And gently lead those that are with young. Isaiah 40:11

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Time To Laugh, A Time To Mourn

I am taking an online course through Boston College's School of Theology. One of the questions in this week's assignment reminded me of one of my favorite movies. It is called Lorenzo's Oil.

Lorenzo's Oil is a movie based on the true story of Augusto and Michaela Odone and their fight to save the life of their son, Lorenzo. They are a Catholic family, and their faith in God is front and center in their family's life and plight.

Lorenzo, who was diagnosed in early 1984 with ALD (a then- incurable neuro-degenerative disorder) was beyond the help of conventional medicine. Unwilling and unable to give up or give in, they began their own research into the disease to help find a treatment and cure.

Lorenzo's Oil is about a family's struggle, the quest for knowledge, and the victory of hope through perseverance. For two hours, we witness each battle and each triumph. The Odone's, a family who hold on despite tremendous grief, guilt and pain, strive to help their son (and all boys). They are models of faith, hope, courage, and wisdom.

I have purchased copies of the film over the years for friends and family members because of its realisitic portrayal of a family dealing with their child's life-threatening illness. I frequently watch my own copy of the movie -- it helps me access my emotions when they are closed up tightly, and it has given me strength when I have felt tired or beaten down.

A friend told me a few weeks ago that courage is fear that has said its prayers. So friends, let us join together and pray.

PRAYER: Father, we thank You for our lives. We open ourselves to Your presence. We know that there are times when we must embrace difficulties and pain. You tell us in Ecclesiastes that there is a time to laugh and a time to mourn. We ask that You, our Prince of Peace, remind us that Your hand is always upon us, guiding us through our day. We know that You always have a plan for our lives, even we we cannot see what it is. AMEN.

Love, Theresa

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Life Is Short -- This Is Your Time, Make It Count

Short and Sweet
by Charles R. Swindoll

James 4:13-17

Average life spans are shorter than most of us realize. For instance, a face-lift lasts only six to ten years; a dollar bill lasts for only eighteen months; a painted line on the road remains only three to four months; and a tornado seldom lasts more than ten minutes.

There are differences of opinion, but most agree that the human life span averages somewhere between seventy-five and eighty years. That may sound encouraging to the young and disturbing to those in their sixties, seventies, and eighties. The simple fact is, however, nobody knows for sure how long he or she may live.

When we read and believe the warnings in Scripture, there is little doubt that life is short. James pulls no punches when he writes, "You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away" (4:14).

The average life span may be seventy-five to eighty years, but who can say you or I have that long? We may have less than two years or, for that matter, less than two weeks. Vanishing vapors aren't known for longevity.

Since this is true, let's do our best to make the time we have count. Rather than live with reluctance, let's live with exuberance. Instead of fearing what's ahead, let's face it head-on with enthusiasm. And because life is so terribly short, let's do everything we can to make it sweet.

How? Three thoughts come to mind.

First, act on your impulse. Don't wait for the perfect moment. A woman in my former church took these words to heart and contacted a person she hadn't talked to for a long time. The person was surprised and thrilled. "You have no idea how much your call has meant to me," she said. Later the woman who had received the call admitted she had planned to take her life that very afternoon. The call had changed her mind.

Second, focus on the positive. Merchants of negativism may be strong and sound convincing, but their message is debilitating. Life's too short for that. Spread germs of cheer. Joy is contagious.

Third, traffic in the truth. Refuse to stake your claim on hearsay. Check out the facts. Be discerning. If you are a conduit of communication, speak only the truth. If you're not absolutely sure, keep quiet. Lies can outlive lives, unfortunately.

Short and sweet. That's the only way to go.

Have you been putting off something you really want or need to do?
You don't have forever. Get at it!

Excerpted from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll, Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

What Do Martin Luther, Neil Young, Napoleon Bonaparte And Danny Glover Have In Common?

ANSWER: They are all famous people with epilepsy.

Epilepsy is a common neurological disorder caused by disturbances in the normal eletrochemical functions of the brain. It is a condition that affects an estimated 2.7 million Americans, 50,000,000 worldwide, and impacts millions more. One in three adults reported that they know someone with the disorder and/or have witnessed a seizure. Approximately 200,000 new cases of epilepsy are diagnosed each year -- yet epilepsy remains one of the least understood of all the major chronic medical conditions.

One in 100 teenagers has it, it is not contagious, and it is not a mental illness. There are different kinds of seizures. Some are convulsive, some cause the person to stare, others create quick body jerks, tingly feelings or periods of confusion.

Please visit the Epilepsy Foundation's Website for more information on seizures and epilepsy. Someone you know may be depending upon it.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, we thank You for all the doctors, nurses, researchers, and activists who are working to help those suffering from seizures and epilepsy. You hold each of us in the palm of Your hand, and we know that with You we will find the strength to endure the challenges set before us. AMEN.

FAMOUS PEOPLE WITH EPILEPSY: (Compiled From Internet Lists)

Vincent van Gogh - (1853 - 1890)

Sir Isaac Newton - (4 January 1643 – 31 March 1727)

Neil Young - (born November 12, 1945, Toronto, Ontario) A musician known for his meaningful lyrics and also a spokesman for environmental issues, Neil Young has been labeled one of the greatest guitarists of his time.

Napoleon Bonaparte - (15 August 1769–5 May 1821)

Agatha Christie - Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa, Lady Mallowan, DBE (15 September 1890 – 12 January 1976), commonly known as Agatha Christie, was an English crime fiction writer.

Charles Dickens - Charles John Huffam Dickens, FRSA (17 February 1812 – 9 June 1870), pen-name "Boz", was the foremost English novelist of the Victorian era, as well as a vigorous social campaigner. The Victorian author of such classic books as A Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist had epilepsy, as did several of the characters in his books.

Alexander the Great - Alexander the Great (July 20, 356 BC – June 10, 323 BC), also known as Alexander III, was an ancient Greek king (basileus) of Macedon (336–323 BC).

Danny Glover - (Born July 22, 1947) A great actor in both Lethal Weapon with Mel Gibson and Predator 2. Danny Glover suffered dyslexia at school when he was younger and the school staff would label him retarded. Danny Glover also had epilepsy and at an appearance on the Rosie O'Donnell Show told how he had developed epilepsy at the age of 15, and in one cross-country trip with his family had experienced six seizures in a row.

Alfred Nobel - Alfred Bernhard Nobel (October 21, 1833, Stockholm, Sweden – December 10, 1896, Sanremo, Italy) was a Swedish chemist, engineer, innovator, armaments manufacturer and the inventor of dynamite. By the time of his death he held more than 350 patents and controlled factories and laboratories in 20 countries. William Gordon Lennox wrote that “Nobel was subject to migraines and convulsions from infancy.” Nobel had epileptic seizures as a young child, which later made him write of convulsions and agony in a poem. The foundations of the Nobel Prize were laid in 1895 when Alfred Nobel wrote his last will, leaving much of his wealth for its establishment. Since 1901, the prize has honored men and women for outstanding achievements in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and for work in peace.

Michelangelo - (March 6, 1475 – February 18, 1564) The sculptor of many of the most renowned sculptures of all times. Michaelangelo was a respected renaissance man only rivaled by Leonardo Da Vinci.

Leonardo Da Vinci - (April 15, 1452 – May 2, 1519) The man responsible for some of the greatest religious paintings in history Leonardo Da Vinci excelled not only in painting but in numerous other disciplines as well. He was a Tuscan polymath: architect, botanist, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, painter, sculptor, and writer. His most famous work is definetely the paintings of both Mona Lisa and the Last Supper of Jesus Christ which have both been the most reproduced religious paintings of all times.

Julius Caesar - (July 13, 100 BC – March 15, 44 BC),

Edgar Allen Poe - (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) Edgar Allen Poe is a member of the Romantic Movement, mostly as an author and literacy critic. He has written books and short stories and he is best known for his macabre and mysteries, he is the one who invented the Detective-Fiction genre.

Aristotle - (384 BC – 322 BC) Aristotle was a Greek philosopher writing on many different subjects including zoology, biology, ethics, government, politics, physics, metaphysics, music, poetry and theater. He was also a great teacher for Alexander the Great.

Theodore Roosevelt - 26th President of the U.S. (October 27, 1858 – January 6, 1919) Roosevelt was a soldier , historian, explorer, naturalist, author, and Governor of New York later becoming the President of the United States at the age of 42 years old. He was well known for having a vast range of objectives and achievements, all with an energetic determination and a hard ''cowboy'' persona. He was subject to epileptic seizures, his eyesight was bad, and he also suffered from asthma, but was still a man of courage and strength appreciated by many.

Alfred the Great - (c. 849 – 26 October 899) Alfred the Great was king of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Wessex from 871 to 899.

Bud Abbott - (October 2, 1895 – April 24, 1974) Bud Abott was an American producer, comedian and actor.

Richard Burton - (November 10, 1925 – August 5, 1984)

George Frederick Handel - (Friday 23 February 1685 – Saturday 14 April 1759) was a German-born Baroque composer who is famous for his operas, oratorios and concerti grossi. Since the 1960s, with the revival of interest in baroque music, original instrument playing styles, and the prevalence of countertenors who could more accurately replicate castrato roles, interest has revived in Handel's Italian operas, and many have been recorded and performed onstage.

Charles V of Spain - Charles V (24 February 1500 – 21 September 1558) was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 until his abdication in 1556 and also ruler of the Spanish realms from 1516 until 1556.

Pythagoras - Pythagoras was the first man to call himself a philosopher, ''lover of wisdom'' and was the most able philosopher among the Greeks. He was know as ''the father of numbers'' and greatly contributed to mathematics. It is even said that many of his ideas had directly influenced Plato. Many of his teachings were only passed down by some of his students, none of his work had seen the day and none can be sure of exactly how wise Pythagoras was. Although he had made huge contributions to both philosophy and religion in the late 6th century BC.

Hannibal - Carthaginian military commander and tactician, later also working in other professions, who is popularly credited as one of the finest commanders in history. He lived during a period of tension in the Mediterranean, when Rome (then the Roman Republic) established its supremacy over other great powers such as Carthage, Macedon, Syracuse, and the Seleucid empire. His most famous achievement was at the outbreak of the Second Punic War, when he marched an army, which included war elephants, from Iberia over the Pyrenees and the Alps into northern Italy.

Hector Berlioz - Louis Hector Berlioz (December 11, 1803 – March 8, 1869) was a French Romantic composer, best known for his compositions Symphonie fantastique and Grande Messe des morts (Requiem). Berlioz made great contributions to the modern orchestra with his Treatise on Instrumentation and by utilizing huge orchestral forces for his works, sometimes calling for over 1,000 performers.

James Madison - During his teens and early twenties, Madison complained of a voice impairment. This was a functional disability that prevented his public speaking until age 30. Madison believed he would “ have a short life due to the illness he believed was epilepsy.

Lord Byron - Baron Byron, of Rochdale in the County Palatine of Lancaster, is a title in the Peerage of England. It was created in 1643, by letters patent, for Sir John Byron, a Cavalier general and former Member of Parliament. Some biographies suggest that Lord Byron experienced epileptic seizures and in various passages he writes of symptoms reminiscent of epilepsy.

Louis XIII of France - (September 27, 1601 – May 14, 1643) ruled as King of France and Navarre from 1610 to 1643. Louis XIII ascended to the throne in 1610, at the age of eight and a half, upon the assassination of his father.

Margaux Hemingway - (February 16, 1955 – July 1, 1996) was an American model and film actress who appeared in several movies.

Martin Luther - (November 10, 1483–February 18, 1546) was a German monk, theologian, and church reformer. Luther's theology challenged the authority of the papacy by holding that the Bible is the sole source of religious authority and that all baptized Christians are a priesthood of believers. Luther had many documented illnesses, but any recurrent attacks were probably due to Ménière’s disease.

Nicolo Paganini - (October 27, 1782 – May 27, 1840) was an Italian violinist, violist, guitarist, and composer. He is widely considered to be one of, if not the greatest violinist who ever lived and it is believed to he had epilepsy.

Paul I of Russia - Pavel (Paul) I Petrovich of Russia (October 1, 1754 – March 23, 1801) was the Emperor of Russia between 1796 and 1801.

Peter Tchaikovsky - Russian composer of the Romantic era. Tchaikovsky, is believed to have had epilepsy. Pyotr began piano lessons at age five with a local woman, Mariya Palchikova within three years he read music as well as his teacher. Tchaikovsky died on November 6, 1893, nine days after the premiere of his Sixth Symphony, the Pathétique. His death has traditionally been attributed to cholera, most probably contracted through drinking contaminated water several days earlier.

Peter the Great - Peter I the Great or Pyotr Alexeyevich Romanov (9 June 1672 – 8 February 1725) Both Peter's hands and feet were small, and his shoulders narrow for his height; likewise, his head was also small for his tall body. Added to this were Peter's facial tics, and, judging by descriptions handed down, he may have suffered from petit mal, a form of epilepsy.

Robert Schumann - (June 8, 1810 – July 29, 1856) was a German composer, aesthete and influential music critic. He is one of the most famous Romantic composers of the 19th century.

Sir Walter Scott - (15 August 1771 – 21 September 1832) was a prolific Scottish historical novelist and poet popular throughout Europe during his time.

Socrates - (470 BCE–399 BCE) was a Classical Greek philosopher. He is best known for the creation of Socratic irony and the Socratic Method, or elenchus. Socrates developed the practice of a philosophical type of pedagogy, in which the teacher asks questions of the students to elicit the best answer, and fundamental insight, on the part of the student.

Truman Capote - born Truman Streckfus Persons in New Orleans, Louisiana (30 September 1924 – 25 August 1984) was an American writer whose stories, novels, plays, and non-fiction are recognized literary classics, including the novella Breakfast at Tiffany's and In Cold Blood.

Chanda Gunn - (born January 27, 1980 in Huntington Beach, California) is an American ice hockey player. She won a bronze medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics. As a female athlete with temporal lobe epilepsy, Chanda Gunn faces each day with a zest for life and the determination to live each day to its fullest. Gunn has received numerous awards, she is the first player ever to be named a finalist for both the Patty Kazmaier Award for the nation's best women's college hockey player and the Humanitarian Award for college hockey's finest citizen.

Dj Hapa - Diagnosed with epilepsy at age 17, HAPA was initially told he would not be able to attend college due to his condition. He attended UCLA on a Regents scholarship and today is the executive director of the Scratch DJ Academy.