27 January 2008

"Definition of a Veteran"

A Veteran - whether active duty, retired, national guard or reserve,
is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made
payable to "The United States of America", for an amount of "up to
and including my life."

That is honor, and there are way too many people in this country who
no longer understand it.

Author Unknown

25 November 2007

Old West Masonry

It was a tale of Masonic men surrounding a campfire in the Old West, at night, discussing the Fraternity and its teachings. One old man listened patiently, and finally spoke up:

"I can tell you more about Masonry in a little example than some of the great Masonic philosophers can in books. Everybody stand up, and gather in a circle around the campfire."

They did that.

"Now, everybody hold hands with the man next to him."

They did that, too.

"Now, what do you see, looking ahead?"

"The face of a Brother Mason through the flames."

"What do you feel in front of you?"

"The warmth of the fire, and the comfort it brings on a cool night."

"What do you feel at your side?"

"The warm hand of a Brother."

"OK. Now, drop the hands, and turn around."

They did so.

"Now, what do you see, looking ahead?"

"Complete darkness."

"What do you feel, looking ahead?"

"A sense of loneliness, of being alienated."

"What do you feel at your side?"

"Nothing at all."

"What do you feel on your backside?"

"The warmth of the fire."

"So it is with Masonry," said the old man. "In Masonic gatherings, you can feel the warmth of Masonic interaction, you can see the face of a Brother through the light Masonry brings to you, and you can always feel the warm hand of a Brother. When you turn away from Masonry, and are out in the world, you see darkness, feel alienated and alone, and do not feel the warm hand of your Masonic Brother. But Masonry, and the warmth and light it brings, are just a turn away from you."

-- Unknown

The lessons come from the journey... So Mote It Be!


This was recently sent to me, author unknown but the sentiments are worth repeating:

Recently I overheard a mother and daughter in their last moments together at the airport. They had announced the departure. Standing near the security gate, they hugged and the mother said, "I love you and I wish you enough". The daughter replied, "Mom, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Mom".

They kissed and the daughter left. The mother walked over to the window where I was seated. Standing there I could see she wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on her privacy but she welcomed me in by asking, "Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing it would be forever?". Yes, I have," I replied. "Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever good-bye?".

"I am old and she lives so far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is - the next trip back will be for my funeral," she said.

"When you were saying good-bye, I heard you say, 'I wish you enough'. May I ask what that means?".

She began to smile. "That's a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone". She paused a moment and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail and she smiled even more. "When we said , 'I wish you enough', we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them". Then turning toward me, she shared the following as if she were reciting it from memory.

I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright no matter how gray the day may appear.

I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun even more.

I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive and everlasting.

I wish you enough pain so that even the smallest of joys in life may appear bigger.

I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.

I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.

I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.

She then began to cry and walked away.

They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them but then an entire life to forget them.

To all my friends, Brothers and loved ones, I WISH YOU ENOUGH!!!

The lessons come from the journey... So Mote It Be!

17 October 2007

Ive Been Busy!

On Sep 13, 2007 I was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason! I have since turned in my proficiency and have even taken part in several FC degrees and MM degrees. Not only have I been busy, but so has our lodge! We did over 6 degrees in Sept and will have done 7+ by the end of Oct!

Our Grand Lodge requires all newly raised Master Masons to complete a short course that gives the newly raised brother 'more light' by explaining some of the things Masonry has to offer and some etiquette of Masonry. A very good program! We also have Masonic Education workshops we can attend. I went to my first one recently and really enjoyed the experience.

One item of discussion was one of the Grand Masters proposed resolutions for this years communication. While I don't think its necessary to get into the details of it one thing I noticed was it produced some passionate responses. While the discussion during the workshop had to be limited due to the amount of time alloted and the material to cover, the conversations and discussion continued afterwards.

I love a good debate. I love a bad debate! The art of debating, discussing the points of view among passionate people is a lost art I feel. Most discussions today in private, public and especially the internet break down quickly into name calling, personal attacks and 'sound bite logic'. As a newly raised Mason it struck me after I left that there were many of us having this discussion in small groups around the dinning room and parking lot. While you could hear and feel the passion of the subject, there was no name calling, attacking or belittling. It was heated at times but it was always respectful and courteous. When it was time to leave everyone shook hands, embraced and parted on the square. As far as I can tell and know, there is no hard feelings, no hurt feelings and I know I for one feel good because I know my point was made and heard. Did anyones minds get changed? I doubt it. The brothers for the suggestion are most likely still for it, those opposed are still opposed. Those on the fence are likely still on the fence but now have some new food for thought while they try to make up their minds.

Speaking of FOOD! Be sure to check out Bro Cory Sigler's E-Zine The Working Tools!

The lessons come from the journey... So Mote It Be!

22 August 2007

Unexpected Night

Tonight the brother I turned in my EA proficiency with was turning in his FC proficiency and being raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason. As I always do I went to the lodge for fellowship and dinner prior to the Raising and to observe his FC proficiency . As we were chatting and enjoying another wonderful meal by our Stewards the JW and SW approached and asked if Id be interested in turning in my FC also. Since the SW is my coach/mentor we chatted about it and decided that if we ran through it real fast I should be good to go. For the sake of brevity, we did a good job! I was amazed at how well we did since we dont study together and hadnt practiced together. He was raised tonight and I should have mine scheduled in a few days to a week!

I'm very excited and since I cant go to bed yet I thought Id post an update! I hope we can get it scheduled before the next National Sojourners meeting in Sept, one of my Masonic goals is to become a member of this group! As I'm often reminded, Masonry is not a sprint but a marathon. Tonight was but another step in the lesson and the journey!

The lessons come from the journey... So Mote It Be!

09 August 2007


Last night I was passed to the degree of Fellowcraft! A few observations:

  • this was a much more relaxed degree.
  • the prompting to learn more and study individually was striking kind of like a light switch came on and some things made sense that didnt before.
  • there was more symbolism I think than the first degree.
I'm starting my mentoring tonight to get further on down the road toward the next milestone.

The lessons come from the journey... So Mote It Be!

31 July 2007

Another Step Along The Journey

Last Saturday, 28 Jul, my lodge put on an outdoor EA degree for the GL of TX, District 9. We had anticipated between 200-300 people attending based on feedback but sadly this Texas weather this summer played a trick on us and it started raining a little before the scheduled time. We still had close to 100 show up from all over the state.

If you haven't taken part in an outdoor degree, or seen one, I strongly encourage everyone too. I wish I could put my finger on what it is, but its different. I know we put a lot more work and planning into this and there are some logistical challenges to be sure. Maybe it's just the rarity of the event but it seemed more spiritual in a way. Don't get me wrong... its the same ceremony, same everything just outdoors.

After the three parts were completed, myself and another brother were called up to do our EA proficiency. Even though it had been 3 months since my initiation, I still wasn't sure I was ready but my mentor did. We 'tag teamed' the entire proficiency and I stumbled through parts of my parts, but I can honestly say I knew the meaning behind every part sometimes I just have trouble putting the right words in the right order. I blame it on sometimers...

We have our FC degree scheduled for 8 Aug and I cant wait!!! Im hoping to have our raising before Sep 22, but if not thats fine too. After all...

The lessons come from the journey... So Mote It Be!