A Cat Playing With My Rosary

a cat


I don’t know the cat’s name but it seems fascinated by my rosary as it dangles from my hand.  That’s a new one for me.   My Rebecca and I are out on our monthly daycation.  Right now we are enjoying the hospitality of a fellow pilgrim Judi who lives on Spanaway Lake close by.  It is a sunny afternoon and kids and dogs are playing in the water in front of her house.  A beautiful spot from which to write to you.

There is a little sign close by, “You Never Know How Many Friends You Have Until You Have A Lake House”.   Well, there you go Judi, we’re here for you.  And we are going off to an old friend of Rebecca’s a few miles down the road for Spanish food this evening.  One good thing after another.

I am just going to take a little nap here in a minute my battery is low.  Hope that you are enjoying your weekend, maybe find a cat to say your rosary with.  Love, Felipe.

Little Signs That Work

Credit to William on this one.


I was driving on the Island the other day and saw a walker by the side of the road that was walking the same way as I was going so I couldn’t see her face by I knew who she was.  Something was different today though.  For years now seeing her movement was always like a soldier on a forced march.  Today she looked so peaceful and relaxed as she ambled along, as in I am enjoying myself.  It made my whole day and no words were spoken.

Today driving to the hospital and saw a garden springing up on a unused little corner on First Hill in Seattle.  It wouldn’t be unused for long but for just right now there are rows and rows of green things reaching for the sun.  Not landscape but agriculture.  What a pleasant vision.  It is sticking with me.

Living here in the Northwest blue sky comes and goes.  I don’t know if you are going to get the full significance of this if you don’t live here.  It can be very rare at times of the year but when you see a small patch of blue sky it is beautiful.  It is beautiful in the sense of yes it still exists, not that it is over my very head but that could be possible.  The possibility of it is important, maybe tomorrow you say.

Or maybe it is the little flower in the crack in the sidewalk as you walk along that just randomly cheers you up.  It is nothing really in one sense and a miracle in another.

I remember climbing all those hills on the Camino and coming to the end of my ability at various places and I would rest there.  And I don’t know how many times my eyes would light on a heart rock there in the dirt as I wondered whether I could go on.  OK, OK, I can do this!

Just little stuff really all these things.  They will never be in history books.  They will never win awards.  But boy when they happen at the right moment they are priceless.  Just little thoughts here today.

Little loves, Felipe.


0131 And Awake

We are part of history.

You know the main reason why I am writing all this, this four plus years, is the silence of my parents generation.  I am in rebellion.  They lived through numerous events and experiences that they thought would be a good idea to protect us from, my generation from.  It wasn’t like they, bless them, were malevolent or lazy.  It was the case that they in general didn’t have the words to sufficiently deal with it all.  That’s my take.

So, I say that no one learns anything when things aren’t talked about.  Maybe that is not exactly true as  young people are then free to draw conclusions but they may not match the reality of the situation.   At some point on my cancer journey I decided that it was way better talk about it than not.  And that benefit goes out to others and also returns to me.  It’s a two way deal.

Somehow in these 1600 plus blog posts exists a coherent message.  The blog has redundancy and all kind of foibles and shortcomings but it is out there in all it’s “funk and glory”.  It is out there and that’s is the best thing about it.  People with cancer can find things to buoy themselves up with.  People without cancer seem to be able to find things of value.  People with cancer and people without cancer being equal.  I don’t think that I have ever seen that written down before, that just popped out.  Well, we would think and hope that goes without saying but still.

The three C’s are important to us here right?  Cancer, Catholicism and Camino, the last time I checked.  I don’t really tend to talk of Catholicism as much as I should but I lean on it in a big way.  It supplies me with inspiration and connection that I frankly have not been about to find elsewhere.  People from it’s ranks have been immensely helpful to me.  I thank them sincerely.  I may not have written that before but there it is on post 1641.  This “C” could also have been Christianity but I, in the world of Felipe, don’t think that is as accurate given the situation.  This is all very personal.

Cancer in an individual creates a situation that is life changing and that calls for new and more powerful medicine.  Meeting this challenge also takes more than singularity.

And last but not least comes the Camino.   The Camino is the big limb of St James on the tree of God and the 1200 years of pilgrims that went before us late comers form the branches on that limb.  And we are hopeful little twigs on those branches.  And the leaves, flowers and fruit that are displayed on us the twigs in this time are our expressions.  Caminoheads blog is there along with millions of other expressions, wonderful expressions.  Beside being numerous they are varied and all beautifully crafted and well tended.  Can you see it all moving in the breeze?  The breeze is something important too.

twiggy loves, Felipe.





A Certain Glow



A pic from William.  I hear it is hot in Calgary these days.

Yea, a certain glow, I like that.  Was just writing a reply to a comment and it was that  the blog here has a certain flow and a typo occurred that read, “the blog has a certain glow”.  Yes, why not, I can see that now!

And this morning has a certain glow.  It is a big morning as I am getting my results from my scan that I had yesterday.  Normally that would be anxiety producing but I feel strangely calm, almost as if I am looking down at myself from some peaceful place.

The whole day started when I woke up late and had twenty minutes to get ready to get out the door.  More than enough time for a Pilgrim or Marine, no problem, we know how to do that.

Just got my results from the scan and it is totally stable, no growth, no reduction.   In the old days they used to call this a Mexican standoff.  Everyone has their revolver pointed at someone else in the room and no one is blinking.  All the factors are balanced in a tentative equilibrium.  Almost sort of peaceful til you start thinking about it.

Today I brought my nurses some bunches of little bananas as a treat.  And just as I finished writing about the standoff one of them came sneaking in around the curtain pointing one of the bananas like a revolver.  About jumped out of my comfy chair.  Synchronicity breaking out here, too hilarious!

Later, love, Felipe.








It Fixed Itself! That’s What We Like.



Our trusty wood supply.

One the first day of our Camino in Spain we were at Orrison and fifty eagles were circling overhead.  An omen?  This morning I am up and getting ready to get into Seattle and the hospital and my favorite CD fixed itself.  An omen?  Today is my scan day which is the worst part of the whole chemo experience.  A day when my killer tumors are inspected and measured.  Will it be good or bad?  And this CD appears which I haven’t played for a year maybe because it was skipping and I had tenderly put it away like you would bury an old friend.  But today not thinking much about it I put it in the player and miracle of miracles there was China Forbes singing away without a single warble.  An omen?  Is there always hope of a turn around, a fresh start?

We have a walk this afternoon and old friend Sherie is coming with her troupe.  We are doing a picnic and archery this evening.  It’s all Caminohead fun!

Well, I have to pack up and skedaddle to Seattle.  A beautiful day here.  Stay hydrated loves, Felipe.




A Bright New Morning, A Bright New Week

Alder and madrona wood.


The wedding of our son Wiley here at the ranch approaches.  The frenzy intensifies.  I know it is all for a good cause but please everyone keep it to a dull roar.  I guarantee that we are going to have a good time no matter if all the details get worked out or not.  That’s my call.

Gorgeous morning here at the ranch.  This is the July that we all wait for.  I am working hard getting firewood split and stacked for the dark days of winter.  It always looks so good freshly stacked like so much money in the bank.  We had two little boys here yesterday who were full of questions about everything at the ranch.  They were especially intrigued by the firewood.  “What is that?”  “What do you use it for?”  They have such fresh eyes.

The Sunday walk yesterday was with a family from California on a road trip in the Northwest.  The man I met on one of my  film trips.  He is a medical doctor working in cancer rehabilitation, my favorite topic, well next to the Camino of course.  So we grabbed and gabbed.  I think that this is the genesis of some more trips down south.

The corn is tasseling out in the field.  It is a run away scene out there with the weeds gone crazy and the deer eating the weeds.  We are getting to that time of year due mostly to the dry conditions of late summer when the deer suffer for lack of suitable eats.  I have cut down whole trees in the past to feed them during these times.

Those little boys asking questions left a big impression on me.  It gave me a sense of how maybe out of the ordinary we are here on our little island with our little island life style.    Things that I take for granted are out of the ordinary for others.   Well, I guess that is what travel is for, mixing it up.

Mixing it up loves, Felipe.



All Fired Up

Stole this off Facebook. What do you think?


My Rebecca got me out for some culture last evening.  I was so dog tired that I almost didn’t go but had a great time and uplifting experience.  Pat Wright was here on the Island with the Total Experience Gospel Choir.  Man we were all under her spell with that high energy show.  Unfortunately this is her last year heading up the group, time to retire.  So, if you have a chance to catch a show, do it.

Have more guests from out of town coming here this afternoon.  Man, Phil’s Camino is the place to be this summer, lot’s-o-pilgrims.  I have to go here pretty quick to do some preparation for that.  If you are in the area have are in striking distance of Vashon come by.  We can always handle a few more.

The best to you always.  July loves, Felipe.

A Message From St Paul

Felipe, the malade, in Lourdes.

I don’t know how many darn times that I’ve tried to answer the “why me” question as it relates to my cancer.  Wish I had a nickel for each one.  But it is a maturing process to try and come to grips with that.   One of those no stone is safe from being overturned as my quest goes on.  And that journey reveals so much, as a pilgrimage is more about the doing than the destination.

St Paul had an unnamed affliction that me continually prayed about for relief.  And that never came for him.  And I ponder this.  How does that work?  He as the chief evangelist in the spread of the Good News to the bigger world had a big job to do and wouldn’t he have been more effective if he was without this “thorn”.   Why would God leave it in place?

I, of course,  am not comparing myself to St. Paul but only as an individual with a burden as we all have of one sort or another.  We all could ask the “why me”question at some point in our lives and even often maybe.

At Bible Guys today with the help of my fellow students I uncovered a quote from St. Paul in Second Corinthians, chapter 12 verses 6-12.  This is from the Message a paraphrase of the Greek in modern English:

”If I had a mind to brag a little, I could probably do it without looking ridiculous, and I’d still be speaking plain truth all the way.  But I’ll spare you.  I don’t want anyone imagining me as anything other than the fool you’d encounter if you saw me on the street or heard me talk.

”Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations.  Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he did in fact was push me to my knees.  No danger then of walking around high and mighty!  At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it.  Three times I did that, and then he told me,

”My grace is enough; it is all you need.

My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

”Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen.  I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift.  It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in my own weakness.  Now I take my limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that can cut me down to size – abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks.  I just let Christ take over!  And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.”

That is something to consider as we sit in the shade in between chores.  I have found that most of the harder nuts in the Bible can’t be cracked with earthly logic but only yield to creative thinking.  And here we are.

Love, Felipe.



The Cool Of The Morning



Looks like another hot one today.  July on Vashon, the grass is mostly dying from lack of water.  It begins to look like another place this time of year which will get back to being green in September and October.  Sitting writing this post in the cool early morning before the hustle and bustle of the day.

I am working on getting the firewood in for the winter, a little behind schedule this year.  The tractor is humming away powering the hydraulic log splitter.  And voilá out comes fuel for those wet dark months.

In the neighborhood it is Anamaria’s birthday tomorrow.  She walked with her buddies Alida and Laura and they all joined Kelly and our gang on the trail in 2014.  Hot days there too in Pamplona, Estrella and Viana in August.  Anamaria became known as the Princess of Viana.  Maybe I can find pic.  Happy Birthday Amiga!

Thinking about yesterday with all the great pilgrims that came to walk Phil’s Camino.  Not only walk but converse and share information and inspiration.  Many good things came out of that exchange.  Have to mention that Dan from Olympia got a boat load of extra credit for showing up with his official t-shirt.

Some talk yesterday centered around the Lourdes Pilgrimage also.  And it sparked some reflections which maybe we can cover tomorrow.  Graces are still coming to us from there and may they continue.

So, thank you Dan and Jeanne, Chuck and Linda and Joe and Terry for sharing the trail yesterday and for bringing your energy.  Please come back again when you get a chance. And Happy Birthday to the POV.  You all make it happen!

Dusty loves again, Felipe.