The Temple of All Knowing by Lee Papa (Memoir Spotlight)

 

The Temple of All KnowingThe Temple of All Knowing (186 pp) is a memoir of one woman’s passage from personal and professional turmoil to spiritual awakening. A compelling straight forward and sometimes humorous account of the most personal of journeys as this 40-something woman finds herself in Sin City with promise of a new life, new husband and elderly mother living with her. She instead is uncovered as a central character in the deepest of possible challenges only to break through to discover her authentic spiritual self through a near death experience and a personal mission in Soul City – Las Vegas.

Book Excerpt:

The phone rang; it was Delphine. It was a Sunday afternoon early 2008. I took the call and moved to the denim-covered glider that was in my 3-year old son’s room to have the conversation.

My sister calling was not odd, but she opened with “Can you talk? I have an urgent message from Aunt Beatrice.”

My sister practices meditation in which she regularly communicates with Spirit beings and our dead relatives. In everyday conversation, Delphine would mention things like, “I spoke to Dad or Uncle John …” (both had passed), and relate a story or an emotional healing process she went through while receiving the communication. I thought this was amazing and believed in the possibility, when Delphine, or De for short, would discuss this other worldly messaging.

I would find myself having an internal dialogue debating if she was actually making this connection or was she delusional. When she would speak of something that she “received” from the Spirit world, and I would come to realize she could not have otherwise known, a fleeting twinge of jealousy peaked in the window of my subconscious. Could she really be speaking with Dad and Aunt Bea? And if she is, how come SHE is the one with this ability? I was not proud of it, but I was most definitely questioning the decision of the Universe to have Delphine be the messenger of heaven.

My sister was not the one of the three of us girls whom you would consider to be the “good” one or the most religious growing up, but actually to the contrary. She would have been described as the Bull in the China Shop by my mother, as the one most apt to finger point or cause trouble. Sophia, the eldest, had the first born light shining upon her by my mother and father, even though, she was what some would consider a problem child for she pushed the envelope of life in so many ways. Her antics included jumping out of the 2nd story building of our private high school to skipping class and developing the first female tackle football team in her teenage years, to much more complicated and explorative behaviors that provided my parents with reasons to call on prayer and saintly assistance.

Delphine was the quiet one as the middle child of our youth, until she found her voice later in her teens. She was often over-shadowed by the exuberance and manipulation of Sophia when she was being used as a co-conspirator for our eldest sister’s secretive escapades of the 1970s.  When I came around, my role of the “baby of the family” was not always appreciated by my older sisters, and as I matured, the less they liked this pedestal I was propped up on as “the good one.”

How is she doing it?  I thought. How is De getting these messages from Aunt Bea?

My elderly Aunt Bea had died more than 10 years earlier while in the presence of my mother, my sister, Delphine, one of my older female cousins, and me in the living room of our family home. I had lived in that house from the time I was born until I got married to my first husband, Anthony, at age 20.

Our house was a 3 bedroom, middle class row home in Baltimore City, Maryland. The 12 by 12 foot front room, where I grew up and where we watched TV programs on the console television that offered just three major stations for your viewing enjoyment. Although the room was small, when we were little and the family piled in to watch Sonny & Cher, it felt huge. As the entry room to our family home, I experienced most of my fond memories there. This is where we opened our Christmas gifts under our decorated 5-foot Frasier fir tree that stood seemingly tall, as if it could reach the stars on a wooden platform, to set the stage for this holiday focal point. In reality, the Christmas tree was no taller than the height I currently stand.

Christmas was a very special time in our Catholic family. Not overly religious, mind you, but the whole Santa Clause phenomenon was beautifully orchestrated with all the mystery and wonder that a child could hope to receive. The Christmas tree was secretly stored in the basement well of the stairs until we kids were all asleep and then my parents would work through the night to make a spectacular show of lights and hand-wrapped presents from old paper bags and twine adorned with our names scribbled on by “elves.” This was a tradition handed down from my mother’s family who grew up during the depression and fancy wrapping paper was a luxury. Christmas was magical!

After my parents would signal that Santa had indeed arrived, my sister Sophia and I would rush down the stairs to witness the light show of the tree, and we would tear through our presents leaving no time for individual gift lingering. Delphine, on the other hand, was not so quick; instead, she would slowly and methodically use her scissors to gently unwrap each gift with all the appreciation of an unwrapped Tiffany blue box that none of us had ever experienced. Later as we became adults, Delphine would prop herself preciously on the couch, and while filing her nails, would direct me to the spots on the tree that were missing lights and Christmas balls.

This is the same living room where my nature-loving father would let our hamster out of the cage while directing us three children to lie on the floor and make a circular barrier with our arms. That little chubby, furry rodent was a family pet, and we loved him. My dad loved animals, so we had a bunch of them from Dutch rabbits, to hamsters, cats, and frogs – but never a dog. My mother was afraid of dogs. The hamster outing was strategically orchestrated during the time of my mother’s weekly visit to the Farmers Market in downtown Baltimore across from the corner row house where she grew up, and where several of her sisters still lived. Mom would not have tolerated such nonsense and activity on her prized oriental rug. This was the room where my Aunt Bea allowed me to lie down on the sofa when I was a child, and she would stroke my head and rub my back until I would fall asleep. She had such a loving and confident manner. I always felt safe with her.

My mother’s side of the family was the most involved and influential in our lives, especially Aunt Bea. She was the family matriarch, our lifeline and leader.  She was loving, intelligent, strong, certainly had her opinions, some may say controlling ones, but if it weren’t for her emotional and financial support, we and her sisters’ and brother’s families would not have had as many essentials provided for and certainly not any niceties.

She was a savvy businesswoman, so deferring to her made sense. For her era, Aunt Bea was super cool and open minded, rising to heights in her profession at C&P Telephone Company when women were just starting to be acknowledged in the workforce. She was a petite woman with an incredible sense of style and pep in her step that oozed confidence and excitement for the possibilities of life. It also made it difficult to walk with her as she was down the block before you had taken your first step. Aunt Bea never married, but made her siblings’ families her own. Sometimes the involvement would have been considered today as “too much.” There is usually a price to pay when you are being rescued. But I loved her and I thought she was amazing, just as my mother did.  Aunt Bea was my mother’s best friend.

Aunt Bea believed in reincarnation before it was an accepted concept to consider openly, as this was the 1950s and 60s when my sisters and I were born. We were raised in a devout Catholic family, and such things were not dinner topics, nor was it on our radar at that time.

As easily as it was for me to pull up these cherished memories, it was the hope and promise that communication could continue from beyond death.

 

PUYB Meet the Author

Lee Papa’s start in the corporate world was in sales for the Hyatt Regency Hotel chain, which led to being head hunted by a NY based real estate developer. Lee spent the next 11 years as a key employee working in commercial real estate leasing and management in Baltimore, Maryland. Although, commercial real estate was now in her blood and she loved the art of the deal, a different road in the industry was presenting itself and that brought her to heading up the benchmarking division for a Los Angeles based real estate consulting firm. Her job had her traveling nationally and setting up programs to benchmark customer satisfaction. Understanding there was not a one shoe fits all approach to customer surveying, she embarked on her entrepreneurial journey and started with consulting to serve the customized needs of her clients.

Lee’s first book, The Temple of All Knowing, is a memoir of her several years journey prior to her near death experience, through the completion of the 6,000 square foot Ganesha Center in Las Vegas. The book details the roadmap from personal darkness through spiritual, emotional and physical transformation.

Since the completion of the manuscript the Las Vegas Sanctuary for the Spirit evolved by moving to a downtown Las Vegas location and now offers targeted classes and workshops while focusing on a Virtual Ganesha Center supporting individuals and corporations with programs and a Referral Network with expansive reach for optimal awareness.

For More Information

My Dog’s Adventures (Sentry)

     How do I start except for saying my poor dog. First, she fell off of the wharf on Sunday and last night she got locked in my husband’s workshop for the night. I was teaching religion and while I was gone, it started thundering, which Sentry is deathly afraid of, so she kept following my husband, Jeffery, in and out of his workshop. Once she observes a routine, she becomes complacent so she must have stayed inside for a while and when he closed up, she got locked in. That was around 7pm last night because that’s when I drove up and I assumed she was under the house because of the rain. 

    This morning I went out to walk and I called and called and rang the bell – no Sentry. I looked under the house, in her house, in the barn – no Sentry. By this time I am getting frantic (remember, I am SO good in a crisis) and I am almost in tears telling hubby that he has to come and help me because I can’t find her. THEN, the idea came to me that she may be in the workshop (has happened before) and so I knocked on the door and she started whimpering. She doesn’t bark when I call her; which I do not understand. It would make my life so much easier. I wouldn’t have to panic quite as often. 

     When I opened the door and out she ran, she followed my trail back and forth and round and round before she came to me. That trail was a definite indication of how frantic I was quickly becoming. She is perfectly fine now but probably won’t go in to the workshop for a while.   Getting back to our Sunday event when Sentry toppled off of the wharf – what a frantic time again! My husband and I were sitting in the swing on the wharf enjoying the slight breeze and peacefulness. Sentry was lying in her usual spot – the edge of the wharf – watching the fish jump and the minos swim by. She is fascinated by them. It all happened so quickly that I’m not sure what exactly happened, but the next thing I knew is that she was in the bayou! She just seemed to roll right off of the wharf and SPLASH!

     Of course, I am sooooooo very helpful in a crisis. I did the only thing I could think of – I started screaming! Now, we all know how much that helped. My husband was sitting right next to me – I am fairly certain my screaming did nothing to alert him to what he had already ascertained – the dog was in the water. Now most people probably wouldn’t panic. They know dogs can swim but you have to remember – this is MY dog and she’s never been in anything deeper than the ten inch ditch in the back yard; and that, she just splashes in. She still had her leash on – thank goodness – so we (make that hubby, not screaming me) were able to guide her around the pilings and the crab trap and the fishing line, 20 feet down the wharf to ground. None the worse for wear, she shook a few times and went right back to her spot, you guessed it, on the edge of the wharf. 

     Fortunately, life went quickly back to normal and we went back to swinging. (Little did I know that there would soon be another crisis…….)

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It’s in The Little Things by Gayle Suzane (Excerpt & Guest Post)

It's in the Little Things by Gayle Suzanne on Closed the Cover

Do you believe a happy life is meant for others but not for you? Are you ready to shift energy and improve your life?

Our lives can be inundated with trials and pain. Somewhere in between our struggles we might lose hope for living a fulfilling, enjoyable life.  You may have suffered from bullying, addiction, rejection or other forms of hurt that has left you feeling badly about yourself.  We might believe that a happy life is meant for others but not for us.

It’s in the Little Things is a book about loving God, loving yourself, and loving others.  Through personal experiences, stories are shared that can transform your life.  Some stories are lighthearted and others are more emotional and deep.  Most have messages of how to appreciate seemingly insignificant events in life and how to take small steps to improve your circumstances.  These little things can have a profound impact on your life.  This book is designed to inspire, uplift and guide you toward a life you love.

  • File Size: 801 KB
  • Print Length: 220 pages

Gayle Suzanne is a Certified Professional Coach and Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner (CPC, ELI-MP), workshop facilitator and speaker. She has a deep desire to help those with self-esteem issues and those who have dealt with rejection, bullying or emotional abuse. Gayle has a passion to empower and inspire people to see their gifts and talents and the beauty within. She has been described as compassionate, humorous, insightful and intuitive. She is a mother, wife and step-mother and lives in Charlton, Mass. She is a member of International Coaching Federation, New England Chapter.

Guest Post by Gayle Suzanne

I am entering my 50th year. My body is starting to show signs of aging.  I’ve had my share of aches and pains – jolting me into the reality that I’m not 20 years old anymore.  I now enjoy Sunday afternoon naps.  I prefer staying in on a Saturday night snug in my jammies by 7pm.   Appears that the tiny little lines near my eyes have settled in for the long haul, even though I’ve desperately tried to remove them with expensive cream.  The fact that I’ll have to go to my hairdresser every 6 weeks for the rest of my life to cover up the one inch gray halo that outlines the edge my face… and now I realize that my eyebrows need a color boost too (I tried plucking out all the gray but realize that if I continue I’d soon be eyebrowless…)  Things that were once perky are now droopy.  My once taut neck resembles something served at Thanksgiving dinner.  I’ve had to accept that I just don’t remember much anymore.  Sometimes I look at a piece of celery and can’t remember what it is.  The memory loss comes and goes.  This is my daughter’s pet peeve with me – she will tell me something 5 times and it just doesn’t register.  It’s not that I am intentionally forgetting, it’s like my brain is too full.   Then I’ll repeat the same thing 5 times in a row.  We’ll find the cell phone in the fridge or the car keys in the silverware drawer.   My vision is not great – one eye near sighted, the other far sighted.  I can’t hear much now either.  I mis-hear lots of stuff too. Lyrics to songs – forget it.  For years I sang the song In My Midnight Confession as Immaculate Conception!   I now appreciate Easy Spirit and Clark footwear.   My most recent sign of aging – if I laugh too hard sometimes I lose control and a piddle a little.  Ugh.

Yet in my heart I still feel as young and crazy as I did in college.  For over thirty years my college roommates and I have gone to Cape Cod for girls weekend. We are silly, zany and nuts – we crack up and love life.  We basically revert back to giddy teenagers (well, I do anyway).  We jump in bed with each other on Sunday morning, making goofs and tease and taunt.  It’s harmless fun – we go out to dinner and playfully fight for the front seat (well, I do anyway) come home, have a drinky poo, crank up the stereo and dance in the living room.  Last time the song Maniac from Flashdance blasted on the radio and we pulled out a portable potty and did the Chair Dance on it (well, I did anyway).  Last year I took a trip to Florida with my roommate.  Her condo happens to be right up the street from a former teen heartthrob – so what would a mature almost 50 year old woman do?   You got it –  we belted out “I Think I Love You” outside his house at 2 am.  Wonder why he didn’t come out and take a picture with us?  So, the next day we went back to his gated home and my friend (who I might add is 1 year and 2 months older than me) proceeded to dig through his garbage to find a souvenier for us to take home.  She came up empty handed as her search was cut short when a police car rounded the corner.  She literally had 3 seconds to run back to the car and shift into gear.  I didn’t witness the whole scene because I was scrunched down beneath the dashboard.  I do have my pride you know.

So even though my neck might wiggle a bit, I know at heart I’m young and fun and vibrant and free and certainly not feeling that I’ve been around for as long as I have.

Age really is just a number.

Galye Suzanne will be on tour along with a giveaway. The full tour schedule and rafflecopter can be found through this link: http://www.closedthecover.com/its-in-the-little-things-virtual-tour.html

Excerpt from It’s in The Little Things

The “Cool Crowd”
It is interesting to think about the whole concept of the “cool kids.” The ones I grew

up with picked on and humiliated some of the nicest kids I knew. Marie was picked on all through Junior High also. She was sweet, smart, kind, silly, and interesting. Her parents were strict and she was sheltered and shy. She minded her own business every day on the bus and during school, yet she was tortured every day. Some days watching her being tortured by other kids took the focus away from me and I felt relief because at least one person was picked on more than me. I always felt guilty about that, but she was my wall of safety. I remember one day we were on the bus on the way home from school and her stop was the street before mine. She was in front of me waiting to get off and the bus stopped short. She lost her footing and fell down the steps and her butt was stuck in between the door and the first step. Everyone behind me on the bus roared with laughter. That happened forty years ago and I still remember her face– the embarrassment, the shame, the humiliation. I still remember the vicious laughter surrounding her.

I’ve thought about that incident many times over the years. That fall could have happened to anyone standing in that spot. The cheerleader, the football quarterback, the pot head, the pageant queen. It was so unfortunate that it happened to Marie. I think of people that have been picked on and their lives may have been molded by the abuse they suffered. The image I had of myself was molded by others. I felt worthless, damaged and no good.

In more recent times, I recall an occasion when I was at a school sporting event. I was sitting alone on the field. Down the field there was a group of five women who usually sat together and always seemed like they were having a good time. I usually sat by myself or with another friend, yet I would say hi to the group of women as I walked by. This particular day my friend was not at the game so I sat near the other women and initiated a conversation. I tried to make small talk for a few minutes but did not get a warm response. I honestly felt like I was back in Junior High School. Their coolness implied that I was not good enough to be in their company. I was forty-one-years-old. I thought it was ridiculous. I felt slightly rejected and a small pang of hurt rushed through my body. I stayed where I was and did not continue in conversation. I sat quietly and watched the game. Then one of the mothers started saying negative comments about one of the kids on the field. As she rolled her eyes, she said in a rude and disgusted manner that the young girl was not running fast enough and should not be playing that position at all.

It’s in The Little Things has 23 5 star reviews. Check it out and purchase  It’s In The Little Thingshere:

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It’s all about life – Tuesdays with Donna, A Little Southern Comfort

It’s Tuesday. Welcome to a Little Southern Comfort here on My Life. Just so happens today is also my birthday. I found myself wishing it didn’t fall on this day because I write my column on Tuesdays. While most people enjoy celebrating their birthdays, I do not. It has nothing to do with age. I am now 56 years old. See – no problem. My not celebrating my birthday has to do with life.

If I celebrated my birthday, I would find myself making a wish as I blew out a candle; and because we all want that proverbial wish to come true, we tend to wish for something that will come true. You have to admit that we all hedge our bets. I can’t do that. I would wish for my two daughters to put their anger aside and to be part of my life, an honest part with no pretense. I have wished and prayed for just that for seventeen years. It hasn’t happened. And so, this is why some birthdays, theirs and mine, are bittersweet.

Yesterday was my sister, Debbie’s, birthday. She lost a battle with Leukemia at age seven. I was five at the time, and as anyone who has lost someone dear to them will tell you, the loss never goes away. And, although I have my very own angel in Heaven, the gloom lurks near by.

As Tuesday was approaching, I didn’t think I’d have much to write about this week, but turns out, things began happening. I’m still trying to navigate my way around my new Mac Air. I have to admit that by Saturday night, I was wishing I had left it on the Apple tree (so did everyone else!) I was attempting to use Quickbooks for Mac. photo (7)I’ve been using Quickbooks on my PC for about six years now and easy peasy. On my Mac, I had a menu strip down the side of my screen as well as a menu across the top and then the open page in the center. Once I figured out what was going on (just as I was picking up the phone to dial Quickbooks help) everything made sense.

Then, I had to close the file and finding it again proved to be a scavenger hunt. After a few texts to a friend, I managed to not only locate the file but even move it to another folder. Thanks Jessica! Yeah Me!

I have another good friend whose little boy started school this year. He has a few developmental problems and his little immune system is compromised. This means she needs to stay nearby in the event another of his classmates is sick and she will need to pick her little boy up so he doesn’t get sick. We haven’t been able to have lunch together for a while so I told her we needed to do breakfast instead. What fun! She came over and we had fun that only two chocoholics and puff pasty addicts could have. We wrapped chocolate in puff pastry, put it in the oven, and sat down to wait – impatiently! When the pastries came out of the oven, we sprinkled – okay, dumped – the confectioner’s sugar on them and then laughed like only kids can do. It was the best breakfast and visit. We’ll have to do that again soon Lynette!

We almost had a hurricane blow through. Call me crazy, but Hubby and I both attribute our good fortune to all the people on the bayou praying the “Hurricane Season Prayer” that gets prayed every Sunday in mass. We live in Southern Louisiana about 60 miles southwest of New Orleans and all the rain was on the east. God listens when two or more are gathered. The proof is in the pudding!

My cousins that have been in from Georgia came to visit on Friday. They left on Sunday to go back to the place on top of the mountain they now call home. I miss them already. I pass their house in New Orleans every time I head into the city to Ochsner for a doctor appointment or blood work and I could always count on calling and saying, “I’m passing by, want company?” I am quite lucky to have them in my life, even if it’s not as often as before. I really miss the great meals I was served on those days.

The tide has been high due to the disturbance in the gulf and on Sunday the bayou was finally beginning to flow back south. Water lilies were floating by in droves and as Hubby was checking his crab traps, a few came close enough to the wharf to snag a few blooms. They are really pretty and I love sitting on the swing behind the boat house photo (2)watching them float by. It is very peaceful if you can tune out the traffic.  There will be pictures if I can figure out where they are on the computer. That’s makes me laugh, because I hit download and they disappeared. (Obviously, I did find the pictures.) I am also wondering why it was so easy to find them. Someone is playing a trick on me.  I am also including a picture of the bayou. So many people do not know what a bayou is and we get asked that question frequently. In other parts of the country, it is called a river or a stream, etc. Here in the South, it is called a bayou.

photo (4)photo 1

It is also pecan season, at least in our yard. We have a pecan tree that produces every two years. And, of course, Hubby decides to check to see if the the steady wind that has been blowing has knocked any to the ground. I say this because we are on our way back from the boat house and there is no container except our pockets to put them in! photo 4photo 3

I am also including a picture of Calypso and Ryka (laying down sleeping) sitting guard at the base of the tree. We had a squirrel for the first time this year and they know it’s up there. For someone who chases her tail and can’t sit still, Calypso is

photo 2

holding a quiet vigil waiting…

According to my planner, I have books to read for review so that’s My Life for this week. Hope you’ll stop  by again next Tuesday for a visit.

photo (1)photo

“Oh Lord, it’s hard to be humble”…Tuesdays with Donna, A Little Southern Comfort

It’s that time of the week again! Hope everyone had a wonderful week. Other than loads of rain the past few days, there hasn’t been much going on. 

 

Hubby had to make a trip Sunday afternoon to Lowes for paint. He’s trying to finish up a rent house before the building permit expires next month, along with the Builder’s Risk Insurance. I normally go with him, but this time I had something different in mind. Remember the Planner Addicts group I belong to on Face book? Well, Michael’s is just across the way, so I managed to inquire (with a very passive face) if he would mind dropping me off so I could browse while he made his trip to Lowes. Silly, silly man. He told me yes. I don’t know if that expression or plea will EVER work again!

 

project life 2013 | june
project life 2013 | june (Photo credit: vee*)

 

The automated doors opened up and the entire store was there, waiting for me to descend upon it. I’m sure Hubby wasn’t to the Lowes parking lot before my buggy was showing signs of distress under its load. I picked up a few more of the $1 items for gifts at my annual cookie swap in December. I thought it would be nice to have loads of little gifts this year instead of a few more costly items. That way, everyone could win at the games. But, that wasn’t where I stopped. I headed over to the Project Life isle. I have a plain brown binder and I was looking for something a little more colorful. Sure enough, there it was! A beautiful, colorful, chevron Project Life album sitting there waiting for me. I picked it up and gave it a place of honor in my buggy before heading on to the Washi tape.

 


I had begun decorating my planner for October and realized that I had no orange or black Washi tape. I didn’t want to use another color because I have the cutest Halloween stickers that I am using. After gathering the items I had come for, I took the opportunity to just wander up and down the aisles. Michael’s is a huge store and there are so many goodies! As I was coming back down one of the isles, I happened to look up and noticed the line of Sunday shoppers at the checkout counters, so armed with my 40% coupon (which I planned to use on my Project Life binder) and an additional 20% off my entire purchase coupon, I took my place in line. 

 


I called Hubby to see how his trip was faring and he was in the check out line at Lowes. About the time that I was walking out of Michael’s, he was driving up to the door. That was great unplanned timing. And, he never missed a beat as I loaded my HUGE bag of a “few little things” into the back seat. You have to give him credit. He didn’t blink an eye. Men just have to know that if they drop their wives off a ANY store for any length of time, that she’s going to come out with a bag, and it just may be the biggest bag that store has to offer. 

 


Monday is normally mow the yard day for me. That is, unless it’s raining, which it has been practically the entire summer. My schedule has been – mow the grass when it’s not raining. I had just begun mowing the front yard when it began drizzling. I checked the sky and saw that we were in for rain, but as long as there was no lightening and it was only a light rain, I continued to mow. It wasn’t long before my mind was doing its normal thing – wandering. At some point in my “wandering” I realized that I was getting a little wetter than I should be and happened to tune in to my surroundings and realized that it was raining pretty hard. I mow with my big straw hat and it was acting as an umbrella so that I didn’t realize it had gone from a drizzle to an almost downpour. You ask, “How did I not figure that out?” Folks. This is me. Need I say more? 

 


By that time, I figured I was already wet so as long as the mower was still blowing grass (meaning the grass wasn’t so wet it was clumping up under the mower instead of blowing out of the tunnel) I would continue mowing. About the time I finished up the front yard and was heading to the side and back yards, it had stopped raining and the sun was in all its glory. By the time I finished up, I was dry.

 


The next project up that I was about to just ignore was washing the bottom of the garage door. Calypso chases her tail and has made it a habit of cornering it against the garage door. She is not the cleanest dog around as she loves the swimming pool and the mud holes. Combine that with rubbing against a white garage door and it won’t take long to realize it’s not a pretty picture. Hubby kindly told me – my dogs, my mess. That meant clean it. Not that I mind. Poor man. He works long days and he’s tired at the end of the day. 

 


I gathered up the bucket and soap and a water hose and went to work. It is now a pale gray at the bottom and I’m thinking I shouldn’t have cleaned the top too, because now it is really noticeable how much its stained. Then, as soon as I finished, that silly dog went back to chasing her tail next to the door I had just cleaned. So much for that job being successful!

 


Now I am on to a rant. Our church just recently instituted a family of the month and minister (lay) of the month program. The recipients this month are close friends of mine, and if anyone was a a deserving family, they are. They are wonderful people and I feel blessed to a part of their lives. This “rant” of mine is in no way meant to diminish the honor I am certain they feel for receiving this award.  In fact, I had already written this post when I saw on Facebook that they had been chosen as family of the month. 

 


Ever since this program has been in formation, Hubby and I have been discussing the merits of it. Neither one of us think that the program should exist – for a litany of reasons. We also decided that if our names ever came up (which after this rant, I’m sure they won’t) we would decline the award. 

 


There is already so much division in the church and we feel that this will cause even more division – the people you “see” doing versus those who quietly do. The question is – should the church be bestowing awards on its congregation for what they should already be doing – and that is, being good stewards of faith?

 


There are many ways to serve in the Catholic church; altar servers, lectors, commentators, Eucharistic ministers, organizations, etc. I choose to be a lector, not because of the recognition I might receive, but because it is my way of serving God. I am a good reader and that talent is God given and I know that I should use it to serve Him. Hubby is part of the music ministry and he will be the first to turn the praise from himself to others. He is a very humble man who is quietly carrying on the legacy of his mother. I will not expound on the deeds that he does because that is between him and his God. It is not my place to praise him to others, although in the privacy of our relationship, I do let him know how proud of him I am. 

 


That being said, not everyone is comfortable being in an organization or reading in front of people, etc. Because no one sees them, does not mean they are not good stewards of their faith. Should those who are unable to put themselves out there not be recognized as well? Not being from the area, Hubby has pointed out different people and told me their stories and how they help people. There are many humble people out there who wish to remain anonymous, and they should be allowed that anonymity. 

 


After I published this post, my friend (award recipient) messaged me. And, no, she wasn’t upset with me. I think she would be okay with me saying she actually felt the same. In her words, “I do it for God and for love of my community.” And she does. She is a quiet, wonderful human being with a huge heart and a faith that I admire.

 

I also found out that it is a committee that nominates, and this again, struck me as being so wrong. I want to stress that this is my opinion, but to me, that is judging and it is not our place to judge. I would not want to be a part of a committee sifting through the congregation to determine who the humble are. 

 


The question is, should we single out any one person over another? What about those who do things only for the attention they receive? Should they be recognized over someone who sits quietly in the pew Sunday after Sunday, but helps his neighbor every day? We are called to be humble servants of God, not “awarded” servants of God. 

 


Who are we to judge who is or isn’t worthy of receiving an award here on earth? Shouldn’t our reward be bestowed in Heaven? I’ve heard it said that if we “toot our own horn” or receive our awards here on earth, then there is no reason to be awarded a second time in Heaven. It is those good deeds that go unnoticed, except by the Almighty, that will be our saving grace. 

 


And, not to mock the seriousness of my rant, but this song plays over and over in my head when I think of being humble, or when I notice someone else not being quite so humble. Maybe it’s just my strange sense of humor, or maybe it’s because we all struggle with humbleness. 

 

 

I’m sure I’ve stepped on a few toes – or, maybe not. So feel free to speak up – kindly though – or your remarks may be removed. 

 

 

 

 

 

From the Heart – Sundays as a day of enlightenment

   Sundays – they always seem to be a day of enlightenment, a day of renewal.

         I returned home a short time ago from our “normal” Sunday morning activities. Each Sunday morning, Hubby and I, along with many others from church, visit the local nursing home to say theRosary with the residents.

         Not normally one for making friends easily, I have become friends with an older couple who come to the nursing home for the Rosary on Sunday mornings. I have also grown quite fond of a friend of theirs who is a resident of the nursing home; and when one of us is not there, we are truly missed.

         There is an older gentleman referred to by everyone as “Coach”. I have no idea if he was a coach, but he loves sports. He has also become somewhat of a preacher and on most Sundays, shares a messagewith those gathered. This morning was no exception. He shared the story about the lion who wanted to eat a mouse and how the mouse convinced him he would not be full if he ate him. Then, later in the story, the lion was caught in a net and the little mouse chewed a hole in the net and saved him. Then the lion and the mouse became forever friends. I may be the only one who did not get the moral of that story, but I did get the moral of the second part of his message.

         The second part of his message this morning was about deciding to be happy. Each morning when you open your eyes, you can decide to be happy or you can decide to be miserable. This was the second time this morning (and it is not lunch yet) that I received this message. I was reading the thought for the day from Joel Osteen and his message centered on how we make the decision to be happy or not to be happy. We can dwell on past unhappinesses or we can start the day brand new with a smile.

         This message hit home with me because on so many days, I wake up thinking that today is going to be the day I do not allow past hurts to sneak in; and on so many days, that is exactly the opposite of what happens. Today, after hearing that message twice in such a short span of time, I am determined more than ever to adhere to it; to make it my mantra, and stick with it.

          We pray for God to grant our wishes, but when he does, because they are not exactly what we prayed for, sometimes we do not see the granted wishes. I prayed that my daughters would want to hear my side of the story, my reasons for divorcing their father, and to understand that I did not abandon them. They have never asked or been interested in my story; so I have harbored hurt and anger in my heart about the divorce.

         God has chosen to answer my prayers in a different manner, in a positive way. So, today, I am shedding the cloak of gloom, the cloak of hurt and anger, and I am choosing to move forward with a smile.

         It is no wonder that Sundays are considered a day of rest. God works hard to open our eyes to his blessings. He definitely needs the rest.

         Happy Sunday to everyone. I hope that God answers one of your prayer requests today.
           **Be sure to check out my primary blog at http://mylife-in-stories.blogspot.com  Thanks!