MCD Partners

June 2014: The First Stone
My father had a paperweight on his desk that he always referred to as, “an important reminder”. It was a stone, about the size of his fist, one side of which was imbedded into a polished block of wood. The brass plate on the front of the wooden base read, ‘The First Stone’. When I was a child I thought that stone was actually one of the stones that was picked up by the angry of witnesses mentioned in the Bible who brought the woman caught in adultery to Jesus so the He too could condemn her and join in her punishment of being stoned to death.
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May 2014: The First 45

It was an interesting experience, listening to a discussion by a group of friends I was with, all of whom were Priests or Religious Sisters, about what period of married life is the most difficult. They determined that the first year was the hardest. I just listened. They must have heard that joke about a marriage is when a man and women become one, and the trouble starts when they try to decide which one.
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April 2014: Broken Windows

In 1982, two Sociologists published their research on the causes of crime, and the significance of deteriorating neighborhoods on the rise of crime rates. James Q. Wilson and George Kelling’s work was called The Broken Window Theory. The theory stated that “If you go into a neighborhood and you see a lot of broken windows, it tells you that nobody cares, that nobody is looking out for the neighborhood, and if you break some more windows, nobody will do anything about it.”
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March 2014: Are You Listening?
We have become a society that has raised multi-tasking to an art form. At a recent meeting I attended, one of the members of the group was bragging that he had just finished talking on the phone while responding to e-mails at the same time. The man next to him asked, “Was it a conference call?” Then he went on to boast, “I can do a conference call, answer my e-mail, and be meeting with someone in my office, all at the same time.” What dubious distinctions. I wonder if anyone was listening? What if all the others involved were doing the same thing?
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February 2014: A Miracle in Memphis
High drama makes for great movies and TV soap operas; however, it is not necessarily something I would choose to shape the events of my own life. During the first few days of February 1996, the unlikely elements of the chaos theory mixed together with the culture of hope to produce, out of apparent disorder, what seemed to be a miracle to rival that of the marriage feast of Cana.
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January 2014: It's Not About Me
New Year’s resolutions are tempting to make, and even more tempting to forget. In spite of the insatiable appetite for self-improvement and excellence, good habits just seem hard to acquire. With the beginning of each New Year, we seem compelled to conquer the past by focusing on the future in at least one resolution. The outcome, however good the intention, is often the same, nothing changes.
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December 2013: A Grandparent's Role
When my fourth grandchild was born, my role in the proceeding was to do what grandparents do, baby-sit. I was in charge of my then 2 year old grandson, Nicholas, until his parents returned from the hospital with his baby sister. My daughter left pages of instructions, but I never had time to read them, so I resorted to a grandparent's right to take the path of least resistance. It is a luxury not afforded to parents. By the time the rest of his family returned home, Nick was a changed man. He had rediscovered the unrestricted use of a pacifier.
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November 2013: A Parents’ Pledge
We are people of ceremony and ritual. Every occasion of transition is cause for celebration. A prescribed formula marks our rite of passage from one status to another. Significant milestones are pronounced by traditional words stating our readiness to take on the new responsibility. Marriage, Baptism, Confirmation, membership initiations, oaths of office, graduations, all are marked by ritual. All the new responsibilities are accounted for, all but one of the most significant, parenthood. A hospital bill is usually the only thing presented to new parents. Becoming a parent needs a ritual.
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October 2013: A Good Example
There was a small plaque hanging on the wall of the hospital chapel where I had gone to pray. It read, “Sometimes God calms the storm, and sometimes He lets the storm rage, and calms His child.” When I read it, I glanced around the room at the others who had come to seek a haven from the private storms that raged in their lives.
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September 2013: The Best Years of Your Life
They sat in my office, their eyes glazed over with confusion and concern, talking about their teen-age child who was a student at the school where I was Principal. It was a discussion similar to hundreds of others I have had over the years with parents of pre-teen and teen-age children. The symptoms of this adolescent age are ancient and universal.
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August 2013: Programmed For Endurance
Not long ago, while waiting in line at the grocery store, I overheard a very weary-looking young father with a baby in his arms and two toddlers sitting in the shopping cart, say to the clerk, “My wife is sick, the kids are sick, the baby was up all night, and work is piling up on my desk. I feel like I’m sixty.” I looked at him and thought, “No, you feel like you are thirty-something with a family to raise and a thousand bells to answer. If you were sixty you would have gotten a good night’s sleep, wondered if your grandchildren’s colds were better, and your work would be piling up on someone else’s desk.”
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July 2013: A Mixed Blessing
It was the night of the Cub Scout Blue and Gold Banquet. This year’s contest at the dinner was cake decorating. Each Den, as those small groups of Cub Scouts are called, was required to decorate a cake for the contest as a team, with no outside help. Several months earlier, in a lapse of clear thinking, I had agreed to be a Den Mother. Every Wednesday after school eight third grade boys, including my son, gathered at our house. As Den Mother, I presided over what can only be described as controlled chaos.
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June 2013: A Person of Influence
There is a passage from Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass that reads, “A child goes forth each day, and the first object that the child sees, that object he becomes, for a day, or part of a day, or for days stretching into years.” For me, as a child growing up, that “object” was my parents. What I saw in them, I have become, for days stretching into years.
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May 2013: Just Like A Mother
There is a church in Rome, a city of churches that is truly unique in the entire world. It is the oldest church in Rome dedicated to the Blessed Mother. It is not the age, or the architecture of Santa Maria in Trastervere, however, that makes it so special to me. It is the 750-year old mosaic in the apse behind the main altar. The gold-flecked tiles depict the risen Christ, on His throne of glory, surrounded by St. Peter and by the early Popes who ministered at the church.
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April 2013: An Adventure in Love
It was a crazy idea, I know, but we did it anyway. This past August, my 97 year old mother and I had a great adventure. We took a cruise together, just the two of us. Coming from a large family, it was actually the first time we had ever had the opportunity to spend that much time by ourselves. My parents loved to travel, and being believers in delayed gratification (their philosophy was pray, study, work hard, and relax, in that order), it wasn’t until after their children were raised and on their own that they set out to see the world.
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March 2013: Begin With the End in Mind
It was sunny and warm, almost like an early Spring day, when I pulled out of my driveway. In spite of the weather, I knew that it was the day after Thanksgiving when I saw my neighbors arranging Christmas decorations on their lawns, hanging wreaths on their front doors, and tying bright red bows on their mailboxes. “It wasn’t Christmas Eve yet, I have plenty of time,” I thought, as I glanced at my own lawn.
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February 2013: Who Told You That?
It seems that the seeds of all that seeks to diminish our knowledge of God’s love for us were seen in Adam’s first encounter with God after he and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, when God called out to Adam, “Where are you?” (Gen. 3: 9-11)  Adam answered, “I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid”. (Gen 3:9-11)  Up until that time, clothes did not make the man, and that was just fine.
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January 2013: A Price Worth Paying
The heavyweight champion boxer, Joe Louis, once said, “Everybody wants to get to heaven, but nobody wants to die to get there.”  It’s true. Everyone wants to succeed, to be really good at something, to reach a goal. However, not everyone is willing to pay the price in the present to become the best version of themselves in the future. 
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December 2012: A Mixed Blessing
It was the night of the Cub Scout Blue and Gold Banquet. This year’s contest at the dinner was cake decorating.  Each Den, as those small groups of Cub Scouts are called, was required to decorate a cake for the contest as a team, with no outside help.  Several months earlier, in a lapse of clear thinking, I had agreed to be a Den Mother.
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November 2012: Something Is Missing
There is a world beyond our comprehension where reason steps back and the heart takes over. It is a world where wonder and wisdom meet. It is a world of faith. Annie and Jack are twins. They are my grandchildren. They were born five weeks earlier than expected. Each weighed a little more than four pounds.
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October 2012: A Grandparent’s Role

When my fourth grandchild was born, my role in the proceeding was to do what grandparents do, baby-sit. I was in charge of my then 2 year old grandson, Nicholas, until his parents returned from the hospital with his baby sister.
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September 2012: A Snakes's Tale
If you hear of a contest in the “Well, what did you expect?” category, let me know, I have the winner. I read an article in the newspaper about a man who was almost squeezed to death by his pet snake. Somehow, the boa constrictor worked its way out of its cage in the man’s bedroom and wrapped itself around its sleeping owner. ...
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August 2012: The Conversation
The drive to the meeting was inspirational. You know, it was one of those times when the weather was perfect, all the lights were green, someone let me in the line of traffic right before it merged to the left. Even the song on the radio inspired me to newness of thought as I weighed possible solutions to the problem being considered at the meeting. ...
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July 2012: A History with God
There are moments in time when reason steps back, and wonder takes over. They are those times when you can sense a thread of wisdom that tethers you to the heart of God. They are those times when you step back and say, “Did that really happen?” I experienced such a time while I was on vacation at the beach. ...
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