Faith

Podcast 50-Embracing Change

Happy Friday, I am your host Linda Gullo and this is Podcast #50.   Welcome to Mini Miracles from Minor Moments where just a few tiny changes can make a big difference in your happiness.

This morning I was listening to Satellite radio and the guest was talking about a book he wrote on Ignatian Spirituality.  It encourages a person to reflect on their day and search out things that have happened.  It is used as a means of recognizing how God is present and working in our lives.   It is a means of growing closer to God and seeing all the wonderful things coming our way.   It also reminds us to be receptive of good things and aware of how we might be better to others.

Well this whole week has been a series of small incremental steps in getting projects done.  I decided to share some of them with you as a means of allowing you to think about things happening in your own life.

Please listen and enjoy.

 

Recognizing One Another

Today as we extended the sign of  peace to one another at church, I was surprised to find a friend of mine sitting across the aisle!  I was immediately embraced and felt so good to see her.  When you walk into your house, no doubt if you have a dog, it will be there at your feet wagging its tail and greeting you.   Going to pick up the mail and finding a letter or card from a friend is always a great way to find joy in your day.

In a recent Mini Miracles from Minor Moment Podcast, a Business Acquaintance I have known for some 18 years talked about “RELATIONSHIPS.”   People need people to get through their day.   Whether we like someone or not, they are around us when we go into a store, at church, or at the local post office.   People can make our day wonderful by returning a smile or simply by acknowledging our presence.   Isn’t it great when someone recognizes you or even goes out of their way to help?  I was at a store one day and dropped a few things while fumbling to hold onto my purse.   Another person in line, bent over and handed my the coupon I had dropped.   How very thoughtful they were to even notice my problem.   That is just so kind in this day and age when everyone is in a hurry and almost ignorant of those around them.  How affordable is it to give a few minutes of joy to another person?

How are you doing at recognizing other people?   Do you remember their names or something special about them?   Are you willing to go out of your way to help your neighbor?   I love using Linked-In.   It reminds us that people are celebrating work anniversaries and other accomplishments.  It gives us an opportunity to write a note if we wish to do so.

Do you think social media is good at helping people feel recognized?   Facebook “likes” have for some reason taken a back seat for me.  It seems like a “cop out” when we don’t send the birthday card or make a more intentional effort to recognize others’ Birthdays.   As much as we care about certain things, it is not meaningful to hit a like icon, as much as it is to go out of our way to actually connect with  a person.

Please think about someone else today that could use a smile, a recognition, or a call.   Make your time even more relevant today. Reach out and make their day a great one!   Delight in Living!

 

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It’s Mardi Gras

Well I have come to love the Liturgical Seasons. They help us  enjoy different periods of time and remind us that life is indeed a journey. Some of  these times include the more popular Advent, Christmas, Ordinary Time, Lent, and Eastertime. They help us embrace the seasons of our lifetime.

Today is a Day of Celebration among Christians called Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras.   People are closing down the last 2 weeks of Celebrating the arrival of the 3 Wise Men (celebrated in January) today with fun.  In New Orleans there are Parades,  colorful beads, costumes, and people dancing.   Today  is traditionally a day when people eat the rich foods of their ancestors.

Tomorrow is the beginning of the Lenten Season.   It is Ash Wednesday when people recognize they were dust and will return to dust.   Ash Wednesday and the Lenten Season have  always been meaningful times for me.  My parents set the example for us and I recall the damp, cold, days that often went past Easter.   We received Ashes on our foreheads.  The ashes are from the Palms of the past year (s) that parishioners bring back to their church to be burned.   It is also a time of minimizing our desires.   We offer prayers, sacrifices, and alms during the next 40 days.

Every year I focus on something different.  One year I went to all my doctors appointments, saw my dentist, and took care of the things I had put off.   Another year, I focused on doing things for others and reaching out. As a child, I gave up candy.   Sometimes people take time away from television or their social media to pray more.   Others visit their home bound friends and  people in the hospital.   One year, I used Fridays as a means of visiting churches and being more prayerful.

If you are one of those unfortunate people going through a painful time in your life, you may wish to offer it up for a special intention.  God Bless everyone,  as they walk their journey starting tomorrow.  I hope this time enriches your life well.

In life our days turn into weeks, months, and years of opportunities. I love the symbols of the circle and wreaths so this one is now in the office to welcome in my patients and clients. Peace in your days!

But this period is a time of self reflection too.  IF you are so inclined to honor these days, I wish you 40 days of insight, sacrifice, and self discipline.   If you give up your daily latte, you may wish to donate the money you’ve saved to a charity.  That is the “alms” part of doing without so someone may be enriched.

I recall one year that I kept changing my focus, but I got a lot out of the changes I made.  It made me aware of all the things I could be doing to be a better person.  Perhaps it is a time to sit quietly and stop the “horse race” that seems to be the way of today’s world.

Perhaps you have also thought this through and would like to send me your ideas?   I am always appreciative of what other people enjoy doing.  Have a great day today!  Delight in Living!

 

 

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As a College Student

As a college student, I spent a few years working at an artificial flower company during the summers.   I saw that the flowers  were being shipped into the United States from other locations.  As they arrived into the warehouse, they’d be sorted, glued, and assembled into beautiful arrangements.   Some of them were sorted, marked, and sold to dozens of big chain outlets.  These would be comparable to the Walmart’s, Target’s, and Hobby Lobby’s of  today.

It was a hot factory where people were thankful to have jobs.    In the morning when I arrived, I punched into the company in that area of the building.  I got to meet many hard working and lovely people.  Already temperatures were soaring and  hot at 7:30 in the morning.   Do you work in a factory?   What are the conditions of where you earn your living?   Are the people pleasant or resentful and negative?

Each summer I worked there I had a different job in the offices.  Creating billing, typing manifests, following up on orders, and working on an International Switchboard.  I learned a lot there and grew.  Jobs create opportunities for our mental well being and tech us to be relational.  We don’t always make a monetary gain, but hopefully we benefit ourselves and other people.  For me, it helped me pay for the next semester at school.

If you are in business, a wife working at home, or a student, chances are you are far from being self centered.   We learn along the way that we are to live for others.   Our happiness comes from doing things for other people and serving in our communities.   And when we put ourselves in the shoes of others, we become more compassionate.

Lent is around the corner and a time to be more self sacrificing.   It is a time to do more outside our comfort zone and to learn from our mistakes.   May your flower arrangements become those of the living kind.   Present bouquets of kindness during the next 40 days.   It may mean keeping silent with criticisms.  Or reaching out to those less fortunate even though you don’t want to do so.

Maybe it is time to take a personal inventory of what you are doing habitually.  I hope to indulge less in the things I am tempted to do, like drinking diet coke or taking the car instead of walking.

Whatever you do decide, “Delight in Living” and share that with others.

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Have You Ever?

Have you ever felt like you were in the midst of a puzzle?   You were a piece in the middle of a bigger picture, but you couldn’t figure it out?  Well you are part of a bigger picture. 

You are important. You were put here to serve and to help others find their roles and identity too.   We may feel like a dot when one looks at all the other people in your home, your community, or your state, but you hold a prominent place in life!   I am convinced that we are here with an internal spirit of joy. We may never know why, but we are to forge ahead with conviction, and drive.

We are being nurtured and schooled from the time of our birth.   Each person so unique and skilled in some area.   Perhaps you are the comedian in your family?  The class prodigy in school?  The efficient worker at the company you created?   Are you contributing to your community food pantry and helping to feed your neighbors?  Are you the prayerful person who helps support others during their trials with medical issues, schooling, or decision making?  Are you one of a large family?  Or are you alone?

I am obviously a puzzle fan.   I find great clarity in assembling something from a bunch of pieces.  It is what I do for a living!  I listen to stories and help people with their life’s direction.  I help them sort out what is a priority at any given time and to put a healthy spin on it for them.   I help them to re-frame the picture

In other words, what we have learned along the way, allows us to grow in that realm.   I am not a linguist from I know a few people who excel in languages; they help others communicate.   I know people who are excellent in math or science and see the world in numbers and disease control.   Delight in whatever skills you possess.  Use them and share the quality of life you have and seek with other people.

Look for the mini miracles around you, for the people who are nurturing you, and for the opportunities that keep presenting themselves.

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How Did You Do That?

Well this morning I was walking into my office with my protein drink, which I always put in a fast food plastic cup.  It was in temporarily tucked in between my body &  my arm.  I also had two bags on the same arm and keys in hand.   I got through the two doors after negotiating the  locks, alarm system, and suddenly felt the drink falling.  I stood still and looked down.

It had fallen upside down into one of my cloth bags.   It had not dumped.   I literally said “Praise God”.   What a gift from above!  I would have had a big orange mess of froth and juice all over the place.  Now that is a mini miracle.  And it had not opened into the bag either or all my papers would have been doused. ! 

Next I went to return calls and had to check on something important for the office taxes.   Wow, I got through right away and even had someone who knew the answer to my question.   Mini Miracle 2 just played out.

Little victories in life help make us more tolerant and focused on the resolutions of other problems.  Everyone reading this has had annoying things happen and when they do our dispositions are often turn grumpy.

As we enter into Mid-February, our days may be gloomy; the sunshine may be  taking a vacation.   It becomes harder to stay on task.  Maintaining a good workout or any other New Year’s resolution might be harder to stick with each day.   It is easy to get soured.

In the last few days, I have been praying for many people.   4  individuals dealing with cancer, 4 people with vision issues, young people struggling, and then a list of other concerns.   I will look back months from now and see so many of these prayers were answered in wonderful ways that  I wouldn’t have expected.    I try to go back and highlight the blessings to remind myself how well things go when we pray believing.

Years ago when I taught High School Religion, I taught them that technique to illustrate that we are truly blessed in many ways.  I am also very thankful when things are average.   Average is good and reminds me how “off script” life can be when our health, jobs, and other variables go astray.   When things do go wrong, offer prayers of gratitude for the things that haven’t changed.  Graditude carries us forward & creates hope.

These may include: 1- Good prayerful friends to help power you forward. 2- A house to shelter you.  3- Family that is supportive.  4- Financial status to pay today’s bills.  5- A working car even if it is old that gets you around.  6- An education that no one can take from you.  7- Professional help like a doctor, counselor, CPA, or other person knowledgeable about the situation.  

This list can go on, but you get the idea that there is always something to help keep us humble and thankful.  I also like to think that when one is in the dumps, there is another person who isn’t in the dumps to help us out!

Have a great month my friends and forge onward.  Look for the Mini Miracles!

 

 

 

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Watch Your Steps

Are you comfortable with stepping outside of your comfort zone?   The practical side locks us into what is safe and easy.   Think about your approach to seeing a new doctor,  traveling to a new place, trying a new job, or learning a new profession.

Do you approach new things with fear and trepidation or joy and confidence?  Where does your confidence come from?   Do the people around you help or hinder you?  Are you empowered from a deep faith?  Are you secure in your own talents and education?

So much of how we approach life begins in the early years with our parents or care givers.   We may start out adventuresome and get stymied along the way.  Our genetic makeup certainly chimes in as to how we react.   As adults we are often set in our ways and don’t branch out into new territories unless we are pushed.  Some people feel they can go the road alone; they do not feel a community around them is a big help at all!

I watch a dog that resides across the street from us.   He sits under the trees and looks like a statue as he keeps an eye on the squirrels above.   He will keep watch fearlessly as if it is his duty.  Unlike this dog, we are not all that patient.   We do not see things clearly.   We are not provided for with our housing and food, nor do we have a “dogs life” of leisure.  Our goals need to be defined.

Pathways lead us to new and exciting places.   Sometimes they are smooth and easy to navigate; other times they are merely places to step.  Where they take us is unknown.   As a child walking a mile to school each day, I’d play games hopping over the grooves, reading the engraved signatures of the cement company, or counting my steps.   I knew the path took me to a destination.  

Life creates pathways we do not always appreciate.  We forge ahead through obstacles like health issues or loss of family members.  Our jobs are eliminated without sufficient warning causing us to panic.   There are the unexpected expenses that come from hikes in taxes, cracked septic fields, broken appliances, or the medical costs of a broken leg.

The direction of where we step next becomes unknown.  There are times when we feel ourselves going in circles.   We do the same chores repeatedly, visit the same stores, make the same appointments and feel unappreciated.  So, who can help you break the cycle of feeling this way?  Or do you like the familiarity of routine too much to leave it?   There is a good and bad side to everything!

Thanks to the windows of opportunity that come along the way, we are able to rebound.  Recovery comes along with advancements in careers, money from inheritances, information from the internet, or a professional that can direct us into  a new direction.  Sometimes a prayer is answered in an unexpected way and the sun shines into our lives.  Those times are so relished and we need to recognize them and give thanks.  Those are among the mini miracles that come to us.  Give thanks!

 

“Asking for help is wisdom, not weakness!”  Knowing who and how to ask is a learned skill.   We need to do that with prudence.

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WHEN IS IT THE RIGHT TIME?

WHEN IS IT THE RIGHT TIME?

When our children were younger we decided to attend Saturday evening Mass to avoid the crowds.   We’d sit near the back of the church.  Behind us was a doctor from our community who attended weekly with his wife.  I’m not sure we were the best family to have settled in front of them, but I am sure we did add some humor to their lives.  Most of the time, the kids napped over one of our shoulders.

In order to keep our youngest busy, we carried a small bag of Cheerios with us. As you may have already guessed from where this story is going, that a bag spilled. Of course, we had cheerios everywhere like confetti after a party.  It was not a pretty sight and one that still is vividly fixed in my mind.   They were under pews and in the aisle.   It was near the end of the service and people were quietly praying. An “a-oh” was sounded by the smaller child.  Our 5 year old leaned over to me and whispered  “should I pick them up NOW? or just wait?”
And so ….

Life is like the cheerio story,  sometimes we spill.   We make mistakes.   We have to make a decision about a job and pick the wrong one!  The  car breaks down; we take it to some place and it turns out to be the wrong place  for a repair.  Do we keep the car and have it fixed?   So many of our life decisions make us wonder “when is it the right time?”  Are we making the best choice? The solution is simple.  Just pick up the pieces, clean up the mess, and go forward.

Mini miracles may happen when we fix our sights upward toward the heaven and ask for direction.   Almost instantly we get a direction to call someone or a complete stranger makes a comment that focuses us elsewhere.  Being open-minded is good.   It allows us to grow and question things we otherwise might miss.  I personally recognize that God created everything, including me.  He does have a plan for me and you.   We need to be open and willing to hear about it.   Taking time in silence and prayer is most helpful.

Someone gave me a small devotional book this past November.   JESUS CALLING; Enjoying Peace in His Presence by Sarah Young.   It is a great little book.   I do not read it day by day, but will often sit and dwell on a few days at a time.   The scriptures that apply are listed so one can go to the bible for your own insights.

Life has taught me to take one day at a time.  I recognized this a long time ago when my mother and dad were both very ill.   I could not prevent things from happening and I could not fixate on the problems.   I was very busy keeping things status quo for myself, them, and my small children.

Often the answer of how to handle things become crystal clear after a good nights sleep.  Sharing the issue with a reliable person may also help to resolve the problem because of added information from them.

Selecting the right time to sell our home, change doctors, get a new car or job may be problematic.   Solutions come in many packages, “all problems are temporary” and many decisions are not!

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Who would you like to know?

Life is strange and the people who make an impact on us may have lived generations ago.  I am not talking about the Babylonians, the Phoenicians, or the Indigenous Australian folks, but instead about the people around you.  Are they stars from Hollywood, icons in your field of endeavor, or just the simple minded people that somehow left an indelible mark on your life?

Often I’d like to be a fly on the wall at the Golden Globes or Star Studded event.   I wouldn’t want to participate, but just watch how everyone is interacting.   Some people appear so fictitious that they could be out of a story book, while others seemingly enjoy themselves.  What are we to learn from those present and those past?

I’d love being on tour of several college campus’. There I would want to interact and meet the students.  It would be great to learn what they are interested in and their stories.   People fascinate me.  When I have traveled, my best conversations with people were spontaneous.   In Edinburgh, Scotland many years ago I recall talking with young adults at a bus sign.   They were on their way the local University and chatty.   In a few minutes, I felt so welcomed to their town. I hope I encouraged them to continue with the pursuit of their dreams.   Do you know what your dreams are now?   Are they different every year?  Perhaps that is why people make new year resolutions.

What are you doing right now?  Are you literally on a break?  Perhaps you are just finishing your workout and stopped to read a few blogs?   Are you in the midst of writing a book, repainting the kitchen, or an executive meeting?  The things we do everyday become so commonplace and we take them for granted.   What do you take for granted?

Be sure you embrace your identity!  Find the things you love to do and do them.  Hug your loved ones and accept their choices.   That is always hard!  In the process, focus on who are the people  you want to meet. Engage, connect, and embrace one another.

Love freely given without anything in return.

Life is too short and once someone is gone, it is too late.   I do think though that hugs go way beyond life when they are given freely and with love as shown in this picture.   We try to wrap our arms around so many things in this day and age and sometimes we need to just step back and absorb all the good things in life.  Think about the people you’d like to meet and reach out to them.

Catch your Mini Miracles everyday and see how they will grow into wonderful surprises.

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Father, forgive them. . .

This morning as I was standing in the shower, the temperature of the water changed and the pressure was less.   I realized that my husband was also using the water.  Normally, I would have yelled across the house to let him know I was showering, but since I know he couldn’t hear me, I hesitated.  Instead a few other thoughts came to mind.

I thought, wow, how selfish I was to think he’d have to be the one to shut the water off.   Secondly, I knew it was not an intentional thing.  My husband has a heart of gold. He’d go out of his way for me.  Plus it was simply a temporary inconvenience for me.

The next thought that flooded my mind was how grateful I was to have a warm home and the ability to shower whenever I wanted.   I had heard a man from a poor town in Africa share. He was a grown man when he came to the USA.   Someone had invited him to stay with a congregation of priests and study.  He had never seen running water and didn’t even know such a luxury existed.  He was surprised to learn all one had to do was turn a knob and water would gush out.

I can’t imagine what that would be like after not having water available to him.   Even the water he had had to drink was contaminated.  He lost a brother to drinking that same water.   The difference was that he received one full meal a day from a missionary society that provided lunch at school.   It was why he had stayed in school.  Namely, he was so hungry that school seemed like the answer.

And then the words of our Lord, while he hung on the Cross rang out in my head.  “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”  (Luke 23:34)

Now, I am not a Bible scholar.  In all honesty, I should be reading and studying scripture more than I do.   It was odd that in a few minutes I file-dec-02-11-22-33-amhad totally changed my mind and heart about the situation.   This was indeed a mini miracle!!!   I have been praying for patience and a kinder, gentler attitude.

Often we are always am feeling rushed and do far too much.  I hear that from so many people!   We have expectations that we place on ourselves and those we love.   We get easily annoyed and become horrible to live with on a daily level.  I do think the Lord nudged me into thinking through my actions this morning.

Have a great day and “Delight in Living!”

 

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