Bloggerhood Etc. 3/2/15

Oren with his wife and kids.

Photo from A Blogger and a Father

This is a hard place to start, but the only place I can start. The Dad Bloggers community lost a friend and colleague on Saturday when Oren Miller passed away after a ten-month fight against cancer. I didn’t know Oren beyond the words in his blog and on the Dad Bloggers Facebook page, so I’m not one to write a tribute. I’ll leave that to his closest friends. But I can share the gift he left us.

Biggest Loss. A Blogger and a Father by Oren Miller. His words will be missed.

Best Advice.Unity, not Uniformity” by Rita Ferrone at Commonweal.

Best Prayer.God Have Mercy on Us” by Matthew Paul Turner.

Best Interview.Sarah Bessey – A Faith, Art, and Motherhood Interview” by Jerusalem Greer.

Best Story.The Girl Who Gets Gifts from Birds” by Katy Sewall at BBC News Magazine.

Most Outrageous.The Danger of Being Neighborly Without a Permit” by Conor Friedersdorf at CityLab.

Best Special Needs Post.Dirty Bird” by Robert Rummel-Hudson at Support for Special Needs.

Best Compliment.What One Courageous Dad Taught Me at Dad 2.0 Summit” by Christian Toto at Daddylibrium.

Best Reflection.This is How We Survive the Winter” by Addie Zierman at How to Talk Evangelical.

Best Question.Would Headlights Work at Light Speed?” by Vsauce (via YouTube).

To catch up on the great posts I’m reading online and to get a sneak preview of next week’s candidates, check out my new Around the Blogosphere board on Pinterest.

Bloggerhood Etc. 1/12/15

Lit candle

A candle for Cornelia and Chris. Praying for a full and fast recovery.

Before I get to the best of the week, I have a prayer request to pass along. Fellow writer and parent Cornelia Seigneur and her husband Chris were hit by a car Friday evening while taking a walk. A hour before the accident, Cornelia wrote a post about appreciating the people in our lives… ..saying “you just never know when you’ll see people – savor moments with people…” I’ve featured her post here before and I want to start off this week’s blog roundup with her writing …

Most Poignant.Having a Mary Mindset in a Martha World” by Cornelia Becker Seigneur.

Best Special Needs Post.A World of Fairness” by Robert Rummel-Hudson at Support for Special Needs.

Best Advice.To Get Nominated for an Oscar, it’s Still Best to be a Mediocre Movie About a White Guy” by Todd VanDerWerff at Vox.

Best Dad Post.Dad, Am I Pretty?” by John Kinnear at Ask Your Dad.

Best Commentary.The Limits of Philanthropy” by Fran Quigley at Commonweal.

Most Creative Prediction.Who Will Win the Oregon-Ohio State Championship Game? Let’s Ask ‘The Oregon Trail’” by Matt Brown at Land-Grant Holy Land.

Best Response.I’m Tired of Hearing That Everything Crappy is Feminized” by Simcha Fisher at I Have to Sit Down.

Best LEGO Creation …

Robot made from a LEGO Juice Bar

JUICEBOT! (Photo via Imgur)

Best Interview.Looking Past the Pain of Alzheimer’s to Find the Unexpected Poetry of the Aging Brain;” John Allemang interviews Cathie Borrie, author of The Long Hello, at The Toronto Globe and Mail.

Most Thought-Provoking.The Feminist Case Against Abortion” by Serrin M. Foster at America.

Best Satire.Dirty Slush Machine Provides Children In Florida Taste Of Winter” by the staff at The Onion.

Most Moving.The Parents” by Rachel Held Evans.

Best Reflection.On Going to (an Episcopal) Church” by Jonathan Martin at Medium.

Best Farewell.Breaking Madden: The Quest for 18,356 Rushing Yards in One Game” by Jon Bois at SB Nation. 

And BEEFTANK wept, for he had no more worlds to conquer. But then he smiled, for he always had more milks.

Quote

Gloria In Excelsis Deo!

Angel with Gloria banner.

The Song of Bethlehem by J.R. Clayton (1901)

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirin’i-us was governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!”

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they saw it they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this child; and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. (Luke 2: 1-20—RSV)

Merry Christmas!

Advent is Here

Advent candle

Tonight, we’ll resume our yearly Advent tradition and light the first candle on our family Advent Wreath. Anna has asked to help lead the prayers this year, and I think she’s ready.

I will begin as always by saying my favorite Advent candle-lighting prayer, which is also the Collect for the First Sunday of Advent in the Episcopal Church (my former church) …

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Then we’ll light the first candle, and she’ll read the prayer for the First Sunday of Advent …

All-powerful God, increase our strength of will for doing good that Christ may find an eager welcome at his coming and call us to his side in the Kingdom of Heaven, where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit one God forever and ever. Amen.

Some of you may recognize this as the old translation of the Collect for the First Sunday of Advent, that was superseded by an updated translation in 2011. While the new version is more accurate, and at times more eloquent, this is the one from my copy of A Prayer Book of Catholic Devotions that we’ve used since Anna was a baby. It will also be easier for her to read.

Then we’ll read the Gospel for this Sunday, and say the Lord’s Prayer and the Hail Mary to conclude our prayers.

America the Beautiful

The North Tower Fountain (9/17/2011)

Photo: Kai Brinker (CC BY-SA 2.0)

America the Beautiful is one of those patriotic songs that we Americans heard so many times growing up that we barely think about it anymore. Like the National Anthem, we only know the first verse, and when we sing those words it’s from memory and often from habit.

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

My view of this song changed forever after September 11, 2001. Due to the mix of grief and patriotism that naturally gripped us all in the weeks following that horrible day, I heard all four verses of America the Beautiful sung for the first time in I don’t know how long. It was the last verse that brought me to tears.

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

May God comfort those who lost loved ones that day, shed his grace on all of us, and grant us peace.

Amen.

Bloggerhood Etc. 8/18/14

Lit candle

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

I usually try to make these weekly roundups a mix of deep, thought-provoking posts, and lighter, funnier pieces. And then weeks come along that are so filled with heartbreak that there’s nothing I can do but weep with those who are grieving. Last week was one of those weeks.

First, a cross-section of voices on the continuing tragedy of Ferguson and the regression of Civil Rights in our country.

Why We’ve Got to Go There” by Deidra Riggs at Jumping Tandem.

Five Minute Friday: Tell (And Cry to Listen)” by Ashley Larkin at Draw Near.

First They Came for the Black people, and I Did Not Speak Out” by Matt Stauffer.

In Which I Have a Few Things to Tell You About Ferguson” by Sarah Bessey.

When Ferguson is Across the Street” by Shawn Smucker.

Things To Stop Being Distracted By When A Black Person Gets Murdered By Police” by Mia McKenzie at Black Girl Dangerous.

Racial Bias, Police Brutality, and the Dangerous Act of Being Black” by Kristen Howerton at Rage Against the Minivan.

Ferguson and Healing our Nation” by Alice Chaffins at Knitting Soul.

Black People Are Not Ignoring Black on Black Crime” by Ta-Nehisi Coates at The Atlantic.

The New Racism: This is How the Civil Rights Movement Ends” by Jason Zengerie at New Republic.

Second, two bloggers share their own experiences with depression in the wake of Robin Williams’ death.

What Will it Take to Become a Church for the Depressed?” by Chris Morton at Growth and Mission.

Depression is Not a Joke” by Lorne Jaffe at Raising Sienna.

Third, a Prayer for Those Fleeing Violence and Oppression in Iraq, in Their Own Language.

May God our Father watch over them, and over all who are in danger.

Amen.

Gallery

Anna’s Grotto Gallery

A reproduction of Michelangelo's Pieta in the Meditation Chapel

A reproduction of Michelangelo’s Pieta in the Meditation Chapel.

Each day, I’m posting pictures and stories from our vacation. Today I share a few of Anna’s photos from The National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother (aka “The Grotto”) in Portland along with some short prayers.

Continue reading