Saturday, February 28, 2015

Lent Day 10

To-day marks the one quarter way through these forty days of preparation and contemplation.

Where am I compared to Day 1?

Spiritually, have I 'progressed'?

Am I closer to the Lord?

Am I more like Jesus?

Am I beginning to see others as God sees them?

... ... ...

Father, You never give up on us, and for that I am thankful.

Help me to never give up either.

More of You, more of You, more of You; as I step aside

Help me to love creatively; to love others like You love me.

Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.


Friday, February 27, 2015

Lent Day 9

So much to think about on a Friday, so much going on...

How much of what I ponder is noble and good?
What percentage of what I allow into my mind will make me more Godly?
How much of what I take in makes You smile?

Father, give me the necessary graces to be able to discern manfully.
Help me to choose more wisely.

Tonight, and this weekend, let my love for You be evident in my actions and thoughts toward my wife.
Bless our time together, and please be invited to each and every minute...


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Lent Day 8

When I consider the 'crosses' I have to 'bear' ...
How pitiful I am!

So many people suffering in so many ways
So many lost souls
So many mourning
So many indifferent
So many in pain, crying, crying out, 
So many without hope

Forgive me and help me Lord, help me see like You see
Help me to love like You love
Help me to remove the board from my own eye before I criticize my brother for the speck in his  

And help me to take up my cross and bear it as best I can - in Your strength!


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

TLH #185 Jesus, All Our Ransom Paid

1. Jesus, all our ransom paid,
All Thy Father's will obeyed,
By Thy sufferings perfect made:
Hear us, holy Jesus.

2. Save us in our soul's distress,
Be our Help to cheer and bless
While we grow in holiness:
Hear us, holy Jesus.

3. Brighten all our heavenward way
With an ever holier ray
Till we pass to perfect day:
Hear us, holy Jesus.

"The Seven Words on the Cross"
by Thomas B. Pollock, 1836-1896

The Lutheran Hymnal
Hymn #185
Text:John 19:30
Author: Thomas B. Pollock, 1870
Composer: Bernhard Schumacher, 1939
Tune: "Septem Verba" meter, in the key of d minor; Hear us, holy Jesus!

Lent Day 7

Lord, what are You showing me to-day? (I know the answer)

What lesson have I not learned yet? (there are many)
Why is it so hard sometimes? (yes, please, some cheese with my whine)
What person would you have me love? (the one that I most loath, probably)

Was it hard for You too? (I have read that it was)
Is it hard now sometimes? (the state of Creation would make me cry, were it mine)
What would You have me do? (remember, I am dull and slow...but I am sure I know this also)

Forgive me for avoiding.
Forgive me for turning away, like the priest and Levite.

Fill me with Your good Spirit, cleanse me, and make me whole again.
Fill me with Your wisdom, and a desire for good.

Let my light so shine before men, that You may be glorified.
Praise be to God; the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Lent Day 6

I was up early and wide awake, and in his benevolence, Turner Classic provided me with Barry Lyndon, - a story of the rise and fall of a common opportunist. The soundtrack to this picture is second to none (well, maybe second to Reservoir Dogs) and Stanley Kubrick brings war, deceit, and chivalry in 18th century Europe to life so well.
When this ended, I was still not able to sleep, so I tuned in to Lydia, my favorite public tv Italian chef. She was doing a baked fish dish ('For the Halibut', and why not?!?) with onions and mushrooms. I watched, and drooled, and finally fell asleep. I have reprinted her recipe here, and plan to try it this Friday.

4 medium porcini or portobello mushrooms
7 tablespoons -extra--virgin olive oil
3 medium onions, thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6 skinless halibut fillets, about 2¼ pounds total
Juice of 1 lemon
½ cup white wine
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Slice the mushrooms on the bias in 1-½--inch--thick slices. Remove the stems from the mushrooms, and shave off the gills if using portobellos. In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, and cook until wilted, about 4 minutes. Spread the onions and garlic on an oiled half sheet pan. In the same skillet, over -medium--high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and add the mushroom slices (or do in batches if the skillet is too crowded). Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of water. Cook and flip the mushrooms until they are softened and browned, about 4 minutes (per batch, if you’re doing it in batches). Spread half of the mushrooms on top of the wilted onions, and season all with ½ teaspoon of salt.

Season the halibut with half of the lemon juice, the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Pour the remaining lemon juice and the white wine over the vegetables, and sprinkle with the parsley. Set the halibut on top, and top each fillet with remaining mushroom slices. Bake the fish on the bottom rack of the oven until it is cooked through and the juices are reduced and saucy, about 18 to 20 minutes.

Recipe courtesy of Lidia Bastianich

Lidia Bastianich
Lidia Bastianich

Monday, February 23, 2015

Lent Day 5


Forgive my lack of planning.
Forgive my sloth.
Forgive my gluttony and debauchery.
Forgive my failure to love.
Forgive my self-ishness.

Lord, in Your mercy, hear my prayer.



Saturday, February 21, 2015

Lent Day 4

Father, thank You for this new day.
Thank You for bringing us safely to the weekend.
Forgive my disdain.
You know our hearts, our desires, our loves.
Give us the grace to tune our hearts to You, to focus on Your desires and not ours.
Thank You; we love You too.


Friday, February 20, 2015

Lent 2015 - Day 3

This dish was created out of love for my sweetheart: when i fried the other cod fillets I had on Wednesday night, the house kept the fishy smell, much to Moni's chagrin. I just wanted to bake these and try to avoid the fish smell.

The flavor was enhanced by another experiment: the packet of ranch dressing that you mix with milk and mayo! I misread the packet and used milk and sour cream. When it tasted funny, I checked the packet, added the mayo, and mildly enjoyed it on my salad. So as I was wondering what to do with the 1.8 cups of this dressing I had left, I started the sauce on the stove top and added some dressing.

12 oz cod fillets
1 can diced tomatoes
2 tbs ranch dressing
Half can beer
Minced garlic, thyme, ground black pepper, sage, paprika, marjoram

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a medium saucepan combine tomatoes, beer, dressing, seasoning. Bring to a slow boil while stirring often.
Spray your favorite baking dish with vegetable oil. Place fish in the bottom, and cover with the tomato mixture.
Bake for a half hour, then break up fish fillets into bite size pieces. Cook for another 10-15 minutes until it is really hot, and then ladle into a bowl. Enjoy like jambalaya!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Lent - Day 2

Thank You, Father, for the sunshine this morning, and for the accu-weather forecast of 40s and 50s coming in March.
Thank You for this time of the year, when we are reminded of what we hope for, and we remember that winter does not last forever.
Thank You for the faith handed down from Your first disciples in Galilee...
Thank You for the hope of a new season...
Thank You for the love that we can only find in You; thank You for Jesus.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host,
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ash Wednesday

Lent 2015 - Day 1

Dear Lord, 

I come to You this morning broken, doubtful, hateful, hurting.... You know Lord, You know everything.

But I want change, Lord; I want more of You. In fact I want You to be my All, my Sufficiency, my Everything.

As we go through this time of preparation together, help me to be ever mindful of opportunities for giving of myself. Help me to recognise how much sin I have allowed myself to wallow through daily, and to be able to finally lay all that aside. 

Lord, give me the grace to heap out kindness to others, especially when I don't feel they 'deserve' it. Hmmmmm; I wonder what I truly deserve - right?

Thank You, heavenly Father, for this new day. Thank You for Your love.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit; amen


Chief of Sinners Though I Be

The Lutheran Hymnal #342

Listen here:

1. Chief of sinners though I be,
Jesus shed His blood for me;
Died that I might live on high,
Lived that I might never die,
As the branch is to the vine,
I am His, and He is mine.

2. Oh, the height of Jesus' love!
Higher than the heavens above,
Deeper than the depths of sea,
Lasting as eternity.
Love that found me--wondrous thought!--
Found me when I sought Him not.

3. Jesus only can impart
Balm to heal the smitten heart;
Peace that flows from sin forgiven,
Joy that lifts the soul to heaven;
Faith and hope to walk with God
In the way that Enoch trod.

4. Chief of sinner though I be,
Christ is All in all to me;
All my wants to Him are known,
All my sorrows are His own.
Safe with Him from earthly strife,
He sustains the hidden life.

5. O my Savior, help afford
By Thy Spirit and Thy Word!
When my wayward heart would stray,
Keep me in the narrow way;
Grace in time of need supply
While I live and when I die.

by William McComb, 1793-c. 1870 
Hymn #342
The Lutheran Hymnal
Text: Rom. 5:8
Author: William McComb, 1864
Composer: Richard Redhead, 1853
Tune: "Gethsemane"

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Thermo-meter says SEVEN!

Saturday, Valentines Day was cold and blustery - we had already stacked a fresh face-cord of split wood on the deck the night before - and so we dared the elements and road conditions. Our destination was the Howell Wal-Mart for a few items: cleaning supplies, medicine, and - lo and behold they were having a sale on hair-cuts this morning!
Waited about a half hour for the girl to get back from her shopping ("Well, they only schedule one of us at a time, so what do they expect?!?") but I didn't chicken out while sitting in the comfy black pleather chair. My locks were not sufficient to donate (you need ten inches for that); nonetheless the pile on the floor around my chair when the deed was done was impressive.
White Castle was calling loudly so we harkened and yielded, and were on our way home.
We burned wood all day while cleaning, organizing, and watching college basketball.

We went out for groceries and a warm omelet at Hamburg Coney and braced for the sub-zero temps that would come on Sunday. I plugged in our under-the-trailer-keep-the-pipes-unfrozen halogen lamp and we opened the sink valves regularly to encourage flow. We did lose the cold water in both bathrooms Sunday night but we cranked up the heat inside and now all is well. Moni's car wouldn't start yestreday either, but I bought some heavy duty booster cables which made a huge difference. Praise God we got The Grape running, and it started also this morning!
Moni is taking her mom to her rehab appointment downriver, and I am eating everything I can, on this, the mardi-ist of mardi gras'.

Thank You for this new day, Lord; thank You for the snow, and the warmer temps and for getting me to work to-day. All praise and glory to You, Lord! You are immortal, invisible, God only wise!
And we love You, too.

Friday, February 13, 2015


Dear Father~

It's so hard sometimes.

Forgive me for being so selfish - which is why it is hard.

Why do I struggle so with abandoning my right to be angry and vengeful?
Why do I give my pride so much reign in my life??
Why is it so hard to love sometimes?
And when it IS easy, is that really 'love'?

... ... ... 

To my mind comes a melody...

Then words that fit the melody...

All to Jesus I surrender;
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.
I surrender all,
I surrender all;
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

Your ways are so much greater than mine. 
Your plan is perfect, as is Your love.

I will ever praise Your Name - Hallelujah!

Praise God! On this Friday the 13th may our Blessed Lord and God be praised.

Blessed be God forever!


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Two Minutes and Forty Seconds is all it took this afternoon...

This is not my Rubik's cube; it is a photo I obtained online

Fight the Good Fight with All Thy Might

I had this hymn stuck in my brain this morning at work... wonderful words of encouragement 

1. Fight the good fight With all thy might;
Christ is thy Strength and Christ thy Right.
Lay hold on life, and it shall be
Thy joy and crown eternally.

2. Run the straight race Thro' God's good grace;
Lift up thine eyes and seek His face.
Life with its way before us lies;
Christ is the Path and Christ the Prize.

3. Cast care aside; Upon thy Guide
Lean, and His mercy will provide;
Lean, and the trusting soul shall prove
Christ is its Life and Christ its Love.

4. Faint not nor fear, His arms are near;
He changeth not, and thou art dear.
Only believe, and thou shalt see
That Christ is All in all to thee.

Hymn #447
The Lutheran Hymnal
Text: 1 Timothy 6:12
Author: John S.B. Monsell, 1863
Tune: "Mendon"
German melody
Arranged by: Samuel Dyer, 1828

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Do You Want To Build A Snowman?

While my darling bride was out west visiting the grand-babies, I had the opportunity to spend Saturday in Westland with mom and dad. They were moving their bedroom from the 20-year old upstairs dormer to the first floor bedroom, to allow eldest grandson Ramon to move into their upstairs 'apartment'.
I had done up our new years breakfast concoction ( the night before - to let all the flavors smelt together - and baked it right before I left. I wrapped it in towels and it was still warm and tasty after the 40 minute drive.
We got the bed and dressers in place, while the grandkids brought down clothes and smaller items. It got up to almost 50 degrees so we threw many snowballs and I photojournaled Carlos and Alex creating their snowmen.

Alex and his Creation, while Benjamin miscreants

Ric posing with Car's 3-ball man

Ben and Ric after the partial decapitation of Car's 3-ball man

Ben and Ric politely discussing the recent partial decapitation of Car's 3-ball man, as well as the emotions resulting from a good snowball hit to the face
I didn't stay too late - the kids were still working furiously when I left - but my back was tight and I took a long winter's nap when I did get home.

Blessed be God forever!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

This Sunday is World Marriage Day

More information on World Marriage Day 

The weather event - affectionately named Linus - which moved through the lower Great Lakes over the weekend brought, for metro Detroit, the third highest snowfall total of any storm EVER (since we started recording diligently such things, about 150 years ago).
Funny, the largest total was in late 19th century, and the second largest was when I was about ten years old. I remember snow being piled high on our lawn in Detroit as a child. But I don't remember it being dumped on us by Charlie Brown or Lucy.

The sports blogs yestreday were all about two things: the Brady/Belichick dynasty emerging in the NFL, along with stats, records, and opinions thereof; and the college phenom qb turned Brown rookie near fail who entered treatment.
We are surely hurting for heroes.

Grandma Moni is flying out west to see the babies tomorrow for a week. She promised to text me photos many and often!

Liam with Grandma Moni, from last September
There's our tiger and good witch with Grandma, last Halloween