Counting Down

Camino shot from Robert Laturno. Good one and one of the best of the year!

The lull before the New Year’s storm right now. I’m the only one up, time to think. I’m mulling over the past year. I am thankful that my heath has maintained at a reasonable level. I had some fun trips with the film and that crew. Many great pilgrims stopped by to walk the trail and share in tapas. Wiley and Henna’s wedding in August was important and memorable. The activities at the ranch have continued onward and I am thankful. The blog here has been a continued source of neighborly love for all of us.

So a new year coming up. Maybe a chance for a new start or a different angle on the whole thing. Maybe a different intensity. I am excited and semi terrified by the thought of a new direction here at the blog. I am somewhat comforted by my memory of starting the blog back in May of 2014 when I had no idea what I was doing. But that didn’t seem to bother me then.

The blog is still and will be about the “bigger sense camino”. It will be more focused on leaving behind a “map” (thank you Catherine) for those cancer patients that are new or struggling. It will be a way of showing “God as a verb” (thank you Janet). It will be more joyful hopefully.

Yea, oh and the inclusion of prose poetry possibly maybe kind of. I think I can, I think I can… Well, that would be nice if it helps get the point across otherwise maybe it’s not that important at this time. We will see.

Yup, a few more minutes left before the frosty walk this AM. Oh, I finally have seed for the birds. That will be a project to get all the feeders going again. Hang on birdies I’m coming!

New loves, Felipé.

Ye Oldie Walking Schedule 12/30/18

Credit to William on this one. This is definitely not at Raven Ranch.

Monday 0900-1000
Tuesday 1530-1630
Thursday 0900-1000
Sunday 1530-1630

Yes, and we can have tapas and wine after the afternoon walks. And yes, we can do that out of the weather. Come by. Felipe.x

Coming Up On It

The tapas table in the winter.

Windy and stormy at the moment here at the Ranch. It will be a miracle if the power stays on for the whole Norte Dame game. Catherine is coming to watch that one with us. She is a huge ND fan who doesn’t own a TV. I am looking forward to cheering with her.

I just went shopping for our New Year’s dinner. It’s our traditional menu of pork roast, sour kraut with black eyed peas, a Southern deal. Oh boy, my yearly chance at sour kraut. That must be my Polish-German heritage.

This is a time of introspection for Felipé. What to do or what to do better in the precious year coming. If not now then when?

Have to take off and tidy up here, football in half an hour. Thanks so much for following along with us on our merry journey. Always good to see you!

Sour kraut loves (?), Felipé.

2019 Soon, Hospitality Still The Key Word

An unnamed place on the Camino Frances.

As we chart the course for the new year the sound of the word “hospitality” still rings true. That is really the main theme on all our levels. “How could it be otherwise?” just sprang up in my head and I am scrambling to surround that with my mind. Yes, it is that central to the whole understanding or to understanding the whole.

After almost five years of blogging about things Camino that is the word that I have come up with when I ask myself to boil the the Camino pilgrimage experience. down to one word. That is the essence, the spirit, the Grade A, Maple Syrup of it all. And just like that ultra sticky substance, that is what is supposed to stick to us as we return to our little corner of the world along with our still raw feet and our sunbaked brains. Those things heal eventually but our vision of hospitality should be permanent like the pilgrim tattoo, a sign that we have tasted it.

Ronaldo our East Coast Bureau Chief put this in a comment about yesterday’s post on tapas and poetry. Check this out:

“From the Eastern Bureau, tapas are not included in the deadly sins unless they are eaten in presence of the hungry without offering them some as well.
And it occurs to me as I read your words today that poetry is to communication as tapas are to nutrition. Rich. Lovely. Flexible. More.”

This is why we pay these guys the big bucks! We got insight squirting out all over the place. This stuff is priceless and not found in other neighborhoods. Right here, Caminoheads blog, just sayin.

I’m inspired loves, Felipé.

The In Between

St Jean at the foot of the pass. Time for a new beginning.

Christmas Wonder

Here we are in the slack time between the two big holidays, football games the only constant. Personally, I am doing a lot of resting up. Watch football, nap, watch football, nap, repeat.

Well, we almost had too much fun talking about tapas yesterday. How can I ever come up with another topic that is so near and dear to my heart? I really hope that loving tapas isn’t some minor subset of one of the seven deadly sins. Have to ask my people to check on that.

I’m mulling over and I’m mulling over the direction of the blog for 2018. Two things are apparent to me at this point. Don’t know exactly how they will be realized but I am fixin to figure that out. One is that I want to incorporate some poetry into my writing. And two I want to thouroughly answer a question that a fellow cancer patient ansked of me recently.

The poetry bug has bit me. And I thought that it might be the perfect way to get across the answer to the patient’s question. We are arriving at a point after almost five years of blogging where a change and a wrap up of sorts is needed. Prose poetry appeal to me. The way I have come to think of it lately with my limited understanding is something inbetween prose and poetry. And that is about as far as I have gotten but it’s a start.

And I have gotten the wrap up bug. It is time to answer the new question. We have pretty much covered the Camino de Santiago as it occurred to me. We covered the pilgrimage to Lourdes as it occurred to me. We really did a job on the interior pilgrimage. It’s all there in the last eighteen hundred posts for better or worse. Hopefully someone will distill all that into something reasonable someday.

But the question that this dear lady asked me at the meeting I had with patients on my last trip to California was, “How can I be where you are?” A simple question but it opened up a can of worms for Felipé. What she was asking was point the way for her to get to the next level. And that is what I want to address this next year. And I think poetry maybe the best way to get there. We’ll see.

At the top of this post is a link to a recent NY Times article about William Blake, Christmas and wonder. Thanks Jen for that. Check that out.

Walking in a few minutes. Who will show up? Maybe a good time to say the rosary. Maybe a good time to wear my long wool coat with the hood and pretend I’m a monk.

Light a candle for me loves, Felipé,

The Day After

Tapas at the ranch in the summertime. I can’t make out who those individuals are due to the dappled light but not important as it stands for all of us.

Well, we did it, Christmas 2018. My Rebecca is such a champ and the rest of the family rallied to make it all happen with little help from me. I have been hit pretty hard with the side effects of treatment over the last four days and not much good for anything. But maybe just maybe I am on the back end of all that.

We had a walk yesterday afternoon as Tuesday’s have and the weather cooperated for us. And tapas afterward was orchestrated by Our Catherine y Dana. Having tapas is such a joy and a benefit but you already know that.

It appears to me at the moment to be a very worthy topic of reflection and thanksgiving. We have talked of tapas forever since our being infected with the “Camino bug”. Why are they such a hit with us all? May I speak for you on this today?

To take a break from our labors at the end of the day is good. To be with those whom you labored with that day. To know that we are all safe for the night. To know that we have what we need to rest and recuperate for tomorrow. To be proud of our accomplishments but acknowledging that we couldn’t have done it without help from each other, from those that came before us and from our God. To be joyful. To toast what is important so as not to forget. To share in the bounty that is provided by Providence. We take the time and energy to internalize this experience not only physically but spiritually. We know that the time and place is special and we treat it so.

Wow, OK! I feel like I just described some sort of slow motion sexual climax, well maybe so. It’s definitely a feel good.

Time to rally for Felipé. Work needs doing here today, some not a lot. Off we go loves, Felipé.

Merry Christmas 2018!

This year’s Raven Ranch tree.

Merry Christmas to all in the Caminoheads world worldwide! It seemed hard fought this year but here we are once again, maybe not exactly bright eyed and bushy tailed but here nonetheless. Thinking of you wherever you are in our far flung neighborhood.
Know that you are loved and appreciated.

Here is a comment from Jim, Our Diego, in Lake Arrowhead, CA. Always good to hear from him and he brings some words from Pope Francis on top of that. What could go wrong? Here he is:

¡Feliz Navidad a Felipe, Rebecca y familia!

I think Pope Francis also had a Christmas message that echoed your notion of a “rare but potent” joy found in “places where we least expect it, where it is most needed, where we can’t miss it when it happens…”.

“In the Child of Bethlehem, God comes to meet us and make us active sharers in the life around us. He offers himself to us, so that we can take him into our arms, lift him and embrace him…. In this Child, God invites us to be messengers of hope. He invites us to become sentinels for all those bowed down by the despair born of encountering so many closed doors. In this child, God makes us agents of his hospitality….”

May you all at Ravens Ranch and the Caminoheads family continue to be active sharers in the life around us as messengers of hope and joyful agents of God’s hospitality.

¡Dios les bendiga peregrinos hermanos!


Well, that’s pretty darn good, don’t you think? We might be a ragtag bunch but at least we know what we are doing!

Potent loves, Felipé.

Half Decent

“There was just a wedding here.”

Oh, feeling that feeling of half decent this morning. It’s been two days of nasty side effects for this guy. But here I am sipping on a cup of the world’s strongest coffee and there appears to be some light at the end of the tunnel. Kind of like our vision of Spring right now. Only the smallest of hints that the darkest day has past but nevertheless…

Christmas Eve today, yes it is, no matter my/our troubles. It is exactly as it should be here in the year of our Lord 2018, that is for sure. That is one thing we can all bank on.

I’ve had some time to ponder the direction of the blog for 2019, our brand new year that we are ready to unwrap. Let me back up to mention some things that are influencing me. And then maybe I can get on to explaining my need for changing things.

Maybe the best thing that happened to me in 2018 was witnessing the wedding that was held at my/our cancer treatment center. I reported on it here in the blog and you will have to scroll back a few months to find it. It was just quirky. The idea was quirky. It was just quirky that I got to witness it. It was just quirky that joy can cling to a small chuck of real estate like a hallway in a hospital like it does so us participants and witnesses will forever be smiling when we pass through it.

There is a need for joy. And most of all there is a need for joy in places where we least expect it, where it is most needed, where we can’t possibly miss it when it happens, rare but potent.

Maybe I will just let that sit with you for the day. There is more to say and tomorrow we can go on with it. Morning walk here in half an hour. Looks gray and dry out. We are beginning to encounter some standing water on the trail and Raven Creek is starting to run. Time for steadfast hearts and hearty conversation in this wintertime.

Steadfast loves, Felipé.

Day One Of Winter.

Onward to Spring!

So far so good here at Raven Ranch, cold and dry. We are over the hump of the shortest day and it’s all onward into Spring now. Well, that all sounds so straightforward. Yes, but you know that there will be twists and turns involved.

Here is one turn that is involved as we just decided to postpone my birthday get together which we had scheduled for tomorrow, Sunday afternoon. My Rebecca has come down with some sort of cold and I am exhausted from the week. So, please stay home and watch football tomorrow and we will do something at a better time. Anon.

Earlier this morning I lead my Bible Guys group in the study of Mark chapter two. If you are looking to read about the Christmas story and you go to Mark you won’t find it there. The book starts out with Jesus being thirty years old and being baptized by John the Baptist in the Jorden River. It goes on to emphasize the life of Jesus as a servant to mankind by going into his many miracles and acts of mercy.

I’m going to take off and have lunch and see what I can do about this day. Later and anon, love, Felipé.

2:23 PM, The Solstice

From William in Calgary.

There is still a tag on the new sweater I am wearing. Catherine and Dana came up with it to keep Felipé warm. Had a great day today with my hospital visit and a little Christmas shopping around the edges. Stopped by to have a bourbon with a friend. Work and play in a pretty good balance.

Did I say it was my birthday today? Yea, that’s what all the hoopla has been about. All my nurses signed a nice card, they are so great. Yea.

This is all the energy I have for now. Have to be back with you tomorrow. Love, Felipé.