Saturday, April 13, 2013

I went to look at my forgotten blog today.  Hard to believe it's had over 9400 hits since I joined Blogger. It's been over 3 years since I last updated here.  I've put some writing since this time into the "notes" section on Facebook, but Blogger has been neglected.  I lost my heart for writing, but am hoping to soon have it back.  There have been many times I was going to start a piece, then wouldn't follow though.  I want it to be honest and come from my heart.  Maybe for right now, I just keep my own personal journal, and something will come from that.  We'll see. 

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Dreams

“God's love consumes us, owns us, and then—we often miss this part—He gives ownership of our life back to us, except now we're connected to His love, assistance, guidance, grace, light, truth, and correction.”~ Paul Coughlin My daughter and I were talking tonight about our dreams. We laughed about how stupid some of them can be, like the ones where you dream you are still in high school, trying to pass a test, and then you realize it’s been many years since you graduated, or ones that are about doing the dishes, or things like this. For as long as I can remember, I’ve dreamed of being lost inside a huge house, unable to find my way out. Doors would open into empty rooms, or the rooms would have parts of the floor missing, and I would have to carefully step around to find my way out. In some of the dreams I would be climbing staircases that went nowhere, or would lead up to attics that I was afraid to venture into. These dreams were often frustrating; it was if I was searching for something I could not find. And as me and my daughter talked tonight, I realized that I haven’t had one of these dreams in quite some time. I tried to remember just when it was that I last had one, and I think they stopped almost a year ago, probably around the time when I joined the Catholic Church. So much of my life has changed in that time. Actually, nothing is the same anymore. Where there was once despair, there is peace. The moment I opened my heart back up to Christ, He came in and took over, and gave me the life I had always dreamt of. At first, it was so easy. God owned every part of me. I was so caught up in the joy from this, and it consumed every part of my life. Over the months, the intensity of this faded somewhat. I had to look at some things from my past and deal with them. I questioned why I was going through some problems, and what was I supposed to learn from them. A few times, I felt completely alone, although I knew that I wasn’t. God was probably closer to me at that point than I realized. All of my problems were and are not magically solved, but I now have the grace of God to deal with them. I think the reason I had the dreams of being lost in the house was because I was searching for something, and that the reason they have stopped is because I have finally found what I was so desperately looking for, the infinite love of God.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Christmas season is upon us once again. As I unpacked the holiday decorations this year, I came across my copy of the letter, written by “Santa Claus” that I had given to a little girl several years ago. Her name was Cheyenne, and she was from Barberton, Ohio. Cheyenne was the daughter of a woman who had been married to my husband’s cousin. After their divorce she had remarried, and Cheyenne was the daughter from her second marriage. Our family often joked that we wished we could have divorced the cousin and keep his wife in the family instead…The first time I remember meeting Cheyenne was at a family funeral when she was about 4 years old. She was so sweet. Following the funeral we went to a relative’s house. Cheyenne was crawling around on the floor, acting like a puppy dog. We all laughed so hard at her coming around to all of us, barking and begging for food. It was a humorous ending to a sad day.And while I never did get a chance to know Cheyenne real well, I can tell you that the little of what I did know made an impact on me. In talking with her, you felt like you were talking to someone much wiser than their years, an old soul in a young body. In November of 2004, Cheyenne was diagnosed with 2 rare forms of leukemia. The prognosis wasn’t good. I wish I could explain why this disturbed me so much. I barely knew this child, yet I could think of little else but of how I could help her. I went to visit with her and her mother a few times after she was first diagnosed. Understandably, all Cheyenne really wanted to do was lie on her couch and watch her beloved Disney movies, especially the ones with the princesses.The place where I was employed during this time was having our holiday party and raffle. I was still recovering from a bad bout of pneumonia, and I asked my daughter to go with me to help me set up for the party. The gift baskets for the raffle were really nice, and some were pretty lavish. There were themed baskets for everything from various kinds of lottery tickets, to baskets for movie nights, pampering yourself, sports themes, culinary…just about any hobby or interest you could imagine. I bought my tickets, and proceeded to visit the baskets to make my choices on the ones I wanted to try to win. A lot of the women at work had been eyeing this one, big, pink, cardboard treasure chest for weeks that was filled with Barbie dolls and other things a young girl would like. Having no use for it myself, I passed it by. As I went around the room and deposited my tickets in various boxes, it suddenly dawned on me what I could do if I won that basket. With no self-doubt at all, I turned to Katie and told her, “I’m going to win that basket, and I’m giving it to Cheyenne.” Katie smirked at me, but I knew I was going to win. I didn’t have many tickets left, but I put my remaining ones into the packed pink box. It was one of the most popular gifts in the room, and the ticket box was stuffed full.Even though I had a strong feeling that I was somehow going to win the Barbie basket, I was still floored when they pulled out my ticket. I was crying on my way up to claim my prize. Word quickly got around the room as to why I wanted that gift. You could say I won by chance, but I think something bigger had a hand in that gift finding its way to me. The next thing that happened in the following days left me with no doubt of this.

I was still amazed at how I had won that basket. I ended up winning another one too, but I couldn’t tell you now what was in it. It didn’t matter. All I could think about was getting this to Cheyenne for Christmas. We exchanged some of the presents in the basket for more age-appropriate ones for her, and gave those to 2 needy children. People I worked with who had heard about the Cheyenne and the basket also added some gifts. I bought holiday stationary, and “Santa Claus” whipped up a letter to her with an explanation as to why the basket was being delivered via me and my husband early on Christmas Eve. All this was going through my mind as I was driving my car a couple of days later. I was listening to a program on the radio that Leeza Gibbons was hosting. Some of you may remember that she used to be a host on “Entertainment Tonight years ago.” During her radio show, this ad came on about how her show and Kmart were sponsoring a contest to give away $500 Kmart gift cards to people who needed help for the holidays, all they needed was for people to write to them to nominate someone…I thought that there was surely no way they could hear this child’s story and not give one to her. I wondered if I would be able to write it in a way that would make them understand that this child needed their help. I got on the Internet, and gave it my best shot… A couple of days later, I got this telephone call at work. It was a man asking me my name, and told me I would be getting a call 2 minutes later from Leeza Gibbons. I had won the first gift card that they were awarding from the contest. I can’t even begin to describe how I was feeling at this point. So many things were going through my mind. Leeza did call back, and our conversation was recorded to be play on her radio show later that night. We discussed the situation with Cheyenne. After that night, the whole listening audience knew about her too. The gift card arrived a few days later, and was added to the basket. On Christmas Eve, Jim and l delivered this bundle to one very special little girl. She was still lying on the couch, watching her movies on their TV. The procedures to halt the cancer had been started, and she was so weak. She looked at what she could from the basket, but quickly lay back down. We stayed for a while, and then left. The day after Christmas, Cheyenne’s much needed television broke. The gift card was used to buy a new one for her. You can say that this was all chance, and that it was a coincidence that these gifts just happened to make it to where they were most needed. And I can’t say that you would be wrong with your thinking. But I chose to believe there was something more going on then mere coincidences.

Cheyenne lost her fight with cancer on September 4, 2007.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

New ways to evangelize

Are the days of going door to door to talk to people about God obsolete? Probably not, but as our lives have gotten busier, you might have an easier time reaching people through Internet social networking sites such as Twitter, Myspace, and my personal favorite, Facebook.

I first heard of Facebook from my daughter back when it was still just for college students. I also heard of the horror stories caused for students who posted too much personal information or pictures of themselves that might cost them a future job if a prospective employer would happen to see the pictures.

Eventually Facebook opened up to anyone who wanted to make an account. I made one, but deleted it not long after that as no one else I knew was a member. Late last year, after Facebook membership exploded in the United States, I decided to opened another account. In time I found many of classmates from my old high school, and we've had a lot of fun getting reacquainted with each other. But I think the most amazing thing is how my church, St. Nicholas Byzantine Catholic Church in Barberton, Ohio, has used this resource to reach people all over the world.

As activities and events happen at St. Nicholas, they are photographed and/or videotaped, and then posted to Facebook and YouTube (http://www.stnickbyz.com)

With the click of the mouse, these items are shared all over the world. Many members of our eparchy have Facebook accounts and can see what we've been up to. Our priest and his family are from Slovakia and can easily send these events to family members and friends back home. But anyone on the Internet who happens to come across our website can also see these activities and what an active parish that we have, and possibly be persuaded to make a visit to our church.

As society as a whole changes, Christians need to adapt to reach people in these new formats. There will never be a replacement for talking to people face to face, as this is the most effective way to evangelize to others, but these electronic formats definitely have a place and use in these times to show others that the Holy Spirit is living at St. Nicholas Church.
So, writing...
I am seriously thinking of writing a book. A few people have suggested that I do so...I have an idea for one. I'd like to write about the 14 year gap during which I left Christianity until I came back to it earlier this year. I think these missing years that I haven't really talked or wrote about could maybe help someone who may have went through similar issues that I did.

The University of Akron offers non credit classes on how to write and edit, and get published, and I think I am going to sign up for the class during the spring semester if it's offered again. I have ideas for subjects to write about and post on Facebook and on my blog site, and I'd like to continue to do so while working on a book. I might consider self-publishing if I can't get someone to publish it for me. I have no idea how much something like this would cost. The goal from this is not to make money, but to help someone. So, if I can't find a publisher, I would put it in some format online, for free.

So that's the plan. May God bless my endeavors.

Sunday, November 8, 2009