What does a black crow have to do with the movie Tomorrowland?

Have you had a chance to see the movie Tomorrowland?  In it, the main character, a young heroine, repeats a story back to her father, in his moment of defeat, a story he told her during her childhood.  In the story there are two wolves: one is darkness and one is light. “Which one wins?” she questions him. After a pause she continues, “The one you feed the most.”

Since I was in 3rd grade, I’ve been haunted by a ghost of my past, bound up by the shackles of abuse, feeling a prisoner of the violence that was inflicted upon me.   I’ve lived bent over by the voice of shame that was whispered to me when I was only 8.  Fast forward ten years; as I was preparing for college, I sat with an administrator who was reviewing my ACT scores, and he said with a smirk on his face, “Girl, I think a monkey would score higher on this exam than you did.”   Somehow, one negative voice triggered other angry voices that had been repeated in my head — feelings of fear and having no value. Those voices were drummed up again and again over the next 30 years, by decisions I made that led to mistakes, or missteps on roads that were winding and unclear. It felt natural for me to focus on those voices of pain that led to self-doubt.  And to quiet those voices, I felt driven to strive for many things, some of which weren’t healthy.  Yet I also felt drawn toward joy, a lifeline that always seemed out of reach.  Now, however, at almost 48, I’m finally starting to shake myself of those heavy chains.  Inner strength is beginning to emerge. Feelings of finally being redeemed, and growing into the person that God intended me to be, are being fostered.

My life circumstances over the last year and my circle of influences have caused me to look at why and how I’m choosing to live my life.  In scripture Luke chapter 10 verse 27 we hear, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  This year I’ve come to realize that loving neighbor and others is tricky when you don’t love yourself.  Now I’m settling into love of self, and accepting God as the power that frees me from those heavy chains.  It’s taken many years to discover and foster that self-love and look at my authentic self.  (I’ll save those details for another blog.)

Black Crow

As I was pondering the sensitive nature of this entry, I heard the fear creeping up in me: “What might people may say or think of me?”   For me, confidence and self-love starts with acknowledging my feelings and I do that best through prayer while taking a run.   My run took me down a tree-lined street, where suddenly, an enormous black crow landed directly in front of me on a low-hanging branch.  He appeared to look right at me, and did his “caaahaaa” as if he was laughing at me.  That crow reminded me that we live in a world where good and evil are both present on every road I take.   I decided I wouldn’t let that crow intimidate me — I picked up my pace and popped in my earbuds.  The first song I heard was by the group Mercy Me.   The lyrics of “Greater” clearly state the voice that I now hear inside of me.  God’s voice in my heart is far “Greater” than those voices of my past, the naysayers in my world, and those who try to intimidate me.  Like the heroine from the movie Tomorrowland, I am choosing to feed the voice of light.

Lilacs, Rwanda, Immaculee and Women’s Inner Strength

Have you noticed the lilac bushes are in bloom?   In the Midwest every spring in early May the streets and yards are lined with beautiful purple fragrant lilacs.   Perhaps you grew up with a Common lilac, Persian lilac, Dwarf Korean variety, Himalayan, Chinese lilac or even a lilac tree.    My sister Linda Kay Doyle had a beautiful white lilac bush that she cherished.  It was an exceptionally fragrant lilac in her yard, just off her deck.    My sister Linda died 10 years ago today, May 5 2005.   She was an avid gardener and whenever I would visit her home, we would walk arm and arm around her yard to explore what was currently in bloom.

lilac

Linda was an educator who was very compassionate and cognizant about the surrounding world.   She was always giving me fiction and non-fiction books that would get me thinking.   We had long conversations about the underlying theme of books such as the Kite Runner and The Red Tent.   The week before she passed she urged me to watch the movie Hotel Rwanda with Don Cheadle.

Hotel Rwanda is the story of the 1994 horrific genocide that took the lives of one million people who were brutally murdered in Rwanda, Africa.   In an era of high-speed communication and round the clock news, the events went almost unnoticed by the rest of the world.   In three months, one million Tutsis; men, women and children were massacred by the hands of the Hutu marauders.   The movie shared the courage of one man who in the face of unspeakable dangers granted shelter to thousands of helpless refugees in the hotel that he managed.

I never had the chance to chat with Linda about her thoughts on the Rwanda genocide.  And yet, two years after she passed, I learned about a woman who survived that genocide and knew that I had to hear her story.  Immaculee llibagiza was a Tutsis college student, who was urged to go into hiding by her father.   Immaculee found shelter at a pastor’s home, where she and seven other women hid from the deadly rebel mob in a 3-by-4 foot bathroom for 91 days.    During those 91 days of unimaginable suffering, Immaculee found her faith, taught herself English and most incredibly, committed herself to a life of peace, hope and forgiveness.  Even for those who had murdered her family.

Last week, I was privileged to attend a luncheon entitled “Aid for Women” and the keynote speaker was again Immaculee.  She again shared her powerful life lessons from her Rwanda experience of love, forgiveness and world peace.    The organization she spoke was in support of Aid for Women, which has been instrumental in providing support for women and especially empowering women to choose life.  They provide funding to Heather’s House, a home for unwed mothers providing education, medical assistance, spiritual and housing support.  You can read more about their organization at www.helpaidforwomen.org.   You can read one of Immaculee’s several books or watch this short video about her story.

Linda placed an enormous value on the inner strength within a women and the bond of friendship between women.   Considering Linda’s own health limitations, nothing held her back and I knew she drew strength from faith, friendship and family.   Where do you draw strength to be the women God intended you to be?  How do you age gracefully and rest within the challenges of your life, the body we have been given and live within our unique giftedness?  How do the relationships in your life help you to fly?  Helping women explore these questions have become my life work.   Thank you, Linda!!!!

Creative Ways to Manage Household Finances and Rely on Faith

Frustrated MOm

Each month as the household bills come rolling in and we watch the scale tip; too much money going out and not enough coming in – it can be a hard pill to swallow.  It is emotionally draining, pounding on the ego, frustrating and very easy to become envious of what others have and doubting of decisions that brought us to this point.  This has happened to us before, as when we were first married we purchased our first home and had to settle into a mortgage payment that was a stretch.   Then several years ago we felt the pinch, being in our third home and managing the growth of expenses with a family of 7.  Now married 20 years this summer and 18 months into owning our own companies and again we have to make some major shifts in our spending and our income.  In times like these I hear my dad’s voice “you need to make sacrifices, what can you live without.”   Then my inner mom voice chimes in and says “roll up your sleeves and find a way to fix the situation”.

Getting organized is usually my first defense and that starts by reevaluating our expenses via a color coded spreadsheet.  As a stay home mom, through trials we learn how to be creative for example; on where to shop to find the best values for groceries (Aldi), how the majority of household providers (cable TV, security systems, phone companies) are willing to drop your monthly expense by simply asking and cooking at home on a budget versus eating out is an enormous savings.    Once those options are exhausted more difficult choices may be necessary.   When I had four small children under the age of 5, I shared with my husband if I didn’t get some help around the house or with laundry I may never make it to see them graduate high school.   Over the last 10 years, I was blessed each Tuesday from 9:00 – 2:00 with my own personal Mary Poppins.  She arrived each week and magically created order in our house, especially the laundry room.   I was spoiled and saying goodbye to that luxury was extremely difficult.   She helped me care for my newborns and she will be missed.  That sadness was lifted when I watched the kids’ expressions, as I showed them their new job charts.  I kind of chuckled when I heard one of them say “clean the bathroom sinks, are you serious?”    My oldest sister has the motto “a family that cleans together and prays together will stay together.”    In our fast past society, busy with sports and activities on the weekend, I believe we lost sight of this fundamental life lesson on working together to care for our home.

eb-kids-cleaning-chores-420-420x0

We have many harder choices in front of us, that other families have faced and with perhaps less options than our family.   A few things that I have noticed in this chapter of our life; the idea of walking in faith when we have so many unknown pieces is challenging, rising to be the person I believe God intended me to be is much harder than I thought when under stress and giving into despair is easy.   On the flipside I am noticing blessings in the very small things of life; such as the joy of teaching my child how to wash the baseboards or asking one of the children to help me with calculating the groceries so we stay within a budget.  Or staying home and having a family game night versus going out to the movies.

We have found ways to supplement our monthly income by selling some toys and items around the house via an on-line garage sale site.  I have opened up my schedule for a few more speaking engagements; one at a Christian book store opening in the spring and a morning retreat for the Joliet Diocese Deaconate Wives.  This is my real passion, so please pass along my name if your parish, community or network is in need of speakers.  I also am working as a consultant for my favorite skincare solution and feeling so good about helping individuals address basic and everyday skincare needs; such as sun damaged skin, wrinkles, dull and sensitive skin, acne and eczema.  Having balance in my life for healthy eating, fitness, skin care, nurturing relationship and faith formation all help my confidence and relieve stress.

Last year I spoke at Illinois Benedict College to a group of students about “Using Your Strengths and Gifts to Follow Your Dreams.”    I shared with them wisdom from Saint Catherine of Siena “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on Fire.”  It is easy to doubt who God intended for me to be when life is at a crossroads.   When following your dreams isn’t quite financially sustaining the family then prayer and patience is necessary.  In scripture we hear that God doesn’t want us to worry and he wants us to trust in Him.  I also believe that God gave us a heart and a mind for a reason.   I believe he asks us to be creative, think outside the box, wear many hats, look at all your options, reevaluate what is important and how do the choices we make impact our not only ourselves but our children as well.

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream….”  C.S. Lewis

Ideas For Lent

This year I struggled with an idea for Lent. Then I read this post and wanted to share. The Catholic Wife is one of the sites I follow.

Lent for the Married
Feb 17, 2015 by Katie Sciba
Andrew and I were passing ideas back forth – sweets, alcohol, eating between meals. What should we give up for Lent? While I have one or two possibilities floating around, I think I’ll choose my Lenten sacrifices based on God’s will for our marriage, which will undoubtedly yield a fruitful Lent and, I’m hopeful, will breathe new life into our vocation for Easter.
Marriage with Andrew is my life’s work. It’s my ticket to heaven and THE most important thing God calls me to do. And so I think I’ll focus my sacrifices and efforts on seeing that WE are bigger than ME. Here are Lenten deeds to do for marriage – please add to my list in the combox!

1) Leave the kids with grandparents (or bring them along!) and go to Mass during the week. Nothing and no one will improve your marriage better than Jesus.

2) Ask, “What can I do to make your day better?” then put the answer at the top of your To Do List.

3) Keep in mind that you two are a team – approach conflict in a way that tackles the issue instead of each other. One of my favorite professors at Benedictine College once told my class, “My wife and I know that we’re two people looking for the truth, so what could be an argument becomes a joint effort toward what’s best for us and our family.”

4) Go to adoration. Drawing closer to Christ will only bless your marriage and parenting.

5) Don’t interrupt – either vocally or in your mind. During an important discussion, listen to your spouse instead of conjuring up your response while he’s talking.

6) Anticipate his needs – does he need a lunch for work? Do you know that his keys aren’t in the usual spot? Put them away. Get his car washed. Send a love note email every day around the same time so he’ll look forward to it. Help make life at home enjoyable for him and your kids.

7) Are you ready for this? Pray the Litany of Humility. Ouch, I know. But lemme tell ya – it hurts so good.

8) Fast. Giving up little pleasures here and there for the sake of a spiritual good will change your marriage.

9) Complete The Love Dare together or on your own.

10) Make time for each other to go to confession.

11) Bless another couple! Offer to watch their kids while they take a much-needed night or morning out together.

Thanks to The Catholic Wife and I hope everyone has a prayerful Lenten Journey.

Confirmation

Last night our oldest daughter received her fourth sacrament, Confirmation.  The Mass was celebrated by Abbot Austin Murphy and he reminded us that we have already received the gift of the Holy Spirit during our Baptism.  The Confirmation is another level of accepting the love that Christ gives to us.  God’s love come to us in the form of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which we have been given to be shared out into the world.  During the Liturgy the choir did an outstanding job singing “Go Light Your Candle” by Chris Rice.  I shared this song via the youtube video, as perhaps a reminder or for inspiration.  The opening lyrics begin……”There is a candle in every soul, some brightly burning, some dark and cold. There is a Spirit who brings a fire – ignites a candle and makes His Home.” and then the song goes on “So carry your candle, run to the darkness, seek out the hopeless, confused and torn……”

Grania Confirmation 2

This year I have been pondering the scripture from Jeremiah chapter 29:11 “I alone know the plans I have made for you, plans to bring about the future you hope for.”  Considering my own candle has been feeling dark and cold, this scripture is frustrating for me.  It is great that God has plans for me, I wish I knew the full details of those plans.   Yet when I heard this song it provided me a bit of comfort, knowing Christ has His Home in my heart.  I find comfort in being thankful to see the candle burning brightly in others, especially my newly confirmed daughter.

Perhaps I know God’s plan for me, at least for now, go and pick my kiddos up from the bus stop, help with homework and make dinner.   Amen.

All Souls Day, Reflection On Losing A Child

Image of Angel Wings

My son came home from school the other day in a bad mood. He was picking on his sisters, reluctant to begin his homework, and grumpy about any after school snack I offered. I’ve learned to give him some time before trying to figure out the reason behind his irritability.  That night, when I tucked him into bed, I asked “Why such a long face?”  He said that at school that day, his teacher had asked if anyone would like to offer up a special prayer intention, and he said, “I prayed for you and Dad and for the baby you lost.”  Then he said, later that day at recess, one of his classmates told him he was always making up stories, so the boy didn’t believe we had lost a child. At that moment, my son began to cry, and my heart broke for him. At the same time, I was also taken aback by his prayer intention. My first pregnancy had ended in a miscarriage over 14 years ago, and my husband and I had only mentioned it a handful of times to our children.

A few days later, on our way to Sunday mass, my son asked me, “Mom, so why did we forget?” In the rush to get our 5 children to church and still trying to fix his sister’s hair, I responded in a hurried tone, “Forget about what?” He said, “The baby.”  I didn’t really process his question until after communion when I was kneeling down to pray. Then it hit me then like a ton of bricks.  Why had I forgotten?  As I prayed, I imagined this child in heaven with the saints and the Holy Family, and overcome with emotion, I began to weep. For the next week, this image of the little one I had lost continued to resonate in my heart and on my mind, along with the inescapable question of why had I forgotten?

During the winter of 1999, my lifelong best friend and I both found out we were expecting our first child. The babies were due in October and we were delighted not only with our little baby bumps, but to be going through this life-changing experience together. At 14 weeks, however, my pregnancy took a terrible turn. My husband was out of the country, so my girlfriend left work to join me at the ultrasound where together we saw the absence of my baby’s heartbeat. It was unspeakable, but my friend was so incredibly supportive. I have always been so grateful to her for her selfless love, for enduring that experience with me and sharing the grief with the loss of my child.  It must have been even more difficult for her as she was still expecting her own.

To someone who has miscarried, people’s genuine attempts of condolences sometimes feel more like thoughtless words: “Well it must have God’s plan,” or “The baby probably had health issues,” or “You will have others,” or “It was only 14 weeks, and it happens too many.” Unsure of how to really process this type of loss, I did what I imagine many women do: I put my grief behind me and went back to my daily routine.

The following year, I became pregnant again, and we went on to have 5 children in 7 years. Our children knew that Mom had lost 1, but there was no discussion beyond that. Being around many conservative moms over the years, and since I’ve entered the Catholic/Christian blogging world, I’ve often been struck when I’ve heard women say, “I have 6 children on this earth, and 2 in heaven.” It never occurred to me to mention the baby I lost.  I could understand how women, who were further along in their pregnancy when they lost their child, would refer to their child, the loss, their grief and even the soul.  I realized that in my mind and heart, I had convinced myself that our lost pregnancy didn’t carry much weight. I had pushed my feelings down, never allowing myself to love or know this child, not allowing this soul to be present.

I believe in God-incidences. Recently at a conference, I was introduced to a woman who shared with me (without prompting) her similar experience of suppressing her feelings following her miscarriages. She told me how she had been transformed, however, on a trip to Medjugorje, Bosnia (the location where 30 years ago the Blessed Mother appeared to 6 children, revealing messages for the world, visions that continue to this day). The woman had the opportunity to go to reconciliation while at Medjugorje, and the priest, without any prior knowledge of her situation, remarkably asked her about the babies she had lost 20 years ago. Like me, she hadn’t embraced the lives of the children she had miscarried, and told the priest she didn’t know their gender. He proceeded to guide her through a prayer of sorts, in which she imagined herself standing before the Blessed Mother and Jesus, who were holding the hands of the children; she saw one was a girl and the other, a boy. The priest told the woman that God plants information like that in our hearts, and to trust that feeling, to name the children, and to remember them. He reassured her that the children love her and are waiting until the day they are reunited with her. She described the great love she felt from the Blessed Mother and Jesus.

As this woman told her story, tears were rolling down my cheeks. She knowingly asked, “Did you lose a child?” “Yes,” I replied. She continued, “Did you name your child?” I said, “I never knew if it was a girl or boy, so no.” In my gut, however, I had always believed the baby was a boy, so on that day I named our son Riley Thomas O’Flaherty.  The woman encouraged me to pick a day as his birthday, and suggested All Souls Day, pointing out that this was one day a year that I could hold that child in my heart, but also in the community of others in the celebration of the Mass.

Over the next few days, I spent time in prayer and began to imagine this child desiring a relationship with all of us, and in a way, guiding us in our faith and life. I drew comfort in picturing this angel boy riding on the bus with my other children, and as an angel might do, providing them encouragement, comfort or solace on any given day.  My heart is warmed by the image of Riley talking with Jesus about how he wants blessings showered upon my husband, his earthly father, as he strives to launch a start-up business.  How Riley may ask the Blessed Mother to provide me a gentle spirit with my children when I am exhausted at the end of a long day and am feeling so depleted.

This women had also shared with me that through prayer, she has come to feel that God wants all women to know His love—women who have lost a child through miscarriage at week 3, 12 or 40, as well as women who have lost a child through an abortion; that He loves us all, that the children’s souls are at rest, and that the child can be remembered in a special way, regardless of how they are lost.

One morning, weeks after my encounter with this woman, I realized that I, too, felt transformed. The sensation was almost as if our family had expanded by one overnight. What a gift I have been given, to now experience that additional love, both for Riley and from him (even if it’s on a spiritual level and not a physical one). I went back to my other son and thanked him for listening to his inner voice (the Holy Spirit) and for reminding us of this gift we have in heaven. .

We will celebrate Riley’s birthday on All Souls Day each November. Another tradition I’m planning, to help keep his memory alive is to buy an ornament for our Christmas tree with his name on it, which will join those we have for our other children. And just as I’ve come to feel Riley’s presence with us here on earth, I now ask him to be an intercessor in heaven for my prayers.

Are you, or someone you know, in need of healing transformation?

  • Perhaps your parish priest can hold a private Memorial Service for families who have lost children in the womb, to facilitate healing and to honor the eternal lives of the children in heaven.
  • Naming your child and creating a special day of remembrance may be a first step.
  • Rachel’s Vineyard is “a safe place to renew, rebuild and redeem hearts broken by abortion. Weekend retreats offer you a supportive, confidential and non-judgmental environment…to help you experience God’s love and compassion on a profound level.” Retreats are held in both Catholic and nondenominational settings, in 48 states and 57 countries. http://www.rachelsvineyard.org

My hope is that you will share this blog with women or men who may benefit from hearing this story.

This blog is based on the personal experiences and opinions of Peggy O’Flaherty. Any reproduction of the material in this blog may be used with written consent of the author by e-mail at peggy@creatingspaceinyourlife.com.

Peggy O’Flaherty, is a certified spiritual director, public speaker, blog writer, wife and mother of five children on earth and 1 in Heaven. Her recent writing projects include “Faith In the Family, Night Time Prayers?” and “OneParish Catholic App.” She is the Founder & President of Creating Space, LLC., a ministry helping people enrich their faith. Follow Peggy at www.creatingspaceinyourlife.com.

Faith In Our Family – Bedtime Prayers

When I was little my parents would kneel before our bed each night and we would say our nighttime prayer.

  “Angel of God my guardian dear to whom God’s love commit me here.

  Every this night be at my side to light, to guard, to rule to guide.

    God bless…….”

Then we would go through and names all the people in our family, our teachers and our friends.

Kneel Before Bed Prayers

Then when I met my husband he shared the prayer his family said at bedtime, which was virtually the same, except after the list of people they wanted God to bless they would end by saying:

 “may God bless all my friends, relatives and enemies.”

“Why do we pray for our enemies?”, would be a typical question one of our 5 children would ask.  In talking with a friend about this prayer, she suggested we drop off the enemies piece, as it wasn’t fair to have children think about enemies before bedtime.   We have found that this prayer opens our children up for sharing about their day, the interactions with children at school, on the playground or in their sports.  Our older children will often relate this to what they have seen on the news or a historical topic in school, such as civil rights.   I believe the bedtime routine is often the window into the child’s soul.   When they are cuddled up in bed, feeling safe, warm, we snuggle in close and they have our undivided attention.   They can share what is weighing on their hearts and we can listen.   This is a gift for both child and parent.

Today our school published the fall newsletter and shared this prayer.    I was struck by how blessed my children are and yet reminded of all the children in our community and world who need our prayers.

A PRAYER FOR THE CHILDREN

We pray for children who sneak ice cream before supper, who erase holes in homework assignments, who can never find their shoes.

And we pray for those who never get dessert, who have no safe blanket to drag behind them, who don’t have any rooms to clean up, whose pictures aren’t on anybody’s dresser, whose monsters are real.

We pray for children who spend their allowance before Tuesday, who throw tantrums in the grocery store, who shove dirty clothes under the bed, who never rinse out the tub, who don’t like to be kissed in front of the carpool, and who squirm in church and scream in the phone.

And we pray for those whose nightmares come in the daytime, who have never seen a dentist, who aren’t spoiled by anybody, who go to be hungry, and cry themselves to sleep.

In your eyes, gracious God, all of us are children. Help us to grow

What is your nighttime ritual of prayer?

Back To School, Prayer

Back to school 2014

This week our five children returned to school.  Our oldest entered 8th grade and our baby, kindergarten.   The beginning of a new school year brings excitement and a return to routine in our daily life: homework, extra-curricular activities, dinner as a family at the table, and earlier bedtimes.  During the summer, when our schedules were more relaxed, I had set a personal goal of reading small bits of scripture with my children, hoping the stories would become more ingrained in their heart and mind, and that they would come to know better who Jesus was to them.  Our 4th grader was very interested in reading her children’s bible on most nights, but I wasn’t as successful as I had hoped with the others.  As parents, we establish the family values, goals and expectations; I wonder which ones will take root and still be with my children when they are grown.

Summer also brought a fall for my mom, resulting in fractures that required her to spend 7 weeks in a rehab center.  Because she would be going home with a walker, my siblings decided to de-clutter her house to make getting around easier for her.  Have you ever cleaned out your parents’ home, while they were in the hospital, or after they passed away?  It can be a rather odd experience, going through their drawers, closets, and personal belongings, finding old letters that were written to loved ones, jewelry that had been saved from a deceased relative or everyday items that were stashed in a special drawer, clues to what your mom or dad held close.  Sifting through your parents’ possessions while trying to protect their privacy and dignity can be an overwhelming, frustrating and emotional experience.  (I’m blessed that my older siblings let me “off the hook” this time, and shared this chore between them.)

My mom is turning 85 at the end of the month, and has been known for writing in a journal. She jotted down memories of us growing up in little notebooks or even scraps of paper, and documented important dates or events with a photo attached. She even recorded details of my dad’s deteriorating health last year as she cared for him up to his death.  My mom also wrote down many prayers and scripture passages over the years that were meaningful to her.  While tidying her home, my eldest sister, Debbie, found this prayer. It was typed on an old-fashioned type writer, and the paper was slightly yellowed.  It was tucked into a big stack of books in the corner of her home, and could have easily been overlooked.  My sister shared it with me, and it reminded me of my daily struggles and how I wrestle with who is in control: God or me?

 

Our Thinking versus God’s Promises

It’s impossible.

               All things are possible. (Luke 18:27)

 I’m too tired.

               I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28-30)

 Nobody really loves me.

               I love you. (John 3:16)

 I can’t go on.

               My grace is sufficient.  (11 Cor. 12:19)

 I can’t figure things out.

               I will direct your steps. (Proverbs 20:24)

 I can’t do it.

               You can do all things. (Phil 4:13)

 I’m not able.

                    I am able. (11 Co. 9:8)

 It’s not worth it.

               It will be worth it. (Rom. 8:28)

 I can’t forgive myself.

               I will supply all your needs. (Phil. 4:19)

 I’m afraid.

               I have not given you a spirit of fear. (11 Tim. 1:7)

I’m always worried and frustrated.

               Cast all your cares on Me. (1 Peter 5:7)

I don’t have enough faith.

               I’ve given everyone a measure of faith. (Rom. 12:8)

I’m not smart enough.

               I give you wisdom. (1 Cor. 1:30)

I feel all alone.

               I will never leave you or forsake you. (Heb. 13:5)

 

This prayer is a beautiful reminder that God’s promises are far better than what we come up with on our own, in our human condition. Often, we fall short when we rely on Our Thinking, but if we instead entrust ourselves to God’s Promises, our lives will be a lot easier!

This week is the one-year anniversary of my ministry, Creating Space, and my blog.  As I look back over the year, and even just this summer, I see that some things I had hoped to achieve didn’t happen; my children didn’t memorize scripture (a discipline I admire in our protestant brothers and sisters).  Yet in finding this prayer that my mom had tucked away, I can see how she relied on scripture throughout her life, and without using actual words, she taught me to do the same. Perhaps when my children are 45 they will find my old-fashion blog writings, and have a glimpse of how scripture played a part in my faith, and hopefully their own, as well.

This blog is based on the personal experiences and opinions of Peggy O’Flaherty. Any reproduction of the material in this blog may be used with written consent of the author by e-mail at peggy@creatingspaceinyourlife.com.

Peggy O’Flaherty, is a certified spiritual director, public speaker, blog writer, wife and mother of five children. Her recent writing projects include “New App For your Phone Connect your Parish, Growing the Faith, One Parish” and “Extending Compassion, Losing a Child & Evangelization” She is the Founder & President of Creating Space, LLC., a ministry helping people enrich their faith. Follow Peggy at www.creatingspaceinyourlife.com

Catholic Network Radio WSFI 88.5 FM OneParish

Good morning, wanted to share this great interview.

Special Presentation: Interview with Shane O’Flaherty

August 8, 2014

Bill Snyder interviews Shane O’Flaherty, COO and Co-Founder of Growing the Faith about their new smart phone App One Parish. For more information about One Parish visit OneParish.com. This segment was recorded at the 2014 Catholic Marketing Network Trade Show in Schamburg, IL.

http://wsfi.podbean.com/e/special-presentation-interview-with-shane-oflaherty/

Blessed Mother Teresa – 33 Days to Morning Glory

33 days to Morning Glory

Illinois Benedictine University had an amazing event in March, where I had the honor of speaking to the Campus Ministry students. The keynote speaker was Eric Mahl, a former Cleveland Browns football player, who was transformed by God’s forgiving love. Eric shared with me “A Do-It-Yourself Retreat”, basically a 5-minute prayer practice to begin my day. Father Michael E. Gaitley, Director of the Association of Marian Helpers (a community of priest and brothers that has been instrumental in spreading the message of The Divine Mercy),  has written this 33 Days to Morning Glory, which has had an amazing impact on my life. The reading from this morning (Day 16) was from the Blessed Mother Teresa. She shared with her fellow sisters, The Missionaries of Charity, a vision she had of Jesus. I feel it was written for each and every one of us.

“Jesus wants me to tell you again…..how much love He has for each one of you – beyond all you can imagine. I worry some of you still have not really met Jesus – one to one – you and Jesus alone. We may spend time in chapel – but have you seen with the eyes of your soul how He looks at you with love? Do you really know the living Jesus – not from books but from being with Him in your heart? Have you heard the loving words He speaks to you? Ask for the grace, He is longing to give it. Until you can hear Jesus in the silence of your own heart, you will not be able to hear Him saying ‘I thrist’ in the hearts of the poor. Never give up this daily intimate contact with Jesus as the real living person – not just the idea. How can we last even one day without hearing Jesus say “I love you” – impossible. Our soul needs that as much as the body needs to breathe the air. If not, prayer is dead – meditation only thinking. Jesus wants you each to hear Him – speaking in the silence of your heart.” “Be careful of all that can block that personal contact with the living Jesus. The Devil may try to use hurts of life, and sometimes our own mistakes – to make you feel it is impossible that Jesus really loves you, is really cleaving to you. This is a danger for all of us. And so sad, because it is completely opposite of what Jesus is really wanting, waiting to tell you. Not only that He loves you, but even more – He longs for you. He misses you when you don’t come close. He thirsts for you. He loves you always, even when you don’t feel worthy. When not accepted by others, even by yourself sometimes – He is the one who always accepts you. My Children, you don’t have to be different for Jesus to love you. Only believe – you are precious to Him. Bring all your suffering to His feet – only open your heart to be loved by Him as you are. He will do the rest.”

These two paragraphs above could probably be enough prayer for me for a lifetime. I believe the love that God has for us is the model we are to use for all other relationships in our life. I think of how my 5-year-old longs for me to play a board game or jump around in the pool with her or cuddle to read a book. How often am I distracted and fail to acknowledge the love she is waiting to share with me? On that note, I am going to go cuddle with her and watch a morning cartoon.

If you would like to read more about the 33-Day Morning Glory, or obtain copies of this prayer, please check out their website below. http://33daystomorningglory.blogspot.com/p/small-group-resources.html