Tuesday, October 6, 2015


Not the real Pope...

Did you know the Pope is determined? I bet you didn't. I sure didn't, but Norah says so, so it must be true. What would make my 9 year old daughter call the Pope, "determined?"   

But, I'm burying the lead.  The papal coverage didn't turn out as I expected and my Beauties seemed to find the loop hole, the real gotcha...

Our house was wall to wall papal coverage. I didn't move from the sofa during the Pope's visit to the U.S. I didn't take calls, didn't want to talk to anyone, just wanted to watch and learn.  OK, so that may be a slight exaggeration, I moved to make more tea and snacks.

Once the Beauties got home from school, we would watch the recaps of the visit. I was delighted to see many of my DC friends at the events. I saw oodles of friends I adore getting hugs and selfies from the Pope on CNN. The priest who is now a bishop; the one that baptized our Miss Norah, was on the altar with Papa Francisco. It was a bit like old home week, but the connection to our new faith community here in Santa Barbara was also included in the trip. Our parish is one of the California missions, which traces its founding back to Junipero Serra our newest Saint. It's amazing how my East and West coast lives seem to connect.  

But I digress, back to Papa being determined.

I have shared that we attend a family mass every Sunday (in the Junipero Serra Chapel!). It's a bit more laid back for families, not as formal as Mass in the main church. During the sermon, or what we call the homily, the Pastor often asks questions, to both the adults and the children. Father Charles asked the question, "What do you think of when you think of Pope Francis?" No surprise to those of us who love our Norah; her hand shoots up in the air in the crowded church. Hers was not the first hand that was called. Responses were as you would expect, "humble, Christ-like, loving, compassionate, merciful."

Then Father sees Norah, and with a big voice she answers, "DETERMINED!"  Not what he expected, but he loved her answer.


I think that is what the Pope is attempting to share with us, his determined delivery of mercy.

Ian and I had a complete 12 year old's experience. Ian was feeling a little too cool to want to watch wall to wall coverage, but on Sunday, while Jeff and Norah were out running errands, I cornered Ian on the sofa and bribed him. You do have to pay to play in my house. Ian, you want electronic devices, settle in and watch the Pope's homily and offer me some feedback. Then and only then will you get some screens. I don't feel guilty at all!  So with some hurumps and a few sighs, Ian settled in on the sofa and listened. At one point, Pope Francis talks about family life and how we need to treat each other with respect and love. He went on to share that we shouldn't be yelling at each other, that we need to show each other mercy. I'm paraphrasing, but you get the idea.

Well that sold Ian.

"Mom, wait till Norah gets home and I tell her that THE POPE said not to yell at your family, that it's basically a sin."

Now to be fair, I'm a voice raiser myself, but goodness we love her, Norah has used her vocal range to some success more often than we like.  Her older brother was delighted that during the forced religious time, he scored a gem, the biggest emerald a boy could find to hold over his little sister's head... "Nooooorah, THE POPE said, no yelling...."

So here we sit in our post Pope visit world, reflecting on the impacts it has had on us. We need to revisit several of the passages on mercy, because we currently seem to be in a torment our siblings mode, not quite what Papa Franciso had in mind.

While I sort through the unintended consequences of wall to wall coverage... I will try to find some mercy and love to spread around.

In the meantime, we are DETERMINED to try our best to eliminate the yelling in our house.  

Baby steps.

Peace be with you,

Thank you for walking with me this week and always. I do use social media to keep in touch. You are welcome to find me on Facebook, Instagram or comment below. I personally answer all my correspondence...and I'm always glad to meet another traveler. xo

Photo Credit: PilgrimageGal

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Sharing My Journey...

I love that I have met so many of you through this journey. Our Pilgrimage, our truth, our complimentary stories that overlap and create a quilt of love. Your square in that quilt warms my soul on the darkest days and wraps me in grace each and every moment.  I never question how the best loves in my world just fall into my life.  It always feels the same, as if I have known your soul for eternity.

You became part of my journey, because the Divine created a special space that belongs to you. You each hold the job of teacher, friend, guide and shepherd. Each of you show me a unique face of the Divine, a deeper connection to love.  I never question each and every gift, I just recognize that God has a plan and I'm trying to be open to this journey that is mine and love with open arms.

Which always leads me back to words on this page.

I'm often asked, how long does it take for me to write a post. That my Lovies is a difficult question to answer. Often it's quick, I sit down and the ideas pour out of me, I feel the Spirit is whispering in my ear and moving me to share my truth. Other times it is nearly impossible. The words won't come and I feel as if I have nothing to share. That I'm empty and I'm drowning in silence and agitation. I have found a pattern when these times have occurred, and it has occurred in the last month. I have found it difficult to share my inner life.

I have held back my truth, I attempt to sugar coat or make my life seem something it is not.

That has been the struggle of the last month. I have attempted to phone it in... and you have called me on my foolishness. I love how you know me so well you can feel the change in my spirit and have asked for clarification and just checked-in. That is accountability. We are called to be accountable to each other and to be open and honest as people who walk in the light.

The real truth is my health at this moment stinks. I have been in the doctor's office more than I like. Blood tests, and heart scans, the foolishness of chronic disease. I honestly just feel sick. When I'm sick, the cocktail of medications that I have makes me tired and edgy and well just not me!

A quick recap on my health is in order here: I have benefited from a therapy that has supported me for a few years. Sadly, the blocking mechanism is no longer preventing inflammation. My lungs are paying the price and I'm in constant thoracic pain. I have been in denial for three months, claiming the hot summer, the busy schedule and many other excuses, that take the gaze away from the truth. I'm regressing and I don't know what my medical team can offer.

To be honest it has been a difficult burden, I feel a little cheated. I have been spiritually obedient, I moved away from my beautiful East coast life, open and willing to forge a new one here. Only to find the road here much more difficult than the one I left. I have made some dear and lovely friends, but my health is tricky, my family and longtime friends are all back East. I have little support here and my husband travels constantly.

Yet in my heart, I don't want to go back.

I love that my husband loves his job, my Beauties are blossoming into beautiful tweens.  I love the weather, I love the lifestyle, and I love our faith community. This is my home and I'm grateful. The best way to describe my emotions is that I feel like the second semester of freshman year in college.  You love the school, but you are homesick for the familiar, you want things to be just a tad easier.

Whenever my health falters, I want that easy life. I feel entitled. But why? I honestly have everything I need. My health while painful, is stable. I'm not going to be hospitalized or die from this set back. Is the quality of my daily life greatly diminished? Yes. I don't have a moment in my day that is not filled with severe pain. Do I have the right to be angry? Of course.

But at the end of this pity party for one, who benefits from my frustration and despair?

The answer is clear, no one does.

I have a choice.

Will I look into my dark place and find what really is causing my disappointments? And honestly add voice to these thoughts? The answer is, yes. I will own my feelings and say...

I'm tired of suffering. I'm tired of not getting God's attention to make my life just a little bit easier. Not being willing to say, Why me? Why isn't my life cake, filled with rainbows and unicorns?  I look at others who seem to have a much easier journey. And I'm ANGRY!


What is crystal clear is that my anger and despair will change nothing. Not a thing! What I have learned is that despair is a cancer. When given space, it overpowers you, until you are gone and all that is left is a shell.

I'm choosing to find joy. Because joy is infectious (in a good way), it is affirming, it is well, joyous.

My journey's horizon will widen because of this set back. I will meet more doctors, and in all of this suffering, I will meet more special people like you, who are on this path and part of the beautiful quilt that God has chosen for me.

That is all the medicine I need to find the hope and faith I need to continue on this Pilgrimage.

So if this week finds you filled with less hope and more sadness: do something to expand the joy in your circle.  This week, I'm tasking each one of you to send five messages of hope. It can be to anyone be it a stranger or the people you love. It can be an email or a postcard or a phone call, maybe you pay it forward with a nice note to someone you see everyday. Or maybe some cookies or a dinner for someone needing a lift.

Five messages of hope. Just think if we all did that this week. Shared a little bit of hope--our world would be incredibly more joyful.

So there you have it.  My life is bumpy right now, really bumpy...

But I need to run, we are taking dinner to two amazing families that need a little food joy from the Ferguson kitchen. One had knee surgery and the other had a baby... We are making pasta bolognese. My whole house smells like Italy! It's Monday and we are spreading a lot of love in Santa Barbara!

Hope you find time to spread some love and joy this week as well.

Peace be with you,

Thank you for walking with me this week and always. I do use social media to keep in touch. You are welcome to find me on Facebook, Instagram or comment below. I personally answer all my correspondence...and I'm always glad to meet another traveler. xo

Photo Credit: Pixabay