Love your enemies?

Today, beyond reconciling with our brother, Jesus tells us we must love our enemies, “But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you” Mt 5:44.

Now, I presume, we’ve all heard this before. It is one of the tenants of our Christian faith. Also in Matthew, Jesus tells us, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Mt 22 37-39. We love ourselves because it is in the image and glory of God that we are made. Even in our fallen nature, we are more like God than even the angels. We are made in his image and we are made for glory.

Loving ourselves, for most of us, is not easy. So, imagine loving your enemies. Really loving your enemy. We sin, we fail, we beat ourselves up and hopefully we seek reconciliation with the Lord in the Sacrament of Penance. And, this is a continuous loop throughout our lives. Some fall harder and many get lost. But they began just as we did, “fearfully and wonderfully made” in the image of God.

So, we love our enemies by seeing ourselves in them. “But, by the grace of God, there go I…”. Or, something like that! Better yet, we seek the face of Christ in those who persecute us, those who sin against us and seek to destroy our joy. How do you love the child molester, the gun wielding derelict who kills our children or the drug addict who steals for his “fix”? You see them as children of God, that baby, wonderfully made in the image of God. The child that was forgotten, neglected and beaten down somehow. We pray for their conversion and we love the Christ in them like Christ loves us (and them!) and awaits our conversion and reconciliation with Him. We Love. We Hope. And, we have FAITH.



lent/ past and past participle of lend.
I was wondering why we call Lent, lent.  I am sure the word lent derives from some latin word that has nothing to do with why we spend 40 days in prayer, almsgiving and fasting.  Maybe I’ll google it.
But for now, I’ll ponder.  We pray for unity with the Lord.  For strength, peace and understanding of our purpose.  We give out of charity, Proverbs 19:17, “Whoever cares for the poor lends to the Lord, who will pay back the sum in full”.  We fast to empty ourselves of things that weigh us down.  Food, yes, but maybe more importantly, time and things that keep us focused on ourselves instead of open and available to those around us.  We must empty ourselves to make room for the Holy Spirit, who will do great things in our midst.
lend/ grant to (someone) the use of (something) on the understanding that it shall be returned.
Lent leads us to the Triduum, the Passion, Death and Resurrection of our Lord.  Jesus gave us His life to save us from sin.  Did he lend us the LOVE required to make such a sacrifice in order that we would give it back?  Do we practice lent to remind us of that love which is ours only to give away?
How fitting, then, that Lent begins today, Ash Wednesday, February 14, Valentines Day!  Our purpose is to know, LOVE and serve the Lord.  We do that by loving others.  All You Need Is Love.

Marathon, check!

Last Sunday I ran the Pensacola Marathon.  I ran with the National LIFE Runners team.  I started a Pensacola chapter several years ago and have had the goal to run my “last” marathon when I learned that the LIFE Runners had chosen Pensacola for their 2017 Marathon Race to End Abortion!

I’ve been an avid runner for many years. I’ve run a few marathons in the past but it had been 15 years!  I prepared well.  I was diligent about getting my miles in every week, getting up at the crack of dawn to get my run in before work.  I slowed wayyyyy down as suggested by my brother to keep my heart rate in the desired zone for endurance training.  I ate well, got enough rest (well, sometime’s 🙂 and stretched before and after (never!)   That’s what did me in!  I’ve always been too much in a hurry to get on with my day that I don’t stretch properly.  I believe that is what contributed to the extreme pain I ran with for 75% of the race. I felt as if my legs would just snap in two from about mile 7 to the finish line.  But, I persevered, prayed, offered it up and finally sprinted across the finish line 4 hours and 46 minutes later.  My baby was waiting for me with the LIFE Runners flag along with other dear friends and family who supported me that day.  Very blessed!  I said, “I’ll never do that again!!”. But, a week later, the pain is gone and, kind of like child birth, you recall the triumph and leave the pain behind!

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All in Christ; for PROLIFE!


Say my name, say my name…

Some of you may remember that song, Destiny’s Child, Say My Name. I like to hear my name, especially when said by certain people. My Dad said my name just a couple of times in the last 10 years before he passed. Once, just a few months before his death. He had Alzheimers and cognitive speech was one of the first things to go. But one day, out of the blue, he looked at me and said, “Debbie”. I savored that moment. For a split second I saw recognition in his beautiful blue eyes. Maybe it was God?

That’s actually what got me thinking about names this morning as I stepped into a hot bath and said, “Thank you Jesus!”. I say that every time I step into a hot bath. Some folks don’t have hot water. Some folks don’t have bath tubs! I use that phrase regularly. Sometimes not really thinking about it, out of habit. But it always brings me back, makes me halt for a second. Sometimes I say it when I’m angry so I can remember what to be grateful for.

“Thank you Jesus” is a form of ejaculatory prayer. Yes, ejaculatory. It means exclamatory, a sudden cry or remark. Or, aspiration, the action of pronouncing a sound with an exhalation of breath or aspire, reach for something greater… Ejaculatory prayer can remind us to remain in the presence of God, “pray without ceasing” Thessalonians 5:17.

There are many forms of ejaculatory prayer, most involve crying out to the Lord by name,

Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me, a poor sinner.

My God, I believe, I adore, I trust and love thee…

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I love you!

Come, Holy Spirit!

Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell..

We like to hear our name for many reasons. It’s probably the first thing we learn to respond to. It is who we are. It validates our existence. It gives us worth. We are present, recognized. I bet God likes to hear his name for many of the same reasons, we are acknowledging His existence, His presence in our life.

I like to hear my name but I’m not as good at remembering other people’s names. I am going to work on that. It will help me to recognize their value. Help me to see them as individuals and see their worth. Thank you Jesus!


The Skinny on FAT!

5558F810-E46E-4EAE-ABF9-D0B44D89E32DAbout a year ago, I was not feeing well!  I was resisting menopause, not by choice but it seemed my body would just not cooperate in letting it happen.  I won’t go into detail but this involved lots of blood and ovarian cysts.  Sorry! 😦  Other issues I have struggled with began to exacerbate and I felt just awful.

I have been an athlete for most of my life. I am 53 years old, I began running as a 16 year old chubby girl trying to lose weight and from there became an endorphin addicted jock.  I was a lifeguard in high school and got my 100 mile patch.  I ran local races for many years, eventually winning some in my age group in my 30’s, most women’s fastest years by the way.  I played with triathlons but DO NOT enjoy swimming in the ocean.  Sharks. Now, I have a great bike though and I do enjoy biking.  I’m currently training for a marathon that will happen in 3 weeks!  I hope to never run more than 4 miles again!  Famous last words…  I’ve been a certified aerobics instructor, I LOVE spinning and in general, I love to move and sweat.  I have 5 children and weighed right around 185 lbs at each birth. I’m barely 5’3″ so that’s a lot of weight.  My point in telling you all of this is that I have been in really great shape for most of my life BUT I always felt fat!  I would comment after losing baby weight 5 times that I recognize the weight loss and I’m obviously smaller but I was just a “smaller fat person”.

I always had a gut, a big belly.  I had a “voluptuous” figure, puffy, chubby, thick; all those not so flattering words we use.  I also ALWAYS had a headache.  I struggled with blood sugar issues.   As a young nurse working night shift, it would bottom out in the middle of the night, after coffee and sweets to stay alert, and be elevated after fasting in the morning. I also struggled with depression.  It was definitely cyclical and I was eventually diagnosed with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder; PMS on crack!  I was prescribed several antidepressants that left me feeling like a buzz box about to explode.  I had other symptoms that went unrecognized as it was just “the way I was”.  I knew nothing different.  I had been to physicians throughout my life in regards to the headaches because they were sometimes severe but at the least an ever present annoyance.  I was put on every allergy medicine out there to no avail.  I had constant post nasal drip and with every brain scan, I had 3, was put on 30 day antibiotics because my sinuses had thick mucous coating throughout.  We were treating the symptoms.

Last September 2016 I went to see a specialist.  A holistic physician whose focus was not on treating the symptoms but

“optimizing physiology:  focusing on nutrition, hormonal health, fitness, detoxification and mind and nervous system enhancement.”                                                                                                   Dr Jorge Pelaez

First, he told me I was gluten intolerant.  Without even testing me he could tell me that by reading my history, as above!  He challenged me to eliminate wheat from my diet.  Within 3 weeks my headaches were gone!  We did a battery of lab tests.  I was in adrenal fatigue, can you say stress?! Yes, had lots of that in my life.  I needed more Vitamin D, had very low thyroid and my hormones were out of wack! My fasting blood sugar was high and my HbA1c was high, I was borderline diabetic! He prescribed the supplements and medications I needed.  I also went on a 3 week detox and after that he recommended a diet of mostly meat, fish, nuts and seeds and vegetables. Dairy was scarce except for Kefir and some cheeses AND he finally recommended that I eliminate all gluten from my diet, to include corn and rice.  I was allowed some black rice and quinoa.  I felt 1000% better.  I had no headaches, more energy, I was happy!  I also lost 8 pounds and didn’t feel bloated or fat.  My belly was diminishing!

Sidenote: I stopped bleaching my hair, no more chemicals!

One thing that didn’t get better was my blood sugar.  I continued to have higher than optimal fasting blood sugars and HgA1c was still high at 5.9.  My doctor recommended a ketogenic diet. A ketogenic diet puts you in ketosis which allows for fat burning instead of glucose.  It also stabilizes blood sugar and reduces food cravings.  It wasn’t a difficult transition for me as I had cut most obvious carbs out of my diet, bread, rice, crackers and corn.  But on the Keto diet you also eliminate most fruits and many vegetables even.  The diet consists of mostly meat, BACON, nuts, seeds, eggs, cheese and lots of fat!  I still struggle with getting enough fat in.  Because many of the foods we consider high fat are also high protein, you really need to smother things in butter, olive oil, sour cream etc… to get the fat calories.  “Bulletproof coffee” is a good jumpstart, but NOT on an empty stomach!  This is the recipe I use.

I have been trying the Keto diet for several months now.  I say trying because I really do struggle with getting all the fat in.  I have lost another 8 pounds for a total of 16 when weight loss was never a goal!  I went from a size 4 (good) to a size 0 (FANTASTIC). I feel so good in my body.  For the first time in my life I don’t “feel FAT”.


Give to Caesar, what?


I was asked to present a reflection of this Sunday’s Gospel reading (Matthew 22:15-21) this evening.  I really wasn’t sure where to start.  I did get that Christ wasn’t advocating we live our lives in two separate realities, our religious life and our public life.  But, I wasn’t sure of His true message.  I watched‘s, Opening the Word, and this is my take ( I am opening with a couple of questions asked on the site):

When you read the Gospel account of when the Pharisees confront Jesus about the lawfulness of the census tax, how do you feel about his answer, “Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God,” are you surprised? Think about your life.  Are you giving to Caesar what is Caesar’s? What in your life belongs to God? Are you giving that to God?

Many folks misunderstand what Jesus is actually saying here.  Is he advocating separation of church and state?  No!  Our lives, our livelihoods, everything we own and everything we have belongs to God.

Jesus said to him, “If  you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to [the] poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Matt 19:21

That doesn’t mean, however, that we are called to literally do that.  Some, maybe.   But, what it does mean is that we are called to follow Christ and do that in every aspect of our lives.  We are not OF this world but we are IN it.  We should give back to and work within our communities to create places where we are free to live our lives for Jesus!  We are responsible for living in this world and bringing Jesus with us; as Disciples, students of the Word and Apostles, messengers of it.

Do we give to God what is God’s or do we leave it all for Sunday?  For years I was barely more than an “Easter and Christmas Catholic”.  I went to Mass most Sundays, probably skipped most Holy Days.  I was a Sunday Catholic, a Sunday Christian.   I was a good person, I am nurse, I helped many people, loved my job, paid my taxes, gave to charity…  But I didn’t live my life for Christ.  God didn’t call us to be “good people”.  God called us to,

“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations.” Matthew 28:19

It’s not always a pretty job, but we gotta do it!  Our greatest commandment is, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ Then,  “to Love your neighbor as yourself!”  If we truly love someone and we are called to love everyone, yes, even our enemies, then we will love them with the love of Christ.  We will live our lives as a testament to all that is good and bring that to our communities.  Give to Caesar what is Caesars?  Give to Caesar what is yours!


When You Love Someone Too Much to Lie to Them

This is excellent! Good job🙏🏼

The Natural Catholic Mom


To speak the truth is a bold and sometimes scary act in our increasingly disordered world. The natural law has been thrown out the window by most of society. We are told to lie to others and ourselves, affirming that the ensuing chaos is fine and normal.

Someone I love very much is choosing to live a life of disorder and sin. No, I’m not “judging” this by my own standards… it is objectively so because God says so. Society and even some people close to me say that I must go along with it to love this person. But lying to someone isn’t loving them.

To truly love someone is to want them to go to Heaven; it is to want what is best for their souls. And very often, thanks to our fallen human nature, what a person is naturally inclined to isn’t good for them.

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Catholic, Mom

Our Lady of Fatima, Pray for Us!

Well, today I really am sick, headache, sore throat, aches and pains. I wasn’t going to post again. I don’t want to be pushy… But as I was perusing Facebook and searching blogs I might be interested in, I was reminded that today is the 100th Anniversary of the final Marian apparition to the small peasant children in Fatima, Portugal, October 13, 1917. It’s also Friday the 13th. Both of those days have significance in my life.

I have always had a deep devotion to Our Blessed Mother. Even when I am ashamed, I know she will gaze at me with love, “turn then, most gracious advocate thine eyes of mercy towards us…”. That line from our prayer, Hail Holy Queen, has always given me great comfort. Immediately. I should pray it more often!

I had my first child on May 13, 1994, Melanie Encarnacion. I didn’t realize it at the time but that day, May 13, is the Memorial of Our Lady of Fatima. May 13 being the day over 100 years ago that Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco saw Our Lady for the first time. It was also Friday the 13th. So from then on my most “luckiest” or blessed day.

Today I thank God for my baby girl. I thank Him for the gift of His Blessed Mother. And, I thank Him for a day in bed!


Collard Greens, hmmmm!

Nothing like the present! I’ve had a leisurely day. I was “sick” and stayed home from work. I really was, actually! I’m tired and have the sniffles. My body aches (but I did do a wicked Body Pump class at the Y 2 days ago so it could be that). But, work has been very stressful and I could be emotionally exhausted as well, a perfectly legitimate excuse for a sick day.

I said I love to cook! I do. I said I would share recipes… ummmmm😳 I don’t like recipes. I hate to follow directions and that’s what a recipe is. Following directions. But, I love to look up recipes… I love to see what kind of ingredients they use, approximately how much of it they use and get an idea of how long to cook it.

While grocery shopping last weekend, 5 days ago, I bought a huge bag of fresh collard greens. I’ve never cooked collard greens, but I do like them! I recently had a wrap wrapped in a collard leaf, chicken salad. It was awesome and I can’t have bread or tortillas, so a win for me! But you can’t buy just one ‘collard green’. I thought I’d have some wraps, I haven’t. Soooo, I didn’t want to waste this bag of collards and I knew I had to cook them. I googled Instant Pot Collards and found a recipe, something like Dad Cooks Collards… there were onions, bacon, EVOO (extra virgin olive oil). I have all of those ingredients so the cooking commenced.I washed them well. They were kind of sandy and some were wilting. 5 days! I let them drain in the huge colander.I chopped an onion, medium sizish, 4 pieces of bacon and EVOO, a good pour.I added 2 stalks of celery because I had so much. This sautéed for approximately 10 minutes. Smelled weird at first, my 13 year old literally gagged and grumbled, “Why do you have to eat that crap, Mama!” It was the celery! By the time the bacon was crispy and the onions were translucent, it smelled like hog heaven🐷

I added salt and pepper. Only use Himalayan pink salt per my physician, that’s another blog post. Then I added a ‘pour’ of the red blend Cupcake wine I was drinking to loosen the yummy burnt crud off the bottom of the pan! Yum! Then I added about a cup of organic chicken broth ( I wanted beef but didn’t have any) and the Collards to the Instant Pot. I set it on high pressure for 20 minutes, because that’s what the recipe said😏. Delish!!! I’m going to add some Sriracha, yum! Bon appetit!

Catholic, Mom, Uncategorized


I am a Catholic.  I am a Mom.  A wife, daughter, sister, friend, lover…  Not always in that order.

At this time I am participating as a team member for an ACTS Retreat.  I was asked to give a testimony or speech on theology, the ‘T’ in the acronym ACTS.  When giving the practice talk for this said testimony I received some very unexpected feedback, “you’re a great story teller”, “very compelling”, “you should write”…  I never fancied myself a writer.  I used to LOVE to read.  I don’t really have the time or patience for that anymore.  I hate grammar, so please no corrections there!  But, I do love a good story.  I’ve fabricated many in my mind.  I’m a dreamer.  I’m obsessed with ‘what could’ve been’, ‘if only’ and ‘maybe someday’.

I think I’m interesting :).  I am very passionate about a lot of things; my faith, my children, my health, my life in general!  Egotist much?  I am artistic but my career (if you can call it that) was in nursing.  I don’t particularly like science or biology.  I went into it for the love!  I love taking care of others and I want to be taken care of.  What I enjoy doing is thinking (imagining, learning, figuring things out), creating (cooking,  decorating, hair, clothes, style, babies…), moving (running, biking, yard work, exercise class) and sometimes I like to sleep.

I am fascinated with social media.  I love Facebook although we’ve had our ups and downs!  I’m intrigued with the idea of communicating with strangers, the mystery of that, so many things could happen!  I’ve played with a couple of blogs but never got very far.  I’ve enjoyed reading blogs about things I enjoy, as listed above.  Especially if there are pictures.  I really like Pinterest, too!  Whenever I’m looking for a new ‘do’ or have an outfit idea, recipes, craft idea, you name it, Pinterest always comes through for me!  I have neglected my own boards, though…  I’ll get on that!

So, I’m going to give it shot!  I’ll write about myself, my life, my faith, my loves…  it may be real life or fantasy.  Or, a combination of the two.  Maybe I’ll tell.  Maybe I won’t.  I’ll tell stories, share recipes, crafts and probably add a bunch of pictures.  So, this isn’t a Catholic Blog.  Maybe I’ll become a blogger who is Catholic.  And being Catholic has been the most important thing in my life. It’s something I keep going back to.  I haven’t always been a good Catholic.  I am still working on that!  It’s a journey.  It is life.

I love the semi colon by the way.  I don’t really know how to use it.  In fact, I’ve deleted it several times in this post alone.  But I refuse to censor my myself; I’ll use emoji’s(not on my phone now so…),…’s, ;’sand a host of other grammatically incorrect and childish tactics to make my point or just for fun.  Who does Bitmoji?  How fun is that!?