Tag Archives: believer

Do You Believe?

I love a good tear jerker movie — or a movie with a heart warming message — they’re usually one in the same. There’s nothing like it to help you relieve any sadness in your heart and fill your with overflowing faith. But the one I watched on Friday evening was just horrible. I cried during the happy times and balled during the sad moments. If I wasn’t sobbing, tears were running down my face. I went through 25 or more kleenex, and I had to throw my contact lenses away and get a new pair! It was kind of stunned when the movie was over. It was just over.

Letters to God. I thought it would be uplifting with a happy ending. I think it hit home too hard for me, as the movie was about a boy with cancer. The movie tried to show how one boy’s cancer affected a whole lot of other people’s lives — and in many cases — were life changing for those people. You could see God working in all these people’s lives, but there’s was nothing subtle about it — it was kind of cheesy and obvious. Although, the part I thought was beautiful was when his friend’s grandpa said to him, “God chose you to be his warrior.” It made the boy feel special and strengthened his faith even more. I thought long on that message.

Did God choose me to have cancer? Well, obviously he did. And I always believed there was a greater purpose for it — for anyone who has an awful illness. It’s how they choose to live life while being dealt such a fateful hand.

Yet, I wouldn’t recommend the movie to anyone. It is just too sad — I mean, it’s not the kind of tear-jerker where you feel so good in the end at all, and the movie just isn’t that well made.

God is Not Dead. Now this movie is a keeper!!! It’s about one man’s journey from being an atheist to being a believer. Like the movie Letters to God, this movie was not made with a huge budget or high-priced actors. Oh, but it was so well done. A philosophy professor asks his first-year students to write “God is Dead”. One student couldn’t do it and was challenged to prove that God was not dead. And he did just that and so much more — and I could watch it again and probably get more from it a second time! The message was carefully crafted and brilliant.

The production company that made God is Not Dead is Pure Flix Productions — known for making movies with Christian themes. I am looking forward to their Spring 2015 release of “Do You Believe?” It looks to be another tear-jerker, heart-warming, faith-filled movie with a message for all of us.

If you’ve seen either of these movies, please comment on what you thought of them. And if there was a special message you received.

Always B E L I E V E !

All Eyes on Carol

Mom's RetirementSo my Mom has made it 38 years at her job before retiring this past year (officially at the end of 2012) as the secretary of South Beaver Township in PA. She’s been training the new secretary since the beginning of the year and this past week was her official first week of sleeping in!

38 years. That’s really dedication if you think about it. She started that job when I was only seven years old and had the office in our family home. So growing up, we always had people stopping at the house to get building permits or for other township business —  sometimes they interrupted dinner (my Dad was never happy about that) or they’d stop on the weekends — at all hours of the day and night. We had some very interesting people come through those doors and into our home. For my Mom, it was more than a job. As kids, we actually learned a lot from her about having a good work ethic and it just rubbed off on us. She never complained and she jumped through hoops for everyone. And she made sure that we sat down for dinner every night as a family. She taught us so much about work-life balance.

Mom turns 73 this year. She’s long overdue for this retirement!! She was really resistant to it for the past five years, because she just loved all the guys she worked with — the road crew, the police department, etc. They are more than coworkers, they are her friends and her social life. One-by-one each of the township personnel started to retire. It’s in with the new and out with the old, and my Mom is definitely ready to move on. The natural gas drilling started in the township over the past five years or so. And that has doubled and tripled my Mom’s workload (which was already too much for one person to handle). Last year she dealt with the Shingles and then a heart attack, followed by another stent procedure. It was time to slow down.

Megan_GrandmaShe’s already planning her summer days. Weekends at the cabin, a trip to Charleston, SC to visit her brother and his family with Debbie, Megan and Tara, and a July trip to the Finger Lakes with Tom, me and Bob. I’m sure she’ll be boating on the weekends with Tommy. She plans to spend all her extra time with her family. She’s planning her new chicken garden — where she’s creating a whole garden of perennials for her “girls” to enjoy scratching for bugs. She loves those silly chickens — all four of them! She’ll spend her entire summer outside under the blue skies, tending all of her flower beds, feeding her birds and enjoying her chickens. And now we’ll have something new to learn from her — how to slow down and take time to stop and smell the roses.

So my sister, brothers and I are planning the biggest shindig! After all, we celebrate the good times, right? My Mom is someone who truly deserves a day to be the center of attention, because she’s never in the limelight. And I personally want to thank her for teaching me so many things — how to be a giver, a believer, a friend, a gardener, and a cook! She taught me about God, how to love and how to pray. She always put each and everyone of us first, often sacrificing what she may have wanted. So this time, all eyes will be on Carol for her service and dedication to one country community in Pennsylvania. She made a difference and we will be celebrating that!

I Believe

ChristianityI started to write this post, but then I decided I shouldn’t write it. I’ve thought about it for the past two nights. But then I realized that I started this blog to share the journey of my faith and what wonderful things remind me to always believe. So here I am, sharing this post.

So it goes, I got caught up on reading my magazines that have been sitting on the counter for a couple of months. The February 11, 2013 issue of People magazine, featuring Tim McGraw on the cover, had a story, buried pretty far back in the magazine, featuring a new book called “Beyond Belief”. The title of the article was called “Escape from Scientology.”

The story is a memoir of Jenna Miscavige Hill, who grew up as a child at the Ranch, a San Jacinto, CA boarding school for children of Scientology executives. Jenna is the niece of David Miscavige, the church’s head honcho. The article goes on to describe how they were brainwashed by intimidation and fear their entire lives. They didn’t watch television or interact with anyone on the outside. As children, they were treated like they were in a military boot camp with drills and physical labor.

She met her husband, Dallas while still part of the Scientology community. Dallas had worked at the Scientology Celebrity Center in Los Angeles. So he could attest to how well celebrities were treated — with gorgeous accommodations. There was no risk from someone from the outside seeing the “child labor camps.”

As I read this article, I couldn’t believe that a cult such as this is operating right here in the United States. And the concept behind the organization is so ridiculous that it’s truly amazing that anyone with common sense would believe it. There’s nothing to substantiate it. But Jenna didn’t have the option to choose, she was born into it.

In the article, Jenna says, “I am no longer a believer. It was a huge adjustment to realize that the life I am living may be my one and only.” I lost two hours of sleep over that statement. My mind kept going over it — she was no longer a believer of Scientology — excellent — but now, she doesn’t believe in anything. And she doesn’t believe there’s anything more than this life. How disappointing and what a sad life.

How much I wanted to tell her to find Jesus and follow us that she will be healed. But can you imagine what she thinks about the Catholic Church or any organized religion of any kind? As I think about it from her perspective, how would you find that faith after all that you’ve been taught to believe? And it disturbs me that someone could easily say that my Catholic faith is really a cult. It’s not that I haven’t heard that before. I hear things all the time, even from people that are close to me, questioning their faith, asking me to justify my beliefs.

Did I have a moment of doubt? My Catholic faith is based on the Bible and years of history, as are other Christian religions. My Catholic faith teaches us love and compassion — there are no child labor camps. We teach our children to be kind to each other. We teach our children to know Jesus and to have faith in him. And to call on him when they are in trouble. Sure, we give money to the church, but the church needs money to operate. It’s not a profit center. And all are welcome, regardless of income, social status, where they live or how they dress. My Catholic faith is the foundation of my philanthropic efforts and that is good in this world.

So today as I struggled with my thoughts around this, I read today’s reflection in my Little Black Book for Lent and found my clarity:

Jesus said to the devil in reply, “It is written: ‘You shall worship the Lord, your God, and him alone shall you serve.’” Luke 4:8

The tempting of Jesus in the desert is told in three Gospels and it represents the temptations that also confront every disciple of his… it goes on to say…

Temptations come at me from things I see people do and hear people say. They come at me from what I read and watch. All temptations are not equal. Some are stronger than others, but there is an even greater difference. Some temptations deal with superficial elements of my life, while others aim at a more foundational level.

There may be times when I am tempted to question whether Jesus’ whole way of life makes sense, whether these basic teachings are believable, or whether this whole Christianity thing is worth it after all.

Wow! I feel like Jesus himself wrote this reflection for me to read on this day after being conflicted, because of the Scientology article. I was being tempted to question my faith and reaffirm it. But not until I read this did I have the courage to write this post.

As for Jenna Miscavige Hill, her husband and her two beautiful little boys, I hope she finds Jesus in this lifetime. And I pray that she is able to heal from what she burden she came into this life with. And I pray that she is able to teach her boys about Jesus’ love and forgiveness. For that is what will heal her.