Category Archives: Grace

Sunday World Topics of Interest

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When people question faiths, I am sometimes aghast. Families and traditions

are part of heritage from generations back. When someone asked me, of a

different faith, “Who ‘made up’ the idea of Palm Sunday?” I had to think back

upon all of my Bible readings and my childhood lessons.

 

Aha!  In, John 12:12-13

(New Testament, Bible):

“They took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him (Jesus),

shouting, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the

Lord – – the King of Israel!'”

 

No, this does not discuss or dictate a certain day to take palm

branches and walk through town, or in my family’s church’s case,

through church. It does mention this is a celebration and honoring

someone who we may have strong beliefs in.

 

I was especially proud then, to read that the church I attended with

my three children and my ex-husband, First Presbyterian, Delaware,

Ohio, is going to use “Eco-Palms.”

 

This is part of the Presbyterian Earth Care program joining with

the Presbyterian Hunger Project. These are branches which you

may feel are worth celebrating about. Usually palms are harvested

in rainforests where they make needed habitats for migrating birds.

 

Birds are one of my favorite part of the animal kingdom. The more

fronds or palm leaves taken and cut by the harvesters in the

rainforest, the more desperate a situation it becomes.

 

Eco-Palm harvesters, gather only quality palm fronds in a way that

allows the plants to keep growing. This program is considered a

community process and the way they are trained to promote saving

the plants and the homes of the rainforest birds, touched my heart.

 

The marketing program is what helps the Hunger Project, since it is

one where an agent is handling the sales and providing monies to

capture more of the profits to benefit the native population:  for shoes,

school uniforms, food and basic health care.

 

In addition, a portion of the profits is set aside for providing

scholarships, paying teachers and helping elderly members.

This truly is, ‘Cause for Jubilation’ in the highest form.

 

 

Timothy Merrill gives us his perspective on

always having to Wait in,

 

“The Waiting Game

Life involves lots of waiting. We wait in groups, in lines, in cars.

We wait for packages, for the bus, for the sun to rise.

We wait in doctor’s offices, at the post office, at the DMV

(waiting for license or plates renewals.)

Waiting implies we’re at someone else’s mercy.

 

It is also usually linked to Hope.

 

Perhaps that is why Paul Tillich called ‘waiting’ a “metaphor for

faith.”

 

Why would a person wait if there weren’t the firm belief that the

object of one’s wait will eventually materialize?

 

Waiting can be enervating, which is why in the Bible,

Isaiah 40:31 these words are so promising:

“They who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.”

 

Yet, waiting is tough if you have nothing to do while waiting.

 

That is why Jesus, when talking about waiting, also talked about

working – – “Work for the night is coming.”

 

Sometimes it is less tiring to work than it is to wait.

 

There’s a lot of waiting during Lent.

You’re waiting for a payoff.

You’re waiting for the Resurrection.

You’re waiting for spiritual growth.

And then you realize this isn’t waiting at all.

It’s Life.

It’s Joy.

It’s Opportunity.

It’s Blessing.”

 

Like John Mayer said but may have expressed more

deeply, “That’s why we’re waiting on the World to change.”

 

 

This one focuses on the enjoyable custom shared at work,

in communities or family gatherings. . .

 

“A Potluck of People”

(Taken from March’s “Spire” church bulletin)

 

“At many gatherings for potluck dinners which are meals largely

unplanned, when people bring food to share, usually the main

dishes, salads and desserts somehow balance out.  The fun is in

the variety and mixing together on a plate and the surprise factor

of what is brought to share and contribute to the Potluck.

 

Groups of peoples, churches, communities, families and workplaces

are all “potlucks” of a sort, too. When groups assemble, each person

contributes something unique and sometimes unexpected. When all

is mixed together, the whole is truly greater than the sum of its parts.

 

A beautiful balance often results:

One is a good singer; the other writes well.

Some are strong leaders; others dependable team members.

Some are traditional; others innovative.

Combined together, it’s ‘delicious.’

 

Potlucks are sometimes called covered-dish dinners or meals.

But don’t keep your gifts ‘covered.’

Share them because you are a valued part of the whole.”

(Author Unknown)

 

We used to call our country a “melting pot,” which describes how we

were going to blend together.

 

I like to think of the World full of diverse cultures, faiths, histories

of countries as part of a “Human Masterpiece.”

(reocochran, 3/15)

 

When I speak of Lent, Jesus, God, the Bible and verses from it, it

is meant to describe and share the belief system I emerged from.

But any time you see a parallel of your faith with mine, I hope you

will feel free to explain how the theme or subject can be applied in

your family, your church or your culture.

 

Bridging gaps is my goal and focus, when I post something about

faith. I hope you never feel excluded or isolated, since this is not

what expressing my belief system wishes me to do.

 

“Capturing Camelot”

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In Columbus, Ohio many wonderful displays come to be shown at

“The Schumacher Gallery” located on the nearby campus of Capital

University. From January 19 through March 25, 2015, you may view

the artistic work of famous photojournalist, Stanley Tretick. This is an

exhibit I am going to try to see very soon.

Stanley Tretick was given the great and valuable experience of being

present at the White House during President John F. Kennedy’s

years in office.  John and Jackie Kennedy were revered for their

youthfulness, energy and attractive appearances.

They became what some would call, “American Royalty.”

Many still consider Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis one of

the historic American icons of fashion. She embodied the word,

“glamour.”

There was a serious, deeper quality of beauty shown in her face

and posture. Jackie demonstrated poise and class, while still

showing warmth in her smiles aimed toward her husband,

newspaper reporters and two children, John John and Caroline.

There was a combination of romance and storytelling in the

way the Camelot period is shown and told. It is a fascinating

piece of history, ending in tragedy. It captured so many of

our minds and eyes, while watching it unfold.  Finally, the

famous assassination and funeral were ones we could not

take our eyes off of either.

There are many movies I could recommend about the story of

Jackie and John Kennedy, including the piece in the recent

movie, “The Butler.” The film covered five different presidents

the butler served. In the movie, there is a poignant scene with

the butler concerned for Jackie and later, his bending down to

talk to Caroline, hoping to help her feel better by offering to get

her a snack or a toy.

We grew up watching the film, “PT 109” about John Kennedy’s

military service which included an accident. This played havoc

on his own personal ongoing pain that wracked his body. Cliff

Robertson did a fine job in his portrayal of JFK. I liked the

movie, “Parkland,” which depicts Jackie’s courage and ‘grace

under fire,’ when her husband’s bleeding head was in her lap

on her clothing. This is also a surprisingly well done piece of

history about the final moments at the hospital. Zac Efron

really redeems himself with this movie. It may erase his

horrible performance in the awful movie, “The Neighbors.”

The advertisement for the display of photographs come with

this riveting description:

“John F. Kennedy was elected to the White House and the

American people embarked on a journey of 1,000 days into

a mythical world that former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy

would recall as Camelot.”

Stanley Tretick’s Iconic Images of the Kennedy’s brochure

closes with these words:

“Capturing Camelot reflects the magic of an era that

continues to inspire affection and nostalgia.”

You may wish to check the hours and there is a Schumacher

Gallery Face Book page, as well as this phone number:

(614)-236-6319 or check out the website listed below:

http://www.schumachergallery.org

Seeing the exhibit is like seeing part of our own history,

the pieces we may wish to remember in this lovely way.

The personal photographs are ones which show the one

behind the fairy tale, give us their personal moments. We

all like to look at photo albums, famous or our own family’s.

There is a part of me, maybe possibly all of us who grew up

during the sixties, who will never forget the Kennedy family.

Remembering Camelot and all the possibilities, it seemed to

reach for the stars and into our dreams.

What’s happening where you live?

Do you like to look for exhibits and special events which come to

your area only once a year, like the “Home and Garden Show?”

This next weekend, Vanilla Ice is going to be at our “H and G Show.”

Have you checked out any local galleries or “One of a Kind” events?

Symbolic Bridges

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Oprah and thousands join her as she crosses the bridge in Selma.

She and the cast for the movie, “Selma,” took several takes in

their arm in arm walk together. It could not have been without

some impact on their lives. In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Day, I was going to write about the anniversary of the bridge walk.

 

On January 8, 2015, some who chose to walk across the Edmund

Pettus Bridge located in Selma, Alabama. There is a photograph

of this recent bridge crossing. It is a small gathering but the post

has many who wish to view this. It is such a big deal that every

year, not always on the exact days of the peaceful marches, people

go to Selma to cross the bridge. To allow the freedom to soak into

their weary bones. It has not been an easy battle, even to this day.

 

The 50th “Golden” celebration of this famous event will be called

the “Bridge Crossing Jubilee,” held  March 5-9th, 2015. There is

still time to join this annual event for its anniversary.

 

Its kick off  Gospel church music concert will be on March 1, 2015

in Selma, Alabama. The memory of the deceased little girl innocents

will be shining their angelic glow upon the listeners.

 

This all is in tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. and of those who

walked across that bridge, some who died or were severely injured.

It is also in triumph, progress made and the way one huge step can

make an equally large impact on a country or world.  After all, our

President Obama may never had made it as far as he did, had not

those everyday men and women walkers had chosen to stay home,

out of fear.

 

The ending of the movie, “Selma,” lists several people whose lives had

changed due to their bridge walk. They include someone who had lived

over 80 years, a black man, never getting a chance to vote. There was

the white woman, first name Viola, (I did not take notes in the darkened

and hushed movie theater) who had chosen to join forces and cross the

bridge on the third time. She died when she drove a black person home

being given the hateful epithet, possibly real or imagined, by a storyteller

of “white nigger.”  The one who rose to be a senator, one who wrote for

a paper and others, all had found and felt the tremendous impact that

came out of one day to remember.

 

I learned one thing, that I did not know since most of the story has

been retold and covered. This is still a powerful movie to watch.

I did not know about the three times the walk across the bridge

was carried out nor how each one ended.

 

This will not ‘spoil’ your viewing of “Selma,” but may make you pay

more close attention:

First time across the bridge, it appears to be one hundred walkers who

have decided to gather and try to make an attempt to rock the country.

There is a place where the leaders of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s close-

knit group gather, enjoy a hearty breakfast and there is joviality and

a sense of brotherhood. Then, sadly, there has to be choice to pick straws

who will be in the ‘front line.’ The details of who got the short straw will

not be revealed here.

 

This walk for the first time is filled with trepidation, since the sheriff of

Selma is extremely bigoted and even there are scenes with the governor,

George Wallace fearing what may happen. When they get to the precipice

of the bridge, a curved bridge where you must walk upwards and then

head downwards, you can see the footsteps slowing down.

 

The next time the group goes up the hill of the bridge, there is a much

larger group and there are reinforcements from priests, ministers and

others who are Caucasian. Their presence buoys the inner sanctum of

MLK, Jr.’s group, they feel vindicated for any wrongdoings and deaths

that have gone on in between. There is a tremendous surge of energy, as

they get to the crest of the bridge. MLK, Jr. stops, he kneels and he prays

silently. The rest of the thousands gathered arm in arm who are behind

him kneel and wait.  Again, I won’t reveal what transpires.

 

History is being made. I felt the emotions in the audience, the bated

communal intake of breaths.

The third time the group gathers, it is in full preparation for the walk

across the bridge. Martin Sheen portrayed the judge who allowed the

sanction of crossing the Selma bridge. The governor and the sheriff,

with his ignorant band of white supremacists, are not going to get this

group to stop their crossing. It is going to happen, there is a broad

expanse and larger numbers than any of the first two attempts, there

are 2/3rds of the group white, according to one of the sources I read.

 

I had not intended to see another emotional upheaval movie. The first

three Academy Award nominated films, were all tear-jerkers. I had felt

‘spent’ and looking forward to meeting my good friend, Gary, who is a

sports writer at the Columbus Dispatch. I had agreed on either going to

“Birdman” or “Grand Budapest Hotel.” The first is with Michael Keaton

and since I felt he was a sensitive past actor who played “Batman,” I

could count on not dropping any tears. I also was amused by the trailer

and write-ups of “Grand Budapest Hotel,” with the funny actors in it.

 

We arrived at the Columbus Gateway Film Center on High Street, to

find a long line of young people chattering and bunched in a thick

group going into the building and up the stairs. Gary and I asked about

the line, it was for the multiple theaters showing, “American Sniper.”

We skipped around this, while Gary whispered to me, “We can use the

old people’s card, should someone try to stop us.” We went up the busy

escalator and when we got to the top saw the huge and bustling area of

the ticket sellers in front of crowded lanes. I was not sure what was going

on but since I assumed Gary may be like many guys I know, I left the line

and went to ask the guard. He said the line on the stairs was coming up

to join the group here, but they were all going to the “American Sniper”

film. So, being a little pushy, Gary took me through the melee and we

got to the front, only to find out that the two easy going movies, one

with a super hero and the other with a group of wacky hotel employees,

were:  “Sold Out.”

 

I did not hesitate to say to Gary, “Let’s go see the movie, ‘Selma!'”

We got into the theater only to find it half full. We each said to the other,

this is sad. We both agreed we had not wished to see an emotional film,

but it may have ‘meant to be.’  I am so glad the karma had the other

two films packed and not allowing us to see this fine film.

 

I will say there are magnificent performances, the director and David

Oyelowo should have been given Academy Award nominations. I

won’t go into the whole debacle about why there is less diversity in

this awards competition, but I am just going to say I am happy that

People’s Choice and Golden Globes nominated this film,

since “Selma” is worthy.

 

The song “Glory,” sung with John Legend and the rapper, Common,

is very beautiful.  Remember, I have seen three of the other contender

movies and will tell you their songs are not as ‘rich’ in sound and

meaning.

 

Some thoughts to share about real and symbolic bridges:

~ We can choose to find our own private bridge to cross.

~ Peaceful choices make a difference.

~ Touching just one life, and changing it, is enough.

~ To be able to reach more lives proceed forward.

 

~ One action or kindness contributes to another producing:

a.  Domino effect

b. Ripple effect

c. Paying forward

 

~ However you label your decision to help someone, it is still help.

~ Emotions and feelings spread easily.

~ Take courage in expressing positive choices.

~ Sharing emotions is instinctive, shown in these two examples.

a. Babies in a nursery cry together. The first one sets off the rest of them.

b. Toddlers in a sandbox see or hear someone else cry, reaching for a toy.

One may hand theirs over, without concern or need for praise.

 

~Giving in and letting go of prejudices and preconceptions is elevating.

~ Love has no boundaries once this happens.

 

Written by Robin O. Cochran

(Not taken from any sources, other than my own feelings about Selma’s bridge.)

 

“The Breakthroughs Issue” of December, 2014 “Preventions” magazine is

a great source of news about health and healthy food choices.

 

A man making a profound difference in prosthetic equipment is featured

in an article called, “Out on a Limb.”

This man, Eythor Bender, is using the ‘bridge’ I listed above to use a “kind

action” to create these wonderful and more natural replacements for arms

and legs. Frustrated by the medical breakthroughs available only to the

“elite” in our society, those who are wealthy, he came up with a program.

“Unyq” is a San Francisco based company which uses 3-D printers to create

symmetrical body parts to the user’s healthy limb. This alone is remarkable,

since in the past they did not often ‘match’ the size or shape to the original

on the other side of the body.

 

Bender was recognized internationally during the New York Fashion Week,

2014. His bionics were on a model walking the runway. Sure this should

make him proud or feel good about himself, but this quote from Eythor B.

says it ‘all:’

 

“People tell me it feels like they’ve got their legs back for the first time

in their lives. That’s really something!”

 

Bender expressed happiness that the new Unyq program is being covered,

since he has made the prices low enough, by many insurance providers.

Keeping the price down, will meet the needs of most of the patients who

need realistic and comfortable prosthetics.

 

This article was uplifting and made me feel it met the ‘requirements’ of

crossing a ‘bridge’ in medicine, with its ripple effect going into all areas

of society and hopefully, the world.

 

Another creative health program which is still in the newer stage and not

necessarily FDA approved is, Immuno-Therapy. This is to fight cancer

through immune system injections. There are three stories, one man and

two women, who participated in this trial program who have seen their

melanoma disappear. This is another ‘bridge’ to cross, hopefully the first

start will be like MLK, Jr.’s first attempt to cross the Selma bridge, one

that will be followed repeatedly,  with more and more positive results.

 

 

 

Songs and Bands Stand the Test of Time

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While driving in your car, especially here  in America, we have the

luxury of a radio, sometimes if a newer car, Syrius. I used to have

this feature and would program my ride somewhere with such fun

topics as “Coffee Shop” tunes or “Old Rock and Roll.” I was listening

to Casey Kasem’s “America’s Top 40” program on the radio. Rest in

peace, you good man! (Casey Kasem died in June, 2014, at age 82 of

sepsis.) I was struck by this comment, paraphrased since my mind is

not a recorder nor a computer:

 

“More than 23,000 songs were written and sung during the seventies

in the United States, only 370 were major grossing songs, (making

Top Ten lists). In this time period, only TWO were number one hits

written by a duo of song-writers.

I will come back, from the commercial to tell you who they were. . .”

 

Of course, I tried to memorize this comment, was an a red light and

jotted down the two numbers and waited ‘with bated breath’ for the

answer. Why the excitement in this upcoming response? You may not

know me well, but music is a special part of my life and the 70’s were

my stomping grounds, where music laid its foundation and made a

huge impact on my life.  I was in band from 4th grade on, played in

three bands in high school, marching band, symphonic band, pep

band for the basketball team and homecoming pep rallies, along with

the stepping stone to symphonic band: concert band. I loved the way

current songs on the radio made their way into our performances,

along with learning the meaning of different musical terms and the

way the music would build and pull on my heartstrings and soul,

during crescendo’s.

 

The two songs were “Loco-Motion” and “Go Away, Little Girl”

whose authors were Carole King and Gerry Goffin.

The first song has such an incredible legacy, along with being a

fun song. It is one of the only songs of all time, which has been

number one in three different decades sung by three different

styles or cultures. What a landmark song!

1. Little Eva, who is African American, sang the song, “Loco-Motion”

in 1962. This helped her career in singing really soar.

 

2. Grand Funk Railroad, (rock and roll, Caucasian band), sang it

in 1974 and put their own ‘brand’ on the song, “Loco-Motion.”

 

3. The Austrailan singer, Kylie Minogue, made this song go

international with her 1988 rendition.

Way to go, Carole King and Gerry Goffin for making this song

a catchy tune that went across generations and cultures.

 

The second song, this tremendous duo wrote, “Go Away, Little

Girl” was one of my favorites in my teenaged years. When I had

a crush on a senior in high school, Todd D. of Science Club and

marching band “fame,” I pictured Todd singing this to me, along

with meeting me by the Bay High Rockets’ goal posts in five years

after I graduated from high school. (I was only a mere freshman

when I had this ‘crush.’)

1. “Go Away, Little Girl” was first sung by Bobby Vee in ’62. Soon

to be followed and reaching higher sales, by Steve Lawrence later

the same year, in 1962. This made the Popular Top 20 list.

2. The Happenings sang and got this song into the top selling

songs in 1966. This was also a popular song with my friends.

3. The most popular version and more often played song, “Go Away

Little Girl” is sung by Donnie Osmond, 1971.

 

While listening to Casey Kasem, another time, I wrote down this

short note on a scrap of paper last Autumn.

The “most popular song played at funerals” is Frank Sinatra’s

popular top 10 song, “My Way.” I can imagine a lot of people who

would embrace this in their different life styles and endeavors but

had no idea that this was so beloved.

It would take years to ‘replace’ this song but a new hit being played

at funerals is from the British comedy movie, “Life of Brian.” Who

could imagine choosing a song from this movie? Well, I can tell

you one: my brother Randy still roars in laughter while watching

this Monty Python spoof movie, once a year with my family. I am

surprised though at this musical choice:

“Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,” by Eric Idle of Monty

Python wrote this as a reaction to “Give a Little Whistle” from

the Disney franchise of upbeat movies, “Pinocchio.”

 

I am sure Eric is laughing out loud should he find out how popular

this song has become over the years.  Somehow, I thought a more

popular song would be, “Taps” or “Amazing Grace.”

 

Frankly, I feel this is refreshing and would cheer me up to know

I don’t have to listen to “Candle in the Wind,” at Randy’s memorial

service, should I outlive him. This may irreverent comment, but

believe me, Randy would be amused at this song being played,

so ‘Always Look at the Bright Side of Life,” will be on the playlist,

brother. Oh, that reminds me, I will have to add one of the songs

from his other ‘favorite’ movie, “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?”

 

MORE MUSICAL NOTES:

 

The recent death of the Gospel legend, Andrae Crouch, requires a

respectful “note” and pause. At age 72, Andrae had influenced many

listeners with his heartfelt lyrics and soulful songs. Here are a few

which you may wish to check out:

“Let the Church Say Amen.”

“Soon and Very Soon.”

“Take Me Back.”

Along with being what many considered a fine singer and composer,

Andrae helped influence three legendary musicians. Although, he

may not have helped increase each of their popularity levels; he

undoubtedly changed their lives. This was the kind of man Andrae

Crouch was. The tributes and interviews all held warm memories

and kind thoughts of this man.

Michael Jackson was helped with his own song, “The Man in the

Mirror,” by Andrae Crouch’s adjusting its musical arrangement.

Elton John and Madonna received positive influences upon their

careers, by Gospel leader, Andrae Crouch.

 

 

The James Band was one of the alternative rock groups I sometimes

listened to in the 80’s. Do you have any memories of this different band?

Their roots came from Manchester, England. They took breaks in their

recording and individual careers. Some time off, as you may remember.

The first’break’ was a rather long one, after being popular in the 80’s

and leaving the musical scene in 2001;  they got back together in 2007.

Then, another 7 year time span ensued, until last year (2014).

While the members followed their individual pursuits, the James Band

still played on the alternative rock scene on the  radio, though.

Their sales over the years amount to over $25 million.

 

Imagine my surprise and pleasure to say the James Band are back

on the road and had a new album come out in June, 2014 titled,

“Le Petit Mort” including a popular new song, “Moving On.” This

is a solemn, questioning song, one which shows how aging and time

passing influences how you choose your path. James Band has

changed their sound and song choices.  The wisdom found while

growing older is reflected here in their music. The slow pace rises

and slowly builds into a crescendo, with trumpets and guitars

playing. Here are a few snippets of the lyrics I heard of this “new”

song, “Moving On,”

“Leave a little light on. . .”

“Will we recognize our friends when this cycle ends?”

“Will it start again?”

There are moments where time is like seeds being planted,

dreams taken for granted.

Welcome back, James Band!

 

Mick Jones poured out his long and winding road life’s path,

in an interview on the 12/28/14 CBS Sunday Morning show.

Mick’s path is one which encompasses being part of a British

“Spooky Tooth” band, playing with “C’est La Vie” and a French

man named Holliday. Mick Jones said Holliday forgives his

leaving the group to find his own way. Holliday was a “French

Elvis,” according to Jones. Then, Jones proceeded to get to the

‘meat’ of his musical career with “Foreigner.” Not being one

who studies musicians’ lives as they are progressing, I was very

interested in how Jone’s compelling journey went. I always liked

Foreigner’s  songs, “Feels Like the First Time,” “Head Games,”

and “I’ve Been Waiting for a Girl Like You.” When the group

‘went soft’ in one of the band member’s eyes, (or ears)- they parted

ways and the band split up back in 2003.

Mick Jones and Ian McDonald were inducted into the Songwriters’

Hall of Fame, June, 2013, with Elton John presenting them this

prestigious award. They have never made it into the Rock and Roll

Hall of Fame.

Foreigner was unique in its combination of three British and three

American band musicians and singers joining forces. The band’s

3 Brits were Mick Jones, Ian McDonald and Dennis Elliot, while

the 3 Americans were Lou Gramm, Al Greenwood and Ed Gagliardi.

 

Wow, this has been 12 years since then! Their music is still daily

‘in my ears’ on the radio. Foreigner is a group which has stood the

‘test of time,’  I believe. Only one member of the original band,

has passed away. Ed Gagliardi died in May, 2014.

All have not worked together since 1989. They have had a few varied

combinations of the players.

In 2013,  Mick Jones, Ian McDonald and Lou Gramm renewed their

ties and are working on a new collaboration. They were part of the

Summer of 2013 Tour, including Eagles’ Don Felder playing with

Foreigner and the band Styx.

 

What are some “musical notes” you have been listening to?

What musician or group do you feel has stayed the most ‘current’ ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Serene Sunday Musings

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Here are a few quotations to induce feelings of grace and gratitude

this chilly, busy month of November. (Here it is chilly, in your part

of the world, you may be having a nice warm day.) If you wish to read

my past research about Pilgrims and Thanksgiving, you may browse

the tags on my blog.

 

“Let us not become weary in doing good.

For at the proper time we will reap a

Harvest if we do not give up.”

(In the newer version of the Bible,

New Testament. Galatians 6:9)

 

A short story shared in a church bulletin:

“You are Here”

As I approached a brightly lit, vertical floor plan at a Mall,

I noticed a woman standing in front of it for quite a while.

“Can I help you find something or a store location?”

I offered her help.

As people scurried by and around us, she replied,

“No thanks. I’m just pausing for a moment.”

Then, pointing to the arrow she explained,

“You are here. I need to be reminded sometimes.”

How profound.

Don’t we all need reminders of how blessed or lucky

we are to be here?

When life gets crazy, especially during the holidays, perhaps

we need to stop. Like the wise woman at the Mall, remind

ourselves we don’t have to try to be everywhere at once.

We’re “here.” That is the only place we can be.

Better still, we can imagine a bright arrow pointing to where we

are in life. We can go farther still, acknowledging, “God is here.”

 

A funny set of thoughts:

“You’re over the hill when you think all of your friends are showing

their age. . . but not you.”

“You’re over the hill when styles come back for the second time and

you still have some left from the first time.”

“You’re over the hill when your train of thoughts frequently derails!”

 

“You are NOT totally, personally, irrevocably responsible for

everything.

That’s my job.

— God”

 

Be watchful of signs of nature which lead you to peaceful moments.

Remember them later, cherishing the details in your memory.

Absorb fully, your family member’s words while you listen to them speak.

 

 

 

 

November: Sensing Grace and Showing Gratitude

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Every month seems to come a bit faster! Closing a door on one vibrant and exciting

month of October. Opening a door on the more serious month of November with

moments full of gratitude, sensing persons who exude grace and giving thanks for

all we have.

Looking at my Halloween decorations and wishing that Jack o’ Lanterns, ghosts,

goblins, the Ty teddy bear in its adorable pumpkin costume, the black glass bottle

with the words, “Love Potion” on it and the owls could all stay up. I take them down,

slowly placing each item in a large orange tub, automatically trying to wrap some of

the glass, ceramic and wooden treasures with newspaper, I layer the embroidered

October cloths, fall handkerchiefs and needlepoint given to me by my aunt and my

cousin.

Next come the September lingering ‘culprits.”

The little scarecrow figurines, sunflower basket and gold candles are no longer

needed.

 

I like a simpler decorative theme in November. The month deserves a less crowded,

less busy appearance. The Pilgrims and their first Thanksgiving come to mind and

make my mood more respectful and subdued.  My decorations reflect this traditional

look. I have a few pumpkins that fit in and around the metal cornucopia with yellow

woven reeds along the edge of the opening. I leave the ‘fake’ bittersweet vine wound

around and inside of a basket on my coffee table.

 

Putting the burgundy candles into the pewter candle sticks from 1978, gifts from my

first wedding, I think of the Turley’s from Oak Ridge, Tennessee:  I feel gratitude.

There is also a pewter creamer, sugar bowl and a little tray to keep them on, which

remain in my little apartment kitchen.

 

I will never forget this lively family using washboards, zithers and guitars, their melodious

voices singing Blue Grass music. Afterwards, Jim telling Scottish tales and Helen telling

old Greek folktales. Their combined heritage made their three boys’ lives rich with the

knowledge of distant lands. Our family has some history, the half from my father’s side

not really detailed but his family tree with Scottish and English roots. Mom’s side is more

interesting, since her parents had stories to share with us of Germany and Sweden.

I would get excited when we drove up through Pigeon Forge, to get to their house built

from the local rocks. My Dad had met Jim in his work at Oak Ridge Nuclear Reactor (in

the state of Tennessee.)

Once they came North, went to see Plum Brook’s reactor in Sandusky. But mainly,

they were the overnight, genial and entertaining stop for our family along the way

to our grandparents’ trailer park in Clearwater, Florida.

Waves of memories, longing and nostalgia take over me.

 

Does this happen to you when you change seasons and decorations?

Is there an old memory that comes forward to be fondly remembered?

 

New chores and tools are needed with snow coming.

I will take my portable shovel out of the closet and put into the trunk of the car.

 

The songs that come to mind for this month are:

“November Rain,” sung by Guns N Roses

and

“Peace of Mind,” sung by Boston.

 

NOVEMBER, 2014

 

Birthstone:  Topaz

Flower:  Chrysanthemum

 

National Animal Appreciation Week goes from 11/1-11/7.

Local animal shelters or humane society have their needs suggestions posted.

 

1st- All Saints’ Day

(Catholics, Episcopalians and others celebrate this day)

 

2- Daylight Savings Time

(where applicable)

We set our clocks back one hour.

The old saying goes, “Fall behind.”

 

4- Islamic New Year.

Wishing all those who practice the Islam faith a Happy New Year!

 

Election Day in the U.S.

I encourage you to use your citizens’ right to vote!

 

6- Full Beaver Moon

Native Americans call this month’s moon the Beaver Moon,

but it is also called the Frosty Moon.

 

11- Veterans’ Day in the U.S.

Honor those who served and gave up their lives during wars.

Respecting those who are continuing to serve and put their lives on the line

for their country.

Remembrance Day in Canada.

 

14- Last 1/4 moon.

 

22- New Moon.

 

27-

Thanksgiving Holiday (U.S.)

28-

“Black Friday”

One of the biggest shopping days in U.S.

Some consider this part of their family’s traditions.

 

29- First 1/4 moon.

 

Looking at my cornucopia filled with fruits and leaves, with pumpkins spilling out of it,

colorful and familiar, I think it is as beautiful as a bouquet of flowers to me.

The words of Thomas Kinkade (2001):

“The color within us

can color the world around us.”

 

With Thanksgiving and gratitude:

“A thing of beauty

is a joy forever:

Its loveliness increases,

It will never pass

into nothingness.”

(John Keats)

 

Those who bestow Grace upon us, as a gift:

“A friend is as it were,

a second self.”

(Cicero)

 

Freedom to express our Faith:

“Were there no God,

we would be in this glorious world

with grateful hearts

and no one to thank.”

(Christina Rossetti)

 

“You have possibilities. . .

so celebrate that you are

who you are,

where you are,

and affirm the

inherent

goodness of

living

by saying,

‘Thank You.'”

(Thomas Kinkade, 2001)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Quest for Forgiveness

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I watched the movie, “Philomena,” at home with all the lights turned out. I

usually like to watch movies with someone. I had reserved this at the library,

for my good friend, Jenny, and I to watch. Her aunt died, unfortunately, and

they were going to be away. Although I mention her death, it is something

that Jenny and her family have chosen to view as ‘for the best,’ due to her

declining health and age. Just so you know.

 

I was by myself absorbing a piece of history, a time where there were some

“edges” to the kindness, found in religion. Judgment went hand in hand with

the predicament that Philomena got into. There was a sad part of this movie,

which will not ‘ruin’ it for you, that must be talked about.

 

Since no one was there, to discuss and ponder with, after the movie ended.

You will be my person I go to, who may contemplate what bothered me about

the movie. I wonder why some people who take on positions, like a particular

nun in Philomena’s life, have to be so cruel?

 

The man, Martin Sixsmith, who was a journalist and someone who liked to

write about ‘straight news,’ was assigned a ‘fluff piece,’ or so he thought. He

ended up becoming involved with a woman’s life, which ultimately changed

his life.

Martin Sixsmith wrote a book that was published in 2009 called, “The Lost

Child of Philomena Lee.” I will recommend this, before even reading it.

When life slows down in my ‘day job’ at the warehouse, (busy summers, less

so, in the winters) I will be getting this book out of the library to read.

My grandchildren will soon be back to school, so less busy times ahead in the

evenings for me. I will enjoy reading this fine story, despite my knowing its

ending. The details that are given within books, images and evocative incidents

resonate so much more when the words weave their tale.

The story of how Philomena gets pregnant is brief. It is a fleeting, emotional

choice; yet it shows her affection and interest in the young man. There are many

times in her life, she may have regretted this moment. Overall, it did not dampen

her outward spirits. Philomena is such a positive source of light and laughter.

She reminded me of the zany character of my Great Aunt Marie. Philomena has

‘gumption!’

She tells most of her stories to Martin with levity, without too many complaints.

She does hide her shame and her inward remorse, for what she did. She admits

to saying the rosary and going to confession many, many times, over the years.

It is when her son would have turned 50, that she mentions it finally to her own

daughter, she raised in wedlock. Her daughter is catering an event for Martin’s

fiftieth birthday, that is how the story begin. . .

 

She was a teenager, taken to stay at a home for expectant mothers. The nun’s

emphasis of their being “unwed mothers” is stressed in a negative fashion.

 

Parents trying to connect with their child they put up for adoption, adults who

were put up for adoption and anyone who enjoys a good, heart-wrenching story,

will all enjoy this movie. I am sure you will find meaning in the book, too. After

all, it inspired a wonderful and well-received movie.

 

Thousands of Irish-Catholic adopted children, raised to adulthood, are still

trying to find their ‘roots.’ They are wanting to find their heritage and their

families. The reasons for the secretive records are disclosed in the book and

the movie.

The ‘nunnery’ she was sent to live until her child was born, was named, Sacred

Heart. It held a serious (sanctimonious) attitude towards ‘sin.’

The expectant mothers were supposed to work, for their ‘room and board.’ They

had to do this 5-6 days a week. Philomena’s job was laundry, by hand, with lye

soap. Scrubbing their skin off their young hands, under rough and hot conditions.

 

One self-righteous nun, Philomena remembers, was cruel in her expectations

of these young women who were away from their families and homes. Sadly, the

head nun’s attitude was expressed, “Atonement is required for your sins.”

Not that these girls, didn’t go to Confession as often as possible!

 

The babies were only allowed to be seen once a day by their mothers, if their work

was done.

 

At one point, I was bawling, tears streaming and sobs ensuing. There was a place

on one of the simple cots they slept on, if Philomena stood on it, it brought back

the memory of her son being taken away in a car. His face is pressed to the window.

 

You know this, from the very beginning:

Philomena didn’t want to give up her baby boy.

 

The story from beginning to end, includes a lot of fun and silly parts. Martin’s

teasing Philomena and Philomena’s assessments of life, people and situations

all are so special, warm and happy. You will carry the part that Judi Dench

portrayed, this amazing woman, who did become a nurse and did try to lead a

righteous life, in your head for days. It has taken me since Friday, to put into

words, the way I came to love Philomena.

 

Judi Dench did not win an Academy Award, nor was Steven Coogan nominated,

but this movie is stellar.

 

Judi Dench did an outstanding job in her 2013 portrayal of this indomitable lady.

“Philomena” will steal a piece of your heart.