From the Author

Monday, November 11, 2019

Veterans Day

Veterans come in all shapes and sizes, all faiths, all colors, all ages, and all have represented their country.  They are the inspiration and heroes that keep our country safe and in front of the world.  They are also fathers, sons, brothers and grandfathers. The children are watching and imagining being a part of the world of the military.

Toy Soldier

My six-year-old was playing with his toy soldiers, using a different voice for each one.

Soldier Number 1
I have a bazooka, and I make a big boom.

Soldier Number 2
I have a pistol that goes bang.

Soldier Number 3
I have a Swiffer, and I can make your house really clean.

That last soldier caught my attention.  On further examination, I discovered that Soldier number 3 was holding a mine detector.  

Donna Lawrence, Albin, Iowa

Military men and women make a difference in the world along with firemen, police, and all individuals who put themselves in harms way to keep all of us safe.  

THANK YOU!!!





Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Freedom for the Soul

I had a recent visit from a relative that I love and admire.  She is currently having issues with her brittle diabetes and its resulting effects on her physically.  While she was visiting, I observed her drinking alcohol, eating sweets and desserts. I know that she didn't realize that while she was "cheating" with her diet, she was cheating herself, her loving family and her own health. Often we face obstacles in our lives that seem overwhelming and insurmountable.  However, if we tackle these issues head on and decide to not be captive to fear and insecurity, we find we can rise above and overcome them triumphantly.

"The prerequisite to true freedom is to decide that you do not want to suffer anymore.  You must decide that you want to enjoy your life and that there is no reason for stress, inner pain or fear."

"You can live a life completely free from the fears of the psyche.  You just have to learn how to do it. Let's take smoking as an example.  It is not hard to understand how to stop smoking.  The key word is "stop".  It really doesn't matter what patches you use; when it is all said and done, you simply must stop. The way you stop smoking is to stop putting cigarettes in you mouth. All other techniques are just ways that you think will help. But the bottom line is, all you have to do is stop putting cigarettes in your mouth. If you do this, it's guaranteed that you will stop smoking."

Michael A Singer, "the untethered soul," the journey beyond yourself

We are in control of our thoughts and fears.  We can use our personal power to achieve mastery over any addictions such as drug use, alcoholism, anger, fear, self-judgement and judgement of others, anxiety, stress, or anything stopping us from being our optimal selves. With support of faith, friends, and our own willpower, we can love ourselves and others just the way we are. We can reach for the stars to create a positive attitude and a willingness to achieve the best that we can be.  We control the freedom of our soul. 

Check out my book "The Dying Teach Us How to Live," my art gallery with originals and vinyl prints

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Caregivers For Elderly

My mother has been having significant changes in her condition.  It has been challenging to be her caregiver, POA and daughter. The support I receive from the facility staff has been invaluable. I'm impressed with all of the individuals who work with the elderly and are able to share love, care, kindness and patience with each older individual who needs assistance. 

A Prayer For Those Who Work With the Elderly

Lord, give me the peace to greet my patients with consistency and strength; to welcome the uniqueness of each day and each individual

Provide me with the stamina to keep up with their demands, even on those days when I feel inner limits

Let me remember their frustration at not being able to perform ordinary tasks and let me manage to aid them with understanding, easiness and compassion

Let me remember to laugh.  Give me the ability to see the humor in each situation and to recognize  that life need not always be so serious

Provide me with the opportunity to touch.  To demonstrate acceptance, assurance and compassion through a gentle pat or a loving embrace

Give me the power to recognize the struggles within each person; to remember their own dignity and the importance of their individual past

Lord, let me cry out when there is injustice toward any person.  Give me the wisdom to recognize abuse in every form and the inspiration of how to stop it

Let me remember that families cope with age in different ways.  Let me forgive those who do not visit; understand those who over compensate and cooperate with those who demand

Provide me with the insight to support my fellow workers.  Help me remember their own struggles and let me reach out in genuine cooperation

Lord, let me remember love not only in the individual that is lovable, but in the person that is difficult.  Let me look into each separate face and know the unique beauty within

And when they have all pushed too hard let me remember gratitude.  Through them I am provided the opportunity to soar above mediocrity, to create change and a better world

Thank you Lord for I am blessed                      Greta G Sherman 


Friday, September 27, 2019

Winners vs Stress Captives

I read a recent horoscope by Holiday Mathis.

"Stress is a function of arguing with reality.  Essentially, it's from not wanting things to be the way they are.  Stress eases when you accept the state of things and work within them instead of wasting energy believing they should be different."

Anxiety and worry often take control of our lives as we constantly battle with what is actually happening and what we want to happen.  Neither anxiety or worry change the situation,  The only resolution to this conflict is to realize that life happens.  It is our response and attitude to life that help us endure to achieve greater dreams.  I have met many individuals who have survived unimaginable situations such as concentration camps, abuse, trauma, rape, death of multiple family and friends, natural disasters, etc.

The "winner" survivors often had creative open minds to future potential achievements. They just accepted the circumstances that occurred, did not place blame on anyone, and looked ahead to take one day at a time. They resolved to overcome obstacles and begin a new life journey. They did not wallow in anger, frustration, blame, discouragement, or depression.

The "winners" did not see themselves as courageous, heroic or determined.  They simply know that life is often unpredictable and sometimes harsh. They rise to the challenge and become stronger spiritually, morally, physically and emotionally. "Winners" remain in control of their own destiny and make choices from an inner power. Each of us have the strength to no longer remain a captive to stress. We have the power to rise above unavoidable difficulties to become strong and independent as we continuously deal with the reality of life.  Stress drains our positive energy with negative results. The answer may be to simply accept that life is never going to be the way we want it.  Instead, life is what we make it. 
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Friday, September 13, 2019

What Do My Actions Say?

"Actions speak louder than words, let your words teach and your actions speak." 
St Anthony of Padua

There are many words that we can use to explain our beliefs, religion, philosophy, politics, relationships, and intentions.  Often we are guided by religious guidelines, governmental rules and regulations, familial or ethnic traditions, or self imposed behavioral restrictions. It is often easier to settle into routine adherence to expectations instead of fully experiencing spontaneous opportunities to reach out emotionally and spiritually to others.

Externally we can "follow the rules" and appear to be model citizens, parishioners, neighbors and friends. We can say the right words and express the right intentions while giving rules and regulations a central part of our lives.

The true internalization of these guidelines that are taught verbally are effectively reflected when our actions "speak" for us without words by our compelling, sincere example. Children especially internalize what they experience rather than guidance of words only.  There is often a disconnect between spoken words that are meaningless responses of polite expectations instead of actual feelings and intentions.

What do my actions say about me?  Are needs of people more important than merely following the expectations of society?

St. Mother Teresa used her hand to show the need of reaching out with actions instead of just words.  She said each of the five fingers of her hand related to the five words:  "You Do It To Me." We are sometimes the answer to someone's prayer because we step forward to reach out to a person in need. We have opportunities every day to make a difference in the lives of others through our actions.


Saturday, August 31, 2019

Why Am I Here?

Many of us wonder at times what our life goal has become.  Why am I here, what am I supposed to accomplish?
I have decided on the best life goal for me and hopefully understand the reason why I am here.
each one of us have been blessed with different opportunities, varying levels of health, unique talents, obstacles to overcome and support systems.  None of us are the same yet we all have bodies and a soul.

My own life goal is to be the best I can be by utilizing my skills and talents to make a difference for myself and others in the relatively short life spans we can expect. I know that I have a great way to go to achieve my goal. However, I am committed to try.  I am far from perfect and I don't think it would be possible to ever become that way.

By taking personal responsibility for myself, I am aware that my life can't be predicted, controlled, manipulated or lived by others.  I make my own decisions, I can't blame others for my actions or reactions. I have the opportunity to grow physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally by my own reactions and choices in my life.   I don't expect it to be easy.  I don't always expect to succeed. 
However, I am convinced that for my life to make a positive difference for others, I need to have a positive outlook and say yes to whatever happens to me with the help of my family, friends and faith.

I look to others who have had more to overcome than I can imagine.  Yet they remain content, peaceful and are amazing examples of using the abilities we have to achieve greatness.  Check out my book, "The Dying Teach Us How to Live". my art gallery, and vinyl prints

"If you are what you should be, you will set the entire world ablaze."  Saint Catherine of Siena

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Life Friends

"Friendship is the source of the greatest pleasures, and without friends even the most agreeable pursuits become tedious."  St. Thomas Aquinas

Many of us have friends that we are not acquainted with.  They are the troops who keep our country safe and who often send goodwill to the world. There are friends who we have known most of our lives.  Friends who also happen to be relatives or spouses.  There are friends that we share a special time with and who remain friends in our hearts even though they are not present physically. 

It is important to remember and appreciate our friends who we often take for granted, especially our service members.

"The Service:

One Sunday morning, the pastor noticed little Alex was staring up at the large plaque that hung in the foyer of the church.  It was covered with names and small American flags were mounted on either side of it.

The seven-year-old had been staring at the plaque for some time, so the pastor walked up, stood beside the boy, and said quietly, "Good morning, Alex."

"Good morning," replied the young man, still focused on the plaque.  "What is this?" Alex asked.
"Well son, it's a memorial to all the young men and women who died in the service."

Soberly, they stood together, staring at the large plaque. Little Alex's voice was trembling and barely audible when he asked, "Which service, the 9:45 or the 11:15?"  Church bulletin.

If we can laugh at the world, we can learn to deal with many of the difficult times when God gives us a chance to relax and enjoy the small moments of laughter. 
Check out my book, "The Dying Teach Us How to Live", my art gallery and prints, and speaker information

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Saints and Sinners

"Every Saint has a past and every sinner has a future."  Oscar Wilde

I like this quote because while I'm familiar with the sinner part of the quote, I am still looking to the future.  I am grateful that I have a future.  I know that everyday is a new chance to make it a better outcome by making a difference in this life.

"How can I get to Heaven?"

"The teacher asked the children in her Sunday School class, "If I sold my house and my car, held a big garage sale, and gave all of my money to the church, would I get into heaven?"

"No!" the children all answered.

Then I said, "If I cleaned the church every day, mowed the yard, and kept everything neat and tidy, would I get into heaven?"

Again, the answer was "No!"

"Well," I continued "then how can I get to heaven?"

A five-year-old boy shouted out "You gotta be dead!"

He's right.  We all will die eventually.  I guess the greatest question is " What have we done with the time we have?

"Whether it be treasure, time or talent, we all have something to offer."  Chris Pratt, actor

"There's no cap on success. The jury stays out till you take your last breath.  Judy Sheindlin, Judge

"No matter where you are in the world, somebody will be worse off than you.  And if you think like that, you will always have the mind-set to give back.  Priyanka Chopra, Actor

Be an answer to someone's prayer. Let God worry about the rest!


Monday, July 15, 2019

High School Reunions

I had the opportunity to attend my 50th high school reunion.  It was well-planned with a high attendance.  There were many of our class who were missed due to illness or death.  It was such a wonderful experience to meet as an adult with individuals I only knew as teenagers.  I survived high school, shy and insecure in my existence as a transplant from another state in my sophomore year. 

I was just an ordinary person who did not excel in sports, academics, attractiveness, confidence, social graces, or talent.  I was privileged to meet others who were on the same journey and we forged friendships that have survived the years intact. These friends have provided support and acceptance that made life full and bearable during difficult times. 

"Go and love someone exactly as they are. And then watch how quickly they transform into the greatest, truest version of themselves. When one feels seen and appreciated in their own essence, one is instantly empowered."  Wes Angelozzi

I appreciate the members of my high school who overlooked my ineptness and self-conscientiousness; who cared about finding out who I was underneath the quiet demeanor.  My alumni class took group pictures of all of the students who came to high school from various local grade schools. They also generously included a picture of the "transplant" students from out of state or non-local schools. 

We all need support and kindness to be able to survive in a difficult world.  Teens have a very tough journey going from children to adults.  High school is the crucial pathway in this developmental trek.  Friends, family, teachers, administrators, coaches, and fellow classmates make a difference to each other and provide the opportunity to help each person to utilize their gifts to their greatest capacity. High school students will become the leaders of the future. They can make a huge difference in the world as they empower all to achieve greatness.  We can bring hope, love, faith, acceptance, kindness, and encouragement to each other and whoever we encounter.

Thank you to my fellow classmates who took the time to encourage me in my life.  I hope that I helped others to realize that the world needs all of us and that we are all special. 

See my book, e book, and audio book "The Dying Teach Us How to Live" on amazon. My website includes books and art gallery.


Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Freedom

July 4th is a wonderful celebration of freedom in the United States.  This day is a symbol of the special opportunities we enjoy in America.  Freedom is an awesome gift as well as a great responsibility. 

Freedom is relative depending on who is experiencing life in our nation.  The responsibility to maintain the hard-won battles to achieve autonomy is the most difficult fight.  It is easier to corrupt the process by excluding segments of society from protection.  The rights of all members of this society are inclusive. 

There are many kinds of freedoms.  Freedom of faith, lifestyle, sexual orientation, educational level, ethnicity, social status, economic status, marital status, speech and ability to pursue happiness. When these freedoms are eroded by power, threats, intimidation, politics, prejudice, economic sanctions, inability to access affordable education, healthcare, nutrition, safety and housing; the entire nation suffers. We suffer ultimately because we have lost the intent of the original constitution and are supporting an elitist society. 

Let us remember the sacrifices of our founders, our military and all who protect the rights of all members of our country.  It is our legacy to our children, grandchildren and descendants to protect those who can't do it themselves simply because it is important to maintain the vision of our founders.  When we respect the rights of all members of the United States, we are fulfilling the letter of the law and we are all benefiting from the achievements, skills and knowledge of all segments of society. 

I appreciate our founders and their vision of better world.  I hope that everyone enjoys this special day with each other and in special celebrations. 

See the e book, audio book and book, "The Dying Teach Us How to Live" on Amazon, illuminangels.com and my art gallery


Thursday, June 27, 2019

Zen Teachings

*Always remember you're unique--just like everyone else.

*If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.

*If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.

*Some days you are the pigeon, some days you are the statue.

*Never test the depth of the water with two feet.

*A closed mouth gathers no foot.

*Generally speaking, you aren't learning when your lips are moving.

*Good judgment comes from bad experience, and most of that comes from bad judgment.
Church bulletin


Remember, "Everyday is a second chance."  Hallmark movie.

Some people don't celebrate birthdays.  I do.  It seems to be a better choice than the alternative.  Life is short, changeable, with many moods, pain, and confusion.  It is finite but everyday has new opportunities, new challenges, new hope, and new beginnings.  Celebrate your life as it is the only one you have!  Remember your fellow human beings are also experiencing life also and we can make it easier by being available to help and encourage each other!  Life is what we make it!  I am wishing a happy birthday to my much older sister.

My book, e book and audio book "The Dying Teach Us How to Live are available on amazon and my website/art gallery

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Dad's Day

I imagine most fathers would agree with Brad Meltzer, author and TV host. 

We are all ordinary. We are all boring.
We are all spectacular.  We are all shy.
We are all bold.  We are all heroes.
We are all helpless. It just depends on the day. 



Fathers are not just ordinary people to their families.  They are key to the family environment, safety, security, contentment, faith, and love.  Fathers can partner with their spouse to create an atmosphere of acceptance, love, peace, hope and accountability. Fathers are the example of what an adult man should be for the young men who idolize and look up to them.  They are a living model of the way to treat a woman, a child, friends, neighbors, co-workers and acquaintances.

A father lives his life as a as a positive resource for his family.  If he puts God first, everything else will fall into place.  Children love, forgive and accept their fathers simply because you are their father. Some children equate their fathers with God since he is called our father.  It is a responsibility of great importance.  Children notice how a father acts.  Is he honest, trustworthy, kind, reverent, and a comfortable listener and teacher?  

There are many fathers in this world.  Biological fathers, step fathers, adoptive fathers, foster fathers, godfathers, substitute fathers, mentors and friend fathers.  Each one is a piece of the puzzle of the questions of life.  Children literally and figuratively look up to the adult males in their lives to figure out how to become a man.  Little girls want to know that they are loved, appreciated, and protected by males in their lives. All children need parents or significant adults to remind them they are special and loved unconditionally.  

Fathering is a life-altering experience for all traditional and nontraditional families.  Remember that you hold a particularly exhausting and many times a thankless job.  The pay of hugs, adoration, utter trust, and gifts made from the heart are not very lucrative financially, but are treasures to be cherished.  

If you feel overwhelmed with fatherhood, remember this quote from St. Philip Neri.  

"Cast yourself into the arms of God and be very sure that if God wants anything of you, God will fit you for the work and give you strength."

Happy Father's Day to all formal and informal fathers!  


Saturday, June 8, 2019

Tornados

As I view the devastation from the recent Ohio tornadoes, I remember other parts of the world experiencing floods, hurricanes, fires, droughts and other massive weather destruction.  In Ohio, the most wonderful result of the chaos is the volunteers and community gathering together to help each other.  Gifts of money, time, experience, compassion, and love make something beautiful out of something unimaginable that is out of our control. Today, I am sending you a poem that might make a difference in your life.  

The Way
A loving word, 
 A cheerful smile,
A kindly thought or two...
A helpful hand,
A ready step,
They help, my friend, they do.
A patient heart,
A thoughtful deed,
A willingness to cheer...
An endless day
Of service, friend,
These things make life most dear.
Be kind, do good,
Have loving thoughts
Throughout the livelong day,
Think right, serve God,
Be friend to all,
And you have found The Way!
 Esther Nilsson 

I thank everyone who takes time to assist others who are in need. I know that you would appreciate a helping hand if you were the one in the midst of trouble!  

Monday, June 3, 2019

Words to Live By

1   Accept that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue!

2   Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.

3   Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.

4   Drive carefully...it's not only cars that can be recalled by their Maker.

5   If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague! 

6   If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.

7   It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.

8   Never buy a car you can't push.

9   Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won't have a leg to stand on.

10  Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.


Taken from a church bulletin.

Humor is a wonderful way to take a look at our lives and remember that we have a positive or negative effect on others.  Humor reminds us to keep it positive!

Check out my book,E book and audio book "The Dying Teach Us How to Live" on Amazon, my art gallery and info illuminangels.com

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Silence

"A seed grows with no sound but a  tree falls with a huge noise.  Destruction has noise, but creation is quiet.  This is the power of silence.  Grow silently."  Martin Quartro, internet

Silence gives us time to think, regroup, pray, plan, be creative, actively listen, create an opportunity for meaningful eye contact and become open to the universe.  Silence allows others to communicate to us while we learn from them and expand our horizons.  Silence allows us to appreciate the sounds of nature including wind, rain, animal voices, rustling branches, bird calls, water gurgling, laughter, peace, babies, children playing, and clapping. 

If life is filled with music, cell phones, alarms, chaotic meetings, loud concerts, constant talkers, angry confrontations, outdoor sounds of motorized equipment, constant telephone calls, sounds of traffic, motorcycles, backfiring, sirens, etc.

Take time to enjoy the moment, send a thank you, appreciate your family and friends, remind yourself of special, memorable life experiences, remember how special you are and thank God for the life you have been given. 

Silence is the door to mental health, peace and productivity.  You are in control of your life and your decisions. You are a special, unique person with the ability to make a positive difference in the lives of all of the people you encounter each day.  Remember silence is the key to becoming aware of others. 

Explore illuminangels.com for "The Dying Teach Us How to Live" as a book, e book and audio book also available on Amazon. Check out my art gallery!

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Mothers Day

Women are Amazing

Women have strengths that amaze men.
They carry children, they carry hardships, they carry burdens
but they hold happiness, love and joy.
They smile when they want to scream.
They sing when they want to cry.
They cry when they are happy and laugh when they are nervous.
They fight for what they believe in.
They stand up for injustice.
They don't take no for an answer when they believe there is a better solution.
They go without new shoes so their children can have them.
They go to the doctor with a frightened friend.
They love unconditionally.
They cry when their children excel and cheer when their friends get awards.
They are happy when they hear about a birth or a new marriage.
Their hearts break when a friend dies.
They have sorrow at the loss of a family member, yet they are strong when they think they have no strength left. 
They know that a hug and a kiss can heal a broken heart.
Women come in all sizes, in all colors and shapes. 
Women are the hope of the world! 
Anonymous Internet

Honor mothers, grandmothers, adoptive mothers, foster mothers, stepmothers, honorary mothers on their special day and remember mothers, although strong, are fragile and have time limits on earth! 

Happy Mother's Day! 


Thursday, April 25, 2019

Angels

                We pray that

Angels before you, guide and direct you.
Angels behind you, guard and protect you.
Angels above you, watch over and bless you.
Angels beside you care for, comfort, and strengthen you. 
Light of God, surround you.
Love of God, enfold you.
Power of God, protect you.
Divine Presence of God, be with you
Peace of God, be in your heart.
Wherever you are, God is, and all is well.

Military Outreach, Seton Parish, Pickerington, OH  43247

I hope that you find many angels in your life.  They may be earth angels or heavenly angels.  They quietly go about helping us with our lives. It is up to us to notice their efforts and remember to be thankful and appreciative.  Check out my book, e book and audio book of "The Dying Teach Us How to Live". my art gallery and vinyl prints

                      

The Best Example


When You Thought I Wasn’t Looking As Written By A Child
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator, and I immediately wanted to paint another one.
When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw you feed a stray cat, and I learned it was good to be kind to animals.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you make my favorite cake for me and I learned that the little things can be the special things in life.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I heard you say a prayer, and I knew there is a God I could always talk to and I learned to trust in God.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you make a meal and take it to a friend who was sick and I learned that we all have to help take care of each other.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you give of your time and money to help people who had nothing and I learned that those who have something should give to those who don’t.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I felt you kiss me good night and I felt loved and safe.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you take care of our house and everyone in it and I learned to take care of what we are given.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw how you handled your responsibilities, even when you didn’t feel good and I learned that I would have to be responsible when I grow up.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw tears come from your eyes and I learned that sometimes things hurt, but it is all right to cry.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw that you cared and I wanted to be everything I could be.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I looked at you and wanted to say, “Thanks for all the things I saw when you thought I wasn’t looking.”

Remember that example is the greatest teacher.  Be the person you want others to look up to!

Monday, April 8, 2019

Despair

"Despair equals suffering without meaning."  Victor Frankl from Man's Search For Meaning

Victor was a Jewish survivor from a concentration camp in Germany.  He had to find meaning in his life to be able to survive. He found that individuals who felt they had something to give to others were able to overcome indescribable pain and suffering. They were able to make a difference in the lives of their fellow prisoners by offering what they had available; a small morsel of food, a squeeze of the hand, a hug, a smile, a joke, a supportive gaze, music of any kind, emotional support or help with anything else. 

"Each person on this planet is here for a purpose...That purpose is to care for other people and to help this world become a better place through service to others."  Actor Gary Sinise,  Veterans foundation director

"Worry does not take away tomorrow's trouble. It takes away today's peace."   Carole Brock of Miami Florida

Instead of worry and despair, try to find someone that you can do something for to make their life easier.  It may only be a smile of encouragement but it may make a huge difference for someone who feels isolated and lonely.  When we put God and others in our thoughts, there is no room for despair. 

I wish you happiness and peace!
Check out my book, e book and audio book and art gallery

Monday, March 25, 2019

Listening

"The biggest communication problem is we don't listen to understand, we listen to reply."  Southern Recollection/Chris Bush

"The day finally arrived; Forrest Gump dies and goes to Heaven.  He is at the Pearly Gates, met by St. Peter himself.  However, the gates are closed and Forrest approaches the Gatekeeeper.

St. Peter says, "Well, Forrest, it's certainly good to see you. We have heard a lot about you.  I must tell you, though, that the place is filling up fast, and we've been administering an entrance examination for everyone.  The test is short, but you have to pass it before you can get into Heaven."  Forrest responds, "It shor is good to be here, St. Peter, sir.  But nobody ever tolt me about any entrance exam.  Shor hope the test ain't too hard; life was a beg enough test as it was."

St. Peter goes on, "Yes, I know, Forrest, but the test is only three questions.
First:  What two days of the week begin with the letter "T"?
Second: How many seconds are there in a year?
Third: What is God's first name?
Forrest leaves to think the questions over. He returns the next day and sees St. Peter who waves him up and says, "Now that you have had a chance to think the questions over, tell me your answers."

Forrest says, "Well, the first one--which two days in the week begin with the letter "T"? Shucks, that one's easy.  That'd be Today and Tomorrow.

The Saint's eyes open wide and he exclaims, "Forrest, that's not what I was thinking, but you do have a point, and I guess I didn't specify, so I'll give you credit for that answer.  How about the next one?" asks St. Peter.
"How many seconds in a year?" "Now that ones's harder," says Forrest, "but I thunk and thunk about that a nod I guess the only answer can be twelve."  Astounded, St. Peter says, "Twelve? Twelve? Forrest, how in Heaven's name could you come up with twelve seconds in a year?"

Forrest says "Shucks, there's gotta be twelve: January 2nd, February 2nd, March 2nd...."
"Hold it," interrupts St. Peter. "I see where you're going with this, and I see your point, though that wasn't quite what I had in mind.....but I'll have to give you credit for that one, too.  Let's go on with the third and final question.  Can you tell me God's first name"?

"Sure" Forrest replied, "it's Andy." "Andy?!", exclaimed an exasperated and frustrated St. Peter.  "Ok, I can understand how you came up with your answers to my first two questions, but just how in the world did you come up with the name Andy as the first name of God?"
"ANDY WALKS WITH ME, ANDY TALKS WITH ME, ANDY TELLS ME I AM HIS OWN..."
St. Peter opened the Pearly Gates and said: "Run Forrest, run."  Anonymous Internet

Take time to give a word of praise
To one unsure-depressed, 
You may be busy with your life
But others are hard-pressed.
Take time to listen to a friend
Who needs to talk it out,
You may have things to hurry to
But take time to hear them out.
Take time to hear and be aware
Of each one in your home,
Your loved ones are your greatest joy
Take time to let them know.
Take time to love--take time to share
With all you meet each day
Your happy thoughts, your friendly smile,
Take time to love today 
Anonymous

                     



Wednesday, March 13, 2019

The Time is Now

This article was listed by Jeanne Phillips, Dear Abby, as her favorite poem.  Its author is unknown.
                                             
                                                                        The Time is Now
                                                         If you are ever going to love me,
                                                         Love me now, while I can know
                                                         The sweet and tender feelings
                                                         Which from true affection flow.
                                                         Love me now
                                                         While I am living.
                                                         Do not wait until I am gone
                                                         And then have it chiseled in marble,
                                                         Sweet words on ice-cold stone.
                                                         If you have tender thoughts of me,
                                                         Please tell me now.
                                                         If you wait until I am sleeping,
                                                         Never to awaken,
                                                         There will be death between us
                                                         And I won't hear you then.
                                                         So, if you love me, even a little bit,
                                                         Let me know it while I am living
                                                         So I can treasure it. 

When I saw this article, it reminded me of my dad who was 54 years old when he died suddenly.
I think I thought he would always be there and I saw the large father's day card that I forgot to send to him.  I'm sure my dad knew that I loved him but I was busy with my family and didn't tell him often enough in person.  Remember that life is fragile and we don't always have another chance to tell our loved ones how we feel about them.  Love is a wonderful gift that multiplies when we share it!
Check out my book, e book and audio book, "The Dying Teach Us How to Live" and my art gallery

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Finding Joy In Just Being Alive

There was a recent article in the Dayton Daily News by Kaitlin Schroeder, "Suicide, depression rates among teenagers on rise".  A teen from the area recently died after a suicide attempt.  Dr. Greg Raimey, pediatric psychiatrist with Dayton Children's Hospital, said suicide and depression are sensitive topics that can be hard for parents to bring up,.....". 

Another article, "Make finding joy in just being alive a goal" by Barton Goldsmith states, "Stuff happens and you have to deal with it or it will deal you out. Life is not a fairy tale, and you cannot expect it to be completely drama-free. That being said, how you deal with the drama is totally up to you." 

I think that many modern parents focus on protecting their children from consequences of their own decisions, especially the negative repercussions. Another goal could be educating children about their options, allowing them to make decisions, encouraging them to follow through with goals (positive or negative), and then experiencing the results of their actions. They can give definite rules and concrete, fair and encompassing penalties and rewards. Parents then have the responsibility to step back as their children face and directly deal with outcomes of their decisions. Situations of bullying need to be supervised.  Remember, bullies need help also as they have probably been bullied themselves. Children have specialized needs with trauma, death, abuse, crisis at home, family financial distress. However, they also have the ability to be responsible for their own childhood challenges that occur on a daily basis. 

Children and teens need to learn by experience that life is not always fair, that bad things happen to good people, and that we have a choice about how we respond to trauma, grief, sadness or emotional, psychological or spiritual pain.  Life is never perfect but it can be inspirational, empowering, and exciting as it unfolds.

Actor Luke Perry died recently at age 52. My dad died at age 54.  My niece died at 3 months old.  Luke was quoted by AP in 2006, "When you are younger you can have only work, and I will for a long time.  But it doesn't command my attention anymore. A lot of mysteries and the questions I had about it I've figured out, but life offers up mysteries every day."

Give children tools to face life with courage, flexibility, empowerment, and understanding of consequences of decisions.  "Make finding joy in just being alive a goal".  Check out my book, e book, audio book, art gallery, vinyl prints "The Dying Teach Us How to Live


Tuesday, February 26, 2019

The Optimist

A wonderful lady, Elodie Armstrong, diagnosed with multiple sclerosis wrote her own ten commandments:

Thou shalt not worry, for worry is the most unproductive of all human activities.
Thou shalt not be fearful, for most of the things we fear never come to pass.
Thou shalt not cross bridges before you get to them, for no one yet has succeeded in accomplishing    this.
Thou shalt face each problem as it comes. You can handle one at a time anyway.
Thou shalt not take problems to bed with you for they make very poor bedfellows.
Thou shalt not borrow other people's problems.  They can take better care of them than you can.
Thou shalt not try to relive yesterday for good or ill--it is gone.  Concentrate on what is happening in your life today.
Thou shalt count thy blessings, never overlooking the small ones, for a lot of small blessings add up to a big one.
Thou shalt be a good listener, for only when you listen do you hear ideas different from your own.  It's very hard to learn something new when you are talking.
Thou shalt not become bogged down by frustration, for 90 percent of it is rooted in self-pity and it will only interfere with positive action.

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

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Choices

Recently I heard about a mother and wife who was in a car crash.  She did not have sufficient brain activity to maintain life.  I know that a sudden life and death situation is very shocking to the point of having difficulty making decisions. In this case, the family were asked about organ donation.  I don't know what they chose.  It is important that all of us over 18 years old let our family and friends know about our wishes.  There are many people on waiting lists for organ donors for lungs, hearts, kidneys, livers, eyes, etc.

This particular woman who was dying was a loving, giving and caring person who may have had donor directives on her driver's license.  However, family members can override any of those wishes.  If there was a conversation about this issue, family members would not have to wonder what your wishes are.  Many lives can be affected for many years ahead as other people fill their lives with hope.

                                                                         To Remember Me
                                                                          by Robert N. Test

The day will come when my body will lie upon a white sheet neatly tucked under four  corners of a mattress located in a hospital busily occupied with the living and the dying.  At a certain moment a doctor will determine that my brain has ceased to function and that, for all intents and purposes, my life has stopped.  When that happens, do not attempt to instill artificial life into my body by the use of a machine.  And don't call this my deathbed. Let be called the Bed of Life, and let my body be taken from it to help others lead fuller lives.

Give my sight to the man who has never seen a sunrise, a baby's face or love in the eyes of a woman.
Give my heart to a person whose own heart has caused nothing but endless days of pain.
Give my blood to the teenager who was pulled from the wreckage of his car, so that he might live to see his grandchildren play.
Give my kidneys to one who depends on a machine to exist from week to week.
Take my bones, every muscle, every fiber and nerve in my body and find a way to make a crippled child walk.
Explore every corner of my brain. Take my cells, if necessary, and let them grow so that, someday a speechless boy will shout at the crack of a bat and a deaf girl will hear the sound of rain against her window.
Burn what is left of me and scatter the ashes to the winds to help the flowers grow.
If you must bury something, let it be my faults, my weaknesses and all prejudice against my fellow man.
Give my sins to the devil.
Give my soul to God.
If, by chance, you wish to remember me, do it with a kind deed or work to someone who needs you.
If you do all I have asked, I will live forever.

Check out my book, e book and audio book, "The Dying Teach Us How to Live" and my art gallery at illuminangels.com


Tuesday, February 5, 2019

The Yellow Roses

"I walked into the grocery store not particularly interested in buying groceries. I wasn't hungry.  The pain of losing my husband of 37 years was still too raw.  And this grocery store held so many sweet memories.  Rudy often came with me and almost every time he'd pretend to go off and look for something special. I knew what he was up to. I'd always spot him walking down the aisle with the three yellow roses in his hands. Rudy knew I loved yellow roses.  With a heart filled with grief, I only wanted to bury my few items and leave, but even grocery shopping was different since Rudy passed on. Shopping for one took time, a little more thought than it had for two. Standing by the meat, I searched for the perfect small steak and remembered how Rudy had loved his steak.  Suddenly a woman came beside me. She was blonde, slim and lovely in a soft green pantsuit.  I watched as she picked up a large pack of T-bones, dropped them in her basket, hesitated,  and then put them back.  She turned to go and once again reached for the pack of steaks.  She saw me watching her and she smiled.  "My husband loves T-bones, but honestly, at these prices, I don't know.'  I swelled the emotion down my throat and met her pale blue eyes. " My husband passed away eight days ago,' I told her.  Glancing at the package in her hands, I fought to control the tremble in my voice.  'Buy him the steaks.  And cherish every moment you have together.' She shook her head and I saw the emotion in her eyes as she placed the package in her basket and wheeled away. 
I turned and pushed my cart across the length of the store to the dairy products.  There I stood, trying to decide which size milk I should buy.  Quart, I finally decided and moved on to the ice cream section near the front of the store. I placed the ice cream in my cart and looked down the aisle toward the front. I saw first the green suit, then recognized the pretty lady coming towards me.  In her arms she carried a package.  On her face was the brightest smile I had ever seen.  I would swear a soft halo encircled her blonde hair as she kept walking toward me, her eyes holding mine.  As she came closer, I saw what she held and tears began misting in my eyes.  'These are for you, ' she said and placed three beautiful long stemmed yellow roses in my arms. 'When you go through the line, they will know these are paid for.'  She leaned over and placed a gentle kiss on my cheek, then smiled again.
I wanted to tell her what she'd done, what the roses meant, but still unable to speak.  I watched as she walked away as tears clouded my vision.  I looked down at the beautiful roses nestled in the green tissue wrapping and found it almost unreal.  How did she know?  Suddenly the answer seemed so clear.  I wasn't alone. 'Oh, Rudy, you haven't forgotten me, have you? I whispered, with tears in my eyes.  He was still with me and she was his angel."   Anonymous Internet 
Remember to look around at the people you see and don't be afraid to reach out to someone who appears to be sad or grieving.  We can be angels to each other, earth angels. I'm sending you a hug!

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

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Graditude

"If you want to find happiness, find gratitude."  Stever Maraboli, author, speaker and behavioral scientist

Part of finding gratitude is living for today as this is our opportunity to start over again, to renew ourselves one day at a time.  Living in the moment helps us appreciate what we have, what we are feeling, and we can thank God for our families, friends, neighbors, co-workers and our relationship to the world. 

"Don't let yesterday take up too much of today."  Sign on an Instagram page of the Old Try design company

What happened yesterday is history. We can learn from history but we can never relive it. Today is the beginning of our future.  We can decide to let go of the past and invest in our future to create an atmosphere of love, trust and forgiveness for ourselves and others.

 "The way I look at it, everyday that I'm moving forward is a day that I'm not moving backward."  radio show host Bobby Bones from his book, Bare Bones: I'm Not Lonely If You're Reading This Book

We can choose how to live each day, because each day is a new beginning. 

"At the end of your time here, the world will either be more or less kind, compassionate, generous, funny, creative and loving because of your presence in it--and you alone get to choose."  John Pavlovitz, pastor and author of Hope and Other Superpowers, A Life-Affirming, Love-Defending, Butt-Kicking, World-saving Manifesto

I have always been amazed at the things people remember from years ago.  Whenever we are in a crisis, if someone provides love, understanding, compassion, listening and comfort, even for a very brief time, it is cherished by the receiver. The giver often has no memory of their kindness. The receiver cradles the moments in their heart because their need was great, and the love was a blanket of hope. If we live in the moment and look around we can find opportunities to be the answer to a prayer for someone else! 

Check out the book, e book, and audio book, "The Dying Teach Us How to Live" and Pat's art gallery

Monday, January 21, 2019

Dr Martin Luther King Jr

"Everything that is done in this world is done by hope."  Martin Luther King, Jr

Sometimes when we listen to the news, we can become very discouraged because of all of the disruption in the government and the world.  On the other hand we can find stories of incredible kindness and selflessness that reminds us of hope. 

"You have as much laughter as you have faith."  Martin Luther King, Jr

I came home to see my neighbor with a snow blower clearing my driveway of about 6 inches of snow.  I was surprised when I spoke with him that in fact he was not my neighbor.  He was his twin brother whom I had only met one time.  He brought his snowblower on a truck to clear his brother's driveway and then did mine.  I offered to pay him money but he refused as he promised to clear my snow whenever he could. This was a huge gift to me and I am so grateful to know the kindness of a man who apparently spends his life bringing hope to others.  He brought light into my life and a huge smile as I accepted this gift that is far more than removing snow.  He was adding hope! 

"Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree." Martin Luther King Jr 

Martin Luther King Jr planted many trees that still flourish today.  Even though the world is chaotic, there are many beautiful signs of his philosophy of forgiveness, non-violent acts of civil disobedience to right wrongs, encouragement for making positive change and to pave the road for justice.  He gave his life for a purpose.

"Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream....True peace is not merely the absence of tension, it is the presence of Justice."
Dr Martin Luther King Jr

Check out my book, e book and audio book for "The Dying Teach Us How to Live" and my art gallery and artwork for sale   illuminangels.com


Thursday, January 17, 2019

Hope Just to Live

Today I am thinking about the refugees in the world and keep them in my prayers.

" We see so many human beings around the world dying like Jesus Christ. ...But in spite of so much sin, so much death, so much suffering, there is something in our history which gives us hope....How is it possible there is hope?....Hope for what? Just to live....For those of us who take life for granted, life cannot be an object of hope....In the presence of death, life itself makes sense. It is good to live."

"Clarence learned that reconciliation at the lunch table, where black and white shared together, was as scandalous as to his neighbors as reconciliation on the cross.  He spoke about fear as 'the polio of the soul which prevents our walking by faith.'

"In a story that has been quoted many times, Clarence again showed the courage and quick wit that became his trademark.  A group of men came to the farm.  Their spokesman said to Clarence, 'We're from the Ku Klux Klan and we don't allow the sun to set on people who eat with niggers,'

Clarence glanced over the western sky and noticed that the sun was creeping low.  He thought a bit, swallowed a few times, and suddenly reached out, grabbed the man's hand, and started pumping away, saying, 'Why, I just graduated from Southern Baptist Seminary, and they told us about folks who had power over the sun, but I never hoped to meet one here in Sumter County.'
They all laughed, and nobody noticed that the sun had slipped down below the horizon.'

"A blade of wheat, dried with age, lay on Clarence's desk (after his death)....It seem appropriate to find it there.  I can think of no better symbol for Clarence's life.  'Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.'

Isolated quotes of Clarence Jordan, Theologian in Overalls, by Joyce Hollyday in Cloud of Witnesses

I hope for each of you that your life bears much fruit and that you have touched the lives of many others with compassion in a way that fosters hope and peace.

Please check out my new website with my art gallery, vinyl prints for sale, press kit, book, e book and audio book "The Dying Teach Us How to Live     https//illuminangels.com






Live Phone Interview

I will be having a live phone interview about my book, "The Dying Teach Us How to Live" on nbrfm.com Live Broadcast Studio 3 out of New York. It is an internet based radio station that interviews new authors about their books.  It will be about 10 minutes long.

I will talk about my book, E book and Audio book and my art gallery.  All of this information is on my new website  illuminangels.com   

Thank you for your interest!  Pat





Saturday, January 5, 2019

Priceless Lesson

"The priceless lesson in the New Year is that endings birth beginnings and beginnings birth endings. And in the elegantly choreographed dance of life, neither ever finds the end in the other."  Craig D. Lounsbrough

"What good is life unless you give it away?--unless you can give it for a better world, even if you never see the world but have only carried your grain of sand to the building site.  Then you are fulfilled as a person."  Penny Lernoux quoted a Guatemalan peasant woman a few months before she was killed by the Guatemalan military

I wish you many beginnings and endings in 2019 as we grow physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

I hope you dance and become fulfilled as a person!!!

New Year's Resolutions:
*My New Years resolution is to stop hanging out with people who ask me about my New year's resolutions
*What is a New Year's resolution? Something that goes in one year and out the other.
*My wife (or husband) still hasn't told me what my New Year's resolutions are.
*Youth is when you're allowed to stay up for New Year.  Middle age is when you're forced to.
Church bulletin