Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Poem for the New Year

Photo by Easter Okalani Almuena

I thought of you and prayed that your Advent and Christmas would be a delightful one. I hope it was so. The New Year has rolled in and seems to be comfortably set, with its own time and similar schedules. I am hoping though that you are doing something new, or something challenging, something that will delight your heart, something that will make you grow. Christmas brought into our lives the newness of Jesus who is born into the world -- for us -- making us refreshed daily. That "newness" inspires us to reach for greater heights (cf. St. Thomas Aquinas on faith, Summa Theologica).

I'm happy to share with you a poem that I wrote three years ago. I hope it brings your heart hope and joy, as it did mine.

I'm on a different terrain of my journey. My husband Joe and I were in a five-year diaconate program that recently ended. He will be ordained a deacon this 31st of January. This marks a poignant stroke of the years ahead of service. A certain priest says it is a demotion, not a promotion. To me, these are beautiful words to cherish, a reminder that central to our service is Jesus Christ. Not us. For now, I pray God bless you all immensely in ways that will make you grow and shine with God's light.

Happy New Year!

Here is my Poem for the New Year published in the Hawaii Catholic Herald. Enjoy! Thank you for your friendship and precious time! Aloha nui.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Advent Cares

Time is in a sense a matured possession in my home. My children care less for Advent cut-outs of Fall and purple things or colored paper and glitters. We are evolving more maturely into a gathering of faith enthusiasts of the Liturgy of the Hours and book discussions; for this year's Advent it is Advent and Christmas Wisdom from Henri J.M. Nouwen. Both my husband and I relish in the gift of this type of maturing. I remind our children, however, of the importance of keeping traditions in the family that contribute to its stability. You can count on activities of tradition such as the lighting of Advent candles and taking turns with prayers, which do not force but rather encourage family members to gather to be present for God and for one another. That counts for stability of family structure.

Packed with wisdom tucked away in good chosen words, the book with wisdom from Henri Nouwen takes us to a place of waking to hidden meanings that lead to a deeper conversion. I look into my children's faces and am filled with wonder as their brows furrow and then eyes twinkle -- as they witness an unfolding of a meaning, coming to them as a treasure to keep. They bring wisdom to the table. By listening to them speak their minds, I become a more fulfilled teacher and mother. In reality, they are maturing more as they become more distanced from me in their ways of pursuing wisdom. I step back and realize the greater gift a mother has when she is able to let her children be. Perhaps this is the unfolding treasure for me. How I praise God for Advent!

Needing some music to go with an Advent reading or meditation of God's words? The book suggests Gregorian chants since, truly, it isn't Christmas yet.

Have a most blessed and joy-filled Advent!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Advent Resources 2014

For Daily Prayer:

The Magnificat:

-- Available on-line at
-- Copies available at the Pauline Books and Media Centers

Liturgy of the Hours: 

-- Christian Prayer for Roman Catholics available on-line for individual or group/family prayer; book may be purchased at

Pauline Books and Media Centers have the following:

Advent and Christmas Wisdom with Pope John Paul II
By John V. Kruse, PhD

Live Advent at Home: Daily Prayers and Activities for Family
By Patricia Mathson

Advent and Christmas Wisdom from G. K. Chesterton
By G. K. Chesterton, compiled by Center of the Study of C.S. Lewis and Friends

Rediscover Advent
By Matthew Kelly

We Light the Candles
By Catherine Brandt

Magnificat Advent Companion 2014 (sold out on-line)
Copies still available at Pauline Bookstores

By the Daughters of St. Paul

Exploring Advent with Luke (Site is on Amazon)
By Timothy Clayton

Advent and Christmas (Site is on Amazon)
By Henri J. M. Nouwen 

Joyous Expectation (Site is on Amazon)
By M. Jean Frisk

On-line year-round Meditation sites:

Imitation of Christ by Thomas O'Kempis -- available in print at Pauline Books and Media

On-line Advent Discussion based on books:

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Song: Ten Thousand Reasons (Bless the Lord) by Matt Redman

What are some things you do so you don't lose your connection with God?

I surmise prayer and Scripture reading are some of your answers. Nice! We must be grounded in prayer and Scripture to begin with. During the course of the day, what do you do? One of the ways I find helpful is singing or humming a song. This one particular song I'm sharing with you, which is quite popular, is what reverberates into my heart these days as I go about my daily routines.

You must already know the words of St. Francis, "Singing is twice praying," so much so that you do sing to God. Wonderful! There's one great connection between God and you that gets you going throughout the day because as you sing for him you are honoring God, blessing him, and thanking him: for all that he is, all that he is about, and the ten thousand reasons he blesses you.

Music as a way of prayer brings us to the words of St. Paul, "Pray without ceasing" (1 Thess 5:11), which then brings us to the continuity of our connection with God: that when we sing to God we continue to be in tune with him.

What is your favorite song for God? Enjoy the moment of being with him as you sing it.

"Music is among the many and great gifts of nature with which God, in Whom is the harmony of the most perfect concord and the most perfect order, has enriched men, whom He has created in His image and likeness.Together with the other liberal arts, music contributes to spiritual joy and the delight of the soul" (Pope Pius XII, Musicae Sarcae #4).

"Music, that is the science or the sense of proper modulation, is likewise given by God's generosity to mortals having rational souls in order to lead them to higher things" (Quote by St. Augustine, Musicae Sarcae #5 by Pope Pius XII).

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Poem: Moonlight Paddling by Easter Almuena

picture by Dann Ebina

A sense of eerie feeling pervaded the Pacific beach before the first ray of light is cast upon the darkness of the evening. It couldn't have been 8 p.m. Slowly yet steadily, the clouds moved to the side to make way for this whitish moon cake. Looking gentle and serene, the presence of this majestic moon succeeded in calming the face of the earth with its faint light.

Let's go! For we could now see the shimmering light upon the vast ocean. So dash we dared to the kayaks, feeling all the exhilaration rushing to our veins. We proceeded to the ocean deep... for moonlight paddling.

In that journey three families and a visiting priest from Africa had a glimpse of eternity.

Bourn out of this most memorable experience is a poem I wrote. This poem is published in the Hawaii Catholic Herald. Enjoy!

Moonlight Paddling
By Easter Almuena

Moon cake of light gold crusting
Marking the eerie dark of the night
With a taste of quaint entrance
As if mocking the daylight turn

Rush to the kayaks!
We keikies of the morning light
Who dive into the Pacific in beats
Of pounding hearts and vigilant eyes

Arms move to the rhythm of paddles
With movements of incandescence
Below in silence, moon meets moon
With moon maker in shadow crest

Copyright © 2014 Easter Almuena
All rights reserved.

(Moonlight paddling took place on September 9, 2014.)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Book: Theology of the Body by Karen Doyle

Theology of the Body, some thoughts and reflections by Karen Doyle: This book, to me, contains the most simple and concise text that beautifully illustrates in words and graphics what Theology of the Body encompasses in a marital covenant. I found it necessary to read this book slowly and meditatively. What I did also was to reread it to capture its essence and meaning. It was an enjoyable experience overall. Not only did it ground my faith and belief in marriage, but it also added a level of depth and beauty to my own marriage.

This book is available for $10.00 at the Pauline Books and Media Center in your area or on-line here. Enjoy!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Poem: On This Journey of Drought

photo found at Wide Sahara Desert Image

Sometimes comes a time in one's place when a more intense form of silence is to be observed. This is nothing new to me. The call to be quiet, to be immersed in God alone is a place he draws me to. Every other month I stay in a monastery for two days and one night. Something out of the ordinary, however, had to occur in me for a big pause to take place -- a place where God's embrace and the outpouring of his most loving presence is felt in a different way. I was ill for awhile. Though I may not have understood why it had to happen, I do now, and it's all that matters. It has been a long journey to full recovery, but necessary. Things have then become arranged in proper places, as God had designed them to be. I am very close to full recovery and -- funny as it may seem -- sometimes, I'd find myself wishing that the time of recuperation was longer. I cannot kid myself, of course. Time moves with God's plans. I am almost there. I know because the line of things needed to be done has become clearer, and longer. It's almost time to swing to full speed.

Anyhow, I'd like to share with you a poem I had written possibly five years ago. I didn't know then why I wrote it, but at the time of illness which occurred months ago, this poem seemed to fit. Mind you, it has a gloomy tone, as gloomy as one's experiences when one is in a desert. I call it my "dark night of the soul," which certainly is, to me, a resonance yet just a small taste of the dark night of the soul of my favorite male saint, St. John of the Cross.

I thank you for listening. Here's the poem:

At the Hawaii Catholic Herald, On This Journey of Drought.

Books about or by St. John of the Cross may be purchased at Pauline Books and Media website, or at any of their stores. Thank you.