Wednesday, March 28, 2012

No Matter What--Divine Mercy

April Children’s Adoration
Divine Mercy
What is Divine Mercy?

It is God’s love for us—all of us—no matter what.  God wants us to know that his mercy is greater than our sins.  He loves us with kindness and compassion—no matter what we do, say or think.

Why do we need God’s Mercy?

If God loves me—no matter what—why can’t I stop there?   Matthew 5:7 says “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”  God’s love and compassion are never ending.  As humans we sometimes find it hard to be gentle, loving, kind, respectful and showing mercy can be difficult. 

In our culture we all want to be the best and often at the expense of making others feel less.  God loves us—no matter what—and to him it doesn’t matter if we have fancy boots, sparkly jewelry, a big house, if we are popular or not.  It doesn’t matter to him if we talk funny, walk funny or are just weird.  God made us perfect in his way (Psalm 139).  We need God’s mercy to love us and forgive us.
How do we practice being merciful?
A-ask for God’s loving mercy in prayer asking him for forgiveness of our sins and for him to fill our hearts with mercy.
B-be merciful.  When we ask God for his mercy in A, now we need to let the mercy come to us and use it with others.   God wants us to show kindness and forgiveness to everyone we meet.
C-completely trust in Jesus.  This is God math—the more we trust in Jesus the more we will receive.   When we trust in Jesus he gives us more grace than what we need and it flows to those around us.
Jesus asked a nun for Divine Mercy to have its own feast day—this will be coming up the Sunday after Easter.  This woman was St. Faustina.  She was a poor girl who lived in Poland and had very little education.  How can a poor girl with little education have conversations with Jesus?  Well, I think that she trusted in Jesus so much that he trusted that she would be bold enough to keep a diary of what he told her.  If we met St. Faustina today and she told you about how Jesus comes to her and asks her to write things down for him so that she can share his ideas . . . would you be gentle, loving, kind, and respectful?  Would you show her mercy?

Be Blessed as you spend your time with Jesus whether it is in adoration, the car or watching your baby sleep.  Take a moment to practice being merciful and know that God loves you—no matter what.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

"Who do you say that I am?"

I inherited four really big pictures of Jesus--they are the 4 gospels of Jesus and the image of Jesus is created by the words of the gospels.  Word pointillism if you will.

These pictures have been moving through the house as I still try and figure out where to put things after our move.  One picture in particular I like and it says

"Who do you say that I am?"

I look at it as one of those conversation starters--Jesus asking me, really asking me--who do I say that he is and how do I express that.  Will my actions reflect that I had this conversation at all?

The other way that I read this is "who do I say that I am--now?"  Lately, I have been referring to myself in the past tense.  I used to play basketball, I used to run 1/2 marathons, I used to quilt, I used to have 3 dogs, I used to have my own business, and the list goes on and on.  If feels somewhat strange to look at my life as it was and even try to compare to where I am now.

I look at my life now and minimize the fact that I do breakfast, lunch and dinner, laundry--sorted, folded and put away (at least once a week), my house is clean for about 1 hour a week, and I spend the rest of the time with my kids.  That is a lot of stuff to keep up with and in my happy heart I know that it is enough. 

Then I see the skinny mom at the gym, the business mom making the deal, insert any mom doing anything that is NOT what I am doing--and then I hear those words "who do you say that I am?" and I wonder about so many things:  do they wish they were home?, wish they could run a 1/2 marathon, make awesome whoopie pies, do they spend as much time as I do thinking about what they were and where they are going? 

During this Lent I have been striving to live more intentionally.  I want to stop thinking about what I was and what I hope to be (by swimsuit season) and live in the NOW.  Enjoy the moment as it is not what it will be or should be or could have been. 

I find it difficult to have such a busy schedule and still live with intention.  It is all a work in progress with starting being the hardest step.

Thank you God for this season of Lent, a season to pause, a season to take a long hard look at what dying on the cross means for us individually.  Help me understand that where I have been, what I thought I was, or hoped to become has brought me to this moment.  Help me to live each day to the fullest and not define myself by what was, but what is yet to become.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Homemade AND Useful

I make a lot of homemade things.  I upcycle.  I recycle.  I create stuff out of other stuff.  My family and friends are the recipients of these wonderful creations and I can usually tell by the look on their faces if they like it or not.

I love to knit.  I love to buy yarn.  My yarn eyes are bigger than my project stomach.  So I have ended up with way too much yarn but luckily I buy really nice yarn, on sale, that is wool. 

A friend mentioned that she was going to buy felted yarn balls for the dryer to cut down on drying time and be a natural fabric softener--I was intrigued and had to do the research for myself.

I took my electric bill and figured out how much energy my dryer takes to run for an hour, multiplied it by the number of hours that I run it to find out my cost per week.  Then I made the dryer balls and used them.  The claim to cut down drying time by 25% was a bit high but I did find that my clothes were "fluffier" and dried in a shorter time. 

Unexpectedly, I found that the dryer balls were a toy for the kids.  A colorful, natural, soft ball that flies through the air, slides extremely far on a gym floor (perfect while we are waiting for indoor soccer practice to end).  They are also pretty to look at in this funky basket that I saved from a thrift shop. 

Dryer balls.  Why write about dryer balls?  They won't change the world or have much of an impact on much of anything--but they are pretty and fun.  When I catch a glimpse of this basket of whimsy it makes me smile.  So these bits of yarn wrapped tight and washed again and again until the fibers embrace and never let go of one another--won't change global warming or solve some big problem but they make me happy.  In my world.  On my journey.

Thank you God for giving us the ability to create.  I am constantly in awe of how you have put so many creative, inspiring, and thought provoking people in my life. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Meatloaf, in a Crockpot?

One of the best things about living here is that we are walking distance to the library--the main library not a branch.  As always I have to compare everything new here to my old in Michigan and  my old library that I could walk to did not have the best selection of books . . . but that has nothing to do with meatloaf.  This library has a incredible selection of "New" books--knitting, design, kids books, and cookbooks!  So I stock up almost every week. 

In my pursuit of crockpot recipes I went to the cooking section and found scads of books just for the crockpot.  I took as many as I could carry.  (I try not to carry a bag or stroller into the library because I find I check out way too many books--I find an armload is my natural limit).  I came home and looked through all of them and I found a meatloaf recipe.  Our family loves meatloaf so I was excited to try a new recipe.  I followed the recipe to the letter which required buying special ingredients and it was a FAIL.  So annoying.  Since it was just 1 lb of meat by the time everyone decided that they didn't like it the meatloaf had vanished. 

My second try I decided to make my own meatloaf recipe:
  • 2lbs of Tallgrass beef or other beef that isn't pumped full of chemicals
  • 1/2 cup caramelized onion
  • 1/4 cup minced carrot
  • 1/4 cup minced celery
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal, or 1/2 cup stove top stuffing with seasonings or 1/4 cup bread crumbs (this is the binder and you can use just about anything)
  • 1 egg or maybe 2
  • dry seasonings--whatever suits the mood
  • maybe a tablespoon of sauce of some kind to fit the mood
Mix that all up.  If it is too crumbly in your hands it won't stay together during cooking and if it is too wet then it won't stay together when you cut it. 

Make a cradle of foil for your crockpot.  I added the end bits of some celery and a slice of onion as a bed for the meatloaf to add some moisture.  Place the meatloaf in the crockpot.

I cooked on low for 6 hours and it stayed on warm for an hour longer and it tasted great.

Meatloaf #1