Archive for September, 2013

Gratitude

Posted: September 12, 2013 in World On The Edge

St. Joseph's Chapel, Spring Hill CollegeGratitude is one of the most truthful ways of finding the presence of God in a person’s life.

In a study done by Samuels and Lester (1985) it was contended that in a small sample of Catholic nuns and priests, out of 50 emotions, love and gratitude were the most experienced emotion towards God. And in the Orthodox, Catholic and Anglican Churches, the most important rite is called the Eucharist. The name derives from the Greek word eucharistia for thanksgiving.

So what is true gratitude for me? Today, it is having found the presence of God in Mobile, Alabama; in people whose faces I saw for the first time, in old friends I reconnected with after many years, and in the kind reception of new friends.

I returned from Mobile yesterday afternoon filled with gratitude.

To Deborah, and The Daughters of Mary at St. Ignatius Catholic Church, where I gave a presentation of ‘some’ of the sinners and saints in my novel, “A Hunger in the Heart.” I say, thank you.

To the Jesuits and faculty members at Spring Hill College, where I served on a panel discussion about the Catholic Imagination and Fiction, I say, thank you.

To Ron and to Susie, who hosted a beautiful dinner for us, I say, thank you.

To Peter, my publisher, and Joseph, my editor at Tuscany Press, I say, thank you.

And since I heard a little affectionate teasing about my Dothan accent, I’ll say again to everyone I met.  From the depths of my heart,  “I wanna thank ya’ll.”

Seesaw

Posted: September 11, 2013 in World On The Edge

seesawA seesaw is a long, narrow board pivoted in the middle so that, as one end goes up, the other goes down. A person sits on each end, and they take turns pushing their feet against the ground to lift their side into the air. Playground seesaws usually have handles for the riders to grip as they sit facing each other.

Life is like that, isn’t it? We face each other. We go up and down. Up and down. (more…)

How Much Do We Need?

Posted: September 10, 2013 in World On The Edge

golden coinsRemember this fable by Aesop?

ONE day a countryman going to the nest of his Goose found there an egg all yellow and glittering. When he took it up it was as heavy as lead and he was going to throw it away, because he thought a trick had been played upon him. But he took it home on second thoughts, and soon found to his delight that it was an egg of pure gold. Every morning the same thing occurred, and he soon became rich by selling his eggs. As he grew rich he grew greedy; and thinking to get at once all the gold the Goose could give, he killed it and opened it only to find,—nothing.

“To kill the Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs” is often used to express the idea of an unprofitable action motivated by greed.

So why do we want more and more of everything when we don’t really need it? (more…)

Are You on a Faith Journey?

Posted: September 9, 2013 in World On The Edge

faith journey
In the interviews I’ve been privileged to have, I’m often asked about my Faith Journey. Each of us has one. As we travel through life our faith either increases, or doesn’t increase. Or maybe it’s like a stone wall, just sitting there, never budging because we don’t think about it.

We ought to think about it though. At one time or another, our closets need straightening, lists of “things-to-do” need to be made, and certain people in our lives need specific attention. We sometimes forget that we need attention, too.

After we’ve gone on vacation, we usually assess the trip that we took. Assessing our Faith Journey is similar. We need to look back to see where we’ve been. We need to look at ourselves—really look—to see where we are, and then forward to see where we’re going. (more…)

Bring Us Home

Posted: September 6, 2013 in World On The Edge

war The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have taken their toll. Not only in the death and injury to so many service men and women, but they have also taken a toll on our trust; the trust of the American people in our own government.

Now, we are facing another war in Syria. Is this the right thing to do? I must say I don’t know.

On the one hand are pictures of precious people, many children, lying dead from poisonous gas. How Syria’s government could do this to its own citizens is beyond belief. That it is evil, is a gross understatement. Think back to WWII and Hitler’s gas chambers.

On the other hand is the question that has become a sad reality: Is our own government being truthful with us, or is this a political play? If so, gross evil is present here in our own country as well.

But again, I don’t know.

From the perspective of a Christian, I do know that God loves every single human being involved in this crisis on all sides. People on all sides are going to do what they’re going to do, first of all, because they have the free will to do it, and secondly because there have always been those who selfishly put ‘might’ above ‘right.’

As we enter this unfortunate and very open-ended phase of America’s involvement in Syria, we need much prayer that God will instill His grace in all of us. That our “stand” against chemical weapons will do the trick, be only that, and not more.

We need to pray as much for America as for the countries in the Middle East, that we haven’t lost our way. That we are still a honorable country. That we resume our status as a beacon to the world. We need to pray that God will bring us home to Himself, in every way.

Prayer

Posted: September 5, 2013 in World On The Edge

sunlit pathEvery culture has a tradition of prayer, a communication with God.  When we communicate with someone, we get to know them better. Prayer helps us grow closer and connect with God.

In my novel, “A Hunger in the Heart,” Coleman looks at his mother Sarah Neal, an alcoholic with a crucifix hung around her neck and a rosary in her hand, and he sees a hypocrite.  “How can you pray?” he asks.  She looks back at him and says, “Because I’m a sinner, Coleman. If I wasn’t sinner I wouldn’t need to pray, would I?”

She’s not completely correct about that, but at this point, all she’s thinking about is her sinfulness.

But prayers of sorrow and repentance are not the only types of prayer. There are also prayers of adoration, There are prayers that express our love for God. And there are prayers of petition, and thanksgiving. (more…)

The Things They Gave Me

Posted: September 4, 2013 in World On The Edge

partyLife is wonderful when we celebrate it with our families. What would we do without their support?

On Friday of Labor Day weekend, I left for the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Decatur Book Festival, taking my novel and Tuscany’s short Story Collection to present at the Emerging Writer’s Pavilion. I’d never have gotten there without my husband. Driving around Atlanta for someone who doesn’t live there is ominous. Who could do it without a GPS? But George, the driver, the leader, always the strong one, got us there easily. We found our motel and we found the festival as if we were Atlanta natives.

The festival itself was amazing. Downtown Decatur is the perfect venue for the thousands—-yes thousands—-who were there. What was most impressive were the droves of families, with strollers and dogs in tow, who came on that very hot, humid weekend. My family was among them.

Two of my daughters, their husbands and children, live in Atlanta; my middle daughter, Sheila, her husband Matt and their three boys, Daniel, Anthony and Matthew; and my youngest daughter, Anne Marie, her husband, Pat, and my namesake, Caroline Kaye. All of them came to support me, and I can’t say how much it meant.

And there were others who came: Mia, a friend and photographer who showed up unexpectedly and snapped picture after picture of me during my talk and at my book-signing. And my cousins, Jim and Janet who came from Jonesboro with smiles and good wishes. I appreciate all of them so much.

On Sunday when the festival was over, we went to Sheila’s house for a cookout. (Yes, it was raining again, but that did not spoil it in the least) We were met at the door with a Welcome Poster drawn by Daniel and Anthony—first and second graders at Atlanta’s Christ the King School. I have to brag a bit and say that Daniel is a second grade Student Council Representative. The boys had also decorated the table with yellow cut-out stars and purple tissue-paper roses, and Anthony had made paper flowers for a vase in the center.

Anne Marie made wonderful Kentucky Bourbon squares and Pat made a Cream Cheese and Chili dip that lasted only about fifteen minutes. Matt cooked hot dogs and hamburgers and Sheila’s baked beans were mouth-watering.

So we celebrated. We celebrated family. We celebrated each other with laughter, with lots of hugs and sloppy, kid-kisses, and with love.

When we left, Matt dug from his herb garden and sent us home with lemon thyme, mint, and oregano to plant. Anthony sent us home with a flower from the vase he’d made. And Matthew sent us home with–a cold. God love him.

God love them all.  What a celebration!