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I have started up the Surrender Novena again. It brings me a lot of comfort. I was on day 4 today and the words struck my heart as Jesus speaking to me:

Do you see that the sick person is getting worse? Do not be upset, but close your eyes and say “You take care of it”. I say to you that I will take care of it, and that there is no medicine more powerful than my loving intervention. By my love, I promise this to you.

O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything! (10 times)

I Found God today in encouragement to surrender to Him.

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Hats For All

My mom’s piano friend came over today and told us a story of a woman that she knew from her church. Every week the woman would wear at hat to church. That reminded me of a woman I used to know who also wore a hat to church every week. We lovingly called her the “hat lady”. My mom’s friend’s “hat lady” owned 52 hats – one for each week. Unfortunately, the woman died a few months ago. But, she generously donated all her hats to the church to sell or whatever they wanted to do with them. Another woman that attended the church died a few weeks ago. She was from England. Her family wanted to have a tea at the church after the funeral. Our friend works with the funeral meals ministry, so they all got together and planned the menu. They also had access to the hats. They ladies each picked out a hat to wear and offered them to anyone attending the tea. If they wanted to keep the hat, they were welcomed to. The family and friends of the English woman were very happy and grateful that things worked out that way. Many women did keep their hats and made a donation to the church. I thought that was a beautiful set of events that brought joy and connections to strangers.

I Found God today in beautiful connections.

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Unfortunately, it is getting more and more difficult for my mother to attend Mass. This morning I decided to meet my son for the early Mass while my sister stayed with my mom. It had been a long time since I had been out early on a Sunday morning. There was little traffic and I noticed that the cars that were on the road had stickers and license plates of a religious nature. I imagined everyone was going to or coming from church and all had this connection. I also saw a few people walking, wearing their Sunday best. I figured they must have also been coming from or going to church. When I arrived at the church, the parking lot was packed. When I entered the church, I saw dozens of children wearing their white First Communion dresses, veils, and suits. They processed in and placed flowers at the base of the statue of Mary. Then they sat in the pews with their families. It was beautiful to watch them receive the Sacrament for the first time. Some of them were very excited, some were nervous, some were a little unsure as to what to do, one little girl was crying, as was one little boy. I wasn’t sure if it was because they were emotional from receiving Jesus, or from the overall experience, or if they were upset about something. After Mass, the families were all very excited offering congratulations and presents and taking pictures. I was glad I was able to go and see the enthusiasm and joy. Back at home, my mother did not feel well enough to go to church, so later in the day we watched the celebration on TV. Then I spent much of the afternoon resting. To me, this was how a Sunday should be – connecting with God and family, and resting from the endless work. This is how I rejuvenate for the upcoming week. And this is what God says we should do in Exodus 23:12:
“For six days you may do your work, but on the seventh day you must rest…”

I Found God today celebrating Sunday.

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Cody’s Wish

Today my mom and I watched one of her favorite annual events – the Kentucky Derby. There were stories and other races leading up to the main event as usual. One of them was a story about Cody Dorman and the horse Cody’s Wish named in honor of the boy. Cody had a rare medical condition from birth. As he got older, his family was able to connect with the Make a Wish Foundation. His wish was to meet a race horse. His family was able to go to one of the ranches in Kentucky and of 40 foals that were there, one of them came up to Cody in his wheelchair and put his head in Cody’s lap. The two made a special bond that day and the owner named the horse after Cody. In the story, Cody himself who is now 17 years old, communicated through an electronic device that tracked his eye movements. He told of how the connection between him and the horse has changed his life and how grateful he is to God. The family was at the Kentucky Derby as Cody’s Wish was running in the Churchill Downs Stakes, just before the main race. After the network told the story, which I highly recommend, the race was on. Spoiler Alert – Cody’s Wish won. It was an incredible faith-filled story that left my mom and me in tears.

I Found God today in a beautiful story of a bond between a horse and a boy.

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Needed Relief

A couple of months ago I was able to get set up with a caregiving service, figuring I would need the additional help sooner than later. We have a lovely woman coming over once a week for a couple of hours. She and mom have gotten to know and appreciate one another. Last night was a particularly difficult night and neither mom nor I had a lot of sleep. I knew it wouldn’t be good for me to try to just plow through the day, so I called the service this morning. Luckily the “regular” caregiver was able to come over for a little while this afternoon while I slept. Since we had already developed a relationship with her, I was able to relax and not worry. It was a huge blessing to be able to get some relief on short notice.

I Found God today in needed relief.

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Children’s Affirmations

When I went to check the mail this evening, I decided to take a longer walk and went around the elementary school close by. The front of the school walkway was decorated with pictures and affirmations done by the children. Just looking at them made me smile. They were all different with sayings and pictures. One of my favorites said, “Stay positive and have a healthy mindset” which I really needed to read, along with “Work Hard”. They were all beautiful reminders of the blessing that children are.

I Found God today in children’s affirmations.

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People Watching

This morning, I listened to the Gospel of the day. In this scripture, Jesus repeats to His apostles that if they see him, they see the Father – God, saying, “Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me.” The reflection on this passage from Jeff Cavins included a reminder that God has created humanity in His image and likeness. First, it is important to remember that God is in me as well. Sometimes my thoughts betray me in thinking that I am not worthy to be loved by God, but that is untrue. He created me and knows all about me and loves me. Second, it is important to remember that God created other people in His image and likeness. I have always loved hearing the stories of other people, as long as I can remember. Some think I ask too many questions and interrogate people, so I have to be careful. But it is because I am truly interested. The diversity of peoples’ lives and how God works in and through them and how we are all connected is amazing to me. Perhaps that’s why I like to people watch too. Jeff Cavins suggested we are drawn to others from one God-bearer to another. I believe there is truth in that.

I Found God today in myself and other people.

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Mom’s 91st Birthday

It has been a whirlwind of a couple of days here. My brother has been visiting and we have been celebrating my mom’s birthday. We have also been trying to get her Parkinson’s medication better regulated which has been difficult and exhausting. But, today was my mom’s actual 91st birthday. She woke up with energy and when we asked what she wanted to do on her birthday, she said, “Go to the zoo!” It was a beautiful day, so my brother and I loaded up the wheelchair and off we went. I had her wear her “It’s my birthday” headband and she received a lot of, “Happy birthday!” wishes from people. Her favorite animal to see is the giraffe and they are the first that you come to. She and my brother fed them lettuce while I took pictures. Then we watched the meerkats run around and saw a lion up pretty close through the glass. After we had lunch my mom was tuckered out, so we went home. She had all her favorite foods and whatever she desired – blueberry banana pancakes, a hamburger at the zoo, chocolate milk shake, chili soup for dinner, and more birthday cake. She got phone calls and messages from friends and family. It was quite a day. She really enjoyed it and I feel very blessed to share it with her.

I Found God today celebrating my mother’s birthday.

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Power Lifter

My son competed in a power lifting competition today. We watched his dog for the day and watched him compete via live stream. When it was my son’s turn, the commentator gave a little biography and goals for the meet and such as provided by my son. He even gave us a personal shout-out, which made me and my mom pretty happy. Watching it live felt just as intense as if we were there in person. I clenched my jaw and tightened my shoulders up to my ears as I helped him move the heavy weights. I was amazed as always at the amount that he can deadlift, squat, and bench press. But God gave him this strong body. At this competition, he came in first place. He was of course pretty happy and pretty wired when he came to pick up his dog. And I was pretty proud of him.

I Found God today watching my son succeed.

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Big Birthday Bash

Today we were able to get together with most of the family to celebrate my mom’s upcoming 91st birthday. We gathered at the house for a bit for snacks and gifts. My mom received a box of hand dipped and decorated cookies, a puzzle made with family photos, and a tumbler that my daughter-in-law made with pictures of mom’s orchids. Then we went to my mom’s favorite German restaurant and had a great time. When we talked about it and made the reservations, she said she was sad she hadn’t seen the German musicians there for such a long time. So, we got it set up for the accordion player to come. She was amazing and truly made the party special. She played songs that my mother knew and encouraged her to sing along. Everyone had fun with the Chicken Dance and singing Edelweiss. The food was a delicious treat with black forest cake for dessert. On the way home she said it was the best birthday party she ever had. With tears in her eyes, she remembered how wonderful it was when she was young and would bring her accordion to friends’ houses for sing alongs. It was a blessing that this celebration went so well and that it was such a good day for my mom.

I Found God today celebrating my mom’s upcoming birthday.