"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, June 29, 2012

Slow Takes (vol. 55)

1. Tuck at the Denbigh Church of Christ wrote about a new acronym “MTD.” It is from Kenda Creasy Dean’s book, “Almost Christian.” I have not read the book but found her acronym to be interesting. 
MTD is Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. Kenda claims that many American churches teach this and that is not really Christianity. Moralistic means that we believe we are basically good. Therapeutic because if we are good, then we feel better about ourselves. Deism is God sitting back and letting us do our thing. I have some friends who follow this model. 
Kenda has some thoughts of how to deal with MTD. Please take some time to read about here.

2. Tesla Motors showed off it’s first new Model S electric luxury sedan on June  22, 2012. The US Government has rated it at up to 265 miles per charge for the high end model. The standard model has a range of 160 miles if you maintain a constant speed of 55 miles per hour. Cost for the base model is $57,400 plus delivery of $990.00. You read more about it at USA Today

3. I’ve been watching the NBC’s Today show for many years. Jane Pauley, Deborah Norville, Katie Couric, Meridth Vieira and Ann Curry. On Thursday Ann Curry left for a new gig within the NBC organization. This seems to be the standard change process from NBC. They have always had excellent women on the program. Each one was different and brought their own style which added to the morning show. Thank you Ann Curry, I will miss your morning smile.
4. The Supreme Court released it’s ruling on the health care law. Read the details at online Wall Street Journal. They decided “Congress was acting within its powers under the Constitution.” It was upheld as a tax. Very interesting, didn’t we have an issue with unpopular taxes in 1776?

5. Jesus said to his disciples:"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be." (Matthew 6:19-21)
Treasures are changing for me. Those material things are becoming more “things” that seem to accumulate. So I am trying to reduce what I acquire and share what I have. It is more fun watching the surprise look in those receiving my gift. They treasure it more because it comes from me. My heart feels good. Their heart feels good knowing that they can repeat this process passing on to others.

6. An update from “The Black Biretta: Vatican declares Archbishop Fulton to be Venerable.” 

7. I'm waiting for the L.L. Bean, men's Allagash Bison hand sewn shoes to go on sale again. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Slow Takes (Vol. 54)

1. Father’s Day was relaxing and fun. In fact I actually had a Father's Day weekend, Saturday at Todd's house and Sunday at home. I received two humorous cards from Eric and Stephen. In addition, Christina made me homemade fudge. It is my favorite and she makes it just the way I like it.
Our grandsons, Justin and Conner were at the house with their dad Eric and we all played Halo. We took turns being on different teams and ended up with Eric and I opposing Justin and Conner. We lost all the games. They play too much and I don’t play enough. 
2. On Monday John arrived with mulch, topsoil, seed and fertilizer. Dee was there and excited that he completed everything. She was pleased with the work and the yard is gorgeous. Now I have to water the newly grassed areas.
3. Jennifer Fulwiler shared her interview with Brandon Vogt on Tuesday. She mentioned that she looked like a “redheaded hobbit.” So I thought I would post two pictures, one of Jennifer and one of a “hobbit girl,” by Kara-Kedi on Deviantart.com. 


Hobbit Girl

4. The first day of summer and the weather report for Richmond, Virginia is sunny, hot and humid. Temperature to be around 96 degrees. Meteorologist Meghan Evans says that there are three ways to define summer. Solar summer: May, June and July; meteorological summer: June, July and August and astronomical summer which is June, July, August and September. Virginia is like the astronomical summer and I love it.
5. Medical costs are rising, my deductible has increased and I still have issues trying to understand some of my medical bills. What is the real cost of my procedure? What part am I paying and is it correct? Christine Dugas wrote an article in Thursday’s USA Today that provided some answers.
There is a web-based organization called Simplee that provides a free "billing-error detection system." Apparently about 80% of medical bills are incorrect.

I did some checking and found out that the Better Business Bureau gives Simplee an A- rating and do not have any complaints listed. Details can be found at Freewebsitereport.org.
6. War was declared against Great Britain on June 18, 1812. We are now celebrating 200 years of peace. The official Bicentennial website is here.

If you go to this link there is a short quiz on the War of 1812. I scored seven out of nine.
7. There was an update in USA Today on the Voyager space vehicle launched by NASA in 1977. I liked Eric Christian’s quote, “we’re going where no one has been before.” He is a NASA research scientist that undoubtably watched Star Trek. “To boldly go where no man has gone before.”
8. I am not a political person and this is not a lead for discussion. My faith is in God and it’s to Him that I pray. Our country has issues. We have had issues in the past and will continue to have them. I believe that through prayer and devotion to God we will get through them.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. John 14:1
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is asking us to pray from June 21 to July 4 a “fortnight for freedom.” 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

My Slow Takes (vol. 53)

1. The washing machine is malfunctioning. It won’t pump water for washing so I figure it’s probably the pump or motor that needs replacement. A minor issue that requires a service call. 

It turned out to be a loose wire that required replacing. A simple fix for the repairman.

2. Apple has introduced a new laptop. Thinner, faster, an updated operating system, Retina display and cool looking. In addition there is the new iOS6 software update coming this fall with Siri for the iPad and an Apple Map app.

3. Now that the rooms have been painted we are replacing electrical outlets to match the new colors. Then Dee found some new devices for hanging pictures and displaying things. One is a two tier ledge shelf that allows different size photos to be arranged together. The other is a three piece cube shelf which allows the easy display of items.
4. This is the week the landscape work is scheduled to begin. Let the mulch be brought, let the flowers be planted and may the weeds disappear.
5. It’s Sunday morning and I’m late with my posting. Yesterday we went to the “farm” to see our son Todd and his family. I received a beautiful and touching Father’s Day card and his wife Lauren made my favorite stuffed peppers.
6. Happy Father’s Day to our Father. I have tried to share my love for our sons as He has shared his love for me. It is not an easy task but it is a journey I enjoy and would do again. Thank you Father for all you provide. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

My Slow Takes (vol. 52)

1. This is the anniversary of one full year of “My Slow Takes.” Thank you to Jennifer Fulwiler for the inspiration and thank you to all who read these “Takes.”
2. Dee and I attended the honeybee festival at the Rockwood Nature Center here in Richmond. One of the greeters at the beekeeper table was our friend Gene. He is a member of our church, the Rockwood Park Backyard Beekeepers Association and a beekeeper. He provided some information on beekeeping and invited us over to see his bee hive.
Inside the Nature Center building was an observation beehive where you could see the “queen bee” and all her entourage. Beekeeper Ken was answering questions and providing a mini-class on bees. We bought some local honey and checked out the vendors that were present.
3. The company that I work for has a two deck parking lot and then an overflow lot across the street. The overflow lot is always empty except at lunch time when one or two vehicles park under the trees. As I was doing my lunch walk on Tuesday I noticed a car with it’s trunk open and a woman doing something in one of the mulched areas at the side of the lot. It backs up to some businesses and there is about a ten yard wooded area. I could not imagine what she was doing and wondered if she was “borrowing” mulch. Later, as my walk brought me around to that spot, I noticed that the woman had left two containers of cat food and two containers of water. Just a kind person feeding God’s creatures.
4. The trees were taken down Monday and the stumps grinned the next day. I cleaned up the mulched stumps and everything is finished. It has opened the front yard allowing more sunshine to warm the house. The tree crew did a great job.
5. On the inside of the house the painters have completed the kitchen, kitchenette, family room, dining room and hallway. We were so pleased with the results and had them do the master bedroom and bathroom. It’s like living in a new home.
6. Some quotes that made me laugh and think this week.
“Hurray! [Imagining The Righteous, a.k.a. me, rejoicing in the Lord, while the Enemy, a.k.a. those who have annoyed me, having been smote and scorned.]” Jennifer Fulwiler from “Teach Me How to Love the Psalms.”

I laughed because I’ve been here. Those antagonistic people that have made my life miserable should suffer. They have done wrong and deserve to be punished. I know now that this is wrong and I reminded that when Daniel entered the lions den God did not destroy the lions, He made them peaceful. 

On Thursday, NC Sue had a quote from Bishop Fulton Sheen. It is a quote that I have not read before and it made think about how difficult it is to love as I should. Please take a moment to read it.

7. A young women, in her mid-twenties has been diagnosed with metastatic thyroid cancer. Her name is Jessica. Please pray for her and her parents, Chris and Dan.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

My Slow Takes (vol. 51)

1. Another great drawing from “iron mitten.” Finding Spartacus should be simple for the Romans. He looks like Kirk Douglas and has a dimple on his chin. (This brings back memories for me as my Dad took me to see this movie when I was younger.)

2. This weekend is Fair Trade weekend at our church, The Church of Epiphany. I have been the facilitator for this ministry for the last three years. It is rewarding, fun and I love the coffee. The team runs by itself making my job more paperwork than physical selling. We offer coffee, tea, chocolate candy and occasionally cooking cocoa and hot chocolate mix. Once a year we have a bazaar and add jewelry, clothing and crafts.
Everything we sell benefits farmers and artisans from all over the world. Please take a moment and read about Equal Exchange and SERRV.

3. We started the landscape work this week, sort of, as it really wasn’t supposed to start until next week. Our landscape artist John, an interesting Italian man likes to do business the “old way.” Discuss what needs to be done and shake hands. He has been mowing and trimming our lawn this year and we are pleased with his work. Unfortunately Dee’s explanation of what we wanted completed and when did not match John’s. When he worked on the mulch beds earlier in the week a couple of her plants were removed in error. John apologized and told her to go out and get new ones, he would cover the cost. We are now on track.
4. This morning in USA Today there was a full page add from the “Freedom From Religion Foundation.” The heading was, “It’s Time To Quit The Catholic Church.” I was not pleased with the ad and took offense to it. The statements, “You’re better than your church, so why stay? Why put up with an institution that discriminates against half of humanity?” clearly shows that they do not understand Jesus and His teachings. So, I am reminded by Melanie Rigney’s post in “Your Daily Tripod” to pray for them and forgive them.
“(Jesus said:) “Therefore I tell you, all that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours. When you stand to pray, forgive anyone against whom you have a grievance, so that your heavenly Father may in turn forgive you your transgressions.” (Mark 11: 24-25)”

5. Jennifer Fulwiler wrote an inspiring article on the word “authority.” This morning I read “Authority Is a Virtue” by Sr. Macrina Wiederkehr, O.S.B, from the Living Faith devotional for today. She suggests that the word authority contains the word “author” suggesting “a creator, an originator, one who draws forth truths from the Source of Life, perhaps one who can help us learn or inspire us.” Jennifer was inspired and shared her thoughts on daily prayer and trust in God. Both women with the same word from different perspectives have blessed my week. Thank you. 
Sr. Wiederkehr offers the following prayer. “O Author of Life, give me the gift of drawing from the deep well of my life, words that will nourish, heal, encourage and bless. Help me to teach with authority.”