Being open to God’s surprises

I will admit that I am pretty set in my ways (change is not always my favorite word) and tend to be more interested in surprising other people rather than be the one who is receiving surprise.  However, I have learned to sit back and be content, no, more than content…be open to life’s curve balls.  Sometimes it is more fun to “let the chips fall” and not know what’s around the bend.  In Sunday’s homily, a guest priest started off mass by asking us if we would be open to God’s surprises.  I am confident enough in my faith that I would be able to handle not knowing every detail of his plan for me.  In fact, I find it exciting thinking about the endless possibilities.  What people does God want me to meet?  Who will come into my life for a reason/season/lifetime?  Whose lives will I able to impact in a positive way?  Things happen for a reason, I firmly believe that.  We may not understand the reason at the very moment we’d like, but there is an underlying reason.  Just this past weekend, I was able to do a favor for a lady attending the OU football game.  She made what sounded like a simple request.  It ended up more complicated than it should have been (due to circumstances out of my control) but it was worth it to see the smile on her face and genuine gratification.

Later that day,  I met up with a gentleman, graduate of OU, who had temporarily lost his wallet.  Thanks to getting email on his phone, he was able to call my mobile, and we were able to connect so I could return the wallet.  He was from out-of-town and had played in the alumni band at halftime.  He would be traveling for work soon and was afraid he’d have to cancel his credit cards.  Thankfully, that didn’t have to happen.

I love full circle moments.   I was open to God’s surprises and because of that, I was able to make someone’s day and then be able to pay it forward and connect with a fellow Sooner (that was just a bonus, of course).  The lesson I learned, and continue to learn is this: Put your faith in God and trust him.  He has your back.

What Do You Have To Show For It?

Dear Readers,

We attend church as we have for most of our lives, we confess our sins and try to do as God would want.  What is the point-is it really worthwhile?  Even with all of that, what do we have to show for it?  That was the situation and question posed to the congregation by Fr. Wood at mass today.  If that didn’t get and hold one’s attention, you must have been hundreds of miles away.  For someone who has just recently gotten back into attending church on a regular basis, I appreciated this homily.  For a while, I was that person who questioned what I was getting out of mass, why should I bother, I’m not really seeing the point.  I even attended a few services at my best friend’s church and enjoyed them.  At the same time, I was torn, like I was turning my back on the way I was raised.  This is silly as I was still acting like a Christian and my faith in God never wavered. I didn’t stop being Catholic.

My answer to the question that Fr. Wood posed would be pretty simple.  To me, you get what you give.  Sometimes God answers us with people he feels should be in our lives.  Sometimes he answers us with a challenge which could be professional, family or even health.  Most of the time, he reminds us that it is not about us as individuals.  Our actions have consequences and affect those around us in one way or another. God will always have our back.  He will help us through the tough times and celebrate the good times.  If you don’t have his back, how can you expect to receive?

I thank God every day for what he has given me…whether that is for the people in my life or even the challenges I have faced. The challenges do something for me just like the blessings make me richer.  So if you are ever frustrated like I was, step back and think about what you have put into the equation. 

Sincerely,
Mary

My Blog Reinvented

Three simple words that describe “a few of my favorite things” (yes, that would be a reference to The Sound of Music).  in a nutshell.  To me, faith is believing that there is something (or someone) greater that gets me through the difficult days.  Faith is knowing that God has a plan for me though I may not understand the intricacies.  Faith is trusting God when the alternative is to stay in the past. 

 

Family is the group of people that are there no matter what.  I’m blessed to have two older sisters (yea, wasn’t always giddy about that) but I can’t tell you how much of a relief it is to know they always have my back.  My parents are unconditionally supportive and I am grateful for their love.  For the past 16 years, I have been lucky enough to be an aunt.  Being the youngest child, I have absolutely loved being able to watch my nephews and niece grow up and see the world through their eyes.

Last, but certainly not least, sports.  Sports are my outlet, distraction and home away from home.   I love fall….fall is the changing of the leaves; fall is cooler weather; fall is Thanksgiving and vacation for me.  Friends may cringe when they read this, but to me, fall is basketball season.  Typically, my Wednesday and Sundays are spent at Lloyd Noble Center, home of the Oklahoma Sooners.  For those 2 hours, my mind is free of all the things I need to be doing, fixing, assessing, etc… and I am a fan.  I feel like I’m 12 years old again and in my backyard shooting hoops.  Whether I’m celebrating a fast break play by Morgan Hook or a 3-pointer from Vegas (aka Aaryn Ellenberg), or watching Coach Coale with hands on her hips and that crooked smile after some stupid call by the refs….I don’t have a care in the world but enjoying those 40 minutes of basketball.  Basketball is my first love….and thanks to a family member having introduced me to OU (and Coale’s ’02 Final Four team playing in my hometown of San Antonio), I’m a Sooner and darn proud of it. 

Power behind the words “I am”

Tonight’s episode of Oprah’s “Life Class” featured Joel Osteen.  He is one of those large church pastors I don’t mind listening to as he speaks more bluntly than others on tv.  The theme behind tonight’s show was “I AM.” They are two simple words and when they are followed by a phrase such as “I am not fearful,” it becomes a powerful phrase.  The show made me stop and think what would my “I AM” be?  What do I want to change about myself right now?  One of the quotes of Joel Osteen’s I wrote down was this “When you step into your own shoes and your own destiny, that’s when you are going to shine.”  I loved that.  Too many times I have been guilty of comparing myself to other people.  I think about what other people are making, how other people’s relationships are successful, etc… Why? That is not healthy and serves no purpose. Here is part of my “I am” list:

I am going to worry less about what I cannot control and concentrate efforts on what is within my reach.

I am going to make a conscious effort to make smart, thoughtful decisions and remember that other people are impacted by my choices.

One of the viewers who used Skype to be a part of the show talked about having been through a rough time.  Joel Osteen suggested that she remember that “despite a dreary day, the clouds eventually part and the sun breaks through.”  We all go through funks where we think nothing good will come our way.  However, we simply need to remember Osteen’s words and keep our faith.