Sunday, February 24, 2013

Confirmation Day

There are some days when you just can't help but be proud of your kids and want to brag on them a little.  Today happens to be one of those days.  We went out to my son's school to celebrate the sacrament of his Confirmation in the Catholic Church.  Aside from the obvious significance of the event, it also served to show us just how much our son has grown since we made the decision to send him away for school.

When our son was younger, we tried taking him to churches whenever we had a wedding to attend or a cousin was having First Communion or Confirmation.  His behavior during those attempts was, in a word, atrocious.  More often than not, my wife or I would have to take him out of the sanctuary into the vestibule so that his outbursts would not disturb the others in the service.

When the school first approached us about our son going through the classes that they gave for First Communion and Confirmation.  We were concerned about his past behavior and whether or not he would understand what was going on.  I still don't know if he fully understands the significance of the sacraments, but his behavior during church has been exemplary.  He really enjoy going to church.

The thing I like about attending the mass at the chapel in his school is that they tailor the homily to the special needs kids in attendance.  The priest reads the gospel to them like he is reading a bedtime story to the kids.  He then gives a very short homily, again as if he is telling the kids a story.  It allows the kids to not get bored while listening to the sermon.

My son, really likes the priest that they have at the school.  Whenever he sees Father Paul, his face lights up in a big smile and he says, "It's Father!"  Father Paul always comes over to my son and greets him with a fist bump.  I think it is pretty cool.

Today, while watching my son during the service, I was struck by how well he did.  Whenever the priest did the sign of the cross, I saw my son crossing himself.  During prayer, he placed his hands together in the typical prayer position.  During the songs, he often started to dance a little.  I think of King David dancing before the LORD.  More importantly, throughout the whole service, he did not break into any of his ritual word games that he likes to do with us.

For the Confirmation sacrament service, the local Bishop officiates the mass.  Father Paul still read the gospel reading to the kids.  The Bishop also has a background in dealing with special needs kids and did an excellent job of giving a nice homily for the kids.

Prior to the start of the service, the Bishop spoke to my son.  My son was particularly taken with the crucifix around the Bishop's neck.

Here, my son gets anointed by the Bishop.

All in all, it was a wonderful day.  I am so proud of what he has accomplished so far at the school and how much he enjoys attending their church services.  Of course, afterward we had to take a drive to the Golden Corral for lunch and then to Target to get a new CD player and CD.
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Sunday, February 17, 2013

New Life Emerging

I don't have a lot of spare cash right now to buy a macro lens, but I have been wanting to do some close up photography.  For Valentine's Day, my wife gave me a set of Polaroid Close Up filters to allow you to take macro photographs without a special lens.  I noticed that in one of my planters in front of the house, there was a plant breaking through the soil.  I thought it would be a good opportunity to try out the close up filters and a good image of life starting to renew after the coldness of winter.  Below is the unedited image.

The following version was edited with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, removing all color except for the green of the plant.  I thought that the green would be a more artistic statement of life after the dead of winter.  I like both images for different reasons.  Which do you prefer?
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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Going Global

Increasingly, we hear about the global economy.  Businesses are constantly looking for new markets and opportunities in other countries.  Not only do they have to worry about the laws and regulations of their own countries, but they also have to worry about the laws and regulations of any country that they are trying to do business with.

The international flavor of business has really started to hit home with me personally.  I work for a company that was founded and based in the DC area.  Before I started working with them, they were bought by an Italian firm with interests located globally.  For the most part, the company I work for has primarily done business here in the US and to a lesser degree some business in Canada.

My company actually consists of two separate parts; the retail side which I belong to and a food service side.  While there was some interaction between the two sides, we pretty much worked independently of one another.  The food service side of the business is how my company started, but the retail has been growing steadily.

As I said previously, the parent company in Italy has interests globally.  In the majority of those interests, the retail side of the business has been separate from the food service side.  In Europe, they have been consolidating the retail side of the business into an interest that is headquartered in Spain.  Last year, the decision was made that our retail unit would become a part of that Spanish entity with an operating branch here in the US.

While I am not involved in the legal aspects of that integration, I can only imagine that it involves some heavy work by lawyers on both sides of the pond.  With the different laws and regulations, not to mention languages, it is important that there is substantial litigation translation being done to minimize any potential negatives or pitfalls that such an endeavor can bring about.

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

Sorry I haven't posted here much of late.  I have been out of sorts a bit and just haven't felt like writing anything.  Nothing serious.  Anyway, I wanted to take today to wish everybody a Happy Valentine's Day.  I hope that you are able to spend the day with somebody special.  Today will be a special Valentine's Day for us, because not only will I get to be with my wife, but she is picking up our son today for a weekend visit home.

Last night, I had to go by my doctor to have him check something out.  He ended up giving me a prescription for an antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory.  After leaving his office, I ended up having to go by Target to get them filled.  While waiting for the prescriptions to be filled, I decided to browse around the store.  I had already gotten my wife her main gift, but decided to check out the candy aisle to get her a little something extra.

I always like browsing around stores the day before a holiday to see the last minute shoppers, though as a matter of full disclosure, I did still need to pick up a card.  Given that guys are the ones that usually have the reputation of waiting until the last minute to do their holiday shopping, I found it interesting that most of the people in the card section were women.  The candy aisle looked like it had been struck by a tornado.  I did find a nice little box of Godiva Truffles to add to her main gift, though I would not have been stressed if I hadn't found a box of chocolates.

Up until about 8 days ago, I had no idea what I was going to get her for Valentine's Day.  Then I received an email from one of the autism causes that I belong to on Facebook.  Designs by Ja9 sells jewelry to support autism awareness.  The piece I bought her is the red heart with the puzzle pieces embedded in it along with a silver chain so she could wear it. The puzzle piece was created by the National Autistic Society to be the symbol for autism awareness.  The best part is that Designs by Ja9 donated $10 of every sale to the Autism charity of your choice.

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