Family and Kids

Hints for the Grandkids: 1) We were on a plane, 2) heading home, 3) on the other side of the world, 4) in picture 6 look through the haze of sand for a hint – tallest building in the world.

Pray for us on the rest of our journey. Pray that our humble efforts in India will have a lasting impact for the Kingdom of God and the Catholic Church.

image4image2 2

image1

 

 

 

 

 

image2

image3

 

 

 

 

 

 

image6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

image7image2

{ 0 comments }

What a lovely thing to see. Wish we were there but pictures will have to do. 

{ 1 comment }

The lady at the pet store told me I was a sick individual. I didn’t think so, but then again I am biased and think I’m OK – and my wife tends to agree with me.

The whole thing started because of a small hobby of mine. When I was a little boy my dad bought me binoculars and a bird book (picture: still have that first bird book ). I sat under trees for hours and kept track of the birds I found. It was great fun. How many people have had the pleasure of discovering Indigo Buntings, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Rufous-sided Towhees, or Northern Snowbirds?

Janet and I live in the country with a large field behind our house. Last week a raccoon was hit by a car near our home—it didn’t listen to his mother when she warned him about playing in the road. At least that’s what we told our kids as they were growing up—a lesson in obeying parents!

Anyway, I had the crazy idea to pick up the dead raccoon, toss him on the hood of my car, and throw him in our back field to see if the Turkey Vultures would come to eat it. Looking at the head of this vulture will give you an idea where he got his name. The lady at the pet store told me I was a sick individual because I told her what I had done.  I told her our bird feeders are often visited by the smallest bird in Michigan – the hummingbird – so we thought we would try to attract one of the largest birds in Michigan.

It didn’t take long. The large shadow passed by my window as I was working on my laptop and sure enough it was Mr. Vulture circling with his 6 foot wingspan. I slipped out to the back porch to watch. Janet joined me and we were intrigued as nine Turkey Vultures from every corner of the county swirled and swooped, landing around the raccoon to tear the corpse to ribbons with their sharp, hooked beaks. They fought, danced, challenged each other with their wings spread—all while Janet and I watched the show. They came back the next few days until all that was left was a bare skeleton.

We told the grandkids about the vultures and they said, “Bampa, get ‘nother  coon! We want see bultures!” So I jumped in the car and found another road-kill-coon and brought him back on the hood of my car. I got more than one shocked look from fellow drivers. I was laughing my head off—kind of like watching people react on Candid Camera.

It wasn’t long before the whole feathered gang was putting on a show for us again in the back yard. The grandkids sat and watched and kept shouting “bulchers, bampa, bultures!”

It got me thinking of what the Bible says about vultures and birds of prey. There are about ten species of high-flying, carrion-eating birds in Israel. They are all kind of lumped together in the Bible. My book Birds of Israel says that one is called an Egyptian Vulture (see picture below) and another the Common Buzzard.

The Jews were forbidden to eat these birds. Geez, I guess so. When I was about ten years old, I caught a baby vulture and he puked rotten meat all over me. It was his means of self defense—scaring off the enemy, and it worked!

Who could image eating an ugly bird that eats such rotten meat? The Jews were also forbidden from eating catfish since they are also bottom feeders. Even today Jewish fishermen kill every catfish they catch to decrease their population in the Sea of Galilee. God forbade Jews from eating such animals—and pigs too.

But others think it means that at the end of time, just as these birds of prey gather where the rotting carcasses are, so the judgments of God will descend upon the corrupt state of humanity. When the world has degenerated to the point that it resembles a maggot-infested corpse, when the world’s cup of iniquity is full, then Christ will condemn the world. The vultures might represent the judgment of God.Jesus mentions these birds once in the gospels.

It is recorded in Matthew 24:28 and Luke 17:37. In speaking of the end times he says, “Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.” It seems Jesus is quoting a common proverb of his time. No one is quite sure what Jesus meant and it is difficult to figure out. Word Biblical Commentary thinks it refers to the unmistakable character of Jesus Second Coming. As surely as you know that where you see vultures gathered there is a carcass, so you will not be able to miss the coming of the Son of Man.

Carrion eating birds are mentioned again at the judgment in the last days, “Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly in midheaven, ‘Come, gather for the great supper of God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men,’. . . And the rest were slain by the sword of him who sits upon the horse, the sword that issues from his mouth; and all the birds were gorged with their flesh” (Rev 17:17-21).

As I watched the vultures gorging on the dead raccoons this week, I thought of the end times when the world becomes so corrupt and putrid—crawling with maggots and foul smelling in God’s nostrils—that God will put an end to it and judge the earth. Christ will come again. In that day the vultures will not waste time on raccoons, they will feast on human flesh. They will fill their foul bellies with meat torn from the enemies of God.

Last Sunday at Mass I recited the Nicene Creed and I believed it. “We look for the resurrection of the body and the life of the world to come.”  I, for one, expect my flesh to rise on the last day to glory and the beatific vision, not to be torn and eaten by the hooked bills of stinking, unclean birds—symbolic of the judgment and punishment of God. (Picture: a scene about resurrection from our “Jesus, the Word Became Flesh” movie)

But in the meantime, we will enjoy watching the vultures eat from our unique birdfeeder in the back yard. It will be a daily reminder to be holy and remain in the grace and friendship of God—prepared for the Last Day and the final judgment.

I will also try to convince myself that I am not a sick individual :-) By the way, what right did that lady have to call me sick when she was selling me crickets to feed to my tarantula? The nerve of some people!

{ 13 comments }

The Kiss of Mercy

June 14, 2016

My daughter-in-law Anna is very insightful about spiritual things, and in raising our grandkids. Couldn’t ask for a better daughter (in-law, though we consider her our daughter by now :-) She put this up on her FaceBook page and I was compelled to share it. Janet and I read this with tears in our eyes […]

Read the full article →

Want to do something loving and ProLife today?

June 4, 2016

Want to something nice & Prolife today? Purchase a puzzle piece on my daughter’s Adoption Puzzle, help her find her baby. Visit her website, read her story and buy a puzzle piece HERE. When you “donate” on the right side of the page it purchases a puzzle piece.

Read the full article →

Visit My Daughter’s “Finding Baby Sorrill” Blog – She’s a Great Girl, Let her know you will pray for her and Wes

May 16, 2016

It is painful to want a baby and a baby does not come. Years of longing and trying and praying and … Well, my daughter Charlotte has put her sorrow in the hands of God and now plans to adopt and rescue a baby who needs a loving home. Her sorrow has turned to joy, […]

Read the full article →

Today is our 22nd Anniversary as Catholics!

May 15, 2016

Pentecost Sunday 1995 our family of six along with friend Rob Corzine entered the Catholic Church with tears and new friends. We lost all of our Evangelical friends within two weeks but it was a small price to pay.  I always say that when I was 17 years old Jesus introduced himself to me; when […]

Read the full article →

Four Generations and another Musical Composition by Grandson Josh

December 18, 2015

One day my son Jesse (with the hat like mine!) said to his son Josh – in jest, “I am disappointed in you Josh. You only compose music for one instrument — the piano. Too bad you can’t compose for more instruments.” Well… …when Jesse returned from work that night Josh said, “Dad, I had […]

Read the full article →

Christmas Piano – a Performance by my 12-year old Grandson Josh – Wow!

December 17, 2015

We are not quite sure what to think of this boy. One day at our house he started playing the piano at eight years old. The next thing we know it’s difficult to find a teacher for him because he is so talented. I know it didn’t come from Janet or I, or other ancestors […]

Read the full article →

39 Years Ago Today – Best Decision I Ever Made!

December 4, 2015

Today Janet and I CELEBRATED our 39th wedding anniversary. Four great kids and 12 grand kids later we couldn’t be happier. God has been good. But, we worked at our marriage. I likened it to a masterpiece of art that takes a lifetime to complete – but if we do, it is hung in the […]

Read the full article →

Pope says, Turn off TV, put down smart phones, turn off computers and eat meals intimately together.

November 15, 2015

I couldn’t agree more. We didn’t have these gadgets when we raised our kids. We got rid of television and opted to read books. My father was a radical when he raised me – he refused to get us kids a TV but read stories and books to us every night after we all ate […]

Read the full article →

Get Ready for the Holidays: Steve Ray’s Seven Rules for Dealing with Non-Catholic Family & Friends: Getting Ready for Christmas :-)

November 10, 2015

Today I was on Take 2 with Jerry and Debbie on EWTN Radio discussing my Seven Rules for dealing with family and friends who disagree with us, oppose us, want to argue and are against the Catholic Church and our morals. Steve Ray’s Seven Rules: 1) Never argue with them, it will only push them […]

Read the full article →

Fun Family Breakfast – My Son and his Seven Kids for Brunch after Mass

August 9, 2015

This is a fun family. Janet and I went to Mass Saturday evening so we could cook a nice brunch for my son Jesse, his wife Anna and the seven kids. Psalm 127:3–4  “Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a […]

Read the full article →

The Literacy and Spirituality of a Day Gone By; A Tattered Yellowed Page; A Poem I Found from my Great-Grandmother

July 1, 2015

I never knew my Great Grandmother Frances Picard. She was originally an O’Grady. They had a deep spirituality and she converted to the Catholic Church later in her life. (By the way, this was all new to me since I never knew – in my childhood – that I had several lines of Catholic ancestors.)  […]

Read the full article →

A Limerick for a Questioning Grandson – Did Jesus Really Exist?

May 21, 2015

My grandson Josh asked, “Did Jesus really live? Maybe he didn’t and it was just a good story someone made up.” So I sat down and wrote him this limerick and gave him a stack of books from my library. The topic has not come up again since. Was there really a man named Jesus? […]

Read the full article →

My Grandson’s Surprising Three Instrument Composition – in one day!

April 21, 2015

My son Jesse wrote this morning about our 12 year old grandson Joshua Thomas Ray. Here is what he said,  “Yesterday I teased Joshua about his compositions only having one instrument in them. Today I came home from work and he asked me to listen to this (video below) also linking his sheet music. It […]

Read the full article →