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Word of the Year…

Dear Ones,

Italy has broken me…

what do I mean?

Well, I had a pretty rough two years since my daddy died, surgeries, etc…. I became depressed and had to take meds on a regular basis. We thought Italy was going to be just what we needed… and we were very overwhelmed and disappointed in the beginning, to say the least.

If you knew me when I was working, you’d be in shock to know I’ve forgotten birthdays, been late or totally forgot about meetings… I forgot that I’d signed up to take visiting Deacon’s to breakfast. I accepted and then turned down a hospitality position at our little Military Parish. SERIOUSLY!

I really was falling further into the rabbit hole of self-doubt and depression, of feeling unloved by people and by God… it’s a strange place for a grown up Christian to be, one who prides herself in loving and following God.

And then it hit me, and I was believing the Father of lies and it was affecting my family. Broken, I turned back to God. I have promised him to stop letting the people and things of our world come between he and I. I have a lot of work to do… which is why it’s no coincidence when I went to @JenFullwiler’s link to choose my word of the year, it was… Are ya ready….

RISE!

No, I’m not joking.

You might be saying, “hey Catholic blogger who rarely blogs, shouldn’t you have shared this at the beginning of the year?” – to you I say – well, I thought about it, but I wanted to wait until I knew I could rise. You see, I have a monumental Ego (which you know) and I feared I would fail. But it turns out, the joke’s on me and I am RISING!

You might be wondering how I will rise? Well, I have committed to praying more, trusting God more, and allowing him to work through me more. It’s not easy because I love being in charge. HA. No, it’s not really funny… but I laugh when I am nervous or fearful. Oh and that brings me to getting rid of the fear.

And it’s amazing when you stay in the word more, how much you are inspired to RISE! Let me share two of the MANY things I have found lately to inspire me in my daily readings.

Life is a whirlwind y’all. Wear a twirly skirt so the wind makes ya look pretty! LOL No, but seriously, we are born to bear the storm. It’s NOT easy, with a capital N, NOT! We do it because God asks it of us.

Do you SEE the promises in this passage?  I WILL GIVE FULL COMFORT TO THEM – y’all God is talking to you and I. NO ONE is without turmoil. I love it when people say to me, “your life is so chaotic”. DUDE, I am no different than anyone else. Your life will be chaotic if it isn’t now… learn from me and my poor handling of things… my mistakes! Handle life’s turmoils with grace and trust in THE LORD!

What am I gonna do? For starters… I’m gonna:

  • Rise to the occasion.
  • Rise above the fray.
  • Rise up off the couch and get things done even if I don’t wanna!
Italy/hard times will NOT win. I will be whole again. I know this, because GOD said so. He is the ultimate Father. Amen!

What is your word of the year?
Share it with me. Link it in the comments if you are a blogger.

Let’s hold each other accountable.  I’m rising… what are you gonna do?

Love and hugs to all, and MANY blessings too!

LadyEm

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Don’t Bear Hatred… AACK

Happy Thursday All,

The Saint of the Day today, January 10th, is Saint Gregory of Nyssa. Read about his life by clicking on his name. St. Gregory of Nyssa – Pray for us!

I am sharing the below with you because:

  • …it is real.
  • …we all have periods where we revert back to middle school feelings of “not good enough”.
  • …those of us who move across the world from friends and families have days where we feeling almost as if we are trying out for friendship with people… “hey, am I good enough?” “are they always going to nix my ideas?’ 

I’m sharing this with you because I know I can do better, and I want let you know it’s ok if you feel these things. I want to encourage you to BE YOU. Be the light God made you to be. People will eventually see the light, don’t let them snuff You out. In other words, don’t make the same mistakes I do.


Leviticus 19:17-18 was the first reading today. I have to admit, this is hard for me sometimes. 

For instance when I first moved to Italy, I encountered a couple people in the Catholic Parish that were very unwelcoming. There’s a lot more to the story but I’ll leave it there.  I am not saying that these people were the only ones at fault, they were unwelcoming and quick to judge on several occasions, and I was ugly about it. I’m not normally an ugly person but I think being overwhelmed about moving to another country, being nervous, feeling like a junior high girl that has to prove that I’m worthy of friendship, and frankly just being lonely and bewildered lent to my reaction to these women. When I apologized for my part in it, it was not well received as they did not see their part. I am not good at conflict.
I was an Event/Meeting planner at one point in my career and excel at putting together Events/Parties. And Hospitality/Welcoming people is my specialty, which is why I am very conscious of other people’s lack of hospitality/welcome. Plus, some people just put off airs that they can’t be bothered with others. Lastly – I never lived the actual military life as an adult, where you move every few years, and that has to be hard. So I really am not here to pass judgment on them, just giving you background.
I am feeling guilty this morning and have been for a week or so. You see, I went to the Priest and another Church Council member about the lack of community/hospitality/communication at the Parish.  And eventually we decided that I would head up the Hospitality Committee, and then I noticed things Father had talked to me about were being done by these women who I perceived did not like me and would never accept my ideas, or me in that position…  and then I panicked about past experiences with women who bully and decided that I had severe dislike for these women and thought all kinds of uncharitable thoughts. I took the position because I believe welcoming people and creating community is one of the most important things. I excepted, and then a couple days later I declined. What this all amounted to was that I chickened out.
I was here, without my lifelong friends, without family for the holidays, I felt self-conscious and unwelcome and I decided I hated it here, and hated them, and I started walking down a path where I was allowing myself to pick it all apart, instead of learning how things run here and helping institute positive change. Hate is a strong word, but the devil is a strong force. So much has gone wrong here that it’s hard to put the angst I felt even into words. The roller coaster of feeling like I wanted to leave my husband and our faith and that no one cared… and having to fake my way through it like I was the happiest person on earth… Sigh. Let’s just say it was all bigger than me. I was spiraling. The couple years of BAD had finally broken me. Italy broke LadyEm!
Yesterday, was the first women’s meeting I have attended since my first unwelcome experience. In the previous meeting, I will share with you that several of us new people stood there, and then sat down, and not one current member of the women’s group greeted us. No one had on name tags… honestly no one even spoke to us. It was not a great experience. And when I suggested name tags and other things, privately, I was rebuffed. It was hard for me to walk back into it. But I invited a new friend and I knew that there would be one other person there I knew. So I went anyway. And I survived. There were even name tags, and Father came by to say hi. Did the leaders introduce themselves to new people – nope. But that’s ok, it’s on them. I guess it’s just not who they are, and I can’t let it diminish my experience here. 
This evening is the first meeting of the hospitality committee. Our Priest wants me to come. I really want to head it up, but after backing out, I know I will take a support role and I’ve been battling my ego for a couple weeks. Yesterday at the above-mentioned meeting, I said I probably would not be there because I hate to drive at night. This is true, I have no depth perception and could easily back out. But I don’t want to further let Father down, and I don’t really know what to do.
But I do know this. I broke more than one commandment with my thought process and actions. It’s weighing so heavy on me. Confession is not readily available here in Italy. One Priest, three bases, 1/2 hour confession a week, unless you make an appt. sigh… but I need to go and I will make that happen.
I share this with you because I want you to know that when you are spiraling out of control – as depicted above with my train of thought – that God still has you. You are NOT alone. Why else was the meeting scheduled today? When God knew I would read the above and know that I have been very wrong…. and then encourage me to get up and come down to my cold office to write this up, to help someone else who needed to know:
God loves you and wants you to live bravely and assuredly in His word. Fear not, my brothers and sisters in Christ… He is with you. Don’t fall into the sin of self-doubt, for it is lead by EGO and PRIDE! And you know the saying, Pride goeth before the fall. 
I don’t really know how to “get over myself” because I am a work in progress. BUT – I can tell you that I feel God working in me. I know I don’t have to LIKE everyone I meet, but I must not HATE or show contempt either, because that is a sin against God. And really, when you think you aren’t good enough, that is self-hate, and it’s also a sin against God.
Sigh. Pray for me. I don’t know if I will serve on the committee or take a role of helping when I can.
But I know I need your prayers. I want to be the Light I am. I don’t want to give into fear, angst and ego. I’ve been here before and it’s NOT pretty.

Can you relate? Let us love one-another. If someone is not welcoming, you be welcoming. If someone is not nice, pray for them. Don’t let Hate seep into your thoughts, it affects your heart and soul. God commands us to LOVE! Be the One who LOVES!

DO NOT BEAR HATRED FOR YOUR BROTHER (and Sisters) IN YOUR HEART!
As I told someone recently – Italy Broke LadyEm! Sigh. Pray for me. I’m praying for you, I promise.

I promise to be back and on a happier note soon.
I hope this helps at least one person. 
Love, Hugs & Blessings,
Lady Em
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Respect Life… I Am A Murderer

Happy National Respect Life Day in the USA!

Tonight my family and I will perhaps participate in the Rose Procession, my son will serve, we will attend Mass and a reception/potluck after.
This morning, when I was speaking with the organizer, she asked if I wanted to be in the procession and I said, I wasn’t sure because I’d had an abortion and I don’t know how I will react to this whole experience. This will be my first Respect Life Mass, mostly because I am too scared to have gone before.
November 10th, 1982, I willingly had an abortion. I was in an abusive relationship, and I did not have great parenting (my mother was very abusive), but I feel like if I was a stronger person, I’d have had that baby and the other babies I aborted. It’s not enough to say that I wasn’t Catholic. It’s not enough to say I was very lost. There are really NOT enough words to say how much this has affected my life.
I can tell you everything that happened that first date.. and much of what happened on the others. But to be honest, I was so lost by then, well, years of therapy later, and PTSD for the abuse I endured…I figure my brain can’t grasp the enormity of it all. Anyway…
The truth is, I am a murderer. I don’t look like a typical murderer, but we all know that is what it boils down to.
ABORTION IS MURDER!
ABORTION DOES NOT SOLVE A “BAD SITUATION!”
ABORTION HURTS THE MOTHER’S SOUL!
ABORTION IS LIFE-LONG PAIN.
But still, when I was speaking to her on the phone, and I said, “I’m sorry to blurt that out there like that. I hope I have not made myself look too bad in your eyes!”  She said, no, not at all. You’re so brave for going on with your life. I don’t know how you could not want to kill yourself.”
This young girl, did not mean to hurt me in any way. She didn’t. The magnitude of her words is TRUE! It’s true. It’s hard to live with. The thought of taking my own life, for many reasons, has occurred to me.  But that is not the purpose of this post.
I just want to say this…
If people knew how hard living with all this was, they would only offer comfort. I am just as forgiven as they are for their sins. It’s just that my sin is marked by occasions in our Church, so it’s hard to let it go.
It doesn’t matter if your words don’t mean to hurt… sometimes they do.
I will not be telling this person that she hurt my feelings until I can do it with grace.
  • She didn’t know that I got pregnant the first time I had sex.
  • She didn’t know that I asked my father what he’d do and he said he’d keep the baby and toss me out.
  • She doesn’t know how far I’ve come.
  • She isn’t wrong. It’s just that her words are not necessary. 
Please be gentle with people living with the guilt and angst of abortion in their past.
We are called to forgive and show compassion.
Perhaps everyone could read Pope John Paul II’s Words – A Special Word to Women Who Have Had Abortion or Pope Francis’ Words on Abortion HERE.
Some of Pope Francis’ words:

That said, the Catholic Church’s stance on abortion has not changed — it is still viewed as a “grave sin.” But it makes it easier for women who have had abortions to be absolved for their actions, and rejoin the church. 

“I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life,” the Pope’s letter states.

“In the same way, however, I can and must state that there is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with the Father.”

The letter continues: “May every priest, therefore, be a guide, support and comfort to penitents on this journey of special reconciliation.

“I henceforth grant to all priests, in virtue of their ministry, the faculty to absolve those who have committed the sin of procured abortion.”

When you come across someone who had an abortion, please be kind and compassionate. And for heaven’s sake don’t give them any big ideas or remind them how bad it is.. THEY KNOW! It’s embarrassing, humiliating, self-denigrating and very hard to walk with.

I just wanted to get that off my chest.

And yes, I have forgiven myself, but I also won’t lie to myself. My sins of abortion are MORTAL in nature. But I’m so blessed to have a strong faith and to be forgiven.

Thank you Jesus. Amen!

Love, Hugs & Blessings,

Emily

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Mother Teresa – My Friend, My Mentor, A Saint

Happy Canonization Day Sweet Saint Teresa of Calcutta.
I’m so happy for you and proud of you, you dear, sweet lady!

Your love and sweetness live on all over the world – thank you for being salt & light! Sigh!
Of all the pictures I’ve ever seen of her, these are my favorites:

I love these pictures because you can see the love. It’s a great reminder to BE THE ONE! BE THE LOVE! BE THE HOPE! BE THE SMILE! BE THE LIGHT! 

For the past week or so, everywhere we look, as Catholics people are giving the History of and listing the Quotes of Mother Teresa… which I have thoroughly enjoyed re-reading. Bloggers and artists and stores, they want us to buy the things they have depicting this great Saint… and we do… and I did!  And to tell you the truth, I had a similar post written, but I don’t want MY post to be like everyone else’s, so I want you to hear my heart on this one.

I first saw Mother Teresa, she was with Saint (then Pope) John Paul II.  I had heard of her here and there… but I was young and she was on the other side of the world, and I was still pretty non-committed to living my life FULLY the right way. Sigh. The next time I remembered seeing her was with Princess Diana. I knew a little about her, other than articles I read here and there.  Everyone was fascinated with her. She brought the plight of the poor in Calcutta to the forefront, in my opinion. And she was always smiling.

It wasn’t until I dug deeper that I learned about how scared and lost she was just like me. Not because of the same situations, but still – we have that in common. You see, God is not always OBVIOUS in our hearts and minds.  And she didn’t even know for sure He was with her. She couldn’t feel HIS presence… “not even in the Eucharist”.  She had a huge crisis of Faith and she kept on serving and giving because THAT is what she knew how to do.  None of us ever knew it. When I read this about her, I was so deeply and personally touched by that.

Can you imagine how scared she was? How lost she felt? And she persevered. We could all see God in her. We could all see Him all around her. No doubt He was there all along, but she could not feel Him. Scary! God blessed her heart though. He showed her. And I’m so happy for her.

I will share with you that I have been there. I have had crisis of faith moments, days, weeks, months… I know God is here. But I can’t feel him. I push away because I feel so very unworthy.  My life has been full of strife, abuse, etc… and there have been many times it sure was hard to even feel like there was a God. I used to say to myself, “how can you possibly really be a Christian if you doubt so much?” “Maybe you really are NOT a good enough Catholic for God to embrace  you!”  “After all, I thought I was Catholic, and practiced for decades, and I wasn’t.” “Was God angry with me that He let so many bad things happen to me?” And my sweet friend and Mentor came into my life when I needed her most.

Mother Teresa was instrumental in helping me TRULY forgive myself for having an abortion. I thought I had forgiven myself with the help of Father Henry, but it wasn’t until I read her speech on abortion that she gave in DC, where I realized no matter what I did, God still loved me. He made me… He loves me. HERE is a blog post I did where I include that speech (It’s long, look for the blue lettering).

Look at her face, how loving she is in the pictures. When I think of her, I picture her rough hands around mine, her wrinkly sweet face with the loving eyes, saying, “come with me child, walk in my steps. Don’t give up on yourself, God won’t. I won’t. It’s ok!”

If I was going to write her a letter, it would look like this:

Dear Blessed Mother Teresa,

You were a living Saint and now your day has come that you will forevermore be Saint Teresa of Calcutta. We all knew you were going to be a Saint.  I’m so sorry that you lived your life scared and in a dark place. But I’m so thankful that you share this part of your life so that people like me, who have dark periods, can be assured that God is with us.
Thank you for your example. Thank you for your love of God.  Please continue to watch over me. Pray for me and all our brothers and sisters. Congratulations!

Love you dearly, Emily

I am still a work-in-progress. I need more humility, less ego. I need more patience (ACTUAL patience, not trials to learn it)…. I need to keep busy in better ways and get things done. I need to believe God when He says he loves me and put the past behind me… boy, I have so much work to do. Sigh. But through Saints like her, I know I am not alone. They worked, they struggled, they went through everything I did and more… and they are SAINTS! It gives me so much HOPE!  She’s my friend, She’s my Mentor, She’s a SAINT! Glory be to God!

I’m so excited for today. I already have these things at home. It’s a Saint Teresa of Calcutta Back Pack Zipper Pull and Card. SaongJai is one of my favorite shops on Etsy. Anyway… The card is in my son’s room and the pull is on my Bible Cover.  YAY

Additionally, I wanted to tell ya’ll about an Instagram giveaway that Adrianna at @Mylittlefeltfriends is having with a group of Catholic Crafters.  The items are pictured below. Go visit her on FaceBook to learn how to enter at My Little Felt Friends!
Thank you for reading my post. Saint Teresa of Calcutta, PRAY FOR US! May we live our lives in love and mercy like you did, even in the dark times.
Hugs & Blessings, Dear Ones!
Emily
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Some Days, JOY Is Hard To Find…

and that’s ok. It’s the process of realizing JOY is always available to us that makes this journey great.

It’s been a rough few weeks, for a litany of reasons. None the least is that my husband has been gone for almost six weeks… But this past week – This was a tough week. We got a new puppy and we have not slept a whole lot since last Sunday, May 1st.  Being tired is not a great thing for mother or son… so our week has been difficult! Wednesday I ate a sandwich for lunch and apparently the meat was bad (you know how you think “this doesn’t taste right” but you doubt yourself? – um yeah).  Within hours, I was sweating and thought I was going to pass out, the room spinning….. because I had food poisoning. And a major panic attack, because what if I die when Marque was out of town and my son was here alone (yes, I was that tired and irrational)? The struggle is real! Sigh. Poor Christopher.

Yesterday, we celebrated my son getting his gold-belt by going to our favorite grocery store, that we recently found out is closing, but they had already shut down their smoothie department. Sigh… no more fruit smoothies, just like that. I can’t tell you how disappointing that was…

and then there was today….

You know how sometimes on a TV show or movie, they show a scene of TOTAL destruction and desolation… and then words to the effect of “6 hours earlier” or “2 years earlier” flash on the screen…

Keep reading…

I had such a great morning. The puppy slept for five hours… and though I woke up a few times in anticipation (remember having a baby?), I slept ok. Christopher got up about 7-ish and I had coffee and did a few things around the house, and then got dressed for our Altar Society Luncheon. I put on a dress/jacket and pearls…. curled my hair, etc. It was fun. We went to the local Country Club and ate/talked/had our meeting… Monsignor was there, and so many great women. What a blessing. Sigh. I did something for MEEEEE… and then I came home.

I walked into my house about 1:45pm this afternoon to a rancid smell. I called to my son, “Christopher, what is that smell?” He says, “sorry mom, I tooted!” I said, son, this is way more than that… He was upstairs with the baby puppy and the older dog (9 years) was downstairs… and as I walk up the hall, I look to the left – two piles in the office…. and then I walk tot he kitchen and look left, easily 8 pile/splats on the living room floor… and there is blood…and I am so confused…. and it stinks!  Yep, it was a regular poop-vomit-nado (think tornado)…

We put our older dog outside (who is a long-shaggy haired dog) because she was covered in said above items…

What happened next was a blur, Christopher kenneled the puppy, who began squailling (no, not squeal..more like squealing and wailing combined… I called my husband… he instructed me on how to use the carpet machine as I was spraying/sanitizing the floor.  I cleaned the floor in both rooms, cleaned the carpet machine… and then, I had to shear the dog… only that didn’t go so well – Sigh.

I literally smelled like poop. And was shearing her, and getting mats out, and she moved… then I tried to make it all even. Sigh. To say she looks like she has mange is putting it lightly. I can’t even talk about it. She is a labradoodle… and it’s BAD ya’ll! BAD! My husband faced-timed me in the middle of it, and was appalled at how she looked (it’s bad, but it grows back)… and I said, dear,  I’m sitting on the back porch, in a church dress and pearls, covered in dog hair and poop, trying not to cry…  I’m doing the best I can. HAHAHA Isn’t that a pretty thought? There is literally hair all over my back yard. Sigh.

Afterwards, I bathed the dog, the boy and I showered, he put together the big dog crate… Currently the towels are drying, we’ve had coffee (him decaf, of course) and poor Jenna is in the crate staring at us. We’ve got dog food made of chicken and rice…

As I sat there surveying the week I’ve had… and the things that have gone on, I thought – My God My God, why hast though forsaken me!  Truly I was there… DRAMATIC!!!  HA! … and you know what – it didn’t take long to figure out that the evil one is trying to steal my joy… TRULY!

Some of you may remember that my word of the year is JOY! I tell you being a Christian is joyful. Isaiah 29:19 says The lowly will ever find joy in the Lord, and the poor rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.   When I searched the word JOY on BibleGateway.com, there are 237 references in the Bible.

This evening, things are better. We are going to have Panda Express for dinner and be happy that we have so many blessings. But it’s when I am in the thick of things I don’t remember to Praise God in all things! Sigh. That part of humanity is so hard.

When your husband is working in Hawaii for a few weeks (after being in Puerto Rico for a couple weeks) and knowing the kind of day you are having, sends you a text to lament his Par 6 on a Par 4 hole (golf)…. and you may or may not think of physically hurting him… instead of thinking, “he works hard, he deserves to have fun”… because you are human, don’t beat yourself up.  If your animals leave you a huge mess to clean up, pray and praise God you aren’t in a fire (thinking of Canada and 90,000 displaced people)… Turn to God’s word.

Did I swear? Freak out? Feel sorry for myself? Think bad thoughts? YES! Yes I did. Am I proud of it, NO. Never. But it finally brought be to a place where I am now focused a little more on Our Lord. You know?  I forgot to praise Him.

Let me leave you with this:

Psalm 46

God’s Defense of His City and People.

God is our refuge and strength,
    a very present<span class="footnote" data-fn="#fen-NRSVCE-16686a" data-link="[a]” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>[a] help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
    though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam,
    though the mountains tremble with its tumult.Selah
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of the city;<span class="footnote" data-fn="#fen-NRSVCE-16690b" data-link="[b]” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>[b] it shall not be moved;
    God will help it when the morning dawns.
The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter;
    he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our refuge.<span class="footnote" data-fn="#fen-NRSVCE-16692c" data-link="[c]” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>[c]Selah
Come, behold the works of the Lord;
    see what desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
    he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear;
    he burns the shields with fire.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God!
    I am exalted among the nations,
    I am exalted in the earth.”
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our refuge.<sup class="footnote" data-fn="#fen-NRSVCE-16696d" data-link="[d]” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>[d]Selah

Keep your JOY and LIGHT in your heart. We are the people of LIGHT! God is with us, always… even in a crappy week.  We must never forget to Give Thanks in ALL Circumstances. Sigh. I share my week with you because I understand that we also have to keep it real. They can’t all be good weeks, and that’s ok.

So what did you learn? Do not let life steal your joy… and God is always with us – take refuge in HIM! Don’t forget to praise HIM!

Sigh… ok, meet our new baby!

Duchess Bella Mae

p.s. Please pray for our Jenna… you know that whatever is wrong with her stomach will be ok…. and that her hair will grow back. Sigh.

Love and hugs you sweet ladies.
Em