Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Peace Be Still!

"And He awoke
 and rebuked the wind
 and said to the sea,
 “Peace! Be still!” 
And the wind ceased,
           and there was a great calm."   
 Mark 4:39

I have always loved the story of Jesus
 calming the winds and the waves.
  I have a copy of this same painting
 hanging in my living room, 
and every time I look
 at this picture of my Lord
 rebuking the storm,
 I am filled with a sense
 of awe and wonder, 
and peace in my soul.  

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Memories Of A Survivor

The free-spirited lifestyle
 of the Gypsy people, 
or Roma of Europe,
 was brought to a screeching halt 
not long after Adolf Hitler 
rose to power
 in Germany...

"Gypsy Camp"
Ceija Stokja

Ceija Stojka

Ceija Stojka
 Survivor of the Holocaust

The Porajmos
 which literally means,
 "the devouring"
 in some Romany dialects,
 was a time of great
 suffering and persecution
 for the Gypsy population
 of Europe,
 when the government
 of Nazi Germany
 tried to exterminate them. 
 Thousands of
 Gypsy men, women, and children,
 perished in the Hitler's death camps.

 Awaiting deportation.
Thousands of Europe's Gypsies perished in
Nazi death camps during WWII.

writer and artist
 Ceija Stojka
 was a survivor of both
 Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen 
concentration camps.

  Before her death in 2013, 
she spent many years
 bringing awareness
 to the terrible tragedy
 of the nomadic Romani,
 the Gypsy people of Europe
 during WWII,
 first by speaking out
 to her fellow Austrians,
 many of whom had no idea
 of their government's complicity
 in covering up Nazi war crimes,
 and later,
 through her vivid art work..

"Mama Holding Ceija"
Ceija Stokja

Ceija was the fifth of six children
 born into a Catholic Roma family.
She and her mother
 and four of her siblings
 survived the horror 
of the death camps,
 however, her father 
and brother perished.

 Ceija was twelve years old 
when she was liberated
 from Bergen-Belsen, 
yet, for many years,
she could not speak
 about the gruesome memories
 and terrible nightmares
 that tormented her sleep.
  It was only after reaching 
her fifth decade of life
  that she was finally able
 to open up to people 
about her experiences
 during WWII.

In 1988,
 Ceija published
 an account
 of her life as
 a Holocaust survivor,
 in a book called,
 "We Live In Seclusion"

"Mama in Auschwitz"
Ceija Stokja

""If I could write down
 all my thoughts,
 they would surely be
 an endless book of suffering,"
 Ceija said during an interview
 before writing her autobiography.

 "But my thoughts race
 more quickly than my hands
 are able to put everything to paper."

In 2013,
Ceija was featured
in the film,
"Forget Us Not"
  a documentary about the lives
 of several non-Jewish survivors
 of the Holocaust.

A clip from the documentary,
"Forget Us Not"


Beautiful Italy

Although my
paternal grandfather was born
in Sterling Colorado in 1894,
his family came from
the village of Tres
(pictured above)
in northern Italy.

I have often wondered
 about my grandfather's
  He spoke Italian
 and came from a village
 where Italian was
the main language,
 yet, the area of northern Italy
  where he came from
 and which was once part of
the Empire of Austria-Hungary,
 was heavily influenced
 by German culture. 

"The Hills Are Alive With The Sound Of Music!"

The pristine region
of northern Italy
 where my ancestors lived 
very much reminds me
 of  neighboring Austria,
 the setting for one of
my all time favorite movies,
 "The Sound of Music".
I would love to
visit there

Julie Andrews
"The Sound of Music"

Sunday, May 11, 2014


 For the Gypsy in my soul...

Inspired by the
 romantic melodies
 of Gypsy violins
 this beautiful waltz song 
was composed in 1904
 by Fermo Dante Marchetti

"It was fascination
I know
Seeing you alone
With the moonlight above
Then I touch your hand
And next moment
I kiss you
Fascination turned to love..."

  con la mia 
bella Zingarina

"The birds of the forest are calling for thee
And the shades and the glades are lonely
Summer is there with her blossoms fair
And you are absent only

No bird that nests in the greenwood tree
But sighs to greet you and kiss you
All the violets yearn, yearn for your safe return
But most of all I miss you

Slumber on, my little gypsy sweetheart
Dream of the field and the grove
Can you hear me? Hear me in that dreamland
Where your fancies rove

Slumber on, my little gypsy sweetheart
Wild little woodland dove
Can you hear the love song that tells you
All my heart's true love?

The fawn that you tamed has a look in its eyes
That doth say, "We are too long parted"
Songs that are trolled by our comrades old
Are not now as they were light hearted

The wild rose fades in the leafy shades
Its ghost will find you and haunt
All the friends say come, come to your woodland home
And most of all I want you
"Gypsy Love Song"
from the Broadway musical,
"The Fortune Teller"
Lyrics By Victor Herbert

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Setting The Record Straight On "Success"

 Elisabeth-Anne "Bessie" Anderson Stanley


He has achieved success
who has lived well,
laughed often, and loved much;
who has enjoyed the trust of
pure women,
the respect of intelligent men and
the love of little children;
who has filled his niche and accomplished his task;
who has left the world better than he found it
whether by an improved poppy,
a perfect poem or a rescued soul;
who has never lacked appreciation of Earth's beauty
or failed to express it;
who has always looked for the best in others and
given them the best he had;
whose life was an inspiration;
whose memory a benediction.

Often wrongly attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson and Robert Louis Stevenson, "Success" was written by a woman named Bessie Anderson Stanley and was the winning entry in a contest run by Brown Book Magazine in 1904.
Bessie won a cash prize of $250.00 which helped her pay off the mortgage on her house!
"Success" remains one of my all time favorite poems!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Yom Hazikaron Israel Remembrance Day 2014

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong, vigorous, and very courageous.  Be not afraid, neither be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
Joshua 1:9

Joshua leading the Israelites in the battle of Jericho

Israeli soldiers reclaim Jerusalem after 2000 years on June 7, 1967

 Le-shana HA-ZOT be-Yerushalayim ha-b’nuya, be-yerushalayim ha-atika!  
"This year in a rebuilt Jerusalem! In the Jerusalem of old!" 

Yom Hazikaron is Israel Remembrance Day.  Observances of this solemn commemoration begins at sundown, Sunday May 4, 2014.  Much like our own Memorial Day here in America, this is a day set aside to honor Israel's military heroes and fallen war dead. 

"Bab el Wad"

"A spring day will come, the cyclamens will bloom,
Red of anemone on the mountain and on the slope.
He, who will go on the road we went,
He will not forget us, Bab-el-wad. "


God's hand clearly rests on the nation and people of Israel.  Since the miraculous restoration of the nation in 1948, Israel has experienced several major wars and numerous conflicts with enemies determine to wipe her out of existence.  Since the beginning of history as recorded within the Holy Scriptures, the enemies of the Jews, who are the enemies of God Himself, have tried to annihilate them.
  That there are still Jews living and thriving on the earth, as well as in their own restored nation today, speaks deeply to my heart of the love and mercy and faithfulness of God to His chosen people, through whom He brought salvation to the world in the person of  His beloved Son, Yeshua HaMashiach. 
 Now more than ever before, believers in and followers of  Messiah must stand with and support the people of Israel against the forces of spiritual wickedness (the spirit of Amalekite) at work in the hearts of the people and nations whom are attempting once again to destroy them.

It is imperative that the followers of Christ understand that God is going to glorify Himself through the nation and people of Israel. When her enemies strike, God's holiness shall be vindicated and all  the peoples and nations of the earth will be witnesses to their overwhelming destruction!

 "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! May they prosper who love you, the Holy City!"  Psalm 122:6

 The peace which flows from Jerusalem will effect the entire world! 

 One day Messiah will return and will rule from the glorious city!  And the words spoken by the Prophet Isaiah will  thus be fulfilled,

 "Behold you, Israel, shall call nations that know you not, and nations that do not know you shall run to you because of the Lord your God, and of the Holy One of Israel, for He has glorified you."
Isaiah 55:5 

Let God Arise!
Let God Arise!
Let His enemies be scattered
But let the righteous be glad!
Yes, let them rejoice with gladness,
God has triumphed mightily!