From the Author

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