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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

PART ONE - Focusing on the New Year w/ the Aid of Paul's Letter to the Philippians

As 2013 comes to a close & we welcome 2014, many people are making resolutions or goals for themselves. Some want to gain better control of their health. Some want to strengthen their minds through further education, books, or puzzles (like Sudoku!) The possibilities are as varied as the number of people in the world.

To help with these goals (I prefer that term over resolutions), many choose a "Focus Word". I've done so in past years, but haven't been as good about staying the course. The year, however, my focus word chose me just before the new liturgical year began on the First Sunday of Advent.

Let me take you back to November 28, 2013, Thanksgiving Day...

We began our day by going to Mass. Our pastor gave another of his incredibly inspiring homilies. In past years, he's shared something he's been thankful for over the past year, then asked parishioners to do the same if they feel inclined. He decided to shake it up a bit this time. He shared, & asked others to share, an experience in which God showed His presence in the past year.

One man stood to share how a particular Bible verse appeared to him on two separate occasions, both at times of funerals for close family members. 

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!"
Philippians 4:4 (NAB)

Later that afternoon, on our drive to my parents' house, we drove past a local Methodist church. Lo & behold, guess what verse was posted on their outdoor sign...Philippians 4:4!

Less than one week later, on Wednesday, Dec. 4, a Facebook/college friend posted Philippians 4:4 as part of his status. Hmm! I began to wonder if God was trying to tell me something, but I didn't fully take the time to pray about it.

The following Wednesday & Thursday (Dec. 11 & 12) were not very good days for me. Wednesday, Matt called to say he was on his way home from work. I went online to order pizza for him to pick up on his way home. Shortly after, he called to say his car died & he just barely made it to a Bob Evans parking lot without lights or any power.

So, I called to cancel our pizza, gathered up the Blessings, ran through the drive thru at Sonic, & met him at Bob Evans. The first thing The Prophet said when Matt got in the van was, "I'm glad your car broke down!"

Now, that sounds strange, but it was the truth. You see, if his car was fine, then he could have been in the major accident we passed on the way to meet him or he could have been stuck in that traffic for a LONG time.

~~~ Philippians 4:4 ~~~

The AAA tow truck arrived about an hour later. He said it wasn't worth trying to jump after Matt's description of the problem. He loaded up the car & we all set off for our mechanic's garage.

Thursday morning, because I needed the van, we all woke early & took Matt to work. We stopped back home for about half an hour before going to the boys' band rehearsals. While home, I received a call from my doctor's office w/ the results of my gallbladder ultrasound the previous day...gallstones that will require surgery. I wasn't so much worried about the surgery & recovery, just the inconvenience of its timing & the financial stress it will create. 

When I picked the boys up from band, The Prophet blamed me for his unpreparedness...he didn't have his Christmas carol book & thought I'd lost it putting his folder in the van. I reminded him that he had loaded his stuff, not me. I went to talk to his director & he dropped a bomb...not only did The Prophet not have his book, he hadn't practiced at all the previous week. How did he know? The Prophet asked if he'd left his book in the rehearsal room last time. Lightbulb! (I'm saying that in my best Gru voice!) Wouldn't he have realized that sooner if he'd practiced?

We used this as a lesson in responsibility & commitment. The Prophet got a calm, yet firm, earful from me on the way home. He let his director & fellow band members down by not being prepared. The band is only as good as the weakest player.

Once home, I returned the surgeon's office's phone call. I wasn't sure if I hoped to get in before the end of the year (good for insurance because of "Obama-doesn't-care" & all its violations after Jan. 1st) or after the first of the year (get through Christmas & Matt's PTO time would start over, but more money out-of-pocket). Well, they couldn't get me in until Jan. 3, so I just prayed for no emergency attacks by then. So far, there haven't been any!

 ~~~ Philippians 4:4 ~~~

Click HERE to Continue to Part Two