told him ‘yes’ and then apologized, admitting my mind was elsewhere.

He smiled at me then and it was a truly beautiful smile, heartwarming and endearing.  He voiced his understanding and he started some small talk with me, about long workdays, and the traffic outside.  He kept on talking while focusing on the sandwich making while I listened and smiled.

Then he looked up at me and said he made a mistake and made my sandwich the regular size rather than the mini I had requested.  He said that he would only charge me for the mini since it was his mistake.  He said it all so quickly wearing that endearing smile and, in that moment, I realized, he was actually gorgeous.

I told him it was alright and thanked him.  He wrapped my sandwich and handed it to me and told me the other one, which I had ordered for my husband, would be ready shortly.  I thanked him again, then he moved on to serve the next customer who had come in.

Standing off to the side, I watched as he served the next person. I had forgotten about my workday and couldn’t keep my eyes off this young man, not that I was crushing on him.  What I saw was a beautiful person with a beautiful spirit who in his “normalness” was able to pull me out of my pool of temporary anxieties and work-related concerns.  I had to look away.  After all, I didn’t want to be that weird middle-aged woman gawking at young men. 

He most likely has no idea of the effect he had on me in those brief moments.  He was just doing his job, providing good customer service, but he uplifted me, and the rest of my day was spent in that happier place of mind.  In fact, here I am, days later still thinking about this.

So, we never know what impact we have on others in our daily actions, even the simplest ones, even when it feels like we’re just going through the motions at times.  Be kind.

Comfort in Time of Grieving: Overdose & Suicide

Photo by RODNAE Productions on

Grieving the overdose or suicide death of a friend or family member is especially trying. We find ourselves wrestling with a myriad of emotions and struggling with our faith. At Catholic funeral Masses, one of the gospel readings often chosen is from Matthew 11:25-30. May the following reflection on this reading bring comfort:

You are deeply and unconditionally loved by God, our Father through our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus. You are not alone in your mourning. The one you mourn was also and is deeply and unconditionally loved by Christ Jesus. Jesus sees into your grieving heart. He sees and knows your pain and your turmoil through many mixed emotions. Through it all, He reaches out to you with His tender touch full of love to console, to soothe and to heal.

The one you mourn did not have an easy life. The full depth of his or her personal struggles only God can know. Still, those struggles were also yours. Perhaps you reached out directly to help countless times. Perhaps you stood by and supported him or her in efforts to improve life.  Perhaps you prayed unceasingly. Perhaps you did all these things only to have your heart broken again and again. Still, you mourn out of love for him or her. Despite everything, this person’s life brought out this love in you. And that love, despite this person’s difficulties, was his or her gift to you. 

Jesus knows your heart brokenness and he knows your love. In the first part of this gospel reading, we can imagine what He too felt.  Jesus and his followers had been travelling throughout Judea, going from town to town teaching about God’s endless mercy and forgiveness, healing physical ailments and wounded hearts. He spent time with people from all walks of life; He sat with them; He ate with them. Many came to believe in Him and to trust in Him. He assured them of His mercy and forgiveness in their struggles to follow in His path. He knew their weaknesses; He knew they would falter. We just need to think of Peter, who denied Him three times. Still, He loved and forgave and uplifted. Then there were those who refused to believe and repent despite all they had seen and heard. In response to all this, Jesus prays to the Father, thanking Him for revealing his love, his mercy and forgiveness, his salvation, and his joy to the open hearted.  Jesus prays “…no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

Be assured, Jesus has chosen you to reveal His Father’s love, mercy, and salvation to. We can’t know the relationship nor the ongoing conversations between the one we mourn and Jesus throughout his or her life on Earth nor his or her passing over to the other side, but we can be assured of Jesus’ love and mercy for him or her. We must keep this person in our prayers always.

In the gospel passage, Jesus continues: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened.”  When losing someone close, we are overcome and burdened by many emotions and experiences. Your loss may bring out unique and different experiences, among them grief due to the emptiness that is now there.  You may have memories of this person going back to childhood. You look back fondly on happy times, playing together as children, going through school together and working together. Now, you are left with a void wondering what went wrong.

Maybe you are feeling anger. Perhaps you are angry at God for not keeping this person alive; perhaps you’re angry at God because you feel your prayers were ignored. If He loves us so much, why would he allow so much pain?  Maybe you are angry at the person you’re grieving, for leaving you and causing you so much pain. This anger can be made worse because you might think it’s wrong to feel this way. But these feelings are real, they are your feelings, your burdens.  And God understands. We must allow ourselves to feel them, all of them, and work through them. 

Perhaps you are experiencing guilt or shame. You beat yourself up thinking maybe you could’ve done more or maybe you didn’t listen enough and missed a warning sign or cry for help. Or you have feelings of guilt over the way you may have treated or spoken to this person.  Maybe you find yourself feeling guilty over the sense of relief the death has brought.  

Maybe you blame yourself or others for not stepping up and standing by your loved one in his or her time of need. You blame yourself for not preventing the death. Or you blame your loved one for not taking better care of himself or herself.

Perhaps fear and anxiety has set into your life. You worry about other family members and friends, stressing over their lives, their choices, their physical and mental health. All this, not to mention, the anxiety you may be battling regarding your own life.

All these feelings and experiences are normal parts of grieving.  We labor under their burden to move on. Jesus not only asks us to come to Him, He also promises that we will find rest in Him. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.”

Jesus promises us that He is gentle, loving, and patient. His concern is for our well-being and for our returning to Him again and again in love. So, don’t deny your feelings.  Allow yourself to experience them and work through them assured that Jesus loves you deeply and unconditionally. Bring your burdens to him, and you will find rest.  

Practicing Grit and Achieving Goals

Old School Grit by Darrin Donnely

I recently read “Old School Grit” by Darrin Donnelly. He uses his experience as a college football coach and game situations to illustrate important life lessons.  Though I am not a college athlete or even a young adult embarking out into the career world for the first time, I do believe the author provides valuable lessons that we all need to be reminded of.  Here are some key points I highlighted while reading that I hope others will also find helpful:

1. “Find what you love to do and find a way to make a living doing it.” (pg. 67)

2. “Nothing gets you more focused on a goal than having a mindset that says there’s no way to retreat.” (pg. 79)

3. “If you ever find yourself feeling down, I guarantee you have let your focus turn inward.” (pg. 92)

4. “You have to monitor your self-talk…you can’t talk down to yourself; you have to talk yourself up.” (pg. 109)

5. “I believe it’s all part of God’s plan.  Somewhere early in our lives, he leads us to something we have a deep interest in, something we’re really passionate about.  Turns out, we’ve been blessed with just enough talent to pursue that passion.  After that it’s up to each one of us to work extremely hard at developing the talent we’ve been given.” (pg. 117)

The First Time

(I wrote this poem many years ago to the rhythm and melody of “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” by Roberta Flack)

Photo by Pixabay on
The first time, ever I heard of you
So far away, I looked to the sky
And prayed to the clouds, and sang to the rain

The first time, ever I met with you
You looked into my heart, and shined through the dark
And embraced my soul, you warmed me through

And the first time, ever I spoke to you
My heart quivered and tears filled my eyes
I trembled like a flower, in a gusting wind

The first time, ever I gave to you
You changed my life, and gave me love
And forgiveness too, you gave me hope

And now, since I have been with you
Pain of love still lingers, but I endure
Just like you once did, for us to see
...and to follow...

Hello Again

So I started this blog/site several months ago with the idea that I would write publicly and begin establishing my presence online. Oooh, that sounds so lofty!

I’ve kept a diary/journal for as long as I can remember and I’ve always written little short stories or snippets of story ideas I’ve had and still have. My journals record thoughts, reflections and even some poems that deal with emotional and spiritual struggles and development and growth. I love to think and reflect on faith matters, the writing process, issues surrounding dysfunctional families, education, living and traveling in Arizona…well, that’s quite a varied list already! I hope that by going public, I can connect with others who share in this journey and perhaps we can learn from each other.

Another reason I have for this blog is to establish myself as an author. It took me at least two years, but I’ve finally written a manuscript that I hope to publish someday in the Women’s Fiction genre. It’s my hope that the more comfortable I become online, the more comfortable I’ll become with the entire publishing process from marketing to self-publishing. I would like to try the traditional route but I understand how daunting that could be.

I created this post as my response to an assignment for the WordPress Blogging for Beginners Class. If you are reading this, I thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to connect this way. May God bless you!

Sleeping Christ: Matthew 8: 23-27

Photo by ArtHouse Studio on

I often start my day with good intentions.  I make lists.  However, I allow myself to get distracted by other things such as cleaning or cooking.  Though these are good things in and of themselves as they also benefit others in my household, I use these as an excuse not to do those things God may be calling me to do.  I also distract myself by scrolling the news feeds or checking social media. After all, I need to know what’s going on in the world and with my loved ones, I tell myself.  True, this is also important but again, I use it as an excuse not to do what God may be calling me to do. 

Why the excuses? Why the distractions?  The answer for me is fear of failure, fear of going outside of my comfort zone, fear of rejection, and fear of imperfection.  These fears are the storm rocking my boat leading me to cry out to Christ, who seems to be sleeping.  “Please help me, can’t you see I’m about to drown?” I am reminded of His response to the apostles, “Oh you of little faith,” before he calms the storm for them anyway.

Reflecting back on this story from Mathew 8: 23-27, I imagine myself in this situation.  I imagine myself looking to Jesus, sound asleep in the corner of the boat.  Instead of panicking, I imagine myself quietly approaching him, laying down next to him and placing my head against him.  I imagine myself dozing next to him as he wraps his protective, welcoming, and loving arm around me.  After a short time, I imagine the storm calming as He sits up and takes my hand.  He smiles at me and whispers, “Come now, we have work to do.”  He stands up and gently pulls me up with him.  Filled with love and awe, I can’t help but smile and tell him, “I will go with you. I will work with you.”  There’s no more hesitancy, no more fear.

I kept this in my mind all day today and found myself at peace and my fears calmed as I went about doing the work he asked of me. The temptation to distract myself was gone. It’s challenging to trust so completely. I can’t help but question whether I will be able to do this in every situation. However, by remembering this story and my imagined place in it I may be on the right path. Remember to rest in him, unite with him, walk with him and work with him.

My First Blog Post

Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.

— Oscar Wilde.

This is the first post on my new blog. I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.

Reflection of Christ

Pope Francis walks to the altar .

Urbi et Orbi Blessing “God turns everything to our good.”  Pope Francis, March 27, 2020

When I saw him walk out, I cried. I’m not sure why. I was overwhelmed. He is Christ’s representative here on earth. He’s not a perfect man; neither was Saint Peter, our first Pope. It was raining and devoid of the throngs usually flocking in Vatican square. Still, there he was, walking out to comfort an ailing world with prayer, Eucharistic adoration and blessing- even for those who could care less about anything he represents. He walked out bearing the weight of the world in his heart as he offered up the prayer of the Church. Pandemic, political strife, cultural riffs, injustice, war, illness, economic disparity, the list goes on. This Pope came out in love, love for the world and love for God. This is not the image of a man looking for glory from the faithful. This man walking out alone in the rain to pray for the world in its suffering is a reflection of Christ.

Jesus bore the weight of the world’s problems through all time and took it all upon himself and gave himself in prayer and sacrifice for the salvation of us all, even us here today 2000 years later.

I can only stutter in response.

%d bloggers like this: