Wounded Heart

God’s heart broke open 
when we chose to leave it,
bursting through walls of warmth
meant to nurture,
but misperceived as barriers to freedom. 

Out here in the windswept world
where many wander alone,
each their own god
confusedly crashing into each other,
our hearts are often wounded 
—and burst open— 
red mouths gaping with sorrow.

Who can understand our pain?
Who can heal our shattered souls?
Is there one who has suffered like us,
and survived? Yet more…has triumphed?

Go to Him.

His heart is open still
yearning with the vulnerable expectation of love…
Will you have the humble courage 
to enter? 

  

The Catholic Conference 4 Moms

Anything that makes someone feel more loved is an act of mercy. 


Have you been looking for a way to grow in your faith this Lent? Perhaps you wish you could get away on retreat, but with all your little kids at home you can’t. Is there nothing for you? There is! Check out this year’s Catholic Conference 4 Moms. This year’s topic is the many Faces of Mercy. It is inspired by the Holy Father’s proclamation of the Jubilee year of Mercy.

We are called to share God’s love and mercy with others as well as to receive it ourselves. How can you spend these 40 days aquiring more merciful heart? One of the best ways to start is by hearing personal stories of how mercy touched other people’s lives and transformed them.

To hear many uplifting talks by moms, priests and theologians from the convenience of your home, sign up for the Catholic conference for moms. Feel connected and be inspired. Most conferences cost hundreds of dollars, but this online one is only $14.99, or use my coupon code “Eastland” to save $4 and make it just $10.99!  This includes a digital “swag bag” full of goodies like free books to download and discounts at your favourite Catholic websites such as Holy Heroes and Fransciscan Media.

The 2016 “Faces of Mercy” Conference will offer:
-20 + All New Popular Presenters and Presentations (Check them out!)
-Plus a Spanish Track, featuring presentations specifically for Hispanic moms
-Every Presentation is available all of the time, throughout all of Lent, after the conference begins Saturday, Feb. 20th.
-Live-Streamed Session Saturday Morning Feb. 20th featuring Jennifer Fulwiler
-And Live-Streamed Session Saturday Afternoon of the Divine Mercy Chaplet
– HD Videos also Available as MP3 /Podcasts that you can download
-Valuable Digital Swag Bags for all Online Attendees
-Available for individuals Online or for your Mom’s group!

I loved last year’s talks, like having heart to hearts over coffee with awesome friends, and hope you’ll join us this year!

Click here to see the website:

Faces of Mercy

How small I am, Lord

How small I am, Lord,

like a little toddler stumbling along 

and insisting on doing it “self.”

But when I get so exhausted that

I have to sit down and cry,

I find myself scooped up in Your loving arms.

You’ve made me this small so You can carry me

tenderly and cover my scrapes with kisses….

gestures of affection from all those around me,

whose warmth and wisdom protects me

from the silliness of trying

to travel this journey alone. 

I am tiny

so others can have the chance

to be messengers of Your mercy—

angels of Your love.

Help me always to trust

that every time I fall

You’ll be there to comfort me

with a love even sweeter than before.

  

A Moment with Mercy

I didn’t write on my blog yet this Christmas because I didn’t want to make people sad, and yet I couldn’t force myself to be unnaturally chipper. So here I am again, crawling out from under the Christmas tree like a grumpy hedgehog with decorations stuck all over, to share with you what it was really like.

I wish I could say Christmas was all sparkles and magic, and that it was filled with Hallmark moments. I wish I could say that it’s wrong that Christmas is hard when you’re grieving, but I can’t. Normally, the manger scene with it’s beautiful image of family, the warm circle of love around a newborn baby, brings me such consolation, but this year it hurt to look at it. I could relate better to the empty manger beforehand, but the sweet statue of the baby Jesus just makes me long for mine.

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This year, before the child came down from Heaven, mine went up. And this bittersweet exchange brings me to tears. God didn’t ask me for anything more than he gave himself, but then, he is very generous, so it was a lot.

My other children had a lovely time with our wonderful family who came to be with us on Christmas Day, and I am so glad, but for me it wasn’t really Christmas until we decorated baby Josephine’s wreath on Boxing Day. Our neighbours who are good friends of ours came along, too. That meant a lot.

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There isn’t much I can do to feel better right now, except to reach out to others in my brokenness, and let them know they are not alone in their pain. As my friend Julia wisely pointed out to me, everyone has some secret burden weighing on their heart. Perhaps me being vulnerable can open the door for others to share their struggles as well, and in the sharing, be consoled.

It has been said that it is in showing mercy that we give others hope, so this is my goal, to spread a little more hope. So as part of my own healing, I am reaching out on behalf of a family in the Philippines who is struggling and needs support, and sharing their story with you once more.

They are my friend Christina’s nanny Mercy’s family. I’ve met Mercy a few times. The first time she came with Christina and her mom Lynne to help me organize and declutter my house. A task equivalent to rollerblading up Mt. Everest, but they did wonders, and took away a van load of stuff. For me this was a great act of mercy!

The second time was earlier this month, to talk about the idea of starting a group funding campaign for Mercy’s extended family (parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, etc) whom she has supported by herself for over 20 years. With shy reluctance, she began to tell me her story. Growing up too poor to own chairs. Eating the cheapest dried fish with her siblings. The region plagued by unemployment. Then, long years away from her home, sending back every spare penny, as she still does.

And now, she has been forced to take her father home from palliative care because the hospital cost too much. A while back, sitting by his bedside, she complained of the heat, to see if he still understood her words. He tried to fan her despite hardly being able to move, because she is still his baby, even though he is dying. Her diabetic mother is unable to visit the doctor for treatment and medicine, again, because it cost too much.

Mercy’s meagre savings were recently drained by her niece Chloe being born very sick and needing a month in intensive care. Chloe hasn’t been able to breast feed, but paying for formula means that the other family members eat less, since it’s about $90 a month. Chloe’s mother is planning to move to Canada as well to help support the family and will have to leave her baby girl behind. What a choice to have to make, to leave your baby, in order to make sure she has enough to eat!

Now Mercy is trying to buy a small piece of land further away from the unsafe volcano base where her family currently lives, and the second half of the payment is due in early January. Her fundraiser has just over a day left. Would you consider helping her out by making a donation or sharing her page with others? Perhaps you could give $10, the price of one fancy New Year’s Eve drink, to symbolically toast the good health of Mercy and her family. Or perhaps if Santa has been generous with you this year, you could give more.

My kids saved up $35 in change by doing extra chores and proudly donated it. I added a little more. Every bit helps.

You won’t believe what a little Mercy can do…

The Joy of Mercy: Sharing at Christmas

The only things we really possess are the things we give away; they are the things which truly enrich our souls.
Fr. Anthony

The other day my kids and I were lucky enough to be able to help a family with two kids who is really in need. They just moved here from the Philippines, with nothing but their suitcases. They didn’t have any of the things we take for granted: beds, coat hangers, pillows, shelves, can openers, toys, cups, etc.

We wanted to help, as we have so often been helped ourselves. Being a large family of modest means, we are very often the recipient of other people’s generosity, and never want for anything. Except perhaps, more clear space! 😉 It seems we have about three of everything, so we were so glad to be able to share with a family who could really use our help.

The best part of it was that when I told my kids the story of this immigrant family with nothing, not even beds or toys, they got really inspired to share their things and ran about finding things to give:

“I bet the little girl would like the big cat stuffie I made a Build-a-Bear.”
“And the little boy would like my Cars backpack.”
“Here, Mum, let’s give them my flower blanket and this Christmas pillow.”
“Do we have food to give them? They need that. Oh, hurrah, and candy canes, too, for their stockings.”
“Here, I’ll give the girl my old jewelry box to keep her little toys in.”

You get the idea. Because they got into it, and imagined the happiness they could bring to others, they were very happy, and we found 4 boxes and three bags of stuff to give them.

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I was so glad to see it coming from their hearts; they can be attached to their things, but in this case I didn’t have to push them to let it go. They were so proud.

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Even my little boy knew something great was happening! Oh, and we didn’t give away all his clothes, Grandma…he’s just loves scampering about in as little as possible!

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In case you feel inspired to help a family this Christmas, too, I’ll give you the link to the story and fundraising site of another Filipino family, not lucky enough to be here, who are really struggling. My friend Christina’s lovely nanny Mercy supports her entire extended family on her small income, and recent health crises of her aging parents and baby niece have made this next to impossible. She would be so grateful for any help you can give, and time is short; just over ten days remain on her fundraiser at this point.

You Won’t Believe What a Little Mercy Can Do

Sharing with others brought my kids a lot of joy this year, and I hope it will bring you joy as well, however you are able, whether financially, through your prayers or by sharing this story with others. Christmas is truly a time to show that mercy and love know no borders.

Everybody Needs Dear Friends

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It’s a simple fact of life that we all need close friends. They are the ones who make life more bearable when it’s hard, and make it more joyful when there’s happiness to share. They are the ones we call on bad days when we need a laugh, or on dark nights when we need to cry.

For me, Jay and Laura Dear have always been these kind of friends. They are the first friends of my first boyfriend (now husband) that I met, and they embraced me—a skinny, nervous 19 year old—right from the start. For this I’ll forever be grateful. They made me feel like family.

James and I used to curl up on their couch watching movies with them and eating their yummy black bean burritos. Their house was always cosy and safe. It’s where I went all upset when I got fired from a café in university for getting swindled out of too much change. It’s where I watched in shock as the Twin Towers crashed down on 9/11. No matter what was happening in my life, laughter and hugs awaited me there.

So you can understand that when Laura, my confidant, my maid of honour, my loyal friend and kindred spirit, called asking for me help the other day, my answer was, “Of course!”

Her little nephew in Ontario, Kyram, a sweet-tempered little boy with major disabilities, is in need. He was born very early, just over half-way though the pregnancy. Amazingly, Kyram made it and is now almost 9 years old but he requires 24 hour care, even to make sure he keeps breathing at night. Sadly his mother Simone passed away a few years after Kyram’s birth. His loving father Myles, Jay’s brother, being a single working parent, has to have hired help for Kyram whenever he can’t be there himself. Naturally, this is very expensive but funds from Simone’s life insurance have run out. Please join us in praying for a financial solution for Kyram’s care.

Here is a link to Kyram’s YouCaring.com page where you can learn more about him and, if you feel called to do so, make a tax deductible donation that goes towards covering his medical expenses. Kyram’s family would also appreciate it if you could share his story and let others know about his fundraising campaign. The website has links for sharing through Facebook and other social media.

http://www.youcaring.com/helpKyram

Life is so much richer when we reach out and touch other hearts. May you be surrounded always by many dear friends, and never know the loneliness of struggling alone.

Here is a link to a recent news article about Kyram:

Kyram Dear

Images of Silence

I.
The still water reflects the beauty of the sky
gorgeous billows of blue-tipped clouds
The rippling water has a busy beauty of it’s own
but takes all the attention for itself

Sometimes the noise of so much chatter
(mostly my own)
becomes like a wind which

blows out my interior candle

I need some silence
some still air
to let the flame rekindle
to warm the ember to a steady glow
burn brightly enough to heat me
from the inside out
light streaming forth
my eyes as stained glass
shining

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II.
The still morning lake
sits silent
grey and reflective
full of slightly fuzzy trees
solemnly upside down
green but not laughing

The majestic cedar trees
wave their thin green hands
ever so slightly
like ancient queens
acknowledging their people
who celebrate with the sudden confetti
of falling snow

Down below, the dew-spangled moss twinkles
and the ferns bow their heads shyly
Slippery salaal leaves shine
next to delicate huckleberry bushes
not yet adorned with tiny red berries

I’ll have to come back
in the summer

In the mean time
all these pieces of beauty
fill up the puzzle of my soul

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III.
Sitting here in the quiet chapel with
tall windows like eyes into the forest
I watch the snow fall against the cedars
like mercy from heaven
a gentle steady blessing
a constant message of beauty
a gift from one greater
ever reaching towards me
I am here I am here I am here

The snow falls
and my sleeping baby
breathes warmly on my chest
The candles glow
and the lake calmly receives
the many kisses of snowflakes

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