Category Archives: Faith

Be Transformed

I have been incredibly blessed in my life to have a few truly spectacular people who provided me with strong spiritual direction.  The kind that isn’t always comfortable but comes from a place of love and TRUTH.  Friendships such as these are both a blessing and a challenge and the end result is  tremendous growth in faith.  One of these friends is Dr. Bob Schuchts, our former marriage counselor and now friend (not to mention nationally renowned speaker, author and presenter of amazing healing conferences!).  Time with Bob is thought provoking and soul searching, at some point ususally resulting in tears–but good, cleansing tears.

If you ever have the opportunity to attend one of the conferences of the John Paul II Healing Center, I strongly urge you to take full advantage of it;  you will not regret it!  Bob is the founder and we had the opportunity to experience one of his conferences, Unveiled, a marriage conference recently and it was phenomenal.  Truly.  Such a gift.

OK.  Ending my “Bob” commercial, but onto the author portion of Dr. Bob Schuchts and enter his newest book Be Transformed.  If you are looking for some Lenten reading or just a deeper dive into the sacraments, this is it.

In Be Transformed  we dig into the sacraments one-by-one and learn how they configure in our lives and WHY they are important.  We may recognize the importance of some (like Holy Communion and Marriage) yet others we don’t always get the up-close on or see the how they can truly transform our lives.  It moves you beyond Mass and moves you INTO the sacraments one at a time and reveals how all the sacraments are truly interwoven to grow us closer to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

One of my favorite parts of how Bob gets us to participate throughout the book is through HIM:  healing, identity and mission**  We are taken through each of the sacraments with personal stories, scripture verses and a view into our own hearts and relationship with Christ.  It’s a perfect format for a small group study, as well as on your own for contemplative and personal growth.  Each chapter has questions to reflect on and a scripture verse to be read lectio divina style as it applies to the specific chapter as well as your life.  Fair warning though, be ready to dig deep and understand that you will be doing some serious heart surgery.

I’ll admit that for me, personally, some of this book was challenging as it forced me to slow down and to listen to what the Holy Spirit was uncovering in my own heart.  It was a struggle for me in being so introspective.   As Bob’s friend, Simeon says, “Reading God’s Word is like seeing yourself in a mirror…….people are afraid to see themselves.”*** Nail meet head.  Ouch.

Do yourself a favor and add Be Transformed to your collection, you won’t be sorry!

***quotes from Dr. Bob Schuchts book, Be Transformed.

 

Ask, seek, knock

With growing kids, I truly want with every fiber of my being to wrap them in bubble wrap and orchestrate their every move, always keeping them close to Jesus and to mama.  However, although I want to do EVERYTHING for them, I know that in doing EVERYTHING for them, I do them an enormous disservice, and so frequently, we step back.  Way back.  Let them go and watch them fail.  Watch them struggle.  It is a painful process to watch sometimes and an internal struggle for the Hubby and I on WHEN to step in.

It is so hard to watch your kids grow through the tough stuff. Sometimes repeatedly.  They do grow though.  So do we.

When they DO succeed, it is with immense joy and celebration and sometimes even awe that we can rejoice with them as they taste the fruits of their labor and perseverance.

I imagine that is how God views us; He lets us go and do our thing, hanging back in case we need Him.  He encourages us through our struggles and cheers our victories.

Yet, He wants us to come to Him in our struggles, to seek His guidance and wisdom to receive His strength to power us through those times of trial.  The times we seek Him out, our struggles seem less lengthy, more manageable; when we try and and tough it out and “do it ourselves”, we often have a long and weary road and our troubles persist long beyond their term.

Let us remember, Matthew 7:7, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you”.

Practical application:  19 yo loses his truck key and reaches out to the parental units for assistance, from a random neighbor of a friend because his phone is dead.  Dad brings him his spare key.  An hour away.  On a Sunday night.  No hesitation.  No grumbling.  No guilt trip.  Because he asked.

Practical application:

  • any time
  • any where
  • any thing

One day, maybe I’ll grow up to be as patient as my Hubby.  Until then, I’ll just keep asking.

 

 

Time=Runaway train

Right now, I just came off Facebook reviewing all the back to school pictures that I missed this week……taking Facebook off my phone has been AMAZEBALLS, y’all.  Truly.  So freeing.  Anyway, I was perusing.  So fun to see how much my friends kiddos have grown.

I was NOT prepared for all of the first year of college send off pics that filled my feed.  One after another.  I see those smiley faces, bags, dorms, full trunks and I know this is what we do.  We grow them up and send them off.  It is the circle of life.  And I just want to cry.  Just a few minutes, a nice big cry in my bathroom, cathartic and snotty and be done.

And then our oldest turned 19 this week and since he nevers lets me take his picture anymore without a crazy face, I posted a throwback to about 12 years old and I’m dying all over again.

Then our almost 17 yo stayed at a friends after the football game last night and I’m just wanting to shackle them all to their rooms.  Forever.  And hug them and kiss them and squeeze them tight.  But I guess that would be weird.  So.  I won’t.

Top it off with the fact that I am on Day 3 of the St. Monica novena for our kids and the spiritual attacks are real.  I was truly mean and grumpy last night.  Embarrasingly so.  I owe my kids an apology.  Already gave one to the Hubs.  And the dreams last night.  So vivid.  So haunting.  So nerve wracking and I know right where they are coming from.  Thereby doubling up the prayers for all (and if you could offer up a few for me that’d be greatly appreciated!).

Anyway.  Father Time, cut the crap and slow this train down.  I’m just here trying to enjoy the journey!

Proverbs 22:6

Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.

 

Facebook + Politics = Inferno

At which point I remove Facebook from my phone.  Again.  And am taking the time to completely re-evaluate my friend’s list and purpose of my Facebook usage.  However, one should never act in the heat of the moment and in these next few months……pause might be a better reaction.  Rather than just slice and chop right now.  Maybe. Just maybe.

Here’s my political take, from a non-political and non-confrontational person.

I am a registered Republican and in the past that party has most closely represented my beliefs.  Most closely.  Not perfectly, but in comparison, the people in that party, voted more often like I did than Democrats.  I say this because, although a registered Republican I don’t believe that EVERY Republican deserves my vote.  I have voted Democrat in elections.  Whomever is closest to representing ME gets my vote.  Period.  End.  So, for me, there isn’t a huge die-hard party vote.  And quite frankly, I think that’s how it should be.  (My blog, my opinion)  You vote for who represents YOU, party shouldn’t matter.

Right now, I am not alone in daily having to pick my jaw up from the floor at the absolutely insanity of our choices for PRESIDENT. OF. THE. UNITED. STATES.

ARE.  YOU.  EFFING.   KIDDING. ME????

Anyway, back to Facebook.  Because I feel SO strongly against our Democrat and Republican nominee choices,  and again, I am not political……I believe that people will choose one or another because that’s what we do and when your choices are poop and crap, you pick one.  The people that drive me INSANE are the ones who actually STAND BEHIND one party and rail against the other, publicly and obnoxiously.  Like their person is the good one?!?!?  Is there a good one???  News flash:  no.  Which makes me wonder how in good and serious conscious can ANYONE even pretend their person is good and worthy of being President.   It is flabbergasting to me.

So, what does one do at this point if you are sorely lacking a cave or sustainable compound in the White Mountains?   For me, I just have to step back.  WAY.  BACK.  I need to re-evaluate who I have on my friend’s list and what I use Facebook for.   While I am friends with a wide variety of people, I am finding SO many “friends” with such toxic posts that I am realizing that I don’t really like them and so, well….that probably doesn’t make a good friendship.  Right?

At the same time, I have to truly sit down and look at ALL the choices and trust me, I am looking hard at the Libertarian choice for the first time in my life.  Which is so much work.  WTH is the Libertarian party?  I obviously slept through that American government class.  (Transparency here, folks….I gave full disclosure at the beginning as to my non-politicalness) So is that a vote wasted?  Well, not if enough people feel like I do.  At the end of the day, if I can live with my choice and vote my conscience and not the mob mentality, I’m ok with that.  At least I’ll know I voted MY values and beliefs and didn’t blindly follow the psychopathic circus.  And if I do….well I dang sure won’t be bragging about it.

I am Tracy and I approve this message.

Peace!

That’s a wrap!

Sunset tonight brings our vacation to an end.  We finished up with the monumental task of buying a new (to us) vehicle–about as much fun as a visit to the dentist.  Once we get a few things adjusted and it sits in our driveway it will be a little more fun, for now though it is a bittersweet moment for this sentimental sap.

We’ve had our “Green machine” since our oldest daughter was a baby.  14 years, 240,00 miles, countless park visits, potty training, beach days, sports practices and games, concerts, friend visits, family visits, school bus, taxi, girls weekends 2 new drivers, and longevity and dependability during the toughest season of our marriage.  She was and is a faithful girl.  She might currently be a little rough on the aesthetics (Florida sun and failure to wax regularly are a real thing) and drinks a little oil, but she is solid and beast!

Fortunately, to soften the blow, she will go to our oldest son as an alternative transportation for work and days when his motorcyle isn’t the best choice.  Which means the morning vehicle shuffle is about to get all kinds of interesting up in here and a car key hanger is going up ASAP in the kitchen for easy access.  In the grand scheme of life, these are minor inconveniences and not even worthy to grouse about.  Three cheers for our Yukon, well done, good and faithful servant and greetings to our Enclave.

May this next season be as fruitful and faithful as this one.

GREEN MACHINE

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

     There is an appointed time for everything,
    and a time for every affair under the heavens.
 A time to give birth, and a time to die;
    a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.
 A time to kill, and a time to heal;
    a time to tear down, and a time to build.
 A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
    a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
 A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them;
    a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.
 A time to seek, and a time to lose;
    a time to keep, and a time to cast away.
 A time to rend, and a time to sew;
    a time to be silent, and a time to speak.
 A time to love, and a time to hate;
    a time of war, and a time of peace.