Always moving forward sometimes gracefully and sometimes not.

What I mean is that in this one little thing I am hurrying. My IPad Mini, my trusty IPad Mini is having problems. It is getting harder and harder to work with it. So, I wanted to say hello before it went haywire.

Maybe I can complete a few thoughts here in the meantime. I seriously need some help with this computer problem, a fix or maybe a new machine. The screen is streaking and fogging and pulsating with all manner of distractions. Geez, just trying to get the blog out.

This dark time of the year seems similar in that it is just harder to do the standard stuff. Everything is more complicated and time consuming then in the “easy” season. Well, maybe not everything. Maybe it’s the season to do other things. I guess that is what I am trying to winnow out here. Just what is it good for or what is it a better time for?

Well, it seems like I am all questions today without much more. Other folks have been doing a better job with this lately, Steve-O and Farmer John. But that is what we are here for to help each other out. I need to reread their material.

OK, I am done for now.

Advent full speed ahead loves, Felipé.

A Friday Combo

Farmer Cathy and Farmer John.

Here is a bit of Farmer John, Caminoheads Heartland Bureau Chief:

“Reading Steve-O’s comments here, as well as many of the “regulars”, I find I often feel like Charley Brown in one of Charles Schulz’s comics. Linus and Charlie are lying on their backs viewing the clouds. Linus launches into a lengthy description of what he sees in the drifting shapes far above. His detailed description involved crenelations, parapets, and ionic columns. Charlie timidly admits, “I thought I saw a dog”.

“The dark and cold months represent “Rest” to me, the inveterate farmer. The soil rests for two thirds of its life, after pulsing life into the crops that we have planted into it for four heat-soaked months. It is, however, a “productive” rest, as the microbes and the minerals and the moisture do their intricate weaving to incorporate all the previous years organic matter into new fuel for future growth. This break is as essential to the soil as our nightly trips to our own beds. We both must have the “Rest” to be able to resume. Long hours of darkness are conducive to such (non) activity. And as the animal side of nature “bulks up” for their long winter’s hibernation, we also provide food for the soil as well, replacing at a bare minimum the nutrients we removed with this year’s crop.

“That seems to jibe well with Steve-O’s “A time of serious work and also of great anticipation for whatever lie ahead”.”

Steve-O , last May here at Raven Ranch.

A Bit of Steve-O, Caminoheads NorthWest Bureau Chief:

After the marvelous expansion on the winter-purpose theme Farmer John gave us, I am especially trying to take the theme to heart – to take the season of outer “dormancy,” the apparent nothingness of the low-light winter, as a time of recognizing the not-outwardly obvious, of being “with” wherever we are, right now. To let the ‘assignment’ – our internal, anticipatory integration of all we’ve become be seen and known. And it really is anchored in anticipation. Without the wonder and belief in what comes next, it is just rote, meaningless lesson-learning.

I heard it explained recently ( Rabbi Jill Zimmerman’s webinar) that in the Jewish tradition, God asks Adam ( post apple-eating), “Where are you?” while Adam is pretty much hiding out, unsure, uncertain and confused. Well, not a question God needed Adam’s help answer, right? The question is “Ayeka?” which means not so much physically “where are you”, but “where are you– your spiritual location, your sense of yourself and your internal navigation?”.

And the answer is “Heneini” – “I am here”, in this new place for me, aware in new ways, searching in new ways…

That describes, perhaps, the winter journey; the re-assessment and coming to know oneself in the moment. Things have changed, of course, but have we taken the interlude to re-know our spiritual location? Rather than see the apple-eating experience as sin, some, and surely in the Jewish tradition, see it as the beginning of consciousness, of self-knowledge. To me, that’s realizing it is now up to us to be present to ourselves, our spiritual status, mindful of each moment. I way too often “get lost in living”. And the prescription is Winter I think. Winter presents a magical and miraculous opportunity, in the perfect low-light, nothing-much-going-on-in-the-exterior-world-of-Doing wrapping. In this season of anticipation it seems all set up for us– prepped and gifted, wintery– to gracefully fall into re-reading the assignment and get started on the homework.

In the same Jewish-tradition view, when we pause and re-locate ourselves in the moment with all the spiritual awareness we have gained we look for God to say, ‘Yodea! I see you.’ That is what we all want…to be seen and confirmed for who we truly are, who we are becoming, in the fullest sense.
Also wrapped in anticipation.
What a gift wintertime is.

S Sunde

Well, all great stuff for a Friday blogpost, Thanks guys!

out of the darkness loves, Felipé.

Getting Out In It

William getting out it it.

Mary Did You Know Christmas Carol

Here is a Comment from Steve-O our CNWBC working out of Portland OR:

“Yeah- the Season of Darkness. Since my son Peder lived on the Navaho rez many years ago and filled me in on a lot of their traditions, I’ve seen winter darkness as a time to be more spiritually integrative than spiritually sponge-like. That is, a time more about integrating and understanding the input, learning, trials and victories we’ve had than about discovering new things, new monster-insights or info or perspectives that we so relish most of the year. It can be a time to be more quiet and introspective in an an internal, muted ‘ah-ha’ way; a time to realize and ultimately rejoice in the changes within ourselves that may have occurred without due recognition and gratitude from us; a time to learn to walk with the talk of whatever enlightening learning we’ve devoured over the last spring/summer/fall – since the light began to lengthen in January. A time to prepare for the light to re-emerge, to embrace it with the capacity to see and absorb all it may bring as we are reborn to noticing with eyes of wonder, to a new awareness. With that may come a capability of receiving more, spiritually, by virtue of having ‘re-read the assignment and done the homework’ so to speak.
Ok, maybe not the best metaphor, but maybe it is a time for mostly reflective, internal work, the necessary preparation to open up more uncluttered space within us to be able to receive whatever gifts may come our way as the light returns. A time of serious work and also of great anticipation for whatever wisdom and joy lie ahead.”

This is helpful to me, the guy that just wants the winter to be over. Now I see that is the opposite of living in the present. These dark days have a purpose and it is my job to find that for myself. It is just not good enough anymore to say “I hate it and I don’t want to be here.”

So thank you for sticking with me during my wrestling with this, although I have a feeling it is challenging for all of us. There is something here to make peace with and to learn from. It must be something more than the proverbial sticky wicket.

Walking in a few minutes, have to bundle up and find my rose colored glasses.

sticky wicket loves, Felipé.

Here It Is December

Two guides to Advent.

I just read a few sentences about the darkness of winter being the womb of God. That is interesting and intriguing. I for one have been trying to come to grips with the darkness of winter, to somehow play along with it and prosper. There must be a way to work with it and receive it’s gifts. There must be a way to work with it and further God’s plan maybe is the way to look at it.

Last evening I watched a whole feature length film in the Polish language. I grew up hearing Polish from my Mother, her sisters and my Grandmother but now I remember two or three words. This film is entitled Faustia and is the story of Faustia the Polish nun and her visions of Christ. I captured what I could capture or I understand what I could understand giving the language gap. It was a beautiful movie visually but I must get back to her story in some depth as I sense there is much there.

As I try to get closer to the Advent story these are things that I bump into. Are these things helping me to move in closer? There is so much that I don’t know, or understand or have little experience with. There seems an endless richness though to explore.

I’ve picked up two guides to help me in thei Advent quest. One, that I received at church is The Magnificat Advent Companion which is day by day companion. And the second is Rejoice – Advent Meditations with Joseph. This is a day by day guide with the perspective of Joseph. This is interesting shift. So, maybe some of you are also following one or both of these also. Let me know if and when you have an important moment with them.

OK, Wednesday calls.

on the horizon loves, Felipé.

Amazing Phenomena

Sent along by Ronaldo from Astorga and I will use it again.

I loved Ronaldo’s post yesterday about the amazing skies overhead when he returned home from the Camino. I remember Annie writing something similar on her reentry yers ago. She was checking on the news and the papers looking for the explanation of the exceptional atmospheric show. Then finally she realized that it was her that had changed and not the clouds, that was the explanation.

Ronaldo and Annie were looking at the familiar and seeing a whole new and expanded version. We recognize that, we know that “lifting of the veil” exists for all of us if we are just ready. It is reminding me of our situation here right now in Advent. We await but for what? What if we could see the old tired Christmas story for what it really is behind all the veils. How to slow down and really appreciate the way we once learned?How to be present to the amazing humble richness of it? How to understand that we are the lucky winners in life’s big lottery because of this event?

Speaking of spiritual things, I have spiritual direction with Jessika this morning at 10. So happy that this is happening for me now again. It is deeply appreciated.

OK, off to the day. Off to Vashon town to shop early. I predict that everyone will be pumped after last evening’s win for the Seahawks on Monday Night Football.

Go Hawks loves, Felipé.

Doubling Down On The Christmas Story

This was August. Now one of these rows is just about used up.

Off and rolling yesterday with the first Sunday in Advent and Father David has me all pumped. Here we are to celebrate the incredible story that we contemplate in the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary. It is so easy to do the Joyful Mysteries they are peaceful and powerful and just easy.

The First Mystery is the Annunciation where the angel comes to Mary. A “be not afraid” moment. God asks Mary to travel on this journey of joy, heartbreak and redemption and Mary says yes.

Then the Second Mystery with Mary visiting Elizabeth and both are pregnant with giant historical figures. John the Baptist and Jesus recognize each other in the womb of their mothers.

The Third Mystery is the Nativity which we are perhaps the most familiar with. The birth of God in human form in such humble circumstances. But we are all happy with that.

The Fourth is the Presentation where the good parents bring the eight day old Jesus to the Temple following the Law. This is perhaps the least understood of these events but it happened and was important to the overall story. There Jesus is recognized for the first time as the long awaited Savior.

And lastly the Fifth and the story of Jesus as a child lingering in the Temple to talk with the priests and the holy men there. It is the beginning of his independence and a foreshadowing of his public life.

Those are the five Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary. They are said all year long and are a review of the precious Christmas story that we celebrate only once a year. Maybe I will have time to say the Rosary today and do the Joyful Mysteries.

that time of year loves, Felipé.

Thoughts From Astorga 11/1/19

Sent along by Ronaldo from Astorga.

Hasn’t the sky been fantastic for the last couple of years?

Clouds dancing around and displaying dynamic range and shapes that engage the imagination. What has caused this change in the sky? Could it be climate change? Or is it some secret research project adding secret ingredients to the atmosphere?

I could blame retirement. I could credit the Camino experience. I could continue to believe that the sky has changed.

I’d like to suggest that it is simply that I have been keeping my eyes up and gazing more purposefully at the sky. I have been in the moment – mindful of the light of the sun reflecting off of and filtering through those collections of water vapor, encouraged by the invisible winds.

What caused me to be more mindful? What caused me to appreciate the clouds above my spot on earth?

I think that the sky has always been this magnificent, I have just increase my awareness.

Whatever it is, I can also apply it to other aspects of life. Keeping one’s eyes up and gazing into the eyes of others, for example. Appreciating the fact that others carry loads that would be impossible for us, or lack the ability to do something that is easy for us. Seeing and appreciating the dynamics of other’s lives, even when it makes us less comfortable, practicing our ability to engage them by being with them, or supplying something they need at that moment. How many times does that happen on one’s walk along the Camino? How often do those moments come back to our memories as either a receiver or provider of that tiny blessing?

I want to encourage you to gaze more at the sky and the rest of creation to see more of the blessings that are out there for each of us. Receive and provide gratefully. I am thankful for the words that come to us from Phil and the other guest writers each day and I try to discover opportunities to share the fruit of the messages with others along my path. Please share with us in the comments if you are noticing the ‘sky’ appearing different and blessing your journey.

With overhead love,


Coldest Night Yet

Frost still in the shade.

It is supposed to warm up from here on in. There is some moisture coming which might mean snow before this is over. But our new little woodstove is huffing and puffing along keeping us warm.

Turkey soup is in the making. I’ve got the broth made and the fat skimmed. Now comes the fun part. It is pretty easy to spread Thanksgiving out for at least a week with different variations on leftovers. Turkey doesn’t get much attention the rest of the year so we have to do it all in one week I guess.

Maryka came over yesterday with her new husband, Anthony. It was great to see them. And we had time to walk the Camino and shoot some arrows. Well, and we did drink up a bottle of wine and got caught up on happenings too of course.

So, Advent starts tomorrow or actually this evening here at the Saturday Night Vigil Service. There is a lighting of the Christmas manger scene outside to start the season. Wow, here we are. Ready, one, two, three, PANIC! Well, I suppose there is still a little time before that.

Time to get in gear here. Even with the holidays there is stuff to get done around the ranch. Still raking up leaves for instance.

Lighting our loves, Felipé.

The Day After

On Phil’s Camino we are walking toward Muxia.

My Rebecca and I went with Wiley and Henna to her parents’ place, close by here on the Island. We felt so welcomed. They want us to come back for Christmas. Well OK!

It is supposed to be a sunny day today once the day wakes up. It still looks a little hazy. Couple of things going on today. One to make turkey soup. We made it out the door with the carcass of the bird last night so we have this job. And Maryka is coming over which deserves it’s own paragraph.

Maryka grew up here and now is married and lives in NYC and does work for the UN. That sounds very impressive and it is. We have done a lot of walking here at Phil’s Camino and archery too. So that’s what she wants to do during her visit. In 2014 she and her father Rick walked with me and the film crew from the monastery at Samos to Santiago and that is on the documentary. Such a fun and challenging time!

So she just called in and we will get together this afternoon. That’s good, it will have a chance to warm up out there. OK.

We continue to think about our many gifts that add up to our lives. How do we account for our luck? How do we see and keep in mind that we are the recipients of so much goodness?

The best to you where you are. Off we go.

turkey soup loves, Felipé.