Archive | June 2013

A Hellish Discussion

Two of my closest friends, Linda, Nancy and I were talking about hell, a discussion complete with devil’s advocate (every pun intended or not).  We wondered if hell actually exists.  The reason being, how could God, who loves us all more than anyone or thing in this universe condemn people to hell?  God, who created us and loves us more than we can even imagine, how does hell figure in?

We all know that saints have told us about hell.  Dante’s Inferno certainly talks about hell and the 7 Deadly Sins.  Job’s situation for a time was beyond awful. . .because God “allowed” satan to take away Job’s wife and family, his livelihood, his health because God knew Job to be a righteous man.  Job asks God why and together they have a colloquy about who made creation, who made Job, etc. . . .of course God wins that discussion and restores Job to health and wealth.

So now the discussion between Linda, Nancy and I go on to talk about the idea that maybe there is no hell, but a purification place ~ purgatory where those who did not live a life of love, compassion and service would go.

My thoughts then went to a semi-serious comment someone somewhere made saying basically that the people you don’t expect in Heaven will surprise you when you get there.  This then begs the discussion about what does God do when someone like a Hitler or Osama bin Laden passes from this life to the next?

A very respected man of God once offered this idea. . .what happens just before a person dies???  What are their last thoughts???  Do they cry out to God???  He said, “I have a sneaky suspicion that when that person, no matter what they have done in this life, cries out to God – the God they worship (we all worship the same God – and this is my own humble opinion – even though God may be called by different names).  So the person cries out to God to save him/her.  This man of God said, I believe that as that person is falling to hell, God in His infinite mercy and compassion will reach out His loving arm, grasp the soul and bring it to Himself.

I know this statement is controversial.  This is a bold statement, but one I love to think about.  In my very human brain, I have a hard time thinking of God as one who condemns the creatures he made out of great love be thrown into the “fires of Gehenna”.

God says through Isaiah – “Can a mother forget the child of her womb?  Even if she forgets, I will never forget you”.

I am a mother and a grandmother and I can’t begin to imagine leaving my child to die because of misdeeds, even gross and fatal misdeeds.  After all, this is my child who is in need of correction and punishment, but fire???  If I can feel this way about my child, how much more would God the Father feel for His children???

Such interesting questions.  Then I thought about the parable of the workers in the field.  So, while the workers are in the field, other workers were hired much later in the day.  However, when the time came to be paid, the late hires were given as much as the workers who worked all day.  It would stand to reason, our human reason, that the workers who came in late should have been paid less, but God had other reasons.

Even though I probably badly paraphrased this parable, it really made me and the rest of us think about that parable and wondered if it in any way related to the idea of who really does get to Heaven.

I love to ponder things like this and I am still pondering. . .I wonder what you think about the things I have mentioned.  Looking forward to hearing what you have to say.

May you be blessed!

Sandy Ozanich (c) June 2013

After The Crash ~ by Martin Spinelli ~ Book Review

After the Crash Book Cover

After The Crash by Martin Spinelli (published by Main Stream Publishing/www.mainstreampublishing.com) is a beautiful and heart-rending story.

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On September 7, 2006 life as it was came to an abrupt end, never to be the same again.  On that day Sasha, Martin’s wife and Lio, Martin’s son were in a horrific car crash that killed Sasha and left Lio in extremely critical condition with brain injury and a mangled leg.  They were hit by a truck that careened out of control and slammed into the car driven by Sasha.

The story of Martin and Sasha is such a good story. . .Martin tells of his falling in love with Sasha.  Martin is from New Jersey and Sasha is from England.  They found each other and found that they truly enjoyed each others company.

You will learn how they met, what drove them and how they fell in love.  They traveled together and in time found they could not live without each other.  This union of Martin and Sasha, this love for each other brought  Lio into their world of love, language and the excitement of learning so many sorts of things.  Lio was for them the culmination of their intense love for each other..by the age of 4, Lio could speak Italian, French and was working on German.  It was Martin and Sasha’s love of learning that gave Lio such an active, inquisitive and engaging mind.

It is after the crash that Martin and Lio’s life took a sharp  turn to despair, only for a moment because Martin would not accept things as they were ~ he would not accept what the doctors were telling him.

Martin’s love for Lio was so very intense that he studied about how to help Lio recover and learned about brain injury.  Martin would not take no for an answer when confronted with the seriousness of Lio’s condition.  He was adamant that his son would recover and not only recover, but return to his normal place with his brain in tact and his leg restored ~ nothing more, nothing less~ not only this, but Martin still had to deal with the loss of his love, Sasha.

This story is a story of amazing emotions.  I applaud Martin Spinelli for his brutal honesty at times.  The sadness he had to quash in order to take care of Lio.  He speaks of things that you and I would also feel if faced with such circumstances.  I applaud his tenacity for helping Lio recover.  It was not an easy task.  At times I believe he wished he didn’t have to deal with so much for so long.

You will witness day after day of recovery, the triumphs and the failures now and again.  Most of all you will experience the frustration of a parent dealing with doctors who keep telling you that your child will not survive.

I urge you to read this remarkable story of love, loss, extreme sadness and recovery.  I urge you to read this story to witness what the love of a father can do, what  the love of a son for his father can do, what LOVE can do.

This is  a story of triumph!!!

Sandy Ozanich (c) June 2013

Tim’s Story by his mom, Annie Boxsell Whitaker

The story you are about to read is about Tim Whitaker.  Tim had pulmonary hypertension and was dying.  This is the story of his last day.  Tim’s mom Annie is a brave woman!  She and her family stood by Tim with all the love they could muster to help Tim in his illness. . .hope was always there that he would survive. . .but as time passed, it became apparent that he would not survive.

This story is poignant, heartfelt and very brave.  Tim became an organ donor and helped others get another chance at life.

I salute Tim and Annie Boxsell Whitaker and the entire family!!!  You showed tremendous courage and support.  How could a mother forget the child of her womb???

Please remember to become an organ donor. . .As many of you know, I am alive because of an organ donor.            I received my gift of life, a double lung transplant on September 30, 2005.  ORGAN DONORS GIVE LIFE!!!

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It was at this exact time I woke up 4.30am NSW daylight saving time 7 yrs ago, March 30 Aussie calendar, Timothy had been told the during the night he could stay on treatment and die slowly over a week or maybe couple, or option 2 withdraw all treatment and die tomorrow. Even at this point he was being a guinea pig and they were pumping inhaled illoprost into his heart via a Hickman’s line at half the dose as we could not afford any more money- we had run dry. He was trying to give the doctors some proof the IV meds would work, there were none in Australia. He agonised all night and screamed and argued, what about an artificial heart, what about trying this, or that – NO! was the brutal but honest answer, we had run out of everything – I think he had 5 or 7 lumens plus IV’s into his arms as well.

We knew something was up we were all exhausted but all woke up about 4.30 and got showered and dressed. By 5 we were sitting there and I said I will text Tim maybe he is awake and we can text, something weird is going on- he texted back – ‘come straight in mum- now’ – That was when he told us as the sun came up , that at 7am the registrar was going to pull every line out one by one and he would die this day, he would not put us or himself through any more, he knew we had nothing left to give except love. I did not cry, I did not fight , I did not scream. I said “ I totally understand the decision you have made and why and we will not leave you alone until this is over” he had several heart attacks as his left arm was paining, not his chest and they gave him some morphine for the pain after having to almost beg for it- he said he would be gone by 11.30 he had worked out due to how many nanograms per milligram he was getting, of our cheating drug.

He told us all around his bed that he loved us and what we meant to him – he got to me last and said there are no words for what we have “you’re my mum and that says everything in one word”- then we just tended his needs as they came up, including a drink of coke – the fluid restrictions were out the window now. When I had my arms around him at 10.22 I felt a rush of energy go through me and I said “he has left, he is gone” – they said no his heart is still beating, I said “I am his mother I felt his breeze go through my soul he is no longer here”, they came back and said yes he has gone now – well I had already told them that!

Some people say I should not have a calendar or dwell on this day- well that would mean no birthdays, no mothers days, no Christmases etc. I have to have this day in honour of the bravery and what Timothy and we faced, what we fought for and what we endured for years- what he stood for in the PH community here on overseas, he lived 5 yrs longer than his original 3 months!  Back then that was big☺,  he sighed and left and one tear dropped on his pillow (I stole the pillow case)- we stayed for a couple hours and then drove back up the freeway for 2.5 hours in silence, the only occasional noise was Philip taking in a short deep breath in the back seat. I can’t forget this day and I can’t let it drop, he did a lot of unconventional, unapproved things to get these medications here. Today we are staying together as family, this is so important to me and planting frangipani trees for him 10 in fact from his own garden cuttings we have been mothering them along- I am also setting his wall of candles which give me great peace over the years to know he lives on in the memory of others, it is a parents greatest fear, after the worst fear of losing your child is that they will be forgotten as time moves on without them. We will cry and we will laugh over Tim things. Please if you met him, loved him, know him through me/us or never met him but want to remember him feel free to light a candle on his wall- I know he would get a hoot out of this screen of notes an virtual candles – he would love this techno world we now live in- Facebook was not even in the world yet or if so just as a baby face. Love to you all and thanks for letting me let some of this out. We still have counseling mainly for all the stuff that happened before this date, for the fight before he succumbed to Pulmonary Hypertension – I am so grateful things have progressed and often thank Tim for playing his part in that process. Love Annie

http://www.gratefulness.org/candles/candles.cfm?l=eng&gi=TimW

>the group name to put in is “TimW” thank-you my friends for helping us through this, especially when we have a bad day and thank you for sharing laughs with us on funny Tim days. When we tell a story and people allow us to be free and not made feel uncomfortable. It is an ongoing process I have now realised. Part of our lives, part of who we are because of Timothy James Walker. 7/9/1979 – 30/03/2006 xo ♥

Sandy Ozanich (C) June 2013

A Story In True Paul Harvey Style. . .


 THIS IS A TRUE STORY


Billy Graham Carl Stuart Hamblin and John Wayne Mountain Pic

   Back in the 50’s there was a well known radio  host/comedian/song writer in Hollywood named  Carl Stuart Hamblen who was noted for his drinking,  womanizing, partying, etc.
One of his bigger hits at the time was  “I won’t go hunting with you Jake,
  but I’ll go chasing women.”
One day, along came a young preacher holding  a tent revival.  Hamblen had him on his radio show  presumably to poke fun at him.  In order to gather more material for his show,  Hamblen showed up at one of the revival meetings.
Early in the service the preacher announced,  “There is one man

 in this audience who is a big fake.”   There were probably others

 who thought the same thing, but Hamblen was convinced that he

was the one the preacher was talking about (some would call that

conviction) but he was having none of that.
Still the words continued to haunt him until a couple of nights later he showed up drunk at the preacher’s hotel door around 2AM demanding that the preacher pray for him!   But the preacher refused, saying, “This is between you and God and and I’m not going to get in the middle of it.”   But he did invite

Stuart in and they talked until  about 5 AM at which point

Stuart dropped to his knees and with tears, cried out to God.
But that is not the end of the story.   Stuart quit drinking,

 quit chasing women, quit everything that was ‘fun.’

Soon he began to lose favour with the Hollywood crowd.  He was ultimately fired by the radio station when  he refused to accept a beer company as a sponsor.  Hard times were upon him.  He tried writing a couple  of “Christian” songs but the only one that had  much success was “This Old House”,  written for his friend Rosemary Clooney.
As he continued to struggle, a long time friend  named John took him aside and told him, “All your 
troubles started when you ‘got religion,’  was it worth it all?”  Stuart answered simply, “Yes.”
Then his friend asked, “You liked your booze so much,  don’t you ever miss it?”  His answer was, “No.”John 

then said, “I don’t understand how you could give it

up so easily…”       And Stuart’s response was, “It’s no big secret.  All things are possible with God.”  To this John said,

“That’s a catchy phrase. You should write a song about it.”  And as they say, “The rest is history.”
The song Carl Stuart Hamblen wrote was “It Is No Secret.”
  “It is no secret what God can do.  What He’s done for others, He’ll do for you.    With arms wide open, He’ll welcome you.  It is no secret, what God can do….”        By the way… the friend was John Wayne.  And the young preacher who refused to pray for Stuart Hamblen?  …That was Billy Graham. 

Would you share this with your friends … 

Sandy Ozanich (c)

Whose Ministry Is It Anyway???

Years ago when I heard the word ministry, my mind conjured up visions of priests and nuns, Billy Graham and Oral Roberts.  Yes, I thought of the famous Protestant preachers as well.  My understanding of the word was one of vowed life, religious women and ordained men.

Now I hear that word all over the place ~ ~ the ministers of music, the ministers of the Word, the ministers of the Eucharist, minister of this, minister of that.  Whose ministry is it anyway?  And what is the ministry?

Ministry is what you do when you look upon someone with love, it is what you do when you listen without judging, it is what you do when you reach out beyond yourself for the good of the other.  Ministry is more than standing at a pulpit preaching the Word of God.  It is a life lived in the fullness of the Spirit of God.

I think the mistake I made is believing that only ordained men and religious women have a ministry.  I failed to realize that the good we do is ministry. 

            Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word ministry thus:

                        1.  Ministration

                        2.  the office, duties, or functions of a minister

                        3.  the body of ministers of religion: clergy

                        4.  a person or thing through which something is accomplished:  agency, instrumentality

                        5.  the period of service or office of a minister or ministry

                        6.  a.  the body of ministers governing a nation or state from which a smaller

                             cabinets elected.

                              b.  the group of ministers constituting a cabinet

                        7.   a.  a government department presided over by a minister

                               b.  the building in which the business of a ministry is transacted.

Interestingly though the synonyms are: agency, instrument, instrumentality, machinery, means, medium, agent, organ, vehicle.

There is only one antonym to ministry:  laity. . . . . .?  What?

 Wow!  Where do I go from here?  So, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary laity is an antonym for ministry.

 And again, from the Merriam-Webster Thesaurus the definition is thus:

            Definition of MINISTRY

            1 something used to achieve an end <I don’t care by what ministry it’s accomplished, so long as it’s done>

            Synonyms    agency, instrument, instrumentality, machinery, means, medium, ministry, organ, vehicle

            Related Words    determinant, expedient, factor, influence, ingredient, mechanism, tool;     weapon; activator, animator, catalyst, driver, energizer, executor, generator, impetus,        incentive, inspiration, instigation, instigator, launcher, mover, power, stimulus, trigger; antecedent, cause, occasion, reason; subagency, subagent

            2 the group ordained to perform clerical functions in the Christian church <the ranks of the ministry have              dwindled considerably in recent years>

            Synonyms          church, cloth, first estate, ministry, spirituality, spiritualty

            Related Words diaconate, episcopate, hierarchy, presbytery; clerkship, monkhood,   priesthood

           Antonyms   laity ~ HUH???

           When I checked the Thesaurus for the word Laity this is the response I got:

           The word you’ve entered isn’t in the thesaurus.

 Now when I look up the word Laity in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary this is the definition:

la·ity

noun \ˈlā-ə-tē\

Definition of LAITY

1: the people of a religious faith as distinguished from its clergy

2: the mass of the people as distinguished from those of a particular profession or those specially skilled

See laity defined for English-language learners »

See laity defined for kids »

Examples of LAITY

  1. a member of the laity

  2. The laity has played an important role in the history of the church

OK, OK, enough!!!  I choose to believe and know that whatever you do for God, whatever you do for your fellow human being in love is ministry. . .we are all ministers of the love of God!  So, go forth and minister. . .Now and forever!

Sandy Ozanich (c) June 2013

    

 
 
 
 
           

Being Like Christ

A friend of mine, a Passionist Priest brought to me a poster he had gotten while he was away that said, “If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?”

I liked that poster because it made me stop and think about my life in Christ and how I was representing Christ to the people around me.  I did reflect on that statement then as I do now from time to time and I admit that I don’t always represent Christ the way He would want me to represent Him. So, my striving day to day is to be like Him. . .how could I not strive? It is the very least I could do for my Savior. . .He gave Himself totally for me, I must do the same.

Sandy Ozanich (c) June 2013

detachment – the greatest challenge! (with humble apology to Br. Andre’)

A couple days ago I read the blog mentioned in this post’s title. . .what a wake up call for me!

Read this paragraph from Br. Andre’s Hearth:

” Jesus is not talking about having money or many possessions.  Jesus is talking about being attached to what we have:  money, power, positions, things, bad habits, grudges… the list is very long.  It is possible to have many things but be detached; it is possible to have very little and to be attached to it.  Jesus is talking about being so attached to the above that He is no longer first in our lives.  Jesus asks of us that He be first in our lives. That requires a letting go, a re-ordering of our priorities.  If we make Jesus first in our lives then our lives will change; we will be converted, and we will live according to His teachings.”

After reading this paragraph I recognized myself. . .I realized that I, too am attached to many things, actually I know I am attached to so many things.  I am attached to my husband in that I expect that he will know my every need, I am attached to my family – children and grandchildren, siblings and very close friends.  I want all of them to be happy because if they are suffering, I am suffering.  But I don’t know any other way to live.  I in all seriousness don’t think these are fatal attractions. . .just a bit too obsessive. . . 

It is so easy to just go along in life really not recognizing that the things I am attached to have such a hold on my life and have gotten in the way of other things.  Right now I am using one of the things I am attached to, my computer.  I spend way too much time with it.  I am attached to books, I love to read, but I spend too much time with them.  I love TV, but again, I spend too much time with it.

I am not spending enough time with God and Scripture, not spending enough time with people who need my help, my attention, my hands.  These are people beyond my family.

Right now, I will make a pledge to spend more time with God who gave me breath, with Jesus who died that I could be with Him eternally, with myself so I can quietly commune with the Spirit of my soul. . .Amen

I suggest that you visit my friend’s blog:  http://andreshearth.wordpress.com/?s=detachment

Sandy Ozanich (c) June 2013