Archive for September 2009

9-27-09

September 30, 2009

Thank you to all my family and friends for your birthday greetings and prayers and presents.  Birthday cake from class members, special bread, and cards that said so much!  Thank you for your patience with me while I obsessed on Suzy’s condition.

Just a quick mention to my kids whose gift shows they know me well – electronic gadgets and nature! Wild bird camcorder!    Birthday cam

I return to all of you, my readers, best wishes and prayers for True Happiness on your own birthdays.    (I’ll get some of you individually!)   A birthday is not only a celebration of the person you are and the life that you’ve lived, but also a celebration of a new year ahead of you!

I’ve always felt LUCKY to have a birthday in the Fall.    This time of the year has so many new beginnings.  For me, it is introspective little diary entries with resolutions to do this and to learn that and to be better now that I am this old.

Birthday falll deck

This is the beginning of a new season, crisper, cooler weather, brilliant blue skies, colorful leaves….all over the place.    And for some of us it means a return of energy!    It’s a much more abrupt change from summer to fall than from spring to summer.

Then there is the new FOOTBALL season!

Birthday schoold deskThere is the beginning of a new school year….What that means as a student changes for each year, I’ve discovered, but as teachers, my husband and I will always mark the new school year   It still feels like “hope and possibilities.”

 

Obey HDTVSomeone reminded me that this is also the beginning of a new television line-up.    Well…….hmmmph.    But I do remember how fun it was to receive the New Fall TV Guide in the mail and mark all the new programs that looked good.   (A whole new year of being “programmed” !)

 

Rosh HashanahBirthday shofar

And around this time of the year  comes Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year –  a time for introspection, a renewed and deeper understanding of the worship of God, and new resolutions for the coming year.   It is the year 5770 now.     The Jewish calendar has many other “beginnings,”  but for me, near my birthday,  is Rosh Hashanah, accentuating God’s gift of time and the chance to start over.

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SUZY POST-SURGERY

September 26, 2009

Cloud  PeopleThere is blue sky again, filled with many, many things.   Yesterday it was many brilliant little clouds, which I photographed.    It’s an image that I hope I’ll always carry with me, reminding me of the many “clouds of witnesses”  (Hebrews 12:1)  that we have around us all the time.   

And in the past 2,000 years and probably before that, we’ve been taught that there is a common link of love and concern between them and us, between the saints and angels in heaven and the people here on earth.

Yesterday, when I took that picture,  it was the longest afternoon I can ever remember having.   Suzy was “in surgery.”  It was supposed to take about an hour or an hour and a half.    And then they would call me to tell me “how it went.”   

“How it went” for a tiny undernourished, very sick little cat who didn’t have a whole lot of reserves for an operation.     Three hours went by and I was no longer optimistic.   The owners of the roofing company, our Banging Company for the week, came by to inspect their crews’ work.    Nice, nice people.  Animal lovers too.  They said I should call the vet to ask “how it went.”

But I couldn’t.    3:00 went by.   3:30.  3:45.  4:00.  4:15.   And then – the dreaded phone call.    “Mrs. R., we’re done with Suzy.   It was a three-hour operation.  We’re giving her oxygen now, and she should wake up soon…”       Only with supreme effort could I squawk out some responses and hear that I should come about 5:00 to “take her home.”   

This is a normal day for most people.  This is a normal day for most people.  This is a normal day for most people.   I could even stop to pick up some “milk” at the store on the way…This is just a normal day.   (We don’t drink milk.)

*          *          *           *          *          *

Suzy Hiding   SEVEN TOOTH EXTRACTIONS  and assorted root canals.    Suzy spends the day trying out hidden places in one bedroom.   I am in there as much as possible – and she comes to me and stays on my lap for a short time.   I try to feed her water or thin chicken-y food with a syringe, but so far she is resisting anything in her mouth.      I don’t blame her.

I’m looking for progress every few hours.  Suzy came to me at the lowest point in my life and indeed ties me to this world;  my life is tied to hers, and her crisis is a time for me to learn.  It’s my time at the Adoration Chapel tonight.  I have much to sort out, many lessons to absorb, many thanks to give,  one of which is gratitude for having access to the Chapel itself.   

And I’m moving out of this phase of my life.  I am responsible for many people now, and it’s no longer “about me.”     Time is so short.    There is a Mack truck bearing down on all of us, and I hope to help people be ready.   

Little things are being taken care of:Roof larger section

The roof is done, and it looks nice.   

It’s time to take care of the “major things”   now that the sun has come out again and the world above us is surely filled with beautiful things.    

(Note to self:   St. Therese of Lesieux said to be so sure of eternity and heavenly glory that this world fades in importance.  When it gets dark again here on earth, it will still be glory where God is.)

BANGS FOR SUZY

September 24, 2009

Here is the little patient today, after a tiring syringe of water:   Suzy yellow towel

Every care is taken.     I’m learning the meaning of “cherish,”   which I have tossed around almost casually in my classes.    

After the antibiotics and the pain medication and some comforting pheromones, she is doing much better.

All God’s creatures have troubles.   And sometimes troubles pile upon troubles.    Suzy should have peace and rest….but this is our house this week:   Rooftop bangs straight on

The Patience of a Cat.   It’s really true.  She is a study in patient acceptance of whatever comes her way.     My teeth are on edge from the constant banging above our ceiling….but mostly I’m on edge because I’m worried how this will affect Suzy.     I shouldn’t have worried.    She’s listening, but she’s okay.   Life goes on – in spite of all the bangs.

And so –  I have decided NOT to cancel class tonight.     A thousand “what-ifs” will keep me home, but one act of entrusting them all to Our Dear Lord will send me out.

Our lesson is wonderful tonight, anyway.  I’m hoping God will step in where I am inadequate to teach this.      Mark 6:53-56 sets the scene.   It’s sort of like “Black Thursday” – you know, the day after Thanksgiving at the shopping malls.

Jesus left the Glories of Heaven, His “Ivory Palaces” as the wonderful hymn tells us;   He had just fed the 5,000 and made sure there were Twelve Baskets left over to feed His people –  and THEN He shows us why they need to be fed.    But  He lets His people demonstrate their need in Mark 7:1-13 and then He teaches them to step onto the right pathway in Mark 7:14-23.         Real life lessons.

Next week, the very next passage takes us to the wonderful truth that this God-in-our-Hearts is for the whole world, not just the Jews!

And that is why this long section of Mark is bracketed by two miraculous feedings, the first  with 12 baskets left over and the second with 7 baskets left over.   The first, 12 Tribes of Israel and 12 Apostles indicates “who” can be fed.     The second, 7 Baskets, or  the 7 Sacraments, indicating the “how” and “where” we get fed with  spiritual food which gives us eternal life.

I want to go to class for this part of the Bible.

Suzy Update

September 22, 2009

Suzy Sleeping CloseUp 200We’ve been “found.”   All tuckered out.   We were up all night, encouraging a few drops of water into her.

Funny how even one’s thinking becomes paralyzed. Thanks to the encouragement of a good friend from out of state, we made the decision to find a second opinion.

Suzy’s in good hands now.  Very sick, but not traumatized by this particular vet visit.  Dental surgery on Friday.    Probably not much sleep until then.

Thanks for good wishes and prayers everyone…Suzy needs all she can get.  I’m going to join her now for a little nap.

SUZY

September 21, 2009

It is dire….Suzy was never the same after the vet exam.  Now she is missing.  Somewhere inside this house.

She was my only link…..  

It will take me a while.        No visits to the Spruce Tunnel….

WHEN A COMPANION’S DOWN

September 19, 2009

My usual morning greeting:

Cat Morning Cartoon

 

 

Except I’m not a guy.

 

And except this is really what I normally see:   Suzy Alarm Clock lighter

It’s hard to see those big eyes amidst the black fur, but she really does stare me awake.  I’m assuming there are “hearts” all around in there too, like the cartoon.

But we have a problem now.

We spent the last two night walking around with a really bad kitty toothache.   She’s a very small cat and has already lost a good percentage of her body weight….She has seen her vet;   she has surgery set for next week.   But she hasn’t eaten or drank anything for many days.

"not feeling so good"

"not feeling so good"

I may have to take her in for some subcutaneous water delivery today.  

If she were a human child, I could relate;  I could comfort;   I could rationalize.    But this little one doesn’t deserve so much pain and I can’t relate and I can’t comfort….and I can’t think much of anything else…

St. Francis of Assisi loved animals….please?

 

Subsequent postings may be short….nothing like pain and fear to focus one’s attention.

ENOCH’S 1ST WEEK

September 16, 2009

“I was born the seventh in the first week, while justice reigned yet upon the Earth.”   Enoch's first

Here, the artist portrays a well-ordered society, structured upon reason, justice, and the social virtues.    However, in reality, this idealized society belongs to our era, to our “Week,”  using Enoch’s term.    Enoch’s own Week came long before this Greek world, and yet the image is almost the best we can do to imagine a world like Enoch’s.

Enoch describes his world as a time when “justice reigned yet upon the Earth.”    One can think about each of these words and take a good guess at how his world differed from ours.

Enoch's blueEarth:   That’s our earth, the planet that best matches humans.  But even in Enoch’s day it was a much-changed planet because Enoch was born into a Fallen world, coming after the great Fall.  It most definitely looked different from our planet today, geographically and geologically, but the same rules of nature would have applied and the same constant work for food and clothing and shelter would be the primary occupation.

    C Torah Scroll

Justice:   The Good God is the Source and Measure of True Justice.  Justice is God’s Righteousenss with respect to interpersonal relationships.  That is, we live among others according to principles that are congruent with God’s own Righteousness.      (Or, try your own definition.   You need time to think about it, let that word work on you and get down deep inside of you where there is no obscurity, no excuses, no fuzzy thinking  or self-defense.)

Crown yellow on blueReigns:   (Is the ruling force) – It’s not that everyone in Enoch’s world was sinless, but that Enoch’s world was, as a whole, characterized by humanity living according to God’s Justice.  Thus, in Enoch’s “Week”  it is likely that  mankind still had a much higher capacity to understand and know the Justice of God. 

 

YET.  Yet.  Yet.  Yet.    Justice reigned yet…     For me, the saddest, most sobering word is Enoch’s word “yet.”  This first era of fallen mankind was much closer to our original Paradise than any time afterwards.  Enoch’s world came right after that Great Rift between Heaven and Earth,  but it was yet still near enough  to Paradise that mankind still retained a knowledge of True Justice.  “Yet” means that there came a time afterwards when this is no longer true.  Justice no longer characterizes the thinking of mankind.  

Truly, so far, each Week has been a descent from the knowledge of God and His Righteousness. 

Enoch is a giant of a man, giant in intellect, giant in righteousness and in companionship with God-Most-High.   Hebrews 11:5 says simply that   “he  pleased  God.”

The gap between Enoch and us almost makes one despair.   And then the Church gives us the  two Readings for the 15th Sunday After Pentecost, and the “despair”  is changed to Hope.

Clock ALarm Running 80But Time is runing away right now….Those two Readings are for next time.  See you next posting!

 

 

HAPPINESS IS…A BULLFROG!

September 15, 2009

I had some serious blog-writing in the making this afternoon, and I was trying to decide which direction to go.

3 Friends and a Bullfrog

3 Friends and a Bullfrog

And then I got a knock on my door.  It was three kids from the neighborhood, two 14-yr. olds and a maybe 11 yr. old.    They had a serious question.   They had this bullfrog in  a net and were wondering if I would give it a good home in our backyard pond.   

Well, sure!Bullfrog ladytoesHere’s the rather large bullfrog and some lady-toes.  

They had learned from school that bullfrogs are “extinct” in our state; and,  as they said,  “Obviously not!”     Here is a “scientific” comparison for size:Bullfrog compare hand

Then came the fun part:  letting him go.    

Here he is:  Bullfrog in the Bulrushes…Bullfrog in the Bulrushes

Reminds me of my childhood!    And this is one of the GREAT advantages of working at home.

The three said he looks “really cool” when he swims, so I picked up the camera again.  But…well, swirls in the water are kind of interesting, anyway.Bullfrog gone

We’ll take good  care of him!    (Which I think means Benign Neglect!)

SUNDAYS FOR FEASTING

September 13, 2009

The 15th Sunday After Pentecost.    Sept trees 5 wow

A beautiful early Fall  Sunday:    One day of the week that is a celebration day given by  God Himself:    worshiping God in an almost 2,000 year old ceremony, Bear helmetnearly unchanged;   a slower pace;   friends to talk to;    a feast of maple-chicken, mashed potatoes, biscuits, corn, and macaroni and cheese;   then the afterglow of thinking about the Gospel and the Epistle for the day.   

                     But first,  the Bears.

THE DREAM SCALPEL

September 13, 2009

Dad scalpel

I just “got it” !    Several posts ago, I wrote about a dream I had, involving certain “elements” that weren’t explained satisfactorily in my otherwise really good Dream book.   But I was sure the dream meant something to me.

The dream involved my Dad, a scalpel, an incision, and some tough cartilage to get through.  Following that posting came more postings about my Dad, something that I feel a bit shy about doing, but I did it anyway.  And I learned some things by looking closely at my Dad’s life.

So:   add it up.   ADD IT UP!     Dad + scalpel + me making an incision  in him =  DISSECTION !

My “Dad” was willing for me to dissect him ( as I saw him). . .

Now…why?

Which of the things I learned is what I was supposed to learn?     I’m not usually so slow at this.   Is this one of the things Time is for?   

Time is a manifestation of God’s patience with us.

DAD, LES PAUL, AND RHUBARB RED

September 13, 2009

The musician as a boy:   Dad as boy w guitar

You’re looking at a kid with a tough, tough childhood, holding his one prized possession, the one thing that kept his life going.   That’s my Dad.    And he has given me a lot of surprises.

Anyone who knew him and his family back then wouldn’t have thought he’d amount to anything.    He not only had nothing going for him, he had everything going against him, including way more musical talent than one man can hold in.   But music is the one thread that held his life together, and it is the source of the many surprises for me.

As a little girl I was always surprised to find my Dad lying in bed, looking exhausted, eyes closed, hot and sweaty, but his guitar on his chest and fingers still playing over the strings, practicing something or other.    Something can be THAT important to someone.!

Growing up, what we heard at home from my Dad was the music of Andres Segovia, Christopher Parkening, Django Rhinehart, and various flamenco numbers.    But I learned the “surprising” fact that he made his money from jazz and big band sounds, so people could dance.     This is a sorrow to me, but this is the way the world works.    Lots of times the talent you have won’t earn you a living.    

There were amazing surprises too.   When I was about 12 my Dad casually mentioned the fact that he played for a while with the Tommy Dorsey Band before I was born.   Sheeesh!   That’s big!

And when I asked him a few weeks ago if he had heard that Les Paul had died, he said, yes, that’s too bad…and then he began reminiscing  about the times he spent with Les Paul!   He said used to listen to The Barn Dance on WLS,. Saturday nights, when Les Paul and Jim and Chet Atkins played together in a “hillbilly” trio called Rhubarb Red.    He talked to them sometimes at the studio in downtown Chicago.   

He would meet Les Paul later at music shows, and the two would sit down together and talk about how each of them were experimenting with that unique sound that Les Paul became famous for.    They were both trying different things, although I don’t think any of Mr. Paul’s  tries involved a length of garden hose with two recording heads, one at each end.  Ha! 

We met someone famous out in Denver when I was 18 and my Dad had to get a special made Gibson guitar from him, but .. I was 18, and in a state of misery of my own, at that age.  My memory is not too clear on that time. 

Now my Dad  is stil playing.  Not famous, although he meets professional musicians from time to time.  He takes it all in stride.   He seems oblivious to his great talent, it’s just something that he must do. 

And meanwhile, as we talk on the phone, sometimes I can tell, now, after all these years,  that there are other things  and other people that are important in his mind, besides his guitar.   And that is a very surprising thing to me.

MUSICIANS’ STAYING POWER

September 10, 2009

More nostalgia.   More Dad.

Dad band pfc 250

I wrote yesterday that my Dad is a musician.   That’s him behind the guitar in the Marine Corps (Camp LeJeune)  weekend dance band;  big band sound;  swing;  jazz.    Very, very serious musician. 

I don’t have a photo of him in the Marine Corps marching band, but he was a member.   He played guitar…..so they gave him the cymbals when they marched for parades.  Go figure.  My Mom said she spent the days after a parade trying to get the “green” out of his ties, from the copper cymbals.

Next experience with the Marine Corps and music was – ME !   Our high school summer band camp was directed by Lt. Col. Santleman (sp.) — highest ranking musician in the Marines.  He was a stern, exacting man for us high school kids.   I made him very happy and me very frustrated when he announced:  “I can NOT direct a band of this size with only one bass clarinet!   Does ANYONE play bass clarinet…We NEED another bass clarinet….”

Of course, I raised my hand…I had gotten to third chair flute and was proud of it.   But I raised my darn hand.    I could play bass clarinet too.   The Lt. Col.  was very pleased…and I hated myself for it.   Bass clarinet?   It goes like this:   oooomph…..oooomph ……ooooomph…..ooomph ooomph ooomph      …….ooooomph…….ooooomph…..   ALL   SUMMER LONG!

Compare THAT to the intricacies of a flute!

Well, “staying power”   I  said.

Dad's Band

Here’ s one of many photos I have of one of my Dad’s  present bands.  Golden-brown Gibson, I think.    They play the same music,  65 years later!!

Must be something about Music….

MY DAD WAS WRONG

September 9, 2009

I’m feeling nostalgic;  second posting about my Dad.   Must be the dream of my last post.

Dad with scarf

This is my favorite photo of  my Dad.   Young man, just out of the Marine Corps;  about 20 years old in this picture.   He was a jazz and big band musician, so I think of him as a Frank Sinatra sort of guy.   Glamorous like that.

But he got married way too young,  six days after he turned 18.   And I came along 19 months later, their first child;   a parent at 19 years old.    But that’s not what he was wrong about.

This is probably how I normally saw him when I was really little: Dad looking up 425  You know, waaaaay up there.    

In my eyes he was the boss and he knew everything.    Except  for one thing.  

We lived with my Grandma (and Grandpa) in those days.   Housing was scarce.   She kept a very neat and clean house.  My Dad smoked in those days, like most G.I.s, I guess.    The ashes in the ash trays made puffy, feathery light little clouds when you blew into the ash tray.   If you blew hard and quick, the ashes went way up high.  

To me, it was just part of the beautiful world we lived in.    You could turn a pile of dark gray ashes into a soft, pretty white cloud that disappeared in a second.    Miraculous!

One day my Dad saw me approach an ash tray.   He didn’t understand.   I remember he said, “Don’t you do it!”     He didn’t want to see something so fascinating, so I was going to show him how important it was to have pretty things in the world.

. . .

I don’t remember anything after that.    There was most likely a tiny little spanking.     A two-and-a-half year old will block things out like that!

But I’m not sorry;   I knew better than my Dad that day.

A MARINE DREAM – HELP!

September 9, 2009

This kind of a Marine:

Dad PFCA daughter may learn a lot from her Mom, but she will forever see herself   through the eyes of her father.  It’s just the way it is.  

I dreamed about my father this week.  I don’t usually remember my dreams, just vague, happy interesting bits and pieces.   But this week I woke up with a short, very detailed dream that seemed to be important that I remember it…and know something from it.   Like a message.  But I don’t know if it’s a correction or a warning or a prediction…

I have a good dream book that is usually right on about interpreting the elements of a dream.  I’ve noticed the meanings often resemble the personality of the dreamer.   But the dreambook is silent this time.

I thought if I’d write out the dream, maybe something will occur to me.

The first element of this dream is my father…up there in the photo.  A Marine, but not in his Dress Blues, but as an ordinary PFC, with all the nobility and strength of character that a man develops in  the Marine Corps:   courage, duty, firmness of purpose, clear thinking about right and wrong;  being a true gentleman; protector.

So, accentuating the elements…my father, an “ex”- Marine as he calls himself, had been defending our house somehow in this dream;  he got interrupted by a bad appendix.  He called for me to help.   He was sitting in our garage on a high bench, and waiting for me.   He had made his own incision but ran into a  tough vertical  band of cartilage.    

I had a really beautiful gold, double-curved very sharp scalpel, like a saracen blade with two curves.    It was very sharp as I sawed through the tough cartilage.  I didn’t mind the task, but I didn’t like hurting him.   He indicated I should keep going.  The job would get done.

The dream ended deliberately right there.   Apparently that was all the elements I needed to work with to learn….something.   

So….I’ve been thinking about my father all week.   1,300 miles away on the east coast of Florida.    Can I help him?Viking SPear

“TEN THINGS ABOUT ME”

September 8, 2009

honest-scrap

I’ve been tagged.   One of  those mysterious “Tags”  I”ve been reading about has come to me, thanks to  Christopher whose blog presents a delightful perspective on real life.  

The rule for this Tag is to write ten honest facts about yourself.”  Doesn’t sound too hard, so why do I feel like I’m about to give myself ten big smacks on the forehead:   “Oh, why did I have to say THAT?”   Here goes:

1.  I’ve never owned a pair of jeans in my life.   (Put some on once, while climbing a rough rock island in the middle of a lake;  a young man took his jeans right off…and loaned them to me.  A real gentleman.)

2. The only kind of coffee I know how to make is triple espresso.   Or so my guests tell me.

3. I’m way beyond collecting books.  I now collect bookcases.

4.  I’m probably overly prideful about my Rollerblading, and other physical activities that people my age don’t seem to do.

5.  I don’t care much for modern music,  nothing past, say, Scarlatti or Handel or maybe Johann Christian Bach (the son).    On the other hand,  They Might Be Giants  still makes me happy!

6.  The skill I once had that I miss the most:  accompanying Gospel quartets and trios on the piano.  (I suppose I don’t have much need for that among my Catholic friends.)

7.  I still haven’t recovered emotionally from my kids’ teenage years.

8.  I am very remorseful about not having more than two children.   (Does that contradict # 7?)

9.  From early childhood, my normal sleeping time is 2:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.   (I’m finally old enough not to care what the early evening party-poopers have to say about “rising early.”)

10.  I have an irrational and increasing fear of spiders.   (Hence, the current broken foot.)  My tombstone  will read:  “She was done in by a spider.”

There.    Not a pretty sight.   But kind of fun.   Now to tag others, but I seem to know only one person with a blog.    Lois,  you’re tagged, and I’ll try to find some companions for you!

LABOR DAY WITH COLERIDGE

September 7, 2009

Spruce Tunnel Tops

It must be the tree tops in the Spruce Tunnel.   Random thoughts are floating around up there,  colliding together, sometimes falling down into a person’s mind.   And so, for me, Labor Day collides with thoughts of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the great poet of the early 19th century.

Labor Day:  Today we honor the people who work.    This is the work that makes order out of chaos;   which turns nature into gardens and fields of crops; which builds from raw materials clothing, houses, machines, vehicles, useful objects;    and which turns fanciful ideas into useful inventions.

None of this is done, however, without effort, determination, and strength of will.   Education, knowledge, good intentions, and a kindly heart will feed and clothe  no one.   That’s what brings me to Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Rime ship 2

On this Labor Day, taking a day off from my labors, I was reading and thinking about that awesome old ballad of his, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.    It haunts me, in the dim recesses of my mind, and then surfaces from time to time, asking me to relive the eerie, awesome events of that ill-fated crew.

Rime coleridgeI like this black and white picture of a painting of Coleridge because it seems to show something very tragic about this man.   Although he was cultured and well-educated, endowed with skill in words, a poetic sensitivty, and powers of observation,   he seems not to have lived up to his full potential because of a weakness in his character.    This weakness is described by his contemporaries as a lack of will, a laxity,  an indolence.

What a damning indictment by those who knew him!   For us, we think he wrote “well enough” for his works to be included in high school literature textbooks.    But  could he have accomplished more by self-discipline?   What could he have produced if he were industrious?    Why do we read about him that:    “His is the tragic story of  high-endowment with an insufficient will” ?

What would people who know me say of my industriousness?    of my use of my  potential?     Maybe it doesn’t matter.    I know my own answer…..and I don’t like the answer I am compelled to give.

Here is a Labor  Day tribute from Ronald Reagan to those who  have made our nation great:  ” Today we recognize the honor and value of all work and the great distinction that flows from a job well done. From those who first carved a nation out of the wilderness to those who helped cross, settle and build this country, the working people have made immeasurable contributions to the advancement of our way of life.”   

I love my country.  I think I’ve done my part, being a public school teacher for a while, raising two productive children who contribute to our economy, living with enough self-discipline so our family is not a drain on society.

That’s not enough.   It’s in the  Kingdom of God where I fear I most resemble Coleridge.    It took this Labor Day for me  to focus on this.   “Redeem the time, for the days are evil.”     Ephesians 5:16.  I’ve got some more “potential”  to use.

Off to work!

14th SUNDAY – THE VALUE OF YOU

September 7, 2009

The 14th Sunday after Pentecost.   The Liturgical year progresses.   The summer progresses to its end.   We turn our attention away from the abundant flowers of Summer…

Flowers IHM long

 …to the beginning of the colorful foliage that marks the Fall.  Sept trees 6 start

And we continue to progress through this life because we are pilgrims here,  on our way to the Better World that is planned for us.      This pilgrim journey brings us to today’s Gospel Reading which asks us to pause a moment, and take courage;   think how beautiful the world is and how innocently the creatures live under the planning and care of the Father who keeps things going as He will.   Sheep on a Hill 175

In today’s Reading, Matthew 6,  Jesus asks us to contrast God’s loving care of the natural world with the worries and stress and striving that we allow in our lives – as though we had to create and arrange and plan and maintain everything  ourselves.   By way of showing us that God cherishes us and will keep us safe  in Him, Jesus asks:   “Are you not of much more value than they?”

The correct answer is supposed to be:  Yes.    But sometimes that can be hard to come up with when there seems to be so much evidence to the contrary.   Sometimes we need a little encouragement to believe our value.

A thought of  St.Therese of Lesieux can be that encouragement.   St. Therese, a young seraph of love for Jesus, understood how much value He puts on each soul.  She understood that the dying cry of Jesus, “I thirst,” was His thirst for the souls that He loves.

If I could give a message on her behalf, I would say:   St. Therese reminds us that God is love, not in a general way, but in a particular way;  particularly, a lover of you.   God loves you and cherishes you.  God thought you up and loved the thought of you; and then He made you and loved the “you” that He made.

He wants to bring us all to that Better World, a world that is characterized by the qualities listed in our Epistle Reading:   love, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, patience, mildness, faith, modesty, continency, chastity.    Imagine  the peace and safety for us in a world that contains all those things in abundance!   

He does all things well….for us….whom He values.

FLowers Rose perfect

A special private thanks to St. Therese today.

TIME STILL PASSES

September 3, 2009

I love the changing of the seasons.   Now the trees are thinning  just slightly so we can see further through the woods behind our house:   Trees thin distance

Yesterday I posted some “summer silliness” kinds of things…only because as summer is ending, so are the serious things of summer ending and we can enjoy the last bits of things that are enjoyed…well, only in the summer.

I love the changing of the seasons because it draws attention to the passing of time, and there are many ways to mark the passage:   seasons, changes in light,  birdsong, growth of  children, aging bodies,  clocks…..Clocks!   Binary Clock  My favorite clock!    (You’ll have to just imagine the seconds at the right, in motion, blinking away.)

For the one who can’t be with our group here tonight because of law school preparations, and since my binary clock with the blue blinking dots bugged you so much,  I also offered you this one:  Clock mathWhich you didn’t like either!

There are old ways to tell time…Clock Old ways

Fun ways to mark the passing of time…    Clock Fun ways

Beautiful ways….  Clock beautiful ways

Noisy ways!   Clock Noisy Ways

But it’s not just the clocks that are fun…it’s just thinking about time, and how it won’t go on “forever.”  As I wrote before, I once brought my Bible study class to a screeching halt when I casually asked: “Does anybody have a good working definition of Time?”         Four weeks later we were still getting suggestions, none of which were completely satisfying, including the one from our resident scientist who gave a three-page presentation to us – with handouts!

Well, Time is ours to use, even if we can’t define it.    Whatever!   Clock Whatever

Binary Clock Portrait Time still passes, and Kronos still eats up his children, but one day even he will be destroyed.    You can tell how late I stay up and think about these things!   Ha!

DEAR HUSBAND, I WANT …

September 2, 2009

heartI want one of these…..

Waterfall in backyard

Here is some more of it:   Water running

And here is the rest of it:   water run into pondIt was so much fun going out with you to the….stone and brick place this week.  heart   We both enjoyed the pretty fountain gardens they had on display.     We don’t have to buy one.      I know YOU can build one for us in our back yard.

We have all the stuff for it!   An endless supply of water in our pond and our creek!

You can do things with rocks and stone:  Wh rock garden

 

Wheelb pipe structureAnd you are really, really good at pipe engineering!

 

And you are a very happy man with a wheelbarrow!  Wh happy man

WHAT IS IT WITH GUYS AND THEIR WHEELBARROWS?  Wh across the pond

 

They are all over the place!   Wh filled bewtn trees

Lurking around corners:   Wh lurking

Dying  in our neighbor’s’ yard:     Wh neighbors

I’d discuss our new  beautiful fountain garden with you today, but you went to bring DIRT to our son, and he is going to give you ROCKS in return.     I’m sure this requires the use of WHEELBARROWS.

I think wheelbarrows are just Useful Tonka Toys.

I think the summer has addled my brain.   I’ve had enough of the blazing sun.  I’m getting slap-happy.     If  a little fountain garden pleases you, my husband, heart then that would be fine with me. You always think up pretty nice things for our yard.

13th SUNDAY (POST) POST PENTECOST

September 1, 2009

It seems late, but not really.    This is still the “week of the 13th Sunday After Pentecost,”  and it usually takes me a couple of days to collect and rewrite my notes from Sunday sermons anyway.    Lepers Ten 165

The Gospel for this Sunday is the familiar story of the Ten Lepers who were healed by Jesus, and then one of them returned to give thanks.  I’m sure you’ve heard many lessons derived from this event, especially “Always be grateful.”

I’ve learned something else this year, though, a deeper lesson.    It’s important to note that ALL ten lepers showed their faith in Jesus by doing what He told them to do, and ALL ten lepers were thus healed.     He told them to go and show themselves to the priests who were the ones charged with the duty of pronouncing the presence or absence of leprosy.   They did, and on the way they were healed.

They all submitted themselves, as directed, to the representatives of the Jewish Law because it is the Jewish Law which teaches us about sin, which in Bible typology is represented by the disease leprosy.     But for nine of the former lepers, this is where they stayed.    They knew the right thing to do, and they could be very happy that they obeyed!   This is the “obedience of faith” that  Paul talks about in Romans 16:26.

Leper one 160

The one man who came back to Jesus was not even under the Jewish Law.  He was a “stranger,”  an outsider,  a Samaritan.   However,  somehow he knew this was not only about gratitude, or obedience, or faith.    

Notice his posture in the little picture above.  I’m sure it represents the truth, that he not only came back to say, “Thanks a lot,”  but he also placed himself in submission to Jesus.    There is no pride in his posture, no room for self-congratulations, no room for self-confidence that he knew the right thing to do.  

The New Covenant had walked among the Ten, but nine missed the opportunity to humble themselves before the Anointed One  towards Whom all the Law pointed to.    The Law presented the Word of God to Moses and the people;   Jesus is the Word of God.     It is He alone Whom all history points to and to Whom all creation will acknowledge as Lord.  

Leper light on way back 200And He’s on His way back!