Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Photo by hickory hardscrabble. This photo was taken on August 26, 2007. Licensed under Creative Commons.

It has become my Christmas blogging tradition to post about the most recent Vatican message for the World Day of Peace on Christmas Day.

This year Pope Benedict XVI wrote about "Religious Freedom, the Path to Peace".

The Holy Father says "The right to religious freedom is rooted in the very dignity of the human person". This dignity is the "capacity to transcend one’s own materiality and to seek truth". Moreover, he says "religious freedom should be understood, then, not merely as immunity from coercion, but even more fundamentally as an ability to order one’s own choices in accordance with truth."

Pope Benedict emphasizes that "religious freedom is not the exclusive patrimony of believers, but of the whole family of the earth’s peoples".

He asserts that religious freedom is a path to peace:
"In a globalized world marked by increasingly multi-ethnic and multi-religious societies, the great religions can serve as an important factor of unity and peace for the human family. On the basis of their religious convictions and their reasoned pursuit of the common good, their followers are called to give responsible expression to their commitment within a context of religious freedom. Amid the variety of religious cultures, there is a need to value those elements which foster civil coexistence, while rejecting whatever is contrary to the dignity of men and women."

On this glorious day of peace may we be inspired to respect the dignity and worth of all members of our human family, and may all religious and secular traditions unite to pursue our common good and peace for all.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Friday, December 24, 2010

It's Christmastime in the City!

Signs of the season are everywhere.

Shouldn't this fellow in the red suit be busy doing something else?

Joy to the World

The reason for the season. Beautiful Nativity scene in St. Patrick's Cathedral

Another view of the Nativity scene

Silvery blue lights adorning the trees

The shoppers rush home with their treasures.

View from the top of Rockefeller Center

The Empire State Building illuminated for the Christmas season

Christmas tree in Rockefeller Plaza

More views of the tree

Skating at the ice rink

Christmas in the City

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Me and My Shadow

This is what a lunar eclipse looks like with a hand held camera at three in the morning. Believe me, it was much more beautiful in person. The moon was glowing coppery red high in the sky above Orion. A fabulous sight on a solstice evening...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Two Buttons in Frenchtown, New Jersey

Friday I traveled to Frenchtown, New Jersey to visit one of my favorite stores, Two Buttons. They sell imported objects from all over the world; most of their collection is from Bali and India.
I bought a trekking hat from Nepal. If I ever am fortunate enough to travel there I will make sure to wear it! I was also lucky enough to spot the famous author Liz Gilbert (of "Eat, Pray, Love" fame) and have her sign my book! She was in and out of the store so quickly, but I recognized her and the salesperson who encouraged me to buy my Nepalese hat told me to run out to my car and grab my book and she'd have Liz sign it for me.

I couldn't take pictures inside the store, but here is the statue of the Buddha giving a sermon.

Saturday I went to a friend's party in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. We walked around downtown looking at all the beautiful Christmas lights. It was absolutely gorgeous!

I've had a very relaxing holiday season so far. Got my cards out early and my Christmas shopping done early. All the gifts are wrapped! I made a batch of vegan chocolate chip peanut butter cookies which are already almost gone!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Mount Minsi Delaware Water Gap

Today was a cold and windy day for a hike up Mount Minsi at the Delaware Water Gap. We started out bundled up for maximum cold, and then as we hiked up the elevation it was "layers on, layers off" as we alternated between uphill hiking and breaks to enjoy the beautiful view.

Looking over the Delaware River

A view of Mount Tammany

We found a beautiful place to enjoy lunch. We were sheltered from the wind, and the warm sun allowed for a comfortable break with scenic views of the Delaware River and both New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

A charming little pond encircled by rhododendrons and walking paths. Mount Minsi has an abundance of beautiful foliage even in late Fall, with hemlock groves and rhododendron lined trails.


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