inspiration, mental health, parenting, prayers, religion

Finding My Way out of Darkness

Through my life I have struggled with anxiety and depression.  When I was younger there were some dark times that I fought through.  Watching Oprah’s TV show introduced me to self-help and I began keeping a quote book and encouraging things.  I also relied on prayer to pull me out.

When I became a mom I ended up having to have a c-section and I was trying to breastfeed.  A lack of sleep became a given and it changed me.  I was sad most of the time and just felt like a different person.  I tried to put on the happy face around others but when alone there was no smiling at all.  My husband and I wanted to have another child but I told him I needed counseling first.  This counselor seemed to be making things worse.  She agreed with all my struggles and wanted me to just change situations I was in when I was not capable of changing them.  Once again I found myself turning to God and positive quotes.  I also joined a woman’s group at my church.  I found may way through again.

Through the years I have had my ups and downs and when I am down I have tried counseling but recently our insurance changed and counseling was going to cost us a pretty penny.  So less than a year ago I felt myself falling deep into my dark hole.  My in-laws attend a church that offers counseling for just a donation.  I looked to the Catholic Church to help.  Where I was living free counseling would be out of the question.  It was going to cost close to $125 an hour.  Are you serious?  How are people able to afford this?This made me mad and sad.  How can my religion not help me?  My local priest was willing to meet with me but I wanted someone I didn’t know personally.

I began praying and asking God to lead me where he wanted me to be.  Please help me find a way out of this.  I want to be better for my children.  My older brother gave me the gift of meditation for Christmas and I found myself doing that daily.  It really got me into an almost trans-like state.  This led me to reaching out to a friend of mine who has found peace and relief through Reiki.  A few years ago when she just began training, she practiced on me and I remember having the same calming feeling I had when I meditated.  I asked her if she would train me and thanks to her help I became certified in Reiki level I.

During this time I also went on a woman’s retreat and was introduced to Tai Chi.  Tai chi is like meditative movement.  This seemed to fit together with everything else I was learning and was similar, yet different tools I could use to help me.

God led me to these tools to help me and they were working.  I also remembered I use to love using essential oils to help me and the kids.  So I dug out my oils and began using them.  Peace was finding it’s way back into my life.  God has answered my prayers in a way that I didn’t expect but was grateful for.

So as I continue to learn more about these tools I am hoping that not only will I help myself but I can help others in similar situations find tools they can empower themselves with.  Stay tuned for future post on these different tools/blessings.

Copyright 2020 Sheila M Scarpulla.  All rights reserved.  No reproduction without written consent.

parenting, religion

What Path is the Right Path?

So many of my posts are about the Catholic Church and my support of it.  However, just like when I was in high school, I find myself questioning things and the path I am on.  It is mostly because of my children.  What path should I be leading them down?

I have always had a strong connection to what I believe is God.  I was raised in the Catholic Church and I was taught to believe in the bible, Jesus and Mary.  The path I took as a child was also in Catholic school.  It was there that I learned that I had to follow all the rules or risk going to hell.  As I became a mother I felt so much pressure to do right by my children and the Catholic Church.  It seemed everything I was doing was going to send me to hell.  If we missed mass or I didn’t read the bible to them I risked going to hell.  When we did get to mass it was honestly torture because it was just me and three kids, two of which didn’t want to be there.  By the time mass was over I was either crying or my kids were because they lost electronics for the day.

Could the God I love really be willing to send me to hell for these things?  Could this really be the right path for us?  He/she knows how hard I am trying.  They know what is in my heart but is that not good enough?  To me my inner voice always told me that God loves me and is proud of me.  He/she sees my sorrow and pain, my remorse and shame.  My God wants me to be with them, not burn in hell.  My path is to God but do I get there by following my current path of the Catholic Church?  Is the current path that the church is going down the right one?  Have the leaders veered off course at all?

Forcing my kids to go to church was making them hate the religion I wanted them to love.  On top of that because they do not go to Catholic school they have to go to faith formation class.  Our choices were Sunday morning, Tuesday right after school, a week in the summer or homeschooling.  All were very challenging for us but we plugged through trying to figure out what works best for each child.  Honestly, I don’t know what they have really learned beside the fact that they hate these classes and this is not the path they want to follow.

My struggles have really been weighing on me.  Now with this mandatory stay at home there is no obligation to go to physical mass or attend certain events because all public gatherings are not allowed.  Mass is now on TV or events are on zoom.  This has opened my eyes to my truth.  My truth is that God loves all of us and he wants us to love one another and treat others with love and kindness.  He gave us Jesus and Jesus gave us the Church.  I believe the Apostles Creed;

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth;
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son Our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into Hell; the third day He rose again from the dead;
He ascended into Heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.  

The rest of the rules of the Catholic Church were created by men through the years.  Many have changed since the beginning and I believe they will change again.  I believe God wants me to lead my children to be good individuals and to know and love him.  So while my children may chose to take a different religious path in life my hope is that our paths will lead to the same destination.  I am committed to doing what is needed to help them find their paths and their relationship to God.

 

 

Copyright 2020 Sheila M Scarpulla.  All rights reserved.  No reproduction without written consent.

religion

Evangelization

Evangelization

When you hear the word evangelization what comes to mind?  For me it’s Billy Graham or someone who had fallen on hard times and ended up being ‘saved’ and now wants everyone to hear his/her story.  To me it was someone who was preaching (I thought of preaching in a negative sense) about what I should believe and why I should believe in it.  I associated it with those I thought were Born Again Christians.  Now I am learning so much more.

The definition of evangelization according to Merriam-Webster dictionary is; to preach the gospel and to convert to Christianity.  Pope Paul VI wrote the Evangelii Nuntiandi (Evangelization in the Modern World).  It says that to evangelize means to bring the Good News of Jesus into every situation and to convert individuals through the divine power of the Gospel.

Did you know you can be or may already be an evangelist?  For me preaching what I believe to others is very difficult.  I don’t like the idea of trying to get you to change your beliefs.  I have found through blogging that I enjoy sharing what I am learning with others but I hope that it does not ever sound like I am telling people what I think they should or should not do.  So I never thought of myself as an evangelist.

Guess what!  I am an evangelist.  I try to share the Good News of Jesus in the way I live, act, and how I treat others.  I am an evangelist for my children.  I don’t have to be out on the streets talking to everyone I meet.  It can start at home and spread from there.

That is why I am currently taking a Catholic class.  I want more knowledge.  We need more knowledge.  The more knowledge we have the better.  I just wish more Catholic churches would offer continuing education for the adults of the parish.  Our learning shouldn’t end after we are confirmed.  It should continue.  We should always be learning about our faith.

So I wish that after reading this when you hear the word evangelization it may bring on a positive feeling.  I hope we all strive to be the evangelists God always wanted us to be.

copyright 2016 Sheila M Scarpulla.  All rights reserved.  No reproduction without written consent

parenting, prayers, religion

What is Mercy and Do I Need It?

mercy

The world seems to be falling apart.  It seems like there is nothing that can be done. Sometimes I fear for the world my children will grow up in.  We can’t control anything happening in the world.
We CAN control what we teach our children.  Starting from when they are born.  We can show them compassion, empathy and mercy.  We can teach them about what is going on in the world but also teach them love not hate.

Mercy is having compassion for others; especially those you may think do not deserve it. It is not always easy to have mercy so we must practice it.  Our children need to see us showing compassion to one another.

My mom is great at mercy.  She shows love to everyone even when you know it can’t be easy.  She always says about those she shows mercy to that they were the ones who needed it the most.  It isn’t easy following in those footsteps, but I try.  She tells me when my children are driving me crazy and I want to beat them, I need to just hug them.  So I hug and hug a little more.  I show them mercy.

If each one of us just tries to show a tiny ounce of mercy to those who we actually think does not deserve it, we may just see the change we hope for the world.  Those who push people around and are mean could really use our mercy but you know what?  Every one of us sins so each of us at one time or another could use a little mercy and compassion.

Pope Francis announces this the year of Mercy.

Learn more here;
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Catholic News Service

copyright 2016 Sheila M Scarpulla . All rights reserved. No reproduction without written consent

 

prayers, religion

Four Steps to Let Go and Give It to God

Let-Go-and-Give-it-Over-to-God-300x251

I had the good fortune of being able to spend some quality time with my mom and dad for the past few days.  During this time my father and I were talking about our struggles and how we face them.  You put one foot in front of the other.

We also talked about how most of us try to control things around us but in the grand scheme of things we really do not have that much control.  We just have to do what we need to do and put our faith in a higher power.

I have been told by people time and time again to trust God.  To let go and let God or turn it over to God.  I honestly didn’t get it.  I would say ‘OK God here are my issues now you deal with it and let me trust you’ but is that what I really did?  No.  I just didn’t get it and I couldn’t figure it out.

A few things that I think can help us all with this are;

  1. Wake up a few minutes early in the morning and thank God for all that we have. Then we can let him know the struggles we are facing or are going to be facing and try to go on.

2. Go about our day.  Get what we need to get done, done.  When our struggles enter our mind we can take a minute, realize how we are thinking and say a simple pray.  God, I trust in you.

3. End each day by saying thank you to God for all he did for us during the day.  If we can’t seem to think about what he has done for us we can ask him to help us be more open the following day.

4. Repeat

Eventually I think the idea of letting go and letting God will get easier, or at least that is what I hope for.

May each of you be guided today in learning how to let go and give it up to God.

A great prayer that I think goes perfectly with this is;

The Serenity Prayer

author Reinhold Niebuhr

 

serenityprayergoldframedlands1a-300x228

copyright 2016 Sheila M Scarpulla.  All rights reserved.  No reproduction without written consent

religion

One Reason Catholic Church Attendance May Be Low

church-581061_640

Last night at my CFM class we were talking about how before Vatican II Catholic Churches were packed with people.  Since Vatican II many churches are lucky to be even half full.  Attendance at church is down drastically.  There was a discussion that many blamed it on Vatican II.

I know that in the 20th century we cannot blame Vatican II for the low attendance rate.  I have three young children and I see that many sports have practices and games on Sundays.  Birthday parties are being thrown on Sundays and Saturday nights.  Sundays have no longer been classified as a church day to many.

We as parents are the ones who should put God back in first place.  We can either chose to take a stance and say no to practice and games on Sundays or make it a point to get to Saturday evening mass.  If we are not there for games on Sunday then the people who make the schedules will have to stop because there will be no kids to play.  Yet, we don’t.  We are not teaching our kids that God should be first.  We are teaching them that being the best at sports is more important.  Our priorities are getting messed up.  We would rather go to a party than spend an hour in church.  We have to just say no.

I want my children to know that we have everything thanks to God and that the least we can do is give him an hour of our time on Sundays or Saturday evenings to say thank you.  They are being taught to be altar servers at church because it is the volunteering of all of us that keeps the church going.  When my daughter has received her communion I will once again volunteer to be a Eucharistic Minister and show them that mommy volunteers too.

Together we can help make the churches full again!

copyright 2016  Sheila M Scarpulla.  All rights reserved. No reproduction without written consent

inspiration, religion

Sharing the Christmas Spirit

As Christmas approaches I have created a calendar to teach my children about sharing the true meaning of Christmas.  I want to teach my children to love one another and to take care of fellow humans.

Here is a calendar for the month of December with little things we all can do to help make the world a better place. It all starts at home.

Dec2015adventcalendar

 

copyright 2015 Sheila M Scarpulla.  All rights reserved.  No reproduction without written consent

religion

The History Of Your Church

How much do you know about the history of your church- (2)

This past session of my CFM (Christian Foundations Ministries) class I was learning about the history of the Church. I thought to myself, ‘I wonder how many people know any of this? I sure didn’t before now’.

Learning about the history of your religion is something I recommend to everyone and if you think you know it, learn about it again. You will be surprised how much you don’t really know. We only covered a fraction of all there is to know, so I am even hoping to have the opportunity to learn more about the Catholic Church’s history.

It has given me hope. Our Church is far from perfect and we may not always get it right and that is when I put my hope in the power of change. Change can be scary but you know what? It can also be beautiful. I have learned about things that have changed through the centuries, some good and some not so good. You can look forward to future posts on some of those changes and what I hope for our future. The Catholic Church may just become even more beautiful than it is now!!!

If you have questions or comments about things you would like to see changed I would love to hear it. Never give up hope that change is possible.

copyright 2015 Sheila M Scarpulla. All rights reserved. No reproduction without written consent

inspiration, religion

Three Questions I Have Been Asked About Pope Francis

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

Three questions I have been asked about Pope Francis after his recent visit to America.

1. Why do people want to touch the Pope?  Do they think they will be blessed from touching him?

I do not know why people want to touch him.  What I do know is that he is the successor to Peter and he is unlike any Pope to come before him.  He is a man that so many look up to and admire.  If anyone wanted to just touch the Pope I would love to hear why.

2. So is he another Jesus?

No, there will never be another Jesus but he is truly trying to live the way Jesus wants us to live.  He was given the opportunity to dine with politicians and instead chose to dine with the homeless.  He shows Catholics and non-Catholics the statement ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ in action.

Those of us who are religious know how we are supposed to behave and what we are supposed to do.  However, life and the temptations of life get in the way more times than not.  Pope Francis shows us all how we can do even a little of what Jesus would want us to do.

3. Why is this Pope so special to so many?

In the Catholic Church the Pope is at the top.  He has the nicest everything!  Yet, Pope Francis turns it down.  He sleeps in a small room, rides in a regular car.  He is about having less than more.  He shows us that he truly cares about those that many of us tend to not see or turn away from, the homeless, the imprisoned, and the sick.  He is truly living his faith and beliefs.

When the Pope was here in America he did not go around telling everyone they should become Catholic or that the Catholic faith was the best religion there is.  No he did none of this.  He just led by example.  I know for myself I want to try and follow in his example.

He was given the opportunity to have the inside of his airplane changed around for him on his way back to Rome with a bed or whatever he wanted.  He simply asked to be treated as everyone else and to sit in a seat like everyone else.  Could you do that?  Could you give up luxury if given the choice for the ‘normal’?  I truly don’t know if I could.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the recent visit of Pope Francis.

 

copyright 2015 Sheila M Scarpulla.  All rights reserved.  No reproduction without written consent

inspiration, prayers, religion

Pope Francis has Arrived

papal visit

I can’t contain my excitement.  He is here!  Pope Francis is here!  Why is this such a big deal?  He is a man who is following exactly what Jesus asked of us.  All of us, Catholic and non-Catholic, should follow his example.  I am left speechless when I think of my admiration for him.  I thank God that we have been blessed to have him lead the Catholic Church.  I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since I saw him up close.

What better prayer to be said for Pope Francis than The Prayer of Saint Francis.  I changed the words me and I to him and he.

Lord, make him an instrument of thy peace.  Where there is hatred, let him sow love; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; Where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that he may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Please be by his side and guide him in his words.  Please keep him safe from harm and healthy.  Let your will be done Lord.

I would love to hear how he has touched your life.

 

copyright 2015 Sheila M Scarpulla.  All rights reserved.  No reproduction without written consent.