Monthly Archives: April 2011

Thought For The Day 04/30/11

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Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get, it’s what you are expected to give — which is everything.

Like many millions, I watched the royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton….now the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Friday morning…..just as I watched another royal wedding 30 years ago. I hope and pray that this marriage lasts.  I believe it will! This was not an easy decision for this particular couple to make. Knowing how the history of the failed marriage of Prince Charles and Diana deeply impacted the nation of Great Britain and the perception of the monarchy, I am sure there were many nights of lost sleep and much soul-searching over the last years by this young couple. But I am equally certain that the decision they made to join their lives was made knowing the hard work that would be required to keep this marriage alive and vital and loving. Being married is hard work…probably the hardest work any person will ever do. Unless someone can honestly say they plan to still be married, AND in love 50 years from now, it should not be undertaken. Today, we live in a disposable society. The things we find distasteful or disagreeable or simply difficult are balled up and tossed out with the trash. We spend our lives today trying to re-invent ourselves over and over in the misguided belief that we can achieve ultimate happiness, when often,  true happiness was there all along we just missed grabbing a hold tightly the first time it presented itself. Mignon McLaughlin said, “A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.” I believe this is the young couple that will reunite the monarchy and the common man. But even more, I believe they are truly in love and will fall in  love with each other again and again and again….and grow old together, holding future generations in their arms.

A prayer for the couple

Heavenly Father, we ask that you help these newlyweds to forgive one another’s failings and grant that they may know patience, kindness, cheerfulness and the spirit of placing the well-being of one another ahead of self.

Thought For The Day 04/29/11

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My Plan is Forming

In thinking about plans for my life I am certain that Hospice volunteering is an area I wish to explore. Years ago I was a Visiting Nurse for the Visiting Nurse Association of Middlesex County (NJ) which is now VNA of Central NJ. I spent many years as a Hospice Nurse doing education for families on how to care for their terminally ill loved one at home. I arranged for resources and equipment for my patients, I did pain management coordination, and when death occurred, I pronounced and stayed with my families, sometimes for hours. The rewards I got for what little I really did were tremendous and I felt this was my calling….until I experienced Hospice first hand when both my mother and father-in-law passed away. They both remained in their homes and both were attended by different Hospice programs. I became disillusioned watching how other nurses viewed their roles as Hospice providers. I found that I was taking care of my family members myself, in many ways, becoming the nurse, rather than the daughter. They passed away two years apart, but in that two years, I burned out….plain and simple! From that moment what had been my passion became an oppressive weight. But as time has a way of healing the heart it also gifts us with an opportunity to really examining the times in our life that afforded us the greatest joy. My love for God and for my family is first and foremost but I think the time I spent with Hospice nursing ranks among the top in my list. So now that I am trying to discover just exactly where God is leading me, I will learn the things I need to know so that I will be prepared. Should Hospice Chaplaincy be the direction my path is heading, I want to begin compiling the resources I will need to help me with this. When I worked for Hospice, the internet was just an embryo. Now it has been born and grown into maturity. The resources at my fingertips are mind-boggling. I will be diligent! I will be passionate! I will be ready!

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I found this very informative article in my search and want to share it for any who are interested in learning a bit more about Hospice and its goals for families.

Touchstone Archives: Spiritual Morphine.

Thought For The Day 04/28/11

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“A soulmate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks…….Our soulmate is the one who makes life come to life.” 

Richard Bachman (author of “Jonathan Livingston Seagull”).

When I wrote about the important people in my life a week or so ago, I never wrote about my husband, Dan. Isn’t that the way it always is? Whether we mean to or not, we sometimes overlook those who are the closest to us. When I met Dan, I was instantly struck by how different he was than my father but how similar he was to my paternal grandfather, whom I loved so very much. My grandfather was a bank President, but he had his wild side too….he smoked and drank and liked to play poker. (My grandmother once told me a story that my parents never knew. When I was just a little girl I saw that my grandfather had put his Whisky Sour glass on the floor next to his chair. And of course, like any curious little one, I snuck around the back of his chair, grabbed the glass and downed the rest of the contents. My parents were away and I was spending the night with Mom-mom and Pop-pop. Of course, I became intoxicated and fell deeply asleep. The two of them maintained a constant vigil over me until I woke up, with absolutely no memory of any of this.) Anyway, there Dan was, working in a bar, cigarette in one hand and Rum and Coke in the other. He was huge, probably the tallest guy I had ever considered dating….all 6’6″ of him, and with size 13 EEE feet to boot. I expected to hear a voice a bit like Lurch from the “Adam’s Family” TV show, but what came out of his mouth was the opposite….a beautiful tenor voice, kind, intelligent, thoughtful and very, very funny. He was a student at the university near my college, majoring in psychology, and he worked as a counselor for troubled teens every afternoon and as a bouncer in a bar on weekends to pay his tuition. My family’s roots were well established having emigrated to this country from England and Scotland prior to the Revolutionary War, so this Italian Catholic working class guy from Staten Island opened more than a few eyes. I knew Dan would never have been my parent’s choice for me, just as I knew, from the moment I met him, as I told my college roommate that night, that he was the man I would marry. Maybe there was a bit of the rebel in me (it was the early 70’s after all) but this man attracted me as no other ever had…his personality was positively magnetic. The attraction between us must have been mutual because once we began dating, there was never any other in his life either. He proposed about two months later and the rest is history. Our life together has been a constant roller coaster. At times I feel like I hate him more than any other human being on Earth and the next, he fills me with such a joy and feeling of completeness that I nearly burst. But every challenge, no matter how huge it was, never separated us. We fought together and we survived together and we moved forward together. Dan is now an advocate for children who are in the system (a “Guardian Ad Litem” is appointed by the court to monitor kids in foster care or Dept of Social Services cases and to represent their interests in legal proceedings), in Horry County, SC, where we live. Dan is wonderful and has such an easy way of connecting with these children. He must assure that the best interests of these children is kept the highest priority. He has a brilliant mind and can readily identify the issues that must be addressed. Dan always challenges me to be a better person…..and I am….because of him and even in spite of him at times. Dan was in the Seminary at one time, studying for the Priesthood, a vocation that was not to be, though I believe had things proven different for him, way back when, he would have been a wonderful priest. I have no doubt that God led Dan and me down an improbable path, but one necessary to unite the two of us. I have no doubt that God has watched over our many struggles but it has been His divining hand that brought us through every challenge, strengthening our relationship in the process. And I have no doubt that God will be with us every step of the way for all our tomorrows.

Thought For The Day 04/27/11

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 Some History

Both of my parents were educators. It is what they were born for…what they were meant to do. My mother could make books and learning come alive and the pictures she painted in the minds of little ones was magical. My father’s forte was an older student but he was just as impactful considering he is still in touch with some of his former students some 50 plus years later. I have two sisters, both educators and both just as gifted with making learning a wonderful experience. My brother also worked in education but used his talents to keep the facility functioning and safe for the hundreds of students who spent a third of their day in that building. Somehow I always knew I would not teach. From my earliest memories, my passion lay in helping people (and animals) get well. My mother loved to tell the story about how I brought that wild “guinea pig” home to make it better, and cradled in my arms as I was walking up the driveway, was a dying rat the size of a cat! My “guinea pig” must have known I wasn’t going to hurt it (or else that guardian angel that protects innocent little ones was working overtime) because the rat never tried to hurt me at all. In looking back at my past, perhaps that educating gene wasn’t totally absent from my DNA because, although I practiced nearly every specialty available in nursing, the best fit for me was Hospice case management and discharge planning….all areas requiring educating the person who was ill about their disease process as well as how to care for themselves (or in some cases, teaching a family member or coordinating for outside assistance for my patient.) I was very good at what I did and probably would have been still practicing today if fate hadn’t changed the course of my life in 1998. Fortunately, God’s plan for our lives out ranks our own plans and those who accept those changes and can adapt their lives based on these new challenges are the ones who remain at peace with themselves….and with God. All I can do is make the best use of the talents and skills God has blessed me with in a new direction. I am not a religious scholar. I do not know the Bible cover to cover. But I do know what my heart is saying these days. I will learn and I will continue to travel the path I am destined to take.

Thought For The Day 04/26/11

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“Live life from your heart. Share from your heart. And your story will touch and heal other people’s souls.”

Melody Battle

I am finding that working with my grandson is something I love and am passionate about. Every day is a new adventure and watching as he discovers every new talent is amazing. I had two children….a daughter and a son. We were very involved in their lives. We took them to their sports practices and every game…. we attended every concert and school programs….we took them to museums and the planetarium. We took them to games and kept their ties to their grandparents in NJ and NY first and foremost in their lives. And yet, thinking back, I can’t remember the formative years…between 1 and 3….when the discovery of the world around them and their part in it all was happening. I was a working parent. I had to work so that we could afford to provide as many opportunities for our children as we could manage. But, looking back, it seems I may very well have missed more than I gained. I can’t remember the first time they saw a butterfly or a bird…I can’t remember feeding ducks….I can’t remember the playground or swings or the slide….I can’t remember seeing their faces when they saw the ocean or the beach for the first time. Those magical moments are gone forever. Thank goodness life goes on….because those things I missed out on 30 plus years ago are back…. in the face of a little boy who is almost 15 months old. God is giving me a second chance to experience such joy. I pray I have the opportunity of experiencing this same joy again and again. And I hope these words may cause you to take a second look at your life with your families. Spend as much time as you can possibly manage, witnessing the magic moments of what is truly, the miracle of childhood! What other job could be greater in the eyes of God?

Thought For The Day 04/25/11

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Where am I heading on this path?

I have learned a great deal about myself traveling this journey with you all and one very significant thing is that my forte is more with the written word than the oral word. While I seem to be able to organize my thoughts into a cohesive thread in print I lose all capacity for sensible, thoughtful insights when I try to speak them. Somehow, the words that seem to make sense when they’re in my head fail miserably somewhere between my brain and my mouth. I stumble, stutter and often something totally different ends up being uttered. I do OK reading the words I put to paper, and as long as I have that in my hand, I can speak in front of many.  But trying to recite them from memory (or from my heart) is an abysmal failure. I am OK with this flaw in my nature and talents. I always knew that I would never be able to preach or teach or lecture a large number of people. Fortunately, I don’t seem to be afflicted with the same handicap when holding an intimate conversation with only one or two people, even if I am teaching and even when the topic is my faith. And now, with that public acknowledgement out-of-the-way, it makes some decisions with what I am going to do with this faith I have found a bit easier to figure out. So far, blogging about my thoughts has come easily. I also know that Hospice is an area I am strongly drawn to, having been a Hospice nurse for many years. I do think that my future lies in that direction and I have made some preliminary inquiries about volunteering as a Hospice Chaplain. But yet, I still see this as happening in the future. Right now caring for my grandson, Landon, and setting his feet on the right path in life, seems to be the job God has seen fit to lay before me. But soon, even before I know it, the time will come when we need to introduce Landon to the camaraderie of other children. When that happens, I will re-examine all my options. In the meantime, and as long as the ideas and thoughts of faith continue to be born within my heart, I will continue with my writings and I hope, you will continue to share this journey with me!

Thought For The Day 04/24/11

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Christ the Lord is risen today! Hallelujah!

The entire foundation of Christianity is understanding what the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ really means for man. Because of the weakness of Eve and Adam in the garden of Eden, mortal man became fallen and corrupt. Condemned by God for their sin, Adam and Eve and all the children of the world would now know pain, hurt and the trials of daily life and die without hope for the joy of reuniting with God in Heaven. Jesus suffered the ultimate penalty for the sins of mortal man by taking our guilt upon Himself and dying horribly on the cross. On Easter, our faith teaches us that He rose bodily from the dead. This is the event in Christianity that promises that those who have been baptized and believe will not die but rather, be born again and join with the Father in the kingdom of Heaven. This is the mystery that Christians have celebrated since the earliest days of the church.  In 1 Corinthians 15:20-22 Paul joyfully declares: 

“..Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.  For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive…”

The secular component of Easter is celebrated in Christian households all over the world. We teach our little ones about the Easter Bunny and we give them Easter baskets filled with sweet treats. Magical moments of childhood like this are important but as parents, we mustn’t forget to teach them that these sweet treats symbolize the magic of the season of spring, when our world becomes green and fresh and new life springs forth all around us, just as Jesus was reborn that morning more than 2000 years ago. And we must remember to teach that the sweetest treat of all is God’s promise that we will live on in Heaven because of Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection! A wonderful poem, great for sharing this special story was written by Joanna Fuchs. I hope these words will become a tradition in your households and are shared every year as you and your family gather together for Easter!

Easter Joy

Jesus came to earth,
To show us how to live,
How to put others first,
How to love and how to give.

Then He set about His work,
That God sent Him to do;
He took our punishment on Himself;
He made us clean and new.

He could have saved Himself,
Calling angels from above,
But He chose to pay our price for sin;
He paid it out of love.

Our Lord died on Good Friday,
But the cross did not destroy
His resurrection on Easter morn
That fills our hearts with joy.

Now we know our earthly death,
Like His, is just a rest.
We’ll be forever with Him
In heaven, where life is best.

So we live our lives for Jesus,
Think of Him in all we do.
Thank you Savior; Thank you Lord.
Help us love like you!

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Please check out this wonderful, and inspirational You Tube video…….the message of Christ’s purpose sung by a powerful Christian singer!

“End of the Beginning” by David Phelps

http://youtu.be/ut0_tcsZVZU


Thought For The Day 04/23/11

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Holy Saturday

 We remember Holy Saturday, the final day of Lent, as the day Jesus was entombed. Many Christians keep a vigil, light candles and spend time in prayer and meditation regarding the events that lead to His crucifixion, much as the apostles did two millenia ago. For those who are Catholic, Mary is especially important to this day, because of her faithfulness in waiting for the resurrection of her son and this time is sometimes known as the “Ora della Madre” (Hour of the Mother).

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One Man’s Faith

“It’s amazing the ones who wait and hope for his return, but the truth and the time are in your heart.”
This quote was related by a colleague of mine who accompanied his wife on a recent business trip in Las Vegas. While absorbing  all the “to-do” around him, especially people professing that the end of times is near, a homeless man smiled at him and spoke those words.  My colleague was so moved that he offered to buy the man a meal but the man’s reply was even more profound, “There is no need for you to buy me anything, God provides everyone what they need according to their life situation.” Never have words more clad with the Holy Spirit been uttered by one so improbable. This man seemingly had nothing, but in truth, he had everything and more. He knew God! God provided for this man’s earthy wants, but even more, this homeless person, who held God in his heart, was nourished spiritually as well. He knew, perhaps even more than the greatest and brightest minds in the world, that our destiny  is not ours to know or even understand. Only God knows the path our lives are to take while we are here on earth and what we must hope for is that we lead a day-to-day existence worthy of His plan for us.  How do we accomplish that? We are not mirror images of one another. Each of us determines for ourselves the path we travel that leads us to a relationship with God. For me, my guide was recorded thousands of years ago on Mt Sinai…a list of moral and religious imperatives…engraved by the hand of God in stone, and given to Moses. While my words lack the formality of the traditional wording we know, they are my understanding of  the meaning of the Decalogue, as it was given to man.
  1. There will be no God but me.
  2. You are to serve only me and not worship the likeness of any other thing.
  3. Do not use my name in a profane way.
  4. Keep the sabbath as my day…the day you are to honor me.
  5. Honor and respect your parents.
  6. Do not kill another person.
  7. Do not betray your partner by being unfaithful to them.
  8. Do not steal from anyone.
  9. Do not lie.
  10. Do not want the things that belong to another person.

The order of the laws may vary for Protestants, Catholics and Jews, but that each one is included, and identical,  speaks of an unmistakable unity among monotheistic faiths despite their differences. And the wisdom of one man without the trappings of possessions, to explain so eloquently what many learned theologians struggle to express, is something I will continue to marvel at and admire, and yes, perhaps be a bit envious of (I am human after all). But I am forever changed for hearing this story and I hope you will be as well.

Thought For The Day 04/22/11

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Good Friday

Today is Good Friday and on this day we as Christians remember the suffering, and crucifixion of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Many of us spend this day in fasting, prayer, repentance, and meditation, in remembrance of His death, but Jesus clearly understood his mission on earth involved laying down his life as a sacrifice and that it was His Father’s will for him to die.

Mark 10:32-34
Taking the twelve disciples aside, Jesus once more began to describe everything that was about to happen to him in Jerusalem. “When we get to Jerusalem, the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die and hand him over to the Romans. They will mock him, spit on him, beat him with their whips, and kill him, but after three days he will rise again.”

Jesus agonized six hours on the cross before His spirit was given to His Father in Heaven. The end of our mortal life is not enough to atone for sin. Atonement requires a perfect, spotless sacrifice, offered in just the right way.  Jesus was born, lived and died, for the sole purpose of making the payment for our sin. Greater love than this never was nor will ever be known again.

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What we see when watching others depends on the purity of the window through which we look.

A woman was looking put of her window at her new neighbor hanging wash on the line in the back yard. She complained to her husband how dingy her neighbor’s clothes were. The next day dingy clothes again appeared on the line. The woman said to her husband that someone needed to teach this woman how to wash clothes. On day three, bright, white, clean wash was hung on the line. The woman wondered who it was that had taught her neighbor how to do laundry and her husband replied, “This morning I washed our windows”!

Do we also look at others through dirty windows? Are we quick to judge…to look and see only the stains and flaws in our fellow-man? Do others fail to meet our expectations? How about the people who surround us everyday? They are our loved ones but are often the ones we are the most judgemental and critical of. Perhaps that’s because we are really projecting onto others the way we see ourselves. While we often fail to recognize our own weaknesses, no matter how overt they may be, we are quick to point out the minor imperfections of another. Matthew 7:1 says “Do not judge others or you too will be judged!” Matthew continues to point out that if we look at others with honesty and justice, God’s judgement of us will also be honest and just. So perhaps it’s time for a little spring cleaning of our own windows. The next time your first impulse is to criticize others around you, STOP! THINK! THEN SPEAK! Make a conscious effort to say something positive. You will make that person’s day and feel a lot better yourself!

A Thought For The Day 04/21/11 (Holy Thursday)

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Remembering the Importance of Holy Thursday

For Christians, Holy Thursday is the most complex of the days leading to the resurrection for it is the day Christ celebrated the Last Supper with His disciples. It was also the last time they would all be gathered together and so it was the time Christ would say farewell to the assemblage. Only hours after the Last Supper, Judas would betray Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, setting the stage for Christ’s Crucifixion on Good Friday. Holy Thursday is also the oldest of the celebrations of Holy Week. For Catholics, this day commemorates their three pillars of Faith: Communion, Priesthood and Mass. During the Last Supper, Christ blessed the bread and wine with the very words that Priests use today during Mass and ministers use during Services. Christ instructed His disciples to “Do this in remembrance of Me,” thus making them the first priests and offering what would become the first mass.

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And on a lighter note, below is a fun thought for the day!

What If Moses Had The Internet?

With Passover this week for my Jewish friends and Easter near for my Christian friends, I thought I would share this You Tube post…”If Moses Had The Internet”. Considering most of you reading this blog  are as addicted to your computer as I know I am (I use it to further my MandysPath writings and almost look at it as a type of internet ministry, if you will), and in pondering what it really would have been like if the internet and Social Networks really had existed thousands of years ago, I’m betting the events leading to the Exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt wouldn’t have been much different from what is portrayed in this video! A tad irreverent? It is! (I don’t think it will be offensive to anyone but if you are concerned that this subject is one not to be taken lightly, you may want to skip seeing it.) But I think that the truth of something can often be found in the humor of it, and this video is funny!  I think and hope you will like it as much as I did! And maybe it will cause you to ponder this question too…what if Moses really had the internet? Just click the URL below and sit back and prepare to laugh! And to my Jewish friends, Hag kasher vesame`ah, or Happy and kosher Passover (Pesach).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIxToZmJwdI&feature=email