Thursday, November 30, 2017

Motivational Words

Today I was on the phone with my cousin. She is the daughter of my Mother's brother. We talk a lot about genealogy as we recall different things our parents have told us about the family. She keeps me informed about her family and I tell her what I have been doing. Today she told me that her niece had written a book and it was on Amazon for $17.00.

The New Billionaire: Someone Who Helps a Billion People is the title of the book written by Julie Aragon and one sentence in the review caught my eye;  How we change how we love and honor ourselves, we change how we love the world.  It sounded like an interesting book and knowing that she was a relative prompted me to order a copy.

My cousin told me that Julie had a difficult time growing up. Julie, at twelve years old,  lost her mother who had suffered with breast cancer for six years. She being the oldest cared for her five brothers and her father. Her father did not help around the house which made the responsibility fall on the young girl. In those days, the man worked and earned the money and the wife stayed home and managed the home. When his wife died, his daughter took up the role of doing the things her mother would have done around the house. I wondered if her childhood insight was where she got her ideas to write a motivational book.

Her Bio is impressive as she is described as an entrepreneur, motivational leader and speaker, life coach, writer, and health and fitness coach. "We don't get to chose the life we were born into....we do get to choose what we make it!" I am so ready to read the book that my cousin said "every chapter ends with an uplifting thought."

Once I receive the book and I read it, I will write another blog and let you know my thoughts on the book.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Four Things Different in a California Church

Attending mass in another state or country, it is reassuring to know that the rituals will be the same. Whether the language spoken is understood or not, the liturgy of the mass will always be the same.
A week ago I saw things that were different in the church I attended and, in some respect, probably necessary.

1.    A flyer in the bulletin informed the congregation on what to do in case of a shooter situation.  Warning to be aware of the environment and possible dangers, to take notice where the nearest exits are located, if in an office, stay there and secure door, and as a last resort, take the active shooter down.

An active shooter will be engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined or populated area. The shooter may select people at random or have a vendetta against someone. Law enforcement is usually required to end the situation.

The responses listed were to run by having an escape route and plan. Leave belongings behind. Keep your hands visible. Hide out of shooter's view, block entry to your hiding place, lock doors, and silence your cell phone. When police arrive, remain calm, follow instructions, raise hands and spread fingers, avoid quick movements, do not scream, point or yell, and do not touch the officers.

If able to provide information to 911 operator or officers on the scene: Give location of shooter, number of shooters, physical description of shooters, number and type of weapons, and number of victims.

This information came from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and what a surprise to find it in the church bulletin.

I do remember that after the Columbine shooting, when I attended mass I tried to find pillars or areas where I could sit to be protected if a shooter decided to begin shooting. Then, after years went by, a church did not seem to be a target and I relaxed. That is, until the church in Charleston, S.C. was targeted and nine persons were killed. Makes one wonder if any place is safe?

2.       The Thanksgiving Day mass was bilingual and the music in Spanish was extremely lively. It was beautiful to see how well the priest moved from English to Spanish or vice-versa. I was happy I could understand both languages!

3.       At the end of mass, before the blessing, the priest asked who had brought wine and bread to be blessed. A quarter of the congregation held up loafs of bread, bottles of wine, or both. The priest blessed the food and drink that would be used at their Thanksgiving Day meal.

4.       The flyer entitled, California Catholic Bishops Urge Immigration Reform for DACA Youth and Their Families was the Bishops' pledge abiding solidarity with immigrants; Denounce the Administration's End of Program Offering Hope.  I picked out a few sentences that seemed to sum up the Bishops' thinking. Catholics will remain steadfast in offering assistance to immigrants. We chose to continue to serve, comfort, and protect our brothers and sisters. We will not protect serious and violent criminals, however, we will not allow reckless rhetoric to bully us from the course of compassion and basic decency. 

The paper ended with a quote from Pope Francis: "Children are a sign. They are a sign of hope, a sign of life, but also a 'diagnostic' sign, a marker indicating the health of families, society and the entire world. Wherever children are accepted, loved, cared for and protected, the family is healthy, society is healthier and the world is more human?"

These four things were different, but interesting, and made me wonder how many other churches have different ideas and customs that we do not have in Colorado.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Gourmet Fideos

"Thou shouldest
eat to live,
not live to eat."

My mother would make Fideos at least once a week. She would toast the vermicelli and then add onions, garlic and tomatoes. I don't remember if she used tomato sauce or if she used diced tomatoes. To this day I still love Fideos!

When my family in California suggested going to eat Fideos at Colonia Publica, I was all for it. They had gone a few times and enjoyed the originality of the place. "It's a bowl of Fideos and then you add what ever you want; chips, cheese, eggs, fish, or meat."  The Internet let me know that Sopa de Fideo is a combination of tomato-based broth, onion and toasted vermicelli noodles. For two days we talked about going and I was ready to try the new place. I love Fideos and if my family recommended it, I knew it would be delicious!

On Monday, all five of us piled into the car, drove through tons of traffic, passed a few towns until we were in Whittier. I was hungry so I was happy when I heard someone say, "It's in this block!" We parked and walked about half a block and noticed that Colonia Publica was dark. The sign let us know that the place is open every day except on Mondays.

We walked another block and found a restaurant that reminded me of a 50's Diner. Red booths, large posters of Jimmy Dean, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe hung from the walls, and individual, small juke boxes at each booth. The large variety of food gave us our choice of what ever we wanted to eat. My daughter and I ordered breakfast burritos, one granddaughter had a large bowl of soup loaded with vegetables, the other granddaughter ordered a roasted chicken sandwich with sweet potato fries and my son-in-law got a bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato sandwich. Our substitute meal probably was not as good as the Fideos would have been but it did curb our appetite!

"When the stomach is full
the heart is glad."
Dutch Proverb

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Importance of Left and Right

Do you believe I am writing something political? I think I could write something about the left and the right because of the huge disparity between left and right thinkers. But, no, this blog is just about directions. A few days ago I wrote about getting lost in a new neighborhood and ever sense then it bothers me. How could that happen within a few blocks of my destination?

This morning I decided to retrace my steps and find out exactly how I had gone wrong. Near the house I was fine, but as I moved further away, I began to take note of where I was (instead of just walking) and noticed when I came to the street named Mulberry, I knew where I had gone wrong. My inclination was to turn left but as I stood on the corner and looked around I saw five tall palm trees quite a distance from where I was standing. Those palm trees are about a block from the house and that meant turning right. I did, and before long I arrived home. If I had looked up and seen those palm trees I never would have gotten lost so my advice is to be aware of your surroundings when you go for a walk. Just because in your town the streets are arranged in an orderly fashion does not mean that another city will be the same. The area around the house has triangles, short blocks, extremely long blocks, cul de sacs, and the street names  that will disappear for awhile and then suddenly you see the same name pop up quite away from the last one you saw. It surprised me when I was told I had left one city and was in the neighboring town.

One suggestion was looking at where the sun is in the sky to figure out directions.  I said, "There was no sun
and at home I know all I have to do is look west and there are our mountains, here there are no mountains at all! Those tall palm trees will be my guiding light!"

 I will never get lost in the neighborhood again if I can see those tall trees. Well, anyway, that's my hope!

Lost On My Morning Walk

When I visit my California family, I try to walk every morning. This morning, after mass, I took another route home and got completely lost.  When I sit in the car and someone else is driving, I sort of have an idea about where I am. Walking along the different neighborhood,  I thought I was following the same route to get home. Oh, how wrong I was when I realized that the house numbers were getting bigger. No matter which street I took, nothing looked familiar. How could I be lost, I thought, I've got to be fairly close.

My daughter called me to tell me she was on her way to the dentist and I said, "I'm lost!" Her suggestion was to call my granddaughter and let her know and she would be able to direct me home.
When I told my granddaughter the two street signs I was standing under, she said, "I don't know where that is, but grandma, get on your phone and get the Map Aps and you will be directed home!" How silly I felt that I had not even thought about using my phone. I put my location and where I wanted to go and the maps showed me where to go, which way to turn and I was on my way.

Reaching a corner, I was looking at my phone and a lady walked up to me. I told her I was trying to find my way home and she said, "My daughter talks to her phone, can you imagine that? We stood and talked a bit about the smart phones and she asked my age. I told her and she said, "I am 93 years old and I walk every day. I still drive and I have lived in my home for 57 years. Some of my neighbors have passed away, the neighbor across the street uses a walker, the neighbor next door is all hunched over and it is probably because they did not keep moving." My thought, which I did not tell her, was that God may have other plans for those people!"

I told her to keep walking and that I would also continue my walk and now that my phone was telling me where I was I would find my way home. After about ten minutes, I realized I was going around in a circle because the same houses kept showing up and so did the streets of Mulberry and Juniper.
About three block away I saw a busy street and figured if I got to that street I would know my way home. What a surprise when I realized I was about five blocks from the church where I had started my walk! I do not know how I had wandered so far away and why I had gotten so lost. It could be that there are no square blocks, many angled areas, and that on one of my turns I had ended up in another city right next to where I wanted to go.

How many miles did I walk? 3.6 miles so I figure I have walked my quota for the next three days!

"The truth is, 
we all get lost as we try to find our way. 
Perhaps the key is to stop, take a look around 
and enjoy the scenery as we go."
JaTawny Chatman

Mexico in California

Entering Gonzalez' Northgate Market the first thing that surprised me was the size. A large grocery store with many items that I have only seen in Mexico.

The meat counter is about 30 feet long with every kind of meat imaginable and many of the customers were purchasing pig's feet. I suppose to make tamales. I had to take a number, wait for it to be called, and I was number 29 while the number being called was 17. Everyone spoke Spanish. I purchased five chuletas (pork-chops.) The sea food area was huge with shrimp, fish, octopus, crab and lobster.

My favorite areas were the bakery with many decorated cakes and cookies and the colorful floral section. 

The large skins of  6" by 14" chicharon were the biggest I had ever seen.

We went to Northgate to look for some Hatch's chile pods but the only pods for sale were from California. We did find some El Guapo New Mexico chile but no where on the package did it say it was Hatch's. We purchased the chile pods in hopes that we would get the flavor I am used to tasting in Colorado.

I hope to return to Northgate and take my time going from aisle to aisle. Even though it had many items from Mexico, the store is much larger than the stores in Mexico. I was told that the family owns thirty-nine other Northgate Markets in California. My son-in-law said that people refer to it as the Whole Foods for Mexicans!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Addams Family Fun, Tango And Inka Mamas

Saturday, November 18, 2017, my family and I attended a play at the Orange County School of the Arts. The play is put on by the students, but as I watched the play they did not seem like students, instead they were quite professional in their singing, dancing and acting. The play was in a small theater, Symphony Hall, on campus.  I was told it had just been refurbished though I could tell it was an old theater.  Not all the seats were taken but the crowd cheered and clapped when the characters did something outstanding.

The Addams Family, a New Musical Comedy, had the characters of Gomez, Morticia, Uncle Fester, Lurch, Grandma, Pugsley, (the odd little boy) and his sister, Wednesday. How well everyone in the theater remembered the characters from the television series. As the actors went through their antics and talked in clich├ęs, I recalled watching them on t.v. The gist of the story was that Wednesday falls in love but everyone tries to dissuade her from being in love with a normal man. The young man has  parents who think that the Addams family is weird and try to get the young man to give up his love for the girl. When the boy's mother drinks a truth-telling potion she reveals how unhappy she is in her marriage, Morticia finds out that Gomez has kept secrets from her and everyone in their
mixed up lives is ready to go their separate ways. Yet, love wins out and every one is reconciled. Great singing and dancing by supporting cast members of "dead" persons.


After the play, we headed to Segerstrom Plaza in Costa Mesa to watch tango dancers. Lessons were being taught by an instructor and those learning were doing just that -- learning. The one thing I noticed was that women had to dance with women because there weren't enough men. My son-in-law was approached by a young woman who asked him to dance. He politely told her he did not dance. His comment to me was, "She must really be desperate to go up to a stranger and ask him to dance!" Most of the people stumbled around but after the lessons, the real tango dancers showed up. They made the intricate dancing look easy as they moved around the large checkerboard floor.


Watching the dancers my daughter saw a teacher she worked with and she was there to Tango!  She gave us Tango pointers which were interesting. "The woman always walks backwards, your knees must be flexible, and be prepared to dance close to your partner," were some of the things she told us.  She has been dancing Tango for a few years and when I saw her dance with a man who knew the steps, she looked good as she gracefully followed his lead! After watching the dancers, we decided to go eat dinner at Inka Mamas.

A delicious meal of chicken, rice, vegetables, and a hot sauce called Aji tasted good and I don't know if it was because I was so hungry or if it really was good, but I enjoyed the meal a lot! The meal was probably the best Peruvian food I have ever eaten!

The day was busy and full of fun. I wondered what was on the agenda for the next day. I love spending time with my California family and what surprised me the most was how warm and summer-like the days have been.

"I sustain myself with the love of family."
Maya Angelou

(Written on November 18, 2017) 

A Celebrity of Sorts

As I entered St. Angela Merici church in California, I found a place to sit and began observing other people entering the church. A man sitting in the front pew seemed popular as everyone stopped to greet him. After watching six persons walk over and talk to him, I was curious. As a choir member walked by where I was sitting I flagged her over. "Who is the gentleman in the front row that everyone seems to know?" I asked. "Oh, he used to be the Mayor of our city and his name is Harry Nelson."

When the mass with the singing, praying and blessings came to an end and I was leaving, I passed by Mr. Nelson.  I stopped and said, "I notice that everyone stops to speak with you so you must be a celebrity!" He laughed and said, "I am retired and have been retired from four different occupations. First, I went into the Navy and retired at 37 years old. I get a check every month and have received over a million dollars so these kids that don't join the service are missing an opportunity for an early retirement.  I then retired from a 3M company in Wisconsin, then retired from the city after being the Mayor and I also Nelson Enterprises, a real estate company." My response was, "Wow!"

I asked if I could take his picture so I could blog about meeting a celebrity and he agreed. I told him how nice it was meeting him and as I left the church I thought, interesting people are all around and you just have to stop and speak to them!

Turned Off By An Early Christmas

One of my favorite things to do while I am in California visiting my family is to go to a mall and wander around and check out the different stores. Sometimes I find bargains and sometimes I just look! On Friday, November 17, 2017, I parked the car and entered the mall. I passed a jewelry store, a Victoria Secret, a shoe store, a beauty shop and a few restaurants. When I saw a cute little area with lots of evergreens, some elves, and a large bench with Santa Claus sitting waiting for children to come visit him, it made me angry. Thanksgiving had not arrived and already Santa was ready and waiting. I was glad that there weren't any children lined up and thought, good,  I hope no one comes to see him!

I retraced my footsteps and left the mall. It upset me that decorations and Santa were up and ready at the mall. It just seemed too early.  At a parish retreat the priest had talked about how commercial Christmas had become and that many of the younger children did not realize that it is Baby Jesus' birthday. He suggested to wait until Christmas Eve, buy a tree and decorate it to celebrate the birth of Christ. This would certainly impress the children and leave no doubt as to what Christmas was all about! They would know that the tree, the lights, the celebrations were to honor Jesus.

He mentioned that people run around before Christmas buying gifts, decorating and entertaining and becoming frustrated with all they have to do in preparing for Christmas. He said that all of this can be avoided if thoughts are more on why we celebrate the holiday and not trying to do everything to please others. Maybe this is what I will do this year. My daughter suggested we donate to our favorite charity in the name of the person, instead of giving a personal gift. It sounded like a good idea, though I am not too sure the grandchildren are up for it!   I will wait to see what happens as Christmas draws near.

Okay, even though I think Christmas is too early, I could not resist sitting in Santa's bench and having my picture taken!

Regrets and Happiness

This morning I woke up with a sadness and regret that I would not be able to attend the third day of our Parish Mission. I was on my way to California to see my family and knew I would miss the final day of the Parish Mission.  The previous two sessions had been so inspiring and interesting and now I would need to rely on my friends to tell me what I had missed.  I did hear that the YAH Thanksgiving dinner had been a big success and I heard, via video, the YahYah's singing. I do believe they need a bit more practice!

At the other end of my emotions was my happiness that in a few hours I would be with my family in California. Arriving at DIA, I kept my eyes to the ground in hopes that I would find a penny and in finding the coin it would mean my son was near. I did not see any pennies on the floor but as I waited in the security line I noticed one of the TSA workers pick something from the floor and toss it onto the metal counter near the bins. As I neared the area I saw that it was a penny. I thought, my son is around! I wanted to pick up the penny and wondered if I did, would the TSA people question me? Nearer and nearer I got to the penny, hoping no one would pick it up, and when I got to where the penny rested, I reached over and picked it up. "Andy," I thought, "you are around and headed to California with me."

In security I went through the process of raising my arms and when I was asked to step to the side, I wondered why. The woman who came to pat me down, was the same lady I had seen find the penny. I said, "That penny you found and tossed on the counter, I picked it up." She smiled and said, "We TSA workers can not keep anything we find on the floor." I then proceeded to tell her about my son and how when I find a penny I believe he is around. "When I saw you toss the penny I wondered if I should pick it up and now my son is going to California with me!" She gave a loud, "Oh what a wonderful story! I am glad you picked up the penny and that you told me about your son."

One note about traveling with a suitcase with spinner wheels: Those suitcase are great because they can be pushed or pulled, left or right, but my advise is to never set the suitcase on a slope. If you do, the suitcase will take off, rolling away from you! I know because luckily I got to my suitcase before it had traveled too far!

The airport is a place where my ego gets stroked. But, not this time. Waiting to go through Security, I was asked, "Are you over seventy-five?" I said, "Yes" and nothing more was said. I was expecting the usual remarks like, "You don't look like you're over seventy-five," "You certainly do not look your age," I need to see your license, " etc. Those remarks have always  made me feel great about myself. This time when nothing was said, I figured I must be looking my age!

Since arriving in California, I have found two pennies so my son certainly is with me as we
enjoy time with the family.

From the Internet

(Written on November 16, 2017, published on November 25, 2017)

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Live For Now

The second day of the Parish Mission at Spirit of Christ Catholic Community was as moving as the first day. What a gift our priest has for speaking and making me feel as if maybe I do have a chance to get to heaven!

The music director sang and played the piano with some of the words being  you remember me and every man would have a friend. It would be nice to know all the words.  Father asked, "What is the world you want to create. What is the world you want for your children and grandchildren?" He mentioned that the world is becoming a difficult place to live in and it is because of the enemies of grace. Our culture is fighting grace. Our humanism is slowly being erased and we are being robbed of our feeling hearts. We get angry and lash out at whatever or whomever is making us angry. We blame others for making us angry and as long as we are angry we will never know grace.

Are we angry because we do not look into our heart to find out why certain things upset us? Something is touched in our heart when we become angry. We need to know why a certain thing is making us angry. Is it something buried in our heart? If we can figure out why we are angry that is when we get grace. There are enemies of grace lurking around when we want to arrive at our destination but we do not enjoy the journey. As an example the priest spoke on Christmas and the whirlwind preparations before the actual celebration; months before. He suggested that it would make more sense to wait until Christmas Eve and children would understand more of what Christmas is all about. How nice it would be to decorate the tree and turn on the lights on the eve of when Christ was born and not the months before where commercialism has taken over Christmas. I kept thinking, what a wonderful idea yet easier said than done!

Maybe because I am now of the Third Generation, as they say in Mexico, I understood what he meant when he said that many of us do not want to get old. But it is going to happen so maybe we should enjoy the journey to old age and not try to fight it. The story of the young boy who wanted to stay young forever and he decided he would run away in search of happiness before he got old. Year after year he walked and walked and at night he would place his shoes outside his tent pointing to where he wanted to go. One night, a prankster turned the shoes so they were pointing back the way he had come. In the morning he put on his shoes and traveled back to where he had begun. He was now older and he appreciated what he had left behind. He realized that everything remained the same but his attitude had changed so he could now accept his life. I expected the priest to end the story with "and he lived happily ever after." The song Forever Young was sung.

Another enemy of grace is the inability to enjoy today by worrying about yesterday or tomorrow. Painful grace is when we let God help. His story of having cancer, having forty stitches down his stomach, his being an atheist for ten minutes, everything tasting like vinegar and the love of his parents as they helped him recuperate made him realize that his suffering was for others to obtain grace. Problems may be given to someone to help those around the person with the problems. "Grace is given to help others." We should live for each other, be a good companion, help each other because we do not need to suffer alone. He saw that in his father who was a Macho type man that never did household chores because he left it up to his wife. Now he has become a caregiver and her sole provider by feeding her, brushing her hair and being there for her.

The ending words were, "suffering is never for us but for someone else, just enjoy the journey, live every moment of everyday and grow old with grace." The beautiful words of I Believe had some persons in tears. The picture I took of Father appears to have grace glowing on his chest!

"Free yourself of the chains;
live each day,
enjoy each day,
we don't know
if there is a tomorrow."
Fr. Greg Ames

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Miracle of Grace

Today I attended a Mission at Spirit of Christ Catholic Community and was told the Parish Mission would take place on three different days. It was a Mission to prepare for Advent. I wondered if this would be a Mission that would touch my heart or a talk that wouldn't affect me at all. I had been to other Missions and some left me cold!

I did not have my camera or my phone so I was unable to take pictures but this is what I saw: In front of the altar a small table with a book and a glass of water, a black baby-grand  piano in front of the Ambo, around two hundred people in the pews, reflections could be seen on the glossy floor, the altar had two large sprays of white flowers (maybe left over from a funeral,) and a basket with loaves of bread on a white cloth. The sun came in from the windows on the east side and I could hear a murmuring of the people as they spoke to their neighbors.

The musician began singing in a loud and strong voice. "How can I keep from singing," were some of the words I found interesting. As he sang he slowly walked to the piano and began to play. The priest began by saying, "This mission is to prepare for advent and advent is to prepare for Christmas,"  He mentioned that our life is an endless song and a song is written on our heart in our wanting to know God. We all have the desire to know God. Advent means to begin again and to me, that seems like I find myself beginning all the time! Grace is a Divine influence on our heart. He told the story of a young boy who wished to go work with his father and his older brothers but because he was too young he could not go. Time passed and when the father took the young boy to work, he handed the reins to the young boy and this pleased the boy. The young boy got so excited with the power of controlling the horses that he had the horses walk, trot, gallop and then when the horses were at a full run the young boy knew he could not control the horses and he knew he was in trouble.  "Dad, here, you take the reins." In the same way, we should ask God to take the reins when our life becomes unmanageable. The act of giving up the reins is grace. The musician then sang a beautiful version of Amazing Grace.

I learned that there are three kinds of grace. (Seems as if I knew this at one time because it sounded familiar.)  There is sanctifying, actual  and sacramental grace. When the priest spoke on Sanctifying grace he told an interesting and humorous story of Hazel, the Prostitute and how she helped him find grace. Accepting others, no matter who they may be, is important on our journey to God.

Actual grace is when those serendipity moments happen and I found myself thinking about how many times I have felt actual grace in my life. At the time I did not know it was grace I just knew it was something from God. When the priest mentioned seeing a sunrise or a sunset and the feeling of awe, I knew what he was talking about.  I thought about the many blogs where I have written about happenings that I knew came from God.  "What a Wonderful Life," was sung by all. When one hears how important love is and how it should encompass everyone, I wish the world could live by those words. I suppose it will be enough if I can change my ways and try to be a better person by accepting those different than me.

The final grace is sacramental, and these are graces received by sacraments and the Eucharist. "I am the living bread that came down from Heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. The bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." John 6:51

"Allow God to enter your heart," were the words the priest chose to end today's mission and Bread of Life was then sung. We prayed the Prayer of Abandonment by Brother Charles de Foucauld.

What a wonderful way to begin the day. I thank God for the words that come so easily to the priest, how he takes stories from his past to make us understand what he is saying and his great sense of humor. The talk was punctuated by the talent of the musician with a wonderful voice and I would venture to say this was one terrific  parish mission! Tomorrow will be the second day of the mission and I am looking forward to see how else my heart and mind are touched!

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your
faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Feeling Thankful

Volunteering at the Arvada Food bank is full of surprises. I have helped a chef and he told me the different ways to prepare certain food. There was a woman from Guatemala who made my mouth water as she explained how she cooks certain foods. A young man who could only take what he could carry because he was walking about ten blocks to his home. One woman who also had walked to the food bank was going to walk "just down the street," with her groceries. I could tell there was no way she could carry the food she had picked so I offered her a ride home. She did not live up the street but a good half a mile from the food bank. A gentleman who liked to write poetry but was recently jobless and had to visit the food bank. A construction worker who was injured on the job and his unemployment had run out. One person was thrilled to find a turkey breast for Thanksgiving. So many stories as we "shop" with the people needing food. It makes me happy to see happiness in the faces looking at the food at the food bank. And feeling grateful for the many donors that keep the food bank supplied.

Today, a petite young woman did not take advantage of the protein section with lots of cuts of meat. Instead she went to the canned chicken and packages of tuna. I asked her why she did not want to take some meat and she shyly said, "I'm homeless." I realized that she has no place to cook or store food.  My question was, "How will you open the cans?" She smiled sweetly and said, "With a knife." My heart ached for the young girl so I asked a Food Bank worker, "Do we have any can openers to give the people who are homeless? He said they did and brought one to me. When I gave it to her she was so thankful and kept thanking me over and over again. As we walk through the aisles, the "shoppers," as we volunteers are called, chat with the people getting the food. In the course of our conversation the young homeless girl told me she was about five weeks pregnant. Another pang to my heart. From then on, I paid little attention to the point system and even helped her get things she wanted or needed. It was the only way I could help her and the little body she carried.  After she left, I found out that there are programs for homeless pregnant women that can help with other things, not just food. Live and learn!

Until we walk in someone else's shoes, we do not know what some of the persons coming to the Food Bank are going through and are suffering.  It makes be feel more thankful for what I have and I will think twice when I feel the need to complain.

"In happy moments, Praise God.
In difficult moments, Seek God.
In quiet moments, Worship God.
In painful moments. Trust God.
Every moment, Thank God."
Rick Warren

Makes Me Wonder

After reading the articles in the Denver Catholic (November 11-14, 2017) written by Vladimir Mauricio-Perez regarding Auxiliary Bishop Jose Rodriguez' thoughts and another article by Archbishop Samuel Aquila on opening two new parishes, I couldn't help but think about Our Lady of Visitation Parish. Bishop Rodriguez states that he will celebrate a mass for immigrants and refugees on November 26, 2017, at the Cathedral. It is calling attention to Jesus and how He asked in Lev 19:34 to love our neighbor and not to be afraid of them. He mentions that there is no financial or secondary intention but rather it was "born out of our personal love for our immigrant brothers and sisters in our parishes."  My thought was that Our Lady of Visitation may not be comprised of immigrants or refugees but shouldn't there be love shown for the one hundred or so parishioners? The parishioners are 2nd and 3rd generation Hispanics and the mass is in English, though many of the hymns are in Spanish. In the 1800's people left their homes in New Mexico to try and find work and many settled in the "goat hill" area where they could work in smelting plants, railroad and a mushroom factory. The quote in the article fits the persons from Our Lady of Visitation as they pray and believe in the Psalm, "Commit your way to the Lord: trust in him, and he will act," (37:5) 

I liked the end of the article, "consider the problem not as a mere social, political or economical issue: we are speaking of men and women with human dignity and fundamental rights," he said, "they are beloved children of God." How wonderful it would be if  the closing of Our Lady of Visitation would also fall under his statement!

Then when I read about two new parishes opening up in Thornton and Green Valley Ranch I thought that Our Lady of Visitation already had a parish with faithful attending mass every Sunday and it had been closed. Granted, it is a small parish but from my understanding it was self-sufficient with no money coming in from the Archdiocese. Why could it not become a miniature quasi-parish? It puzzled me that it had been closed making the parishioners fight to keep it open. Attorneys are working pro bono to help the people, fund raisers are held to raise money for incidentals, and the people I spoke with were adamant about trying to get someone to listen to them so that the little church would be reopened.

To me, Our Lady of Visitation, represents what I have read in the Bible. There is a lot of brotherly love among the parishioners and after mass the majority of the people stay to enjoy socializing with coffee and donuts. It is a close knit community who welcomes anyone who attends their church. I know this to be true because when I attend mass at Our Lady of Visitation, everyone is friendly and I feel right at home! At the Little Church, as Our Lady of Visitation is called, there have been first communions, confirmations, marriages, funerals and social functions, like their annual Bazaar. As far as I know, it was a small, thriving community until its closure.

I may not have all the facts, my ideas may be one sided, but my blog is where I enjoy writing about my life and my thoughts. Presently, it seems as if Our Lady of Visitation has been on my mind a lot!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Am I In Italy?

Entering the Vinnola's Italian Market, everywhere I looked there was some Italian goody! Pasta makers, pizzelle irons, olive oil, tomato sauces, prepared lasagna (just heat and serve) peppers, and lots of other Italian stuff.

The first thing I did was to sign up for $150 worth of food at Vinnola's by putting my information on a sheet of paper and dropping it into a glass barrel. Already there were like 200 slips of paper in the barrel so my chances of winning anything are pretty slim. Then I walked up and down the aisles and inspected all the different Italian items. Three round tables had been set up with samples in tiny cups of tirimisu, cannoli's of different flavors, (chocolate chip, chocolate, cherry, etc. and the final table had ham, different types of cheese, crackers, and a small taste of  lasagna.

Evidently, the Market is staying in the family because the owner (father) who had the market/restaurant for forty-two years has now passed the market to his son Jojo. This was told to me by the cashier who waited on me after I purchased some olive oil. She told me she had worked at the market for fourteen years and now will continue working with the son, Jojo. I snapped his picture as he was filling up a drink.

A small section on the east side of the room are tables and chairs for anyone wishing to eat at the restaurant. My mouth watered at a picture of an Italian sausage sandwich with chips. All the tables were taken and it seemed as if everyone knew each other because there was a lot of talking between the people sitting and eating. On the wall there was a painted picture of a home. I gather the painting could be of a home in Italy.

I asked for Gelato and was told they do not have it but I was offered Spumoni ice-cream. When I mentioned that on the Internet, Gelato was offered, I was told that probably it was an old ad because they have not had Gelato in years!

A friend of mine who worked at Lutheran Hospital mentioned on her Facebook page that this was a place where the nurses would go eat lunch and she said it was a tasty place to eat. The next time I crave Italian food I will head to Vinnola's right off of Wadsworth and 38th Avenue.

Good luck to Jojo and may the reopening of the market be a huge success. I believe it will certainly be a success judging from the crowds I saw today!

"The trouble with eating
Italian food is that five
or six days later you're
hungry again!"
George Miller