Monday, September 27, 2010

Miracles (and sillybands)

The past five or six days have been a whirlwind of activity. We went to the beach, played at the pool, visited with family, came home, got up and went to three soccer games - two were 100 miles away - came home, got up again and went to church, a birthday party, and a marriage class to round out the weekend. Exhausting. But it isn't always like this. There are weekends with quiet and house work and raking and pot roasts and afternoon naps. And I like having both types of weekends; the change keeps me on my toes. And in the middle of this very busy weekend, I realized miracles had been occurring and I had been too busy to see them. So God made it very clear that he was there in a cute and whimsical way. I was walking on the beach with my boys when Kelly asked for his silly band animal bracelets that I had been carrying in my pocket. I pulled them out and gave them to him. I inadvertently dropped a yellow one in the water as we had this exchange and it washed away. Kelly was upset that now he was one silly band less, and that it was gone forever. A little while later we stopped, the boys played in the sand and the surf, and I went to sit in dry sand to pray. I needed quiet time to spill out my thoughts with God, and in the midst of my prayers, I asked for miracles. I asked for miracles big and small that those of us busy and overwhelmed may feel Him. I asked for miracles big and small for those that didn't know He existed that they may feel Him. I asked for miracles because people simply like miracles. They are fun and wonderment. When all of us had had our time on the beach, we walked home. And as we were turning to walk up to the boardwalk, Kelly's yellow sillyband washed up in the surf and stopped in the wet sand right at our feet. And I told my boys about my prayer for miracles and asked them what they thought about that. And we all giggled in delight at God's sweet gesture. And that gesture has made me see Him all around me in the midst of busyness. We are not alone. And it feels good.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Michael and I have been morosely fascinated the last few nights by a tv show called, "Hoarders: Buried Alive" on TLC. It is quite disturbing, and each of these people is visibly mentally ill in some way. Essentially these people were already shoppers and a bit cluttery when something traumatic happened in their lives. Daily living became overwhelming, and when they finally woke up from their grief and their walking coma, they didn't know how to move forward. Most of these people are so attached to their things they get downright nasty towards the loved ones and the special crews brought in to help them.

So last night on the couch, Michael turns to me and says, "These people need Jesus. I mean, what would he say to them if he walked into their mess? He'd say you need me. Just me. This stuff, this mess, is just stuff. I am what matters. Me, and your faith in me, and the people here on this Earth that make up your community. That is all you need." My sweet, sweet husband. He's thinking about Jesus, saying intelligent thoughts, while I'm still trying to get over the extent of these people's environment.

Well, the point to all this is, do I hoard? I mean, I started to make comments, when Michael stopped me to say that just because their mental illness was clearly more visible, it didn't mean the rest of us were model citizens of mental health. He did agree he wouldn't be as sweet about it all as the counselors on tv were acting. Michael also said that's why he's not a counselor. He would have just brought a hose and a commercial size broom. And that would not have worked.

Anyway, I don't think I hoard, but I do know if I was told to throw it all away, I would struggle. And I do have a few issues. We all do. And I am more thankful than ever for the disciples...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Josh and Jennifer

I am the youngest. By, oh, about twenty years. I am the, "Oh My God, I thought we had taken care of that, there's no way, I'm.... what!!!" Which means that by the time I came along and started my life, I had four older siblings, the oldest two being 18 and 20. I have never lived with them, since they were off at college by the time I learned to smile, much less sit up or talk. The other two siblings had the distinct pleasure of helping raise me in those early years, since they were 16 and 12.

Leaving lots unspoken about this entire situation, by the time I was seven, my oldest brother was getting married. And he married Donna, a woman who already had two children. Josh and Jennifer. From the age of seven on, I was an aunt with a nephew one year younger and a niece two years younger. We grew up together, acting out roles more like cousins than anything. As we ventured out into the big wide world, we went in different directions. They have both pursued art careers in New York and have succeeded. I pursued teaching and then, in family tradition, a surprise case of motherhood. And while we are all grown up and on our own paths I have to say I am quite proud to be related to them. It's fun watching them mature as artists, and their works are just beautiful. And I'm not just saying that so if I ever get to NY I have two places to stay!

For those of you interested in painting and photography, give them a looksee. It will be well worth your time.

Joshua Brown - photographer

Jenna Gribbon - painter

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Miracle for St. Cecelia's

I am reading a book, A Miracle for St. Cecelia's, by Katherine Valentine. For those that loved the Mitford series by Jan Karon, this is the Catholic version. It's wonderful. I am telling you this because in these sweet books comes some of the best advice.

"Nonsense. God will not abandon His people, or you or Father Keene. As with all great trials, there is a powerful lesson hidden in this seemingly rocky path. But to discover it, you must walk it. You can't go around it, or pray your way out of it."

"God has not turned His face away from your needs, Jimmy. Neither has He refused to provide for those needs. His silence is simply the backdrop used to highlight the gifts He will surely bring."

We all have our stuff going on, and it is easy to center the world around our issues. I have enjoyed taking a break from my daily naggings in my head to read about Father James. These lines spoke to me, and I wanted to share them with you. Hope you enjoyed!