Differences Create Beauty

tulip-days-with-teagenDifferent flower types in a garden create a visual paradise of chromatography.

Gardeners strive for different textures, scents, colors in creating a sanctuary of calm in their lives. When each chosen flower type blooms in concert with those it is surrounded by the entire garden is enhanced tenfold.

Choosing differences in the non-personal aspects of life are unconsciously acted upon  daily. We need different food for good health, different shoes for different outfits and purposes, different textures and colors when we decorate our home spaces.

God creates a world filled with a cornucopia of differences. And when each is allowed  to bloom, we are all enhanced.

Celebrate the differences among each other; our differences in skills and abilities. When each individual blooms, we all bloom. Do not allow for any empty patch in God’s Garden of Humanity. Each was chosen personally by God.

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”  Jeremiah 1:5

      Today is day 7 of Down Syndrome Awareness Month.  Celebrate our differences!down-syndrome-awareness-ribbon

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Just Thinking About Tomorrow

Tomorrow” is one of my favorite songs from Annie.   I used to love  turning on the record player in my family’s basement and belting out the song as loud as I could.

Of course this only happened when no one else was home.  Having five siblings I was careful  to limit criticism of my vocal abilities as often as possible.  But this song still is my favorite one to sing when life appears to follow a course not in keeping with my aspirations.

Or as my grandmother used to say, “We make plans and God laughs”.

On another perspective though, I do have good thoughts when ‘thinking about tomorrow’ in America.

We are a nation that celebrates differences, or are trying to.  We embrace new foods, we try new activities, we are open to other’s opinions and try to understand their perspectives.  And it will only become better.

Regardless of our religion, race, culture, gender we eat together,  pray together,  copy one another in dress and slang.  We laugh together,  cry together,  work together,  learn together and we compete together.  This is America.

And when I think about tomorrow in America I know the differences some may still have, the prejudices many may still harbor towards those with different abilities is also changing.


Recently my sister told me about a wonderful organization called Able To Work USA which is dedicated to opening the employment opportunities  to people with Down Syndrome and other developmental issues.  Their goal, as their website states  “aims to create more inclusive workplaces while at the same time recognizing the potential of every individual.”

Every one  born with Trisomy 21 is different and unique, each have traveled a different road to become the person they were born to be…just like everyone else in America. Able To Work USA  is opening the doors of established businesses, letting individuals with different abilities enter the same bus and sit in the same rows as everyone else . These  individuals  want to work, are able to work, and can provide businesses with untold dedication and love for their jobs.  And they are excelling!

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month.  Educate yourself on the opportunities to celebrate and embrace the differences in all people.  If you own a business access the information available on AbleToWork.org  and hire someone with a different ability.  You will be surprised at the caliber of their character, knowledge, and skills.

“Civilization is the encouragement of differences.” Mahatma Gandhi.  And it will only get better the more we include those with different abilities.

Just think about tomorrow!

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Down Syndrome Awareness Month  


This is Teagen Grace                  wp-1475509668135.jpg

She is two years old

She loves farm animals.

She has blue eyes and blonde hair.

She listens to stories, loves to dance, and laughs with her entire body.

She plays with her toys and splashes in baths.

She runs around the corners of her home, chasing her brother and sister.

She eats peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and loves her ice cream.

She has down syndrome.

She is just like all of us.

Please support your local down syndrome society by signing up for your chapters buddy walk.  

The work they do is amazing.

National Down Syndrome Society

Down Syndrome Society of Rhode Island, Inc.

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Finding the ‘Kind’ in Mankind

Sometimes, when you least expect it, you hear something that causes you to pause; or, in my case made me stop and think, “Seriously? They even USE that word today”.  This happened to me when I heard the word Mankind in a daily reading.

Upon deeper reflection I wondered if they even teach the word ‘mankind’ to elementary students. And then, if they DO teach this word, would they even know what it means? Many words end up by the roadside because they are not relevant.  This particular word could very well go the way of VCR, disposable film, bubblers, floppy disk, britches, hootenanny, icebox, and then my favorite, the ‘yuppie’.

When there is no longer a need for the word, the word quietly fades away.

When the word is no longer relevant to people’s lives it loses its very definition.

And,  when you break apart MANKIND, are the two parts mutually inclusive, or exclusive?

During a sermon this past month, St. Luke catechized:

The person who is trustworthy in very small matters
is also trustworthy in great ones;
and the person who is dishonest in very small matters
is also dishonest in great ones.”  (Luke 16:10)

Hearing this, I almost wished I were in a Baptist Church where I could have stood up quickly and shouted out ‘Amen Father! Alleluia”.

St. Luke was giving ‘mankind’ direction on how to live the kind of life which brings out the best in all, but today it seems as if the very word is an oxymoron. How can the word ‘man’ be united with the word ‘kind’? There are so many instances in the media where ‘man’ is anything but ‘kind’. The way society interacts is anything but ‘kind’. The ability of a person to anonymously be ‘unkind’ has grown exponentially in our interactions with others on social media sites.

As parents it is our duty to teach our children to be ‘kind’. It is a simple word, but action is needed to exemplify the word, to do honor to the word. So it is with some irony I came across  an idea  to help others in need on the social media site Pinterest.  Many are creating Blessing Bags.  

ThriftyNorthwestMom.com post on Pinterest.

Photo courtesy of ThriftyNorthwestmom.com Used with permission. All rights reserved.

We are keeping a “Blessing bag” in our car in case we find someone in need. You can make these up with items from the Dollar Tree such as gloves, thermal socks, beef sticks, crackers, candy bars, toothpaste, toothbrush, wipes, deodorant, snacks and other items that may help someone who is homeless or in a bad way

What a simple ‘kind’ idea.

When they see someone in need they roll down their window and give them this bag. Anything can go into the bag, but what truly made me see the ‘kindness’ of others was seeing how many people are doing this. One person was using gift certificates for McDonald, Burger Kings.  Another was using certificates to Walmart for a shampoo and cut. Some made bags just for women, some just for kids, and others created bags for seniors.

So many people excited to be ‘kind’ to those in need!

Showing how to be kind in small interactions with others is  key to our children learning how to being kind in larger interactions.  We begin teaching the small acts of kindness, and our children will have the tools to be as St. Luke states ‘trustworthy with the large’.  Something this small teaches them to look for Christ in others and allows them to discover the goodness in everyone.

Random acts of kindness done by ‘mankind’ for others, without a thought of anything in return.

‘Mankind’ it seems is not an oxymoron.

Almost makes me want to throw a hootenanny to celebrate.

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Shared Article from AOL: Pope Francis proclaims Teresa of Calcutta a saint


How blessed are the poor in spirit, for they shall inherit the Earth. How blessed are we to have lived while a saint walked among us. 

Blessed Saint Mother Teresa, pray for us for we are in need of your prayers. 

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Blessed Labor Day

On this Labor Day let us  remember everything we have, comes from God’s Hands.  He has entrusted us with specific gifts to be used for the good of the world.  May we remember to share them with each other every day.

seeing Gods Hands in Everything..jpg

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Pope names two auxiliary Bishops for the Archdiocese of Boston

Congratulations and prayers to Father Robert P. Reed  of CatholicTV, based out of Watertown, Massachusetts.  I remember discussing Handshake From Heaven with him a few years after it was published. He is truly a Crusader for Christ.


BRAINTREE, MA — The Holy See announced June 3 that Pope Francis has named Father Robert P. Reed and Father Mark O’Connell, JCD as Auxiliary Bishops of the Archdiocese of Boston. Bishop-elect Reed is

Source: Pope names two auxiliary Bishops for the Archdiocese of Boston

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Saint Mother Teresa

On Sept 4, 2016 Mother Teresa will be canonized.  Smiles all around!

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Treasures Given Freely

Nothing is more important than The Cross…on which hung the Savior of the world. In today’s busy world we can easily be distracted from this Truth; and then, if we are lucky, He will gently place something in our path as a reminder.

Recently my mother has begun the process of separating her belongings among her children.  This usually means taking one of us aside, asking if we would like to see something, and if we answer affirmatively she will grab our hand and show us the item.   If we express anything resembling joy, or if we remark that it is indeed lovely, the item is placed in our hands and we are told (ordered) to put it in our car.

Arguing is useless.  She wants items removed NOW, and complains if we  say ‘Yes, I will take it but I’ll come back later for it’.  Over the past few months I have become more judicious in my assessment of certain objects.  No need to have more than three iron pots my husband says.

And then one day she put the art book in my hands.

We had gone up to her loft where a collection of books resided; these were books she had collected over the years from thrift shops, antique stores, and her many travels.  The print in one particular old art book was too small for her eyes but she didn’t know what to do with this large heavy anthology.  Stroking the cover, she told me she had spent many quiet hours looking through it over the years.

As I opened this art book copies of a painting fell out: Jesus Wept, by Marion S. Wittenhagen.Jesus Wept

Nothing prepared me for the beauty of His Face.  Pain, agony, strength and total compassion – all shone through the print.  There were also copies of a letter written by the artist describing her thoughts on her painting.   As she stated: “I was forced to use my own anguish to depict the tears and the sorrows which I felt Jesus suffered during His last hour in the garden.”

I have spent many hours since trying to find out more about Marion.  What did she mean when she wrote about using her own anguish?  Marion painted this in the spring of 1970, and was mentioned in a truly moving piece by Professor Emeritus Donald Burt (Villanova University) called Hospice: Reflections on a Dying Life.  As admonished by Professor Burt:

You don’t need to be as “smart” as Augustine to bring Christ to your world. Indeed, you do not need to be particularly strong. As I type these words, I see before me a picture of a painting done by an artist friend of mine, Marion Wittenhagen. It is a head of Christ as he looked just after he had heard the terrible words of Pilate:

Nothing more can be done!”

Marion had had an unsuccessful surgery on her back and was in constant pain.  Her doctors  said there was nothing they could do to relieve the pain because she was not ‘terminal’.  She painted Jesus Wept from her bed, and when she couldn’t get the eyes ‘just right’, she dragged her easel into the bathroom, propped it up and painted her own eyes. As she wrote on her typewriter:

                “If you cover the right side of Jesus’ face with paper you see His power, His strength, See that all-knowing eye…THIS IS THE CHRIST. Then cover the left side of Jesus’ face:  See the compassion, the love the gentleness and mercy.  See the sorrow…THIS IS THE MAN OF GOD.”

 Finding this print pressed between the pages of a book my mother has loved for many years, and reading about the reflections of both Marion and Professor Burt on life, pain, and dying was a gentle reminder to stop and remember that  life is truly temporal.

Christ bore it all for us, in the garden and on the Cross. He bore it so we would be saved.   He bore it out of Love.  We can do no less as we live our lives.

I have my mother’s art book.  It went directly into my car.

She didn’t even have to ask twice.

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Will America’s 100-Year-Old Female Spy Finally Be Recognized for the Hero She Is?

Source: Will America’s 100-Year-Old Female Spy Finally Be Recognized for the Hero She Is?

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