"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 30, 2011

My Slow Takes (vol. 31)

1. The annual December OBX trip was made possible because of the loving friends that shared. Photo by Dee.

2. January 1, 2012 is the start of a new year. What better way to reflect on "we are Christ for those around us." Steve Givens writes about seeking those that we have lost among us. Do not search in the cemeteries, merely look around you and see them with you. 

3. On December 31, 2011 I was inducted into the IORB, "International Order of the Red Bandannas." It is an honor bestowed only on a select few. The ceremony took place at the Outer Banks, N.C., which is the founding location of the IORB. 

I received the official "red bandanna" as well as the IORB shirt. I tied the bandanna to my head and replaced my current shirt with the infamous blue tee with the IORB insignia. 

The unofficial IORB photographer then took several pictures for the IORB archives. The photos below are designated as non-proprietary, non-secret, non-detrimental, non-authorizeable documents that would be a non-security risk to the organization. It follows the guidelines, by-laws and preamble as listed in rule number one. That's me in the middle.

4. College football currently has over 30 "Bowl Games." If you are a fan of college football then this is the sport season for you. I watch some of the games, but not all of them. I was curious about the "Bowl Games" so I went to "Wikipedia" for a quick history. From 1901 through 1959 the number of games reached a total of nine. That was before cable television when we only had a couple of local television stations. Then from 1968 through 2010, 25 new "Bowls" were added. And, according to the article, there are more coming. 

My favorite "Bowl" games were: Rose Bowl (started 1901); Orange Bowl (started 1934); Sugar Bowl (started 1934); Sun Bowl (started 1934) and the Cotton Bowl (1936). Please note that I was not around for the starting dates.

5. Sunday, January 8th, is the celebration of the Epiphany. It is the day we celebrate the Baptism of Christ. It has also become known as the "visitation of the Magi."

Friday, December 23, 2011

My Slow Takes (vol. 30)

1. Monday was a pack and visit day before heading out to the Outer Banks. We were able to meet Brenda and Lou's new grand daughter and parents. They are visiting from Florida, so this was an opportunity for us to meet them. Cristina is a beautiful baby.

2. Tuesday; there is a high wind advisory until 4PM with a tornado watch until 7PM. Not a great way to spend a vacation day in the Outer Banks.

The good news is that we went out early, completed some shopping and ate lunch at the Red Sky Cafe. Excellent food and drink.

3. Wednesday; no storm damage from last night. The sun is shining, brightening the trees and the homes around us. It is a beautiful morning and the coffee is good. Jeanine and Dave arrived last night. We enjoyed a simple dinner of soup and sandwiches.

Pam, Tony, Maureen and Jack arrived this afternoon. Dee made "sauce" and brought it with us. So we had her famous homemade Italian sauce, meatballs and sausage with Penne pasta. 

We are blessed that we were able to share dinner with great friends. Thank you Lord.

5. Thursday was another beautiful sunny day with temperatures in the high forties. I took a walk on the beach and watched a variety of people. One jogger, one fisherman and several families. One family group was sitting on the beach while the children dug holes in the sand. A young couple sat next to each other wrapped in a blanket. They were reading books and attempting to get some winter tan. 

Only a few birds and some driftwood. The beach art was also interesting.

6. Today is the fifth day of Christmas. "Five Golden Rings." 

Four Calling Calling Birds, Three French Hens, Two Turtle Doves and a Partridge in a Pear Tree." 

During the 16th Century Catholics were not allowed to practice their religion openly in England. The Jesuits are credited with writing the "Twelve Days of Christmas." The words having a specific meaning that were used to secretly teach those about the Christmas season which starts on Christmas Day. "True Love" refers to God; Turtle Doves refers to the Old and New Testament; Three French Hens refers to the Trinity; Calling Birds refers to the Four Gospels, and Five Golden Rings refers to the first Five Books of the Old Testament.

More information available at Catholic.net.  

7. I own the Barnes & Noble Nook which is similar to Jennifer Fulwiler's Kindle. It is the older version of the basic eReader and I love it. I use it to read books. It is simple to use and can store more than enough books for me to read. Sitting in waiting rooms, lying in bed, sitting on the couch or just relaxing at the beach, the eReader is with me. So, if you love reading, consider an eReader.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Who Was That Masked Man?

One of my favorite cowboy heroes was the “Lone Ranger.” Clayton Moore was the actor who portrayed him. He was one of the few actors that promoted the good qualities of the character we watched on TV. His side kick was “Tonto,” portrayed by Jay Silverheels.

I’m sure that I never missed an episode.
There was a second “Lone Ranger.” His name was John Hart and he portrayed the character for only one season. That was in 1952 and ran 52 episodes.
The “voice” of the Lone Ranger was Brace Beemer. He was on the radio from 1941 through 1954. 

Introducing each episode of the Lone Ranger was the voice of Fred Foy.
"A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty "Hi Yo Silver!"
The Lone Ranger. "Hi Yo Silver, away!" 
With his faithful Indian companion Tonto, the daring and resourceful masked rider of the plains, led the fight for law and order in the early west. Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear. The Lone Ranger rides again!"
Jay Thomas told a wonderful story about the Lone Ranger. Please take a moment to watch it here.
Thank you to all of those who brought to life a hero for us to grow up with.

Friday, December 16, 2011

My Slow Takes (vol. 29)

1. Saturday evening Dee and I picked up two of our grand daughters, Eryn and Hailey. Dee had laid out a "tacky tour" that led us to five beautiful homes. The first and last houses had Santa Claus sitting outside so the girls had a chance to update their Christmas list, twice.

My favorite house was the one that had the lights set to music. All we had to do was dial our radio to a specific station and then watch the lights dance with the music.

The last house we visited had the largest display of lights, a manger scene and even provided free hot chocolate. 

It was a nice evening sharing with the girls. We plan to do this next year and may even expand it a little bit.

2. Dee bought a Christmas story book that has a personal recording feature to it. It allows you to read the story and then save what you have read. When the recipient opens the book they hear your voice telling the story. It's a great gift for the young children and adds a personal touch to the Christmas gift.

The story is not long and the book has about ten pages. We rehearsed the lines and then started. All went really well although I noticed that Dee had used a wrong word on the last page. "A" instead of "the." Not a major issue but when the girls are following what we have recorded they would probably notice it. So I suggested we re-record the last page. Everything was fine until Dee got to the "the" word and then she started laughing. It was like watching "TV Bloopers" She couldn't stop and then I started laughing along with her. When we finally regained our composure we started again. Dee went through her part and then I started mine. Well, I did the same thing she did, changed a word. We both started laughing all over again. 

It took us longer to do the last page than it did to do all the other pages. This turned out to be a double gift. We shared giving a gift only to have God provide us a gift of togetherness. Thank you Lord!   

3. Please take the time to read "Prints of Grace, Excellent Advent Advice Part Vll: Wait Patiently."  She asks an important question about waiting. For whom or for what, for family or friends or for those you don't know. There is a link to Becky Kelley's song "Where's the Line to See Jesus?." A beautiful song for this Advent Season.

4. I went to the dentist Wednesday morning. There was a small part of my crown that required a little bit of work near where it covers the tooth. Dr. Russ said, "we can do this without Novocain."

Ah, the old "you won't feel a thing" routine. I immediately explained to him that he wouldn't feel anything, but I would. It actually was not bad and afterward I was able to get a cup of coffee and drink it without having it dribble down my chin. 

5. December 14, 2012 "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" will be released. Check out the trailer. It is directed by Peter Jackson who also directed the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. You will notice some familiar actors along with the addition of Martin Freeman as the young Bilbo Baggins.

6. This morning I listened to a song that touched my heart. "Labor of Love," written by  Cunningham Grant Evan and Davis Christopher. It is sung by three lovely voices, Point of Grace. Listen to it here and pay close attention to the lyrics.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Today is the feast-day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The celebration based on the story of Juan Diego, a peasant farmer of Mexico. On December 9, 1531 Mary appeared to him causing a tremendous affect with the Christian religion in the Americas. But it wasn't until 2002 that Pope John Paul II added December 12 to the "General Calendar of the Roman Rite." It was added as an “optional memorial, the liturgical celebration” of Our Lady of Guadalupe. 

Read more about this day at Catholic Online. 
Last night Dee, her Mom and I attended a Christmas production, “Festival of Lights,” at the New Bridge Baptist Church in Sandston, Virginia. I am pleased that the church family there is no different from being with our church family. We all share the same belief in Jesus.
My favorite moment of the evening was the rendition of Mary talking to baby Jesus. She then sang "Mary's Song.” The words both spoken and sung provided an insight how Mary embraced her gift. She was a young mother talking to her baby as any mother would. But, still in awe that she was the one God chose.
I am sure that God was involved in the selection of the young woman, Katelyn, who portrayed Mary. Her facial expression and soft clear voice transported me back to the stable over 2000 years ago. I felt that I was one of the shepherds sitting and listening to her as she spoke and sang to baby Jesus. That moment touched my heart and enriched my faith.
Tonight we attend Mass at Church of the Epiphany, to continue our celebration of Mary. Christmas is only a couple of weeks away. We light the candles of our Advent wreath each Sunday and read our devotionals for that day. Our hearts are open and our faith is strong as we wait for His arrival.

Friday, December 9, 2011

My Slow Takes (vol. 28)

1. Saturday was our family Christmas gathering. Our sons have their wives families to visit so we find it easier to share Christmas with our family early.

Dee and her Mom put together the main dinner and the caught-in-laws prepare the afternoon hors d'oeuvres. Everyone pitching in to make the day enjoyable.

We eat, sing Christmas songs, eat, open presents, tell stories, eat, share Christmas memories,  and eat some more. I'm sure that I added a couple of pounds by the end of the day.

The grandchildren enjoy being together and Dee is always tells them the reason we celebrate Christmas. Each year they have a better understanding, so she is laying the foundation for their  spiritual journeys.

2. I've added some new links this week. They are blogs involved with history and historical miniatures. A hobby that I have enjoyed since I was, well, it's been a long time. I started with the old Marx collections and then moved to the "lead" figures. Today my collection of figures includes the American Revolutionary and French and Indian War periods. 

I belong to the Historical Miniature Gaming Society (HMGS) and attend the annual conventions. Dee joins me when I go to Lancaster, PA and manages to find time to shop the outlets.

3. Basil Rathbone played Sherlock Holmes in a number of old films. I have seen many of them and enjoyed the characters and plots. His roles as a "swashbuckler" were my favorite movies.

A new Sherlock Holmes has appeared and has taken the role of Sherlock to a different level. He is Robert Downey Jr. and he portrays a unique character that is "quirky," extremely intelligent  and always one step ahead of his adversaries.  The first movie was great and I'm looking forward to seeing the second one.  

4. The newest release of "Tour of Duty, Modern Warfare III" has passed the $1 Billion dollar mark. It's hard for me to comprehend that a computer game is able to generate that much business. Perhaps I am in the wrong occupation.

5. I love honey, especially on toast and in a hot cup of tea. Bees produce honey and beekeepers gather it, bottle it up and we then we buy it off the shelf. So, I was quite surprised to learn that honey may or may not be real honey. "Relax, Folks It Really Is Honey After All."

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pearl Harbor

Please take a moment to pray for those that died, those that survived and all their families.

Some sites to visit. Naval History and Heritage and an article from CBS News.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Saint Nicholas and Santa Claus

Happy Saint Nicholas Day.
Last Sunday Msgr. Shreve gave an interesting Homily which touched on the life of St. Nicholas. He does an excellent job of tying in the history of Catholic beliefs to our present day understanding. He sparked my interest in the connection between St. Nicholas and Santa Claus. So I went searching on the Internet and found a website dedicated to St. Nicholas. There are two sections that provided me with the information I was looking for. "Who is St. Nicholas?” and the “Saint Nicholas and the Origin of Santa.”
“Catholic Online” also had information which supported my research.
My Catholic upbringing did not include St. Nicholas. I became aware of him through church but I never celebrated his day nor took the time to explain him to our sons. Sometimes it takes me awhile to get focused on the important things. Fortunately God is patient and forgiving.  
Please don’t wait as long as I did and read about St. Nicholas.

Friday, December 2, 2011

My Slow Takes (vol. 27)

1. One of my favorite Christmas albums is Michael Bolton's "This is the Time." I have it on iTunes for my MacBook and my iPod and play it all through Christmas. 

Here is a sample from the album, "O Holy Night." 

2.  Thomas Nast - “Merry Old Santa Claus

3. Sunday afternoon Dee had the grandchildren decorating the tree and setting up the manger scene. They did a great job and had fun doing it. 

4. The annual making of gingerbread houses was Wednesday night at Church of the Epiphany. This was our second year and we were joined by our youngest son Stephen and his wife Christina. I picked up two of their children, Eryn and Hailey, after work and we all met at church later.

Stephen worked with Eryn and Christina with Hailey. They made two beautiful houses. I loved watching Stephen work on the house. He really enjoyed sharing with his daughter. 

After their houses were completed Dee and our friend Pam got into the action and created two more. Pam working with Eryn and Dee with Hailey.

All of this was possible because of Diann and her helpers. They worked hard providing dinner prior to the house building. Then they setup the tables containing the icing, various candies, pretzels and other food items for the houses. Afterward there was clean up. A full night for the volunteers. Thank you all. 

5. Yesterday was the celebration of the Immaculate Conception. To me, Mary's Day of recognition of faith, setting an example for me to follow.

Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word."   Luke 1:26-38

Every time I read this I am awed by Mary's faith. There was no hesitation in her statement, she put herself in God's hands knowing that it was the right thing to do. My responses to situations are not as defining as Mary's. It is not easy for me but I know it's the right thing to do. I am blessed that He has the patience when dealing with me. Thank you Lord for your continued love.   

6. This morning I attended a group that Bill defined as a "fellowship" group. I was invited by my friend David who call it his "prayer group." Bill was trying to explain that the meetings were not "Bible study meetings." My definition, if one is required, is a gathering of Christian men sharing God's love. 

In addition to meeting Bill I was also introduced to Clyde and Gene. The were a couple of people not present but for group meetings that is not unusual. Besides; "for where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." Matthew 18:20

I look forward to attending next Friday.