Archive for February, 2016

His Own Words……

Posted: February 26, 2016 in World On The Edge
Photo by jclk8888,, 2015

Photo by jclk8888,, 2015

Reading 1 Lv 19:1-2, 11-18

The LORD said to Moses,
“Speak to the whole assembly of the children of Israel and tell them:
Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy.

“You shall not steal.
You shall not lie or speak falsely to one another.
You shall not swear falsely by my name,
thus profaning the name of your God.
I am the LORD.

“You shall not defraud or rob your neighbor.
You shall not withhold overnight the wages of your day laborer.
You shall not curse the deaf,
or put a stumbling block in front of the blind,
but you shall fear your God.
I am the LORD.

“You shall not act dishonestly in rendering judgment.
Show neither partiality to the weak nor deference to the mighty,
but judge your fellow men justly.
You shall not go about spreading slander among your kin;
nor shall you stand by idly when your neighbor’s life is at stake.
I am the LORD.

“You shall not bear hatred for your brother in your heart.
Though you may have to reprove him,
do not incur sin because of him.
Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against your fellow countrymen.
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
I am the LORD.”

Unhappy with your Life???

Posted: February 25, 2016 in World On The Edge
Photo by ertru,, 2016

Photo by ertru,, 2016

I don’t have….
I wish I had……
If only he/she would…
I am sick—why?
I lost a child…..
My marriage is not like theirs…
Smile? I have nothing to smile about!

These are unhappy, bitter thoughts–with lots of I’s and me’s. How do we make those bitter thoughts become better thoughts? How do we capture happiness for ourselves?

There are four levels of happiness:

Getting what I want when I want it: Instant gratification is the lowest form of happiness. A new car, a new pair of shoes, a filet mignon, sex, are all things which give us instant gratification. This is very self-centered happiness, and short lived.

Praise for what I have done: Personal achievement is a higher form of happiness than gratification of our desires. Getting compliments for our behavior or for things we have done, the plaque on the wall and the award at the national meeting, mother of the year award, etc., but they are still fleeting, and can be self centered, though we do start to reach out beyond the ME to touch others.

Helping someone else: Doing things to help others provides a higher level of happiness than personal achievement, but if it is not united to Christ, it sometimes feeds our pride. Philanthropy does draw us out of ourselves, away from our own carnal desires, to touch other people’s lives, and so it provides a higher level of happiness than the previous two.

But real happiness comes from this:

Unification with God who made us and seeks us: The closer we unite ourselves to Our Lord, the happier we will be on earth.  Just ask someone who has surrendered their life to God.

You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.–St. Augustine

Attitude? Got the Right one??

Posted: February 23, 2016 in World On The Edge

330px-Viktor_Frankl2 (2)Viktor Frankl was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor whose concentration camp experiences shaped both his therapeutic approach and philosophical outlook. His life as a concentration camp inmate led him to discover the importance of finding meaning in all forms of existence, even the most sordid ones, and thus, a reason to continue living.

After three years of imprisonment during the Holocaust, he wrote Man’s Search for Meaning

He often said that even within the narrow boundaries of the concentration camps he found only two races of Men to exist: decent men and unprincipled men–and that these were to be found in all classes, ethnicities, and groups. And it stemmed from Attitude.

Here is what he said about Attitude: …Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Viktor E. Frankl

One definition of attitude is that it’s an expression of favor or disfavor toward a person, place, thing, or event (the attitude object). Prominent psychologists describe attitudes as the most distinctive and indispensable concept in contemporary social psychology. But a deeper look at our attitudes will often expose our personal Character.

Character is what we are when we don’t have an audience–and also, at times, when we do have an audience–because it takes Character to stand up with courage if something crucially important needs to be said, or expressed with an action.

Of course, our attitudes reflect what we think is important, and attitudes can change. What’s important to a teenager is not what’s important to an adult. Some believe that a person’s Character is set and cannot be changed. Not so. But what can change it?

The character of Paul, the apostle, changed dramatically when he surrendered to God. Once he’d been a murderer of those who believed in Jesus; but his character was re-formed and he spread the good news of Jesus Christ all over the Gentile world. How did this happen?

In Paul’s words from First Corinthians: By God’s grace I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not ineffective.

Paul’s new life in Christ is Biblical evidence that the grace of God can change character. And give that person’s character a new meaning. Haven’t you seen the character of some people change for the better? Don’t you know of people who have changed the entire meaning of their lives from insignificant to significant? I know I have.

This change may come after surviving a crisis, through a prompt of Grace that brings about a personal re-assessment of our life. Or it may come during great suffering, when we search for meaning. Or it may come because God keeps giving us those divine pushes, and all we have to do is go along.

No matter the circumstance, and however it comes, when we go with God, things get better.

file2301237209145Oh, what an overused expression–How Time Flies. But it is so true–especially in the lives of our children. One day they are babies, and then in no time at all, they’re in school, then college, and beyond.

In every family, there is a certain ‘dance’ we do with our children. Sometimes it has to do with dancing around the time we spend with them.

From the time I was bringing up my children, until now, when my children are bringing up their own, I read and heard about the necessity of spending “quality” time with your sons or daughters. As if we could pick and choose the “quality” time.

However, it is my strong belief that children need the “quantity” of our time, too. In fact, I often believe that the quantity of time is the most important.
Quantity of time means we’re there as much as possible. Quantity of time means our children are used to us “being there.” And that means they feel more secure. Think about a young child’s attachment to a doll or stuffed animal. Some children will never leave them behind no matter where they go, because they feel secure with the toy. And without it, they are unhappy. “Quality” time isn’t something they accept with a beloved treasure.

Think of the mind of a child. For example, when you offer him or her a bag of candy, do they want just one quality piece? They may take one piece if that’s all they’re allowed (I know, I know–just an example. Too much sugar is not good for them either) But what I mean is that in a child’s heart, he/she wants quantity.

Children need to see that we enjoy them, that we will protect them, that we love them—-all the time, not just on some specific occasion that suit us. In my opinion, a danger of this “quality’ time thing is that we, as parents, are likely to overcompensate on these occasions, maybe out of guilt. We buy them things they don’t really need, when what they really want is our presence.

Time does indeed go by quickly. We don’t want to look back and wish we’d spent more time with our children. We want to do it now.

You Can Be a Hero!!

Posted: February 19, 2016 in World On The Edge

MFU1767What is your definition of a hero?

I think this is a good one: A hero is a person who is unafraid to make what they believe to be a ‘right’ decision. And if the decision turns out not to be correct, they own up to it and accept the consequences.

This means that a hero must have courage—enough not only to stand up for what is right, but to keep going no matter how tough it gets. Heroes are not people who have super-human strength, super speed or the ability to shoot beams from their eyes. They are just average people who care about people, about human life and how fragile it really is.

According to researchers, empathy and compassion for others are key variables that contribute to heroic behavior. People who rush in to help others in the face of danger and adversity do so because they genuinely care about the safety and well-being of other people. A 2009 study found that people who have heroic tendencies also have a much higher degree of empathy.

Heroes are good at seeing things from the perspective of others.

Researchers suggest that heroes aren’t just compassionate and caring; they have a knack for being able to see things from the perspective of others. They can ‘walk a mile in another man’s shoes,’ so to speak.

Heroes are competent and confident.

It takes both skill and self-confidence to rush in where others fear to tread. Researchers suggest that people who perform heroic acts tend to feel confident in themselves and their abilities. When faced with a crisis, they have an intrinsic belief that they are capable of handling the challenge and achieving success no matter what the odds. Part of this confidence might stem from above-average coping skills and abilities to manage stress.

Heroes have a strong moral compass.

According to heroism researchers Zimbardo and Franco, heroes have two essential qualities that set them apart from non-heroes: they live by their values and they are willing to endure personal risk to protect those values.–

There are so many heroes who go unnoticed, selfless people who step out of what is easy and take up something hard to elevate someone else. And they ask for no recognition.

Today we hear and read so much about the world’s villains. But look around—maybe even in your own family–the world is filled with heroes.

Who are the heroes you’ve known, or know now?

file0001704015753There’s an old song–I think from the 1940’s– that says we always hurt the ones we love. I think that’s pretty much true.

What I don’t think is true is the lyric that we hurt them–“because we love them most of all.” There’s something very wrong with that.

Intentional hurt and love don’t go together. There may be many reasons for the hurt, but one of the most frequent is anger. Anger causes us to lose control, to say and do things we might not ordinarily do.

Anger is described as an emotional response related to one’s psychological interpretation of having been threatened. Often it indicates when one’s basic boundaries are violated. Some have a learned tendency to react to anger through retaliation. And some use displays of anger as a manipulation strategy–think of a threatened lion showing his prowess. But we are not animals.

Anger is a valid human emotion, still we shouldn’t let it get out of hand. We need to recognize the psychological or emotional factors that could predispose a person to intermittent explosive anger so that we can be onguard— growing up in an unstable family environment, marked by severe frustration, lack of a positive role model, physical and emotional abuse, alcoholism, violence and/or life-threatening situations.

We know unrestrained anger can lead to misery for its victims–even victims the perpetrator professes to love . And that kind of anger is one of the Cardinal Sins.

If our first response in many situations is anger, it is very likely that our temper is covering up our true feelings and needs. This is especially likely if we grew up in a family where expressing feelings was strongly discouraged. Explosive anger is especially destructive to children. As a result, an adult who experienced that sort of anger as a child may have a hard time acknowledging feelings other than anger.

If your anger seems to be spiraling out of control, remove yourself from the situation for a few minutes or for as long as it takes you to cool down. Here are some of the dynamics of Explosive Anger:

  • We become more angry when we are stressed and body resources are down.
  • We are rarely ever angry for the reasons we think.
  • We are often angry when we didn’t get what we needed as a child.
  • We often become angry when we see a trait in others we can’t stand in ourselves.
  • Underneath many current angers are old disappointments, traumas, and triggers.
  • Sometimes we get angry because we were hurt as a child.
  • We get angry when a current event brings up an old unresolved situation from the past.
  • We often feel strong emotion when a situation has a similar content, words or energy that we have felt before. Source: Get Your Angries Out

Let’s try to put our sincere love for a person in the forefront of our thoughts the next time we feel explosive anger rising within us.


Afraid to Stand UP???

Posted: February 17, 2016 in World On The Edge

SONY DSCIt’s hard to stand up against a robotic crowd clothed in mechanized and politically correct armor. It takes great courage to speak out, great courage to deliver the truth to those who see you as a threat, who will slap you down, and even try to destroy you for it.

Last Year, my husband and I were in Destin over Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. We went to Mass at the Catholic church closest to where we were staying and met a very interesting priest. Nearly twenty years ago, many of his congregation left his church for other churches in the area, saying that they were tired of listening to his preaching of politics. The priest told about the exodus of those parishioners in a Sunday homily. He said he’d never preached politics, never talked about a candidate or a political party–not even once during his time as pastor. He said what he had preached was morality.

And isn’t that a large part of his job as a priest?

Now, I ask you–what do you think? Politics or morality?

Preaching against abortion. Is that politics, or morality?

Preaching against the selling of a pre-born baby’s body parts. Is that politics or morality?

Preaching against sex outside of marriage because of God’s commandment that it is wrong.  Is that politics, or morality?

Preaching that marriage is created by God as a sacrament between a man and a woman. Is that politics, or morality?

Preaching that drugs harm not only the physical body, but the human soul. Is that politics, or morality?

Preaching that lying–especially under oath–is a sin. Is that politics, or morality?

You may be able to bring up other similar examples that are referred to as political, but are actually moral questions about what is good, honest and true.

Do you see an underlying–and current–problem here? Topics that have long been considered part of morality are, today, suddenly political questions where the answers are wishy-washy enough to be voted on as morally correct behavior. And worse— it is politically correct to adhere to them, even when the opposite is true.

Of course, this fuzzies up Truth. In fact, it tries to diminish it, using terms that intimidate or make a moral person seem small and petty.

What is the next step? A complete elimination of morality. An eradication of Truth?

Well, that bothers me. Does it bother you?

Today’s politically correct idea of morality reminds me of the fairy tale, The Emperor’s New Clothes. The people are propagandized with pre-planned slogans about how wonderfully dressed the emperor is–-and so they believe it. But in truth the emperor is parading around stark naked. And everyone is afraid to say so.

I think the priest from Destin was quite courageous. It’s hard to be one of the few standing against the crowd. It’s hard to be David fighting Goliath.

Why Did I Do THAT????

Posted: February 16, 2016 in World On The Edge
Photo by Rachose,, 2008

Photo by Rachose,, 2008

One definition of motive is a reason for doing something.

That ‘something’ may be good, not-so-good, or just plain evil. A good motive is easy to see. A not-so-good motive is often easy to understand as well. But it is rare that we can actually understand a truly evil motive. This is because we were created to be good–in God’s likeness, not Satan’s.

BUT…the Evil One (And yes, Satan is real) fiddles around with our motives, tells us that what we know we shouldn’t do, or have, is good for us. And because we are human and possess God’s gift of free will, we often excuse evil.

Satan is all about self, and selfishness is his motive; the same motive he polishes up in us.  And when he’s polished it enough, when we think we need his kind of good, then he can sell us anything.

Let’s talk about “need.” I spent twenty years in advertising; a cardinal rule is to find a need in the potential buyer, then create a campaign focusing on something that appears to fill that need, then put the cherry on the top with a deal that is too “good” to pass up.

Making something appear too good to pass up is Satan’s way, as well, and judging by his success rate, no one can fool a vulnerable buyer better than Satan. So, we let ourselves be pulled toward the good Satan presents to us, and then….we buy it.

What happens then?

We become poison to those around us. We try to lead them to our way. We don’t need God. In fact, we pitch Him–our Creator–out of our lives and start to think of ourselves as God.

This is why it is so important to guard the goodness God created in us by looking at the true motive behind everything we do. Is the action we are going to do in line with our Faith in God–or is it only Satan’s ploy?