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3 9 3


Because we have had three wonderful children, nine grandchildren and so far three great – grandchildren, thus the 3-9-3. That third number will change as the family does grow.  At the end of Alex Blackwell’s posts there are always share prompts. If you follow the Roster’s blog regularly you’ll know I share and forward. Alex Blackwell has once again said it well and I shall not clutter things up.


I have left Ireland, the sun shines on the Eastern Shore of MD, and this is my blogging venue for today. We are back in Summer time mode. Could my friend Robert Lambert Jones III have been whispering in the ear of Helios?

Other than to say, God bless my 3-9-3, their mothers and fathers and thank you to all who help them grow.  Enjoy the read and thanks for stopping by the Chicken Coop.


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Step with care and great tact, and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. – Dr. Seuss

From the hand of Alex Blackwell, The Bridgemaker.



Mary Beth turns 50 next weekend and we’re heading to Atlanta to celebrate.

When considering what my wife wanted to do for her milestone birthday, there was no hesitation: Let’s visit Brandon, Ashley, Blair and Baylor.

Being a Papa

It’s been five months since we’ve last seen our oldest son, his wife and our two beautiful granddaughters. We were there when Baylor was born. Since then we have had to settle on watching our granddaughters grow and change on Facebook and Facetime.

But in less than a week we get to hold them – play with them – kiss them, and love them.

Along with excitement of going to Atlanta, is the awareness that I’m still learning how to be a good grandfather. My role as a father will never end, so I’m discovering how I can continue to be accessible as a parent while having plenty left over for my grandchildren – now and in the future.

But being a Papa is easier than expected because my son and daughter-in-law are great parents. And since I’m not responsible for the girls’ day-to-day needs, I think being a good grandfather means I can spend my time offering them love and the little bits of wisdom I’ve managed to collect over the years.

So, as I prepare for next week’s visit, and many more visits to come over the years, here’s the wisdom I plan to share with my granddaughters:

  • Your source of strength is limitless because you were born with a purpose only you can fulfill. There’s no one in the world – past, present or future, who possesses the same gifts as you. Place your trust in these gifts and when the opportunity to use them is obvious, use them with passion and confidence.
  • Trust your parents. They might not always understand what you are saying or doing, but they will always understand that you deserve their love. By giving their unconditional love to you creates a bond so strong that when you make a mistake, or feel lost, you can rely on your parent’s love to soften the blow. Trust them. Even when you can’t see them, know their arms will be stretched out, waiting.
  • Never stop playing. Jump, dance, and skip every chance you get. Color, draw or sketch when you are in the mood. Recharge your spirit by doing what you enjoy. Sometimes when problems seem that they are about to swallow you up, it can be hard to remember to have fun, too. So, find time to let go and play.
  • You are beautiful. No matter what people may say or how you might feel, you are beautiful. You don’t need to be perfect to be beautiful, you just need to listen to your heart. When you listen, I mean really listen by tuning out the other noise around you, you will hear your heart cheering for you because it’s a vessel God uses to pour out His love. Let that wonderful stream cover you. When you do, it will leave you feeling worthy, valuable and simply beautiful.
  • A valuable life isn’t always found in what you do or what you have; a valuable life begins with understanding that the point of being alive is to love as much as you can along the way. A valuable life is about giving love to yourself when you need it and giving love to others when it’s requested. A valuable life is about sharing your heart when you are ready. A valuable life is measured by the times you trade your mistakes for grace; bitterness for forgiveness and hate for love.
Written on the Heart

There will be plenty to celebrate and cherish next weekend. Though our time there will be short, no doubt it will be filled with plenty of laughter, good food and lots of love.

One more thing I’ve learned is there’s something beautiful, even magical about the sight of a new family growing together. The sweet anticipation of the present moment, and the moments yet to come, create an energy so full of hope that its power, if bottled, can overcome any difficulty.

I can’t wait to add more to what’s going into the bottle so it can be dispensed when needed.

The BridgeMaker Founder Alex Blackwell is the author of Letting Go: 25 True Stories of Peace, Hope and Surrender. Join the community to connect, share and inspire: Twitter | Facebook | More Posts

Thank you once again Alex.



The Power of a Kiss



Yesterday I said good-by to my wife with a kiss. She is heading north for a few weeks to spend some time with my Sister and Brother- in-law. My Sister is in the hospital at the moment and once home, my lady felt she could use a bit of a hand around the house. I’m incorporating the “My Lady,” due to my wife’s being enamored with Downton Abbey.

It seems the staff in that production call all the women “My Lady.”  Here, south of the Mason Dixon line all women are referred to as “Miss” something or other. Miss Sue, Miss Aggie, Miss Ewe and so forth. Were we in Baltimore the term “Hon” is used between the sexes, especially in a restaurant when being served. “What’s you gonna order,  Hon,” the waitress will say. “A dozen crabs” says I.

Today being Throwback Thursday, Alex Blackwell re-posted a blog from 2015 and it caught my eye and got me thinking of that departing kiss. I now look with anticipation to her return and giving her a welcome home kiss. Enjoy the post from Alex and please, enjoy your next kiss.

The Power of a Kiss

By on Feb 22, 2015


Kissing is like drinking salted water. You drink, and your thirst increases. – Chinese Proverb

The Kiss (above) was painted by Austrian painter Gustav Klimt in 1909. A print of Klimt’s masterpiece hangs in my house. It serves as a mirror by reflecting the urgency, passion and sweetness a kiss can have.

Even though I’m familiar with the painting, I’m no art expert. My tastes run from Thomas Kincaid’s Christmas Miracle to Van Gogh’s Starry Night. I like what I like. And like most people, certain art has the ability to grab my attention and speak to me.

So, when I catch a glimpse of The Kiss, my soul is reminded of how powerful a kiss can be.

Sensual (sometimes) and Heartfelt (always)

Gazing at the entangled couple symbolizes the power a kiss can have. In that moment, kissing and being kissed is the only thing that matters. At least, this is what the painting says to me.

The painting also whispers that a kiss can be amazing – magnificent – life changing. But unlike the man and woman depicted on Klimt’s canvas, the art tells me that not all kisses have to be sensual to be powerful – they just have to be heartfelt.

Consider the times you have been kissed or have kissed. Consider the power of each kiss. Kisses like…

– The kiss you get when you have been missed.
– The kiss you give when someone has done something amazing.

– The kiss you get when you’ve been kind.
– The kiss you give to show your thankfulness.

– The kiss that says, “Everything will be alright.”
– The kiss you give for no reason at all.

– The kiss that pronounces you are a great mom or dad.
– The kiss that reminds your daughter she is a gift.
– The kiss that reminds your son he is never alone.

– The kiss that lets you know that you’re being craved.
– The kiss that tells your partner desire is still there.

– The kiss that reveals your soul
– The kiss that lets you see someone else’s soul.

– The kiss that puts a stamp on love
– The kiss that puts two faces together so the beautiful imperfections can be loved deeper.

– The kiss that is stolen and then returned by the willing accomplice
– The kiss that feels like happiness

Creating Your Masterpiece

Who will you kiss today with heartfelt intention? Who will know how much they are loved by the power of your kiss?

– With the power of a kiss I will show Mary Beth that I am hers to hold forever.
– With the power of a kiss I will show Brandon how proud I am of the man he has become.
– With the power of a kiss I will show Caitlin how happy I am for her.
– With the power of a kiss I will show Andrew how pleased I am with the passion he has chosen.
– With the power of a kiss I will show Emily that she is simply amazing.

My family is my masterpiece. And like the brush strokes on a canvas, I will paint them with love, and the power of a kiss, every chance I get.

The BridgeMaker Founder Alex Blackwell is the author of Letting Go: 25 True Stories of Peace, Hope and Surrender. Join the community to connect, share and inspire: Twitter | Facebook | More Posts


Once again, thanks for stopping by, chew a mint, seize the moment,  enjoy and savor your next kiss.

Semper Fi

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Sunday Inspiration

Sunday Inspiration #24


We visited this church this past summer, St. Elizabeth of Hungary in Cumberland County, NJ.  The below paragraph is from the Diocese of Camden, NJ web site.   Check out the link for some interesting history. 

The church built in 1845 at Port Elizabeth in Cumberland County, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, was the site of the earliest confirmations, all at the hands of Bishop Kenrick.  In May of 1879, most of the church was transported down river and creek to Goshen.

On awakening this morning, with the help of our cat Simon I might add,  who is always an early Alarm clock, I looked to the awakening East and asked the Lord to ride with the Mrs. as she journeys home from Connecticut. She did one of her I need distant family time trips. As I’ve mentioned previously, “Ain’t no moss growing under this Gal’s feet. We have a son, daughter in-law, 4 grandchildren, a sister and brother and nieces and nephews who still like living in the cold in CT.

As for my sister, who was our next door neighbor for 20 years when we lived up there, the Mrs. and her have been talking every Saturday for the past 28 years at 0700 hrs. No sleep-in Saturday mornings for these two houses.

Now it’s time for Alex and his Sunday Inspiration. Enjoy!

By on Jan 31, 2016

Today’s Sunday Inspiration: Happiness isn’t something you have to earn. There’s no status you have to qualify for to be happy.

Being happy doesn’t diminish the amount of happiness in the world. You don’t need to feel stingy about how happy you can be. The supply of happiness is not finite; you are not depriving someone else of joy by being joyful.

Enjoy your accomplishments and share your blessings. Smile because you can and don’t feel bad for being a functional human being capable of happiness. Everyone deserves to be happy, and that includes you.

you deserve to be happy
Get more Sunday Inspiration:

 The BridgeMaker Founder Alex Blackwell is the author of Letting Go: 25 True Stories of Peace, Hope and Surrender. Join the community to connect, share and inspire: Twitter | Facebook | More Posts

Who Is Knocking On Your Door?

Twenty five years ago my wife and I opened our home, Allendale Cottage, as a bed and breakfast. For ten years we had people of all races, denominations and ethnic background you can think of, sharing our home with us. There were some we enjoyed more than others, some who are friends still today. We can honestly say that during those ten years we never said “we don’t want them to ever return.” I would like to think that the hospitality we extended was a testament of our respect and dignity extended to all who entered our home then, as well as today.


Practicing the virtues of hospitality date way back, especially in the Benedictine community. My wife’s Aunt Peggy was Sister Agnes, a Benedictine Sister from Atchison, KS. The Mount is how she always referred to her home in Kansas. Atchison, KS is also home to Benedictine College.


“One of the highest values of Benedictine life is hospitality. Our patron saint, Benedict of Nursia, who lived in Italy 1500 years ago, wrote a Rule of Life for monks and nuns, and today we read two of his chapters about hospitality. One of my favorite lines of the Rule was the first we heard – “Let all guests who arrive be received like Christ.” Receive every person who comes through your door as though they were bringing Jesus to you. Receive every person you meet as though you were encountering the face of Christ.” From the sermon of : The Rev. Heidi Haverkamp, July 21st, 2013, The Feast of St. Benedict


 As I’ve written previously, my Sunday reading is The Bridgemaker. We have wondered and spoken about our guests many times over the years. We continue to open our door to many throughout the year trying to provide hospitality as we have for many years past.

Has Jesus entered our door in he past? There are several guests who we thought could have been. The Guest House was so meaningful to us and I just had to share Alex Blackwell’s work with you. Peace, from my house to yours.

The Guest House

By on Apr 10, 2014


This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. – Rumi

In the poem, The Guest House, Rumi uses the metaphor of a house guest to create an image that each day we have the opportunity to welcome something new into our lives, even if it is unexpected.

And just like the house guests who can cause us to feel uncomfortable with their visit, unwelcome feelings that stop by our house, our life, can be just as exasperating.

We wait impatiently for these house guests to leave so we can put our house back just like it was before they arrived. However, underneath the irritation can live incredible value when we take the time to receive these guests with humility and courage.

Rumi’s poem is a good reminder to embrace change, face our fears and use our bodies as a guest house to welcome whatever, and whoever, drops-in on us from time-to-time:

The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Jelaluddin Rumi

This Week’s Housekeeping

Fear keeps us trapped. We shut doors and windows and refuse to let anything, or anyone, new inside. We hide in the familiar. We keep growth and personal change outside because our fear tells us that opening the door and inviting a new guest into our home is just too dangerous.

Fear doesn’t serve us when it keeps us from seeing the potential in the extraordinary. And it is in the extraordinary where our lives can explode, if we are open and grateful to whatever is standing in the doorstep and waiting to receive the invitation to come inside.

Sometimes what we fear most is not that our lives will turn out poorly, but we will actually find peace and happiness. So, we do nothing. We don’t allow happiness to walk inside because what we would have to complain about next? Somewhere behind our walls we have learned there is a false comfort with the predictable.

However, we are responsible for the content of our lives and the decisions we make. We are responsible for taking care of our guest the best way we know how.

Over the next several days, welcome the uncomfortable inside. Visit with it and learn from it. Listen to what it has to say and then take this information to do an inspection of the life you are creating.

Look for the strength in your house and the weaknesses too. Take the chance to answer the doorbell and allow every experience inside. Treat each experience humbly.

Wait on your guest, serve your guest and don’t rush your guest to leave. When the visit is over you may find your house is in better shape than it was before your guest came to visit.

After all, Life, our guest, won’t be staying long.

The BridgeMaker Founder Alex Blackwell is the author of Letting Go: 25 True Stories of Peace, Hope and Surrender. Join the community to connect, share and inspire: Twitter | Facebook | More Posts