"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, January 25, 2013

My Slow Takes (Vol. 83)

1. The Baltimore Ravens will be challenging the San Francisco Forty-niners on Sunday evening, February 3. I would like to see Baltimore win but it is not my team. The enjoyment is the gathering of friends and spending the time sharing what God has provided. There are also the interesting commercials that always get more internet traffic than the game itself.
We put together a football pool and everyone gets involved. Each of the couples provide delicious food and various drinks. What are your Super Bowl plans?

2. Today, Wednesday, the temperature was 17 degrees at 7AM. This is a bit unusual for Richmond, Virginia but still not like Chazy, New York which is -14 degrees this morning. Chazy is my Dad’s birth place. The sun is shinning in both places which makes it seem warmer than it really is. 

3. I finished reading Joseph Pearce’s new book, “Bilbo’s Journey, Discovering the Hidden Meaning of The Hobbit.” It is an excellent book and explains the connection of J. R. R. Tolkien’s writings to Roman Catholicism. If you enjoy any of Tolkien’s writings or any good “fairy tale,” take the time to read this.

Trisha Potter’s review of the book provides an in-depth explanation of luck and providence as well as greed and humility. 

“No one is completely immune to the “dragon sickness” of selfishness and pride, but those who respond to “luck” as it is called in The Hobbit are given all they need to overcome each encounter with it.  Pearce’s close examination of the special set of circumstances required for Elrond to even be able to see the letters on the map shows that the mere “chance” of this happening is highly improbable.  To chalk so much up to chance would be absurd.  Providence and grace are at work.    

A “Divine Will” involved as a higher order is the only reasonable explanation for things coming together perfectly, literally down to the last second. The pitfalls of pride, the dangers of materialism, and the necessity of self-sacrifice in order to love and forge true friendships are seen more clearly through the eyes of this Tolkien scholar.  The virtues and values that matter most don’t change.  The pursuit of power, pleasure, and promoting lies leads to destruction, despair, and death for those in the human realm as well as those in fairy tales.”

4. Our sons Eric and Todd are taking me to see “The Hobbit” on Saturday. The youngest son, Stephen isn’t a Tolkien fan. I guess “two out of three ain’t bad.”

5. I am an Apple user who started with the Apple llc back in 1986. Our son Eric was in sixth grade. We both enjoyed the computer and soon I bought a second one, used, along with a used Apple ImageWriter printer. Back then I was in sales and used the computer for printing proposals, customer databases, letters and hobby stuff. The technology for Apple and the computer market has been changing rapidly. Buy something today and in three months there will be a newer version. I don’t think this is a negative thing but sometimes our expectations exceed what the manufacturers produce. It seems that nothing is “fast enough.” We would like nanoseconds instead of seconds. Soon we will have that, it just requires some patience.   

6. Thursday is the Feast of Saint Francis de Sales, 1567-1622 AD, my patron saint. I have read “Introduction to the Devout Life” which has enhanced my spiritual journey. Saint Francis writes in a simple straight forward way. He is easy to understand and I marvel at the devotion he had toward God. I have much to learn.

“Why I am busy with little things, I am not required to do greater things.”

7. Today is my sixty-sixth birthday. God has been kind to me and has blessed me with a wonderful soulmate, three sons and six grandchildren. I have many close friends, a great church community and I retire next month. My health is excellent. There are no regrets and I look forward to my next journey.  

Read other "Takes" at Conversion Diary.

Friday, January 18, 2013

My Slow Takes (Vol. 82)

1. I watch NCIS and enjoy the series. The writers do a great job of taking the characters, each different, and blending together. It makes it difficult to have a favorite. Well, okay, it’s Gibbs. The two part episodes for 2013 were well done. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.
2. Jennifer’s birthday thoughts on being love-driven makes sense to me. The more I work toward the love that God wants us to attain, the better I feel. I am happier, enjoy people on a closer bond and I am more sensitive to life. We all need love and we all have the capacity to love. We just need to focus. 

3. We just sold my mother-in-laws 1992 Oldsmobile Cutlass. It had around 77,000 miles on it. She only drove it to church, just joking. My brother-in-Christ Walter sent his car to the junk yard. It was a 1994 Toyota Camry with 270,000 miles. My 2002 Nissan Pathfinder has 195,000 and is still a great vehicle. Keeping up with the normal maintenance enables your car to last awhile. There are some people who get accustomed to their cars and really enjoy them. So they don’t seem old, just broken-in. 

4. Apple stock is falling. I don’t own any directly, but I’m sure it’s part of one of my investment plans. There is some controversy whether Apple will continue to come up with new ideas. I don’t have the answer, but they have done well so far.

5. Trisha writes from her heart and shares her beautiful daily experiences. Her Wednesday blog is about two people who come together and provide a warming experience to those who were with them. The story touched me because I know and love John. He has shared and helped me and is in my daily prayers. Please take a moment to read it. 

6. I am a Baby Boomer who will be retiring next month. It’s not really retirement, it’s my next journey. One that will provide new opportunities, adventures and challenges. One possibility is that my hobbies could become new careers. I will be able to broaden my horizons and expand my boundaries. I see no limits just more things ahead, so it’s, “Second star to the right and straight on ‘til morning.”

If you contemplating the same, here is some reference information from USA Today.

7. Snow in Virginia, but not like snow in Buffalo, New York. We have a few inches of the white stuff and some icy roads. We also have people who don’t know how to drive in the snow. That makes for a rather interesting commute to work. I’m not concerned because God, in His great wisdom, has brought the sun out. It brings out the beauty of the glistening ice providing a bright landscape that is awe inspiring. Most of the snow will be gone by this afternoon. Tomorrow it will have vanished, a mere memory.

Our house around eight this morning

Read other "Takes" at Conversion Diary.

Friday, January 11, 2013

My Slow Takes (Vol. 81)

1. Dee and I spent a few days in the Outer Banks with our friends Brenda and Lou. It was a relaxing time and Lou and I managed to walk the beach. 
We enjoyed dinner at a new restaurant, The Black Pelican. I had the prime rib while the rest of our group ate seafood. Excellent service and delicious food. I also enjoyed a pint of their Pelican Nut Brown Ale.  

Me & Lou after the beach walk.

2. Get well Jennifer, you and Joe are in my prayers.

3. Hallie at “Moxiewife” has put together a gift idea for Jennifer. Please consider helping.

4. The “Game” did not go as well as I would have liked. Thoughts of “Casey at the Bat” came to mind.

“The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Irish twelve that night.” 

Notre Dame was the “underdog” and was unable to stop the ‘Red Tide” as they scored touchdown after touchdown.

“Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shinning bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light;
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout,
But in the halls of Notre Dame there is no doubt,
For the Irish Lads went 12-0 and showed they weren’t beat out.”

A great season to be proud of. Thank you Irish!

5. Dee and I went to the Richmond Spiders basketball game Wednesday night. We played the Rhode Island Rams. The Spiders are missing their key forward Derrick Williams, so the rest of team stepped up and played an exciting game. It did get down to a Spider three point advantage with minutes to go.  The final score 64-61. It was a bit exhausting but we enjoyed every minute.

6. I have no New Year resolutions. It has never been one of those things that I did. Now, more than ever, I just work on my spiritual journey continually striving to be better.

7. Sunday was the Feast of the Epiphany, the arrival of the Magi to Bethlehem. I just finished reading a historical fiction novel that takes its ideas from this day. It is written by Lonon Smith and is his first novel.

The main character is Khefren, an Egyptian scribe living in Alexandria, Egypt. (I thought it was interesting that he was a scribe.) His employer is a Roman tribune, Gaius Duccius Aquila. Gaius gets him tied up with a Parthian Caravan consisting of some emissaries from Persia, Armenia and China. Some of the names may be familiar; Gaspar, Melchior, Baltasar, Arsaka and Shen Te. They travel to Israel where they come across Herod, Miryam and Yosef ben Yakov. The adventure is exciting and the characters interesting.  

I enjoyed the story but it is quite different from our teaching. Please remember that it is fiction and not for children. Read it with an open mind and heart. A free sample of the book is available at Lonon Smith’s website.

Read other "Takes" at Conversion Diary.