Catholic Church Ignatian Spirituality Prayer

Shelter in the Storm

This weekend, I’m commuting back and forth to Blue Ridge Summit, PA,  where about 25 college students are on retreat.  The students are from McDaniel College, where I help out with the campus ministry program, and the focus of the retreat is to help the incoming freshmen transition into campus life.

This afternoon, I’m going to be giving a talk about the storms of life that routinely come our way.  College students seem to be especially prone to such turbulence, and my plan is to get them to realize that there are all kinds of safe harbors they can get to when things get tough.

I’m basing the talk on the passage from Matthew’s Gospel (8:23-27), the one where the disciples panic as a storm kicks up and they think the boat they’re in will go down, taking them with it.  All the while, Jesus is asleep.  When they wake him, screaming that they’re going to die, He chastises them.  “Why are your terrified, O you of little faith?”  With that, Jesus immediately calms the storm and returns things to normal.

My plan is to tell the students that, no matter how bad things seem to get, Christ is right there with us.  He’s always willing to be our shelter in the storms that come our way, and we all know from personal experience, they’ll come.

Continuing with this metaphor, if you think about it, the safest thing would be to keep our boats tied up at the dock.  But boats weren’t  built to remain in a harbor.  In the same way, we weren’t created to be so scared of life that we never really risk much.

It’s out in the open sea that the craftsmanship of the boat builder can be seen.  As these young people move on to the next stage of their lives, they’ll have the chance to test all the gifts that have been given them.  They will make mistakes, and there will be storms.  It’s all part of learning that God is right there with us through it all.

What do you do when a storm kicks up in your life?  Where/Who is your shelter in the storm?

Catholic Church Inspiration Prayer Spirit

Compassion is more than a word

The compassionate way is the patient way.

Patience is the discipline of compassion.

Patience is the hard but fruitful discipline

of the disciple of the compassionate Lord.

Henri Nouwen

If someone were thinking about a word to describe you, would compassion come to mind?

Blogging Inspiration Mind Prayer

Take the Chance

Sorry I haven’t been posting every day.  I’m laying some things out to update my blog, and, well, all this planning is seriously eating into my “blog” time.

A little advice. If you’re thinking about starting a blog, I’d say that they’re a lot of fun, but also a lot of work.  But it’s worth doing if you have some idea that can help people.  We all know there are lots of people who need some help right now, folks like you and me who are looking for a transformation, to get unstuck from where they are right now.  They want to move forward, and are searching for ideas.

Even though we’re moving into the height of summer, the fall will be here before we know it 🙁  I’ve always liked making personal changes that coincide with the seasons, so I guess that’s why I’m deep into working through my planned updates to this blog.  I can’t wait for you to see them.

I was having a conversation with a friend last night, and we were talking about taking changes.  He’s definitely looking to get unstuck and wants to be excited about his future.  Like so many people, he doesn’t have a lot of encouragement coming his way, and that’s too bad, because he needs it.

We talked about ideas for the future, brainstormed about options, and dreamed about potential. It was an exciting conversation.  Is there something that you’ve wanted to do for a long time but haven’t followed through and brought it to fruition?  I want to encourage you to start developing a plan.  Pray about it.  Think it through.  Start talking to people about it.  Take the chance.  Most transformations don’t take place overnight, and they usually involve quite a bit of planning.  Use these wonderful, relaxing and restful summer days to start thinking about your future.  Trust that better days are yet to come!

Inspiration Prayer Spirit

There by God’s Grace…

Last week was a really busy week, and I still haven’t recovered.  So much for the weekend 🙁

When I got home from work last night, I had the chance to watch a Dateline episode on NBC.  The story was entitled  America Now: Friends and Neighbors, and focused on the toll our continuing recession is taking on poor, rural America.  The show spotlighted Southeast Ohio, where visits to the local food pantry are up 30% in the last two years.

The only food one mother, who lived in her van with three kids, had been providing her small children was french fries.  One man had worked 11 different jobs in the past five years, loosing one after another to financial collapses.  As he tried to provide for his two teenage sons, he made the comment that if he was dead, at least they could collect his social security money.

It’s pretty safe to say that everyone reading this post right now is probably two or three paychecks away from disaster.  If we, like countless others, lost our jobs or our health (or both), we would very quickly find ourselves in a very, very bad situation.

After watching that show, I feel so blessed with what I have.  Even with the recession, most of us are still able to get by, generally doing ok.  Not great, but getting by.

The thing is, there’s a massive number of people in the fight of their lives right now.  We need to support them, both financially and prayerfully, as best we can. Find a way.  Give a little or a lot.  But give something, and try to make a difference.  Do it quietly, behind the scenes.   You will be blessed for your kindness.

Body Ignatian Spirituality Inspiration Spirit type II diabetes Vegan Vegetarian

Balancing Act

Do you ever feel like this donkey?  You’re plugging away, doing the best you can to keep your balance, and then…

It seems like life is just one big balancing act.  Whether it’s trying to balance work and family, good eating and unhealthy eating, exercising too much and not exercising at all, watching your spending and putting everything on a credit card. Whatever the situation may be for you, I know the balancing act isn’t easy.

But when our bodies start talking to us, reminding us that we’re not taking care of ourselves, we have to pay attention.  When we change our diets, we have to be sure we’re getting balanced nutrition.

This morning, I was reading an online article in the Los Angeles Times about a vegan couple. On the surface, you would think that they were paying attention to what they were eating, and that they were choosing the right blend of foods to keep themselves in peak shape.  But they weren’t, as the article tells us (be sure to read it).  Yes, a bag of potato chips might be considered vegetarian, but that doesn’t mean that’s all you have for lunch.  Or that you’re taking care of yourself by just eating bean burritos from Taco Bell.  Dumb.

So, keeping ourselves in proper balance, body, mind and spirit can make all the difference. You have to work on it, every day.  If you messed up yesterday, get yourself back on track.  Whatever you do, don’t give up!  What needs to get balanced out in your life?

Appetizers Blogging diabetes Vegetarian

D-Feast Friday

Yesterday, I was out visiting some blogs dealing with diabetes,  and there was some excitement about a new venture, D-Feast Friday’s.  Bloggers post their favorite recipes that are great tasting and diabetic friendly.  Since it seems like the Zucchini-Corn Quesadillas I’ve been making lately have become quite a hit, I thought it would be a great recipe to contribute. It’s also a tasty way to incorporate some of the local produce that is so abundant right now into our daily diets.

Zucchini-Corn Quesadillas

makes two quesadillas

3 tb. vegetable oil

1 small onion, chopped (1 cup)

6 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

2 medium zucchini cut into 1/2 inch cubes (2 cups)

1/2 cup (I used Trader Joe’s Roasted Corn)

1/2 cup cooked black beans

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

2 tb. lime juice

chili powder for sprinkling

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, optional

4 Low Carb Wheat Tortillas (I used  Wrap-itz Tortillas only five net carbs per tortilla. Trader Joe’s also has a good product).


Heat oil in skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic, and saute 7 minutes.  Add zucchini and corn, and saute 7 minutes more.  Stir in cilantro and lime juice.

Heat pan/grill.  Spray cooking oil lightly on tortilla and place in pan/on grill.

Spoon one cup of zucchini-corn filling onto tortilla, add cheese.  Top with second tortilla. Spray top tortilla lightly with cooking spray (do not spray directly into flame). Cook for 2-3 minutes. Using spatula, turn gently.  Cook additional 2-3 minutes, or until cheese melts.

Cut into quarters and enjoy. (Original recipe and nutritional info from Vegetarian Times)

Blogging diabetes Inspiration type II diabetes

Good Things Are Happening

I feel like I’ve been on a crazy amusement park ride the past week, one with plenty of fun but lots of twists and turns.  I’m ready for a little r and r, and hopefully things will settle down a bit.  I have a lot of things to catch up on.

A couple of days ago, I met with some local healthcare folks, and they loved the idea of an outreach linking faith communities to diabetes education.  I could sense the excitement in the air as the meeting broke up.  We could all see the potential in this, and how it could greatly benefit our community.

Plenty of groundwork has to be laid first, but it was a very promising first step.

One of the things that I was most happy about this past week was a conversation I had with a college student.  I’ve known him for several years now, and he’s matured into a terrific young man. Because diabetes runs in his family, he’s been trying to get himself on track to avoid the disease, but he also wants to help his family eat a little healthier.

So, earlier this week, he had the chance to share my zucchini-corn quesadilla recipe with his grandmother, and they whipped up a batch together.  To me, these types of “sacred feasts” really excite me, because it validates to me that this blog is touching people in a positive way.

Over the next several weeks, I’m going to be making some important changes to my blog.  As my knowledge base expands, I can see how my posts can be presented more clearly, more consistently, and more on target with my overall goal of helping people transform their lives.

Any input that you would like to give on this would be most appreciated and welcomed 🙂

Inspiration Mind

Why Me?

Sometimes things seem so unfair.  How many times have we asked, “why me?” when faced with even the smallest things that come our way?  The reality is, there’s plenty of people who have it far worse than us.  We can either choose to be bitter and angry about our issues, or we can attempt to overcome them.  Check out this video clip about Nick Vujicic, who has turned what would appear to be an insurmountable disability into a blessing for many.

After watching Nick, I realize that there isn’t a single issue in my own life that I can’t overcome. How about you?

diabetes Inspiration type II diabetes

Faith Fights Diabetes

While I was on retreat in June, I picked up a copy of a Christian newspaper.  As I was perusing the articles, an advertisement caught my eye.It was for an organization called Faith Fights Diabetes.  According to the ad, if faith communities got involved with helping people better understand diabetes, many more people would be able to either avoid getting the disease, or they would be better equipped to deal with it.

Of course, the ad piqued my curiosity, and when I got back from the retreat, I jumped on my computer and learned all I could about this organization.  There were some good things, and one unfortunate thing.  We’ll start with the good.

Almost universally, people trust their religious leaders.  Studies have shown that, when religious leaders talk about health issues such as diabetes, members of their faith community pay attention.  When they see that more nutritious food is served at their gatherings, they pay attention.  Generally, when something becomes important to the faith community’s leaders, it becomes important to the community at large.

I could immediately see how using faith communities to help improve the physical health of its members could have many positive ramifications.  The potential was great.

Now, for the unfortunate part.  Faith Fights Diabetes is a program developed by the New York State Health Department.  Yes, it’s just for New Yorkers 🙁

So, I began thinking.  The concept seems so right, and I know the need is great.  How can I bring this to my community?

Well, I’ll find out today.  This afternoon, I’m meeting with some folks from my local hospital and an organization called Partnership for a Healthier Carroll County.  From my initial conversations with them, it sounded like this would be something they’d be very interested in. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Gardening Inspiration

Thanks Mom

Today is my mother’s birthday.  She wouldn’t be happy with me if I told you how old she was, so I better not.  She’s an amazing woman, and has always been an inspiration to me.

When she retired, she transformed herself.  She took college courses,expanded her garden, bought a new computer, took on the world-wide web, and began serving in her community. I could go on and on, but let’s just say she’s been active, and continues to do be.  When I tell people about our camping trip to Sycamore Cove this past spring, and how my 80-something mom slept in a tent, they’re impressed.

My mom raised eight children by herself, and took each day as it came. She still tries to do that today. She has always found consolation and inspiration in her garden, and she’s passed that on to her children.  Without doing it intentionally, I think she taught us how to “find God in all things” and to trust that God is “making all things new.”   Happy Birthday Mom!

Now, if you’re reading this and have the blessing of still having your mom with you, give her a call today and tell her how much she means to you.  It will brighten both your days. 🙂