"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

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Photos from Kitty Hawk, N.C.

Here are some photos I took while on vacation. 
We were blessed with great beach weather.
Thank you Lord.

A lone walker early morning.

Morning surf fisherman

Morning walk with the grandchildren


Dee and the girls

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Slow Takes (vol. 50)

1. The beach has been great! On Monday and Tuesday we had our good friends Pam and Tony with us. Two beautiful days of sharing and relaxing.

Our son Stephen and his family arrived Tuesday evening. The grand daughters and I walk the beach every morning. The walks consist of collecting sea shells, running through the surf and looking for sea creatures from the deep. This year we found a couple of stingrays and a jellyfish washed up on the shore.
This is my favorite vacation, relaxing and enjoying time with family and friends. I especially like sitting on the beach watching the pelicans fly over the waves in perfect formation, one behind the other. The soft breeze brings in the distinctive, delightful sea odor that seems to set my mind at ease. There is the soothing musical sounds of the surf and seagulls that lull me to sleep. What better place to have a quick snooze, read from my eReader or just enjoy talking with Dee.
I have coffee out on the deck of our condo before the beach walks. I complete my daily readings and prayers and spend time with God.
2. Wednesday morning’s devotional from Living Faith was from John 21:17. Jesus said to Peter, “Feed my sheep.”  Sr. Melannie Svoboda reminds us that Jesus did not say “Count them.”
This is interesting because when I’m doing hospitality ministry at Epiphany Church one of my responsibilities is to count people. This assures that we have enough hosts for Liturgy of the Eucharist. We do get involved comparing the number of those attending Mass to the success of our parish. It is not an incorrect thing to do, just part of being human. We do need to remember that Jesus did not set limits. He was bringing the Word to all who would listen. There was no forecast of numbers no quantitative objective.
One reading comes to mind, Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” These are the important numbers. Every Monday night at our group meeting we remind ourselves of this when we gather. Some nights we have nine or more and some nights we have five or six. We always meet, we always pray and we always share. Jesus is always with us.
3. Historicon 2012 is now open for registration. I’m putting together my list of games and will submit them this weekend. This year’s convention is in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Just a short ride from Richmond which makes convenient for me. 
4. I’ve been painting figures this week but will not get them completed. Put some early 18th century eastern woodland Indians in my hobby box and have been working on them a little bit each day. There is no objective to complete them, just a chance to do some painting.
5. I watched the 2003 version of “Lion in Winter.” Patrick Stewart plays King Henry II and Glenn Close portrayed Eleanor of Aquitaine. It was different from the original movie which stared Peter O’Toole and Katharine. I enjoyed them both and was pleased with the chemistry both sets of actors had. In each version it was Eleanor and Henry that made the movie. If you enjoy historical drama, a touch of humor, some great dialogue and historical intrigue this is worth watching.

Friday, May 18, 2012

My Slow Takes (vol. 49)

1. Smucker’s strawberry preserves has the following nutritional value in one tablespoon serving size. Calories = 50; Total Fat - 0g; Sodium = 0mg; Total Carbohydrate = 13g; Sugars = 12g and Protein = 0g.
Skippy peanut butter has the following nutritional value in a two tablespoon serving size. Calories = 1900; Calories from fat = 140; Total Fat - 16g; Sodium = 150mg; Total Carbohydrate = 7g; Sugars = 3g; Protein = 7g; Sugars = 3g and Dietary fiber = 2g.
I put together about two tablespoons of each ingredient and add these to a multi grain sandwich round. The sandwich round has 0g of trans fat, 11g whole grains, it’s cholesterol free, and is an excellent source of fiber. I usually have at least two of these per week for my lunch. Easy to make and delicious.
2. In Sunday’s Gospel, John 15: 9-17, Jesus says to his disciples, “This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends.” I read this, I listened to it at church and then tried to imagine a situation where I would give my life for my friends. 
This is a one time occurrence. Would I have the opportunity to select and choose who? Would I just react without hesitation? Jesus knew when He was going to do this. However, I don’t and it’s probably best that I don’t.
Then on Monday I read Steve Givens, “What We Have to Offer Each Other: Our Presence.” He relates his experience as a Hospice volunteer spending time with a 98 year old woman. How he started relating his time with her to how we spend time developing our friendships with others. He proposes that “to lay down one's life for one's friends” is something we can do on a daily basis. Please read his article.
3. Jesus said to his disciples:  “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.  He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming. He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.”  (John 16:12-15)
Colleen O’Sullivan spurred me into thought about the above reading from Wednesday. She describes how sometimes we present too much information to people without realizing what we are doing.
Our minds are able to process about six items at a time. These items are like data going into a computer. We have a limited or short term memory bank. When it reaches capacity the data has to be moved to long term memory. If too much data comes in it can’t be properly processed. Jesus knew that to provide any more information to His disciples would be “data overload.” So in His wisdom He provided what was needed to prepare them for “the rest of the story.”
4. If we accept the sin of homosexuality do we also accept the sin of adulterers, greed, gossip and those others that Paul describes in 1 Cor: 9-10? Read this interesting article from Tuck @ Denbigh Church of Christ
5. The third annual “Honeybee Festival” is being held June 2nd at the Rockwood Nature Center, Richmond, VA. I will be attending and then provide a synopsis of the event.
6. This weekend starts our vacation. Dee and I are headed to the Outer Banks, N.C. We will be enjoying the sunshine, beach, friends, family and great food.

7. Read Jennifer Fulwiler's "7 Quick Takes Friday" She has some interesting information on learning a new language.

Friday, May 11, 2012

My Slow Takes (vol. 48)

1. Please support Bonnie at “Learning to Be a Newlywed” and pray for the canonization of Bishop Sheen.

“Heavenly Father, source of all holiness, You raise up within the Church in every age men and women who serve with heroic love and dedication.  You have blessed Your Church through the life and ministry of Your faithful servant, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen.  He has written and spoken well of Your Divine Son, Jesus Christ, and was a true instrument of the Holy Spirit in touching the hearts of countless people.  
If it be according to your Will, for the honor and glory of the Most Holy Trinity and for the salvation of souls, we ask You to move the Church to proclaim him a saint.  We ask this prayer through Jesus Christ, our Lord. 

2. One of my coworkers, Tina, has a dear cousin who just died from pancreatic cancer. Please pray for her and her family.
3. Fidelity Investments has been quoted in a few places this week for their study on health costs for retired couples. The news is not good. If I were to retire this year I would require $240,000 to pay my medical bills. The period would be based on me living seventeen more years and my wife living 20 more years. So that means we would be spending about $12,000 a year. That is assuming that we have no employer provided health care plan, the U.S. Supreme Court will rule in favor of the health care reform laws and our annual social security income will be around $30,000. Something to think about.

4. USA Today reports that home prices are creeping up. This is a good sign for our economy even if it is a small improvement. I have not noticed anything in the Richmond, VA area. Sales of homes seem to be slowly moving but I think noticeable changes will be better in 2013.

5. More good economic news from The Richmond Times Dispatch.

6. A picture of Dee and I.

Forty-one Years Together
7. This is a request from Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary. Please take a moment and add your prayers.

8. Happy Mother’s Day to all you wonderful women who brought forth God’s children.
“Mothers have a special way
Of saying ‘I love you’
A love that God has given them
A love that will hold true
For Mothers sacrifice so much
Providing for the home
Creating there an atmosphere
That reflects God's love alone.”

© By M.S.Lowndes

Saturday, May 5, 2012

My Slow Takes (vol. 47)

1. It took a couple of moves but it appears that the hawk decoy is doing it’s job. I haven’t heard nor seen the woodpecker all week. Well, this is what I wrote earlier, then came the familiar hammering sound. More research required.
2. I picked up a chest cold this week and have been drinking a lot more water, resting and taking medication. An irritating thing to get but fortunately it doesn’t stick around too long. 
3. On “Catholic Answers Live” there was a young woman who called in to ask Tim Staples about blogging. Her name is Katherine Lynn and she is a Catholic convert. Please check out her blog, “The Grass is Greener on the Catholic Side.”

4. Dee found a great recipe for peanut butter French toast. She served it for breakfast Friday morning and it was great. 

5. Next week, May 8, is our forty-first wedding anniversary. I have been blessed to have such a loving soul mate. 
6. Our son Todd brought his best friend from college down to Richmond. Patrick needed a place to stay while he checked out the career opportunities. So he moved in with us and became our fourth son. 
Once he established himself he persuaded Elizabeth to marry him and move south as well. We soon had a new daughter as well. As the years passed there would be three added grandchildren. So, when the oldest was making her First Communion we were there. Madeleine was radiant in her white dress. You could see the love of Jesus in her eyes and hear it in her voice and she spoke about receiving Him. It was a beautiful day.
7. I am a child of the seventies and one song that I have always enjoyed has been “Sylvia’s Mother” by Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show. For those of you interested, watch it here.

8. This morning I had coffee on our screened in porch. The temperature was a comfortable 73 degrees with a slight breeze. I did my readings with background music coming from the birds as they went about their morning tasks. It was tranquil and helped me to concentrate and get closer to Him.