Archive for the ‘Family’ category

WHAT TO DO WHEN IT’S OVER

June 6, 2019

That’s   anything.      What To Do When Anything Is Over.

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Hey!  Got enough to do in your life?

CW 2

 

We’ve all experienced the end of something,  a certain period of time ends.

CW 13

Good or bad.   It’s over.    Your attention has been taken up with certain activities or issues, good or bad or “indifferent,”  but then it comes to an end.   And we find that Life still goes on.

 

CW 14

 

We can choose whether we go on, too.  Or not.

CW 7

 

But eventually  we have some biological urge to get on with things.  To “move on,” we say.

CW 17

How do we get started . . .  again?

What’s needed for a restart?

CW 18

Well, if it’s “company,”  overnight, out-of-state company,   there is much preparation,  then you oversee the “company,”  and then they leave.

Cooper was here!!!   My grandson from the High Sierras.    Here he is wearing the sweater I made him.

Cooper Sweater.jpg 380

(Modeling the sweater.  Being goofy.)   It’s the one with the red cardinal tweeting out the word  “Joie!”     Glad it fits him.

CW 8

It was a wonderful rather surprise visit from Daughter and Cooper.   Lots of fun –  I might blog our activities soon.  Constant activity, fun, laughter, noise.      Sure kept me busy for this past week.

And then it was over.

But more serious things, bad things can happen too.     And then they will over too.  Things will work out one way or the other, and then you clean up the loose ends:  Clean the house;  clean up the leftovers;  clean the carpeting (sometimes necessary!) ;  clean up the toys and all the other objects that have left out or moved around;  clean the car . . .

Oh, yes,  the car

CW 3

These photos today are from inside my car, inside a car wash.

CW 1

They wave you on in,   and somehow,  if you follow their wiggling fingers, right or left,  then your tires  connect to something — and you’re committed.

It’s going to be messy,  loud, wobbly, bewildering,  but you know it’s all for the scrubbing and the rubbing and the cleaning.

Why all this?  because after having company,  you clean.  After some issue in your life is over, there is “cleaning” to do.    After some period of time is ended,  before you can go on effectively,  you must clean up the debris:    organize your thoughts, remember,  reflect,  learn,  discard certain moments and  erroneous interpretations, learn anything you can from the experience. . .

. . . .   That’s the physical and the mental, and then if you’re human,  clean up the spiritual aspect:  give thanks, give thanks for the people you know,  the ones you’ve  just dealt with;  forgive yourself;  forgive any others, go to confession, if you must;    and commend everything you can think of to God’s care.

Then relax!   It’s over.

CW 20 end

It’s your turn to leave that period of self-reflection and restoration.   This is how you grow!    Life is a series of moments that are  Teaching Stations.    You experience, hopefully fearlessly facing the challenge, and then it’s over.

It’s behind you.    Time to resume your life, living in each present moment as it comes.

CW 22 clean car

 

I drove away and put that red-roofed Car Wash behind me . . .    Always remembering that newly beautiful blue car in the review mirror, ready to go !

Ugh!   I’m still cleaning up.

There’s  always  so much to do!

.

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MEMORIAL DAY RANT – 3/3

May 29, 2019

3/3 –  “Lemonade Happens”

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Okay,  I can’t stay ranty for long.   I was “real mad”  when this first happened – right before all my out-of-state Memorial Day weekend company (which, by the way, are all still here).

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”    I don’t like that little saying.  It’s too . . .  too . ..    too Pollyanna.    Most often, in real life,  you just have to deal with the lemons.

But once in a while —  lemonade happens.

Last Friday was the day I should have been all ready for my California family to visit for the holiday weekend.   Laundry done, house cleaned, shopping,  baking, cooking, activities planned —

—  AND my new refrigerator had arrived and my old one was now clean and emptied, ready for pick up from the utility company,  which would give me a nice $50 check,   I guess for “upgrading” to a more modern refrigerator.

FRIDGES

 

Company coming and TWO refrigerators in the kitchen.   Everything else pushed over, displaced, or covered up.  But it was going to be okay because the utility company was going to come and take one away.

A “four-hour window”  for their arrival, during which time I couldn’t do any last-minute shopping;  just hang around the house.    Waiting.

And they never showed up.   No phone call.  Nothing.   They had called two days before to ask for my confirmation.    I confirmed.  Twice.   No idea why they didn’t come,  but with all the busyness and tension — happy tension, getting ready for company —  frustration turned to anger.

I called fifteen minutes before the end of the business day when I was pretty sure they weren’t coming.  As withi all corporations,  I endured multiple transfers to various departments,  but I finally got a nice Customer Service lady who said she would look into it right away and come back with an answer — maybe they were still on their way.   She put me on hold (yet again)  and I waited.  She came back to ask some questions, put me on hold again.

And then a corporate type recording came on the line announcing that business hours were over, please call again on Monday.   Which of course the Robot Recording didn’t know that Monday would be Memorial Day.

So the Customer Service lady and I were cut off while we were communicating.

That’s the LEMONS!     And I let them have it via email,  text messaging, and the complaint form on the Website.

Then,  free to go out shopping for company, I came home with a load of groceries and found my new refrigerator was overfilled . . .

. . . . and overflowed into my old refrigerator.

That’s the LEMONADE.  I can’t tell you how many times we were all grateful for plenty of refrigerator space!      We’d bring home leftovers from restaurants and  have plenty of room to store them!     Lots of bulky fruits and vegetables.  Lots of things to drink!  No spills, knocking things over,  stuffing the shelves.

So the joke’s on me.  I laughed at my previous anger;  I laughed at myself,  many times!  We’ve had a great fun visit, everyone enjoying the novelty of using two refrigerators.

fridge double

Moral of the story:   Things are often better than  what they seem.    I can handle this.   No need for such momentary frustration.

Glad to have two refrigerators!!!

(But I’m not going to tell the utility company that!)

.

GONNA “KEEP HIM”

May 22, 2019

Apologize for absence.    Health issues . .  I think I’ll be okay now.    And during it all,   a new refrigerator was delivered . . .   had to move out of one and into the other.  Able to do that now – and to blog again.

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“KEEP HIM”

I write here about “Son” sometimes.   It was his birthday today . . .

Boxes 370

He liked the gifts I gave him.    We had a wonderful day, enjoying things we like to do together.   Menu:   Lake Trout and lobster.   And a  birthday cake called “Death By Chocolate.”

They say Love is wanting  the best for the other person.  Wanting his best.    Doing whatever is best for him.    Doing the things he likes   —  because the things a person likes reflects the way God has made him, and so his interests help him become the person God wants him to be..

Son seems to be well on his way to doing that.

Keepr 370

I think I’ll keep him!!

 

 

FIFTY YEARS OF . . .

December 21, 2018

50 golden years

Whenever there is a long gap between postings, there always is an underlying reason bubbling under the surface of my emotions . . .     this week, no different.  

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This week, the reason:

50th Anniverdary 380

A snapshot of my Grandma and Grandpa’s 50th Wedding Anniversary celebration.  Family and Friends and neighbors attended.  Picture in the newspaper.   For my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary there was a smaller celebration.

And for mine, today, a very small one indeed.   Hubbie didn’t make it.

Hubbie didn’t quite make it to that age.    Son and I will celebrate.  We’ll celebrate mostly his life,  his life in this marriage,  and life itself which takes so many twists and turns, and only by seeming coincidence are we born of parents who managed to find each other  . . .  and marry.

Our very, very early years together are more vivid to me than all the rest, so I will just share those early times for The Spruce Tunnel record.

I had a bachelor party, of course.   (I’m the blonde.)

Kris Bachelor Party 380

I don’t know what all the others were doing,  but a couple hours later I didn’t look so good.   I drink my rum by the Tablespoon now,  not by the glass.

A day or two later I was being attended by my bridesmaids just before the wedding:

Kris and Bridesmaids

It was a winter wedding, of course.  December 21st.   Blizzard outside for two days before,  no snowfall on that day, then big blizzard again the next day.  Bridesmaids dresses were royal blue velvet trimmed in white fur.

Shortly thereafter I was being led down the aisle by my Dad.

Kris and Dad at aisle 380

“Helped”  down the aisle, more like it.    I was holding together until he patted me on the arm and said everything was going to be all right.   I so much remember every moment of that day.

My  Dad in that picture is the same age as my Son is now.   I don’t understand this Passage of Time thing.

Then we are at the altar:

Kris Ken at altar 380

We were married High Church Anglican,  An Anglo-Catholic wedding ceremony, complete with Mass for the wedding party, beautiful liturgy, beautiful music, and an exquisite soloist singing Ave Maria.   It felt so perfect.

Then we did the Cake in the Mouth thing:

Kris Ken Cake Thing 380

 

And then the Search For the Blue Garter thing:

Kris Ken Garter Thing 380

Dear New Husbands:  It’s a bit embarrassing.  don’t take too long….

 

Shortly after our wedding, two weeks later,  I graduated from college.   Hubbie caught me walking  down the hallway with my new diploma:
Kris after graduation 380

Then I began teaching my new  class:

Kris teaching 380

Our honeymoon was spread out over the next few months because of our immediate teaching duties, but we hit the highlights:   Niagara Falls with my handsome new husband:

Ken at Niagara 380

On the  ferry  (the Staten Island Ferry?)  on our way to see the Statue of Liberty:

Kris on Ferry 380

And then on down to Washington D.C.

Kris at capitol steps 380

We settled into our new life.   We continued to travel, all around the country.  Our early albums are filled with photos of mountains, plains, caves, fun hotel stops,  Mt. Rushmore, Las Vegas, and Disneyland.    It was like we were on one long “honeymoon” adventure.

Hubbie bought me a piano and let me adopt my Grandma’s cat:

Piano Kris n Mitzi 380

We taught school,  watched all the societal changes and learned what tear gas smells like.  (Our wedding wasn’t the only momentous event that happened in ’68.)     We had two children, traveled more, visited our parents regularly, the ordinary things of marriage happened, Hubbie got sick, and passed away several years ago.

He didn’t “pass away”  very far.

All those of our family who have died in recent years are not  truly “away,”  but they are “away” in the cruelest, most difficult way  —    not “away”  but inaccessible.

I will have an inaccessible husband at dinner tonight.   We will go to one of his favorite restaurants.   I will have something he liked to eat, within the restrictions of Friday abstinence.  I will aim for a strawberry kind of dessert, because he liked strawberries and one time he communicated to us through strawberry ice cream — don’t ask.

All this was what was on my mind during this past week or two.   I couldn’t  post about ordinary things.

Christmas baking now.   Preparing for our little family to be together for the holiday season.   Because life goes on and time passes.

I don’t understand this Passage of Time thing.   But it must happen.

The Present is what’s important.

Deo gratias.

 

 

 

 

IF YOU CAN’T HAVE A REINDEER . . .

November 28, 2018

Globe dark 80

(Where do we come from????)

LUCKY LUCKY ME!   —

R Blue Alone JTRD 400

I stopped off at my local library today and saw this poster on the door.  I must have looked so excited, the librarian got up from her chair and handed me my own little personal poster of the Event!

The Reindeer are COMING!!!    Each December, outside in the cold, cold front yard of our library,  they bring reindeer for us to look at (and to pet if we can sneak our hands through the fence).

I have a feeling I shall never travel to Lapland or to Saamiland, two areas of the world where  half my family came from, on each side of my family,  paternal and maternal.   I think that makes me one quarter “Indigenous” people!      (Does that make me qualified for special government protection and privileges?  ha ha   –  Never!    Lapps and Sami don’t have anything to do with government,  no matter what borders they live within.) 

The UK’s Daily Mail just published an article that said scientists have shown by DNA studies that the Samis migrated out of Siberia about 3,500 years ago, moved into Finland,  until the Rus (later the Rus Vikings — which is another half of my ancestry)  pushed them northward, where they live today,  above the Arctic circle.

With the Reindeer.

R Reindeer 380

This is an old family photo of my Grandma’s cousin with the reindeer.  (His reindeer?)

The explanation is on the back of the photo:

R Kemijarvi words 380

So if anyone can read Finnish,  you’d get the story.  I’d really like to know what it has to say.   My Grandma traveled to Kemijarvi, Finland,  to see her relatives.

R Grandma traveling at O'Hare 360

She traveled alone in the days when women “just didn’t”  travel alone,  (or so we are taught to believe nowadays)  but she saved money, and off she went.  First stop:  Us.  My Dad, Mom, and I.    We lived a short bike ride away from O’Hare Airfield  (today’s International Airport), so she was able to make a stop to visit us first.

I think she traveled next to New York where she boarded a small oceanliner, the Swedish-Chicago Line.

R Sw chic Line 380

I was way too young to care about the details, but I sure would like to know about them now.   She apparently had a wonderful time of reunion with her mother’s family and sightseeing around northern Finland.

(The say “Americans are a nation of  (legal)  immigrants.     My Grandma and Grandpa were the most patriotic Americans I’ve ever seen,  and yet Grandma’s visit to her “homeland”  made a big difference in her.    It would be a big deal to me too.   Is it that since we are all transported from some other nation, we all have some deep longing to return to the land of our ancestors?    It is not a fictional notion that Dracula can travel only in a bed of his native Transylvanian soil.      There is some deep, deep spiritual connection with the Earth that God put our ancestors down into.   Siberia?  Russia?  Lapland?  Saamiland?   Finland?  Sweden?   These places call to me . . .  but I can’t answer . . . .  )

Three short generations ago, my family moved to this country.   It’s been great.  I love to be an American.   They all settled down in the Far Far North which was similar to their homeland,  they  became American,   raised families . . .  but, you know,  no reindeer here!

If you can’t have a reindeer —

R Grandpa with Buck 360

.     —   Grandpa usually found a buck.

He was a big strong silent-type Swede.  I’m not sure that he and his brothers talked much.   Of the seven siblings, only two married.   They spent a lot of time in the woods, near a lake,  with our family name, and deep in the forest.   For him,   just like Sweden.

Where did we come from? 

Why are we here?  

Why were we made?   

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(“Disclaimer”) 

No reindeer hurt in the making of these photos,   but, well . . .   the buck was.

 

 

– – – – Our Dear Meghan – – – –

September 29, 2018

Bear snarl

Bear as metaphor

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Our Dear Meghan passed away this morning . . . .

 

 

Either:    “…more later …”

.   Or:       “… there are no words …”

.   Or:       ” …  It can’t …”

 

Nothing makes any sense … yet.

 

 

 

3 DAYS OF TRIAL

September 26, 2018

I like birthdays.   At my age it’s a celebration not only of me (my life),  but of my family and all the friends I have.    It’s my birthday tomorrow.   But there are some other more important things that are taking up all our attention:

Here is the last time I saw our dear Meghan . . .   the young woman who is such a big part of our lives and who is so gravely ill right now:
Meghan in amb.jpg.  . . .  well,  the last I’ve seen her this week.  Being put into an ambulance.  The doctors decided to move her to another hospital where “the most seriously ill patients go.”

Son went with her, of course.    Which is my second “trial.”     He followed the ambulance to the hospital in . . .  Detroit.     And Son drives a gleaming black GTO.   

Attention-getter, even at our local intersection traffic lights.

Okay,  just follow a mother’s heart.   Driving a car like that in one of the murder capitals of our country;  one of the hijacking capitals of our country.     Doesn’t matter that he’s a good driver, an intelligent person, and that everyone said he’d be just fine.   This mother’s heart was not at ease until I got a text from him telling me he’s in the hospital, with Meghan,  and he’s okay.  Now he’s okay.   I’m okay.

While this was going on,  this was going on, my third trial:

Flight

Daughter and Cooper were in that little airplane,  (over Nevada), heading right into that severe storm over Chicago.   Their projected flight path took them north, then east,  then back west to Chicago . . .  so that they could get a little commuter plane that would take them eastward . . .  right back through the storm to our home.

That was the news.  The actual flight turned out to be a bit better:  about an hour delay in  take-off,  but a strong headwind reduced the flight by 30 minutes, connecting flights were made, they arrived, and all is well, if not a little busy around here.

“Uncle” Son is due to arrive soon tonight, a happy reunion for brother and sister, for uncle and nephew . . .   and hopefully he can remain present for the birthday celebrations we will squeeze in tomorrow.

All in all, there is a lot to be thankful to God for.

Deo gratias.

CABLES, BUNS, AND DOING IT THE HARD WAY

September 16, 2018

My Dad said  . . .

MARINE

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Sunday is different from the other days of the week – in Christendom.  And so I will slow down today,  take time to enjoy, put aside troubles and aggravations for one day,  and think about things I really like to do.

Like blogging.

It’s been a busy week, and I’ve been distracted.

tv cords

Yes.  I’ve been at it again.   One and half days on the goofy cords and cables and wires and jacks and inputs and outputs and “devices” here and “devices” there and digital converter boxes and antennas and a big 36-year-old television and a pretty-new little one.

rca cables

And can I mention pliers, hammers, screw drivers, my “omni-tool butter knife, ” scissors,  a metal nail file, magnifying glasses, reading glasses,  assorted flashlights, and four or five different remote controls.

tv cords on floor

(Not my photo;  this is way too neat.)

Doesn’t matter what I was trying to do;  I’ve got it only half done.    I still don’t have sound with my VHS player;  and I still can’t watch football games – which was the reason for the frenzied electronic activity anyway.

Somewhere during these past few days,  these appeared:

ROLLS 390

Well, they didn’t just appear,  I made them.   I had some ground bison meat that was pretty fresh, and I had a craving for a big, juicy buffalo cheeseburger with tomatoes and lots of piccalilli and catsup!

But I didn’t have any hamburger buns, and I didn’t want to go to the store.   That would have been the “Easy Way,”  for which my Dad had a word or two.   My Dad is that Marine in the first photo above.

Right there, he looks like a very young, handsome, proud Marine in his dress blues.  But when I was a small little girl, he looked like a big, strong authoritative father figure hovering over me, teaching me things and giving me advice.     Yes, sir!

Some of that advice turned out to be pretty smart, even though it didn’t always make sense at the time.    One thing he always told me was this:  “If there is an easy way and a hard way to do something,  always choose the hard way.”      Not the right way or wrong way;  the hard way.     He didn’t mean make it stupidly complicated like some Rube Goldberg contraption:

Rube in 400

 

He meant choose the more involved,  the more complicated, the more thorough way of getting the job done.    Do a little extra while you’re doing the job.    You’ll learn something  and you’ll be glad in the future that you went the extra mile.

As a wee little girl I usually muttered to myself when I heard that;     silently,  inaudibly, of course,  standing next to him,  but deep down I kind of knew he was right.    The right way is the hard way, I guess.

I wanted that  buffalo cheeseburger.  The easy way would be to get in the car and drive a couple miles and buy some buns.    The more involved way, the hard way, would be to make the buns yourself!

cheesebuiger bison with ketchup

Glad I did.  I got the hamburger buns,  some hot dog buns,  and some really good cinnamon rolls out of that dough.    And I know what’s in them!  No long list of  ingredients,  known or unknown.  I used flour from a 12,000 year old strain of wheat*,  they’re  healthy and they taste good.

 

Well, I’ve got one more thing to try for that big old television set and the VHS player. Tomorrow.

Glad today is a day set aside for worship, getting back to God, and . . .  rest!

 

Semper fi, Dad.

_____________________________

 

.*   That’s  Einkorn Organic Wheat Flour,  jovial brand,  available on Amazon

Personal Updates

August 5, 2018

When you’re old, old, old, old like me — well,  this is the oldest I’ve ever been anyway —  you kind of want everything settled and everyone in their place.   You don’t mind a little kerfluffle now and then,  but these last three months . . .  my goodness!

So,  just to make a record in The Spruce Tunnel,   here are some updates for my family and friends before I can go on to other topics.   Let me see if I can give an accounting of everyone:

In no special order,  I’ll start with Cooper.     Not too many hours ago today,  Cooper was on the Staten Island Ferry,* and on his way to the Statue of Liberty.

Cooper on Ferry 300

Don’t mind the squint.   He’s got light blue-gray-hazel eyes and the sun is very bright.  He’s also just returned from a several day spelunking tour and hopefully enjoyed the deep dark caves of eastern America.    Can’t wait to get a letter from him describing the caves!

Cooper apparently made it out to the Statue.     His daddy asks the question:  “Where’s Waldo?

Cooper tiny 330

That’s my “tiny little’ grandson in front of the Statue of Liberty.   Or is that a camera trick?

Daughter is vacationing in New York City too, along with Cooper and Daddy,  so that side of my little family is all happy and accounted for.       That’s fine with me!

Now, Son . . .

se us

Son is somewhere on that map,   having left Florida yesterday and on his way home  here in the Far North.     But I don’t know his route.  His texts are  not too specific.    All I know is that it took  not 3 1/2 hours,  but about 7 hours for him to go one-half inch up the eastern coast of Florida yesterday.   Apparently there are some pretty nice beaches along the way.

I am glad for him.  He’s had a lot on his mind, a lot to worry about, a lot of decisions to make, a lot of new people to meet, a lot of tasks . . .  and now he is alone for three days  in a pretty nice car,   beautiful scenery,  only his own thoughts to guide him.    He’ll be fine.

Nancy and Dusty 90  Dusty:     This has been a 3 or 4 month long concern,  but Nancy’s horse has finally found a new home.    I’m a bit confused because it doesn’t sound today like he’s going to the same place people talked about yesterday;  but although the destination is different,  both locations are described as “wonderful”  places for a horse with caring people . . . .   I hope everyone is as happy as Dusty will be.   He will be just fine now.

 

Our young friend M.       —

5/24/11 Aerials of UM Campus and Hospital and Ann Arbor area.

This week I took her to a big university hospital where they are supposed to know everything and be able to do everything.    They don’t.    And they didn’t.

M preop 330

She was patient #1595201 on the board.  All for nothing.  They went in – and they went  back out.

My young friend M.  is back to square one and rather beyond disappointed.   We have to wait.  Wait and see.    Wait and see what the medical industry will do to her.   And I’m very scared for her too.   Son and I and all her friends stand by her.  We hope and pray she’ll be fine.

 

The bat and the bird.     Well, I took care of their possible entry point:

Fireplace Screen

A little duct tape and some metal screen.    Okay, a guy would probably smack his forehead and say,  Why on earth . . .?         But it works for me.    There was about a 3/4 inch gap between the fireplace insert and the fireplace opening.  Now there isn’t.   I have peace of mind and I don’t have any birds and bats tonight.    That’s just fine with me.

 

Me.    Update on me?      Well,  I still covet your “butterflies.”    Or else I won’t be here to give you any more updates.     I read today ** that when Jesus walked this earth,  He lived His holy life for our benefit;    He lives today for our benefit.     He did miracles of healing back then;  and His miracles of healing  still exist for our benefit.    Because Jesus is also the Son of God,   True God and True Man,   His goodness and love and power are not confined to any one generation,  but are here, now, present for us all.

If prayers surround a person like graceful little butterflies,   then I too am just fine.

 

___________________________________

 

.*  If you’re from New York and  I got the name of that Ferry wrong, well,  sorry,  I’m just an Out Of Towner —   Pretty good movie!

Out of towners

 

.**      From  “Christ in His Mysteries  by Dom Columba Marmion   (A very valuable and highly recommended book.  I wish I could buy all of you a copy!)

PRAYER AND PERU — CRACKING UP

July 31, 2018

(Prayer over my sister Nancy) –

________________________________________________________

 

The world around me is “cracking up.”     Jesus told us “Heaven  and Earth shall pass away but my words will never pass away. . .”       Normally, that would be comforting.

Peru crack 1

. . .  Comforting words because it means you can absolutely rely upon  the words of Jesus  (and that they have been pretty closely and faithfully passed down to us)  — but upon taking a second look,  Jesus has referred to the world “passing away.”   Not exactly rock solid ground we’re standing on.

Whether it’s the world of men we live in or the planet earth we live on,  we can’t trust that it will always remain the same.    Storms happen.   Tsunamis happen.    Tornadoes happen.   Earthquakes happen.

Here is a before/after photo of what happened this month in Peru:

peru crack 4 beforeafter

That was a pleasant, medium-size village in Peru on the left;  what’s left of it after the earth cracked apart on the right.

Peru crack 2

A close-up of one of the fissures.    In case you haven’t been paying attention,  there have been cracks and fissures in the earth all over our planet in recent years, happening with increasing frequency.    Sometimes they are preceded by immense  groans and howls and roaring noises from deep in the earth;  sometimes the strange sounds are reflected up into the atmosphere.

peru crack 3

The surface, the ground we stand on seems to be undergoing “some changes.”

My yard seems to be okay right now.

But not my life,  not  my world,  not the people in the world around me.   Because of what happened to my body in Florida,  I now have to see a doctor — that is an earthquake of a change for me,  one that keeps me up at night.  But enough of that.

Our dear young Friend (in Son’s life),  our dear young Friend M.,  must undergo surgery for a rather serious cancer.   This week.    We just found out.     Her health is no longer “firm ground” to be counted on, though she is so very young.

“Fissures”  and incisions:

Operating theater

 

Son is on his way to Florida to close out family business after my sister’s death.  We are her only surviving family.     Sorrow that he just missed seeing her alive.   Uncertainty, as he closes out her house,  makes thousands of little decisions,  meets new people,   perhaps attends a memorial service among people he doesn’t know — oh, yes, and all this in the extreme heat and unusual traffic patterns in that crowded little city, hopefully being able to afford a somewhat unplanned-for trip.

And worst of all —

plane off he goes

—  worst of all, he’s not driving.

I didn’t know it would happen,  but when you become a mother of a son,  every thought and action of that son,  every event,  every experience, good and bad,   squirms around in the mother’s heart.       What happens to him happens to me. *

Because I have a son,   I now understand the relationship between Our Lady,  the Virgin Mary,  and her son,  Jesus.     Even more  “better,”  I understand the Gospel  —   the Annunciation, Birth,  Passion, and Death,  Resurrection,  Ascension, etc.  of Jesus,  (almost) through the eyes and heart of His mother.

Both Rosary mine 70men and women who experience the prayers and meditations in the Rosary have been moved deeply,   broken,  during prayer;  broken,  fractured in their spirits,  cracked apart by the actions of the Holy Spirit,  in the process of being shown new insights,  and growing.     The rosary  can move you to a meltdown,   in today’s  vocabulary.

So —  sister,  son,  young friend,  and me:   my whole world cracks apart around me.   I’m standing on . . .  what?   What to trust?  What to count on?

In the last post I promised you I’d copy down the Last Words that my sister Nancy heard on this planet earth.   I have the permission of the speaker of those words now – with the condition that I do not give him credit for the words,  but that he was only speaking words from heaven that came through him..

Therefore,  these are God’s loving, comforting, encouraging  words to a dying person:

The . . . hospice nurse had the curtain closed, the lights dimmed and a soft, sweet, relaxing aroma in the air.  From Nancy’s ragged breathing and posture, we knew she was close to her journey.  I calmly reassured her that she has no unfinished business here.  (I)  am . . . good, (My Son)   is good, M.    is getting her treatments, Dusty has a home, it is only up to her.  It is okay to stop fighting, to go and join Jesus.  I know she could hear me, she just couldn’t respond.  So I read Psalm 122 to her.  Talked to her and stroked her forehead a bit, then read Psalm 23.   I prayed private prayers of encouragement to her, assuring her that everything she had learned as a faithful servant is true.  Jesus is waiting for you.  He won’t grab you and pull you, He will wait for you to reach out to Him.  There is no need to fight or be in fear of leaving the pain to go to the joy and peace Jesus promises us.  He is God and God keeps all his promises.  The only fear we have as Christians is that of leaving what we know and have lived, for something we cannot touch or even understand.  This, Nancy, is the ultimate display of your faith.  One day you will see all of us again.  And you will see all your friends and relatives who passed before you.

 

Oh, my.    Deep fissures and cracking apart again as I reread that.    Amidst all the uncertainties and during all the “bad” events in our lives,   the Good God does break in and show us that He is there, waiting for us to turn to Him.

Like the Prodigal Son,  there comes a time when we must  “come to our senses.”

_______________________________________________

Please.  You have a soul that is everlasting.   You   ( your soul, your whole you)  are on a journey from this life to the next.    Read the words again . . .  that is the pathway that is Solid Ground.   It won’t crack apart and disappoint.

bar dissolve er

.*   Son is quite capable.  He is strong and intelligent and has resourcefulness and equanimity that will see him through.    I’ve no doubt.     But —  he’s still . . .  vulnerable.

 

WELL . . .

July 29, 2018

The day has come.

Chart in Blue

 

My sister Nancy passed away this afternoon, July 29, 2018, at about 2:10 p.m.

Well,  just a few hours ago.      Still feel a little numb;  nothing much to say.

. . .

Well,  I have the last words that were spoken to her.    I’ll get that copied down later.    You need to know what she heard during her last hour.   We all wonder what will be happening to us during that last hour, that last half hour, that last minute or so before we die.

That separating point between this world and the next world.

white feather rising.jpg

The soul is mostly up and leaving,  the memory of earth is mostly fading.

………………….

Well,  something like that.

 

“FLORIDA” UPDATE

July 20, 2018

Events in Florida very much on my mind:

 

VISION

That picture is not far from what my younger sister described to me about a vision that she had quite a while ago.

As you may know, or remember from being here in The Spruce Tunnel in June,   I drove down to Florida to be with my younger sister after her sudden and surprising  terminal diagnosis.   She was not given much time.

I spent time with her,  did what I could for her,  but eventually I had to return home, leaving her safely in the care of Hospice.     I then ended up in the hospital with pulmonary embolisms, partly from “too much driving”  and told not to drive like that anytime soon.  I cannot be with my sister during her last days.

My sister believes in Jesus,  she is what a Protestant would call Born Again, what a Catholic would call Born From Above.   Her vision was of a private audience with Jesus, Who told her that “everything will be all right,”  among other things.

He is calling her home now – soon.

across the meadow

She is less and less responsive.  Her food has been untouched for days.    Today her visitor from her church texted me to say she did not open her eyes.

I have some serious health issues too, and I may be following my sister sooner than I thought, although not too soon.   If  I get through them, I will tell you how I did it.   But  all of you, dear readers,  all of us, will also follow my sister,  in God’s good time.

I’ve said many times before,   this Earth was never meant to be our permanent home.   If we want,  we all can have the saints and angels accompany us, teach us,  guide us,  comfort us.  Here are the words of one:

Life is Passing

She died at 24 years old — but, oh,  how much she learned while she was here. *

We were all created for God, and by His love he wants to lead us into “the very life of God.”

My sister can’t have that until she leaves this Earth.

I should feel  okay about that.

 

____________________________________________

.*    St. Therese of Lesieux.

NOT SO BEAUTIFUL SUNSETS

June 20, 2018

pink 400

 

A couple posts ago I showed you this little pink cloud in the  evening above my hotel down here in Florida . . . .

It caught my attention.    A sunset is attractive.  It’s  pretty.    It could turn us to thinking of higher things.    But it could also get us thinking about  “the sunset of a person’s life.”  The closing of a day/the closing of a life.

sunset

You could write poems about  a person’s life “drawing to a close.”   There are sweet songs,   some  bluegrass songs that I know,  about a man knowing his life is ending . . .   and looking back on his life.

Another song about an older man’s acknowledgment that he will be leaving this world soon,  you know?   And how he wishes his son would come to know Jesus so that they will be together when both die . . .  It’s called   “Father’s Table Grace, ” something like that.  His son was at the table and heard his father’s prayer –  and he changed his life around.  A happy ending.

But I am here in Florida, 1,500 miles from home because my very own young sister has apparently reached the end of her life.  It’s been a kind of difficult day.  I helped her move into a nursing home for hospice care.   We were optimistic and very grateful for the space.

But the reality is . . .  no,  the end of a life has some very ugly, painful,  terrible sensations to endure.

The surroundings can be nice,  but the person’s body is failing.

Not all sunsets are pretty.

____________________________________________

In Catholic evening prayers,  your nightly prayers,  you pray for “those who are dying today” and that God will be with them somehow in their last agony.    It used to be something I  “included”  in  my prayers.    I meant it,  but I didn’t understand it.

Up to now.

praying at sunset

THINKING HIGHER

June 13, 2018

cloud

cloud formation above a Florida parking lot

 

Well, it helps to look up,  look above;  have your head in the clouds . . .   really,  above  the clouds,  beyond the clouds . . . .

I didn’t drive this far south for my own entertainment.  My sister who lives here is ill and will not get better.    She’s way too young for that . . . .  but that’s what’s been on my mind during these last few days of absence from The Spruce Tunnel.

There are a lot of things to consider, decisions to make,  conversations to have, comfort and companionship to give, actual physical help to give . . . .  And all  because a young women has a destination,  “above” those clouds.

Your perspective changes drastically when a lifespan is spoken of in terms of “weeks”  by a doctor who can’t help any more.   It will come to all of us some day, because most of us won’t die suddenly and instantly somehow,  we’ll die with time to think about the certainty of what’s coming.

All of us live here:

earth 390

I don’t mean on that blue-marble earth,  I mean — well, see that very thin blue outline in this NASA photo around the planet?  A very, very thin, solid blue line.

That thin blue line is a photo of our atmosphere.  That’s the whole extent of  all the miles of air we must live in to breathe.    That’s where we live our lives,  between the earth and the bottom part of that thin blue line.

That’s all we’ve got.   A thin blue line around the earth and one short lifespan is all we’re given.   It seems a little precarious.

It just does really  matter that we live with our “heads in the clouds.”  Above the clouds.  Beyond the clouds — all the way to the Creator of clouds, of earth, of us.

pink 400

a random pink cloud floating above my hotel

God thought each of us up,  loved the idea of us, then put us here for a very  short time to watch and see if we are making our way back to Him.    Today I can see for sure what I always suspected:   when you have only months or weeks to live,  your body is too busy working at staying alive and feeling miserable for your mind to be able to think about where you might be going,  and doing something about it.

My sister didn’t wait till the last minute –  that is a comfort to her and to me.    Comfort is going to be sorely needed . . . .

We’re all right now, together.   My sister is just going on ahead of me.

“Up above,”  as we commonly say.

 

 

 

TODAY – I’M NOT A WOMAN

March 8, 2018

.

Because of the latest ad campaign from Madison Avenue on  this beautiful island  —

HATTAN

—  I am reminded that I choose today to NOT be a “woman”!

At least not this kind!

wwww

I’m not celebrating the Leftist, Global Socialist, Agenda-Driven Exclusive International Women’s Day.

And neither are these women:

WW

 

And neither are the 22 MILLION women who were chopped to pieces,  swirled around by a vacuum extractor until they died,   or painfully burned to death by a strong saline solution  — before they got a chance to get out of the womb.  (Let’s deal in facts.) —

baby

 

But I do respectfully remind the international women to remember these,  their sisters.

They, and I, are not like you.

 

Some of us have a higher calling –  our homes!

hgher calling

 

Wife.  Mother.   Homemaker.   Helper.  Counselor.    Wise and Intelligent family manager.    Maker of refinement and beauty in the home.  

And religious anchor of the family:

relig anchor

Without family,  society cannot hold together.

.

 

 

 

 

HE CAN’T HELP IT . . .

January 17, 2018

(America,  between two weekends)

 

He can’t help it that he’s so small. 

 

Cuddle Up, Baby Boy

We should be cuddling him by now.

When I was in college,  I worked in a pediatrics ward in a nearby hospital.    Occasionally we received a premature baby, and although we didn’t have “modern” technology, we  did everything we could, including holding and cuddling and encouraging the little thing to breathe and drink.

One day they brought to me a baby who weighed one pound, eight ounces.  I held  him in my hands —  my one hand, really.   His little head fit in the palm of my hand.     The doctors said he wouldn’t live,  but I gently touched him, stroked him,  cuddled him with my fingers, massaged his cheek so he would suck on the specially-made baby bottle nipple.    Well, he did live and he was transferred out in a month or so.

I more than fell in love with him –  I fell in love with life;  with  the tenacity of a living child holding on to life;  I fell in love with the fragility of life.     He had been in the womb for less than six months – and he made it.

The baby in the photo above didn’t make it.  Didn’t even make it out of the womb.

We can’t help it that we start out so small.

cant help it that hes small

It’s the way Nature works.    It’s the way God works through what we call “nature.”    It is His providence that we start so small and protected.

Protected in our mothers’ wombs.

We are between two weekends that are very significant to American citizens.   Yes,  I know all about the “dark side” of “Dr.”  Martin Luther King –  those facts have been around long enough — but you know what?   His message has been around a long time too.  His message has endured, and I’m kind of an MLK kind of girl:   You look at the character of a man,  not at the color of his skin.

It’s just part of our country now,  unless you listen to the desperate fiction that comes out of the drama-dependent  entertainment-news media.   American everyday life isn’t like the furiously angry people you see on television.    And it doesn’t have to be that way in small pockets of inner urban areas.

Martin Luther King was a minister of a protestant church,  and most of his family still believe as he did and still try to get out his main message.     It’s okay to celebrate his life and his message,  as we did last weekend.

Now there’s another weekend coming up:

mlk babies in the womb

Alveda King bridges the time between these two weekends,  one honoring King and one honoring and advocating the safety of our unborn American citizens.

Is that being broadcast on the entertainment-news media televisions stations?

Because the March For Life people have a message too.

life love

 

Holding that tiny little baby boy confirmed my Love for Life.   I still get tears in my eyes just thinking about him – and all his tiny fellow-citizens waiting to be born.

God bless these people:

life3 poster

 

“DOING” SOMETHING – LIKE THIS

January 7, 2018

 

Well, yesterday’s post was a little complex – and serious.    I still mean every word – even all the words I didn’t write  so it wouldn’t become extraordinarily long.

holy family the

Feast of the Holy Family

I meant just to say,  “Look around you, look at the world around you – and although there is much to learn and study and analyze,  yet still in a small way,  each of us is called  to actually act upon what we know.

Today’s remembrance within  Christendom centers on the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, put before us as our model of family life.   Our sermon was about what makes up a family in general;  I would have wished to hear more about the qualities of the Holy Family, but that’s okay,  that was his choice,  and nothing stops me from finding out more writings about these qualities on my own.

 

st theres familyThe family of St. Therese of Lesieux –

 

But that’s my point from yesterday, I guess.   Find out something in society that is good, that makes life strong and stable, and since we can all acknowledge that we don’t have that commonly anymore,  find out what went wrong, and what  can be done about it.  That’s a doable task for each individual person.

Take “family,”  for instance,  the theme for this day.

 

her whole family

The entire family of St. Therese, mother on left, father on right.

 

I’ve had lots of decades of TV viewing under my belt.   (Lots!)    I can truly say with sorrow that I’ve witnessed the disintegration and degradation of TV families,  so until now we hardly know — or rather we hardly dare define what a family really is.  We must be “politically correct” and “inclusive”  — so “they” tell us.   *

But “they” are wrong.   I’ve witnessed the sorrow and regretful longing implicit in so many movies and television series of the past two decades . . .  almost as though the writers know they are missing something precious, and this society can never have it  back.

HOLY FAMILY and st therese

(I have this painting at home,  but this photo  is apparently from “Restored Tradition.”   It shows St. Therese visiting the Holy Family – to learn as well as to pay homage.   Of course, she is separated by many centuries from the Holy Family,  but there is truth here:  we can all “visit”  this model of family love,  and also learn.  But as she,  the visit must be on bended knee.)

It’s not just sadness among  young adults because their family was messed up.      There are serious and dangerous society implications too,  all reflected in our entertainment that seems rudderless, pointless,  and rather despairing.

How do we turn around the loss of Family?    Can we repair this mess we’ve made of family life?       We need a model.    What is the “real dollar bill”  and what is the counterfeit?   We need to know the difference, and we need to know what difference it makes.

Then in our small way, one person at a time,  make our family a good one, perhaps modeled after the Holy Family.

 

_______________________________

.*   This presentation of devolving family life is also seen in children’s books, especially their school “readers.”      My Grandson Cooper loves reading the Dick and Jane books of the 1950’s;  he finds them interesting and logical,  fun and safe.     By the time I was teaching school, “they” had taken away wholesome family life and substituted all the politically correct wrong ideas about what the word family could mean.

That generation of children grew up imitating the broken families that they had read about their schoolbooks.

Their children know “something” is wrong with the way their parents lived, lived apart,  broke up their families,  blended new groups together . . .

And their children’s children wish to do something about it.

CHRISTMAS DAYS

December 28, 2017

We participated in our country’s Christmas snowstorms.    Enjoy a little snowy drive with  me.

It’s enough to give weather forecasting a bad name:

1 temp pic

See that weather forecast for  O   in.  of precipitation?    As in no inches for Christmas Day.    Well,  this is what it was doing outside:

1 backyard storm

About 7 inches, Christmas Day.  Not as much as what some of you had, I know.

It was beautiful, but I had to drive out  to Christmas Mass in all that snow.   Snow  plows on vacation, I think.

2.2 snowy branches

Other cars had gone before me and cleared some tracks.  Honestly,  it was a pretty day.

6 white out

Roads got better in the city, but it was harder to see.

Here’s the skyline of our little city with the big capitol building right straight up ahead:

6.8 Skyline up

Our clock tower:

CLOCK

I was going to make it in time,   to a snowy, misty church building —

5.5 church arrived

Again,  really lovely in the snowfall.

Sleepy as I was that early in the morning and challenging as the drive was,  I’m glad I made the effort.    It always feels better after being present for a Mass,  feels brighter and stronger inside me;    and then,  even the sky changed on my way home.

5 Sunburst

The sky had turned an “innocent blue”   in just about an hour.

5.5 Innocent blue sky

On my way into the city, I could hardly see the beautiful  campus I drive through,  but now the buildings could be seen clearly.

7 sunny campus buildings

I always enjoy their classic beauty.   This   is just one  little peek.     It’s a large Big Ten campus.   There’s a very nice “other” church in the  campus area:

8 sunny campus church

It’s one of those friendly, all-purpose churches where there’s nothing too much to believe in, you just have to be nice, be friendly to everyone.  I think it’s called an “open”  church.  I’ve been inside when one of my children had a concert in there.  It’s really, really pretty, all stone, even around the large wrap-around second-story choir lofts.     Stone walls, stone floors.     Dark wood benches, if I remember correctly.     Like the inside of a castle . . . .

Arriving home, the clouds returned,  but everything was nice and frosted in my neighborhood  –

4 frosted christmnas trees

Ready to have my little California family start their Christmas Day.

Later on those California people and Son traveled all the way off to festivities in Detroit on a day of plunging temperatures.    Here are Detroiters, bundled up in  -9 degrees:

Fireworks 380

That’s  minus 9.   Bundled up !  and watching fireworks.

Daughter’s face;  playing around — outdoors:

Dauighter Too 260

They all had brought their ice skates but there was too many other things to do in the city.

Cities can be so glamorous during Christmas holiday season.

Cold too, so they had “warming centers”  which were actually pretty nice.    Here are the three big guys of my little family at an activity center in the “warming tent”:

Detroit Market 260

Weather was a big player in our Christmas celebrations.

 

bars xmas boughs and bells

 

One big holiday recommendation:   Forget what all the critics are saying about the new Star Wars movie, positive or negative.  Just go see   Star Wars: The Last Jedi – and preferably in 3D!    Enjoy the fun!

‘Tis the Season for merriment!!!!!! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DECEMBER 21ST

December 21, 2017

Our wedding photo.

Hubbie and I were married on this day, a “few” years ago.

Dec 21 380

 

Just  .  .  .   If you have a mother and no longer  a father;  or if you have a father and no longer a mother;    just know that the anniversary of the surviving spouse is still . . .  their anniversary day.    It will always be a special day,  full of unsayable memories.

Love is worth all the heartache and sadness it can bring.

 

“MOTHER’S DAY” DAY

May 15, 2017

(Just so The Spruce Tunnel has a record . . . )

I know,  it’s a day late,  but that’s because “it”  was Mother’s Day –  and I was kept busy!

The day started, as it should,  with a seriously good Mass – actual contact with the Creator!      Then Son had sent me a reassuring text informing me that he “had the whole day free . . .”  We weren’t always together,  but he was  . . .    here.

I,  the “mother,” did  “whatever I wanted to do!    I read,  I napped,  I puttered around in the kitchen,  I did a little sewing work on a new summer top,  I watched another episode of my very favorite video series from Italy, and from time to time visited Son who was keeping busy outside, on my behalf.

(I might have worked him too hard.)

A digger

He is closing up a long trench in which he laid drainage pipes.

A trench

I know I needed them.   Son understands why I needed them.

We had a visitor for a while:

A snake cr

He seemed to be enjoying the sunlight.   Fascinating.   We were also visited by a lively, happy woodchuck who was busy running here and there,  munching on the water weeds near the backyard pond.      Nice to have time to enjoy these little critters.

The lawn is nearing perfection this summer, under Son’s care:

A Lawn

I said I was puttering around the kitchen.   Son was taking care of the Main Course:

A grill

. . .  and we put our work together —

A dinner cr

. . .    just in time to watch some really good movies.

And Daughter?  

A cell

A very nice, very long distance phone call – and not at all rushed! (A mother can tell if you’re under time constraints.)         And then there was a Kazoo concert,  via cell phone –  from  Cooper!  –  followed by a lot of Kindergarten news!       (Thank you for sharing with your Grandma.)

 

_______________________________________________

 

Mother’s Day is one of the great highlights of my whole year, and I have to explain why:   For fifteen years I was an “only child,”  so I guess that’s long enough for me to have many “only child”  characteristics –  and feelings.    The Great Alone.   When I first became pregnant,  my world changed:  I knew I would never, ever be “alone”  again.   My daughter,  my son;   two other human beings in this world would always be a part of me, and I would belong to them.

This Mother’s Day was a good one.     Son and Daughter were both “present.”

a rose

Be good to your Moms.