Monthly Archives: July 2011

Thought For The Day 07/31/11

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Today is my father’s 84th Birthday and I am very blessed that he is here with me to celebrate it. I wrote the following blog in April, 2011 as part of the series about my family. I am re-printing it today as a birthday tribute to the very first man I ever shared my life with!

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The Miracle of Family

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“Daddy, some day I will meet my prince charming but you will always be my king!”

~ ~ Author Unknown ~ ~

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Dad at the Waxaw Scottish Games, 2008

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My father, Harold Pierce, is the man in my life that I compared every other man I ever encountered to. He was raised a Christian and his faith is a huge part of his life even today at 84 years young, although if the truth is told, he’s really only 44 years young with 40 more years of experience under his belt!

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He and my mother grew up in the same town, a couple of blocks apart and a couple of years apart. They knew each other but never were very close until my grandmother informed him that he was GOING to take the Stafford girl to Glassboro State College where he was already a student and she was entering as a Freshman. The rest is history.

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I was born, the eldest of four children. My parents afforded each of us with every opportunity for a successful life and it must have taken because all of us have/had successful careers, marriages and children. Each of us was raised to love God and each of us, in our own way, is still a Christian. That my mother passed away too young was a tragedy, but my father went on to find happiness yet a second time with my stepmother….a woman as different from my mother as night and day but a woman equally devout, loving and totally devoted to my dad. And once again, the profound sadness at losing a spouse was to happen to him. He then came to live with Dan and me as home base, traveling to CO for about half the year to stay with my baby sister and her family.

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My father is active, plays golf, goes to his church every Sunday and joins men from the congregation on Mondays at a local eatery for “The Larry Breakfast”…so called because there are so many in this group of men who happen to be named Larry. He is equally at home in CO where the women at the mall seem to enjoy when he comes in to shop. My sister tells me one week he came home with 4 golf shirts that, in all probability, he didn’t really need.

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I guess I should be ready to add some amazing point to this story right about now……but I don’t have one, except to say that I am so very blessed to have my dad be such a big part of my life.My father is responsible for raising me to know and love God. He is a wonderful singer who shared his gift with our family and friends by singing at each of my children’s weddings. Along with my mother, my dad taught and showed me the joy that could be found in music. He walked me to the bus stop my very first day of school in 1959 and walked me down the aisle in 1975. A high school mathematics teacher and then school principal, he managed to get some math through to my brain…enough, at least, that I could graduate HS and do an ok job on my SAT’s because I did go to  and graduate from college. He taught me to use power tools. He taught me to shoot and water ski. He bailed me out on more than one occasion when I was falling on my behind and lifted me up when I couldn’t do it for myself. Thank you daddy, for being such a wonderful man and for living a Christ filled life worth aspiring to. I love you very much!

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 I still have a full deck; I just shuffle slower now. 

~ ~ Author Unknown ~ ~

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“MandysPath” Ministry

http://mandyspathministry-ulc.webs.com

Copyright © 2011 “MandysPath” Ministry-ULC

Thought For The Day 07/30/11

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The Glad Game!

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(Photo Courtesy of Rev. Michael Weissman)

http://www.circleofunifiedlife.org

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I am a sucker for older movies, and while there are some newly released ones that touch me, it is really the older ones that I find so stirring. You know which ones I am talking about….the ones that show family values in the best sense…the ones where people live happily ever after…the ones with a message that leaves me feeling like I am on top of the world! My “Pollyanna” feeling!

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I think it was after seeing “Pollyanna” recently with Landon that I realized that I spend entirely too much time seeing my glass as half empty. I have a myriad of faults, of which Dan could probably opine about for hours on end. I admit it. And most of my faults I am aware of. I am most certainly not proud of them and I have struggled over the years to get a grip on them. I don’t want to feel like “Debbie Downer” from “Saturday Night Live”! And so I am wondering just exactly how easy it will be to turn a positive spin on the things I am faced with today. Perhaps excluding the debt ceiling miasma in Washington for which I have no control over except when I enter the voting booth come next election day, how many things do I see in any given day where I focus on the negative instead of the positive? Can I play the “Glad Game” too?

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 Now I know that for clergy, conveying God’s word is not all “moon-light and canoes”, one of Dan’s favorite adages. And because the messages in the Bible have a time line which we must follow in order to gain a true understanding of what is trying to be conveyed by the religious scholars who have written down the words of God, we often do not have the luxury of choosing only the “Glad” passages. God, as editor and chief, has scripted the order in which His message to the world must be delivered. But for humankind to grow and thrive in today’s world, we need to look to the positive words for the inspiration that will carry us through the day.

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So often we are the ones that choose to become mired down in the mud of unhappiness. But indeed, that is something we each have direct control over. When we get out of bed in the morning, often our day is dictated by how it is we arise. If we have been restless during the night and awaken tired and with a headache, our day will surely follow that same trend. Unless we take control and tell ourselves that today will be beautiful and joyful and a day to celebrate the wonders He has made. As the hell-fire and damnation preacher in Pollyanna discovered, when you look for the bad in people, you will surely find it. And those words apply to the person that is us, as well! Yes, we must know that the payment God asks of all of us for our salvation is not always joyful, but the reward surely is and if we choose to play the “Glad Game”, our time on earth can be as well!

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Every day may not be good, but there’s something good in every day. 

~ ~ Author Unknown ~ ~

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“MandysPath” Ministry

http://mandyspathministry-ulc.webs.com

Copyright © 2011 “MandysPath” Ministry-ULC

Thought For The Day 07/29/11

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Losing Their Way In The World!

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Why is it that so many of today’s teens seem to be losing their way in this world? We are seeing abusive behaviors in our young people at an alarming rate today and just because we are raising our children with faith does not insulate them from these behaviors. The statistics show that teens who attend religious services versus those who are non church going are nearly identical when it comes to the age when both alcohol and drug experimentation begins. How many of us are aware that the average age for the first drink of alcohol is 12 and the average age for drug experimentation is 13? (This data is per the National Institute of Health.) And a Gallup poll conducted with 500 teens discovered that drug abuse is the number one concern of young people, outranking alcohol, AIDS, and even the economy. And so the question must be, do we as parents really know how to identify the risk factors for this type of behavior or do we continue to believe that this type of behavior would never be something our child would engage in? Is there a list we can reference if we have concerns that something isn’t quite right with our child?

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I looked to the internet to get some perspective as well as information about this issue and found most authors seem to have concentrated their research and documented their conclusions on some specific areas as well as risk factors. I have endeavored to briefly summarize these conclusions, though I encourage each of you to do your own research, especially if you have concerns.

  • I don’t believe it will come as any surprise to discover that it is the child with the lowest self-esteem that is the most at risk for being influenced in a negative way and begin to engage in self-destructive behaviors. As parents we must make sure our children know that they are special and worthy and deserving of respect from others as well as from themselves. Temper the urge to scold or discipline using negative rhetoric and instead, talk to your teen by using positive words….exactly the same attitude and words you expect from them when they address you.
  • We must teach our children that going along with others is not always the smart choice and that drugs and alcohol and sex are not “cool”, and in fact, can be dangerous. But even more than saying these things is showing children these things by our example. Children, even though they may resist listening to their parents, really do hear their words and see the example being set each and every day. Do not allow illegal substances in your home. EVER!
  • Parents need to know who their children are friends with and where their children will be. Our children do not need a parent who is a friend. They need a parent who is a parent and who will set limits and establish rules. Teens need supervision of their activities. Dan and I always maintained an open door policy in our home because we preferred having every child in our neighborhood in our house where we knew what was going on.
  • Encourage extra curricular activities and clubs and hobbies and sports. If it doesn’t already exist, encourage your school or church to begin a “Just Say No” group, and offer to moderate this group if necessary. Encourage pursuits that stimulate the mind as well as the body. And participate in those things where your presence is not only welcomed but encouraged. Attend those games, be a chauffeur to meetings. It might be inconvenient at times but it is what you signed up for when your children came into the world.
  • Education about drugs and alcohol is something that should not just be left up to schools to provide. Become an educated parent about drugs and then teach your children. Read the literature. Surf the web. Speak to your doctor or your educator if necessary. You wouldn’t buy a car or even groceries without reading labels or doing research. Be just as informed about illicit substances.

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Yesterday I remembered a quote from a wonderful movie, “Parenthood”, spoken by Keanu Reeves and it has remained fixed in my mind ever since:

“In this country you need a license to drive a car; you need a license to own a dog; hell, you even need a license to catch a fish. But they’ll let any *hole be a father…” .

And whether we like the vernacular or not, it is a profound quote and all too true. So now my question must be this. What are we, as parents, going to do about it?

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 The organization Straight, Inc., has produced the following checklist of eighteen warning signs of alcohol or drug abuse. Read them, memorize them and post them on your refrigerator.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with your teen knowing you are watching their every move….that is your responsibility as a parent!

  1. School tardiness, truancy, declining grades
  2. Less motivation, energy, self-discipline
  3. Loss of interest in activities
  4. Forgetfulness, short or long-term
  5. Short attention span, trouble concentrating
  6. Aggressive anger, hostility, irritability
  7. Sullen, uncaring attitudes and behavior
  8. Family arguments, strife with family members
  9. Disappearance of money, valuables
  10. Changes in friends, evasiveness about new ones
  11. Unhealthy appearance, bloodshot eyes
  12. Changes in personal dress or grooming
  13. Trouble with the law in or out of school
  14. Unusually large appetite
  15. Use of Visine, room deodorizers, incense
  16. Rock group or drug-related graphics, slogans
  17. Pipes, small boxes or containers, baggies, rolling papers or other unusual items
  18. Peculiar odors or butts, seeds, leaves in ashtrays or clothing pockets

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“MandysPath” Ministry

http://mandyspathministry-ulc.webs.com

Copyright © 2011 “MandysPath” Ministry-ULC

Thought For The Day ~ ~ Recall

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RECALL NOTICE:

The Maker of all human beings (GOD) is  recalling all units
manufactured, regardless of make or year, due to  a serious
defect in the primary and central component of the  heart.
This is due to a malfunction in the original prototype  units
code-named Adam and Eve, resulting in the reproduction  of
the same defect in all subsequent units. This defect  has
been technically termed “Sub-sequential Internal
Non-Morality,” or more commonly known as S.I.N., as it is
primarily  expressed.

Some of the symptoms include:
1.  Loss of direction
2. Foul vocal emissions
3. Amnesia of  origin
4. Lack of peace and joy
5. Selfish or violent  behavior
6. Depression or confusion in the mental  component
7. Fearfulness
8. Idolatry
9.  Rebellion

The Manufacturer, who is neither liable nor at  fault for
this defect, is providing factory-authorized repair  and
service free of charge to correct this  defect.

The Repair Technician, JESUS, has most  generously offered to
bear the entire burden of the staggering cost  of these
repairs. There is no additional fee  required.

The number to call for repair in all areas is:  P-R-A-Y-E-R.
Once connected, please upload your burden of SIN  through the
REPENTANCE procedure. Next, download ATONEMENT from  the
Repair Technician, Jesus, into the heart  component.

No matter how big or small the SIN defect is,  Jesus will
replace it with:
1. Love
2.  Joy
3. Peace
4. Patience
5.  Kindness
6. Goodness
7. Faithfulness
8.  Gentleness
9. Self control

Please see the  operating manual, the B.I.B.L.E. (Basic
Instructions Before Leaving  Earth) for further details on
the use of these fixes. WARNING:  Continuing to operate the
human being unit without correction voids  any manufacturer
warranties, exposing the unit to dangers and  problems too
numerous to list and will result in the human unit  being
permanently impounded. For free emergency service, call  on
Jesus.

DANGER: The human being units not  responding to this recall
action will have to be scrapped in the  furnace. The SIN
defect will not be permitted to enter Heaven so as  to
prevent contamination of that facility. Thank you for  your
attention!

GOD

P.S. Please assist where possible by notifying  others of
this important recall notice, and you may contact the  Father
any time by ‘Knee mail’!

 

Thought For The Day 07/28/11

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Me !!!!!

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I have been writing my thoughts for months now. I have talked about my family, my faith, my passions, my pursuits and my dreams. But suddenly I realized that most of you don’t know a lot about me. Who exactly is Mandy? What are the things that have brought me to this place in my life? If truth be known, sometimes I wonder how much I actually know myself. I can give you all my biography, but whether or not that will help you to really know me is an entirely different thing.

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I am the eldest of 4 children, born in Philadelphia, PA and raised in South Jersey. I was raised in the same town both of my parents were born in and I was given the tools of faith from a very early age. I was raised Methodist and in my jewelry box I still have the pin my Sunday School added bars to every year for perfect attendance. Even when I was a child and we traveled, like 1966 when we vacationed in Nassau, my parents made it a point to find a church and a Sunday School for us to attend. My perfect attendance pin is 14 years long.

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I attended High School in a neighboring town and even way back when, I showed an aptitude for writing. I was placed in an honors English and History class and the English part took, while the History part? Not so much! I wanted to be a doctor but somewhere along the way I didn’t think I was smart enough to pursue a medical degree and so I decided early on to pursue a career in nursing. And while I think I would have been happy attending a diploma program, my parents felt that a degree was a necessity. And, of course, everything happens as it is meant to, because it was while I was away at college that I met my husband. Dan and I married in 1975 and I graduated with my BSN in 1976.

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I find that often nurses either find the one place where they are the most fulfilled and stay there for their entire career, or they search again and again, trying to find that perfect fit. That was me. I worked in a hospital in nearly every area including the cardiac ICU, I worked as a psychiatric nurse, I was a supervisor in a very large nursing home, I worked in home care with a specialty in hospice services, I was a supervisor for discharge planning in a university hospital and lastly, was a case manager for high level trauma patients in NYC. And along the way, I took the time to deliver a daughter and a son who were and are, my pride and joy! I raised my children in the Presbyterian faith, becoming a deacon along the way. And then I became sick and somehow, lost my way, and my faith, for a while. I was no longer able to work…..actually for a number of years I was not able to walk either and that was the thing that prompted our relocation to SC in 2000. We needed to downsize and simplify. We settled our children who opted to remain up north, packed the car with clothes, a TV, Dan’s golf clubs, our computer, and us and we never looked back! And we lived, happily ever after! Almost!

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There always seemed to be something missing in my life with Dan once we arrived here. We were happy. We were and still are in love. And even when Sabrina moved here, married and gave birth to our grandson, something was still missing. Then, in March, 2011, I heard a whisper and felt His hand on my heart. I was not looking for these things….they just happened. I knew with my entire being that I was being led in a new direction and that it was a journey that I HAD to make. I couldn’t totally explain it to Dan but, thank the Lord, he loves me with all his heart and he is not one to question an epiphany like the one I experienced. And in a way, I think he had his own spiritual reawakening in January, 2011, when he made the decision to undergo training to become a SC Guardian Ad Litem. And, of course, as you all know, “MandysPath” was born. My blogs are being re-printed all over the world and those who are following my journey are growing every day.

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I am no gifted preacher. I will never have a church and parishioners. But I do have an internet ministry. I spread His message to many through my blogs. I do spiritual counseling for some people who, much like I did, have lost their way. I have developed outreach services by affiliating with Fostering Hope and I will be establishing my chaplaincy for hospice once my credentialing is completed by the state. I wake up every day with a joy in my heart and I know that everything I have been through and done in my life was His plan for bringing me to this place. I am happier than I have ever been before!

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Often people attempt to live their lives backwards; they try to have more
things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want, so they will be
happier.  The way it actually works is the reverse.  You must first be who you
really are, then do what you need to do, in order to have what you want. 


~ ~ Margaret Young  ~ ~

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“MandysPath” Ministry

http://mandyspathministry-ulc.webs.com

Copyright © 2011 “MandysPath” Ministry-ULC

Thought For The Day 07/27/11 (Hospice)

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Never Say Never!

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(Photo courtesy of Rev. Michael Weissman)

http://www.circleofunifiedlife.com

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I thought the post I wrote on 07/23/11 would be the last one I would write about hospice for a while….but never say never!

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During the nearly ten years I worked as a hospice nurse I thought I had heard and seen nearly everything that was possible to experience when assisting families through the dying process. Juggling these families, and their individual set of quirky “family dynamics” can be quite a challenge and frequently gives birth to innovative and uniquely individual plans of care. I gave an elderly mother comfort when I fulfilled her request that her daughter not be removed from the house by the funeral home until she was fully dressed….including undergarments and girdle, stockings, dress, and shoes; I helped a man who wanted his wife moved from her hospital bed to the bed they had shared for more than 40 years so that he might be able to lay next to her and hold her for her last moments; I helped a patient into a wheelchair so that she might be able to go out on the porch and feel the sun on her face one last time. I answered every question they asked because not knowing the answer would have increased the anxiety and fear that even the best prepared hospice family sometimes experiences. But Tuesday, I had to answer questions from a relative who lives out west, and who is dealing with hospice services being provided to a family, not her own. This family lives next door and the woman who is dying is the grandmother of her daughter’s boyfriend. (Don’t be concerned if you can’t quite figure out the relationships here!)

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Now this woman who is dying is coming home from an inpatient hospice facility so that her last days might be spent in her youngest daughter’s home. The family has gathered together to make the preparations for this homecoming. This dying woman’s eldest daughter and her family have traveled from the east coast to be able to share the gift of spending these last days together. Then suddenly, tragedy strikes this family. The daughter from the east eats something with Pignolias (pine nuts) in it, developes an allergic reaction, and in the blink of an eye, is gone at age 45.

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My relative was planning dinner for this family to celebrate being together and beginning this final journey but now she doesn’t know what to do. She asked me if she should continue these dinner plans. She asked me who makes the arrangements to have this woman returned to the east coast. And she asked me how do they tell a dying woman that she has lost her daughter. These are all important questions to ask because this situation is so unique to this family and it is unlikely that something exactly like this has ever happened before. I answered her questions to the best of my ability since I don’t know the family involved at all. But I look to my experience and my faith to guide me in the answers I give.

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Now, more than ever, this family needs the support of friends who will just be there…to help and to listen. Yes, dinner plans should be continued, even though appetites may not cooperate. But the simple act of breaking bread together cements the bonds of love and friendship that will be so vital to this family in the days ahead. I tell her that the arrangements can be placed in the hands of the funeral home. They will network with the airlines and the funeral home in Georgia and will handle the details that the sudden shock of this situation will prevent the family from being able to think through right now. And I tell her that yes, this hospice patient needs to be told about her daughter’s death. The simple fact that she is mourning her own impending death does not lessen the need she will have to make her peace and say her “goodbyes” to her daughter and while the final decision is up to the family to make, I believe that even if she is not told, she will know there is a monumental secret that is being kept. Should she find out at a later time, it is likely she will resent being prevented from grieving for her lost child, and this would, most certainly, serve to undermine the resources she will need as her own life forces wane.

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When God designed man and endowed him with the gifts of character and human nature, perhaps the greatest gift bestowed was that of resilience.  It is our resilience that allows us to grow and become a better person by overcoming the obstacles that are placed in our path each and every day. It is by meeting these challenges head on that we learn to develop the inner resources so vital for our growth, both emotional as well as spiritual. We do not accomplish, or love, or achieve things in life without being willing to challenge…..without daring to take those chances, even when the prospects of doing so are terrifying. For it is only when you stop and look in the eyes that which you fear, that you will be able to defeat it and replace that fear with victory!

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“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled.  For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.”

~ ~ Author Unknown ~ ~

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“MandysPath” Ministry

http://mandyspathministry-ulc.webs.com

Copyright © 2011 “MandysPath” Ministry-ULC

Thought For The Day 07/26/11

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The Empowerment of Forgiveness!

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(photo courtesy of Friar Jeffrie Wallace)

http://facebook.com/friar.j.l.wallace

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Can there be any heartache more acute than the pain that is felt as the result of betrayal by a friend? Since the beginning of times, man has sought to live as part of a community. This was necessary for survival of what is truly a fragile life form…a human being. A community afforded its members protection from predators and more individuals hunting or foraging meant greater success in finding food sources. A community also allowed for a safer environment for the rearing of children and for the exchange of information key to growing and learning and surviving in the world. And while, for the most part, we no longer need a community for this type of supportive nurturing, the emotional support afforded to the members of a community or extended family today remains just as vital and necessary.

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The organization and banding together of a group of people, all with a common purpose, is a fundamental necessity today and is why we have sought to established ourselves into various communities, consisting of (but certainly not limited to) towns, churches, businesses, companies, etc. Even today, we grow and thrive physically, mentally and spiritually, because of the knowledge and wisdom we have gained from the free exchange of information within our group. However, there can come a time when we forget that the best things in life are the result of our affiliation with others. We begin to think only about ourselves and our own selfish needs and so we may betray the trust and confidences that others have placed with us as friends. Even our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ was not immune to betrayal by those who were closest to him and whom he dearly loved. Following the Last Supper, Jesus retired to the Garden of Gethsemane, to pray to God and to begin preparations for the events that would transpire. Jesus knew what the future would hold. He told the disciples of the betrayals and denials that were to come. And while Jesus was able to forgive all who caused Him such sadness, we who are all too mortal, often have a much more difficult time with the act of forgiveness.

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What is the real motive behind our propensity to hold onto anger? Are we secretly hoping to hurt the person who wronged us right back? Unfortunately, feeling that way usually hurts only one person….ourself! When we hold onto anger we are not happy…we are not contented…we are not at peace with ourselves. What we need to look for is the good that can often arise from the bad….just as a forest becomes reborn following a wild-fire. Forgiving teaches us more about our inner resources and the “stuff” we are made of than almost any other choice we can make in our daily life. The ability to forgive empowers us and keeps us from being a victim even though to do so often goes against our nature. But forgiveness is what faith teaches us we must do and we must trust that God will give us the inner resources so that we can accomplish this.

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It’s really amazing when two strangers become the best of friends,

but it’s really sad when the best of friends become two strangers.

“Morgan’s Quotes” 

http://morgie31.tripod.com/id6.html

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“MandysPath” Ministry

http://mandyspathministry-ulc.webs.com

Copyright © 2011 “MandysPath” Ministry-ULC

Thought For The Day 07/25/11 (Hospice)

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WHY?

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(photo courtesy of Friar Jeffrie Wallace)

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I am a baby boomer. I have lived through many triumphs as well as tragedies that have happened in our world in my nearly 57 years of life. I have witnessed the birth of the space race, the death of a great President, both the birth and death of armed conflicts too numerous to list, the birth of the rights of gays, and the death of 3000 souls 10 years ago. And I have been gladdened and saddened by it all. But in the last couple of days, the absolute gut wrenching pain of the senseless deaths of so many at the hands of peers has left me stunned and reeling and heartbroken. What evil has imbedded itself so firmly and corrupted so completely, the human heart? I can’t help but ask the question once again. You know which one because it’s the same one you all find that you are asking as well. Why does God let bad things happen in our world?

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What we need to remember is that while God allows the bad he does not cause the bad. We are not marionettes, whose every movement is controlled by Him. What God has given us is the freedom to walk the earth, live our own lives and make our own decisions. Because we can each choose our own paths, and they do not always follow God’s path, we create situations that are far from the perfect plan God intended. But when we stumble on that path, and the bad things happen, I believe God is right there next to us, feeling our pain and grieving right along with us. His purpose is not to control human action, but instead, to give us the inner resources to survive, overcome, triumph and to carry on, continuing along the path we have chosen…the path that is our life.

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And so, I am wondering just exactly what we can do when we are faced with the bad. Is there a way to turn the pain and anger into action? Perhaps we need to look evil in the eye, head on, and then decide what its polar opposite is, make a plan of action, and just do it. Stuck in the mud? Reach for the clouds! Fear death? Then embrace life. It was this kind of thinking that I embraced when I felt upset over the Casey Anthony verdict. My choice was to embrace a cause that would honor other children in my own community who are also innocent victims. Are you angry over the deaths in Norway or those shot at the roller rink in Texas Saturday night? Volunteer in your own community. Help battered women trying to escape a life of violence; help children with reading or volunteer with an after school program; deliver meals on wheels; clean out your pantry, find your local food bank and deliver some non perishables; clean out your closet and donate your gently used clothes; volunteer at Habitat for Humanity; become a Guardian Ad Litem; become a volunteer for your local hospice program. Do something! Do ANYTHING! But give back right where you live. Turning a bad situation into a catalyst for helping your “neighbor” is something that the Devil will hate the most and something that God will love the most!

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Being good is commendable, but only when it is combined with doing good is it useful.

~ ~ Author Unknown ~ ~

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“MandysPath” Ministry

http://mandyspathministry-ulc.webs.com

Copyright © 2011 “MandysPath” Ministry-ULC

Thought For The Day 07/24/11

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Second Chances!

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We all have heard the saying “you never get a second chance to make a first impression” and yet, isn’t it a wonderful thing that God gives us second chances each and every day? It’s not a coincidence that one of Jesus’ names is “Redeemer”! The very definition of redeem is “to clear by payment” and Jesus did that for us all…..in spades! All those sins I’ve accumulated in my life are wiped clean and every day is a new beginning. How wonderful a gift is that? So I think that each and every day, I’ll start by thanking God, and then just simply enjoy those second chances He’s blessed me with!

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Yesterday I was able to experience a second chance by enjoying a child’s birthday party with my grandson. No, it wasn’t  Landon’s birthday, but a party he was invited to. His little friend from daycare celebrated her 2nd birthday and grandma took Landon since mommy and daddy were working. Can there be anything more magical that being able to witness a little child’s birthday celebration? It was so wonderful helping Landon participate in party games, sing “Happy Birthday” and enjoy the magic that is giving to another from your heart, without the expectation of getting back anything except the joy of fun and friendship and fellowship celebrated with others.

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Yes, God gives us all second chances, and third chances, and a million chances each and every day, and all we have to do is reach out and grab a hold of them with both hands. And while we celebrate our gift of second chances, perhaps it’s time we shared that gift with another. Isn’t there someone in our life deserving of a second chance by our forgiveness of a transgression perpetrated by them? Who do you want to forgive today? All you have to do is pick up the phone! All you have to do is write a letter! All you have to do is send an email! No matter how you choose, just DO IT! Paying those blessings of God’s second chances forward will change you forever and just might change the world!

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 Forgive all who have offended you, not for them, but for yourself. 

~ ~ Harriet Nelson ~ ~

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“MandysPath” Ministry

http://mandyspathministry-ulc.webs.com

Copyright © 2011 “MandysPath” Ministry-ULC

Thought For The Day 07/23/11 (Hospice)

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Pearls of Wisdom

The Final Word….Perhaps!

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Providing long-term spiritual care, especially to those suffering from a terminal illness as well as to family members, is some of the most difficult work a person can undertake in ministry. And while the role of chaplains is so vital to the emotional health of the families they service as well as to the other members of the hospice team, the chaplain also has a need to feel adequately supported as well. While the work performed by hospice chaplains can be rewarding, constantly being confronted with the death of another forces us to constantly examine not only our own mortality, but what the meaning for our lives really is. The expectations that are placed on chaplains can often times be unrealistic to meet and may result in a high incidence of anxiety, and perhaps even depression. Ministry is a job that can breed isolation and loneliness and chaplains and ministers often feel as if they can’t tell anyone how they are feeling lest they jeopardize the important work they are doing and because it violates their understanding of their faith. And so the big question is, where do chaplains turn for the support that is needed so that they can continue doing the work that is so vital to so many?

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There are an increasing number of Minister Support groups being formed all over the country. The goal of these groups is to nurture, support and coach and allows for networking and discussion with other clergy. Telephone contact can also be made when there is a fear that a crisis is imminent. There is one such network through Abilene Christian University: http://www.acu.edu/academics/cbs/centers-services/churchrelations/services/msn.html  ,  and another called “Ministering to Ministers Foundation: http://www.mtmfoundation.org/Servant/Vol_3_1/ministers.htm.

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And finally, one thing I found helpful was sitting down and writing out my thoughts about any struggles I was having relating to the hospice services I was providing. For a chaplain or other provider of hospice services, keeping a brief journal of your feelings, questions, concerns, successes and misses as you are working with your family members not only serves as a therapeutic tool but as a resource for future hospice cases (…I won’t ever make that mistake again…), and allows the opportunity to vent in a way that will preserve the sacrosanct bonds of pastoral privilege. Not only can this tool help the hospice care team, but is also wonderful exercise to suggest to hospice families. There is something very therapeutic about sitting quietly, pen in hand (or keyboard) and  “sorting out” your thoughts about your experiences. For family members, this may be by writing a letter to the person who died and can include:

  • A special memory that I have about you…
  • What I miss the most about you and our relationship…
  • What I wish I had said or had not said…
  • What I’d like to ask you…
  • What I wish we’d done or had not done…
  • What I have had the hardest time dealing with…
  • Ways in which you will continue to live on in me…
  • Special ways I have for keeping my memories of you alive…

Even encouraging the dying to write (or dictate to you) a letter to family members allows for saying things that may be difficult to express face-to-face, and most certainly will become something tangible for their family members to treasure forever. My mother did this when she knew that there was nothing more that could be done to sustain her life and I keep this letter in a scrap-book next to flowers that I kept from her funeral and which I pressed between the pages of that book.

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I want to personally extend to each and every single person reading this latest series of blogs my thanks for wanting to learn and understand more about the concept that is hospice. I hope you are left with greater insight into how hospice works, what it means, and what it hopes to accomplish. I also extend my heartfelt congratulations to those who are choosing to make Hospice your choice for service as a minister. There can be no greater gift we can give our fellow-man than the gift of being there to help a person along on their final journey in life.

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Some people come into our lives and quickly go.  Some stay for a while, leave
footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same. 

 ~ ~ Flavia Weedn ~ ~  
Forever, © Flavia.com

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“MandysPath” Ministry

http://mandyspathministry-ulc.webs.com

Copyright © 2011 “MandysPath” Ministry-ULC