Catholic Medals


So in keeping with my love of miniatures and my intrigue with many religious symbols, I was drawn recently to a couple of Catholic medals. I also wondered if they were old (I’m drawn to vintage also) which made me ponder who might have owned them previously.

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Knowing very little about the Catholic faith, I have no clue about these, although I can guess. There is writing on them, but it’s so tiny  (and I can’t find my magnifying glass), so I can’t read what it says. I googled them, but couldn’t find anything just like them.

Anyone out there who can help me? I’d love to know as much as you can tell me. They are very precious.

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November 22, 1963


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“And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country.

My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.”

While many of us know the first part of President Kennedy’s inaugural speech of 1961, we may not know the last part. I didn’t until today. In reading it on this day, the 50th anniversary of his assassination, I was moved and brought to tears.

Some words are powerful and poignant, no matter what year they are spoken. These words are certainly so. While I’m not a religious person and not necessarily the most patriotic,  I am still highly spiritual and certainly love my country.

As I hear the horrors that transpire around the globe with constant wars, political killing, global treatment of women, vast poverty and hunger–I still feel America is a nation of abundance and freedom. True we have our own poverty and hunger also, but we have constant checks and balances to combat it. And I’m not sure it’s to the extreme of other countries with millions living in destitution.

But the words that for me seem to ring in my soul are that we as individuals must do for our country.  And beyond that, we must work together to make things happen! President Kennedy, as a practicing Catholic, knew enough to say that while God can help, you must truly be the one to do the work on earth! Whatever your higher power may be. And that you do it because it’s right!

And only history will show how well we all did. Since 1963 have things improved? Has hunger in the world gone down? Is there more equality among people? Is shelter more available? Is there less war? How is America doing in all these arenas?  Or do we have more work to do both globally and at home?

It’s not just up to our government and America to do it all for us. We can’t sit back and expect the citizens to make more laws to protect resources and then all go and drive huge cars. We can’t complain about healthcare and the cost of insurance and then be overweight and not exercise. We can’t complain about over crowding in schools and school taxes and then have five kids per family. We can’t complain about our neighbor’s noise when we’ve never even made an effort to know who our neighbors are. And it’s easy to forget that the millions dying overseas of starvation are people just like us.

It’s time we as Americans take responsibility: for ourselves, our community, our world! It’s easy to complain, blame and expect ‘them’ to fix things. It’s easy to point fingers and say it was the other people who broke everything. But until we admit that maybe it was us too and we are willing to meet halfway, then we can never heal. Make at least one sacrifice in our life–one change!

It’s 2013 now, 50 years later and President John F. Kennedy had a vision. He tasked a nation to take on responsibility. I was only a small child then, but somewhere in the deep recesses of my soul I have tried to embrace these words. Hopefully as a nation we can move closer and closer to these goals and embrace the world as one.

My Christmas Joy!


As I sit surrounded by my three canine pals and write tonight’s blog, I reflect on this holiday season and what it means to me. I am not Christian. My mother was Jewish, but my step-dad was of Christian background (Protestant), so during this holiday season we ‘celebrated’ both holidays by having a menorah and a Christmas tree. As far as real celebrating goes, we didn’t get into any of the true meaning of either. That was for me to pick my way through as I got older. My mom’s take on it was that it was really a ploy for Hallmark to make money. Maybe she’s not far off.

We all know, and I hear said over and over, that the true meaning of Christmas has been lost. When I hear this I can only assume people mean it is supposed to be a time of year of special kindness, generosity, love, caring, forgiving and other peaceful traits that Jesus would have put forth. Yet what most of us experience are stress, greed, lack, worry, fear, and often unkindness of our fellow human. And I know this disturbs most of us.

What disturbs me, though, is that I try to practice the above mentioned things all year round–not just this time of year. I’d imagine that’s really what Jesus was hoping for? Not just one big spurt of energy in the dark time of the year just to get your blood running. Once a good and very devout Catholic friend of mine once told me that I was one of the best Christians she knew. I was humbled.

But I digress. Why my title? I have always been a gift giver. It never took just Christmas for me to give gifts. I do it all the time and often surprise people at the most unexpected times and for the oddest reasons. Sometimes people accept well, sometimes not. I personally do not receive well. Something I’ve been working on over the years. People give not only to make the others feel good, but because it feels good to give. I suppose that’s why many do token giving this time of year.

Everyone knows how much sadness there is in the world as of late. I personally work so hard in my life to try to be happy and joyful. It is an uphill battle in my own personal life. If I don’t even look beyond my own struggles it hard to stay upbeat. But I can be having a wonderful day and then turn on the radio or computer. It can quickly come crashing down because of what is going on around me. Some people may be able to compartmentalize their life and shut out the rest of the world’s struggles. But I can’t do that. I feel everything on a soul level.

Some things do give me consistent joy though! And one of those things is the joy I feel when I’m around my dogs. I live alone and have tried many, many times to be in relationships. I’m done with that arena. But my pups are my constant companions. I had two before yesterday but had been contemplating for some time getting a third. One of mine is getting older and I like to transition a new one in before he goes. And suddenly everything seemed right.

He was on the Humane center’s website and I was sure he would be gone by the time I got there. But I guess he was just meant to go home with me. A couple said they saw him at the shelter last week too! I can’t believe no-one wanted him. My other guys are going through some adjustment, but it will be OK eventually I’m sure. They are all pretty good-natured. It has been nutty walking three, but I will manage. And I’m worried about him during the day. He’s had some accidents, but hopefully he’ll figure it out. My kids are around now and they said they would help….hopefully it’s true.

Many think I’m nuts, but they don’t live with dogs. They have no idea the peace they bring to ones life. I know I can’t travel like they do, but I don’t care to do it. I love my home with them in it. My ‘vacations’ are right here with them. Dogs add a level to our understanding of the world because they use senses we do not. If we tune into them they help us to heal, learn, love, be calm, and share. Sometimes they even save lives. And in return we give them shelter, food and hopefully caring and love back. Small price to pay for the utter devotion they give us. Tell me one human that gives completely like a dog does?

So, welcome Pippin. Welcome to our family. You’ve already filled my heart with your silly little looks, kisses all over my face, your leaps and bounds and gruff bark. You were so easy to love! And you loved me right back. How easy was that? And took away all the sadness I have been feeling for the world. Thank you. And Merry Christmas.