Camino de Santiago

Month: December, 2016

Words Matter

20140924-horn-castro-26-finalAs many of you know, I am fond of using quotes at the start of my blog articles. This time I am going to start with my own quote that came to me today.

“Words Matter. In fact, it is possible to sometimes renew or redeem our marriages and relationships with the words we use.”

Terri and I recently have been mentoring a newly engaged couple that are going to be married this Spring. In our first session, we talked about the importance of consistent and sincere affirmations and how they can lift us up and help us feel better about ourselves.

Some of the material we used said some real truths about how we can renew and redeem our relationships.

“Looking for and affirming the goodness in the other lifts our spirits and cultivates an attitude of gratitude and generosity in us.  Conversely, criticism damages the sense of worthiness in the partner…When we criticize the other, we also damage our own spirit; instead of focusing our blessings, we see only his or her inadequacies. Criticism saps the enjoyment out of our life and is like a poison to a marriage.”

When Terri and I walked the Camino, we were at some very low points both physically and emotionally along the way. There is a tendency when we are very tired to sometimes criticize and it is hard to find ways to affirm the other. Yet at our low points is exactly when we need to be reaffirming each other.

I read recently that one of the best indicators of success in marriage, is a ratio of positive to negative interactions of 5:1. When I read that ratio, it felt right to me. It seems to me that positive affirmations in our relationships are like putting oil or grease on gears. If we leave the grease or oil out eventually those gears are going to grind down and fail.

Words matter. We need to be consistent and sincere with our affirmations of each other. Let’s keep the gears of our marriages and relationships running smooth.

Blessings and Merry Christmas to all!


Photograph of the Week

Ancient Skellig Michael Island

This photograph was taken on our fantastic voyage and journey to Skellig Michael Island off the west coast of Ireland. The island was made famous by the movie, “The Force Awakens”. This photo is of the very last set of very steep stairs leading to top of Michael Skellig Island.

Stay Awake – Be Present



” Our real worry should not be that the world might suddenly end or that we might unexpectedly die, but that we might live and then die, asleep, that is, without really loving, without properly expressing our love, and without tasting deeply the real joy of living because we are so consumed by the business and busy pressures of living that we never quite get around to fully living.” Fr Ron Rolheiser

I like this quote because it speaks the truth that we all need to be reminded of continually. We need to stay awake and present in the middle of the busy pressures of our lives. It is so easy to let the combination of  pressure, anxiety, laziness, depression, tension and weariness break us down so we “fall asleep” and are less vigilant to all around us. We miss living life fully. We are not present to the people, situations and beauty that surrounds us all. We “sleep walk” right on by these precious moments.

In photography, being vigilant, being present and alive is one of the keys to good photography. It is something that my hiking friend, Bob Maier, and I share together. We both are very present and alive to throughout the our day of hiking. We are both very spontaneous and alive to capture the beauty of nature as we hike.

The same should be true for all aspects of our lives if we want to be fully living our lives.

So as we approach one of the busiest seasons of the year, let’s all try and be more vigilant and awake and present to all!



Photograph of the Week

The Wild Atlantic Way

I fell in love with the West Coast of Ireland. It is referred to as the Wild Atlantic Way and it is truly one of the most scenic coastlines anywhere in the world.