RIP Mrs. Barbara Bush, Lover of Literacy

I am so saddened to learn about the passing of Barbara Bush. She has been a personal inspiration to me for two very specific reasons that I’d like to share here that were encapsulated in this one excerpt:

In 1980, George ran for president. There were endless receptions, luncheons, dinners and fundraisers. For the campaign, Barbara had to choose an official cause. She picked literacy, which became a lifelong passion. “I realized everything I worried about” – teen pregnancy, hunger, homelessness, drug use, crime – “would be better if more people could read, write and comprehend,” she later recalled. She was also pressured to change her image, with some family members urging her to “color my hair, change my style of dressing and, I suspect, get me to lose some weight,” she later recalled, driving her to tears. Jane Pauley of NBC opened a television interview by asking her: “People say your husband is a man of the ’80s and you are a woman of the ’40s. What do you say to that?” Barbara, though stung, declined to alter her matronly image, which instead helped her become one of her husband’s most powerful political assets. A critic, Andrew Sullivan of The New Republic magazine, called her “America’s queen mother” whose “mastery of frumpy do-goodery is, of course, modeled on the Windsors.”

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Reflections: Why I Love Going to Church

Wayne and I are missing church this morning due to a “winter weather advisory” which includes icy rain and slick roads. Then we’re getting some snow! I’ll miss going this morning because weather and wellness permitting, during the fall, winter and spring, Wayne and I go to our Episcopal church in Cape Elizabeth* every Sunday. We prefer the early morning quiet and “contemplative” service which means there are no hymns, choir nor an organ being played. Unlike the later service there is a relatively small attendance of regulars. Here are some things I really love about our ritual:

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Spiritual Guideposts: Advice from Maine Football Coach John Wolfgram

“It’s not whether we win or lose; it’s who we help along the way.”

Retired Maine football coach John Wolfgram has won ten state championships and more than 300 games during four decades as a head coach at four schools. John is also a champion at ushering at the 8:00 a.m. service at our church, St. Albans in Cape Elizabeth. When he asked if Wayne and I could fill in for one of his slots, I told him we’d trade in exchange for a blog interview! He cheerfully and graciously agreed. I’m so happy and honored that he volunteered to share his inspiring approach to “winning” with you here on Serene New England.

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Visit to St. Anthony Franciscan Monastery and Shrines, Kennebunk, Maine

One year ago today Wayne and I visited St. Anthony’s Franciscan Monastery despite the frigid temps. It’s open to the public year-round. Here are some of the beautiful sights:

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Personal Updates

I’ve had some rough days since my last post, but I’ll start with the more upbeat stuff. The photo above is of Wayne looking rather tiny in contrast with the big colorful trees in our woods.

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Abandoned Beauty: Limington, Maine Church

Wayne and I stopped to take photos of this decaying church during our foliage drive this past weekend. I think of all of the celebrations, sermons and funerals that once took place here and how forlorn and sad it is now. Yet, that gives it a haunting beauty, don’t you think?

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Maine Episcopal Summer Chapel Tour: St. Philips by the Sea, Fortunes Rocks, Biddeford

St. Philips by the Sea was on our original itinerary for a visit today, but I had crossed it off a few weeks ago after our unexpected experience.  St. Philips doesn’t have a website nor a contact phone number, and its location, Fortunes Rocks, is on a public road but much of the rest of it is private and a part of an exclusive association. I was apprehensive thinking we shouldn’t go without being able to ensure we wouldn’t be intruding somehow. All we knew from the Diocese website was that services are at 9:30. At the last minute, as in this morning, instead of taking a week off from the tour, I decided I wanted to give St. Philips a chance. Continue reading “Maine Episcopal Summer Chapel Tour: St. Philips by the Sea, Fortunes Rocks, Biddeford”

Maine Episcopal Summer Chapel Tour: Trinity Chapel, Kennebunk Beach

Wayne and I took a scenic drive to Trinity Chapel in Kennebunk Beach which is a seaside community filled with gorgeous Victorians and wood shingled cottages. From the church website: “We have a ten week summer season, starting the last Sunday of June and saying Goodbye on the first Sunday of September. The chapel is open every day from morning to dusk, for quiet contemplation, or a noisier visit by KBIA campers. Dogs and sand are ok too. All are welcome, all of the time. The chapel is always tucked in for the winter, to open again in the spring, and by special arrangement at other times.”
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