Category Archives: A Good Life

Time

It is not the river that flows, but the water.
Not the years that go by, but ourselves.
– French poet, Hervé Bazin

For all the complaining I have done regarding not having enough time I seem to crave not an excess of time but the scarcity of it. Social media has not made it easy to find a way out of this dilemma. I have spent the summer praying whether I would continue blogging. It has taken time to figure it out but I am done trying to squeeze in more. The summer break I took from news and social media was great. I have even stopped thinking about how I will tweet about what I am experiencing.

If it ever becomes my duty I will write more in the future. I know, without a doubt, that I am forever done tweeting (after this post automatically tweets) and I am done with status updates on Facebook, unless the Cowboys put together a decent season.

I have enjoyed creating and writing Scolé. Thank you for reading and to all who are followers of the blog.

Yours in Christ,
Fr. James

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2011 Summer Unplugged: My Media Fast

I have not been blogging much lately and I thought the time had come to share about my little summer experiment. Beginning today I am committing to a media fast.

What’s does a media fast look like?

  • No Facebook: I will still receive personal messages as emails
  • No Twitter
  • No newspapers
  • No news or church gossip websites
  • No news radio
  • No blog posting
  • No Television: Versus and Netflix excluded
  • No responding to non-urgent email or voice mail except one, 1 hour session everyday

Why abstain from all that information?

I am tired and distracted. I have done this to myself. I have been sleeping with my phone on “in case of emergencies.” I have been reading about national and Church politics and what people eat for dinner and what mall and restaurant they are visiting and I am fed up with my lack on peace. It’s not you, it’s me. I have taken in too much information. Bleh.

What am I going to do instead of reading about Arnold Schwarzenegger and the OCA?

I intend to listen to music, read, write, hike, play the Ukulele everyday and play and pray more with the family.

God bless and keep you this summer! Christ is Risen!

Fr. James

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a seaplane’s sanctification and turbulence

me and seaplane

I was asked, by a parishioner, if I would come and bless a seaplane that he uses to train pilots for water landings. He said that after the prayers he wanted to take me on a brief flight and that I should wear clothes that could get wet. I am always up for an adventure but, clothes that can get wet? I was at Falcon Field (a small plane airport in Mesa) at 7 in the morning. I did the prayers for the blessing of an airplane – really cool prayer service that I will include below. And yes, I know it is a little self-serving to bless the plane before takeoff.

After the plane blessing, Tom, my parishioner, gave me a safety briefing that could make a grown man cry. He first asked me if I could swim. I said, “yes” but was thinking, “should I call my wife and kids and tell them I love them, one last time? He said that if we crash on water we would both be injured and upside down. Sea planes flip over because the engine sits on top. Oh, and because of the water pressure the doors would not open until the cabin had completely filled with water and that I was to remain calm while it filled up. Right! And even though I would be wearing an inflatable life vest I was not to pull the cord while injured and upside down because it would inflate and trap me in the sinking plane. The good news was that there were bottles of “spare air.” I was to retrieve mine from behind his seat. However, the oxygen would not automatically flow and there was no valve. I was to remember to blow hard into the mouth piece in order to start the flow of oxygen…. all while injured and upside down and sinking in the cold, wet, dark, broken plane and not pulling the rip chord on my life vest….

my ride, complete with inflatable life vest

Did I mention that we had two beautiful water landings and take offs? Oh, did I also forget to mention that I threw up on the flight home? Tom is an ace but it was hot and there was turbulence. We were both apologetic but I am pretty sure throwing up was my fault and not his… I was very glad that he added that trash bag to our gear at last minute.

aerial view of saguaro lake


lake roosevelt bridge and dam

The prayer begins in the usual way with the Trisagion Prayers and then we read Psalm 139:

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. O LORD, thou hast searched me and known me! Thou knowest when I sit down and when I rise up; thou discernest my thoughts from afar. Thou searchest out my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. Thou dost beset me behind and before, and layest thy hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it. Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend to heaven, thou art there! If I make my bed in hell, thou art there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there thy hand shall lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Let only darkness cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to thee, the night is bright as the day; for darkness is as light with thee. For thou didst form my inward parts, thou didst knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise thee, for thou art fearful and wonderful. Wonderful are thy works! Thou knowest me right well; my frame was not hidden from thee, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth. Thy eyes beheld my unformed substance; in thy book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are thy thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. When I awake, I am still with thee. O that thou wouldst slay the wicked, O God, and that men of blood would depart from me, men who maliciously defy thee, who lift themselves up against thee for evil! Do I not hate them that hate thee, O LORD? And do I not loathe them that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies. Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! Psalm 139

And then this prayer:

O Lord God, Who is borne on the cherubim; Who took Elijah up to heaven in a fiery chariot; Who, by your angels, carried Habakkuk and Philip the Deacon through the air, and Who gathered the Apostles at the Dormition of Your Mother: As the same Lord, sanctify this boat of the air, and bless those traveling in it, preserving them from all evil. For You alone are all-powerful, and to You we ascribe glory; to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

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Filed under A Good Life, Beaches, Canyons, Deserts, Mountains and Monasteries

law of the land

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Filed under A Good Life, Regarding the Present Moment

A Song of Ascents: Rock Climbing Camelback

Praying Monk on Camelback

This week I went rock climbing on Camelback.  I affectionately call Camelback, “My Holy Mountain.” I have hiked Camelback’s Echo Canyon trail many times every week for the past 5 ½ years. But this was my first time rock climbing on Camelback. I went with a friend who knew what he was doing and where we were going. We hiked and climbed where few ever are able to go. I asked him about different ratings on our climbs and he would call out different numbers, which have absolutely no meaning to me. After one wall I asked, “What would you rate that last one?” He called back, “I would rate that one as fun!”

We saw a large active beehive, waterfall stains, two foxes and 2 places where hikers have fallen to their deaths. Keith died when he climbed up a wall and came face to face with an angry beehive. You can see his cross in the picture below. The other hiker, Tessa Worby, fell to her death while hiking/climbing alone two years ago this month. Seeing where Keith and Tessa died gets One thinking…

We go hiking and climbing to exercise and open our hearts and minds. You look up to a rock face or down a repel and realize that you have to trust your equipment, your hiking partner and the Lord. Climbing mountains reminds us that life is short, fragile, joyful, difficult, sometimes dangerous and always full of meaning.

Psalm 121 A Song of Ascents. Of David

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From whence does my help come. My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved, he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not smite you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and for evermore.

Memorial Cross

Climbing into August Canyon

Heading into the "Back Country"

Camelback, "My Holy Mountain"

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Filed under A Good Life, Beaches, Canyons, Deserts, Mountains and Monasteries

Scholé 2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 95,000 times in 2010. If it were an exhibit at The Louvre Museum, it would take 4 days for that many people to see it.

 

In 2010, there were 147 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 331 posts. There were 184 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 66mb. That’s about 4 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was January 3rd with 801 views. The most popular post that day was Resa Ellison has Departed this Life.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, twitter.com, saintjameskids.blogspot.com, saintig.org, and Google Reader.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Resa Ellison has Departed this Life January 2010
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2

Pied Beauty October 2009
6 comments

3

Clear a Highway Across the Desert for our God December 2009
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4

Be the Honeybee March 2010
2 comments

5

Why Does Jesus Sometimes Wait Until the 4th Watch of the Night – 9th Sunday of Pentecost August 2009
5 comments

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This Christmas, Give Peace

by JOSHUA BECKER from Becoming Minimalist

I am often struck by the imagery and themes of Christmas. Among them, rings peace and reconciliation.

According to the Biblical account of Christmas, the first announcement of the baby’s birth was made by angels to shepherds outside of Bethlehem. And it went like this…

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

The Christmas season is to be a celebration of peace, goodwill, and reconciliation. Yet, for many families, thoughts of peace rarely accompany the holiday season. Instead, the exact opposite is all too common. Years of bitterness, resentment, and depression have been piled on top of misconceptions, misunderstandings, and misbehavior. And family peace was lost years ago… and is yet to be reclaimed.

Family relationships can cause conflict, turmoil, and stress at any time, but the tensions are often heightened during the holidays – that is what makes the Christmas season so difficult for many. Family misunderstandings and conflicts naturally intensify when you are thrown together for several days… or if you are separated because of them. It is time to get over our differences. And instead, to offer goodwill and reclaim peace in our family relationships.

This Christmas, give the gift of overdue peace.

1. Determine to be responsible for your attitude, not other’s. True, you can’t control the attitude of others, but you are the only one responsible for yours. Take an active stand against the attitudes of bitterness and rejection in your family. Because if we know anything about resentment, we know that it will swallow everyone in its path until someone takes a stand against it.

2. Embrace humility. Long-running family strife is rarely caused by one individual. It may have started with an inappropriate word, misdeed, or misunderstanding, but its unresolution is the fault of many. Embrace humility and forgiveness even if you are not the author of the conflict. If you are harboring resentment towards another human being because of past hurts, choose to forgive and move on. The harm was their fault. But allowing it to weigh down your life today is yours.

3. Accept disagreement and put it behind you. It is foolish and prideful to assume that everyone is going to agree with you. Whether your family disagreements center on worldview, religion, parenting styles, or sports’ teams, your ability to love others despite them is central to interpersonal relationships. Healthy families don’t reject their members who think differently – they become stronger because of them. This Christmas, seek to listen and hear rather than judge and lecture.

4. Take the first step. Make the bold decision to be the first in your family to offer peace and reconciliation. This step is often as simple as a phone call. Try this for a lead-in, “Hey, I’m just calling to wish you a Merry Christmas. I know we’ve had disagreements in the past, but I just want you to know that I love you very much and I hope we can put them behind us…” And while one phone call may not heal years of deep personal pain and rejection, it is often the first step that never gets taken.

This post will be read nearly 20,000 times in these coming days leading up to Christmas. And while it’s unreasonable to assume that that many families will find peace because of it, it is reasonable to assume that maybe one family, somewhere, will be brought together and find peace again because of it – and that thought alone makes it worth it.

After all, maybe (just maybe), it will be your family… or maybe even mine.

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Filed under A Good Life, Sundays, Feast Days, Other Days