Monday, November 19, 2018

A Traditional American Thanksgiving ?

In the event you missed my post written 5 years ago, 'Truly Full of Thanks,' (11/18/13),
I've decided a repeat performance was in order. I believe my description of a traditional American Thanksgiving reflects thousands of family get-togethers across the country. The women will be working frantically in the kitchen, but still make time catching up on the latest happenings in their lives. The men will be situated in front of the television viewing whatever football game is being televised at the moment. And the kids will be in and out of the house either chasing each other or tattle-telling on their siblings. Oh, happy day!

Houses filled with amazing aromas and the usual chaos will eventually settle down to a scrumptious table laden with turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, corn, biscuits, etc. Although the recipes may vary, the essentials will be there. Once seated, whether at the adult table or relegated to the kids' digs, everybody will join hands, bow their heads, and give thanks to the Lord above for the many blessings showered upon them over the past year.

Before I reinstate the 2013 post, let me acknowledge that there will also be thousands of families that
unfortunately will not be celebrating the holiday in the same manner. Some folks will be sitting alone in a drafty room remembering Thanksgivings of long ago. Either all of their relatives have passed, or live too far away to be together. Others may not even have a drafty room, but instead make their homes under bridges or in cardboard boxes. The homeless will be truly grateful for a turkey feast at the local shelter. Then there are those who will find themselves in hospitals, stricken with horrible diseases that prevent them from eating at all. Their conditions so dire that even the smell of food makes them nauseous. Finally the drug addicts and alcoholics will be roaming the streets looking for their next fix unaware that Thanksgiving Day is upon them. And, if in fact they are aware, the family gatherings of long ago will only serve up nothing but pain and guilt.

Perhaps there is no such thing as 'A Traditional American Thanksgiving'  anymore, even though many may disagree. But our country has drastically changed over the last 50 years, and the usual traditions are becoming more and more, the unusual. Sorry to say, but unless we take an active role in bringing back the glorious celebrations we once embraced, days like Thanksgiving will eventually become erased from the environment. If people continue to disengage from what was once held sacred, there will be nothing left to hand down to our children.

I am by no means casting the blame on the unfortunate for this present state of affairs, but rather calling on those of us who still remember and can afford to celebrate 'A Traditional American Thanksgiving.' to include those who, for whatever reason, can't. If we can invite some to our dinner table, great, but if that's not possible, then be generous in other ways in order to provide 'A Traditional American Thanksgiving' for all!

Originally I titled this post, 'A Traditional American Thanksgiving' without a question mark, but as the Spirit took over, I was made to realize the ? was necessary, and for that reason I've chosen not to include the 2013 polyanna post, 'Truly Full Of Thanks'. Wow, what a difference 5 years can make!

Blessings and Peace to ya'll!







Monday, November 5, 2018

What Has Happened To Common Sense?


Should it matter what color of skin a student has as to whether or not he or she receives suspension from school due to seriously violent/inappropriate behaviors? Seems that our government/school districts have instituted bans on teachers' rights to suspend minority students because according to the powers-that-be they have reached their limit for the school year? This is not only a disservice to our educators, but more importantly to the students who are in school to learn AND to the students causing the disruptions since they then realize that suspension is no longer a threat, therefore empowering them to up the ante when it comes to their behavioral choices. 


Why have so many school districts embraced this ridiculous policy which clearly exhibits a lack of common sense in my estimation? President Barack Obama’s “Dear Colleague” 2014 letter on school discipline issued 'a warning to school administrators that the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights would investigate the rates at which students of different races are disciplined. It advised school districts that traditional discipline policies ought to be used only “as a last resort.” '



"The 2014 letter is an affront to the separation of powers, federalism, and the rule of law. Nothing in the Constitution, legislation, or even regulation authorizes the secretary of education to dictate local school-discipline policy. Rather, the Obama administration did an end run around the Administrative Procedure Act by issuing a sweeping new policy by fiat. The Civil Rights Act unambiguously, and entirely properly, says that schools may not treat students differently based on their race. But the Obama administration declared that the Civil Rights Act forbids not only disparate treatment in school discipline, but also disparate impact. According to the 2014 letter, schools could face a federal investigation and potential loss of funding even if their rules are fair and applied evenhandedly."  https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/07/school-discipline-education-department-guidance-should-be-rescinded/
Max Eden is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Jonathan Butcher is a senior policy analyst at, and Lindsey M. Burke is the director of, the Center for Education Policy at the Heritage Foundation.



Being in the educational field for my entire professional career, I can tell you with authority that there are times when teachers have no other alternative than to issue suspensions for egregious actions. If we abide by Obama's letter, we tie the hands of folks who have dedicated their lives to teaching our young to someday be positive contributors to society. Teachers are not responsible for the devastating effects of single-parent homes, neighborhood violence, and extreme poverty that statistics confirm plague black children at higher rates than their white counterparts. Because of these detriments, it only stands to reason that more suspensions are likely to be issued to minorities.
Not only are teachers adversely affected by this mandate, but the children themselves suffer immeasurably. Every child has the right to a quality education and a safe place to learn. When disruptions occur on a daily basis that take away from actual teaching time, and when said disruptions involve violent and inappropriate behaviors, the youngster that thirst for knowledge are denied their opportunities again and again. This leads to lower self-esteem, insecurities, and fear for their own safety. Common sense would tell us that by simply removing the offenders these injustices would be lessened if not eradicated entirely. 
Since it is the teachers who interact with students every day of the school year, don't you think they know best when it comes to handing out suspensions based on past behaviors and what is fair in regards for the good of all?
That's just plain common sense!
And  the Federal Government needs to stay out of establishing rules and regulations for school districts. If and when our congressmen and senators step into today's classrooms and accept the role of teacher for only one semester, I guarantee you, they'd rescind the "Dear Colleague" letter in a New York minute. 
And their common sense would return as well!

Monday, October 29, 2018

Alcohol Use, the Quiet Epidemic in the U.S.

True, in recent years the opiate epidemic has rallied the troops to take action to curtail this hideous disease which continues to plague our country. Government efforts, law enforcement actions, local and family campaigns work tirelessly to combat the ugly death and destruction resulting from drug use, yet it seems to escalate daily despite all the efforts being used to eradicate it.

Now I'm not saying we should give up this fight, because one life saved is definitely worth anything and everything we can do to protect and serve. However, as Vince Mercuri cited in his Thursday, October 25th article, 'Alcohol Use Is The Quiet Epidemic In The U.S.' in the Tribune-Review, Westmoreland Edition, we need to get behind the war on alcohol consumption with the same earnest intent. People are dying and causing death while under the influence and few seem to notice. Perhaps, because drinking has been around for so long that it has become socially acceptable, and sadly we've become numb to the staggering statistics surrounding this horrific nemesis.

Rather than try to paraphrase Mr. Mercuri's excellent coverage on the topic of alcoholism, from this point forward I have chosen to quote him:
"On Aug. 23, a global study from British journal, The Lancet, addressed the health effects from alcohol consumption. The study was conducted between 1990 and 2016 in 195 countries with male and female subjects ages 15 - 49. Researchers found that alcohol use was the leading risk factor for death and disability, accounting for nearly 10% of all deaths globally which equates to about 2.8 million alcohol-related deaths annually."

Further into his report, Mercuri states that "While these numbers are staggering, what is most frightening is the lack of basic knowledge regarding the physical impact alcohol has on the human body...Ninety-five percent of alcohol consumed is absorbed into the bloodstream through the lining of the stomach and small intestine, then quickly travels throughout the body: Every single cell and tissue is negatively effected by alcohol consumption. Even casual social patterns of use have the potential for significant health problems..."

I was taken aback by the number of health issues  related to drinking: cancers of the larynx, the esophagus, and breast cancer, liver failure and heart disease are specifically named, pointing the finger at about 15% of breast cancer deaths the result of alcoholic intake each year. I find that extremely shocking since I've never associated drinking and cancer before, have you?

Timothy Niami, co-author of this 26 year study, stated that, "Alcohol is a known cancer-causing agent in humans, but it has been severely overlooked and a preventable cause of cancer deaths. This reflects a public health blind spot."

Finally for this discussion, Mr. Mercuri shines a light on past contradictions held steadfast for decades by our medical communities.

"...Previous health guidelines espoused health benefits associated with consuming up to two drinks per day; the  Lancet study says that any benefits were offset by the risks of developing 23 other  alcohol-related diseases, specifically cancers and alcohol-related accidents..."

I've taken the liberty to make bold those facts in this article that are worthy of your careful consideration, I'm not trying to be a know-it-all, I'm trying to help save your life.

Blessings and Peace

Monday, October 22, 2018

There Are No Words


After listening to the heartache of someone who has been visited by death more often and in so short a time than anybody should ever have to endure, I was compelled to find words of comfort, but found none. Hopefully the giving of myself will be able to lift her spirit even a little.


There Are No Words

All through the night,
I searched in vain
for just the right words
to ease your pain.

As night became day,
My mind still blank,
Any hopes that I had
Eventually sank.

Finally it hit me,
No words could convey
The loss that you suffered
In the harshest of ways.

Instead join my tears
With those you have cried
For all of your loved ones
Whom to early have died.

Allow me some heartache
You feel deep inside,
Knowing I'm with you,
Aware that I've tried.

Give me your sadness
To help lighten the load,
As you travel without them
Life's tumultuous road.

Extend your hand,
And I'll tightly grab hold
To walk right beside you
When you're empty and cold.

Any strength and courage
You find missing today,
Take all that you need,
Glad to give it away.

If there's ever a time
You decide not to fight,
Remember I'm with you
To move towards the light.

We both know the truth
That closure's a lie,
Our hearts remain broken
When love ones have died.

Yet being together
With no words to say,
I think is more helpful
Than going our way...alone.

There are no words.

Blessings and Peace, dear child. my love is all I have to give.













Monday, October 1, 2018

Oh, So Weary

I was ten years old when my family got our first television set. My brother and I were playing catch in the backyard. My mother yelled out the window for us to come in, she had a big surprise for us. As we entered the living room, sitting in the far corner was a huge piece of furniture with a very tiny screen smack dab in the middle of it! And so our love affair with watching T.V. began.

In its infancy, television broadcasting was extremely limited.  If I remember correctly, shows were available only a few hours a day, the rest of the time a test pattern symbol accompanied by an annoying noise was the only choice we had.

From the moment Katilius delivered it, every evening after dinner and baths, we gathered around the television to watch the news and 'a few wholesome shows like 'Howdy Doody' and 'Sky King.'
Saturdays were special because at 7:00 wrestling was on.  Oh how my Baba loved wrestling! She'd cheer loudly for her favorites and boo the ones that, in her opinion, were playing dirty.

For many years, the only violence produced and viewed then was wrestling. Fast-forward to 2018, turn on the T.V. at any time on any day, and all you see is violence! Literally every show, even cartoons, is infiltrated with whacks, smacks, and cruelty. Fighting, bullying, cursing and worse are what lures us to watch. Take that stuff out, and the show in question will suffer miserable ratings and be canceled in the blink of an eye. And let's be honest here, we are all guilty of tuning into programs that scare and offend our sensibilities.

Perhaps the most violent television broadcasting today isn't the weekly shows though, but the daily news. In the beginning, the purpose of the news was to inform and alert, and sometimes even to uplift. Only 15 minutes was allotted for said programming twice daily during the week. I really don't ever remember watching the news on the weekends. Now television networks schedule news programs anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes at a clip, and vie for the bragging rights to present the most recent and most horrific events of the day. "You heard it here first," is commonly expressed so casual viewers will become regulars.

The content of today's news is a constant reporting of shootings, stabbings, killings, drug seller take-downs, cases of domestic and sexual abuse, political bad-mouthing, fraud, and the list goes on and on! Rarely, if ever, is something wholesome presented. After all, who wants to watch good when evil is so much more exciting, right? And because of  the major channels' time extensions, these tragedies are repeated over and over again so that eventually we become numb to the violent world we now live in. When a shooting occurs, we don't flinch, but ask if the victim lived or died. When a child goes missing, we simply assume a family member was responsible and move on, and if a house fire is reported, we wonder if arson was the cause.

It's gotten to the point that I watch the news at noon and skip the rest of the broadcasts. I am so weary of what T.V. stations deem as 'news worthy,' oh, so weary!











Monday, September 24, 2018

GLORIOUS SWITZERLAND IN REVUE!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I couldn't agree more!
















































I could add 500 more, but I think you get the picture! Glorious Switzerland! More to come later!

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!