On this date: History of Perpetua

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Perpetua, a noblewoman, and Felicity, a slave, were imprisoned and killed on March 7, 203 in Carthage. Carthage is a magnificent ancient city in Tunisia, part of Africa. During Perpetua’s imprisonment, she kept a diary and accounts that provided a vivid picture … Continue reading

Just another day or Is it?

 

Love was definitely in the air yesterday. There was the look of love in people’s eyes. Men carrying a bouquet of flowers. Cars are running in slow motion giving pedestrians a chance to cross the street.  I can’t believe that they are actually yielding to us. In turn, I gave them the peace sign instead of giving them the bird.

Valentine’s Day is now over. Yesterday’s red roses are dead. Some are feeling the effect of sugar crash from eating chocolates. I have none of these, but I still feel giddy about meeting people on the road and striking a conversation.

I meet a man on the street who lives two blocks away from me at The Poppy, a residential home for older folks. Still walking with the aid of a walker. I tell you, those walkers are the most significant invention for elderly as a means of their independence just to get around. He is so proud to say that he is 99 years old and can’t wait to reach his centennial year. He has two children. One of them came to visit him to celebrate her 73rd birthday. He proceeded to tell me that his wife died five years ago and they were married for 77 years. He’s happy having his children, grand, and great-great-grandchildren. He doesn’t appear to be that ancient. He seems to be in his 70’s.

We parted and wished me Happy St. Valentine’s Day.

It must be love that keeps him going.

To a disciple who was forever complaining about others the master said, “If  it is peace you want, seek to change yourself, not other people.  It is easier to protect your feet with slippers than to carpet the whole of the earth.”  ~ Anthony de Mello, SJ

MORSEL:    The paradox of control is simple. The more we try to control life, the less control we have.  ~ Joan Borysenko, Ph.D.

 

Photo via TWIST – Picasso, Merton, and Pathways to Peace.

 

Father and Son

Art Morgan

Here lies ashes of Art Morgan buried at the foot of Sakura Tree at Forest Law Cemetery close to Mother’s gravesite.

 
Father and Son
wearing the same outfit
black turtle neck, black jacket, black coat. 
Can I tell the difference?
young and older,
spitting image. 
It was Remembrance Day. 
Father was in town for the legion
to commemorate Remembrance Day. 
Where have you been hiding this young lady?
asked Father to Son. 
Where have you been hiding your father?
a thought I kept to myself for the Son. 
He was an army pilot during World War II. 
Father survived the war,
got married, raised a
family of four. 
I was happy to meet Father but
death came to soon. 
He died
in his own
hands. 
Why? 
Have you seen a
grown man cry?
Son was inconsolable. 
In Father’s bedroom
there I sat on his bed and lit
a candle to say a little prayer
and left the candle burning
by the bedside table. 
WHO LIT A CANDLE! 
Scream came out of Son’s mouth
hush, it was me, hush
Inconsolable.
wishing I could take away his
pain. 
Thanksgiving Day
time to scatter the ashes on top
of the mountain
overlooking the lake. 
One by one
the family took handful of ashes
blown to smithereens
carried by the wind. 
Mine placed in a small container
for Father’s ashes to bury him
at the cemetery. 
At the foot of the Sakura tree
is where I buried his ashes
near Mother’s resting place. 
Father’s bible was given to me
in memory of Son’s Father. 
There is no answer to Why. 
Remembrance Day
will always remind
me of Father and Son. 
 

Life is full of surprises

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Who would know where life would take you. We make plans, we check it twice, we cross our t’s and dot our i’s, we invest all our energy and yet, we could never be sure. My mother said many times … Continue reading

Finding Advent at the Inn

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Yesterday’s destination at the Quay is to attend a conference at the Inn. It’s a conference that most people would shy away from attending since the main focus is people with (dis)abilities. People with vision impairment and hard of hearing, with walking … Continue reading

In Search of Advent at the Quay

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The parade just started when I got off the SkyTrain station at the Quay. Motorcades with signs ‘Season’s Greetings’, ‘Dream, Live, Celebrate’, ‘Merry Xmas’, ‘Only Santa delivers more’ drove carrying Gingerbread Man, Frosty the Snow Man, Rudolph the Red Nose … Continue reading

A man and his dogs

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All he wanted to have is ten-acre of land and his dogs. For years, that’s all he can think and talk about. On the land will be a small house with a workshop to tinker around. The spacious land will be … Continue reading

The Power of Tiny

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When I was a tiny girl, everyone looks gigantic. But this story is not about me. The story started when I was a tiny girl watching my sister sew clothes for a living. I remember she kept a little statuette tucked … Continue reading

Mosquito Files: The truth is out there.

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When photographers write about their assignments, I believe them. They can back it up with photos. There were two photographers talking about their expedition in the wild. This how the conversation went as I was eavesdropping. Svtakeiteasy: There is an … Continue reading

Mother T. How I met her.

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It was a warm afternoon when I suddenly came out of my meditation hearing the voice “Mother T died.” Mother T? Who is Mother T? Where did that voice come from? Perplexed, I ended the meditation and continued the daily … Continue reading

A simple melody of the US national anthem according to Wright

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AS A VETERAN, what do I think about Colin Kaepernick’s decision to sit during the National Anthem? As a veteran? Very well, as a veteran then, this is what I believe: The very first thing I learned in the military … Continue reading

It made my teeth hurt, so I wrote.

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Talking is part of communication. I must have talked so much for the month of April that it made my teeth hurt. April 1 is a fool’s paradise. April 1 is the time when we play practical jokes. April 1 … Continue reading

Love is a complicated matter

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Recently I saw a photo that made me recall bits and pieces of my childhood years. From this memory, I remember a poem I kept about love that a child does not understand. The Memory: I couldn’t help it but … Continue reading

I’m Singing in the Rain

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Vancouver aka We(s)tcoast And we live true to this name Wet and cold. I own plenty of umbrellas Orange, Blue, Green Printed, Floral, Strips Even a Canadian Maple Leaf brolly. They are no ordinary canopy Each one represents my personality And … 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

Seeking a life of meaning and service

“Start by doing what is necessary, then what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” ~  St Francis of Assisi

It was one of the dark moments of my life when I decided to follow the Footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi. The very first pilgrimage I did, alone. Of course, it took planning and reaching out to strangers. Sending out e-mails mostly to the Franciscans and Sisters in Rome.  They are very helpful.

Hello, my name is Maria Siglos. I am writing to seek your help if you could provide me with contact e-mail in Assisi, Italy for any retreat centres or catholic homes who would like to accommodate me during my visit in September. Your help is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Waiting and patience is very important when embarking on a pilgrimage. They say everything is in God’s time. These qualities did not exist in me at the time. For one, I want to run away, throw in the towel and enough of the so-called career and professional life. I quit my job of 14 years.

But I have no choice but to wait and see. I prayed to all the Gods: Shiva, Ganesha, Buddha, St. Francis, Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Finally, I received a response.

Hello

Fr. Gregory forwarded your letter but I am just back from vacation and tomorrow I am on my way to Assisi… if you are online now, please answer immediately and I might be able to help you by getting the info tomorrow. I would appreciate knowing what you are looking for… there are guesthouses and there are probably retreat houses.

How long do you plan to be in Assisi? Are you looking for private time? For a directed retreat? Are you looking for 4 star? Are you looking for modest places = shared bathrooms? Retreat places are likely to be basic. Do you have an idea of your dates? Please furnish any other info you might think is helpful.

Oh?  Too many questions! I thought it’s just as simple as booking a hotel and I am on my own. St. Francis didn’t have to answer to these questions. All he did was divest himself in front of the church and left Assisi. What I need is private room with spiritual direction.

Being not in the right frame of mind, I really do not know what to do. I simple replied whatever that they can provide, I will be grateful.

Year 2000 was Jubilee Year in Rome, I found out.  A very special year when one of the sealed doors of Vatican Church will open and will shut again for another 25 years. Imagine Rome and Assisi are buzzing with pilgrims and tourist alike. Good luck finding a place to rest.

Dear Maria,

It has taken a while but I have now obtained the necessary information. One of the friars in Assisi did a bit of telephoning and searching. I need to say that in Assisi they are very full as far as accommodations are concerned. I believe this myself because some friars here in Rome have been looking for places for friends coming to Rome and they are pulling out their hair… everything seems to be packed here in Rome and by extension in Assisi.

Maybe prayer is not the answer. Maybe I will challenge God. Maybe I will give St. Francis of Assisi a threat. NOW HERE THIS! I said in my mind. Instead I said, whatever St. Francis. If you want me to come, I will come.

Surrender. When I completely surrender myself to God, it works. I breathed a sigh of relief.

Dear Maria,

I have found a single room in a guesthouse run by the friars at Porziuncola. There are two guesthouses. This is the simpler of the two, prepared to make things within the reach of simple, working class pilgrims.

The dilemma of travel arrangement is over and a new fear surfaced. I have no job to come home to. Back to prayer again begging St. Francis to help me find a job. Not a career but a job that is a means to an end to continue being of service to humanity while I live on earth.

A week before I departed for Assisi, I received a job offer, an answer to my prayer. The people who hired me were willing to wait for my return even though they needed a person immediately. Another sigh of relief.

With everything in placed I went with peace of mind, walked the plains of Porziuncola, climbed the mountain to reach his hermitage and scrambled my way up to the hills of Assisi to visit San Damiano where he heard the Cross spoke to him to build a church.

St. Francis of Assisi is real. A person who lived in life of luxury, partying and drinking. He joined the war, captured and imprisoned. During his imprisonment he was dangerously sick, body mind and soul.  After his release from imprisonment, in the forest he met a leper. Leper is the lowest of the lowest, the untouchables. But Francis touched, embraced and kissed him. From then on, a new Francis rose and started a new movement.

That was lifetime ago, another 14 years. Currently, I am still working for the same employer. A job that I like, love the people I work with and doing service in between.

The teaching of St. Francis touches and helps me. It’s plain, simple and ordinary; yet, it provides a great lesson and instruction for living.
St. Francis Peace Prayer

Bennettville: A Vancouver Story

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Today, looking southwest from the dock of Bridges Restaurant, you see commercial wharves, and office and residential buildings. Sixty-three years ago, this area was a tidal flat rising to an elevation of 20 feet at the railway tracks, which were … Continue reading

Dad nominated for ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: He MUST do it.

I’m here today to do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge as nominated by Marky, Matthew, Jordan and Sean.

Marky

Marky

Dad: I’ve been nominated so many times, so I must do the Ice Bucket Water Challenge. So without further ado:

You Must Do It

You Must Do It

I hereby nominate:

My brother: YOU Must do it.

My brother-in-law: YOU MUST do it.

My sister: YOU MUST DO IT!

And that’s all. Thank you for coming to my Ice Bucket Challenge.

Mom: Is the bucket ready?

Kids: Daddy, be careful.

Mom: Jordan, don’t dump it, do it very s-l-o-w-l-y.

Dad: No: do it quickly.

GO…. woo hoooo….

Slow torture

Slow torture

Kids: laughter in the background

Mom: How was it.

Dad: Brrrrrrr..…. Argh, COLD !

AND: This is how it all started. Mom and Markus: You MUST watch this!  http://wp.me/a2QcZD-45a

 

No strings attached. A Random Act of Kindness

Question: How do you accept and react to kindness?

A wonderful experience happened to me this Saturday on the way to the mall.

Two children, a boy and a girl came running towards me with bottles on their hands if I want to have bottled water.

It was a surprising gesture and unsure whether this was for real. I wondered if they were doing fund-raising. I knelt to their level to ask them where their parents are and how much a bottle of water is.

As I was about to ask them, two adult women came up to me explaining what the children are doing.

“We are teaching the children to give without anything in return. We are teaching people to accept without giving in return.”

What a noble idea. A random act of kindness.

This incident excited me, and in an instant I wanted to ask these strangers a million and one questions: how did you do it; what made you do it; what are the reactions did you get from other people; how many bottles did you give away; how many bottles do you have left; what time did you start; and on and on and on…

Finally, I gave them a chance to respond to my questions.

Two mothers bought 700-16oz bottled water. Placed a sticker on all bottles with five different quotes:

  1. Smile at everyone, you’ll never know when someone may need it.
  2. If Plan A does not work, there are 25 more letters in the alphabets.
  3. Have a thirst for life. Every day is filled with possibilities.
  4. In your thirst for knowledge, be sure you don’t drown in all the information.
  5. Dig your well before you’re thirsty.

 

The bottle I have has quote #5.

A sudden change of attitude opened up between me, the mothers and the children. We are no longer stranger to each other.  We were having such a great time chin wagging, and I ended up helping them give away the rest of the bottled water.

One young lady was so thankful that she happily accepted the water and said it was the best thing that happened to her all day since she had a “shitty” day at work.

A man refused and walked away saying no thanks; it’s not a bottle of beer.

A couple kept on bowing to us in gratitude. They must be Japanese or Korean or something.

When it was all done, the children and I were giving each other high-five. It was so much fun. I think I had more fun doing this than the mothers and the children. It was grand, just splendid.

These mothers provided a good example to their children how to be giving and continue giving 700 times fold. I told the children that I can’t wait to tell the children in my family about their good deeds. They were beaming with joy.

In retrospect, water is like kindness. Kindness must be continuously flowing like water. Water that is not moving becomes stagnant. It may be bottled, but in the long run, the water becomes cloudy, less appealing to drink.  Water is life-giving.

It was time to say goodbye and Michael astonished me by hugging my waistline. He was that small. Then Raine followed. The three of us were hugging each other. I was speechless.  The parents and I hugged each other as well, separately. No group hugs for adults.

I was full of gratitude to the two children, Raine and Michael, for their infectious kindness. Thanking them for stopping me in my tracks.
R and M

To the mothers, Stephanie and Jasmines, thank you for being a good example to your children. May our water of kindness remain free-flowing from one person to another.

The empty water bottle will remain on my table as a reminder to be kind, to be giving and to accept graciously, with no strings attached.

Goodbye and Goodluck

Cosmo: If my cat were failing in the way that I am, I would mix some sleeping medication in with top-quality ground beef, and when she fell asleep, carry her lovingly to the garden and do the rest. Who wants to die surrounded by strangers, no matter how excellent their care and competence?

Cosmo: If my cat were failing in the way that I am, I would mix some sleeping medication in with top-quality ground beef, and when she fell asleep, carry her lovingly to the garden and do the rest. Who wants to die surrounded by strangers, no matter how excellent their care and competence?

“Life seems somewhat like a party that I was dropped into. At first I was shy and awkward and didn`t know what the rules were. I was afraid of doing the wrong thing. It turned out that I was there to enjoy myself and I didn’t know how to do that. Someone kind talked to me and made me laugh. I began to understand that actually I had to make up my own rules and then live by them.

I did pick up that I needed to know when to leave, and that is now.”

Gillian Bennett of Bowen Island, BC ended her life at noon on August 18, 2014 rather than suffer the indignity of dementia. She wrote a personal blog  Goodbye and Goodluck to make public after her death.

Thursday Tune ~ Find your music

Let’s take a minute and find joy in the simple things.
This is who we are born to be.

Full of joy!

Let’s find a way to live in the world but
not become creatures of the world. 

Let’s deal with the troubles of the day
but wash them away.

Find your “music” today and then
find someone that you can share it with. 

 

Source:  Glennbeck: 11-month-old-twins

My Immigration Story

 

False Creek July 2014

False Creek July 2014

“My mother and I left the Ukraine on August 8th, 1991, when Ukraine was still part of the USSR. At that time, there was great political unrest My Immigration Storythroughout the Soviet Union. Communism was on the decline, and the power of the Mafia was increasing with an astonishing rate. Ukraine was in political and economic chaos. Organized crime bosses were graining political power; corruption was present at all levels of politics; and the Mafia was buying out high-level authority figures and gaining easy access to the purchase of weapons leading to gang warfare and uncontrollable violence against civilians.

My mother stood for over five days in a line-up in Moscow for the opportunity to get two international visas, one for her and one for me. Luck was on our side, for we were granted two one-month visas to Canada. On June 27, 1993, we boarded a flight to Vancouver. I was scared and eager at the same time. It was incredibly hard to leave my friends behind but I was excited for the adventure that moving great distances provided. We left with barely any belongings and a mere $250 in Canadian cash. Little did I know that our one-month trip would turn into me becoming a Canadian citizen.

For the first month my mother and I lived in Burnaby. After extensive house hunting she found a place she liked and we re-packed for the short move to False Creek. On July 1st, 1995, we received our Canadian citizenship after a mere four years in this wonderful country. I have now lived 6 years in Vancouver and am glad we chose this city over any other on the planet.”

by: Sergie Doubkov
Source: A Vancouver Story #5