Welcome Family & Friends

“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful; for beauty is God's handwriting ~ a wayside sacrament. Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every fair flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing."

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Last year as I was contemplating my 40th year on this big blue planet, that I have not seen nearly enough of, I thought that it was time to set some firm goals for myself rather than constantly saying “Wouldn’t it be nice to one day…”. Instead of having another blowout birthday bash, I have decided to opt for something a little more introspective. So, that’s it. 2011 is the year I’m doing my Pilgrimage on The Camino De Santiago De Compostela.

Why have I waited so long? Well to be truthful, I really had not heard about it until recently. I actually happened upon the idea watching an episode of "Burt Wolf's Travels & Traditions" on PBS one weekend. Then there's also the finances associated with such a long journey rife with logistics. This endeavor isn’t going to be cheap when you add up plane fare, hiking equipment, 50 euros a day, and time off from work. But my plans are slowly materializing. It’s going to happen - I can see it! I've even asked my friends and family to keep me to my word on this one. I plan on starting my trek in late September during the less congested season. If all goes well, I should end my journey close to the end of October 2011!

I created this blog to keep you all informed on my progress in the months leading up to my trip. This blog will give me a forum to educate everyone about the Pilgrimage and its history...and even comment on the French and Spanish cultures. I also plan on doing a lot of fundraising to help me pay for things I will need, so check back often as I announce events and opportunities for you to help me reach my goals. Speaking of goals, I will also be doing a lot of physical training to ready my body for the long walk. I will be sure to post all my trials and tribulations here as well. I know a lot of you will get a kick out of hearing how I "get back into shape" over the next few months. Please don't hold back if you have any tips that will aid in my fitness.

I will also utilize this blog to diary and chronicle my days while on the Pilgrimage. It will be my main mode of communication since I will be all the way in Spain. I will try and post daily musings of my travels, send out pretty pictures of the contryside, and tell you about all the wonderful people I encounter along the way. My path will take me across 350+ miles of beautiful landscapes starting near the Pyrenees and traversing all the way out to the Galician coast. I’m figuring on 4-5 weeks to reach the Cathedral where the remains of Saint James The Greater rest - I know, can you believe it?!!!

So thanks for visiting my blog! Please come by and poke around as I send out future updates and please spread the word - I want to share this story with everyone and anyone that is willing to listen and learn!

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."

Love Always,
Richert Gordon

The Cathedral De Santiago De Compostela

The Cathedral De Santiago De Compostela
Click the above image to visit the Catedral de Santiago

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Saint Patrick: Man, Myth, & Holiday

St. Patrick of Ireland is one of the world's most popular saints.

Apostle of Ireland, born at Kilpatrick, near Dumbarton, in Scotland, in the year 387; died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland, 17 March, 461.

Along with St. Nicholas and St. Valentine, the secular world shares our love of these saints. This is also a day when everyone's Irish.

There are many legends and stories of St. Patrick, but this is his story.

Patrick was born around 385 in Scotland, probably Kilpatrick. His parents were Calpurnius and Conchessa, who were Romans living in Britian in charge of the colonies.

As a boy of fourteen or so, he was captured during a raiding party and taken to Ireland as a slave to herd and tend sheep. Ireland at this time was a land of Druids and pagans. He learned the language and practices of the people who held him.

During his captivity, he turned to God in prayer. He wrote:

"The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was rosed, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same." "I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain."

Patrick's captivity lasted until he was twenty, when he escaped after having a dream from God in which he was told to leave Ireland by going to the coast. There he found some sailors who took him back to Britian, where he reunited with his family.

He had another dream in which the people of Ireland were calling out to him "We beg you, holy youth, to come and walk among us once more."

He began his studies for the priesthood. He was ordained by St. Germanus, the Bishop of Auxerre, whom he had studied under for years.

Later, Patrick was ordained a bishop, and was sent to take the Gospel to Ireland. He arrived in Ireland March 25, 433, at Slane. One legend says that he met a chieftain of one of the tribes, who tried to kill Patrick. Patrick converted Dichu (the chieftain) after he was unable to move his arm until he became friendly to Patrick.

Patrick began preaching the Gospel throughout Ireland, converting many. He and his disciples preached and converted thousands and began building churches all over the country. Kings, their families, and entire kingdoms converted to Christianity when hearing Patrick's message.

Patrick by now had many disciples, among them Beningnus, Auxilius, Iserninus, and Fiaac, (all later canonized as well).

Patrick preached and converted all of Ireland for 40 years. He worked many miracles and wrote of his love for God in Confessions. After years of living in poverty, traveling and enduring much suffering he died March 17, 461.

He died at Saul, where he had built the first church.

Why a shamrock?
Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Trinity, and has been associated with him and the Irish since that time.

In His Footsteps:
Patrick was a humble, pious, gentle man, whose love and total devotion to and trust in God should be a shining example to each of us. He feared nothing, not even death, so complete was his trust in God, and of the importance of his mission.

The beautiful prayer of St Patrick, popularly known as "St Patrick's Breast-Plate", is supposed to have been composed by him in preparation for this victory over Paganism. The following is a literal translation from the old Irish text:

I bind to myself today The strong virtue of the Invocation of the Trinity: I believe the Trinity in the Unity The Creator of the Universe.

I bind to myself today The virtue of the Incarnation of Christ with His Baptism, The virtue of His crucifixion with His burial, The virtue of His Resurrection with His Ascension, The virtue of His coming on the Judgement Day.

I bind to myself today The virtue of the love of seraphim, In the obedience of angels, In the hope of resurrection unto reward, In prayers of Patriarchs, In predictions of Prophets, In preaching of Apostles, In faith of Confessors, In purity of holy Virgins, In deeds of righteous men.

I bind to myself today The power of Heaven, The light of the sun, The brightness of the moon, The splendour of fire, The flashing of lightning, The swiftness of wind, The depth of sea, The stability of earth, The compactness of rocks.

I bind to myself today God's Power to guide me, God's Might to uphold me, God's Wisdom to teach me, God's Eye to watch over me, God's Ear to hear me, God's Word to give me speech, God's Hand to guide me, God's Way to lie before me, God's Shield to shelter me, God's Host to secure me, Against the snares of demons, Against the seductions of vices.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

If You Want To Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation.

1 JANUARY 2010

1. At the beginning of this New Year, I wish to offer heartfelt greetings of peace to all Christian communities, international leaders, and people of good will throughout the world. For this XLIII World Day of Peace I have chosen the theme: If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation. Respect for creation is of immense consequence, not least because “creation is the beginning and the foundation of all God’s works”,[1] and its preservation has now become essential for the pacific coexistence of mankind. Man’s inhumanity to man has given rise to numerous threats to peace and to authentic and integral human development – wars, international and regional conflicts, acts of terrorism, and violations of human rights. Yet no less troubling are the threats arising from the neglect – if not downright misuse – of the earth and the natural goods that God has given us. For this reason, it is imperative that mankind renew and strengthen “that covenant between human beings and the environment, which should mirror the creative love of God, from whom we come and towards whom we are journeying”.[2]

2. In my Encyclical
Caritas in Veritate, I noted that integral human development is closely linked to the obligations which flow from man’s relationship with the natural environment. The environment must be seen as God’s gift to all people, and the use we make of it entails a shared responsibility for all humanity, especially the poor and future generations. I also observed that whenever nature, and human beings in particular, are seen merely as products of chance or an evolutionary determinism, our overall sense of responsibility wanes.[3] On the other hand, seeing creation as God’s gift to humanity helps us understand our vocation and worth as human beings. With the Psalmist, we can exclaim with wonder: “When I look at your heavens, the work of your hands, the moon and the stars which you have established; what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” (Ps 8:4-5). Contemplating the beauty of creation inspires us to recognize the love of the Creator, that Love which “moves the sun and the other stars”.[4]

3. Twenty years ago,
Pope John Paul II devoted his Message for the World Day of Peace to the theme: Peace with God the Creator, Peace with All of Creation. He emphasized our relationship, as God’s creatures, with the universe all around us. “In our day”, he wrote, “there is a growing awareness that world peace is threatened … also by a lack of due respect for nature”. He added that “ecological awareness, rather than being downplayed, needs to be helped to develop and mature, and find fitting expression in concrete programmes and initiatives”.[5] Previous Popes had spoken of the relationship between human beings and the environment. In 1971, for example, on the eightieth anniversary of Leo XIII’s Encyclical Rerum Novarum, Paul VI pointed out that “by an ill-considered exploitation of nature (man) risks destroying it and becoming in his turn the victim of this degradation”. He added that “not only is the material environment becoming a permanent menace – pollution and refuse, new illnesses and absolute destructive capacity – but the human framework is no longer under man’s control, thus creating an environment for tomorrow which may well be intolerable. This is a wide-ranging social problem which concerns the entire human family”.[6]

4. Without entering into the merit of specific technical solutions, the Church is nonetheless concerned, as an “expert in humanity”, to call attention to the relationship between the Creator, human beings and the created order. In 1990
John Paul II had spoken of an “ecological crisis” and, in highlighting its primarily ethical character, pointed to the “urgent moral need for a new solidarity”.[7] His appeal is all the more pressing today, in the face of signs of a growing crisis which it would be irresponsible not to take seriously. Can we remain indifferent before the problems associated with such realities as climate change, desertification, the deterioration and loss of productivity in vast agricultural areas, the pollution of rivers and aquifers, the loss of biodiversity, the increase of natural catastrophes and the deforestation of equatorial and tropical regions? Can we disregard the growing phenomenon of “environmental refugees”, people who are forced by the degradation of their natural habitat to forsake it – and often their possessions as well – in order to face the dangers and uncertainties of forced displacement? Can we remain impassive in the face of actual and potential conflicts involving access to natural resources? All these are issues with a profound impact on the exercise of human rights, such as the right to life, food, health and development.

5. It should be evident that the ecological crisis cannot be viewed in isolation from other related questions, since it is closely linked to the notion of development itself and our understanding of man in his relationship to others and to the rest of creation. Prudence would thus dictate a profound, long-term review of our model of development, one which would take into consideration the meaning of the economy and its goals with an eye to correcting its malfunctions and misapplications. The ecological health of the planet calls for this, but it is also demanded by the cultural and moral crisis of humanity whose symptoms have for some time been evident in every part of the world.
[8] Humanity needs a profound cultural renewal; it needs to rediscover those values which can serve as the solid basis for building a brighter future for all. Our present crises – be they economic, food-related, environmental or social – are ultimately also moral crises, and all of them are interrelated. They require us to rethink the path which we are travelling together. Specifically, they call for a lifestyle marked by sobriety and solidarity, with new rules and forms of engagement, one which focuses confidently and courageously on strategies that actually work, while decisively rejecting those that have failed. Only in this way can the current crisis become an opportunity for discernment and new strategic planning.

6. Is it not true that what we call “nature” in a cosmic sense has its origin in “a plan of love and truth”? The world “is not the product of any necessity whatsoever, nor of blind fate or chance… The world proceeds from the free will of God; he wanted to make his creatures share in his being, in his intelligence, and in his goodness”.
[9] The Book of Genesis, in its very first pages, points to the wise design of the cosmos: it comes forth from God’s mind and finds its culmination in man and woman, made in the image and likeness of the Creator to “fill the earth” and to “have dominion over” it as “stewards” of God himself (cf. Gen 1:28). The harmony between the Creator, mankind and the created world, as described by Sacred Scripture, was disrupted by the sin of Adam and Eve, by man and woman, who wanted to take the place of God and refused to acknowledge that they were his creatures. As a result, the work of “exercising dominion” over the earth, “tilling it and keeping it”, was also disrupted, and conflict arose within and between mankind and the rest of creation (cf. Gen 3:17-19). Human beings let themselves be mastered by selfishness; they misunderstood the meaning of God’s command and exploited creation out of a desire to exercise absolute domination over it. But the true meaning of God’s original command, as the Book of Genesis clearly shows, was not a simple conferral of authority, but rather a summons to responsibility. The wisdom of the ancients had recognized that nature is not at our disposal as “a heap of scattered refuse”.[10] Biblical Revelation made us see that nature is a gift of the Creator, who gave it an inbuilt order and enabled man to draw from it the principles needed to “till it and keep it” (cf. Gen. 2:15).[11] Everything that exists belongs to God, who has entrusted it to man, albeit not for his arbitrary use. Once man, instead of acting as God’s co-worker, sets himself up in place of God, he ends up provoking a rebellion on the part of nature, “which is more tyrannized than governed by him”.[12] Man thus has a duty to exercise responsible stewardship over creation, to care for it and to cultivate it.[13]

7. Sad to say, it is all too evident that large numbers of people in different countries and areas of our planet are experiencing increased hardship because of the negligence or refusal of many others to exercise responsible stewardship over the environment. The
Second Vatican Ecumenical Council reminded us that “God has destined the earth and everything it contains for all peoples and nations”.[14] The goods of creation belong to humanity as a whole. Yet the current pace of environmental exploitation is seriously endangering the supply of certain natural resources not only for the present generation, but above all for generations yet to come.[15] It is not hard to see that environmental degradation is often due to the lack of far-sighted official policies or to the pursuit of myopic economic interests, which then, tragically, become a serious threat to creation. To combat this phenomenon, economic activity needs to consider the fact that “every economic decision has a moral consequence” [16] and thus show increased respect for the environment. When making use of natural resources, we should be concerned for their protection and consider the cost entailed – environmentally and socially – as an essential part of the overall expenses incurred. The international community and national governments are responsible for sending the right signals in order to combat effectively the misuse of the environment. To protect the environment, and to safeguard natural resources and the climate, there is a need to act in accordance with clearly-defined rules, also from the juridical and economic standpoint, while at the same time taking into due account the solidarity we owe to those living in the poorer areas of our world and to future generations.

8. A greater sense of intergenerational solidarity is urgently needed. Future generations cannot be saddled with the cost of our use of common environmental resources. “We have inherited from past generations, and we have benefited from the work of our contemporaries; for this reason we have obligations towards all, and we cannot refuse to interest ourselves in those who will come after us, to enlarge the human family. Universal solidarity represents a benefit as well as a duty. This is a responsibility that present generations have towards those of the future, a responsibility that also concerns individual States and the international community”.
[17] Natural resources should be used in such a way that immediate benefits do not have a negative impact on living creatures, human and not, present and future; that the protection of private property does not conflict with the universal destination of goods;[18] that human activity does not compromise the fruitfulness of the earth, for the benefit of people now and in the future. In addition to a fairer sense of intergenerational solidarity there is also an urgent moral need for a renewed sense of intragenerational solidarity, especially in relationships between developing countries and highly industrialized countries: “the international community has an urgent duty to find institutional means of regulating the exploitation of non-renewable resources, involving poor countries in the process, in order to plan together for the future”.[19] The ecological crisis shows the urgency of a solidarity which embraces time and space. It is important to acknowledge that among the causes of the present ecological crisis is the historical responsibility of the industrialized countries. Yet the less developed countries, and emerging countries in particular, are not exempt from their own responsibilities with regard to creation, for the duty of gradually adopting effective environmental measures and policies is incumbent upon all. This would be accomplished more easily if self-interest played a lesser role in the granting of aid and the sharing of knowledge and cleaner technologies.

9. To be sure, among the basic problems which the international community has to address is that of energy resources and the development of joint and sustainable strategies to satisfy the energy needs of the present and future generations. This means that technologically advanced societies must be prepared to encourage more sober lifestyles, while reducing their energy consumption and improving its efficiency. At the same time there is a need to encourage research into, and utilization of, forms of energy with lower impact on the environment and “a world-wide redistribution of energy resources, so that countries lacking those resources can have access to them”.
[20] The ecological crisis offers an historic opportunity to develop a common plan of action aimed at orienting the model of global development towards greater respect for creation and for an integral human development inspired by the values proper to charity in truth. I would advocate the adoption of a model of development based on the centrality of the human person, on the promotion and sharing of the common good, on responsibility, on a realization of our need for a changed life-style, and on prudence, the virtue which tells us what needs to be done today in view of what might happen tomorrow.[21]

10. A sustainable comprehensive management of the environment and the resources of the planet demands that human intelligence be directed to technological and scientific research and its practical applications. The “new solidarity” for which
John Paul II called in his Message for the 1990 World Day of Peace [22] and the “global solidarity” for which I myself appealed in my Message for the 2009 World Day of Peace [23] are essential attitudes in shaping our efforts to protect creation through a better internationally-coordinated management of the earth’s resources, particularly today, when there is an increasingly clear link between combatting environmental degradation and promoting an integral human development. These two realities are inseparable, since “the integral development of individuals necessarily entails a joint effort for the development of humanity as a whole”.[24] At present there are a number of scientific developments and innovative approaches which promise to provide satisfactory and balanced solutions to the problem of our relationship to the environment. Encouragement needs to be given, for example, to research into effective ways of exploiting the immense potential of solar energy. Similar attention also needs to be paid to the world-wide problem of water and to the global water cycle system, which is of prime importance for life on earth and whose stability could be seriously jeopardized by climate change. Suitable strategies for rural development centred on small farmers and their families should be explored, as well as the implementation of appropriate policies for the management of forests, for waste disposal and for strengthening the linkage between combatting climate change and overcoming poverty. Ambitious national policies are required, together with a necessary international commitment which will offer important benefits especially in the medium and long term. There is a need, in effect, to move beyond a purely consumerist mentality in order to promote forms of agricultural and industrial production capable of respecting creation and satisfying the primary needs of all. The ecological problem must be dealt with not only because of the chilling prospects of environmental degradation on the horizon; the real motivation must be the quest for authentic world-wide solidarity inspired by the values of charity, justice and the common good. For that matter, as I have stated elsewhere, “technology is never merely technology. It reveals man and his aspirations towards development; it expresses the inner tension that impels him gradually to overcome material limitations. Technology in this sense is a response to God’s command to till and keep the land (cf. Gen 2:15) that he has entrusted to humanity, and it must serve to reinforce the covenant between human beings and the environment, a covenant that should mirror God’s creative love”.[25]

11. It is becoming more and more evident that the issue of environmental degradation challenges us to examine our life-style and the prevailing models of consumption and production, which are often unsustainable from a social, environmental and even economic point of view. We can no longer do without a real change of outlook which will result in new life-styles, “in which the quest for truth, beauty, goodness and communion with others for the sake of common growth are the factors which determine consumer choices, savings and investments”.
[26] Education for peace must increasingly begin with far-reaching decisions on the part of individuals, families, communities and states. We are all responsible for the protection and care of the environment. This responsibility knows no boundaries. In accordance with the principle of subsidiarity it is important for everyone to be committed at his or her proper level, working to overcome the prevalence of particular interests. A special role in raising awareness and in formation belongs to the different groups present in civil society and to the non-governmental organizations which work with determination and generosity for the spread of ecological responsibility, responsibility which should be ever more deeply anchored in respect for “human ecology”. The media also have a responsibility in this regard to offer positive and inspiring models. In a word, concern for the environment calls for a broad global vision of the world; a responsible common effort to move beyond approaches based on selfish nationalistic interests towards a vision constantly open to the needs of all peoples. We cannot remain indifferent to what is happening around us, for the deterioration of any one part of the planet affects us all. Relationships between individuals, social groups and states, like those between human beings and the environment, must be marked by respect and “charity in truth”. In this broader context one can only encourage the efforts of the international community to ensure progressive disarmament and a world free of nuclear weapons, whose presence alone threatens the life of the planet and the ongoing integral development of the present generation and of generations yet to come.

12. The Church has a responsibility towards creation, and she considers it her duty to exercise that responsibility in public life, in order to protect earth, water and air as gifts of God the Creator meant for everyone, and above all to save mankind from the danger of self-destruction. The degradation of nature is closely linked to the cultural models shaping human coexistence: consequently, “when ‘human ecology’ is respected within society, environmental ecology also benefits”.
[27] Young people cannot be asked to respect the environment if they are not helped, within families and society as a whole, to respect themselves. The book of nature is one and indivisible; it includes not only the environment but also individual, family and social ethics.[28] Our duties towards the environment flow from our duties towards the person, considered both individually and in relation to others.
Hence I readily encourage efforts to promote a greater sense of ecological responsibility which, as I indicated in my Encyclical
Caritas in Veritate, would safeguard an authentic “human ecology” and thus forcefully reaffirm the inviolability of human life at every stage and in every condition, the dignity of the person and the unique mission of the family, where one is trained in love of neighbour and respect for nature.[29] There is a need to safeguard the human patrimony of society. This patrimony of values originates in and is part of the natural moral law, which is the foundation of respect for the human person and creation.

13. Nor must we forget the very significant fact that many people experience peace and tranquillity, renewal and reinvigoration, when they come into close contact with the beauty and harmony of nature. There exists a certain reciprocity: as we care for creation, we realize that God, through creation, cares for us. On the other hand, a correct understanding of the relationship between man and the environment will not end by absolutizing nature or by considering it more important than the human person. If the Church’s magisterium expresses grave misgivings about notions of the environment inspired by ecocentrism and biocentrism, it is because such notions eliminate the difference of identity and worth between the human person and other living things. In the name of a supposedly egalitarian vision of the “dignity” of all living creatures, such notions end up abolishing the distinctiveness and superior role of human beings. They also open the way to a new pantheism tinged with neo-paganism, which would see the source of man’s salvation in nature alone, understood in purely naturalistic terms. The Church, for her part, is concerned that the question be approached in a balanced way, with respect for the “grammar” which the Creator has inscribed in his handiwork by giving man the role of a steward and administrator with responsibility over creation, a role which man must certainly not abuse, but also one which he may not abdicate. In the same way, the opposite position, which would absolutize technology and human power, results in a grave assault not only on nature, but also on human dignity itself.

14. If you want to cultivate peace, protect creation. The quest for peace by people of good will surely would become easier if all acknowledge the indivisible relationship between God, human beings and the whole of creation. In the light of divine Revelation and in fidelity to the Church’s Tradition, Christians have their own contribution to make. They contemplate the cosmos and its marvels in light of the creative work of the Father and the redemptive work of Christ, who by his death and resurrection has reconciled with God “all things, whether on earth or in heaven” (Col 1:20). Christ, crucified and risen, has bestowed his Spirit of holiness upon mankind, to guide the course of history in anticipation of that day when, with the glorious return of the Saviour, there will be “new heavens and a new earth” (2 Pet 3:13), in which justice and peace will dwell for ever. Protecting the natural environment in order to build a world of peace is thus a duty incumbent upon each and all. It is an urgent challenge, one to be faced with renewed and concerted commitment; it is also a providential opportunity to hand down to coming generations the prospect of a better future for all. May this be clear to world leaders and to those at every level who are concerned for the future of humanity: the protection of creation and peacemaking are profoundly linked! For this reason, I invite all believers to raise a fervent prayer to God, the all-powerful Creator and the Father of mercies, so that all men and women may take to heart the urgent appeal: If you want to cultivate peace, protect creation.

From the Vatican, 8 December 2009


[1] Catechism of the Catholic Church, 198.
[2] Benedict XVI, Message for the 2008 World Day of Peace, 7.
[3] Cf. No.48.
[4] Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy, Paradiso, XXXIII, 145.
[5] Message for the 1990 World Day of Peace, 1.
[6] Apostolic Letter Octogesima Adveniens, 21.
[7] Message for the 1990 World Day of Peace, 10.
[8] Cf. Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter Caritas in Veritate, 32.
[9] Catechism of the Catholic Church, 295.
[10] Heraclitus of Ephesus (c. 535 – c. 475 B.C.), Fragment 22B124, in H. Diels-W. Kranz, Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, Weidmann, Berlin,1952, 6th ed.
[11] Cf. Benedict XVI,Encyclical Letter Caritas in Veritate, 48.
[12] John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus, 37.
[13] Cf. Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter Caritas in Veritate, 50.
[14] Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, 69.
[15] Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 34.
[16] Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter Caritas in Veritate, 37.
[17] Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 467; cf. Paul VI, Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, 17.
[18] Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus, 30-31, 43
[19] Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter Caritas in Veritate, 49.
[20] Ibid.
[21] Cf. Saint Thomas Aquinas, S. Th., II-II, q. 49, 5.
[22] Cf. No. 9.
[23] Cf. No. 8.
[24] Paul VI, Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio, 43.
[25] Encyclical Letter Caritas in Veritate, 69.
[26] John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus, 36.
[27] Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter Caritas in Veritate, 51.
[28] Cf. ibid., 15, 51.
[29] Cf. ibid., 28, 51, 61; John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus, 38, 39.
[30] Cf. Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter Caritas in Veritate, 70.

Arriving in Santiago & The Pilgrims Mass.

Everyday for the past 1200 years pilgrims who have been walking the ancient road to the city of Santiago de Compostela arrive and celebrate the completion of their journey. They applaud each other, relive moments of shared excitement, and honor their accomplishment.

Pilgrims enter the historic city at the "Door of the Way", which was one of the original doorways in the walls of the medieval city. The pilgrims are heading for Santiago’s great Cathedral.


Construction of the Cathedral began in 1075. It is the work of many craftsmen and incorporates various architectural styles.

The most famous image of the Cathedral is the main façade that was put up in the middle of the 1700's.

The entrance to the Cathedral in Santiago was the ultimate achievement for medieval sculpture in Spain. It is known as the Portico of Glory and its objective, which was the aim of almost all medieval sculpture, was to explain the Old Testament, the New Testament and other Christian traditions to people who could not read. But a thousand years later the Portico also does a good job of explaining to us what life was like in the Middle Ages.

On the arch above the entrance are a series of 24 elders, talking to each other and carrying a series of musical instruments. The instruments are so realistic that they have become a basic source of information about medieval music and are used to reproduce instruments from the period. All are paired off and in the middle of animated conversations. Even though it is a representation of the Final Judgment it is a joyful and triumphant moment.

An image of Saint James rests on a column that illustrates the Tree of Jesse - the human genealogy of Christ.

Part of the southern archway of the Portico illustrates the fate of sinners which is a common theme in Romanesque art. This is the Bible in Stone and presents the coming attractions that will be found in hell. Lust, gluttony, sloth, anger and avarice will get you VIP treatment.

In 1589, Santiago thought it was about to be attacked by the English pirate Sir Francis Drake and decided to hide the Cathedral’s treasures including the relics of St. James. They did such a good job that the relics remained lost until 1878 when they were discovered during a restoration project in the Cathedral.


The 11th, through the 13th centuries were the great years for the construction of the pilgrimage church. And many of these projects turned out to be the largest building programs since the time of the ancient Romans. The most important architectural innovation in these churches was an ambulatory - an extension of the side aisles that passed behind and around the altar. This change in the floor plan allowed the pilgrims to circulate around the building without disturbing the solemn ceremonies that were taking place. Each of the side chapels of the ambulatory held additional relics where pilgrims could offer prayers as they proceeded around the building. Keep in mind that each year over two million people were making the trip to Santiago.

But unlike any other pilgrimage church, the physical and spiritual focus of the Cathedral in Santiago is the High Altar which sits above the Apostle’s remains.

Pilgrims climb a short set of steps and embrace the statue of Saint James. Over the centuries pilgrims have developed a rather intimate relationship to this statue which has been around since the 1100's. They see Saint James as a friend, someone who pitched in and helped you get through your long journey. You want to give him a hug and express your appreciation. But even if you are not interested in that level of physical intimacy with the Saint, it’s a good idea to come up here because the spot offers the best view of the Cathedral.

The most spectacular work inside is the canopy above the shrine. It was carved in wood, then covered with gold leaf. It’s decorated with angels, vines, flowers and coats of arms. The objective of a canopy in a church is to focus the viewer’s attention on the altar and this one certainly does the job. Above the statue of Saint James as the Apostle being hugged by pilgrims you have him as a pilgrim sharing the experience with everyone who is hugging him just below. On top there is a third image - Santiago on horseback as the slayer of Moors.

Below, a passageway leads to the crypt where a silver urn contains what are said to be the remains of the Saint being kept in the same spot where they were buried in the first century.


The veneration of relics and the undertaking of a pilgrimage to a holy place is part of almost every religion. In Spain, relics had been admired and honored since the arrival of Christianity.

But there is no record of any pilgrimage until the discovery of the body of Saint James in Santiago. As a direct result of these pilgrimages the city of Santiago became rich and powerful, and quickly learned to honor the travelers upon their arrival.

Each day at noon the Cathedral holds a Mass for the pilgrims. The country of origin and the mode of transportation used to reach Santiago are announced. The Mass becomes an act of closure, the conclusion of an extraordinary, life altering experience. It touches people who have made the journey with a religious conviction, but it is equally impressive to people who have no interest in religion. It is a ceremony that marks the physical end of their trip, the moment of arrival at the goal.


On special occasions and during a holy year the Cathedral puts it’s botafumeiro into play. Botafumeiro means “smoke belcher” and in this case it is a six foot high, 160 pound incense burner that is suspended from the ceiling of the Cathedral. It is one of the largest incense burners in the world and eight men are required to control its movement as it swings through both the north and south transepts in front of the altar.

The original burner, stolen by Napoleon’s troops in 1809, has been replaced by a silver-plated tin copy that was made by a goldsmith in 1851.

One of the explanations for its enormity was then eed to freshen the air in the Cathedral after it was visited by thousands of travelers wearing clothing that had not been washed for months. The smoke and smell also add to the already mystical quality of the building.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

2009 Run To Feed The Hungry

I will be opting out of the traditional Thanksgiving day feed this year and, instead, will be joining thousands of individuals and families for this noteworthy Sacramento area charity! Run to Feed the Hungry has become an annual holiday tradition for countless area families. Beginning in 1994 with only 800 runners, the event now ranks as Sacramento Valley's largest annual run & fun run/walk. In 2008, over 28,000 participants attended and we met our goal of raising $750,000 for Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services. As we approach our 16th year we look forward to another record crowd and donations topping $800,000. This is a 10K Timed Run, 5K Timed Run, 5K Fun Run/Walk that takes place this coming Thanksgiving Morning - Thursday, November 26, 2009 - Rain or Shine! The race starts just West of the entrance to the Sacramento State campus and runs through East Sacramento. Wish me luck!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Fundraiser Alert!: It’s a Jewelry Trunk Show, a Book Sale, & a Loose Change Drive!

My dear friends at Corrick’s have generously allowed me to conduct a fundraiser in their beautiful store. As most of you already know, I am going on a month-long pilgrimage next year to Spain. I have already raised much needed monies for my trip, but I still have a ways yet to meet my goal of $10,000. So, with the holidays just around the corner, I decided I would peddle some of my hand-made crafts and wares.

I have been making jewelry for many years - many of you have already purchased my pieces in my shop RELISH or at my online store on Etsy. For this special fundraising event I will be pulling from my old inventory, and I will also be revealing fancy new blingy pieces that have just been created. This means I will have lots of pretty treasures on sale for UNDER A $AWBUCK!!! And, if you so please, you can also purchase my premium choice stock that will be over $100.00 a piece. I will have rhinestone rings, beaded watches, luxurious necklaces, and stylish bracelets - something for everyone! You can get a ton of your shopping done all at once!

I will also have a varied selection of beautiful books for sale…and get this…EVERY SINGLE PIECE WILL ONLY BE $5.00 - WHAT A BARGAIN!!! All volumes are BRAND NEW and will include: Martha Stewart craft books, Coffee Table Photography books, Cookbooks, Children’s Christmas books, AND, MUCH, MUCH, MORE!!! Where else can you get 4 presents for $20.00?

Finally, I will also be collecting loose change in a big glass jar. Bring those bad pennies that keep showing up, your dirty dimes, and ashtray quarters. Empty out your purses and pockets to lighten your load - I WILL TAKE YOUR COINAGE AND PUT IT TO GOOD USE!!! Thanks in advance for your kind donations!

So here are the details: This exciting fundraiser will be happening at Corrick’s on Saturday December 5th ALL DAY from 10am - 6pm. There will also be special LIVE musical performances by Jazz Vocalist Susan Lee Vick from 4pm - 6pm and also Acoustic Piano pieces performed by Corrick Brown & Norma Reddert-Brown throughout the day! Since this event is being held separate from the retail store sales, I kindly ask that you please pay me with either cash or personal check. One last thing - for every person that purchases more than $100.00 in items, you will receive a special Holiday Ornament to hang on your tree as a personal gift from me!!!

637 Fourth Street
Downtown Santa Rosa, California 95404

Thursday, May 7, 2009

National Day Of Prayer Is Today May 7th, 2009

Why We Pray
As American troops stormed the beaches of Normandy, President Franklin Roosevelt called for our nation to unite in prayer. He also offered a prayer to prepare each citizen for the road ahead. "Let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be. And, O Lord, give us faith. Give us faith in Thee." The victory that followed on June 6, 1944-also known as D-Day-began the march to Berlin. Eighteen months later, WWII was over and one of the world's greatest evils had been defeated. The prayers of a nation had been a powerful force. Prayer has always been used in this country for guidance, protection and strength-even before we were a nation or a handful of colonies. The Pilgrims at Plymouth relied on prayer during their first and darkest winter. Our founding fathers also called for prayer during the Constitutional Congress. In their eyes, our recently created nation and freedoms were a direct gift from God. And being a gift from God, there was only one way to insure protection-through prayer. President Abraham Lincoln knew this well. It was his belief that, "it is the duty of nations as well as men, to owe their dependence upon the overruling power of God." When it came to the fate of the nation, he practiced what he preached. Before the battle of Gettysburg, he turned to God in prayer. "I went to my room one day and I locked the door and got down on my knees before Almighty God and prayed to him mightily for victory at Gettysburg." Won by the Union, Gettysburg was one of the turning points in the war that ended slavery and kept the states united. Today the need for prayer is as great as ever. Our nation again faces battlefields, along with an epidemic of broken homes, violence, and social strife. As the heroes of our nation did in the past, we must again bow our heads in prayer. We must ask the Lord to bless our leaders with wisdom and protection, and that we will have the fortitude to overcome the challenges at hand. If Roosevelt, the Pilgrims and Lincoln never underestimated the power of prayer, neither should we. It is my hope that you, your family and friends would participate in the National Day of Prayer. I pray that the event impacts your life, and that praying for our nation moves from a one-day event to a lifetime endeavor. So join me on the first Thursday in May and pray with conviction that God would continue to shed His grace on thee. For more on this movement and its mission please visit
The National Day Of Prayer Website

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter!

The Greatest Christian Feast
Easter is the greatest feast in the Christian calendar. On this Sunday, Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. For Catholics, Easter Sunday comes at the end of 40 days of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving known as Lent. Through spiritual struggle and self-denial, we have prepared ourselves to die spiritually with Christ on Good Friday, the day of his Crucifixion, so that we can rise again with him in new life on Easter.

The Fulfillment of Our Faith
Easter is a day of celebration because it represents the fulfillment of our faith as Christians. St. Paul wrote that, unless Christ rose from the dead, our faith is in vain (1 Corinthians 15:17). Through his death, Christ saved mankind from bondage to sin, and he destroyed the hold that death has on all of us; but it is his resurrection that gives us the promise of new life, both in this world and the next.

The Coming of the Kingdom
That new life began on Easter Sunday. In the Our Father, we pray that "Thy Kingdom come, on earth as it is in Heaven." And Christ told his disciples that some of them would not die until they saw the Kingdom of God "coming in power" (Mark 9:1). The early Christian Fathers saw Easter as the fulfillment of that promise. With the resurrection of Christ, God's Kingdom is established on earth, in the form of the Church.

New Life in Christ
That is why people who are converting to Catholicism traditionally are baptized at the Easter Vigil service, which takes place on Holy Saturday (the day before Easter), starting sometime after sunset. They have usually undergone a long process of study and preparation known as the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA). Their baptism parallels Christ's own death and resurrection, as they die to sin and rise to new life in the Kingdom of God.

Communion - Our Easter Duty
Because of the central importance of Easter to the Christian faith, the Catholic Church requires that all Catholics who have made their First Communion receive the Holy Eucharist sometime during the Easter season, which lasts through Pentecost, 50 days after Easter. (They should also take part in the Sacrament of Reconciliation before receiving this Easter communion.) This reception of the Eucharist is a visible sign of our faith and our participation in the Kingdom of God. Of course, we should receive Communion as frequently as possible; this "Easter Duty" is simply the minimum requirement set by the Church.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday is a Christian moveable feast which always falls on the Sunday before Easter. The feast commemorates an event mentioned by all four Canonical Gospels: the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem in the days before his Passion.

In many Christian churches, Palm Sunday is marked by the distribution of palm leaves (often tied into crosses) to the assembled worshipers. The difficulty of procuring palms for that day's ceremonies in unfavorable climates for palms led to the substitution of boughs of box, yew, willow or other native trees. The Sunday was often designated by the names of these trees, as Yew Sunday or by the general term Branch Sunday.

According to the Gospels, before entering Jerusalem, Jesus was staying at Bethany and Bethphage, and the Gospel of John adds that he had dinner with Lazarus, and his sisters Mary and Martha. While there, Jesus is described by the Synoptic Gospels as sending two unnamed disciples to the village over against them, in order to retrieve a donkey that had been tied up but never been ridden, and to say, if questioned, that the donkey was needed by the Lord but would be returned in a short period of time. Jesus then rode the donkey into Jerusalem, with the Synoptics adding that the disciples had first put their cloaks on it, so as to make it more comfortable. The Gospels go on to describe how Jesus rode into Jerusalem, and how the people there lay down their cloaks in front of him, and also lay down small branches of trees. The people are also described as singing part of Psalm 118 - ...Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father, David. ... (Psalms 118:25-26). Where this entry is supposed to have taken place is unspecified; some scholars argue that the Golden Gate is the likely location, since that was where it was believed the Jewish messiah would enter Jerusalem; other scholars think that an entrance to the south, which had stairs leading directly to the Temple, would be more likely (Kilgallen 210). According to Jewish tradition (Sefer ha Zohar, part about donkey driver) the one who is able to bridle and ride a colt (or donkey) has a status of Messiah.

It was a common custom in many lands in the ancient Near East to cover, in some way, the path of someone thought worthy of the highest honour. The Hebrew Bible (2Kings 9:13) reports that Jehu, son of Jehoshaphat, was treated this way. Both the Synoptic Gospels and the Gospel of John report that people gave Jesus this form of honour. However, in the synoptics they are only reported as laying their garments and cut rushes on the street, whereas John more specifically mentions palm fronds. The palm branch was a symbol of triumph and of victory, in Jewish tradition, and is treated in other parts of the Bible as such (e.g. Leviticus 23:40 and Revelation 7:9). Because of this, the scene of the crowd greeting Jesus by waving palms and carpeting his path with them has given the Christian festival its name. It also shows the freedom wanted by the Jews, and their desperation to have political freedom.

On Palm Sunday, in the Roman Catholic Church, as well as many Anglican churches, palm fronds (or in colder climates some kind of substitutes) are blessed with an aspergilium outside the church building (or in cold climates in the narthex when Easter falls early in the year) and a procession enters, singing, re-enacting the entry into Jerusalem.

The palms are saved in many churches to be burned the following year as the source of ashes used in Ash Wednesday services. The Roman Catholic Church considers the palms to be sacramentals. The vestments for the day are deep scarlet red, the color of blood, indicating the supreme redemptive sacrifice Christ was entering the city who welcomed him to fulfill- his Passion and Resurrection in Jerusalem.

It is customary in many churches for the worshippers to receive fresh palm leaves on Palm Sunday. In parts of the world where this has historically been impractical substitute traditions have arisen.

In Latvia, Palm Sunday is called "Pussy Willow Sunday," and pussy willows - symbolizing new life - and blessed and distributed to the faithful. Children are often woken that morning with ritualistic swats of a willow branch. People also catch each other and spank each other with the branches.

In the Saxon regions of the Netherlands, crosses are decorated with candy and bread, made in the form of a rooster. In the diocese of Groningen-Leeuwarden a great procession with oil lamps is held the night before Palm Sunday in honour of the Sorrowful Mother of Warfhuizen.

Many Polish towns and villages (the best known are Lipnica Murowana in Małopolska and Łyse in Podlasie) organize artificial palm competitions. The biggest of those reach above 30 meters in length; for example, the highest palm in 2008 had 33.39 meters.

The Philippines
In the Philippines, there are some places where a re-enactment of Jesus' triumphal entry occurs. The priest rides a horse and is surrounded by the congregation, bearing palms. Sometimes women spread large cloths or aprons along the procession route. Palm branches, called palaspas, are taken home after the Mass and are hung beside, on or above doorways and windows.

Instructions on how to make palm Crosses to tuck behind picture frames and hang on your wall:

Take a palm that is about 2 feet long and 1/2" wide (if it tapers at the top, this is good!). Hold the palm upright, so the tapered end points toward the ceiling.

Then bend the top end down and toward you so that the bend is about 5 or 6 inches from the bottom of the palm.

About a third of the way from the bend you just made, twist the section you've pulled down to the right, forming a right angle.

About an inch and a half away from the "stem" of the cross, bend this arm of the palm back behind the palm so that it is now facing to your left. Make the bend at a good length to form the right arm of the Cross. Folding that same section at a point that equals the length on the right side, bend it on the left side and bring the end forward over what is now the front of the cross.

From the very center of the Cross, fold that arm up and to the upper right (in a "northeast" direction) so that it can wrap around where the upright post of the Cross and the right arm intersect.

Fold this down and to the left behind the Cross...

...and then fold it toward the right so that it is parallel and under the transverse arms of the Cross.

Bring it up behind the Cross again, this time folding it up toward the "northwest" direction.

Tuck the tapered end into the transverse section you made in step 7...

...and pull through. Turn the Cross over; this side will be the front. Trim the tapered end if necessary, remembering that the palm is a sacramental and any part you trim away should be kept and respected as a sacramental! Use that piece for burning during storms.

National Start! Walking Day Is April 8th, 2009!!!

For getting (and staying) in shape there is no better exercise than walking - since I've recently, I can definitely agree. It’s easy on the joints, you don’t need special equipment, and you can do it anywhere - FOR FREE! You can even do it in the comfort of your home with some of the great walking DVDs that are on the market.

To show you just how easy it is to walk for your health, the American Heart Association has started a National Start! Walking Day. The day is April 8th, and everyone, young and old alike, is encouraged to participate!

The movement has a
website with loads of great information on getting your coworkers involved as well. There you will find helpful tools to keep track of your progress and create a personalized walking plan. Wouldn’t it be great to go for a walk at lunch instead of sit and complain about your job? You don’t need a lot of time to do this, either. Doctors say that ” just 10 minutes three times a day of walking will help you live longer. In fact, studies show that just one hour of vigorous exercise will increase your life expectancy by two hours.” - just think of the things you could do with those two extra hours...go to a concert and dance your butt off...spend more quality time with your kids...get a refreshing swim in at the beach...have more sex...the possibilities are endless!

Why not commit to a healthier lifestyle and join others who want to do the same? Mark your calendar for April 8th, and encourage everyone you know to do the same, and have a great walk!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Modern Day Pilgrim - What I can expect on my trip to Spain.


Towards the end of the middle Ages the number of pilgrims traveling to Santiago began to decline but it never stopped, and these days it is definitely “back live”. During 2004, over 190,000 pilgrims walked or cycled some part of the road. However, it is no longer just the religious pilgrimage it once was.

The pilgrimage to Santiago is based on Catholic doctrine regarding sin, its remission and salvation. But today those religious elements share the stage with transcendental meditation, a physical stress test, a place to grieve, a journey of spiritual awakening, and a unique vacation.

Each day’s journey is like a field trip through a continuous museum. You cross two-thousand-year-old bridges that were built by the Romans. You sit down to lunch in the reconstruction of a five-thousand-year-old Iron Age hut. You are in constant contact with the great art and architecture of the Middle Ages.

For many people making the pilgrimage to Santiago is one of the most important undertakings of their lives. It gives them a sense of community in a society that goes back for thousands of years and includes everyone from Saint Francis of Assisi to Shirley MacLaine.

You may be alone when you start your trip but you will always be with someone at the end. Friendships are formed that cut across normal boundaries of age, class, and nationality. Becoming part of a larger community is an essential aspect of the pilgrimage. And working together to get through the challenges of the trip gives everyone a heightened sense of generosity.

The road is also unusual because it is so direct. Everything—the road, the setting sun, the stars—all appear to be going in the same direction. The pilgrim is literally “shown the way”.

Pilgrims experience a powerful feeling of being guided toward a goal, of having a sense of direction, and of knowing where one is going that is not so clear in daily life. Each day is an act of accomplishment toward a stated goal in which everything seems to be going the pilgrim’s way.

Most of the pilgrims are urban, well-educated members of the middle-class and they follow routes that are well marked with yellow arrows or scallop shells. In addition, there are signs that explain the importance of various historical sites.

Central to pilgrimage are the concepts of sin and the weight of one’s soul at death, eternal salvation and damnation. In order to save your soul from the tortures of hell, the Church suggested things that would lighten a soul weighed down by sin and making a pilgrimage was always on the list.


Pilgrims on the road to Santiago are easily recognized. Almost every pilgrim can be identified by the scallop shell around his or her neck or attached to their backpack. The pack itself is also a signal and so is their walking stick.

For some pilgrims the backpack is a symbol of the baggage one carries through life— the lighter your pack the more unnecessary mental and physical baggage you have been able to discard.

The scallop shell is associated with Saint James, but also with the legend of Venus and rebirth. It is meant to remind pilgrims of their spiritual reawakening.

On a gastronomic note, it appears that pilgrims returning from Santiago to France brought with them the inspiration for coquilles Saint- Jacques—a dish of scallops in a cream sauce that is served in a scallop shell.

Pilgrims also carry a credential—a passport that is stamped each day. The stamp indicates a pilgrim’s progress or in some cases the lack thereof.

As part of man’s desire to make life as annoying as possible travelers on the road have developed their own totally unofficial criteria for authenticity. To make the trip on foot is the most “authentic”—the real stuff.

To make it on a bike is “semi-authentic”. Spanish walkers call people who use bicycles “decaffeinated pilgrims”.

To walk but have a support vehicle is not “authentic” but might still be accepted—depending on the circumstances.

Make the trip in a bus or a car and you’re off the team. Many pilgrims also believe that “authenticity” requires at least a month on the road. Of course, none of these standards existed in the Middle Ages—you made the trip and that was it.


At 3,500 feet above sea level, the hill town of Cebreiro is the last great physical challenge for most pilgrims on their way to Santiago. For hundreds of years a Roman way station at the top guarded this mountain pass. And until the 16th century Cebreiro was one of the only passages into the Northwest of Spain.

In the year 836, a Benedictine monastery was established and it cared for pilgrims for over a thousand years. During the 11th century a rest stop for pilgrims on their way to Santiago was set up here and it is still in use.

In the 12th century the church of Santa Maria was built nearby. It contains a sacred chalice that commemorates a 15th century Eucharistic miracle.

The legend states that the Holy Grail from which Christ drank wine during the Last Supper was hidden in Cerbreiro. A priest who had his doubts about the validity of the story was using the cup for the Eucharist.

A massive snowstorm had been raging outside and only a single peasant had climbed the mountain to hear the mass. The priest began to criticize the man for coming through the storm when suddenly the bread and wine turned to flesh and blood. The priest saw the error of his ways.

The remnants of the miracle were placed in a silver container that was donated by Queen Isabel—the same Isabel who had the foresight to put up the money for the voyages of Christopher Columbus.

Cebreiro also has a reconstructed palloza — a type of oval stone house with a thatched roof that was used by the Iron Age tribes who occupied the area before the Romans arrived.

Santiago is less than a hundred miles from Cebreiro—a distance that will be covered in less than a week. The end of the physical trip is near, but for many the spiritual journey is just about to

Monday, March 16, 2009

My walking distance log with a few observations along the way:

Please be sure to check out the newly posted walking routes I take on a regular basis. To find them, simply scroll down to the bottom portion of this blog to the "MapMyWalk" widgets. Once you pick a route, click on the "view full" button and then select "hybrid map" from the map type drop down menu - this allows you to see actual satellite images...Enjoy!!!

  • 03 June, 2009 ~ 10622 Steps ~ 5.02 Miles :: the weather outside for the past few days has been very "june gloom" - overcast and humid - it even rained a little yesterday, i walked to bel air first to mail some packages and was greeted with smiles from all the customer service clerk ladies who all know me - i stopped to show them my shiny new ipod shuffle...and they all marveled at it.
  • 31 May, 2009 ~ 9641 Steps ~ 4.56 Miles :: another walking expedition at denio's with my push cart at the ready, did a brisk run through first, then negotiated a few items down, ran into the nicest couple (clinton & becky) again - previously purchased some chairs from them several months ago and got 2 beautiful statues from them today: a stunning madonna and child icon and a chippy gold chalkware classical bust - thanks guys!, got to the auction at 8:30am and didn't leave until 1:30pm.
  • 24 May, 2009 ~ 11337 Steps ~ 5.36 Miles :: i got up at 9:00 and headed out to denio's and walked the entire market probably 3 times over, summer is definitely approaching - it totally worked up a good sweat today.
  • 23 May, 2009 ~ 13143 Steps ~ 6.22 Miles :: i decided to get up early and walk before it got too hot today and i was comfortable the whole time - nice breeze and no crowds, my feet ached a little today - maybe because i walked late last night and again early this morning, planning on adding more variety to my walking by trying a little jogging too - perhaps i'm inspired to do this because i had a funny dream that i was running last night - and when i reached the end i realized that i just completed a marathon - weird!...we'll see how that goes over.
  • 22 May, 2009 ~ 12763 Steps ~ 6.04 Miles :: all i have to say is: i was almost attacked by a large white dog at the park today!!! - good thing the owner had him on a leash because the beast lunged at me and almost bit me on the arm but i managed to swerve out of his way in time - whew!, i totally love my new 4GB ipod shuffle - this miniature wonder of technology is astounding - i just wish the ear buds fit a little more snugly into my ears, it is totally hot in california nowadays so i didn't finish my walk until nearly 8:30pm - the last 30 minutes cooled down, but i definitely got a good sweat on today - yes!!!
  • 17 May, 2009 ~ 7707 Steps ~ 3.64 Miles :: late evening walk with anne, bailey, & maya - it was way too hot to walk any earlier, an entire field was mowed down revealing a vast plain of golden hay - such a pretty sight against the verdant green foothills...i absolutely love living in california.
  • 14 May, 2009 ~ 9394 Steps ~ 4.44 Miles :: brisk morning walk at jill & julie's house, the 2 fields i usually cross are now overgrown with weeds so i cross the street to walk pavement, back to wearing my shoes - way better on my feet, the sunshine is blazing outside nowadays - i need to start using sunscreen!
  • 07 May, 2009 ~ 13394 Steps ~ 6.34 Miles :: spring showers have kept me from walking outside - along with other last minute duties, it was a splendid 72 degrees in petaluma today - still a little cautious about the recent 200 pound bear sighting in the hills last week, a ruby-throated hummingbird sat perched in a branch, chirping a song forever, until i approached within a foot of it when suddenly it darted off skyward toward another mate - the two shot off like missles and quickly disappeared into the deep blue yonder in courtship, i forgot my walking shoes in sacramento and had to walk in my slippers today - i now have the blisters to show for such regret.
  • 30 April, 2009 ~ 14104 Steps ~ 6.67 Miles :: a man and his daughter fly a really nice remote control plane in the sky above the park, a group of about 7 teenage boys gather around a picnic table after school and sip on cheap beers and puff on cancer sticks - they try to look cool everytime i pass by, but yet there are no girls to be seen anywhere in the near vicinity - omg...losers!, received a sad phone call from mom early this evening - uncle benji passed away after his long fight at the hospital - uncle...your happy face and funny stories will be sorely missed - my heartfelt condolences, prayers, and thoughts go out to the cabansag family in this time of loss and mourning.
  • 28 April, 2009 ~ 12030 Steps ~ 5.69 Miles :: the weather has cooled down significantly - might even rain this weekend, decided to walk in the late afternoon since earlier today was full of errands - post office, library, one thrift store, walmart, ebay, and cooking an early dinner.
  • 26 April, 2009 ~ 10485 Steps ~ 4.96 Miles :: the only walking i did today was at denio's flea market with dad, if the sunny weather keeps up my skin will - as canyon exclaims "richert, you are so dark you turned dark green!", mental note - buy sunscreen.
  • 24 April, 2009 ~ 16682 Steps ~ 7.89 Miles :: the temperature has cooled down significantly, back walking loops at blue oak park today - i was taken by surprise yesterday when a minivan appeared out of nowhere behind me - i need to lower the volume on the mp3 player when i cross roads in the neighborhood, i am toying with the idea of doing 20 miles on monday - we'll see how the weekend goes.
  • 23 April, 2009 ~ 12491 Steps ~ 5.91 Miles :: it has been a while since i walked last - lots of easter activities and busy working, the weather has gotten blazing hot - for a week now the temperature has climbed into the high 90's, by accident i walk into the women's restroom at the bank after my walk because i was totally rushing - even though there was a keypad code required to get into the bathroom i still managed to gain access to the wrong one - you would think the men's room would have a different code than the ladies - anyway, i found out when i was washing my hands and a black lady walked out of the stall next to me and squealed "you are in the women's bathroom!!!" and she proceeded to crack up hysterically - i thought it was a joke - the worst part was walking out out back into the bank lobby after my folly, everyone was staring because the lady was still laughing out loud - she even tried to give me a high five, but i scurried out in shame!
  • 14 April, 2009 ~ 12402 Steps ~ 5.87 Miles :: dad, bailey, maya and me walked to the park to play basketball, i did a late afternoon walk to the softball park by myself and the wind was crazy - felt like winter again.
  • 13 April, 2009 ~ 17777 Steps ~ 8.42 Miles :: dad, bailey, and maya drove to the golf driving range and i met them there - it is just a little more than 3 miles but it is a little dangerous with all the cars speeding by, taking it a little easy on my left foot - i twisted it on saturday when i walked into a crack in the sidewalk, i think i need to take pain pills after my walks instead of before - my lower legs seem to cramp up more when i do things in this order.
  • 11 April, 2009 ~ 15664 Steps ~ 7.41 Miles :: i walked the back route at the tiu house once by myself and another time with dad, bailey, and maya while they rode their bikes, totally windy outside and not many people on the trail - i guess everyone is getting ready to celebrate easter, i drank a little too much last night visiting with the fisher's at susan and tim's dinner - i could feel it in my legs and was a little lethargic!
  • 08 April, 2009 ~ 31815 Steps ~ 15.06 Miles :: i would not have been able to break the 15 mile mark on national start! walking day without madonna, the bee gees, and tracey ullman...their tunes kept me motivated!, totally broke a sweat today and got rained on simultaneously - that is definitely a weird feeling (hot & cold at the same time), i saw the most glorious John F. Kennedy rose bush in full bloom today - the perfume was intoxicating!
  • 07 April, 2009 ~ 12926 Steps ~ 6.12 Miles :: thank you so much mom for letting me borrow your mp3 player and sending me the "alive whole food energizer liquid" - you are my savior!, i listened to an intriguing podcast on "guerilla gardening" while on my walk and couldn't help but notice all the beautiful plant specimens people plant in their front yards...you just can't appreciate them speeding by in a car - check out the conversation between josh and chuck here: How Stuff Works, the rain is back - i made it home just in time before the downpour.
  • 03 April, 2009 ~ 11683 Steps ~ 5.53 Miles :: my pedometer broke today but walked the same exact route as yesterday, i didn't see a jackhammer operator repairing the road and the sound totally scared me!!! - i thought i was being shot at!, the dead squirrel i saw yesterday really is dead - he's not just sleeping, it was so windy that i didn't have a drop of sweat but my allergies sure are back.
  • 02 April, 2009 ~ 11683 Steps ~ 5.53 Miles :: switched up the route and walked along elverta - about 4800 steps from our door to walmart, today was the first time i've seen a dead squirrel, passed by the old acappella house - the neighborhood sure has changed, found a nickel on the sidewalk.
  • 31 March, 2009 ~ 12895 Steps ~ 6.10 Miles :: my first walk with roxanne, bailey, and maya (on her brand new bike!) through their neighborhood, we see rich coming back from renting his car, we get a little lost crossing picturesque bridges and find a beautiful softball park, nicely paved trails with pretty landscapes but it got chilly toward the end.
  • 30 March, 2009 ~ 10943 Steps ~ 5.18 Miles :: my first walk with julie through her neighborhood, we find the back trail and cross the creek where a little kid's bike is trashed and dumped in the water, i tell her she would love hiking at cherry creek and tell her she should come with us this summer.
  • 27 March, 2009 ~ 12763 Steps ~ 6.04 Miles :: little kids rollerblading with sweaty faces remind me of small kid time when i would bmx with my friends to the pink store in maile - we would buy a cold coke when we got there to refresh ourselves from the scorching summer heat in hawaii then we would sell the glass bottle back for the deposit and buy candy with the refund, a bazillion red ants swarm on a poor baby bird that fell from the eucalyptus above, at dusk 2 ladies ask me for directions on my last lap around - i notice that they are drinking king cobra 40's from paper bags.
  • 26 March, 2009 ~ 21961 Steps ~ 10.39 Miles :: i decide i like walking in a counter-clockwise direction around the park, i become perturbed when i overhear a fat soccer mom refer to her kids as "troops" as in "let's go troops" and then plead with her oldest daughter to drink more banana-orange juice so that she stays "hydrated" when all the little girl wanted to do was hang off the monkey bars, i witness 2 teeneage boys sell weed to 3 of their friends and not look concerned about being watched, 21961 steps = 24 laps around blue oak park = i finally break the 10 mile mark!!!
  • 25 March, 2009 ~ 18453 Steps ~ 8.74 Miles :: the park is filled with chirping birds heralding the return of spring, an old russian couple and their family cheer me on by keeping count of how many laps i do but leave before me, it's a BIG day - i broke the 8 mile mark.
  • 23 March, 2009 ~ 14231 Steps ~ 6.73 Miles :: teenagers eat at picnic tables and let their cheeseburger wrappers fly in the wind and litter the park - they pick them up after i give them dirty looks, looks like the oak trees are finally gaining the first sign of leaves - spring is here.
  • 21 March, 2009 ~ 12746 Steps ~ 6.03 Miles :: group of teeneage boys sing cool rendition of Run DMC & Aerosmith's "walk this way", a little pug/chihuahua puppy named Rocky chases me while his owner picks clover weeds - she claims that if you eat them after parboiling, they aid in curing diabetes.
  • 19 March, 2009 ~ 11450 Steps ~ 5.42 Miles :: 2 laps into my workout my legs start cramping up - i need to return new boots and get re-fitted at REI, i try to keep up with 2 black girls doing exercises but they whiz past me and kick my butt.
  • 18 March, 2009 ~ 10146 Steps ~ 4.80 Miles :: russian lady fills a grocery bag with dandelion flowers probably for tea, fat retired golfer uses park for his own personal driving range, i find one lonely freesia flower in bloom in the rocks.
  • 16 March, 2009 ~ 4995 Steps ~ 2.36 Miles :: dogs in obedience training, i make bailey and maya kick the ball while swinging in the park, bailey's basketball falls in the creek - we retrieve it with sticks.
  • 12 March, 2009 ~ 16073 Steps ~ 7.61 Miles :: almost pooped my pants - plan bm's accordingly, i find a sterling silver dragonfly pin with turquoise stones laying in the grass.
  • 11 March, 2009 ~ 14478 Steps ~ 6.85 Miles :: i am saddened by the flowers, pictures, and letters left tied to a tree where someone died in a car accident, the plum trees are in full bloom.
  • 10 March, 2009 ~ 12341 Steps ~ 5.84 Miles :: mysterious tied-up plastic bag in bushes - does it contain money or dog poop? i decide to leave it alone.
  • 09 March, 2009 ~ 12070 Steps ~ 5.71 Miles :: the walking path in jill & julie's new neighborhood is nicely paved, the smell of garlic and onions cooking at the amy's food factory nearby makes me hungry.

One Cup Of Coffee ~ $5.00

Buy Me A Hot Morning Cortado!

Yolanda Salondaka

One Nourishing Meal ~ $10.00

Buy Me A Meal Along The Camino!


One Night's Logding At A Refugio ~ $15.00

Buy Me A Night's Stay At A Refugio!


One Glass Of Wine ~ $8.00

Buy Me A Glass Of Evening Vino Tinto!

Blue Oak Park - Antelope, California

Tesconi House - Santa Rosa, California

Tiu House - Petaluma, California