The Bad Luck Penny

“A penny for your thoughts?” You say.
A penny for my thoughts? Ha! Long overdue!
For ever since we met that day
I can’t get rid of You!

When we’re here, or there, or anywhere,
Things just go awry.
Trouble began to follow me
And I think I know why.

You took me underneath Your wing
and hushed my frightened tears,
So I could face with fragile courage
a whole new set of fears.

In the middle of the night
When nothing is going right,
There You are.

In the middle of the storm,
When worldly wasps are in full swarm,
There You are.

Living in this narcissus world
Where good is bad and bad is good
It’s unreal! And You so simply say,
“Peace; I am your food.”

If I proclaim Your Truth, I must,
then they will scorn and boo!
Ignorant, hypocrite, hater, bigot!
Quickly forgotten that they are too.

It seems you are a bad luck penny
That just won’t go away.
Trouble finds us, attacks us, binds us,
Yet by my side You insist to stay.

Your standards high, my sins too much
The devil’s in my head.
Preying upon Your prideful servant
Like a tasty spot of bread.

Perhaps if You just let me be
I’d be much better off, you see?
Take no offense, it’s You, not me.
Without You here, I can be free!

Satanic lies! I scream inside.
Be gone you rotten rebel child!
Heavy penny cross a target,
Lord make my love for Your love wild!

The Eucharist! The Eucharist!
Multiply my manna,
A penny loaf, a sacrifice,
As cheerful as I can-ah.

And then when at my very end
When facing Father, ’tis You and me;
Not a penny, but a friend
by my side eternally.

Posted in Amateur Poetry | Comments Off on The Bad Luck Penny

Playful Parenting : Part 3

Part 1

Part 2

The last section in Chapter 5 in Playful Parenting is very important. Dr. Cohen discusses the good and natural consequence of successfully playing with children: tears!

He explains that sudden outbursts of emotion happen because the child has been holding onto a lot of feelings, and the giggling opens the door. What you have essentially done is made them feel safe with you, so they feel a freedom to be vulnerable and release their pain. This is healthy and good!

It is confusing for adults because often it is something small that triggers the intense emotions and we freak out and tend to overreact or reprimand. Dr. Cohen says however,

“If we can just sit with them while they are releasing these feelings, they will eventually emerge happier children… often all that is necessary is a brief pause to pay attention to that burst of feelings, then back to fun play – which becomes even more fun now that the child is no longer carrying that load of painful emotions.” (p89-91)

I echo the author when he asks, “Is there enough giggling going on in your house?”

Chapter 6 is an excellent chapter as well: “Learn to Roughhouse,” which covers a range of sub-topics of physical play.

Why do children wrestle/roughhouse?
– to test their physical strength
– to have fun
– to control their aggression, practice restraint

Why wrestle with parents?
– we can help them deal with fears, anger, etc
– we won’t call them names if they cry or give up
– we will stop and rest
– we can help them explore their physical strength
– we can help them develop confidence

How do we wrestle?
– try to pin each other
– try to get past each other
– they try to knock you down
– they try to get away from you holding them
– they try to get you somewhere

KEY INGREDIENT, dependent upon the child and the moment:
– you pretend to be incompetent, OR
– you match your strength to theirs

Basic Rules
– Safety
– Connection
– Sense of Power – increase theirs
– Emotional Hurts – help them play through
– Physical Hurts – stop
– Resistance – just the right amount
– Let Them Win
– No Tickling
– Your Feelings – set them aside

When children want to engage in War Play – exploring ideas of aggression, conflicts, alliances, strategies, weapons, violence – adults have the task of keeping it light-hearted and balanced, and including ideas of nurturing and camaraderie.

Self-Control Games
– Simon Says
– Red Light, Green Light
– Imitate/Exaggerate aggressive behavior in a silly way
– Rhythmic movement fast, slow, left, right
– Singing fast, slow, loud, soft
– Sort by shape, color, size, switch hands
– Obstacle Courses
– Treasure hunts
– Hand-clap games
– Jumping Rope

Benefits to Physical Play
– Child learns how to calm down
– Child learns to pay attention
– Child learns to plan, organize, prepare, persist

Basically, “take a real situation that is hard for them, label it as play, and let children practice gaining control over their impulses.” (p111)

So far, I’ve given a fairly in-depth look at Dr. Cohen’s book. For the second half of the book, I will provide more of a synopsis of concepts. I strongly encourage you to read it and begin applying Playful Parenting techniques in your household.

Posted in Fun, Good Reads | Comments Off on Playful Parenting : Part 3

The Rainbow Is Still a Sign of God’s Covenant


Genesis Chapter Nine:

5  Indeed for your own lifeblood I will demand an accounting: from every animal I will demand it, and from a human being, each one for the blood of another, I will demand an accounting for human life.

6  Anyone who sheds the blood of a human being, by a human being shall that one’s blood be shed; For in the image of God have human beings been made.

Be fertile, then, and multiply; abound on earth and subdue it.

God said to Noah and to his sons with him:

9  See, I am now establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you

10  and with every living creature that was with you: the birds, the tame animals, and all the wild animals that were with you—all that came out of the ark.

11  I will establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all creatures be destroyed by the waters of a flood; there shall not be another flood to devastate the earth.

12  God said: This is the sign of the covenant that I am making between me and you and every living creature with you for all ages to come:

13  I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.

1When I bring clouds over the earth, and the bow appears in the clouds,

15  I will remember my covenant between me and you and every living creature—every mortal being—so that the waters will never again become a flood to destroy every mortal being.

16  When the bow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature—every mortal being that is on earth.

1God told Noah: This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and every mortal being that is on earth.

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The Gates Of Hell Are In The Human Heart

In a Faith Magazine Article June 2015, this fine woman made the following comment:

“People don’t put up walls to keep people out, they put them up to see who cares enough to knock them down.”

“Aha!” I thought, as the scriptural theme of open and closed doors came to mind.  Nowadays we think of people as putting up walls, but the concept of a wall makes the obstacle seem impenetrable.  Jesus does not see walls, He sees doors.  If we read these verses as though the door is a hardened heart, they present to us a challenge, a loving way to see the people in our lives.

Matthew 16:18, “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.”

Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me.”

Luke 13:24, “Strive to enter through the narrow door, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.”

Luke 13:25, “After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door, then will you stand outside knocking and saying, ‘Lord, open the door for us.’ He will say to you in reply, ‘I do not know where you are from.”

Luke 11:10, “For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

The hardened human heart is a pre-netherworld.  Those gates are closed tight!  With Jesus, we approach those hardened heart-doors.  When we ask them to open, they will not trust us because we don’t come from the same place.  The doors will be narrow, you will have to really see the person to find the way in.  Once you find it, stand patiently, knocking, gently but insistently, consistently, communicating “I love you too much to go away.”

When he lets you in, you may be surprised to find Jesus is already there and has been working – dine with him!  Enjoy his company.  Leave him a pleasant memory of his experience with a Christian.  After you leave him, pray for him, and leave him in God’s very capable hands.

Are you putting up walls or knocking on doors?

At a small group meeting the other day we discussed the Bible’s reference to the flesh, and our weakness in the face of temptation. Peter Herbeck used the analogy of the Trojan Horse: if sin can get just a few guys in the gate, they can lower the drawbridge and let in the whole army.

If this strategy is effective in the case of sin and failure, why can’t we use it for evangelization and the winning of souls for Christ?

Don’t be afraid!  Reach out to someone!  Find that spark of truth and beauty that makes their heart beat.  Communicate your love.  They just might open up this time.


Posted in Reflecting | Comments Off on The Gates Of Hell Are In The Human Heart

Examination of Conscience: Supreme Court Edition

In light of today’s United States Supreme Court decision to re-define marriage as something other than the union of one man and one woman, it may be helpful for Catholics to pause and engage in some self-examination before we try to move forward in history.

Have I neglected to pray for God’s will to be done?
Have I assumed God has been absent in all this?
Have I neglected to pray for authentic marriage?
Have I neglected to pray for our civil leaders?
Have I made an honest effort to understand the Church’s teaching on marriage and sexuality?
Have I been selective in my acceptance of Church teachings?
Have I promoted things contrary to Church teaching?
Have I regarded the Pope as anything less than orthodox?

Have I appreciated my spouse as a gift from God?
Have I despaired of God’s mercy?
Have I despaired of God’s ultimate triumph?
Have I shared the truth of authentic marriage with others?
Have I taught my children the beauty of authentic marriage by word and example?
Have I failed to pray for the conversion of hearts and minds?
Have I assumed this decision is irreversible?

Have I been unfaithful to my spouse in word or in deed?
Have I refused to forgive my spouse?
Have I engaged in speaking ill of the opposite sex?
Have I wanted to force others to agree with me?
Have I listened openly to people that disagree with me?
Have I responded to them with kindness and gentleness?
Have I neglected to pray for people with same-sex attraction?
Have I neglected to pray for engaged and married couples?
Have I neglected to pray for children?

Posted in Marriage, R & P | Comments Off on Examination of Conscience: Supreme Court Edition