"Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset." Saint Francis De Sales

Friday, December 31, 2010

Winter at OBX - Part Deux

I made the wrong turn so we never got to Our Lady of the Seas Catholic Church. Perhaps the next trip down here will be better.
The weather continues to be sunny and is suppose to reach 50 degrees. A great day for a nice walk on the beach. Thank you Lord for great friends and pleasant weather.
The ladies are heading out to some shopping. I'm not sure what the guys are going to do, but we'll roll with whatever.
Dinner at the Colington Cafe was excellent. I had the filet which was served with mashed potato, broccoli and squash. The house wine we chose was a Pinot Noir that was perfect for the meal. Desert followed, which we all shared savoring such delicacies, like apple pie a la mode,  tollhouse cookie and ice cream,  pumpkin pecan bread pudding and  health bar coconut custard pie. In addition to the great food the Colington has a staff that is par excellence. We were fortunate to have a beautiful young woman, Amelia, take care of our table. She had a beautiful warm smile and we enjoyed talking with her.


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Winter at OBX

Yesterday we drove down to Duck, N.C. to spend a few days at a vacation rental house with three other couples. The trip down was great, the roads were dry and the sun was shinning all day. We met the group at Awful Arthurs restaurant for lunch. The restaurant is a great place to eat and is right across from the street from the ocean. It is a nice way to start the vacation. 
The house we rented is a beautiful three story, six bedroom home. Plenty of room and an elevator which made unloading a simple process. There are televisions with dvd's on each floor and a wifi connection. Life is good.

Our first night Dee prepared lasagna with meatballs, sausage and ribs. It was a great meal. 

The wine collection includes a variety of blends, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, malbec, pinot noir, beaujolais and riesling. Fortunately we have a sufficient supply for the week.
The sun is shinning and the temperature is suppose to be in the low 40's. There is very little snow and I figure it will slowly disappear as each day passes.

There are no real plans for today although I am thinking about checking out Our Lady of the Seas Catholic Church. The pastor is Father Bob Brown, OSFS (Oblate of St. Francis De Sales). Ergo my reason for the visit.  

Tonight we dine at the Colington Cafe. I'll report on that tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Letter to My Sons

“He is expiation for our sins and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world.” 

Terry Murphy wrote on his blog today.

“Expiation is the means by which atonement or reparation is made. Christ went to the cross not only for me but for all. John states this clearly.

Repentance, what Jewish tradition has called teshuvah—“turning” or “returning”—entails nothing less than a radical transformation of ourselves and our relationship to others. It requires profound psychological self-awareness, which includes both recognizing our own moral blind spots and exploring the character traits that cause our moral lapses in the first place. It demands that we take full responsibility for our behavior, without hesitation or equivocation, and then take action to undo the effects of that behavior on others.”

Terry’s definitions struck me as an interesting way for me to look at my past and see how I have made changes during my 62 years. I keep trying to pass on to you my life experiences. I did not make all the right choices, I made wrong ones as well. It is the wrong choices that taught me to realize and change my outlook on life and Jesus. I hurt others and myself, my Christian values were superficial and although I prayed, my prayers were not from the heart. I have been changing and redirecting my journey and will continue to do so. It would be nice if you could not make wrong choices and your journeys were straight and free of obstacles. But wrong choices and impeded journeys are all part of life. So maybe I can reduce the number of wrong choices and enhance your journey. My blog, my website and my letters to you is my way of helping. Please take the time to read and reflect on my musings. Please ask me questions. Please open your hearts even more than you do now.

I don’t know how many more years I have here on earth. It is one of those things you start to think about when you get to my age. So every day is more important to me than it used to be. Every experience becomes a treasured memory. I want to watch you and your families grow and share in their adventures. I want to share my life experiences with them and answer their questions.

I love you all.
Dad  

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Gleanings

We are now just four days away from the “re-birth” of Jesus. I have been working hard through these Advent days trying to better understand the “re-birth.” Each day I would read and reflect on each of the daily readings. This was a new process to me so some of the reflection was not easy. I kept researching for the meaning of words and attempting to interpret what they were trying to tell me. Although I knew that I was going in the right direction it seemed that I was exerting too much effort. Then I realized that if I just opened my heart and listened to Jesus it would make sense. Okay, sometimes I try too hard and miss that which in right in front of me. I am ready for Christmas.

Today I received an email from one of the vendors that my company deals with. It was rather unusual in that the greeting was “Merry Christmas.” They are showing their understanding and belief of Christmas, unlike many organizations who feel safer sticking to the “politically correct” type of greeting. The email included “The Story of Christmas" which divided into three sections. "The Conception of Jesus Foretold; The Birth of Jesus," and "The Shepherd’s Worship the Savior.”  I sent a reply to my contact thanking him and his organization for this beautiful greeting. When I see things like this it reinforces my belief that Christmas is not lost to commercialization or secularism. I become revived, immersed in a Christmas that is growing, moving to a new awareness.      

On Friday evening our middle son and his wife took me, my wife and her mother to the ballet to see the “Nutcracker.” It was my first ballet and I enjoyed it fully. After the performance, “Nan,” which is what we call my wife’s mother, required an elevator to get down to street level. We found the elevator which already had passengers; a woman with her elderly mother. I did not get their names which now I regret. Introducing oneself is always important. When we reached the ground floor my son and I headed out to get the cars. The woman told her mother to stay at the doorway and she would return with her car. My wife, “Nan” and daughter-in-law” reassured the woman’s mother that they would stay with her. As the three of us headed across the street to get our cars I asked the woman where she was parked. She said she was in the parking garage on the next block. Well, so were we. Then as we headed up the elevator she said she was on the third floor. Well, so were we. Then I asked her where she was parked and she pointed to where our cars were parked. Her car was right across from ours. So, I told her to follow us and our caravan headed back to the theater. Once I got my wife and “Nan” in the car I went over to the woman’s car while she retrieved her mother. My son loaded his wife and child in their car and then helped the woman place her mother in her car. She was thankful and surprised for all of the assistance. My son told her it’s what his father taught him. There were parting greetings and we all headed home. None of this was a coincidence. The fact that we all met in the elevator and were parked in the same garage on the same level was a God happening. It was not a test, it was an opportunity to share and help each other. It was an opportunity to prepare for the “re-birth” of Jesus. Thank you Lord.

Merry Christmas and God bless you all.  

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Pass the Blame

Then he asked, “Who told you that you were naked?
You have eaten, then, from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat!”
The man replied, “The woman whom you put here with me,
she gave me fruit from the tree, and so I ate it.”                               Genesis 3:9-15

I have been in Adam’s place, passing the blame to someone else. It was easy to do and at the time it was the quick and easy way out. I didn’t want to admit it that is was my own weakness that made me sin.  
We raised three boys and I can remember discovering a finger mark in a newly finished cake. Standing before me with icing on his face our youngest son said, “It wasn’t me, I didn’t do it, he did!” And he then he pointed to one of his brothers. I wanted to laugh because he was so convincing. He knew he was wrong but tried to pass the blame.  
God knows when we sin but He lets us confess and repent when we do. He loves us like I love our sons, only more. He is more forgiving and understands why we say and do the things we do. His love has no limits. He sent His son Jesus to us so that we could be forgiven of our sins.

Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”                            Luke 1:26-38

Today we celebrate the “Feast of the Immaculate Conception.” Tonight we go to Mass to pray and honor the Virgin Mary.  

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Now is the Time

This is the 4th day plus 70. 


Last night I attended my third Ultrea. It was a continuation of what I learned during my weekend at the Benedictine Abbey in Richmond, VA. There is a powerful presence of love and support at an Ultrea. I find myself at peace, joyful and rejuvenated, all at the same time. There are new friendships created and old ones embraced. My weekend team helped bring me to this new experience.
I am blessed to have spent the weekend with such an energetic loving team. Each day leads me along the road of my spiritual journey in a way that I could not have imagined possible. The challenges are easier to face. The darkness is no longer feared. The love I share more caring, more open.
My understanding of the love of Jesus and what He did for us is more meaningful. My Advent Season has no room for the normal stress and rushing around as it use to. I am now "preparing" for the "coming" of Jesus and will celebrate His arrival as it should be celebrated.


De Colores


Friday, December 3, 2010

Coffee and a Bagel

On Friday mornings I stop in at my local Panera Bread for coffee and a bagel. Over time I have found that there are “regulars” that do the same thing. There is an older couple that sits in a booth near the front window. It allows them a view of the parking lot and they can see everyone who enters through the front door. When I walk in I always look over at them. When they acknowledge my glace I say “good morning.” Usually I receive the same reply or a smile and a nod of the head. I sometimes wonder where they go after breakfast.
There are at least two groups of men who meet there as well. They come in and greet one another with hugs and warm smiles. My assumption is that they are small Christian groups. I usually see what appears to be a Bible or Bible study book in their hands. God bless them for getting up so early to share and pray together. My Cursillo group meets on Monday evenings at our church.
There are other regulars, men and women picking up packages of bagels for their office or group meetings. Some bring in their laptops and work or just browse the Internet. We hold the door for each other, greet each other and sometimes discuss the weather. It is a nice way to start the day because there is no one grumbling, everyone is in a good mood and somewhat cheerful considering the time of day. The cashier, Maria, always has a smile on her face and greets us all with a resounding “Good morning sir!’ or “Good morning mam!” Those that frequent the bakery on a more regular basis she greets by name.
It would be nice if this sharing, this camaraderie could be present throughout our day. We seem to let obstacles get in our way as the day follows its normal course. We bring these upon ourselves; we become irritated and frustrated with co-workers, friends and family. The pleasant morning is forgotten, we have let the sun go behind the clouds, we have let the darkness take over.
It is not easy to be cheerful all of the time. But it can be accomplished. We just need to remember how important it is to keep Jesus in our heart and in our life. He is there to help us, we are not alone.
Have a blessed Friday.            

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Welcome

Welcome to Literature & Angels. This is an attempt to write about my faith journey, my ideas, thoughts and other things. Enjoy your visit and read with your heart. Sometimes the mind misses the things that the heart will embrace.

Today’s Gospel by Matthew (7:21, 24-27) does remind me how important it is to have a solid foundation in my relationship with the Father. I see the rain, floods and wind as our everyday exposures to life. Things like illness, despair, disappointment, or missed moments in life. To face these daily encounters I need to work at my foundation keeping my faith with Jesus. He is always there for me but I need to keep my eyes open to Him. I need to listen when He is talking to me. I have the tools to build a strong house of faith. I am prepared for the storms that I see coming. It is the storms that are unexpected, the storms that bring the darkness. They are the difficult storms; they are the ones that require the strongest faith. I am thankful for the strength that He will give me to face these. I know that I face these with Him at my side. I know that it will be difficult; it may take time, but I know I will get through it.