Friday, January 30, 2015


My school had an arts fest today. I volunteered to lead two workshops on storytelling.

In addition to tips about storytelling, I performed several pieces. It's been so long since I told stories  in such a format. It was a blast. It made me realize how much I miss storytelling.

I wonder if there is much of a market for storytelling these days? It seems to have faded in popularity.

I used to be a member of the local storytelling guild - but stopped going, and later when I checked into possibly being involved again I discovered they met the same night as my Franciscan fraternity. I'm not even sure they are still meeting now anyway.

I used to belong to a national storytelling organization, but that membership lapsed years ago and I never renewed.

I basically stopped storytelling when I returned to teaching - I no longer had flexibility in my schedule to tell stories in schools or libraries during the school year.

I must do some checking.

Pax et bonum

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Bad Religion

I finished Ross Douthat's Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics. Great book. Thought provoking.

He captured many of the vague ideas and "feelings" I've been having about the state of faith in America.

I highly recommend it.

Pax et bonum

Monday, January 19, 2015

Last night I had the strangest dream

I had a dream the other night.

In it, I was driving, and I blacked out. I awoke to find myself skirting the right edge of the road, just missing some workers there. I thought I might have been overtired and had nodded off. I pulled over, and realized I had no idea where I was. I looked up at the road signs, and they were in a language I couldn't read. I wondered how I was going to get home. I wondered where home was.

I saw a police car drive by. I thought of trying to get his attention, but I was afraid.

Then I was talking to an officer. But I couldn't understand anything he was saying. I couldn't even understand the words coming out of my mouth, and it was clear he did not understand me.

And suddenly I was with a group of people. I could understand none of them. They could not understand me. A television was on; I couldn't understand any of the words.

I looked at a book: I couldn't understand any of the words in it. I tried writing; what came out on paper was total gibberish to me.

It dawned on me that I had no way of communicating with others verbally. I couldn't teach or work, or do anything involving language. I didn't know if it was permanent.

Then I thought of drawing or painting. Maybe ...

In the back of my mind I wondered - is this what having a stroke is like? They do run in my family.

Strange dream. It's still bothering me.

Pax et bonum

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Huckabee in 2016 ... maybe

I'm of a divided mind. I still like many things about him - but not all (death penalty, for example).
And I wonder if he will have any realistic kind of a chance, given that he seems of an earlier time, and given the way the media is already trying to paint him as a kooky outsider/conservative.
I was actively involved in 2008 - even registered as a Republican so I could vote for him in our primary. (Switched to Right to Life Party immediately after he lost the nomination.) But will I have the same commitment this time around?
Hard to say.
Pax et bonum

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Supreme Court to Rule on Homosexual So-Called Marriage

The Supreme Court has announced it will be making a decision regarding the constitutionality of homosexual so-called same sex marriage.

The Court might rule that deciding about the issue is, as the Constitution says, up to the states individually.

But the Court could also rule that such so-called marriages are a civil "right," and that states may not have laws that violate that right. There is precedent for that - states may not, for example, prohibit marriages between races as civil rights legislation takes precedence over states' rights to set marriage rules.

If the Court does rule this is a state issue, then the current battles will continue - but the trend seems to be toward legalizing such unions in more and more states.

But if the ruling is that such so-called marriages are a right and must be recognized, I strongly suspect that the current war on people of faith over this issue (and others) will escalate. I think churches and church groups and people of faith will be subject to lawsuit after lawsuit. Even if the church groups keep winning the cases, the drain on time, energy, and money will wear some down so much they surrender, and will damage the others who refuse to give in. And individuals may be even more vulnerable.

But then, Jesus did not promise us complete peace in this life if we follow Him.

Pax et bonum

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Ordain a Lady (untintentional satire!)

Still a hoot.

Pax et bonum

Resolutions - the spiritual side

My spiritual goals for 2015 include some things I've been doing, but not as consistently as I should.

My daily prayers will include the "Morning Offering" and "Franciscan Morning Prayer" from the Secular Franciscan Companion. I said both prayers intermittently, but my goal is to start each day with them.

I want to add two prayers by St. Thomas More: "Prayer to Work for the Things We Pray For," and "Prayer for Health, Wisdom, and a Sense of Humor" - the latter apparently being one that Pope Francis says each day.  In addition, I got a version of the "SFO Rule of Life" by Karen Szczesniak ofs. It has 26 "verses" and I want to say a few a day, reflecting on them.

I already say the Rosary several times a week; my goal is to make it daily.

I read the Bible before going to be most nights. I want to do it every night, and focus for this year on the New Testament, with study guides to help.

I do want to add more spiritual reading. I need to include a couple of Franciscan works, including the title cited in my 2015 reading list, and the Hermit and Doherty books on that list as well. But I know I need to add more.

I also want to memorize more prayers this year. "The Divine Praises" is the first my list.

Finally, I need to be more aware, more sensitive, more Franciscan in my use of social media and the internet. 

Pax et bonum

Read in 2014

Poem Depot: Aisles of Smiles written and drawn by Douglas Florian
The Beekeeper's Apprentice: or, On the Segregation of the Queen by Laurie King
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Good Friday Murders by Lee Harris
The Shadow Dancer by Margaret Coel
Desert Wisdom: Sayings from the Desert Fathers translated and illustrated by Yushi Nomura
Chameleon by William X Kienzle
The Mayor of MacDougal Street by Dave Van Ronk (with Elijah Wald)
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave
Handbook for Franciscan Servant Leadership"
Inside the Walls of Troy by Clemence McLaren
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin
Congratulations, by the way by George Saunders
The Last Crusader by Louis de Wohl
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Small Gods by Terry Pratchett
A Midsummer Night's Dream by Shakespeare
The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
O, What a Luxury by Garrison Keillor

So there's last year's list. Twenty books. Some people read more than that in a month!

Some I read because of school - as I reteach books. I only count the first reading (or the first in a long time), so, for example, I'm reading Romeo and Juliet and The Things They Carried again along with my students, but I won't count them in my 2015 list. And I didn't count The Great Gatsby or Antigone for last year as they were recent rereads. Some of the books I read only because they are on my students' reading lists.

But some I read for just for myself. I'm disappointed to see how few religious titles there are. Hmm.

Favorites: O'Brien, Zasuk, Nomura, Coel, and Griffin.   

Pax et bonum