Worth Watching: Letter From Hell

        This video goes mainly to my teenaged CCD students.  They often feel apprehensive about expressing their belief in God because they are comsumed with peer pressure.  They don’t want to be excluded if they seem too “religious,” so they opt to stay silent about the Lord, and that can be so harmful.  Most of them don’t realize that for some other teenagers out there, they can serve as the bridge between nowhere and somewhere.  Especially a friend who might be on the edge.  Sometimes just a few words, the right kind of words, can mean a life-time transformation for someone.  I suppose it’s the same with us adults.  We don’t necessarily have to go crazy preaching, but we must certainly try to touch those around us, even if subliminally.  Although think we all know someone who “subliminally” won’t work for.  With that particular individual, we must be crystal clear when passing on the Lord’s message.

        Anyway, this video is a bit intense, but for all intense and purpose, it brings across the point.  I’ve added a couple of relevant poems below also.  Give them a read.

Video Title:  Letter From Hell
Source:  Tangle.com
URL:  http://www.tangle.com/view_video.php?viewkey=dfd8fde4cec5bddc9184

My friend, I stand in the judgment now
And feel that you’re to blame somehow-
On earth, I walked with you day by day
And never did you point the way.

You knew the Lord in Truth and Glory,
But never did you tell the story.
My knowledge then was very dim;
You could have led me safe to Him.

Though we live together on the earth,
You never told me of the second birth,
And now I stand this day condemned,
Because you failed to mention Him.

You taught me many things, that’s true;
I called you “friend” and trusted you,
But I learn now that it’ too late,    
You could have kept me from this fate.

We walked by day and talked by night,
And yet you showed me not the light.
You let me live, and love, and die;
You knew I’d never live on high.

Yes, I called you “friend” in life,
And trusted you through joy and strife.
And yet on coming to the end,
I cannot, now call you “My Friend.”

– Unknown

————————————————————————

“Eternal Ink”

I dreamed I was in heaven
where an angel kept God’s book.
He was writing so intently
I just had to take a look.
It was not, at first, his writing
that made me stop and think
but the fluid in the bottle
that was marked “eternal ink.”
This ink was most amazing,
dark black upon his blotter
but as it touched the parchment
it bacame as clear as water.

The angel kept on writing,
but as quickly as a wink
the words were disappearing
with that strange eternal ink.
The angel took no notice,
but kept writing on and on.
He turned each page and filled it
till all its space was gone.
I thought he wrote to no avail,
his efforts were so vain
for he wrote a thousand pages
that he’d never read again.

And as I watched and wondered
this awesome sight was mine,
I actually saw a word stay black
as it dried upon the line.
The angel wrote and I thought
I saw a look of satisfaction.
At last he had some print to show
for all his earnest action.
A line or two dried dark and stayed
as black as black can be,
but strangely the next paragraph
became invisible to see.

The book was getting fuller,
the angel’s records true,
but most of it was blank, with
just a few words coming through.
I knew there was some reason,
but as hard as I could think,
I couldn’t grasp the significance
of that eternal ink.
The mystery burned within me.
And I finally dared to ask
the angel to explain to me
of his amazing task.

And what I heard was frightful
as the angel turned his head.
He looked directly at me,
and this is what he said:
I know you stand and wonder
at what my writing’s worth
but God has told me to record
the lives of those on earth.
The book that I am filing
is an accurate account
of every word and action
and to what they do amount.

And since you have been watching
I must tell you what is true;
the details of my journal
are the strict accounts of YOU.
The Lord asked me to watch you
as each day you worked and played.
I saw you as you went to church,
I saw you as you prayed.
But I was told to document
your life through all the week.
I wrote when you wre proud and bold,
I wrote when you were meek.

I recorded all your attitudes
whether they were good or bad.
I was sorry that I had to write
the things that make God sad.
So now I’ll tell the wonder
of this eternal ink,
for the reason for its mystery
should make you stop and think.
This ink that God created
to help me keep my journal
will only keep a record of
things that are eternal.

So much of life is wasted
on things that matter not
so instead of my erasing,
smudging ink and ugly blot
I just keep writing faithfully and
let the ink do all the rest
for it is able to decide
what’s useless and what’s best.
And God ordained that as I write
of all you do and say
your deeds that count for nothing
will just disappear away.

When books are opened someday,
as sure as heaven is true;
The Lord’s eternal ink will tell
what mattered most to you.
If you just lived to please yourself
the pages will be bare,
and God will issue no reward
for you when you get there.
In fact, you’ll be embarrassed,
you will hand your head in shame
because you did not give yourself
in love to Jesus’ Name.

Yet maybe there will be a few
recorded lines that sayed
that showed the times you truly cared,
sincerely loved and prayed.
But you will always wonder
as you enter heaven’s door
how much more glad you would have been 
if only you’d done more.
For I record as God sees,
I don’t stop to even think
because the truth is written
with God’s eternal ink.

When I heard the angel’s story
I fell down and wept and cried
for as yet I still was dreaming
I hadn’t really died.
And I said:  O angel tell the Lord
that soon as I awake
I’ll live my life for Jesus
I’ll do all for his dear sake.
I’ll give in full surrender;
I’ll do all He wants me to;
I’ll turn my back on self and sin
and whatever isn’t true.

And though the way seems long and rough
I promise to endure
I’m determined to pursue the things
that are holy, clean and pure.
With Jesus as my helper,
I will win lost souls to Thee,
for I know that they will live with Christ
for all eternity.
And that’s what really matters
when my life on earth is gone
that I will stand before the Lord
and hear Him say, well done.

For is it relly worth it
as my life lies at the brink?
and I realize that God keeps books
with His eternal ink.
Should all my life be focused
on things that turn to dusk?
From this point on I’ll serve the Lord;
I can, I will, I must!
I will NOT send blank pages
up to God’s majestic throne
for where that record’s going now
is my eternal home.

I’m giving all to Jesus
I now have seen the ink
for I saw an angel write my life
with God’s eternal ink.

– Rev. Craig F. Pitt

————————————————————————–

Flicks 2

Here’s the second post of suggested films. Click on them to read about them and view trailers.

The Lost City

Little Miss Sunshine

Children of Heaven

End of the Spear

Something the Lord Made

Freedom Writers

The Last Sin Eater

Stolen Summer

Facing the Giants

I Am David

The Ultimate Gift

The Maldonado Miracle

The Lives of Others

 

Discovering the perks in our routines…a New Year’s resolution?

        
        That customary, unvarying, habitual, everyday, familiar, same ole routine.  For people who crave change, that can be a dreadful thing.  Even for the methodically-inclined OCP types as myself, and who are typically comfortable with the mundane, it sometimes becomes a bit of a drag.  From the most elaborate and time consuming undertakings to the most simple of tasks, we moan and groan about the boredom from our routines.  For most of us, there just isn’t any other way around the repetitiveness in our lives.  Fortunately, most often than not, within the dragginess of our routines, hide some perks…because nothing happens in vain.  Recognizing them and taking advantage of them can turn them into blessings.

        Such was the case for me when the Spring of 2004 found me switching to a new job.  That was exciting indeed.  It also found me moving to a new parking lot.  And that was not.  Now I had to drive to Downtown earlier just to get a decent parking space at this place, and that did not sit well with me, especially since my new start time was half an hour later than before.  I found myself with over an hour to burn every morning and nothing to do except go through withdrawal symptoms from leaving my former workplace of 15 years.  So much wasted time in that routine I thought.  Then, coincidentally, or not (wink, wink), a month into this new job, one of my co-workers dumped a couple of interesting books on my desk, and so I thought I’d give them a read in the mornings.  Viola! I got re-acquainted with reading taking it up like a chain smoker, and soon thereafter it was my writing that resurfaced.

        So I set up camp at this quaint little table downstairs in my building, where most mornings I read and some mornings I write; where sometimes I’m joined by friends who pass by just to say hello or maybe share a cortadito; where I chat with the maintenance ladies, the FedEx office rep, or the shoe polish old man…come one, come all; and where I can also catch up on the phone with those I love.

        Although I’m mostly engulfed in my books or in my writing, occasionally I do look up while I sip my cortaditos (yes, plural, because two cortaditos taste better than one cafe con leche…don’t ask), and it’s usually then that I notice what goes on outside – – like the long-standing, never-ending marching protestors across the street, how can you miss them, with their bucket-drumming, bottle-shaking racket.  After a while your feet go to their beat like you have some uncontrollable twitch…not even the rain is a deterrent to these relentless souls.  And of course people on their way to work, walking off the Bayfront mover station, crossing left or right (because if you work in Downtown you either work at the Wachovia building or at the Miami Center; otherwise, you work in that other part, you know, near the buzzards, from where the rain always comes around lunch time), all adhering to their daily routines.  What perks, if any, have they discovered in them, I wonder?

        Sometimes, however, my staring out sees nothing really, as I sit in stillness amidst the distractions and try to feel God’s presence surrounding me.  Something I realize we don’t get to do much of during the course of our day, and which has turned out to be my favorite perk of this morning routine.  Undoubtedly, the one time dreaded morning routine, turned out to be anything but.  The reading, writing, friendly visits, people-watching, and most of all God-feeling moments, all serve to make up and enhance my so-called hour of sanity.

        May I then highly recommend as a new year’s resolution, whether you’re into those or not, that you maybe try to find the perks hiding in yours.  It’s like the sun rising, quite the routine in this universe, yet how many times do we really see the perks in that?  That with every one of them comes a new day, new opportunities to redeem ourselves, to hope, to grow in our faith.

        So look closely at your routines, some may be a pain in the butt, but others, others may hold the potential to offer you, among other things, God-feeling time.  Take advantage of that and make Him part of your routine, because we should, as someone once said, “Look for God, look for God like a man with his head on fire looks for water.”

        My friend, may 2008 find you looking like never before.

-by Connie Perez

          P  Please consider the environment before printing this article.

Rhyme and Reason: Life

Life passes us by in the blink of an eye…if we’re not careful, we can miss it.

“Dust If You Must’

Dust if you must, but wouldn’t it be better,
To paint a picture or write a letter,
Bake a cake or plant a seed,
Ponder the difference between want and need?
Dust if you must, but there’s not much time,
With rivers to swim and mountains to climb,
Music to hear and books to read,
Friends to cherish and life to lead.
Dust if you must, but the world’s out there
With the sun in your eyes, the wind in your hair,
A flutter of snow, a shower of rain.
This day will not come ’round again.
Dust if you must, but bear in mind,
Old age will come and it’s not always kind.
And when you go and go you must,
You, yourself, will make more dust.
-Unknown

—————————————————-

“Normal Day”

Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are.
Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart.
Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect  tomorrow.
Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day
I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or
stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want,
more than all  the world, your return.

-Mary Jean Iron

————————————————————————————————————-

“One Small Rose”

I would rather have one small rose
From the garden of a friend
Than to have the choicest flowers
When my stay on Earth must end.

I would rather have one pleasant word
In kindness said to me
Than flattery when my heart is still
And my life on Earth has ceased to be.

I would rather have a loving smile
From friends I know are true
Than tears shed round my casket
When this world I’ve bid Adieu.

Bring me all your flowers today
Whether pink, white or red:
I’d rather have one blossom now
Than a truckload when I’m dead.

-Author Unknown
————————————————————————————————————

“Storms”

There will be storms, child
There will be storms
And with each tempest
You will seem to stand alone
Against cruel winds

But with time, the rage and fury
Shall subside
And when the sky clears
You will find yourself
Clinging to someone
You would have never known
But for storms.

– Margie DeMerell

————————————————————————————————————

This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meaness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain all! Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out for some new delight. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in.

Be grateful for whomever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.

Jalal ad-Din Rumi

————————————————————————————————————-

“After a While”

After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,

And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
And company doesn’t mean security.

And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises,

And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open
With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child,

And you learn to build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.

After a while you learn…
That even sunshine burns if you get too much.

So you plant your garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.

And you learn that you really can endure…

That you really are strong

And you really do have worth…

And you learn and learn…

With every good-bye you learn.

-Veronica Shoffstall

In the Same Room as Mother Teresa


I was fresh off a plane from one of my missionary trips, the hardest one yet, when on a hot summer morning on June 28, 1986, I attended a breakfast at the Omni Hotel in downtown Miami, where Mother Teresa was the guest speaker.  She stood there in her crisp white and blue sari, all 4 feet 11 inches of her, barely breaking over the podium, speaking softly and slowly, but her message echoing powerfully the words of our Lord.

        When I first heard she was coming to Miami for this event, I was excited but doubtful that I would get my hands on a ticket to be able to attend.  The $15 tickets for this event were not easy to come by.  Most of the tickets went to leaders from a cross section of religions, others to political leaders, and the rest to members of various anti-abortion groups in South Florida, with all the proceeds going to the Miami Right to Life, which was sponsoring the event.  But I immediately began my quest for one.  I, along with some of my church friends, made various inquiries throughout the archdiocese and followed all roads that lead to possible tickets, but our efforts, regardless of how connected and involved some of us were, proved to be in vain.  I resigned myself to the fact that I was not going to be attending this event, and figured I would just hang out at the hotel that morning and try to get a glimpse of her.  As you might have guessed, however, God had other plans for me.  I received a call from a friend who had pulled off the impossible, and found myself all of a sudden holding a golden ticket.

        As I sat at my table in the ballroom of the hotel that morning, it didn’t hit me at first where I was, what I was about to witness, or what I was about to listen to, because the excitement of just being there clouded my mind.  The room was full to capacity.  Everyone was chatting while we were being served, engaged in various topics of conversation, but mainly anticipating what had brought all of us there.  Some people actually ate.  I couldn’t (strange enough as that may sound).  To this day, I can’t remember what was served.  I mean, the possibility of seeing in person this Nobel Peace Prize recipient, this queen of missionaries, this living saint, was just overwhelming — who could eat?  Mother Teresa was not at her table during that time.  As one of her spokespeople later explained during a press conference, she was absent from her table during the meal because she didn’t eat in public.

        When the time came for her to make her entrance, I remember you could hear a pin drop.  She was escorted into the room and was accompanied to the podium by then Miami Mayor, Xavier Suarez.  I remember feeling a lump in my throat when I first saw her, how old, petite and fragile she looked.  And the indescribable aura that filled the room.

        Mother Teresa spoke that day about her work with the poor and about many experiences she had with people she had encountered throughout the world.  She recounted how she had seen people die for lack of a glass of water, and spoke of a different kind of poverty, what she referred to as “hunger for love.”  She also spoke about AIDS victims, and what a lonely disease it had become.  Most of all, though, she spoke about, and strongly condemned, abortion.  At one point saying words she had been known to repeat over and over, “If you don’t want the child, give it to me.  I want it.”

        Those present listened to her with such attention, almost in awe.  How could we not?  She instilled such reverence and respect from people while leading an incredibly humble and committed life.  Mother Teresa heard and felt a clear calling from Jesus Christ, something almost enviable, because how many of us are worthy of hearing that?  And she answered that calling in a way that is, I think, unattainable to us average souls.  With a body so small in stature but a spirit so large in faith and compassion, she was able to accomplish things in ways I can’t even begin to fathom.  Her life is an example to us all, in more ways than one, and I, for one, take comfort in knowing that even she, during certain times in her life, faltered in her faith and lived through dark nights, and still managed to stay true to God’s plan.  Such hope in that for us unholy people.

        I recall one moment in particular during her speaking, when she shared an anecdote about a poor child giving her his candy to give to an even poorer child, and connecting that to one of my own experiences during my then most current missionary trip.  It was then that it hit me, where I was, and what I was experiencing right at that moment.  It was incredible how in a roomful of people, that whole experience felt so personal to me.  Like she was talking directly to me.  There are moments you remember all your life, this was one of those moments.

        Some of what she recounted that day, I am currently reading about in “Come Be My Light.”  A powerful book containing a collection of her private writings.  My reading this book is actually what prompted me to put down in writing my recollection of my experience that summer day in 1986.  I have shared with my friends throughout the years such experience, and have been asked many times if I got to meet her personally.  And the answer is no, I did not meet her personally.  Nor did I get close enough to shake her hand.  I would have liked to.  But I felt that day, as I do today, that I didn’t need to.  Because that living saint of darkness, as she was known to many, radiated an unusual kind of energy throughout that room, and a beam of it reached me and touched me personally.  My faith was fortified by her presence and by the sound advice I heard from her that remarkable and unforgettable day — that day when I found myself in the same room as Mother Teresa.

  “If I ever become a saint — I will surely be one of ‘darkness,’ I will continually be absent from heaven — to light the light of those in darkness on earth.”
– Mother Teresa, September, 1959

 

In the News: Stem Cell Research


The controversy surrounding stem cell research is enourmous, and this is an issue of paramount importance.  Check out the article linked below.


Don’t use embryos in stem cell research, Pope says.

Thu Oct 11, 2007 11:10am EDT
http://www.reuters.com/article/email/idUSL1132717220071011

Travel for the Soul: Washington D.C.


Washington, D.C.
, our nation’s capital, is a place of history.  A trip there is a continuous learning experience.  It offers an incredible amount of points of interest and non-stop activies.  With all its museaums, monuments and memorials, one is sure to need a few days there to be able to see and experience the most popular attractions.  It all starts with the National Mall.

View of the Mall                                        Lincoln Memorial                     The U.S. Capitol                  

        
                                            Photos by CCPerez. Copyright © August, 2007 Connie Perez.  All rights reserved. 

The National Mall is a large, open area in the center of the city, with the Lincoln Memorial at one end, the U.S. Capitol at the other, and the Washington Monument in the center.  Some of the landmarks along the National Mall which are a must see include:

Lincoln Memorial (my favorite)
The Washington Monument
Jefferson Memorial
Smithsonian Institute
National Museum of American History
National Museum of National History
National Gallery of Art
National Air and Space Museum
Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Vietnam Veterans Memorial

There are many places very close to the Mall which are worth the visit. The Library of Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court building are just east of the Capitol. The White House, the National Archives, the Old Post Office, and Ford’s Theater (where Abraham Lincoln was killed) are just north. The Jefferson Memorial, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing are to the south.  Note:  The Holocaust Memorial Museum is one of the most powerful and moving places I’ve been to; the exhibits are gut-wrenching and heavy; not to be missed.

The White House                        Holocaust Museum                           Ford’s Theater
      
                                                Photos by CCPerez. Copyright © August, 2007 Connie Perez.  All rights reserved. 

Aside from the landmarks on and around the National Mall, there are other places of interest that are also a must-see.  Like Arlington National Cemetery – where the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is guarded 24 hours a day; The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception – which is the largest Roman Catholic church in the U.S. and North America; and Mount Vernon Estate and Garden – the home of George and Martha Washington from the time of their marriage in 1759 until General Washington’s death in 1799, and the most popular historic estate in America.

Tomb of Unknown Soldier                     Mount Vernon Estate and Garden
   
Photo by CCPerez. Copyright © 2007 Connie Perez.         Photo by CCPerez. Copyright © 2007 Connie Perez.  
All rights reserved.                                                       All rights reserved.

Washington, D.C. is a great place to visit.  If you have teenage kids, the trip is definitely worth it.  They will totally get this place at their age.

General Info.:  http://www.thedistrict.com/placestogo.html

Accommodations: 
General –
http://www.washingtondchotelaccommodations.com/
http://www.washingtondchotels.com/

Hyatt Hotels –
http://www.hyatt.com/hyatt/gateway.jsp?area=washington&spiritCodes=wasar,bethe,
wasrw,wasrc,wasph,wasgh&src=msn_destination_hhc_2008

Says Who…?


These are some of the quotes I’ve compiled throughout the years. When speaking about quotes, Marlene Dietrich once said: “I love quotations because it is a joy to find thoughts one might have, beautifully expressed with much authority by someone recognized wiser than oneself.”  I hope you enjoy them.

The will of God is never exactly what you expect it to be. It may seem to be much worse, but in the end it’s going to be a lot better and a lot bigger.
-Elisabeth Elliot

The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, ‘O God, forgive me,’ or ‘Help me.’
-Billy Graham

Good friendships are fragile things and require as much care as any other fragile and precious thing.

-Randolph Bourne

Simplicity towards God consists in seeking him only in all our actions.

-St. Jane Frances de Chantal

If you have made mistakes, even serious mistakes, you may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call “failure” is not the falling down, but the staying down.

-Mary Pickford

One of the first things Christ says in the Gospel is this: “Happy the simple-hearted!” Yes, happy those who head towards simplicity, simplicity of heart and simplicity of life.
-Brother Roger of Taizé

Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by an encounter with another human being. Each of us owes the deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this inner light.
-Albert Schweitzer

Knowing that we are fulfilling God’s purpose is the only thing that really gives rest to the restless human heart.
-Charles Colson

Difficult as it is really to listen to someone in affliction, it is just as difficult for him to know that compassion is listening to him.
-Simone Weil


If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.

-Mother Teresa

He who loses wealth loses much; he who loses a friend loses more; but he who loses his courage loses all.

-Miguel de Cervant

We have been given God in our souls and Christ in our flesh. We have the power to believe where others deny, to hope where others despair, to love where others hurt.
-Brennan Manning, “The Ragamuffin Gospel”

Faith in a prayer-hearing God will make a prayer-loving Christian.
-Andrew Murray

It’s important the people should know what you stand for. It’s equally important that they know what you won’t stand for.

-Mary H. Waldr

Grace is getting something that you don’t deserve; and mercy is not getting something that you do deserve.
-Francis Bacon

Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.
-Corrie ten Boom

Someone’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality.

-Les Brown

One encounter with Jesus Christ is enough to change you, instantly, forever.

-Luis Palau

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.
-Helen Keller

No one can know what secret inner ripening can come from suffering and sorrow. All we know is that every individual’s life is priceless – that each is dear to God.
-Christoph Probst

Prayer does not fit us for the greater work, prayer is the greater work.
-Oswald Chambers

The only way to pass any test is to take the test.

-Anonymous

No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our standpoint; therefore we must be saved by the final form of love, which is forgiveness.
-Reinhold Niebuhr

I do not understand the mystery of grace–only that it meets us where we are, but does not leave us where it found us.

-Anne LaMot

How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world.

-William Shakespeare

God is the important fact, and Christ the moving force…I asked for strength and forgiveness and the air began to clear, and I could act again, but not in my own strength.
-Jane Tyson Clement

Persons of true godly character are neither optimists nor pessimists, but realists who have confidence in God.
-Warren W. Wiersbe

Either we are adrift in chaos or we are individuals, created, loved, upheld and placed purposefully, exactly where we are. Can you believe that? Can you trust God for that?
-Elisabeth Elliot

Bad habits are like a comfortable bed, easy to get into, but hard to get out of.

-Anonymous

Live in such a way that those who know you but don’t know God will come to know God because they know you.

-Unknown


I discovered that sorrow was not to be feared but rather endured with hope and expectancy that God would use it to bless my life.

-Jill Briscoe

Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.

-Albert Einstein

We must not only give what we have; we must also give what we are.

-Cardinal Mercia

For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
-Matthew 18:20

I shall allow no man to belittle my soul by making me hate him.

-Booker T. Washington

Let the Bible fill the memory, rule the heart and guide the feet.
-Henrietta Mears

I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.
-John 6:35

Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?
-Corrie Ten Boom

It is not hard for the Lord to turn night into day. He that sends the clouds can as easily clear the skies. Let us be of good cheer.
-Charles Spurgeon

The days are too short even for love; how can there be enough time for quarreling?

-Margaret Gatty

You know the value of prayer: it is precious beyond all price. Never, never neglect it.
-Sir Thomas Buxton

Our work brings people face to face with love. To us what matters is an individual. To get to love the person must come in close contact with him.
-Mother Teresa

Tell me, I’ll forget. Show me, I may remember. But involve me, and I’ll understand.

-Chinese Proverb 

If you are truly humble, you will always be ready to seek (and accept!) help from others.
-J.C. Blumhardt

Surrender yourself to God. Wish for nothing but one thing: that his will be done, that his kingdom come, and that his nature be revealed. Then all will be well.
-Eberhard Arnold

A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery

If instead of a gem, or even a flower, we should cast the gift of a loving thought into the heart of a friend, that would be giving as the angels give.

-George MacDonald

Do not ask the Lord to guide your footsteps, if you are not willing to move your feet.
-Anonymous

My mind is a garden. My thoughts are the seeds. My harvest will be either flower or weeds.

-Mel Weldon

I love the recklessness of faith. First you leap, and then you grow wings.
-William Sloane Coffin

People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. When you figure out which it is, you’ll know exactly what to do.

-Michelle Ventor

Learn to write your hurts in sand.
Learn to carve your blessings in stone!

There is no pillow so soft as a clear conscience.
-French Proverb

There is no amount of darkness that can extinguish the inner light. The important thing is not to spend our lives trying to control the environment around us. The task is to control the environment within us.
-Joan Chittester

Accept as good whatever happens to you or affects you, knowing that nothing happens without God.
-The Didache

A life of faith…enables us to see God in everything and it holds the mind in a state of readiness for whatever may be His will.
-Francois Fenelon

Weave the unfailing fabric of God’s Word through your heart and mind. It will hold strong, even if the rest of life unravels.
-Gigi Graham Tchvidjian

Prayer is an end to isolation. It is living our daily life with someone; with Him who alone can deliver us from solitude.
-Georges Lefevre

Example is not the main thing in influencing others, it is the only thing.

-Albert Schweitzer

Do not turn away from those who are in need, but share all things in common with your brother. Your heart shall not cling to the high and mighty, but turn to the good and humble folk.
-The Didache

Start by doing what’s necessary, then what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.
-Saint Francis

Blessed is the man who finds out which way God is moving and then gets going in the same direction.
-Unknown

A humble person is more likely to be self confident…a person with real humility knows how much they are loved.
-Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.

Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. A joyful heart is the inevitable result of a heart burning with love.
-Mother Teresa

Always hold your head up, but be careful to keep your nose at a friendly level.

-Max L. Forman

Show me a guy who’s afraid to look bad, and I’ll show you a guy you can beat every time.
-Lou Brock

I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love.
-Mother Teresa, The Simple Path

The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.

-Elizabeth Foley

First keep the peace within yourself, then you can bring peace to others.

-Thomas à Kempis

True friendship is like sound health; the value of it is seldom known until it be lost.

-Charles Caleb Colton

I choose goodness…I will go without a dollar before I take a dishonest one. I will be overlooked before I will boast. I will confess before I will accuse. I choose goodness.
-Max Lucado

If the creator had a purpose in equipping us with a neck, he surely meant us to stick it out.

-Arthur Koestler

By a Carpenter mankind was made, and only by that Carpenter can mankind be remade.
-Desiderius Erasmus

Love the moment, and the energy of that moment will spread beyond all boundaries.

-Corita Kent

Do what good you can, and do it solely for God’s glory, as free from it yourself as though you did not exist. Ask nothing whatever in return. Done in this way, your works are spiritual and godly.

-Meister Eckhart

One filled with joy preaches without preaching.

-Mother Teresa

The Christian faith is meant to be lived moment by moment. It isn’t some broad, general outline–it’s a long walk with a real Person. Details count: passing thoughts, small sacrifices, a few encouraging words, little acts of kindness, brief victories over nagging sins.
-Joni Eareckson Tada

We have a choice: to plow new ground or let the weeds grow.

-Jonathan Westover

The cheerful giver does not count the cost of what he gives. His heart is set on pleasing and sharing Him to whom the gift is given.

-Julian of Norwich

The true measure of an individual is how he treats a person who can do him absolutely no good.
-Ann Landers

Sin is like quicksand: Your own efforts only make you sink deeper. Only an outside hand can pull you out.

-Unknown

Christ is a jewel of more worth than a thousand worlds, as all know who have him. Get him, and get all; miss him and miss all.

-Thomas Brooks

Do your utmost to guard your heart, for out of it comes life.

-Walter Hilton

It is more serious to lose hope than to sin.

-John of Carpathos

Make sure the thing you’re living for is worth dying for.

-Charles Mayes

One filled with joy preaches without preaching.

-Mother Teresa

The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.

-Emily Dickinson

You cannot see faith, but you can see the footprints of the faithful. We must leave behind “faithful footprints” for others to follow.
-Dr. Dennis Anderson

Fame is a vapor, popularity an accident, riches take wing, and only character endures.

-Horace Greeley

Notice, we never pray for folks we gossip about, and we never gossip about the folk for whom we pray! For prayer is a great deterrent.
-Leonard Ravenhill

Don’t worry that children never listen to you. Worry that they are always watching you.

-Robert Fulghum

The best cure for loneliness is developing an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.
-Unknown

Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.

-Og Mandino

Wisdom is, and starts with, the humility to accept the fact that you don’t have all the right answers, and the courage to learn to ask the right questions.
-Unknown

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things only hoped for.

-Epicurus

The best gifts to give:
To your friend, loyalty;
To your enemy, forgiveness;
To your boss, service;
To a child, a good example;
To your parents, gratitude and devotion;
To your mate, love and faithfulness;
To all men and women, charity.

-Oren Arnold

God takes us into deep waters, not to drown us but to cleanse us.
-Unknown

The glory of Christianity is to conquer by forgiveness.
-William Blake

What we need is a cup of understanding, a barrel of love, and an ocean of patience.
-St. Francis de Sales

We cannot change our past. We can not change the fact that people act in a certain way. We can not change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.
-Charles Swindoll

Values are like fingerprints. Nobody’s are the same, but you leave ’em all over everything you do.

-Elvis Presley

The more you have, the more you’re occupied; the less you have, the more free you are.

-Mother Teresa

Hope is like a road in the country; there wasn’t ever a road, but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence.

-Lin Yutang

When you see God’s hands in everything, it is easy to leave everything in God’s hands.
-Unknown

For certain things are not refused us, but their granting is delayed to a fitting time.
-St. Augustine

It is not how much you do, but how much Love you put into the doing that matters.
-Mother Teresa 

The value of consistent prayer is not that He will hear us, but that we will hear Him.
-William McGill

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart. And try to love the questions themselves.
-Rainer Maria Rilke

Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.
-Unknown

It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us…Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start.

-Mother Teresa

I’ve learned that you can’t give what you’ve never received. There’s no aquifer of love, there’s no distillery of faith within me, so I have to receive it.
-Max Lucado

Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.

-Thomas Jefferson

We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.

-Winston Churchill

The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing in the right place, but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.
-Dorothy Nevill

We must alter our lives in order to alter our hearts, for it is impossible to live one way and pray another.
-William Law

Love is not blind, it sees more not less;
But because it sees more it chooses to see less.
-Unknown

I don’t follow Jesus because I think Christianity is the best religion. I follow Jesus because he leads me into ultimate reality.
-Rob Bell

Happiness comes of the capacity to feel deeply, to enjoy simply, to think freely, to risk life, to be needed.

-Storm Jameson

To maintain our soul in a state of peace, it suffices to perform all our actions in God’s presence.
-St. Francis de Sales

Prayer is the most powerful means of overcoming any kind of discouragement. It connects you with an omnipotent, omniscient Father who loves you unconditionally, who sees where you are and is going to help you in it.

Let the crucifix be not only in my eyes and on my breast, but in my heart.
-St. Bernadette

Friendship is a promise of future loyalty, loyalty no matter what comes. Promises are the bricks of life and trust is the mortar.< /FONT>
-Stephen Carter, “The Emperor of Ocean Park” (submitted by rosaliekg)

The fragrance always stays in the hand that gives the rose.
-Hadia Bejar

When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.
-Harriet Beecher Stowe

Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better.

-Sydney J. Harris

‘Twas her thinking of others that made you think of her.

-Elizabeth Barrett Browning

God is so big He can cover the whole world with his Love and so small He can curl up inside your heart.
-June Masters Bacher

Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get, it’s what you are expected to give
which is everything.

Choices are the hinges of destiny.
-Edwin Markham

Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.
-Dr. Seuss

If you get busy serving God, you’re too busy to sin.
-Chuck Baker

When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light, for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food, and the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies with yourself.

-Tecumseh, Shawnee Chief

By humble and faithful prayer, the soul acquires, with time and perseverance, every virtue.

-St. Catherine of Siena

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.

-Carl Jung

No pressure, no diamonds.

-Mary Case

What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.

-Mother Teresa

Age has given me the gift of me, it just gave me what I was always longing for, which was to get to be the woman I’ve already dreamt of being.
-Anne Lamott

Never mistake knowledge for wisdom. One helps you make a living, the other helps you make a life.

-Sandra Carey

There are years that ask questions, and years that answer.
-Zora Neale Hurston

Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you’ll help them to become what they are capable of becoming.

-Goethe

I am not where I need to be, but thank God I am not where I used to be.

-Joyce Meyers

A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

-Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Conditions are never just right. People who delay action until all factors are favorable are the kind who do nothing.

-William Feather

Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
-Susan Ertz

If you believe what you like in the gospel, and reject what you don’t like, it’s not the gospel you believe, but yourself.

-Augustine of Hippo

The fruit of Silence is prayer.
The fruit of Prayer is faith.
The fruit of Faith is love.
The fruit of Love is service.
The fruit of Service is peace.

-Mother Teresa

Most people want to be delivered from temptation but would like it to keep in touch.
-Robert Orben 

A real friend never gets in your way–unless you happen to be on the way down.

-Dr. Wayne Dyer

Turn yourself around like a piece of clay and say to the Lord: I am clay, and you Lord, the potter. Make of me what you will.

-St. John of Avila

Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire, called conscience.

-George Washington

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them; that’s the essence of inhumanity.

-George Bernard Shaw

We the willing, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much, with so little, for so long, we are now qualified to do anything with nothing.

-Mother Teresa of Calcutta

We are living in a world that is absolutely transparent, and God is shining through it all the time.

-Thomas Merton

God is God. Because He is God, He is worthy of my trust and obedience. I will find rest nowhere but in His holy will, a will that is unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what He is up to.
-Elisabeth Elliot

If you make it plain you like people, it’s hard for them to resist liking you back.

-Lois McMaster Bujold

Let everyone understand that the real love of God does not consist in tear-shedding…but in serving God by serving those around us, in justice, fortitude of soul, and humility.

-St. Teresa of Avila

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

-Kahlil Gibran

Experience has taught me that the Shepherd is far more willing to show his sheep the path than the sheep are to follow. He is endlessly merciful, patient, tender, and loving.

-Elisabeth Elliot

Keep praying, but be thankful that God’s answers are wiser than your prayers!
-William Culbertson

We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.

-Mother Teresa

I discovered that sorrow was not to be feared but rather endured with hope and expectancy that God would use it to bless my life.
-Jill Briscoe


In darkness there is no choice. It is light that enables us to see the differences between things; and it is Christ who gives us light.
-Mrs. C.T. Whitemell

The days are too short even for love; how can there be enough time for quarreling?

-Margaret Gatty

If God is your love and your purpose, the chief aim of your heart, it is all you need in this life…Such a blind shot with the sharp dart of longing will never miss its mark, which is God.
-The Cloud of Unknowing

There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.

-Anais Nin

May God break my heart so completely that the whole world falls in.
-Mother Teresa

Forever at the door
I gave my heart and soul. My fortune, too.
I’ve no flock anymore,
no other work in view.
My occupation: love. It’s all I do.
-John of the Cross

Learn to pause … or nothing worthwhile will catch up to you.

-Doug King

Come out of the circle of time, and into the circle of love.
-Rumi

Self-discipline is when your conscience tells you to do something and you don’t talk back.

-W.K. Hope

If we want a love message to be heard, it has to be sent out. To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.

-Mother Teresa

If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain.

-Emily Dickinson

Let’s not be afraid to look at everything that has brought us to where we are now and
trust that we will soon see in it the guiding hand of a loving God.
-Henri Nouwen

Let me tell you this: Faith comes and goes. But if it is presumptuous to think that faith will stay forever, it is just as presumptuous to think that unbelief will.
-Flannery O’Connor

A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.

-Ruth Bell Graham

God never promises to remove us from our struggles. He does promise, however, to change the way we look at them.
-Max Lucado

You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Life is a comedy to those who think and a tragedy to those who feel.
-Anonymous

One of the most important responsibilities in the Christian life is to care about others, smile at them, and be a friend to the friendless.
-James Dobson

There are two freedoms: the false where a man is free to do what he likes; and the true where a man is free to do what he ought.

-Charles Kingsley

Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.
-Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Faith is not a thing which one “loses,” we merely cease to shape our lives by it.
-Georges Bernanos

It is not what WE do for God, but what HE does through us.

-Judy Sexton

He who cannot forgive breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass.
-George Herbert

Hope arouses, as nothing else can arouse, a passion for the possible.

-William Sloane Coffin, Jr.

Worrying about something that may never happen is like paying interest on money you may never borrow.

-Unknown

A loyal friend laughs at your jokes when they’re not so good, and sympathizes with your problems when they’re not so bad.

-Arnold Glasgow

Life isn’t a matter of milestones, but moments.

-Rose Kennedy

Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself.
-St. Francis de Sales

They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.

-Andy Warhol

Prayer is an end to isolation. It is living our daily life with someone; with Him who alone can deliver us from solitude.
-Georges Lefevre

How many times do we miss God’s blessings because they are not packaged as we expected?
-Unknown

Some people, no matter how old they get, never lose their beauty. It merely moves from their faces to their hearts.

-Martin Buxbaum

The greatest privilege God gives to you is the freedom to approach Him at any time.

-Wesley L. Duewel

The door of opportunity won’t open unless you do some pushing.
-Anonymous

My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just to enjoy your ice cream while it’s on your plate.
-Thornton Wilder

Even though you may want to move forward in your life, you may have one foot on the brakes. In order to be free, we must learn how to let go. Release the hurt. Release the fear. Refuse to entertain your old pain. The energy it takes to hang onto the past is holding you back from a new life. What is it you would let go of today?
Mary Manin Morrissey

Life is a compromise of what your ego wants to do, what experience tells you to do, and what your nerves let you do.

-Bruce Crampton

Forgiveness creates an obligation for which there are no exceptions allowed.
-Giovanni Papini, “The Life of Christ”

The world sets the agenda for the professional man; God sets the agenda of the spiritual man.
-John Piper

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Love is an act of endless forgiveness.
-Jean Vanier

Jesus Christ is not valued at all until He is valued above all.
-St. Augustine

First keep the peace within yourself, then you can also bring peace to others.

-Thomas a Kempis

I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world.

-Mother Teresa

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.

-Dale Carnegie

Fear not tomorrow, for God is already there.
-Unknown

In pursuit of happiness, the difficulty lies in knowing when you have caught up.
-R.H. Grenville

A broken heart is what makes life so wonderful–five years later.

-Phyllis Battelle

There are no mistakes, no coincidences. All events are blessings given to us to learn from.
~Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

Change is a measure of time and, in the autumn, time seems speeded up. What was is not and never again will be; what is is change.
-Edwin Way Teale

Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones. And when you have finished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.
-Victor Hugo

The great gift of family life is to be intimately acquainted with people you might never even introduced yourself to had life not done it for you.

-Kendall Hailey

A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word darkness on the walls of his cell.

-C.S. Lewis

Look outward and be distressed,
Look inward and be depressed,
Look upward and be at rest.
-Corrie Ten Boom

Patience is also a form of action.

-Auguste Rodin

There is no pillow so soft as a clear conscience.

Angels may not dress the part,
With robes and wings that soar,
Often angels come as friends
Knocking at your door.
-Unknown

Friendship, like the immortality of the soul, is too good to be believed.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Go the extra mile. It’s never crowded.

-Executive Speechwriter Newsletter

My big prayer is that I want to make sure that I’m walking in His will, and that He’ll speak to me.
-Rebecca St. James

Man can live for about forty days without food, and about three days without water, about eight minutes without air … but only for one second without hope.

-Hal Lindsey

Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.
-Unknown

…O God of life,
Be at my breast, be at my back,
You to me as a star, you to me as a guide,
From my life’s beginning to my life’s closing.
-Celtic Prayer

You should not suffer the past. You should be able to wear it like a loose garment, take it off and let it drop.
Eva Jessye

Maturity is the ability to do a job whether or not you are supervised, to carry money without spending it, and to bear an injustice without wanting to get even.
Ann Landers


 

Travel for the Soul: His Beautiful Signature in Captiva Island

        
        I am not an early riser by choice so it’s no surprise I don’t get to catch many sunrises.  And even though I live on the east coast and I’m a skip and a hop away from the beach, I’ve watched very few of them from the shore.  I rather do the sunset thing, and for that, I drive across the narrow strip of land that Florida is and catch those there.  

        I’ve been visiting the west coast of Florida since my arrival in this country over 35 years ago.  My father was a beach nut and a big fan of the west coast beaches, namely Naples.  So it became our home away from home during the summer.  That tradition continued when I started my own family, and we’ve been at it now for years.  We’ve had the fortune and blessing of being able to travel extensively throughout the United States and abroad, and although my family enjoys those travels, we all agree that there is nothing like a quick getaway to the west coast of Florida where you can relax and watch the most glorious of sunsets.

        Recently, we decided to move our stays from Naples to Captiva Island.  There we discovered the nothing-to-do-ness of the island, and have fallen in love with it.  The following links offer information about this west coast jewel:

http://www.captivaisland.com/
http://www.southseas.com/
http://www.royalshell.com/

Every sunset His beautiful signature.  Captiva Island.

Photo by CCPerez. Copyright © July, 2007 Connie Perez. All rights reserved.

And when the sun dips into the horizon, the magic begins…the blues, oranges, violets…absolutely breathtaking.

Photo by CCPerez. Copyright © July, 2007 Connie Perez. All rights reserved.

Travel for the Soul: Exploring the National Parks – Tennessee / North Carolina

The border between Tennessee and North Carolina runs northeast to southwest through the centerline of the Smoky Mountains National Park.  It is the most visited national park in the United States.  We first visited this national park in 1997, and even though this month marked our second visit, we found quite a bit of new spots to explore.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park:

They don’t call them the Smoky Mountains for no reason.

Photo by CCPerez. Copyright © April, 2007 Connie Perez. All rights reserved.

The park has over 900 miles of hiking trails for any level of hiker.  Many of the hikes pass or end at cascading waterfalls and scenic vistas. A wide range of easy day hikes can be found throughout the park. The Appalachian Trail runs through the park and crosses many of the park trails.  Aside from the hundreds of miles of hiking trails, mountain drives and breathtaking views, there’s a chance that you may get to see a bear or any number of other interesting wild creatures.

Iced rocks.  In month of March.

Photo by CCPerez. Copyright © April, 2007 Connie Perez. All rights reserved.

Surrounding towns include Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, and  Townsend, Tennessee; and Cherokee, Sylva, Maggie Valley, and Bryson City, North Carolina.


Photo by CCPerez. Copyright © April, 2007 Connie Perez. All rights reserved.

General information:  http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/index.htm
                                     http://greatsmokymountains.areaparks.com

Accommodations:     Majestic Mountain  Vacations
                                    Beautiful and comfortable cabins near the entrance of the park.
                                   
http://www.majesticmountainvacations.com/
                                    Sugar Maple Cabins
                                    
http://www.sugarmaplecabins.com/