Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Finding Emmeline

Here's a sample of Rebecca McNutt's review of "Finding Emmeline" posted on Goodreads.com.

The adventures of Martin continue in this thrilling and captivating novel, and so far this is my absolute favourite of Robert Parlante's books, as it's definitely one of the most exciting and family/friendship oriented of them all. Always his companion in his work is Martin's wife, proving that love and companionship has no boundaries, and Finding Emmeline is also an excellent detective story with a mysterious premise. I loved this book...

Thanks Rebecca for your great review.

Robert Parlante
November 2017

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Never Alone

A few years ago, a good friend honored me with a gift desktop bronze sculpture by Scott Stearman. It depicts a man holding a book and kneeling on one knee. Jesus is standing behind with both hands laying on the man’s shoulder. The artistic piece is titled “Never Alone.”

I have had the sculpture for at least fifteen years in our guest bedroom. Recently, I moved the piece to my desktop in the living room. Now I see “Never Alone” multiple times each day. It’s now a continuous reminder of my standing in Christ as a believer.

Ephesians 2:19-21 reminds us of that standing:

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. (ESV)

Here’s a paraphrase (theodysseyonline.com)of those verses: Whenever you feel unloved, unimportant, or insecure, remember to whom you belong.

You are never alone when you place your trust in Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

Robert Parlante
November 2017

Monday, October 30, 2017

I Pledge Allegiance

Some years ago, a friend of ours lost her husband from dementia. He had spent years in a Veterans Administration nursing home. He had served in the military and was a feather-weight championship boxer. He was part of a diminishing group who fought hard, and even sacrificed, for our hard-earned freedoms.

I attended his memorial service, and it was one of the most touching I can recall. His grandchildren were all young adults who spoke eloquently about their relationship with their grandfather.

Particularly impressive was one of the grandkids who had moved back with his siblings into his grandparents’ home after the parents divorced. Now a young adult, he shared how his grandfather would have the young grandkids go out each morning for the raising of the American flag. They stood at attention as the flag moved up the pole, saluted and recited the pledge of allegiance. The experience had a lasting impression on the grandkids.

I respect people’s right to free speech protected under the U.S. Constitution. But every time I see our flag being disparaged, I recall this incident and the impact it had on my friend’s grandkids. It may feel old-fashioned or meaningless, especially when some flag protests feel legitimate.

Keep reminding yourself: Patriotism builds character, no matter how corny it may feel at times.

Robert Parlante
October 2017

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Trading Lederhosen for a Kilt

Growing up, my parents always told me I was a “FBI” or full-blooded Italian. I’m a first-generation Italian-American on my father’s side and a second generation on my mother’s side. Both parents came from the same region in northern Italy, so both considered it was obvious I was 100% Italian heritage.

A recent television ad by ancestry.com got me thinking maybe there’s more to my genealogy story. Many readers have likely seen the ad where a male folk-dancer is wearing lederhosen Bavarian shorts, believing he was of German descent. After completing his DNA testing, he discovers he is predominantly Scottish and is now wearing a kilt, performing highland dances.

This got me thinking: What if I did my DNA testing and my genealogy turns out to be something drastically different? Will I have to trade my Italian lasagna for Greek spanakopita or Irish shepherd’s pie or French boeuf bourguignon?

For my birthday a few weeks ago, my family gave be a DNA testing kit. As much as I wanted to test, I started getting cold feet. What if I don’t like the results?

But ignoring the testing does not result in “better” DNA! I plunged ahead, spit into the vial (gross!) and sent it on its merry way.

The results are in. It turns out I am 80% Italian/Greek with the remaining 20% from different parts of west Europe. Was I disappointed? Not at all. While the results are interesting I concluded I was less interested in where I came from and what those before me went through. I am more interested in where I am going in the future because I can make choices, not so much about my DNA, but choices that leave something positive after I am gone.

For the record, my ethnicity region where my family roots are most present is predominately Umbria, Italy … land of Francis of Assisi and Perugia candies. That may be why I like dogs and Italian chocolate!

Robert Parlante
October 2017

Monday, September 25, 2017

What's in a Name?

A family member recently went to Washington DC to attend a concert by some group on tour. When I asked my wife, who was the group, she thought it was something like Princess Snowflake. The last time my family member attended a concert it included well-known rappers. Princess Snowflake is hardly a name for a rapper.

Princess Snowflake sounds like a character in a Disney animated movie.

The actual tour headliner was Alison Wonderland who is into electronic dance music (edm). She is an Australian DJ, a classical musician and a trained cellist. Her stage name has a certain ring to it, and is hard to forget.

This exposure to “edm” got me thinking about what’s in a name.

When you call upon the name Princess Snowflake, I can’t help chuckle. It’s a fun name with political overtones and an unlikely name for a serious musician
When you call upon the name Alison Wonderland my writer side kicks in. The “Alice in Wonderland” tie-in is clever and impressive. I hope my writing could be as unique.

But there’s more. Some name you call upon can have life changing experiences far beyond a fleeting laugh or a clever play of words.

"Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved." (Romans 10:13)

Have a blessed day, enjoy a good laugh,  and take time to hear the music.

Robert Parlante
September 2017

Sunday, September 17, 2017

You Can't Go Home Again

“You Can’t Go Home Again” was a novel by Thomas Wolfe published posthumously in 1940. It’s a tale of a character trying to go back to his earlier roots to recapture fond memories and their positive impacts. While the goal was to relive the positive aspects of life, going back in time tempts us to recast personal history to remove the possible downside from some experiences.

My niece recently embarked on a road trip with a similar objective. She wanted more information about the house and the surrounding area where her father had lived. Her dad was the eldest of the three brothers in the family, with I being the youngest. We had lived in a coal mining town, and I had not seen our old house for decades. My maternal grandparents lived several homes away. My niece had lived in an urban neighborhood throughout her early childhood.

Here is what we learned from the road trip:

My niece’s early childhood two-family house was once pristine and was now in disrepair and uninviting. What should have been a time for fond memories was now a time for sadness.

My grandparents’ home was essentially the same except all vestiges of farming and homesteading were gone.

My home where I was born looked picture-perfect with the garden plots and fruit trees being replaced by well-manicured grass.

Life in the coal mining town had clearly changed. My parents lived through the Depression era and devoted all arable land to growing food. My early life revolved around planting and harvesting, neighborly support during the food preserving times and family nearby who watched over each other. As I scanned the picture of my childhood home, I saw warm memories but now they had faded into history.

It is a different time now compared to the past. One cannot go back in time to relive an old memory. Our best option is to place our trust in the Lord and create a new and heartwarming memory today.

Robert Parlante
September 2017

Monday, August 28, 2017

Retracing Our Steps

Received a call from my sweet niece who wanted more information about the house where her father had lived. Her dad was the eldest of the three brothers in the family, with I being the youngest. We had lived in a coal mining town, and I had not seen our old house for decades. My maternal grandparents lived several homes away. My niece wanted information about them as well.

Much likely changed over the decades, so whatever information I remembered was certainly not up-to-date. “Why all this interest in retracing one’s historical steps?” I had asked.

She related her experience when her twenty-three-year-old daughter had lost her life after battling multiple myeloma. The only thing what provided any measure of comfort was recalling old family memories, tales of family bonding and experiences that pulled a family together to fight the battles collectively cast before us. She prayed and meditated on those family memories throughout the final stages of her daughter’s life. My niece’s comfort and strength came from family even though our current family is vastly different than our childhood memories. Time tends to alter one’s memories, good or bad. She now wanted to revisit those memories and chronicle the comfort and strength from those times for the current and future generations.

Faced with a free weekend she came up with a plan. She would drive to each of the family homes in the coal-mining community and try to speak to the current occupants. It’s just a start, and it may end up futile with little new information. But there is still comfort in the process. She is not trying to change the course of the family history. She is not trying to understand all the ins and outs of life.

Proverbs 20:24 reminds us, 
“The LORD directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?”

Our comfort does not come from understanding. Our comfort is rooted in the Lord overseeing our lives, and how he uses others, like our families to minister into our lives.

Robert Parlante
August 2017