The nature of Emerald Isle

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“It’s the one place on earth heaven had kissed with melody, mirth, and meadow and mist.  ~ Irish Proverb.” Never have I seen so many shades of green in this rolling hills of Dingle Peninsula. According to the song Johnny … Continue reading

What Buddha Never Taught Me

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The year 2019 sounds so futuristic remembering a 1996 visit of Thailand. I feel nostalgic tonight. Photography then was archaic when we have to use a real camera, a film and the negatives processed. I could never tell whether the photos … Continue reading

The Journey and the Dream still continues…

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Twenty years ago, I made the first journey to Assisi on my own. I was young, healthy and carefree imitating the life of St. Francis, poor in spirit. Alone I was, I met a lot of strangers along the road. … Continue reading

Thunder and Lightning

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“That is my thunder, by God; the villains will play my thunder, but not my play.” – Alexander Pope

Two black-haired girls spell T-R-O-U-B-L-E.  Little do they know, I can tell what they are up to even though they speak in their own dialect. It’s easy to read minds, you know since I am the queen of Mischief.

Frame by frame, a series of shots put together to capture this story of stealing their thunder by taking over their acts at lightning speed.

I had the last laugh and the best hug from Thomas.

Sophie’s Choice

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Making a choice in cutting off ties in any situation is difficult when it’s a no-win situation, an unbearable option that one is forced to choose. Even thinking that it is the lesser of two evils, it can still remain … Continue reading

Weathering Heights

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It’s breathtaking to see from a distance the ice mass in the valley.  Imagine 20,000 years ago this area is covered with a glacier. So beautiful that Norway attracts thousands of tourist visiting Briksdalbreen or Briksdal Glacier. The landscape is covered with … Continue reading

The Person and The Saint

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Historically, Birgitta and Saint Birgitta are not really the same person. It is difficult at times to know what parts are historically accurate and which part is the image of the saint. As a person, Birgitta was born in 1303 … Continue reading

June Brides

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It was a warm sunny June afternoon when we visited the old town of  Kaunas, Lithuania. Most old town has a plaza and a town hall for everyone to enjoy. Even a place to have a wedding celebration. First, I … Continue reading

What’s Next?

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The past is seeping into my thoughts. It happened long time ago. Drawn to the memories like a bee attracted to a flower. The bee couldn’t help it. Who is she? Only a monk can answer that. She lived with the monks … Continue reading

Fill in with your imagination

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There is place for me in this historical tapestry, in the upper right corner, just above the Beatles. And so I write words, words that I have heard, a jumble of notes, these words are not mine. And so it … Continue reading

As far as eyes could see, yet always drawn nearer.

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There is something about looking at the vastness of water on earth. It has a mesmerizing effect between heaven and water. Hypnotic. Walking on the beach or sailing around, looking at the horizon as far as eyes could see, there … Continue reading

We are not made of sugar. We are the salt of the earth.

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The rain came when we visited the ruins of Cistercian Alvastra Abbey in Östergötland. We are the salt of the Earth. We are not made of sugar. We will not melt. With high winds and strong rain, we aborted the walk … Continue reading

Ecstasy at our feet.

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These feet will take us wherever they want to go. Passengers from the hydrofoil are rushing to plant their feet on the ground of Estonia after a two-hour sail from Finland, 2,000 of them more or less. As pilgrims, our feet … Continue reading

In Praise of Men

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There are certain movements men do that I can see how graceful they are. More graceful than females do. It’s their feminine side that they do not want to admit.

men-on-the-beach-of-cuba

They are beautiful. Beautiful in the sense that they don’t have to prove their masculinity. The beauty that oozes with sublime humility where fellow-men can watch with quiet admiration.

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Where is the beauty in them?

The beauty exists in my mind how rounded they are. Not just how nice they are to stop, pause and be photographed. It is how gracious they are in accepting a stranger in their environment.

men-working-with-a-beast-in-cuba

Emerging elegantly from the depth of an ancient tree enriches how life mysteriously unfolds my memory of Cuba ever so gracefully.

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Which way is Ireland?

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Two Canadian girls on a trip not knowing a single word of Gaelic. Reading these street names, we don’t even know whether it means North, South, East or West. We kept on walking on the island that is thick with … Continue reading

What lies ahead without Fidel

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The earth expanding right hand and left hand, The picture alive, every part in its best light, The music falling in where it is wanted, and stopping where it is not wanted, The cheerful voice of the public road, the … Continue reading

Far away from home, make it memorable.

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It’s not even a day, I miss them already; my family, friends, neighbors, cats, and the comfort of home. Leaving them behind to travel for my annual pilgrimage creates a nostalgic moment. Far away from home, I want to make … Continue reading

Transformation of Malcom Muggeridge

Taj Mahal, India

Unknown woman at Taj Mahal, India

Malcom Muggeridge, an agnostic British journalist met and filmed Mother Teresa doing her work catering to the poorest of the poor in India.

He wrote a book “Something Beautiful for God.

“This Home for the Dying is dimly lit by small windows high up in the walls, and Ken was adamant that filming was quite impossible there. We had only one small light with us, and to get the place adequately lighted in the time at our disposal was quite impossible. It was decided that, nonetheless, Ken should have a go, but by way of insurance we took, as well, some film in an outside courtyard where some of the inmates were sitting in the sun. In the processed film, the part taken inside was bathed in a particularly beautiful soft light, whereas the part taken outside was rather dim and confused…Mother Teresa’s Home for the Dying is overflowing with love, as one senses immediately on entering it. This love is luminous, like the halos artists have seen and made visible round the heads of the saints. I find it not at all surprising that the luminosity should register on a photographic film ”

Influenced by his experience with Mother Teresa, he received the Catholic faith at the age of 79 together with his wife.

Arts living in a frame

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Welcome. A roll of toilet paper and towel. A supply he received upon entering the frame. His arts live in a frame called “The Hole”. Three out of fifteen I managed to capture, between wiring. The exhibits are all inside … Continue reading

Countless

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Who is counting? I for one, not. It is enough for me to see the numbers of thank you notes left here. One. One is the best number. It only takes one to be touched by many filled with gratitude. … Continue reading

It is rare.

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Somewhere in the forested area of Cuba, it was a delight to see a homestead. It was a simple dwelling. Inside, the interior is spare.  My first thought, how quaint. It’s good to see someone who exists in very little … Continue reading

Unforgettable Face

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No artist can ever draw this face for her maker created her perfectly and thus became incorruptible. This is the incorruptible Face of Bernadette of Lourdes. Song of Bernadette Songwriters: COHEN, LEONARD/ELLIOTT, BILL/WARNES, JENNIFER  There was a child named Bernadette I heard the story … Continue reading

The Earth is Our Sanctuary

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Earth teach me quiet ~ as the grasses are still with new light. Earth teach me suffering ~ as old stones suffer with memory. Earth teach me humility ~ as blossoms are humble with beginning. Earth teach me caring ~ … Continue reading

The land that glows

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It is the land that glows and expands. There are so many possibilities what one can do here. It is one of the most beautiful lands I’ve ever seen. Cuba meaning “Land”. In its simplicity, this is a place that … Continue reading

Unmasking the illusion

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Yes, I am a smoker. When I tell people that I smoke, some of them are gracious enough to say that I don’t look and smell like a smoker. That is the kindest thing to say to a smoker. However, there … Continue reading

Seasons in the sun

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I love the sun. I want to catch it, if I could, keep it for myself. As I was about to reach out for it, a boy races towards the sun, beckoning to come along to play with him. Soon … Continue reading

Finding Time

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Joining a guided walking and sightseeing holiday in Cuba with Walker’s World is not actually a pilgrimage. However, I made sure that I consider it as one for I always consider myself a pilgrim on this earth. Visiting Churches is … Continue reading

Way of Praying

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Ordinarily, I go to the woods alone, with not a single friend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore unsuitable. I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds or hugging the old black oak tree. I have … Continue reading

The Fisher King

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A series of photographs taken during my pilgrimage to India in 2014. Our bus was at a standstill during rush hour and I saw this man crossing the road. A barefooted man wearing a sack for clothing. He bent down to … Continue reading

The Untouchables

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In India, due to its caste system, there is a group of people called the “untouchables”. We are talking millions of them, not just a tiny group. These people received their ‘title’ by default, by birth. They are considered impure. … Continue reading

Be Careful

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As we enter the Holy Sepulcher, there lies a slab of stone where Jesus’ dead body was laid. The Orthodox priests anoint the stone with rose scented oil, walking around it as they say their prayers and holding an incense … Continue reading

Going Home – Thoughts of In between

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My thoughts are collections of other people’s ideas. There is no need for me to rewrite the story. They are good as they are. The following writings are thoughts from ordinary people who do extraordinary work that help shape my … Continue reading

Dying to oneself.

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Walking down from Mount Olives is Palm Sunday road, a road that Jesus took riding a donkey. It’s downhill and I saw this man and his donkey. They must be exhausted doing business with pilgrims like me to experience where Jesus … Continue reading

What Lies Behind the Wall

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Here I stood at Mount Olive, I could see the structure behind the wall with an onion-shaped golden dome. It’s calling me, and I wanted to visit the place, but it’s not part of our itinerary. Long after I came … Continue reading

An Open Wall

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  This is more than a crack on the wall, it’s one of the gates of Jerusalem called St. Stephen’s Gate or Lion’s Gate. I spent more time on the walls of the gate, soaking up the atmosphere, listening to … Continue reading

Walls of Jerusalem

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The walls of Jerusalem are originally built to protect the city from intrusion and a defense under the rule of the Ottoman empire. Inside these walls is the seat of Judaism, Islam and Christianity. The wall has so many gates … Continue reading

I live in my dreams.

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“I live in my dreams. Other people live in dreams too … just not their own.” — Hermann Hesse Dreams not fantasy. Start small. Series of small dreams. Put them all together. Together, the series of small dreams become big. Dreams are … Continue reading

Leave all your blues in your shoes at the door.

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In India, we have to leave our footwear before entering a temple. I prefer to keep my beat-up shoes rather than moving it outside for fear of losing them and have to continue the pilgrimage barefooted. I never understand the … Continue reading

Rewarding moments of small creatures

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All things bright and beautiful
All creatures great and small

While I was drinking a cup of coffee, a couple of birds were reluctant to go closer to a pool of water because of my presence. I stood still and kept quite in order not to disturb them since I want their company. Slowly they took the courage to dip their feet on the water while peering at me. When they realized that I will remain motionless, they took the plunge.

depth (19)-MOTION

This is my reward, a memory of my stay at Kochi, Kerala, India. In addition, I am learning how to use the power of computer photography. My very first GIF, perseverance has its own rewards.

Teach Us To Sit Still.

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Today is Ash Wednesday and nothing is more fitting than to share with you the poem of T.S. Eliot’s long poem “Ash Wednesday” written in 1927. The last three lines of this stanza struck me personally. Ash Wednesday by T. … Continue reading

With Open Arms

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A simple invitation I sent out to different organizations offering my services as a volunteer. To my surprise, Aids Baby Centre (ABC) accepted my invitation. On May 8, I arrived at Chiangmai from Vancouver, BC, Canada. I received a warm … Continue reading

The World is a Book, for Amy

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Spectacular sunset unfolds in front of me at the golden beach of Goa, India. It evokes an emotion so deep that I cannot name it in the recesses of my being. I stood fixated by the lighting of the sun … Continue reading

The Catch of the Day

It was interesting to see contraptions along the coastline of Kochi. These are called Chinese fishing nets that are permanent fixture that is unique and an unusual way to catch a fish. It’s a great tourist attraction.

Kochin chinese fishing nets

Curiously, my two nephews and their sister wanted to know how it works and paid the fisherman for show and tell.

The net is lowered into the water, left for at least five minutes and raised back up by pulling the ropes. This is the hard part. The kids have to partake on this experience and pulled the ropes. They were so excited that they did catch something: a tiger fish, a wee one that has to go back to the sea to grow sharper fangs.

kochin tiger fish

Did the kids dare to hold the fish? Nope, too scared to be bitten. Such scared cats.

Kochin fish market

Besides just a few steps away, one can find all kinds of fishes and have your pick.

There are contradicting history how the Chinese fishing nets arrived in Kochi, Kerala, India. Some says Chinese explorer introduced it, others by Portuguese that came from Macau. Who knows. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is that this is the biggest bait for tourist.

Walking the Royal Steps

Raj Ghat means Royal Steps and is a place where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated on 1948.

Gandhi (1)

In New Delhi, we visited Raj Ghat. To reach the memorial site, we walked a long corridor surrounded by beautiful green lawn, well-kept garden and a peaceful place.  The vastness of this place is impressive.

Gandhi (2)

Gandhi’s memorial site is made of black marble slab adorned with orange marigolds. The flowers are changed daily. A perpetual flame burns at one end.  Inscribed on the stone is “He Ram” (Oh God).

It is mandatory that we must remove our shoes before entering the enclosure to keep the area free of dirt from our footwear.

The place was busy with visitors including school children on a field trip paying homage to him.

Gandhi

My life is my message ~ Mahatma Gandhi

The design of  a simple memorial site reflects Gandhi’s modest life. Simplicity at its best.

Veni, Vidi, Vici.

He came, he saw, he conquer is the meaning of Veni, Vidi, Vici. This is the beginning of a love story about Taj Mahal.

Taj Mahal

It started when a prince, son of a Mughal emperor of India, Shah Jahan, the grandson of Akbar the Great went to a bazaar, saw a girl named Mumtaz Mahal and conquered her. It was love at first sight.  She became his third wife and favorite. In return, she gave him fourteen children; however, she died giving birth. In her deathbed, he promised her that he will build the most impressive mausoleum over her grave and will never marry again.

Shah Jahan was heartbroken and devastated. The country was in mourning for two years. Subsequently, he undertook building a monument that took over 22 years, thousands of men and elephants to build this bigger than life structure to fulfill his promise to his beloved.

In every dynasty, there’s always a villain that is the Shah’s third son with Mahal named Aurangzeb.

Taj Red Fort

Aurangzeb killed some of his families, took over the throne and banished his father to a tower in Red Fort at Agra. From the fort, Shah Jahan can only view from the distance where the love of his life lays. He died at the tower in Agra and was buried next to Mumtaz in Taj Mahal.

I can only imagine how hard it was for the Shah to be separated from his beloved.

What I find beautiful about Taj Mahal is the love story between the Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal.

Unhappily Married: An Indian Humour

These photos were taken from a shopping bag “Unhappily Married” and should explain the title.

Cows, boat and huge family

Cows, boat and huge family: Only in India!

Black sheep and Kama Sutra

Black sheep and Kama Sūtra

Drinking beer is cheaper than being married

Drinking beer is cheaper than being married

Check out their Facebook, it’s hilarious. Go ahead, it’s pure and clean.

 

Let me get this off my system.

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Indian CoffeeLet me get this off my system.

If you are looking for Starbucks in India, good luck! You can only find the coffee shop in the Airport, departure area.

And if you are looking for a freshly brewed coffee, there is no such thing! Everything is instant coffee in India. The famous one is Nescafe or Folgers. Kate Crimmins  are you rolling your eyes yet?

It was a problem, a very big problem for me. But hey, I am a pilgrim, this is not Club Med.

So, what is Indian Coffee? Pretty basic:

  • Instant Coffee – two packets if you want it strong
  • Hot Water – very small amount to dissolve the coffee
  • Warm Milk –lots to combine it with the dissolved coffee
  • Sugar – if you want it sweet.

Oh, some make it frothy to give it an espresso look. There’s hardly any coffee in this cup but bubbles.

I was kicking myself to get a “caffeine kick” to it. There’s hardly any caffeine in an instant coffee. Drinking two or three cups of this first thing in the morning is my form of “flagellation” for seventeen days to wake me up. I survived.

The minute we arrived in Canada, we stopped over at my sister’s place and I asked for a real good brewed coffee, mug size.

Aaahhhh…. good to the last drop followed by a refill.

I am so glad to be home.

Melting Pot

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There is no escaping the traffic. One has to learn to be an aggressive and defensive driver. It seems to be the louder and longer you blow your horn, drivers will allow you to  converge.

Traffic in New  Delhi, India

Traffic in New Delhi, India

As I look out from the comfort of the bus, I asked Padre what is this area? “Is this the flea market.” The short response was that this is the slum area.

Slum area in New Delhi, India

Slum area in New Delhi, India

On the other side of the coin, this is what most people prefer to see, an illusion of history past. This area did not bring any emotional sensation from me in comparison to the traffic and the slum area.

Taj Mahal, India

Taj Mahal, India

At the end of the day, our group, all 20 of us from Canada, Philippines and Austria gather for a meal to give thanks to India for opening their doors and converge with them.

Meal time prepared at a Catholic diocese

Meal time prepared at a Catholic diocese

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Converge.”

Strong Self-Determination.

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“It’s probably not just by chance that I’m alone.  It would be very hard for a man to live with me, unless he’s terribly strong.   And if he’s stronger than I, I’m the one who can’t live with him.  … I’m neither smart nor stupid, but I don’t think I’m a run-of-the-mill person.  I’ve been in business without being a businesswoman, I’ve loved without being a woman made only for love.  The two men I’ve loved, I think, will remember me, on earth or in heaven, because men always remember a woman who caused them concern and uneasiness.   I’ve done my best, in regard to people and to life, without precepts, but with a taste for justice.”   ―     Coco Chanel

I’ve watched the life story of CoCo Chanel and I find her story remarkable. She swam against the current  of adversity in a man’s world. When you have a chance, I highly recommend the film.

Thank you, Deo for  the quote. Visit Deo’s site for more.

via Favorite Quotes on Strong Self-Determination..

Sitting, Waiting, Listening

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Prayer is largely just being silent: holding the tension instead of even talking it through, offering the moment instead of fixing it by words and ideas, loving reality as it is instead of understanding it fully. Prayer is commonly a … Continue reading

Today

solitude

Today

Today I’m flying low and I’m
not saying a word
I’m letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.

The world goes on as it must,
the bees in the garden rumbling a little,
the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.
And so forth.

But I’m taking the day off.
Quiet as a feather.
I hardly move though really I’m traveling
a terrific distance.

Stillness. One of the doors
into the temple.

-Mary Oliver

 

This causes me to tremble

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Was I there? At the crack of dawn, when everybody is still asleep, before the narrow streets of Old Jerusalem turn into a market place and become crowded with people, we were there to do the Via Dolorosa and reflect what … Continue reading

Inside my mind: A human hunger

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What’s inside our skull?  Is it our brain or our mind? This is a real brain floating in liquid to keep it intact as a specimen, and undoubtedly it’s not mine.  Our brain is divided into two hemispheres and it … Continue reading

This is really how it is

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I was looking what to post yesterday that is more palatable to readers when it comes to spirituality for Sunday Snippet.  I am very much aware when it comes to the topic of religion, it’s hardly entertained.  Using Parabola is … Continue reading

Threshold between Earth and Heaven

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I know for a while again the health of self-forgetfulness, looking out at the sky through a notch in the valleyside, the black woods wintry on the hills, small clouds at sunset passing across. And I know that this is … Continue reading

Receive the Joy, Queimada!

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The night before we entered the Holy Site of Santiago De Compostela, we needed to be purified in order to be worthy and receive the joy of entering the Cathedral.  Little did I know, our fearless driver, Pablo, is a … Continue reading

When does charity become a business

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Haya, Pete.  Of course, I like you.  You know very well I welcome your thoughts and I enjoy publishing your comments.  I love hearing what you have to say about Science or Conscience on donating. Thank you. You are not going … Continue reading

A Pilgrim’s wish

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And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. (Song: Oh Little Town of Bethlehem)It is difficult to express the absolute bliss that I felt during this unique spiritual adventure.  As I literally followed the footsteps of Jesus, the journey … Continue reading

Star of Bethlehem: A Pilgrim Story

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The Holy Land is not so holy when the Israelis occupy the land of the Palestine’s, the Muslims building mosque on top of the Christian church and the Christians are now a minority.  There is always trouble yet I went … Continue reading

A Community: Local Public Market

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Visiting the public market in a another country is one thing I include in my itinerary with or without the help of a guide. Here in Compostela de Santiago, before we enter the mainstream, the busyness of the daily specials … Continue reading

Walking in the light

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Awake from your slumber! Arise from your sleep! A new day is dawning for all those who weep. The people in darkness have seen a great light. The Lord of our longing has conquered the night.   Let us build the … Continue reading