Monday, September 3, 2018

I AM EVAPORATING



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





I AM EVAPORATING
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,
Disappearing!

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.

Evaporating
IS
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

WHAT MUST HAPPEN NOW?





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!

Amen!

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

Monday, July 9, 2018

You CAN Teach Old Dogs New Tricks!

Our sweet Shadow will turn sixteen this October. For the past two or three months, she's been slowly losing her eyesight. Now, completely blind, with a large percentage of her hearing gone, and very little in the way of scent, the only way she gets around is by touch. When she comes downstairs in the morning, she feels her way with her paws, touching the carpet of each step which signals that she's on the right path. I've laid throw rugs in the kitchen so she can make it to the family room door without much difficulty.

Once outside, her challenges however increase dramatically. In the beginning, she'd walk briskly and crash head-first into the patio bench or rocker which diminished her drive to find her favorite potty spot. The poor girl would simply lay down and refuse to continue. I'd have to pick up all thirty-five pounds of dog and carry her into the grass. If she needed to do more, I'd let her wonder around the yard, but without a good sense of smell, her ability to defecate was limited.

I began searching the internet for a solution to dog blindness. I read an article which strongly advised against coddling older dogs with special needs, but suggested to try and teach them how to navigate their world differently. Since the ideas presented in the article weren't very helpful, I thought that with my dog's apparent reliance on touch, I needed to come up with a plan that utilized touch to the fullest extent.

Now when it's time to go out, I give her a pat on the butt and say, 'outside.' I think she recognizes the intonation of that word and immediately gets on all fours and heads for the door. When I open it, I touch her head and say, 'down.' She feels for the doorstep with her paw and carefully steps out. From that point on, I use my knees, calves, shins and hands to guide her to the grassy area, just a little nudge here and there is all she needs.   I've stopped picking Shadow up and she is bumping less and less into obstacles that once kept her from moving forward.

I've also used loud clapping to inform her of my location. She'll turn towards me and slowly follow the sound as best she can. If she stops, I realize she's waiting for my touch so I approach and first pat her head, then knee her butt indicating she should begin to walk again. I stay by her side, using my legs and hands to lead her to the patio. This time when I say, 'up' Shadow knows to climb the step which brings her safely back into the house.

Shadow is living proof that you CAN teach old dogs new tricks! And I am living proof that she CAN teach this 'old dog' a few new tricks as well!



Monday, July 2, 2018

What is ESSENTIAL?

Last weekend, I received a lovely wall hanging from a sweet lady for our 50th  Wedding Anniversary. When I say I, it's because my hubby had never met her before, and she specifically stated it was one of her favorite sayings and it was for me. Now that I've established sole custody, I'm ready to write today's post.

Aside from the soft, beautiful pastel artwork that is the canvas background, the quote goes like this:
                                 'And now here is my secret,
                                  A very simple secret,
                                  It is only with the heart
                                  That one can see rightly.
                                  What is ESSENTIAL
                                   Is invisible to the eye!'

I placed this hanging on the wall directly beside the bed so I could see it first thing in the morning. I especially like its simplicity with a slight touch of mystery...any time a secret is involved, there's got to be an unknown, and after reading the quote for the umpteenth time, I realized 'the unknown' for me was, 'What is ESSENTIAL?' Those words keep rolling around in my brain demanding I give them my time and thought.

I believe the root word for essential is essence, and essence in my mind refers to 'the totality and the core being of one devoid of any superficial trappings or add-ons.' So what is my essence, the totality of me, my core being devoid of any superficial trappings or add-ons?

Since I've never taken the time to seriously consider this query, my explanation may be primitive, but nevertheless as honest as I can be. Thought, heart, and spirit best describe my essence. Thoughts are a large part of my existence, they enter my consciousness many times without provocation, and demand immediate attention. If an idea is truly persistent, it will keep popping up until I sufficiently give it the respect it deserves. At times, a solution is called for, at other times, mere reflection is enough. I think a lot so maybe that's why some see me as quirky or strange, both of which are not far from who and what I am. No offense taken...ever!

Heart is synonymous with love in my opinion. And love is the Life Force that permeates my core being. I call it, 'Life Force', you may refer to it as 'God,' 'Divinity,' 'Creator,' or any number of titles that suit your beliefs.

This Life Force infuses me with energy in the form of the 'Spirit.' and it is this Spirit that calls upon me to love all people and being somewhat instrumental in bringing about world peace. Now if I always did what the Spirit requests, I'd be canonized Saint Florence Frances Agnes and there'd be a statue of me in our church.We would be at peace within ourselves, our families, our communities, and ultimately in our world. Since we obviously are not totally at peace in any of these categories, I must confess that I run rogue often, ignoring the Spirit within  choosing instead the superficial trappings and add-ons that are fleeting and oh so unproductive!

There you have it, folks, what I've determined to be my essence, at least for now. I also have decided that my essence is always changing, so you can be assured that another post dealing with this topic isn't far behind!

Blessings and Peace!

Monday, June 25, 2018

If Only I Could

If only I could tell the wonderful man who chose me to be his bride some fifty years ago what it meant to me then, and what he means to me still...to be his partner in life, to work side by side, to laugh and cry together, to share his bed, to live each day in hope and love, to look with faith towards our future...If only I could...

If only I could express how grateful I am to the wonderful families that were blended together on the day we married...to be embraced in their circle of life, to realize their support is a constant, to be accepted for who and what I am without reserve, to always know I have someone to confide in and someplace to belong...If only I could...

If only I could let the children we were blessed with know how truly amazing they are and how honored I am for them to call me, 'mom'...to be the first to hold them in my arms, to nurture and guide them, to be there in times of joy and sorrow, to understand their frustrations, to offer advice when needed. to chase away the darkness...If only I could...

If only I could sit down with each one of my seven awesome grandchildren and explain how precious a gift they are...to open my heart for them to see where they reside now and forever, to share the stories of my life with them, to encourage them to set and reach their goals, to teach them to embrace diversity, to implant the seed for world peace within all seven...If only I could...

If only I could impress upon my dear friends, both old and new, what an integral part of my life they've been and continue to be...to realize how empty each moment would be without them, to know how much they've enriched every experience we've shared together, to believe that I will always be there for them, to be assured that they are never alone...If only I could...

If only I could find the words, the right words that convey exactly how I feel about all the people in my life who have unselfishly given themselves to me, who have loved me unconditionally, who have accepted my talents as well as my foibles, who have sheltered me and kept me safe...

If only I could....

Monday, June 18, 2018

Human Trafficking Alert!


I was both shocked and saddened to read that human trafficking runs rampant in our area. Since I know next to nothing about this horrific  assault against humanity, I plan to attend this informative session at the Norwin Library this Tuesday. Hopefully you will realize its importance and be present as well.

Blackburn Center on Human Trafficking


Did you know Westmoreland County is one of the top gateways for human trafficking in Pennsylvania?
The Blackburn Center will be presenting “Human Trafficking in Westmoreland County” at the Norwin Public library.
Trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons by means of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, or abuse of power of a position of vulnerability for the purpose of exploitation.
  1. An estimated 27 million people are enslaved around the world this very moment.
  2. An estimated 13 million children are enslaved around the world today, accounting for nearly half of trafficking victims in the world.
  3. The average age of a young woman being trafficked is 12-14 years old.
The program is free, but registration is requested. Please contact the library at 724-863-4700 x3 or stop by the front desk to sign up.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Longing For 'Home'

Lately I've had this longing lying just below the surface of my consciousness. I've been unsettled for some time and yet couldn't identify the cause. After trying very hard to discover why, I decided if I left it alone eventually it would reveal itself or subside.

In the wee hours of today, I finally realized what had been nagging me for months, I was longing for 'home.' Now I'm not talking about my family residence, nor am I referring to heaven, but where I truly believe all mankind begins its earthly journey, the ocean.

I clearly remember the very first time I stood on the shores of the Atlantic. The ocean's vastness was inexplicably awesome, yet a strange familiarity like I'd been there before washed over me. Being only twenty-two at the time, I had no clue as to the significance of this oddity. As I matured physically, mentally, and most importantly, spiritually, I began to contemplate the origins of humanity and the Life Force that was directly responsible for mankind's existence. Since water is the key element in the survival of all living things, years later I concluded everything must have had its beginnings in the sea. The ocean is our ancestral 'home', I believed it then, I believe it now.

I haven't walked along the shoreline in a few years, nor have I sat alone watching the sunrise. I miss the sounds connected with the beach at daybreak, the waves roaring in the distance, the cawing of sea gulls flying overhead, the peaceful silence that speaks volumes to me. It is during these times that my body is replenished with energetic vitality, my mind, with inspirational creativity, and my spirit, with renewed love for all.

This summer's schedule is packed with occasions and activities that leave little time for a quick jaunt to Myrtle or Ocean City, and in September, since my hubby and I are going to Switzerland to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary, the earliest I could satisfy this unfulfilled yearning would be sometime in October. I've never been at the ocean in the fall (or have I?), and have always thought it would be a perfect time to go 'home'...no crowds, plenty of cool ocean breezes and wondrous sunsets.

Currently I haven't come up with a plan, but like most things in life, if something absolutely needs to happen undoubtedly it will whether by design or by default. The possibility of returning 'home' in the near future calms my restlessness, putting a smile on my face and hope in my heart!

Blessings and Peace!




Monday, May 28, 2018

Creativity Blocked

According to today's horoscope, my creativity seems to be blocked. Ya think? After an eighteen month hiatus, I began writing again. Everything was going well, deciding upon a topic, even coming up with a temporary title was easy until I hit a brick wall, and haven't been able to climb over, go under or around it so I just quit!

I'm not a person who gives up easily, but I can't seem to ignite the spark needed to create a fire of ideas. My mind is cave-like, dark, cold, empty. This isn't the first time I've been in this predicament, and I'm certain it won't be the last. Matter
of fact, although I'm not consciously aware of anything worthwhile going on at the moment, I believe creative thoughts are bouncing around underneath the surface, waiting patiently for the opportune time to make an appearance. 

When a writer can't do what a writer does, it's very frustrating. But, forcing the issue isn't the answer for me. Trying to put something down on paper only serves to aggravate the situation more, not help. Better to separate myself from the project completely. Now I'm not talking divorce, just giving me and my creativity space to rejuvenate and return to our relationship with renewed vigor. It may take a few more months, maybe even a year, but one day when I least expect it, the right idea will pop into my head and the story that has been hidden for so long will suddenly reveal itself. When that time comes, I'll be ready to write it down and share it with the world.

'One Color, Many Shades' must be given life. I strongly believe it's message is vital to the eventual realization of world peace. By no means am I saying I have the key to this long-awaited treasure, but I do think this little children's book has it's place on the map that will one day show us the way.

However, until my creativity freely flows again, I'm in lock-down. The only way to emerge from this dark, cold, empty place is to wait it out. Hope to see you on the other side sooner than later.

Blessings and Peace!

Monday, May 21, 2018

The Myth of Meditation

Some folks shutter at the mere mention of the word, 'meditation'. They conjure up images of ancient prophets, sitting cross-legged in the barren desert, with eyes shut and soul apparently traversing another world. These misguided people truly believe meditation is beyond their capabilities, and are unwilling to take that first step towards centering themselves. Hence, the myth of meditation.

'Centering oneself' is a functional definition for meditation, and we all can do it! There is no mystical power needed to collect your physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional being. First find a quiet, peaceful place where there is little chance of disturbance. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing, taking in air through your nostrils and releasing it through your mouth. Practice will enable you to breath more deeply, which is key to the centering process.

Next clear your mind of superfluous thought. In other words, seek to free yourself of everything and anything that can disrupt meditation. Again, as you continue to practice, it will become easier and easier to ban unwanted thinking.

From this point, what you choose to concentrate on is personal, but I'm more than happy to share my own channels with you. I begin by calling on the Creator, the Life Force to hover over me. I ask that this energy penetrate my skull and seep deep into my brain, harmonizing each cell so that they work in sync with one another, creating balance. Don't panic! This initial effort may seem difficult at first, but after a few attempts it becomes second nature to you. I promise.

As I continue the centering process, I invite the Life Force to enter into every part of my self, filling me with renewed energy to face whatever challenges the day may bring. During this time, there is a warmth that washes over me, providing a sense of peace and well-being.

Nearing the completion of my meditation, I ask that all that is detrimental to my body and soul be released into the atmosphere and evaporate into thin air. Lastly I again focus on my breathing, and when ready, I open my eyes.

There you have it, folks! Call it what you want, 'prayer', 'centering', 'meditation', but whatever name you choose, hopefully I've dispelled the myth of meditation. You can do it, and once you begin, I believe your lives will take on a more positive, peaceful existence.  I know centering has had a huge impact on my own.

Blessings and Peace!


Monday, May 14, 2018

DO NOT Sit Down!

Yes, my left foot hurts at times, and my left knee doesn't bend like it once did, but play a peppy tune and I'll be out on the dance floor, lickety-split (no, I don't  mean DOING a split, silly!). 

My hubby stands by the bay window and studies the GRASS. Strange fellow? Yes, but aside from this weird preoccupation, he's always a 'man on a mission!' He's anxiously awaiting any new growth that will give him the opportunity (excuse) to cut the lawn for the third time in less than two weeks!

We're both members of today's Senior Citizen Society, folks who are supposed to act their age, but absolutely REFUSE! We will not be relegated to the rocking chairs of old; we will not hire people to do chores that we can very well do ourselves; we will not stop learning new and interesting things; and we will certainly not SIT DOWN like needy, dutiful children!

The misconstrued idea of being 'elderly' is what contributes to the poor health and sedimentary life-style of so many people over the age of sixty. Although these very same folks lived robust, industrious lives either at home or in the work place, when they 'officially' become seniors, all of a sudden their energy and productivity mysteriously evaporates. Presto change-o, instantly aged! They think of themselves as 'old' so they behave accordingly.

Years ago our parents and grandparents lived functional, fruitful lives well into their eighties simply because they thought of themselves as being able to contribute to their families' needs. Wonder why there are so many filled-to-capacity assisted-living and nursing homes today? I don't think it's because seniors have become more feeble at a much quicker rate, but rather due to their early acceptance of growing old.

I've witnessed so many family and friends who sat down one day and never got up to do anything useful again. Their bodies rapidly declined, their minds turned to mush, and they became isolated and alone. Of course they died much earlier than necessary because they gave up on life far too soon.

In my estimation, every recliner and rocker in America should come with this warning label attached:
IF OVER SIXTY, DO NOT SIT DOWN OR YOU MAY NEVER GET UP AGAIN!

So fellow seniors, no matter what aches and pains you have, no matter how many candles are lit on your next birthday cake, and no matter how many of your kids, grandchildren, or neighbors shake their heads in disapproval, choose to dance, cut the grass, or paint the town red! Live your lives to the fullest, and when the young have something negative to say about it, OFFER THEM A SEAT!

Monday, April 30, 2018

National Adopt A Shelter Pet Day!

If you're thinking about adding a pet to your household, seriously consider going to your local Humane Society before spending hundreds of dollars on an animal complete with lineage papers. Mind you, I have nothing against purebreds, but with so many dogs and cats sitting behind cages without little chance of being freed, you could be a savior to one of them.

Over the years we've had four dogs, two purebreds, two adopted from shelters. Sassy was a female Schnauzer and Tibbit, a male standard poodle. Sassy was  somewhat difficult to train, and after months of trying we ran out of patience and gave her to a friend who had more success than we did. Tibbit was two years old when we got him, already trained, and fit right in with our family from the get-go. Unfortunately one evening after letting him out for the night, somebody abducted Tibbit from our backyard and sadly we never saw him again.

Our first adoptee was a terrier-beagle mix female with a peppy personality, hence the name, 'Pepper!' She loved to run around the yard chasing anything in front of her, and if need be, going after her own tail when nothing else caught her eye. This little character was my son's 10th birthday gift, but after a week or so of feeding, walking, and playing with her, he receded into the background, thus affording me the opportunity to be chief caregiver. When it was time to have Pepper spayed, we dropped her off at the shelter and expected to pick her up the next day, but instead we got a phone call telling us there was a problem during surgery. Pepper's brain was denied oxygen for a significant amount of time, her lips turned blue, and they weren't sure she'd survive. Our sweet munchkin came home a few days later, but was never the same happy-go-lucky girl from that moment on.

Years later, we adopted Shadow, a female black Lab/beagle mix and for 16 glorious years she has been a joy! We got her at nine weeks, and can honestly say she's been a delight from day one. Training her was a breeze, actually I truly think she trained herself 'in spite of us' instead of 'because of us!' After introducing her to our outside area, within a few days she completely respected the boundaries, never leaving the yard unless leashed and going on a walk. Shadow will not take food from anyone other than myself or my hubby. She allows all seven of our grandchildren to pet, play, and roughhouse with her without grumble or growl (she still holds a grudge against my son for teasing her as a puppy though). However, Shadow is our protector, and when someone approaches the house, she barks incessantly until we give her the Ok!

At her age, our sweet girl sleeps a lot now, but when awakened, she instantly returns to her happy self...most of the time (again she holds a grudge against Lori for approaching her when sleeping). Her appetite is great, and her mobility is hardly compromised. At night she loves to cuddle up next to me and snore away. My hubby likes to do that as well. I guess the old saying that 'men are dogs' has some truth to it after all!

I know the day is coming when Shadow will leave us. I look into her eyes occasionally and tell her that she is the best friend I've ever had and will be sad without her. I know she understands what I'm saying, and I'm certain she reciprocates the same feelings towards me.

Perhaps you think that Shadow was lucky to be adopted by our family, but believe me when I say that we are indeed the lucky ones! She is the best shelter dog we could have ever hoped for, and if you are thinking of getting a pet on the National Adopt A Shelter Pet Day, you'd be wise to visit your local Humane Society. Who knows, there could be another 'Shadow' waiting just for you!

Blessings and Peace!






















Monday, April 23, 2018

Norwin High School Student Council...A+!

Yesterday we had the privilege of attending the 32nd Annual Senior Citizens Dinner presented by the Norwin High School Student Council. Since this was the first time we'd ever taken advantage of this yearly event, we had no idea what to expect.

We were warmly greeted by smiling faces and respectful welcomes. One of the students led us to available seating and asked if it was to our liking. Although we didn't know the folks around us, we soon became 'friends'. The afternoon began with an opening prayer. We were then served a scrumptious turkey dinner complete with all the trimmings and a fabulous dessert, apple pie with a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. The teens were there to satisfy our every need, refilling our coffee and removing finished dishes in the blink of an eye. They treated us like royalty!

Once dinner was over, the students directed all 500 of us to the school auditorium for performances by the Norwin Show Choir, and the Norwin's Select Orchestra, both of which were an awesome delight! Each group received standing ovations from a very grateful audience!

Just when we thought things couldn't possibly get any better, the Student Council president began distributing prizes donated by community contributors. Literally well over 50 lucky folks won gorgeous baskets filled with everything from movie night essentials to car wash needs. To honor the veterans in the auditorium, a special raffle was held whereby recipients received a military hat and a gift card from a variety of area businesses. My hubby was the fortunate winner of a $25. gift card to Denny's, one of a favorite breakfast stops.

Another of the council members conducted a audience participation activity. He asked each of us to stand, and then began asking those of us who were younger than 70 to sit. He continued until one person remained standing, she was 98 years young! Wow! Her name was Mary and she was a prize winner as well.

Lastly we were thanked for our attendance and the wish that we'd come back again next year. Of course we intend to be there, who wouldn't accept an invite to such a glorious afternoon!

You know, we only seem to hear about our troubled youth in the media these days. The reporters should have been at Norwin yesterday, they would have had plenty of positives to write about regarding the young people who prepared and presented the 32nd Annual Senior Citizen's Dinner at Norwin High School. The mannerly behaved, well-spoken, talented teens we encountered are a proud tribute to both their families and the administration, teachers, and staff at Norwin who have been instrumental in raising such fine human beings who are the hope of our future!
Once again, our sincere thanks to all who treated us to such a beautiful event! Hope to have the opportunity to experience it again next year!

Blessings and Peace to all!




Monday, April 16, 2018

Back In The Saddle!

Well, you might say I'm back in the saddle since I started writing again after being idle for 18 months, give or take a few. I'm a firm believer though, if inspiration is missing it's like banging your head against a brick wall, nothing of any value is going to shake out no matter how hard you try! And in the end you'll have wasted tons of time to no avail.

Speaking of back in the saddle, here's a little story from my misguided youth. While attending a picnic in North Park when I was a sophomore in high school, our resident chaplain came riding into the grove on his stately chestnut mare whose name I can't recall at the moment. I wanted to mount her so badly and ride off into the sunset, but there was a problem, this beautiful creature wasn't saddled! (technically this story is not about being 'back in the saddle' for obvious reasons)

"Father Ryan, can I ride her," I asked pleadingly?

"Only if you've ridden bareback before," was his reply.

"Tons of times," I lied! And with that said, the goodly priest handed me the reins.

I guided the horse over to a picnic table upon which I quickly climbed, threw my right leg over her back, and sat up as straight as I could before signalling her to move.  At first she trotted slowly around the grove effortlessly. I was becoming a little antsy, so I gave her my shoe, ever so slightly of course. Stupid me! Father Ryan's horse immediately went into high gear, galloping towards the hedges that separated the picnic area from the parking lot. No matter what I did, she seemed to pick up more and more speed, and in an instant, she was flying over the hedges like Pegasus of Greek mythology with me aboard!

What happened next, I totally deserved. After her leap, the horse lowered her head and I somersaulted over her mane like an untrained Olympic gymnast.  I was splattered on the hard, hot pavement like the cracked egg, Humpty Dumpty!
Father Ryan rushed over and stooped down to see if I was alright. With only a bump on the head, and two scraped elbows, I wasn't any worse for wear. Relieved, our dear chaplain commented, " I don't think you've ever ridden horseback before, my dear, and I'll see you in confession next week!" And with that he mounted his mare and rode towards the stables, shouting over his shoulder, I forgot to tell you, she's a jumper!"

But I digress... Oh, yes, I've  finally started a new children's book that I've tentatively entitled, 'One Color, Many Shades!' It usually takes around 4 months to complete; story, illustrations, and finally publication. I'll keep you posted, so until then, riding bareback, forget about it, I'm back in the saddle...

Hasta la Vista, Baby! Giddy up, girl!





Monday, April 9, 2018

CHURCH

When someone says they're going to 'church', do you envision a majestic building with ornate paintings on the walls, huge statues of various figures towering over you, rows and rows of pews, and in the center, an altar accented by candle lights and white linen cloth?

Or do you define 'church' as a group of people, embracing moral and spiritual beliefs,who live and work together for the good of themselves and others?

My hubby and I are one of the couples who are elated to be listed as founders of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, North Huntingdon, PA. In 1978, because of the huge influx of members to St. Agnes Church on Clay Pike, the bishop decided it was necessary to build another structure to accommodate an overflowing membership. At first folks grumbled about being 'thrown out' of a church they'd attended for years and contributed to its prosperity, but it took only a very short time before we came together and embraced the challenge before us. We started from scratch in a fire hall and built the cozy church on the hill that for the last forty years we proudly call our own!

From its inception, not only were the bricks mortared together, the paintings hung, the statues erected, the pews installed, and the altar placed as the focal point of worship, but the wonderful people who became St. Elizabeth Ann Seton's first parishioners, also blended together into one big happy family!

Anybody who visits our church either to attend Mass or one of our many functions is always struck by the family-like spirit that welcomes them with a friendly smile and a warm handshake. Nobody is viewed as a stranger at St. Elizabeth, but rather a potential son or daughter!

Except for those who have joined our church most recently, I believe I know just about everybody who is an active member. I call them by their first names, I ask about how the kids are doing, and I would do anything to help any one of them in their times of need. And, without a doubt, I certainly believe that they would do the same for me and mine. If this isn't family, I don't have a clue as to what 'family' should be!

I oftentimes look around and see that many of the folks who took part in the building of our church are no longer with us. I think back to the great times we had doing everything from polishing pews, putting lights on the Christmas trees, teaching CCD, working at bingo, setting up tables for the parish picnic, and even playing poker in the church hall as part of an annual fundraiser. My soul  remembers each and everyone of them with fondness, and I can honestly say they were as much a part of my family as the family I raised under my own roof.

I guess by now you've figured out the definition I use in reference to 'church'.
Yes, it is a building, but more importantly, church is family, and I've been so blessed to have been a member of my church, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, for forty glorious years!  Amen! Blessings and Peace!


Monday, March 26, 2018

Easter: New and Renewed Life


I think the story of my own birth is a good way to begin a discussion on new life. I was born in Baba's house on a September Saturday in 1944. It was suppertime, and my Mom couldn't wait for her favorite meal, steak smothered in onions, and mashed potatoes drenched in butter. Unfortunately her water broke and sent her into labor,denying her the pleasure of actually eating the dinner she'd looked forward to all day. Instead she retreated to her upstairs bedroom and waited for Dr. Stimetz to arrive. Since the good doctor lived next door, she was by my mother's side in minutes. As Mom pushed, and the rest of the family nervously waited in the hallway, eventually I entered the world, kicking and screaming, or so I'd been told over and over again while growing up. 

PASKA
http://tinyurl.com/ke3fzrl
After thoroughly examining the newly-born babe, Dr. Stimetz handed me over to Baba to be cleaned and clothed. As my grandmother whisked me down the stairs and into her kitchen, she secretly rejoiced over the fact that I was a girl. Again, I know this because over the course of many years, she mentioned it at least a million times. Baba filled her huge mixing bowl with warm water, and carefully placed me inside its white walls. This was the same bowl she used every Easter when making the dough for Paska, the special Slovak bread we enjoyed only once a year during the holy season of the Resurrection. As she gently washed the afterbirth from my tiny body, Baba noticed that I appeared to be struggling to breathe. She placed me in a soft towel, dried me, and then rubbed a dollop of Vicks salve under my nose. However, because of the powerful strength of the vapors, instead of alleviating the congestion, I turned blue and stopped breathing altogether. To have this precious new life for such a short time was something my Baba refused to accept. Quickly she began CPR. Within seconds, I let out a garbled cry, and voraciously began sucking air into my deprived lungs. When Dr. Stimetz entered the kitchen, she found my Baba clutching me closely to her bosom with tears streaming down her face. In a shaky voice, she told the doctor what she had done. Dr. Stimetz comforted Baba by saying that this infant was destined to do something special since she had been given new life twice in the course of just one day, a rare medical occurrence by any standards. Whatever it was that I was meant to accomplish, I hope I've made at least some strides in fulfilling my purpose. From that life-saving moment on, my Baba and I shared a unique bond that only grew stronger and stronger with every passing year, and will remain alive and well always and forever.

Spring and Easter are favorites of mine perhaps because they arrive together with warm temps, gentle breezes, and soft rains. Both the season and the holiday are symbolic of new and renewed life. Whether coming into the world newborn, or awakening from a winter's sleep, all life is pure and fresh again. There is a joy and lightness of spirit that fills the Earth unlike at any other time of year. 

Monday, March 19, 2018

QUEEN OF HEARTS!

From the time I was child, I had a keen interest in card playing. I'm not talking about 'Go Fish' or 'Old Maids' though. Every holiday after the dishes were cleared from the dining room table, my Zedo, uncles, and cousins would dig into their pockets and pull out all the cash they had. Zedo would shuffle the deck and a three hour poker game ensued. Although I was too young to participate, I would stand on my grandfather's left side and watch every check, raise or fold that happened throughout those 180 minutes. Occasionally Zedo would point to some cards in his hand and slightly nod. I knew that meant that those were potential winners, and excitedly waited as he threw down the duds and picked up ones that could complete a flush or straight. When he was lucky enough to get the right cards, I'd remain stone-faced as the rest of my insides trembled! Zedo would raise low so that as many as possible would remain in the game. As the group dwindled, usually one of the guys would hang in there, sure that Zedo was most likely bluffing. Zedo never bluffed!

As I got older, I learned to play Gin, Pinochle, Hearts and a bunch of other variations. My hubby enjoyed cards as well, so in the early years of our marriage  we'd spend weekends with friends and family playing the night away either for bragging rights, money, or both!

Currently we haven't found folks that know the games we play or don't have the time. When I'm finished doing marketing online for my children's books, I'll head over to the Facebook GameRoom to play some Hearts. People from all over the world plug in and either accept or decline your offer. Bids range from 20-500 coins. The first time you enter the GR, you receive a number of free coins. If you run out however, you then must purchase coins in order to continue playing. I've never once had to buy coins and have been playing Hearts for over six years!

What I truly love about this game is the mental gymnastics it takes to outwit your opponents. If you play long enough, by the cards in your hand, you can actually predict what the lead-off person will throw. Throughout the game, individuals will try to divert your attention by getting rid of a particular suit. This tactic can be used to set the rest of the group up to 'shoot the moon' thus adding 26 points to their total, or simply eliminate the possibility of oneself from being caught with the Queen. I'm not about to give a tutorial now, but if you're familiar with Hearts you know what I'm talking about.

I just finished a game with Mehmet, Lillian, and Rhonda. After the first hand, I was low man on the totem pole with 24 points. Mehmet, 0, Lillian, 1, and Rhonda, 1. Next round, I had 49 points and looked like I was doomed. However in the third round, I took in all the hearts as well as the queen and handed each of the players 26 points! For the next thirty minutes or so my three opponents continued to add to their count while I remained at 49. When I won what would be the last round, I elected to increase their scores and wound up winning the game! I had 64 points while Rhonda, the loser,  had 103!

In the GR, you can challenge anyone on the list of players. Over the years, we've formed a little group that knows Hearts very well and enjoys playing folks who have similar skills and experience. We love to test each other with crazy moves and sneaky plays. Oftentimes, I'm the QUEEN OF HEARTS and I owe all of my playing prowess to my Zedo for allowing me to listen and learn!



Monday, March 12, 2018

Winter Freeze


I think I was about ten when I fell in love with poetry. At first, anything that rhymed caught my attention, but as I grew my poetic preferences matured as well.  When I was a sophomore in high school, my English teacher, Sister Rosemarie entered one of my poems in a national contest. After months of waiting, I received a letter saying my submission was selected and would be published in the National Poetry Anthology come spring. Finally the day arrived when my teacher handed me the official book, was asked to read my work to the class, and was graciously applauded for my success. I was on cloud nine!

Funny thing though, I couldn't tell you where that prized possession was now if you paid me, and I haven't a clue as to what the title of my poem might have been. Over the years, my writing has evolved, but every now and then I return to my beginnings and scratch out a poem or two. Since this winter has been hanging on like a bad cough causing me great angst, I decided to pen my frustrations in poetic fashion. Since I rarely do poetry now, I'm not promising national contest quality, but hopefully WINTER FREEZE will strike a cord with some of you. Enjoy!


   WINTER FREEZE

Like the arrogant thief
Who creeps into a home
Uninvited,
Taking valuable treasures,
So too, the Winter Freeze
Seeps under the door frames
Undetected,
Stealing warmth.

Long days foster dejection,
Despondency leads to defeat.
Vilified,
My happiness is gone.
Joy and laughter cease
Replaced with soulless stares.
Disappointed,
I retreat.

With frustration mounting,
Hot anger bubbling up,
Violated,
I relinquish my spirit.
Depression weighs on me,
Helplessness abounds,
Disheartened,
I surrender.

Death is everywhere now.
Nature has lost its fight,
Denigrated
The world compromises.
I die a little, too.
Devoid of thought and zest,
Unmotivated,
I succumb.

When, if ever, will it end?
Frigid cold, howling winds
Unrelenting,
Chafe the skin, dry the throat.
The Winter Freeze pities not
Woman, man, or child,
Wielding
It's power.

Why am I abandoned?
Does God not hear my cries?
Unheard,
Despair knocks me down.
Yet with little breath left
 And determined purpose,
Unflinching
I rise.

The absent sun appears
Warming the desolate earth,
Undeniably
Restoring faith once again!
As Spring begins to emerge
So does a Winter's prisoner,
Unchained
I celebrate!


I'd like to know what you think, but since poets tend to be somewhat wimpy when it comes to reviews, please be gentle!

Blessings and Peace






Monday, March 5, 2018

PA Gun Laws: Outdated and Highly Ineffective!

Here is a synopsis of PA Gun Laws as reported in yesterday's Trib:
#1  a) No one under 21 can purchase a handgun.
      b) Those 18 or older can purchase long guns.
#2  a) Those under a PFA order MAY have guns and weapons confiscated for the duration of the order.                          
#3  a) Those under a PFA order can relinquish weapons to a dealer, friend or relative while serving the order.                        
#4  a)  Anyone committed involuntarily for mental health issues cannot purchase a weapon.
      b)  Anyone judged incompetent cannot purchase a weapon.
#5  a)  Federal law prohibits anyone convicted of domestic violence from purchasing or owning a gun.                              
#6  a) Licensed gun dealers are required to run background checks on both handgun and long gun purchases                         .
      b) There is no similar requirement for purchasing rifles/shotguns from private parties.


Let's now examine each of these mandates from a common sense perspective.

#1 a) clearly negates #1 b) According to the law, a handgun is a 'no-no' until you are officially an adult, but allows you to purchase a long gun way before your brain is fully developed! Makes no sense in my estimation, but what the hell do I know!

#2 & #3 So those who have been issued a PFA order are still permitted to own a weapon unless the judge deems it necessary to confiscate it. And if they cannot own a weapon under the law during the time the PFA is in effect, by all means hand it over to a friend or relative for 'safe keeping'!  It has been shown again and again that the most dangerous time for a victim of domestic violence or stalking is when they've filed a PFA against their abuser. Having access to a gun or the ability to easily repossess a weapon from friend or family gives the perpetrator the 'go-ahead' to make good on his promises to seriously injure or kill the one who has had the courage to fight back by filing a PFA. Remember folks, a PFA is merely a piece of paper that most deranged abusers hold little to no regard for, and have no power over them once they've decided to carry out their revenge. 

#4 a&b are simply ludicrous! Okay, so you've been involuntarily committed or judged incompetent and therefore cannot purchase a handgun or long gun. By the time such commitment or incompetency has been executed, these people already have a cache of weapons that they've legally or illegally purchased that even those closest to them are clueless as to their existence. Duh!

#5 Do you really think domestic violence convicts care about the federal law that prohibits them from purchasing or owning guns? They don't give a rat's ass about anything the government has mandated and can buy, steal, and own as many guns as their little hearts' desire. No, their purchases aren't legal, but, my dear people, to them, 'legal' is not in their vocabulary!

#6 a&b Legal gun dealers are required to run a background check on all handgun and long gun purchasers, but that same  requirement doesn't apply to private parties selling rifles or long guns. I, myself, bought a handgun for protection a month ago, and was allowed to walk out of the store, weapon in hand, immediately. I was told I'd receive authorization in about two months after the background check was concluded. I'm still waiting!

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Although I don't know the gun laws for all 50 states, I wouldn't be at all surprised that they are very similar. Without any intentional disrespect or heartlessness to the countless survivors and families of the victims of mass shootings over the last 20 years. I still don't believe gun regulations will stop this insanity.  No matter how stringent we make our laws, those who choose to take up arms for the purpose of killing will not change their minds simply because our laws make it harder for them to obtain their weapons of choice. Sure, by making it impossible to purchase semi-automatics, and accessories that bump up their power is both necessary and perhaps somewhat effective. But hey, how about banning the manufacturing of these types of weapons altogether. Would it be impossible to obtain guns if such a prohibition was instituted? The answer unfortunately would be 'no' but it would definitely increase the difficulty over time!

I wish I could offer a foolproof suggestion that would eliminate the madness going on in our country today, but the many problems connected with this dilemma seem insurmountable. Hopefully somebody does have the answers and hopefully they come sooner than later!

Blessings and Peace!