Hymn of the Day: Let Us Break Bread Together

When I opened my hymn book to “Let Us Break Bread Together”, I saw it was a Negro spiritual song, which means the song was written by an American slave. Immediately, my heart strings were struck as I read the lyrics:

VERSE ONE

Let us break bread together on our knees;

Let us break bread together on our knees.

REFRAIN

When I fall on my knees,

With my face to the rising sun,

O Lord, have mercy on me.

VERSE TWO

Let us drink wine together on our knees;

Let us drink wine together on our knees.

(Repeat REFRAIN)

VERSE THREE

Let us praise God together on our knees;

Let us praise God together on our knees.

(Repeat REFRAIN)

“I don’t know this song, but let’s sight-read it,” my mother said, and sang alone, first, to show us the sound of tones. Interestingly, when a hymn book provides shape notes (i.e. ‘Do’ is a triangle, ‘La’ is a square) even amateurs can sing! And how blessed to have sung it! The tones rose and fell so sweetly – yet they were powerful! – and the lyrics were equally so.

As I sang, my imagination wandered to the picture of a slave woman, falling to her knees at the start of a new day. Before she even began her work, she was tired and weary from the bondage she faced: the bondage of inequality.

Extraordinarily, the slaves from American history put their hearts on a plate and served it to God in spirit and in truth. How did they do that? The same way Job from the Bible did. Quoting Job, he said,

“Do not mortals have hard service on earth?
    Are not their days like those of hired laborers?
Like a slave longing for the evening shadows,
    or a hired laborer waiting to be paid,
so I have been allotted months of futility,
    and nights of misery have been assigned to me.
When I lie down I think, ‘How long before I get up?’
    The night drags on, and I toss and turn until dawn.”

Job 7:1-4 (NIV)

To honor and respect today’s hymn, I selected many different arrangements of “Let Us Break Bread Together”. Truly, let’s break bread together, each of us with our unique ways of showing worship.

Something else moved me today – with the news of protests happening in America, and Vice President Pence’s statement about the Colts game he walked out on, it is important for each American to understand heritage, and how different each American is because of the unique heritages. Many Americans don’t know their original ethnicity, saying “I’m a quarter” this and that, or 1/10th, or 1/20th, or “going back, on my father’s side”.

Makes one wonder, does heritage matter? Sure. How peoples’ lives are framed comes partly from the traditions their ancestors passed on, privileges earned, and struggles faced. There are countless heritages, and endless beginnings, which made America. It is through diversity that America grew strong. It is through respect that America will stay strong.

Pains of Heritage

By: Lacy Andrews

America for all!

Americans, free.

Whilst they try to remember,

The pains of their ancestors.

 

I soberly wonder

Surely! By this time,

We can forgive and forget,

Perhaps, if we give respect.

 

History roots go deep,

In the hearts of men,

Pilgrims came, died, and conquered

Slaves served, were sold and tortured.

 

Native tribes were ruined,

Spaniards came to save.

Puritans fled government,

And Chinese came for profit.

 

Indians were farmers,

Dutch came as merchants.

Russians fled from poverty,

Syrians were refugees.

 

America for all!

Americans, free.

Yet they try to remember,

The pains of their ancestors.

 

I somberly ponder

Even at this time,

We can’t forgive or forget

Unless we learn to respect.

 

Every race overcame,

The trials of men.

Englishmen settled, peaceful.

Africans became equal.

 

Native children lived on,

The Spanish flourished.

Puritans made Jamestown,

The Chinese made Chinatown.

 

Indians fought for rights,

Dutchmen fought in war.

Russians fought persecution.

Syrians fought omission.

 

America for all!

Americans, free.

Whilst they try to remember,

The pains of their ancestors.

 

I quietly wonder,

If ever in time,

Will we receive forgiveness?

Or forget respectfulness?

 

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The Crux at Paradise

INTRODUCTION

At one point or another, I’m pretty sure everybody wonders what being filthy rich feels like. I never believed my mom when she said “Big pockets belong to big liars”, but after spending a week at the Bahamas with the richest scamp on the planet, I think I’m a believer.

As if that’s not shocking enough, this “rich scamp”? He might just be the ghost of a ruthless pirate.

I’m not crazy! Bahamian legends foretell about all the murderous things pirates are capable of. I have lots of evidence to back up my theory.

My suspicions all started after sitting in a squeaky clean limousine…

 

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Professor Marble plays Kaleido Blast!

Hello now.  How may I address you? Friend? Colleague? Chap? Ah yes, that will do nicely, I say.

Hello, my dear chap.  I am Professor Kat I. Marble.  I do enjoy a good game now and again, even when it’s a game of solitaire: Bullseye Mahjong and TriPeaks, Solitaire Scrabble, crosswords and word searches, Spider and Diplomat and Royal Rendezvous.

I always like a game that works my mind and makes me think.  Perhaps that’s why my friend the fox brought me this game: Kaleido Blast!  It’s a solitaire dice game, like Phase 10, D-Day Dice, and Escape: The Curse of the Temple. It’s not LIKE them, per se, but it is fairly similar.  I’ve included a few shots of me, enjoying the game, below.  Watch the slideshow to see how it played out.

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But the thing is, chap, Kaleido Blast! has changed from the version that I played.  From what I’ve heard through the grapevine, there have been a number of changes made to the game. Here’s a breakdown of the alterations:

  • The enemy shapes are different, and the pieces are now plastic.
  • The shields are now asteroids to enhance the space experience.
  • The pawn has changed shapes, and is now plastic as well.
  • Life chips have been added to replace extra pawns.
  • The board- upgraded! Now better quality than it was.
  • The rules have been tweaked.
  • The box has been modified.
  • The storefront has been updated.
  • Website to Bookworm Games, coming soon.
  • The price has risen, but the game is better quality too!

Kaleido Blast! 2.0 will be available very soon. Keep in touch and stay tuned, my friend.

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Knights, the Crusades, and… Syria? Talk about Obsessed

It’s weird how when you’re obsessed in something, everything feeds your obsession, rather than distracts you from it.

While trying to figure out this week’s blog post, I passed time by reading news on Syria. Not much more about how the Aleppo residents are doing. So I moseyed to my home library in search for a book, any book, that would provide inspiration, and among an assortment of fiction, religious writings, technical books, and self-help, one called out to me: “Knights of the Crusades”, A Horizon Caravel Book, authored by Jay Williams, 1962.

This’ll give me material for my History category, I thought, but where do I start reading?

Lo and behold, as I flipped through it, the word “Syria” jumped off the page into my brain. No way! I checked the index to find out just how much Syria was a part of the Crusades, and as it turns out, oh yes, it does have something to do with that time in history, simply for being a neighboring country and main route to the main contention, Jerusalem.

In the 11th century, Muslims dominated Jerusalem. As the story goes, the Catholic pope decided it was time to gain the support of the masses and take back the Holy City in a religious escapade, with dreams that it would bring the entire world closer to God. There followed battle after battle, cities conquered, and crusaders named king over middle eastern lands, and can you imagine, in some unsettling way, it seems like the reverse of what is happening today. The Muslims have begun to thrive in regions of Europe, taking advantage, sometimes, of lenient governments. Not all Muslims are bad, true, and I wonder if the same was said about Crusaders a millennium ago.

Whether then or now, religion remains a strong influence on mankind. Early 1000s, Crusaders wiped out any people who got in the way of their religious victory. Modern day, jihadists do much the same, infiltrating their agenda within the hearts and minds of cultures, worldwide, slowly reaching higher heights. Yet people are harmed, voices are silenced, lives ended. How has time changed us, or does history fall victim to a cycle of sad fates?

knightofthecrusades

 

 

 

Sketching Anne-Dieu-le-Veut

Through years of practice, Kat has learned how to adapt her penning and shading to match different periods in history. In this video, you can see her drawing like an old style, the artist, Domenico Ghirlandaio, having drawn the picture to the left. Although Ghirlandaio is a Italian Renaissance painter, pen and paper were used even in the 1600’s, during a time known as the Baroque period, with chalk and charcoal also popular. The Baroque period is where our Jabber Worthy story is set, the time when pirates lived.

The character in our video is Anne-Dieu-le-Veut, which in English means “Anne-God-Wills-It”. She was a female pirate living in history, born in the mid 1600’s, who has an awesome story to say the least; her personality is what makes it exciting; she requested to duel with a man to avenge her husband’s death, then fell in love with that man she wanted to duel! Yo ho ho, the complicated life of a pirate, I tell you, always willing to die quickly, always wanting to love passionately, staying loyal to those worth standing shoulder-to-shoulder with, while being redeemed or staying forever greedy. What’ll happen next! The pirate life is quite unpredictable.

Anne-Dieu-le-Veut will be in our Jabber Worthy stories and game. In fact, lots of pirates will be. It’s a blast! A cannon blast. Hardy haaar!

In the video, Kat adds shadow by drawing lines, some darker tones of mahogany brown, some lighter tones, and with different angles on the face then on the dress, etc. The lines are knit on top of each other, in different angles, to create the darkest shadows. Also, she used digital art brushes to replicate the paper texture. I’m really proud of her for all that she’s learned how to do.

Captain’s Log: Attention Gamers!

September 25, sometime in the Baroque Era, with a touch of present day.

Ahoy, ’tis Captain Goodrich here.   I’d like a moment of your time, if you have some to spare.

This past week you’ve had the chance to meet some of my crew.  Soon, I’ll be extending an invitation to all gamers like yourself, requesting that you join Baroque, Dissonancy, Passion, Rococo, and the rest of my crew as our shanty-man on the Phantom Acoustique.

Shanty-men are important roles to fill in a ship’s crew, as the shanty-man is a musician who leads the crew’s work with a shanty, an upbeat song.  This keeps our riggers in harmony together and lifts the spirits of the entire crew.  Shanty-men also make jolly the celebrations and entertainment onboard the ship so that the crew won’t lose heart on our voyages.

You’ll be navigating the seas, trading at port, dueling both pyrates and friends to protect the treasure maps you claim, and you may even experience a cannon battle or two.

If you decide to receive the invitation and join my crew of second chances, then I will be honored to give you the name Shanty, and my crew will welcome you eagerly into our ranks.  You’ll work with the boatswain, the carpenter, the gun master, and even an occasional king or religious evangelist who are taking their own voyage with us.

Friend, how much do you appreciate music?  If you love history, art, and music, then get ready to experience the journey of a lifetime in this long awaited, highly-competitive game of the year.  In the midst of stealing maps, arresting pyrates, collecting booty and surviving dread cannon battles, you’ll be composing your very own shanty tune in the key of sea.

Autumn Angel Art has been laboring over this swashbuckling card game for a long time, and are working diligently on getting it finished and in the marketplace by the end of the year or early next year.  Follow Autumn Angel Art on Twitter or their Facebook page to keep up with the important updates and information on this one-of-a-kind pyrate card game.  Or, if it suits your fancy, just follow this blog.  They’ll be sure to write updates as news on the game becomes available.

Captain’s Log: Slave No More

September 25, sometime in the Baroque Era, with a touch of present day.

Written with penmanship of Passion, the gentle cooper of the Phantom Acoustique, who was once a slave.

Hi. I’m Passion. I’m the cooper onboard Captain’s ship. My job is to patch barrels when they get a leak, or make sure they don’t warp or rust or crack. It sounds like a pretty simple job, but it’s tougher than it seems.

I’m honored to work for Captain Goodrich. He’s a gracious captain. He saved me from the wheel, which would have been my fate for running away from my cruel master again, if the captain hadn’t have bought me my freedom. Thank you, Cap’n. I’m grateful.

Life on a ship isn’t so bad, if you can look past the rowdy crew. They can be loud, sometimes. But they’re fun people.

Sometimes, after being at sea for long enough, it starts to get tough, because we start to run low on provisions, and there is no fresh fruit and other things. We can only eat tack biscuits, jerky, and other things. It’s ok though, because Pachelbel can make a good bone soup, and Intermezzo can catch us a fine meal of fish.

Sometimes I miss the land, streets to roam, trees to climb, markets to explore, but then I think of the trouble that land always brings me. I see the mark of my former master, branded into the back of my hand, telling anyone who sees it that I’m a runaway slave… and I know that the sea is my refuge. The crew on this ship – no matter how loud or how boisterous they are – are my only friends, my safety. They know where I came from, they know that I am free, despite the message on my hand that says otherwise. If I run away again, I’m dead, for sure. Punished with the worst form of punishment, fit only for an an unruly slave.

But it’s ok, I don’t mind the ship so much. Sometimes we find a pyrate ship, and then we have to fight the pyrates. It’s intimidating for sure, but Captain is good. We always win. Sometimes Captain gives the pyrate a second chance, but lots of times, he takes them to land and gives them to the king. Then the king decides whether to punish or pardon them.

I don’t know what makes Captain give people another chance at life. Why some people and not others? But I do not complain. If it weren’t for his choice to give second chances, I wouldn’t have been forgiven when I was caught pilfering from Rococo. I was quick, but my mate Rococo was quicker, and he caught me. Then Captain returned me to my master, but then turned right around and bought me with all the money he had. I’m indebted to Captain. Captain’s got an important message to post in just a few hours. Please, watch for it.

Captain’s Log: Scary Seabiscuits!

September 24, sometime in the Baroque Era, with a touch of present day.

Written with penmanship of Pachelbel, the cook of the Phantom Acoustique, who has quite the opinion about what makes good food…

Umm… who would want’a buy yummies with ugly dead bones on them? Scary! I tri’d to tell the designers it was a BAD IDEA! But do they listen to me? No, sir!

I love baking. My dream is to start my very own bakery in the heart of Netherlands, my home. But for some reason, d’spite my expertise, the designers decide to put a SKULL on some seabiscuits and morsels. If it were me doing it, flowers ‘r letters ‘r hearts it would be, but Lacy told me, “No, Pachelbel, we can’t do that for Halloween. People want a scary theme for Halloween.” I don’t agree!

All Hallow’s Eve doesn’t need to be scary! What hapen’d to “Happy Halloween”? Angels should be popular again, why ghouls! Samurais’r better than pyrates cuz they’re heroes, right? I don’t like pyrates. They’re evil. Just cuz I’m the cook on the Phantom Acoustique does not mean I like pyrates, and neither should anyone else. (“Tis rude,” my lady master Baroque repli’d. “Second chances be our motto, remember? Judge not, be not judged.”) But I say we are pyrate hunters! Only pyrate hunters onboard our ship, not pyrates! That’s the point of a second chance – the second chance turns you into a goode hero. Otherwise, no second chance; only first chance continu’d and fail’d!

I stray’d off subject. I will introduce to you, even though I am not happy to share with you a series of cookies I don’t like, the new seabiscuits available for sale. I do it only cuz the boss told me to write something to present the new products, since I be the food lover ‘round here, and cuz the designers surely do need investors. I’ll do the job…. but I don’t have to be happy ‘bout it!

Cake Pops

12 Skull & Crossbones in a Cannon Barrel Cake Pops

 

 

 

 

 

An ingenious morsel of cake! The stick coming off the top gives you something to hold, when you bite into the drizly, chocolatey bite-sized piece. Don’t misunderstand. The pops look tasty! But I do not know why anyone would want to bite into a smiling skull looking out a barrel of a cannon. Maybe if you had a scary All Hallow’s Eve party?


Dipped Oreos

12 Skull & Bones in a Cannon Barrel Dipped Oreos

 

 

 

 

I get hungry looking at it! Although the biscuit looks a bit like a cannon with that painting on it.  Round, black, chocolate dip’d: they come in a dozen and would be startling for a pirate them’d event, or maybe an especially special game night, one where all y’friends are onboard.

Hardtack Biscuits (actually shortbread cookies)

Pack of 4 Skull & Crossbones Hardtack Biscuits Round Shortbread Cookie

 

 

 

 

Fresh for 2 weeks after baked…. hmm, that’s what the seller says, yes yes, but I don’t think they will last that long on a ship with hungry crew. The hardtacks look similar to the seabiscuits below but they taste different (sweet and buttery!), are smaller, and come in a 4 pack.

Seabiscuits (actually sugar cookies)

12 Skull & Crossbones Hardtack Seabiscuits Sugar Cookie

 

 

 

 

Mm, mm! These seabiscuits’r topp’d with icing! Although they seem sweeter and more flakie than I’m used to… They wouldn’t last long on my sea voyage – a dozen becomes zero ‘fore I know it, they’re all gone!

….

Ohh!! I take that back, they do know how to design! After looking at their store, they offer other All Hallow’s Eve cookies. They offer brownies, too. The jack-o-lantern brownies are charming. I didn’t understand at first, why peculiar faces were on pumpkins. Kat explain’d to me: “It’s an emoji, a modern type of smiley face on a pumpkin.” I repli’d “Oh, so it is a pumpkin! In the 21st century, it’s pumpkins you carve and call jack o’ lanterns, right? Well, in my time period, we didn’t know about pumpkins, but pray tell, we knew of the story ’bout Stingy Jack and how he wander’d the netherworld ‘tween Heaven and Hell cuz he wasn’t welcome either place!” Course, it’s only a story. In Ireland, it’s turnips they carv’d faces into. Yum, yum! Turnip soup. One of my favourites to make onboard, when we got the ingredients! That determines all things. What we got in the stowage.

Awww, why didn’t they tell me to advertise this design instead? I would have been happy to do that! Look at ‘em. For yourself!

Smile-O-Lantern Brownies

This brownie wo12 Smile-O-Lantern Browniesuld make me glad on the holiday. It is also better for kids which is why one celebrates All Hallow’s Eve. Children want to dress up and play and ward off ol’ Stingy Jack. I could see this hapening better with happy pumpkins!

 

 

Cute-O-Lantern Cookies

There are nin12 Cute-O-Lantern Sugar Glazed Cookiese other designs ‘sides the two I am showing, expresing all kinds of, what’r they call’d, emojis? Never heard of it. I wish you could buy a dozen cookies each with a different emoji. But please, don’t let that stop you from treating yourself with these funny yummies I can support!

 

Thank you for reading my post, I am truly apreciative. Perhaps in the future we shall meet sometime. I will be honor’d for you to show an interest in my crew. Come the ‘morrow and Captain Gavotte will announce our plans for traveling the ocean… if you’re a gamer, you can be our shantyman!

 

 

 

 

Captain’s Log: Shut the Box

September 23, sometime in the Baroque Era, with a touch of present day.

Written with penmanship of Baroque, the beautiful red-headed quartermaster of the Phantom Acoustique.

I shan’t be named as best scribe of the seven seas, but at entertainin’ I know it all. Fer gamin, me choice hobby be Shut the Box. All o’ the power seadogs ‘r’playing it. It takes no time but, maybe a slowish count o’ 20 on yer fingers, and can be 1 player, 2 player, 4 player, however many mates ye want until the box is shut. Aye, it’s just as it sounds, a box without a lid won’t do. Ye have’ta shut it to call victory. … Or a’least be the mate scorin’ the lowest most skimpiest number.

The rules be simple, so simple! Roll o’pair’o dice (six sides) and 2 numbers be showin’.  Ye count up the total an’ decide which planks (‘r panels) y’shut. Maybe 1, maybe 2, 3, is perfection. Traditional-like, thar be a row o’ 9 planks, each with numbers 1-9. Be closin’ the box be t’object o’ t’game. T’ close it, ye gotta shut each plank, turn ’em over,  ’til none ‘r’ left showin’ numbers.

So roll yer die. Imagine ye got 5 an’ 1. Yer total bein 6, y’can shut 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ‘r 6 planks, to make t’sum o’ 6. which’ee gonna choose? It’s up t’yerself not to end in a deadlock! I’d say choose t’shut 1 an’ 5, which would total 6; but 4 ‘n’ 2′; ‘r 3, 2, ‘n’ 1; ‘r 6 all be others you can play, savvy?

The reason why I choose Shut the Box o’er any other proud title is fer the feel o’ rollin’ the dice. I fancy t’play it while sittin’ ther hearin’ me Captain play his harpsichord. He works his skill’d hands fer hours! Me b’rollin’ t’dice. Although countin’ up t’twelve eventually do tire out yer sore eyes… surely ye’ll relate when I say as I gotta pass me time somehow, whilst that keyboard never stops o’playin.  I gots me games to pass the sand in the hourglass with, though now that Madrigal, our swabbie, gave Cap’n a coocoo clock fer the cabin, th’ lil bird pops and says “coo coo” once on t’hour, and interupts the music. (Har har) Cap’n furrows ‘is brow and heaves a sigh ‘n’ shoutin’ “Arg, someone shoot that bloody bird! I playin’ me music and ne’er be ended!“Yar har, ’tis only a jest, ther’s naught be but gentleman qualities in Gavotte.(It be me brother I act out.)  Gavotte ne’er speaks an ill word. Rather boring!  Nay, be a lie of me. Reliable and noble, that he is. That he is now. Don’t be listenin to a ill word said about he aboard me ship.

Goin’ back t’Shut the Box, if yer findin’ yerself a want fer the game, shops sell it everywhere. Quite the unfortune that it’s a mighty-like doubloons to get a copy. Aye. Free copies’r floatin’ about, but ther imitations. Cheap. Forgive me!!! But I tell’d it like I see’d it, and any good blokes gonna check the depths o’ the web to snatch a version money-a’lackin, and they’ll know meself’s o’fool. No no, ’tis me naught, but thar that copy yer tryin!! Buy yerself a real box. DO NOT go tryin this online version. Shan’t be clickin it, I say! Er’else ya might’s well be lame as a barnacle, cuz yer missin’ ev’ry opportunity to experience a real treasure. Bein the real shuttin’ game.

Captain’s Log: Phantom Acoustique

September 22, sometime in the Baroque Era, with a touch of present day.

Written with penmanship of Intermezzo, the old salt, the Able Bodied Sailor on the Phantom Acoustique.

G’day! Cotton Swift here, but me mates may call me Intermezzo, b’cause that’s the name tha’ Cap’n gave me.  You may call me by me musical name, too.

Cap’n gives us each our musical names, and we all ‘r’ proud to be wearin’ ’em. We know the importance of music in ‘is life, and we feel tha’ by takin’ on our new namesake, we be acceptin’ his gracious affections.

Music plays a big role in our times, as t’music sets us apart from all the other eras. With a flourished tutti, mournfully expressive cellos, the fugues and the motets, an’ not even mentioning  our fine crew o’musicians: Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frideric Handel, Domenico Scarlatti, Johann Pachelbel, and my personal favorite, Antonio Vivaldi. Ther not on our crew, mind ya.  The Bach and Pachelbel and Scarlatti here are normal everyday people like you ‘n’ like me.  Vivaldi may be a high-wired’n, though.  He be the powder monkey, an’e been set on fire, that’n has.

Life is rich when y’ listen t’the music o’the times. Perfection lies in the chaconne, the zarzuela, the passion. It lies in the music of the old fashioned lute or the foreigner’s didgeridoo, and aye, perfection even lies in a dissonant note, the disharmony of the times – although dissonancy is a curse, its forbidd’n t’music o’ this era. But durns’t ever tell Dissy that she’s forbidden ‘r curst, ye b’hearin’ a thing’r two o’the true disharmony and injustice o’the times.

Though music o’this age be an angel’s voice and harmony be God’s own divine will, none o’the music can outshine the playin’ tha’ Cap’n can do on ‘is harpsichord.

I was a Quaker in me younger years, so I wasn’t allowed t’enjoy the sound o’ music. I was taught that music was the gaiety o’ the devil, and it was a terrible sin to partake ‘n it.

Not t’ go into me full life story here ‘n’ now, as that be a slow ‘n’ dull tale t’tell, but th’madness in me life was a turbulent storm o’er water, and I tried t’ end it out on the sea.  B’the waters ‘ad a different call fer me, ‘n’ I followed it straight t’Captain’s ship.  His music led me to t’ship, ‘n’ it saved me from the doom that tried t’rob me spirit away.

The music, it haunts t’seas, and on a stormy tide, if yer on another sloop ‘r galley ‘r fluyt and you hear the misty music playin’, carried by the waves… you look out ‘n’ all you see is fog, but you know that out there, somewhere on the watery blue fields, the Phantom Acoustique sits in wait. If ye be a pyrate, beware. But if ye be friend, then ye knows that the waters be safe tonight.

I no’ be familiar with the new toys that  t’young folk ‘r walkin’ around with nowadays, but I did manage to get some help figurin’ out how t’make a collection o’ songs that I be likin’ that ya can lis’n to. Watch the first video, especially.  It reminds me o’ our good Cap’n Gavotte.