Everyday Spirituality

Archive for February, 2011

Live Authentically

As the lasts few hours of February tick away I find myself filled with appreciation for this short month.

During this month I spent time with friends on a cruise…staffed an awesome women’s retreat…facilitated a women’s day of prayer…attended my neice’s wedding shower…celebrated my best friend’s birthday…enjoyed Valentine’s Day with my husband…had dinner with some girl friends…rejoiced with friends as they were ordained permanent Deacons.

When all is said and done the past four weeks have brought with them so much joy. How can I be anything less than joyful with my life? And yet there are days when I feel so frustrated with my inability to get more accomplished. I ask myself how can I do more…be more…for others.

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which is March 9 this year. I have been compiling notes with the intention of offering on this blog something I will call “Soul Stirrings”. My hope is for us to journey through Lent together. I want to create a place where we have a stonger connection with our readers during this Lent. So watch for the “Soul Stirrings” beginning very soon.

My goal for Lent…to be more disciplined in my writing. A faithful reader recently requested that I write more often here on this blog. I guess my apprehension comes from wanting to write from a place of inspiration and not ‘just because’. I always want my words to reflect my openness to the Holy Spirit rather han coming from a personal agenda. Not sure if I am always successful though.

Just got the quote below in one of my email subscriptions. I guess that is a message to me loud and clear to continue what it is I do in order not to ‘fail our community’. These three words stand out to me…express…listen…contribution.

“If you do not express your own original ideas, if you do not listen to your own being, you will have betrayed yourself. Also you will have betrayed our community in failing to make your contribution to the whole.”– Rollo May (1909-1994), American psychologist, from The Courage to Create

The mesage here for all of us may be; to live authentically.

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~ To LOVE Tenderly ~

We are called
to love tenderly…
to serve one another…
to walk humbly with God!

You may be familiar with the ‘MacDonald’s’ Breakfast email. A woman has accepted the challenge from her Sunday school teacher to spread the love of Christ by smiling to at least three strangers.

While at breakfast with her family she encounters two homeless gentlemen whom she greets and finally buys them breakfast too.

Through her small act of smiling at these two strangers she is drawn in to something greater. She is filled with God’s grace to be more…to do more…to give more…to walk humbly with him. In return she is emotionally blessed to her own surprise.

Last night during the Grammy’s we watched a new show starring Kathy Bates on NBC. She plays an attorney who leaves her six figure patent attorney practice to set up her new practice in the inner city.

Harrie, as she’s called, begins defending people no one else would even talk to much less represent in court. It was a very inspiring show drawing attention to how serving the forgotten people with tender loving care can have a positive outcome.

Today is Valentine’s Day. I challenge you to befriend in some small way, through smile or kind gesture, a stranger.

We are all called to love tenderly.

To walk humbly with God serving others is to love tenderly.

Ps. Hope you have written that love letter or poem! If not you still have time…it only need take a moment of your time to express your love.

 

Pen and Ink: Love Letters

Love can be expressed in so many different ways, but the most timeless and most treasured will always remain the classic “love letter”. I am sure Hallmark would not even object to a hand written love letter because you can always tuck it neatly inside of a pretty card. The art of the handwritten letter has so often today been replaced with a type written email or text. Snail mail seems to take forever…we are instant, got to have it now, people.

I am going to hand write a love letter to my husband this Valentine’s Day. I invite you to join me; hand write a letter to a loved one…spouse…child…parent…friend…grandchild…sister…brother…

Think back for a moment to the time when setting before you was a pen and its accompanying bottle of ink…now to me that is so romantic. I love gazing at old pen and ink writings. I love how the ink is wispy and delicate on the paper…just the thought of dipping the tip of the pen in the ink and carefully stroking the paper with expressive words to your loved one. This is so heart warming and tender to me. If you still have one of those old ink pens from years ago I invite you to take it out and write something anything even just your name. Let the ink flow onto the paper.

When my husband was in basic training I would write him a letter every day…no internet or Skype back then…I think he still has those letters carefully packed away in a box. One day, perhaps after we are both gone, our sons will find those letters and get an idea of just how much we were in love with one another.

I have a kept a letter written to me by my father when I was in my 20’s. It still brings a smile to my face since he is no longer living. There is something special knowing that he touched the paper…a part of him has been absorbed into the paper. Cherish that thought for a moment with me.

Of course as long as I am writing about love letters I am reminded of the wonderful movie “Message in a Bottle”. What a beautiful creative novel written by Nicholas Sparks.

If you would like to give a personal gift of love from your heart; try writing a poem. There is no right or wrong way to write a poem just express your feelings for the other person.

Give it a try…here are a few guidelines to help you get started…reasons why you love the person…specific qualities you love about the person like their blue eyes…what and or how they have provided for or supported you…special names you have for each other…the ultimate message you are trying to convey with your poem, for example ‘you are the one who always believes in me’…decide the tone of your poem either humorous or sentimental.

Remember this poem is a personal gift from your heart!

This month I invite you to write the ultimate love letter or poem…to Jesus. Valentine’s is a wonderful time to stop and actually write to Jesus and tell him how much you love him…what you love about him…what he means to you…how he has supported you in all ways throughout your life. Seal it, bring it with you to Mass or adoration…hold it in your hands and read/pray it to Jesus with a loving heart. Tell Jesus how much you love him…using visual imagery reach out your arms allowing Jesus to embrace you within his loving arms…pressing you tenderly to his own heart…pierced through with love for you. There is no greater love…How truly blessed we are to be loved by Jesus. His love… given to us so that we may have love in our hearts to give to others.

May you continue to write letters…