Saints We Love

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Reading to Ralston

by Stephen Chambers
Cantor and Sculptor 
I am reading a book to Ralston. I asked him the other night if he knew this priest - Fr. Gereon Goldmann - The Shadow of His Wings. I was reading it in bed (iPad) and, to be polite, I turned to Ralston (I always know where he is) and asked, "Ralston, do you know this priest?" and then I said, "Of course you do. You know all the heavens." I commented that it was written well and then with the pause, I asked, "You don't want me to read it to you, do you?" It was so sweet - he did - so I said, okay. I read the first chapter to him. Will read the book to him. 

How sweet is that. I need to ask him if he reads. I want to interview him but it is so hard to know what to ask but he could just tell me, I guess. I am so grateful to have him. When it is bedtime, I always ask if he wants to come in now or will he just walk through the door. They do that, you know. 

I wish more people did things with their angels. I don't feel he comes and goes but I know when he totally is interested in what I am doing. He does not let me write with exaggeration - when I do, he all but goes <ahem> and I back space or delete. I tell him I can make it a better story - but it is not allowed. Life itself is full of wonder - we don't need to expound. Look for wonder.

Stephen Chambers
41 Elizabeth Street
Ogdensburg,  New York 13669

Saturday, May 28, 2011

When I am Dead, My Dearest - Christina Rossetti

When I am dead, my dearest, 
Sing no sad songs for me; 
Plant thou no roses at my head, 
Nor shady cypress tree: 
Be the green grass above me 
With showers and dewdrops wet; 
And if thou wilt, remember, 
And if thou wilt, forget. 

I shall not see the shadows, 
I shall not feel the rain; 
I shall not hear the nightingale 
Sing on, as if in pain: 
And dreaming through the twilight 
That doth not rise nor set, 
Haply I may remember, 
And haply may forget.

When Your Love Has Gone . . . Soul Song

Thomas Clinton Fenwick
April 17, 1927 - May14, 2006

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there;  I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain. 
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled 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.  

Mary Elizabeth Frye - 1932

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Always Rejoice in the Lord - St Augustine Sermon

Always Rejoice in the Lord
Saint Augustine

The Apostle commands us to rejoice, but in the Lord, not in the world. For, you see, as Scripture says, whoever wishes to be a friend of this world will be counted as God’s enemy. Just as a man cannot serve two masters, so too no one can rejoice both in the world and in the Lord.

  Let joy in the Lord win and go on winning, until people take no more joy in the world. Let joy in the Lord always go on growing, and joy in the world always go on shrinking until it is reduced to nothing. I do not mean that we should not rejoice as long as we are in this world, but that even while we do find ourselves in this world, we should already be rejoicing in the Lord.

  Someone may argue, “I am in the world; so obviously, if I rejoice, I rejoice where I am”. What of it? Because you are in the world, does it mean that you are not in the Lord? Listen to the same Apostle in the Acts of the Apostles, speaking to the Athenians, and saying about God and about the Lord, our Creator, In him we live, and move, and are. Since he is everywhere, there is nowhere that he is not. Is it not precisely this that he is emphasizing to encourage us? The Lord is very near; do not be anxious about anything.

  This is something tremendous, that he ascended above all the heavens but is still very near to those who dwell on earth, wherever they may be. Who can this be that is both far away and close at hand, except the one who became our near neighbor out of mercy?

  The whole of the human race, you see, is that man who was lying in the road, left there by robbers, half dead, who was ignored by the passing priest and Levite, while the passing Samaritan stopped by him to take care of him and help him; and when the Immortal, the Just, was far away from us mortals and sinners, he came down to us to become – that far distant being – our near neighbor.

  He has not treated us according to our sins. For we are his children. How do we prove this? The only Son died for us so that he would not remain the only child. He did not want to be alone, who died alone. The only Son of God made many children for God. He bought himself brothers and sisters with his blood; rejected, he accepted us; sold, he bought us back; dishonored, he honored us; killed, he brought us life.

  So then, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord, not in the world; that is, rejoice in faithfulness and not in iniquity; rejoice in the hope of eternity and not the brief flower of vanity. Rejoice thus, and wherever you are here, as long as you are here, the Lord is very near: do not be anxious about anything.

Live the Great Adventure of the Life GOD has Planned

" I would like to very simply say that you and I are the beloved daughters and sons of God. And that's very hard to claim because very quickly we think that we are what we do. That we are what other people say about us. That we are what we have. But the real truth that Jesus announces is that we are like Jesus Himself, the beloved Child of God" Henri Nouwen
    • ALWAYS Begin with GOD - not with us - not with me, myself and I. Begin with GOD. Our life is about what HE designed for us to do - before we were in our Mother's womb, as Jeremiah tells us, Jeremiah 1: 55* "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations." Find that design - that plan - the plan HE has for us, and then, our job? BE OPEN TO HIS PLAN - pray to be equal to the task - do it as HE has designed and live the Great Adventure of life HE has planned for us. HE knows the plan HE has for us - ask HIM to show you. Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."  TF

      Question for my day:  What did you plan for me before I was in my Mother's womb, Father?  Turn me around three times - spin me around, show me what you designed for me to do.  I know you will make me equal to the task. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Thanks to Sam Miller for Defense of the Church




Redemption Comes Through The Jews… Jewish Businessman, Sam Miller, Whaps Anti-Catholic Bias in News Media (Full Text)

Sam Miller, prominent Cleveland businessman – Jewish, not Catholic – is fighting mad about & concentrated effort by the media to denigrate the Catholic Church in this country. 
I’m going to say things here today that many Catholics should have said 18 months ago. Maybe it’s easier for me to say because I am not Catholic, but I have had enough, more than enough, disgustingly enough.
During my entire life I’ve never seen a greater vindictive, more scurrilous, biased campaign against the Catholic Church as I have seen in the last 18 months, and the strangest thing is that it is in a country like the United States where there is supposed to be mutual respect and freedom for all religions.
This has bothered me because I too am a minority in this country. You see, unfortunately and I say this very advisedly the Catholics have forgotten that in the early 1850’s when the Italians, the Poles, the Latvians, the Lithuanians, all of Catholic persuasion, came to this country looking for opportunity because of famine, (particularly the Irish) they were already looked upon with derision, suspicion and hatred. Consequently the jobs they were forced to take were the jobs that nobody else wanted bricklayers, ditch diggers, Jewish junkmen, street cleaners, etc.
This prejudice against your religion and mine has never left this country and don’t ever forget it, and (sic) never will. Your people were called Papists, Waps, Guineas, frogs, fish eaters, ad infinitum.
And then after the Civil War, around 1864, the fundamentalists, conservatives, Protestants and a few WASP’s began planting burning crosses throughout the country, particularly in the South. And today; as far as I’m concerned, very little has changed. These gentlemen now have a new style of clothing they’ve gone from bed sheets to gentlemen’s suits.
There is a concentrated effort by the media today to totally denigrate in every way the Catholic Church in this country. You don’t find it this bad overseas at all. They have now blamed the disease of pedophilia on the Catholic Church, which is as irresponsible as blaming adultery on the institution of marriage. You and me have been living in a false paradise. Wake up and recognize that many people don’t like Catholics. What are these people trying to accomplish?
From the Sojourner’s Magazine dated August, 2002, listen carefully to a quote, “While much of the recent media hype has focused on the Catholic Church’s pedophilia scandal, relatively little attention has been given to the high rate of sexual misconduct in the rest of American Christendom. This is truly a crisis that crosses the borders of all religions.”
Now let me give you some figures that you as Catholics should know and remember. For example, research by Richard Blackman at Fuller Theological Seminary shows that 12% of the 300 Protestant clergy surveyed admitted to sexual intercourse with a parishioner; 38% acknowledged other inappropriate sexual contact. In a 1990 study by the United Methodist Church, 41.8% of clergywomen reported unwanted sexual behavior by a colleague; 17% of laywomen said that their own pastors had sexually harassed them. Phillip Jenkins concludes in his book “Pedophiles and Priests” that while 1.7% of the Catholic clergy has been found guilty of pedophilia, 10% of Protestant ministers have been found guilty of pedophilia.
This is not a Catholic problem. This is a problem of pure prejudice. Why the papers, day after day, week after week, month after month, see fit to do nothing but come out with these scurrilous stories? When I spoke recently to one of the higher ups in the newspaper I said, “This is wrong”. He said, “Why, do you want us to shoot the messenger?” I said, “No, just change the message”. He said, “How?” I said, “I’ll tell you how”.
Obviously, this is not just a Catholic problem. And solutions must be broader and deeper than those carried out by Catholic cardinals. The whole church has a responsibility to offer decisive leadership in the area of sexual misconduct whether it is child abuse, sexual exploitation, or sexual harassment.
Recently, churches have shown unprecedented unity on issues of poverty and welfare reform. Now it is necessary to call for a broad based ecumenical council addressing the issue of sexual misconduct in the church not only the Catholic Church, all churches, including synagogues. Its goal would be transparency and openness in developing stringent, forward?looking guidelines, consistent with denominational distinctions, for preventing and addressing sexual misconduct within Christian churches and church?related institutions.
Such a council could include not only denominational representatives but also a majority presence from external organizations such as child protection agencies, law enforcement, psychiatric services, victims’ agencies, and legal and legislative representatives.
Crisis. “Crisis” in Chinese is one word. “Crisis” in Chinese means, on the one side, a real crisis problems etc., but the other side means great opportunity.
We have a great opportunity facing us. Crisis is often accompanied by an opportunity for extraordinary growth and leadership. We have that today. Even though you are the lowest ?? by far the lowest of any organized religion today when it comes to sexual harassment ?? American churches have a unique opening to develop and adopt a single set of policies, principles, practices, and common language on sexual misconduct in Christian institutions that is binding across denominations.
A system of cross denomination review boards could be established to help compliance and accountability. A centralized resource bank could be formed that provides church wide updates on new legal, financial, psychological and spiritual developments in the field. Guidelines, both moral and legal, could be established on how clergy, churches, and victims should best use civil and criminal actions in pursuit of justice and financial restitution for injury. A national database could be established with information on all applicants for ordination in any member Christian religion. Every diocese, conference, presbytery, and district could have a designated child protection representative whose job is to ensure that the policies and procedures are understood and implemented and that training is provided.
Any religious institution, or system, that leaves power unexamined or smothers sexuality with silence rather than promoting open conversation that can lead to moral and spiritual maturity becomes implicated in creating an unhealthy and potentially abusive environment. An ecumenical Christian council authentically dedicated to strong moral leadership in the area of clergy sexual misconduct might move the church beyond the extremes of policing our own or abandoning our own.
For Christians, the true scandal is not about priests. It’s about a manipulation of power to abuse the weak. When Jesus said, “Whoever receives the child, receives me”, he was rebuking his followers for putting stumbling blocks in front of the defenseless. Church is supposed to be a place where one can lay one’s defenses down; where one is welcomed, embraced, and blessed. This can only be authentically expressed in a culture that requires absolute respect for each individual’s freedom and self hood. Until all churches bow humbly under the requirement, the indictments by wounded women and children will stand.
Just what are these Kangaroo journalists trying to accomplish? Think about it. If you get the New York Times day’ ,after day; the Los Angeles Times day after day, our own paper day after day ………………….. looking at the record, some of these writers are apostates, Catholics or ex-Catholics who have been denied something they wanted from the Church and are on a mission of vengeance.
Why would newspapers carry on this vendetta on one of the most important institutions that we have today in the United States, namely the Catholic Church?
Do you know and maybe some of you don’t the Catholic Church educates 2.6 million students everyday, at cost to your Church of 10 billion dollars, and a savings on the other hand to the American taxpayer of 18 billion dollars. Needless to say, that Catholic education at this time stands head and shoulders above every other form of education that we have in this country. And the cost is approximately 30% less.
If you look at our own Cleveland school system, they can boast of an average graduation rate of 36%. Do you know what it costs you and me as far as the other 64% who didn’t make it?
Look at your own records. You (Catholic schools) graduate 89% of your students Your graduates in turn go on to graduate studies at the rate of 92%, and all at a cost to you. To the rest of the Americans it’s free, but it costs you Catholics at least 30% less to educate students compared to the costs that the public education system pays out for education that cannot compare.
Why? Why would these enemies of the Church try to destroy an institution that has 230 colleges and universities in the United States with an enrollment of 700,000 students?
Why would anyone want to destroy an institution like the Catholic Church which has a non profit hospital system of 637 hospitals which account for hospital treatment of 1 out of every 5 people not just Catholics in the . United States today?
Why would anyone want to destroy an institution like that? Why would anyone want to destroy an institution that clothes and feeds and houses the indigent 1 of 5 indigents in the United States, I’ve been to many of your shelters and no one asks them if you are a Catholic, a Protestant or a Jew; just “come, be fed, here’s a sweater for you and a place to sleep at night” at a cost to the Church of 2.3 billion dollars a year?
The Catholic Church today has 64 million members in the United States and is the largest non-governmental agency in the country. It has 20,000 churches in this country alone. Every year they raise approximately $10 billion to help support these agencies.
Why, after the “respected” publication, the New York Times, running their daily expose’ on the Church, finally came to the conclusion of their particular investigation, which was ongoing for a long time. And guess what: buried in the last paragraph, they came up with a mouse. In their article “Decades of Damage” the Times reported that 1.8% of American priests were found guilty of this crime whereas your own Cardinal Ratzinger in Rome reported 1.7% the figure I gave you earlier.
Then again they launched an attack on the Church and its celibate priests. However, the New York Times did not mention in their study of American priests that most are happy in the priesthood and find it even better than they had expected, and that most, if given the choice, would choose to be priests again in the face of all this obnoxious PR the church has been receiving.
Why wouldn’t the New York Times, the paper of record they call themselves, mention this? You had to read it in the Los Angeles Times. The New York Times refused to print it.
If you read only the New York Times, you would begin to believe that priests are cowards; craven; sexually frustrated; unhealthy criminals; that prey on the innocent. What a shame.
Sometimes freedom of the press should have some type of responsibility, too. So I say this to you: instead of walking around with a hangdog look ?? I talk to a lot of Catholics all the time, “how’s everything going?” ………… “Well, in the face of things I guess okay”. That’s the wrong answer! The wrong answer!
Also, I ran into a fellow who said they started a discussion at some social function on pedophilia and he said, “I excused myself and left the room.” I said, “why did you do that?” “Well, you know how it is”.
I believe that if Catholics had the figures that I enumerated here, you don’t have to be ashamed of anything. Not only are you as good as the rest, but you’re better, in every respect.
The Catholic Church helps millions of people every day of the week, every week of the month, and every month of the year. People who are not Catholics, and I sit on your Catholic Foundation and I can tell you, and what I am telling you is so. Priests have their problems, they have their failings just as you and I in this room do, but they do not deserve to be calumniated as they have been.
In small measure let’s give the media its due. If it had not come out with this story of abusive priests, (but they just as well could have mentioned reverends, pastors and rabbis and whatever), probably little or nothing would have been. done. But what bothers me the most is this has given an excuse to every Catholic hater and Catholic basher to come out loudly for the denigration of your Church.
If some CEO’s are crooks it does not follow that every CEO is crooked; and if some priests are sexually ill it does not follow that all are sick. And your Church teaches that you’ve got to take in the sick and a priest who is this way has to be taken in and cannot be thrown out the 21st story of a building. He’s got to be looked upon and given the same type of health that you would give anybody who has a broken leg or cancer or whatever.
The Church today, and when I say the Church keep in mind I am talking about the Catholic Church, is bleeding from self-inflicted wounds. The agony that Catholics have felt and suffered is not necessarily the fault of the Church. You have been hurt by an infinitesimally small number of wayward priests that, I feel, have probably been totally weeded out by now.
You see, the Catholic Church is much too viable to be put down by the New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Cleveland Plain Dealer take your choice, they can’t do it, they’re not going to do it and sooner or later they are going to give up. But you’ve got to make sure that you don’t give up first.
In 1799 a notice was placed in a French newspaper that a citizen Brachi had died in prison. Little did the people realize that this was Pope Pius VI who had occupied the Chair of Saint Peter for 25 years. He had been taken prisoner by Napoleon’s forces and died in prison as an indigent. At that time the thought was that this was the end of the Catholic Church, this was 200 and some odd years ago. And the reason was that there was no Pope to succeed him at that time.
But you fooled them then, and we’re going to fool them again.
I’ve been talking more or less about the United States of America as far as the importance of the Church. Let’s bring it home to Cuyahoga County and the seven surrounding counties.
In education, you save the county 420 million dollars per year. Wherever there’s a Church and most other churches have fled the inner city there’s a Catholic Church; and wherever there’s a Catholic Church there’s an absence of drug dealers. You talk to any bank that has real estate mortgages in the inner city, and they will tell you that the one thing that keeps up the value in that particular area is your Church. I’ve seen, for example, on Lorain near the Metro Catholic Schools there at the Church the nuns used to go out in the morning with brooms and sweep away the drug dealers from around the particular area.
On Health and Human Services, the homeless, adoption, drugs, adult care and so on, you saved the county 170 million dollars a year.
At the end of the day the difference that your local Catholic institutions make in the eight counties that comprise this diocese are several billion dollars per year.
Why don’t we hear about this? Why, because it’s good news. If some priest was caught with his hand in the collection plate it would be front page news. But the fact that you have thousands of students being education (sic) free, as far as the rest of the country is concerned, doesn’t make news. Why? Because it is not newsworthy, it’s not dirty.
I’m not here to deny freedom of the press, but I believe that with freedom comes responsibility, and with rights you have an obligation. You cannot have rights that are irresponsible.
Unfortunately, our society today is protected by all rights and ruled by some of their wickedness. Anybody who expects to reap the benefits of freedom must understand the total fatigue of supporting it. The most important element of political speech, as Aristotle taught, is the character of the speaker. In this respect, no matter what message a man brings in, it shouldn’t collide with his character.
The other day was shocked when I opened up America, a Catholic magazine, and my good friend Cardinal Keeler, who is a very dear friend of mine, was being fingerprinted by the Baltimore police not for a crime, but as part of the new law put in place that all members of the Church hierarchy must be fingerprinted.
Amos, of the Old Testament, accused the people of Samaria in words that seared and phrases that smote. They “cram their palaces,” he said, “with violence and extortion.” They had “sold the upright for silver and the poor for a pair of sandals” from Gucci, no doubt. But he also said that all this could be reversed, if only the people of Samaria would turn away from their own self absorption and toward those who, however silently, cry out for help. “Then,” promised Amos, “shall your justice flow like water and your compassion like a never failing stream” (Amos 5:24)
The worst feature of contemporary society is its tendency to leave each of us Locked up in himself or herself, connection less. To lessen this isolation we have developed all kinds of therapies spiritual, psychological, and physical front groups that meet and talk endlessly all day long in spas week spas, month spas, life spas. But none of these things, from primal screams to herbal wrap, seem to be doing the trick, any more than the huge houses and wine parties the.: the Samaritan did.
What we need to do is open our heart to the plight of others, even some of your priests who have been condemned. They’re human beings and they should be shown the same type of compassion we have shown anybody who is critically ill. We need to open our hearts to the plights of others, like our hearts were a dam, so that indeed our justice and compassion may flow to all.
What is essential is that each of us steps forward to hold out our hand to someone. There is no other way to walk with God.
One of the biggest Catholic bashers in the United States wrote “Only a minority, a tiny minority of priests, have abused the bodies of children.” He continues, “I am not advocating this course of action, but as much as I would like to see the Roman Catholic Church ruined. I hate opportunistically retrospective litigation even more.”
Now he’s talking about our tort monsters. “Lawyers who grow fat by digging up dirt on long?forgotten wrongs and hounding their aged perpetrators are no friends of mine.”
I’m still quoting this man, “All I’m doing” he said, “is calling attention to an anomaly. By all means, let’s kick a nasty institution when it is down, but there are better ways than litigation.” These words are from a Catholic hater.
I never thought in my life I would ever see these things.
Walk with your shoulders high and your head higher. Be a proud member of the most important non governmental agency today in the United States. Then remember what Jeremiah said: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.” And be proud, speak up for your faith with pride and reverence and learn what your Church does for all other religions. Be proud that you’re a Catholic.
NOTE: Even though of the Jewish faith, Miller has been a staunch supporter of the Cleveland Diocese and Bishop Anthony Pilla. It was published in the May-June issue of the Buckeye Bulletin.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


I was tagged by a very creative friend, Vivian Ruth Sawyer - who had written such a beautiful list - 51 random things and all of us who read hers needed to lean back, enjoy it and then begin to think. I did just that. I am wordy.

First - wanted to identify the word 'random' 

"Chosen without method or conscious decision"

25 Random Things about About Me

Terry Fenwick

1) At 76 - having lost (nearly 3 years ago) my wonderful, incredible, brilliant husband (ask anyone who knew him) I am so 'in touch' with my own mortality that my "random" thoughts may seem to be too subjective because I am no longer in the middle of things but on the way out.

2) My name is Glenna Claire. Named after Father, Uncle, Mother and Aunt. Only God, the IRS and my insurance know this but now all of Facebook will know it. Terry has been my nickname since grade school. (I had drawn a picture of Terry and the Pirates - don't ask)

3) I have always been outgoing and loved people. That has been a gift and I know it. I never know a stranger at the market or in a doctor's office - I know them almost before the second foot is in the door. 

4) I had curly hair all of my life - felt very left out in school when all my friends with curlers and bobby pins stood combing out their hair in the morning. That was the only time I can remember that I coveted or envied anyone. Finally after a year or so, I took hold of my envy, had my hair cut in a fluffy short feather cut and let others tell me how lucky I was to have curly hair. They still do that. Strange to remember this? I remember I had to get off it and get on with my life! A great decision. 

5) By GOD'S grace I have always been FREE of alcoholism but my family (both sides) is plagued with alcoholism; there are many suicides all related to this dreadful disease. 

6) We have 7 sons and an 8th son in heaven who died at 2 months - less than four months before my first husband died. (It was a bad year) I am happy to announce we have 7 daughters-in-love. (I never say daughter-in-law.) Our sons all love their women – and are faithful and supportive. They bring their wives coffee every morning in bed! Learned that from their Father! 

7) I found out recently something I am excited about - a Grand Dame (Grandmother) is to bring graciousness to her Grandchildren and NOT give them direction in their lives. She is to send them to the parents GOD gave them for advice - and just “love-on” the grandchildren until she dies, leaving a gracious fragrance. (I did this wrong twice with Adult grandchildren- not young ones but Adult and it hurt our relationship.) 

8) Exactly 6 years ago today (2/2/03) my husband Tom and I went to Mass in the city at the Cathedral - it was his idea - out of the blue - it was the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. Immediately after Mass my husband announced to the Priest that we were going to become Catholic. That we did - 5 years ago tomorrow 2/3/04! Best thing we ever did and we did it together. We love being Catholic. We had been very strong Protestant Christians!

9) I really love my husband - everyone loved him who knew him. He left me in a great place spiritually and all things in order. As I go down the stairs every morning I thank God for Tom. The day before he left he wrote me a beautiful love note for Mother's Day and signed it - (to) “my companion and lover, I love you." How sweet it is. It is framed. 

10) I have learned that being married is wonderful and we should not miss any of the love that comes with the package. Both the giving and the taking! Remember you heard that here. 

11) Almost any time I think of it I wonder why either one of my husbands chose me. I felt loved by them. They were great friends, both engineers. God is good!

12) I love GOD and have been a strong believer since July 22, 1971. I always knew there HAD to be a GOD . . . but, this Jesus thing was not an important part of my life until that day. I never knew GOD was Jesus, too. Duh! As my 4-year-old granddaughter, Charlotte Anne, said this year, "THE BABY IS GOD!" I was in a Lutheran Church and voiced it all the time, but did not 'know' it nor ‘believe’ it. Jumped into Bible Study that fall in 1971 in BSF and never had one day of doubt in my life about my faith. 

13) I grew up living in apartment buildings with my parents, summers with my grandparents, or spending time with my Aunt and Uncle who had a room for me and loved me a bunch - and I loved my Aunt so much. They also had a chauffeur and maid . . . Stoney and Elsie. In many ways, my Great Aunt, Stoney and Elsie taught me most of the important things in my young life. I speak southern easily because of Stoney and Elsie - I have been told I pray black. Amen!
14) I was sick all through first grade. I never learned to print until I was an adult. But I could write (perfect Palmer Method) and read when I went back to school but had totally skipped first grade. I spent most of that school year with my Aunt, Stoney and Elsie. "Honey Child, you gotta do your readin'"

15) Seriously, I don't think I was ever a child. I never felt insecure in my life but I was the oldest of three children and always grown up.

16) My Mother almost always couldn't wait until Christmas to show me my gifts. I loved my Mother. We used to grow our finger nails together and were very close. We stretched out on the bed all the time and talked. I learned so much when we did that. 

17) My Mother married a second time and to the nicest man I ever knew (until Tom). They were happy together until they died. He loved her to pieces!

18) After Tom left - I felt the presence of his absence and then I felt the absence of his presence. This is a strange thing - some of you may know this. I live alone. I would come home, come in the house and call out, "Honey, I'm home!" I was almost sure he would speak to me over the banister but he never did. Then soon after I knew Tom was really gone - I had really released him - I was aware I was not alone. It was not spooky or anything bad. It was not a Holy Spirit kind of thing - I know that experience - but I finally realized I had this Angel. It just hit me! He was not new - he had been with me as a child - and that was an amazing thing. I remembered him! He had never gone away. He is here as I type. 

19) I did research on Guardian Angels and,  do you know there are 449 verses using the words Angel or Angels in the Bible.  There are many others about Angels but called by different names.  I became very aware of my Angel and found out his name. It is Ralston. God has given His Angels charge over us to keep us safe in all our ways. We all have an Angel to guard us - thus a Guardian Angel. He always is before God and with you! It is surprising that so many people don't really know this. I see the puzzled looks when I say this. (Yours?) 

20) I am crazy about Ralston and you know he can't talk to me, right? I have told him please don't talk to me, Ralston, or you will freak me out. But I know he's here and he's big - I have never seen him as an Angel. He does "think" to me. (He thinks I use too many words.)

21) I am writing a book called Aware of Angels and another one called, Ask Me the Wrong Question and I'll Give You the Right Answer - a book on apologetics. Hope to finish before they come for me.

22) I am really not a Pollyanna. I am thinking - randomly thinking - I have had a wonderful life. A father who drank, yes, a father who did not take responsibility for his family, yes, a brother who drank and shot himself, and other sad things - loss of a son and a husband - and then a second husband - although he does not seem far away - but you know GOD's grace is not just sufficient - it is MORE than sufficient. I am sure if we studied the Greek we would see they made a mistake there. Someone left out the "MORE than" sufficient. 

23) My life has been filled with wonderful people - people who are full of love, like toothpaste tubes - love oozing out - encouraging people - and people who have been around me just when I needed people. I AM SO GLAD I DIDN'T MISS MY LIFE! I am grateful for so much.

24) I guess I am most grateful that we raised our children to be who they are. We have 7 sons and none of them are alike. What are the odds? The best thing Tom and I did was to allow them to be who they are. Are they perfect? Well, they are well on the way to being perfect - in their own time - but to me they are perfect today. I watch and see their values now and think, "If we had pushed them to be what we thought they should be - or, as often happens, what we weren't . . . if we had pushed them to be . . . if we had pushed them . . . if we had pushed . . . I could not say this 25th random thought which is . . .

25) I am so very grateful. 

(I know this rambling 25 random things about me seems long but I did it earlier and managed to cut 1,000 words.) Ralston was right. 

A Random Rambling PS I love a really good pizza, pasta with butter and parmesan, garlic, marinara sauce, a great salad with blue cheese, good bread - sour dough, green peas, sliced tomatoes, lemon pie, pecan once a year, good coffee and good toast - raspberry jam and I say that like the English do - rassssspberry, I love good music - but like silence more than music all the time - Pinot Grigio, popcorn, love romantic movies and almost anything English and drink Smart Water 80 oz a day. (It has electrolytes)

I love white walls - need one dark room but I love white walls - bone - and love the good contemporary furniture all over - from 1927 - 60 - the great chairs - all of our chairs have men's names - and I am not a car guy. I drive a white VW bug convertible - only like white cars - and I love VW because I think it is the best looking car on the road. It is the only car I have owned since 1965. Everything on the lower level is black and white - except one bedroom. Everything upstairs is white or blue. Nothing ever is moved.

You are now supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to send your note to.  You should send a copy of yours back to me because,  If I chose you, it's because I want to know more about you.

We did this originally on Facebook - but you can do it for any group.  The good thing?  You will find you have had a wonderful life and, doing this?  Well, it just helps you remember.  Enjoy - Terry Fenwick