Wednesday, April 9, 2014

HOPE REBORN: LIBERIA

P.S; Don't worry that I got malaria. I'm fine!!!
Resilient and strong my son Johnny never ceases to amaze me!

I was so excited to sit down and read my very first letter from him since he left for Liberia several months ago. Though I'd already heard through the grapevine of "Comunita Cenacolo" that he'd survived malaria, I was expecting him to share the uncomfortable details. Nothing! He completely side stepped the obvious and moved straight into explaining the missionary work that is now his life for the next two years.

Johnny is helping other community members run an orphanage that is home to 18 kids. Nine babies, 4 girls and 5 boys. And guess what?! God absolutely has a sense of humor because Johnny-who is the oldest of my 5 sons, is staying with and caring for the 5 boys!

As I read the letter I had to laugh...Johnny wrote, "For the normal reasons, I lose my patience often with them; but you learn to say sorry, and then you move on." He said, "The most important moments are educating them about what's right and wrong. It's all very difficult, but rewarding."

How brilliant is that?! Taking care of five boys, helping with their spiritual formation, teaching them life lessons and showing them that love really does have wings that span the world. Through community, the orphans are learning that God's love is so big that he resurrected the lives of these young recovering addicts, purged their attachments, illuminated their hearts, and then flew them all the way across the world so they could put the virtue of gratitude into concrete action by loving these children back to health!

My son died to himself with his yes-and rose to heights that I never imagined he would reach. I know the daily struggles are not easy and the challenges are probably greater than I can even imagine...But I know one thing...The heavens are singing with joy and a cascading river of grace is pouring into this little community bringing healing waters of everlasting, soul transforming, God centered eternal LOVE!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

LIBERIA, COMUNITA CENACOLO

My 28 year old son Johnny left for Liberia tonight. That's right, Liberia on the ivory coast of Africa. He is flying on the wings of grace to his new home, an orphanage for needy and abandoned children, where he will join other missionaries from Comunita Cenacolo.

Johnny is planning on staying in this mission house for the next two years barring any health issues or unforseen problems. As you can imagine, I have been and will be praying for the wisdom and the power of the Holy Spirit to descend upon my child as he walks with the Lord in this distant land. I will also be asking for the Lord's protection as he faces the many challenges that will naturally come his way.

Yes-I am proud of my oldest son, and awed by the immensity of his decision and the depth of his faith. It really is amazing!
From drug addict to missionary. It doesn't get much better than that! Four and a half years after entering Community life, Johnny enters into the heart of the church as a missionary, bringing faith and the light of the gospel into the lives of the poor and less fortunate. From the darkness to the light, nothing is impossible for God!

I will write more about this, but for tonight, I am simply grateful for the gift of my son's life and I am deeply honored to be his mom.
Please join me in praying for Johnny's safety and for his spiritual guidance as God uses him to touch and transform lives!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

SUFFERING AND INTIMACY

Suffering is inherent in intimacy...with Jesus Christ. It is the pivotal path to fully unite with his sacrificial love.

I never understood that when I was younger. I felt removed from the image of my Lord hanging on a cross, bloody and bony and suffering. Intellectually I understood what he did for all of us, but there was a spiritual disconnect. I did’t know that the very image that has repulsed many, has been the one vision that would draw people closer to him...that would draw me-into that sacred place, "His" sacred heart.

I imagine it takes most of us a lifetime to really get that. When we are suffering we are selfishly seeing only our own needs and desires. Because let’s face it, no one wants to suffer...really suffer and I doubt any of us would ask for the kind of suffering that Christ experienced-for us.

That’s what happened. He loved us so much that he agreed to the ultimate suffering. He gave us the gift of his life so that we might have life and love and authentic intimacy which can really only happen when we embrace the cross and allow him to carry us into the healing womb of his sacred heart. I can’t think of any love story that is more powerful than that!

And so there on the wall of my house...(several walls in fact) hangs the greatest expression of love that has ever been visualized or experienced or passed on...The ultimate gift of boundless, eternal, soul inspiring love, and the key to true intimacy with "Him" and others.

When we are intimate with “Him” he pours himself into us...filling us with his love. His power flows forth redeeming and resurrecting our fallen nature by perfecting our character. Drawing ever closer to “Him” we begin to see ourselves as he sees us and we come to understand “His” intention for our lives and the purpose of human intimacy.

No it’s not the way the world would write this story, because it isn’t about the freedom of doing only what makes us feel good. It’s about exercising our freedom to choose to turn what makes us feel uncomfortable into the one thing that transforms our humanity into illuminating intimacy.

Yes, suffering has a purpose and it is inimately more poignant than most of us can ever comprehend!

Monday, September 23, 2013

THE TIME IS NOW!

Today I begin writing again. It is time. The following entry does not contain my writing, however it does reflect my feelings. I received these words of wisdom in an email this morning and I loved them immediately! So-I want to share with you the power of these statements and after you read them, I think you'll understand why they really touched my heart! Enjoy!


"There comes a time in your life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Forget the bad, and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who don't. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living."

Quote: "Today may there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.”

Monday, May 21, 2012

JOHNNY'S GIFT OF LIFE!

Twenty seven years ago my world opened up to amazing new possibilities! The birth of my firstborn son-the leader of a pack of five-entered the world kicking and screaming and letting me know that life would never be the same!

In fact, my life would become better than I ever imagined! You see, as a young professional...A self absorbed television news person, I never thought about having a child. I was centered on my career and my future-which I believed would lead me to the network news in the Big Apple!
Never once did I dream that the best production of my life, would be the first gift of life-that God had deemed me worthy of receiving-on that wonderful evening in May.

Ironically, my young husband and I hadn't been going to church when we conceived our first son. Yet, I distinctly remember the day he entered my womb. During a few stolen moments with my spouse, new life filtered in and I heard in my head, "You are now pregnant!" I tried to ignore the heads up from God-but within a matter of weeks there was no dodging the facts...New life was definitely in transit...A gift that would keep on giving through eternity!

Johnny probably doesn't really know it, but his surprise entrance melted my heart, and led to the desire to mother even more little bundles of joy-and I did.

And so on his blessed birthday-I am thanking Johnny-who is now living in Comunita Cenacolo in Italy-for giving me the gift of motherhood, which inspired within me, the desire to be open to more children and to the sacred understanding that all life is absolutely a gift from God-from the moment of our conception until our natural death!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOHNNY!

Friday, May 4, 2012

PROM NIGHT, BEN'S NIGHT!

I just kissed my 18 year old son goodbye, and whispered a prayer under my breath. It's prom night-need I say more!

It's also his historic last day of High School! Hard to believe? A little bit, but quite honestly he's been such a "man" for so long, an old soul, since the day he was born, that it's hard for me to consider him a teenager.

Benjamin is the quintessential middle child, easy going, quietly reserved, yet relentlessly vigilant about everything he sets out to accomplish. His 4.4 grade average is proof that academics come easy and so does his desire to excel. In fact, he's exempt from all his exams!

Yes, that's pretty impressive, but tonight it's all about the fun and the food and the frivolous joy of being young, and free and oh yes-I almost forgot...It's also about the date! I honestly don't know her personally, but if I know Ben, she must be pretty special, especially since she caught my son's discerning eye.

Ben has come a longgg way and from where I sit, he is going to go veryyyyy-far!
As his mom, it is so lovely watching this young man step into the future of unlimited possibilities...And it's consoling to see that all the parental controls, consequences and commitment is absolutely paying off!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MANUELA!

This is the day the Lord hath made, and on this day many moons removed, he chose to make a miracle-of life-my sister Manuela. She came kicking and screaming into this great big world, way across the mighty Atlantic ocean-on the inner shores of our beloved Deutschland!

Brainy and bold, steadfast and determined, "Ela's" unconventional entry into planet earth-immediately commanded attention, letting everyone know she was a force to be reackoned with. And believe me-she is! My sons are always amazed at my sister's generosity and loyalty, amid a myriad of challenges that have been thrown flat at our feet! And we often talk about the abundant blessing of knowing that she is always in our corner-caring, consoling and keeping us secure.

Though she is miles removed, way across the country in the cool, California sunshine...the warmth of her Love and the sacrificial spirit of her soul has left an indellible imprint on our lives-and we are so grateful she is alive! HAPPY BLESSED BIRTHDAY!