Silence for the Soul

Today, I am at a loss. The house is so quiet. There are no children to send off to school, no fall sporting events to attend, no evening programs to get ready for. It’s just me and Rosie, planning our day without too much excitement.Rosie sleeping.jpg

This past weekend was a bur of activity. We spent the weekend visiting our youngest daughter at college, and my parents were here until yesterday. It was a wonderful, non-stop adventure in a city full of lights and noise and young people reaching for the stars.

Now, it’s just quiet. And I wonder… Read more

Telling Love Stories

This week is Holy Week throughout the Christian world. It’s the week where we are reminded just how much God loves us. It’s the week that the past several weeks of Lent have been leading up to–the crescendo in the opus of God’s masterpiece about love.  How remarkable that it was late in Lent when I was given the beautiful gift of realizing why what I do is so special, why my writing is so meaningful to me and to many others, and why it’s all about love. Read more

Make a Difference in the World

Have you ever thought about the difference just one person can make in this world? Saint Mother Teresa said “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” Let’s think about just the past few months and the things that have taken place during this time in history. Throughout time, there have been those who have stepped forward, some in very large and others in very small ways, to make a difference.

  • Over 2,000 years ago, a teenage girl simply said yes to God, thus changing the world for all eternity.
  • In 1801, John Marshall was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and is still considered today one of the greatest Justices in our country’s history.
  • In 1929, Martin Luther King, Jr. was born – talk about a man who made a difference!
  • In 1938, Thornton Wilder’s play, Our Town, was performed for the first time and influenced every stage production to follow.
  • In 1964, the Beatles released their first American album and changed the course of music in this country forever.
  • In 1981, President Reagan became the oldest President in US history.
  • In 1997, Madeleine Albright became the first female Secretary of State.
  • In 2009, Barack Obama became the first African American President in US History.

Did any of these people believe as children that they would become who they were (or are) as adults? Take Martin Luther King, Jr., who was a preacher, not a movie star or a politician, but he has become the very face of peaceful civil rights in our Country. Though some of these people were men and some women, some were born into prestigious families and some came from the poorest of homes, all of them have something in common. Whether they knew it or not, they all led their lives according to the teaching of Ghandi, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

The book, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, takes a centuries old teaching and brings it to life – every little thing you do, every choice you make, affects another person. I have been a mother for over 21 years, a Girl Scout Leader for 14 years, a camp director for 11 years, and a novelist for the past several years. I like to think that I have been able to touch the lives of hundreds of people in some way through one of these channels. Every summer, I see the affect that my wonderful camp staff has on the over 100 girls with whom we work. I have watched my own mother touch the lives of people she probably doesn’t even realize she has influenced, and believe me, there are many, perhaps thousands, who are the people they are today because she came into their lives in some way.

Last week, Morgan and Katie spent the week helping repair houses in Harlan, Kentucky. It was a very moving experience for them. They both came home changed people. So many times theoughout the week, they were thanked, prayed for and with, and told that their group was truly making a difference in the lives of the people they met and helped. While that’s a large endeavor, little things can be done every day to make a difference in someone’s life. Sometimes, just a smile is enough to change one’s outlook or reroute the course of their day.

How are you making a difference in the world? It doesn’t have to be a grandiose gesture; it can be just a stone cast across the waters that causes a ripple. Every one of us has the ability to influence countless people each and every day. What is the mark you are leaving on those around you? In some way, it just may be the mark you are leaving on the world. Make it count.


Amy Schisler is an award winning author of both children’s books and novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me and Whispering Vines, are recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top three inspirational fiction books of 2015 and 2016. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Amy’s most recent novel, Island of Miracles, is now on sale.
You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor, Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschisler and at http://amyschislerauthor.com.

Speak Softly, and Write a Love Letter to the World

mother-teresa-biographyFirst, let me get one thing straight right off the bat. This past Sunday, Pope Francis acclaimed that Mother Teresa is a saint.  He did not make her a saint as so many are incorrectly saying.  The Church does not make saints.  Only God makes saints.  The Church acclaims to the world that a person is a model for everyone to follow in their daily lives, thus calling that person a ‘saint.’  Okay, now that we have that out of the way, please allow me to continue.

Saint Teresa of Calcutta was a remarkable woman.  She left behind so many things, including her wisdom.  She told us:

“We do not need to carry out grand things in order to show a great love for God and for our neighbor. It is the intensity of love we put into our gestures that makes them into something beautiful for God.”

“Since we cannot see Christ, we cannot express our love to Him. But we do see our neighbor, and we can do for him what we would do for Christ if He were visible.”

“Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired.”

“Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.”

“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”

“It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us.”

“It is not the magnitude of our actions but the amount of love that is put into them that matters.”

“Speak softly, and carry a big stick.”

No wait, that was Theodore Roosevelt, and it wasn’t about God; it was about political and military might, but here’s where I think the similarity lies.  Mother Teresa spoke softly but carried the might of God.  She didn’t need political power; in fact, she had none.  She didn’t need military power; in fact, she believed only in peace.  She knew that the only weapon she needed was love.  Love is the “big stick” that we are all called to carry.  And though she would have had other things in mind, can’t you see Mother Teresa advising her fellow sisters to “Speak softly?”

Oh how hard that is.  When someone has wronged you, when you’re cut off by another driver, when your child has misbehaved, isn’t one of your first reactions to yell?  Often times, mine is, and it shames me.  Later, I will always think of so many other ways that I could have better handled the situation.  I know, I see it in their faces, detect it in their shift of posture; no child, or any person for that matter, continues to listen once we lose control of our own emotions.  We might as well be yelling at a brick wall or an empty chair.  And how does that make that other person feel?  No doubt, like the empty chair.  Like they’re not actually there in your eyes, not worthy of your respect, not worthy of being spoken to with dignity, not worthy of having an open dialogue with you.  

My children had a favorite middle school teacher.  They still talk about her today, the respect she showed them, how hard they were willing to work for her, how much they learned from her both academically and as a person.  They often say, when telling others about her, that even when she was angry, she spoke softly, and with a smile.  That’s what impressed them the most.  That she never, ever lost her temper, never spoke harshly to anyone, never treated another person with disrespect, and was never without a smile.  I can’t look at her today without thinking about the impact she had on them, and I pray that they will always take her behavior and attitude to heart.

Each of us is called to strive to be a better person, the person whom God created us to be.  I know that I have a long way to go, but it helps to have examples all around us that we can look to as role models — saints and middle school teachers alike (heck, I think anyone who teaches middle school must be destined for sainthood).  Each of us is called to treat each other with kindness, to see every person as someone deserving of love, respect, and dignity.  Every act throughout every day should be an act of love, which brings me to my favorite Mother Teresa quote of all time.  

“I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world.”

May you add your own paragraph to that love letter in all that you do and concerning every person you meet.

Amy Schisler is an award winning author of both children’s books and novels for readers of all ages.  She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her book, Picture Me, is the recipient of an Illumination Award, placing it among the top three eBooks of 2015. Her latest book, Whispering Vines, is now available for purchase.

You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, on Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschisler and on her web site http://amyschislerauthor.com.

Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me(2015), Whispering Vines (2016)

 

Making a Difference, One Stone at a Time

DSC01402Have you ever thought about the difference just one person can make in this world?  Mother Teresa said “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”  Let’s think about just the past week and the things that have taken place during this time in history:

  • In 1801, John Marshall was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and is still considered today one of the greatest Justices in our country’s history.
  • In 1901, Queen Victoria died after 63 years on the throne.
  • In 1929, Martin Luther King, Jr. was born – talk about a man who made a difference!
  • In 1938, Thornton Wilder’s play, Our Town, was performed for the first time and influenced every stage production to follow.
  • In 1964, the Beatles released their first American album and changed the course of music in this country forever.
  • In 1981, President Reagan became the oldest President in US history.
  • In 1997, Madeleine Albright became the first female Secretary of State.
  • In 2009, Barack Obama became the first African American President in US History.

Read more