Monday, October 31, 2011

The scariest...

Since it's Halloween, I thought I'd reveal the one monster that kept me awake at night when I was a child.
Frankenstein, Dracula and Werewolf were all sissies when compared to this guy, well at least in my mind. Needless to say, when I went fishing with Dad, I kept one eye on my bobber and one eye out for the monster.

Crosses Part II

I posted about a lawsuit between Muslim students and Catholic University of America on Friday. It has since come to light that the students have not initiated the lawsuit but it was, in fact, brought about by John F. Banzhaf III, a Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University.

Catholic University of America is a Pontifical University. That means this is a school established by the Holy See, and directly under its authority. As such, it cannot be true to itself while creating “Jesus-free” spaces.
To demand that a Pontifical University create rooms and spaces where the Crucifix is unwelcome, and Catholic iconography is not permitted would be like stepping into a mosque and demanding that, because there are some Christians in the neighborhood, the mosque should install a Eucharistic Tabernacle.

A different perspective:

On a quick break between classes last week, Reef Al-Shabnan slipped into an empty room at Catholic University to start her daily prayers to Allah. In one corner was a life-size painting of Jesus carrying the cross. In another, the portrait of a late priest and theologian looked on. And high above the room hung a small wooden crucifix.
This was not, Shabnan acknowledged, the ideal space for a Muslim to pray in. After her more than two years on campus, though, it has become routine and sacred in its own way. You can find Allah anywhere, the 19-year-old from Saudi Arabia said, even at the flagship university of the U.S. Catholic world. 
Muslim students say they enroll at Catholic schools for many of the same reasons as their classmates: attractive campuses, appealing professors and academic programs that fit their interests. But there is also a spiritual attraction to the values that overlap the two faiths.

"Because it is an overtly religious place, it's not strange or weird to care about your religion here, to pray and make God a priority," said Shabnan, a political science major who often covers her head with a pale beige scarf. "They have the same values we do." (Bold type is my emphasis)

The  bottom line is not one Muslim student at CUA has complained...nor are they part of the lawsuit filed by the Professor named above. I will not go into detail as to what I feel is his agenda...but will say from where I sit, he is causing problems where none exist. With friends like that...well, you know the rest of that quote!


Sunday, October 30, 2011


Beautiful words...

I recently posted in remembrance of Blessed Pope John Paul II on his first feast day.

Having been raised Protestant, he is the first Pope I remember. My earliest memory is of one who always seemed to be accessible to the people. If we had passed on the street, I would not have hesitated to have spoken to him. And thousands did...

I was recently read these words in a column about him:

He was a typical village priest.  He said mass, heard confessions, presided at baptisms and weddings and funerals.  He founded a small youth group that quickly became so popular, it grew from 20 people to 200.  He took students hiking, kayaking and skiing.   While he was kayaking on the lakes of northern Poland, he got word that Pope Pius XII had named him a bishop.  He was 38 years old.  Karol Wojtyla refused to cut short his trip.  He kept on paddling.

And so it began.  This is how he began the path to sainthood.  His was a life spent not only gazing toward the heavens, but also kissing the earth.  He picked up those who fell and rescued those in need and risked his life for what he knew to be true.   He saw hardship, and hate, and hope.  He shared joys and sorrows, struggles and fears.  And he saw God’s mercy at work, in sins that were forgiven and faith that was restored.

So it was that 33 years ago today, on an autumn morning in 1978, he stood before the world and said with clarity and conviction: “Do not be afraid.”  They were the first words of his first homily as pope.  They were words that he had lived.  “Do not be afraid.”

Read the 2nd paragraph again...what more could one want than to be remembered this way? I have a feeling, he would have liked it just fine.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


The reason for the season?

With the holiday season right around the corner...sometimes I feel a looming sense of dread.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy visiting with family and friends....some of whom I only see during the
holidays. And nothing gives me more joy than to have my children under my roof...if only for a few

I mentioned this particular feeling to a friend the other day followed by "but I must remember, Jesus
is the reason for the season". At which point she corrected me..."Sweetie, Jesus is not just the reason
for the season, He's the reason for your whole life!"

And then I realized that once again, I've allowed others to define my relationship with Christ. I've
allowed myself to focus on "feeling" not on "doing". If I am not practicing my faith and my joy every day...doing, praying, reading, living, then it's no wonder I feel nothing. As long as my joy is my Christ,
from my Christ, no one can take it from me. I can squander it, as easily as I stop “doing” my faith,
but no one has the power to remove it from my life. For Jesus is the reason I do everything in my life.

Friday, October 28, 2011


Crosses in every room at Washingon D.C.’s Catholic University of America are a human rights violation that prevent Muslim students from praying.
That’s the complaint to the Washington, D.C. Office of Human Rights filed by a professor from rival George Washington University across town.
GWU Law School Professor John Banzhaf takes the Catholic institution to task for acting “probably with malice” against Muslim students in a 60-page complaint that cites ”offensive” Catholic imagery all over the Catholic school, which he says hinder Muslims from praying.
Baffled Catholic University officials say they have never received a complaint from any of the schools Muslim students.

The complaint further objects that Muslims must pray at the school’s chapels “and at the cathedral that looms over the entire campus – the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.”
You can read all about it here but basically Muslim students have enrolled at a private Catholic University. After requests by the students, the University gave them use of a room in which to offer their prayers. The complaint is that the room contains a cross (as does EVERY room in the university).

What am I missing here? They've been given a's a private CATHOLIC University...and they're complaining about the crosses?


During the video, they will flip the screen on the camera so the Princess can see herself for the first time...just watch those beautiful eyes!

Parenting in the here and now...

I would walk through a tunnel of fire if it would save my son. I would take my chances on a stripped battlefield with a sling and a rock à la David and Goliath if it would make a difference. But it won’t. I can roar all I want about the unfairness of this ridiculous disease, but the facts remain. What I can do is protect my son from as much pain as possible, and then finally do the hardest thing of all, a thing most parents will thankfully never have to do: I will love him to the end of his life, and then I will let him go. 

I read "Notes from a Dragon Mother" (an opinion piece in last weekends NY Times) about parents and a child with Tay-Sachs disease. Until this moment, I don't think I had even heard of this genetic disorder. But I have now. More importantly, I have heard the words of a woman who is far wiser and much stronger than I.

Although my children are grown and gone...grandson lives with us. He is well past the infant stage (he is 7) but some of the ideas she brings forth are applicable...

I will do all I can to encourage him in the world...provide swimming lessons and piano lessons and tap dancing and Cub Scouts...but not for what they can do for him in the future. Only for the pleasure and experience they can give him in the here and now. After witnessing her life in words, I don't think I will ever put the same emphasis on any extra curricular activity. I will follow her advice: "Parenting, I’ve come to understand, is about loving my child today. Now. In fact, for any parent, anywhere, that’s all there is."

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Good Night...

M.W. Brown wrote "Goodnight Moon" sixty years ago. Countless children have gone to sleep with the pleasing refrain of the child telling everything good night. Now there's a new take on this timeless classic..."Goodnight IPad"...

Horrible History

Need revenge? 

To stand....

Confrontation is not comfortable. Nor is it something most of us seek. But if we have never had a confrontation with another human it either means we have lived a very secluded life or we do not have strong opinions about the world in which we live.

Although I do not want to be in a constant state of confrontation, I do stand up when I see injustice. When one person is taking advantage of another...when an organization is taking advantage of an individual...when an ideal becomes a god.

When you believe in truth, you must believe with all your heart....and be willing to stand against any who would deny you (or another) that truth.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Some people grumble because roses have thorns. I am thankful that thorns have roses.
                                                                                                  Alphonse  Karr


We've been studying John Wesley's "Three Simple Rules"..."Do Good" doesn't just apply to humans...

66 Books

In honor of the 400th anniversary of the first printing of the King James Version of the Bible, the Bush Theater in London is now producing "Sixty-Six Books" . Their promotion states:

This October, the Bush Theatre will open the doors to its new home with Sixty-Six Books, an epic performance cycle featuring over 200 artists from across the globe.

From all faiths and none, from over a dozen countries and across five continents, sixty-six remarkable playwrights, poets, songwriters and novelists speak to each book of the King James Bible, filling the new Bush Theatre with contemporary responses to some of the greatest stories ever told.

The production begins with  "Godblog Twitter Feed" . The author, Jeanetter Winterson" believes God's wisdom will "crackle" for modern audiences as Twitter posts of 140 words or less..."First eviction! Adam and Eve out! Jews homeless till 1948. God-followers down the ages can now land-grab with a clear conscience." or "RIP Sara, kvetchy wife of Abraham. She was the Joan Collins of the Old Testament"  But she's just covering Genesis.

Each of the works, which run from a few minutes to 20, is described as a response to a book in the Bible, with no dramaturgical limits placed on the contributors.

Another author chose to respond to II Thessalonians.  This 16-page play called, “Falling Away,” is a conversation between a man and a woman who are in love, yet the woman is in a relationship with someone else whom she cannot imagine leaving despite her unhappiness.

The Most Rev. Rowan Williams (Archbishop of Canterbury) has contributed a quietly funny, moving piece on death and grief in response to the Bible's shortest verse--"Jesus wept" (from the Book of John).

All in all it sounds like an interesting opportunity to see others perspective on what the Bible teaches in a very unique way. All the while celebrating the Word of God in print.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"C'est de la folie"

157 years ago today...

Charge of the Light Brigade
      By: Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
"Forward, the Light Brigade!
"Charge for the guns!" he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

"Forward, the Light Brigade!"
Was there a man dismay'd?
Not tho' the soldier knew
Someone had blunder'd:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.

Flash'd all their sabres bare,
Flash'd as they turn'd in air,
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
All the world wonder'd:
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro' the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reel'd from the sabre stroke
Shatter'd and sunder'd.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro' the jaws of Death
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.

When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wondered.
Honor the charge they made,
Honor the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred.

The Charge of the Light Brigade pitted British cavalry against Russian forces during the Battle of Balaclava on 25 October 1854 in the Crimean War. The charge was the result of a  poor communication in such a way that the brigade attempted a much more difficult objective than intended by the overall commander. Blame for the  poor communication has remained controversial, as the original order itself was vague. The charge produced no decisive gains and resulted in very high casualties.

The brigade was not completely destroyed, but did suffer terribly, with 118 men killed, 127 wounded and about 60 taken prisoner. After regrouping, only 195 men were still with horses. The futility of the action and its reckless bravery prompted the French Marshal Pierre Bosquet to state "C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas la guerre." ("It is magnificent, but it is not war.") He continued, in a rarely quoted phrase: "C'est de la folie" — "it is madness. Somerset Calthorpe, ADC to Lord Raglan, wrote a letter to a friend three days after the charge. He detailed casualty numbers, but he did not make distinction between those killed and those taken prisoner.

The reputation of the British cavalry was significantly enhanced as a result of the charge, though the same cannot be said for their commanders.

God's Name

Wonder when was the last time someone heard the words...."Prepare ye the way of the Lord..." in Times Square. I know some think that Flash Mobs are passe...but I've never seen one preformed live. And I think I just might like to...

"Godspell" is re-opening on Broadway and this is a promotion of the event...still, whenever the Words of Truth are spoken...out loud and in a crowd, it's bound to hit home with someone!

Monday, October 24, 2011

God Loves...

I believe this one speaks for itself...

Creative brains on campus....

"How much time scholars will henceforth save!"
Imagine your dissertation has, say, 200 sources, and sifting through the pile of books and holding one open on your knee while you type takes something on the order of three minutes per book. Copyediting that and getting the formatting consistent will take you another minute or so for every 10 citations if you're extremely speedy. Furthermore, you'll need sanity breaks.

Thanks to a new App by 7 college students...writing papers just got easier...

The app works by using the smartphone's camera to scan the barcode on the back of a book. Then it emails you a citation formatted to fit one of four common bibliographic styles: APA, MLA, Chicago, or IEEE. The app was one of seven developed over seven sleepless days by seven undergraduates at the University of Waterloo. Thus they called the week-long experiment in coding creativity and class-cutting "7Cubed," and even made a little video about it.
Check out the video below or The Great App Race...

Saturday, October 22, 2011


I know most all of you have seen or heard about those protesting the funerals of our fallen...I cannot understand their motivation...we obviously read different Bibles. Whether you agree with the war or not, these families have lost sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers...what purpose is served by such hatred? 

Feast Day...

Pope John Paul II took hold of the minds and hearts of people all over the world...and not just those who are Catholic. I have read and listened to his teachings and marvelled at the way he seemed to speak to each person as an individual.

On May 1 of this year, he was beatified (given the title of "Blessed"), which is the last step before sainthood. Because of this title, he is also given a Feast Day...October 22 (the anniversary of his inauguration as Pope in 1978). When he was named Pope, he took the world by surprise...and continued to do so for 27 years.

Below is a trailer for a 10 part DVD series about his life and teachings...but the trailer itself reminds us of the many things he was to his followers...

Friday, October 21, 2011

After 72 years together...

They died holding hands...  

Family said the story of Gordon, 94, and Norma Yeager, 90, is a real-life love story.
On the day she graduated from high school, Norma Stock said yes to Gordon Yeager’s marriage proposal. The couple got married on May 26, 1939 in State Center.
“They’re very old-fashioned. They believed in marriage til death do you part,” said son Dennis Yeager.
Dennis Yeager was the youngest of four children born to the couple. His sister Donna was first born.
“Staying together for 72 years is good, I’d say that’s exceptional,” said daughter Donna Sheets.
The way the kids tell it, dad was the life of the party while mom kept everything together.
“Anybody come over — she was the hostess with the mostess. She just seriously — the more she did — the more she smiled,” said Dennis Yeager. “Dad would be the center of attention, like, ‘Weee look at me,’ and mom was like ‘get him away from me!’ You know we even got a picture like that.”
Norma didn’t really want the distance, and family said she hardly left Gordon’s side for 72 years.
“They just loved being together. Everybody argues once in awhile, but they still, he said ‘I have to stick around. I can’t go until she does because I have to stay here for her and she would say the same thing,’” said Dennis Yeager.
Dennis Yeager said the couple left home last Wednesday to go into town, but they didn’t make it.
At the intersection of Highway 30 and Jessup Avenue just west of Marshalltown, state troopers said Gordon pulled in front of an oncoming car. The Iowa State Patrol crash report said the other driver attempted to avoid the crash but was unable to stop in time.
“I rushed from Des Moines where I was working and saw them in the hospital,” said Dennis Yeager.
In the intensive care unit of Marshalltown’s hospital, nurses knew not to separate Gordon and Norma.
“They brought them in the same room in intensive care and put them together — and they were holding hands in ICU. They were not really responsive,” said Dennis Yeager.
Gordon died at 3:38 p.m. holding hands with his wife as the family they built surrounded them.
“It was really strange, they were holding hands, and dad stopped breathing but I couldn’t figure out what was going on because the heart monitor was still going,” said Dennis Yeager. “But we were like, he isn’t breathing. How does he still have a heart beat? The nurse checked and said that’s because they were holding hands and it’s going through them. Her heart was beating through him and picking it up.”
“They were still getting her heartbeat through him,” said Donna Sheets.
At 4:38 p.m., exactly one hour after Gordon died, Norma passed too.
“Neither one of them would’ve wanted to be without each other. I couldn’t figure out how it was going to work,” said Donna Sheets. “We were very blessed, honestly, that they went this way.”
“They just loved being together,” said Dennis Yeager.


After yesterday's post on prayer, this just jumped out at me...Prayer is still the best form of communication.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Happy Birthday!

I'm about a week late with this...but since daughter is a 1st Class Petty Officer in the US Navy, I wanted to say Happy Birthday!

The United States Navy traces its origins to the Continental Navy, which the Continental Congress established on 13 October 1775, by authorizing the procurement, fitting out, manning, and dispatch of two armed vessels to cruise in search of munitions ships supplying the British Army in America. The legislation also established a Naval Committee to supervise the work. All together, the Continental Navy numbered some fifty ships over the course of the war, with approximately twenty warships active at its maximum strength.

Thoughts on Prayer...

During our lives, most of us struggle with prayer at one time or another. It's not that God makes it hard to talk to Him...we do. I read an article called "We're just Chatting" by Christina Gebel...

Eventually, after many attempts at formulaic prayer, I just simply began asking God to be present to my thoughts and then proceeded to think about my day. Sometimes, I’d realize something. Like a good therapist, I felt maybe God was there, accompanying my thoughts, leading me to ask myself the right questions in order to facilitate my own realizations. Wait, this is sounding a lot like prayer. But there was something different. Instead of putting it all out there and waiting for a spiritual light bulb, I was simply talking, without any expectation of a solution in return. And in simply talking like I would to a friend, I came to sort through what was sortable and to just release or vent what was frustrating.

What makes this better than simply talking to a friend? God is Ever-Present. Luckily, we don’t have to play phone tag. God is also abundantly forgiving, unconditionally loving, patient without limit, willing to drop everything in our time of need, and has a great sense of humor. What’s better, our friendship is unadulterated by the weaknesses of our own humanity. God is not only a good friend: He’s the model of friendship. God is what allows us to realize we have a good friend in others and what pushes us to be better friends ourselves. 

If you'd like to read more, I've linked to the article above...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

230 Years ago...

Ask an American when we became an independent nation and most will reply July 4, 1776. Although that is the day we declared our independence, it was actually won on 10/19/1781. While our nation's founders did take a bold stance when they placed their names at the bottom of the Declaration of Independence, soldiers had to fight to make it real. For 5 long years. Those years were filled with depravation, hardship and death...but in the end we were truly a free and independent nation.

The last fight was the Battle of Yorktown:
American General George Washington and French Lt. General de Rochambeau faced off against British Major General Lord Cornwallis. Twenty days later, on October 19, 1781, Cornwallis surrendered to Washington and the band played "The World turned Upside Down".

Hats off to the victors of the Battle of Yorktown!

A Hero in my eyes

My daughter has served in the military for 9+ years now and although I have never answered the "knock at the door", she and those who serve with her are never far from my thoughts and always in my prayers.

We did not ask for war.  We do not want war.  But there are those in the world who want to bring war to us, for whatever distorted, irrational reasons they may have.  It is men like Sergeant Michael Prince, and women and families like his, who out of a sense of duty and commitment to others beyond themselves, willingly answer the call to meet the terror, to pay the price, not out of revenge, not in anger, but out of the desire to protect family, home and country.  We are humbled by such largeness of character.

Read the story of a hero and his family here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

All in His image...

All the skin colors on earth are created by various levels of four colors. We all have all the colors, they're just mixed differently. Without any color, the skin is creamy white. Blood vessels close to the skin adds a blush red. These two along with combination of yellow and sepia create every skin color known to man.

In the movie "Robin Hood" a little girl asks the Muslim man if God painted him...she did not understand why his skin was darker than her own. He replies that yes, God did paint him...when she asks why...He responds with "God love infinite variety"...Look around your world today at all the different people...and notice and embrace the variety!


They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder...

Children's drawings radiate the thrill of looking at the world with fresh eyes. The way a child draws a rooster, a tree, or a monkey is a celebration of life; it is grate-ful-ness in the literal sense of the word: the full response to a world that is a given world - a free gift, pure grace, gratis. 

Next time you're feeling down, or empty...go to the Gratefulness website and see the world through the eyes and art of children...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Lay persons...

I was reading a review of Robert Barron's new book titled "Catholicism" and ran across the following quote:

He writes:

"As far as we can determine, Jesus was not formally trained in a rabbinic school, nor was he educated to be a temple priest or a scribe, nor was he a devotee of the Pharisees, the Saducees, or the Essenes--all recognized religious parties with particular convictions, practices, and doctrinal proclivities. He was, if I can use a somewhat anachronistic term, a layman."

I'm not sure why this point has never occurred to me before--probably because Jesus's divinity is one of the first things a Sunday School pupil ever learns, and once you believe that Jesus is God, it's really difficult to grasp the concept that his peers had no such certainty. He didn't wear a "HELLO, My name is God" name tag. He didn't carry around his vita, enumerating the miracles he had performed or the talks he'd given. For people living in the time of Christ, it would have been more reasonable to believe that Christ was crazy.

Once Jesus affirms his divine credentials by dying and rising again, we see that everyone who played a part in the Gospel of Jesus was more or less a layman. They were just a humble group of people whose faith and receptivity to the Holy Spirit were conduits for the Incarnation: Mary's yes to God, each of the apostles answering the call. The Holy Spirit descends upon believers and the Church is born."

I immediately our church (if it had existed then) He may well have been called a "lay speaker". The definition of Lay Speaker is: “a member of a local United Methodist church … who is ready … to serve the Church.” Generally, they lead worship services when a minister is not available.

There are two types of lay speakers: Local lay speakers and Certified lay speakers. Local lay speakers take one basic course and serve in their local congregation only. Certified lay speakers take at least two classes and continue their education once every three years. They may serve churches of which they are not members. Lay speakers are regular people, who step into the pulpit and speak the Word of God to the congregation.

Like the author of the quote, I have never thought of Jesus in the terms of a lay person. After all, He was the Son of God and did have knowledge that we do not have. But He, and the disciples, spoke as they did...not because of their extensive training, but because of the authority of God. While you may argue that they were "special" people....set apart. I would counter the people in every church are "set apart". And not just those who can speak to the congregation but also those who are the hands and feet that serve as an example of the living Christ.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


For your listening pleasure, just because it's such a lovely sound...

Friday, October 14, 2011


As I've mentioned before, our family sponsors a young girl in Haiti through Compassion International. She's been our child for 8 years now...and what a blessing it has been. Each time we receive a new picture and see how she's see the smile on her melts the heart.

I cannot say enough good things about Compassion International...the way the company is run, the communication between sponsors and children, between Compassion and the children and between Compassion and the sponsoring family. When Haiti was devastated by the earthquake in 2010, Compassion offered us daily updates until our child had been found. She and her family were safe and well and we rejoiced at the news.

Even if you don't feel you can afford to sponsor a child throughout the year, perhaps you could send in a donation for Christmas? The video linked below shows some of them opening their gifts...our little girl (actually she's 12 now!) is not among them, but I can hear the joy in her letters! I kow it's a little early to speak of Christmas presents but it needs to be in by the end of October so the staff can have time to purchase the gifts, etc.

2011 Christmas Gift Fund Appeal from Compassion International on Vimeo.

For more details click on the Compassion link'll be glad you did! "For as you have done it for the least of these, you have done it for me..."


There's a very funny Jackie Chan movie where one of his co-stars asks, "Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth"?

Throughout my son's formative years (and we've noticed it in grandson too), he almost seemed to stutter. As a matter of fact, his 1st grade teacher spoke with us about her concern...wondering if we had ever thought of speech therapy for him. We knew his problem was not stuttering, his brain moved at hyper speed compared to his mouth. He would repeat some words, several times, in an effort to keep his thoughts in order. As he has grown and matured, he rarely does this anymore...unless he's really excited!

My problem was the opposite. As a child, I had a desperate need to be heard. Fearful that I would loose the attention of whatever adult I was speaking to, I would talk VERY fast. It was unavoidable that words would run together and I was too young to realize that the way I spoke didn't get me heard, it frustrated whatever adult that was trying to listen to me. Many times they would shake their heads in exasperation and walk away. I came home from school one day to find a new poster on my bedroom wall. It read, "I know you believe you understand what you think I said but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant". Dad bought the poster because he said it reminded him of me.

I was fortunate enough to have a teacher in high school who believed in young people and didn't follow the adage that "children should be seen and not heard". She took the time to talk with us and more importantly, to listen to us. Over the course of the school year she helped me realize that my thoughts were worthy of consideration and if others didn't listen, well, that was their problem. I realized that trickery would not get my voice heard.

It's funny, my husband (of almost 34 years) is partially deaf in one ear and totally so in the other. He has adapted by learning to read lips...which is fine if he can convince people to look directly at him. We've tried hearing aids but we waited too long...he cannot filter sounds the way a hearing person can. The refrigerator running, a television in another room, the hum of the air conditioning and all the other sounds you and I automatically tune out just serve to put his nerves on edge. After a few hours with the hearing aid, he decided he couldn't take it.

When I started the paragraph above, I didn't mean it was funny he is almost totally deaf, it's funny because mine is the one voice he can hear. I don't have to shout or make gestures...I speak in a normal voice. Needless to say, I AM his hearing aid. It's funny because the child who so desperately wanted to be heard, has the task of translating the world for someone she loves. And I know he hears every word...

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Significance: Remembers the wandering in the dessert; also a harvest festival
Observances: Building and "dwelling" in a booth; waving branches and a fruit during services
Length: 7 days

...On the fifteenth day of this seventh month is the Festival of Sukkot, seven days for the L-RD. -Leviticus 23:34

The Festival of Sukkot begins on Tishri 15, the fifth day after Yom Kippur. It is quite a drastic transition, from one of the most solemn holidays in our year to one of the most joyous. Sukkot is so unreservedly joyful that it is commonly referred to in Jewish prayer and literature as Z'man Simchateinu Z'mn Simchateinu (in Hebrew), the Season of our Rejoicing.

Sukkot is the last of the Shalosh R'galim (three pilgrimage festivals). Like Passover and Shavu'ot, Sukkot has a dual significance: historical and agricultural. Historically, Sukkot commemorates the forty-year period during which the children of Israel were wandering in the desert, living in temporary shelters. Agriculturally, Sukkot is a harvest festival and is sometimes referred to as Chag Ha-Asif Chag Ha-Asif (in Hebrew), the Festival of Ingathering.

The word "Sukkot" means "booths," and refers to the temporary dwellings that we are commanded to live in during this holiday in memory of the period of wandering. The Hebrew pronunciation of Sukkot is "Sue COAT," but is often pronounced as in Yiddish, to rhyme with "BOOK us." The name of the holiday is frequently translated "Feast of Tabernacles," which, like many translations of Jewish terms, isn't very useful. This translation is particularly misleading, because the word "tabernacle" in the Bible refers to the portable Sanctuary in the desert, a precursor to the Temple, called in Hebrew "mishkan." The Hebrew word "sukkah" (plural: "sukkot") refers to the temporary booths that people lived in, not to the Tabernacle.

Sukkot lasts for seven days. The two days following the festival, Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah, are separate holidays but are related to Sukkot and are commonly thought of as part of Sukkot.

The festival of Sukkot is instituted in Leviticus 23:33 et seq. No work is permitted on the first and second days of the holiday. (See Extra Day of Holidays for an explanation of why the Bible says one day but we observe two). Work is permitted on the remaining days. These intermediate days on which work is permitted are referred to as Chol Ha-Mo'ed, as are the intermediate days of Passover.

A Sukkot greeting: Chag Sameach! (KHAHG sah-MEHY-ahkh): Which literally means Joyous Festival!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Our two faces...

Each of us has two sides to our nature...
Which side are you feeding today?


This speaks for itself...

Children are merely on loan to us from God. How do you think He feels about us when we hurt them with our words? The inner child never goes away, sometimes they just hide...

Read this....

A little something to get you thinking on a Wednesday morning...

Can you read this?

7H15 M3554G3 53RV35 7O PR0V3 H0W 0UR M1ND5 C4N D0 4M4Z1NG 7H1NG5! 1MPR3551V3 7H1NG5! 1N 7H3 B3G1NN1NG 17 WA5 H4RD BU7 N0W, 0N 7H15 LIN3 Y0UR M1ND 1S R34D1NG 17 4U70M471C4LLY W17H 0U7 3V3N 7H1NK1NG 4B0U7 17, B3 PROUD! 0NLY C3R741N P30PL3 C4N R3AD 7H15.

PL3453 F0RW4RD 1F U C4N R34D 7H15.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011



And affects our decisions, our choices, our attitude, how we view ourselves and others, whether we dare to follow our dreams and whether we reach out to those in need. But, if we allow God to keep the boundaries of the stream, we can do all things...

Monday, October 10, 2011


The "Strandbeests" are powered by wind...and move on their own...wouldn't it be exciting to watch one walk by? The power of human ingenuity!

I choose...

We all have the ability to choose our path and how we react to others in our life. God gave us this choice...don't spend your years struggling with whether you should make choices, step out in faith.


I believe this video from Four Square Church says it all...

This is Discipling from The Foursquare Church on Vimeo.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Labyrinths are one of my favorite meditation tools. But alas, I don't live anywhere near (unless you call 85 miles away near) a permanent one.
I was able to visit a wonderful one (which was set in the woods) several times during my retreat this spring and our Youth group has a portable one (called The Prayer Path), marked on tarps that we put out from time to time...but to walk as often as I like, I've had to get creative!

I have a hand held replica of the Chartes labyrinth(with stylus) that I carry in my purse and then there are those you can follow online...such as the one at or the Prayer Path linked above.

If you've never had a chance, or never taken the time, please do so! Don't be concerned that you don't know what you're doing. Labyrinths are not like a maze...there is only one way in and one way out. You walk at your own pace and spend as much time in the middle as you like. All it takes is one step...

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Speaking out...

"We have to live with “the world as it is”, full of different people, opinions and thoughts, while always remembering that our purpose is to remain true to Christ and His Word within this increasingly differentiated world." Blessed Pope John Paul II

It is all too easy, in our human condition, to let the words or actions of another make us react in a less than "Christian" way. After all, those words or actions were attacking my faith, my church, my family, my country, my God! Am I just to sit idly by and let them say whatever they please?

Sometimes, yes...we must sit by and let them say or do "those things"...others recognize their motivations without me pointing them out.

Sometimes we should respond, but never without thought and prayer...never lashing out in anger. If I call myself a Christian, then others see me as a mouthpiece for God (even though I don't deserve the title), is this what He would say? Does He really need me to fight this battle? If so, how would His Son handle it?

The quote above is a wonderful guideline to follow...and I truly need to memorize it!

Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, observed this year from sundown on Friday night, October 7th until nightfall on October 8th, and is the Most Awesome Day in the Jewish calendar.

Concluding the “Ten Days of Repentance,” also known as the “Days of Awe,” Yom Kippur is a day where few Jews venture further than home and a house of worship. Expect that most Jews you know will forgo their usual weekend routines. Instead of holding tickets to movies or concerts Friday night, they will have tickets for seats at a Kol Nidrei Service.

Before Yom Kippur Jews seek out and reconcile with friends, colleagues, family members and even enemies. Yom Kippur is the time to forgive and move on. “If we cannot forgive others,” said the Hassidic Master Israel Ba’al Shem Tov, “how can we expect God to forgive us?”

Jewish tradition outlines three paths to help along this process of fixing our lives leading up to and during Yom Kippur:

Tzedakah (Charity) - The ethical imperative to contribute our resources to support the needy, our communal organizations, and to make the world a better place.

Teshuvah (Repentance)- Acknowledging our shortcomings, showing regret for what we did, and resolving to not make the same mistakes again, reconciles our relationship with God.

Tefillah (Prayer)- Opening our hearts, putting thoughts into words, we pray in the plural, asking for the good of all, not for our own personal needs.

Some perform the ritual of kapparot, where we symbolically transfer our sins to an object which is then donated to charity. Even if we gave tzedakah before Rosh Hashanah, now is the time to double-down, and give more. At home our dining tables are prepared with white linens and before sun sets we will light candles as if for a festive meal.

For the next 25 hours, adults refrain from food or drink. We wear simple shoes without leather, forgo bathing and intimacy, and don’t even watch the playoffs. We congregate in temples and synagogues around the world in the evening to hear Kol Nidrei, a moving prayer which begins a day-long dialogue with God.

Most Jews dress to show the solemnness of the day, wearing white prayer shawls and yarmulkas. The very pious wear a special garment called a kittel which reminds us of burial shrouds. The Ark is covered in white tapestry and all the Torahs are taken out and held around the dais.

We pray for many hours, confessing our mistakes to God and striking our chests over the sins we and our community have committed. We chant the moving verses of the Unetaneh Tokef:

“On Rosh Hashanah will be inscribed and on Yom Kippur will be sealed, how many will pass from the earth and how many will be created; who will live and who will die...who by water and who by fire...Who will rest and who will wander, who will live in harmony and who will be harried, who will enjoy tranquility and who will suffer, who will be impoverished and who will be enriched, who will be degraded and who will be exalted.”

A special prayer, Yizkor, is recited to remember our departed loved ones. We read aloud the Book of Jonah about a man who thought he could outrun God, and learn a lesson about compassion. Yom Kippur concludes with a final prayer called Neila, before the figurative Gates of Heaven close to our prayers. We shout out seven times our holiest prayer “Shema Yisrael” and sound one long blast of the Shofar.

There is also a majestic and universal message of Yom Kippur which is undoubtedly the basis of many self-improvement books: no matter what we have done wrong this past year - there is an opportunity to fix it. Each of the main elements of the external observance of the Holy Day refer to a deep spiritual message.

Fasting on Yom Kippur helps us put our spiritual life before our physical needs and wants. We prove to ourselves and to God that we are the masters of our own destiny. We realize that we are more than flesh and bones, we are also spiritual beings that need to be nurtured and nourished. Fasting also helps us empathize with those who do without enough food and water every day. Our day of self-denial and asceticism is by choice, whereas millions are forced to endure hunger every day.

Communal worship reminds us that our lives do not transpire in a vacuum. Rather, our actions and deeds affect each another and the whole world. Wearing white invokes the memory of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, where the the High Priest in ancient days sought forgiveness for the Jewish nation 2000 years ago.

Just observing Yom Kippur cleanses our souls from the spiritual dirt that has accumulated and prevents us from enjoying each moment of life. Yom Kippur literally renews our lives and gives us a clean slate for the coming year. The mistakes, errors in judgement, and selfishness that got us in trouble last year, can be forgiven by humanity and God on Yom Kippur.

If only our credit scores could also be forgiven.

May the lessons of Yom Kippur inspire us to show compassion, forgiveness, and love to ourselves and each other, and renew our souls. (from Washington Post)

"Have an easy fast!"

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Good Day

In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.

It's worth 5 minutes of your time...the video comes from


Yesterday I posted what I think is one of the saddest songs is another this song by Van Morrison

But I especially love it in the ending of the movie "Michael" that's an angel!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Good Sportsmanship?

In a seeming act of good sportsmanship, one Ohio HS football player caused 27 members of the opposing team to have tetanus shots...

In one of the most disturbing acts by an individual high school athlete in recent times, an Ohio football player placed a sharp object -- believed to be a tack -- in his glove before walking through a postgame handshake line, pricking the hands of 27 opponents as he walked through and "congratulated" them on a game well played. Yahoo Sports

Was he angry because he didn't play? Was this his idea of displaying school spirit? Did someone dare him to do it? Is this a indicator of some kind of mental disturbance? Is this a cry for help?

Whatever the reason behind his actions, I do pray that someone takes the time to speak with this child to try and find the motivation. I am not saying he shouldn't receive punishment for what he has done, but there must be a reason. The article states that the boys mother was going to hire an attorney...Perhaps her first step should be to contact a minister, or a mentor, or a coach or a Mental Health professional...

Saddest Song...

I love to listen to Alison Krauss...her unique voice can express every emotion...most particularly she sings the saddest song I've ever heard. It's based on a true story...(hankies at the ready!)


I love this sculpture by Zenos Frudakis...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Last week I posted on Rosh Hashanah and attached a recording of a Shofar being blown. To me it sounds ancient, holy...I have an overwhelming urge to take on a reverential is one sounds like God to me.

In an effort to explain why it affects me this way, here is more information from the Jewish Virtual Library:

A shofar is an instrument made from the horn of a ram or other kosher animal. It was used in ancient Israel to announce the New Moon (Rosh Chodesh) and call people together. It was also blown on Rosh Hashanah, marking the beginning of the New Year, signifying both need to wake up to the call to repentance, and in connection with the portion read on the second day of Rosh Hashanah, the Binding of Isaac (Genesis, chapter 22) in which Abraham sacrifices a ram in place of his son, Isaac.

Today, the shofar is featured most prominently in the Rosh Hashanah morning services. It is considered a commandment to hear the shofar blown.

There is a great deal of symbolism tied in with the legal requirements for what constitutes a proper shofar. The shofar of Rosh Hashanah, whose purpose it is to rouse the Divine in the listener, may not be constructed of an artificial instrument. It must be an instrument in its natural form and naturally hollow, through whom sound is produced by human breath, which God breathes into human beings. This pure, and natural sound, symbolizes the lives it calls Jews to lead. What is more, the most desirable shofar is the bent horn of a ram. The ram reminds one of Abraham's willing sacrifice of that which was most precious to him. The curve in the horn mirrors the contrition of the one who repents.

In the Talmud, we read: Rabbi Abbahu said:

Why do we sound the shofar? Because the Holy One, blessed be God, said: Blow me a ram's horn that I may remember to your credit the binding of Isaac, the son of Abraham, and I shall account it to you as a binding of yourselves before Me. The Torah tells us: Abraham look up and behold, he saw a ram caught in the thicket by its horns [Genesis 22:13]. This teaches us that the Holy One, blessed be God, showed our ancestor Abraham the ram tearing himself free from one thicket and becoming entangled in another. Said the Holy One, blessed be God, to Abraham: Thus are your children destined to be caught in iniquities and entangled in misfortunes, but in the end they will be redeemed by the horns of a ram. Therefore the prophet Zechariah said of the time of redemption: And the Lord shall be seen over them, and his arrow shall go forth like the lightning; and the Lord God shall blow the shofar, and shall move in stormy winds of the south [Zechariah 9:14]. [Rosh Hashanah 16a]

According to Leo Rosten, “The bend in the shofar is supposed to represent how a human heart, in true repentance, bends before the Lord. The ram's horn serves to remind the pious how Abraham, offering his son Isaac in sacrifice, was reprieved when God decided that Abraham could sacrifice a ram instead. The man who blows the shofar is required to be of blameless character and conspicuous devotion; he must blow blasts of different timbre, some deep, some high, some quavering.”

Sources: Rabbi Scheinerman's homepage; Rosten, Leo. The Joys of Yiddish. NY: Pocket Books, 1991.

Dark nights...

Mother Teresa of Calcutta wrote the following to Jesus:

Jesus, hear my prayer. If this pleases you, if my pain and suffering, my darkness and separation gives you a drop of consolation, my own Jesus do with me as you wish, as long as you wish, without a single glance at my feelings and pain. I am your own. Imprint on my soul and life the sufferings of your heart. Don’t mind my feelings; don’t mind even my pain, if my suffering separation from you brings others to you, and in their love and company you find joy and pleasure.

My Jesus I am willing with all my heart to suffer all that I suffer not only now, but through all eternity if this was possible. Your happiness is all that I want. For the rest, please do not take the trouble even if you see me faint with pain. All of this is my will. I want to satiate your thirst with every single drop of blood that you can find in me. Don’t allow me to do you wrong in any way. Take from me the power of hurting you…I am ready to wait for you through all eternity.”

What love lived in the heart of this lay all she was and ever hoped to be aside to be completely and totally "used up" in the cause of Christ. To pray this prayer not once but repeatedly...even through the suffering and separation. But she did not follow this path for my praise or the praise of any other human. In fact, she would be disappointed to think that we are praising her...she would probably say we missed the point. And praise of Mother Teresa is not the point of this post, it is simply a lesson, a vision of what total commitment looks like.

This "Dark Night of the Soul" was not exclusive to Mother...many have followed Christ with an enduring love...great and small they have chosen the path of pain..

Good Lord, what do you want of me,
What is this wretch to do?
What work is this,
This sinful slave, to do?
Look at me, Sweet Love,
Sweet Love, look at me,
What do You want of me?
– Teresa of Avila

“Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.” — The demon Screwtape to his nephew Wormwood in C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters

"When love and duty are one, then grace is within you" from The Painted Veil

There are those who would ask incredulously...why would you choose this? And I would have to is from pure desire to follow the be devoted to One so far above us that we could never hope to grasp Him.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


We fear what we do not understand...what better way to dispense with fear than to learn about those things we fear the most. Especially if they be other peoples or other cultures. We are different...that's part of God's plan...and He has created a wondrous variety of us to populate the earth. Let us learn of one another...

Monday, October 3, 2011


What better way to start the first Monday in October than with tips to make you feel better about yourself...there's 8 of them.

1. Do a good deed
2. Make small gestures of good Citizenship
3. Keep a resolution
4. Become an expert
5. Boost your energy
6. Challenge yourself physically
7. Face a fear
8. Make something by hand

These seem to be tips worth trying...and they are brought to you
From The Happiness Project

Take a moment to go and read the details...broken down, they're not nearly as intimidating as the list may look.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


Because of the opportunities we've had this weekend (see Saturday's post), I felt the need to post this...

What Wondrous Love Is This
By: American Folk Hymn By Alexander Means

What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this
That caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul!

When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down
Beneath God’s righteous frown,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul for my soul,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul.

To God and to the Lamb I will sing, I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb,
Who is the great I AM,
While millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing,
While millions join the theme, I will sing.

And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on.
And when from death I’m free
I’ll sing His love for me,
And through eternity I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on,
And through eternity I’ll sing on.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


The Youth Group and I (along with my ever faithful adult volunteers) will be working today (Saturday) in a nearby community. I found out Thursday that we'll be doing yard work at (2) different homes. I must say I'm excited...we are currently studying John Wesley's Three Simple Rules (Do no Harm, Do Good, Stay in Love with God)...and this day will fit right in...and what a way to start October! The weather is supposed to be sunny and in the high 50's...a beautiful fall day if you ask me!

On Sunday we will enjoy lunch together after worship and then visit and serve Communion to our Shut In Members. It is always a blessing to fellowship with them and lovely to watch the interaction between the youth and our older members. Another day of service...another day of Thankfulness!

I pray your weekend will be as joyous and fruitful as ours will be!