The Elusive Cardinal


Taking photos of birds is a hobby of mine. This year I was able to spot a bright red cardinal. However, each time I went to go take a photo of this beautiful bird, it flew away and disappeared. Each time he got away I sighed and put my camera down. Eventually, I set my camera next to me and sat at the kitchen table. Patiently waiting until the cardinal came back.

IMG_7267.JPGWhen the cardinal finally came back I turned on my camera. I was able to snap a few shots of the cardinal before he flew away again. Patience is a virtue that I learned from this experience. Wildlife photography is challenging because animals are unpredictable. By being patient and waiting for this bird to come back at the right time so I can take the a photo. Patience is a challenge for me, just as snapping a photo of a cardinal that I had to sit still for.

IMG_7264.JPGBasically, I was waiting for the right time on the cardinals time not mine. Photographing this cardinal was a triumph for me. By being patient and waiting for the cardinal to sit still was worth it.



Ash Wednesday Thoughts

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And they will make their voice heard over you And will cry bitterly They will cast dust on their heads, They will wallow in ashes.-Ezekiel 27:30

This Valentine’s Day was a bit different for me. This year Valentine’s Day fell on Ash Wednesday marking the beginning of Lent. This morning I got up early to go to mass to receive the ashes that would mark my forehead. For the rest of the day there were people who were asking me about my ashes. Some people may find this to be offensive for me it was a reminder of God’s grace through humility and the blessing Jesus Christ bestowed on me when He died on the cross.

Every Ash Wednesday I am reminded by my priest that the ashes in a shape of a cross that we bear are a sign of humility. The ashes that were burned from the palms from last years Palm Sunday are brought back in the form of ash. When someone asks me about my ashes on my forehead I remind them that it is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. If someone asks why I didn’t wash off the ashes, I remind them that it is a part of my faith.

Wearing ashes on my forehead as part of my faith has not always been an easy thing. There were times when I went felt uncomfortable with wearing the ashes on my head. I was embarrassed to go out in public and I wished that I could just stay home for the rest of the day once I received the ashes on my forehead. As a teenager I was worried what everyone else would think of the ashes on my forehead. Even though mass would be at night and right after I would go home to take a shower to wash it off before school the next day, it wasn’t until I was truly easy. It was not until I was in college on an Ash Wednesday when I “got hit with the ashes” so to say, that I felt confident in wearing them. There were some people who forgot it was Ash Wednesday and they asked me what was on my forehead. On this day when I was either a freshmen or a sophomore I began to grow confident in my faith. Every time someone asked me the same question I began to feel better about wearing them. Each time I felt pride in my faith to show people that I was not afraid to be Catholic. Today I have no problem with answering the simple questions of the ashes I bear.

The more I thought about it as I wrote this blog post,  I began to realize that Ash Wednesday has been about to help me build confidence in my faith and to trust God and His son Jesus Christ. I feel pride in letting people know that I am not afraid to show my love for Him. For without God’s mercy and Jesus’s love there would be nothing. In a few Fridays from now it will be Good Friday and many people will post John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” On Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media outlets this phrase will pop up. However, the real question is how many people actually understand the real meaning behind those words? The one lingering and sad question is the last thought I have on Ash Wednesday.

The Magic Flute


There is no opera quite like Mozart’s The Magic Flute. In his final opera he is able to bring you on a magical journey to a far off land where a prince goes on a journey to save a beloved princess. With the help of a powerful magic flute he is able to make this possible. All of this magic was brought to life at the Garde Arts Center in New London, CT.

Before the show started there were many anxious patrons waiting to see the show. Inside the lobby they admired posters for music acts Melissa Etheridge on December 15th and Andrew Bird on March 2nd. Others were asking questions about the upcoming shows The Wizard of Oz on May 3rd and Popovich: Comedy Pet Theater on March 16th. With many inquiring about these upcoming hit shows at the Garde they anxiously awaited for the show to start.

When the lights had flickered many had made it on the way into the theater where they saw a stage set with a white screen against three steps. Many were wondering about the family friendly show they were about to see. Yes, many families came from out of town to see Mozart’s final opera as it is very friendly family with a tale many children can enjoy. Children were excitedly waiting for the show to start, some of them asking their parents questions about the show they were about to see. Many others were reading the program about the talented cast.

When the theater lights turned off signaling the time for the show to begin. But, before the show started the actor who portrayed the character Papageno came on to wish an audience member a “Happy Birthday” as well as welcome everyone to the show. When the conductor came out to an applause he gave a slight pause instructing the music to start playing.

Shortly after this happened the audience was transported to a modern day city where prince was fighting off a lizard only to be saved by three mysterious women. From there we were brought to a far off land where a princess has been kidnapped. Using the white screen to portray the scenes for the different lands there was no leaving this magical place.

When the show had come to a close many were brought back to the Garde Arts Theater in New London, CT where everyone was on their feet applauding the cast. The night wasn’t quite over yet. When the show had ended, there was a reception held. Patrons enjoyed snacking on crackers and cheese while drinking fruit punch and wine. When the cast had made their way out they were posing for photos and making small talk with the patrons. With beaming smiles, the Garde Arts Center in New London, CT was able to make a magical night for all ages.

Cherish the Ladies: A Celtic Christmas

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Up until a few weeks ago, I had not heard of the Celtic band Cherish the Ladies. On December 1, 2017 at the Garde Arts Center they managed to put on a performance that made it hard to forget their name. Lead by the talented Joanie Madden these women put on a fantastic show complete with Irish step dancing.

At the Garde there were many people who were anxiously waiting to get inside the theater. By the time the doors opened the box office lobby was packed with people. As many made their way into the theater they talked about the upcoming shows at the Garde, specifically Melissa Etheridge on December 15th, and The Nutcracker on December 9th and 10th. Others admired posters for future shows like The Wizard of Oz and An Evening with Andrew Bird.

Once inside the theater many were entranced by the stage as it was set with many instruments. In the background there was a red screen adorned with Celtic symbols. When the show started Steve Sigel gave a word of welcome, even wishing a young girl in the audience a “Happy Birthday”. When he left the stage Joanie Madden came on stage along with the rest of her crew. All of the performers have musical families with many of them winning awards from around the world.

With a combination of a sense of humor, Irish step dancing, and singing there was nothing short of stopping this show. Alongside Joanie Madden, there was Don Stiffe a classic Irish folk singer and Julie Fitzgerald a renowned fiddle player from Canada who Irish step danced as well. Mary Coogan who has gained popularity as being a Celtic guitar playing. Nollaig Casey brought a bit of Ireland to New London by singing a classic Irish song in Gaelic. The accordion player Mirella Murray has managed to bring the instrument to the next generation by teaching a number of award winning players. Kathleen Boyle, who played the piano, sang and shared some of her family history with the crowd. Finally, the two Irish step dancers Jason Oremus and Garrett Coleman have won several championships with their talent.

During intermission several guests bougth CD’s and DVD’s that were on display. Many people were encouraged to like their page on Facebook. Those that commented were entered into a drawing to win a free CD. When intermission ended the fun began again. Yet, sadly the show ended too quickly.

After encouraging the audience to participate in singing songs like “O Come Ole Ye Faithful” and “Silent Night” the winners of the free CD’s were announced. Alongside that Joannie Madden announced she was going to be hosting two cruises in the coming year. After a couple more songs with dancing the group received a standing ovation.

When the show had ended the crowd was flocked around the merchandise table purchasing CD’s and DVD’s while anxiously awaiting the band. When the group came out there were lines for autographs and photos. Cherish the Ladies generously signed autographs, took photos, and partook in small talk with their fans. As many left the Garde Arts Center with smiles on their faces as they remarked on the memorable night they just had.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Today is Super Bowl Sunday! Right now many supermarkets and grocery stores ALL over America have people buying chips, soda, dip and (if they are old enough) beer. All of this in anticipation for the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles to play in the most highly anticipated football game of the year. For the game, I am preparing by making buffalo chicken dip.

However, this buffalo chicken dip came from my mom’s head. When I asked her where the recipe was she said in my head before writing it down. Later she told me she combined two different recipes. So, here is the recipe for, to me, the best buffalo chicken dip.

2 cups of shredded boiled chicken

1 8 oz. package of low fat cream cheese

1/3 cup hot sauce

1/3 cup ranch dressing

1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Start by softening cream cheese in a medium size bowl. After cream cheese is soften stir in hot sauce, ranch dressing, and chicken. Make sure the mixture is stirred well together, then stir in the shredded mozzarella and shredded cheddar cheese. Once done stirring spread across a pie plate (that is what I use) then place in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. Turn oven OFF!!!! Once done let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving. Serve with celery and/or corn chips (I prefer Tostitos and Fritos).

Hope you enjoy this yummy recipe!