From the Author

Wednesday, December 28, 2016


There are only two ways to live your life.  One is as though nothing is a miracle.  The other is as though everything is a miracle.     Albert Einstein

Another way to think of living life is whether your glass is half-full or half-empty.

We can't control what happens to us, what others say or do to us, whether we are born rich or poor, what race we are, where we are born and live including what country, what faith we are exposed to, whether we are healthy or disabled, or whether we live in a war zone.

We can make a choice to accept what we have, to reach for new horizons, to enjoy the small moments of joy and happiness that we find, to be grateful for the opportunities we have.  We can choose to use educational stepping stones to achieve personal and occupational success, we can work hard to make a difference in our family and work lives, we can reach out to others and help them grow with us. We can take responsibility for ourselves for either success or failure.

Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves, we can thank God for the blessings we have.  We can become the best person we can be so that we can make the most of our skills and abilities. There are miracles that happen everyday if we just look for them.  At the end of the day we can look back and be thankful for the countless miracles that life presents to us.  We can be a miracle for someone else.  We are a miracle because we were created by God!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Wise Men Still Seek Him

I saw this sign by a church.  It is so true.  Wise men and women will seek God.  It is important to remember the true meaning of Christmas.  It is about loving God and loving others. If we remember to seek God and make him the focus of our lives, we can move mountains!  We can accomplish our purpose in life, whatever that is.  With God all things are possible!  No matter what happens to us, God can make us stronger as we go through the trials of of our lives.

God loves us.  He loves you!  Keep him with you on the roller coaster of life. When God closes a door, he opens a window.  Every change in our lives can become opportunities for growth and faith.  Have wonderful holidays!  Look for someone who needs you and find the spirit of Christmas!

The Courage of Mary

Mary. the mother of Jesus, was young, unmarried and pregnant.  Her husband to be. Joseph, knew he wasn't the father.  Mary was courageous because she accepted her pregnancy with great faith, knowing that she could put her faith in God.  She knew that she could have been stoned to death, shunned by her community and certainly would not be able to marry Joseph.  It is important that we remember to accept other people as they are and leave judgement to God.  We don't know God's plan for each person we meet.  We don't know their history, we don't know why they do what they do.  We can reach out to others with love and remember that God has our back.

Fortunately Mary chose to do God's will and Joseph reached out to her with love.  They chose to put their faith in God's will.  Every baby is precious in God's eyes but especially this particular baby!  Christmas is a celebration of love and faith.  It is a deep joy that can permeate our daily lives!

Please have wonderful holidays!  Remember how special each one of us are to God!  You are unique and magnificent in God's eyes!  He made you and He loves you!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Grief and Holidays

Quote from a Hallmark movie:  "Death leaves a heartache no one can heal.  Love leaves a memory no one can steal."

Holidays can be especially difficult for those who have recently experienced the death of a loved one, friend, neighbor, church member or even someone who we needed to make peace with.  Holidays bring memories of the past that were shared with special people. It is sad to think about going through the holidays without that person or persons or a special animal.  There is no special way to take away the pain except to go through it.  Most people feel that the time spent with this person was worth the agony of losing them.  It is a big price to pay for loving others but it does remind us that we are alive and we still have impact on the lives of others!

Cry if you need to cry.  Then pick up the pieces of your life and begin again, one step at a time.

Reach out to others who are hurting also and share your grief until you can begin sharing the fun and laughter you enjoyed with the person who died as you explore the memories of happy times.

Plan new ways to enjoy the holidays that are an expression of you and the loved ones and friends who are still with you. Create a new normal for the holidays without the physical presence of the person who died, but with their spirit and memory.  There are no right or wrong ways to handle grief as long as you keep yourself and others safe and peaceful.

Find a way to give to others.  We are all hurting from something.  We are all also capable of enjoying life again and sharing our blessings with others.   I wish all of you happy holidays and peace.

Entertaining Angels

"Be welcoming to strangers because you may be entertaining angels."  Attributed to the bible.

Christmas is the season of angels, with books, movies, paintings, and references to angels.  Angels are supposed to be our helpers but what do they help us with? They are not here to grant wishes such as a wish for money.  They are not here to keep us from experiencing pain, death, illness, or violence. So what are angels supposed to do?  I don't know since I don't remember ever meeting an angel but I have heard about them from hospice patients and have written about them.

My experience has shown me that angels are here with us to make the difficult times easier.  I believe they are present when we die to ease our fear and help us on our journey.  Sometimes angels are with us to help us to learn lessons about ourselves, provide emotional and spiritual support and to remind us that God loves us. While it may be difficult to identify an angel, we may be wondering about special people in our lives who have helped us over the rough spots in our lives, who sacrifice for us so that we have want we need or even what we want, who make us think deeply about the meaning of life and faith, who challenge us to become better, more compassionate individuals, and who may force us to move forward when life is challenging.

There are angels from heaven and earth angels who make heaven seem possible.  All we have to do is look outside ourselves to find people who are beautiful in spirit but not necessarily beautiful in earthly standards.  I have known people who have found comforting animal angels who have provided unconditional love to human beings and other animals in crisis.  The spirit can  be strong and beautiful even when the body is fading and unrecognizable.  The body is only housing the soul.  Look beyond the physical when finding angels!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Secret Santa

Christmas is a wonderful time to remember that life is not easy for many of us.  It is often not the beautiful presents or money that we remember.  Rather, it is the unique gifts of time, love, caring, homemade items, individuals who shovel our sidewalk, go to the grocery for us, drive us to physician appointments, babysit so that parents can have a night out, someone who brings us a meal after we have surgery or are ill, and just a card, hug or message to remind us we are loved.

At one time in my life, I was going through a difficult divorce and I was depressed, worried and exhausted with financial and multiple responsibilities.  I started receiving encouraging cards and little gifts for holidays and my birthday for an entire year.  I couldn't imagine who was sending them but I found myself looking forward to the next encouraging correspondence.  I think this person was sending me hope!  Sometimes the cards made me laugh, others were thoughtful and reminded me of faith and friends.

It was a surprise when years later I discovered that my Secret Santa was my boss, a very kind and creative woman who realized I was under unusual stress and decided to reach out quietly but effectively.  There is a woman at church who volunteers to send out cards to bereaved people in our church in much the same way.  With these special gifts, the recipient can feel God's loving arms wrapped around to create a feeling of peace and hope.

Take time to look around and find people in your life, church, neighborhood or favorite charity to make a difference in their lives.  Children can be encouraged to volunteer their time or efforts to develop a lifetime habit of providing help to others.  I wonder what Santa wants this year!  It will be a wonderful feeling to be Santa to others year round!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


From columnist Ron Rollins, Dayton Daily News in Ohio

Sharing an Iroquois Prayer

We who are here present thank the Great Spirit that we are here to praise Him.  

We thank Him that He has created men and women, and ordered that these beings shall always be living to multiply the earth. 

We thank Him for making the earth and giving these beings its products to live on.  

We thank Him for the water that comes out of the earth and runs for our lands.  

We thank Him for all the animals of the earth. 

We thank Him for the light which we call our oldest brother, the sun that works for our good.  

We thank Him for all the fruits that grow on the trees and vines.  

We thank Him for his goodness in making the forests, and thank all its trees. 

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.  We have so much to be thankful for! 

Remember to thank others who have made your life easier or who have inspired you!  

Monday, November 21, 2016

Money: Blessing or Curse?

I remember watching the movie, Schindler's List.  It was a true story of a man who used his vast resources to save the lives of thousands of Jewish people who were destined to be killed in Nazi extermination camps.  He was an wealthy man who loved to live excessively with parties, drinking, women and wasteful spending.  Suddenly he was thrust into the war and confronted with the horror of genocide as Jewish individuals and families were killed.  He began to "hire" Jewish employees by buying them from the Nazi captors.  At the end of the movie he was thanked by the Jewish community for his courage to protect so many Jewish individuals from execution.

Schindler reacted with tears and anguish as he remembered all of the money he had wasted during his lifetime and had to confront his selfishness. He had squandered away a fortune with his extravagance and lavish lifestyle.  He regretted the number of Jewish men, woman and children he could have purchased if he had more funds available. Each dollar he spent so recklessly, could have saved another life.  Even though he had accomplished a miracle for the people he saved, he knew he could have done more.  He did make a huge difference because he made the effort.

We are given many gifts from God.  It is our responsibility and mandate to take the opportunity to use our talents and money for the benefit of others besides ourselves.  You can't take money and things with you when you die but you can take the love and respect of your fellow human beings.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

How Are Bullies Created?

We are right to be concerned about the victims of bullies.  They are the obvious prey and targets of inexcusable acts of sabotage, anger, humiliation, intimidation, and coercion. The victim feels powerless, helpless and trapped.  It is a situation that is not acceptable and must not be condoned by bystanders or authority figures.

The other silent victim is the bully himself or herself.  He or she has an extremely low self-esteem and self-image to be able to imagine or execute his or her bullying behaviors.  I wonder if the bully has been raised in a loving family, with kindness, encouragement and love.  I wonder if anyone has taken the time to discipline this person in a fair, caring, and responsible manner.  I wonder if this person loves himself or herself when attacking another individual who is younger, smaller, or unable to emotionally, psychologically or physically defend themselves.  The bully, as he or she ages, with no intervention, will potentially continue to deliver a more refined and subtle version of distress to others such as persecution, sabotage, financial ruin, bigotry, harassment, humiliation, torture and abuse.

The time to intervene is when the behavior begins.  What kind of environment is this child a product of?  What kind of intervention can we do for the victim and his or her tormentor?  Both are hurting from lack of self-esteem and the knowledge of how to solve problems without violence, Both need emotional, psychological and physical support from family, friends and significant adults and role models.  Both need forgiveness and encouragement to find a better way to negotiate life's problems.They are both victims of what they are learning in society. We can provide, for all schools and activity centers, the wonderful programs that have been developed to stop bullies from continuing to harass others and begin the journey of mature problem-solving behavior with mercy and kindness.  Victims can learn how to stand up for themselves and become mentors for others. Both can find peace and have a bright future.

Movies, Inspirational or Hopeless?

I am saddened to see the available movies that present the culture and morals of the United States to ourselves and the world.  The majority of available movies promote violence, sexual predators, anger, promiscuity, drug culture, abuse of men, woman, children and animals, prejudice, killing, bullying, and using power to dominate, intimidate, demoralize and criticize.

Children and teenagers are introduced to this media at an early age when they are not psychologically able to distinguish between fiction and reality.  They are looking for love, peace, security, and hope for a safe future. Many children develop fear, have nightmares, are unwilling to sleep by themselves, and hide from life and opportunity after a steady diet of current media including violent games.

Children and teenagers need to experience being loved, cherished, encouraged, and have role models that are positive and nurturing.  Movies and media that show individuals and groups overcoming adversity and rising above their environment to achieve higher goals of education, economic security, safe and happy family, homes and neighborhoods, sufficient income and fulfilling jobs can make a difference in many lives.

We are what we do, not what we say we do.  Actions speak louder than words. We have the opportunity to make a difference for ourselves and the world if we can harness the power of love and hope in our media. It will be a wonderful gift to our children, teens and citizens of our country. Please monitor the media that your children and teens are exposed to.  Remember they need us as role models and guardians of their future.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Veterans and Our Responsibility

Veterans have made our country great and have given us a huge chance to make a difference in the world. We have the responsibility to make that happen.

I heard about a black woman who was recently humiliated and verbally harassed by individuals celebrating the recent elections.  Apparently these men felt comfortable in the current political climate to freely express their negativity and prejudice.

There has never been a time historically that laws, religious convictions, political views or "rights" can condone bigotry, hate, discrimination, prejudice, unprovoked physical or verbal attacks, cruelty or insensitivity benefit society.  We are all human beings and we need each other to survive.

Each of us need to remember that we are responsible for our own behavior and choices.  When we die, as we all will at some time, we will be judged by our own actions regardless of what is condoned by our family, friends, or social media.  We have to face God all on our own.

I hope that we will progress as members of our country, to remember to treat each other with respect, to listen to each other and to provide laws that will protect and enhance our rights and responsibilities. We have the ability to listen to each other, to compromise is a peaceful manner, and promote the greatness of the United States.  We owe that to our veterans and their families who have sacrificed everything to give us this opportunity.

Thank you Veterans for your service to all of us!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Lonely or alone?

Quote:  "If we don't know how to be alone, we'll only know how to be lonely." Sherry Turkle, Professor of science, technology and society.

There are many times in our lives that we are alone but it is our choice whether we feel lonely. Sometimes being alone is simply being in a place with no people or pets around to provide companionship.  We have a choice to use that time productively to reflect on ourselves, our goals, our progress in steps to our future plans, our faith, our love of family, love of ourselves, reading, watching shows that we haven't had time to fit in our schedule, time to write to family, friends and neighbors. time for prayer, time to dream and time for yourself.

Sometimes we are alone in groups of people because we are not involved with anyone else in this setting.  We can still find peace as we observe others, actively listening to the nearby person. searching for others who appear to be experiencing sadness or grief and being present with them in silence with an encouraging smile, touch or reassurance. When we reach out to others, even when we are alone, we become comfortable with ourselves.

If we choose to be lonely, we can cut ourselves off from others either by retreating from interaction by being physically alone or avoiding physical, emotional and psychological association with others in a group setting. All of us are lonely at times but we can change lonely to alone with a little effort. Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves, we can reach out to others who may be experiencing a more difficult time than we are.  We are in this life together and we can help each other to weather the storms of life by being available to each other.

Are you alone or lonely?  I'm sending you my encouragement and love so you are not lonely!

Language of Love

I was walking in my neighborhood one day and I heard a young child cursing in a very loud voice and it continued as I walked down the street.  He looked to be about 3 years old and there was no one around to correct him.  It was very sad for me because I know that child will have a difficult time being successful in school and society because he hasn't learned the language of love and respect.

In today's society, cursing is accepted, glorified particularly in movies and media, and it is common in everyday conversations.  We have lost the art of being polite, allowing others to express their ideas fully even if we don't agree and speaking with kindness.  We have forgotten how important it is to respect all people, regardless of their skin color, sexual orientation, education, religion, economic standing, work history, neighborhood or country of origin, political affiliation, or any perceived differences. Our political candidates, designated society heroes, actors, relatives, friends, neighbors, schoolmates, teachers, and religious leaders have not all learned this important skill.

We can begin to appreciate the language of love which involves mutual respect, active listening, compromise whenever possible, cheerful attitude, positive wording, explore options for win/win solutions to problems, attempting to understand the viewpoint of others, eye contact, honesty, integrity, faith, and caring for others.  We can model the behavior that is needed in our society and become the teachers for tomorrow and the future.  The language of love begins with you and me as we live our daily lives with courage and peace!

Friday, October 28, 2016

A Prayer For You

I want to thank many people for their prayers for me with my recent surgery by sharing this prayer with you!.

"May God be beside you to befriend you, behind you to encourage you, in front of you to guide you and within you to give you peace."

Quote taken from a story in Guideposts, entitled "Closer to Mom" by Melanie Hall, Beaumont, Texas

All of us have many mountains and hills of happiness and joy with the inevitable valleys of trials and difficulties.  The roller coaster of life is a daily journey.  How do individuals cope without the solid foundation of faith and the knowledge that God is truly with us?  It is God who gives us the courage to stand firm and face life head on.  Prayer gives us the power to change our own focus, attitude and potential and to give an example to others who are also sometimes swimming against the current of life. God makes everything that happens to us an opportunity to grow spiritually and to provide potent fertilizer for our faith.  God makes all things blessings with sometimes hidden pockets of illumination and insight. With God all things are possible!

It is God and prayer that make positive changes in this world.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Feeling Vulnerable

I recently had a scare.  I had a biopsy on my face in April with no call from the physician office and assumed that everything was normal.  After 6 months I was told that in fact I did have two types of cancer cells in the biopsy.  I was panicked because I could imagine the cells growing inside my face over 6 months.  I felt angry, betrayed by the doctor's office and very vulnerable.  I remembered all of my hospice patients as they faced their dying process and could imagine how scary it must be.

I wasn't dying but I was afraid of the consequences of the cancer metabolizing to other places in my body.  It is hard to think of surgery on the face.  It is our introduction of self to the world.  I remembered friends who had Bells Palsy and had to continue their lives with an altered exterior mask-type appearance.  The two I encountered had tremendous courage and faced this change by going out in society with head held high.  I knew I have been very fortunate and really have nothing to fear but myself.

My surgery went well and I am looking forward to having stitches removed and the healing process to occur.  They have taken out the cancer cells and I feel confident that my life will continue on with a renewed appreciation for others who face more serious and life-threatening conditions.  This was a minor shift in my life in comparison to others dealing with catastrophic issues.  I did feel the presence of God through my family, friends, church members, and medical staff.  When we feel vulnerable, God sends his earth angels to remind us that he is with us through everything!  

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


Quote:  If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.  If you want to be happy, practice compassion.                                  The Dalai Lama

Compassion is the grease that keeps the world turning.  It is the reason we have to get up in the morning and greet a new day.  It gives us something to look forward to as we go through our day. It is important to remember that all of us have challenges and difficulties in our lives.  Sometimes we have to have compassion for ourselves because we are human beings and we have made mistakes.  If we can forgive ourselves, we can forgive and accept others.  It is such a blessing to know that God forgives us.

Compassion means that we can value all lives, learn to "walk in" the "shoes" of others, and try to make life easier for ourselves and others using empathy, kindness, and sharing of resources.  Happiness comes from within and is the result of a choice.  Every moment of our life, we can choose to be happy or bitter.  We can choose to love God, ourselves and others.  We can choose to make a positive difference no matter what situations we encounter.   We can find peace within ourselves and share it with others.  We can choose joy and thankfulness!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Facing Change

As human beings, we can find comfort in the normal, boring, quiet pace of a life that holds few surprises. We can relax as we know what to expect.  The sun rises and sets, we have a knowledge and expectation of life staying the same in that our homes are intact, family and friends are available, our treasured things are in the same places, our lives are planned and executed with the expectation that tomorrow will be similar to today.

However, life sends us curves and disruptions, that can make changes to everything we previously thought were critical to our happiness.  People can experience death, new life, fires, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, illness, loss of employment, disabilities, new care-giving responsibilities, rape, violence, pain, accidents, and unexpected losses.

It is these moments of change that define who we are.  We can face change with fear, anger, blaming, outbursts, crying, fealing sorry for ourselves, and retreat from emotional, spiritual, psychological or physical pain.  Or we can rise above our condition and circumstances, ask God for guidance and support, and become a champion for ourselves and others.  We can take a leadership role and lead ourselves and others forward to tackle change head on and find the positive, inspiring courage inside of ourselves and reach out to others.  By noticing and exploring the needs of others, we can forget our own fears and realize we are not the only ones facing hardship.  There are always others who are experiencing more difficulty than we are.

I remember when all four of my young children had chickenpox, I called my friend who had six children.  She always comforted me because her stories of dealing with six children were always worse than mine.  I remember thinking, "If she can handle it with six kids, I should be able to handle four."  We have God and our faith along with each other to face all changes, positive and negative with peace and courage.

Change defines and refines us spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically.  Change is powerful and creative! Change is inevitable. Our response to change is the critical catalyst for joy or grief!

Falling Flat On Your Face

Quote:  "My attitude has always been, if you fall flat on your face, at least you are moving forward."  Billionaire Richard Blanson, after falling on his face in a bike accident.

This statement has many hidden messages.

1)  Attitude makes a huge difference.  People who stay in the same place, have no adventures, no blunders, no courage to try new things, no creativity, no mistakes, no excitement for the future are boring, content, and stagnent. They do not fall flat on their faces nor do they shout for joy when they have a new discovery, accomplish a new goal, or find the love of their life (either a person or a focus). Instead they explore love in all of its glory and celebrate each moment of their life as it unfolds.

2)  Falling on your face could involve trauma, sutures, scars, prolonged healing process, embarassment of swollen, bruised and shocking new appearance.  At least you are moving forward and laughing at yourself as you face the obstacles of life.

3)  The most important thing is to get back on the bike and begin the healing process as you again explore the world.

4)  Accept the roller coaster of life.  There are many ups and downs.  If we didn't have the downs, we wouldn't fully ppreciate the highs.  We always know that when we are on the downward spiral of our lives, there will be a high swing upward again. We just have to trust God and hang in there.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Sunrise and Sunset

When I was visiting my sister and we experienced watching the sunrise and sunset over the ocean, I couldn't imagine anything more beautiful.  I was up every morning to see the sunrise and every evening, looked over the ocean for the sunset.  I took many pictures and was so sad at the thought of returning home to Ohio.

When I returned home, I found some old photographs of sunrises and sunsets that were very beautiful and was shocked to realize they were taken from home.  I had become complacent about the beauty surrounding me in my everyday life.  Sometimes people who live in magnificient settings take this daily beauty for granted just like those of us who have ordinary lives with extradinary loveliness.  It is not until we lose what we have that we begin to realize all of the wonderful gifts that we have been given.

Take time to "smell the roses" and to appreciate all of the beauty that surrounds us and the amazing people in our lives.  Take time to say thank you to God, our family and friends. "Seek and you shall find."  We have to attend to the moments in our lives that are incredible to sustain us when life is sad or difficult.  Our happiness is up to us and remains in our attitude of joy!  

Unconditional Love

I was at a water aerobics class and I looked over at another class in the shallow water.  I observed a woman in her 50's with a younger man who looked to be in his 30's.  She was not very tall and this young man towered over her as he was about 6 feet tall and weighed about 240 lbs. I watched as she coached the young man to do the swimming exercises with the instuctor and other participants.

They both locked eyes and were a mirror image as they faced each other with big smiles and held hands.  She gently guided him with the needed positioning and they swayed to the music.  She was totally involved with him, watching to make sure he was safe and doing his best to keep up.  She was not able to communicate with her co-swimmers as he required her full concentration.  At one point, this young man climbed out of the pool, walked to the side and jumped in with a proud look of accomplishment as his mother clapped and grinned.

This was a very fortunate young man because he had his mother to be his protector and teacher.  He was mentally challenged but his eyes glowed with happiness and excitement.  God had given him the perfect mother, someone with patience, kindness, empathy, and generosity.  She was willing to share her life, her time, her relationships, her friendships, and her unconditional love.  He obviously returned that love unreservedly with his smile and his trust.  There are many blessings in this world and this inspiring couple were a gift and a reminder to me that God infuses life trials with overflowing benefits that have nothing to do with material wealth.

Monday, October 3, 2016

A Chance Meeting

I was sitting in an airport terminal waiting to board a plane, when I met a 17 year old "Mike".  He was sitting next to another woman.  I initially assumed they were together but she was just another traveler.  I spoke to both and Mike was obviously very anxious, nervious and was constantly cracking his finger joints.  He had short, curly red hair, attractive with deeply blue eyes filled with sadness. I could feel his pain as he blurted out, "I am going back home to my mother since my father and stepmother don't want to deal with me." My mother doesn't want me either."  As I asked questions, it was apparent that his father and stepmother had abusive behaviors related to their substance abuse. His mother also was not available to Mike because she was often intoxicated. He reports he had been suspended from school because of an "incident that wasn't my fault." I left to go to the restroom and when I returned I had to sit in another seat.  Mike came across the room to sit next to me.

I told him that regardless of what his parents chose to do with their lives, he, at 17, was able to decide for himself what kind of life he wanted.  I talked to him about his desire to find a special lady. That could lead to marraige, possibly children and the need to have a education and a job to support his family. He immediately stated. "I never want to have children." It was obvious that his childhood had not been peaceful or safe.

I told him that he had the opporunity to take control of his life, I encouraged him take advantage of any education and job training, strive for excellence in all his endeavors because I believed in him and his future.  I told him a story about an abused man who took his pain and used it to empathize and support other abused children in volunteer work. This man vowed to be the best father he could be for his own children and faced life with resolve and faith. As I gazed into Mike's eyes, I could see hope and some excitement as his body relaxed and became quiet.  He left to board the plane.

Parents need to remember the impact they have on their children.  It is a right and a tremendous responsibility to provide for the emotional, spirititual, psychological and physical needs of all children. Please look out for our wounded children who have a hard exterior but a hurt and open interior.  It does take a village, country, world to raise children! Make a difference in a child's life!

The Broken Shell

As I walked slowly along the expansive ocean shore, I saw endless beautiful shells. I picked up the ones that caught my eye and discarded the ones that were broken.  I found I was attracted to shells that were unique with shapes, colors, quality, design. and those who met my criteria for beauty.

My sister grabbed a broken shell and showed me the beautiful symetry of the interior of the shell.  It had been formed with a design and choreography that flowed in a circular, composed pattern.  The exterior had a unique design but the interior was was a magnificient delicate, cascading, skeletal support system previously hidden from view. The cracked sand dollar had a tiny dove hidden in its interior that can only be found if the shell is broken.

People are also like shells, with a complex interior as well as the viewable exterior.  Sometimes we need to look into the broken part of each other to find the true charm, eloquence and loveliness of the person who may appear damaged or different on the outside.  God loves us because he made us. We can choose to love unconditionally and keep an open mind about all of the truly beautiful people we miss because we don't really "see" them.  We are all both broken and whole, with the potential of beautiful cores and a glowing exterior that has nothing to do with clothing, makeup, jewelry or classic "good looks". Human beings come in many shapes, sizes, colors, and orientations.  It is the uniqueness, variety, differences and core sameness that makes us each a person and a member of the human race.

The Perfect Shell

I found the most beautiful, perfectly formed, visually flawless shell.  It had a sleek, voluptuous, curved, multicolored form that glistened in the sun through the clear water.  I was so excited about finding this masterpiece of the ocean.

The only problem was the dark brown living inhabitant who had created his perfect home, and remained nestled in the folds of the shell. I know that this creature was a very small particle in the ocean but he was alive and deserved to live. I was very sad when I tossed my oceanic prize back into the ocean. I had acheived a feeling of elation when I found the shell and a sense of being a part of a magnificient universe where beauty is created daily.  I have the memory of this particular gift of nature from God. Something small that allowed me to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us in every part of our lives.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Do all things with love

Saint Mother Theresa was an example of what one person can accomplish in the world with faith and love.  Many of us will never have the opportunity to reach large numbers of people in our lives. However, we all have chances to make a difference in the lives of those we encounter each day. One way is to remember that all things done with love can have a huge, positive impact.  A smile can make the day brighter for family, friends, strangers, co-workers and enemies  Active listening to the concerns of others may be the most important part of your day. Forgiveness creates hope.

Gifts of the heart and soul don't cost money--just time, love and empathy.  

I love my baby but I need help

I have empathy for mothers who experience an unplanned pregnance.  A planned pregnancy is hard enough to deal with financially, emotionally and psychologically without the stress of being thrown out of your home. Some women have been raped, have a boyfriend, sexual partner or husband putting pressure on them to "have an abortion or get rid of it". Life is difficult when your body is changing, emotions are fluctuating, psychologically you are abandoned by family, friends, clergy and you are now responsible for another human being.  Where will you live, how will you finish school and work enough to pay for a proper diet, how will you finance medical care, how can you care for an infant when you are having financial problems now?  Everyone tells you different things. "Have an abortion, don't have an abortion, you will never have a future, a baby is wonderful and you will have someone to love you, babies are crying, burping, screaming, pooping and eating disasters, etc."

Most woman love their unborn child. They are overwhelmed and confused.  No one tells this mother that an abortion will remain in her heart and soul for the rest of her life.  She may cry every year at the anticipated due date for the baby who will never be born.  The process of the the procedures for both the baby and the mother can produce guilt, anxiety and future health issues for mothers, fathers, grandparents, healthcare workers and society.  It is not the easy out that many mothers anticipate.  Fathers who have not been consulted may experience extreme sadness and grief at the loss of a part of themselves. Potential adoptive families cry because they want a family and can't have their own baby for one reason or another. The baby needs to be wanted instead of discarded.  

Limiting abortion clinics is not the cure for this dilemma. It takes a "village to raise a child" is a popular concept.  It takes a society to help to "birth a child".  Mothers with an unplanned pregnancy many times want to have the baby live. They need a support system of their families, friends, church members, government programs, society, and significant others to help them to have a healthy child. If mothers had help with emotional and psychological problems, an income, a place to live, medical care and educational opportunities, counseling and options for the future life of their baby, they would not need an abortion.  We have to give pregnant moms viable options to create a healthy life.  It is not just the pregnant mother's responsibility.  It is not the responsibility of the president or laws.  It is the responsibility of all of us to make abortion a low choice and all of us love the babies!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016


This is a poem I have saved for years.

I dreamt death came the other night
And Heaven's gate opened wide.
An Angel with a halo bright

And there to my astonishment
Stood folks I'd judged and labeled
As "quite unfit" of "little worth"
and "spiritually disabled."

Indignant words rose to my lips
but never were set free
For every face showed stunned surprise,
Not one expected me.
                                     Lulu Williams
                                      Age 107

It is very easy to judge.  It is much harder to take time to see beyond the facade of makeup, clothing, attitude, race, economic status, country of origin, sexual orientation, religion, and social standing to find the unique person that is loved and valued by God.  He is the only and final judge.  Who am I to cast the first stone?  Love, acceptance, compromise and respect are the keys to peace and prosperity.

The Horse Who Cared

I was on a plane and met a gentleman,"John", in a seat across from mine. We were sharing about our families and I showed him my book.  The stories prompted him to divulge a story of his own.

John's daughter, "Marissa" owned four show horses and would ride them in competition throughout the United States.  Marissa knew a woman who had a therapeutic riding stable.  One day, a gentleman came who was extremely disabled due to depression.  He would not commumicate with anyone except the horse he was assigned to.  Often he would cry in despair.  On this particular day, the man dismounted from his horse and sat on the ground as he sobbed into his hands.  The horse laid down next to him and layed his head in the man's lap as the man's tears flowed uncontrollably.

This man received a gift from God through one of his creatures.  The gift of unconditional love, compassion and active listening.  If a horse can give this act of mercy, how much more can we give as one person to another?  We can't save the world, but we can be present for those around us.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Lack of trust

There is a significant lack of trust in our current society, politics and world. There are many who rely on scams to make their living.  Politicians find it extremely difficult to tell the truth because it becomes quickly misconstrued or because telling the truth is not politically acceptable.  We are conditioned to expect that everyone we meet wants something from us.

 I was speaking with a friend of mine about global warming.  We agreed to disagree because neither one of us were able to sort out the lies and discrepancies with the supposed scientific data.  Science reports data obtained with factual studies of the environment.  Individuals who report the data can skew the test results by "interpreting" in misleading ways to make their viewpoint believable.  Unfortunately this confusion  causes decision-making to be flawed.

 We are making decisions now for a world to become occupied by our children and grandchildren.  Are we making prudent choices or are we opting to take the easy way and maintain status quo?  Common sense can make some global warning issues seem eventful as we have more storms, flooding, and loss of life and livelihood.  We have the ability to think outside the box to find solutions before we destroy our world and way of life.  We are creative and intelligent.  We just have to learn to face life's challenges with honesty, integrity and ingenuity.  We can solve the problems of the world if we work together.  Maybe that will only happen when the whole world is collapsing and we are forced to unite.  That is sad and unfortunate as we should be able to do that before we have a huge crisis.  Let us get our heads out of the sand and into the light of reality.  Do we keep rebuilding in flooded areas over and over again because we are not facing the actual facts?  Do we keep doing nothing with the same results?  Or do we find a way to work together to create a safe, beautiful and functioning world where families can have sufficient and safe water and  food supplies, homes and meaningful jobs.  Let us use our combined, creative intelligence to think tank ourselves into a prosperous future!

2 important days in your life

The two most important days of your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.  Mark Twain

It is often difficult to figure out why we are here and what are we supposed to do or become?  I think most of us are called to do the ordinary but do it in an extraordinary way.  Life does not have the tendency to be exciting and significant every moment we are alive.  We do, however, have the opportunity to make a positive difference for those around us.  We share our love, talents, happiness, sadness, integrity, and encouragement every moment we are awake.  We are just not aware of how far-reaching our efforts can be just by being the best of ourselves.  What we are supposed to do and become will evolve as we open ourselves up to change, opportunities for education and training, taking risks, trying new things, thinking outside the box and just doing the best we can at that moment.  Donating our time, experience and encouragement doesn't cost us anything and can reap huge rewards.  Money doesn't solve our problems.  It can make life easier or harder.  Ask people who won the lottery if money creates happiness and contentment.  Giving to others can increase our own enjoyment for living and give us a purpose for our life. Walking in the shoes of another person may just involve taking time to listen and observe.  When we look back on our lives, we can often see the journey was long but was made with small steps each day.  Life is what we make of it and our joy grows as we begin making a positive difference in the lives of others. Money and things are only tools we use to make special things happen for others.  I hope you can discover why you are here and your wonderful purpose!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Caregiving hero

Recently a family member died with hospice care at home.  He had been ill for many years but had the most wonderful caregiver.  His wife, Sandy, was with him for 50 years as his helpmate and lover. She was always willing to be available for encouragement, physical and emotional needs and supported him in his dreams, sometimes at the expense of her own.

As his illness progressed over 10 years, he required more and more care and eventually was unable to assist with any of his own care. Sandy unselfishly became his caregiver 24 hours a day, sometimes to the detriment of her own health.  She did all of this with a gentle, loving touch and with a deep faith.

When her husband died, Sandy was very sad because she was the only relative who was not crying. She felt relief that her husband was no longer suffering.  She could not understand why she had no tears, since she had been crying frequently in the last years and especially in the recent weeks.  She thought there was something wrong with her.  She was experiencing anticipatory grief with her grieving spaced out over the years as her husband's mind and body deteriorated.  Her worst sadness was the loss of the ability to converse with him. She lost the person she married years before the death of his body.  She had already grieved the death of his personality.

Sandy thought there was something wrong with her, that she didn't love her husband enough.  In fact, she did everything right and was the best wife, caregiver and friend her husband could have had.  She exemplified the beauty and dignity of a true marriage based on faith and love.  She just did her grieving slowly and steadily over the course of her husband's illness.  She was truly exhausted and could not have maintained her role as primary caregiver indefinitely.  She was relieved for him as well as for herself.  I have the greatest respect for the many caregiver heroes there are in this world. Thank you!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Clean Energy

The article in the Dayton Daily News states,"Ohio one state that's still in the dark on clean energy." There is much controversy in Ohio about coal mining.  On the surface, it creates jobs; however it pollutes the air and water, it causes Black Lung Disease in workers, it is a dirty, dangerous job that makes a person work underground without sunlight, and it makes money for owners of the coal industry and poverty for the workers and their families.  If we get rid of coal as a source of energy, we will be forced to find other clean energy sources, find workers to train to meet the needs of wind, solar and other forms of clean energy, and provide education.  Creating incentives for the state to improve in these areas might depend on deregulating the electricity industry.

If coal mining is unsafe, unhealthy, pollutes the air and environment and is an inefficient source of unsustainable energy, then why should we continue to allow industry to continue to pollute our world simply for the sake of their own profit? We all need to work together to create safe and healthy jobs, keep our environment safe for our grandchildren, and provide wages to sustain families and workers.

We need to look to the future and realize that our world cannot continue to survive the current direction of destroying it by our own greediness and poor environmental choices.  Fertilizer, chemicals and poor farming practices are polluting our water.  All of the living elements of our world require water to live.  We have to make laws to protect our world before it is too late.  We are leaving huge environmental discord for our grandchildren and our descendants.  We need politicians who use common sense and think "outside the box."  Lawmakers with integrity, foresight, ingenuity, and courage to make the tough decisions for the good of the people. We need informed voters who will choose to keep our world beautiful, safe and clean.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Beauty Is Only Skin Deep

I remember going to a very poor section of the city to see a hospice patient for the first time. The neighborhood had many rundown and abandoned houses and the area was littered with trash and refuse.  The house she lived in listed to the side, the gutters hung crazily from the roof and the siding was old, damaged and unpainted.

I was so surprised when I entered her small apartment.  It was beautifully decorated with brightly painted walls, framed pictures, freshly washed and ironed curtains, colorful handmade rugs, and cheerful light streamed through the clear window panes.  It was an oasis in a chaotic world. It was a very special home to a lovely lady with a gaunt, pale, sunken, lined face, thin, wispy hair, who had overcome many obstacles in her life and her face radiated with a wide, peaceful smile.

It reminded me of the phrase, "beauty is only skin deep." This older woman, with her wrinkled skin and huge, welcoming smile was truly beautiful as her loving heart shined brightly.  Her home echoed her fondness for the finer side of life as she endeavored to make the most of the opportunities she had.

In our society, we often value the beauty that comes from makeup, designer clothes, expensive homes, and appearances.  True beauty reigns in the soul and glows from the inner glory of love, compassion, hope and joy. She had a very captivating, courageous spirit that was inspiring and stunning as she faced death.

We Can't Hide From God

Evil doesn't have the final word.  Evil does happen and often it can go unpunished and undetected by us as human beings. Examples are hit and run situations, familial abuse, terrorists, people in authority who take advantage of their power, financial and computer wizards who hack into systems and steal information or sabotage, rapists, killers, etc.  It is so frustrating to realize that these evil-doers are seemingly "getting by" with their crimes.  However, no one can hide from God or his justice.  We will all die at some point and will have to face divine justice for what we have done to others, either good or evil.  We also have to live with our hurting soul after we have harmed ourselves or others.

Humanity may not have the ability to find and punish those who hurt others.  God's justice will reign and he will intercede for the weak, abused, and terrorized who continue to have the power of a God who can make things right. God is love.  Hate is the absence of love and ultimately the rejection of God. God and his justice will level the playing field.  He knows our hearts and can forgive but he will also protect the innocent and be their champion.

We can not hide from God or from ourselves.  The only way to combat evil is to smother it with love and forgiveness.  Whenever there is a disaster, the good people of the world can and do work together to make a difference in many lives.  We have the power to overcome evil by taking a stand and helping the people we know about who need assistance. We are the world to those who are the recipients of our love and our caring actions.  Let us make this a world of love.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

You Are What You Do

You Are What You Do is the title of an article by Tom Archdeacon in the Dayton Daily News Sports section.  It is a quote from the Rev. J.D. Grigsby, a former University of Dayton basketball player in the 1970's to sum up his philosophy of life.  Rev. Grigsby, believes that if you love the Lord, you will want to make a difference in the world. He put his philosophy into action.

Rev. Grigsby uses his skills and faith to help individuals and groups deal with the grief of catastrophic events such as Ground Zero workers, and recent killings of both white and black people in racially charged incidents. Grigsby, who is black, brings love and understanding to the concept that all lives matter as people.

His quote from the bible. 1 John 4:7,  "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God."

If we can begin to realize that we are all people, with imperfections but with incomprehensible possibilities, we can then begin to support and protect each other.  We need each other.  We need to promote the well-being of all countries and unite the world in peace for survival.  God loves us all.

Friday, July 22, 2016

A Courageous Friend

A friend of mine that I knew for many years died recently.  She was a wonderful mother, wife, teacher and friend.  She fought a long battle for many years with breast cancer.  She had many rounds of chemotherapy, radiation, treatments, and remissions.  At first she was afraid of losing her life, leaving her family and friends, and the unknown.  She faced her fear with courage and faith. When she died she was peaceful and looking ahead. I am always amazed at the depth of the human spirit when life brings challenges such as illness, death of loved ones, cruelty, abuse, war, pain, suffering, and injustice.

Is our house and security built on rocks or sand? Do we have a solid foundation to depend on when life gets rough?  My beautiful friend had her faith, her family and her courage.  It was enough for her to endure cancer for 12- 13 years.

I have two friends who are grandparents of young children diagnosed with brain tumors.  Children are our hope and our future.  It doesn't seem fair that they have to suffer and die before they have a chance to experience life. They are incredibly resilient as they endure treatments, pain and physical decline.  At the same time, their spirituality grows by leaps and bounds.  Children are open to love, God, family and the hope of heaven.  We need to adopt the faith of children and remember to build our lives on a firm base.  Life is what we make it with the time we have.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Illusion of Control

I was talking to an older gentleman today (80's) and he was telling me that he was finally discovering what his life was about.  He said he had spent most of his life feeling that he had to be "in control" of everything to be able to get through each day.  As life happened to him, he struggled to maintain control but was constantly experiencing anxiety.  As he grasped for the power to control even small things, he was overwhelmed with the unexpected and unplanned.

"I have discovered that I had to give control of my life to God."  He reports that it is extremely difficult to do but it has been very advantageous.  "I am so much happier and more peaceful than I was even 10 years ago."  He reports simply, "My job is to love others as I love God and myself." He finds that work to be very demanding and challenging.  Since he no longer needs to be in control, he just takes one day at a time and "lets God handle the rest."  He is much better prepared now to handle the unexpected, including death, illness and sadness as well as happiness, success and joy.  "Life is too short to deal with stress, anxiety and depression," he states with a big smile.  

Who is my neighbor?

The news has been filled with stories about people have lost their lives due to confrontations with or against police.  There are many issues that are apparent including race. control, bigotry, power vs. powerlessness, poverty, distrust, weapons, anger. fear. prejudice, profiling, courage, cowardice, and justice.

I have known many people who boldly admit to prejudice but have "exceptions" to the rule. If they are racist about black people, they usually have an individual black person who is "different" that they respect and like.  What makes the difference?  Many people judge others for skin color, sexual orientation, educational status, financial status, living conditions, immigration or any other possible reason.  It is easy to form a superficial opinion about someone we don't know or someone we fear. Prejudice loses its power when we get to meet people on a one on one basis and become knowledgeable about their lives.  We are all more alike than we are different.  After we get to know others, the fear gradually fades away and trust can develop.

Many of those who have been killed through violence, are just innocent bystanders at the wrong place at the wrong time.  Others are killed simply because of prejudice.  Others die because they have committed a crime and are endangering themselves, family or the public.

If we, as a society, can create opportunities for dialog, interaction, education, compassion, and understanding, we can begin to break down the walls of prejudice and create peaceful interactions. Violence only breeds more violence. Forgiveness and love. with God's help, can change the world. It is necessary to try to make living easier for all of us because we are all dependent on each other environmentally, economically, emotionally and psychologically.  We can change the world by accepting and loving one person at a time. We can help those we know about to achieve life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  We can pray for peace and for the victims of violence.

Sunday, July 3, 2016


Independence Day is a very important holiday for us to remember.  We were once a land of immigrants who came to establish a new country to escape religious, ethnic, civil and political persecution, war. bigotry, unfair taxation, starvation, and to establish a free haven.  We had to fight a war against England to promote "All men are created equal."  Later we fought another war to remind ourselves that all individuals: men, women, children, all nationalities, all faiths: ALL are created equally. Our men and women in the military continuously fight to maintain and protect this freedom. It is nothing to be treated lightly. Independence doesn't mean independence from responsibility, It is a call to a higher morality to inspire us to become better people one-on-one and as a country. Our goal is to be an honorable example of compassion, hope and equality.  It is not an easy path.  It is "one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all."  

It is important to remember that God was a part of our country from its beginnings.  We need to find our roots and maintain our compassion, common sense, and honor as we use our freedom to vote for leadership.  

Freedom has its life in the hearts,
the actions, the spirit of men and so 
it must be daily earned and refreshed-
else like a flower cut from its life-giving
roots, it will wither and die.

-Dwight D. Eisenhower

Monday, June 27, 2016

Horror Movies

I am always amazed at the number of horror movies that strive to produce the ultimate fear for the audience.  It is sad to me that we are not publicizing the greatest fear of all.  Imagine having a family and watching them blown up in a war, starve slowly to death in front of you, die of preventable disease, die of dehydration because of a lack of water supply, see your wife and daughters raped repeatedly, watch your family or loved ones die because they have nowhere safe to live, watch babies, children and elderly drown as you try to escape a war-town county, and spending your life in crowded, unsanitary and unstable conditions. These things happen daily to immigrants.  It will take cooperation of the world to begin to try to solve these issues. Pretending immigrants do not exist is only a temporary fix.  We know in our hearts that these people are real and they are suffering.  There are no simple answers.  If we don't deal with it at all, there will be no answers.

I challenge movie producers to make movies about real horrors and expose the secret plight of our neighbors. Help us to find our compassion, empathy and collective conscience to begin to make strides in the war against poverty, ignorance, hunger, suffering, pain, prejudice, crime, and evil.  I fear more the lack of soul that is being replaced with greed and selfishness.  We have an opportunity to step up to the plate and make a difference in many lives.  We can become proud of who we are.  We can begin to heal as a country.

Following Your Conscience

Politics is a very hot and controversial topic for all of us.  Unfortunately, the upcoming elections have many issues that are difficult to navigate.  I want to applaud the individuals of both parties who have the courage to think for themselves and refuse to blindly follow party positions.  These elected officials are willing to go against the mainstream of endorsements that are politically and monetarily motivated in order to govern according to the dictates of their morality and conscience.  I believe that we are all ultimately responsible for protecting the rights of all constituents regardless of their beliefs, sexual orientation, faith, social standing, economic status, race, education, or country of origin.   A strong society is generous, kind, compassionate and willing to help the weak or marginalized members.  When we die, the party members will not be with us to pay or direct our way to eternity. We will be on our own with only our conscience and our lifetime of service to "buy" our way into heaven.  Those in leadership have a greater duty to make the morally right decisions because of the tremendous effects on large populations of people including, elderly, children, disabled, ill, and disfranchised society members.

Life is not a game to be played,  Our decisions have a direct effect. positively or negatively, on others in our lives, country and world.  What our politicians, courts, and laws decide can cause many repercussions to individuals, families, groups that have far-reaching consequences.  Life does not go on indefinitely.  We will die and we will have to answer for our actions.  We need to make decisions based on respect and dignity for others.  We need to choose leaders who can provide true leadership in our country and ultimately the world.  We are not isolated with all of the media, international investments, commerce, travel and weather disasters.  We can no longer avoid our world-wide responsibilities. I hope that each vote in the coming elections reflects the true conscience of the voter. Votes must not be based on fear, anger, prejudice, selfishness, isolationism or retaliation.  Instead, we need to remember to choose what is best for our country and ultimately for our place in the world.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


Quote from Maya Angelou:
"Love recognizes no barriers.  It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope."

Love is the absence of hate.  Love is the antidote for hate. Love can change history.  Love can heal and unite.  Love can conquer evil.  Love can give us hope.

There is more love in the world than there is evil.  Fear makes us forget to love because we are afraid.  What are we afraid of?  If we lose love, we lose ourselves, our humanity, our compassion, our creativity, our forgiveness, our hope, our future. We become slaves to fear and retreat from life.  Let us confront our fears.  Let us take each fear and face it.  Once we look fear in the eye, we will often find that what we fear is not so scary.  It is, in fact, just something we don't understand.  If the fear is real, being afraid will not make it go away.  There is no answer to hate and fear other than love and forgiveness. Prayer and faith can give us the courage to embrace love and change our world.  Love will always conquer evil and give us hope.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Surrogate Fathers

There are many men who are not honored on Father's Day who are not biological or officially adoptive fathers.  These are the men who mentor children who do not have actively involved fathers but who still need father-figures in their lives.  Some fathers are deceased, of unknown origin, in prison, involved with a second family, are divorced and not in touch, are ill, are drug-addicted, are distant emotionally, are abusive, are in the service, are legally unable to be available to their children or are not psychologically open to children. That leaves many children without the example, support and love of a father.  Always God the father is available!

 Fortunately, there are compassionate men who step up to the plate to fill the gaps for children who they know.  They may be step-fathers, extended family, coaches, neighbors, friends, grandfathers, teachers, police officers, older siblings, mentors, employers, Big Brothers (from a program), ministers, priests, rabbis, leaders or members of any churches, synagogues, mosques, (any religious communities), boys and girls clubs, foster fathers, and all surrogate fathers who create a safe place for biologically unrelated children to be loved and protected by a father. I think of the men who volunteer time to perform surgery for children with cleft palate or other disfiguring or incapacitating diseases/deformities, who share family time with non-biological children who need father-time, individuals who salvage the good in children who have been abused/neglected and create an atmosphere for them to grow and flourish, those who provide the example of what a father is just by living their lives with love and acceptance.

I salute all of you who make a difference every day for children who need and want a father.  I thank you for your contributions to the lives of children who need you. Thank you for being the arms of God reaching out with love and caring!

A Father's Prayer

This was listed in my bulletin as "A Father's Prayer"

One night a father overheard his son pray, "Dear God, make me the kind of man my daddy is."

Later that night, the father prayed, "Dear God, make me the kind of man my son wants me to be."

Our children learn by example.  It is not enough to tell your child, "Do what I say, not what I do."
Good fathers, who are not perfect and make mistakes, know that they are the example of how to live your life.  Fathers have the responsibility to become the best man they can become.  They show how to love, support and forgive the mother of their children even if they are deceased, divorced, in prison, or unavailable to their children.  They live their marriage vows by placing the needs of God, their wife and their children above all else.  They value family over the acquisition of money, status, power, infidelity, deception, and fame.  They live with a strong value system and teach their family about faith, honor, honesty, loyalty, forgiveness, generosity, compassion, patriotism, and hope by the way they live their lives each and every day.

A great father tells his family frequently, "I love you."  When necessary he has the humility to say, "I'm sorry, I made a mistake."  He will then demonstrate how to make it right.  He knows how to be a partner to share responsibilities, chores, money, possessions and decision-making.  He shows how to be compassionate, accepting of the differences of others, and is open to dialog with caring, listening skills.  He is the man who is loved and respected by family, co-workers, neighbors, friends, community, and country.  A great father is great just by who he is. I thank God that we have many great fathers and have many who aspire to be great fathers.

Monday, June 6, 2016

New Life

I recently was privileged to meet my latest granddaughter and visit with my son, daughter-in-law, and their other children.  I can't put into words the joy and love I felt holding this beautiful human being who was created in approximately nine months. How amazing that this process occurs in the cocoon of the uterus and she was nestled inside her mother.  She is a part of her mother and her father and carries genes from generations of the past.  She is a gift from God and loved by her earth family.

She is only loaned to us as she lives her life on this earth.  Her future is stretched before her with uncertainty, joy, sorrow, unbridled possibilities, faith, hope, love, peace, strife, pain, and excitement.  She is the future of the world because she and all of the other children of the world can make positive and creative solutions to life's challenges as they emerge into adulthood. It is important to nurture and protect these tiny but powerful individuals as they make their mark on the world.

Babies are the hope of our lives and our world.  Each one is special and unique. Each one has unlimited potential. Each and every baby deserves to be loved, protected and encouraged. Babies, children, teens and young adults are challenging but amazing and keep us open to possibilities! They are truly a gift from God.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Veterans and Families

I have never been a veteran.  I have no idea what a veteran and his or her family have to cope with on a daily basis.  I do know that I appreciate everything they do to keep us safe and able to go on with our daily lives.  I also thank veteran's family members who have to deal with moving constantly, worry about the health and safety of the veteran family member or members.

I was talking to the wife of a veteran.  She has a business working out of her home because it was a portable job that she could do wherever her husband was stationed.  She made the best of her situation because it was difficult to find a job whenever the family was reassigned to a different part of the country or out of the country.  She was almost apologizing because she didn't have a more established profession.  I could only applaud her ingenuity as she coped with the many moves her family had endured to remain with her husband.

Another veteran talked about missing his older child when his ex-wife went to court while he was out of the country to change custody.  He was forced to pay child support but could not see his son because she told the judge this veteran had post-traumatic stress disorder and she was afraid of his inability to parent his son.  He did not have that diagnosis.  Regardless, he lost all rights to see his son while he was defending his country.

I have met veterans who have the burden of post-traumatic stress disorder and have many years of treatment to try to cope with the horrors of war. The family members also have to cope with the effects of this mind altering trauma. Other veterans are in therapy for physical injury, loss of limbs or vision, loss of coordination or brain trauma.

Veterans are survivors.  Their family members are survivors.  They are all heroes. Thank you for everything you have done for us! You are loved!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Team effort

I became aware of a church member who had broken teeth from a recent fall.  She is in her 70's and was unable to to eat or chew properly.  When we checked about getting help for her dental work, we discovered that she was living in an unsafe, unsanitary environment with few furnishings, no curtains and no one to help her.  She was living in an apartment with 20 steep stairs to the apartment and 40 steep stairs to the shared basement with the washer and dryer.

Church members assisted in setting up appointments with low income dental care and paid for the repairs.  Church members found her a low income senior facility with a an apartment on one floor with a large kitchen, walk-in shower, and other seniors to visit with.

Several things happened to make it possible for this person to move ASAP to this beautiful facility.

Individuals helped to organize paperwork, assisted her to visit her doctor to get a prescription stating she needed to find a home without steps for safety, contact the facility, arrange for all necessary paperwork to be given to the facility.  The facility gave her a tour, placed her on a list for emergency housing, and church members were notified of the need for additional furnishings so that she could eventually move in.

A resident at the facility moved to an assisted living and her family decided to leave a bed and bedding, table and chairs, all kitchen utensils, microwave, towels, phones, book cases, curtains, etc. for the new resident.  The church members donated other furnishings, helped to pick up donations, take them to the apartment and set everything up for her.  Some money was donated to help with initial expenses.

I can tell you, I have never seen anyone so excited about her new home and her new life!  She kept saying, "It feels like Christmas!"  She has become a new person with a new lease on life.  She has found old and new friends and feels that God wanted her to be in this safe and comforting home.

We can't help everyone but we can help the ones we know about!  One person can't achieve much but a team of people with God's help can accomplish miracles.  Look for miracles you can perform! We all have special gifts to share to make a difference in someone's life!

Friday, May 6, 2016

The Bible

There was a recent controversy about whether to include a bible with an exhibit representing American soldiers.  I was never a soldier but I can imagine that many soldiers carried bibles or books of their own faith.  I can't imagine a soldier who wouldn't be anxious or worried about losing his or her life, limbs or acquiring permanent injuries in the course of a war.  Faith is a wonderful comfort in any stressful situation.  I think it would be appropriate to include many books of faith in the exhibit as there are soldiers of many faiths.  I would rather see inclusion of these faith books, rather than to take away the bible and leave no reference to God.  God is worshiped all over the world and prayers are universal, especially for anyone in a dangerous and unpredictable environment. I'm sure that God heard many prayers from our soldiers!

Happy Mother's Day!

I salute all mothers who have given the world a child, whether the child is biological, adopted, assimilated into a family, someone "adopted" through love, someone who has been an unheralded support system or someone who is just special to a child. True mothers are individuals who exhibit unconditional love, who exemplify how to live with morals, empathy, compassion, and unselfishness. There are many mothers who are unrecognized, unheralded, quiet, behind the scenes champions of their children each and every day no matter how young or old their children are.  They place the needs of the child first even though it may involve tough parenting decisions.  Sometimes they hurt more than the child when discipline is involved. Mothers do what they think is best out of love and respect for the child. They want their child to know they are loved while the child is expected to be responsible, caring, respectful and obedient.  It is a difficult and thankless job, at times. to be a mother. At the same time, it is one of the most fulfilling jobs in the world, because mothers help to nurture the most wonderful human beings who may grow up to be fantastic mothers, fathers or adults.  Mothers are everyday heroes.  I am reminded of Mary, the mother of Jesus, who gives us the example of unconditional love. Being a mother is a very special responsibility that will impact a child for the rest of his or her life!  Mothers make a difference!  I am so proud of all of you who make the world a secure and happy place for a child even under very difficult circumstances.  Life is not easy but a mother makes an easy life!  Have a wonderful mother's day!

Monday, April 25, 2016


I was recently at a water aerobics class and we were asked to swim to the side of the pool to get our weights.  I reached for mine and for another set of weights that were close to mine.  I asked who they belonged to and handed them to a gentleman class member.  He frowned slightly and stated, "I don't want to owe anyone."  I was a little surprised as I did not know who they belonged to but wanted to get them for someone else to save them some time and effort.  I was sad because this individual did not know how to accept a kindness graciously.

There was a quote I read from a church sign.  "Kindness is difficult to give away because it keeps coming back!  Two opposite viewpoints about kindness to think about!  I believe I would err to the side of kindness because it is free, offered from the heart and makes us feel good inside.  I remember one time I had given a neighbor a crib for her grandchildren that I no longer needed.  About 10 years later, I was going to have my first grandchild.  I heard a knock at the door and my neighbors were returning the crib to me with a new mattress because they no longer needed it.  At the time, I was laid off my job and had no money to buy one.  I had never asked for them to return it.  Now I needed it and it was in better condition than when I gave it to them.  I was so happy because I did not have to store it for 10 years and now I could use it for my granddaughter.  What a blessing!  Kindness always pays off when we give it time.  God's time, not ours.  Kindness is God's blessing reaching out to us throughout our day and our life.  Let us begin to prioritize being kind to others and just watch the blessings flow back to us!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Living Example of Faith

I have seen several versions of this thought. "Your deeds and example are the only sermon some people hear."  Another book stated, "Sometimes the only bible people read is your life."  This idea helps us realize that the best way to share your faith is to live it.  Many people of many faiths talk, preach, evangelize and promote their faith using media, churches, sermons, sales of books and pamphlets, door to door encounters, theatrics, and confrontation.  Others silently follow their own heart and beliefs and quietly live their lives with integrity, compassion, courage, and dignity.  They refuse to compromise because of donations, power, superiority, political correctness, or out of fear of criticism.  God and love of their "neighbor" (other human beings of any faith, culture, sexual orientation, country, economic level, skin color, disability, political party, etc) take the forefront in their decisions on how to behave.  The example of courtesy, kindness, forgiveness, active listening, honesty, fairness, compromise, and inclusion create an atmosphere of trust and acceptance.  Some people have lost their lives because of this focus on living faith rather than verbalizing faith without action and conviction.  God loves us unconditionally.  It is difficult for us to love others unconditionally but it is one of the most awesome ways to promote faith in God and bring hope to a world torn by anger, denial, vindictiveness, fear, war, gangs, suffering, hunger, pain which are all evidenced by the absence of love.  Love is the only answer to give the world hope.  Love with action is powerful.  With the help of God, anything is possible!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Today is the first day of the rest of your life!

I was visiting with friends who have become entrenched with dieting.  They have exercise monitors, diet guidelines, look up all foods for calorie content and worry about everything they eat.  It was very frustrating for them to find they were not losing weight at all or very slowly.  Due to disappointment, they decided to splurge and worry about dieting "next week."  I can relate as I am trying to lose weight also.

Many times we have lofty expectations for ourselves and when the bar is extremely high, it is often impossible to achieve our goals.  Sometimes we have to accept our limitations, regroup and begin again with more attainable goals.  Today we can start with being less judgmental of ourselves and others and step forward to stop eating excessively,  stop smoking or using addictive drugs, stop complaining and finding fault with ourselves and others, stop procrastination, stop excessive spending and shopping, stop gambling, stop hurting others with gossip, stop avoiding our lives.  We can identify the addictions of others easily but it is more difficult to find our own.

Today, with God's help, support of our family and friends, church members, support systems, and our own inner resources, we can make today the first day of the rest of our lives!  We just have to fight ourselves, our egos, our pride and our low self esteem.  Today is the day to move forward, one step at a time, with courage and patience! There is nothing stopping us from winning the battle to become who we want to be!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

One Person

Quote by Brandi Snyder:

To the world you may be one person but to one person you may be the world.

When we as human beings are in trouble and need help, it may be one person who comes to our aid.  To us, that person is the world to us because of their kindness, compassion and willingness to help.  If we all had to walk in the shoes of the person who is a refugee, someone who is homeless and has nothing to eat or feed their family members, a war prisoner who is being tortured, individuals with no access to water, people who are suffering pain, or those who are dying.  "But for the grace of God, go I."  Why am I privileged to be comfortable and have adequate resources for my life? Our lives can change in an instant, with no warning.  We can lose someone we love by death, lose our job, our home and our world as we know it in the blink of an eye.  There is no guarantee. the kindness we do for others will come around and someone will be compassionate to us.  Let us be the first one to reach out and care what happens to those we come in contact with.  We don't have to "save the world."  We can make a difference for those we know are hurting. We are only one person. To the person who needs us, we are the the representative of the world.  We can empower each other to become a better person.

Power of Love

I recently saw a bumper sticker:

When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will find peace.

 A very simple statement with so much wisdom.  I think about the political debates and world issues.  It comes down to the difference between love and greed/power.  If we can reach in our hearts and find love and acceptance of each other, we can make decisions based on love rather than power and dominion over others.  The world is growing smaller with technology and limited resources.  We are all in the world and need each other if we are all going to be able to survive.  We need peaceful means to preserve our world by reducing pollution, waste, landfills, global warming, wars that take away needed resources for creative and sustainable endeavors, disease, and marginalized communities.  We can begin to collaborate to solve world-wide issues such as renewable energy, adequate food and water for all, jobs, housing, education, medical advances, safety of our environment, peace, and provide hope.  We have the resources and need to share them with each other.  There is no room for hate and greed, selfishness and prejudice. Anger is the absence of love.  Love can not co-exist with hate.  With forgiveness and tolerance, we can begin to move forward to make this world a beautiful, safe and satisfying experience for each person.  Life is so brief but we have the opportunity to make a difference.  Choose love not hate.  Peace instead of war.  Do the right thing because it is the right thing to do!  With God all things are possible!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

voting with hope

I pray today that voters will choose candidates who will rise to the occasion and become true leaders with compassion, courage, honesty, honor, and diplomacy.  It would be very sad to have a leader who promotes negativity, selfishness, anger, vindictiveness, prejudice, vulgarity and dishonors our country.  We have a responsibility to elect representatives who bring us back to our roots to promote peace, respect for all, freedom of beliefs, rights to peace and happiness, and safety from prejudice and terror.  Life is never perfect but in our country we can reach to the stars and have hope for the future.
We are a country founded on faith and a belief in the integrity of the individual and the country.  We can't be bought by empty promises, money and rhetoric. We can be proud and proactive.  Your vote counts!  Your life and the lives of the world count.  We are all human beings with the same basic needs and wants.  If we help each other, we can make this a better world.  Voting is powerful if we use it wisely.  I pray that God helps us in our choices.  I have a belief in the overall goodness in all of us.  Lets find it today and fight the good fight of love triumphing over evil and negativity!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Heroes, inspiration for the world

It is always fun and interesting to ask children who their heroes are.  Sometimes they choose rock stars, movie stars, presidents, and other well known people.  Some children name their parents or grandparents as their heroes.  I have had the privilege to work with many people who are heroes simply because they didn't give up or run away when the going got tough.  It is much easier to run away from responsibilities by using drugs, drinking alcoholic beverages excessively, by hiding from life by withdrawing mentally and refusing to do day-to-day routine tasks or consider suicide. It is much harder to face life crisis head on and to figure out how to make life better and easier for yourself and others.

Many of us face death of spouses, parents, children and friends and yet have to continue on with our jobs, our roles as parents, community members, church members, friends and caregivers.  We face job losses or job stress, illnesses, pain, financial crisis, divorce, loss of homes to disasters or fire, war, gangs, violence, hatred and indifference.  We face huge obstacles when we look the the future and begin the long journey of an education while we are family members and working.  The heroes pick up the pieces and take one day at a time as they gather the courage to live.  They learn to take adversity and make it into opportunity,  When we can learn from our mistakes and press forward, we become a symbol of hope and an example of how to overcome negativity. True heroes are invincible with God's help and the love of  family, neighbors and friends.  True heroes make a positive difference with honesty and conviction!

"When the going gets tough, the tough get going!"  The everyday heroes provide the true inspiration for the world.

I hope to be the kind of person my dog thinks I am

This was listed as an Animal Truism in my church bulletin.  I remember a recent sick joke I heard. "A man put his wife and his dog in his trunk. Who do you think loved him when he let them out an hour later?"  A dog loves unconditionally and with loyalty if he or she is treated well.  When we are loved unconditionally, it should make us want to reciprocate by loving others unconditionally. It is very difficult to leave our judgmental attitudes behind and replace it with forgiveness and acceptance.  If a dog can do it, it must be possible for humans to achieve this simple faith and devotion.

All of us make mistakes and none of us are perfect.  It is a special gift to receive and give unconditional love.  Another dog truism--"Don't accept your dog's admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful!"  We don't have to be wonderful to receive unconditional love.  It should be our goal to be the best that we can be.  God loves us unconditionally and forgives us when we are not wonderful, just human.  He is always there for us to support and love us no matter what happens.  We are never alone.  God loves all of his people in the world.  God asks us to love Him and love our neighbors as we love ourselves.  We are all neighbors to each other.  When we stop condemning and start loving, appreciating and accepting each other, the world will be a kinder and welcoming place.  Each of us has to try to be "the kind of person my dog thinks I am."

My dog rejects daylight savings

I have a visiting dog who does not recognize the need for daylight savings,  She refused to get out of bed an hour early no matter what time the clock registered.  She refused to go outdoors (her kidneys are not used to the time change either).  She would not eat and was indignant that she was forced to get up with a bright light and activity.  Maybe we should pay attention to animals who don't see the value in disrupting an established pattern of life in which our internal clocks govern our awake, sleep, eating and bodily function timing.

Many people wonder about the wisdom of rearranging our lives periodically to presumably save money and daylight.  I do know that it takes days to readjust our lives to the artificial time change. Maybe this perceived savings of money and daylight is no longer cost effective and certainly no longer convenient or easy for our biological adjustment.  My vote is to ban daylight savings time changes and make our lives easier and less complicated.  Tara, the dog, happily got up, went outdoors, ate breakfast exactly one hour later on the clock but the same time as her internal clock from yesterday.

Our lives have increasing stress and demands on our time.  It would be wonderful to have one less time issue to worry about!  I'm with you Tara as you fight the system!

Monday, February 29, 2016

The Grass Looks Greener On the Other Side

Evil needs glamour to attract and distract us.  When we look at the world, it is often seemingly boring and confining as we "follow the rules of society". We need to have "fun" and do not want to be bogged down with responsibilities.  Many of our dreams involve becoming famous, making huge sums of money and being able to "do what we want when we want".  It appears to be a wonderful life to have others hanging onto our every word, wanting our autographs, relationships constantly changing, owning huge properties, hiring many servants, gambling, having plastic surgery to preserve our looks, finding creative ways to have sex with the potential of pornography, using profanity without censure and forgetting the norms of society. How many of these individuals are truly happy, who have friends who will be honest and caring, who have family who love and respect them?

Truly beautiful individuals who love from the heart need no superficial trappings to attract.  They present themselves with honesty and compassion as they share unconditional love.  They can't be "bought".  They are willing to hold up a mirror to us to show us how we truly are.  They encourage us to become people of goodness and faith.  They show us how to make a lasting and positive difference in this short lifespan of ours. The grass is not greener on "the other side".  Glamour is fleeting and fraudulent while while truth is enduring and sincere.  Look beyond the glamour when making decisions. When the facade is gone, the reality is barren and often ugly.  Find the inner truth and find peace and joy.

Life Changing Decisions

I know a beautiful woman who lacks nothing except confidence.  She has been in a long term relationship but has never married.  She was so excited when she had an unplanned pregnancy.  She had never spoken to her significant other boyfriend about her wish to have a child.  When she told him about the pregnancy, he became angry and adamant that he did not ever want to have a child.  He told her to get an abortion at his expense or she would have to leave him.

"Glenda" was so distraught.  She was afraid that financially she couldn't make it on her own with a child.  She had been with "Tom" for many years and felt that she loved him and couldn't survive without him.  She was torn between her love for her boyfriend and for the child she had always wanted.  As time went on, she knew she had to make a decision.  She had the abortion.  She regretted her decision immediately.  She knows that now she will never have another child since she has chosen to stay with Tom.  She is depressed because she imagines the child that was not allowed to have a chance to be born.  The due date of the baby was especially difficult.  Everyday she remains sad and wonders what it would have been like to hold her own special child.

I think that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was able to overcome her fear with faith.  She was an unwed mother, engaged to a man who had never had relations with her and would be stoned by her neighbors if the situation was known.  Sometimes, the only way to avoid life regrets and pitfalls is to face the fear with our faith and do the right thing that is in our heart.  Glenda knew it was wrong to cause the death of a human being but she was afraid of life changing and of loneliness.  We never know what is around the corner.  God can accomplish all things.  Maybe Tom would have decided to stay with Glenda and would have loved his son or daughter.  Maybe Glenda would have been alone with the baby, but would have found the strength and courage to figure out a way to survive financially and emotionally.  Maybe she could have given the baby up for adoption for another couple who could not have biological children, We don't know what possibilities will open up for us in the future. What we do know is that God is always present and willing to help if we ask Him.  He also forgives us when we allow fear to make our decisions for us. I know that God has forgiven Glenda but she is having a hard time forgiving herself.  Forgiveness is the first step for healing.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

tough love

Pope Francis states,"Experience teaches us that each time we seek the path of privileges or benefits for a few to the detriment of the good of all, sooner or later the life of society becomes a fertile soil for corruption, drug trade, exclusion of different cultures, violence and also human trafficking, kidnapping and death, bringing suffering and slowing down development,"

Simply stated--we all need each other to reach out in love to combat the unimaginable cruelty that can exist in a faithless and loveless world.  Selfishness and greed do not have to rule the world.  Love, faith, peace and generosity can overcome evil if we choose to become a part of the solution instead of part of the problem.  We need world leaders who choose compassion and diplomacy whenever possible so that all of us can prosper.  When we die, all of our possessions, power, and money will be worthless.  It is our humanity that will be judged.

Valentine's Day is about love.  Love can encompass many people that we come in contact with as we live our lives.  We have constant opportunities to feel and demonstrate our morality with kindness and openness to others with different cultures, ideas, lifestyles and environments,  We are all human beings who love our families, friends, countries, and beliefs.  We want safety, food, meaningful jobs, clothing, homes, education and opportunities to practice our faiths.  We want to be happy and productive.  Without love, the world has no future.  Love has to be tough sometimes to help us find ourselves.