The Little House of

This morning as I write this, even though it's gray outside, I still feel a joy at the bottom of my heart to be here.  I am full of gratitude that God has blessed me with such a place, such a haven of peace, my home.  God's glory revealed every day, to me and through me.  It's too bad I can't live here forever.  

It's been three and a half years.  It's a modest place; a little Cape Cod. But for a suburban community, it has a little bit of land (about a quarter acre).  And across the street, the river flows, so they will never build there.  When I look out the window, all I see are trees.  

I knew this was the place for me the moment I walked in the back yard and looked beyond the covered deck to see the statue of the Blessed Mother.  And with God's blessing, my bid was accepted and it became mine.   

The former owners lived here for sixty years.  Sophie, her husband, and two sons.  I feel Sophie's presence here.  I feel her watching over me, as if I'm her protege, the only other woman to ever live here in this house.  I sensed her delight that first spring, as the perennials they planted popped up; different flowers each week; daffodils and tulips brought unexpected splashes of colors after a drab winter.  The lush magnolia tree.  The hydrangeas, azaleas and lilac bushes.  I wanted a dogwood but I couldn't afford it.  I'm partial to the pink dogwoods, which I had at my two previous homes.  They remind me of my dad, whose front yard in Quitman was covered in white dogwoods.  Dad was an avid gardener.  I remember growing up, he planted so many trees.  And then he started gardening, and our one acre seemed to shrink as the vegetable garden grew larger and larger each year.  What a blessing it was for him to retire in Quitman!  God's country, he called it.  With four and a half acres, it was like heaven on earth for him.  

This morning I'm reminded of that first spring.  For the past several days I've been watching the pink flowers open up on the dogwood out front.  But that first spring, I didn't realize till the bare trunks blossomed that I did have a dogwood, and it stands over twenty feet tall!  I could just picture my daddy smiling down at me.  

How can you not see God in the beauty of nature?  I begin every morning with prayer, sitting in the living room in my "prayer spot".  Then one day as I was praying the Rosary, I looked up, and the cross appeared in the woods across the street.  And it's been there ever since!  What a gift to have a nature-made cross to pray before every single day!  

The Blessed Mother came to me again.  This time, with rays of light pouring out of her Immaculate Heart.  It reminds me of the second Joyful Mystery - the Visitation.  "How is it that the Mother of my Lord should come to me?"  

I wanted a name for my home, my haven; this place where I feel the presence of God constantly.  Then I discovered St. Luigi Guanella, founder of an orphanage and nursing home which he named the Little House of Divine Providence.  "That's it!" I thought to myself.  "That's the name I've been searching for!"  It's perfect, because somehow God has always provided.  Looking back at His providence amazes me.  All the credit and all the glory goes to God!  

I have been transcribing the journals of a holy woman of faith.  She wrote as if Jesus was speaking to her directly.  One day, this is what I read:  

"My child - be patient with yourself and others - do not try to accomplish too many things - enjoy fellowship and camaraderie with others - witness to My miracles - leave room and space to grow and be nourished -do not be anxious about anything - place all concerns and troubles in My hands - remember this house is My gift to you - I will see to it that it is kept so as to glorify My name - be patient - all things will come together.

I was filled with such hope.  My worries melted away.  I continued to trust in God that all would go well and that He will provide.  But as time goes on, it is becoming increasingly more difficult.  "How are you going to pull it off this time, Lord?" I would jokingly ask.  When I first moved here, I had a plan A and a Plan B and a Plan C.  God laughs at my plans.  

Sometimes you think you're on top of the world and then, life knocks you down.  I feel like I could stay here forever.  But alas, God has other plans...  

A while back, I felt a calling to raise awareness about mental disorders.  It's taken two years to finally get started and Fresh Ingredients is beginning to take shape.  I realize now that the two years was well spent.  Just because God puts a dream in your heart doesn't mean it has to happen today.  He will prepare you, He will put you in the right place at the right time, He will put all the ducks in a row.  And when you focus on God, give Him all your plans to do with as He will, and commit to doing everything for the glory of God, you will see your plans fulfilled.

"For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope." (Jeremiah 29:11)  

By the end of 2015, it became more and more apparent that I have to move on from this Little House of Divine Providence.  At first I didn't want to believe it was true.  Then I put it on the back burner, to take care of other commitments and obligations.  This past Lent has been an incredible journey for me.  I focused on my service work, and instead of worrying (which doesn't work and only makes you feel bad) I decided to focus on today.   

"Your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself." (Matthew 6:32-34)  

This week, I will shift gears and focus on selling my Little House.  But it's tearing me apart.  Last night, I cried, and I begged the Lord to let me stay here. Father, take this cup from me... yet, not my will, but yours be done...  

Today as I was praying the Divine Mercy chaplet, the theme was mercy to those who glorify God (7th Day). This gives me hope... 

"For Jesus is our Hope; through His merciful Heart as through an open gate, we pass through to Heaven. Amen." (St. Faustina's Diary, 1570) 

I have to give up the one earthly thing that is most important to me. It's the only thing I felt was truly mine.  But I must be obedient to the call of God.  This house was a gift of mercy.  I will always treasure the memories of my time here.  But it's not my permanent home.  God meant it as a haven during a transitional period in my life.  But it's not the end of my life, and it's not for eternity.  It has been a slice of heaven on earth.
But now there is work to be done, for His kingdom and for His glory.  

The first Joyful Mystery - Mary asked the angel, "How can this be?" The angel replied, "Nothing will be impossible with God". (Luke 1:34, 37)  

I can't do it in my own, but "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". (Philippians 4:13) 

As I'm praying this morning, I look out the window and I see the dogwood petals dancing in the wind.  Someone else may have missed the cross that the petals formed.  But I see it.  And I begin to pray. Oh God, I'm so thankful for this new day, thankful even for the gray skies and the rain.  

And now, as I finalize this article, I just discovered that Saint Luigi Guanella was ordained on May 26, 1866.  This is my dad's birthday... Daddy, I know, you're still smiling down on me.

And I now realize that God's country is wherever you are, as long as you let Him in.