Friday, April 29, 2011

Happiness Is...

...2 kinds of ice cream, finding your skate key, telling the, la, laaaaaa.  This old song lyric floated through my mind this morning which prompted three more thoughts.  1. Where did that come from?  (Answer:  "Happiness" lyrics from the 70's Broadway show, "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown" and FYI a skate key adjusted the size of an old-fashioned metal-only roller skate  attached to shoes.)  2. Be careful what you get plugged into your brain.  (Way too many 70's and 80's kids sang drivel in school plays.)  3. What is happiness?

Happy are the poor in spirit: for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
Happy are those who are sad: for they will be comforted.
Happy are the gentle: for the earth will be their heritage.
Happy are those whose heart's desire is for righteousness: for they will have their desire.
Happy are those who have mercy: for they will be given mercy.
Happy are the clean in heart: for they will see God.
Happy are the peacemakers: for they will be named sons of God.
Happy are those who are attacked on account of righteousness: for the kingdom of heaven will be theirs.
Happy are you when men give you a bad name, and are cruel to you, and say all evil things against you falsely, because of me. 12 Be glad and full of joy; for great is your reward in heaven: for so were the prophets attacked who were before you.
Matthew 5: 3-12 (Basic English Translation)
Most translations of these Beatitudes use the word blessed in place of happy, to perhaps move the reader beyond thoughts of simple pleasure and contentment to more confidence and satisfaction. While I can be momentarily happy eating a treat of ice cream, deep happiness is a byproduct of having good purpose and right meaning in life.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

An Easter Basket for You!

Here is an overflowing Easter basket for you filled with peeps, Jelly Belly beans, gummy bears, licorice, Swedish fishes, Big League gum, caramels, Skittles, Starburst, and Junior mints.  Ooooo, and lots of chocolate; bunnies, eggs, crosses, gourmet bars, and kisses.  And all those eggs...colored hard-boiled, Cadbury, and peanut butter.  Awwwww and check out the new to us Mallo-Licious jelly filled sour peaches.  A stuffed animal, bubbles, hopping chic, sidewalk chalk, and other favorites and surprises, too.  This Easter basket is over-the-top because Easter Joy knows no limits!

An overflowing Easter basket reflects my overflowing love for you!  Even more, it reminds us of God's infinite love for each of us!  Accept this love!  Enjoy this love! And share this sweet, sweeter, sweetest, love with those around you!  Can I have a peep?


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Dark Before Light

I watch you struggle. Failed tests, relationships and attempts. I watch you lash out in anger, cooperate with trouble, or sink into despair. These are dark times.

I wait this Holy Thursday in darkness and ponder The Last Supper. I will walk through the night to church, to adore Him among dim flickering candles. Tomorrow, Good Friday, I will pray the Stations of the Cross. How can injustice, pain, and death be good?

The Light comes. With Him, you will pass tests, have good relationships, and succeed. The Light always comes. And we wait in the dark.

...what had been said through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled...the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen."      Matthew 4: 14, 16

Monday, April 18, 2011

Favorite Book?

There are predictable questions adults ask.  "What is your favorite book?" is one that covers a lot of territory, acting as a job interview question, small talk, and a quest to find something in common.  Answers that will not reflect well on you or help build relationships include:

1.  I don't like reading. 
2.  Books are dumb.
3.  Book?

Answers that show you are smart, employable, and interesting include:

1.  A classic novel.  Pick a Great Book and get to know it well.  Which book?  Choose one with a character that you share things in common, such as age, gender, location, nationality, or ethnicity.  The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a good pick for a humorous American male.

2.  A current work about your interests.  Love baseball?  Read the most recent biography about Henry Aaron. Love cooking?   Eat Tweet connects new cookbook format and current social media.

3.  A book that shows your complete package.  An athlete can show smarts through a WWII book.  An academic can share their outdoorsmanship through a camping book.  An artist can share their physical discipline through a book on running.

I look forward to hearing more about your favorite books!


Thursday, April 14, 2011


Are you hungry?  Angry?  Lonely?  Or tired?  If yes, then it is time to stop. 

I first read about using the acronym H (hungry) A (angry) L (lonely) T (tired) to deal with stress when I was in my early 20's.  I have developed the habit of thinking "HALT" to help me to stop.

A definition of "halt" is to pause or stop.  When we HALT, we pause, regroup, collect ourselves in order to proceed with improved clarity, kindness, and credibility.  It is hard to stop. 

Stopping to eat and rest takes care of our physical needs.  Stopping to deal with our anger and loneliness takes care of our emotional needs.  We are more inclined to feel in control of ourselves and to avoid drama.  For your own sake, stop. 

When our basic needs are taken care of, we are less likely to lash out at others.  We are more inclined to see the situation clearly, to be patient, and to be concerned for all involved.  For the sake of others, stop.


Monday, April 11, 2011

When Adults Fail You

Adults have rightful authority over youth.  This principle is good because it is based on the truth that adults have more life experience on which to make good decisions.  But sometimes adults don't make good decisions.

It can be confusing, frustrating, and sad when an adult makes a decision that hurts you.  A teacher who is burned-out at his job and his wife has recently left him, can give you a low grade and not offer support to improve that grade.  A coach who is disgusted with losing several games in a row and is up all hours of the night with a baby, can demand you stay in the game even after you report an injury.  A parent who wasn't raised right, can struggle to do right by you.

Consider that you have options: harder.....ask for help.....walk away......make a plan.....ignore bad behavior.....offer help.....keep your around it.....consider their hurt.....avoid feeling sorry for them.....pray......avoid revenge......find sympathy.....focus on something else......acknowledge what is right.....keep it proportionate.....don't repeat their wrong behavior.....prove them grateful for what is good.
When adults fail you, find your success by doing what is right.  You can do it!


Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Sweet Treat for You

If I could hand you a freshly baked cookie from my oven right now, I would, and it would be your favorite - sweet, warm, and begging for a glass of milk or a cup of hot chocolate.  But since I can't, I'll share a quick recipe for a sweet treat that you can make.

Melt about 1/2 cup of chocolate chips in the microwave (and a microwave safe bowl) for about a  minute until melted.  Stir.

Mix in about 1/4 dried fruit, 1/4 rolled oats, 1/4 cup nuts.  Spoon or scoop onto tray.  Chill.  Eat.
Try different flavored chips, like peanut butter; different fruit like raisins, dried cranberries or cherries; different cereals. 

A sweet treat to cheer...for my sweetheart.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Better Than a Job

It's odd how much emphasis is placed on teens to prepare for getting a good job. Paid jobs, or fancier, careers have their place in life, and hard work is always commendable when directed toward good. Yet, there is so much more to the fullness and dignity of each person.

The Catholic Church uses the term "vocation" to describe our purpose that is deeper and more meaningful than any payment or particular skill. "Love is the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being" Catechism of the Catholic Church 2392. Pope John Paul II adds:
However within this common vocation that calls everyone to be conformed not to this world but to God's will (cf. Rom 12:2), there are different states of life and numerous vocations and missions.

The gift of the Spirit is the basis of everyone's vocation. It is at the root of the consecrated ministries of the Bishop, priest and deacon, who are at the service of ecclesial life. It is also he who forms and moulds the soul of those who are called to a life of special consecration, configuring them to Christ, chaste, poor and obedient. In the Spirit himself, who through the sacrament of Marriage surrounds and consecrates the union of the spouses, the mission of parents, called to make the family the first and fundamental expression of the Church, finds its strength and support. Lastly, the many other services oriented to building up and giving life to the community are nourished by the gift of the Spirit - Christian education and catechesis, care of the sick and the poor, human advancement and the exercise of charity. In fact, "To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good" (1 Cor 12:7).
Have a job?  Good.  Be grateful, do well, and use the income to provide for your needs and the needs of others.  Have a vocation?  Better!  Consider that each day prepares you for your adult life commitment.  That's priceless.