Monday, September 3, 2018


This poem is a take on my journey towards self-actualization. Only when we become less of what holds us back, keeps us down, limits forward gain, can we become more of who we were meant to be, one with the immensely infinite  universe. Appreciate comments so I can improve both as a writer and a person. Blessings and Peace, love ya'll

by Flo Barnett

I am evaporating,
Vanishing into thin air.
Particle by Particle,
There is less of me today.

I am evaporating,
Vanishing into thin air.
Little by little by little,

There is no pain, no suffering
I’ve not shed a single tear,
I’m not afraid to fade away,
No angst, no dread, no fear.

Oddly exhilarating,
Excitingly sensual,
Completely freeing!

I am evaporating,
Vanishing into thin air.
Being breathed in by the living, 
Becoming one with every existence.
 Oddly exhilarating!

Seeing the world in technicolor,
Hearing the call of the wild,
Tasting the lips of hungry lovers, 
Frolicking to rhythms of diversity.
Excitedly sensual!

I am evaporating,
Vanishing into thin air,
Integrating with thousands of waiting hearts,
Millions of generous souls,
Billions of shining stars, and...

One immensely infinite universe!

I am evaporating,
Vanishing into thin air
Only to be absolutely me.
Completely freeing!

Monday, August 20, 2018


Report details sexual abuse by more than 300 priests in Pennsylvania's Catholic Church by Daniel Burke and Susannah Cullinine

(CNN)A new grand jury report says that internal documents from six Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania show that more than 300 "predator priests" have been credibly accused of sexually abusing more than 1,000 child victims."We believe that the real number of children whose records were lost or who were afraid ever to come forward is in the thousands," the grand jury report says."Priests were raping little boys and girls, and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing; they hid it all. For decades. Monsignors, auxiliary bishops, bishops, archbishops, cardinals have mostly been protected; many, including some named in this report, have been promoted."The grand jury described the church's methods as "a playbook for concealing the truth" after FBI agents identified a series of practices they found in diocese files.The lengthy report, released Tuesday afternoon, investigates clergy sexual abuse dating to 1947 in six dioceses: Allentown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Scranton. Pennsylvania's two other dioceses, Philadelphia and Altoona-Johnstown, have been the subjects of earlier grand jury reports, which found similarly damaging information about clergy and bishops in those dioceses.
"There have been other reports about child sex abuse within the Catholic Church. But never on this scale," the grand jurors wrote in Tuesday's report. "For many of us, those earlier stories happened someplace else, someplace away. Now we know the truth: it happened everywhere."The grand jurors said that "almost every instance of abuse we found is too old to be prosecuted." But charges have been filed against two priests, one in Erie diocese and another in Greensburg diocese, who have been accused of abusing minors.
"We learned of these abusers directly from their dioceses -- which we hope is a sign that the church is finally changing its ways," the grand jurors said. "And there may be more indictments in the future; investigation continues."At a news conference announcing the report's release, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro called it the "largest, most comprehensive report into child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church ever produced in the United States."

So what must happen now? Now that this report has been aired, publicized, read, rebuked, and denied, what will be the outcome? Once the outrage and shock has lessened and the general public moves on to the next horrific breaking news story, will the Catholic Church go back to business as usual? According to Bishop Malesic of Greensburg, and Bishop Zubik of Pittsburgh, change has been in the works since 2002, and the Church of Today is nothing like the Church of the Past.

But how is that possible? According to the now infamous report, the sexual abuse of children by priests and the cover-up and reassignment of their abusers by bishops whose sole purpose was to protect the reputation of the Church dates back to 1947.  That's almost 70 years! And if my math is correct, the Church of Today has only been in existence for 16 years!

Sorry folks, but the horrendous actions of the clergy that have been going on for seven decades cannot be suddenly transformed in so short a span of time, if ever. I am a Catholic and always will be a Catholic. I realize full well that Christ's Church is governed by men, human beings with the many flaws that go along with being human. And it is precisely for this very reason that true change will take at least as many decades to occur under a knowledgeable leadership willing to put their members, especially the young, first, even if it means exposing the sins of the institution. From the top down, the Pope, cardinals, bishops, priest, deacon, and seminarians must be schooled in what constitutes sexual abuse, what necessary actions must be taken to deal with any and all abusers no matter their rank or stature, how to identify potential abusers and how to stop them before ruining the lives of children, their families, and the church community, and most importantly, how to heal the deep wounds of the victims of the past, present, and sadly, those yet to be victimized.

Laws must be changed or put in place immediately to severely punish not only the abusers but those who choose to turn away from the abuse as well. Using children to satisfy sexual urges is a crime and must be dealt with in the same manner as any other purposeful felony. Yes, these men are in need of rehabilitation, but imprisonment is where that rehab should occur. Unfortunately in our society, there is yet no known practices that ensure efficient and permanent change. As my Baba would say, "Lock em up and throw away the key!" Though this statement might seem harsh to some, I'm certain those who have been abused would agree wholehearted!

THAT IS WHAT MUST HAPPEN NOW! Over time, my hope is that the Church of the Past will be totally eradicated and the Church of Today will become a reality!

Blessings and Peace!

Monday, August 13, 2018

In Need of Therapy?

The answer should be a resounding, YES! WE ALL DO!

Many years ago I was plagued with a serious physical malady that stumped at least three medical doctors. After the first one admitted me to the hospital for an extensive study, he concluded I had a rare form of MS and gave me six months to live! That was thirty-four years ago, so he clearly was way off the mark! The second one gave me a shot of some kind and told me I'd return to health in due time. If I'd listened to him, I'd still be waiting for relief! The third one checked me over and bluntly told me she didn't have a clue! I respected her the most since she was at least honest about her inability to treat my condition.

Finally I saw a neurosurgeon. After he conducted a series of tests, he concluded I had 'empty nest syndrome' and needed to see his friend, a psychologist. At first I was leery, but decided to give it a try since I had nothing to lose at that point.

I was in therapy for almost two years, and I can honestly say that those sessions literally saved my sanity and my life. I had no idea how much junk I'd buried deep inside me, allowing it to eat away at my very soul. The first visits were awkward, made me angry, left me questioning why I agreed to this 'silly psychobabble' in the first place.

As time went on though, with the expert guidance of my therapist, I began to actually feel better, physically and mentally. Along with talk therapy, I underwent hypnosis and biofeedback, and little by little my symptoms began to subside. Eventually my aliment was given a name, and I was able to do research on its causes and percentage of cure.  I discovered stress could be a contributing factor and although remission was highly likely, if triggered, the problem could surface again.

Once both my therapist and I agreed that sessions were no longer needed, I returned to living my life, healthy and able to conquer the world!

I learned so much about myself in therapy that I would have never realized on my own. Yes, I went to find a cure for a strange malady that confounded three physicians, but I came away with a new outlook on my past, present, and future. I was able to understand and forgive myself as well as others for the perceived wrongs I'd carried around for so long. I walked around feeling light and carefree.

I also found out that when psychology students decide to become therapists, they engage in extensive therapy themselves. Not only do they learn how to conduct sessions, but more importantly, they discover personal issues they need to deal with before ever trying to help potential clients.

When I retired in 2000, the symptoms connected with my physical malady slowly began to resurface. I immediately found a therapist and began going to weekly sessions again. Amazingly more issues were unearthed and dealt with, and in less than 4 months my symptoms disappeared.

True, initially I sought therapy because of a debilitating problem, but the transformation that I underwent was astounding! I became an open-minded person with an amazing understanding of the human condition; I realized people didn't purposely set out to do me harm, but could only act according to what they knew at the time. I finally could forgive those perceived wrongs that burdened me for so long, and I actually developed empathy for folks I once held in rebuke.

Therapy is such a freeing experience. Give yourselves this gift that will keep on giving!

In need of therapy? WE ALL DO!

Blessings and Peace!

Monday, August 6, 2018

A Child's Greatest Gift

'Behind every strong and independent woman 
lies a broken little girl who had to learn 
to get back up and never depend 
on anyone. Amen!' Timeless Reminders

First thing this morning, when coming across this particular fb post, I began reflecting on how strong and independent my three children have grown up to be. Although I can't really say any of them had the misfortune of suffering a major trauma or event in childhood that would have left them broken, I believe I can pinpoint why they are so self-reliant.

You see, I am the embodiment of this post. If I hadn't been that broken little girl so early on in life, I might not have become the strong, independent woman I am today. However, if truth be told, I would have given up this strength and independence in a minute to have never      been so shattered! But I do know I would have learned to be strong and independent            from the very person whose untimely departure was responsible for my ability to navigate through life without relying on anyone.

From the moment I gave birth, I was consciously determined to raise all my children to be independent. I believed it was my parental duty to foster this one attribute more than any other simply because independence paves the way for success in life. From the age of three or four, my children were responsible for getting their own breakfast, choosing what clothes to wear, and deciding what to do with their free time once they'd completed their daily chores. When they turned school age, they packed their own lunches until they decided it was a pain in the butt and began eating in the cafeteria.

You might think I was the type of mother who stayed in bed till noon, leaving my kids to fend for themselves while I indulged in my own selfishness, but you'd be wrong. I was always up at the crack of dawn, awaiting each little face to appear around the corner, to greet me with a sleepy smile and a whispered, 'good morning.' I watched them as they climbed up on the counter to fetch the cereal box of choice, grab a bowl, and pour the milk. As you might imagine, on more than one occasion, milk was spilled all over the place before it ever made it into the bowl. After cleaning up the mess, the child in question would eat breakfast, get dressed, make his or her bed, watch some television, and when in school, walked out the door unassisted. 

I don't think any of the three ever realized how proud these early signs of independence made me. If they could accomplish these tasks without my help, I knew they'd do fine when the difficult challenges, disappointments, and trials presented themselves later on in life. And, I can honestly say that in adulthood they've been able to see the light at the end of the tunnel without depending on any one, which leaves me very satisfied that the one attribute I was determined to foster in each of them is the greatest gift they ever received from me!


Monday, July 30, 2018

The Future of the Catholic Church in Jeopardy?

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP/KDKA) – Pennsylvania’s highest court is allowing a landmark grand jury report into clergy child sexual abuse and efforts to cover it up to be released, but for now without the names of priests and others who have challenged the report.The Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling Friday that directs the redaction process be completed by Aug. 8, when the 900-page report is expected to be made public.The court says it will still consider the challenges by priests and others who say their constitutional rights to their reputation and to due process of law would be violated by naming them and making what they have called erroneous findings.The opinion says the grand jury investigation identified “over 300 ‘predator priests'” in six Pennsylvania Roman Catholic dioceses.
On Friday, KDKA's report stated that the largest sexual abuse case in Pennsylvania against six dioceses of the Catholic Church will be made public no later than Tuesday, August 14, 2018. Greensburg and Pittsburgh are included in this massive expose.
In today's Tribune-Review (July 29, 2018), Pope Strips Cardinal of Title, Pope Francis stripped US prelate, Theodore McCarrick, an 88 year old cardinal of his title. McCarrick is remanded to an undisclosed location living  'a life of prayer and penance' before a canonical trial is conducted.

Having been born and raised Catholic, I am deeply saddened by the horrific allegations against these men of the cloth. However, at the same time, I'm extremely impressed with the Vatican, the Supreme Court, the news media, and especially the long-suffering victims who have valiantly decided to move forward with prosecution. Having been allowed to engage in crimes of abuse for decades without being identified or punished is despicable and deserving of the longest prison sentences permitted by law. 

I am Catholic and have no intention of leaving the faith. These beliefs have been ingrained in me since childhood, and I embrace them wholeheartedly. As I matured though, I realized the priests and bishops were human, mere men just as capable of evil as they were of good. I offer no excuses for any of them, but I can see how such tragedies occurred, overlooked and unchallenged without consequences. 

So once the findings of the court have been disseminated, what will happen to the Church? We've already seen a great reduction in Mass attendance, contributions have dwindled, and very few have been ordained over the last decade or two. Will all the buildings owned by the six dioceses simply shutter its doors and leave the remaining faithful to fend for themselves? Or after all has been said and done, and justice has been rightly served, is there a return and renewal in the offing? 

In either scenario, I suspect there will be a dramatic change in what the Catholic Church will look like in the future, not only in these six dioceses, but around the world. The authoritative powers of the priests and bishops will be diminished. Instead congregations will elect boards to oversee the daily operations of churches, there will be disciplinary committees to handle serious infractions, and the faithful will be expected to tithe. Although the pope will still be considered the leader of the Catholic Church, how each individual parish is managed will be left to its members.

I realized long ago that the Church is not the clergy, not a body of man-made rules, nor a vast assembly of buildings. The Church is Christ and our faith in His teachings. For me, the faith is what will survive and continue without waver. 

Blessings and Peace!

Monday, July 23, 2018

Sharing A Dream

'Like many peace activists, I have a dream. While I first formulated my thoughts and spoke on it in 1968, I articulated it two years ago on social media. I thought I’d share it again:
“I dream of a world where every person is seen, heard, and appreciated for the sacred piece that they bring to the puzzle of creation. A world where diversity is sacred, and rather than trying to press for everyone to try to be the same, we honor and hold precious, our differences!” '
Rev. Patrick McCollum
July 2016

My hubby and I celebrated our 50th Wedding Anniversary a month ago. We were married on June 22, 1968, just weeks before the reverend delivered this speech, and I've been dreaming the same dream for at least that long. Coincidence? I think not! 

I sincerely believe there are millions of us out there who share the same dream as Patrick expressed so long ago. His words are as crucial to our society today as they were then, perhaps even more so. Diversity is such a beautiful thing, I can't for the life of me understand why people fear rather than embrace it! Imagine for a moment that everything in our world was the same. Every single person looked alike, thought alike, acted alike. Every place in our world was the same. The land was flat everywhere, no mountains, hills, or valleys. There were no rivers, lakes, or streams, and, God forbid, the ocean was nonexistent! Day after day the sun shone brightly, never any clouds, no sweet rain, no refreshing snow, no warm summer breezes. What a sad environment!

How could we possibly progress? Not able to think differently than those around us, any forward movement in society would be severely limited. Without anybody able to think outside the box, invention and creative expression would be minimal at best. Initiative would be unheard of. We would remain stagnant, leaving us depressed and uninspired! 

Thankfully we don't have to live under such dire circumstances because there are differences abounding all around us! No face is exactly the same, thank God. No body is an absolute replica of another's, no skin, the same color, no voice, the same tone, There are as many different thoughts floating through our minds and words being spoken on any given day as there are grains of sand on our world's beaches. We are capable of acting differently to similar stimuli; we express ourselves in countless diverse ways when a particular event occurs because we can, and our behavior js as justifiable as that of the person's standing right next to us. 

As Reverend McCollum stated, "...diversity is sacred..." honoring and holding precious our differences is a dream we eventually must share in order to achieve world peace. John Lennon's 'Imagine' tells us 'it isn't hard to do' If only we could set aside our egos and 'live as one!'

Blessings and Peace!

Monday, July 16, 2018

True Friends

First I would like to share my definition of a true friend with you: 'A true friend is one who has been with you long before birth. You bonded in the heavens, fondly embracing each other's entirety, and vowing to walk throughout your earthly journeys and beyond together.'

Aside from my immediate family, I've been blessed with five true friends: Barb, Dolly, Anita, Ruthie, and Karen. Barb and Ruthie have returned home, while Dolly, Anita, and Karen continue to travel with me towards eternity.

You probably find my idea of a true friend strange, but it makes perfect sense to me. When you initially meet somebody, if it happens to be one of your true friends, there's an instant connection however subtle it might be. There's something about that person that is familiar although you can't seem to put your finger on it at the moment. It's like you know so much about each other, you think alike, your experiences are very similar, and even any quirkiness that presents itself is considered 'normal' to you both. As time goes on, you begin to recognize each other, certain qualities, some negative traits, and a sincere understanding of the importance each one is to the self-actualization of the other.

Of course your ability to recognize a true friend takes a while, maybe as long as ten years or so. Yet, for some unknown reason neither of you entertain any thoughts of walking away from this relationship because, in truth, it's not possible to relinquish the love of a true friend. Once a true friend, always a true friend! At times you may find yourselves miles apart having little to no contact for years, and then, out of the blue, one decides to call the other. From the first hello, your conversation flows easily, laughter resounds, and fond memories are recalled. You make plans to meet and, come hell or high water, nothing in the world will stop you from getting together.

A true friend is happy for the successes of the other; a true friend grieves when the other half suffers loss;  and a true friend is more than willing to stand up for the other in times of chaos and conflict.

True friends have disagreements, but none are ever so divisive that would threat to sever their ties. Explanations are offered and apologies are always accepted.

Your definition of a true friend most likely is different than mine, you are entitled to your own opinion. But, for me, my definition is not only plausible but in my mind, a certainty.

There may be more true friends out there I've yet to meet, or have already met but don't entirely recognize. If so, I eagerly await our reunion! For now, though, I'm quite happy with my five true friends and cherish our relationships beyond measure!

Blessings and Peace