Need to Re-Shape the Pie???

Posted: October 5, 2018 in World On The Edge

apple-1205471_640

My mother was not a pie-maker in the physical sense. But in the sense that she could usually find a way to get through any crisis, she was a top-notch re-shaper of pies.

Most of us have our unique ways of ‘getting through’ undesirable times in our lives when sadness seems overwhelming. We cannot change a sad situation, but we can try to motivate ourselves out of it. We have the ability to decide to climb out of the dark hole we find ourselves in. Some of us look back and choose to appreciate the people and things we still have, and that brings solace. Others look ahead and choose to begin again, to dream and plan for better events to come. Getting through a bad situation begins with a vision of improvement. Because, without a vision, we remain static.

But for those who do nothing except bathe in their misery, better times will come more slowly, if at all.

In reality, many of us make a decision to give-up and remain the victim of circumstances. Maybe these are circumstances that we have brought on ourselves through our own pride, greed, envy, lust, vengeance, laziness, or anger. We let one or more of these vices control us, forgetting the God-given gifts we have to overcome them.

Or maybe an awful life event happened that was not caused by us at all, yet we must deal with it. Well, we cannot give-up. We are not made to give-up.

No, it is not easy to move ahead. Yes, it may take time. But we are children of God with His gift of imagination, His gift of an ability to think and plan, love and forgive–even to forgive ourselves.

We are wonderfully created human beings who can re-shape ourselves, just as a pie-maker reshapes a pile of sticky dough, and makes it into something desirable, something we can smile about and, again, be proud of.

grotto1When we consider the rottenness in both our government and our church, or when we feel at a loss in our personal lives, or when others have betrayed or hurt us, or we are worried about our families, our jobs, our health, it is important to remember to put our Trust in God, and allow Him to lead us.

Some years back, when I taught Religion to Catholic teenagers, I was responsible for a group trip to Ave Maria Grotto in Cullman, Alabama. Known throughout the world as “Jerusalem in Miniature,” the Grotto is a beautifully landscaped, four-acre park designed to provide a natural setting for the 125 miniature reproductions of some of the most famous historic buildings and shrines of the world.

The masterpieces of stone and concrete are the lifetime work of Brother Joseph Zoettl, a Benedictine monk of St. Bernard Abbey. Begun as a hobby, with various materials he could find, and infinite patience and a remarkable sense of symmetry and proportion, Brother Joseph re-created some of the greatest edifices of all time.

Before the teens and I visited the Grotto, we took a trip about TRUST through the nearby woods. The idea from the trip into the woods came from a prayer–one of my favorite prayers–by Thomas Merton, an American Catholic writer, mystic, and Trappist monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani, Kentucky.

On that trip the teenagers, another teacher and myself, divided into pairs. One person in each pair took a turn wearing a blindfold while the other person led him or her through the trees, over stones, across a stream. The one in blindfold had to trust completely in the other to give him verbal instructions to keep from bumping into a tree, tripping on a stone, or falling into the winding stream. Then the partners changed places, with the other putting on the blindfold. I will never forget the trust I had to put into the other teacher–because I’m a control freak and to be walking blind was something I don’t like to do.

But this is what we have to do–especially today.  God IS in charge.

Image  —  Posted: September 29, 2018 in World On The Edge

Time For the Turning???

Posted: September 28, 2018 in World On The Edge

For quite some time this country has needed a turn back to the values upon which it was founded. Is this the time?

On Thursday a good man courageously stood up to defend his name, his honor, his family, from despicable lies proffered by some power-hungry politicians and their followers.  But is today a time to castaway that dishonest, power-hungry attitude and remove the face of hypocrisy?

Today, a vote for Judge Brett Kavanaugh for Supreme Court Justice could be the sign of America’s appointed time to rise after decades of condoning behaviors that have weakened us as a nation, and as the human beings we were created to be.

Pray for those who vote, that they may let go of themselves and think of America and her people instead.

There is an appointed time for everything,
and a time for every thing under the heavens.
A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to tear down, and a time to build.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them;
a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away.
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to be silent, and a time to speak.
A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace.What advantage has the worker from his toil?
I have considered the task that God has appointed
for the sons of men to be busied about.
He has made everything appropriate to its time,
and has put the timeless into their hearts,
without man’s ever discovering,
from beginning to end, the work which God has done. — Eccl 3:1-11

Are some politicians in America holding the devil’s hand?  The answer is: YES!!

America is being assaulted from within, by those who should protect all that is sacred about the foundations of our country. And yet, they seem to care only about themselves.

WHY?

Are they afraid that their own self-indulgent politics might be vulnerable, so they have banded together like wolves to eat one good man alive? Judge Kavanaugh. The good man they are ravenous to destroy.

Apparently so.

Well, the result is this: American politicians holding of the devil’s hand puts them only an arm away from taking the heart of America. Is this what we want?

The above is a quote from Fig, a character in my first novel, “A Hunger in the Heart.” Not only is it an underpinning of the novel, it is an underpinning in every human life as well–who among us has not held the devil’s hand? If we have sinned in any way, we have befriended evil, and must break the friendship as quickly as possible.

Certain politicians must ask themselves if ruining the character of Judge Kavanaugh with lies is what they were elected to do? They must look at what they are doing and SEE the evil in it. For evil is exactly what it is. The first element in the halting of evil in every human person–including politicians–is admittance of it. Because these politicians are writing America’s story. They ought to be worried about how it will end. They ought to be worried about the heart of America that comes from its foundations.

It is the manners and spirit of a people which preserve a republic in vigor. A degeneracy in these is a canker which soon eats to the heart of its laws and constitution. — Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) Third President of the United States

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg knows this.  She calls the present Kavanaugh treatment, a highly partisan show, and wrong.  But will the self-indulgent politicians listen to wisdom? The next few days will tell.

 

The wicked say:
Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us;
he sets himself against our doings
— Wisdom 2

There is only one reason for the accusations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh, and both sides know it: Roe v Wade.  The left wants to keep it.  The right wants it gone.  How sad that the whole thing is either about killing a baby, or not killing a baby. But this is the length abortion proponents will go to have their way, and it is a low, and dark, place to be.

In keeping with the evil of ‘killing,’ Mrs. Ford’s unsubstantiated charges of sexual harassment by Judge Kavanaugh are meant to abort his appointment to the Supreme Court. Killing the character of another human being is as abominable as killing a baby in its mother’s womb. How have we come to this low place?

In one of my novels, Bridge-Man Burning: The Sins of a Southern Man, there is a female character who uses sexual harassment to ruin a male character, and it is based on the truthful, real-life experience of someone I know. The female character is an extreme narcissist, full of herself, and out for herself, without regard for anyone else. Extreme narcissism can cross over to a mental illness called narcissistic personality disorder, when your life revolves around your need for approval. You don’t understand or care about others’ feelings. You’re convinced you’re special, and you need others to acknowledge it. This is the depth to which my female character descends. And, as it is with the case against Judge Kavanaugh, her disorder is used by others for their own gain as well.

Sexual harassment definitely happens and is definitely wrong. Women know this.  It is an awful thing when it is true. But the fact is, it is sometimes not true. It can also be used against an innocent person for ulterior motives. Women know that, too. And I believe this is the case with Judge Kavanaugh. The left wants to paint him in darkness, as black as they can. And these are the words to describe it:

Let us lie in wait for the righteous man,
because he is inconvenient to us and opposes our actions;
he reproaches us for sins against the law,
and accuses us of sins against our training.–Wisdom 2:12

Izzy Collier, do you really see ghosts?

THE GHOSTS OF FAITHFUL
IN BOOKSTORES IN OCTOBER.    OR PRE-ORDER ON KINDLE TODAY

Sometimes deadly serious. Sometimes laugh-out-loud funny!

 

See the characters and more!

God’s Clean-Ups Can Be Messy

Posted: September 4, 2018 in World On The Edge

Years and years ago, when I graduated from Spring Hill College with a Fine Arts degree, I was a painter who absolutely loved to create something new on canvas.  The process was an odd one, because before a painting was finished it always seemed the canvas on which I was working went through a phrase of total messiness, confusion about my subject matter, and a period of time when I wanted simply to cover it over or pitch it out because it looked so awful. And there were occasions when I did exactly that.  But usually, if I kept at it, the clean-up of the canvas finally produced a good painting. This is true of a lot of life’s problems, too. Something good emerges out of an apparent mess. Peace often emerges after turbulence, and satisfaction after heartache.

Look at your own life. Has solving your own problems ever been easy? Haven’t your problems sometimes seemed overwhelming? Did you think about giving up, or running away to get rid of them?

I believe this is what is happening in our beloved Catholic Church.  We are most definitely in the messy phase.  My heart breaks when I see what is happening in some of its hierarchy that is, presently, so diseased it has ignored Truth!

Yet, I look at my own parish priest, and all the parish priests and teaching priests who are loyal to the real Truth, God’s Truth, and my heart is full of love and deep respect for them.  Their faith is strong and firm. They are confident that our God will clean this up for He will not let the evil–which is present today– stay in His church.

But God’s clean-ups can be messy, and today, we are experiencing that very awful mess. Still, we will not throw away the canvas God has created for us.—because He will fix it. He will heal our Church. And we will work with Him. We will pray, we will fight against evil, until it has been conquered. Trust in God. It will happen.

When The Ghosts of Faithful won First-Runner-up for Poets & Writers Magazine’s Maureen Egen Award, it was a novel in progress. Now it is finished and will be my seventh published novel, due out next month.

Here’s what Victor La Valle, author, Professor at Columbia, and Judge of the contest had to say about it: “Faithful suggests a broad canvas–a well-rendered local; a promising war of equals in the characters, a clear desire to address/tackle the issues larger than the back and forth, and a clear understanding on the author’s part about pacing and clarity. Also, I thought the father’s chapter was really funny!”

About the completed novel:

Izzy Collier runs the Food Bank in a town called Faithful, on the banks of the Suwannee River. She is the least amicable of two daughters in a frustrating family; all, keeping secrets of betrayal. Her parents are at odds with both daughters, and with each other. Her sister, always  Izzy’s competition, is an unstable former beauty queen, the wife of a philanderer, and the mother of four. Now, their ninety-four year-old grandmother sees her dead husband’s ghost, accompanied by a strange little girl. At the same time, Izzy’s husband, a defense lawyer, is being forced by his boss to effect the acquittal of a teenager accused of the rape and murder of a child. When Izzy starts to see her deceased grandfather and the little girl, too, she questions her sanity. What if the little girl ghost is the murdered child? But then, why would she be with Izzy’s grandfather?  Are the ghosts after revenge, justice, or something greater?

Prologue

The River and Carroll O’Murphy

When I was dying, my wife kissed my forehead as the moonlight dwindled. There were tears in her eyes, and I knew the tears were for both of us when she said to me, “Carroll O’Murphy, I will never forgive you.” And I said to her, “Well, I will never rest in peace until you do.”

And so regrets flash before my eyes, just as I’d heard they would.  Through a window, the days of my life wash over me like the river coursing beyond the pane. The minutes, the days, the years, whisper to me in a breeze that rises and falls, rippling like the wings of an angel, or the soiled pages of a baby’s book, turned by its mother’s trembling hand.

As a young man, the river and I, its faithful rider, traveled as one. Always, it was a persona greater than I, a much older, yet stern friend who called me to task, for our way south was a hard one, a way of mystery, and sometimes heartlessness.

From the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia, across the Florida panhandle with its auburn knees of prehistoric cypress, the river and I fingered like mist through the wild woods until we grew darker and darker. Below multi-colored canopies, we skirted the trunks of Live Oaks, their blackened roots rising like fences to stop us. We did not stop. We pushed forward until an escaping ray of  light  fell upon us and swirled in lemon-colored shapes like the billowing dress of a little girl dancing; a promise that we would find our destination.

The river and I knew what we wanted. Other fickle rivers and riders surged into us, troubled us, and attempted to shift us from our course. We swallowed them. We reached the steadfastness of the Gulf. There, the river rushed ahead, changing itself from drab to crystal green, cobalt, and purple. And I remained behind to live my own destiny.

This was during the Great Depression of the 1930’s, when the few who settled here weren’t able to find a dime. Except the river had given me confidence, taught me courage, and enough cunning to conquer any dam that blocked my way.

So, I created a town and called it, Faithful, for the river’s loyalty. I discovered more riches than I could spend in a lifetime. And yet, I lost a lifetime of love.

The death of one’s child by his own hand will pulverize a man who has no angels to hold him.