It was my pleasure to join some co-workers and a guest for dinner this evening at the Boathouse. I arrived just before 5:00 P.M. and it was already a 45 minute wait to be seated outside. Thankfully, I had no desire to be seated outside in the 94 degree heat. There was no wait to dine inside even though it was quite crowded as well. That was just fine. We could still see the water from our table and it was air conditioned. Life is good.
I walked around the premises and took photos while I waited for the others to arrive. Although I have lived here for almost a year I still feel like a tourist at times. It fascinates me to stand by the ocean, to admire the marshland, to watch the birds, and to look for all the other creatures connected to this type of environment. It is unlike anywhere else that I have ever lived.
We did not stop at "The Beer Garden." The photo was taken so you could see the beautiful setting. (That's my story and I am sticking to it.)
Latitude and longitude were no longer enough on the sign. See the social media symbol in the lower left hand corner. Ugh. It's everywhere.
Although it was warm, I still enjoyed taking in the sights.
It was my first time to see a manatee. It is upside down and his head is under the dock, but at least I was able to get a close-up look for a while.
It finally turned over and watched us for a while. The beauty of God's magnificent creation never ceases to amaze me.
The Beach Has Gone To The Dogs
I left the house just after 8:00 A.M. on Sunday to go to the beach before the crowds and the extreme heat of the day. We saw a high of 95 on Saturday and about the same was expected for Sunday. One thing I forgot to anticipate as I headed for the beach was the number of dogs that would be present. If I remember the law correctly, dogs are not allowed on the beach between 10:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M. from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Thus, they were out in full force at 8:30 A.M.
Unfortunately, very few of the dogs were on leashes. This made for a few interesting interactions between the dogs themselves, and for a couple of unpleasant encounters with humans as well. Some of the dog owners seem to think that everyone loves their little fur ball as much as they do. News flash--they don't. This is especially true when your dog probably weighs around 60 pounds and is running full speed toward an unsuspecting jogger who is just trying to get some exercise in peace and quiet. In case you could not tell by the words that came out of the woman's mouth when the dog was in striking distance--she did not love your dog.
Common courtesy--not always very common in today's society.
I decided to stay in the neighborhood for my morning walk on Memorial Day. (In the afternoon I decided to do another walk on the beach as well.) Once again, I stepped out of the house just after 8:00 A.M. It was already past 80 degrees with 72% humidity. By the time I finished my walk the weather app said it felt like 89 degrees. I walked 2.68 miles in 46 minutes. That leisurely pace was just about right for the weather conditions. While I enjoy walking on the beach and feeling the ocean breeze, staying in the neighborhood on pavement where much of it is shaded isn't too bad either. The view for part of the walk is also quite nice. I will definitely miss some things when we move from here.
A new house is being built in this location. They will enjoy a very nice view from the front of their house. The marsh is located behind their house. Thus, they will also have a nice view out the back, especially during high tide.
It is a short work week for many people. However, these short weeks sometimes seem to take forever. Whatever you do, wherever you are, take some time to give thanks to God for the many blessings in life.
Does anyone want to go to the beach? Silence. I ask the question again and this time I get an answer. "It's too hot to go to the beach." Yes, it was 93 degrees at the time, but I still thought the appeal of the beach would be enough to coax someone into going. Nope. I was off to treasure my own company once again. Apparently, I am the only one in the household that will miss the beauty of the beach and Hilton Head Island. (I prefer heat to cold.)
I have enjoyed the weekend. This is the first weekend that I have had no commitments since April. I made good use of the time by getting more exercise and relaxing at the beach. I probably should have done more packing, but we still have two and a half weeks.
Anyway, I took a family selfie while at the beach. Part of the family was about ten miles away sitting in the air conditioning. You have to use your imagination to see them.
Flags adorn the front entrance of church this morning in honor of Memorial Day. We as a Church are committed to praying for the deceased. We do that in a special way today for all those who have given their lives in service to our country. The freedom we enjoy came at a great price.
As I observe the culture around us and listen to celebrities and political pundits spout off about one topic or another dear to their personal agenda, I feel great concern for our country. A lack of knowledge can be a very dangerous thing when you have a platform to influence millions of others equally as ill-informed as you.
Socialism and communism were two words that painted a definite picture when I was growing up. We would have never thought of embracing such ideologies because of the consequences experienced by those who suffered under such forms of government.
Now look at our own elected "leaders" today promoting and campaigning for the same things which we fought against years ago. Do they not know and understand history? Worse yet, do they know and understand it, and yet, still work to undermine our republic? As I watch the shenanigans of many of our politicians, I am dismayed at the lack of respect shown toward the people they are supposed to serve. The term "civil servant" seems to have lost its meaning in the modern age.
The encyclical "On Atheistic Communism" was written by Pope Pius XI in 1937. The document is 82 paragraphs long. I will just insert two paragraphs below for you to see the clarity of what was said. I encourage you to read the whole document. Those who gave their lives for our freedom deserve our willingness to at least learn about their sacrifices and the cause of freedom.
3. This all too imminent danger, Venerable Brethren, as you have already surmised, is bolshevistic and atheistic Communism, which aims at upsetting the social order and at undermining the very foundations of Christian civilization .
4. In the face of such a threat, the Catholic Church could not and does not remain silent. This Apostolic See, above all, has not refrained from raising its voice, for it knows that its proper and social mission is to defend truth, justice and all those eternal values which Communism ignores or attacks. Ever since the days when groups of "intellectuals" were formed in an arrogant attempt to free civilization from the bonds of morality and religion, Our Predecessors overtly and explicitly drew the attention of the world to the consequences of the dechristianization of human society. With reference to Communism, Our Venerable Predecessor, Pius IX, of holy memory, as early as 1846 pronounced a solemn condemnation, which he confirmed in the words of the Syllabus directed against "that infamous doctrine of so-called Communism which is absolutely contrary to the natural law itself, and if once adopted would utterly destroy the rights, property and possessions of all men, and even society itself." Later on, another of Our predecessors, the immortal Leo XIII, in his Encyclical Quod Apostolici Muneris, defined Communism as "the fatal plague which insinuates itself into the very marrow of human society only to bring about its ruin." With clear intuition he pointed out that the atheistic movements existing among the masses of the Machine Age had their origin in that school of philosophy which for centuries had sought to divorce science from the life of the Faith and of the Church.
I had lunch recently at "The Crazy Crab" restaurant. The setting is beautiful and the history is connected to the church. I did not realize that church services were held at the restaurant years ago while the church was being built. Those original parishioners are referred to as the "Crazy Crabbers."
The restaurant just re-opened a few months ago after undergoing major renovations. It is my understanding that one of the hurricanes in the last couple of years did significant damage to the facility. It looks great now.
The decor is very fitting for a seafood restaurant.
This gives you the wider perspective.
I am grateful for the many blessings in life. On this Memorial Day Weekend I am especially grateful to all those who have gone before us. We enjoy some wonderful privileges in the United States of America. This freedom has come at a price. How will we use our freedom to build a society that truly gives glory and honor to Almighty God?
After making my first trip to Harbour Town recently, I told Margaret and Joe that they needed to see this area before we moved. Going out on a Friday night of a holiday weekend in a tourist area is not what I usually call fun. The temperature was in the mid 80's, humidity levels felt high, and parking spaces were rarely to be found. Nonetheless, we joined the throngs of people for some Friday night fun.
Joe climbed to the top of the light house. Margaret and I chose to opt out of that activity. I walked around admiring all of the yachts and Margaret found a rocking chair in the shade and listened to the live music being provided. It was a great evening.
That is Joe standing there taking in the bird's-eye view.
A bunch of people had just loaded onto a ship for a dinner cruise so the pier emptied for a little while.
After hanging around Harbour Town for a while, we headed over to the South Beach area.
The picture is a little blurry because the bird was swinging back and forth. What a beautiful creature!
Many of us have stories to tell about our workplace experiences. Some of these anecdotes are powerful and uplifting while others are not. I just started reading this book (pictured above) and I am already fascinated by the science behind some of the observations. It is my goal to always do my part to set the stage for creating an extraordinary workplace. I think I will get some good pointers in this book to do that even better.
The differences in functioning from an "approach motivational state" versus an "avoidance motivational state" are huge. (See page 16 for the introduction to this topic.) "When avoiding failure is a primary focus, the work isn't just more stressful; it's a lot harder to do. And over the long run, that mental strain takes a toll, resulting in less innovation and the experience of burnout."
"Having a team that's afraid of admitting failure is a dangerous problem, particularly because the symptoms are not immediately visible." (page 19) This is common sense, and yet, how frequently do we see co-workers trying to avoid accountability for their actions. If a tight-knit work group is formed, it is easier to be more vulnerable and own up to mistakes. This opens the door for improvement and growth.
That is all I am going to quote from the book at this time. I will be spending much of my three day weekend packing, but I think there will also be some time spent sitting on the beach reading more of this book. As I get deeper into it, I am looking forward to an abundance of new insights and nuggets of wisdom. I never want to stop learning about the things that can improve my leadership skills.
Since my ordination to the diaconate, I have felt a profound responsibility to serve the people in our churches and schools to the best of my ability. They deserve that commitment from me. It is a privilege to serve in the Lord's vineyard, but I also recognize the commensurate responsibility that comes along with that privilege. Reading books like this helps me stay grounded in the practical components of serving others. Prayer keeps me rooted in seeking God's grace and the power of the Holy Spirit to truly propel my work to a higher level. I want my faith to be what compels me to work diligently day in and day out for the building up of the Kingdom of God. I don't simply want to be a humanitarian doing good works. I want to be a faithful follower of Christ. My work should then flow from that faith in the Good Shepherd.
As I begin saying some farewells here in Hilton Head, I have been deeply moved by the words of gratitude expressed to me for my preaching and teaching while I have been here. The people of Cheyenne had heard my homilies for nearly nine years; they attended retreats that I presented; they participated in parish missions where I was the preacher. I had a longer period of time to make an impact. The time here has been much shorter, but I am grateful to know that God has still used me an instrument to proclaim the Good News of Salvation.
I now look forward to being an instrument of God's grace for the St. Albert Catholic School Community. There are some significant challenges awaiting my arrival. As I prepare to undertake these responsibilities, I trust that God will move powerfully in our midst. I will do my best to utilize all the skills I have developed through the years to lead the school community well. As for now, I am doing my part to blanket the school community in a cover of prayer. I pray the Liturgy of the Hours each morning and evening and specifically lift up everyone at St. Albert Catholic Schools in Council Bluffs.. I also pray specifically each night that my leadership will give glory to God and bring abundant blessings to His people. (I also continue to pray specifically for St. Francis by the Sea as well as each parish and school where I have ministered in the past. I especially include all the good people across the state of Wyoming in the Diocese of Cheyenne. I don't miss the wind and the snow, but I do miss the people.)
Wherever you are located, please pray for your parish (and school) community. Pray for the leadership. It is not enough to just believe in the power of prayer, we have to actually pray. Trust that God really can move mountains. Our society needs us to be faithful witnesses of Jesus Christ. It starts with us being people of prayer. Experiencing renewal and vibrancy in our local parishes begins with each one of us being a person of prayer.
Please keep the people impacted by the tornadoes in your prayers.
Pray for the safety of the utility crews and others responsible for cleaning up the mess left behind in the wake of the storm.
Finally, have a safe and restful three-day weekend. Pray for all those who made the ultimate sacrifice that we may enjoy the freedoms we have.
The fire department showed up today to observe and assess a fire drill at the school. I was impressed with the orderly nature and discipline of the students as they evacuated the school and gathered outside in front of the church. Teachers were methodical in the process to ensure that all of the students were present and safe. While it is a hassle to practice these drills, it is evident that the rehearsals have been effective. If a tragedy would strike, the preparedness will bear fruit.
How about you? Do you have a safety plan for your home? What do you do in case of a fire, a tornado, or a flash flood?
On another note, do you have a spiritual safety plan? Are you walking humbly with your God on a daily basis? Do you pray each day? Do you read, study, and pray with the Sacred Scriptures? Do you participate in the sacramental life of the Church?
When was the last time you pondered the Ten Commandments? How about the spiritual and corporal works of mercy? Do you "practice" living these things out?
My dear friends, sin is real. Please don't ignore it or whitewash it. Sin needs to be removed from our lives. We cannot grow complacent with evil taking up its abode in us. Do we take seriously the admonition of Jesus to the woman caught in adultery? "Go and sin no more."
Do you examine your conscience on a daily basis? I invite you to "practice" living out your faith well. That way, when the smoke of Satan arises and confronts you in some shape or fashion, you are well-prepared and know how to respond with the full armor of God as your protection. Don't leave your spiritual welfare to chance. Unite your heart and will completely to the will of God.
It just doesn't seem right to get dumped on with snow in late May. These are photos from Cheyenne this morning. The bottom picture was taken from my old office. Meanwhile, here on Hilton Head Island, it is 85 degrees.
What are you thankful for today? I am thankful I don't need a shovel.
Who counts down the days more--students or teachers? The month of May can seem quite long for both teachers and students. I saw a meme a few days ago on social media stating that each month has between 28 and 31 days except for May. I don't remember the exact number listed, but it was something like 1,764 days in May. Ah yes--spring fever strikes hard.
What are your summer plans? Maybe that is an improper question for my friends out west. I see that Wyoming has snow in the forecast for several days this week. Getting the swimming pool open for Memorial Day weekend may be bit of a stretch in your area.
Experiencing some relaxation and fun during the summer months can bring rejuvenation to a tired spirit. I hope you are blessed with many opportunities during the summer to find time for rest, contentment, and a whole lot of fun in the sun.
If you are still in school, finish out the year well. Realize that summer vacation is near and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. In Wyoming, the light at the end of the tunnel may just be blurred a little bit by the snowfall. You truly are inching your way into summer vacation there.
This was the scene in Cheyenne, Wyoming this morning. Expecting 6 to 8 inches by Wednesday.
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