"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, October 29, 2011

My Slow Takes (vol. 21)

1. I provided some thoughts to our sons and their wives back in August 2009. Over the next few weeks I will be sharing them. 

Don't let your children be afraid of spiders or other insects; snakes or other reptiles.
Don't let your children be afraid of the dark or lightening and thunderstorms.
Do teach your children to respect and understand nature and remind them it was created
by God.

Think positive even when things are not. Life has its ups and downs. But, somewhere there  is a positive no matter how small or insignificant it may seem at the time.    

Enjoy each and every day, don't wish for tomorrow to hurry up and get here. It will arrive and pass you by. Then you will wonder where it went. Yesterday is always gone and it will never return.

Talk to each other; don't rely on voice mail and any other new technology that will come along. Face to face conversation is the best means of communication. This is true with family, but it is just as important with friends and co-workers.

2. I watched a historical-fantasy movie entitled "Season of the Witch." It starred Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman, both actors that I enjoy watching. They played Teutonic Knights who have returned from the Crusades. Their return not necessarily being one of a welcoming for heroes. A new actor, for me, was Stephen Campbell who plays Debelzag, a priest. He did an excellent  job portraying the religious guardian of the group.

The story is based on the "Black Death" which killed millions of people during the 14th century. The plot bases the cause of the plague as a curse from a witch. In order to rid the world of this plague she must be taken to a monastery hidden in the mountains. Located there is the "King of Solomon" book which will be used by the monks to destroy the evil within the witch.

This is not a movie for everyone, but I found it to be quite interesting. A combination of Christian faith, redemption and the never ending battle between heaven and hell.

3. I don't care for the stock market nor zombies.

There are too many things going on in the world that affect the stock market. None of which I have any control over. And, it appears that greed and dis-honesty are the culprits that cause the fluctuations. According to "USA Today," we are heading into the season where the stock market is "historically" strong. Well, that is the theory, depending on who you ask.

Zombies are the "living dead." This is an oxymoron. You are either alive or dead, not both. However, I appear to be in the minority as there is going to be a third season of  the TV series "The Walking Dead." No, I haven't watched any episodes and I don't plan on watching any. 

Just my $.02. 

4. One of my friends sent me the following;

"The light turned yellow, just in front of him. He did the right thing, stopping at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through the intersection.

The tailgating woman was furious and honked her horn, screaming in frustration, as she missed her chance to get through the intersection, dropping her cell phone and makeup. 
As she was still in mid-rant, she heard a tap on her window and looked up into the face of a very serious police officer. The officer ordered her to exit her car with her hands up.. 
He took her to the police station where she was searched, fingerprinted, photographed, and placed in a holding cell.
After a couple of hours, a policeman approached the cell and opened the door. She was escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting officer was waiting with her personal effects. 
He said, "I'm very sorry for this mistake. You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, flipping off the guy in front of you and cussing a blue streak at him. I noticed the 'What Would Jesus Do' bumper sticker, the 'Choose Life' license plate holder, the 'Follow Me to Sunday-School' bumper sticker, and the chrome-plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk, so naturally....I assumed you had stolen the car.""

I laughed and then thought that although somewhat stretched, the story isn't that unusual. It is easy for us to get into situations where our faith wavers or our inner peace gets side tracked. Our lives are filled with temptations or stress from family, friend and work issues.   

Faith is a full time job that should start with prayer and devotion to Jesus. Our armor required to face each day as a Christian Knight. We need to be prepared to fight sin, no matter how insignificant that sin may seem. Small sins grow and can become too large to handle if we don't have faith. Live your faith ... show your faith ... share your faith.

May God bless your day and keep you safe.

5. Today is the funeral of a brother in Christ; Joseph. He was 84, a member of our Church of the Epiphany and a fellow Cursillista.

The following is a paragraph from the obituary that was in the "Richmond Times Dispatch."

"His real passion was helping others. He served as chairman of the Henrico County Red Cross, the parish councils of Our Lady of Lourdes and Redeemer Catholic churches, and the finance committee for the Catholic Diocese of Richmond. Beginning in 1996, along with his wife, Kay Marie, established and served in a ministry of Epiphany Catholic Church, facilitating healing for families who lost children to abortion, through Rachel's Vineyard Retreats. Joe, a man of character, tried to live his life in accordance with his Catholic faith. He was a good and faithful servant and he looked beyond appearances to see the true value in each person he met. His humor was subtle, his smile broad. He was a gentle and gracious man who is loved by family and friends. He will be greatly missed!"

Please pray for his wife Kay Marie and family.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

My Slow Takes (vol. 20)

1. I went to Cub Scouts Monday night with our grandson Conner. His father had to go out of town and asked me to fill-in for him. I'm not sure who was more excited, Conner or me. This was Spaceship Derby night and Conner had his red space ship with yellow flames ready to go. 

The derby was a fun activity, no winners and no losers. Conner's ship didn't make it to the end, but it did fly. There were about 50 cub scouts participating and each spaceship was different. Watching the boys cheering each time a group of spaceships took off brought back memories of when I was a Den Leader. I'm looking forward to attending the Pinewood Derby.

2. We went to see "Courageous" last weekend. The movie was very good and provided an excellent Christian message. I suggest that everyone see it and reflect on the message.

3. Thursday, Tuck @ Denbigh Church of Christ, had a great message. 

"While it is not enough for us to be "pretty good people," our Christian faith must lead us to live in the world of non-believers in a that "will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life" (Phil 2:15-16). It is not enough for us to be a pretty good person, but if we don't live so that the people around us see us as a pretty good person, then we more or less invalidate our belief that Jesus makes a difference."

I have been in the "I'm a pretty good person" mode. It was very easy for me to look at others and convince myself I was doing the right things. But, I wasn't and have since learned how important it is to have Jesus in my life. I'm getting better.

4. Dee finished painting the bedroom this week. It's a beautiful blue, dark but not too dark. We work as team, I do the prep work and cleanup and she paints. The work is always completed in a timely manner and we share in the finished product.

Next are the accessories that have to completed. Friends of ours provided an old cast iron bed frame that Dee is going to paint white. Then there are pictures and some type of dresser that will hold the television for the room.

5. Autumn is moving into the coloring of the trees. The time when the vibrant colors of orange and red start dotting the woods. It is a beautiful time of the year and I enjoy the cool mornings and non humid days.

Now I have to start raking the leaves as they cover the lawn like a brown, tan and yellow blanket preparing for winter. The exercise is good and I enjoy talking with my neighbors as they tend to their lawns.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

My Slow Takes (vol. 19)

1. Verizon Fios has a new commercial that made me laugh. 

It starts with "Mom" coming in the son's room where he is "on the computer."
She questions as to whether he is playing with his friends. He tells her he his and changes his computer screen so that she can see his friend. Well, Mom sees his friends Mom and they begin talking. After a moment Dad shows up with his laptop and headset ...  "I thought we were storming the castle .... " 

Then his son points to the two Moms.

Well, I thought it was funny.

2. The Buffalo Bills are 4 and 1. Their best start in ........ well, a very long time. In addition to that, the Buffalo Sabers beat the Ducks Friday and the Kings on Saturday.

It was a great sports weekend for Buffalo fans.

3. Our oldest son Eric sent me information about Dennis Richie. He died last weekend at the age of 70. He was know as the "father of C Programing and UNIX." My son's point was that he was just as ingenious as Steve Jobs but did not have the recognition. My thought was that he was probably a humble man who was content just doing what he loved. Not all of us get into the "limelight" and we don't have to. Dennis and Steve were both great technological people who touched our lives. Interesting that they both died during the same time period.

4. Guthrie works for a large utility organization. Whenever they are planning a new project they have to go through a proposal process and then present it to a review board. The review is called CTOBPF. (Check This Out Before Proceeding Forward) It is a long process usually taking four to five days to complete.

Each department lead is responsible for explaining the process they follow and then showing the process flow in presentation form. When that section is completed the CTOBPF then presents its findings in another series of presentation. A percentage is assigned to each process and the total must score 75% or higher, depending on the situation. 

Guthrie spent the entire week gathering data and making presentations. When the CTOBPF group did their presentation on Friday Guthrie's section past with high scores. Fortunately the entire process did well and now the project will be able to start as planned.

So you're wondering why I'm telling you this. Well, we all have to deal with things in our daily lives that are stressful. Sometimes we question ourselves and feel "why me." This is the time when we have to be strong in our faith and know that no matter what we are going through God is there.

It's human nature to loose confidence or courage when life is not going the way we want it to. This is not easy but we can work through it . Just take the time to talk to God. Ask Him for help and strength to get through your day and He will provide it. 

God bless and enjoy your weekend.

Friday, October 7, 2011

My Slow Takes (vol. 18)

1. I love this Garrison Keillor quote. His Prairie Home Companion is a favorite program of mine. The humor, music and various guests are always entertaining. My favorite part of the show is "Guy Noir." His adventures keep me laughing and provides a great release from the doldrums of the day.

"Cats are intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a function."

2. Jennifer Fulwiler, at "Conversion Diary" invited bloggers to post their equivalent of her "7 Quick Takes" to her blog. So I have done that with the hope that more people will read what I write. Thank you Jennifer for the opportunity to expand my musings.

3. Last week I talked about technology and this week Apple announced the new IPhone 4S and also a cool deal on the iPhone 3S. I can now purchase a two-year contract and get a free iPhone 3S. I don't need it, really I don't. But wow what a great deal! 

4. USA Today had an article in the Wednesday edition about people protesting in New York and various other cities across the United States. There were two things that caught my attention. One was the photograph of Peter Yarrow from "Peter, Paul and Mary," and the other was the comment by New York City Councilman Dan Halloran.

I love the music of Peter, Paul and Mary even though I don't agree with all of their views. Seeing Peter Yarrow singing and surrounded by children does warm my heart. What is really supportive to me is that he continues to reach out, help and entertain. God bless him.

Now I don't know Mr. Halloran but I am surprised that he feels the protesters need or should have a "specific plan." I thought we elected government officials to listen to us. Haven't we been clear enough about what is going on in the United States? Weren't they elected to take information from us and put together the "plan?" Well, at least one that is suppose to work.

Just wondering.

5. Steve Jobs, 1955 - 2011. He was only 56, some years younger than I am. The Apple website has his photo on it showing their devotion to the man and his accomplishments. I started with the Apple back in the early years. We used floppy disks and the screen was not in color. I now work on a MacBook Pro and continue to embrace the Apple product line.

One of the articles I read stated that Steve "embraced Eastern culture and religion." He was a Buddhist. It's interesting that a man with his knowledge and intelligence did not see Christ as our Savior. But then we really don't know what his last thoughts were. Perhaps he reached the vineyards, just late in the day.     

Saturday, October 1, 2011

My Slow Takes (vol. 17)

1. My "4th Day" started one year ago, September 26, 2010. I am now a "Cursillistas." This past year has been uplifting both spiritually and mentally. I have learned much and continue to learn as each day passes. Thank you for allowing me to work in the vineyard so late in the day.

2. My eyes seem to be more important to me than when I was younger. I write more now and enjoy painting my historical miniatures. Both require concentration and I feel it in my eyes when I do too much. In addition I work at a computer all day and I know that doesn't help. 

I discovered the "rule for eyes; 20-20-20." Saw it on the news the other day. You spend 20 minutes working in front of the computer, then you look away for 20 seconds at an object or some sort of focal point 20 feet away. Simple, and it works! 

3. I attended a funeral for the mother of one of our close friends Judith. Her mother was 93 and was active all her life. It is hard to have family leave us. We want them around forever because we love them. Lord please help them through their time of mourning.

My Mom and Dad and Dee's Dad have taken the journey to Heaven. Dee's Mom is still here, healthy and enjoying life. She is approaching 90 but I keep telling her she will get on the Smucker's jar when she reaches 100. She irons my shirts every week and we enjoy a glass of wine together at dinner. I need to enjoy each moment she is here and make memories that will last my lifetime.

4. Technology is evolving faster than I can keep up with. Last February I purchased a Nook, only $149; less than three months later a new Nook came out. It is touch screen and only $139. Now Amazon is ready to release "Kindle Fire." And, probably we'll be seeing the Apple iPad 3 in early 2012. 

So I have to study all of the available information and decide what "technology tools" I need next. If you ask my wife she'll say none. But the tools are really cool and it's fun to do the research and at least think about them.

5. I am putting together the annual fall order for our Fair Trade Bazaar at church. This is the third year I have been handling the bazaar. I am blessed with great support which makes my job easy. There are some new products available for this year and I'm hoping people will like them.

The bazaar helps artisans and farmers throughout the world. We get products from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ecuador, Ghana, India, West Bank, Mexico, Philippines, South Africa and Vietnam. There are more countries involved and more people to help. Check out the Catholic Relief Services website to learn more. 

6. Happy October 1st. Get ready for the fall foliage.