Happy New Year to YOU!

Happy New Year to YOU!

We stand on the threshold of a new year.

And my wish for you is that 2020 will be a splendid year, indeed.

I have to say that 2019 was an awful year in some ways.

I have been–and continue to be–greatly alarmed to see our National nightmare unfolding.

And, yes, I most certainly hope to see a lot of that turmoil and tragedy be resolved in this year which is just around the corner as I write this.

For me personally, 2019 was a mixed bag, you might say.

The first half had some challenges and plenty of ups-and-downs.

The second half could be described as 99% bliss.

And I’m grateful.

I’m thinking that for many of you, 2019 may have been something like that. After all, life’s experiences are often a strange mixture of good stuff and the stuff you fervently hope you’ll never have to go through again.

So I wish for you a 2020 with more–way more–of the good stuff.

May it be so!

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Mr Basile is not the owner of the banner photo and believes it to be covered under Fair Use.

A Quick Look Back Over Some…

A Quick Look Back Over Some…

I did want to take a quick look back over some of the outdoor fun I had this year.

Although I would have loved to have had even more outdoor fun, I had plenty of it in 2019.

Less than I’d like but undoubtedly more than most folks.

A couple of the trips I made to the Canaveral National Seashore this year were very memorable.

The first was on July 1st and the second in early September, soon after Hurricane Dorian blew through.

The first was memorable mostly because it was just a blissful, nearly-perfect day and the second because the shore was practically covered in shells of every type.

Hurricanes do throw millions of tons of shells and plenty of flotsam and jetsam on the shore in their wake.

I did blog about both of those trips here and here.

Another noteworthy excursion happened in November. It had been over a year since I had had a chance to visit Wekiwa Springs State Park and I’m delighted to say that that trip about seven weeks ago was absolutely wonderful in several ways.

If you’re anywhere near these lovely places here in the Sunshine State, you’re past due for a visit.

About three weeks ago, my traveling companion and I spent two nights and three days camping and seeing the sights at Silver Springs State Park.

We had a fabulous time, though Joan had a head cold start as we were about one day into the trip.

We took the ever-popular glass bottom boat tour for which Silver Springs is so well-known. Below is one of the shots I got on the tour. There were many, many more, as you might imagine.

I hiked solo while Joan rested and we both enjoyed the park and our two-plus days there even with the head cold hassle.

All in all, it was a very worthwhile trip and we’re making plans to return to S.S.S.P. early in 2020.

There will be a more thorough post about that trip coming early in the New Year. Three brief paragraphs here tonight simply do not do it justice.

Outdoor activities are popular in every corner of America and all over the world.

Make sure that in 2020, you get in on some of the fun!

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credits Ben Lawrence Basile

A Christmas Wish for Everyone

A Christmas wish for everyone today

This has been a challenging year for me in a lot of ways, yet I find myself feeling even more than the usual holiday spirit right now as I sit at the keyboard, waiting for Santa to come down my chimney. Wait! I don’t have a chimney! Oh well, I still believe! Well, the part about Santa, who can say? The rest of it, I’m still pretty big on all the good stuff that we think about when the holidays roll around each year. No doubt a lot of you feel the same.

I’m real grateful for friends and family this year. I take a lot of that for granted a lot of the time, but right now I absolutely “get it”… Some of you know some of the background as i make that statement. It’s all about community, being “plugged in” or connected. It’s not a happy, festive time if you’re in this life all on your own. I do know some folks who are in that kind of a situation now, and it’s not a good thing. They’re not feeling particularly joyful right now, as you might imagine.

The Christmas story does hold a lot of meaning for me. I’m not quite sure if I still believe all of it, all the nuances and consequences and so on; not quite like one “believes it” when the assembled faithful say the Apostles Creed together at Midnight Mass. Some will be doing exactly that in just a few hours, perhaps some of you.

Yet it doesn’t seem at all “funny” to me that God comes to us whenever it suits his/her purpose. Not entirely sure if “he” did in that particular, historical way. Being raised in a Christian family and having gone part-way through seminary a few years ago, I do lean in that direction. But I’ve come to see some things in a different light now that I’ve spent a little better than a half-century on this planet. This planet where almost a billion people believe that God became incarnate, was born of a young woman who had never “known” her betrothed. And that his coming among us in that way was the beginning of a Divine plan to make it possible for all of his creatures to enjoy unending fellowship with him and with one another! In this life and in the next! Now that’s a story! One we humans have been telling one another for a very long time, and I’m quite sure we’ll be telling it for a long time to come.

I’ve been struggling for so many years now about exactly how much of the story still “works” for me and all of that. But what I’ve never doubted is that God, or the Divine, does come to us and among us all the time. And I’m finally in that phase of life where I’ve learned to look for it, to expect it and to embrace it. And I know that the other really big thing about Christmastime is to get a bit closer to my brothers and sisters who also bear the image of the Divine One in their souls and on their beaming faces. Some of them were raised on the same stories I was; this one about God being born of a virgin, and many others.

Some, of course, have heard and embraced and celebrated different stories. I’m not very inclined to quibble about the particulars at this point in my life. I’m quite sure that God would love to see us move a little closer together at this time of year, and to go on telling those stories; especially that one about God robed in human flesh, living and dying as one of us. And I’m quite sure that the heart of the Divine is pleased when we carry forward “his” mission to strip away that illusion that our sins, imperfections, and much less, our differences, should separate us from one another or from his Divine Heart.

Well, Christmas Eve has progressed, as it will, into Christmas morning as I’m wrapping up this little holiday message. And I’m sitting here, luminous and expectant, like a six year old waiting for Santa to appear. Like Simeon in the temple, waiting to bless the infant Jesus, knowing then that he has seen and embraced, quite literally, the Divine plan to end our sinful and deadly illusions of separateness. I’m expectant, waiting in earnest to see and to embrace the next manifestation of the Divine. In you, in her, in us. Perhaps–and wouldn’t this be a great story–perhaps in and across many countries and cultures, in four billion human hearts at once!

A wish, a dream, a fervent hope… Perhaps that’s all it is. But a hope to hold close to one’s heart on Christmas morning. God bless each of you today and throughout the year to come. May you be blessed to see the image of the Divine, of the Christ-child in yourself–and in one another.

Ben Lawrence Basile
Christmas morning, 2007

© 2007 Benjamin Lawrence Basile

Still more troubling signs for our Earth

Those of you who know me know that I’m very much focused on environmental issues.

If I say something about the degradation of the Earth and that we’re all in deep trouble as these trends proceed, no one will be surprised.

But as more and more signs and facts come in, I’ll be passing them along.

Don’t turn away. Get involved.

The signs are everywhere. I wish it were not so.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Walt Disney’s Birthday

Walt Disney’s Birthday

Some happy news: today is the birthday of Walt Disney.

For me–and for so many others–that is, indeed, a cause for celebration.

The world is a better place for Walt having come along. A mere 118 years ago, I might add.

It’s also true that my life is certainly better because of that salutary event.

Walt, we love you and strive to move your amazing, unique vision forward.

A proud Disney cast member, I am,

Benjamin Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Ben is not the owner of the delightful graphic in this post and believes it to be covered by Fair Use.

National Cookie Day is here

National Cookie Day is here

You may not have realized that today is a very special day, but it is.

It’s National Cookie Day! Yes, I do keep my eye on such things!

Yes, you’re very welcome.

I hope you’ve done something special for this celebration. You might be like me and enjoy home baking.

Because of my work schedule and a boatload of other commitments, I may not be able to bake again before Wednesday rolls around, but I surely know what day it is.

If you’re not going to pop a batch into your oven in the next 24, Option B could be to stop by your favorite bakery and come back with a dozen or so delights of your choosing.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a celebration to get to! I just need to pour a glass of milk and I’ll be good to go!

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile