The First Day In Heaven

The First Day In Heaven

We live our lives with many unknowns. Two big ones we sometimes push aside are our last day and our first day. The last day being our last day on earth, how and when we will leave this world. And the first day in heaven, what will we find when we get to the other side. What is heaven going to be like for a long time…eternity. These unknowns, death and afterlife, have been the topics of many pieces of art, lyrics of songs, and subjects to be researched. No one knows how or when his/her “exit” will come about. But you can pray to St. Joseph the patron saint for a peaceful death, and place your order! But “life on the other side” has had extensive theories and “reports”. When you listen to interviews from people who have “passed over” or read explorations of life on the “other side”, they can all agree. What comes through loud and clear is: THERE IS NOTHING TO BE AFRAID OF. To reinforce this concept, I want to share a special picture and a revealing poem that will give us food for thought as we ponder this great unknown of what we can expect to find on the “other side”. One of my favorite pieces of artwork is this picture, entitled “First Day in Heaven” by Linda Van den Bosch. This touching piece shows the end of a young woman’s journey as she leaps into the arms of God receiving a bear hug of welcome showing the very heart of God. If God is love, that theme jumps out and reassures every...
What Makes a Good Day?

What Makes a Good Day?

Charlie Chaplin’s quote, “a day without laughter is a day wasted”, is seen at many food and drink scenes! What makes a “day worth living” for you? What makes it a “good day”?  It’s a great question to ponder. Knowing what makes a good day for us will allow us to prioritize our day’s actions, getting the most out of each day. According to Nancy Collamer who wrote “5 Essential Steps to Have a Good Day” there are 3 questions to be asked at the end of the day: Did you spend your time and attention on things that matter? Did you feel that you did a good job and had the support of others? Did the day leave you feeling more energized than depleted? I appreciate the 3 items listed by Nancy Collamer above, but I need to add one more item to here list.  I’d add a touch of spirituality in every day. I mean I need an “Aha God” moment. …that divine tug in my heart. For just one split second I want to feel that Divine Presence in my life. Now this divine connection can come in many ways and forms. It could be when I read something inspirational in a book or even social media. Or it can come from enjoying family and friends realizing that these people are reflections of God. Maybe during a walk outside or taking in a colorful sunset, somehow the majesty of our Creator is apparent. These special moments come when I am “present” in the situation seeing it for what it truly is. A particular time given to...
Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

This fall, Joe and I had the opportunity to travel to Norfolk, VA, never realizing that the Naval Station at Norfolk is the largest naval installation in the world! Before our boat harbor tour began we found this incredible tribute to our Veterans – The Armed Forces Memorial located just off shore by the marina. This memorial is located on the river which has carried more than 200 years of servicemen and women off to war and returned home. (Some not that fortunate). Within this memorial there are 20 inscriptions from letters written home by US service men and women who lost their lives.  Every branch of the service is represented. These letters, written not knowing their future, contain very personal thoughts of love of family, love of country, the hell in war, and reflections of life itself. “What’s it all about?” The 20 letters have been cast on sheets of bronze and are scattered across the memorial on the ground as if they had been blown there by the wind. The airmen, infantry men, nurses, sailors, men, and women representing every branch of the service, bare their souls struggling with their loves, hopes and fears. They represent brave men and women from these wars: The Revolutionary War (1175-1783), The War of 1812 (1812-1815), The Civil War (1861-1865), World War 1 (1917-1918), World War II (1941-1945), Korean War (1950-1953), Vietnam War (1962-1975) and the Gulf War (1990-1991). Walking around reading letters that read like a personal diary you feel like you’ve peeked into someone’s soul, so intimate and so touching especially knowing that these brave soldiers never made it...
No Time For Prayer?

No Time For Prayer?

Hopefully we get into the habit of daily prayer. But what happens when your daily routine changes, maybe an illness, vacation or too many things on your “to do” list? At least for me my daily prayer is pushed to the back allowing my pressing issues grabbing my time and attention. My dear friend, Jackie, who I befriended in sixth grade, recommended a book to me that helps put a “workable” approach to prayer especially during the times of our feeling “overwhelmed”. Author, Anne Lamott gives us the “Cliff notes” of prayer, during these special times, when words fail us or we are pressed for time. In her book, “Help, Thanks, Wow”, the author discusses these three essential prayers. The first prayer is merely “Help”…help those who are suffering.  “Help” those in need”.  “Help” our country. “Help” me get through these days without a family drama!  Simply pray, “Help”. (You know how to fill in the blanks!) The second prayer, “Thanks”, should be an easy one.   “Thanks” for getting me through that interview.  “Thanks” for my healthy child”. “Thanks” that I didn’t get a speeding ticket. A pattern of gratefulness builds happiness. The final prayer, “Wow” takes your breath away.  It’s the innocence in us that is breathless in the face of wonder.  “Wow” is seeing the vastness of the ocean for the very first time.  We are at a loss of words taking in the beauty of the Grand Canyon.  “Wow” look at those wildflowers along the path.  “Wow” look at Shamu!  “Wow” look at that sunset!  “Wow” expresses the “awe” that we live in, that we sometimes take for...
Pass the Salt Please!

Pass the Salt Please!

On vacation this summer Joe and I were frustrated with the slow pouring salt-shakers! (Just one of our bad habits!) Taking matters into his own hands, Joe switched the tops of the salt and pepper-shakers giving us the “fast pour” on the salt. Salt is one of my four basic food groups. It serves us well for two reasons! Salt not only spices up our food but also has a valuable lesson for us. What can a common spice teach us? Back in its day, common salt was traded and valued like oil is today. It was because of what it did for other things that made it so important and esteemed. Salt was in high regard and often used as a high standard. (“He’s not worth his salt.”) Salt brings out flavor, and adds zest to everything. Salt acted as a preservative to prevent spoilage, as it does in many ways today, making it a very valuable commodity. Even Jesus used salt in his teaching, “you are the salt of the earth”. Just what are we suppose to learn from this? We are each called to be each other’s salt in two ways: We add flavor: We draw out the best in others, adding the spice of life – we make people smile, we dash their fears (real or imaginary), we add the zest of friendship, love, a hug, a phone call, sharing a meal. Salt in us brings out the best in ourselves allowing us to enhance the lives of others, just like the foods it serves. We preserve: Like salt, we also preserve each other, protecting health...