...the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support. Geo. Washington Feb. 22, 1732



Friday, November 30, 2007

(My) Ark of the Covenant


The Ark of the Covenant (ארון הברית in Hebrew: aron habrit) is described in the Bible as a sacred container, wherein rested the stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments as well as other sacred Israelite objectsFor some reason I got to thinking about the Ark lately. The Royal Arch Degrees of Most Excellent Master and the Royal Arch both involve a representation of the Ark.

According to the degree the Ark contained a pot of manna, Aaron's rod and the Book of the Law. All sacred things to the ancient Israelites and proof to them that God exists and had made a covenant with them.

I got to thinking about what was in my Ark. The one in my heart. The one full of the treasures which prove to me that God IS.

I was sitting in the First Methodist Church today for Sherry Allen's funeral. I grew up in that church and as I sat there I looked around the sanctuary. The picture of the good shepherd dominates the room. It depicts Jesus carrying a small lamb. Funny I had never noticed before the way the light in that picture emphasizes the lamb's head. Almost as if it had a halo. On the other wall smaller but just as meaningful is a stained glass of the risen Christ. Underneath that glass is the phrase, "God is Love. Those three words say it all. Not for me the God of blood and vengeance. Not the God who destroys or turns Lot's wife into a pillar of salt. Just quite simply the God which Jesus shows us. The one who LOVES and does not condemn.

My Aunt Jo told me that my grandmother believed that we make our own heaven or hell right here on earth. I believe that. God sends us constant Love and all we have to do is tap into that Love and miracles happen in our heart.

Obviously another item in my Ark is my Lodge. The brothers and the way I feel about them and the good that we try to do is a major portion of my life right now. I am (and always will be) extremely grateful that my mother suggested to me that I "might enjoy the Masons." She had no idea. (and neither did I.)

The public school system that taught me how to read and reason is another "treasure" in my ark. I will always be grateful for the teachers I had who encouraged me in so many ways and helped me to grow. I hope I was able to pay back some of that in my years of teaching. Speaking of those years all of the students and colleagues and parents (and yes even some of the administrators) are in there.

The beauty of the many sunsets (and a few sunrises when I have had to haul my hind end out of bed) are also there. I don't care how bad things get when God paints me a sunset the world becomes a beautiful place once again. Along with that all of the beauty of nature and the changing seasons are in my ark. From the smallest microbe to the turkey vulture and the elephant I see wonder and beauty.

I add some special friends to my ark (you know who you are) who support me through all of my real (and imagined) ups and downs. You are the best and the bond we have is a cable-tow I am proud to wear.

I also need to be sure to put the members of my family in there. I have been very fortunate to have been born into the family (clan) that I belong to. They are the best and I would not trade them for anything. The connection is real and I know I can count on them as they can count on me.

All of the pets that have shared my life prove to me that there is a loving God. For most of my life I have been able to share it with a dog and for awhile a cat or two. I remember them and miss those who are gone but I know that they, each and every one, were/are here for a purpose and that purpose is to show us what God's love is all about. I mean, really, have you ever been greeted at the door by a tail wagging and a tongue ready to kiss.

I also keep music in my ark. Our world would be a boring place without music. Right now I am listening to Christmas music and it is beautiful. Music enriches my life and it leads to DANCE. Even if you can't you should. Dance, that is . Just listen to the music and move. People may look at you strangely but so what! If you bring a smile to their faces you have improved the world. And that is a good thing.

I am sure there is a lot more in my Ark (after all I am old and have avoided being eaten in my 66 years) but that is enough for now. Notice that I don't have gold or jewels or money in there. If my house burned down tonight (heaven forbid) I would still have my ARK and all of the treasurers would be safely deposited therein. Safe for all time

Hunker down and enjoy the week-end. I have movies and books and music and my computer. Hugs, j

Lodge Life from the Lion's Paw



... "Joppa is one of thousands, neither better or worse. It possesses its enthusiastic brethren, its little "ring" or "gang" which carries on, fills the chairs, does the committee work, loves and labors for it. It also has its "Knife and fork" Masons who turn out en masse for an entertainment, a "feed" or a District Deputy Visitation, but who are conspicuous by their absence at funeral and Fellowcraft's degrees. Among Winty's brethren in Joppa were several real students such as Past Master Tolliver; Masons who delighted in the Craft's romantic history, the quiet but important part Freemasonry has played in secular history, especially that of the Untied States, her symbolism, her antiquities an her ramifications. Like the Masons of many another Lodge, Joppa members will vote freely from the treasury for relief and fight bitterly among themselves over the question of raising dues a dollar a year. Her leadership was average. Joppa elects to the foot of the line and moves officers up year by year nine times out of ten. Too often the Junior Steward was elected because of personal popularity, occasionally from indifference. Seldom was he picked by thoughtful consideration as the best possible brother to be Master seven years hence. Just an average lodge, sturdy in Masonic ideals, sometimes wavering in Masonic practice, it muddled through somehow, showing a steady growth.


I stayed up last night until 1 AM to finish the book. I enjoyed it even if the story was somewhat predictable as I read through it. It was obvious to me that Claudy loved Masonry and he wanted to convey his perception of what we are all about. I recommed that you read it. j

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Lion's Paw


Carl Claudy was a Masonic Author. He wrote The Lion's Paw which I am currently reading. Ordinarily I would wait until I have finished a book until I write about it but I am going to share a couple of things which I found particularly touching/meaningful to me. The story is about a young boy who is orphaned. His father was a Past Master and Masonry is all through the book. He winds up in a Masonic Home for children but before that he is introduced to Masonry by his father who takes him to the Lodge room. He is with another child, a girl, who's father is also a Mason. They see the Altar and ask:

"What is the Altar for?'
"To put the Holy Book on!" he explained.
" Why?" asked Winty.

...
"An intelligent question about Masonry deserves an intelligent answer." Mr. Millard spoke as if to himself. "Listen, both of you!"

...

This is a holy place," he began, "That Altar -- the Altar of Freemasonry is God's Altar. Freemasonry teaches the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. At that Altar they take their vows and become brethren. From that Altar radiates a sweetness, a helpful spirit of light that makes the whole world better. To it the sore in spirit come for never failing comfort. By its light men compose their differences and forgive each other their wrongs. One of you --" he pressed Winty's shoulder as he spoke, "may some day have the proud privilege of kneeling at that Altar. When you do, remember -- this is a holy place. Keep it holy."


I thought about that tonight at Lodge when our newest Brother knelt at the Altar to take his Obligation as a Fellow of the Craft. I thought about the sweetness and the helpful spirit of light that makes the whole world better.

The book is kind of schmaltzy in places and as I read it I find myself choking up a little and there are a few tears coming to my eyes but I am enjoying it. I borrowed it from the Grand Lodge Library. You can also borrow books from them (even if you are not a Mason) all it costs is the return postage. It is a wonderful service.

Speaking of wonderful services. The Internet has a terrific story written by Claudy called The Old Past Master, Understanding.

I highly recommend that you go read it. More from the book tomorrow, Hugs, j

Thursday

Max relaxing after the decorations are up. (Bailey took the picture)


What do you suppose Cassie thinks of all this? So far she has been fairly good. There is one angel which she has knocked off the table three times. Well, OK twice but she was going to do it the third time before I stopped her.

My friend in Massachusetts sent me a link for some cats who really love to decorate a tree. It is a riot. Go look here.

They are promising a big storm on Saturday. I will hunker in with books and music. I got a lot of dues cards to mail on the way to Lodge tonight. Second Degree. Hugs, j

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

York Rite College



I mentioned yesterday that the Fellowcraft Degree in Des Moines was put on by the York Rite College. What is the College you may wonder? The York Rite College Organization began in 1957 in Jackson, Michigan so it is a relatively new organization. It is based on a story that goes back to the beginnings of Freemasonry and tells the story from the Regius Manuscript, circa 1390 of King Athelstan of England who reigned from 924 to 939.

The York Rite takes its name from the Ancient English city of York, around whose minster, or cathedral, cluster many Masonic traditions. Here , these traditions tell us, Athelstan, who reigned more than a thousand years ago and who was the first king of all England, granted the first charter to the Masonic guilds. As with most Masonic stories the ritual has been written with more regard for telling the moral story that it wishes to teach rather than with a view to accuracy.

There are seven purposes for York Rite Colleges:
(1) To foster a spirit of cooperation an coordination among each of the Bodies of York Rite Masonry.
(2) To assist in worthy efforts to improve the ritualistic and dramatic presentation of York Rite work.
(3) To conduct an education program in order to inculcate a greater appreciation of the principles, ideals and programs of York Rite Masonry.
(4) To strengthen York Rite Masonry in every possible manner.
(5) To build up a love of country and to aid and support genuine Americanism.
(6) To reward outstanding service to York Rite Masonry by awards, honors and other methods of proper recognition.
(7) To support Charitable and Benevolent Endeavors of Freemasonry.
The Colleges give awards in connection with number six above. The highest honor being the Order of the Purple Cross of York which is conferred upon those members of the College who have distinguished themselves by their service to humanity or to the Rite, The recipients are designated Associate Regents of the Sovereign College, and from their ranks are chosen the Regents or active members of that body.

Iowa has two colleges. Iowa York Rite College #37 which was responsible for the degree last evening is the oldest. There is another College which is stationed in Sioux City and is called Lewis And Clark College #199.

The College is headed by a Governor and there is a state officer who represents the York Rite Sovereign College of North America who is called the Grand Governor. The Current Governor is Greg Anderson and the Grand Governor is B. O. Bryngleson. I was Governor of the College in 1996 and received the Order of the Purple Cross in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1998.

The York Rite Sovereign College of North America exists primarily to be of service to the York Rite of Freemasonry. The pre-requisite for membership, which is by invitation only, is good-standing in all four York Rite bodies: Lodge, Chapter, Council and Commandery. I enjoy the work of the College very much. The College meets twice a year in mid winter and in the Spring.

Let's Dance

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

More Christmas

(You can click on any picture to see a larger version.)

I dragged the last box of decorations up from the basement today. Finished decorating the tree and some other areas around the house.

I also did laundry so I now have clean clothes. I got a whole bunch of dues checks in the mail so I had to start processing them because the treasurer was coming over to pick them up. Tomorrow I tackle the office so I can get organized again. Things are a disaster back there (suppose I could ask for FEMA help.)

I also wrote an article for the Consistory Blog which I will post as soon as I get a picture to go with it.

The York Rite College was putting on a second degree in Des Moines tonight at Gnemeth Lodge so David and Peter and Doug and I went down. It was well done, quality work.

The Governor of the College - Greg Anderson conferred the first section of the degree. He did an outstanding job. He is a natural ritualist. It was very enjoyable to see him work.

It is late and I don't really have an inspiration to write about so here are some more pictures of my Christmas crap.

My snow babies and Mom's blue tree. Unfortunately Joseph has lost his head. Oh well.
Two more Santa's and my collection of International Christmas windows and some ornaments that Dr. Lee (who did my ankle fusion operation) brought me from his son while I was in the hospital.

Mom's shelf that held her cups and saucers with some of my "stuff" - I can't put her cups and saucers out because Cassie likes to knock things over.
Angels and a silver punch ladle that belonged to Aunt Sadie Smith. Engraved with an "S"
A Santa train which is my newest addition for this year. It has lights and looks neat under the tree. Jon used to love trains. So I got it because of him. Cassie loves to mess with the Christmas tree skirt. I also found the Reindeer that plays "Grandma got run over by a Reindeer"

Oh yes, one more thing. My birthday present got here today. The Scottish Rite magazine had this watch for sale and I really liked it so I got half of it and Aunt Jo's check paid for the other half. I like it. But then I always did like bling. Also I got 75 hits on my blog yesterday. That was nice. Thanks, Hugs, j

Monday, November 26, 2007

Visiting a Lodge

Peter and I went to Operative Lodge in Polk City for a First Degree tonight. We had a good time. The new Brother beginning his journey in Freemasonry seemed impressed with the degree. There were about 6 or 7 lodges represented there with some members holding dual membership and representing two Lodges.

As I listened to the ritual being given I thought about several things. One the antiquity of our ritual and how for at least the last couple of hundred years (ever since Thomas Smith Webb) the same speeches have been given in Lodges by hundreds, if not thousands of officers.

I then got to thinking about how a Lodge is like clockworks. Each Officer and member having an important part to play and each one working together keeps the Lodge moving forward. There is no unimportant part in the Lodge, just as there is no unimportant part in a clock. If one person does not do his job to the best of his ability the wheels will seize, bind and grind to a stop.

I love Masonry and I love to see degrees. I love it especially when it is done well with everyone participating and doing their best to make the evening special for the candidate. From the Tyler who greets the candidate and makes him feel welcome and helps prepare him for his degree to the Master conferring the degree in the East all are important.

It was obvious tonight that even the sideline members had a part to play. It is the custom of Operative Lodge for those in attendance to introduce themselves to the new Brother. Everyone in the room got up and told him who they were and a little bit about themselves. It made a very special feeling in the room.

All of the officers are in their places to serve the Lodge. No one is there to be served. We all have important jobs to do. If we do our jobs well we receive satisfaction for so doing. That to me is incentive enough to strive to do my best in whatever position I may find myself in for the present, knowing that I may have a different part to play in the future. I will try to do that to the best of my ability also, even if it is just being a participant from the sidelines.

Tree is Up


The tree is up, the Santa's are out. The furniture rearranged

The candles are lit, the music is playing and the dogs are barking (what else is new)

Cassie tries to climb the tree.





I Love Christmas!

Do you know why angels are placed atop Christmas tree?

It was Christmas Eve and everything was in a disorganized state. Mrs. Claus had burned all the cookies. The reindeers were drunk head over heels. They had taken his sleigh out and had crashed it into a tree.

Santa was enraged.

He sent a little angel to find a Christmas tree. After a long wait the angel arrived dragging a Christmas tree behind him. He said, "Yon, fat man! Where do a you want me to stick the tree this year?" So he told her, and that is why there is an angel on top of the Christmas tree. :~)





























Am I up yet?

I received a phone call this morning and then an e-mail
which said it was sent at 9:40 entitled "Jay are you up yet?"

Of course I was up! I am always up thanks to the four legged alarm clocks. I had to be at the eye doctor at 8:45 AM. The exam was good. The pressure in both eyes was "12" (whatever that means) and the Dr. seemed pleased. I don't have to see him again for 6 months.

The guy who made my appointment for me may have been a former student back when I taught at Roosevelt. You just can't get away from them.

Then I had to go to the dry cleaners to drop off cleaning and shirts to be laundered, then to Target to get a Christmas tree skirt. I even put the Christmas CDs in the player.

I went to Target last night and got a new Christmas tree. It is up. Jon brought up boxes of Christmas "stuff" up from the basement for me. There is still one down there. Slowly but surely Christmas is coming to 1309. I love this time of year and I love to get all the "stuff" out. And I have the music on my CD player and so I read and listen to music and yell at the cat who seems to want to help me decorate (or is it redecorate?)

Anyway that is what I am up to so far today. I am going to Polk City tonight to attend Lodge there. Kevin sent me some Masonic one- liners. I share them here:
Masonic One Liners

Don't let your worries get the best of you; remember, every Past Master started out as an Entered Apprentice.

*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*

Some Past Masters are kind, polite, and good-spirited until you try to sit in the East.

*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*

Some Masons want to serve their lodge, but only as advisers.

*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*

It is easier to give ten Masonic lectures than it is to live one.

*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*

The good GAOTU didn't create anything without a purpose, but mosquitoes come close.

*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*

When you get to your wit's end, you'll find GAOTU lives there.

*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*

Masons are funny; they want the front of the food line, the middle of the road, and the back of the lodge.

*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*

Opportunity may knock once in Masonry, but temptation bangs on the Tyler's door when you become Master.

*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*

Quit griping about your lodge; if it was perfect, you couldn't belong.

*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*

A lodge doesn't need a better Master, it only needs to support for the one it has.

*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*

Some Past Masters minds are like concrete thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.

*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*

Harmony and brotherly love starts with a smile.

*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*

I don't know why some Masons change lodges; what difference does it make which one you stay home from!

*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*

A true Masonic secret is when a Mason chooses to remain anonymous.

*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*

Don't wait for 6 strong lodge brothers to take you to a Masonic Memorial (Yours).

*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*

A Past Master who angers you, controls you!


HAVE A GREAT MONDAY! - HUGS j

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A "Grand" Party


The Masonic Temple in Ames, Iowa was the scene of a "grand" party today. John Harris Watts, Grand Secretary/Recorder of the Grand Chapter and Council and Past General Grand Master of the General Grand Council let it slip that he would turn 80 in November when I was over visiting him October 12. I e-mailed the Grand Lodge to get the exact date and was told it was November 27. So I talked to the Grand High Priest and the Grand Master of the Grand Council and they were in agreement with me that we should have a surprise birthday party for Jack.
Invitations were sent out via e-mail and the US Postal service and today at about 1:15 Masons from the four corners of the state began to gather. The Grand High Priest told Jack that he was holding an Executive Committee meeting and he wanted him to attend. Jack tried every excuse he could think of to get out of it (If he had known about it he would not have come) but Most Excellent Rick was persistent, even driving to Grand Junction to pick Jack up and bring him to Ames. Jack was surpirsed as you can see from the picture below as he arrived.

We had a special cake (see above) and decorations (although some of them were borrowed from Donna's party held yesterday) (See how clever I was holding Jack's party when the temple was already festive and decorated). Jack was presented with a new hat commemorating his 50 years as a KYCH. (Pictures here) by Companion and Sir Knight Kevin Christians.
Jack called Barb Bryngleson up to share a moment with him as her birthday is also November 27 although he mentioned that it was a different year than his was.

Again another of my incredible camera's prowess showing the almost 100 Masons and ladies who came to honor Jack.

Grand Master of Mason's in Iowa and his lady also attended.

Click here to go to the online photo album with all the pictures I took today.





It was one of the neatest events I have ever attended. I have never seen Jack so touched as he was. There were tears in his eyes and his voice shook. His friends let him know just how much he means to them. That is what Masonry is all about.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Party for Donna Walther

A reception was held today at the Masonic Temple in Ames for Donna Walther, Grand Chaplain of the Grand Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star of Iowa for 2007- 08.
The Worthy Grand Matron and Worthy Grand Patron arrive and greet Donna.


Donna and her Grand Companion Dorothy Hinders during presenting.










The view from the East, I am still in awe of this camera.
Click on the above picture to go to an album of all the pictures I took today. The album also includes photos taken by Deb Yokiel, Worthy Matron-elect.  Hugs, j

Why?


Why do men remain in Masonry? I have read statistics about the number of men leaving the fraternity and predictions about our future for years. Dire predictions. In fact, sometimes I am surprised that there is still a fraternity called Freemasonry around.

And yet, as Secretary of the Lodge, I receive check after check for dues from Brothers I have never met. Men who seldom darken our doors. Yes, some of them live too far away to attend Lodge but others of them live right here in town and never seem to come. And still they remain members of the Lodge.

I have read many things which Lodges can do to increase participation and get these Brothers involved again and sometimes we try them. All too often we just do the same old, same old. Business and initiation meetings with an occasional social event for families thrown in.

Some members (other than officers who are supposed to come) attend Lodge regularly. One member drives at least an hour each way from his home to attend Lodge and he is one of our regular attendees. Some members never attend and yet they pay dues and remain members.

What is it about Masonry that inspires such loyalty.

For years, as I was going through the "line" to become Master (my five minutes of fame) I was there every week. Then after I was through I became very busy with school things and as most school events were also on Lodge night I became one of the dues paying members who seldom attended.

Then an event happened in my life that changed me forever. My sister was in a car accident and broke her back. I developed diabetes and wound up in the hospital. I was in the hospital and was supposed to move to a new home (I had gotten to accommodate her wheelchair) and things were in a mess. A friend (who's children I had had the good fortune to teach) decided to organize some help. She knew I was a Mason. She called the Lodge and boy did the Brothers come through for me. They literally went to my old home, packed up everything and moved it to the new place. One of them came in and lowered the clothes rods in the closet so Ginny could reach them.

Not only that the Master-elect asked me to be his Chaplain and I accepted. I can never repay the Lodge for what it did for me. Besides the physical work they did they provided me with an emotional support that I did not know was available. Being active in Lodge (now two lodges (at least for now)) has been a life saver as I had to retire early and give up the major focus of my life. Teaching.

I was reminded of all of this when I read a response to a question on the Philalathes list. Someone asked Brother Jack Buta why he had remained a Mason when others were dropping out. His response: " Because they had become my family."

I know it is the same thing for me. Yes I have a blood family but I have a Masonic family which means as much to me as they do and I just want to express my gratitude for them. I can't say why others remain in Masonry but I suspect that the above is part of the reason. We call each other Brother for a reason. We are Brothers under the fatherhood of God. That is reason enough. Have a good day. Hugs, j

Friday, November 23, 2007

Friday, November 23, 2007



OK, It is Friday, I got my butt out of bed this morning at 6:00 AM because darling Bailey decided it was time to get up. He can be persistent and it is a pain. But I got up and let him out and there was no reason to go back to bed. So,I had read my e-mail (such as they were) and checked my Blogs that I read by 7:30. So I did my therapy blogging (see below) and got something off my chest. I am amazed at how much I get out of getting it off my chest. Of course I stay pretty generic about what I write but I imagine that the people involved may know what I am talking about. If not, it doesn't really matter as I am really doing if for me. Sort of an inner dialog.

I had a luncheon date with Judy and Erma and I enjoyed seeing them. We ate at Panera's and I had a soup and half sandwich. (I should probably mention the nap I had after doing my blogging but I won't.) Then I mailed some invitations for Lodge Installation out and picked up decorations for Jack's party so I can decorate after Donna's party tomorrow. Also had to go to Staples to get more ink so I could print. I made some posters for Jack's party.





My soap (General Hospital) wasn't on this afternoon so I read and relaxed. After all I had been up since 6:00 A.M.

Then I went to Cafe' Northwest for dinner. I had Greek chicken, steamed vegetables and a salad. It was delicious.

Then it was a relaxing evening finishing my book. The saturdaywife by Naomi Ragen. I enjoyed it . It was about a Jewish Rabbi's wife who was a social climber. I really enjoyed it. I particularly enjoyed the part where she gives birth to her son. It was written with a great deal of humor and I laughed out loud when I read it. You can tell just how out of touch this woman is when you realize that her "project" to help others is designer handbags for terrorist victims.




So then I watched TV (after starting my new novel) and while I am watching I decided to write this diary post. But before I did that I was on Blogger Play for awhile. I have told you about this before. It just runs pictures which are being posted on people's blogs right now and you can click on the picture to stop it and go to the blog it came from. I stole all of the pictures (except Jack's poster) for this post from Blogger Play.

You never know what type of blog you are going to find. Some are in English, others are in a different language and the only thing I can get out of them is a picture. got the picture below from women who run with the wolves...huh??


You can click on the picture to be taken to her blog. She looks like a really neat lady and I have bookmarked her blogs (she has two) to follow her.













The label is from a French language blog. I found it interesting. Be sure to read the last two lines.


This week-end is party week-end at the Masonic Temple. I will take pictures.
Have a great weekend. Hugs, j

PS - I notice that we have hit the 11,000 mark on hits.  I thank you.  jcs

Brotherhood


I have been bothered of late by the way I see Masons treat each other. I belong to two Masonic "lists" and the "discussions" on the lists regularly devolve into sniping at one another and complaining. One of the lists is affiliated with a research society and the other is one which includes all sorts of Masonic affiliations, men and women.

They are both interesting but at times emotions run high. They regularly have discussions which are "stopped" by the list administrators. Perhaps it is ego getting in the way. When you think you are right (all the time) you can become condescending.

I see it happen in Lodges also. I have even been on the receiving end of some non-brotherly behavior. I have probably been on the other side of it also, I am not perfect. Far from it. In my defense I can only say that I am here to learn to improve myself in Masonry. I am still a work in progress.

I know, at times, I have been tempted to withdraw from a lodge or a "list" because of the behavior I see there. I usually don't because the vast majority of the brothers are decent, honorable men who exhibit brotherly love and I would hate to lose my association with them.

However, I am close at times to just saying the H*^& with it. If I am not wanted and I can't be treated with respect I shall just leave and go elsewhere. I think it bothers me more when I see others that I care about being treated disrespectfully than it does when I am on the receiving end. Neither behavior is very brotherly.

I found some non-masonic things on the web about brotherly behavior:

I will know and understand the ideals expressed in our Fraternity Ritual and will strive to incorporate them in my daily life.

I will respect the dignity of all persons; therefore, I will not physically, mentally, psychologically, or sexually abuse or haze any human being.

I will protect the health and safety of all human beings.
Also:

There are four rules that all brothers are expected to follow as participants on the listserve: 1) No personal attacks 2) No Ritual discussion 3) no vulgar language and 4) encourage productive, positive discussions

But in Masonry we are expected to hold to a higher standard. This from Thomas Smith Webb:

Neither envy nor censure is discovered among true Masons.
{...}
All employed in Masonry meekly receive their rewards, and use no disobliging name. Brother or fellow are the terms or appellations they bestow on each other. They behave courteously within and without the Lodge, and never desert the master till the work is finished.
{...}
You are to salute one another in a courteous manner, agreeably to the forms established among Masons
{...}
Masons meet as members of one family; all prejudices, therefore, on account of religion, country, or private opinion, are removed.
{...}
Masonry deprives no man of the honor due to his rank or character, but rather adds to his honor, especially if he has deserved well of the Fraternity, who always render honor to whom it is due, and avoid ill manners.

When a man is installed as Master of a Lodge he agrees to:

avoid private piques and quarrels, and to guard against intemperance and excess.

be cautious in carriage and behavior, courteous to your brethren and faithful to your Lodge.

respect genuine brethren and to discountenance imposters, and all dissenters from the original plan of Masonry.

promote the general good of society, to cultivate the social virtues, and to propagate the knowledge of the Art.

So you see there is a standard of behavior expected of all Masons. It saddens me when that standard is not met and when a Brother does not feel welcome because another brother has treated him in a non-brotherly manner.

There is a verse in the Bible where Abram and Lot are having difficulty with their herdsmen. Genisis 13: 8-9
Abram said unto Lot, Let there be not strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren.

V9 Is not the whole land before thee? Separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right: or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.
That is what I tend to do. If I feel the strife has gotten to the point where I can no longer tolerate it I find another pasture.

If there are other factors such as someone treating me poorly by lying to me or disrespecting me it adds fuel to my decision. That is why I am currently evaluating some associations. I think I know what the standards of Brotherly behavior are. I hope this can be resolved. It remains to be seen. I know I don't need the emotional disturbance (continual) in my life that this has caused. Life is to short to put up with A**hole behavior. Nuff said. Have a good week-end. Now that I have this off my chest, I intend to. Hugs, j

A Day Late

I know at least one person who will appreciate this little Thanksgiving movie. Later. j

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Photos

Rick and Pam's Home
The table awaits
Loren awaits
See Cathy, I took a good picture of you. The others are in the trash. :~)
Pam in the kitchen
Cathy and Jo













Andy and Rick watching the "game"










The Den

Corey ( Stephen's friend - Just enlisted in the Air National Guard and will be posted to Iraq)
Stephen
Lauren

Jo and Travis
Eating Dinner I
Eating Dinner II
The "Boy's" Table
Leaving to drive to Chicago
Home again. My boys were glad to see me.

Addedum: The funniest Thanksgiving picture I have found on the Web
Hugs j