Random Thoughts on Galatians

By – O’Ceallaigh


We reviewed Paul’s letter to the Galatians  last Quarter in our church’s study and recently I discovered the following notes I had scribbled down very early one morning while musing in my recliner.

I read them again this morning.  These thoughts are quite profound, I think.  Not because I wrote them, but because of the beauty of the Word of God, whether in Galatians or Job, or in the Psalms.  It is all inspired, which in turn, inspires us – if, we will read – and understand.


“The Law was written (added) to show us the way to live: Love to God, Love to man. If that law was breached, we would come under its condemnation and sentence, death.

Moses’ law, given to him by God, was put in place to make accommodation, not for the sin, but for the sinner, by virtue of the system of sacrifices foreshadowing the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah.  1Slide153

That law was a “Protector” a “Guardian” against the condemnation of the Decalogue.

At the same time, it was a teaching tool, a Sandbox Illustration, to show us Faith that should come in the “seed” of the woman, the “seed” of Abraham.  This was The Messiah, Jesus, the Son of God, the Promise to Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:15), Abram and all the people (All Nations).  When “That Faith” – the reality of “The Faith” – Jesus,Galatians 3:25 came, the “Schoolmaster”, the “Guardian”, the “Prison Warden”, lost his job!

Justification by Grace, through Faith, – the Righteousness of God through Jesus Christ, was reinstated.

“If any man be in Christ he is a New Creature (Creation) Old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Bird House

That is all Good News!”

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“We’re Going To Campmeeting”


–By O’Ceallaigh


World War II had dragged on for what seemed an eternity!  Of course, to me, a 6 year old kid, it was an eternity.  It was my entire life!  But, in the winter of 1945 it was finally over and there was the prospect of prosperity once again.

Acad Barn(Thanks to DCS)

We lived on the farm in Bemus Point, New York and had worked very hard to make the dairy a prosperous operation.  No matter what we did, however, we were always about three dollars short of the budget.  It was time for drastic action! 

My uncle Alvin raised chickens and had a prosperous egg business.  Dad talked to him and received several pointers on how to make it work and then made a decision: sell the cattle and buy 1,000 chickens!

Box-of-Chicks(Courtesy motherearthnews)

We ordered the 10,000 chickens from Sears and Roebuck and they were delivered by mail!  Old Cassius Hazzard, our mailman, didn’t deliver them, but he did bring us a notice that they were ready to be picked up. Dad went to the post office that January day and brought all those card-board crates of tiny little yellow chicks home with him.  What a marvel!

We had several galvanized brooders stationed about the barn with lights in each one to provide heat for the baby chicks.  We then distributed about 200 hundred chicks to each brooder.  Finally, all those 10 crates were empty and the chicks were all comfortable in their new home peeping loudly! 

What a difference in the farm! I would walk into the barn where there were now only two cows which we kept for our own use and then,  all those chickens!  Part of my job was to distribute mash to those little beggars!  It was a total joy to see them so apparently appreciative of the gift we were giving them.

All went well for the first few weeks and months.  The chicks grew fast. Winter turned to spring as it always does and summer was approaching.   ——–

I grew up as a Seventh-day Adventist and one of the things that was especially precious to us was Campmeeting in the month of June.  These meetings had been going on since the mid 1800’s as a spin-off from the old Chautauqua Tents.  People would come from far and near gathering at Union Springs, New York like so many gypsies with their goods packed in their cars – and on their cars – ready to set up housekeeping it the rented tents lined up in rows. I can’t tell you of the sight, the sounds and the smells of that campground experience!  What a thing to anticipate!

During the war, few people could go to Campmeeting for some of the obvious reasons. But now, it seemed like everyone who was anyone was going and Mom and Dad decided that we would go, too.  We had made arrangements for a neighbor to come in to care for the Chickens and began looking forward to the experience.

Then it happened.

It was probably about two weeks before campmeeting was to begin that Dad went to the barn one morning to do the usual chores.  There he found 3 or 4 dead chickens. 

Well, 3 or 4 out of 1,000 was not a bad mortality rate so he thought little of it.  But, the next, morning there were about 15!  And, the next morning, there were about 30 – 35 more! 

Now Dad was beginning to get a little worried.  What’s going through the flock of chickens?  We were having great success until we had decided to go to Campmeeting!  Mom and dad had several conversations about “The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan” and concluded that we were being assailed by the enemy of Jesus and he was trying to keep us away from Campmeeting.  That night there was a lot of prayer in our house.

The next morning Dad went into the barn and began picking up dead chickens.  He came out with two or three wheelbarrow loads and dumped them in the driveway.  Then he walked away, discouraged. 

ChickensThe next day, with only a week to go before Campmeeting, there were some 320 dead chickens lying in the driveway after the walk through the barn.  We were all standing there along with our neighbor, Scotty.  Dad stood there with a downcast look on his face and his hands on his hips. There was talk about “Coccidiosis” a disease of the intestinal tract of animals caused by the Coccidian protozoa but no one really knew what was causing the high rate of mortality.

Finally, Dad threw up his hands and said, “I don’t care if we lose every one of these chickens!  We’re going to Campmeeting!!” 

I saw a worried look on my Mother’s face.  Scotty just stood there and shook his head. 

From that day forward, we never lost another chicken!

We, all but Dad, walked away from the pile of dead chickens.  He stayed by to clean up the mess.

Campmeeting(Boards Ancestry.com)

Campmeeting was wonderful!  We all learned so much!  And, we all looked forward to returning the following year.

And, we all had a great story to tell about how God won the battle back there in our driveway in June of 1946.All it took was a determined commitment on our part and once that was demonstrated, God did the rest; the part that we could NOT do.


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It’s A Beautiful Morning


By O’Ceallaigh

Good Morning, Lord!  It’s a beautiful morning! – If only these aches and pains would subside!

But, because of sin in this world You had to take away the Tree of Life from the Garden of Eden.  What would we have done with immortality?  Look what we’ve done with what You’ve given us in our brief three-score and ten years!

After 6,000 years we are still totally selfish.  Even when we claim to be ‘working’ for You!  Even then, we spin Your work to our own selfish ends.  We take what You have done through us and add to our pride by touting that it’s what we have done. 

Oh, we still give cursory credit to You, but it is our pride that is stroked!  It is our success that we display for the world to see!  You get buried in or corporate self acclaim!

Why do You bless our efforts at all?

Is it to show Your love for us?  For them?  Those for whom we perform our ‘Good Deeds’? Is it because of Your very nature of Love?  Yes, I suppose it is.jesus-help-me

But in a larger sense,  I’m beginning to see that it is because of the idea of ‘Theodicy’; a Defense of You, God, against the malignant innuendo and outright lies that have been rendered against You and Your rule – Your system of government – impugning your very nature and character for millennia!

I’m beginning to see that Your plan to salvage Your government extends far beyond just saving us, the miserable wretches who sucked up the lies in the first case, way back in Eden.  But, it reaches all the way down to this end of Time’s spectrum to where we live. We, the very same miserable wretches whom You will use to demonstrate just how far Your Grace extends!

1 universe
All the way to the security of the entire Universe!

Yes, Lord, God of the Universe, Creator of all things, It is a beautiful morning!

Keep on working with us!

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The National Anthem Dialog

By O’Caellaigh –

Colin Kaepernick chose not to stand for the National Anthem a couple of weeks ago and it caused an uproar throughout the world.

The way I read the First Amendment he has the God given right to exercise this choice.  “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech….” the-first-amendment-protects-offensive-speech
That seems simple enough.

Now, being an old softie when it comes to warm feelings about the flag, the national history and apple pie, I will have to say that I don’t agree with Kaepernick because I get a lump in my throat every time I hear the song properly sung. I recall arriving in New York Harbor on a troop ship after serving 2 years in Europe and catching my first glimpse of the Statue of Liberty.  I and about two thousand other guys were almost brought to tears at the sight.

Now, I’m fortunate enough to not be encumbered with the malady of looking at the world with ethnic or shaded glasses.  Nevertheless, it is of interest to me that intersecting the time frame of Kaepernick’s life episode there was a multiplicity of posts here and there on the social media providing critical analyses of the Star Spangled Banner, from a poem originally titled, “Defence of Fort M’Henry” by Francis Scott Key, a lawyer from Baltimore.

The poem depicts the battle between the fledgling America and the formidable England who “rule(d) the waves.” The Fort, manned by troops and housing families came under bombardment by the British war fleet on the night of September 14, 1814.  Scott Key
The battle lasted through the night and there are conflicting accounts of the number and severity of casualties. But, that’s a story for another day.

What has struck me with all these posts  in recent days is that some have denigrated the song and the author as racist, based on the third verse of the poem which is not included in the Anthem.  So, not being familiar with the much analyzed verse, I just had to look it up and read it.

“And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country, should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”


With the context of the war and understanding that Britain had hired warriors and used slaves for “warriors” as well,(more than 3,000 of them)  and we recognize that the Brits were not Francis Scott Key’s favorite people and this is reflected in the poem. Americans also allowed some enslaved and free Blacks to enlist in the military.  Canada, too, had many Black enlistees during the period.See here.  Britain sen 4,500 of their men to North Point where about 300 lost their lives.

The first two lines of the third verse refer to the “band” who swore that “we”, the Americans, would have a country no more!  He then refers to their own blood as having  washed out their “foul footsteps’ pollution.”

The next two lines,

“No refuge could save the hireling and slave, From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave…”

reveal the inability of the hired warriors and slave to find quarter or escape the terror or the gloom of the grave brought about by the American “Victory” on that fateful night.

Is there poetic license reflected here?  Most assuredly!  But when seen in this light it is the Brits that Key was denigrating not the hirelings or the slaves.  If anything he was, in this case, defending the defenseless slaves and hirelings.

I believe many of the race baiters and, perhaps, Kaepernick (and other football heroes) could be well advised to recognize the patriotism – the love of country – revealed in the poem including, but not limited to the much-maligned third verse.

Happy Labor Day!


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Lost In The Woods

By O’Ceallaigh –

Don was an avid outdoorsman.20160510_084029413_29_orig

At every opportunity Continue reading

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The Snow Apple Tree

By O’Ceallaigh –

We had an orchard behind our house on Maple Grove Road in Bemus Point.  There were several apple trees, a pear tree, two peach trees and a couple of cherry trees.  By the time we arrived on the farm most of these trees were overgrown with suckers and my Dad was so busy trying to make the farm profitable that he didn’t think there was enough time to care for that old orchard.

In the far corner, that would be the Southeast corner of the orchard, there was one tree that still produced some pretty good apples. From time to time we would walk across the front yard, climb over the “woven wire fence” into the Calf Pasture, our new nomenclature for the orchard, and make our way to the old apple tree.  From the fruit of our labor, Mom would make two delicious apple pies.Moms-Apple-Pie1
I can almost taste them now.  They were nothing like you buy in the stores, believe me! These were good!  No, they were “Scrumptious!! I just had to learn to make them myself!  But, I was only 4 or 5 years old at the time. What was I to do? So, I dreamed of the day when I would be able to make my own apple pies.

Back in the mid ‘70’s I used to go hunting deer every fall.  The weather always varied in Western New York; sometimes winter came early – sometimes late.  But it was usually cool and crisp in the woods. I would walk through pasture land, swamp land and hardwoods trying to scare up the trail of a large Buck. Often there would be signs of deer in various places but the lithe, great antlered critters were difficult to find. I learned to search out various apple trees on my treks through the woods because deer like apples.

With all that walking, it seems I was always hungry.  I would think about the lunch I was carrying but, one does not want to eat his only lunch at 9:00 in the morning!  He might starve before noon!

So, I would resort to an apple or two from one of the many wild trees I encountered.  Most of them were yellow pie apples, knobby and stung and the tell-tale “sawdust” emanating from a small hole giving me the assurance of a worm somewhere on the interior of the apple. But, not to worry!  He would always leave enough of the apple to share with his two legged friends.

North spy crop
My favorite was the wild Northern Spy.  They were tart and made my jaw cramp up when I would take my first bite into that cold, crisp fruit.  It would always make me think of the Snow Apple Tree.

The Snow Apple Tree was on our farm too, but it was a wild tree, well on the way to the twenty-nine and a half acre pasture.  Mom, my sister and I would leave the house, cross the 10 acre field, walk down the “Dugway” and across the creek.  Just a few more steps and we would pass by the Ravine Spring.  After a quick drink from the spring, we would climb the knoll, walk through the “Poplar Grove” and descend the gradual hill on the road leading past the Snow Apple Tree.

Yes, they were called “Snow Apples.  And, they were delicious.  Better than the ones on the Southeast corner of our orchard!  These were sweet, crisp, tart and almost syrupy with juice.  Do you know what kind of pies these apples would make?  Well, I’m so sorry that you don’t know because I just can’t describe them either!  Even the word “Scrumptious” somehow just doesn’t suffice to explain them.

They were good!  You get the idea.

Jo and I and Mom would pick a bushel of those luscious apples, split them up in three gunny-sacks and carry them back up the road, through the “Poplar Grove” down off the knoll and past the Ravine Spring.  We would always stop to rest by the spring and hear Mom’s counsel regarding how important that spring would be to us during “The Time of Trouble.”

We would listen, wide eyed.

101_1012Then, we would head across the creek, up the “Dugway” and across the 10 acre field and home.

I didn’t know it at the time, but one of the reasons we went through all this was that, had we not, we would have had little to eat for supper that night. But, with the ever present potatoes, a few string beans and tomatoes from the garden and  a couple of pieces of that pie, made from crisp, delicious Snow Apples, we ate like Kings, and never knew we were poor!

“Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?”  (Matthew 6:27)


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Kathy’s Kitchen

By O’Ceallaigh –

I was up this morning at about 6:30 AM and wandering about the kitchen trying to acclimate myself to the new day and organize sufficiently to get my handful of pills on the counter in order to take them in the appropriate sequence. My neck and “occipital” area of my head was hurting and I added to my mental stress by trying to decide whether to take aspirin to dull the edge of the hurt!

While going through all this foolishness I, like a good automaton, ran through a few “Range of Motion” exercises during one of which, my head was tilted back and I was looking at the ceiling.

That’s when I saw it.

We purchased our first house in Jamestown, New York some 50 plus years ago. It was on Sturges Street on the North side. We didn’t have much lawn, but I needed a lawnmower. In those days, a lawn mower cost about eighteen to twenty dollars and, as I recall, I was only making about $65.00 a week driving about the area servicing Grocery Stores for a Food Broker. This travel was about a thousand miles a week. That worked out to about a dollar an hour, or so it seemed!

lawnmower_t620 crop

I was not in the mood to spend $20.00 on a new lawnmower so we looked elsewhere. That’s when we ran across an advertisement in the local paper for a “Storage Unit Fire Sale!”   Hey! Why not give it a shot.

It was down by the “Outlet” where Chautauqua Lake empties into the Chadikoin River. From there it goes to Cassadaga Creek, then to the Conawango Creek and on to the Conawango River in Warren, PA. It then travels to Pittsburgh where it ultimately connects with the Ohio and somewhere down the pike with the Mississippi.

So, here we were at this little auction where they were selling the stuff from a storage unit in an old frame factory where a fire had smoked everything up.

We thoroughly enjoyed the chant of the auctioneer as he sold off a few of the items but, when he came to the Rotary lawnmower I really started to pay attention.

He started off at a dollar. I let a few of the cheapskates get in as it advances at a quarter a shot. It was quite active, I thought, so I made my move!

“$2.50” I called out.

There was silence.

“Finally the auctioneer hollered out, “I got 2.50, do I hear Three, three! Anybody three??”


“Sold!” to the man in the Woolrich jacket!”

“I should’a bid $2.00” I thought to myself!

We had come for a lawnmower, we had a lawnmower.

We hung around a few more minutes just for the fun of it and then headed out with our purchase. The chatter of the auction was fading in the distance when we heard the auctioneer say, “Who’s Kathy!?”Young_Auctioneer_p115 crop

Kathy turned quickly and said, “I’m Kathy!”

He was holding an old, dirty, smoked up piece of wood that vaguely said something on it in Old English.

“Well?” He asked!

“Two bits!” I replied.

Everybody applauded!

We got home with our two purchases and set about to clean them up. First, the last purchase.

It was a piece of solid Oak, about four feet long well finished but dirty. We worked on it for some time with various cleaning agents and it came out looking just fine. In perfectly carved Old English lettering it says: “Kathy’s Kitchen.”

101_1476We hung in up in the kitchen on Sturges Street and it’s been with us ever since.

And, there it is this morning, fifty years later!

I wish I could tell you that we researched the sign and found that it was brought over here on the Mayflower by the very same Kathleen that operated a classy Pub at the Bunratty Inn in Ireland discovered when we visited there, but, alas, no research was ever done!

But, it is a memory that is still precious to the two of us it still hangs above the counter in our home in Florida, declaring that this is “Kathy’s Kitchen!”

And don’t ye be fergettin’ it now!!

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