Anything is Possible!

With Love, Hope, and Perseverance


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One-Liner Wednesday: If You Think It’s Impossible…

Saint Francis impossible quote

 

Has there ever been a time when you thought you couldn’t do something, but you started anyway? You took one step at a time, and discovered that you could do what you thought was impossible.

Today is the “feast day” of Saint Francis, my favorite Saint and the link between my  love for the earth and my love for Jesus. Here’s a link for more quotes from Saint Francis:

Saint Francis Quotes

 

Beatiful picture of St Francis and wolf

Saint Francis and the “vicious” wolf of Gubbio

One liner Weds 2017

One-liner Wednesday is brought to you by Linda G. Hill at:

https://lindaghill.com/2017/10/04/one-liner-wednesday-being-sold-is-exhausting/

 


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Saint Francis and the Awkward Moment

socsbadge2016-17

First, thank you to Joey for filling in for Linda Hill on today’s Stream of Consciousness prompt. I hope Linda is doing well, and I appreciate these prompts every week. Joey’s prompt for today is the word,”awkward.”

So many awkward moments I could write about. But I really want to write about Saint Francis of Assisi because tomorrow is his feast day, when we celebrate his birth and life.

The first thing that comes to mind in the SOC intersection of Saint Francis and “awkward,” is the story about him taking all his clothes off in the middle of town in front of God and everybody. I’ll bet his family was mortified. They were a wealthy and prominent family and must have thought he had lost his mind. But Francis had had enough of the materialistic lifestyle and wanted to do something else. He was called to help the sick and to preach to the animals. He gave up his possessions and founded an order that became the Franciscans.

st-francis-the-wolf-cinque-terra-italy

A statue of Saint Francis and the wolf in Cinque Terra, Itally

 

I hope his parents eventually appreciated his strangeness that was part of being outside the box. It reminds me of that poem about the “crazy ones.”

 

This kinda reminds me of my son, though he has never taken his clothes off in public. Not to my knowledge anyway.

And I’m not going to tell you about my high school graduation night. Nope. No way. But it was in 1974, when streaking was a thing, so you can imagine….. I’ll just say, it was definitely awkward.Damn, that Stream of Consciousness. I better stop now. Pull this boat over and tie it to a dock. I mean, what would Saint Francis think about me mentioning streaking in his post? This is awkward.

Here’s to all the awkward moments. May we learn to laugh about them.

If you’d like to read more Streams of Consciousness about “awkward,” visit:

https://lindaghill.com/2016/09/30/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-oct-116/

Here are the SOC rules:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The’,” or simply a single word to get your started.

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours.  Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top. NOTE: Pingbacks only work from WordPress sites. If you’re self-hosted or are participating from another host such as Blogger, please leave a link to your post in the comments below.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.

8. Have fun!


13 Comments

Expectations of Joaquin


SOC badge with butterfly

I expected this to be  a busier than usual weekend. Right after the Blessing of the Animals on Saint Francis Sunday, I’d be flying to Indiana to see my grand kids. I’ll still be on that plane, and I’m so looking forward to it, because I don’t see my grand kids very often, being on the east coast, but the Blessing of the Animals was cancelled.

Friday, I called Father Macgill to discuss our plans, with Hurricane Joaquin building up energy, and some models coming  to the Carolinas. I shared with him my experience of cancelling events due to impending bad weather, and then having clear skies on the day of the event. He was gracious to let it be my call, so we decided to wait and see what path Joaquin would take.

The decision was made for us, because the county parks department, our venue, decided to close for the weekend. It now appears that Joaquin will be making a turn out toward sea. Sunday afternoon, Saint Francis Feast Day, could be beautiful. Anything is possible of course. At least now I won’t have to rush from the event to the airport. So that’s a good thing. And it’s a good thing if all we get is a lot of rain. Things are already pretty soggy in my neck of the woods.

I do want everyone to be safe. Still, I can’t help but observe that the TV news people get us all hyped up, or try to anyway, by just the tones in the voices of those reporting the forecasts, the predictions of where the storm might go. It could go anywhere! We better get our water, our batteries, our generators, canned goods, and eat all the ice cream in the freezer, pronto! I’ve done that in past hurricanes, but not until I was sure it was coming. I do keep a lot of candles in the house during hurricane season after being without electricity for over a week with Hurricane Fran or Floyd, or maybe it was Bertha, years ago.

My friend commented on Facebook that she and her daughter were having coffee and tea yesterday morning at a local diner and embracing the “pre-storm culture.” It’s good to be prepared for the worst, but to hope for the best. Our  focus needs to be on our hopes more than our fears.

Just remember if you approach what appears to be a deep puddle or flooded road: “Turn around. Don’t drown!”

Everybody stay safe out there!

This week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt from Linda Hill was: “expect/unexpected.”  If you’d like to join in the fun, visit:

http://lindaghill.com/2015/10/02/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-oct-315/

Here are the rules:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The’,” or simply a single word to get your started.

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours.  Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.

8. Have fun!


13 Comments

Dog Years

“Compassion, in which all ethics must take root, can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces all living creatures and does not limit itself to mankind.” – Albert Schweitzer

Beep

Bonehead

Beep will be 15 dog years old in October. That’s approximately 100 in human years. She still  jumps around at meal times and when the leashes come out, though she limps more after a walk on her stiffening legs.  Beep is one of my step dogs.  We met in 2011 during the long distance re-kindling with my old flame. David has known her since she was a tiny puppy, when she was named for her high pitched bark. They’ve been together through thick and thin. So he’s going to take her to the Blessing of the Animals for Saint Francis Feast Day, on the first Sunday in October. It should be interesting since she’s a feisty old lady and possessive when it comes to her pack.

Beep is doing very well for a 15 year old dog her size. Still, it doesn’t seem fair that dogs have such short life spans, and that we’ll be saying goodbye again before long. I looked for a scientific reason why dogs don’t live as long as people and didn’t find a satisfying answer, but I did find the  following story which helps.

I do not know the author, so if you do, feel free to let me know.

A Dog’s Purpose (from a 6-year-old).

“Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker ‘s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ‘I know why.’

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation.

He said, ‘People are born so that they can learn how to live a good Life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?’ The Six-year-old continued, ‘Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”

Live simply.

Love generously.

Care deeply.

Speak kindly.

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.

Take naps.

Stretch before rising.

Run, romp, and play daily.

Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.

On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Be loyal.

Never pretend to be something you’re not.

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.

ENJOY EVERY MOMENT OF EVERY DAY!


9 Comments

Oops!


SOC badge with butterfly

Well, this is embarrassing.

I totally missed Saturday’s Stream of Consciousness post because I went to September 2014 instead of the correct September prompt which was to use the word: “eat”

Does this mean I get to eat crow? I don’t think so, I’m trying to be a  vegetarian, or at least a pescatarian which means I do eat fish occasionally.

I’m eating homemade vegetable soup as I write this. It’s part of nurturing myself, since I came home from church today feeling a little under the weather and slept ALL afternoon. I have a busy 10 days coming up with being in charge of the Blessing of the Animals on Saint Francis Sunday, October 4, and then, that same day, I’ll be flying halfway across the country to see my grandchildren. I guess that could be an excuse for going to the wrong prompt. Or maybe I just wanted to write about my sweetheart, in “First Love.”

Anyway, thank you to Joanne Corey at https://topofjcsmind.wordpress.com/for telling me I got the wrong prompt. Like I had just eaten spinach and had some between my teeth. What are friends for, right?

Guess I have some catching up to do!

If you’d like to jump into the stream, start here: (not last year.)

http://lindaghill.com/2015/09/25/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-sept-2615/

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The’,” or simply a single word to get your started.

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours.  Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.

8. Have fun!


8 Comments

What Would Jesus Eat?

Working on last week’s post about being a true vegetarian for lent, I  came across this book, What Would Jesus Eat?

http://www.amazon.com/What-Would-Jesus-Eat-Ultimate/dp/0785273190

I confess I’ve only read summaries so far. But apparently, Jesus ate mostly bread and fish. He probably ate some grapes, dates, olives and figs. He probably didn’t eat much beef, and didn’t eat pork at all. I don’t think Jesus ate chocolate, but that might need some research.

If Jesus lived today, in the flesh, I think he’d be a vegetarian, mostly. I’m pretty sure Saint Francis would be a vegetarian. They might have accepted donations of meat, but then they might have given those away.

I really enjoyed some grilled tofu and veggies sprinkled with peanuts for lunch yesterday. I’m not missing chicken at all.


8 Comments

Coexist with Love

Hearts in Hand

Both of my kids are in their twenties. I worry about the spiritual paths they now choose. I did my best to be a good mom. I took them to a church where they were loved and nurtured. Should I have been less open-minded, and more strict when they were teenagers?

It helps to remember what a rebellious agnostic I was in my twenties.

I was totally turned off by the Christian TV evangelicals of the 1970’s. I used to have nightmares about them hunting me down and taking me to a compound where I had to play along whilst planning my escape.

So, I’ve tried hard not to be like those scary Christians. I want to be a bridge, not a barrier. I respect the beliefs of others, as long as they don’t hurt anybody.

That respect comes, in part, from a poem I discovered in my searching youth about a group of blind men and an elephant, by John Godfrey Saxe.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoENAD7OCiI


Each blind man experienced the same elephant in a different way. This poem shaped my philosophy about religion. It’s what I offer to people who are steadfast that their way is the only way or prone to unproductive arguments. I find it helpful for those who need acceptance as they search for their truth.

I find God through Jesus. I love Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who loves us all. I also find God in nature, when I marvel at the beauty of a full moon, the vastness of the ocean or the magnificence of a forest. Saint Francis of Assisi helped bridge my love of nature with my love of Jesus.

I want to be a bridge, respecting the rights of others to choose their own paths.

(This is a lot easier with someone who is not my offspring.)

I want people to know that there is such a thing as an open-minded Christian, and I’m not the only one.

When we condemn,  judge, and criticize, we are likely to become barriers.

When we love, accept, and respect, we can each become a bridge.

The song, “They’ll Know we are Christians by our Love” came to me as a teenager when my second  boyfriend took me to and Episcopal youth group where they sang it as their closing. The memory of this song survived my period of rebellious agnosticism, like a seed planted in hardening soil. When I heard it again in my early thirties, at a church where love and acceptance softened my fear of judgment, I knew I was in the right place. A place to grow.

Below is a version of the song dedicated to Saint Kateri Tekawitha, “The Lily of the Mohawks”  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kateri_Tekakwitha

My kids have agreed, without begging or overt bribery, to come to church with me on Christmas Eve. (After all, I did Christmas church for my parents in my twenties.) When they come, they will find love waiting there for them. Who knows what seeds may grow.


12 Comments

Saint Francis Tames a Ferocious Wolf

St Francis and the Wolf of Gubbio

(An imaginary letter  from 13th Century Gubbio, Italy)

My Dear Sister,

As you may remember from my previous letters, there has a been a dangerous wolf terrorizing Gubbio. The large wolf has been seen stealing sheep and goats, and has even taken away small children as well as grown men, or so I have been told. Yesterday, Friar Francis of Assisi, who has been a guest in Gubbio for some time, amazed us all by taming the vicious beast.

The wolf was outside the city walls chasing some sheep, as men gathered with pitchforks, rocks and slings to try to chase the wolf away. Our beloved Francis intervened and asked them to wait. The brave friar walked toward the wolf who snarled viciously and then charged at him with his mouth open. We could see the white of the wolf’s teeth from the city walls.

Then Francis made the sign of the cross, and the wolf stopped suddenly, closed his mouth and crawled on his belly toward the friar to rest at his feet. Francis appeared to speak to  the wolf who became as docile as a lamb and followed Francis back to the city. The friar told the townspeople not to harm the wolf.

“Brother Wolf has acted in evil ways due to his hunger. If you will feed him every day and care for him, he will not harm anyone. I ask you to forgive him and show him God’s mercy,” said Friar Francis.

He asked who would offer a piece of  food to the wolf. I looked down at the loaves of bread I was to deliver to my neighbor, and ignoring all common sense, I broke off a piece and walked toward Francis and the wolf. I do not know what came over me. In spite of the warnings of my friends, I knelt  cautiously before the wolf, and reached out to offer the bread. The wolf took the bread gently from my hand, like an old dog.

The people of Gubbio have promised Friar Francis to feed and care for the wolf, who is becoming a part of our community. We shall see how this unusual truce plays out. What is more unusual: I am considering joining the holy order of this Francis who some are calling a saint. Please do not tell our parents of this yet, as I know they wish for me stay here as the baker’s apprentice, and I am not sure if I will awaken from some dream about a wolf being tamed by a holy man.

My love in Christ,

Your brother, Antonio

______________________________________________________________________

I share my imaginary letter hoping to honor Saint Francis and his upcoming feast day, celebrated October 4th. The following article tells that the wolf lived in Gubbio for two years and offers evidence that there is some truth to the legend.

  “According to tradition, Gubbio gave the wolf an honorable burial and later built the Church of Saint Francis of the Peace at the site. During renovations in 1872, the skeleton of a large wolf, apparently several centuries old, was found under a slab near the church wall and then reburied inside.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolf_of_Gubbio

One of my favorite sources on Saint Francis is this beautiful book by Robert F. Kennedy Jr:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/797841.Saint_Francis_of_Assisi

Is there a Blessing of the Animals in your church or community honoring Saint Francis this weekend? Does anyone know of a Saint Francis Festival? If so, I’d love to learn about it.


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Honoring Saint Francis

st-francis-of-assisi-and-birds from Robert Kennedy's book

Illustration by Dennis Nolan from Saint Francis of Assisi (A Life of Joy) by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

     Today is the Feast Day of Saint Francis who was born in Assisi in 1182. He was a man ahead of his time. Years ago,  I struggled to find a link between my potentially pagan love for nature and animals and something (maybe a combination of motherhood and compassion fatigue from my job helping others) pulling me back to Jesus. Discovering Saint Francis was one of those “Aha!” moments. It was a relief to find this teacher who could bridge my two beloved spiritual paths to the Creator.

        I  was drawn back to church by a newspaper photo of an animal being blessed at the Church of the Good Shepherd. Back then, Good Shepherd may have been the first church in Southeastern North Carolina to bless animals. It started in the late 60s’ on Rogation Sunday, a time to give thanks for crops and livestock. Since that time, it has become a tradition at Good Shepherd and many other churches to bless the animals on the Sunday closest to the Feast Day of Saint Francis.  Blessing the animals to honor Saint Francis is much more meaningful to me, because our animal companions mean so much more than livestock. (Though I hope all the animals we now call “livestock” will someday be treated more kindly.)

     Our animal friends give us loyalty and patient companionship. They love us no matter what, and hopefully, they teach us mercy.  There’s a sweet little song called “God and Dog” in which Wendy Francisco sings about how dogs reflect the unconditional love of God. Saint Francis, the patron saint of animals and the environment, understood this relationship.  He cherished animals and the earth, praised the sun and the moon and cared for the lepers because they are all creations of God.

There is a wonderful book, written by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr about Saint Francis of Assisi. One of the stories in this book is a story about Saint Francis convincing a vicious wolf to stop terrorizing the town of Gubbio. Miraculously, “Brother Wolf” lived the rest of his life “peacefully in Gubbio- fed, cared for and loved by the townspeople, because it reminded them of Francis’ visit.

Let us remember today and always the words  of Saint Francis, ” Make me a channel of your peace.”

statue-of-st-francis-of-assisi-gino-rigucci