January 16, 2021

Random thoughts on a Monday as I fly to Phoenix


icon-black-orig-267x300There will be no posts on same-sex marriage this week. Don’t you think we all need a break from talking about it?

By the way, I know what’s going to happen now. You’re going to talk about it. But I really wish you wouldn’t. If I were king, whenever something like this happened, I would impose a moratorium on discussing it until the dust settles and we’ve all had a chance to think, pray, and check ourselves.

icon-black-orig-267x300Here’s the weather forecast for Scottsdale, AZ, where I’ll be all week. Oh boy.

Scottsdale Wthr

icon-black-orig-267x300SN-Summerfest-Review-737x1024That makes me thirsty! I normally don’t care for summer beers too much. Usually a bit too lemony or citrusy for my taste. But I’ve found two that I really like:

  • Sierra Nevada Summerfest. This beer, brewed according to Czech tradition, lives up to its advertising as a “crisp” and refreshing lager.
  • New Belgium Skinny Dip. Another lager, a bit sunnier and fruitier than Summerfest, but still full bodied and invigorating.

What are you enjoying this summer?

And hey, Adam McHugh, feel free to give us your expert wine selections as well!


I’ve also been delighted to find that some of the kinds of music I used to enjoy as a kid in the summertime are still alive and well for me this year. Three great new summery albums that I have on my playlist are:

  • 1415315854617No Pier Pressure, by Brian Wilson. Like everything Brian Wilson has ever done, this album is a lush, bittersweet meditation on young hope, love, and loss. Amazingly, at 73 years old, he can still capture the feelings of sunset on the beach better than anyone in the world. He has a lot of younger artists helping him on this album, which adds a refreshing new twist to these classic-sounding tunes and lyrics.
  • Before This World, by James Taylor. It has been 13 years since JT released an album of original material, and this one is a solid, if mostly unsurprising, addition to his lengthy catalogue. A highlight for me is his inclusion of my favorite concert-closer, the old Scottish song, Wild Mountain Thyme.
  • The Traveling Kind, Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell. Their reunion album of 2012, the Grammy award winning Old Yellow Moon, was about as perfect a duet record as is possible, and this follow-up continues that satisfying partnership with another strong program of songs.

icon-black-orig-267x300You must read the astonishing opinion piece by Nicholas Kristoff in the New York Times about Catholic missionary Dr. Tom Catena. Here’s how it begins:

If you subscribe to the caricature of devout religious believers as mostly sanctimonious hypocrites, the kind who rake in cash and care about human life only when it is unborn, come visit the doctor here.

dr_tom_gidel_2015Dr. Tom Catena, 51, a Catholic missionary from Amsterdam, N.Y., is the only doctor at the 435-bed Mother of Mercy Hospital nestled in the Nuba Mountains in the far south of Sudan. For that matter, he’s the only doctor permanently based in the Nuba Mountains for a population of more than half a million people.

Just about every day, the Sudanese government drops bombs or shells on civilians in the Nuba Mountains, part of a scorched-earth strategy to defeat an armed rebellion here. The United States and other major powers have averted their eyes, so it is left to “Dr. Tom,” as he is universally known here, to pry out shrapnel from women’s flesh and amputate limbs of children, even as he also delivers babies and removes appendixes.

And here is how it ends:

Certainly the Nubans (who include Muslims and Christians alike) seem to revere Dr. Tom.

“People in the Nuba Mountains will never forget his name,” said Lt. Col. Aburass Albino Kuku of the rebel military force. “People are praying that he never dies.”

A Muslim paramount chief named Hussein Nalukuri Cuppi offered an even more unusual tribute.

“He’s Jesus Christ,” he said.

Er, pardon?

The chief explained that Jesus healed the sick, made the blind see and helped the lame walk — and that is what Dr. Tom does every day.

You needn’t be a conservative Catholic or evangelical Christian to celebrate that kind of selflessness. Just human.

And here’s how I am after reading this piece: speechless.

icon-black-orig-267x300Like I said, this week I will be in Scottsdale, basking (or is that baking?) in the beautiful Southwest.

This is more than a pleasure trip, however. One of my relatives is dealing with cancer and treatments right now, and my mom and I are flying out to spend some time with him. The journey may be more for us than for him — I’ve heard he has things pretty well under control — but perhaps we’ll be able to lend a hand and lighten the family’s burden a bit.

I will appreciate your prayers, and look forward to writing from a different location this week.

icon-black-orig-267x300Finally, here is a lovely, prayerful song for you from the Gettys as you start the work week, one of the few Christian hymns to deal with the subject of our daily vocations. Note the lovely incorporation of Bach’s Wachet Auf as a complementary tune throughout.



  1. First. Yes, we need a break from the madness. I have found “Brew Free or Die” IPA by 21st Amendment Brewery. Yummy, even in an aluminum can.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      Not a summer beer, but I had a Choklat Oranj [by Southern Tier Brewing Co] this weekend. Generally not a fan of anything like a desert or fruit beer…. but that is mighty tasty. Certainly in the one-and-done category, but I will be revisiting it for another one-and-done.

      • My best dessert beer after a meal on a hot summer summer night:

        Rasputin Imperial Stout, from North Coast Brewery — with 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream.


        • Dana Ames says

          Old Rasputin is made in the town where I grew up. The brewery is across the street from its pub/restaurant; the pub is housed in an old mortuary. My parents were funeral directors and worked for “the competition,” but I know what went on in every room there… (The kitchen was added when the brewery acquired the building.)


          • Dana – We plan to visit Fort Bragg (CA) soon as its just a couple hours away from us. Thanks for the history tip. Go buy a four-pack and enjoy on a hot summer night.

          • Dana Ames says

            Tom, Rasputin is too much beer for me – most beer is too much beer for me, except for a lovely Newcastle red ale I once had in an English pub in Monterey. My husband and son appreciate Rasputin, and also Brother Theolonius, and have the T-shirts to advertise the latter 🙂 I suppose you like German Doppelbock too? I tried that when I was in Germany as a student – knocked me on my ass.

            After migrating around the state, I have lived in Ukiah for the past 25 years (forecast +100º for the next few days). Where are you?


    • Not a summer brew either, but Scottish Ale by Chubb is excellent.

    • Shiner Prickly Pear is my summer beer of choice. And yes, it’s made from cactus (or is it cacti?) fruit.

    • Brianthedad says

      I just got a six pack of the Summerfest and tried one this weekend. It is a great lawnmower beer. Perfect after a hot afternoon on the lawnmower.

  2. I’d tell you what the preacher DIDN’T speak about today in church, but you asked that we not discuss it. And I’m willing to bet that most also decide to refrain as well.

    I’m surprised that Mr. Kristoff opened with this line:

    If you subscribe to the caricature of devout religious believers as mostly sanctimonious hypocrites, the kind who rake in cash and care about human life only when it is unborn, come visit the doctor here.

    He is much smarter than that and I don’t believe that those are HIS sentiments. Perhaps he was playing to the prejudices of his readers in the NY Times. Despite that opening it was a great article.

    Oh, and Sierra Nevada NEVER disappoints!

  3. Christiane says

    one doctor for more than half a million people . . . God have mercy

    “For that matter, he’s the only doctor permanently based in the Nuba Mountains for a population of more than half a million people”

  4. Robert F says

    What is happening in the Nuba Mountains to those villagers intentionally being bombed by their own government, while the rest of the world looks the other way, is yet more proof that hell exists, and it exists on this earth. God bless Dr. Tom, and the few others like him around this wicked old globe, whose love and good work among the neediest and most forgotten and oppressed is the sustaining presence of the invisible Christ in this world.

    • But the Kingdom exists here on earth, too, as evidenced by Dr. Tom.

      • Yes, but it doesn’t seem to cover a lot of territory. An outpost here and there, and a heillish waste in many places in between

        • That’s hellish…

          • Dana Ames says

            Indeed… and… We don’t know about who else may be in those waste places who are being Christ to people. The newspaper columnists won’t be covering them.

            Good for NK – he and his wife are helping us remember some things we need to remember.


        • Rick Ro. says

          Each of us is an outpost, if you think about it. Little mobile outposts, wandering this broken world, hoping to share the light and hope of Jesus.

          • I worked for years with the Nuba people and I can tell you there are a lot of amazing “mobile outposts” there in the mountains, labouring to bring Kingdom light to bear on the Hell all around. Dr Tom may be one of very few foreigners, but there are many Nuba Christians of unbelievable character and perseverance working there and refusing to leave despite the daily bombings.

  5. Amen, Robert F

  6. Summer beers. Pfah. There is an old bit of bumper-sticker wisdom that I live by…

    “Don’t Eat Yellow Snow – Don’t Drink Yellow Beer”


  7. Marcus Johnson says

    I remember seeing a video last year of Bobby Brown attempting to sing one of his hits from 25 years ago. You’d think it was karaoke, It made me almost immediately think of James Taylor for some strange reason, and how he still has the same soothing voice after 40+ years in the business.

  8. Since we are not talking about whatever happened last week. I thought today should be be lighter too. I hope you don’t mind if I post a poem I just wrote and wanted to share. I really wanted to thank Charles for the one saturday. This Francis is somewhat of hero to me and how he dealt with animals. I so want to be like that. I love praying for animals and with them sometimes too. I kneel with my pets and pray. I always bless them. Trying with people still.

    My front door

    Eyes open to see the light of day
    This gift of preciousness in grace
    Thank you very much and more if I may
    I need your help to stand and take my place

    I stand under at the same time I am held
    My Father has never left me to the ground
    It was not held against me despite how far I fell
    Instead given love in the true grace that I found

    Finding’s requirement that I should turn
    That in some way I become as one seeking
    Maybe within the knock is how bad I yearn
    Then rusty hinges open in the screeching

    The weather of the world has worn the hinge and door
    Though I too have come before you worn
    You answer me in faithfulness of my prayer of more
    I look thru a veil altogether torn

    You know this love has changed me in my core
    It doesn’t keep a record or ever keep a score
    You know I’m knocking again for I want some more
    Maybe now the rust will wear from the hinges of the door

    Behind the door to the attic of my treasure
    It goes way beyond anything I could measure
    My joy becomes complete because I am Your pleasure
    Would you look at this I found an old owl’s feather

    You could replace the last line with whatever you want but it was for Charles and the poem he posted Saturday. Go ahead make one of your own lines. Make it your own poem if you want. It just came out.

    • I usually pick up feathers I come across except those that are the remnants of some critter’s lunch, which is a different kind of gift. Many years ago when I was much younger and stronger, we were camped out in the woods of the Pacific Northwest working a tree planting contract. I came back to my tent one day after work and there right in front of the door was a Crow feather, obviously placed there for me. As soon as I picked it up I heard a Crow cawing up above me. Ordinarily Crows fly at a hundred feet up or less, two hundred max. This one was way up there, at least five hundred feet, maybe closer to a thousand, circling over me and cawing, high enough to have watched us working. As soon as he saw I had spotted him, he flew off. I say “he”, tho with a Crow, who knows, but it just felt like a guy thing. Thanks were exchanged.

    • Dana Ames says

      Thanks again for another lovely poem, w.

      You may find another “kindred spirit” in St Seraphim of Sarov, in Russia. He lived around the turn of the 18th to the 19th century. He spent years in a little hermitage he built in the woods outside his monastery. People would bring him food, and often they would come upon St Seraphim feeding some of his bread to a bear; he was also visited by rabbits, wolves, foxes and other animals. He was once attacked by bandits, who beat him until they thought he was dead; this beating left him permanently stooped over, needing a walking stick to get around for the rest of his life. The bandits were eventually caught and brought to trial, where St Seraphim showed up to tell them he forgave them, and to ask the judge not to send them to prison. Some of them later returned to his hermitage to beg his forgiveness.

      Here is a record of a conversation between St Seraphim and someone who often sought him for counsel. http://www.saintseraphim.com/conversation.html Take what you need, and leave the rest…


  9. FruitOfTheVine says

    Summer wine recommendation: Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz from South Africa. Not as sweet as it sounds, plush, rich yet refreshingly light, overflowing with summer fruit bouquet, crisp without being dry, refreshing, beautiful color. So grateful Jesus turned water into wine…

    • AMEN! I can’t wait to taste the good wine in heaven! I’ll have to try that shiraz, I’ve seen it, but have honestly been put off by the name. Had a lovely King’s Estate Pinot Gris the other night, but who knows if it was the wine that was amazing, or the time on the deck, enjoying the company of our best friends, our children, wiatching our grandson splasging in his wading pool. WIne is contextual, isn’t it?

    • Klasie Kraalogies says

      As an ex-South African I have to admit I never really liked Shiraz (or it’s cousin, Pinotage). For summer there are several good South African Chenin Blancs.

  10. NO PIER PRESSURE – heard some of the cuts on youtube.

    Pretty amazing – he’s still got it after a “long and winding road.”

  11. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    Many years ago, I was in Phoenix during the height of summer. All I can say is —


    It’s been years, but I still remember stepping from shade into full sun and feeling the heat hit like being slammed into a wall.

  12. What am I enjoying this summer? Highland Brewing Company’s Lost Cove Pale Ale. It’s a North Carolina brew, my favorite summer beer yet.

  13. Yeesh, that forecast looks brutal. At least it’s a dry heat.

    • So is hell.

      • Rick Ro. says

        Hm…is there any scriptural backing for hell being a dry heat? 🙂

        • Good question.I had to research it:

          “the fire that never shall be quenched” from Mark 9:43, and

          “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue” from Luke 16:24.

          Can’t get much drier than that. I think the rich man in Luke 16 could have used a Sierra Nevada Summerfest.

  14. What am I enjoying this summer?

    Musically,Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds’ “Chasing Yesterday.” Very strong album.

    Drink-wise, coffee frappe’s and Kona Brewing’s Big Wave Golden Ale.

    1) I’m going back and re-reading P.G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves books. Very humorous.

    2) After recently finishing draft #3 of my sci-fi novel, I’m reading all the books on writing that I didn’t have time to read while writing the beast. I just finished Steven Pressfield’s “The War of Art,” a great, easy, quick read on how to battle the “resistance” that tries to stop us from doing good things. I’d recommend it not just to writers, painters and creative types, but to anyone who feels “stuck” in life.

    3) Currently reading William Zinsser’s “On Writing Well,” a book aimed more at non-fiction writing, but I’m finding many of his principles very suited for fiction.

  15. Amen to your plea for a break from the same-sex marriage discussion, Mike. Good wishes for a sweet and relaxing time with family in Arizona and prayers for the one dealing with cancer. The story on Dr. Catena is inspiring and timely as I came here feeling wrung out emotionally from watching the suffering of my mother-in-law and burdened from several worries. The doctor is a shining light and a wordless encouragement to persevere in trouble. My eyes were already starting to blur at that, but the closing song lyrics put me over the edge into a tearful catharsis.

  16. Randy Thompson says

    So, you’re in the Arizona desert?
    I hope you brought water with you, and aren’t planning to depend on the Colorado River, assuming you’re planning on a long stay. . .

    I think about Southern California, Arizona, Nevada, and the Colorado River, and it drives me nuts that so many people live there! There Colorado River is rapidly becoming the Colorado Trickle.

    Thoughts from an ex-Californian.

  17. cermak_rd says

    I don’t want to talk about it either. But I would like to ask about the Lutheran Minesterium and Synod, and where they came from. They seem to have branched off of something called the American Association of Lutheran Churches–both of which seem to be congregational model of Lutheran synods (the synod doesn’t control the local church so no bishops that I can see) and at least one of the ministers of Lutheran Minesterium and Synod is channeling Luther on the Jews and is a frequent spokesperson on Press TV (Iran’s state outfit) and also seems to have some relationship with David Duke. Unfortunately for the many good Lutheran people I know he is described only as a Lutheran Minister.

    So I’m familiar with the ELCA, the LCMS, and the WELS, but have never heard of these other bodies. Where do they fit in?

    • Lutheran Ministerium and Synod – USA seem to be a splinter of a splinter; it started with about four ministers back in 1995 and perhaps hasn’t gotten much bigger since. Through the International Lutheran Council it has a loose affiliation with Missouri Synod and the American Association of Lutheran Churches. The ILC pages give info on baptized membership for the other two (2,488,936 and 14,000) but not this one.

      actual pastors or retired pastors seem to be (* indicate involved in the schism).

      **Ralph W. Spears, St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Indianapolis
      *Donald Thorson, Christ Lutheran, Chippewa Falls, WI,
      **John Erickson, Christ Lutheran, Chetek, WI,
      Mark Dankoff, Immanuel Lutheran of San Antonio
      **Roy Steward, Faith Lutheran and Barley Lutheran, Altoona, PA (later moved on to Evangelical Lutheran Conference & Ministerium of North America)
      Jeffrey Iverson

      Mark Dankoff seems to be the Iran connection. He has his own blog https://mark1marti2.wordpress.com/

      • cermak_rd says

        Thanks. I was surprised to see the gentleman was Lutheran, because despite Luther’s anti-Semitism, it isn’t a feature of modern Lutherans in my experience, Also I had not heard of congregational Lutherans before.

        I knew a lot of Lutherans lurk at IM so I was hoping to get some info.

  18. Mike, Jeri’s parents live in Yuma. Never gets below 100 from May through Sept. This year it started in April.

    47 degrees and pouring rain here in Maine yesterday.

    Beer: if you don’t like citrus in it, but do like oranges, try a Blue Moon Belgian White with orange. Really pretty good in summertime, although it’s hard to go wrong with a Corona and wedge of lime.

    Stout or porter in colder months. Like here, in June.

    • And what goes best with a lobster roll? Been craving them lately, and thinking about last summer.

      • OldProphet says

        So,CM, coming to the desert eh? I love the desert. Course, I live in the desert. Enjoy my friend! “in the desert you can’t remember your name for there ain’t no one there to give you no pain”. Cervesa? Forget those wimpy craft beers. Dos XX, Corona, Mexican beers can really lay the dust out here.

  19. Dana Ames says

    Thanks for the hymn, CM. (Did you know Wachet Auf is a “second-coming” text?)

    Do keep well hydrated – the air conditioning can dry you out as well. Water, and Gatorade (if you can stand it…).

    I know you and your mother will be a blessing.


  20. Oh my gosh- You are in Scottsdale, Arizona??? That is where Amy’s Baking Company is!!! Anyone who watched Gordon Ramsay’s show, Kitchen Nightmares, knows exactly which episode I am talking about.

    Chaplain Mike, go to the restaurant and tell us if Amy and Sammy have calmed down since then or if they are still the absolutely batsh*t crazy people they were in the episode!

    Here are the episodes covering it:
    Full Episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uPOGxUtZvk
    Follow Up Episode: https://youtu.be/vYoyXtAwqdA

    For those not familiar with the show, it is where Gordon goes around UK and America to help save restaurants from the brink. This episode was big for 2 reasons: 1. The owners were completely unbelievable. 2. It is the first time Ramsay walked away from a restaurant. And then after the moral of the story became “Do not feed the trolls on social media!”

  21. Richard mcNeeley says

    If you have the opportunity, join us in Prescott (100 miles north). We are 15-20 degrees cooler with afternoon rains and it’s rodeo week.

  22. Radagast says


    If you have not already gone there please take a ride about an hour and a half north of Phoenix and visit Sedona. My wife and I just got back from there and it was a wonderful magical/spiritual journey. There is a chapel embedded in the red rock, lots of hiking trails and spectacular views. Additionally, if you get a chance drive up to Flagstaff from Sedona along 89A – again, beautiful, especially for this North Easterner (OK – Pittsburgh is not really Northeast….).

    • Rick Ro. says

      Radagast sighting! It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

    • The drive from Phoenix to Flagstaff is gorgeous, about 2 1/2 hours as I remember; and when we did that just after Christmas one year it was like driving from Florida to Maine. Cactus and palm trees and temps in the 70s in Phoenix—to spruce and birch, with snow on the ground in Flagstaff. But my favorite part of AZ was probably Canyon de Chelly.

      Yuma, where the in-laws live, not so good. Flat.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Many years ago, I took the opposite direction from Flagstaff to Phoenix (and on to Tucson).

        Flagstaff’s in Northern Arizona, a high plateau. Pine forests to the west and south, mountains to the north, and grasslands to the east. Driving south from there you’re passing through pine forests. Then you hit the Mogollon Rim, which separates the higher plateau of Northern Arizona from the lowlands of the south. Goes kind of like this:

        You’re driving through pine forests.
        You’re driving through pine forests.
        You’re driving through pine forests.
        Then you drive off this cliff and when you hit bottom, it’s all sand and saguaro cactus.
        It’s literally that abrupt.

    • Oh, yes! Do not miss Sedona! One of the most beautiful places on earth. Every time I go, I think that it can’t be real. And definitely visit the Chapel of the Holy Cross. All of it stunning.

  23. I’m not a huge fan of summer beer either, but I have been enjoying Widmer’s Hefe Shandy. It has a light lemon taste because it’s a hefe, and it’s not too filling. It’s great with a burger because I don’t feel too over full on a beer and burger.

  24. Robert F says

    I just finished reading Barbara Brown Taylor’s most recent book, “Learning to Walk in the Dark”. Perhaps the opposite of summer-reading, it deals with Taylor’s attempts to come to grips with the darkness in her life, and in all of life, by exercises, physical and spiritual, involving immersing herself in darkness, and learning to wait there for the balance and truth that she could no longer find in conventional “sun-drenched” Christianity.

    Taylor undertook this exploration because metaphors of light overcoming darkness no longer spoke to her experience or condition, and she came to feel that focusing on light to the exclusion of darkness truncated half of human experience. Among the things she does to restore balance in her own spiritual life is to explore a “wild cave”, spend a night in a completely unlit cabin, explore the crypt of the Black Madonna in the spaces under the Cathedral of Notre Dame, and think deeply about the meaning of darkness as a valuable spiritual reality that we diminish and ignore to our own loss and spiritual handicap. She interweaves accounts of what she is doing with memories of brushes with darkness that had frightened her earlier in her life, and tries to re-contextualize these earlier experiences within the growing familiarity and comfort with darkness that she is cultivating in the present.

    All in all it’s a powerful extended reflection of her own spiritual journey, and had much to say to me, and is very well written. At the end of the book she recognizes that she is only beginning to learn to walk in darkness, and that she has a long way to go to reach the place where she can really rest in darkness with trust and naked faith, and experience the Dark Night of the Soul, not as an affliction, but as a fruition of faith and the embrace of God, as St. John of the Cross taught that it is. She concludes the book with the resolution to keep exploring the darkness that precedes all light, believing that the source of that light is the darkness in ourselves.

    • Robert F says

      In the book she talks about how cultivating familiarity with, and acceptance of, darkness immerses us in “the sacrament of loss”, whereby we come to our true selves and come to deep intimacy with God. In connection with this, she quotes Meister Eckhart,

      “The soul does not grow by addition but by subtraction”,


      “Leave place, leave time,
      Avoid even image!
      Go forth without a way
      On the narrow path,
      Then you will find the desert’s track.”

      • Robert F says

        I find myself tossed back and forth between an ever-shifting and uncertain faith in Jesus as the path on the one hand, and the view presented in this video by Krishnamurti (who Eckhart was really closer to than than to any orthodox Christian mysticism) on the other. I think I shall probably struggle with this the rest of my life. That’s probably why I sometimes respond so negatively to ideas about the emptying or negation of the self as the way to God: I’m trying to suppress one of my tendencies in favor of the other, and that can only be done by an act of inner violence.

        The way of light, and way of darkness: is there a continuum between them, or a chasm?


  25. Dana Ames says

    Currently reading Richard Beck’s “Slavery of Death” with my book group. Intend to pitch “Brothers Karamazov” to them for the next book, but if it is rejected I will go ahead and read it on my own (Pevear/Volokhonsky translation). I plodded through it when I was in Jr High but had nowhere near the life experience needed to begin to get Dostoyevsky.

    Ordered something from Amazon I couldn’t get anywhere else, and in order to make the free shipping total I threw in a CD that had a lot of stars in the ratings: Eldar Nebolsin’s complete Rachmaninov Preludes, for less than $10. He does a really fine job with them. My son’s local piano teacher had prepared him very well for his undergrad studies, and one of the pieces in my son’s killer audition program was R’s Prelude Op 23 No 4 in D. I seldom failed to cry when my son played it, and Nebolsin’s rendition of it made me cry again.

    Must be something Russian in the air.


  26. Dana Ames says


    I may have a comment stuck in the filter; would you please check? Thanks.


  27. Aidan Clevinger says

    I’m in Tucson, so allow me to say: welcome to the AZ desert Chaplain! Prayers for your family and your relative battling cancer in particular.

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