Wednesday, August 31, 2016

366 Project - Day 244 - "Abstract (Wood)"


August 31, 2016 - "Abstract (Wood)"

It's kinda chaotic here today. They're clearing out the lot that is three houses over from ours, so there have been construction vehicles going back and forth in front of our house all day... and lots of banging and commotion.

It's also kinda hot and sticky today - which doesn't help.

My mind is pretty chaotic too. Lots going on in there that needs quieting and calming.

And so today's photo is a simple one... the grain of the wooden bowl/tray we recently bought for the center of our kitchen table - to hold our cruets of olive oil and vinegar... salad dressings and the like.

That's it... just some simple wood-grain for today. Now back to my thoughts.

*   *   *

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

366 Project - Day 243 - "Abstract (Broken BluRay)"


August 30, 2016 - "Abstract (Broken BluRay)"

I should have known it about thirteen or fourteen years ago. I had one of the earliest models of iMac computers. Somehow my son managed to get his hands on some loose change and decided that my iMac would make the perfect piggy bank. I knew nothing of this, of course, until the next time I turned on the computer... and at that point it was too late. I ended up having to get a new computer - this time a laptop, so I could easily put it out of reach when not in use.

Since then many electronics have "bit the dust" at his hands... including two of his own computers, one a laptop and the other, very recently, a desktop. Both destroyed by his thinking he was capable of figuring out a way to give them "more power".

Other electronics have met their doom in his hands as well. Countless toys, stereos, iPods, video game items, etc.

Most recently there was "this". This is our BluRay player and home theater system. Over the course of the last year he destroyed the HDMI port as well as the Digital Optical Cable port - both in trying to reconfigure things late at night when the TV and video games were supposed to be "off limits" and we had taken away the remote controls. Now - last week - he managed to short out the system, killing the LCD screen... making the entire unit useless except as a basic speaker for watching TV - but even then, if you happened to turn the unit off, it would take about 20 minutes to get it working again once you turned it back on.

This system is no longer made... and to get one that was equivalent in specs would have cost four-figures that we didn't have - and even going with a new but lesser system would have cost way more than we could afford. Thankfully eBay exists... and I was able to find one person selling the exact model we had - but with just the main unit and the remote, no speakers - and they were willing to accept offers. We put in a low offer, expecting a counter-offer - but the seller accepted our offer within minutes. The unit was missing two minor pieces - which we could easily replace with those same pieces from our unit.

Today the replacement unit arrived... and has been hooked up and is working beautifully. Now I've just got to find a way to keep the boy-child away from it!

*   *   *

Monday, August 29, 2016

366 Project - Day 242 - "Abstract (A Change of Color)"


August 29, 2016 - "Abstract (A Change of Color)"

I really want to repaint just about every room in our house right now.

That's it.

That's all I've got today.

Move along!

*   *   *

Sunday, August 28, 2016

366 Project - Day 241 - "Abstract (Colony Grill)"


August 28, 2016 - "Abstract (Colony Grill)"

How many slices of pizza have I eaten beneath this ceiling over the years?

Maybe 1,000. Maybe 2,000. I don't know. I only know that the very first piece of pizza I ever had came from this very room almost 40 years ago.

The first time I ever sat at a bar and had a beer with my Dad was in this very room.

Since this place opened in 1935 my family has had countless lunches and dinners here. There have been countless pizzas and beers and sodas. There have been countless conversations.

This is, perhaps, my favorite spot to be. At the very least it's my favorite "food-related" spot to be.

Today I'm here again... so my daughter can have one last pizza here before she heads off to college. It won't be her last by any stretch... but it IS a special moment. Just one of countless special moments the Pia family has had at Colony Grill in Stamford, CT.

(lifeisgood!)

*   *   *


Saturday, August 27, 2016

366 Project - Day 240 - "I shall take the heart"


August 27, 2016 - "I shall take the heart"

My favorite passage from my favorite children's book: "The Wonderful Wizard of OZ" by L. Frank Baum


     "All the same," said the Scarecrow, "I shall ask for brains instead of a heart; for a fool would not know what to do with a heart if he had one."
     "I shall take the heart," returned the Tin Woodman; "for brains do not make one happy, and happiness is the best thing in the world."

*   *   *

Friday, August 26, 2016

366 Project - Day 239 - "Abstract (Bagels)"


August 26, 2016 - "Abstract (Bagels)"

Late lunch with my kids at Bagelman in Brookfield, CT.

(lifeisgood!)

*   *   *

Thursday, August 25, 2016

366 Project - Day 238 - "Abstract (Transparently-Exposed)"


August 25, 2016 - "Abstract (Transparently-Exposed)"

It all makes sense.

I mean, it doesn't make sense.

No...

Wait...

Yes, it does.

It all makes perfect sense.

It's all right there... completely transparent and exposed.

Do you see?

It has been there this whole time... just buried deep and all wrapped up in colorful cellophane so you'd see the shiny outside instead.

But cellophane is thin, and easily punctured... and once it gets punctured the wrapping starts to peel away.

Yep.

(I've got a little black book with my poems in!)

*   *   *


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

366 Project - Day 237 - "Abstract (Dawn)"


August 24, 2016 - "Abstract (Dawn)"

Awake early... yawning and stretching as the golden rays of the sun pierce through the blinds and splash their light upon the wall.

Thank you for this day, Lord!

I need coffee!

(lifeisgood!)

*   *   *

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

366 Project - Day 236 - "Abstract (How can I pray for you today?)"


August 23, 2016 - "Abstract (How can I pray for you today?)"

As most people who know me are already well-aware, I spend a good portion of each day in prayer. I have five distinct "prayer moments" every day... with others added as needed.

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

A short while later (when I'm a bit more awake) I spend time praying my personal prayers to begin the day - including prayers of thanksgiving and special prayers to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and to my patron saint, St. Joseph. I also pray for others - including special prayers and petitions for family and friends - as well as prayers for our dearly departed and all souls in Purgatory.

In the afternoon I have a longer prayer session... which includes the Rosary, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, a Litany (or two... or three) and more personal prayers and meditation.

In the late afternoon/early-evening I pray the Vespers (the "Evening Prayers" of the Liturgy of the Hours).

Finally, once I'm in bed for the night, I do my daily Examen... then pray the Compline (the "Night Prayers" of the Liturgy of the Hours) - as well as more personal prayers, petitions and thanksgivings before finally shutting off the light and drifting off into sleep.

It's a lot of praying... and I know people who spend two or three times as much time in prayer than I do!

So my simple question is: "How can I pray for YOU today?"

*   *   *

Monday, August 22, 2016

366 Project - Day 235 - "Abstract (Waiting)"


August 22, 2016 - "Abstract (Waiting)"

I've spent the entire day waiting for a phone call from a doctor... avoiding leaving the house so I wouldn't miss the call.

It's almost 7:30 now... still no call.

So now I'm finishing up making dinner... and I suppose that tomorrow will be spent waiting for a phone call from a doctor.

*   *   *

Sunday, August 21, 2016

366 Project - Day 234 - "Abstract (Stuck)"


August 21, 2016 - "Abstract (Stuck)"

Sometimes I feel so stuck, I wish that a cyclone would come and carry me off to Oz.

The thought passes quickly, however, as the realization that while cyclones are very real, Oz most certainly is not. Besides, cyclones don't carry you off to wonderful new lands... they just destroy everything that comes across their path.

Yet sometimes I can't help but feel that a cyclone is just about the only thing that would be capable of getting all of "this" un-stuck.

I'm tired of patching up holes and having to repair so much so often.

I'm tired of the overgrowth that surrounds the foundation.

I'm tired of the...

Well...

I'm just "tired".

I would give just about anything to be able to move away and start things fresh and new... but the man behind the curtain doesn't have anything in his bag that could possibly help with that.

So for now I'll just shut my eyes and pretend...

*   *   *

Saturday, August 20, 2016

366 Project - Day 233 - "Abstract (Yellow Brick Dreams)"


August 20, 2016 - "Abstract (Yellow Brick Dreams)"

Soon after I moved to Danbury in the summer of '93, I came across this old brick building and instantly fell in love with it. The entire building was painted yellow at the time - though the paint was well-worn and weather beaten. The doors and windows were all boarded up, and those boards were painted yellow as well. I eventually learned that the building had been sitting empty for decades... kind of wasting away.

I wanted it.

I swore that if I were to win the lottery I would buy this building and save it. I'd make the second floor a living space and the first floor a combination gallery and studio space, which wouldn't be just for me - but for any local artists who needed a place to work and to display their art.

Years passed... in the late-90s workers began stripping the yellow paint off of the building and gutting the interior. For a brief period it was just an empty shell with open windows and doorways leading to huge empty spaces. That didn't last very long. Eventually the lower level was turned into a storefront and the upper level into offices.

Nothing has been able to succeed in the space though. For a year or two it was an "internet cafe". That was at a time when most people didn't have access to high-speed internet - so the cafe offered plenty of computers with what, to us at the time, was lightning-fast internet access. It didn't last long. Soon pretty much everyone had DSL internet in their homes. The cafe closed and the storefront sat empty for a long time.

Restaurants have attempted to fill the space. Some were actually quite good - but none were good enough to stay in business.

At one point it was a campaign headquarters for one of the local politicians... but that didn't last long.

Every time I'd see the building though, I'd wish it was back to the way it was... painted yellow and all boarded up, waiting for me to come into some money so I could purchase it and make wonderful things happen.

Today we happened to be walking past it and I noticed a very small area of the edge of the building that still had a hint of the yellow paint to it. I've walked alongside this building countless times over the last decade and-a-half, yet somehow I've never noticed that this patch remained. It made me smile to see it... and brought back memories and a brief moment of "What if _____?" thoughts.

Then I realized something: It's never "too late" to dream.

I think I'll buy a lottery ticket.

*   *   *

Friday, August 19, 2016

366 Project - Day 232 - "Self Portrait (Examen)"


August 19, 2016 - "Self Portrait (Examen)"

Looking in the mirror can be hard. Sometimes it can even be "dangerous".

I don't mean checking your hair or making sure that you don't have something stuck in your teeth... I mean REALLY looking at yourself... looking deep and facing who and what you see.

As part of my prayer-life I do a daily "Examen" at the end of each day. The Examen comes from Ignatian Spirituality which is, in essence, a Catholic way of life and prayer based on the teachings of St. Ignatius Loyola, meant to bring about a deeper relationship with God. It is a very powerful tool which can lead to positive growth and change... if you're willing to face what you find, that is.

Too often, however, we're not willing to face what we find. Why? Because when we REALLY look at ourselves, we don't always like admitting to what we see staring back at us.

It is sort of like being Atreyu at the Magic Mirror Gate of the Southern Oracle in "The Neverending Story". As Engywook - an expert on the Southern Oracle - says, the Magic Mirror Gate is the worst. It's where Atreyu will have to face his true self. He goes on to explain "Kind people find that they are cruel. Brave men discover that they are really cowards. Confronted with their true selves, most men run away screaming!".

The thing is, once you find yourself standing at the Magic Mirror Gate you must either be willing to face your "true self" in an effort to go forward... or refuse to do so... close the book... and never go anywhere in life.

But then you'll never know the rest of the story, will you?

*   *   *




Thursday, August 18, 2016

366 Project - Day 231 - "Abstract (Support)"


August 18, 2016 - "Abstract (Support)"

Whether you're facing a climb, or find yourself in the middle of a descent, it's nice to be reminded that you're not alone... that you have a strong framework of supporters there to help you along the way.

This is something I'm reminded of - and give thanks for - every single day! Whether it's my family, my friends, my priest, my parish family, my many doctors of various fields/backgrounds - or a combination of any of the above - it's nice to know that there are people who care and who are willing to help out in any way they can, be it "big" or "small".

Having support is truly a blessing... and one for which I am eternally grateful!

*   *   *




Wednesday, August 17, 2016

366 Project - Day 230 - "Abstract (Catching Spills)"


August 17, 2016 - "Abstract (Catching Spills)"

A very large part of life as a parent is spent learning to catch spills before they reach the edge and pour over onto the floor.

At first this is a very easy thing to do. The spills tend to be things like "juice" or "Cheerios". During those years you become so used to it that you pretty much have a towel with you at all times.

As the time passes the spills you need to catch become a bit tougher. They start resulting in things like scraped knees and elbows... and lumps on foreheads.

Years go by and the spills become larger and deeper and harder to keep under control. Emotional spills... bullying... friendships that go sour... relationships that end.

Eventually you realize that eighteen years have passed, and "catching the spills" isn't really your job anymore. Yet you find yourself still standing there, holding a towel... "just in case".

Then you recognize that the towel is now meant to catch your own spills... the spills that come with the end of one phase of life and the beginning of another. So you bring the towel up to your cheek and do what you do best - you catch the spills.

*   *   *

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

366 Project - Day 229 - "Abstract (Extra-Virgin)"


August 16, 2016 - "Abstract (Extra-Virgin)"

I'm cleaning the kitchen... trying to figure out what I want to make for dinner tonight.

That's it.

No more to see here.

Move along!

*   *   *

Monday, August 15, 2016

366 Project - Day 228 - "Feast of the Assumption"


August 15, 2016 - "Feast of the Assumption"

Today the Catholic Church celebrates the "Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary". This celebrates the Blessed Virgin being taken body and soul into Heaven, where she would ultimately be crowned Queen of Heaven and Earth.

"Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; Blessed art though among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen."

*   *   *

Sunday, August 14, 2016

366 Project - Day 227 - "Self Portrait (Out-of-Focus)"


August 14, 2016 - "Self Portrait (Out-of-Focus)"

I'm very much out-of-focus today. I'm not sure why... I just am.

That's it. That's all I've got.

*   *   *

Saturday, August 13, 2016

366 Project - Day 226 - "Abstract (671,000,000mph)"


August 13, 2016 - "Abstract (671,000,000mph)"

Sometimes the light is so bright that it becomes darkness.

*   *   *

Friday, August 12, 2016

366 Project - Day 225 - "Love > Hate"


August 12, 2016 - "Love > Hate"

Leather Belts & Straps - Wooden Spoons & Cutting Boards - Heavy Frying Pans & Cast-Iron Skillets - Half-full 2-Liter Bottles of Soda - Heavy-Duty Screwdrivers - Thick/Heavy Books - Hands & Fists - Degrading Words & Names...

No matter what you personally choose to call it, "abuse" is always "abuse".

Under no circumstance does "Abuse" ever lead to "Respect".

And, most important of all: "Love" > "Hate".

*   *   *

Thursday, August 11, 2016

366 Project - Day 224 - "Abstract (Captured Air)"


August 11, 2016 - "Abstract (Captured Air)"

Breathe in for three...

Breathe out for six.

Inhale the good...

Exhale the bad.


Recently I had to do a Biofeedback Session. I was hooked up to a computer and for the first two minute segment, I did nothing. I just sat there... breathing normally... not really moving at all... not really thinking about anything in particular. This was to get a "baseline reading".

Next I had to focus my thoughts on something that annoys or frustrates me. This was to get a reading of how stress affects my baseline. As I sat there thinking about my "something", I could actually sense my breathing changing... becoming shallower and I was able to hear each breath. I could also feel my heartbeat through my chest.

Finally, for the third and final segment, I had to relax and focus on breathing. Breathe in for three counts... breathe out for six, making sure that I was breathing with my belly, not with my chest. (I actually had my hand on my belly so I could feel that it would expand as I'd inhale... and collapse as I exhaled.)

After all of this we went over the results of each segment.

Baseline showed very high stress overall. I think the score was around 75 out of a max of 100. That was just resting... and the fact that I'm on medications for high blood pressure indicates that my score might actually be higher than what was recorded (as blood pressure meds calm the heart and can result in lower scores than what is actually happening).

For the second segment, while I was thinking about my "something", everything shot off the charts. Stress was at the max... and my body showed no signs of doing anything to attempt to calm itself. Apparently it was so "off the charts" that the session was actually cut short - so I didn't have to stay in that state for a full two minutes. After that segment I felt tense and mentally drained.

After the mere two minute session of focused breathing, however, the overall stress level dropped below 50... and all recorded levels were stable compared to the first two segments. I actually felt really good after that final segment!

Looking at all of the charts and scores and wave patterns and such - I just sat there amazed. It's hard to argue with a computer screen that is showing you how tense and on-edge you are... and impossible to argue with the visible results of how something so simple as "breathing" can change everything.

It sort of got me thinking about just how important and precious every breath we take truly is... and how much we take each breath for granted. "Breathing" is an amazing and wonderful thing, when you really think about it. The fact that something invisible can play such a vital and powerful role in your life, well... it's pretty hard to grasp, isn't it? Yet we never doubt or question the air that surrounds us. We breathe and breathe without recognizing the air - until such a time comes when, for some reason or another, we cannot breathe... and suddenly we panic, not knowing what to do.

That's an interesting concept overall: Something we cannot see plays a vital and powerful role in our lives... and we often choose to not acknowledge that something until we find ourselves desperate and in need, at which point we can't help but wish we had the life-giving help of what we cannot see, even though it surrounds us.

Sometimes it takes "not being able to breathe" for us to wake up and appreciate the air around us.

Sometimes it takes a tragedy for us to recognize the things we cannot see.

Don't let it take a tragedy for you to recognize the unseen. Take a breath... and offer a prayer of thanksgiving for that breath and all of the others you have been and ever will be blessed with.

*   *   *



Wednesday, August 10, 2016

366 Project - Day 223 - "San Lorenzo"


August 10, 2016 - "San Lorenzo"

Today is the Feast Day of one of my favorite Saints and Martyrs - St. Lawrence of Rome... or, as us Italians know him "San Lorenzo".

This photo is of the countertop next to my stove... with my little shrine to San Lorenzo, the patron of cooks and chefs.

The following short bio of St. Lawrence has been taken from the August 10th "Saint of the Day" entry from MorningOffering.com:

"St. Lawrence (d. 258) was likely a Spaniard who lived in Rome when Christianity was outlawed under pain of death. He was appointed by Pope St. Sixtus II as archdeacon over the seven deacons of Rome with the duty of tending to the Church's wealth and distributing alms to the poor. After Pope St. Sixtus II was beheaded by the Emperor Valerian along with the six other deacons, Lawrence was left as the highest-ranking clergy in Rome. He was ordered by the Roman authorities to appear before the tribunal in four days - a summons to his execution - along with the treasures of the Church that were in his possession. St. Lawrence then quickly distributed the Church's wealth to the poor so that the Roman authorities could not confiscate it. On the appointed day, August 10th, Lawrence responded to the order by bringing with him a multitude of the poor and crippled of Rome, whom he proclaimed were the true treasures of the Church. This angered the authorities so greatly that Lawrence was ordered to be burned alive on a gridiron. He was bound to the metal grate and slowly roasted to death over hot coals. During his torture he famously mocked his torturers by saying, "I am done on this side, turn me over." St. Lawrence is the patron saint of many causes including cooks, chefs, comedians, deacons, librarians, students, and the poor. His feast day is August 10th."

One of the concluding prayers from today's Morning Prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours:

"Father, you called Saint Lawrence to serve you by love and crowned his life with glorious martyrdom. Help us to be like him in loving you and doing your work. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen."

San Lorenzo di Roma, pregate per noi.

*   *   *




Tuesday, August 9, 2016

366 Project - Day 222 - "Abstract (Distorted)"


August 09, 2016 - "Abstract (Distorted)"

I wake up in the morning and I blindly feel for my eyeglasses. They serve as a means for me to see things clearly as I stumble my way into the bathroom and put in my contact lenses. The contact lenses then serve as a tool for my eyes to focus more clearly on the scenes before me as I go about my day and my journey through life.

Sometimes I feel as if the contact lenses are not enough, though. Sometimes I feel as if the scenes before me are still somewhat distorted.

It isn't that my prescription is off - as I've recently been to the eye doctor and had everything adjusted to the current needs of my eyes.

It isn't my eyes.

It isn't the contact lenses.

What is it, then?

What is it that I'm seeing?

I see things I should not be able to see.

I know things I should not be able to know.

Is what I'm seeing "real"?

Is it just in my mind?

Does it even matter?

Does it?

I do not know.

I do not know.

*   *   *




Monday, August 8, 2016

366 Project - Day 221 - "Abstract (Murano)"


August 08, 2016 - "Abstract (Murano)"

I'm exhausted today! I know I slept through the night, yet I just can't seem to keep my eyes open today. Needless to say it hasn't been a very productive day today... but I woke up this morning to some beautiful sunshine, and my air conditioner is keeping me nice and cool today - so life is good!

I don't have much "oomph" today though... so photography-wise this is all I'm up for today. This is a shot of a small Venetian Murano Glass cross ornament/sun-catcher. It caught my eye at our local Son's of Italy Italian Festival this past weekend, and I had to snatch it up. It has so many colors to it that you can see when you move it around... and it absolutely sparkles in the sunlight. This photo doesn't really do it justice, but that's OK.

Now I think I'm going to take a nap!

(lifeisgood!)

*   *   *

Sunday, August 7, 2016

366 Project - Day 220 - "Abstract (Summer Shadows)"


August 07, 2016 - "Abstract (Summer Shadows)"

It has been a rather calm and quiet day.

I like quiet days.

(lifeisgood!)

*   *   *

Saturday, August 6, 2016

366 Project - Day 219 - "First Saturdays (Immaculate Heart of Mary)"


August 06, 2016 - "First Saturdays (Immaculate Heart of Mary)"

Today is the "First Saturday" for the month of August. In the Catholic Church the first Saturday of each month is part of a devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Catholics who participate in this devotion will go to Confession, attend Mass and receive Communion on the first Saturday of the month for five consecutive months - specifically in reparation for the insults and blasphemies that have occurred against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Each of the five months corresponds to a specific blasphemy:

1) Blasphemies against her Immaculate Conception.
2) Blasphemies against her Perpetual Virginity.
3) Blasphemies against her place as the Mother of God and Holy Mother of us all.
4) The sins of those who try publicly to implant in children's hearts indifference, contempt and even hatred against our Immaculate Mother.
5) In reparation for those who insult Our Lady directly or against her holy images.

In addition to going to Confession, attending Mass and receiving Communion, Catholics participating in this devotion must also pray the Rosary and, separately, spend at least 15 minutes meditating on the Mysteries of the Rosary.

How did this devotion begin? In 1925 the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Sister Lucia in Pontevedra, Spain. Sister Lucia had been one of the three children (the others being her cousins Jacinta and Francisco) who were visited by the Blessed Virgin in Fatima, Portugal.

When the Blessed Virgin Mary visited Sister Lucia in 1925 she requested this devotion in reparation to her Immaculate Heart. Our Lady promised to assist at the hour of death with the graces necessary for salvation, all those who practice this devotion faithfully on five successive First Saturdays.

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I have a special devotion to both the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Being as today is the First Saturday of the month, my morning has been spent at the church and in prayer.

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

*   *   *

Friday, August 5, 2016

366 Project - Day 218 - "First Fridays (Sacred Heart of Jesus)"


August 05, 2016 - "First Fridays (Sacred Heart of Jesus)"

Today is the "First Friday" for the month of August. In the Catholic Church the first Friday of each month is part of a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Catholics who participate in this devotion will attend Mass and receive Communion on the first Friday of the month for nine consecutive months - specifically for the intentions of honoring the Sacred Heart of Jesus. If you're not in a state of grace you must go to Confession first, in order to be able to receive Communion for the First Fridays Devotion.

Why do we do this? In 1673 Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque and instructed her with the following words:

"In the excess of the mercy of my heart, I promise you that my all powerful love will grant to all those who will receive communion on the First Fridays, for nine consecutive months, the grace of final repentance: they will not die in my displeasure, nor without receiving the sacraments; and my heart will be their secure refuge in that last hour."

What does this mean? Basically, if you faithfully follow the First Fridays Devotion - Jesus promises you extra graces at the time of your death. He promises that you will have the chance to repent of your sins, receive Last Rites, and die in a state of grace.

I have a special devotion to both the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. So - being that this is the First Friday of the month, I will be at Mass this morning... and again tomorrow morning for the "First Saturdays Devotion"...

... but we'll save that for tomorrow.

*   *   *

Thursday, August 4, 2016

366 Project - Day 217 - "Abstract (Looking Up - Going Down)"


August 04, 2016 - "Abstract (Looking Up - Going Down)"

Sometimes when you think you're going down, you look up and realize you're actually moving up but looking down.

I know that doesn't make much sense. Or does it?

You see, sometimes we think our life is heading downhill. We look up towards where we personally feel that we "should" be in life, wondering why we seem to be going in the opposite direction of that goal. We wonder why everything seems to be going wrong and nothing ever seems to go right.

Then life kicks us in the butt... and we realize that we're actually right where we need to be.

We realize that we're actually "moving up"... moving closer to our ultimate goal. The problem is that we're always choosing to look down, allowing ourselves to focus on all of the obstacles and negative moments we face in life. We think about those moments and just see them as being "bad", and as things that are taking us away from where we want to be.

The thing is, these obstacles are actually "blessings" that are bringing us closer to the greatest reward we could ever imagine.

So we may think we're going "down" as we look "up"... when the reality is that all of the stuff we think of as bringing us "down" is actually bringing us closer to being "up". It's just a matter of perspective and what we each choose to focus on in life.

(These are the thoughts I have when I'm standing in a metal stairwell, going "down" from the third floor to the first - but looking "up" at the underside of the stairs above me.)

*   *   *

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

366 Project - Day 216 - "Abstract (Behind the Curtain)"


August 03, 2016 - "Abstract (Behind the Curtain)"

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!

(He's actually a very good man... He's just a very bad wizard.)

*   *   *

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

366 Project - Day 215 - "Abstract (The Curve)"


August 02, 2016 - "Abstract (The Curve)"

I've often heard the saying "The shortest route between two points is a straight line".

Of course, according to  Euclidean geometry, this assumes that "Point A" and "Point B" are both on a flat surface.

Life doesn't occur on a flat surface, however... and as Navigational Rhumb Lines have told us for centuries, sometimes the shortest distance between "Point A" and "Point B" is actually quite curved.

What is my point in all of this?

Sometimes we think we have it all figured out. We think we know the quickest and shortest way to get to our ultimate destination. We look at where we are and where we want to be, and assume that the best way to get there is by simply moving in a straight line toward what we want.

Then "life" happens.

Obstacles come our way that seem to push us off course, and we cannot understand why. We get upset, because we think we're doing everything the right way - yet all of these obstacles keep forcing us to travel in directions we don't want to have to travel. We pray and pray that the obstacles will stop and we'll just be able to travel the straight and narrow road we think is the right one. Our prayers seemingly go unanswered, so we get upset at God... thinking He is not listening... thinking He does not care... thinking He is throwing us off course and making things much more difficult for us, rather than helping us.

We forget that God knows much more about us than we do. God knows the way we need to take to get where we're meant to go... and, as much as we struggle against it and grow angry and complain at what we're "forced" to deal with - God has us exactly where we are supposed to be. He knows that life does not happen in straight lines... and He can see the curve we need to take to arrive where we're meant to go.

Sometimes we just have to trust that He knows far more than we do... and have to learn to accept his timing in things.

We may want the straightest, shortest, easiest route through life... nice and smooth and flat...

... but life just doesn't happen on a flat surface.

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Monday, August 1, 2016

366 Project - Day 214 - "Our Lady"


August 01, 2016 - "Our Lady"

August is the month the Catholic Church dedicates to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Today's photo is of the large statue of Our Lady of Fatima which I have on my prayer altar/shrine in my bedroom. Every day I kneel before this statue and consecrate myself to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as part of my hour or so of daily prayers.

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

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