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Time capsule moments

Oct. 30, 2014

When Kelvin Peters was diagnosed with terminal cancer, his young daughters knew they would miss many special moments with him. They knew he would never dance at their weddings.

Kaitlin Peters, 21, could not miss that special moment with her dad. She knew her two younger sisters needed that moment, too.

Last month the girls created a wedding event to share with their dying dad. Businesses contributed the necessary dresses, cakes, and photographer. Just three grooms missing. The special event – complete with dad dancing a wedding dance with each daughter – was recorded.

Kelvin Peters will be present when his daughters marry. Present in spirit. He has recorded a message for each future husband and purchased a special gift for each daughter to open when she marries.

The courage and compassion of the girls and their dad may inspire other families to create time capsule moments for each other.

(S-R photo: Spokane River at sunset)



Robin Williams – a Giant among us

Oct. 27, 2014 7:51 a.m. - Updated: 7:55 a.m.

The three children of comedian Robin Williams were on the pitcher’s mound at the World Series.  Zak Williams, Robin’s son, threw out the first pitch of the game. Robin’s dear friend Billy Crystal acted as catcher. 

As we continue to seek answers to mental illness, the beloved comedian – who died from suicide in August – reminds us of the need to be vigilant and stay close to each other. Mental illness cannot always be detected by those who suffer with it or those who love and stay close. 

If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

(S-R archive photo: Robin Williams June 15, 2007)



Compassionate kindness to Marysville Pilchuck

Oct. 25, 2014 1:33 p.m. - Updated: 1:35 p.m.

Sometimes in the middle of horrific tragedy, like Friday’s shooting at Marysville, kindness offers hope.

The Oak Harbor football team was slated to play Marysville Pilchuck Friday night in a championship game. But all school activities were cancelled.

In the evening, as the Marysville football players met to share their grief and shock, they saw a group of Oak Harbor players walk in, dressed in their purple jerseys. They came to offer presence and reassurance and kindness. They offered to forfeit the game–giving Marysville Pilchuck the league title and the No. 1 seed for next week's Wesco 3A crossover games.

The Oak Harbor gesture is an object lesson in a grief observed: show up, offer to make the path ahead a bit easier. Stay close.

(S-R archives: Drawing by Duncan Cooper)



Oct. 24, 2014 9:13 a.m. - Updated: 9:15 a.m.

With the insane heat of the summer only a memory and autumn leaves cascading down, October bliss brings lovely days and the World Series.

October brings relief and the grace of baseball – no chains to measure distance, just the crack of baseball bats, balls bouncing into the hands of eager fans and the best mini-series of the year.

We live in a world of increasing chaos and daily violence. But a few hours of America’s favorite past time, seems a lovely escape. Tradition has its place.

(S-R photo: Kansas City’s Lorenzo Cain celebrates after the Royals’ Game 2 win.)


The Oscar of oscars

Oct. 21, 2014 7:01 a.m. - Updated: 10:08 a.m.

Oscar de la Renta, fashion designer and celebrity among stars, died at his Kent, Conn. home. He was 82.

The designer had battled cancer for nearly eight years, but continued to dress famous women: Sarah Jessica Parker, Amy Adams,  are two of the glamourous women who wore his creations. George Clooney’s bride, Amal Alamuddin, wore a de la Renta gown at their recent Venice nuptials.

Oscar de la Renta, born in the Dominican Republic, went to Madrid to study art where he spent time drawing clothes for newspapers and fashion designers.  When the wife of John Davis Lodge, the United States ambassador to Spain, saw some of his sketches, she asked de la Renta to design a coming-out dress for her daughter.  The daughter and the dress made the cover of Life magazine. Soon de la Renta was working in Paris at Christian Dior.

In the last eight years, his business grew 50 percent to $150 million in sales. He dressed socialites and first ladies.   

Oscar de la Renta is survived by his wife, Annette.

(S-R photo: Oscar de la Renta Oct. 13, 2011)


Columbus Day or Indigenous People’s Day?

Oct. 19, 2014 6 a.m. - Updated: 9:04 a.m.

Lots of talk last week about what to call the October 12 holiday. How did you observe, or not observe, October 12?

We like to romanticize our heroes, their personal characteristics and their accomplishments. However, when we seek historical accuracy, we often make our own discovery: they possessed failings and faults.

So disappointing.

Perhaps it would be more disappointing to our heroes if they knew we often observe their days of honor with trips to the mall seeking “holiday sales” and whining when the mail is not delivered.

Hopefully, our leaders will leave Veterans Day just as it is. That group of brave people deserves their holiday: a day of admiration, gratitude and, yes, parades. 

(S-R archive photo)


Ebola and compassionate care of the dying

Oct. 17, 2014 10:42 p.m. - Updated: 10:50 p.m.

Volunteers continue their poignant and compassionate care of Ebola patients in West Africa.

Dr. Stephen Hatch, an American volunteer with International Medical Corps, cares for Ebola-infected patients in a Liberian hospital. He is part of a four-week rotation. Hatch and nearly two dozen others trained last month in Anniston, Ala. at a former Army base, learning how to safely care for Ebola patients.

While suited up in protective gear, Hatch and other physicians touch Ebola-infected patients and soothe their pain. Without drugs to cure, the caregivers offer fluids, medications to treat symptoms; they offer compassion as they feed patients and clean them. They offer frightened patients the solace of human touch.

Last week Hatch cared for a gravely ill pastor who arrived at the Liberian hospital. The pastor insisted on praying for Dr. Hatch. The man prayed for him again the night before he died.

While we witness West Africa’s crisis from afar, compassionate care continues: Caregivers comfort and grieve as they witness suffering and remarkable courage.

(S-R photo: n this photo taken Thursday Oct. 2, 2014, Promise Cooper, 16, is helped filling a bottle with chlorine solution by Kanyean Molton Farley, a community activist who visits Promise and her two brothers, Emmanuel Junior, 11, right, and Benson, 15, not pictured, on a daily basis at their St. Paul Bridge home in Monrovia, Liberia. The Cooper children are now orphans, having lost their mother, Princess, in July, and their father Emmanuel in August. Their 5-month-old baby brother Success also succumbed to the virus in August. Ruth, their 13-year-old sister is being hospitalized with Ebola. The three never fell sick to the deadly disease.)

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He who conceals his disease cannot expect to be cured

Oct. 15, 2014 7:45 a.m. - Updated: 7:53 a.m.

…is an Ethiopian proverb. Perhaps when one conceals their disease from themselves, they can never begin to get well – find medication, support or change behaviors needed for healing.

Perhaps when one conceals their disease from the community, they are not part of a group who changes perceptions, advocates for cures. Together, we encourage each other, find hope.

In an interview on The Queen Latifah Show, the beautiful actress Rene Russo revealed her lifetime battle with bi-polar disorder. Another lovely face – like actress Catherine Zeta-Jones - now associated with a mental health illness.

Rene Russo's story may encourage others to get medical help, change how people perceive others who live with mental health disorders. And perhaps enough stories will lead to the longed-for cure.

(S-R photo: Lake Pend Oreille) 


Gay conversation

Oct. 13, 2014 9:52 a.m. - Updated: 9:57 a.m.

The bishops have continued their conversation on family issues; they are midway in their two-week meeting. While the doors are closed, seems some minds have opened. A document summarizing their discussions has been released.

“The bishops said gays had ‘gifts and qualities’ to offer and asked rhetorically if the church was ready to provide them a welcoming place, “accepting and valuing their sexual orientation without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony.”


Saturday was National Coming Out Day and our wonderful parish acknowledged the day, encouraging parishioners to wear a parish t-shirt with the parish logo, LGBT on the front and Pope Francis’ quote - “Who am I to judge?” - on the back. A man, his wife –both wearing the shirts -brought the gifts of bread and wine up to the altar.

We are not waiting for a document from Rome to direct our parish life. We are a loving, joyful community with many gifted people worshipping here. All are welcome – we sing it, we pray it, we live it.

(S-R photo: Pope Francis, top center, celebrates  Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014 )


John Denver: At home on country roads

Oct. 12, 2014 8:33 a.m. - Updated: 8:51 a.m.

Singer John Denver died on this day in 1997. He was a folk singer, song writer, humanitarian and activist –advocating for the land and against war.

For many boomers, he was their voice, singing a little bit country, a little bit folk music about issues of the sixties and seventies as he strummed his acoustic guitar.  He sold millions of records.  

Denver married a woman from Minnesota, Annie Martell. The couple lived in my hometown for a few years and John performed at our high school in 1970. Students walked out in protest of proposed cuts in student activities and the teachers who supervised the activities. A student knew John Denver and asked Denver to play in support of our cause. He was not famous at the time; students loved his music and listened for hours.

Denver won an Emmy Award in 1974 for his live concert special “An Evening with John Denver.” He also made it to the big screen in 1977 when he played an everyday, working man in “Oh, God.” (George Burns played God.) Denver’s common-man persona endeared him to many.

John Denver died in a plane crash in 1997; the cause of the crash cited as his inability “to execute safely a switch of fuel tanks in flight.” Many of us remember where we were when we heard of his untimely death, a voice silenced. He was 53 years old.

Seventeen years later his music legacy continues with timeless messages and memories, sweet.

(S-R archive photo:  Tumbleweeds cover a country road in Ordway, Colo)

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