Archive | October, 2013

Wednesday| More Words of Wisdom from Chaplain Jim

31 Oct

Good actions give strength to ourselves and inspire good actions in others.
Plato
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My friend and pen pal Chaplain Jim, deployed and far from home, had some interesting thoughts to share about Halloween. Who would have thought that inspirational people and role models had anything to do with Halloween? I certainly hope that I have lived a good and inspirational life for my children, friends and family. I’ve learned from the best…my mother, Trini. I guess it does work.
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From Chaplain James Lewis:

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HALLOWS-e’en

While it may still be a mystery what J.K.Rowling might mean with “Hallows,” outside of her writing the meaning of the word that many might wonder about this time of year is pretty easy to find. “Hallow-een” is a derivative of the old word “hallows,” meaning “saints,” and a contraction of “evening”– sometimes written “e’en.” “Halloween” is a conglomeration of a range of religious festivals, to include pagan “harvest festivals,” and “Samhain,” a Celtic tradition in which the veil between this world and the world of the dead is thought to be most thin and permeable. That range also includes a Christian version in which it is the evening before the celebration of all the saints/ HALLOWS day, hence “All HALLOWS- e’en,” shortened to “HALLOWEEN.”

So if you’ve ever thought it better for your church to “celebrate” this time of year with a seemingly innocuous “Harvest Festival” rather than “Halloween”– think carefully on that! A “harvest festival” is clearly a pagan festival, while “Halloween” is a solidly CHRISTIAN word! And if we believe what the scriptures clearly teach, that Christ has VICTORY over death, then a reminder that death is no real enemy, as the “spooky” celebrations of Halloween imply, seems to make more sense that to be afraid of death!

Another way to “redeem” Halloween, if you were to think it needed redemption, is to celebrate with your kids those saints or “hallows” who have inspired you across your life. In some traditions, saints, or HALLOWS, are a collection of specific super-heroes of the faith– something like “The Justice League,” or “The Avengers” in a spiritual sense. In other traditions, all who are faithful unto the end are celebrated as “all HALLOWS.”

So who are the saints or “HALLOWS” who have inspired you over the years, whom you try to emulate, to say “I want to be like _________ when I grow up”? If any of those HALLOWS in your life are still living, I’d encourage you to send them a note to let them know what they’ve meant to you, and to share your appreciation while you can. It can both mean a lot to those who have inspired you, and can remind you of your own inspiring HALLOWS, and what you strive for in your life.

Remember too, that you are (or should be?) one of those Hallows/inspiring saints for YOUR kids, and for the other kids and people in your life– are you living to be an inspiration to them? Whether you think about it or not, your kids and others ARE looking to you, and you ARE “inspiring” others whether you are trying to or not. You may be inspiring them in saintly, hallowing ways– or you may be “inspiring” toward less holy pursuits, values, decisions and living.
Reflect for a moment on what you ARE inspiring your kids and others in your life toward– Are you sure that’s the inspiration you WANT to be, or that Jesus wants you to be?

Rev. Jim

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Timely Tuesday

30 Oct

Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul – and sings the tunes without the words – and never stops at all.
Emily Dickinson
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Wow! Isn’t that a beautiful sentiment? Since I’ve been finding my lucky pennies and lucky feathers, I have been comforted by their sign of hope, promise and peace. It’s like my Guardian Angel is leaving me little tangible signs exactly when I need them.

The last few months have been been more than challenging. Yesterday, my friend Zelda invited me to join her for dinner at Olive Garden. Don’t snicker! I love Olive Garden. When we sat down, there on the table lay a lone penny. Then today, after a stressful day, I ran over to Walmart to pick up a few things. On my way back to my car, a lovely feather cheered me up. I looked up to heaven and said, “Thank you.” I know it was placed there just for me.

My feathers and pennies bring me hope and sing tunes without words.

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Montage Monday: Sing Out Loud-Cry Out Loud-Just Be Loud

29 Oct

If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don’t write, because our culture has no use for it.
Anais Nin
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A week in a peek. Singing, sadness and sentimentality. It’s all good!

Sentimental Sunday

28 Oct

Our dreams must be stronger than our memories. We must be pulled by our dreams, rather than pushed by our memories.
Jesse Jackson
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Memories can be beautiful or devastating, it depends on the moment. While going through closets, bins, and boxes, getting ready to sell our house, I ran across hundreds of items that plunged me into fond memories of years gone by. There were toys, favorite books, and baby clothes. Tears slipped down my face as I unfolded the yellowed christening gown that my sons wore at their baptism three decades ago. It was the same gown that their father wore at his baptism nearly sixty years before. Now, just a bitter-sweet reminder of what was and what could have been. I will save the gown and cherish it, and hopefully one day, it will be worn by another sweet crying baby. I’ll cry again, but that’s OK. “We must be pulled by our dreams, rather than pushed by our memories.”

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Sometimes sentimentality is sad.

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Another Saturday on the Square

27 Oct

A friend is one of the nicest things you can have, and one of the best things you can be. ~Douglas Pagels
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Saturdays are blessed with family, friends and fun on the Square. Today, I began with my morning phone call to Mom, which always inspires a joyful day. Then, writing group at Sweet Spot Bakery with my amazing friends, Julia and Mandy. We actually got some serious critiquing done, not to mention laughing, gossip and a handful of off-color jokes. (Yes, the ladies can be a little naughty sometimes.) Lunch at Cadillac Pizza was followed by a leisurely stroll around the Square, bumping into old friends.

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Sweet Spot Bakery is all decked out for Halloween.

Tommy, the wandering troubadour, was hanging around playing his guitar, when a trio of teenagers stopped to chat with him. Tommy offered the young man a chance to play his guitar while the girls sang a soft ballad. People strolling around can always find something interesting to do and see, fun places to shop, and great places to eat.

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Musicians, artists, writers, shoppers and diners buzz around downtown McKinney on the weekends.

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Tommy played some old standards while folks dropped dollars in his guitar case.

Another lovely Saturday afternoon on the Square. Severe storms and hail swept in this evening, but I made it home safe and sound before any bad weather. Life is good!

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Friday: Famous friends

26 Oct

The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.
Anahi’s Nin
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Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending a book signing for my friend Stephanie Henry. Her heartbreaking story spans decades of abuse, suffering! and healing, that eventually turns full circle enabling her to assist other voiceless victims around the world. It’s true, everyone has a story and Stephanie felt compelled to share her story in an attempt to bring hope of survival to the hopeless.

The book signing at Landon’s Winery in downtown McKinney was jam-packed with neighbors, friends, family and well-wishers. I waited in line for nearly half an hour in order to get my book signed and a few minutes to talk to and congratulate my former neighbor and current friend.

Being a writer and artist, I am always thrilled to see someone I know receive such accolades. It gives us all hope that someday our stories will be told and shared with the world. If you enjoy reading personal stories of hope and inspiration, pick up “If Only I Could Sleep,” by Stephanie Henry of McKinney, Texas.

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Theme Song Thursday: Sing Out Loud

25 Oct

For me, singing sad songs often has a way of healing a situation. It gets the hurt out in the open into the light, out of the darkness.
Reba McEntire
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I like to sing when I am sad. I like to sing when I am glad. I like to sing when in the car. I like to sing when in a bar. (Well, I don’t go to bars, but I needed a rhyme.) Now you’re thinking Dr. Seuss and Sam I Am, aren’t you? If you aren’t comfortable belting out a song in the shower or in your car or anywhere…you’re missing out on some serious fun. I’ll burst out in my best off key rendition just about anywhere.

I told you..off key, loud and strong.