The Destruction of the United States

Saturday, August 8, 2020 13:05 | Filled in Inspiration

I was born in the United States at a time when people looked up to the government to govern for the people, as the famous speech by President Lincoln with wisdom professed.  To vote was considered a right for all citizens of a certain age.  As children we pledged an allegiance to the flag and country, one nation under God, Indivisible with Liberty and Justice for All.  Today, I see that many of the people that have been elected no longer govern for the people, some look to suppress fair voting for all, and there are others (even politicians) whose idea is to divide America and have worked hard at it, mostly it seems for their own personal gain.

 

Today, I see two political parties that act like they are playing a game, if one side wants one thing the other will be against it, no matter what (such immature childishness).  There is no common sense, only party affiliation rules.  The saddest part of this game is that the populace have fallen into this trap was well, which could very easily create a Divided States that would destroy what our founders had in mind.  The governance of The United States is NOT A GAME.

 

I used to have respect for the Senate.  My belief was that the best minds and most talented individuals were voted in office to help resolve the needs of the people, build for their future needs, and have the peoples’ best interests placed in the forefront.  Today, I see Senate politicians who are supported financially by large companies to manipulate their voting on issues and to keep them in power.  Not only are they manipulated by large companies, but have been pressured by a President and his party to vote in one way and one way only.  This is disgraceful and unbecoming of the office of the Senate.

 

The upcoming generation of young people give me encouragement, that they will see justice done and push with force past the party bickering and inequality.  They give me hope and I encourage them and all the people to be informed not with opinions but facts, vote their consciences and just maybe their will be change that will benefit all the members of this great nation of The United States.  Because if not, divided we will fall.

 

 

What is a Christian?

Wednesday, November 6, 2019 13:06 | Filled in Inspiration

Many people say they are Christians, but do they really know what it is to be a Christian?   When reading the New Testament one can follow the story of Christ’s travels throughout the Jordan and hear his words and the results of his actions.  He was revolutionary for the times and this resulted in his struggles with the locals and the authorities.   What I find important, when saying one is a Christian, is following the example of Christ.  It’s more of a proof of belief to follow his example than just to say one believes in Christ.  Belief is not enough, as they say, actions speak louder than words.

I notice many people who call themselves Christians tend to focus on words from the Old Testament.  The era of the Old Testament was the time of God’s promise.  The New Testament reveals the time of the fulfillment (Luke 17:16).  And it is said that much of the Old Law will pass away.  I would think that people who call themselves Christians would be more interested in following the words and examples of Christ.  Christ warned his disciples about condemning others.  He said ,”Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters” (Luke 11:23).  However, he warned Peter not to condemn those who followed Christ’s example, even though they were not connected with the disciples.  All need to remember this.  There are many Christian acts by persons who do not claim to be Christians.

Christ talked about judging others when he said, ” Stop judging…remember your own faults (splinters)” (Mathew 7:1-5)  He taught examples of conduct when he said, “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you” (The Golden Rule), which is not just for Christians.  Treating all with mercy as the parable of the Good Samaritan.  Another parable told of a Pharisee and a Tax Collector who approached God with different attitudes, showing us the humble way to approach God.  There are many examples of good conduct that all people could use in their daily lives and would make life better for all they come in contact with.

In Mathew 19:12, Christ talks about marriage between and man and a woman, he also talked about how some will not marry, because they were born so, made so by others and some renounce marriage for other reasons.  He recommends that we accept these facts.  So be it.  Christian should stop condemning  others for what they do not understand.  Jesus was ridiculed because he sat with the sinners and did not condemn them, why do so called Christians condemn those who are different from them?  I think they should return to the New Testament and follow Christ’s example and not practice self righteousness like the Pharisees (extolling their own false pride).

The parable of the sower (Luke 8:11-15), reminds us to listen to the word of God and embrace it with a generous and good heart.  This I wish for you all.

 

Being in the Father

Sunday, September 8, 2019 14:26 | Filled in Inspiration

In the New Testament, John writes about the experience of Jesus’s conversations with everyday people and many that do not agree with his ideas or his methods of reaching out to others.

 

In one particular incident, Jesus has got himself into a tight spot and people are picking up rocks to stone him (John 10v31). Jesus says, “I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of these are you trying to stone me?” The people answer, “We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy” (for Jesus said he was the Son of God). Oh course, Jesus is quite well studied in scripture and so he presents a quote from the Psalms and says, “Is it not written in your law,”I said you are Gods?” (Psalms 82v6). Well, I can imagine what kind of uproar this created. But, of course, we know that Jesus came to shake things up and so he did. But what really has me interested in this kind of dialogue is that he also says,”If I do not perform my Father’s works, do not believe me; but if I perform them , even if you do not believe me, believe the works, so that you may realize ( and understand) that the Father is in me and I am in the Father”. Can not we also be in the Father as Jesus was? are His works impossible for us?

 

In my travels, I have met many people who say they have lost faith in their religion or they no longer look towards their former religion for guidance or support. To me this is a tragedy, but an understandable one. Many people have been hurt or disappointed by those who have represented their religion, and one can fall out of love for something that seems unlovable. No one is perfect and there are those who would prey on others using their authority (we can see this in many situations of the World today). However, there are many more genuinely good people who believe in doing good for others and regularly challenge themselves to improve themselves. Even St. Paul in almost all of his writings reminded his followers to respect and show love and kindness. He had to do this repeatedly, because he knew how easy it was to succumb to the temptations of being in a position of authority. St. Francis also reminded his followers that every day they had to remind themselves of the way to God and goodness. I think this is doable but takes a lot of mental discipline. Every day we must remind ourselves of what we want to become and how we want to act towards others. And I think the key to this is “love never fails” (Corinthians13v8). I think this is Jesus’s teaching in a nutshell and in my own experience everything seems to work better with love.

 

So, I think Jesus is saying that if we do the works of the Father we will be in the Father and that Spirit of Love will be in us. I can’t think of a better way of living and I hope that more people will think about this in their own minds and discern how the Father is to work in their lives with love.

 

love one another

 

Saint Junipero Serra’s Birth Place

Saturday, September 22, 2018 13:25 | Filled in Travels

While traveling through the Balearic Islands, I discovered that Saint Junipero Serra was born in a small town called Petra on the island of Mallorca in the Balearic Islands off Spain.  Since he is so important to my state and my regional fraternity, I decided to extend a visit there and see what it looked like.  It is always a surprising experience visiting a new place and this was a very pleasant and interesting one.

I left from Porto Cristo by bus to arrive in Manacor, then took the train to Petra.  Petra being a small town one had to only follow the one road into town from the train stop.  The first stop was at the Church of St. Peter in Petra where St. Junipero Serra was baptized.

 

Church of St. Peter, Petra, Mallorca

Church of St. Peter, Petra, Mallorca

Just by accident Miquel, a Secular Franciscan, was there and was preparing to bring communion to the sick.  He opened the church and let me take pictures.

 

Baptismal front for Miquel Joseph Serra i Ferrer

Baptismal font for Miquel Joseph Serra i Ferrer and another Miquel

 

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A Visit to Assisi

Monday, July 2, 2018 16:09 | Filled in Travels

I feel so blessed to say I have been able to visit Assisi twice.  The first time was quick, wonderful and I was able to visit so many places where St. Francis experienced his life changes.  This time it was slower and I had more time to think about St. Francis and St. Clare’s life in the town and how Assisi has changed, and yet still exudes much of the same special spiritual presence of these two charismatic saints.

When approaching Assisi the hill-town looks beautiful and is surrounded by a green valley.

 

Approaching Assisi

Approaching Assisi

We proceeded to the road leading up to Rocca Maggiore, for parking is expensive in Assisi and this road is free to park on and we would not be in anyone’s way.   From there we took a short hike down through the trees to our apartment.

 

Rocca Maggiore, Assisi

Rocca Maggiore, Assisi

From this Fort, which was used extensively through the time of St. Francis, you can see much of the town and surrounding area. Read the rest of this entry »

Joys of Sicily

Friday, August 25, 2017 11:21 | Filled in Uncategorized

Last Winter we stayed in Licata, Sicily and were able to travel around the island to enjoy many of the sites, tastes and cultural events of Sicily.  Many people have influenced the Sicily of today and while visiting around one can sometimes pick out a particular group’s influence and historical accomplishments.

One of the most impressive historical site is found in Agrigento, where you will find the Valley of the Temples built by the Romans and also there are many amazing churches in the town.

Temple of Jupiter, Agrigento

Temple of Jupiter, Agrigento

 

Majestic Church, Agrigento

Majestic Church, Agrigento

 

Another ancient site is Villa Romana del Casale where one can see some of the most amazing preserved tile floors and while in the area visit the hill town of Piazza Armerina.  The only thing to be careful of in Italian hill towns is the narrow streets, which can be a challenge to even the locals.

 

Floor Mosaics, Villa Romana di Casale

Floor Mosaics, Villa Romana del Casale

 

Elaborate Moasics, Villa Romana di Casala

Elaborate Moasics, Villa Romana del Casale

 

Villa Romana di Casale, Piazza Armerina

Villa Romana del Casale, Piazza Armerina

 

Street Challenges, Piazza Armerina

Street Challenges, Piazza Armerina

 

Many churches, Piazza Armerina

Many churches, Piazza Armerina

 

I got lost in Piazza Armerina and had to pass through this way several times through narrow roads before I found the right road down the mountain.  Hill towns are amazing to me and there are many, one in particular that we enjoyed was Modica.

Modica is famous for it’s Aztec styled chocolate, using the recipe from the Americas containing no milk products but adding natural flavors to enhance it.  Each year there is a chocolate festival there and we enjoyed it immensely.

 

Modica

Modica

 

Modica Chocolate Festival

Modica Chocolate Festival

Speaking of festivals, there are many Mardi Gra  celebrations throughout Sicily.  We celebrated in Sciatta with lots of people, characters and color.

 

Sciacca Carnival Characters

Sciacca Carnival Characters

 

Sacrificial Carnival Character, Sciacca

Sacrificial Carnival Character, Sciacca

Sciacca has a bit of a twist to their main character in that after Carnival he is sacrificially burnt.  There must be some message that we didn’t get, but a ritual that is essential there.  Also, throughout Easter there are parades of images and processions through the streets to welcome participation.

One of my favorite towns is Trapani were you can get the best Arancini, cones of rice filled with meat and vegetable, which is unique to Sicily and comes from the Arab influence.

Just northeast of Trapani is a town up on a mountain called Erice, which has the best views all around and is an amazing old town in it’s own way.

 

View from Erice, Sicily

View from Erice, Sicily

 

View from Erice Castle, Sicily

View from Erice Castle, Sicily

 

There are so many magnificent moments we had in Sicily and beautiful ones that I could not put them all in a blog unless it became a job, so I will just add here at the end a few more joys of Sicily.  My next blog will probably be on Sardinia.

 

Opera House, Catania, Sicily

Opera House, Catania, Sicily

 

Imaginative fountain, Catania, Sicily

Imaginative fountain, Catania, Sicily

 

Interesting Food Displays, Sicily

Interesting Food Displays, Sicily

 

Pastoral Views, Sicily

Pastoral Views, Sicily

 

Example of Street Art, Sicily

Example of Street Art, Sicily

Hope you enjoyed this small trip through Sicily through pictures and may you be able to visit this fascinating island.

 

 

Is the United States becoming the Land of the Violent and Hateful?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016 11:24 | Filled in Inspiration

While traveling in different countries, I have observed how others live and have discussed the Worlds’ events with those having varied viewpoints.  One thing that is most disturbing for me, and to many World citizens, is how radical politicians are sprouting up around the World, promoting violence and hatred.  We last saw this in the 1930’s with Hitler and Mussolini.  People who think their life situations are inadequate and think some one else is to blame, are listening to arrogant men who are looking for power, control and money (paybacks).  Violence and hatred is being promoted around us.  Are Americans willing to fall into this trap?

I’ve heard it said that the United States needs to be great again.  Apparently, those saying this have no idea about the rest of the World.  My country has as it’s base the ideals of liberty, justice and the pursuit of one’s potential and happiness.  In the past, this has been the goal of the United States and in the World this has been and is still applauded and reverenced.  However, there are those who do not wish to promote the dreams of struggling people.  Our country has become great because people from all over the World have come to the U.S. to pursue their dreams of a better life and have been willing to work for it.  Our nation has profited by these talented people.  At present U.S. citizens have the opportunity to work toward their dreams, if they choose to do so.  This is not true everywhere.  Are we willing to sacrifice this opportunity for all?

Another form of violence is the suppression of the truth .  There are many who do not want others to hear the truth about themselves or about World events or want to slant it from the truth.  They want to suppress the legitimate news agents, so no one will know how people have been injured  for profit and gain.  Freedom needs to be upheld for the support of lives and to realize what is happening around us.  Are we American enough to believe in this?  Freedom of thought has always been important.  But, it does not mean inflicting injury on others or telling half truths or lies.  The welfare of our citizens is more important than a philosophy of life or twisted emotions.  Rational thinking should guide our actions in life and in politics.

We have allowed our citizens to carry weapons, so that if the government becomes too oppressive against citizens’ rights they can defend themselves.  This was a reality in the 1700’s.  The decisive power of our various State Governments , the checks and balance of the executive branch and the gridlock of Congress make it impossible for the government to be oppressive, if at all functional.  So, why do we allow people to purchase high powered assault rifles?  Do government officials need to be culled?  Are deer, rabbits and birds getting faster?  Or do people just want to express their own power with a powerful gun?

I venture to say, express your values with your vote and voice.  Truth will always prevail.  Goodness always trumps evil.  Violence is a result of fear and loss of self power and worth.   As Americans we should promote our values that have served us from our inception.  If we promote positive ideal, I suspect we will have strength and success in the future to come.

 

Wintering in Cyprus

Sunday, July 3, 2016 14:34 | Filled in Uncategorized

Last summer we decided to explore Cyprus and winter there.  We arrived at Latchi, Cyprus in July and sailed around the island, from Latchi to the UN border.  We found many beautiful places to stop and had a great summer.

 

Blue Lagoon near Latchi

Blue Lagoon near Latchi

One of my favorite places was Serenity Bay on the East Coast.  The bay was peaceful and the taverna ashore was delightful.

 

Serenity Bay Beach Bar

Serenity Bay Beach Bar

There were many beaches to visit and harbors to stop at when a stop was needed to resupply the boat.

Our longest stay was at Limassol in the marina.  We stayed there six months and enjoyed the time immensely.

With the many trips available and advice supplied by the City’s Tourist Office we had a great Winter.  There where many sights to see and activities to keep us active from October to April.  At Limassol Marina, we spent time working on the boat and finding out about the different activities available.

In November, the city of Limassol offered bus rides for winery tours through the 6 wine routes in Cyprus.  That was one of our favorite activities.  We would samples wines and find some favorites and then visit a local village. Read the rest of this entry »

Tarsus, birthplace of St. Paul

Wednesday, August 5, 2015 5:59 | Filled in Travels

Tarsus, the birthplace of St. Paul, lies in the southeastern part of Turkey in the province of Cilicia. It was the ancient capital of the area. It is claimed to be a 9,000 year old city and has been fought over and changed by Hittites, Greeks, Romans and other civilizations for all that time.  Today, there are a few remains of the Roman era around the time of St. Paul, and many pilgrims and visitors come to see where the famous apostle lived.

At the time St. Paul was living in Tarsus there were many schools of philosophy in the city and it was believed that St. Paul was influenced by them. It is said that he went to a school of rhetoric and honed his skill and style of speaking.  Because of his Roman citizenship and educational background he was able to communicate effectively to many groups at the time.

In Tarsus today,  there are ruins of some Roman structures.  There is a very good excavated sample of a roman road that went through town to the agora.

 

Roman Road, Tarsus

Roman Road, Tarsus

Businesses near Roman Road, Tarsus

Businesses near Roman Road, Tarsus

 

Roman Road, Tarsus

Roman Road, Tarsus

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Modern Day Odysey

Saturday, June 20, 2015 7:56 | Filled in Uncategorized

I’ve been reading the story, “The Odysey” by Homer and it reminds me a little of our travels.   Of course, we haven’t run across any Cyclops, sex crazed Goddesses or man eating people, etc.  However, while traveling through the Aegean you never know what you may come across.  There are always new adventures, people to meet, puzzles to solve and situations to ponder.  Now I know why it took Odysseus so many years to get back home.  There are such delightful experiences to be had on the water and when visiting other places.

Food is always an amazing issue.  Even in parts of Turkey, food is served differently and sometimes can be amusing to us.

 

Garnishes for starts

Garnishes for starts

 

One of my favorite enjoyments of travel is to view beautiful scenes as we visit a new place.  Sometimes there are hidden surprises.

 

Lovely Beach

Lovely Beach

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