Isn’t it difficult to have to come to terms with the fact that what we had been praying for doesn’t happen as we’d wish? I posted about this yesterday… but God is always there to answer our prayers – but not always in the way *we* would like. Its important to be able to accept His will for us even if its not necessarily what we’d like.

I just experienced this today with some disappointment in something for which I’d been praying. I knew that I might be disappointed in the outcome, but I was surprised at how my prayers for peace and understanding have been answered so quickly. The minute I began to feel disappointment, I also began to see how quickly there was a reason for the outcome. I began to see that there was something that needed my immediate attention that I would have been distracted from if my prayer had been answered.

I always pray for clarity in the outcome no matter what it is in order that I can be aware which usually helps to curb my disappointment.

God never lets me down!

Peace… easy in concept. Challenging in practice.

We all have moments in our life that can generate a sense of anxiety within. It happens to all of us. We are told – repeatedly – in the Bible to ‘be not afraid’. These were also the first words spoken by Blessed Pope John Paul II upon addressing the public after becoming Pope. More often than not, its easier said than done.

As human nature is prone to do, we tend to intellectualize things that happen in our lives. In addition, we often respond to things in our lives with emotion. The combination of the two can be most challenging to overcome in order to let go and let God – or to ‘be not afraid’.

When in doubt or in need – turn to prayer. God always answers prayers. They may not be answered in the way in which we would *like* them to be answered – but they will be answered. There is always an opportunity to pray for the outcome of a particular situation, but more importantly – there is an opportunity to pray to understand and learn from whatever the outcome may be. There is also an opportunity to pray for peace from anxiety and emotional upheaval during any particular experience. This last prayer can be very powerful when exercised with sincerity. We are quick to want to pray for this or that to happen – but we often forget to pray for a freedom from worry or anxiety during trials in our life and we often to forget to pray for clarity as to why a particular outcome is the way it is.

This is a lesson I’m working on learning for myself. I’m hoping that I can come back to this post in the future and be reminded of it when I next feel an overwhelming sense of anxiety or impatience.

Peace be with you.

Love in a nosebleed.

My sweet daughter awoke in the middle of the night last night with a nosebleed. I think the switch from the humid air we’ve had to the cold dry air just got the better of her little nose. She’s eleven (so it seems a little odd to me to be calling her nose ‘little’ considering she’s almost as tall as I am!) and got herself up and to the bathroom. She was doing her best to stop it, but – gross alert warning – the blood just kept pouring out. I got up as I could sense some oncoming panic in her voice. She was getting worried that it wouldn’t stop.

I had her pinch her nostrils – which she had sort of been doing already. It wasn’t stopping. She very wisely suggested that we try the ‘ice trick’. I had no idea what she was talking about in terms of the ice trick and grabbed my phone to read a little more about that to which she was referring. It hardly seemed the time to say ‘Honey, I have no idea what you mean.’ I quickly found out that if you put ice across the bridge of the nose it can help. I went and got a bag of ice and placed it on her nose. She kept pinching and pulling the tissue away to look. I told her she needed to stop for a few minutes and just pinch and let the ice work. She did, and within about five to seven minutes the bleeding stopped. She went back to bed and all was well in the world again – except that I was unable to get back to sleep, but that’s another story. This morning, while getting ready for school, my sweet girl’s nose started up again. We immediately got the ice and it stopped within a minute or two.

As I tried to remain calm last night through my tired eyes and as I watched my daughter nervously begin to become anxious about her nose, I thought about how much I loved her and how difficult it is to see those we love suffer. This was only a minor blip in the grand radar of suffering through life, but it reminded me of how little things like grabbing a bag of ice and hunching uncomfortably over a toilet while holding the ice across my sweet daughter’s nose was exactly what I was to do as a mother. I was able to provide just a little bit of comfort and even – with her suggestion – find a solution to what was ailing her so that she could get back into bed and get the much needed rest her growing body needs. It was a reminder that it doesn’t take a lot to provide comfort to those we love, and even those we don’t even know. The effort is sometimes small, and sometimes not so small – but if we take the time to make it, we can help in even the most minute and basic ways.

This morning, on the way to school, we were praying our daily prayers in the car and I asked God to help her nose today so that it wouldn’t bleed at school, and that if it did that she would find the help that she needed. While she didn’t say anything, I know that it gave her comfort to think that my concern for her nose was enough for me to pray for her.

After she returns home from school today, I’m going to let her know that I had no idea what the ice trick was and how wise she was to suggest it!

Advent. A new season and a new year.

Today is the start of Advent.

In the Catholic Church we are moving into the new liturgical year, and are doing so with the first ‘official’ day of the 3rd translation of the Roman Missal. There has been much ado about moving ‘forward’ with this translation which actually, in reality, takes us back closer to the more ‘valid’ translation. We started using this translation earlier this week in our parish during our daily masses. It was a great opportunity for our Priests to practice the new translation on a smaller audience. While parishioners have been working hard to learn their new wording as part of the Mass, Priests have had far more changes that we *should* – but might not – notice. Personally, I like the changes and I appreciate the idea of moving closer to a more accurate translation. I also appreciate the idea that there is wording changed that makes the Mass more reverent.

This morning our Priest talked about ‘being ready’ and what Advent really means. He asked several questions about what we’d like to strive toward this Advent in terms of our goals. Who did we want to pray for? What did we want to pray for? How did we want to walk closer to God during this time? I reflected on this briefly during the short period of prayer following the homily and was reminded of my dearly neglected blog site – Practically Catholic. As I sat in prayer, it immediately occurred to me that Advent was a great opportunity to spend time contemplating my spiritual life and to journal about it on a daily basis through this blog.

So, here I am – back again. This time I’m actually going to be brave and share my little creation with those I know and love. Its a bit daunting for me to actually consider people I *know* reading this blog as I’m used to it having an audience of one (me!). I welcome the feedback – all of it! Criticism and discussion is absolutely welcome – provided its civil and constructive. I enjoy the opportunity to talk about ideas and share. We all have much to learn from one another and I hope to learn from those who come here and share their ideas. We’re all on individual spiritual journeys. Some are Catholics, some aren’t. Some are believers, some aren’t. Writing here, for me, is an opportunity to reflect and ponder on what its like to be living my life – as a wife, a mother, a family member, a friend, a stranger – as a Catholic convert. I’m hoping to use this resurgence during Advent to reflect more on what that means to me, both in terms of where I’m succeeding and where, frankly, I could use some work.

God Bless and I hope you join me on this little journey through Advent and maybe even stick with me after Advent!