Monday, February 27, 2012

THIS DAY'S . . .





The cross of Christ is the sweetest burden that I ever bore; it is such a burden as wings are to a bird, or sails to a ship, to carry me forward to my harbor.

Samuel Rutherford

This Day's Verse
 
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
 
Colossians 3:12-13
The English Standard Version

This Day's Smile

Many of the world's finest Oriental rugs come from little villages in the Middle East, China, or India.  These rugs are hand-produced by crews of men and boys under direction of a master weaver.  They work from the underside of the rug-to-be.  It frequently happens that a weaver absentmindedly makes a mistake and introduces a color that is not according to the pattern.  When this occurs, the master weaver, instead of having the work pulled out in the order to correct the color sequence, will find some way to incorporate the mistake harmoniously into the overall pattern.  In weaving our lives, we can lean to take unexpected difficulties and mistakes and weave them advantageously in the greater overall patterns of our lives.  There is an inherent good in most difficulties.

Norman Vincent Peale

Sunday, February 26, 2012

HAPPY SUNDAY!


ENLARGING THE HEART

John Chrysostom: Why Do We Fast?

During this Lenten season each of the faithful would undergo a thorough purification by means of prayer, almsgiving, fasting, watching, repentant tears, confession, and every other remedial measure.
Then when they had done all in their power to cleanse their consciences, they could approach the sacraments.

It is certain that the fathers did well to use such lenience in their desire to establish us in the habit of fasting.

As we know, we could proclaim a fast throughout the whole year, and no one would pay any attention.

But now, with a set time for fasting of only forty days, even the most sluggish need no exhortation to rouse themselves to undergo it; they accept it as a regular observance and recurring encouragement.
So, when someone asks you why you fast, you should not answer: because of the Passover, or because of the Cross. Neither of these is the reason for our fasting.

We fast because of our sins, since we are preparing to approach the sacred mysteries.
Moreover, the Christian Passover is a time for neither fasting nor mourning, but for great joy, since the Cross destroyed sin and made expiation for the whole world.

It reconciled ancient enmities and opened the gates of heaven.

It made friends of those who had been filled with hatred, restoring them to the citizenship of heaven.
Through the Cross our human nature has been set at the right hand of the throne of God, and we have been granted countless good things besides.

Therefore we must not give way to mourning or sadness; we must rejoice greatly instead over all these blessings.

Listen to the exultant words of Saint Paul: God forbid that I should boast of anything but the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.

And elsewhere he writes: God shows his own love for us because when we were still sinners Christ died for our sake.

Saint John’s message is the same. God loved the world so much, he declares, and then, passing over every other manifestation of God’s love, he comes at once to the crucifixion.

God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son
, that is, he gave him up to be crucified, so that those who believed in him might not perish but might have eternal life.

If, then, the Cross has its foundation in love and is our glory, we must not say we mourn because of the Cross.
Far from it. What we have to mourn over is our own sinfulness, and that is why we fast.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Medjugorje - Our Lady's Message


Today, February 25, 2012, Our Lady appeared to the visionary Marija and delivered the following message:

"Dear children! At this time, in a special way I call you: 'pray with the heart'. Little children, you speak much and pray little. Read and meditate on Sacred Scripture, and may the words written in it be life for you. I encourage and love you, so that in God you may find your peace and the joy of living. Thank you for having responded to my call."



Friday, February 24, 2012

TODAY'S LENTEN PRAYER, ET AL.


Daily Lent Prayer
"Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth shall declare your praise."
Collect:
Almighty ever-living God,
look with compassion on our weakness
and ensure us your protection
by stretching forth the right hand of your majesty.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God,. for ever and ever.


The Readings: Isaiah 58: 1-9a; Psalm 51: 3-4, 5-6ab, 18-19; Matthew 9: 14-15

Daily Meditation:

A Friday of Lent
and an introduction to "True Fasting."

We are still in the first four days of Lent.

Today and tomorrow we read the 58th Chapter

of the book of the prophet Isaiah.

These powerful words have such a contemporary message.

True fasting will lead us to act justly and caring

for those who are most in need.

On every Friday of Lent we abstain from meat
as a sign of our common penance.

It represents our efforts to abstain from

- do without - so many other patterns

that get in the way of our happiness and wholeness.

Intercessions:
Let us pray to Christ our Savior, who redeemed us by  his death and resurrection:
   Lord, have mercy on us.

You went up to Jerusalem to suffer and so enter into your glory,
 - bring your Church to the Passover feast of heaven.
You were lifted high on the cross and pierced by the soldier's lance,
 - heal our wounds.
You made the cross the tree of life,
 - give its fruit to those reborn in baptism.
On the cross you forgave the repentant thief,
 - forgive us our sins.

Closing Prayer:

Lord,
I know how much you love me.
It’s hard for me to feel it sometimes,
but I know your love is always with me.
Help me to use your love as a way
to persevere in my Lenten intentions.
I am weak, but I know with your help,
I can use these small sacrifices in my life to draw closer to you.

~*~
 Keep reading as I've posted four things today for your pleasure and your contemplation, the last of which for today is "This Day's ....". Happy Reading!

PEACE, LOVE & JOY,
Abbey  

POSITIVE THOUGHT

Create your own life and then go out and live it.

Make every day count.  Appreciate every moment and take from it everything that you possibly can, for you may never be able to experience it again.  Talk to people you have never talked to before, and actually listen.  Let yourself fall in love, break free and set your sights high. Hold your head up because you have every right to.  Tell yourself you are a great individual and believe in yourself; for if you don't believe in yourself, no one else will believe in you, either.  You can make of your life anything you wish.  Create your own life and then go out and live it.


Everything happens for a reason.  Nothing happens by chance or by means of good or bad luck.  Illness, injury, love, lost moments of true greatness and sheer stupidity all occur to test the limits of your soul.  Without these small tests - whether they are events, illnesses or relationships - life would be like a smoothly paved, straight, flat road to nowhere.  Safe and comfortable, but dull and utterly pointless.  The people you meet who affect your life, and the successes and downfalls you experience, create who you are; even the bad experiences can be learned from.  In fact, they are probably the most poignant and important ones.

If someone hurts you, betrays you or breaks your heart, forgive them, for they have helped you learn about trust and the importance of being cautious to whom you open your heart to.  If someone loves you, love them back unconditionally; not only because they love you, but because they are teaching you to love, and they are opening your heart and eyes to things you would have never seen or felt without them.

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE


HEARTLIGHT

Today's Verse for Friday, February 24, 2012

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
Genesis 2:24 (KJV)


Phil Ware

Thoughts on Today's Verse...

We are different! God makes us male and female so we can be complements of each other. Each is made in God's image. God's intention is that a husband and wife find their primary human relationship with the other. They still honor their parents, but their home is with each other. Their two lives become one. In this context of lifetime security, they share in the intimate knowledge of each other sexually -- becoming "one flesh." This relationship is to be enjoyed (Proverbs 5), protected (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8), and celebrated (Song of Solomon) for life (Matthew 19:6).

Prayer...

Holy and Almighty Father, please bless me with strength to live with integrity and purity in today's sexually charged world. Please use your Spirit and your Word to instruct, correct, and convict me as I seek to discover your truth for my relationships and celebrate your will for my sexuality. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

THIS DAY'S . . .



God always answers in the deeps, never in the shallows of our soul.
 
Unknown

This Day's Verse
 
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
 
Hebrews 12:1-2
The New King James Version

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

POSITIVE (REALLY) THOUGHT!

It's amazing how this came on this day .... been going through this exact kind of thing, and now I know that I can let go and move on.  It's like I received "permission" ..... a great Positive Thought!

~*~
Closing cycles. Simply because that no longer fits your life.


One always has to know when a stage comes to an end.

If we insist on staying longer than the necessary time, we lose the happiness and the meaning of the other stages we have to go through. Closing cycles, shutting doors, ending chapters – whatever name we give it, what matters is to leave in the past the moments of life that have finished.

Did you lose your job? Has a loving relationship come to an end? Did you leave your parents’ house? Gone to live abroad? Has a long-lasting friendship ended all of a sudden?

You can spend a long time wondering why this has happened. You can tell yourself you won’t take another step until you find out why certain things that were so important and so solid in your life have turned into dust, just like that.

But such an attitude will be awfully stressing for everyone involved: your parents, your husband or wife, your friends, your children, your sister, everyone will be finishing chapters, turning over new leaves, getting on with life, and they will all feel bad seeing you at a standstill.

None of us can be in the present and the past at the same time, not even when we try to understand the things that happen to us. What has passed will not return: we cannot for ever be children, late adolescents, sons that feel guilt or rancor towards our parents, lovers who day and night relive an affair with someone who has gone away and has not the least intention of coming back.

Things pass, and the best we can do is to let them really go away.

That is why it is so important (however painful it may be!) to destroy souvenirs, move, give lots of things away to orphanages, sell or donate the books you have at home. Everything in this visible world is a manifestation of the invisible world, of what is going on in our hearts – and getting rid of certain memories also means making some room for other memories to take their place.

Let things go. Release them. Detach yourself from them. Nobody plays this life with marked cards, so sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Do not expect anything in return, do not expect your efforts to be appreciated, your genius to be discovered, your love to be understood. Stop turning on your emotional television to watch the same program over and over again, the one that shows how much you suffered from a certain loss: that is only poisoning you, nothing else.

Nothing is more dangerous than not accepting love relationships that are broken off, work that is promised but there is no starting date, decisions that are always put off waiting for the “ideal moment.” Before a new chapter is begun, the old one has to be finished: tell yourself that what has passed will never come back. Remember that there was a time when you could live without that thing or that person – nothing is irreplaceable, a habit is not a need. This may sound so obvious, it may even be difficult, but it is very important.

Closing cycles. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because that no longer fits your life. Shut the door, change the record, clean the house, shake off the dust.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

THIS DAY'S . . .


A friend has six gems of wisdom which he repeats almost every day.  The first is from Cicero:  "To live long, live slowly."  The second is from Confucius:  "The way of a superior man is threefold:  virtuous, he is therefore free from anxiety; wise, he is therefore free from perplexity; bold, he is therefore free from fear."  The third is from Robert Louis Stevenson:  "Sit loosely in the saddle of life."  The fourth, Saint Theresa's famous words:  "Let nothing disturb you; let nothing frighten you.  Everything passes except God; God alone is sufficient."  And from Isaiah, ". . . in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength" (Isaiah 30:15).  Then finally, and most importantly, the words of Jesus:  ". . . my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27).
 
Norman Vincent Peale

This Day's Verse
 
Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.  The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
 
James 5:16
The New King James Version

Monday, February 20, 2012

BOOK OF THE MONTH

My huspud surprised me with a Kindle for Christmas.  The first book I read was Rob Lowe's "Stories I Only Tell My Friends."  Then I received a suggestion from a friend over lunch that I read "The Paris Wife, A Novel".  I searched for it on Amazon and my friend did not elude to anything about the story, but it is a story about Ernest Hemingway's first wife, Hadley, and it is a page-turner!  I only found out today that it is the Book of the Month of February 2012 by The Book of the Month Club.  Hope you give it a try .... if you love period pieces, this is a goodie!  Happy reading!

 

POSITIVE THOUGHTS

Your love for yourself will work miracles in your life.

Take full responsibility for your life.
Stop blaming others.
See yourself as the cause of what happens to you.
Do things you like to do.
Don't stay in a job you don't like.
Participate in life at the highest level you can.
Stop terrorising yourself with your thoughts.
Be gentle and kind and patient with yourself.
Give yourself the simple pleasures of life abundantly.
Wear clothes you feel good in, get a massage etc.
Watch what you say. Avoid self put-downs.
Stop being critical of yourself and others.
Take care of your body.
Give it exercise and good food.
Be willing to create a life-style that generates and nourishes self-esteem.
Associate with others with high esteem.
Acknowledge yourself frequently.
Keep a diary of your successes and accomplishments.
Avoid comparing yourself with others.
Remember that it's who we are, not what we do, that's important
Give yourself permission to do nothing periodically.
Schedule time by yourself.
Frequently take deep breaths.
Discover the benefit and pleasure of breathing fully.
Eat first class frequently.
Don't look at the right side of the menu.
Stop trying to change others.
Focus your attention on being the way you want others to be.
Look into a mirror regularly
and say "I love you, I really love you".
Stop feeling guilty and saying "I'm sorry".
See mistakes as valuable lessons and avoid judging yourself.
Consciously generate positive thoughts and feelings of self-love
in place of old thoughts of inadequacy.
Be willing to laugh at yourself and at life.
Stop taking yourself so seriously.
Accept compliments from others without embarrassment.
Don't invalidate their positive thoughts and feelings about you.
Be kind to your mind.
Don't hate yourself for having negative thoughts.
Gently change your thoughts.

Keep your awareness and your thoughts focussed in present time
instead of living in the past or future.
Acknowledge others frequently.
Tell them what you like and appreciate in them.
Invest money in yourself.
Go to seminars, workshops and courses that develop your talents.
Make a list of 10 things
you love doing and do them frequently.
Treat yourself as you would treat someone you really loved.
Praise yourself. 

THIS DAY'S . . .

 
No storm is so great, no wave is so high, no sea is so deep, no wind is so strong, that Jesus cannot either calm it or carry us through it.

Anne Graham Lotz

This Day's Verse
 
And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
 
Philippians 4:19
The New King James Version

This Day's Smile
 
The first of all beautiful things is the continual possession of God.

Gregory of Nazianzus

Pope creates 22 new cardinals amid Vatican tensions


Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday put his stamp of authority on the body that will elect his successor as he appointed 22 new cardinals at a time of roiling tensions in the Vatican administration.

The 84-year-old head of the Roman Catholic Church presented the new "princes of the Church" with scarlet-red birettas and gold rings while urging them to "renounce the worldly style of power and glory" in a solemn ceremony in Saint Peter's Basilica.
The new members of the College of Cardinals "are asked to serve the Church with love and vigour, with the clarity and wisdom of teachers, with the energy and moral force of pastors (and) with the faith and courage of martyrs," the pope said.

German-born Benedict did not refer directly to recent days of high-profile leaks and corruption allegations that have raised fears of a power struggle at the heart of the Roman Catholic Church.
Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi has denied the rumours, saying that the leaks were intended to "sow confusion" and cast the Church "in a bad light".

Among the key appointments were those of New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins, as well as the Bishop of Hong Kong, John Tong Hon, and Archbishop George Alencherry from India.

Critics say the appointments show a strong bias towards Europe, as out of the 125 cardinals under the age of 80 -- "elector cardinals" eligible to elect the pope in a secret conclave -- 67 are from Europe.

Just 22 are from South America, 15 from North America, 11 from Africa and 10 from Asia and the Pacific.

Moreover, the induction of seven Italians in Benedict's fourth consistory brings to 30 the number of Italian elector cardinals -- almost a quarter of the total, far outweighing any other country.

The new cardinals include nine other Europeans as well as two Americans, one Canadian, a Brazilian, an Indian and a Hong Kong Chinese.

Some observers say the Vatican's increasingly powerful Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone is behind the promotion of Italians up the Church hierarchy.

Brazilian Joao Braz de Aviz is the only new cardinal from Latin America, the region with the largest concentration of Catholics.

The vast majority of previous popes -- more than 200 -- have been from Italy.

Braz de Aviz criticised the Church for being too Euro-centric.

"Europe should go back to showing a more fraternal attitude towards other continents and stop looking down on the others," he said in an interview with the Vatican-watching news agency I.Media.

"How much longer are we going to be led by Europe and the United States?" he demanded.

"You can no longer think that Latin America, Asia and Africa haven't changed, that they are still colonies or the Third World," he said.

The more universal the College of Cardinals, "the better it will represent the Church. We've already done a lot in this direction, but we must continue," added Braz de Aviz who is 64.

The key question being asked by Vatican insiders is whether Benedict -- who turns 85 in April and is well respected for his academic work as a theologian -- is becoming too distant from the day-to-day management of the Church.

The issue is crucial as Bertone's ascendancy is seen as being one of the reasons behind the recent rash of rumours and revelations.

One of the reported rumours was that the pope is lining up Milan Archbishop Angelo Scola to be his successor.

Another alleged that the Vatican's bank was failing to comply with money-laundering rules.

Eighteen of the 22 newcomers are under 80. Of the electors, 63 have been named by Benedict and the other 62 by his Polish-born predecessor John Paul II.

Many of the nominations were virtually automatic -- for example, the bishops of Utrecht, Florence, Berlin, Prague, Toronto and New York, and certain long-serving Vatican prelates, of whom 10 were named Saturday.

Following the consistory, the pope announced that he will create seven new saints including the first Native American, a 17th-century Mohawk girl named Kateri Tekakwitha, on October 21.

Friday, February 17, 2012

THIS DAY'S . . .

You're going to LOVE This Day's Smile!


God is here.  Wherever we are, God is here.  There is no place, there can be no place, where He is not.
 
A. W. Tozer

This Day's Verse
 
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."
 
John 14:27
The New International Version

This Day's Smile
 
Preach the gospel everyday; if necessary, use words.

Francis of Assisi

Thursday, February 16, 2012

DEEP THOUGHTS

Is it just me or does anyone else out there look at Hilary Clinton and think "she's certainly no Condi Rice!"  Seriously, what does she do, for heaven sake?  Condi Rice was on the road constantly or in conference with the higher powers of The White House.  She spoke regularly on behalf of The White House in matters of her office. Hilary has kept a low profile ever since she was proffered the position of Secretary of State.  Excuse me, but I don't think she knows peanuts about diplomacy, or working with allies to defuse trouble, infuse for the good of our nation, or mediate of any sort of rift between two enemies.  Why, she actually looks scared to death whenever she speaks tot he media.  Her constant "ah.." pauses between words drives me to drink!  To me, she is and has been a lame duck SOS since the inception of the present administration.  Like our dear Mr. Prez, she's riding it out and hoping she gets out with her behind unscathed!

I cannot wait for November, and Dear God Almighty, please give us someone who can beat this OBAMANATION!


That's my story and I'm sticking to it . . . .

PRO-LIFE!!


The story behind the song is that a high school couple gets an abortion and they cannot deal with the emotional stress and they take many steps to try and get over their grief. This video is capturing that emotion of the song...


THIS DAY'S ...


Jesus said, "Go," but the church through selfishness and indifference has refused to obey.  We try to substitute "write," "send," or "give," for "go."  We try to salve our conscience by turning over the task of "going" to someone else and giving languidly for their support.  Of course, we must send where we cannot go.  But because we can't go across the world does not excuse us for refusing to go across the street.

R. C. Foster

This Day's Verse
 
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
 
Hebrews 4:12
The English Standard Version

Patient Care & Affordable Care Act Legislation

Cardinal urges Senate to pass bill protecting conscience in health care

By Nancy Frazier O'Brien
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities called on members of the U.S. Senate Feb. 15 to solve conscience protection problems with the federal health reform law by passing the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act. (emphasis added)

By resolving a "needless dispute," Congress and the Obama administration "could return to the most pressing of all the real problems -- the fact that many millions of Americans still lack basic coverage for health care," said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston.

In a three-page letter to senators, Cardinal DiNardo said the legislation -- which now has 37 sponsors in the Senate -- might come up for a vote soon, "either as a free-standing bill or an amendment."

Calling the bill "needed, reasonable and carefully crafted," he said it "simply ensures that new requirements" under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act "are not used to take away a freedom of conscience that Americans have enjoyed under federal law until now."

The bishops "saw the need for this legislation," the cardinal said, when Congress passed health care reform and "authorized new lists of federally mandated benefits for all health plans without including language to preserve rights of conscience."

The cardinal rejected the final rule announced Feb. 10 by President Barack Obama that would allow organizations with religious objections to the Department of Health and Human Services' requirement that all health insurance plans cover contraceptives and sterilization to decline to cover them, but then compel the insurers to provide contraceptives free of charge to women they insure.

Under that plan, religious employers will be required to "include the same objectionable coverage as purely secular employers do -- but the decision to do so will simply be taken away from them, as the coverage will be inserted into their plan directly by the insurer over their objections," he said.

The objecting employers will still pay for the coverage, he added, because it "will be integrated into their overall health plan and subsidized with the premiums paid by employer and employee for that plan."

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius first announced the contraception requirement along with a religious exemption Jan. 20. Catholic and other religious leaders say the exemption is written so narrowly that institutions such as hospitals, schools and social service agencies would not qualify.

Since Obama announced his final rule, questions have been raised over how it will pertain to self-insured parties, like many dioceses and Catholic organizations.

Cardinal DiNardo called the contraception requirement "a radical departure from current law, under which a health plan that excludes contraception can be sold even to federal employees if the carrier has any religious objections to such coverage."

"In short, we are back to square one -- except that the rule so many hoped would change to accommodate Americans' right of conscience is no longer subject to change, except by legislation," he said.

The Respect for Rights of Conscience Act stipulates that the list of mandated benefits under the health reform law will not forbid those who provide, sponsor or purchase health coverage from negotiating a health plan that is consistent with their religious beliefs and moral convictions.

The cardinal also offered rebuttals to some misinterpretations about what the proposed law would and would not do:

-- No "stakeholder in the health coverage enterprise" would be required to provide or accept the negotiated plan. "But if all involved find an accommodation acceptable and workable, why would the federal government not allow it -- as it always has in the past?" he asked.

-- It does not overturn other existing state or federal laws, including present state contraceptive mandates.

-- It would not "provide any support for discriminatory decisions to withhold basic coverage from some while giving it to others," such as a decision to deny life-saving care to people with AIDS or the virus that causes it.

-- It would not "allow anyone to deny coverage for high-cost treatments, using morality and religion as a pretext."

Cardinal DiNardo said the Catholic Church, "driven precisely by its faith, is eager to work with Congress and the administration to address (the) grave problem" of the lack of basic health care for millions.

"Let us begin the task by respecting each other's values that call so many of us to work for life-affirming health care for all in the first place," he added.

A LITTLE LEVITY (for a change)


President  Obama walks into the Wells Fargo Bank and says to a cashier, "Good morning  Ma'am, could you please cash this check for me"?

 Cashier: "It would be my  pleasure sir. Could you please show me your ID"?

 Obama: "Truthfully, I did  not bring my ID with me as I didn't think there was any need to.  I am President Barrack Obama, the president of the United States  .

Cashier: "Yes sir, I know who you are, but with all the government regulations, monitoring of the banks because of impostors and forgers, etc.,  I must insist on seeing ID."

Obama: "Just ask anyone here at the bank  who I am and they will tell you. Everybody knows who I am."

 Cashier:  "I am sorry, but these are government and bank rules and I must follow  them."

Obama: "I am urging you please to cash this  check."

Cashier: "Look, this is what we can do: One day Tiger Woods  came into the bank without ID. To prove he was Tiger Woods he pulled out his  putting iron and made a beautiful shot across the bank lobby into a  cup. With that shot  we knew him to be Tiger Woods and we cashed his check.

 "Another  time, Andre Agassi came in without ID. He pulled out his tennis racket and  served an ace shot directly into the center of our bank logo 90 feet away.  With that spectacular shot we cashed his check."So, what can you do  to prove that it is you, and only you?"

Obama stood there thinking,  and thinking and finally says: "Honestly, I HAVE NOT GOT A CLUE ,  nothing comes to mind. I can't think of a single thing I can  do."

 Cashier: "Will that be large  or small bills, Mr. President?"

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

THIS DAY'S . . .


I thank Thee first because I was never robbed before; second, because although they took my purse they did not take my life; third, although they took my all, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed and not I who robbed.

Henry Matthey, on the night he was robbed, he prayed this prayer

This Day's Verse
 
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
 
John 15:13
The King James Version

This Day's Smile
 
Few kindnesses are as warmly welcomed as sincere, objective interest.

Norman G. Shidle

POSITIVE THOUGHT

When I See Clearly...

When I see clearly, I recognize the beauty and wonder in the trees and the flowers, and I feel the sense of awe that the wonder causes in me.

When I see clearly, I recognize the fears that other people feel when they deal with the rest of the world, and I stop judging them based on misperceptions.

When I see clearly, I recognize that the things that seem negative in my life also have their positive sides, and when I look more closely I see that those positive sides are stronger than what I see as negative.

When I see clearly, I recognize that the actions of other people that seem to be rude and obnoxious usually are a cry for attention, and I can help those people by giving them some needed attention (though not necessarily on their terms).

When I see clearly, I recognize that my world is an eternal world of spirit, and that all the things that are happening in life now will pass like the breeze, while the eternal part of myself will go on no matter what I have or don't have.

When I see clearly, I recognize that I won't always see the results of my actions, and that I need to let go of my need  to see those results if I want to foster my own peace of mind and spirit.

When I see clearly, I recognize that I am a part of a community of people that are interconnected and interdependent, and that I need to be an active part of that community on the level that best suits who I am.

When I see clearly, I recognize that the fresh air, the blue or cloudy skies, the sunshine and the snow, the winds and the rains, are all gifts that maintain the precarious balance of this beautiful planet on which we live.

When I see clearly, I recognize that other people aren't necessarily wrong just because I don't agree with them, and that there may be something important to learn from the people who disagree with me the most.

When I see clearly, I recognize the fact that I'm a very special person who has very special gifts, and that I'm just as deserving of my respect and love as anyone else is.

When I see clearly, I recognize that the mistakes that I and others make are part of being human, are part of the need to learn through experience, and should be dealt with accordingly and not judged harshly.  Some learn more slowly than others, and thus will make more mistakes.

When I see clearly, I recognize my need to be me, to be true to me, and to be the best me I possibly can be.  I have a responsibility to the other people in this world to do to others as I would have done to me, to speak to others as I would be spoken to, to give more than I would receive.

When I see clearly, I recognize that the world is a beautiful place full of wonders, that I am a beautiful person full of potential, and that each person around me is beautiful and loving and doing his or her best to make the best of life.
Tom Walsh.

Monday, February 13, 2012

ABBEY IS LISTENING TO . . .

It's me again, James! Your voice and your music sooth my aching soul .... I love you!


That's all for today .... if you've read the two posts below this one, then I can feel your sigh of relief!  

PEACE, LOVE & JOY TO ALL,
Abbey

DEEP THOUGHTS

There's so much going on around me, in my immediate physical location, and in places near and far.  Losing such a talent as Whitney Houston shocks me, but then when I think about it, I recall thinking "they'll find her dead" a while back.  I pray for comfort for her family and her fans.  But, it's hard when an American Icon passes.

I watched Glen Campbell on the Grammy's knowing he has Alzheimer's Disease, and I recall a young, vibrant and very handsome man with whom I shared an airplane ride from Los Angeles to Las Vegas in 1975.  He was tall and he was gorgeous.  I recall in my mind looking at his blond wife and thinking to myself "you stole your best friend's wife."  Oh what was his name . . . Mac Davis, that's it!  Sins of the father . . . 


I think about my own life and I cannot help but think "sins of the mother" in certain negative situations with my children.  Do they suffer now due to my own iniquities when I was raising them?  I would say I was a "better and more conscientious" mother to my son.  There was a 12-year difference between my daughter and my son.  I regret that I had to work when she was young, and that I was living in California until she was nearly 8 years old.  She didn't have "neighborhood friends" or "church friends" - I had turned my back on religion and God.  To this day, I cannot forgive myself for what my daughter missed in her early years.  All she had was me and my adult friends.  At least until I woke up and moved to where most of my family lives.  She turned into the most beautiful person, mother, wife, daughter, and friend you could imagine.  I am so proud of her and her and her husband's parenting skills.  They have been raising three awesome children who excel in everything that they do, and they know God intimately.

My son has gone through a lot of tribulations for the last couple of years, and my worry and broken heart have been in the forefront all of this time. I'm a wimpy weepy; I cry a lot! My grandmother and my aunt were the same way.  Our hearts cannot handle much without our bowling up in a good weeping session.  It's in the gene pool. 

It was recently discussed with me by three different people at different times how I allow my worries about others to affect my close relationships. How do you not worry about your children when they are in need?  I have prayed fervently for two years that God would help my son.  My son has also prayed, but he doesn't have the faith down like I do.  I know God's will takes time, His time.  Another broken heart, mine and his.  


My sister left her husband of 38 years last September.  He has been drowning and from the start, I became his rock.  The calls to lean on me became more and more frequent, and I do not fault him.  He lost his entire family, the life he'd known for 38 years.  My family, my parents, were his family and his parents.  My heart aches for what he is going through at age 60.  I know my sister reads my blog, so sis, I'm not going to say much more than that.  

I'm trying to get to the point that I have had so much negativity in my life that it has been hurting my close relationships.  I have a mother and daddy who live 1,000 miles away where I grew up; my mother had a stroke over a year ago and even though she continues in-home therapy, I do not feel she will ever progress any further than she is.  Her whole life was baking.  She stayed in her kitchen all of the time.  She loved what she did, and it's no wonder how much money has been spent in ingredients for her creations that she simply gave away or donated for fundraisers.  She cooked many meals for friends or acquaintances who were going through deaths or having sickness in their home.  All of this, her life's work, was taken from her.  It was God's will, yet I cannot help myself in feeling so very sorry for her.  With that is guilt over a lot of things I did when I was young.  Yes, all children do things that hurt their parents, but I left and went to California with their only grandchild when I was 19 and my sister left and went east within weeks.  Suddenly, my mother and daddy were without the family as they knew it.  They never made me feel guilty, but I'm sure they cried a river over their loneliness.

Now, mom and daddy are both 80 years old and mother is a stroke patient.  With these type patients, "things happen" with their health, and they've had a couple of things happen already where she was hospitalized and my poor daddy just goes to pieces.  I feel so helpless.  You have to know from looking at my sidebar that these two people are my heroes.  They adopted me out of a dysfunctional and horrible situation, loved me as hard as they could, and like all parents who don't have a handbook, did the best they knew how.  How did I repay them?  I left them ..... God has forgiven me, but I cannot forgive myself.  My trial now is to be in their presence (or not) and look at them and feel such heartache and regret over the times that I hurt them. I want to go back, I want a "do-over", but that's not going to happen, so I continue to beat myself up aboutt his and everything else I've done "wrong".  Yes, I am in therapy and I pray it will help me sort this out.


My revelation a few years ago that I had been molested as a toddler by my natural father could have gone one of two ways:  I could let it bowl me over and take over my thoughts or I could thank God for the parents who raised me.  My daddy said to me when I told him about my revelation: "Honey, you need to just think of your life as beginning when you came to live with us." That was when I was three years old.  I took his advice, and I realize suddenly that if I'd taken my daddy's advice over the years, my life would be completely different.  You know, how people talk about how a second of change in time could alter your whole life.

My husband's brother worked for Universal Studios and was in Phoenix in August 2006 working on a movie.  It was his last day on set, a Friday, and he and his girlfriend were going to ride their Harley's to Las Vegas for a long vacation.  As he began to leave, she begged him, "come back to bed and hug me, you didn't hug me and you didn't tell me that you love me."  Hesitantly, he relented and went back to hug her and reassure her that he loved her.  He was hit on his motorcycle (no helmet) by a kid high on cocaine and having drank a 12-pack of beer.  He was very messed up and we were called and urged to come, which we did.  We pulled the plug on Sunday, August 13, 2006.  So you see, if he'd gone on and not gone back to kiss and hug his girlfriend, he may have been through that intersection and this tragedy may have not happened.

I am a worrier, I pray, I believe, but I cannot stop myself.  I am also the Crowd Mother.  If someone in need calls on me, I never say "no".  I've had a lot thrown at me in the last year, plus I've had emergency appendectomy when I was in Texas taking care of my mother, I had knee surgery only to have to go to a detox unit to get off the pain medication, my brother-in-law is suffering so deeply, my daughter and I hardly see each other anymore and she lives only 3 doors away (??)
, my husband stays aggravated because I have taken on all the worries of the world on my shoulders.

I see their point.  I must let go of the worry, I must somehow, some way, be able to give all of it to God for His keeping, believe in it and let go of all of it.  My own health suffers, and I'm sure that if I let go of a lot of this worrying, I'd feel so much better.

My husband keeps saying "just take care of yourself.  You say yourself you are not taking care of your own health, so take care of yourself."  He loves me; he is an awesome man who has taken such good care of me.  He deserves to have me follow what he has asked of me.

Please pray for my worries, pray that God will take them and I will let go of them.  Pray for my health, pray that my family issues smooth out for I  do care and love all of these people with all of my heart.  Pray that I can accept that I am a crowd mother and it is unhealthy.  Pray that I can change the way in which I take in these people in need and not become so absorbed in their issues.


These are deep thoughts; thoughts from my heart.  I'm honest to a fault, and it may be a fault putting this all out there, but you know? I'm human, I have a huge and tender heart, and I am not ashamed of wanting to help those who need love and care.  I just need to learn some tools to handle my own emotional involvements.

If you've gotten this far, God bless you for reading!  And God bless you for your prayers.

In Christ,

Abbey

HEARTLIGHT

Today's Verse...

Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.
—Joel 2:13 (NIV)Illustrated:


Thoughts on Today's Verse...

One of the most amazing things about our God is that he is so gracious and compassionate. This is true even when we've "blown it big time." In fact, when we sin, he longs to forgive and cleanse, not condemn and punish. His grace rushes to greet our genuine heartbreak and heart-change with forgiveness, cleansing, and redemption.

Prayer...

Dear Father, when I sin, please help me see my sin as you do. Help my heart break over my sin when I've rebelled against you. I don't want to ever become callused or cold to your grace. I want to always appreciate the great cost you paid to redeem, to forgive, and to cleanse me with you grace. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
~*~

You can find more informational links at the "Heartlight" website.

THIS DAY'S . . .

I am growing very fond of Thomas Kempis . . .
~*~

Set me free from evil passions, and heal my heart of all inordinate affections; that being inwardly cured and thoroughly cleansed, I may be made fit to love, courageous to suffer, steady to persevere.
 
~Thomas Kempis

This Day's Verse
 
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
 
Romans 10:17
The King James Version

This Day's Smile
 
Let me live in a house by the side of the road and be a friend to man.

Sam Walter Foss


Sunday, February 12, 2012

POSITIVE THOUGHTS

I don't know if you enjoy these as much as I do.  They really hit home sometimes and they cause me to smile, or just stop and think for a moment . . . does this apply to me? Am I doing or not doing this?  Anyway, love this one . . .

~*~
“Blessing with love.”

Nature_23

How do we love others?

Stop trying to change them. Let them take care of their own growth processes. We can’t learn for another. If their behavior is detrimental to us, then we may choose not to be in their presence—and that is fine. We must love ourselves enough not to be brought down by self-destructive people. If we have many negative people in our lives, then we can look to see what pattern there is in us that attracts these people to us. 

When we change, we drop our pattern and we become different, the others will also change in the way they relate to our new personalities, or they will leave our lives so that new people who will appreciate us are then able to enter. Whichever way it happens, it is always a positive move for us when we love and accept ourselves.
Another powerful tool for healing all relationships—family, work, casual, or intimate—is “blessing

with love.” When someone is doing something to disrupt the harmony of your life, bless them with love. You can do it several ways. You can say, “I bless you with love, and I bring harmony to this situation,” or “I bless you with love, and ‘I’ release you and let you go,” or “I release you to your highest good.”
 
~Louise L. Hay

THINKING OF OTHERS

Thinking Of Others 
Lesson 29 from Romans: Lessons In Renewing Your Mind
 By Eric Elder

The story's told of two friends who were walking through a desert together when one of the friends slapped the other in the face.  The one who was slapped wrote a note in the sand saying: 

"Today my best friend slapped me in the face."

But as they walked further along, the one who had been slapped fell into a pool of water and began to drown.  This time, his best friend reached down and pulled him out of the water, saving his life.  This time, the friend who was rescued etched a note on a stone saying: 

"Today my best friend saved my life."

When asked why he wrote one note in the sand and the other note in stone, the one who had been slapped and then later rescued replied: 

"When someone hurts us we should write it down in sand, where the winds of forgiveness can erase it away.  But when someone does something good for us, we must engrave it in stone, where no wind can ever erase it."

Too often, we get this backwards:  we write people's offenses in stone rather than sand, perhaps because they've hurt us so much, or perhaps to protect ourselves from being hurt again.  Then we write the good deeds that people have done for us in sand, forgetting over time just how significant those good deeds have been in our lives.
But according to the Bible, true love keeps no record of people's offenses at all.  As Paul said to the Corinthians:

"Love... keeps no record of wrongs" (1 Corinthians 13:5b).

Last week, we looked at the importance of thinking of ourselves properly, without falling into the traps of pride or low self-esteem.  This week, we're looking at the importance of thinking of others properly, without falling into the traps of conceit or comparison.  

When Paul wrote about love to the Romans, he wrote a simple yet profound statement:

"Love must be sincere" (Romans 12:9a).

While this may seem obvious-that if we love someone we should love them sincerely-it's not so easy to do.  For some people, it's easy to fake love.  

I know a man who seemed like he was a friend to everyone, describing himself as having "great people skills."  Yet in private conversations with him, I discovered that he viewed others with various degrees of disdain, resentment and frustration, often thinking of himself as better than those around him.  The love he showed to others was based on keeping up his image in public more so than holding those around him in true esteem.

This is just a shallow imitation of what real love looks like.  Real love is sincere.  In Latin, the word "sincere" literally means "without wax," (sine meaning without, and cera meaning wax).  Apparently, if a craftsman carved a statue in stone and accidentally nicked or chipped the carving along the way, they would fill those spots with wax.  For all appearances, the statue looked pure and faultless.  But after a while in the hot sun, the wax would melt and the truth would be known:  that which appeared pure and faultless at first was in fact quite flawed.  

When Paul said that love must be sincere, or without wax, he was saying that love shouldn't be just for show, but for real.  

In the past, I used to think that the word "sincerely" was just a formal way of signing off on a business letter, as I learned in business school back in college.  But in recent years, and knowing the meaning of the word sincere, I find myself using it more and more often.  When I write a note from the depths of my heart, I sign it, "Sincerely, Eric Elder."  To me, it's no longer just a formal closing, but a heartfelt statement saying, "I really mean this from the depths of my heart."  It's much closer to meaning "Love, Eric Elder" than I ever would have thought.  And that's just what Paul said:  Love must be sincere.

I find that it's helpful for me to check how sincere I am in my love for others by substituting the words "true affection" for love.  I might be able to say that I love someone, whether a friend or a co-worker, or even someone with whom I disagree or who I'm tempted to consider an enemy.  But when I ask myself if I have true affection for them, then the flaws in my love for them are revealed.  

When this happens, I have to regroup my thinking, and try to see them as God sees them:  as beloved children of His, whom He has created for specific plans and purposes here on earth.  When I change my thinking, it changes how I view them, and subsequently how I love and interact with them.  It doesn't always happen in an instant, but I recognize it much quicker now when I do the "true affection" test!  
In Paul's letter to the Romans, he includes more than a dozen statements about what love looks like when it's sincere.  Here are a few of those statements:

- Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.
- Honor one another above yourselves.  
- Share with God's people who are in need.  
- Practice hospitality. 
- Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.  
- Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.  
- Live in harmony with one another.  
- Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. 
- Do not be conceited. 
- Do not repay anyone evil for evil.  
- Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.  
- If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.  
- Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath 
- Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

If you reframe each of these as a question, you'll get some good ideas for what you might do this week, this month, or this year to show more love to those around you.  For instance:

- What can you do to show your devotion to another brother or sister in Christ?
- What can you do to honor someone else above yourself? 
 
- What can you do to share with other Christians who are in need?   
- What can you do to practice hospitality towards someone you know? 
- What can you do to bless someone who is persecuting you?   
- What can you do to rejoice with someone as they rejoice, or to mourn with someone as they mourn? 
- What can you do to live in harmony with others, rather than provoking continual discord?  
- What can you do to be humble instead of proud, and to associate with people of low position? 
- What can you do to avoid being conceited? 
- What can you do to refrain from repaying anyone evil for evil? 
- What can you do to do what is right in the eyes of everybody? 
- What can you do to live at peace with everyone, as far as it depends on you? 
- What can you do to not take revenge on someone else, but leave room for God's wrath? 
- What can you do to avoid being overcome by evil, but to overcome evil with good? 

I know that I want to keep my love for others sincere, without wax, as pure and flawless as possible.  I want to have true affection for others, whether they're close friends and family or just casual acquaintances or strangers or even enemies.

I want to think of others as God thinks of them:  as children of His, created by Him for specific plans and purposes here on earth.  

I don't want to be the kind of person who etches in stone those things that others have done wrong.  I don't even want to write them in sand.  I want to be able to keep no record of wrongs, recalling instead only the good that others have done for me in my life.

But I know that to do all of this it will take more than what I can do on my own.  It will take the love of Christ, living in me and working through me, to think of others the way God wants me to think of them.  If you want that, too, I hope you'll pray with me today.  Pray that God will help you to love others in ways you could never have done on your own.  With His help, you'll be able to express love to others as the Apostle Paul encouraged the Romans to do, saying:

"Love must be sincere."

Will you pray with me?  

Father, thank You for loving each one of us and giving each one of us a purpose and a plan for our lives.  Help us to think of others in the same way that You think of them.  And help us to treat them with the love and honor that is due them.  In Jesus' name, Amen.