Friday, September 30, 2016

366 Project - Day 274 - "Abstract (Simple Day)"

September 30, 2016 - "Abstract (Simple Day)"

It has been a very simple day today.

That's it.


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Thursday, September 29, 2016

366 Project - Day 273 - "Feast of the Archangels"

September 29, 2016 - "Feast of the Archangels"

Today the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Archangels.

There are nine "Choirs" of angels which are then split into three groups of three. The highest-ranking of these groups consists of the "Seraphim" (which are the closest to God)... followed by the "Cherubim" and finally the "Thrones". They form the first of the three groups - and are the closest to God and chiefly serve Him alone.

The second group consists of the "Dominions"... followed by the "Virtues" and finally the "Powers". These are the mid-level angels.

Lastly there's the lowest of the three groups, which consists of the "Principalities"... followed by the "Archangels"... and, finally, the "Angels" - which are the bottommost level. Therefore "Archangels" are actually the second-lowest group of angels. However it is this third group of angels which God uses to interact with and deal with humans... and though they fall in the middle of the third group, it is the Archangels which we are most familiar with.

The Bible tells us that there are seven Archangels... however only three are ever named:

Saint Raphael is only mentioned once - in the twelfth chapter of the Book of Tobit in the Old Testament. His name means "God has healed" - and is regarded as being an angel of healing and companionship.

Saint Gabriel is mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments. His name means "Power of God". He is the angel who appeared to the Virgin Mary to announce that she would bear the Son of God - and who also appeared to Zachariah to announce that his wife Elizabeth would become pregnant with John the Baptist. Tradition holds that Gabriel is also the angel who appeared to St. Joseph... and who comforted Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. He is regarded as being an angel of mercy and consolation - as well as the Messenger of the Lord.

Saint Michael is the angel who is mentioned the most in the Bible. His name means "Who is like God"... and he is the only angel who is specifically referred to in Scripture as being an "Archangel". St. Michael the Archangel is the angel who defeated Satan, who is thought to have been the highest of the Seraphim (meaning he was the closest to God of all the angels). Despite his "lowly" position, it was St. Michael the Archangel who ultimately defeated Satan and cast him and the other fallen angels out of Heaven. Therefore St. Michael is generally viewed as being the leader of angels, and as such is typically given the title of "Prince of Heaven" or "Prince of the Heavenly Hosts". St. Michael is the angel who guides souls to God to face their judgement - and is known as the "Angel of Judgement".

Many people believe that when a person dies, their soul goes to Heaven and they "earn their wings" and become known as "angels". This is NOT the case, however! All the angels that have ever existed and will ever exist were all created by God before the first human. Humans cannot become angels... and angels cannot become human. When a person dies their soul goes to one of three places: Heaven, Purgatory or Hell.

If your soul goes to Hell... that's the end of the road for you! You do not pass "Go"... you do not collect $200... and there's no such thing as a "Get out of Hell for Free" card! Once you've been damned to Hell, you're there for all eternity... and can NOT gain entrance to heaven.

If you lived an absolutely saintly life, you "might" go straight to heaven... in which case you become a "Saint", NOT an "angel". This is very rare, of course. The Blessed Virgin Mary was "Assumed" directly into Heaven... and St. Joseph most likely got a Golden Ticket for the Express Train to Heaven.

Most people, however, fall in-between those two extremes. Souls that were not so "stained with sin" that they must be damned to Hell for all eternity - but which are still "stained with sin" enough to keep them from going directly to Heaven will go to "Purgatory". Why? To be cleansed of the remnants of and attachments to our sins. If you go to Purgatory, you WILL move on to heaven at some point. How long that move takes varies from individual soul to individual soul - and is completely between that person and God. Once a soul is guided from Purgatory to Heaven, the soul becomes - you guessed it - a "Saint", NOT an "angel". This is why so many priests will remind us that we are all "called to become saints".

So what does it mean when the Church has declared someone to be a Saint? It means that the person's soul has been recognized by the Church as definitely being in Heaven... and that, due to the proven intercession of that person's soul (proven by way of the investigation of claimed miracles, among other things), the person is now worthy of veneration by all Catholics as being a "Saint" they can pray to for intercession. This is what just happened to Mother Teresa, who is now known as "Saint Teresa of Calcutta". Being Canonized (declared a Saint) is just a formal recognition. It isn't the Church just suddenly deciding to say that someone is in Heaven and their face can now be sold on Holy Cards, Bobbleheads, T-shirts and such!

But I digress...

Today is the day we celebrate the Archangels and ask for their intercession... as we continue to live our lives in pursuit of Sainthood.

St. Michael the Archangel, pray for us!
St. Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us!
St. Raphael the Archangel, pray for us!
All Saints of God, pray for us!

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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

366 Project - Day 272 - "It Hurts..."

September 28, 2016 - "It Hurts..."

It hurts...

When, not even twenty minutes after returning home from school, your child stands across the room screaming at you... screaming that every single thing that is wrong in his life is YOUR fault.

It hurts...

When you realize that you're screaming back... using words you don't even like using... as your heart races and you feel an intense sorrow coming over you.

It hurts...

When your child stomps away crying... and the tears you've been trying to hold back finally crack and release down your cheek.

It hurts...

When you remember being his age... standing on that side of the room.

It hurts...

When you reach into your pocket and feel the reminders... a gift from that very same screaming child... alongside a reminder of the suffering you must be willing to shoulder in life - and the reasons "why?".

It hurts...

When hours later your son comes out and apologizes... and you apologize as well... and realize how incredibly "unnecessary" the moments that led to that were, on both sides of the room.

It hurts...

... and yet there isn't any amount of hurt that I wouldn't be willing to take upon myself for that very same child... and nothing that could ever be said or done that would not be forgiven.

Then it hurts more... when you realize how far you still have to go... how much more forgiving you've been holding off on giving... and how much forgiveness you still need to ask for.

It hurts.

*   *   *

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

366 Project - Day 271 - "Abstract (Tired)"

September 27, 2016 - "Abstract (Tired)"

Long day.

Tired-feeling day.

Still a good day.

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Monday, September 26, 2016

366 Project - Day 270 - "Birthday Drinks"

September 26, 2016 - "Birthday Drinks"

"Happy Birthday!" to my very bestest friend... my wonderful wife Holly!

I love you more than any words could ever possibly describe!


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Sunday, September 25, 2016

366 Project - Day 269 - "Abstract (Leaf)"

September 25, 2016 - "Abstract (Leaf)"

It's after 9:00PM and I'm sitting here playing with my camera and a leaf.


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Saturday, September 24, 2016

366 Project - Day 268 - "Autumn"

September 24, 2016 - "Autumn"

Whenever people ask me what my favorite season is, the easy answer would be to just say "Autumn" or "Fall" - but it wouldn't exactly be accurate. I find most of the weeks that make up Autumn to be kind of on the depressing side. Once all of the leaves have fallen and everything is just bare and gray and empty and cold. That's the way it tends to be here for the month of November and the weeks of December that lead up to the beginning of Winter. So for me it all comes down to a very specific time... which typically runs from the final week-and-a-half of September through most of October. The air is crisp... not too warm... not too cold... and there's a certain scent that just feels so welcoming. The leaves begin to change... and apples and pumpkins are everywhere. We shift from the iced coffee days of Summer to the warm cider nights of Autumn. This truly is a magical time of the year... especially here in New England. During the years that we lived in the South THIS was pretty much the only thing about the North that I actually missed - "Autumn in New England".

There's just nothing else that could compare to it!


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Friday, September 23, 2016

366 Project - Day 267 - "At The Foot Of The Cross"

September 23, 2016 - "At The Foot Of The Cross"

I spent tonight at my church's Perpetual Adoration Chapel, kneeling in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament... tears welling up in my eyes as I think about today - what would have been my brother's 51st birthday.

And as I kneel in prayer I cannot help but think of the subject of "suffering". I think about how much our family has suffered in the almost eighteen months since my brother's death. I think about Padre Pio - whose feast day is today - and how much he suffered during his life... how tormented he was. I think about our Blessed Mother and how much she suffered, standing at the foot of the Cross. And, of course, I think about Our Lord... about how much He suffered... and how no amount of suffering I could ever experience could even remotely compare to what he so willingly took upon Himself... for me.

The thoughts of "why?" such suffering has to exist quickly get replaced with the first of the Mass Readings for today - taken from Ecclesiastes - Chapter 3...

"There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens. A time to give birth, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant. A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to tear down, and a time to build. A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them; a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces. A time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away. A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to be silent, and a time to speak. A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. What profit have workers from their toil? I have seen the business that God has given to mortals to be busied about. God has made everything appropriate to its time, but has put the timeless into their hearts so they cannot find out, from beginning to end, the work which God has done." - Eccl 3:1-11

I think of all of this and I smile... and make my way out of the Adoration Chapel.

I look up at the sky and all I can think is this: "I love you, Bro!"

*   *   *

(This photo was taken outside the Chapel - and is of the stained glass background behind the altar and tabernacle. The light is coming from within the Chapel - as it was already very dark outside. The image is "backwards" because it's from the outside, looking in.)

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

366 Project - Day 266 - "Abstract (Joseph)"

September 22, 2016 - "Abstract (Joseph)"

I've always felt a strong connection with St. Joseph. I was born at St. Joseph's Hospital... and growing up I always found statues and images of St. Joseph to be fascinating. When I made my Confirmation I took the name "Joseph" in his honor... and prayed for him to guide me as a husband and as a father. When I go to Mass I always prefer to sit on the "St. Joseph side" of the church, unless I have no choice or I am serving as Lector, in which case I have to sit on the opposite side in order to be close to the Ambo/Lectern.

I pray to St. Joseph every day... asking for his intercession and guidance that I might live by his example as a husband and father... as a man... as a follower of Christ and a servant of God.

Today - just an hour or so after having been talking about needing guidance and being a better parent - I came home to find a box containing an absolutely wonderful and perfectly-timed gift: an incredibly beautiful statue of my patron saint, St. Joseph... an early birthday present from my amazing sister-in-law and nieces. I was in tears as I stood there holding the statue.

I immediately placed the statue on my prayer altar... blessed it... and prayed the Litany of St. Joseph and several other prayers to him as well. Then I took this photo - which is just a small portion of the flowing robes - but turned sideways, just because it caught my eye that way.

To my sister-in-law Angel and my nieces Frannie, Jessica and Liliana: THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH! I absolutely LOVE this gift... though not as much as I love and miss all of you!

St. Joseph, pray for us!

*   *   *

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

366 Project - Day 265 - "Milanos"

September 21, 2016 - "Milanos"

There are few things in life that cannot be made better by consuming a package of Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies.

That's my theory, anyway.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

366 Project - Day 264 - "Abstract (Vintage)"

September 20, 2016 - "Abstract (Vintage)"

I found a vintage CrockPot at a tag sale this past weekend. It has never been used. There wasn't a box, but the lid was still wrapped... and it included accessories and the instruction manual and recipe book.

The idea was to re-sell it online... but I don't know. My wife says I need to sell it... but I'm thinking about hiding it somewhere because it's just too damn good of a thing to part with!

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Monday, September 19, 2016

366 Project - Day 263 - "Abstract (Intersections)"

September 19, 2016 - "Abstract (Intersections)"

Life is full of fragile intersections.

Life is full of fragile interactions.

Life is full of "fragile".

Life is full.

Life is fragile.

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Sunday, September 18, 2016

366 Project - Day 262 - "The Shire"

September 18, 2016 - "The Shire"

Wandering the vast aisles of books in "The Shire Book Shop" in Franklin, Massachusetts - and I can't help but feel that I've found Heaven on earth! This is - without a doubt - the most wonderful book shop I have ever had the pleasure of patronizing!


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Saturday, September 17, 2016

366 Project - Day 261 - "Abstract (The Light of the World)"

September 17, 2016 - "Abstract (The Light of the World)"

"Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." - John 8:12

(P.S.: This morning at my church's tag sale I bought this really cool glass paperweight with a Crucifix suspended in the middle of it... and it catches the light of my computer's screen-saver beautifully!)

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Friday, September 16, 2016

366 Project - Day 260 - "Abstract (Dented)"

September 16, 2016 - "Abstract (Dented)"

Today is one of those "minimal" sorts of days. Kind of plain and ordinary... no bright graphics trying to catch your eye... just sort of sitting there, like a dented can without a label... waiting for you to discover whatever might be inside.

Yep. That's today.

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Thursday, September 15, 2016

366 Project - Day 259 - "Our Lady of Sorrows"

September 15, 2016 - "Our Lady of Sorrows"

Today the Catholic Church celebrates the Memorial of "Our Lady of Sorrows"... and as such it is the final day of the Novena of the Seven Sorrows of Mary.

Our Lady of Sorrows, hear our prayers... and renew within our hearts each wound of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Most Sorrowful Mother Mary, pray for us!

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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

366 Project - Day 258 - "Tearful Prayers"

September 14, 2016 - "Tearful Prayers"

Every morning I kneel at my little prayer altar and pray.

I pray the Lauds (Morning Prayers) of the Liturgy of the Hours...

I make a Morning Offering to Jesus...

I re-dedicate myself to the Blessed Virgin Mary...

I pray to St. Joseph, my Patron Saint...

I pray to the Sacred Heart of Jesus...

I pray for the Holy Father and all of the clergy...

Then I pray for the souls of all of the loved ones I have lost.

"For the souls of our dearly departed... Eternal Rest grant unto them, O Lord, and may Your Perpetual Light shine upon the soul of..."

Then I start naming those I've lost. I always name my brother Peter first... followed by my sister-in-law... my six nieces and nephews... my four grandparents... and several other specific loved ones - all by name.

This morning was different though. This morning was very different.

"For the souls of our dearly departed... Eternal Rest grant unto them, O Lord, and may Your Perpetual Light shine upon the soul of my brother Peter... my sis..."

And then it hit me. It hit me very hard. I had just said my brother's name in a prayer for the dead.

I was frozen with that realization. Next month will mark a year and-a-half since his death... and I've prayed this exact prayer with his name in it over five hundred times now - yet today the reality of it hit me like a ton of bricks: My brother is dead. He is not coming back.

Tears started flowing... and I struggled to catch my breath as I continued through that prayer and all of the prayers I say in the morning. The "Pater Noster", "Ave, Maria" and "Gloria Patri"... which I'm usually able to say in less than a minute combined - seemed to take an eternity to get through. By the time I was done I was drenched with tears and both my head and heart were pounding.

Today is not a significant date as far as any sort of memory having to do with my brother. Yes, next week will mark what would have been his 51st birthday - but that has nothing to do with "today". So why is it "today" - almost eighteen months after the fact - that I suddenly get hit with such an incredibly deep realization of what his death means? Why "today"?

I don't know.

Today is the day the Catholic Church celebrates the "Exaltation of The Cross". The Gospel Reading for today's Mass contains one of the most well-known and important verses in Catholicism (John 3:16)...

Jesus said to Nicodemus:

"No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him." - John 3:13-17

Today, meditating on the Triumph of the Cross, I came to the realization that my brother is NOT dead... rather he has gained eternal life. Some day I will see and embrace him again. Until that day comes I must take up my Cross... lift it high... and proclaim the love of Christ.

"We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You... because by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world."

*   *   *

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

366 Project - Day 257 - "Abstract (Venting)"

September 13, 2016 - "Abstract (Venting)"


That's all. I'm done venting now. Thanks for listening! I feel much better!


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Monday, September 12, 2016

366 Project - Day 256 - "Abstract (Frozen Emptiness)"

September 12, 2016 - "Abstract (Frozen Emptiness)"

My wife defrosted the freezer last night. This morning it was ready to be plugged back in and powered back up. Now it's just "frozen emptiness".

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Sunday, September 11, 2016

366 Project - Day 255 - "Remembering That Day"

September 11, 2016 - "Remembering That Day"

Today's photo is of a small portion of side of the glass tower monument on Main Street in Danbury which contains the names of all of the Danbury-area victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

The following is an account of my memory of that day, which I wrote and posted quite a few years back...

*   *   *

September 11, 2001

It was a Tuesday morning... and Holly and I were running a bit late. It was already getting close to 9am... and Caitlynn needed to be at her school in New York in about half an hour. We rushed out of the house... loaded the kids in the car - and began our long highway trip - just hoping that there wouldn't be traffic and we'd somehow make it in time. Caitlynn... then just 3 years old... was playing games with Brandon, who was only 4 months old - in the back seat. Holly and I - with cups of coffee in hand - listened to "Curtis and Kuby" on WABC talk radio, as always... and chatted about nothing in particular.

Moments later the morning show was interrupted with a report that an airplane had just hit the World Trade Center in New York City. No one thought much of it at first... after all, this wasn't the first time a plane had hit a skyscraper in New York City. Then again... no one knew that it was a major airline... they thought, perhaps - it was some sort of a small plane. They apologized for not having more information... and promised to keep us updated on any developments.

Only a brief moment went by before the report came in that it was, indeed - a major passenger airliner... and that survivors were highly unlikely. Curtis and Kuby immediately switched their program focus - and started to report on the news and debate on the subject. Curtis Sliwa started to predict the worst... that this was some sort of a hijacking and terrorist act. Ron Kuby began to argue with him - that there just wasn't any reason to believe that this wasn't just some sort of a freak accident. They began to debate it more and more... with the subject turning toward things like ethnic/racial profiling... political tensions... certain ethnic groups promoting terrorism... etc. They were practically fighting with each other when the report came in that a second plane had just hit the World Trade Center. This was no fluke accident. Kuby fell quiet... and Sliwa stopped debating... they focussed solely on reporting.

Holly and I were in shock. I remember looking around to see if other people in other cars were hearing the same things. This just couldn't be happening!

We arrived at Caitlynn's preschool... where the teachers were gathered around radios playing the reports in the front office. Many of the people who worked there - including one of Caitlynn's teachers - lived in New York City... had just come from there that morning. They couldn't believe what was happening... but had no reason to believe that it wouldn't be "under control" soon. None of us did.

We all felt that it was best not to panic... especially when we still knew so little about what was happening. We said our goodbyes to Caitlynn... told her we'd see her in a few hours... and started to head back home. We were halfway home when the report came over the radio that the Pentagon had been hit. A reporter cut in to say that the President had been alerted that the United States was under attack. There were reports of a possible bomb at the Capitol Building in Washington DC. Reports were coming in of other planes that had not yet been accounted for.

I burst into tears... I just didn't know what to do... what to feel. I remember looking at the other cars. How many of these people knew what was going on? How many were just listening to a CD or something... with no clue as to what was happening "just around the corner"?

We arrived home... ran inside... turned on the TV to CNN. The news was filled with reports of possible bombs... of planes that are "missing"... of chaos... of people jumping to their deaths from the WTC. Then it happened... the first tower fell. You could see the people...

I remember standing in front of the TV watching that as it happened live... and I felt as if someone had just punched me in the stomach. I couldn't breath. It was the single most horrific thing I had ever seen.

Holly was on the phone with her mom at the time... and came in to the room to find me standing there. I looked up at her... and she said to her mom: "I have to go... we have to go get Caitlynn right away".

Walking out the door... it was like walking into another world. I remember hearing sirens. I remember hearing planes. I found out later that the sirens were a combination of Danbury police trying to scatter to maintain order... and Danbury fire departments rushing to NYC. The planes were from all over... people who were forced to land by the FAA... who had to get to the nearest airport - and ours was the one.

Traffic was heavy... after all, we were heading right towards NYC... and there were literally thousands of people trying to get there. I remember seeing police... fire trucks... Army Reserve and National Guard vehicles - some racing toward NYC... others racing in the opposite direction.

We got to Caitlynn's school as quickly as we could. She couldn't understand why we were there! Teachers were in tears. They couldn't go home... the City was closed off. They couldn't get in touch with their families there... the phones were either down - or the switchboards were too busy. Kids were crying - they didn't know what was going on, but knew that something was happening, and they were scared.

We grabbed Caitlynn - and flew out of there as quickly as we could... racing back home. I didn't know what was going to happen... I only knew that I needed to make sure that my wife and children were with me. I needed them to be where I could see them.

We got home... and the phone started ringing. People who knew we had to go in to NY that day - checking to make sure we were safe. People who were part of our spiritual group (Moonlight Circle... which no longer exists), in need of counseling to get through what they were seeing. People who had no way of seeing or hearing the news, who wanted to know if they could come over.

Within a few hours we had a living room full of people... glued to CNN... waiting. There wasn't any talking... there wasn't any sort of debating or anything like that. We silently watched the TV. Footage came in of both towers falling. Footage came in of President Bush being told the news while at an elementary school in Florida. Footage came in of the Pentagon... and of the crash site in Pennsylvania. Footage came in of the planes themselves - hitting the towers.

I remember feeling exhausted... I remember clinging to Caitlynn and Brandon... I remember my eyes hurting from crying...

I remember the next day... the intense feeling of terror when I walked outside and an airplane flew extremely low overhead. It was a military plane.

I remember walking downtown on Sept. 12th... there were hundreds and hundreds of people... having a candlelight vigil on the Green... then walking down to the War Memorial where there were candles surrounding the base of the flag pole. I remember police officers and fire fighters lining the streets... and people hugging them.

I remember having over 30 people... most of them Pagan... but also some members of the Buddhist, Baha'i and Christian faiths - gathering at our house for Memorial Rituals and Circles of Peace. It brought together people who ordinarily would not get along... and people who had not been speaking to each for many moons, yet have not stopped speaking to each other since.

I remember trying to continue... to "live life so the terrorists won't win". I remember hanging up the "Together We Stand" signs in the windows of our home... I remember hanging American Flags up on our car... I remember going to a Blood Drive held at the Danbury Fair Mall, where several members of Moonlight Circle donated blood. I remember going to the Chuang Yen Buddhist Monestary in Carmel, NY... and just praying for peace.

And I remember taking the kids to a playground on the weekend after September 11th. I remember having a moment of panic when I saw a white van pull up... driving very slowly along the edge of the park - the driver scanning the playground. I immediately started searching the playground for Holly and the kids... while keeping a close eye on that van the whole time. Then a little girl went running up to the van... and the door opened... and a man stepped out - and the girl gave him a very excited hug as she yelled "Daddy!!!"... and her mom came over and gave the man a hug and kiss as he held his daughter and they walked back to the playground together. That was the moment that I knew that things would never be the same.

* * *

Saturday, September 10, 2016

366 Project - Day 254 - "Abstract (Library Sky)"

September 10, 2016 - "Abstract (Library Sky)"

Walking out the rear entrance of the Danbury Public Library this afternoon.

It's hot... and the sky is very bright.

I look up at the side of the building and notice the pattern being cast on the wall by the sunlight shining through the little openings of the ledge that borders the roof-line around the building. My eye and my camera are drawn to the shadows.

Focus. Snap. Capture.


*   *   *

Friday, September 9, 2016

366 Project - Day 253 - "Abstract (Taking It Home)"

September 09, 2016 - "Abstract (Taking It Home)"

Sometimes in life your eyes are bigger than your stomach.

Sometimes you have to look at what you thought you could tackle, and ask to take it home for later instead.

This is one of those times.

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Thursday, September 8, 2016

366 Project - Day 252 - "The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary"

September 08, 2016 - "The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary"

Today the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

In other words, it's the Blessed Virgin Mary's birthday today!

"Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death. Amen."

*   *   *

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

366 Project - Day 251 - "Abstract (Getting A Grip)"

September 07, 2016 - "Abstract (Getting A Grip)"

I'm trying to get a grip on things...

... yet it seems as if every time I reach out in the darkness the only handholds I find are wet and slippery.

*   *   *

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

366 Project - Day 250 - "Abstract (At The Bottom)"

September 06, 2016 - "Abstract (At The Bottom)"

Many people find solace at the bottom of a bottle.

For the record - this bottle only holds water.

*   *   *

Monday, September 5, 2016

366 Project - Day 249 - "All Moved In"

September 05, 2016 - "All Moved In"

Well, kiddo... you made it! You're finally here!

I thought that after eighteen years of preparing for this moment, I'd be prepared enough... but I'm not. YOU are, though... and that is all that matters! Then again, I never doubted for one moment that you would be!

Though you've been away from home for week-long vacations in the past, tonight will be the first night you'll truly be "not home". Tonight is the first night of life "out on your own". It will also probably be the night I get the least sleep I've had in eighteen years.

I have no doubt that you are going to do absolutely amazing things in life. You have a talent... a gift, I don't think I've ever seen in anyone else. When you look at any type of art, a lot of people have talent when it comes to the "technique". That's not an uncommon thing... and if someone is really determined to make that happen for themselves they can. When it comes to the "emotional" side of things, however, that is a much rarer gift. Many artists can paint a picture of a vase of sunflowers or a landscape scene. Some even have the talent of the technique at such a high level that they can paint a picture of a vase of sunflowers or landscape scene that is so exact and life-like that you would bet your life it was a photograph, not a painting. That's talent... but it's not a gift. It's not "emotion". Van Gogh couldn't paint a photo-realistic picture of a vase of sunflowers... couldn't paint a "true to life" landscape scene - but he could paint a picture that could move a person to tears when they stand in front of it and allow their eyes to move across every little brush stroke... every color... every shape... every movement... every detail that shows the "emotion" that Van Gogh was actually feeling when he painted that scene.

And that's you, kiddo. Anyone can spend hours and hours learning and memorizing the dance-moves. Not everyone can perform the dance in a way that moves the viewer to tears. You have that gift. I've seen it happen with my own eyes. And it isn't a "courtesy cry", either. It isn't a situation where the people who are watching you dance are being brought to tears because they happen to be your parents or your grandparents or your closest friends or teachers or whatever. I've seen people who had absolutely no clue who you were, brought to tears by the emotion of your dancing.

THAT is true talent. THAT is a gift. THAT is art.

Don't ever lose that!

So - as you enter the wonderful world of waking up in a hectic rush, trying to get dressed, guzzle coffee and grab your stuff at the same time - before running down three flights of stairs and across the campus to make it to class in time - take a moment to lay back in your bed and smile, saying to yourself "I'm here! I made it! I got this!".

Sweet dreams little angel of mine! It's time for you to shine!

I love you, kiddo!

 - Dad

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Sunday, September 4, 2016

366 Project - Day 248 - "The Last Supper"

September 04, 2016 - "The Last Supper"

Cheeseburgers, French Fries, Onion Rings and Root Beer at the Sycamore Drive-In in Bethel, CT...

Followed by ice cream at Dr. Mike's Ice Cream Shop just up the road.

This was our "last supper" before we make the three-hour drive to her college tomorrow morning and move her in to her dorm for the start of her freshman year.


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Saturday, September 3, 2016

366 Project - Day 247 - "Apple Picking"

September 03, 2016 - "Apple Picking"

We spent the day today apple picking at Barton Orchards in New York. Even though this was our first time at this particular orchard, we had to continue the yearly tradition of having the kids pose with the "How Tall This Fall" sign that just about every apple orchard in the area tends to have.

Things have changed a bit from when they were really small and would run up to the sign, all excited about having their picture taken. Brandon eventually got to the "Dad, will you take the freakin' picture already!?!" stage... and Caitlynn had to be all super-star jazz-hands about it.

It's was a terrific day though... with lots and lots and LOTS of apples picked!


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Friday, September 2, 2016

366 Project - Day 246 - "Abstract (Cushioned)"

September 02, 2016 - "Abstract (Cushioned)"

My daughter leaves for college on Monday morning. The packing is nearing an end, and our little family is entering our final weekend together before she heads out.

Due to my business as an online seller I have a ton of packing materials to wrap and package even the most fragile objects to keep them safe. Normally I'm really good at doing just that... packaging things up to keep them safe during the bumpy road that lies ahead. I can send out a package feeling confident that - once it leaves my hands, it is safe and secure.

Unfortunately I don't have enough BubbleWrap to provide enough peace of mind for this particular move though.

That is a tough feeling to experience!

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Thursday, September 1, 2016

366 Project - Day 245 - "Abstract (Waste)"

September 01, 2016 - "Abstract (Waste)"

Not a very good day today.

Well, not necessarily a "bad" day either... it's just that I'm really not feeling well today. I woke up early to see my son off to school, then collapsed on my bed. I was supposed to have a doctors appointment this morning but I had to cancel. Achy stomach... achy body... absolutely exhausted.

But I've had some good conversations with friends online, and that always makes things better! So I guess today has not been a total waste of a day... and life is still good!

(I just "feel" like crap)

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