Showing posts with the label Struggles

Carrying Our Crosses Can Be a Struggle

If it was easy to carry our crosses, we would all do it willingly. Instead, it can be a struggle at times. We are all given something to bear in life that we wish we did not have to endure. For me, God gave me clubbed feet. My cross is a visible sign of what I must endure in this life. For others, the cross is invisible to the eye. One might think that a visible cross is tougher to bear, because everyone can see it; but I say, not necessarily so. An invisible cross can be just as crippling as my clubbed feet. A good example of an invisible cross would be mental illness; running the gamut from mild anxiety to schizophrenia.

Carrying Our Crosses for Christ
Whatever your cross may be, know that God is with you always. At the most difficult of times, when life seems so unbearable, He helps you carry your cross. God will never give you more than you can bear. Trust Him. We all have crosses to bear. Yet, by carrying our crosses, Jesus wants us to... Read more...

Do You Struggle Being Christ-LIke? God Comes to the Rescue!

Jesus is the epitome of virtue; the exemplar of how we are to live. We are all good at some virtues but, unlike Jesus, we are unable to master all of them. It seems that no matter how hard we try, we seem to continue to struggle mastering some of them.

With what virtues do you excel? With what virtues do you struggle? In the areas where you excel, do you find the virtues come easy to you? In the areas where you struggle, do you have any idea why you experience such difficulty in mastering said virtues?

Let’s do a very quick analysis: On a scale of one to ten, with ten being outstanding, how virtuous do you think you are in each of the following categories? Read more...

Resistance - Is There Hope to Ever Change

So ... Where Are We in this Process I thought I would take this week to share where Kevin (my hubby of 26 years) and I are mentally in this process. As I begin my Weight Watchers journey this month, I realized the similarity of the discipline the Lord is trying to create in my heart.  This mind shift from spending as we wish on what we wish, much like my eating what I want and when I want, is a process.  IT is not overnight.  As we say in the weight loss world - YOU did not get 20 lbs over weight overnight, you will NOT shed it overnight.

It has been literally 32 years of mistakes and missteps; along with some serious emotional and mental baggage that has brought us to be this over our heads with debt.  Add to that my desire to serve God in the ever lucrative (read only for Joel Osteen) ministry world - and this is not going to be a quick fix.  The Navigating Your Finances God's Way  study has truly been a God Send - but it has not been the miraculous fix all I had hoped.  IT WIL…

Small Victories: A Good Way to Celebrate Epiphany

I began reading essayist Anne Lamott's new book, Small Victories,  after  hearing her speak in November  at the Free Library of Philadelphia. My friend Shannon, an author and a  jail chaplain in Tacoma, suggested this would be a great book to read for Advent.

Well, even though it's under 300 pages, I just completed it today. Lamott's  is an authentic voice, one that does not sugar coat reality but which helps me find God in the smallest moments. Finishing the book is a good way to celebrate the Epiphany, that time when Jesus revealed himself to the world beyond his circumstances.

Lamott is a writer  we writers are supposed to love and one whose work I have not taken the time to read fully. While I have read bits and pieces of her illuminating work, this is the first full book of hers I have read from start to finish. She labels herself a "left wing" Christian and I suppose she is, but the label, as any political label does, reduces the value of her insights.


My Frozen Soul and My Lenten Journey

This whole winter it feels as if I have been stalled. In our small town, there is a seemingly never series of water main breaks, which means we can't use our tap water. A pipe burst under the river, which meant the air was filled with the smell of gas. There have been blackout after blackout in many neighborhoods because of our ailing electrical system. And despite all the efforts of so many, our public schools appear to be breaking and our elected officials indifferent. One of our sons is struggling in school. And the older child is still waiting to hear back from the many colleges to which he has applied. No word from any of them yet. Oh and then there is the snow, inch after inch of snow, day after day, delaying the start of so many school days. It feels as if my family will never unfreeze, never move forward from our permafrosted positions.
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The Value of Road Bumps

I'm not sure where I got the idea that if my husband and I did all the "right" things parenting, our boys would glide through childhood and adolescence and smoothly into adulthood. I'm not sure where that idea came from, or how it is I came to believe that watching them glide is preferably to the reality of watching them experiences the ups and downs of growing up and learning, often the hard way, how to make mistakes.
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Becoming a Saint One Day at a Time

God calls us each to holiness, to sainthood.

Every day, each experience we have helps us grow in our faith and in our purpose: To achieve holiness; to become saints; to fully become the person God intends us to be.

Each experience, then, has the potential to be “purgative.” Purgation is a process that gets us ready for God. Just as God’s grace was given to the martyrs, so it is given to us to grow in holiness and towards sainthood.
In this process, it is imperative to see God as the Potter and know that we are the clay. Each experience, then, is given over to God for His guidance and our growth. Sainthood means allowing God to mold us just as a Potter molds clay. (Isaiah 64:7)

Everything we experience is an opportunity to grow in our holiness. God can “make us worthy and powerfully bring to fulfillment every good purpose” by giving us circumstances that cause us to depend on Him, to trust in Him, and to respond according to His will

In other words, through our circumstances we allow God to…

Reflections of 9/11 Spouse


My Name Is Cheryl...And I Am A Weakling

My name is Cheryl.

And I am a weakling.

That’s the kind of group I want to be in: the kind of group where we each take the stand and own up to who we are—who we really are. Not the avatars we put out in the world through our blogs and our tweets; but who we are at the core.

After all, that’s where we will all ultimately connect, where we will all see one another as Christ sees us: as humanity steeped in the dignity of our creation but as a weak humanity in need of strength found in him who has offered us salvation.

I love being weak.

It means I’m “needy” which seems, to many people I am sure, to be an unpleasant state of being. And I’ve been trampled on more than a few times in my weakened state. I don’t always fight back when society would say that I should. I’ve been hurt and I’ve been wounded.

For years I tried to fight being weak. A bit ironic, right?

I wanted to be able to pick myself up by my bootstraps. I wanted to be able to say with confidence and pride that I was able…

A Priest's Prayer Opens the Door to A Conversation about Merc

As you might know, my husband is a trauma survivorwho faces post-traumatic stress disorder. Greg somehow survived the Sept. 11 terror attacks and he also lost dozens of colleagues. He and I continue to consider what it all means.

We both have what we call "trauma fatigue" meaning we are not able to immerse ourselves in the details of other acts of inhumanity, such as the deadly violence that occurred in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater last week. We haven't watched the nonstop cable news reports, or read any of the extensive newspaper coverage.
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On Being Fatherless and Planting Mustard Seeds

Reality has a way of intervening into my own little bubble of bliss. In our small family of four, our Father's Day was fine. And yet, over the past few days I have encountered no fewer than 10 children of our acquaintance who are essentially fatherless.

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The Season of Proms, High School Graduations, Drunk Driving and Prayers

Hundreds of teenagers sat in hushed silence this morning as the high school football coach shared  about how 20 years ago his brother, then 29, was airlifted to a trauma center after being hit by a drunken driver one Friday night. The brother had not been out drinking; he was returning home with friends after time spent at a batting cage. 
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On Forgetting About Prayer

Today was one of those days where nothing, from start to finish, went as I planned. Nothing went badly wrong, it's just that nothing went really well. At work, my laptop gave me all sorts of trouble, refusing to link me to the school's server. Then, an important, comprehensive evaluation of me, which I had been prepping for and anticipating for days, was postponed. 
By the time I got to the after-school faculty meeting, I was a knot of anxiety.  My girlfriend K, my best friend at work, eight months pregnant with her first child, sat down beside me in the school auditorium. Turns out her laptop too is being disobedient. I told her how terribly, terribly stressed I was feeling.
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How Reading the Psalms and Seed Catalogs Sustains Me in the Dark of Winter

By Allison Salerno

On winter workdays, I rise at the time Shakespeare says when night is "almost at odds with morning," and you can't tell "which is which." I leave home before the rest of my family has risen, driving north in darkness to my job and arriving just as the sun begins to rise. Sometimes, I don't return home until after sunset. And so I find myself in these days struggling with a kind of sadness, a desire to retreat from a world which feels fully of darkness.

O God, come to my aid. O Lord, make haste to help me. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Alleluia.

Motherhood Matters

In Motherhood Matters, Canadian author Dorothy Pilarski writes with profundity and wit about matters practical and divine. Full of anecdotes and humor, this book makes us take an honest look at the lives of women today, and helps us to focus on what matters most. Has "liberation" truly led to greater happiness for women? Are children to be viewed as commodities, to be acquired just as we acquire a house or car? Or should children be seen as the gifts from God that they are, given to our stewardship? Dorothy makes it clear that until we rectify our confusion about such basic questions then peace of heart will elude us. To quote:
We will find happiness in living out God's purpose for our lives, not our own. The culture of the early twenty-first century makes it easy to follow mistaken paths. The media bombards us with the temptation to fulfill ourselves, to find ourselves, to meet our own needs. It is a message of selfishness. And it is spread constantly. Maga…

Reflections from a Family Wedding: Church is For Sinners

Our family just pulled into the driveway from a whirlwind weekend in upstate New York, where we helped to celebrate the wedding of one of my husband's cousins, a 28-year-old nurse, to a wonderful man. The wedding took place at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Ballston Lake. The bride's side of the church was filled with siblings, first cousins and second cousins who had flown in from as far as Idaho and California, a sprawling clan of Irish Americans that I was delighted to introduce our sons to. (We loved spending an hour and a half at a diner before the wedding meeting blogger Fran Rossi Szpylczyn, who lives and works nearby.)

On the drive home, my husband told me he was surprised to hear one of the newly married couple's friends refer to the bride as a nostalgic girl, as a girl who likes to do things the old-fashioned way, including marrying in the church. This led us to reflect on what draws people to the Church and what prompts them to leave.

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Why Writing and Reading Blogs Isn't a Waste of Time

I worry over how much time I spend writing and reading in the blogosphere. This morning in the mailbox came a thank-you letter that brought me to tears of joy and made me realize the time I spend is not wasted. Jamie and Kim Arpin-Ricci thanked me for standing beside them during their adoption journey and shared pictures of their new family.

I never have met any of these people face to face. I have never even spoken with them on the phone. And yet, because of this new and crazy place called the blogosphere, I have been able to pray for them.

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"The King's Speech" and the Power of Perseverance

By Allison Salerno Okay, maybe the 50 or so folks at our local public library who watched "The King's Speech" tonight with my husband and me were the last people on the earth to see this Academy Award-winning film about King George VI's struggles to overcome his stammer.

But if you are among those who haven't seen this movie yet, do. Other than some foul language, spoken by the king himself as he struggles to find his voice, this movie is a great movie for families. It's an inspirational story,  a love letter to speech therapists everywhere, and its message is about how trust and perseverance can help us overcome many obstacles.

When A Sassy Remark Shows Me a Sure Thing

By Allison Salerno

"Mom. Stop blaring your music. I'm trying to read." 

So said our 11-year-old yesterday as he lay on the comfy blue couch, reading, and I sat in the nearby armchair, listening on my macbook to my new favorite music: Iron and Wine. His sassy comment was its own kind of music.

If you know our son in real life, you know what a triumph this comment is. You see, our son struggles with a language-based learning disability. When he was four, his speech was unintelligible, even to me, his stay-at-home mom. The only person in the world who could understand L. was his older brother, who for years served as a translator for him to the rest of the world.

Redemptive bellyaching

It is very easy for me to enter the state of Woe Is Me. In fact, I spend so much time there, I'm sure it's an actual place with a zip code. I could have my bills and junk mail delivered there.
In my own mind, my problems seem to be much harder than anyone else's. The list of injustices and slights against me is long and repetitive enough to bore even me -- yet another unfairness, because my troubles aren't as interesting as what other people experience.
So, after a rather difficult week, and then weekend plans derailed by a cold, I woke up this morning to learn that there was no water. I took it personally and immediately packed my bags for WIM. I'm telling you, the border guards know me on sight I've been there so often.
Recounting my troubles becomes a comforting reassurance that I have every right to feel as abused/misused/refused as I want to. I settle into the woeful wallow right there in Woe Is Me and prepare myself for a good old pity party. I survey the la…