"Don't spoil what you have by desiring what you don't have; but remember that what you now have was once among the things only hoped for."Epicurus

 (Norman Rockwell "Traditional Thanksgiving")

Today, in the United States, we celebrate Thanksgiving, a holiday begun in 1789 by our first president, George Washington. In Washington's proclamation the president stated: "this is a day of national thanksgiving and prayer."  It is a day for us to gather in remembrance and gratitude for all the blessings bestowed upon each of us, and for us, in prayer, to unite with our Creator as the one who has bestowed these blessings we now celebrate.

Thanksgiving traditionally begins that time of the year when we celebrate family, joy, peace and traditions as we head down the road to Christmas Day and later to New Year's Eve/day. During this time I recall those special moments shared as a child; and now, as an adult, I again see that same joy, wonder and amazement through the eyes of the children in the family, and now, in their children's eyes!

Remembering our past and viewing the present through the eyes of children hopefully returns us to a time when, in our innocence, we…

Read more: Thanksgiving Day Reflection

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World Trade Center "cross" 9/11/2001

Today we remember all those who lost their lives, and those families who lost loved ones in an attack on innocent lives. I recall that Tuesday morning in 2001 as if it were yesterday. My question now is the same as it was 15 years ago; how do I make sense from a senseless act?

I often write about the need for us to change our perspective, so I found this quote by Henri Nouwen, a renown spiritual author, quite enlightening:

"Many people live with the unconscious or conscious expectation that eventually things will get better; wars, hunger, poverty, oppression, and exploitation will vanish; and all people will live in harmony. Their lives and work are motivated by that expectation. When this does not happen in their lifetimes, they are often disillusioned and experience themselves as failures. But Jesus doesn't support such an optimistic outlook. He foresees not only the destruction of his beloved city Jerusalem but also a world full of cruelty, violence, and conflict. For Jesus there is no happy ending in this world. The challenge of Jesus is not to solve all the world's problems before the end of time but to remain…

Read more: Learning from the 9/11 attacks

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Today the United States celebrates its Independence day, a day we recall freedom from oppression. On this day we also remember all those who struggled, and those who have died, allowing us to live in freedom.

As I reflect on today, my thoughts wander to the meaning of freedom. When I think of freedom as the opposite of oppression, I not only think of physical oppression, but also of emotional and cognitive oppression. How often do we self-impose oppression through our thoughts and feelings?

On this day of independence, let's reflect on the following quote from Viktor Frankl. In his statement he reminds us of the meaning of true freedom.

"Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms...to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances."

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Read more: Rest Stop (Independence Day) ... Freedom

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A CAPTION WAITING TO BE WRITTEN BY YOU. When I took this photo I figured it would make a great centerpiece for one of my reflections. But, it needs a caption. Give me your suggestions and the best one will be used. Be creative.

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Read more: Rest Stop (Mon) ... A caption is needed

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On this Memorial Day let us remember all of those people, past and present, who have given us the greatest sacrifice; their life, so that we may have freedom and security.

Chris Tomlin's song,  "I Will Rise", inspires me today as I imagine the words of the song as the words of those gone before us. I hope this song inspires you too.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Btjj5ieSYoY]

Let us pray the words of the psalmist: (psalm 130 of the Catholic Bible)

1Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord.
2Lord, hear my voice!
Let Your ears be attentive
To the voice of my supplications.
3If You, Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
4But there is forgiveness with You,
That You may be feared.
5I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait,
And in His word do I hope.
6My soul waits for the Lord
More than the watchmen for the morning;
Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning.
7O Israel, hope in the Lord;
For with the Lord there is lovingkindness,
And with Him is abundant redemption.

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Read more: Rest Stop ... Memorial Day: Never forget

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