Monday, December 23, 2013

Singing in line...

   I love music, and as my kids can well attest to, I am always making up music at home, in the car or, to their chagrin, while standing in a shopping line.  Humming a ditty or making up words to music I hear helps me stay calm I tell them. It's better than knitting in line which I have threatened to do because one of my favorite knitting bloggers does that. It's better than saying nasty things about the wait time. So I hum while rocking back and forth holding my purchases. 
  This time of year trying to help spread a little extra patience and joy can make wipe you out. Honestly I don't have enough of my own to part with most days, but somehow just when you lease expect to have it, God zaps you with a little leftover patience to share; like sharing a giggle with the lady in line ahead of you over a child doing something funny in the next aisle.
  I love the old Coke commercials where they use the song, "I'd like to teach the world to sing."
  I wish every time I left the house, driving in my car, I would remember that song. I think it would help me calm down, be more patient and spread more joy to those around me.
  Alas, still being the sinner I am, I don't always remember to do that.
   But for today, driving in heavy "slit your wrist" traffic, I will endeavor to help teach the world to sing, one stoplight at a time!
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

2014: Year of the Good Manners

So ends another year and a new thought for next year. Manners.

Is it really so hard to say “please” and “thank you”? 

I was taught you always use manners, and I taught my kids that as well.  There are a lot of people missing the boat.

So this year’s New Year’s Resolution is this:  Look for good manners being used and reward them.

Case in point:

I was at the Post Office, six days before Christmas to mail an small package. A woman ahead of me in line was carrying two of those really large specialty store bags, the ones with the actual handles on them full of presents.  I overheard her tell the lady behind her she did bother packaging any of them because it seemed whenever she got to the post office they always told her a different shipping box to put them in. So she was saving herself the trouble boxing them ahead of time.

She got up to the counter, after we all stood in a very long line for fifteen minutes and told the clerk she needed her presents boxed and which shipping method should she choose.  He very patiently told her he could not do that for her, the line was really long today, since it was just before Christmas, and she needed to box them in whatever shipping box she wanted. The boxes were just behind our line. And he proceeded to wait on the next person.

She didn’t argue, but sighed and began looking for boxes to use. Lo and behold, another woman and her daughter who were at the very end of our line began helping her pack her presents into shipping box.

Now that, friends is not only good manners, but generosity, love and helpfulness. They didn’t know each other, but this young woman was very gracious and instead of just waiting in line decided to do something helpful to another person.

Good manners, yup, that’s my theme for 2014.

Thank you!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Autocorrect Isn't Always

   Several years ago, my youngest daughter and I were traveling back from moving our oldest daughter into her new digs.  My husband was working and so couldn't go along but he kept up with us by texting.  Don't you just love texting? It comes in so handy letting family members know where you are, what you are doing and if you are okay? 
  Well, usually it does.  In this case, my daughter was driving and my hubs had texted asking where we were, he was going to prepare supper for us when we arrived and was asking for our wheareabouts.  At the time I was still a little new at texting with a new smart phone. But it turns out it wasn't so very smart. I typed in "We passing through Festus."  But the "smart" phone didn't recognize the town of Festus and for reasons still beyond my understanding to this day, changed my type into "We're passing through Death."
  Well, you talk about getting a rise out of my husband!  He immediately called me and asked what was going on!
  So when society is telling us how to live and what is right and what is wrong, it's kind of like using Autocorrect on your phone. It's not always "smart" to listen to automatic society and it's suggestions. You need to follow your conscience and your morals!

Friday, November 15, 2013

And Sometimes All Is Right With The World...

San Francisco to call on 'Batkid' to fight crime

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco is set to turn into Gotham City, as city officials help fulfill a 5-year-old leukemia patient's wish to be "Batkid."
The Greater Bay Area Make-A-Wish Foundation says the boy, Miles Scott, of Tulelake (too-lee-LAYK'), Calif., will be called into service on Friday morning by San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr.
Miles will rescue a woman from cable car tracks in Nob Hill and capture the Riddler in the act of robbing a downtown bank. A flash mob will then summon him for another caper: a kidnapping involving the Penguin. He will receive the key to the city from the mayor around 2 p.m.
KGO-TV reports that Miles is now in remission.
His father, Nick Scott, tells the station he is thankful to Make-A-Wish and everyone else who made his son's wish possible.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Encouraging Words Nov 4, 2013

There is nothing better than the encouragement of a good friend.
- Katharine Butler Hathaway

Friends are so necessary in life. They build you up with encouraging words. This is a giant thank you to all my friends who believe in me, what I am doing in life whether it’s in my home life or at my job. THANK YOU!

There is no passion to be found playing small -
in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.
- Nelson Mandela

And then we need Encouraging Words to keep moving forward against the tide of negative thinking. So keep moving forward. I love that line from “Meet the Robinsons” don’t you?  It’s so true of life. You must keep moving forward and not look back at the “what if’s”.

And to keep doing God's work, we must keep moving forward. 
 What are the worse words you can use in your church? "We've never done it that way before!"
What are some of the best words we can use?  "What can we do to be partners with God in mission?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Encouraging Word October 21, 2013

May today be your day to dance lightly with life
to sing wild songs of adventure,
to invite rainbows and butterflies out to play,
to soar your spirit and unfurl your joy.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie



This week we celebrate lives lived, of people who danced the short time they were on earth, who began families not knowing they would not get to live to see them grow all the way up, who embodied the spirit of faith and joy they were given the grace to share.

This week’s reminder is to try to always spread joy in people’s lives. You have no idea how you affect the people around you. It may be your smile, the pat on the back you gave or just doing a job with a happy heart that makes a difference in someone’s life.

This week we buried two dads, both in their late 40’s, both with young kids and tons of family and friends.  It’s times like these we have to work hard to remember that we need to live life to the fullest, with the grace God gives us, with joy and the hope of eternal life.

May God’s peace be with them and their families and may their children feel their loving presence throughout their lives.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Encouraging Word October 7, 2013

My family is often amused at my frequent use of the term, “Just, offer it up.” IT meaning whatever it is that is bothering them, real pain, sadness, lack of something they see as a necessity but really isn’t food, water or shelter, or even some person who is deemed as being a ‘pain in the neck.”

But no matter how hard I try, nor how old my kids and my loving hubs is, I still feel it necessary to instill good values into them, hence why I use this term so much. My own mother still tells ME to “Offer it up!” so why should be own family be exempt?

Offering it up, is a way for us to share in Christ’s suffering and I read a very good explanation of it today on one of my fav bloggers, HappyCatholic.

She shares, ” Offering it up” helps us not to“waste the pain!” of whatever it is we are going through, whether it’s a bad time, sadness or even an unpleasant medical procedure.

Offering it up essentially means, let’s remember what Jesus went through, agony in the garden, the way of the cross and the extreme pain of the dying on the cross.

I once read someone comment on Jesus’ suffering that they didn’t think it was so much. This person thought Jesus didn’t live in extreme poverty, he had friends and parents. Surely that “short time” on the cross wasn’t as bad as being a child in Africa dying of AIDS?

Wow, first I thought, how audace you would even write something like that, much less think it. Then I thought this poor guy never really got to experience Jesus’ love for him.  To think Jesus’ sufferings weren’t as great as a child’s? 

Our little bit of “offering up” a suffering of ours is of course nothing like Jesus’ suffering. He hung on that cross, short of breath, dying by way of drowning from lack of air, knowing people did not believe in the things He came to share with them, knowing He had tried his very best, yet there were those people laughing at him, scorning him like a common criminal while he died there for their sins.  They didn’t even realize what he was doing for their souls. He died for the little child, dying of AIDS because He knew HE was opening up heaven for that child!

So, next time you have the opportunity to “Offer it up,” remember, it’s not just a trite little phrase we use lightly as Catholics or Christians. We offer things up because we DO appreciate what Jesus did for us on the cross and it’s a tiny way we can say thank you for his suffering, so WE could have eternal life!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Encourging Word!!! Oct 1 2013

Again I say: "Let no one steal your joy!"

I know, it's a hard saying. And this week despite the constant negative news on television, radio and internet, and a good friend and co-workers mother passing away and my faithful cat of nine years in the last stages of cancer, I've been fighting and fighting to stay joyful. Wow it has not been easy... and even the devil has been getting in my way. "See all these sad things! See how divided your Church has become, it's a sin to be a joyful Catholic right now!"

"Dear St. Michael, I need you more than ever! Help me out of this doom and gloom! Help me see that other people are just as sad and frightened as I am about whether we are all living our faith the way God wants me to. Help me fight off these feelings of despair because all they do is draw me down, and not towards God. He made me a joyful person, He made me to love Him. Living a faith with joy and cheerfulness is not the wrong way to live!  Amen in Joy!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Encouraging Words Oct 1, 2013

"Let no one steal your joy!"
Jesus called us to joyfulness. We have the Eucharist. Let's spread the word about that.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Encouraging Word Sept 23, 2013

“I got that Joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart, down in my heart, down in my heart to stay!”

     At first the Pope scared me last week with his message of de-emphasizing the top “hot” buttons the Church has right now, abortion, gay marriages, the Healthcare debates. It was after talking with my wonderful husband, (thank you, Michael) that he pointed out maybe Pope Francis is trying to get us all back to what our Catholic faith is about, Joy and Hope.

    Yes, all of those other things are important to keep fighting for, but if in the fight we lose sight of the Joy of our Catholic faith and the Hope that our faith can give us, then we might as well have lost the battle.

   What makes our Catholic Faith different from all other faiths?  Besides the fact that it is the one that can trace its roots directly to Christ, for two thousand years it has been the faith of joy and hope to people who were down trodden, slave, sick, disheartened, poor and lonely.  The Pope is calling us to live in Joy and Hope, not fear of what the world can do to us, not fear of what tomorrow might bring because we don’t know if tomorrow will come. We need to live in the joy and hope of our faith this very day.

   Jesus admonished the adulterous woman by simply saying to her, “Go and sin no more,” yet he condemned those people who were slanderous, telling them they are murdering their fellow men in their hearts when they hate and gossip.  Ouch, how many times have I slung oaths and curses at people simply because they get in my way or argue with me?  Are we no better than the Sadducees and Pharisees when we get angry and yell at those people who disagree with the Church’s teachings?  Aren’t we called to love?  Yes, we do not condone, but to let anger rule our faith life is no way to live our faith life.

   Satan plays on our righteous indignation; he knows exactly how to pull us out of our joyful, hopeful, peaceful selves by taunting us with occasions to get mad at the world and the events that unfold.  It is any different of a world than it was 2,000 years ago? People did evil things then too, but Jesus didn’t let that rock his boat and told his apostles to stay calm in the midst of the stormy seas.

   Our seas are pretty stormy now too, and I’ve slipped under the surface of the water trying to get to Jesus plenty of times. Like Peter, Jesus has had to stretch out his hand to me and say, okay, Lisa of little faith, I’ve gotten my Church through this before, I won’t abandon you now. Stop being angry, stop hurting with your words and thoughts!

   So let’s get our joyful back on and show the devil he can’t defeat us. We have God on our side!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Encouraging Word September 16, 2013


Have you ever noticed that there are days you need to live life light? Those days when you aren’t feeling your best, other people are getting on your nerves, when you feel like the world is becoming a much more scary place?

Live life light on those days and smile.

Living life light means bring your thoughts to a happy level, don’t think so deeply on things. My mom used to admonish me when she noticed I was sitting at the kitchen table or on the couch with a pensive look on my face. “You’re thinking too deeply about something,” she would warn. In other words, stop worrying about whatever you are worrying about!  And she was almost always right. I was worrying about something.

Living life light doesn’t mean you don’t care about life or don’t take anything seriously. But honestly, there are days when we just need to sit at the stoplight and stop being mad at the bad drivers, maybe us included, stop being mad at the world for raising tyrants and ego maniacs. We need to remember that God is in charge of everything. We can pray and ask for help, but wringing our hands, worrying and moaning and groaning won’t get Him to listen to us any more than having a cheerful smile and saying, “Okay, you got this, Lord.”

So try it.  Sit there and smile.  Come on. Think of puppies running over that little kid on that soda commercial, think of Bill Crosby saying “JELLO”.  

When I’m thinking too deeply I remember the video of me tripping down the steps at my sister’s wedding! Or how the bears I knit make me smile.  Or the joy on the face of that little kid down the street trying out a new bike the day after Christmas.

Begin a list: Smile list:

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Encouraging Word September 12, 2013

   I have a cousin who is also a writer like myself. We live several hours apart and so don't get to visit very often except for occasional family get-togethers when we are so busy talking about family stuff we never get to talk about writing.
   But I follow a blog of his, "With Us Still."  His recent blog entry from September 3 was so very insightful I wanted to share it with you too. So click on this link and you can read it too.

   In it he discusses a wonderful essay in "Give Us This Day"  by Brian Doyle on humility.  Check out his blog.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Please, let there be peace on earth

   Please, please, please, let there be peace on earth and if only it could begin with me. I have a fellow blogger who lives in Lebanon and she is worried for her family's safety. She has little babies, she has fellow countrymen. 
   Please continue to pray for our world and for the world peace that still seems to elude us.
   God please hear the prayers of the few who listen to you, make us strong and have voices to spread your Word and your peace.

Genesis 18:32
31And he said, "Now behold, I have ventured to speak to the Lord; suppose twenty are found there?" And He said, "I will not destroy it on account of the twenty." 32Then he said, "Oh may the Lord not be angry, and I shall speak only this once; suppose ten are found there?" And He said, "I will not destroy it on account of the ten." 33As soon as He had finished speaking to Abraham the LORD departed, and Abraham returned to his place

Monday, September 9, 2013

Encouraging Words September 9, 2013

Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.
~ Solomon, King of Israel; Proverbs 12:25

    I am feeling a lot of anxiety lately. Why? I really don't know, but I could use some encouraging words. Like King Solomon says here, anxiety weighs you down.  And it piles higher and higher until sometimes you feel like you're not getting anywhere in your life, your prayer life or anything. 
   Say a prayer for another person today, because they just may be feeling anxious this day and really could use another person's prayer.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Encouraging Word August 19 2013

Yesterday I was thinking about how all of us are so very different in the way we approach the Lord.  Some of us are very holy and spiritual, some of us hide our holiness a little more, in other words, have trouble sitting still or blurting things we should not at bad times.

What I mean is we are all different vessels that carry the Holy Spirit and Jesus around with us.  Some of us are like beautiful wooden walnut bowls, polished to a sheen, carefully crafted with no bumps, able to carry food or most anything else. Beautiful walnut bowls must be kept carefully clean, using little soap so you don’t ruin the finish, never be put in a dishwasher and hand dried with a soft towel and treated carefully so you don’t drop them and splinter into a million pieces.

Some of us are like melmac  or corelle bowls,  durable, dishwasher safe and can withstand high heat, but aren’t always very pretty to look at or present at the table, yet always durable, can carry anything and let it sit for days inside before washing and usually won’t break if dropped.

I know this sounds silly, but if you look at who you are as a faith filled Christian, do you see yourself as the walnut bowl or the corelle? Both are excellent vessels to carry the Lord in. I don’t think one is better than the other. I personally love walnut bowls because they show such beautiful craftsmanship, but I am slightly afraid to own one since I am so very hard on my dishes and so just have a lot of corelle.  My own faith vessel is corelle too, I am not always smooth, or polished to a sheen. I can hold just about anything and love to serve the Lord, but I don’t know if people would always say I seem “holy.”

Does it matter which vessel we are? I’m not sure. I feel like I should be trying to work myself towards being a walnut bowl, yet that doesn’t seem like who God made me to be. He made me tough, able to withstand high temps and able to get dirty and clean up in the wash without any side effects. I love physical labor and often get very dirty doing a job.  I understand “street smarts” and like to minister to people who need reminding that they are God’s creation and that God loves them too.  Yet I also love helping distribute Holy Communion and the Precious Blood, something we seem to think only “holy” walnut bowls should do!

But I feel called to serve the Lord in walnut bowls ways some days too and I think that’s okay.  We still have to be who God called us to be and if He calls us knowing we are only corelle and not walnut wood, maybe that means He needs corelle this day!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Encouraging Word August 12, 2013

Intercession Prayer

By now everyone has probably heard of the car accident in Missouri where a priest just showed up to administer the holy oils to the young woman trapped in her car. It was at the young woman’s request that her rescuers pray with her and that is when the priest showed up, calming the young woman’s fears and help boost the morale of the First Responders whose equipment was not able to get her out.

What a perfect example of Intercessory Prayer, prayer that is asking for help for someone or something.  We sometimes think that prayer is all about God’s power to change our hearts and minds. That is true, but we should not forget that prayers can change His mind as well. Remember what God told Solomon: “If my people, upon whom my name has been pronounced, humble themselves and pray, and seek my presence and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and revive their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

This promise tells us that what we do matters. What we do releases grace, blessing, pardon and revival upon other people. We can influence God and He does hear our prayers.

During World War II an entire country prayed for help when British and French soldiers were trapped at Dunkirk, France on the beach.  The demise of thousands of soldiers looked imminent, when King George VI called for a day of prayer across England to help these soldiers and the country of England which was on the brink of being invaded by Hitler’s forces.  Called the Miracle of Dunkirk, when the day he was going to invade dawned with bad storms and fog making it difficult for the Germans to fly and Hitler called off the invasion, but the English Channel was calm enough for ships to rescue the soldiers who were trapped bringing them home.  Prime Minister Winston Churchill called this rescue, “a miracle of deliverance.” He said, “A guiding hand interfered to make sure the allied forces were not annihilated at Dunkirk.” A day of national thanksgiving was called to celebrate.

Was this just an error in judgment on Hitler’s part along with weird weather? Or was it divine providence coming as a result of people’s prayers of intercession.  Most people believe it was a combination of God hearing people’s prayers and the bravery of soldiers and rescuers involved.

The young woman in the accident believed that prayer would help her have the courage to survive this horrendous accident and prayer would help her rescuers figure out how to get her out.  The mysterious priest, later identified as Father Patrick Dowling, just happened to come along the accident and wanted to help by praying with the rescuers and victim. When the fire department’s equipment couldn’t get the young woman out of her car, another city’s fire department arrived on the scene and their equipment did get her out.  Many times we say things like, “It was a stroke of luck” or “what a coincidence” that something happens, but maybe it’s a combination of God interceding through the works of His people. He hears our prayers then He speaks to each of us, helping us see how we can help each other.  And intercessory prayer is interceding prayer, God interceding and each of us interceding by God’s call.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Day My Mom Touched The Pope

It was September 1987; John Paul II was in the United States and was scheduled to speak at the Catholic Health Association in Phoenix, Arizona during his pastoral visit to the United States September 10-19, 1987.

My parents were invited to attend the conference because my Dad served on the advisory board for a local Catholic hospital. They joined several other board members at the conference where Pope John Paul II, who was making an historic pastoral visit to the United States, was going to appear and speak to the conference attendees.

There was a huge crowd and as the Pope entered the hall, my Mom said you could hear the cheer go up and people began laughing and crying at the same time. As he made his way down the aisle alongside other speakers and his hosts, people were lined up trying to reach out to touch him, receive his blessing or just see his marvelous smile. There were nuns, priests, men, women and even babies

At one point my parents got separated, Dad with camera in hand, trying to capture a shot of the pope.  My Mom was two people behind the line placing her hand over the head of a short nun in front of her with her rosary wrapped around her hand.  Suddenly she felt a shake as the Pope grabbed her hand with the rosary, held it for a moment then let go as he moved on.  A photographer even caught the moment. She ‘s the woman on the right in red with short dark hair and not wearing glasses.  Dad is actually in the picture too far to the left the one with silver hair and glasses holding a camera.  Unbelievably my Dad caught a picture of the Pope just after the Pope grabbed mom’s hand. Her arm is the one in red on the left. 

Elated my Dad found my Mom and they hugged and cried. Later a photographer from the conference snapped this shot of my Mom and Dad from behind at the conference as they listened to the Pope speak. The rosary is still wrapped around my mom’s left hand as she holds Dad’s arm around her.

What a beautiful memory they both had of that day and us kids too as we have the photos to help us share it with them!

The picture of Mom from the front was taken by a photographer at the conference.

The picture of the Pope’s face was taken by my Dad.

The picture of my parents from behind was taken by a photographer at the conference.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Encouraging Word August 5, 2013

Encouraging Word

Louis de Wohl (1903-1961)

WHEN A MAN HAS REACHED A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF SUCCESS in his profession, people will come to him and ask questions. Now whenever someone asked me "Should I become a writer?" I invariably answered point-blank "No." Some were hurt, some angry, almost all of them were surprised. "Why not?" "Because you haven't got the stuff in you." "How do you know? You have never read anything I have done, have you?" "No. But I know all the same. I know because you asked me. If you had the stuff in you that makes a writer, you wouldn't ask me, you'd go and write and go on writing. You couldn't abstain from it."
And that goes, in my opinion, for all creative work; for would-be actors, architects, painters, sculptors, and musicians. Mind you, there are quite a number of people who cannot abstain from it, although they do not have the stuff in them, but that is beside the point.
As for me, I started writing at the age of seven or just a little older, and what really set me off was that some of the stories I read did not go the way I wanted. I simply decided to change them, and change them I did. At the age of eight I wrote a play, "Jesus of Nazareth," and the great speech of the High Priest Caiphas in the marketplace of Jerusalem bore a strong resemblance to Mark Antony's speech in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. Caiphas praised Christ in the same hypocritical way that Mark Antony praised Brutus, to convince his audience of the contrary. Plagiarism or not, I was very much in earnest about my drama. I decided to compose the music for it myself, paint the posters and design the scenery, and of course I myself would play one of the leading parts, Caiphas perhaps, or Mary Magdalene

    I laughed out loud when I read the part of Louis de Wohl’s biography where he writes that some of the stories he read when he was 7 years old did not “go the way I wanted. I simply decided to change them and change them I did.”

   I did the same thing when I was about the same age! I had a mystery book which characters included two boys and a girls all the same age. I changed their names to my own and two friends and changed some of the adventures they had to match my own. From there I decided I could write my own stories and began my career as a budding writer by age 8! 

    And what he said about knowing if someone is a writer or not? I understood his somewhat cut to the quick answer too. Too many times I’ve had people tell me, wow that’s so great you have written a book. I’ve always wished I could write a book!”  And I look at them and say, “Well, why haven’t you?” And they stumble around with this excuse or that.  But really, what is your excuse for not writing a book? I self published all my books so you can’t use the, “No body will look, buy, read, care, or whatever, my book.” That is no excuse! I didn’t care if anybody read my stories. I liked them, I wrote them for my own enjoyment. It was just a fluke that my kids like to read them too and some other kids and some friends. I didn’t begin trying to write for all of them, just me!
     So if you ARE a writer, first of all you already know you are so you don’t need to ask me or anyone else and secondly, get writing. Buy notebooks and begin…there is no excuse!


Monday, July 29, 2013

Encouraging Word July 29, 2013

“…I have heard people rant and rave and bellow

That we're done and we might as well be dead,

But I'm only a cockeyed optimist

And I can't get it into my head.”

 I woke up with this song from “South Pacific” in my head today. I don’t know if it’s because it was Monday or if I’m just tired of all the pessimistic news all the time.  I like keeping up on the world and what’s going on, but why does it seem like it’s always bad news all the time?  So when this song broke into my head first thing I thought I’d go with that attitude this morning at least for as long as I could!
Cockeyed optimist sees the world in a different way. Granted they may not always be happy or optimistic, but just as a way of life try to look at the sunnier sides of things. Like the silly mother rabbit who decided to have her babies in a very shallow depression in the middle of our fenced in yard. Smack in the middle of dog country.  We thankfully discovered the newborns before the dog did and moved them outside of the fence.  Our poor spaniel, in which is bred the instincts of hunting exactly such little creatures is going nuts.  He knows exactly where we moved that nest and he keep trying to dig and chew his way through the fence to get at them. He just wants to play… but his way of playing with our nine year Siamese cat inside the house is to grab her head and wrestle. Luckily for our cat, she goes along with him until he gets too rough and cuffs him one in the nose when he pulls too hard.  Somehow I don’t think baby bunnies would have that kind of resilience. So we moved the nest.

Next, in an obvious effort to keep our poor dog entertained, Mother Nature told a momma cat to have her new litter under our deck. So now we have new bunnies AND new kittens all over the place. Cockeyed optimists that we are we just keep telling the dog to stop chewing the boards, move whatever bunnies and kittens that escape from their safe homes into the dog’s part of yard and try to appreciate all the new life that is apparently finding our yard a nice “home”.
Isn’t that what cockeyed optimism does though? It takes something seemingly silly or unimportant and makes it seem like the right thing to do. While others may scoff at our Pollyanna point of view, it helps us to view the world with good cheer and hope. Because what is optimism? It’s hope. Hope in the future, hope that things will get better or that we can deal with it if it doesn’t. Optimism tells us that we have a reason to get up in the morning and most importantly that God is in charge.

 Why does God put two seemingly diverse creatures together in the same yard?  He knows the dog is going to go after the bunnies.  Is it an opportunity for my family to feel like we are having a positive impact on the world that in some small way we are “coming to the rescue” of small innocents?  So when we read about the horrible things people do to one another we feel we are in some small way trying to make the world a better place even just in our own yard?  It could be the lesson too that even if we try our best, bad things may happen? The dog may yet act on his instincts and hurt another creature and we just have to live with the consequences also known as the circle of life.
 Creatures and people are born and die.  Yet they all have meaning especially to God. We may not know their purpose, but He does. Doesn’t that make being an optimist, cockeyed or otherwise, a good thing?

I believe it does…
“…I could say life is just a bowl of Jello

And appear more intelligent and smart,

But I'm stuck like a dope

With a thing called hope,

And I can't get it out of my heart!

Not this heart”


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Friday, July 19, 2013

Encouraging Words July 14, 2013

July 15, 2013

“Change pushes us to get out of ourselves and rely on God.”

   Abe Lincoln once said that people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.  And you know, it’s true, happiness doesn’t just happen. Sometimes you have to really work at it. Sometimes, you just have to make up your mind, make a decision or a choice to be happy because life doesn’t always play fair, give you all the right cards or go your way all the time.

   We just got back from traveling almost 2,000 miles to see daughter, Laura and her hubs.  As I was putting away the five loads of laundry that awesome daughter, Cait, did while I headed right back to work, I thought about how much the change in our lives can affect our moods.

   I miss having her closer, being able to visit physically more often because I am a homebody and I like to have my family close, but if I mope around wishing she was closer to home,  what good does that do her or me?

  Instead I need to be thankful we had the most wonderful time visiting them. We lived adventures while we were out there, going to the ocean, hiking up mountains, playing frenetic outdoor laser tag and those things should all be foremost in my mind.

   The same thing goes for our other two kids. They are growing up, meeting new people, finding jobs or going to schools that may lead them not so nearby either but that is change.  Change can be good if we can look at that way. Change can mean fun, happiness, adventure, memories to make, stories to tell. Change pushes us to get out of ourselves and rely on God.

   It seems to be a tendency for us humans to see the sad, bad or gloomy especially when things change. When family members or friends die, when someone becomes very ill or we lose a job or a child moves out of the house.  Sad change really takes work, a lot of work. There’s no getting around the fact that losing someone is a huge mood changer.
    When I read about saints it seems they were always extolled for their ability to be happy during bad times or the way they could bring good out of bad.  I’m not very good at that yet. Change sometimes makes me sad and wish for other days, long ago days or better times.

   But change forces us to choose. Sometimes I don’t choose well.   While I don’t always have control over body chemistry, illness or injury, I can choose to deal with it with a good attitude and even then when I fail I know that at least trying is what counts.

   I encourage you to choose to try to think of change as a positive challenge, even if it is not happy or is painful. It begins with you.  Let’s rise to the challenge together!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Encouraging Words, July 8, 2013

E-words July 8, 2013
This week I am focusing on fun. My dad had a way of using little sayings that always cracked me up. I don’t know where he came up with these things, if he read them somewhere which could be very true because he read books like crazy. But it was fascinating listening to them. Things like, “Well, you’re cuter than a little spotted pup trotting beneath a red wagon!” or “They are slower than a herd of turtles stampeding through peanut butter.”

He always made me laugh with these so I found some to share with you too!

1. I love deadlines. I especially like the whooshing sounds they make as they fly by!

2. Someday we’ll look back on all this and run into a parked car.

3. Tell me what you need and I’ll tell you how to get along without it!

4. I hate when my Reality Check bounces.

5. When everything is coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane.

6. I used to have an open mind but my brains kept falling out.

7.  Everybody is somebody else’s weirdo.

8.  Everyone has a photographic memory. Some just don’t have film.

9. I poured Spot remover all over my dog. Now he’s gone.

10. Just remember, you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.

Have a great week. I love you!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Encouraging Words July 1, 2013

The Gospel reading at Mass yesterday was about the apostles being frightened during a storm in their boat. Jesus uttered that well known phrase, “Oh ye of little faith.”

              How little my own faith was six years ago when my husband, Mike and I were embarking on a new path in life. He was being downsized from his job, my job was only minimum wage and we had just started a family business we hoped would help even out our finances.

We had been planning a family trip to Colorado Springs to go hiking, sightseeing and whitewater rafting. Despite what seemed our impending financial doom or at least it was going to be very questionable, we decided that making family memories superseded any financial woes. Mike and I have a way of looking at things like this.  Memories can never been recreated when the kids are young so our credit cards may be a little full, but we never regret the fun we have had on vacations with our kids.

On the third day of our Colorado adventure we headed two hours west of Colorado Springs to Buena Vista to the Arkansas River.  For those of you who have ever gone rafting down a cold mountain river, you’ll understand what we were going to face. But WE didn’t know what we were facing. We had seen pictures, watch videos on television. It looked like fun, like adventure and that was what our family needed this summer, some adventure to get our minds off worries.

First we began early in the morning at the barn where the rafting company had their headquarters and signing release forms. It was then I had my first twinge of lack of faith.  While signing a form for each of the kids, Mike and myself, I noticed the disclaimer, “not responsible for life threatening injuries or death” as part of the contract.  If you have ever been on a roller coaster and felt that sickening feeling in the pit of your stomach just as you crested the hill at the top of the coaster and you see the sheer drop you are about to make you’ll understand the feeling I had at that moment.  I truly hadn’t realized there was this much risk to myself much less to my own children.

As I started to voice my doubt, the kids who were 19, 17 and 15 at the time looked at me like I was crazy.  This was the mom who took them river tubing, climbing rocks, and other activities.  I mean I was very protective and careful, but it seems I’m always involving us in some activity I did as a teenage which involved water, climbing or hitting each other in martial arts. I was tough and so were they. They weren’t scared of a little water.  But deep down I was.

We rode in a bus to the put in point upstream all the while our guides explained rescue techniques, what happened if you fell in the water, lost your paddle and something about getting stuck under the raft. The windows were all open on the bus and squished into bus seats two by two with life jackets on it was hard to hear. I looked at my husband, “I can’t hear anything he is saying.”  He shook his head and said, “Something about self rescue if you fall out of the raft, but I can’t hear very well either.”  Another omen.  All those times in school when I should have raised my hand and asked the teacher to repeat the directions, I should have raised my hand and asked the guide to talk louder.

We got to the river, got off the bus and helped carry our heavy rafts to the gorgeous Arkansas River. The first step into the water made me scream it was so cold!  The girls and I got on the left side and Mike and Ryan sat across from us. The guide, whose name was Brian, called us girls “Team Estrogen."  Brian thought he was a comedian. He was in his late twenties, loved the river, had graduated from college with an agricultural degree but decided the running the river was better than sitting in a field in the Midwest looking at corn weevils. He laughed and joked, made fun of us squealing at the cold river. We headed downstream practicing our paddling techniques. It was not easy. You sat on the side of the raft with your feet inside but your bum on the tube.  And there were no seatbelts! So while digging into the water with your paddle you had to make sure you didn’t fall off the tube into the water.

            On TV it always looked like it was easy to paddle, but we were sitting really high on the raft, the water was actually like two feet below us and you had to lean over to dig in with the paddle. It felt off balanced and precarious.

As we moved down river, our very colorful guide pointed out gold in the river, an old mine bridge which he said was good luck if you were able to reach up and hit with your paddle. While doing so, Mike’s paddle came down and bonked Laura on the head. Good luck?

The first of several rapids approached and we were ready. The boat dropped over a ledge of water and almost dumped all of us into the bottom of the boat.  “Steady on!” Brian yelled, “Paddle!”

           We paddled, like it made any difference. The rapids slammed the nose of the boat straight up in the air where your paddle got no purchase in the water. When you leaned over enough to catch water, the boat slammed back down into the water. The drop then almost dumped us out of the boat into the churning water.

We made it through several smaller rapids successfully and were proud of ourselves. Now Brian warned us, were the 7 Staircases, a series of rapids one right after the other. But hey, we were doing really well.  Omen again.

As we rounded the curve, we skillfully missed hitting this ledge and slamming a head into that boulder. We bounced down several smaller rapids when suddenly we rounded a curve. My side of our raft dropped Laura and I fell out backwards over the side of the raft into the icy water. Ryan flew over my head and also fell out.

When Laura and I hit the water backwards, she fell on top of me. I went deep in the cold water with a gasp. I didn’t even see Ryan come flying out. I felt a huge weight on top of my shoulders and head and assuming it was Laura and began to push her up toward to surface. Trying hard not to panic all I could think about was getting her to safety. But I kept pushing and she was going nowhere. Running out of breath I opened my eyes for a split second knowing I could lose my  contact lenses doing so. But all I could see was murky frothy water. I pushed up again and still got nowhere. Finally I decided I couldn’t do Laura any good if I passed out so I tried to head up and get air so I could pull her up with me. I hit something hard and unmovable.  What the heck was that? I hit it again and again and got no where. It was then I realized I was stuck beneath the raft.  I began to pull myself to one side, in a crablike walk trying not to panic, running out of breath.  Finally I my hand came out from under the boat and suddenly something grasped my hand. Brian reached down and grabbed the shoulders of my life jacket and yanked me up. I saw my husband and Cait in the raft but no Ryan. I turned and saw Ryan in the water hanging onto the raft with one hand and the other holding on to his sister, Laura.  Just as relief washed over me that everyone was safe, Brian yelled at me to swim for shore and quickly dropped me back in the water.  “Swim?” I was coughing up river water and still trying to see.  Relief turned to panic once more as I wondered how I would have the strength to help my two kids swim to shore.  I looked to see both of them swimming hard already! I was never so proud of them!

We climbed up the rocky shore scraping our knees but glad to be safe. Brian came running across the rocks and helped me stand. As soon as he ascertained we were okay he laughed and gave us high fives.  “You are official Arkansas River Rats! Way to go!”  Mr. Good Time River Guide had gone from having fun to Mr. In-Charge of a Bad Situation back to Mr. Good Time again within minutes!

It wasn’t until we drove two hours back to our hotel, had dinner and got ready for bed that I thought about the events of that day.  My husband and I had learned a huge lesson about trust that day. We learned to not only trust in our guide, who that day was Brian but to begin trusting our life guide, the Lord, a little more. Trusting in Him through the storms of our uncertain financial future was kind of like coming up for air and trusting our river guide knew what he was doing when he threw me back in the water and told me to swim. He knew what was best for me, for my family in the boat and my family in the water.  If I had hung onto the side of the boat I risked being crushed by the rocks ahead. And Brian had to get back to paddling to steer the boat to safety.  Clinging to our shrinking finances, and panicking about jobs wasn’t going to get us ahead either. We had to let go and explore new avenues and try building a business.

Trusting in Jesus even when what He is telling you doesn’t make sense at the time can be really hard. Like the apostles, the Lord is trying to build more faith in us. And that faith doesn’t come without some trust!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Encouraging Words June 24, 2013

Say it with Love

Listening to the Moody Blues and their song, “Say It With Love” and that is an excellent way to live your life. No matter what, say things with love.

That is totally what Jesus told us to do. Love your neighbor as yourself,. Love God best of all.

Love your neighbor. Despite our differences, our emotions. If we could just remember to say things with love, even when we are upset and mad about something.

And has it been a good year to try to say things with love!  No matter where you turn these days there is controversy.  And yet we are still called to correct our neighbor, point out the truth in all matters. But we can do it with love. I don’t recall hearing Jesus screaming at anyone about their sins.  He said everything with love, especially when pointing out their faults and failings.

Would it not be the coolest thing if our entire world could accept everyone is different, and help each other by saying things with love? It doesn’t mean we accept their sins, but we can help correct them with brotherly love.

Say it with love today!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Encouraging Words June 10, 2013

Thoughts on today:  saw a momma and daddy robin coaxing baby bird out from the bushes to fly. How hard they have to work to convince baby that it’s okay, it’s what they have to do to grow up. Much like human parents showing their kids the world, how to drive, how to make a living.  How hard it is for parents to do their part. After all that work, you’re sad they have flown away, yet you know it’s your job to do!

Last week was full of a lot of anxiety in our household, job anxiety. Once again God showed us He was in charge. Yet He never tips His hand to show us what is next. “Trust.” He just keeps saying, “Trust.”

I never realized how very hard it is to trust the Lord in matters so important like raising kids, getting/keeping a job or where the next one is leading you, and just living your life.

Even in my 50’s now it’s still hard for me to just “trust” and not think I have to physically (mentally, emotionally, etc) move my own mountains or figure things out.

As I write, my hubs is having to trust the Lord in a job interview that should have been his five years ago. Why does the Lord make us wait so long for things we work so hard on sometimes? Why does it seem like everyone else gets the breaks, the miracles, the prayers answered?

I’m reminded of that saying, “Ours is not to question why, ours is just to do and die.” I know it’s from a war movie or general or something, but it seems like life is like that and God asks that of us. Don’t question it, just do it and I’ll come through.”

 So, okay Lord. Whatever you say.

Oh, and that quote is from the poem, “Charge of the Light Brigade” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.