Wednesday, April 29, 2015

How strong is your faith?

You've heard of the woman, desperate for a cure, who knew that just touching the cloak of Jesus would heal her from years of medical abuse, ignorance, and pain.  In that one instance she was cured, was it her actually touching Jesus' cloak, was it Jesus, or was it her faith? "Your faith has made you well..."

Another example of this is when Jesus said to the blind man in Mark 10:52 "Go your way, your faith has made you well." This man heard of Jesus' and began crying out to Him, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"   His faith was strong enough to believe that Jesus could heal him and give him his sight.

"Go your way, your faith has made you well."

Where is that kind of faith today?  Do you have it?  There is so much sickness, sadness, and evil around us everyday.  I know that it has been hard on us lately in the Pillar household with our youngest stretching her newly-turned 18 year old wings in ways that has both her parents, brother and sister in shock and awe.  I have never prayed as much and as desperately as I have during these past 4 months.  These things can really shake one's faith for sure!  From the pulpit, from the Bible, from Jesus Himself, we are told that we are not alone, that He will never leave us......but why do we feel so helpless and abandoned sometimes?

Pope Francis, on April 19, 2015 during the Regina Coeli: On Being Witnesses to the Risen Christ, said this:

"Today begins in Turin that solemn exposition of the Holy Shroud. I too, God-willing, will go to venerate it on June 21st. I hope that this act of veneration helps us all to find in Jesus Christ the Merciful Face of God, and to recognize it in the face of our brothers and sisters, particularly those suffering most."  
Not only Christ, but others around us can lend support and encouragement when we are at our deepest low trying times.  Like the two examples above, there's always someone with a stronger faith that can help strengthen the faith of those around them.  They found the proof in their lives  they needed to have such faith. but it doesn't just happen, one has to want it and search for it. It is up to us to seek and recognize the face of God...the Merciful Face of God, and we can find Him in our brothers and sisters, in our crazy upturned lives, God is there and everywhere for us!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

That Easter Feelin.....

Overwhelmed and completely touched by Jesus' passion and God's amazing way of showing us His love and care for us, I think about wanting to feel this feeling all year long.   I remember when I was just a kid of 12 riding my bike around the neighborhood and thinking to myself that I was thinking about God and that I wanted to remember to think about Him tomorrow and everyday.  Well, now I want to think about Jesus' incomprehensible love by dying a horrendous, human death, but then rising from the dead to protect us from death's sting.

Good Friday always has me gripped in awe of this fact that Jesus gave himself up for us as an innocent sacrifice for the world far into the future....knowing that I would be here some time in the future and being saved by the same single act of self sacrifice at the hands of those who, represent me.  I hate that fact and usually don't participate in the passion part of the crowd, can't even think that I would be yelling to kill an innocent man in exchange for a known criminal named Barabas.

Holy Saturday is a bright and cheery day for the most part, Easter Sunday preparations begin and the windows are open and usually the sun is shining through the house.  The Easter Vigil is amazingly holy, especially when there are new Catholics to celebrate with new and found faith in Jesus' bride.

Easter Sunday is a wonderfully splendid celebration day for my family.  Calls from everyone far away come in and go out, food, candy, chocolate and smiles all around.  My heart is lighter than air with the knowledge and faith in God and Jesus' love and resurrection.  We have hope!  We have joy!!  We are loved!

From my family to yours and all the world, Happy Blessed Easter to you!   Alleluia, alleluia, He has risen!!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Women At Prayer

One day several years ago, after listening to my husband complain yet again about his job, I began an innocent and unobtrusive prayer campaign for his fulfillment as the breadwinner of the family.  The Irish Catholic that I am, I wrote on a note card, "Dear Jesus, please help Doug find fulfillment in his career." and stuck it in my bible. Forgetting I ever did that, recently as I was reading my Bible, the note dropped out on my lap.  A few years ago, he found his present position in a completely different state miles away from home, but being satisfied in his job and having the faculty status as an associate professor and director of a core facility, he has found fulfillment.   Proof of answered prayer, even one left to its own for a time.  He didn't know I did this for him, I had even forgotten that I did this for him, but at the time and so many times during those unsatisfied years, I had silently prayed to Jesus for his fulfillment. 

Thinking about a woman's prayer in the different phases and walks of life, I want to appreciate these ladies and their faith.

A Mother's prayer
Mother Mary is the greatest intercessor for her children.  At the foot of the cross, Jesus gave Mary to the apostle as his mother and gave him to her as her child.  At that very moment, Mary became our mother too, and like any earthly mother, she is concerned for us and loves us abundantly.  I turn to her daily!
A grandmother's prayer adds an extra special fervor for the child that brings them delight and continues her lineage; the layers of love from her own child to the thrill of her child's children, makes her prayers all the more special. 

A mom's prayer is rooted in her deep and biological connection with her child, even mothers of adopted children form equally deep connections for the children in their care.  My prayer life as a mom has always been a challenge, until recently when I learned a huge lesson that while I prayed for my children, I also had to let go and allow God to do HIS work.  Letting go and having faith that He loves us and our children has been the lesson I didn't even know I needed to learn until I learned it.    As my rebellious child drove away to another unknown place with unknown people, I had to just give her to Jesus and let her go.....THAT was hard, but when I realized that there was NOTHING I could do for her, and that God alone had the controls, it was as if a heavy weight had been lifted from my shoulders.

A popular story about my grandmother during her mothering years, was when my twin uncles tried to stop a car racing down a hill, instead of watching the ordeal, she calmly went into the powder room in the hall and prayed the rosary until it was over and the twins were triumphant.

The women in the church, much like Anna of the bible, root their prayers deeply from altruistic love, the desire for good things for others.  Their prayers are wholeheartedly given in faith.

The many religious communities' pray constantly, giving their lives to Christ and His Church, for the people of God.  Oh, I wouldn't want to even think of our world without these beautiful communities and their prayers for us.

A wife's prayer
Mother Mary must have prayed a great deal for her husband, Joseph, thanksgiving prayers for his obedience and patience to God's will and for the gift of fatherhood that he gave to Jesus. She surely had prayers for his health and for healing during times of trials that he and the family endured and prayers for his strength.  She must have prayed a great deal at the end of his life, since we don't know what that was like, surely one can imagine the prayers of a wife for her dying husband. 

A wife prays for her husband on so many levels; first for his fulfillment in his relationship with her, then his fulfillment in his career, and also for his relationship with the children.  We want them strong, wise, and fulfilled, don't we?  My husband has had many trials through the years, including the loss of his father, caring for his aging mother, health issues, as well as family and career.  It seems that there are always reasons for prayer, even when things are going well.  When times are good, my prayers are more thanksgiving for the many blessings that surround him and us.

Praying during the good and quiet times are easy, if we do it at all, but finding the strength to pray at times of real trial and suffering can be a trial in itself, yet with the inner strength of a woman, she prays on through the ordeal.  Mother Mary is the perfect example of that as she watched her only son during his passion and death....Oh; it hurts to think of her during the crucifixion of Jesus!  As a mother and a wife, there is always time and need for prayer, always someone who needs extra guidance, strength, and wisdom.  But on the outside of the immediate family, we women reach out and pray for those around us and in the news suffering trials of their own.

All I know really about women's prayer is what I know of myself and the women around me.  We pray, and pray, and pray mostly without ceasing for those around us that we care about and even those we don't particularly care about, but know they need prayers.  All the while growing closer to our Heavenly Father and finding His letting go and letting Him.

Can we pray for you?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Eight Years Old!!!!

It's hard to believe that the Pillars is 8 years OLD!!!!!    Thank you for all the years of reading my ramblings and crazy life events.  I appreciate those of you that left me encouragement and the many prayers that were offered on mine or my family's needs!

Been rather slacking the past year or so, but I am going to get back up and running, so the next 8 years will be filled with more of my ramblings and family life events.

blessings to all!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

We got a "Girl in the War"...part 1

"Girl In The War"

Peter said to Paul you know all those words we wrote
Are just the rules of the game and the rules are the first to go
But now talking to God is Laurel begging Hardy for a gun
I got a girl in the war man I wonder what it is we done

Paul said to Peter you got to rock yourself a little harder
Pretend the dove from above is a dragon and your feet are on fire
But I got a girl in the war Paul the only thing I know to do
Is turn up the music and pray that she makes it through

Because the keys to the kingdom got locked inside the kingdom
And the angels fly around in there but we can't see them
I got a girl in the war Paul I know that they can hear me yell
If they can't find a way to help her they can go to hell
If they can't find a way to help her they can go to hell

Paul said to Peter you got to rock yourself a little harder
Pretend the dove from above is a dragon and your feet are on fire
But I got a girl in the war Paul her eyes are like champagne
They sparkle bubble over and in the morning all you got is rain
They sparkle bubble over and in the morning all you got is rain
They sparkle bubble over and in the morning all you got is rain  
-Josh Ritter
The war I speak of is not on the other side of the world, it's not in the middle east, it's not over there, it's not somewhere's here in our own world.  The war? The struggle to be independent, her own person, who she is and will be for the rest of her life.  It's the breaking out of the cocoon of which she has been living in her whole life.  Its the war of morals versus free-will.  It's the war of wills versus rules, it's the fight against what was taught and what everybody else is doing, it's a war of what has been proven true and what needs to be yet proven again....the hard way.

Age of Enlightenment

There is this thing that seems to be happening to young girls as they turn a certain age, 16...17, or worse 18.  At age 18, the world changes for the parents...forever.  Doctors, teachers, guidance counselors, therapists stop talking to them....unless the parents had the smarts to have the child sign a waiver which states that they approve open communication with the parents after she turns legal.  Even with this permission, the communication can be guarded to protect the new "adult".

Rules change

All of a sudden the relationship changes within the family and that young, sweet girl disappears, I hear, for a time and then returns in a different form, calmer and more mature.  But until that time, the household goes into turmoil...for a time. New rules need to be drawn up and enforced to help alleviate some of the stress on the parents and instill some control within the home.  But theses rules may be the "first to go."

Mourning ensues

The parents, at a complete loss, looks at their transforming off-spring and wonders what they did, didn't do, or just "what happened to my little girl?"  Since there is no way to penetrate the stubborn hard shell that covers this precious young lady, all the parents can do is.....

.." turn up the music and pray that she makes it through".....

Monday, January 12, 2015

Holding on to Proverbs 22:6!!!

Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." 

 Well, it’s that time a year again…the end of the year.  It’s that time again when you hear about goals, resolutions, changes to make our lives better, better than it was last year.  We are a fallen people so we don’t have it all down perfectly, I included to be sure.  Resolutions are usually self-made rules that are quickly forgotten, broken, or deemed too hard to keep after a few weeks into the new year.  I think its funny how you pass by the gyms around town the first few weeks in January and see how crowded they are with all the goals, resolutions and changes folks pledge to make the new year better, but by about February or March these same gyms are back to the same usual pace.  I have not been any of those people.

However, this year is going to be different for me, after 18 and 20 years of being mommy to two young daughters, I am now the mom to two adult women who do not need me like they used to.  Their brother, now 32 and married for over 6 years, moved into his adulthood while I was in the throes of toddler-hood and the early homeschooling years.  I was happy, busy, with a full schedule of activities for many years with his two young sisters ahead of me to focus on.  All those lovely years are passed now and they are both in college and making their own future plans.  One is engaged to be married in a few years when she is out of college and the other one is not yet sure, but feeling the need to be independent.

This year I need to become more of the mother bear that chases her cub up a tree, this year I need to be the woman who chooses a second career and embraces her marriage and life as an empty-nester.  No children to care for, no kids at home waiting for dinner to be cooked, no homework to grade, or music lessons to pay for.  That part of my life is over, literally over and I am missing it already.  Terribly.  I was never one of those mothers who couldn’t wait for holiday break to be over, I never felt tired of being a mother, nor did I relate to others who complained about their how their kids drove them crazy.  These statements never came out of my mouth.  I loved having them around and loved being their mom.  

We have done the best that we could,  took them to Church, talked about Jesus, prayed with them, sang with them, worshiped with them.  We loved them, hugged them, apologized when we were wrong, praised them when they did well, and scolded them when they did wrong.  We took them on trips, camped, hiked, visited historic sites, and holy places.  We taught them to read, write, and do math, we taught them to think for themselves, learn and not memorize.  We made them good learners, both honor students, graduating from high school with a 3.9 and a 4.0.  I taught them the theology of the body, to respect themselves and others.  

It's time to see how we did....what sunk in and what needs yet another layer of education..the school of hard knocks.  I know that much of this is normal and I have to have faith that they will turn out as fine and decent human-beings, God-fearing, faithful, and headed for eternity.  That's what we were going for and that they will pass on the knowledge of Jesus Christ and His teachings and of course His bride, the Church.

It is my prayer.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 in Review

This year has been a busy one for the Pillar household. We experienced many changes as the children in the house became young adults and college students by the fall.

This first month of the year was celebrated with a beautiful snowfall....which meant snow cream!  Also the first beer brew of the year, both delish!

In February, we celebrated our 21st year of marriage and our daughter turned  Also, our youngest daughter was confirmed!  It is a great accomplishment to have all your children making their sacraments under your watch!

 March was a quiet month, I did lots of crafting, paper-piecing Dr Who motifs and canning my first batch of sauerkraut and Sarah had a piano recital after receiving a Superior rating in her piano festival competition.

 April brought another batch of beer, a high school concert staring our daughter who was the concert master after only 4 months after major wrist surgery! Along with more crafting from me, this time a crocheted scarf for my mother.

May was a silly month with little activity worth mentioning, so we decided to be the month of selfies:

June is the month of graduation, we are so proud of our scholar, 3.9 GPA! All the cords and stole represent the honor societies she was inducted into, Theta Mu- Math, English, Science, and  the National Honor Society.

July was my beloved husband's birthday and also a busy month for the new graduate as she was the Youth Camp counselor for the Upstream/Downstream Connection camps for the 4th summer.
  August is my birthday month and also the month I worked like a dog as a retail project merchandiser for a major sales and marketing company.  These are just a few of the project I was a part of.

September was a big month for the family as I got a promotion and went full-time with the company as a member of a direct sales team, DRT, for a major's a hint of who that might be.....
October was a somewhat quiet month with school, college, new full-time job going on.  the costumes are a scream below here.....note the tardis headband!  Hahaha.

November brought us a big surprise when our college freshmen got engaged.  Mixed feelings about it so soon, but we have to trust that these two will make the right choices down the road.  We will be there for them whatever their path takes them, however.  We got to travel to visit my family and meet our newest member, little Ellie.  The girls has a blast with her. 

December has come and is gone in a few hours. Its hard to believe another year has come and gone, but it has.  Our youngest graduated from high school half a year early with a 4.0 GPA, got her driver's license and turned 18!!!  Double wow!!  Can't believe the changes, empty-nesting will be us very soon now.  (Karl is the fella in the background....the fiance)
From the Pillar Household to yours, may 2015 bring you peace, health, hope, and lots of love!