Giving thanks in tough times

“The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies.”  

Abraham Lincoln’s gracious assessment of 1863 is immortalized in the opening line of his first Thanksgiving Day Proclamation.

Over 150 years have passed since Lincoln’s establishment of an annual, national observance of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”  In 1863 that day came just one week after the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg where Lincoln gave his celebrated two minute address. The War Between the States would go on for another year and a half.

What prompted Lincoln to articulate such a “healthful” outlook, where many saw only servitude to gloom and despair, was an intensified appreciation for blessings and their origin.  He saw “bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come.”  He writes in his Thanksgiving Proclamation that these abundances are “so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.”

Such an attitude as Lincoln’s serves as a timely example for all of us. Read more…

Not So Random Acts of Kindness

World Kindness Day is November 13th, a global 24-hour celebration dedicated to paying-it-forward and focusing on the good


Ever feel impelled to give the world a big hug? We thrive on kindness. And though we frequently witness examples of callousness both in our own lives and in the news, displays of intolerance and indifference should only strengthen a desire to resist such behavior and encourage respectful relationships.

A look-out-for-yourself mentality is unnatural. We start out in life as sharers. Through their constant caregiving, the vast majority of moms and dads instill in us the capacities of empathy and generosity.

That nurturing is health-giving to children.  And it endures into adulthood.   Encouragement and kindheartedness foster wellbeing not only in recipients, but in contributors as well. Stephen Post, Director for the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics at Stony Brook University, recently quoted the Book of Proverbs when speaking before a group in Cleveland:  “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”   Read more…

Boots on a spiritual rock

Wednesday, November 11, marks the observance of Veterans’ Day in the U.S. This is a reprint of an earlier column.

“Nothing can separate you from the love of God,” she gently spoke to him.  With all the confusion surrounding them, she continued to pray with the man she was kneeling over.  It was September 11, 2001.

One of the first female chaplains ever called to active duty, Retired Colonel Janet Horton has had some pretty intense experiences.  In her distinguished career as a Christian Science Military Chaplain, she has seen duty around the globe helping the men and women who serve in the military to keep soul and body together.

Returning to the States after her overseas deployment, Horton was hoping for a post in Georgia. She was assigned to the Pentagon.  At the time she considered it a questionable assignment at best.  “I thought this was a big mistake” she said when I spoke with her, but through prayer she came to the conclusion that God doesn’t slipup.   She eventually came to realize that she was at the right place at the right time.

The morning of September 11, 2001…Read more…

Resilience – Choosing to get back on the horse

“Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyway.” John Wayne’s on and off-screen persona has wide appeal.  His pick-yourself-up, shake-off-the-dust attitude made him a super star.

Many of us have something in common with Wayne’s movie characters; we have had to bounce back from challenges, rebound from adversity, dig deep within ourselves to find peace and normalcy. His resilience resonates with some part us.

“Resilience is that ineffable quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back stronger than ever,” according to Psychology Today. Wayne made it look easy.

Most of us, however, don’t possess Wayne’s swagger.  And unlike the movies, life is not scripted, nor are happy endings guaranteed.  Yet, trust in something outside our own narrow perspective comes to the rescue in our despair.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end,” is how my Bible puts it.  Read more…

I believe in the Source of who and why I am


There’s only one! By definition I’m unique.

What makes  Why am I?

Lifetimes are spent looking for an answer to these questions – to find purpose. People searching for deeper meaning in their lives is the focus of Belief, a series on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network.

Curiosity impels me to ask questions about my nature. Theories are posed to fill in the blanks. Physics suggests a meaningless universe formed by a random cosmic explosion. Biology and medicine follow a strict code of materialism offering a temporal life.  They provide no insight into the intangibles. Read more…