"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

Saturday, February 25, 2012

My Slow Takes (vol. 38)

1. We were in Clearwater, Florida for a wedding. Sunday morning, after church, my brother-in-law Pat took us to breakfast. He pulled in to a parking lot that had a small building on the corner. The "Tin Can Cafe." The outside of the building is questionable. If I were looking for a place to eat I would have driven by. It is a excellent example of the old English idiom, "don't judge a book by it's cover." The cafe is tiny, sitting about 32 people at small tables and perhaps 10 around a bar.The food is plentiful and delicious. It is a family owned business and the owners are friendly and interact with the customers. This is my new favorite breakfast place.

2. We went to Crickets British Pub on Monday evening. The atmosphere was festive, the fish and chips were great and the entertainment lively. There was dancing and singing and my brother-in-law Pat and his wife Judy introduced us to all their friends. 

"Ron & The Classics," is the Monday night entertainment.  A nice mix of 50's and 60's music.

3. On Tuesday, Dee and I went to Frenchy's on the beach. We had margarita's, grouper fajitas and the grilled grouper sandwich. A great lunch.

We took a nice long walk on the beach and then went to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, home of Winter the dolphin. It is nice that we have dedicated people who take care of God's creatures. In response, Winter has inspired others. There are stories of them on the website. Children and adults:  five-year-old Linnea Kanyok, eighteen-year-old Christopher Briner, thirty-one-year-old Maja Kazazic and fifty-one-year-old David Bedworth are just a few. God's presence and love shared by many. 

4. Tuesday evening was dinner at Pat and Judy's then out to Leo's to listen to Andy Stefano. Andy sings songs made famous by Frank Sinatra. "My Way, New York, New York, Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" and requests went on for the evening. If you closed you eyes you could picture Frank Sinatra singing. Andy's voice flows effortlessly putting the audience back in time when "crooners" we were popular.

5. Pat and I went to the Armed Forces Museum Thursday afternoon. Our first visit and we were impressed. Many people came together to honor all the men and women who have given their time, effort and lives defending our country. There were historical displays from the Civil War to present day including a table showing items associated with our POWs and MIAs. Each display provided historical data about the lives of our armed forces and gave me a better understanding of what they endured.

6. These were some of the things we enjoyed while in Clearwater, Florida. We had plenty to do and loved being with family and meeting new friends. It is good to be back home and we were blessed with a safe and uneventful drive home. Thank you Lord. 

7. Catholic Answers Live broadcasts Monday through Friday, 6 to 8PM EST. Hosted by Patrick Coffin, it is a call in program where anyone, Catholic or non-Catholic may call with questions about the Roman Catholic Church. Guests such as; Jimmy Akin, Jim Blackburn, Tim Staples, Patrick Madrid, Sharon Lee Giganti, and Fr. John Trigilio provide answers and reference information for callers and listeners.

I listen to the Q&A Open Forum on Tuesday and Thursdays. My iTunes provides the podcast subscription so that I don't miss anything. 

The program is "dedicated to Catholic apologetics and evangelization." Our son Todd recommended that I listen to it and I've been enjoying it for the last two years. It has enhanced my understanding of the Catholic Church and has strengthen my spiritual journey. 

Patrick Coffin has described the program as one that, "brings Atheists to theism, believers to Christ, Protestants to Catholicism, Catholics to orthodoxy and Orthodox Catholics to sanity." Kanyok,

Thursday, February 23, 2012

My Reflections on Lent

Lent is a time for prayer, reflection and fasting. It is a time for me to focus on Jesus and what He did for us. An opportunity for us to get closer to Jesus or for those who have been away, to get back to Him.
Dee and I started Lent by attending 9AM Mass at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church. We received ashes and listen to Msgr. Robert Morris, VG gave a homily on the observance of Lent.
He ended the homily with a beautiful and inspiring poem on Lent. I don't know where he obtained the poem, but I found it at "Humble Piety."
Fast from judging others; feast on Christ dwelling in them
Fast from emphasis of differences; feast on the unity of all life
Fast from apparent darkness; feast on the reality of the light
Fast from thoughts of illness; feast on the healing power of God
Fast from words that pollute; feast on phrases that purify
Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude
Fast from anger; feast on patience
Fast from pessimism; feast on optimism
Fast from worry; feast on God’s providence
Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation
Fast from negativity; feast on the positive side of things
Fast from unrelenting pressure; feast on unceasing prayer
Fast from hostility; feast on non-resistance
Fast from revenge; feast on forgiveness
Fast from self concern; feast on compassion 
Fast from personal anxiety; feast on eternal truth
Fast from discouragement; feast on hope
Fast from facts that depress; feast on verities that uplift
Fast from lethargy; feast on enthusiasm
Fast from suspicion; feast on truth
This poem reached out to me and and opened my heart. It made me think about fasting different than anything I have ever thought about before. If I can work on these words I can open my heart to others. Family, friends, co-workers and strangers would be able to see my faith in action. Actions more than not eating chocolate for forty days, or not eating meat on Fridays or some other fasting action that is physically visible. 
However, this is not an easy list to follow. Following Jesus is not always easy. Then I realized that this is something than can and and should go beyond the forty days. It should become my "SOP" (Standard Operating Procedure), in my spiritual journey.  
In addition to the Lenten poem I was reminded this morning that we are all on a Lenten journey. My Brother-in-Christ, the "Flawed Disciple" posted his article on traveling through Lent. Please take time to read his musing.    

Saturday, February 18, 2012

My Slow Takes (vol. 37)

1. Saturday evening was our annual church Valentine's Day party. The size of the party is about 100 - 110 and is a perfect number for the room we are in. There is plenty of food; prime rib, shrimp, a potato bar, Buffalo chicken dip, salad, and desert. We had a large chocolate machine where you can cover fruit, pretzels and other items with hot chocolate. Did I mention hors d'oeuvres?  Fortunately we also have a DJ playing music so that we are able to dance off the extra calories.
The Angels That Love Us
2. St. Valentine's Day got my curiosity going so I headed over to Catholic.org to read about St. Valentine, the person. He is the patron saint of love, young people and happy marriages. A wee bit more than chocolate hearts and Hersey's Kisses.

Randy Booth and Tuck @ Denbigh wrote about their love and I will share mine as well.

I wrote this in February of 2010, entitled, "An Angel From Above."

"We when are born God assigns a Guardian Angel to watch over us, guide us and help us to come closer to Him. I don’t know how the selection process is made, but can only wonder what went through the mind of my Guardian Angel. God calls him over and says;
“You have been chosen to watch over and guide Paul Forgette. He is no saint and will require much work.”
The angel replies, “Thank you Lord, I will take care of him.”
The I enter the world and realty sets in for my Angel. The work is hard and had to be frustrating. There were some good moments, snippets of light but they soon faded. My spiritual journey had no road to follow and required much work. Church was not a regular part of my routine. Sunday mornings were usually recovery from Saturday carousing. My other sins were easily justified and continued to multiply.
God, in his great love for me, sent me another Angel. This one was an Earth Angel and her name was Dee. She found me in a local “hang-out” writing musings and drinking beer. I had no idea that she would change my life and make me come to realize that she was a gift from God. She never considered herself an angel, she didn’t know that our meeting was a “God Incident.” Neither one of us did. We were married May 8th, 1971 and have been together ever since.
Dee’s job was no easier than my heavenly Angel. However, both of them worked long and hard. Some days I seemed to be heading in the right direction and other days I was completely lost. We attended church and raised our three sons in the Catholic religion. Dee was doing all of the work, I was just there as some type of support. She carried the burden and never once complained. She was strong in her faith and knew the journey would get better.
My spiritual journey was not a model one but Dee did not give up. Over thirty-five years of her constant gentle love had its affect. I started to understand that something was missing. I’m not sure how I came to this realization. The Holy Spirit, my Guardian Angel, and Dee all working together? I found myself paying more attention in church. I was reading, researching learning things about Jesus and what I had been doing wrong. Dee kept sharing her books, her thoughts and love. All of this culminating to my Cursillo weekend, September 23rd, 2010 at the Abbey. She led me to Jesus and I accepted Him.
Now that she had guided my journey and I was traveling in the right direction, she would make her weekend. Her love and unselfishness made sure I went first. On November 18th, 2010 she made her Cursillo weekend, also at the Abbey. She had brought me to where I needed to be and then enhanced her spiritual journey.
I am loved, I am not alone and I am blessed that I was sent my Earth Angel. She helped me to understand that I have now accepted God’s grace. I would not change anything, I will continue my journey with her as I cannot imagine what life would have been, would be, without her."  

3. This weekend is the Richmond Cursillo mens' weekend. Please pray for the team and candidates.

4. I found an article about becoming "paperless" by Jamie Rubin. He provides his reasons for going "paperless" and then provides the process he follows.I was intrigued enough to try it.

I own a MacBook Pro and run Lion 10.7.3. So, I went to Macworld to check their reviews. My budget was to stay under $100 but be able to scan documents quickly. I also wanted to have the option of scanning books. What I found was the Epson V30. It was rated 4 out of 5 mice back in January 2010. The price was less than $60 and it works great with my MacBook Pro and Lion OS. There were no problems setting it up and I have already started scanning receipts and monthly bills. It's a great start and should eliminate a lot of my "papers."

5. There has been much written about the current administration's health regulations. It is not my intent to add to the controversy. I did read the blog by Bonnie at "Learning to Be a Newlywed." It is from the woman's point of view which we men have a tendency to overlook. Please take a moment to read. 

6. I have some friends and co-workers whose project has ended. They now have to look for new positions. Please add these women and men to your prayers.

Friday, February 10, 2012

My Slow Takes (vol. 36)

1. When I made my weekend in September 2010, there was a young man that was part of the team. He was only twenty-four years old. He exhibited a reverence for God that was sincere and noticeable to all present. One morning he played a CD introducing us to the Devine Mercy prayer. He said we could listen and if we felt inclined sing along with the CD. I don't remember when I started singing but slowly just like a finally choreographed musical production, others began to sing. The voices were low and soft, some us feeling unsure of ourselves. As we sang our voices became strong and confident reaching a crescendo that resembled a choir presentation at church. As each voice joined the prayer I felt a warmth within me, a confidence to sing and a chill went through my body. It was the most moving moment of my weekend. 

This young man, my brother in Christ, is going to be entering the seminary. His name is John Baab and I ask for your prayers so that soon we will be calling him Father John Baab.

2. We were sitting around the kitchen discussing various topics when one of our sons used the term, "healthy as a horse." Our daughter in law Lynne, who is a horse lover and a one time horse jumper asked, "where did that saying come from?" So, this week I went searching and located a website, wowhorses.com. It has a listing of horse sayings complete with definitions.

"Healthy as a Horse - To be very healthy. For example 'He never gets sick, he is healthy as a horse'. A similar expression which is often used in the same sense is 'Healthy as an Ox'."
A couple more that I like.
"Dog and Pony Show - Used to describe a presentation where the item or subject being presented is less interesting or less useful than indicated. For example, 'The meeting was supposed to describe a new sales strategy which will turn the company around, but it was really just the same old approach. It was really just a dog and pony show.' The term dates back to the 1800s, when touring circuses were common. Some of the smaller circuses could not afford exotic animals or performers, so offered only dog and pony tricks. Such circuses were often a disappointment to people who were expecting more when a circus came to town, especially since advance publicity often implied more interesting performances. Consequently, the term 'dog and pony show' came to be used for a presentation, speech or other exhibition which disappointed by offering less than what people expected based on advance publicity or based on the presenter's claims."
"You can lead a horse to water but can't make it drink - You can give someone good advice but you can't make them take it. The expression comes from the fact that horses will often not drink unfamiliar water (e.g. if they are away from home), even if they are thirsty and need to drink. As a sample of the expression 'I told him how to save a lot of money but he wasn't interested. Well, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink.'."
3. The Super Bowl party was as enjoyable as last year. We have a great group of friends and really enjoyed sharing. I didn't win in the pool but that's okay. The stromboli that the wives made on Saturday were delicious. Each of us brings a bottle of wine to share. It's a great idea because it's just like a wine tasting event.  

4. Pastor Tuck of the Denbigh Church of Christ in Virginia Beach, Virginia wrote an interesting article on his blog this week. He wrote about praying for "your team" to win and is that something that we should be doing. His feeling is that God concentrates on more important things. Here is some of what he wrote. 

“God’s consumed by working on behalf of the usher who can’t figure out how to pay his chemo bill. Or the player going through a divorce. Or the assistant coach who lost his son to suicide. Or the trainer wrestling a gambling addiction. Or the recent immigrant, trying to pay one more bill by cleaning up the confetti that falls in Lucas Oil stadium. 
God sees the whole stadium, not the final score."
 "But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy this game or any other game.  It also doesn’t mean you can’t pray for your team. Because God is a father, God likes to hear from us—whatever the reason, even if our prayers might be childlike in nature." 

5. Thursday night Dee and I settled into our comfortable living room with a nice cup of hot coffee. I put on a recorded episode of "Castle," one of our favorite TV series. About ten minutes into the program both of our fire alarms activated. I had been procrastinating about changing the batteries so stopped everything and completed the task. However, Dee noticed an odor that wasn't truly a smoke odor but did hint that something was burning. She noticed a sort of haze in the office and a stronger odor as well. (My ability to notice odors is not very good, so I rely on Dee to help me.) A complete search of the house disclosed nothing. Dee got on the phone with the fire department and explained the situation. They instructed us to turn off the power and wait outside until they arrived. By the time I put my sweat suit on over my pajamas, and proceeded outside with a jacket and shoes, they were there.

It took them about twenty minutes to discover that the electric motor in the air handler had burned out. They advised calling our heating/ac company and getting it replaced. One cold night, but not freezing. I contacted our son Stephen and provided an update. Fortunately he knew exactly who to call. He called his neighbor and friend Peter and set up conference connection with the three of us. Peter was able to come out and replace the broken motor the next morning. And, my manager was kind enough to allow me to work from home.

Peter is a sole proprietor, very professional and an overall nice person. He is now our new heating/ac person.     

6. Completed my physical this week and everything is fine. Dr. G has recommended more exercise. Now I need to go research the local gyms and health clubs. More later.   

Friday, February 3, 2012

My Slow Takes (vol. 35)

1. This has been an usually busy week at work. That is a good because it means that we are progressing with our business. Thank you Lord for this job; for me and the rest of our project team.

2. We are going to have six more weeks of winter. Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow.

3. We all have journeys in life. Each of them are different. Spiritual journeys, medical journeys, career journeys, relationship journeys, educational journeys and whatever journey you may be on.

I never realized how my spiritual journey is connected to all my other journeys. My awareness of this connection is something that has evolved over the years. Fortunately God has been patient and my Guardian Angle vigilant. 

4. From the Virginia Catholic Conference:

Pro-Life Virginians won a major victory yesterday when the state Senate passed a bill that would require that an ultrasound be conducted prior to an abortion, and that the woman considering the abortion be given an opportunity to view it.  The Virginia Catholic Conference strongly supports the measure and expresses particular gratitude to the Family Foundation for its lead role in promoting the bill’s passage and its partnership with the Conference on this and many other pro-life bills. 
The measure, which passed 21-18, was introduced by Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel (R-27), and had been considered and rejected in Senate committees for most of the last decade. The House of Delegates is expected to vote on the legislation next week. The legislation updates Virginia’s current informed consent law in light of modern technology. The ultrasound will help determine the gestational age of the unborn child, and helps provide the best possible information to pregnant women. 
“I am very pleased the Senate has ratified this commonsense improvement of Virginia’s informed consent law,’’ said Jeff Caruso, Executive Director of the Virginia Catholic Conference. “Requiring ultrasounds when abortions are being considered is a matter of medical safety, and providing every woman considering an abortion an opportunity to view the ultrasound image of her unborn son or daughter is a matter of providing her the best information available. 
“I also look forward to passage of this bill in the House, which has a consistent history of giving overwhelming endorsement to this initiative,’’ he said.

5. This weekend Dee and I will enjoy the Super Bowl with our group of best friends. To get ready for the event the wives are all spending Saturday afternoon with Dee learning to make stromboli. One of my favorite foods. These golden brown baked delights will be brought to the Sunday night party.    

6. Forgiveness and acceptance are a challenge. This morning Melanie Rigney, from "Your Daily Tripod," wrote the following.

"A good friend of mine is fond of saying that if we don’t learn to love and accept the difficult people in our lives, they have a way of resurfacing again and again… either themselves or in the form of other people with the same attributes that annoy us. Sometimes, the traits we find most aggravating in them are traits we secretly (and sometimes unknowingly) despise in ourselves. We yell at them, we avoid them, we do our best to cut them out of our lives. But they keep coming back to teach the lesson God wants us to learn. The thing is that God is patient. He’ll continue to send those opportunities until we pay attention."

Thank you Melanie.