Monday, November 30, 2015

The Devil's in The Details

Father John Vidmar, O.P.
If you know me then you know I don't bother with details.  I think the "Devil's in the details." means that if you pay attention to details, you'll be driven crazy.  That's my experience.  Perfectionists drive me crazy.  "Good enough!" is my favorite expression.

Anyway, my Lay Dominican Chapter was blessed to have Father John Vidmar, O.P. visit us.  He talked about the Inquisition.  Everything he seemed to say hinged on the details of history.  O.K. I see his point.  My "cloistered brothers" definitely pay attention to details.  There's a huge amount of  difference between Murder One and Murder Two.  In fact, that's the distinction that turned my opinion around.

Since coming to that conclusion, I could see how distinctions are important to teachers.  Academics reward distinctions to give recognition for superior work.  Also, societal class distinctions can be felt, nevermind, seen.

Of course, there are other examples, but I don't want to drive myself crazy distinguishing details.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Your First Christmas Card

Cleverly done!!!

T'was two months before Christmas
When all through our land,

Not a Christian was praying

Nor taking a stand.

Why the PC Police had taken away
The reason for Christmas - no one could
The children were told by their schools not to sing

About Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.

It might hurt people's feelings, the teachers would

December 25th is just a ' Holiday '.

Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, cheques and credit

Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it!

CD's from Madonna, an X BOX, an I-Pod

Something was changing, something quite odd!

Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa

In hopes to sell books by Fran-ken & Fonda..

As Targets were hanging their trees upside down
At Lowe's the word Christmas - was nowhere to be found.

At K-Mart and Staples and Penny's and Sears
You won't hear the word Christmas; it won't touch your ears.

Inclusive, sensitive, Di-ver-is-ty

Are words that were used to intimidate me.

Now Daschle, Now Darden, Now Sharpton,
Wolf Blitzen

On Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on Clinton !

At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter

To eliminate Jesus, in all public matter.
And we spoke not a word, as they took away our faith

Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace

The true Gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded
The reason for the season, stopped before it started.
So as you celebrate 'Winter Break' under your 'Dream Tree'

Sipping your Starbucks, listen to me.

Choose your words carefully, choose what you say

not "Happy Holiday "!
Please, all Christians join together and
wish everyone you meet

Christ is The Reason for the Christ-mas Season!

If you agree please forward, if not, simply delete.
Remember we as Christians are to represent what Peace looks like!

Friday, November 27, 2015

A Secret to the Grave

Sometimes we took a short cut walking to school.  A rather dangerous short cut which went across the Spicket River.  I’m talking about the winter time when the river was frozen.   We could save five minutes this way.

It was around 7:15 in the morning.  We had missed the school bus, so we were rushing.  Sliding down the hill with the snow filling our boots wasn’t a concern.  Even knowing that we’d be sitting in school all day with wet feet, we couldn’t take the time to be facetious. 

So we ran and slid and ran to the frozen river.  Again we ran and slid and slipped and ran until Sheila fell.  She fell hard and cried out.

I knew immediately that something was terribly wrong because her cry was full of pain.  I thought she had broken her arm or wrist, but she said it was her shoulder.  I tried to help her get up, but she said not to touch her.  She managed to stand and I carried her book bag. 

We walked slowly to school and believe it or not, we prayed for a miracle.  Sheila’s parents would kill her if they knew we walked across the river.  We could never, ever, tell them.  We prayed for her to be OK.  We even stopped in St. Monica’s Church and prayed.  We bargained with God.  We promised to never cross the frozen Spicket River again if Sheila was healed.

Sheila said she thought the bargain worked because she felt better.  I was hoping this was true because telling our parents we got detention for being late was nothing compared to telling them that Sheila got hurt when she fell on the ice crossing the frozen Spicket.

Unfortunately, God didn’t accept our bargain.  During the morning, Sheila felt worse.  Her shoulder and her whole upper body was in excruciating pain.  She couldn’t fake being OK, any longer.  She needed help.  But we had to make up a story that didn’t get us in trouble.  What would we say?

We couldn’t involve any people because that would get them in trouble.  So I couldn’t have been with Sheila.  That would involve two stories that might be different in the telling, when we were nervous.  The story couldn’t involve falling in school because Sheila’s parents would sue the school, or wherever else she fell.  We decided to say that she fell on a slippery sidewalk, while running to school, because she missed the bus.

That was the final story and she stuck to it.  And I’ll keep the secret to my grave.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Your Safe Place

You must always come in when it rains.  You never know what wet clothes can do.  I mean keeping them on will give you a chill.  And your hair is ruined.

You need a safety place—a place to return to when the clouds open up and attack.  This is the place where you can wait out the rain.

The same is true when trouble attacks you spiritually.  Get out of that mood.  Run to your safe place.  Jesus holds the door open for you.  And this place doesn’t have to be physical.  It can be like St. Catherine of Siena’s cell.  She had an interior place to retreat to when she felt the rain.  That’s what you need.  Otherwise, you’re all wet.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Rant of the Day

Intruding into my semi-conscious internet surfing are some discussions on weather and newscasters' appearance.  Here's one sample here.  Some of the comments resonated what I've been thinking for years.  But I've never blamed the performer herself.  I blame her costumer, or whoever plans her wardrobe.

When the credits roll, I see who did the hair, makeup, and clothes for the newscaster/weather person.  I blame whoever chooses the "clothes."  If the store who provides the clothes aims to get customers from the show, they've lost me.  Most people buy clothes for work.  The people on television need to reflect that.  If they did, 99% of the time, the women would be wearing pants and tops.  Usually, the women wear dresses that you'd wear to a wedding reception.  And I get that sleeveless is "sexy," but it would be more sensible to have a cardigan or jacket paired with the dress.  In fact, taking the sweater off or putting it on would advertise the clothing.

I'm just criticizing the sensibleness of the wardrobe.  I just want the ladies to wear what I would mostly buy--career type clothes, not the occasional dresses to go clubbing or a wedding reception.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Doing What's Right Isn't Easy

In the King Arthur environmental crusade novel, Warrior Kids: A Tale of New Camelot by Michael J. Bowler , Lance and his cohorts work to change the world.  This is a modern story about today.  It is aimed for kids in the middle grades and thankfully has no embarrassing sexual situations or bad language.  I enjoyed reading it and wish I had a child that age to discuss it.  The culture contributes to today’s environmental mess.  Lance and the knights traverse the glove talking to governmental agencies and authorities.  The problem is that big polluting corporations want the kids out of the way.  A few attempts on Lance’s life are made.  But with the help of Excalibur, the mythical sword, Lance managers to escape.  I think it’s a nice gimmick that the author, Michael J. Bowler has some twelve year-olds as major characters: Billy, Enya, Itzamna, and Chris, yet Lance is eighteen.  Something for every teen and pre-teen. 
Lance has most of the kids in the U.S.A. and maybe the world, on his side.  He’s a celebrity, but fortunately, keeps his head on straight.  Lance addresses Congress and World Leaders as he is threatened and attacked.  He nearly loses his life a few times, and does lose his magical sword, Excalibur.  Excalibur, really is magical, as the reader will discover.  In fact, the story is magically riveting.  Warrior Kids is part of the Children of the Knight series, which you will want to, read all of, just to keep in the loop, but the book stands alone. 
Since the author is a teacher, himself, he made sure Warrior Knights fulfilled all the needs of a reading teacher.  

First, the book is free for educators:
THE eBOOK OF WARRIOR KIDS IS FREE FOR EDUCATORS. It is available in the following formats: PDF, Kindle (mobi), and ePub (Nook and iBooks). In addition, teachers can purchase the paperbacks at the per unit cost of $3.08 (plus shipping and applicable tax.) Educators can contact the author via the Warrior Kids Facebook Group ( or directly by email – For paperback orders, the author will generate an invoice from Createspace (the physical publisher of the book) and payment can be made through PayPal. There is no profit motive and he will earn nothing off the paperbacks sold to teachers. Per unit cost and shipping rates are exactly as Createspace charges him – no markup. As an educator, he has always sought supplemental reading material that would engage his students on important issues. Having found very little, he decided to write one and make it readily available.

I was surprised to see the extensive list of “Extension Activities,” suggested by the Earth Warriors, in the back of the

book.  After that, was a list of references to read for more information.  Even more goodies were suggested.  There

is a list of 50 things to do to help the environment.  I even printed it out, for myself and my family.  The information

on water in plastic bottles was new to me, so I was moved to research the subject.  So even though the book is

geared to Middle School children, I learn a thing or two, besides enjoying a very good story.

Formats: ebook, paperback
Middle Grade
October 6, 2015

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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Preparation for Mass

My best prayer time is usually in the morning.  I sit myself down with my prayer book and a cup of coffee.  But sometimes, like today, God wants to talk to me, when He wants to talk.   Tonight, Sunday, I went to a 5:00 PM Mass.  I parked my car at my daughter's house and walked to church.  I was doing this because I didn't exercise today and I was a little bit early for Mass.

I walked up the hill with a brisk pace because there's no sidewalk and it was dusk.  I was worried that motorists would find it hard to see me.  Once at the top, I was out of breath and stopped for a bit.

The Jesus prayer popped into my head.  "Lord Jesus Christ pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death."  I took this thought as a mantra as I walked the rest of the way.  Much to my surprise, my heart beat in rhythm to my steps.  I prayed out loud as well as in my mind and now my heart: "Lord Jesus Christ pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death..."  Everything was in perfect sync.

It occurred to me that perfection in this manner was, indeed, contemplation of God.  I think God was pleased.  I felt happy, and could feel myself smiling as I was now chanting and walking.  All too soon, I was walking   running up the church steps.  I sat in the back and pulled out my rosary.  I had 20 minutes to pray before Mass and I was more than ready.