Archive for September, 2013

Manly Men

Posted: September 30, 2013 in World On The Edge

file0001145812666I may be old-fashioned, but I like real men.  I’m the wife of a man who’s glad to be a man. I’m the product of a family led by strong men who’d never imagine having their fingernails painted, not even by the little girl they adored.  I’m the offspring of men who provided for their families, who listened to the problems of a wife and children, and then tried to solve them, not run from them. I’m the child, grandchild, great grandchild, great-great grandchild, and on and on, of men who served their country with courage, bravery, and the spilling of their blood.   Today, I ask, “Where are men like these? ”

I think many in our feminine society have emasculated them. I think many of our young boys are in danger of the same. To me, a man is a man. A woman is a woman. They are not alike, except that both are children of God. We need strong men, strong fathers. We need strong women and mothers. We do not need a world in which one cannot be differentiated from the other.

Again, I may be old-fashioned, but I don’t think it’s in the nature of a woman to desire a womanly man. Or in the nature of a man to desire a manly woman. That is a bill of goods sold to us–and to our children when they’re too young to decipher it–through advertising, movies, TV, and politics. And it’s a dangerous bill of goods because it’s confusing to a child. So, I say, “Quit messing with their minds!” It’s no wonder we have so many children on prescribed drugs, or any sort of drug that promises them a false clarity.

It’s evident that society needs to relax. Not everything needs changing. More important, not everything CAN be changed. Some things are as they are. To paraphrase Shakespeare: A rose by any other name is still a rose.

God Can Fix Us

Posted: September 27, 2013 in World On The Edge

in cave

I’ve known a few people in life who’ve given up hope. Desperate people who blame themselves, or worse blame others for the demolished state they’re in.

They don’t believe they can be fixed.

Not true.

God can fix anything or anyone.

What is required for that kind of fixing?

Surrender is required.

Acceptance is required.

An emptying of self is required.

EXCUSE: Those are words, and the accomplishing of them isn’t easy.

ANSWER: Strength will be given.

Unconditional love will be given.

A replenishing of self will take place.

God can fix us.

Try Him.

Give Up?

Posted: September 25, 2013 in World On The Edge

eagleOn Earth, we don’t have the fullness of Heaven, where all is perfect and God’s presence is enjoyed eternally. But when we pray that God’s kingdom will come on earth (as in the Lord’s Prayer) we want  our devotion and our service to God to show that He is present, here, in some way. We do this by loving and caring for the people He created; all people, made in His image and likeness.

We can choose not to do this. We can choose to hate, or disrupt, or bring others down. We can choose not to see their connection to the God who made them, and us—-


This does not mean we should be blindly tolerant. This does not mean that we go along with everything. At times, it means that we are called to rock the boat. At times, we are called to ‘overturn the tables in the temple’ as Jesus did.

I think this is one of those times. I believe our country, our America is being threatened from within.

If you read this blog, you know I’m a fan of Aesop’s fables. Here is another: The Swallow and the Other Birds

“It happened that a Countryman was sowing some hemp seeds in a field where a Swallow and some other birds were hopping about picking up their food. “Beware of that man,” quoth the Swallow. “Why, what is he doing?” said the others. “That is hemp seed he is sowing; be careful to pick up every one of the seeds, or else you will repent it.” The birds paid no heed to the Swallow’s words, and by and by the hemp grew up and was made into cord, and of the cords nets were made, and many a bird that had despised the Swallow’s advice was caught in nets made out of that very hemp.
“What did I tell you?” said the Swallow. “Destroy the seed of evil, or it will grow up to your ruin. “

We find it so easy to go along with the crowd—and we find it so hard to stand up against what we know isn’t right. And often we throw up our hands and give up on something, or someone—a child, a friend, a co-worker, even a spouse.

Today, I ask: Have we given up on America? Have we become tired or indifferent to what our country was supposed to be, but is no longer? What can we do about it?

Of course, the first answer is prayer. But we should expect that our prayer will lead God to call for our  personal action. When we pray that God’s Kingdom will come on earth—who will bring it if not us? We are, after all, God’s hands, heart, eyes, and feet on Earth.

The call we discover through prayer will be different for each of us. It may be a tiny call by God. It may be a significant one. But small or large, if we don’t act on it, nothing will change for the better.

And so, I ask: Does the re-constructed path we’re presently allowing in America resemble God’s Kingdom on Earth? If not, then in prayer, each one of us should listen carefully to what we ought to do to make it better.

Our Backpack

Posted: September 24, 2013 in World On The Edge

file0001338534726We are all hurt as we travel through life.  We often hold on to those hurts. The betrayal of a friend, the infidelity of a spouse, the abuse of a parent, and on and on–things that stay with us for years after they occurred.

Some of us go through life aching and sweating, beneath a heavy backpack of grievances that weigh us down. Oddly, we keep adding to the weight of that backpack with fistful after fistful of “what he/she did to me,” and thoughts like, “I’ll never forget it. In fact, I won’t let them get away with it. I will pay them back!”

When we’re hauling around a backpack like that, we’re usually grumpy, or at the very least, difficult to be around. We’re certainly not smiling, or happy, because grudges make us inherently anxious.

How can we get over our grudges?  How can we empty our backpack of all that disturbs us, and re-fill it with things that are worthwhile, things that do make us happy? (more…)


Posted: September 23, 2013 in World On The Edge

When we trust in God, He will surprise us. When we let go, like the small child standing on the pool’s edge, and jump into our Father’s arms; he will not only catch us, he will teach us to swim.

God’s surprises come in a myriad of ways, and at unexpected times. Sometimes He surprises us through people—especially after, in our narrow-mindedness, we judge a person to be only what we think they are, what they appear to be on the outside.

We have our own ways of judging someone—our first impressions: how they’re dressed, how attractive they are, how they speak, smell, or walk.  We don’t see a child of God, made in His image. We see someone who is different from our own image of what a person should be. And sometimes, we pompously see someone who’s ‘in our way.’ And so, we circumvent them, and never get to know what they may have had to offer–maybe the surprises God has in mind.

Jesus, Himself, tells us that there’s not much sense in this sort of response by people stuck in their own ideas. In Luke 7:31-35, He asks: “To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like?  They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other:  “‘We played the pipe for you,   and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not cry.  For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’  The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’  But wisdom is proved right by all her children.”

True  wisdom is to TRUST in God. Trust is always the answer.

If Jesus healed the sick, raised the dead, turned five loaves and two fishes into enough to feed five thousand, with leftovers; then we can trust him to surprise us again? Trust Him to surprise us personally? Trust Him to do much more than we can imagine?

Because we can only imagine the ways God will surprise us with His love. So, love Him. Trust Him. Let Him do His work in you.


Posted: September 20, 2013 in World On The Edge

DangerLast Saturday, I held a Stories of Faith workshop in my parish. The purpose was to consider a particular time that God had been present in the participant’s life, and for him or her to write about it.

At the beginning of the workshop, each person was to write down a single word that might express his or her own faith experience. There were 18 participants, and there were 17 different words expressed. Only two people picked the same word!

I was amazed at how varied the responses were. But aren’t we all so different? God touches us very uniquely in our particular situations. How vast, how great, how infinite He must be!

Some of the words were: relief, patience, love, thankful, surrender, acceptance, frustration, tears, lost, joy, and many others that escape me at the moment. But there was one word expressed that touched me personally. That word was Fear.

For most of my life, I’ve had to work to get away from of this emotion–in small things, as well as in larger ones. I happen to know that the lady at workshop who chose the word, Fear, had transported herself and her family to Dothan after surviving the terror of Hurricane Katrina that practically wiped out her small town. I cannot imagine what she lost. I can, however, imagine her fear. (more…)


Posted: September 18, 2013 in World On The Edge

Are you a fun-seeker? What is “Fun” to you?
Of course, it’s different for each of us. But sometimes the “Fun” we chase can bring us heartache—-or a headache at the very least.

Maybe we ought to take a second look at the things we call “Fun.” Are they constructive to us as an individual? Do they forward us along in relaxation, helping us to smile? Or do they hinder us, inhibit us, and ultimately put a frown on our faces?
The media will be glad to show you what fun is—-buy a romantic trip, buy a car or even a motorcycle, have a bottle of whiskey or beer, eat your fill at one of thousands of restaurants, and so on. Buy. Buy. Buy Fun.

Are we being sold a bill of goods that fun is the same thing as happiness? Are these things really ‘fun’ or just what our ever-greedy culture says we need to enjoy ourselves. We often fall for whatever ‘they’ think. We should think for ourselves.

Each of us absolutely needs fun in our lives. We need the release of enjoyment. We don’t need the stress that’s often produced by the manipulators of our culture. Fun ought to be very personal, something we do for ourselves, and not for the wallets of others.


Posted: September 17, 2013 in World On The Edge


Each of us have gifts, God-given talents. The gifts of some may seem more apparent than others. For example, in those who appear on our televisions, in our movie theatres, on our radios—the so-called “stars.” But the value to God of each individual’s gift is the same, because God does not discriminate.

Early on, when I lived in Birmingham, my neighbor and I shared a babysitter, an older woman we’d met at a nearby Garden Nursery. Her name was Mrs. Hays. Anything she put into the ground, grew. There wasn’t a plant or flower or tree she didn’t seem to completely understand. She knew what each needed to flourish. And she handled our young children the same way. Whenever she came, they did indeed flourish. The gift she gave our children, and my neighbor and I as mothers, cannot be measured. Mrs. Hays wasn’t on the big screen, or the radio, or newspaper, but she made a lasting imprint on four young children. She had a gift and quietly used it. No fanfare, just solid intention driven by a love for all things growing.

Sometimes those—not all, but some–in the spotlight seem to want only that—-the spotlight. Is this the purpose of their gift?

Bad Moon?

Posted: September 16, 2013 in World On The Edge

best full moonLast week was wonderful! From The Daughters of Mary meeting at St. Ignatius in Mobile, to the Spring Hill College panel discussion on The Catholic Imagination and Fiction, to The Stories of Faith Workshop on Saturday at St. Columba, Dothan–it was all good, all successful, I think.

And then?

On Saturday afternoon, my computer screen turned to stripes and I could retrieve nothing!! I panicked, of course. Dismissing all the good things that had happened in the last few days, I fell into negativity: there was a Bad Moon on the Rise. And I reacted too quickly–an unfortunate trait I have.

The next morning I went directly to Office Depot where I ended up buying a new computer. That would have been fine if the computer had not had Windows Eight installed on it. Oh, I do not like it! I don’t like to adjust. I don’t like the unfamiliar. And I became worse than before. I became Chicken Little–the sky was falling!

Late yesterday afternoon, I was still trying to understand Windows Eight, download Word, even to find out how to get out of a page, when one of my little granddaughters came over to stay a while. I got her busy setting the table and then went back to deciphering Windows Eight. Suddenly, I totally lost it. In my frustration, tears came. My granddaughter (she’ll be four next month) came running. She put an arm around my shoulder, “Grandmommy, don’t cry,” she said. “It’s only a computer.” Wow, did I feel immature in the presence of a three year-old!

Lesson learned. It is only a computer. Only a glitch, and a small one at that. I’d forgotten to look at the big picture, and instead let the little things bug the heck out of me. Never again. After all, it IS only a computer.

Negativity does no good at all. Why concentrate on “the bad” when there’s a beautifully full moon within reach.


My Publisher at Tuscany Press asked that I blog my remarks from the Tuscany/ Spring Hill College panel discussion on The Catholic Imagination and Fiction, September 10, at Spring Hill. The panel included Peter Mongeau, publisher, Tuscany Press; Joseph O’Brien, Editor, Tuscany Press; Fr. Chris Viscardi, Chair of the Theology Dept at Spring Hill; Dr. Matthew Bagot, Theology Dept.; Fr. Michael Williams, English Dept.; Dr. Ron O’Gorman, cardiac surgeon in Mobile and author at Tuscany Press, and myself.

Of course, I’ll do as my publisher asks because I love my publisher, I love my alma mater, I love the Jesuits—and hey, I want to get another book out! So here goes:

“I’ve been asked to talk about The Catholic Imagination—the spark that ignites Catholic Fiction.

But first I want to talk a little about my Spring Hill experience–my JESUIT experience. And then–maybe because I was an Art Major here–I’d like to talk about the color GRAY. (more…)