Thursday, May 26, 2016

Two Graduations, Two Diplomas, Two Roses, One Weekend

It's a bittersweet moment when the last child graduates from Grade School, especially when we have had a 22 year run at the same school. It's a bittersweet moment when the third daughter graduates from High School, especially when it's the same High School attended by your grandmother, your mom, your sisters, your nieces and you, and it's on the same weekend as the Grade School graduation. Can we jerk the emotions around a little more please?! But I must say, it was a beautiful weekend with family and friends, old and new.

Friday morning with Baccalaureate Mass brought the traditional presentation of roses from the High School girls to their parents. Pictures were made of all the graduates and their alumnae moms. Friday night brought on the conflict of the High School Graduation and the Grade School Banquet occurring at the exact same time. It was very difficult for the Grade School daughter to miss her sister's graduation. I rushed over to the banquet after graduation and made it just in time to receive a rose and a note of thanksgiving from my youngest. Together we left immediately after the class video to meet the rest of the family for a late dinner. So busy and so much fun.

The next morning as I put the two roses together in the same vase, I realized how the High School rose was slightly more open than the Grade School rose. I noticed how the High School rose had opened just enough to let me know that a full bloom was on the way. I noticed that the Grade School rose still needed time and attention. The creation that God placed in front of me was to be cared for and tended to and yet, the need for my hand in it all would not last forever. I am blessed to be given these opportunities to experience all that the Creator has to offer, all that creation has to give, all the beauty of two roses from the same bunch growing at different rates, blossoming at different times into true beauties. I am grateful for two Graduations, Two Diplomas and Two Roses over one long and beautiful weekend.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Go To Your Room

"Go to your ROOM!" I can tell you that I heard these words as a young girl many times a week. Maybe even daily. Let's just say that I enjoyed life to the fullest. As number 6 of 8 children, maybe I felt it was my duty to give the parents a shot in the arm. You know, add a little spark. Grease the rusty wheels. But that can't be right because my brothers and sisters before me spent equal amounts of time in their rooms too. My parents were hopping from beginning to end. No rest for the weary shall we say. But they rarely complained and seemed to have a pretty good time along the way. 

In the past couple of weeks, I have done four radio interviews to promote "Talking to God" and in each the question has been asked, "In your book you suggest 'making a private chapel in your heart'. How do you go about that?" And actually, I use a quote from the 17th century Carmelite, Brother Lawrence that suggests we should “make a private chapel in our heart where we can retire from time to time to commune with Him, peacefully, humbly, lovingly; everyone is capable of these intimate conversations with God, some more, others less; he knows what we can do.”  

As I sat in the Chapel this morning and for the past several weeks, I have pondered this idea. Throughout my day, I try to have this place within myself where I can go when I feel like screaming. I try to have this place where I can retreat when I am tempted. We all can have this same place where we can go when our world is ridiculous. We have a place to go instead of jumping in on the office gossip or laughing at an improper joke. This morning as I thought about this place that everyone seems to be interested in, I pictured the many times when I was sent to my room before I got into something that I could not get out of. I thought about the time when I was sent to the library in High School before I got in-school suspension with my friends. I thought of Jesus telling me that the same elements in the Chapel where I was sitting could be in my heart where I could retreat right before I made a bad choice. I envisioned Jesus telling me, "Go to your Heart room" to contemplate my actions or reactions. 

I ran back up to our Chapel to take the above picture and I was reminded of this verse. "And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart." Luke 2:19  I'd say that we're in good company as we work on "making a private chapel in (y)our heart(s)."

How about it for you? Have you ever thought about making a private Chapel in your Heart? Is it just a quiet place for prayer as mine has been in the past or is it a retreat from the ridiculous or is it a safe place to avoid sin? Is it a place where you can "retire"just as the Chapel is near the Church? Something to ponder I guess. I sure have been asked a lot.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

May Crowning

As I have said every year around this time, I love May Crowning. The girls and boys all dressed up, the flowers presented to Our Lady by the students and then the crown of roses placed upon her head, all remind me of the honor and respect and gratefulness we have toward Our Mother. She takes it all, our needs, our wants, our failures, our successes, our joys and our sorrows, and she presents them to her Son and she makes us look so much better than we really are...just like any good mom would do for their children. She deserves a visit and prayers and flowers and a crown and anything else we'd like to present to her.

One of my favorite stories about May Crowning is still the one from Sr. Mary Samuel, O.P. when she taught in Memphis. Check it out. Happy Month of May and may Our Lady bless you abundantly and fill you with her gifts of grace and peace!