I want to offer my prayers for all the victims of this horrible tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma yesterday. I pray not only for those who died, may God rest their souls, but for those left homeless and for the responders who are helping get the debris cleaned up and for the caretakers, who are there to offer comfort and hope.
May God’s richest blessings be with all of you,
Sandy Ozanich (c) May 2013
When we were living in Dravosburg my father came home one day and declared to the family that we were going to become Catholic. It was 1962. I was eleven and Renee was 9.
Dad didn’t tell us why, he just said it was. I think it was a Holy Spirit moment. My mother apparently didn’t give him an argument because the next thing I knew, Renee and I were told to report to the rectory of St. Peter’s Church in McKeesport after school each day for instructions.
Mom and dad were to go in the evenings while Renee and I watched our siblings, Tommy age 4 and Denise age 2. Renee and I were pretty good babysitters. I mean, we had a lot of practice.
I was very excited about the idea. I can’t explain it, but all of my short life, I wanted to be a Catholic. I had it in my head that one day I would become a nun and a great saint. (Oh the thoughts of children. . .hmmm)
I think I was much more excited about this than Renee. It was the fall and winter of the year and the weather was really cold. I remember waiting and waiting for Renee to show up at the rectory. I’d sit in the hall and Fr. Ostrowski would come out from time to time looking for her. “Um, well. . .where is that Jimbo?” he’d ask (jimbo was his nickname for her). We sometimes would wait for over an hour for her to show. We found out later that she was travelling through the local department store called Misco’s.
Thinking about this move we were about to make, I thought there was no reason that I would want to be Catholic, but somehow the thought of becoming Catholic was a dream come true. No one ever talked about Catholics around us, as far as I know. But the desire had come from somewhere, again, I believe a Holy Spirit moment. I have never regretted it, our move to Catholicism, I just become sad and disillusioned at times. I felt sometimes that the way I look at people and the world didn’t seem to be the way the Pope and the rest of his friends do. This feeling has come and gone from time to time. . .but at the heart of it all I love my Catholic faith. I can’t even begin to think of going elsewhere. My heart was found by a loving and living God. . .much like the Hound of Heaven, we were found and embraced by the immense love of God. I find myself saying, Lord to whom shall I go, for You have the words of everlasting life.
I just remember feeling sometimes that it would be wonderful to be Catholic. It seemed to me that they had it all. I mean, where else could you go and talk to a priest in a little boxlike room, tell him your sins and have them forgiven just like that??? It was the best possible thing to have!
It’s true that all of us mess up from time to time, sometimes REALLY mess up. I thought it was so neat to be able to clean it up with God right now before I die. This way you don’t have to worry that when you die God might not be in a very forgiving or happy mood. (This is my eleven year old mind. . .of course now my beliefs about God’s mood are much better!!! haha) After all when you are trying to oversee a whole world and galaxy at one time, you could get a little crabby.
I thought this was the perfect way to talk to God when he was still in a reasonably good mood. Actually, confession is like writing a letter or using the phone, you get the same results, you just don’t have to worry about looking the person in the face while you do it. That is what I considered to be a bonus.
Part two coming soon. . .i’ll get to the Baptism and Rum Candy next. . .
Sandy Ozanich (c) May 2013
It was so cold that January morning; in fact the whole world seemed cold as we stood and watched the pallbearers place the coffin on its bier. We were a small group; mourners in this circus of red-rimmed eyes and pale faces.
Who could really believe what we were witnessing or understand the relief of that young body who struggled through his short life. Would anyone in the years to come truly say that perhaps his death was not so much a tragedy as a welcome release from the pain that lived in him? None of us know the answer, for we struggle through our own pieces of pain and unanswered questions about this life we were given – unbidden and perhaps for some of us – unwanted.
The service had begun and the words of hope, peace, and love and “the world to come” somehow sounded better than we’d ever heard before. We needed to believe that there is a world to come that is all of those things.
As the priest continued the prayers, my younger brother Tim leaned over and tugged on Al’s sleeve. Al was married to our sister Renee and was one of the pallbearers.
“Hey Al”, whispered Tim, “was it heavy? I mean, was it hard to carry?” Al leaned over with a smile on his face and a tear to match and said, “he ain’t heavy Tim, he’s my brother”. “Oh” Tim sighed. That was all he needed to know then.
And so the years began, or should I say the years continued for this family who tried so hard and fell so often. . .a family who stumbled helplessly and hopelessly into the outstretched arm of God’s outrageous mercy and compassion. . .
The road is long, with many a winding turn.
that leads us to who knows where, who knows where.
But, I’m strong, strong enough to carry him. . .
He aint heavy, he’s my brother.
So on we go, his welfare is my concern.
No burden is he to bear, we’ll get there.
And I know he would not encumber me. . .
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.
If I’m laden at all, I’m laden with sadness
that everyone’s heart isn’t filled with the gladness
of love for one another.
It’s a long, long road from which there is no return.
While we’re on the way to there, why not share?
And the load doesn’t weigh me down at all. . .
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.
(Lyrics from: He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother ~ Performed by the Hollies)
This is a true story, written in memory of my young brother Tommy who died in January of 1972. l still miss him He was only 14 years old and in the years since we have lost our parents within 18 months of each other and another sibling, Denise at the age of 40 in a car crash in Florida in the year 2000.
Life contains so many wonderful moments of pure joy, grace and happiness. Life also carries within it sadness that can’t be consoled. . .deep painful moments. But through the grace and blessing of our good God we survive, we go on, we become stronger, we become who God wants us to be. . .people of blessing, people who know how to share, to give and receive from others. My prayer for myself and all of you is that we stay open to what God has in store for us. Gratitude for our life is a wonderful prayer to offer and God will pleased with your efforts.
Sandy Ozanich (c) May 2013
In other words ~
God speaks in other words ~
The words of Scripture ~
The words of our works.
God speaks through you ~
God speaks through me.
God speaks in other words. . ..
God speaks through other religions ~
Every person ~
Every search for truth ~
** A book called White Buffalo which I read many years ago, said the Indians said that we are not to make fun of Christian Scriptures or other spiritualities for God speaks in other words.
I believe that God doesn’t just hang out in church waiting for us to show up ~ God hangs out in the “Comfort Inn”, at the Greyhound Bus Station, at the shelters, the prisons, any place where people are, God hangs out.
He hung out in a bar or two in Homestead, Pa. with the St. Francis of Assisi statue that my dad put on the bar next to the cash register. My father told me he had a hard time finding a statue of St. Francis of Assisi. So one day I saw a good size statue in the front window of the St. Vincent de Paul store in our area. I asked my mother-in-law if she could go up and buy it for me. It was all black and stood about a foot tall.
My mother-in-law was in her 70′s at the time I think. Anyway, she called me and told me that she got the statue but that she had a hard time carrying it home in a shopping bag because the statue was made of cement. We both laughed about it.
The next day the St. Francis statue, myself and our 2 toddlers and one infant went to Homestead to see my dad. So imagine me carrying a statue in one arm, an infant in a little infant seat in the other and 2 other little kids each holding on to the pockets in my coat. We marched right into that local bar and put the statue down on the bar. It was the middle of the day. My dad was so thrilled about the statue that he placed it right beside the cash register.
As it turned out some people questioned why he would put St. Francis on the bar, feeling it was inappropriate. My dad then went on to say that it is very appropriate because where else should he be but in a bar. Not another word was spoken. . .
Sandy Ozanich (c) May 2013
My friend is enduring a painful time in her life and it is hard trying to know how to help.
In one sense it is a mourning for a time gone by, a time of loving what you do and enjoying it every single day that you do it. I know it sounds mysterious, but that is all I can be right now.
Answers don’t come easy. . .what to say, what not to say, who to say it to, what to do, what not to do? I feel for her. I have been in similar circumstances where I felt like I was between a rock and a hard place and no matter what I do someone is going to get hurt, a whistle will be blown, a moment in time comes and goes convinced that nothing will come of it or be done.
I was given the following poem by another great friend and I want to share it here. I hope this poem will lift her up and give her a reason to believe that she is worth so much more than even she believes. That no matter what a storm brings or who tosses her around with words that hurt, SHE will persevere!
Arise Woman of God
Rise up, O woman of God
In what He has given you,
The things God has laid on your heart,
Rise up, go forth, and do
Unlock what God has placed within,
The potential you have inside
The world is waiting for your release
To expand your wings and fly
Arise in your God-given gifts
For this is your finest hour
Arise in the Lord’s holy might,
Ignited and empowered
For God is calling you to come forth
To impact this world for Him,
Don’t hold back or limit yourself
Let His power arise within
And take His message to the world
To those that have lost their way,
For you can surely make a difference
If you’d hear His voice and obey
You shall be strengthened in the Lord
As you begin to arise,
Conquering those doubts that pull you down
And believe who you are in Christ
For you shall surely be transformed
As, in you, God increases more
And become a woman of true excellence
Bringing honour to her Lord.
(c) By M. S. Lowndes
This my good friend is who you are ~ don’t ever forget this.
Sandy Ozanich (c)
One week ago yesterday I received from Amazon my new Kindle Fire 8.9. I was so excited!!! I had wanted one for so long. It’s just as good as the famous Apple IPad but about half the cost.
It took me a year saving my change to get enough money to purchase this Kindle and I was in Heaven. Now I could read all my books, watch movies, keep in touch, write emails and blog posts, etc. It was like carrying my library, office and family with me. All was well with the world.
Thursday came, 7 days into owning this wonderful new “toy” and the unthinkable happened. I had gone to the hospital for my Pentamadine treatment. **Pentamadine is an inhaled breathing treatment to help prevent pneumonia in my transplanted lungs. I really hate this treatment because it tastes awful, makes a person gag and cough. But, it is necessary to keep my lungs as healthy as possible. . .but I digress.
In order to inhale this treatment I must breathe it in front of a big box filter and in a private room so that others don’t breathe the Pentamadine. This box has folding sides and a shelf which are put together in front of me so that I am sitting looking into this box and filter.
As I had done many times before with my “old” Kindle I would set the Kindle on this shelf and read it there. I did the same with my new Kindle Fire. Things were going well and about 5 minutes before my treatment was over I reached over and touched the Kindle Fire to move a page forward and then it happend ~ ~ ~ the shelf collapsed sending the Kindle Fire to the floor and cracking the screen in a big way! OMGoodness! I was so upset, so sad. . .I spent an entire year saving for this thing and now I have a new Kindle Fire that looks like a broken, old Kindle Fire. It works well enough but now I look through a cracked screen with my cracked emotions. . .
As I showed this to my nurse Melissa she was so sad for me. . .then I thought of someone else who was facing more serious damage. My friend and co-worker was having bad headaches for two days. She went to her eye doctor because her vision was getting blurred but he told her she needed to see her physician.
Her physician sent her to the hospital for testing. I was thinking that maybe she was having a stroke but to my surprise and the surprise of all of us who work with her she found out that she had a tumor next to her pituitary gland. The doctors said it was a good sized one, but didn’t believe it was cancerous.
The plan was to do surgery to remove all or part of it. Our place of work was in full prayer mode. For those of you who don’t know or didn’t hear before, I work in a Monastery. The prayers were storming Heaven for this lady who happens to be one of the kindest women I have ever known.
So, the latest news we received is that the surgery went well. She told someone that she feels well and has no pain. Her vision is still blurry, but the doctors are working on that. It may come back on it’s own, if not they will do surgery on her eyes.
This all boils down to perspective. I had a broken Kindle, she had a broken brain for a while. . .My broken Kindle is of no real consequence when I think about my friend and her health scare.
All will be well, yes all will be well, all manner of things will be well. Amen!
Sandy Ozanich (c) April 2013
The Abundance of It All ~ Beautiful Blogger Award
By ~ Sandy Ozanich
I would like to thank Sheri de Grom, ://sheridegrom.com/ for nominating me for the Beautiful Blogger Award. She has a beautiful blog of her own and a very inspirational bio as well:
Retired Fed/JAG, 5 yrs Capitol Hill. Former book buyer for B&N. Mental health care reform, health care strategist and actively pursuing legislative change wherein dual retirees are exempt from enrolling in Medicare @their own discretion without losing tertiary health care benefits.
Now writing women’s fiction and professional book reviews.
The rules of the Beautiful Blogger Award are as follows:
- Copy and place the Beautiful Blogger Award in your post.
- Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
- Tell seven things about yourself.
- Nominate seven fellow bloggers for the Beautiful Blogger Award. Tell them by posting a comment on their blog.
Tell seven things about yourself. Haven’t we been down this road before
- I am a double lung transplant recipient since Sept. 30, 2005.
- I love to sing, and incidentally I can sing much better now than I could before transplant. I sing I two choirs now.
- I have a wonderful husband, 3 grown children and we have 4 grandchildren.
- I love to write and share through essays and poetry with a dash of reality and good doses of humor.
- My life flows from my faith in God. I am a Lay Associate of the Passionist Order.
- I have a huge desire to learn about many things. . .so many books, sooo ,you know the rest, right?
- Does it sound silly to say that I want World Peace??? Because I know of no other time when we have needed it more than now.
- One last thing, one item over the limit, but my sympathy and compassion for those who were killed and brutally injured at the Boston Marathon. May God’s richest blessings be theirs!
I wish to nominate the following 7 Bloggers for the Beautiful Blogger Award!
Sarah Over the Moon
Melissa of Whole Food Life
All of the above nominees are wonderful writers, artists and lovers of the world they live in!
Congratulations to all of you!
Sandy Ozanich © April 2013
This evening I attended a Taize’ Prayer Service with my 2 best friends, Linda and Nancy. It was Nancy’s idea since she had gone twice before and thought it would be something that we would like.
For those of you who don’t know what Taize’ prayer is, it is a compilation of songs, written in simple melodies and harmonies that are sung over and over as a chant. It is melodious, meditative and just beautiful for listening and getting ready to sit silently for prayer. This type of song and prayer was developed in Taize’ France in 1940 by a young seminary student, Roger Schultz. He later became known as Brother Roger.
The prayer service lasted about an hour, hour and a half. There was an orchestra and singers, candles, icons, etc. A good number of people came to pray together.
After the prayer service there was a writing workshop offered and of course Linda, Nancy and I attended.
The topic for this workshop was grace. What is it, how do we describe grace, have we experienced grace in our lives.
There was a nice group of people in the circle that we formed and most everyone had something to say about grace. One person said that grace was something that is offered by God and freely accepted by this person. She described it as ”buckets of grace” that she felt blessed with.
Another said it was like being rewarded with a small lottery prize win the evening of a day when he witnessed an accident and spent time comforting a passenger while the medics were on their way.
For myself it was a moment so very sweet, a moment that I won’t soon forget. It was the evening that my daughter had just given birth to her daughter. I was so blessed to have been present when all 4 of our grandchildren were born, but this day was something special.
There was my daughter Kelly holding and comforting her newborn daughter Maya. Maya decided that she needed to be nursed, so Kelly began to nurse her. Soon after that my daughter looked at me and told me she was so thirsty. So, I got a glass of orange juice, put a straw in it and began to hold the juice for her so she could drink.
Imagine the picture ~ here I was nourishing my daughter while my daughter nourishes her daughter! What a moment of pure grace!!! I can still see that scene in my mind’s eye and I can “feel” what I felt as I held the juice for Kelly. I remember saying to Kelly, “do you see what is going on here?” Kelly smiled and nodded at me. The graced moment was not lost on her as it certainly was not lost on me.
Each and every day carries within it moments of grace. It is up to us to stay awake and watch for those moments that God gives freely, just for you and just for me!
SandyO (c) April 2013 All Rights Reserved
All right call me crazy, but if you are standing before a judge charged with a crime, especially a drug charge, do you think that laughing at the judge while he is speaking is a good thing to do???
That is what happened in a Florida courtroom this week. An 18yr old girl was charged with possession of so many “bars” of Xanax. Don’t know what “bars” of Xanax means, but I think most of us know what Xanax is. It is a highly addictive drug.
This young woman laughed and was so shocked when the judge began by placing her under a $5,000 Bond. When she continued to laugh and give him a huge eyed look and then walk away saying “Adios!”, he called her back to the bench and upped her Bond to $10,000 Bond. At this she was downright rude and abusive to the Judge. As she walked away she “flipped him the bird” and said, “F- -K You!” Once again the Judge called her back and asks her if she just said what he thinks she said. She said, “Yes, sir I did, I’m not gonna lie.” The Judge in turn told her she was in contempt of court and sentences her to 30 days in jail. This young girl then smiles and says, “That’s ok.”
When are we as a nation going to teach our children to be respectful for authority which includes parents, teachers and all authority. Where does this girl get off being such a smarty pants with a Judge??? I am disappointed, but not surprised that this is going on.
Where does it come from??? You tell me, but I believe that it is the realm of the parents to teach their children to be respectful, courteous and just all around good people. Is it a lack of faith teaching??? Are the kids not being taught about God??? I believe this is the case. I would love to hear what you think.
Sandy Ozanich (c)