Archive for October, 2013

Witchy Woman

Posted: October 31, 2013 in World On The Edge


Halloween evokes many memories of my children growing up. I probably shouldn’t admit this particular memory, but when ONE of my girls was a tyrannical toddler, I gave the little thing a nickname–“Witchy Woman.” Believe me, at the time it suited her well. All she needed was a miniature broom.

Of course today, she’s anything but witchy–I mean I’m certain her husband and children would never call her such!!

But hey, aren’t we all a little ‘witchy’ at times. Look at some of the characteristics of these tiny, toddling  people:

They discover they can walk on two legs and so are “into everything.”
They are stubborn about ME, MINE, and MY.
They are in love with the word NO.
They become easily frustrated.
They like to build, knock down, put in, and take out.
They have very short attention spans.
They imitate almost everything they see.

And then there are:

The big smiles when they wake up from a nap or in the morning (Despite the load in their diapers)
The sloppy kisses.
The arms around your neck.
The squeals of laughter.
The “help Mommy make dinner” pans on the floor.
The colorful scribbles.
The heads of hair full of paste, or spaghetti, or you name it.
The fall, the get-up, the tears and the “I want Mommy!”

Today, my little ‘witchy woman’ is one of whom I’m very proud. Her witchy-ness propelled her, and may even have been the key to her great success as a woman. I am amazed at how high she flies!


Posted: October 30, 2013 in World On The Edge

priest_holdingup_chalice_redMore than 70 percent of all religious communities report having new members (both men and women) in formation. But this is less than the large number of entrants in the 1950’s and 1960’s. So we come to the conclusion that the church is losing vocations.

The reasons for this are many, not the least, our very material world.  Yet everyday, there are extraordinary people who discover within themselves a love for God so great that nothing but the religious life will do. (If you are a parent and your child expresses a desire to explore a religious or priestly vocation, please listen to them.)

Have you heard of the Nun who kissed Elvis? In 1963, Delores Hart who starred with Elvis and other stars  in many movies, gave up her promising career as a movie starlet to go into the convent.

Here are some of her  thoughts  about helping to discern a vocation to the religious life. It is aimed at young people, like she was, when she entered.

“How do you know if you are being called? Start by reflecting on these questions:

Do I find myself wondering if there is more to life?

Do I have a desire to know God more deeply and give my whole self to him?

Am I drawn to pray and participate in the liturgy?

Do I take an active role in the life of the Church?

Do I feel called to live out the Gospel?  Do I desire to live a simple lifestyle?  Do I feel called to share life, ministry and faith with others?

Do I value the multicultural abundance in our world?  Am I concerned with the unmet needs of others, especially the poor and those treated unjustly?

Do I believe I can live the life of a religious sister or nun? Do I think I can live a life of continual conversion? Do I believe we can do more together than alone?

Do I want a challenging life lived with deep satisfaction and love?

If you answer “yes” to many of these questions, God may be calling you to religious life.”

What follows is an HBO documentary, longer than most of my videos. But it is well worth your time. Mother Delores’s wise words hit home!

Fixing Up Our Innards

Posted: October 29, 2013 in World On The Edge

file0001860226169My husband and I are “fixing up” our house.  We allotted ourselves a budget, so I looked through magazines for ideas to modernize and make our house prettier, and then I showed my husband the pictures. He wasn’t impressed.

“We have to start with the innards,” he said. “Those things that are not working correctly and really need to be fixed–like the AC, the hot water heater, the sprinkler system, better insulation, etc.”

Innards are the interior workings of a thing, the insides or guts. Innards don’t sound exciting, let alone beautiful. Often, they are hidden, so we don’t even notice them, and they don’t make a house prettier— they do, however, make a house last.

Not many of us want to look at the innards of things–especially the interior innards of our own ‘selves.’ One reason might be out of shame, because we know we could do better, and haven’t.

Another reason is that inner things are often harder to fix. It’s easier to spruce ourselves up on the outside with new clothes, hair-cuts, or make-up. We want the world to see a pretty outside, rather than do the harder work of BEING a better person inside.

How do we get to be a better person? We first have to take a good look at ourselves—especially the way we treat others. We have to be able to stand in the other person’s shoes in order to feel compassion for him or her.  If we have compassion, it’s easier not to get angry with another.  It’s also easier to forgive if we try to understand the person who’s hurt us.

These inner qualities can only be seen through the actions we take toward others—and ourselves, because we’re meant to love ourselves as well,  and to forgive ourselves, too.

Do we want to be just another prettied up face in the crowd?   Or do we want to be a person who matters in the lives of others?

Before we concentrate on our superficial looks, let’s first see if our innards need fixing.  and  start there.


Posted: October 28, 2013 in World On The Edge

file1401253770839Most of us have, or have had, a dream; something we aspire to do, or be. Maybe we’ve already accomplished our dream, or maybe we’re still in the process. What does it take to make a dream become a reality?

First and foremost, an accomplished dream requires a committment–we have to want it badly enough to stay loyal to it. This can be very inconvenient, and we may be criticized, or even ridiculed. I think of Christopher Columbus who for years pushed for someone to finance his idea of a western route from Europe to  a  “new world.” People thought him crazy; yet he persisted until the King and Queen of Spain agreed. And you know what happened next.

Then comes the trying, because without hard work the dream probably won’t see daylight. Without hard work, a person is dealing only with a ‘wish.’  “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride” is an English language proverb and nursery rhyme, originating in the 16th century, used to suggest that it is useless to wish and that better results will be achieved through action. Hard work is that action. We have to be very good at whatever our dream requires.

And then, there’s confidence.  A person committed, and willing to work hard, must have confidence in himself. Confidence is an inner quality of the mind and requires that we face our fears. Many of us face our fears by trusting in God.

After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision,

“Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” —Genesis 15:1 –

Finally, we should be enthusiastic about our dream. Sometimes that means asking someone for a chance. We must be enthusiastic enough to  say: “Put me in the game. Let me show you what I can do!”


Posted: October 25, 2013 in World On The Edge

file851348626627Today is my birthday and I want to thank God for it.

I thank him for a loving husband I can count on, for my five amazing children and their terrific spouses, and soon to be ten fun-loving grandchildren.

I want to thank him for having had wonderful parents and grandparents. I want to thank him for my precious sister, my loyal cousins, my fantastic friends, and all the readers and supporters of my first novel and this blog.

I’m grateful for the happy times I’ve experienced, and for the lessons learned through the sad times. God is truly awesome. I don’t know how anyone goes through life without knowing Him. He is my greatest, continuing birthday gift.

Oh Lord, How Great Thou Art for giving me this life.

And for never leaving me alone while I live it.


Posted: October 24, 2013 in World On The Edge

file000445460321What is the action God performs most often?

I think it’s that he welcomes sinners. In other words, He forgives.

Isn’t that wonderful? No matter how we fail, we can always be welcomed back by God.

When it comes to welcoming others back into our hearts, how do we compare to our wonderfully welcoming God?

Do we hold grudges? Do we plan for the downfall of someone who’s hurt us? Or do we open our arms to them despite what they’ve done to us.

If we hold a grudge against someone, the door to God will be closed. It will be absolutely closed, with no way to him. Only if we forgive others will we be forgiven. I am sure that many prayers are not heard because the person praying has a grudge against someone, even if he is not aware of it. Jesus says more than once that before we pray we must forgive. If we want Jesus, we must have a forgiving heart.
– J. Heinrich Arnold

It all comes down to this question: Can we forgive others as Jesus did on the Cross? Are we able to accept that we are sinners, too?

Welcoming back into our world those who have hurt us,  is a Christian requirement. And God is waiting for us to do it.

Let’s Consider The Trinity

Posted: October 23, 2013 in World On The Edge

2010-11-29 12.10.35This morning, I was thinking about The Trinity. The Holy Trinity. God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and The Holy Spirit. Three persons in one God.

I know it’s a mystery that we can’t understand with our human reason which is so inferior to the mind of God–almost like a tiny ant trying to figure out a human being.

But first, I considered how the relationship between the three persons is a similar to our own relationships. A person can be a father. He can also be a son. He can also be a loving friend. And he is still one person.

Then, because I’m a writer, I thought about The Holy Trinity as a story.  I thought about characters and points of view.

In The Holy Trinity Story, The characters are:  God, who always was, is now, and always will be.  His point of view is  from “being” itself. God creates. and nothing exists without His creative action, which is Love. His calling a thing into being is an act of Love. Love is the action in this story. And love needs to express itself.

And that expression is Jesus, the Son of God, God’s example of how to love.

Then we have The Holy Spirit, the third character in the Trinity Story, and the one who remains with us always. The Holy Spirit is love in action through human beings.  Love always needs an object to love. So we are characters in the story, too.

As I said, we cannot really understand the mystery of the Trinity. So my impressions are just that–impressions. But the impressions each of us have of God color our relationship with Him.

Have you wondered about this awesome mystery? Do you have impressions of it? If you’d like to express them in the comment section of this blog, please do.

The following is one young man’s impression. I think it’s very good.

Using and Lying

Posted: October 22, 2013 in World On The Edge

Trunk, leaves, OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand branches, are important parts of what it means to be a tree.

Stem, petals, and stamen, are important parts of what it means to be a flower.

Bones, skin,  and muscle are important parts of what it means to be an animal.

Language, decision-making, and love are crucial to what it means to be a human being.

Those are only a few of the attributes that give these living things their meanings. And each of their meanings is different as it pertains to the world it lives in. (more…)


Posted: October 21, 2013 in World On The Edge

file000541949575Isn’t it odd that in many things, we can be doggedly determined, and other things we put off, and put off, and put off?

Sometimes I’m a number one procrastinator.  I begin most every Monday with a plan for all the things I need to do better. By Tuesday, I’m waning, and by Wednesday, it’s all but forgotten–until Monday when I begin again.

But what if there were no such thing as new beginnings? That would mean the absence of Hope–something no one can live without.

If we don’t have hope, we literally shrivel emotionally and physically. We  need to believe that things get better. New beginnings, even Mondays, can be sources of hope.

Where does hope come from?   Many times it comes through prayer.    Jesus would not have told us to pray The Lord’s Prayer unless He knew our Father in Heaven would hear our prayers.

And the ability to hope is within us. We are born with it,  part of  being made in the image and likeness of God.

So today, on Monday. I plan to do some things better.  Maybe this time I’ll be successful. But if I’m not, I won’t get discouraged because there’s another Monday coming.  And I have hope.

A HUNGER IN THE HEART is up for debut novel awards: The Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction; American Book Award Before Columbus Foundation; The Ernest Hemingway/Pen Award; 2014 Pen/Faulkner Award; and CALA (Catholic Arts and Literary Award)!!