Tag Archives: journey

The Sound of Silence

So here it was, just one week after Easter and we left mass frustrated — again. We went to mass at St. Ferdinand and were meeting our friends for dinner after that. They were all going to St. Killian, but Tom and I don’t care for mass in an auditorium. We would have gone to our own parish, but didn’t want to get caught up in the First Holy Communion ceremonies. So here we were listening to this awful chanting music for the next 20 minutes before mass started. Are you kidding me? I couldn’t pray or think or even concentrate on anything. And then that’s how mass went too. At every turn, the music interrupted the mass. This is how the music was there during lent, but I thought it was just something special they were doing then. I guess not — oh, how I don’t like change for change sake. The music used to be one of the best things about St. Ferdinand.

It seems like we complain after every mass anymore. We left mass and Tom turned to me in the car and said, “this seminar next weekend better be inspiring, because I’m thinking I’m not sure about going to church anymore.” My heart sank, but I knew too that I felt the same way.

Living Every Day with Passion and Purpose
The seminar by Matthew Kelly of Dynamic Catholic was the following weekend. We drove about 3 1/2 hours to Mechanicsburg, PA and booked an overnight stay so we could drive back to Pittsburgh on Sunday. I wasn’t feeling the greatest, because I had the stents in my kidneys changed two days before, and my doctor used bigger stents which were a little uncomfortable. But there was no way I was missing this!!!! We desperately needed inspiration!!!!!

And wow, did we get it! The program was almost four hours, but there were three breaks during the presentation. Matthew Kelly is the best speaker I’ve ever heard — period. The material was what we needed to hear and mix it with his own sense of charm and humor — simply AMAZING. Seriously, I laughed out loud during that four hour period more than some of the comedy shows I’ve been too. His jokes were clean, but so funny, because they were about things mostly only Catholics could relate to. When he portrayed Jesus with his disciples, he played a role of light humor with meaningful lessons. He tried to make us see that all these holy people we put on pedestals are really just like us, including the disciples. Matthew Kelly was all about statistics. He had them too — he talked about a multi-year research project that showed the current state of Catholicism in America. He compared our percentages to those of Europe. He shared insight into developing a closer relationship with God — finding God’s purpose in your life. Seriously, INSPIRATION.

The best part of it being in Mechanicsburg was that Tom and I talked about it off and on the entire drive home. It not only brought us closer to God, but closer to each other. We had meaningful conversations about what it meant to us that we embrace our Catholic faith. We talked about all those things that we were going to implement in our lives.

We started to make real action items. The first is silence. With silence comes clarity and allows us to hear the voice of God in our lives. So my new morning routine starts once the alarm sounds. I shut off the music and lay in silence. And I begin my morning prayers at that time. I start praying about my day and talking to God about the things coming up — what I’m worried about or excited about or just not sure. As I lay there, the ceiling fan is almost hypnotic. I also have these two prayer books. Well, they’re pretty beat up. I read sections from them every single day. I’m going to have to repair the spine on the one book. I have the same routine, now only I added 15 minutes of silence where I can talk with God.

Tom and I are reading the Gospels every night — Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Well, we’re still on Matthew, and we read 1-3 chapters out loud every night before going to bed. We’ve only missed a couple of nights — nights when we were just too tired or one of us went to bed earlier than the other. We read out loud and comment on things we didn’t realize, how we interpreted something or just something that didn’t make sense. It’s a much different experience reading out loud in the silence together. I’m hearing things so much more differently than in church with all the commotion at times.

I’m also reading the book that was part of our packet from the event. It’s called The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic. Much of what was discussed during the night is reinforced in this book. I’m about half way through and am finding some additional techniques in prayer and following a new format for making prayer more meaningful. It’s such an easy read and I gave one of our copies to my Mom on Mother’s Day.

I feel as if I’m on this wonderful journey that I’ve been invited by God to take. I don’t know how this came about. I remember seeing a link on Facebook from my friend Val to join Matthew Kelly in his Lenten program online. I signed up for those daily messages and after that, something was awakened. That’s the only way I can describe it. And, it’s interesting that I’ve been seeking silence for the past couple of years — trips to quiet towns — away from it all, away from the craziness. Maybe God has had a message for me and I just couldn’t hear it. Well now, I’m ready to listen.

Always B E L I E V E !

The Journey Forward

Today I officially got to see the good news for myself — in glorious black and white images on the computer screen — scans that showed even more improvement. My doctor told me that I am the official poster child for Cryoablasion success. He tells me he’s used my scans for talks throughout this past six months on alternative treatment methods. My doctor is one amazing and creative physician whose passion for healing is profound!

I had actually got the good news via voicemail last Friday before we left for Ellicottville, NY. There was no way I could go on that trip without the results of the scan I had done earlier in the week. Dr. Goodman had left a message saying “…I am just WOWED about the way they [the scans] look. Everything looks GRAND!…” He followed up with another call when we got back and told me that the results were just incredible.

Thanks to everyone for all your prayers over the past year. The power of prayer is truly amazing. I believe that this journey comes from God, and I am learning something from it — as well as all those who know me. I may not understand everything in this lifetime, but I know I will one day. I trust God completely and today thank him for my healing.

Always B E L I E V E !

Complete Trust in God
Do not look forward to the trials and crosses of this life with dread and fear. Rather, look to them with full confidence that, as they arise, God, to whom you belong, will deliver you from them.

He has guided and guarded you thus far in life. Do you but hold fast to his dear hand, and he will lead you safely through all trials. Whenever you cannot stand, he will carry you lovingly in his arms.

Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow. The same Eternal Father who cares for you today will take good care of you tomorrow and everyday of your life. Either he will shield you from suffering or he will give you the unfailing strength to bear it.

Be at peace then and put aside all useless thoughts, vain dreads, and anxious imaginations.

Lent is Upon Us

King Cake in celebration of Mardi Gras

King Cake in celebration of Mardi Gras

It’s that time of the year again. We celebrated Fat Tuesday at work with tons of baked goods, including a King Cake, donuts, cupcakes, brownies, cookies and all other kinds of sweets. Our kitchen was literally jammed with containers full of sweets, but by the end of the day on Thursday it was slim pickens!

So another Lenten season is upon us. I meant to pick up “my little black book” in church last week, but I had left my gloves in the pew and was too worried about finding them that I left without getting one! So, my daily Lenten ritual is missing. Hopefully I can still get a book this weekend in church.

We went with friends tonight to a fish fry at St. Teresa of Avila in the North Hills. During our meal, we mapped out all the fish frys we plan to attend this season, including St. Benedict the Abbott in Murrysville where my brother is Pastor. It’s a nice Friday night social outing for us and we’re able to support the area church fundraisers.

Once I got home, my husband fell asleep while watching the Pens game and left me sitting here thinking about Lent. What am I giving up for Lent? During dinner we had laughed at Gert’s Mom and Dad. They gave up highballs. That made me laugh out loud. I don’t know anyone who drinks highballs anymore, and not at the amount that it’s a sacrifice to stop drinking them!

So I’m giving up swearing. Yep, it’s going to be very difficult. Some of the things that come out of my mouth are actually terms of endearment! Quite a few swear words have made it into my normal conversations, especially at work, and I’ve been wanting to break this awful habit. They’re part of my everyday vocabulary — I use them as adjectives or expletives to get my point across. I know I can do it, because I am able to control my conversations with clients and around my Mom.

I know it’s going to be difficult and I know I’ll have slips. So, I’ve decided that I’m going to keep track of every time I swear, and for every time I swear, I’m adding a dollar to a charity jar that I will keep for an entire year. And at the end of this year, I will use it for Christmas gifts for a needy family.

So as we begin our journey through Lent, know that I’ll be saving dollar bills. I wish you all luck with all those things you give up this Lent!