"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

Monday, February 25, 2013

A Note from Paul to Congress and the President

There is less than a week to find a solution to “Sequester.” It is apparent to all of us outside of the Halls of Congress that if this issue is not resolved it will cause suffering throughout our country.

This is an appeal not a demand. We need your assistance. You are our elected officials, paid to represent us and guide our country.

Sometimes I think that you find it convenient to blame each other for lack of cooperation.

Sometimes I think that because some of these things do not affect each of you directly, you do not care.

I am thankful that our economy is slowly coming back. Now it seems that this recovery may be curtailed and it’s growth restricted. We do not need to be set back to where we stared. Please work together so that our country may move forward.

Friday, February 22, 2013

My Slow Takes (Vol. 87)

1. Last Friday night was Grandma Dee’s sleepover with Eryn and Hailey. We watch a new movie, “Frankenweenie.” I enjoyed it and laughed through most of the scenes. It was done in black and white which is the same as the 1931 Frankenstein movie. My favorite adaptation was Mel Brooks “Young Frankenstein. 

Tim Burton did an excellent job with his cast of characters. I noticed resemblances to Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre. Victor’s parents reminded me of June and Ward Cleaver. I’m sure there were more that I missed. There were references from movies such as “The Bride of Frankenstein,” “Young Frankenstein” and “Men in Black.” You may even recognize a character from one of the “Godzilla” movies. It is a family movie, and the girls enjoyed it, but I think I enjoyed it more.

2. Saturday morning was French toast and bacon for breakfast. While Dee was cooking we were visited by a small herd of deer. Photos by Dee.

First arrival.

Doe and four point buck
3. The Richmond Spider basketball team played an exciting and tough game against St. Bonaventure last weekend. We finally won in overtime. Games like this are exhausting as well as enjoyable. 

4. I finished watching episode 3 of “Minor Revisions.”  The conversation with Noe caught my attention. His conversion and rehabilitation was like a burst of heavenly illumination. From darkness into light, from slumber into awakening. God has blessed him and now he helps others. A beautiful story.

My favorite part was "on the phone with Ted Weinstein." “I think I’m going to cry .....” She did and there were tears in my eyes as well. I'm glad that she is happy and moving forward.

5. My understanding of sequestration is that many people will suffer because of the spending cuts. Government contractors, grant recipients and Medicare. Approximately 750,000 jobs will be eliminated. I’m not a politician, but it seems to me that there must be a better way. Lord we need your help getting all the parties involved to work this out.

6. Today, February 22, 1630, the American Indians supposedly introduced popcorn to the pilgrims.

7. This was my last day of work. I am now retired and looking forward to my new journey, my new adventures. Dee took a couple of pictures as I left for my last day. She sent them out to all our friends.

Wave good-bye Paul

Read other "Takes" at Conversion Diary

Friday, February 15, 2013

My Slow Takes (Vol. 86)

1. News from The Vatican which I’m sure everyone has read. Thought I would add it here for those who had not. 

“Dear Brothers,
I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.
Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.”
From the Vatican, 10 February 2013

2. Colleen O’Sullivan presented the following prayer as a great way to start Lent. 

God, grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, which is pretty much everyone, since I’m clearly not you, God.  At least not the last time I checked.  And while you’re at it, God, please give me the courage to change what I need to change about myself, which is frankly a lot, since, once again, I’m not you, which means I’m not perfect.
It’s better for me to focus on changing myself than to worry about changing other people, who, as you’ll no doubt remember me saying, I can’t change anyway.  Finally, give me the wisdom to just shut up whenever I think that I’m clearly smarter than everyone else in the room, that no one knows what they’re talking about except me, or that I alone have all the answers.  Basically, God, grant me the wisdom to remember that I’m not you.  Amen.”

3. Our annual Valentine dance at Church of the Epiphany, was last Saturday evening. Plenty of food, drink, dancing and enjoying friends.

4. Msgr. Shreve’s Homily on Wednesday evening spoke about fasting and how it is not about giving up “things.” Today’s reading reinforces his suggestions for Lent.

This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own. (Isaiah 58:6-7)

5. Some time ago I wrote about a coworker who became close friend. A young man the age of our sons whom I have learned to love. Leighton and his wife Andrea are in my daily prayers and I’m asking for prayers as he heads to the Mayo Clinic in Florida next week. His medical condition requires more testing and observation.

6. A historical note from “Defending the Legacy” about the Treaty of Paris in 1763. The beginning of the treaty includes this statement. 

"In the Name of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. So be it."  It goes on to say how "It has pleased the Most High to diffuse the spirit of union and concord among the Princes, whose divisions had spread troubles in the four parts of the world, and to inspire them with the inclination to cause the comforts of peace to succeed to the misfortunes of a long and bloody war.”

7. This has been a great week, everyone in our family is healthy. Thank you Lord.

Read other "Takes" at Conversion Diary.

Friday, February 8, 2013

My Slow Takes (Vol. 85)

1. There were 220 blogger posts on Jennifer’s site last week. I don’t read all of them, but there are 15 or so that I read on a regular basis. As the week goes on I’ll go back and read some others. The blogs are inspiring, humorous, heartwarming and what is more important, they bring the word of God into focus. Thank you Jennifer for allowing me to learn and share with these beautiful people. Thank you to all you bloggers for writing and please continue.   

2. Super Bowl is over and it was an exciting game, once we got into the second half. I wasn’t supporting any specific team although it was good that the Ravens won as this was the team our hosts were cheering for. This is our third year with our friends and we always enjoy the evening. Plenty of food, drink, and laughter.

The fans, less Roger who was taking the picture.

3. Sometimes we think that we need to do one particular thing correctly to please God. One thing above all others that will secure our religious belief and make us a good Christian. Tuck @ Denbigh Church of Christ wrote about this very issue and concluded that again it is a simple matter, but one that should be repeated so that we don’t forget.

“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.
This is the greatest and the first commandment.
The second is like it:* You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

4. I’ve been painting historical miniatures again. The photos below are of a Colonial artillery unit with supporting limber. These are Old Glory and Hinchliffe 25mm miniatures for the American Revolutionary period.   

5. My retirement luncheon was Tuesday. There was pizza, drinks, cookies and a retirement cake. The Project Manager and my Department Manager said kind things about me. It was an opportunity to sit and talk about old times and things that we are all looking forward to.

6. A short story on how Biscuit Hill Road, located in Rhode Island, got it’s name. It occurred in 1781 during George Washington's march from Newport, Rhode Island to Yorktown, Virginia. He was joined by Jean Baptiste de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau. Artist David R. Wagner has recreated it in a beautiful painting.
7. Tomorrow is our grand daughter Eryn's birthday. She will be eight years old. Dee is having lunch with her at school today. Dee put together 30 birthday party favors for Eryn to share with her school friends. Grandma Dee is always there to support her grandchildren. One of the many reasons I'm blessed to have her as my wife. 

The Birthday favor bag.
Read other "Takes" at Conversion Diary.

Friday, February 1, 2013

My Slow Takes (Vol. 84)

1. “The Hobbit” is a great movie. The two hour and 46 minute time did not seem that long. Each scene moved smoothly into the next keeping the story interesting and holding my interest. I know the novel but was still held in suspense. The actors portraying each of the Tolkien characters were well chosen. The author would have been pleased. Special affects were awesome. Watching Gollum’s facial expressions in the close-up shots were inspiring. Joe Letteri is an artist. Peter Jackson did an excellent job and I’m looking forward to part two.

2. Retirement suggestions from Janice Lloyd at USA Today, the major things being “exercise, meeting new friends, work your brain cells and find new meaning.” 
Exercise to feel better and don’t be concerned about intensity. Walking, hiking and biking work just as well if you are not competing for first place. Friends are important, they support and share with you. If you’re involved in your Church there will always be new people to meet.Learn to play an instrument or become a beekeeper. You need to keep your mind working.Retirement should be your next journey, not a rocking chairs on the front porch. Change your way of thinking and realize the advantages of being retired. 

3. There are two organizations that have different opinions the new E15 gas. The Coordinating Research Council (CRC) is convinced that E15 could damage your car. The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) disagrees and states, “70% of vehicles on the road could safely use E15.” Hm, what if I’m in the 30 percentile? I don't know who is right, but for now I'll stay away from E15.

4. The Central Virginia Cursillo men’s weekend started at 7:30PM Thursday evening and their 4th day starts on Sunday, February 3. Please pray for the team members and the candidates. 

5. I use email for work, family, church and friends. It accomplishes what I consider the simple question and answer sessions. I prefer face to face discussions when it is possible. You convey a better message when you're in front of some one. Facial expressions, inflections and body language provide a closer connection to the other person. It is a means of sharing and conveying your thoughts and ideas. I get more accomplished and enjoy the mental exercise. It is more of a challenge to some of us but worth the effort. Father Stephen Freeman has some suggestions when conversing with another person. He says, “Our own conversations, both when speaking and listening, do well to be grounded in the heart.”  

“Use fewer words – be silent if possible. (Eccles. 3:3)”
“Only speak the truth, though it is not necessary to be unkind. (Eph. 4:15)”
“Resist the effort to defend yourself. (Matt. 10:19)”
“It is not important to be right. (Proverbs 26:21)”
“Do not argue. Your effect on someone else’s ego will come to nothing.  (Hos. 4:4)”
“Tell your anxieties that everything will be ok. (Phil. 4:6)”
“Don’t be in a hurry to speak. Let someone else finish their thought. (Proverbs 29:20).”
6. Today in history, February 1, 1861, Texas seceded from the Union. 
7. Terry Brooks next book, “Bloodfire Quest,” comes out March 12, 2013. It is the second book in the series, “Dark Legacy of Shannara.” Terry is another of my favorite fantasy authors. It would be interesting to have a movie about one of his series.

Read other "Takes" at Conversion Diary.