Thank you to my friend, Amy, for sharing this beautiful video with me so that I could share it with all of you:
This recent blog post from Focus on the Family, This is what integrity looks like, was a heartwarming read, just knowing that there are many people of integrity still out there!
Read an excerpt:
“Earlier this month Robert Adams of Arlington Heights, Illinois, was waiting to use an ATM machine when he discovered something you don’t often see: a clear plastic bag containing $20 and $100 bills resting beside the machine. He later learned that the sack contained a total of $17,000.
Following some research and a trip to a local Chase bank, it was determined that the bag belonged to the Loomis armored truck company. Mr. Adams says he was never tempted to keep the lost treasure. “I don’t care if you put another zero on there, I wasn’t raised to take money that isn’t mine” he said.”
Read the whole post: This is what integrity looks like, and you’ll love the comments too. 🙂
More posts you may not have seen:
“The first bible printed in English in America was printed by Congress for the use of our schools.”
Check out this U.S. Capital tour with David Barton:
Recently, Pope John Paul II was beatified, and you can read more about that below from two of my favorite bloggers.
First, what is “Beatification”?
Beatification is the third of the four steps in the canonization process. A person who is beatified is given the title “Blessed”.
“True freedom comes not when I can do whatever I want, and that’s what the world says, right? The definition of freedom if I ask young people, ‘What does it mean to be free?’, they say, “Well I can do whatever I want. So you can do whatever you want, with whomever you want, however you want, whenever you want, and don’t tell me what to do, and I’m free.” But there’s also a saying that says, ‘If you do whatever you want to do, there will come a day when you do the things you never thought you would.’ Because we’re broken by original sin, we struggle. That is not the definition of freedom. The definition of freedom is being able to see what is good and being free to choose that good. That is when I am truly free, because if I can’t say no to myself, I’m a slave to myself! If I can’t say no to something outside of me, I’m a slave to that. We as children of God, we’re not called to be slaves, we’re called to be free! To be free in the power of Christ, and He comes for that reason, He comes to set us free!”
Watch Sister Miriam’s whole talk and learn more about Truth, self-sacrifice, and real freedom:
You will love this recent post from Hallee’s blog. She has such a sweet, compassionate heart (which is why she and Gregg are such a great pair), and her story really stirred something in me that has been brewing stronger lately… a deeper desire to do more for those who are less fortunate. See if it stirs you in the same way. 🙂
“As I write this, I’ve just come in from the soup kitchen. We had an incredibly busy day today and yesterday and the dining room stayed full almost the entire period for lunch. We saw a lot of new faces – too many. A man came and ate today as we were nearing the end of serving time. He was in his mid-fifties and wore very thick glasses. He ate two plates of food and after eating, he sat around for quite some time – until the dining room emptied. I’ve seen him before, but he isn’t a “regular.”
When almost no one was around, he asked me if he could speak to me. With the way he’d eaten, I thought he was going to ask for some food to take home, and I was already doing a mental inventory of what I could give him.”
Read the rest of the post: Psalm 40
Watch this video that will help you think of the Lord’s Prayer in a whole new way…
Here’s the text in case you can’t get the video to play:
Prayer: Our Father which art in heaven,
Prayer: Don’t interrupt me. I’m praying
God: But you called me
Prayer: Called you? I didn’t call you. I’m praying. Our Father which art in heaven,
God: There you did it again
Prayer: Did what?”
God: Called me. You said, “Our Father which art in heaven.” Here I am. What’s on your mind?
Prayer: But I didn’t mean anything by it. I was, you know, just saying my prayers for the day. I always say the Lord’s Prayer. It makes me feel good, kind of like getting a duty done.”
God: All right. Go on.
Prayer: Hallowed be Thy name.
God: Hold it. What do you mean by that?
Prayer: “By what?”
God: By “Hallowed be Thy name?”
Prayer: It means. It means…. Good grief, I don’t know what it means. How should I know? It’s just a part of the prayer. By the way, what does it mean?”
God: It means honored, holy, wonderful.
Prayer: Hey that makes sense. I never thought about what hallowed’ meant before. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
God: Do you really mean that?
Prayer: Sure, why not?
God: What are you doing about it?
Prayer: Doing? Nothing, I guess. I just think it would be kind of neat if you got control of everything down here like you have up there.”
God: Have I got control of you?
Prayer: Well, I go to church.
God: That isn’t what I asked you. What about your temper? You’ve really got a problem there, you know. And then there’s the way you spend your money – all on yourself. And what about the kinds of books you read and what you watch on TV?
Prayer: Stop picking on me! I’m just as good as the rest of those people at church.”
God: Excuse me. I thought you were praying for my will to be done. If that is to happen, it will have to start with the ones who are praying for it. Like you, for example.
Prayer: Oh, all right. I guess I do have some hang-ups. Now that you mention it, I could probably name some others.”
God: So could I.
Prayer: I haven’t thought about it very much until now, but I’d really like to cut out some of those things. I would like to, you know, be really free.”
God: Good. Now we’re getting somewhere. We’ll work together, you and I. Some victories can be truly won. I’m proud of you.
Prayer: Look, Lord, I need to finish this up here. This is taking a lot longer than it usually does … Give us this day our daily bread.”
God: You could cut out the bread. It would help you lose weight.
Prayer: “Hey, wait a minute! What is this, ‘Criticize, ME day?’ Here I was doing my religious duty, and all of a sudden you break in and remind me of all my hang-ups. Praying is a dangerous thing. You could wind up changed, you know.
God: That’s what I’m trying to get across to you. Keep praying. I’m interested in the next part of your prayer.(Pause) Well, go on.
Prayer: I’m scared to.”
God: Scared? Of what?
Prayer: I know what you’ll say.
God: Try me and see.
Prayer: Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.
God: What about Ann?
Prayer: “See? I knew it! I knew you would bring her up! Why Lord she’s told lies about me, spread stories about my family. She never paid back the money she owes me. I’ve sworn to get even with her!”
God: But your prayer? What about your prayer?
Prayer: “I didn’t mean it.”
God: Well, at least you’re honest. But it’s not much fun carrying that load of bitterness inside of you, is it?
Prayer: No. But, I’ll feel better as soon as I get even. Boy, have I got some plans for that neighbor. She’ll wish she had never moved into this neighborhood.”
God: You won’t feel any better. You’ll feel worse. Revenge isn’t sweet. Think of how unhappy you already are. But, I can change all that.
Prayer: You can? How?
God: Forgive Ann. Then I’ll forgive you. Then the hate and sin will be Ann’s problem and not yours. You will have settled your heart.
Prayer: Oh, you’re right. You always are. And, more than I want to get revenge against Ann, I want to be right with you. But … (Pause) … (Sigh) … All right. I forgive her. Help her to find the right road in life, Lord. She’s bound to be awfully miserable now that I think about it. Anybody who goes around doing the things she does to others has to be out of it. Someway, somehow, show her the right way.
God: There now! Wonderful! How do you feel?
Prayer: “Hmmm. Well, not bad. Not bad at all. I feel pretty great. You know, I don’t think I’ll have to go to bed uptight tonight for the first time since I can remember. Maybe I won’t be so tired from now on because I’m not getting enough rest.”
God: You’re not through with your prayers. Go on.
Prayer: “Oh, all right. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
God: Good! Good! I’ll do that. Just don’t put yourself in a place where you can be tempted.
Prayer: “What do you mean by that?”
God: Don’t turn the TV on when you know the laundry needs to be done and the house needs to be picked up. Also about the time you spend with your friends, if you can’t influence the conversation to positive things, perhaps you should rethink the value of those friendships. Another thing, your neighbors and friends shouldn’t be your standard for “keeping up.” And please don’t use me as an escape hatch.
Prayer: “I don’t understand that last part.”
God: Sure you do. You’ve done it a lot of times. You get caught in a bad situation. You get in trouble and then you come running to me: “Lord, help me out of this mess, and I promise you I’ll never do it again.” You remember some of those bargains you tried to make with me?
Prayer: Yes, and I’m ashamed, Lord, I really am.
God: Which bargain are you remembering?
Prayer: Well, there was the night that my husband was gone and the children and I were home alone. The wind was blowing so hard I thought the roof would go any minute and tornado warnings were out. I remember saying, ‘Oh God, if you spare us, I’ll never skip my devotions again.”
God: I protected you, but you didn’t keep your promise, did you?
Prayer: “I’m sorry, Lord I really am. Up until now I thought that if I just prayed the Lord’s Prayer every day, then I could do what I liked. I didn’t expect anything to happen like this.”
God: Go ahead and finish your prayer.
Prayer: For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen
God: Do you know what would bring me glory? What would really make me happy?
Prayer: “No, but I’d like to know. I want to please you. I can see what a mess I’ve made of my life. And I can see how great it would be to really be one of your followers.”
God: You just answered the question.
Prayer: I did?”
God: Yes. The thing that would bring me glory is to have people like you truly love me. And I see that happening between us. Now that some of these old sins are exposed and out of the way, there is no telling what we can do together.
Prayer: Lord, let’s see what we can make of me, OK?”
God: Yes, let’s see.
They played this at church earlier and I love it, so I’ve been playing it over and over on YouTube while I work tonight. It’s so uplifting and fills me with hope and faith that the Lord really can move mountains… Remember that tonight as you struggle with whatever cross you might be carrying in your life right now.
The story of Saint Maria Goretti is such a moving and beautiful example of forgiveness that it will not leave you, but it didn’t totally rock my world until I saw this show on EWTN one afternoon, a one-man drama on the life of Alessandro, the man who murdered Maria after trying to rape her.
(Unfortunately that short preview is all I can find online, but it is available for purchase here. It may be aired on EWTN again in June or July, before St. Maria’s feast day on July 6th.)
Alessandro stabbed Maria 14 times because she wouldn’t give in to his attack, and as she lay in the hospital, she forgave him before she died. Alessandro was captured and sentenced to thirty years. He was unrepentant until he had a dream that he was in a garden. Maria was there and gave him flowers. When he woke, he was a changed man, repenting of his crime and living a reformed life. When he was released after 27 years he went directly to Maria’s mother to beg her forgiveness. This is the part that blew me away. When she opened the door and saw him, she hugged him and said, “If Maria can forgive you on her death bed, then I can do no less.”
When Maria was canonized a Saint in 1950, both her mother and Alessandro were present.
Watch the following video to see more about Maria’s story, but it isn’t in English, so it’s a little frustrating. Read more about Maria’s life here.
Last year was the most stressful year of my life. (You may have already heard me whine about this on my Kitchen Kop blog, but hang with me, there’s a reason I’m whining again!) I was developing my entire Real Food for Rookies online class from scratch, and this included not just researching, organizing, writing and polishing all the content, but also building the websites for the selling page, where the content would sit, where the membership information would sit, and also the forum. I’m SO not technically gifted and didn’t have a CLUE how to do any of that. This is all from a person who just wants to research and write posts, which I was also trying to fit in. Figuring it all out and finding the time to pull it together was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
In the midst of all that I was feeling like a rotten Mom & wife, because when there’s so much on your plate, something has to give, and usually family suffers.
I also was feeling guilty that I wasn’t in a position to “do” much for God. Especially since my conversion I’ve loved helping others however I could, by volunteering at Church, being involved in this or that ministry, and feeling that I am making a difference for His people in some way. But at certain times in your life, you just can’t do all that you want to and I had to say “no” to many things. (Not a bad word to learn anyway, for those of us who easily find ourselves over-committing, more on that below.)
But I learned something neat throughout all this…
Even in the nuttiest times in your life, God will show you that there are still ways you can help others!
Here’s how He did that for me…
Last year our third grade daughter (who I’ll call “K”) became friends with a special needs boy at school (who I’ll call “B” for privacy reasons) who has a serious and life threatening illness. I’d known his Mom for a while but not well. When I saw her in the hall on the day of the kids’ Christmas parties I said, “I’ve been wanting to talk to you, K has been asking if she can have B over! Can I call you to find a time?” She said sure and told me later that she was so excited and hoped I’d really call, because he’s never been invited for a play date before. This so shocked and saddened me, that people would keep B at arms length like that. I still don’t really understand it, especially now that we’ve gotten to know him more – he is the most lovable kid! I’m only his good friend’s Mom, but when he sees me he throws his arms around me and says, “I love you”! His Mom has now become a close friend, and when I finally convinced her to let us have him for a sleepover, that he would be fine and that I’d sleep right with them (and finally let her get a night of sleep), she cried, because he has wished and wished that he’d someday get to have a sleepover at a friend’s house. When he was in the hospital a few times last year, it felt so right to make extra of what we were having and take their family meals.
The point to all this is something that came to me as I was delivering one of those meals last year, and the reality of it, of how GOOD God is to us, hit me so hard that it brought tears to my eyes:
He always gives us the grace and the means to help others, no matter our situation, wherever we’re at in life!
Having B over for play dates or sleepovers, taking their family meals, it all worked in my life. It wasn’t a burden in the least on my already crazy schedule. His Mom often went on and on about how grateful she was that K befriended B, but I tried to get her to understand that K loves their friendship too, it’s a mutually beautiful relationship and blessing in OUR lives. The fact that she and I have also become good friends is an extra gift. Especially at one particularly stressful moment last year when she was truly a Godsend as she listened to me bawl in her ear over something no where near as serious as what she’s faced with daily, yet she gave me great advice that I needed to hear: give it to God, trust Him, she’s had to learn that one over and over.
Another neat note to share on this whole story is that God does the same for B’s Mom.
She’s dealing with a seriously ill child, yet still constantly takes meals to others in need. She’s told me often, “There’s not a lot I can do for others right now, but I can cook and I can take people meals.”
One more comment on that “NO” word…
Even when things aren’t as crazy around here as they were last year, I’m still learning that it’s OK to say no. What may be one person’s passion and their ministry may not be yours. I often quote Max Lucado (in one of his books, can’t remember which) when he said, “If you want to know God’s will for your life, follow your passion.” That is now how I figure out what it is that the Lord wants me to say yes to, and what He’d like me to say “NO” to, and of course lots of prayer and some common sense are thrown in there, too. I may be passionate about something but know in my heart that now isn’t the time to take on something new. I remind myself that we won’t always have four kids at home with us, and I’ll have plenty of time to follow more of my passions later. For now I will put my family first, as I know for sure that I’m called to be a good Mom and to be grateful for these treasures in my life who, along with my husband, are my biggest passion of all. 🙂
- 100-word stories (Read my husband, Kent’s toward the bottom)
- Watch this short, beautiful video on GIVING
- Are you busy? Watch out
- Are smart people atheists? I ran into and had an interesting comment with an atheist last week so this topic has been on my mind.