Second Gift of the Camino: Hold Both Gently

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"My buddy bailed” she said. I stopped on the side of a road to bandage a hotspot, defined as a pre-eminent strike against oncoming blisters (thank you Missy!). A woman, walking solo, came down the hill, slowly passed me and said “Bonjour.” I responded “Bonjour, Buen Camino”. Mixing French and English was her first clue. [...]

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First Gift of the Camino: Don’t Rush

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Today is the feast of St. Francis; a fitting day, perhaps, to take time to shed all that I know for awhile; daily routines, work patterns, ups and downs. And time away from everyone, even loved ones. At the beginning of my decision to walk The Way, taking time by myself seemed self-serving, selfish. But [...]

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The Place to be happy is here. The time to be happy is now.

These are picture of happiness, of contentment. They are a windows into the daily choice to wear happiness; to, in fact, let it consume us, instead of some lesser alternative consuming us. It’s Missy on the Camino, present to the day, come what may. As much as I have prepared to experience happiness on the [...]

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Write On My Heart

Over 200,000 people a year walk the Camino as verified by the number of pilgrims who have their Compostela stamped in Santiago, the official end of the journey. A Compostela is the multi-folding passport that you get stamped along the way. Many vendors, albergues, cafe’s, and stores have their own unique stamp. My wife Missy [...]

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Don’t think of an Elephant

Once you read the words, it’s hard to not  think of an elephant. Having an image of an elephant doesn’t help, I suppose. As I’ve prepared to journey, many friends have offered advice about how to walk; with an open heart, with an open soul, prepared to come home differently than I left. It’s been [...]

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Fear, the leak in the fuel line

Wouldn’t it be great if fear had a name tag? That way, no matter what form it took when it entered the room it would be so easy to invite fear to leave our presence. There are at least 103 instances of the words “do not be afraid”  and “fear not” in Scripture. Great words. [...]

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Gratitude, the fuel

“Giving thanks locates me in a good and right place,” the speaker said. She had already given the facts and figures; that those with the most suffering were often the most grateful, that thanks appears 102 times in the Old Testament and derivatives of the word appear at least 72 times. I thought about testing [...]

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Take Up Residence

A friend asked me this morning, “Where do you stay for 35-40 nights on the Camino?” There are city-operated pilgrim hostiles called Albergues plus hotels and some Convents and Monasteries that have been converted to accommodate pilgrims. His actual words were, “So…where do you take up residence?” It got me thinking about the home I [...]

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The Prayer Began When You Asked

My neighbor, Mary Francine, a woman in her late 70’s, stood in the street in front of her garden yesterday morning as I trekked my way past her. She looked at me peculiar…and rightly so, with full backpack, trekking poles, hat, etc. I said “Good morning” and she smiled back “And good morning to you! [...]

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Make heaven laugh. Tell God your plan.

My first feature film is called The One I Wrote For You. I wrote the original script (12 drafts), wrote the 14 songs, developed the business plan, studied every aspect of filmmaking and distribution and worked up dozens of spreadsheets to make a 110 page script show up on Movie Theater screens in 14 months [...]

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Backpack

“Plan to hit a wall at least 3 times, and prepare for what you haven’t prepared for!” Words of wisdom from my buddy Tom. When Tom and I worked on big projects together, he had enough experience with developing products, designing marketing plans, and launching new ideas to know that it’s not easy work. “You [...]

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From Trigger to Touchstone

There are certain songs, sounds, words, scents, and photographs that locate me in moments past. Some are wonderful. Some not so much. Touchstone: At my mom’s funeral, my sisters adorned a table with photographs of Eunice Essen Brennan Kauffman’s life. There was one in particular, taken when my mom was in her mid-twenties. She is [...]

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Presence

A spectator at a Dolphin show recently received a gift of “presence” from one of the stars of the show. While the spectator chronicled the moment, the dolphin invited her to live inthe moment. The dolphin snatched an I-Pad right out of her hands. On my best days, I’m not talking about what I’m doing. [...]

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The Crushable Hat of Self Care

God bless our parents, most of whom, I’m presuming, drilled into us the trouble with being selfish. Living a life that is primarily self-serving leaves us lonely, distanced, alone, lacking true laughter, void of great conversation, and, as I’ve experienced, just plain unhealthy, grey in the belly as it were. Avoiding selfishness is one of [...]

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Jump!

Ever jump off a high rock into a lake or river? Ever buy a plane ticket for an excursion that you really want and need? I’ve done both. In Boy Scouts (Troop 280, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, St. Louis, MO) we camped, hiked, and floated down awesome Missouri rivers. Occasionally there was a [...]

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Fuel

“You can’t ask me that question before 2 cups of coffee! I have no fuel yet!” a co-worker exclaimed to me years ago. Is there someone like that in your workplace? Are you like that in your workplace? My co-worker’s coffee reputation was well-known, so much so that if someone really needed an answer to [...]

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Feet don’t fail me now

In 1987 Missy and I began a music ministry in earnest. By late 1989 I was at it full time. I was performing at Youth Rallies throughout the United States. My first tour was organized by Ted Marconi throughout western Pennsylvania. 6 appearances in 7 days. Plus radio, newspaper, and lots of time with youth [...]

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Shoes and Socks and Trust

I’m planning a journey. A long one. I’m walking the Camino De Santiago de Compostela in Spain. I’ll be walking the “French route” that starts in the southwest corner of France. It’s 500 miles long. Day 1 is a 12 mile hike through the Pyrenees Mountains. I don’t just want to survive the journey. I [...]

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