Category Archives: saints

CYE Countdown – Dec 1 – Thank You, Sallie McFague

Today is the first day of the last month of this year. Only 31 more days until the new year. What might we do different this month to end 2022 well and ensure 2023 will be better?

In her Yale University address A New Climate for Theology: God, the World, and Global Warming, Dr. Sallie McFague said, “a different world is possible if we live differently.” Check out the address video here

Dr. Sallie McFague (picture provided by the Anglican Church of Canada)

A few of my favorite Sallie McFague references are:

theology is mostly fiction“, but a multiplicity of images, or metaphors, can and should enhance and enrich our models of God McFague, Sallie (1987) Models of God: Theology for an Ecological, Nuclear Age. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, xi

salvation is about salvation of all earthly bodies (not just human ones) and first and foremost about living better on the earth, not in the hereafter McFague, Sallie (1993) The Body of God: An Ecological Theology. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, p. 44

God is the one ‘who judges those who thwart the well-being and fulfilment of her body, our world’ McFague, Sallie (1987) Models of God: Theology for an Ecological, Nuclear Age. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 11

And for more information about this eloquent American feminist Christian theologian, check out her biography here:

Today’s homage senryu: Thank You, Sallie McFague

speaking truthfully

you clearly said how we could

live differently

May we apply our wisdom more effectively this month.

A New Climate for Christology: Kenosis, Climate Change, and Befriending Nature. Minneapolis: Fortress Press (2021)

High Coo – Nov 22 – Humane Society Anniversary Day

Jean Chung/For HSI 2017

Humane Society International, (HSI), is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting animal welfare. It addresses animal cruelty, including inhumane practices and conditions affecting companion and farm animals, illegal animal trade, animal slaughter, and use of animals in research and product testing.

Humane Society Anniversary Day, celebrated on November 22 every year, signifies the establishment of Humane Society International, the world’s largest animal protection organization. Did you know that every year, Humane Society International saves hundreds of animals from cruelty cases? Humane Society International strives to promote the human-animal bond, protect and rescue animals, and more across the world.

Why care about non-human animals?

  1. “Violence against animals has been linked to a higher likelihood of criminal violence and domestic abuse. So, violence against animals must be stopped.
  2. According to statistics, one animal is abused every minute in the world.
  3. Annually, over 10 million animals in the U.S. die as a result of abuse.
  4. The U.S. has over 10, 000 known puppy mills.
  5. Despite the fact that most animals are fully capable of surviving in the wild or in cities on their own, they are subjected to a great deal of cruelty and abuse. We can be their voice.

One thing we can take home from the Humane Society Anniversary is that not only humans but all creatures are created equal. We need to treat all animals with compassion and love.

Today’s senryu: Happy Anniversary HSI

multiply caring:

together we accomplish

more than one can do

High Coo – Nov 11 – Happy Birthday, Kurt Vonnegut

The New York Times

Regular readers of this blog know that Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. is my favorite author. Today is his 100th birthday and I am compelled to recommend him again.

Born 11/11/1922, he died in 2007 at the age of 84.

As reported by The New York Times, “Vonnegut died in the Manhattan borough of New York City on the night of April 11, 2007, as a result of brain injuries incurred several weeks prior, from a fall at his brownstone home.” (Dinitia Smith, The New York Times)

True to his irreverent nature, “In a 2006 Rolling Stone interview, Vonnegut sardonically stated that he would sue the Brown & Williamson tobacco company, the maker of the Pall Mall-branded cigarettes he had been smoking since he was around 12 or 14 years old, for false advertising: “And do you know why? Because I’m 83 years old. The lying bastards! On the package Brown & Williamson promised to kill me.” (Lev Grossman, TIME)

Considered the Mark Twain of his generation, Vonnegut wrote 14 novels addressing his aversion to war, religion and politics. All are well worth reading, yet lately, I have been rereading the book Pity The Reader written by Vonnegut & Suzanne McConnell (paperback published in 2020 by Seven Stories Press). This book is based on a short article he wrote for International Paper Company titled, How to Write with Style. In his succinct fashion, Vonnegut identified the eight things to remember to have a successful writing style:

  1. Find a subject you care about
  2. Do not ramble
  3. Keep it simple
  4. Have the guts to cut
  5. Sound like yourself
  6. Say what you mean
  7. Pity the readers
  8. For really detailed advice …

Here is my homage haiku: Happy Birthday Kurt Vonnegut

brevity revealed

your soul’s desire to find

decent humankind

Vonnegut with his wife Jane and children (from left to right): Mark, Edith and Nanette, in 1955

High Coo – Nov 6 – Animal Shelter Appreciation Week

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Little dog found in ditch needs help –

National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week takes place during the first full week of November — November 6–12 this year — in recognition of the various shelters that provide care to millions of displaced animals in America. …. The observance also serves to acknowledge the hard-working people supporting the efforts with their work at the shelters. Local shelters are great at finding new homes for homeless pets, but it’s not all they do. They rescue and rehabilitate injured or abused animals too, and they reunite lost pets with their original families. They serve communities by saving their animals every day.”

Today’s haiku: Animal Shelter Appreciation

Make a difference:

if you can’t adopt a pet –

adopt a shelter

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This is my local animal shelter.

High Coo – Nov 2 – Day of the Dead

Dead Guitarist at The Blue Habanero in Richmond, VA – photo taken by author

Today’s haiku: Day of the Dead

Let us remember

loved ones departed – and our

future reunion

Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos, is a traditional Mexican holiday celebrated November 2. On this day, it is believed that the souls of the dead return to visit their living family members. Many people celebrate this day by visiting the graves of deceased loved ones and setting up altars with their favorite foods, drink, and photos….The main tradition for Day of the Dead sees families gather to honor and remember their loved ones who are no longer with us. Celebrated as a sacred and joyous occasion, there is plenty of food, lots of flowers, visits with family members and nostalgic stories about those who have died.”

Today, I honor my departed ancestors, friends and teachers who have “crossed over” and “continued” to the next phase of their life journey. I’m especially remembering my grandparents, father and younger brother today. I look forward to our reunions.

I respect that your experience may be different from mine. Many cultures honor their ancestors with holidays like the Day of the Dead. For example, see the chart below:


ChinaGhost FestivalThis traditional Buddhist and Taoist festival is part of Ghost Month, during which ghosts and spirits, including those of deceased relatives, come out of the lower realm.The 15th day of the 7th month of the Lunar calendar, which is normally at some point during August.
CambodiaPchum Ben (Ancestors Day)A religious occasion when the gates of hell are said to open up and the souls walk among the living. People dress in all white and make food offerings.15th day of the tenth month in the Khmer calendar, which usually falls in September.
North and South KoreaChuseokChuseok is a harvest festival and comparisons are often drawn to Thanksgiving. It’s tradition for Koreans to visit the graves of their ancestors to pay their respects.Meaning “Autumn Eve” the holiday is celebrated for three days straight, normally in either September or October
NepalGaijatraKnown as the “festival of the cows” Gaijarta is a celebration of death. It’s purpose is to help people accept death as a reality and to help ease the passing of those who have died. Each year cows, or children dressed as cows, walk in a procession throughout towns.The first day of the dark four night according to the lunar Nepa. This is usually in August or September

Regarding the last row in the chart above, please check out a fellow blogger’s post The Two Doctors and his excellent review of the Festival of Light:

La Catrina mural at The Blue Habanero in Richmond, VA – photo taken by the author

High Coo – Nov 1 – National Authors Day

My favorite author is Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. You may recall one or two of his better-known novels: Cats Cradle, Slaughterhouse-Five or Breakfast of Champions.

Vonnegut was born in Indiana on November 11, 1922 and continued until April 11, 2007. As he would have said, “So it goes.” For more information see

On a similar timeline…. “In 1928, the president of the Illinois Women’s Club, Nellie Verne Burt McPherson, came up with the idea to create a day that recognized American authors. …The inspiration for the holiday came while she was in the hospital during the First World War. She had just read Irving Bacheller’s “Eben Holden’s Last Day A-Fishing” and sent a letter to him expressing her love for the book.

After receiving the letter, he responded by forwarding a signed copy of another one of his stories to her. McPherson, overwhelmed by his generosity, thought of a way to repay the gesture. She concluded that a national day for authors would do the trick and presented the idea to the Generation Federation of Women’s Clubs. The club approved, and in May 1929, issued an endorsement to celebrate American Authors on National Author’s Day….

McPherson’s granddaughter, Sue Cole, took on the responsibility of promoting the holiday when her grandmother passed away in 1968. She urges people to send appreciation notes to their favorite authors to celebrate their contributions towards making life easier. The idea is to recognize all the people who have contributed to American literature.”

It’s too late for me to send an appreciation note to Kurt Vonnegut but I can share my appreciation for him on this holiday.

Who is your favorite author? Ernest Hemingway, Stephen King, Barbara Kingsolver, J.K. Rowling, someone else?

Today’s haiku: National Authors Day

Your book set the hook

your story reeled me in –

caught by your word lures

BTW: November is National Novel Writing Month.

Original book cover

High Coo – Oct 21 – National Pets for Veterans Day

Today’s holiday emphasizes the mental health benefits pets can provide to all, especially veterans.

As noted on the Pets for Vets website (

“He’s more than just a friend. He’s my battle buddy. He’s my left hand. We’re connected by a leash, but it’s really our umbilical cord. He’s sometimes more tuned into me than I’m tuned into me. He knows more about me than I do sometimes. He lets me know what’s going on.” 
– Adam

Animals improve their (human companions’) lives in countless, remarkable ways.

  • Strengthen Social Connections
  • Increase Mental Well-Being
  • Enhance Emotional Health
  • Encourage Physical Fitness
  • Ease Loneliness
  • Improve Relationships
  • Overcome Trauma
  • Boost Confidence
  • Raise Self-Esteem
  • Gain a New Perspective

Today’s haiku: National Pets for Veterans Day

we all need a friend

find a friend at the shelter

and let them love you

High Coo – Oct 7 – Happy Birthday Desmond Tutu

Desmond Tutu b. Oct 7, 1931, d. December 26, 2021

First Black African Archbishop of Cape Town & Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Desmond Tutu was born on this day in 1931. “Known for his work as an anti-apartheid and human rights activist, he was Bishop of Johannesburg from 1985 to 1986 and then Archbishop of Cape Town from 1986 to 1996, in both cases being the first black African to hold the position. Theologically, he sought to fuse ideas from black theology with African theology.” See

Known for his warm smile and emphasis on forgiveness, he was also a tireless advocate of human rights. He said, “I wish I could shut up, but I can’t, and I won’t.” See

Today’s humble haiku: Happy Birthday Desmond Tutu

We can find the joy

and speak the truth to power –

begin anew now

Tutu with the Dalai Lama, both Nobel Peace Prize laureates, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 2004

For more information on the “mischievous brothers” pictured above, check out

High Coo – Oct 4 – World Animal Day

World Animal Day dates as far back as 1925 when Heinrich Zimmermann organized the first celebration in Berlin. Zimmermann, the publisher of a German animal lovers’ magazine, “Man and Dog,” launched the event to raise awareness and improve the welfare of animals. The date of October 4 is also known as the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron Saint of animals.” See

As highlighted in a 2020 announcement, there are (at least) “seven acts of kindness to animals” we can consider:

  1. Release wild animals into their natural habitat
  2. Place a feeding or water bowl for birds
  3. Make your yard wildlife friendly
  4. Plant a tree
  5. Let them take rest
  6. Help young animals find their mother
  7. Stop making animals fight each other

See for more information.

Today’s humble haiku: World Animal Day

The Golden Rule

applies to all animals –

human and “more than

High Coo – Oct 2 – Happy Birthday Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi b. Oct 2, 1869 – d. Jan 30, 1948

Known as the “Father of the Nation” of India, Mohandas Gandhi was also called Mahatma (Great Soul) or Bapu (Papa). Gandhi’s birthday, 2 October, is celebrated in India as a national holiday, and worldwide as the International Day of Nonviolence.

“Gandhi grew up in a Hindu and Jain religious atmosphere … which were his primary influences, but he was also influenced by his personal reflections and literature of Hindu Bhakti saints, Advaita Vedanta, Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, and thinkers such as Tolstoy, Ruskin and Thoreau… At age 57 he declared himself to be Advaitist Hindu in his religious persuasion but added that he supported Dvaitist viewpoints and religious pluralism.” (See

Time magazine named The 14th Dalai LamaLech WałęsaMartin Luther King Jr.Cesar ChavezAung San Suu KyiBenigno Aquino Jr.Desmond Tutu, and Nelson Mandela as Children of Gandhi and his spiritual heirs to nonviolence.” (See “The Children of Gandhi” (excerpt). Time. 31 December 1999.)

One of his most famous sayings is “Be the change you want to see in the world.” (See

Today’s humble haiku response: Happy Birthday Mahatma Gandhi

Complicated man

demonstrating persistence –

truth will overcome

“God is truth. The way to truth lies through ahimsa (nonviolence)” – Sabarmati, 13 March 1927