May 30, 2012

Anchors Aweigh, My Boys...

My family is laced with military men and women from the Civil War to Vietnam, and so I have grown
to have a strong admiration, appreciation, and love for the armed forces.  In the wee hours of this morning, my one and only brother left home for boot camp in Illinois, now a part of the United States Navy.  As a result of his decision, this Memorial Day became a landmark for me, and I think for my whole family.  I, at least, began to understand on a whole new level the sacrifice of these men and women, so what we are free to live in peace and safety.  Mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters, leaving their families and everything familiar to them, putting their lives at stake so we don't have to.

Freedom is not free, people.  To those who have served, are serving, will serve, and to those who have paid the ultimate price, the people of America owe one huge thank you.

And to my brother...  We'll miss you here at home, but I know that God has a plan for what you are doing, and that you will do great things if you simply follow it.  God bless you, and anchors aweigh!  Farewell to college joys, we sail at break of day (ay ay ay)!  Thou our last night ashore, Anchors aweigh!  Until we meet once more, here's wishing you a happy voyage home!




Eternal Father, faithful friend,
be swift to answer those we send,
in brotherhood and urgent trust,
on hidden missions dangerous.
Oh hear us when we cry to thee,
for SEALs in the air, on land, and sea.

God bless our troops!

Iris H.

May 27, 2012

Come, Holy Spirit!

Come, Holy Spirit, and from heaven direct on man a ray of your light.
Come, Father of the Poor.
Come, Giver of good gifts.
Come, Light of men's hearts.
Kindly Paraclete, in your gracious visits to man's soul you bring relief and consolation.
If it is weary with toil, you bring it ease.
In the heat of temptation, your grace cools it.
If sorrowful, your word consoles it.
Light most blessed, shine on the hearts of your faithful, even into their darkest corners.
For without your aid, man can do nothing good, and everything is sinful.
Wash clean the sinful soul.
Rain down your grace on the parched soul.
Heal the injured soul.
Soften the hard heart.
Cherish and warm the ice cold heart.
Give direction to the wayward.
Give your seven holy gifts to your faithful, for their trust is in you.
Give them reward for their virtuous acts.
Give a death that ensures salvation.
Give them unending bliss.
Amen.
Alleluia!



I hope you all have a blessed and wonderful feast of Pentecost, a celebration of the day when long ago, the Holy Spirit descended from heaven, and came to rest of the Apostles and the Blessed Virgin in the form of fire.  That same fire that purifies our souls of sin, rejuvenates our weary hearts, and enlightens our minds to the gospels.  We must not forget, dear readers, that the same God who put this world into its orbit is perpetually ready and waiting to pour out His Holy Spirit upon every person who is willing to accept it.  

"We feel the rain of Your Spirit, we feel the wind of Your love, and now the heartbeat of heaven let us here.  Let it rain!  Let it rain!  Open the floodgates of heaven!"

Come, Holy Spirit, 
enkindle in us the fire of your love.  
Send forth your spirit, 
and they shall be created
and you shall renew the face of the earth.

Breathe in me, Oh Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.
Act in me, Oh Holy Spirit, that my works may all be holy.
Draw my heart, Oh Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy.
Strengthen me, Oh Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy.
Guard me then, Oh Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy. 

May 22, 2012

Just 'Cause...

I have absolutely nothing to write about today...




;-)

Hope you all have a particularly fantastical day!!!

God bless!

~ Iris (Schmooel)

May 18, 2012

Shawarma!




I love shawarma even more now...

       Some friends and I ventured out to see The Avengers on Wednesday, and we all thoroughly enjoyed it. :-)  I won't write a review right now, because I don't feel like having my eyes bug out from staring at the computer screen for a long time, but I might issue one a bit later.  Short version, though, it was a fantastic movie; action packed, hilarious, and Captain America is apparently a Christian!  I think that alone deserves a "double woot..."

God bless!

~ Iris (Schmooel)

May 16, 2012

Endings

Golly, growing up writes an ending to so many things...

Last weekend, I performed with the Campion Players in a magnificent production of William Shakespeare's Macbeth.  All together, I think we had more people come to our show than we have ever had.  But it was a bittersweet few days, because as I stood on that stage while the crew was taking down our sets, it dawned on me that this was the last play I would ever act in as a member of St. Augustine's HEP, a thought that smacked me in the face like a brick.  I always had the idea in the back of my mind that I would grow up, but I honestly never thought it would happen so quickly.  Yet here is graduation, and college right around the corner.  Although I will be going to a local college, it still seems so surreal.  St. Augustine's was such a big part of my life, and it is so strange to think that we are all leaving it.

The cast party followed a friend's house just a few miles up the road, and her parents graciously allowed their home to be invaded by rabble rousing teenagers on down.  A right jolly time was had by all. :-)  There was a marvelous assortment of delicious food, and really a quite impressive  selection of desserts from brownies to fudge to coconut truffles (that were out of this world).  Not long after everyone arrived, the guitars and the eukelele were pulled out and we sang just about everything under the moon...  Some of the Juniors even serenaded us with Rascall Flatt's "My Wish".  The seniors went for an almost-midnight stroll through the subdivision, and talked about a multitude of random things.  It's so wonderful ... we can do absolutely anything or absolutely nothing and still be happy together.

It was a great week.
Cast of Macbeth, 2012

Finally, I want to issue a giant thank you to just a few people, something I should have done in person, and intend to do very soon.  First, to our director.  To borrow a phrase from a friend, he brought us up from "acting babes," hashing out a highly abridged version of A Midsummer Night's Dream in the parish center, to who we are today.  He has been a mentor and a friend to all of us, and is a tremendous blessing to the people of St. Augustine's.  To our producer, who is just perfectly outstanding....  Hours upon hours upon hours she poured herself out for us... costuming, ticket selling, and organizing our lives around this play with not a thought to herself.  This production would not have been, were it not for her loving generosity.  The crew, also deserves a huge "thank you."  They lift things up and put them down tirelessly and without a complaint, whenever it needs to be done.  They flipped switches and carried around fog machines and pulled curtains, all without error.  You guys are awesome, and we all truly appreciate and are grateful for your help, even though we might yell at you occasionally for making faces at us behind a curtain or for putting the sword box away without all the swords. ;-)  And God bless our cast.  What can I say?  I really have no words.  You folks are absolutely fantastic and I have loved every minute of working with you over the years...  And last but definitely not least, thank you to our parents, who were left without us every day last week, sometimes until 11:30 or midnight.  You are so patient with us...

Now I'm going to catch up on some much needed sleep... :-)
God bless you all, and I hope you enjoy yourselves on this absolutely gorgeous day...

~  Iris (Schmooel)



May 7, 2012

Tech Week!!

Some life's greatest moments happen backstage.

New friends are made.  Old friends grow closer.  And in the end,  everyone is completely exhausted, both happy and sad at the same time, and utterly and hopelessly hilarious.

Seriously though, I do love tech week.  It is tough and very stressful at times, but whenever it rolls around, I become super duper excited.

The first few days are especially long, because we stop quite often to move a curtain or fix the lights.  On the balcony where the tech people work the lights, there is a ginormous switchboard with over a hundred buttons, knobs, and who knows what else.  It's intimidating just to look at it.  I can imagine that it takes a while to get used to, and I applaud the tech crew for learning so quickly.

The next few days move a little (a little, a very little) faster, since the techies have all of their duties memorized.  We have a dress rehearsal every night, and out director takes people aside to work on certain scenes.  Sometimes we are at the theater until 10 or 11 pm.  That's when it starts to get really fun... People who are usually perfectly calm and collected begin to crack and go crazy.

My friends and I have this four or five year old tradition that we like to call "tape rolling."  Yes, it is incredibly dumb, but it keeps us quiet and amused for the long hours that we must be backstage.  We take a roll of masking tape and roll it down the hallway, trying to get it through each others legs.  It's a lot more fun than it sounds... especially when we're all high on friendship and caffeine and lack of sleep.

Anyway, the next few days are pretty darn packed, so my apologies if I am unable to write again this week.

God bless you!

~ Iris (Schmooel)


May 4, 2012

The Last Day

Well, this is it.  It's over.

My high school days will officially drawn to a close as of 3:00 today, and how exciting and how dreadful it is all at the same time.  I can say in unrestrained honesty that these past few years have been the best years of my entire life. When I came to St. Augustine's all that time ago, I had no idea that the people I'd meet there would become the most amazing friends I could ever have.  I have been so tremendously and richly blessed by all of you, and I thank you from the depths of my soul for simply being who you are.  There's a saying that goes, "my friends are like the colors of the rainbow, unique and brilliant alone, but absolutely stunning when together."  This is so, so true.  In your own special ways, you spread a little bit of heaven to everyone around you, and together, you make up the most admirable, outstanding, and wonderful group of friends that anyone could ever ask for.  Where would I be today without your godly examples?

I will definitely miss the days of 'basking in the sweet joy of friendship,' and I will hold them all close and dear to my heart.  I will miss having class on the cool cemetery grass while Mr. Campbell imparts to us his knowledge of the Sacred Scriptures, secret rubber band wars during Schola, and of course, those days when we are collectively just so hyper and goofy that we can not control ourselves.  We can do absolutely anything or absolutely nothing together and still have the best time...

Those were the days in which I learned the true meaning of Christian friendship and fellowship, thanks to you dear friends, both within the Senior Class of 2012 and without.  You have taught me what it means to be a strong and faithful young person in the chaos of today's world.  I have learned that it will take me a long time to become the person I want to be, but because of you, I'm a long way from where I was six years ago.  I have learned that a person can go on much longer after he thinks he can't.  In you, I have witnessed Christ's body dutifully at work, each member doing its small part, but together so big.

Even to those of you who I did not know personally, your life is a model to me.  You probably didn't even know that your words or example made an imprint on me, but they did.  You have all made a difference in my life, because Christ is in you, and that's what He does. 

In the end, I can only hope that I was as good a friend and classmate to you as you were to me.

God bless you, my darling friends.  I have heard that true friendship can grow even over a long distance, and I hope that though our lives may take us far apart, our friendship will keep us together.

I love you all dearly.


May 2, 2012

America the Beautiful . . . or so you used to be

The following is a poem introduced to me by my mother a long time ago.  It was written by Judge Roy Moore from Alabama.  He became known across America when the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) sued him for displaying a miniature of the Ten Commandments in his own courtroom.  When he became Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court in 2001, he had a 2 and a half ton monument of the Ten Commandments brought into the Supreme Court.  He was sued again by the ACLU, but because he refused to remove the monument, he was deposed from his position as Chief Justice, and he wrote this poem.  God bless you, Judge Moore...


America the Beautiful, or so you used to be.
Land of the Pilgrim's pride; I'm glad they'll never see.


Babies piled in dumpsters, Abortion on demand,
Oh, sweet land of liberty, your house is on the sand.


Our children wander aimlessly poisoned by cocaine,
Choosing to indulge their lusts, when God has said abstain.


From sea to shining sea, our Nation turns away
From the teaching of God's love and a need to always pray.


So many worldly preachers tell lies about our Rock,
Saying God is going broke so they can fleece the flock.


We've kept God in our temples, how callous we have grown.
When earth is but His footstool, and Heaven is His throne.


We've voted in a government that's rotting to the core,
Appointing Godless Judges who throw reason out the door,


Too soft to place a killer in a well deserved tomb,
But brave enough to kill a baby before he leaves the womb.


You think that God's not angry, that our land's a moral slum?
How much longer will he wait before his judgement comes?


How are we to face our God, from Whom we cannot hide?
What then is left for is to do, but stem this evil tide?


If we who are His children, will humbly turn and pray,
Seek His holy face and mend our evil way:


Then God will hear from Heaven and forgive us of our sins,
He'll heal our sickly land and those who live within.


But, America the Beautiful, if you don't then you will see,
A sad but Holy God withdraw His hand from Thee.