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Posts Tagged ‘Love’

So, it’s Valentine’s Day and for the lucky ones among us it’s a day to share with those we love.  For me it’s not just a day to celebrate the romantic love I have with my husband, it’s also a day to tell my children that they’re loved and anyone else who I know who might need a loving message.  Let’s be honest here Valentine’s Day is not a great day for everyone.  Not everyone has someone in their lives to share today with.  We’re not all happily married or in a relationship with someone special.  We don’t all have children to love or family that we’re close to. 

It’s a good time to remember that, whether you have a faith or not, God loves you.  He loves you today, tomorrow and for all eternity.  You don’t have to earn His love because it’s unconditional and freely given through grace.  I’m always rather in awe of that . . . so I thought I’d share it with you today.

Wishing you all a blessed Valentine’s Day xXx

Sharon xx

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Ethan. . . . .

This week my little lad has been diagnosed with asthma.  I think that’s quite sad really.  He’s only 4 and although there are far worse things that he could have wrong with him I’m feeling a little down at the thought of a liftetime of puffers and blowers ahead of him.  Maybe he’ll grow out of it!! 

I have had my suspicions for quite a few months that he’s heading this way and looking back over the last couple of winters I can see a distinct pattern forming.  He gets a cold for 48 hours, coughs for six weeks plus afterwards or just gets a random cough out of nowhere that gets ten times worse during exercise, when eating very cold food like ice cream or at sudden environmental temperature changes.  Apparently this is typical EIA, Exercise Induced Asthma. 

He is now the proud owner of various inhalers, spacers etc all times two, one lot for home and the other for school.  Oh and two specially named and decorated boxes to store it all in, carefully personalised with stickers by Ethan.

So my prayer this week is for all the children of the world with asthma and for all the people who care for and worry about them.  May God touch all their lives and bring them peace, comfort in their distress and healing. 

We are so very lucky in the west that asthma is not often life threatening but I’m sure that in less well developed countries it’s a very different story when you can’t just pop to the doctors for a replacement inhaler or to the local hospital for a spell on the nebuliser.  Remembering also that as Ethan is a child we don’t have to pay for all this equipment and medication.  I know for a fact that one spacer alone is £13.50 and we have two.  I hope that I never moan about our NHS without first remembering how priviledged we actually are in the UK.

The image is taken on 4th March this year which was World Book Day ~ Ethan is dressed as ‘Long John Silver’, yo ho me hearties.  All his class had to dress as a book character so this was taken before we left for school.  He had a great day!!!

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woman in prayerOkay, not a very inspiring title but my sense of humour has always been a tad dodgy at the best of times ~ nothing wrong with a bit of the ol’ cockney rhyming slang and all will become clear as you read on. 

I thought I’d come back and let you all know how things are going on the ‘headcovering’ front [or should that be top? lol].  Having pondered upon my calling to cover my hair during prayer as outlined in my last blog post and also having struggled with what exactly to wear in order to cover without looking like I’m suffering from a nasty case of “Look at me, I’m soooo holy’ I’ve finally come to some decisions. 

I realised that the single biggest thing holding me back was that I couldn’t find anything appropriate to wear that didn’t leave me [or my family] cringing in a public setting.  The scarves were fine in the house but not appropriate anywhere else, far too ‘different’.  I took myself off to the City last thursday late night shopping and acquired some Baker Boy hats from Accessorize in their brilliant half-price sale.  I got various colours and designs to cover all occasions and knew the minute I tried one on that they were just the job for wearing outside the home.  No one would give me a second glance in these.

The next issue was what to wear in the house as the scarves were a faff to be honest as they’re not easy to wear without regular adjustment.  I had a think and a google and found some pretty little crocheted hats made out of cotton that looked like they might be okay.  I ordered a couple and they came today.  They are brilliant, not intrusive at all, easy to wear, don’t move around and no one thinks I’ve lost the plot so all-in-all a result I’d say.

I wore one of my hats to Mass on Sunday and no one gave me a second look which was just as I’d hoped. 

During my internet travels whilst reading around this subject of head covering in women I found an interesting article by a Jewish lady who was writing on what calls Jewish women to cover their hair [apart from Jewish law] and the struggles faced by them in doing so in contemporary society.  Here is the snippit that hit me square in the eye….

“Often times, the stimulus for a woman to go inward and to connect to her core are life changing events, such as life threatening illnesses (God forbid), losses, and various forms of adversity. Something that challenges the status quo motivates her to take stock and evaluate the authenticity of her life.”

 by Rebbetzin Feige [the whole article]

….this struck a chord on the back of my recent loss.  Although I’ve been considering head covering for years now how interesting that it’s in the aftermath of my bereavement that I’ve decided to actually act upon God’s call.  It’s been a given that I’ve drawn on my faith hugely since Jim died and I’ve made no secret of that and I admit to having tried to keep my faith neat and tidy whilst seeking authenticity.  But, on taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture, there’s alot more going on and I’m constantly amazed at the different ways in which God draws me closer to Him in order to demonstrate His love for me and to bring me comfort.

Here are a couple of piccies of hats very similar to those I’ve described..

baker boy hat

                                  Pink Skull cap

   Baker Boy Cap 

 

                  Pink Skull Cap                                 

                                                                                                          

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CtKI had my meeting last night with Deacon J.  I’ve decided I’m not going to do a word for word post mortem on it as it was understandably very personal and emotive.  However, I am more than happy to share the general ideas, thoughts and plans that arose from that time we spent talking as a means of getting it clear in my own mind and as a response to my last post.  I also hope that should anyone else pass this way searching for answers then they too will find solace in these words.

The overriding message from Deacon J was that the two main commandments  God gave us were, “Love the Lord your God with all your mind, with all your heart, and with all your soul, ….. love your neighbour as yourself” ~ Matthew 22:37~39.  Deacon J also said that fundamentally the Catholic church was built on a foundation of Love.  He felt that I was fulfilling those commandments and that my relationship with Simon was also built on love so therefore something to be valued.  I expressed to him that at times I felt so desperate with the situation that I had considered leaving the relationship but when I had my sensible head on I knew that this would be selfish, create a huge emotional fallout for my children and Simon and potentially leave me with even more guilt than I have now.  It wouldn’t be a good advert for the Catholic church either.  Deacon J agreed that in fact leaving would probably seem like a greater sin than staying and trying to put things right with the status quo as it would indeed have a huge ripple effect on my immediate family.

Deacon J said that God certainly did not ‘call’ me to be miserable or to carry around ‘shed loads of guilt’ [his words, he did make me smile].  God also didn’t ‘call’ me to suddenly change His mind and rescind the offer.  We agreed that, just as Benedict tells us, conversion is a continuous state and that God is still working in my life through the Holy Spirit, guiding me in the right direction.  I also realised today that I am trying really hard to practice both my Stability ~ in staying put and working out my problems, and Obedience ~ in trying to listen to God and carry out His will.  As a discerning Benedictine Oblate I will [hopefully one day] take vows of Stability [Stabilitas], Obedience and Conversion [Conversatio] and this is what I’m studying and reading about as part of my journey towards that.  It’s very interesting to suddenly ‘see’ those qualities appearing in my thought processes, actions and approach to life.

He suggested that maybe I stop using the phrase ‘living in sin’ as it’s become a huge stick to beat myself with.  So maybe I will change it to ‘living in love’??  Sounds much nicer eh??  I know without a doubt that my negative thoughts on my relationship have caused me to be ‘Mrs Snippy’ and have prevented me from commiting 100% to Simon as I’ve always had this ‘stuff’ nagging away at the back of my mind so I’ve not allowed myself to relax and enjoy just being in a loving relationship because it felt wrong. 

We also discussed the sacrament of reconcilliation and this is something that I’m going to be starting fairly soon, not only as a means of dealing with this issue but also as a part of my grieving process and an ongoing part of my faith practice.  Reconcilliation is not the negative sacrament that it’s portrayed to be historically, it’s full of grace and forgiveness and I’m need of some of that right now.

Finally, Deacon J and I did discuss a possible plan of action that will hopefully make all parties happy [including God ;-)] when and if Simon and I should decide to marry.  I won’t share this with anyone just yet as Deacon J wasn’t sure if it fitted with Catholic protocol and teaching but suffice to say that all is not lost, yet. 

So, I left that meeting feeling like a huge weight had been lifted.  Deacon J is a lovely, kind, spiritual man who gave of himself in a way that left me feeling at peace and happy to lay down that big stick that I’ve been bashing myself over the head with for such a long time.  Things still aren’t right but I’m not doing this alone anymore and that’s just the best feeling.  Being able to offload it and to be heard and validated without criticism or condemnation was so important.  I’m also sure that this is somehow tied in with my grieving process but I still can’t quite work out how except that, as I said in my last post, my faith if everything at the moment and I can’t bear it to be sullied or untidy. 

Deacon J gave me a huge gift last night, something money can never buy~ he gave me back a part of myself, I feel whole again.  He also gave me one of the special cards that were printed in celebration of his Ordination and the rather pertinent words on it are as follows: ~

“Lord, make me know your ways.  Lord, teach me your paths.  Make me walk in your truth, and teach me:  for you are God my saviour.”  Psalm 25:4-5

church1

When I was ‘called’ three years ago I grabbed that amazing opportunity from God with both hands and ran with it as fast as I could.  When I think of it now I have a mental image of myself running, with great joy in my heart and the biggest smile on my face, into the arms of Jesus.  Deacon J said I’d come a long way in a very short time.  That’s because I’m running Deacon J, running for my life…….

Images are courtesty of my lovely church, Christ the King, Milton Keynes.

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