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Apricot Buds in Spring

The weather that is. 

 

A week ago it was a very pleasant and warm 75 degrees.  I enjoyed spending a little time outside soaking up the fresh mountain air and sunshine. I was able to work out in the yard a few days in the afternoon sweeping up pine needles and leaves. I spied our budding fruit trees and the ornamental plum trees that are already bragging of their blossoms. My sniffling nose was reacting on schedule this time of year with allergies. I was sure that winter had ended and spring was ready to, well… spring.

 

That was until Sunday morning around 5:00am…

 

That’s when the clouds came in and a cold front brought 22″ of snow. Temperatures plummeted to the teens.

This seems to happen every year in March.  By looking at the trees and by the warmer weather, we  are sure of the change in seasons and weather and then, surprise, we are fooled.

Life is like that too sometimes. We think we have things figured out, and then, unexpectedly life throws us a curve. Maybe it’s our health or a family members health. A child you think is happy and you are sure you know them inside and out, but you find out they are hurting with an issue in their life that you never knew about.

You think your job is secure, but the boss calls you in for a “meeting.” A friend whom you think has the perfect marriage calls to tell you they are considering divorce. I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea.

Discerning life can be a moment by moment opportunity to put our trust and faith in God.  If we check our behavior and reactions to circumstances that unexpectedly come up and ask God for wisdom, patience and the ability to weather the surprises in life, life will be easier. I have yet to master this by the way.  Because I am a Christian and desire to lead a life that is Christ-Centered, I seek discernment and am open to God’s plan for my life.  So what am going to do about it? It’s called

The Daily Examin

Read the following.

 

There was a saint named Loyola that I have recently learned created a technique of daily prayerful reflections over 400 years ago. He created a conscious reflection called "The Daily Examin" that ultimately leads to the discernment of God's will for our lives. Below is a version of this prayer that I am going to attempt to follow for the next week. Perhaps even longer. I will put down my I Phone when I get in bed and curtail my ritual of Words With Friends and transfer my interest to the following reflections.

St. Ignatius’s prayer.

1. Become aware of God’s presence. Look back on the events of the day in the company of the Holy Spirit. The day may seem confusing to you—a blur, a jumble, a muddle. Ask God to bring clarity and understanding.

2. Review the day with gratitude.
Gratitude is the foundation of our relationship with God. Walk through your day in the presence of God and note its joys and delights. Focus on the day’s gifts. Look at the work you did, the people you interacted with. What did you receive from these people? What did you give them? Pay attention to small things—the food you ate, the sights you saw, and other seemingly small pleasures. God is in the details.

3. Pay attention to your emotions. One of St. Ignatius’s great insights was that we detect the presence of the Spirit of God in the movements of our emotions. Reflect on the feelings you experienced during the day. Boredom? Elation? Resentment? Compassion? Anger? Confidence? What is God saying through these feelings?

God will most likely show you some ways that you fell short. Make note of these sins and faults. But look deeply for other implications. Does a feeling of frustration perhaps mean that God wants you consider a new direction in some area of your work? Are you concerned about a friend? Perhaps you should reach out to her in some way.

4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it. Ask the Holy Spirit to direct you to something during the day that God thinks is particularly important. It may involve a feeling—positive or negative. It may be a significant encounter with another person or a vivid moment of pleasure or peace. Or it may be something that seems rather insignificant. Look at it. Pray about it. Allow the prayer to arise spontaneously from your heart—whether intercession, praise, repentance, or gratitude.

5. Look toward tomorrow. Ask God to give you light for tomorrow’s challenges. Pay attention to the feelings that surface as you survey what’s coming up. Are you doubtful? Cheerful? Apprehensive? Full of delighted anticipation? Allow these feelings to turn into prayer. Seek God’s guidance. Ask him for help and understanding. Pray for hope.

St. Ignatius encouraged people to talk to Jesus like a friend. End the Daily Examen with a conversation with Jesus. Ask forgiveness for your sins. Ask for his protection and help. Ask for his wisdom about the questions you have and the problems you face. Do all this in the spirit of gratitude. Your life is a gift, and it is adorned with gifts from God. End the Daily Examen with the Our Father.

 

Book News!

  • This time last year, I was feverishly writing my memoir pouring my life story onto paper. It seems so long ago, yet it seems like yesterday. Now a year later I am feverishly learning of all the ways to market my book through social media, book signings, etc. It can be mind-boggling to learn it all, but I am doing my best.
  • There was a gentleman whom I haven’t seen for years who recently read my book. He drove up to see me this week with a friend. He had to see Breath of Life. He had to give me a hug and tell me that he too believes in Godcidences. He assured me of God’s presence in my life and knows I am placed where I am because of the Lord’s blessings. Even through tragedy.
  • Don’t forget about the Goodreads giveaway. You could win one of three copies that will be given away on April 15th.