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Archive for the ‘Spiritual Warfare’ Category

One of the SUM ladies shared on facebook that she heard from the spirit for us to read Nehemiah, so I started reading a little bit on my prayer walk in the evenings. I want to keep all the passages and notes in one place, so I have decided to share them here informally.

Jul 31
Ne 1:3,4 Survivors in terrible shame, jerusalem’s gates broken down and destroyed by fire. When I heard these words I sat down and wept, and mourned for days; and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven. …

Then I wept…fasted and prayed. My heart, it is with those in that room. it broke all over today- for them. Lord, deliver your people! Deliver your people from slavery and shame!

Thurs Aug 1
Ne 2: 3,5,6 he did all w the king’s permission.. W his blessing… He genuinely sought the king’s blessing, for what he wanted to do – to me that’s not God, that’s DH, but I don’t know yet what for.

Fri aug 2

Ne 3: 1-15… Rebuild and Strengthen what remains, seems appropriate after today..lol (absolute chaos)

Sat aug 3

Ne 3: 31,32
they saved the best for last: the goldsmiths and merchants- the temples etc..

Sun aug 4

Ne 4: 1 when he heard what the Jews were doing he was angry, and greatly enraged… ‘ Boy am I sensing some of that spiritually…

What are they doing? Will they restore things? Will they sacrifice??

Yes; w God YES, and yes.

Ne 1:8 angry, all plotting together against them, and to fight and cause confusion!

Ne: 1:9 We prayed to God to guard us! – every week. We must. I must. Tues, and sat night!

Ne 1:10- our strength is failing, we are not able, we are failing at this work– I feel that, discouragement- but God is in control. The enemy seeks to destroy, the good..

14 Do not be afraid of them…

15 So we stood guard, the enemy found out we knew, and we went back to our work

Tues Aug 6

Ne 4:19 we are separated far from one another (SUMites)

Ne 4:21-23 All kept working etc, alert and guarded by night, working by day…Staying strong, weapon in hand– that is prayer, and the sword of the spirit

Fri Aug 9

Ne – 5:1 ….outcry from the brethren, AND THEIR WIVES..

forcing our sons and daughters to be slaves- no God says we are FREE!!

Ne 5:9 The thing that you are doing is not good

Sun Aug 11

Ne 6:8,9 To frighten us w lies, that our hands would drop from the work.. And it will not be done – The enemy feeds us lies, tries to spread them about us, sow doubts… But we know it is not so..

So We pray, I pray, oh God, strengthen my hands that I may do the work You’ve asked of me!

Ne 9:6 Thou hast made the seas, and all that is in them– woah

Ne 9:30 Many years thou didst bear with them, and didst warn them by thy Spirit through thy prophets; yet they would not give ear. Therefore thou didst give them into the hand of the peoples of the lands.
Many years… Thou didst warn them… They would not give ear – DH- and this world
so the Lord gave them into the hands of the people of the lands- that’s North America !

Ne 9:36 we are slaves in the land thou gavest…

Ne 9:32 therefore thou oh God, great and mighty and terrible God, who keepest covenants and steadfast love !!! – Wow, so beautiful!

Mon Aug 12

Ne 10:28 All who have separated themselves from the people of the lands to the law of God, WHO HAVE KNOWLEDGE, AND UNDERSTANDING !

We have something, beautiful, precious that many others don’t have, knowledge of the ways of God, understanding of His great love for us!

Ne 10:31 and if the peoples of the land bring in wares or any grain on the sabbath day to sell, we will not buy from them on the sabbath or on a holy day; no Sunday shopping, lol

Ne 10:35 We obligate ourselves to bring the first fruits of our ground and the first fruits of all fruit of every tree, year by year, to the house of the LORD; – ** Lord, help me to give more sacrificially, especially the first fruits, show me what that looks like, Lord!**

Ne 12:30 purified, themselves and peoples, and gates and walls ..

Ne 12:44 Judah rejoiced in priests and ministers who ministered…( like us in SUM)

Tues Aug 13

Ne 4:20 in the place where you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there…our God will fight for us.

Dineen:

Part 1

and a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the fortress which is by the temple, for the wall of the city and for the house to which I will go.” And the king granted them to me because the good hand of my God was on me. — Nehemiah 2:8

Abba, thank You for Your favor. We ask humbly for more that we would walk in this great favor and new anointing in our marriages and our lives. We pray that the evidence of Your favor would be so great that our families will be able to see it and that everywhere we go, even strangers will look at us and see Your presence upon us.

Next to him Shallum the son of Hallohesh, the official of half the district of Jerusalem, made repairs, he and his daughters. — Nehemiah 3:12

Lord Jesus, bring purpose and faith even to our children and show them how they are part of the rebuilding. We pray for our adult children as well, that the walls of their marriages be restored and strengthened. Bring unity to our families and let them be cities on hills to proclaim Your presence and restoration to this nation. Let a legacy of faith begin to grow as part of your Great Harvest so that the next generation and the next will already walk in great faith and go beyond what You’ve called us to do.

Shore up the walls: strengthen: commitment:

Schedule ( rosary, tidy bedrooms, bible/school, story time, clean up and prayer, exercise, supper, Chores ( table!) , family time and:
Bedtime prayers
Date night
Generosity- give w tired feet- don’t complain. Give love when feeling unloved…

“Father, help us to build up the walls we need for the protection of our marriages and our children and our own spirits. Help us to build up our faith by reading your word and through prayer. Help us to see where we have cracks in our foundations and we are letting the enemy in. Show us Your glory Lord. We need you, our spouses need You and our children need You, now more than ever. The devil is trying so very hard to take us out, and we stand on your promise today that You are holding us in the palm of your hand. You see our pain, our struggles, but You are there beside us, leading and guiding us. Thank you that you will never leave or forsake us. In Jesus name. Amen.”

Part 2

<em>“You provided bread from heaven for them for their hunger, You brought forth water from a rock for them for their thirst, And You told them to enter in order to possess The land which You swore to give them.” — Nehemiah 9:15

***Lord, You are faithful and You keep Your promises. Thank You for Your provision for us, thank You for taking care of us. You see our needs, every one of them. You are righteous and so faithful. We are overwhelmed by Your passion for us! Overwhelming passion, a holy and righteous anger for us, Your children. We are not forgotten! You see us, everyone of us! We step forward in trust and faith into the places You have promised us.*** Abba, continue to grow a hunger in us for You. Help us to understand where You are asking us to go and help us to be faithful and obedient.

part 3

“Therefore You delivered them into the hand of their oppressors who oppressed them, But when they cried to You in the time of their distress, You heard from heaven, and according to Your great compassion You gave them deliverers who delivered them from the hand of their oppressors. — Nehemiah 9:27

(Let me make a special note here that the Hebrew word for compassion here originates from the same word for “womb.” Then Nehemiah speaks of deliverers, which has the meaning of salvation and victory. God’s delivery is likened to new birth! And that is what I am sensing is coming, a time of new birth and rebirth for so many.)

Abba, I pray for a fresh anointing over every SUMite. I pray that You will release new gifts, new provision, new strength and prosperity over every single one of them. Lord, reveal and destroy every lie that keeps them from believing how much You love them and that You have given them every good gift. Destroy the lies that tell them they aren’t worthy to serve You and replace it with the truth that they are Your precious sons and daughters who You have called specifically to You for such a time as this.

Holy Spirit, give each of my dear sisters and brothers in Christ clear discernment and recognition of Your voice. In the name of Jesus Christ, I break off anything over them that would block or hinder them from hearing Your voice. In the name of Jesus, I break the chains of addiction, of distraction, of deception and of fear. Chains are falling off and crumbling to the ground—we declare this in Your mighty and powerful name, King Jesus!

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Boy could I have used this truth yesterday…

JC jun 26
Stay calmly conscious of Me today, no matter what. Remember that I go before you as well as with you into the day. Nothing takes Me by surprise. I will not allow circumstances to overwhelm you, so long as you look to Me. I will help you cope with whatever the moment presents. Collaborating with Me brings blessings that far outweigh all your troubles. Awareness of My Presence contains Joy that can endure all eventualities.

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June 18

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Father’s day weekend was a time of great spiritual growth and I had my first few whole days of letting go of my will and also walking in the spirit. (It’s so much easier to be docile to the spirit when I’m by the sea down in Blandford!) A weekend away in the country was just what I needed. It was really me who wanted us to spend the weekend there, I knew I just needed to get away. DH’s best friend was going to be there and I had looked forward to a fun weekend with lots of family and friends and laughter. Instead, it was rather difficult with lots of unmet expectations and vying for DH’s attention and I had to struggle and fight to maintain a positive attitude.

But I’ve never felt so constantly close to God!

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The way it played out it was a rather rough weekend, but it was HUGE for my soul, a chance to read, unpack, learn, apply, grow, pray and live without the distraction of the computer. So reminding what had been trying to focus on: -fight my own will and then -as often as fault, examine myself to find the reason, the weak point. With the extra adults around I had some time to myself to read and to pray, and because I had nothing better to do, I was able to really apply what I have been learning to my current situation. I spent close to 2 days walking constantly, living, in the spirit. God was so close, all I had to do was close my eyes and I felt Him near. I don’t want to lose that; I have to keep my heart open and be careful not to get too distracted by the computer.

The chapter on suffering and grace in 1000 gifts was a big part of this. Every time I read from that book, I spend several days living life more fully, beautifully, beauty in everything and God so close. I can already tell, this will never be a book I read once and then move on; I will find myself reading and rereading from it for years to come, every time I need a fresh shot of joy.

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On Saturday morning, spent about 2 hours sitting outside in the sun overlooking the water. It is so peaceful there, and it always stills my soul.

*Soft breezes, spirit moving
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*The quiver of grass blowing in the wind
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*A single tear drop glistening beneath tiny eyelashes
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*The weight of this tiny person sleeping in my lap
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With my big kids gone boating I got to read through another chapter. These are the excerpts, (all emphasis mine) that struck me most (and a little bit of context) mostly as taken from her own blog post, So All is Grace :

“Lord..”All the feelings since the blade and the breaking, all my questioning and asking, they swell, hot lava to the surface and I choke it back, the thick farming hand squeezing mine.

‘That I’d day after day after day, greedily take what looks like it’s good from Your hand – a child gloating over sweet candy’ I’ve been a thief, trying to hoard away all the good.” “but that I’d thrash wild to escape when what You give from Your hand feels bad – like gravel in the mouth. Oh Father, forgive…

What if that which feels like trouble, gravel in the mouth, is only that-feeling- What if faith says all is… I think it, but do I really mean it?

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(Scripture on CD)
It’s coming out of the same stereo speakers, like the voices of predisents, dignataries. These are the words of God.

Out of the speakers I hear Him clear: But Jesus told him: “No! The scriptures say, ‘People do not live on bread alone… but by every word that comes from the mouth of God’. (Matthew 4:4)

I listen and I live fully on what comes straight from His mouth,. That Serpent, he’s slithered with the lie that God doesn’t give good but gives rocks in the mouth, leaves us to starve empty in the wilderness, and we’ll just have to take lessons form Satan on how to take the stones of the careless God and make them into bread to feed our own hungry souls. And I hear it straight out of the speakers on a July morning breaking, the Son of God saying there is only one way to live full and it’s’ ‘by every word that comes from the mouth of God’

It is all that Jesus used to survive in the desert, in His wrangle with silver-tongued Lucifer, only this: “It is written.” And it is the Word of God that turns the rocks in the mouth to loaves on the tongue. That fills our emptiness with the true and real good, that makes the eyes see, the body full of light.”

‘…but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ We have to trust, and we have to CHOOSE to do this. To see everything through the eyes of heaven… It is the word of God that turns rocks in the mouth to loaves on the tongue, and this, this is the only way to live fully!

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“The countryside splits open, the earth unpeeled into sun. The wheat wears gold.”

I awaken to the strange truth that all new life comes out of dark places, and hasn’t it always been? Out of darkness, God spoke forth the teeming life. That wheat round asnd ripe across all these feels, they swelled like hope embryos in womb of the black earth. Out of the dark, tender life unfurled. Out of my own inner pitch, six human beings emerged, new life, wet and fresh.

All new life labors out of the very bowels of darkness.

That fullest life itself dawns from nothing but Calvary darkness and tomb-cave black into the radiance of Easter morning. Out of the darkness of the cross the world transfigures to new life. And there is no other way.
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Then…yes: It is dark suffering’s umbilical cord that alone can untether new life.

It is SUFFERING that has the realest possibility to bear down and deliver GRACE.

And grace that chooses to bear the cross of suffering OVERCOMES that suffering.

This is so true! We focus on it and gripe and complain about it and it beats us down. As long as we try to fight it, it will rule over us.
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But it can do this only as long as we let it! If we intentionally choose to bear the suffering, it no longer has power over us!

“It is dark suffering’s umbilical cord that alone can untether new life.”
Then so it must be for my husband as well. Of course, my own life as a child of God came from a place of darkness, so he too must come to a place of NEED, and so must I for full conversion. I must come back to that place. I know I need God for heaven, He saves me from death, and although day to day I do need Him, I don’t know it well enough yet.

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My pain, my dark-all the world’s pain, all the world’s dark – it might actually taste sweet to the tongue, be the genesis of new life? —

Yes. And emptiness itself can birth the fullness of grace because in the emptiness we have the opportunity to turn to God, the only begetter of grace, and there find all the fulfuillment of joy.

So God transfigures all the world?

Darkness transfigures into light, bad transfigures into good, grief transfigures into grace, empty transfigures into full. God wastes nothing -“makes everything work out according to his plan.”

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“I am amputated. I have hacked my life up into grace moments and curse moments. The chopping has cut me off from the embracing love of a God who “does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow” but labors to birth grief into greater grace.”

This line really struck me. I have amputated my joy by labeling curses and rejecting His gifts of suffering!

“Isn’t this the crux of the gospel? The good news that all those living in the land of shadow and death have been birthed into new life, that the transfiguration of a suffering world has already begun! That suffering nourishes grace, and pain and joy are arteries of the same heart, and mourning and dancing are but movements in His unfinished symphony of beauty (and grace).

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What a magnificent way to view the world, to view life:

What in the world, in all this world, is grace?

I can say it certain now: All is grace.

I see through the woods of the world: God is always good and I am always loved.

Because eucharisteo is how Jesus, at the Last Supper, showed us to transfigure all things: take the pain that is given, give thanks for it, and transform it into a joy that fulfills all emptiness.
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I have glimpsed it: This, the hard eucharsteo. The hard discipline to lean into the ugly and whisper thanks to transfigure it into beauty. The hard discipline to give thanks for all things at all times because He is all good. The hard discipline to number griefs as grace because as the surgeon would cut open my son’s finger to heal him, so God chooses to cut into my ungrateful heart to make me whole.

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This, this is the practical, of how to live this full life. This is what I have to DO, to achieve it. It’s not easy, that’s for sure, but this grace life is WORTH it.

-Help me to love my husband as Christ loved the church, and more and more, to lay down my life, for him. (suffering -> grace-> beauty-> love-> new life)
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This was Part 1, this real awakening to the possibility of a whole new way of living.

Part 2.

This was also the weekend that I had my first experience intentionally boldly sharing my faith with someone I knew. (I have been sharing with my best friend but it has always been gradual, and led by her genuine interest and questions).

Walking close to God, the spirit showed me a new lost sheep to tend. I found myself alone with this person, and the spirit impressed on me that this was a prime opportunity; this probably being the most relaxed and friendly atmosphere possible to have such a conversation!

I deliberated over it for probably 15-20 minutes. At this point I was sure the Lord wanted me to, and the spirit had given me words to open with, but I was nervous. It was scary. This was one of the last people I’d choose to engage in such a discussion. And yet the spirit urged me on. The words were on my tongue but still I couldn’t open my mouth, knowing that as long as I didn’t, I could still take it back, but once I opened my mouth and put it out there, there was no going back and one way or another, things would be different. I was nervous about their reaction, nervous about what I would say, espeically beyond the first question as I would have to think on my feet.

As I stalled I felt God asking me, ‘do you love them?’ Sharing the Gospel with someone is the ultimate act of love, whether they realize it or not. I knew that the answer was yes.

By the grace of God, somehow I got that first question out, and we talked fairly openly for 10 or 20 minutes, mostly I asked and answered questions. For the first time I was speaking about faith, but without an agenda. The spirit gave me the grace to lay out the truth, without forcing a particular opinion. Nothing major has come of it, but it was huge for me.

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Through the Courageous Catholic program, and especially this experience, I am learning, that speaking about my faith is not just for my husband or my best friend, but with all those I long for God to reach, it’s not enough to just pray for them (that someone else will lead them etc) at some point, I have to actually share my faith with them. I pray for them espeically because they are in my circle of influence, so then I must also be the one to reach out to them!

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What stood out to me:

This distrust of our own strength is a gift from Heaven, bestowed by God on those He loves. It is granted sometimes through His holy inspiration, sometimes through severe afflictions, or almost insurmountable temptations and other ways which are unknown to us. Yet He expects that we will do everything within our power to obtain it. And we certainly will obtain it if, with the grace of God, we seriously employ the following four means.

First. We must mediate upon our own weakness. Consider the fact that, being nothing in ourselves, we cannot, without Divine assistance, accomplish the smallest good or advance the smallest step towards Heaven.

Second. We must beg God, with great humility and fervor, this eminent virtue which must come from Him alone. Let us begin by acknowledging not only that we do not possess it, but that of ourselves we are utterly incapable of acquiring it. Then let us cast ourselves at the feet of our Lord and earnestly beg Him to grant our request. We must do this with firm confidence that we will be heard if we patiently await the effect of our prayer, and persevere in it as long as it pleases Divine Providence,

Third. We must gradually accustom ourselves to distrust our own strength, to dread the illusions of our own mind, the strong tendency of our nature to sin, and the overwhelming number of enemies that surround us. Their subtlety, experience, and strength surpass ours, for they can transform themselves into Angels of light, and lie in ambush for us as we advance towards Heaven.

Fourth. As often as we commit a fault, we must examine ourselves in order to discover our vulnerable points. God permits us to fall only that we may gain a deeper insight into ourselves, that we may learn to despise ourselves as wretched creatures and to desire honestly to be disregarded by others. Without this we cannot hope to obtain distrust of self which is rooted in humility and the knowledge of our own weakness.

Whoever seeks to approach the eternal truth and fountain of all light must know himself thoroughly. He must not imitate the pride of those who obtain no other knowledge than what their sins provide, and who begin to open their eyes only when they are plunged into some disgraceful and unforeseen debacle. This happens through God’s permission that they may know their own weakness, and, by sad experience, learn not to rely on their own strength. God seldom supplies so severe a remedy against their presumption unless other means have failed.

Briefly, He permits persons to sin more or less grievously in proportion to their pride, and, if there were any as free from pride as the Blessed Virgin, I dare say, they would never fall. As often as you commit a fault, therefore, immediately strive to probe your inner consciousness; earnestly beg our Lord to enlighten you, that you may see yourself as you are in His sight, and presume no more on your strength, otherwise you will fall again into the same faults, or perhaps much greater ones to the eternal ruin of your soul.

 

Silence/Mediation

1. Anything good in me, is God. Holiness is Christ in me, (and not me in me!)  Thinking about my own weakness,  how easily I give up sometimes! That and the great pull I feel to keep doing something when I know should be doing something else instead!

Lord, teach me, no grant me the virtue of distrust of self.

3. I understand the importance of accustoming ourselves to distrust completely our own strength, inclinations and even our thoughts and illusions, BUT how do we know when something came from God so that we can follow that, and not just distrust absolutely everything?

4.  Every time we commit a fault, we must examine ourselves to determine our motivation etc. Every time we commit a fault! This is precisely WHY God lets us fall, so we can learn. We should ask him to enlighten us, and to try to see ourselves as we are in His sight, that we may presume no more on our own strength. (And thus, we put all our trust in God. This whole distrust of slef goes hadn in hand with our complete confidence in God, which is the next chapter).

‘That we may learn to despise ourselves as wretched creatures and to desire honestly to be disregarded by others.’

This line still jars me every time I read it! I know this highlights the depth of true humility, but, unlike the rest of it, it sounds pretty unappealing. Are we to desire to be disregarded because we are nothing and thus to direct all Glory to God – someone praises me for something kind I did and I say, ‘it’s all God.’ THAT, I understand. Or are we to simply desire to be disregarded by others, period. That we think ourselves so little and unimportant, that we want everyone else to think of us as nothing? I think about the idea of utter humiliation vs the importance of our human dignity, and I think that this is not so. We are to be regarded and respected etc by others, (and it is even right to desire it?) but only because we are the object of God’s affection. Does this sound right?

Even so, this is a radical way of thinking. And as I noted that I thought more about why I feel that way. This line of thought, living this way, is weird, hard and crazy, because we want God on our terms. Even as we pursue a relationship with God, we think about how we see Him fitting into our lives, not how we fit into His.  We do, we think we have it all figured out. We don’t stop to think how we can better fit into God’s life. God’s life is so different from ours. We usually relate it to human experience etc, but truly, it is nothing like that. How Love wins (complete self-sacrifice) is so foreign to our human understanding. What do I really know of Holy?

Lord, show me the depth of my sin, that I might better appreciate my need for You.

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If you want to read the book yourself the entire text is available online, just search for Spiritual Combat. This is the version I’ve been quoting from: <a href=”http://www.catholictradition.org/Classics/combat.htm”>http://www.catholictradition.org/Classics/combat.htm</a&gt;

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Preliminary words on Perfection

What stood out to me

(The spiritual life) It actually consists in knowing the infinite greatness and goodness of God, together with a true sense of our weakness and tendency to evil, in loving God and hating ourselves, in humbling ourselves not only before Him, but for His sake, before all men, in renouncing entirely our own will in order to follow His. It consist, finally, in doing all of this solely for the glory of His Holy Name, for only one purpose—–to please Him, for only one motive—–that He should be loved and served by all His creatures.

Since, therefore, you seek the highest degree of perfection, you must wage continual warfare against yourself and employ your entire strength in demolishing each vicious inclination, however trivial. Consequently, in preparing for the combat you must summon up all your resolution and courage. No one shall be rewarded with a crown who has not fought courageously.

Silence/Meditation

We’re ALL fallen and we NEED a Savior.

Without Him we have nothing.

Also, not just fallen short of the Glory of God but also short of the glory of man! (we don’t even treat each other very well a lot of the time).

I like to think that at least deep down I have a good pure heart etc, that I am thankful that I have a good will that responds to Him etc – but even that I can’t take credit for: I realize the only reason I am willing to choose the hard road etc, is because of who God is.

Also, it’s not going to get any easier…

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Updated to add: It’s like something I heard on Focus on the Family: it’s impossible for us to truly love God, simply BECAUSE He loved us first:

Whoever’s the recipient of God’s love, the very fact that we’re recipients of God’s love is what makes us valuable. Once we realize what makes me valuable is the exact same thing that makes the worst sinner valuable, then we can no longer look down on anybody else. And I mean the worst sinner. Think of the most horrific acts ever been done by humans, brother humans … Even that person is a recipient of the agape love of God. Once we realize that, we are suddenly on an even playing field.

We tend to say, ‘oh, I love God ‘ John said that but Paul writes in a different way: He says, ‘Agape love is so pure, so compelling, it’s so unmotivated by what it sees in the person it sends it to – that you can’t love God.’ Because you’re loving God because you’re motivated to love God because you can get something pretty good out of it –we don’t have the capacity to fully express that agape love back to God, that’s the purity of His love for us, and it comes without any motivation on God’s part of what He can get out of us. That’s why He can love Hitler, as much as he loves Mother Theresa. That’s jolting, it’s hard for a human being to understand that, but that’s the nature of who God is. It doesn’t mean judgment doesn’t come for wrongdoing, but at the same time, the love that God has is for ALL his creative order, especially for the highest aspect, humans.

Once we realize what makes me valuable is not something I did, it’s something I am the passive recipient of – I was able to respond to it , praise God – but I didn’t determine that God was going to love me, then I cannot be as judgmental to those who are hostile to biblical values.

Thinking about when we see a good person, a fellow catholic etc, or even just a good person in society, where does that come from? God tells us that He is the source of ALL goodness. We’re not really seeing a good person, we’re seeing God in them, and the better they are, the more of God we see.

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Update May 25:
Also, I think to actually start living the spiritual combat – fight even littlest inclination of my will, I need to first learn to recognize when my will has an inclination… When my will decides it wants to do something that is of it’s own volition and not God’s – I think I need to start verbalizing my thoughts… Not ‘I’m going to sit here at the pc for a minute but – I want to sit here for a minute. Then I can run it past what God might want…

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If you want to read the book yourself the entire text is available online, just search for Spiritual Combat. This is the version I’ve been quoting from: http://www.catholictradition.org/Classics/combat.htm

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-1- Ooof, I feel so behind and then some. This week has flown by! I did finish putting the pictures into last week’s post, but I think there’s still a little more content I want to add..

-2- Oh boy, here we go! This is a busy weekend with Mother’s Day etc, but the biggest thing will be tomorrow. I’ve known it was coming for a while, but it’s hard to believe that it’s actually here! My little brother is getting married tomorrow. I have mixed feelings about it, namely because my brother, a solid Catholic since grade 4 and long before I joined the faith, is not getting married in the church.

That said, I like his fiance very much and I am hopeful that they will have a lifetime of memories together.
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-3- Recent experience has prompted me to delve a bit more into spiritual warfare. One of the things that I found particularly helpful:

After you have made a decision that is pleasing to God, the devil may try to make you have second thoughts. Intensify your prayer time, meditation, and good deeds. For if satan’s temptations merely cause you to increase your efforts to grow in holiness, he’ll have an incentive to leave you alone. – St. Ignatius of Loyola

As a result I’ve decided to pray a daily rosary with my cd as well as everything else I’m already doing. I’ve put it right into my routine so it won’t get missed! 🙂 I am praying it WHILE tidying the kitchen and making breakfast, but I’m sure that that is better than not praying it at all.

Saying Grace– Lord thank you for all the blessings, You give us far too much! But, abundance is Your character, so we’ll gladly accept!

FOF – Improving your life through small changes – The Power of 1 thing – by Randy Carlson

Boy could I relate to this one. If you want to change your life, the basic idea is to do one right thing every day, until it becomes a habit:

“Every day we either face a problem, or have an opportunity to reach a goal. If you start there, you can start the process.

Think of the trinity: God the father, God the son and God the Holy Spirit. Isn’t it intriguing that God the Father speaks to our heart. The beginning of Wisdom is the fear of God. The Holy Spirit was sent as our comforter. Jesus came to show us how to live our lives. What I have experienced, when the fall occurred, when sin occurred, all that was shattered and this perfect balance of being able to think, feel and do got shattered. When you think a head person a heart person or a hand person, which are you? 85% I’m a head person. Do you miss the heart of your wife? YES!
God wired us to be a heart, as well as a head. We need to understand that we connect with people around who THEY are. The reason a husband and wife will miss each other, many times, you have a man who’s a planner, a strategist, married to a woman who’s sensitive and caring and has a heart, and the man may value thinking more than the emotions, and in the process completely miss the heart of his wife.

If you’re a thinking person as you described, how do you stop and hear your heart?
You have to think your feelings. We as men often lump everything into anger and frustration and control etc… For a thinker, the one thing we can do is stop and think, what am I REALLY feeling right now.

My ADD thinking is going to freeze me up, every procrastinator listening knows what that experience is like, we talk ourselves into a corner, and then we don’t act. If we can start, if we can break that inertia by doing the next one thing, that is the beginning of that intentional life.

I’m a head person, a thinker a planner, but head people sometimes don’t execute, we get so many good ideas, our minds run in so many directions that we freeze. So, I think, what one thing will I do today, that will bring pleasure to Christ? This allows me to get focused! Then, if I do that one thing today, my day has been successful.

Why is it so hard to change? We get into old patterns. we have patterns that develop over a lifetime we have certain ways of thinking.. and those thinking patterns affect how we respond emotionally. Then along with the patterns we have habits and they’re usually not so good habits. We are prone to falling into those old unhealthy patterns and Satan loves that. So, I pick one thing to do one thing spiritually every day. If I do that for a month, it becomes a habit. Now, I miss it if I don’t do it.

I think all of us have one area in all of our lives that if we were to say I can focus on that one thing it would make the biggest difference in my life. If we make just bump along in this life it’s very unintentional.

Procrastinators relate to this, people who have cluttered desks and minds and hearts understand they feel overwhelmed.. Practical example, cluttered desk, cluttered room, people freeze. Go in and clean one drawer. Feel encouraged that you cleaned that one drawer! – That one act allows youto feel more in control.

The power of one thing really comes down to people who are overwhelmed. People hear this topic and think this is really simplistic. But we’ve got a lot of people today who are actually stuck. They have procrastinated, they have problems that have not been resolved, they have goals that have not been reached for, they have emotions that are run away in their life. They’ve got a mess around them, and they need encouragement. And the power of one thing is really written as a book of encouragement, that you can intentionally do one thing today, no matter how small it may seem, that will get you tarted in the right direction. Does it solve all your problems? no. But if we begin the process, then we can eventually get to the goal.

And so the power of one thing is really not trying to say, ‘just do one thing’ our life is full of a lot of things, it’s not going to stop doing other things I need to do, but there may be one thing that’s got such a high payoff, such a big problem, that I’ve been putting off for so long, I better start doing that one thing: if I don’t start walking to take care of my health, if I don’t get out of debt, stop using my credit cards, if I don’t start speaking into the life of my teenager some words of encouragement, if I don’t step up and start being the parent and discipline my kids and hold them accountable, then down the road I’m going to have a nightmare on my hands, so the idea is let’s do ONE thing for the next 30 days to begin that process.”

2 inspiring truths: ‘Our past may be broken, but our future is His!’ ‘Grace runs downhill. It seems our lives are almost tilted towards failure so we can find God.’ – Focus on the Family Broadacast : God’s Loving Care for Single Moms

-4- The baby is rolling all over and even grabbing things now. He’s gotten VERY mobile despite not being able to crawl – yet. I live in fear of this child developing that skill. However, he’s not quite 5 months and already he can get into the crawl position and even the plank position for a push up! I expect he’s going to learn to sit up just by wiggling around on his tummy! One day he will get into a sitting position, and he’ll just be able to stay there!

He’s not even 5 months old!
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-5- I remembered an important thing with nursing, that when I remember has helped baby to be more full. I knew it was important to keep my fluids up (which I’m bad at when I’m not nursing) but I forgot that you’re supposed to have a drink EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU NURSE. When I did this I found had a lot more milk. Now to work on the habit! 🙂

-6- This week we had a sort of princess party with our movie night. We’ll call it a prince party.
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We watched Tangled and I made spaghetti for supper. I also set up a tower scene with a prince and princess and made crowns for us.
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I think this is a rather princely expression 🙂 :
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I also made cinnamon braids for dessert, yum!
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The whole family watching the movie on the couch:
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While googling food ideas I clicked on a picture of a cake and discovered this site with food and craft ideas for several kids movies: http://family.go.com/disney/disney-tangled-crafts-recipes-photo-gallery-pg/view-all/

-7- Tuesday is the big photo project to capture the world in a day. Once the weekend is over I’ll think more about it. If you want to learn more visit, http://www.aday.org/

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From the website: Why Participate?
“Because you love photography. Because you have something to say. Because your life matters. Because the idea of doing something together worldwide is thrilling. Because you like the thought of saving a little something of yourself for generations to come. Because your take on daily life is part of a much bigger picture.”

Here’s another article: http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/327424/20120413/adayorg-day-world-photo-expressions-humankind.htm

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1. I feel so behind on everything… I did get caught up on a few posts this week, but I still have to put together my Easter one, and the house not so much! It’s been rather busy, and I’m later getting these up because I had a funeral yesterday and I’m having to write them this morning, you know instead of emptying the dishwasher. As ususal, I will be back with photos and some more info on some of the posts, but it probably won’t be today!

2. This past week has really been a time of reflection for me. Please bear with me while I try to express just some of it.

-An insight -This sounds straightforward right now, but this really struck me at the time: the human condition – our concern for others well being, our crusades for human rights, our pain when someone hurts us, our need to feel loved – it is precisely because we are made in God’s image! We as humans are made to give and receive love. It’s what we were created for!

-Reflecting on the moment: I have all these blessings in my life (how did I get so blessed? I have a cute caring husband, I have not one but 3 beautiful boys!), but more than that, I have a life through which to enjoy them! God Himself gave LIFE to me. God gave me a body. He gave me eyes to see the beauty of His creation all around me, ears to hear beauty in music and in nature, and a soul to feel, to love and to be loved! Wow.

-God works all things for my good. Just as I was about to finally read the breakthrough living post I’d been saving for a quiet moment, I was reminded of my own little breakthrough recently, through the spiritual warfare actually, just how much I put my trust in God and how it eclipses any doubts even further. Spiritual warfare, just the idea of encountering evil spirits, is something I find pretty scary, and having had a few clear brushes with it in the last few weeks, I’ve found myself feeling rather nervous about it all. And yet, this means I need to trust God and seek his protection and remember He’s already won the war. After all, I’ve said to my best friend a few times since the faith study, ‘if you believe in evil, why don’t you believe in the cure?’ and those words came back to me that I need to apply them myself. Now is the time when I believe in evil in a new way – The fear is there in the pit of my soul every evening since the warfare started to manifest a few nights ago. Now is the time I need to believe and put all my trust in the cure! – This evil is real, but God is real too, and he’s already won! This led to the added breakthrough when I realized how God is using the spiritual warfare I’m experiencing, the opposition, to strengthen my faith and my dependence on Him ! Wow, that is powerful!

-I looked up the meaning of a couple passages from my recent bible reading and discovered something really interesting. Luke 23: 29 “For behold, the days are coming when they will say, `Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never gave suck!” This passage has puzzled me, why would that be a good thing, unless maybe the ones without children would have it easier at the end of the world/escaping persecution etc. I discovered it actually prophecies abortion. I had never thought of it this way before, but it’s so obvious. I had wondered why would it be good to have never conceived? It is not the church that is the ‘they’ but the culture! This seems to be the only interpretation that makes sense.

-The funeral service yesterday was really beautiful. Even though I loved Nancy, I didn’t feel sad. The service was so celebratory, celebrating her love of life, that it was actually uplifting. That and I felt that though she never spoke about it that I recall, that she knew and walked with the Lord.

The minister’s reflection was excellent. I summarize:

“When one more person dies too young to this terrible disease – cancer, we have to remember that the first heart to break, is God’s. There are only two ways to live this life: to see nothing as a miracle, or to see everything is a miracle. So even though it’s hard sometimes, we still have to live with our hearts open. How do you live with an open heart? You shout out your anger to God, that it might come back to you as love. When your heart is open, you are open to that grief being replaced by new life, being replaced with hope.”

“Lord, take Nancy. Take her to places only You can imagine.”

I felt that all who were involved with the service really captured her spirit, even the minister. Backstage before every show, led by Nancy we would recite the Storyteller’s Creed. The minister picked up on this, and added a few of his own ‘I Believe’ statements:

I believe that she shone for 53 years of mischief and playing and drama. I believe that her divine light now shines though each one of you who loved her. I believe it will shine in you when you’re 75.

Lord, have mercy on her beautiful soul and welcome her into your heavenly kingdom. Be with her family, her friends that were with her up to when she died, comfort them and let them know your presence during this difficult time.

-Then on my way home I picked up my first ever hitchhiker! I saw him there and as I read his sign ‘please’ my heart stirred. God put it on my heart to pick him up. Picking up a hitchiker was something I’d never done, but I didn’t have an ‘uh oh this is a bad idea’ feeling, just basic human nervousness and fear of the unknown, so I prayed for the HS to make it clear and for the courage to do what I was SURE he was asking me to do. I passed the closest exit aswhile I was still processing everything, so I had to turn around and come back to get him, but I did. And he was still there. And then his reaction when he saw the car visibly stopping was worth it all, it was like he’d just scored the winning touchdown, he was so happy. He’d been standing out there for almost 2 hours. I beleive he wasther jsut for me to pick him up.

I am in awe of how much God can do with a willing heart in a span of about 2 hours!

– Lastly, there was my trip to the throneroom, to pray for my husband.

3. In my searching I discovered an excellent article that spells out a lot of my problems with abortion. If you don’t share this point of view, you probably won’t like it, but I share it anyway: http://www.catholicbible101.com/abortion.htm

If you do share this point of view, consider signing this petition: http://www.lifecanada.org/services/petitions/petition-in-support-of-motion-312

There is another particularly compelling read on this site, a memo from the Devil. It dictates numerous tactics of the devil to capture human souls. Some of my readers will find this kind of talk rather crazy, but I’ve had brushes with the spirits myself and I believe it’s very real. You don’t have to look far to see the existence of evil in our world. After reading a number of the entries in the memo, I’m convinced that human beings really do sell their souls to the devil – only they don’t realize it because they’re only investing in some particular earthly good. It’s scary. So much of the things in the somewhat fictional memo are bang on. I share this with you my diverse readers simply because I care about you.

4. Check out this story about the dangerous abortion agenda:

A young lady was at the UN as part of a special program. At a special pro-life gathering, “the ambassador of Iran came by with his wife and he began to reveal to us how he was feeling the pressure from other ambassadors, especially the US to carry the abortion agenda in his nation. He did not believe in abortion, he did not want that in his nation. But what happens is other ambassadors or even the UN will threaten to withhold funding unless they incorporate, enlist, instate pro-abortion laws into their country.”

The UN is bullying other nations into becoming pro-abortion!

You can hear a lot more of her story here:

5. I’m pretty sure I have invented the best breakfast ever. (I make this claim based on overall success in multiple categories including: taste, nutrition and easy of preparation). It’s very quick to make, balanced, filling, fairly healthy and tastes sinfully delicious. It’s a yogurt sundae. This idea itself is not new, but the ones I make exceed the basic. To make this breakfast: Put yogurt in bowl. Top with fresh fruit (might have to chop it). Stir the fruit in. Top with the cereal and I use the thick greek yogurt (more fattening I suppose but it makes a much better sundae), fresh fruit and a basic crunchy flake cereal with nuts.

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I’ve come up with 3 delicious variations so far: Lemon Blueberry: lemon yogurt with blueberries, Tropical: coconut yogurt with a basic fruit cup (peaches, pears and pineapple) and some toasted coconut, and Chocolate Strawberry: Mocha yogurt with fresh strawberries. All 3 taste incredible, cover all 4 food groups and take no time at all to make! Between that and bread pudding, breakfasts have finally gotten a lot easier.

I also made a chocolate bread pudding this week. It’s really more of a dessert, but I had it for breakfast anyway 😉
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6. This week I learned there was a built-in light meter on my camera! (Thanks to a dear friend!) I thought it was unnecessarily tricky trying to get the exposure right on manual, who knew there was a built in light-measuring tool!

Also, the Social Parents have started a special photography meetup where we get together with our kids, take pictures of them and discuss tips and techniques etc. We had our first one on Tuesday, but I hope this is just the beginning!

“I was thinking it would be great to plan meetups with other Mom’s maybe an hour on a bi-weekly basis to take photos and learn a little more about the art. We can take photos of our babies while they play, we can take them for a stroller ride on one of Dartmouth’s great trails and practice our landscape photography skills, we can also get together for playdates to talk technique and review our shots from a previous date, … the options are endless.”

This was the plan:

“As a first meetup I thought we could go to a park with a soft surface tennis court, bring some balls of all sizes and let the kids play while we try to get some fun shots. I’m suggesting a tennis court because it is an enclosed outdoor space with a soft surface; good light, soft for crawling or getting down to capture a different angle, and none of our little subjects can wander off on us.”

Instead, the tennis court was taken, so we just sat around the playground instead.

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7. This week we had a last-minute movie night. It got moved around a bit and on wed when DH said he actually wasn’t going biking that night, we decided to make that night movie night. We discussed and chose a movie in the afternoon.

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Then I put this creation together to fit the theme, out of what we had on hand and what I felt like eating. This was the result:

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Not a bad resemblance… especially for last minute!
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I usually spend a couple days brainstorming ideas for the menu, so it was pretty fun to throw this one together so well on short notice!
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Also, 2 links

How to be a Good Mom on a Bad Day: http://inspiredtoaction.com/2012/04/how-to-be-a-good-mom-on-a-bad-day/

The Creed:

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