Archive for December, 2014

Remember When??

Posted: December 23, 2014 in World On The Edge

file0001286135514This will be my last post for the next few days. I have lots of family coming for Christmas and New Years, so quite a bit of preparation on my agenda.

As people do, I’m remembering other Christmases because Christmases have the ability to track time for me, and I’ll bet they do for you, too. A year in time can change our lives.

Who was there at a particular Christmas, who was not? What things went right, or what went wrong? What was funny? What was sad? Our Christmases are filled with emotional memories.

I go back to my own childhood, and a rusty red swing on Christmas Eve–no shoes, it wasn’t cold enough for shoes that year.

I swung high as I could, nearly upside down, attempting to toe a high branch on a huge live oak in the back yard of my aunt, uncle, and cousins house, across the street from mine—- dreaming of all the toys I’d find the next morning under the Christmas tree. So much excitement! Imagination and anticipation do that.

How many of you ever actually saw Santa Claus when he visited your house ? You smile? Well, I’m certain I did on one particular Christmas Eve coming home from Midnight Mass— a flash of red just behind the chimney, the jingle of sleigh bells on a roof covered, not with snow, but pine straw.

We all have Christmas memories, some warm and delightful— and maybe others that we’d like to forget. And we do have that power to forget, to overlook and move on from Christmases that did not produce feelings of joy.

Your worst Christmas? Mine was the impending surgery of my middle daughter, three days after Christmas for a malignant brain tumor. That Christmas began many years of worry, but it began something else, too—my real joy, my total appreciation of the family I was blessed with. Remember the old song lyric—“You don’t know what you’ve got until you lose it?”

I think it’s good to Remember When— the good times and the bad, because we can learn from both.

This is a season that can fill us with strength, resolve, and a brand new lease on our lives.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you!

And to my husband, my five children, nine–soon to be ten!–grandchildren, sister, cousins, and their families, too. We’ve made it through the good times and the not so good. So let’s Remember When with all the love we’ve got!

Take a Load Off!

Posted: December 22, 2014 in World On The Edge

file9241261945645As wonderful a time of year as the Christmas season is, it can also be burdensome.

There are the decorations, the presents, the cooking, the cleaning, the extra school parties—not to mention the price tag for all these things!

Mothers with children and grandchildren are especially stressed at a time when we wish we could simply breathe and enjoy the Birthday of our Savior.

But preparation is necessary. In fact, Advent is the season of Preparation– and Waiting.

In all our busyness, we can keep in mind what we are trying to do—-create a celebration worthy of such a Birthday, but we are also preparing our children and family for the joy of receiving, not only wrapped gifts, but the joy of knowing that because of Our Savior, we have the promise of eternal life.

We will be the givers of many presents this Christmas, but let’s not forget that we are the receivers of the greatest gift of all. And when we get tired–and yes, cranky. When we want to spout off at whomever is in front of our face—let’s take a load off ourselves and give it to Him. That’s the gift God wants from us—our Trust that He will handle it all for us if we truly allow him the chance to do so.

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

file9511239215189Unless you’ve been living under a rock, no one can disagree that today’s world is obsessed with things sexual. Sex not only drives us as individuals, but also our society as a whole. We’ve come to a saturation point of sex in advertising, movies, music, books, and even changes in our language; all to accommodate this beautiful God-given drive within us that is now, so misguided.

“Every man who knocks on the door of a brothel is looking for God,” said G. K. Chesterton.

All of us are looking for intimacy. All of us are looking for love. And what is the true definition of God? God IS love. So it is God we are looking for–even when we sin, or maybe especially when we sin.

This is how Evil uses us. This is how Evil changes the image we see of ourselves in the mirror of our hearts, replacing it with a false image, and false desire.

Addictive sex is one of many counterfeits we accept in place of a fulfilling relationship with God. There is a very good article about this: The page is sponsored by Focus on the Family and surely worth a read.

Personally, I don’t know how much more we, as a people, can take of this saturation of sex and still remain ‘higher than the animals.’ Because the sex drive in a human being, meant to be loving and pro-creative, is being debased to the level of a garbage dump.

In the media, it’s all a matter of giving people what they want. And if this is what we want, we are surely getting it, to the great detriment of the goodness God put within us.

Are You Hard to Love???

Posted: December 18, 2014 in World On The Edge

angry-womanWe want to love others, but loving is hard. Sometimes we are devoid of any fluffy feeling.

It all comes down to a decision we must make: I will love this person. I will give him, or her, respect. I will see God’s spirit in him. I may not like this person. But I’m called to love them, regardless. Because of my attempt to love, I am following the Greatest Commandment, and I become better, too.

Now, what about those who are trying to love me? Am I hard to love?

Am I sarcastic, vindictive, or mean to someone? Do I cheat or lie to them? Do I ignore them, and put my own needs ahead of theirs? Does the person who’s trying to love me have to walk on eggshells so as not to upset my sensitive nature? How can I expect someone to love me if I have traits like these?

We can make it much easier for those who are trying to love us by taking a good, honest look at ourselves. If we don’t like what we see, we must change it.

And one of them, a doctor of the Law, putting him to the test, asked him, “Master, which is the great commandment in the Law?” Jesus said to him, “‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind.’ This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like it, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.–Matthew 22:35-40

He’s Hungry for YOUR TOUCH

Posted: December 17, 2014 in World On The Edge

hands-touching-reaching-outIs there someone in your life who is so hungry for your touch that they would die for you?

Is there someone behind you every step of the way, someone who gently nudges you forward, someone who lifts you when you fall?

You say no? You say you wish there was? You say you’ve been searching for that kind of relationship?

But you don’t have to wish for it. You have it now. You have our God–yours and mine. And He is hungry for our touch. He is waiting for us to remember that He is here.

So what will we do? All it takes is our reach. His hand is already out, reaching for us.

He is hungry for our touch. He is waiting for us to hear His words: I’m madly in love with you! I’m who you are searching for. Turn to me.

Remember, love is a two-way street.

It’s our choice. Will we turn our back on His invitation?

Got Imagination?? Use It!

Posted: December 16, 2014 in World On The Edge

file9471266159150“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” – Albert Einstein

Well, that would have to be the imagination of our Creator. With a magnitude that is inconceivable to us, only God knows all and understands all.

The root word in “imagination” is image. God used his imagination to create us. We are made in the image and likeness of God. We are made with memory, imagination, and will.

Free will.

For Human Beings, it is our memory that leads to imagination. And imagination causes us to freely act.

We use our memory to recall events of our life, and those events can stoke our imagination positively, such as the memory of our best Christmas or Thanksgiving so far, and that leads to next year, and then the action of how we’ll create an even better Christmas or Thanksgiving.

Memory can also stoke a negative imagination. Someone did me wrong last week, and then the action of how will I get back at him?

Our memories are entirely our own. If we choose to re-hash and re-hash past hurts, it is no one’s fault but ours that we are miserable. It’s no wonder that our lives seem dark and confusing.

We have an imagination that can alleviate that.

Our imagination can bring light back to our lives when we look at the bad situation with a different perspective. Then with our free will, we can choose to ‘act out’ in a positive way.

All this, through our imagination. But too often, we don’t, or won’t, use it.

It’s our imagination that allows us to move on and keep going, because it allows us to forgive. Our Creator never remembers our sins once we’ve repented them. If we are made in His image and likeness, and by His imagination, then shouldn’t we try to do the same?

What’s Your Cross?

Posted: December 15, 2014 in World On The Edge


Christmas is meant to be a time of joy and happiness, but for many people this isn’t the case. We may be facing difficulties that keep us from experiencing the full joy of Christmas–the loss of someone we love, financial problems, sickness, troubled relationships. Sometimes even buying gifts for our family seems overwhelming rather than enjoyable. All these crosses, and more, can alter our participation in this Holy Season. But have we considered that our crosses can also increase our closeness to Christ?

We talk freely about the Cross of Christ. In church, we talk about it as a gift. But have we really applied it to ourselves and our circumstances?

We all have our particular crosses to bear.

Why is this? If God truly loves us, shouldn’t He make it easy on us?

Why should we have to go through so much pain and sorrow?

Two words: Resurrection and Redemption.

Pope John Paul II told us–and showed us–what it means to have a part in the cross of Christ. He said that it means to experience, in the Holy Spirit, the love hidden within the cross of Christ. It means to recognize, in the light of this love, our own cross. It means to take up that cross once more and, strengthened by this love, to continue our journey.

Real LOVE means dying to self, and that means seeing our crosses in a different light, even though the hard times can put us in unfamiliar territory, not to mention uncomfortable and sometimes seemingly unbearable situations.

Taking up a cross and dying to self is not easy.  We can only do it if  we first recognize, and then are open to the grace that God is constantly offering us.  From that grace will come great strength, and the knowledge we are somehow changed and co-operating with our God, not only in our own Redemption, but possibly the Redemption of someone else. After all, we never know how God will use our personal suffering to teach others.

Are we able to turn our spiritual eyes upward, to see above our problems–to see ourselves in true union with Christ? Isn’t this the best Christmas gift we could give to ourselves and those around us?

Need a Transformation???

Posted: December 12, 2014 in World On The Edge

Do you sometimes feel as if you’re wandering?

At times, it’s difficult to see the path we’re on.  It may be a path not particularly good for us. It may be a path of sin, yet  we don’t want to change our direction–even though there’s a restlessness inside us that says we should go another way.

“For Thou hast made us for Thyself and our hearts are restless till they rest in Thee.”—St. Augustine

Talk about great sinners! St. Augustine was  truly one of them—until he became a converted sinner. . . and a saint.

As Augustine later told it in his work, “Confessions,”  his conversion was prompted by a childlike voice he heard telling him to “take up and read”  which he took as a divine command to open the Bible and read the first thing he saw:  Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, called  “Transformation of Believers,”  consisting of chapters 12 through 15 – wherein Paul outlines how the Gospel transforms believers, and the believers’ resulting behavior. The specific part to which Augustine opened his Bible was Romans chapter 13, verses 13 and 14:

Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying, but put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof.

Other philosophers, as well as people he lived around,  pointed out that  Augustine ought to  change the path he was on. One who pushed him toward conversion  was his own mother, Monica, who harped day and night, for many years,  about his strictly human obsessions.

In  “Confessions,”  St. Augustine writes about how much he regrets having led a sinful and immoral life, shows intense sorrow for his sexual sins, and writes on the importance of sexual morality.

Most of us are like St. Augustine.

We live in the “City of Man,”  and ignore the  “City of God.”

Augustine writes: Accordingly, two cities have been formed by two loves: the earthly by the love of self, even to the contempt of God; the heavenly by the love of God, even to the contempt of self.

Nevertheless,  St Augustine believed  that God intervenes in the life of mankind by direct action—the action of grace– at certain definite points in time and place.

This is what happens to us, too. Our wandering spirits yearning for ‘something else,’  until  we encounter the grace of God—maybe because of a situation, or through a person. This encounter with grace causes us to change our ways.

What a gift is this Grace, this ability to change!  We can go from a lost and lonely soul, to one who recognizes the love of God, and yearns to be worthy of it.

What Can Love Do??

Posted: December 11, 2014 in World On The Edge

The word ‘Love’ has many connotations today.

“Oh, I love that dress!”

“I love the way he sings!’

“I love to dance, or eat pizza, or go shopping!’

On a more serious level, we say we love our spouse, our children, our parents, our friends.

But even deeper than that— what does it mean to love?

Love is an action. It is a choice we make. When we truly love , we do something beyond what we think we’re able to do, or maybe even beyond what we want to do.  Yet we do it anyway.

Many times you’ve heard, “Love can change the world.”  But we’re not in charge of the larger world, only the world in which we live and that may be a very small world for us—-the world of our family,  the place in which we work, or the interaction with the same people we see on a daily basis. So how do we love them?

As Mother Teresa said, “Never let anyone come  to you without coming away better and happier.”

There are indeed  people in our lives who always seem to make us feel better or happier, and we want to be around them because they are showing us love–a love similar to the love of God.

Some of us who try to develop our relationship with God,  find that we are happier, more secure, and even more loving after prayer, remembering that He gave us his son, Jesus, as the ultimate example of how to love.

In this season celebrating  Jesus’ birth,  we are busy, busy, busy. But let’s take a few minutes to thank God that we have something to be ‘busy’ with—that we have people we care for and people who care for us.

And then, let’s take the further step of also trying to become for those people, an example of how to love when–quite frankly–they are not being very lovable themselves. We may be surprised what that kind of unselfish love can do in our small and personal world.

silver2Because we live in a world of infinite possibilities, people often disagree when addressing important moral and ethical issues. For some questions, there just doesn’t seem to be a right or wrong answer. And in some situations, there seems to be several right answers.

Life isn’t black and white. It’s a million gray areas, don’t you find?–Ridley Scott

So what about the grey areas in our lives? Well, I’m  a writer, so the grey areas are a favorite theme of mine, but those themes are always set against an absolute truth.

This interest occurred years ago, when I was an Art major at Spring Hill College. I learned about the shadowing color Grey–not only as it appears in Art, but in life.So as a writer, I see it this way: In my characters–and  in life itself– there are always two extreme actions: Good and Evil. To ignore them in Fiction is to ignore Truth. Think of two ends of a horizontal line. At one end is the bright white of absolute Good. At the other end is the darkness of absolute Evil. In between those ends are lighter and darker hues of the color of GREY. (You might call these areas of relativism.) The farther we travel from either end, it becomes more difficult to see, or find our way back to the other.

The fact is most human beings travel daily along a line like this. They travel toward one end or the other, to the light of truth, or to the frequent darkness of a stubborn relativism. But in between the two ends is a lot of area in which to turn in an opposite direction—–either a fall, or an epiphany.

This is core for a writer of Catholic Fiction—the possibility of spiritual epiphany with a turn to TRUTH is always present in the work, though it may not always be accomplished by a character. The difference between creating a story and real life is that the fiction writer is pretty much in control.

But in our regular everyday lives, possibilities and the choices those possibilities present can be puzzling. This is why an informed conscience is necessary. And this is why we have to look for absolute truths, not relative truths,  to guide us.

From Why is it so important to understand and embrace the concept of absolute truth in all areas of life (including faith and religion)? Simply because life has consequences for being wrong. Giving someone the wrong amount of a medication can kill them; having an investment manager make the wrong monetary decisions can impoverish a family; boarding the wrong plane will take you where you do not wish to go; and dealing with an unfaithful marriage partner can result in the destruction of a family and, potentially, disease.

As Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias puts it, “The fact is, the truth matters – especially when you’re on the receiving end of a lie.” And nowhere is this more important than in the area of faith and religion. Here on Earth, we can’t afford to ‘just get by.’ We want to form a conscience that perceives genuine truth and use it to guide us. Because eternity is an awfully long time to be wrong.

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