Ever Present Challenge

Best selling author Matthew Kelly calls it, “Becoming the best version of yourself.” Former First Lady Melania Trump simply says, “Be Best.”

The question for us, of course, is why is it so difficult for us to become the best version of our self or simply “Be Best”? I’ve been pondering that question for some time. I’m not sure there is a single answer, but part of the solution, I believe, lies somewhere in the following.

Megan McKenna, internationally known author, theologian, and storyteller, in her book Parables, tells the story of a king whose greatest treasure was a most beautiful and perfect diamond that had been in his family for generations. To tell the truth, it was the only thing his kingdom was known or famous for. People came from far and wide to admire the perfect diamond. One day, however, despite the diamond being carefully guarded, a crack appeared. One by one the best jewelers of the kingdom examined the diamond and relayed the sad news to their king that it was beyond repair. The king was devastated.

One day an old man, who claimed to be a jeweler, asked to see the diamond and claimed he could fix it! The king, to say the least, was not in a believing mood, but what was he to do. Not willing to let go of the diamond, he had one of the rooms of the palace set up as a jeweler shop.

A week later, the old man appeared from the room and presented the diamond to the king. The king was totally astonished. The stone was utterly transformed and truly magnificent. It was even more beautiful and more perfect than before.

The jeweler had used the crack that ran through the middle of the stone as a stem and then with his tools, carved an intricate full-blown rose, leaves, and thorns into the diamond. It was truly exquisite. The king was over joyed, and wishing to compensate the jeweler for his work said, “you took something beautiful and perfect and improved upon it.” But the old man refused compensation and corrected the king saying, “I did not do that at all. What I did, was take something flawed and cracked at the heart and turn it into something beautiful.”

Like the diamond, through sin, we have become flawed and cracked. Our King, however, knows us, His subjects, and sends us His son, the perfect jeweler, to heal us and restore us to new life offering us a share in his own sublime and perfect divine life. But unlike the diamond, we can refuse to undergo the surgery of the Cross, the perfect tool of restoration. So often we are like people who want to be cured, provided there is no pain, so too we wish to be “The Best” provided we can have it without change, without leaving our comfort zone. And therein lies the challenge and also our solution.

Msgr. Hugh M. Marren, Pastor

http://www.fullyaliveoutreach.com

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Pete the Pelican

After scoping out the Dunedin Downtown Market on Saturday, I strolled downtown towards the Marina. I was drawn to the pier as I watched people fishing, and sailboats and tour boats coming and going.

A couple of brown pelicans in hot pursuit of breakfast caught my attention and I watched one in particular successfully capture and swallow 10 whole fish. He never came up empty, not once! The Pelican would casually ride the waves, only to spot a nearby fish below and then suddenly dive on them. Spectacular to watch, the brown pelican plunges headlong into the water in pursuit of fish, and then coming to the surface with the fish in his bill, he tilts his bill down to drain water out of pouch and then tosses his head back to swallow the fish.

Simply amazing to watch, especially considering it sometimes takes fisherman all day to catch only one or two fish!

Upon a quick google search, I discovered that as recently as the early 1970s, the Brown Pelican was seriously endangered. The abundance of the Brown Pelicans we see today in the United States is a success story for conservationists who succeeded in halting the use of DDT and other persistent pesticides.

This lovely photo of two brown pelicans was taken at the Downtown Dunedin Pier by Jazzersten.

http://www.fullyaliveoutreach.com

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We’re Never Alone

Even at the very beginning, God said, “It is not good for man to be alone” (Gen. 2:18). But situations in life leave us separated from others. Most of us don’t like being alone for extended periods of time. And sometimes we simply feel lonely, even when we live with a family member or friend. But whatever our situation may be, if we are a believer, we’re never alone.

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My Favorite Essential Oils

I am constantly being asked what my favorite essential oils are. You would think there was a quick and easy answer to this question, but it depends on so much … the season, the condition, and the timing! We all have health-related issues at some time or another, and I have found an essential oil for just about everything that concerns or ails me, and I continue to be amazed at all the new uses I discover for them.

No matter whether we are looking to naturally support … healthy skin, sleep cycles, overall immunity, or hormonal balance, there is an Essence Oil for EVERY single health concern. Likewise, I have accumulated quite a collection. Always looking for the best price, I prefer more economical 4 oz bottles, but 1 oz bottles are readily available as well.

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The Perfect Messenger

I tried to hold back my tears, but it was like trying to hold back the ocean. I would hear others say… “She sits in the chapel and cries… What a tender heart!” If they only knew. The loss of my firstborn, a love that had captured my heart and given me something greater than my own life to live for, was gone. And my heart was filled with deep despair and disbelief. Although I felt as if my candle flame had been temporarily snuffed out, I soldiered on. The trauma of losing my beloved first born led me into a closer relationship with Jesus, and a deeper dependence on this eternal connection. I started a new season of life with hopeful anticipation of what was to come …

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Happy New Year!

To begin anew, to start over, is something we all look forward to January 1, but I have a feeling most of us are looking forward to it this year more than ever! I personally, am beyond excited to turn this particular page on the journey we call life as I have made the decision to downsize from our family home of more than 20 years.

I have prayed, reflected, and journaled about this for more than a year and feel confident it is the right time for this new chapter in my life. Even as I write this blog, my home is being cleaned, painted, and primed to put on the market. This is not an easy decision or one taken lightly, but I have complete trust and confidence in the Lord.

I don’t have definitive plans, but I trust that the Lord is going to pour grace after grace into this new chapter as I seek his will and not mine. When given the chance, he will light the way, leaving me free from stress or worry. And with the proper amount of detachment and preparation I can begin the search for the new place I shall call home, leaving the timing in his hands.

I can’t wait to see what he does in my life. His fresh grace is at our fingertips, and we simply have to respond with a yes to receive what he has in store … love and mercy and new life in my case!

This is one of those bigger, life changing decisions, but for all of you who are contemplating any change, whether it be great or small, I wish you great happiness and good health! Happy New Year!

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Is It Too Soon To Talk About Detoxing?

For those of you who didn’t overeat or over drink yesterday, kudos to you! For those of us who did, keep reading! With all the restrictions in life, work, and play during 2020, the one thing that didn’t slow down for many of us was our appetite for food and drink. I’m going to start this blog by suggesting a drink detox and then follow up with an easy soup recipe for restoring a healthy balance in our gut, digestion, and metabolism.

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You Are In A Perfect Position To Pray

As we give thanksgiving on this national holiday for all that we have been blessed with … including life, family, and a country founded under God, “there can be little doubt that the world we live in today is very different from ancient times. Having said that, it can be quite fascinating to hear and read stories of times gone by and learn from them for our own well-being. I remember hearing a story once about a king who married four wives. Yes, we have heard of the six wives of Henry VIII and the six wives of Herod the Great, but this king apparently had only four wives.

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What Are Your Favorite Essential Oils?

What are the essential oils you can’t live without? In the past decade more and more people have turned to natural remedies in their approach to healthcare in an effort to be free of the worries of unwanted side and long-term effects of pharmaceutical drugs. Essential oils offer a healthy alternative for inflammation and pain relief, boosting the immune system, preventing and maintaining certain illnesses, enhancing relaxation and sleep, and purifying the air around us to name a few.

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Did You Know The Smith House Opened in 1899?

If you ever find yourself hungry and in the quiet Appalachian town of Dahlonega, Georgia, then we suggest spending some time at The Smith House. Open since 1899, this historic inn also has a restaurant tucked away inside that serves up traditional southern fare. Featuring family-style meals in true Southern fashion, enjoy a feast at The Smith House in Georgia.

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