Lakeside Thoughts

Kind words matter.  Last evening, I witnessed this first-hand when my daughter and I were sitting by the lake eating ice cream, taking in the last few moments of a sunny Sunday evening before sunset.  A family was sitting at a picnic table nearby, and I could hear a young child crying.  As the child clearly expressed some sort of discontent, one of the adults, possibly a grandparent, kept making sarcastic remarks to the child, which only appeared to make the child more upset.  This went on for what seemed like a long time until another adult from the family approached the table (maybe the granddad?) and spoke kindly to the child.  This man asked the child if the next time they went to McDonalds, would he want a “Happy Meal” or a “Sad Meal?”  The child stopped crying and proceeded to get into a conversation with this person about wanting to be happy and it seemed to all end rather peacefully.  Not knowing the situation that preceded the crying, I cannot sit in judgment, but it was evident that this kinder, quieter approach yielded better results than a piling on of sarcasm.

It’s good old summertime, and while we have waited a long time in Central New York for the temperatures to rise and for time outdoors, let’s remember to keep our cool both by drinking plenty of water but also by keeping our tempers in check.  We can choose to be a people of peace if we stop and think before we speak.  When using electronics, we also can follow that same rule of thumb before replying to an email or text.  Before posting anything on social media, we can ask ourselves the following important questions:

T—Is it TRUE?




K—Is it KIND?

Maybe the older I get, I am just turning into a big softy, but I literally cringe when I hear people speaking unkindly to one another or about one another.  While I am the first to admit I enjoy watching entirely too much television, I also will not hesitate to change the channel if I start to hear a barrage of insults, lately being on the news and coming from twitter accounts.  What kind of message are we sending to our kids?

We have the entire summer ahead of us to refresh, to restore, to unwind, to grow.  Let’s dust off those books we’ve been planning to read, or pick up a deck of cards and teach our little ones how to play Crazy 8’s.  I’d like to finally figure out how to truly skip rocks at the lake!  Let’s be kinder and gentler to ourselves so that we can be kinder and gentler to each other.  And when we find ourselves becoming sullen and surly, let’s take a time out or ask for some help.  None of this is rocket science, friends!  Love one another. 


Merton Prayer

When the idea of Merciful Moments Blog first came about, I wanted to share ordinary, everyday examples of where I or others encountered love, mercy and/or some sort of God winks.  Most of the time, the ideas come so very easily and I’m so eager to share with you, dear reader, the good news or laughter, whatever I can to evoke a smile or brighten your day.  While the sun shines and the birds sing today, my heart is heavy as I think of a beautiful young woman, a devoted wife and mother who left us far too soon.  I am left with very few words to speak or even write, but I can think of countless individuals in our community who shared love and support and precious time.

I know there’s little I can say to offer comfort in difficult times, but today I share a prayer that I have always found comforting.  In my heart, I trust that our loving God can fill in the blanks when the words just won’t come.  All I can offer today is this Merton Prayer, a tender embrace, and if needed, a casserole.  That will have to suffice for now.  Godspeed, you incredible, brave Wonder Woman.  Now you can finally rest.

 My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.

And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road,though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though
I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone. 


Vantage Point

This was originally published on  

I will be back next week with a new blog!  

I don’t know what it is about baptisms lately, but from my vantage point at Sunday Mass yesterday, I experienced an interesting phenomenon.  The Sacrament of Baptism was celebrated for two children at a Mass that was also honoring high school graduates.  Not just ANY high school graduates, but a class of students I and my colleagues have had the opportunity to work with since they were in seventh grade.  In a very real way, we have watched these young people grow up through the years.   During this one Mass, it was as if we were witnessing “bookends” in child development…the beginning of life in the Church of God for two young children and the sending forth of these recent grads toward college and beyond.

For the high school graduates blessed and sent forth, we become known as their parish family, the people they see on Sunday or in Faith Formation classes or in the parish office occasionally when assistance was needed or paperwork was submitted.  As they grew, a few of our students partnered with us in ministry as altar servers or Confirmation peer mentors, choir members and cross bearers.  Some lent a hand in classrooms.   Some journeyed to ND Vision in South Bend, IN with us for a deeper exploration of our shared Catholic faith.

Through the years, I had the unique privilege of getting to know these students’ parents.  Their children will probably never know that occasionally we laughed together, cried together, and prayed for their well-being…that’s all stuff that happens behind the scenes, where it should.   But from my vantage point yesterday, witnessing babies and high school grads, I thanked God for those special shared moments.  Yesterday, at Mass, those babies, those grads…I know they’re really not OUR children, but we are all one in the Church of God.  Welcome, newest members of our Church, and to our high school graduates, Godspeed!