Archive for January 2012


January 29, 2012

We’ve all been invited to step into the boat.  We were placed there at our conception….and off we go on our beautiful  journey “across the lake” !!

The Gospel Reading was a familiar one today.   I’ve read it and I’ve heard sermons on it for many decades, now, of my life.

We know the story.   The disciples are in the boat on the Sea of Galilee, with Jesus.    The waters get rough and stormy, but Jesus is asleep, seemingly unaware of the growing danger and unresponsive to the distress of His disciples.

The waves become overpowering and it’s likely the boat will be overturned.

The disciples were strong, experienced sailors, but now they were afraid for their lives, with good reason, and they woke up their master, their rabbi, who was a carpenter, not a sailor, and they expected Him to help.      They knew there was something more to Him than His carpenter skills.

And He did help.   He calmed the actual waters and their journey across the Sea continued.

But we’re grown-ups now, and our understanding has to grow deeper.     We know that sometimes the storms and waves that come crashing into us do not get calmed, no matter how strong our faith, no matter how we cry out to Jesus.   So our sermon gave us the chance to think today.

What if all our storms do not “magically” go away because we’ve prayed?     What if a calm, happy, storm-free life is not what God sees is best for us?      What if — one day — there will come a life-threatening “storm”  that takes our life away?    Journey over.

Our sermon today asked us to think of something that is more important than making it across our Sea of life, relatively dry and happy.

Jesus Himself gives us a clue in His mild rebuke of the disciples.   “Oh, ye of little faith!”      The Latin gives a little more insight:  ” Oh, you, with just a modicum of fatih.”     ” You  Little-Faith people!    Why are you so fearful?”

It is our faith that is the important thing, our faith and trust in Jesus.    It’s our faith that makes the storms and dangers and uncertainties of our lives  less fearful.    It’s our faith that propels us toward Jesus.   If we’ve kept our eyes on Jesus during this whole “boat ride” across the Sea, we will have had a successful journey,  and this is what He will notice in us.   Faith is the victory!

I know I have some rough and stormy waters coming in the years ahead.    I need to start practicing and preparing and strengthening my faith.

I hope I remember today’s sermon.


January 28, 2012

I found beauty one night. . .

I had stopped at my little local grocery store for a small something to eat for dinner, and when I came back out to my car, I looked up and saw these trees, shining white in the dark night sky.

The sun had faded away fast in our northern sky;  it was going to be another long, dark evening.    But here I was,  no matter how much I noticed the darkness,  I had to admit I had found a little beauty.   The branches were actually shining with the reflected light from the parking lot lights.     I thought they’d make a nice photo.

I’m glad I have their picture, even though the branches seemed much more bright and alive in person.    The  contrast of the light captured by those branches underneath the vast night sky kept coming back to me, reminding me vaguely but insistently of the meaning of hope in the night.

Bear with me here…..    I’ve got to take you along a few footsteps to show you what I mean.

First steps:   Our Friday morning class was discussing the ways that we have to remember God throughout the year (with the Liturgical Calendar), throughout the months (with a Christian theme assigned to each month), throughout each day of the week, and throughout the canonical hours of each day.

Christendom has given us such a rich treasury to draw from that we enjoyed lingering at each  of the particulars of the months and weeks and days.   Today, Saturday, for instance is the day suggested for meditation on Holy Saturday and the Mother of Christ, the one who comforted and encouraged the disciples through that long day before the Resurrection.

That long dark day.  What a beacon of light her faith, and our faith, can be!

Next steps:   No matter how hard I try to be positive, each news item I read deepens the darkness of the night that has fallen on us in America.    Oh, we’re comfortable right now.   We’re given plenty of gadgets to keep us happy and busy, plenty of food and warm blankets, and even some “wool” to pull over our eyes, it seems;   but the night is deepening,   And evil deeds are done in the night, far more evil than what good people can believe.

So I read the news and watch the gathering storm, but before I get to the point of despair. . .

Now I have a “plan” for my next posts:   The Waking-Up People.      “Waking up to. . .”   I can write about what people are waking up to, lightening the night with their knowledge.      I can oppose the rising blackness of evil with the shining branches of Faith and Hope.   As  Our Lady of Christendom demonstrated for us, “there is no other name, given among men,  by which we must be saved.”

It’s clear to see:   the deepening darkness we face  is spiritual evil.


January 27, 2012

Boys!    Soon as you start to enjoy them,  the rug gets pulled out from under you.

I’m feeling a little melancholy tonight and not-a-little discombobulated.       The #1 stable, steady Son of My Heart is now 2,500 miles away from me, westward, and 11,000 feet – upward…careening down some Montana avalanche country…texting me he’s having a great time.     I will be so happy for him.   When he returns home.

    And remember the little grandson I showed you some photos of a few postings ago?      The little guy was exploring his world, learning all kinds of important things about himself and about how the world works.

Here he is in his stroller, enjoying a candy cane. . .



Just  after those postings I got a surprise photo from his Mommy and Daddy.     The little guy, Cooper,  is only one month older than those photos, and this is how much he’s changed.   The  accompanying caption told me “Cooper eating ribs in Texas.”

Texas?      Ribs?     The “baby boy”  is a  boy now.

And just a few moments ago I got a  text from his Mommy –   he is now walking all over the place, strong and…”stable” ….

If only she knew what that word “stable”  includes!     See,  last month they could hardly wait until he starts walking….so they can put skis on him.

Aw, geeeee.   I’m not ready for all this texting.


Jan. 23, 2012, THE BIG EVENT

January 25, 2012

I’d define a “big event” as an important occurrence that affects thousands of people, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, and it’s usually a matter of their health and well-being and a matter of life and death.

  I found out that  sometimes the television is blind to important big events.   The pretty actors and actresses who read the “news and entertainment” scripts don’t get to choose what they should read about,  I suppose.

So I will let you see what My Friend With the Camera saw this week, on January 23, 2012, during the Right to Life March in Washington D.C.

First, they had to get organized:

As far as you can see, people were there to support the little ones, not yet born:

Past a “justice” building where a great injustice has been  done:

Louisiana was represented in this photo, one state of the fifty that were there:

Cold and rainy all day long:

There was great effort,  great expense, great sacrifice.   The Camera shows a few of the people acting on what they believe.

Many  of us couldn’t be there with them.    I’m glad my Friend With the Camera was there to give reality to this Big Event.      There must be a way for each of us to give meaning to this Big Event.


January 25, 2012

Cooper Kenneth, sleeping   (approximately 4 months in this world . . .)

Some of the little ones who were in the womb at the same time he was  . . didn’t make it.

This week several hundred thousand of our fellow American citizens remembered this fact and went to Washington D.C.  to protest the destruction of many  little babies like this.    Many.    About a third of my son’s and daughter’s generation were wiped out when it started, and it continues today.

Some of the survivors from around our country were able to get on buses like this:

This week they arrived at our wet and very cold Capitol:

That was their destination.    They didn’t go there for a “class trip” or for a vacation or because they would have an easy time.

They would spend the next couple of days walking around in this:

They have two sources of inspiration   This is the first one:

And this is the second source of inspiration:

  I don’t have permission from each one to put their faces on the Internet, so I’ll do it this way, tiny.   These are just some of the people from that bus in the photo above.   They were on that bus for a long time, but they made it   At the very top of the photo, looking like a little dot in the sky,  is their second most important inspiration;:     It’s the flag of the United States of America.

I don’t understand what ghoulish propaganda triumphed over the minds of some Americans and I don’t know all the murderous plans of the global depopulation and eugenics crowd, but for the sake of all the “little ones” in my family and in yours,  I thank and praise the actions of these young people, all the ones who came with them, and all the hundreds of thousands of people who marched last Monday in several cities throughout our country.

One more thanks:  I owe a big thanks to someone you all know as “My Friend With The Camera” — I have used his photos before  (with his generous permission).    I don’t think he’d mind if I pay him a little tribute by showing him to you, here, a Soldier for Christ, and a friend and mentor to the young people whom he accompanied across the country, all the way to our nation’s capital.

Next time I’ll show you what his camera saw during this “Big Event,”  January 23, 2012.

HOW TO RAISE A BOY – 4, 5, 6

January 24, 2012

To end this little series,  just three more little words:

How to raise a fine little boy?        Foster a sense of daring!


Make sure he develops a good sense of humor  (even when Mommy puts his hair in pigtails:

And the most important one of all:   Make sure he knows that he is the Apple of Your Eye !

Of course, you know all this goes for the special little boy and the special little girl in your life too.    We watch over them, we cherish them,  we help them become the best that they  can be.  We delight in them,  we protect them, we follow them with our hearts and keep them close to us.

Our little children.   They are like “the apple of our eye.”    Such a strange phrase, but we “feel” what it means because we know we are “children of God,”  His sons and daughters.

We know God keeps His people as the apple of His eye.

Check it out, Deuteronomy 32:10 –  “He found him in a desert place, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.”

And in the end,  no one can harm us:   “….for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of His eye.”   That’s in Zechariah, chapter 2.





January 23, 2012

Part 3 –   “Invention not Attention”

That is, provide opportunity for creativity and invention, but be light on the attention…otherwise, the process stops.      On Christmas morning the adults were all busy with their new “toys” and Cooper Kenneth wondered what his place was in that room.   What was he supposed to be doing?

“Sitting politely, wondering what to do.”

It’s a little frustrating when no one pays attention to you,  but there’s  always something interesting around:

“A pink box with something in it – and it makes a noise when I pick it up.”

Yeah, this works good.    Shake it up!

Works REAL good!

Until something falls out and it stops making that noise:

The game has stopped.  Anyone going to help?

Waiting.   Waiting.    Cooper looks into each face and no one looks back.   And Grandma has a camera in her face.    No help there.       Cooper might have to figure out how to fix it himself.

It seems to take forever, but Grandma’s heart swells with pride — and  keeps the camera in front of her face.

I think this will probably work:

It’s working again!!

Hey, Someone!!    I got it working again!!!!

By this time Grandma put her camera down and start tugging on people’s pants legs too!    Hey, Mommy, do you know what your little boy has been doing for the last fifteen minutes?    He made a new toy for himself, and then it broke, and then he figured out how to fix it, and he’s really enjoying this again and again…and….

Daddy!     Do you know what your little boy has been doing….?

Uncle!    Did you see what Cooper’s been doing…?

Sighhhhh.    Sometimes you don’t get any attention.    And the enjoyment of the moment is yours alone.    You’ve done well…and the pleasure is all yours.

And do you know what happened next?   Once I put my camera down and everyone start talking to Cooper about his new toy,  the game was over.

There’s a lesson in there somewhere.


January 22, 2012

Part 2 –  You give him  obstacles!

And then you make it known to him that it’s up to him to conquer the obstacle . . .

This is a climbing wall for little dudes at the playground where Cooper frequently goes.    Big boys use those hand and feet things to get up over that wall.     Cooper doesn’t know why they do that, he just knows that wall is an obstacle to get past, any way he can . . .

So he does.

That’s a little tongue sticking out and a very satisfied expression on his face.    (He earned it.)

Obstacles are oportunities.


January 20, 2012


The Little Mountain Man:

Here is an update for all of you on Cooper Kenneth. . . .      He is taking a walk, going somewhere, blazing his own trail.     He is wearing the same jacket that his Grandpa was known to wear.  Grandpa bought his own red plaid wool jacket when he was in high school, and that became his trademark jacket for our cold, snowy winters.    Now the grandson carries on the tradition.

Last December I was out taking a walk  like this with Cooper Kenneth and his Mommy one day.     Altitude, 7,100 feet;   it was an issue with my old bones,  but not with them.    I was amazed at Cooper’s strength and determination to walk through that pine cone littered pathway, pushing reluctant plastic wheels through the soft forest floor.

And then when we got back to his mountain home nearby,  mommy took away the little train and he crawled up a full flight of stairs to the deck level.  Mommy opened the door for him and he crawled in over the threshold of the door . . . .

. . . .  and then up another flight of stairs to the main floor. . . . .

He got himself into his home.

I silently applauded my daughter for this, because Cooper, the Little Mountain Man, will need all the strength and self-reliance he can develop as he grows up.

He has a smart Daddy too.     Cooper plays with his toys the way they were made to be used;  colorful, noisy, complex learning devices, actually.    He has quite a long attention span with each one, but occasionally he will get frustrated when something is stuck or he can’t get something to do what he wants it to do.    There will be little sounds of frustration —  but his Daddy will call out across the room:   “Whining won’t fix it.  Look at it and figure it out.”

Then there’ll be silence for a while.   And pretty soon more satisfied cooing and chuckling coming from Cooper again.    Problem-solving at 13 months old.    No whining allowed.

Some of the toys play happy children’s songs , which he uses as “background music” while he’s playing with another toy.   When the music stops he crawls over and presses the button so the music starts again.  Then he goes back to the toy he was “working on.”    I was struck by how he deliberately kept the music going in the background.

Learning to be responsible for his own environment.

Learning to be responsible for his own happiness. . . .

(More photos of Cooper Kenneth on the way, as requested….)


January 19, 2012

Some housekeeping done for us here:

I’ve rearranged a few things in the right-hand column.   I’ve moved the calendar up a bit so it’s easier to see.  I just like to keep track of days and dates –  and I have to keep doing that throughout the day!    I’ve kept the local weather conditions near the bottom of the column.  Some days, up here in the Far North,  you just “don’t want to know.”

I’ve added a link to the Blogroll list  — a blog by a “Conscientious”  friend,  who has interesting and sometimes pointed comments referencing current points in the Liturgical Year.   Worth checking.

I’ve begun to write again on The Reading Shelf.    No well-organized analysis of the books I read, just blurting out whatever the book made me think about.

The links called Reading Places now gives you a source of free eBooks and Audio Books.   Many are the kind of books we’ve heard about and know we should read. . . .and when we do read them, we are surprised at how satisfying they are.

I’ve removed the links to the Gulf Oil tragedy.   New information is hard to find.  The oil is still flowing out from the cracks in the bottom of the Gulf floor;  it’s still deadly, still radioactive”origin oil” associated with BP’s oil drilling attempts;  people are still getting sick;  and there are reports of Correxit still being used to try to keep the new oil at the bottom.    But, as I said,  very little new information is coming out, and we’ve all learned to adjust to the reality of this ecological tragedy.   ( No seafood originating from the Gulf or lower Atlantic coastal sea waters;  no splashing fun in the warm and beautiful  Gulf waters.)

I’ve replaced the Gulf ecological disaster with the ongoing Fukushima ecological disaster.   This is an unprecedented event, and no one knows how to stop it,  what to do about it, nor how to protect ourselves from it.      If you’re not interested,  please rent out a copy of “On The Beach”  —  a very dated but quite pertinent movie that deals with the subject.    Second, I would recommend The China Syndrome, although that movie ended well.    The corium in the Fukushima plants have melted out of their containments and there are a couple China Syndromes going on right now.    No one knows what will happen when it meets the water table.  Hydrogen gases are building up under there and no one knows just how big the explosions will be, but it won’t just result in “fire and smoke.”    The amount of radiation pouring out into our oceans and atmosphere will be unimaginably increased. . . .

ENENEWS is about the best place for up to the minute news bulletins and eyewitness reports from Fukushima and other places in Japan.           And don’t forget to check your own location’s “Radiation Graph”  once in a while.

We do want to be informed,  don’t we?

Next few posts I’ll put my “kicking boots” on, as we heard in a sermon two Sundays ago.    I need to state some of the issues I’m following in the world — the kinds of things I don’t want to disturb my readers with.

So don’t read the Kicking Boots”  entries, unless you see any value in . . . knowing things.

After a few days of that, I’ll go back to being random and harmless, here in the Spruce Tunnel.


January 19, 2012

 Yuck.     I hate these things. . . .

So, thanks for putting up with my brief “political” request.    I don’t like to go political on you, but  I  love words and writing and the free flow of information.   Perhaps you have done your “homework” and discovered what the SOPA and the PIPA are all about.

Today in brief radio or TV snippets I heard the voices of only those people in Congress who support the bills.  Invariably, they described these two bills as protecting intellectual property, protecting copyrighted materials, stopping the pirates, and keeping American jobs.  Jobs, jobs, jobs.    Perhaps that will convince people to stop opposing these bills.

Or perhaps they will rewrite these bills so as to attain their stated goals, while at the same time protecting  the exercise of Free Speech in this country.

Future “political” discussion here will be more or less veiled in allegory  and analogy.  Events from history that mirror events today.    Hoping to avoid these:

   I hate these too.   It’s an image of spiderbots.   Spider + robots.    Spiderbots.    They don’t actually look like that; they are really tiny mini software programs that are sent “out into the Internet” to crawl around, searching for words.   They are preprogrammed for certain words.   Their location is always known.    Therefore the location of these target words are known.

They’ve been roaming the Internet for many years now, and they are becoming increasingly valuable tools for censorship.   

But first you have to identify who said what and where their words are located.    Catching writers in a web.  These are the spiderbots at work.

It’s for our “protection” — of course.     There are “bad guys” amongst us, we are told.     That’s why the State had to pass a law that says every American citizen is subject to arrest on our native soil without being told why,  without being told who made the accusation,  and without being told how long we will be held in custody.   And I suppose that’s why the State had to pass a second law that says any American citizen can be stripped of his citizenship  (and all the protections that come with it) whenever the State thinks it should do so.

I guess I don’t need to remind you of these two newest laws.   And I don’t need to comment on them.

How about some real spider fun?

Poor things.     They’re just spiders, after all.


January 18, 2012

Free speech is the lifeblood that allows thoughts and ideas to freely circulate, nourishing and strengthening our Republic.    That you, your family, your friends and neighbors should be the ones who decide what free speech is and when it has been infringed is obvious – to members of a Republic that is conducted “by the people.”

When the State gets too big and powerful, and when the “people” let the State decide what’s what, then free speech disappears, and a citizen of that State must censor himself or BE censored, with State-imposed penalties.

How does a State remain in power?  By restricting Free Speech.   How does a State impose restrictions on Free Speech in a “peaceful” manner?  By convincing uninformed citizens that the State is doing it for the “good” –  for “their sake.”

Are you against piracy?  Of course.  Do you want IPs protected?   Do you want the State to “protect” anything?  Of course.

And…this is the way that nice people …good citizens… who do nothing …. will lose an important source of information,  and Free Speech will be greatly infringed upon because the State will have passed two bills,  that are dangerous, ruinous to our Republic –  to you, your family, friends and neighbors.



Please inform your elected “representatives” that you are against the passage of SOPA and PIPA. First vote in Washington D.C.  is January 24.    The diagonal ribbon in the upper right will remind you of this ominous date.

Letters and faxes and phone calls have more impact than emails, but emails are noted by the employees of our representatives also.


January 17, 2012

Six days!!     Yikes!   That’s a long time to be away from the Spruce Tunnel.

It wasn’t like I was being empty-headed.  I did have some “random thoughts” for  the Tunnel  and a lot of things have happened.  A lot of little things, which I’ll mention for the sake of my own memory.

For one thing we did get that snow – within 24 hours of washing the Big Red Car.   (see last posting)   Turned out another friend of mine had also washed his car.   Guess it was a “collaborative effort.”   This is just looking out my front door.

Not too much snow, a nice little chance for some light “upper body” exercise.      And, of course, the streets are once again full of sloppy salty snow-melt ready to coat our cars.

Another thing that kept me busy:

Son and I enjoyed a trip to the Planetarium.   In fact, we looked forward to it all week.   We could hardly wait to get there!    And the Planetarium show was as good as we had hoped!     Highly recommended.     The show also made us miss the first half of the Broncos game this weekend, but …. you know ….  if you saw the game …  it’s okay ….

Had monumental and long-distance heartbreaking family problems this weekend.   The Mt. Everest of family problems.   Words, words, words…..   No solutions.     Stayed up all night thinking of the right words …   then the problem was lifted off my shoulders.   It’s still there,  but I’m off stage.     It’s a big deal if it’s your family.   And we’ll all face such problems once in a while.

Got swallowed up by a couple of good books:  one high tech action thriller about genetically-modifying our food and animals.  Not great writing, but an interesting subject.   The other book is a Michener favorite, Mexico.   I’m learning more about bullfighting than I ever thought there was to know!    At least I know something about it now.

Found out about serious illness of three of my friends.    Going to keep that burden on my shoulders.    Much prayer is needed.

And how about this, for keeping one’s mind busy:It’s a funeral.   Funeral of a dear friend; mom of a good friend of the family;  great lady;   wonderful life of giving and serving and sweetness and faith;   91 and a half  years old —   but the age didn’t make it any easier. . . .

Now that I’m done stalling in my unwillingness to hit hard subjects and discomfort my friends,  I’m ready to move on to some topics we’ll need to consider “with our boots on.”

And how were your last six days?


January 11, 2012

Just a silly little posting before I get back to the Boot – speaking my mind with my boots on….

I thought I’d have a LOT of dried salt on the Big Red Car after we got home from driving our 4,500 or so miles across wintry American roads during the holidays.   But there was little snow to be found, and not many salty roads, so I put off washing the car – until today:

Not sure why I chose today.  Maybe it’s just a post-trip loose end to tie up .    Maybe it’s because I’m going to the opera tonight, and I don’t plan to dress up, but at least the car can look nice.    Maybe because of something my Grandma used to say –  “Soon as you wash the windows, it’s going to rain.”   (Soon as you take the salt off the car,  it’s going to snow and the roads will be covered with salt again….)

I might get only one day of a clean car if Grandma is right.   Best way to make it snow….etc., etc.

Why am I not taking New Blue to the opera?       

Think I’d want to take that one out on the snowy, salty roads?



January 9, 2012

I wrote in the last posting about my neighborhood “going dark,”  but I didn’t mean to “go dark” myself.    I can always tell when I’m conflicted about writing something and it’s something I don’t want to trouble my friends about, because that’s when I “go dark” –  I’m putting away much of my own Christmas lights, as my neighborhood has, as  I’m trying  to work out the conflict.

I got  a little help from an unexpected source this weekend.

It was from the “man in the pulpit” on Sunday, during his sermon.  He actually lifted up his…uh…cassock, a little bit, and showed us his boot.   And then he told us what it’s good for!  That is,  what it’s good for figuratively when it comes to taking a stand against what the world tries to teach us.

Now, that’s not what we expected at all to hear that morning.    After all,  it’s still so close to “merry” Christmas,  and this past Sunday was the Feast of the Holy Family, when we meditate admiringly about the hidden, private family life of Jesus.     It was presumably good and holy and gentle,  a perfect place where Jesus could “ advance in wisdom, and age, and grace with God and men. ”   (Luke 2: 52)   I suppose we expected a kind and sentimental sermon  about the Holy Family.  “This is the ideal you should aspire to. . . .”

Well, we got a little of that, but the sermon veered right into Natural Law, and the way things actually are and this present world which opposes itself to it.   Natural Law, as you know, came into being at the same time that Creation began, and even the wise pagans of Greece and Rome understood its tenets.

We were told that we who know about Natural Law and we who have witnessed the Holy Family and have contemplated its highest qualities have MUCH to teach the world — and it is not the other way around, that the world should teach us the “new and improved” ways of modern life.    We MUST influence the world.  That is our calling.  That is part of our duties of the Priesthood of All Believers that St. Paul teaches us about.

Opposed to the very natural existence of the family is a noisy crowd which demands that their ideas must be considered morally equivalent.

And we have the duty to speak up and speak out and influence our  world with confidence and certainty.    The Church has the  authority to instruct the world in matters of moral significance and as we are “prophets, priests, and kings” of the Lord Jesus Christ, we share in those duties.

And that’s, I think, where the kicking boots come in.   Because if we don’t speak out firmly with “boots” on our tongues, we will get kicked around.     Law after law, rule after rule, legislation after legislation…..and worse:

The U.N. with its Agenda 21 has all the rules in place;  it has all the propaganda developed and sent forth;  it’s developing its own international criminal court.      And it is not the friend of Christianity.

We can be all sentimental about the familiar scenes of the Holy Family —   but it’s the idea of the traditional family that puts us in opposition to  the world, and it is Christian ideals that makes us enemies of the world.    When the Infant Jesus grew up, He said He came to bring a sword.

I think that’s what those boots were all about.    Figuratively speaking, of course.

I think I can write, now,  about all those things that have been on my mind.


January 5, 2012

“Went dark.”    That little phrase has several meanings.

“Went dark” in communications usually means the signal you were hearing  suddenly stopped;  the source got cut off;  went off the air.    For whatever reason, the source  is not communicating with you anymore.

“Went dark” referring to the mind, the comprehension ended;   the meaning is gone.

I missed something last night, and this evening again I missed something.   Then I realized what had happened.   My neighborhood had “gone dark.”     No one has Christmas lights up anymore.  No one but me.

To much of the world, it’s  the end of the Christmas season.

Time to bring in the lights, take down the tree and all the other decorations.

The demands of December are over;  the gifts have been bought and presented;  the treats have been baked and eaten;  the messes have been made….and now they are cleaned up.  Christmas is done.


If I were not a Christian,  I’d say “Whew”  too!    But all those activities were not “Christmas.”     They need to be toned down a little bit so that the real Christmas can take hold.   And that takes more time!

There is more to come from the real Christmas.

They’re on their way!

The Creator’s gift to us is  taking on our humanity so that He can share with us His divinity in a multitude of ways.

One side of Christmas is God’s ongoing gifts to us;  the other side of Christmas is our gifts to God.

My neighborhood went dark this week.    The other busy, active, noisy, happy, exhausting Christmas is done.   Now the Church tells us, as she has for many, many centuries that we have more things to contemplate.    Seeking Jesus.  Finding Jesus.   Worshiping the Infant King.    Comprehending the Holy Name of Jesus.   Honoring the Holy Family.   Observing humility, willing submission, divine purpose,   observing  courage when a sword pierces a heart, knowing pondering is the better action…

He came to us in the “stillness” of the night.   It’s best that we do all these things in the stillness of our hearts, after the other Christmas “goes dark.”


January 2, 2012

TRIPLE !!!!!!

OVERTIME !!!!!!       

WIN  !!!!!!!!


January 1, 2012

Ooops.  I see in the last posting a photo of my bed the first night that I arrived home – what a welcome sight ! –  and I wrote that I’d spend the next “few hours”   there.   Well, it’s been a couple of days, but  I assure you I have been out of bed – occasionally.    I’ve been struck with a remarkable “weakness” lately, which I suppose is natural after a long trip,  but it’s also made me day-dreamy and thoughtful.

I want to talk about that word “welcome.”

We’ve spent the last few weeks welcoming Our Creator into this world;  standing near Mary and Joseph as they welcomed the Infant King into their home;   sang words of praise and welcoming with the shepherds of Bethlehem.

And now, since my return home,  I’ve been the recipient of welcoming.   “Welcome home.”    Those words,  combined with love for my friends and family, and combined with  love for my own home,  have given me a whole new level of understanding and appreciation.

First was my friend “M” and our  delight at seeing our hometown again with fresh eyes.    We both shared the feeling that we really do like where we live.    Our hometown beckoned and welcomed us.

Next, the following morning, was my neighbor across the street, who came over to return my house key and report on activity – or the lack of it – in our neighborhood.  And then she said she saw my Christmas lights had been turned on last night, and it was such a welcome sight.    That made me glad that I had decided to do that,  such a small decision to me but something that mattered to someone else.   My outdoor Christmas lights…”added”….  to her enjoyment of the night.    I’m a part of this neighborhood, and through my neighbor I was welcomed back into it.

Next came my busy Son’s voice over the phone.    Now we were both back in our homes after our long journeys to California, we were both safe and sound, and now our lives could go on.   I was welcomed back into the everyday routine of things.

Next came a trip to the post office to pick up my mail.  I came out of the building trying to hold on to a very large and awkward stack of envelopes of all sized and thicknesses, as well as two rather large boxes.  A stranger was on his way in and helped open the door for me so I could attempt to make it out to the car without dropping anything.   We laughed and greeted each other.   When I got to the car, it occurred to me that I didn’t have a third hand to grope for my  keys and get the car door open.   Another stranger came around from behind my car and….we laughed and  greeted each other and he helped.    I felt part of the larger community –  and welcomed again.

Last of all came another neighbor, another religion, not Christian, and yet we are good neighbors.   That’s where the cookies in today’s photo came from –  with a little note addressed “to a good neighbor.”  Well, it says “wonderful neighbor,”  but they were being extra kind and joyful during their season of Hannakuh.     I was not home this year to bake stollen (or challah) for them, but the cookies were not an “exchange.”   They just seemed glad to see me home again.

I was welcomed by emails and texts.

Welcome.    I am welcomed.   Like I almost too casually welcomed the Holy Infant this Christmas.

Like I too casually, too infrequently welcome my friends and neighbors into my own little world.

Welcome.    I think that will be my New Year’s Resolution.    To welcome all people into my life.