From the Author

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!