Sunday, December 31, 2006

2007 Blessings

This was a Blessing sent by Don Brennan of Warren, Michigan, and well worth a read:

Msg Title: Blessing for the Year Ahead


In some cultures, there is a very old and dear custom for New Years. The oldest member of the family is asked to invoke a blessing on the whole family for the entire year ahead. If you could not be there in person, you asked for it through the mail and it would always come a few
days later. I am 78, not the oldest member I am sure, but here it is: In the days ahead, may God send you many special blessings to match the various needs you will encounter. May your hearts be right with God and neighbor. May your wills be aligned with God's most loving heart. Where there is a need, may He fill your hands to give away to erase that need, or lessen it. May your Cross be made lighter by His hand. May your wisdom be deeper by His inspiration. May your joys be doubled and your sorrows be His most wonderful His working in you and around you. Bless thee and thine.


Folk Art Center - Jazz Musicians


Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.

Winter Moon Shot - Asheville

Winter Moon Shot - Asheville
Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.

Dan helping Santa at Grove Park Inn

Boathouse Restaurant

Boathouse Restaurant
Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.
What a terrific seafood meal.

Grove Park Inn- historic greatest in the world

Grove Parl Inn - Ronald and Dan

Ronald and Dan
Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.

Compare our picture today with our picture over 50 years ago.

Folk Art Center - Janet and Dan

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Andie McDowell Home in Asheville

Asheville NC

Am spending a couple of days with my brother in N.C.

Thursday, December 28, 2006


Where do you want to be buried? Something to think about.


Cuddles After Being Clipped

Cuddles After Being Clipped
Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.

All Saints Jacksonville Fl

All Saints Jacksonville Fl
Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.

William Walker - Man of Destiny

Tennessee Sunset

Tennessee Sunset
Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.

How do you like my beard?

How do you like my beard?
Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.


Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.
My daughter's dog named Piper.

Picture flicker

Updated Google account but can't get my FLICKR pages to load via SK3 as before. EVERY INVENTION CAUSES FRUSTRATION !!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Dec. 26, 2006

Slept till 8:30 am. Spent day trying to clean my office. What a trap door. Something never completed. Listened tonight to Dick Biondi on WZZN in Chicago. I first listened to him on WLS in 1959. Yes, time speeds up!

Just glad to have a day off with no agenda. Christmas Day always is busy. We had 18 people at our house. The first arrived at 11 am and the last left after 7. I had a bad cold so wasn't feeling well.

But Christmas is a special day. For the past 3 years we have eaten breakfast at Waffle House. It is the only place open and I really appreciate them.

What did you do for Christmas? How many people at your house?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christmas First Corinthians 13

FIRST CORINTHIANS 13 (paraphrased)


If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows,
Strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls,
But do not show love to my family,
I'm just another decorator.
If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies,
Preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at
But do not show love to my family,
I'm just another cook.
If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home
And give all that I have to charity,
But do not show love to my family,
It profits me nothing.
If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and
crocheted snowflakes,
Attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir's cantata,
But do not focus on Christ,
I have missed the point.
Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love doesn't envy another's home
that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.
Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way,
but is thankful they are there to be in the way.
Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return,
but rejoices in giving to those who can't.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures
all things.
Love never fails.
Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will
But giving the gift of love will endure.
You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.


Saturday, December 16, 2006

Five Course Meal

Originally uploaded by duckgu.
So you ask what did I have for supper? Yes, the 5 course Italian mean cooked by Antonio's own chef. It included:


Garides Marinates


Soupa Avgolemono



Main Course

Cotopoulo Gemisto
Herino Psito


Kataifi, baklava


But it sure was good !!!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Parthenon Preparing for Sleep

Walk in the Park

Walk in the Park
Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.
Killing time. Walking in Centennial Park. My hospital is in the background. Ducks swim at my feet. The day is cooling off. I am preparing for the 5 course Italian supper tonight. "Walk a few pounds off early," I say.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Tuesday Ugh !!!

Rainy rainy day. A friend dies, others struggling for life,
changes-changes-changes, traffic backed up 10 plus miles. Can go
nowhere, friends have lost their jobs, can't get home. The 5 p.m.

Have you ever had a day like that?

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Thomas Merton Day of Reflection

65 years ago Thomas Merton entered the Abbey on this date. 38 years ago on this date he died. This day of reflection is a time to be with others, via the internet, who have been influenced strongly by Father Louis.

To use this daily update you may wish to run it over on your computer and carry sections with you. There are several participants sharing today. You are welcome to join via comments or links to you own blog. Thanks. Brother Dan



Read: Psalms 23, 104

The monks begin their search for God in the middle of the night. It is a beginning, a place to struggle, A place to seek God in the darkness.

One of Merton's great struggles was related to his desire for total solitude. He once wrote: "Should I move somewhere where I can find solitude and silence and peace to be alone with God in a pure tranquility and silence that is impossible for Cistercians?"

Vigils is a time for questions. What are the questions in your life? The struggles? The people you are praying for that really need your presence and strength? Place these before God in the darkness.

Write in your journal the questions. It is said of Merton, "He wrote journals as a spiritual discipline: he kept vigil through making a journal."

Keep vigils with a pen in your hand.


Lauds - the Sun Rises

Ps. 139

"It is a beautiful, cool clear morning. I am writing this after my Mass. It seems to me that during Mass and thanksgiving one of the big ambiguities has resolved itself. God is calling me to a kind of missionary solitude.......our joy is to be led by Him to the thing He desires........It demands a gift of our whole being." (Dec. 29, 1952)

What is God calling you to?


"Today is the second Sunday of Advent but it’s also the tenth day of December. It’s a day to remember the death of a Trappist Monk named Thomas Merton. Many of my friends have been acquainted with Merton for many years. However, my acquaintance with Merton is much more recent. In the fall of 2003 a friend of mine gave me a small paperback book called Thoughts in Solitude written by Thomas Merton. That would be my first exposure to Fr. Louis. At first, I struggled with the book a bit. It was a different language that I was used to. More complex. Richer and deeper.......more at Bryan


"You may or may not have noticed some new photographs in my sidebar under a heading called "Major Influences." Yeah, those are the five authors who I think probably have impacted my life's journey more than any others. One might say that they give the "flavor" of my spirituality.

You might see that one of those photos is of Thomas Merton. Today is the anniversary of his death. I wrote a rambling poetic letter of sorts in tribute, and in remembrance and honor of his impact in my life.

When I Met Thomas Merton

When I first met you, I was 16. Those were the years of my turning East, a silent inner rebel in the fundamentalist prison of my home....More at Anthony Hanson.


Please check out Beth. C's FatherLouie Blog.


As I reflect on today and the life of Merton, I am reminded of what Jonathan Montaldo wrote of Merton as a reminder of this day.

"On December 10, 1941, under canopy of cold stars, Merton arrived in rural Kentucky at the Abbey of Gethsemani and immediately loved its walls. When the gatehouse door shut behind him, he abandoned his disordered youth and wedged himself into narrow borders so as to find out who he might more authentically become before he died."

So on this day of reflection, maybe we will realized that when Merton died on December 10, 1968, that he was still searching and reflecting. And, may we do the same."

Wayne, from Alabama


"Almost twenty years ago I visited the Abbey with 30 other people on a weekend retreat, to be specific we were all recovering alcoholics. Someone told me you could not visit there and not have a spiritual experience, me being the doubter that I am didn’t believe it, Brother Luke was somewhat younger then and took us up to Father Merton's cabin in the woods. We were even allowed to enter it, we spent a hour or so
then held hands and prayed, sometime during that weekend something did happen, I can’t explain it but I did feel something and I believe that my life would be changed forever and it has. I visited twice more since then, Brother Luke even came to see us in Cleveland once. I even met the Priest who wrote the “Man who got even with God”, I am embarrassed that I can’t remember his name right now, I have the book at home, I
am very fortunate to have the experience of being there and setting at the same desk, looking out over the mountains as Thomas Merton once did. We also were fortunate to be able to get to know some of the Monks later on. I have these moments that I shall never forget." James Hamilton


The sun is setting in the west. It has been a nice day, mid-50s, but I have not felt well. Finally took a two hour nap. I liked this that Alan Creech sent in. Met him at Gethsemani earlier this year. Worth a good read:

I got up late this morning so I'm running behind on my Merton reflection. I love that photo I found there, with his camera. It's very real. Full out laughter. I love that. I imagine him to have laughed like that even more than old Father Benedict would have been comfortable with. Before I finish the rule for Vine & Branches I might add something about reQUIRED laughter.

Anyway, today is a couple of anniversaries concerning Merton - of his entrance into Gethsemani as a monk and finally, of his untimely death in 1968. 53 is too young. And no, I don't believe it was "his time" - I think he was, in a sense, stolen. It was tragic and horrible.

Of course, even at 53 he left us with a treasure trove of wisdom that serves to this day to build people into better humans. I've said this before, maybe here, but certainly in person to many I know, that this man, even in death, has acted as more of a mentor, teacher and spiritual director to me than anyone alive even has. I have learned, through his writings, all that he learned and passed along, his gifted insights, more than from any other one source. I've always seen Merton as more than "one source" really, though. He serves as a conduit through which one can receive the riches of everything that formed him. Many times I've been inspired to read others, things that he read, and then have gained much through that as well (makes me think of the Guigo posts from a while back).

I am grateful for his influence. I can't even imagine what my present path would be if I had not picked up one book on sale in the EKU bookstore in college one day. It was just a book about him and his thoughts on prayer, but it lead me into a deeper world, a richer experience and knowledge of God and of Life in Christ. Thanks Tom. I look forward to eternal conversations some day. In the mean time, please pray for me, for all of us, that our eyes will be opened as yours were while we're still here.

Thanks Dan Phillips for initiating this tradition.




Once after compline at Gethsemani when all the monks had gone to bed I decided to talk a bath. I was in the Monks area and had to walk down the hall to the shower room. With only my shorts on, no shoes, and a top, I grabbed the keys and locked my room, only to discover I had locked myself out.

I walked up and down the monastery hunting a monk, or anyone, who could get me in my room. I prayed at every statue. It was November. Cold. My feet hurt. I decided that to keep from freezing I would lay in the balcony until Vigils and hope I did not freeze. Then, I decided to try coffee to warm up. I peaked around every corner. At the coffee pot was a note. If you get in trouble knock on Brother Rene's door, room ... I practically ran to his room. Thankfully he laughed all the way to my room and I have never been glader to get into my bed. Praise the Lord for Brother Rene. What an embarrasment.


we beg you to visit this house
and banish from it
all the deadly power of the enemy.
May your holy angels dwell here
to keep us in peace,
and may your blessing be upon us always.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.



Saturday, December 09, 2006

Saturday Dreamin

Wow. How far can one get behind? Everything is a mess. Trying to learn a new camera. Need to get Christmas cards at Walgreens with pictures on them. Trying to remember how to do it online. Yes that is Janet--the wife, Aidan--the cat, Dan--the blogger, and Cuddles--the dog. Trying this with the new Canon 530 camera. I need to try and see what the new blogger is like. Is anyone using it? How do you like it?


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Muriel Blackwell

Muriel Blackwell died this weekend. She was a dedicated teacher to pre-school children, a poet, a linguist, a lady with a magnificient sense of humor, a delightful person to be with on a long journey.

I went to her funeral because we had an experience several years ago that neither of us every forgot. We were teaching religious conferences in Vancouver, Canada, at a retreat center. She taught the pre-school teachers and I taught the adults. It was a long journey to get there and we had shipped all of our materials early. Unfortunately, none of our materials arrived, resulting in us having to do the conferences without our usual materials.

Fortunately, we got by, but we learned a new word that described our difficulties. It seems that in the British Commonwealth that they have the perfect word to describe our dilemma, the word was KERFUFFLE.

So, it became a byword for Muriel and I. Whenever we met we always asked, "Are you kerfuffled?" According to various dictionaries kerfuffled is an Irish Word meaning becoming disheveled, or further it means confusion or disorder. But to us it was the absolute perfect word for describing our condition. So the next time you find yourself without the proper word to say, you might just be KERFUFFLED !

From your kerfuffled friend,

Bro. Dan

Thomas Merton Day of Reflection is Dec.10

December 10 is a special day related to Thomas Merton. It was the date of the day when he entered Gethsemani, it was also the date of the day he died.

Last year we had an online day of prayer with Thomas Merton. This year we plan to do the same. Everyone is invited. The website to use is:

This is last years day of prayer.

We hope you can join us this year.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Moon Shot

Moon Shot
Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.