Posts Tagged ‘help’

Note: Cross posted from STATIC Youth’s Weblog.


Christians believe that Jesus is the mediator ...

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As part of my job, my 9 to 5 job, the one that pays my bills, I get to travel the world. I love that aspect of my job, I love going to new places. Not only do I get to go to new places, I get to make new friends. I now have friends in five countries around the world and have traveled to seven different countries. So on this next trip I get to visit my friends I have not seen in over a year. It will be nice.

Note: Cross posted from STATIC Youth’s Weblog.


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Note: Cross posted from STATIC Youth’s Weblog.


Abraham and Isaac (detail), 1645, by Rembrandt...

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I am sure as Catholics you have hear the phrase “Offer it up” as in offer up all your pain and suffering to Jesus. I know I have heard it and to me it often sounds like “Suck it up” a phrase we often times tell our kids when they get hut playing a sport or are unhappy about some work they have to do. It’s a phrase we use to tell them, some times life is hard, sometimes life ain’t fair, but get use to it.

Note: Cross posted from STATIC Youth’s Weblog.


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I am currently, along with my partner, working on our 7th grade retreat. We plan on spending the day getting to know ourselves and God better. It’s a long day, but well worth the effort.

Retreats offer us the opportunity to explore ourselves, and whatever topic is the basis of the retreat. We can spend a day or week and in some cases months discovering and exploring the inner thoughts and workings of ourselves. When I was in India there was a huge retreat center just down the block from my hotel, and I the opportunity to meat several of the retreat goers, they were from all around the world, and they would came for a week or 2 or several month at a time. It was interesting to talk with them to hear their stories, and in a way it was inspiring to know that people are willing to invest in themselves.

The point of this blog is retreats, be they spiritual or not, we all need time to stop and rest, time to look deeper in to ourselves and time to reflect. For a retreat to be successful it does not have to be long, time does not determine the value or effectiveness of the experience. What determines the effectiveness is your willingness to open up and to do the hard work of looking deep within.

Plan a retreat for yourself, look for opportunities to go deep within you, be it a scheduled time or just found moments. Look in your local church paper or on line and sign up for a day retreat or a weekend retreat. If you can’t afford that, plan a home retreat, schedule a time and day when everyone is out of the house, rent a motivational talk like Dr. Wayne Dyer’s “Inspiration” or any other you are interested in. Turn off the phone, light a few candles and let yourself drift away in to the moment. Journal about the experience and allow the mind to drift as you do.

Retreats do not have to be lead by someone, lead your own, or invite a good friend to join you or a prayer group. Use the quiet to hear the small voice within and allow it to sing its song, hear the music and allow it to flow within you and allow it to flow out of you, letting the world hear your inner song.

Retreats refresh you and energize you, start to plan yours today.


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Life is what we make of it…

That’s a good tag line, but is it true?  Can we decide our own life, can we create a life we dream of, and is life something that we can manipulate?

Well in a word Yes, and in another word No. As with everything in life, it’s not that simple. We have the ability to control our own life, but what we can’t do is control the lives of those around us. We can make changes in how we act, we can learn to control our emotions, and we can even change habits, but we cannot control the emotions, habits or actions of others.

And like it or not, the actions, habits and emotions of others affect us all. We do not and cannot live our lives in a protective bubble. Life happens, and when it does we have to choose our own reaction to it, and also deal with the reaction of others around us.

We may choose to confront it, and others around us may choose to walk away, the choice is ours and theirs to make. What we decide to do will define us, and help shape us. If we allow others to influence us to the point of abandoning our own convictions, then we have allowed them to define us. They now have to power to control us, to make us in to what they see us as, not how we define ourselves.

In either case, life is what we made it, we either made it our own, or we allowed someone to make it for us.

When defining your life, when choosing what will help define you, you need to heed the warning and lessons of the past, of family and friends and of faith. We cannot, and should not live in a protective bubble, I just said that but it deserves repeating, our lives are not to be lives in solitude, we are creatures that desire company of our own kind. So in order to live in harmony with our fellow creatures, we must learn to listen, and learn from others, to help us form our life to help us discern who we are, and what we want to be.

Life is what you make it, but everyone else has also made life what they want it to be. The trick is to make it all work together.


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When does helping a friend become a “Doctor / Client” relationship?  I was asked this question the other day. Basically when does one cross that line, when does my advice to someone cross over from friendly advice to clinical advice.


To me, the line is when you become the replacement to professional help, when they stop seeking to outside help, or when you replace their ability to help themselves.


I am willing to offer my advice to anyone who asks, and sometimes to those who do not ask, I always have something to say about most things. I offer up what I feel is the sound advice, based on my moral standards. I offer it freely and expect nothing in return.


But there comes a time when that line between friendship and Doctor/Client relationship is crossed, when it is no long is friendly advice, but clinical evaluation. And that can become dangerous for both you and your friend.


It can lead to misunderstandings and an end to a friendship. Most of us are not qualified to offer clinical advice, nor are we trained in how to truly evaluate the person.


Of course each situation is different and we have to evaluate each one on its own merits, but causation should always be used. Friendships are of great value and should not be used as your own personal counseling sessions, but on the same token friends will listen and offer advice or just listen and offer only an ear, and often times that is all that is needed.


So when do we cross that line, I would say when we see our friendship slipping, we start to feel as if we should bill the other for the time we spend in “session”. The going rate, if you would like to know is $45.00 to $100.00 per hour. When you fell they now owe you for 3 hour, then you may have crossed that line.


So be careful, proceed with caution, but do not let that stop you from being the friend you are meant to be.




p.s. My advice is offered freely, I am not a professional, everything stated in this blog is from my own mind, or where stated borrowed from others. I do not charge, but you are welcome to purchase items from the Things to Buy links on the right side of this blog…. Thanks. J

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Yes & No

Can we really help someone change….????


Yes and No


Yes, we can we can help by offering our support, or understanding and our gifts. We can help by sometimes just being there, or by encouraging them on their way. By showing them how to remove the road blocks or offering a detour around certain road blocks. We can help by being a true and honest friend; one who states the truth even when we know it will hurt or offend the other. We can help by listening to the pain, but not by removing it or taking away from it, but rather by accepting it, and helping them to do the same.


No, we can not help by doing it for them or by allowing their pain to over ride our understanding or compassion. No we can not help by offering to do the work for then, or by offering easer roads to walk, or sheltering them from the pain that must be felt, we can not help by lying to them, or underplaying the truth or facts. No we can not help them by feeding in to their cover-ups and self deceptions. No we can not help them by allowing them to do it all on there own.


It is often a very thin line between helping and doing. We often see it in parents who want their child to excel; they offer their help by doing the work. Or we see the parent who wants the child to be self-reliant, so they are completely hands off, neither option is best, but rather it is some where in the middle, we offer to guide and to nudge but not to take over and do.


The same is said for helping a friend through difficult times, all to often we revert to our nature to either do it all or to do nothing, because the thin line is often to hard to walk. We get frustrated and often times it’s just easier for us to do it. Once again we see this in parenting, we ask our child to so this or that, but often times we end up doing it, because its just easer, they don’t do it right, or it take them to long, or I would have to explain it anyway, so I might as well just do it.


I know I have done that in the past, and sometime still do, but I try hard to not allow myself to do that, if I do, how will they ever learn? The same is said for helping a friend through a change, the same can be said for a lot of life. Often times we need to learn how to do or not do something, to learn it by doing it.


I see this in the classes I teach and in my youth ministry, often times when I am dealing with an adult who likes to do, rather the teach, I have to spend time teaching them just how to let go, and when I am dealing with a youth who is use to having every task done for them, I spend time teaching them how to do, how to accept the task.


Life is full if lessons, but no lesson is learned if you never do the lesson.


So YES you can help a friend through a change, and NO you can not help them… Once again it’s a life lesson, that the helper must learn and they are helping their friend….


Life is hard, and full of lessons, and I for one say thanks God! Because if it was not, what would we do?



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Why do we quest for betterment of our selves, what makes us want to be new and improved? I believe it is part of our makeup our DNA.


We really don’t have much of a choice, we are created to be the best “self” we can be. Yet some choose to suppress this tendency, or to mask it with sex, drugs and other addictions, but in the end, the quest for a better self is still there.


Self Help is nothing new, it has been part of the human life from the very beginning. To use the story of Adam and Eve from the book of Genesis, Eve was told that if she ate of the fruit from the tree of knowledge, she would be a better self, she would be like God.


What we have here is the story of the first self help seminar, all-be-it a bad one, but it was the first one. And Eve bought in to it; she wanted to be the best Eve she could be, as did Adam, who also ate of the fruit.


If it was not for our quest for betterment, we would still be living in caves, drawing on rock, and pulling woman around by there hair. Self Help is just another word or phrase for seeking the truth; we are all looking for the true self, the authentic self, the one that God created, but because of our fallen nature, we have lost.


The problem is, like Adam and Eve; we all want the easy way to the new and improved self. We all want the magic pill, or the book to read that will transform us over night in to the new and improved self. But as we have learned, from the lesson of Adam and Eve, that is not the best way to go about it.


It has taken the human race millions of years, just to get to this point, and look around you, in some ways we are still cavemen pulling our woman around by the hair. Change is a slow process, one that takes time, there is not over night change, there is no magic pill we can take.


But what we do have is time, not lots of it, but we do have it. As a collective of humans, we will change only when we as individuals change. Each of us is part of the over all change in humanity, and that change comes slow, but it does come. The problem is that we like over night success stories. Why do you think shows like American Idol so popular, we like to see people become the best self they can in a few easy steps.


Once again I refer you back to Adam and Eve, and remind you that it don’t work that way. Even on American Idol it is not overnight nor is it easy. But the producers of the show make it seem that way. Why? Because it sells to our basic instinct of the best self we all want to be.


Change is not easy, and it’s not quick. But it is attainable. Once again lets look back to a bible story, not Adam and Eve this time, but lets look at Jesus, the son of God, and the son of the human Mary.


Jesus was born a human, just like you and me. And as a human, he had all the makings of a human; he was in just like us in all ways except sin. But Jesus as a child was not the Jesus we read about in the Gospels. In-fact the bible tells us so; it states that Jesus grew in to his knowledge and understanding. That is a very human act. It took Jesus 30 years to start his ministry. Jesus even grew during his 3 year ministry; once again the bible tells us so, but you will have to read it for yourself, I don’t want to spoil the plot for you. The jest of the story was Jesus did not think at first he came to save anyone except the Jews, but then he grew and changed his point of view.


We all are on a path to become the best self we can be, and like Adam and Eve, sometimes we will fail, and like Jesus we will grow in to our self, slowly and even when we think we are new and improved, we will continue to grow even more.


So really, we are all a bit like Adam and Eve, and a bit like Jesus. We sometimes fail and we sometimes succeed. But in the end, we all are seeking the true self, the one that we where created to be.



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Do you Participate in Humanity? or Do you sit on the sidelines?


I gave a talk one to a group of young adults; it was on our responsibility of baptism, what God has called us to do.


It was a 2 part talk, and the first part was about the mark of the Holy Spirit on our soul, they got that part. That was easy to understand, it was the second part where I lost some of them.


The second part was about how we, as part of the human family, and as Catholics, are called to respond to the need of our fellow humans.


I used the following example to state my point:


If you are walking home one night, and you see a mugging taking place, you have only 2 real choices:


  1. Help them by calling the police, yelling and some other form of help, with out placing yourself in danger
  2. Do nothing, walk away and mind your own concerns


The majority of participants chose option 2, to do nothing. There reason where sound. They did not want to get hurt.


But the choice was wrong. Not just for spiritual reasons, leave God out of it, if you live, the choice is still the same.


We as a human family, have an obligation to help out our fellow humans. We are, by are very nature, all inter connected. A wrong doing to one, is a wrong doing to all. We all are affected by the actions of others. We all suffer when one of our fellow humans suffer.


We have no other options then to help. When we fail to do so, we fail ourselves, and the victim, and believe it or not the perpetrator of the crime it self.


No action is an action unto itself. All we do, all we are and all we ever will be, is in some way connected to everyone else on this green earth of ours.


We are not an island unto ourselves, but rather we are island all connected by our humanity. We are one family, and we must protect and support each other, with out regard for race, nationality or any other circumstance.


Some would call this the Good Samaritan law, a law enacted in many states and countries that require you to take action when you see wrong doing. Me, I would call it the Human Law, one that is innate in us, one that requires not external law to define it. It is part of who we are, it is how we are created.


The problem is, society has told us other wise, so we have built up a wall to keep it safe inside of us. In doing so, we are suppressing our nature, and stunting our growth as the human race. We are, by the act of doing nothing, a guilty, if not more so, then the person carrying out the crime itself.


The responsibility of being human is heavy at times, but if we all do our part, that load will lighten, and the burden will no long feel as such.


The human race is at a cross road, we have choices to make, I hope and pray that we, as humanity, choose to do what is right, we choose to lower our wall and once again start to care for each other.


I fear for our humanity, I fear that we are letting it slip away from us, that we are in danger of becoming no greater then any other creature on this earth. If we do not start to participate in an active way in this thing we call life, we are in danger of no life at all to participate in.


God willing, and the human race cooperation, we will survive, and we will grow. But we can not sit on the side lines, and expect it to happen, we must, at all times, be an active participant in humanity.



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Key #7: A Team Sport

Find support, friends, family, Church or Community. We are people who need others to help us along our way

Nothing is ever done in a void, everything you do effect other around you, so why not involve them in the process of changing your life?

We all need a support system, someone we can lean on when times get hard, and they will! Nothing,and I mean nothing good for you is ever easy. If it was we wouldn’t need blogs like this!

Having a friend to help you on your walk of change is a blessing, it gives you someone you can cry to, or someone to share the joy of victory with. They will help to keep you on track, and if they are a good friend, they will be hard on you!

Support from family and friends does not make you a weak person, rather it make you stronger, you are allowing others to help you, but you are also admitting that you need the help, it’s good for the ego.

Community is also a very important link to success, we all have a need to feel excepted and needed, so allow the community to deliver this need to you. Join groups and clubs, volunteer your time to a worthy cause, or find a support group to help you change.

But I believe that our faith life is the most important link to success, find a church or place of worship to help you calm yourself, and center yourself. Nothing is more humbling then remembering that you are just a small part of the cosmos, but also that you are loved just because you are!


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Key #6: A Daily Habit Starts Today

They say it takes 28 days to form a habit, make this day one… Pick one new healthy habit to start today.

Habits are a funny thing, we seem to pick them up with out even noticing them. Slang we hear everyday, songs we sing when we do certain things, almost anything can become a habit. But it seems that the things we want to become habits are “hard” to do.  We want to work-out, we want to walk everyday, eat good, stop smoking (yes stopping smoking is a habit)… And we let every thing stop us from forming the habit, but we still seem to pick up other habits with out even noticing… Why?

Because we make the new habit “TO BIG” “TO HARD” to do, we tell ourselves that we can’t before we even try.

Sure you may say, no I really want to work-out this time, and I am sure on the outside you really do, but on the inside your say, “It’s a lot of work, I have other things I could be doing…” and before you know it, your new habit is “NOT TO WORK-OUT” instead of “TO WORK-OUT”. They both are habits, it just one was easier to do then the other….

So how do we fix this problem, we don’t, you do! You have to get in to the habit of not allowing you to back out of a good habit! It’s all what we have learned to do over the years.

It all comes down to this:

Make today the first day of the new habit you want to achieve, if you fail today, then make the next day the first day of the new habit you want to achieve, and so on…. You can’t stop, because stopping will become the habit…

So start today, and everyday with one new habit, what ever it is, keep it simple and easy, then the hard and complex ones will follow…


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