"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, July 30, 2013

My Word for Today

Rejuvenate means to make one fresher or more lively. Last weekend was the Central Virginia Cursillo 455th men’s weekend. Our men’s group sponsored a candidate and his name is Greg. We took him to dinner last Thursday evening and then drove him to the weekend gathering at Scared Heart Church in Petersburg. On Sunday afternoon we attended the closing and the beginning of his fourth day. 

There were thirteen other candidates. Each of them stood up and spent a few minutes telling the Cursillo community what they experienced over the weekend. They were excited, fresher and had found a new connection to Jesus. Their testimony brought back memories of my weekend. I remembered how I was touched and how blessed I felt on my fourth day.

Last night Greg joined us for our Monday evening gathering. Each of us went around the room and gave the date of our weekend, where it was and who our sponsor was. Greg said he was blessed that we sponsored him. We told him that he blessed us by his presence and in rejuvenating us in the Cursillo movement. It was Jesus at work.

The fourteen candidates;  Tim, Phillip, Kevin, Bob, Bryan, Dan, Paul, Larry, Tom, Clarence, Mike, Thom, Patrick, and of course Greg.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sunday Musing

Sundays are relaxing days that we enjoy with our family and friends. The day starts with early morning Mass. Some Sundays we are hospitality ministers, handing out the order of worship, seating parishioners and guests and carrying the cross. Dee and I work on the Welcome Desk, greeting those who wish to become part of our parish. We also help in other ministries as the need arises.

There is a group of us that go to Panara Bread for coffee and baked goods. The number who attend varies and it is not unusual to have family members show up. The usual seating arrangements are the men in one area and the ladies in another. The topics that go on in the men's section varies from sports to religion. They are interesting, thought provoking and humorous. A subject for another blog.

Dee, my beautiful Italian wife, is an excellent cook and Sunday pasta is a tradition that was handed down by her Mom. The dinner can be interesting when everyone shows up. I call it “controlled chaos.” I usually handle the clean up since Dee does all the preparation. This part is usually humorous because I have a particular way of washing the dishes, pots and pans. Dee is kind enough to consent to my organizational idiosyncrasies. Occasionally we have some of our friends over if our son’s and their families are unavailable. They enjoy it just as much and always request that Dee bring sauce when we all vacation at the beach. 

Lazy Sunday with Calvin and Hobbes

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Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Paperless Journey

My continuing quest to go paperless was enhanced when I received a Father’s Day gift from our son Eric. It was the “Neat” portable scanner. It is an excellent tool. The scanner comes with a software program that helps organize each item that you scan. There are three types of format. Document, receipt and contact. I use the document for most items and the contact format works great for business cards.

The software has provisions to set up folders for various categories; business cards, finances, medical, home items or anything else you want to retain. If I need to find something quickly there is a search tool that directs me to whatever I’m are looking for.

I also have an Epson V30 flatbed scanner. This tool works great for books and photographs. It scans and then moves them to folders that I created on my computer. I can then then import the files to the Neat portable scanner software.

My paper has been dramatically reduced and more is disappearing each day. The key is to scan old items a little at a time. Eventually you’ll get everything done. New items can be scanned as they come in. You just need to determine if you can dispose of the original or retain it. Sometimes you buy something and then return it, so keep the receipt until you are sure. Some stores may allow a copy of the receipts that you can print  Legal documents should not be retained but be scanned as a backup.

My file cabinet drawers are also empty and my desk is clean. Well, cleaner than it was.
Neat Portable Scanner

Epson Flat Bed Scanner

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Friday, July 26, 2013

My Slow Takes (Vol. 106)

1. A new baby boy for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. England and the world celebrates the new future monarch. His name is George Alexander Louis. The Duchess and her baby are healthy and there were no complications. Thank you Lord.

2. Pope Francis took his first overseas trip this week. He continues his humble approach to life, carrying his own bag to the flight.

His visit to Brazil is going well although it is a bit stressful for the security people. The people love him and everyone seems to want to touch him. Lord, please watch over him and keep him safe.

3. The earthquake in northwestern China killed 89 people and injured  many more. Please pray for the survivors and souls of those who died.

4. We had our house, deck, aggregate sidewalk and porch power washed this week. They also sealed the all the aggregate areas. Our next task is to stain the deck. A somewhat laborious job but once completed we can sit back and relax.

5. I have a Red Wing hunter bow. Bought it over forty years ago. Did some hunting and general archery with it. There is a slight crack at the top, so I thought it best to have it checked. Our son Stephen and I had lunch and then headed over to the local hunting store, Green Top. The archery expert look it over and suggested hanging it over the mantel and tell stories of how well it served me during my hunting years. Dee, was not thrilled when I told her as she thought I would actually hang it on the mantle. I assured her I wouldn’t.

6. Dee and I had our picture taken for our church directory. This year Dee is working on the layout and assisting in sign ups. Photography is her hobby and this gives her an opportunity to work along side some professionals.  

7. The Central Virginia Cursillo men’s weekend started Thursday July 25. Our Monday night men’s group are sponsoring a candidate. His name is Greg and he attends our church. We took him to dinner and then to the weekend meeting place which is Scared Heart in Petersburg, Virginia. He is excited about the weekend and we are all praying for him. Your prayers will be appreciated for Greg, the other candidates and the team members.

Trisha, at Prints of Grace, wrote a beautiful article in honor of the men's weekend.

Read other "Takes" at Conversion Diary.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Coffee Mug Collection

Our son Eric gave me a new coffee mug from his current company, Nimble Storage. I enjoy my coffee and have a number of favorite mugs that I use. My collection includes mugs from different companies that I used to work for. It is not a large collection but holds fond memories of places and people. Some of them are now pencil holders and sit on my desk. One of those is from Allstate, “Leave it to The Good Hands People.” When you pick up the mug it plays the old jingle.

There are mugs that I received as gifts. A SUNY Fredonia mug from our son Todd. My brother Tom gave me a mug that has American flags from 1775 to 1822. Our granddaughters have presented me mugs with hand prints and notes of love. There were others, but breakage has taken its toil.  

Nimble Storage

SUN Microsystems

Allstate and Homelite

Granddaughter Mugs

SUNY Fredonia and American Flags

TRW and GCSS-Army

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Living Years

I was listening to Russ Lee sing “The Living Years,” and it brought to mind my Dad and the lack of communication he and I had. He wasn’t a bad Dad, he just didn’t talk or share with me. My attempts were not as forceful as they could have been. When I would attempt to talk or ask him questions his answers were always short. The closest I came to anything was when my mother died. We were all looking at pictures that Mom had saved and started asking Dad about the pictures. There were pictures from WWII when he was in the Philippine theatre. He didn't go into detail but I learned more from him that day then I did the whole time growing up. This was back in 1997. I was 50 years old. Too little information too late. Dad soon developed Alzheimer’s and died ten years later. Unlike the song, “I wasn’t there that morning when my Father passed away,” I was there. Just before he left he opened his eyes and looked at me. I have always felt he was checking to see who was watching him and that he was not alone. 

As that line and the following line, “I didn’t get to tell him all the things I had to say,” played, tears came to my eyes. It seemed like I had missed the most important time of my life. My Dad is no longer here and I could have been a better son to him.

My sons and I have a closer relationship. I see them and spend time with them. I share things, I write to them, I talk to them. We laugh, we cry, we agree on some things and we disagree on other things. When it’s time for me to “go home,” there will be no regrets. I am sharing “The Living Years.”  

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Dee and I have selected a niche at our church columbarium. Construction of the columbarium has started and the first phase will be completed by late fall.

We have discussed this with our sons and have made them aware of our burial wishes. My Mom and Dad were cremated and are buried in New York  near the home of my sister Kim.

St. Mary's Columbarium, Richmond, Virginia
The other day I was thinking about the process of cremation and a childhood memory came forth somewhat unexpectedly. It was a memory of watching an old black and white movie, “Beau Geste.” It starred Gary Cooper, Ray Milland and Robert Preston. What came to mind was a scene where the three brothers were playing (battling) with model sailing ships. At the end they prepare a Viking funeral for one of ships. As the ship is “pushed out to sea,” one of the brothers, Beau (Gary Cooper) asks his brother Digby (Robert Preston) if he would provide him with such a funeral. At the time I thought it was an adventurous way to be buried. I was young and loved the old action movies.

I will be cremated but will not follow the Viking burial, it will be a celebration of death. A more joyous adventure, my journey home. 

Ray Milland, Gary Cooper, Robert Preston, Beau Geste 1939
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Monday, July 22, 2013

Historicon 2013

The weekend historical miniature convention was great. I spent the entire Saturday immersed in my favorite hobby.

There were two flea markets, one from 10AM - 1PM and the other from 2PM - 5PM. I didn’t find anything I was looking for but enjoyed talking with other gamers. It was also fun looking at all the tables and seeing the different things available. 

I did much better in the vendor area and bought some figures for my American War of Independence period. One of my favorite vendors, Sash and Saber Castings, was introducing some new 40MM figures. They are Highland Clansmen and look excellent. There was a set of rules for the French and Indian War era that I have been researching, so I bought that as well. Shopping activities were completed, until the next convention.

The best part of the day was spent playing the rules mentioned above. It was a historical reenactment of the Battle of Bloody Run. It took place on July 31, 1763 during Pontiac’s Rebellion. Our game didn’t quite turn out with the same results, but we enjoyed it.

The convention also provided painting contests, painting classes, and seminars. It is open to all visitors who just want to watch. If you decide you want to play there is an admission fee. It is hosted by the Historical Miniature Gaming Society.

An American Civil War Game

A children's Lego Game

My Game

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Friday, July 19, 2013

My Slow Takes (Vol. 105)

1. The storming of the Bastille in Paris, France occurred on July 14, 1789, 224 years ago. It was the beginning of the French Revolution and ended the reign of Kings in France.

2. Vampire graves were discovered in Poland during a roadway construction. What distinguished them from ordinary graves was that the heads had been removed and placed on the legs. This apparently was standard procedure to make sure the vampires remained dead. 
Bela Lugosi as Dracula - 1930's
3.  - On Tuesday, Beth DeCristofaro wrote about choice.

We know that God’s mercy forgave Moses who rose to save the Hebrews from Egypt.  We know that time and again people such as Lot and Abraham asked for God’s clemency and it was granted.  But we also know that in choosing against God there are consequences.”

I make choices every day. Some are simple and some are not. Some affect others and sometimes hurt. What I do must reflect my love for Jesus and love for others. 

4. My good friend Lou was home recuperating for a few weeks. He thought he would try growing a beard. Some men do well at this and some do not. Lou was one who didn’t quite make it. To give you an idea, compare the two photos below. Lou is definitely not a Sean Connery.

An Excellent Beard
An "OK" Beard
5. “Morning allows one to start fresh, a new start, after yesterday’s missed opportunities. It’s a gift that many miss. It is the time to smile and say, “Today I can do it.” It’s a time to reflect and start anew, a time to make a mental list or plan. Morning is that opportunity to put our reflections into action. It is the time to celebrate what went right the day before and perhaps do it again. It is the perfect time to “be.” Deacon BruceBurk
Steve Givens has started a word a day on his website. “Morning” was today’s word. I like his outlook on enjoying the opportunity to start fresh each day. I am a morning person who likes to get up early and enjoy each moment of the day. I start with coffee, scriptural readings and prayer. There are some mornings that I make adjustments, especially when the grand daughters have a “sleep over” at grandma Dee’s.
6. The annual,  historical convention, "Historicon," started yesterday and ends Sunday. I’m spending the full day gaming, flea market shopping, vendor browsing, and meeting up with friends. This years theme covers 1863, the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War.  

7. I received and started reading the latest Terry Brooks novel, "Witch Wraith." It is the final book in "The Dark Legacy of Shannara."  Did I mention that he's my favorite fantasy author?

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Friday, July 12, 2013

My Slow Takes (Vol. 104)

1. “One if by land ...” Virginia is being invaded by feral hogs. They are also know as wild boar and cause damage to farm lands and water.  Feral hogs are “known to carry or transmit over 30 diseases and 37 parasites that can be transmitted to livestock, people, pets, and wildlife.” They are spreading throughout the United States and are difficult to control.

2. “Two if by sea ...”  Another pest that is invading the United States is the lion fish. They cause damage and destroy small reef fish. There are no natural predators, so fishing them out may be an option. If they taste good, you may see them on a restaurant menu sometime in the future. 

3. Last week I wrote about being stung by a bumble bee while mowing the lawn. I had an allergic reaction and my left leg swelled a little bit. I’ve been icing and using baking soda mix to get the swelling down. Not serious, just bothersome.

4. Dee and I finished the first season of “Downton Abbey.” We enjoyed it and have started season two. My favorite character is Violet Crawley. Maggie Smith does an excellent portrayal as the Dowager Countess of Grantham. I love her wit and English humor.

5. On July 11, 1804 Vice President Aaron Burr shot Alexander Hamilton during a duel. Mr. Hamilton died the next day. Both men were political rivals and their animosity towards each other led to the dual. It was Aaron Burr who made the challenge.

6. Today’s Gospel, MT 10:16-23, Jesus makes a simple but powerful statement; be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.” We are not to close our eyes to what is going on. We must be vigilant, but not violent. Life is not an easy journey but our faith will get us through.

7. We’ve had more rain in July than is normal for Richmond, Virginia. How much rain are we having? So much that the local news station found a man building a large boat in his yard. His name is not Noah and he’s not collecting two of everything.

Read other "Takes" at Conversion Diary.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

My Slow Takes (Vol. 103)

1. Sunday was Father Jim’s last day at Church of the Epiphany. He told how grateful he was to have spent the last two years with us. He spoke of how God’s Kingdom opened up to him in a new way through our community. 

Now, as in the reading from 1 Kings 19:19-21, we must transition, move on through a new door. Father Jim to work as a psychologist at St. Luke Institute and we to welcome our new Pastor, Father John. 

Father Jim brought love, understanding and support to our community and will be missed. We are blessed to know him and will keep him in our hearts and prayers. 

2. Please remember the 19 Granite Mountain firefighters that were killed June 30. Lord please watch over the souls of these brave people. Help the family and friends and the sole survivor as they deal with their grief. 

3. A father and son built a Lego© Fort Ticonderoga. It was a project that took four and a half years. It is on the “MOCpages, Share your Lego© creations.” 
4. Don Troiani is an American painter who specializes in military historical paintings. This is one of his creations, a dragoon from Lee’s Legion during the American Revolution.

5. Wednesday’s weather called for scattered showers, high temperatures and high humidity. My plan was to get out early in the morning and beat the rain. It worked. The only problem is that I discovered two bumble bee nests in the front yard. One I spotted in time and the other I didn’t. Forgot how hard those buggers sting.

6. John Witherspoon was a Scots Presbyterian minister who signed the Declaration of Independence.  Randy Booth provides some quotes on this “forgotten Founding Father.”

7. Happy Independence Day. We spent time with friends and family watching fireworks. Our friends Mary and Dan have a pontoon boat and invited us to watch from there. The granddaughters enjoyed swimming from the boat and afterward we all enjoyed the beautiful display of lights.

Just before sunset

Fireworks from the boat
Read other "Takes" at Conversion Diary.