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Scenes from my first Christmas

Yes, this is my First Christmas.....as a Deacon of course. Fr. Andrew reminded me and the entire congregation of that, along with the story ...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Bowling,.....yes I said Bowling my sanity time!

I just love to bowl. Two nights per week I get a great gift from God. I bowl with my wife on a Sunday Couples League that we both started over 10 years ago, and I bowl on Tuesday Nights, with a team I sponsor. I guard my nights dearly and they are great for my mental health, what little I have. I have learned that I really need a release time that I am away and can just play for a few hours. I encourage everyone to just have fun sometimes, I'm sure God wants that from us.

Good Luck to all of you and God Bless.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

First Day of School!

I never dreamed of another day of school when I stopped going to school back in 1981. Here I am and many others of us (Aspirants) starting again. Living in Berlin guarantees you one thing in life, you will travel and no distance is too great. My first little ride of many to come to Plymouth. Just a leisure 1 1/2 hour scoot down 93. I was excited, I just couldn't wait till we got started. I was the furthest away from the school and in typical Berlin fashion I was the first to arrive.

Soon thereafter Steve, Linda, and our instructor Sr. Monique arrived, and not too long after that Tom arrived. We were all there early and Sr. Monique asked if we could get started. Everyone agreed, it was easy since we are only 4 students taking this course. Sr. began with a short autobiography of her life and asked us to do the same. It was amazing to hear about every one's life and discovering that though we were all a little different we would all be sharing the same journey together.

You know when something is special when it clicks right away. This is it! We were all clicking right from the start and you all know where I'm going with this; before we knew it, it was time to leave. The ride home seemed to pass away quickly, and yes I was careful not to hit a moose on the way home. I Love this, and I want more.

I started my homework last night, and spent about an hour and a half reading, writing notes, and reflecting. I am being challenged again on many fronts. First to get back in the Academic mode, second to read books (remember this is definitely not my favorite thing to do), and also challenged Spiritually. I feel inspired and moved in a way that is definitely awesome.

I met Mike Johnson yesterday and he asked how it went and that he was thinking about me. I shared my first night of school and I felt touched by his caring thought. I'm also concerned about everyone of us (Aspirants) and inspired. I am starting to know a few of our team and I like what I see. The honesty, the devotion, the caring that is felt is contagious. I come away from meeting and knowing each person and realize that each and every time we gather we become better disciples. Without a doubt "Where two or three (or more) are gathered together Our Lord is there!"

Thank You Lord for giving me this great gift!

Peace to all of my brothers and their wives.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Just an ordinary guy learning to Trust in God's Providence!

I have a late start for going to work today and it gives me a great opportunity to relate to a word that has been popping up in my life lately. It's been amazing how in the past few months I have had these situations or moments that make me stop and reflect. The reason I'm referring to my title of my blog is because of the word TRUST. Trust in God's Providence, Trust in your professors, "Fear is Useless, what is needed is Trust," by Richard Gribble CSC  No ONE but YOU!

Trust is very difficult for all of us. It is easy to Trust in someone or something when everything is going great in our lives. The real challenge comes when we face difficulties, hardships, and problems. I used learning because I fall into that trap also. I always want to follow and Trust in God, but I seem to want to have my life packaged up neatly with all the answers before me. Frustration sets in and I seem to move off course by getting irritated etc. And then it hits me, God's subtle little messages that reassures me that all I need to do is TRUST.

This past Saturday morning I and many others attended Orientation at Saint Anselm College to begin our journey in learning more about God and our Spirituality. Katherine Tardif worked with all of us to help get us jump started back into the student mode of our lives. For me it's been since 1981 that I set foot into a formal classroom. Katherine touched on many important topics from the dynamics of working and incorporating our personal experiences in faith and the Church's Tradition. Two single words that she used that day hit me hard. Trust and Walk, and today only I will relate to Trust. Katherine mentioned that we should Trust our Professors who will be teaching us. Trust that they will be honest with us, and our works will remain confidential. Throughout my life I don't remember anyone asking me to TRUST my teacher. I think this will put us all in the right mindset before we even set foot in the classroom. I guess I was reminded that day that I must continuously learn to TRUST in God. By the way even with the 2 hour plus drive this was a great day to revisit with the Aspirants, other faithful seeking to learn, and seeing Pat again.

"Fear is Useless, What is needed is TRUST!There was that word again TRUST. I am still reading the book  "No ONE but YOU!" and it had been a little over a day since I had a chance to read it, and because of the early morning drive I put off reading the chapter.  I was very excited about Saturday and really enjoyed the beautiful and relaxing ride home. My wife and I thought of inviting family and friends over for a backyard campfire. As soon as I got home I helped out  and my Dad started the campfire. Family and friends were coming by and before we knew it we had about 15 people sharing time together. I Love these moments with everyone, we share memories, we laugh, we talk, and we just have fun together. At about 11 everyone said there goodbyes and we all called it another great evening to share. Another day had passed without getting a chance to get to my book. At this point I still didn't know what would be waiting for me in the book.

Sunday morning I get up and caught up with my prayers and finally the chance to read again. There it was "Fear is Useless, What is needed is TRUST!" the title hit me hard. There I am facing that word again. What is most interesting is how the author puts it by saying Fear is Useless. The author uses great examples of how the faithful have TRUSTED in our Lord. Richard recalls the woman who Trusts that if she could only touch the cloak of Jesus she would be cured, and of course our Lord tells her that her Faith had healed her. The author also speaks of the Roman military leader who asks of the Lord to heal his family member who is ill and dying. The Roman leader doesn't require that the Lord comes with him to pray over his family he TRUSTS that Jesus has only to say it will be so and he believes. Of course Our Lord was moved by this Trust and Faith by a previous non follower. I know this chapter was saved for the right moment to teach me a lesson. Trust and have Faith in the Lord! Relax everything is going to be OK!

This past weekend I was blessed to share time, with old and new brothers and friends. I Trust all of you had as Blessed of a weekend as I  DID!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Jesus Unchains Us!

Every morning I read a short chapter from the book "No ONE but YOU". The same book that I mentioned in an earlier blog. This past Saturday morning I read the chapter titled "Jesus Unchains Us" and chills came over me the more I read this chapter. The author Richard Gribble, CSC gives me the impression he is a Paul Harvey "The rest of the story" kind of guy.

The chapter begins talking about an individual by the name of John Newton and he clearly states that very few people are familiar with the man. You see John Newton was born in a seafaring family and followed in his fathers footsteps and became an apprentice at the age of eleven. Growing up on a ship didn't offer him many opportunities to meet quality individuals. The tough examples lead to a tough life. He would eventually succeed to captain his own ship. He faced a very tough run with his ship that challenged his skill and would begin the process of loosening his chains. He continued for seven years longer and eventually gave up the life completely.  In 1764 he became an Episcopal Priest and was a well known preacher. John worked very hard in the Abolitionist Movement in the United States. In 1779 he wrote some famous autobiographical words that are familiar to all "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see."

Amazing how our Lord is patient and ever forgiving. I've known this song ever since I can remember and because of this knowledge it will forever be changed in my heart. We all face chains that bind us from the Love of Christ, and when we let go and allow Our Lord to transform us, we are able to be what we are meant to be true Holy Disciples. The next morning I was Lector at the 9 am Mass and Amazing Grace was sung by our wonderful church choir. I really had to fight back the tears a few times as I imagined what our Lord accomplished in John Newton.

I pray for us all that we allow Jesus to remove all our chains.

Friday, September 10, 2010

How does the Spirit Move You Today???

How is the Spirit moving you Today? Today like many days I questioned why doesn't someone recognize a person for their kind works. In this month's Parable I saw a picture and read an article about a very Faithful and Charitable family, the Dumont's Pierre, Diana, and Gabrielle. I am proud to say they are one of our own. I often times wonder why we are suddenly moved by the Holy Spirit and today it happened again. It's great that the Diocese sees and recognizes the Dumont's efforts and Love. Why stop there, I felt that everyone in Berlin and Gorham should know about these people. I said to others someone should get this to the newspaper and have them carry this story.  Today the Holy Spirit inspired me to at least attempt to make this happen. I visited the Berlin Daily Sun and met with a reporter friend and asked him to share the Good News. I'm not sure it will really happen but at least one other person in Berlin will know about the Dumonts.

Each and every day we are afforded an opportunity to share something special with others, and are called to break out and evangelize. Call it what you will, but the feeling was strong and impossible to resist. I was a little nervous but the words were easy to come by, you see I was Moved by the Spirit and nothing can stop what the Spirit wants.

I know this is my third blog of the week, yes you might have guessed I'm on vacation. I painted a little, cleaned a little, and found out that the Holy Spirit is never on vacation.  I hope each and everyone of us will let the Spirit Move them today, or tomorrow, or real soon!

Take Care, Bonjour, Peace to All.

In Service to One. In Service to all......the call of a Knight!

Michael Johnson (Jackson inside joke) and I were inducted into the Knighs of Columbus last night. Mike and I are being linked together more and more along our journey. We will both benefit in many ways by this great organizaton. I was a member of the Knights over 20 years ago and felt at that time they were not very active serving our community. I guess a lot of my life is coming back full circle. Last night proved to me that they as a group are a great example of what men should be in our community. They are faithful, caring, and offer great works of Charity. Pierre Dumont a classmate and friend of mine spent a weeks vacation with his family helping the people of New Orleans. This is just one example of what we have here in Berlin. I am proud and I'm sure Mike is of joining such a fine group of men.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A moment, a feeling, a coincidence?

Friday afternoon in Berlin & I'm getting out early from work. I decided to pop in at our Parish Book store that is managed by the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary (my teachers in Catholic School Guardian Angel, and Berlin Regional Catholic Junior High). I just had a feeling, a desire, to look around and see if any book caught my attention.

While searching around I met up with Mrs. Sanschagrin who is the wife of the Knight who stopped me to offer the financial support for the coming year. I just had to share with her the story about this unusual circumstance. She was definitely moved by the moment, or some would say a coincidence. I am not a strong believer in coincidences. I felt that the moment was open for me to share and explain how God is supporting me and guiding my feet into the way of peace. We both discussed our education and goals and we would both like to have a Bachelor's degree in Theology, maybe someday when the next four years proceed.

I started looking around and found a book that caught my attention. The cover stock was yellow (two things to know about me, I was a salesman for a printing company, and also I manage a Sherwin-Williams Paint store in Berlin) and then the title got me "No ONE but YOU" by Richard Gribble, CSC  Living Your Call in an Ever-Changing World. Well there is something else I can share about me, I really don't like reading too many books, I don't know maybe ADHD or the fact I have a short attention span. Well this happens to be my kind of book. Short paragraphs and a message that gets right to the point in each short chapter. It fits my daily prayer time and offers me challenges each and every day. I love it, I give it Mitch's two thumbs up!!!!

My last funny story about this unusual moment, is that when I came to pay I tried my debit card. Sister said were too small of a store and they only accept cash or check. Well I asked to have the book put aside and I would come back to pay. Sister told me to take the book and come back another day to pay. Not your typical store, I still haven't paid her yet but I'm sure she knows where to find me. Sister and Mrs. Sanschagrin both mentioned that they would be praying for me, and the feeling was both great and humbling. I'm sure all the Aspirants understand. At times the outpouring is overwhelming, and it leads me to believe that we have such a great need in our parishes and communities that many are excited by this.

Please anyone share your coincidences, feelings, or moments with others, and if the Spirit moves you post it on my blog.

God Bless

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Come to me.......part deux!

The day is getting better by the moment and even with the feelings of uncertainty and the unknown we travel to meet a large group of people we don't really know. The trip was without a doubt as special as the whole day. You see, Mike & Elise Johnson have been people that we have shared a few things together. First of all we share the times spent at St. Michael School in Berlin with our children through education and sports. We also share a common faith. Beyond our time spent in Berlin we pretty much knew a little of each other, but not really all that much.

Our travel together was our second trip with both couples, I guess the beauty of being confined in a car is that it offers opportunities if we take advantage of them. I believe we all did, we got to share our experiences that have brought us to this point. Our conversations were open, honest, and refreshing. We are really getting to know each other and the distance is not awkward. We also have moments of silence and they aren't uncomfortable.  The time seems to move quickly even when we weren't quite sure if we were on the right road.

Finally we arrive a little late, but there none the less. Deacon Greg is the first to greet us with a great big smile, welcoming us to his home and showing us around a bit. Initial impressions for me were great, and comfortable. The uncertainty fades away to a feeling of relaxation, and even more. Both couples move in and we get to meet Fr. Dennis and share very good conversations with him. Next I see Pat and she greets me and Terry very warmly. This is all incredible to me, a unique and undescribable feeling comes over me. We were also introduced to Deacon Arnold.

We all move over to the porch outside and we all seem to find our way to meet and greet with as many people as we can. I carried on a conversation with Deacon Greg and I was able to get to know him a little better by the time we spent. I got to know about his background, his family, his faith, and the direction the Permanent Diaconate program is going.  My wife who is a very open person seems to be quite comfortable also as I could see her while glancing around. From the look of things it appears that the Johnson's are quite comfortable also with the time spent with others. 

It was great to meet some of the other Aspirants and their wives. The time there was incredible. It felt like time stood still and yet moved along quickly. Before we knew it, it was time to leave. Deacon Greg thanked us all and told us this was the beginning of many more of these to come, and the feelings and the looks throughout the room was great. I think many of us were already looking forward to the next time together.

The last person I met was Deacon Ed, and he asked if we had been introduced. I said we weren't and he seemed disappointed and apologized. I told him not to worry, we did meet. This final greeting and farewell was very moving. You see because of this blog I got myself a little notepad to write down my thoughts and feelings to share with all you what has been special to me. This moment was one that I didn't want to forget, so as soon as I got home I wrote them down along with the date of the event.  Now to get back to Deacon Ed, as we were leaving he shared a vision and a message, " We are now all, Aspirants and Deacons part of a greater community, a brotherhood!"

I describe this day as a bit of a Homecoming, and for me a continuation of my coming back to my calling. I know we all come from different backgrounds but on this day we were all part of something special, a new beginning that will help us become what we are all called to be. To all my brothers and their wives thank you for our first family day.