Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The First Voice for Our Lady of Seven Sorrows

The First Voice

The first prayer for Our Lady of Seven Sorrows, in the oratory at Seven Hills Ranch, was offered up on November 26th 2011 and took the form of two hymns in plainchant, the Ave Maria, and the Salve Regina. The builders and ranch masters halted as time stopped to memorialize the initial sanctification of the new chapel.

There’s a spot in the Valley of Inwood
That is called The Seven Hills Ranch,
Where the hillsides are high cloaked with vineyards
To which I’d return at the chance.
From a crest looking down on the valley
A sanctuary tower may be seen
Dedicated to Sancta Maria,
Stabat Mater of Heaven the Queen.

I sent up a prayer for Our Lady
For Mary the Mother of God,
I sent up a prayer and the hills were still
Like the builders who stopped where they trod.
And the hymn that I sang was as old as the hills
And it rose to the new chapel’s dome,
Filling the air with a hope and a prayer
In a space that will ever be home.

Never before had a song been sung
Never a voice offered up,
Not since the chapel was first conceived
As the venue to raise host and cup.
And the song was the sanctification
It flew to the beams like a dart
And those who were there will remember the prayer
For Our Lady engraved on their heart.

And the valley of Inwood will blossom
Its hillsides will bloom and be fair,
The wines from its vines will fill up the cup
When communion is taken there.
And bells of Our Lady of Sorrows
Will peel out the Angelus Change,
Across the vineyards and out and away
To all seven hills within range.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Visit To Anselmo Vineyards

On the Saturday after Thanksgiving we went with Ray and Charlotte Carlson and Jenny Fator to have lunch at a vineyard restaurant. What a delightful surprise that turned out to be. Set to the east of Redding in the Inwood Valley this 2250 acre ranch lies at the feet of Mount Lassen. The term gorgeous comes to mind.

The facilities are absolutely beautiful with large and small intimate dining rooms, and a wedding pavilion down by a lake.

Miss Maddie Merritt was with us between Jenny and Nancy, and Charlotte and Ray to the left and our boys Ollie and Roddy to the right.

We all had delicious lunches in their intimate dining room cum bar, and tried The 2009 Majorette, a Merlot/Syrah/ Petite Verdot blend, which was a winner, but was beaten out by the 2008 Merlot two fine wines.

Then the real magic started to happen. We were introduced to the vineyard owners who have been industriously enhancing and updating the facilities, Reverge and Ramone (Chicken) Anselmo. What fascinating folk they are.

Reverge, low key understated and armed with a Winston between his fingers and a glass of wine and ice, army jump suite clad and warmly inveigling his visitors into his charm. He opens up quickly and easily to divulge how his Wedding Pavilion is drawing in the visitors. Every vista is captivating.

"Chicken" is just about as at home in the barn yard as she is at the salon table, and is captivatingly enthusiastic about the improvements that are underway all around her. The animals love her. She embraces the traditions of the ranch and pointed out the grave in the vineyard of its founder Sylvester Langdon who was killed in 1857 by grizzly bears on the property.

Up on the hill overlooking the cluster of tasting rooms and barns there is a new Catholic sanctuary in construction with artisans and materials from Italy. It is to be consecrated as Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows for the ranch of the Seven Hills.

Carillon is installed in the tower to ring out the Angelus, and resonate throughout the little valley. No doubt the church will be the venue for many a wedding in years to come.

The acoustics were sampled with long remembered renditions of the "Ave Maria" and "Salve Regina" in plainchant.

There is to be a New Year's celebration at the vineyard, and we are hoping to attend.

The new pavilion is stunning

What more can I say but.... Cheers!

And Jolly Good Company

Well here we all are at the Carlson's in Palo Cedro, to the west of Redding, and what a jolly company we were. I am on the end of the camera obviously. I could not find a tripod this year.

It is delightful to see the young families growing, a foreshadowing of things to come for us McLeod we hope.

Thanksgiving is a great American holiday, a chance to reflect of the many blessings we do not deserve, but yet enjoy so completely.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Seed Thieves- The Garden Birds

With the Persimmon tree turning to red and gold, our gardener has chosen to fertilize the lawns in time for the rains. The birds are now madly attracted to our patch of grass and flock to glean their share of the newly planted seed. Should I approach to snap a picture they fly off to the adjacent bushes and pretend not to be near, eying me watchfully to ensure that I am completely gone before venturing back and starting their chorus again.

That old Flamingo is left over from our daughter's Alice in Wonderland 18th Birthday Party. It is getting sorry and faded now the last of a stand that pervaded the grounds on that momentous occasion.

Can you spy Ten Little Dickie Birds?

Seed Thieves

I don’t begrudge those birdies on the lawn
Scarfing up the seed the gardener’s sown,
They make me think of Rabbie’s little mouse
Uprooted from his house inside the loam.

What we intend to beautify our home
They flock to steal in such a merry throng,
Caring not to sow or reap or store
But fill the garden air with chirping song.

Should I approach to see they flee away,
Or tap the glass beside my window seat
The doves rise up and mournfully complain
That I should stop their “gleaning of the wheat”

Surmise I then that I am but the slave
That serves the Master who all things provides
Who feeds the birds and decks the lily fair
And gently my possessive nature chides.

I’m set to wonder was it not the birds
Who gathered in the seeds so widely strewn?
Then shed them so they grew for us to find
Not far away from places we called home.

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
Matthew 6:26

So Ruth stayed close to the servant girls of Boaz to glean until the barley and wheat harvests were finished. And she lived with her mother-in-law
Ruth 2:23

Monday, October 31, 2011

When I’m Sixty Four - cake and a bottle of wine.

I was sixty four yesterday, and after church we all went off with Miss Maddie Merritt, a Hillsdale graduate, to Newport Beach to meet with our good friends the Kendal-Bells and the Hoffmans for an afternoon of gentle sumptuousness. We said grace and enjoyed a really good meal, with wine and ate Mrs. McLeod’s chocolate cake which you can imagine is to die for. I have been attempting to sing and whistle the old Beatles Song but they won’t let me get a breve out.

Photo courtesy of Susan Kendal Bell

Yummy Platter

Maddie Merritt, with Pamela and wee Lizzie Hoffman

Monday, October 17, 2011

Chris Covell at the Cafe Audrey

Celebrating a friend’s twenty first birthday has always got to be something special, and ours for Chris Covell, the Chapman Film Student, most certainly was. After church on Sunday the McLeods and the Covells pitched over to the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood for and excellent performance by The Actors Co-op of “To Kill A Mockingbird”. Not to be missed, all the performers made this dramatization become captivatingly alive.

Afterwards we convoyed off to the Cafe Audry . We loved this little restaurant tucked away on Las Palmas off Hollywood Boulevard. The theme of Audrey Hepburn adds a delightful old Hollywood feeling to a menu of tasty treats. My tuna melt did just that in my mouth.

Audrey’s quotations are sprinkled here and there and one looks down from the ceiling. With a chef who comes out to make sure his customers are enjoying their fare we could not go wrong.

Chris got a new Tee Shirt to celebrate the occasion

Our caravan continued to our home for an airing of “How To Steal A Million” the 1966 Hepburn /O’Toole comedy. We all fell in love with Audrey again and it made a perfect end to a beautiful day.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

John MacArthur's New Bible - Original King James Version

Today, Sunday September 18th 2011, John MacArthur, the Pastor, was preaching on “Gratitude for a Faithful Church” with a text from 1 Thessalonians 1 and 2, when he was acknowledged for his huge contribution at Grace Community Church and to the world through the “Grace To You” Ministry. He has completed the teaching of the entire New Testament over forty three years and from the same pulpit.

The Elders and church leaders, and Grace To You got together to find a special gift to express their gratitude and to commemorate this unusual milestone in John or any other preacher’s career. We are humbled and chastened to have such a man of God in our midst to be our spiritual leader.

What kind of gift, one might ask, could be suitable for such an occasion and to symbolically represent our grateful thanks. Well today John MacArthur was invited up to that pulpit from where he has preached so long, to receive a rare treasure, a 1611 first edition of the King James Bible, calf bound with its original case. It was one of the “He” bibles where in Ruth 3 :15 “he” is used instead of “she”. In accepting the gift John compared his church, Grace Community Church, to the ancient church at Thessalonica, saying they were faithful and loving. He thanked God for his congregation and expressed thankfulness for their salvation. Thessal 1:2-5. You are our glory and joy Thessal 2:20.

Greatsite.com says “Because a typo in Ruth 3:15 is corrected to read "she went into the city" instead of "he went into the city", it is often assumed that these 1611 "She Bibles" are actually the SECOND printing of the original 1611 King James Bible, likely done within several weeks of the 1611 "He Bibles". Many scholars now agree that the much more likely explanation is that the "He" and "She" King James Bible First Editions of 1611 were done at approximately the SAME TIME on two different presses.”

“There is no real evidence that one variant is any older than the other. The main reason “He” variants cost more, is simply because there are fewer of them (fewer than 50 known to exist). If you want an ORIGINAL 1611 King James First Edition, you can save a lot of money simply by choosing the "She" printing (of which fewer than 150 are known to exist).”

Click to play
The Photograph and video were taken by Melinda Welsh, Jogn MacArthur's daughter, who had the presence of mind to change the phone setting

Scout First Class- Another Pin For Mum

On Friday at the Troup 50 Court of Honor, the flag was saluted and the Pledge of Allegiance reiterated as parents and Scouts assembled to celebrate the achievements of the past months. It is a moving experience to see these young men growing up to love and respect their great country, and to strive to manage their lives so that they may become a useful, valuable part in it.
Another Pin For Mum

The flag ceremony starts the proceedings.

It was moving for Nancy and I to see our son Oliver carry Old Glory and step the colors as the ranks of his peers draw off a smart salute.

It takes a lot of work to advance in rank as a Boy Scout. The whole family not just the son needs to be committed to supporting the process.

It is an accomplishment for the family when advancement occurs.
The rank of Scout First Class is an important milestone on the road to Eagle, the highest rank in Scouting, and it was a proud moment for us to see our son receive his rank insignia and shake hands by the left, and for me to watch him pin his commemorative pin on his mother’s chest before hugging his dad.

Such is the Scouting tradition, a tradition that has produced many fine leaders and even claims the first man to step foot on the moon, and Baden Powell would be pleased to see his dream carried on here in Troupe 50.

God bless Scouting, and God bless America!

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Farewell to Othello

Farewell Furry Fellow
My condolences to Rick Baum on his loss of his beloved dog, Othello. We will miss Othello's visits to Le Tip during our morning meetings.

Farewell Othello, furry fellow,
Friend was never loved as thee,
Even in your failing form
The gift of joy flowed fast and free
In all who stroked your coat.
Content you were at foot to lie
While any respondents pet,
Drawing enamored smiles and sighs
From every one you met
Who deigned to rub your throat.

You will not have seen the teary eye
In your tensed master’s face,
Nor heard the faltering in his voice
As he imparts with grace
The loss of his beloved hound.
But we who still have eyes that see,
And empathic hearts that beat,
Will long recall nostalgically
The comfort and the therapy
In your blithe spirit found.

Neil Stewart McLeod - August 19th 2011

Monday, August 29, 2011

Uncle Bill Turns Sixty Five

Bill Thompson, the retired K9 police officer is a man of a thousand stories. He spends his time doing good turns wherever he goes. I asked at his "surprise"celebratory dinner at Frankies New York Italian Restaurant, if any one felt that he was an uncle to them. There was a roar of agreement.

With Frankie and Terri

The event was captured by Steve Galland the Photographer, and here are a few of his shots.

So here is a brief salute to a man who should definitely write a book.

Taylor, Kerry Sue and Bill

Uncle Bill’s Sixty Fifth

They say you don’t feel the years coming
That we rise up each day with a will.
That the ‘sixty five’ ties
Come as a surprise,
So here is a good health to Bill.

They say good Policemen don’t perish,
They fade off and quietly fill,
A place on a list
Of the loved and the missed,
So here is a good health to Bill.

There’s many a villain not sorry
To know that he’s not at his drill,
Sending his hound
’Till the culprit is found,
So here is a good health to Bill.

Now our friend is a jolly good fellow
You can’t say he’s over the hill,
He’s lending a hand
Doing good where he can,
So here is a good health to Bill.

So to finish I just thought that I’d ask
If you’d join me as I share this thrill
To raise up a glass
To a Copper with class
So here is a good health to Bill.

Neil McLeod 8.28.2011

With Roger - My daughter's teddy bear

Graduation from high school is done and so is summer, and our daughter departs for college accompanied by her favorite comfy toy.

Only those who have shared the experience can appreciate how it feels to suppress to choking emotion of saying goodbye to a loved child when sending her off to college. It was four o'clock in the morning, we had bowed heads and asked God's blessing and travel mercies, and as Maran turned to go she said, "Daddy, send me a poem so I can share it with my new friends at College." She then turned to get into the car and the vision of her with her bear packed in at the top of her knapsack resulted in this poem.

With Roger

I’m leaving with Roger for college,
His top’s sticking out from my pack,
He can see past each ear
To the front and the rear
And everything that’s at my back.

I’m leaving with Roger for college,
It’s the first time that we’ll be long away,
We’ve left our home,
And our folks all alone
And flown up and off for a day.

I am safe because Roger is with me,
He keeps my spirits buoyed up,
He knows if I’m blue
And I’m thinking of you
To listen and not interrupt.

I can tell that he’ll be a good room mate,
He’s had hours of practice you know,
If it’s logic or rhetoric
Or some other what the heck
He’ll wait for my answers to show.

I’m leaving with Roger for college,
In McIntyre we’ll be there,
Working away
At our classes each day,
Miss Maran and Roger her bear.

With my love, Dad

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Launching the Contact Marker CM1

For thirty four years I have been attempting to provide my patients with the highest standard of care. My USC training and the legacy of Dr Glazier's practice which I took over in 1976 have inspired me to continue to provide beautiful gold onlays and inlays.

Increasingly we are providing our patients with porcelain restorations; Crowns, veneers, inlays and onlays. It is very important that the contacting surface between teeth and porcelain repairs is precise, not too tight, and not loose. Food packing between the teeth causes gum inflammation and bone loss.

When porcelain work comes back from the dental laboratory, it is either tight, just right or loose. The chances of it being just right are slim, therefore I always ask my technician to make it just a little tight so I can adjust it. There are all sorts of ways dentists use to identify where to adjust their work, and I have tried them all. I have found that nothing is as accurate as a soft graphite pencil. So I have developed a way to carry a graphite marker to the mouth so that it is possible to adjust porcelain work perfectly.

On Tuesday 14th June I will be speaking to the Los Angeles Dental Society and will be announcing this new idea.

I am marketing my new dental instrument on http://www.contactmarker.com

Take a look and see:

Contact-Marker CM1 Demo Video from Dr. Neil McLeod on Vimeo.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

John MacArthur - Unprecedented Preaching Achievement

By any standard Grace Community is a big and successful Church, and with good reason, for sound fundamental Christianity is taught there verse by verse every week. The teaching of John MacArthur feeds the need for honest down to earth understandable exposition of God's Word. You can doubt all you want, but once you have heard it you will know the truth of it.

Today was a milestone in the history of this amazing worship center. In a sanctuary packed as usual, John MacArthur brought to a close what can only be described as a nearly unprecedented achievement in his or any other preacher's long career as shepherd of his flock. Today as he brought to a conclusion his study of the Gospel of Mark, he completed a forty three year sojourn through the entire New Testament. All these sermons were from the same pulpit.

John MacArthur is firm and forthright, never wavering in his criticism of sins of our time. He fully recognizes that Christianity is under attack and teaches us the basic truths to which we must attend if we are to achieve the gift of eternal life with our Lord.

His sermons are packed with substantial insights into the real meaning of every verse. Never have I enjoyed the Word of God so clearly explained.

Together with his unfaltering teaching style there is a humor that is playful and understanding of our human foibles.
Showing his humanity and ongoing love for his wife, John presented Patricia with a beautiful rose to thank her for all her support during this academic and preaching epic.

I asked John how he managed to collect and collate all the information he has used to produce the over three thousand five hundred sermons, which are all recorded and available on line through Grace To You, and how big his staff was. His answer, "Neil, I mine all my own data."

Dr. MacArthur, President of the Master's College, and pastor of Grace Community Church is nothing short of phenomenal.

MacLeod Rant - Remembering Ann Skipper

Honoring Ann Skipper
1925 - 2009
Internationally renowned
Dance Mistress of
The Clan MacLeod Dancers
Est. 1983

Last night, June 4th 2011, at the Pasadena War Memorial, the Clan MacLeod Dancers hosted their annual Rant, arguably one of the premiere Scottish Country Dances held in the Southern California each

The event was a great success with live music provided by Any Imbrie on the piano and Debie Benton Grosjean on the "fiddle" who were stunningly good, making the Scottish snap zing through the air and putting lift in the lassies heels as their partners kilts were flying. A positive glut of MacLeod favorites from Angus MacLeod and MacLeod's Fancy to Peat Fire Flame and a new one from Walt Metcalf called Sea Gate. The food was sumptuous as always.

I had a chance to give a small talk remembering Ann and the huge contribution she has made to the Clan MacLeod and Scottish Country Dancing world wide.

In 2002 John MacLeod of MacLeod the 29th Chief of the Clan MacLeod wrote of Ann when she stepped down as Dance Mistress of his Clan

“I must thank you very much for all the work you have done on the dance scene in clan MacLeod. You have been most successful in your role as teacher and enthuser and the clan is in your debt. I am sure that the heritage of dance will live on.”

Sets complete! Ready for the next dance!

Click to see "Reel of the 51st"

Monday, May 09, 2011

The budget should be balanced

Cicero 106 - 46 B.C.

When Julius Caesar was invading Britain in 55 A.D. Cicero was at home contemplating the growing weight of government dependents, and he of wrote:

"The budget should be balanced, the treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work instead of living on public assistance."
My Friend Ray MacEdwards sent this to me, and it has so much significance that I just had to blog it.
So what Ray asks have we learned in the last 2,064 years

The actual quote is: "The arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and assistance to foreign hands should be curtailed, lest Rome fall."