Category Archives: Inspiration

Out & About—This church, that church, and God’s Garage

Out & About San Diego

Back in 1966 or so my great grandfather died. He was buried in the Catholic Church in San Antonio in which he had been born, baptized, first communionized, married, and attended for 50 years. All was well.

Three years later, my great grandmother died. The family thought that she would be buried in the same church as her husband.

Nope.

During those ensuing three years, the Catholic Church had redrawn its dioceses, and it turned out that my great grandmother now lived in a different diocese. Interestingly, the new church for the new diocese had been built right across the street. So even though my great grandmother probably knew that she had been placed in a new diocese, she kept attending the same church she had been going to for 50+ years. All was not well.

I think that’s when I realized that manmade religions really weren’t for me.

Back in 1994 I was working in Detroit and decided one day to walk Grand River Avenue from Washington Boulevard to West Eight Mile Road, which was close to the office. I had been told that it was called Eight Mile Road because it was eight miles from downtown. That was an alternative fact spouted well before alternative facts became popular. On almost every intersection, four corners, were four churches. Usually they were different denominations but occasionally they were the same—two Catholic churches, or two Presbyterian churches. I understood because of what had happened to my great grandmother 25+ years earlier.

While I will always question whether or not an all-powerful, all-knowing god requires these monstrous cathedrals be built to worship him (or her), I do appreciate their architecture. When I was in Pacific Beach a while back looking for the library, I came across two huge churches right next to each other: St. Brigid Parish Catholic Church and Christ Lutheran Church.

St. Brigid Parish Catholic ChurchSt. Brigid Parish Catholic Church

St. Brigid Parish Catholic Church, Pacific Beach, San Diego, California

St. Brigid Parish Catholic Church, Pacific Beach, San Diego, California

Even though I grew up in the Catholic Church, did the CYO thing, went to Catholic School and Sunday School, I have never heard of St. Brigid. Wikipedia to the rescue!

Saint Brigid of Kildare or Brigid of Ireland (c. 451 – 525) is one of Ireland’s patron saints. Irish hagiography makes her an early Irish Christian nun, abbess, and foundress of several monasteries of nuns, including that of Kildare in Ireland. Her feast day is February 1, which was originally a pagan festival called Imbolc, marking the beginning of spring.

The saint shares her name with an important Celtic goddess, and there are many legends and folk customs associated with her. Some scholars suggest that the saint is merely a Christianization of the goddess. Others suggest that she was a real person who took on the goddess’s attributes. Medieval Art Historian Pamela Berger argues that Christian “monks took the ancient figure of the mother goddess and grafted her name and functions onto her Christian counterpart.” Professor Dáithí Ó hÓgáin and others suggest that the saint had been chief druidess at the temple of the goddess Brigid, and was responsible for converting it into a Christian monastery. After her death, the name and characteristics of the goddess became attached to the saint.

Well, there ya go. Once again I learned absolutely nothing that could make my life better. So let’s move on to Christ Lutheran Church, founded in 1954 as Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church
Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, Pacific Beach, San Diego

Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, Pacific Beach, San Diego

I’m familiar with Lutherans and Christ but I wondered why Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church seems to have dropped the Evangelical from its name. So I went to Wikipedia again to see just who these Evangelicals are and why they had been banished from their own church.

Evangelicalism, Evangelical Christianity, or Evangelical Protestantism is a worldwide, transdenominational movement within Protestant Christianity which maintains the belief that the essence of the gospel consists of the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ’s atonement. Evangelicals believe in the centrality of the conversion or the “born again” experience in receiving salvation, in the authority of the Bible as God’s revelation to humanity, and in spreading the Christian message.

Its origins are usually traced back to English Methodism, the Moravian Church (in particular theology of its bishop Nicolaus Zinzendorf and his community at Herrnhut), and German Lutheran Pietism. While all these phenomena contributed greatly, John Wesley and other early Methodists were at the root of sparking this new movement during the First Great Awakening. Today, Evangelicals are found across many Protestant branches, as well as in various denominations not subsumed to a specific branch. The movement gained great momentum during the 18th and 19th centuries with the Great Awakenings in the United Kingdom and North America.

The Americas, Africa, and Asia are home to the majority of Evangelicals. United States has the largest concentration of Evangelicals in the world; its community forms a quarter of the population, is politically important and based mostly in the Bible Belt. In the United Kingdom, Evangelicals are mostly represented in the Methodist Church, Baptist communities and among low church Anglicans.

Alas, I’m not having much success on this last Sunday in February for again I have learned absolutely nothing that could make my life better.

My wise old grandmother taught me to add laughter to each day, so I shall end with some laughter. Just north of these two churches was God’s Garage:

God's Garage, Pacific Beach, San Diego, California

Now that’s funny.

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The Clothesline Project

Did you know?

My wise old grandmother taught me not to air my dirty clothes in public. So imagine my surprise when I’m walking around the campus of the University of San Diego, a Catholic university, and see two clotheslines full of laundry in front of the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice. Here’s one of them:

The Clothesline Project

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Clothesline ProjectI noticed writing on the shirts so I went over to have a closer look and discovered that it was “The Clothesline Project,” a program started in Massachusetts in 1990 to address the issue of violence against women.

According to sources, “The Clothesline Project is a vehicle for women affected by violence and those that love them to express their emotions by decorating a shirt.”

“The shirts on the clotheslines give testimony to the problem of violence against women and serve as a call to put an end to the silence around sexual assault.”

The Clothesline Project

The Clothesline Project

The Clothesline Project

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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I’m rich! I’m rich!

Inspiration

It doesn’t take much for me to get inspired each day, usually a catnap here and there, a hot shower, the news report, and my Excel spreadsheet detailing my goals and tasks for each day.

Occasionally, though, my level of inspiration jumps a few notches, as it did two days ago when I got this email:

Newsflare

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Notice that payment is in Pounds. I thought Great Britain was part of the Eurozone and was using the Euro. Not so. I guess the citizens voted down membership in the Eurozone. Good for me, though. When I initially read the email, I thought the sales price was in Euros, which were trading at $1.14 to a U.S. dollar. When I went to my PayPal account, the amount was much more than what I thought it should be. That’s when I realized that payment was in Pounds Sterling, which were trading at $1.499 to a U.S. dollar. Yahooooo! More money for me!

Here is the video that sold:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

A mere 13 seconds. However, the event itself started at 10:00 a.m. and ended at 5:00 p.m. Knowing that parking in the area would be bad, I arrived at 7:00 a.m., got a great parking spot, and proceeded to take pictures of the trains passing by every 30 minutes:

Amtrak Pacific Surfliner in Del Mar, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

So if I divide the sales price, $1,124.25, by 12 hours, I get an hourly rate of $93.69. Hmmm. Still not bad………..LOL

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Little Free Libraries in San Diego County

Out & About

Little Free Libraries are a community movement that offers free books housed in small containers to members of the local community. They are also referred to as community book exchanges, book trading posts, pop-up libraries, and Noox (Neighbourhood bOOk eXchange).

The Little Free Library phenomenon, according to Wikipedia, started in 2009 in Hudson, Wisconsin.

“Todd Bol mounted a wooden container designed to look like a school house on a post on his lawn as a tribute to his mother, who was a book lover and school teacher.”

Recently I found a Little Free Library at Chollas Lake, but it also has nice chairs to sit in!

Little Free Library

Little Free Library

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Quoting Wikipedia again:

Little Free Library owners can create their own library box, usually about the size of a doll house, or purchase one from the [Little Free Library website]. Libraries may be registered for a fee and assigned a number at the organization’s website. Libraries can be found through their GPS coordinates. Owners receive a sign that reads “Little Free Library”. They often have the phrase, “Take a Book. Leave a Book.”

As of February 2013, all 50 states and 40 countries worldwide have been involved in the literary program.[6

The original goal was the creation of 2,150 Little Libraries, which would surpass the number of libraries founded by Andrew Carnegie. As of January 2014, there are over 15,000 Little Libraries worldwide, including all 50 states and 40 countries.

Here is a list of Little Free Libraries that I know of as of January 25, 2015:

2727 Southampton Road, Carlsbad
2357 Summerwind Place, Carlsbad
4190 Sunnyhill Drive, Carlsbad
2605 Unicornio Street, Carlsbad
911 Rutgers Avenue, Chula Vista
601 Crescent Drive, Chula Vista
200 Stratford Court, Del Mar
1902 Quidort Court, El Cajon
1332 Whitsett Drive, El Cajon
1650 Sunburst Drive, El Cajon
107 Woodshadow Lane, Encinitas
744 Quiet Hills Farm Road, Escondido
2356 Heather Point, Escondido
660 East Grand Avenue, Escondido
1263 Canter Road, Escondido
611 El Norte Hills Place, Escondido
1683 Calle Candela, La Jolla
Little Free Library4622 Grandview Terrace, La Mesa
10733 Itzamna Road, La Mesa
4424 Nabal Drive, La Mesa
4351 Parks Avenue, La Mesa
4630 Palm Avenue, La Mesa (picture ►)
10615 Snyder Road, La Mesa
317 Hoover Street, Oceanside
16285 Oak Creek Trail, Poway
13130 Woodmont Street, Poway
12133 Sage View Road, Poway
13423 Cricket Hill, Poway
3412 Quince St, San Diego
2611 Grandview St, San Diego
3343 Harbor View Drive, San Diego
2263 Pentuckett Avenue, San Diego
4963 Canterbury Drive, San Diego
1079 Cypress Avenue, San Diego
3314 Karok Avenue, San Diego
2153 Pine Street, San Diego
2731 Amulet Street, San Diego
12655 Pacato Circle South, San Diego
4523 Cather Avenue, San Diego
815 Avalon Court, San Diego
10444 Cheviot Court, San Diego
4567 East Talmadge Drive, San Diego
5854 Malvern Court, San Diego
3530 Cooper Street, San Diego
2341 Whitman Street, San Diego
4649 Biona Drive, San Diego
9505 East Harland Circle, Santee

If you have a Little Free Library, you can register it to make it official.

Little Free Library

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Some things should be shared

Inspiration

When I’m depressed and suicidal, I often resort to reading and listening to lots of music—since October 16 I’ve been averaging over eleven hours a day of music.

My reading in these situations often is stuff that makes me laugh, think, cry, love, wish, share….

My first circumstance with such thoughts came when I was in high school in 1971. Just a lad of 16, I fell in love with two people, one female and one male. I didn’t know what was happening to me. That was when I discovered Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations. Coupled with anything and everything Beatles, I worked my way out of depression. Nowadays, of course, they have meds for that, but one has to be able to afford getting to a doctor to get a prescription for such meds, or have very good health insurance.

So that leaves me, still, with music and books.

The book that I am reading through right now is “If Ignorance Is Bliss, Why Aren’t There More Happy People” with the subtitle “Smart Quotes For Dumb Times,” by John Lloyd and John Mitchinson. The authors previously graced humanity with their book, “The Book of General Ignorance.”

Here’s a thought for today that I got from “If Ignorance Is Bliss….”:

Happiness shared

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Look what yesterday brought!

Inspiration

My mother-in-law’s boyfriend was having computer problems. Sounded like a fairly easy fix so I zipped up to his house yesterday afternoon to see what was going on.

Got a nice picture of the sunset:

Sunset in Vista, California, on Veterans' Day 2014

It took about thirty minutes to solve the computer problem, so all is well there.

When I got home, I checked the mail.

One of the items from the mail now is proudly placed on my office whiteboard:

Mail from Japan

The picture, which is a postcard, was in the envelope, and the envelope is from Japan, from Takami.

The sunset was great, but the mail from Japan made my day.

Thank you, Takami!

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There’s someone worse off than you

Inspiration

For all of my adult life I have been interested in helping people, an interest that was developed in me by my wise old grandmother. Her standard reply to me every time I would complain about something was, “There’s someone in the world worse off than you.”

When I got to high school, which was grades 10-12, I joined Key Club because their banner hanging in the main hallway said, “There’s someone worse off than you. Let’s help them!”

Key Club International is the oldest and largest service program for high school students. Its goal is to teach leadership through helping. It was started in 1925 by California State Commissioner of Schools Albert C. Olney and vocational education teacher Frank C. Vincent at Sacramento High School in California. Interestingly, female students were not admitted until 1977!

At Texas A&M University, I joined Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity. After college, I continued for several years with Alpha Phi Omega but also took up with the American Heart Association, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Special Olympics, Red Cross, and many others. I was looking for a job with a charitable organization so that I could spend the rest of my life helping people. Sadly, I never made it to where I wanted to be.

However, I still continue giving of my time, money, and skills wherever I can. It’s the least I can do.

One of the organizations where I spend some money is DonorsChoose.org. I like them because, as stated in the name, I get to choose how to spend my money with them. Earlier this year I donated to help a teacher at a low-income grade school get some news magazines for her students. Last month, I got eight thank you letters from the students:

letter 01

letter 02

letter 03

letter 04

letter 05

letter 06

letter 07

letter 08

letter 09

Made my day.

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