It is only 10 short days until we celebrate the Birth of Our Lord, the culmination of the Advent Season of preparing and waiting. In our faith, Advent is the beginning of the “New Liturgical Year”.  I have noted that each message during the homily this Advent is centered around HOPE, which is deeply encouraging, given the state of our world, some things in our personal lives and the various shifts in life many of us may be experiencing. The message has been that HOPE is a gift in our lives, one to be used and experienced, not only for ourselves but in ways to serve others, building them up and encouraging them. As I thought about this, I decided to reach out to someone that I thought could use encouragement and HOPE. There was not a response, but I HOPE that the message may  have helped in some way.

When I think of HOPE, I think of possibilities,  of new beginnings,  and the letting go of cumbersome worries, among just a few of the thoughts. I believe that it is HOPE that keeps up moving forward and not mired in the ‘downs’ or challenges we face. If we have HOPE, we have everything! It is not over; it is going to come to fruition, in the way that has been chosen for us by HIM. On December 25, the waiting and preparing, each in our own spiritual way, will come to fruition as Our Lord will arrive once again to bring us HOPE…..for us, our families, our lives, and our world.

Continue on in your preparations for the coming of the greatest HOPE there is.




In my morning mediations yesterday, the question was ‘what blessings have you received this year?’ I started thinking about that and continued to read the second question, which is what I have spent the last couple of days reflecting on: ‘who have you blessed this year?’

We certainly all have many blessings in our lives, some of which we have not yet uncovered in our consciousness.  Sometimes, in retrospect, a blessing comes forth from tragedy/hurt/ pain or suffering.  I am grateful for the many blessings in my life and would have a difficult time choosing my greatest blessing.

’Who have you blessed in the last year?’ I can think of a few people  that I have done things for that could be counted, but I am sure I could do more. When you think about it, ‘the who’ you have blessed is equally as important as the ‘what blessings’. Blessings that you give to others come in so many different categories…….listening to a friend tell the story yet again, reading a book to a child, giving a compliment, holding a door, giving another your place in line at the grocery store, running an errand for someone because you are already at that store, saying ‘I’m really sorry’, asking for and/or giving forgiveness, stopping to say hello to someone who is all alone, calling someone you have not talked to for awhile just to ‘catch up and let them know you are thinking about them’. Notably, none of these cost money; they involve your time, which is your blessing to the other.

Let’s have a Thanksgiving week of blessing others as many times as we can. They say 21 days and something becomes habit. That would be a good 21+ days wouldn’t it!!






November 1st marks the beginning of the countdown season to the holidays! So much to do, so little time, right? Let’s think about that for a minute.

We all  have an internal reserve of emotional, physical, spiritual and mental energy which can deplete quickly in times of stress, worry, trauma, and/or illness. I didn’t even address the just ‘busyness’ of everyday life in balancing work, family and outside commitments. Everyone, but your personal self, usually gets addressed……you find a way to make it all work, and sometimes that is at the expense of any personal time for you. We all need that ‘you’ time and this is not being selfish; it is a necessity. We can only be at our best in any area of life when we are fulfilled emotionally, feeling healthy, renewed spiritually and mentally in sync with the other three areas.

Maybe as we begin a new month, it is time for each of us to find 15 minutes each day that belong to no one but ourselves. Start with just 15 minutes and expand it when and if you can. Maybe it means getting up a half hour earlier when the house hold has not yet awakened, or staying up a little later, or maybe even spending our lunch hour in solitude, or maybe using that 15 minute afternoon break for you. The important aspect is that you decide when it will be, commit to that time by putting it in writing in your daily schedule and decide how that time will most benefit you…..which does not include figuring out what’s for dinner, how far to stretch the budget, tomorrow’s deadline or making mental lists of who you need to call.

Some ideas for this ‘you’ rejuvenation might include journaling, prayer, meditation, quietly listening to relaxing music while you deep breathe to the beat, or simply just sitting, breathing and letting your heart be filled up. I have found that when I stay in the rhythm of doing this daily, over time my relaxation gets deeper and the rejuvenation lasts longer.

I recommit to starting this practice again today. When will you start?

”We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise we harden”  John Wolfgang von Goethe,  author, statesman, and poet 1749-1832.







As we move closer to the Holiday Season, many of us will be coping with grief, like it or not. Grief will  be a part of our lives, earlier or later; it is part of being human.

There will be the expected loneliness and being alone as well as missing ‘what used to be’. We will need  some solitude to heal and rejuvenate.

There is a difference between loneliness and solitude. We grieve in both, just in different ways. Most of us would not choose loneliness, but I suggest we should chose solitude within this loneliness to meditate, pray, reflect  and heal.

Let’s shift to how we might manage this grief. Coping encompasses four different things as sited  from Horizon Grief Resource Center, Fall, 2019 Volume 10, Issue 3. 

“First, use your support network effectively. Secondly, meet  new people with like interests. Third, get out in your community…take a class, join a club, volunteer. Lastly, honor your loneliness and give yourself permission to cry when you feel lonely.”

Just like the picture above, grief is  a journey and sometimes it feels like you walk that path endlessly,  with nothing but more of the same ahead of you. But in my own experience, one day the walk gets easier and you come upon a meadow where you receive some rest before you continue on in the healing.

If you are grieving a loss, may you find the coping skills that are right for you and move toward your ‘meadow’.




There are several meanings of the word GRACE, one of which is ‘unmerited Divine assistance given to humans’ (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). It is freely given and filled with numerous blessings. It cannot be earned, stolen, nor is it based on our worthiness. GRACE …. just is simply GRACE with no attachments, surrounding us, waiting for us to be aware of GRACE, experience it, and use it.

I recently had lunch with a dear friend and we were talking about prayer and how we have developed our prayer life and changes we have added/deleted over time. She reminded me that we should include asking for GRACE in our daily prayers. As I pondered our conversation on the drive home, I realized that I have sort of been taking for granted that I am praying for GRACE automatically in my prayers, that  it is an all inclusive deal in prayer.  However, as I thought more about this, I realized I am wrong about that. I need to specifically ask for GRACE …….and so I started doing just that. It has been interesting to me to note that a few things have happened in the last couple of weeks that I believe were the direct result of the Lord answering my prayer for GRACE.

Our response to GRACE is to live our days here on earth showing GRACE to others with a sense of gratitude, generosity and kind gentleness with those we come in contact with. Our heart and soul can be filled with as much GRACE as we can be aware of. There is no limit. But we must indeed return it to others in our world and beyond in all ways.

“Life is measured in love and positive contributions and moments of grace” ( Carly Fiorina, American business woman and author).

Write down your moments of GRACE each day for five days and then review at the end of that time. I am sure you will find “Amazing Grace”.
















Are you ready for…………, dinner, class, to work out, new projects, a new season, or CHANGE?

Change in our lives happens whether we invite it or not; change can be outside in our environment or within our beings, sometimes both. Change can be temporary or it can be permanent; this involves our own personal choices as to whether the change is limited or remains.

Let’ s talk about the permanent changes in our lives, expected or unexpected, which can be viewed as negative or positive, depending on many factors. Sometimes change involves required healing and this can create opportunities in time and space for us that would not have come about without the change. Interestingly enough, change happens every day because when we open our eyes each morning, that day is a new reality to create, born out of change. How this is manifested lies within our power as to the manner in which we address the change. Shifting out of our comfort zone and ‘the way we always have done things’ is not easy by any means, but as Judith Viorst said there are at times ‘necessary losses and that is how we grow’. That shift is possible for each of us, but we have to be willing to do the work to see the progress.

Yesterday, I attended a Day of Autumn Prayer and one of the leaders asked us to contemplate on an important change that had occurred within the last year, negative or positive, but to focus and evaluate the GOOD that came out of that change. Wow! On my drive home, I enlisted my thoughts to go to a devastating loss this past year and I was able to bring up five GOOD outcomes from that change in my life. I will be journaling later today because I think I may have just scratched the surface of the GOOD. I invite you to do the same, as I found this to be an enlightening experience.

I will end with a quote directly from one of the leaders of the group, Fr. Ted Lawson:  “Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday”. I think many of our worries of today are about the changes in our next day, so this quote left me with much to ponder.




This is a fact of life is it not? When we were younger we waited to become a teenager, then to get the driver’s license, then to turn a legal 21, then to find the right career, partner, first house, to have a family, to get the big promotion, also  waiting in line at the grocery store or the DVM. Even the grapes in the crate above are waiting to be processed into delicious wine! Waiting escapes no one!

Sometimes, the waiting we experience throughout our lives can turn to frustration or even disappointment, especially if we have been waiting a long time for a certain event and the outcome isn’t what we expected or wanted. So, let’s consider an alternative to the feeling of continually waiting…..patience. As my dear mother use to say to me (and often): patience is a virtue!

Patience doesn’t mean that we become powerless and give up, rather, it can be empowering in that we wait, observe and determine when and how to act. One author, Judith Orloff, M.D.  in her article The Power of Patience (September, 2012)  presents the idea of patience as a “form of compassion, a re-attuning to intuition, a way to emotionally redeem your center in a world filled with frustration”.  She further says that she is defining patience as an “active state, a choice to hold tight until intuition says….make your move. It means waiting your turn, knowing your turn will come.”

Easier said than done sometimes, right? However, in life timing is everything and that means you have to ‘wait’ till the correct opportunity presents itself, trusting that the ‘wait’ will be worth it. The key word….trusting the wait.

I also think that maybe sometimes we ‘wait’ on the wrong things…….maybe there are just some things that we should not be waiting for. Worth a few moments in thought I think. Maybe in the big scope of life, a few things we thought were worth the wait, just really don’t matter.

“Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience”  Ralph Waldo Emerson.




Self-doubt, anxiety over decisions, questioning our worth, wondering if we are ‘good enough’…..these would all fall under the umbrella of insecurity.  They hang in the back of our consciousness and come forth when we find ourselves out of our comfort zone. Perhaps, we start a new job but perceive ourselves as not competent and wish we had never signed that contract in the first place. Feelings of being fraudulent surface daily as we open that door. Maybe, we sense that others are judging us in various situations that we have not excelled to our own expectations. Or possibly, we just take note in negativity that others are so much better than we are in _________________. Fill in the blank.

Where do these feelings come from and why won’t they go away? There can be many reasons as to the cause of these feelings. Remember, your feelings are valid, only you can change those. Examples of few of the root causes could be any number of things, such as, anxiety, being constantly berated as a young child, limited positive talk in the household, being bullied during school age years, or verbal/emotional/physical abuse in your life as either a child or an adult. These feelings then perpetuate throughout life and steal away our own personal self power.

Changing our self-talk, taking risks and succeeding, being decisive and trusting in our own power are steps we can take to build our inner strength. There is no better feeling than stepping out, making a decision, sticking to it and getting to the finish line. This boosts our confidence and is a great beginning to upgrading our self worth and ‘yes, I am enough status’.

“When you feel insecure or like you don’t measure up—remind yourself of how far you’ve come. And in the moment you’ll realize you’ve climbed mountains and can overcome anything.” (Brittany Burgunder, Author, Certified Professional Coach)

Purpose, Joy and Positives


Grace lies within us, always. It is in our souls, hearts and every cell of our being. It is defined as ‘unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration  or sanctification’ (Merriam -Webster).

Recently,  one of my  daughters and I were talking about aging and we agreed that to age gracefully is a worthwhile endeavor. Ahhhhhh…….yes, to be able to accept the changes that transcend our minds and bodies as we move through the decades; to look in the mirror and feel content with our reflection; to understand the wisdom of life’s experiences, positive and negative; to be genuinely accepting of those around us who can still do more; and to not feel anxious about things to come. Challenges will always be there, young or aging; it is all in how you chose to manage the challenges.

I think my mother, who lived to a remarkable 94 years of age, nailed it. She said that an important part of life was about having something to look forward to. I would embellish that thought not only to include planning and visualizing positive activities, but to also keep our minds focused on gratitude for our many blessings and work with where we are in life. Stay on today and make it a great one!!!  It is all about attitude and that is a choice we can make each morning.

“Wherever life plants you, bloom with grace.”  (French Proverb)