• GRACE NOTES 10/17/2009: Breaking waves wash up fear

    Editor’s note: This column is from April 2002, but the message remains timeless.

    One of the things I miss most about living in California is the Pacific Ocean.

    This past weekend I was at Cocoa Beach, and although I thoroughly enjoyed sitting on the beach and watching the waves, when it comes to ocean waves, compared to the Pacific, the Atlantic wimps out.

  • GRACE NOTES 10/10/2009: Civility -- trick or treat?

    The last time I was in an airport, I picked up the book “How to Talk to Anyone.” It promised 92 little “tricks” for big success in relationships.

    Because my job involves talking to people, or more importantly getting them to talk to me, I bought the book.

    The author, Leil Lowndes, also wrote “How to Make Anyone Fall in Love with You.” I think the author may have used some crossover material from her other book in this one, because trick No. 3 is “How to use your eyes to make someone fall in love with you.”

  • Holy Roller

    Before the green flag drops to signal the start of the race, the Rev. Kip Younger prays.

    As chaplain of the Citrus County Speedway in Inverness, he spends most Saturday nights before race time in the pit area, getting to know the drivers, leading them in prayer before they head out onto the track.

    Younger is the pastor at First United Methodist Church in Inverness.

  • 10/3/09 Judi's Journal: Sukkot: Harvest festival

    Sukkot is one of the most joyous of Jewish holidays. Celebrated five days after Yom Kippur, the festival commemorates the Israelites’ dwelling in little booths or huts (sukkot) during their 40-year wanderings in the desert. It is a biblically mandated holiday and in ancient days was one of the three pilgrimage festivals, when the ancient Israelites would travel to Jerusalem to make special sacrifices at the Holy Temple. It is also the holiday of the harvest and is the inspiration for our American celebration of Thanksgiving. 

  • 10/3/09 GRACE NOTES: Notes on worship

    Before the worship service started, we had eaten dinner together, me with my tape recorder and notebook by my side.

    I don’t normally go to church on Wednesday nights, but I had come to New Beginnings Fellowship in Hernando for today’s Religion feature story and to take notes about their worship.

    As the people entered the sanctuary, some grabbed musical instruments from a cardboard box in the back of the room — maracas and wooden sticks, cymbals and tambourines. During the first song, people used the instruments, making their own music.

  • Of joy and praise

    They’re calling it a new beginning at New Beginnings Fellowship in Hernando.

    In their 12th week of the “Spreading the Fire” series of revival meetings, with the Rev. Larry Silverman as pastor, lives are being changed.

    “It’s like a brand new church,” Silverman said. “We’re experiencing a real strong presence of God, and we believe God wants to do something in Citrus County, not just in our church. That’s why we’re here.”

    Silverman and his wife, Corinne, came to the church just after last

  • Physician of faith

    Carla Hall

    Los Angeles Times

    LOS ANGELES -- On his medical missions to Africa, Dr. Lawrence Czer has dealt with poverty, lack of electricity, bad accommodations — and military checkpoints. In Sierra Leone, Czer and his team were sometimes stopped by rifle-toting soldiers who simply wouldn’t let them through.

    “They’ll just have you stand there, and you’ll see other people going through,” Czer said. The medical team refused to give the soldiers any money. All they could do was try to cajole them.

  • ON RELIGION 09/26/09: 'Devout' much overused

    The recent obituaries celebrating the career of nationally syndicated horoscope columnist Linda C. Black included a number of colorful details about her life.

    She was a Libra and lived on a peacock farm on California’s Central Coast. The Chicago Tribune also reported that Black was “a devout Catholic and a devoted follower of astrology, which holds that the position of the stars and planets has a direct effect on human affairs and personalities.”

  • GRACE NOTES 09/26/09: Welcome the wind

    The day after my niece’s wedding, my sister and I went to the California desert town of Temecula.

    When I was growing up, Temecula was nothing but sand and tumbleweeds. Today, it looks like most every modern suburban sprawl, with a CVS and Burger King on nearly every corner.

    My sister and I went to the restored old town of Temecula, with its cute boutiques, restaurants and antique stores.

  • Blow of the horn ushers in Rosh Hashana

    The ba-al t’kiyah raises the ram’s horn to his lips and blows a series of short sounds.

    It’s the call to battle, the wake up call, the call for God’s people to begin the time of introspection and repentance, from Rosh Hashana to Yom Kippur.

    At Congregation Beth Sholom in Beverly Hills, the ba-al t’kiyah for this year’s high holy days is Frank Forti. His instrument, the shofar, is as ancient as the holiday he will be ushering in.