As I stated on one of my Instagram photographs, growing up in a household following two faiths allows for me to see details from a different perspective. So, I tend to put a lot of my beliefs into what I try to capture, portray and share with everyone. So, from as far back as I can remember, let’s say, age 5, my two grandmothers had an advantageous effect in shaping my views, and how I tend to view the world around me. Both are in their heaven/kingdom and again we will meet, but not now. Yes, that was from Gladiator. So, I am a Catholic and experienced all the rituals that it entailed growing up. After more than 20+ years, I recently went back to church, attending mass a few times over the last 2 years. Why 20+ years is another blog. Still with me so far?
So, every Sunday we went to church! Every Sunday! No questions, no arguing, and no games. If you were half asleep, walking like a zombie, you still went. One eye sleeping, so the other eye can keep tabs on what was going on. Afterwards we ate a cannoli at this quaint bakery which is still there today. It’s hard to find a good cannoli. Some humor. My wife would agree with me on this one. It was a ritual. Sunday church, cannoli, swim, surf, fly kites, and play with the pet ducks my grandmother fed regularly. This was an everyday routine as well, but minus the church and the cannoli. Prayer was still said. Dinner was pasta and meatballs. Hands down to this day my grandmother’s is still the best pasta and meatballs I will ever have in my life. I have the recipe! Believe it! You don’t cook, prep, wash dishes, and run a kitchen for years without knowing some secret recipes. I know a few.
Anyway, my grandmother was a devout Catholic and she was stern. Tomorrow is going to be a better day. Tomorrow will be a good day. Treat your days like these plants and watch them every day and make sure they survive. Get that! Still with me?
Grandmother’s gift to me more than 10 years ago.
My other grandmother was a devout Jehovah’s Witness. I think Kingdom Hall days were on weekdays. Regardless when those services were, every night before bed, the same mantra – thank you Jehovah for tomorrow will be our last day and we will be brought to your kingdom to assist the other angels. Every morning, the same thing. Today will be our last day. Are you still with me? This is a lot of information to absorb when you are 5 years old (and older).
My ritual was a little different with my second grandmother. She was my sensei. Stay with me. My parents were oblivious to this. My grandmother was a ninja and here was the first lesson. Hobo coffee. You take a pan or pot, add coffee grounds, boil water, and then pour into a cup and drink. Yup. That first cup of coffee to start the day. 2nd part of lesson 1. Put coffee cup down to cool off. These are the only things you need to know: Head, throat, chest, elbows, wrists, torso, groin, knees, and ankles. The makeup of the basic human body. Defense: Avoid. Offense 1: fingers to the eye sockets, push in and up. Serious stuff here folks starting at age 5. Still with me? Second lesson. Drink cooled down coffee. More humor. My wife would not agree. My grandmother was a either a 3rd or 4th degree back belt in jujitsu. She also held a 2nd degree black belt in Kung Fu, a 1st degree black belt in kickboxing and dabbled in boxing for fun. I would listen to her stories ad nauseam about her sensei and her training. The lesson taught was patience! Walk away! Defend! Then we would have lunch and start more training. Lesson 1. Hobo coffee. Mantra: Thank you Jehovah for today for we will die tomorrow. Every day I heard my grandmother recite this, and still hear it. Make sense? So, yes, I may use flowers, trees, water, boats, jets, helicopters, the sky, clouds, beaches, nature, and some creative picture contrast, but what better way to express oneself, other than using a negative or destructive median?
Enough for now. See you in the next post!
Some favorite quotes to end today’s entry:
In my deepest, darkest moments, what really got me through was a prayer. Sometimes my prayer was ‘Help me.’ Sometimes a prayer was ‘Thank you.’ What I’ve discovered is that intimate connection and communication with my creator will always get me through because I know my support, my help, is just a prayer away. (Iyanla Vanzant)
To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible. (Thomas Aquinas)
Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth. (Buddha)
Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t goin’ away. (Elvis Presley)
And because this was a dedication post; I wanted to conclude today’s entry with a simple prayer both my grandmother’s used!
Holy Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do you, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who wander through the world seeking the ruin of souls.