December 27, 2009
Galatians 4:4-7 In The Fullness Of Time
In honor of His Birth, St Steven Church Bentonville AR
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
Labels: Catholic, Church, Faith, scripture
December 25, 2009
A Christmas Prayer
Our Lady of Divine Providence Tile painting locaed in the cloisters of St. Meinred Archabbey, Indiana
A Christmas Prayer Whom have we, Lord, like you
The Great One who became small, the Wakeful who slept,
The Pure One who was baptized, the Living One who died,
The King who abased himself to ensure honor for all.
Blessed is your honor!
St. Ephrem the Syrian
With a hattip to Father Stephen
Labels: Catholic, IN, Quotable Quotes, scripture
December 24, 2009
Christmas Color Cooper Chapel Bella Vista
"Hoku, I dont know if you were planning on coming but all services at First Church are canceled due to weather..." I listened to the message on my phone disappointed, the weather was turning foul as we all left work early to beat the onslaught of damp cold....
I drove the mile down J street to St. Steven, Msgr. Scott was at the door, I pulled into the portages, and was told that mass would be said at 5 but the candlelight mass at 10 pm would likely be canceled..Christmas Day who knows...Somewhat dejected I drove away...
My friend Diane has other plans for Christmas Day...The community dinner at First Church a tradition in this city of strangers far from family and friends, so that single people, people living too far from family, would have a place to go on this most family oriented of days...will likely be canceled... For reasons best kept close to my heart, I was hoping to do something else...this was an event utterly transformed by our former pastor and his wife who love to cook and entertain a crowd. They saw it as a special ministry to those of us that had no place else...and it was an event, to say the least ...last year I was able to assist them in this and had the best time...I dont know if I can go to this years, if I will be bothered by the lack of color and drama, But I will go rather than stay home alone...
And so, as the snow drifts around my door I am grateful for the light and warmth in my little cottage...As I watch the midnight mass on EWTN grateful for the luxury of this mini cable package I have I found myself thinking about how Christmas has been canceled for a lot of people in one way or the other...
The word "cancel" is a big part of what I do on my job. I cancel orders because they are fraudulent, because they are wrong and I cant change them, or because the people dont want them anymore...but mostly I cancel orders that have expired. They are orders that have been sitting in my pending that we have called to verify for three days... People often call back after the order has expired, none too happy that they arent getting their stuff, sometimes they dont call they replace the order on the web site or wait and wait...Some of the stories of canceled orders broke my heart. I would hear the phrase over and over
"Please dont tell me it is canceled..."
"Please dont tell me it is canceled... the website gives a tracking number but it never moved out of the warehouse...this is my daughters last Christmas, we dont expect her to make it throught the next round of Chemo...She still believes that God will heal her...she still believes in Santa Claus. The color she wanted is out of stock..I dont care if it is blue or pink, I just need one, she has wanted it all year long..."
Im in billing and not customer service, and cant do a lot but I can call someone who can. I called Customer service and the guy took one look at the botched order, heard the story and whipped Santa's reindeer into shape and the little blue guitar was on its way to a very sick little girl who may not ever learn to play it but if it gives her comfort then it is all worth it.
Please dont tell me its canceled again..." a young woman exasperated and beside herself cried into the phone. you are the fifth person I have talked to I dont know what to do... I have tried to buy this engagement ring 4 times now... The wedding is Jan 6, my fiance is going to Afganistan and wants us to be married before he goes, he doesnt need the extra burden of a problem with the ring...
Ring? Rings I know...I ask what the problem seems to be as I look up the order. "I cant seem to get my size in time..." I was speachless. Sizing is not a big deal. I tell her I would call her back in the morning. I called the fufillment center that ships the jewelry. A guy answered the phone...I asked him about the order. Sure enough, they have size 8 and size 10...By then I have a picture of said ring on my monitor. It can be sized down easy... I asked if the had a bench jeweler on site. He said yes...I said "So, size the 10 to a 9 and ship it, these kids need our help..." "Cant do that cant ship altered merchendise as new..." I snapped, "Look this isnt rocket science and if Tiffany's will size a peice prior to sale so can we... The wedding is Jan 6 they have been trying to get this for a month..." By then I have an audience surrounding my pod of co workers, "Look take a 10 put it in a ring clamp, split the shank at center with a cutoff blade, you remove enough materiel for one size soldier together polish and steam. Easy I can do 15 an hour and Im an amature. He stammered, "But.." I said.."DO IT...this is not going to be a return." I thanked him and hung up. I got a standing ovation from my co workers... I called the little bride the next day...She was in tears..." Mam'm it is so beautiful and it fits perfectly" They must have shipped it out within an hour of our conversation. I am coming to believe that many of life's problems can be solved, often all it takes is finding someone who cares and will listen to you
A quiet, voice almost a whisper says "Please, Please tell me they arent canceled...I ask for a number, and pull up her order. "They cant be canceled, I couldnt call... my husband died two days ago and... I tell her we at Walmart are sorry for her loss. My boss comes over and listens in. "It wass my husbands wish to help each of our grandkids this holiday by buying them a new laptop. He dictated a letter to each child and I have those but I need the computers...." My boss unpluged her headset and went to her desk and did a shipping upgrade and began to release the orders. Ten top of the line laptops. Maggie gave me the thumbs up. I sat with the widow for a few minutes, allowing time for a cry and some encouragement to go her way...
Sometimes it takes but a little time to listen and be wiling to stick our necks out a little to create a miricale... I have learned this Chistmas season that it is all about love and giving of one's time. I know that Chistmas is brighter for these and many others I worked with this past few weeks. No matter what happens, including being let go at the end of next week...Yes Im getting a pinkslip for Christmas, its all about people, and being there for them so that they dont feel "canceled"
In the mean time I need to find a new purpose for my life. I fell that my life is "canceled" "aborted at shipment" "out of stock" "fraud" I know that God has something in mind for me I just need to listen and remember that there are no canceled lives in His great plan
Labels: Faith, faith working, Personal Growth, working
December 23, 2009
The Little Christmas Miracle
My Christmas Tree and re arranged living room
I was actually looking forward to Christmas this year so it was with much cheerfulness and expectation that I went to the garage and pulled out my boxes of stuff. I have in this past years sorted out and sold much of my decorative stuff, so I would have less to haul around and store should I have to move...but the boxes I have left were not touched...I know intimately what is in those boxes, the treasure of Christmas past's... every ornament has a story..
Abigail on watch looking out the front window trying to not be distracted by the twinkling lights on the tree
Every year I buy at least on new ornament, sometimes two, for example, hanging down is the trefoil of Louisville, long and slim, never to be confused with the wider one that graces the arms of New Orleans or the short wide one that symbolizes
St. Louis...or the shell, shiny with glitter that my Mom gave me as a memento of our Christmas on Kauaii, our last Christmas together.This years, the cross on the ribbon, I gave a matching one to my RCIA sponsor
While in Louisville I visited a cute little shop that sold the European style Christmas ornaments I saw cute little dogs and decided I wanted one that looked like Annabelle a black and white shih tzu... I looked high and low, but I I found was this curious looking multicolored one with a blue bow...
It didnt look like Annabelle, I I bought a Maltese that looked a lot more like her...but I couldnt leave the little golden doggie behind so I bought it as well. It had a cute little box and it went into the carton once I got home from Louisville.. I didnt hang it on last years tree...
My little Christmas Miracle
Well we know what happened Annabelle went to wait for me at the Rainbow bridge, I was adopted by the cutest little De Colores doggie peaches and cream, Miss Abigail Valentine came into my life...She has enriched and exasperated me and filled my life with laughter... I cant imagine my life without her
I had forgotten the little glass ornament, in its transparent box, untill I went to put my tree up and saw..Abigails little face looking up at me from deep in the recesses of the storage carton...I have wondered all along... "Why God," "Why am in this mess, Why must my life be so hard?" "Do You have a plan, or am just subject to everyone elses whims?" "Does my life have meaning...or am I just taking up space here?" "Does God really care..."
He cares enough to compel me to take a seemingly unnessary object to a cash register then save it until... He cared enough to cause Abigail to attach herself to me at a time when I needed unconditional love. He gave me a job when I was at the end of my rope. I need to start really trusting in this God that reached down and used this tiny thing to show me His previenent care
Sometimes you need a tiny miracle to renew your faith
Dont worry Mom... God's got it all figured out...My dark beauty ms. Abigail
Labels: Abigail, Annabelle, Faith, Louisville
December 20, 2009
Move That Stone
Ancient Stones Tanyard Creek Nature Trail Bella Vista AR
A man named Lazarus was sick. He lived in Bethany with his sisters, Mary and Martha. This is the Mary who poured the expensive perfume on the Lord's feet and wiped them with her hair. Her brother, Lazarus, was sick. So the two sisters sent a message to Jesus telling him, "Lord, the one you love is very sick."
But when Jesus heard about it he said, "Lazarus's sickness will not end in death. No, it is for the glory of God. I, the Son of God, will receive glory from this." Although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, he stayed where he was for the next two days and did not go to them. Finally after two days, he said to his disciples, "Let's go to Judea again."
But his disciples objected. "Teacher," they said, "only a few days ago the Jewish leaders in Judea were trying to kill you. Are you going there again?"
Jesus replied, "There are twelve hours of daylight every day. As long as it is light, people can walk safely. They can see because they have the light of this world. Only at night is there danger of stumbling because there is no light." Then he said, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but now I will go and wake him up."
The disciples said, "Lord, if he is sleeping, that means he is getting better!" They thought Jesus meant Lazarus was having a good night's rest, but Jesus meant Lazarus had died.
Then he told them plainly, "Lazarus is dead. And for your sake, I am glad I wasn't there, because this will give you another opportunity to believe in me. Come, let's go see him."
Thomas, nicknamed the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, "Let's go, too-and die with Jesus."
When Jesus arrived at Bethany, he was told that Lazarus had already been in his grave for four days. Bethany was only a few miles down the road from Jerusalem, and many of the people had come to pay their respects and console Martha and Mary on their loss. When Martha got word that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him. But Mary stayed at home. Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask."
Jesus told her, "Your brother will rise again."
"Yes," Martha said, "when everyone else rises, on resurrection day."
Jesus told her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die like everyone else, will live again. They are given eternal life for believing in me and will never perish. Do you believe this, Martha?"
"Yes, Lord," she told him. "I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God." Then she left him and returned to Mary. She called Mary aside from the mourners and told her, "The Teacher is here and wants to see you." So Mary immediately went to him.
Now Jesus had stayed outside the village, at the place where Martha met him. When the people who were at the house trying to console Mary saw her leave so hastily, they assumed she was going to Lazarus's grave to weep. So they followed her there. When Mary arrived and saw Jesus, she fell down at his feet and said, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died."
When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, he was moved with indignation and was deeply troubled. "Where have you put him?" he asked them.
They told him, "Lord, come and see." Then Jesus wept. The people who were standing nearby said, "See how much he loved him." But some said, "This man healed a blind man. Why couldn't he keep Lazarus from dying?"
And again Jesus was deeply troubled. Then they came to the grave. It was a cave with a stone rolled across its entrance. "Roll the stone aside," Jesus told them.
But Martha, the dead man's sister, said, "Lord, by now the smell will be terrible because he has been dead for four days."
Jesus responded, "Didn't I tell you that you will see God's glory if you believe?" So they rolled the stone aside. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, "Father, thank you for hearing me. You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so they will believe you sent me." Then Jesus shouted, "Lazarus, come out!" And Lazarus came out, bound in graveclothes, his face wrapped in a headcloth. Jesus told them, "Unwrap him and let him go!"
John 11:1-44 NLT
We have to willing to move the stone that is coming between yus and the work that God wants to do in our lives. There is a risk that there might be unplesentness, but in the end Gods creative work will out shine and overwelm anything we have to endure. May God give us the strength to endure, and faith to persevere to the good end...
With thanks to Msgr Scott...thanks I needed that
Labels: Bella Vista, Faith, Scenic Arkansas, scripture
December 13, 2009
Luke 1:46-55~For He Who Is Mighty Has Done Great Things For Me
Image of the Blessed Mother St Steven Church Bentonville AR
And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
“and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
“for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
“for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
“And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
“He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
“he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
“he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent empty away.
“He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
“as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”
Labels: Catholic, Faith, Scenic Arkansas, scripture
December 04, 2009
...Of Things Hoped For...
a Monarch Butterfly on route to Mexico Cape San Blas State park Florida
Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are... key moments, and life itself is grace.-Frederick Buechner
I am in the midst of maybe as a dear friend was often fond of saying to me...that I have been here so long is amazing but I sit here tonight one year ago I was seated at a folding table eating a meal prepared in my new kitchen full of hope for a new future... Little did I know what this was to mean. Divorce, the loss of Annabelle and my cats Makoa and KaNani, my prolonged unemployment and profund loss of friend family and community...
Yet through it all, God has been so faithful, I got work when I needed it and my needs true needs have been met. A roof and food and personal needs...
My work at Walmart.com has gone well, its been very very busy, and I have worked a lot of hours. I have found it very draining, as it seems like one call after the next is a fraud with distraught people...I find that I spend a lot of time with these people, getting them the proper information to get the police involved. This takes time. You are expected to crank out 10 orders an hour and more, going through thme with all of the security proceedures ect. Many of the hot shot top performers are doing no checking hardly just sending them on their way and let the fraudsters have their way. They like the applause at the weekly meetings, but they wont like it when the audits show how slipshod its been..., and there are people that over work it to death... I fall in the middle. I have received commendations for my Customer Service from customers calling back in which has been highly gratifying, and means more to me than number on a board that are as fraudlent as the dirty orders I cancel because of a stolen credit card used...
I tell you all this because I had a crisis of confidence, and complained bitterly to God about this while thing. I need this job, but I am just not as fast or as good and frankly I cant bring myself to cheat like the others... Cried all night long... and at dawn God spoke to me and asked me how I got this job in the first place...He gave it to me. Really. This wasnt some thing I even interviewed for. It just happened. God inspired a young man to call me out of a clear blue sky and it all came together...
I had a peace about this thought. That was two weeks ago. Then this week I learned that only 7 permanant full time positions will be filled. There are four temps from Walmarts temp service that have two years in, then another 15 people that I thought were permanant that are on contract like I am that have 6-9 months in. These folks are like supervisors and know so much more than I do...
You all can see the same writing on the wall I did... This is a temp job and will end and likely with in a month. Its very scary
Now God could intervein. God could make a way. All of those other could be passed over. But that isnt logical and I need to not expect it. I need to be gracious, finish well, and do my very best every day I am there. I have submitted my application and I am praying for Gods will to be done.
Everyone in charge knows my situation. That I was headed for the street, that I have no one to help me, no money left in savings... But why should they choose me over the three young fathers with brand new babies, the woman who drove from seattle to LA to take her kids to their father because her unemployment had run out from her state job and she was evicted from her home...she then drove to NW Arkansas to live with her parents who insult her everyday, threatening her with the street if she doesnt get work, or worse, The single mom, wife of a Iraq war vet who seems to only give this woman grief and a baby between tours of duty. He came home stayed just long enough to get the girl pregnant again number three (shes on the pill) and has run off, and is living under the bushes somewhere. The girl is living with her inlaws who have been out of work much of 2008-9... The M-I-L and Ashley are employed, and need these jobs...
We all need these jobs all 48 of us that have applied and worked our butts off to impress these people. I was standing aound with those that smoke and listening to this discussion. I was asked how I felt and I told the group, that I am praying like the rest of them...but I wanted them to know..."God is not not listening to me if I dont get this job...He is not punishing me or its not that you need it more than I do.The truth is that if this job is God's perfect will for my life He is going to give it to me...if its not I am not getting it. Its that simple.
It is that simple. Please keep me in your prayers. I am still looking for something else, but the work is very scarce right now and I fear a long cold winter is ahead of me.
I still have hope. My little tree is up and Abi is laying hers contetedly resting. I was received by the local church body last Sunday and I am still rejoicing that I am on a path spiritually that delights me. I went to Mass and wept through it it was that beautiful....Its been very cold here, so A friend bought me a set of fleece sheets so I am warm enough at night and Abi snuggles down with me and seems perfectly content. I need to learn that contentment, and trust in God. He will provide for me just as he has up till now, that is the evedence of things hoped for that I can depend on...
Labels: Catholic, Faith, Personal Growth, Quotable Quotes