Archive for September, 2017

What Would Jesus Do? Well look what he’s doing! He’s exacting some tough love on the losers in Puerto Rico through his man in the White House!

Well, what did you expect after this response from the ingrates in Puerto Rico?

The loser mayor of Puerto Rico had the audacity to criticize the Trump Administration about its amazingly terrific response to the hurricane that obliterated the island and therefore got what she deserved, y’all.

That is, an overwhelming attack back on her ass!

Said Trump in a tweet in response to Mayor Cruz:

    “The Mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump. Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help.

Amen! Amen! Amen! You tell em Mr. President!!!

Everybody knows the Democrats have been down there telling the Mayor she needs to be nasty to mean ol’ Trump!

Everybody knows them loser Puerto Ricans got no leadership abilities and can’t even get their own workers off their lazy asses!

This is why God put Jesus back in the White House!

This is the kind of tough love ungrateful SOBs in Puerto Rico deserve!

We are sick and tired of other countries bossing us around and this President don’t play!

Give em hell, Mr. President!

But… seriously, folks… how much lower can he sink?

And how much more of this kind of nastiness can Christians tolerate?

How long can you make excuses for this deplorable man?

And please don’t tell me Hillary would have been worse!

Please don’t give me your idiotic memes about him sending all this aid to Puerto Rico while Hillary has done nothing for Puerto Rico but send a tweet.

America is better than this.

Christians are better than this.

If we as Christians are willing to tolerate this kind of snot-nosed-bully behavior from a President, where will it end?

Read Full Post »

For fools speak folly, their hearts are bent on evil: They practice ungodliness and spread error concerning the LORD; the hungry they leave empty and from the thirsty they withhold water.”

— Isaiah 32: 6

Houston streets lined with flooded furniture and wood won’t be mostly clear until after Thanksgiving. GOP state leaders, the most mean-spirited and petty leaders my beloved Texas has probably ever seen, refuse to give the City of Houston funds to clean up the mess. I have to say I don’t know what God the ever-pious GOP leaders of Texas — and those pious Christians in the Trump Administration — believe in. It is not a God with whom I’m familiar.

Talk about fools who speak folly. Consider this quote:

    Damn it, this is not a good news story. This is a people are dying story. This is a life or death story. … This is a story of a devastation that continues to worsen because people are not getting food and water.

    “If I could scream it a lot more louder — it’s not a good news story when people are dying when they don’t have dialysis, and when the generators aren’t working and the oxygen is not providing for them. Where is there good news here?”

That was the response of San Juan, Puerto Rico Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz to Elaine Duke, acting secretary of Trump’s Homeland Security, over Duke’s comments lauding the “amazing” federal response to the hurricane catastrophe.

“I know it’s a hard storm to recover from,” Duke told reporters outside the White House. “But I know it is really a good news story in terms of our ability to reach people and the limited number of deaths that have taken place in such a devastating hurricane.”

Yes — she actually called this “a good news story.”

Can’t imagine why the mayor is appalled.

Here are more quotes from Mayor Cruz in response to the Trump Administration’s, uh, amazingly callous claim that this is somehow a good news story, as told to CNN.

    “Maybe from where she’s standing it’s a good news story. When you are drinking from a creek, it’s not a good news story.”

    “I’m sorry, but that really upsets me and frustrates me. Frankly, it’s an irresponsible statement. …

    “Damn it, this is not a good news story. This is a people are dying story. This is a life or death story. … This is a story of a devastation that continues to worsen because people are not getting food and water.”

For more go here.

Meanwhile, back in my beloved Texas…

The amazing governor, the lieutenant governor and the state’s senator from Houston–who all are from Houston–claim that the city doesn’t need any state money for hurricane relief.

Of course, the Houston mayor and city council members are Democrats and Houston is a sanctuary city.

It’s obvious to me and anyone else who follows Texas politics closely that Texas Gov. Greg Abbot and the boys are denying relief to the nation’s fourth largest city because for mean-spirited and petty political reasons.

These three happy, pious Christians, who never let us forget what good Christians they are, are the governor, lt. governor and state senator from Houston, who claim Houston doesn’t need any financial aid for cleaning up from Hurricane Irma. They are playing their typically deplorable mean and petty political games.

This outstanding analysis is from The Texas Observer:

    On August 4, less than a month before Hurricane Harvey made landfall, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick appeared on the Fox Business Network with a diagnosis for what ails the nation.

    “Where do we have all our problems in America?” he asked. “Not at the state level run by Republicans, but in our cities that are mostly controlled by Democrat mayors and Democrat city council men and women. That’s where you see liberal policies. That’s where you see high taxes. That’s where you see street crime.”

    In September, another big problem appeared over Houston, a messy city run by one of those dangerous Democratic mayors, Sylvester Turner. Houston is the state’s beating heart, and Harvey could end up being the most expensive natural disaster in American history.

    In the past, it would have been of some comfort to the mayor of Houston that the lieutenant governor and some of his top allies, such as state Senator Paul Bettencourt, hailed from the Houston area, because they’d help make sure the city’s needs were met in the months and years ahead. That’s not the case now, and it’s worth taking a moment to place Harvey in the context of the extraordinary animus the Legislature often seems to have for local governments and the people who run them.

    Turner now has one of the most difficult and unpleasant jobs of any public official in the United States. To take just one example: An immediate crisis the city faces is waste removal — there are whole neighborhoods full of tall piles of ruined furniture and trash that will rot in the rain and attract pests. Turner recently told the city council that many of the contractors who do the kind of removal work Houston needs fled to Florida, for better rates after Hurricane Irma. The best case scenario is that “most” of the waste will be cleared by Thanksgiving, two months from now.

Got that? Many of the Texas contractors fled to Florida, a state governed by a redder than red Republican governor, for higher rates.

More from the Observer:

    If things go slowly, residents will inevitably blame Turner, just as a backlash immediately materialized when he recently proposed a temporary 8.9 percent property tax hike, which would raise about $113 million for Harvey recovery. For the average homeowner in the city, that comes out to about $117 a year, which doesn’t seem like terribly much given the circumstances. More importantly, Turner’s hands were tied. The storm wiped out the city’s emergency funds and destroyed a lot of city property, and though FEMA will pay 90 percent of trash removal costs, Houston’s share is still something like $25 million. Nonetheless, Turner caught a lot of heat for the proposal.

Well that’s what Turner gets for being a Democrat and leading a sanctuary city, don’t you know.

More from freelance writer Christopher Hooks’ article:

    Later, a new agreement with FEMA caused Turner to reduce the amount he was asking for to $50 to $60 million. For the state, that’s chump change — the rainy day fund alone has more than $10 billion. Though state leaders have signalled a willingness to spend some of the rainy day fund on disaster relief, no one’s rushing to appear overly generous. When Turner’s hand was forced and the tax bump was proposed, state officials had two options: Reassure Houstonians about the forthcoming availability of state money, or let Turner, the Democratic mayor of a city Republicans are increasingly struggling to contest, twist in the wind.

    You know which one they chose. “I don’t understand this mindset,” Bettencourt, Patrick’s lieutenant on tax issues and a resident of the city of Houston, told the Houston Chronicle. “It’s beyond tone deaf. I don’t believe governments should be showing this type of attitude when people are down. Taxpayers are going to be furious.” Bettencourt then added that he now opposes provisions that let local governments raise taxes more easily in the event of a disaster or emergency. Bettencourt even told a Houston radio station that he’s against using any state money to help the city, offering that Houston should be “using the funds that are already there to avoid a tax increase.”

    On Tuesday, after Turner made a public request for money from the rainy day fund, Governor Greg Abbott joined in, telling reporters that the fund wouldn’t be touched until the 2019 legislative session. Turner “has all the money that he needs,” Abbott said. “In times like these, it’s important to have fiscal responsibility as opposed to financial panic.” The governor went on to accuse the mayor of using Harvey recovery efforts as a “hostage to raise taxes.”

    Bettencourt and Abbott are doing what state lawmakers frequently do now — putting political pressure on local governments to draw attention away from what the state is doing and gather ammo for future internecine battles in Austin. (All last session, Bettencourt was at war with local officials over property tax policy.) The difference now is that he’s doing it right after Texas’ largest city had its legs shot out from under it, at a time when you might hope Houston-area lawmakers would not only refrain from taking potshots at Turner, but find ways to affirmatively help him. But, hey, it’s just business as usual: Everything good in Texas is to the credit of the brave boys and girls of the Lege, and everything bad is the fault of county commissioners courts, city councils and school boards.

    Aren’t the different layers of government supposed to work together? In Texas, they generally do not. I’ve talked to many local officials, including Republicans in deep-red counties, who can’t for the life of them get a call returned from their GOP state representative or senator. Even big-city mayors sometimes get the stiff arm, and lawmakers seem to take pleasure in nullifying or canceling popular city ordinances, sometimes because of lobby money but sometimes, it seems, simply out of spite.

    Consider Houston before the storm. Its school systems are heavily penalized by the state’s school finance system, which forces locals to raise property taxes. It has huge immigrant populations whose relationships with the police were negatively affected by Senate Bill 4. The culture wars at the Legislature — and the poor quality of state services — hinder Houston’s appeal to the international business community. Houston’s health care system has suffered greatly from the Legislature’s refusal to expand Medicaid.

    This is despite the obvious fact that Texas’ appeal, and strength, is the quality and dynamism of its big cities. Six of the nation’s 20 largest cities are in Texas, and each has a distinct identity and appeal. (Well, maybe not Dallas.) The state should be helping cities. To take but one too-late example, the Legislature is the only body that could have cut through the mess of overlapping political jurisdictions to control development and strengthen flood planning in greater Houston in a unified way.

    Instead, we have a state government that sees its largest generators of economic activity — the six metropolitan areas in which more than half of the state lives — as some kind of threat, either because of their values or the demographic and political threat they represent to the Republican Party. You might hope Harvey would temper that, but don’t hold your breath.

Lord God in your mercy help my beloved Texas and Puerto Rico and deliver them from fools who speak folly, whose hearts are bent on evil, who practice ungodliness and spread error concerning the LORD as they withhold food from the hungry and withhold water from the thirsty.

Read Full Post »

These nocturnal pix from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows Puerto Rico at night on July 24, 2017, top, before the passing of Hurricane Maria, and on Sept. 25, days after the hurricane wiped out most of the island’s power.
(NOAA via AP)

Someone help me to understand this kind of callous disregard for American lives.

The 31/2 million American citizens in Puerto Rico are without power, food and water, many of them dying slow, agonizing deaths.

Many observers on the ground there have described it as “a wasteland” or “a war zone.”

Meanwhile, the Trump Administration refused to lift shipping restrictions under the federal Jones Act until this morning, when the President announced it, naturally, in little tweet.

Mind you, the same restrictions were promptly lifted by Trump for American citizens in Houston and Florida.

What’s so frustrating is that 3,000 shipping containers with food, water and medical supplies had been outside Puerto Rico’s port since Saturday, ready to be delivered.

So why didn’t the POTUS lift the restrictions of the Jones Act and deliver this relief to Puerto Ricans when Congressmen requested it first thing Monday morning?

Because, the POTUS said, the shipping companies had concerns.

God bless and be with… the shipping companies.

We can only hope they survive.

Read Full Post »

After hours of careful consideration, and even a visit from Nate Boyer, a retired Green Beret and former N.F.L. player, we came to the conclusion that we should kneel, rather than sit, the next day during the anthem as a peaceful protest.

We chose to kneel because it’s a respectful gesture…

It baffles me that our protest is still being misconstrued as disrespectful to the country, flag and military personnel. We chose it because it’s exactly the opposite.

It has always been my understanding that the brave men and women who fought and died for our country did so to ensure that we could live in a fair and free society, which includes the right to speak out in protest.

— NFL football star Eric Reid on protesting the during the National Anthem

Former NFL star Colin Kaepernick, back when America loved him for his athletic prowess as well as his academic achievements and his willingness to speak openly about his faith in God.

Can we have a timeout on the field for some thoughtful context and perspective about former NFL star Colin Kaepernick — a devout Christian who has a Psalm glorifying God tattooed on his arm?

Can we dispense with the knee-jerk reactions on all sides for a smart and discerning commentary from a former Kaepernick teammate who is also “taking a knee” at NFL football games in protest of racial injustice?

I’m posting an entire commentary written by protester Eric Reid and published in The New York Times because I think it respectfully counters the POTUS’s flame-throwing attack on Americans practicing perfectly peaceful protest in the great tradition of American protest.

I’m referring to the flame-throwing POTUS who was famously kinder and gentler in his words about White Supremacists in Charlottesville–suggesting that there were “good people” among Nazis and Klansmen — than he’s been for days on end about black athletes keeping social injustices in the national conversation.

Civil discussion is welcome here below and on my Facebook page which is open to public view under Paul David McKay:

    San Francisco 49ers safety
    In early 2016, I began paying attention to reports about the incredible number of unarmed black people being killed by the police. The posts on social media deeply disturbed me, but one in particular brought me to tears: the killing of Alton Sterling in my hometown Baton Rouge, La. This could have happened to any of my family members who still live in the area. I felt furious, hurt and hopeless. I wanted to do something, but didn’t know what or how to do it. All I knew for sure is that I wanted it to be as respectful as possible.

    A few weeks later, during preseason, my teammate Colin Kaepernick chose to sit on the bench during the national anthem to protest police brutality. To be honest, I didn’t notice at the time, and neither did the news media. It wasn’t until after our third preseason game on Aug. 26, 2016, that his protest gained national attention, and the backlash against him began.

    That’s when my faith moved me to take action. I looked to James 2:17, which states, “Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” I knew I needed to stand up for what is right.

    I approached Colin the Saturday before our next game to discuss how I could get involved with the cause but also how we could make a more powerful and positive impact on the social justice movement. We spoke at length about many of the issues that face our community, including systemic oppression against people of color, police brutality and the criminal justice system. We also discussed how we could use our platform, provided to us by being professional athletes in the N.F.L., to speak for those who are voiceless.

    After hours of careful consideration, and even a visit from Nate Boyer, a retired Green Beret and former N.F.L. player, we came to the conclusion that we should kneel, rather than sit, the next day during the anthem as a peaceful protest. We chose to kneel because it’s a respectful gesture. I remember thinking our posture was like a flag flown at half-mast to mark a tragedy.

    It baffles me that our protest is still being misconstrued as disrespectful to the country, flag and military personnel. We chose it because it’s exactly the opposite. It has always been my understanding that the brave men and women who fought and died for our country did so to ensure that we could live in a fair and free society, which includes the right to speak out in protest.

    It should go without saying that I love my country and I’m proud to be an American. But, to quote James Baldwin, “exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.”

    I can’t find words that appropriately express how heartbroken I am to see the constant smears against Colin, a person who helped start the movement with only the very best of intentions. We are talking about a man who helped to orchestrate a commercial planeful of food and supplies for famine-stricken Somalia. A man who has invested his time and money into needy communities here at home. A man I am proud to call my brother, who should be celebrated for his courage to seek change on important issues. Instead, to this day, he is unemployed and portrayed as a radical un-American who wants to divide our country.

    Anybody who has a basic knowledge of football knows that his unemployment has nothing to do with his performance on the field. It’s a shame that the league has turned its back on a man who has done only good. I am aware that my involvement in this movement means that my career may face the same outcome as Colin’s. But to quote the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “A time comes when silence is betrayal.” And I choose not to betray those who are being oppressed.

    I have too often seen our efforts belittled with statements like “He should have listened to the officer,” after watching an unarmed black person get shot, or “There is no such thing as white privilege” and “Racism ended years ago.” We know that racism and white privilege are both very much alive today.

    And it’s disheartening and infuriating that President Trump has referred to us with slurs but the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Va., as “very fine people.” His remarks are a clear attempt to deepen the rift that we’ve tried so hard to mend.

    I am nevertheless encouraged to see my colleagues and other public figures respond to the president’s remarks with solidarity with us. It is paramount that we take control of the story behind our movement, which is that we seek equality for all Americans, no matter their race or gender.

    What we need now is numbers. Some people acknowledge the issues we face yet remain silent bystanders. Not only do we need more of our fellow black and brown Americans to stand with us, but also people of other races.

    I refuse to be one of those people who watches injustices yet does nothing. I want to be a man my children and children’s children can be proud of, someone who faced adversity and tried to make a positive impact on the world, a person who, 50 years from now, is remembered for standing for what was right, even though it was not the popular or easy choice.

Read Full Post »

Just checking in here today with an update on spending for my beloved Stephanie Garcia’s education fund, which can be accessed for donations any time at ….. this GoFundMe link.

The first-year fundraising goal of $800 US was reached some time ago and I’ll just give you an update on expenses with pix of MOST of the receipts.

(And ongoing donations for future years are always welcome for deposit in an interest-bearing credit union account in my and her mother’s name.)

The only expense for the first year of school still outstanding is a balance of $213 BZ ($106.50 US), due at the end of October.

I wasn’t able to get receipts for a few miscellaneous expenses like an extra pair of shoes for recreation that cost $10 US, and a total of $20 US in fees for her to join an extracurricular dance group.

In fact, her group danced in the Independence Day parade yesterday in their flashy uniforms. Unfortunately, I was able to get a video that I can’t seem to upload and I didn’t get a picture.

Oh well. There was a time when Stephanie was so painfully shy that it frightened her to stand up and read in front of a class, much less to dance in a big parade!

She’s come a long way from being a bashful child who struggled to learn in school to a high school student who confidently steps up to a lectern to read scripture in a sizable Catholic Church!

I’m proud of her and thankful to those of you who are supporting her with your prayers and money.

And! I promise that at some point I’ll have an update here from Stephanie herself. She’s a very busy young lady these days!

Stephanie did the reading from the Book of Sirach at mass at her St. Ignatius High School sanctuary Sunday.

Home from school: Stephanie in her St. Ignatius High School uniform.

A $200 tuition payment leaves a balance of $213 ($106.50) for the school year, due the end of October.

$25 for a specific kind of study Bible required by the Catholic high school.

These items totaling $65 from a local store that’s like a mini-Walmart included a new backpack, workbooks, pads, pens and markers, etc.

This was for a pair of dress shoes to go with uniform.

Stef and a classmate after mass.


I’m paying $25 US a month for her pre-school tuition and it is money well spent: she loves being a student like big sister!!!!

Miss Belize goes to school.

Loves her Dora backpack, that I can tell you.

Read Full Post »

Independence Day here in Belize is like the Fourth of July, Mardi Gras and New Year’s Eve. A large time will be had by all here today.

Today is a time to be happy here in Belize, where today is like the USA’s Fourth of July.

It was on this day only 36 years ago that Belize — the former British Honduras — was freed from British rule. Independence Day here is like July 4th, Mardi Gras, New Year’s Eve and a Steely Dan Wing-Ding all rolled into one.

In fact, the entire month of September is an ongoing celebration with parades, street parties, and all varieties of cultural, educational and religious events. It’s all geared to boosting the fierce pride of this small nation (pop. 330,000 and growing).

Being the funky Caribbean nation that the Central American nation of Belize is, the country is always high on those lists of “Happiest Nations in the World.”*

So life here on what is a gorgeous, sunny day in Belize is happy and normal on this exceptionally happy holiday.

People in of many other parts of the world — especially right here in the Caribbean where Belize is so vulnerable to hurricanes — can only wish for such joy and normalcy. This nation has been fortunate to miss any major storms — at least thus far in this active hurricane season.

“Mexico Is Standing.” Here in Belize I get TV channels from all over the world (including India and China), including Azteca Trece — the biggest news station in Mexico City. I watched some of a relief-fund telethon the station had last night along with some fine on-the-ground reporting. The death and devastation from a second earthquake is heart-wrenching.

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God!”

So goes the cry of the prophet in Isaiah 40:1.

Contrary to what Christians with bizarre beliefs say about an angry, punishing God causing hurricanes and such, the good Lord doesn’t inflict suffering on anybody — not with natural disasters or anything else.

Humans inflict more than enough suffering and death on other humans without needing any help from God.

““Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you,” God says (Hebrews 13:5).

That said, it must feel to a lot of suffering believers in the world that God has abandoned them lately.

When one feels abandoned by God, when catastrophes don’t give us a sense of God’s loving, merciful presence and care, doubts will bubble up.

But doubting God in the sense of wrestling with God is still being engaged with God — which is what God desires above all.

Disaster and destruction, it seems, can build up one’s faith and devotion, or destroy it.

In the prophet Jeremiah’s case, the people abandoned God while God was perceived as having abandoned them. But still yearning for something to believe in, the chosen people of God shifted their commitments from God to the false gods and idols of other nations. They abandoned God and turned to the idolatry that God so strongly deplores.

It’s one thing to abandon God and something way different to question God. I’ve always said that God is a Big Boy/Girl, that God can take our anger and frustrations. God is fine with our moments of doubt.

What God can’t abide is apathy. That leads to total disengagement from God.

Children can and will get angry as hell with their parents — and not understand dreadful old mom and dad — but still love them and need them no less.

And vice-versa. We parents sometimes feel like whacking our defiant, rebellious young ones, but only because we love them and want what is best for their own holistic health and well being.

God’s children in biblical times wondered often where the LORD that brought them out of Egypt had gone. Moses and the prophets had their hands full trying to get God’s children to understand that God was always with them, as God had promised to be.

Elie Wiesel wrote this in Against Silence:

    I tell students, ‘If you are angry with G-d, I respect you. If you love G-d, I respect you. Indifference I do not respect.

    Lord in your mercy, be with those suffering from natural disasters in so many places today. Lift up and strength the rescuers and others demonstrating what love of neighbor and God looks like. Amen

From out of the rubble, acts of love and compassion as rescuers work night and day to save school children’s lives.

*I point out in my book, The View From Down in Poordom: Reflections on Scriptures Addressing Poverty, that Belizeans are indeed a fiercely proud and happy people, proud to be living in their little paradise. But I also delve into the other side of paradise here in what is a developing (i.e., very poor) country.

Read Full Post »

If there is such a thing as “America’s Poet,” Mary Oliver — who turns 82 on this, Sept. 11 — gets my vote.

This is from her memoir Long Life:

Mary Oliver, the poet who specializes in leading us to divine attentiveness.

    Men and women of faith who pray — that is, who come to a certain assigned place, at definite times, and are not ashamed to go down on their knees — will not tarry for the cup of coffee or the newsbreak or the end of the movie when the moment arrives. The habit, then, has become their life. What some might call the restrictions of the daily office they find to be an opportunity to foster the inner life. The hours are appointed and named; they are the Lord’s. Life’s fretfulness is transcended. The different and the novel are sweet, but regularity and repetition are also teachers. Divine attentiveness cannot be kept casually, or visited only in season, like Venice or Switzerland. Or, perhaps it can, but then how attentive is it? And if you have no ceremony, no habits, which may be opulent or may be simple but are exact and rigorous and familiar, how can you reach toward the actuality of faith, or even a moral life, except vaguely? The patterns of our lives reveal us. Our habits measure us.

Learn more about the Pulitzer-winning poet’s life and work here.

This poem is about one hurricane she lived through:

It didn’t behave
like anything you had
ever imagined. The wind
tore at the trees, the rain
fell for days slant and hard.
The back of the hand
to everything. I watched
the trees bow and their leaves fall
and crawl back into the earth.
As though, that was that.
This was one hurricane
I lived through, the other one
was of a different sort, and
lasted longer. Then
I felt my own leaves giving up and
falling. The back of the hand to
everything. But listen now to what happened
to the actual trees;
toward the end of that summer they
pushed new leaves from their stubbed limbs.
It was the wrong season, yes,
but they couldn’t stop. They
looked like telephone poles and didn’t
care. And after the leaves came
blossoms. For some things
there are no wrong seasons.
Which is what I dream of for me.

~ Mary Oliver

I read the papers,
I unfold them and examine them in the sunlight.
The way the red mortars, in photographs,
arc down into the neighborhoods
like stars, the way death
combs everything into a gray rubble before
the camera moves on. What
dark part of my soul
shivers: you don’t want to know more
about this. And then: you don’t know anything
unless you do. How the sleepers
wake and run to the cellars,
how the children scream, their tongues
trying to swim away–
how the morning itself appears
like a slow white rose
while the figures climb over the bubbled thresholds,
move among the smashed cars, the streets
where the clanging ambulances won’t
stop all day–death and death, messy death–
death as history, death as a habit–
how sometimes the camera pauses while a family
counts itself, and all of them are alive,
their mouths dry caves of wordlessness
in the smudged moons of their faces,
a craziness we have so far no name for–
all this I read in the papers,
in the sunlight,
I read with my cold, sharp eyes.

~ Mary Oliver

And this seems to be her best known and best loved poem:

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

~ Mary Oliver

Read Full Post »

Indian Creek Island on Key Biscayne Bay has only 34 homes and is known as “billionaire bunker.” business tycoon Carl Icahn and supermodel Adriana Lima are neighbors of Julio Iglesias there. Julio also owns 4 lots.

So I went online this afternoon to read the latest about Irma pounding Florida when I happened to spot this click-bait headline from Global Mansion magazine.

    Julio Iglesias Selling Miami Land for $150 Million

Here are excerpts from the story, which was published back in late July–or you can see the photos and read the piece here:

    One of Miami’s most expensive listings isn’t a newly built mansion or an exclusive penthouse. It’s 7.3 acres of land on Biscayne Bay.

    Singer Julio Iglesias, one of the most commercially successful recording artists in the world… is selling four lots on Indian Creek Island for $150 million.

    The land is on the west side of the island, which is the most desirable, according to agent Jill Hertzberg of the Jills, a Miami Beach-based real estate firm.

    “On the west side, you get the sunset,” she said. “And the water is wider. If you were going to pick lots from the builder, you’d pick these.”

    Indian Creek Island is one of Miami’s most exclusive enclaves, with only 35 properties on the island and a host of notable residents. It has been dubbed the “billionaire bunker” by Forbes, which cites residents including hedge funder Edward Lampert, former Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula, businessman Carl Icahn and supermodel Adriana Lima.

    Mr. Iglesias, 73, will be keeping his home on the island, which he bought in 2012 for $15.2 million, according to the property’s agents.

Here’s the part I found most intriguing about this “billionaire bunker” in light of what’s happening in Miami today.

    Indian Creek Village is its own municipality, and one of the “most protected, most guarded communities in the U.S.,” said Jill Eber, the other Jill in the brokerage team. It has its own police force patrolling not only the streets, but also the water. The island is accessible by a small bridge, which has a guarded gatehouse.

I’m sure Julio and other homeowners in this “most protected, most guarded” little community of Indian Creek are somewhere safe and sound at this time.

And I’m sure that irregardless of what damage Irma may do to this Florida safe haven, Julio will still make a handsome return on his investment whenever he sells his four lots at the asking price of almost $38 million per lot.

Having more money than God can buy one a lot of security, even if it can’t divert a killer hurricane.

The poor will be more more–and many Americans will be joining the ranks of the poor and homeless in the wake of so many disasters in these humbling times.

But most Americans don’t get to live in communities that are luxury “bunkers” with beautiful views and 18-hole golf courses and famous neighbors.

Masses of poor Americans are being rendered more poor these days, and masses of Americans will be joining the ranks of the poor and homeless.

These are some terrifying days for sure.

And humbling.

Lord be with those on people who are fearful and suffering and especially those who are on fixed incomes and modest incomes and no incomes tonight in Florida and wherever nature is on a terrifying roll in the world.

Read Full Post »

Merciful God, whose Son was able to still the raging waters, hear now these prayers and petitions.

For those coping with fire and smoke in Montana and the American West: Lord in your mercy, hear our prayers.

For those coping with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey: Lord in your mercy, hear our prayers.

For those people in the nations being battered by Hurricane Irma and those bracing for the potential destruction in Florida and the U.S.: Lord in your mercy, hear our prayers.

For those in Bangladesh and the neighboring nations that have also been ravaged by rain and flooding: Lord in your mercy, hear our prayers.

For those coping with the destruction wrought by war and violence and fear in so many parts of the world today: Lord in your mercy, hear our prayers. Amen.

Almighty God, who hast promised to hear the petitions of
those who ask in thy Son’s Name: We beseech thee mercifully
to incline thine ear to us who have now made our prayers and
supplications unto thee; and grant that those things which we
have faithfully asked according to thy will, may effectually be
obtained, to the relief of our necessity, and to the setting forth
of thy glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (From the Book of Common Prayer.)

Read Full Post »

The needs for the millions of Texans rendered so needy by Hurricane Harvey are just mind-boggling.

A friend on FB posted this notice from one of their friend’s this morning:

    An easy way to help after Hurricane Harvey? Ship some mosquito spray (with DEET) to our former church in Victoria. They will be distributing it to people in need along the Texas coast.

    [We] are just going to order ours through Amazon Prime and have it sent directly there. Cash in those Amazon points and do a little good!

    Keep Zika at bay and help people rebuild their lives with one less difficulty. Texas mosquitoes are no joke and the combination of warm weather and standing water are causing a mosquito explosion.

    Shipping address:
    Trinity Episcopal Church
    1501 N Glass St.
    Victoria, TX 77901

Meanwhile, the spirit of Texas grit and American goodness continue to emerge every day.

If you click on this link you’ll see TV news footage of people in Lake Jackson, TX, sandbagging against the water with volunteers from all over.

The video leads with a Texan I happen to know named Ed DiGuardi.

Prayers for Joyce (mother of two of my children) and Ed, and all the victims, volunteers and professionals from around the country who are showing what the spirit of “Texas Tough-Texas Proud” looks like.


A week that will go down in infamy in Texas and the nation.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »