Archive for the ‘Family’ category

– – – – 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.

 

 

 

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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

________________________________________________________________

 

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.

 

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.*  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) –

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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.”

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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.

 

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.*    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.

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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.

 

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.*   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.

 

 

DAD IN DECEMBER

December 18, 2016

dad-at-400

My Dad.   Probably in December.    Holding a . . . baby . . .  (any hunters know what that is?)

It would be typical of my Dad,  who did hunt at times,  to notice a small baby game bird on the ground on a cold winter day,  and then pick it up gently,  check to see if it were hurt or something.

Today,  December 18th is his birthday — and I wish he could be here to tell me more about this picture.    I wish, too, that I had seen this photo of him when I was a little girl.  It would have added texture and perspective to what I was learning of him as I was growing up.   Perhaps he would not have been so utterly  powerful and “scary.”

And I wish we hadn’t lived 1,200 miles apart from each other because I would have liked to have gotten to know him, not as “a dad,”  but more as a man.    That knowledge came slowly.  Perhaps that’s natural,  but the more I knew about him as a man,  the the more the “scary dad” figure I had diminished,  and I could see all the real parts of him:   musician,  jazz genius;  Les Paul and Mary Ford,  Tommy Dorsey . . . .  Gave it all up for his “family.”   Me and Mom.

Electronics genius.  there was nothing he couldn’t do with electronics and nothing he couldn’t invent to solve an electronic problem,  including   “how to design a colored television so it could be mass produced.”    Helped make the Raytheon company big, in that department.     Gave that career path up too because World war Two took him out of high school and he felt he could never get in on the college degree path.

A man who lived under the certain knowledge that God exists — and that God is indeed God and Lord, no matter how very tough his life got for him.

Above all,  he was a strictly,  strongly moral man who could be depended upon to always be right!    Especially in social matters.   And as I was growing up:  “The Times They Are A-Changing.”

Whatever.     My Dad was right about that too.

We children,  whatever age  we are,  are supposed to have received and grown into the wisdom of our fathers.   

Our Dads   plus   us —  that makes the new generation.

Without our dads,  the world is pretty hard to understand:

dad-gone

But we can be pretty secure following in the wisdom – and footsteps – of our dads:

dad-and-baby-fox

 

Dad –  Happy Birthday.   I’m hanging on to what you showed me.

 

CATASTROPHIC IS A TERRIBLE WORD

October 6, 2016

Local Florida Weatherman:  “Catastrophic is a terrible word.  I can’t even believe it’s coming out of my mouth.”

local-weatherman

 

“The biggest storm on the planet right now.”   (Weather Channel)

“Escaping”  along I-4 westbound at  14  m.p.h.     Tonight and tomorrow I-95  will be “undrivable.”

Winds will be 145 m.p.h.  when they hit my sister (and her city of Melbourne)  and then sustained winds of 90 –  120 m.p.h.  with a storm surge of 9 feet more or less.    I don’t think my sister lives that far above the ocean.

Here’s her house in better weather:

sisters-house

 

Last time,  when my sister held her cell phone out the window during the last (smaller)  hurricane so I could hear the winds passing by,   what I heard instead was their neighbor’s roof crashing by!    Weird –  but seriously dangerous and chaotic.

I’ve been to Vero Beach,  I’ve swam at Sebastian Inlet, at  Melbourne Beach,   Cocoa Beach,  Ponce Inlet,  I love the Ferris wheel at Daytona Beach —  I tell this to myself because these are real places, real people down there,   and I can hardly match the size and severity of this storm with real “ordinary”  places.

Governor Scott states:  “This storm can kill you.”

Heard from my sister tonight – sort of a good-bye for a while.  She doesn’t know when she’ll get her power back or her cell phone recharged enough to signal an A-OK.

It will be a long night of watching this storm on TV and on the Internet — but an even longer night for her, huddled down in the room she designated as her safe room.

Hope it is.

MY BARRIER ISLAND: PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE

October 5, 2016

 

The Barrier Islands are being evacuated today.

barrier-island

The east coast of Florida has these long, long narrow islands that hug the mainland,  and on one of those islands is my beautiful home-away-from-home.

You have to cross a bridge to get there, one like this:

bridge

Fun.   When you travel a lot to the same destination, you develop your favorite spots,   and on the ocean side of that barrier island is “my”  beautiful hotel room.

tuckaway-logo

Yep,  I’m  advertising for them.

This is my “Florida Past.”   Beautiful, pretty pastels,  clean, friendly,  affordable in the off-season,  walking distance to beachfront stores and restaurants,  and your own private door opens out onto the sandy ocean beach.

Here’s looking through my living room window:

through-the-blinds

This is  my shoe and my skirt pointing out to the surf one relaxing evening.

SAMSUNG

The last time I was there was a sad trip, though.   I  arrived to visit my mother just one day before she died.    Took me by surprise, and I spent a little time grieving on the beach.

SAMSUNG

Storm Clouds

This storm came in from the west and  hung low over the beach.

Florida Present:

Hurricane Matthew is going to come in from the southeast, and it will be a lot worse.

Now, with the weather update,  I find both my sisters are in harm’s way;  both are under a hurricane warning, one just a few miles from the beach,  the other inland a bit more.

One sister writes that she “doesn’t like the look of this storm.”   If she talks like our Dad used to talk,  that’s a magnificent understatement.

Millions of people are worried about this storm too.

I just remember “my” beautiful hotel on that Barrier Island:

tuckaway-front-view

I hope it’s still standing after this week.

It feels “personal.”     There are a lot of “real” people involved with this storm.    A lot of souls, as we used to say.     S.O.S. – Save Our Souls.

I hope my sister’s home is still standing.

I have lots to write about here in the Tunnel,  lots of topics, lots of ideas,  but I don’t want to write about anything else right now — not until the storm is over and I find out “what happened.”

Hope it will be a good Florida Future.  

Perspectives: PRETTY IN PINK

October 4, 2016

I think this five week period of superlative personal demands are finally passing,  and it’s good to look outward again.     Almost all the “superlatives” have been good –  but they were personal.     I’m eager to write about things we have in common.

One of which is “Matthew.”      A  not so good “superlative,”  and that puts the recent “demands” on me into perspective.   The affected region is so huge, that it’s possible you know someone who is going to be greatly troubled by the coming of this hurricane.

My own sister, for one:

pretty-in-pink-and-red

She lives under those pink lines – where Florida used to be.

Specifically:

fl-in-circles

My sister lives on the coast,  right in the middle of that smallest blue circle,  the bull’s eye, so to speak.       She’s ten miles or so south of Cape Canaveral, where that little V-shaped  piece of land juts out into the ocean.

One time, about ten years ago a big hurricane was passing over the house where my  parents and sister lived together.  My sister called me up during the worst of it and I could hear banging and crashing in the background.      So exciting!

Then she said “You ought to hear the wind!”   So she opened a window and stuck her cell phone outside.      Unbelievable roaring — until I heard a little scream –  “Part of our neighbor’s roof just tore off and blew across our back yard!”   

Technology!   Puts you right there in the action!!

water

I’m being flippant.   It isn’t our way to “evacuate”  (apparently)  and my parents and sister had a difficult few weeks following that hurricane.    Water and cleaning supplies were very hard to come by in the hot, humid, flooded aftermath.

And many this week will wish that Matthew had never come by.

sign-know-where-youre-going

 

When I travel down to Florida I see these in the driving lanes,  signs, symbols,  necessary to know what they mean.

 

I must be getting old.   The longer I watch the development and the movement of Matthew,  the more I think evacuation is a good idea.

sign-fl-evac-route

For those who can.

Pink is not so pretty when it aims a hurricane at you.     They need our prayers.    Miracles can happen even within a Natural Disaster.

PCDS

October 3, 2016

That would be “Post-Cooper Distress Syndrome.”     Cooper’s gone back  home to his mountain home in the High Sierras.     Been kind of slow, lately;  walking around from room to room,  looking at the last  “proofs”  that Cooper was really here.

A plate of acorns:

acorn-plate-300

(They’ll  be saved; they’re  waiting for an upcoming Christmas craft.)

A jungle:

toys-jungle-300-pond

Cooper and I watched Pete’s Pond and other African  live-streaming webcams.  When you’re five years old,  these animals can be just as “real.”

We have a few photos  now to remember our activities.    Cooper,   “Mommy,”  and I  took  a walk on campus.   We had tried to go to the university’s ice cream shop,  but  Cooper analyzed the length of the line and said it would be too long to wait our turn,   so then we went on a hunt to find the big statue of Sparty,  just like he has in one of his books at home —  but we ran out of time and energy, so we just ended up here:

spartan-stadium-350

Good enough.  He’s already a Spartan fan — in California!

We were on campus that afternoon to take in the children’s show at the planetarium.

pl-jupiter-325

 His Mommy and I sort of mentally rolled our eyes when we found out that Sesame Street characters would be teaching us things  . . .

How big is the moon?

pl-moon-size-325

What would the earth look like if you were on the moon?

sept-went-to-the-moon-250

Our solar system is a big place:

pl-saturn-big-place-325

Those Sesame Street characters were actually pretty interesting.

But it’s Fall, now,  and time to enjoy the harvest!   A trip to “Uncle John’s Cider Mill”!

sept-the-3-guys-325

So here are the three guys, but . . . you know,  the Uncle John in the picture does not own Uncle John’s  —  we’ll straighten that out in a few years.      Right now he’s just glad his uncle has a  fun place we can go to in September.

sept-cooper-on-a-pumpkin-350

A seemingly endless pumpkin patch to stroll through!

And the apple harvest was good this year, a combination of just the right rain and temperatures at just the right times.  Cooper can tell you about that:

sept-kathy-cooper-and-apple-tree-350

“Do not pick the apples”  signs were everywhere –  but it doesn’t matter to a hungry boy.

sept-picking-an-apple-350-do-not

The days went by so quickly, and then there was the birthday party  (a couple posts ago)   and then there was all kinds of other fun things around grandma’s house.  Like the spray can that shoots out long, long strings –  and Daddy got Cooper!

spraying-daddy-gets-cooper-350

Must have tickled!  

Then Cooper gets Daddy

spraying-got-hius-daddy

Well, this posting is my remembrance,  things I’ll want in my memory for a long time.  It was hard to part, at the airport,  but I asked him about school, and I told him he  has to go back and be my “California schoolboy”  so I know where he is . . .   That worked for a while;  he’s taking his “assignment” seriously.

We’re going to trade pictures that we draw.    We both like drawing.    We both like dinosaurs.   That’s going to work.

Only three more months  without him  . . .  without those little arms around me. . . .

Three more months of PCDS!