I saw a news report on CNN about Miley Cyrus’s recent performance at the Video Music Awards. Like most other people, I was first shocked and repulsed and then puzzled and saddened. Throughout the days since, I have found myself thinking about the direction our society is traveling and how we have reached this point in our journey. I pondered such questions as these: • What kind of people are we? • What kind of culture have we created (or allowed to develop)? • What kind of adults do we want our children to grow up to be? • Do our children even realize that there was a time when children’s role models were family and friends? (And do adults even realize that they’ve relinquished this privilege to “celebrities”?) • Do our children know that entertainers and other public figures have traditionally been people who were reaping the rewards of hard work and who were mostly admirable people? (And do adults know that this is no longer true?) I came to some very unsettling conclusions – and those conclusions are heart-breaking. • My heart breaks for the little girl who gave us Hannah Montana and became a role model (or at least a virtual friend) to millions of little girls across America. And my heart breaks for that same girl (now a young adult) who doesn’t see herself coming apart at the seams. • My heart breaks for the millions of little girls who have seen their “friend” become a strange adult (?) Do they know that this is not the natural progression into adulthood and that they don’t have to follow suit? • My hearts breaks for the news channels that have left their calling to report the news and have chosen instead to profit from all-day-all-week coverage of a young woman destroying her life. • My heart breaks for the American-Idol culture (the culture our children have grown up in and see as the norm) that promises glitter and gold to children and delivers instead their destruction. • My heart breaks for our entertainment culture that celebrates the breaking of every social taboo and the casting off of every restraint. My heart breaks that they then turn and mock their own disciples. • My heart breaks for our tabloid culture that finds celebrity gossip and embarrassing moments titillating. • My heart breaks for the families of Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Madonna, and all the other women who have chosen to sexualize themselves to achieve fame and fortune. • My heart breaks for our society who sees women as objects - and often fails to see them as valued children of God - as someone’s sisters and daughters. • My heart breaks for women enslaved by this false view of sexual liberation. • My heart breaks for men who have encouraged (or at least accepted) such blatant sexualization of women. • My heart breaks for all our little five-year-old little girls, twirling around and imagining themselves princesses, enjoying innocent delights, and picturing a magical future. My heart breaks when I think of the world each precious child will enter as she matures. • My heart breaks for the broken, messed-up world we call home. At this point in my contemplation, I remember a long-ago bracelet-wearing fad of WWJD – What Would Jesus Do? Yes, what WOULD Jesus do if he lived on Earth in 2013? We have Biblical record of what he did when he encountered moral disaster during his time on Earth. • Jesus lifted the head of a woman of the night and sent her away into the light. • When Jesus saw a woman in a crowd desperately trying to cover her shame, he was immediately attuned to her faint call for help, he turned his attention to the problem, and he healed her. • By his acceptance and grace, Jesus transformed a woman who had been tossed aside by multiple men. There are no simple answers to the questions raised by this issue, but some things are abundantly clear to me. As a Christian I cannot ignore cries for help coming from the young adults who have grown up with these examples of maturity. I must immediately turn my attention to any child or young adult who seeks guidance or a healing touch. Since their cries for help are not usually as obvious as Miley Cyrus’s were, I must be attuned to any word or look that opens a door for guidance. As a Christian adult it is my duty and privilege. Based on an article from The Gospel Coalition Blog and Trevin Wax Raising Godly Children
Thursday, July 25, 2013
Our four youngest grandchildren will attend their orientation sessions for the new school year tomorrow -- and next week is their last week of school-day freedom! It doesn't seem possible that the summer break is already almost over. About this same time of the year a few years ago, just as the stores began their "back to school" sales push, a blog called Three-Word Wednesday challenged other bloggers to write "something" using these three words: endless, ought, and shadow. Reflecting on the shortness of the Summer break, I wrote:
The first of June arrived today
Nipping at the heels of May.
Hoards of children, newly free,
See summer days stretch endlessly...
Summer camps; friends' sleepovers;
Hunting for four-leaf clovers;
Pick-up games in the yard;
Marshmallows nicely charred.
Who was that hurrying by?
I think I recognized July.
She rushed by and left no shadow
While we were playing in the meadow.
August looms; still we caper.
Back-to-school sales fill the paper.
Wonder who'll be in my class?
Not my friend Jenny - she didn't pass.
Hair is cut. Supplies are bought;
School is starting, as it ought.
Here I go. I'm on my way!
A brand new school year starts today!
Tuesday, July 09, 2013
Glittering Images is the first in a series of 6 novels written in the 1980s by Susan Howatch. The storylines of these novels revolve around the development of the Anglican church during the 20th century. Although each book "stars" a different character, the same cast of characters inhabits the entire series of novels and each novel is set during a different decade of the century. This first novel in the series takes place in the 1920s and the primary character is Dr. Charles Ashworth, a young widowed clergyman, who is sent by the Archbishop of Canterbury to visit, for a few days, the home of the powerful Bishop of Starbridge, Alexander Jardine. The archbishop fears that beyond the facade presented to the public by Jardine, his charming but inadequate wife, Carrie, and his wife’s dedicated companion, Lyle Christie, there lies potential for explosive scandal. It is Ashworth’s mission to determine, within a very short period of time, whether there is any basis for the archbishop’s concern. The main character struggles throughout the book to learn how to keep his "glittering image" (public persona) from overshadowing his real personality. The author has the most engaging writing style I have read in years. Her use of the language is precise and scholarly but engaging and entertaining. The plot is intricately woven, the characters are carefully and fully developed, and the dialogue is fascinating. I was absolutely fascinated with the characters whose lives revolved around determining the will of God in their lives and striving to fulfill their potential in life. The theme of the novel could be summed up in this quote from the last chapter of the book: “Love and forgiveness, truth and beauty, courage and compassion blazed with a radiance which far outshone the cheap glitter of illusion, and I knew then with an even deeper conviction that in serving God man only fulfilled his need to strive to live in that eternally powerful light. St. Augustine’s famous words echoed in my mind: ‘O God, thou hast made us for thyself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in thee.’” Below are a few of the quotes I copied (either for their pithy, clever wording or for their philosophical impact)so that I could consider them in more detail later. “…Christianity could not be a pallid priggish way of life but a glittering realization of one’s finest possibilities. People can be led to Christianity by infinitely diverse routes, and there was no denying that I had been led by Lang’s worldly success to the creed which rated worldly success unimportant. Beyond the glittering image lay the stark absolute truth.” “Our Lord….wasn’t talking legalistically…He was a life-giving spirit, not a legal code personified! …and one of the outstanding aspects of Christianity is that Christ preached compassion and forgiveness, not an inflexible hardness of heart.” “I knew he was only treading a well-worn theological path: an examination of Christ’s words in the light of conditions prevailing in the first-century Palestine was nowadays considered a thoroughly respectable endeavor in the attempt to look beyond the glittering image of Christ in the Gospels to the historical figure about whom so little was known.” “In my opinion Christ had been a good Jew, not “liberal” in the modern sense of extending a credo to its outer limits in the name of freedom, but “radical” in the original sense of cutting back the credo to its roots to rediscover its true spirit.” ”Isn’t lack of understanding responsible for much of the misery in family relationships? …With understanding, forgiveness becomes possible.” “And at last as (he) talked to me with such painful honesty, the miracle of communication occurred, and I was able to understand the full dimensions of his tragedy. Then forgiveness was easy...” “…as I realized he was probably behaving exactly like his Non-Conformist father, I thought what a mysterious force heredity was, spreading like a stain across the texture of personality.” “The sermon, perfectly constructed, immaculately delivered, unfolded itself like a complex flower opening its petals before the sun. I always found it arresting to see an expert in any field doing his work well, and (he) was an expert in homiletics, selecting his intellectual strands sparingly but weaving them with stark skill into a rapier-sharp exposition of Christian teaching. Finally, reaching his peroration, he knotted the intellectual strands into a single dazzling sentence, heightened the power of his delivery and drove home his message with the full force of his oratorical sledgehammer.” (explaining why God is at the center of every action in life) “The sun’s not a mere disc in the sky which you can see whenever you bother to look up. The warmth of the sun permeates the world even on a clouded day, and that’s not mere wishful thinking or sensual illusion. You can see the plants reacting to the warmth. It’s real.” “I agree that a lot of men appear to be interested only in money and sex, but I think too that a lot of men would secretly like to believe that there’s more to life than the materialist’s treadmill. However, society forces them to chase worldly success in order to be esteemed, and then they chase women either to forget how unhappy they are chasing success or because they see women as boosting their value in the eyes of the world.” “ Do you think that God’s been unaware of your difficulties and the suffering you must inevitably have endured? And do you think He’s incapable of reaching out at last to bring you face to face with your troubles so that you can surmount them and go on to serve Him far better than you ever served Him in the past? God hasn’t sent this ordeal to destroy you. He’s come to your rescue at last, and here in this village, here in this house, here in this room where you’ve hit rock-bottom, here’s where you new life finally begins.” “But then they never meet the man I keep hidden. They just meet the man on public display. I call him the glittering image because he looks so well in the mirror. But beyond him…stands the angry stranger who appears in the mirror whenever the glittering image goes absent without leave.” “When a traveler’s staggering along with a back-breaking amount of luggage, he doesn’t need someone to pat him on the head and tell him how wonderful he is. He needs someone who’ll offer to share the load…Consider the possibility that life might be less exhausting if you unloaded some of your bags onto my empty trolley...I’m just the porter with the trolley. I’m not here to criticize the quality of your luggage or to order which bag you should put down. My function is simply to offer you the chance to get rid of any bag which you don’t want to carry any more, but the decision to keep or discard each bag must be yours and yours alone.” “ your … difficulties didn’t begin in that final scene…Who got you into financial trouble by luring you into keeping up expensive appearances? Who kept you from seeking help by demanding that no one should know (your problems)? Who seduced you into that disastrous (job) and then insisted that you stayed there? Who came between you and your wife and prevented you from being honest with her? Who initiated this tragedy and then left your real self bearing the burden of all the guilt and shame? You are not the villain of this story – you’re the victim. It is the glittering image who should be locked up in jail.” “You flung a big stone into that particular pond; stand back now until the ripples reach the edge of the pond and you can see what’s been washed up at your feet. I think you may well find that the wait will pay significant benefits later…” “And there’s something wonderful about a Christian, a real Christian, the kind who practices what he preaches. I said, ‘I can’t forgive myself,’ but she said, ‘Christ can….’” “I could cope with his charming mask merely by disliking it, but the pathos beyond defeated me. I felt threatened by it. I was quite prepared to work out an intellectual formula for forgiveness which would put my beleaguered psyche at rest while enabling me to be a good Christian, but I did not want my emotions involved. My instinct was to lash out, push him away.” “I wondered dimly how anyone ever survived their families.” “But that’s marriage, isn’t it? One long compromise.” “…try not to put yourself on the rack by picturing the present. Remember that you could be seeing the wrong picture, and even if it happened to be the right one you’d be able to erase it. But the future is a different matter. You can draw a picture, erase it and draw another…” “It’s dangerous to make a judgment when one can’t know all the facts… and since only God can know all the facts, one can only conclude that it’s best to leave the judgments to God.” “One afternoon I went to the Cathedral to beg God to help me, but I couldn’t pray, I was so cut off. I just knelt there in the chapel and said God, God, God, over and over in my mind – It was as if I’d dialed a number and was listening to the bell ringing – and I didn’t really expect and answer but then the miracle happened because someone picked up the receiver at the other end of the line.” “I had achieved sufficient concentration to wipe the blackboard of my consciousness clean so that God could write upon it if He wished. Then I prayed again…for the grace of God which would transform my weakness into strength, and again the familiar prayer of Christ echoed in my mind: let thy will, not mine, be done….and the chalk began to write at last on the blackboard of my mind. I could hardly bear to read the message, but I knew I was powerless to erase it.”
Posted by Joan at 8:31 PM
Wednesday, July 03, 2013
Today we Americans celebrate our Independence Day. I wonder if we "modern-day" Americans really understand what the day is all about. Lest there be any doubt: this day is all about LIBERTY. Although many Americans in 2013 seem perfectly content to give up significant personal liberties in exchange for “free” this or that or an easier lifestyle, those colonists in the 1770s knew that life without liberty is pretty bleak. Sure, they had “security” – Great Britain was taking care of them; but they were not free. Our nation’s founders were willing to struggle, even die, to obtain liberty for themselves (and for us future Americans.)
In the summer of 1774 these founders had already been struggling against the increasing control that Great Britain exerted over the colonies. After they tried, unsuccessfully, by peaceful means to gain some control over their lives, the desire for freedom became a consuming passion for them. So, by the Fall of that year, the First Continental Congress met in Philadelphia with 56 American delegates, representing every colony except Georgia. On September 17th, that Congress declared its opposition to the repressive Acts of Parliament, saying they are "not to be obeyed,” This was not an easy step to take. They risked their culture and their lives, but they believed that the resulting liberty would be worth the sacrifice. This action of the Continental Congress set the wheels in motion for the founding of our nation and the establishing of our freedom (liberty.)
Six months later, on March 23rd, in Virginia, a meeting of the colony's delegates was held in St. John's church in Richmond. At this congress, Patrick Henry made an impassioned speech to those gathered. The conclusion of his speech has become famous because it shows us how very important Liberty was to these leaders. He said:
Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!
I am quite sure that neither Patrick Henry nor any of his hearers would have been willing to give up any freedom whatsoever for a promise of free food, “affordable health care,” more security, or governmental endorsement of their personal foibles. No, these patriots wanted liberty - even if it came with a price tag of death! Patrick Henry’s speech was just one of the impetuses for the Declaration of Independence which was written by these seekers of freedom and adopted by Congress just 2 years and 4 months later.
Our nation’s founders began that declaration of independence with these words:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed….
They continued the Declaration with an accounting of their grievances against Great Britain and then concluded with these powerful statements:
We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.These strong believers in liberty then proceeded to write a constitution and began it with this general statement:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.They proceeded then to state clearly how the government of the new union would be organized. They clearly set out what the government could and must do.
The bill of rights (the first 10 amendments) soon followed. These stated what the government would NOT be able to do; and most of these provided for the protection of individual liberties (including the right to protect oneself, to speak one's opinions and conscience, to be secure in one’s own home, to peacefully assemble, and to worship as one sees fit.)
In the 237 years since that new government was established many great leaders have encouraged us to continue fighting to maintain our freedom.
In the early 1800s the French historian, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote a two-volume work titled Democracy in America. One pertinent quote from this work that seems applicable to us in 2013 America:
Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.In the 1940s Franklin Delano Roosevelt reminded the American people that
the only sure bulwark of continuing liberty is a government strong enough to protect the interests of the people, and a people strong enough and well enough informed to maintain its sovereign control over the government.Now, 237 years after our nation’s beginning, as we Americans celebrate our independence day, I hope we continue to value our liberty as our forebears intended. I fervently hope that our generation doesn’t sell our hard-won liberties to buy security – or ease of life. Our children and our children’s children shouldn’t have to fight to regain liberties that we lost through complacence or negligence.
Posted by Joan at 5:09 PM
Thursday, June 27, 2013
I just finished rereading the book, Home Remedies, by Gary Smalley and John Trent. The clever, but misleading, title of this book has probably limited its sale. The book is not about simple remedies for physical ailments; it is about solutions for home or family problems. The authors present "prescriptions" that have proven effective throughout generations for building strong homes and families. The book can be summarized by the thesis of Chapter 1: The foundation for all loving relationships is treasuring, or valuing, others. Rephrased, we feel close to those who have told us and who have shown through time that they value their connection with us. Rephrased again: some level of commitment is essential to a successful personal relationship of any kind. This idea is so basic as to be often overlooked by busy parents.
Posted by Joan at 8:17 AM
Monday, September 12, 2011
1776 by David McCullough
My rating: 5 stars
It had been at least 50 years since I studied anythiing relating to the Revolutionary War, so I began reading 1776 (upon recommendation by by brother)wondering if I even had the background to understand it. I found it a highly-readable narrative of the events of that year in American history. It was replete with quotes from the diaries and letters of the famous and relatively-unknown men who fought that fight for our freedom. I was interested to read of battle strategies and found the personal glimpses of historical figures fascinating. Particularly interesting to me were the letters giving the on-the-scene evaluations of completed battles. Time and history have given new perspective to many of these. Time does alter perception - and it is possible to be too close to a situation to accurately evaluate it. Overall, this is an excellent book.
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Saturday, September 10, 2011
I wrote this tribute to a valient 9/11 hero on the 5th anniversary of his death. I reprinted in on the 6th anniversary and am reprinting it again on this 10th anniversary. God bless the memory of this wonderful fireman and his colleagues who gave their all that day!
In Memory of Robert Joseph Foti
New York City Fire Fighter:
Robert Joseph Foti, son of Rosemarie and Joseph Foti, husband of Mary Grace, and father of 12-year-old Alycia, 11-year old Robert, and 4-year-old James, was 42 years old and supporting his family as a New York City firefighter. He had worked on Ladder 7 in Manhattan for 13 years.
In the memorial held on October 6, 2001, family and friends mourned his loss with no remains to bury and no burial site to visit.
On September 10, 2002, the New York Times ran an article about him in which they told of a snapshot they referred to as “The Santa Claus Picture” which was displayed in the firehouse. Mary Grace, Bobby’s wife, had seen him and their son, James, in the bathtub with soapsuds beards like Santas. Bobby was chewing a cigar and had his arms around James. He protested laughingly at her intent to take a picture, but the result of her determination made a great photo.
On March 22, 2003, this story emerged: Bobby and Mary Grace honeymooned in Jamaica in June 2001. Both were stunned at the poverty they saw there. Bobby was killed only 4 months later, but a group called Food for the Poor raised money in the names of those rescue workers who perished in the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001. With the funds raised they built many 12 by 12 wooden homes for impoverished families in Jamaica. They built one home for each of the rescuers who died in the World Trade Center, a total of 403 houses! Mary Grace Foti said she cried when she received the photo of the home built to honor Bobby. The photo showed the smiling recipient family standing proudly in front of their new home.
On March 23, 2003, Newsday magazine writer, Nick Iyer, wrote: “Robert Joseph Foti and his wife, Mary Grace, were driving home to Albertson from Old Westbury Gardens in August when they spotted an elderly woman in an old jalopy, stranded with a flat tire. Foti got out of his car and pried off the flat and replaced it with the spare. After he finished, the woman called him an angel and offered him $10 for his services. Foti refused, but the woman insisted. He took the money, but snuck it into her purse when she wasn't looking, his wife recalled recently. ‘That was just the type of guy he was. He was always helping people.’"
Iyer also told this story (paraphrased by me to shorten the story): After seeing the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade last year with his family, Foti drove to his mother-in-law’s home, mashed the potatoes, carved the turkey and cleaned up after dinner. "He was always there," Mrs. Tastor said.
This notice was printed in the On Friday, October 15, 2004, at 1000 hours: There will be a street renaming ceremony honoring the memory of Robert J. Foti, who made the supreme sacrifice on September 11, 2001. The ceremony will take place at the corner of Grand Street and the FDR Drive, Manhattan. All off-duty members and their families are invited to attend as a mark of respect to the deceased. Members are requested to attend in dress uniform.
Following are some quotes from memorials written by family, friends and acquaintances:
From Mary Grace Foti, wife:
He was always stopping to help someone or doing the dishes. He would go on all the field trips with the mothers. It was his nature to help others, which explains why he became a fireman. He was very adventurous and outgoing. He liked to take risks. The more time that has passed, the harder it gets, the longer it has been since I've heard his voice. Things that were clear aren't so clear anymore. They say it has to get harder before it gets better. I guess that's where I am right now.
I lost track of the source of the following quote in a computer crash in 2007:
"Rose Foti (Bobby’s mother) and I met for only a few minutes, but we had both lost a loved one in the attacks. When we got off the shuttle ride we were sharing, she gave me a shirt to give to my friend’s widow. The shirt was imprinted: 'Before he was an Angel, Hero, Fireman, he was my son!'"
Maryellen Teaman, friend:
Bob was a hero long before September 11. About four years ago when I was picking up my daughter from the Epiphany School on East 22nd Street, I saw a truck that was on fire, rolling down Second Avenue. It was veering toward 22nd Street. Bob was at the school picking up his kids. He saw the truck; he ran to it, opened the door, looking for the driver, who had gotten out of the truck blocks away, when it first caught on fire. Bob turned the ignition of,f the truck stopped, and a tragedy was averted. There were many kids due to come out of school at that time. The truck could have crashed into parked cars on the block. He did not give a thought to his own safety. I was in awe of his response. I called his house that night to thank him for being a hero.
Jeff, Violaine, Jeff Jr., and Joey Acevedo:
Bobby, we will miss you, I never thanked you for the time you helped Joey when he got hurt in 5th grade at the Yankee Game, I thought about it all the time and never took the minute to say thanks. We will miss your umpire days in PSLL and those awful calls you made (smile). You are a great guy and were very brave, you will be missed so will your sense of humor.
Those who have never met Bobby have missed out on a very unique person. BobbyJoseph Guzzo:
was a very decent man who loved his family and adored his children. I grew up on Grand St. with Bobby. Bobby was one of the funniest people I knew. Bobby was
always there to lend a helping hand. I’m proud to tell my children that I once knew a Hero Firefighter named Bobby Foti.
Bobby looked to enjoy his life and to spread happiness whenever he could. He wasPeggy Cunneen:
sharing and giving to friends and strangers alike. He played with his children, and gave them many memories which are sure to carry them through the rest of
their lives. As a firefighter, Bobby was no stranger to helping people in trouble. I remember days when he and his good friend Jimmy helped pull struggling swimmers out of a riptide that threatened to pull them out to sea. Everyone knew Bobby. He was always talking to people. Never shy, he would turn to a new face just as likely as to an old friend. If there was a sudden burst of laughter, Bobby was probably nearby instigating it. One of my best memories of Bobby was an episode of him and his brother Joe clowning around. I can’t clearly recall how it started, but I suspect Bobby was nudging his brother without respite. Joe jumped up and started to chase his big brother across the beach. In a wild lunge, Joe grabbed for Bobby, but only succeeded in grasping the leg of his bathing suit. Well, picture Bobby being dragged to a halt by the bottom edge of his suit. Gravity and Joe’s weight dragged the suit down a lot faster than it did to the rest of Bobby. Everyone on the beach got to see more of Bobby than they expected. Afterward, Bobby sheepishly returned to the group. He was a little bit red-faced, and still laughing about the whole thing. That was Bobby! He always made the most out of whatever life tossed his way. Events have conspired to take Bobby from our presence, but nothing can take the memories of his life among us. No act of man can eradicate the fact that he lives on in his three children.When one looks at their faces, it is easy to see that Bobby lives on in each of them.
The void in our lives seems so much greater because of who Bob was. You always knew when Bob was in a room. He was blessed with such great looks and his charismatic personality. After the first day of school last year, he was the only one who knew everyone's name. At the end of the first week his firehouse was building us new bookcases. Anything that needed to be done that year Bob took care of it.Finally, read this tribute - a poem written for Bobby Foti by Ellen Brennemen:
Don't think of him as gone away-- his journey's just begun
Life holds so many facets --this earth is only one.
Just think of him as resting from the sorrows and the tears
In a place of warmth and comfort where there are nodays and years.
Think how he must be wishing that we could know today
How nothing but our sadness can really pass away.
And think of him as living in the hearts of those he touched...
For nothing loved is ever lost-- and he was loved so much.
Refer to this website for more information about the 2996 project and for links to other blogging tributes.