Sowing Good Seed

If you look at the icon from My Catholic Roots Are Showing you will notice that it’s a fruitless, bare tree. When I first started this blog three years ago, I wanted to concentrate on the roots of a tree, and, at the time, this image was one of the few trees with roots available. The blog is growing and yielding good fruit. In a subtle manner it’s reaching out to others and spreading the Word of God. So I decided it was time to add fruit to the tree and to spread more seeds of love (this project is still in the works).

The first crop

I did not want just any fruit tree; I wanted a tree that produced an abundance of seeds. The pomegranate is what I had in mind. I remember when eating this fruit as a child, and our mom would always warn us not to get the juice on our clothes because it would leave a permanent stain. Though it’s a laborious task to remove the seeds, I love to eat this fruit. The pomegranate is rich in vitamin C, potassium and fiber. Now when it’s in season I add it to our smoothies.

The pomegranate is mentioned many times in the Bible. I was curious about the number of seeds each pomegranate contained and was pleasantly surprised that there can be anywhere from 165 to 1370, but the average number of seeds is 613. This is a symbolic number and one of the reasons it is consumed by Jews during Rosh Hashanah. The Jews believe that it symbolizes fruitfulness. There are 613 commandments in the Torah (recorded in first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures). Though it is a misconception that all pomegranates have 613 seeds, the rabbis may have had some spiritual revelation from God because this is the average number.

Sowing Good Seed

I always pray that my blog is sowing good seeds. I want to share the love of God to whoever has an ear to hear. In the New Testament  the Parable of the Sower is mentioned in three different Gospels. This is repeated in the Bible because the Lord wants this message to be deep-seated in our spirit. On our path to salvation the good seeds are visible, but when we sidestep and get off the path, we fall into the cracks and like the seeds that are eaten by the birds, we get eaten by the world. We can represent that seed that falls on rocky ground when we allow others to distract our direction. This would keep us from developing solid roots. We can be the seed that falls among the thorns; even if we realize that we are in sin, we continue on this path. Or we can choose to be the seed that falls on rich soil, yielding a hundredfold. God gave us a free will; the path we choose is paved with good seed, but it is our choice where our seed falls. Did you know that one tomato seed can yield 200 tomatoes? This is what good seed can produce.

Matthew 13:8-9 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. Whoever has ears ought to hear.”

Sowing Bad Seed

Bad seed can also yield a hundredfold. Once you open the door to sin you have rolled out the welcome mat. These seeds are like weeds; no deep roots but they spread fast. The Devil is out there spreading these bad seeds, and, as the master manipulator, He makes you feel good about sin. The problem with this bad seed is that it is only for a short season. Before you realize how deep you are in, it may take more than a simple prayer to get you out of your tangled web. This is where we intercessors come in; we come alongside you to lift you out of the pit you dug. We know the plans that God has for our loved ones, and that even if your seed has fallen on the rocky path you can still be redirected into the arms of your Maker. God loves all of us, not just people  who serve Him. He especially loves the people who have been down that dusty road that leads to a dead end. In life there are good and bad role models.

Infamous Bad Seed

If you look to Hollywood for direction, you will be mesmerized with their looks, the glamor, and their wealth; but what they do not show you is their empty hearts. They work from the outside; looking beautiful is what has gained them fame, but they are shallow souls serving themselves as demigods. Of course not everyone in Hollywood falls under this gamut, but the vast majority do. Role models is their pseudo name, and, sadly, they reach the foolish masses. They tell you who to vote for, who to like and who to follow. Hollywood is responsible for sowing so much bad seed that their garden reeks of defecation.

Ephesians 4:14

14 We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming.

This is not the only place where bad seeds are sown; any parent can tell you that sending your kids to college can cultivate bad seeds that will spread like wild weeds. This, too, is a tactic of evil. Higher learning was meant to prepare and direct a student in the career that is best suited for them, but somehow along the way, many seeds of discontent are spread in the minds of the youth. If these students are not grounded in God, they will fall for every wind of doctrine. The Word of God is our guideline for living, and Jesus is our perfect role model. Jesus spoke to his followers in parables to help them understand life’s lessons. To the shepherds, it was the Parable of the Lost Sheep; to the farmers, it was the Parable of the Sower. This is not a convoluted message. It’s simple and straightforward. We are the ones that complicate the matters of God. All He wants to do is to love us and to teach us how to love one another. The Lord wants to develop us interiorly; spiritual growth starts within your soul.

My rose garden

Our Garden

We do not have a huge yard, but every year Mike plants a small garden. I get enough tomatoes for plenty of salads and once a year I make my own marinara sauce. I have fresh mint for our daily smoothies, and we always have fresh rosemary. Aside from my garden we grow roses; during spring and throughout fall I have fresh flowers that fill our home with the scent of roses.


My Quarantine best friend Prudie


I went out the other day to pick up some special, topical lotion for my face. Other than picking up fast food, this was a real outing. I was running two errands, the cleaners and the dermatologist. My neighbor Adele made me a mask, so I was well prepared. I just missed the dermatologist by five minutes. When I got back into the car, I realized that the mask was getting my glasses all fogged up. Because I was struggling to take it off while driving, I hit the curb. When I got home I immediately told Mike about the incident. “I hit the curb on my side, it wasn’t my fault, I was trying to take my mask off.” Mike did not waste any time to investigate the matter. He came in and said, “Everything looks fine, are you sure you hit the curb?” Then he went out again to check the passenger’s side; sure enough I told him the wrong side. My poor Prius’ rim was pretty scratched up. When Mike came back inside he said, “You’re not ready to go out yet!” I’ve been cooped up so long  it was a wonder that I can remember how to drive, and the fact that my cat Prudie is my new best friend is getting scary! Please, Lord, let this be over soon!

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My Brother Robert

Robert on his Harley Davidson

Have you ever experienced something so traumatic that it changed the course of your life?  We were seven in total, four girls and three boys. My oldest brother was Robert. He was hard on us girls, and many times came across as disparaging. It took years for me to figure out that he was looking out for us and had stepped into the role of a father. Like a real father he was strict and always gave stern advice. Robert had great discernment and, as much as I did not want to hear his counsel, he was usually right. He hated that I joined MECHA, a radical, separatist Hispanic organization. I fought him on this and became so involved that I was elected president. In college the group advocated  indoctrination about what was owed to us and how we needed our rights to be heard. We were the Mexican version of the Black Panthers, and just as radical. My brother was right again because the organization spit me out like a hot pepper after dating outside our race.


The combine harvester, the machine Robert operated

Robert’s Illness

Robert was born with a gastric intestinal disorder; therefore, he suffered his entire life. He was over 6′ tall but rail thin; due to his illness he could never gain weight. Our mother would take him to a specialist at UCLA medical center for answers, but in Robert’s case no surgery could correct the ongoing affliction. My brother had episodes of his illness throughout his life, some lasting for weeks. Robert was a combine harvest operator and mechanic for a farming family in the Imperial Valley. When he was twenty-four years old, Robert was drafted into the service during the war in Vietnam.  He served in the army for two years, but because of a  knee injury he was released from his duties. Robert loved life and enjoyed every minute that was given to him in his short life.

Transcendental Era

Robert was a newlywed when he was diagnosed with cancer. He and his wife Alice were desperately seeking answers when they were introduced to a Maharaja. They followed the guru on television. They dug deeper and purchased a book to further instruct themselves in their new beliefs. This all started with a simple quest for healing. Both Robert and Alice believed that Robert could be healed naturally. Norma, our youngest sister, shared this belief and together they would study from some thick black Maharaja book. The three of them would sit yoga-style and meditate. Norma was just as enthralled in the new-found religion, because Robert was not only her older brother but her best friend.  Once she witnessed Robert levitate a foot off the ground. She said it was during meditation when her eyes were closed. When she opened them she made a sound of disbelief that broke the spell of the levitation. This was in 1981, my brother was a pot-smoking hippie, and this, peaceful, self-awareness type of religion was a great fit for him.

Our mother, on the other hand, wanted to take Robert to Mexico to try some experimental drugs for the cancer. We were all desperate to save Robert’s life. We were nominal Catholics who   were not steeped into our Catholic roots. None of us knew about prayer, or how to ask God for help. Our mother’s friend told her about a holy man named Vic who could help us. This stranger was the owner of a mattress store in San Bernardino. I took my mother to the first meeting at his store. This man was gentle and God-fearing, a born-again Christian who understood the Word of God. In our first encounter both my mother and I received Jesus into our hearts (this was the era of saying the sinner’s prayer). Vic became our mentor and would make special trips to our mom’s home for Bible studies. We wanted to introduce Vic to Robert, but he and Alice were convinced that the Maharaja was the only way to God. Before his cancer metastasized Robert went on a motorcycle ride, was thrown off and broke his neck. So, in addition to the cancer, he had to deal with the pain of his broken neck. He ended up in the hospital, and the most unusual apparatus (halo) was placed around his head to alleviate the pain of his broken neck. I cannot recall how many screws were drilled into his skull to hold the “halo” in place, but I knew it was extremely painful because it was equipped with weights to stabilize his neck.


With Vic’s help Norma was coming into the light. She was told by a Christian friend that if Robert did not have Jesus in his heart he would go to hell. Years ago abrasive and insensitive comments like these were commonplace.  No love or mercy was evident because that’s how people were taught. My sister took it upon herself to introduce Robert to the Christian God; Norma felt a sense of responsibility to share the “Good News” with Robert. She was a novice, a baby Christian shaking in her shoes when she arrived at the hospital. She was greeted by Alice, and the first thing she noticed was the Bible in Norma’s hands. The Bible has never been a discreet book and the title is usually in big bold gold letters on the cover. Alice did not want to have anything to do with this, so she told Robert. He asked Norma to bring the Bible to him. With the little strength he had left he threw the Bible across the room; then he asked Alice to bring their Maharaja book to him. But Norma did not give up; she and mom had a plan.


Vic was a an angel sent from heaven; he was the stranger that God sent to us to get us through this unmanageable stage of our lives. Robert was selling his RV, so Norma and mom came up with the idea for Vic to introduce himself by showing interest in the RV. The rest, as we say, is history. Vic, the angel that God commissioned, did his job and quietly disappeared. We were so grateful for his holy intervention and wanted to keep in touch with him,  but it was not to be.

33 Years Old

Robert was 33 years old when the Lord took him home. As a family we all took turns to be with him at the hospital so that he would not die alone. I did not want to have anything whatsoever to do with being there when he died. I planned my shifts to make sure that I was not going to be there. The doctor had announced that Robert would not make it through the night. I told my sisters that I would watch all the kids so they could be with Robert. My sister Jo, who was pregnant, stayed with me. Morning came and, much to my chagrin, Robert made it through the night. It was our shift, so Jo and I went to the hospital. I was nervous and sick to my stomach; never in my life had I been placed in such an agonizing position. It did not take long for our brother to breathe his last. Though I was terrified to witness any death, especially his, it was meant for me to be there. This was the most beautiful experience: as he flatlined, followed by a long beep, I noticed a peaceful, beautiful look on my brother’s face;  I saw the color of his body changing from grey to a muted yellow. He was home.

Robert’s Influence

Part of who I have become as a Christian is through this experience. The Lord never let go of me and, as I meandered from one Christian church to another, God has always been with me. I will never forget when mother and I visited Robert right before he succumbed to the illness. He held up two fingers and said, “This is me and Jesus.  If you don’t have Him, your life is…” He mumbled several phrases but we both understood what he meant by his gestures. Robert suffered beautifully, and was the instrument for bringing us back to God.

My Prayer: Thank you for our beautiful brother Robert. Because of his suffering we all came to understand our calling. Lord, continue to use us to draw closer to You. Lord, always reveal truth so that we can clearly see what You have in store for our lives. Never allow us to compromise or make decisions without praying. Amen.

Psalm 34:2 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

I will bless the Lord at all times;
    his praise shall be always in my mouth.



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The Holy Land Passion

We got through Holy Week unscathed. We are all in great health and waiting for this coronavirus to be lifted. There was no news from Israel, nothing from the Via Dolorosa either. After our fish dinner on Good Friday Mike and I watched The Passion of the Christ. What a beautiful reminder of how much He loves us! I caught part of a radio broadcast with Monica Miller, the author of  The Theology Of The Passion of  Christ. I found it interesting that the character who played the part of Satan appeared to be asexual. Monica Miller stated in her interview that Satan’s sexuality was “blurred.” This gave me a deeper understanding of the inherent evil in society’s current confusion about human sexuality.  Mel Gibson did a beautiful depiction of this historical event, he but also paid the price for bringing this project to fruition. Satan hates this movie.

Fourth Station of the Cross, Jesus meets His mother

When I first traveled to the Holy Land it was mostly a spiritual sight-seeing trip, but  as the years passed it became a refueling of my spirituality. I can not wait to get back and revisit my favorite churches. I’d grown accustomed to the smells and sounds of the Holy Land. The entrance to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher always makes my heart beat at a faster rate.

The Holy Land

I first portrayed the Blessed Mother on the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem in April 2007. I cannot recall how many times I have visited Israel, but it could exceed 20 years. And even if I could visit it today, the Holy Land, like the rest of the world, is now on lockdown.

the 60 year old Chapel on Wheels

My first trip to Israel was in the mid-90’s. This was one of the longest trips I have ever taken. Twenty-one days in total and covering most of the holy sites, was the adventure of a lifetime. After spending fourteen days in the Holy Land we traveled to Italy.

Preparing for any trip is costly, especially when you don’t have a real job. I had to depend on Mike and, as usual, he came through by paying for the trip and all the hotel accommodations. That left me with all the other expenses. I had two part-time jobs; one paid around $60 a month “yes, I said a month!” But the Lord blessed me for keeping that job for 12 years.  I worked as a Bible study teacher in the public schools; it was an honorable job that helped me pay my way to the Holy Land each year. I was also a private tutor, which paid much better. Through the travels I always brought back souvenirs for the students and shared rich stories with them about visiting where Jesus once walked. To many of these students, this was the only place that they were being catechized. Some students  were attending church on a regular basis,  but for others the small traveling chapel was their only church. I prayed that God would used me in a powerful way to open their minds to lead them in the right direction. I had the students once a week for one hour. To them I was Miss Lynda, but, to me they were small stepping stones, drawing me closer to God. Believe it or not, the money from these jobs was always put aside for my Holy Land trips. I was also blessed to have several dear friends who faithfully contributed to my missionary work in Israel. As this became my ministry, the Lord always provided the means.


Entrance to The Church of the Holy Sepulcher
The Stone of Unction in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher

 The Church of the Holy Sepulcher

Located a few steps from the entrance of the church is the Stone of Unction. This is where the body of Christ was placed after the Crucifixion. I’d rush to claim a spot to place the petitions and pray for those who requested prayer. The only manner of praying at this site is on your knees.  From there I’d walk upstairs to Calvary and, if the line was not too long, pilgrims can touch the spot where Jesus was crucified. Climbing back down the stairs, we made our way to the tomb of Jesus. Sometimes it was open and the lines were tolerable; at other times it was almost impossible to get through. On the back side of the tomb is another small cumbersome area, shrouded with deep reddish-black velvet drapes. There is room for one person to kneel and pray for a few seconds before being ushered out by the Greek Orthodox priest. I could spend an entire day at this church, finding little nooks to pray. It is by far one of the most enriching churches in the world. During Holy Week  the crowds were impossible to get through. Many of the pilgrims do not realize that the church opens as early as 6:00 a.m. My friend Pat and I once visited the church that early. It was magnificent to have the church almost to ourselves, so we prayed and left the petitions at the Tomb of Jesus.

Union with God

Our ten pound Easter ham by the real chef Mike

Since we in Southern California are on the same latitude as Israel, our weather is similar. The winds kicked up at night in Jerusalem and make a different type of howling sound, a lot more blustery, bringing in fine dirt through the old windows of the hotel where we stayed. My allergies are always on high alert in the Holy Land because of this. The Muslim call to prayer is always heard throughout the city; it’s a loud-sounding reminder to let us know that we are in Jerusalem. We share the Holy Land with Jews and Muslims. The Jews in the Holy Land are gracious in allowing us to share their holy sites. If you follow the rules of the guardians of  these holy sites, there is always peace. During Passover, if you visit the Western Wall, no one is allowed to take photographs. Sometimes when tourists take pictures, kind Jewish women ask you to stop. I love the Western Wall/Wailing Wall; this is the only original wall that was around in the time of Christ. As Christians we feel the special anointing of God, and we share with the Jews in experiencing a spiritual joy.

Staying At Home

While this pandemic keeps us hostage, we do our best to stay safe. My schedule is in disarray. I go to bed later than usual and get up around 8:30 a.m. instead of my normal 5:30 a.m. It seems to me that even when I go to bed later than usual, my sleep is disturbed with unrest. Nothing in our lives is normal. I’ve reached another level of understanding and am no longer so consumed with getting the virus. I just want this to be over. We’re still hunkering down, but it’s different and becoming less of a threat. Mike cooks every night; I can’t believe that I have my own private chef. Our meals are truly crafted with rich flavors and seasoned with love.

My Prayer:

Dear Lord, How much longer? Tell us what we need to do to change the direction of this virus. Please give us a sign that this will soon be over. You are a merciful God, and we are all Your suffering children. Help us to come out of this whole and with a better understanding that only You can change the world. What can we do but pray, and faithfully wait for Your healing? Amen.

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