Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Being Joyful: Lessons from a skunk and my aunt

I've written on this before, but let's just go over this again: happiness and joy are NOT the same thing.

Happiness is always temporary, and always about external circumstances. It is fleeting. It is of this world. It's not bad, but it's not the be-all-and-end-all of life.

Joy, on the other hand, is a gift of the Holy Spirit. It is a state that relies on faith, on the eternalness of God. It is a glimpse of Heaven on earth. It is what every person of faith should strive for.

Let's look at an example that gets this all wrong, shall we?


“I’m really trying not to let this experience steal my joy but it’s hard” — An owner of an Hermes bag that apparently smells like a skunk. She’s not alone; a large batch of bags reportedly smell. Devastating.

(If you're not aware, a Hermes purse can cost upwards of $20,000 easily. I'm not kidding.)

I feel bad for this lady. Not because her purse smells like a skunk (although that IS really disgusting) but because she thinks she is going to find the gift of the Holy Spirit in a hunk of leather you throw your car keys and cell phone in.  She thought that by getting this purse, true joy would enter her life. See, she's confusing happiness ("I got a pretty new purse!") with joy ("I am a child of God! No circumstance can rob me of my inheritance!")

I was sifting through a bunch of old greeting cards the other day. I was both cleaning out a drawer and trying to find some materials for scrapbooking (meaning I was going to chop up the cards.) I kept a few from the kids, with their barely-able-to-write scrawls, but most of them got cut up. 

Then I stopped. I found a card from my Aunt Ruth. It was a birthday card, dated more than a decade ago. Her familiar handwriting jumped off the card - a few simple sentences. That card I kept.

My Aunt Ruth was my pen pal of sorts. We wrote each other regularly, starting when I was in about 8th grade. Her letters and cards were always filled with her faith, her laughter (she had the best laugh - I cannot WAIT to hear that laugh again in Heaven!), her connection with her church, her friends, her family. She cherished people. She had a "club" of girlfriends from high school that had weekly lunch from pre-World War II until the last one died in her 90s. 

Aunt Ruth is who I think of when I think of joy. Regardless of what was going on around her, she laughed, she took time for people, she listened, she prayed. She was not a prophet, but rather an illustration - a painting of the Master's hand of what joy is meant to be.

She would have laughed at the poor lady with the skunky person. Not to make fun of the poor woman (really: poor. This lady has no idea what wealth means), but because Aunt Ruth knew that joy was not to be purchased, or draped over your arm. It is an rich out-pouring of a God who cannot be out-spent, out-done, out-lavished. And that is joy.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Book Suggestion: Catholic Guide to Depression

Why, you ask, might a Catholic need a specific guide to depression? Do Catholics get depressed differently than other folks? Should depression be treated differently for a Catholic than say a Muslim or an atheist or a Baptist?

Author Aaron Kheriaty, who is head of psychiatry at the University of California/Irvine, makes a terrific case for Catholics needing specific care for depression. All believers, he says, must take into account their spiritual lives when battling this deadly disease.

Kheriaty, a Catholic, explains that the spiritual component of treatment is far too often left out by both patients and doctors. While depression is not spiritual in nature, spirituality plays a role in both the disease and the sound treatment.

Kheriaty draws heavily on both sound scientific study and brilliant theology (St. John Paul II spoke directly about depression, and Kheriaty also uses the lives of the saints to illustrate points.)

While this book is written for Catholics, I think any practicing Christian could draw much from it. It is also not just for those who are battling depression, but for their loved ones who are trying to understand the illness.

I highly recommend this book.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Monday Morning Musings

Lincoln sky
Whew! I've been a busy girl; I apologize for the light blogging.

1. Just returned from a human trafficking conference in Lincoln, Nebraska. It was a great experience, for many reasons.
2. Heard a fabulous presentation from two men who work in Nepal, and who are making progress in stopping human trafficking there with some unique methods.
3. It was primarily an academic conference, and that often means "hostile to religious believers." This one was no different, although there were quite a few folks who were truly faithful to the Gospel.
4. Lincoln is a great town! I had plenty of time to explore, and enjoyed the beautiful weather, the friendly folks, and the vibe of a university town.
5. Good heavens, I missed home! Just the simple pleasure of sitting next to Dear Husband and watching a tv show together, with a cat on my lap...oh, there really is no place like home!
6. Wear your wedding garment! That was the message of our pastor yesterday. He reminded us of our baptismal garment that we were each given, clean and unstained. That is the garment we are to wear when we enter into the heavenly banquet feast.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Dr. Ben Carson: a few thoughts

I was privileged to hear Dr. Ben Carson speak last night at the Grand Rapids Right to Life dinner (over 2,000 people!!).

Here are a few of my take-aways from his talk:

  • Life is precious. All of it. Right now. Regardless of what a person can or cannot do.
  • We need to thoughtfully, humbly and generously engage people we don't agree with. If we disagree with them, ask what their position is. Ask if you can explain yours. Converse; don't argue.
  • Education is primary for getting and staying out of poverty. No excuses. If you can get to a library, you can get an education. 
  • Read. Commit yourself to spend 30 minutes every day learning about something you're not familiar with. If it physics, geography, history, quilting, landscape architecture - whatever. Pick something and learn.
  • The men and women who fought to found our nation should be our heroes and role models for today. They did not stand for the erosion of their rights, nor did they relinquish their God-given freedoms to an oppressive government. Nor should we.
  • Any political affiliations one has should be secondary to our love for America. This is a Judeo-Christian nation, and we must honor God and country above any political assignations.
All in all, a stirring evening. He is not a bombastic speaker, but a gentle story-teller with a serious message that we need to heed.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Monday Morning Musings

Lotsa love in this pic!
1. BUSY! Holy cow, I'm feeling the pressure! Prayers are appreciated as I head off to a human trafficking conference this week. Pray that it will be a fruitful event for all involved.
2. Going to the Grand Rapids' Right to Life dinner tonight to hear Dr. Ben Carsons speak. Quite excited.
3. I can't even begin to tell you what a glorious weekend I had with two of my dearest friends. We did ArtPrize, we ate and drank and talked and laughed. I'm full to the brim with the goodness of it all.
4. Saturday was the feast day of St. Francis - a good reminder to live in joyful service to God!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Did you hear that? It's probably your guardian angel

When I was little, if I came running to my mom and said, "Did you call me?" and she hadn't, she would respond, "It was probably your guardian angel."

When you think about having your own personal angel to watch over you, guide you, guard you, protect you from spiritual and physical harm, and pray for you: that's an awesome thought. Awe. (You still remember "awe" don't you? "An overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, fear, etc., produced by that which is grand, sublime, extremely powerful")

I think angels get a bad rap. No, it's not that we ignore them; we don't take them seriously enough. They're not floating naked babies. We humans don't turn into angels when we get to Heaven. They aren't red-headed Irish (not that's there is one darn thing wrong with that!) girls running around saving people from bull-headed decisions. They are gauzy creatures who appear in the mist, flapping their wings. 

No, angels are pretty incredible.


328 The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls "angels" is a truth of faith. The witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of Tradition.
329 St. Augustine says: "'Angel' is the name of their office, not of their nature. If you seek the name of their nature, it is 'spirit'; if you seek the name of their office, it is 'angel': from what they are, 'spirit', from what they do, 'angel.'" With their whole beings the angels are servants and messengers of God. Because they "always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven" they are the "mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word"
330 As purely spiritual creatures angels have intelligence and will: they are personal and immortal creatures, surpassing in perfection all visible creatures, as the splendor of their glory bears witness.

332 Angels have been present since creation and throughout the history of salvation, announcing this salvation from afar or near and serving the accomplishment of the divine plan: they closed the earthly paradise; protected Lot; saved Hagar and her child; stayed Abraham's hand; communicated the law by their ministry; led the People of God; announced births and callings; and assisted the prophets, just to cite a few examplesFinally, the angel Gabriel announced the birth of the Precursor and that of Jesus himself.
333 From the Incarnation to the Ascension, the life of the Word incarnate is surrounded by the adoration and service of angels. When God "brings the firstborn into the world, he says: 'Let all God's angels worship him.'"Their song of praise at the birth of Christ has not ceased resounding in the Church's praise: "Glory to God in the highest!" They protect Jesus in his infancy, serve him in the desert, strengthen him in his agony in the garden, when he could have been saved by them from the hands of his enemies as Israel had been.Again, it is the angels who "evangelize" by proclaiming the Good News of Christ's Incarnation and Resurrection. They will be present at Christ's return, which they will announce, to serve at his judgement.
334 In the meantime, the whole life of the Church benefits from the mysterious and powerful help of angels.
335 In her liturgy, the Church joins with the angels to adore the thrice-holy God. She invokes their assistance (in the funeral liturgy's In Paradisum deducant te angeli. . .["May the angels lead you into Paradise. . ."]). Moreover, in the "Cherubic Hymn" of the Byzantine Liturgy, she celebrates the memory of certain angels more particularly (St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael, and the guardian angels).
336 From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession "Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life." Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God.[emphasis mine]

Okay, that's a lot, but it's really important. REALLY. Because angels are really important. You have a protector and shepherd. Do you speak to your guardian angel? Ask your guardian angel to pray for and with you? Do you thank your guardian angel for watching over you, caring for you?

My sister-in-law once told me that one of the jobs of your guardian angel was to keep track of all those you pray for and all that have prayed for you. Should you reach Heaven, your angel will be able to say, "See him? He prayed for you when you were sick." "See her? That's the child you prayed for when your friend asked you for prayers. You never knew her in your earthly life, but you shall know her now."

You don't want to get to Heaven and have your guardian angel, your best spiritual friend, be a stranger to you.

Angel of God, 
my guardian dear, 
To whom God's love commits me here, 
Ever this day, be at my side, 
To light and guard, 
Rule and guide. Amen.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Monday Morning Musings

1. Incredible sermon from our pastor yesterday regarding "obedience." He really dug into the second reading yesterday, that beautiful hymn in St. Paul's letter to the Philippians. Obedience really means "to listen" and if we do that, it will transform us into the image of Christ.
2. I'm happy that the Detroit Tigers clinched their division, but we really need a World Series this year, guys. It's the game in October that separates the boys from the men, if you know what I mean....
3. Friday night turned into an unexpected party. My Tallest Son came home, then Curly-Haired Daughter and Fiance' showed up, then my sister and her son! Whoot! Had a great time chatting with my kids, who are now human beings (past the teenage years where conversation genuinely resembles either mumbling or a shouted, "I KNOW!")
4. Much work to do: book review to write, interview to be done, and working on my human trafficking monograph for work. Prayer is appreciated!
5. An online friend who makes GORGEOUS handmade scapulars had a little contest, and I won! I'm getting an Our Lady of Fatima scapular. Can't decide if I'm gonna keep it or give it away....
6. It's the feast day of the Archangels:

 Through the power of Michael, leader of the heavenly armies in the war against evil,
Protect your people, Lord.
Through the word of Gabriel, message-bearer of the Gospel,
Save your people, Lord.
Through the intervention of Raphael, companion and healer,
Comfort your people, Lord.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Walking on Water

During the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. “It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear. At once [Jesus] spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter said to him in reply, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus.- Mt. 14:25-29

Walking on Water - Azurite

Yesterday was a day of faith. It was a day of life and death, of beauty and harshness. It seemed liked all of life, in just a few short hours.

Dear Husband coaches high school soccer; we're in the midst of the boys' season right now. Just before his team took the pitch on Monday night, they were informed that a classmate had committed suicide. It's a very small school, and all the boys knew the young man. It was tremendously hard.

Yesterday morning, Husband texted me and asked if I had any ideas for black armbands for the boys to wear for their games tonight and tomorrow. I first thought about making some, but I knew I wouldn't have time. I prayed a "Hail Mary" and Googled local sporting goods stores. There is one literally half a block from where I work, so I started there.

I got the owner on the phone. He knew the young man, and his family. We talked about some options and I walked over there. He handed me a box with the items, and said, "No charge."

As all this was going on, my Oldest Sister was texting me: her mother-in-law had died. It was not unexpected; "Ma" has been quite sick for sometime, and hospice has been in their home regularly, helping to care for her. Understandably, my sister was upset and needed to vent. I was trying to comfort her, find these armbands, and work. We had a rather large event at work last night.

Today marks the beginning of ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, and one of the artists my office is hosting was here last night to speak. Mako Fujimura is a New York-based painter who speaks - in dulcet tones - about faith, art and culture. His talk last night was transformational. He spoke not only on the work he has entered in ArtPrize, but about his work in general, and how his Christian faith informs his work.

While his work could easily be called "modern," he uses traditional Japanese methods. His ArtPrize work - Walking On Water - Azurite - was created with water on gesso, using crushed minerals, including azurite. He said last night, just as he pulverizes minerals to create, "God has to pulverize us to make us beautiful."

The painting is quite large (8'x11'), and Mako said he literally was "walking on water" as he was creating it. He referenced the Scripture passage above, and the need to walk out in faith, on something that does not hold us firm.

When I came into work today, I stood for a time before the painting. Water is one of the first things God created, an element of both life and death. It cleanses and baptizes, refreshes and drowns. It is only our faith that makes it "safe."

Yesterday was a day of faith and blessing, life and death. "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid."

Monday, September 22, 2014

Monday Morning Musings


1. I got to watch Curly-haired Daughter try on wedding gowns on Friday. Yes, I cried.
2. Weren't the readings for Mass yesterday powerful? And our pastor gave such a wonderful sermon.
3. We welcomed a number of people at Mass yesterday into the Rite of Acceptance. This is the first step in a long, intense journey that leads to full communion with the Catholic Church at Easter. I'm so thrilled that one of my great-nieces was among these people.

The Rite of Acceptance is short, but powerful. The person's eyes, ears, shoulders, hand and feet are all blessed in order for strength for this journey, and they are given a Bible. After the homily, these people will be dismissed every week to further study the Word of God. It is a powerful witness to the rest of us - this journey requires much faith and prayer.

4. Dark-haired Daughter joined the youth group for bowling last night. Her highlight: she beat our pastor's score.
5. Dear Husband and I enjoyed a little time together yesterday, to see a movie. Have to sneak in this time, as it is still soccer season. Love the game, but I'll be glad when the season is done!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Amazing Grace

My brother hates the hymn "Amazing Grace." Or at least, he thinks it should never be sung in any Catholic Church for any reason. Protestant theology - "being found" and "wretches."

My friend Amy, on the other hand, calls it "America's hymn," one all Christians can sing together with joyful praise.

I am somewhere in the middle, I suppose. Yes, it definitely is chock-full of Protestant thought, but I don't think that should keep Catholics from singing it. I think it's full of truth as well.

"That saved a wretch like me." That is certainly true. I am a sinful wretch. No, I don't believe I'm a pile of dung covered up with a blanket of snow, but I know I am nothing without God. I am a sinner, through and through.

"I once was lost, but now am found" How many times has this happened in my life? Over and over, I wander from God, from faith, hope and love. I find myself lost, sad, angry, scared. Then I turn around, and my Father is there, arms out-stretched, waiting upon me.

My favorite verse is this one:

When we've been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun,
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we've first begun.


I dare not be assured of my salvation, but I do hope in God's grace and I certainly hope I will spend eternity in His glorious presence. I cannot imagine eternity, but these words touch the fringes of this hope. And I know there will be music in Heaven, and I greatly hope I'll one day join in that amazing chorus of grace.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Dilemmas, heartache and Monday mornin' quarterbackin'

Curly-haired daughter is getting married: Yay!

She's not getting married in the Church: ooph....

We have raised 5 kids. Only one goes to church (well, THE church. Curly-haired daughter does go to church, but not the one Christ founded.) It's a disaster of epic proportions and I'm not overstating the case. I know I'm going to have to answer to Almighty God for this one day, and I'm afraid I'm going to get a humongous red "F" for this.

What did I do wrong? Was it our decision to homeschool during those early years? Did I use the wrong curriculum? Did the kids hate family prayer in the mornings, half-asleep and cold? Was it all the time committed to the Church outside of Mass? Did I just talk about Jesus and Mary too much?

It sounds vapid put this way, but my heart really is broken. I've failed at the most important task a Catholic mother is given: to bring up her children in the Faith so that they will continue it with their generation and the next.

I know some of my family won't attend my daughter's wedding and I completely understand. I hope that they understand that I will. I won't put the opportunity for reconciliation with the Church at stake - to refuse to attend my daughter's wedding is to put up a rather severe roadblock to continued dialogue.

Well, if I screwed something up, I take full responsibility. At this point, the only thing I can do is pray and talk. The rest is up to God, and my children and their free will, their consciences and their willingness to seek Truth. For He is a Person, the God-Man, Jesus Christ, ever-loving, ever-patient, ever-just. I hope they all find Him again.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Monday Morning Musings

Our Lady of Sorrows
1. Sick. Sick. Sick. Not really sick, but annoyingly sick. A cold virus has been kicking me around for almost a week. Sick of being sick.
2. Had a heart-to-heart with Curly-haired daughter last week. She is now engaged. She's been hemming and hawing about wedding plans, and I suspected the reason. She does not want to get married in the Church. My heart is broken, but I am trying to be calm. I know there is virulent and strong opinions about this type of situation ("No, you should not attend the wedding under ANY circumstances!") but we are trying to keep lines of communication open. But I'm sick about that, too. It's the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows; a good day to pray.
3. Just to top things off, had a horrible nightmare about Youngest Son last night. I could see and hear him suffering, but I couldn't get to him. Freud, anyone?
4. Dear Hubby is sick now too. I don't expect this will be another spectacular week in our home....

Monday, September 8, 2014

September 8: Nativity of Mary

Mater mea, fiducia mea!
My Mother, my confidence my trust my assurance!
 
Thanks to Holy Card Heaven, for its treasure trove of beautiful prayer cards!

Monday Morning Musings

Mako Fujimura's "Walking on Water" - an ArtPrize entry
1. Mass was so beautiful yesterday, and it was nothing "special." Ordinary time, typical music, sound homily: such beauty. Entering into Eternity with The Eternal One.

2. I am trying to figure out how to knit in the round. I'm assuming that like any new skill, this shall take some practice. And swearing.

3. Getting ready for ArtPrize here in the beautiful city of Grand Rapids. I love ArtPrize: the art, the people, the food, the fun. And art...so much art!!

4. I have blessed with the opportunity to write a short book on human trafficking, and will be attending a very important conference on this in just a few weeks. I am thrilled for the opportunity, but this work is very hard. It is horrible to read about such evil over and over again. Please pray that I'm blanketed with the protection of God's grace.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Glorious Unfolding

It's tough out there folks. The world stage is a blood bath, our president is oblivious or stupid, persecution reigns. So many families I know are struggling.

We need, more than ever, to think on beauty. We need to surround ourselves with nature, art, music, literature. We must lift up our hearts and minds to God in His created realm, and the sub-creation of humanity.

Last night, I went to get a massage. This, by the way, is a form of beauty. It is the beauty of the human body, the healing touch, the care for God's creation.

I was so relaxed driving home. I was amidst miles and miles of apple trees, all bursting and burdened with fruit. It was that point in time known as the gloaming: the most magical time of day. And I heard this song:

Lay your head down tonight
Take a rest from the fight
Don’t try to figure it out
Just listen to what I’m whispering to your heart
‘Cause I know this is not
Anything like you thought
The story of your life was gonna be
And it feels like the end has started closing in on you
But it’s just not true
There’s so much of the story that’s still yet to unfold

And this is going to be a glorious unfolding
Just you wait and see and you will be amazed
You’ve just got to believe the story is so far from over
So hold on to every promise God has made to us
And watch this glorious unfolding

(Steven Curtis Chapman, Glorious Unfolding)

Take time this weekend to enjoy the beauty around you. Breathe. Rest your eyes on a piece of art. Read a poem and linger over it. See what glorious unfolding God has in store for you.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

When all the choices are hard

I am seeing so much pain right now. Not just the "big news" of war, torture, genocide. So many families - really good families, trying so hard to raise their kids in the faith - are facing enormous issues right now. Addiction issues, mental health issues, teens who are bound and determined to be rebellious in really hurtful and damaging ways...

We always have choices. We always have good choices. But we don't always have easy choices.

There are so many times as a parent when I've wanted to throw my hands up and say, "Done! I am done parenting. I'm buying a camper and driving across America with the dog. I'll send postcards." And I don't mean that as a fantasy or a funny anecdote: I've planned that damn trip so many times I can't tell you.

What do we do when all the choices are hard? We choose the best one, just like always. And we pray. Pray harder than ever before, because the choice is hard, and the consequences are hard and life will take a hard left-hand turn and we'll end up somewhere we never imagined. It won't be a bad place - because we made a good choice. It was a hard choice, but a good one. But that hard left turn means the car will overheat, the kids will be cranky and we'll max out the credit card.

Then, after a lot of prayer, we'll look up and see that the place we ended up is...okay. Nice, actually. A good place. Because we made a good/hard choice. Eh, we'll still have bills and kids to deal with and a car to fix, but things will be better. Different but better.

Because we did two things: we made that good, hard choice and we prayed. Everything else is up to God.

He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Monday? No, Tuesday Morning Musings

1. It's official: I'm in that 'sandwich' generation. Love my mom to death, but I'd be so much more at ease if she moved to assisted living. She's having none of that. Stubborn Irish women.

2. I keep seeing it over and over: Satan is working so hard to destroy good families. He chooses faithful families for a reason. It's war.

3. Best parts of a long weekend: spending time with my mom, a surprise visit from my niece and great-nieces, seeing a gaggle of great-nieces and -nephews at Mass on Sunday, a peaceful, safe drive home, and being able to lend a hand to a friend who's carrying a heavy load.

4. Knitting! Working on a lovely little project!

5. New book! I love the Jack Reacher series. New book is out today!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Mid-week Musings

3 Sisters - artist unknown
I've been without a computer (it's tough to update the blog on an iPad...) so here we go!

1. My first love died. He was 52. I don't know the circumstances of his death, but I do know he battled mental health issues for 30 years. May he rest in peace.
2. His death prompted to me to reach out to my best friend since 8th grade. We've sort of slacked of in keeping in touch. No more - life is too short.
3. I've been given the go-ahead for a big project at work regarding human trafficking. Please pray for me! My hope is that it will touch many lives, all for the glory of God.
4. Both my sisters have been laid up. One has had a re-occurrence of Epstein-Barr, and the other had major surgery on her foot. Sister duty has been busy!
5. Heading north for a long weekend with my mom. Pray that the visit goes well; she is at the point where I'm concerned about her living alone much longer.
6. Got a membership to the gym and I'm serious: gotta get healthy and strong!

May your day be bright and may God make clear your path!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Saturday morning at the beauty shop

Mrs. Guste
In places all across America, older ladies reign at beauty shops on Saturday morning. They need to look good for church the next morning.

And beautiful they are. Robbie Kaye, a photojournalist, began to explore the world of ladies in their 70s and 80s at the beauty shop. The result was a gallery titled "Beauty and Wisdom." I saw her work first at Mashable, but you can also check out her website.

I hope you do. These ladies radiate.

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs at the days to come. - Prv. 31: 25

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What to do if someone asks you to pray for them

It happens all the time: at church, whispered in the pew before Mass begins or chatting over a cup of cookies afterwards. Or on Facebook. A text. A hurried phone conversation.

"Please pray for me." "Pray for us."

What to do?
1. Say, "I will."
2. Pray. Unceasingly. Specifically.
3. When and if the issue is resolved, pray in thanksgiving.

What NOT to do?
1. Tell the person you know a great doctor.
2. Let them know you have a book on essential oils that will help.
3. Mention that an exorcism might be in order (I'm not making that one up, by the way.)
4. Tell other people, lest you gossip.
5. Badger the person about how things are going.
6. Forget to pray for them when you've said you will.
7. Pray "sloppily" by simply tagging on, "Oh, and for Larry" at the end of your evening prayers.
8. Tell them what happened to you in the same/similar situation.
9. Tell them what happened to someone else you know in the same/similar situation.
10. Offer specific dietary advice: "You know, if you go on that Paleo diet...."

There are times to talk, and times to pray. When someone asks you to pray, then pray. If they do not ask for advice, don't offer it. Pray. Pray. Pray.