Flip Phone Thoughts

I thought today I would just indulge in sharing with you a collection of photos I took recently with my hi-tech flip phone.


My phone.


Whenever I am in public with my children and I pull it out, they all scatter and pretend they don’t know me. Clinging to archaic modes of communication like a Luddite, I am so embarrassing to be around.

These pictures are very specific, inasmuch as I took them when I sensed in my heart some off-beat insight that seemed worth capturing. Or so it seemed. As I have in the past, I will add a quote that captures the sentiment that first moved me to snap each photo.


Pond behind our home.

“Jesus chose to teach me this mystery. He set before me the book of nature; I understood how all the flowers He has created are beautiful, how the splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the Lily do not take away the perfume of the little violet or the delightful simplicity of the daisy. I understood that if all flowers wanted to be roses, nature would lose her springtime beauty, and the fields would no longer be decked out with little wild flowers. And so it is in the world of souls, Jesus’ garden. He willed to create great souls comparable to lilies and roses, but He has created smaller ones and these must be content to be daisies or violets destined to give joy to God’s glances when He looks down at His feet. Perfection consists in doing His will, in being what He wills us to be.” — St. Thérèse of Lisieux


Sweet Williams that grow in front of the parish church I confess at.

“The earth laughs in flowers.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson


A sunset from the Walgreens parking lot near our home.

“The texture of the world, its filigree and scrollwork, means that there is a possibility for beauty here, a beauty inexhaustible in its complexity, which opens to my knock, which answers in me a call I do not remember calling, and which trains me to the wild and extravagant nature of the Spirit I seek.” ― Annie Dillard


A Magnolia behind our house.

“There is one spectacle grander than the sea, that is the sky; there is one spectacle grander than the sky, that is the interior of the soul.” ― Victor Hugo

Snow trees

Outside the seminary refectory in Denver, where I visited a few weeks ago.

“Snow was falling,
so much like stars
filling the dark trees
that one could easily imagine
its reason for being was nothing more
than prettiness.” ― Mary Oliver


Waiting for my plane to arrive in Denver…long wait.

“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” ― Aristotle


“Should I shave or not?” — Tom Neal

“Yes.” — Patti Neal


A painting of the Crucifixion by a friend of mine.

“We sinned for no reason but an incomprehensible lack of love, and He saved us for no reason but an incomprehensible excess of love.” ― Peter Kreeft


A pencil sketch of the Crucifixion done by my brother. It’s tiny, about 3/4″ tall. He dabbed some red paint on it later.

“A marvelous and mighty paradox has thus occurred, for the death which they thought to inflict on Him as dishonor and disgrace has become the glorious monument to death’s defeat.”
― St. Athanasius of Alexandria


Patti Neal, bride, mother, friend, cause of my joy.

“The more I know Gianna, the more I am convinced that God could not have given me a greater gift than her love and companionship” — Pietro Molla speaking of his wife, St. Gianna Molla

“How shall we ever be able adequately to describe the happiness of that marriage which the Church arranges, the Sacrifice strengthens, upon which the blessing sets a seal, at which angels are present as witnesses, and to which the Father gives His consent?

How beautiful, then, the marriage of two Christians, two who are one in hope, one in desire, one in the way of life they follow, one in the religion they practice. They are as brother and sister, both servants of the same Master. Nothing divides them, either in flesh or in spirit. They are, in very truth, two in one flesh; and where there is but one flesh there is also but one spirit. They pray together, they worship together, they fast together; instructing one another, encouraging one another, strengthening one another. Side by side they visit God’s church and partake of God’s Banquet; side by side they face difficulties and persecution, share their consolations. They have no secrets from one another; they never shun each other’s company; they never bring sorrow to each other’s hearts. Unembarrassed they visit the sick and assist the needy. They give alms without anxiety; they attend the Sacrifice without difficulty; they perform their daily exercises of piety without hindrance. They need not be furtive about making the Sign of the Cross, nor timorous in greeting the brethren, nor silent in asking a blessing of God. Psalms and hymns they sing to one another, striving to see which one of them will chant more beautifully the praises of their Lord. Hearing and seeing this, Christ rejoices. To such as these He gives His peace. Where there are two together, there also He is present; and where He is, there evil is not.” — 3rd century Christian author, Tertullian, in chapter 2 of a letter he wrote to his wife (Ad Uxorem)

This entry was posted in Cool.

20 comments on “Flip Phone Thoughts

  1. mrsjfabrizi says:

    Are those flower pictures taken recently? We have had 11 feet of snow this winter, with three feet still on the ground and I finally understand the never-ending winter of Narnia. That magnolia made my heart leap with hope! Great pics, great quotes.

  2. Tim says:

    Brother Luddite Tom, I too still have a flip phone…..it takes great pictures…….
    to shave or not to shave…..that’s the question…….keep the moosetashe……(which is the word that a fourth grader used to refer to mine). God bless you and the family……

  3. Ona says:

    If you have to ask, the answer is always “yes, shave.” I think similar applies to “does this shirt go with these pants?” If you have to ask, the answer is no. Thanks for the giggle.

  4. numberone sinner par excellence!!!!!! JIWY. says:

    Wonderful pics even the ones of the miserable snow , even though my f as favorite pic is of the singing Angel , I say no no no to the razor. Sorry queen Patricia. PBWY and charity to all .

  5. Reed says:

    Tom, I am also a member of the flip phone brotherhood–it is a great way to silence loud kids when you are out in public. Whip out the fossil flip phone and they gasp in silence. Mission accomplished.

  6. Maureen says:

    Love the pictures and beautiful quotes.
    I agree with Patti , no beard.. Elizabeth says Hi ! Peace and Love to All,

  7. by GODS mercy still the number one sinner says:

    Dr. Kneel how is that your bride continues to grow in beauty while you so far removed from your maintenance days at St.T.M.as a handsome youth….. well ???

  8. oneview says:

    Your “Should I shave?” photo made me laugh out loud (with Carol across the hall), which is something I really needed today. Your Patti Neal reflection made me cry, which is also a gift today. Thank you, thank you, thank you for continue to share your charism of writing through blogging. Love and blessings!

  9. Victorious Love says:

    “There is one spectacle grander than the sea, that is the sky; there is one spectacle grander than the sky, that is the interior of the soul.” ― Victor Hugo
    How stunning it will be to see fully the interior of the soul blooming with wild brilliance like flowers of a field in perfect communion with God!
    I’m grateful for your flip phone photos 😄

  10. ann says:

    Lovely pictures. Your phone is doing quite well. But I agree with Patti – no stubble. Tell Patti that she looks fabulous.

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