Monthly Archives: November 2011

Thought For The Day 11/23/11

Standard

Are We Selfish?

___

___

Character is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that’s right is to get by, and the only thing that’s wrong is to get caught.

J.C. Watts

___

I can’t help but wonder what would have happened to our country’s history if the pilgrims had not sought and received assistance from the Native American community who resided in the area they were seeking to settle, in 1621! And while this land now known as the United States of America would surely have been visited and homesteaded by other people from Europe, had the pilgrim’s desire to seek a land where they would be able to practice their religion freely and without the censorship and persecution that was so pervasive in England somehow not succeeded, what would be the “trickle down” effect that would be seen today? Would our history be the same? Would we have successfully triumphed over the British Crown during the American Revolution?

___

I am reminded of a story by Ray Bradbury, “A Sound Of Thunder”, where rich Americans pay to travel back to the time of prehistory, and where just one tiny mis-step off the traveling path changed the entire course of history as we know it.

___

It seems to me that we all too often, take for granted, the many special things we have been gifted with. Certainly the pilgrims took for granted the assistance the Native American population gifted them with nearly 400 years ago. Rather than appreciating these special people, we abused them, murdered them, moved them from their ancestral lands, and we took and took and took from them. And even today, we are apt to take and take and take without giving anything back. Why is it that people seem to harbor some internal “selfishness gene” which causes us to go through life thinking only of me, my and mine and seldom we and ours and almost never you or yours!

___

It is apparently human nature to think first about ourselves. And most probably, this is some in-born need, necessary from man’s earliest days, to guarantee self-preservation. However, it is so important that we recognize this as a weakness in mankind and not allow it to become an acceptable way of leading our lives in today’s world. So, what things can we look at to help us to become a people who live lives as givers and not takers?

___

1.How about trying to put yourself in the shoes of your neighbor. Walking a mile in someone elses shoes sure gives you a fresh perspective of things!

2.Listen and really hear what someone is saying. Concentrate of the point they are trying to make and understand their side of the argument. And DO NOT INTERRUPT!

3.Be proactive in looking for ways to help! Think about what you can do to anticipate the needs of another!

4.Remember those special days like birthdays and anniversaries and give some serious thought to your gifting choices. The gift that is convenient to you may not be appropriate for another!

5.Keep in touch with your family and friends. Treasure every single shared moment for none of us can know with certainty what tomorrow will bring!

6.Be a truly nice person. If someone does a favor, find some way to repay it. If someone has some advice for you, listen to it! Compliment others and accept the compliments from others graciously!

7.VOLUNTEER! Make volunteering your personal mantra! There is nothing more important than giving freely of your time and your talents!

8. Be honest, loyal and considerate! Having a gathering? How about inviting that person who never seems to be included in the plans you or your friends have! Remember when you were a kid and it seemed like everyone else in your class was invited to the birthday party? Remember how you felt?

9.Be on time. Let others know that you appreciate the time they are setting aside for you!

___

Give these thoughts a ponder and then see if you can apply one or two or all of them to your life. You may just discover that you like yourself a bit more!

___

Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.

James 3:13-15

___

http://mandyspathministry-ulc.webs.com

Copyright © 2011 “MandysPath” Ministry-ULC

Thought For The Day 11/22/11

Standard

T’was The Month Before Christmas

___

 

___

If you don’t like how things are, change it! You’re not a tree.

Jim Rohn

___

This post traveled the internet, where many genius pieces are found, usually without giving credit to the person who penned the piece. Now I can not guarantee the author but I believe it’s creator was “IZZYBEBOP” who writes “IZZYBEBOP’s Blog”. I have seen posts by the person before and I think this blog site is worth checking out! (IZZY, I am envious of your gift with the word and hope with all my heart that you continue to write month after month! Thank you for this gift and reminder to us all!)

http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=4580842

___

T’was the month before Christmas

When all through our land,

Not a Christian was praying

Nor taking a stand.

___

See the PC Police had taken away

The reason for Christmas – no one could say.

The children were told by their schools not to sing

About Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.

___

It might hurt people’s feelings, the teachers would say

December 25th is just a ‘ Holiday ‘.

Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, checks and credit

Pushing folks down to the floor just to get at it!

___

CDs from Lady Ga Ga, an X BOX, an I-Pod

Something was changing, something quite odd!

Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa

In hopes to sell books by Franken & Fonda.

___

As Targets were hanging their trees upside down

At Lowe’s the word Christmas – was nowhere to be found.

At K-Mart and Staples and Penny’s and Sears

You won’t hear the word Christmas; it won’t touch your ears.

___

Inclusive, sensitive, Di-ver-si-ty

Are words that were used to intimidate me.

Now Pelosi, Now Reid, Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzer

On Boxer, on Feinstein, on Durbin, on Clinton!

___

At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter

To eliminate Jesus, in all public matter.

And we spoke not a word, as they took away our faith

Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace.

___

The true Gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded

The reason for the season, stopped before it started.

So as you celebrate ‘Winter Break’ under your ‘Dream Tree’

Sipping your Starbucks, listen to me.

___

Choose your words carefully,

choose what you say

Shout MERRY CHRISTMAS,

not Happy Holiday !

___

“Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”

Psalm 100

___

http://mandyspathministry-ulc.webs.com

Copyright © 2011 “MandysPath” Ministry-ULC

Thought For The Day 11/21/11

Standard

Life Is Too Short

___

___

Life: It is about the gift not the package it comes in.

Dennis P. Costea, Jr.

___

I wrote a post last May about a friend of mine from my college days who was murdered on our campus. I wrote about all the years I had wasted harboring hate in my heart for the man who murdered my friend. Then I wrote about a dream I had where Helen appeared to me, even though it had been many, many years since her death. She led me to make a decision to forgive the man who murdered her…..and I did! What a tremendous catharsis saying those words, I forgive you, is!

___

Now did you know that, much like the stages a person must pass through to reach a point where they are capable of accepting the death of a loved one, so it is with forgiveness. The four stages are:

  • hurting
  • hating
  • healing
  • coming together

Not everyone spends an equal amount of time on every step as they pass through the stages, but the important thing is to understand that they exist and to understand your behavior as you scale each rung of this ladder that will bring you to the time and place when you are able to forgive.  And don’t forget that being able to forgive includes yourself as well. In fact, forgiving ourselves might be even more difficult an endeavor. There are probably more than a few of us who are either  consciously or unconsciously punishing ourselves for any number of words spoken  or not spoken, deeds done or not done as well as mistakes, failures and behavior for which we feel regret.

___

It is the time of the year when many of us begin the process of cleaning out our homes. Not only do we want to prepare ourselves for the Christmas season when family, friends and neighbors visit more often, but we also want to prepare for the long winter months when the weather keeps us from doing some of those tasks. So why not use this time to also do some cleaning of our hearts and souls? Gather all the useless baggage that regrets have burdened you with and toss it out with the rest of the trash you are getting rid of.  You will find yourself feeling so much lighter and probably more enlightened as well!

___

And be kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.

Ephesians 4:32

___

http://mandyspathministry-ulc.webs.com

Copyright © 2011 “MandysPath” Ministry-ULC

Thought For The Day 11/20/11

Standard

Universal Children’s Day

“Through The Eyes Of A Child”

___

___

Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.

Neil Postman

The Disappearance of Childhood (introduction), 1982

___

How remarkable it is that the day after I write a thought about ways to help children in our communities that I discover that today has been designated “Universal Children’s Day”! I just want to share a bit of the history of this day with you all!

___

Initiated by the United Nation’s General Assembly in 1954, coincidentally, the year I was born, today is observed as a day of understanding between all the world’s children and devotion to their needs. Which is an absolutely beautiful sentiment since, with maturation, there comes a time when generations morph into the  divided culture that is so pervasive in this world. But pause for just a moment and think about children. No matter where you find them in the world, children are children. They live to learn and explore and discover all that the world has to offer them. They see the world in a pure way that fades so quickly with age.

___

On September 18th, 2008, a German rock band, known for their amazing acoustics released an amazing song. Named for Irish-born frontman Reamonn Garvey, this group released the single “Through The Eyes Of A Child”! And I want to share it with you all as I dedicate this post to the children of the world who, I pray, will find a peaceful road to co-existence for all humankind!

___

“Through The Eyes Of A Child”

___

Sweet innocent child, with your open eyes, you´ve seen us for who we really are. And I know that there’ll be tomorrow. So that hope can have it’s glory day. And I wish that this world would embrace you from magic stars and mystery. My open heart

___

Refrain:

Why did we make it so hard, this life is so complicated until we see it through the eyes of a child. Why did we make it so hard, this life is so complicated until we see it through the eyes of a child.

___

I know you, I´ve seen your face before, you brought me to this open door, afraid to walk through. Please take my hand. I know that there will be tomorrow. So that hope can have this glory day? And I wish that this world will embrace you from magic stars and mystery. My open heart…

___

Refrain:

Why did we make it so hard, this life is so complicated until we see it through the eyes of a child. Why did we make it so hard, this life is so complicated until we see it through the eyes of a child.

___

I see where we’ll go from here. “Cause love doesn’t break with the right amount of care… in your hands is whom you’ve chosen to be. Life is freedom. Now go out there and be free…

___

Refrain:

Why did we make it so hard, this life is so complicated until we see it through the eyes of a child. Why did we make it so hard, this life is so complicated until we see it through the eyes of a child. Why did we make it so hard, this life is so complicated until we see it through the eyes of a child. Why did we make it so hard, this life is so complicated until we see it through the eyes of a child.

___

http://youtu.be/TkqCL_I3Wjc

___

“The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them.”

(Isaiah 11:6 ESV)

___

http://mandyspathministry-ulc.webs.com

Copyright © 2011 “MandysPath” Ministry-ULC

Thought For The Day 11/19/11

Standard

What In The World Is Happening With The World?

___

___

In the United States today, there is a pervasive tendency to treat children as adults, and adults as children. The options of children are thus steadily expanded, while those of adults are progressively constricted. The result is unruly children and childish adults.

Thomas Szasz

___

I am seeing a disturbing trend today. Parents who are selfish and look to please themselves often at the expense of the best interests of their children. It is this sad reason that people like my husband are needed in our community. He is a Guardian Ad Litem which is a position where it is his responsibility to represent and speak for a child who has become part of “the system” either by being removed from their parent(s) and placed in foster care or still remaining in the home but under the supervision of the Department of Social Services. Now the success or lack thereof of Dan’s intervention generally rests with the willingness of the parent to effect the changes needed to make the home a better one for the children. But, unfortunately, this is not happening as often as it should.

___

Now often these children are living in single parent households, usually with an absentee father who fails to support the child, and often with other unrelated individuals sharing the home. For these children, violence is not just commonplace to their community but exists in all its ugliness right in their backyards. They often lack any positive role model in their lives. Some see mothers choosing the easy way out, and who live their lives on public assistance. Many live in neighborhoods where drug deals happen right outside their bedroom door. And still others have been the victims of physical or sexual abuse. Is it any wonder that these children grow to become another statistic  in the criminal justice system while still juveniles?

___

My high school senior essay which I wrote 39 years ago and which was entitled “Poverty is a culture, an institution and a way of life in which self-defeating behaviors are inherited by each rising generation” is as true today as it ever was. How sad is it that, since I penned this piece, two generations have been brought into a world where the only life they know is one of hunger, fear, insecurity, abuse and crime?

___

I am asking all my friends out there to see if there is some way they can help a child in need. Does your community offer a mentoring program for children that is in need of a volunteer? Do your schools offer an opportunity for you to volunteer helping with an after-school program for latch-key kids? Perhaps your library needs volunteers to read stories to children during a “reading hour” program. Or maybe you have the time to devote to being a Guardian like my husband. Or perhaps you can collect clothes, care items, school supplies, and suitcases like I do for my pet project, Fostering Hope. No matter what you choose to do, just do something! Wouldn’t it be a wondrous thing if our generation was the one to bear witness to a brand new national trend…. a decrease in the incidence of childhood violence and want?

___

For You have been a defense for the helpless, a defense for the needy in his distress.

Isaiah 25:4.

___

http://mandyspathministry-ulc.webs.com

Copyright © 2011 “MandysPath” Ministry-ULC

Thought For The Day 11/18/11

Standard

The Face Of Poverty!

___

___

The poverty of our century is unlike that of any other. It is not, as poverty was before, the result of natural scarcity, but of a set of priorities imposed upon the rest of the world by the rich. Consequently, the modern poor are not pitied…but written off as trash. The twentieth-century consumer economy has produced the first culture for which a beggar is a reminder of nothing.

John Berger

___

I sit here broken-hearted as I write this because I saw a sight today that I had not seen since my days of working in New York City, where the sight of tousled hair beneath a ragged blanket, all lying over one of the thousands of steam vents that dot the Manhattan landscape, was an all too common a sight.

___

Yesterday in North Myrtle Beach, SC, the afternoon temperatures had plummeted….at least 25 degrees in less than 2 hours. I was leaving Wal Mart after trying to find a Christmas gift for my little guy. And sitting on the median where the entranceway meets the main highway were two men. They were very ragged, dirty, thin, wearing a T-shirts and no shoes. Between them they were holding a sign that said they were hungry.

___

Now I usually carry in my car individual bags with toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, towel, washcloth, comb, crackers and juice. But Dan had taken my stash out a few weeks ago. (He said it made the car smell funny. Dare I point out that it was the clean smell of soap rather than the aroma of smelly golf shoes???????) Anyway, I shouted out the window saying I would be back and for them to stay put. I went home, grabbed the bags plus 2 pairs of new socks and 2 flannel shirts….and headed back. They were gone. I drove around looking for them but could find no trace. It was as if they had evaporated into thin air. And I was left thinking something disturbing…..how many had passed these 2 men with barely a glance, sniffing in disdain as they passed?

___

There is no community that is immune from those who are disenfranchised. But how often do we pass without really seeing? Probably more often than not, if we really think about it. And we should be ashamed of ourselves! Especially this time of the year, as the weather is changing and becoming colder. But we are also approaching a joyous time of the year. A time of the year when we are compelled by some inner voice, to be just a bit kinder, gentler and more thoughtful to others. We are approaching a day to give thanks and another day to rejoice and celebrate a special birthday.

___

So today I challenge you all to decide what you can do to make someone else’s life just a bit brighter! Can you give a gift to another in honor of a tiny being born in a manger some two thousand years ago? Can you clean the closet and find a wearable warm sweater or coat? Can you gather those bath towels you were planning on throwing away, wash them and put them in a plastic bag with a comb and a bar of soap? Or the next time you stop for fast food, can you add to your order a gift certificate for a burger and a drink, and then keep it in your wallet, just in case? Can you do something? Anything? Can you help another child of God to find something to be thankful for?

___

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me…

Matthew 25:35

___

http://mandyspathministry-ulc.webs.com

Copyright © 2011 “MandysPath” Ministry-ULC

Thought For The Day 11/17/11

Standard

True Beauty

___

___

That which is striking and beautiful is not always good, but that which is good is always beautiful.

Ninon de L’Enclos

___

A few years ago there aired a TV show entitled “True Beauty”. The Ashton Kutcher and Tyra Banks produced ABC broadcast was a reality show which showcased truly beautiful young adults, competing to see who would be found, in the finale, to be the most beautiful person. And, as it happens, I personally knew one of the contestants vying for the title! She was the daughter of friends from Staten Island. As a matter of fact, we attended the wedding of this very beautiful young woman’s parents many years ago.

___

Now the kicker to this show (isn’t there usually one?) was that the contestants believed they were being tested and judged solely on their looks…..their outer beauty. However, there were some tests thrown in to challenge these young men and women to display true kindness and thoughtfulness. And it was really these tests that were judged by the panel of experts who were evaluating the performances of the contestants. And, indeed, the prize was well worth it because the winner would be featured in People Magazine’s “100 Most Beautiful People” Issue as well as winning a prize of $100,000.00!

___

The thing that made this so unique was that none of the “surviving” contestants knew the true premise of the production….the facts were never revealed until the point of elimination. Now some showed disdain at being tricked but most were truly contrite when told the reason for their elimination. And while the show only lasted 2 seasons, we don’t know of the lives most of those eliminated went on to lead….except for the one young woman I mentioned earlier. She returned to school and chose to become a nurse….following in her mother’s footsteps. And I can personally attest to the fact that this young woman has a truly kind heart….she always did, even though there were times during the production that you would have thought otherwise.

___

Now the reason for writing this post, ala Mandy’s Edith Bunker style of taking forever in getting to the point, was because of a post I read today on Facebook. It was written by a truly beautiful young woman (I have seen her picture, and she is just gorgeous) who is the niece of someone I knew well growing up. But her post disturbed me…because she has written several times about how ugly she is and how she hates particular things about her body. And even though I did not know her, something she has chosen to correct by sending me a friend request today, I felt compelled to write to her. And my words were as heartfelt as any I’ve ever written to a young person. Because I know how she feels. I have been ridiculed and bullied by others my entire life. But I was lucky enough to have the unconditional love and acceptance of my family and that certainly has a lot to do with the decisions I’ve made for my life these past 8 months. And the words I shared with her are words I want to share with you all as well.

“…beauty is more than (what’s on the) surface… It’s what’s found in the heart, soul, deeds and actions of a person that makes them truly beautiful. Physical beauty is always enhanced by inner beauty but inner beauty can never be enhanced by physical beauty!”

I hope she understood my message. And because of her, I am determined to share this very message with as many people as I can, as often as I can, as loudly as I can. And I hope that you all will too!

___

Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

1 Peter 3:3-4

___

http://mandyspathministry-ulc.webs.com

Copyright © 2011 “MandysPath” Ministry-ULC