Monthly Archives: March 2011
There are times when human ingenuity is a pure joy to watch. This is one of them.
I have been meaning to write more about this film, but have not had the time. Yet I wanted to be sure I posted it here just in case someone who had yet to hear of it reads this. I can remember the 2006 season that surprising upstart Wake Forest had. They had been picked to finish last in the ACC yet somehow won the conference championship, went to the Orange Bowl and finished 11-3 and ranked #17 in the country. But I never knew the back story.
The 5th Quarter looks to be a powerful movie. Aiden Quinn…Andie MacDowell…a true story. It is also, however, my worst nightmare as a parent. My getting through the previews and information I’ve read have been difficult enough. The movie may well kill me. Yet I plan on taking my soon-to-be-a-driver-himself eldest son. I don’t care if he watches his dad turn into a puddle of sobbing goo next to him in the theater. Maybe it will reinforce the messages from the film.
A few links:
The Luke Abbate 5th Quarter Foundation. As this is a film about the consequences of teen driving as well as the gift of organ donation, this site is an excellent resource for parents.
There’s more. More interviews, more stories, etc. I don’t know why this movie has such a limited initial release, but I’m hoping it spreads to more theaters and areas of the country soon.
I’ll just end here with the extended trailer for the film.
Two of them are trailers for new movies based upon true events that I cannot wait to see. The third is a video put together by couple for use on a Confirmation retreat in 2006.
First up is the movie trailer for Of Gods And Men. Limited in its theatrical release, the movie will be making its way to Omaha where I have plans to attend with my good friend Fr. H (if we can get our calendars to mesh). It is based upon the true story of the French Trappist monks of Tibherine who were kidnapped from their monastery in Algeria during the 1990s.
The second movie is also one I’ve long awaited and based upon a true story. Set for release on May 6, There Be Dragons tells the story of an investigative journalist who visits Spain to research a book about Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei. As he investigates he learns that his own father was born in the same town as Josemaria, but that they were childhood friends who took radically different paths in life. The film is written and directed by Roland Joffe whose 1986 movie The Mission is one of the most beautiful movies I’ve ever seen and a favorite of mine. I’ve read Escriva’s book The Way, enjoyed its meditations and am looking forward to this theatrical glimpse into his early life.
The third video became an immediate sensation at the time of its posting and the response for those wanting to download it so overwhelming that servers kept crashing. The finally had to ask that people send their requests for a burned copy. It gave me chills five years ago. It gives me chills today. It is a beautiful summation of six reasons for being Catholic, reasons that are being affirmed for me during this fruitful Lent of 2011. The song Jesus Christ, You Are My Life was used for World Youth Day 2002 in Toronto. One of my favorite parts of the video is near the end where various saints are shown, many of them favorites of mine. A favorite not listed is St. John Vianney, the Cure of Ars, who said: “If you care about what people think of you, then you should not have become a Catholic.”
All of these people, the monks of Tibherine, Saint Josemaria Escriva, and the saints listed in the third video, have given us examples of courage to follow. I pray for courage in my own life.
‘Sister, speak to me about God,’
and the almond tree blossomed.”
Greco, famed Greek-born Spanish painter
So much death. What can men do against such reckless hate?”– Theoden, King of Rohan. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Indeed. What are we to do in the face of such blind hatred? The kind of hatred that results in the senseless and vicious murder of a Jewish family? As horrific as the crime is, almost as awful is the slanted reporting in our own media.
A cousin of hatred is ignorance. This is another trait that I would love to see wane in the land. But as long as we remain as divided along partisan lines as we are I see no end in sight. If the past four weeks should have proved anything to us it’s that rational thinking is not a trait of the hyper-partisan. How else can one rationally reason with people who scream that democracy was hijacked while they run away and essentially “break” the representative democratic model that has worked for over 200 years? Up is down and black is white in their twisted realm of logic. And all while threatening the lives of their opponents, their families and businesses who support them. The “New Tone of Civility” indeed.
Then there are people like Anne Moser who are attempting to frame the loss of their public union’s collective bargaining privileges as somehow equivalent to a human rights violation:
“The frustration from the defeat will be channeled elsewhere. Wiping tears from beneath her dark rimmed glasses, Anne Moser, 47, who works for University of Wisconsin Madison’s science-based Water Library, said, ‘People know that violence doesn’t get you anywhere. The attack the Republicans have made is violent and a violation of human rights. It is an attack on the middle class. We teach our children to follow rules and to sit and the table and work it out, but that certainly hasn’t happened here.’ And so she and her allies may seek there revenge elsewhere: in a court of law or, most probably, in a polling booth.”
The boldface emphasis is mine.
The incredible stupidity of that statement is breathtaking on its surface. Comparisons of the governor to Hitler, of Wisconsin to Egypt, and on and on only served to show the complete idiocy of these people to the world. To her and those like her that are cluelessly and with the utmost hyperbole shedding crocodile tears over their basic human rights being stolen I would like to make a few introductions.
Dr. Óscar Elías Biscet. He is the Afro-Cuban physician and democracy leader who has been in the Castros’ dungeons for a very long time. His models are Gandhi and Martin Luther King. George W. Bush gave him the Presidential Medal of Freedom which he was unable to show up to accept.
Néstor Rodríguez Lobaina. He is a Cuban prisoner of conscience, near death on a hunger strike. If he had been a hunger-striking prisoner in apartheid South Africa, he would have been on the cover of every magazine in the Western world. But no one — trust me, no one — cares about Cuba. Except to the extent we want to make a little money, go sip our mojitos, indulge in underage prostitution . . .
Said Mufa. Musa was one of about 25 Christians arrested on May 31, 2010, after a May 27 Noorin TV program showed video of a worship service held by indigenous Afghan Christians; he was arrested as he attempted to seek asylum at the German embassy. He converted to Christianity eight years ago, is the father of six young children, had a leg amputated after he stepped on a landmine while serving in the Afghan Army, and now has a prosthetic leg. His oldest child is eight and one is disabled (she cannot speak). He worked for the Red Cross/Red Crescent as an adviser to other amputees.
He was forced to appear before a judge without any legal counsel and without knowledge of the charges against him. “Nobody [wanted to be my] defender before the court. When I said ‘I am a Christian man,’ he [a potential lawyer] immediately spat on me and abused me and mocked me. . . . I am alone between 400 [people with] terrible values in the jail, like a sheep.” He has been beaten, mocked, and subjected to sleep deprivation and sexual abuse while in prison. No Afghan lawyer will defend him and authorities denied him access to a foreign lawyer.
Any and every human being who is imprisoned, abused, or tortured for the free and peaceful expression of their faith deserves our support, but Musa is also a remarkable person and Christian. In a letter smuggled to the West, he says, “The authority and prisoners in jail did many bad behaviour with me about my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. For example, they did sexual things with me, beat me by wood, by hands, by legs, put some things on my head.”
He added a thing much more important to him, that they “mocked me ‘he’s Jesus Christ,’ spat on me, nobody let me for sleep night and day. . . . Please, please, for the sake of Lord Jesus Christ help me.” (View the full letter here)
Mufa, thankfully, was spared execution and released on Feb. 24.
The Fogel Family of Itamar. ***WARNING***: this link contains extremely graphic photographs of the crime. The surviving family members requested that the photos be released in order to shed light on the brutality of this horrific hate crime against humanity. There is a video as well that I will not watch. The pictures were enough.
And then, when the news of the crimes hit their streets, the bastards celebrated by handing out candy.
Shall I go on, Ms. Moser? I could chronicle for you scores and hundreds of sex trafficking victims. Or the increase in the murder rate of Coptic Christians, priests, nuns and schoolchildren in the Middle East and around the world. Sadly, I could.
Honestly I feel as if the left has collectively lost its mind. But of course it’s not just those on the left. For though the spotlight is brightly shining on the stupidity and moral vacuousness that is the left at the moment, the cockroaches on the far right remain ever vigilant as well. The pendulum will swing, and they will scurry out of the darkness as well.
Which brings me back to Theoden’s question: what does one do when faced with such hate and evil?
Last night I found myself praying over this question as the sheer weight of all of this settled onto my shoulders. That was mistake number one on my part: taking on a burden that is not mine to carry. Nevertheless it was there and I experienced the two common reactions: anger and despair.
Anger and Despair
I have had to ban myself for a month from commenting or saying anything related to unions to friends online because I’m at the point where I just want to scatter buckshot wildly in all directions, casualties be damned. The people who cannot see what is happening in Wisconsin and elsewhere due to their blind loyalties to these union thugs are beyond hope to me. At best they are blindly loyal; at worst they are dishonest liars.
Jesus is often referred to as a “man of sorrows”. There are times when I find myself too engrossed in the news and can begin to identify with Him. On a much smaller scale, mind you, but enough to get a feel for it. Do I wish I could shut off my empathy switch and my humanity at times? Yes, but ultimately no. To shut that part of me off would render me on par with those who broke into that sleepy Jewish household at night and slit the throats of a three-month old baby girl and her father, and stab in the heart a 3-year old and 11-year old before brutalizing the mother. No…painful as it can be I’ll keep my empathy thank you very much.
I found myself on my couch last night alternating between clenched fists of righteous anger and sobbing with eyes stung by tears. “How do you do it Lord?” I asked. “How do you get through endless scenes like this day after day for centuries? It’s all too much.”
I wasn’t looking for an audible reply but decided to calm myself before bed with the tools He had given me through the Church. Because I could not afford to let the sun go down on my anger. I did not want “tears to drench my bed” (Psalm 6:6). No, before I went to bed I knew I had to find some sort of solace.
For Lent I am making a concerted effort to pray a rosary each day. Usually I pray it myself but last night I listened to the version of the Glorious mysteries by Vinny Flynn and Still Waters. I had purchased the CDs some years ago and when I finally bought an iTouch I added them to my playlist. They are probably the most listened to tracks I have.
Just before shutting off the light, I prayed the Office of the Dead.
Réquiem ætérnam dona eis, Dómine. Et lux perpétua lúceat eis.
I gave up my anger. I threw away despair. I decided to fight.
Cor mundum crea in me, Deus: et spíritum rectum ínnova in viscéribus meis. Make me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Taking my cue from Tolkien I remembered another scene from the LOTR trilogy. It’s one of my favorites. Hope is kindled.
I choose Hope.
To be continued in time…
My son’s high school baseball season begins this coming Thursday, but the weekend was the culmination of the prep basketball season with the boy’s state tournament. While his high school won their opening round game on Thursday morning, Friday night they dropped a heartbreaker to the defending state champs (who would repeat their claim to the title the following day). The student body opted for a whiteout on Friday. That’s him in the middle. Heh.
Do you have the feeling that in the rush of everyday life we’re getting too much of stuff we don’t need, and not enough of what we do? I do, and each year during Lent when I take a break from certain modes of mass communication it becomes even more clear to me. Below is a set of suggestions about how to redress the imbalance and increase our moments of clarity:
|We Need Less:||We Need More:|
|Multitasking||Control of our attention|
|Long hours||Longer sleep|
1. the quality or state of being alone or remote from society.
2. a lonely place (as a desert).
I find the mention of “desert” an apt one today as the Gospel reading this first Sunday of Lent speaks of Jesus’ trials in the desert and his being tempted by Satan. But what spurred my use of the word this week was this article. Of particular note was this:
In a world gone wild for wikis and interdisciplinary collaboration, those who prefer solitude and private noodling are seen as eccentric at best and defective at worst, and are often presumed to be suffering from social anxiety, boredom, and alienation.
But an emerging body of research is suggesting that spending time alone, if done right, can be good for us — that certain tasks and thought processes are best carried out without anyone else around, and that even the most socially motivated among us should regularly be taking time to ourselves if we want to have fully developed personalities, and be capable of focus and creative thinking. There is even research to suggest that blocking off enough alone time is an important component of a well-functioning social life — that if we want to get the most out of the time we spend with people, we should make sure we’re spending enough of it away from them. Just as regular exercise and healthy eating make our minds and bodies work better, solitude experts say, so can being alone.
Well color me eccentric and defective.
For reasons I cannot explain I feel as though I’ve hit my halfway point in life. I thought I had gone through it a few years ago when I hit what was, for me, an unprecedented comfort zone in life. I believe the way I stated it when describing it to a friend of mine was “I was finally comfortable in my own skin.” But now…
Lately I’ve experienced this thought that I was “halfway”. Does this mean I figure I’ll hit 86 birthday candles and that will be it? Possibly. Longevity is common in my side of the family with several male and female relatives living into their 90s and even 100s. This insight has brought to mind two thoughts: 1) given the shape of the world today and the cesspool we’re making of things I’m not sure that I’m up for another 43 years; and 2) I should never again buy another book. I’m set for the next four decades. Sorry Amazon.
Apparently I’m not the only one thinking along these lines, and she says it with more eloquence. While I have so much more that I could write about this I’m going to keep it short. I’m still getting used to this little epiphany.
This week it’s not one of my own that I’m featuring here.
Bennett Cerf, Dr. Seuss’ editor, bet him that he couldn’t write a book using 50 words or less. “The Cat in the Hat” was pretty simple, after all, and it used 225 words. Not one to back down from a challenge, Mr. Geisel started writing and came up with “Green Eggs and Ham” — which uses exactly 50 words.
The 50 words, by the way, are: a, am, and, anywhere, are, be, boat, box, car, could, dark, do, eat, eggs, fox, goat, good, green, ham, here, house, I, if, in, let, like, may, me, mouse, not, on, or, rain, Sam, say, see, so, thank, that, the, them, there, they, train, tree, try, will, with, would, you.
To read other Dr. Seuss facts you may not know, go here.
Today, Ash Wednesday, marks the beginning of Lent. A period of forty days in which we collectively prepare for Easter. I was unable to make it to Mass this morning and won’t be attending at St. Mary’s downtown due to a business meeting but will be heading to my home parish after work instead. I’ve experienced what Webster writes about over at Why I Am Catholic. I’ve served as an acolyte with Father B or Father J and placed the ashes on foreheads of parishioners young and old while saying “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” It’s one of the most humbling things we do each year. I’ve also had Lents or Ash Wednesdays where I’ve felt distant and dry. But I can’t imagine not participating. You don’t have to “feel” something for it to “take.” Grace happens.
While I wasn’t able to indulge in posting this plethora of Lenten links below yesterday on Fat Tuesday due to other commitments I wanted to get them up today in case there are others like me who are a little behind in their preparation. Or for others who are curious about what all the hubbub is about from a Catholic point of view. In this modern age of information and resources there are a million places you can go if you are seeking out more information or aids to assist with your own study, prayers or meditations. Mine is pretty brief, but it serves as a start.
I’ll begin with three of my favorite links by a favorite author, Mike Aquilina, that help me prepare for Lent:
Next up is fasting because today is a day in which we fast. And as I’m typing this mid-morning my stomach is beginning just a slight rumble because during Lent I am giving up the daily mid-morning snack I’ve indulged too much in this year: white chocolate macadamia nut cookies.
Why We Must Fast is an excellent look at this practice.
I’ve also decided to do a fast of another kind this year, written about by Tim over at Patheos. To restore a balance to my peace of mind I’m not visiting the usual news sites I go to such as The Drudge Report, etc. and am not going to indulge in watching any news programs on Fox, CNN, etc. Now before you call me a luddite allow me to explain. Whether I watch or read or not, the news happens. I have no control over that. Getting myself worked into a lather of worry each day over things I cannot control and reported to me by entities that market news as entertainment with all its alarmist, salacious details is self-defeating. I’ve done this before a few Lents ago and it was refreshing. Much like when I go long periods of time without eating McDonald’s French fries. When you eat them regularly they taste pretty good. But go a few months without them and when you have them again you will ask yourself why on earth you put that stuff into your body.
In other words, more of the sacred and less of the secular.
Julie at Happy Catholic posted excellent reading lists for Lent, both nonfiction and fiction. I’ve read a few of her suggestions, but this year I selected Brant Pitre’s excellent book Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper. I would also highly recommend Pope Benedict’s second volume in the life of Jesus, released on March 10. The first volume Jesus of Nazareth was excellent and I’ve already reserved a copy of the second book with Tim at Gloria Deo.
One of my favorite books of all-time is The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. I’ve written of it elsewhere and will likely do so again. Fr. Dwight Longenecker, is posting his Lenten homage to Lewis’ classic called Slupgrip Instructs. You can subscribe by RSS or by email. For far he’s posted the first five lessons. They are definitely worth a look this Lent (or anytime).
And finally, if you want even MORE resources on Lent I’ll refer you to the feast of information offered up by Aggie Catholic. FAQs, Lenten suggestions, a ton of links and more than a few videos.
Aggie Catholic includes this bit of silliness which I first watched last year. It’s not all sack cloths and ashes, right?
Several years ago I read The Spear by Louis de Wohl. The book is a beautifully written story of Cassius Longinus, the Roman soldier believe to have been present at Christ’s crucifixion. Not only is this an interesting look at Rome and the Holy Land 2,000 years ago, but it is most importantly the story of Longinus’ conversion from a bitter, revenge-driven man to a repentant, joy-filled soul. Inspiring, a very good read, I would recommend it to anyone.
Early in the book Longinus is a youthful, overconfident and immature soldier in the Roman army who has fallen in love. He has the following exchange with his friend and father’s lawyer, Seneca:
“Love is sevenfold,” he began almost solemnly. “By definition it is an inclination of something toward something else. Take up a stone, and it will weigh heavily in your hand, because it is inclining toward, because it is drawn toward the earth, from which you have taken it. It is drawn toward its origin. It is longing for the earth, and you can feel its longing in the pressure on your hand. Drop it—and see how quickly it moves to meet the beloved—like a child running toward its mother’s embrace. A mere stone, Cassius…For such is the first stage of love, and it is in everything on earth.”
“The next stage,” Seneca continued quietly, “is the love of each creature for the self. The urge for self-preservation, of which egoism is the perversion. And the third stage is the urge to preserve one’s own kind—sexual love. The fourth is the aesthetic love, the love of beauty. You find it in animals and birds as well as in man. See the peacock strutting, conscious of his beauty, see the playfulness of lambs or colts or cats, fully conscious of the capabilities of their bodies and exercising them with joy.
“With the fifth stage of love we leave the material field behind us. Here is the love of philosophy and of abstract thinking—the love we are indulging in at this moment.”
“Here is the realm of exploration and speculation, of knowledge sought and found, and there are many who will prefer the searching to the finding, because finding puts an end to the search they love. Comes the sixth stage—the love of one person for another.”
“Surely there can be nothing higher than that!”
“Here we find not only lovers but also philanthropists and all people concerned with the fate, destiny, and well-being of their fellowmen. Yet there is a step higher still, though only one: the urge that raises man above himself, the longing for things beyond the natural and the infinite. Plato knew about it. As we grow older we perceive that even the love of one person for another is imperfect, and there are whisperings in us that still more is required of man by the immortal gods. It is a longing that may take strange forms—like the attempt to placate the gods who despise our imperfections—the attempt to move in their direction, toward the stars on which they dwell.”
“Religion, you mean?”
Seneca shrugged his shoulders. “Religion is one way of expressing it. All love is longing, even that of the stone longing for Mother Earth, the first stage of the sevenfold love.”
At the end of the book, having undergone several trials and finding himself an unwilling participant in history’s most amazing story, Cassius pauses to reflect upon the events that had just taken place, and of his life’s journey since he was a brash young Roman soldier:
Someone once told me about the sevenfold love. A brilliant man, Seneca. But he did not know you, Lord, or he would have known that there is a love beyond those seven, encompassing them all, ennobling them all and surpassing them all. Your love, which makes everything holy.
You may be saying to yourself, ‘That’s very nice Jeff, but what does it have to do with the charity and stewardship represented by me in my own life?’
Great question. Here’s the answer: within each and every one of those areas of your life is a chance for you to demonstrate to others the highest stage of the “sevenfold stages of love.” I touched upon this in something I wrote yesterday. I don’t mean that we exercise this choice just during the coming days of Lent, but each and every day thereafter. If you’re at stage three with your lover, strive to move to stage four, and so on. Continuously reach for the next plane.
I saw people celebrating a “day of peace” recently and had to stop myself from commenting to them “Why just today? Why not aim for it every day? Can’t we do better?”
I have felt weighed down more than ever by the news of the world lately. It can be suffocating and when it becomes so overbearing that it threatens to snuff out the spark of life that I have within I know it’s time to take a step back. My sense of humor has gone AWOL. I no longer have a spring in my step. I find myself growing cynical. And whereas in the past I would have lashed out as well with sarcasm and cynicism disguised as wit, I lack the will to even do that. Lent couldn’t have come at a better time for me personally to “be still”. To quiet myself. To listen for that “still, small voice” that is relentlessly drowned out by the cacophony of noise we use to surround ourselves. It is our choice. We can turn down the volume. I think sometimes we forget that.
St. Anthony of Padua said that
“Earthly riches are like the reed. Its roots are sunk in the swamp, and its exterior is fair to behold; but inside it is hollow. If a man leans on such a reed, it will snap off and pierce his soul.”
By becoming good stewards of our love and our charity we are given the opportunity to grow stronger in our love and relationship with God and our fellow man. To that end, when you lean on your faith and on Him, it will be stronger and less likely to “snap off” when it is strained and you are most in need.
Every day, in your life, you have such opportunities.
What reed are you leaning on? How strong is it?
The Butterfly That Stamped, by Rudyard Kipling. In this story, we learn how a clever and most beloved wife saves the day for her very wise husband, who hates to show off. You can download the text here.
I am working on a logo for my new weekly series and it may involve this painting of literary friends Mark Twain and Rudyard Kipling reading stories on a veranda while enjoying cigars and bourbon. Lit Wisp: literature with a wisp of fine cigar smoke and good bourbon. As I made a conscious effort five years ago to take more time for rest on Sundays, I often enjoin at least two of those three favorite things.
During Fr. J’s homily at this morning’s Mass he discussed Lent, specifically its purpose. So many people think you have to “give stuff up” like television, extra food, etc. (and those aren’t necessary bad items to take a break from). He emphasized instead three things: Prayer, Fasting, Charity. Lent is meant to be a time to draw us closer to Jesus during this remembrance of his Passion and Resurrection. It’s not just a time to go on a diet. Instead of just “taking away” something during these 40 days why not add something? If you already pray, pray more. If you struggle with prayer, give it a go. Deny yourself that daily Starbucks as a means of self-denial and/or discipline. Or that big piece of cake. Or fast from television. Finally, give of yourself through charity. Not just by giving money to a group, but perhaps give of yourself as well. Every year I try to find something to take away. This year I’m going to add as well.
Charity, defined by Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary (my personal favorite) is
In a general sense, love, benevolence, good will; that disposition of heart which inclines men to think favorably of their fellow men, and to do them good. In a theological sense, it includes supreme love to God, and universal good will to men.
You can read the other seven definitions by clicking here.
Love replaced Charity in usage in later translations of the bible in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. You’re familiar with this verse if you’ve ever attended a wedding. Many couples select it as one of their readings from Scripture. From 1st Corinthians Chapter 13.
And now there remain faith, hope, and charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity.
Let’s practice a little of that this Lent, shall we?
This idea is one I’ve been kicking around for about a year as a means of doing a bit of regular blogging. It will also serve to keep me off of Facebook where I would likely post most of these things. As Lent approaches and I prepare for my annual vacation from that social site, I am also preparing to leave it altogether. But that’s not the IDEA for this week. A weekly cache of things that have caught my attention or I think others may be interested in. That’s the gist of this Sunday series. And why Lit Wisp? Simply because its an anagram of the first letters of these seven subjects. A little wisp of what passes for my being literature-like. Or literal. Yeah…perhaps that’s the more likely approach as I hardly resemble anyone involved in creating literature, though I certainly consume my share. I hope you enjoy this with me.
Ghosts, the first song on Kansas’ 1988 album In The Spirit of Things, contains many images and thoughts that have weighed on my mind of late. I keep meaning to write about it but just never seem to be able to get the words out.
After taking a year off from home improvement projects since I finished the upstairs bathroom remodel a year ago it was time to dive back in. And we have. In a few weeks we will have had three corners repaired where rot was becoming an issue, and then new fascia and soffits, along with siding on our garage, installed. We have a brick ranch so we’re pretty much siding free aside from the garage. A few days after that the new gutters (with leaf guards!) will be installed. To prep for this we spent our weekend replacing a load-bearing steel rail with a column on the front porch. Today I cleaned off the back patio and took to the last of a rotting privacy fence with my circular saw. This week I’ll wire a new outlet in the garage and we’ll be ready for our house’s facelift. Since moving to our home in May of 2003 we’ve had a goal of completing most of our projects in time for our son’s high school graduation in 2014. We’re still on track.