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Showing posts from November, 2009

Say Thankyou to a Soldier Thanks to Xerox

XEROX IS DOING SOMETHING NICE!



If you go to this web site, www.LetsSayThanks.com you can pick out a thank you card and

Xerox will print it and it will be sent to a soldier that is currently serving in Iraq . You can't pick

out who gets it, but it will go to a member of the armed services.

How AMAZING it would be if we could get everyone we know to send one!!!

It is FREE and it only takes a second.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if the soldiers received a bunch of these?

Whether you are for or against the war, our soldiers over there need to know we are behind them.

This takes just 10 seconds and it's a wonderful way to say thank you.

Please take the time and please take the time to pass it on for others to do.

We can never say enough thank you's.

Thanks for taking to time to support our military!

Where are you?

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Think about the part in the Genesis story where God calls out to Adam. Genesis 3:10-11 Just think about that for a minute.

Wow. God came looking for him. And God comes looking for us. Always. He never gives up on us. My cloistered brothers are very thankful that God doesn't give up on us because they were hard to find. You can run, but you can't hide from God.

The poet Francis Thompson describes it in his poem,

The Hound of Heaven

I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.

Mmmmmm.............

My experience has been different. God's pursuit of me wasn't so relentless. He was always there and every once in awhile (when I needed it) He'd bug me. God is more like a cat, than a dog.

Apology to Francis Thompson

I sought Him, up all night and up all day.
I sought Him, all my sinful life.
I sought Him, through …

Black Friday

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It's a tradition. My two daughters and I go Christmas Shopping, the day after Thanksgiving. We get most of it done, too.

This morning found us up at 4:00 AM. We threw our clothes on and ran out of our respective homes, and raced to our meeting place. It's a contest to see who's first. It's a disgrace to be last because that would mean you were a slacker, and couldn't get up. I thought I was last because I underestimated how long it would take me to get to the mall. Plus, I wasted a lot of time waiting for the light to change at Lafayette House. After waiting for a maddening long time for a traffic light, it occurred to me that I was stupid. What was I waiting for? It's 4:30 AM. I did not see another car on the road since I left home. What was I waiting for? So I went through the traffic light. Whew! No sirens followed me. (I was edified to see that on my home the traffic light was completely, off. So it wasn't such a breach of the law.)

I wa…

Interesting New Blog

Have you ever heard of "postmodernism?" I just read about it on a brand new blog. The blog is operated by a Lay Dominican exploring all the aspects and effects upon society by postmodernism. Bob, the blogger, is interested in the theological view.

Take a look and see how he defines: relativism, secularization and of course modernism and postmodernism. This blog will be interesting.

Postmodernism is not a once-and-for-all philosophical construct. It does not begin at the end of modernism but runs concurrently from its first proposals to the present time. How postmodernism affects one area of human endeavor in one decade may not affect another until later decades. However, I believe that postmodernism has a natural evolution within the spectrum of human endeavor. ... Postmodernism, as a whole, ran concurrent to modernism which reached politics in the 1910s to the 1940s where both Communism and National Socialism rose to power.

I'll try to keep my comments on the blog rela…

Turducken

It's Thanksgiving. Did you ever hear of a Turducken? It's a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey.

There are many stories regarding its origen, but it does seem to originate from the south. It's made by deboning the three kinds of fowl. Lay them out flat. You stuff the turkey with pork stuffing. Then you place the duck over the stuffing. The duck is open so that you can stuff more pork stuffing on the center of the duck. Finally, you take the chicken, spread it out over the suffing of the duck. Stuff the chicken with cornmeal stuffing. Then wrap the whole thing up and sew it secure. Bake.

When it's done you cut it right down the middle to open it up and see the many different layers. It seems that this is not so unusual--to stuff a bird inside a bird. Medieval cookbooks have recipes of birds stuffed with birds and other animals.

Hungry yet?

The Manhattan Declaration

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Wow! The pen is pretty mighty. The internet makes it even more so. The Manhattan Declaration is an ecumenical Christian document initiated by Charles Colson. Please read it. I think it says everything necessary for today's issues. And then please sign it.

Thanks and God bless.

Interfaith Council Thanksgiving Service

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My neighbor and I went to the Interfaith Thanksgiving Service, held at the Federated Church. It was very nice, just like it always is.
It's always nice to sing with others and listen to the ministers and rabbi from the other religions. The best part is meeting people you've seen around town and now you can chat and get to know them.
The churches involved are the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Temple Etz Chaim, Methodist, Episcopal, First Universalist Society, and St. Mary's Catholic Church. That's the Interfaith Council.

Lay Preaching

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I was reading Catholic dot Org about St. Cecilia. This story is obviously just that--a story. A legend that was built upon some fact. I love the story because Cecilia, a Lay Person, converted 400 people. Given that this is legend, there probably wasn't 400, but it has to be some people, right? I love this stuff.

The story of S. Cecilia is not without beauty and merit. There was in the city of Rome a virgin named Cecilia, who was given in marriage to a youth named Valerian. She wore sackcloth next to her skin, and fasted, and invoked the saints and angels and virgins, beseeching them to guard her virginity. And she said to her husband, "I will tell you a secret if you will swear not to reveal it to anyone." And when he swore, she added, "There is an angel who watches me, and wards off from me any who would touch me." He said, "Dearest, if this be true, show me the angel." "That can only be if you will believe in one God, and be baptized."

Self Hypnosis

My weightloss group, T.O.P.S. went to a Self Hypnosis Workshop today. We thought this would be a good idea to do before we hit the holidays. I don't know what to think about it. Part of me thinks that it's just a gimmick. A trick to talk yourself into doing something you should be doing, anyway. But I'm going to try it.

About once a week, you set aside time when you can be alone, free of distractions. You make yourself comfortable and relax. Close your eyes and relax each part of your body from your head to your toes. Relax.

Relax. Now in your mind, count down from 10 to 1. Relax deeper with each count. This is called Happy Space, according to Ann, our instructor.

Enjoy this space, this time. You are very relaxed. Count down, again, going deeper and relaxing even more.

This is where you tell yourself:

I am healthy and happy. I enjoy eating healthy foods. I eat the foods that are right for me. I make healthy choices. I am loosing weight and I am healthy, happy…

Cursillo Method

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I was looking up how to do a "witness talk." Some might call this "confessional preaching." In surfing the net I came across the Cursillo method. Being a Cursillista, myself, I was surprised at everything that went into it.

It seems that you need four people. One is the speaker giving witness. Another is a friend praying in the chapel, or wherever. Another is called the responder. Finally, you need a priest or someone knowledgeable to add scriptural and doctrinal backup.

I was surprised at the "responder's" role. The responder asks a question, or affirms, or whatever is needed, after the witness Talk. He helps the speaker by sitting in the audience and gauging the reaction. The responder might affirm what was witnessed by affirming what was said, or expand himself by adding something, or even ask a question that he thought might need further explanation.

When you think about it, every speaker should have a "responder".

Oh, and of …

Friends

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MISSING CHRIS

Happy is he who finds a friend and he who speaks to attentive ears. Sirach 25:9

My soul mate, Chris would help with my mess,
over spinach artichoke dip, nachos,
ice tea, girl-talk, dope slaps, and laughter;
deftly would your perspective fix my problem;
snap smooth wrinkled excuses and cobwebbed thoughts,
as we share late night secrets and pray for grace.

Death Penalty

Tomorrow, Nov. 17th, the Massachusetts Senate will try to re-institute the death penalty in Massachusetts. This is part of a mandatory minimum sentencing bill.

Pinch me, will you. Isn't this the 21st century...in a civilized country? Aren't we better than that?

Think of the costs. Facing death, the prisoner would appeal and appeal and appeal--costing the state more than it would to send the same prisoner to life imprisonment. Think of the mistakes that have been made. People proved innocent. Google the Alaskan Project.

Think, violence to be an impediment to violence.
Think, kill to stop killing.
Isn't this a contradiction?

I'm not advocating letting murders go free. Restitution, if possible should be demanded. Hardened criminals should not be free. Prudent prevention and society's safety preclude this. We have a sure right to be safe to live without fear. Nor does it require us to arrive at the hopefully optimistic belief that we can rehabilitate all perpe…

Dallas at the Vet's

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It's that time of year, again. Time for Dallas to get her booster shots.

Dallas is the family my son's cat. When Mark was in college, his girl friend gave him a kitten. Mark thought it was the greatest gift, ever.
:-/

He named the kitten "Dallas" because her heart was as big as Texas!

HA!

The kitten was brought up by bachelors. Since Mark was at school, no pets were allowed. So they kept the poor thing in the bedroom, all the time. When he got an apartment, some of his roommates didn't like cats, so again, Dallas was relegated to Mark's bedroom, most of the time.

Now that Mark has moved back home, he brought his cat with him. I think the cat is bi-polar. I've never heard her purr. She meows likes she's talking. She meows to go into a room (she hates closed doors). And she's so damn loud! She growls if you enter a room that she's in. Often she's under a bed or somewhere else out of sight. So that when you enter the room, you hear…

Father Tom's Kids

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The "Fr. Tom's Kids" Program pairs sponsors with orphans and needy students. Sponsored kids are provided a year of school fees, boarding, school supplies, basic medical care, uniforms, and books. Most of Fr. Tom's Kids are orphans whose families are victims of HIV/AIDS. Also prevalent is Burkitt Lymphoma, which is native to Africa. Those who have living parents prove to be too much of a burden to their families and are brought to the school. The school is Our Lady of Grace in Kisumu, Kenya. The mission is run by the Dominican Friars.

Besides the basic care, education is most important. Education is the ticket for a good job and to become a useful citizen. Education is the foundation for creating a more just society. Educated people are empowered to work for peace and justice against the current corruption in their part of the world. Ecuation trains informed leaders and enables those to raise their families out of the poverty cycle.

How about helping out. T…

Director of Lay Preaching

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Yours truly has been asked to be Director of Lay Preaching. Wowza!

It's not an honor, yet. My friend, Bob, has set up a site for Lay Dominicans and has asked me to Direct that part of it. The site is under construction.

What shall it include? What do you think?

I think it'll be about "How" not "What"? I think it's boring when preachers put up their homilies. There's even sites where people give a Talk. This site will be different. People will give suggestions, tell what works, and what doesn't.

This is going to be fun.

Mindfulness at the Dentist

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What a joke? I still say the teachers of mindfulness and those that think that stress is cause by the future are wrong. The premise is wrong. It's more stressful to be hit with the unexpected present: accidents, unexpected happenings, and just plain "life", than the future.

Who worries about the future? Or rather, why would anyone worry about stuff that may never happen? Like I said in my previous posting, turn it over to God. He's the only One Who can use the bad to make good.

This was all brought to mind, today, as I sat in the dentist chair. I wasn't that worried, or anxious. The dentist was fitting me for my bridge. No pain involved.

Then he took a hammer. That's right a HAMMER! That tool that you hit a nail with. He took a hammer and started smacking my teeth with it. Now tell me honestly, would that cause stress, or would you be thinking about tomorrow's stress? The dentist was trying to loosen my temporary bridge. See if you can …

Stress Two

Part Two of my Stress Class was today. I understand what they're trying to teach me, but it doesn't apply to my situation. Today we worked on being present to the moment. (They must have read Flannery O'Connor's The Habit of Being.) The idea is that thinking about the future is causing the stress. What lies ahead is worrisome and causing anxiety. So if one focuses on the present, the stress is lessened.

Wrong.

The present is causing the stress. The future is retirement, or vacation, or the next day--a new day away from the stressful present. Think of a woman in labor. What could be more stressful than that PRESENT. Ugh. What keeps her going is the future. She's probably thinking of 24 hours from now this will all be done and I'll be holding my baby, far away from this STRESSFUL PRESENT.

We also talked about attitude. We should be grateful. We should notice in our "present" all that we have to be grateful for: flowers, weather, etc. I can'…

How to Write a Psalm

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Last weekend, I learned how to write a psalm. It is actually helping me to pray better because I am really focused. Let me show you how to write a psalm.

Psalms are like our usual prayers. They are either praising, asking, or thanking. Psalms, however are written in parallel verses connected together by concept. The writing style in Psalms follow a distinct format called parallelism.

One concept is synonymous parallelism. One thought is stated and the next line states the same thought with different words, i.e.: Psalm 1:5

Therefore the wicked will not survive judgment.
Nor will sinners in the assembly of the just.


Another: Psalm 2:3
Let us break their shackles
and cast off their chains!


Another style of verse is antithetic parallelism. One thought is stated and the next line is the opposite, i.e.: Psalm 1:6

The Lord watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked leads to ruin.


Another: Psalm 20:8
Some rely on chariots, others on horses,
but we on the name of the Lor…

Abortion and Health Care

Thanks to Speaker Pelosi, who held the door open for Rep. Stupak to offer an amendment on the floor to restrict federal funding for abortion services, even in private health insurance plans. The vote was 240-194.

Stupak . "It applies the Hyde amendment — which bars federal funding for abortion except in the case of rape, incest or the life of the mother — to the health care bill."

The amendment is saying that government money can't be used for abortion. The government-administered health plan — often called the public option — will not cover abortion, unless a doctor certifies that a woman is in danger of death without one, or the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.

If you get your health insurance through the government, or with help from the government in the form of a tax subsidy, your plan will not cover abortion. In this case, you would have the right to buy extra coverage — with your own money.

If you get your health insurance through your state, as in Medic…

Lithuanian Franciscans

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This weekend I was in Kennebunk, ME for a meeting. It was held at the Franciscan Guest House on the grounds of St. Anthony's Monastery. The place was beautiful. The weather was beautiful. I was blessed in so many ways, even though a proposal I put forth was shot down. But I refuse to be down about it. The good outweighs the bad.

I renewed many friendships. I made new friends. And my socks were knocked off by a coincidence. I knew nothing about this place. It is run by Franciscans from Lithuania. Guess what. I'm half Lithuanian.

Who knew?

I was so blessed by seeing facial similarities, bone structures, a language (which I don't speak) I haven't seen in years. I just felt the presence of my mother and grandparents and other relatives all around me. And this the Feast of All Souls. Wow! Lord, thank you for all my Lithuanian relatives. Have mercy on them and give them my love.

The blessings continued. It was 60 degrees. In Maine! In November! So I went fo…

Stress

Work offers different programs aimed at we employees overall health. The program this week was on Stress. (Yeah let me tell you about it.) We learned that when stress becomes excessive, our bodies and mind are unable to cope and disease can result. (Yeah let me tell you about it.)

We learned that the best way to relieve stress is to breathe. Ya, it's that simple. Really. I was surprised, too. Our presenter instructed us to press a fist into our chest. Then she asked us if we held our breath. Well, yeah. See how stress affects your breathing?

To calm yourself all you have to do is concentrate on your breathing. At first, I didn't get it. There are two types of breathing: chest and diaphragm. Since I practice Pilates, I'm a chest breather. You see, the point of Pilates is to strengthen your abs, so I hold my stomach and that area firm, and breathe with my lungs. But I should really go a step further and breathe a little lower--the diaphragm. That would give me…

Choose Catholic

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Next time you need to buy something, or need a service, please use this resource. It would show your support of Catholic endeavors. There is a list of blogs there but you could choose a product like Rosaries, or Bible, and you'll be shown a list of addresses.

Please support them.

God bless.

Contact Your Representatives

This link gives a very helpful whip count of all House members believed to be unsure of their positions on the current health care reform bill. The list was published today in The Hill, a Capitol Hill newspaper of repute.

Now is a good time to increase the pressure on our reps to press for a health care reform bill that CLEARLY precludes abortion funding! Please contact them and ask them to support the efforts of Rep. Stupak of Michigan. He is working tirelessly for a clean bill in the House.

Lunch Time Walk

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During my hour lunch time, I've been walking. Sometimes I walk in the woods. Since it is Fall, the scenery can be breath-taking. The leaf-peeping season is past, but the scenery can still be beautiful.

The picture on the lower right is a beaver hut. Seeing a beaver in this area is not unusual because I'm walking around Beaver Pond.

Another inhabitant of the marshes is the bird in the top picture. I know you can't make it out. That's the point. God has given her the camouflage. Maybe if you really look close in the middle of the picture--slightly above the center, you'll see a type of heron, called a bittern. She has a long neck and long legs. I like to see the bitterns take off. Their legs swing as they hang down, in take off.

The entire walk reminded me of Mary Oliver's book, Why I Wake Early. This is a book showing God in everything. Here's a sample:

Look and See

This morning, at waterside, a sparrow flew
to a water rock and landed, by error, on the back
of an…

Hail Mary

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The scriptural origin of the first part of the Hail Mary is in the Gospel of St. Luke. It is a comination of the first words of Gabriel to Mary (Luke 1:28) and the greeting of Elizabeth to her cousin Mary (Luke 1: 42) Full of grace indicates that Mary is highly favored. "The Lord is with you is affirmation.

"Blessed are you among women" prefigure what Elizabeth with say to Mary in Luke 1:42.

Blessed is the fruit of your womb. (Deuteronomy 28:4)

The second part of the Hail Mary is not biblical. It was added by the Church in supplication to the Mother of God, asking for her intercessory prayers for us sinners, and the necessary grace for our salvation now, and at the hour of our death.

Amen

The only belief of the Holy Roman Catholic Church about Mary, not specifically mentioned, is her perpetual virginity.

Thanks to Beads and Prayers: The Rosary in History & Devotion, by John D. Miller, pp. 31-37.