Pilgrim Farmer John Out Of Iowa

The cover of Northwest Catholic Magazine from March 2015.

Where it all began for Pilgrim Farmer John and Pilgrim Felipe. Time flies so fast it’s worth the effort to revisit the “beginnings” of our most relished relationships. This Northwest Catholic Magazine cover of March, 2015 happened to be left in the waiting room of a hospital in Seattle when my life long friend, Tory, was visiting there. I had completed my Camino in 2013 and Tory was very much interested in the Camino story as she had plans for doing a portion of it also to celebrate her 70th birthday. So she found a copy of the magazine to send to me with Phil’s story in it. Yeah, I was pulled into the Phil vortex immediately, and why not? Such a story, such an experience, such an inspiration! I wanted to know this guy. And thus it began, with a (relatively) short intro from PFJ, the email that spawned a cascade of correspondence and the opening of the gates to all those who feel the same way I do about this guy. And what a ride it has been!

I, for one, would be interested in reading how all of you have been introduced into the ripples of the influence of this natural Pied Piper. What, or who, was the connector that got you pinging along with his natural cadence? We have all been inundated with the information of how this Pandemic has “connected” us all. I think this examination of how we have all come together, how each of our lives have become interconnected, is a nice mental antidote to that awfulness.

We are into Advent now, with the slow dawning of realization that our Christmas is going to be impacted as surely as all the other Holidays of 2020. Confirmation has been sent out that our much loved local Parish Cluster of three neighboring churches, all shepherded by our Beloved Fr. Bill (A Camino veteran himself!) will not be having in-church services for Christmas. Iowa has surpassed our peak in Covid cases from this spring even, and our Diocese has mandated on-line services only. It was a heartache to have this situation for Holy Week and Easter, and now for the emotional highlight of the year to fall under the same pall of pestilence is hard to bear. We are making plans to ensure that all the Grands feel more joy than sadness, and still do all we can to keep them all safe. I’m not sure how many days walk it was for Joseph and Mary and the donkey to get to Bethlehem, but the conditions of the time would have surely been stressful for them as well. And look how that all turned out. 😇

I’ve used up my word limit!

Advent Calendar #4:

Today reflect: where do you feel as a small fish in a big pond? Which are all the ways you can still grow and where do you find courage? Can you plan to do something that boosts your courage in your week?

The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves. Victor Hugo.

Thanks everyone, Felipé.

A Cherished Inhabitant

Felipé and Sherif from Cairo on the Camino, 2014.
(photo unknown)

Cris said in a comment that she felt like a cherished inhabitant of the Caminoheads Neighborhood. Isn’t that the greatest thing to say? That makes me feel so happy! And we need that especially this year. This year will somehow be visible in the layers of debris for some future archeologist to discover. She will ponder over the different quality of it and wonder what had occurred to cause such a disruption. But I digress. So happy that everyone shows up to take part in the neighborhood scene is the point!

Here is the third reading from the Advent calendar: Today, reflect: were do you feel as a big fish in a small pond? Where your confidence and self efficacy grow? Can you plan to do something to boost your confidence and self efficacy in you week?

Well, we always try and make you feel like a big fish in a small pond here In this neighborhood.

have to go walk loves, Felipé.

“Beauty is nothing other than the promise of happiness.” Stendahl

A Package Arrived

Tapestry by William Morris.
(captured on FaceBook)

Yesterday I was treated to a package in the mail. It was from Henriette here in Washington and it included two versions of advent calendars. But Cris from Bueno Aries was in on this too so it was a Pan American effort from sea to shining sea! Thanks my friends!

One of the calendars was a box of Italian chocolates with each piece numbered, one for each day. The wrappers on each piece have quirky translations of motivational sayings. So I get the chocolate and we both can read the sayings!

1. Magic is believing in yourself. Wolfgang Goethe.

2. When you love you discover an unexpected wealth of tenderness and affection so strong that you can’t even believe you are capable of such love. Anton Chekhov.

And the other Advent calendar is made up of 25 slips of paper each with some sentences printed on them. They are things to ponder over the course of the day. And they will make a chain when I make #1 into a circle and put #2 through #1 and make it into a circle and so forth. They will be links in a chain and in the end a decoration!

1. Today, brush off the outcomes and find a few things you can do not thinking on the result. And reflect, what would you do if you were less afraid of the consequences?

2. Today, give up all sort of comparison… catch yourself when you are about to think that yesterday was colder than today, or the coffee yesterday was nicer than today, or that this shirt doesn’t look as good as it looked on you last week.

Yea, so there’s a start on the 25 days of Advent! Thank you Henriette and Cris for this gift to us. We await!

Off I go into December 2nd.

an unexpected wealth of loves, Felipé.

Actually, About The Moon

Felipé self portrait.
(photo P Volker)

Well, here we are December 1st, out of turkey land and floating away from the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Wasn’t that it, the ore ship that went down in a November storm on Lake Superior? Now in December we are getting into fruitcake territory.

There is a extremely deep thing going on beneath all the glitz and glitter that will descend on us soon and that is the wait for the birth of the Christ child. Yes, yes, yes indeed. We wait as our discipline and as an honor.

But what has been knocking on my brain pan is that it is time for me after seventyn or more years to figure out a little about our moon. I have been tracking it going through it’s phases for a couple of months now and certain things have bubbled up for me. All this is nothing new of course but new to me so-to-speak none-the-less.

So here is a little summary of the moon’s phases over it’s 29.53 day journey around our sun:

New Moon (0% illumination)
Waxing Crescent
First Quarter (50% illumination)
Waxing Gibbous
Full (100% illumination)
Waning Gibbous
Last Quarter (50% illumination)
Waning Crescent
and back to New Moon.

So, these are the eight phases that are talked about. And I also learned that there is no “n” in Gibbous. What a strange word, it looks like it needs an “n” though for sure.

waxing gibbous loves, Felipé.

A Veranda Birthing

Doors for Jim and Jen.
(photo J Hyde)

Yea, all of a sudden it was there! Dana just midwifed it’s before our eyes. She saw it vailed but hopeful and called it forward. “Go big or go home! We’re having it!“ Kudos to you Dana!

So, we have eight months to procrastinate, ah plan. That is an over abundance of time to engineer a heck of a party. And pray for a vaccine and a loosening of restrictions. We need to operate inbounds of all that obviously. But I have high hopes that things will look much differently by then.

My coffee is hot as I watch the morning develop. We went from rain earlier to wind, lots of wind and now a lull. Walking in a few minutes so I’m glad that it is settling down. We had a nice walk yesterday afternoon just before sunset. Jim and Jen came to be with me and Wiley. So we had a foursome which is rare these days.

Speaking of Wiley and Jim and Jen I have some pics for them that I could put up today. One of the doors that I am making in the shop for Jim and Jen’s art studio. And one of Wiley and James from the top of Sunrise Peak from our snowy hunting trip.

Doors for Jim and Jen.
(photo J Hyde)

Wiley and James, 2020 Elk Hunt, Sunrise Peak.
(photo Joe?)

I have to thank My Rebecca for helping me figure out how to do some corrections with photographs on the blog here that has been plaguing me since the beginning. It all seems so simple in hindsight but it took six years to accomplish. Thank you Bekka. I get so wrapped up in producing the content here that I seldom leave time for niceties.

So, it is that magic time to get my boots which have been warming by the fire and get geared up for the morning walk. The leaves are all off the hawthorns but the handfuls of red fruit are gorgeous, ready to feed the robins and waxwings. There is no standing water on the trail and the creek is dry as of now.

handfuls of gorgeous red fruit loves, Felipé.

The Covid Cafe

(photo P Volker)

We had wintertime outside tapas yesterday evening with the lovelies, Catherine and Dana. They have a new social space that is out of the rain but outside and named it the Covid Cafe. So we went and tried it out for size. What fun as we are all so starved for interaction.

Can you have enough tapatime I ask? Impossible, you say, correct answer! Catherine y Dana purchased a parcel of land next to their piece. And on that is a ruin of a house that burned down long ago. But the small one car garage with a concrete floor is still standing and they cleaned that up for a little party space.

So the tapa conversation roamed all over the place as usual but I wanted to report on the part about POSTcovid! Yea, POSTcovid, you know, remember PREcovid? This talk was specifically about the possibility of a 2021 Veranda. And Dana said loudly, “Go big or go home, we’re having it!” So there it is gang. We are willing this thing into being; we are putting our energy in this direction! This was the tipping point, November 28th 2020 tapas. Thank you Dana!

And Cris anticipating all this said that she is coming for forty days, biblical there, and then added four more days for good measure for the 2020 missing time. So, the momentum has shifted. We pivot! Mark it down, August 20th to the 23rd!

little bird at the window loves, Felipé.

Here are a few words from John in Iowa, CHBC

“Hola, Felipe, et al!!

Today is the Saturday following Thanksgiving, which translates in this casa to the second day in a row having PIE for breakfast!! Love that part of the Holiday. It’s also the day we start organizing and prioritizing our ‘Giving List” to send out on Giving Tuesday. I would encourage this for others on this world-wide-reach Blog as there are just so many worthy organizations that get a big boost from the “matching funds” that are available on that day. Check it out!”

(Our moon is waxing gibbous, 99% illumination)

The Unruly Roommate

Felipé on important fact finding mission, Marynell to the right of me, Dale to the left.
(photo W Volker)

Cris had a nice comment on yesterday’s post:

I am just imaging the chit-chat between Marynell and Dale after you left!

You are actually doing what Pope Francis has instructed: smile and laugh ❤️

“…Grant me, O Lord, a sense of good humor.
Allow me the grace to be able to take a joke to discover in life a bit of joy,
and to be able to share it with others.”
Saint Thomas More’s “Prayer for Good Humor”

Love you,

OK, I think that we are on the right track. Thank you Cris for that reinforcement! We are in the swing with the Pope around here I see.

Backing up a few days to Friday a week ago when Annie and I had that QandA with the cancer support group. I really love this work right here where the rubber meets the road with these support groups. I always tell these folks that no questions are off the table, to ask away. And one person asked what was my relationship with my Cancer? That was a first for me after all these years of QandA’s although I have been blogging about it for years.

So briefly, I never considered that it was a foreign invader. I choose to believe that it is an imbalance in my own body, a renegade part of me. It is a revolt or revolution, so to speak. If I keep in this zone it helps me to move around in the world. I am pretty fearless of it all out there in front of me.

Annie then told the story of me having a meeting with my tumors where I told them that they had better keep it all low keyed. They needed to not get too rowdy with me. “Because if I go you guys go too!”

Yea, that happened back a few years ago. And back at the QandA some conversation went back and forth with several people. And in the end I characterized my Cancer as a unruly roommate. Someone that I could get along with if I put in the required amount of extra work. You know, picking up used towels and old pizza boxes and such for the general good of all. And if I kept in good humor about the whole thing.

Thank you Cris and thank you all for checking in.

let’s see, does this go in the garbage or recycling loves, Felipé.

(Our moon in waxing gibbous, 97% illumination).

Kinda Nice

There is a little blue sky out to the Southwest so there is hope of maybe a sun break or two. Well, on the far side of Thanksgiving. It’s all turkey sandwiches from now on, which is a major good thing. So, our meal was great, thank you Rebecca and Henna for the food engineering. The TV football was fun. We had good prayers and a field trip.

Not every holiday dinner has a field trip but I thought that it was a good idea and everyone honored me on it. I drove the four of us to the Vashon Cemetery to see my new plot. Kind of a crazy deal but what the heck. I think Henna got a little weirded out but what are in-laws for? So there is the pic of Felipé checking out the view. There I got Marynell to my right and Dale to my left, close neighbors.

Felipé on important fact finding mission, Marynell to the right of me, Dale to the left.
(photo W Volker)

Well yea, I thought that it was a good idea. Sometimes you just have to have some fun with stuff. Maybe other people don’t quite get it always. Oh, and speaking of fun, we also listened to the recording of Alice’s Restaurant and Massacree. That is a piece of history there.

So off we go to turkey sandwich land. Maybe some leaf raking land and some football land in our future too. Thanks for checking in.

gratitude over all loves, Felipé.

A Special Thursday

Keeping warm!
(photo P Volker)

I fed the woodstove a load of firewood and the Hummingbirds got some new syrup. Got myself some peanut butter oatmeal to tide me over to the big meal. Yea, now I get to write to you, then off to the morning walk around the Camino.

We have had Thanksgiving greetings come in from different places, thank you. Ronaldo sent in this link to the original Alice’s Restaurant by Arlo Guthrie. Thank you.

Alice’s Restaurant

But that was the 1960’s and this is 2020. Maybe someone could rig up an updated version of that for our pandemic times. “You can get any thing you want, if they are still open, at Alice’s Restaurant excepting Alice.”

Speaking of the grip of the pandemic I am liking the news lately about the progress of the vaccines. This is really exciting. I have high hopes that the Veranda will be going deal for August! So that is the start of an encouraging rumor right there.

But for right here and right now on this specific day of thanksgiving let us concentrate on that. Let us put gratitude forward above everything else. We need to pray for all. It is time for a big heart as we await.

So, I will go find my boots and walking sticks and get ready for an hour of Phil’s Camino. Best wishes to you and yours on this day.

big heart loves, Felipé.

Turkey Day Eve

A pic of feral turkey I shot on Vashon with bow and arrow.
(photo unknown)

A day to clean the house and take a last minute run to town for Brussel sprouts. I was just thinking of holidays past. Happy ones stuffed with crazy family memories. And the old sad ones where we are far away with not a chance of getting there. I guess it takes all of that to make a lifetime.

This year is special though as we all share the common burden of the pandemic. Well, at least we are all in it together. That seems kind of a consolation prize I know. But maybe we can expand on that as it is about all we got to work with.

Somehow Alice’s Restaurant is coming to mind. A tale built on the dump being closed. “Who ever heard of a dump being closed on Thanksgiving?”. I don’t think that we are going to get into the kind of trouble that Arlo did but it is kind of making something out of nothing on Thanksgiving.

I have an account on Spotify that I pay for and can’t use. I got my password so gumboed up with them that it wouldn’t even let me get close. Felipé persona non grata. Maybe Henna could figure that out tomorrow while she is here since she is such a wiz. Then we could listen to Alice’s Restaurant at our own little gathering, maybe. Would they even have it? Probably too antiquated but will give it a shot.

And what about the old televised yule log? Maybe time to light that sucker off! My Rebecca says, “The yule log instead of football?” She has a point you have to admit.

Well whatever, we need to pray for nurses and doctors who are not getting the day off. This I know. And of course there are the folks with the Covid and we need to pray for them. OK, good.

giving thanks loves, Felipé.