You’re Nothing But A Worthless Dog

dog behind a fence

Don’t let doubt about who you are or who you were meant to be keep you locked up.

Sunday’s Gospel from the Book of Matthew always bothered me. Here you have a woman begging the Lord for help, begging, not for herself, but for the healing of her daughter.

And you have the Lord Jesus ignoring her and then brushing her off with this:

I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

I have read this passage many times and thought, “How hurtful that must have been. How much courage must this woman have had to go to Jesus through the crowd of those so unlike her, those who knew, knew, they were better than her, those who knew they were better because Jesus had even said He had come for them – not for dogs as herself.”

And then I’d always wonder with pain in my heart, “Why would Jesus, who is the One person who should have understood her pain, brush her off so badly?”

And then that negativity she must have felt from all those pressing in on her would have solidified as she asked again and Jesus’ response became even harsher.

It is not right to take the food of the children
and throw it to the dogs.

But reading through this passage carefully, one discovers that Jesus never calls her a dog. He never put her down. He simply states things that most of us would have a hard time disagreeing with. I too would have a hard time giving food meant for my children to dogs, even if I loved the dogs. That doesn’t mean that I love the dogs any less, but that they would not appreciate the value of what they were given as thoroughly as the children would, that they would not grow and develop as the children would.

That may offend some dog lovers, but not many of even the most ardent dog lovers would have difficulty choosing their dogs over their children.

I also think Jesus meant this to show us something. Yes, the obvious points are that He is showing us that, if the lost sheep of the house of Israel don’t appreciate the food offered, His food will be given to others who do. He also shows us that, unlike a dog who will never become a child, all people are capable of becoming children of the House of Israel, and finally, He shows us that we must keep asking, that we must never give up when it comes to our faith and believing in God’s plan for us.

But there is more too.

I had said that the woman’s fears must solidify as she felt the negativity pressing in on her, but she never actually lets them do that. She values herself and her daughter enough to keep that negativity away. She does not value herself for what the crowd thinks of her, but of what she was made to be by God, the Mother of her little girl.

And it is only because she truly values herself that she is granted her desire.

What if that woman had believed she was a dog? What if that woman, had simply indulged in self-pity and hung her head ? What if that woman believed she was worthless as the lies the world tells each of us in unique ways? What if that woman had failed to value herself as God’s creation?

How does it make God feel when we put ourselves down? When we feel we are not good enough? When we hang our heads and walk away when things do not go as we had hoped?

Satan subtly works on our hearts and minds to wear away our self esteem. Sometimes it’s a parent who never loved enough. Sometimes it’s abuse or a man who used you and left you. Sometimes it’s cheap clothing or the commercials that make you think bodies were made to be displayed. Maybe it’s the songs on the radio that make you think sex and drugs and violence are the norm. Maybe it’s the little voice inside your head that just wears away with little things, a friend who doesn’t return a call quickly enough, a glance in the mirror showing you’re too big, a rejection from another job you’d love to have.

All of these things contribute to make you think you are a worthless dog. Jesus simply says, food for His children will not go to dogs. He is telling you to value yourself. To Love yourself as a creation of the Lord. He is telling you that it is when you value yourself, not for you, but for who the Master made you to be, that you will find Joy and Healing.

Read this passage again and this time see Jesus showing the world that, with appreciation for yourself as a unique creation of God, with a little of the gumption this woman had, with the willingness to appreciate and gather the little things like scraps from the table, you are capable of bringing great power to yourself and healing to those around you.

To reflect on all of the readings from Sunday, August 17, 2014, please click here.

photo credit

God Bless…

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How Much of Your Story do You Tell?

How much do you tell people about your life?

About the heartaches and pains?

About the hidden or unshed tears?

About the laughter that masked the fear?

How much do you tell people about abuse you faced, the sights, the sounds, the smells, the memories that are faded, virtually non existent, but that have the habit of popping up at the strangest times and in the most unexpected, unwanted ways?

How do you tell people when you’d rather not tell yourself?

And when you do tell, how much do you reveal?

What secrets do you hold close to your heart?

What fears are you afraid to let loose?

We tell our students to tell if they’re being hurt, but the kids know no one really wants to hear about stuff like that, no one wants to admit that goes on, no one wants to step in, even if they believe you.

And no one wants to really tell you what you want to hear.

That you are Worthy. That you are Loved.

Until you find The One who understands because He’s been there too, because He loves you so much that you can tell Him anything, and He will still Love you.

It’s then that you find the strength to tell others of the Love that is waiting for them. You can find the strength to tell your story because

YOU are NOT your story

and in the telling of your story you are no longer a prisoner, but you are free, released to set others free, free to tell their stories until there is nothing left to tell of sadness and hurt and suffering and only the

telling of the strength and hope and love and forgiveness and understanding and healing.

Tell of that which comes from the Savior,  from the Holy Spirit, from the One Perfect Father to whom you can tell everything but need tell nothing, to the one who already knows all you can tell and the one who still tells you He Loves You.

Today I have again linked up for my second five minute Friday post and the topic (can you guess it?) was “tell.” Telling takes courage. What is it that you are afraid to tell about? Confront your fears and have faith. Tell what needs to be told. God knows the rest.

God Bless…

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A Visit to the Shrine of Saint Anne – Our Summer in Pictures

Charity from The Wounded Dove asked us to post a week in pictures. I, unwisely, began posting pictures from our sumer vacation and decided to split it into two posts. This portion is from our trip to the Shrine of Saint Anne in Massachusetts.

Whenever we go away, I try to incorporate some aspect of faith into our trip. We’ve gone to the Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Anne Seton in Maryland, the Creation Museum in Kentucky, and Baptist Church in Georgia among other places. What a change those experiences have brought to my life and, I hope, to my children’s lives.

This year, we brought faith into the car ride by listening to and laughing along with Stealing Home by Mike Sweeney and The Baseball Priest by Father Burke, two of the CD’s I won through a contest sponsored by Debbie Gaudino from Saints 365. If you order from Lighthouse Media, please use Debbie’s code  Promo Code 103065.

Shrine of Saint Anne - Hall of Saints

Heading to the Hall of Saints

Shrine of Saint Anne - Saint Kateri Tekawitha

Saint Kateri Tekawitha


n Taking a break rest before Mass at the Shrine of Saint Anne

This year, our trip coincided with the Feast of Saint Anne, and a short side trip brought us to the Shrine of Saint Anne in Massachusetts where we were  walked along the larger than life sized Stations of the Cross, attended long a beautiful outdoor Mass, and then lit candles in the Hall of Saints.

Prisoner Story

Prison Ministry Takes a special person

Art projects were displayed in the Hall of Saints, and as I walked around looking at some, I noticed that several were made by prisoners, many of them death row inmates. I have never been for the death penalty, but I have always been for more serious prison sentences. I am a big fan of Sheriff Joe in Arizona, but also know there is a need for forgiveness. How do you mesh the two?

Execute Justice Not People

Thou Shall Not Kill…

I know there is more rejoicing in Heaven for the prodigal son’s return than for a righteous soul. Prison ministry is one that takes a special person, and I prayed for and became more grateful for people like Tony Agnesi who reaches out to those most of society would throw way. Seeing those projects, reading their stories reminded me that no one is a throw away to God.

We ended with a stop in the bookstore where Kaleb was drawn to a book about Mom and Dad’s divorce. I was surprised that that was the one he picked since he can’t read and also since he has no idea of what an intact family is since his father left while I was pregnant with him, but it seemed that I should buy it and I did. The women working the book store began talking to me (I talk to everyone – I love meeting people! :) ) and gave me a book and a card about Amazing Women – I am truly Blessed.

God has done amazing things in all of us, and He has given us an amazing summer that has just gone way too fast.

One of my favorites. Noah posed with a few of the saints, but after I took the photo of Saint Joseph, he asked if I could take another so he could hold his hand. Love my boys! Thank you Saint Joseph - role model. Thank you Father.

One of my favorites. Noah posed with a few of the saints, but after I took the photo of Saint Joseph, he asked if I could take another so he could hold his hand. Love my boys! Thank you Saint Joseph – role model. Thank you Father.

Red Candle in the Church Means Jesus is Present

May the Lord be with You

To see other summer vacation pictures from North Carolina to Maine, from college vistas to long car rides, and from sling shots to tennis balls in the toilet (why would anyone want to see that???) please click here.

Thanks for joining us.

I’d love to hear about your summer too! Please feel free to share or provide links in the comments.

God Bless…

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The Summer in Pictures – Life with 5 Boys

I’m back in the linkup with Charity from the Wounded Dove. For today’s post, Charity asked us to post our week in pictures. I’m bending the rules a bit and posting pictures from the summer. Unfortunately, my camera is still missing so you’re getting some of the significantly less than perfect mobile uploads I’ve got from a phone camera I haven’t quite mastered.


Be thankful smells can’t yet be transmitted online!

This post starts at the end of the boys’ trip to Boy Scout camp just because I wish there was some way to share the pain of a week’s worth of Boy Scout camp laundry on my readers. Just when I thought I was done and right before a student arrived for SAT tutoring, I found one more box that smelled so bad the entire thing needed to be taken to the back deck and left it to air out.Continue Reading

Robin Williams – Shadows of Darkness, Exposure through Light

Cave - Light at the end of the tunnel

The Light at the end of the tunnel is not an incoming train, but you can’t reach it by staying in the shadows.

Robin Williams, America’s funny man, suffered in a way many of us would never have guessed. The shock of as emerging details of his death posted on Facebook, Twitter, and other media outlets warred with the images we had of the man bringing laughter into the lives of so many.

Robin Williams took tragic situations such as divorce in Mrs. Doubtfire, childhood illness in Patch Adams, and even war in Good Morning Vietnam and helped us see the Good that can be found even in the worst situations when one man stands up to make a difference. He taught us the importance of laughter even when we want to cry.Continue Reading

10 Things I Never Knew About My Catholic Faith

Altar with Stained Glass holy Spirit red tongue of fire

Prayer requires practice and the willingness to believe and try.

I am a “cradle Catholic.” I was born and Baptized pretty quickly after in the days when it was considered dangerous to take an unBaptized Baby out into the dangerous world. My father spent time in the seminary as he contemplated becoming a priest. I spent 8 years in CCD, 4 years in a Catholic high school, and got my Bachelor’s Degree from a “Catholic” university. I’ve (almost) always go to church every Sunday and holy day.

I was even youth minister of our local parish for crying out loud!

And yet I know virtually nothing about my Catholic faith.

How can that be?

How can someone be “Catholic” and not know about the depth and richness of our faith? What went wrong in my education? What was my faith based on?

The rules of my parents?

The fact the “everyone was doing it?”

The lack of anything “better?”

Whatever it was, the more I learn now, the more I realize I need to learn more. Here is a list of 10 things I am just beginning to understand about being Catholic.

10 Things I Never Knew About the Catholic Faith:

  1. I didn’t know the Rosary was actually a meditation on the life of Jesus, each bead representing a moment in His life for us to reflect on, pray about, and share.
  2. I knew Catholics didn’t worship saints, but I didn’t know how to explain that. I didn’t know that they are called on to pray for us just as we call on our living friends here to pray for us in our our of need.
  3. I knew the saints are role models, but I never took the time to learn what made them worthy of imitation.
  4. I knew there were Jesuits and Dominicans and Franciscans and more but didn’t have any idea what the differences were.
  5. I didn’t know that papal infallibility didn’t mean that the Popes themselves were not infallible, but that the doctrine they teach is infallible.
  6. I didn’t think about those who believe that the Bible is the only authority got that belief from a fallible person and that therefore that belief may be fallible.
  7. I didn’t understand the humility and gift confession can be or what a motivator it is to do better next time.
  8. I didn’t know the peace that comes from Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, from the sitting in silent adoration of the Blessed Eucharist, sharing quiet time with our Lord.
  9. I had never even given more than a cursory skim through the Bible! 
  10. I never knew that through Jesus’ forgiveness of me, I had the power to forgive daily and to act in Love even when I didn’t want to. I didn’t know what Strength would come from that Power. I didn’t know the power I had waiting in Him.

How could I have not known my Catholic faith?

I can’t explain it, and while I could sit here and point fingers, that would be useless, and I certainly don’t want the saints sitting there and pointing fingers at me one day. I won’t be judged on what I didn’t know.

But I will be judged on what I learn.

And now, I am responsible for educating myself. Sometimes it gets overwhelming. I already have so much to do and don’t know how to put more hours in the day to learn more, but I get motivation and encouragement from converts like Cristina at Filling My Prayer Closet and Melanie Jean Juneau, a veritable walking Catholic encyclopedia (and she posts just the MOST BEAUTIFUL Catholic artwork too!) If these busy, beautiful women came into the Catholic faith knowing nothing, zip, zilch, zero, then I, with my head start, have no excuse for not learning too (Did that come out sounding too competitive? Life with five athletic boys! ;) ).

And the more I learn, the more I ask God to show me, the more I realize I need to know, NEED to know. It’ like climbing a mountain that keeps growing, but it is a mountain of milk and honey of rainbows and silver lined clouds, of sunshine warming my upturned face and friendly faces at every turn.

It is a climb which, overall, makes me stronger rather than weaker, more excited rather than more frustrated, and gives me something to look forward to each day.

I still have a lot to learn.

I am humbled.

I am proud of all there is to know.

When did you begin to take responsibility for learning about God rather than leaving that responsibility to someone else? What sparked you to take such initiative and what is something you discovered that surprised you?

God Bless…

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When God Rocks Your Boat

Stormy Seas

When the storms threaten to bring you down, what is your reaction?

This Sunday’s Gospel, the Gospel of Matthew 14:22-33, was the well known story of Jesus walking on water and of Peter going to Him over the waves. It’s a story many of us know well and have seen paintings of since childhood.

The dark ominous clouds, the stormy seas, the frightened looks of the followers huddled together on the boat and Jesus in shimmering white glory walking slowly, steadily, toward them, a look of utter peace on His face, His glorious features unmarred by line or wrinkle, His eyes kindly smiling, even twinkling a bit as He looks at His brothers, His children, understanding their fear, but above it as we often look at our children when they experience a fear of the dark or some other thing we know holds no real power.Continue Reading

I Got This Mom Thing Covered!


Yep, sometimes It’s what I don’t do that make me know I’m doing the Mom the right!

I’m linking up again with Charity at The Wounded Dove for #GoodEnoughMom, and this week I’m running more than a little behind, but that’s okay and part of what helps me think I may one day master this whole Mom thing.

In May and June I start planning for the lazy, hazy days of summer and the restful, relaxing recuperation period that I long for, but it’s been a whirlwind of a summer already and there seems no end to the activity.

This summer I’ve driven to and from Washington DC twice in two consecutive weekends (6+ hours each way) for Troy’s amazing experience with the Friends of the NRA Youth Education Summit, two trips to Boy Scout camp in three days, camping outside of Raleigh so Troy could look at NC State for engineering (I can’t believe he’s starting his senior year of high school! Where did the time go???), and then right up to Maine for a family vacation, followed by two long trips up and back to environmental camp for George.
Continue Reading

Home From Boy Scout Camp – Finally (the Conclusion)

Ready to leave for Boy Scout Camp - George, Matt, & Noah

Ready to leave for Boy Scout Camp – Again, still missing camera from pick up! Grrr….

Home from Boy Scout Camp - To Read Part I, please click here.

It wasn’t long until the show was over and kids started straggling back, and I was again greeted by bear hugs from George and Noah and a very mature kiss on the cheek from my big guy, Matt.

But this greeting was different… (continued from Home From Boy Scout Camp Part I)

George and Noah were glad to be going home, but it was the gladness that comes from having survived a week of camp, not from being upset about having had to go to camp. They were grinning ear to ear and talking over each other with stories they wanted to share and about people they had met. Noah proudly showed me the mark on his leg that had turned into a bruise where I’d hit him with a whiffle ball and said after that he became good friends with the boy who was playing with us.Continue Reading

Home From Boy Scout Camp-Finally! Part I

Boys Scouts ready for camp

Ready to Leave for Camp – After a whirlwind summer, I can’t find my camera with the pick up from camp pics but promos they’ll come soon someday!

Matt, George, and Noah got to go to Boy Scout Camp thanks to an incredibly generous donation from an anonymous donor, but by the end of the first day, one of my boys was already begging to come home and another was angry at me for sending him (Even though he had wanted to go before the drama of leaving).

As a Mom, this kind of thing breaks your heart. I could have very easily have driven the four hours up and rescued them from camp. I did in fact drive up midweek to just let them know I was still here for them and that I Love them, but I still couldn’t, or wouldn’t, bring them home.

They had made a commitment; they had something to accomplish.Continue Reading