Wednesday, March 27, 2013


I don't get it.  Perhaps I am simple minded. Perhaps I am believe in the goodness of others. Perhaps I am just naive.

I am filled with faith. I love my faith and live my faith to the best of my ability. My faith teaches me not to judge others. That is God's job. My faith teaches me to accept others. My faith teaches my to care for others. My faith teaches me to love others.

What I fail to understand is the hypocrisy of others. If faith teaches us to be kind, caring, understanding and accepting...then isn't our job to exemplify those behaviors? Is it not our job to lead the way?

I do not believe the same things as others, however I do not judge others for the choices they make. Nor do I feel it is my place to force others to follow my beliefs. I feel that it is my job to exemplify Gospel values leaving others to make independent choices. It is not my place to pass judgement.

What would happen if we looked for the good in others not the bad? What would happen if we looked for the similarities and not differences? What would happen if we spent more time looking inward rather than outward? What would happen if each of us would live with more compassion and less judgement?

Thursday, March 14, 2013


As reported by The Wall Street Journal within minutes of the announcement:
“Taking the name Pope Francis, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was elected as head of the Roman Catholic Church on Wednesday [March 13th, 2013], putting the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics under direction of a pope from the New World for the first time in Christianity’s 2,000 year history.”

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio is the first Jesuit and first non European to be named Pope. His reputation is for humility and simplicity. He is said to be a tireless advocate of the poor and less fortunate. A week ago, as Cardinal, he lived in humble quarters, often cooked for himself, and refused the limousine for taxis and public transportation. He refused the papal limousine return him to the common quarters and chose to ride a shuttle with the cardinals following his election to Pope.

Jesuits are order of priests known around the world as educators, spiritual directors, and social justice advocates. Pope Francis is a dedicated Jesuit and like Ignatius, he has a reputation for using his mind to solve a problem but his heart to make a decision. Like Francis of Assisi, he operates within the world of an ordained clergy while not being drowned in self-serving clerical rank and privilege. He has been known to have a special place in his heart and his ministry for the poor, for the disenfranchised, for those living on the fringes and facing injustice.

He has chosen the name Francis after St. Francis of Assisi.  The name symbolizes poverty, humility, simplicity and rebuilding the Catholic Church. The new pope seems to be sending a signal that this will not be business as usual.

Where leadership is powerfully influenced through emulation, what a remarkable role model Pope Francis makes not only for the Church leadership but for all Catholics. What a strong and unique choice our Cardinals have made to lead our Church. What a departure from the norm.

As the Church enters a new era of leadership, let us be open to change and let us think of the choices we make in our own lives.  When given a choice do we stay the course? Do we follow our hearts or heads? Do we have the strength and courage of our convictions? Are we a living witness to our faith each and every day?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


The written word is so very powerful. Words in general are very powerful....spoken or written. We can build up or break down with just a few simple words.
Today is one of my favorite days of the year as a teacher. Yes, sure I love the first day and last days of school but this day is special. It is Incredible Kid Day. It is a day set aside to let the kids in your life know how special they are to you. There are no gifts....just the gift of the written word. I ask parents to write each student a letter. Some letters are very or 2 sentences. Some are long...several pages. Some are typed. Some are handwritten. Each letter is as unique as the author. The students are unaware that the parents have written the letters until the day they receive them. It is a beautiful thing to watch the students open the letters and read the words written by the most important people in their lives.
I teach students that are just entering the tween/teen years. It is the beginning of a difficult and exciting time of growth for both parents and children. This letter allows parents to say things to their child that they often do not express. It is a tangible reminder of how much the children are loved and appreciated.
I take time each year to write letters to my own children. This is no easy task. My kids are so deserving that I want to give them the best letter possible. Carving out the time to produce the perfect letter is difficult but not impossible.
So, take time from your day to not just tell the young people in your life that they are special. Put your pen to paper or your fingers to the keyboard and write a letter. The emotions and thoughts you share are priceless.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


This poster hangs on my son's wall

The other night my husband asked me an interesting question. We were in the car driving home from a dinner date when he asked, "Do you ever wish we had purchased a finished house? Ya that had everything all done?" The question was completely out of the blue and like a pitch from left field. I was thrown. I thought about it for a bit and responded, "we could never had afforded what we wanted if it were all finished" end of discussion.

But then I got to really thinking about his question. I would love a house that is finished, decorated and pretty. I do not have that. I have an old house in need of a myriad of repairs and some pretty large overhauls. My house shows its age on a regular basis. Nothing in my old house is really "finished". It may not be pretty to look at but it is a welcoming place where I can provide space for family to be together and enjoy the company of one another. It is a warm place for my kids friends to sit, share stories and laugh. It is a place where I can feed stomachs and souls. It is a lot like me.

I feel that I show my age. I am in need of minor repairs and major overhauls. I like to think I can be a warm person with whom people can share stores and laughs. I like to think I can feed stomachs and souls alike. Perhaps this is why I love my house so much. It is unfinished, cluttered, old and a work in progress. Like my house...I am unfinished, cluttered, old...and I am a work in progress.



I have been ruminating on judgement for a while trying to choose the right words that I want to say. I have a great deal of thoughts on the issue and have had trouble sorting the fact from the fiction and the observations from the actual judgements.

I have encountered some people in my life that have been extremely judgmental with no real basis for this standing. I do know people who are judgmental and have some basis for this opinion. I don't like it however, I understand it.

It seems to me none of us have a real leg to stand on when it comes to this topic as we are all flawed in some way. No one is perfect nor above reproach. I think where the problem lies is that we often see our way as the only way. We feel that our path is the only path. We feel that there is no other viewpoint other than our own. If people do not follow our path, they they are wrong or flawed or imperfect.

Recently while helping my son with math I was reminded that there is more than one way to arrive at the answer. Both of us achieved the same result but in different ways. Neither manner was incorrect nor was the final answer...we both got the same answer..but the path we traveled to get there was different.

I guess we all have to find our own path. We have to travel our own road. We have to live with the consequences of our choices. We are hard enough on ourselves...why make the journey difficult for others as well with our judgments of them?