Lent of Prayer, Reflection, Success

Lots of Prayer

Lots of Reflection

Two big successes

Launched, after 3 years of working crazier hours than any disabled Grandma should…TodaysCatholics.com, an online community for ALL Catholics, regardless of denomination.

and, got this published…a news story

Seacoast Home & Garden Show planned for Saturday and Sunday

Happy, Happy Easter To All!


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Filed under Catholicism, Life After The New Depression, Not All Catholics Are Roman

Light Of Your Glory


beatuiful!!! Oh Happy Easter!

Originally posted on The Bottom of a Bottle:

Light Of Your Glory (Psalm 65:8)

Here we stand
The faithful children
In the light of You glory
In awe of Your wonders
As the sun rises
We sing to Your name
And when the sun sets
We call praise to our Father
With thanks for Your grace
And the hope You place within us

Psalm 65:8 Psalm 65:8

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Pardon The Use Of The N Word

This is a very provocative poblack_bullet_crossst, but I am discussing and linking to it based on two reasons:

One it is entirely correct that a discriminated population may, of it’s own accord, decide to take back the derogatory terms used as slurs and to transform those words into something else.  In other words, it is OK for ME to joke about being a Slovak because I AM a Slovak, but no it would not be ok for YOU to insult me by yelling out “Hey you Slovak!” on a busy street.

Reason two is that we are in a charged atmosphere where far too many people are fighting or threatening to fight or trying to get their government to fight over religion, while we have far too many young black people dying from police brutality, and in their deaths we lose all the words that they might have said that could have transformed our lives.  This is not just a black thing, it is a people thing.


Author: Rev. Osagyefo Sekou

My comment on the site where it appeared:

WOW. A powerful way of bringing to the forefront that Jesus was an outcast, and that the fact his story continues to resonate, that some of us continue to try and follow what he teaches, is a message that everyone needs to hear. He did come for all of us, and his birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection birthed so many different groups of Jesus followers – some Jewish, some Samaritan, some Ethiopian (or other African), indeed counting his sending of the 70 apostles even before he was crucified, he touched people from a whole swath of the world at that time. Fantastic rendering of his story in short prose.

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Filed under Catholicism, Family, Human Rights, politics, poverty, Religion and Faith

Thirsty Moose Has A Happy Secret

Thirsty Moose Has A Happy Secret

by Brenda Ann Eckels, aMGC

Tuesday was a crazy day with lots of work, but I had heard a rumor that the Thirsty Moose had open mic on Tuesday evenings, and decided that a little adventure was in order to spice up my otherwise deary day. It turned out to be well worth the expedition.

The Thirsty Moose, with the motto “Live Free, Drink Beer and East Great Food” was easy to find right in the downtown Market Square area. Contrary to popular belief, the area not only has decent parking, but there is a large parking garage in walking distance. In addition, one can park at any one of the area Lafayette / Route 1 mall lots and take the trolley in for only $1.50 a trip (seniors and disabled half fare). There is bus service to a good portion of the rest of the city, and one of the trolleys also serves the transportation hub for out of townees.

President of the multi-owner watering hole, Zachary Kelly, proved to be an easy to talk to guy, but you can tell by his eyes on his tablet he is always keeping a close eye on the place. It’s a fairly full job, as the Thirsty Moose boasts 3 impressive bars, each of which has a large assortment of beers on tap. including more than a few I had never heard of. Upstairs features a “quiet bar” with no blaring TV or stage area – this would make an excellent place for a Meet and greet, and with 50 beers on tap plus an experienced bartender who can do any cocktail you desire, it sets the warm tone for the place. Further in the historic building is a larger bar that also has a good size table height seating are and a huge flat screen TV – easily 8 feet wide, along with some extra screens. While this is not a sports bar per say, you can bet the local Boston and New England teams get plenty of play, especially during important games. This bar is gorgeous with 67 brews on tap, and again great experienced bartenders able to do much more than just pour a cold brew.

The secret jewel of the Thirsty Moose however is the Basement Lounge Room. Already known by area locals for the assortment of bands you can find there on the weekends, this is a large space with another bar with 50 beers on tap, and another bartender well versed in every latest martini and I spotted a great selection of top shelf and lower priced drinks. The great things about the TM Basement is that it is large enough to handle a good sized crowd of partying folks (up to 120), but at the same time has a more intimate feel that is welcoming even to a non-alcohol drinker.

About the only disadvantage the historic building has, like much of Market Square, is that the Basement is not wheelchair accessible, something President Zach Kelly expressed a lot of interest in rectifying once technology and cost bring the ability to allow some sort of adaptation. Having seen the effort the owners have put into creating a gorgeous space with plenty of mingle room upstairs, and a truly multifunctional basement, I have no doubt that at some point in the future they will find some wunderkind architectural student with just the perfect idea to create more disabled access downstairs. As it was, this writer, who is a partial wheel user, found the staff fairly jumping over each other in the effort to assist me in getting safely down the stairs and settled comfortably into the room.

The TM Lounge Basement, in addition to the bar seating, has two separate bar height areas along the walls that have tables large enough for a full meal and a drink, plenty of bar height small tables that are perfect for a romantic couple to share a meal or for a foursome to share drinks and a common appetizer. The décor, a mix of black with red accents and plenty of historical details like the original decorative tin roof, has been enhanced with acoustic tiling and a killer sound system that Zack not so modestly calls “one of the best in the area”.

Once the music got going, I could see that he was not just talking trash, as the balance, pitch, volume, and bass were extremely consistent throughout the room. The stage, with a raised lip even my wheelchair could manage, is roomy enough that it could have handled a band with three lead singers, full drum set, keyboard, and perhaps one or two background singers. It is also large enough to handle some of the classical small ensembles, and even a small jazz or swing band would be able to find room to groove. Boom mics, a great assortment of lighting, while oriented a bit more toward rock bands, still had the ability to take the stage from dim lit Moody Blues to Poetry Slam and up comedy bright with a touch or two from the controls.

Probably the nicest surprise however, was that the TM Lounge Basement also features in the back of the room is a wrap around leather couch easily able to hold a party of 25 or so people comfortably. Think all the fun and glamor of a bachelorette party without the parking headaches, prices or long lines on Landsdown Street.

The Lounge Basement has plenty of flatscreens scattered around, but tonight only the bar one was on with volume set low enough not to interfere with the stage action. The open Mic is run in a very laid back, comfortable, no stress manner by Dana Brearley, who sings and plays electric guitar, and Dave MacLean, who sings and plays acoustic guitar. The two play off each other well, and even when they were obviously trading an inside joke they did so in a way the audience could get it and laugh along. They have a setup with access over wifi to YouTube karaoke and other web based music in case you are a singer who doesn’t carry your own CD of music, plus they collectively boast an incredible range of music they can play while you sing – everything from folk to rock, disco to R &B, and jazz.

The beginning of each evening features a 3 ( or 4 depending on how much humorous commentary they add) set by the duo, who show with each song that they truly enjoy jamming with each other. First up was a great hard hitting cover of the Rolling Stones “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and right off you could tell that these two are fearless at tackling any guitar riff or growling rock anthem vocal. The mood changed when the second song “You Can Call Me Al” by Paul Simon was covered by Dave with a nice bluesy riff done by Dana on the electric. Played a bit more up tempo, but not as staccato as the original gave this a very nice feel I can only describe as “peppy blues”.

Song three, “Free Fallin” by Tom Petty sounded really different as they started with the instrumental beginning extended a bit and played very soft. The slightly slower than original tempo, combined with Dana’s sweet softer vocals (showing well his ability to control it) allowed the listener to almost taste the angst of the lyrics, and the addition later in the sing of Dave’s harmony led to very satisfying finish.

Last of the intro set by the duo was “Moondance” by Van Morrison, which was served straight up like a classic martini. Particularly nice was the bridge from verse 1 to verse 2, handled with aplomb by Dana.

A stop to have a humorous debate about the size of the crowd broke us up laughing. The crowd was smaller than the talent on stage would indicate, but as the evening grew later the room began to fill in with folks who heard the music wafting up the stairs and out to the street each time the door opened.

Of course, the best way to try out an open mic event is to jump right in, so I went up, and using a karaoke YouTube for lyric support and music, belted out one of my all time favorites “Life This Life” by Big and Rich, which garnered me enough applause (and a wolf whistle!) to brave another tune, “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morrisette. This also was greeted warmly, despite the fact I flubbed one line of the lyrics. I like open mic events that give grades and applause for the effort of getting up, even as they certainly do show the appreciation for good music or spoken word.

This evening didn’t have any of of the latter, but the mic and atmosphere is comfortable enough that a slam poet or amateur rapper could easily slide in and get onstage between music acts and fit right in. This is an open mic that any over 21 ex drama club member, choir singer, accordion player, or drummer could ump into and quite possibly find out that they know some of the same songs Dave and Dana know, leading to a 8 person jam session on the stage.

Another performer I liked was twenty something Erik, who hitched up his electric and did “Sweet Home Alabama” by Leanord Skynard with a very nice twang and just a small hint of innocence that made the lyrics more poignant and less redneck beer hall – an excellent version of this classic.

Erik’s second song, “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd had a totally different vibe slowed down and played with just the solo guitar. In some ways it made the lyrics sound more maudlin, and it suited the song well.

By 10:30pm, there was the inevitable small group celebrating a birthday, and these do not go unnoticed by the Dana Dave Duo – all one has to do is let let one of them, or Zach, who prowls around controlling the sound from his tablet, what the happy occasion is and who the lucky person is, and it’s on. Tonight, a lovely young birthday girl got to celebrate turning 21 with the Beatles’ “Birthday” that jumped out of the stage like a rocket “They Say It’s Your Birthday…” hard, biting, fast, and excellently done.

The hilarity, music, and singers continued until I headed out about 11:30pm, still listening to the great sounds floating up the stairs as I waited for a taxi home. I would be remiss however, if I didn’t mention that in addition to being a great bar with a cool Lounge Basement and what could grow to be a fantastic Tuesday night for musicians and poets of all stripes, Thirsty Mouse also has food.

I am not talking here about the typical one page bar food menu. I got there early enough to see one of the brick oven pizzas, piled high with meats and veggies, and ranging in price from $13 to $20, I found them to be more than adequate size for the money. The restaurant also has a great “Sammy” menu, including the “deconstructed” where you can mix meat, cheese, bread, and sauce in dozens of combinations and it comes in a ½ pound for $9.99 or a full pound (enough to share) for $14.99. Unlike many a bar I have been to, they offered some nice things for the vegetarians and vegans too – in particular a Mediterranean Veggie Wrap with hummus, tomatoes, cucumber, shredded carrots, field greens, and red onions (Vegans can hold the feta cheese). Finally, I saw with relief that they also offered a chalkboard list of more than one gluten free option.

The Beer Bites Menu takes a full page, and along with the usual favorites, again, the vegetarians among us were not forgotten, with a Hummus and Tabbouleh Platter for only $7.99. French Canadians in particular will be happy to know that the Thirsty also features Poutine Fries with the rich gravy topped with fresh mozzarella. My ex-mother-in-law would be in heaven, God rest her soul. Another nice touch is that the chicken wings are available in portions from dieting gal to lumberjack. There is an impressive list of 12 different dipping sauces for those and other appetizers…next time, I am curious as to what exactly “Western Apricot” might taste like on french fries instead of ketchup.

I had the garlic knots which was a great portion of 8 very generous pizza dough knots liberally brushed with butter and garlic and served with a spicy definitely-not-your-average marinara sauce. Usually the app comes with hand shredded Parmesan on the knots, which for those who like cheese must be simply divine. The dessert menu is a little small with 4 items, but considering the burgers, fish and chips, and other offerings, along with what looked like very generous portions on the various plates I saw, I think it is reasonable that cheesecake, peanut butter pie, fried dough balls, and Boston Cream Pie be the choices to finish a meal.

I am not sure how the restaurant handles functions and young ones in general, but there must be some times when families can come in as they had a cute, reasonably priced kid’s menu with the mac and cheese, pizza, hot dog, and chicken fingers that are any toddler or school age kid’s staples. $6.50 includes the meal and a glass of milk.

Times are tough for a lot of folks, even though the “recession” is supposedly over. It is just not enough to sit there in your cubicle on Tuesday and hope for the night of Hump Day to get through the week. Change it up. Grab the guitar, harmonica, song list, poem, or whatever, bring a few dollars, and head to the Lounge Basement at Thirsty Moose on Tuesday nights from 7 to whenever. Take all the workplace stress out on a killer riff or great anthem song, sing something silly and fun, or shock the crowd with up to the minute slam poetry that has a razor edge. Shock your twenty something kids, still living at home, with a great rendition of Pat Benatar or Dire Straights. Shock your oh-so-old parents with Pink’s “Perfect”. Dare your date to add to that jazz number with the trumpet they play so well. Or, just sit back, enjoy one of 50 different beers, and listen, dance, laugh, and enjoy. Your week will seem to fly by that much faster, trust me.

www.facebook.com/thirstymoosetaphouse * twitter.com/ThirstyMooseTap

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Life Is Messy

Life Is Messy

by Brenda Eckels Burrows ©2001,2015

Life is messy

She thought as she cleared

The hairball off the rug.

But in there

Among the mud pies

And the dirty diapers

The Gak and the Play Doh

And dirty socks

Under the couch.

In there is magic

Soft noses nuzzling

Kitten purrs, dog kisses

And bright DayGlow smiles

Friends, Family, Pets

And Home.

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On Old Catholics, Francis, and The Unruly Press

A recent news story caught my eye, starting as it did with the pejorative term, schismatic, and going downhill in accuracy and completeness from there. In doing so, it did Pope Francis a grave disservice by presenting for the world to see yet another example of how the Roman denomination has sub groups within it that He can’t or won’t supervise and manage.

The story as written by Catholic News Agency.com (http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope-francis-reaches-out-to-schismatic-old-catholic-church-28251 ) is biased, inflammatory, and, in the end, most hurtful to the one man they have sworn to obey and follow: Francis. Back to the confessional with you folks…pride, lying, and gluttony for hits on Facebook are still sins, no matter what denomination you belong to.

While there are many excellent books about the history of the unique type of Catholic life that developed in the Netherlands in the early centuries of Christianization, for now even the very simplistic wikipedia entry will suffice to highlight the truth:

“The term Old Catholic Church originated with groups which separated from the Roman Catholic Church over certain doctrines, primarily concerned with papal authority. These churches are not in full communion with the Holy See of Rome, but their Union of Utrecht of Old Catholic Churches is in full communion with the Anglican Communion[1] and a member of the World Council of Churches.[2]

Four disputes set the stage for an independent Bishopric of Utrecht: the Concordat of Worms, the First Lateran Council and Fourth Lateran Council, and the concession of Pope Leo X. In the 12th century, there occurred the Investiture Controversy where the Holy Roman Emperor and the Pope fought over who could appoint Bishops. In 1122, the Concordat of Worms[7] was signed, making peace. The Emperor renounced the right to invest ecclesiastics with ring and crosier, the symbols of their spiritual power, and guaranteed election by the canons of cathedral or abbey and free consecration. The Emperor Henry V and Pope Calixtus II ended the feud by granting one another peace. The Concordat was confirmed by the First Council of the Lateran[8] in 1123.

The Fourth Lateran Council[9] in 1215 re-enforced the right of all Cathedral Chapters to elect their bishops. Philip of Burgundy, 57th Bishop of Utrecht (1517–1524), through a family connection with Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, secured a significant concession from Pope Leo X, granting internal autonomy in both church and temporal affairs for himself and his successors without interference from outside their jurisdictional region. This greatly promoted the independence of the See of Utrecht, so that no clergy or laity from Utrecht would ever be tried by a Roman tribunal.

The Vaticanite Catholic Churches cannot have it both ways. Either they decide, once and for all, that if a previous Pope decided something, it cannot be changed – or they must concede that it can. This means that if they are going to insist that because JPII said “No female priests” and stick to it, then they have to abide by the decision made by Pope Leo X that the Old Catholic Churches that descended from Utrecht are NOT schismatics at all, and are in fact completely separate from the Vatican governance system.

This is a completely different situation, and one much more ancient, than the one that exists between the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church. It is also distinct from the situation that exists between the Vaticanite Catholic Churches and the Orthodox Catholic Churches.

It is important to remember here that the Zurich Nota of 1968 includes the following “when on the part of the Roman Catholics it was established with reference to the Old Catholic churches that “they possess true sacraments, above all – by virtue of apostolic succession – the priesthood and the Eucharist. Likewise a very close communion exists between the Old Catholic churches and the Roman Catholic church in matters of faith” (ZN 2).

Also, as in The Church And Eccesial Communion – Report of the International Roman Catholic-Old Catholic Dialogue Commission, section 29, we would do well to remember “In regard to the position of the pope as the bearer of a universal primacy, the constantly recurring expression primus inter pares makes it clear that the primacy must work within the sphere of synodality and collegiality of the local churches and their bishops; more precisely, it is seen in the light of a local church theology, or of the “patriarchal constitution” of the ancient Church, so that the pope in fact exercises the primacy as the first among the patriarchs.

In other words:

James, Brother of the Lord (The FIRST bishop – anywhere, as he was the leader of the Jewish Jesus followers in Jerusalem) did not have the right to just arbitrarily tell Paul to force new gentile converts to get circumcised. He had to gather the members of the Jerusalem group of Jesus followers, and hold what became known as the very first Council – the First Council of Jerusalem. Even then, he did not have the authority to just tell Paul that eating non-kosher food was ok.

Not only did it take the entire assembly, but they also had to wait for a sign of the Holy Spirit in action pointing them in the direction they were supposed to go. In that case, Peter got the job.

“About noon the next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat; and while it was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw the heaven opened and something like a large sheet coming down, being lowered to the ground by its four corners. 12 In it were all kinds of four-footed creatures and reptiles and birds of the air. 13 Then he heard a voice saying, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat.” 14 But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is profane or unclean.” 15 The voice said to him again, a second time, “What God has made clean, you must not call profane.” 16 This happened three times, and the thing was suddenly taken up to heaven. Acts 11, 9:16, NRSVCE via Biblegateway.com

The Pope/Roman Bishop of Rome/Pontifus Maximus has NEVER had the power or the authority to speak for ALL Catholics, and never will. It is entirely fine for the Vaticanite Chruches to CHOOSE to have a belief/dogma that when the Pope/Roman Bishop of Rome/Pontifus Maximus speaks to them from the Chair of Peter on matters of faith or morals that He is infallible. It is entirely fine for those Vaticanite Catholics to hold a belief that they, as serfs under the king/Caesar, must render unto him complete obedience to whatever he decides to say. This is a cherished thing among some of the Romans, and among some of the other Catholic denominations that have CHOSEN to be led by the Vaticanite system.

But from the earliest days, and from the first council, no one human was in charge. The only head of the One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church is Jesus Christ and the ENTIRE body of the Church, from the highest Pope to the most lowly, most poor, newly baptized baby girl.

Pope Francis was right in saying that Old Catholics (both the Utrechtian ones in Europe, who he directly a spoke to here, and the non-Utrechtian ones in Europe and around the world can and should continue “to persevere in substantive theological dialogue” and to continue to pray and work together towards a deeper conversion in Christ. He is absolutely correct in saying “the Churches ought to work to address the spiritual crises and needs of the world, particularly in Europe.”

There is much that the Vatican can learn from the Old Catholic Church, most especially such basics as how to run their checkbook without having full of money from the mafia’s drugs, prostitution, and other illegal activities. The Vatican led denominations could gain immeasurable gain from simply having the Vatican Accountants spend a couple years being taught by the ones in Utrecht. So too, could the Vatican led churches learn from the Old Catholics of Utrecht and elsewhere how to develop a clergy system that breaks the centuries old stain on Pauline Catholicism of pedophilia. Before you rush out to crucify me, remember: if there were limericks being composed in Ireland in the 1700 warning mothers not to let their altar boy sons get TOO attached to the local priest, then there are a whole lot of us Catholics in a whole lot of denominations that have pedophilia by heterosexual male clergy somewhere in our family tree. It is a problem we all have to be aware of and make sure we change within each and every denomination. The Utrechtian Old Catholic Churches have had a fairly admirable record of developing a culture where there is no barrier to a child speaking up in the rare instance of a clergy person committing abuse. Having Vatican staff spend a few years with Union of Utrecht staff would be a good thing.

The theological differences are much larger in the rear-view-mirror that pervades and distorts inter-denomination Catholic thought than they are in reality. Female clergy is a denominational decision, period. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the Universal Church. Who gets ordained is not what is important – it is what fruit that ordination brings that matters. Considering that the Old Catholics have parishes that are 400+ families strong in some areas, a history that is unique and as old or older than many Vaticanite denominations, and that the one See of Utrecht has given birth to hundreds of denominations of Catholic Churches that are actively bringing forth the Kingdom of God and growing is proof enough that GOD is quite satisfied with what he has wrought by taking some parts of the Roman Catholic Church, some parts of the Anglicans, Orthodox, and Celtics, and created an entirely new family of Catholics.

Paul Tillich, in “A History of Christian Thought” wrote “Reality precedes thought; it is equally true, however, that thought shapes reality. They are interdependent; one cannot be abstracted from the other. We should remember this when we come to the discussions on the trinity and christology.” It might do us good to remember that this is just as true when it comes to denominational relations.

Catholics are one Church – Catholic, Holy, Apostolic, Universal. One of the older brother’s top guy has decided that he wants to see if he and one of the younger siblings can work together to help the masses of people in Europe who are hungry for Christ. By all means he should be encouraged in doing this. He also wants to continue to have long conversations with the younger sibling about what each of them believe, and how it compares to his same-age Orthodox brother and the far more ancient brothers, the Thomas Christians, Eithopian Catholics, Gnostic Catholics, and Coptic Catholics.

Pope Francis is correct that Europe needs Catholicism – and Jesus. He is right that if you are the one standing in front of the elephant, holding the trunk, it can seem mighty confusing to discover that the blind guy next to you is holding an ear. That does not however mean that the Older Brother holding the trunk gets to declare the entire elephant is in fact a snake. Thought and reality are interdependent. The more Rome studies with Utrechtian Old Catholics, with Greek Orthodox theologians like John Zizioulas, and most importantly with the members of its own denomination, the sooner the Vaticanites will be able to heal and pull themselves up out of the various tar pits they so willingly walked into and got stuck in.

The Utrechtian Old Catholics, by the way, are human too, and already are stuck in a national “one country – one church” model which is inconsistent with the multicultural areas of the world like the United States. They too have suffered the loss of members, although they have not had the hemorrhaging that the Romans have simply because they have not had the pedophilia, septic tank dead bodies, or mafia infested banking issues that Rome has had. ALL the Utrechtian and Vaticanite bishops could use some lessons from St. Francis in getting out from the desks, rolling up their sleeves, and just getting out there among the millions of souls who don’t have a clue that the Jesus they hear about in a Kanye West hip hop son is an actual, real dude!

The next Ecumenical Catholic Council needs to have a place at the table for ALL Catholics, and that includes the Romans and the other Vaticanites. It also includes the Utrechtians, the orthodox, the Anglicans, the Independents, the Celtics, and all the rest of the Catholics. The next Ecumenical Catholic Council needs to have a place at the table not just for bishops, but for laity, not just for the men but for the women and those with no gender. It must be just like the small groups of Jesus followers that were the early Church long before some offspring of a Roman Emperor decided to give the title “Pontifus Maximus” to the Roman Bishop of Rome.

I wish your denominations well as they try to solve the problems they face – most especially the fact they are at this moment killing other Catholics in the fields of the Ukraine – and I agree that spending time with a stable, healthy, less corrupted brother would do you Vaticanites a world of good. As for the Utrechtians, not every part of the world is going to be able to fit the old European cross-the-border, change your church model. In fact in areas like the United States, there have been brutal wars over the whole idea of NOT EVER doing that, so listen to how the Vaticanites have created diversity within the destination. Some of it is worthwhile. Everyone else….Francis wasn’t talking to you! Get back in the water! Go feed some hungry, shelter some homeless, and get that Communion out there where they people need it!

Vaticanites, I pray that Jesus keeps your Bishop, Francis alive long enough to help you all understand that you are one of the oldest Catholic Churches, but not the only one God loves. Utrechtians, be patient…it has been a long time since your older brother went to school. Everyone else, keep these two in your prayers, as they need them to help save the lost sheep in Europe.

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Bags of Bones

woman_victorian_webHmmmm…this broken body…that has battled fibromyalgia and PTSD since the early 1990’s, multiple sclerosis and a whole lot more since 2006….actually made it to 48 years old today.

God is full of surprises!

And I am grateful to God for the gift of still being here, and even still able to walk, talk, and write. I am grateful for the close to 2,000 members of my Facebook & Google + circle/ group, Not All Catholics Are Roman…But All Catholics Are One for being brave enough to stand up for the belief that there is much more that unites our different Catholic Churches than the things that have too often divided us. I am grateful to the friends and family that have stood by my ex Brian and I, as well as our son Jamie, as we each recover from the wreckage of the storms these past months. I am grateful for the love that Brian and I shared, and the love and respect that I hold for him still. I am profoundly grateful to my church family at Rumney Marsh Fellowship, to Bishop David Dismas, and Deacon Robert Lefebre. I am grateful beyond words for my brothers and sisters in my Franciscan religious order, The Mercy of God Community, without whom I would not be here “doing ministry” today.

I am grateful that God has set me, since last fall, on a new path, and I am traveling right now with a group of pilgrims as diverse and welcome as any Chaucer could have chosen. I can’t wait to write all the stories down as we move along.

God is good. While I am most certainly still often on the walk to Calvary, I have more days to live, more ways to serve Him, and more help along The Way than I could have ever imagined having.

Happy Birthday to me….

Thank You to everyone who has sent me messages, posted, called, and written. Truly, you have made this birthday special.

Oh yeah…the birthday surprise….well, of course:

biflag_withwordsThere.  This time I am not ever going back in the closet again.  Time to be real and honest of who I am in everything.  Enjoy the cake folks, and don’t get ice cream on the carpet!

Take care,

Brenda  Ann Eckels, aMGC


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Filed under Catholicism, disability, Family, Fibromyalgia, LGBT, Mental Health, Multiple Sclerosis and other Neurological Diseases, Not All Catholics Are Roman, Religion and Faith