Years ago when I found out that I had osteoporosis I committed to get out there every day and get some walking in. Walking is supposed to help create bone mass. I think the walking has helped me.
More recently, I have gotten my husband involved in exercise. I have long known that it would be good for him, but he has resisted the idea for some time now. But over the last few weeks I have enjoyed having a hiking buddy. Yes, I talked him into it! So, every morning, we take a hike. I say it’s a hike and not a walk, because it isn’t just a casual stroll on a level track or sidewalk. We live in the woods of rural Connecticut and there are a couple of dirt roads near our home. There are some decent hills along our route, so, whether we just hike a mile or have time to do our two mile hike to the farm and back, we get a pretty good work out (for old people!).
It has been hot an humid lately and in order to get that hike into our day, we have to do it first thing in the morning before it gets worse as the day unfolds, weather permitting, of course. When I say “weather permitting,” I don’t mean that we don’t go if it’s hot and sticky (and who in their right mind would want to go out and hike in those conditions?). We push ourselves and go out. But, if it’s pouring rain or thunder-storming, we skip it that morning. Thankfully, we very rarely need to worry about tornadoes in these parts.
I use an herbal bug repellant since I am still dealing with tick borne diseases and don’t want to get any more. I had four active ones (Lyme, Q Fever, Anaplasma, and Babisia) for quite some time. The doctor and I are hoping that I might have just very recently defeated two of them–finally. We are not totally sure until we get results from another round of blood work. But we are hoping. I have been dealing with Lyme disease for over twenty five years now, with five different documented new cases of Lyme. I guess you can say that I have been a “Tick magnet.” I wish that weren’t so, but alas, it is. So, I deal with it, fight it, and have pretty good stuff to offer up to God.
Adding a Rosary to the mix
So, each morning my husband and I get up and get dressed quickly. After putting organic tick spray on ourselves, we head out the door–me with rosary in hand (my husband follows along with or without his beads). I love to pray the rosary first thing in the morning. Well, my Morning Offering comes first before I leave the house. But, if I don’t get my rosary prayed first thing, I might not get to it. It might be said in bits and pieces–a decade at a time. And, I don’t think that is so bad. Our dear Mother Mary knows that we are busy at the service of others. I often preach to others that even a decade at a time is okay. Many times those kinds of rosaries are prayed on my finger tips as I trudge (or run!) through my day. But, there is nothing worse for me than getting to the end of the day and lamenting that my rosary was not said and I am so exhausted by then to complete the whole rosary. Oy vey!
If I can pray my rosary in the morning before getting into all of the hustle and bustle of the day, I feel much better, knowing thatI have answered the Blessed Mother’s call to us through her messages at Fatima. She called for the rosary to be prayed daily for peace in the world and the conversion of sinners. Every rosary gives us the opportunity to offer all of our family and loved ones to God through those simple yet powerful beads. Mary takes our prayer offerings into her loving Immaculate Heart where they become extraordinarily beautiful, and she then delivers the prayers to heaven–truly amazing!
So, I am delighted that I have gotten my husband out the door and exercising with me every morning, as well as getting a whole rosary in before he leaves for work and before I settle down at my computer to get going on mine. Then, as the day unfolds, I can add to that rosary and pray additional decades.
Crosses in our lives
This morning when out on our rosary hike, I discovered this beautiful cross on the side of the dirt road. It is a perfect cross made out of God’s creation. It was yet another reminder to me about Our Lord’s holy Cross and great love for us.
Earlier this month when I was weeding a little garden out back, I tossed some weeds and old stalks of plants on to the ground nearby. Afterwards when I was cleaning that up, I discovered that two of the pieces of stalks had landed to form a perfect cross. Pretty amazing, I thought. I believe that God is forever speaking to us through His creation. We need to have eyes to see and ears to hear.
Not too long ago, I felt inspired one morning to put the message out there to the world about forgiveness, love, and mercy, and the Cross of Jesus. I wrote a short blog post titled “Was it something he said?” In it I asked:
How often do we hold a grudge without even realizing it? A co-worker is in a bad mood and takes something out on you. It seems crazy and totally out of the blue–you were simply an innocent bystander. Someone makes a snide remark in a passive aggressive kind of way. Your husband is short with you. Or, he seems ungrateful for the countless things you do for him. Your mother-in-law just does not understand your mothering style–and she has voiced her opinion about that—on more than one occasion. Sound familiar? And the list goes on and on–little pin pricks actually hurt a lot. Little splinters from the Cross?
Love hurts too. Mother Teresa often said that to love authentically should cost us. Real love hurts, she explained. Is it possible to take the high road when attacked? Let love and prayer deflect that arrow to the heart? Jesus said, “Love your enemies. And pray for those who persecute” (Matthew 5:44)….
You can read the whole thing here. It was the kind of post in which readers did not leave comments because of the nature of the message. But instead, they contacted me privately to tell me how much it touched their heart and that they really needed to see it because they had issues brewing and wanted to be able to forgive.
With her permission I will share one woman’s reaction to the post:
My week got a bit sour on Tuesday when I returned to work! I was feeling down and I just read your blog post ‘Is it something he said?’ It just nailed it and gave me a lot of peace and solace…. I knew I was harboring un-forgiveness and that was the main reason for the dark spot in my heart….. last evening the Holy Spirit really convicted me and I asked God to forgive me and I felt better. Your blog article was like an extra aide to my heart which God has already started mending….After reading it, I went for walk (its lunch time down under!) went to the nearby park….. prayed the Rosary while walking and came back and spoke to the person who hurt me and made me feel small.. Now, my heart is so much lighter. Praise God.
Yes, praise God!
In my memoir The Kiss of Jesus: How Mother Teresa and The Saints Helped Me To Discover The Beauty of The Cross when talking about opportunities for grace that might be a bit difficult, I said:
The irritable, the angst-ridden, and the contradictory–those family members and neighbors who challenge us in some way–actually help us on our way to heaven. We need to ask God for grace and an extra dose of faith, hope, and charity to be able to love the very people God wants us to serve. We are actually called to love them to heaven! In the course of even just one day, God gives many opportunities to act on grace, to love our family members and others near us, to set an example by our selfless service to them. It’s not always easy; in fact, most times it is very difficult.
Dear Lord, please open our eyes and our hearts to see you in our family member, our neighbor, co-worker, and everyone you have put in our midst. Please grant us the graces to always act in love to serve them and bring them closer to You. Blessed Mother Mary, please guide and protect us, and help us to be attentive to your graces in our lives. All of the Angels and Saints, please pray for us. Amen.