Saturday, January 31, 2009


Let us then resolve to practice daily devotion to Mary, our life, our sweetness and our hope. In all dangers and temptations we should fly to her protection as the child flies to its mother and seek our safety and consolation in her loving and maternal care. If we wish to share in Mary's happy Assumption into heaven, we must imitate her example, striving always to be clean of heart.

Let our devotion to her be constant and self-sacrificing as was Joseph's. Thus, by striving to imitate the virtues of the Holy Family, we shall bear in our lives the family likeness and in reality become brothers and sisters of Jesus and children of Mary, to live forever with them in heaven.  Fr Thomas Augustine Judge

Lately, while raising two motherless goat kids, I have been reflecting a lot on motherhood. There are so many things I have to take care of that a mother would simply do by her presence. The correct food, the correct warmth and comfort, and the correct stimulus and guiding to new sustainence. It has made me look upwards as I try to patiently stand around while a baby discovers a grass blade and figures out if it is food or not! I want to be more aware of and take advantage of the wonderful gifts Jesus' Mother has for me. I loved her as a little child and then spent many years ignoring her and rejecting her wonderful love. I am now at the threshold of knowing her - for her mother's love forgave me long ago for my neglect and lack of respect. I am humbly grateful. Jesus' gave us his mother for very specific reasons and that is good enough for me. It behooves me to find out what those are. She is not only His mother - carrying perfectly the perfect Word in her womb - she is His perfect first disciple, our model - but so much more than that. She is my mother - and the more I am aware of the lack in my poor little orphans and the trouble I am put through to replace their absent does - the more it has made me understand that I want all that Mary has to give and I want to respect her and serve her as she brings me to her Son.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Perfect Peace

Be thoroughly convinced that we are the work of the good Master Who with infinite foresight is at all times occupied with His creatures. Under His loving protection nothing can befall us contrary to His Will, nothing can hurt us without His permission. Whatever happens to us is so good that nothing better can be imagined. If He allows desolation to come to us, it is to save us from eternal tears.   Fr. Thomas Augustine Judge

What a way to start the day! Perfect peace knowing that our loving Father has us in the palm of his hand. To rest so wonderfully in His love and care so that no matter what happens I know that He ordains it. I don't want anything outside of his Will. 

The other day my husband Leo asked me to define what being good was. It is to do God's will and be open to His Will for my life. 

Even in these troubled times I can rest and have confidence that God knows what He is doing. This should project me towards whatever He has for me to do and please God may I do it!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Of Dead Squirrels

It is going to happen no matter how much you try to prevent it. I have a pack of rescue dogs and they WILL hunt. My littlest and most committed hunter, Skye came home with an unfortunate squirrel. She was very proud of it but I thought later regretted her decision.

She strutted around with it but found that it took careful, vigilant guarding to protect ownership. She had to take it everywhere with her and warn with stuffed mouth to keep away.  When the others pretended  not to care she stood forlorn as guardian while they ran up and down the field and played. At biscuit time she had to forgo the pleasure b/c her squirrel had her chained. 

This gave me much food for thought. As the day wore on the poor squirrel, minus tail, got ragged and motheaten.  And Skye was still defending it to the death and not getting to do any of her usual persuits. Worst of all, she couldn't be part of the gang. To be an outsider is the worst thing they can imagine. I wondered whether she just wanted to be done with it. But she could not let go.

I began to think about this in my personal life. I wondered what I held onto like that! It was easy - my pride.  It isn't physical things anymore - but my standing, my dignity, my worth or whatever you want to call it. And like the radded squirrel, the more I defend it the uglier it becomes. When I grab onto my destiny, my worth, my reason for being then it surely grabs a hold of me! I defend it and become an outcast (I become so self-centered), when I hold it in my teeth I become very bad tempered (b/c I am worried about sustaining it),  guarding it makes me forgo the pleasure in a simple day.  The answer? I relinquish it to the One who gives it in the first place!

I realize that no matter what my personal dignity suffers (do I feel unappreciated?), am I unjustly maligned (who told that lie about me?), when I worry that God doesn't love the fool that I am (simiple depression), I can't do what I am supposed to do (I fail so often) - you get the idea that the squirrel is very much manhandled - ok womanhandled! So I am taking a page from Skye's book - it's not worth it!!!!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Ask and Allow

There are those who believe that to work with horses you need to master them. They work on subjugation and intimidation. Some like me, ignorant or taught badly, learn to work against the horse’s natural character and individual personality. I can only say that I thank God I got into the hands of people who partner their horses and lead them with love and authority.

 Once such excellent instructor I had used the term, “Ask and Allow”. As I was riding with her one evening the words began to make sense. Ask the horse. Teach the horse. Allow the horse to learn and take in the lesson. That particular teaching has made a patient person out of me. It began to open up my brain to what the horse was struggling to learn. And it taught me to give him all the time he needed to learn it. Such as in collection, when you ask a horse to soften his neck, round his back and engage his hindquarters. These are all things a horse must learn to do to balance the added weight of the rider. Normally, a horse is front ended. Add a rider and he must learn to go forward from the rear.  To do this a horse must learn it, trust it and change. I must ride balanced, use correct aids to teach and learn to work with the horse.


I used to just get on and use my aids and expect it to happen. Okay, so I am not very intuitive! Horses struggle to learn and trust and must be “allowed” to do so in their own time. So as I ride I whisper this to myself and allow it to help me feel what my horse’s response is to my query. Sam, my Arabian horse, tends to run away when he doesn’t understand what is being asked of him. Or rather, if he doesn’t like what is being asked! I found that he was so unhappy and distracted by having a bit in his mouth I realized it wasn’t the type of bit he objected to. So I found a bit less bridle and there is joy in the camp. Even with this though, it has taken time for Sam to trust and to relax and to answer. The other day I saw him reach downward. He relaxed his neck, rounded his back and responded to my aids. Finally I was getting somewhere in the way I am committed to teach and learn.


This has had tremendous ramifications in my relationship with God as you can imagine.  I don’t think the “ask and allow” phrase had ever entered into my communication process. I am eager to do His will. I take the “command” and either run away with it or force myself through all kinds of anxiety. My head comes up, my neck stiffens and my jaw clenches to “Thy Will Be Done!”  And it isn’t from a bad heart any more than it is from a horse’s blank determination to thwart. It is from misunderstanding and miscommunication.


To illustrate this, I had an experience on a retreat that finally brought me to collection. It was a serious moment of enlightenment. God was showing me ways I related to my past that were very painful to me. He was showing me the difference between how I looked at that girl and how He did. I have never loved my youthful self but have always treated her with scorn at best, disgust at worst. All I ever saw were her failures. And in a blinding moment of revelation He showed me how He looked at my young self. Like the little lost lamb I saw her on his shoulders and being tenderly carried.  And I felt he was “asking” me to look at her that way too.


Right away I strode down the country road, hands in pockets, head hunched between my shoulders to make this happen, to obey. And immediately I ran into a giant hand and a voice that said, “Stop!” I bounced off this imaginary hand and right away I realized something epic. I felt like God said to me, “I am not demanding that you do this. I don’t ever want you to force yourself to do anything I ask of you, even if it is for your own sake. I am inviting you to tear down walls inside. I am inviting you to love yourself as I do. Dear One, I don’t ever want you to look at Me as a demand.” 


Right away I thought of “ask and allow”. I had to laugh at myself. God always surprises me. He is always infinitely ahead of me! So as I patiently explore my horse’s learning ability it effectively mirrors my own ability to accept God’s invitation and not His demand. The demand doesn’t exist.