Jul 25, 2016

For the Love of Reading, and All Things Holy

I used to think that cruises were the ultimate vacation. Cruising has lost its appeal.

Those of us who "get it" know that giving is the greatest high. For God so loved the world that He gave...

I joined a great team of people to take books to schools in Costa Rica. Here are the highlights of my journey:

We did not stay at a luxury resort where the goal of the day was how drunk you can get. We stayed in a charming hotel in Alajuela, with hospitable and kind people. We saw urban landscape with shoe stores, dental clinics, sodas (cafes), auto repairs, and tiny farms, ALL IN THE SAME BLOCK!


With iron fence and razor wire on the outside of these buildings (some entwined with flowers to soften the harsh reality), the inside contains the real charm and beauty.


Costa Rica is a very Catholic country. We saw cathedrals (accidentally crashed a wedding - oops) including Basilica of Our Lady of the Angels which, like all of them, don't have padded seats or padded kneelers. Half the population of the country makes the pilgrimage to this Basilica each year, by foot, by horseback, whatever, to honor "La Negrita," the black Virgin Mary, Patron Saint of Costa Rica. Thee pilgrims walk down the aisle to the altar on their knees to unite with the agony of Jesus.

Some of the Cathedrals we visited:

  
  
 I did not get an opportunity to attend Mass, because I had to stay with the group. However, I was able to pray at each Cathedral, light a candle at some, and marvel in architecture and beauty.


The Costa Rican people were so kind, and the food - wow! Each morning, the smiling waitress would put a plate in front of you: pineapple, banana, and watermelon. I have tasted pineapple, and it never tasted like this! Fresh, fresh, fresh!

This is the view at breakfast. Please note the open air. No screens or glass. Just open air. 




 I'm pretty sure that the fresh air and fresh fruit are the fountain of youth. We saw 80-something year old people doing the merengue in the park!

The coffee was amazing. Just. Amazing.


We worked in the warehouse gathering books to take to the schools. Six schools got books; one got dental supplies.

















The books were mostly Spanish, with some easy-English books.




And the best part.... sharing the books with students! 








These kids were so excited about the books! They thought we were rock stars! They asked for our autograph. They wanted to practice their English with us. They start learning English in the lower grades. They know that they will greatly improve their economic situation if they can learn English, so they are very motivated.






If you want to share your love of reading with Costa Rican children (oh, and see breath taking nature such as La Paz waterfall, Poas Volcano, Doka Coffee Plantation, and experience a home visit with locals) please consider partnering with with Give-A-Book.

If you're not able to travel, you can donate money so that others can travel. You or your organization can "adopt" a school library for $800.

This is a perfect project/mission trip for teachers, librarians, and those who love reading (to see children so excited about books!), for nature lovers (Waterfalls, nature preserves, volcanoes, oh and did I mention we saw a sloth? How often do you see a sloth?)





coffee lovers, people lovers, foodies, or those who just want to make a difference in the world, by opening up the world to children via donated books!


For more information, contact Carl Dickerson (who has run this ministry for 20+ years)

carldickerson55@gmail.com or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GiveABookToChildren/?fref=ts

Thanks and God bless you as you seek God's purpose for your life.





Dec 15, 2015

Discernment

We are commanded to love others. We are not commanded to like them, to enjoy spending time with them, to want to sit on their lap, to tell them our deepest desires.

It's ok, Honey. I get it. Clowns are creepy, too.

Nov 22, 2015

How Not to Witness Your Catholic Faith

What good Christian witness this car exhibits!
Choose Life license plate, check.
Keep Christ in Christmas, check.
Catholic radio station magnet, check.

Not one but two bumper stickers calling me stupid and asshole.

Really?

Whatever good you might have done, you just blew it. It's not funny. It's offensive, and makes people think you serve some kind of weird perverse god who teaches that you can call people vulgar names and still be a great saint. The Protestants already think Catholics are evil - stop pouring gasoline on the fire!

If you're going to witness your faith, witness it! If you have a Jesus anything on your car, you'd better drive with integrity. And please get rid of those bumper stickers. You embarrass those of us who really do try to witness the faith.

Nov 16, 2015

Compliments

Compliments, like perfume, are meant to be inhaled, not swallowed. However, false modesty can prevent us from receiving compliments properly.

Do not deny the merit.

"That was a really great somersault, DW!"
Wrong:
"Oh, no! It was terrible! Yours are MUCH better!"
Right:
"Thank you, Emily! I appreciate your coaching."

"You were awesome help at our event tonight, Arthur."
Wrong:
Awwww, you're way too kind.
Right:
Thanks, I'm happy to help.

Make the giver of the compliment, just as the giver of a gift, feel comfortable.

Nov 12, 2015

Luck

At our house, we don't say "good luck." We don't believe in "luck;" we believe in Jesus.

However, I read a quote once that said "Luck is what happens when opportunity meets preparedness." (I don't know the author.) That quote has stuck with me, because what others attribute to "luck" (something that complainers and excuse-makers lament that everyone else has but them,) is really a result of that person's choices. Not one big choice, but an accumulation of a lifetime of choices.

If you consistently live below your means, don't spend tomorrow's prosperity today by incurring stupid debt and payday loans, do settle for less today (even if it means ramen noodles from time to time,) so that you have something to invest, a seed to plant, you will find that when an opportunity comes along, you are in a position to take advantage of it, because you have invest-able money set aside.

Or, you could just live on borrowed money, complain and make excuses.... and wonder why you're not as lucky as some.

Nov 1, 2015

Litany of Saints

I just love the John Becker arrangement.
Lyrics:
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Verse 1.
Mary and Joseph, pray for us.
Michael and all angels, pray for us.
Anna, Joachim, Elizabeth, pray for us.
Elijah, Moses, John the Baptist, pray for us.
Isaac, Sarah, Abraham, pray for us.
Jacob, Joseph, Samuel, pray for us.
Ruth, David and Solomon, pray for us.
Isaiah, Jeremiah, pray for us.
All you holy men and women, pray for us.
Verse 2.
Peter, Paul, Andrew, pray for us.
James, John, and all apostles, pray for us.
Mary Magdelene, Veronica, pray for us.
Barnabas, Matthias, pray for us.
Stephen, Philip, and Cornelius, pray for us.
Prisca and Aquila, pray for us.
Timothy and Titus, pray for us.
Linus, Cletus, and Clement, pray for us.
All you holy men and women, pray for us.
Verse 3.
Lawrence and Chrysogonus, pray for us.
Innocent and Boniface, pray for us.
Hippolytus and Origen, pray for us.
Athanasius and Basil, pray for us.
Felicity, Perpetua, pray for us.
Cosmos and Damien, pray for us.
John Chrysostom and Justin, pray for us.
Lucy, Agatha, and Agnes, pray for us.
All you holy men and women, pray for us.
Verse 4.
Jerome and Eusebius, pray for us.
Scholastica and Benedict, pray for us.
Ambrose, Monica, Augustine, pray for us.
Martin and Gregory, pray for us.
Clare, Francis, and Dominic, pray for us.
Francis Xavier, Ignatius, pray for us.
Elizabeth and Catherine, pray for us.
Louis and Wenceslaus, pray for us.
All you holy men and women, pray for us.
Verse 5.
Lord, be merciful, save your people.
From all evil, save your people.
From every sin, save your people.
From everlasting damn, save your people.
By your incarnation, save your people.
By your death and resurrection, save your people.
By your gift of the spirit, save your people.
Have mercy on us sinners, save your people.
Christ hear us, Lord Jesus hear our prayer.
Verse 6.
Lord give new life, hear our prayer.
To his chosen, hear our prayer.
By the grace of baptism, hear our prayer.
Oh Jesus Son of the living God, hear our prayer.
Send your Spirit, hear our prayer.
In its fullness, hear our prayer.
On your sons and daughters, hear our prayer.
Who believe and profess you, hear our prayer.
Christ hear us, Lord Jesus hear our prayer.

Oct 23, 2015

The End of the Parade

At the end of the parade, you get those who are dedicated to doing their job. They don't get the accolades that the Grand Marshal gets. You don't read his name or see his photo in the paper. He just does his job.

More of us are street sweepers than Grand Marshals.

Most of us just quietly do our job without recognition.

I want you to do two things:
1. Keep doing your job with excellence, because the excellent God we serve sees what you're doing and, more importantly, knows your heart.
2. When you see a "street sweeper," make it a point to say words of appreciation.

You could change a life.

Or an eternity.