If We Have No Peace…

Posted by on Aug 11, 2017 in My Blog, Think About This | 0 comments

If We Have No Peace…

I have really been thinking a lot about achieving peace lately.  Peace is always on my mind and in my heart, but lately, its had higher ranking than usual.  Certainly the last few days, with the threats of nuclear warfare from the crazed leader of North Korea as well as the “over-the-top style” of Trump’s rhetoric, I see and hear tensions and fears from many. I’ve written before of my admiration of Mother Teresa as a servant, having lived a life of sacrifice to help lift others in our suffering world.  Thinking about how far away peace seems now brings to mind her quote  “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten we belong to each other.”  That really resonates with me not leaving my thoughts quickly or often.  It gets me to pondering what it is when we sense “belonging?”  Well, we belong to our families, our circle of friends, and communities of folks drawn together by common interests or beliefs.  We say we “belong” to a church or synagogue or a club or an association.  There’s comfort there.  Membership.  Being allied to.  Hmmm…ally?  Kinship? So, how big does our “circle” extend? One can take “community” from one’s town, to county, to state, to region, to country, to continent, to world, etc.  OK, when we’re considering to whom we “belong” or for whom we feel a “kinship,” how big does our circle get? I’m thinking, yeah, I feel a kinship to my family and friends, to my co-worshipers at my church, to colleagues, to fellow Rotarians, to the NC Tar Heel Basketball Nation, to my Alpha Phi sorority sisters, to the breast cancer sisterhood, to others who believe in spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ…oh, and I also feel like I belong to a huge group of people called Senior Citizens.  You get where I am on this, right? But…God created mankind and I’m pretty sure He intends for us to be both human and kind…so are we really linked to all human beings no matter where they live or what they look like or what language they speak?  Mother Teresa surely felt and acted upon her feelings of kinship. If there is nothing else that links us to others, isn’t it enough that every one of us belongs to the human race and lives because of the same Creator?...

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If We Have No Peace

Posted by on Jan 31, 2017 in My Blog, Think About This | 0 comments

If We Have No Peace

Mother Teresa was the supreme sacrificial giver, helper, lover.  I think she was an excellent model of living a life full of Christ.  She said, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten we belong to each other.”  In the days of political campaigning and ushering in our new president, I have been witnessing many people feeling unsure, questioning our country’s leadership, wondering if the foundational values of what makes us America…the United States of America are going to remain. Supporters as well as those who oppose,  have uncertain feelings of anxiety and it makes me think of Mother Teresa’s quote about belonging to one another. Have we forgotten that?   Admittedly, it is more than challenging to feel a kinship with someone who cowardly attacks unsuspecting innocent people, inflicting horrific injuries with some losing their lives.  So, I can tell myself, “well nobody’s perfect so I can just let that one go.”  Not really, though. Thinking that reminds me of my career with United Way.  Our board, volunteers and small staff worked to strengthen our community and to help solve problems that our citizens experienced.  When we had a big, serious issue to present itself, we convened a meeting and brought representatives of different sectors of the community together to work at the “community table” toward finding solutions.  We knew that we couldn’t truly achieve a “community ” solution unless friend and foe were around that table to offer their particular perspectives.  It’s very challenging but most often we were successful. And every time we were successful…or even when we weren’t successful but WE TRIED, we were building community.  Community is a precious asset.  And we were people of the same community. My point in the above paragraph is that we may not feel like we “belong” to someone of differing opinions, actions, faith,race, but, perhaps, we can remind ourselves that every living soul on this planet earth are all created by God.  So, someone who blasts social media with their caustic thoughts, assuming and disrespecting other human beings, thinking they are the only person who feels passionate about their faith while slamming others of the very same faith…how do we say we belong to them?  I don’t have an answer to that question.  But could we possibly agree to act, speak, recognize, etc. as a community? Our world is a lot smaller now with technology, communication, fast travel, so we just might need to start thinking of our global community.  Many have for some time now.  We must take care of our planet.  There are parts that are aging and if we can use our shared intellect and technology we might reverse some potential loss of where God has placed us.   Why are we here? Peace to all!    ...

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Being Filled

Posted by on Oct 25, 2016 in My Blog, Think About This | 0 comments

Being Filled

There are days when we might feel hollow… empty. We’ve been drained to where we feel we have nothing left. Have you ever felt that way? Yet, because we are earthen vessels crafted by the Almighty Creator of us all, we just need to call on the One who can fill us again…and sometimes He fills us to overflowing. Could it be that this overflowing is because we weren’t completely empty? Though, we surely can get to the point where we feel empty, bare, dry to the bone. If we could somehow look down into our own vessel,  we would be reminded that during Creation and our forming, God placed the soul that resides within us and never leaves us until we pass on into Eternity. The soul is a pretty busy part of us earthen vessels. It communicates with our Father as is His intention. With the help of God’s Holy Spirit, it prays for us when we are at our absolute lowest and seem to have no words. It illuminates our vessel with such joy, love and, at the same time, softly nurtures us as we feel sorrow. When I contemplate the state of us as these earthen vessels, I’m reminded of Henri Nouwen and his writing about the Cup of Life in his book, “Can You Drink the Cup?” Jesus asked his disciples that question before the Last Supper because He knew the road ahead of them.  Christ held His cup that God had given Him…and it surely had the bitter taste of  persecution, betrayal and suffering.  It also possessed the greatest joy of His life being sacrificed for the salvation of mankind.  Knowing all, Christ drank His cup offering us the great gift of Eternal life. Jesus has told us in John 7:38 “Whosoever believes in me shall have rivers of water flowing within him.” That is the living water that quenches our thirst and sustains our lives forever. So at our lowest points, when we feel that emptiness, we can recall God’s promises to us that He is always with us and that we are His. Body, soul and spirit. Galatians 3:23-6:18 “Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me, break me, melt me, mould me, fill me. Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.” Thanks be to...

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“Globalization of Indifference”

Posted by on Feb 17, 2016 in My Blog, Think About This | 2 comments

“Globalization of Indifference”

Pope Francis ushers in the season of Lent challenging Christians to forget about denying ourselves candy or favorite activities.  Rather than those exercises, he challenges us to take actions that “truly enrich others.”  Sort of like do it ’til it hurts.  Then, when it really hurts, that is sacrifice. The Pope’s message to the Christian world…to our whole world comes at a peak time, the peak is the sharply risen indifference to others and God.  As our world grows more populous, more chaotic, more dangerous, more challenging the reality is that there is more need, more suffering, and more opportunity, the opportunity is for those of us who have homes to live in, clothing on our backs, food on our tables, doctors for healthcare, churches and synagogues to worship to reach out to those in dire need to make a difference and share the message of hope. But, Pope Francis’s message is that we need to notice where the need and suffering is so we know where and how to serve our Lord and help.  When we are so focused on our own needs, wants, schedules we sometimes just don’t notice the plight of others.  So, the Pope says lets not fast from candy or our favorite activity but fast from the indifference to others and to God.  By intentionally fasting from this indifference our eyes and hearts will be opened and we can really make a meaningful difference! Opening our eyes and hearts to others and God will move us further on the path to Jesus’s last commandment…”Love one another.” Pope Francis’ Guide to Lent: What You Should Give Up This...

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Find Your Sanctuary

Posted by on Dec 29, 2015 in My Blog, Think About This | 2 comments

Find Your Sanctuary

The word sanctuary brings to mind a sacred place or, perhaps, a safe haven.  I can remember when raising our two young daughters, I always wanted our home to be a safe haven for them…a place to which they would enter and they were safe, feeling loved beyond measure and where their minds were nurtured toward independent, creative thinking.  I wanted our home to be a sanctuary to them where they could be their true and cherished selves.  For the most part, I think, we achieved that yet there were the usual child-rearing squabbles and disciplines, being sent to their rooms to contemplate what they had done and, oh yes, the slamming of doors! 😉 In our world today, we need sanctuaries, perhaps, more today than ever.  What do you think of that?  Some of us know we need sanctuaries and go into their presence frequently and that is good.  I fear that way too many folks don’t give needing a sanctuary much thought.  They many not even be aware they exist or what the value of them is.  Then, there are many, many of us that know quite well the value of sanctuary, but ne’er a one is on their radar. I believe God Our Father wants the same thing for His children, you and me and everyone else, as I did for my two daughters.  He’s right with us throughout the days and nights wanting us to come to be in His Divine Presence where we are safe, where we can feel His love beyond measure and where He wants to nurture our hearts, souls and minds into perfect peace.  Every morning at 9:30 I get an alert on my iPhone…I don’t even have to look at it, to know its God.  Yep, its God and it goes like this: God – Good morning, Pat.  I have something I want to tell you. Me – Oh, God, thank you for a wonderful rest overnight and keeping me safe.  Right now? God – Yes, it won’t take long.  I want to talk with you about one of your favorite Psalms, 61:4.  One of your favorite topics, sanctuary or refuge. Me – As I stretch my arms and back, I straighten up and say, of course, I’m right with you, Father.  I grab my iPhone and its already on the page of scripture, Psalm 6:4 – “I will abide in Your tabernacle forever;  I will trust in the shelter of Your wings.”  King David cried our to our Father as do I.  He offers us refuge no matter where we are. Well, this conversation with God came to me this morning through my Our Daily Bread app on my phone.  Today I read Psalm 61 and I also learned from Jennifer Benson Schuldt about the Vancouver, British Columbia charity, Rain City Housing, that has created specialized benches for the homeless that convert into temporary shelters.  The back of the bench pulls up to create a roof to shield from rain and wind.  Especially interesting is that at night these sleeping places are easy to find because they feature a GLOW-IN-THE-DARK message that reads: THIS IS A BEDROOM.  How cool is that!!! Jennifer also goes on to say “the need for shelter can be physical and it can be spiritual as well.  God is a refuge for our souls when we are troubled.” So, going back to my thoughts on sanctuaries.  Being a naturalist, I have numerous natural areas in God’s creation that I consider sanctuaries for me.  I find numerous church sanctuaries or worship centers as refuges for a...

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I Will Rise Up

Posted by on Nov 26, 2015 in My Blog, Think About This, Uncategorized | 0 comments

As we celebrate Thanksgiving Day in America, we gather with loved ones with whom we share the recognition of the many blessings in our lives.  We express our gratitude. For many,  this is one day in the year that we set aside our challenges and burdens to enjoy a special meal often including our best family recipes and remembering those who shared them and prepared them for us.  Lots of hugs and even some heartfelt tears of remembrance of those we miss. Around the world, in poor neighborhoods in our own towns, even in our own homes, it is a very difficult time for families estranged, experiencing financial crises, serious illness, broken hearts and those who feel very alone. While the majority of our nation & our world have been rocked by the barbaric senseless killings expanding around the world by Issis and other terrorist groups, many of us feel even more committed to maintaining our hope, denying these evil-doers their hope to destroy our SPIRIT! As Christians, we have serious work to do in reaching out to those who suffer and sharing the love and promises of Christ the King.  Whatever your faith is, we, as humankind have the opportunity to be both to our suffering…human and kind. ❤️ I dedicate this post to all in our world that suffer today, feeling hopeless and I challenge those of us strong and capable to take the joy and hope in this celebration of Thanksgiving Day to stand, raise your hand and commit to others who suffer that they are not alone and we all can “Rise Up” as Andra Day sings so beautifully sharing our...

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Celebrate Earth Day Everyday

Posted by on Apr 22, 2015 in My Blog, Think About This | 0 comments

Celebrate Earth Day Everyday

What a gift God’s creation is to each of us.  In our busy lives, we move about in our own “little worlds” accomplishing our objectives or at least aspiring to them.  That’s a good thing!  But, often, I think we get so caught up in our busyness that we fail to notice and appreciate the great beauty in which we live.  Kids are great to point out some of the simple beauties of nature that we, otherwise, might overlook. Today, the world celebrates Earth Day.  Eskimos, desert-dwellers, urban citizens, slum inhabitants, those wh0 till the land and folks spending their days on the lovely oceans of our world…we live and appreciate in different ways.  Maybe we don’t celebrate as such, but our earth feeds us, houses us and inspires us.  It’s worth protecting and caring for so that the generations of our future can reap the benefits. Living now in South Florida, every day I am fortunate to live in which many of us refer to as “paradise.”  Our natural communities are inhabited by magnificent wildlife…many endangered and protected.  Our “paradise” is their home and we are privileged to walk among them and see the glory of God’s creation in great awe.  I have found myself wondering at times that I sense stress on the wildlife, “what if it all just went away?”  That thought gives me the opportunity to refocus my appreciation and respect for our earth and the way it all works together…or not. God tucks glorious surprises into His creation for us to enjoy like this lovely Swamp Hibiscus in the midst of a swampy wetland. Often, it takes my breath away when I discover. I like this quote from Albert Einstein – “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” Join me, please, in recommitting your advocacy for protecting our earth…the great gift that it is!!!...

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Be The Reason

Posted by on Jan 6, 2015 in My Blog, Think About This | 2 comments

Be The Reason

Being kind to someone is one of the easiest things to do that has the greatest impact on the life of another person.  Kindness is an extension of a loving heart.  Charles Dickens said ” A loving heart is the truest wisdom.” A word of encouragement, the gift of a smile, acknowledgement of worth and value all speak acceptance to others and we all have a need to belong.  Each of our days is filled with one opportunity after another to extend an act of kindness to others, to live in harmony as opposed to discord, to be an enabler instead of an obstacle, to make good things happen as opposed to creating conflict and to make hearts feel good, tummies to be satisfied and faces to smile. Sometimes we may not think that we have anything to “give” to another person.  But we should think about the people at work, customers, suppliers, family members, our friends, the people we meet in traffic or out shopping…they all have their own needs, problems and joys.  Its amazing what a spoken or written word of appreciation to a co-worker can do to help heal a heart that perhaps was wounded prior to arriving at work. We have the opportunity to influence others with just being ourselves and sharing a smile. Be the reason someone smiles...

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How Things Change

Posted by on Dec 26, 2014 in My Blog, Think About This | 4 comments

How Things Change

When I was younger with little ones running around barefoot with a high level of noise and excitement near the arrival of the Baby Jesus AND Santa Claus, I used to answer the question, “What do you want for Christmas?”  with the half-giggled response  “Peace and Joy!”  Oh, brother, did I want Peace and Joy!!!!  As years passed, I realized soon enough, Peace, was far off in the distance and, besides, I had always been a glass half-full kind of gal and one who, thankfully, realized Joy often presented itself right in the MIDST of chaos.  I had some chaos!! Now, the bare feet are those of grand children adored whether 25, 21,11 or 8 years of age…its just the sound their bare feet create has changed…some pitter patter while others boom-boom actually like the reindeer on the roof.  And when I am asked that same question, “What do you want for Christmas?” my response is the same but without the giggle, though; “Peace and Joy!” Now, that desire for Peace and Joy is more like a very sincere prayer.  I really do hope for Peace and Joy…not just for my life or my home or my family and friends but for our WORLD.  I’m still that glass half-full gal, and I still affirm that there has to be darkness for the Light to shine, I just don’t like to feel that I am seeing more darkness…and its not cataracts because I’ve been there and done that with removal and new lenses. When I watch the evening news, I am totally silent, mostly in dismay over the criminal acts, the expressed strife that so many riots and rebelling represent, the horrific beheading of innocent people by evil doers who claim to be acting in the name of Allah, the never-ending anti-semitic warfare Israel must experience, the countless school, workplace, large public places shootings, bombings, etc. etc.  I feel our world is in a state of morph…and not in a good way.  So, as NBC has started when closing out the nightly news, they offer a final report that makes the soul smile a bit…I find myself doing my own version of perspective adjustment by  adding to my prayer list those identified throughout the newscast in need of prayer.  My problem now being a septuagenarian (even though I cannot pronounce it)is, I seem to drift off into another train of thought or fall asleep before I cover the entire prayer list.  I do firmly feel that God knows what is in our hearts so I do believe He has received all my prayers whether I was awake or not going down my list.  Isn’t God just so amazing!!! Yes, things…even we change.  I’m 70 years old.  My doctor says I’m shorter.  My doctor also says I don’t NEED ice cream.  I like her anyway.   I don’t stand quite as straight  now.  I don’t have as much energy.  I live alone but don’t feel alone.  I love more people.  For some reason, I think more people love me.  I see God EVERY day and talk to Him off and on all day long. God puts up with me.  God orders my steps.  I am so thankful. So what about Peace and Joy?  If I have Peace in my heart there will always be Joy in my life.  The way we deal with the darkness in our world is to shine our Light.  Light overcomes darkness…there is NO PUTTING IT OUT!  Can you imagine how bright our world would be if EVERYONE would shine his/her light!! Let’s go light our world!!!...

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A Christmas Story from the Herons

Posted by on Dec 23, 2014 in My Blog, Think About This | 10 comments

A Christmas Story from the Herons

Many of you have read about our sadness in the birding world in So Florida when one of our beloved Great Blue Herons died in the very nest the two mates had just built.  Those of us who frequent the Wakodahatchee Wetlands, some of us nearly daily, have been through the normal stages of grief over this very sad thing to occur… just as these intelligent, beautiful birds allowed us to close-up witness their breath-taking courting rituals in their beautiful breeding plumage.  Then, once they “claimed” one another, the male began his regular deliveries of twigs and sticks and presented them to his female mate who determined whether they were suitable.  So many round trips to and from the nest while under construction. Sometimes we would chuckle quietly as she would take a twig and gently place it here, then there, then looking at her mate those eyes must have communicated, “Honey, this one will just not suffice!  Come back with something better.  OK?” Absolutely, a marvelous privilege to observe this beauty of nature with two strikingly gorgeous birds nearly 4 ft. tall…and then, the sadness in realizing the mate is lying deceased in the nest.  So, so sad.   But, then, something else happened…the bittersweet realization that God had programmed these birds to stand by their mates even after death.  Mourning?  Grieving?  In shock?  It was their “time” to create more Great Blue Herons.  But, she has laid motionless for well over a week with her loyal mate at her side.  Oh, my goodness!  One of our birding friends reported that when she was there visiting that he lay down next to his mate and partially laid upon her.  So tender.  So divinely created they are.  More tears from the grieving and learning humans.  We’re sure it happens all the time in the wild, but in this totally beautiful rookery where the humans stand in awe to observe, photograph, learn and give thanks for the lovely, blessed opportunity , it’s right before our eyes not more than 15-20 feet away.  Front row seats, EVERY time!! I broke my own rule… “Always believe something beautiful is about to happen.”  How do I let this happen to me?  I KNOW that God uses all our broken pieces to make something beautiful!  I KNOW that!!   So, here is the beauty for today in the rookery of broken hearts.  The surviving mate, after standing guard over his deceased mate in the nest they built for nearly 2 weeks,  has now taken a new mate and as if we could already not be more inspired, they are building the new nest next to the original one AND they are using feathers from the deceased in the construction.  So, the deceased mate will be a part of the new family-to-be. “Always believe something beautiful is about to happen!” Yes, indeed! Photo by Anne Diver ~    ...

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The New Commandment

Posted by on Aug 22, 2014 in My Blog, Think About This | 4 comments

The New Commandment

I wonder if every generation as they age looks at the state of the world and thinks, perhaps, we are nearing the end times. With the news here in our own country as well as around the world, it is disheartening to say the least as we watch reports on TV and read in the news.  When terrorists have become so barbaric in their attacking and killing which is extremely widespread and growing, some days it just seems too much to even inform ourselves.  Yet, I know we must, for if we are not informed, how can we stand in support of those being so persecuted and many times for their faith? I recall in my days with our local United Way, when things were off track, when there was a community problem or people hurting, we would pull together people around the community table to determine what could be done to help.  We didn’t just pull together people of the same perspective, we wanted community decisions, so we endeavored to convene a group reflective of the community including the people in need.  Sometimes the solutions were costly and other times the “cost” was in the form of clearer communication, attitude adjustments, and strengthening relationships based on trust of all concerned. But, terrorism really changes things.  Terrorists  are ruthless, cold-hearted and cold-blooded in their actions and resolve.  They are sinister…yes, evil! Let’s change focus here a moment.  On the night before Christ was to be crucified, a VERY dark time, he gathered with His disciples for what we know today as the Last Supper.  They broke bread and shared wine and He told them He was going to be leaving them to go to the Father.  Christ, the King of Kings, then washed their feet…He became a servant.  Now on this final night before He was to be crucified, what one thing do you think he would say to them?  What would He leave them with before His departure? In the Gospel of John, we learn that Christ chose to tell His disciples the New Commandment.  That one thing.  That all-important commandment that can change the world.  “A new commandment I give to you: Love one another.”  John 13:34 Pure. Simple. Truth. “As I have loved you, you must love one another.” Whatever our foe is on any day or everyday…hatred, serious illness, violence in the home or community or world…I KNOW that love is stronger. Many solutions or inventions come from asking one simple question…What If ? What if… the entire world would choose LOVE?  Just...

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The Light That Shines

Posted by on Aug 6, 2014 in My Blog, Think About This | 0 comments

The Light That Shines

Remember the sweet song, “This Little Light of Mine?”  I sang it as a child in Sunday school, Vacation Bible School and in childhood neighborhood play times.  During the Civil Rights movement, it was sung right along with “We Shall Overcome” and “Go Tell It on the Mountain.”  “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine!” There are all sorts of ways that light shines on us as well as FROM us.  Praise God for that because just as a seed planted in the soil, light from the sun must shine for it to grow into what it was intended to become.  Think about that little seed…gently placed in the soil, most covered completely in the darkness, watered and then, we wait.  We wait to see that first glimpse of the frail, little seedling making its way through the darkness into the light where it will prosper.   We’re so much like that, aren’t we. So, following that analogy, what is the darkness from which we must burst into that precious light that will guide us, confirm us, and strengthen us?  Darkness has many forms, some scarier than others.  For some, it may be the darkness of the unknown…we do like to know what is coming and prepare ourselves.  But sometimes, we just can’t know and it is unsettling.  Other times, we may feel that we have been catapulted into darkness with a serious health diagnosis, financial crisis, relationship failure, job loss or the death of a loved one.  The darkness that is experienced so often by the people we meet we cannot see and, therefore, we do not recognize that that’s where they are at the time.  So how can we help? “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.” Envision a very dark room for a moment.  Then, you strike a match and light just one candle.  The very second that match is struck light shines, it overcomes that darkness. There is a Buddhist Proverb:  “If you light a lamp for someone it will also brighten your path.”  That is so on target.  I’m sure that you have experienced this at many times in your life…you share your love and encouragement with someone and you reap the benefits as well. I love the part in the movie Blind Side where Sandra Bullock’s haughty friends said, “You sure are changing that boy’s life!” and Sandra responded, “NO, Michael is changing our lives!”  And then she left. Another quote I like is from Denis Waitley: “A smile is the light in your window that tells others that there is a caring, sharing person inside.” God uses us to reach out to others…sometimes we are aware that that is happening but many times I think we are clueless. Just be ready to light that lamp for someone else.  It can make a real difference for them as well as for ourselves. Peace and joy ~...

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The Gift of A Day

Posted by on Jun 20, 2014 in My Blog, Think About This | 2 comments

The Gift of A Day

Our lives can get really busy with raising families, our careers, relationships, etc.  You know what I’m saying, I’m sure. Most likely, like you, I’ve got friends and family that really struggle with illness and other extreme challenges.  We support them in various ways and they need it and TREASURE it.  I’ve said good-bye to some of my loved ones in the last year. Some were sudden and unexpected, while others moved toward end of life on earth in an open journey of which we were a part.  No matter how death comes, it catapults us into a surreal living of days, weeks, months.  We hurt.  We grieve.  And we still love.  It is the continuing of love that saves us, that eventually, draws our steps back into the reality of  our continuing lives.  Sometimes, maybe every time, we find ourselves asking…no, begging for just ONE MORE DAY. Four years ago I spent the night in the Emergency Room having experienced an SVT, Supraventricular Tachycardia, which I learned could be fatal.  The doc had to give me a medicine to stop the irregular and run-away heartbeat…it was not pleasant and I had the symptoms of a heart attack for 3 seconds.  Whew, that was long enough!! Then, it went away and my heartbeat corrected.  I had to remain there for 4 hours for observation so I began reading a book I brought to the hospital with me.  The title was “30 Days to Live.”  A nurse came into the area I was in and saw the title and in a raised voice said, “You do NOT need to be reading a book like that right now!”  I said, “No, it’s a GOOD thing.”  Another nurse came in and Nurse No.1  said, “She shouldn’t be reading that book at a time like this, should she!”  Nurse No.2 said, “Oh, you’re reading “30 Days to Live!”  I LOVED that book.” The book is about how we should live our lives as if we knew we only had 30 days to live.  Nurse No. 1 relaxed. My post-breast cancer life motto is “Don’t Waste the Miracle!”  Even though I thought I had a pretty positive perspective on appreciation of each day, my breast cancer diagnosis gave me a renewed zest for living each day more fully and loving more deeply and for that I am so very thankful.  I’m committed to helping to raise awareness about early detection and its importance in treating breast cancer.  I have also committed to give thanks for every day I have on earth and listening to others and seeking ways to help and nurture those in need of it.  I intentionally work to build memories for my daughters, grandchildren, other family and friends.   Living and loving intentionally is such an amazing gift to yourself really.  Even if it is just A GIFT of A...

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Mother’s Day

Posted by on May 9, 2014 in My Blog, Think About This | 2 comments

Mother’s Day

I have been keenly aware of the great fortune of my brother and me, having been born to the parents we shared.  Our mother and father blessed us with joyous love and nurturing to last our entire lives.  For this, we are so very thankful!  When I got married, my parents-in-law were the absolute salt of the earth and loved me like their flesh & blood daughter.  I truly felt like I had two sets of loving parents. When we had our own two daughters, my life became so complete, so full of wonder and, again, I realized how fortunate I was.  It is truly the greatest honor and privilege to have the opportunity to be a mother.  While my daughters were young, I was fortunate to be able to stay at home with them before they started school, fully investing in their development and growth and in my marriage.  Raising children is the most awesome job in this world and it not only contributes to them and their development but, I believe, it contributes to the welfare of our world as well. There is a little piece of my heart that is always sad on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day when I ponder the awareness that not all who would like to have had children, could.  I also am aware of friends and associates who are estranged from their parents or children and I wish so much that each year as these special days that so many celebrate arrive, those who are not celebrating  might just decide to attempt to bridge that gap and give relationships another try.   Single people living in a society that is seems focused on couples find it lonely at times and I know that those without children or estranged from loved ones have expressed that same experience at times.  Sadly, for some families alienated time may be running out sooner than later due to age or illness. So this weekend as my family and I celebrate Mother’s Day sprinkled across the country (thank you, Facetime and Skype!!), I hope all families can focus on the possible joy and, perhaps, reach out to seek it once more…in...

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Approaching Easter…The Garment

Posted by on Apr 18, 2014 in My Blog, Think About This | 0 comments

Approaching Easter…The Garment

There is a song about Christ’s death that says something like this, “they should have been my hands, where the nails were; they should have been my feet, where the nails were; it should have been my side…for it’s for me my Lord died.” Yes, those nails should have pierced my hands, my feet and the sword should have been plunged into my side, not His.  My sins, my salvation…His pain, His Grace. I guess most of us have all thought about this.  God so loved us that He gave His own Son to take our nails, our sword, our pain, our death so that we might live…so that we would be forgiven. Now, you’ve got the picture, don’t you?  I see it as a gray looking, windy day on Golgotha.  Up on a hill, stood three crosses…two of them with thieves…we might even say they “deserved” THEIR crosses.  But, the third one. That third cross…that one was yours and mine.  Ours, the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Remember how the Crown of Thorns adorned his head?  The blood ran down His forehead, His head hanging slightly…I wish I could have wiped his brow for Him.  The nails piercing His hands and feet.  It hurts to really think what that must have felt like.  I’ve wondered why those nails didn’t just rip right on through His hands with the weight of His body.  Yet, I’ve thought about how trim His body looked in drawings…after all, He never indulged Himself  and He did keep a busy schedule! Then, there’s the garment.  Simply a loin cloth, barely hanging around His hips.  Hanging.  I see it dirty and bloody after walking His final walk from Gethsemane to Golgotha, carrying our cross, being knocked to the ground by the jabbing and jeering soldiers, beaten and whipped. Our Lord carrying our load, bearing our pain, stripped for our forgiveness.  I must admit, I would have wanted to yell and scream at the soldiers and the crowd for persecuting him.  Instead,  He asked, “Father, forgive them.”  What a Lord! It’s odd, isn’t it, how sometimes certain things can puzzle us?  That garment bothers me.  Not really fit for a King.  Our King.  I would have liked to have washed it for him. Instead, He washed ME.  Clean.  Completely clean. I would have liked to have made Him something more suitable, more honorable, more King-like.  Instead, He prepared a Table for me…and you, too. I would have liked to have given him a drink of water…he had to be thirsty.  Instead, He offered me His blood, shed for me…His body, broken for me, so that I might NEVER thirst again.   I would have wanted to stand up for Him.  Instead, He hung for me.  The bread and the wine.  Remembrance.  Covenant.  Grace.  Love.  Drink.  Taste the tears, the pain, the humiliation, the loneliness and, then taste the Joy of forgiveness. The cross?  Yours and mine.  The sacrifice?  His, for sure.  The garment?  The label reads, “Especially for Jesus, Designed by the Father.” Praise God from Whom all blessings flow....

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Life Balance by the Grace of God

Posted by on Mar 28, 2014 in My Blog, Think About This | 0 comments

Life Balance by the Grace of God

Balancing life in today’s world is challenging to say the least.  We have our “compartments” of being all wrapped up in one existence…Physical, Mental, Emotional, Social and Spiritual.  I can remember in a philosophy class in college debating the most important of these “compartments.”  Most of us accepted that, for our existence here on earth, Physical ranked pretty high on the list of priorities,  for if we did not feed and water ourselves, we simply would not continue to live here on earth.  Sustenance and nurture seem to be quite basic.  But there are more ways to nurture ourselves than with just food.  Indeed, our Mental and Emotional health depend greatly on nurture.  So, in this class of philosophy, we were led to determine that the need for nurture truly applied to all five of these “compartments” of earthly life.  Once we got to that acceptance, that is where the true debate revealed its complexity. Some in our class debated whether the Spiritual “compartment” should even be considered as a major part of our human lives.  These students had no awareness of a relationship with God, our Creator.  I recall, upon that realization, being surprised that a person could go through 20 or so years of life without this awareness and experience.  That, in itself, was a huge thing to consider! We’ve all known or encountered many, many people in whom we could see that a certain “compartment” of their lives was out of the realm of nurture.  People, who for various reasons, have physical, emotional, mental, social and, yes, spiritual issues or deficiencies.  Living in community, we work together to assist those who have certain needs and improve life for all through charitable means such as supporting  food pantries, homeless centers, support groups, treatment clinics and churches and synagogues. I am one who places nurturing of the Spiritual “compartment” as a very high priority and I believe that the health of my spiritual life directly impacts all the other “compartments” of my existence on earth.  One difference between this “compartment” and all the others is that the nurturing of my spiritual life extends and benefits me also throughout eternity.  For that reason, for me, the Spiritual “compartment” is #1. How awesome is our God,  for the nurturing of my soul does not just depend on me, though I certainly have a very active role.  God is constantly seeking me out and blessing me with His love, guidance, and strength even when I have moved on to something that does not even have me thinking of Him.  How Gracious is our God! In Matthew 18:20 Christ shares “For where two or three are gathered in My name, there am I in the midst of them.”  As followers of Christ, we have that blessed assurance that He is there with us.  How precious that is, especially as we turn to one another in times of great trials and sorrow knowing that He is with us as we pray and comfort one another. Glory,...

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Kids Can Get It So Right

Posted by on Feb 3, 2014 in My Blog, Think About This | 0 comments

Band of Brothers Belonging.  Acceptance.  Valued. Loved. Everyone is unique and for some, being “different” can lead to a life of heartbreak and loneliness. But, other times, a bunch of kids who really know someone who might fall into that category of being “different” can come together and wipe away those deep, deep feelings of rejection or being bullied.  Kids are still learning about life yet they manage to keep a positive perspective to reach out and truly make a life-changing difference in another child’s life.  Changing it forever.   Kindness.  Courage. Being there.  Loving.  Conquering....

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HOPE Will Lead Us On

Posted by on Jan 27, 2014 in My Blog, Think About This | 0 comments

I pray for all my friends and family who are sick, suffering, dealing with so very much.  HOPE is what we all need in our daily lives, but especially when we are in crisis.  Have you ever prayed for the dawn waiting second by second?  It might have been literal, day break when night is over or many times the dawn signifies the time when the veil of suffering, waiting and struggling is lifted and the light lifts us all.  Thanks be to God. As we each move through our journeys here on earth, our days are filled with both  joy and sorrow.  Some days, some circumstances are just way more difficult to deal with and as humans we DO become tired and even weary.  Some circumstances are shorter-lived than others.  For some, dealing with our circumstances may even be a new “normal” in our lives. Romans 15;13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  This verse is a wonderful reminder to us in those times that God is there!  Right with us.  When we think about it and even when we don’t.  He is EVER-PRESENT in our lives.   God makes use of the believer’s compassionate heart in His service.  Are you available to Him for His purposes in sharing His love with others?  I enjoy reading Henri Nouwen, the Dutch catholic priest, writer, and teacher having taught at Yale, Notre Dame and Harvard.  Nouwen says, ““We need to be angels for each other, to give each other strength and consolation. Because only when we fully realize that the cup of life is not only a cup of sorrow but also a cup of joy will we be able to drink it.”  I like his reference to our journeys as “the cup of life.”  Nouwen’s statement that the cup of life is filled with joys and sorrows and that our realization of that enables us to fully drink of it is powerful when you really think about it. The song “HOPE Will Lead Us On,” by Barlow Girl says so much to me and it is a strong message to each person regardless of our circumstances.   I hope you enjoy it....

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Wants vs. Needs

Posted by on Jan 20, 2014 in My Blog, Think About This | 4 comments

Wants vs. Needs

Perspective.  Along the journey of life, we certainly have all sorts of needs…physical needs like good health, food and water and shelter…oh, and lets NOT forget about clothing.  Humans also have emotional needs such as love, joy, acceptance, respect…and the list goes on.  Then, for so many of us a paramount need is an active spiritual life…a connection with God.  To me, that is my highest priority.  Chocolate ice cream runs a close second!  (God knows that I’m kidding.) I saw the attached graphic from Lessons Learned in Life and it just really hit home.  We THINK there are things that we really need.  Sometimes, we even get irate over it when we don’t get what we THINK we need.  Like I think I need a Kindle Fire.  I could really use one.  But, do I really NEED it?  No, but I sure as heck do WANT one. It makes me recall my first few days after my diagnosis with breast cancer.  Over the years, I had lost both parents, been divorced, and had experienced a few other significant adversities that I will not name because they involve the privacy of other people.  So, God and I made it through each of those very painful times, but my thoughts about the breast cancer diagnosis ran along the lines of, “What am I to do with THIS?”  Lots of pondering, contemplating.  LOTS!!! For me, to be able to get through the surgeries, chemotherapy, and the side effects of the chemotherapy I had to strip myself down to answering the questions, “What is my bottom line?”  “What is it that I just absolutely have to have…what is that greatest need?” The answers were that I HAD to HAVE God and that my greatest NEED was to live in Eternity with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  That was and is my greatest need.    Of course, my pondering continued and I had and still do have many other needs.  My relationship with my daughters and grandchildren, my brother, all my family and those great blessings of amazing friends who are, indeed, chosen family.  I need a church family that loves me and supports me as I do them.  I need opportunities to serve my Lord, my community and others through Christ.  They are all keenly important needs to me. At any given time, we find ourselves on the giving/serving end or on the needing end.  I’ve been on both.  You most likely have, too. I know so many people right now that are sick, suffering, have extreme grief,  whose hearts are breaking and ones who are dying.  We wish WE could do something to help lighten the load.  Sometimes there is and other times we might feel useless.  There is something I have observed in our fast-paced technological advancements.  On Facebook, I see so many people that request prayer from time to time.  Its public, to a certain extent, and I find it interesting that I have  FB “friends” in their late 80s, or my age, raising young children, in college who all are on “their” journeys and have needs and wants…and express them, thankfully.  What an opportunity of widening the circle of prayer! If you’ve ever found yourself in one of the true need categories, many of you know just how valuable and coveted each prayer that is lifted up for you is!  So no need for us  to feel useless, I believe prayer is the Number 1 way we can help. I have been amazed by people in the direst of circumstances  and in places we don’t want to...

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Breast Cancer Awareness

Posted by on Oct 18, 2013 in My Blog, My Breast Cancer Journey, Think About This | 0 comments

Breast Cancer Awareness

It’s October again and that means cooler days & nights, the fall foliage expressing its beauty, ghosts and goblins here and there as well as a focus, thankfully, on Breast Cancer Awareness.  When I was diagnosed in the spring of 1999, I was given a 70% chance of surviving  five years.  Surgeries, chemotherapy and ten years of hormone therapy gave me the best chance to live the longest possible.  I feel very blessed to be living joyfully 14 years later.  Thank you, Lord! I was committed to helping others understand that early detection saves lives  so that others might avoid all that comes with the diagnosis and treatment. I found my lump myself even though I had had the prescribed mammograms and regular check-ups.  Doctors say that mine had most likely been growing inside me for 8 years.  It was large and had spread to one of 24 lymph nodes removed.  Had I not detected the lump, my outcome could have been very different. Self-exams are such an easy thing to do.  Hang a reminder card in the shower and on the 1st of the month EVERY month, let those ten fingers do a most important check on you.  It could truly save your life! Don’t put it off.  Don’t think “I’m too young.”  Don’t think,”I don’t have a family history so I don’t need to be concerned.”  I had no family history of breast cancer except for an uncle.  YES!!  My uncle.  Men get breast cancer too, so everyone needs to do self exams. How important is this?  Well, in these 14 years I have lived & loved since my diagnosis & treatment, I have had two more grandchildren born, I have seen one of my daughters marry and have built meaningful memories with my family and friends.  My faith is stronger and I am so grateful for each day I have. My post breast cancer life motto is “Don’t Waste the Miracle!”  And I am not!  Praise God from whom ALL blessings...

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