The Words for the Week deal with socialism

An economics professor at Texas Tech said he had never failed a single student before but had once failed an entire class. That class had insisted socialism worked and no one would be poor and no one would be rich — a great equalizer.

The professor then said ok, we will have an experiment in this class on socialism. All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would xperimentfail and no one would receive an A.

After the first test the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. But, as the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too; so they studied little. The second test average was a D! No one was happy. When the third test rolled around the average was an F.

The scores never increased as bickering, blame, and name calling all resulted in hard feelings, and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else. All failed.

To their great surprise, the professor told them socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great; but when government takes all the reward away; no one will try or want to succeed.

Could not be any simpler than that.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Nobody succeeds beyond his or her wildest expectations unless he or she begins with some wild expectations. — Ralph Charell

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Loving Others in the Race

This week’s reflection is from  Deborah Meister, courtesy of Living Faith, Daily Catholic devotions.

… let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus … Hebrews 12:1-2

In discerning how to persevere in this important “race,” we can be distracted by selfish motivations, false comforts and judgmental thoughts. Sin, as Paul says, weighs us down as we make daily decisions, big and small, interfering with the mission God has given us. How easily sin creeps in when I fool myself into thinking I know what I need or, worse, what will solve someone else’s problems. Self-absorption becomes the only reality, a burden that blinds me to the needs of others.

Jesus has shown us our relationship with God and loving others must be the primary focus of life. Free from the burden of our selfish desires, we can more easily follow Jesus, our constant companion in the race. We become, then, examples for others who will see Jesus clearly in our loving words and actions.

Meister holds graduate degrees in theology and literature, with pastoral ministry and director of religious education certifications. She is a former editor of Living Faith, and works as an author, editor and educator. Together with her husband, Deacon Bill, they have lived in eight dioceses. They have two adult daughters and three grandsons. Living Faith provides brief daily Catholic devotions based on one of the Mass readings of the day. Subscription and other information is available at

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Don’t be afraid to get back up to try again, to love again, to live again and to dream again. Don’t let a hard lesson harden your heart. Life’s best lessons are often learned at the worst times and from the worst mistakes.


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Today’s Conversation with God

As we build this community prayer platform, we ask the Lord to listen to our petitions with full confidence they not only are heard but acted upon by God according to His holy will. These requests are on my prayer list and I hope you consider putting them on yours as you place your petitions before the Lord Sunday.

Let’s remember to approach the throne room and respond with faith and not fear, knowing the promises of God and His mighty hand will hold us through any situation! Sometimes, all it takes is just one prayer to change everything. Something extraordinary happens when two or more agree together in prayer.

What is one of the most important things we should do as Christians? Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, (Ephesians 6:18)

Pray for students and teachers as they begin preparations to start back to school.

Steve is experiencing some relentless chest congestion.

Please pray for Stacia, short of breath again.

Nick is recovering from a broken leg.

Specific prayer requests for Jack:  positive reaction to chemo; decreased white blood cell count by a lot (need to go from 340,000 to 100,000 at least); and limited side effects from chemo.

Brody has been in a serious car accident and is seriously injured. He has been life flighted to a hospital in Wichita, KS.

Farrah has been battling a rare kidney disease for years. On Oct.  8, she will be having a renal kidney auto transplant.

Amanda has developed an allergic reaction to the adhesive that is part of the duo-derm patches she needs to help heal her wound.

100 year old Millie is blind and having trouble remembering people.  She is also having trouble getting around because she has diabetes.

A young couple pregnant with their first child has received news their unborn baby is showing possible developmental deficiencies. There is a wide range of possible outcomes – from slight vision problems to blindness and cognitive disabilities. They have asked for our prayers. Please pray God’s will be done … and for strength for the couple to handle the unknown.

Susan has been rushed to the hospital with gallbladder issues! Please pray for strength and for wisdom for the doctors and surgeons!

Andrew is tired from his fight with pancreatic cancer and is ready to go home. Pray for a peaceful journey.

There were a host of unspoken prayer requests and we heard of a number of deaths this week. Prayers for their families as they go through this earthly trial. We grieve … heaven rejoices.

We come to You, Lord, because prayer is the least yet the greatest thing we can do for each other. When two or more are gathered in Your name, we confidently know You are with us. What better company can we have? You reign and we trust You! We may be broken and battered but know You heal and quiet the soul. You are the source for all that happens in our lives. We thank You for the progress being made. We thank You for the many blessings we have received this week — some we unfortunately didn’t notice. Nonetheless, those blessings are ever-present in our lives. We thank You for healing. We thank You for slowing us down. We thank You for providing us our daily needs — no more and no less. We thank You for being with us, listening to us, walking with us on this journey. We thank You for the support of our family and friends … for seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary — sunrises, sunsets, flowers, kids laughing, adventures, good news amid the bad news. We thank you for the good news received by Bethany and Maryanne, but we also know we can come to You with our concerns and they will be heard. Through Christ all things are possible. We lift up those family members and friends who are battling various physical, emotional, financial, career or spiritual issues and ask not for Your guidance and healing (although that would be welcomed) but to keep reminding us we are not alone in our battles. Specifically we lift up students and teachers as they start the new school year, Steve, Stacia, Nick, Jack, Brody, Farrah, Amanda, Millie, the young family facing decisions, Susan, Andrew, and all those needing Your healing touch. We pray for the families of all those You have called home. We grieve … You celebrate. We pray for obedience to Your Will so Your “Son” Light shines through us through the power of the Spirit. And we come to You through the confidence of the words taught by Your Son Jesus. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Keep your joys and concerns coming. They have been and will be included during my prayer time and I trust they will be on your lips as well as you approach the altar. All it takes is a couple of keystrokes under the “Contact Me” button on the top bar {or to the right if you’re not a follower yet}. I hope it becomes your best friend as you navigate around the site so we can all be viable prayer warriors. You can also comment or reach me at

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Faith is like wi fi. It’s invisible but it has the power to connect you to what you need.

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Five Minute Friday — Hospitality

It’s Friday. It must be Five Minute Friday time!

We’ve been over the drill before. We receive a five minute write prompt at Thursday night’s #fmfparty get together — get our creative juices flowing — write for five unedited minutes {or so} just to enjoy the writing experience — post our contribution — join with others in the community at to share our work, be it a pearl or a sow’s ear, and to support and encourage others in the group.

I have been sharing experiences from other writers as collected in Susan Shipe’s compilation, Five Minute Friday: A Collection of Stories Written in Five Minutes Flat. This week’s contribution is from Deborah. May her words be the inspiration you need to join in the fun.

“I got into FMF with a selfish motive — to get exposure for my blog What I’ve found is a community of grace with a group of folks longing to lift up each other, to pray for and encourage others. To support and inspire, to laugh and to cry. It’s about much more than writing. I’m glad to have found this community of welcoming hearts.”

With that prelude, it’s time to set the timer for five minutes and GO!

A little fun fact. I was in the hospitality business.

Of course, that needs a back story. And, full disclosure, I did not choose to be in the hospitality sector.

When Karen and I bought our house in rural New York, it came with an assortment of outbuildings — including an old, small, three unit motel. I, of course, had dreams of using it as my office. Then it was re-purposed as my mother-in-law’s apartment. Then my wife went to work on her vision.

She saw a 50s motel in a room-starved area of upstate New York. But she added a twist. Instead of just a bed, she included breakfast … and thus the Seneca Sunset Motel came to be.

My role in this scheme was primarily behind the scenes … you know, fetching what she needed when she needed it. I was also the guinea pig for her breakfast recipes before they hit the table … and a willing clean up complete with getting the extras. … STOP

But the experience did thrust me into the hospitality side of things — greeting guests, making sure their breakfast needs were met, chit chatting as needed.

As I thought of this chapter in my life, I was reminded we are all in the hospitality business. Our lives should be all about hospitality — reaching out, interacting, assuring our fellow travelers’ needs are met.

Wouldn’t that be wonderful!

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse. — Jim Rohn

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West Side Story

I don’t like musicals. I like the music in many of them, but I just can’t appreciate singing and dancing through a visual medium. West Side Story included.

My wife, however, loved musicals. She went to see West Side Story a number of times when it first hit the big screen in 1961. I skipped the show. When VCRs came to be, one of her first acquisitions was West Side Story and, of course, I was stuck on the couch watching it — or at least pretending to. As VCRs gave way to DVRs, it was again a quick buy and another attempt to get me to watch it with her. I think I fell asleep during the first finger-snapping introduction of the Jets and the Sharks.

In my defense, I do like some musicals, especially Damn Yankees and Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. I think it’s because there was more live action between the singing and choreography.

So, I never really watched West Side Story. I knew the plot — an inner city 1950s Romeo and Juliet story. I knew the songs — Maria, Tonight, I Feel Pretty, Somewhere. I knew  there was lots of dancing to go along with the singing.

For some unknown reason, however, I decided to tape a Turner Movie Classics replay of West Side Story. The other day — I emphasize day as opposed to evening — I watched the flick in its entirety. I found myself singing along with some of the songs. I found myself laughing at how ridiculous the actors looked as they slithered around the set “fighting” in the rumbles. I found myself following the storyline and comparing how the gang mentality of the 50s compared and contrasted to this millennium.

As I concentrated on the plot, the film made sense. Cultural biases. The irrationality of violence. Gang mentality. It wasn’t half bad — especially if you could tune out the singing and dancing. It would have been a good drama.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: We don’t need to focus on changing the world; we need to change ourselves; for in changing ourselves, we will, to a degree, be changing the world!

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Midweek Mirth

One of the misconceptions about being a Christian is non-Christians think we don’t know how to have fun or have a sense of humor. Trust me, if the Big Guy can have a sense of humor when it comes to dealing with us mere mortals, so can we.

The difference for Christians is we don’t have to debase ourselves or others to generate a smile. Laughter at life or ourselves is a gift from God.

So, let’s smile a little!

Delayed Flight

A passenger on a Southwest flight says he once faced a flight delay just before they boarded. A flight attendant picked up the microphone and announced: “We’re sorry for the delay. The machine that normally rips the handles off your luggage is broken, so we’re having to do it by hand. We should be finished and on our way shortly.”

And now for the bonus …

Divine Assistance

Two men were stranded on an island. One man just sat down under a tree and did nothing. The other man looked all over the island. When he came back, he said, “There is nothing here — no food, no shelter, no nothing. We’re going to die.”

The first man said, “I make $10,000 a week,” and continued to sit.

The other man again looked all over the island and came back dejected. “We’re going to die,” he said.

The first one again replied, “I make $10,000 per week.” And he sat.

The other man took one more look all over, returned, and said, “There’s no way we will ever get off this island. We’re going to die.”

Once again the first man replied, “I make $10,000 per week, and I tithe. My pastor will find me.”

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: What you say affects not only you, but it affects others as well. The words that come out of your mouth go into your ears as well as other people’s, and then they drop into your soul where they give you either joy or sadness, peace or upset, depending on the type of words you have spoken. — Joyce Meyer.

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PTSD and the Holidays

I’ve been sitting on this review for awhile, but the holidays are creeping up. Summer fun in the blink of an eye will give way to school days, fall activities and right into the holiday season.

I am not a combat veteran, but Andrew Budek-Schmeisser is and, with a collaboration with his wife Barbara, penned this common sense guide, PTSD and the Holidays: Helping the Veteran You Love.

In this short book, Budek-Schmeisser explains what PTSD is and what it is not from his unique point of view. He says the root of it all is an acute sense of loss — of innocence; of the feeling the world is ordered to be a basically benign place; of the past; of the future; of what we’d hoped relationships could be; of context; and finally, of a shared cultural paradigm.

But he also emphasizes what PTSD is not. It’s not a personal failing; the sign of a lack of faith; “dysfunctional”; not something you need to try to fix; something you can fix; nor the end of the person you loved.

While PTSD is lifelong, the holidays seem to trigger more reactions. It is here where Budek-Schmeisser shines, not sugar coating those triggers, but explaining how to identify them and, more important, cope with them as both as a combat veteran or a spouse/family member.

As Andrew relates, “Make no mistake; you’re the most important thing in your veteran’s life. You may think that sometimes the memories are more real to him or her, and the activities — hobbies and other things — with which may be pursued with an almost monastic dedication put you in the shade.

“It’s not true.

“The past is past; part of PTSD is an almost wistful desire that one could fade back into
the flames and the comradeship … forever … but it’s not going to happen.

YOU are the centerpiece, the link between your veteran and the world he or she now
inhabits … and you have to take care of yourself.

He  points out routine is your friend, so , try to have things planned and known in advance; try to maintain daily routines; go easy on holiday media; and, especially for spouses/family members, exercise self-defense against the post-holiday blues. Your veteran will pick up on your cues.

Triggers — small things that can lead to a startle response, or withdrawal, or a nightmare, or flashbacks — abound during the holiday season. They can be hard to predict because sometimes they can bring up suppressed memories of which you are unaware, and which your veteran has hidden from him- or herself. Crowds are often triggers. So are lights, such as New Years’, fireworks or certain colors of light that have indelible associations with the lights seen even from afar on a killing ground. Fireworks can stimulate the memories of gunfire and flares. Memories associated with music can also be a trigger, so be attuned when your veteran becomes suddenly quiet during the playing of a piece of music. And, of course, there are experiential triggers unique to the veteran which come into play.

Anger, withdrawal and/or overeating or overdrinking, and a reluctance to travel are also symptoms to be reckoned with.

On the plus side, Budek-Schmeisser points out the need to help others is often a PTSD byproduct. One  of the “losses” of PTSD is a loss of a sense of mission, Budek-Schmeisser says, so serving those less fortunate than themselves, delivering meals to the elderly, or working with crippled veterans often are demonstrated. “We all want to be needed; we all want a ‘place’ in society.”

It’s no mystery combat can be hard on one’s faith. As Andrew states, “There are no combat veterans in Hell. They’ve been there already.” But by the same token, combat can actually strengthen faith, by virtue of the unexplained salvation, and the utter good to which men can rise when surrounded by the worst the world can offer — and the holidays can be a good time to rekindle church going.

Above all, Budek-Schmeisser emphasizes he is a firm believer in utilizing qualified professional help to deal with PTSD.

I actually learned more about PTSD {and its predecessors, shell shock and battle fatigue} from Andrew’s book than I had known. It brought a sensitive issue to the front burner. It’s a quick five star read — whether you’re experiencing it first hand or as a spouse/family member.

Budek-Schmeisser is a Five Minute Friday friend and author of Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart blog.

PTSD And The Holidays: Helping The Veteran You Love

Andrew Budek-Schmeisser


Amazon Digital Services




THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Mistakes are always forgivable if one has the courage to admit them. — Bruce Lee




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