Thursday, January 30, 2014

"IMMORTALITY"

Written by The Bee Gees for Celine Dion (with lyrics).




So this is who I am, 
And this is all I know. 
And I must choose to live, 
For all that I can give, 
The spark that makes the power grow. 

And I will stand for my dream if I can, 
Symbol of my faith in who I am, 
But you are my only. 

And I must follow on the road that lies ahead. 
And I won't let my heart control my head. 
But you are my only. 

We don't say goodbye. 
We don't say goodbye. 
And I know what I've got to be 

Immortality. 
I make my journey through eternity. 
I keep the memory of you and me inside. 

Fulfill your destiny. 
Is there within the child? 
My storm will never end. 
My fate is on the wind. 
The king of hearts, the joker's wild. 

But we don't say goodbye. 
We don't say goodbye. 
I'll make them all remember me. 

'cause I have found a dream that must come true. 
Every ounce of me must see it through. 
You are my only. 

I'm sorry I don't have a role for love to play. 
Hand over my heart I'll find my way. 
I will make them give to me..(yeah) 

Immortality.(oh baby) 
There is a vision and a fire in me.(oh) 
I keep the memory of you and me, inside. 

We don't say goodbye. 
We don't say goodbye. 
With all my love for you. 
And what else we may do?.. 
We don't say goodbye.


DOES THIS SOUND RIGHT?



The Democrats are right, there are two Americas .  The America that works and the America that doesn’t. The America that contributes and the America that doesn’t.  It’s not the haves and the have nots, it’s the dos and the don’ts.  Some people do their duty as Americans, to obey the law and support themselves and contribute to society, and others don’t. That’s the divide in America .It’s not about income inequality, it’s about civic irresponsibility.  It’s about a political party that preaches hatred, greed and victimization in order to win elective office.  It’s about a political party that loves power more than it loves its country.That’s not invective, that’s truth.  And it’s about time someone said it.The politics of envy was on proud display last week as the president said he would pledge the rest of his term to fighting “income inequality.”  He notes that some people make more than other people that some people have higher incomes than others, and he says that’s not just.  It was the rationale of thievery.  The other guy has it, you want it, Obama will take it for you.

Vote Democrat.It is the electoral philosophy that gave us Detroit . It is the electoral philosophy that is destroying America .  And it conceals a fundamental deviation from American values and common sense.  It ends up not being a benefit to the people who support it, but a betrayal.  The Democrats have not empowered their followers they have enslaved them – in a culture of dependence and entitlement, of victimhood and anger instead of ability and hope.The president’s premise – that you reduce income inequality by debasing the successful – seeks to ignore and cheat the law of choices and consequences.  It seeks to deny the successful the consequences of their choices and spare the unsuccessful the consequences of their choices. Because, by and large, the variability in society is a result of different choices leading to different consequences. Those who choose wisely and responsibly have a far greater likelihood of success, while those who choose foolishly and irresponsibly have a far greater likelihood of failure.And success and failure can manifest themselves in personal and family income.   You choose to drop out of high school or to skip college and you are apt to have a different outcome than someone who gets a diploma and pushes on with purposeful education.  You have your children out of wedlock and life is apt to take one course, you have them in wedlock and life is apt to take another course.Most often in life our destination is determined by the course we take.   My doctor, for example, makes far more than I do.  There is significant income inequality between us.  Our lives have had an inequality of outcome.  But, our lives also have had an inequality of effort.  Whereas my doctor went to college and then gave the flower of his young adulthood to medical school and residency, I got a job in a restaurant.  He made a choice, I made a choice.  And our choices led us to different outcomes.His outcome pays a lot better than mine.  Does that mean he cheated and Barack Obama needs to take away his wealth?  No, it means we are both free men.  And in a free society, free choices will lead to different outcomes.   It is not inequality Barack Obama will take away, it is freedom.   The freedom to succeed and the freedom to fail.  And there is no true option for success if there is no true option for failure.The pursuit of happiness means a whole lot less when you face the punitive hand of government if your pursuit brings you more happiness than the other guy.   Even if the other guy sat on his ass and did nothing.  Even if the other guy made a lifetime’s worth of asinine and shortsighted decisions.Barack Obama and the Democrats preach equality of outcome as a right, while completely ignoring inequality of effort. The simple Law of the Harvest – as ye sow, so shall ye reap – is sometimes applied as, “The harder you work, the more you get.”The progressive movement would turn that upside down.  Those who achieve are to be punished as enemies of society and those who fail are to be rewarded as wards of society. Entitlement has replaced effort as the key to upward mobility in American society.  Or at least it has if Barack Obama gets his way.  He seeks a lowest common denominator society in which the government besieges the successful and productive and fosters equality through mediocrity.   He and his party speak of two Americas .  And their grip on power is based on using the votes of one to sap the productivity of the other.America is not divided by the differences in our outcomes, it is divided by the differences in our efforts.

And by the false philosophy that says one man’s success comes about unavoidably as the result of another man’s victimization.   What the president offered was not a solution, but a separatism.  He fomented division and strife, he pitted one set of Americans against another.   For his own political benefit.That’s what progressives offer. Marxist class warfare wrapped up with a bow.   Two Americas , coming closer each day to proving the truth to Lincoln ’s maxim that a house divided against itself cannot stand.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

THIS DAY'S . . .


This Day's Thought from The Ranch
Friendship is not a reward for our discrimination and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each the beauties of all the others.
C. S. Lewis

This Day's Verse
But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.”
Mark 6:4
The New King James Version

This Day's Smile
At a church dinner, there was a pile of apples on one end of a table with a sign that read, “Take Only One Apple, Please. God Is Watching.” On the other end of the table was a pile of cookies where a youth had placed a sign saying, “Take All The Cookies You Want. God Is Watching The Apples.”
Unknown

Monday, January 27, 2014

GOD AND CHRIST, IT'S A PERSONAL CHOICE

I happened to recall that I have not touched base with my best friend from High School lately. Her name is Brenda and she lives in the west side of the country.  I started to text her just to touch base and as it turned out, I should have just written an email.  I'm long on the spoke, so try to not get greater on the tire.  I went through all the sickness, how I had to help out (and I wanted to, don't misunderstand), and here my 82 year old folks are 1,000 miles away and there's nothing I can do about it except pray for them and visit as often as I can.

I heard back from her and is amazes me how you can get in touch with someone, and they are having hard times the same as you, and sometimes even worse.  Brenda's husband had surgery last fall and it caused a problem where he will have to have more surgery.  Her little granddaughter who is not yet even a toddler has a brain mass or tumor, and her father lives next door but is retired hierarchy of the military and he is 95 years old and she has to see to his needs.

She has been taking care of him practically single-handed for several years.  Her brothers (2 of them) take advantage and do nothing.  This is something I see more and more; a family of multiple children but only one child carrying the load, only one child who will step in and do the right thing.  Like me, like Brenda, and like my best friend here - her family thinks because she is single she has nothing better to do.  But, she is doing what she needs to do so that in the end, she will know she did her best for her dear mother, and the rest may or may not feel any guilt.  Doesn't matter; God will sort it out.

But all of this has brought me to a place where I see that I am not unique in that way.  There IS a life cycle, and we will all go through it.  Our parents conceive us, born us, raised us and then we leave home.  For a while, if it's idyllic as it was in my situation, I moved away and always visited at least twice a year.  My folks were very active until my mother had a stroke 10 days before Christmas in 2010, which I have discussed before on Abbey's Road.There comes a time that the mothers and dad's grow old, and if you are a caring and compassionate child, you will be there for them.  All you need do is think back over your life, and I, personally, don't have to think too hard.  My parents have always been there for me.  We were given an extraordinary amount of love and affection.  And when I would visit, Dad always showed us the best time.  And there's no use trying to grab the check for the meal because he gets down right offended if you do! He says, "There was a time that I couldn't afford to do this for my kids, and now I can so I want to."  I get it.  When we go out with our kids, they don't EXPECT it, but we always treat.  I guess my husband and I were raised in similar cloth.
"Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee." ~Exodus 20-12
 I have never thought of this in any other way.  I have told my mother and dad that when that time came, "I will care for you!" They don't want to be a bother; they've always been so independent; they're not used to "being a burden" as they call it, I call it a privilege and an honor.



Before Adam and Eve, the serpent and the apple, God created the most perfect world that could be envisioned, where life was idyllic, beautiful, loving, and simple, wanting for nothing.  I cannot imagine how disappointed He was and yes, He was downright angry!  So the world changed then and there. And God had to come up with something else for this world he had created.

He left it more or less to see what would happen and what happened was theft, murder, promiscuity,
drunkenness and people just forgot all about God.  He sent Moses to the top of the mountain where he inscribed HIS LAW on two tablets which Moses returned to show the people.  You know they laughed and made fun, and it infuriated God because he did not want to have to do what it would take to try and begin anew in the world.

Think of your life and your own little world that you have laid out for yourself.  Has everything gone to plan? No?

Without the Passion of Jesus Christ and the heartbreak that Mary and God both suffered at having to use their son as an instrument in the hope of waking people to their senses, we would live in total chaos!  He gave his only begotten son. Our loving, merciful, compassionate, forgiving, healing God Almighty surely wept as Jesus was crucified.  Oh how my heart breaks at the thought.  But in a short while His son rose from the dead and in a while, God took him body and soul to heaven, just as he did Mary when her days were ended on this earth.

Together, the Holy Trinity of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, is One in Three Persons!  Jesus IS and has been for well over 2,000 years the one through whom you will reach heaven and see the face of God. 
John 6:44 ~ No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. 
Jesus the Bread of Life - John 6:44 (in context) 
43Jesus answered and said to them, "Do not grumble among yourselves. ... 44"No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.45"It is written in the prophets, 'AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT OF GODI' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.…
 Jesus can ask you, and he built his sermons on the foundation of life everlasting, but he cannot MAKE you come to Him.  That is what YOU must choose for yourself.  And it's not all "well I'll pray for this today and he'll send it right over!" Au contraIre!  God has a plan for you and it has been there since long before you were a twinkle in your mother's eye.

God also gave us all free will so you are free to choose the narrow path to heaven with it's Graces and Mercy and Infinite Love, or take the wide road that may be so easy and you're getting all that you want, but, my friends, this is satan's road to hades.  And when your dance is done, you WILL pay the piper, I can promise you that.


Don't mess up; make the right choice and then LIVE IT!! Show others how wonderful it can be and how much greater the eternal life in God's Kingdom will be. Bring souls with you to keep you company on the narrow path. You'll have companionship and you'll never get lost again.  And about those trials you're going through, they are intended by God to touch many people, each in a different way.  So let's say this: God is using you as his instrument of peace. Rejoice and Be Glad!

Lovingly in Jesus Christ,
ABBEY

LAUGHABLE APOLOGY

Dear Hillary, 

A quantified apology 16 months later is no apology at all!  You should be ashamed to even consider the office of the President of the United States.  Anyone who votes for you is a traitor of the Constitution of the United States of America.

God bless the victims of Benghazi and their families.

ABBEY 

SUPER BOWL!!!

MY TRUSTY STANDBY - THIS DAY'S .....

In the times of my "dry spells", I trust on my worthy stand-by messages for strength and happiness in the Lord.  God bless you ♥


This Day's Thought from The Ranch
Happiness depends on happenings, but joy depends on Jesus.
Unknown

This Day's Verse
“But from there you will seek the LORD your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.”
Deuteronomy 4:29
The English Standard Version

This Day's Smile
Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.
Mother Teresa

Sunday, January 26, 2014

SPIRITUAL LESSON FROM PAIN

Spiritual Lesson from Pain
How little we know what God has in store
As daily he blesses our lives more and more.
I’ve lived many years and I’ve learned many things,
But today I have grown new spiritual wings. . .
For pain has a way of broadening our view
And bringing us closer in sympathy, too,
To those who are living in constant pain
And trying somehow to bravely sustain
The faith and endurance to keep on trying
When they almost welcome the peace of dying. . .
Without this experience I would have lived and died
Without fathoming the pain of Christ crucified,
For none of us knows what pain is all about
Until our spiritual wings start to sprout.
So thank you, God, for the gift you sent
To teach me that pain’s Heaven-sent.

~Helena Rice

Friday, January 24, 2014

HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW?

The days seem to become longer in light as we have long-passed the Winter Solstice, and once
Christmas and New Year's are behind me, I begin looking for Spring.  It's quite a task to put on oneself because the time between Christmas and Spring and the Risen Lord on Easter seems to be so far away. As I get older, I don't wish the time to fly, but to slow down. Thus, I am enjoying looking through the glass to the outside and the changing weather from day to day.  This is when I daydream, about what I want to do with the patio and the gardens; do we want to re-sod the back yard; what kind of flower do I wish to plant this year.  I've had great luck with some, but others just did not want to cooperate.


Of one thing I can be sure, my YELLOW roses will bloom all summer. I planted them in honor of my dear Mother who loves yellow roses; she is The Yellow Rose of Texas.

How about you?  Perhaps you are thinking of planting a vegetable garden, just a few, nothing too big that will take over the yard.  If you are like me, I find much peace in tending my gardens. Especially with the cannas, frequent pruning is required throughout the season.  The geraniums are another favorite, but they must be pruned, removing the blossoms that have died making room for the new ones. And in that vegetable garden, you must hoe often to keep the weeds out and then nourish with a good watering. In short, it is a continuing work to cultivate your garden or friendships so that they will grow beautifully.

In ones spiritual journey, one must respect it and cultivate it just as one does a garden.  In our quest to remain faithful even in hard times, that is when we must cultivate our relationship with God all the more. Weeds pop up, which are the sinful things satan likes to put in our minds that produce an urge to disobey God's law, and our heart, where The Holy Spirit is living, is fighting with the sins of our mind every day.


Yes, we are all sinners and always will be, but the fact is, God sent his only son in the same flesh as man to live and die saving us from sin so that we can be a part of His glorious Majesty in heaven.  If you have sinned and asked forgiveness, you are forgiven like a snap of your fingers.  But you cannot only rely on God to absolve you of sin.  God has a garden, and the flowers in it are each one of  us.
He began cultivating His garden when He created the heavens, the earth, man and woman. Imagine growing the most perfect tomatoes in your garden only to have birds or other prey come along and pick at the tomatoes to where they are worthless to eat, after all your hard work.  You have to help God cultivate His heavenly garden by remaining the beautiful flower that you were when he placed you there and nourished you until you were born.  He has done so much for you that no amount of cultivation could ever equal His.  Original Sin is there, but you are forgiven.  Keep yourself pure by coming to God each day, giving all that is in your heart to Him, and tell Him how very much you love Him and His Son, Jesus Christ.  Gosh, that makes me feel so good!  To talk with him, to have answers put into my mind sometimes right then.  You, too, can have this glorious and most ultimate relationship.  He's on the other side of the door, open it and let him in!

Reading The Gospels gives HOPE to each of us IF we choose to follow HIM! He sent his only begotten son to live and die for our sins.  Close your eyes and imagine that you are the Virgin Mary.
Your son who came from your body, your son whom you nuzzled and cared for until all too soon, as a young boy, he was preaching sermons in the synagogue.  Before you know it, you are observing the passion of Christ.  The brutal scourging and now him carrying his cross to calvary, falling, and then up again and falling again until someone helps him.  The only thing that you could do as his mother was watch and wait; wait for his sure death, and then hold him in your arms as he lay in the state of death.

The Passion of Christ is THE most pivotal moment in the history of man.  Christ sits at the right hand of his Father, and they are right by you, waiting for you to give your to give your heart to them. You cultivate your relationship with God and Christ by weeding out the evil thoughts that satan may put into your mind, but instead of acting on them, you pray and you call on The Holy Spirit living inside your heart to guide and give strength to you to resist.

You cultivate your relationship with God and Christ by reading your Bible, saying the Rosary, and praying daily; not just a prayer, but by talking with the Father and the Son from your heart about your difficulty as a human to suppress the thoughts that may come into your mind, and God understands this.  But guess what?  He already knew that He would be hearing from you, because He so looks forward to talking with you every day; and, He wants to reassure your heart and cleanse your mind, and to forgive whatever needs forgiving.  Knock and He shall enter; and when He comes, give up your heart to him every time you pray.  There is no right or wrong way to pray.  I talk to God like I talk to my best friend, except you know that He already knows your secrets, but He wants you to acknowledge them to Him and receive his Divine Forgiveness.

Nourish your relationship with God and Jesus.  Once you get into a routine, you do it automatically. For instance, I make my bed every morning and then I pray.  Afterward I might make myself a cup of coffee and sit gazing out the window and inside, I'm asking The Holy Spirit to give me what I need to reach out to you all.  Some days, there's too much baggage in my mind and I don't write.  I prefer to write when my mind is clear of all baggage and I am certain that The Holy Spirit is guiding me.  I nurture this relationship, too.  It's The Holy Trinity and it wants your commitment, and then your nourishment of your relationship.

Good things like answered prayers don't always come when you want them; they come when God can give them to you with His Graces.  And that, my dearest ones, is what I call "Amazing Grace."



Remember, all are welcome in this place, and all who are here are loved by me. Amen.

Peace be with you,
Abbey 
  

REACHING FOR PERSONAL HAPPINESS

Know that. . .

You can't be all things to all people.
You can't do all things at once.
You can't do all things equally well.
You can't do all things better than everyone else.
You are human like everyone else.

So. . .

Find out who you are, and be that.
Decide what comes first, and do that.
Discover your strengths, and use them.
Learn not to compete with others,
because no one else is in the contest of being you.

Then you'll have. . .

Learned to accept your uniqueness.
Learned to set priorities and make decisions.
Learned to live with your limitations.
Learned to give yourself the respect that is due.
And you'll be a most vital mortal.

Dare To Believe. . .

You're are a wonderful, unique person.
You're a once-in-all-history event.
That it's more than a right to be who you are.
That life is not a problem to solve,
but a gift to cherish.
And you'll be able to stay one up
on anything that tries to get you down.
~unattributed



NEVER, EVER FORGET - WHY DID OUR GOVERNMENT DO NOTHING?

NEVER FORGET !!!    This ranks right up there with Jane Fonda during Vietnam ...  Justice is demanded for those murdered and Justicefor Incompetence of the people allowing this to happen is due...
Harsh but please keep this moving.  Everyone should see this. 
The horrific torture this man had to endure should be a reminder to those who admire/support Hillary.  Harsh Perhaps "she" should have just "some" of those things done to her and we can all then say...  "What Difference Does It Make!”  Sickening animals!  How could anyone ever say "What difference does it make?!  Can you just imagine what this would have been if it were G.W. and Condi!  Do you think the "half-assed" media would be giving them this kind of a pass?
NOT!

A 2016 Campaign Poster?
Some folks may be bored by keeping this story alive, but looking at the crowd that is doing this and planning for the future (What does it matter?) the memory needs to be kept alive.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

SAVE THE CHILDREN

I had injections in both hands today for the pain I have been experiencing in the one hand for quite some time, and the other hand has decided to join in - everything is more fun in pairs than singularly, right?  Anyway, they are super tender and I am not up to much of a post, but I will give you something to gnaw on until tomorrow.  Perhaps I can meditate this evening and first thing in the morning and The Holy Spirit will guide me to a new and interesting topic. Pray it will be so.

I don't want to pass over the March(es) for Life all over the country this week.  The fight for the unborn is at the top of my list of concerns.  I don't have anything to say that has not been said many times over.  A baby is alive the very moment it is conceived.  I can only wonder about the souls of so many, millions of them, and what will happen on their day before the Lord.

Every city has a Public Health Department and contraceptives can be obtained there if abstinence is not within your power.  And if not the Health Department, there are drug stores in every town where condoms can be purchased over the counter.  However, if you do NOT want a child, abstinence is the first and best choice.  It is completely irresponsible to take chances and then commit murder of an unborn child.

Where is morality in this country? I can tell you where to find immorality - it's all over the television day and night and your children are watching it, feeling hormones kicking in and thinking they know better than you do about sex. The only place your children are going to find honesty and moral teaching is from you, the parent.

If you do not have an open dialogue with your child(ren), make it happen now! And keep reassuring your young ones that they can come to you for anything.  I made sure my children felt secure and safe telling me everything.  And it was a two-way street; I told my children honestly what I had experienced for myself, along with what I had learned along the way growing up and into young adulthood.  My children always told me everything because they knew I would not judge them, but help them.

Just please, STOP KILLING THE BABIES!

God bless you,
Abbey

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

THIS DAY'S . . .

Too good not to post. I was just talking with my good friend this morning about all the immigrants in the USA.  Today's Verse kinda straightens me out a bit.  Enjoy the Word!


This Day's Thought from The Ranch
Since marriage is designed by Providence as a life, the worst possible way of embarking upon that life is by the premature exercise of what is meant to be its final consummation.
Hubert van Zeller

This Day's Verse
“You must not mistreat or oppress foreigners in any way. Remember, you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt.”
Exodus 22:21
The New Living Translation

This Day's Smile
This is my “depressed stance.” When you’re depressed, it makes a lot of difference how you stand. The worst thing you can do is straighten up and hold your head high because then you’ll start to feel better. If you’re going to get any joy out of being depressed, you’ve got to stand like this.
Charlie Brown

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

MEDJUGORJE MARIAN APPARITIONS - STATEMENT OF ABBEY'S ROAD

After receiving a comment regarding the authenticity of the Marian apparitions in Medjugorje, I researched the stance of The Vatican on these apparitions and found that the author of the comment is correct. A decision regarding these apparitions has not been made by the Vatican, but is expected later this year. Thank you, "Jean", for your informative comment. The following Marian Apparitions, however, have been approved by The Roman Catholic Church:

Guadalupe, Mexico (1531)
Lezajsk, Poland (1578)
Siluva, Lithuania (1608)
Laus, France (1664)
Rue du Bac, Paris, France (1830)
Rome, Italy (1842)
La Salette, France (1846)
Lourdes, France (1858)
Filippsdorf, Czech Republic (1866)
Pontmain, France (1871)
Gietrzwald, Poland (1877)
Knock, Ireland (1879)
Fatima, Portugal (1917)
Beauraing, Belgium (1932)
Banneux, Belgium (1933)
Kibeho, Rwanda (1981)




Monday, January 20, 2014

MY CONVERSION - RE-POST FROM 2007

I had an inquiry on Twitter regarding my conversion to Catholicism. I searched through over 3,000 entries and it seems I wrote about this at least three times between 2007-2010.  The following is a re-post of how I came to conversion to Catholicism and I am happy to be able to share it with out again.

PEACE, LOVE & JOY,
Abbey 
~*~

MY CONVERSION (written in 2007)


I documented this factual account of my faith journey several years ago, but misplaced it. After reading "Transformation" by my fellow blogger, "lbratina", I am inspired to document this account again. At the outset, I need to make it clear to all who read this that no maliciousness or snubbing of any religious sect is intended. I once read in "Dear Abby" when she was asked how you keep from offending others about their chosen faith. Abby advised her to simply say, "I am sure that your religion is a very fine one, or else you would not have chosen it for yourself." This is exactly how I feel. There is but one God among us all, so please, keep your sensitivities out of things and read this for what it is .... how I found my way Home.

My ancestors have, for many years before I was so much as a twinkle in someone's eye, been of the Pentecostal faith. Primarily, they attended either Churches of God or Assemblies of God. These faiths were given the label "holy rollers" who knows how many decades ago because of the mystical event of people "speaking in tongues" ... but I am getting ahead of myself. My mother's mother, my Granny, attended the same First Assembly of God Church all of her life, and my mother attended the same church until she married. Sadly, even though my mother was a devout Christian, because she met and married a man who was divorced, she was "cast out" of her church. This hurt my mother so deeply that to this day (she is now 76 years old), she attends church regularly, but refuses to "join". She fears something awful happening again and she says she would not be able to hold up to it.

Nevertheless, Mama made my sister and I go to church, again at one Assembly of God or another, off and on throughout our upbringing. I recall that my Daddy never went, or if he did, it might be on Easter ... this because he worked 6 days a week and Mama said he needed to rest because he was so tired.

I never cared much for church as a youngster. We had the Sunday School books and the "lessons", which I never did and subsequently, I was never able to answer any questions or contribute to the class when called upon. This was embarrassing. The fact that we would go to Sunday School and Church so irregularly also contributed to my shyness about participating. Whenever we went, I recall envying (one of those 7 deady sins) the other kids who went every week for the close friendships they had, and for the fact that they knew one another so well and conversed among themselves so easily.

As I said, speaking in tongues was an "event", for lack of a better word, in the eyes of this young child. We'd be standing and the minister would be praying and out of the blue, someone, I only recall it being females, would begin shouting in a language that was so foreign that it sounded neither European nor Asian, and certainly not English. It was a wailing type of prayer, a crying out toward heaven, and I remember staring and being admonished by my mother to bow my head and look nowhere but the floor! I know that this is a most holy event in this faith and I revere it. But, as I grew into adulthood, I never felt comfortable in church.

When I left home and was on my own, I did not attend church, nor did I pray with any regularity for several years. I cannot say that I was rebelling; I was merely lost and did not know which direction would take me "home". I was living in Los Angeles and was madly in love with someone who I thought was heaven sent. He was a svengali of sorts and took me and my little girl under his wings, and he molded both of us into what he wanted us to be. That included agnosticism. To this day, and even though I know I have been forgiven, I was blind and young and am deeply ashamed that I ever used that term in association with my Lord in Heaven.

When I left Los Angeles, I moved to the South at the encouragement of my sister. She was married, had two children, and attended a local Baptist church regularly. I was wanting to do the "right" thing for my own child and I began going to church with my sister's family. Once again, it was short-lived. I felt completely lost. I came away from services without any feeling whatsoever that I had been "touched" by the message that was so thoughtfully given by the minister. My mind would ramble to and fro, I couldn't concentrate, my interest waned.

I met and married a man of Italian descent, and thus, he was of the Catholic faith. I had attended one Catholic Mass as a young girl and it was a wedding. Other than the fact that it seemed to be an awfully long service, I was even more struck by the reverance, beauty, and mysticism of the Mass. Of course, I didn't understand anything about it, the meaning of any gesture or prayer. In fact, I had a rather eccentric aunt who joined the Catholic Church many years before and her two sons, my cousins, were instructed in the Catholic faith. I recall them visiting as boys crossing themselves after we said Grace over our meals. I found this curious. If memory serves me correct, in our "circle" (i.e., family and social acquaintances), Catholicism was viewed as a rather strange religion, and therefore, me being as curious as a cat, witnessing even a small gesture such as crossing oneself added fuel to the fire.

I began attending Mass with my Italian husband, and in doing so, he showed me how to follow the Mass and the prayers and readings in the Missel. The first Catholic church I attended was about 100 years old, and I call it the old school of Catholicism - it was extremely gothic and beautiful. Slowly, I learned the responses by heart, when to kneel, when to stand, when to cross, genuflecting in and out of the pews, and engaged in the crossing with Holy Water as I entered and left the Sanctuary. This particular parish was old and consisted of a lot of old people, which wasn't very conducive to our young family, so we relocated to another parish near home. The priest was so nice, and there were so many families with children. Much more, there were activities for every type situation, single, married, children, teens ... it had everything. With our children in school locally and participating in sports, we found people there that we knew, or that my husband had gone to school with. Slowly, I began to volunteer for this or that which is how we made a lot of church friends.

After a year there, I had been so touched by how much my life had changed, how much I looked forward to going to church, that I knew I had to be baptized into this faith. In order to do that, one must go through Catechism, which begins in September of each year and ends at Easter Vigil Mass. The classes are held one night per week. We had a class of about 15 non-Catholics and as we went through this learning experience about this wonderful faith, we bonded. One class-member lost her husband two months into the sessions, which brought us even closer together. We learned absolutely all you could about Catholicism, the rumors vs. the truths, and the more I learned, the more I felt God speaking to me, "this is where you are meant to be, my child". I embraced it fully. Whenever I went to Mass, I felt the Holy Spirit all around me; I seemed completely blissful when I left church and my life took on a change for the better.

As I've grown older, I have learned so much more about my faith and I am closer to my God than ever in my life. I look back at the times, as a 20-something, riding on the back of a Harley, going 90 mph down a California free-way with no helment and think, "yes Lord, YOU were with me then." And I think of the three times that strangers knocked at my doors when I was alone and I saw them through the peepholes as they kept begging me to open the door for one mundane reason or the other (which I did NOT), and I think, "yes Lord, YOU sure were watching over me then." And I think about my children and what wonderful children they were and how they have grown into good, kind and productive adults, and I think, "yes Lord, you've been with me all along."

I turned my head away from Him thousands of times. For this, I have been forgiven, but the obstacle I face is forgiving myself. God has been with me from the time I was conceived to this day. I had a serious surgery in 2005 and contracted a staph infection. The pain was horrendous and I had to undergo a second surgery. My recovery took four months, most of which was extremely painful, not including the four months preceding the time the staph was found. During that time, I was in such agony - I cried out every day, "My God, why won't you heal me? Why aren't you helping me?" Why, why why.

The long and short of it is this: The Lord brought me home, but not before I was brought to my knees. I am, and will always be a sinner. But the difference is that I acknowledge it to the One that matters most, to God, every day of my life. I talk to Him every day; I talk about Him to others every day; He is in my thoughts in everything that I do. The greatest gift that I have ever received was the ability to Forgive. To me, that is the single most difficult thing that God asks of us. And to be able to do that, albeit so difficult at times, well, my heart is overflowing with love for Him and His Son, Jesus Christ.

I was lost for most of my life. I was given up for adoption, experienced some things prior to that that no child should ever experience, and have had a rocky road as an adult out of my own naivete. In Catholicism, I found my peace and the Home I have searched for all of my life. After spending time worshipping in His House, I feel cleansed, refueled and ready to face whatever is around the next corner. Thank you, God, for bringing me Home. I promise, I will never leave You again.

God bless you all with peace and love,
Abbey