Talking about faith, grief, writing, music, healing and forgiveness

Just a quickie – I had an extensive interview with Patrick Alog on his Music Showcase program on Archangel Radio and we covered a ton of stuff! He did a great job and I am grateful to be able to share about my books, the role of faith in my life, Louisa May Alcott and reading and writing, losing and gaining back my music, and the power of forgiveness.

You can listen here: http://www.archangelradio.com/catholic-music-showcase-featuring-the-music-of-susan-bailey/

And you can listen to the music from the album profiled (River of Grace The Soundtrack) here: http://www.susanbailey.org/books-and-music/river-of-grace-the-soundtrack/

Click to Tweet & Share: Talking about faith, grief, writing, music, healing and forgiveness on Archangel Radio http://tinyurl.com/hhrokz2

em space

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“Do you want to be healed?” is a tricky question.

father-steven-labaireI am pleased to present this guest post from
Father Steven LaBaire, pastor of Holy Family Parish in Worcester, MA.

Today’s gospel reading (John 5:1-16) at the Pool of Bethesda where Jesus heals the man who had been lame for over thirty years struck a familiar chord. In that reading, Jesus asks a most obvious question: “Do you want to be healed?” He sensed that the man having been ill for so long, was stuck in that mode.

pool-of-bethesda-949739-print
The Pool of Bethesda

I remember hearing that question in my head when I had my throat blessed two years ago on the Feast of St. Blaise--that blessing healed my singing voice. Actually my answer to the question at that point was “No!”

Why the heck not??

I no longer wanted the responsibility associated with being a singer. It sounds ridiculous even as I write this but leading the singing at mass each week had become a grind. That’s what happens when you do it too long without a break. It was time to step aside and I used my lack of singing voice to do that. I sure as heck didn’t want my voice to come back–it would take away my excuse!

cantering

Eventually I came to understand that it was perfectly okay to take time away. I have only just returned to singing in church but this time as a member of the choir, without the leadership responsibility.

Get that elephant off of me!

Then there was the feeling of being stuck when it came to my weight. I felt like I had an elephant sitting on top of me–loosing weight seemed like an impossibility.

elephant on chest

A rare hour spent in church in front of the monstrance changed everything. The grace I received from that time of prayer helped me to gently prod the elephant to move away. He did and I was able to embrace my diet (which is now a chosen lifestyle). I’ve lost 22 of the 27 pounds that I wish to lose. That elephant will not visit me again.

Praying at home

As I wrote in my spiritual journal, “Is My Day Your Day,”  Even though I felt the insistent call again and again to stop, be still and pray, I could not get myself to do it. Again, it was time spent in adoration that caused that elephant to move away as well.

prayer corner4 smaller

True healing

I was healed: my voice came back, I lost the weight, I’ve started praying in my corner each morning and each night.

Healing removes burdens, not just of the physical ailment or stubborn mindset, but of the guilt and attachment associated with those things.

Sometimes it is there for so long that it becomes your identity. It can be a excuse to avoid doing something that is difficult. It definitely requires a truthful assessment of yourself and that can be painful.

All of that was true. But in each case, I experienced transformation. SO worth it!

Not such a simple question is it: “Do you want to be healed?”

For aids to your Lenten journey, visit the Lenten Resources page for posts, podcasts, music and videos.

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Wonderful review of River of Grace!

InTheBookcaseA dear friend from my Louisa May Alcott is My Passion blog wrote a wonderful review of River of Grace! This is a really comprehensive review; if you’re wondering what this book is about, Tarissa (the reviewer) summed it up beautifully! Here’s a portion of it:

Susan Bailey shares about the trials and triumphs in her life in her new book River of Grace. She tells how God’s mercy has shown her a greater kind of essence, once she let herself glide along with His unending grace.

A running theme that you learn all throughout this book is how creativity and spirituality go together, hand in hand. Susan illustrates this time and again. Susan pauses to personalize the reading and ask you how you can create new life in your surroundings as you allow the river of grace to run through you. In each chapter, she takes time (and allows you to take time) to reflect and focus on your emotions, thoughts, and defining events in your own life. If you take a few moments to perform the suggested activities, and allow creativity to lead the way, you will be blessed with fresh insight and positivity.

For people struggling with grief, this book shows that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Freely, the author doles out the pain she encountered on the deaths of her parents, and how greatly her life changed under those circumstances. She then dispenses the successful tools and mental thought process behind obtaining victory over death. Triumph is available to anyone! This is not a story of how to get over grief fast — but how to deal with it and give your afflictions to the Almighty. You will get through your time of sorrow, and when the grief cycle has ran its course, you will become a more complete person.

You can read the rest of the review here. Be sure and treat yourself to the rest of her blog for reviews and other interesting posts.

Thank you Tarissa!

You can pick up your copy of River of Grace here.

00 twitter profile 400x400both books river firstJoin my Email List (special surprises just for you!)
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Keep up with news and free giveaways regarding Susan’s new books, River of Grace
and Louisa May Alcott: Iluminated by The Message!
Susan Bailey, Author, Speaker, Musician on Facebook and Twitter
Read Susan’s blog, Louisa May Alcott is My Passion

Taking a moment to just … be …

Last Sunday was a stressful day. It was one of many.

Sometimes life travels too fast. The plate becomes full to overflowing. Carrying a load of worry and frustration can become oppressive.

Time to off load my burden … time to take out the kayak. Continue reading “Taking a moment to just … be …”

Celebrating a second chance with singing!

You lose something precious, an essential part of yourself.

You grieve. And rail. You lament. And cry.

You tick down a long list of regrets, of missed (and botched) opportunities.

You think it’s all over.

And then, you get a second chance.

Designhuone.net Second Chance logo
Designhuone.net Second Chance logo, Flickr Creative Commons

Four years ago I lost my music. The singing voice disappeared. The songwriting stopped. The passion died.

Or so I thought.

Continue reading “Celebrating a second chance with singing!”

The Christmas Story as seen through the eyes of a cat at the manger

from Abigayil, The Story of the Cat at the Manger by Rouben Mamoulian,
given to me when I was a child by my favorite aunt (who loved cats as I do)

Abigayil, The Story of the Cat at the Manger by Rouben MamoulianAbigayil lived in the barn where Jesus was born. She was the mother of 5 kittens and in the course of hunting for their daily food, had her front paw broken when a child threw a stone at her.

On the night of Jesus’ birth, Abigayil saw that Jesus, lying in the manger, was stirring in his sleep due to a cold breeze. Out of love for Him and despite her pain, she went to Him, stretched across His body and purred Him to sleep. In course of this loving act, her broken paw was healed.

She reverently purred this prayer of thanksgiving to the baby Jesus:

“Little Jesus, I thank you for making me whole again!

Would that I were a king, so I could put treasures of gold, frankincense, and myrrh at your feet.

But I am only a cat, and I have no possessions.

The only thing I can offer you is my heart. But how can I offer that which is already yours?

I now know that I gave you my love the very first time I saw you, without any reason.
And now that you have given me a reason, I have no more love to give, because it is all yours already!

I thank you for teaching me that love is its own reason and needs no other, ever!”

Like Abigayil, may we unabashedly and without reason, give our hearts to the Baby Jesus.

Merry Christmas to you!

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A follow-up to my post on healing: sometimes it means admitting you’re wrong (aka “It’s the shoes, stupid!”)

In a previous post about healing, I wrote that it takes a partnership between ourselves and God to experience healing.

It also requires admitting when you’re wrong.

mercycrocs2Case in point: my longstanding battle with sore feet, aching legs and a consistent backache. I started walking at lunchtime a couple of years ago, just after I discovered my “dream shoes,” the Mercy Croc (see previous post). My feet bounced in them, they were nice and cool in the summer, cozy and waterproof in the winter.

Walking was fun and I loved writing about what I saw on my walks.

Then, all of a sudden, walking became a real drag.

My legs felt like lead again, just like before (I have a chronic foot condition that causes this). Not only that, they hurt. And so did my back. Walking turned from something refreshing and fun to something akin to dragging a ball and chain behind me.

Eventually I stopped walking and felt very discouraged. For all the steps forward I had taken with walking for my health, I felt like I took twice as many backwards.

What went wrong?

I started praying for a healing. This was back in January of 2012.

The answer came a year later but it surely wasn’t God’s fault.

Recently I saw my doctor on an unrelated matter and when I mentioned about my difficulty with walking, he suggested that my shoes were the problem.

mercycrocs1“No!” I said. Not my dream shoes, the ones I am totally in love with. The shoes that nurses wear, claiming they can stand in ten to fourteen hours a day in them.

Yes, those shoes!

nike sneakers2When a second person mentioned the same thing, I knew I had to explore the option. I dug up my Nikes: the shoes that squish my toes.

Yeah, those shoes.

I’ve since walked twice in them. And today I admitted that my doctor and my friends were right.  The added bounce in my step and the lack of pain in my back more than made up for my having to kill my pride in admitting I was wrong.

This led to some other discoveries. Suddenly I remembered that if I stretched everyday for 5 minutes like my foot doctor has told me (over and over again), I would experience less pain. Guess what? He was right!

I then remembered to add glucosamine to my daily vitamin ritual. I dug those out of the kitchen cabinet and miraculously, that worked too.

Why am I so slow to get it?

nike sneakers1Who knows? Is it because it was easier to wallow in my misery than to take action to take care of it? I can’t imagine why I would think wallowing would be easier or more desirable, but it is sometimes.

Pride, self-pity and the fancy to play the invalid have no place in the world of healing. Lord, heal me of these things and the stupidity that accompanies them!

Click to Tweet & Share: To be healed, sometimes you have to admit you’re wrong (aka “It’s the shoes, stupid!”) http://ctt.ec/jZ0F9+

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