Posts Tagged With: prayer

Balancing Life and Faith

Balancing life and  Faith has been the name of my blog for over four years and this stunt really puts those words to the test.

Last month, Nik Wallenda completed something no one has ever done. 116 years ago, someone did walk across Niagara Falls on a tight rope, but never this close to the falls. With the water misting and affecting his vision and the winds pushing Nik more than he anticipated, he accomplished what no one else have ever attempted. But as a seven generation tight walked he was up for the challenged and worked years to make his challenge a reality.

He balanced his life and prayed the whole way across. Truly, physically balancing life and faith, or maybe balancing your life by faith.

When Nik was interview with ABC and the image of him praying before his wall was a beautiful image we need  more of on television. With God all things are possible and with faith mountains can be moved, it’s great to see that on tv too.

What is your Niagara Falls , what is your mountain?

Maybe it’s a challenging job or teenagers in your home. Maybe your mountain is an illness or family discontent, whatever the mountain, even with faith the size of a mustard seed you can move mountains.

Don’t ever give up on your goals in life, be vigilant  in prayer and bring all your petitions to the Lord. And you too can cross the gap and balance your life and faith.

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Hold my hand

holding hands - age 10, and age 8

holding hands – age 10, and age 8 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

IntimacyI remember someone asking my husband and I during the first few years of our marriage what is Intimacy? The definition we both first conjured up in our minds was mostly physical. But as we matured and grew, our understanding of intimacy grew also. Our relationship has grown throughout our 27 years of marriage. Like most couples we began with a physical attraction that grows into a deep love that was never imagined when the “I do’s” were exchanged.

We have raised babies, bought homes, owned a business together. We have survived arguments, financial challenges, unemployment, loss of our fathers, and much more in our years together.

We have learned to communicate

We have learned to listen

We have learned when to hold each other

We have learned to just “be” with each other

My children think we are too affectionate towards each other, because we truly enjoy each others company (and like to kiss and hold hands). But when you get either of them alone, they admit they like the fact that their parents are still attracted to each other and still are in love with each other. My expressive Italian husband is very passionate about life. When he laughs, its genuine and heartfelt. When he enjoys a good meal, he soaks it all in, from the smells to the presentation to the taste. He is passionate about his family – giving, kind and loving. Passionate is the word I would use to describe him.

He is not perfect, but he is perfect for me.

I love the way he holds my hand in his, I feel so safe, so loved.  I can spend all day just hand in hand with him.

I pray every person could experience the trueness of love from someone else. I know there is a lot of hardship in the world, but sometime we just need someone to reach out and hold our hand. Recently, I received some hard news, and the person who explained everything to me, sat next to me and held my hand. I remember looking at her hands and thinking, it’s exactly what I needed, I needed human touch as I was told this. Then I prayed for all the people who live days, weeks, months and even longer without human touch, without the intimacy of someone knowing them and being present for them. I felt sad, but not for me, for all those without another presence in their life.

My life is blessed in so many ways. I will survive my hardship no matter how thin the rope I’m hanging on to becomes…because I have a loving family always ready below to catch me and carry me until I can walk upright again.

As a youth minister, I have helped many people through churches, retreats and worktours. But when this caregiver held my hand, I realized the importance of always, continually, without ceasing, reaching out to touch others.

May your day open your eyes to the opportunities to hold the hand of another and know the true meaning of intimacy.

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Bring me balance

The turbulence of life can plummet at us in an instance.
Our lives can be turned upside down without notice.
Normal today is not normal tomorrow, change is inevitable.
How do we balance all the pain, suffering, heartaches with all the joy, happiness and love through the transitions of life?

The past two weeks have been a roller coaster ride for my family. If ever there was a time that we are out of balance and flooded with uncertainty it’s now. Often when we feel most comfortable and content is when we are called to reach deep into our hearts and deal with the storms of life.

Last week started with my husband being called in Monday morning to cutbacks and his job eliminated. Devastating to any family, especially in this job market. We discovered by the end of the week the unemployment will not cover our losses – less than 20% of his income, since our children are not dependents the rate drops rapidly. Friday we left for Phoenix to move our daughter into her apartment where she is teaching with heavy hearts, the reality that she will no longer lives with us sinking into our consciousness. Our baby girl has grown up. As we returned home we discovered messages from the doctor wanting to see my husband for follow-up to his blood work. The dark thoughts began to seep in.

BALANCE – TRUST – GRACE – GIFT – PRAYER

People get pulled into darkness and despair and believe me, I could see the black hole spiraling next to us.
But we looked upward and saw the light.
This world can be seen through a negative lens if you choose to.

What do you choose?
I choose GOODNESS,  I choose LIGHT,  I choose LIFE,  I choose FAITH!!

But we are so blessed with a loving family, supportive friends and a faithful Father that will never leave us.

“He will be with you and will never fail you or forsake you.
So do not fear or be dismayed” Deut 31:8

GOD IS GOOD!!
The doctor’s visit was fine, some improvements in his counts…good news
Friends and colleagues writing letters of recommendations and getting the word out for open positions…grace
Learning that although unemployment is over 9% now, in the technology job market, it’s only 3%…hope
Seeing our daughter in a safe, secure, lovely apartment; meeting her students and seeing how she is living her dream…delight

BLESSINGS in the storms…GOD’S GRACE in time of trouble…

After experiencing this initial period of storms and understanding there are most likely more still to come, I can understand how people can fall into despair and depression. It’s an effort every day to see the goodness and love that is in front of you.

We have a choice to balance our lows with our highs…or we can sink into loneliness and fear.
Oh, don’t get me wrong, I found myself sinking with the onset of so much evil so quickly sent our way. But I sank to my knees in prayer.

I looked to someone who could actually do something to help me. And I find peace in my moments of doubt in His love.

Years ago, we decided to close our retail shop and although we both had jobs waiting for us it was still a transition. A loss. A change.
I was constantly drawn to Proverbs 3:5 through out that period

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
on your own intelligence do not rely;
In all your ways be mindful of him,
and he will make straight your path.

We survived that transition and we will survive this too.

I have always prayed for those unemployed and under-employed, but now I pray in unison with them.

The mantra I am drawn to find balance and peace with today is in knowing that: “Jesus I trust in You!”

Can I get an AMEN!!

Categories: Balance, Family, God, Gratefulness | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Pride for an American Hero

Pride in our family, our nation, our heroes was seen throughout the southwest suburbs today.

At the funeral of my cousin’s son who was killed in Iraq, emotions ran deep.
As I stood in the back of the funeral home listening to the stories about this young man with a huge heart I was moved to tears. An honorable man who loved everyone he met, loved playing the guitar and loved making a difference in the lives of others by serving in the army. He was an American Hero.

He was an American Hero as a soldier
His wife, mother, father, sisters, brother, grandfather and grandmothers now wear the Gold Star for their sacrifice. I will be eternally grateful to all the men and women who have given their lives so that we may be free. The service was distinguished and honorable, with Patriot Guard Riders standing in respect throughout the visitation and funeral. The room hushed as they came forward to say their final goodbyes, especially the final Patriot Guard; a World War Two veteran that saluted Mike’s casket. The image of the Patriot Guard Riders standing with the US flags, then riding with the motorcade to Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery for his final resting place is imbedded in my memory.

Never have I been so proud to be an American.

He was an American Hero as a brother, son and husband.
As we drove through Homer Glen, Lockport, New Lenox, Joliet and Elwood the streets were lined with hundreds of people. Young and old, walkers and strollers, boy scouts and soccer players to honor a fallen hero. Businesses stopped and employees stood at the street under their company signs that were changed to read “In memory” or “We miss you”. People on the streets held handmade signs with “Thank you for your sacrifice”, “God bless Mike”, “Our hero” and just miles and miles of American flags. It was so touching to see so many people, some that may not have even know Mike, taking time out of their day to stand on the streets in respect. Then we would pass fields with no one and suddenly at the end of a farm-house driveway would be a single person standing and saluting the 200 cars, or a woman, dog at her side, right hand on her heart and left hand holding a flag, alone but honoring another. Then, there was a mother and her two sons, in their Boy Scout uniforms with flags in Homer Glen, then they appeared again in New Lenox – they must have got in their car and traveled on back streets to get in front of the procession to honor Mike twice. A mother teaching her sons about committment, dedication and honor…a message they will never forget. Nothing is more important than honoring our heroes and paying our respects. I have known that my whole life, but I felt it deep in my heart today.

At the cemetery, six soldiers carried Mike’s casket to his final resting place, as everyone encircled the family with love. The 21 gun salute, the folding and presenting of the American flag and the bugle rendering Taps, brought everyone to a somber reality of this final goodbye. As I wiped my eyes, I saw something moving from the corner of my eye and I looked up. Past the lines of the uniformed headstones there was a grove of trees and beautifully soaring in a circle above the trees were three hawks. Then a fourth hawk flew towards the group and they flew off together. I believe this was the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, soaring to bring Mikey home. And off he went with the Trinity to his true home. Faith and Life in the ultimate image.

I know how touched I was by the outpouring of honor, respect and love – I can only imagine what Mike’s wife, parents and siblings felt.

Today I was so proud to be an Olivieri and more importantly humbled and proud to be an American! May the faith of Mike’s family and the prayers of a community comfort them in their grief.

On behalf of a grateful nation…God bless you Mike!!

Categories: America, Balance, Family, Gratefulness | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Media Monday

Okay, so my daughter informed me that video clips or music clips are not “movie” clips – so Movei Moment Mondays became Media Monday. Trying to be more inclusive and welcoming to all types of medias.

This is one of my most favorite inspirational songs. Play this clip, sit back and place yourself at the foot of the Lord, so that you too can open yourself to be filled by His grace.

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