One Constant

Today’s Spiritual Journey Thursday is being hosted by Dave. He poses several questions regarding our journey. Where have we been? Where are we going? Who has guided us on our way? What is a church?

After thinking about this for a couple of days I decided to concentrate on what church is to me, how it has changed over the years, and how it remains a constant in my life.

As a kid growing up in a small town, the joke was that there was a church on every corner and a barroom on the other. There was the Irish church, the Polish church, the Italian church, etc. I am Byzantine so we had our own church. You did not go to a church that wasn’t yours. Priests had been known to tell people to go to their own church. I know, very Christian.

I could never understand this. We all worshiped one God. All Masses were said in Latin at that time, except ours, so what difference did it make which church I attended? Now with the consolidation of churches we are just lucky to have a one nearby.

But what is a church? Is it just a building where people gather to worship? I don’t think so. To me, church is the people who gather together, who share beliefs. People who help out the people in their parish or community who need help. People who pray for those who need it. I know that several years ago when I had my triple bypass surgery I had a whole lot of people from church praying for me. I truly believe it made a difference in how things went and with my recovery.

But does this mean that there needs to be two or more present for God to hear us? I don’t think so. We pray silently. We have conversations with God. He listens. He knows our hearts. He is there when we are alone. We don’t need to be in a church or with others for God to hear us.

So, although the church building offers a place for people to gather and worship, it is the people who make up the church. I still go to church weekly. I find comfort being with people, attending Mass, listening to the priest. Some might see this as a crutch. If it is, it is one that I am not willing to give up.


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Still A Procrastinator

Do you ever have one of those Tuesdays when you sit down to write a post and you are not sure what your topic is going to be? (It happens to me more times than I care to admit.) Today was not one of those days.

Something happened last Wednesday that I knew would make a good post for SOL. In fact, I thought I just might get it written early so that come today all I would need to do was reread it, revise it, and post it. That would certainly take the pressure off of today since we needed to go out this morning.

Thursday came and because it was a nice day I decided to do some outside yard work. I got lots accomplished but after coming back in, getting cleaned up, and having dinner I just didn’t feel like writing a post. No problem. I still had plenty of time before Tuesday rolled around.

Friday would have been a good day to write my post, but I had to do some baking. We were invited to a retirement cookout for a friend and former colleague. He would provide the hot dogs and hamburgers and everyone else was asked to bring a go-with. I decided to bake a red velvet cake. I then looked at my car and decided it needed a good washing, so off to the car wash I went. Now, it doesn’t take all day to bake a cake and wash a car so there would have been plenty of time to write my post. I didn’t.

Saturday came around and it was the day of the picnic. It started at 3:00 so we would need to leave by 2:30. There were some odds and ends I needed to take care of before we left so the post didn’t get written. I still had Sunday and Monday. I had the idea and I knew it wouldn’t take long to get the post written. It could wait.

Sunday came. It was off to church. When we got home we had some breakfast and then read the Sunday paper. Around 2:00 I felt my head starting to droop so I gave in and took a little nap. I guess all that fresh air at yesterday’s picnic pooped me out. Still no post written.

Monday came. It’s Memorial Day. Although we didn’t go anywhere, there were important things to do in the house. It was time to put my long-sleeved winter shirts away and get out the short sleeve shirts and shorts. It always takes me a bit to reorganize my closet. As a result, I didn’t get to work on my post.

Here it is Tuesday, Slice of Life day. I had my idea for a week. I still didn’t get my post written. Kathy had a morning dentist appointment so we would be going out. I read and commented on a few posts before getting ready to go with her, but I still didn’t write my post. When we got back we had a little something to eat and then I decided to read and comment on some more posts. I still didn’t write mine. I really do have a good idea for a post. Here it is after 3:00 and I am just getting my act together.

Is this the idea I had for a post? Definitely not. I think I will save that topic for next week. After all, I now have a week to work on it and get it ready for next Tuesday.


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Hiding in Plain Sight

Have you even not seen what is right in front of you? I admit that it has happened to me more times than I would care to admit.

Is it a case of getting older?


Is it a case of needing new glasses?

I did get a notice that it is time for an eye check-up.

Is it a case of not being focused?

My mind does tend to wander.

Whatever the reason this happened again today. Usually when I put something down I tend to put it in the same place. That way I don’t have to think about where it is I just go to where it belongs and there it is. However, this can’t be done with all things.

Most times I will just ask Kathy, “Have you seen…?” and she helps me locate what is missing. This morning, though, Kathy wasn’t up yet so I couldn’t ask her.

Truthfully, I really didn’t know that what I was looking for was among the missing until I went looking. Isn’t that usually the case? I know where to normally find said object. Not there. Well, there is one other place to look. Not there either. Hmm. Where could it be?

I stood scratching my head as I walked from kitchen, to bedroom, to bathroom wondering where I should look next. I know I have three yet I only see two. I was at a loss as to where to look. Maybe I should just go and read the paper. Looking was not really essential at the moment.

As I walked toward the bedroom for about the third time, I just happened to look down at the wicker chest we have. Sure enough, there was what I was looking for…hidden in plain sight.


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It Is Hard to See Something End

Tomorrow will be the last meeting of DCPASR (Dauphin County School Retirees) for the summer. We take June and July off. A staple of our meetings for the last 10 years I have been a member and years before that was that the church where we hold our meetings always had a faith fellowship lunch on our meeting days. Truth be told, our meetings were scheduled on the third Wednesday of each month to coincide with these lunches. After all, where else could you get a full meal with unlimited trips to the food station and desserts for only $6.00?

Well, all good things come to an end. Tomorrow is the last meal the ladies of the church will be serving. The woman in charge has retired, and there is no one willing to take her place. As with so many organizations, our group included, it is difficult to find people to volunteer to do things. I understand that it is work planning the meal, getting people to help cook the meal, and getting the food out at the scheduled time.

Young people don’t have the time because they are still working. Many seniors are acting as babysitters for grandchildren. Others are up there in age and can’t take on the responsibility. As a result, meals will no longer be served after tomorrow.

Although I understand all of these reasons, I am still going to miss the meals. Not only was the food always delicious, but it also gave us a time to sit and socialize once our meeting was over.

I wish Debbie and her crew well and thank them for all of the many delicious meals they served up over the years.


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First Time Meeting

On Sunday, we met out great nephew, Dante, for the first time. His grandmother brought him from Vegas where he and his parents live. She invited us down to visit and see him. Of course, we went.

He is just shy of 9 months and is a bundle of energy. Although not walking yet, he is an expert at crawling. When he takes off, look out.

He does pull himself up and stands and I really don’t think that first step is too far off. Here he is holding on to Kathy’s leg for support.

Dante is a born entertainer. While sitting on his grandmother’s lap at the dining room table after we had eaten, he started banging his hands on the table and singing. OK, maybe singing is open to interpretation. I am sure that in his mind the sounds he made fit perfectly with drum beating of the table. I have pictures, but without the parents’ permission I am hesitant toto post them.

Grandma Foster and Uncle Shad are taking him back to Vegas tomorrow. We are thankful to Foster and Gift for the invitation to come down and meet him.


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Joy of Dancing

Today’s Spiritual Thursday Journey is being led by Chris Margocs. Chris invites us to join in the exuberance of dance. Thanks for hosting today, Chris.

When I read Chris’s prompt for today it brought to mind Lee Ann Womack’s song “I Hope You Dance”.

I feel this song exemplifies what we are being asked to contemplate today.

In joyous times,
celebrate.  Dance.
Let your spirit overflow
with praise.

In times of sorrow,
reflect.  Dance.
Your heart may be heavy,
but your burdens will rise.

When gathering with friends,
rejoice.  Dance.
Revel in the joy
of those around you.

All alone, by yourself,
smile.  Dance.
Praise God for life,
and all that you have.

I know my heart will be dancing this weekend when we get to meet our great nephew for the first time.  


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Buying a New Table

Last week I wrote about the crack in our dining room table and that we had decided to buy a new one. Well, we did, but the process was not an easy one. There were certain requirements we had.

First was that it had to fir in our space. We have a dining area, read country kitchen as opposed to a formal dining room. This immediately eliminates any kind of formal looking furniture. We need a table and chairs. We don’t need a server. Since our space is open nothing too big, bulky, or heavy looking wouldn’t work.

Next there is the fact that there are only two of us. That means we want four chairs and not six. An expandable table would work but was not necessary.

Because we have a peninsula separating our kitchen from dining area, we need a table size we can walk around. What we have now is 42″ round.

This leads to the next point. We don’t want anything with sharp corners that we would walk into and jab ourselves. Another round table would work or something with rounded corners would work as well.

With our list of needs we started some active shopping. Where to start. There aren’t many furniture stores around us. OK, there is one five minutes away, but being the only one in the valley means that it is not the cheapest.

First stop was Boscov’s. They actually had two tables that would work, but they were put in your car, take them home, and assemble them yourself. Knowing my skills, I am not sure I want to place a thanksgiving dinner on a table I assembled myself. Keep looking.

On a trip to Harrisburg we decided to stop at Raymor and Flanigan. There were some really nice pieces there and the salesman was very accommodating. He showed us many options. They were nice but too bulky looking. All were expandable, but when he tried to open them, they were stuck. I am sure it was just from sitting on the floor for too long and the ones in stock wouldn’t have that problem.

From there we went to Ashley Furniture. The set we have now came from there. Maybe we would strike gold again. There were a couple that would do, but they didn’t really say “Buy me”. I wasn’t sure I wanted something that would just do. Another drawback to both places was that I would need to somehow get rid of the table and chairs we now have.

I think you know where this is going. We decided to just check out the furniture store here in the valley. They really have beautiful pieces. The salesperson showed us around and then left us alone so that we could talk things over. We actually found three that we liked. The first one was round and the same size as what we have.

The second was rectangular, but it had rounded corners. It would fit our space.

Both of the above tables had veneer tops. Both had edges that were separate and glued in place.

The third table, the most expensive, was Amish made and solid maple’

The edges aren’t rounded but would work. The top was one piece, so we wouldn’t have to worry about the edging ever being knocked off. There are two leafs included which would add an extra 24″ to the table if we should ever need it. Then came the magic words from the salesperson, “We will remove your old table and chairs for you at no extra cost.” OK, that sealed the deal. We bought.

Which one did we buy you might ask? I am sure you know. Number 3 was the winner. We also decided to buy a protective pad for the top to keep the wood safe from jumping beasties. As soon as the pad comes in the table will be delivered.


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Time To Say Good-bye

After 20 years it is time to say “good-bye”. I wasn’t planning on it. I didn’t think there was a need for it, but I guess I was mistaken.

It is hard to move on when so many great memories are shared. The conversations. The family gatherings. The laughter. The tears.

Yes, you will be missed. You will be replaced, but your successor won’t have your character. That is something that will come over time.

Why are you leaving? Why do we need to part ways? Is it the chinks you bear? It is the crack that can’t be properly mended. Is it the fear of what could happen? I guess it is a little bit of all of these.

You're not all that old.
There's life in you yet.
Still, you must go.

Cracks have started.
Weight might do you in.
So, you must go.

You've kept your place.
You served us well.
But you must go.

You will be replaced.
The search has begun.
It's time for you to go.

I heard a noise during the night but didn’t get up to investigate. The next morning I found part of our table on the floor. My guess is that someone jumped on it and part broke off. It was cracked so I am not surprised that this happened. I glued the part on, but it didn’t fit back smoothly, too many chipped pieces.

We decided that it is time to get a new table. We have started looking, but it is not as easy as I thought it would be. We have a country kitchen so anything big and formal looking is out. We have seen some modern looking glass and chrome tables, but they wouldn’t fit the style of house we have either.

We will keep looking. Hopefully, we will find something soon.

This is what we have.

This is what broke off and what I glued back on. There are other cracks in the table as well so I am sure it is only a matter of time before someone jumps on the table during the night and it splits.

Maybe there will be another post when we find something.


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Window enjoyment

I have written about how much we enjoy the picture window in our dining area. This enjoyment is enhanced by the bird feeders we placed right outside the window.

The cardinals, finches, and jays add a touch of color to even the gloomiest of days. They come and go. Each bird taking its preferred seed, flying off, and then coming back. Some wait patiently on the shepherd’s hook for their turn at the feeder. Those at the feeder scatter seeds to the ground where some of their friends are waiting.

I’m glad they like the seed that Wal Mart sells. Filling the feeder in the morning usually means that there will be food for the birds, and entertainment for us, well into the afternoon.

The feeder is filled with seeds, nuts, and berries, a feast for the birds.
They come and go each waiting a turn to attend the seed buffet.
I look out the window and see one of the diners has no wings.


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The Promise of Spring

Last week when we were out, Kathy and I decided to stop at Lowe’s to walk around and see what was there. OK, if you want the truth we stopped there because we had some time on our hands. It was a bit too early to go for dinner. It is easy to get lost in Lowe’s walking the aisles just looking at things. It is one of my favorite stores.

However, what drew us there was the outdoor garden center. There was color everywhere. Yellow daffodils were flanked by purple pansies. Pink geraniums stood next to budding hyacinths. The green leaves of lilies not quite ready to bloom watching over delicate grape hyacinths. A sea of springtime beauties for our viewing pleasure.

Thank you, Carol Varsalona for seeing some potential poetry in one of my comments.

The Promise of Spring

Hidden away all winter,
Just biding their time.
They awaken in all of their splendor.
The delicacy of new life
And their bright springtime colors
Gladden my heart.


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