Category Archives: Gratitude

Inspiration for a Struggle with Cancer…a Christian Singer Shares

I bet you know Darlene Zschech…she has been singing for the Lord for years.

I especially love her song, Shout for the Lord…tears everytime.

The past year has sent many people in my life into a battle with cancer and a friend recently told me about Darlene’s courage and inspiration for her. own journey. I thought you may want to hear her story and pass it on to others, too.

And because this will post on Mother’s Day, I send a special prayer to Heaven for my own mother who passed away in 1975, after seven years of courage and faithful love of the Lord and His mother, Mary.

God bless you all and may His Holy Spirit bring encouragement and healing for all battling this disease..

 

Ellen Marie Dumer, LCPC, president and founder of Living Your Exceptional Life™, is a pastoral counselor, life success coach, published author, and sought-after speaker. She is a guide and mentor for Catholic/Christian women seeking to harness and cultivate their aspirations for a life based on faith in Christ.

She and her husband, Deacon Gary Dumer, live in Maryland, have 4 children and soon-to-be nine grandchildren. Ellen loves to paint and craft, read, go on long bike rides and walks, garden, and spend fun time with her friends!

An Interesting Thought About Lent…

field of flowers and church

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” – John 10:10

Just a simple thought to ponder today…the day after Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent, the start of promises we have made about fasting, prayers, and almsgiving.

Did you know that Lent is about abundance?

For how can we purposely fast unless we have enough to eat?
How can we give unless we already have enough money, time, energy?
And how can we pray unless we have the gift of knowing there is a God to pray to?

“God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
– Phillipians 4:19

And because this is true we must remember that God works through the abundance he gives us as we share it with others.

In the words of my Pastor, Fr. Henry Kunkel…”think about it, think about it”.

May you be abundantly blessed today!

Ellen Marie Dumer, LCPC, president and founder of Living Your Exceptional Life™, is a pastoral counselor, life success coach, published author, and sought-after speaker. She is a guide and mentor for Catholic/Christian women seeking to harness and cultivate their aspirations for a life based on faith in Christ.

She and her husband, Deacon Gary Dumer, live in Maryland, have 4 children and soon-to-be nine grandchildren. Ellen loves to paint and craft, read, go on long bike rides and walks, garden, and spend fun time with her friends!

Something Spiritual Stirring…

 

cup of heart coffee

What’s that quote from St. Augustine? “Our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in you.” Yes. That is what I have been. Maybe I should have been writing more to calm my soul?

The summer presented an unwanted invitation from God (or maybe just something that happened). Anyway, back surgery and continuing recovery got in the way of anything I had wanted to do. Or did it?

Recovery times have always been annoying to me (and those around me!) I am NOT a good patient. I want to do what I want to do! But the fruits of time to read spiritual materials, time to watch my grandchildren grow and play, and time to be quiet and examine all those unwanted thoughts that come in when you can’t stay busy are coming to harvest.

When you ask God to give you your purpose, to give you guidance on how to clean up your act so you can move toward His purpose for you and then He does, well the dam breaks loose!

My awareness has been heightened and I am grateful. It is a daily re-centering of my heart, refocusing of my want-to’s and have-to’s and even in the blissfulness of consolations, it is still a discipline to be a disciple.

Just wondering how many of you are feeling a stirring in your restless heart? What are the fruits of this joyful anxiety for you?

Unsure? Sit down and rest awhile. And listen.

Ellen Marie Dumer, LCPC, president and founder of Living Your Exceptional Life™, is a pastoral counselor, life success coach, published author, and sought-after speaker. She is a guide and mentor for Catholic/Christian women seeking to harness and cultivate their aspirations for a life based on faith in Christ.

She and her husband, Deacon Gary Dumer, live in Maryland, have 4 children and soon-to-be nine grandchildren. Ellen loves to paint and craft, read, go on long bike rides and walks, garden, and spend fun time with her friends!

It’s been a long, a long time coming…

So what do you say when you’ve been away a long time? I am opting for “Hello again! I’ve missed you!” Some have asked where I have been…same place I was before in the physical sense that is. Spiritually, somewhere new.

The weeks before Lent were filled with a sense that something had to change. Something in me. It would have to be a time of spiritual cleansing and discipline. A time to face the parts of me that had been hiding in the crevices between places of knowing something had to change and not having a clue what to change or where to start.

One thing was clear. God was the originator of the message…change NOW, for me. In the words of Ada Whiddington, from 1891, that came to me in an email prayer request recently,

jesus (1)Not I, but Christ be honored, loved, exalted,
Not I, but Christ be seen, be known and heard;
Not I, but Christ in every look and action,
Not I, but Christ in every thought and word.

I was to look within using every possible action for the 40 days of Lent. I eliminated certain foods and eating patterns, bumped up my daily prayer to include the Rosary, Scripture, and meditation, left myself only minutes on Facebook to see pictures of grandchildren, gave up television and online Bingo and replaced them with spiritual reading. During times of temptation I turned to prayer, a few times when battling the urge to eat late at night I went to my knees begging to be released. I read a wonderful book on fasting by Elmer Townes, Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough. He brought me to a fresh new realization of what the power of fasting and discipline are for.

I was trying out something I had heard of before, but never really realized could be done. Kingdom Living. It became very real to me that we are living in the Kingdom of God right now! The same spirit I have within me now is the one I was planned with by God, born with by my mother, and the one that will be released from its physical home when I die. I must nourish this spiritual being that is eternal. Discipline was allowing me to see clearly and I began to love it. Really love it.

Then we got to the Triduum. I began to feel a letdown. A feeling very similar to what I experience when a vacation is over. Easter came. At the beginning of Lent, I planned on that day! The feast, the chocolate, the bunny cake! The day came and I ate because I was “allowed to”. For the next few weeks, my discipline waned. I was missing Lent! In my humanness I need a goal. In the past it would have been a number on the scale. I was in fact very happy that I lost 10 or 11 pounds, enough to give me a start on the next 30 or 40! But this time I yearned for a new spiritual goal, one that would be sought with others on the same path.

This was the key. Seeking a goal in community. A community of others seeking Christ and a change in their lives. I would need to learn to search out meaningful goals that were not self-serving, like looking good, albeit a healthy body is necessary for the rigors of discipleship! I turned to the project that God set before me in April of 2013, our parish’s ChristLife evangelization program. It’s next sessions were beginning on May 8th and would end on June 26th. My discipline program needed a “love” to go with it, a passion set outside myself for Christ.

When I saw the dates on the calendar and noted the tribulations of the weeks following Easter, I saw very clearly that I had lent my ear to the negativity and fear that Satan plants in me when I try to work for Christ. My spiritual cleansing had given clarity to my spiritual eyes! To the point that now I welcome trials knowing they are meant as challenges for my soul strength! When I see the problems’ origin, it’s remedy is simple. Turn around and pray, hard!

So it has been a long time, a little longer than Christ’s own desert time, but then again I am weak and need much more time than he for true and lasting change. I join with you again with renewed and uplifted Spirit, ready for the challenges awaiting and the joys of spreading the message of Christ so we can honor, love and exalt him…forever.

Prince of Peace, is an original artwork by Akiane Kramarik, www.Akiane.com

 

 

Ellen Marie Dumer, LCPC, president and founder of Living Your Exceptional Life™, is a pastoral counselor, life success coach, published author, and sought-after speaker. She is a guide and mentor for Catholic/Christian women seeking to harness and cultivate their aspirations for a life based on faith in Christ.

She and her husband, Deacon Gary Dumer, live in Maryland, have 4 children and soon-to-be nine grandchildren. Ellen loves to paint and craft, read, go on long bike rides and walks, garden, and spend fun time with her friends!

A Picture, Just in Time

Sunday morning I woke up with a vague feeling of sadness. Of course my thinking self kicked in and needed to figure it out.

Saturday, I had spent the day in my kitchen with my new convection oven, my daughter and granddaughter (22 months old) and my daughter’s mother-in-law sister-in-law baking Christmas cookies, sampling Christmas cookies, and drinking a couple of glasses of wine. There was laughter and jokes, reminiscing and looking forward…and plenty of flour dust all over the place! The cookies turned out great, just one batch completely burned while we adored my granddaughter “baking”. A memory making day…

So why this feeling? A photo lovingly sent the day before by my cousin is the clue.
Here it is…

Me and MomThat’s my mom and me…isn’t she beautiful? Just glowing in her love for me just a few weeks old. I missed out on getting a lot more of that love because when I was 16 years old she passed away after a long, courageous battle with cancer. I remember some really important messages she gave to me…but a lot feels like it is missing.

One of the most important things that I have of hers is her statue of Mary. It sits on my desk where I do my writing along with her high school picture. She left me a legacy of my Catholic faith and trusting in God when times are really rough. She always trusted that God was her primary care doctor and could heal her in every way, even if it was not to be physically. This is THE most important thing she left me…it bonds us through the heavens and I feel her presence deeply. And Blessed Mary is there to help us along the way.

And the reason for the sadness? I just happened to remember that December 15, 1975 is the day she passed into the arms of the Lord she loves so much. It may sound strange, but at 54 years of age, I realize that she has been an incredible, maybe a better mother, from heaven than she may have been on Earth. She is right there in Heaven interceding for her children every moment…at least that would be what I would be doing! My deepest prayers are always for my children.

So my loving cousin sent me a photo of Mom loving me…just in time. Thank you Susan!

For all of you without your mom, rely on our mother in Christ Jesus. Our Blessed Mother Mary. She will console, encourage and uplift you every step of the way!

Ellen Marie Dumer, LCPC, president and founder of Living Your Exceptional Life™, is a pastoral counselor, life success coach, published author, and sought-after speaker. She is a guide and mentor for Catholic/Christian women seeking to harness and cultivate their aspirations for a life based on faith in Christ.

She and her husband, Deacon Gary Dumer, live in Maryland, have 4 children and soon-to-be nine grandchildren. Ellen loves to paint and craft, read, go on long bike rides and walks, garden, and spend fun time with her friends!