Sunday, July 26, 2015

Practice Makes Perfect

It has taken me years of practice to learn to cook limited meals. Sometimes trial and error proved to be the only way that made me wise up and realize I need to measure my ingredients correctly.

I quit practicing piano, and now go figure—I can’t locate major C.

My husband has the patience of Job when it comes to helping me practice for any type of sport. We still laugh (twenty years later) about how I ended up trying to play on the same volleyball league with him.

While practice did not make me perfect or less clumsy on the volleyball court, it does remind me how if you put your heart into anything eventually you will get better as you practice and repeat.

As a practicing Catholic I am constantly working on keeping the sacraments a part of my daily life. It is something very important to me, and something that I want with all my heart. So I practice and repeat over and over.

In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he talks about putting into practice what he has taught them about always keeping their faith in Jesus, even in times of trouble.

From prison he writes, “In conclusion, my friends, fill your minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise; things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honorable. Put into practice what you learned and received from me, both from my words and from my actions. And the God who gives us peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9)

I think I’ll always be in need of constant practicing when it comes to faith. To me faith is a continual rejuvenating thing.

How about you?

Monday, July 20, 2015

Live the Difference

Can the flapping of a butterfly’s wings really change the weather patterns of several continents? That in part sums up the questioning definition of the butterfly effect.

Along those lines, it is fitting to imagine that any single event, no matter how insignificant, has the power to change our world . . . forever.

Makes me think about all sorts of differences.

Life is different if you’re looking forward instead of always glancing back. There’s a subtle difference between being right and being able to admit when pointing out being right was wrong. A smart person knows the profound difference of giving up and giving in.

Think of how you can make a big difference by honestly turning towards God, by becoming a true disciple of Christ.

The decision has been made, the dye has been cast, and I have stepped over the line. As a disciple of Christ, I will no longer look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure. I’m finished with low living, sight walking, worldly talking, cheap giving, and tamed visions. I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, power or popularity. I don’t have to be right, recognized, praised, regarded or rewarded. I now live by faith, walk in victory, and labor in love. The road before me is narrow and rough, but His commission is undeniable, thus my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I won’t give up, shut up, let up, until I have prayed up, praised up, paid up, and spoke up for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I am a Christian, an Unashamed Firm Believer in Christ.

(Taken from - A Commitment to Excellence, And a Willingness to Serve – Lake Catholic High School, Mentor, Ohio.)

So, have you decided?

Has the decision been made?

The dye been cast?

Will you step over the line and make a difference?

Don’t give up, shut up, let up, until you have prayed up, praised up, paid up, and spoke up for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Live the difference.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


For the Son of Man has come to seek and save what was lost. (Luke 19:10)

Do you ever feel like you are lost?

Not physically lost, or briefly lost, as in a senior moment where you can’t remember what you were about to do, but lost due to life altering changes that are out of your control.

Next question is . . . where do you turn?

There are many vices easily accessible at our disposal. The picking is plentiful, e.g., a six-pack to tied you over, a few too many five o’clock martinis, a handful of prescription pills meant for pain, a whole chocolate pie, a whole day zoning out in front of the television set, and so on.

There are other options. One example is calling out to God.

I never cease finding this particular Bible verse to be so powerful. When I’m feeling lost, it takes me to the one who loves me the most—Jesus. I read it often and I’m blown away by the simple words that make up the complete sentence.

For the Son of Man has come to seek and save what was lost. (Luke 19:10)

So breathtaking!

He came to earth for all of us who are lost, to tell us that we are saved. There is nowhere you can go that He can't find you. Furthermore, never are we so far gone, so lost, that we can't be saved.

I’m forever grateful for these words that seem to be written for all, including me, who might feel a little lost from time to time.

When was the last time you turned to Him for help?

Let the power and the love of these words filter into your heart and whenever you are starting to feel lost, lonely, hopeless, tired or worn-down in life—turn to Jesus.

He has come for YOU.

He wants to save YOU.

How breathtaking is that?

Monday, July 6, 2015

I'm Just Saying

Somewhere out there is a God who loves and cares for us. I know this from closing my eyes and opening my heart.

It’s not that I’m exceptionally gifted or naturally insightful; believe me when I say it took a long time for that proclamation to fall from my lips and to be able to feel it deep within my heart.

I have hindsight to thank partly for this. Hindsight helps me see things so much clearer. It has helped me perceive just how merciful and compassionate our Lord is towards humankind. His love is boundless and eternal.

I’m sure you’ve experienced in your life journey the same standpoints where current situations seem unbearable, but then, through hindsight become profound in strengthening your faith.

Through hindsight, I’ve learned to turn to God in desperate times, to look up instead of down. Hindsight has shown me that never was I alone, I was never abandoned, and never will I be forgotten.

Isaiah 46:4 says, “I am your God and will take care of you until you are old and your hair is gray. I made you and will care for you. I will give you help and rescue you.”

Looking back on some of the hardest times I’ve had to experience in life, times where it seemed to be a struggle to breathe in and out, periods where I didn’t believe I could carry my cross one more step—I was able to carry on because we have a God that loves us, a God that will always care for us.

I’m just saying—somewhere out there is our God. He loves and cares for you.

“I am your God… I made you and will care for you. I will give you help and rescue you.”

(Photo image courtesy of Deanna Ciotta)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Burn Baby Burn

A short while ago we started a campfire in our fire pit. It was early afternoon, but that didn’t matter being that the purpose wasn’t to sit around at dusk and sing songs or roast marshmallows.

The reason for the fire was to clean up the sticks and small branches that had overtaken groundcover in a corner of our back yard.

It started out as a small campfire with a few sticks and branches arranged to burn slowly. It quickly grew to a roaring fire as I discovered how liberating it felt to throw a twig onto the fire and watch it disintegrate within seconds.

Imagining the sticks being problems, slip ups, errors on my part, weaknesses, sins I’m guilty of, and overall things I wanted to erase from my life I would pick up a stick and throw it on the fire while praying for that thing to be free from my life.

Up in smoke went my stupid gossiping, burnt within seconds was my selfish pride, and turned into black ashes was a whole bunch of wrongdoings I knowingly committed. Burn baby burn was my motto until I heard my husband, who had gone to collect more rubbish, call out telling me to “hold back—the flames are getting too big.” Oops.

I stopped what I was doing and gazed into my roaring fire; I could feel the heat and intensity. A warm feeling overtook me as I felt the love that our Lord has for all of us.

A love so strong! 

A love that nothing can divide or force apart, no sin, no slip up, no weakness . . . “No, in all these things we have complete victory through Him who loved us! For I am certain that nothing can separate us from His love: neither death nor life, neither angels nor other heavenly rulers or powers, neither the present nor the future, neither the world above nor the world below—there is nothing in all creation that will ever be able to separate us from the love of God which is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37-39)

Can you feel His love?