Archive for March, 2015

st-patricks-day-jokes-one-liner-riddles

St. Patrick is said to  have driven the snakes out of Ireland, a symbolic way to describe his victory over Paganism in Ireland.

The beautiful prayer of St. Patrick, popularly known as “St. Patrick’s Breast-Plate”, is supposed to have been composed by him in preparation for his victory over Paganism. The following is a literal translation from the old Irish text:

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of the Invocation of the Trinity:
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.

I bind to myself today
The virtue of the Incarnation of Christ with His Baptism,
The virtue of His crucifixion with His burial,
The virtue of His Resurrection with His Ascension,
The virtue of His coming on the Judgement Day.

I bind to myself today
The virtue of the love of seraphim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the hope of resurrection unto reward,
In prayers of Patriarchs,
In predictions of Prophets,
In preaching of Apostles,
In faith of Confessors,
In purity of holy Virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I bind to myself today
The power of Heaven,
The light of the sun,
The brightness of the moon,
The splendour of fire,
The flashing of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of sea,
The stability of earth,
The compactness of rocks.

I bind to myself today
God’s Power to guide me,
God’s Might to uphold me,
God’s Wisdom to teach me,
God’s Eye to watch over me,
God’s Ear to hear me,
God’s Word to give me speech,
God’s Hand to guide me,
God’s Way to lie before me,
God’s Shield to shelter me,
God’s Host to secure me,
Against the snares of demons,
Against the seductions of vices,
Against the lusts of nature,
Against everyone who meditates injury to me,
Whether far or near,
Whether few or with many.

I invoke today all these virtues
Against every hostile merciless power
Which may assail my body and my soul,
Against the incantations of false prophets,
Against the black laws of heathenism,
Against the false laws of heresy,
Against the deceits of idolatry,
Against the spells of women, and smiths, and druids,
Against every knowledge that binds the soul of man.

Christ, protect me today
Against every poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against death-wound,
That I may receive abundant reward.

Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
Christ in the fort,
Christ in the chariot seat,
Christ in the deck
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of an invocation of the Trinity,
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.

Birds cover Am I shouting loud enough to be heard through my writing?

I often wonder–because it’s what I want to do.

I want to portray the world I see through a Christian lens, and the world I see is not a sweet and fluffy world. Not anymore, if it ever was. So don’t expect that in these stories.

Ours has become a raw world, on the edge of losing the reality of absolute Truth–which by the way is not defined as our opinion. And each of us is individually guilty of nudging society toward the Lie.

When our goal in life is only whatever makes US feel good. When it’s all about ME. When my ambitions always go ahead of others. My satisfactions. My addictions. My face, and only my face, in front of the crowd, or the camera, or the photographer. When YOUR face doesn’t matter because the goal of MY life is ME. When those we look up to–leaders from every facet of society–do the same; we promote the Lie that says, I am God. It is a Lie that will literally kill us, individually, and as a nation.

My stories reflect these deadly, human attitudes, but I hope they reflect something else, too. That we can re-discover the Truth about who we were created to be. Because we are meant to be more than examples of humanity’s flaws. We we are meant to be, and to live, as if we are children of a flawless God. Our attempt to do this–to allow God’s Grace to work within us–can re-spark us, until in Truth, we are alive again.

Everyone on the earth is born with two, innate possibilities for living out his or her time here. It’s our choice. Will we live out goodness, or evil? My stories are about the choice we all have, and how an individual character handles it. I hope you’ll read them. And if you like, critique them, too.

Got Courage??

Posted: March 13, 2015 in World On The Edge

file0001331552939Every day we have the capability to be different—fresh opportunities to improve ourselves, and maybe, even become holy. Alternately, we also have the opportunity not to better ourselves by sinking into the bleakest parts of human life.

God’s Grace is ever-present, always here for us to take. It’s around us like the air we breathe. But, there are times when our own bodies obstruct our breathing. For example, when we are sick with some ailment, some disease, respiratory problems often occur. That’s what happens with sin. Sin is the disease that keeps us from taking advantage of Grace, and breathing in the daily presence of God.

If we want to better ourselves, God will show us the way to do it. Be still and listen. Be observant and watch. He will give us the car, the vehicle to use that will take us to a better place in our lives. He will provide the gas. He will show us a map for the trip. But……
From then on, it’s up to us. We must be courageous.

Because unless we get into the driver’s seat and behind the wheel. Unless we turn on the ignition and step on the accelerator, we will go nowhere.

Sadly, many of us never turn on the ignition, never step on the gas.
We may hesitate out of laziness, or fear, or an intense desire to keep hold to something we know isn’t in our best interest.

How can we find our way out of those shadowy situations?

Luckily, every day also signifies a new beginning for us–no matter the shadows of the day before.

When the dawn comes and the sun begins to rise, let’s be courageous enough to look at our new day in a new way. Let’s honestly try to see in the slant of fresh sunlight, the possibility something different, something better. Let’s take notice of the highlights in its colors, the intensity of its brightness, and then put ourselves within it and let its light–the light of God’s grace–shine upon us.

Grace needs only our acceptance, and our courage.

Remember the cowardly lion in The Wizard of Oz?

Cowardly Lion: Courage! What makes a king out of a slave? Courage! What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage! What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist, or the dusky dusk? What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage! What makes the sphinx the seventh wonder? Courage! What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage! What makes the Hottentot so hot? What puts the “ape” in apricot? What have they got that I ain’t got?

Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman: Courage!

How Do we Handle Endings?

Posted: March 12, 2015 in World On The Edge

file0001129878874Our lives are filled with endings.

Some we want.

And some we don’t.

After a particularly tiring week or day at work, we’re happy to have an ending. After an argument with a child or spouse, we’re happy for that to end, too. If we’ve had an unusually cold winter, or a dreary rainy and hot summer, we take a joyful breath when all that’s over. If we’re cleaning out a closet, if we’re striving to complete a garden, and certainly if we’re in labor with childbirth near, we want endings!

But we may not want an ending to that last bite of pecan pie, or the sight of a gorgeous sunset, or a night of celebration with our spouse. We may not want to put down that sweet, sleeping baby in our arms. We don’t want to reach the ending of a wonderful song, or a great book, or a loving kiss.

Except endings come. We lose people who mean much to us. Maybe they simply leave, or maybe we we lose them to death.

Endings that come to us by death are the hardest to assimilate. A parent, a spouse, a child, a friend, who are here with us on a given day, and the next day gone.

We grieve these endings. They take a toll on the rest of our lives.

I have always believed that the veil between life and death is very thin. I have always believed that death is another beginning–for each of us, and for our loved ones. I have felt an active connection with those who have left this world for another. I don’t believe they forget us anymore than we forget them. I ask for their prayers, and give them mine. And I do have faith that I will see them again.

Navigating Deep Waters

Posted: March 11, 2015 in World On The Edge

Navigating Deep WatersI cannot say enough good about this little book. From it’s beautiful, emotional cover to the words inside, this book is a real gem!

Here’s the blurb for Navigating Deep Waters: Meditations for Caregivers :

“The book offers caregivers a contemplative basis for understanding their unique circumstances. Each chapter focuses on the metaphoric theme of water, and the reader can interpret its meaning through prayer and reflection. Journaling prompts and a prayer are offered at the end of each chapter, as well as lined pages for the reader to jot down thoughts and emotions. Intended to supplement other available resources for caregivers, Navigating Deep Waters acknowledges the deep, spiritual and psychological aspects of caregiving that will enrich every caregiver’s journey toward healing, peace, and joy.”

The blurb is helpful, but no way can it fully describe the book’s value to someone who finds him or herself hit by sudden grief. Except, it is not only a book for caregivers, it is a book for anyone in crisis. And no matter who we are, at one time or another, we will experience crisis in our own lives, whether in be the death or illness of a loved one, the loss of a job, the betrayal of someone we care for, and on and on. But should we wallow in the mud puddles of our lives? This book says, “No!” This book says, “Rise up!” And it shows us how to do that–because we are called not only to care for others, but also, to care for ourselves.

I see Navigating Deep Waters: Meditations for Caregivers in the hands of Grief Counselors, Parish Crisis programs, for parents of children with Special Needs, or the parents of teens in drug programs, and even in Prison Ministry. See what I mean? The ways to benefit from it are too numerous to list.

There is another element key to this book: the authors.

Both mothers of Special Needs children, these Christ-filled ladies not only know what they’re talking about, they are genuine examples of the ‘walking around grace’ that has come through their own suffering. I am so thoroughly impressed with them. Try Jeannie Ewing’s blog, http://lovealonecreates.com/ and you’ll see what I mean.

Navigating Deep Waters is not only consoling, it’s a lovely little gift that can assist each of us in our own struggles, and ultimately in our rise, from the pain each of us human beings will experience in our life on Earth.

Transforming Your Life???

Posted: March 10, 2015 in World On The Edge

Ten CommandmentsAt the beginning of Lent, we have great intentions of the good we’ll do, and the bad we want to stop doing. We say we want to transform our life.

Well, what’s happened so far? If you’re like me you’ve fallen short of your goals. That’s because real transformation isn’t easy. In fact, it’s downright hard!

If we could truly see our souls, it might help us to change. The problem is, many of us don’t want to turn on the light so we can see our interior selves.

Some of us are so entangled in lies and deceit that we’ve forgotten who we were created to be. Instead, we are cesspools of sin, and somehow we live with that. After all, we are in a society that has an “anything goes attitude.”

A society that does not give as much honor to God as it does to a pornographic movie, is on its way down!

We have leaders who do everything they can not to ruffle feathers by mentioning anything sacred. In fact, can you name something that our socially progressive society would even label as sacred? Would you respond by saying human life is sacred? But be honest–is it really held as sacred today? Would you respond with the word of God as being sacred? How about the sacraments–all seven of them. How about the Ten Commandments? Is any of this sacred in our present world.

We are living so far below what we are meant to be.  We are in need of change. We are in need of spiritual transformation. And yes, it is, and will always be, hard. But it can be done because–if we want to remember–we are made in the image and likeness of God, with whom nothing is impossible.

I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. Ezekeil 36:26
Let’s ask ourselves: what can a spiritual transformation do for my life?

file1801281015946Lent is all about forgiveness–mostly our request to God that He forgive US–because we have done some pretty indefensible, even deplorable things, against God’s word.

But can we forgive others for their indefensible, or deplorable, actions against us?

Do you know anyone who can forgive so easily?

What about a child, a young adult or teen, who tells you point blank that he hates you? What if he or she stole from you, did everything possible to make your life miserable? How would you react? Remember, this is your child, after all.

What if your spouse cheats on you, right under your nose. You’ve trusted him or her. You don’t suspect—until you discover it, maybe by chance. How do you react?

What if a friend whom you considered loyal, maybe your best friend—turns on you, talks behind your back, spreads lies or maybe some truth you’ve trusted to him or her and no one else? What would you do about it?

The fact is these things can easily happen to us, and often do–and most of the time, the situation is out of our control, not even our fault, and deeply hurtful—because these are people that we love. Can you forgive them?

Well, let’s turn it around. What if you are the perpetrator, not the victim, in one of those same situations? Each of us are capable of wrongdoing. Can you admit it? Can you ask for forgiveness?

What does it take to forgive someone who’s hurt you? What does it take to ask for forgiveness when you’ve hurt someone else?

I would posture that we cannot forgive–or ask for forgiveness–without help. And the assistance we need comes from our relationship with the God who created us. If we don’t have a dedicated relationship with God, these two very difficult tasks are impossible. If we do, they are not only possible, they are a certainty.

Forgiveness, and asking to be forgiven are not tangible things. They are not things we can touch. They are possibilities. We can chose them, but we don’t have to. It’s our decision. A decision that we come to because of the beliefs we hold.

If we believe in God, if we say we follow God. If we say we are Christians, we must forgive. And if need be, we must ask for forgiveness. It’s not a request. It’s a commandment.

file0001888333711What does a runner look like when he finally spies the finish line of a 5K race? Isn’t he or she perspiring profusely, panting out breaths, his heart pounding, muscles aching. He’s so close to the finish line, he knows he won’t quit. A little bit more, and then—it’s done. He’s over! He’s put in the work. He suffered through the race. Soon, his breathing quiets, his perspiration dries, his heart stops pounding, his muscles loosen. There is more than just a smile reflected upon his face.

What does a painting look like when the artist begins? Only a line, more lines, colors washing every which way. He doesn’t like it. He wipes it off. He begins again. Lines and color come together until–finally, he has what he wants. He’s created beauty. And he smiles, too.

What does a woman giving birth look like when she’s in labor? An oversized body groaning, crying, pushing, shouting. And then–finally, it’s over. A new human life is laid on her breast. Her child. And she smiles, too.

The point is there is more to be seen in each of these particular events than the suffering or hard work or frustration. In time, we see personal accomplishment, the creation of something beautiful, and most miraculous, the emergence of human life–be it brand new, or only renewed.

There’s more to be seen in the struggles of our individual lives as well. Maybe we’re concentrating on the hard work, frustration, or suffering, and there’s the chance of giving up. But if we hang in there, if we give it our best–in time, we’ll see that our life is emerging too–into something better.

Have Faith in that.

“While other worldviews lead us to sit in the midst of life’s joys, foreseeing the coming sorrows, Christianity empowers its people to sit in the midst of this world’s sorrows, tasting the coming joy.”
–Tim Keller, Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering.

A User and a Liar??

Posted: March 5, 2015 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…)

Broken Relationship??

Posted: March 4, 2015 in World On The Edge

Joy_and_Sorrow_by_SusamieHow do you react when relationships are broken?

First–if it’s a relationship you’ve invested in– you probably try to fix it.

But if that doesn’t work, do you wallow in its fall-out debris?

Do you hold grudges? Do you go for payback?

We know that one day, all things–including us– must end. And as we grow older, we see that ‘new and shiny’ doesn’t last. We also know that people aren’t perfect, and some are bad for us. We may have to give up on some relationships.

But I think it’s important that we don’t give up on the miracle of life itself.

To let go of life is counterproductive. Because when one door closes, another will open—if I don’t get bogged down in my own needs, and if I allow myself to notice it is opening.

Most broken relationships are thought of as negatives. But maybe some of them aren’t. There are some relationships that honestly can’t be fixed, and really shouldn’t be pursued any longer. In the long run, the breaking may be a positive thing for us.

Yes, we may need to grieve for awhile, but we ought to be careful that grieving isn’t what we spend the rest of our lives doing. Taking our own eyes off ourselves and shifting them elsewhere—to the need another may have– is what helps us grow in character.

And we should never let go of what will make us a better person, in the eyes of those who love us, and especially in the eyes of God.