Emily the Elephant (MY Christmas Wish)

Emily was a couple of years older than Edward. She knew so much more than Edward and told Edward that every day. I mean everyday! That did not bother Edward though, as he really liked his sister. He loved her and liked following her all around the fields looking for food. He liked meeting all of her friends too. They were so nice to him. Sometimes better than Emily. She could be a mean sister!

One day as Emily was supposed to be watching Edward, she got involved with her elephant friends and lost sight of Edward. He must have wandered away, she thought. She looked around and did not see him. All of a sudden she got scared, as Edward was too young to be out here in the fields all by himself. She thought, “What am I going to do? Where do I start looking for Edward? Oh No! What have I done?

Emily was having so much fun with her friends; she had no idea how long Edward was gone. As often as she told Edward how much more she knew than him, she felt real bad about losing Edward. She became real sad! She was worried! She knows the danger with other animals here in the jungle.

Edward was off running around, and guess what! He found a bunch of puddles and could not wait to get in them. He was having so much fun just rolling around and getting muddy. Boy, did he love being muddy!

Edward did not realize that Emily was not around, because all he was thinking about was rolling in the water and dirt. He loved doing that and he liked filling up his trunk, again and again with water! But then Edward looked around and realized what he did—He walked away from Emily and got so involved with the puddles, that now he doesn’t know where Emily is. He cannot see her anywhere. Oh no! Where am I?

As Edward got up from the mud, he heard noises from other animals that he did not know. It sounded like quite a few animals. He heard elephant yelling too! They were yelling at each other and at the other animals too. What was going on? That is Emily and her friends!! I hear Emily screaming! I got to find her!
Edward started walking slowly towards all the noise he heard in the distance. He then started to run, because he was worried about his sister. What am I’m going to do? I’m scared! Then he remembered what his mother told him after he got in trouble last time with the puddles. She said, “It is ok to be scared. We all get scared sometimes, but we must be brave and always do the right thing. We must always help family and friends, and other animals too that need help. And yes, you always need to listen to what Mom and Dad tell you.”

Edward then started to run even faster now. The noises were louder and he could not stop thinking about Emily. She’s my sister! My sometimes mean sister! He got behind the trees and he could see 3 young lions running around the elephants trying to get one of them alone. They were much faster than the elephants, but the elephants were bigger. It looked like they were trying to get Arnold, my friend, one of the smaller elephants like me.

Edward just watch them trying to figure out what they were going to do next. Edward slipped around the side where there were more trees, so he could get even closer. He knew he had to surprise the lions, so the other elephants could help him chase the lions away.
Edward thought and knew what to do. He was so glad he did what he always loved doing in the puddles. He had filled his trunk up to the top with water. Now, he was ready!

Edward waited for the right moment and then charged the lions. Emily saw Edward, so she charged from the other side towards Edward. The lions were caught in the middle! The lions saw elephants coming at them from all sides. They knew they had to run and get away or they would be hurt.

It worked! The lions left. Emily could not wait to get to Edward and say how sorry she was for not looking after him. She promised that it would never happen again. And she told Edward she was sorry for always telling him she knew more than him. She was wrong. Emily also told Edward, that because of what he did, he saved everyone from getting hurt. Yes Edward, you knew more than me today. I am so proud of you! Thank you for helping and I want you to know, I love my little brother. She put her trunk around his head and gave him a hug!

The elephants all gathered together and started a line to go back home. Edward was feeling pretty good for helping, but it meant so much to him, to hear his sister tell him how much she loves him. Emily means so much to me and I love her too!

Edward now couldn’t wait to get home and tell Mom and Dad what he did.

“Find a way.”
_Conor

The Daffodil Principle

There is a story called, “The Daffodil Principle” that some of you may have heard. A daughter phoned her mother to come and see the daffodils while they were in bloom. Though reluctant to drive two hours, she nevertheless drove through the rain and fog, but was ready to go right back home as soon as it cleared. She relates this story saying, “My daughter asked if I would drive her to the garage to get her car before I left her, but her motive was to take me to see the daffodils, though it irritated me when I realized it.

We reached a small road near a church and when we turned around a bend in the road, there before me, was the most glorious sight I have ever seen. It was if someone had taken a vat and poured it over the mountainside in a cascade of colors. “Who did this?” I asked her. My daughter pointed to a modest house nearby, and on reaching it we saw a poster on the patio headlined—answers to the questions I know you are asking. The first answer is 50,000 bulbs—the second answer—one at a time by one woman, two hands, two feet and the third—began in 1958. This was the daffodil principle.

I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who for fifty years had brought her vision of beauty to an obscure mountainside, one bulb at a time. She had created something of ineffable beauty and inspiration. The “principle” taught me that learning to move toward our goals one step at a time—to love the doing of it, and to use the accumulation of time by multiplying small pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too can accomplish magnificent things and change the world. It makes me sad I said to my daughter, what I might have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five or forty years ago and worked at it one bulb at a time. Just think of what I might have achieved. My daughter in her usual practical way said, “Start tomorrow. It’s so pointless to think of lost hours of yesterdays. The way to make it a lesson of celebration, instead of regrets, is to ask yourself, “How can I put this to use today?”

You all know of Blessed Mother Theresa’s famous words, “God doesn’t ask for success. He asks for faithfulness.” It isn’t necessary to perform great heroic deeds or accomplishments because nothing impresses God. However, God does ask us to use the wonderful gifts and graces He has given us to plant the Kingdom of God within ourselves, others, and the world. One bulb at a time. And these things can be accomplished without great effort on our part in three ways: First, by remembering to give thanks to God every day for the gift of life, and many other gifts of His creation, in some form of prayer. Second, to let our gifts of Faith, Hope and Love—especially Love, be manifested at home, in the workplace and in the world by our thoughts, words, and actions. And finally, never give in to fear, discouragement, or despair for these are the Devil’s tools, and we are children of God who need to understand, that we have to go through Calvary to arrive at Easter, for there is surely no person here who hasn’t or won’t go through some form of Calvary in their life in imitation of our divine Lord.

There is one last thing of which we must be conscious that tie together all of these things and that is TRUST. Placing all our trust in God. He will dispose of all things He sees fit, yet it is His will to dispose them to our benefit. We have to place trust in our loved ones, and in each other, else faith, hope and love become simply words in our vocabulary.

Not everything is always as it seems, and so it is here that trust comes into play. Remember, when our life is completed, there will remain in the end only these three – Faith, Hope, and Love, and the greatest of these is Love. Increase these gifts, place your trust in them and the Kingdom of God is already within you.
From excerpts of Deacon Bob.

Conor
“Find a Way!”

“Have no fear of moving into the unknown. Simply step out fearlessly knowing that I am with you, therefore no harm can befall you; all is very, very well. Do this in complete faith and confidence.”

― Pope John Paul II

Faith

Sharing the story

Have you reflected on your life recently to look back, and at the present, and see in honest eyes how you are doing and what you have done? Have you made a difference? Have you tried, changed and improved through your life experiences and maturity? Maybe the help came to you, and not knowing, you think you did it on your own. Have you used all the gifts granted to you or have you been focused on all the gifts and trappings of life for yourself?

Who we are and what makes us our own individual self, is all a gift from God. He expects us to use what has been given and to make a difference, and that comes in many shapes and forms. Can you name the gifts you have been given in this life, and how you are using them? The bigger question though, God has given you so much to make you who you are, so the question to you, what are you going to give back to God for those gifts given to you?

Depending on your belief system, there are different perspectives on end of life. More specifically though, is how are you going to meet judgment day? There are three areas I’d offer you to reflect on:

• Judgment – Our Lord asks you what you have done. Lord I did everything for you. I was honest, did not steal, was a good spouse and raised my kids to know you.” Our Lord asks again, what have you done for me/others? Lord I followed your commandments, made church every week. Again Our Lord asks, “What have you done for me?” I have been faithful to my spouse, never cursed or gossiped. “Yes I understand , but I have given you gifts to help the least of your brethren. Did you feed the hungry? Did you visit the sick and those in need? Did you help the elderly, the poor with their needs, the lonely? Did you not see me there with them? Did you not see me when you looked in their eyes? Did you not only love Me with your heart, mind and soul, but did you not love your neighbor as you would love me? “Those that are given much, more will be given.”

• Freedom – Were you not given your freedom? Did you not have a free will to do as you please? How was that used for others, but also for me? Did I not knock on your front door and you just said no to me. Did I not knock on your door and you just let me in the foyer? Did I knock on your door and you let me in the living room, but not the rest of the house? Is that how you did that to Me as I tried to be in your heart and be with you? Why did you not allow me to be totally in you, be with you always, day and night, and not just on a Sunday for an hour? Yes, I gave you freedom, but why did you lock me out?

• Grace – Did I not give you my grace to help you? Remember those times in need, those dark hours how you yelled out to me? Did I not get you through to the other side? Wasn’t I there when you were not interested in me, ignored me, and in fact forgot about me? Was that a yes? And yes, how about those times you hid things from friends and family, because you knew it was wrong and you felt ashamed. Did I not forgive you? Haven’t I always been there waiting for you? Haven’t I always been waiting to love you? Yes, love you and bring peace and happiness to you. Make you right. Make you a full person, a person you could be proud of and thankful? Make you an image of Me?

What is your answer after reflecting? Me too! Maybe not the time to pray to Him, but speak to Him, all by yourself from the heart. Yes, from the heart! No need to be afraid being alone with Him. God is the one that loves you and is always waiting on you. Always remeber, God Loves You!

Conor
Find A Way!

Questions and Love

Questions and Love

What comes from thanksgiving and blessings? What about the healing power of love and mercy? And yes, how does this apply to me?

Have I wronged a friend or treated someone unfairly? Been Disrespectful? Have I failed to show compassion and mercy because I was so full of pride? So full of me! Was I unkind to a family member, a neighbor or a work associate? Am I always thinking of myself and totally not seeing others? And I different now than I used to be? I wonder; do people see me differently?

Probably yes to most of these questions, and possibly to all of them. I cannot see the change, but I sense from my friends that they are starting to distance themselves, and others, well; they are pretending to be my friend.

“A friend loves at all times; and a brother is born to adversity.”
…………………………………………………………………….Proverb 17:17

How can I change? Yes, you and I need to make changes. It starts with a hello, a wave, not turning one’s back on another, the famous “pretending” not to see someone, giving a ear to listen to someone who may not have another person in their life today to talk too, a smile of warmth, holding a door with a smile, “Pardon me or please forgive me” instead of I am sorry. Hugh difference when you ask them to make the decision.

The most important change for you and I is a silent prayer to God thanking Him for all our blessings and telling Him you love Him. Yes, tell Him you love Him and ask for His strength and mercy we so need. You should always pray and ask for God’s mercy, as you should show mercy to those you love. You cannot ask for more than mercy from those who care for you; as a merciful person will share in your misfortune and suffering, and do whatever it takes to help you. And yes, this is what God’s mercy is for us.

For whatever reason, if a prayer is not possible right now, God would love just to hear your own words. Make it your own words and feelings your prayer to Him. Just open up and tell Him. Don’t hold back. Just talk from the heart!

Express your love to Him and ask Him to share it with all those in, as well as those, not in your life today.

“………………………………..the heart reflects the person.!!!!”

Conor
Find A Way!!

Virtues

Chastity___________________________ Lust

Temperance_________________________ Gluttony

Generosity_________________________ Greed

Diligence__________________________ Sloth

Forgiveness and Meekness___________ Anger or Wrath

Kindness___________________________ Envy

Humility___________________________ Pride

What Column are we in or making headway towards?

Conor
Find a Way!

Hugs and Your Corner

In this post time of Easter and Passover, it is important to share our hugs and joy with others. And yes, we then need to find “our” corner to pray and give thanks.

Yes, it is time to change; to be the adult in the room, to be positive, accepting, and quietly showing our strength and commitment by example. Touching others’ lives, helping those in need, and yes, being who we are intended to be. And then, back to our private corner to pray and to listen for God, and wait for our hugs and overwhelming love.

In the secret place of “our” corner, we can pray and to speak to God through prayer, silence, reflection or just the words from our heart. Sometimes, just from our heart is the only way God is waiting to hear from us. Just tell Him whatever is happening and what you’re going through. Tell Him how you feel! Tell it straight out. Those times are not disrespectful, but in fact, in these times we can become even closer to God. He knows what is written on our hearts. It is a powerful and close way to pray, and know He can handle it.

God is always waiting on us so He can give His love and attention to us along with His mercy and forgiveness. In these times, He will forgive us if we are remorseful for our actions and one with a contrite heart.

However, sometimes it may feel like He is not listening in any way to you. It may be temporary or for some extended time, but be assured; He is next to you and with you always. It may be a test of faith and patience, or one of your trust in Him. In these cases, just stop asking why and develop your trust in the one who loves you.

But do know; you can always find Him waiting in the corner of your home.

Find Him there and know how much He loves you.

Find a Way!
Conor

A letter to a (my) daughter

Life delivers all kinds of hurdles, tests and challenges of our faith and the “who are we” of our character. The feelings become overwhelming; the dark is really ugly and a sick feeling prevails throughout your entire body. The questions flood in how am I going to deal with this, and get to a point of peace, sanity and closure? How do I do this day after day?

It is all so unfair, not right in any way you look at it, and the impact; is not just on me, but my children. It is especially hard on my 5 year old daughter who cannot begin to understand any explanation I offer to her to help alleviate the pain of the absence of her daddy. Where do I begin? Now what? Which direction do I take and who can I lean on for help, as I think I cannot do it alone?

I don’t have all the answers, but what I can tell you for sure, is what I have seen. You dug deep to do all that you have done during these very difficult and trying times. You were always a great mom, but you became “thee” anchor and support for your two beautiful girls. Every day you were there for them to bring normalcy into their lives, while I know you cried yourself to sleep most nights, if not all. You put on that face of determination and went to work to help with bills and expenses, and then; returned home to be that Mom you knew your children wanted and needed.

The strength of your character that you have shown during these times, cannot yet be fully appreciated and understood by you, but to those who know you, rest assure they can recognize and see all the changes in you. You were put to a test and you came out the other end even more beautiful. You should continue to hold your head high, keep that confidence close at hand and take that normalcy you fought so hard for. Go forward with your 2 beautiful kids in tow. And when you have that empty feeling or another challenge facing you, remember you have that confidence in your pocket, and continue forward for what you know is right and needed.

How can I say all of this at this time? Well, in many cases the last person to know is the person living it. Take it in faith in what we share, and the love I have for you. I have looked at you my whole life and watched the changes over time and have admired whom you have become. You understand the real beauty and the important things in life to protect and nurture. Today, through these challenges, you have taken yourself new levels. It shows in the remarkable person you have become through this ordeal. You are that new person! You are full of love, understanding, kindness and beauty. And it does show!

In time, you will find and realize the “high good” and you will know that someone was always present for and with you.

You have many who care, love and support you, but know; “He loved you before you loved Him.”

Time is now to Keep Smiling!

Love you, and know that it is true; as love with conditions, is not true love.

My best to you; always.

Dad
Continue to Find a Way

Love and Friendship

“The truth is that the more intimately you know someone, the more clearly you’ll see their flaws. That’s just the way it is. This is why marriages fail, why children are abandoned, why friendships don’t last. You might think you love someone until you see the way they act when they’re out of money or under pressure or hungry, for goodness’ sake. Love is something different. Love is choosing to serve someone and be with someone in spite of their filthy heart. Love is patient and kind, love is deliberate. Love is hard. Love is pain and sacrifice, it’s seeing the darkness in another person and defying the impulse to jump ship.”

― Unknown

“As I have loved you, so you should also love one another.”

_John 13:34

Love

As one reads the bible and reflects on its passages, some more than others have huge impacts on our lives. Some speak to our heart and reflect the needed changes we need to make in our thinking and behavior. Others offer peace and direction, and the needed insight for our lives and beliefs. The above passage from John, speaks to what God has said about love, its importance in our lives, and the call to sharing it.

I have just finished reading “Proof of Heaven” by Eben Alexander, M.D. He acquired bacterial meningitis in his brain, a bacteria known as E. coli, which has a 99+% fatality rate. Within 3 days, his brain shut down and he slipped into a coma, which lasted for 7 days. After a miraculous recovery, he faced a difficult road to full recovery and rehabilitation. During this time, he had the overwhelming drive to speak and write of the many things he had experienced. This is what he referred too as “Unpacking.”

Eben, highly educated and a neurosurgeon surgeon himself, found he could not explain what he saw and experienced. Words from this world could not begin to adequately explain the world of Heaven. One experience, more than all the others, was experiencing the Love from God and being in His presence. This is the most common and similar experience of all NDE experiences (Near Death Experience). For everyone who has returned, they talk of their encounters in heaven, their journey and what they saw, and the miraculous aspects of their tragedies; but the Love of God is indescribable. (Not only beyond words, but too wonderful for words.)

When we think of love today in our life, what comes to your mind? The love of God, family and children? Seeing the joy of good happening to others? Finding a lost friend or receiving a letter from one so important to you, or experiencing God’s overwhelming presence and love? Has it brought tears of joy and the feeling of love over you?

Today’s bible quote is all encompassing. It sums up all we have been asked to do, and what should guide our actions. It speaks loudly of God’s unconditional love for us, and the action we need to take. God is all understanding and all forgiving. We need to keep listening to God and remaning close Him.

“What lies before us and what lies behind us, are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

Think of the gifts of love you have in your life and pass it on. A gift is not a gift until it is given to others.

“Find a way.”

_Conor

Love

Inspiration quote and Reflection_Empty Hand

“It is a great loss if we greet every day with clenched hands stuffed with our own devices.
We will never know what is out there waiting for us if we don’t extend an empty hand to
The world and wait for the wonder to happen.”

_Brother Homan and Louis Collins Pratt

It is all about trust and trust comes from love. Imagine a small child standing by the side of the pool, and the father or mother says “Jump. Don’t worry I’ll catch you.” For some children that is enough, while other it may take 5 or 6 times of encouragement. But what makes them take that jump? Yes, the trust in their parents that they will be ok, even though they are scared to make that jump into the water.

What about us as adults? Are we standing there with an empty hand towards God? Are we the child today that is willing to receive what God has for us or are we too scared? Do we have the trust in God, and if not, why not?

God loves us, and is all merciful with unlimited forgiveness for us. Yes, us. All we have to do is ask.

So how do we become that child today by holding out an empty hand to God? How do we get over our fears? Literally, when are we going to make that move and jump?
Yes, its trust in God, and we’re scared just like that child trying to jump into the water.

Everything is all about love. Just trust God.

“Find a way”

_Conor