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  • Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! ~ If I weren’t Italian I’d want to be Irish

     

    Happy Saint Patrick’s Day 2017! 

    Below is my Saint Patrick’s Day Post from 2015. I edited it a bit and decided to share it again. I am currently at my daughter’s house, taking care of two of my three grandkids, G and E.

    G and E are 5 and 3 years old. Today G informed me that “the Leprechaun at school was crazy.” Apparently the class went out for some activity, and when they returned they saw that the Leprechaun had made a big mess of some building blocks.

    E is not in school. He still spoke of St. Patrick’s Day though, and is sporting a green socks and a shirt that reads: “I’m not Irish but Kiss Me Anyway.”

    Even E agrees that Saint Patrick’s Day is way cool. If I weren’t Italian I would want to be Irish.

     

     



                           _______________________________________________

    Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Everyone wishes they were Irish today. 🙂 🍀 What a great heritage the Irish enjoy, especially today.

    I come from Italian roots on my dad’s side, and English roots on mom’s side. My mother sort of became Italian by default, though she does still cook in in a manner handed down from her mother, who was born in the North Carolina Blue Ridge. Mom’s ancestors came to America from England in the 1700’s. Some old world Celtic traditions were handed down in that part of Appalachia, so maybe it’s not so strange that I enjoy this Irish holiday.

    Happy Saint Patrick's Day

    Who wouldn’t? The Irish are fun.

    They drink great beer. Irish dancing is a wonder to behold. Irish cabled sweaters are intricate and cool. I plan to knit one for my husband before long. There are lots of fun traditions associated with St. Patrick’s Day.

    My daughter went to Ireland during her junior year of college. I don’t know how she managed it, as she was working her way through as a waitress, and due to her penchant for parking on the wrong side of the street, she seemed to be keeping the borough of West Chester, PA in business through constant parking tickets, fines and the like.

    However, somehow she managed a trip to Ireland. I don’t know all that went on, of course. After all, she was in college. I do remember hearing that she narrowly escaped a bar fight in Limerick.

    She’s lucky. Back then, my 5’2” little girl weighed approximately 102 pounds, soaking wet. Today, 14 years later, she’s about three pounds heavier. (Unfortunately for me, she got her weight genes from her father.)

    My husband and I worried about her for the duration of the trip, of course. That’s only to be expected. However, she does have a beautiful little daughter of her own now. Someday she’ll know how we felt. Paybacks, as they say, are hell.

    St Patrick of Ireland

    St. Patrick is one of the most beloved and well known saints in the Church.

    I love to look at the stained glass window depicting him in my own parish church. There are lovely prayer traditions associated with St. Patrick.

    From Saint Patrick’s Breastplate

    Christ be with me
    Christ before me
    Christ behind me
    Christ in me
    Christ beneath me
    Christ above me
    Christ on my right
    Christ on my left
    Christ where I lie
    Christ where I sit
    Christ where I arise
    Christ in the heart of every man
    who thinks of me
    Christ in the mouth of every man
    who speaks of me
    Christ in every eye that sees me
    Christ in every ear that hears me
    Salvation is of the Lord.

    There are many Irish prayers, blessings and sayings that have come down through the ages. All are poetic and beautiful, and sometimes sad.

    Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep

    Do not stand at my grave and weep,
    I am not there… I do not sleep.
    I am the thousand winds that blow…
    I am the diamond glints on snow…
    I am the sunlight on ripened grain…
    I am the gentle autumn rain.
    When you waken in the morning’s hush,
    I am the swift uplifting rush
    Of gentle birds in circling flight…
    I am the soft star that shines at night.
    Do not stand at my grave and cry—
    I am not there… I did not die…

    Ireland_Passing

    May neighbours respect you,
    Trouble neglect you,
    The angels protect you,
    And heaven accept you.

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    I hope everyone reading this has a fun and blessed St. Patrick’s Day. I think I’ll see if my grandkids are doing anything special today. Maybe they will make me a construction paper shamrock. 🙂

    Irish_Blessing_by_Mjollnir419

                        _________________________________________________________

    There’s not much to add to the above, except for the following video, “Lord of the Dance.”

     

    I like to watch Irish dancing, especially Michael Flatley. Seeing Riverdance is on my Bucket list. If only I could get my husband to take me…

    Incidentally, my new novel, Cadáin’s Watch, contains a character of Irish ancestry. The character is Michael Sean Wallace, protagonist Jason Wallace’s long lost father.

    Part of the father-son story is based on the tradition of the Will O’ the Wisp, or Tine Ghealáin in Irish folklore.

     

    Irish folkloric figure. What is called in other lands the will-o’-the-wisp, a light seen over bogs at night, was said in Ireland to be a lantern carried by a dead gambler doomed to wander forever because, although his soul was too stained to enter heaven, he had won his way out of hell by beating the devil at cards. His name was applied to the hollowed-out turnips (in the New World, pumpkins) used at samhain, when the veils between the worlds were thin.

    I found many legends of the Will O’ the Wisp from many European countries, but it was a bit difficult to find the Irish version. However, I did find it on some Celtic folklore website that I can’t find today.

    The above comes from an online Irish translation site. I also learned how to pronounce the phrase Tine Ghealáin from a different online site where you can listen to the words in Irish.

    To find out how I incorporated this legend into my story, read the preview at the link below. And if you like the preview, please hit that buy button, read the book, and PLEASE write a review or a few sentences about what you liked or didn’t like about the book on Amazon.

    Yes, I am begging for book reviews! Independent authors need as many reviews as possible for their books to get noticed. Getting noticed means selling more books and having more resources to put toward the next book. 🙂

    Wishing all who read this a very happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

     

    Related Post:
    Grandkids and the Grandparents who are Exhausted by Them

     


  • Voting My Catholic Conscience

    Many freedom minded people have been arguing about the election for many months.

    So, I see no reason not to weigh in during the last stretch. A month from now we will know who will be the president, so why not?

    With the exception of once or twice in moments of despair, I have kept my mouth shut on my Facebook page. I believe every person has the right to vote the way they choose, and I would expect them to give me the same option.

    Nevertheless, I have made the decision, using my well formed Catholic conscience, to vote for Donald Trump in November, and against Hillary Clinton. Following is an article in the National Catholic Register that supports my position and that of many other pro life Catholics: Vote as a Catholic with a Catholic Moral Vision

    MSGR. Charles Pope says:
    .

    On the eve of an election and as a priest I frequently am baited to comment more directly on politics by naming names, and parties. I will not do so. The temporal order belongs to the laity, not the clergy. But as a priest I must convey the moral teachings and insist that Catholics connect the dots when it comes to voting. And my advice is simple: Vote as a Catholic, not as a Republican, Democrat, conservative, or liberal. Vote as a Catholic with a Catholic moral vision.

    It is a simple fact, beyond the control of the Church, or of any individual and faithful Catholic, that most politicians of a certain party support the right of others to kill pre-born children. (Emphasis mine).

    This is a heinous crime and cannot be papered over by jargonistic terminology or overlooked by moral equivocations such as “Well, he is right on the other issues.”  Would the excuse that “he is right on the other issues” hold if the word abortion were replaced by genocide or slavery? Abortion is not an abstraction. It is a horrifying reality whose death toll has reached over 50 million in this country alone.

    Proverbs 24 says,Rescue those who are being led off to death; hold back those who are being carried to slaughter. And if you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive you? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work? (Prov 24:11-14) If we do not oppose this moral evil, we are part of the problem and God will judge us.

    The same holds for euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, and same-sex “marriage.” We cannot remain silent, let alone honor and promote those who hold these views. Do not neglect the other moral issues — but these non-negotiables, for the reasons stated and due to their deadly quality and/or the severe moral harm they cause, must be our first concern.

     

    So, here we all are. The above are non negotiable in the Catholic Church. I have loved my faith and the truths taught by the Church for so many years…I have to vote my conscience.

    Most of my concern is for Life. All human life. That of unborn children, the elderly, the mentally and physically disabled, and others who are under attack by the Democrats.

    I myself have given up worrying about same sex marriage. It’s the law of the land, and I couldn’t care less what people do in their private lives.

    However, I do have many concerns about the militant LGBT activists and their Liberal fellow travelers’ push to force churches to kowtow to THEIR moral vision.

    I’m not going to bother posting any links re the Gay lobby. The information is available online by typing in a few keywords. The same goes for the abortion push by Hilary Clinton, Planned Parenthood and others.

    So, my decision is made. Trump, even though he was not my first choice, is the only candidate that might beat Clinton. And Trump has surrounded himself with people who believe what I believe re the above moral issues and others. Therefore, I will vote for Trump, and pray that he wins. Despite his problems, he is the better candidate in my opinion.

    I’ve always believed that if our country continues toward MORE abortion, ill treatment of the elderly, and other death cult practices, that we will fade away.

    There is no way we will remain free if we allow the party who fosters a death cult to remain in power, when we can at least throw a wrench in their operation for a few years, if not longer.

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    So again… I have to vote against the Democrats. But, if the Democrats and Hillary win in November, I personally believe that America will never recover. It will be impossible for this country to ever regain any semblance of freedom in my lifetime.

    Clinton has vowed to continue and expand on the policies already in place, those that take away the rights of people like me. She will not fix economy, since she vows to keep high taxes.

    She will not increase jobs, since she plans to continue Obama’s policies without change, and has threatened to put coal miners out of business, among other energy/environmental policies.

    She has vowed to see that the Hyde Amendment is overturned, which in reality would make me a slave, because it will remove any protection whatsoever to keep my hard earned money from paying for abortions. I do not want to pay for this barbaric practice. To force me to do so via taxes is a violation of my rights as a free American.

    She is pushing for more gun control, and will appoint Supreme Court justices to see that Americans lose their 2nd amendment rights, and she has promised to allow open borders and import un-vetted refugees to America.

    There is no way to vet the refugees. They are from war torn Syria and other Muslim controlled countries, and it would take too much time to vet each one. Also, many of these people do not wish to assimilate and become Americans. They want Americans to become like them instead.

    I could go on, but the gist of it is that in four years, anyone who runs against her has no chance of winning. Democrats have recently been caught registering dead people to vote in Virginia. There are numerous other examples of voter fraud, yet they insist there is none, and will not allow voter ID laws in many states.

    So, with the above in mind, I do not believe anyone can beat Hillary in 2020. She is a criminal, and she is not above stealing votes. By the time 2020 comes around, there will be way too many immigrants who’ve come over the open Southern border on the voting rolls. They will be registered Democrats, and even if they don’t actually go into a voting booth, they WILL “vote.” And they’ll vote for Hillary.

    It will not matter who runs against her in 2020. She will win again, and by 2024, 16 years of far Left policy will have completely transformed America. We will not recognize our country, all of our traditions will have gone the way of the dinosaur, and we will be, in truth, dhimmis.

    I know some folks believe Congress will hold Hillary in check, and not approve her SCOTUS picks, but I don’t believe it. They haven’t held Obama back, and they won’t mess with Hillary either, so IMO, America will be over if she’s elected.

     

    Take a look at this video of Hillary Clinton standing for the right to dissent:

     

     

    Now please understand the truth. The above may have been true when the Democrats were protesting GWB’s presidency, but no such allowances will be made for anyone who speaks out against Hillary Clinton if she wins.

    Political Correctness has eroded the country. Federal bureaucracies have already been used against conservatives under Obama.

    If Hillary is elected, she will double down on us–those she deems irredeemable deplorables. Also, please note this fact: Just because someone does not vote for Trump doesn’t mean they won’t be counted among the deplorables.

    The Democrat flunkies who will be carrying out the Clinton agenda will not care if any given American was against Trump. If a far Leftist sees an American’s name on some list, they will not be given a free pass just because they voted Libertarian, or wrote in someone else.

    Anyone who does not vote for Hillary will also be considered a deplorable, irredeemable, un-American peon who can be targeted for anything these government workers dream up.

    Take a look at the following. I know it’s ten minutes long, and you don’t have to watch the whole thing, but it illustrates exactly the type of person who will be lording it over all of us if Hillary wins:

     

     

    The above is not an isolated incident. It is a common practice now. If Hillary wins, people like the woman above will grow braver and stronger, and will make the lives of more and more Americans a living hell.

    I can’t help but wish that such a person could be put on notice. Such behavior is abusive and bigoted, yet she’s proud of herself. But if Hillary wins, more of this type of behavior will become the norm.

    There will be more violence, more division, more denigration, and more abuse. There will be less inclusiveness, and more distrust. The country will divide yet further, and Conservatives and Libertarians will be considered non-persons, to the press, the government, and Leftists like the woman above.

    So, here’s my dilemma. I am rather ill with depression/anxiety, as diagnosed by a physician. I consider myself blessed that I found a great doctor who listens to me, and who will work tirelessly to help me manage my condition.

    Still, I must admit that battling the Leftists for the past 8 years has left me exhausted. And the constant worry about what has happened and will happen if Clinton is elected has exacerbated my condition to the point of physical illness at times.

    Sometimes I lose hours or even days when I’m overcome with depression. I’m not ashamed of my illness. It’s real, it’s chronic, it’s debilitating and it’s hellacious.

    But as I’ve said before, it’s what I was given, and it’s my responsibility to manage it, and to keep myself in the best health I can.

    So I have to plan what I will do if Clinton wins the election. And unfortunately, I’ve decided that I will not engage in politics in the future if she wins.

    I can’t deal with another election, knowing it’s Kabuki Theater. If we can’t win now, we certainly won’t win in 4 or 8 years, no matter who the Republicans run, for the reasons I listed above.

    So, I’ve already decided that I will stay off of social media in the days after the election, no matter who wins. I’m sure it will be a contentious place, and I can’t allow myself to lose a week of my life over something beyond my control.

    And if Clinton wins, I will not be involved in any way, shape or form in protesting or trying to change things. This includes voting.

    I am simply going to drop out and live my life as best I can. It hurts way too much to see news stories about Planned Parenthood clinics and the amount of death, destruction and waste of women and children’s lives as it is. I cannot bear to see these things anymore, knowing they are here to stay.

    The same goes for all the other issues.

    So… if Hillary wins, this November will be the last time I ever vote.

    I don’t say this lightly. I’ve voted in every election except one since I was 18 years old. Not to vote is a foreign idea to me.

    But at this point, it won’t do any good, and my health has suffered way too much already.

    I hope people won’t hold it against me in 2020, but I absolutely will not get involved in any attempt to “beat” Hillary. I refuse to go through this again, and I will not bother to drive to the polling place. I am staying home.

    In closing, I’m going to embed a tweet with a video re Donald Trump. I have watched it quite a few times, because it made me happy to see the little girl’s face when she realized someone cared enough to help her.

    Related Posts:

     

    Les Deplorables

    Saint Augustine and The Donald


  • Good Friday Reflections

    Today is one of the saddest, yet also one of the happiest days for Christians: Good Friday.

     

    The name itself seems a paradox. We commemorate Christ’s Crucifixion, a day of unimaginable brutality, betrayal, denial and despair. On that day the sun disappeared, the earth shook, and God Himself was taunted and mocked by His own creations.

    So how can it be called “good”? It is good because He Himself lay down His own life, for us, so that we may rise again with Him.

    We will never be in darkness. We who follow Christ will be in the Light for all eternity. This is why today is good.

    At the Good Friday Celebration today, we venerated the Cross. During the veneration we sang one of my favorite hymns– Were You There (When They Crucified My Lord).

    The following version of this American Spiritual, sung by Johnny Cash, is quite beautiful. The legend behind the song is explained by Cash.

     

     

    Were you there when they crucified my Lord? (Were you there?)
    Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
    O! Sometimes it causes me to tremble! tremble! tremble!
    Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

    Were you there when they nailed him to the cross? (Were you there?)
    Were you there when they nailed him to the cross?
    O! Sometimes it causes me to tremble! tremble! tremble!
    Were you there when they nailed him to the cross?

    Were you there when they pierced him in the side? (Were you there?)
    Were you there when they pierced him in the side?
    O! Sometimes it causes me to tremble! tremble! tremble!
    Were you there when they pierced him in the side?

    Were you there when the sun refused to shine? (Were you there?)
    Were you there when the sun refused to shine?
    O! Sometimes it causes me to tremble! tremble! tremble!
    Were you there when the sun refused to shine?

    1899 Old Plantation Hymns

     

    There is also this version, with scenes from The Passion Of The Christ, Mel Gibson’s film portraying Christ’s crucifixion. (Click only if prepared to see a realistic portrayal).

     

    I used to watch this film every Good Friday, but I no longer do. I find it difficult to watch such suffering right now, with all the brutality in the news each day.

    I just pray for God to be with all who suffer. He knows the pain of each person intimately. And He is Risen.

     

    Wishing everyone a Blessed and Happy Easter.

     

     


  • 15 Favorite Classic Rock Halloween Songs

    If you’re a habitual reader of this blog, you may know that I’m a Classic Rock fan. I thought it would be fun to choose some favorite songs that put me in a dark or spooky mood.

    I’ve mentioned before that my husband and I both adore Classic Rock. He’s been a serious fan since the early 1970s, and I’m not far behind him.

    Agents Of Fortune
    Blue Oyster Cult, Agents Of Fortune

     

    The above photo was taken this morning. The pictured album, Blue Oyster Cult’s Agents of Fortune, was purchased by my husband when he was 17, and kept carefully through all the years since then. So of course we both have our favorite spooky or dark songs. I’m going to list them here, in order of my preference.

    Disclaimer: I am not a particular fan of Ozzy Osbourn, or the group Black Sabbath, though I was as a teen. But their music fits the Halloween theme, and I do admit the group was talented, so one of their songs is included.

    Disclaimer 2: When it comes to music, I care zero for politics. There are songs here from both ends of the political spectrum and some in between. For my own peace of mind, music must be separated from the antics of the artists unless, of course, they commit actual treason. And I know of no American artist that has actually been treasonous, unless draft dodging is considered treason. With regard to the Vietnam conflict, my opinion is simply this: I have more love, respect and gratitude to the GIs who went than I can possibly express in words.

    Not all of the songs listed have traditional Halloween style horror themes. Some are just extremely sad, and others are my own personal vision of horrors that others may not even consider worth thinking about. So, here goes:

    15. Sympathy For The Devil ~ The Rolling Stones

    The above lyrics explain everything.

     

    14. Riders On The Storm ~ The Doors

    My thoughts on Jim Morrison: A very sad and disturbed individual. I make zero judgements; perhaps he was suffering from depression. His end was sad, but not unexpected. His drug use killed him, like so many other talents.

     

    13. Welcome To My Nightmare ~ Alice Cooper

     

    I like the title track to this album, though the album itself is rather disturbing.

     

    12. The Wizard ~ Black Sabbath

    One of Black Sabbath’s better songs. Reminds me of a ghost train, and the lyrics aren’t ghoulish.

    Misty morning,clouds in the sky
    without warning, the wizard walks by
    casting his shadow,weaving his spell
    funny clothes,twinkling bells
    never talking…just keeps walking…spreading his magic

    Evil powers disappear
    demons worry when the wizard is near
    he turns tears into joy
    everyone’s happy when the wizard walks by
    never talking…just keeps walking…spreading his magic

    Sun is shining,clouds have gone by
    all the people,give a happy sigh
    he has passed by,given his sign
    left all the people,feeling so fine
    never talking…just keeps walking…spreading his magic

     

    11. Stranglehold ~ Ted Nugent

    The name says it all…

     

    Mother Should I Trust The Government

     

    10. The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald ~ Gordon Lightfoot

    Sad and eerie true story. How must those men have felt? May they rest in eternal peace.

    The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
    Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
    The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
    When the skies of November turn gloomy
    With a load of iron ore twenty-six thousand tons more
    Than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty
    That good ship and true was a bone to be chewed
    When the gales of November came early

    The ship was the pride of the American side
    Coming back from some mill in Wisconsin
    As the big freighters go, it was bigger than most
    With a crew and good captain well seasoned
    Concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms
    When they left fully loaded for Cleveland
    Then later that night when the ship’s bell rang
    Could it be the north wind they’d been feelin’?

    The wind in the wires made a tattle-tale sound
    When the wave broke over the railing
    And every man knew, as the captain did too
    ‘Twas the witch of November come stealin’
    The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait
    When the gales of November came slashin’
    When afternoon came it was freezing rain
    In the face of a hurricane west wind

    When suppertime came, the old cook came on deck
    Sayin’ “Fellas, it’s too rough to feed ya”
    At seven PM a main hatchway caved in
    He said, “Fellas, it’s been good to know ya”
    The captain wired in he had water comin’ in
    And the good ship and crew was in peril
    And later that night when his lights went out of sight
    Came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

    Does anyone know where the love of God goes
    When the waves turn the minutes to hours?
    The searchers all say they’d have made Whitefish Bay
    If they’d put fifteen more miles behind her
    They might have split up or they might have capsized
    They may have broke deep and took water
    And all that remains is the faces and the names
    Of the wives and the sons and the daughters

    Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings
    In the rooms of her ice-water mansion
    Old Michigan steams like a young man’s dreams
    The islands and bays are for sportsmen
    And farther below, Lake Ontario
    Takes in what Lake Erie can send her
    And the iron boats go as the mariners all know
    With the gales of November remembered

    In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed
    In the Maritime Sailors’ Cathedral
    The church bell chimed ’til it rang twenty-nine times
    For each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald
    The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
    Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
    Superior, they said, never gives up her dead
    When the gales of November come early

     

    Desperado

     

    9. Witchy Woman ~ The Eagles

    Cool, witchy song.

     

    8. Frankenstein ~ Edgar Winter Group

    Great use of organ, synthesizers, guitar, saxophone and percussion in this instrumental.

     

    7. Spooky ~ Atlanta Rhythm Section

    Fun song about love.

     

    6. Hotel California ~ The Eagles

    This is a deep and dark song. I’ve loved it since I was 15 years old. The lyrics are laden with meaning.

    Mirrors on the ceiling,
    The pink champagne on ice
    And she said “We are all just prisoners here of our own device”
    And in the master’s chambers,
    They gathered for the feast
    They stab it with their steely knives,
    But they just can’t kill the beast

    Last thing I remember, I was
    Running for the door
    I had to find the passage back
    To the place I was before
    “Relax, ” said the night man,
    “We are programmed to receive.
    You can check-out any time you like,
    But you can never leave.”

     

    5. Thriller ~ Michael Jackson

    Though not Classic Rock, I couldn’t leave this one out. It brings back memories of better times.

     

    4. I Put A Spell On You ~ Creedence Clearwater Revival

    Simply put, great music. Bluesy and dark toned.

     

    3. Ghost Riders In The Sky ~ Stan Jones ~ Performed by The Outlaws

    Creepy presentation of this song.

     

    2. Rhiannon ~ Fleetwood Mac

    When introducing this song in the video above, Stevie Nicks says: “This is a song about an old Welsh Witch.” According to Celtic legend, the goddess Rhiannon rode a white horse and traveled with three birds that had healing powers. The birds appear in various Celtic symbols.

    “It wasn’t until 1978 that I found out about (Welsh medieval prose tales) Mabinogion and that Branwen and Rhiannon are in there too, and that Rhiannon wasn’t a witch at all; she was a mythological queen. But my story was definitely written about a celestial being, I didn’t know who Rhiannon was, exactly, but I knew she was not of this world.” ~ Stevie Nicks

    This song is from Fleetwood Mac’s album, Rumors, which has been a favorite of mine since its release in 1975. Read more about Rhiannon’s origins in Medieval Welsh mythology here.

     

     

    I don’t look at this as a song about death or as something to be afraid of. But is does bring to mind the Grim Reaper.

    All our times have come
    Here but now they’re gone
    Seasons don’t fear the reaper
    Nor do the wind, the sun or the rain… we can be like they are
    Come on baby… don’t fear the reaper
    Baby take my hand… don’t fear the reaper
    We’ll be able to fly… don’t fear the reaper
    Baby I’m your man…

    La la la la la
    La la la la la

    Valentine is done
    Here but now they’re gone
    Romeo and Juliet
    Are together in eternity… Romeo and Juliet
    40, 000 men and women everyday… Like Romeo and Juliet
    40, 000 men and women everyday… Redefine happiness
    Another 40, 000 coming everyday… We can be like they are
    Come on baby… don’t fear the reaper
    Baby take my hand… don’t fear the reaper
    We’ll be able to fly… don’t fear the reaper
    Baby I’m your man…

    La la la la la
    La la la la la

    Love of two is one
    Here but now they’re gone
    Came the last night of sadness
    And it was clear she couldn’t go on
    Then the door was open and the wind appeared
    The candles blew and then disappeared
    The curtains flew and then he appeared… saying don’t be afraid
    Come on baby… and she had no fear
    And she ran to him… then they started to fly
    They looked backward and said goodbye… she had become like they are
    She had taken his hand… she had become like they are
    Come on baby… don’t fear the reaper.

     

    So, you see, death is not to be feared. Seasons don’t fear it; the seasons change, and the leaves, after showing their greatest glory in the fall, die and turn brown on the ground.  But spring always arrives again. It’s a sign of hope, not a sign of fear or death. The wind and the sun and the rain will always return, even if they leave our human sight and perception for a time.

    As a Roman Catholic I put my complete faith in Christ. He, and only He will choose the time I leave this earth. And He, Christ, is Love. So do not fear death, because death in Christ is Everlasting Life.

    As the fun of Halloween turns into the seeming darkness of November, remember this. 

     

    Halloween is the eve of the Feast of All Saints. 

    So here’s one more video, The Litany of The Saints. May all the Saints in Heaven pray for us here on earth.

     

     


  • Book Review ~ The Violet Crow by Michael Sheldon

    Today’s review is The Violet Crow, by Michael Sheldon.

     The Violet Crow started by giving me a creepy feeling. It was the atmosphere.

     

    VioletCrow_Cover-final A murder victim sitting straight up in the middle of a Quaker Meeting was nothing I expected; I had an idea that this book might be a mystery with a purple crow being the key that unlocked it. Boy, was I wrong.


    The fact that I was born and raised in roughly the same area of the Country as the setting of the book made it all the more spooky. There are plenty of Quaker Meetings in Chester County PA. I always enjoy reading books with settings I recognize and this book had plenty of them. Atlantic City and the Jersey Shore, the Pine Barrens (which always put me in mind of a monster, the fabled New Jersey Devil), University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City, the Lenape tribe of Native Americans and other familiar people and places were sprinkled throughout.

    Bruno X, the protagonist, was a delight to read. A bit snarky, a bit neurotic and someone with heart, Bruno the psychic detective really cares about helping solve the murders taking place in the little South Jersey town. His adventures while doing so were sometimes surprising– and sometimes they made me laugh out loud.

    Other characters were very finely written as well, especially Peaches the reporter and Icky the stoner. All were tied together by Bruno, as he finds the clues that ultimately solve the crimes. Master Quentin, another character, taught me something about history of which I was unaware–another great reason to buy this book!

    All in all, a very entertaining story. I’m not a harsh critic like some folks, since I know exactly how much authors pour into their writing. If any given book can do at least three out of four things (not distract me with dead-end plot-lines, make me laugh out loud, make me shed a tear, or make me feel like I’m lost in a world the author created) I give the book 5 stars.

    Michael Sheldon’s Bruno X made me laugh, kept me enthralled, and had a plot that kept me guessing, so that’s a 5.

    If you’re looking for something different, with characters both quirky and compassionate, pick up this book and escape from the world for awhile.

     

    BOOK 3

    Bruno X is one cool dude. Don’t miss this mystery. My rating: 5 stars

     

    For more on Michael Sheldon, please visit his website, Mickey Z’s Boardwalk. And for folks in the Tri-State area, visit Michael this Saturday, October 3, at the Collingswood Book Festival in Collingswood New Jersey, smack dab in the middle of Bruno X Country.


  • The Culture War In The Streets Of Philadelphia

    As if any more proof were needed that there is, indeed, a culture war, and that said war is descending into nasty trenches of slimy muck, here’s a story: A group of exhibitionists rode naked through the streets of Philadelphia on bicycles Saturday.
    After a day spent helping family deal with a medical issue, nothing life threatening but still stressful, I don’t have the mental clarity to work on book three. (Though I do have a potential title in mind, finally). So, after seeing this story on my Facebook newsfeed, I decided to… well… cut it apart, tromp on it with my keyboard combat boots and stamp it down into the nasty, slimy muck of the SJW culture trench.

    To begin, please see this article entitled: Is saying Merry Christmas politically correct?

    It seems a bit odd that this article ever had to be written. A slew of similar articles have been written over the past few years. With the addition of news stories, blog posts and my own fear of actually saying the words “Merry Christmas” in public, I believe that there has indeed been an attempt to marginalize the real meaning of Christmas by the Social Justice Warrior crowd. They want no mention of prayer, Christ and God in the public square. If you’re reading this, waving your hand and saying: “Piffle. No such thing has happened. Americans have never shouted down prayer in public, or ridiculed people who pray, or made others feel uncomfortable when they say Merry Christmas. This woman is a religious nutcase,” then stop reading now. You won’t like this post, so don’t torture yourself. Just go. I’m going to contrast the tendency of SWJs to frown upon traditions such as prayer, etc. with their seeming nonchalance when a group of people decide to get naked in the streets in broad daylight. This is my prerogative. I will write what I please on my own blog.

    I don’t need any more convincing, so I will proceed with my post.

    If you’re still here, please watch the following video. Also see Philadelphia, with Tom Hanks, 1993.

     

    Okay. So if you’ve never been to Philadelphia you can see many moving scenarios in the video above. City Hall, the Philly skyline, the Liberty Bell, the Ben Franklin Bridge, sweet schoolchildren, firefighters, underprivileged neighborhoods, homeless people and piles of trash in the streets. There are also great lyrics to reflect upon. (Forgive me for my almost incessant usage of Springsteen’s music in both blogging and books, but the man has rented permanent space in my head. Also, there’s a Springsteen song for pretty much every situation in life, both bad and good).

    So as you see, there are in fact many opportunities to bring awareness to many different causes by visiting the streets of Philadelphia, even in a 3 minute video. For ways to help the underprivileged in Philly, please see Catholic Social Services, Philadelphia.

    So should I wonder at the Naked Bike ride? Am I an old fuddy-duddy, living in the past and needing to get with the times because I see no redeeming feature in a bunch of people riding through the streets naked without even the courtesy to warn people they are coming within a reasonable time frame? I don’t think so. For the Naked Bike Riders to give only 24 hours notice of the fact that they will be cruising the streets alá Anthony Weiner, exposing unsuspecting families to their nasty naked selves, is plain rude and inconsiderate.  I’m not a fuddy-duddy. They are trying to get, pardon the pun, a “rise” out of traditional Americans.

    If you don’t believe me, please click here. Then click on the link to YouTube & find a video, one with a warning. Then play the video. You will see that I am not joking. You may also become ill, but at least you will know I’m telling the truth.

    Again, please, if you are a SWJ or a CHORF, go while you have the chance. (Science Fiction friends, please forgive my co-opting of the term CHORF. As I told Declan Finn on his excellent internet radio show, The Catholic Geek, I feel the acronym crosses multiple boundaries, and applies across the board to the cold Civil War we are fighting in America at this time). So CHORFs, again, go elsewhere unless you decide to actually consider the opinions of other Americans for once. I am assuming, rightly or wrongly I care not which, that you might just approve of cyclists going commando. This is your last warning.

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    The following quotes are taken from this AP article.

    Thousands of bicyclists in various stages of undress have pedaled their way around the city to promote fuel conservation and positive body image.

    Okay. So unsuspecting people walking the streets of Philly, perhaps with young children in tow, should just take heart. The reason you might have come around a corner and seen the following (perhaps traumatizing your child for life) was because these cyclists have a good body image, and they are also promoting fuel conservation.

    Philly Naked Bike Ride
    Photo credit, NJ.Com

    Well, that’s a relief. (If you screamed and ran away, dragging your child by the hand and perhaps tripping off the curb, falling and chipping a tooth, take heart! This dude wants to promote body image. Namely his. Who are you to say he shouldn’t? This is America, Land of the Free, Home of the Brave. Especially those who have courage enough to subject their naked rear-ends to hard plastic bike seats while cruising city streets. The fact that you might have been scared out of your wits at the sight of their dangling junk is not important. What’s important is their body image.

    And also fuel conservation. How… politically correct. So, for the naked bikers and all SJWs and CHORFs who support their endeavor, this is for you:

    Now remember, this is only one of many, many such displays. Hundreds, maybe thousands of them will be set up and flashing from Thanksgiving until New Years every single night, using high voltage and burning energy by the ton, celebrating Christmas and giving young children joy.

    Remember, I wrote that if you sympathize with the cyclists you would not like it here. Don’t be afraid of the following. It’s only a clip from a movie.

    Now please. It was only a clip from a movie. The scary muscle cars and the men driving them are nothing to be upset about. I just wanted to break the news in an entertaining way. (Wooderson, the Matthew McConahey character, is one of my favorites of all time). Here’s the scoop: In addition to the thousands of Christmas Light Displays all across America, there will also be cars full of families driving to see the lights each and every night. They will pile into their cars (unnecessarily some may say) and drive for miles to see the things that make them happy, neglecting to conserve fuel. Some families may visit multiple displays, and many will be driving gas guzzlers. Maybe even classic cars like the ones in the above clip. This might be frightening but you will just have to accept it. I myself am going to insist on seeing a light show somewhere this year, and I will make sure my husband drives me in our 1974 Corvette Stingray, the one with side pipes. Unfortunately it’s not good on gas, but we rednecks must have our bit of fun. Don’t be mad!

    Ed Blanton traveled from Arlington, Virginia, to ride nude in the Philly event for the fourth time “because I’m a bicyclist and it’s fun.”

    He wore just a sign on his back: “The earth is the Lord’s.”

    “I like to get this message out,” he said before hopping gingerly onto his bike and riding off.

    So, Mr Ed, not as smart as a talking horse, but perhaps similar to a horse’s ass, traveled to Philadelphia from Virginia (using FUEL) because he’s a bicyclist and he wants to have fun. That’s it. The Earth is The Lord’s. (Just not that pesky fuel). That’s just the EARTH’s and should be conserved by making a statement and showing your bare ass to unsuspecting sight-seers after it’s been gingerly positioned on a bicycle seat.

    I do hope Ed and others didn’t forget to check the following list, found on the Philadelphia Naked Ride Website.

    Q: What should I do to prepare for the ride? 

    1. Read and follow this: Code of Conduct

    2. Make sure your bike works.

    3. You might want to pack these things:

    • Clothes for after the ride
    • A way to carry your clothes with you or on your bike
    • Shoes
    • Helmet (highly recommended)
    • Money for any pre-ride and after ride activities, and to donate to PNBR
    • Phone
    • Water
    • Patch kit
    • Bandaids
    • Sunblock
    • Bug spray
    • Decorations for your body and your bike

    Don’t want to carry a backpack? Wrap your stuff in a plastic bag and duct tape it to your frame.

    Imagine showing up at the ride after traveling all the way from Virginia and realizing you had neglected to bring your helmet, sunscreen and bug spray. Oh, the horror!

    You may have noticed that 1st on the list to prepare to cycle naked through the City Of Brotherly Love was the Code Of Conduct, headed “Respect For All Bodies.” Following is an excerpt.

    Respect for All Bodies

    The Philly Naked Bike Ride is dedicated to making cycling, nudity and free expression safe and enjoyable for everyone.

    PNBR’s Sexual and Physical Harassment Policy

    WE (organizers, volunteers, and participants) will ensure that all meetings and events pertaining to and organized by the Philly Naked Bike Ride are safe, comfortable and enjoyable for everyone involved.

    WE (organizers, volunteers, and participants) will ensure that no one, under any circumstance, participates in any form of sexual or physical harassment.

    Sexual and physical harassment is: Unwelcome verbal remarks or physical behavior of a sexual nature, especially when concerning a person’s body or sexuality.

    Unwelcome Behavior is the critical word. Unwelcome does not mean “involuntary.” A victim may consent or agree to certain conduct and actively participate in it even though it is offensive and objectionable. Therefore, conduct or behavior is unwelcome whenever the person subjected to it considers it unwelcome. Whether the person in fact welcomed the act or behavior depends on all the circumstances.

    Sexual and physical harassment includes, but is not limited to, the following unwanted behaviors:

    • Commenting on another person’s body (Comment: A remark, opinion or description)
    • Commenting on another person’s sexuality (Sexuality: Anything relating to the person’s sexual nature as a human being)
    • Expressing an opinion about another person’s body
    • Expressing an opinion about an aspect of another person’s body
    • Expressing an opinion about another person’s sexuality
    • Expressing an opinion about an aspect of another person’s sexuality
    • Unwanted sexual looks or gestures
    • Cat calls
    • Comments about a person’s anatomy, clothing or looks
    • Unwanted sexual or physical jokes, teasing, remarks or questions
    • Asking someone about their body or their sexuality
    • Touching someone’s clothing, hair or body without their permission
    • Staring at someone
    • Asking personal questions about social or sexual life
    • Looking a person up and down (elevator eyes)
    • Following someone
    • Repeatedly asking out a person who is not interested
    • Asking about sexual fantasies, preferences or history
    • Making sexual gestures with hands or other body movements

    WE (organizers, volunteers, and participants) vow to confront anyone that we see engaging in these types of behaviors.

    The PNBR is dedicated to the prevention of sexual and physical harassment at all PNBR meetings and events. The PNBR reserves the right to remove any organizer, volunteer, or participant who violates this policy from the event in which the violation occurs as well as ban the violator from any and all future PNBR events.

    Okay. So a bunch of nude exhibitionists decide to ride through the 5th largest city in America on a Saturday afternoon, through crowds of people, some of whom came out especially to watch them flip and flop past on the streets, and some of whom were not expecting to see such a sight. But the Naked people all agree that no one will look at another, comment on another, or make gestures with hands or other body parts unless the looks etc. are not unwanted. What about the 44 double Ds? Will their owner be subject to confrontation because someone complains about inadvertent bouncing? What if someone hits a speed bump and something swings? What if the owner of 44 double Ds glances randomly behind herself just at the moment when Mr. Ed hits a cobblestone? What if his gingerly placed ass somehow shifts at just the wrong moment, causing the inadvertent movement of that which he uses to get the word out? Why are there so many rules about unwanted looks, words and gestures among the naked cyclists, when zero respect is given to the general public who might be surprised by them?

    meme

     

    Does anyone else think they are on some kind of long strange trip? Click here for a google search of “Naked Philly Bike Ride.” Compare the amount of coverage 3,000 exhibitionists riding for fun, body image and fake fuel conservation received to the network coverage of the Planned Parenthood video exposés. 3,000 nude cyclists vs tens of thousands of butchered children, and who gets the media’s attention? The junk danglers. And all of this occurs while there is a hue and cry at times if a woman simply whips out a breast in order to feed her own baby. Strange. Long strange crazy trip.

    I think I proved my point. Let’s move on from the cyclists for a bit.

    The more I hear and see of such pushing of the boundaries of decency, the more I wish to retreat from the world. I guess I’m a throwback. I feel that grown-ups should remain inside their homes, or locker rooms or gyms, etc. while in the buff. How very backward I must seem to some.

    Speaking of “backward” I have had a deep longing lately to attend Latin Mass. The closest Latin Masses to me are in Philly or Lancaster, PA, always on Sunday, of course. My husband works every Sunday, so I doubt I will go for quite some time. Still, I long to, and I plan to wear a veil.

    women-57113_1280

    Reading stories such as the one above make me want to retreat from the insanity.

    I believe I will order a veil to have on hand, just in case we ever go to Latin Mass. I like the one below. Perhaps a CHORF will see me somewhere and find me offensive. Good.

    IMG_1444__10070.1378185794.1280.1280

     

    Again, I believe my point about the sliminess of the culture war has been made here. We are all affected by it. We must all descend into the trenches at times, but we with a bit of class don’t need to wallow in the muck. We should stay above it as best we can, however such a debacle as described above deserved the keyboard grenade I just threw at it. I feel better now.


  • Happy St. Patrick’s Day

    Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Everyone wishes they were Irish today 🙂 What a great heritage the Irish enjoy, especially today.

     

    I come from Italian roots on my dad’s side, and English roots on mom’s side. My mother sort of became Italian by default, though she does still cook in in a manner handed down from her mother, who was born in the North Carolina Blue Ridge. Mom’s ancestors came to America from England in the 1700’s. Some old world Celtic traditions were handed down in that part of Appalachia, so maybe it’s not so strange that I enjoy this Irish holiday.

    cute-leprechaun-2013-MEDIUM

    Who wouldn’t? The Irish are fun.

    They drink great beer. Irish dancing is a wonder to behold. Irish cabled sweaters are intricate and cool. I plan to knit one for my husband before long. There are lots of fun traditions associated with St. Patrick’s Day.

    My daughter went to Ireland during her junior year of college. I don’t know how she managed it, as she was working her way through as a waitress, and due to her penchant for parking on the wrong side of the street, she seemed to be keeping the borough of West Chester, PA in business through constant parking tickets, fines and the like.

    However, somehow she managed a trip to Ireland. I don’t know all that went on, of course. After all, she was in college. I do remember hearing that she narrowly escaped a bar fight in Limerick.

    She’s lucky. Back then, my 5’2” little girl weighed approximately 102 pounds, soaking wet. Today, 14 years later, she’s about three pounds heavier. (Unfortunately for me, she got her weight genes from her father.)

    My husband and I worried about her for the duration of the trip, of course. That’s only to be expected. However, she does have a beautiful little daughter of her own now. Someday she’ll know how we felt. Paybacks, as they say, are hell.

     

    St Patrick Shamrock Image

    St. Patrick is one of the most beloved and well known saints in the Church.

     

    I love to look at the stained glass window depicting him in my own parish church. There are lovely prayer traditions associated with St. Patrick.

    From Saint Patrick’s Breastplate

    Christ be with me
    Christ before me
    Christ behind me
    Christ in me
    Christ beneath me
    Christ above me
    Christ on my right
    Christ on my left
    Christ where I lie
    Christ where I sit
    Christ where I arise
    Christ in the heart of every man
    who thinks of me
    Christ in the mouth of every man
    who speaks of me
    Christ in every eye that sees me
    Christ in every ear that hears me
    Salvation is of the Lord.

    There are many Irish prayers, blessings and sayings that have come down through the ages. All are poetic and beautiful, and sometimes sad.

    Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep

    Do not stand at my grave and weep,
    I am not there… I do not sleep.
    I am the thousand winds that blow…
    I am the diamond glints on snow…
    I am the sunlight on ripened grain…
    I am the gentle autumn rain.
    When you waken in the morning’s hush,
    I am the swift uplifting rush
    Of gentle birds in circling flight…
    I am the soft star that shines at night.
    Do not stand at my grave and cry—
    I am not there… I did not die…

    Ireland_Passing

    May neighbours respect you,
    Trouble neglect you,
    The angels protect you,
    And heaven accept you.

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    I hope everyone reading this has a fun and blessed St. Patrick’s Day. I think I’ll see if my grandkids are doing anything special today. Maybe they will make me a construction paper shamrock. 🙂

    Irish_Blessing_by_Mjollnir419


  • With Heartfelt Thanks

    My Free Kindle promotion for Tears Of Paradox will be ending at midnight. I am in shock at its success. As of this writing, 292 copies of my novel have been downloaded. The promotion runs through midnight, so I expect to get a few more downloads, and I’m reasonably sure that at least 300 people will have my book on their devices.

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    This is a truly momentous occasion for me. Numerous people supported my campaign by sharing Facebook posts and tweets, or just giving me a kind word of encouragement. Special thanks to my wonderful family and friends, both at home and online.

    Thanks also to Daria DiGiovanni, Kia Heavey, Marina Fontaine and everyone at CLFA. Your friendship and support help me more than you’ll ever know.

    To new readers, I’m honored that you downloaded Tears. I hope you enjoy the read, and please follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

    thank-you


  • Free Book Promotion

    I’m very excited about some new things that are happening. Rather than wait for January, I’ve decided to think about resolutions early this year. First on the list is reaching out to old friends and new readers. In order to do this, I started a Go Fund Me campaign for my cause. My cause is simply to “raise” Facebook likes and Twitter followers.

    I enjoy social media, and have made many friends on these platforms. However, new and unknown authors struggle to connect with readers. Many of us don’t have agents or publicists, and it’s up to us to do the work. That’s why I’m doing my best to connect with people who will enjoy my work.

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    My books are different than many offered by mainstream publishing houses. My message is one of family, friendship and tradition. It’s also a spooky tale of the future, and what might happen in America. The cover above was designed by yours truly. It will always have sentimental value, but I’m looking forward to republishing Tears Of Paradox with a brand new cover sometime in the very near future.

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    I am absolutely thrilled with the new cover, and can’t wait until it’s ready. My cover designer, Kia Heavey, has done a spectacular job. I’m very thankful to all readers, supporters and friends. In the spirit of the season, a time for giving, I want to give friends and readers both old and new a free gift. Beginning tomorrow (Saturday) and running through Sunday, Tears Of Paradox will be FREE on Kindle! You can check out the reviews on Amazon.

    I would really like to connect with new readers and friends. Please check out Tears Of Paradox and my home page/website, where you can find many links to radio appearances and reviews. And please join my Facebook page. It’s fun and happy.

    One more item of note. Today is the feast of Our Lady Of Guadalupe, who appeared to a poor man living in Mexico in the 1500s. Please click the link to read about the miracles associated with Mary, Mother of Jesus as she appeared to Juan Diego.

    If you’ve been following me for awhile, you’ll know that I’m devoted to Mary. This is not worship. We Catholics worship only Christ as God in the Holy Trinity. Still, we do honor His Mother, who endured great suffering to bring Him to us.

    I am praying today, that Jesus will allow my book promotion to bring something good to readers. I am also praying that Our Lady of Guadalupe will intercede on my behalf, and ask her Son to help me get the word out. After all, she’s His mom. What Son wouldn’t do what His beloved Mother asked of Him, if it’s His will? If you’re reading this, please send up a prayer or a good thought for a happy outcome for this promotion.

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    Of course, as always I end my petition with these words: God’s will be done.


  • Friends

    In addition to the family and friends with whom we spend time face to face, today we are lucky enough to have the added friendship of people we meet online. This is truly a blessing.

    Some of the people I feel closest to are those I have met on Facebook and twitter, and I don’t know what I’d do without them.

     

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    Most of us are familiar with the sayings “You are who you hang out with” “Birds of a feather flock together” and “Keep good company.”  Our parents told us these things for a reason.

    Due to political and cultural differences, Americans have become divided and polarized. Neighbors don’t always act neighborly. This is a sad fact. I hope and pray that we can someday overcome our differences and heal our divisions, but until that day comes, we should hang out with people who uplift us and support us rather than those who deride and degrade us.

    Today I was privileged to join five online friends on the Writestream Radio Network’s new monthly feature, “Shatter the Narrative,” where we discussed certain aspects of the divided country that America has become. If it wasn’t for the internet, I would never have met these new friends, and others as well.

    Again, I am very thankful for all of my friends, old and new.

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