Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Mindfullness, in the Catholic Church

Some videos that I am watching these days:

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

A Holy Nobody

As a Roman Catholic, I know that we have thousands of wonderful people whose lives were examples of true love and trust in God in their lives.  These examples of good people come from all walks of life and were canonized for the sole purpose as companions in prayer and intercession for those of us on this side of Heaven.  "The witnesses who have preceded us into the kingdom, especially those whom the Church recognizes as saints, share in the living tradition of prayer by the example of their lives, the transmission of their writings, and their prayer today."(2683-84)  They also are examples of Christian holiness to model our own lives by.

As you know, all Christians are called to holiness, but not all Christians are canonized as saints.  Believe it or not, many thousands of good people living exemplary lives are not recognized as saints.  Still we can know them on a personal level and know that they are with our Heavenly Father where they belong.  These are the holy nobodies that most folks don't know.  They didn't have the opportunities that we did to know them personally, maybe they are your parents, grandparents or a wise uncle that you totally looked up to.

My father-in-law, Chester, is a holy nobody for sure.  He was a gentle soul with a big heart.  I do not recall him ever having a bad thing to say about another person.  He was always willing to pitch in and help at their church, treated his wife of 60 years like royalty; one of the last things I remember him saying was that she was his princess.  He lived in Houston, TX and I remember one very hot summer morning, seeing him rolling an elderly lady to church 2 blocks away from the church.  He never thought twice about taking that time and bearing the heat for this person to get to service.  He loved his grandchildren to no end.  The list goes on of all the selfless deeds he did without a moment of thought.  He was a good man, a gentle man, with a big heart for family and neighbors and his church.

There have been aunts and uncles, teachers and priests that have done wonderful things for others time after time without a second thought.  These people are good people that were examples of God's love in the world.  These folks will never be canonized, raised up in sainthood, but they are still good examples of living a life of charity, faith, hope, and selflessness.  Perhaps they had saints that they were inspired by, but we didn't know.  I would like to thing so and at least know that they knew God's love and grace during their lifetime.

Perhaps they knew a holy nobody of their own?

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Postpartum Support Project

The Story

Research confirms that parents who are cared for and supported after having a baby are more likely to feel confident, have a lower incidence of postpartum depression, and have greater success with breastfeeding. Eastern North Carolina is in need of these additional support services for new mothers and their families.

HOPE Women & Family Services, Inc. strives to help families in eastern North Carolina through the 4th trimester and baby's first year of life. We thank you in advance for your gift, which will directly impact the women and families of eastern North Carolina.

Our fundraising goal amount is set to cover 6 women and family units with our comprehensive service model. Our goal amount includes training, office supplies and fees. HOPE Women & Family Services, Inc. started from the ground up and has so far accomplished becoming incorporated, receiving our 501(c)(3) nonprofit status, and securing promotional tools and community partnerships.


Purpose Our Postpartum Support Project will provide services to individuals including, but not limited to: teenage mothers, single mothers, mothers from low socioeconomic households, partners of deployed individuals, mothers who have adopted a child, and mothers with a history of postnatal mental health diagnoses. Our comprehensive service model will offer postpartum doula support, health and wellness, therapy sessions (as needed and available), education and administrative services.
To see more details on what each of these services entails, please visit our website listed below.

Community Partnerships
Family Therapy Clinic, East Carolina University

For more information about HOPE Women & Family Service, Inc. or our Postpartum Support Project, please visit us online at www.hopewfs.org, or social media!
HOPE Women & Family Services, Inc. is a registered 501(c)(3). Our EIN is 82-2577114. All donations are tax deductible.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Who Made the Crown of Thorns?

Have you ever wondered about the person who made the crown of thorns placed on Jesus' precious head?  Thorns are sharp protrusions created as a protective system for the plant, but totally brutal to anyone who dares to touch them.  So, who got the job of fetching and creating this horrid crown of torture?

It surely wasn't a high-ranking soldier or official, it would not be one that was a favorite or popular among the troops.  This speculatively unfortunate person was possibly one who was the least liked. Maybe it was the one that got in trouble and is on some sort of probation period, or maybe it was a prisoner whom they most disliked and picked on.  Possibly a child, snatched from the street was chosen to do the prickly deed...probably not, the bible tells us the soldiers weaved it.  I find it hard to imagine that the unlucky person picked for the creation of the crown of thorns was a person ready and willing to do such a chore.  Surely his hands and arms were pretty torn up in the process of gathering, cutting and weaving the thorny branches and placing it onto our Lord's sacred forehead.  I just imagine.

In the pictures depicting the placing, rather, thrusting of the thorn crown on Christ's suffering head, I do  not recall bloody hands of the soldier....just the newly released streams from our Lord.  There seems to not be an interest in the pain that was inflicted upon the unfortunate soldier who created this crown.   But thinking about the reality of dealing with thorny bushes, one cannot escape a scratch or two, if not a puncture.  Believe it or not, the crown of thorns was not officially part of the torture, it was meant as a piece of mockery as the soldiers spat and flogged Christ as “King of the Jews” The explanation in my NAB bible in Matthew 27:29 says, "probably of long thorns that stood upright so that it resembled the "radiant" crown, a diadem with spikes worn by Hellenistic kings.  The soldiers' purpose was mockery, not  torture."  Well, still in all, why not make one of soft leafy branches or at least just plain reeds weaved that didn't add to the heinous treatment of our Lord?

Back to the soldier, the scars that remained on his hands would be a reminder of what happened that day.  When Christ gave up his soul in a cry, the temple curtain ripped in two and the sky grew dark in midday, the horror of the reality hit several witnesses.  At that moment, many eyes of belief were opened that day, soldiers included.  Did this soldier realize what happened?  Did he look at his hands and realize his part? 

No one knows, no one will ever know, except perhaps, the soldier.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

A Birthday, a deathday, and bluegrass for both

Celebrating our daughter's 23rd birthday today, I wanted to share the story I wrote a few years ago about my father-in-law on a very special day that happened 10 years ago today, February 21, 2008.

Rebecca’s first year of life was spent in the doting arms of her paternal grandparents as I went back to work. The many pictures of Rebecca with her papaw playing, cooing, and smiling from ear to ear on his lap are immeasurable. She talked more about her papaw than anybody else, he even taught her how to write her name when she was three.
When Rebecca was four, at a family reunion, The Quebe Sisters, (2nd cousins, twice removed) fiddling everything bluegrass, introduced her to the violin and the music. Soon she was mastering her own fiddle, playing everything from "Turkey in the Straw” to "Orange Blossom Special". Her grandparents loved her concerts.  As country dancers, square dancers, and "Grand Marchers" from way back, having their granddaughter playing these songs was a real treat for them.

A few years later, papaw suffered a stroke. In the hospital, Rebecca would sweetly butter his roll for him, hold his hand, and covered all the walls of his room with her artwork. Eight years later, when the time came for his passing, it was in the early morning hours on Rebecca’s birthday.

Many told Rebecca how sad that her grandfather died on her birthday. I heard someone say to her, "That sure wasn't fair, was it?" She didn't say much. I thought about this and remembered how impressed I was when Norman Vincent Peale, the great author/speaker of "The power of positive thinking" and "Expect a Miracle" died on Christmas Eve, some years ago. Both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, fathers of our country, died on the same day hours apart on the 4th of July, and my great uncle, Fr. Samuel Haughton, died celebrating Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. Countless other death date coincidences that are only known by those touched by their timing prove that there is something to my theory.

At her papaw’s funeral, Rebecca played "Lover's Waltz" by Jay Ungar. At the graveside service, she played "Tennessee Waltz" and as the veterans' flag was folded and presented to her grandmother,” Faded Love”. She played perfectly despite the events and her young age of 13. As she bowed the last note of Faded Love, I saw her quickly and quietly fall apart. Large "crocodile tears" streamed down her face without a sound. There had been no time to weep before.

Explaining to my daughter that this was not a sad coincidence, I told her that soon after she was born, I went back to work and her grandparents volunteered to baby-sit. What joy and love they had for her, so when it came time for Pawpa to go to be with Jesus, her special day was the best pick. A glimmer of brightness came over her face as she realized what I had said.

Rebecca’s papaw deeply loved family and his special bond with his granddaughter will stay with them both forever. As our daughter celebrated her 13th year of life, her grandfather celebrated his first day in eternity.