Mother Teresa
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You Can Change the World

Affirmation:  All
things are possible through God.

women were present at the weekend retreat. 

command was “Women of God, you are called to change the world.”  I panicked. 
Maybe now would be a good time for me to run out of the room.

working hard enough trying to be the best me possible or somedays I’m working
on simply accepting myself just as I am. 
I really couldn’t imagine being responsible for the entire world.  I’ve felt responsible for my entire world for
years, my family, friends and community. 
It’s a daunting exercise and now here I am being told, not asked, but
told I am being called to take on the entire world. 

Yes, I
believe the world needs help.  I believes
it needs to change.  It doesn’t take much
awareness to know our world is very troubled and sad.  I pray daily for wisdom for our world
leaders, a prayer introduced to me by a friend of long ago and I pray daily for
world peace.  Can you imagine how
different life would be were we all at peace with one another?  At the least maybe they’d take away the
security lines at the airport and we could leave on our shoes, belts and

there be peace and earth and let it begin with me.  Let there be peace on earth a peace that was
meant to be.” We sing this song often in church, The Prayer of Saint
Francis.  My dear friend and guide,
Valerie Kelly, use to emphasize the need for more feminine energy in the world
and how much better off the world would be with a stronger female
presence.  I would hope that if we have
not moved too far away from our feminine selves, women running the world would
lead to a kinder, more nurturing place and people.  I believe most women are very protective of
the greatest product of their lives and would do all in their power to prevent
sending their children off to suffer war and perhaps to die. 

At the Not
So Big Life Workshop
, Sarah Susanka encouraged us to “run towards
those things” of which we are afraid. 
She suggested some of our greatest learning experiences would come from
not retreating from that which repels us. 
I took a deep breath and decided to continue with the church program for
which I had registered.  After eight
weeks of study, a weekend retreat was being presented and I decided to go all
the way and see what other life lessons might come my way. 

number of women who had taken the time and made the effort to attend this
event, made me realize how much need there is for women to spiritually feed
ourselves and to join forces.  I had
decided not to worry about the command to “save the world” but
instead to allow the richness of the rest of the program’s material and the
power of the women’s spirit to empower and nurture me.  Our first speaker was Theresa Davis. 

There she
stood a tiny woman perhaps in her late 70’s or early 80’s ready to share with
us the secret of leading a rich, powerful life. 
She had been with the lay ministry Madonna House for fifty seven years
and as she spoke, I felt the walls around my heart fall.  Her manner of sharing did not cause me to
erect any protective barriers. I had no resistance to her.  I just wanted to absorb all she had to
share.  It was a very unusual response
for me.  I must confess to being quite a
skeptic, always questioning but not this morning.  This morning when Theresa’s time was up, the
whole group moaned, “no, let her continue.”  She too was calling us, the women of God, to
change the world but not by ourselves, together and by allowing God to work in
and through each of us.  “Yes”
I thought, “all things are possible with God.” 

went on to say that we are all being called to become saints.  Oh, no! 
I was just getting my head around “saving the world” and now,
I need to also become a saint!  Being a
cradle Catholic I’m somewhat familiar with many of the saints and I am here to
tell you, they did not have an easy time of it. 
The saints of old were tortured and killed.  Many appeared just plain crazy, hearing the
voice of God and going off to do really weird stuff.  Our most recent saint, Mother Teresa had a
very difficult life.  The women and men
of her order only posses a few worldly items: a sari, a bucket and a thin
mattress.  Certainly, she made the world
a better place and I am in awe of her and her works but I like the comforts of
home.  I like bathing in a tub or shower
and not using a bucket and I really like my bed, and my clothes.  No, sainthood is not something I’d ever had
on my radar.  But, Theresa Davis was not
going to let me off so easily.  Her words
and her tone had already drawn me to her and now she was going to give me a few
tools to help lead me down a holier path. 
The first tool was being present to “the duty of the
moment.”  So simple, so very

The call
of every spiritual discipline I have ever studied or read about is, “be
present to the moment.”  Live
consciously!  Theresa shared that
“God is only present in the moment.” 
Then came the second step towards sainthood. She echoed Mother Teresa’s
famous saying, “Do little things with great love.”  Again, so simple and yet so very
difficult.  Finally, she extolled us to
live more simply.  The question was,
“What’s holding you back? What is the baggage you are lugging
around?”  I immediately thought this
was going in the direction of the sari, bucket and thin mattress but no, it was
way harder than that. Our “baggage” Theresa said, was our: anger,
resentments, pride, self-deceit, envy and greed.  I immediately wanted to grab that bucket and
just go with that.  This was way more
difficult.  Yes, difficult but certainly
well worth working towards.  Certainly a
project which I’m sure God would like to be involved. 

My faith
teaches that once we die and enter into heaven, we all become saints.  I think this is a good thing because while I
want to do my part to “save the world” and I’m willing to accept that
I’m being called to be a “saint,” the probability of my achieving
these feats even with God’s help seems to me quite slim.  So, on days when I’m simply trying to accept
myself as I am, I’ll know there’s great hope for me, for all of us, in the
future, in the afterlife. 

How to Get Ready for End Times

Affirmation: When I stay focused on the present my life is richer and more peaceful.
The world is about to end, again.  It’s true.  It must be.  According to the Mayan calendar the last day is December 21, 2012.  They have a calendar that’s 2000 years old and their last date is 12/21/12.  They were an extremely intelligent race.  Some have even speculated that they were helped either by visitors from another solar system or another spiritual realm.  What must be done to get ready?
Prophets and seers have predicted the end of the world since its beginning.  You’ve probably seen one or two doomsayers standing on a city street corner wearing a placard or shouting the slogan “Repent, the End is Near!”  The Apostles, especially Paul, were sure the Second Coming was to take place in the near future.  John wrote about his visions of the world’s demise in Revelations.  Nostradamus the world renown seer from the 1500‘s predicts quite clearly the path of our destruction.  There’s a special about his predictions that’s been aired for years on the History channel that I find be quite unsettling.  Edgar Cayce, the “Sleeping Prophet” from the early 1900’s also had some predictions about end times and Jean Dixon an American actress and famous astrologer was pretty sure she too knew when we would disintegrate. There have been too many willing to tell us when we will destruct.
One of the movements that is preparing for Armageddon is called the “Preppers.”  They have shelters, stocks of food, water and weapons.  They rotate their supplies so that they are always fresh and ready.  They say it’s a way of life, being ready for the inevitability of the end times.  In the 1960’s people were preparing just like today.  Many built bomb shelters with the same sense of doom that’s presently exists.  I wonder if some of the Preppers are using those same shelters for their preparations?  When I was a child we use to have air raid practices where we would have to hunker down under our plastic school desks.  I can’t imagine how that would have saved us from anything especially from something as destructive as a bomb.
I’m the queen of prevention.  Tell me something that might help keep me safe and healthy and I’m all over it.  I brush and floss, moisturizer, exercise, pray and meditate.  I’m ready!  I take my vitamins, calcium and keep a bottle of baby aspirin next to the bed and in my travel bag.  I’m ready!  I go for my yearly physical, dental exam and mammogram.  I’m ready!  Give me some guidance about how to stay strong, healthy and safe and away I go following the rules.  Recently I signed up for a class that’s being offered by my town about “disaster preparedness”. I want to know what needs to be collected, ready for instant departure should a hurricane, tornado or a tsunami threaten us even if I don’t live anywhere near the ocean.  One cannot be too careful.  Edgar Cayce has predicted that large parts of the United States coast line will fall into the ocean and those of us living inland will have prime beach property.  It doesn’t matter that it was suppose to happen in 1998.  A prophet can get their time lines a little skewed.  If the apostle Paul could be off by a few thousand years, Edgar can be forgiven for missing his target date by a few decades.

When we experienced the terrorist’s attack on September 11, 2001, I know I was not the only one who thought the world was on the brink of destruction.  Just like Alan Jackson’s song mentions in “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?” I found myself in church, holding hands with strangers.  I needed the comfort of my faith and my belief system took me to Mass.  I periodically attend daily Mass and usually we have about twenty people present.  On September 12, 2001, the chapel was full.  Father Bill Schmidt said the Mass that day.  His sermon was very powerful.  He shared that no one knows when the end of the world will take place, no matter what they claim. 

I am here, however, to tell you the prophets are right.  The world is going to end.  Our world as we know it will one day be gone.  Certainly, we will all at some time forfeit our personal space on this earth.  Each of us will at some time in the future no longer be here. Perhaps too, our earth as we know it will also no longer be here.  I’ve read where plans are being made for the creation of colonies on other planets in case we may need to evacuate. Life as we know it will change. 
I am, however, not joining the Preppers.  I’m not sure how I would react should I be faced with Armageddon and I’m hoping I won’t find out but I don’t want to believe I would be someone who would want to survive at the expense of my friends and loved ones.  I can’t imagine my having food and shelter and denying it to those in need.  If I did, who would I be?  Not someone I’d want to know or someone of whom I’d be proud.  I’m sure that would not be what my Lord would want of me either.
We all leave our mother’s wombs reluctantly.  We have no desire to leave the warmth and comfort of our known existence for the cold, new world we are destined to enter. For most of us it’s so much easier to stay in our comfort zones but just like the child at birth, we are thrust out into the new, into the unknown.  Every ending has a beginning.  If our global world as we know it does end, what will our new world be like?  Perhaps, as many are saying, we are on the cusp of a new age.  Perhaps, it will be a world that is kinder, gentler, more loving.  Perhaps!  Personally, we too will move on.  I believe we will move from this life into another and that too will be a place of comfort and peace and love.  I am, however, not going to focus on the future and the unknown.  That was part of Father Bill’s homily on September 12, 2001.  He reminded us that our responsibility was to live each day as if it were our last.  We get to choose to focus on living life to the fullest each day, each moment.  We can choose to focus on our relationships, our gifts and the preciousness of our existence and not to spend our energy futility preparing for the unknown.  By choosing to focus on the present, with a rational awareness of the future, we can live lives that are richer and calmer and more compassionate.  I’m ready!
“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”
Mother Teresa

Finding Your Calcutta

Affirmation:  I have searched and found my “Calcutta.”
“I can’t believe they pay me to do this.  I feel like I should be paying them.”  This was the statement my friend, Oie Osterkamp, made to me about his new position.  He’s the Executive Director of The Ronald McDonald House in Durham, NC (  He’s also the founder of a non-profit organization, Sharefish, whose title is taken from an adage his mother use to say to him, “It is better to be a Sharefish than a Selfish.”  His organization fights to reduce the cycle of poverty in Honduras by promoting better living conditions and education.   You can check them out at
What would you do regardless of whether or not you were paid?  Have you found your passion?  Have you been looking?  How many people have you met who know what that is?  I have several artist friends; painters, writers, designers who are very clear about their passion.  It’s something I’ve envied over the years.  I’ve also been envious of people I’ve read about who knew at an early age what their gifts were and were able to channel that into their life’s work.  One of the women who works at the North Carolina Food Bank once told me when she took her first job, with them, she had no idea she was finding her passion.  She’s been there over twenty years now. 
I’m not speaking about addiction here.  I’m talking about things that help light up your soul and your world.  You know what it’s like when the conversation turns to something that interests you.  All of a sudden, your heart is beating faster and there’s this sense of wonderful excitement that you may not have felt in a long time.  You know something wonderful is being brought forth.  All of a sudden, time stands still and you don’t care about what happened earlier or what you’re “supposed” to do later.

I often think of Mother Teresa when I think of finding my passion.  I know it wasn’t easy for her in any way to step outside of the box and head into the poverty and disease of Calcutta but she knew this was her mission in life.  She had listened carefully to what some may call “that little voice” but which she knew to be her God and followed her heart.  And, she changed the world.

I believe whenever we are doing something positive that brings us joy, we are changing the world.  It’s great if it’s something humanitarian but just by existing in a joyful state I believe we change the atmosphere of the universe. 
Last night I took part in what we lovingly called “The Sandy Summit.”  My husband gathered a group of amazing people for dinner and conversation to help him fine tune his passion, helping corporations and businesses become more humane.  He asked everyone to share their story with each other “and don’t be modest.”  It was wonderful to hear the accomplishments of these men and women.  It wasn’t about bragging; it was about being proud of the work they had done and were continuing to do.  Each person there was passionate about their work.  Many of them were out in the world making it a kinder, more compassionate place.  Sindy Martin, a dear friend, shared she had been asked by one of the local colleges to coach three young women who were being interviewed for PHD programs at prestigious universities and that all three had been admitted to their desired schools.  Everyone applauded!  It’s her passion, she said, to help others become the best they can be. 
I keep a little Hallmark calendar in the back of my journal.  You know the type, the little pocket calendar that people use to use before smart phones.  I separate each square with a diagonal line and in the top I write what I did the day before that gave me joy and in the bottom, I write what I did to help another.  When I don’t need the line, when the top and the bottom entry are the same, I know I lived a day filled with my passion.  I lived that day joyfully giving of myself, of my gifts to make another’s life better. 
That’s how I want to live every day.  I, personally, don’t believe I can do that without God’s guidance.  I’ve been listening very carefully for many many years and I believe on those days when I don’t put a line, those are days when God’s voice has come through loud and clear.  My passion is helping people reframe their thinking so that they believe their lives can be full of love, joy, hope, gratitude and compassion.  I believe if we practice directing our thoughts towards the things that nurture us, when we are faced with the severe challenges that life will bring, we will be able to withstand the evil energy that could penetrate into our souls and minds.  Joel Osteen says “What the world has meant for my harm, God will use for my good, if we believe.”  Believe God only wants our best, trust in that and create and meditate on your positive affirmations and you too will find yourself living a life of passion.  You too will “find your Calcutta” if you haven’t already!