"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, March 25, 2011

My Hobby

Historical miniatures is one of my favorite hobbies. Two weekends ago I traveled to Lancaster, Pennsylvania to take part in the HMGS East spring convention, Cold Wars. The convention was at the Lancaster Host. My best friend Phil, from Buffalo, New York, also attended so we were able to spend time talking, reminiscing about past conventions and enjoying the weekend.

I have been going there for over 20 years and have been involved in the hobby since I was a child. Marx play sets were my Santa requests which allowed me to mass quite a collection. Later I got involved in history which led to painting metal figures and gaming. It is a hobby that is challenging and interesting. The people who play are great and add to the excitement and fun of the game.

On Friday I played in the game, "Battle of Fort Anne, New York" which was based on the actual battle that occurred July 8, 1777. Historically Colonel Hill and his 9th Regiment of Foot were pursuing the retreating American forces that had withdrawn from Fort Ticonderoga. Colonel Long of the New Hampshire Continentals realized that with his troops and Van Rensselaer’s New York Militia he actually outnumbered the British. His plan was to attack before the arrival British 20th and 21st Regiments which were being sent by General Burgoyne. The battle lasted about two hours with neither side in a position to claim a “real” victory.

In our game it was the object of the American side to take the British position and prevent them from retreating from the board. The British objective was to inflict as much damage as possible and keep their lines of communication open. Both sides came very close and at best the Americans won a marginal victory. I took the character of Van Rensselaer and managed, with the assistance of another player, to push in the right side of the British left flank.

The game was played with “homebrew” rules, which were quick moving and easy to understand. A great game put on by Van and Joshua of the Reading Area Wargamers.

My second game was Saturday where I shifted periods and played “Drawing Blood on the Frontier – the French and Indian War." This was not an historical engagement but just a fun game laid out by Nate Gerstner of the Refuse the Flank Wargamers. The rules were “Brother Against Brother” which is one of my favorite set of rules for this period.

In this game I took the side of the French commanding the Canadian militia and French Light troops. Facing me were Roger’s Rangers and British Light troops. I managed to push back the light troops and was confident that Roger’s Rangers would soon be joining them. However my die rolls were not holding as well as expected and my French Canadians were forced from the field. C’est la vie …..

In addition to playing games I have also put on games within the American Revolution time period. I have not done anything in the past few years but now plan to run the Battle of Camden at the next Cold Wars in 2012. (That was the unfortunate defeat of Major General Gates which occurred August 16, 1780.) One of the interesting and enjoyable things about doing these games is that one never knows what the results will be.

The photo, taken by Phil, shows me and my French troops advancing forward. Nate is getting ready for the next move.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


The Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 2000; "Sanctifying grace is an habitual gift, a stable and supernatural disposition that perfects the soul itself to enable it to live with God, to act by his love. Habitual grace, the permanent disposition to live and act in keeping with God's call, is distinguished from actual grace which refer to God's interventions, whether at the beginning of conversion or in the course of the work of sanctification."

Last night in our weekly Cursillo group meeting the question came up, "what does grace mean to you?" During our discussion there were different but similar answers. All of them seemed to touch on the fact that grace is a "living relationship" that "transforms our human nature." We are doing things to help others, things that we may not have done before. We are experiencing and sharing emotions of love, sadness and joy. Sometimes we are doing things and don't realize that we are actually helping, actually touching someone. 

As I listened and reflected on each one's definition I realized how blessed I am to be associated with these men. These common every day men I have named the "Epiphany Fourteen." They are involved in the ministries that help others in their daily lives. Meals on wheels, providing the Eucharist and praying with the elderly and supporting our church community through Human concerns ministry, Eucharist ministry, hospitality ministry, funeral ministry and many others. They are involved and do not seek recognition nor boast of their accomplishments. Cursillistas doing God's work, spreading the Word.

I know that one person living out their life in a spiritual Christ-like way makes a difference. To me, this is our grace; a gift freely given to us by Jesus. 

"Grace is simply love."

Thank you Gerry. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wednesday Musing

Jennifer Williamson is a missionary living in France with her husband and two sons. I enjoy reading her blog about the adventures they encounter and how they are adjusting to a new culture. Today she asks the question, "Should missionaries be poor?" My immediate response is "no" and after reading her article I stand behind my answer. Missionaries are rich in the love of Jesus and have been given a gift of spreading His word.

There is an interesting section of her article that prompted me to write this morning. Jennifer provides a simple explanation about how Jesus loves us and how important "material things" should be.

“When our boys were little, and sometimes still today, when they ask, "Will you buy me this?" the answer we most frequently give is this: "God gives us enough money for ALL of the things that we need, and SOME of the things that we want. We need decide if this is really the WANT that we WANT right now. If we buy this it will mean that we can't do or buy ____________. I would prefer ______________. What do you think?" This is the most honest answer that I know how to give. Oh, and our boys know that we ALWAYS pay cash, and that large WANTS require months of saving, and therefore months of saying "no" to other wants.”

But in that exercise with my boys, I realized that I was convicted by the "We can't afford that" response for a deeper reason. You see God is my Father, and my Father can afford everything. But because He doesn't want spoiled brats for children, He is careful and wise in how bestows material blessings. Sometimes, "We can't afford it" is a cop-out answer. God NEVER gives that response when He chooses NOT to give us something. Sometimes, "No" to ourselves and to our children is the most loving and kind response; yet, if we let ourselves believe we have said, "No" because "we can't afford it" then we rob the "No" of its power.”

I just purchased a Nook recently. Using money from our budget was not an option as this wasn’t something that I “really needed.” It was an extra “thing” that I could use for reading novels and research material. So what would I give up to have this? I gave up something that I already owned. It was a trade of one “thing” for another. I did not make the purchase until I received the money for what I sold. I feel good about the process that I followed and I enjoy my new e-Reader.

I own a lot of “things.” Some are important because they are used in our everyday routines. Our home is a place to live, eat and sleep; our cars we use to get to church and work and our clothing covers and protects us from the weather. Those that I found not to be important I’ve been slowly giving away. I haven’t missed any of them which make me think that there is probably more that I can do without. I find that life becomes simpler once we open our heart to Jesus. I now take time to do the daily readings; listen and reflect on His words. My days and nights are fuller and I want to share this with family, friends and strangers.

Today we start the Season of Lent and prepare for His resurrection. Have a blessed day.