From the Author

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.