Thursday, March 31, 2005

Lectio Divina

We celebrated Melinda's 29th birthday last night at P.F. Chang's. Gertrude and Joyce came from Atlanta to join with Mike, Janet, and I. It was nice. How time flies. It seems hardly possibly that our daughter is 29.

Note: The best article on Lectio Divina I have found is by Father Luke Dysinger. Well worth using by oneself or by groups. Check it out !!

Wednesday, March 30, 2005


"Ultimately faith is the only key to the universe. The final meaning of human existence, and the answers to questions on which all our happiness
depends cannot be reached in any other way."


What steps am I using to involve faith in my answers to life?

From Wayne Burns

Grief - Helping a friend who is dying

Dear Friend, you asked me how you can help one of your best friends who is dying. Here is my advice.

THOUGHTS – One reason it is so difficult is she is near your age. It causes you to realize your own vulnerability !! Be aware of that.

Know the five stages of grief BECAUSE not only will she be going through those stages but so will YOU !!! Where are you in the grief stages as related to her?

1.DENIAL --- What's the first thing you do? You try to start it again! And again. You may check to make sure the radio, heater, lights, etc. are off and then..., try again.

2.ANGER --- "%$@^##& car!", "I should have junked you years ago." Did you slam your hand on the steering wheel? I have. "I should just leave you out in the rain and let you rust."

3.BARGAINING --- (realizing that you're going to be late for work)..., "Oh please car, if you will just start one more time I promise I'll buy you a brand new battery, get a tune up, new tires, belts and hoses, and keep you in perfect working condition.

4.DEPRESSION --- "Oh God, what am I going to do. I'm going to be late for work. I give up. My job is at risk and I don't really care any more. What's the use".

5.ACCEPTANCE --- "Ok. It's dead. Guess I had better call the Auto Club or find another way to work. Time to get on with my day; I'll deal with this later."


1.Be there for HER. Your making dinner and helping her is the most important thing. SHE KNOWS SHE CAN DEPEND ON YOU. Help her with little things she can not do for herself.

2.Listen between the lines to what she is saying. Pick up on the small things, like what are her main fears/problems she has to deal with. Can you help her understand any of those?

3.Cry with her. Tell her you will miss her.

4.Most important: Tell her you love her.

NOTE: This is not easy. One of my best friends died of AIDS. He caught it as a hemophiliac and left 3 young kids. Before he died I remember telling him (crazy as this may seem), “Mike, when you get to heaven sent me a sign to let me know everything is OK.!!!”

I was teaching in Glorietta, New Mexico, when I heard he died. I made plans to fly back and preach his funeral.

Being so far away, I was not only distraught, but sort of feeling left out from the family etc. That night I skipped the evening worship service and went and sat down on a high place on campus to pray and cry.

After a few minutes, I looked up and there was a full rainbow that went from one part of the sky to another. There was no doubt in my mind, that was "Mike’s Rainbow." I shared that experience at the funeral and an artist drew a beautiful print of that rainbow and gave to his widow. It still remains on her wall as a reminder.

Special things can happen during this time. Just BE AWAKE to the unexpected.

My prayers go with both of you. You will make a beautiful difference in her life.


Tuesday, March 29, 2005


Attending Wednesday Chapel services is a special time for many of us. Recently, someone wrote to me about what that were getting out of the Wednesday Chapel services.

"When I attended Wednesdays, I felt better, I don't know why, but I always felt God saw me there. Afterwards, I would think about the sermon and write down what I got out of it. I'm sharing this because tomorrow is my last day at work."

(Here are the lessons she learned during the weekly chapel service)


Week 1 - Get your heart and mind straight. God will not bless you with your desire until he knows you are ready for that desire.
*I want a child, but am I responsible, am I patient, compassionate and a healthy example of a Christian for my child?

Week 2 - Be in the right place for God to find you. He has a better chance of finding you in Godly places than he does in ungodly places.
*What am I doing with my life so that God can find me?

Week 3 - Does God have your attention or does he have to yell?
*I should give him praise, often talk with him so that he doesn't have to get my attention in another way.

Week 4 - Pray with patient and persistence. Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, and knock and the door will open.
*I must pray and then put action behind the prayer.

Week 5 - What a friend we have in Jesus.
*Every friendship endures through storms and grows through hardships.

Week 6 - Advent means waiting. What to do while you are waiting is to pray and have God lift your spirit and praise.
*I must pray and have faith.

Week 7 - Family Heirlooms. Instead of thinking of them as objects, what characteristics do you leave behind?
*Your laughter? Your kindness?

Not a bad testimonial for chapel service, right? What about the services you attend each week. What do you get out of them?

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Old Friends

Old Friends

Dick Truax came from Indiana for the funeral. Our friendship goes back over 30 years as radio friends. Steve and Dick were always the efficient radio traders. I rarely trade anything. dick's mother in law died on Thursday. He goes for her funeral on Tuesday. Pray for his family atthis time, especially his wife Linda.

Memorial Service

Memorial Service

Steve's memorial service went well. Many people from the fire department
(where he once worked), many hams, family, and friends were there. May
he rest in peace.

Friday, March 25, 2005

In Memorial Steve Kennedy 1951-2005

In Memorial Steve Kennedy 1951-2005

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Goodbye Steve !!

My long time friend Steve Kennedy, W4MGY, died Wednesday at 5 p.m. We had talked most weeks for the past 20 years on our ham radios on Wednesday and Sunday nights. Steve was extremely intellegient, his knowledge about almost anything always astounshing. I will miss him greatly. I will preach his funeral on Saturday.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Wednesday 2:09 P.M.

Wayne Burns shares his Merton thought of the Day:

"When a man suffers, he is most alone. Therefore, it is in suffering that we are most tested as persons. How can we face the awful interior questioning? What shall we answer when we come to be examined by pain? Without God, we are no longer persons. We lose our manhood and our dignity. We become dumb animals under pain, happy if we can behave at least like quiet animals and die without too much commotion."

( NO MAN IS AN ISLAND, page 81 )

How will I look at suffering and death this week?

And Christy shares poignant words from Duane. Wow! This is one of the most powerful things I have ever read.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Tuesday - 3:12 am

Another sleepless night. Everything is bothering me !! Steve not doing well. In ICU with cancer. Not sure how bad yet, but pretty sure it is worse than they think. Schiavo case bothers me. Idiotic politicians should not be in this. Listening to them on CSPAN is enough to make one throw up. The moral of this is: be sure you have a living will !! (Yes, I have one).

Then happy days are here again, found out I have a line of credit of $4000 without my authorization so that the guy who stole my idenity can buy things on credit WITHOUT MY CREDIT CARD. To make matters worse I can not prove that I AM WHO I AM. Guy wants my drivers license and social security card -- am not sure even he is legitimate, plus I can't find my social security card. Pray for me that I can find my social security card, ok?

Janet is not doing well. Even after a month in the hospital in December, it is bad. Don't know what to do next. Like everything else at this point in our lives, life is going downhill.

As my cousin Sandy (her dad, my uncle, is bad off and her husband is very sick) wrote yesterday, "I thought that life would be so wonderful when I reached the golden oldies. Not so though. I guess it is like Mother Phillips (my grandmother) use to say all the time that life is one battle after another." My brother interprets that another way, "it is one damn thing after another." (Funny, Ronald how that makes sense)

Is it any wonder I feel depressed and live with sleeplessness. Oh yeah, "God is with you, God is with you." Really !!! Ever heard of the dark night of the soul, or My God, My God, why has thou forsaken me?

It is 3:32 am. Will try to sleep again.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Saturday Morning

Hope to have a restful day. My friend remains in ICU in the hospital. Our nephew spent the night with us. He played video games and had a great time. Tonight we have a Bible Study group over. We will be studying the book of Ephesus. Nothing big happening here.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Strange Days

Real Live Preacher has hit the nail on the head.


The most well known monk at the Abbey of Gethsemane today is Father Matthew Kelty. Father Kelty is 89 years young, soon to be 90. Each night, after Compline, he shares devotional thoughts with the retreatants. Ranging from poetry, to sermons, Father Kelty weaves a spiritual harvest of God's spirit in people's lives.

Father Matthew Kelty's homilies are on the Abbey of Gethsemane's website. They are well worth reading. Why not check them out !!!!!

This is an excellent article about Matthew Kelty in the Louisville Courier Journal.

Do any of you have memories of Father Matthew? Are their ways he has blessed your life?

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Praying for Steve

All is not well with Steve. He is in the hospital now. He has been a friend for over 30 years. Most of the time we talk on Sunday and Wednesday night on our ham radios. Last weekend I saw Steve at a hamfest in Kentucky. He was totally on oxygen. Looked really rough.

He is in lots of pain, dehydrated, not eating, etc. He wife Alice asks for prayers and says, "I'm scared." It is a rough time.

The best internet article I have read when someone is in this condition is called Tortured Thoughts in Prayer. The next time you struggle you mind read it. In the meantime say a prayer for Steve and Alice......

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Abbey Chapel

Abbey Chapel

I thought you'd like to see a few pics from the Abbey. Tim & I had a wonderful time and it was so good to see my friends there. It is indeed a holy place for spiritual renewal and silent reflection.

Listen quietly and God will speak. Bill Hatcher

Note in this picture the austerity at the Abbey. That's what I like about the trappist, not covered with tons of icons and picture windows. It is religion in its most simple manner

How can we make our religion simplier? So we think only of God. (Dkp)



"It may be that we do too much talking in our prayer periods. May Grace be ours to cultivate the listening side of prayer." (Herbert Lockyer)

Enclosed is a picture made this weekend at the Abbey of Gethsemani in the dining room. Quite a message, right?

Monday, March 14, 2005

Thomas Merton Worldwide

Blogging leads to some interesting persons around the world. Take for instance, David Williamson, an excellent journalist in Wales. His
thoughts about Thomas Merton are worth noting. Williamson’s own website is filled with interesting articles he has written.

One of these articles is about Ezra Pound, which taunted me to place in the comments section a poem I wrote about Ezra pound in October of 1972, shortly after he died.

David also has a link to Steve Bogner’s Thomas Merton pages. Well worth the read. I am amazed at all the good thoughts surrounding Merton that show up world wide.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Lazy Sunday

Excited about Arlen Hanson's trip to the Abbey in Minnesota where Kathleen Norris wrote Cloister Walk. Abbey's can be life changing experiences. Reminded me of my visit to the Abbey of Gethsemani and the monastery notes I made then.

Restful day for a change. A couple of naps. Went to Sunday School and am going back tonight for the Easter Concert. Invited a couple of friends. Should be fun.

Did not know how tired I was. Too many exhausting days. Have a friend really going through tough times. He goes tomorrow for a CAT scan. Remember Steve and Alice.

Thanks to everyone who reads this blog, especially my Tres Dias friends. We had our supper together last night from the two weekend retreat. Guess 100-200 people were there. Many sharing how the weekends had changed their lives. I had given this website and encouraged them to Keep a Spiritual Journal. Many last night commented about thoughts of starting a journal.

I have recently updated MertonRetreats, Spiritual Direction Workshops I lead, and the SITEMAP of everything I have written.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Break those patterns...Look for the light / light side!

Dear Dan,

We just got back from a vacation at the Italian firefighter's retreat station in northern Italy (Trentino). It was wonderful, great to spend time with these firefighters (colleagues of my husband) and their families, people who (like yourself) get to experience God/life/death in "first person".

We have some great news...on Feb. 19 our new ITMS Italy chapter met in Assisi and a monk from the Carnaldolese order announced that we have been given space for a "Merton meeting/study point" in the library of a beautiful hermitage located near Umbria and the Marche regions in Italy. It will be open to all, how wonderful to have a place in Italy where Merton fans from around the world can meet.Unfortunately we have no money to buy books so we are searching for donations...I am praying that someone can help us in honor of Merton's anniversary March 19th (simple vows, solemn vows and "illumination" at 4th & Walnut), Saint Joseph and Lent. In fact I think
this "opening" may be a Lenten gift.

I hope that this news somehow brightens your day, I see from your blogspot that you are dealing with difficult patterns right now. I find that looking for the light / light side and coincidences often help me to break out of a tailspin...grace is often all around us. For example, yesterday I was at the grocery store in line to buy bread and noticed an unusual man (long hair, dangling cross earring) ahead of me in line. He was joking with the clerk (they were friends) and I said nothing, but after we both lined up again at the meat counter (it was funny, it seemed as if I was following him around!) I struck up a conversation with him about our new ITMS chapter
and Merton's new book (L'Esperienza Interiore, released this month).

He mentioned he was a musician -and comes from the area of Italy near the Carnaldolese monastery! - and has done benefit concerts for nuns; this was interesting because I have been wondering how to honor Merton's aniversary next week, with music perhaps?

Anyway, returning home all of a sudden the song "If" popped in my mind, I heard it play over and over (how strange,I hadn't actually heard this song in over 20 years and I don't own that music either). I started to ask myself "who wrote that music?" and I remembered David Gates and BREAD! I checked on the internet and found that song "If" was first released on the "Manna" album in 1971, but the group Bread was formed in 1968, the year of Merton's death!

This song can also be found on their more recent cd, "Retrospective"...and this made me think about the e-mail I sent for Merton's 90th Birthday - "Together In Spirit, Best Wishes for Thomas Merton's 90th Birthday - January 31, 2005 - Retrospective..."!So then I just had to look up the lyrics to "If",somewhat surprising,
I had never noticed the end of that song before, how strange...and all this
began simply because I was buying bread (all these repetitions of bread - Bread -
Manna) at the grocery store! Oh oh is this another "Revelation"...?!(Remember Merton's "Revelation" plaque at 4th & Walnut in Louisville,I am still in shock over the resemblance to the one in Rome after we placed the wreath and rose...)

Many blessings and lots of light, love and life!

--Sherri Mcferranrusso

(p.s.) James Griffin another member of BREAD died recently in Nashville. I had prayed for him while he was in the hospital !!!

Thursday, March 10, 2005



Recently, I have discovered extremely disturbing patterns in my life. For instance, I try to buy a radio for under 50 bucks and end up spending days trying to protect my good name and credit rating. Ebay assumes I am a crook because some idiot in New York is buying things off my account. Every email deals with fraud and says I can't answer it. It is so confusing !! My mind is warped over this. (Oh yeah, "come down to the police station and fill out a complaint," like I have all the free time in the world.)

And family wise health issues worsen !! Every "supposed solution" requires ten intermediate steps that are impossible to accomplish. How many fictious hoops can one go through before totally giving up.

Yes, the deaths get to me. Today has been especially bad. Everyone I come in contact with is dying, or has just died, or expects some heroic miracle that I can bring about by anointing them with oil. I feel like a fake medicine man, like my old hero Panhandle Perkins.

One of my best friends is also dying. I go to meet him for lunch on Saturday.

We were going to Italy this summer but too much is going wrong to even attempt it.

Oh yeah, where is God in all of this? Right, he said, follow me ! Guess he had it pretty rough to!!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Plan 24 - Further Thoughts on Faith

Thanks to Jenell Paris recommendation, I have bought Plan 24 by Anne Lamont. I love Lamont and Kathleen Norris. Whenever they, or William Least Heat Moon, come out with a new book, I buy it that day.

Email has been out for 4 days with my sidekick. What a mess ! Got it back this morning. Still trying to get idenity theft problem solved.

Since I use Sidekick mostly for adding things to this blog, maybe I can blog more.

Peace !!

Monday, March 07, 2005

Stupidity Dan !!! Stupidity Dan !!!

I am in mortal shock at my stupidity. I got caught in an EBAY/PAYPAL scam. All I wanted to do was buy a great new radio from China for $44 dollars, resulting in people I never heard of using my credit card to buy tv sets and who knows what else. I have cancelled my credit cards, put holds on EBAY and PAYPAL, but am lost in a quamire of stupidity. Spent most of last 24 hours tied into this mess. On top of that my email account is down and I can not check to see what else they have done.

The moral of this story is never use EBAY or PAYPAL again !!!!! I am so angry and depressed over this. It makes me feel so vunerable. I still can't believe it !!

Have any of you ever had this problem?

Makes me even afraid to BLOG. Today's headline in local paper was number of bloggers been fired from their jobs for blogging. So what else is new. Don't believe Jesus would have been a blogger. Jack Kerouac maybe, Thomas Merton for sure, but not Jesus. He would have been smarter than me. Makes one want to close computer and never turn it on again.

On top of all this, my sidekick 2 doesn't work. According to T-mobile no sidekicks are working in the country. Is that a scam to? Remember it was Paris Hilton who lost her sidekick and some nice people stole all the phone numbers of famous people.

And I am still not feeling well. The cold is still there and I couldn't sleep last night for worrying about all my money gone. I dreamed a little that I played a trumpet in a great parade, then was called away to help someone and missed the parade. The story of my life. I missed the parade !!!!

You could say a prayer for me that I will get it together. OK?

10 p.m. Saturday Night

Passing time: Reading a few words. TV and radio are off. Silence except for a ticking clock given as a gift in 1972. Waiting. Watching. Listening. Remembering !!

(Author's Note: I orginally posted this Saturday night via my Sidekick. It only took two days to get online. How is that for efficiency?)

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Sunday Morning

Sunday Morning

I always read Psalm 63 on Sunday. A thirst for God, a desire for his
presence. Then I study my Sunday School lesson, which is the first
chapter of Jeremiah today, followed by a reading in the Celtic Prayer

Today, T.S. Eliot says, "You are not here to verify, instruct yourself,
or inform curiosity or carry report. You are here to kneel where
prayer has been valid.

It is time for prayers ! --- Photo is of
statue at All Saints in Jacksonville, Fl.


Sleepless. Cold has me down. Try inhaler. Cough Drop. Update blog. Dream of fancy wedding and trip to England, but I am not invited. What wedding? Who is getting married? Why am I so upset?

Friday, March 04, 2005

Finishing the Week

"Where is the spiritual side of the blog," some ask. It is certainly a good question not easily answered. Like the last couple of days, I have had a sore throat and cold. I am weak. I feel like doing nothing. Maybe trying to sleep is about it.

I don't feel very spiritual. I am not interested in reading the Bible or anything else. About the best I can do is say the Jesus Prayer. "Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me a

Maybe that is the best we can do sometimes, just a simple prayer. So I finish the week sick, spiritually going downhill. Just a prayer is left. "Lord have mercy." Selah

Women's Weekend

Women's Weekend

Saw the women off to their Tres Dias weekend. I expect they will have a great time. Here is a picture of the wishing well at Camp Hillmont.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005


I loved Real Live Preacher's story of his brother. I had something similar happen in my life. At age 15 my brother Ronald's heart stopped beating. Through a miracle, and prayers, he lived and had surgery a year later and is still alive. It was a turning point in my life.

What about TURNING POINTS in your life?



My Dad worked for the Southern Railroad for over 40 years. My grandfather worked for them for 37 years.

This photo is of Union Station in Nashville, the center piece of the L and N railroad. (The Louisville to Nashville). It is now a luxury hotel. Breakfast is great there.

After the dentist office

After the dentist office

When I successfully manuever having my teeth cleaned, I immediately go to White Castle for a couple of hamburgers with double mustard.

What do you do to celebrate?



In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation. (Psalm 5:3)

I am at my dentist office. What a favorite place !!! Or unfavorite place. What is your least unfavorite place?

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Today's Contemplative Preacher

Among my favorite authors is Kathleen Norris and especially her book Cloister Walk. I was reading this as a devotion this morning from Cloister Walk.

One who has "eyes to the rear, to see whether they are being enticed back to the things they have abandoned, and eyes to the front, to see if they are, like the apostle, surpassing themselves in what lies ahead of them, namely spiritual things, and eyes to the left, to see that they do not lose heart when things are difficult, and eyes to the right, to see that they do not become proud when things are going well.

By Humbert of Romans

Back at the hospital. People going through tough times. It can be humbling at times. Pray for us all, Dear Lord!!