Thursday, June 30, 2011

Downward Mobility....

The society in which we live suggests in countless ways that the way to go is up. Making it to the top, entering the limelight, breaking the record - that's what draws attention, gets us on the front page of the newspaper, and offers us the rewards of money and fame.

The way of Jesus is radically different. It is the way not of upward mobility but of downward mobility. It is going to the bottom, staying behind the sets, and choosing the last place! Why is the way of Jesus worth choosing? Because it is the way to the Kingdom, the way Jesus took, and the way that brings everlasting life.
Henri Nouwen


Mahatma Gandhi once said, "You must be the change you want to see in the world." Asbo Jesus is "spot on" in calling our attention to they we perceive change in our world.

Change is not easy...for the most part, we human's hate to get out of our comfort zone. We don't want to take risks...we don't want to stand up when the risk fails and take responsibility. It makes us look bad! Or does it?

Leaders are willing to stand up for a cause, they are willing to think outside the box for a solution, they are willing to be the "go to" person and make the decisions...they are also the ones who will step forward when there is blame to carry. Each and every change we try to make will not be the best choice...each and every change isn't necessarily the right one...sometimes things don't need to change!

But if we never try, if we never risk, if we never trust...we will never know!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Feast Day

Today we actually have 2 saints to celebrate and both are very familiar to Christians everywhere...I've linked to MethodX for more information. While you're reading about them, ponder this...which one are you more like? Peter or Paul?

Of St. Peter:
Peter gives us some of the most human moments in the New Testament. He is unafraid to express his questions and fears; he often puts his foot in his mouth. Although he proclaims, "I will lay down my life for you" at the Last Supper, Jesus correctly predicts that the next day Peter will deny his Lord three times before the cock crows. After the resurrection, Jesus returns to ask Peter "Do you love me?" three times to give Peter the chance to declare his loyalty.

and St. Paul:
Paul reached out to Jews and Gentiles, determined to share the good news of Jesus Christ. He traveled throughout the eastern Mediterranean. He survived being stoned, beaten and thrown into jail. Despite the persecution in eight years of travel he touched countless lives with his preaching, established Christian communities, and encouraged people's spiritual growth by letters (the New Testament's Epistles).

A graduation surprise!

For any of you who have experienced the pain of separation that comes from having someone close to you serving in our'll know just how this feels!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A prayer

May every soul that touches mine--
Be it the slightest contact--
Get therefrom some good;
Some little grace; one kindly thought;
One aspiration yet unfelt;
One bit of courage
For the darkening sky;
One gleam of faith
To brave the thickening ills of life;
One glimpse of brighter skies
Beyond the gathering mists--
To make this life worth while--
And Heaven a surer heritage.
George Eliot

Flash Mob's take all forms...

First, we see a pedestrian area in a shopping street in Preston, Lancashire. It could be anywhere in the country. Suddenly, there appears a Franciscan friar. He puts on a white priestly stole. Then he rummages in the bag he is carrying and takes out a charged monstrance, which he lifts up on high. One person comes out of the crowd and kneels. Another friar reads out a long series of Old Testament prophecies about Jesus, and new Testament references to him; interspersed in this list is the refrain “Come and kneel before him now”. Little by little, more and more do; by the time this extraordinary event has finished, there is a sizable kneeling crowd, which in the end burst into amazed and excited applause. Then, it is over. The friar replaces the monstrance in his bag, and walks away.

Yesterday, the Oxford Oratory’s Corpus Christi procession took the Lord in his Holy Sacrament through the shopping streets of Oxford. Read more here

Monday, June 27, 2011


Although artwork is meant to be enjoyed, in many cases, it should also be studied. While I have spent time seated before paintings in order to draw may own conclusions, it is a treat to have someone explain what must have been (or may have been) in the artists mind while he/she worked on their piece.

"The Entombment of Christ by Caravaggio"

Sunday, June 26, 2011


"Fiat" at The Sisters of Loretto Kentucky

I am convinced that we can choose joy. Every moment we can decide to respond to an event or a person with joy instead of sadness. When we truly believe that God is life and only life, then nothing need have the power to draw us into the sad realm of death. To choose joy does not mean to choose happy feelings or an artificial atmosphere of hilarity. But it does mean the determination to let whatever takes place bring us one step closer to the God of Life.
Henri Nowen

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Kewpie Dolls

While I recognize that most reading this blog are way too young to remember them at the peak of their popularity...they were a phenomenon in their time!

The Kewpie Doll was created by Rose O’Neill, who was born on this day in 1874. Rose was raised in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania and had a rather successful career as an illustrator and author. In fact, her paintings, drawings, and sculptures of, what Rose called her “Sweet Monsters” (mythical creatures such as centaurs, fauns, satyrs) (Sweet Monsters...sound familiar Lady Gaga fans?), were exhibited in New York and Paris. But then, she began to design dolls, specifically, the Kewpie Doll.

A 1909 issue of Ladies Home Journal printed a full page of Ms. O’Neill’s doll designs catapulting the Kewpie Doll into a marketing success in the toy industry for over three decades. The dolls have been in almost continuous production since that time by a whole host of companies.

They used to give them away as prizes at carnivals...Matter of fact, Perry Como once sang a song about a "real, live Kewpie Doll"! Now if, before reading this, you knew about the dolls and better yet, also knew who Perry Como is/was...then you're either a "mature" adult or have been a student of history...either way, I just thought this would be a fun bit to post for a Saturday!

I see the moon...

Don't have the slightest idea who took these pictures...but had to share them anyway...If you know please pass along the info so I can give credit where credit is due!

Friday, June 24, 2011


If you've been an avid fan of the Harry Potter series as my family has...or if somehow you've never experienced them, there's something new:

You can visit Pottermore online...
There's more info about how it is to be set up, etc. here...

Sweet Dreams....

A friend of mine recommended this and it's given me a whole new way to look at ice cream. What an inspiring and hopeful story from Rwanda...after a history of pain, genocide and trauma.

The story is here...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Texting Codes

"Texting" with teenagers (or maybe your own children)can prove to be difficult at best. First, they are speed demons when it comes to typing their conversation! In the time it takes me to decide to send a text and then decide what to say, they have probably exchanged ideas three or four times.

Don't even get me started on the "codes" they use...BFF (best friends forever); TTFN (ta ta for now), IMHO (in my humble opinion), BTW (by the way)...FWIW (for what it's worth) and those are just the ones I know...and there are hundreds of them. Needless to say, I have had to ask a Youth to translate!

Fortunately, someone has written codes for those of who are no longer considered's a shame, but I can relate!

BFF: Best friend fell
BTW: Bring the wheelchair
BYOT: Bring your own teeth
FWIW: Forgot where I was
GHA: got heartburn again
IMHO: Is my hearing aid on?
LMDO: laughing my dentures out
ROFLACGU: rolling on floor laughing and can't get up

Well, you get the idea...

Mary of Oignies

Mary of Oignies (1177-1213) was one of the first holy women to transform religious life in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. Living as a beguine (Roman Catholic lay religious communities active in the 13th and 14th centuries, living in a loose semi-monastic community but without formal vows) and a free anchoress she guided those who came to speak with her, both high clerics and common people alike. In the oral world of medieval Christianity one disregarded her word at considerable risk. Mary has been called a 'friend to the saints'.

Mary always wore white, abstained from eating meat, and had the unusual gift of tears. If she looked at a crucifix or thought about Jesus, she was so overcome with grief at Christ's suffering, she began to sob. Communion was a mystical experience for her. She sometimes fainted, or sang in verse.

Today is her feast day.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Dear Sophie...

Having raised our own dear children, we are now helping to raise our one and only grandson...he is 7 now. Of course it seems like yesterday I was zipping down the highway to Jacksonville, FL...trying to make it in time for his birth. It's okay that he was scrubbed, diapered and swaddled by the time I got there...our first meeting was bliss. But time passes quickly and now we're into Cub Scouts and swimming and trucks and video games but he still has time for Nana and Papa...and for that we're thankful.

This is a commercial (of course)...but it says a lot about memories...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Kool Aid...Fried?

You have to see it to believe it...and no, I haven't tasted it!

Summer Solstice

For more information about Paganism...Summer Solstice and Midsummer Day...look here

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Trinity....

Yesterday was Trinity Sunday...

Preface of the Holy Trinity:

Father, all powerful and ever-living God,
we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks.

We joyfully proclaim our faith in the mystery of your Godhead.
You have revealed your glory as the glory of your Son and of the Holy Spirit;
three Persons equal in majesty, undivided in splendor, yet one Lord, one God,
ever to be adored in your everlasting glory.

In the Desert...

Have you ever noticed that the very first way Satan tries to subvert your Christian walk is by attacking your identity as a child of God? These attempts can be frightening and unsettling but only if you let them be...we must always remember we're in good company:
Matthew 3:16 - 4:10
16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
Matthew 4
1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” 4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” 5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” 7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 8 Again,the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only."

Even the greatest and best known church leaders have struggled. We all have our time in the desert. As mentioned in the verses above, Jesus had been 40 days in the wilderness...his earthly body was suffering from hunger and fatigue and up pops Satan to take some of his best shots. Even though Jesus had recently heard a voice from heaven proclaiming..."This is my beloved Son...", Satan says "If you are the Son of God...". He was trying to make Jesus doubt...but our Lord and Savior would have none of it. He stood firm against His adversary and showed us the way to combat doubt and fear.

The next time life, the world or Satan start wearing you down, remember that you do have a purpose on this earth. Stand firm, as Jesus did, and "tell" whatever is hoping to force you to deny God's Grace and mercy that..."I HAVE been baptized...I HAVE been marked by Christ and sealed by the Holy Spirit. You have NO authority here!"

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

I have been told when Jesus cried out, “Abba, Father” He wasn't repeating Himself. A loose translation of Abba means “Dad”. While Father conjures images of strength, integrity and protection...Dad conjures images of love, compassion and warmth.

Whatever you call your male parent...Father, Dad, Daddy, Pops...make sure you do just that...and call him today!

What Makes a Dad

God took the strength of a mountain,
The majesty of a tree,
The warmth of a summer sun,
The calm of a quiet sea,
The generous soul of nature,
The comforting arm of night,
The wisdom of the ages,
The power of the eagle's flight,
The joy of a morning in spring,
The faith of a mustard seed,
The patience of eternity,
The depth of a family need,
Then God combined these qualities,
When there was nothing more to add,
He knew His masterpiece was complete,
And so,

He called it ... Dad
Author Unknown

And while you're at it...don't forget:

Saturday, June 18, 2011


When you think of Christianity and your spiritual walk...what is your first response? Gratitude? Well, that is a good place to start...but what about joy? Pure unadulterated joy! Wait, are we supposed to feel that? Or are we suppose to feel grateful and then set out to “earn” our salvation?

Jesus was a Jew, we all know that. But did you know that most Jewish scholars would tell you that the dominate mood of the sabbath should be joy? When you enter the sanctuary on Sunday morning, would delighted be a word that you would use to describe the congregation? How about when you're singing the while I realize many of them are not meant to be joyous, what about the ones that are? Do you sing them with a smile on your face? Does your body feel the need to move? Even just a little? How do you think God feels when He sees us “worshiping Him”? What would you think if you were Him? I'm not trying to say we can ever know the mind of God but, He did make us in His image and with that comes the capacity for heavenly joy!

If this description doesn't fit you, don't despair! The Puritans shaped the way many feel about being a follower of Christ, even several hundred years later...and don't get me started on the Protestant work ethic can be misconstrued! While in and of themselves, what they've taught us is not wrong, but it's certainly does NOT encourage a thrilling, enchanting, delightful attitude. How do those outside the church view us...honestly, think of the way many of us look and behave on Sunday morning...would you want to get up and join that?

There is a time and place to work for God's kingdom. There are times and places to be somber in our spirituality. But it is not meant to be ALL the time. Jesus us tells us to come to Him as a little child. Next time you worship or talk to another about Christ, think of your child-self, and worship or talk with enthusiasm, with devotion, with exhilaration, with conviction!

There is no greater way we can Honor God than by showing our delight at being His child!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Burning the Flag...

Regardless of what you may think of Penn and Teller...this is worth watching...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Saint of lost things....

On Monday I put up a post about the Feast day of St. Anthondy of Padua...and today I see this at Yahoo News

A 780-year-old treasure honoring St. Anthony of Padua has been stolen from a Southern California Catholic church.

The relic, which is normally kept under lock and key, was brought out by the Rev. Jose Magana because he thought it might help his parishioners regain their faith during the difficult economic climate. In a bit of bitter irony, St. Anthony is known as the patron saint of lost things.

Per the NY Times:

“Many people here have lost a lot in this economy, and I thought, why not have them pray to St. Anthony?” Father Magaña said.

So when he rose to deliver his sermon on Sunday, he told his parishioners that St. Anthony could do more than help them find their lost car keys and wallet. “He can restore your faith in God, your trust in the system, in yourself,” he said to them.

When he finished, hundreds of worshipers lined up to pray before the relic, which was housed in an ornate gold reliquary, about 16 inches high, with angel-shaped handles. Father Magaña reminded them that they could not touch it, and a few ushers stood guard at the glass case that held the reliquary.

The police have told Father Magaña not to say exactly what the relic is; typically relics are body parts or clothes of a saint.

Merely seeing the relic is special — it has not been on view since the 100th anniversary of the parish in 2002. Father Magaña said there was no record of when it was displayed before then. The parish received the relic from the Vatican shortly after the parish was created, he said.

How an effort to encourage the congregation, the priest displays the priceless artifact...which is then stolen.

Killer Queen

Somehow I think Freddie Mercury would be proud!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Now I know that it is not I who pray but the Spirit of God who prays in me. Indeed, when God's glory dwells in me, there is nothing too far away, nothing too painful, nothing too strange or too familiar that it cannot contain and renew by its touch. Every time I recognize the glory of God in me and give it space to manifest itself to me, all that is human can be brought there and nothing will be the same again.
Henri Nouwen

Can I be your friend?

A new opera in London...what if we acted in "real" life like we do on Facebook or Twitter?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Because it's Monday

...and because everyone can use a reason to laugh...

St. Anthony of Pauda

Anthony of Padua was born in Portugal in 1195, but his life's work was in Italy. At the age of fifteen Anthony joined the Augustinians. When he met a group of Franciscans who were subsequently martyred in Morocco, Anthony became a Franciscan. He, too, hoped to be a martyr. He traveled to Morocco to carry on the work of the murdered friars, but had to return because he was ill. On his way back to Portugal, his ship was blown off course and he ended up in Sicily. Anthony went north to Assisi and met Saint Francis himself.

From Assisi Anthony was sent to live quietly at the Hermitage of San Paolo. When he preached an outstanding sermon at an ordination ceremony, his superiors discovered his astounding oratorical skills. Soon, Anthony was preaching to thousands of people and is still considered to have been one of the greatest preachers of all time. He died in 1231 at the age of thirty-six. Noted by his contemporaries for his forceful preaching and expert knowledge of Scripture, he was declared a saint almost immediately after his death and proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1946.

Tradition has it that when St. Anthony found he was preaching the true Gospel to heretics who would not listen to him, he then went out and preached it to the fishes. This was not, for the instruction of the fishes, but rather for the glory of God, the delight of the angels, and the easing of his own heart. St. Anthony wanted to profess the Gospel with his mind and his heart, at every moment.

Anthony of Padua is known as the patron saint of lost articles. Courtesy of MethodX

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Pentecost Sunday

and the rest of the reading, Acts 2: 22-47
22 “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men,[d] put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. 25 David said about him:

“‘I saw the Lord always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
26 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest in hope,
27 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
you will not let your holy one see decay.
28 You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence.’[e]

29 “Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,

“‘The Lord said to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand
35 until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.”’[f]

36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”

37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
The Fellowship of the Believers
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Dating Rules...

If you were a teenager in the 1950's, chances are you were given some of the following rules for dating:

Dating Etiquette for Girls

* Only floozies ask guys out.
* When someone asks you out, it’s polite to give an immediate answer.
* Never break a date without providing a valid reason.
* There’s no such thing as fashionably late; be ready when your date arrives.
* It’s only proper to introduce your date to your parents.
* Don’t apply makeup in public (please see first point).
* At a restaurant, it’s ladylike to tell a date what you want for dinner
so he can order for you.
* Don’t humiliate guys by trying to pay for a date.

Dating Etiquette for Guys

* Dates aren’t like cramming for exams; don’t wait until the last minute to ask
a girl out.
* It’s poor form to honk the car horn to announce your arrival; call for her at
the door.
* Ask her parents when they want her home — and make sure your watch works.
* It’s only polite to help her don her coat.
* Real gentlemen open car doors for girls — or any door, for that matter.
* It’s chivalrous to walk between her and the curb.
* Bring enough money along.
* No kissing on the first date.
* On prom night, don’t leave the corsage in the fridge.

In 2011, online dating has become the rule, rather than the exception. The following are up to date rules for online dating:

1. Post a recent photo of yourself that's flattering and actually looks like you.
2. Be unique and specific in your profile.
3. Avoid negative language in your profile.
4. Only respond to people who interest you.
5. Avoid Googling a potential match.
6. Keep your emails brief. A general rule of thumb: two paragraphs is ideal.
7. If there's interest, meet in person quickly.
8. Protect your privacy.
9. Meet in public and tell at least one person where you'll be and what time you expect to be home.
10. Plan a first date that can be short, sweet, and low-key, like lunch or a coffee date.
11. Keep your options open!
12. Don’t date someone just for "practice."
13. Don’t take the rejection personally.
14. Take a break if you’re feeling jaded.
15. Try different sites.

My, oh my, times certainly do change...doesn't mean that one way was better than the other...I'm sure many young women would be stifled by the rules their parents and grandparents followed. Just like the parents and grandparents would be "lost" when it comes to dating in today's world. To each his own!

Friday, June 10, 2011


This piece was posted by Monica Rozenfeld on Busted Halo...her blog is from a Jewish perspective and is called Rendezvous with G-d

[In 2011, Shavuot runs from sunset on Tuesday, June 7, to sunset, June 9, while Pentecost is Sunday, June 12. This post was originally published on May 26, 2010.]

This week is kind of a big deal. From May 18-20th, we celebrate Shavuot (Shah-voo-ote) which is the holiday of when the Israelites received the Torah from G-d on Mount Sinai. It happens to be one of my favorite Jewish holidays because the way to celebrate is by staying up all night, with a ton of people, drinking and studying text.

Last year, I went to the JCC in Manhattan where they had classes all night, plus Israeli dancing, musical performances, Krav Maga lessons (Israeli self-defense) and tons of food and wine. It’s overall a real high energy, exciting time where the City is filled with people walking from one shul to the next at all times of the night.

I actually got to Monica's post through another one called Kicking and Screaming...

Shavuot is a festival that happens fifty days after Passover in order to celebrate the event in which God gave the Torah to Moses… in other words, the event in which God gave his word to the Jewish people in the form of text. Christians, on the other hand, celebrate Pentecost fifty days after what we consider to be our Passover: Easter Sunday; fifty days days after the resurrection, the word of God was given again, except this time it was not given as written text, but as the Holy Spirit in the hearts of the believers.

Although I know that Christianity sprang from the Jewish faith, it is always interesting and uplifting to notice how closely they connect.

Sunday is Pentecost

Once again Busted Halo is giving us a synopsis of one of the celebrations of the church a matter of fact, it's the Birthday of the Church!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

St. Columba...

...ministered to the Picts in the early middle ages. Iona had long been regarded as a spiritual place, even before the time of Columba so it makes perfect sense that he would choose this wild and beautiful island.

He was from royal lineage in County Donegal and was a member of the O'Neils of Ulster, one of Ireland's ruling dynasties. He was a man of influence and had trained to be a monk. Before coming to Iona, Columba founded monasteries in Ireland before leaving for Iona in AD563.

The kingdom of Dalriada was a Gaelic speaking realm and stretched from the west of Scotland (Argyll) to the north east of Ireland (Donegal). In the year AD 563 Columba journeyed from Loch Foyle with twelve clansmen to establish a religious foundation in Argyll with the King of Dalriada, Conall MacComhgalls help. Conall gifted the Isle of Iona to Columba and his followers. Iona was ideal in practical terms of defense, agriculture and raw materials and the monks on Iona formed a self sufficient community maintaining a tannery, iron and wood workshops. The land produced plentiful grain and fodder. They hunted deer on neighboring Mull and caught seals around the shores of Iona, a valuable source for oil for lamps.

Columba was a renowned writer and scholar of his day; this led to a tradition of the written word and all things scholarly on Iona.

Two hundred years after Columbas' death, the monks, true to tradition, commenced work on an illuminated transcription of the gospels, an item of rare beauty. When Viking raids started this treasure was transferred to a new monastery in Kells, County Meath, Ireland where it was completed. The book is now known as the Book of Kells.

The Viking raids in the 9th century included the pillage and looting of Iona on several occasions and eventually Iona was abandoned until a Benedictine monastery was started in the 12th century.

Although a great traveller and statesman, Columba was also a dedicated church leader and spent most of his last years on Iona.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Digital age...

Thoughts on life and communication in the digital age from Pope can read the whole piece, here.

"The new technologies are not only changing the way we communicate, but communication itself, so much so that it could be said that we are living through a period of vast cultural transformation. This means of spreading information and knowledge is giving birth to a new way of learning and thinking, with unprecedented opportunities for establishing relationships and building fellowship."...

"The new technologies allow people to meet each other beyond the confines of space and of their own culture, creating in this way an entirely new world of potential friendships. This is a great opportunity, but it also requires greater attention to and awareness of possible risks. Who is my “neighbour” in this new world? Does the danger exist that we may be less present to those whom we encounter in our everyday life? Is there is a risk of being more distracted because our attention is fragmented and absorbed in a world “other” than the one in which we live? Do we have time to reflect critically on our choices and to foster human relationships which are truly deep and lasting? It is important always to remember that virtual contact cannot and must not take the place of direct human contact with people at every level of our lives."...

"In the final analysis, the truth of Christ is the full and authentic response to that human desire for relationship, communion and meaning which is reflected in the immense popularity of social networks. Believers who bear witness to their most profound convictions greatly help prevent the web from becoming an instrument which depersonalizes people, attempts to manipulate them emotionally or allows those who are powerful to monopolize the opinions of others. On the contrary, believers encourage everyone to keep alive the eternal human questions which testify to our desire for transcendence and our longing for authentic forms of life, truly worthy of being lived. It is precisely this uniquely human spiritual yearning which inspires our quest for truth and for communion and which impels us to communicate with integrity and honesty."...

"Christian are once again called to offer a response to anyone who asks for a reason for the hope that is within them (cf. 1 Pet 3:15)."

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Too fun!

There were so many to choose from, but in the end, it had to be Zorro!

From Yahoo News....

Rain Price will never forget the first day of his sophomore year of high school. On the bus, packed with classmates from his suburban Utah school, Rain peered out the window, mortified.

"The school bus for the first time ever came down our street this year," explains Rain’s dad, Dale, to Utah’s Daily Herald. "This was [my son’s] first year on the bus. My wife came running in the room and suggested we go wave at him to embarrass him.”

And so began Dale’s hazing ritual that continued every day for the rest of his son's school year. The first day may have been the most shocking for Rain, but in the days to follow, the surprises kept coming.

Since the fall, Dale has waved at his son in 180 different outlandish costumes. The second day of school he wore a football helmet and jersey, and in the months that followed he opened the front door dressed as a blushing bride, a superhero, a Star Trek fan, Michael Jackson, and a giant chicken.

Check out the family website at Wave at the Bus

We should all be so creative! This is one son who must really feel loved!

Dancing through life...

The Bible lists instances of God's people dancing. The most famous, I suppose, would be David dancing in front of the Ark of the Covenant...reading the description, he danced with joy and with abandon! In fact, he danced with so much abandon that one of his wives got really upset about it. But David didn't care what she thought, he had a need to worship the Lord with his body and followed through.

I know this song is an allegory of Jesus moving through his life, but the more I thought, it is an appropriate one. Why shouldn't our lives be seen as a dance? Not all of the movements will be happy but they won't all be sad either. If we dance through life, we have to be active participants. We cannot just sit passively and let life go by...We have to be moving!

One Sunday, about 3 years ago, my grandson (who is now 7) heard it. I'm sure most of you know how much attention a 4 year old pays to most hymns. Suddenly he was up... swaying to the music...and then dancing in the pew! He was following his heart and the words he was hearing. He wasn't constrained by what he thought the others expected of him. He was worshiping the Lord in one of the only ways he knew...and he didn't care who saw. That day I learned about praising God from a child. We are called to praise Him with our entire being, and as the Spirit moves us. Even though I am (yikes!) middle aged, I have finally learned that worship and dignity don't always go hand in hand!

Today I just felt the need to listen again...

Monday, June 6, 2011

D Day

Today is the 67th Anniversary of the Landings in Normandy.

I have the great pleasure to sit in front of a veteran of WWII each Sunday in church. Although he is 90 years old, he is still vibrant and active. I spoke with him briefly yesterday about his recollections...needless to say they are still vivid and affect him even after 24,455 days. You could see it in his eyes and hear it in his voice.

I have always felt that those who have seen war first hand and who have returned to become active members of society are to be commended. Think of the violence and death they witnessed daily, sometimes hourly. Not only have they seen friends die, they have raised their hands to take the lives of others. Not because they are bad, but because their country asked them to...

To those who still survive, thank you...

St. Crispen's Day Speech from Henry V

To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
God's peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call'd the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian.'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispian's day.'
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb'red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
W. Shakespeare

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Religious Art in Museums

It troubles me that art has been "collected" and relocated to various places around the world, especially Egyptian artifacts, BUT ... Unless they are duplicated in something like fiberglass I would not have seen nor have appreciated them as much.

There are paintings like "Daniel in the Lion's Den" by Rubens which is located in the National Galley of Art in Washington D.C. I do not know its history, but I know my life would be diminished if it was located somewhere else. Framed it is (105 1/2 x 147 1/2 x 6 in.). It is enormous and absolutely captivating. I have visited it several times and have been overwhelmed at its power. Once I get there, I just do not want to leave the room.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Museums and Art

I recently read an article by Kevin Kirby called “Lost in Museums”. In it he explains his disdain for works of art that have been taken from the places that originally housed them and moved to museums.
His main focus are works of religious art. “Great works of art are so often stuffed into museums not easily accessible and therefore lose a part of the humanity that was their inspiration. The saddest version of this is surely when devotional images of any religion are pilfered from houses of worship and placed in sterile mediocrity.”

He also mentions the Elgin Marbles that are currently housed in the British Museum. Surely, he says, they would be better viewed in the context of the Parthenon...where they were originally carved...wouldn't they?

One could argue both sides. While I agree that most pieces of religious art should be housed in churches, temples or shrines, the other side of the argument tells me there are those who see them in a museum that would never be able to view them otherwise. They are also protected in museums. But what of the context...what of the inspiration that caused the work in the first place? Wouldn't the pieces be better viewed in the “holy” places? Do the museums truly make them more accessible? Accessible to whom? Those who would see them in the spiritual or those who merely view them for their artistic achievement? I can't say that I have an answer...while I do agree with him on one hand, I also appreciate the fact that the museums can keep the pieces safe from harm and in the best possible condition.

I have always dreamed of seeing Michelangelo's Pieta. While I have seen a replica, in the JFK Library, to be able to view the original would be a memorable achievement...and I must say, I like the fact that if I ever do get to see it, I will have to go to the Vatican to do so.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Merton Again...

If you've read the blog for very long, you realize that I am fascinated by the writings of Thomas Merton. During my recent retreat, I used his "Book of Hours"
as a guideline in my prayer time. The following video is an introduction to him.

Who Cares about the Saints? (Thomas Merton) from Loyola Productions on Vimeo.

Just a note...reading "The Seven Storey Mountain" a couple of years ago has led me to try to lead a more contemplative, prayerful life. His autobiography shows a very flawed human with a heart for God. If you are not of the Catholic faith, please realize that he was...and felt very strongly about the Catholic church. Don't let this put you off from reading his works...they can speak to us all.

Aurora Borealis

Once, several years ago, due to the atmosphere and who knows what other components, we were able to see the Northern Lights in my part of the world. It was breathtaking!
I can't imagine what it would be like to see them on a regular basis...but I do realize that my blood is way too thin (from living in the South all my life) to live in the cold weather where they're a common occurrence.

But with the marvels of modern technology, I can see them whenever I like...this is one of my favorites...

God's light show, just for us!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Children's safety....

The last thing most people would think of during a shoot out would be singing...but then again, most people are not responsible for the safety of Kindergarten students.

The 33-year-old teacher and mother of two has been responding to questions about the incident on her Twitter account. She replied to one user who criticized her for taking the video by saying, "The video was uploaded by a third party, I don't seek to profit from the children's fear." She also wrote that she wasn't after fame or recognition with the video, she just wanted to "show our reality." She insists she was not acting heroically, and was just doing her job.

You can read the rest of the story here.

Just for fun..

A few optical illusions to start your day...

If you stare at the center dot...the colored spots will fade to grey!

Our brains "fill in" negative space, the circles don't really exist!

The picture seems to be moving...unless you focus on one spot!

Lot's more Brain Teasers!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


According to the New York Times,

Mr. Huibers, 60, the successful owner of a big construction company, has spent the last few years building an ark, identical in size to the one Noah is said in the book of Genesis to have built: 300 cubits in length, or 450 feet; 30 cubits high, or about three stories; and 50 cubits, or 75 feet, wide. The cubit of the Bible, Mr. Huibers said, was the distance between finger tips and elbow, or in his case roughly 18 inches.

When asked what was the catalyst behind building it...
But it was not about money. “It is to tell people that there is a Bible,” Mr. Huibers, a spry man with a quick sense of humor said. “And that, when you open it, there is a God.”

Check the rest of the article on the link shown above...

"Lip Dub"

In an amazing feat of organization, Grand Rapids has recorded a world record "lip dub" of Don Mclean's American Pie...sure it's 9+ minutes long, but so is the song...for anyone who grew up listening to it like I'll bring back some good memories (tell the truth, you know ALL the words, don't you?).

Guaranteed to put a smile on your face...