Book News – House: Inspection

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To our amateur minds, the house looked great. It’s amazing what you can do with primer and shelf liner. Seriously, but that’s probably another chapter. This is about the home inspection.
One of the things  that I found most upsetting about the home buying experience, and you will see there were more than a few was the inspection. By the time the inspection rolled around, we were certain we’d made a mistake. There were just vibes that were off since we signed the contract and put our bid in for the house. On the surface, everything seemed mostly okay, but the inspection changed that.

It wasn’t just what was discovered during the inspection that upset us, and it wasn’t just the misrepresented about parts of the house that came to light at the inspection (and after moving in), but the inspection itself and what is and isn’t inspected. Continue reading

Obama Book Club – Doris Kearns Goodwin

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For most of the past Mondays, I’ve shared with you some of President Obama’s book recommendations as outlined and discussed in this Entertainment Weekly Article.

I’ve tried to share books that I am somewhat familiar with. I am currently listening to the audiobook of Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin. I am slightly distracted by the voice of the narrator, Richard Thomas, known in my childhood as John-Boy on the the popular show from the 1970s, The Waltons. He is the perfect voice to read anything related to the Civil War or this, a biography of Abraham Lincoln and his Administration, his team of rivals.
I’ve been reading a lot of history and biographies lately. Part of that I believe is to show myself how far we’ve fallen but also to be reminded of how much potential we have as a country. We can come back from anything. After all, we came back from the Civil War.We came back from 9/11. We can come back from the Trump Administration.

President Trump could learn a lot from Lincoln and how he worked with his oppositional party. It’s the only way our country can flourish; by coming together for the betterment of all.

The idea of an Obama Book Club was mentioned with humor in an article I read, probably that one I’ve linked to above, and I thought it was a great idea to recommend books that President Obama reads and recommends.

In the following weeks, I will share other “book clubs”, beginning with Emma Watson in one week’s time.

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing inside our former president’s mind, a man who reads for work, for context, and for pleasure, all good reasons to read and to emulate.

11-52 -Do the Little Things

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St. David’s most widely known miracle was while he was preaching at the Synod of Brefi when a small hill rose beneath his feet so he could be seen and heard by those assembled. A white dove took its place on David’s shoulder. What preacher or public speaker wouldn’t want to be seen and heard more clearly? He also gave sight to a blind man and raised a widow’s son from the dead.

He established monastic settlements throughout Wales. His brand of monasticism was through simplicity and asceticism.

They [the monks] were to pull the plow themselves, eat only bread and vegetables, herbs, drink only water, own nothing and pray each and every evening.

They looked after travelers and the poor. Beekeeping was one of their other many missions.

Born around 500, he died, probably in 589 on March 1st, his feast day since the 12th century, and is buried at the Cathedral bearing his name in St. David’s, Pembrokeshire. His shrine was a popular pilgrimage during the Middle Ages and his relics are still there today.

Ironically for me, his flag is in Hufflepuff colors, a yellow cross on a black background. His symbol is a leek.

He is the patron of Wales, vegetarians, poets, and doves.

His last words to his followers were:

Be joyful, and keep your faith and your creed. Do the little things that you have seen me do and heard about. I will walk the path that our fathers have trod before us.

Gwnewch y pethau bychain mewn bywydDo the little things in life has become a well-known inspirational saying in Wales.

This is such a good philosphy for everyone to have and to try and live by. We all have those moments of wanting to help or do something for someone else, but feel overwhelmed by the scope of what to do and how to do it. Moving forward with simplicity and doing the little things  are ways we can all contribute to someone else’s well-being. Start small. Offer to drive an elderly neighbor to the grocery store or to church. Mow someone’s lawn. Hold open the door for the person in front of or behind you. Pick up litter on your path. Smile at someone passing you in the aisle. There are so many small ways we can do big things.

One of my favorite non-profits is Random Acts. They excel at simplicity and creating big things out of small gestures. Check them out at the link and follow St. David’s advice: Do the little things.

Ruth 1:1-18

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One of the retreats I’m on this month is a weekly group. I had done this before with New Testament Women and this session is Old Testament Women.

We pray at the beginning, and then collage from our personal reflections on the two readings, then we share our art, and read the next two for the following week using Lecto Divina. I’ve talked about Lecto Divina in the past. I had been using this technique since I began reading Scripture, but I didn’t realize it had a formal name. It was just something I did.

Today’s class was canceled due to our snowstorm, and will be held next week, but I still wanted to re-read and reflect on these two women today: Naomi and Ruth.

Ruth has always been a favorite verse of mine. I always had a connection to her for some reaosn. One thing I discovered in the reading last week was how much of a Hufflepuff she was. Loyal to her adopted family, her kindness, her friendship with her mother-in-law, even her friendship with her sister-in-law. She’s faithful. Once she married Naomi’s son, she became a permanent part of her family.

She couldn’t state it any simpler: Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you lodge, I will lodge.

Her determination and loyalty really stand out, both as things I strive for, and as part of that Harry Potter house.

See? Everything is connected and interconnected.

2nd Sunday in Lent

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One of the goals of Lent is to look back and look forward; to see what’s changed and what needs changing. I’ve discovered that one of those ways to to re-read some of the more directional Scriptures; put them in the context of where I am today. The Scriptures may not change, but I will always, and the reminder in different times is just enough to propel me forward and setting new goals, both earthly and spiritual.

Sometimes, we all need a little direction, and from the moment​ I began to sit in on masses, the readings spoke to me in tangible ways. There’s no reason to think that would change.

In additon to love thy neighbor and lay down one’s life for a friend, the Beatitudes are a step-by-step guide to the good works, tangible things that can be done by anyone, in any order, at any time.

Recently, Pope Francis added a few more to guide us in the modern world, saying that “new situations require new energy and a new commitment.” I will include them at the end.
Matthew 5:2-12

He began to teach them, saying: The Beatitudes*
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. 

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me.

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Pope Francis’ addition on 11/1/16: New Beatitudes for Saints of a New Age

Blessed are those who remain faithful while enduring evils inflicted on them by others and forgive them from their heart.

Blessed are those who look into the eyes of the abandoned and marginalized and show them their closeness.

Blessed are those who see God in every person and strive to make others also discover him.

Blessed are those who protect and care for our common home.

Blessed are those who renounce their own comfort in order to help others.

Blessed are those who pray and work for full communion between Christians.

“All these are messengers of God’s mercy and tenderness,” Pope Francis said. “Surely they will receive from him their merited reward.”