The World of Grandpa Don

My Favorites 

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My Children and Grandchildren Harry and Carol My Favorite Prayer
My Favorite Poet My Favorite Author My favorite places
My favorite time of day My favorite activity My dog 
Dinner & Cards with Dick & Jan My favorite picture of Jesus My Brothers & Sisters

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My Children and Grandchildren

There are no favorites in these two groups.
Each is a different person with different personalities, gifts and talents. I love them all.

At times, it may seem that I favor one or another but it may be that that one needs my attention or a little help at that particular time. I like to think that I can follow the example of the Good Shepard, Who, when one of His sheep gets in trouble, leaves the rest to help the one.

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Harry and Carol

Anne's brother and his wife have become the only brother and sister I have ever known until the recent discovery of my natural parent's families. Carol and Anne were sisters from the start. They and their children are the closest family I have outside our children and grandchildren.

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My Favorite Prayer

Also the favorite of Anne's mother and of Anne. The inscription on the family grave marker is taken from the last line. 

The Prayer of St. Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, ... let me sow love;
Where there is injury, ... pardon;
Where there is doubt, ... faith;
Where there is despair, ... hope;
Where there is darkness, ... light;
And where there is sadness, ... joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek  ...
To be consoled ... as to console;
To be understood ... as to understand;
To be loved ... as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

" ... In dying ... we are born to eternal life."
The words that Anne selected to be  
on the Lawler/Plefka tomb stone.

I found a slightly different version of this prayer attributed to St Francis. 
It was included in the 1980 booklet "The Magic of Love" 
by the Salesian Missions of St. John Bosco,
one of the booklets left for me by Anne.

Lord, make me a channel of your peace
That where there is hatred
    I may bring Love,
That where there is wrong
    I may bring the spirit of forgiveness,
That where there is discord
    I may bring harmony,
That where there is error
    I may bring truth,
That where there is doubt
    I may bring faith,
That where there is despair
    I may bring hope,
That where there are shadows
    I may bring light,
That where there is sadness
    I may bring joy.

Lord, grant that I may seek rather
To comfort -
    than to be comforted;
To understand -
    than to be understood;
To love -
    than to be loved;

For it is by giving
    that one receives;
It is by self-forgetting
    that one finds;   

It is by forgiving
    that one is forgiven;
It is by dying
    that one awakens to eternal life.

This version is a bit longer and more comprehensive than the more common one above. I particularly like the line, "It is by self-forgetting - that one finds" 

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My Favorite Poet

Kahlil Gibran
There has been inspiration for me in his writings and I like his literary style. It takes me to imaginary times and places and at the same time treats subjects that are relevant today. An example can be found on my "What I have Learned" page. Another is:

...Remember, my brother,
That the coin you drop into
The withered hand stretched toward 
You is the only golden chain that
Binds your rich heart to the
Loving heart of God.

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My Favorite Author

Joseph F. Girzone
His "Joshua" series caught me up. Some say he is too simplistic. His message is simple, as was the message of Jesus. My favorite of his works is "Never Alone" This book is dedicated to his friend, Jesus. The Dedication begins ...

"I dedicate this book to my friend who is always by my side and in my heart, who is never far when I am lonely and confused, who always gives peace to my soul when I am troubled and frightened, and fearful of the future. I share with Him my deepest secretes, my joy, my sorrow, my accomplishments, my shame. He always understands. He never accuses or criticizes, but often suggests a different way." ...

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My favorite places

On a warm sunny day ... My Garden. 
With my second cup of coffee, Mikey (my bichon) and I sit in the garden. The rustic covered swing, the comfortable patio furniture, with flowers all around,  the statues of Jesus and Mary add to the beauty of the sky, clouds, singing of birds and the other reminders of the goodness of God.  I have now added the gazebo and "Grandpa's Guardian Angel Garden" which replaced the pool and its deck. An angel statue, given to me on Christmas on 2000 has a place in the new garden. This is my outdoor sanctuary. 

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My Summer Retreat

Click on the thumbnail 
for a good look.

When it is cold or wet ... Our Living Room
As soon as I start to the living room with my second cup of coffee, Mikey runs to the couch to wait for me to sit down and then jumps on my lap. This room includes furniture from the living room of Anne's parents and furniture selected by Anne to complement the first. It was decorated by Anne in her favorite colors. In one corner stands a curio case filled with small statues representing scenes from the life of Jesus. On the coffee table is a floral arrangement, a Bible and the candle of remembrance given to me by the people of St Julie at Anne's wake.  The candle is lit. This is my indoor sanctuary.

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My Winter Retreat

Click on the thumbnail 
for a good look.

On the weekend ... St Julie Church
I get there early and leave late. Being there is the most important place to be and the most important time to spend on the weekend. It is where I become energized by the Eucharist and the Word of God for the weekdays to come. It is where we join together for common prayer to God and for mutual support. It is a place of comfort and love. I invite you to use my link to the St. Julie web site to learn more of this miraculous place.

On special occasions ... the "Thin Places"
Sometimes it happens in church, sometimes in the gazebo. I found a couple on our pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi in 2005. It is more of an occasion than a place, a time when the massive wall that separates the temporal world from the spiritual world, goes thin like delicate  membrane. When that happens you can feel the love of God. You are very close to heaven.

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My favorite time of day

During my second cup of coffee ...
In one of my favorite places, ... when I talk to God and to Anne. 
In a drawer, I discovered a stash of small books of inspiration and prayer. Anne must have known that I would need them some day. One of them includes a prayer for each day of the week. Each day I pray and meditate, remembering the goodness of God, asking forgiveness, and asking for help.  I select a reading from one of the others, a poem, a story or a prayer. 

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My favorite activity

This was my practice for the years immediately after Anne's death. Getting to the events, walking through fields, sitting sometimes uncomfortably for long periods of time, sometimes in cold or damp weather has become too much. I miss the events but now satisfy myself with the accounts related to me.

Attending the events of our grandchildren ...
It can be Grandparent's day at school, a talent show or class play, a game of soccer, baseball, football, basketball, swim meet, dance recital. Anne and I did this together and the tradition goes on. It doesn't matter how large or small a part they play, or even if they don't get into the game at all, we are there for them and are proud that they are trying. 
In any competition, it is important to focus, not on defeating someone else, but on doing your best to live up to your own God given abilities and talents. If each individual does his/her very best they will contribute to the team success.

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My dog 

When Anne decided to get a dog again, she went to the internet to find the perfect one. It had to be the right size, could not aggravate the allergies of those in our family, could not shed and have a good disposition with children. Mikey is a Bichon Frise. He was Anne's dog. It was several weeks before he stopped sleeping by the door waiting for her to come home.
Now he sleeps in my room and gets me up in the morning (but not too early). He DEMANDS his treat whenever I eat. He tells me in no uncertain terms when he wants to go out or when he wants to play, or when he just wants to be held and petted. (People should communicate as well when they need attention and love). Thank you, Anne

Mikey ... (Please don't call him Mickey)

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Dinner & Cards with Dick & Jan

We started when there were three couples, friends from the neighborhood during high school days. Long after marriage and children we began to meet at each other's homes for cards. A death, and then we were two couples. The host selects a restaurant and then we return home for cards. We always try to find a different restaurant. The Guests never know where dinner will be until we arrive. Now we are three and the tradition continues.  We have watched our families grow and shrink. We are comrades in life. There is love here.

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My favorite picture of Jesus
This is a happy, smiling Jesus.

He is doing the thing he most enjoys, telling stories to young people who are receptive and appreciative.

The artists' name is Jean Keaton.

Graphic used with permission.
Jean Keaton
Keaton Prints

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My Brothers and Sisters

Here too their can be no favorites. I have only recently (2006) come to know them and their families after discovering the identity of my natural parents. After being raised as an only child I have found two new groups of siblings and we belong to each other, kindred and kindred spirits. We are united by genealogy and surprisingly by common interests united by a long unbreakable thread. We are just getting to  know each other and we like what we find.