offering and occupy

“Occupy your mind with good thoughts,
or the enemy will fill them with bad ones.
Unoccupied, they cannot be.”

St. Thomas More

The Lord is inviting you to come and gaze into His eyes of mercy.
He’s offering you hope for a fresh start.
Oh, I pray that the eyes of your heart would be enlightened,
and that the darkness of shame would be chased away.
Shame keeps your eyes cast down.
But God is cupping your face in His hands and calling you to look up.

Lisa Brenninkmeyer
from her book Be Still: A Daily Devotional

Mercy and the peace-filled heart

Giving God the first minutes of your day will pay dividends later.
I promise you, He will multiply your time.
You’ll get more done and have a peaceful heart while doing it.

Lisa Brenninkmeyer
from her book Be Still: A Daily Devotional


(thistle / Julie Cook / 2021)

“Tell souls not to place within their own hearts obstacles to My mercy,
which so greatly wants to act within them.
My mercy works in all those hearts which open their doors to it.
Both the sinner and the righteous person have need of My mercy.
Conversion, as well as perseverance, is a grace of My mercy.
Let souls who are striving for perfection particularly adore My mercy,
because the abundance of graces which I grant them flows from My mercy.
I desire that these souls distinguish themselves by boundless trust
in My mercy. I myself will attend to the sanctification of such souls.
I will provide them with everything they will need to attain sanctity.
The graces of My mercy are drawn by means of one vessel only,
and that is-trust. The more a soul trusts, the more it will receive.
Souls that trust boundlessly are a great comfort to Me,
because I pour all the treasures of My graces into them.
I rejoice that they ask for much,
because it is My desire to give much, very much.
On the other hand, I am sad when souls ask for little,
when they narrow their hearts.”

Jesus to St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul p. 560
An Excerpt From
Divine Mercy in My Soul, p. 560

The journey…RUN!

My entire conversion was less of a journey to a foreign place,
and more of a discovery of my long-lost home.

Jennifer Fulwiler
from her book Something other than God


(ode to a white picket fence’s blooms /Julie Cook / 2021)

“But you, ‘a chosen generation’,
weak things of the world, who have forsaken all things,
so that you may follow the Lord, go after him, and confound the strong;
go after him, you beautiful feet,
and shine in the firmament so that the heavens may declare his glory…
Shine over the whole earth, and let the day,
brightened by the sun, utter unto day speech of wisdom,
and let the night, shining with the moon,
declare to the night the word of knowledge…
Run into every place,
O you holy fires, you beautiful fires!
You are the light of the world, and you are not put under a measure.
He to whom you have held fast has been exalted, and he has exalted you.
Run forth, and make it known to all nations.”

Saint Augustine, p.318-19
An Excerpt From
The Confessions of Saint Augustine

The Mayor and the storm

“There is peace even in the storm”
Vincent van Gogh


(the Mayor knows no fear at the park / Julie Cook / 2021)

The Mayor has stayed on for a few days following the Sheriff’s big birthday
celebration…so a trip to the park was in order.

Sadly, the weather has taken a turn for the nasty worst…
thunderstorms, flash floods and tornado warnings have been on tap for most of today.
and I fear much the same remains in the forecast for tomorrow as well.

Time to get creative with a three year old who is stuck inside during
bad weather!

Meanwhile, our back yard is now a raging river…
time to batten down the hatches!!


(back yard stormy weather / Julie Cook / 2021)


(back yard stormy weather / Julie Cook / 2021)


(the flood waters wash away the pine straw / Julie Cook / 2021)

Be strong and courageous.
Do not be afraid or terrified because of them,
for the Lord your God goes with you;
he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Deuteronomy 31:6

focus…

“There is nothing like suspense and anxiety for barricading
a human’s mind against the Enemy.
He wants men to be concerned with what they do;
our business is to keep them thinking about what will happen to them.”

C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters


(reputation today)

We live in a time without any sense of true focus.

Rather, our culture focuses on the rabbit holes and not the obvious.

Our leaders continue to cross their roles, their lines and thus, our lives.

May God have Mercy…

No one can see God without falling in love with Him,
and no one can meet a saint without meeting God in him or her.
That is the good news: that in a world dedicated to the will to power,
there is no power greater than that of sanctity;
and that in a world dedicated to the pursuit of selfish pleasure,
there is no pleasure greater than that of unselfish love of God and man.
No one can ignore or refute the joy of a saint.

Peter Kreeft
from his book How to Destroy Western Civilization

God alone suffices

“Let nothing disturb you, let nothing frighten you.
All things pass.
God does not change.
Patience achieves everything.
Whoever has God lacks nothing; God alone suffices.”

St. Teresa of Avila


(Eastern tiger swallowtail / Julie Cook / 2021)

“If you wish to explore the Holy Scripture,
and you overcome your laziness and apply yourself, thirsting for the knowledge,
then every good thing will be yours. You will fill your mind with the divine light.
Then, when you apply that light to the doctrines of the Church,
you will very easily recognize everything that is true and unadulterated,
and lay it up in the hidden treasures of your soul.”

St. Cyril of Alexandria, p. 167
An Excerpt From
A Year with the Church Fathers

extend love and forgiveness

God wants us to receive His mercy and, in turn,
be merciful to others through our actions, words, and prayers.
He wants us to extend love and forgiveness to others just as He extends
love and forgiveness to us.

Fr. Chris Alar, MIC
from his book Understanding Divine Mercy


(hidden creatures amongst the rosemary /Julie Cook / 2021)

Free me from evil passions and heal my heart of all disorderly affections,
that being healed and well purified in my interior,
I may become fit to love, courageous to suffer and constant to persevere.
Love is an excellent thing, a great good indeed,
which alone maketh light all that is burdened and makes all that which is bitter sweet and savory.
The love of Jesus is noble and generous;
it spurs us on to do great things and excites us to desire always that which is most perfect.”

Thomas á Kempis, p. 89
An Excerpt From
Imitation of Christ

“The kingdom of God is an upside-down kingdom…”

“The truth of the matter is that the whole world has already been turned
upside down by the work of Jesus Christ”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship


(Lady Banks roses / Julie Cook / 2021)

“[Saint] Paul understood that the suffering he was going through somehow allowed him
to share in Christ’s suffering for the world…
In his own life, there was a time when he asked the Lord three times to remove a
particular suffering from him (see 2 Corinthians 12:8).
The response he received from the Lord was not “Oh, my oversight.
That’s right, I took care of all that suffering.
You don’t have to do anything.”
No, God’s response was, “[Paul], my grace is sufficient for you,
for power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9)…
It is completely opposite of the way the world thinks…
What looked like the worst thing that ever happened on earth—Christ hanging on a cross,
bleeding to death—became the source of salvation for the entire world.
The point of weakness became the point of strength;
it was transformed into the power over death and Hell.
We have to get it through our heads that the kingdom of God is an upside-down kingdom
according to the world’s perspective.
Weakness confounds the wise.
The poor and obscure confound the rich and famous…
Whatever you are going through right now, remember that God has a plan for you.
He wants to be united to you so closely that it resembles a spousal relationship…
your suffering is not inconsequential; it is extremely valuable in the economy of God.”
Jeff Cavins, When You Suffer

An Excerpt From
When You Suffer

think and seek the things of God…

“O man, when the world hates you and is faithless toward you, think of your God,
how he was struck and spat upon.
You should not accuse your neighbor of guilt,
but pray to God that he be merciful to you both.”

St. Nicholas of Flue


(I think it’s called an Autumn cherry…despite it’s prolific blooms during early Spring / Julie Cook / 2021)

“This world is filled with many vulgar and dishonorable things that will claw and tear at your
Christian purity if you allow them to.
Don’t let them!
Seek instead the things of God.
He will purify you and free you from your slavery to profane and inconsequential things.”

Patrick Madrid, p.1
An Excerpt From
A Year with the Bible

who turns sorrow to joy?

“My prayer is that the good God may establish His absolute reign
in your heart and in the hearts of all.”

St. Julie Billiart


(the clouds above a still sea / Julie Cook / 2021)

“Jesus will turn your sorrow into joy.
One can only imagine the shock and bewilderment the Apostles felt when
the Lord told them he must go away.
Though they could not understand it at the time, his departure was for their benefit.
The same is true of the unexpected setbacks and tragedies we experience in this life . . .
When I consider the times when I have been confounded by events that seemed so contrary
to what I thought God wanted for me, I should be mindful that they were permitted
by the Lord’s inscrutable providence for my own good, as difficult as that might be to fathom.”

Patrick Madrid, p. 251
An Excerpt From
A Year with the Bible

How could one Julie not highlight another Julie??

Julie Billiart (12 July 1751 — 8 April 1816) was a French religious leader,
social worker, educator of poor children, and Catholic saint,
who founded and was the first Superior General of the Congregation of the
Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.
(Wikipedia)