…The tapestries had a historic state visit to London in September 2010. They were sent by the present Pope to be exhibited at the V & A Museum.
Do you ever wonder if God would talk with you in an audible way, how the conversation would go? Some people have had the rare experience. I never have, but just the same I do talk with Him. It is usually in the shower or in bed at night. We are told, however, to always be in a prayerful state.
Since He knows all languages and the odd expressions that most cultures have when carrying on a conversation, I’m certain that it would be the same with us in this generation. No Thee or Thou, as in the Bible…for King James didn’t realize that in our times we would be far beyond these expressions. He probably would be mortified to think that a conversation with God could be on such a “common” level. He would probably think our conversations were disrespectful!
Recently a friend sent me this video. He called it “moving.” I call it “Relevant,” for God will definitely meet us where we are…regardless of who we are. The next time you pray, think about this particular conversation.
Enjoy it now…and be moved!
Turn on your sound…Click below… Wait for the download to show up below your screen and then click on the your download to watch.
Recently, a person asked my husband, a retired Navy Chaplain and Episcopal priest, to come over to bless his house. To be perfectly honest, I had my hesitations. We were only briefly acquainted with them and there was the natural concern about whether they had contact with anyone with the Coroavirus during this Pandemic. The gentleman said that his family was well. Our county had fewer cases of the virus than some in Florida, but regardless, it was a concern. My husband assured me that I need not go to the house blessing, if I felt uncomfortable. He would go alone. So, I began to pray… and out of the blue…
I read this statement by a father about his son serving in an ICU.
“This is a photo of my son, Dr Dillon Keenan McCarty MD. He is a third year Internal Medicine resident working the night shift staffing Baton Rouge General ICU along with another 3rd year resident and 3 respiratory therapists taking care of an unheard of 42 severely ill COVID patients on ventilators. They are making some hard decisions . He has always been one to not back down from a fight and was made for this time. Health care professionals are at an extremely high risk of catching this disease and some patients in his unit are young. Over 70 doctors in Italy died caring for patients in this epidemic. On this Palm Sunday, I am reminded of Isaiah 6 :8 where Isaiah has a vision of God, yet feels unworthy to the task. And I heard the voice of the Lord saying,
‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.’
Pray for all our providers young and old for their courage and health. Matt McCarty MD”
Sometimes I don’t know if my writings, through Boyer Writes blog, mean anything to anyone, but this father’s words certainly meant something to me. I wrote in one of my devotional books about trying to decide whether to go to Mongolia and every time I sang a hymn with the words, Here I am, Lord, written by Dan Schutte, I knew my answer. I had to go because God was leading me there. When the Holy Spirit is speaking, a person can not get it out of their mind. God is the “hound of heaven.”
(chorus) Here I am, Lord. It is I Lord.
I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go, Lord, where you lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart.
This house-blessings was in my own neighborhood…for crying out loud…not at the ends of the earth!!! If I would go to Mongolia, Ukraine or Guatemala to serve God, why would I hesitate to go in my own home town? Fear is a strong factor in our lives…even if we call it “precaution.” Don’t be fooled, the evil one who would want a house and family NOT to be blessed, will heap as much fear upon us as it takes!
Putting on our masks, we went on our way. The House Blessing turned out to be a special time for this family. Each room and family member were prayed over in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As my husband and I left the house, a large, bright rainbow appeared in the sky…a blessing from God to us all.
Today, I share with you this song. May God lead you…for He has much for all of us to do.
I’m happy to share with you two of my new books that are now online at Amazon. It has been a time to consider my writing and what type of contribution I can give to those readers who are experiencing these weeks and months of virus sadness and weariness.
First, for all those who have lost loved ones to this dread disease, please know my heart and prayers are with you. To those whose lives have been turned upside down through financial distress or ruin, my prayers are for you each night. My hope is that my books, shown below, will be helpful and inspirational to face life anew.
- The book I decided to write during these troubled times is first for children and parents, who want their children to understand what the world is facing. Getting out my paints, I challenged myself to illustrate and as a retired educator, to remember what my students age 9-12 would understand and enjoy. I decided to use our Golden Retriever, Bella, as the main character.
The book for adults, young adults and even teens is: (links) FAITH DEVOTIONAL BOOK 5 or FAITH and the WORLD-WIDE PANDEMIC. Both books have the same content, but different covers. Take a look and see what you think:
(link) GERMS! OH NO!
The world is looking for a breath of fresh air and sun! Today in Florida, the beaches are opening with sunny weather at about 85 degrees. Looking for everyone to enjoy and take precautions to be safe and careful. Enjoy!!
For your weekend, Boyer Writes shares with you THE DEEP LOVE OF JESUS…played at the beach. May you be blessed.
Words to Oh, the Deep Deep Love of Jesus
Rolling as a mighty ocean
In its fullness over me
Is the current of your love
Leading onward, leading homeward
To your glorious rest above
‘Tis heaven of heavens to me
And it lifts me up to glory
For it lifts me up to thee
Spread his praise from shore to shore
How he loves us, ever loves us,
Changes never, nevermore
VIDEO Turn up sound and enlarge screen for best viewing
On the Friday of the crucifixion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ, Boyer Writes presents the Requiem by Mozart
What is a Requiem?
Compositions written to honor the deceased, often in the form of a Requiem Mass. As early as the late 15th century, Requiems were composed using melodies from Gregorian chant.By the 18th century, composers began to create Concert Requiems that required large orchestras that were too large to be used at ordinary funeral services and were more like an oratorio.The 20th century saw the emergence of the War Requiem, or compositions to honor those killed in war. These Compositions will often contain secular text along with the religious text of the Requiem Mass.Over 2,000 requiems have been written by hundreds of composers over the years.a version of the mass performed to commemorate the dead.
Requiem by Mozart, performed by the National Orchestra of France, directed by James Gaffigan Turn up your sound
A famous quote by one of our former Presidents, John F. Kennedy:
“Ask Not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”
There is so much push-back about who is doing what to contain this terrible virus. No one ever seems to be doing enough. There are comments directed at everyone in government from the President, State Governors to the City Mayors. Yes, each of these should shoulder responsibility for the welfare of the general public. They were elected to do just that. Governments around the world also shoulder responsibility to a world that is totally connected.
Yet, the WHEN something was done or not done may not help at this point. It is what are WE doing now to protect ourselves, our family, friends, neighbors and anyone who might come to our yard or door?
WE must think further than someone doing something FOR US…to OUR DOING something or anything that WE can do.
So what is it that we should be doing? I thought maybe I would try to list some things that is beyond what we all know about “washing hands, coughing or sneezing the right way and keeping our distances.” Perhaps these are some things to think about that WE CAN DO. Here are several suggestions:
- Make phone calls to those we know are sitting at home alone. These will be greatly appreciated and break the monotony of having no one to share thoughts with. It also is emotionally and mentally beneficial to send picture emails of family, children, pets etc. that will brighten their day. My roses are blooming in my yard and my 97 year old Uncle, in North Carolina, enjoys seeing what’s new at our house in Florida.
- Gather up some colored pencils, drawing paper, coloring books, or anything you might have a supply of and leave it at your neighbor’s doorstep to help with home-schooling their children during this time.
- Make a call to a medical facility, doctor’s office, police station, firemen, or other first responders to THANK THEM for all they are doing. They should know that people care. Each time we hear a siren, we know the medics are on duty…caring for those who may have an infection, putting their own lives at risk.
- Light a candle in your window to remind yourself to pray for those you know or don’t know around the world.
- Last, but not least…don’t forget to mail off your contribution of money to help support the on-going financial needs of your church or charitable organization. The local food banks and Salvation Army are ready to help those in need or homeless.
Remember that you may be only one…but you are ONE. One person makes up many. All things that you can share to benefit others and to lighten the burdens will bring people together in the name of your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. During this hard time, YOU can make a difference and be the LIGHT TO THE WORLD… in whatever way you want to let your LIGHT SHINE to others.
Blessings from Bill and Nancy Boyer at Boyer Writes
Turn up your sound:
As our great scientist, medical personnel and researchers fight each day to find a vaccine and cure for the Coronavirus, I would like to share with you the hopefulness that others had in their discoveries that shaped the future:
In part, From my book, Rain on the Roof:
A BETTER WAY
Some ways are better than others. Man has observed in nature what God intended through His design, but it has taken people thousands of years to see what can be useful to everyday life. He wondered how to anchor things, lift objects or make things secure. We have seen it also in medical breakthroughs. Through experimentation, people found a better way than what had been used previously or never known before.
A very common, modern example is the scientist who was quite observant as he walked his dog. The label now given to his invention is Velcro:
“ Swiss electrical engineer George de Mesral invented his first touch fastener when, in 1941, he went for a walk in the woods and wondered why burdock seeds clung to his coat and dog. He discovered it could be turned into something useful. He patented it in 1955, and subsequently refined and developed its practical manufacture until its commercial introduction in the late 1950s.
The fastener consisted of two components: a lineal fabric strip with tiny hooks that could “mate” with another fabric strip with smaller loops, attaching temporarily, until pulled apart. Initially made of cotton, which proved impractical, the fastener was eventually constructed with nylon and polyester.
De Mestral gave the name Velcro, a portmanteau of the French words velour (“velvet”) and crochet (“hook”), to his invention as well as his company, which continues to manufacture and market the fastening system.” 15
After my husband’s knee surgery, his instructions were to keep ice on his leg. The ice packs neatly slid into a material packet secured with Velcro. It was easy and secure.Do you spend time observing nature? So often our lives are filled with the hurry and bustle of everyday life that we rarely observe what is outside for us to gain knowledge that God would have us know. He has set his world in motion. It is often a mystery that has to be unraveled. Ordinary people have been the creator of some special things.
Thomas Edison made this statement: “I never had an idea in my life. My so-called inventions already existed in the environment – I took them out. I’ve created nothing. Nobody does. There’s no such thing as an idea being brain-born; everything comes from the outside.”
He seemed to mean “outside” to be nature. Among many things, Edison was the inventor of the light bulb, phonograph, motion picture and the electrographic voter recorder even he was a school dropout.
” Edison continued working into his 80s. His rise from poor, uneducated railroad worker to one of the most famous men in the world made him a folk hero. More than any other individual, he was credited with building the framework for modern technology and society in the age of electricity. ” 16
(Some may not know that Edison considered his profound deafness a blessing, because he could concentrate without interruption. He said he not only read books, but the whole library as he researched. How amazed and overjoyed he would be to know about our new inventions of hearing aids.)
Sometimes things just float around in our heads that may be inventive or creative ideas. The poet, William Blake who lived from 1757-1827 made this statement: “What is now proved was once only imagined.” All things start with an idea…even with God, who wanted to create the Universe including earth with all its beauty. The animals, fish in the sea, the forests and man…then woman. He even said that it was good…”
We pray for all those working tirelessly in their labs today. God bless their efforts and give them Your wisdom and knowledge. Amen
HOLY SCRIPTURES: “… and He has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold and silver and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, for work in every skilled craft…” Exodus 35:31-33
PRAYER: Give to those who search for a better way a peaceful heart, mind and soul., knowing they are working for the good of all mankind. I pray in the Holy Name of Your Son, Jesus.
Peaceful background music for your day by Greg Howlett. Turn up the sound.
The title given this blog, Lipstick and Beds…for Troubled Times, may sound odd, but it has some true meanings. When we are having to decide how to avoid depression, cabin-fever and stress, it may be that we have to look long and hard at ourselves and our actions.
There are some things that Mayo Clinic tells us that may help. They call it generic terms like “mindfulness” and the often practiced “meditation.” I would like to add prayer to their thoughts on these subjects. First, I would also like to share that to help with stress, it is also important to maintain a routine. Here are a couple examples from real life:
- Before my Mother passed away at age 93, she lived a short time in an Assisted Living here in Florida. One thing that impressed me when we had our daily visits was the fact that as she prepared to go to the dining room, she carefully put on her lipstick and nicer clothes. Her hearing was almost gone at that time and she often said she could not converse with the people at her table. Most of them had a hard time hearing her also, even if she talked. Nevertheless, she wanted to look her best and by doing so she maintained her own emotional health and stayed the kind of person that she had always been…neat and beautiful.
Having shared this, I’d say to some of you who may be sitting around in your pajamas all day, glued to the constant news about the virus.GET UP, take a long shower, put on clean clothes, take a walk and if you are a lady, put on your “lipstick.” Mental and Emotional health has a great deal to do with our daily activity…or lack of it… as some are becoming total coach potatoes while eating Bon-bons all day!
The worst thing in the world for you to do is to let yourself or the things around you become a mess. Good grief, some people could even begin to look like the TV program “Hoarders” from lack of personal care!
- If you are a young adult bored out of your mind, wanting to go hang out with the crowd that you love, remember the Admiral Willian H. McRaven who spoke to a college graduating class of the University of Texas, who said, “MAKE YOUR BED!” It was his way of saying that you should take pride in the things around you for it will give you a good start to any activity. He later wrote the book, Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…and Maybe the World. ” Having said this, it may be the time to clean out your closet, throw out things that are years old or bag up to give away when you can finally go somewhere. Don’t forget your time to spend outside looking at nature. Even if it is a few minutes or a jog up the block, keeping distances, it will do you a world of good.
What about STRESS?
Everyone, when unable to do things as we are used to doing, begins to experience some type of stress. It may be quite observant in some who will find themselves raising their voices to those around them or less for others who simply store it away inside. We used to say that this type is those who get ulcers, but it may be something like not being able to sleep at night…or feeling a knot in the stomach.
Are you with me so far? I would imagine you are and would like to think about some things to help the situation.
So let’s take a look at some suggestions (in part) from the Mayo Clinic:
What about Meditation?
Meditation has been studied in many clinical trials. The overall evidence supports the effectiveness of meditation for various conditions, including:
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
Preliminary research indicates that meditation can also help people with asthma and fibromyalgia.
Meditation can help you experience thoughts and emotions with greater balance and acceptance. Meditation also has been shown to:
- Improve attention
- Decrease job burnout
- Improve sleep
- Improve diabetes control
- Pay attention. It’s hard to slow down and notice things in a busy world. Try to take the time to experience your environment with all of your senses — touch, sound, sight, smell and taste. For example, when you eat a favorite food, take the time to smell, taste and truly enjoy it.
- Live in the moment. Try to intentionally bring an open, accepting and discerning attention to everything you do. Find joy in simple pleasures.
- Accept yourself. Treat yourself the way you would treat a good friend.
- Focus on your breathing. When you have negative thoughts, try to sit down, take a deep breath and close your eyes. Focus on your breath as it moves in and out of your body. Sitting and breathing for even just a minute can help.
You can also try more structured mindfulness exercises, such as: (remember that you can also pray in any position)
- Body scan meditation. Lie on your back with your legs extended and arms at your sides, palms facing up. Focus your attention slowly and deliberately on each part of your body, in order, from toe to head or head to toe. Be aware of any sensations, emotions or thoughts associated with each part of your body.
- Sitting meditation. Sit comfortably with your back straight, feet flat on the floor and hands in your lap. Breathing through your nose, focus on your breath moving in and out of your body. If physical sensations or thoughts interrupt your meditation, note the experience and then return your focus to your breath.
- Walking meditation. Find a quiet place 10 to 20 feet in length, and begin to walk slowly. Focus on the experience of walking, being aware of the sensations of standing and the subtle movements that keep your balance. When you reach the end of your path, turn and continue walking, maintaining awareness of your sensations.
Meditate and Pray Anywhere…Any time
Research indicates that engaging your senses outdoors is especially beneficial. For more structured mindfulness exercises, such as body scan meditation or sitting meditation, you’ll need to set aside time when you can be in a quiet place without distractions or interruptions. You might choose to practice this type of exercise early in the morning before you begin your daily routine. (The same is true of course when we spend time in prayer.)... Over time, you might find that mindfulness becomes effortless. Think of it as a commitment to reconnecting with and nurturing yourself.
In these suggestions from Mayo Clinic, we heard also the words “commitment” and “connecting” which I would also suggest is important to use this time of fewer distractions to connect or reconnect with our God and His Son, Jesus Christ. It is a time to strengthen faith. I write as a Christian Author and whenever I write, I “preach” also to myself. We all need to become more committed and feel the daily presence of the Holy Spirit within our lives. So…make the bed, put on the lipstick…comb the hair…and breathe deeply. God is with you everyday and all the time!
Peaceful, stress-free Christian music by concert pianist for your background music Turn up sound
Because the world needs comfort and courage, it is good to remind ourselves what the Holy Scriptures have to say…especially as many places of worship are temporarily closed.
If you are Jewish, you will want to remember the words of your prophets in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament).
If you are Christian, you may want to remind yourselves of both the words in the Old and New Testaments.
Other faiths have words that are meaningful to them, but for now, we, at Boyer Writes, can only say,
“Be blessed…be strong…and comfort yourselves and others because God is near!”
From the Hebrew Bible and Old Testament
“Let your steadfast love comfort me according to your promise to your servant.”
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
“Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.”
“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
“Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the Lord has comforted his people and will have compassion on his afflicted.”
From the New Testament:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.”
—2 Corinthians 1:3
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
This tender picture shows that even our pets can give comfort in the time of difficulty.
Background music of peace and calm: Turn up sound
Sometimes it is important to just take a deep breath and listen to something beautiful because the world is too filled with noise…and hype! I like the definition of “hype” which is:
“…to promote or publicize intensively, often exaggerating its importance or benefits.
Today we move away from the HYPE and into peace. Listen to something beautiful…which probably means turning off the TV…or at least for a while.
This outstanding photography and peaceful music is for you! Enjoy!
“The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26
Video Turn on sound
You will have to hurry if you want to see the magnificent tapestries designed by Raphael. In honor of his birthday, they will only be on display at the Sistine Chapel in Rome until February 23, 2020. It was my privilege to visit Rome and see the Sistine Chapel, which is a once in a life time experience. As a student of history, I marvel that during WWII the great works of art were not completely destroyed or confiscated by the enemy invaders. Thanks to the bravery of the men of the Church and regular citizens, of whom lost their lives, we have these beauties to enjoy today. The Monuments Men movie gives a great understanding to the importance of protecting our history and the works to whom great men dedicated their lives. It is my hope that you will enjoy this writing and those who are shown as contributors. NWB
A dozen tapestries designed by Renaissance artist Raphael are currently on view in their original home—the Sistine Chapel—for the first time in more than 400 years. But there’s a catch: The fragile works, commissioned by Pope Leo X in 1515 to complement Michelangelo’s famed frescoes, will adorn the chapel’s walls for just one week. The exhibition offers a rare chance to see the tapestries, which depict scenes from the lives of St. Peter and St. Paul, in their intended space rather than behind conservation glass. The last time the Vatican held a similar exhibit was in 1983, the fifth centennial of Raphael’s birth. According to Henry Kamm of the New York Times, only eight of the ten main tapestries made it into this display. At the time, one of the remaining works was on loan to a museum in New York; the other was undergoing restoration.
Now, in honor of the 500th anniversary of the artist’s death, the full set of ten masterworks and two border tapestries has returned to the Sistine Chapel for a limited engagement. As exhibition curator Alessandra Rodolfo tells Reuters’ Philip Pullella, the last recorded instance of all 12 tapestries being hung in the chapel together dates to the late 1500s. (Smithsonian Magazine)
ABOUT THE TAPESTRIES:
(CNN and Staff Writers)
The four were commissioned in 1515 from the artist Raphael (Fafaello Sanzio da Urbino 1483-1520) especially for the Sistine Chapel. This was the first time in 500 years that the tapestries had hung alongside the original cartoons that Raphael had painted for the weavers so they could complete this fabulous series of sensational textiles. There are ten in existence, but some scholars speculate that originally sixteen may have been planned.From the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries in Europe most rulers or heads of important families were continually on the move. Tapestries were a way of having instant decor. They added prestige to any setting and practically helped with droughts in stone castles or chateaux, which were evolving with extended periods of peace from places of refuge into being country houses. Their narrative subjects were very attractive and they usually featured scenes from mythology, from the Bible, or of hunting and court life.At the time these were manufactured, weaving was considered the most important art form and expression of cultural development. They demonstrated the wealth and status of the ruling families of Italy, Europe and England and, had the advantage of being easily transportable.
The tapestries made for the Sistine Chapel to Raphael’s designs were woven between 1516 and 1521, They are of wool, which has been intertwined with silk and gilt metal wrapped thread. They were made in the workshop of Pieter van Aelst at Brussels the main centre for tapestry production in Europe at that time.
It would have been no mean feat. The weavers would have been constantly challenged working to Raphael’s painted cartoons, without the benefit of being able to enter into any sort of dialogue with the artist himself who had no part in their production. The technical difficulties were mind boggling and the finished tapestries are a tribute to the level of expertise, experience and considerable skill the weavers had attained. One of the reasons Raphael gained the commission is that he had successfully designed the grotesque style painted decoration for architect Donato Bramante’s Gallery in the Vatican Palace .The painting of the walls and vaults of the loggia were completed by pupils under his supervision and are a high point of Renaissance art.He proved, through his attention to detail an ability to produce a design that could be transmitted to another medium. The tapestries exist because of one man, Pope Leo X (1475 – 1521) who commissioned them. He knew the richness of these amazing textiles would compliment, and not be overwhelmed by the painted glory perfected by Michelangelo when completing his ‘art above.’
POPE LEO X: Born into the famous Medici family at Florence, whose patronage of the arts at Florence the cradle of the Renaissance world, Leo X was already celebrated as a prince of peace and acknowledged as connoisseur of music when he ascended the papal throne. His classical education had been thorough and included poetry, literature and music alongside theology, philosophy and the ancients.His love of culture and the arts did not conflict with his worship. And, his interest in the humanities meant that he sought to actively combine, in religious harmony, the past and present while helping to plan the future of the church at Rome.Part of his role as Pope and leader of the Christian church, as the sun rose on the fifteenth century, was to encourage his countries cultural development. As tapestry was considered societies most prestigious art form it is no surprise he chose to hang them in the Sistine chapel.The tapestries illustrate scenes from the lives of St. Peter and St. Paul long regarded as the founders of the Christian Church. They were at the source of the Pope’s authority and power.
HOW THE TAPESTRIES WERE MADE AND PRESERVED:
The Raphael Cartoons were design drawings made up of a mosaic of hundreds of sheets of paper glued together which was then fixed to the wall. Raphael and his assistants would have painted them in situ. Then they would then have been rolled for transport to Brussels to Pietr Van Aelst’s studio where they would have been cut up into strips for use by the tapestry weavers. The tapestries have had a turbulent history. They were pawned to pay for Pope Leo X’s funeral and recovered for the coronation of Hadrian VI (1522-3). They were stolen during the Sack of Rome in 1527, and after many adventures returned to the papal collection between 1544 and 1554. They were looted again during a French occupation of Rome in 1798 and purchased by a second hand dealer very cheaply. They were bought back again in 1808 and restored to the Vatican collection.
As part of the journey associated with every aspect of the design commission, the cartoons arrived in England after King Charles I paid £300 in 1623 to obtain them.He bought them as designs for tapestries and as painters by his time were being recognized for their individual talents, they would have proved a good investment for the crown. It was at the end of the seventeenth century when they were framed as paintings in their own right. It was Queen Victoria who sent them along to the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1865 and they have been in the public domain ever since. Originally they had woven borders showing scenes from Leo’s life, also believed to have been designed by Raphael. However the cartoons for these did not survive.
As Mark Evans who produced the splendidly detailed and scholarly catalog for the exhibition held at London in 2010 said ‘despite the toll of time those who have the good fortune to admire these beautiful tapestries five centuries after their creation can confirm the challenge to make them was triumphantly met”.
SHORT VIDEO: Turn on sound. After watching, be certain to scroll down to the 360 tour video of the Sistine Chapel.
360 VIRTUAL TOUR OF THE SISTINE CHAPEL (The tapestries are not shown here…only the great art. It will move slowly around the room for a closer view of Michelangelo’s amazing works. View at your leisure. )
Today in the U.S. we are celebrating Valentine’s Day. It is a day to give our special someone a note of love, flowers, or a delicious box of candy. It may be overrated, but it helps the bottom line at the stores and it is always appreciated by the recipient of such thoughtfulness.
Today, I want to write about the greatest of all loves.
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends”
When Christ laid down His life in payment for all sins, He paid the greatest price possible. It is in His sacrifice that we know the GREATEST OF ALL LOVES.
There are those who decide to give their lives to sharing this love with others. In some cases, it costs them their own lives. We have all heard of martyrs that lived long ago and are often described as saints today. Did you know that there are modern-day martyrs who have risked everything to bring God’s love and compassion to people around the world?
The man I will write about is an American, whose story is found below:
LIFE OF BROTHER JAMES:
Brother James was born into a family of farmers near Stevens Point, Wisconsin, USA, on September 21, 1944. He attended grammar school and then went to Pacelli High School in the city of Stevens Point, where he met the Brothers for the first time. In September 1959 he entered the Juniorate in the state of Missouri. After three years there, he was admitted into the Postulancy program and then entered the Novitiate in August 1962, when he took the habit of the Brothers and the religious name Brother Leo William. Later, like so many other Brothers, he went back to using his baptismal name.
He was assigned to Cretin High School in Saint Paul, Minnesota for three years. There, besides teaching classes in Spanish, English, and Religion, he supervised school maintenance and he coached American-style football.
In August 1960 after making perpetual vows, he was sent to Bluefields, Nicaragua. He taught there until he was assigned to Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua in 1974, where he was the Director. Under his leadership, the school population grew from 300 to 800 students. Brother Santiago also accepted the task of supervising the construction of ten new rural schools. His religious superiors ordered him to leave Nicaragua in July 1979 during the time of the Sandinista revolution. It was feared that since he worked for the Somoza government he might be at risk. For that reason, he returned to the United States and again taught at Cretin High School in the fall of 1979 and he participated in the Sangre de Cristo renewal program in the state of New Mexico in 1980.
He was sent again to mission territory, this time to Guatemala, in January 1981. He taught at the secondary school in Huehuetenango and he also worked at the Indian Center, where young indigenous Mayans from rural areas studied and trained in agriculture.
In the afternoon of February 13, 1982, he was shot several times by three hooded men and he died instantly. Attempts to identify the assassins were unsuccessful. After funeral rites in Guatemala and in Saint Paul, Minnesota, he was buried in the parish cemetery in Polonia, Wisconsin.
His character and personality:
His own writings and other declarations pertaining to him, before and after his death, show us his character and personality. Before leaving Pacelli High School to go to the Juniorate, the Brothers that knew him wrote that “he was very generous, pious, honest, docile and that he was very well-ordered and tidy; he did not smoke, he received the sacraments weekly, he got along well with his classmates; he devoted two and one-half hours per week to house chores.”
A Brother who was his Director in the Scholasticate and at Cretin High School, his first community, recalled him as “an intelligent person, although not an intellectual, jovial, easy to relate with, preferring physical work to sports, with a deep faith and love for his religious vocation, but with a certain tendency to come late to class and community prayers.”
His Call to Missions:
While he was still in Nicaragua, his old desire to work on the missions was obvious. From Nicaragua, he wrote about the satisfaction he felt while working for the very poor. Responding to the question if he felt afraid about the shootings that were taking place around him, he wrote: “Are you kidding? I never thought I could pray with such fervor when I go to bed.” In one of his last letters, before he died, he showed that he was aware of the situation in Guatemala and the possible personal consequences for him. He wrote in January 1982: “I am personally weary of violence, but I continue to feel a strong commitment to the suffering poor of Central America. … the Church is being persecuted because of its option for the poor. Aware of numerous dangers and difficulties, we continue working with faith and hope and trusting in God’s Providence.” He went on to write: “I have been a Brother of the Christian Schools for nearly 20 years now, and commitment to my vocation grows steadily stronger in my work in Central America. I pray to God for the grace and strength to serve Him faithfully among the poor and oppressed in Guatemala. I place my life in His Providence. I place my trust in Him.” This Brother of the Christian Schools was martyred on February 13, 1982, at the age of 37, in Huehuetenango, Guatemala. This was the day before Valentine’s Day.
Video: Turn up sound (unmute if needed)
Boyer Writes honors all Veterans
THANK YOU for your service to our country!
While living part-time in Virginia, my husband and I were honored to interview a number of veterans of the Blue Ridge Mountain area. Many had never been interviewed about their service and were happy to finally tell their stories. This led to the writing of our book entitled Men and Women of Valor in the Blue Ridge.
Their stories were amazing. We were honored to meet Sharon Plichta and her husband who served in Vietnam. Sharon was a military nurse who earned the Bronze Star for her bravery caring for the wounded under fire.
The veteran that I’d like to share with you from this book is Myron Cardward Harold of M.C., as he was called. He served in Korea with the U.S. Army’s 40th Division, 22nd Regiment. He was 21 years old as he fought across Heartbreak Ridge.
Here is a part of the chapter featuring this soldier of Valor in Korea:
Myron C. Harold, better known as “MC” has an amazing story of bravery when he served his country in the United States Army during the Korean War. He was a Staff Sergeant who almost lost both his legs. The fighting had been so terrible in the middle of winter on what is known as Heartbreak Ridge and they were walking and fighting at night through the mountains. His legs were beginning to freeze and he was picked up in a truck and taken to a field hospital at the Yalu River.
When he arrived at a medic station, the soles of his shoes were worn out and flapping. By this time, both legs had frozen. The surgeons said, “We must take these legs off now. It can’t wait. We must do it now.” MC was prepared to face whatever he had to in order to live.
He says he does not remember getting to the medics. Now they were about to remove his legs and send him back to the Blue Ridge Mountains, where they had large fruit orchards that his father had started years before.
The surgeon that day in Korea wanted to help MC stand on his legs one more time before performing the operation. When he did, MC recalls with tears in his eyes, “It felt like a shot had gone all through my body.” Immediately the surgeon recognized that the blood had started flowing throughout MC’s legs. Removing the legs would not be necessary. “That was my miracle,” MC said with tears in his eyes.
After returning from Korea, MC and his son grew many acres of apples in the Blue Ridge. Today, as an elderly man, he is a resident at the V.A. hospital in Virginia. He had survived to tell his story of God’s miracle in a land far away.
Other veterans of the Blue Ridge interviewed served in Vietnam, Korea, and World War II. They stand proud with all their comrades in arms who have faithfully served.
- Rob Redus ( In submarines…Vietnam)
- Dr. Tom Whartenby (Vietnam)
- Clinton Moles (World War II)
- Leonard Marshall (Survived the sinking of the USS Gambier by the Japanese)
- Troy Davis (World War II and recently passed away in Spain)
- Elmo McAlexander as an Army Medic during the Cold War
- Frank and Sharan Plichta (Vietnam)
- Paul Childress (World War II under Patton and guarded Dachau prisoner)
- Tommy Ellis (Served in the Marines and regularly is in an Honor Guard for those veterans who pass away.) Roy McAlexander also has served hundreds of the fallen at funerals.
To those who may be interested in the many stories of honor and courage in Men and Women of Valor in the Blue Ridge Click here
Video below: God Bless the USA
To any of our readers who may be struggling with a situation or some troubling difficulty, I share with you this song. It was written by a young man struggling with God’s call to him to go into Christian ministry as a priest. We all have our moments in life when we need God’s guidance. Look to Him for the perfect way for you.
Be Not Afraid by Bob Dufford
Throughout the world, no song is more inspiring than the beautiful Amazing Grace. In Christ, our Savior, His grace and forgiveness is a perfect gift to all mankind.
For your ever enjoyment and inspiration from Boyer Writes:
She is a redhead, filled with enthusiasm and a love of life. She was my neighbor in Virginia. Little did she ever dream that she would have that lovely red hair pulled back 5 inches from her forehead to her ears, to allow doctors to make an incision and remove a large brain tumor. This is her true story, written in her own words, to give encouragement to anyone facing a similar situation. It is not an easy story to tell, but one that should be passed on to those who may lack courage or have difficult decisions to make in this regard.
Looks Can Be Deceiving by Patricia Paige
“When we meet someone for the first time, we immediately become aware of their appearance. We notice their height, their hair or their eyes. One such example is found in First Samuel Chapter 16. When Saul had lost God’s favor to rule over Israel, He sent Samuel on a specific mission. He traveled to the home of Jesse, and from his sons, God told him he would find “the chosen one.”
As Samuel looked at Jesse’s older sons, he considered their height and strong features, but God rejected all of them. He told Samuel that God does not judge someone by their outward appearance. He looks upon the heart. Samuel sent for Jesse’s youngest son, David: “And, the Lord said, Arise, anoint him; for this is he.”
When you look at me, you might notice my red hair, my blue eyes or my smile. Sometimes, looks can be deceiving. What God knows, but you cannot see, is that in August 2014, I had surgery to remove a brain tumor.
I’ve had headaches most of my adult life, including migraines. I didn’t believe the headaches I’d been having for the past several months were any different. These headaches would always completely disappear. My journey began quite uneventfully on a beautiful day in June. When I’d awakened that morning, I’d felt really energetic. Except for this morning, my hearing was muffled. Have you ever been swimming underwater in a pool? You hear the voices and laughter, but the sounds seem diminished. I continued my busy day. After accomplishing a few errands, I’d purchased groceries, and prepared an early supper. However, throughout the entire day, my hearing remained muted.
After my husband and I had eaten, I’d filled a plate and popped on the travel lid. My purse and keys were on the counter. Suddenly, I felt nauseated and started having stomach cramps. Later, I would look back on this event and realize this was God’s divine intervention in my life. If these symptoms had not occurred exactly when they did, I’d have been driving down a four-lane highway.
Thankfully, I’d gone into the small half-bath near the kitchen. Nausea only worsened as did the stomach cramps. When my massive seizure began, I was close enough to the wall to lean my head against it. Honestly, I don’t believe I could have remained upright at this point. My next symptom was extremely bright, revolving lights. Have you ever been to a carnival where colored lights are pulsating and blinking in a circle?
I never lost consciousness, but believed my head was literally going to explode. Searing pain raged throughout my entire skill. On and on the cycle continued with nausea, severe cramping, blinking lights, and headache. Several times I thought I was going to die. It would have been a release from the excruciating pain. I am so thankful to my husband for placing cold, wet washcloths on my forehead and back of my neck.
Why, you ask, didn’t my husband call for an ambulance? My symptoms were waxing and waning, so we both assumed it would be over any minute. Besides, some of our friends had recently suffered a nasty stomach bug, which had included a severe headache. A similar illness perhaps? As suddenly as the symptoms had appeared, they disappeared. I felt completely normal again. I could walk and talk without any problems. My speech and balance were fine.
However, this experience troubled me. Were these symptoms of something more serious? I phoned the office of a neurologist I trusted and had known for several years. In the meantime, I went to my family physician. My vital signs were within the normal range. When I described this frightening incident, he expressed concern. I told him of my upcoming appointment with neurology. He was relieved I would be seeking additional medical treatment.
My headaches were becoming worse; occurring more frequently. The neurologist thought I was having “cluster headaches.” She also ordered an MRI (brain scan) to rule out anything else.
Returning home few days later, I had a phone message from the neurologist. She asked that I return to her office early Monday morning. This was Friday afternoon so I knew it wouldn’t be good news.
“You have a brain tumor” are words you never want to hear from your doctor. My suspicion had become all too real. I just sat there and didn’t respond. I was in shock. She asked if I’d heard what had been said. She asked again. I shook my head signifying I understood. I sat motionless; silent.
She showed us an x-ray of the tumor. It was a moderately large Meningioma. This type of tumor grows within the first three layers (the meninges) that are located between the skull and the brain. Although they are usually benign, I would require surgery to remove it. When she asked where I wanted to go to, I asked, “Where would you send someone in your own family?” That’s how I was referred to the Chief of Neurology at a hospital accredited as a Level I Trauma Center.
The next few days were a blur. My headaches were more intense, and I was increasingly sensitive to bright lights. I’d wear my sunglasses even indoors. My family continued to be supportive, encouraging and funny. Hey, look, our daughter would say, “Mom’s wearing sunglasses in the house. She must think she’s a Movie Star!”
The following information is taken from a Facebook post: “Last night, I read the pathology report on Mom’s tumor. It gave the exact measurements. I used a ruler, pen and paper and made a sketch. Then, using the materials at hand, I fashioned a replica of it using many, many rubber bands. If you’ve met my Mom, then you know that she’s a short, small-boned, cute, redheaded woman. What I’m trying to explain is that this tumor is HUGE! No wonder Mom is keeping a bad headache.”
Two MRI’s and two neurologists have now confirmed that this tumor is indeed a benign meningioma . Next week, I have an appointment with the doctor who will perform the surgery. With his guidance, we’ll formulate a plan.
The surgeon was very professional, yet more than willing to take the time to answer all our questions. In my prayer time, I’d made a request of God. I’d asked Him to put me in the hands of Christians during my surgery. No one, not even my family, knew about my request. On our way out of the office, one of the associates touched my shoulder. She said, “You’re going to be fine. I’ll be in the room during your surgery, and I’ll be praying for you.”
Relief! Precious, wonderful relief. We were in the hallway before I broke into tears. My husband hugged me and said, “It’s going to be okay.” I explained the petition I’d made earlier. This is God’s way of showing me, “He’s got this!”
We were told to check the surgery schedule as we exited the hospital. The doctor who’d be performing my procedure did not have an opening until the middle or latter part of September. This was the first week in August. Waiting several weeks seemed like a very long time. I remembered that Almighty God held me in the palm of His Hand, and I was at peace.
I was on a “prayer chain” at my home church as well as several others throughout our community. These Christians were asking for my healing, and for the grace to see my family through this journey.
My health continued to deteriorate. My painful headaches were even stronger, and my energy level was beginning to drain. By now, I was unable to accomplish even the simplest of household chores. I began noticing that my balance was affected. Most days, I walked like I’d been drinking. I’d hold on to walls and furniture to prevent myself from falling.
One day I received a phone call from the hospital. It had only been two weeks since my appointment. The woman on the phone worked with the neurosurgery scheduling department. She asked if I wanted to have my procedure performed on August 22. Talk about a no brain-er (excuse the pun!) Absolutely!
As my husband and I sat in the surgical waiting room, we were joined by our daughter, granddaughter and grandson. This was the quietest my family has ever been. Usually we’re talking, teasing and laughing.
A nurse came to take me back, and told my husband and daughter they could join me after I was prepped. The hugs with my grandchildren were bitter-sweet because of the seriousness and uncertainty of brain surgery. Of course, I didn’t want to leave my family, but I knew where I’d be spending eternity. And, this was incredibility comforting. My family sat beside my bed. None of us knew what to expect. We were in a holding pattern similar to an airplane waiting for take-off.
My surgeon joined us and inquired if we had questions. The anesthesiologist arrived and introduced himself. Did we have questions? He then asked if they could pray for us. I don’t remember the words he said, but I knew they were heartfelt. It was surreal. Never before have I been so grateful to be a Christian surrounded by other believers.
According to my daughter, my surgery went well. Because I’d bled more than expected, I’d received two units of whole blood. I’d be in recovery, then ICU for several hours, transfer to a room, and finally discharge. That was the plan. In life, things do not always go as we’d anticipated.
When I first became aware of my surroundings in ICU, I was unable to speak. For a woman who has been extremely verbal all of her life, this proved to be difficult. As the hours passed. I became increasingly angry. My anger was not directed at God. My distress was due to my circumstances. I remember clenching my fist into a ball and pounding it on the bed. This could not have been beneficial especially since this was the arm where the IV was attached. I began shaking inside and sobbing. Tears were running uncontrollably down my cheeks. None of the nurses could tell us why this was happening.
Later that night, our daughter phoned a friend who teaches speech therapy at the college level. She explained that my condition was called expressive aphasia. This occurs when there is a disconnect between the brain and the mouth. The words I was trying to express were simply stuck in my brain. Apparently, when the brain is touched, interesting things happen.This would improve with time.
My tumor had grown from the left side of my skull toward the right. In fact, it had wrapped around the large cranial nerve in the middle of my skull. Think of it like an octopus whose tentacle is holding on tight. While my surgeon was unable to completely remove this part of the tumor, he’d gotten into close proximity. My brain needed to rest and reboot.
Because I couldn’t speak, the nurses brought pad and pen and asked that I write down what I wanted to say. I held these items in my hands, but I couldn’t write words. All I could do was to make attached ovals in a solid row. Row after row after row. Finally, I stopped trying.
I spent two days in ICU before transferring to what they referred to as a “step down” room. I’d stay there for the remainder of the week. At this point, I’d transfer to an inpatient rehabilitation center near the hospital. This was an intensive 7 day a week program focused on physical, occupational, and speech therapy. In the beginning, each of these were challenging. I had deficits in all three areas.
Occupational therapy proved to be extremely difficult. When offered a child’s large-piece puzzle with wooden handles to grasp, I managed to put together only three pieces. Twice daily the therapist would encourage me to work with my hands to improve eye/hand coordination. Problem-solving skills slowly started to improve and were more consistent.
Physical therapy concentrated on regaining my equilibrium, muscle strength and stamina. At this point, I was using a walker with attached wheels. Therapy incorporated the use of large balance balls, safe places to walk for short distances, exercises and stairs with railings to prevent falls. We had all learned and mastered these skills in early childhood.
Obviously, speech would be problematic. It would take time not only to learn how to communicate, but how to lessen the disconnect in my brain. Because I’d always gestured with my hands when I talked, occupational therapy was the missing link in regaining my speech. These therapies would continue when I returned home.
During this entire time, my vision had been extremely blurred. It was like trying to visualize objects or people through a thick fog. I was also experiencing drowsiness and fatigue. I’d accepted these as side-effects of my surgery. Thankfully, they were not!
The high dosage of seizure medicine they were giving me to keep my brain calm was reacting negatively with a muscle relaxer. I’d used it to relieve muscle spasms due to Fibromyalgia. I had not taken this particular medication in over a year, and then only once or twice daily. However, my medical chart showed I was taking it three times daily. I explain this in detail as a precautionary tale for others. Review your medical records carefully with your primary care physician to correct any discrepancies before you are hospitalized. In any case, it is of utmost importance that your medical records are correct.
Arriving home, there were other obstacles. Patience has never been one of my strongest virtues especially when I’m in a hurry or stressed. It was difficult to remain calm, breathe slowly and deeply, then retrieve the actual word I wanted to express. Sometimes, I’d become angry and raise my voice. My poor husband was the target of all my see/saw emotions. Thankfully, he is a Godly man who really loves me. I’d say an entirely different word than the one I’d intended. Sometimes I’d just point to an object and call it a thing-e. Occasionally, this still happens.
When I first began my journey back to health, I did not realize it would take this long to recover or be so life-changing. These were the times that I found solace in the writings of Corrie Ten Boone: “When the train goes through a tunnel, and it gets dark, you don’t throw away your ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.”
I’ve always had empathy for people with cerebral palsy or those who have had traumatic brain injuries or strokes. Until my experience with expressive aphasia, I did not fully understand how challenging it is for them to try to speak. Now I do. Those words and thoughts remain locked deep inside their brains. Every day, they ride on a roller coaster of emotions. These brave people endure disappointment, frustration, anxiety and depression.
As a believer, I did not expect my life to be any easier because of my profession of faith. I did trust in God’s promise to never leave me. He is faithful as we continue to walk together down this crooked path called life.
I accept that everything that comes into my life is allowed by a good God. Why does He choose to heal some people and not others? I can’t answer that question. He alone can see into the future. God already knew I’d have a brain tumor, surgery and difficult recovery. I believe He has a plan and a purpose for each of us. I’m using the miracle God granted me as a testimony. It is my desire to provide inspiration and encouragement for those facing a similar or other serious surgery.”
Note from Boyer Writes in 2017: God made a way for Patricia Paige to survive her brain surgery through prayer, family support and the medical team that skillfully brought her through to live a productive life. She is most grateful that the doctors understood her feminine concerns and left her red bangs to be brought forward so that people would not even notice that she had gone through such major surgery.
Whatever your challenges may be, give yourself to our Lord and ask Him to make a way for you to come through your difficult circumstances.
Boyer Writes footnote in 2019: Patricia Paige was a pen name for a lovely person whose real name is Wanda Robinson. She wrote about this part of her life a number of years ago. God made a way, through doctors and support of family and friends, for Wanda to have five more years of life. In 2019, she went to be with her Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ and her wonderfully supportive husband, Wade. It is in her honor that I re-post her writing.
To God be the Glory and we thank Him for His Amazing Grace.
For my readers’ listening pleasure! Boyer Writes
Video: Andre Rieu and Bagpipers
It has been some time ago that the world, through their TV channels, watched the spire of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris fall into the blazing fire and smoke below. Yet, a cross that hung in the cathedral survived.
It may be time now to think about the power of the cross as a symbol of hope. The cross is not a symbol of hope fo everyone. Yet it is powerful, whether they think so or not. There may have been some who rejoiced as the cathedral burned because they wished any symbol of Christianity to be destroyed. Just as terrorists wanted the World Trade Towers to no longer be the symbol of economic power, their evil minds set out to destroy them. Symbols, in themselves, do have power to renew our minds and thoughts to something that can become even greater. That is true of the two symbols that are written about in this blog post. The cross being our greatest hope…not wealth, but faith.
In place of those fallen towers, where thousands died…Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and many others with faiths… as well as atheists and agnostics, a great new tower was built. A grand memorial to all who died and suffered that terrible day now stands deep in the belly of the new, grand building.
We remember also over 2,000 First Responders who have died or sick years afterward from illnesses that came upon them trying to reach the victims. This has led President Trump to sign the 9-11 Victims’ Fund to those still suffering.
Tragedies often bring about in the human spirit a desire to rebuild, to remember and to fight against such atrocities and those who propose them.
Instead of shocking, deliberate attacks, such as those on the World Trade Center, Pentagon or the intended attack on the White House, a few are accidental as the burning of the great Cathedral of Notre Dame. The world was dismayed for another reason as we recognized the value of a great work of architecture that had stood for over 850 years, having taken 200 years to build. It was a prize of history, being one of the most famous Gothic cathedrals of the Middle Ages. This church was not only a symbol of Christianity but of the culture and the magnificent antiquities of France.
In the Cathedral of Notre Dame hung a cross, which was only exposed after the fires were put out. Miraculously, it still hung as did some of the magnificent stained glass windows. The French are determined to rebuild this great church and in doing so, we also can believe that it will be a revival of a great symbol of renewal, endurance, and hope. The world needs symbols of hope and none is more powerful than the cross and the great buildings in which a cross is lovingly placed.
Recently, I saw a video of a church standing on an island in Japan. Inside was a great cross, stained glass and though the island is now almost deserted, the church still survives in an unlikely place. Someone build it years ago and it is a symbol of their faith.
For all Christians, the real symbol of hope was never burned in that terrible fire in Paris…the great cross of Christ. That cross, shining bright, amid the ruins of the cathedral, sent the message around the world that the cross of Christ is the true symbol of hope for the world.
Yes, the cathedral will be rebuilt eventually, but the message of Christ in the cross will still shine after the burned rubble is cleared away. The message it brings is forgiveness, a renewed life, and the promise of life eternal through Christ, the Son of God.
The message in the clearing away of the rubble of the Twin Towers in New York City is that out of the ashes rises the great Phoenix of hope, freedom, democracy and renewal. Even in that terrible attack, St. Paul’s Chapel next door to the towers was not destroyed even though the debris fell all around it. The 1st President of the United States, George Washington, worshiped in this church.
It was not the first time, however, that this Christian church had escaped being destroyed. In the first days of the American Revolution, the invasion of British troops sparked the Great Fire of 1776, which destroyed 432 structures in New York. The fire spread to St. Paul’s Chapel and very nearly overwhelmed it, but a bucket brigade managed to squelch the fire. It is now named as the oldest surviving church in Manhattan.
Symbols are important in our lives. Some are international, national, or even personal, but they are often a message of joy, inspiration or hope.
(ABC News tour video) Important: In order to hear sound on the video, you will have to unclick sound symbol.
“The Gregorian chant is the oldest musical manifestation of the Occident (countries of Europe and Americas) and it has its roots in the songs of the old synagogues, since Jesus Christ`s times.
The first Christians and disciples of Christ, were converted Jews who, persevering in prayer, continued to sing the psalms and songs of the Old Testament. As the Greeks, not Jews or Romans, were also becoming Christian, elements of the music and the Greek-French-Roman culture were being included to the Jewish songs. “
As the birds have been singing outside my window this Spring, I enjoyed hearing God’s little creatures sing along with this peaceful Gregorian Chant. For your listening pleasure …for peace and joy!
Illumination-Peaceful Gregorian Chants– Dan Gibson’s Solitude
VIDEO (Turn up the sound. There is a slight delay in the opening…so give it a moment. )
After a trip to Greece this year to follow the “Footsteps of St. Paul”, the inspiration came to share my photography and words of Holy Scripture that St. Paul spoke to the early churches. He and the men and women during the years of spreading the Gospel through missionary journeys suffered greatly the persecution that eventually led to his beheading in Rome. Because of them, we have the writings of the Holy Scriptures today of the good news of the Christian faith.
Follow with me now some of his words to the Jews in the Synagogues, the faithful in the churches and to us, the modern day church. I have included archeological finds and ruins as well as the amazing monasteries of Meteora.
This devotional is now available on Amazon in paperback and e-Book form.
All books written by N.W.Boyer for adults and children (click on each book for more info)
Thomas Edison is quoted as saying:
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
In case you are a little rusty on history, Thomas Edison was one of our great American inventors. The lights that we can see around the globe from outer space can be attributed to a man who literally lit up the world. The music that we enjoy was first recorded by this man. We, in Florida, benefited from his concrete houses when hurricanes tear through our state. These inventions and so many more are those of an inquisitive mind who did not mind hard work. Edison liked to say, “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.”
Who was Thomas Edison?
“People often say Edison was a genius. He answered, “Genius is hard work, stick-to-it-iveness, and common sense.”
Thomas Alva Edison was born February 11, 1847 in Milan, Ohio (pronounced MY-lan). In 1854, when he was seven, the family moved to Michigan, where Edison spent the rest of his childhood.
“Al,” as he was called as a boy, went to school only a short time. He did so poorly that his mother, a former teacher, taught her son at home. Al learned to love reading, a habit he kept for the rest of his life. He also liked to make experiments in the basement.
(It is surprising how many people who have touched the world with their creativity were home-schooled or allowed to skip school. Some may not know that the great movie maker, Stephen Spielberg, was often taken out of school by his mother to attend concerts, see the great art galleries and more when he was a child.)
Al not only played hard, but also worked hard. At the age of 12 he sold fruit, snacks and newspapers on a train as a “news butcher.” (Trains were the newest way to travel, cutting through the American wilderness.) He even printed his own newspaper, the Grand Trunk Herald, on a moving train.
At 15, Al roamed the country as a “tramp telegrapher.” Using a kind of alphabet called Morse Code, he sent and received messages over the telegraph. Even though he was already losing his hearing, he could still hear the clicks of the telegraph. In the next seven years, he moved over a dozen times, often working all night, taking messages for trains and even for the Union Army during the Civil War. In his spare time, he took things apart to see how they worked. Finally, he decided to invent things himself.
After the failure of his first invention, the electric vote recorder, Edison moved to New York City. There he improved the way the stock ticker worked. This was his big break. By 1870 his company was manufacturing his stock ticker in Newark, New Jersey. He also improved the telegraph, making it send up to four messages at once.
… Edison moved from Newark to Menlo Park, New Jersey, in 1876. There he built his most famous laboratory. He was not alone in Menlo Park. Edison hired “muckers” to help him out. (Old English word meaning low-level laborers) These “muckers” came from all over the world to make their fortune in America. They often stayed up all night working with the “chief mucker,” Edison himself. He is sometimes called the “Wizard of Menlo Park” because he created two of his three greatest works there.
The phonograph was the first machine that could record the sound of someone’s voice and play it back. In 1877, Edison recorded the first words on a piece of tin foil. He recited the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” and the phonograph played the words back to him. This was invented by a man whose hearing was so poor that he thought of himself as “deaf”!
Starting in 1878, Edison and the muckers worked on one of his greatest achievements. The electric light system was more than just the incandescent lamp, or “light bulb.” Edison also designed a system of power plants that make the electrical power and the wiring that brings it to people’s homes…
In 1885, one year after his first wife died, Edison met a 20-year-old woman named Mina Miller. Her father was an inventor in Edison’s home state of Ohio. Edison taught her Morse Code. Even when others were around, the couple could “talk” to each other secretly. One day he tapped a question into her hand: would she marry him? She tapped back the word “yes.”… (Practical…but not so romantic)
Edison built a laboratory in West Orange that was ten times larger than the one in Menlo Park. In fact, it was one of the largest laboratories in the world, almost as famous as Edison himself. Well into the night, laboratory buildings glowed with electric light while the Wizard and his “muckers” turned Edison’s dreams into inventions. Once, the “chief mucker” worked for three days straight, taking only short naps. Edison earned half of his 1,093 patents in West Orange…
Not only did Edison improve the phonograph several times, but he also worked on X-rays, storage batteries, and the first talking doll. At West Orange, he also worked on one of his greatest ideas: motion pictures, or “movies.” The inventions made here changed the way we live even today. He worked here until his death on October 18, 1931, at the age of 84.
(from the National Park Service)
Edison would certainly say, “Try…try…and try again.” for whatever you try to accomplish with your God-given abilities.
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Who would have dreamed a matronly, middle-aged Scottish woman could have the nerve to leave all behind, forgetting her appearance and walk onto a stage to sing for a better life? Susan Boyle did. The sneers and raised eyebrows were quickly put to rest when she opened her mouth to sing. God had given her a great talent and she was going to let all know that what was under the facade was not what one could see…but if they listened, they could hear it.
Isn’t this so true of the way we look at people? We look on the outside, but God looks at the heart. He also bestows on people many gifts that can be used for His glory. Some people find that gift and use it wisely. Others never venture into the unknown possibilities…and the gift goes unused.
One day I drove to see a man that I had been told was a great stained glass maker. Wanting him to make something for me, I ventured out onto a long road that seemed to lead to nowhere. Soon I saw a little hut and a man who looked like “old father time” walked out. My first instinct was to just drive away. Had I done that, I would have missed some of the most beautiful glass work I had ever seen outside of a cathedral. When having a conversation with him, I learned that he prayed for his customers and God always brought him enough people to pay his bills and live comfortably. He loved his little place in the woods where he could produce for others beautiful glass art of which he had a great talent.
So it was with Susan. She never felt at ease with people, but she did with music. Her background had given her little self-confidence, but her music did. That was how she was able to rise above it all and face the audience with her talent on that first night on stage with the world watching. After the pressures of winning the talent show became too much, she had to back away for a while. Crowds of people, media comments and the burden of it all drove her into seclusion to find a renewed health. Once again she overcame and her albums of beautiful songs hit top sales.
Susan says, “ I’m a champion for those who don’t have the confidence to do things and don’t have a voice; the ones people tend to ignore…”
Find your gift…for all of us have something that God has given us. Seek it, pray for it…and use it.
It is my pleasure to present Susan Boyle in a tribute to her remarkable life. Enjoy!
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