#Randi

Making Peace

”Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)” As I am called to be a peacemaker this Advent,  I pray often for my former husband who left our marriage after thirty years. I determined early on that holding the anger and resentment and suffering only created more pain for myself and affected him not at all. I started by asking God to forgive him for me since I wasn’t ready yet for that step. I thanked the Lord for holding the space for me while I caught up and thanked him for holding my heart in His and for wiping my tears away with His love. It wasn’t an easy journey and I won’t say it doesn’t still hurt. But I discovered that a heart filled with gratitude, clarity and the love of the Lord heals injustice without blame or judgment. Divorce is excruciating. However, when I  pray for my ex to find peace in Christ and joy in knowing that he is a true son of God, my soul rests in peace.

by Gracie

 

An Advent Message

Last night I watched the movie “A Christmas Candle,” taken from the Max Lucado book. Once a year during Advent, the story tells of an angel coming to this rural village’s candle maker and blessing one of his candles, making it glow with God’s love. The person most in need in the community receives the candle and prays with it, asking God for divine help. Each time the prayer is answered, the town believes there has been a miracle performed. However, this time, when the angel comes and blesses the candle, the candlemaker trips and falls and loses the glowing candle under a cabinet. He and his wife decide to give all of their candles away and say that each is the blessed candle. The last Sunday of Advent, in the small church, the ruse is discovered. However, each member of the community stands up and shares how their prayers had been answered. So it wasn’t the candle but the prayers of petition and trust that God would answer them that created the miracles. Grateful and blessed by this reminder of God’s faithfulness!

by Gracie

Grateful Generosity

For the first time in over twelve years, I am serving Thanksgiving for my family. By the time you read this, Thanksgiving 2017 will have been freshly minted in my memory bank for two days. The holidays haven’t always been so hopeful for me but I try to never live disconnected from God’s living grace. Terry Hershey says, “There are no unsacred moments.” He asks, “What if this life can be both an opportunity for humility and empathy?” That idea works best for me when I devote my time and resources helping people in need or doing a kind deed for someone. Proverbs 11: 24 says, “One gives freely, yet grows all the richer: another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.” This invites me to be generous with my time, talents and resources. I find I live less wholeheartedly when I let negative thoughts steal from my potentially happy memory bank, leaving me feeling empty and more needy.  Living with a caring, compassionate heart brightens my spirits and elevates my soul. Enjoy Terry Hershey’s ‘Sabbath Moment.’

https://www.terryhershey.com/indefinitely-preparing-to-live/

by Gracie

Moving Grace

Due to all the overflowing of women coming forward disclosing predatory male behavior, many women posted, “Me Too” on Facebook. One of those women was someone very close to me. I was dismayed at being left in the dark for so many years and prayed for knowledge as to how to be with her in a healing manner. I discovered an article that offered a Christian response to such situations and I was so relieved and grateful to have direction! I felt as if I lived in ‘moving grace.’ I picked up on what is a long-held belief by Catholic Christians, that ‘grace’ is the constant, not the variable. Our receptivity and responses are the variables. How we see a situation determines how we respond or react to it. When asked, as the newly elected Pope, how he would describe himself? Pope Francis answered, “One who is looked upon by God.” I believe God sees our hearts, observes our actions, and loves us no matter what. It is our challenge to live inside His ‘moving grace’so that we can bring that grace into the world.

 by Gracie

Surprised by Gratitude

Several years ago, when I moved out of my home of 34 years, I had to down-size, having collected a lot of  “stuff” over the years. I sold things on Craig’s List, had two garage sales, and gave things away to my friends. I never expected gratitude would be a part of that adventure, beyond everyone’s help in the process. My surprise was threefold. I was grateful that people wanted my things. I was grateful that I could help the couple that picked up my garage refrigerator. They were living out of an ice chest, not being able to afford an actual refrigerator until they bought mine. I was grateful when the woman who had bought my guest room nightstands called back to say that she was so happy and that they absolutely made her master bedroom in her new mountain cabin. Have you ever been surprised by gratitude? What a feeling of everyday thanksgiving!

by Gracie

Loving Grace

Loving Grace, you fill my world with enchantment, illumination, and wonder.

Loving Grace, the warmth of the golden sun beaming down upon my face and the blanket of dancing stars in the inky night sky, fill me with enchantment, the giggle of a child and the trust of innocence fill me with enchantment.

And Loving Grace, when the rain of tears flood my cheeks and the hurricane force of winds destroys my home, my harmony and security, your golden light holds me gently, caringly in an illumination that transforms the ruin into resurrection. I become the phoenix rising out of the ashes of terror, grief, and suffering.

In the end, though, it is the love of hearts that have reached out and held me, the hearts I have taken into my own, the friendships, the family, the music, the people life has brought to me, through your Loving Grace, that have filled my life with wonder.

Please enjoy, “Loving Grace.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jg4wcckWyYw

by Gracie

Autumn Glee

Every autumn, the liquid amber trees drop golden five-pointed leaves everywhere and propel me back into a favorite memory. When my daughter was three, we would walk to the park hand-in-hand. I took a rake with us. I’d rake the fallen golden leaves into a huge pile, and she would jump right in the middle of it squealing with glee, leaves crunching under tiny stomping feet. She would throw the leaves, as many as she could gather,  up into the air, her arms waving around like a conductor in the climax of a great symphony! The other day as I was walking my dog and a pile of these same five-pointed golden beauties was sitting in the gutter by our house. They reminded me of the star of Bethlehem. Even though the celebration of our Lord’s birth is two months away, I thought, “It is never too soon to open myself up to the birth of Christ in my heart. Through God’s  grace, that birth of divine love can be reborn within me each and every day,

by Gracie

Comfort Food

Lately, with all the violence and natural disasters, the world has felt like a combat zone to me. My heart has reached out for comfort through prayer and what I call, “autumn foods,” soups, stews, and casseroles. Both prayer and “comfort food” feed our souls. When I had a heart attack in the Fall several years ago, I received an outpouring of casseroles, chili, and all manner of “family style food.” It was a manifest of love and care from one heart to another. From that point on I knew what a gift of love a prepared meal can be both to give and to receive. While preparing food for the poor, I have opened my heart in prayer for every unknown recipient. I am reminded that God feeds us all at His table at every Mass. His unconditional love and mercy pours out to cleanse and strengthen our souls so that we might live in His grace forever. Please enjoy my favorite Savory White Chili recipe made with ground turkey.

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/17023/white-chili-with-ground-turkey/

by Gracie