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We had the blessing of a four-day visit from Father Michael S. Murray, OSFS. His mission, called “Practical Holiness: A Salesian Perspective on the Beatitudes,” was to explain the Beatitudes from the view of St. Francis deSales. 

He said Mass last Sunday and I’m glad he did. By listening to his homily, I felt encouraged to attend his sessions on the Beatitudes the following Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights. I knew it would be tough to stick with – my three kids, brownie meetings and my writing all keep me busy. But I made the extra effort to get over to church those nights.

I tell you it helped me understand the beatitudes better. Father Murray  showed us that living the Beatitudes doesn’t have to be hard. He showed how to live them through our daily experiences. I could never do his mission justice by summarizing. Check out these links and visit the spirituality section of the website: Salesian Missions explains the “Practical Holiness”mission along with some others. The Spirituality page offers more information on the organization.

The bottom line was that we’re not only to know the Beatitudes–we need to live them.  Thank you again Father Murray for an unbelievable spiritual experience.

For months I’ve been putting posts up about people doing good things for others: giving to the needy, sharing what we have, helping others in a time of need, showing kindness to others.  It would only seem appropriate to blog about the ultimate good deed — Jesus giving his life for us.

He was willing to die on a cross to save us from our sins when He was free from any wrongdoing. Though he was God’s son, he had to have been frightened – or at least nervous about what was going to happen. He surely could have escaped at any moment, but chose not to. He instead made himself a servant. He endured the taunting, the thorns, the lashes and the crucifixion. The best part, of course, is His conquer over death – for He had risen from the dead on Easter Sunday! 

Why would He endure so much for sinners – who have sinned in the past and would sin again? He did it out of love. Though we’re sinners, he wanted us to share in His inheritance of life in Heaven. So He gave up everything he had — including His life here on Earth.

As a people, we are still (and should be) touched by what He did for us.  We could never repay Him for His sacrifices. However, we can show our gratitude by treating others with love and kindness. If you look closely, you might even see Him in the compassion of others.

So during this season, we are reminded of God’s kindness and generosity. He gave his life for us. He had done the ultimate good deed.

Bonine’s Quest

When some of us have been cheated, we cut our losses and attempt to move on. That’s what one “publishing” company thought Bonnie Kaye would do when it happened to her. They didn’t count on Bonnie taking a stand for herself and her fellow authors. She coordinated everyone’s cases and filed a class action lawsuit. She kept up with lawyers and investigators. She was the leader that helped others in despair.  All her efforts are paying off. While the lawsuit is still going on, the publishing company closed their business.

I chose to write about Bonnie on this blog because she did a good thing for many people who were victims of a scam.  It takes great courage to take such a strong stand and follow through–no matter what the consequences. She created a website to tell the victims’ stories called Airleaf Victims. She even created a blog where she would be in constant communication with the authors she was helping. 

If you get a chance, stop by and read about what some of these authors have been through. Check it out, even if you aren’t a victim. It will show you why you need to be careful. If you are considering contracting with a publisher you don’t know about, check them out first at Preditors and Editors.  It could save you much pain, grief, and hard-earned money.

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 When Cassie Healy created her necklaces at age five, nobody expected she’d be helping wishes come true. Her crafts of string and colorful buttons started out as a gift for her mom, Kathleen Healy, “because I thought it would look pretty,” says Cassie. Kathleen, a nurse at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, took Cassie’s necklace to work. Other nurses liked them and offered to buy some. “My co-workers started asking for the jewelry almost right away,” says Kathleen, “and so it began.”  Cassie’s project, “Buttons for Wishes” was born. Cassie jumped at the chance to make more necklaces since she loves to do crafts. She offered choices of bright, pastel, or vintage. “Bright is my favorite because you can see it the most,” says Cassie.  
           When Cassie collected $500, Kathleen asked her what she wanted to do with the money. Cassie insisted on donating it to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.I put the money in my Make-A-Wish box,” Cassie says. Kathleen adds, “because of my job, she has been more exposed to children with serious illnesses.”
      Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of seriously sick children age 2 to 18. “It’s rare . . . to get support from a young child who wants to help . . . by fund-raising,” says Rebecca Reid, from the Make-A-Wish Foundation. 
           The children who Make-A-Wish helps are often in a hospital instead of at the playground. Through Make-A-Wish, the children receive an experience they’ll remember forever. When asked why she wanted to give all her money to the foundation, Cassie simply said, “So sick kids can get happy.”   
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                      Cassie’s Kindness Catches On
             Generosity is contagious when you’re around Cassie. Word spread that she was selling the jewelry for Make-A-Wish. “The response was overwhelming,” says Kathleen. Last year, Cassie’s kindergarten class spent schooldays putting together the necklaces and donated money for more supplies. Even some local businesses showed interest in Buttons for Wishes.” 
             When Cassie finished her project, she had raised more than $1,000. Because of Cassie’s selflessness, she helped grant a wish and make someone “get happy.”                

         

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Giving Back

Our community has shown great support for my family over the last few years due to the children’s illnesses. While I was relieved that we had some help, I felt guilty accepting it. Then someone once said to me,”When someone gives to you-it’s as much of a blessing for them as it is for you. Don’t turn them down and take that blessing away from them.”

I didn’t know the true meaning of that until tonight. A friend of mine had her house broken into a few days ago. The thief stole just about everything.

Then I found out that even the children’s things were gone.  I looked around my house at the evidence of all those who helped us before. A generous community plus three children equals toys to the 10th power.

I called my friend and offered to give some of the things we had. My children were not just happy to share – they were excited. When my friend came to pick the toys and books up, the kids practically ran her over at the door.

I watched in awe as my friend smiled and looked over the large pile of toys, with my kids showing her everything. I usually only see that glow on people’s faces at Christmas time.

It was nice to give back to others in their time of need. My friend was right before. Giving is a blessing for the giver as well as the receiver. Maybe even more so.

The Power of Prayer

I’ll pray for you,” a friend says after she heard about a recent misfortune. People say that so many times it’s almost become a common courtesy.

 But what does it mean?

For some people it means, “You’re in my thoughts.”

For others it means, “I hope your situation gets better.”

But the best meaning, the one I hope most of us mean, is quite literal.  “I’ll take your concerns to God in my prayers and ask Him to help you.”

I never thought about this until tonight. My daughter, whom many of you may know by now had a liver disease and liver transplant, gets hit hard with the cold and flu season.

Tonight the worst for her were the stomach cramps. She tried to get some rest. It worked for a while, but it always came back – usually waking her from her much needed rest.

As her mother it was painful to watch. What could I do for her? Tylenol? No. She was afraid it would make her sick again. A drink? A medication? How could I make it stop?

My husband, who knew I was sick too, told me he’d take care of her and get some rest.  But how? Her cries can pierce my dreams.

As I sat in bed, I realized there was one thing I didn’t do. Prayer. I talk to God every night before I go to sleep. Why hadn’t I thought of it before?

“Dear God,” I said. “Please relieve her of her agony. She needs her rest. Please help her.”

Like an instant miracle, I hadn’t heard her cries after that. She even was well enough to go to school today.  

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