Sorry, folks, but I've got to stop fooling myself. This blog endeavor is about over. For awhile it was nice to get my thoughts together on certain things and the responses I received were for the most part heartening. I laughed and learned and enjoyed all the blogs I read. You are friends to me and I will always remember you in my heart.
But life is too full for me to be spending lots of time on the Internet. And to be a good blogger, you ought to do your homework and offer something of value to your readers (I felt). But too much of my study was becoming "how to save a lot of money so the disaster won't affect you." And in the end I decided this was not the focus I wanted. I didn't want my focus to be too much on money and on the imminent [insert pet apocalyptic fear here], and not on God and my kids and making the best quality of life for my family.
I don't know what the turning point was. But reading Bud Macfarlane's novel Pierced by a Sword (available free from Catholicity.com) was a watershed for me. Here it was, all my worst fears--played out in a Midwest setting peopled with thoroughly Catholic characters. I lived my worst fears through that book, and I survived. I learned that what matters when the stuffin' hits the fan is not how much money you saved or how much food you hoarded, but how much you loved your family, and how much you loved and served God. And death is not the worst thing that can happen to us.
I love writing, and people have told me that I'm a good writer...but I'm still discerning how this gift of mine is to be used. I gave it to God with this blog, but maybe He's telling me it's time to shut it down and use it for something else. (and I will be trying to stay off the Internet for everything except e-mail, and the occasional urgent inquiry, so comments may not be responded to).
Sometimes you have to shut out the world, as much as you can, and just listen. I have been quiet enough to hear some things that seemed like maybe God was trying to tell me something. I'll share them with you:
1. Take every opportunity to empty yourself.
2. Fear sin more than any intruder.
3. You need never fear to place yourself entirely in my hands. I will always give you what you need to accomplish my will.
There's more--a little mission, if you will. I don't believe God is "talking" to me, exactly, but occasionally I feel my eyes opened to some truth that seems spiritually profitable. Always I am guided by what I hear at Mass, by what I read as the constant teaching of the Church, and the virtues. If I am ever in doubt, I reject the thought as soon as I can, and content myself with just listening.
We all have jobs to do for God. Some may not be very glorious, or notable (by human standards), but they are just as important to Jesus. Even our suffering (especially our suffering) bears the most spiritual potential and deserves a far more extensive treatment than I've been able to offer here. So here's to it--and discernment of our destinies. Thanks everyone and I love you.