Do You Like Me? Thursday, Feb 4 2016 

How much do you want to ‘Like” Me? I have 11 Facebook pages. Not only do I have a personal page and one for me as an author, I also have one for every one of my books as well as one for my Beautycounter business. Some posts are duplicated but most are targeted to specific groups.

Please “Like” as many as you find of interest. And comment and post! It’s very lonely to post alone. I need your feedback to know if I’m on track with my thoughts and words.

Here is a list of my Facebook pages and the content you’ll find there:

  • Mary K Doyle – My writing and work as an author/speaker
  • Navigating Alzheimer’s – Credible information on dementia and caregiving
  • Hans Christian Andersen Illuminated by The Message – Faith and fairytales, especially those by Andersen
  • Grieving with Mary – Grieving and Marian devotion
  • Young in the Spirit – Aging faithfully
  • Saint Theodora and Her Promise to God – Saint Theodora and children
  • Seven Principles of Sainthood – Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, also known as Saint Theodora
  • The Rosary Prayer by Prayer – The rosary and Marian devotion
  • Mentoring Heroes – Mentoring
  • Beautycounter By Mary Doyle Brodien – Beauty products, beauty tips, health
  • Mary Doyle Brodien – My personal page for close friends and family

©2016, Mary K. Doyle

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In a Different Time Saturday, Jun 27 2015 

 

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One of my life’s blessings was to meet a group of friends in High School that are as dear to me today as they were then. Mary Ellen, Sally, and Susie are intelligent, witty, courageous, and compassionate women who’ve stood strong with me through thick and thin.

I recently came across a book, If for Girls, written by Jean Kyler McManus and Illustrated by Liselotte Malnar, that these friends gave me on my sixteenth birthday. It’s a sweet, palm-sized book with delicate pastel drawings and text in cursive.

It’s written in verse with each page beginning with “If you.” The book begins:

If you can live each day

with the assurance

That “A girl” is something

wonderful to be

 

If you can find a way

to meet your problems

with courage and with

true maturity

The book goes on by suggesting “girls” reject vulgar style and what is worthless, guard one’s principles, and not complain. It encourages standing up for what’s right, comforting those in need, and making firm decisions. It concludes:

If you can practice all the

Arts of living

With real integrity

You’re bound to be a

Happy person, always

And the lovely woman you were meant to be

I’m not sure how many teens today would encourage their friends to live such principles. I’m fortunate my friends did and have followed their own guidance. They truly are the lovely women they were meant to be.

©2015, Mary K. Doyle

Making the Right Decision Tuesday, Oct 7 2014 

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One of the most valuable lessons my father taught his children was how to make a decision. He didn’t rush in to fix things. He guided and allowed us to take care of ourselves and succeed on our own.

Together we would discuss the pros and cons of going one way or the other. We talked about repercussions, cause and effect, what we wanted to achieve, and which direction to go to make our goal happen. And then Dad encouraged us to make that final decision. If we wanted to discuss the end result with him, he was available, but he never criticized or judged what we did, even when we knew he would have done things very differently.

Decades ago, people had fewer things and fewer opportunities, therefore, fewer choices. Although that limited potential in some ways, it omitted the continuous challenge we encounter every minute of every day today. We have so many decisions to make. Our lives our stressful because we begin with which shampoo to use, what outfit to wear, which shoes go with that outfit, and what to eat.

Most of the decisions we stress over are insignificant. How much does it really matter if we have Cheerios or Shredded Wheat for breakfast? If a choice has little impact on our well-being, or that of other people around us, it’s not likely our decision is worth the time and effort to worry about.

Many decisions also can be back-tracked. We may go in one direction and find it isn’t working as well as we hoped, so we regroup and go another way.

Then there are those decisions that are life-altering, such as a marriage, a major residential move, or a split second decision that results in a traffic accident.

In some cases, making a list can be quite helpful. Gather as much information as possible, and then sort the entries into columns showing the benefits and drawbacks. One item may make the decision clear. For example, our child may have an opportunity to develop her interest in music at a particular school but the tuition is beyond our budget. We simply can’t afford to send her there.

To avoid being on edge all day, every day, we must let go of the little stuff. If we don’t stress over every little move we make all day long, we have more energy for the big things.

And then follow my dad’s guidance by asking yourself:

  1. Do I have all of the necessary information?
  2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of an action?
  3. Am I willing to do what it takes to follow through with this decision?
  4. Am I prepared to accept the responsibility, criticism, or accolades that may come with my decision?
  5. Will this action achieve my goal?

(Photo: My dad, John Doyle)

©2014, Mary K. Doyle

Little Chefs Thursday, Aug 1 2013 

When I was 12 years-old, I won 1st place in a cherry pie baking contest at my school that was sponsored by Northern Illinois Gas Company. I went on to a second bake-off to compete against the winners from other schools in the Chicago area. In that contest my pie won 4th Place – my essay won 1st.

I baked a pie just about every day the weeks prior to each contest. I’m thankful my parents allowed me to do that because I’m sure it was difficult for them to afford the ingredients. But that practice actually was an investment in mastering the skill of pie baking. Making the crust in particular can be intimidating for even adult bakers. Learning how to do that at a young age has allowed me to whip up meat and fruit pies all my life.

I wanted to share that ability with my six-year-old granddaughter. Kaylee is my son-in-law Steve’s daughter from a previous marriage, and I treasure the time I have with her when she is in town. She is smart, compassionate, and delightful and one of my favorite young ladies.

We decided on baking the pies in individual pans, and I was especially happy she chose to make cherry. While we baked we discussed safe food handling, the importance of each ingredient, and of course, the steps in making the pies. We also talked about our daily thoughts and concerns.

Kaylee is a quick learner and did an excellent job of measuring, cooking the filling, rolling out the dough, and sealing the pies.

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The end result was perfect. Kaylee’s pies were as beautiful as they were delicious.

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It’s never too early to introduce children to cooking and baking. The benefits are many. Young chefs learn to appreciate the time and money involved in food preparation. They are more eager to try foods they prepare. They also learn not be intimidated to cook later in life.

Best of all, we gain priceless time with them to exchange ideas and what weighs heavy on our minds. I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation Kaylee and I shared while baking. It’s a memory we both appreciate.

* * *

Cherry Pie

Pastry:
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup lard or vegetable fat (Crisco)
4 tablespoons Ice water

Filling:
2 cans red tart cherries
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup sugar
¾ teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 350.

I. Drain cherries. Combine juice from one can, sugar, and cornstarch in a saucepan. Cook till thick and clear. Remove pan from burner. Add butter, almond extract, and cherries. Cool.

II. Mix flour and salt. Cut in the fat until the size of peas. Sprinkle ice water onto the flour mixture. Carefully add a little more water if needed. Gently form the dough into a ball. Cut the ball in half. Roll out one half of the dough about 1 inch larger than the inverted pie pan for the bottom crust. Prick the crust and lay it in the pie pan.

Pour the filling into the pie pan.

Roll out the top crust. Slit in the center. Dampen the edges of the bottom crust. Lay the top crust over the pie and seal.

Bake pie in 450 oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350. Bake about 30 more minutes.

©2013, Mary K. Doyle

Mentoring Fathers Monday, Jun 17 2013 

A belated Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers, step-fathers, godfathers, grandfathers and all those who provide a paternal influence to someone.

You may have noted that mentoring is an area in which I believe has significant impact. My first book was on the topic, and I write about it often because I know the difference it makes in someone’s life. Parents are especially important as mentors. As I wrote in Mentoring Heroes,

“As parents we have the first opportunity and the first responsibility to mentor our children. We are the ones on which our children count to answer questions based on our own experiences and knowledge or to link them with the resource or person that can help them. Through our words and actions we teach our children about life issues, values, unconditional and non-judgmental love, faith, and compassion. We also teach them about the mentoring relationship and the benefits of learning from people wiser and more experienced than ourselves (69-70).

Fathers offer a different type of mentoring than mothers, so are equally important in this role. Several women interviewed in Mentoring Heroes described how their fathers helped them to feel confident enough to pursue careers in industries less typical for women, such as plumbing, the sciences, and manufacturing. Many of their fathers took them to work with them in these environments, exposing them to possibilities they may not otherwise have had.

Whatever line of work or interests you may have, sharing your experiences with your children widens their scope. Even if they don’t wish to follow your interests, they gain an understanding in areas they may not have ventured. They also learn about teamwork and the value of each member, respect for others and work, and how to strive for their goals.

I applaud the men who reach out to mentor the young ones in their lives and encourage those who don’t to do so. You have the ability to impact someone in a way no one else can and invest in their future, which is the future of the world.

©2013, Mary K. Doyle

Teaching Respect Monday, Apr 15 2013 

Another beautiful young woman committed suicide after being bullied. Rehtaeh Parsons, a 17-year-old high school student from Halifax, Nova Scotia, recently was taken off of life support after hanging herself. Rehtaeh allegedly was gang-raped in November of 2011. A photo said to be taken during the attack was circulated among her fellow students, who then bullied her for more than a year. Rehtaeh was so distraught from the rape and continuous bullying, she sought relief in her death.

There are so many parts of this story that saddens me. I’m so very sad for beautiful Rehtaeh and her grieving family. I’m also sad and disturbed for the group of peers who assaulted her repeatedly in one way or another. And I’m disheartened over the fact that this is not an event that hasn’t happened before.

What is wrong with a society of adolescents who can be so cruel? Aren’t the young supposed to be innocent and optimistic? What are we doing, or not doing, as parents, teachers, and mentors to raise such a group of young people?

More than twenty years ago I worked with a detective on a series of stories on self-defense for the Chicago Tribune. The detective asked me if women, as mothers, couldn’t instill a greater level of respect in their sons for women. He felt most boys did not respect their mothers, much less other women.

I do think the detective has a point. We want our children to feel special, loved, and powerful. But are we doing enough to teach them to treat us, as well as others, with the same care and compassion?

How is it that so many young people could torment one young woman? Where is the respect and consideration due another human being?

This issue needs urgent attention. Our children are our future. We are their role models and mentors. It is our responsibility to guide the adults of tomorrow.

©2013, Mary K. Doyle

Wind in Your Sails Friday, Apr 13 2012 

Do you have a mentor? Do you mentor? If not, maybe you should.

For about ten years, I wrote feature and profile articles for newspapers and realized there was a pattern to each story. The subjects of the articles eagerly stressed that they did not reach their level of success alone. They had mentors who they relied upon.

Further investigation proved that most people at the top of every field had one or more mentors. My findings are the basis of the book, Mentoring Heroes. Following is an excerpt from this book:

“The wind propels the sailboat. It influences the speed and direction of the vessel.

Mentors are the wind in your sails. They can accelerate your career voyage. They can guide you down a stream you would never have chosen on your own. You, the sailor, remain in control of the journey. You may choose to resist a mentor’s nudge or direction. But as the sailboat does not move without the wind, your progress may be nil or slow without the mentor.

Professional mentors share information they have gained through experience, saving you the time and challenge of discovering the information on your own. They can introduce you to other high-ranking people in your business who have the power to promote and support your growth. They can identify talents and capabilities within you of which you are unaware. They can send you in a direction better suited to your advancement than you otherwise would have chosen.”

(See more about the book, Mentoring Heroes, on my website at http://www.marykdoyle.com/pages/mentors.html )

©Mary K. Doyle

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