Monday, November 1, 2010

ASAP - A New Definition

I thought this was worth sharing - hope you agree.

Here's another way to think about "ASAP"

There's work to do, deadlines to meet;

You've got no time to spare,

But as you hurry and scurry-


In the midst of family chaos,

"Quality time " is rare.

Do your best; let God do the rest-


It may seem like your worries

Are more than you can bear.

Slow down and take a breather-


God knows how stressful life is;

He wants to ease our cares,

And He'll respond to all your needs


Sunday, September 19, 2010

My mom would have been 100 years old this month. Unfortunately, she died in an automobile accident on Sept 11th, 1976. So every September, as we memorialize those who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, I also pay special tribute to my mom, with a sincere appreciation for all she taught me.

The example of her faith was one of Mom's greatest gifts to me. She was a devout Catholic who believed in the church, but she taught me to look deeper into religion -- to look beyond individual personalities, and specific rules.

Mom always said "religion should make sense, and if it doesn't make sense to you, find out why." She taught me that questioning the rules was not only OK, but an important responsibility, a necessary part of personal growth.

As I questioned and looked deeper into the church I began to understand some of the reasons behind the rules. For example, fasting on Fridays during lent strengthens our self-discipline, and required attendance at Mass every Sunday provides important learning opportunities as well as encouraging us to take time for prayer.

Thanks to my Mom, I've been able to go beyond the "letter of the law". And thanks to her I've been able to recognize the church's faults and shortcomings while still appreciating the importance of the church's guidelines for our spiritual growth. After all is said and done, the only mission of the church as an institution, is to teach us about God, to make us aware of our purpose here on earth, and to help us attain the promise of the afterlife we call "heaven".

Thanks Mom for all your guidance! I know you are enjoying heaven.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Constitution, Article 6

Standing in line at the grocery store I see the tabloid headline "Shocking Proof, Obama IS a Muslim" ... and I'm thinking, what happened to Freedom of Religion in America?

Of course the answer is obvious ... since 9/11 we've become paranoid about Muslim extremists who vow to destroy us. But shouldn't we smart enough to realize there are extremists in every group, whether it be political, religious or racial? (And if you are worried about Muslims in America, I suggest you read "Acts of Faith" by Eboo Patel, founder of the Interfaith Youth Corps. More about him in future blogs)

I think that maybe right now we need to remind ourselves of the importance of freedom of religion as guaranteed in our constitution. It is one of the basic ideals of our country; one of the principles on which our country was founded. Are we on the verge of sacrificing the basic principles of our Constitution because of the actions of extremists?

When it comes to questioning Obama's religion, refer to Article 6 in the Constitution. It states that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States"

The questions we should be asking about our President are not what religion does he profess, but is he a man of integrity? Can we trust him to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States? Will he put the interests of our country first in all of his decisions and actions? Will he lead this country in the right direction as we see it? If the answer to these questions is yes, it should not matter if our president worships God in the traditional Protestant religion or if he is a Born-Again Christian, a Catholic, a Jew ... or a Muslim.

Friday, July 30, 2010


I've often said that God knew what he was doing when he designed the creating of new life to require two parents. It's not the creation or even the birth that's so hard ... it's the years that follow. In the ideal design, two parents share the physical and emotional challenges of taking care of children. Two parents support each other, reinforce each other. They teach children respect and demand respect for the other parent. And they comfort each other! ... and God knows, at the end of the day, all parents need lots of comfort!

Unfortunately, in the real world, the "ideal design" is often interrupted because of circumstances beyond our control or because of choices we make. Single parenthood is a common reality today, leaving one parent to carry double the load without the emotional support and comfort ... and I can tell you from personal experience It Ain't Easy!

When my husband died I had to finish raising 6 children, ranging from 10 to 18 years in age. In one sense I was more fortunate than some single parents. My husband had been a strong father, very close to the children. I could draw on that strength as well as his memory and the foundation we had built for them together. Most of the single parents that I know don't have as many children, but they are starting, almost from scratch, to build that family foundation by themselves.

When people ask me "how did you do it?" All I can say is "with a lot of help from God." I kept remembering the old saying we were taught in Catholic school: "God doesn't send you any problems you can't handle." Well, first of all, I don't believe that God "sends" us the problems (more about that in a later blog) but I do believe he is there with special help for single parents.

There were many times when my mind was a complete blank on how to handle a situation or what to say to a child in trouble and somehow the right words came ... through my empty brain, out of my mouth, straight to my child. When I heard my self speaking I wondered "where did that come from?" But I really knew ... and had to say "thank you God."

When all of my shortcomings hit me in the face, as they often did, I tried to say "I'm doing the best I can." And I was ... but I knew that "the best I could do" on any given day, wasn't necessarily "my best". Often it was far from it. So I had to learn to forgive myself and keep on trying. It helped to remember that God forgives us, and gives us the strength to keep going.

I pray every day for single parents, that they be open to the special graces of wisdom, strength and comfort that God is surely sending them.

PS - My own story of single parenting has a happy ending. My children are all grown now, and although there are certainly some "holes" in their upbringing that I could not fill, they all turned out pretty darn well! (if I may say so myself.) And I now have a wonderful husband to share the new challenges of life and the joy of grand-parenting.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

As a writer I believe in the importance of sharing experiences, perspectives and theories. It seems that blogging has become one of the most important vehicles for the expression of ideas, so I hereby dip my feet further into the waters of the Internet.

Let me begin by explaining the reason behind the title of my blog - a theory I call the "Swiss Cheese Method."

In this "age of information" we are constantly bombarded with details of all the problems we face, locally, nationally and internationally. Most of these problems are so complex and beyond our control that it is easy to become overwhelmed. Sometimes I hate to listen to the news because I feel helpless and frustrated and often so depressed that I find it difficult to handle even my own small problems.

The Swiss Cheese Method means doing whatever small things we can do, taking whatever action we can, and starting to poke holes in the problems. Even the tiniest holes are important. More and more little holes eventually lead to bigger and bigger holes. Poke enough holes and the problem is no longer the same big huge solid insurmountable block. When it is full of holes it is something lighter, more manageable. Eventually, hopefully, we will have poked so many holes so that the problem will fall apart or even disappear.

It's not a new idea. Early in the 20th century, Father James Keller M.M. said "It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness." The effect of his work and the Christopher Movement he founded continues to touch many lives today.

I had a very wise aunt, Aunt Marietta, who used to say "when you are faced with what seems to be an insurmountable problem, it is ok to throw your hands up in frustration ... as long as you bring them right back down and get to work."

Let's start lighting candles and poking holes and creating Swiss Cheese out of our problems!

Note: - In future blogs I'll be sharing some of experiences and stories from my life, and giving my thoughts and perspectives on various issues including politics, faith and religion, women, culture and history. My hope is that the stories and ideas I share will give hope and encouragement to those who might have thought they were alone out there, that they maybe bring a smile or even a laugh to those who identify with some experiences ... and most important, that they will promote discussion, inspire new ideas and stimulate action.