Saturday, March 30, 2013

Cloning Christ: Peter Thomas Senese Best-selling Theological Thriller

A Journey Into Hell - Only To Confirm Heaven's Existence

I remember the day the way a person remembers their deepest secret: Friday, December 7th, 2001.

I had been continuing my work documenting the hoped-for rescue and ongoing recovery efforts taking place at the World Financial Center due to the terrorist attacks on freedom that occurred nearly three months early on that perfect blue-skied morning of September 11th, 2001.

Three months had gone after the attack, and though the 'pit' - Ground Zero was draped in thick layers of floating carbon and ash that ascended past the clouds, the weather had not interfered with the indefatigable first-responders and steel worker efforts that were taking place.

Then December 7th showed up, and with it hail ice balls as big as golf balls that pounded on your body while you tried to balance your feet in the grey sludge of broken-down carbon that could have been just about anything. My mind still shudders at this thought.

It was in the early evening while I was in the middle of the pit that something happened to me that till this day still remains deeply personal. Perhaps one day I will share it, but for now, I will keep it to myself.

Needless to say, what occurred was very difficult for my sensors - my sight, my smell, my taste, my taste - I wish I never experienced what I did.

Literally and figuratively in shock, two friends I was with were smart enough to take me to Trinity Church - one of the oldest and grandest cathedrals in New York - that sits atop the slopping hill of Wall Street.

It was there, and upon entering the church and seeing the symbolic cross of Jesus of Nazareth that I began to rage within. My anger caused me to begin screaming at the crucifix that if God existed, he would not have allowed for the September 11th, 2001 attacks - when I lost 72 friends - to have occurred. 

My words were harsh. They were not simply doubting God's existence, how the whole thing - faith - was just one big horrific joke played on humanity.

In the middle of my rage, I remember shouting (with lots of vulgarity) that I simply wanted to go home - and that I no longer wanted to play the role requested on me to record for prosperity the events that were taking place.

In the middle of my rage - I remember feeling something very surreal cloak me. 

Now I must say, I was not looking to begin a journey on the road to Damascus. Far from it.

But perhaps in His own way, He had other plans for me.

Moving forward nearly 10 hours, and near 7:00 a.m. that morning, I remember leaving Trinity Church. Yes - I was inside Trinity all night.

What was I doing?

Seated in the second row inside Trinity, I was writing the story that God does exist in each of us - and that our God - is much bigger than one religion.

Whatever you may want to think covered me in the midst of my rage - causing my anger to immediately stop and have my heart open - I know it was God's touch coupled with my belief in each of us.

So I share with you today where and why I wrote CLONING CHRIST.  It is a multi-layered theological thriller I am very proud to share with each of you.  And in the spirit of the God I worship, please know that 100% of all e-book purchases are donated to the I CARE Foundation in order to assist children at risk.

However you and your family are celebrating this Holy Week, I wish to each of you God's Blessings.

-Peter Thomas Senese -

Click Here to purchase a copy of Cloning Christ on Amazon.

Click Here to purchase a copy of Cloning Christ on BN

*SPECIAL OFFER* Click here to purchase a leather bound collectors edition of Cloning Christ
($25.95 includes shipping).

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Pope Frances Named New Pope of Catholic Church. Argentina's Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio Offers New Hope

Pope Francis Named 266th Pontiff

Just moments ago, Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio of Argentina, a Jesuit, was named Pope Francis of the Holy Roman Catholic Church. 
It took less than two days for the 115 Princes of the Church to elect the new Pope, who will now be known as Pope Frances.  The Pope is the son of an Italian railway worker who previously was the Archbishop of Buenos Aires.
Considered a progressive thinker of with a progressive outlook, Pope Francis offers a new day of hope for the christian world.
As a proud practicing Catholic, I pray that Pope Francis, the 266th pontiff, may lead our church toward a more transparent, open, connected, and loving church in Christ's name.
It was exactly at 8:10 pm Rome time that the white smoke ascended from St. Peter's Basilica, letting the world and its 1.2 billion practicing Catholics know that a descendant of Peter has been names. 
Jean Loui Cardinal Tauran first stepped outside the Vatican window overlooking St. Peter's Square, announcing to the world that a new pope has ascended.
Cardinal Francis became Pope Francis  the moment he accepted the election results and selected the name Francis.

He was then led to the Room of Tears where he was fitted with the appropriate vestments and given time to pray privately about the awesome responsibility of leading the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.

Pope XXX then returned to the Sistine Chapel where the other 114 cardinals each individually pledge their allegiance to him. After that, the cardinal deacon - Jean Louis Cardinal Tauran - stepped out onto the balcony first to announce "Habemus Papem!" -- We have a pope!

The 115 cardinals took five votes over two days to reach their decision, which required a two-thirds majority and came after a week of intense meetings. The cardinal conclave came on the heels of the surprising resignation of Pope Benedict XVI last month.
Pope Francis replaces Benedict XVI, whose surprise resignation last month prompted the cardinals to initiate a conclave, a Latin phrase meaning "with a key," to pick a new leader for the world's almost 2 billion Catholics.
For more information on His Holy Father, Pope Francis, please read below.

Pope Francis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

(Redirected from Jorge Bergoglio)

Jump to: navigation, search

His Eminence Jorge Mario Bergoglio SJ
Cardinal-Archbishop of Buenos Aires
SeeBuenos Aires
Appointed3 June 1997 (Coadjutor)
Papacy began28 February 1998
PredecessorAntonio Quarracino
Other posts
Ordination13 December 1969
by Ramón José Castellano
Consecration27 June 1992
by Antonio Quarracino
Created Cardinal21 February 2001
Personal details
Birth nameJorge Mario Bergoglio
Born(1936-12-17) 17 December 1936 (age 76)
Buenos Aires, Argentina
DenominationRoman Catholic
Previous post
  • Auxiliary Bishop of Buenos Aires (1992 - 1997)
  • Titular Bishop of Auca (1992 - 1997)
Coat of arms
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, SJ (born December 17, 1936) is an Argentine cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He has served as the Archbishop of Buenos Aires since 1998. He was elevated to the cardinalate in 2001.



[edit] Early life

Jorge Bergoglio was born in Buenos Aires, one of the five children of an Italian railway worker and his wife. After studying at the seminary in Villa Devoto, he entered the Society of Jesus on March 11, 1958. Bergoglio obtained a licentiate in philosophy from the Colegio Máximo San José in San Miguel, and then taught literature and psychology at the Colegio de la Inmaculada in Santa Fe, and the Colegio del Salvador in Buenos Aires. He was ordained to the priesthood on December 13, 1969, by Archbishop Ramón José Castellano. He attended the Philosophical and Theological Faculty of San Miguel, a seminary in San Miguel. Bergoglio attained the position of novice master there and became professor of theology.
Impressed with his leadership skills, the Society of Jesus promoted Bergoglio and he served as provincial for Argentina from 1973 to 1979. He was transferred in 1980 to become the rector of the seminray in San Miguel where had had studied. He served in that capacity until 1986. He completed his doctoral dissertation in Germany and returned to his homeland to serve as confessor and spiritual director in Córdoba.
Styles of
Jorge Mario Bergoglio
Coat of arms of Jorge Mario Bergoglio.svg
Reference styleHis Eminence
Spoken styleYour Eminence
Informal styleCardinal
SeeBuenos Aires
Bergoglio succeeded Cardinal Quarracino on February 28, 1998. He was concurrently named ordinary for Eastern Catholics in Argentina, who lacked their own prelate. Pope John Paul II summoned the newly named archbishop to the consistory of February 21, 2001 in Vatican City and elevated Bergoglio with the papal honors of a cardinal. He was named to the Cardinal-Priest of Saint Robert Bellarmino.

[edit] Cardinal

Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio greets President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, December, 2007.
As cardinal, Bergoglio was appointed to several administrative positions in the Roman Curia. He served on the Congregation of Clergy, Congregation of Divine Worship and Sacraments, Congregation of Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Congregation of Societies of Apostolic Life. Bergoglio became a member of the Commission on Latin American and the Family Council.
As Cardinal, Bergoglio became known for personal humility, doctrinal conservatism and a commitment to social justice. A simple lifestyle has contributed to his reputation for humility. He lives in a small apartment, rather than in the palatial bishop's residence. He gave up his chauffeured limousine in favor of public transportation, and he reportedly cooks his own meals.
Upon the death of Pope John Paul II, Bergoglio, considered papabile himself, participated in the 2005 papal conclave as a cardinal elector, the conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI. A widespread theory says that he was in a tight fight with Ratzinger until he himself adviced crying not to be voted.[1] Earlier, he had participated in the funeral of Pope John Paul II and acted as a regent alongside the College of Cardinals, governing the Holy See and the Roman Catholic Church during the interregnum sede vacante period. Cardinal Bergoglio remains eligible to participate in conclaves that begin before his 80th birthday on December 17, 2016.
During the 2005 Synod of Bishops, he was elected a member of the Post-Synodal council. Catholic journalist John L. Allen, Jr. reported that Bergoglio was a frontrunner in the 2005 Conclave. An unauthorized diary of uncertain authenticity released in September 2005[2] confirmed that Bergogolio was the runner-up and main challenger of Cardinal Ratzinger at that conclave. The purported diary of the anonymous cardinal claimed Bergoglio received 40 votes in the third ballot, but fell back to 26 at the fourth and decisive ballot.
On November 8, 2005, Bergoglio was elected President of the Argentine Episcopal Conference for a three-year term (2005–2008) by a large majority of the Argentine bishops, which according to reports confirms his local leadership and the international prestige earned by his alleged performance in the conclave. He was reelected on November 11, 2008.

[edit] Views

[edit] Liberation theology

Bergoglio is an accomplished theologian who distanced himself from liberation theology early in his career. He is thought to be close to Comunione e Liberazione, a conservative lay movement.

[edit] Abortion and euthanasia

Cardinal Bergoglio has invited his clergy and laity to oppose both abortion and euthanasia.[3]

[edit] Homosexuality

He has affirmed church teaching on homosexuality, though he teaches the importance of respecting individuals who are gay. He strongly opposed legislation introduced in 2010 by the Argentine Government to allow same-sex marriage. In a letter to the monasteries of Buenos Aires, he wrote: "Let's not be naive, we're not talking about a simple political battle; it is a destructive pretension against the plan of God. We are not talking about a mere bill, but rather a machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God." He has also insisted that adoption by gays and lesbians is a form of discrimination against children. This position received a rebuke from Argentine president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who said the church's tone was reminiscent of "medieval times and the Inquisition".[4]

[edit] Church and AIDS

His doctrinal orthodoxy emphasizes Christ's mandate to love: he is well remembered for his 2001 visit to a hospice, in which he washed and kissed the feet of twelve AIDS patients.

[edit] Social justice

He consistently preaches a message of compassion towards the poor, but somewho? observers would like him to place a greater emphasis on issues of social justice. Rather than articulating positions on matters of political economy, Bergoglio prefers to emphasize spirituality and holiness, believing that this will naturally lead to greater concern for the suffering of the poor. He has, however, voiced support for social programs, and publicly challenged free-market policies.

[edit] Relations with the Argentine government


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Eliasabeth Hirsh - Hero To Children. How A Best-selling Author Is Changing The World

Today’s Hero –the remarkable, inspiring author and advocate Elisabeth Hirsh

 Okay, I am a true fan of my friend Elisabeth Hirsch for she represents all the good things I believe in: a tremendous parent, incredible storyteller, active advocate, and philanthropist who has used her voice to help enrich the human condition while assisting others who might have lost their sight of life’s magic.
Elisabeth inspires me.  And though she may not have realized the magnitude of the words I am now sharing, Elisabeth put a unique fire in me a year ago to fight for children in crisis: that fire leading to the accomplishments of the I CARE Foundation, and the organizations various accomplishments protecting children around the world from abduction.
For those of you who do not know Elisabeth Hirsch, she is best-selling writer who has written a collection of diverse, enjoyable, empowering, and entertaining books under the pen name E.C. Stilson. When she is not writing, raising money for such notable organizations such as Angel Watch, Primary Children’s Hospital, Pregnancy Resources, or the American Diabetes Association, Elisabeth is speaking for and playing a key role in the healing process for families in crisis who have experienced the loss of an infant or young child.
Remarkably, Elisabeth used the hardships that she and her family faced during one extremely challenging period in their life when she lost her young son, Zeke, and acts so others will benefit from her experience.
And as explored in this interview, Elisabeth’s willingness and desire to help others means that she must go back to those incredible storms whenever she comes to help other families in crisis. As a parent who had to search the world over for an abducted child, and as a person who, after finding and safely bringing my child home and becoming a highly visible advocate and activist against abduction and trafficking, I know all too well the challenges of advocacy Elisabeth faces because whenever she comes to the aid of those who may be experiencing infant loss, the fiber of her memories are part of her.
Fortunately, Elisabeth Hirsch has such tremendous strength – a strength she has found because of her strong faith in God, her strong relationship and partnership with her husband, the love of her family, and her courage to find her voice.
It is quite remarkable just how much a person can do when they find their voice. Clearly, Elisabeth Hirsch lives in Uhuru, and somehow, I think Noble Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai is looking down from heaven at Elisabeth with a big smile on her face, knowing that this indefatigable women lives unbowed in her morals, ethics, humility, and kindness – and it all of this – Elisabeth Hirsch makes the world a much, much better place.

Raising four beautiful children with her husband Cade, why running her publishing company Wayman Publishing, Elisabeth came to the aid of the I CARE Foundation this past year and stewarded the message of international parental child abduction prevention. Elisabeth’s help was incredible, as is exemplified by the fact that after nearly 30 years of consistent rocketing growth in the U.S. international parental child abduction rate, the reported rate of abductions dropped by 23% over the past two years – the same period when the I CARE Foundation launched a global abduction awareness and prevention campaign that utilized the tremendous reach of parenting writers such as Elisabeth Hirsh.
Elisabeth Hirsch is a hero to so many, including her family, her friends, and all those she has directly helped; however, Elisa’s work, her spirit, and her willingness to help others in need – and the impact she has made, represents all that mankind aspires to be. She is what ‘Today’s Heroes’ symbolizes – and represents the best in all of us.
It is my privilege to share this interview with my friend and hero, Elisabeth Hirsch.

1. You have written several best sellers under the name E.C. Stilson, including notable titles such as one of the most important books I have ever read, The Golden Sky. Can you share with us a little about this story, and what your purpose was in writing it?

I was nineteen years old, already a pregnant mother and lonely wife, when I found out the child I carried had serious birth defects. I wrote everything down, detailing how my baby died and my marriage fell apart, but through it all I found hope, redemption, and even forgiveness in the most unlikely of places.

A few years later, I reread my own words and found miracles that only hindsight could bring. So many amazing things had happened, showing me God was there, always with me, always guiding me.

I knew others going through hard times could read my story and see the miracles throughout their own trials. And understand that at the end of every storm, there is a golden sky.

2. Why did you choose the name E.C. Stilson to pen under?

My nieces and nephews called me "EC" because "Elisa" was hard to say. I always thought that was fun since my first name starts with an "E" and my husband's begins with a "C." Cade's helped me so much with my memoirs, I wanted the "EC" to represent both of us. "Stilson" is my maiden name, and I used it to honor my dad.

3. During World War II, women in the media such as Jacquelyn Saix (one of television’s first producers) and Mary Walsh Hemingway (one of the first women war correspondents) began to transform who, how, and what news was reported, and how this information was shared. Moving forward nearly 70 years, parenting blog writers are changing the landscape once again on how information is shared and utilized. Which makes the ‘The Crazy Life of a Writing Mom’ irresistible! Can you tell us about this blog and what value do you see in it?

Humor and laughter have more power than most realize. As parents, it's easy to get lost in the stressful circumstances; we forget how much fun life can be. My blog tries to bring that back, by telling silly stories about parenting, potty training, school bullies, etc. My hope is to help people see how any circumstance can be humorous, if looked at differently. A happy parent, who's involved with their children, will most likely raise happy kids.

4. How important of a role do parents who write and share their views and perspectives on the Internet play in directing or cultivating public perception or creating new trends?

Parenting blogs have grown substantially in the last few years. When googling terms, it's amazing how many times I'm directed to parenting blogs. My blog alone has been viewed over 360,000 times. The blogging community has a strong voice, the ability to be heard more easily by so many people--it's phenomenal. These writers' insights and knowledge are guiding others, making them feel less alone in our technologically evolving world.

5. Would you say a mobilized group of parent blog writes has the ability of creating a major impact on an issue or social cause, and if so, can you give a specific?

I think anyone with a strong voice has the opportunity to influence others by standing for what they believe in. Blogging has been a gift to those willing to speak out. With good blog titles and topics, writers now have the capability to be heard. I remember seeing this first-hand when I wrote about my son who died. I went to over 100 other blogs and asked them to join me in a 3-day event where we'd each share stories about our loved ones who have passed on. This event exploded and was everywhere within the following days. That single event jump-started my writing career.
You can see that promo post here:

6. It seems to me that it took a certain amount of courage when you found your voice. What would you tell others who struggle to find the courage to find their own voice, and what could they do to alleviate any fear they may have?

It's still hard for me to believe in myself and my voice. Even while being interviewed on the radio, or while talking at signings, I'm still nervous. But then I remember why I started in the first place. What was so important that this journey became worth the fight? That's when I think of my son. I wanted his story out there, something that he'd left behind so he could look down from Heaven and realize I will never forget him. His life was important--it had meaning. That strength keeps me going strong.
We all have stories to tell. The reason we initially started looking for our voices, is the same force that will inspire us to find our way.

7. You are a very humble lady, yet your writing and advocacy has helped so many others. Can you share with us one story of how one of your books helped another?

. . . where to begin. I've been so blessed, and many of the things that have happened to me seem a bit miraculous. The one story that sticks out happened in winter of 2011. I'd just started Wayman Publishing and published "The Golden Sky." It was an emotional time because Cade and I both thought about Zeke's short life. On November 18th, Zeke's birthday, we went to his grave and left "The Golden Sky" there. It was my final way of saying goodbye. I can't describe how that felt. It was very bittersweet. At the time I had a romantic notion that God and Zeke were guiding me. I'd somehow leave the book and then the right person would find it and read it.

Well, it happened! In December I received an amazing email. It started like this:

"Hi, I am sure you do not know me. You see Zeke's grave is right next to my sister's grave."
The email continued, telling me how she'd read my book and now hoped her sister was taking care of Zeke in Heaven! We're still in contact through Facebook. I'm so thankful that she read Zeke's book.

8. Losing a young child is a parent’s biggest fear, and it is something you have not only written about, but you have become a teacher, healer, and friend to so many others who have had to face this issue. What are a few important things that you teach others facing this crisis that can also carry over to others not facing this issue?

Keep Going
Some days it might seem simpler to stop facing our problems. But that's not the easy way out. Giving up and repressing feelings leads to worse problems later on--trust me, I know. Whether you want to be a warrior or a wimp, give yourself time to grieve (and deal with things) so you can eventually find the issue and thus the resolution.

Find the Issue--Find the Resolution
We all go through tough times and grieve in different ways. If we can discover what's truly upsetting us about any situation, then we can discover how to change things. For example, when Zeke died I had the hardest time thinking that he'd never grow up--I'd never get to see him become a man. Why? Was there something I could do to make things better? He'd died and the sadness lingered for years, just causing more pain and hurt. When I identified the problem's root, I realized I could release his book, in that way his memory would live on even if he could not. By Identifying this deep issue, I found a resolution. And it worked!

The loss still hurts sometimes, but I feel much better, as if I've done as much as I can to make a bad situation better somehow.

9. You have helped raise money for such organizations such as Angel Watch, The Pregnancy Resource Center, and Primary Children’s Hospital. Why?

All three of these places helped me and Zeke. The Pregnancy Resource Center encouraged me to continue with the pregnancy. Angel Watch sent counselors to our house. They helped us cope before and after Zeke was born. They also helped Cade and I mend our failing marriage. And Primary Children's, because that's the only home Zeke even knew.

10. When the I CARE Foundation sought your assistance by asking you to lend your voice and help steward the messages about the realities of international parental child abduction, you did not hesitate to do so. Why?

I believe in the I CARE Foundation. They fight for the well-being of children, for the solace and strength of parents who are facing terrible tragedies. I don't know what it's like to face child abduction, but I do know what it's like to lose a son. For these reasons and many more, the I CARE Foundation is close to my heart.

11. During the 2012 fiscal year, outgoing cases of international parental child abduction declined by 15% that originated from the United States because there was an increase in abduction prevention litigation. How important is it that other parent blog writers write about social issues that impact children?

Bloggers have more power than they know. If people would band together and write about this, our voices would be heard--and readers would take action. Think about "The Golden Sky"; if a single book--from a previously unknown other--can become a success from a single blogging launch, then imagine how an event like this could raise abduction prevention awareness!

12. Can you name three of your favorite books?

The Bible--because you can't get better than that.

"Gone With the Wind"--because Scarlett is so real, loathsome and likable--all at the same time.

"The Sum of All Men" in David Farland's Runelords series. He weaves social injustice into a fantasy story that I'll never forget. Imagine a world where people could sell their intellect, beauty, and physical strength. Now imagine that same world, where these attributes can be taken by kings, leaving peasants brainless, ugly and physically marred as long as the omnipotent king lives.

13. I just ordered ‘The Sword of Senack’ – a magical YA adventure story about three siblings trying to find one of their lost siblings. Where did this story originate from, and can you give us a little insight?

When Zeke died, my oldest daughter had a very hard time. She'd ask what death is, and why Zeke never came back. I answered the best I could, but when answers no longer helped, I started telling her an allegory. The story is about a brave boy who takes an underwater adventure. "He had to go," I told my daughter. "It was his destiny." And through that story, my daughter slowly came to terms with her brother's death. Few know of the story's deeper meaning, they just think it's a fun MG fantasy. But it's a special book to me, because it represents how my daughter found healing.

14. You’re a wife, a mother, a writer, a publisher, an activist, and an advocate. What do you do for fun that is . . . well, just for you?

I love hiking. I also enjoy playing my violin in the mountains. This doesn't happen often, but when it does I feel like all of my worries fade--even if only for a moment.

Don't tell my mom, but I'd also like to get into skydiving. I went once and now I can't stop dreaming about doing again--it was UNREAL!

15. The word ‘Uhuru’ means to live in freedom by being and living unbowed in your morals, ethics and principles. How important is it to live in freedom?

Without morals, ethics, principles and freedom of our minds, who are we? If we expect to take life by the reins and truly live, we MUST understand ourselves. That is true freedom, knowing ourselves and having the strength to be who we are. I'm still trying to learn this myself, but I feel as if writing my memoirs has helped me grow more than anticipated.
Living in freedom may be the single most important aspect of living, because being "free" entails so much.

16. As an accomplished writer who has created an impressive, diverse body of work, what three things would you tell inspiring writers?

Make a Goal and Stick to it!
Many writers don't go anywhere because they can't finish a book, or they won't commit to writing consistently. Even if it's just a few minutes a day, if someone wants to be a writer they must take the time to write. Writing needs to be taken seriously. Find time. I get up at 5am just so I can write. If I stop being consistent, my writing will suffer.

Don't Let Anyone Pull You Down
I could probably line a swimming pool with the rejection letters I've received. It's hard hearing criticism from publishers, editors and even friends. But you have to keep going. Yeah, I could swim in the hundreds of rejection letters I've gotten. You know what else I could do? I bet I could make a book using the wonderful letters I've received from people who've read my books and enjoyed them. I've met amazing people. I founded Wayman Publishing. I helped donate thousands of dollars to different organizations. None of that would have happened if I just gave up and swam in my own doubts. Now think of your writing--imagine what you could do!

Find Your Purpose and Hold onto it
Everyone is special. Everyone has something important to offer the world. Once you've found what inspires you to write, keep that close. Just like I wrote in question #6: The reason we initially started looking for our voices, is the same force that will inspire us to find our way.

17. When creating a story, how do you map out the direction you’re going?

Since most books are about 60,000 words long, and I write nearly 2,000 words per chapter, I start by creating 30 chapter titles. These must obey the arc of a good story, with the mid-point and climax carefully placed. I usually think of my resolution and then start my story in the complete opposite place. For example, if my story will end with a confident woman who is financially stable and happy, in the beginning she'll be poor and insecure. Every chapter must describe her growth through subplots etc.

18. What is next for E.C. Stilson?

I'm currently working on "Quest for Larin," the second book in the Mer-son Cycle.

19. What comes to mind from the phrase, ‘Global Citizen’?

I love this concept; it brings such a feeling of unity and hope. This really is a small world. With the way things are going, we're all so easily connected, unique citizens, all equal with the ability to help each other succeed.

20. Can you tell us something funny that happened to you during your life?

I've had so many hilarious things happen to me. But just this morning I talked with a friend about my husband. Cade's fine now, but recently, he was very ill. I had no idea he was actually that sick. I kept saying, "Honey, you need to get out of bed. You'll feel better"
"I can't move," he groaned.
Was he serious? Suddenly I had a flashback of myself being in labor. I breathed through each contraction. My mom and mother-in-law looked worried, praying for me. Then Cade started hyperventilating in the back of the room. Everyone gasped.
I was the one in labor! I didn't have a epidural, thinking I'd save my baby from any drugs. Yet Cade pulled out a damn paper bag, breathing into it, clutching the thing like it held the secrets of life. Then my mother-in-law and MY mother left me as another rolling contraction came. I breathed. Cade breathed. Apparently Cade breathes harder because everyone held his hands and wiped his sweaty forehead! Our families left soon after to get Cade a sandwich--my favorite kind. I couldn't eat, yet he ate the thing, taking big breathes in between each bite. The ketchup from the sandwich kept falling, splashing beautifully onto a napkin on Cade's lap, all during my intense contractions.
"I can't move," Cade groaned again, bringing me back to the present moment.
We went to the hospital. This time Cade rested in the hospital bed while I watched from the sidelines. "You have an infection in your lungs," the doctor said. He had such wild white hair, like Einstein. "Another day and you might have died," he told Cade.
It was my turn to start hyperventilating. I hadn't thought Cade was sick. I'd been so rude! I sat down and breathed hard, trying to ground myself. My mother and mother-in-law instantly ran over to make sure I was okay. They held my hands. They wiped my forehead. . . .
After the doctor left the room, I caught Cade's eyes. He kept staring, wondering why everyone was fawning over me when he was the one in pain.

(End Interview)

As I have gotten older and perhaps a bit more thoughtful, I have often thought about God’s will.  In these thoughts, I have come to believe that God so much bigger than any one religion, but the message God shares with all who believe in the Divine’s existence crosses all faiths: be courageous in your life to be kind and compassionate to one another.  In doing so, I think we allow the God each of us respectively believes in to come into our heart and guide our life. 

When I think of the goodness of having God’s spirit exist on our earthly world, it is rather easy to see the Divine’s presence in the nature of mankind by simply paying attention to my remarkable friend, Elisabeth Hirsch for Elisa, as she is also referred to, is what is right about this world.

On one final note, my life has become enriched over this past year that Elisabeth and I have become friends.  I not only have been open to the lessons she teaches by her action, but I have been empowered to share my voice.

Elisabeth Hirsch exemplifies what it is to be a Hero for she has made our world a better place for many.

Be inspired - I invite you to read about ElisabethHirsh and Elisa's publishing company, Wayman Publishing. Click here to purchase any of EC's publications on Amazon.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Your Voice Matters. The Influence Of Parent Blog Writers

I have always been a believer in the capacity for a single voice to make a positive difference in the lives of others. Most always, when positive change takes place, it is due to the reality that someone found their voice.

I invite you to read this incredible, short, article titled 'Finding Your Voice' written by one of the world's most respected parent blog writers, Mom-ology's Jennifer Cluff.  
Should you ever wonder just how important one person's voice can be - I urge you to read 'Find Your Voice' - it very well may be one of the most important articles you may ever read.

My kindest regards to all,

Friday, March 1, 2013

A Remarkable Hero: Momology Parenting Writer Jennifer Husson Cluff

Jennifer Husson Cluff's Mom-ology Has Been Voted As One Of Canada's Top 5 Parenting Blogs

Over the past few years I have written a series of essays about real-life heroes - incredible individuals who act in kindness and compassion toward others and who inherently, by the nature of their spirits, enhance the lives of those around them. I am fortunate to call each a dear friend. These individuals have made me a better person. They have positively impacted the lives of so many others by direct act or through social activism. Nevertheless, they are what is right about our world.

Jennifer Husson Cluff
Voted One Of Canadas Top 5 Parenting Writers

Needless to say, I feel honored and blessed to have these remarkable heroes in my life for they have not only enriched my own life, but they have profoundly and measurably made our world a better place. It is my privilege to share with you, insight about my dear friend Jennifer Husson Cluff of Ontario, Canada who not only is an active defender and protector of children in crisis as well as children with special needs, but who also is one of the kindest, caring, and compassionate individuals I have ever had the privilege to call 'friend'. It is no wonder why Jennifer Husson Cluff has been awarded the honor of being called one of Canada's top parenting blog writers through her incredible work discussing everyday parenting issues on her Mom-ology website, but also issues revolving around autism and international child abduction and trafficking. From my perspective, Jennifer Husson Cluff is not only one of Canada's top parenting writers, but she is one of the world's most prolific parenting writers because through her writing and social media capability, Jen Husson Cluff has measurably helped save the lives of children in severe crisis.

Before I go any further, let me say this simple thing about heroes: they are ordinary people doing extraordinary things for others during time of need or crisis, and in their act, they seek nothing but to hold the knowledge that they acted in kindness toward another, including individuals they know as well as individuals they may never know. In a hero’s compassionate act, they make the world a better place. And unquestionably, Jennifer Husson Cluff has made the world a better place for others.

Social media has clearly altered the way the world shares information, including a shift away from what may be previously considered traditional media outlets to the more nano-moment overdrive that occurs via social media outlets such as blog sites, TwitterFacebook, etc., etc. The paradigm of this is a massive world of what may be viewed as dormant voices erupted in the media. The volcano, if you will – the highly intelligent, insightful, connected voices known as parenting blog writers.

Speaking from first-hand experience in my capacity as the Founding Director of the I CARE Foundation, I have seen just how influential parenting blog writers are, particularly when they mobilize on a specific issue or cause. Fortunately for many at-risk children and their parents who have been targeted for international parental child abduction, a large and growing number of parenting bloggers decided to share their powerful voices and write about abduction. In doing so, the number of reported cased in the United States declined by 15% during 2012. This was more than a remarkable event. It was a miracle partially created by some extraordinary parents – mostly mothers who parent, who write, who live, who think, who care, and who stood unbowed. Amongst this remarkable group, and defining all of the above, is Jennifer Husson Cluff.

Over the past year, the I CARE Foundation has worked with Jennifer. Whenever we asked for assistance in sharing messages that could possibly help families at risk, not only did she say ‘yes’ to our request, but asked ‘what else can I do to help?’

And help she did!

Jennifer Husson Cluff is my hero. She is what is right about this world. I value her friendship greatly, am inspired deeply by her belief in others, but more than anything, I value her incredible, insightful voice – a voice that always thinks of others while also being assertive, thoughtful, and at times, quite funny. And as a parent – there is not a day that goes by that I am not amazed by just how caring and attentive a parent Jennifer is to her son Connor, who I think is one of the most remarkable young boys I have ever had the privilege of getting to know – in fact, I am blessed that Connor, who sees the world in its purest form – has been willing to share with me from time-to-time his unique, innocent, trusting, and wise perspective about so many things.

The other day, I was discussing with my fellow I CARE Foundation board of director member, attorney Joel Walter the amazing fact that the number of international parental child abduction cases declined by 15%. His words? “The reason why that happened more than anything is because of remarkable women like Jen [Husson Cluff] who answered our plea to help steward the message about abduction. They [the parenting blog writers] played a dramatic role in what was accomplished.”

I couldn’t agree more with Joel’s statement.

In asking Jennifer a list of questions below, I think you will understand just how remarkable a person Jennifer Husson Cluff is. So with great pleasure, I share with you my interview with my hero, Jennifer Husson Cluff.

1. What is Mom-ology?

Mom-ology is a place where I share anything and everything mom-related… or in reality, parenting-related, as I do have some dad readers too. I originally started writing under another blog name and it was specifically about autism. As time went on, I started branching out into more general parenting topics, which allowed Mom-ology to be born. It allowed me to expand what I wanted to write about. It’s a place where I am able to be me and if that benefits someone else as well, that’s fantastic!

2. You have recently been voted one of Canada's Top Parenting Blog Writers. Why write and what topics do you focus on?

My main goal in writing is to write about personal issues that may be of interest to others. Becoming a stay-at-home mom after being in the workforce for almost 15 years was a difficult transition in one sense. Though I love my son more than anything in this world, I thought I lost a part of my identity as a person in the workforce. So in creating Mom-ology, and writing about the things I do, it has allowed me to share my voice with others again.

Outside of sharing life living with autism… the good, the bad and the funny… I am passionate about raising autism awareness. As a special needs parent, I learned very quickly how to advocate for my son. Society has a lot of misconceptions about autism, and to help reduce the amount of discrimination and unfortunately, ignorance, the views of society need to change. My goal is to do what I can to change those views… to make life easier for my son, his friends and anyone else on the spectrum.

I have also become a bit of an advocate trying to help raise awareness about international parental child abduction (IPCA). About a year ago, I was introduced to this world that I didn’t know existed. I was an outsider looking in… and I can sure say, I didn’t like what I saw. I have been incredibly lucky to be able to assist the I CARE Foundation in any way I can, as they fight to bring about changes in the laws that are necessary to protect innocent children from the abuse and cruel world that is IPCA.

3. You are a fierce advocate of children with special needs. What benefits, if any, has social media had in furthering society's understanding of children who are on the autism spectrum?

Thank you for saying that Peter - it means an awful lot coming from you. As you are aware, education is the key for any type of advocacy. In my opinion, social media has been a huge benefit as we try to raise awareness and help change the way society looks at children or adults on the autism spectrum.

Social media has allowed many causes and advocacy programs to reach people that they would have never been able to years ago. There are bloggers out there advocating and raising awareness for autism, as well as organizations such as Autism Speaks, and the information and reach is unbelievable. For example, April 2nd has been recognized as World Autism Awareness Day and a big part of this day is Autism Speaks’ campaign called ‘Light It Up Blue’. Businesses, organizations and individuals from all around the world recognize and participate in this event. It’s something small but it shows that social media is making a difference and getting the word out there. It allows us to share with society and to help people understand. Many times people’s reactions are based on fear of the unknown, but those fears can be reduced simply sharing information and educating society. I like to think that one day my son will live in a world that will accept him for who he is and part of that will be due to the work that advocates are doing today… but we still have a long way to go.

4. You have stewarded the message of international parental child abduction prevention, and have directly played important roles in helping prevent children from being internationally abducted. How would you describe parental child abduction and how relevant is this in society today?

I would say any parent’s worst nightmare would be to have their child abducted. Making it worse would be to know that it was the other parent doing the abducting! It’s hard to imagine that a parent could do that to their child! Aren’t parents supposed to love and care for their children? I know many of you feel the same way as I do and just can’t fathom the idea. However, it happens… and it happens a lot!

International parental child abduction is a form of child abuse… there is no other way to describe it. The short-term and long-term effects on these innocent children are severe. Not only is the child subjected to parental alienation, but studies show there is an increased risk of being murdered by the abducting parent (filicide) and data indicating victims of IPCA are also at a higher risk of suicide.

If you look at the statistics you will see how relevant this is in society today. There may be as many as 20,000 Canadian children and 125,000 American children internationally abducted by one parent from the other over the next ten years. Of those numbers, only about 10% of these children will ever come home!

As a parent, protect yourself and protect your child… I encourage you to take a few minutes and educate yourself about the WARNING SIGNS of IPCA. The easiest and best way to protect these children is to stop IPCA before it happens!

5. You use your blog to educate others about a host of important topics relevant to society today. What would be two of your biggest success stories on how your blog writing has helped another?

One of the things that I love about blogging is hearing from readers. My favorite story by far would be when I was contacted by a mom here in Canada, after reading an article about international parental child abduction that was shared on Mom-ology. This mom discovered that her three children were at risk of being taken to Saudi Arabia by their father. Thankfully the I CARE Foundation was able to ensure that these children remained in Canada where they were safe. I will ALWAYS remember that day… being a part of ensuring these children were safe… that was truly an amazing feeling!

I have had ‘autism parents’ contact me looking for support for their struggles that mainly revolve around dealing with school issues. Most recently, a parent emailed me after their child was forced into a supposed ‘seclusion room’ at school. Many parents are unaware of their rights in these types of situations and even more are afraid to upset the school and the officials. Helping parents to understand their rights and assisting to ensure they are able to access the resources and support that they need is extremely important. In this case it was to protect a child’s safety… to preserve a child’s dignity… and help a parent to realize they need to be the voice for their child and stand up for what they believe is right.

6. How socially influential are parenting blog writers and mom bloggers in particular?

I wish I could remember where I read this, but it was research stating that in 2012 there were 4.2 million ‘mom bloggers’ in North America. Now each of those mom bloggers have a passion that they write about… it may be fashion, food or fighting for a cause… whatever it is, in those numbers, they carry a lot of weight in the social world. Many parenting bloggers are stay at home moms and we use our blogs to share our voice and with the accessibility of the internet we are able to share our message with more people than ever before. I read parenting blogs from all around the world… I don’t go to buy a newspaper anymore… I use the internet to see what is going on in the world.

7. You have been blog writing for a little more than a year, yet in your first year as a blogger you have become considered one of the most important parenting blog writers. Are there any lessons that you can share with other parents who are or may be considering creating a blog?

Mom-ology was not my first blog but it is the first one that I have actually stuck with and made into something that I am proud of. I struggled a lot trying to ‘find my groove’ so to speak. I can’t say exactly what it was, but everything just fell into place. I write about what I love. I wouldn’t be able to do it any other way. I proved that to myself many times over!! I like to think I’m heading down the right path now though because I sure love what I do.

In my opinion, you need to write about what you know… write about what you love! I think with blogging, you have to do it because you enjoy it. If you put too many expectations on yourself you will probably lose interest. Deciding what you want from your blog is also an important step. Do you want it to be a ‘diary’ that you can share with family and friends, or do you have a bigger goal in mind…making an income? Advocating for a cause? Most of all have fun!

8. I would like to play a little word game. What comes to mind when I say, "Finding Your Voice?"

Funny you should ask this question, seeing as it comes up so much in our conversations!

I believe that your ‘voice’ is who you are… your mind, your heart and your spirit. When you ‘find your voice’ you find who you are truly meant to be and what is your ‘gift’, so to speak. There is a passion inside everyone and the challenge is to find it, but when you do, you will know. I guess for myself, I found my voice after I started Mom-ology. It’s been an incredible journey!

9. How has social media changed the landscape of society?

Social media has made some pretty great changes in the world. If you look at the way we interact with each other there are some definite pros and cons. Social media allows us to stay in contact with friends and family like we never could before, but I also think there is a downside to that in that we have lost some of the social skills that used to exist in society. People sit in the same room with each other and converse via text messages rather than a good old conversation. I must admit that I find that funny when I see it happen. The definition of ‘friends’ has pretty much been redefined due to Facebook. How many of your friends on Facebook are really friends? But if you look at the area of social activism, the changes are amazing! Gone are the days of having a small group on individuals trying to fight for a cause...locally. Today, social media allows people to connect on a global scale which only benefits the area of education and raising awareness. Think about the decline in parental abductions. This information is going out over the internet through the I CARE Foundation and bloggers. Parents are finding out about IPCA and the risks through social media. Children's lives are being protected because of social media! I don’t know about you, but that’s pretty impressive!

10. Three books that have changed your life?

OK, this is really going to show where my life is today! I don't have a lot of free time to read so when I do, most of my focus goes into learning about autism. The first two books are written by individuals on the autism spectrum and each has taught me so much about my son.

Chasing the Cyclone... well, that's kind of a given. Now certainly one of my favorite books, it has impacted my life in so many positive ways... as has the author!!

1. Thinking in Pictures by Temple Grandin

2. Look Me In the Eye by John Elder Robison

3. Chasing The Cyclone by Peter Thomas Senese

11. Your son has a golden retriever named Ollie. How important is Ollie to your family?

As a companion, a helper, a best friend and member of our family, Ollie is our son’s autism service dog. Quite simply, he brings peace back to our lives as he is our extra set of eyes and ears. He has the amazing ability to make a young boy’s tears disappear by sharing a little nuzzle, or a comforting lick on the cheek, and those tears are replaced with sounds of laughter. Things like providing a warm snuggle at night, Ollie helps our son to feel safe and comforted so that he is able to sleep. A simple cuddle can help reduce anxiety and assists with self-regulation (those things we all take for granted) which makes those daily routines more bearable. If you were to ask what the best thing about having Ollie is, our son’s reply would be, and has been, ‘He is my best friend’.

We have had Ollie for almost 4 years and he has made such an enormous change in our lives. He has a big job but he does it so well! As you can probably tell by all that, Ollie is an extremely important member of our family and we are truly blessed to have him!

12. International Parental Child Abduction rates declined for the second year in a row in the United States. How significant of a role would you say parenting blog writers played in raising social awareness so at-risk parents can protect their children?

First off, I am thrilled at this news. When you shared this information the other day it was, as you know, a reality check for me. As a blogger, you don’t generally see the effect that you have on things like social awareness. If you are blogging about healthy eating, you don’t see how your efforts change people’s health specifically… you have to trust that what you are doing is making a difference.

In the case of parental child abduction, getting the word out on a global scale is beneficial for all. With bloggers having access to the internet and the followers through social media sites, it is easy to get messages out on a massive scale. I guess you could say that the numbers speak for themselves. Though standing up for what you believe in on your own is better than not doing anything at all, I think it takes a strong team to really make a difference. The efforts of the I CARE Foundation and the parenting bloggers that have been working with them are making a difference! I am proud to be a part of that!

13. Who or what inspires you?

That’s an easy one… my biggest inspiration is, of course, my son.

14. What should others know about you and your writing?

One of my favorite phrases is 'Live… Laugh… Love'. There are sure a lot of different ways you can interpret that phrase, but any way you look at it, it’s a great way to live! If I could give everyone the ability to at least laugh each day I would. Laughter is the best medicine… it doesn’t take batteries… and best of all, it’s free!

I would love it if people would stop by and check out Mom-ology… and of course let me know that you stopped by!

15. What would you like to tell anyone who thinks that their voice doesn't matter or who thinks that they can't make a difference in their own life or the lives of others?

Never let anyone tell you that your voice doesn't matter because it does! Even one voice can make a difference. It took me a while to realize that, but thanks to a pretty good friend... namely Peter Thomas Senese... I am able to see that now. If I can make a difference, so can you!

(End Interview Questions)

There are people in this world that make the world a better place by simply existing, and Jennifer Husson Cluff sure is one of them.  Extremely intelligent, humble, considerate to others, a dedicated parent who has found her voice and who has used her voice for the greater good of others, she is what is right about this world.  

While it sit here thinking about how I would like to end this interview, I have immediately found myself reflecting upon the time when Jen and I first met.  With a smile on my face, I remember after our first conversation how intelligent and caring she is.  But I also remember thinking to myself, "She really doesn't realize just how capable she is, nor how important her incredible insight is."  Well, I can't say how amazing of an experience it has personally been to see first-hand as Jennifer Husson Cluff, one of Canada's Top 5 Parenting writers . . . has found her voice.  Undeniably, the world is a better place . . . and my life has been enriched in ways I could never possibly explain.

And Jennifer, should you ever read this - I want you to know you are a true hero in my eyes.

Kindest wishes to all -

Peter Thomas Senese

Author, Filmmaker, Advocate, and Believer In Miracles

Founding Director - The I CARE Foundation