Archive for July, 2016


Posted: July 29, 2016 in World On The Edge


At some time or another, each of us will lose our focus and be mean to another person. And often it’s intentional. Why do we do this?

Are we mean to people because our own needs have not been met and so we lash out, “getting back at the world” for having treated us badly?

This is silly, because the world gives back to us the same as we put out. Meanness will always rebound on us.

I think one of the reasons we are sometimes mean is because we see something in the other person that reminds us of what we don’t like in ourselves. If we find ourselves bullying someone else, or insulting them, or plotting against them, we need to take a good look inside our own hearts. What is bothering us? And then, try to be honest enough with ourselves to change it.

Another reason for meanness is jealously of another person. We may feel the world has treated them better than us, given them more friends, or provided them with a better lifestyle.

To get over it, we should first think about exactly what it is that they have that we want. Secondly, will that thing make us happy? If we believe that it will, then we can actually learn from the person we are jealous of. We can compliment them to their face on an accomplishment, rather than spitefully tearing them down behind their backs. And then in the nicest way we can, simply ask them how they developed in themselves the thing that we want.

Meanness can also come from fear–maybe even the fear of abandonment by someone we love. To guard against it we put that person down as often as we can. We denigrate them in an attempt to devalue them in the off-balanced thinking that this will keep them dependent on us…i.e. “Who else would have you anyway?”

When meanness gets this out of hand, we need spiritual help, because we’re destroying our selves as well as the one we pretend to love.

We should remember that meanness cannot make us happy, only more unhappy.

Malice drinks one half of its own poison.


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.

One minute all seems right, the next minute our world comes crashing down. It might be divorce, death of a loved one, debilitating disease, loss of livelihood, a dream gone wrong, or hurtful words or lies, targeted at us by another.

Or we may be the one who brings down our own world by the bad choices we make. We are made to be people of goodness, but sometimes we corrupt ourselves through addictions, hanging around bad company, forgetting who we are—-children of God.

We are on a dangerous end of the seesaw then. We might think it’s over for us. But we should never give up trying to find our balance again.

One problem with a seesaw’s design is that if a child allows himself/herself to hit the ground suddenly after jumping, or exits the seesaw at the bottom, the other child may fall and be injured. For this reason, seesaws are often mounted above a soft surface such as foam or wood chips. In other words, a soft place to fall.

Because in life, we will certainly fall at one time or another. None of us is perfect yet. All of us here on Earth sin against our innate goodness.

And in doing so, we condemn ourselves. Still, don’t give up.

Strangely enough, God doesn’t condemn us. He forgives when we ask Him to. The softest place for us to fall is into His merciful and loving arms.

stuck in concreteNo one is created perfect. No one lives a perfect life.

Of course, that is an understatement.

I know of a man who killed his brother out of jealousy. I know of a woman who lied knowing it would ruin another’s life. I know of a mother who chose drugs and a life on the streets over her child. I know of a father who deserted his family and left them to welfare. I know of a politician who went to jail for stealing campaign funds. I know of a nurse who killed nearly fifty patients. I know of a doctor who killed hundreds of innocent babies for money. I know of a man who kidnapped children and kept them for years as sex objects. I know of a man who entered a crowd and began shooting.

You know these people, too. You’ve heard about them on the news. Maybe you’ve encountered people like them in your own life. Maybe you’re even one of them. They are many. They are legion. And they’ve always been with us.

From a view of loftiness, we may wonder what causes these violent, selfish behaviors. How do they happen?

Don’t point too stiff a finger. Each of us has the capacity to be violent or selfish. But each of us also has the capacity to be gentle and self-giving.

I also know of a man who saved his brother’s life, of a woman who I don’t believe has ever lied in her life. I know of many mothers and fathers who daily, and with much sacrifice, love and care for their children. I know of politicians not out for power or money, but in the service of others. I know of nurses who care deeply for the dying, and conscientious doctors who save the lives of a multitude of children and adults. I know of men who believe that sex is not selfish, but a self-giving gift to be shared only with his spouse.

What causes these behaviors? They’re so opposite from the ones first listed. How do they happen? How do we get to them? One word will answer: Grace.

Then how do we get to Grace?

We have God’s grace within us already, but many of us have covered it over with everything our conscience warns us against. We take the easy way. It’s almost as if we see ourselves as stuck in concrete and either can’t, or don’t want to, get out of –dare I say it–sin. We’ve allowed ourselves to become so distracted that many of us don’t acknowledge grace, or its power, at all.

Put the word ‘grace’ in Google and see what comes up first. It’s the name of a corporation. It’s an acronym to map the earth’s gravity. It’s part of the name of a TV show.

It’s too bad that the most important–and yes, crucial–meaning of the word is ignored. Because we need it. We ought to recognize it. We ought to act with it.

The grace of God is within our reach, so reach for it. Pray for it.

Let’s get there if we can.


My husband.
Our five children.
In–not a ship–but a blue and white van.

High Tide Coming.

A beach on the coast of  Saint Augustine, Florida.


Tide comes in. We can’t move.
Funny at first. One of the children teases, “How high’s the water, Mama?”

Except, it becomes serious.

We try everything. But…the wheels keep spinning and that beautiful wet sand won’t let them go.

And then…

A man walks toward us, zigzagging down the beach. Reeking with whiskey.
“Eeeew!” say the children.

The drunk man drawls, “Let the air out of your tires.”

“You’ve got to be kidding!” is the unanimous reply.
Follow this man’s advice? No way!

The drunk shrugs his shoulders. Continues his zigzag swagger down the beach.

My husband and I look at each other.
We look at the saltwater swamping the wheels. We could be shipwrecked if we don’t do something.

So, we act…

We let the air out of the tires.

And…well, if you’ve ever had this happen, you know that letting air out of the tires WORKS.

Moral of the story? It doesn’t take a perfect person to give good advice.

In fact, you’ll never get good advice from a perfect person—because there are no perfect people. All of us are broken in some way. This goes for those who would like to be our President, as well.

The flawed man in our very real story knew what was wrong and tried to fix it. If we hadn’t listened, the worst might have happened.

Every imperfect person, every American, knows his/her country, at this very moment, is walking a dangerously sharp razor blade. This is due to the failure of so-called ‘progressive’ politics, which has taken us backward, not forward. Taken us to a place of uncertain safety, of economic disaster, of squashed religious freedom, of no respect for human life. This is a place where only the self rules, where lies are accepted for those with power, but never for those without it, and where the future of our America as a whole is forgotten. What’s in it for me? is the primary concern.

Make no mistake, the dangerous and raging waters intent on destroying America as we know it, are rising higher and higher.

And we are absolutely STUCK in the sand without a leader, a leader who is unafraid, who will speak the truth regardless of political correctness. A leader who’s proven advice we can trust.

There will be no escape from the SAND if we continue with another administration exactly like today’s.

Unless we release the stale hot air that keeps us immobile, and replace it with a strong, fresh–and yes, imperfect– new voice, we will remain stuck in the sand until we drown.

So, I ask, are you ready to act?

Each of you has one vote.  Are you willing to cast it on the side of America?

Deflecting the Blame???

Posted: July 22, 2016 in World On The Edge

this_is_my_lifeWhen others give us advice we don’t like, we’re sometimes quick to say, “This is my life!” Meaning I’m responsible for myself.

But . . .

How many of us blame others rather than ourselves when things go wrong with our life? When we do that, we’re not taking responsibility for ourselves; we’re saying something like you should have done something to keep it from happening—you should have been responsible for my life, then this wouldn’t have happened to me.

Making our own mistakes the fault of others is not only whiny, it shows a lack of integrity, dishonesty, and possibly a narcissistic personality.

Narcissists are notorious for placing blame on other people and not on themselves. Even when they clearly and definitely did something wrong, they cannot- and will not- accept responsibility. They almost always deflect the blame elsewhere. Narcissists either ignore their contribution to the situation or insist that the other person (spouse, child, co-worker or etc.) made them do it. Narcissists know right from wrong, they just cannot allow something bad to be their fault. It is another manifestation of their supreme self-centeredness as well as a protection for their fragile ego. It is also a primitive method of avoiding external repercussions.–Alexander Burgemeester

There’s another way to look at the statement, This is my life, and that is with gratitude for it, and a desire to polish it to the shine that God intends it to have.


Be honest with ourselves. Take a good look in the mirror and–just be honest. No whining, no blaming others for what is our responsibility.

Own what we’ve done. Love others as well as ourselves. Create a space of empathy for others, not demand of others. Don’t listen to bad-mouthing from someone set on bringing you down. And finally, to see my life as good, important, valuable, and interwoven in Almighty God’s plan.




Behind all your stories is always your mother’s story, because hers is where yours begins.
― Mitch Albom, For One More Day

On Monday night, the first day of the Republican Convention in Ohio, revelations by the mother of  Sean Smith, one of four Americans killed in Benghazi, brought me to tears. American Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty pled for help from the U.S. government to no avail. “All security had been pulled from the embassy, Patricia Smith said. “Nobody seemed to listen, nobody seemed to care. . . .The last time I talked to Sean, the night before the terrorist attack, he told me, ‘Mom, I am going to die.’ ”

What a tragic betrayal! A current story, one of many, where the life of a child is snatched from his/her mother; and yet, the mother courageously goes on to make sure that her child did not live in vain.

* * *

A mother–every mother–is forever bound to her child. At one time or another, she will experience sorrow.

Sorrow. Maybe because of what her child does.

Sorrow. Maybe because of what is done to her child.

My heart aches for all mothers who have lost precious sons and daughters.

What can a mother do with her sorrow? What good can come from it?

But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. –Luke 2:19


1.The Agony in the Garden. Fruit of the Mystery: Sorrow for Sin, Uniformity with the will of God

2.The Scourging at the Pillar. Fruit of the Mystery: Mortification, Purity

3.The Crowning with Thorns. Fruit of the Mystery: Contempt of the world, Courage

4.The Carrying of the Cross. Fruit of the Mystery: Patience

5.The Crucifixion and Death of our Lord. Fruit of the Mystery: Salvation, Forgiveness

bird in mouth


What comes out of your mouth when you open it to speak?

“Not that bird!” you say. “That’s disgusting.”

But isn’t meanly-thrown speech disgusting, as well?

Vitriolic words about other human beings abound today, especially in social media, as if it is acceptable behavior. It is not.

Social media can be a wonderful platform for many beneficial things, including the politics of an election. But here’s a warning: it can also be powerful-release platform for people who are unhappy, negative, or just plain spoiling for a fight. Maybe it makes these types of people feel better about themselves, but does it not make others better by listening to them when their comments brim with venom and hatred.

Demeaning comments about others, demeans the person who’s delivering it. And often, the comments come from the deliverer’s good old-fashioned guilt over his or her own behavior–or the behavior of his/her political party. So….the thing to always remember is: Consider the source.

And be assured, there are many ‘pots calling the kettle black’ attempting to spoon-feed garbage–on Facebook, twitter, television, etc.

Unless we want to be spoon-fed, rather than think for ourselves, we should always take a good look at reasons why a person might be spouting vitriol before we accept his or her words.

Then–before we form any opinion, we should always take an HONEST look at the person being demeaned by these bitter people who may be using lies to suit their personal agendas.

Intelligent people do not let others make decisions for them about the worth of another person–in politics or otherwise. An intelligent person will do the work it takes to discover truth in real facts, and only then decide.

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.–Psalm 19:14

hdrmergedWe rarely pay attention to the plain and simple things in our world. We notice the flamboyant, the extravagant. Who would not notice a sunset such as this? “Wow! How beautiful!” we might say.

Yet the smallest of particles are responsible for the stunning sunset. You might say they are responsible for its performance. These tiny molecules change the direction of light, causing it to scatter, resulting in the brilliant show of color. The value of the sunset, like the value of a person, is found within. But when we look at either of them, we don’t consider what’s ‘behind the scene.’

In fact, not many want to be ‘behind the scene.’ We are attracted to the flamboyant, to famous people who appear large on the stage of life, such as musicians and actors, and reality shows about so-called ‘real’ people. We fantasize about being like them, without considering their fleeting popularity.

I think this is because we have a very shallow understanding of our world and the crucial place each of us holds in it. We look into the lives of those we mistakenly see as more beautiful or more important, to measure our own lives — which we may consider very small, and not beautiful at all.

So what is truly beautiful?

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, a Swiss psychiatrist and pioneer in near-death studies, said, “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These people have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

The idea of beauty and importance dealt to us by ‘the big screen’ is misleading and short-lived. The beautiful sunset lasts only a while–until the smallest of particles and molecules come together again to bend the light and cause another momentary spectacle. It’s what is inside the sunset that gives it beauty. It’s what is inside us that gives us our beauty, too.

True beauty is often found in what is not noticed, but nevertheless crucial to the meaning of life itself. So, I’m taking another look at all flamboyant passing things. I’m taking another look at the fleeting sunset, and at the people flashed onscreen to us as perfect. I want to consider the more permanent performance of beauty behind those scenes. Will you join me?

file000763630594As parents, we are the first teachers of our children. They look at us and follow what we do. Children have been called the greatest imitators because they constantly try to imitate their parents–in good things, and not so good things.

How many times have you heard your own words come from the mouth of your child, or seen him or her try to do what you do, exactly the way you do it?

Children are blank canvases. As parents, we provide the paint for the picture they will create of themselves and the world around them. Even when they are adults, we can still see ourselves in them, maybe even more so than when they were young. For parents, teaching children is an awesome, tiring, task that requires overloads of patience and perseverance.

But our children are not ‘us,’ and they will never be us. We cannot live our lives through them, or expect them to live the dreams we had for ourselves. We can only love them, do our best to bring out ‘their best,’ and help them find and begin their own dreams.

In the process of teaching our children, we are learning from them, too. There’s nothing more innocent than a child, more loving, or more forgiving. These are traits for us to imitate.

Children have an innate excitement about the world, and living in it. Everything is new to a child. Everything is something to touch, smell, eat, or even color on. We often forget our own excitement and curiosity until we have children who show it to us again.

In the classroom of the family, there is learning on both sides. There are the older teachers (US) and the younger teachers (THEM). Parents and Children who love each other–despite their struggles and misunderstandings—are key to a grounded family, and key to our society as a whole—-because the greatest lesson is this: if we could love others as much as we love our children, and as much as they love us, our world would be close to a utopia.

Light in the Darkness???

Posted: July 14, 2016 in World On The Edge
Photo by Clarissa, 2004,

Photo by Clarissa, 2004,


Finding moments of light when darkness enters our lives is often difficult. Our sorrows, sins, and sufferings take over until they’re all we think about. But there’s more than all that if we take a moment, a deep breath, and a prayer, not only of supplication, but of thanksgiving to a truly merciful God.

That night in the dormitory room, instead of the
shadows, he studied the light on the ceiling—a pale
bluish, widening beam. Actually beautiful, he thought.
The first beauty he’d found within the prison walls. He’d
called Laura again, just after Mass, and was amazed
when she answered. The sound of her voice, fragile as
thinly spun glass, pierced his heart. Over and over, he’d
said he was sorry. And over and over, she condemned
what he’d done. But she had answered his call, and that
was a step.
He must have made some audible sound, because at
once, Raphael’s ruddy face popped up from the lower
“Quit that crying, son! It ain’t over ’til the fat lady
sings. You’ll get out one day. Then the Lord and me are
gonna let you in on our cotton farm. So raise your hand
and believe it!”
He lifted his hand with the broken finger until he
could see it distinctly in the beam of light, and then
raised it high. Any future he’d have might be as
misshapen as that finger; but in this present moment, a
light shined in the darkness of his prison, and David
Fowler smiled.

—-The Psalm of David Fowler, page 98, Birds of a Feather