Wisdom Story – 211

by Paul on August 15, 2014

21ST03PTI’m taking this story, as I have many others, from Philip Chircop whose site, Wisdom Stories To Live By, has saved my blogging bacon on several occasions.  I’m very grateful to him.

Some people were attending a seminar. The speaker, wanting to wake up the group into full consciousness, decided to start with a  group activity. He gave each participant a colorful balloon. He continued by asking everyone to take some time to blow up the balloon and to write their name on it using the few indelible marker pens scattered around. Then all the balloons were gathered in an adjacent room.

The participants, now in the adjacent room with the balloons, were challenged to find the balloon bearing their name within 5 minutes. Everyone was frantically searching for their name, colliding with each other and pushing around others. There was utter chaos.

At the end of the 5 minutes hardly anyone had found the balloon.

The speaker now asked the participants to randomly pick any balloon and give it to the the person whose name was written on it.

Within minutes everyone had their own balloon.



I learned two new words…

by Paul on August 14, 2014

Thanks to Fran who knows I love time lapse photography, I got to learn two new words. As in the title of the video below, “London Noctilucent  Mesopheric Clouds.”

Noctilucent Clouds, accord to Wikipedia, “are tenuous cloud-like phenomena that are the “ragged edge” of a much brighter and pervasive polar cloud layer” and “Mesopheric” refers to that part of our atmosphere from about 20 to 50 miles above the earth’s surface.

Now that today’s meteorological lesson is complete, enjoy the time lapse video!


Seeing More – 5

by Paul on August 13, 2014

Nikolaas proposes for us a short animation called “El Pajaro y el Hombre” – “The Bird and the Man.”

I think that, like the poor man here, I too often try to squelch the little birds of happiness that come (are sent?) my way.




Don’t Be Shy

by Guest on August 12, 2014

This is a guest post by Linda Ricke.

shy childI was reading Henri Nouwen’s Bread for the Journey, in which he wrote about the intimacy of sharing a meal. He talked about how we offer ourselves to others in sharing food. One of the lines he used was, “Don’t be shy, enjoy it!” I understand full well what he was saying and agree with the sentiment, but what actually jumped off the page were the words, Don’t be shy.

I know that’s just an expression, but what is the hidden message behind it? What is not said is, “If you are shy, you can’t enjoy it. If you are shy you are missing out on living. If you are shy, something is wrong with you.”

But what if shy is how God made you? What if shy is the ability to watch and to listen and to be more attentive to others? What if shy is the ability to enjoy without calling attention to yourself and to take things in quietly and without fanfare?

God created each of us to be who we are. He didn’t make us all outgoing. He didn’t make us all the life of the party. He didn’t make us all the same. God knew exactly what He was doing.

Linda Ricke is a wife, a mother, and a grandmother who writes about everyday life from Monticello, Florida.


In 2010, the BBC Proms in London had a celebration for Stephen Sondheim’s 80th birthday.  Here Maria Friedman sings “Children Will Listen” from his musical, “Into the Woods.”


Wisdom Story – 210

by Paul on August 8, 2014

CriminalAnother thought-provoking anecdote from Tony de Mello, S.J.

Noticing that his father was growing old, the son of a burglar said, “Father, teach me your trade so that when you retire I may carry on the family tradition.”

The father did not reply but that night he took the boy along with him to break into a house. Once inside, he opened a closet and asked his son to find out what was inside. No sooner had the lad stepped in than the father slammed the door shut and bolted it, making such a noise in the process that the whole house was awakened. Then he himself slipped away quietly.

Inside the closet the boy was terrified, angry, and puzzled as to how he was going to make his escape. Then an idea came to him. He began to make a noise like a cat; whereupon a servant lit a candle and opened the closet to let the cat out. The boy jumped out as soon as the closet door opened and everyone gave chase. Observing a well beside the road, he threw a large stone into it and hid in the shadows; then he stole away while his pursuers peered into the depths, hoping to see the burglar drown.

Back home again, the boy forgot his anger in his eagerness to tell his story. But his father said, “Why tell me the tale? You are here. That is enough. You have learned the trade.”




by Paul on August 7, 2014

ART008No, not me. As an Irishman I will always suffer suppression…

I am talking about the “Restoration” of the Society of Jesus on this day 200 years ago.

As you may know, Pope Clement XIV suppressed the Jesuits throughout the world in 1773. Forty years later, Pope Pius VII restored the Order.

In many ways, after the Restoration the Jesuits remained timid and even fearful. It was only in the latter half of the 20th Century that the Jesuits got emboldened again and helped advance the reforms of Vatican II.

From Suppression to Restoration to a Jesuit pope — will wonders ever cease?


Seeing More – 4

by Paul on August 6, 2014

Another moving video from Nikolaas Sintobin’s Seeing More website. This is from Singapore.


7 Pieces of Advice

by Paul on August 5, 2014

skd285135sdcOur own Denise recently went on pilgrimage to Turkey. Apart from Ephesus and other Christian sites, she visited the burial site of the Sufi mystic, Rumi, and toured the adjoining museum.  She discovered, among other things, that Rumi is known as Mevlana (Our Master) in Turkey and that he had 7 Pieces of Advice to offer.  She brought these back to me on an English card:

1. In generosity and helping others — be like a river

2. In compassion and grace — be like [the] sun

3. In concealing others’ faults — be like [the] night

4. In anger and fury — be like [the] dead

5. In modesty and and humility – be like [the] earth

6. In tolerance – be like a sea

7. “Either exist as you are or be as you look”

This final one was somewhat puzzling for both Denise and me.  I went looking for different translations and came up with: “Either you appear as you are, or be as you appear.”  Apparently, this means to be true to your authentic self.

Image Source


I was certain that I must have used this before, but the search feature tells me there is no entry for Rachmaninoff.  So, today, let’s treat ourselves to the most famous theme from his Piano Concerto #2.

I normally don’t like the lush and swelling sounds of the Romantics as much as earlier composers, but this is a piece that I really can appreciate.