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Monday, April 15, 2013

Second Luminous Mystery--The Wedding at Cana

I haven't posted about the mysteries of the Rosary for quite awhile but one has been buzzing around in my brain for awhile. Here goes:

Most people have heard the gospel story of the Wedding at Cana. It is often referred to as Christ's first miracle. The family hosting the wedding has run out of wine. Mary, Jesus' mother, tells Jesus that the family about the situation. Jesus responds to his mother that His time has not yet come. Mary goes to the family servants telling them to, "Do whatever He tells you to do." Jesus tells the servants to fill some jars with water and when the water is poured for a drink, it has become the best wine to be served.

Much has been made of the idea that Jesus, even though He is the Son of God, does what his mother asked him to do. Jesus' miracle of turning water into wine is a miracle and ripe with symbolism.

My focus is on the phrase, "Do whatever He tells you to do." It's easy for the reader or listener to mentally add to that phrase, "And a miracle will happen," "The water will be turned into wine," etc. But to me the important phrase is just, "Do whatever He tells you to do." According to Scripture, Mary didn't add anything to that phrase. We tend to believe that she felt Jesus would do something to save the family embarassment from running out of wine. And her pointing out the shortage to Jesus seems to imply she wants Him to do something. Did she know what He would do? We'll never know. But the phrase, "Do whatever He tells you to do," is profound even without the "and a miracle will happen...," "you will be blessed...," or whatever the following might be.

Isn't that concept of "Do whatever He tells you do do" enough? If Jesus tells us to do something, we can be assured that, since He is the Son of God, that He would never lead us astray. He would only tell us to do what is good and right, kind and merciful, charitable and forgiving.

I hear so often the prayer phrases, "If you pray..., then God will...," or a variety of other similar ideas. In other words, it's like a bargaining tool. We do this so God will do that. The problem with that concept is that bargaining with God can be extremely frustrating and can cause all kinds of problems. For instance, you pray, fast, etc., for someone and they remain sick and possibly die. Then we shout at God, "I prayed and you didn't answer." Exchange that idea with praying simply because God and Jesus tell us to. There's no bargaining; we are simply doing what Jesus said to do. Then, if things don't work out the way we prayed that they would, we can tell ourselves that we prayed for that person because Jesus told us to. There's no sense of God not fulfilling His part of the bargain because we aren't bargaining. There's no sense of, "I must not have prayed hard enough." After all, the simplest prayer, the one that comes from the heart is another thing Jesus requested us to do. He never said the one who prays the hardest will be heard any more than the simplest prayer.. It's not an "if/then" situation. It becomes an, "I followed Jesus' request and that's enough for me."

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Inspiring Thoughts

Came across some lovely stories in old paperwork. They are too good not to share. Here goes:

BE A QUEEN

Oprah Winfrey said the following in a commencement address to the graduates of all-female Spelman College in 1993:

Be a queen. Dare to be different. Be a pioneer. Be a leader. Be the kind of woman who in the face of adversity will continue to embrace life and walk fearlessly toward the challenge. Take it on! Be a truth seeker and rule your domain, whatever it is--your home, your office, your family--with a loving heart.

Be a queen. Be tender. Continue to give birth to new ideas and rejoice in your womanhood. My prayer is that we will stop wasting time being mundane and mediocre. We are daughters of God--here to teach the world how to love.

It doesn't matter what you've been through, where you come from, who your parents are--nor your social or economic status. None of that matters. What matters is how you choose to love, how you choose to express that love through your work, through your family, through what you have to give to the world.

Be a queen. Own your power and your glory!


The next one is from an email that was circulated. Don't know if it's true or not and I'm not sure it matters. What does matter is the message behind the story.

It was a busy morning, approximately 8:30 am, when an elderly gentleman, in his 80's, arrived to have stitches removed from his thumb.

He stated that he was in a hurry as he had an appointment at 9:00 am.

I took his vital signs and had him take a seat, knowing it would be over an hour before someone would be able to see him.

I saw him looking at his watch and decided, since I was not busy with another patient, I would evaluate his wound. On exam it was well healed, so I talked to one of the doctors, got the needed supplies to remove his sutures and redress his wound.

While taking care of his wound, we began to engage in conversation. I asked him if he had a doctor's appointment this morning, as he was in such a hurry. The gentleman told me no, that he needed to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast with his wife. I then inquired as to her health. He told me that she had been there for awhile and that she was a victim of Alzheimer's Disease.

As we talked, and I finished dressing his wound, I asked if she would be worried if he was a bit late. he replied that she no longer knew who he was, that she had not recognized him in five years now.

I was surprised and asked him, "And you still go every morning, even though she doesn't know who you are?" He smiled as he patted my hand and said, "She doesn't know me, but I still know who she is."

I had to hold back tears as he left; I had goose bumps on my arm, and thought, "That is the kind of love I want in my life."

True love is neither physical, nor romantic. True love is an acceptance of all that is, has been, will be and will not be. 

ATTITUDE
by Charles Swindol

"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.
Attitude, to me, is more important than facts.
It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think, or say, or do.
It will make or break a company...a church...a home.

The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.
We cannot change our past--we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.
We cannot change the inevitable.
The only thing we can is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.
I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and
90% how I react to it.


ALL I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT LIFE I LEARNED FROM MY GIRLFRIEND

The best things in life are "girl things." Never break a date with a girlfriend to go out with a man. Great minds think alike, assuming they are female. An understanding girlfriend is cheaper than a therapist. You're perfect just the weight you are. There's a little wild woman in each of us. What's a bad hair day between girlfriends? Girls just want to have fun. Gems may be precious, but girlfriends are priceless.


HAPPINESS IS A CHOICE by Lou Tice

What would it take to make you happy? Thank about your answer for a moment.

Now, I know some of you think that if you only had this or that particular thing, you'd be happy. Others believe that if you were only in love with someone wonderful who loved you back, then you'd be happy. And there are probably still others who believe that if God would work a miracle and cure you or someone you love of an illness, that would make you happy.

But I want to tell you something. Happiness is a choice you make, not something that does or doesn't happen to you. You can choose to be happy right now, no matter what you have or don't have.

The first step is gratitude. If you develop and heighten your powers of appreciation by focusing on the beauty in your life instead of the imperfections, you will be halfway there. I guarantee that you will see an abundance of beauty in your life, regardless of your surroundings or circumstances, if you will only look for it.

Once you can see it--appreciate it! Not just intellectually--let it give you real joy. You see, the time to be happy is now, the place to be happy is here, and the reasons to be happy are all around you. So--what are you waiting for?


PLEASE TOUCH ME by Anonymous


I am your baby; please touch me.
Not just when you feed and diaper me,
but stroke my legs, my arms, my back, my head.
Hold me close in tenderness that says, "I love you."

I am your teenager; please touch me.
I need to feel a bond of love
coming through your hands, your arms.
I need to see it in your eyes, hear it in your voice.
Even when we disagree, some of me is still a child.
Please touch me!

I am a child with family of my own.
Please, put your arms around me, Mother, Father.
When my heart aches with heartaches you have known,
now that I am a parent, I see you differently, and love you more.
When you embrace your grandchildren, don't forget me.

I am your aging parent. Please touch me
the way my mother did when I was young.
My hair is coarse and gray, but please stroke it.
Embrace my tired body, I need your strength.
Please touch me.

Another one with no title:

"Your task?--To build a better world," God said.

To which I answered, "How?
This world is such a large, vast place,
so complicated now,
and I so small and useless,
there's nothing I can do."

But God in all his wisdom said,
"Just build a better you!"

Saturday, January 5, 2013

"It's Going To Be All Right!"

How many times have we said those words or similar ones to someone who is hurting or in some sort of crisis? How many times have we heard those words?

When someone is hurting, they don't need to hear platitudes such as above. They want to know you understand their pain. Deep down we all know that eventually, "It will be alright!" But, in the midst of pain, sorrow, and/or suffering those words sound hollow and meaningless. I don't want to be told that, "it will be okay." I want someone to reflect back to me that they understand I'm hurting and that it's no fun.

Imagine this conversation:

You: I just found out my best friend has cancer.

Your friend: That's awful! But it's going to be okay. Everything always works out.

Compare that with this:

You: I just found out my best friend has cancer.

Your friend: Oh, that's awful. You must feel so much sorrow and helplessness right now. You probably feel pretty scared, too.

Which resonates how you would really be feeling? The first one sounds almost dismissive. The second one sounds like the person is really listening to you and wants to share your pain. Which conversation makes you feel like you are really being heard?

I see this type of conversation with parents and kids all the time and, believe me, I was guilty on numerous occasions. But don't our kids need to know that we really hear them? And, even if the boo-boo or whatever seems small to us, don't we need to let our kids know that we understand that the boo-boo is big to them?

Another place I see the first conversation way too much is at funerals or other sad occasions. I believe that most people want their listeners to understand they are hurting. They know that eventually it will be okay. Even if it's not, there's probably not much they can do about it. What people want is for someone to hear them and share their sorrow and not reply with platitudes.

So this is a challenge for my readers... In the coming few weeks, when you hear someone saying something about a feeling, reflect that feeling back in a supportive manner. It will feel awkward at first. Our culture is very good at teaching us to move on to the next subject very quickly when it's not a pleasant subject. But watch the other person's reaction when you reflect back to them that you really hear what they are saying. I can almost guarantee that you will sense an inner sigh of relief from your listener. It will be as if their whole being is saying, "They are hearing me. Oh, that feels wonderful." You will probably feel different, too, because you will sense a new way of communicating and understanding that you might have been missing out on.




21 Reasons Why the English Language is Hard to Learn


  1. The bandage was wound around the wound.
  2. The farm was used to produce produce.
  3. The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
  4. We must polish the Polish furniture.
  5. He could lead if he would get the lead out.
  6. The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
  7. Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was to present the present.
  8. A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
  9. When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
  10. I did not object to the object.
  11. The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
  12. There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
  13. They were too close to the door to close it.
  14. The buck does funny things when the does are present.
  15. A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
  16. To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
  17. The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
  18. After a number of injections my jaw got number.
  19. Upon seeing the tear in the painting, I shed a tear.
  20. I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
  21. How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

Helpful tips

I found these in some old paperwork and thought I would post them for others to use. Here goes:


  1. Stuff a miniature marshmallow in the bottom of a sugar cone to prevent ice cream drips.
  2. Use a meat baster to "squeeze" your pancake bater onto the hot griddle--perfect shaped pancakes every time.
  3. To keep potatoes from budding, place an apple in the bag with the potatoes.
  4. To prevent egg shells from cracking, add a pinch of salt to the water before hard-boiling.
  5. Run your hands under cold water before pressing Rice Krispies treats in the pan--the marshmallow won't stick to your fingers.
  6. To get the most juice out of fresh lemons, bring them to room temperature and roll them under your palm against the kitchen counter before squeezing.
  7. To easily remove burnt-on food from your skillet, simply add a drop or two of dish soap and enough water to cover bottom of pan, and bring to a boil on stove-top--skillet will be much easier to clean.
  8. Spray your tupperware with nonstick cooking spray before pouring in tomato-based sauces--no more stains.
  9. When a cake recipe calls for flouring the baking pan, use a bit of the dry cake mix instead--no white mess on the outside of the cake.
  10. If you accidentally over-salt a dish while it's still cooking, drop in a peeled potato--it absorbs the excess salt for an instant "fix me up."
  11. Wrap celery in aluminum foil when putting in the refrigerator--it will keep for weeks.
  12. When boiling corn on the cob, add a pinch of sugar to help bring out the corn's natural sweetness.
  13. Don't throw out all that leftover wine: freeze into ice cubes for future use in casseroles and sauces.
  14. If you have a problem opening jars: try using latex dishwashing gloves. They give a non-slip grip that makes opening jars easy.
  15. Potatoes will take food stains off your fingers. Just slice and rub raw potato on the stains and rinse with water.
  16. To get rid of itch from mosquito bite: try applying soap on the area, instant relief.
  17. Use air-freshener to clean mirrors: it does a good job and better still, leaves a lovely smell to the shine.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

More on decisions

I posted a blog awhile back on decision-making and I came across another article about the topic and thought I would post the thoughts since they, like the previous post, are very good. This summary appeared in the May, 2011, edition of O Magazine written by Catherine Price. Here goes:


  1. Identify your goal. As David Welch, Ph.D., professor of political science at the University of Waterloo in Ontario and author of Decisions, Decisions: The Art of Effective Decision Making, explains, "People who aren't self-reflective are going to end up making bad decisions because they don't really know what they want in the first place." Before you switch jobs, ask yourself: Do I really want a different career? or do I just want a different boss? Don't make a decision based on the wrong problem.
  2. Eliminate choices by setting standards. If you're trying to buy a digital camera, list the features you'll actually use. Any camera that has them is therefore good enough for you; ignore anything fancier. Speaking of which...
  3. Don't worry about finding the "best." How good you feel about your decisions is usually more important than how good they are objectively.
  4. Be aware of biases. They can lead smart people to make dumb decision. For example: We hate to lose more than we like to win, which can result in behavior such as holding on to a tanking stock instead of acceting a loss. We remember vivid examples better than facts, which is why plane crashes stick in our heads more than statistics on air safety. And we're susceptible to how information is framed--a "cash discount" is more appealing than "no credit card surcharge." Keeping biases in mind can help you think clearly.
  5. Try not to rush. People tend to make poorer choices when they're in a bad mood or under a lot of stress. When facing a complex decision, use your conscious brain to gather the information you need, and then take a break. Go for a walk. Spend a half hour meditating. Take a nap. Have a beer. The idea is to give your unconscious mind some time to do its work. The decision you make afterward is more likely to be the right (or at least a perfectly acceptable) one.
  6. Don't sweat the small stuff. When possible, eliminate the need for decisions by establishing rules for yourself. You will go to yoga every weekend. You will not have more than two glasses of wine. You will buy whatever toilet paper is on sale.
  7. Do a postgame analysis. After each decision you make, ask yourself how you felt afterward and what about the experience you can apply in the future.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Binges

Every so often I go on binges and I'm not referring to a diet binge. My binges center more on projects. My latest binge has been to clear stuff out that I've been carting around forever and finish them. In the last month I've completed 4 large jigsaw puzzles, finished an afghan, started another, emptied crates of yarn to sort them out, and finished a counted cross-stitch piece. All this on top of working, resuming playing the bass and taking lessons as well as playing in community orchestra and being gone over Labor Day. I listen to audio-books while I'm doing projects so I feel like I'm getting two things done at the same time.

It feels really good to get stuff done and out when I've finished. I still have a lot of projects to finish up but it definitely feels good to get stuff done and out of the way.

What causes these binges to perk up in me? I've always been occupied with projects and stuff, but why does a "binge" start? I never know how long they'll last and I know that I'll keep working on stuff after the "binge" is over, but probably at a slightly slower pace.

Now my question is, do I keep the afghan or do I give it away? (By the way, it isn't lopsided; it's just that holding it up kind of pulls the yarn.)