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Saw God in the Buzzard, The Bat and the Bee

If you put a buzzard in a pen that is 6 feet by 8 feet and is entirely open at the top, the bird, in spite of its ability to fly, will be an absolute prisoner.
The reason is that a buzzard always begins a flight from the ground with a run of 10 to 12 feet Without space to run, as is its habit, it will not even attempt to fly,but will remain a prisoner for life in a small jail with no top.
The ordinary bat that flies around at night, a remarkable nimble creature in the air,cannot take off from a level place.
If it is placed on the floor or flat ground, all it can do is shuffle about helplessly and,no doubt, painfully, until it reaches some slight elevation from which it can throw itself into the air.
Then, at once, it takes off like a flash.

A bumblebee, if dropped into an open tumbler, will be there until it dies, unless it is taken out. It never sees the means of escape at the top, but persists in trying to find some way out through the sides near the bottom. It will seek a way where none exists, until it completely destroys itself.

In many ways, we are like the buzzard, the bat, and the bumblebee. We struggle about with all our problems and frustrations, never realizing that all we have to do is look up!
That’s the answer, the escape route and the solution to any problem….
just look up!
Sorrow looks back,
Worry looks around,
But faith looks up!
Live simply,
love generously,
care deeply,
speak kindly, and
trust in our Creator,
who loves us.

Stan–Sacramento, CA

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Saw God with Two Legs


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Saw God in God’s Way

John & Janet–MI

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Saw God at 100

SAN DIEGO — Don Pellmann had been at the San Diego Mesa College track for less than an hour Sunday morning and had already moved his lawn chair twice to remain in the shade, which was receding fast. By the time Pellmann set his fifth age-group world record, in the early afternoon, the temperature on the track was creeping toward 100, which also happens to be the birthday Pellmann recently celebrated.

Pellmann, the most senior athlete in the San Diego Senior Olympics, became the first centenarian to break 27 seconds in the 100-meter dash and the first to clear an official height in the high jump. He also broke records for men in the 100-and-over age group in the shot-put and the discus and set a record in the long jump.

Wearing baggy shorts and a faded red T-shirt with “Donald Pellmann Established 1915 Milwaukee, WI” written across the front, he opened his program by trying to become the oldest man, by roughly nine years, to record a height in the pole vault. He dislodged the bar three times at 3 feet 1 ¾ inches, which gnawed at him the rest of the day.

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“I thought I was in better shape,” he said.

The meet volunteers, composed of students from San Diego State’s nursing program and Mesa College’s track team, were awed by Pellmann’s fitness level. They sought him out between his events to express their admiration.

“He’s very, very steady on his feet, and his posture’s very erect,” Sarah Provencher, one of the nursing students, said. “He doesn’t have as much bone and muscle degeneration as others in his age group. You can see he has really maintained his muscles.”

Samantha Foster, 17, a freshman pole-vaulter on the Mesa track team, planted herself so close to the pit that she could hear Pellmann muttering to himself after each of his three vaults. “I love when he says he needs more practice,” she said. “It’s cool to watch him being able to still do this at 100.”

His fellow competitors also sought him out for selfies, including 57-year-old Robert Silva, who said, “You see people that are 100 run, but to see someone that age pole-vault or long jump, that’s another galaxy.”

Pellmann said he had been a gymnast and a high jumper in his youth. The Depression cut short his athletic career at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, then known as La Crosse State Teachers College. Pellmann said he quit the track team to get a job. After raising three children with his wife, Marge, who is in her early 90s, Pellmann retired from his job with a General Electric subsidiary in 1970.

At the urging of one of his children, he entered a masters track meet. He did so well that he kept going. “I’ve been in 127 meets since,” Pellmann said.

Before Sunday, two years had passed since Pellmann’s last competition in the pole vault. He used to practice by taking a bamboo stick and jumping into the sandbox at a children’s park, he said, but those days are long gone.

“The only time I can practice is at the meets,” said Pellmann, who lives with his wife, who is ailing, in an assisted living home in Santa Clara, Calif.

He approached the vaulting pit with trepidation, running with a pole he had borrowed from Nadine O’Connor, 73, who is also a record-setting masters athlete. O’Connor and her partner, Bud Held, a 1952 Olympian in the javelin, live outside San Diego and hosted Pellmann, whom they got to know on the seniors track circuit.

Held acted as Pellmann’s coach. In the pole vault, Held urged him to run faster on his approach and consoled him each time he knocked down the bar.

“All you’ve got to do is get a little more speed,” Held said.

Easy for him to say. Held, after all, is a fit 87.

Pat–Scottsdale, AZ

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Saw God Swimming With the Sharks

My great friend Pat is an extraordinary athlete. He is one of those truly unique individuals who can say he has successfully completed an Iron Man triathlon. For those of you unfamiliar with an Iron Man, it essentially consists of swimming 2 miles, riding a bike 112 miles and then running 26 miles–all in one race!! As amazing as his achievement is (he has now run several), that is not where I see God today.

Recently, just for fun, Pat entered a half Iron Man which was being held in Santa Cruz, CA. The Pacific waters off Santa Cruz Beach are known to have the highest levels of great white shark infestations anywhere in North America. Despite Pat’s grave concerns about the swimming portion of the race, he went forward with the race and finished with flying colors as always. Better yet, he set a personal record in the swimming portion of the race:)

Pat is an inspiration—not so much for swimming with the sharks but for demonstrating what can be done when we commit ourselves to achieving big things. He is a very successful business man, a loyal husband,  loving father of three wonderful kids, and an Iron Man triathlete in his spare time. We can have it all!


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Saw God in a Brown Robe

Michael Schodowski is a wonderful guy —not that he would ever tell you so — who has raised $1.25 million for the Capuchin Soup Kitchen.

Me? I just want to know about the robes.

Schodowski, 54, puts on an annual event called Benefit on the Bay that drew 650 people to MacRay Harbor in Harrison Township last month. Beyond that, he and his brothers donate 10 percent of the annual profits from their second-generation shelving business to the Capuchins.

“Many hands make a light load,” he says, which is his way of deflecting credit to the event committee. “I don’t want to beat my chest or anything.”

He’s being too modest, but that’s fine — because I want to know about the robes.

Find a friar from Detroit’s Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph at an event like Benefit on the Bay, and you will find him in a brown-hooded robe with a white cord.

It’s a distinctive look for an order than does distinctly kind things, among them feeding throngs of hungry people every day.

Years ago, at a charity banquet where most of the men were wearing neckties, I stood in my Hawaiian shirt and sportcoat before dinner talking to a friar. We agreed that everyone else was sorely, and uncomfortably, overdressed.

That set me to wondering about a Capuchin friar’s closet. Do you swing open the doors and find nothing but eight brown robes on hangers next to a rack of ropes?

Thanks to Schodowski, I had an excuse to find out.

“We call them habits,” says Dan Crosby, 77, “and most of us have two.”

Dazzling the Amish

There is nothing Biblically significant about the number, though it has deep roots.

“It goes all the way back to St. Francis,” Crosby says. “When you’re washing one, you have to be wearing something else.

“Otherwise, you don’t want to be watching the guy who’s doing the washing.”

When Crosby joined the order 59 years ago, the robes were wool and heavy, and they constituted a brother’s entire wardrobe. Also, the friars wore beards, assuming they were old enough to grow one.

Now they’re lighter weight — the habits, not necessarily the friars — and the newer, fresher one is saved for Sundays.

They’re custom made back east someplace, Crosby says, possibly New Jersey, and they’ll last a good decade. The province pays for them, so he’s not sure of the price, “though I’m sure they’re not cheap.”

The friars wear them for daily mass and prayers, and they’ll don them if they’re doing something official in public, even if it’s somewhere as familiar as the soup kitchen.

Around the residence, or at dinner with family, “you wear regular clothes, so you aren’t a spectacle to everybody.”

At a long-ago posting in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Crosby encountered an Amish gentleman and his daughter on the street. He and the other man both gawked, and when Crosby turned for another look, he saw the man stealing a second glance at him.

“I’m sure we both went home,” he says, “and told everyone, ‘You never will guess what I saw this afternoon.’ ”

Deflecting credit

At the Benefit on the Bay, Schodowski wore a natty orange pocket square.

He was introduced to the Capuchins 31 years ago by an older friend from karate class. He was struck by their humility, generosity and warmth — “They treat everybody as human beings, with dignity” — and immediately began volunteering.

The benefit started in 1993 with pizza, half a keg of beer and an AM/FM radio. It raised $1,400. Last month’s somewhat more elaborate affair included a raffle for a donated 1953 Ford that raised $30,000 of the $150,000 total.

Sponsors, including the Schodowski family’s Shelving Inc., cover all expenses. Every dollar that comes in goes to the soup kitchen.

Gerry Brisson, president of Gleaners Community Food Bank, was the fundraising director for the soup kitchen when Schodowski put on his first half dozen events.

“He’s just a genuine guy,” Brisson says. “He likes this, he feels good about it and he does it.”

Schodowski, typically, will tell you he’s just the point man for his two brothers and his brother-in-law, all executives with the company.

“I guess you could say we’re are all cut from the same cloth,” he says — even if it isn’t a brown robe. Neil Rubin

Pat–Scottsdale, AZ

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Saw God in Toledo


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Saw God Putting Up the Flag

Carolyn–Rochester, NY

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Saw God in Deeee-troit Basketball!


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Saw God in the Moment


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