Monday, April 14, 2014
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Fr. Frans van der Lugt Remembered as a Man of Peace
In a comment released by Vatican Radio, Fr. Federico Lombardi briefly eulogized the priest, calling him “a man of peace” who chose to remain faithful to the Syrian people suffering from the conflict.
“Where the people die, their faithful pastor also died with them,” Fr. Lombardi said.
Fr. Adolfo Nicolas, superior general of the Society of Jesus, expressed his sadness at the murder of “a man who has dedicated his life to the most poor and needy, particularly in the city of Homs.”
“He always spoke of peace and reconciliation and opened his door to all who asked for his help, regardless of race or religion,” Fr. Nicolas stated. “We hope and ask the Lord that his sacrifice bear fruits of peace and that it may be a further incentive to silence the weapons and put aside hatred.
International community denounces execution
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon described Fr. van der Lugt’s murder as “an inhuman act of violence.”
Fr. van der Lugt, he said, "heroically stood by the people of Syria" amid growing difficulties in the country. Ki-moon called on all sides in the conflict to ensure the safety of “people of every religion and ethnicity.”
US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki also denounced the killing, saying that the United States was “saddened” by the death of the Dutch priest. "We condemn this violent attack and all attacks against innocent civilians and minority communities," she added. "As we've said throughout this conflict, we deplore continued threats against Christians in Syria, and we reiterate that we stand on the side of the Syrian people, who are fighting for a Syria that is inclusive and pluralistic and respects all faiths."
Syrian officials blamed the death on “terrorists," a term used to describe those opposing President Bashar al-Assad’s rule. A statement released by the office of Syrian opposition leader Ahmad Jarba also condemned the attack, laying blame on the Assad regime who, he stated, stood “as the only beneficiary of [Fr. van der Lugt’s] death." (J.A.E.)
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Sunday, March 23, 2014
But when you are at the lowest of your moods, how do you have faith? Where does that ability to have faith come from?
Presently I am reading a book about being happy despite your circumstances. Being happy doesn't fix the problems and concerns of daily life, happiness doesn't even pay the bills or find the lost spirit. Happiness is fleeting for the most part.
Joy is what seems to be lasting, but how do you find joy? Where does the joy come from? Someone, I'm sure will come back and say that you find it in Jesus Christ. Yes, yes, I agree that knowing our Savior should bring us joy...joy that is everlasting and eternal.
But how do you find joy or HAVE joy when you are down, lost, depressed, feeling out of sorts?
This book talks about thoughts, how we are always constantly thinking...without even knowing or realizing that we are thinking, we are thinking. Thoughts are formed within a nano second and can last as long as we think about them. The key here is how long WE DECIDE to think about them, good or bad.
Our thoughts are divided between two things...reality and non-reality which is formed by fear, emotions, past experiences that can or cannot relate to the present situation, and habit. It's in the knowing the difference between these two thoughts that gives us the high mood or the low moods we as human beings experience each and every day.
The silly thing about many of us (ME included) is that there is nothing wrong with our lives, we have wonderful families, (with a few nuts, of course) a good marriage, great kids, a roof over our heads, food on the table, and a job to go to each week. Our health is good, money in our pockets, and friends to count on, but still the moods, the thoughts come and carry us away...nothing is right, life sucks, I'm too fat, not smart enough, I hate this house, this town, ahh! Then before you know it you're as low as one could get; no faith, no joy, no happiness just discouragement.
So the key here is to control the thoughts that are coming fast and furious without consciousness or control. Quickly deciphering which is reality and which thought is not; since so many of our thoughts are not even possible, is difficult at best. These thoughts have been created from fear, mental deception, temptation from the great Deceiver, and wherever else we have exposed ourselves to; TV, movies, Facebook. I, myself, have read way too many of these stories to forget, much less dismiss easily as possible non-realities, sigh.
But we must, one thing the author says in this book is that we need to review our present situation and see that mostly there is no reason or proof of reality of our thoughts, so we much discount them and replace these negative thoughts with positive ones. Redirect your head, or as a friend of mine says, "re-frame it" look at it differently and see through rational eyes what is truly reality. What I see here is having the courage to change and basically release thoughts that are not reality and that are formed from fear. Having the courage to believe in a reality that we may not see with our eyes, but with our hearts. I've heard courage decribed as being fear with running shoes on, interesting, but makes sense. Courage is having the gumption to take off on faith despite our thoughts and fears.
So back to my original question: How does one have faith when at the lowest of our moods? The snap of a finger, or pat on the back....no through prayer, not just one prayer, but many prayers and many thoughts of God and a saint or two whose journey through mortal life had it's challenges and that they persevered.
The bottom line is that we must persevere in faith, finding the joy that is in Jesus Christ through positive thinking, redirecting our heads and hearts to more meaningful and joyful reading material....like the Bible to help us along the way, both spiritually and mentally...and don't forget your guardian angel who is there to keep and guide you!!
Dear Heavenly Father, when the dark thoughts happen across my mind, grab them before they reach my heart and hold me firmly in your arms. Help me to think only of your love and feel the joy that is in your son our Lord Jesus Christ!
Saturday, March 15, 2014
Today we had to put our favorite canine pet down. He was 14+ years old
and so feeble that he stayed in his bed all day until my husband
insisted that he get up to go outside. He couldn't walk well, he collapsed at a drop of a hat and groaned all the time for the last
He was a Catahoula Leopard and a rare breed from Louisianan. But most importantly, he was our Theodore, a wonderfully loving and devoted boy. We got him at the Houston SPCA for our son, Marshall when he was 18 for his birthday. That was in 2000, and we named him Theodore after the PBS kids series, Theodore, Tugboat....of which we loved watching.
Everyone we knew loved him and enjoyed visiting with him. He tolerated all the dachshunds that we fostered, and the two we adopted. He tolerated the cats...all four of them.
We will miss him severely.
The house is quiet now......
we are all in mourning.
Friday, March 14, 2014
How to invest into your relationships.
Even with my limited knowledge of stocks and bonds, there is one financial investing principle which has helped me shape the way I view investing into relationships. Any financial planner would tell you that the best way to maximize a financial investment is to invest when the stock is low, not when it’s high. That might sound like an overly simplistic description (and it probably is), but I want you to consider how this principle looks in your life and relationships…
I want you to think for a moment about the people in your life you love the most. They’d be the ones you consider the most loyal to you and the ones to whom you feel the most loyalty. I’m willing to bet that those people invested in you with their love, support and encouragement in those times in your life when you were the lowest.
Everyone wants to be your friend when you’re on top of the world, but true loyalty and intimacy is built by being the one to rush to a person when everyone else is rushing away. It requires giving them your best when they’re at their very worst. If you truly care about someone, you must invest into their lives even when they’re not in a place to reciprocate. You must share in their struggles if you ever want to celebrate with them in their successes.
In every meaningful relationship in your life (your marriage, your friendships, etc.) let me challenge you to be the one to pick up your loved ones when life has knocked them down. That type of investment will bring health and strength to the ones you love and will bless you in the process!
“A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” Proverbs 17:17
For additional ways to invest into your marriage, please watch our (now FREE) video series The 4 Pillars of a Strong Marriage and check out our bestselling book iVow: Secrets to a Stronger Marriage.
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Just as I think I am all up-to-date with my friends, especially my writer friends, I find one that got somehow lost in the recent shuffle.
He has some great pics of castles, music, and just great insight into the life of a writer, father, and foreign land seeker.