What St. Patrick Can Teach Us

Last spring my wife and I traveled to Ireland.  One of our favorite places that we visited there was the Saint Patrick Centre in Northern Ireland.  This museum is located in the region of Ireland where Patrick first came to Ireland from Britain.  He didn’t go there by choice.  At the age of 16, he was captured along with several others by marauding bands of barbarians and taken to Ireland as a slave.  He was a slave there for 6 years and forced to watch over sheep for some farmer.  Some time during his enslavement, he called out to God
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Categories: Faith issues, Family, and Personal Growth.

Making the Most of Your Holiday Traditions

There once was a young mother we’ll call “Susan” who volunteered to cook the Christmas turkey for the big family dinner. This being her first time to cook a turkey herself, she recalled her careful observations of her mother’s cooking techniques from past Thanksgivings and Christmases. She remembered that her mother cut the turkey into parts and placed them in a large pan. Her husband “Barry” came in and asked “Why are you cutting that turkey up?” Susan replied “because this is what I always saw my mother do. I don’t know why she cut it up. Its just something
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Categories: Faith issues, Family, Holidays, and Personal Growth.

Giving Thanks

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the national holiday of thanksgiving.  Everyone knows it hearkens back to the pilgrims and Native Americans, but it wasn’t officially deemed a holiday until President Lincoln enacted it at a time when many had little to be thankful for.  Lincoln called for this public day of thanksgiving when the civil war was in full swing and wouldn’t end for another year and a half.  It was actually brought to the public by Lincoln after the exhausting and tragic victory over the south at Gettysburg.  Psychologically, it was a brilliant move on Lincoln’s part. 
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Categories: Faith issues, Holidays, and Personal Growth.

Forgiveness: A Testimonial

Remember the line from the movie “Love Story” that “Love means never having to say you’re sorry?”  What a crock!  John Lennon of the Beatles makes more sense when he explained that “Love means having to say you’re sorry every five minutes.”  Reconciliation and forgiveness are necessary ingredients for any committed couple’s success.  Dr.Terry Hargrave, an internationally recognized expert on forgiveness, says that “Any act of forgiveness should also be accompanied by a change in the victimizer towards trustworthy behavior.”  This means, essentially, that when you have wronged your mate you MUST convey that you are sorry! This is only
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Categories: Faith issues, Family, Marriage, and Personal Growth.

Taming the “Me” Monster: Getting out of your Self.

A friend/colleague and I recently had a discussion about motivational speakers and televangelists who try to convince us that we deserve to be happy and are entitled to serenity.  While this is an attractive concept, it can actually rob us from living a full and whole life.  This sounds paradoxical, but really the more we focus on ourselves and our own happiness the more elusive it becomes.  Maybe people don’t know what they are looking for, in fact I’m sure this is often the case.  Henry David Thorough is quoted as follows about happiness: “Happiness is like a butterfly: the
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Categories: Faith issues, Mental Health, Personal Growth, and Stress.

What if we treated our family this way?

Last time we stayed at Fairfield Inn my wife remarked about the card on our pillow “wouldn’t this be great we treated each other like this?”  The card had a promise on it.  It read “We promise to always… make you feel welcome give you a room that’s clean, fresh, and reflects the highest quality standards respond promptly to any need you might have give you the service that will make you want to return” YES!  It would be great if we could do this for each other in our families.  In our neighborhoods.
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Categories: Faith issues, Family, Marriage, and Mental Health.

Life’s Little Interruptions

 We live lives mostly in a routine.  We get up relatively close to the same time every day, eat meals at the same time every day, follow our weekly schedules year after year.  There is comfort and security to be found in routine.  There is also a danger lurking there in our routine – the danger of going on autopilot.  Its the danger of becoming closed off from others, even from ourselves and ultimately from God.  Our routines are pathways externally as well as internally – pathways of thought and emotion as well as behavior.  The usual reaction when our
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Categories: Faith issues, Mental Health, Stress, and Transitions / Change.

Thoughts on parenting, God, and fish tanks.

Parents are given the responsibility to create an environment for their children in which to grow and thrive.  God created the concept of the family as a place for children and adults experience life to its fullest.  Parents create this environment for their family.  I’m going to use a metaphor to illustrate my point.  A fish tank is a man-made environment for fish.  If the environment in the fish tank is toxic, the fish will die.  The fish are not created for the fish tank, but the fish tank was created for the fish.  I cannot become angry at my
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Categories: Faith issues, Family, and Parenting.