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Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday Morning Beauty

Woke up this morning. I had a billion things on my mind... health, state of the nation,  crises here and there through out the world, loving and being loved.  Then I looked out the window.

And for a wonderful few moments, I stopped thinking and I started living.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Warm Socks, Warm Hearts - Local Drive Fosters Both

 Above: It will be fun to play Santa for others this winter. Even if budgets are tight, there's a project in the community for all of us.

Every year we're reminded during the winter holiday season about opportunities to remember less fortunate members of the community as we shop for little remembrances for friends, family and colleagues.

When my son was younger, we used to enjoy shopping for the Giving Tree project at the old Sea-Tac Mall in Federal Way. He graduated from high school some years ago and I recently realized it has been a considerable time since we have directly placed a purchased gift for a needy person.

These Merino Wool socks pictured above will go into a box of donations being collected at the Fife office of the Pierce County Community Newspaper Group, 2588 Pacific Highway, (253) 922-5317, who are participating in a drive to bring homeless men, women and children warm pairs of socks for our neighbors who don't have the luxury of coming home every night to regular roof over their heads.

Last week I read about the drive when I stopped to read a delightful pull-out section devoted to gift giving ideas in the current issue of the Tacoma Weekly over a cup of coffee. When I say "delightful", I truly mean just that, as a veteran reader of such sections for more years than I want to admit!

The very first piece in the section on what you might not want to give say, from your mother's point of view will bring a broad smile and wink - to anyone who has secretly has had just a little too much of their own, their siblings, friends or even a total strangers darling children. Top quality research from an enterprising local journalist! Oops Santa! Can you forgive me - just this once?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving Meal

Folks in my house, all priests, will be in and out this weekend. They will be visiting family and friends, or leading prayers experiences in their parishes or other prayer centers. We came together this evening for prayer, fod, and conversation. conversation.
     We gathererd around the chapel altar

first to join each other in thanking God for loving us and asking God to bless the people we know, love, and serve. I was so happy that a member of the community at the time during the Eucharistic Service (Mass) asked the Lord to quickly bring peace to the Middle East.
       After that we went to our dining room and took time to hear about our joys, aches and pains, and future plans. Those conversations continued around wonderful food.
The evening went by quickly,  lots of laughter, good food, great company.
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone


Saturday, November 17, 2012

A Very Good Day

  Saturday, November 17-- one of those days I was glad to say I am going to get some much needed R and R. Wet and windy outside.

Dry and cozy inside.
 I am no Superperson, that is for sure, going like so many folks have to do, five to seven days a week, from "It is much too dark in the morning" to I am not too numb to care at night. Working two days a week, eight hours a day as a hospital chaplain like I do would, if she/he made enough to cover home, food, safety, insurance, travel, clothing, and entertainment, would delight a whole lot of folks.
   My salary does not cover the best of what I listed. All I can say is one day as a chaplain puts me emotionally away for another day. Those who know me would say that is because I put my whole self into listening and feeling. 
    I have four positive things to say about my ministry at the hospital.  First, I am very, very pleased to have  a position that requires that I give all that I have to offer emotionally and mentally. Second, I am humbled to be able to support patients and their families during some very hard times. Third, I am so pleased to work in a situation where I feel known, accepted, and cared for. Four, I am so pleased to be a member of a team, the pastoral care team, where I feel affirmed, listened to, and challenged to be a sensitive and compassionate human being.
       So this evening I am so happy... lots of quiet time, some great phone conversations with friends, and  I
 am so grateful that I did not have to hit the asphalt and keep my eyes on the cars in front of me or behind me. I give the folks out there working and shopping and playing and praying all the credit. I am so glad I was not one of them.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Wrong Man

       If you have not read John Katzenbach's mystery novel, The Wrong Man, I would strongly recommend you get on the waiting list at the Tacoma Public Library now! This novel had me going through all kind of emotional changes... now putting the book aside because I did not want to experience what would happen in the next few paragraphs, then wanting desperately to say to one of the heroines (I liked  the four women characters in the novel a great deal)  "get moving, get out of there," and every now and then feeling angry and possessive with the villain.
       When I was a boy in short pants in Houston, I used to enjoy playing the villain when my friends and I would go running through the neighborhood doing the sheriff and the robbers thing. As an adult I have spent a lot of time trying to be the loving, rational, loyal African American male.  Katzenbach just grabbed me and put me right inside the arrogant, manipulative, obsessive villain in this one. I am convinced I needed to have his help to look again at the negative, hidden side of myself.  I hope that makes sense.

         Then the author dragged me into the final hard choices that had to be made in this book. And I found myself thinking of the hard choices you and I make daily in our personal, professional, and civic lives.
         I have become a John Katzenbach groupie! He helped me to look at  my vices and my virtues a little more closely and accept myself a little more humbly.
         Try this book. I think you will like it.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

South Puget Sound High School Fair

Local public and private high schools with gather on Tuesday, November 6, for the
second annual South Puget Sound High School Fair from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. at Annie
Wright Schools, 827 North Tacoma Avenue, Tacoma, WA 98403.

Middle school students and their parents are invited to learn about local high school programs.

Representatives from the following schools will be present:

Annie Wright Upper School, Bellarmine Preparatory School, Charles Wright Academy, Federal Way Public Academy, Foss High School, Life Christian Academy, Mount Rainer Lutheran High School, and West Sound Academy

Each school will give a five-minute presentation. 

Attendees will have an opportunity to visit with each of the school representatives to ask questions and learn more.

For more information, directions and registration, go to or call 253.272.2216.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Day of the Dead marked with Partner UP event

The University Place-Fircrest Division of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the City of University Place brings people in the local business community together each month at a designated business location in what is known as "Partner UP" ("UP" as in University Place).  For the November 1st gathering, New Tacoma Cemeteries and Funeral Home was the host business.  With November 1st being the Day of the Dead it seemed a perfect pairing for the location and the observance.  

Dozens of Chamber business members and other business and civic leaders in University Place including the mayor, several council members, and other city officials came together for conversation, sharing business challenges and successes, exchanging ideas, and enjoying each other's company in the quiet comfortable location, becoming better acquainted.  

Business today is all about relationship-building.  Partner UP is a valuable networking and relationship-building event where there is time for face-to-face communication not simply via text messaging or e-mail as so much of our contact is today.

Pamela Maddess of New Tacoma had special white luminary bags die-cut with a lovely design.  They were made available on a table for the guests to decorate in memory of their loved ones.  She included adhesive stickers with several different sayings such as "In Loving Memory..." and a rainbow of colored pens. Some of the guests were more artistic in their creative expression than others; some simply wrote the name of their loved one as a tribute in their favorite color.

Each guest had an opportunity to create customized luminaria (similar to the way in which the track is lined with luminaria during the Relay for Life).  It was a time for thoughtful reflection about those who have gone on before us, perhaps have made the path better for each of us, and just to take a few moments to remember them, decorate the luminaria in their honor, and when complete white sand was added into the base of each, and a battery-operated votive was placed inside.  

Then the luminaria were displayed outside the entrance to the building along the walkway.  As the sun set, it was simply lovely to see their flickering gentle lights illuminating the pathway.  When guests left for home at the end of the evening, they were invited to take the luminary bag they had created and keep it as a memento of the gathering and the 2012 Day of the Dead.