Sunday, March 30, 2014

My God Tag

As part of my lay Christian vocation, I try to keep the presence of God with me throughout the day.  Anyone can tell how well I am doing with this at any time by my demeanor.  When I am successful I smile a lot and think of other people.  When I am ignoring it I lose my smile and turn into myself.

One way I work on this is by finding little things that remind me of God at various times of the day.  I associate things I do regularly with little aspirations that bring me back to him when I am thinking about other things.

For example, when I climb the stairs in my house I think of God.  There is a particular thing I tend to leave on my bathroom counter each morning, so when I manage to put it away I think of God.  If I later find it there I think of how I didn't think of him earlier and think of him then instead.  Like many of you, I try to say the Angelus each day at noon or close to it.  When I am in a hurry on a street with lots of red lights, I ask Mary to intercede for me and clear the way with green lights (I have found, by the way, that she is excellent at obtaining this particular favor for me, but only if I am late for reasons outside my control).  And so on and so forth.

As often happens in the middle of the world, I sometimes find myself completely wrapped up in my own thoughts and plans and forget about these little things.  But I try to get back to them as soon as I realize I have drifted away from them.  Nonetheless, I have definitely been in need of help staying focused in this area and, surprise (!), help has arrived.

A few years ago, an anonymous friend left a bracelet for me on top of my purse while I was singing at mass.  I have no idea who it was, but the person left a very nice card and box with the 2011 Brighton Breast Cancer Bracelet in it.  I absolutely loved it and wore it constantly.

Later that same year when I found myself very sick post whole brain radiation, I was visited in the hospital by Fr. Paul Donlon, a priest of Opus Dei.  He told me all about the scapular and enrolled me in it that very day.  Over the past several years I have tried many ways to wear the scapular and have not been successful.  I don't do well with necklaces of any kind and have to take them off each time I have a scan so they tend to get tangled or broken or lost.

I finally noted that a friend of mine wore a tiny scapular medal like a charm on her watch, so I got the brilliant idea of adding a small scapular to my beloved bracelet.  I took it to my favorite jeweler and asked him to add the little scapular I brought along.  Unfortunately, there was an incident during the post-soldering chemical bath when an unexpected metal was found in the bracelet. It's reaction to the solution dissolved part of the bracelet and stained the scapular charm a dark brown.  I was so sorry to lose that bracelet and medal!  However, the jeweler (who felt as bad as I did) worked with me to find another bracelet and scapular charm, and I am very happy with the result.

The new bracelet and scapular medal make a little noise when I move my arm, a jingle quite similar to that of a dog's tag on his collar.  I soon realized that every time I hear that jingle it can remind me of the fact that I belong to God.  So, if I happen to be shaking my fist or gesturing at something in anger, that little jingle can bring me back to the presence of God.  If it sings when I am turning the steering wheel in the car, it can remind me to pray for a safe journey.  The possibilities are endless!  It is like a little bell from heaven, reminding me of what is really important, no matter where I am or what I am doing.

So now I have to do my part:  I can't shut it out or let it become part of the noise of my life!  I have to listen for it and use it the best way I am able.

I think I can, I think I can...

Saturday, March 15, 2014


I am posting from New Orleans where I am enjoying a perfect girl's getaway weekend with two of my very best friends.  Jennifer, Lori and I arrived last night, settled in to our quirky Garden District hotel and have been eating, shopping, riding streetcars and most of all laughing--the kind of laughter that makes your stomach muscles ache--ever since.

Jennifer and I have been friends since second grade and together met Lori more than 25 years ago. Needless to say, we know each other very well and have a great time together no matter where we are. We have been there for one another through weddings, babies, deaths, career changes, graduations, major illnesses and teenage children, among other things.  I am truly blessed to have friends like these in my life and am treasuring every moment of this rare time we have all together.

Here are some photos of today so far, as we are taking a short break between beignets and jambalaya, leaving me with a moment to post. Oh, and lest you think we are not burning off those calories, we have walked six miles today (love the pedometer) and we are not done yet!

At Cafe Du Monde

The Cathedral in Jackson Square

French Market


Off to dinner now... I will try to post some more photos tomorrow.  

Thursday, March 13, 2014


As I sit here waiting for my chemo to come out of the pharmacy and begin its slow drip into my veins, it gives me a rare opportunity to browse headlines, something I usually avoid.  Today, however, I am quite interested in the missing airplane near Malaysia and am anxious to learn what has become of it and the more than 200 souls aboard.

In searching for news on the plane, I was immediately distracted when I came upon a story about how the beloved Disney movie Frozen has been interpreted by some as forwarding the gay agenda.  I racked my brain to think of what could be in the film that might possibly be interpreted that way, as I have seen it many times with my kids and listen to the music almost daily when driving kids from place to place and have never noticed anything of the sort.  I came up with nothing.  So, I read this post by a fellow blogger but of the Mormon variety.

Based on the comments I found on that post (which really ran the gamut as you might imagine), I was equally interested to learn that someone else reported Frozen to be the "most Christian movie they had seen all year".  This post, in fact, describes the parallels between Frozen and Dante's Inferno.  It's amazing how people can see the very same thing so very differently, isn't it?

Both sides supported their arguments with evidence from the film and made semi-logical conclusions based on the facts presented.  Nonetheless, I thought I would take a minute a propose a crazy theory of my own:

What if this entire story is totally fictional, cleverly created for our enjoyment, without any underlying, hidden meaning at all?  What if the characters don't stand for anything except what they appear to be?  What if there is no agenda at all behind this delightful film?

People see what they want to see.  I, for one, want to see an entertaining film with something in it for all my children:  princesses, heroes, villains and, of course, a talking and singing reindeer and snowman.  I loved this movie and want only to see what it meant to all of us.  I highly doubt that my kids are going to dig for a deeper meaning as they sing, "Let it Go" over and over, nor do I fear that images of hell or homosexuals or (gasp!) beastiality will burn themselves into their brains without us being aware of it.  Let's face it:  in our current society, when those who want to promote these types of messages are busy promoting them, they are hardly subtle about it, and you don't have to look for them.  Rather, they assault you.

In conclusion, I want to thank the "Well Behaved Mormon Woman" and the writer who put forth the idea of Dante's Inferno on The Blaze for giving me something to blog about today and for their considered opinions that made me think about my own.