A Peaceful Place

Monday, April 12, 2021 16:25 | Filled in Uncategorized

Before the covid pandemic came into it’s full swing in Portugal, we were able to visit a beautiful peaceful place up in the mountains called Talisnal.  This is an area that once raised cattle, then the area was planted with trees and the people left the area.  However, today there are these interesting old schist stone houses that are being repaired and used as vacation homes and tourist rentals.  It was very quiet when we were there, but can be a bit busy with the tourist season.  We found it to be so peaceful and the hiking around the area was beautiful and good exercise.

 

The town of Talisnal, PT

Walking through the town was a delight for the interesting buildings and walkways.

 

Talisnal streets

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The Lie That Roared

Sunday, January 24, 2021 12:52 | Filled in Inspiration

Most of us were taught when very young that it was wrong to tell a lie.  However, we also learned that sometimes telling a lie would get us out of difficult situations or might lead to an advantage to ourselves.  In other words, we can get the perception that lies can selfishly give us something more advantageous than when telling the truth.  Unfortunately, we have been hearing a lot of this in politics to promote political candidates for future elected positions.  It is not a new practice, and the public must remain observant and vigilant to realize these deceptions.

 

Joseph Goebbel made an observation (which was extensively promoted by the Nazis) that, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie.”   This sounds like the many lies that Trump used to manipulate his followers.  They trusted him as their leader, that he would truthfully lead them into a good direction for America.  This, of course, would work on their sense of patriotism.  How could he lead them in a wrong direction?  How could he have led them into storming the Capitol and seeking destruction?  He could shield them only so much and when the shame was done, he would take none of the blame for his part and would place it solely on his followers, and the lie was revealed  to the whole nation.

 

It was noted at the time of Hitler that one of his primary rules were: never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.   This sounds like what we have experienced recently with the Trump/GOP administration.  The lies were promoted to gain an advantage for a party and to denigrate those that they were against.

 

Yes, there should be consequences for people who lie and drag others into the lie, and here is a list of people who promoted that lie and must live with the consequences and will never be trusted, for liars are seldom believed after their lies:

Ex-President Donald Trump                                              Congressman Mo Brooks of Alabama                                Donald Trump, Jr.                                                                 Congresswoman Jody Hice of Georgia

Eric Trump                                                                               Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee

Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri                                     Congressman Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey

Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi                       Congressman Joe Wilson of South Carolina

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas                                                   Senator Kelly Loeffler of Georgia

Senator Rodger Marshall of Kansas                                 Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia

Senator Mike Braun of Indiana                                          Congressman Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina

Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin                                  Congresswoman Lauren Boebert of Colorado

Senator John N. Kennedy of Louisiana                           Congresswoman Diana Harshbarger of Tennessee

Senator Toumy Tuberville of Alabama                            Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma

Senator Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming                              Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Senator Rick Scott of Florida                                                                                             of Washington

Senator Scott Perry of Pennsylvania                                 Congressman Tom Tiffany of Wkisconsin

Congressman Scott Fitzgerald of Wisconsin                   Congresswoman Elise Stefanick of New York

Rudy Gulianni

There are probably more, but there are others that know better who they are, and I hope in the future these and others will think again about lying to the American people and will make amends for what they have done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Death of the Republican Party in America

Saturday, November 21, 2020 12:46 | Filled in Inspiration

The Republican Party was established officially in 1856 with their first president elect  being Abraham Lincoln.  The party was established in the northern states with an abolitionist theme, support of labor unions, with economic reform (including  higher taxes) and generally with liberal changes in mind.  You say how can this be?  Well much has changed since then.

 

When Ronald Reagan came on the scene, much was changed to advantage business as opposed to the populous, and this was continued under other Republican Presidents.  Many social programs were de-funded, along with education, and the Republican Party has slowly become one to promote big business, less government control and less regulations, so profit can be had no matter what damage it may create for the country, its land or its people.

 

Today, the Republican Party seems to be against the welfare of the American Citizen; they want to de-fund most social programs, de-fund  education, restrict voting of citizens ( this also includes mail tampering and mishandling ballots by a Republican placed administrator, for this happened with my ballot mailed from overseas not being delivered to the election offices), privatize anything government run, loosening environmental laws and generally reduce taxes for big business and take money from these companies to do their bidding (via lobbying and campaign funds).  Not that Democrats don’t do some of this, but this is not their core focus.  The Republican party looks to liberate people to pursue whatever they wish to in living their lives and making a profit, like the Libertarians not wanting government to get in the way, however, they do not consider that there are individuals, for whatever reason, who are not able to take advantage of normal living arrangements.  There are people with physical and mental difficulties that have been for years ignored and many times put in prisons or left to be homeless.

 

Young people of today are looking to their future; being more aware of climate change, desiring better affordable educational opportunities for their children, mindful of the needs of environment protections and they have a willingness and desire to make the changes necessary.  If the Republican Party is not willing to change, look to future needs of these future voters, they will cease to exist.

 

Presently, the Republican Party have many supporters who believe in conspiracy theories and live, it seems, detached from reality.  There are some Republicans who are conservative and find this hard to live with, and it is understandable.  They are under the pressure of a President that has a charisma to con people into thinking he is telling truths to them, but most of the American people have figured out he has been lying to remain in office and will say anything to remain there.  Unfortunately, some Republican Senators are doing the same to keep a party in power, not to promote the welfare of the country.  This will be the death of the Republican Party.  It will die because it does not value the American People and the rules of a Democratic Nation.

“The Hitler Play”

Wednesday, November 11, 2020 10:51 | Filled in Inspiration

Lately in politics we have seen a style of political practice that has not been seen much since Hitler’s political style of the 1930’s.  You are familiar now with the raised voice, the stern looks, the expected obedience and loyalty and the focusing of one’s emotions on hating other groups.  Sounds familiar….yes?  Many political leaders are using this style to gain followers and support around the world.

 

Well it worked well for Hitler.  Why not try it now since most of those who lived through the Hitler era are no longer here.  Why not grow another set of “groopies” to follow other totalitarian leaders.  It can work and it has, because people are not paying attention and, of course, some people are very gullible and can’t seem to resist a good lie that feeds their fears and beliefs.

 

Many people are afraid of the present situation, there is a pandemic, wages are so low that people can not afford to provide well for their families (sometimes having to work several jobs to make ends meet) and many fear the uncertainties of the future.  Some people are not very resilient, they cannot handle change or the unknown and need social support, while others are not as affected by uncertainties, they make opportunities.  However, what we  see today are people telling us that we must behave in a certain way or else all will go wrong.  We are told to hate others that are different from us, be judgmental and condemning.  Some don’t think this is a problem.  For if you were from their tribe you would think and do things the same.  What some people don’t realize is that we are not all the same, we don’t need to be in a tribe and that is OK.  We don’t need to live in a plural state with only two ways of thinking.  And not everyone thinks they have to follow the crowd, nor is the crowd their best support.

 

I think one needs to look inside to know what is good and the right thing to do.  Most of us humans have a conscience and can figure what is good, can realize that we are dependent on others to some extent, yes, but most of us have a sense of what human decency is and how it can be expressed.  This is important for our survival and human decency expressed by all will be the way to our survival.   Stop “The Hitler Play”.

 

Beautiful Lisbon

Friday, September 11, 2020 13:58 | Filled in Travels

Circumstances, beyond our control, detained me and the captain here in Lisbon and what a beautiful experience it has opened up for us.  I had not heard that much about Lisbon, Portugal before I arrived, so the slate of my perception was clean and open for the beautiful palette of Lisbon to paint it’s magic.  The people, architecture and culture of this beautiful city is something to share with everyone.  Though there are some “hickups” in things taking longer to happen here, there are many relaxing and inspiring qualities to uplift the spirit.

One of my favorite interests to discover when I go to a new city is its architecture.  Europe is known for its interesting historical architecture, but Lisbon excels in both the new and the old.

 

Medieval Estate

 

Manor House

Manor House

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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 a 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.  Christians 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 »