From the Author

Monday, December 31, 2018

New Years Day

New Years Day Prayer:

Dear Lord so far this year I've done well.  I haven't gossiped, I haven't lost my temper, I haven't been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or overindulgent.  I'm very thankful for that.  But in a few minutes, Lord, I'm going to get out of bed, and from then on I'm probably going to need a lot more help.  Amen           Internet and parish bulletin.

Many of us think about what we need help with and what New Years resolutions we will tackle this new year.  Many times we are very motivated to make positive changes at the beginning of the year but after a few weeks or months we are back to our normal lifestyle and behaviors.

Sometimes we need to be exploring other questions and concerns.  In a book called "The 40 day Soulfast", as quoted in Guideposts magazine, the questions that we can ask that are life-changing are:

"What is my purpose?"
"Do I like the person I've become?"
"What frustrates me most or makes me sad?"
What have I accomplished so far in my life?  Is it enough?

"We live in a society that breeds discontent by defining success as bigger homes, nicer cars, and fuller closets.  Gratitude is the cure."  Joshua Becker

I hope for you to have a new year of looking back at all of the wonderful blessings we have received that include family, friends, neighbors, opportunities, love and kindness shared, and a future that includes both conflict and promise.  We all share a responsibility for our own future as well as the future of our country and the world.  We  can begin with thankfulness and hope!

Happy New Year!

Check out my new website to look at my personal art gallery, prints for sale and my published book, e book and audio book, "The Dying Teach Us How to Live"





Monday, December 24, 2018

Gifts From the Heart

There is an article in the Dayton Daily News, "Teacher treasures gift from student with 'nothing to give but cereal."  The story reports that an elementary teacher in Kennewick, Washington received the marshmallows from a student's Lucky Charms Cereal as a Christmas gift because this student had nothing else to give.  "Because," she said, "everyone knows marshmallows are the sweetest part."
"All my kiddos are super sweet and giving," she said.  "Kids are naturally kind and loving.  The world kind of hardens us sometimes. Be grateful for what you have, and what others give you.  It all truly comes from the deepest part of their hearts."

Remember this Christmas to remember to count our blessings and celebrate our families, whether biological or heart families, and all of our friends, neighbors, co-workers, church members, and acquaintances who are waiting to be friends.  Christmas is so much more than presents we receive or give, but instead the presence of each other.

"If we walk in the light as God himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, God's Son cleanses us from all sin."  1John 1:7

Remember to show your light to others and remind them of the true message of Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ.  Have a happy and wonderful Christmas and give the most powerful gift of all!  Love from the heart!

Please check out my new website with my art gallery, vinyl prints, book, E book and audio book, "The Dying Teach Us How to Live

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Stars

Most of my life I heard about guardian angels. I always wondered if I had one.  As I get older, I am sure I have had a guardian angel, especially when I have been rescued so many times from myself. There have been many angels in my life, earth angels and spiritual angels.  I have become very appreciative of my angels as they guide me through the difficulties in life that we all face.

"Make friends with the angels, who though invisible are always with you.  Often invoke them, constantly praise them, and make good use of their help and assistance in all your temporal and spiritual affairs."  St. Francis de Sales

Christmas and related holidays around the world make us think of angels who delivered messages, who watched over the holy family and were involved in many events in the history of our world. Angels do not differentiate between countries, race, sex, income, status, faith, or religion. They are available to each one of us according to our needs and our openness to their services.

The atoms of our bodies are traceable to stars that manufactured them in their cores and exploded these enriched ingredients across the galaxy, billions of years ago.  For this reason, we are biologically connected to every other living thing in the world.  We are chemically connected to all molecules on Earth.  And we are atomically connected to all atoms in the universe.  We are not figuratively, but literally stardust."  Neil de Grasse Tyson

From one atomically connected person to another atomically connected person, I wish you a Merry Christmas and happy holidays!  May your angels be with you in the highs and lows of the holidays and life itself!

Check out my new website, art gallery, book, e book, audio book "The Dying Teach Us How to Live

Monday, December 10, 2018

Life is Short

The death of someone well known such as George Bush, brings the subject up of the finality of our relatively short time on earth.  Someone who held the office of a presidency has made an incredible amount of lifetime decisions that have had a huge repercussion positively and negatively on the nation and the world.

Those of us who are considered ordinary citizens have also had a significant impact on the lives of our families, friends, enemies, co-workers, neighbors, church members and our own lifetime world.

Death does not respect presidents, babies, rich, poor, country of origin, status or connections.  It is a reminder that we have only our own lifetime to touch the lives of those around us.

Barbara Bush, in a Wellesby speech said, "At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a child a friend or a parent."

Remember all of those you love who are still with you. You can still hold them and tell them how much you love them. You can still make a huge effect, positively or negatively, on each person on a daily basis.  Connect emotionally, physically and spiritually, especially with family and friends as we do not know how long we will have them with us.

As we approach the holidays, I particularly remember my sister and my father as they are no longer physically present but always remembered in my heart and my memories.  Life is too short to waste precious moments with people we love.  That is what the holidays are about; sharing our love and resources with our family and community.

My wish for you is to have wonderful holidays and to enjoy the intangible gifts of each other.  Gifts can be fun and meaningful but the gifts of the heart are priceless and enduring!

Check out my art gallery, my book, e book and audio book of "The Dying Teach Us How to Live

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Holes in the Fence

There are many versions of this but it has an important message!

There once was a little girl who had a bad temper.  Her mother gave her a bag of nails and told her that every time she lost her temper, she must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.

The first day the girl had driven 37 nails into the fence.  Over the next few weeks, as she learned to control her anger, the number of nails she hammered daily dwindled down to 20. She discovered it was easier to hold her temper than to drive those nails into the fence. 

Finally the day came when the girl didn't lose her temper at all.

She told her mother about it and the mother suggested that the girl now pull out one nail for each day that she was able to hold her temper. The days passed and the girl was able to tell her mother that all her nails were gone. The mother took her daughter by the hand and led her to the fence.

She said, "You have done well, my daughter, but look at the holes in the fence.  The fence will never be the same.  When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a person and draw it out.  It won't matter how many times you say I'm sorry, the wound is still there. A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one.

Friends and family are rare jewels, indeed.  They make you smile and encourage you to succeed.  They lend an ear, they share words of praise and they always want to open their hearts to us.

Friends and family, please forgive me if I have ever left a hole in your fence. Give yourself and others the best gift for Christmas and for the rest of your life.  Give yourself and others the gift of forgiveness! And thank God for forgiving all of us every moment! 

Check out my new website with pictures of my art, my book, e Book and Audio Book, "The Dying Teach Us How to Live"

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Thanksgiving

I'm sending a Dear Abby article penned by the original Dear Abby:

Oh, Heavenly Father,
We thank Thee for food and remember the hungry.
We thank Thee for health and remember the sick.
We thank Thee for friends and remember the friendless.
We thank Thee for freedom and remember the enslaved.
May these remembrances stir us to service.
That Thy gifts to us may be used for others.
Amen.

I thank all of the wonderful people who serve their country, their family members and all who reach out to others who are lonely, sad and hurting. I appreciate all of those beautiful people who share what they have and welcome those who have less.  There are many special people who make a difference for others without fanfare but with courage and selflessness.  Thank you!


Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Gratitude: The Key to Happiness

"The secret of happiness is to live moment by moment and to thank God for what He is sending us every day in His goodness."  St. Gianna Molia

"Gratitude is a way of life, not something that you think about once a year.  If you weave an attitude of gratitude into your thinking-and-feeling process, your life will get better.  People who start writing down three things for which they're grateful and doing this every day usually feel more joy within two weeks.  Try it."  Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, California.

The best gift is the love we share with each other; the forgiveness, acceptance, inclusiveness, kindness, caring, reaching out to help others, and thanking those who have been available to help us.

"Healed people can heal people.  Freed people can free people.  Changed people can play their part in seeing lives and communities changed."   Jo Saxton, from her book 'The Dream of You: Let Go of Broken Identities and Live the Life You Were Made For'

Always count your blessings, not your problems and you will find peace, comfort and hope.

Happy Thanksgiving!  Enjoy your family and friends!  Become grateful for all that we have! 




Sunday, November 11, 2018

Veterans Day

We have the opportunity to remember our veterans and their many sacrifices to protect us.  Our veterans have to spend time away from family and friends, face the possibility of dying as they fulfill their service obligations and have uncertainty on a daily basis. 

"We do something for someone else that we may not even remember but can cause that other person's life to turn in some way that's positive."   Ann Curry, Emmy-winning journalist

Our veterans do something for all of us that definitely causes us to have our lives protected and safe. 
By assisting us, veterans have the opportunity to find the best in themselves. 

"The moments of my greatest fears--when I was sure I was going to wimp out under the pressure of it all-- have also been the open doors to the greatest changes in my life."  Annie F. Downs, from her book, 100 days to Brave

I hope that our veterans have many doors open to make wonderful things happen in their lives!

"The Lord does not look so much at the greatness of our actions, or even at their difficulty, as at the love with which we do them."  St Therese of Lisieux

Thank you veterans for all of the love you have put into your special work! 

Friday, November 9, 2018

Books

From the New York Times:
"A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic:  the cosmologist Carl Sagan once said, 'It's a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles.  But one glance at it and your're inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years.' As a physical object and a feat of technology, the printed book is hard to improve upon.  Apart from minor cosmetic tweaks, the form has barely evolved since the codex first arose as an appealing alternative to scrolls around 2,600 years ago."

I have loved books all of my life.  They could transport me anywhere in the world.  I could get to know the lifestyle, environment, family and friends of someone from another culture, country or faith. 

Books can be the means to express our deepest feelings, our love of people, our love of the world, our faith, hope and dreams. I have a paperback book, e book and audio book. I was talking to a potential buyer and she said, "I like a book I can hold in my hands and take my time reading it."  Others like to read a book on the computer, tablet, or electronic means.  Others like to download an audio book and listen to it as they travel or have lost their vision and need to "hear" their books.  Books are our friends and a great source of comfort, education, mind traveling, and our window to the world! 

Check out my e book, audio book and book, "The Dying Teach Us How to Live" on Amazon

Monday, October 29, 2018

Baking a Cake

Baking a Cake

A young man is telling his Grandma how everything is going wrong. School problems, friend problems, family problems, financial problems, severe health problems, etc.,

Meanwhile, Grandma is baking a cake.  She asks her grandson if he would like a snack, which, of course, he does.

"Here, have some cooking oil." "Yuck", says the young man.  "How about a couple of raw eggs?" "Gross, Grandma!" "Would you like some flour then? Or maybe baking soda?" "Grandma, those are all yucky!"

To which Grandma replies: "Yes, all those things seem bad all by themselves.  But when they are put together in the right way, they make a wonderfully delicious cake! God works the same way.  Many times we wonder why He would let us go through such bad and difficult times. But God knows that when He puts these things all in his order, they always work for good."

"We just have to trust Him and, eventually, they will all make something wonderful!"

"God is crazy about you.  He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning.  Whenever you want to talk, He'll listen.  He can live anywhere in the world, and He chooses your heart."

Anonymous on internet.

The cake you create is one of a kind and delicious!  Hang in there! 

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Life Goes On

"What I've Learned:

I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.

I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: 1) a rainy day, 2) lost luggage, 3) tangled Christmas Tree lights.

I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you will miss them when they are gone from your life.

I've learned that "making a living is not the same as "making a life."

I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.

I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands.  You need to be able to throw something back.

I've learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you.  But if you focus on your family, your friends, the needs of others, your work and doing the best you can, happiness will find you.

I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision .

I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one.

I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone.

People love that human touch--holding hands, a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.

I've learned that I still have a lot to learn.

Finally, always remember: people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.....

Anonymous from the internet

Remember how special you are and how many opportunities you have to make a difference in someone's life!


Friday, October 5, 2018

How Much Am I Worth?

A well-known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20 bill.
In the room of 200, he asked,  Who would like this $20 bill?"  Hands started going up.

He said, "I am going to give this to one of you. But first, let me do this."
he proceeded to crumple the bill up.  He then asked, "Who still wants it?" Still the hands were in the air.

"Well," he replied, "what if I do this?"  He dropped it on the ground, and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe.  He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty.
"Now who still wants it?"  Still hands went into the air.

"My friends, you all have learned a very valuable lesson.  No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it, because, it did not decrease in value.  It was still worth $20."

"Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We feel we are worthless, but, no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value.  Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless to those who love you."

"The worth of our lives come not in what we do or who we know, but by who we are. You are special.  Don't ever forget it!"  Copied from the internet

All of you are special!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Friends

I recently had a visit from a friend who is very special because she has survived an incredibly difficult childhood.  She has evolved into a very compassionate human being with a warm heart, ability to listen, and the will to reach out to others who are hurting. 

What would life be like without friends?  Friends are are defenders of our sanity, protectors of our reputations, cushions through the fear of new situations, loyal over many years of life crisis, active listeners as we pour out deep emotions, present when we need support, provide shoulders to cry on, are champions of our successes, and models of inspiration. 

I have many friends that I have been privileged to interact with for many years.  I have also met individuals that I met only briefly in my life but the friendship was instantaneous and timeless.  The world is full of potential friends who do not want anything from you except for your friendship. 

I hope that we can all look for all the relationships that are possible among individuals, family, acquaintances, neighbors, fellow parishioners, and co-workers.  Our governments have the opportunity to look for the good people in other cultures, other countries, and in the world in general.  If we all have a goal to make the world safe, peaceful, pristine, beautiful, productive (with jobs, homes, nutrition, health and commerce), collaborative while sharing resources, diplomatic to reduce war, famine, homeless refugees and turmoil, creative while conserving beauty, and friendly with our world neighbors. 

In movies and literature, we are considered a primitive society because we do not trust each other, we have constant wars, we do not protect our environment, we are not reliable stewards of the gifts we have been given, we are not friendly and protect each other's backs.  We are king and queen of manipulation, terror, fear, lack of integrity, unethical standards, intimidation, discrimination, murder, war mongers, death and destruction, pain and suffering and loss of hope.

Friends on the other hand, look out for each other in the pitfalls of life, provide timely and efficient assistance, are lifelong supporters without compensation, are loving, kind, and giving. I hope we can be open to finding friendships among others that we have already met but haven't taken time to know, with new friends we have not yet met, and with ourselves so we know we have a huge opportunity to serve and be served by friends. 

Monday, September 17, 2018

Trials and Struggles

I have been keeping in touch with relatives who are weathering the hurricanes in the Carolinas. While I am grateful for their safety, I am concerned about all of those whose lives have been upended.  It is so sad to think of the lives that have been lost; the homes, livelihood, and security that have been compromised.

"The most beautiful people I've known are those who have know trials, have known struggles, have known loss, and have found their way out of the depths." Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

It is these individuals who have triumphed over adversity who are everyday, powerful examples of true heroes.  They are taking one day at a time to make the best out of a difficult situation.  The other heroes are the individuals who are risking their lives to rescue all of the people who are victims of this violence of nature.

The greed of a world places lives at increasing risk because of financial disparity, of disdain for our environment, and lack of resources for the devastation of natural and unnatural disasters. I hope that, as a country, we will allocate money, workers, supplies, and assistance with resettling for all who are left homeless, without power, safe water, food, clothing and hope. 

Please remember all of those who are suffering in our prayers and provide whatever help we can including donations and support. I hope that in the midst of suffering, we can find our humanity and "a way out of the depths". 

Thursday, September 6, 2018

How Much You Care

"There's an old saying: "Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care." I've discovered that this is an accurate statement, and one that is worth remembering."  Gordon W., Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

"It was my first night caring for an elderly patient. When he grew sleepy, I wheeled his chair as close to the bed as possible and, using the techniques I'd learned in school, grasped him in a bear hug to lift him onto the bed.  But I couldn't clear the top of the mattress.  So I grabbed him again, summoned all my might, and hoisted him onto the bed.

When the night shift nurse arrived, I recounted what had happened. "Funny," she said, looking puzzled.  "Usually I just ask him to get in bed, and he does."  Erin Dockery, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio

Caring means looking deeper than facts and "book knowledge" and explore the feelings involved in day to day decisions.

"Every day, I recognize the power of kindness to change the world.  I've never been so convinced that kindness is the essential antidote to the divisions and disconnections we're seeing."
Daniel Lubetzky, founder of Kind Healthy snacks and the Kind Foundation which fosters communities that are healthier and more empathetic worldwide

Remember to be kind first and knowledgeable second!  If we can change our immediate world now, maybe change is possible for the rest of the world in the future. 

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

From Psychology Today:
 "All of us--on occasion, at least--overreact to the small stuff, often without even realizing it.  If you find yourself getting overly angry, upset or defensive over little things, take comfort in knowing that there are actions you can take to more effectively manage your emotions. ...Allowing ourselves to acknowledge annoying predicaments and then find constructive ways to express and deal with them serves us much better in the long run.  ...It isn't necessarily good for us to sweat all the small stuff and hype ourselves into overreaction every time we get upset." 

In other words:  Don't sweat the small stuff!  Instead take a deep breath and be thankful that you are not dealing with natural disasters such as floods, fires, hurricanes, child or adult physical abuse or sexual abuse, addictions, tornadoes, or serious crimes.  No one worries about the small things when searching for loved ones after destruction occurs.  It becomes a celebration of life and an opportunity to join together to assist each other until life becomes routine or predictable again.  Appreciate the small, mundane annoyances that are a part of life but not a focus of life. A sense of humor can make our burdens seem lighter and in perspective! Smile and create laugh lines instead of frown crevices! 

Check out my book, e book and soon a new audio book and pictures of my art!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

A Special Child

I had the opportunity to spend time with my young grandchild who has Down Syndrome.  I think God sends special children to special families.  I was so impressed with Isaiah's older brothers who not only love their brother, but help with his tube feedings, diabetic checks and behavioral issues.  Isaiah smiles easily, loves hugs and one-on-one attention.

Parents of children with disabilities have issues with finding caregivers, affordable health insurance, jobs with care needs and dealing with constant financial issues. Siblings have to share a significant amount of parental time when the child with the disability needs constant supervision.  It is difficult for siblings to have friends visit with the behavioral issues that may be associated with the disability.

I'm sharing a poem written by Edna Massimilla.

Heaven's Very Special Child

A meeting was held so far from Earth.
It was time for another birth.
The Angels said to the Lord above--
"This special child will need much love.
"For progress may be very slow,
"Accomplishments may never show.
"This special child will need much care
"From the people way down there.
"This child may not talk, run or play,
"And thoughts may seem so far away.
"In many ways will not try to adapt
"Known as 'disabled' and 'handicapped'
"Please be careful where this one is sent,
"We want this child to be so content.
"O please, Lord, find the parents who
"Will do a very special job for You.
"They will not realize right away
"The leading role that they have to play.
"But with this child sent from above
"Comes stronger faith and richer love.
"Soon they'll know the privilege given
"In caring for their gift from Heaven.
"Their precious child, so meek and mild
"Is Heaven's very special child."

Isaiah has changed his family in many ways.  I know that every member of the family has developed  empathy, compassion, patience, love and have each acquired skills that they never dreamed of.  Isaiah is both a challenge and a blessing. The world has been given a special gift!

Check out my book, Ebook, and my website

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Privacy

There is a significant amount of news about the sharing of information on the internet with facebook and other social media. 

I recently was involved with an organization that installed new security cameras in their facility.  I was initially encouraged that it would be a safer place for other volunteers like myself.  What I didn't expect was an unanticipated use of the tapes to monitor the daily activities of unpaid and paid staff by the administration.  I thought that the tapes would only be viewed if there were missing items, a police report or identified safety issues.  I was not expecting the tapes to be utilized as a type of 'spy network'. I know I was being naive as the situation unfolded.  I choose to leave the organization rather than feel like someone was watching every move I made. 

One time I was shopping in Walmart and another shopper apparently took a picture of me with her phone.  I later found out that she posted my picture on her facebook page as she thought I looked like her relative.  I found out when my neighbor told me she recognized me from the post. 

It is becoming difficult to trust each other because of the proliferation of scams, audio and visual monitoring systems, and exploitation of each other on social media.  We need to monitor ourselves and make sure our motives and utilization of technology are helpful rather than harmful. We need to co-exist with technology without destroying our ability to trust each other and interact with integrity.  Life and relationships with others is a precious resource that needs to be valued and protected. 


Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Ethics

Quotes from a news article:  Ron Rollins Ideas and Voices Editor

Jerry O'Ryan states:  "Ethics is much like the definition of character, "It's what you do and how you act when no one is looking."

Unfortunately ethics no longer relate well to how we act whether others are watching or not.  Ethics in business and politics are buried into how much money is donated to the cause, influence, political ambitions, kickbacks, publicity, prestige, deception and profit.

Mary Collier states:   Greed, ignorance, abuse of power and maintaining status quo seem to be enemies of ethics and difficult to fight."

The only way to make a positive difference in the world of business associates, family, friends, church members, neighbors, and to ourselves is to rediscover the value of honesty and ethics in our own lives.  We are not responsible for the actions of others.  Blaming others does not let us off the hook. We are responsible for our own actions and reactions.  We can live our lives ethically and become a living example of character and demonstrate ethics for others.  It has to begin somewhere and it starts now with us.    It is a challenge that frees us from uncertainty and guilt and enables trust!  

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Cave Rescue in Thailand

It has been a long wait for the rescued, their families and rescuers when all of the soccer team members and their coach were finally saved from their underwater ordeal.  Their plight captured the attention and compassion of the world news as the daily saga was reported.  Everyone was so relieved when the entire group was finally out of the cave. 

This was an amazing rescue that was filled with decisions and risks that easily could have ended poorly. There were many courageous people in this story.  The coach and the team players could have easily given up.  Instead they were able to literally keep their heads above water and continued to have hope for a rescue. There was the tremendous bravery of the rescuers who risked travelling through dark, unlit, narrow and hazardous passages with no emergency escapes to locate the lost group and return numerous times to bring supplies, support staff, encouragement and eventually to guide individuals to safety. 

I was so sad to know that one of the divers died in his attempt to reach the location of the trapped team.  While everyone was rejoicing that all of the team and the coach survived, the family and friends of the deceased rescuer were grieving. This story is about faith, hope and love.

What greater love is there for a man or a woman to lay down their life for other human beings that they probably had never known before?  These amazing individuals put their lives in danger to rescue others and faced the real fear of losing their own lives. 

The world is united in one way.  We are all human beings and we can relate to others who are suffering.  We are one world with human beings who experience the same feelings, needs, fears and joys.  We are hope to each other.  There are many "caves" that people are "trapped" in.  We all have opportunities to assist each other without national headlines and notoriety. Each effort on behalf of another is very significant to the person who is experiencing a crisis and meets an earth angel.   

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Perfect Strategy

Check out my book, e book and video!Linda Sealock, Reno, Nevada writes:

"When I was four, my mother had her hands full with six children. Luckily, there was our neighbor Berla. Berla 48, had no children, so I had her full attention.  She taught me simple things, like how to care for my teeth, as well as big things, like a love of long walks.  She also taught me to play cribbage, which came with these words of advice.  "There is a perfect strategy for every hand dealt."  That concept has impacted every aspect of my life."

No matter what happens to us in our life, there is a way to make the best of it and come out on top.  We can learn from our mistakes as much as we learn from our successes.  If we take the time to look at our options, it is surprising how creativity and ingenuity can allow us to realize our full potential.

I remember one time, as a single mother, my gas oven quit working. It was hard to function without an oven with multiple children. I didn't have funds to call a repair person. I actually took my oven apart. There were two major components that I took out and I didn't even know their technical names.  I took them to a parts store and asked the employees to check them. One of them was broken and I bought and reinstalled the new one.  I made my children leave our home when I tested the gas oven.  I was afraid it would blow up!  Afterwards, when it worked well, I was amazed at what I was capable of doing.  It took a crisis of sorts to force me to try something I had never done before.  Life challenges make us grow emotionally, psychologically and spiritually as we face potential problems with courage and perseverance. I hope you find your perfect strategy for every hand that you are dealt!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Fourth of July

" I don't have to tell you how fragile this precious gift of freedom is.  Every time we hear, watch, or read the news, we are reminded that liberty is a rare commodity in this world."
President Ronald Reagan

As we enjoy fireworks, cookouts and celebrations, it is important to remember everyone who made this holiday possible.  It is also our responsibility make sure that we continue to protect this liberty and freedom for our children and grandchildren.
"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance." President Thomas Jefferson

Thank you to the men and women who have the courage, training and willingness to serve. They and their families sacrifice every day as they move unexpectedly and frequently, have long separations with added stress to marriages and relationships, experience fear, injury, and stress. 

"Courage is nothing more than taking one step more than you think you can." 
Holly Lisle, American writer and poet
Our heroes have taken "one step more than you think you can" as they carry on the ongoing battle for freedom for all Americans. 

I hope you have a wonderful holiday!  Especially all of those who served or are serving in the military and their families! 

Check out my book and E book, The Dying Teach Us How to Live

Friday, June 29, 2018

I Helped Him Cry

Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge, The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child.

"The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife.  Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his mother asked him what he had just said to the neighbor, the little boy said, "Nothing, I just helped him cry."

I had had many times in my life when things seemed very dark and overwhelming. It was then that my family members or my friends were there to "help me cry."  They were there to remind me that love and compassion can provide encouragement, hope and trust that life will get better with help and emotional support.

Many individuals wonder what to say to family and friends after their loved one has died or to someone who is very ill.  The beauty is that we don't have to "say" anything.  We just have to "be there".  With observation it is often apparent what is needed and how that need can be met.  All of us have times in our lives when we need the services of those who love us or strangers who become our earth angels. These angels make life easier during our turn to the experience trials and obstacles in our life.

Remember to keep your eyes and heart open to others who need you to "help them cry" and to find faith again!

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Sunday, June 17, 2018

Fathers,Heroes or Persons?

Children:

To those of us who have children in our lives, whether they are our own, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. or students...here is something to make you chuckle.

Whenever your children are out of control, you can take comfort from the thought that even God's omnipotence did not extend to His own children. After creating heaven and earth, God created Adam and Eve.  And the first thing he said was, "Don't." "Don't what?" Adam asked. "Don't eat the forbidden fruit." God said.  "Forbidden fruit? We have forbidden fruit? Hey, Eve...we have forbidden fruit!" "No way!"  "Yes. way!" "Do not eat the fruit! said God.  "Why?" "Because I am your Father and I said so!", God replied, (wondering why he hadn't stopped creation after making the elephant).  

A few minutes later, God saw His children having an apple break and was he ticked!  "Didn't I tell you not to eat the fruit?" God, as our first parent asked. "Uh huh," Adam replied. "Then why did you? said the Father. "I don't know," said Eve. "She started it!" Adam said, "Did not!" "Did too!" "Did not!"  

Having had it with the two of them, God's punishment was that Adam and Eve should have children of their own. Thus, the pattern was set and it has never changed!  But there is reassurance in this story.  If you have persistently and lovingly tried to give children wisdom and they haven't taken it, don't be hard on yourself.  If God had trouble raising children, what makes you think it would be a piece of cake for you?"  

Advice for the day: If you have a lot of tension and you get a headache, do what it says on the aspirin bottle: "Take two Aspirin" and "Keep away from children."   
Taken from anonymous internet

"Do I want to be a hero to my son? No.  I would like to be a very real human being.  That's hard enough."  
              Robert Downey Jr.,  Actor

Happy Father's Day!!
  

Monday, June 4, 2018

A Little Laughter

"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter."  e.e. cummings

"Humor is the shock absorber of life:  It helps us take the blows." writer Peggy Noonan

"Everyone looks so much better when they smile."  Jimmy Fallon, comedian and late-night TV host

"A word or smile is often enough to put fresh life in a despondent soul."  St. Therese of Lisieux

What I have learned is that humor is never a waste of time.  Humor helps us deal with everyday issues and puts life in perspective.  Also we look better when we smile!   Our smile may uplift someone else who may be having a difficult time!

Humor is a wonderful gift to share.  It is never used to "make fun" of someone else. Sometimes it helps to make fun of ourselves!

"My daughter started making fart noises with her mouth and then laughing.  And I was like, Oh, well, I've taught her everything I know.  Andy Samberg, actor

The military is a difficult place to find humor but many succeed:

Humor in Uniform

"The military has a long, proud tradition of pranking recruits.  Some favorites from rallypoint.com
Instructed a private in the mess hall to look for left-handed spatulas
Sent a Recruit to medical-supplies office in search of fallopian tubes.
Ordered a private to bring back a five-gallon can of dehydrated water (in fact, the sergeant just wanted an empty water can)"

"We made a private sweep all the sunshine off the sidewalks. It took the poor guy all day."
 Ben Savage

I hope that life sends you many opportunities for laughter!  Remember!

"The smile is the shortest distance between two people."  Victor Borge, pianist

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Freedom

"There is no greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends."  John 15: 13

Today we are remembering the lives that have been sacrificed in the defense of freedom to speak, practice our faith, experience justice, education, and opportunity.  We must remember what we are fighting for and make sure that these freedoms are cherished and protected. The strongest nations are the ones who make it possible for most of its citizens to be able to have a home, job, safety, education, and healthcare.  The most successful nations take the responsibility to provide for elderly, ill, disabled and homeless by sharing resources and encouraging all to better themselves.

"It shall be as it was in the past...Not with dreams, but with strength and courage shall a nation be molded to last."  Bill Hickock

There are many different kinds of strengths; physical, mental, moral, spiritual and the power of conviction. We can make a difference one day at a time and for one person at a time.  We must learn to compromise with each other and other countries with the goal of making the world a better place. Instead of destruction let us consider construction with conservation of the environment as a high priority.  What good is the accumulation of wealth if we can't take it with us?  What good is money if our world is so polluted we can't survive physically?  The question remains, what can we do with our resources to leave behind as our legacy to the world?

Our veterans have given us a chance to use our freedom wisely and with compassion. Thank you for the sacrifices of our wonderful veterans to maintain and protect our freedom!

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for all of the recognized and unrecognized heroes in any war ever fought.  They performed their duties as a soldier with valor and compassion.  I can't imagine the fear that these individuals faced and the courage to daily encounter death, deprivation. pain, suffering, loss of friends and absence of family.  They face the moral and ethical dilemma involved with killing an "enemy" who is often another soldier doing his or her duty or seeing the deaths of innocent civilians or fellow soldiers.   

Adversity can bring out the best or worst in each of us.  Many soldiers have risen to the challenge to provide a living example of faith, honor and hope in unbelievable and life threatening circumstances.  The following is one of those stories.  Four Chaplains of four different faiths, modeling their belief in God by giving up their own lives for their comrades. 

"Perhaps the most inspiring demonstration of the chaplaincy at its best is the story of the “Four Chaplains” — also called the “Immortal Chaplains.” They were new chaplains, recent graduates in the same class at the Army Chaplain’s School, on board the USS Dorchester headed for Greenland. On Feb. 3, 1943, the ship was struck by a torpedo. The chaplains — Methodist minister George Fox, Reform Rabbi Alexander Goode, Father John Washington and Reformed Church in America minister Clark Poling — organized the orderly evacuation of the ship as well as helped calm the men. They guided the wounded men to safety and helped load the lifeboats. When there were no more life vests to hand out, the chaplains gave up their own. Once they had helped as many men as possible into the lifeboats, they linked arms, sang and prayed. Survivors said they could hear the mixed languages of the chaplains including the Jewish prayers in Hebrew and the Catholic in Latin. Out of the 904 men on the ship, only 230 survived."
Deacon Mark C. Miller writes from Indiana

Thank you to all service men and woman all over the world!

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Mothers Deserve Celebrating

"When I was growing up, Mother's Day was right up there with Christmas.  The energy around the house was always positive, mostly thanks to my father who made sure the kids appreciated their mother.  And no matter what day it was, that attitude was paramount around our house."

"I also learned over the years, as times got harder for the family, was that no matter what, my father always put my mother before himself.  He absolutely adored her and never let her forget that.  Adult love is usually not unconditional, but he did all he could to make her feel that it was. And again, I learned a thing or two about how to love." 

"Flowers, gifts and brunch or dinner hardly seems like enough to thank the woman who cares for our little family and makes us all feel so loved, even when we disagree.  Now that's a talent."

"I watched my father dote on my mother, and I learned that showing affection to the woman you love or who gave birth to you is an important part of life."

"There are a number of us who no longer have a mother in our lives, and truth be told, there are a few times when I wish she was here to comfort me."  Excerpts from Dr. Barton Goldsmith, psychotherapist in California, from his news article "Mothers deserve celebrating, especially on Mother's Day"

All loving mothers deserve to be celebrated and appreciated. We never know how long they will be with us in this life. Not all mothers have doting husbands or family. If your mother is no longer available, try to find a lonely mother who needs to be recognized.  Most mothers have made multiple sacrifices over the years simply because they love unconditionally and quietly as they place their families first.  On Mother's Day, honor and appreciate them for the contributions they have made in your life and the lives of others. 

"My granddaughter had just turned five when my wife asked whether she was being a good girl. After a deep sigh and a thoughtful pause, she responded, "You know, I'm doing the best I can." Taken from Reader's Digest, M.F. 

I think most mothers would tell you the same thing.  "You know, I'm doing the best I can."  I think that is the way mothers live their lives!  Have a wonderful Mother's Day!


Friday, May 4, 2018

I Had the "Meanest Mother In The World"

This was found framed in a thrift store:

I Had the "Meanest Mother In The World"...

*While other kids had candy for breakfast, I had to eat cereal, eggs and toast.  While other kids had cakes and candy for lunch, I had a sandwich.  As you can guess, my dinner was different from other kid's dinners, too.

 * My mother insisted on knowing where we were at all times.  You'd think we were on a chain gang or something.She had to know who our friends were and what we were doing.

* I am ashamed to admit it, but she actually had the nerve to break the child labor laws.  She made us work! We had to wash dishes, do chores and learn how to cook and mow the yard. That woman must have stayed awake nights thinking up things for us to do.  And she insisted that we tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

*By the time we were teenagers, she was much wiser and our life became more unbearable.  None of this tooting the car horn for us to come running; she embarrassed us to no end by insisting that the
boys come to the door to get us.

* I forgot to mention that most of our friends were allowed to date at the mature age of 12 or 13, but our old fashioned Mother refused to let us date until we were 15,  She really raised a bunch of squares.  None of us was ever arrested for shoplifting or busted for dope.  And who do we have to thank for this? You're right, our Mean Mother.

* I am trying to raise my children to stand a little taller and straighter and I am secretly tickled to pieces when they call me mean. I thank God for giving me the Meanest Mother in the world.  Our country doesn't need a good five cent candy bar.  It needs more Mean Mothers like mine.

Cheers for all of the Meanest Mothers in the world!

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Spring

My mom used to say, "If winter comes, Spring is never far behind." She shared these words as a metaphor with people who had troubled hearts.  Anne Marie Romer, columnist

Spring is synonymous with new life, new beginnings, new hope and anticipation.  The recent weather has been difficult to cope with because we are introduced to spring weather but it is only a tease because snowfall and cold weather sneak in.  Life is like a roller coaster also with its continuing highs and lows, deception and surprise, agony and joy.  It is the ride itself that is the adventure, rather than the destination. 

"It is important to remember where you came from, where you're going, where you've been."  Clark Manson, country artist

Spring also is a time to open the windows and blinds, enjoy the outdoors, and clean the cobwebs from our indoor spaces. 

SOME RULES FOR GOOD HOUSEKEEPING
* It is time to clean out the refrigerator when something closes the door from the inside.
*Keep it clean enough for healthy, dirty enough for happy.
*You make the beds, you do the dishes and six months later you have to start all over again.
*If guys were supposed to hang clothes up, door nobs would be bigger.
*Cobwebs artfully draper over lampshades reduces the glare from the bulb, thereby creating a romantic atmosphere.   Church bulletin

Of course, it is also time to clean out our depression, our loneliness, our claustrophobia, and our 
negativity. 

"As we move into Spring, whose whispers of hope remind us that the world is far greater than the winter cocoons we create for ourselves.  The butterfly in all of us awaits."  Anne Marie Romer

Monday, April 16, 2018

Judgement

Sometimes we are asked to judge others and feel that we are caught in the middle.  It is not a comfortable place to be. 

"Who do you like best, Mom?  Me or Michael?"  "I like you both." "I mean, who easier to bring up?  Me or him?"  "You are both equally challenging."  "But which one of us in this family does what they're told the most, is good the most, an' is most easiest to live with?"  "She chose the dog."
Cartoon "For Better or For Worst

This mom knew how to be a diplomat without taking a stance and becoming judgmental. 

"Do not look for the faults of your friend.  Do not repeat the shortcomings of your neighbors in your talk. You are not the judge of creation.  You do not have dominion over the earth.  If you love righteousness, admonish your soul and yourself.  Be the judge of your own sins, and chastise your own transgressions." 
St. Ephrem the Syrian. 

In other words, we are all imperfect and make mistakes. Who among us is able to judge?  Only God knows what is in each person's heart. We need to give each other the benefit of the doubt. Our words can hurt and degrade or uplift and console.  Our words can be a gift or a punishment. 

"Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.  Love never ends."
1 Cor. 13: 7-8

"Lord, help me to make time today to serve you and those who are most in need of encouragement and assistance." 
St. Vincent de Paul

Let's make a positive difference in the lives of others and ourselves as we all try to live our lives!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

It's Tax Time!

It's Tax Time. 

Don't try these excuses for being late; they didn't work the first time they were used:

*  "I could not complete my tax return because my husband left me and took our accountant with him."
*  "I haven't had time because a baby magpie flew into my house and I have to stay in to feed it."
*  "I suffer from late-filing syndrome."
*  "A wasp in my car caused me to have an accident, and my tax return, which was inside, was destroyed." 

Sources:  accountingweb.com and the Telegraph

I don't know about you, but I am always relieved when my taxes are filed and I no longer have to worry about it for another year.  My sympathies are with all of you who are struggling to to figure out the new laws and rules for filing.  Life is filled with many frustrating moments and tasks.  Tax time is a very important, re-occurring nightmare for those of us who are mathematically and organizationally challenged!

Good luck!  Happy form filing! 

Friday, March 30, 2018

Pat's Art Show and Book Signing Article


DAYTON DAILY NEWS ARTICLE
This local artist's work helps families through grief and loss. Now you can read her book.
·         Sarah Franks

Patricia Acker of Xenia has worn many hats over the years. 
At times, she was a T-ball coach. Or a PTA president, while attending graduate school at Wright State. She’s been a foster mother a few times. And most of the time, she was helping to comfort people as they passed away.
For 17 years, Acker worked as a hospice social worker in Dayton, helping families through the difficult process of losing a loved one, as well as assisting the person who is dying. Acker is now retired and has since compiled her experiences and wisdom about death into a book of short stories titled “The Dying Teach Us How to Live.” 
Watching as a lifetime of wrinkles seem to leave the face of a person who finally lets go is an example of the firsthand accounts that could only be told by a dedicated hospice worker. Hospice is a type of care -- and even philosophy -- that focuses on relieving the symptoms of the terminally ill while also attending to their emotional and spiritual needs. 

Sarah Franks
The book is illustrated with portraits created by Acker. As gifts for many of her patients’ families in hospice care, Acker would put on her artist’s hat and create an often emotional portrait for the family to take with them after their loved one died. 
It’s hard to pinpoint the self-taught artist’s style, as each piece’s method depends on what Acker wants to explore that day. Her most recent muse is oil on mirror— strategically wiping oil away in certain areas to let light shine through the portraits. 
When asked what inspires her before she begins each portrait, her only response is “love,” in a voice that’s more gentle than a whisper. 

Sarah Franks
>> 
As a young woman, Acker experienced loss and grief and found nowhere to turn for emotional and grief support, according to her website. She wanted others to have healing and grief options so chose Hospice as her life's work. 
“Because of death, it gives significance to life. None of us know when it’s going to happen, but it’s not a bad thing,” Acker said.
Countless encounters with death have made Acker unafraid of whatever comes after this life, she said.  
 “We’re all going to die sometime and we don’t know when that is,” Acker said. “So why not make a difference in the world while we’re here? ... There’s lots of opportunities in our life, and we have many choices to make. It’s because of death that we have to think carefully about those choices.”
Acker’s work will be on display in downtown Dayton at the Fifth Third Center Gallery, 1 S. Main St., in the grand lobby from April 2 to April 30 during regular bank hours. 
Every Friday from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., you can meet the artist, get autographs, purchase prints and buy your copy of “The Dying Teach Us How To Live.” The book is also available for $20 plus tax on Amazon and at www.thedyingteachus.com. and X*Act Art Gallery and Theater 45 E 2nd St, Xenia, OH 45385 www.xenia.act.org
Want to go?
WHAT: Patricia Acker Exhibit
WHEN: April 2-30, during regular bank hours; every Friday from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. you can meet the artist. 
ARTIST RECEPTION: Artist reception and book signing held from 7-8:30 p.m. April 17.
WHERE: Fifth Third Center Gallery, 1 S. Main St., Dayton

Sarah Franks



Happy Easter!

Easter is a celebration of faith, an opportunity to appreciate everything in our lives that is producing benefit to ourselves and others, and to enjoy visiting with family and friends.

"The fact that human beings all over planet Earth intuitively worship something is proof that God has written this in our hearts.  It's a part of our spiritual genetics."  Gary Schmidt, author and pastor

"Faith is like Wi-Fi: It's invisible, but it has the power to connect you to what you need."  message seen in Pinterest

"That's the beauty about God.  Logistics don't seem to matter.  God meets us right where we are."
Janell Rardon, from her book Overcoming Hurtful Words: Rewrite Your Own Story

"In my weaknesses, he made me strong, 2 Corinthians 12:9.  You know, whenever I was at my lowest, that's where my relationship with Christ grew."
Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, who was close to retiring before returning to win Super Bowl LII

My prayer for you is that this Easter will become an opportunity to celebrate your beautiful soul.

"Soul is about authenticity. Soul is about finding the things in your life that are real and pure."

Happy Easter! Check out my book, "The Dying Teach Us How to Live

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Failure or Risk Taker?

I have been involved with creating paintings, marketing my first book and writing a second book.  It has been very busy with all of the things I want to accomplish.  So much for an easy retirement! 

"I always thought that the "thriving" would come when everything was perfect, and what I learned is that it's actually down in the mess that things get good."  Johanna Gaines, HGTV host

I guess I'm down in the mess! I realize that the journey itself is the adventure. I am taking time to enjoy the process because otherwise I feel overwhelmed and insecure. 

"If you try and it doesn't work out, you're not a failure. You are a risk taker."  Ava Duvernay, director in People

I'm calling myself a risk taker.  I'm not sure what the future holds.  I am enjoying each day that I have and I am celebrating small victories and learning by my many mistakes.  Life is messy but inspiring and hopeful!

I am sharing with you a link to a news article that comes out on Sunday in our local newspaper.  I appreciate the support of everyone I know who continues to provide encouragement and assist as I need help. 

I hope that all of you grab a hold on your dreams and do not give up. Be a risk taker!


https://www.dayton.com/lifestyles/why-this-dayton-woman-says-the-living-can-and-should-embrace-death/af2Tbxz8RjmLTPtCoSAM3O/

Friday, March 16, 2018

St Patrick's Day

Check out my book and E book, The Dying Teach Us How to LiveTomorrow is St. Patrick's Day.  It is a celebration borrowed from another country and modified for the United States.  The majority of Americans are descendants of immigrants who, like the Irish, were initially scorned, isolated and feared. They spoke another language, cooked different foods, had confusing customs, and were "different" until they were assimilated into their adopted country.

"Look for strengths in people, not weaknesses; for good, not evil. Most of us find what we search for."  J. Wilbur Chapman 

In other words, we need to look for the good in the immigrants who are searching for hope and acceptance in a world of war, famine, cruelty, pain and suffering.  As we grow to know each of them as individual persons, we begin to understand that we are all the same. We can share cultures, love, faith, and joy as we explore our common needs and wants.  

"In spite of everything, I still believe people are very good at heart." Anne Frank   

If Anne Frank can find that people are good at heart, as individuals and as a country we can find the good in the desperate people who want to find a safe place for their families. People put themselves in great danger to assist Anne Frank to have extra time to live.  There are many Anne Franks in this world who need and deserve our help.  

I hope you have a wonderful St. Patrick's Day!

Check out my book and E book, The Dying Teach Us How to Live  

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Sometimes Life Hurts

"We cannot tell what may happen to us in the strange medley of life.  But we can decide what happens in us...how we can take it, what we can do with it....and that is really what counts in the end."  Joseph Fort Newton

I had spent several days taking apart my paintings with glass, taking photos of my art, photo-shopping it, and saving it to a flash drive.  I had about 350 photos on the flash drive when I asked someone to help me to save the last pictures as I am technically inept.  The person at first reported that the flash drive was full.  I was going to get another flash drive when he reported that it took the pictures and had extra storage space.  I didn't realize until several days later, after I had put all of the framed art back together, that the flash drive was defective and he just covered over the other photos and it was too late to rescue the over 200 deleted files. It was devastating to me for a couple of days but I realized that although it was a great loss of time and effort, it was not the end of the world!  I know that many others have experienced much greater losses than I had. I still have my original paintings and drawings and over time I can replace the missing photos.

Life can change in an instant with accidents, sudden illness, death of someone close to us, fires, environmental disasters, crime such as assaults or rape, lawsuits, loss of jobs, etc. In the scheme of this life, the loss of my photos was minor. Sometimes we have to take time to appreciate when things are going well because anything can happen. With faith, hope and love we can find the silver lining in all of life's surprises and remember that we can survive and conquer any obstacles. We have the power to change our focus and find peace.  We have the authority to appreciate what we do have and create a new plan and begin again.

"When you are blue, try painting yourself a different color."  Janet Stewart

Check out my E book or book, The Dying Teach Us How to Live

Friday, March 9, 2018

Crossroads of Life

"Courage doesn't mean you're not afraid.  It means you're afraid but you do it anyway."  Tony Robbins, motivational speaker

Things happen to us in our lives that are a crossroads in the direction we are taking. Someone dies who is close to us, we lose our job, have a house fire, experience serious illness or become a caregiver, we become childless as our children leave home, our pet dies, we grow older and experience loss of independence, have to move to a new state or country, retire, graduate, become parents, catastrophic weather causes devastation, traumatic injury occurs, we are victims of crime, etc. 

All of the above and worse can and will happen.  It is our job to let go of the feeling that we are in control of our lives and become open to new possibilities. Ask God to take the helm and help you find your way in the sea of life.  There is always something good that comes out of everything if we look hard enough and deep enough. Sometimes the answer God gives us is no or not now but when we look back on our lives we can see that God has wonderful timing and the answer we receive later is better than we can imagine!

"Instead of telling God how big your problems are, tell your problems how big your God is!"  Kerri Miller



Check out my book or E book, The Dying Teach Us How to Live

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Kids--Live and Let Live

The news has been filled with images of children and teens taking their own lives and/or killing others. This grievous carnage is so filled with horror because it is preventable and totally unnecessary. Usually guns are used.  I wonder about why a young person has access to or needs to own an assault or repeating rifle. I wonder what evil has happened to a young person to cause them to be filled with such anger and hatred against the world and their peers.

I worked at Children's Services for only a short time because I couldn't continue to "reunify" families by returning abused children home to continue to be at the mercy or their abuser.  How can trust occur when vulnerable children are not protected by the adults who are supposed to be nurturing them?  Children have no rights. There are "Parents" in name only do not accept responsibility to help shape the lives of these little morsels of humanity who can blossom with a protected, safe and loving environment.  Many are subjected to ridicule, physical, sexual and emotional abuse, starvation or use of food to control behavior with unhealthy diets and exposed to drugs.

Most of us function with a conscience that has been formed over our lifetime and the majority of us would never consider using a gun or torture against another human being.  However, with barrage of constant criticism, anger, deprivation; physical, emotional, mental, sexual and psychological abuse, it is no wonder that a child can become socially isolated, have a negative outlook on life and a warped sense of righteousness.

The adults in the lives of all children must report abuse, demand rights for children to be in a safe and loving environment and have their basic human needs met such as healthy food, clean and safe homes and loving supervision.  We have taken God and frequently counselors, nurses, and psychologists out of the school systems and replaced them with more "security".  External restraints are never as effective as internal, self-guiding decisions made by individuals supported and encouraged by adults and peers.  Children who are having problems with bullies, nutrition, sanitation, symptoms of abuse, health concerns and toxic home environments must be identified and assisted if we want to prevent further attacks of children with suicide or homicide. Kids need to learn how to live harmoniously and let others do the same. Kids learn what they live. Adults and peers are their teachers and examples.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

President's Day

Tomorrow is President's Day and as we look back we can remember the Presidents who made a  positive difference in our country and in the world. 

What have we learned from these leaders from long ago? In an article written by Jackie Cushman, writer for Creaters Syndicate, she explored how Washington and Lincoln shaped the country. 

Washington stated, according to Jackie Cushman, "Throughout his service to the country, Washington recognized it was not about him, but about our country." This is something our current leaders could apply today. So many decisions today are made about party lines, politics, money, power, personal gain, and business interests. The good of the country and its members takes a back seat.

Lincoln, who held the country together during a civil war, in a private letter September 1862 wrote, "The will of God prevails. In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be and one must be wrong.  God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time. In the present civil war it is quite possible that God's purpose is something different from the purpose of either party--and yet the human instrumentalities, working just as they do, are of the best adaptation to effect his purpose.--Lincoln closed his address by reaching out to the Confederacy (the losers) and reminding the Union (the winners) that victory should be accompanied by grace. With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right of God gives us to see the right, let us strive to finish the work we are in..." 

This could be written about our situation today in our government. In an article by Mark K. Updegrove, he reminds us of President Carter, who was the first former U.S. President to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, awarded to him for his "decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights and promote economic and social development."  He reported that Carter's teacher, Julia Coleman stated, "We must adjust to changing times and still hold to unchanging principles." Updegrove states that Carter, in his next book. Faith,  will explore why we should have faith in things as wide-ranging as God, our government, democracy, freedom, honesty and our fellow man."  Let our government find God and justice in their work.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Violence and the Innocent

My heart and soul hurt when I hear about senseless violence, especially when it involves children. I cry for the parents, family, friends and victims. I cry also for the person who committed such an atrocity, who will have to live with this crime for eternity. 

I thank those heroes who put themselves in harm's way to prevent further slaughter and who continue to inspire us to become the best we can be for the time we have on this earth. 

"How you and those dear to you live earns your reputation; how you and those dear to you face death reveals your character."  John William Russell III

I pray for the survivors that they will use this opportunity to thank God for their lives and that they will endeavor to make their lives a beacon of hope for others. 

"Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of promises for overcoming it."  Helen Keller

With God's help we can find the light of peace, forgiveness and hope that tomorrow brings.

"Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being.  Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light."  Albert Schweitzer

My prayer is that God's light will shine through each of us so that collectively we can extinguish the flames of hatred, anger, violence and pain in our world and replace them with flames of love, hope, peace and acceptance. 

May my prayers unite with others to place a blanket of comfort over all who are experiencing the suffering of violence.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Pat's Art Exhibit


Hope to see you there!  Thank you for your interest and support!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Love and Romance

"In all the chaos that's going on, we need a little love and romance."  Diana Krall, musician

"There is an overwhelming power in boundless compassion and unconditional love."  Eric Greitens, Navy SEAL and author of Resilience:  Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life

All of us hope for the perfect person and relationship in our lives. Remember that we are half of a relationship. What are you doing to make the other person feel loved and appreciated?  I see romantic movies and the gentleman is providing a very beautiful setting and makes great effort to show his love.  There is nothing stopping a woman from stepping forward and making a special effort to demonstrate her love. Make a point of telling others that you love them. It is a wonderful gift!

"Be sure that the person you are falling in love with is the person who is genuinely there and not an idealized version of a person who you 'wish' was there.  And always go with your heart." Danica McKellar
 
We can waste our time and efforts on someone who will never reciprocate our love.  We often keep sending our love to a bottomless pit of selfishness, rejection, and despair.  We are worth receiving unconditional and encompassing love from special people in our lives.  Don't settle for less! Become the person that someone else will want to love unconditionally!

Many of us are alone during holidays and celebrations or remembrances of a holiday like Valentine's
Day.  It takes little effort to remember our single, disabled and elderly friends but the joy and excitement we can share is memorable and greatly appreciated. If you are single and alone, keep in mind that you still have a great capacity to share your love with others!

Have a wonderful Valentine's Day!  I am sending all of you my prayers and heartfelt blessings! 

Check out my book, The Dying Teach Us How to Live

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The Best I Can Be


"Dear Lord--
I'm proud to say, so far today
I've got along all right;
I have not gossiped, whined or bragged,
Or had a single fight.

I haven't lost my temper once,
Or criticized my mate,
I have not lied, I have not cried,
Or loudly cursed my fate.

So far today I've not one time
Been grumpy or morose,
I've not been spiteful. cold or vain,
Self-centered or verbose.

But, Lord, I'm going to need Your help
Throughout the hours ahead,
so give me strength, Dear Lord, for now
I'm getting out of bed."

John T. Baker

We all have daily battles with ourselves to become a better person.  It is hard work that can bring us joy and increased self-esteem.  I watched a show about reunions with people who had a huge effect on their lives.  One man was rich, drank and gambled. "I was not a good person." He decided to change his life, traveled to places in the world where refugees were stranded and used his own time, money and efforts to make a difference in their lives.  He was reunited with a young boy,  once 12 years old, without family; a refugee who was able to change his life 40 years earlier because of the efforts of this one man. Everyday we can begin our day with a goal of making a difference in the lives of those we encounter.  Remember others who have been inspirational to us.  Pass it on!

Check out my book, "The Dying Teach Us How to Live

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Laughter

I was with my pinochle playing card group when something unexpected happened.  We claim we play pinochle but mostly we are just friends sharing our lives, successes, failures, and just being ourselves.  One night we were talking and we all suddenly burst out laughing after one of us spoke.  It wasn't a joke, we were just laughing at ourselves.  We were laughing so hard, we had tears in our eyes.  It was such fun to let go of the worries of our world and just simply enjoy being together. 

"Friends are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly."  Unknown

"When a smile breaks open into laughter, hearts open! Laughter creates space, ease and connection.  Laughter is our soul's joy song."  Tracee Ellis Ross, actress

The difference in our joy involves whether we are laughing with someone or at someone.  This is a very important distinction! 

"Don't laugh at other people. When you do, the people around you naturally wonder whether you sometimes laugh at them."  Jeff Haden, writer

Let It Snow

I made myself a snowball,
As perfect as could be,
I thought I'd keep it as a pet, 
And let it sleep with me.
I made it some pajamas,
And a pillow for its head.
Then last night it ran away, 
But first--it wet the bed.  
Unknown

Good friends never "run" away!  Have a wonderful life and share a laugh with someone!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Giving Back

"If you are lucky enough to be successful, you have a responsibility to give back.  We're all intertwined. We're responsible to make the world a better place for one another."
               Lori Greiner, inventor, entrepreneur and co-host of Shark Tank.

I recently heard about a program at University of Dayton in Ohio.  Recent graduates from college have taken a year to live in groups of four with other graduates in a challenged, poor and under-served community.  They are choosing and offering a year of service to their community to make a difference in the lives of others who have not had opportunities, encouragement and support systems to inspire them. 

According to Alma Powell and General Colin Powell, "Devoting  a year after high school or college to serve their community lets them join with others in works of healing.  This cause of helping children become healthy, moral, skilled adults is the cause that will determine the future of our nation. Raising children prepared for lives of accomplishment, self-respect, and contribution is our core responsibility.  We can make a difference, one caring adult and one child at a time."

"Be ye fishers of men.  You catch 'um--He'll clean 'em" 

"Are you fishing or just preoccupied with the net?" 
                                               Both taken from a church bulletin

Are you ready to make a difference? We can't save the world but we can lessen the burden of just one person we meet.  It is easy to look away or at the computer or cell phone.  It takes love to reach out!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Martin Luther King, Jr

Tomorrow is Martin Luther King Day.  It seems fitting to remind readers of some of his quotes that are still very relevant and insightful.  Rev. King had a special way of targeting the simplicity of truth to highlight issues and find non-violent responses.  He knew that the heart of conflict is often very simple. All of us are human beings with the same physical, emotional and psychological needs.  We all need each other in order to co-exist peacefully in this world that we all share.  We need to take the time to learn to truly know each other as a person and begin to appreciate and cherish our differences. 

"I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.  This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant." 
Martin Luther King from his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, Oslo, Norway, 1964

It is easy to take the easy way of hearing only what we want to hear, or to block out others whose needs are immediate, urgent and heart-rending. It could be us in that situation. We must do what is right if we want to survive as a society because we are all vulnerable at some point in our lives.  We all need each other; there is no safe, isolated existence.  Life, in all of its uncertainty, is messy, illogical, filled with many disparities in wealth, health, environment, race, color, creed, sexual orientation, faith, education, stability, resources, work opportunities, etc. Yet we all experience illness, death, grief, wars, disasters, pain, suffering and isolation from others because of our shared humanity.  We are more the same than we are different. 

We need unconditional love for each other and the ability to show mercy before we can face ourselves in the mirror.  We need to do the "right thing" and be the example of how to unite the world rather than destroy it.  We only have one world to share.

"For when people get caught up with that which is right and they are willing to sacrifice for it, there is no stopping point short of victory."  Dr. Martin Luther King from "I've been to the mountaintop," April 3, 1968   

Victory for a peaceful world that helps to make all dreams come true. Thank you Rev. King!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Water In The Glass

"A well-known proverb states that an optimistic would say a glass is half full, while a pessimist would say it is half empty.  What would people of different professions and walks of life say?

The BANKER would say that the glass has just under 50% of its net worth in liquid assets.
The GOVERNMENT would say that the glass is fuller than if the opposition party were in power.
The OPPOSITION would say that it is irrelevant because the present administration has changed the way such volume statistics are collected.
The PHILOSOPHER would say that, if the glass was in the forest and no one was there to see it, would it be half anything? 
The PSYCHIATRIST would ask, "What did your mother say about the glass?"
The PHYSICIST would say that the volume of this cylinder is divided into two equal parts; one a colorless, odorless liquid, the other a colorless, odorless gas. Thus the cylinder is neither full nor empty.  Rather, each half of the cylinder is full, one with a gas, one with a liquid.
A SEASONED DRINKER would say that the glass doesn't have enough ice in it." 

Taken from a church bulletin.  

Each of us have to decide what the water in the glass means to us. Do our daily thoughts and actions reflect a positive view of life or do we choose to see the negative aspects of being a human being?  It is truly up to us to send out ripples of love or ripples of discontent or anger. Love can be very contagious as we see rainbows after the rain or smiles through the tears.  

"No matter how dark it gets, we all have to be light for each other." Tyler Perry, writer, actor and director.

Become the light for someone or others!  


Friday, January 5, 2018

Children Learn What They Live

If words have power, example has massively potent energy. 

I had my grandchildren over for the holidays and as we ate breakfast, I observed the children taking pancakes, putting butter and syrup on them and eating heartily.  I am a diet-controlled diabetic.  I always put only fresh fruit on my pancakes.  As we were eating, the kids asked why I did not use syrup.  I explained that while syrup tastes good, it has a high sugar content and empty calories. 
The next time we had pancakes at my house, one of my grandchildren quietly ate her pancakes with only fresh fruit.  It was never discussed, it was simply observation and respectful imitation. 

"One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world."  Malala Yousafzai, who at 17 won the Nobel Peace Prize for her movement to ensure girls all over the world have a right to an education

"You are powerful when you are positive, and you are even more powerful when you share your positivity with others." Jon Gordon, author and inspirational speaker

"Today choose forgiveness over self-pity.  Choose vulnerability over putting up walls.  Choose joy over fear."  Guidepost reader Alina Paliy of Agawam, Massachusetts

You are the greatest example to the children in your life. How can we teach our children not to smoke, drink, use drugs, have angry outbursts, be intolerant of others, bully others, criticize, complain, judge and gossip about others, be irresponsible, be unkind, or other undesirable traits if we model them ourselves? 

We have the opportunity to help children to learn what they live by our own example. Be the kind of person we want our children to become.  We are all teachers!