- Name: Amber
- Location: Reno, Nevada, United States
I am a 34-year-old single mother of three. I am a convert to Catholicism and came into the Church on April 7, 2007. This blog is a collection of thoughts and things I learn in my journey of faith. All comments are welcome!
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Will this week ever end?
What a week it's been... We had a memorial service for my aunt last Friday. It was beautiful to hear what those closest to her had to say... and sad to think I will never see her on this earth again. But she knows we love her and miss her and there is comfort in that. We had a lot of family in town and it was nice to see them. Hopefully, the next time will be under happier circumstances...
Also, last week I decided to move my daughter over to the public all-day Kindergarten program because she and the boys were approved for a variance. Our move one mile from our other apartment put them in another school about four blocks from the one they'd already been attending. Thinking it best that they have the stability of the same school and friends, I sought the variance. In addition, a variance would mean I could actually have ALL three kids in the same school. The new school they were zoned for didn't have all-day Kindergarten and that meant another year of driving all over town and paying more than $200 extra per month! So, I pulled my daughter from her former school not knowing that Kindergarten starts one week later than everyone else. Then I had to wonder what in the world I was going to do with her for an entire week!
On Saturday night, my daughter came down with a fever that spiked as high as 103.8 in the middle of the night on Sunday. Monday morning, I took the boys to their first day of school for the year and briefly met their new teachers. Just as I was leaving, I ran into a parent who I am acquainted with and she mentioned to me that strep throat has been going around. What timing! My daughter had the symptoms so I called the doctor and got right in. Sure enough, she was diagnosed with strep throat. Well, that's two days of the week I didn't have to worry about childcare and how I was going to make it to work. AND it gave me time to come up with another plan. I managed to find a wonderful lady who does licensed in-home childcare. She was willing to take my daughter from Wednesday through Thursday this week! An answer to prayer...
The fever lasted longer than expected and last night was the first night she made it through without her fever spiking up. Thank goodness...
I'm out three days of pay, which is a little worrisome but I still have my job so I'm not complaining! I am just very much looking forward to this week being over!
So, my blog took a backseat for a few days... and it may have to on occasion in the future months as well. I signed up for another class this semester. It's only one so it won't be too much of a deal but it might keep me busier than usual. I took all last year off from school so that I could attend RCIA and focus on learning all I could about the Catholic faith. I knew I'd need all the time I could get and I couldn't see how I would manage it with a school schedule. But, now it's time to get back into the swing of things!
People to pray for:
Damion and kids
April and Tim
KC and husband
Diane and family
Dragan and mother
Johan and family
Rest In Peace
passed away this afternoon. On June 23, 2007, she was taken to ICU after suffering a double stroke. Since then, she made more improvements than the doctors ever thought she would. Over time, she was able to respond to us through hand squeezes, head nods and head shakes. She gave kisses, smiled, sat up for long periods of time, stuck her tongue out and even flipped us off on command a time or two. In one rare moment, she signed "I love you" to my cousin after several days of very little response. I'm sure my cousin will cherish that moment forever. My aunt was a fighter... but she could fight no longer.
My aunt was only 49 years old. She was a fan of NASCAR racing and the Rolling Stones. Among some of her heroes were her own children. She was passionate about her job and loved to help others and make people laugh. She will be remembered fondly by friends and family.
Please pray for the repose of her soul and for the comfort of my uncle and cousins. Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord. And let perpetual light shine upon her. May her soul, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
Crossing the Jordan
The LORD said to Joshua,
"Today I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel,
that they may know I am with you, as I was with Moses.
Now command the priests carrying the ark of the covenant
to come to a halt in the Jordan
when you reach the edge of the waters."
So Joshua said to the children of Israel,
"Come here and listen to the words of the LORD, your God.
This is how you will know that there is a living God in your midst,
who at your approach will dispossess the Canaanites.
The ark of the covenant of the LORD of the whole earth
will precede you into the Jordan.
When the soles of the feet of the priests carrying the ark of the LORD,
the Lord of the whole earth,
touch the water of the Jordan, it will cease to flow;
for the water flowing down from upstream will halt in a solid bank."
The people struck their tents to cross the Jordan,
with the priests carrying the ark of the covenant ahead of them.
No sooner had these priestly bearers of the ark
waded into the waters at the edge of the Jordan,
which overflows all its banks
during the entire season of the harvest,
than the waters flowing from upstream halted,
backing up in a solid mass for a very great distance indeed,
from Adam, a city in the direction of Zarethan;
while those flowing downstream toward the Salt Sea of the Arabah
Thus the people crossed over opposite Jericho.
While all Israel crossed over on dry ground,
the priests carrying the ark of the covenant of the LORD
remained motionless on dry ground in the bed of the Jordan
until the whole nation had completed the passage.
~Joshua 3:7-10a, 11, 13-17~
This passage is one I had never heard before today. When I heard it, I just thought, "How amazing is that?" These people had to have a tremendous amount of faith and trust in God… I can see the priests standing there motionless and holding the ark of the covenant while all of Israel passed through and a wall of water was collecting upstream… the Jordan river going dry beyond this solid mass of water! Incredible! And what a privilege to carry the Ark and yet how scary to be standing there solidly holding the Ark and waiting for all to cross. Were they afraid? Or did they keep their focus on God?
Sometimes I feel as if I am facing that wall of water… as if it could break and take me over at any given moment. But I must keep my focus on God. He wants to see me safely through to his kingdom. I must learn to trust Him to lead me where He wants me. I can’t keep my focus on my problems but instead must remember that He is in control and that He is passionately pursuing my attention despite my problems. He wants to forgive me, love me, comfort me and draw me nearer. If I keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, though I am undeserving, He will faithfully keep his promises. His love NEVER fails!
Labels: faith, reflections
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Today is the feast of the Assumption of Mary and a holy day of obligation for Catholics. In honor of this wonderful occasion, I'd like to quote St. John the Theologian from his Apocryphal Works on the Assumption of Mary
.Then the Saviour said: Let it be according to your opinion. And He ordered the archangel Michael to bring the soul of St. Mary. And, behold, the archangel Michael rolled back the stone from the door of the tomb; and the Lord said: Arise, my beloved and my nearest relation; you who hast not put on corruption by intercourse with man, suffer not destruction of the body in the sepulchre. And immediately Mary rose from the tomb, and blessed the Lord, and falling forward at the feet of the Lord, adored Him, saying: I cannot render sufficient thanks to You, O Lord, for Your boundless benefits which You have deigned to bestow upon me Thine handmaiden. May Your name, O Redeemer of the world, God of Israel, be blessed for ever.
And kissing her, the Lord went back, and delivered her soul to the angels, that they should carry it into paradise. And He said to the apostles: Come up to me. And when they had come up He kissed them, and said: Peace be to you! as I have always been with you, so will I be even to the end of the world. And immediately, when the Lord had said this, He was lifted up on a cloud, and taken back into heaven, and the angels along with Him, carrying the blessed Mary into the paradise of God. And the apostles being taken up in the clouds, returned each into the place allotted for his preaching, telling the great things of God, and praising our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, in perfect unity, and in one substance of Godhead, for ever and ever. Amen.
Thank you Jesus for the Blessed Mother! May we all grow closer to Christ through her prayerful intercession!
Labels: Holy Days, Mary, Tradition
On the Banks of the Tiber
Please welcome, Johan, to the Catholic convert blog-o-sphere. After years of study, feeling drawn to the Catholic Church, he has decided it's time to cross the Tiber and come home.
Please head over and give him a warm welcome!On the Banks of the Tiber
Welcome home, Johan!
Do Not Be Afraid
Matthew 14: 22-36
Jesus made the disciples get into a boat
and precede him to the other side of the sea,
while he dismissed the crowds.
After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray.
When it was evening he was there alone.
Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore,
was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it.
During the fourth watch of the night,
he came toward them, walking on the sea.
When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified.
"It is a ghost," they said, and they cried out in fear.
At once Jesus spoke to them, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid."
Peter said to him in reply,
"Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water."
He said, "Come."
Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus.
But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened;
and, beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!"
Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him,
and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"
After they got into the boat, the wind died down.
Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying,
"Truly, you are the Son of God."
After making the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret.
When the men of that place recognized him,
they sent word to all the surrounding country.
People brought to him all those who were sick
and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak,
and as many as touched it were healed.
It's interesting that this takes place during the "fourth watch of the night". This is the time of day just before dawn and is usually the darkest time of the night. I believe this is something I should ponder... Dawn comes only after the darkest hours. Christ is calling out to us to take courage in this hour of darkness and to not be afraid because He is with us. But, with this is an underlying promise that the morning will come and the darkness will fade away!
Another part of this reading that struck me was Peter and how faithful he had to have been initially to get out of that boat. And I see myself when he suddenly realizes how strong the wind is and begins to sink. How often in my own life do I doubt God? How often to I begin to follow his will and then decide it's too difficult, become afraid or think I know a better way?
"Why did you doubt?"
Can you imagine what Peter must have been thinking when Jesus asked him this? He had just walked on WATER and Christ was right there before him. He had just seen Jesus feed thousands of people with five loaves of bread and two fish. If it was difficult for him to have faith in this moment, how much more difficult might it be for those of us who have not witnessed such things with our own eyes? Our doubts are part of the human condition, but Christ is asking us, "Why do you doubt?" I realize that I must start trusting Jesus more no matter where He is leading me. What do I have to fear in following Him? Will he not keep me from sinking?
In the darkest hours, our faith is most difficult... but hope comes in knowing that the sun will rise and Christ is always present, urging us to take courage.
Lord, help me learn to trust in you. Do not allow me to doubt you in the darkest hours of my life. Remind me that you are with me always and let nothing keep me from following you. Amen.
And the winner is...
Thank you to EVERYONE who commented. This was so much fun that I think I may do this every few months or so...
I just want to let everyone know how much this Catholic blogging community has helped me on my journey. I have felt your prayers and encouragement. God is truly using all of us to help spread the truth about God and His Church. Though I don't know any of you personally, I do feel the connection we have as members of the body of Christ. You are my family and I'm thankful for each one of you!
Ma Beck, keep an eye out for an email from me... and congratulations!!!
In response to the "Anniversary" post comments:Wow... I'm truly blessed by the comments here.
Ma Beck - YOU are also an inspiration and your blog is one of my favorites. My goal is to visit St. John Cantius at least ONCE in my life!
Chad Toney - keep up the good work... your blog is great! Watch out for the trolls!
RobK - I love your perspective as a life-long Catholic... and your prayers and insight have always meant so much!
Tim - Another awesome blog full of things that inspire me to be a better Christian and to look deeper at my faith beyond the intellect. Thank you!
Angela Messenger - Each journey is so different... I spent YEARS in the wrong direction under the false concept of faith "alone". I was deeply broken at the beginning of this year and God smacked me with a brick and gave me sight. It's ALL in His time. Look at how God is using you now!
Therese - thanks for the comment! I'm going to check out your blog today! Peace be with you!
Damion - my love.... I never would have imagined it either! But I always knew God had a purpose for us and I knew we were meant to be united in ONE faith. The best words you EVER said were, "Just follow God wherever He takes you." The next best were, "I love you." Thank you for being patient with me along the way... Love you!
Labels: just for fun
TODAY is the ONE YEAR anniversary of this blog! All who comment today will go into a drawing for a free copy of Where We Got the Bible: Our Debt to the Catholic Church by Henry G. Graham. You must be willing to send me your address via email to receive the book.
Labels: just for fun
I've been taking a bit of a break from blogging and being online in general. Sometimes, the anti-Catholic venom and all the horribly skewed misconceptions really begin to bother me, so I have to take a step back and reflect on all the good and beautiful things about being Catholic... and all that God has done in my life in the last year or so.
I still fall short of making God a priority in my life so I'm making some small adjustments to change that. If I try to uproot everything and make a drastic change, I'll get overwhelmed and slip right back into old patterns. I've realized this past year that these things take time and patience and it's important to make changes with baby steps if I want the changes to stick.
I just started a six week study on being a disciple of Christ and I realize that before I can be "sent", I must know him better. I must be more firmly rooted beyond my intellectual understanding. This is where those small adjustments come in as I try to focus more on God's role in my life personally and as I strive to make Him the priority above all else.
Damion and kids
Joby - comfort and financial struggles (Matt 6:25-33)
Johan - as he crosses the Tiber
Dragan and his mother
All others who have no one to pray for them