"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 18, 2015

Fargo, Fr. Mike & Byrd Wine


My Slow Takes

1. The Richmond Spiders continue their winning streak and advance to the third round of the FCS playoffs. Their next opponent is North Dakota State. A trip to Fargo, N.D. where the winters are cold and long. Or is that just in the movie? The current forecast is a high of 12, mainly sunny and a 10% chance of snow.

2. “Forgiveness isn’t an event, it is a process. Knowing that forgiveness is a process and not just an event reveals why it is so difficult to forgive. We want it to be over and done with in a single moment, but in reality it takes a serious emotional and spiritual commitment.”

Watch a short, two minute, video by Father Mike Schmitz and read the reflection at Dynamic Catholic.

3. Advent Lessons and Carols was another successful event at the Church of the Epiphany. Dee and I enjoy spending the evening listing to the reflections and music. It is a great way to embrace the Advent season. 

We are blessed to have Rev. Arthur Mendez, Presider and Patricia Schrock, Director of Music.  

Many thanks to the readers, the Chancel, Choir, and the Jubilate Ringers. Also in accompaniment were Heather, Aaron and Jane on violin, Patricia on cello, Rafael on the hand drum, Tracy on flute and Victor on trumpet.

4. Byrd Cellars is winery located in Goochland, Virginia. Dee and I went for a wine tasting, along with her Mom, brother Pat and his wife Judy. I always enjoy wine tastings, but this one was somewhat special as we had “Bill” as our wine expert. He is knowledgeable in his wines, but more important, he made us feel like we were in his home sharing wines that he enjoys. 

My favorite wine was Pete’s Blend. Named after the winery dog. It is a “Chateau style dry red blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot.” An excellent wine.

Dee and Me at Byrd Cellars

5. Dee and I wish all of you a Blessed Christmas.


6. Jordan Smith - “Mary, Did You Know.”


7. Michael Bolton - “Silent Night”




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Friday, December 11, 2015

12 Days and The Holy Door


My Slow Takes

1. The Richmond Spiders beat William & Mary and now advance to the second round of the FCS. They travel to Normal, Ill. and face Illinois State on Saturday.

2. The 12 Days of Christmas are suppose to have a religious connection to Christianity. Read about this from Fr. Hal Stockert, the Catholic Information Network. 

The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Two (2) Turtle Doves = The Old and New Testaments
Three (3) French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
Four (4) Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
Five (5) Golden Rings = The first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", 
     which gives the history of man's fall from grace.
Six (6) Geese A-laying = the six days of creation
Seven (7) Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
Eight (8) Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes
Nine (9) Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
Ten (10) Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments
Eleven (11) Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles
Twelve (12) Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed

3. Monday, December 7, 2015 marked the 73rd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Peter Holley has an informative article here.

4. Tricia has written a beautiful article on her blog, “Prince of Grace,” about the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Please read it here.

“Today begins the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy announced by Pope Francis.  The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception is a fitting kick-off, because it illustrates how God has loved us and longed for us to be reconciled with Him.”

5. The Jubilation Choir of Salisbury Presbyterian Church, Richmond, Virginia, held it’s annual Christmas Concert. Admission is free, but space is limited. Dee and I were there, along with family and friends, and enjoyed the performance. My favorite song was “How Should a King Come?” I found this version on YouTube.


6. On Wednesday, Beth DeCristofaro, from Your Daily Tripod, wrote of Pope Francis and the "Holy Door."

"Even as he invokes the rich traditions of our ancestors, Pope Francis looks forward.  In a break with Catholic tradition, Pope Francis has declared that during this Jubilee Year of Mercy, every diocese may designate a “Holy Door,” symbol of Jesus as the door, the gateway, to salvation which we are all welcome to enter.  In the past only five churches had such holy doors but the Pope wants all to take advantage of pilgrimage in their own home.  In keeping with the theme of bringing the mercy of Jesus to all the faithful, Pope Francis is also designating special confessors and also priests will be allowed to absolve women who have had abortions. At St. Peters in Rome, the Pope prayed on December 8, "Open the gates of justice." As he pushed open the Holy Door, a symbol of God's justice, which he said will always be applied in God’s mercy."

I was unaware of the "Holy Door," but learned more about in the following video that Beth recommended.


7. Josh Groan sings, “O Holy Night.”




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Friday, December 4, 2015

Advent, Huron Carol & Bison


My Slow Takes

1. The Richmond Spiders beat William & Mary at home and face them again for the FCS playoffs on Saturday, December 5. They ended the regular season with 8-3.
Notre Dame lost a close game to Stanford, 38-36. The Irish Lads ended their regular season at 10-2.

2. Advent started on Sunday, November 29. Dee and I have signed up for the Dynamic Catholic, “Best Advent Ever.” You can sign up here for daily emails. 

“Beginning on the first Sunday of Advent (November 29) and continuing every day through December 23, Dynamic Catholic will email you simple yet powerful messages from Matthew Kelly, America’s bestselling Catholic author, and other leading Catholic voices of our time that will help you encounter God’s incredible mercy. An ideal response to Pope Francis’ invitation to celebrate the Year of Mercy, Best Advent Ever: Rediscover Mercy can transform your life, relationships, work, and ability to genuinely embrace and experience life.”

3. On December 4, 1956, four young men gathered together, in Memphis,Tennessee, at Sun Records. It was a jam session consisting of Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash. They became known as the “Million Dollar Quartet.” The actual recording was not released until 1981. 


4. I read an article in the Wine Spector Magazine, May 31, 2015 issue, entitled “How a Palate Transforms.” It was written by Matt Kramer.
He writes about our changing tastes in wine and what influences them. I never really thought about that, but it does make sense.The wines I drink now are different from what I used to enjoy. Mr. Kramer feels that there are four factors that cause us to change. Wine, time, curiosity and flexibility. 
My taste for wine has not changed because of time alone. The factor of curiosity, led me to try a Cabernet Shiraz, because I wanted to know how it tasted. It was good and is now included in my wine purchases. I was then flexible enough to try other blends, like Cabernet Merlot and Merlot Malbec. My palate has changed. So, to quote Mr. Kramer’s article;

“Palate transformation follows along these lines: Wine + Time + Curiosity + Flexibility = Evolution. We need all four. Without them, well, we’re stuck. We lose a vital openness to other forms and varieties of beauty.”

5. Susan Cosier from onEarth, has written about Wild Buffalo roaming once again in the grasslands of Illinois. They are not a large herd, but it is a beginning.

“The herd of 30 bison is part of an effort by the Nature Conservancy to restore grasslands in the Prairie State, which, perhaps ironically, has lost more than 99 percent of its former grassland.”

6. “Brébeuf and the Huron Carol” From Ralphus at “Flintlock and Tomahawk.” 

St. Jean de Brébeuf is the patron saint of Canada. His feast day is October 19.

“This is a historical docu-drama video on the life of Jean de Brébeuf which I started as a personal project. Produced on an extremely low budget by Robert Sandler, Directed, shot and edited by me, (Peter Elliott), Brébeuf and the Huron Carol attempts to tell a two hour long story in forty six minutes. It was broadcasted on CBC and APTN back in 2002.The original music was composed and performed by Cathy Elliott with music rights acquired from Robbie Robertson, The Nylons and Bruce Cockburn, Don Ross, Toronto Consort and the Toronto Children's Chorus.”


7. Reba McEntire - “The Angels Sang.”



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Friday, November 20, 2015

Leaves, Hockey & Elvis



My Slow Takes


1. The Richmond Spiders lost a close game to Villanova. They are now 8-2 as they face William & Mary at home this Saturday.

Notre Dame heads to Boston where they challenge Boston College. The Irish Lads are at 9-1.

2. Our grandsons, Justin and Conner play hockey. The league they are in uses team names from colleges and NHL teams. This year Conner is with the Sabres and Justin is with Notre Dame.

The Notre Dame hockey team from Buffalo, N.Y.
3. November 15, 1956, the movie, “Love Me Tender,” premiered in New York City. This was Elvis Presley's first full length movie.

Here is the trailer from the movie. Yes, it’s in black and white.


4. I spent four days raking leaves. God spent a morning replacing them.

5. Bernard Cornwell is my favorite historical novelist. I’m sure I have mentioned this before. BBC has started a new series “The Last Kingdom.” It is excellent and is based on Mr. Cornwell’s series of books, “The Warrior Chronicles/Saxon Stories.” More information at BBC.

6. Thanksgiving is next week. Please pray for those who are not able to share in the feasting or time with family. Give thanks for what God has provided for you and your families. 


7. Barbara Fairchild - “Could You Walk A Mile.” A song that provides a reminder worth reflecting on.



Go over to "This Ain't the Lyceum,” where Kelly is hosting more takes.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Veterans Day & Fr. J. Martin


My Slow Takes

1. Terry Kelly - “A Pittance of Time Remembrance Day.”


2. I like this commercial by Guinness entitled, "Empty Chair." 


3. Our family veterans.

Paul Peter Forgette 2-27-46 - My Dad
Frank C. Siracusa 1945 - Dee's Dad

4. I read the book, “My Life with the Saints,” by Fr. James Martin, S.J.. On Saturday he was in Richmond, VA and gave an excellent talk on “Encountering Jesus: Meeting the Jesus of History and the Christ of Faith.” It was interesting, inspiring and included some humor about some of Fr. Martin's experiences. Dee and I purchased his new book, “Jesus, A Pilgrimage.” 

5. November 15 is the beginning of National Bible Week. It is a week long celebration of “The Bible: A Book for the Family.”

6. The Richmond Spiders dropped to at 7-2 with their loss to New Hampshire. The Irish Lads defeated Pittsburg bringing them to 8-1.

7. Today, November 13, starts the Richmond Spiders basketball season. Dee and I will be joining our friends as the Spiders host JMU.


Go over to "This Ain't the Lyceum,” where Kelly is hosting more takes.





Friday, November 6, 2015

Fr. John & New Bern, NC



My Slow Takes

1. College football update. Richmond Spiders at 7-1 and face New Hampshire on Saturday. The Irish Lads are also at 7-1 and will travel to Pittsburgh. It has been a great season for my teams. 

2. Last Monday evening we had a Mass celebration at our home. We were blessed to have Father John as our celebrant.  We shared this beautiful evening with our study group friends. After the Mass we had dinner and spent the evening talking, sharing stories and getting to know more about Father John. He is a man with strong beliefs and love of church community. 


Me, Fr. John and Dee

3. This is from New Years 2013. Sent to me by Brother Mike of our Monday night men’s group.


4. Dee and I attended a wedding in New Bern, N.C. It was our first visit to this historic town and we loved it. The days were sunny and warm and the evenings clear and mild. New Bern is the birthplace of Pepsi Cola, created by Caleb Bradham.

Sunrise from our hotel room.
Dee and Our Son Todd
5. On November 1, 1512, Michelangelo’s art work, on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is opened to the public.

View of the Ceiling
6. One of my favorite places to shop is L.L. Bean. They just opened up a new store here in Richmond, Virginia. Dee and I were there on opening day.

7. Tanya Tucker, “I’m Not Lisa.” This is a “vinyl” recording.




Go over to "This Ain't the Lyceum,” where Kelly is hosting more takes.

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Flawed Disciple & Firemen


My Slow Takes


1. The Spiders, their record now at 5-1, head to Harrisonburg, Virginia to face James Madison.

2. John Heisler,senior associate athletics director, has written “Top 10 Things Learned about the Irish So Far in 2015.” Their record is 6-1 and they have a buy this week.

3. This week, is the return of The Flawed Disciple. I wrote about him in November of 2011. His latest blog is "Out of Control." An interesting topic which will get you thinking.

4. The Stars War trailer, "The Force Awakens." Our sons and I went to all the original movies and will be looking forward to this one. 


5. This is a tribute to firemen, narrated by Paul Harvey. Our son Stephen is a member of this brotherhood of heroes. We pray for him and his fellow brothers everyday.



RFD, Station 6 - Stephen on the far right.
6. Happy “Link-toberfest.” 

What was your favorite, or most popular, Seven Quick Takes post?

I don’t have a favorite post. Each week I try to write about different things, so my mind wanders. I like old movies, cowboys, good books, music and on and on and on …. So, I went looking to see what my most popular post was.  A blog about Fr. John and the movie Shane. August 1, 2014. 

7. Crystal Gayle - “When I Dream,” a lovely song sung by a beautiful woman.




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Friday, October 16, 2015

Tradition, Leaves & Walter



My Slow Takes

1. The Spiders moved to 4-1 with their win over Elon on Saturday. Next up is Rhode Island.

2. The Irish Lads & the Navy Midshipmen clashed on Saturday. Notre Dame won, but Navy did tie the game at 21, late in the second quarter. I enjoy watching these two teams on the field. They have great respect for one another and there is a tradition that goes back many years. Read about at Wikipedia.

This video was made by Notre Dame prior to Saturdays game. It is from NCAA.com.


For my brother Tom and nephew Matthew.
3. The leaves are beginning to gather in my yard. Not a whole bunch, but enough to warn me about the up coming “raking season.”



4. Please pray for the soul of one of our Monday night men’s Cursillo group, Walter. He was a man who always helped others. Unselfish, kind and a great friend. We will miss him.


5. Also pray for Donny, the brother of our beloved friend, Jeanine. He also has taken the journey home.

6. Happy “Link-toberfest.” 

My favorite blogger? 
There are so many bloggers who write beautiful, spiritual and humorous things that to name one or even a few would be unfair. My life has been enriched reading about all of your lives. I laugh, I cry and I share what I read. I marvel at the strong faith you all have. I pray for all of you and thank God that He whispered to me to start my blog. 

7. Sara Evans, Cheatin’. One of my favorite Sara videos.




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Friday, October 9, 2015

Women’s Cursillo and Carrie


My Slow Takes

1. Spiders and Bears were at the home field, Robins Stadium, last weekend. This was the first CAA (Colonial Athletic Association) conference game of the 2015 season for the Spiders. They won the game putting them at 3-1 for the season.

2. The Irish Lads lost to the Clemson Tigers and are now at 4-1. This Saturday, Navy travels to Indiana. My brother Tom is ex-Navy and my nephew Matthew is Navy. Let the betting begin.

3. This is a great photo of our son Eric, my sister Kim and my brother Tom. Thank you to our daughter-in-law, Lynne for taking this photo.


4. The figures below are a non-historical unit based on Lieutenant-Colonel John Harris Cruger. He was a Loyalist from New York and commanded the First Battalion of DeLancey’s Brigade. In mid-summer of 1780 he was appointed as commander of Ninety-Six in the Southern theatre. The troops under his command were the New Jersey Volunteers, the South Carolina militia, his own regiment, the Delancey Brigade, as well as a number of other provincial troops. I wanted a Loyalist unit to add to my British units, so I created Cruger’s Loyalist’s. 


5. My wife, Dee, is on “team” for the Central Virginia 476th Women’s Cursillo. October 8-11, 2015. Please pray for her, the team and all the candidates.



6. Happy “Link-toberfest.” 

This is volume 207 of “My Slow Takes.” I have been writing a little over four years. It doesn't seem that long, probably because I enjoy it.

7. Carrie Underwood, “Temporary Home.” A song for reflection.



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Friday, October 2, 2015

Calvin & Hobbes and NCIS


My Slow Takes

1. Some Mondays arrive too quickly.


2. The Irish Lads are now at 4-0 as they head to South Carolina to face the Clemson Tigers. 

3. On September 30, 1889, the territory of Wyoming, granted women the right to vote. 

4. The simple wisdom of Calvin.


5. One of my favorite programs, NCIS,  has started a new season. The first two episodes were great. They showed some interesting new twists that are developing with some of the characters.

The NCIS Cast
6. Happy “Link-toberfest.” 

My first blog for Jennifer’s Seven Quick Takes was on June 10, 2011. I wasn’t sure about writing seven things every week, so I created a variation, “My Slow Takes.” I am still a contributor and enjoy reading all the different blogs. 

7. Reba McEntire and Vince Gill, “The Heart Won’t Lie.” This is a great duet.




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Friday, September 25, 2015

Fr. Kiel & Pope Francis


My Slow Takes

1. The Richmond Spiders defeated the cadets from Virginia Military Institute (VMI). They now have a 2-1 record. Their next opponent is Maine, another home game. The Irish Lads won their game against Georgia Tech. They are now 3-0 and play Massachusetts, at home on September 26th.

2. On September 24, 1966, The “Monkees" made the “Billboard” top 40 with “Last Train to Clarksville.”


3. In June, I wrote about the ordination of Father Matthew Kiel. He has a website, “Opening the Doors of Mercy.” Please take a moment to visit his blog page. It is very enlightening.

4. On Tuesday evening our parish, the Church of the Epiphany, held an evening of witnesses, readings and song. Our Director of Christian Formation, Sarah, put together this gathering. She was supported by Deacon Arthur and Deacon Stephen. Music was provided by Andy and his band along with a guest pianist, Jean, from Blessed Sacrament Church in Harrisonburg, Virginia. My favorite song of the evening was “It Is Well With My Soul.”  

Chris Rice, “It Is Well With My Soul.”


5. The Pope is in the United States and Rev. John Kazibwe, our pastor, will be in Washington D.C. where he will be concelebrating at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. We, at the Church of the Epiphany, are extremely proud  

U.S. Air Force photo - Airman 1st Class Philip Bryant
6. The Greater Hampton Road men’s Cursillo weekend is this week, 9-24 thru 9-27. Please pray for the team members and candidates.

7. Continuing with “country legends,” this is a song by Don Gibson. “Oh Lonesome Me.”



Go over to "This Ain't the Lyceum,” where Kelly is hosting more takes.