Think about those times in your life when you have felt inspired to something really great. Where does that inspiration come from?
The Holy Spirit. God inspires us to do great things with our lives.
----Matthew Kelly

Welcome to The Not So Perfect Catholic!

Disclaimer: I am not a theologian, just a Catholic empty-nester trying to figure it all out. The views on this blog are my own.

FMF Writing Prompt: Know

 
Five Minute Friday: Kate provides a word every Friday. The writer sets a timer for 5 minutes and writes whatever comes to mind.

KNOW

There are so many unknown things in my life (well, in everyone's lives):
  • I don't know God's plan for me
  • I don't know God's timeline for my husband's illness

But what I do know is that He has a plan for me and He has given us the gift of time with "the illness". One of the Mass Readings this week was Acts 16:1-10. In this scripture, Paul, Barnabas, and Timothy wanted to go to Bithynia but the Holy Spirit told them no and told them to go to Macedonia instead. They listened and they followed. They opened themselves up to hearing the Holy Spirit and they obeyed. As I read and reflected, I realized what I already knew: I don't do that nearly enough. I don't trust in God nearly enough. I feel helpless with what is now my life and I don't like it. But I know that God is tenderly calling me to Him. He is calling me to trust in Him and to allow the Holy Spirit to work in my life. I absolutely hate not having control but I know that's His way of allowing me to come completely to Him. 

Deciding to retire after the next school year was a huge decision and I didn't take it lightly at all. I didn't base it on how I feel, but rather on what our lives over the next year may look like. Not knowing is so difficult. I'm a control freak (although I've done better over the past year). How do you know when the time is right to do anything? I know the answer is to allow the Holy Spirit to guide you. Open your ears, mind, and heart to His guidance. And most importantly, to obey and follow where He leads.

FMF Writing Prompt: Vision

Five Minute Friday: Kate provides a word every Friday. The writer sets a timer for 5 minutes and writes whatever comes to mind.

VISION

The vision for my retirement years looks very different than what I imagined. My husband & I have always been very healthy, rarely even having the flu or a cold. I've heard that you make plans and God laughs. Well, that's exactly what he's doing with our plans.

We thought I'd retire and continue to work through a travel therapy company. We'd travel around the country while both working since he was able to work from anywhere as long as he had a secure internet connection. We'd spend our free time exploring this beautiful country and enjoy traveling while we could.

With my husband's illness, that has changed. People with good intentions tell me about people they know being cured of the same kind of cancer he has. What they don't understand is that my husband won't get any better than he is now. Our vision for our future now involves the maintenance of his cancer for as long as it is possible. 

Am I worried? I try not to be. The unknown is quite scary. Padre Pio said, "Pray, hope, and don't worry". Yes, I pray, I hope, and I try not to worry. Matthew 6:34 says: Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.

We're learning to take each day as it comes. We're learning to be flexible. Most of all, I'm learning to not become frustrated because God's vision for my future is different than what I thought mine would be.

FMF Writing Prompt: Both

 

Five Minute Friday: Kate provides a word every Friday. The writer sets a timer for 5 minutes and writes whatever comes to mind.

BOTH

I wasn't going to join the linky this week, but Saturday morning the word "both" jumped out at me as I was praying the Liturgy of the Hours:

Both in life and death we are the Lord's.  That is why Christ died and came to life again, that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living. --Romans 14:8-9

As I read the Daily Mass Readings, this was in the Psalm:

Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his faithful ones. --Psalm 116:15

2 faithful men that I know passed away over the course of this week. During Mass, one would always pray that he be a good father to his children during the intentions. The other I would call a little "rough around the edges". The last time I saw him was during Mass. He and his wife held hands through most of it. One man's death was sudden, and the other as a result of cancer. 

My mom's death was sudden; with my father's each of my 9 siblings and I had time alone with him. God knows what He's doing when He calls us home. Each death is different but each is beautiful. Be faithful to God in life and He will be merciful in death. 

FMF Writing Prompt: Run

 
Five Minute Friday: Kate provides a word every Friday. The writer sets a timer for 5 minutes and writes whatever comes to mind. 

RUN

Adulting is hard, y'all, and I've been at it for over 35 years! There are times when I just want to run away from it all. The boys aren't acting like I think they should? I could just run away. Bad day at work? I just want to run away. Bad news? Yep, you guessed it: I just want to run away.

But what would running away do? I might be able to forget about the problems or the bad news for a while, but eventually, I would have to face reality and face the problems head-on. Sure, I prefer sticking my head in the sand and living in "Mary's World"...it makes things a lot less stressful. I don't watch the news; it's just too heartbreaking to see what's going on in our country.

So, what do I do? I run to the Cross. I run to the Adoration Chapel, my Galilee...the place where I can begin again. Things never seem quite so bad after I spend time in the quiet in front of the Crucified Jesus or in front of the Divine Mercy. Jesus, I do trust in You. It's hard though, isn't it? This whole trust thing with Jesus? The whole "giving it all to Him and not trying to take it back"? But I guess running to Jesus is a lot better than running from him. 

FMF Writing Prompt: Deny

Join the link-up with your own five-minute freewrite on FiveMInute Friday, then visit your link-up neighbor to read their post and leave an encouraging comment.

 
The other morning during my prayer/devotional time, these verses from the Daily Mass Readings jumped out at me: 
"Will you lay down your life for me?"  --John 13:38
"...from my mother's womb you are my strength" - Psalm71:6
"...my God is now my strength" - Isaiah 49:5

Will I deny myself and lay down my life for Jesus if asked? Aren't I asked daily to do that? Through my obsessions, my "time killers", I should be spending that time with my family, reading His Word or religious books instead of playing games on my phone or flipping through Instagram.

That got me wondering what My mom's pregnancy with me was like. Was I an easy pregnancy? Did they know my name early in the pregnancy or did they wait? I do know that I was prayed for by both of my parents and my grandma as well as aunts and uncles. My parents gave me strength in my faith, my strength in God. I draw my strength in God from my faith. 

Getting back to "deny"; Jesus isn't just asking us not to deny Him when we're asked about Him. He's constantly asking us to deny things in this world that draw us away from Him. He's not just talking about the big things, but little things. I deleted the games on my phone at the end of my "Jesus time". I'm being more mindful of picking up my phone and immediately going to Instagram. 

In what ways do you feel Jesus calling you to deny yourself?

FMF Writing Prompt: Explore

 
I was excited to see today's writing prompt for the Five Minute Friday link-up. Now if I can just contain it to 5 minutes, I'll be doing great!

EXPLORE

I love exploring as long as it's not too adventurous. After I moved back to my hometown with my husband and boys, my husband would take me to places that I'd never heard of, much less been to. Being a motorcyclist, he knew all the "off the beaten path" places. I knew I had a sheltered life, but with him taking me to new places I realized just how sheltered it had really been. 

The latest exploring we did was in Ireland. When I go somewhere new, I absolutely love to hear the history of where I am. You know, little-known facts about the areas. As I mentioned last week, we rented a campervan so we could travel at our own pace and take in the Irish countryside and people. It was quite an adventure, to say the least. We explored places where there were very few tourists. From our first night with some friends in Dublin to the Wicklow Mountains, the only time we saw tour buses was in Glendalough, a monastic city founded by St. Kevin. The exploration was done in little villages thanks to people we met from the area who told us where to explore. 

Dang! The timer went off! To see places in my backyard that I've explored, go to my Life in a Small Town blog. There are also tabs for other places I've explored. The Ireland tab will be updated as soon as I start writing posts about this visit.





FMF Writing Prompt: Coffee

 

Here I go again! I enjoyed the first time I participated in Five Minute Friday so how could I resist today's prompt?  Kate provides a word every Friday. The writer sets a timer for 5 minutes and writes whatever comes to mind. 

COFFEE

I tell everybody I like a little bit of coffee with my creamer and it's true. I'm trying to cut back on the creamer (Oatmilk Creamer, by the way) but it's not always successful. I used to be a big Starbucks girl..gold card and all. Until I did some digging and found out some things about the company that go against my beliefs. I ran across a coffee called Mystic Monk. Yep, it's made by monks in the USA. Reasonable coffee that tastes excellent. I like flavored coffee, so I joined the "flavor of the month" club.

My husband & I just returned from a trip to Ireland. We rented a camper van and drove around Ireland for 10 days. Perfect way to see the country, by the way. 1 of the things I love about Ireland is Irish Coffee. Black coffee with Irish Whiskey topped with whipped cream. Not the "out of the can" kind, but honest to goodness cream that's whipped and slowly poured on top. Nothin' beats it! I wouldn't recommend ordering one in the evening unless you want to be up until 2:00 a.m. (Not that I'm speaking from experience!) 

It amazes me that some people can drink their coffee totally black. No cream, no sugar... just coffee. I don't know if I'll ever get to that point. But maybe if it had just a little whiskey in it I could do it!
SLÁINTE!