Friday, February 10, 2017

Redmond Washington

There is no school today here in the Biggest Little City.
It's not a SNOW day... it's a Rain Day!?%$*&?

It got me thinking about life in Washington and how different it is here now in Reno.

It is a funny thing that even though you would think this dry desert land would soak up the moisture like a marathon runner on a hot day, instead it does the opposite. 
It causes flooding because the soil here is just not prepared for this kind of moisture. 
It can only go so deep is what I've been told.
There are SO many metaphors in this natural occurrence....
It got me thinking about some things I've been re-reading in Broken Open.

Now almost 4 years later since we transported our clan from a wet rainy Redmond WA. to a normally very dry Reno NV I'm once again reminded of that journey to the woods. 
Travel back in time with me beloved reader for a little reflection on this rainy day here in Reno.

We headed into the woods of Redmond Washington having no idea what would come out on the other end. 
The big move was inspired after losing our third owned home through a forced foreclosure and the Bank of America scandal. 
We were tired and weary of the way things were and what the cards of life had dealt us, so we embarked on one of the greatest adventures of our lives. 
A small cabin in the woods of Redmond Washington was our destination, but little did we know we would arrive in Dante's famous Dark Woods.
"In the middle of the journey of our life
I found myself within a dark woods
Where the straight way was lost. "

The woods were indeed dark, and the cabin was indeed ever so small but what came out of those 4 years is still something that all of us still talk about. 
Something beyond what I can describe happened when the MoNoSco clan of 6 set out to live in an 800 square foot cabin with only 1 bathroom, no dishwasher or central heat and not a penny to our names after we spent all what little we had left to make that shit hole livable again. 
I remember the early days there when I kept turning the corner at the end of our driveway too closely and damaging the tires on Beasty Boy, (Our 8 passenger Ford Expedition). 
We had NO money to buy new tires or even really to fix the one I kept busting, yet somehow Moses, the magic man that he is, made them last until we could finally buy new/used ones off of Craigslist. 
They were dark times, and at the same time filled with SO much light because we still had each other.
We learned that having a huge house, money in the bank, and brand new designer clothes like ALL of our neighbors(and I do mean ALL of our neighbors had) was not where true life is found.
The time in our cabin forever changed us all.
We became among those who The Philosopher William James describes as being Twice Born.
 In Elizabeth Lessers book Broken Open she describes in detail what William James means when he writes about being Twice Born. 

"The Philosopher William James wrote that there are two kinds of people in this world- 
The Once Born and the Twice Born. Once Born people do not stray from the familiar territory of who they think they are and what they think is expected of them. If fate pushes them to the edge of Dante's famous dark woods- where the straight way is lost- they turn back. "

We didn't turn back even when all roads were popping our tires, and telling us to just go home we remained in those dark woods. 
They were literally dark because we were surrounded by trees, but inside when we could get the wet logs lit there was a bright light going on that the rest of the world, except for the 6 of us will never truly understand.
I'm grateful beyond measure for the time that we had there and to my husband who despite a deep seasonal depression going on stuck out those almost 4 years for the sake of our happiness.
"They don't want to learn something new from life's darker lessons.  
They stay with what seems safe, and what is acceptable to their family and society. They stick to what they already know but don't necessarily want. Once-Born people may go through life and never even know what lies beyond the woods- or that there are woods at all. "

No one would argue that the choice that we made in the mid stream of our families life to move into this tiny cabin in the woods was a safe choice. 
It certainly wasn't acceptable, but somehow that doesn't seem to be the way of this Clan. 
I can never really put into words what happened there but it was magic. 
Pure magic.
I'm still confounded by the fact that now that we are back here in Reno Nevada, living in the largest house we've ever had( an almost 3000 square foot home), my children all say that they would go back to Redmond WA in a heartbeat.
(Insert wide eyed emoticon here)
A few nights ago during a family dinner I sat back and listened to my kids reminisce about those years and it made me a tad bit weepy, and a whole lot grateful. 
Our time there was short but it impacted all of our lives in such a way that we will never forget. 
We became "A Twice Born" people group and we didn't even realize it was happening.
"A Twice Born person pays attention when the soul pokes its head through the clouds of of a half-lived life. Whether through choice or calamity, the Twice Born person goes into the woods, loses the straight way, makes mistakes, suffers loss, and confronts that which needs to change within himself in order to live more genuine and radiant life."

My hope is that now that we are almost 4 years out of the woods that we were in for only almost 4 years we all would remember how and why we became Twice Born. 
I pray we never forget what really made that time in that space so very special. 
It had nothing to do with the close courters that we found ourselves in or that we tried to eventually share those courters with 6 more people (insert wide eyed emoticon here... TWICE!!)
I'm not completely sure why that time forever changed us, but I think it has something to do with the fact that despite the fact that we were the Hippy VW bus driving house on the Hill we had love in our hearts. We treasured the time we had together. We enjoyed every acre of that property.  We laughed at the rain and met each new day with creativity and adventure in our hearts. 
And when the next adventure arose to move back to Reno Nevada to help open another Tattoo place, we once again embarked on the journey of being re-born again...again.
I pray that the soil of our hearts never becomes one so dry that we can't contain the overflowing goodness of what a life looks like that can be re-born again and again.
Here's to a beautiful life where we get to be twice born...or thrice born, 
Here's to all of YOU who despite the dark woods you may have entered you refuse to turn back!
Happy Rainy Day!

Sunday, February 05, 2017


(PC-Natalie Rose)
KISS- is the acronym for the well known phrase; " Keep it Simple Sweetheart"  or how I have more commonly heard it said;  "Keep it Simple Stupid."
In trying to find the origins of this well known phrase I read on Wiki that it may have started with the Navy. 
(things that make you go hmmm...)
Either way it's a phrase most have heard in their lifetime, and one that is so very applicable to me right now. 

I've also heard it said that when you don't know what to do go back to the basics.
Basic training for the human soul is complex and we never truly graduate and move on from this state of learning and growing to be our true selves, our best selves.
I find myself going back to the basics of what this life is all about. 
As I pause, and look at what is going on in the world around me I have had many moments when I don't know what to do, say, or even think.

It is in this state of unknown that I travel back to what I know to be true.
In my travels back to the basics I wrote this list of reminders for my soul.
For the sake of the conversation we might have here because of these reminders, I included you in my travels. 
So Let's Travel well together beloved reader and do some basic training for our souls.

Here's my list of basic soul training reminders;

Let's work on growing our "acceptance muscles." 
Let's commit to silencing our "attacking ones."
Let's remember we are all "Bozos on The Bus."

"Keep it simple stupid!"

Let's not soon forget that we were all once immigrants in need of a home land.
Let's remember this is only a pause in all of eternity and not our final destination.
We are all still foreigners here.
For those that feel they are the settlers remember not to settle for cruelty.
For those that feel more and more foreign every day remember that 
you are not alone here, and we desperately want to embrace you, but for some embracing seems foreign.

"Keep it simple sweetheart!"

Let's have patience with one another as we work on agreeing to disagree agreeably.
Let's not choose sides of this race, but rather remember we are all part of the human race.
Let's be diligent to teach our children that; "Perfect love casts out all fear"

"Keep it simple stupid!"

Turn off the TV, Computer, Phone, and engage in this beautiful life we get to live.
Breathe in deep.
Breathe out deep. 
Sigh and moan if necessary.
Hold a baby and smell them.
Really smell them.
Smell their smile.
Smell their fuzzy head.
Smell their sense of wonder.
Smell their stinky diaper and then change it.

"Keep it simple sweetheart!"

Let's remember that we all started there.
Let's go back(metaphorically speaking) to when we were a foreigner in our mother's womb.
Let's be born again to that place of wonder.
Let's try to imagine the world we all want.
Let's remember we only get to borrow it for a bit.
Let's recognize that it looks quite similar and actually even almost the same if we look with a magnifying glass.
 Let's ask the questions and truly listen to the answer.
Let's have enough creativity, and courage to embrace this beautiful life with all the colors, and sounds, and smells.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Love. Acceptance. Forgiveness.

I have so many thoughts running through my head regarding the Women's March that happened on Saturday. Millions of women, men, and children came out to be a voice for LOVE and ACCEPTANCE. I wanted to jump up and down with excitement when I heard of the numbers of people that got out there and spoke up for equality and respect for ALL human life.
It reminded me of the ah-ha moment I had when I read this book many moons ago that forever changed my life. 
It moved me in a different direction and how I now choose to walk out my faith.
It was a worldview changer for me for sure.
The message is as simple as the title of the book, and the author was as authentic and legit as any man could be. In his time here on earth he made an impact. The impact was similar to many great leaders, but maybe not as polarized because he led a quiet life in Gresham Oregon.
His name was Jerry Cook and the book is called Love, Acceptance, and Forgiveness. 
The title is packed with big words that comes with all kinds of emotional baggage, and at the same time those three words have the capacity, and power for true healing and restoration.

I understand that not everyone has had unconditional love in their life.
  In fact, I know I am in the minority of those who have shared a relationship with several people where their love has caused them to flourish instead of whither and die.
That's not to say that I haven't ever experienced a relationship with someone that I love where they have had destructive behavior toward me and toward others. I've been lied to in the name of love, and friendship. I've been rejected because I spoke truth in the name of love and it hurts.
"Our love for others must never be confused as a license for their destructive behavior toward us, toward others or toward themselves. Love commits itself to their "highest good" and stands stubbornly and relentlessly against their destruction from any quarter."
It's helpful for me to know that I don't have to continue to subject myself to that kind of behavior in the name of "love" but that I can continue to pray for those people who have hurt me and hold them at arms length until God says otherwise. 
If he ever does.
But there is a love offered to everyone that brings life and hope, and never fails. 
John 3:16

It's this love that gives me the ability to truly love everyone and wish no ill will on my fellow man or woman.


I realize that as a white, suburban wife and mom in most circles I'm generally accepted. 
(Unless of course you find tattoos offensive)
I've never really known what it's like to not be accepted because of how I was born.
In my lifetime I have been so fortunate to live in a country where I have the freedom as a woman to wear what I want and have a voice.
I don't have to fear that if I burn my husbands dinner I will be chained outside and treated like a dog.
I have a family who loves me and a husband who is still my best friend 23 years later. 
I also have been so incredibly blessed in this life to be
friends and even family with those who aren't generally accepted in most circles of life. 
Some of my closest friends are people that when they walk into a room people automatically make preconceived judgements about them.
They are rejected simply for the color of their skin or clothing they wear or who they choose to hold hands with.
Their rejection has strangely become my own and I feel a strong urge to speak up and out for them, on behalf of them. 

"Unreserved acceptance of people should be a habit with us."

The "us" Jerry is referring to there is Christ followers or Christians. 
Why is it that a people group that should be the most loving, the most accepting is often times the most judgmental and unforgiving? 
It saddens my heart beyond belief that Jesus is represented by a people group that often times come across as THE MOST judgmental and therefore hypocritical than any other on planet earth!
I want to shake people sometimes and say, don't you know Jesus hung out with prostitutes and thieves  and without a doubt if he was here in body today would be among those that marched this past weekend and he might have hung out at a gay bar afterward!
(Insert wide eyed emoticon here)

But I digress. 
It is the acceptance that I feel on a daily basis from the lover of my soul that has given me the capacity to accept others even if they challenge my way of life to the core. 
When I read about Jesus in the book of John I see one who loved without reservation or judgement. 
You can't stop this kind of love and it scares people. 
It's a force that has to be reckoned with and is the very reason He was crucified. 
His love scared the people who thought love and acceptance should only be shown to an elite people group. 
If Jesus taught us nothing else in his short 33 years here it is that love and acceptance for ALL people is what the heart of God is all about. 


I am only given the capacity to forgive those who have wounded and damaged me because of this great love and acceptance I have felt from the very young age of 13. This kind of forgiveness is a learned way of life. 
"I'm learning to live without you now, 

But I miss you sometimes.

The more I know, the less I understand, 

All the things I thought I knew, I'm learning again.

I've been tryin' to get down 

To the heart of the matter

But my will gets weak 
And my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think it's about forgiveness, 
Even if, even if you don't love me anymore."

The longer I live the more I want to live in such a way that truly reflects HIS LOVE, HIS ACCEPTANCE, and HIS FORGIVENESS. 
 When you spend time with the great lover of your soul, your creator, it
then becomes habit to forgive those that hurt you.
This comes only after many years of realizing that to not forgive them only hurts you more.
A hardened, unforgiving stubborn state of mind closes you off to a world of true

After seeing millions of families come out and march this past Saturday I am filled with hope that there are more people out there whose voices won't be silenced. 
The love, acceptance, and forgiveness that we are able to cultivate to the best of our ability will be in the end what lasts thru the test of time.
When we look into another persons eyes and see them, and accept them for who they are with no agenda, when we recognize we bleed the same color red, and feel the same about much more than we think we do, then we get to experience a little heaven on earth!

Sign me up for that.   

Monday, January 16, 2017

No Greater Love

Today is the day we recognize this one man.
A great leader. 
A Christ follower.
A Son.
A Brother. 

"I still believe that love is the most durable power in the world. Over the centuries men have sought to discover the highest good. This has been the chief quest of ethical philosophy. This has been one of the big questions of Greek philosophy. The Epicureans and the Stoics sought to answer it; Plato and Aristotle sought to answer it. What is the summum bonum of life? I think I have discovered the highest good. It is love. This principle stands at the center of the cosmos. As John says, “God is love.” He who loves is a participant in the being of God. He who hates does not know God."

A Father. 
A Husband.
A Preacher.
A Servant to all of Humanity.

"Always be sure that you struggle with Christian methods and Christian weapons. Never succumb to the temptation of becoming bitter. As you press on for justice, be sure to move with dignity and discipline, using only the weapon of love. Let no man pull you so low as to hate him. Always avoid violence. If you succumb to the temptation of using violence in your struggle, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness, and your chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos."

A Poet.
A Philosopher. 
A Teacher.
A Student. 

A man whose only mission was to promote LOVE.

“There is no greater love than this: that a person would lay down his life for the sake of his friends.” John 15:13

Because of Hate and Fear 
He never got to see his grandchildren.
He didn't get to witness the first Black President.
He never even saw his 40's. 

Despite his short time here, he was A world changer.
His words carry weight because he backed them with the actions that eventually killed him.
His voice is still heard today.
And hopefully will be heard for many more years to come. 

I'm beyond thankful that I live in a country that recognizes men just like Martin Luther King jr.
It is my hope and prayer on this day that we won't silence the voice of love. 
That all of us will work together to be love promoters and in doing so become world changers in our own right. 

Monday, January 09, 2017

Storms, Songs, and Some Food for Thought

This blog written today has a bit of the children's book 
If you give a Mouse a Cookie feel to it.

If you give a girl a day off due to a recent storm....
she's going to want to blog about it.
And when she blogs about it....
she's going to want to listen to music while she types.

Join me now beloved reader as I process out loud with you 

I'm sitting here the day after a major storm has almost swept downtown Reno away.
My children are home from school because of this storm and we are pausing from everyday life.

Somehow the recent weather has brought all kinds of storms in my heart, mind and in my soul.

I will admit I was on the doubtful side that this storm would be as bad as predicted. I couldn't believe that they cancelled school on Saturday before the storm had really even come to town.
This same doubtful side of life kind of reminds me of the doubts I had before November 11th.
As I read the news reports yesterday though, I began to pray for all the families and businesses that this great storm would affect. I realized that once again the path of indifference is so easy to take, and comes with terrible regret. I'm glad that others didn't take my nonchalant attitude toward this predicted terrible storm.

There were many preparations made for this expected storm.

Days before the storm was really here, the Reno community prepared for what was to come. There were all kinds of people that came together and helped in anyway they could so that houses and business wouldn't be flooded.
Many sand bags were laid down.
People posted on Facebook their cries for help and their neighbors came to their rescue.

Strangers united for the purpose of helping their neighbors here.

This got me thinking about my neighbors and "We The People" who have recently weathered a political storm of sorts.

With only a few weeks before the Presidential inauguration is about to take place, I'm thinking about what the world will look like now.
I'm thinking about what preparations "we the people" should be taking.
And by sitting here writing this blog post I'm taking a different path, and I don't feel indifference will be one of the streets names.
I feel it in my bones. 

My heart is swept away with sadness as we say goodbye to the Obamas and try to prepare for the Trumps.

As I sat in the comfort of my home yesterday when the sky was grey and the earth was wet, I enjoyed the sound of the rain.
Those that know me well know that I LOVE THE RAIN!
Rain brings life and green and green is my favorite color. 

(that's your one light hearted side note beloved reader)

Now, I'm thinking about how water is life and at the same time how powerfully destructive it can be.

The same could be said about music.

Music brings life.

"Life seems to go on without effort when I am filled with music."

Today here in Reno there is much talk of levee's and bridges.
I somehow feel like the life giving water levee of the White House will be left dry after January 20th when it once was so full.

The sun came out for only a few hours today and already so much of the water is dry. In a matter of 24hrs it all looks so different now and will again look different tomorrow as predictions of more snow are headed our way.

But when I think of levee's and them being dry, musically speaking, Don Mclean's song American Pie comes to my mind of course.

(in my life there is a song for everything and everything is a song)
Okay, so maybe you get two light hearted side notes...

When asked to interpret the meaning of this classic song Don left it up to we the listeners and never really gave a clear description for it all. 
In the interview that you can listen to below he talks about how it started with the death of Buddy Holly, but then morphed into something so much greater.

He says;

"Politics and music flow in the same channel because music is created by the society that is under it."

Somehow, I feel as though this could be a theme song for this present moment we find our country in. 

Will the music die?

Will "WE THE PEOPLE" no longer sing the songs of freedom and grace or 
Will we prepare our hearts, our minds, our voices to continue to sing out that great song that brings us all together as the United States of America?
Will we silently sit by and let the music of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness die
Will we come together again for one great purpose?

Will we stop the commentary and personal opinions if only for a moment to hear what our neighbors are crying out?

It's funny how whats happening in the natural can affect the super natural.

What happened here yesterday in the natural can be a new beginning for our biggest little city.

What happened on November 11th was the beginning of a song, a cry that we thought was buried here, but so painfully has come to life for our immediate attention.
It has brought about a political storm of record proportions.

Next Monday my children will be home from school again, this time not because of any storm, for I have no doubt that like it did today the sun will be out and the land will be dry again.

No, my teenagers will be home to celebrate and remember a man named Martin Luther King jr. I will remind them that this is a holiday that all states recognize but one, and we will once again pause from everyday life.

I find it so interesting that it comes the Monday before the week ends with a very sad inauguration day.

What happens in Washington on January 20th will also be a new beginning that "We The People" get to decide what the ending will look like. 

How can one voice speak to so many people?

How can one song can capture so many emotions? 

I'm convinced that The music will NOT die and thankfully in the super natural a mortal man does not fill the levee's of our hearts.
Although the levee's here in Reno will be dry in the natural the super natural state of this girls heart will be full.

Full of Love.
Full of Prayers.
Full of Song.

You know what song I'll be singing on January 20th?

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

My New Years Word for 2017

(above picture taken circa 10 years ago)

The day after Christmas this year, my word for 2017 came like a gentle nudge from an old friend.

I'm not talking about finding my life's purpose because I have known for many years what that is.
It's not wrapped up in a career or even a role I fulfill like wife, mother, sister, friend. 
That's not to say that those don't give me purpose or reason to get up and get moving, but they are not my sole purpose on this planet. 
I know my gifts, my strengths and weaknesses.
 I know who my creator is so I have that source of constant fulfillment and purpose like a river running through my veins on the daily. 
Knowing the Lover of my Soul and pursuing Him in all things = My one small life's purpose.
"The meaning of life is to find your gift.
The purpose of life is to give it away."

I feel content in those areas.
I think the word that has come my way for 2017 came about because the older I'm getting the more I'm realizing that unless I prioritize something or someone then those gifts I want to give don't get given. 
(Say that 5 times fast) 
I think it might have something to do with how fast time seems to keep going.
The older I get the faster the arms on that life clock get spinning. 
Faster and faster,
And so it goes.
I know I'm not alone in feeling this way about Father Time.
You want to catch up to him and YELL, Slow the Hell Down!!
But he is like the Gingerbread man just taunting you to try and catch him if you can.
We all know we can't catch Father time and make him slow down or even stop so you can catch your breath, but I have moments where I sit straight up and think I am going to carpe the hell out of this diem!
I think it was a moment like that where this word for 2017 was birthed from.
As I was sitting in my bed the day after Christmas, I was thinking about the amazing weekend of fun with my Fab 4 kids and My Giant who spoiled me beyond belief this year.
I thought about the time I spent with my mom and dad and brothers and sisters.
 I thought about how grateful I am for this one small life. 
I thought about all the people I wanted to thank for my amazing 42nd Birthday that had just happened the week before.
I remembered how once upon a time I used to be so organized and good at writing thank you cards for moments just like this. 
So I sat up with coffee in hand and started writing them all thank you cards.
In that moment I realized I want to be more purposeful with my days ahead.
I want to make lists and check them twice. 
I want to stop procrastinating.
I want to show up with this one small life. 
I want to give away what I've been given and be purposeful in doing so.
I realize that as I head into 2017 I won't completely be able to accomplish all of these wants, intentions, and desires because time limits us to only 24 hours. 
I will try with every ounce of my being though to continue to give away what God has given me. 
I will wake up each day and pray this prayer;
"Use me God.
Show me how to take who I am,
Who I want to be, 
And what I can do, 
and use it for a PURPOSE greater than myself." 
This above photograph is one of my all time favorites of Poppa Tom with his buddy Isaiah, many moons ago. When I see this picture I'm reminded that as I head into a new year, with new ideas, and new priorities I don't walk alone. 
I'm grateful for moments just like this one so long ago that so fully captures what it looks like to walk out life with our buddies by our sides and hearts full of adventure, and purpose. 
Wish me God speed beloved reader and I wish you the Happiest and Most Purposeful of New Years!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Catholic School Girl Memories and Turning 42

                                            (The big red sock I started my life out in)

As I approach the day of my birth, I can't help but become a tad bit nostalgic. Please indulge me beloved reader as I head down memory lane a bit. 
Most of my life I have known there is more than what we see here on this earth. When you are born only a week before Christmas and named Noël you can't help but seek out why that name is so special. You wonder at a very young age why your name is Sung out with such sweetness, and why it is all over town in bright lights. Right from the very beginning of my small life I was taught about someone bigger than myself. That was the greatest gift my parents could have ever given me.

I was told that originally I was to be named Natalie(now the name of one of my beloved friends) after Natalie Wood, but because my due date was on Christmas day the vote changed to Noël. My very European grandparents argued that it should be spelled Noelle, but my mom insisted it would be spelled the way people see it all over the world and the compromise was to put an umlaut over the E ... that's the dots you see over my E for those of you who don't know what an umlaut is. Don't feel left out if you are just now learning what an umlaut is. I didn't really know that's what it was officially called until much later in life. I also didn't know how to put it on any typed email, text, or blog so I would sign off as No..el, hence the nick name No Dots for short! You're welcome ... you now know what an umlaut is and should feel very European hence forth. Ha ha giggle.

I can't remember a time in my life when I wasn't being taught about the big man in the sky or a time that the month of December wasn't so special, and I think some of this might be because I came home in a stocking. I mean not many people get to say that they started out their life coming home in a big red sock. Maybe it is because from a very young age until this present day my birthday that was almost shared with the day we celebrate baby Jesus coming to earth has been so closely linked that it's no wonder why I'm always talking about him. 
Is it because we were almost birthday buddies or possibly because I started learning about him from such a young age?
I'm not really sure but bare with me as we head down the road of Noël's Christmas past, present, and future. 

             (My niece Savanah Rae in the Peanut Cracker as a toy soldier)

I started my education in a private Catholic school called St. Teresa's, and  for the first years of my academic life I had to wear a uniform, call some strange man Father, and go to confession weekly. 

I have some very fond memories of those days, but I also had a lot of confusion about those days as well.

I remember as a young Catholic girl that there were a few things about this whole God business that I didn't really understand.

I didn't understand how believing in God correlated to having to wear a uniform and look like everyone else. I was a girly girl who wanted to dress in all kinds of style and fashion, but instead I was limited to a white dress shirt, a plaid pleated green and blue skirt every day, oh and plain navy blue pants in the winter. Bleh!!
Maybe this is what happens when you come home in a big red sock, dunno?!
Needless to say, the moment I went to public school all the girly girl came out in full splendor!

I also didn't understand why we had to go to confession. I was a young girl whose only sins at the time (that I knew of anyways) were being irritated by my little kid brother, calling him a bad name or two,(which back then would have been something like doo doo head) and ...yea that was it! I would often times go into confession on Saturday and or Sunday which ever day we went, and I would make up stuff. Which then of course was lying so I would confess to lying while I was currently doing it!!  LOL ... now that there is some funny shit or I mean doo doo!

And finally, I didn't understand why I had to call this man I didn't really know my Father and be very, very well behaved around him especially because he was really important and special. I was always timid and shy around the priests, and I never, not once walked boldly up to them because they were in my young mind untouchable and beyond holy.  

I don't in any way want to sound as though my time as a young Catholic girl wasn't for the most part a wonderful experience. My childhood memories there are for the most part sweet, and full of a lot of laughter and love, except for maybe having Ms. Janet as a teacher. That's a story for another day ;)

I'm thankful for the nun at St. Teresa's that was kind and loved animals. We would walk the school yard together with her cute white poodle, and sometimes she would give me some of his snacks...Ew! Ha ha ....just kidding not about eating dog snacks, but the Ew part because they were real beef jerky treats...(at least I think they were,  ((insert wide eyed emoticon face here)) either way, I loved them and her!

I think about that young kindergarten  girl who ran around St. Teresa's with her best friend Julie(that I'm still friends with today) and I think about what a good life this has been.

I'm grateful for the beginning of  my spiritual journey that did indeed start at a very young age, but I also know that this journey isn't over until the day I stand before my maker and my time here on earth is done. I will continue to try and fully know and understand more about this "God Business" (yes I did just quote myself)and how I can better serve him all the days of my life. 

It wasn't until later in life when I came to know Christ in a completely different way that some of that confusion started to make sense. Some of the things I was told to do there were in fact NOT biblical and other aspects of my early days as a young Catholic school girl still have molded me today.

14 Since then we have da great high priest ewho has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, flet us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest gwho is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been dtempted as we are, hyet without sin. 16 iLet us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

 I'm glad that I now know my High Priest, Jesus. I know him and he knows me. I know that he knows my weaknesses and sins before I even say a word and he sympathizes with me because he knows I'm human and prone to make mistakes. I know he loves me and that there is nothing that can ever separate me from his love. There is no sin, no earthly mistake that I could make that would stop him from loving me and that gives me the ability to come to him daily with confidence and security. 

A throne of grace is where I humbly bend my knee now. I gladly bend my knee now, not because I'm told it's what I should do, or because Jesus and I were almost birthday buddies, but because I know the King to which I give my allegiance. He is a good king full of mercy and unending love for me. 

I'm thankful that although my mom and dad were both raised very Catholic they came to have an understanding about Jesus that is outside of the four walls that a church building would provide. They love people genuinely and not just on Sundays. They have loved each other sincerely and without reproach for over 45 years now and they have shown me what it looks like to follow after Christ in a way that doesn't seem hypocritical or arrogant. They are real, and their devotion to Jesus is real. 

 I have had 42 years of goodness and I choose to give glory to God for this one small life. 

          I never knew that life could be this good.

 I'm beyond grateful that my eyes have been opened to a world outside of this very temporary one. I think that every year I'm given here on this planet is a gift not to be taken for granted. I don't fear this aging body because I know that my soul continues to grow bigger every year as I love more people and learn to love God more fully. 

I'm glad that I now understand things about God and his relationships toward men and women that I didn't then. I know without a doubt that his love for me, for all of us, is unfailing and that he always wants us all to know of this love that has the capacity to make every day feel like Christmas. 

      He is all that makes sense in this temporary life. 

He is a very GOOD GOD and the greatest gift this life has EVER known is the gift of my salvation.

I'm grateful that I just don't have to exist here on this planet until my time here is done, but that He makes every day "fresh with no mistakes in it".(Thank you Anne of Green Gables for that quote) He makes life full of hope and it doesn't fade after the Christmas lights come down and the fun Songs stop being sung.

He is the reason I have a song in my heart, a smile on my face, and a soul that knows it's worth! My Christmas wish or prayer would be that you too, beloved reader know your worth and that once the lights come down and the big day is over next week you will have this gift that keeps on giving.

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